Three cities in separate countries hit by suspected Islamic State terrorists in the past week dealt a tumultuous blow to safety in those regions, heightening fears of the militants’ capabilities and where they could strike next.
The reign of terror includes Sunday’s massive suicide bombing in Baghdad that killed more than 140 people, the weekend hostage-taking at a restaurant in the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka that left 22 dead and Tuesday’s bombing at the Istanbul airport that killed 44.
The massacres demonstrate that the Islamic State has established cells around the world — and is still capable of heinous attacks despite its recent setbacks on the battlefield.
“The Islamic State is losing territory in Iraq and Syria, but it is still a formidable opponent and very dangerous,” Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer and an analyst with the Brookings Institution, said Sunday.
The militant group claimed responsibility for the assaults in Baghdad and Dhaka, and is strongly suspected of being responsible for the Istanbul bombing.