UK-based analysis firm, IHS, says the 2018 FiFa Soccer World Cup to be held in Russia in June and July will be an “attractive target” for Islamic State considering Russia’s role in the territorial defeat of the militant group
The IHS released a report stating that “A successful attack (in Russia) would provide a tremendous propaganda boost for the Islamic State and its fighters and supporters, underlining the ongoing international threat posed by the group despite its territorial defeat,”.
The report also revealed that the participation of the national teams such as Saudi Arabia and Iran in the tournament provided an even greater incentive for the group to target it.
Even though ISIS lost its stronghold in its territories in November last year which included Iraq and Syria, the group claimed major attacks in Istanbul, London, Manchester, Barcelona and Tehran, which killed dozens of civilians.
In 2016 the group targeted the Muslim holy city of Medina, in Saudi Arabia.
Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is still on the run despite the collapse last year of the caliphate he declared in 2014 over parts of Syria and Iraq.
The number of attacks claimed by Islamic State increased in 2017 to more than 4,500, despite territorial losses. Fatalities however from the attacks dropped by two-fifths compared with 2016 to about 6,500, the IHS said.
Referring to Iraq and Syria the head of IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre, Matthew Henman, said “As it came under growing territorial pressure, Islamic State transitioned back to insurgent operations, conducting a higher tempo of low intensity violence against security forces and non-state adversaries in areas newly recaptured from the group”.