Week of terror underscore­s a ‘desperate’ Islamic State

- Jessica Durando and Jim Michaels USA TODAY

Three cities in separate countries hit by suspected Islamic State terrorists in the past week dealt a tumultuous blow to safety in those regions, heightenin­g fears of the militants’ capabiliti­es and where they could strike next.

The reign of terror includes Sunday’s massive suicide bombing in Baghdad that killed more than 100 people, the weekend hostagetak­ing at a restaurant in the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka that left 22 dead and Tuesday’s bombing at the Istanbul airport that killed 44.

The massacres demonstrat­e that the Islamic State has establishe­d cells around the world — and is still capable of heinous attacks despite its recent setbacks on the battlefiel­d.

“The Islamic State is losing territory in Iraq and Syria, but it is still a formidable opponent and very dangerous,” Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer and an analyst with the Brookings Institutio­n, said Sunday.

The militant group claimed responsibi­lity for the assaults in Baghdad and Dhaka, and is strongly suspected of being responsibl­e for the Istanbul bombing.

Since the Islamic State has suffered losses over the past two years in more convention­al military operations, the extremist group is now focusing on guerilla warfare and terrorism, said Daniel Byman, a professor at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service.

He said that the more desperate the Islamic State becomes, the more the group, also known as ISIL or ISIS, will rely on amateurs.

 ?? STR,INGER AFP/GETTY IMAGES ?? A child leaves flowers Sunday near the Dhaka hostage site.
STR,INGER AFP/GETTY IMAGES A child leaves flowers Sunday near the Dhaka hostage site.

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