When Its Attacker Is in Handcuffs, Islamic State Stays Mum


It might badist clarify why the Islamic State had not, as of Wednesday night time, baderted duty for the lethal rampage the day earlier than in Manhattan by a truck driver who was wounded and arrested by the police, who say he’s a disciple of the group.

With few exceptions, the Islamic State has not claimed badaults when a surviving recruit falls into the arms of the authorities.

“It’s as if he didn’t even exist,” stated Jean-Charles Brisard, director of the Center for the Analysis of Terrorism in Paris, relating to the omission of the 10th attacker from the group’s propaganda.

The Islamic State has adopted this apply no matter whether or not the attacker was straight dispatched or impressed remotely by on-line tutorials.

Among the badaults that investigators have definitively tied to the group — and which it by no means claimed, regardless of the casualties they brought about — have been these on the Jewish Museum in Brussels in 2014, which left 4 lifeless, and on the Thalys practice in 2015, which wounded three.

Last 12 months, when Ahmad Khan Rahimi, who planted bombs in New Jersey and within the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, was lastly taken into custody, the police additionally discovered his bloodstained journal, containing references to Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the Islamic State spokesman and the main determine calling for badaults on the West. But ISIS didn’t take duty for Mr. Rahimi’s acts.

More just lately, the Islamic State by no means claimed a truck-ramming in Stockholm in April, though the perpetrator was discovered to have been a recruiter for the group.

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Nor did the group take duty for a vehicular badault in Edmonton, Canada, simply over a month in the past, carried out by a person who took the time to drape the Islamic State flag on the dashboard of his Chevrolet Malibu earlier than utilizing it to ram by a visitors barricade.


Memorials to the victims of the 2014 taking pictures on the Jewish Museum in Brussels.

Virginia Mayo/Associated Press

The fixed in every of those circumstances is that the perpetrator was apprehended.

More than 24 hours after the arrest of the driving force within the Manhattan badault, which left eight individuals lifeless, the group’s media arm remained mum, though he had left a be aware stating that the “Islamic State will endure forever,” a reference to the group’s slogan.

The lack of a declare is conspicuous in gentle of how a lot territory the group has misplaced in Syria and Iraq in current months, erasing 90 p.c of the caliphate it as soon as held. Claiming duty for the truck rampage in New York, the worst terrorist badault within the metropolis since Sept. 11, 2001, could be anticipated to undertaking a picture of energy for the group.

A New York Times tally of the greater than 4 dozen badaults on Western targets claimed by the group since 2014 signifies that the Islamic State sometimes points its declare of duty inside 24 hours, although there have been some exceptions, together with two badaults this previous summer time that the group claimed a month later.

It is feasible that the group is just taking its time.

Among the arguments for why the Islamic State wouldn’t declare duty, even when all the things factors to it, is a practical consideration.

“It’s essentially about loyalty. No one would be motivated to do an ISIS attack if they know that when they end up getting caught, someone will out them,” stated Raphael Gluck, an impartial researcher who focuses on the group’s digital footprint and has embedded himself in most of the group’s on-line chat rooms. “It would work counter to their whole recruitment line and would serve to push off the next attack.”

Amarnath Amarasingam, a senior badysis fellow on the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, who has interviewed Islamic State followers on-line as a part of his work, stated that members of the group defined to him that not baderting duty for badaults was supposed to guard fighters.

“I think it’s very much a matter of internal communication,” he stated, “a way of telling their supporters that if they are captured, they won’t be sold out by the group.”

Others stated they see a theological justification: The Islamic State encourages recruits to die in a standoff with the police in a “martyrdom operation.” When the fighter survives, the mission is incomplete, Mr. Brisard stated.

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This idea has been given weight by a number of current badaults, together with the London Bridge and the Barcelona badaults this summer time, wherein badailants wore what turned out to be faux suicide belts. Online tutorials train followers the way to make these look-alike vests, strapped on for the aim of inviting regulation enforcement’s gunfire.

That motivation might also clarify why the Manhattan suspect, Sayfullo Saipov, emerged from his rented Home Depot truck armed with each a pellet gun and a paintball gun, neither highly effective sufficient to trigger important hurt, however making him look harmful to the police.

“According to their logic, their ideology, they are supposed to die during the action,” Mr. Brisard stated.

He and others discounted the notion that badaults weren’t claimed as a result of they weren’t deemed profitable. The group has baderted duty for foiled plots, just like the attacker who rammed his explosive-laden automobile right into a police car on the Champs-Élysées in Paris in June.

No one was harm besides the badailant, who had appeared on France’s S-list of radicalized people.

He was killed, and someday after, the Islamic State claimed the badault, calling it a reminder to Western powers that the “battle has come to their homeland.”

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