The terror threat environment worsened in 2016, with Jihadist groups continuing to successfully direct and inspire acts of terror worldwide, even as law enforcement stepped up efforts to thwart attackers, according to the January Terror Threat Snapshot by House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX).
The snapshot is a monthly Committee assessment of the growing threat America, the West, and the world face from ISIS and other Islamist terrorists.
According to the snapshot, “Overall terror activity in the West spiked in 2016. For instance, ISIS plots against Western countries and their interests totaled 74, a figure greater than 2015 and 2014 combined. The United States remains the group’s most targeted country. Additionally, at least 37 ISIS suspects were arrested in 18 US States.”
Other Islamist terror groups, especially Al Qaeda, also “maintained and, in some cases, expanded their influence in 2016 and continue plotting attacks against Western interests.”
In 2016, “terror struck all corners of the globe, and the jihadist rallying cry was heard during attacks even in our own communities,” McCaul said. “What’s clearer than ever is that Islamist terror has been franchised to thousands of followers, who are using everything from sophisticated explosives to their own cars to attack innocent people, as we’ve seen in Nice, Berlin, and this weekend in Israel. Alarmingly, there were more ISIS plots against the West in 2016 than any year since the group was formed. That is why our New Year’s resolution must be to go on the offensive—to protect our people, our values, and our way of life. If 2016 was remembered as a ‘year of terror,’ then 2017 should be remembered as the year we fought back.”
Other key takeaways in this month’s Terror Threat Snapshot:
- December’s truck attack on a Berlin Christmas market and the New Year shooting at a popular Istanbul nightclub are proof that ISIS followers are heeding calls to strike wherever they are, using any means necessary. The group’s messages have far-reaching influence, inspiring followers to carry out independent attacks or to engage hardened jihadists for direction and assistance.
- While efforts to expel ISIS from their so-called caliphate in Syria and Iraq continue, the group is proving more malleable and unpredictable than expected. In December, ISIS regained control of Syria’s ancient city of Palmyra and showed resilience on other fronts.