By Stephen Kalin and Ahmed Tolba BAGHDAD/CAIRO (Reuters) - Islamic State, losing territory and on the retreat in Iraq and Syria, has claimed credit for a surge in global attacks this summer, most of them in France and Germany. The wave of attacks followed a call to strike against the West during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in June and July, in an apparent shift in strategy by the jihadist group, which has been hammered by two years of U.S.-led coalition air strikes and ground advances by local forces. Instead of urging supporters to travel to its self-proclaimed caliphate, it encouraged them to act locally using any means available. "If the tyrants close the door of migration in your faces, then open the door of jihad in theirs and turn their actions against them," said an audio clip purportedly from spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, referring to Western governments' efforts to keep foreign fighters from traveling to the join the group. Radicalized followers have responded to that call repeatedly in the past two months, in countries part of the international coalition battling Islamic State, including shooting people at a Florida nightclub, running them over with a truck in the French Riviera, and hacking them with an axe on a train near Munich. The perpetrators had varying degrees of connection to the Middle East-based jihadists. Some had tried to travel to Syria and were on the authorities' radar, while others displayed few outward signs of radicalism until their deadly acts. "There's a growing understanding that the idea of the caliphate is dying and more and more the leadership is calling on foreign fighters not even to come to Iraq and Syria but to go elsewhere or to commit violence locally," said Max Abrahms, a professor at Northeastern University in Boston who studies extremist groups. Looking ahead, security experts and officials in the Middle East and the West predict the military campaign against the group in Iraq and Syria will ultimately end its goal of establishing a caliphate but in doing so may lead to a sustained increase in militant attacks globally. 'LONE WOLF' For more than a month, Islamic State supporters on social media have been encouraging would-be "lone wolf" attackers in the West to choose from methods ranging in sophistication from bombing and shooting to stabbing and assault. "Pledge your allegiance in secret or in public to (Islamic State leader) Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and each one of you will be a soldier of the caliphate, no different from those present in the Islamic State," said one supporter. Claims of credit for recent attacks issued by Islamic State via Amaq news agency, which supports the jihadist group, referenced Adnani's appeal. The attackers "carried out the operation in response to calls to target nationals of countries that are part of the coalition fighting Islamic State" in Iraq and Syria, said statements following four incidents in Europe this month. In France, a Bastille Day truck attack killed 84 people in Nice and a raid on a church killed an elderly Catholic priest in Normandy; In Germany, an axe attack and a suicide bombing in Bavaria injured about 20 people in total. Most of the assailants, in pre-recorded messages pledging allegiance to Islamic State and taking responsibility for the attacks, echoed Adnani's rhetoric and encouraged others to emulate them. "Brothers, go out with a knife, whatever is needed, attack them, kill them en masse," said Abdel Malik Petitjean, one of two men who killed the priest in northern France last week. "If you are unable to travel to the Levant (Syria), then fight the apostate armies in your country," 17-year-old Muhammad Riyad, the Afghan refugee who carried out the axe attack on a train in Bavaria earlier this month, urged other Muslims in a similar video. 'LIKELY TO GET WORSE' As Islamic State is weakened militarily, it is trying to commit violence anywhere in the world, said Abrahms, including by claiming credit for acts even when they have only a tenuous link to the group. "It's indiscriminate about who can be a soldier of the caliphate ... and it's indiscriminate about which attacks the group will claim as its own," he said. In the last 18 months, the group has been pushed off a quarter of the lands it seized in Iraq and Syria in 2014, research firm IHS said this month; other estimates put losses closer to half. Iraqi authorities have pledged to retake Mosul - the largest city still under the group's control - later this year, but the militants will likely maintain safe havens in remote desert areas and revert to more traditional insurgent techniques. Islamic State's defeat is a longer way off in Syria, and it has established footholds in pockets of lawlessness or instability from Libya to Afghanistan to the Philippines. FBI Director James Comey said this week he expected the eventual defeat of Islamic State could lead to an increase in attacks in the United States and Europe by drawing militants out of Syria in much the same way that al Qaeda came about from fighters who had been radicalized in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Analysts including J.M. Berger, a fellow at George Washington University who researches Islamic State, have supported that prediction. "Projecting strength through terrorist attacks is a factor in the recent violence, but down the road, when (Islamic State) supporters have nothing to lose, things are likely to get worse," he said. (Additional reporting by Lin Noueihed, Mostafa Hashem and Omar Fahmy in Cairo; Writing by Stephen Kalin; Editing by Pravin Char)
Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting
Angelina Jolie plays Thena — a warrior with immense strength, speed and stamina — in Eternals
Jennifer Gates, the eldest daughter of Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates, celebrated her wedding to Nayel Nassar over the weekend
- Associated Press
A man charged with raping a woman on a commuter train just outside of Philadelphia harassed her for more than 40 minutes while multiple people held up their phones to seemingly record the assault without intervening, authorities said. More than two dozen train stops passed as the man harassed, groped and eventually raped the woman, the police chief for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority said at a news conference Monday. Both the man and woman got on the train at the same stop Wednesday night in North Philadelphia.
- Atlanta Black Star
A California Construction Worker Asked a Speeding Motorist to Slow Down. He Was Shot Seven Times In Response.
The family of a California Black construction worker wants answers after their loved one was shot several times in what is now being looked at […]
- Business Insider
Trump said 'Ku Klux Klan-dressed protesters' who allege they were beaten by his bodyguards have 'no one to blame but themselves'
The deposition concerns a 2015 lawsuit brought by protesters who say they were hit by members of Trump's security detail while at Trump Tower.
- KTNV - Las Vegas Scripps
Las Vegas police are investigating a deadly freeway shooting near McCarran Airport early Monday morning.
- The Daily Beast
Comedy CentralJordan Klepper hadn’t attended a Trump rally since he inadvertently found himself in the middle of the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, “a day no one will ever forget, unless you’re a Republican member of Congress,” the Daily Show contributor joked in his latest dispatch. But this past week, Klepper boldly returned to the scene, trolling the crowd at the former president’s big Iowa event for the most embarrassing devotees he could find.What he discovered more than anything was banners, flag
- Yahoo Life
Rousey used Instagram to call attention to the stigma around breastfeeding.
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“Nearly 70,000 Texans have tragically died from COVID,” the Australian official said. “There have been zero deaths in the Territory.”
- Charlotte Observer
It’s just the latest fan incident at Bank of America Stadium to go viral.
- NBC Sports BayArea
Steph Curry is back playing in the Golden State backcourt awaiting Klay Thompsons return. Heres a look at who is starting for the Warriors in 2021.
- Patriots Wire
The Patriots head coach didn't want to answer this question, at all.
He's taking the news "really bad."
- E! News
Nearly two months after hockey player Jimmy Hayes passed away at the age of 31, widow Kristen Hayes said she's "shocked" by his official cause of death. Read on for the details.
- Access Hollywood
Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker are feeling lots of love from their family and friends after getting engaged. Kourtney confirmed the news on her Instagram page, writing simply “Forever” in her caption alongside two romantic snaps of her and her new fiancé embracing amid a massive display of red roses. Kourtney’s sister Kim Kardashian shared a video on Twitter showing off the Poosh founder’s sparkly engagement ring, writing, “KRAVIS FOREVER” along with an engagement ring emoji.
- Business Insider
Hooters adjusts policy to make controversial new uniform optional for employees after outcry over skimpy new shorts that are 'like underwear'
"We are clarifying that they have the option to choose from traditional uniforms or the new ones," a spokesperson wrote in an email to Insider.
Shanna Moakler posted a bunch of dramatic Instagram Stories after Travis Barker and Kourtney Kardashian's engagement news.
- CBS News
Madeline Baharlou-Quivey's message said she had strayed from the standard route to Kit Carson Peak.
- Sixers Wire
The Philadelphia 76ers give their thoughts on how Ben Simmons has looked after two days of practice.
- Business Insider
Fox News anchor John Roberts deleted a tweet that questioned vaccine efficacy in light of Colin Powell's death, clarifying that he is actually pro-vaccine
"The fact that Colin Powell died from a breakthrough COVID infection raises new concerns about how effective vaccines are long-term," he said initially.