As the Islamic State (IS) continues to lose influence in both Iraq and Syria, the militant group is increasingly relying on cyber-recruitment for support, an Iranian official said on Thursday.
The extremists are losing the battle on the ground, and have seen their “caliphate” in the Middle East shrink down to less than half of its size at its height in 2014.
According to the head of Iran’s Cyber Police, Brigadier General Kamal Hadianfar, IS has turned its attention to cyberspace where they plan to “coordinate terrorist operations.”
“These groups conduct activities in the virtual space to attract, train, and recruit individuals to use them in terrorist operations,” Hadianfar explained.
The Iranian official pointed to the advancement of technology and said IS was “changing its strategies” to stay relevant and take “advantage of social networks to promote their activities.”
“IS terrorists are now working in the cyberspace to recruit new operatives and establish a cyber-caliphate,” he added.
A 55-page document belonging to IS, translated by researchers at King’s College London’s International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) revealed the importance of media propaganda for the militant group.
“Media weapons [can] actually be more potent than atomic bombs,” the report read.
The researchers at ICSR suggested propaganda could continue “the cycle of radicalization.”
Through its propaganda network Amaq, IS published and distributed footage of fighting, suicide bombings, and even images of children among their ranks.
The extremist group lost its stronghold in Iraq earlier this month as Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced victory over the group in Mosul.
An ongoing offensive by US-backed Kurdish-led forces in Syria aims to oust the group from its last remaining stronghold in the region, Raqqa.
Source: Kurdistan 24