George Mason University

News at Mason

Three steps to stopping ISIS 'lone wolf' terror attacks

August 29, 2017

Ahmet Yayla

A rash of “lone wolf” attacks by ISIS followers has resulted in the deaths of scores of innocent victims, including at recent incidents in Barcelona, London, Brussels and Kaspiysk, Russia.

George Mason University criminology professor Ahmet Yayla, a former Turkish chief of counterterrorism, said the terrorists are recruited by friends and family and are following several ISIS playbooks, including the 2017 “Lone Wolves Handbook.”

Here he describes three ways of defusing future lone wolves:

· Counterterrorism units must upgrade their intelligence activities. Suspected ISIS sympathizers’ connections should be closely watched on a prioritized list. This helps intelligence officers to easily understand if a suspect is planning an attack.

· “Solid and sincere intelligence and information sharing is key,” Yayla said, not only domestically among law enforcement and intelligence agencies, but internationally.

· “Salafist jihadi content on the internet and social media must be blocked and wiped off,” he said. ISIS is a “virtual caliphate,” recruiting remotely with propaganda and training videos. The terror-training eBook “How to Survive in the West” has been downloaded nearly 1.5 million times, typically on dark net sites and social media sites popular with jihadists. Remove it and remove much of the threat, he said.

Ahmet Yayla can be reached at ayayla@gmu.edu.

For more information, contact Buzz McClain at 703-727-0230 or bmcclai2@gmu.edu.

About George Mason   

George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls 35,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity and commitment to accessibility.