Interpol says terrorist groups using COVID-19 to strengthen their power

“Terrorists – like all criminals – have sought to profit from COVID-19, to make money, strengthen their base and to fuel division,” said Interpol Secretary General Jürgen Stock.

US delegates attend the 86th INTERPOL General Assembly at Beijing National Convention Center in Beijing, China (photo credit: REUTERS)
US delegates attend the 86th INTERPOL General Assembly at Beijing National Convention Center in Beijing, China
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Interpol issued a new report on the impact of COVID-19 on global terrorism, trends and potential risks related to attacks on vulnerable targets and bioterrorism.

The organization, whose headquarters are in the French city of Lyon, pointed out that since the beginning of the pandemic, some terrorist groups and other non-state actors (NSAs) used the pandemic to reinforce their power and influence, particularly among local populations, or to expand their external financial resources.

“Terrorists – like all criminals – have sought to profit from COVID-19, to make money, strengthen their base and to fuel division,” said Interpol Secretary General Jürgen Stock.
Underlining the crucial need to monitor the reaction and response of terrorist networks, violent extremist groups and other potentially dangerous NSAs, Interpol's report also highlighted that the impact of COVID-19 on the global economy has indirectly affected the funding of terrorist groups.
“Our terrorism assessment report is another tool to help law enforcement identify and address these evolving threats, in what continue to be challenging circumstances,” Stock said. 
According to the report, the use of disinformation and conspiracy theories also appears to be an indicator of these above mentioned threats. In order to prevent further attacks, Interpol encouraged its member countries to cooperate and crosscheck information related to individuals and groups using COVID-19 conspiracy theories to call and plan for violent acts. 
Earlier this month, Interpol issued a global alert to law enforcement across its 194 member countries, warning them to prepare for organized crime networks targeting COVID-19 vaccines, both physically and online, including examples of crimes where individuals have been advertising, selling and administering fake vaccines.