South Asia Is Islamic State’s New Target by Sadanand Dhume – Wall Street Journal
Islamic State has lost its caliphate in the Middle East, but it retains the capability to cause mayhem thousands of miles away. This is the grim lesson of the Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka, in which suicide bombers killed more than 250 people at three churches and three luxury hotels. No region is entirely safe from such attacks, but South Asian democracies such as India and Sri Lanka appear particularly vulnerable.
In March, Islamic State lost its last sliver of Syrian territory to U.S.-backed Kurdish forces, but the scale and sophistication of the Sri Lanka attacks show that the jihadist group remains dangerous. That eight of the nine suicide bombers detonated their explosives with no hitches points to expert bomb making. Most terrorist groups also cannot marshal the resources or manage the logistical complexity of plotting nearly simultaneous attacks across three cities.
Though a little-known local Islamist group, National Thowheed Jamath, executed the attack, an official Islamic State media channel released a video of the attackers pledging allegiance to the larger group. The choice of targets also highlighted Islamic State’s special animus against Christians and its desire to grab international headlines by targeting foreigners in high-end hotels…