January 11, 2024

Why the Islamic State Bombing in Iran Should Have Western Leaders Worried

Originally published in The Dispatch

Twin suicide bombings killed nearly 100 people in Kerman, Iran, last Wednesday at a procession commemorating the fourth anniversary of the death of Qassem Suleimani, the powerful commander of the paramilitary wing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps killed by a U.S. airstrike in Iraq. The next day, Islamic State’s Khorasan branch, based in Afghanistan, claimed credit for the deadliest terrorist attack since the founding of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979. 

The timing, target, and execution of the attack all pointed to the Islamic State (despite Iranian officials pointing fingers at Israel and the United States for complicity), and a round-up of individuals in Iran with suspected terrorist ties reveals a concerted effort by the Islamic State to establish terrorist networks in the country. But more worrying, especially for European countries and other U.S. partners, is what this attack heralds from the Islamic State.

The Islamic State claimed the Kerman bombings as part of a new campaign dubbed, “Kill Them Wherever You Find Them,” launched in support of Palestinian Muslims. Within a 24-hour period, the Islamic State had claimed more than 30 different operations globally—from the Middle East to Africa to the Philippines—as part of this campaign, reanimating a seemingly dormant network. Few of the arguments made in the announcement itself are new. Pointing to the events in Gaza, the Islamic State called for supporters to target “Jews, Christians, and their allies” in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere. 

Read the full article at The Dispatch