For a vast majority of Muslims, the month-long observation of Ramadan is marked by fasting, charity and nightly prayer.This year, the Islamic State (ISIS) turned it into a month of horror.
Close to 350 people were killed in terror attacks in eight different countries during Ramadan. Most of these attacks have been, at the very least, linked to ISIS.
The shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida clearly stands out among these attacks because it happened here at home. Omar Mateen, who was inspired by and pledged allegiance to ISIS, opened fire inside the busy club in the early morning hours killing 49 innocent Americans.
The Orlando attack was a tragic reminder that ISIS and radical Islamic terrorists are encouraging supporters to attack Americans here at home. As we saw during the past month, the terror group aims to strike everywhere and anywhere.
A day after the Orlando attack, a 25-year-old Islamic extremist, who pledged allegiance to ISIS, brutally murdered a police commander and a civil servant at the home they shared in France. The jihadist, who had been previously convicted and jailed for terror recruiting, posted a 12-minute propaganda video to Facebook live from the scene of the attack.
ISIS’s carnage continued and spread through the month. Syrian jihadists drove a suicide car bomb across the Jordanian border and detonated it at an army post killing seven soldiers in a country that is a key ally in the region and in the fight against ISIS.
One of the world’s busiest airports in Istanbul, Turkey was stormed by three jihadists armed with assault rifles and explosive belts. They killed 44 people and wounded nearly 150 in an attack that appears to have been directed by ISIS leadership responsible for recruiting and training Russian-speaking jihadists.
In Bangladesh, jihadists armed with knives, automatic rifles and bombs stormed a popular restaurant in an upscale neighborhood in Dhaka, taking 35 hostages before torturing and killing those who could not recite the Quran. By the end of the attack, terrorists killed twenty hostages – mostly foreigners – including three U.S. college students.
A truck packed with explosives detonated by a busy shopping center in one of Baghdad’s relatively safe neighborhoods, which was packed with shoppers buying goods for the upcoming Eid feast marking the breaking of Ramadan fast. The bombing, claimed by ISIS, killed over 250 people and wounded another 150. It was one of the deadliest single attacks to hit Iraq in 13 years.
The Obama Administration contends ISIS is lashing out in desperation as a result of the group losing ground in it’s self-proclaimed caliphate. Even if lost territory is the reason for the uptick in ISIS attacks abroad, a theory which remains up for debate, the terror group clearly has the means and a plan to carry on with its carnage. You can bet it has a plan to regain any lost territory as well.
ISIS clearly has a strategy. The Obama Administration needs one to counter it.