The Daily Star has cited Assistant Professor Michael Krona of Malmo University in Sweden as saying that social media has turned into Daesh's "happy hunting ground" to groom the terrorist group's followers amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"When long articles in ISIS [Daesh] newsletters focus on calling for attacks on Western countries people are no longer encouraged to go there due to the risk of infection but instead encourage supporters who already live there to carry out attacks", he said.
Krona added that historically, Daesh is known to use "its time and resources in the shadows of the media to recruit and build support under the radar".
The assistant professor referred to the terrorist group's propaganda efforts "to undermine trust in governments by uniting its [Daesh's] supporters against the corrupt and failed political establishment".
He also singled out "apocalyptic stories about doomsday" in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, which benefits Daesh's purposes and "enables it to grow".
Daesh reportedly turns to so-called "sleepers" to encourage them to carry out attacks on cities where travel restrictions are still in place.
In April, an unnamed former British intelligence officer was quoted by The Daily Mirror as saying that jihadists may capitalise on the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in order to stage a spate of attacks on Western countries.
This came as The Sun referred to Daesh propaganda posters provided by the watchdog Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM), which, in particular, featured the city of Chicago and Tower Bridge in London with the text reading: "Hit them when they least expect it" and "Coronavirus – a soldier of Allah".
In October 2019, US President Donald Trump announced the death of Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in what was preceded by POTUS claiming earlier that year that "ISIS has been 100 percent defeated". A Pentagon report, however, argued that at least 18,000 Daesh militants remain at large and stage terrorist attacks in parts of Syria and Iraq
* Daesh (aka Islamic state/ISIS/ISIL) is a terrorist group banned in Russia and a number of other countries