Islamic State urges supporters to carry out 'lone wolf' attacks in Russia

Mar 6, 2016

The Islamic State has increased production of Russian-language material calling for attacks on Russia since the Russian intervention in Syria began in September 2015. Echoing these threats, an attack on October 31, 2015 by the group's affiliate in the Sinai, the Sinai Province, resulted in the downing of Russian Metrojet Flight 9268, killing all 224 passengers onboard. The group also claimed responsibility for several attacks in Russia's Dagestan region, and in mid-February 2016, Russian authorities claimed they foiled an attempt by an IS cell to carry out attacks in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

On March 6, 2016, the group released the first video by its "Caucasus Province." The video allegedly showed the group who carried out an attack on a police checkpoint on February 15, with its leader delivering a clear message to the country's Muslim residents: "Those who can't reach us… A knife or a rope should be enough…Russia is big and the number of apostates in it is huge… If you can't find us, start killing apostates. It is not difficult to acquire weapons in Russia".

This latest video was issued against the background of reports of a decapitation of a four-year-old girl at the hands of her nanny, who later roamed a Moscow metro station holding the child's severed head. The woman claimed the act was a reaction to Russia's bombing of Muslims in Syria. It remains unclear whether the woman acted on behalf of the Islamic State, but as Russian involvement in the Syrian conflict continues and the IS propaganda addressing Russian Muslims intensifies, 'lone wolf' attacks will present a growing challenge to Moscow.