How ISIS Is Trying to Be Like Japan's Kamikaze Fighters

Military targets are now in terrorists' sights more than civilian ones
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2017 12:04 PM CST
ISIS Ramps Up Suicide Bombings With 'Kamikaze' Approach
Citizens inspect the scene after a car bomb explosion at a crowded outdoor market in Sadr City, Iraq, on Jan 2, 2017.   (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

Suicide bombing is nothing new in terrorism circles, but for Islamic State extremists, the tactic is getting a revamp. The Sunday Times reports on a new study released Monday out of the International Centre for Counter-terrorism in the Hague that shows a definite shift in how jihadi are using the method in recent months, leaning more toward how Japanese kamikaze pilots functioned in WWII (carrying out suicide attacks on military targets) than how terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda used suicide missions in the more recent past (going after civilian marks for shock value). In other words, ISIS has "industrialized the concept of martyrdom," says study author Charlie Winter, per the Guardian.

Winter's "War by Suicide" report examines how ISIS used suicide attacks over the course of a year (from December 2015 to the end of November 2016), looking at 923 attacks carried out during that period and reported on in ISIS propaganda. Winter found that 84% of the attacks had military goals; nearly two-thirds of the suicide attacks took place in Iraq, and 70% were carried out using a vehicle. He notes the resulting "strategic implications ... will change the insurgent and terrorist landscape for years to come." In a thread on his Twitter page Friday, Winter made another disturbing prediction: that more and more kids will be recruited to carry out suicide attacks. "[ISIS'] martyrdom industry isn't necessarily unsustainable," he writes. (A former Gitmo detainee reportedly joined the suicide bomber ranks last month.)

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