December 5, 2014

TSG IntelBrief: A Call to Terror: Inspiration-Driven Wolf Packs

• Dalal al-Hashemi, a United Arab Emirates (UAE) citizen from Yemen, was arrested on December 4 in Abu Dhabi after murdering an American teacher and planting a bomb at the house of an American doctor; early evidence indicates that she didn’t act alone

• This latest attack is a modification of “lone wolf” attacks, that can more accurately be described as “wolf packs” in that, through social media or family ties, recent terrorist actors have committed or planned violent acts with a small number of like-minded people

• The late September exhortation by the Islamic State for its supporters to strike Western targets where and when they can has precipitated attacks committed by either individuals or small groups—acting on inspiration and not instruction—in Ottawa, New York, Algeria, and Saudi Arabia

• These wolf packs present counterterrorism officials with a great challenge, in that they don’t travel to war zones for training or guidance but rather remain off the radar by staying local and conducting low-tech but terrorizing attacks that are within their normal patterns of travel and lifestyle.