US warns ISIS will speed up pace of global attacks
Even as Islamic State (ISIS) is suffering greater losses in Syria and Iraq it is increasing the pace of its attacks worldwide in a troubling trend, according to a top US general.
General Lloyd Austin, head of the Central Command (CENTCOM) overseeing Middle East operations, claimed ISIS attacks this week in Istanbul and Jakarta are signs the group is weakening, reports AFP on Friday.
“ISIL has assumed a defensive posture in Iraq and Syria,” Austin said at a news conference in Florida, using an alternate acronym for the jihadist group.
“Going forward, we can expect to see him rely increasingly on acts of terrorism such as we saw this week in Baghdad and in Turkey, and most recently in Jakarta,” he said.
ISIS recently has lost portions of the large swathes of Iraq and Syria that it conquered and established a “caliphate” on, with the key city of Ramadi in Iraq being recently recaptured by US-supported local forces.
It has also been expanding its reach at the same time, striking a Russian commercial plane in the Sinai and launching a massive attack on Paris late last year, and likewise building an ever larger stronghold in Africa.
The US-led coalition which has been launching airstrikes on the group has been focusing on ISIS’s lucrative black-market oil infrastructure. This week the coalition also bombed a financial facility in Iraq’s Mosul, which US officials say held millions of dollars.
Russia has also been engaged in its own airstrike campaign targeting ISIS and propping up Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Defense officials revealed Wednesday that China will likely join the war against ISIS as well.