The Islamic State has been linked to at least 40 executed attacks outside its self-proclaimed caliphate.* Counterterrorism officials say that these attacks fall into three broad categories: directed, enabled and inspired.
Many were initially thought to be “lone wolf” attacks — inspired by the group but conceived and executed without its participation.
But an analysis by The New York Times has found that the attackers in at least 10 strikes that came to fruition were in direct communication with Islamic State operatives. These cases are known as enabled plots.
In the most basic enabled cases, the Islamic State planner acted as a confidant and virtual coach. In the most involved, the group organized everything down to providing the bullets to be used during the attack. These more involved cases of remote direction are now being called “remote-controlled attacks.”
In a number of other cases not documented here, the plotters were stopped before executing their attacks. Some of them were also found by officials to have been in contact with Islamic State operatives.
At least five successful attacks are known to have been directed outright by the Islamic State, carried out by operatives who trained with the group in Iraq and Syria.
These cases were among the deadliest, including the coordinated attacks in Paris in November 2015, which killed 130 people, and the airport and subway bombings in Brussels in March 2016, which claimed 32 lives. Yet these remain the minority.
In most of the attacks with some link to the group, the authorities have found it difficult to determine the exact connection. In many cases, it remains unclear whether the attackers were simply inspired by the Islamic State or actually had contact with the group’s planners.
(Source: Newyork times)