Quarterly Report: Terrorism Events And Developments In The First Quarter of 2024

The first quarter of Terrorism Watch 2024 explores the most recent events and developments pertaining to terror-related incidents in Southeast Asia and significant incidents worldwide from January to March 2024.

The ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict has been exploited by terrorist groups to provoke their supporters to carry out attacks on western interests around the world. The quote “And Kill Them Wherever You Find Them” has been used in Daesh’s global campaign against Jews and their allies since early January 2024.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is believed to be a persistent source of violence, as evidenced by the recent incident in Russia that resulted in numerous casualties. It is crucial to address this issue seriously in order to prevent the emergence of a global trend of hostility, such as Islamophobia and xenophobia, within Russia.

Indonesia’s proactive measures effectively suppressed terrorism in the country during an election period, resulting in no terrorist activity as opposed to past elections. Based on records, there were a minimum of nine instances of terrorist actions directly linked to elections in 2014, and over six occurrences were observed during the 2019 elections.

The prevalence of propaganda regarding terror threats against Malaysia is observed to be on the rise. Pro-Daesh media groups in the Middle East and Indonesia are making efforts to target Malaysian sympathisers and incite them to carry out lone wolf attacks against the assets and representatives of major world powers in Malaysia.

In conclusion, the first quarter of 2024 sees an increase in the global and regional threat that terrorism poses. The threat perception has shifted to incorporate the dissemination of narratives in cyberspace, particularly on social media. Countries, particularly in this region, must take drastic measures to mitigate the issue.

Global Trend

There are significant events in a number of countries around the world during the first quarter of 2024. The threat of terrorism at the global and regional levels has shown a significant increase, in addition to the latest trends in European and African countries. There is an increasing menace of terrorism, both on a local and worldwide scale, particularly in the aftermath of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Terrorist organizations, particularly Daesh, persist in utilizing social media as very efficient means for disseminating their ideology. Respective agencies such as Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and Royal Malaysian Police (RMP) need to carry out periodic monitoring of social media content as well as video applications such as YouTube that are capable of threatening national security and can be blocked from being accessed by Malaysians if necessary.

The following are the highlights of  terrorism-related occurrences around the world:


On 7 Jan 24, the terrorist organisation, Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), has acknowledged their culpability for the detonation of a bus in Kabul, resulting in the deaths of two civilians and the injury of 14 more. The Afghanistan Security Forces determined that the explosion was a result of the placement of explosives on a bus in the Dasht-e-Barchi neighbourhood, which is predominantly inhabited by the Shia Hazara community.

ISKP appears to be targeting Shiism-affiliated organisations due to the heretical status of Shiism. Since August 2021, when the Taliban overthrew the government supported by the United States and terminated their insurgency, there has been a significant decline in the frequency of bombings and suicide attacks in Afghanistan. Nevertheless, terrorism continues to be a threat to the nation from a variety of armed organisations, ISKP included. ISKP targets the Shia community residing in Dasht-e-Barchi due to the Taliban’s inadequate security control in the region and the presence of this community. The attack unequivocally demonstrates whether ISKP members were killed or whether an attempt was made to eradicate the Shia ethnic group in Afghanistan through ethnic cleansing. Such conduct is anticipated to be maintained by ISKP as it serves as their method of operation to maintain Afghanistan’s instability and tarnish the reputation of the present Afghan government.


On 8 Jan 24, Mullah Hasan Akhund, the Interim Prime Minister of Afghanistan nominated by the Taliban, has held a meeting with Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the leader of Jamiat Ulama-I-Islam Fazl Party (JUI-F), in an attempt to alleviate the animosity between the two nations. The meeting convened in Kabul was arranged per the Afghanistan government’s request, and the visit of JUI-F was the first since the Taliban assumed control in 2021.

On 8 Jan 24, an explosive device has exploded on the roadside in close proximity to a van transporting police officers who were providing security for workers engaged in an anti-polio vaccination campaign in northern Pakistan. An explosion ensued following the initiation of an anti-polio campaign by the Government of Pakistan in Mahmud, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which was formerly under the control of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The explosion resulted in the demise of six law enforcement officers and inflicted injuries upon 10 additional individuals.

The meeting between the Government of Afghanistan and JUI-F is primarily aimed at engaging in discussions to identify effective solutions for a problem and resolve any misunderstandings between the two neighbouring countries. An ongoing source of conflict between the two nations is the repatriation of over half a million Afghan nationals residing in Pakistan without legal authorization. Afghanistan regarded such approach as ineffective in resolving the situation and instead fostering mistrust.  The Pakistani government is apprehensive about the TTP’s presence in Afghanistan as they seek sanctuary from the Taliban regime. Nevertheless, Afghanistan has protested to this, asserting that it will not permit any terrorist organisation to utilise its territory as a launching pad for assaulting Pakistan. The tension between these two countries is unlikely to prompt any significant measures by the Afghanistan Taliban administration to ensure maximum border control and prevent it. Pakistan’s expulsion of Afghan people as a measure to combat terrorism is viewed as potentially causing humanitarian problems that adversely affect the country. The anti-polio programme frequently faces disruptions from terrorists, particularly the TTP, who perceive this immunisation drive as a Western scheme. This move is likely to be executed based on limited perspective and religious extremism, disregarding the opinions given by the experts of Pakistan. These actions exemplify their defence of the religion and rights of the Pakistani people, as well as their protection of the fundamental values that underpin their existence. Additionally, they are successfully garnering support from local individuals for their organisation, particularly among those who still harbour doubts or reservations regarding the vaccination campaign.


On 23 Mar 24, a total of 137 individuals lost their lives and 145 others sustained injuries in a terrorist assault that took place at Crocus City Hall in Moscow. The Daesh terrorist group has asserted accountability for the assault in a concise declaration released by the Daesh-associated news agency Amaq on the Telegram platform. The attackers, armed with guns and grenades, deliberately lit the building on fire, resulting in one of Moscow’s most severe acts of terrorism in the past two decades.

The attack occurred within a week after President Vladimir Putin’s landslide victory in the election. Evidence indicates that the president’s triumph in the nation is probable to be a contributing element to the occurrence. The Russian Security Forces successfully apprehended four foreign suspects, including individuals from Tajikistan. The probable perpetrator of this incident is ISIS-K (ISIS Khorosan) due to their track record of engaging in acts of terrorism in Russia over the past two years, and their frequent mention in President Putin’s propaganda as a subject of criticism. The ISIS-K terrorist group asserted accountability for the suicide attack at the Russian Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan in September 2022. On March 24, the US embassy in Russia cautioned American citizens to steer clear of major gatherings due to credible evidence indicating that ISIS-K had intentions to carry out attacks in Moscow by targeting such events. Russia is anticipated to enhance security measures in order to thwart terrorist strikes. This incident is anticipated to exacerbate the ongoing dispute between Russia and Ukraine, as the Russian President has accused the terrorist of attempting to seek refuge in Ukraine, a claim that Ukraine has refuted as baseless.


7 Jan 24, The Somalia National Army (SNA), aided by the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) and local insurgents, has effectively eliminated 76 individuals affiliated with the Al-Shabaab extremist group. Additionally, numerous others were wounded during a two-day military operation conducted in the Mudug district. One of the casualties included a high-ranking leader of the Al-Shabaab extremist group. The operation conducted by the SNA has specifically targeted the strongholds of Al-Shabaab in central and southern Somalia. It has successfully demolished the bases and vehicles that are owned by the terrorists.

On 3 Feb 24, the SNA The Somalia National Army (SNA), with the assistance of local forces, has initiated a military campaign targeting Al-Shabaab in the village of Shabelow, located in the Mudug district. The conflict commenced when Al-Shabaab initiated an assault on a military installation within the urban area, utilising explosive devices and firearms. The SNA in collaboration with local troops, conducted an operation in which they discovered a cache of weaponry and successfully destroyed four trucks that belonged to the extremist group Al-Shabaab.

The operation has significantly affected the terrorist group Al-Shabaab, particularly in terms of morale, as they suffered substantial losses in terms of members, along with the destruction of their base and major injuries to several of its militants who were engaged in the battle. This indirectly hinders the terrorist group from temporarily executing any acts of terrorism in the region.  The Somali National Army (SNA) has intensified its military campaigns against the extremist organisation Al-Shabaab since July 2022 by closely collaborating with African nations within the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). This endeavour demonstrates the efficacy of global collaboration in combating terrorism, as well as the populace’s consciousness in striving for an improved quality of life. However, the strategic placement of military personnel in regulated regions is considered crucial to prevent the reassertion of power by terrorist insurgents. Close collaboration between the government and local insurgents is considered crucial in providing military training and weapons assistance. This partnership helps address the security vacuum in the volatile region.


On 3 Feb 24, a total of 34 foreign individuals affiliated with Daesh were apprehended during the anti-terrorism operation codenamed Cage-35. This operation was conducted simultaneously in seven provinces, namely Istanbul, Kocaeli, Yalova, Kayseri, Bursa, Duzce, and Yozgat. The operation commenced following an incident in which two assailants discharged firearms at Christians inside a church.

On 7 Feb 24, 10 of 15 suspected Daesh members have been apprehended by Turkish Security Forces during an anti-terrorism operation in three provinces centred on Istanbul. The operation is executed in a total of 23 distinct locations, eight districts in Istanbul, and one each in the provinces of Kocaeli and Yalova.

Since June 2023, Turkish officials have arrested 2086 individuals believed to be associated with the Daesh terrorist organisation. Recently, Turkish officials apprehended 25 individuals who are believed to have committed the act of shooting a man during a religious gathering in a church. The terrorist organisation known as Daesh has acknowledged that they are responsible for the attack. They have stated that the motive behind the attack was in accordance with the directives issued by Daesh authorities to specifically target individuals who identify as Jews and Christians. The ongoing war in the Middle East between Israel and Palestine is a significant contributing element to the emergence of the spirit of jihad among the adherents of the terrorist group. Turkiye is anticipated to persistently escalate extensive efforts to counteract the ideology and subsequent activities of terrorist organisations within the country, with the aim of managing security challenges. Daesh is currently facing significant challenges due to targeted actions against it, including the apprehension and elimination of several members by Turkish authorities. The organisation has the ability to revive itself by employing innovative strategies to disseminate its ideas and attract prospective members.

Terrorism Trends in Southeast Asia


On 9 Jan 24, Two emerging media conglomerates in Indonesia, Al-Qanishun and Al-Qosd, have recently begun translating posters and remarks from Abu Hudhayfa al-Ansari, the spokesperson for Daesh, with regards to the “And Kill Them Whenever You Find Them” campaign. These two Indonesian media outlets that support Daesh also translated posters created by Daesh’s worldwide media, such as Hadm Al-Aswar and Tala’ia al-Ansar Production, into the Indonesian language.

On 27 Jan 24, A total of 10 individuals suspected of being members of the Jamaah Islamiyah terrorist organisation have been apprehended in various locations around Central Java, Indonesia. The suspected terrorist is accused of participating in giving operational assistance to the JI group, which includes aiding their actions, harbouring sought or fugitive members, and soliciting donations. Furthermore, it is believed that they also offer logistical support by gathering firearms or sharp weapons to enhance the capabilities and skills of JI members.

The Pro Daesh media organisation in Indonesia is likely to continue prioritising their campaign with the motto “And Kill Them Wherever You Find Them.” The proliferation of Pro Daesh media groups is on the rise due to the campaign’s perceived ability to sway Daesh supporters across Southeast Asia. Concentrating on a “easy target” can have adverse consequences if the phone is answered by a supporter of Daesh from Malaysia. Terrorist groups are said to be targeting Indonesia’s 2024 General Election as an opportunity to disseminate extremist and radical ideology among the people. Based on records, there were a minimum of nine instances of terrorist actions directly linked to elections in 2014, and over six occurrences were observed during the 2019 elections. The Indonesia Security Forces’ proactive measure of detaining members of terrorist groups was deemed successful in preventing any disruptions during this year’s election, which occurred on February 14th.

The Philippines

On 3 Jan 24, Two intelligence operatives from the 51st Infantry Battalion (51IB) of the Army were fatally attacked in an ambush that took place in the town of Lininding, Munai, Lanao del Norte, Philippines. During the event, the three military intelligence agents were returning to the camp after successfully carrying out an intelligence operation in the neighbouring region when they were assaulted by unidentified armed individuals. At the scene, two out of the three agents, Raul Pabuaya and Murphy Delos Santos, were fatally wounded, while another member, Joenipher, successfully evaded the attack.

On 8 Dec, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) killed at least nine members of Dawlah Islamiyah (DI) in air and ground offensives carried out by the military. DI is the local and Arabic name for ISIS, the Middle Eastern terror group. DI had blamed the MILF for the military’s offensives against the Islamic State-aligned group which started after a confirmation that the group was recruiting people in Sitio Wata in Pagalungan.

On 10 Mar 24, Cpl Ricky Mendoza Gomez, a police intelligence officer stationed in Carmen, Cotabato province, was fatally assaulted in Santos City. An unidentified individual shot a participant of the advanced police intelligence networking proficiency training in the head and upper body using an M16 firearm when the victim was crossing the road in Barangay Sinawal. Members have already demonstrated exceptional accomplishments in apprehending numerous wanted terrorists among the ranks of the Dawlah Islamiya and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), who were implicated in lethal terrorist assaults.

The attack was believed to be connected to the retaliatory strike against the security operation carried out by the Philippine Security Forces, which resulted in the elimination of 12 members of the DI terrorist group on December 23. The Philippine Security forces are actively engaged in operations to apprehend all DI terrorists in the Philippines and ensure that their activities are entirely eradicated. The Philippine Security Forces have previously conducted many offensives against terrorist targets associated with Daesh through a Focused Military Operation (FMO) in order to prevent and eradicate the remaining militants in the country. During this period, multiple operations were conducted in the city of Lanao, which is considered a stronghold of the DI-Maute group. Specifically, these actions were place in Pantao Ragat, Poona Plagapo, and Munai. The offensive operation conducted to eradicate the DI network, which continues to pose a security risk in Maguindanao, is regarded as a crucial endeavour to prevent the DI’s retaliatory plan against the Philippine Security Forces. FMO is anticipated to persistently exert a significant influence on the DI group, which is progressively seeing a decline in backing from local people and sympathisers.


The national level of terrorist threat is now being effectively managed. The cumulative number of apprehensions in the nation pertaining to persons associated with Daesh terrorist and militant networks from 2013 to the present stands at around 562, comprising 196 non-nationals and 366 domestic residents.

On 27 Jan 24, Two Malaysian individuals who admitted to being involved in the terrorist explosions that resulted in the deaths of 202 individuals in Bali, Indonesia in 2002 have been given an extra five-year prison sentence. Earlier, the United States military court in Guantanamo convicted the two accused, identified as Farik Amin, 48, and Nazir Lep, 47, to a 23-year prison term. US military judge Lt. Col. Wesley A Braun has determined that the suspect may be released within five years due to the prosecutor’s incompetence in failing to meet a court deadline for providing evidence to the defence attorney during case preparation.

On 20 Feb 24, The Telegram group Usud Afriqiyah recently shared a collection of posters created by the Al Aan Foundation, a media entity associated with the Islamic State East Asia Province (ISEAP). The collection is titled “Just Terror Tactic“. A billboard has depicted a plan to launch an assault on three embassies in Malaysia: the United States, Russian, and Chinese embassies. Furthermore, this poster has also endorsed the campaign “And Kill Them Wherever You Find Them“.

On 23 Mar 24, The propaganda group of the Islamic State East Asia Province (ISEAP), known as the Al Aan Foundation, has just shared a warning poster indicating their intention to target the Tokyo Skytree in Japan and the Merdeka 118 Tower in Malaysia for a future attack. The image submitted features the backdrop of the Merdeka 118 Tower in Malaysia, accompanied by the Daesh flag and the message “We Will Arrive on Your Doorstep.” Therefore, continue to remain patient. We are also eagerly awaiting with you! The image in the background of the Tokyo Skytree features the flag of Daesh, along with a phrase printed in Japanese that translates to “Come the Army that brings the truth“.

Following the sentence by US government, both Malaysian individuals will participate in a deradicalization programme administered by the Malaysian government and will be subject to lifelong surveillance by national security officials. This demonstrates the Malaysian government’s serious approach in addressing the issue of terrorism, serving as a model and a cautionary tale for fellow Malaysians to resist being swayed by terrorist objectives and propaganda. The Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF), in conjunction with the Royal Malaysian Police, must persist in shouldering the significant duty of preventing any new threats that may arise from this recent development, particularly in suppressing terrorist ideology among uniformed members. Moreover, religious institutions, which possess complete authority in Islamic matters, play a crucial role in addressing aspects of religious extremism. In terms of the overall role of the Malaysian Armed Forces, the Religious Corps of the MAF (KAGAT) is perceived as having the capacity to contribute to the planning of religious and spiritual activities. This includes initiatives like the Task Force PERISAI AKIDAH, which was previously implemented to provide education and clarification on the authentic Ahli Sunnah beliefs.

This particular instance of Daesh propaganda relating to Malaysia marks the first occurrence since 27 Feb 23, in which a pro-Daesh media unit has issued a poster targeting Malaysia. The billboard aims to urge Daesh supporters to attack Malaysia by featuring an image of the Petronas Twin Towers. An analysis of telegraph groups that disseminate information revealed that the majority of subscribers, who are members of these groups, are presumed to be from nations in the Middle East. Terrorist organisations are likely to manipulate the current Palestinian-Israeli conflict to incite their followers into launching attacks on Western targets globally. The phrase “And Kill Them Wherever You Find Them” has been employed by Daesh in their worldwide campaign targeting Jews and their supporters since the beginning of January 2024. Daesh’s narrative of their war, which is disseminated on social media by their networks and supporters, continues to have an impact on Muslims, particularly in the virtual realm. Hence, it is imperative to enhance surveillance conducted by the authorities, particularly the Malaysian Communications Multimedia Commission (MCMC), in cooperation with the RMP and other relevant security agencies, to effectively restrict public access to radical extremist websites that disseminate Daesh narratives within Malaysia. In Malaysia, Daesh’s impact is relatively insignificant compared to other nations in Southeast Asia. Furthermore, the current reception of Daesh’s campaign in Malaysia is not favourable, which can be attributed to the implementation of multiple awareness initiatives by different government ministries. However, despite this, the danger is still classified as high risk and surveillance of terrorism threat indicators continues intermittently.


The global and regional levels have seen a rise in incidences of terrorism during the first quarter of 2024, indicating a growing presence of extremism, radicalism, and terrorism. Countries like Afghanistan, Russia, Pakistan, Somalia, and Turkiye face persistent terrorism threats due to ongoing instability. Additionally, terrorist groups exploit Israel’s attacks on Palestine to incite lone wolf attacks, using the slogan “Kill Them Wherever You Find Them.” The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is believed to be a persistent source of violence, as evidenced by the recent incident in Russia that resulted in numerous casualties. It is crucial to address this issue seriously in order to prevent the emergence of a global trend of hostility, such as Islamophobia and xenophobia, within Russia. Turkiye remains proactive in countering terrorist threats by actively carrying out security operations along the Turkiye-Iraq-Syria border. The rising tensions between Afghanistan and Pakistan are rooted in the activities of the TTP terrorist group, which exploits the vulnerabilities in border security measures of both nations. Pakistan’s decision to repatriate over 500,000 undocumented Afghan residents is not perceived as a viable solution, as it fosters distrust and exacerbates humanitarian concerns. This action has a detrimental effect on the country, which is already grappling with challenges in its recently established government.

The rising threat of terrorism in Southeast Asia demonstrates that Indonesia’s proactive measures effectively suppressed terrorism in the country during an election period, resulting in no terrorist activity as opposed to past elections. Despite an increase in social media activity by pro-Deash media, particularly leading up to the election date and in relation to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it has been discovered that the arrest of terrorist suspects has effectively halted the terrorist group’s plans and instilled fear among members of other terrorist groups. Meanwhile, in the Philippines, the government is actively implementing Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (PCVE) programmes, such as the Enhanced – Comprehensive Local Integration Programme (E-CLIP), to prevent the occurrence of terrorism. The Philippines implemented a more aggressive strategy known as Focused Military Operations (FMO) to suppress terrorist activities. This method effectively dismantled the DI-maguid group and resulted in the elimination of numerous high-ranking leaders from the DI, BIFF, and KAS terrorist organisations.

The prevalence of propaganda regarding terror threats against Malaysia is observed to be on the rise. Pro-Daesh media groups in the Middle East and Indonesia are making efforts to target Malaysian sympathisers and incite them to carry out lone wolf attacks against the assets and representatives of major world powers in Malaysia. The act of provocation is likely motivated by the limited influence of Daesh in Malaysia, relative to other Southeast Asian countries. They aim to exploit the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, perceiving Malaysia as a vocal advocate for the rights of the Palestinian people. Daesh supporters persist in using these tactics as their modus operandi to pique the curiosity of Malaysians, who are increasingly cognizant of the current terrorism crisis.

In conclusion, the global and regional threat of terrorism is increasing as a result of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Daesh’s campaign titled “And Kill Them Wherever You Find Them”. Terrorist organisations persistently employ social media platforms as a fundamental tool to disseminate their ideology and enlist individuals to execute acts of terrorism independently. Each incidence influences the actions of specific groups to perpetrate more acts in different locations, motivated by the same feelings of hatred based on Islamophobia and xenophobia. These occurrences will continue to happen as long as the involved parties are influenced by religious sensitivity and racial feeling. If the countries experiencing this crisis do not handle it wisely through CVE awareness programmes, the situation would deteriorate. In Malaysia, it is imperative for the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (SKMM) and the Royal Malaysian Police (RMP) to collaborate closely in order to effectively monitor and prohibit the dissemination of any violent content within the country. This proactive approach is crucial in preventing any untoward situations from occurring. The dissemination of Daesh propaganda in Southeast Asia should not be underestimated, as the country’s potential terrorist threat level is currently moderate / Code Blue and the risk of terrorist acts is assessed as “possible”.

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