According to a U.S. defense official, jihadist groups such as Al Qaida and ISIS already have numerous operators in place to launch lone-wolf attacks in different countries, including the U.S. As noted by the official, these individuals were recruited by terrorist groups through propaganda messages distributed online.
Despite the ongoing offensive efforts by military and police organizations in various countries, the official believes certain terrorist groups are still able to maintain their operations. This is because many of these extremists have resorted to new-age recruitment techniques in order to attract new members.
What’s even more alarming is that through these new techniques, which mainly revolves around disseminating propaganda material online, terrorist groups no longer have to convince their members to travel to other countries. Instead, they are able to recruit new members who are already citizens, asylum citizens or those who already have refugee status, to carry out the attacks.
As noted by the official, through these members who are now within the communities they plan to attack, terrorist groups are able to take less-centralized actions.
“They have a lot of people in place already that are sympathizers around the world,” the official told WTOP. “We think they will be able to continue to be able to produce at least a constant level of propaganda, which underpins a lot of ideology in Europe and elsewhere.”
By veering away from a centralized approach, these new recruits are being persuaded by terrorist groups to carry out lone-wolf attacks on their own.
Aside from imposing immigration bans to stop the influx of possible jihadists, another way to prevent local attacks is to enforce strict polices that aim to monitor online activity. Since terrorist groups distribute their propaganda and recruitment materials online, law enforcement agencies, government departments, military organizations and the intelligence community will be able to put a stop to these through this policy.