A widely-shared post on Facebook claims that international terrorism has stopped as a result of western countries being busy fighting the new coronavirus. This is not true. Looking just at March and April this year, hundreds of people have been killed in terror attacks around the world.
There are many ways to define ‘western’ countries, but for the purpose of this article we will take it to mean Europe, Australasia and North America. However, it is important to remember that Covid-19 has also seriously affected Asia, Africa and Central and South America.
The first cases were confirmed in the USA, France, Australia, and Canada by late January. On 13 March, the World Health Organisation said Europe had become the “epicentre” of the pandemic. This article will focus just on March and April, when the western countries listed above were trying to contain their Covid-19 outbreaks.
Terror incidents in March included Islamic State gunmen killing at least 32 people in an attack on a ceremony in Kabul, Afghanistan. Islamic State also claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing and mass shooting at a Sikh Gurdwara in Kabul later that month which left at least 25 dead.
Other terror incidents in March included rocket attacks in Taji, Iraq, which left three dead including British military medic Lance Corporal Brodie Gillon. Kataib Hezbollah is suspected of being behind the attack. Boko Haram militants killed 92 soldiers in Chad and 47 in Nigeria.
In April, 52 people were killed in Mozambique after Islamic militants killed villagers. In France, a knife-attacker who killed two people was charged with killings “connected to a terrorist under-taking” and 20 people were killed at a military base in Mali in what was described as a “terrorist” attack by the government.
The terror attacks listed above are not intended to be a comprehensive list. However, they clearly show that terrorism has continued worldwide during the Covid-19 pandemic.