Drone strikes against online ISIS terrorists

LA Times:
The months-long manhunt for French-born Rachid Kassim ended one chilly morning early this year when a drone-launched missile destroyed his battered white pickup truck as it motored through the besieged Iraqi city of Mosul.

The 29-year-old former rapper had cast a grim shadow in international counter-terrorism circles. He spoke fluent French, once beheaded a man in an online video and allegedly helped organize or encourage nine terrorist plots — nearly all unsuccessful — in France last year.

The Feb. 8 drone strike notched a victory for a U.S.-led effort that seeks to silence Islamic State operatives who use social media, encrypted messaging and other online tools to reach disaffected Muslims overseas and to launch what counter-terrorism experts now call “remote-controlled” attacks.

As Islamic State steadily loses ground in Iraq and Syria, its ability to sponsor and inspire headline-grabbing attacks abroad looms larger than ever — providing the militants the appearance of lethal viability despite the caliphate’s collapsing borders.

In recent weeks, Islamic State has claimed responsibility for killing a policeman on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, for the Palm Sunday bombings of two churches in Egypt, for an attack by gunmen disguised as medical staff that left 38 dead at a hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, and for a suicide bombing that killed 88 people at a Sufi shrine in southern Pakistan.

The European Union’s police agency, known as Europol, discovered last week that Islamic State has built its own social media platform to try to evade law enforcement and intelligence agencies that monitor the militants’ communications and propaganda, according to Rob Wainwright, head of Europol.

"We have certainly made it a lot harder for them to operate [in digital space], but we're still seeing these awful videos [and] communications operating large scale across the Internet," Wainwright said Wednesday at a security conference in London.
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There is more.

Europe also has to be concerned about returning jihadis after the fall of ISIS.  It is not clear that many of the countries have the capacity to vet the returnees.  They certainly were not able to do it with those who blended in with the refugees fleeing Syria.

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