These worries were exacerbated when ISIS claimed responsibility for a deadly bombing in Iran that resulted in the tragic loss of 103 lives.
The implications of such a resurgence are particularly alarming given the escalating tensions in the region, with formidable players like Hezbollah in Lebanon and Iran expressing steadfast support for Hamas in its conflict with Israel.
Against the backdrop of threats exchanged between these powerful groups and the persistent battles between Hamas and Israel in the battered Gaza Strip, experts are sounding the alarm that the volatile environment might offer ISIS an opportune moment to launch new attacks.
Recalling its dark legacy, ISIS had garnered global attention for its brutal and terrorizing acts, compelling then-U.S. President Barack Obama to authorize airstrikes against the group's strongholds in Iraq.
The organization claimed responsibility for a myriad of heinous acts, including over 300 beheadings between 2014 and 2017.
By 2015, ISIS had established control over significant parts of Iraq and Syria, engaging in fierce battles with various nations, including the U.S., Britain and Turkey.
However, sustained and coordinated international efforts led to significant setbacks for the group, and by the beginning of 2018, its territorial influence had markedly diminished.
In a pivotal moment in late 2019, the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, took his own life during a U.S. raid, dealing a substantial blow to the group's leadership.
For several years thereafter, ISIS maintained a relatively low profile, and world leaders considered the threat neutralized. (Related: Canada: ISIS terrorist slashes victim’s throat; leaders whitewash Islam, media pushes 'mental illness.')
However, the recent attacks in the Middle East have reignited concerns about the potential resurgence of this extremist group.
Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi, a researcher from the Middle East Forum, underscores that ISIS is actively seeking to reclaim dominance and instill fear in the lives of people once again. Al-Tamimi emphasized that the group's fundamental goals remain consistent – waging jihad against all perceived enemies to establish a territorial Caliphate that aspires to rule the world.
As tensions continue to escalate in the region, including drone strikes targeting top leaders of both Hamas and Hezbollah, there is a growing fear that ISIS may exploit the situation to gain global support and attention.
By appearing more active, analysts believe that ISIS aims to rally support, recruit new followers and potentially receive financial assistance.
Colonel Richard Kemp, a retired British Army officer with nearly 30 years of service, provides insights into why ISIS might claim responsibility for these horrific bombings. He suggests that the group may be attempting to rally support for itself, utilizing the global attention focused on the conflicts in Gaza as an opportunity to regain prominence. With the world's eyes fixed on the intense battles between Hamas and Israel, ISIS may perceive an opening to garner support, showcase its continued relevance and attract recruits.
Additionally, the executive director of The Henry Jackson Society, Alan Mendoza, warned that ISIS is "rearing its ugly head once more" and expresses concerns about what the group might do next. He said ideological terrorist groups like ISIS never truly disappear and, with the Middle East at a very volatile point, the remaining extremists within ISIS might seek to exploit tensions and carve out space for themselves to operate once more.
Watch ISIS-K claim responsibility for the Iran bombing.
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