TTP poses a low threat to New Jersey due to its territorial losses in Pakistan, the United States targeting its leaders, and internal conflicts constraining the group to regional operations, despite prior plots against the United States. TTP has never succeeded in conducting an attack in the United States; however, the group continues to entice Americans to provide monetary and material support.
Boko Haram has never conducted an attack in the United States, and its operational capability is limited due to its focus on operations in Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria, as well as competition for support from ISIS West Africa. From January 2018 to March 2019, Boko Haram conducted large-scale attacks that resulted in approximately 307 fatalities within its operational regions near the borders of Nigeria.
ISIS’s release of a video featuring its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, prior to Ramadan likely indicates efforts to rally supporters during its post-caliphate period, purport its global presence, and encourage attacks during the holy month. On April 29, ISIS released its first video in five years with Baghdadi, who has not publicly appeared since he proclaimed ISIS’s caliphate in 2014 at the Great Mosque in Mosul, Iraq.
On April 21, complex coordinated suicide attacks targeted several churches and Western hotels in Sri Lanka, resulting in at least 290 deaths and more than 500 injuries. At this time, the incident remains under investigation and no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks. However, police arrested at least 24 people, and the Sri Lankan government believes the Nations Thawahid Jaman group conducted the attack with assistance from international terrorist groups. Additionally, Sri Lankan authorities temporarily blocked popular social media sites and apps, including WhatsApp and Facebook, to prevent the spread of disinformation.
AQAP has demonstrated the intent and capability to act outside its primary area of operations in Yemen and has attempted to strike the United States on three occasions since 2009. The group failed to release its English-language magazine, Inspire, in 2018, the first year without an issue since the publication’s inception in 2009.
ISIS West Africa’s tactical successes and support in Nigeria have given the group the ability to expand its influence throughout the Sahel in the coming months, threatening US economic interests in the region, including direct investment opportunities. ISIS West Africa, formed in 2016 following a split with Boko Haram, operates primarily in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region and maintains an estimated 5,000 fighters, according to open-source reporting.
The 2019 Terrorism Threat Assessment is designed to give our customers an understanding of the terrorist threat to New Jersey this year. As we continue into 2019, NJOHSP will build upon this assessment through briefings, written products, and webinars to provide analysis that is relevant, timely, accurate, and insightful.
Al-Qa’ida released a video on September 11 of a 30-minute speech with English subtitles called “How to Confront America” through its as-Sahab Media Foundation commemorating the 17th anniversary of the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001. In the 14-point speech, al-Qa’ida’s leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, called for Muslim brothers worldwide to wage jihad against the United States, specifically in the Islamic Maghreb and the Sahara, the Sahel, and West Africa.
Al-Qa’ida supporters are producing and disseminating propaganda targeting women amid losses to al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leadership.
Last week, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi released a new speech, “Give Glad Tidings to the Patient,” through the group’s official media outlet, the al-Furqan Foundation.
Homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) are individuals inspired—as opposed to directed—by a foreign terrorist organization and radicalized in the countries in which they are born, raised, or reside.
HVEs pose the greatest threat to New Jersey and will likely remain so this year.
Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) is a Pakistani-based Islamic extremist group founded in the late 1980s as the terrorist wing of Markaz ud Dawa ul-Irshad, a Pakistan-based Islamic fundamentalist mission organization, according the US State Department.
In 2018, ISIS will likely adjust its focus internally while targeting regional enemies, relying on sympathizers to remain loyal to the group, and encouraging members who left the group to return.