The recent attacks in Paris have apparently signaled this new approach.
Counterterrorism officials have analyzed intercepted communications and other non-disclosed intelligence following similar attacks in Beirut, just a day before the Paris ones, on November 12 and in Ankara, Turkey, on October 10.
The experts acknowledge that those plots were apparently directed by Islamic State leaders in Syria and Iraq and carried out by local leaders empowered to take action in the group’s name, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“While the goal of Islamic State hasn’t changed —build a caliphate in Syria and Iraq, and launch attacks against Western enemies on their own soil — the details of the Paris plot suggest it has moved beyond its early strategy of seeking to inspire plots from a distance,” reads the article, citing the counterterrorist officials.
The experts say the tactics now imitate the al-Qaeda model, which, in turn, makes it easier to detect the masterminds.
ISIL has supposedly recruited ‘lonely wolf” attackers through social media, with no apparent connections to the terrorist group, which has made it more difficult to identify and deter the attackers.
“This approach was a significant departure from how al Qaeda operated. That group’s leader, Osama bin Laden, had a reputation among counterterrorism officials as something of a micromanager,” the outlet explains.
For nearly a year, ISIL has been trying to hire petroleum engineers, telecom engineers, doctors and other white-collar professionals as it shifted focus from fighting for territory to ruling it.
“Islamic State is clearly trying to feed the perception that the sophistication of its operations are growing,” it states.
Some experts however warn that “no matter what operational changes are under way, ISIL is still showing a degree of operational care, flexibility, and secrecy that makes it dangerously effective.”