The Lingering Threat of ISIS 

. The terrorist threat posed by ISIS has not diminished; in fact, the organization is actively working to strengthen itself and regain momentum in the Middle East. Intelligence sources in the West report that ISIS is gaining ground in Afghanistan and several African countries. Israel is collaborating with Egypt and Western nations in the fight against ISIS. The organization has carried out attacks in Israel in recent years and is attempting to recruit Arab activists from Israel and East Jerusalem.

It has been nine years since the establishment of the international coalition to combat ISIS. While this coalition achieved significant successes by driving the organization out of its major strongholds in Iraq and Syria and apprehending its leaders, ISIS remains active in certain regions of these countries, where its fighters sporadically carry out terrorist attacks. 

According to Western intelligence sources, ISIS still poses a dangerous threat in Afghanistan and several African countries. 


Following the US withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021, the Taliban seized control of the country. Since then, the ISIS branch known as “Khorasan” has been opposing the Taliban government and launching attacks in various regions of Afghanistan. 


Since 2019, Western intelligence agencies have observed a trend of ISIS strengthening its presence on the African continent, with the organization establishing itself in countries such as Nigeria, Mali, Somalia, Congo, and Mozambique. 


The international coalition formed against ISIS played a crucial role in weakening the organization’s influence in the Middle East. Established in 2014, the coalition consisted of 86 countries from around the world. Its efforts targeted the military, economic, and financial infrastructure of ISIS, while also aiming to prevent the influx of foreign fighters into Iraq and Syria. 

By 2017, ISIS had lost control over most of its territories in Syria and Iraq. In 2019, the US military successfully assassinated its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in a special operation in northern Syria. In 2022, a joint operation between Turkey and the international coalition led to the arrest of his successor, Abu Al-Hassan Al-Karshi. 


The Gulf countries played a significant role in the war against ISIS, with US military aircraft operating from airbases in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to target ISIS strongholds in Syria and Iraq. 


Over the past few years, Saudi Arabia conducted 341 airstrikes on ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq. 


Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan stated on June 8th that Saudi Arabia is committed to pursuing ISIS and eradicating terrorism from its roots. 

He emphasized the need to prevent ISIS from exploiting any opportunity to resurge and called for cutting off its sources of funding. 

In 2018, Qatar contributed $75 million towards the establishment of a United Nations branch in Doha dedicated to combating ISIS. 


Saudi Arabia invested $2.6 billion in humanitarian projects in Syria and $548 million in Iraq to prevent local populations from supporting the terrorist organization in areas under its control. 


The United Arab Emirates provided $500 million in Iraq and $968 million in Syria to support liberated areas previously under ISIS control. 


Israeli Involvement 



ISIS continues its efforts to influence both Israeli citizens and Arab residents of Judea and Samaria through online propaganda. The organization uses the internet and social networks to recruit activists for carrying out acts of terrorism in Israel. 

The Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, has largely been successful in preventing attacks and thwarting the terrorist activities of new recruits joining ISIS ranks. However, it becomes more challenging to intercept planned attacks carried out by individuals who believe in the ISIS ideology. Consequently, ISIS terrorists have managed to carry out attacks in Jerusalem, Be’er Sheva, and Hadera in recent years. 


Israel collaborates closely with the United States throughout the Middle East in the fight against ISIS. 

 Former Chief of Staff MK Gadi Eisenkott revealed on June 11th that Israel had assisted in attacks on ISIS targets across the region. He recounted an incident in 2015 when Israel was requested to strike ISIS targets, resulting in a substantial blow to the organization’s members. 


It is likely that this attack coordinated with the Egyptian army targeted ISIS operatives in the Sinai Peninsula. 


Eisenkot added that ISIS members are well aware of the extent of the IDF’s operations throughout the Middle East, as they have experienced the consequences with hundreds of casualties and casualties of their own. 


During the years of the Syrian civil war, Israel collaborated with Western countries based on Israeli intelligence to conduct airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria. 


A February 2018 report from The New York Times indicated that Israel had attacked ISIS targets on numerous occasions. 


According to the report, the Israeli Air Force conducted over 100 airstrikes in Egyptian territory to assist Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in his fight against the ISIS branch in Sinai. 


Israel’s aid to Egypt reportedly began following the downing of a Russian plane, presumably by ISIS operatives, in the Sinai Peninsula in October 2015. The attack resulted in the deaths of 224 passengers and crew members, the majority of whom were Russian citizens. 


While the Egyptian army, with the help of Bedouin tribes, has made significant progress in reducing ISIS activities in the Sinai Peninsula over the past year, the threat of terrorism has not been fully eradicated. 


The international coalition against ISIS continues its fight against the remaining pockets of the organization in Syria and Iraq. Its primary objective is to prevent this ruthless organization from regaining control over the territories it lost. 

Yoni Ben Menachem Senior Middle East Analyst

About Yoni Ben Menachem

Yoni Ben Menachem is a Middle East senior analyst ,a journalist and
the former CEO of the Israel Broadcasting Authority(IBA). He has
decades of experience in written and video journalism. Ben
Menachem’s path in the media world began as a producer for
Japanese television in the Middle East. After that, he held many key
positions in the media The Israeli: CEO of the Israel Broadcasting
Authority, director of “Kol Israel” Radio, reporter on West Bank and
Gaza Strip affairs, political reporter and commentator, commentator
on Middle East affairs and editor-in-chief and presenter of the
program “Middle East Magazine”. 

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