The military gains made by the Jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in this period have raised the prospect of further attacks in the UK. It is thought that around 400 Jihadists were previously fighting with the group in Syria, though it is currently unclear how many have participated in the recent offensives in Iraq. ISIS has also this week been banned in the UK – along with several other groups operating in Syria – which has made membership or providing material support for the group illegal. However, the notoriety afforded to the group over their military success at the expense of the Iraqi army, which has included the capture of the northern cities of Mosul and Tikrit, will act as a significant further boost to their existing efforts at recruiting fighters from Western countries.
Similarly, although a number of Twitter accounts believed to belong to ISIS operatives have been closed down in this period, efforts at recruiting
The notoriety afforded to individual members increases the possibility of the security services intercepting them in the event of a potential return to the UK, further decreasing their viability as statements of intent. Despite this, in the coming period recruitment efforts are expected to continue across a range of social media platforms and via human networks – as demonstrated by 11 arrests in Spain and Germany this week for related offences.