The warning from terrorism experts at the International Counter-Terrorism Forum in Melbourne, attended by police and intelligence agencies from across the globe, highlighted the militant group’s resilience and desire “to prove itself.”
On Sunday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced victory over IS in the country after years of battle against one of the world’s most notorious terrorist organization.
However, according to some experts, such as Professor Greg Barton from Deakin University, a specialist in global Islamic politics, small-scale attacks are “most concerning” for many countries.
“All around the world, the biggest threat, the hardest thing to deal with are small groups—one or two or three people—acting without any top-down direction,” Barton said.
“Counter-terrorism forces are now very good at disrupting large-scale, ambitious plots, but things such as the Manchester bombing or the attacks on London Bridge, those [sorts] of attacks are very hard to predict and very hard to stop once they start,” he added.
On Monday, a would-be suicide bomber, motivated by IS, detonated his vest unsuccessfully in a busy New York City subway corridor.
No one was killed, including the suspect who was arrested.
Australia has also experienced “lone-wolf” terror attacks, with five incidents since the militant group’s emergence in 2014.
Police assistant commissioner Ross Guenther, who attended the conference in Melbourne, said celebrations following IS’ defeat in Iraq were premature.
“It’d be nice if we could actually do that, but what we do know is the caliphate may be, as a physical structure, lessened or extinguished,” he stated.
“That doesn’t mean the ideology or the threat of that has gone away.”
The counter-terrorism forum in Australia will continue over three days and includes representatives from the UK Metropolitan Police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
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