ISIS, losing territory and on the retreat in Iraq and Syria, has claimed credit for a surge in global attacks this summer, most of them in France and Germany.
The wave of attacks followed a call to strike against the West during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in June and July, in an apparent shift in strategy by the jihadist group, which has been hammered by two years of US-led coalition air strikes and ground advances by local forces.
Instead of urging supporters to travel to its self-proclaimed caliphate, it encouraged them to act locally using any means available.
“If the tyrants close the door of migration in your faces, then open the door of jihad in theirs and turn their actions against them,” said an audio clip purportedly from spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, referring to Western governments’ efforts to keep foreign fighters from traveling to the join the group.
Radicalized followers have responded to that call repeatedly in the past two months, in countries part of the international coalition battling ISIS, including shooting people at a Florida nightclub, running them over with a truck in the French Riviera, and hacking them with an axe on a train near Munich.