Sunday, July 03, 2016

Out of the box

Reuters --

Seven militants who killed 20 people at a Dhaka restaurant made no demands and a person taken alive by police was only a suspect admitted in hospital, Bangladesh's home minister said on Sunday, rejecting Islamic State's claims of responsibility ... One line of inquiry being pursued was whether the restaurant attackers received any guidance from Islamic State or al Qaeda, an official in Bangladesh's counter-terrorism wing said. "Pictures (uploaded on Twitter) indicate they might have been encouraged by ISIS (Islamic State) activities abroad," said Muhammad Zamir, a former senior foreign ministry official. "But this does not show a direct link to ISIS. This is exactly what was done and disputed later in the case of the Orlando attack," he said, referring to the killing of 49 people last month by a man who pledged allegiance to Islamic State.

Note the problem that's arising from attempts by officials to make distinctions between different types of ISIS-related attacks: the ostensible difference between "inspired" and "directed" is meant to distinguish San Bernadino and Orlando ("inspired") from Paris and Brussels ("directed"). But as the motivation and tactics morph into one, the risk now is of blind spots in investigations, especially in a case like Bangladesh where officials are extraordinarily keen to avoid any indication of ISIS presence. 

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