London: The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to have a mixed impact on terrorism globally in the short-term, according to researchers who stress that lockdown measures will tend to inhibit attacks but terrorist propaganda calling for attacks (while authorities are distracted) will incite some incidents. One genuine concern is that COVID-19 may lead to resurgence in interest among terrorists for using chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons, warned the study authors. "Historically, a range of terrorist movements has been interested in bioterrorism though there have been very few successful attacks by terrorists using biological weapons," according to study researcher Andrew Silke from Cranfield University in the UK.
While serious obstacles certainly remain, the huge impact of COVID-19 may re-ignite some interest in biological weapons, said the report, titled "COVID-19 and terrorism: assessing the short-and long-term impact". According to Silke and Pool Re, the UK government-backed provider of a terrorism reinsurance company, while lockdown measures may represent obstacles to terrorists to carry out real-world attacks, many terrorist groups have also flagged that the pandemic has left government and security resources being severely stretched. "As a result, the ability of government, intelligence and law enforcement agencies to focus on traditional priorities such as counterterrorism has been undermined," Silke noted.
Much propaganda and particularly that connected to far-right extremism - is focusing on conspiracy theories connected to COVID-19 and this has already inspired plots and attacks. (IANS)