In Depth

Countries attacked by Islamic State: from France to Lebanon

Terrorist group has claimed responsibility for bloodshed on four continents since it formed

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris – the latest in a series of killings purportedly carried out by the Islamist militants.

Analysts warn that the militants have joined forces with other Islamist groups in North Africa and the Middle East in order to build their global influence and attack more targets.

"The goal is that through these regional affiliates and through efforts to create chaos in the wider world, the organization will be able to expand, and perhaps incite a global apocalyptic war," Harleen Gambhir, an analyst at the Institute for the Study of War, told the New York Times.

Where have IS and its affiliated groups carried out attacks?

Syria and Iraq

IS has played a prominent role in Syria's civil war and its militants have been fighting Kurdish forces across Iraq since it first declared its caliphate back in 2014. But they have been forced to retreat in recent weeks, losing miles of territory, including the Iraqi town of Sinjar.

"It is far from beaten, but IS is under pressure," reports the BBC's Middle East correspondent Quentin Sommerville. "And that may mean a shift in tactics. Increasingly the group will focus its attacks outside of its home territory here in the Middle East."


In January, three gunmen attacked the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket in Paris, leaving 16 people dead. One of the suspects claimed to be a member of IS and the group praised the killings in online propaganda. The other two men were linked to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

The bloodshed continued last week in Paris. At least 129 people were killed and more than 350 wounded after gunmen fired indiscriminately on cafes, bars and music venues across the capital on Friday night. IS quickly claimed responsibility for the worst terrorist attack in Europe since the 2004 Madrid bombings.  


IS also claimed responsibility for another attack last week, this time in Lebanon. Two suicide bombers killed 43 people and injured more than 200 in a busy shopping district in the capital Beirut. The terrorist group also said it was behind a car bomb in the capital last year.

But many in Lebanon say they feel forgotten in the wake of the attacks in Paris. "When my people died, no country bothered to light up its landmarks in the colours of their flag," Elie Fares, a Lebanese doctor, wrote on his blog.


The terrorist group's Sinai affiliate claimed responsibility for downing a Russian passenger jet  earlier this month – though this has not yet been confirmed by Egyptian or Russian authorities. All 224 people on board died when  the plane crashed near Sharm el-Sheik, and British intelligence officials believe it is likely the aircraft was brought down by a bomb.

The group has also claimed responsibility for a series of other attacks deadly in the Sinai this year, including several suicide bombing targeting Egyptian security forces, the beheading of a Croatian expat and an attack on an Egyptian naval vessel.


At least 97 people died and hundreds more were injured when two explosions went off in the middle of a peace rally in the capital Ankara last month. Senior security officials said that the bombing bore the hallmarks of an IS attack,  and is similar to the suicide bombing in the border town of Suruc which killed 33 people in July.


The Nigerian Islamist group Boko Harampledged allegiance to Islamic State earlier this year, raising fears of a "joined-up, globalised jihad". The group's worst atrocities include the massacre of an entire town , the abduction of more than 200 school girls in Chibok, as well as a series of bombings and co-ordinated shootings across the country, which have left thousands dead.

But the military insists it is winning the fight against the terrorist group. Security sources say the militants have lost significant territory in northern Nigeria. "Boko Haram seems to be disorganised now; they are gaining publicity, not ground," a government aid told the New York Times.


A group calling itself the Tripolitania Province of the Islamic State has launched a number of attacks in Libya in the last year, including an attack on a prison in Tripoli, bombings of government building and a mass shooting that killed at least eight people at a luxury hotel in January.


A series of bombings by Islamic State have killed more than 100 people across the country this year. The most recent attacks took place in the capital Sanaa and the southern city of Aden, killing at least 25 people. The conflict in Yemen has "provided an opening for IS, which is keen to outflank al-Qaeda" in the region, according to CNN.

Saudi Arabia

IS militants claim to have carried out three separate bombings in Saudi Arabia this year, killing at least 39 people. In July, the Saudi government said it had arrested more than 400 people with suspected links to the terrorist group.

"The rise of IS presents a new challenge to Saudi Arabia with officials saying the group is more sophisticated [than Al-Qaeda] in its planning and recruitment," says the Wall Street Journal.


The Kuwaiti government declared war against IS after it carried out a suicide bombing at the al-Imam al-Sadeq mosque during the holy month of Ramadan, killing 27 people and wounding 220.


A hard-line faction of the Taliban has allied itself with IS, prompting a number of bloody clashes against the mainstream Taliban in Afghanistan and a series of brutal sectarian killings.  

Afghanistan's president Mohammad Ashraf Ghani condemned the beheadings of several Shia Muslims from the Hazara minority, saying the "heartless killing of innocent individuals, especially women and children, has no justification in any religion or creed".


The Sydney cafe siege was carried out by a gunman who had pledged allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Man Haron Monis held dozens of people hostage at the Lindt chocolate shop and café last December.  He was killed – along with two hostages – when armed police stormed the building.


A gunman with links to IS killed 38 people, the majority of them British holidaymakers, on a beach near Sousse in July. It was the deadliest single terrorist assault on British people since the 2005 London bombings. David Cameron said the "absolutely horrific" events had "shocked the whole of the world".


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