US calls Islamic State first ‘social media’ terrorists

Washington, Nov 17 (IANS) US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said the capability of action of the IS in the US “is not what it is in Europe”, while warning of the challenges of dealing with the first social media savvy terrorist group.

At a security forum organised by the Wall Street Journal in Washington, Carter called the IS “the first social media terrorists”, just as Al Qaeda were the first internet terrorists, Efe news agency reported.

Carter pointed out the jihadists have lesser capacity to carry out attacks in the US as compared to Europe due to the higher “terrorist inclinations” of some European citizens and their geographical proximity to the Middle East.

The greater threat for the US, according to him, was from the so-called “lone wolves” (American citizens) indoctrinated by IS propaganda, such as in the case of the attack in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which left six people dead a few months ago.

Speaking about Friday’s Paris attacks, which left 129 dead and over 350 injured and claimed by the IS, the Pentagon chief said it was not “surprising” taking into account previous jihadist threats.

“I’m hoping this tragedy has the effect of galvanising others as it has galvanised the French,” stressed Carter. He added that France, besides the US, will conduct more aerial attacks on IS positions the following day.

On Sunday, French fighter planes launched airstrikes on the Syrian city of Raqqa, an IS stronghold, while US planes, for the first time, destroyed over a hundred tankers the group used for ferrying oil from the territory under its control.

The US believes the IS can make over $40 million per month from the sale of oil from territories it controls in Syria and Iraq, areas the IS recently proclaimed as an Islamic “caliphate”.

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