As the Islamic State caliphate continues to be crushed in the Middle East, it has begun embracing lone-wolf and small group attacks.
Recently, a group of five children committed four attacks between Shali, the third-largest town in Russia’s predominantly-Muslim region, and the capital, Grozny. Sources suggest an 11-year old boy was travelling as part of the group, and that the group may all have been related to one another.
The attacks began at 10.30am in Shali, when two men armed with knives – or according to some reports grenades – attempted to storm a police station. Police shot back. A short while later, a car plowed into two traffic policemen; it is unclear if it was the same car.
A video of the latter incident shows police rushing towards the speeding vehicle, before trying – unsuccessfully – to jump out of its way. Not long after, a young man carrying a rucksack blew himself up as he approached traffic police in the village of Mesker-Yurt, four miles to the north but survived with serious injuries.
Ramzan Kadyrov, the regional leader installed by Vladimir Putin, said the young assailants had been “confused” by Isis recruiters using social media.
“The fact that they recruit mentally immature teenagers shows that the ‘masters’ don’t have even a trace of shame or conscience,” Kadyrov said in a post on the social media site Telegram. He suggested the attack was targeted before the Eid al-Adha Islamic holiday.
According to unconfirmed reports, four of the five attackers were killed. News sites aligned to Islamic militants in the Caucasus claim several policemen were killed, but this has not been confirmed officially.
Just like ISIS and ISIL, jihadist groups overpowered by security forces like the Al Shabaab in East Africa has also turned to using cheap attack weapons and claiming responsibility for knife attacks mostly executed by lone wolves.