Thursday’s shooting at Marine recruiting centers in Chattanooga was notably missing from Islamic State’s daily online news release summarizing its worldwide attacks.
The podcast, known as Idha’at al-Bayan, is a reliable and comprehensive source of updates for officially recognized ISIS operations, including those outside its core territory in Syria and Iraq. Friday’s Arabic-language edition, for example, mentioned assaults on Iraqi and Kurdish forces as well as an ISIS-directed car bombing in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (RELATED: US-Accented Podcast Is Tip Of ISIS Marketing Spear)
By that pattern, 24-year-old Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez’s murder of 4 U.S. military personnel seems like a victory Islamic State would want to boast about in its daily news. But Chattanooga was not mentioned by any usual source linked to the group.
Since the attack on the Paris offices of French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo, ISIS and other international jihadi groups have accelerated the efficiency with which they release claims of responsibility for operations.
With Islamic State failing to claim immediate responsibility for Abdulazeez’s attack, another possibility comes into view: that while acting independently, he was inspired and motivated by one or several Islamic terrorist groups’ ideologies and messaging. Throughout the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ended in the U.S. at sundown Thursday, ISIS’ video and written propaganda materials encouraged supporters to carry out their own attacks on “illegitimate” governments.
This strategy of attacks independent from the groups’ central core is arguably more dangerous, since the attacks are more difficult to anticipate and detect, and require less effort from terrorist networks’ own leaders. (RELATED: How ISIS And Al-Qaida Benefit From Local Nutjobs)
The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that U.S. authorities are investigating a 2014 trip that Abdulazeez took to Jordan, where he spent a total of 7 months. While there is no immediate evidence that this particular attack was ordered and planned terrorist groups in the Middle East, scrutiny of the trip may reveal the extent of Abdulazeez’s contact with extremists in the region.
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