ISIS Plotting to Target Medical Facilities Amid Pandemic, EU Counter-Terrorism Warns
Official warns 'attacks on medical personnel and facilities [would be] highly effective'
ISIS is plotting to launch a fresh wave of attacks across Europe by targeting medial personnel and facilities as nations battle the global coronavirus pandemic, an EU counter-terrorism official has warned.
Authorities believe Islamic State terrorists could exploit the COVID-19 crisis to carry out attacks.
Such strikes on the already-overwhelmed system would further worsen the impact of the pandemic across the European Union.
Gilles de Kerchove, the EU's counter-terrorism coordinator, warns Islamic militants "could view attacks on medical personnel and facilities as highly effective because they would generate a massive shock in society."
The situation was revealed in notes from a confidential briefing to EU member states obtained by the AP news agency.
De Kerchove said past experience shows "terrorists and violent extremists, aiming to change societies and governmental systems through violence, seek to exploit major crises to achieve their objectives."
Although there hasn't been an uptick in violence so far, de Kerchove warned Islamic State has "incited its supporters in the West to take advantage of the current crisis to stage attacks."
Groups such as ISIS are also ramping up their propaganda efforts.
The coronavirus lockdowns mean many people are spending more time online than they usually would.
"To increase their support base, violent extremists use people's insecurities, vulnerabilities, and grievances, creating a simple narrative which 'explains' problems by blaming outsiders," de Kerchove wrote.
This wouldn't be the first time the terror group had been caught plotting to capitalize on a global crisis.
In November last year, ISIS terrorists were found to be urging their followers to light devastating forest fires across America and Europe.
As Neon Nettle reported at the time, the terror group was hoping to create ecological carnage in the wake of their leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's death in October.
Chilling propaganda emerged from the Islamic State that appears to be inspired by the historic summer blazes in California and Spain last year.
At least four posters from Islamic State mouthpiece Quraysh were published that encourage fanatics to "ignite fires" to support the terror group's jihad.
"Ignite fires in the forests of America, France, Britain, and Germany, for they are painful to them," one of the posters reads.
It was the fourth in a series of propaganda material that has been tracked since April by the Middle East Media Research Institute.
The so-called caliphate is still seeking to cause carnage around the world through its social media campaign, despite the death of ISIS chief al-Baghdadi during a US raid in Syria.