Tag Archives: IED

IS-linked media validation after IED attack in Isulan, Mindanao on August 28 may inspire further local militant plots – Philippines Alert

Please be advised

At least two people are reported to have been killed and 34 others wounded in an IED blast that took place along a highway in Isulan town in Sultan Kudarat Province, Mindanao on August 28. The Islamic State (IS)-linked Amaq News Agency reported the incident, while also stating that 3 Filipino soldiers were killed in the incident.

Authorities are believed to have defused two other IEDs after the initial blast, which took place as local residents were commemorating the local Hamungaya harvest thanksgiving festival. Local officials have indicated that the IS-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) were behind the incident.

Security was previously raised across the southern region of Mindanao on August 3 after the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) claimed that IS-affiliated Abu Sayyaf group was plotting militant attacks in the aftermath of the July 31 vehicular IED attack in Basilan.

Click here to see Map Legend 

Assessments

The incident is indicative of the continued risk of militancy, specifically from explosives-based plots, in Mindanao. The fact that IS-affiliated groups such as BIFF and Abu Sayyaf have been able to stage intermittent attacks in civilian areas across the southern region despite facing concerted AFP operations indicates the high degree of operational sustainability that they continue to possess. Their increased activity also appears in tandem with the IS’ reframing of its network of global affiliates in late July, with the East Asia affiliate now being referred to as a Wilayat or a Province.

The staging of the IED attacks during a festival is indicative of attempts to attract increased public attention, especially if the blast in a relatively crowded spot had resulted in a higher death toll, as seemingly intended. However, the fact that the Amaq report only references casualties among security personnel signals the transnational group’s intention to be perceived positively among locals, potentially to attract recruits. These forms of messaging, despite the lack of accuracy, can be expected to provide on-ground validation to groups like BIFF and Abu Sayyaf, sustaining the risk of continued low-level explosives plots in the southern Mindanao region over the near term.

Recommendations

Travel to Metro Manila may continue at this time while adhering to standard security protocols given the latent threat of militancy, crime, and unrest.

We advise against all travel to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Cotabato, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga del Sur, and the Sulu Archipelago, including the islands of Basilan, Jolo, Tawi Tawi, given the high threat of militancy, criminality as well as the elevated risk of kidnapping of foreign travelers. Those continuing to operate in Mindanao are advised to limit movement outside major cities such as Davao and General Santos.

Remain cognizant of your surroundings, including any suspicious behavior of individuals, which may include a person wearing winter clothing during warm weather and/or seemingly wandering around, as well as items that look out of place, such as bags or containers.

Immediately alert authorities of any suspicious behavior or items.

Ensure that places of stay are properly secured, alter travel routes, and avoid disclosing sensitive itinerary information to unknown individuals.

Recent Hizbul Ahrar militant activity highlights expanding nationwide sphere of operations – Pakistan Alert

Please be advised

On October 3, a police sub-inspector was killed in Ahsanabad area of Karachi by two unidentified assailants riding a motorcycle. The attackers reportedly opened indiscriminate fire, before fleeing the scene. Hizbul Ahrar (HuA), a splinter group from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (TTP-JA), claimed the attack on social media. Authorities have yet to confirm the identity of the assailants, as well as the veracity of the claim.

On September 20, both the HuA and the TTP-Hafiz faction claimed a bomb blast against security forces in Spinwam, in North Waziristan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Province. The TTP and HuA both claimed an attack in Mastung on August 19, which was one of their earliest conflicting claims.

On June 2, the HuA claimed an attack against a paramilitary checkpost in Hub, Lasbela District of Balochistan, which lies at the border of Karachi, Sindh Province.

In May, the HuA claimed a suicide attack against a bus in Attock in Punjab Province, following which the Counter Terrorism Department (CDT) arrested five militant operatives on September 17 planning to carry an attack in Rawalpindi.

On January 12, the TTP claimed responsibility for the killing of a policeman in North Nazimabad area of Karachi.

Assessments & Forecast

The latest claim by the HuA is highly notable, given that it is the first such claim by the group in Karachi and in Sindh Province. The group has typically confined its operations to northern and western Pakistan, in provinces such as KP, Balochistan, and the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), in which the outfit has increased its operations in recent weeks. The latest attack in Karachi, combined with the May attack and the arrest of five of its operatives in Punjab Province, is indicative of the group’s attempt to increase its sphere of operations and to push for a presence in major civilian centers such in Karachi and Rawalpindi.

Over the recent weeks, the HuA also appear to be increasingly challenging the factions of its former patron, TTP, by claiming attacks in TTP-held territories and by challenging the group’s claims. This was witnessed in the Spinwam attack on September 20, which occurred close to Data Khel, an area predominantly controlled by TTP factions. While Karachi has frequently witnessed attacks by TTP and its affiliates against law enforcement, the recent HuA attack of October 3 may be another indicator of the growing competition between the groups in a new sphere. It is also likely that HuA’s operations in Sindh and Punjab are aided by the defections of TTP-JA personnel to the new breakaway group.

The modus operandi used is notable given that HuA methods that primarily use suicide bombings or IED attack. Motorcycle-borne shooter attacks are more characteristic of Karachi-based militants and criminal elements, which may indicate potential cooperation between these elements and the HuA. Should HuA be adding newer modus operandi to their current tactics, there is a threat that such attacks may be replicated by its cells in other parts of the country. Additionally, while the group has previously stated that all attacks will focus on government targets over civilian, the indiscriminate nature of their plot execution increases the risk of collateral damage, as the attacks have taken place in civilian-populated areas. FORECAST: Over the coming months, the authorities are likely to conduct operations in Sindh Province and along the border areas with Balochistan, in attempt to dismantle potential HuA cells and prevent infiltrations from Balochistan and the Afghan border regions into Sindh.

Recommendations

We advise against all nonessential travel to Pakistan given the heightened threat of militant attacks, criminality, kidnappings and sectarian tensions throughout the country.

Throughout Pakistan, we advise [as part of our security consulting services] minimizing non-essential movement given the daily nationwide threat of militant attacks and violent criminality.

As a general precaution, maintain heightened vigilance in the vicinity of security detachments, government buildings, public areas, diplomatic installations, news stations, military bases, restaurants, high-value soft targets like schools, shopping centers, and religious centers including mosques as they remain potential targets for militant attacks.

Those operating or residing in Sindh Province are advised to maintain vigilance in light of the recent HuA plot and the potential for growing competition between militant groups in Karachi, which may result in an increase in plots over the near term.

Homs Province’s Tiyas Military Air Base targeted with guided missile strikes during early morning hours of April 9 – Syria & Israel Alert

Please be advised

Reports indicate that Homs Province’s Tiyas Military Air Base was targeted with missile strikes during the early morning hours of April 9. According to Syrian pro-government sources, its Air Defense System intercepted five of the total eight guided missiles that were used.

According to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR), at least 14 pro-government soldiers were killed, including an unspecified number of Iranian forces.

While Syrian state media initially described the incident as “American aggression”, Pentagon officials have reportedly denied any US involvement.

According to a Russian state news agency, the Russian Defense Ministry stated that the Israeli Air Force (IAF) carried out the strikes from Lebanese airspace with two F-15 fighter jets.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have not issued any comment regarding the development.

Assessments & Forecast

The development comes amidst a marked increase of tensions between Syrian pro-government forces and Israel over the past months. This is highlighted by the February 10 launch of an Iranian unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) into Israel from Tiyas Military Air Base. While the IAF retaliated by conducting strikes against four pro-government bases in Syria, the downing of an Israeli F-16 fighter jet with Syrian anti-aircraft fire during this action marked an achievement for the Syrian pro-government forces unprecedented in recent years. As these developments highlight the growing willingness of Iran and Syrian pro-government forces to challenge Israel, we assess that the aforementioned reports ascribing the current missile strike to the IDF are highly credible.

The operation follows the February statement by Hezbollah Leader Hassan Nasrallah, who praised the aforementioned downing of the F-16 fighter jet as “beginning of a new strategic era which puts an end to the violation of Syrian airspace and territory”. Thus, the targeting of Tiyas Military Air Base, which lies deep within Syrian territory, serves to reassert Israel’s deterrence and the countries’ adherence to its well-established policy of targeting any pro-government facilities which are liable to threaten Israel’s military and technological edge. More significantly, in light of Israeli concerns about the growing fortification of Iranian operational bases in Syria, the current missiles strikes demonstrate Israel’s increased resolve to target military installations used by Iranian forces.

Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry statement holding Israel responsible is unprecedented, and thus highly notable. While Israel has carried out multiple airstrikes in Syria over the past years, since September 2015, Israel and Russia have coordinated such strikes through a bilateral deconfliction mechanism in order to mitigate the risk of conflicts between their armed forces. While the maintenance of this channel was hitherto regarded as tacit Russian approval of IDF action in Syria, the current statement indicates Moscow renunciation of this policy. FORECAST: Such a development would reduce Russia’s ability to function as a diplomatic backchannel to de-escalate tensions between Israel and Iran. Furthermore, it decreases the likelihood that Russia will pressure Iran to desist from expanding its presence near the Syrian-Israeli border. As a result, Israel will likely consider more robust military measures in order to contain this threat. Thus, over the coming months, the IDF is liable to increase airstrikes against Syrian pro-government targets across Syria, including Iranian bases.

FORECAST: Moreover, while Iran and its proxy forces are likely not interested in a broad escalation of hostilities with Israel at this point, the fact that Russia openly named Israel as the perpetrator of the current missiles strikes may pressure them to conduct retaliatory measures. While we assess that any such action will likely remain localized, more sophisticated attacks, such as IED detonations or RPG attacks targeting IDF soldiers positioned along the border cannot be entirely excluded. Should such a scenario materialize, both parties may be forced to react with increasing force to perceived transgressions of the other party in order to reassert their deterrence. Thus, while broad conflict between the parties remains unlikely to erupt over the coming months, a gradual increase of hostilities alongside the Syrian-Israeli border cannot be ruled out.

Recommendations

Recommendations: Syria

We advise against all travel to Damascus and Aleppo, given the general threat of indiscriminate aerial bombardment and artillery shelling from government forces as well as attacks by various militant groups. Attacks by rebel forces may include the use of rocket-propelled grenades, suicide bombings, and mortar attacks.

Those remaining in Damascus should ensure that contingency and emergency evacuation plans are updated due to the potential for a further deterioration in the security situation. Avoid all travel to outlying areas of the city given the persistent threat of militancy.

Recommendations: Israel

Travel to Israel may continue at this time while adhering to security precautions regarding militant attacks, while avoiding the immediate vicinity of the Syrian, Lebanese, and Egyptian borders, due to the persistent risk for cross-border violence.

Those residing or operating in Israel are advised to monitor the situation in the vicinity of the border areas regarding incidents of cross-border hostilities and possible rocket attacks. Remain cognizant of the situation along the Lebanese and Syrian border areas, and continue adhering to all safety precautions regarding early warning sirens for incoming rockets. In case you hear a siren, seek shelter in a protected area and remain inside for at least 10 minutes.

Official Syrian news agency reports missile attack targeting military sites in Hama, Aleppo provinces during overnight hours of April 29-30 – Syria & Israel Alert

Please be advised

The official Syrian news agency reported that missiles targeted military sites in Aleppo and Hama provinces, during the overnight hours of April 29-30.

According to a pro-government media outlet, an arms depot belonging to the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) 47th Brigade in Hama Governorate was targeted. As for Aleppo Province, the exact target of the attack has yet to be specified. No official confirmation regarding the perpetrator of the strikes has been released at the time of writing.

Reports additionally indicate that the target was an underground bunker containing more than 100 long-range accurate missiles.

Moreover, reports indicate that missile attacks killed 26 pro-Syrian government fighters at Hama’s arms depot, many of whom Iranians. However, according to an IRGC-linked media, the reports regarding Iranian deaths as a result of the strikes are “baseless”.

According to reports quoting a US military source, the US-led coalition is not beyond the attack.

Assessments & Forecast

The incident comes amidst an uptick in Israeli strikes against Iranian-linked facilities across Syria over the past months. On April 9, Israel reportedly targeted Homs Province’s Tiyas Military Airbase with missiles, which resulted in the killing of seven Iranian troops. In addition, on February 10, Israeli Air Force (IAF) aircraft targeted 12 facilities, including three Syrian aerial defense batteries and four Iranian military bases. Therefore, we assess that the overnight strikes were similarly carried out by Israel. Nonetheless, the incident is notable given its scale-and-scope, as the number of reported casualties is significantly higher than Israel’s usual attacks in Syria.

Such attacks, especially in light of the reported Iranian casualties as a result of the recent incident, highlight Israel’s persistent efforts to contain the growing Iranian influence across Syria, as well as its increased willingness to conduct large-scale assaults deep in Syria in order to achieve this goal. Moreover, the development follows multiple Iranian threats of attacks against Israel in the wake of the above mentioned Israeli strikes in Homs Province, which resulted in the killing of Iranian troops. The strikes are potentially an attempt by Israel to send a deterring message to Tehran, as well as that it will continue to operate in Syria, in spite of Iran’s threats. Furthermore, as underscored by the reports regarding the base containing more than 100 accurate missiles, the incident demonstrates Israel’s determination to target military installations containing weapons or systems considered to be jeopardizing Israel’s technological edge and national security.

FORECAST: Given the reports regarding a high number of Iranian casualties, Tehran will likely seek to carry out a significant act of retaliation against Israel. This may include the launching of armed Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) into Israeli territory and target a military base, in a similar fashion to the February 10  incident, during which an IAF helicopter intercepted an Iranian UAV in Israeli airspace. Additional response may include attempted attacks against Israeli and Jewish interests across the globe, potentially official or diplomatic facilities.  Additionally, albeit slightly less likely, attacks against Israel Defense Forces (IDF) border patrols on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights may also be recorded. Should these materialize, they will likely involve shootings, IEDs, or the use of anti-tank missiles.

Recommendations

Recommendations: Syria

We advise against all travel to Damascus and Aleppo, given the general threat of indiscriminate aerial bombardment and artillery shelling from government forces as well as attacks by various groups. Attacks by rebel forces may include the use of rocket propelled grenades, suicide bombings, and mortar attacks.

Those remaining in Damascus should ensure that contingency and emergency evacuation plans are updated due to the potential for a further deterioration in the security situation. Avoid all travel to outlying areas of the city given the persistent threat of militancy. Restrict essential travel to areas west of the Old City while avoiding travel to the Old City itself due to the risk of mortar fire and threat of militancy.

Avoid all travel to outlying areas and cities including Daraa, Homs, Hama, and Idlib due to persistent fighting and heightened risk of kidnapping targeting foreigners, particularly in combat zones and rebel held areas.

Recommendations: Israel

Travel to Israel may continue at this time while adhering to security precautions regarding militant attacks, while avoiding the immediate vicinity of the Syrian, Lebanese, and Egyptian borders, due to the persistent risk for cross border violence.

Those residing or operating in Israel are advised to monitor the situation in the vicinity of the border areas regarding incidents of cross border hostilities and possible rocket attacks. Remain cognizant of the situation along the Lebanese and Syrian border areas, as minor hostilities between various groups can escalate into a broader conflict.

Why the July 7 large-scale attack by the Islamic State in North Sinai is likely an effort to challenge regional & local setbacks – Egypt Analysis

Current Situation

A large scale and multi-pronged attack by the Islamic State (IS), involving at least two suicide vehicle-borne IEDs (SVBIED) followed by a ground assault targeted a military checkpoint near the North Sinai village of al-Barth, located approximately 30km south of Rafah, during the morning hours of July 7. According to the Egyptian Armed Forces (EAAF) Spokesperson, 26 casualties were inflicted on the Egyptian military, including the killing of one Colonel, while at least 40 militants from the IS-affiliated Wilayat Sinai were killed and six of their vehicles destroyed in the attack.

Why the July 7 large-scale attack by the Islamic State in North Sinai is likely an effort to challenge regional & local setbacks - Egypt Analysis | MAX SecurityClick here to see Map Legend 

Assessments & Forecast

While attacks by Wilayat Sinai in North Sinai, particularly the triangle area between al-Arish, Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid which is the group’s main area of operation, are common, this recent attack is highly notable due to its large scale, sophistication, and reports that it resulted in heavy casualties on both sides. This is compared to the more frequent, near-daily attacks in the area that largely include small arms fire and IEDs, have a more limited effect, and result in smaller numbers of casualties. In this context, while Wilayat Sinai continues to conduct offensive operations in North Sinai at a high frequency, the scope and volume of its activities had significantly decreased in recent months. Furthermore, while previously the group had conducted attacks outside of its primary area of operations in North Sinai on a regular basis including several times of a month, the last such attack took place in South Sinai’s Saint Catherine’s Monastery on April 18-19, and before that in Mount Halal on March 23, highlighting a continued decrease.


Why the July 7 large-scale attack by the Islamic State in North Sinai is likely an effort to challenge regional & local setbacks - Egypt Analysis | MAX Security

As such, the reasons for the decline in Wilayat Sinai’s scope and volume of activities is likely the result of regional and local developments relating to the Sunni jihadist group. Regionally, as the central organization is continuing to face defeats in Syria and Iraq, it is likely facing more difficulties in lending an active support for its affiliate in North Sinai. Locally, following the October 14, 2016, Wilayat Sinai’s attack on the Zakdan Checkpoint, Egyptian security forces had changed their strategy regarding counter-militancy operations in North Sinai. This entailed a change of focus away from combating the militant group at its “front lines” in the primary area of operations, which did result in killing militants but not in a substantial effect on the group’s overall capabilities. Instead, the focus was turned to the group’s logistic infrastructure such as tunnels, smuggling routes and hideouts and weapons caches in the Central Sinai mountains, which created a more long-term damage and one that is harder to recover from.

Additionally, the attack comes amidst rapprochement talks between the Egyptian government and the Gaza-based Hamas organization, which also include the creation of a buffer zone between Gaza and North Sinai, thus further challenging cross-border activity which benefits Wilayat Sinai and friendly Gaza based-Salafi organizations which are opposed to Hamas. Furthermore, following April 17 when IS prevented a cigarette smuggling operation by members of the Tarabin Tribe, one of the peninsula’s largest and most powerful tribes, parts of the Tarabin tribe, along with later members of the Sawarka Tribe, initiated operations against the militant group, both in their own independent militias, as well as in support of the EAAF. This has likely caused damage to Wilayat Sinai, as it heavily relies on the local population in the region to ensure its freedom of operation.

As such, while the recent attack serves as an indication that Wilayat Sinai still retains significant capabilities that allows it the mount such a large-scale operation, the attack was likely motivated by the aforementioned hardships the group is facing, regionally and locally, and may be the result of perceived despair. In this context, by conducting such a high-profile attack, the group likely seeks to highlight that it is still a viable threat. Moreover, it likely seeks to hinder and deter further counter-militancy operations in North Sinai, by leveraging the civilian population to pressure the government that the investment in North Sinai is not worth the high numbers of casualties caused by it.

If this strategy succeeds, it may allow Wilayat Sinai to at least partially rehabilitate its lost infrastructure and freedom of operation, however at the time of writing, it has low likelihoods of success. FORECAST: Taken as a whole, additional frequent limited-scale attacks by Wilayat Sinai are liable to occur in the al-Arish-Sheikh Zuweid-Rafah triangle area over the coming days and weeks, along with possible larger scale and higher profile attacks in this and other areas in the Sinai Peninsula, however at a significantly reduced rate. Furthermore, Egyptian authorities will likely increase their operations in North Sinai over the coming hours and days, to retaliate against the attack and portray an image to its citizenry that they were able to significantly damage the militant group, thus offsetting any arguments against operations in the peninsula.

Recommendations

Travel to Cairo and Alexandria may continue while adhering to all security precautions regarding militancy and civil unrest. Consult with us for itinerary-based travel recommendations. Avoid all travel to the North Sinai Governorate and border areas with Libya, Sudan, and Israel due to the persistent risk of militant attacks, kidnappings, and general lawlessness.

We further advise to avoid nonessential travel to the Southern Sinai Peninsula, while maintaining heightened vigilance in the Suez Canal Zone, the Upper Nile area, and the Nile Delta region due to an increased risk of unrest and the heightened risk of militant attacks. Before traveling to Sharm al-Sheikh, confirm that flight operations are continuing and have not been impacted by recent militant threats. As a general security precaution, remain vigilant in areas surrounding and avoid the immediate vicinity of government installations, police stations, and religious centers, particularly churches, as these locations remain under elevated threat of militant attacks. When traveling in central squares, or in areas with persistent police deployments, avoid the immediate vicinity of security forces, particularly fixed traffic booths, as such personnel and facilities have increasingly come under attack by militant elements.

 

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How will the uptick in separatist militancy affect tourist sites in Thailand? – Thailand Analysis

Current Situation

Security officials confirmed on June 12 that the alert level had been raised in the provinces of Krabi, Phang Nga, and Phuket due to an increased threat of militancy. As a result, security at Krabi’s international airport as well as crossings, public spaces, and government buildings across all three provinces has reportedly been bolstered. On the same day, both Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan and a Royal Thai Police spokesperson made statements downplaying the alert, stating that it was part of a normal procedure intended to protect against the general threat of militancy, and not related to any specific threat.

Instances of such attacks have been on the rise, with notable attacks occurring in multiple areas. On June 1, security was reportedly bolstered at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok following the discovery of a suspected pipe bomb in a metro station one day earlier. On May 22, more than 20 people were injured following a bomb explosion at Phramongkutklao Hospital in Bangkok. On May 15 and April 5, two people were injured in each of two separate crude pipe bomb explosions, also in Bangkok. On May 9, more than 50 people were injured in the southern Pattani province following a twin bombing at a supermarket. Overnight between August 11 and 12, 2016 a series of low-intensity improvised explosive device (IED) attacks at tourist destinations across Thailand’s Gulf provinces, including Phuket and Phang Nga, killed four and injured 36.

How will the uptick in separatist militancy affect tourist sites in Thailand? - Thailand Analysis | MAX Security

Assessments & Forecast

Separatist militancy outside of the restive south currently in a period of heightened activity

The southern insurgency waged by ethnic Malays has, until recently, been largely limited to the southern border provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani, Songkhla, and Yala, where the Malay population is most highly concentrated. Whereas the August 2016 bombings marked a rare occasion when attacks were waged outside of this traditional separatist operational sphere, it was followed by a relatively calm period outside of the southern provinces that lasted until April 2017. Currently, given the spate of IED attacks in recent months, it appears that Thailand has once again entered a period of heightened militant activity targeting more populated and heavily touristed areas.

The uptick in attacks in 2017 is attributable to a number of factors, namely the ratification of the new Thai constitution in April, which is perceived by separatists as contributing to the marginalization of southern minorities; continued setbacks in the peace process; and the apparent personnel shifts taking place within the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), the most powerful southern separatist group. In terms of the peace process, the BRN’s demands are mostly similar to those offered in 2013 shortly before the Yingluck peace initiative was launched. However, like in 2013, the Thai military rejected these fresh demands outright due to the rebel group’s insistence that negotiations should be done through the guise of the international community. The Thai government has long held that peace talks are an internal matter and no international mediation or observation could occur.

With regard to changes in the BRN, it appears that not only has a new hard-line leader emerged in the group but that they are aggressively expanding and recruiting. Further, as the insurgency enters its 14th year, younger commanders are likely getting restless in the face of no progress in the peace process and a perceived unwillingness of the Thai government to compromise.

Likely, the statements made by security officials following the issuance of the recent alert were an attempt to assuage the concerns of potential tourists in the face of such a growing threat. Given the established pattern of high activity and relative lulls, the exact nature of why the alert was issued is of less consequence, and either way underscores the current legitimate threat of separatist militant attacks against tourist areas.

How will the uptick in separatist militancy affect tourist sites in Thailand? - Thailand Analysis | MAX Security

Separatists to continue to rely on IEDs for staging attacks, capacity for large-scale bombing remains lower outside of southern provinces

Attacks such as the Pattani supermarket bombing in May contrast distinctly with the recent IED attacks in Bangkok. In areas like Pattani, militants have clear operational advantages given the security situation and are therefore able to launch higher-intensity attacks. Meanwhile, the low-casualty IED attacks in Bangkok demonstrate a much lower operational capacity in touristed areas where security is more comprehensive. That being said, separatists clearly have the capabilities to build more destructive bombs, and therefore it remains to be seen if this capability will eventually translate into higher-casualty attacks outside of the restive south.

Despite this operational disadvantage, the August 2016 incident gained a very high level of international notoriety despite utilizing relatively unreliable and weak explosives. This perceived success means that future attacks will likely continue to utilize similar methods and that separatists will continue to avoid large-scale direct confrontations with security forces.

Recommendations

Travel to Bangkok may continue while adhering to standard security precautions regarding the latent risk of crime and militant attacks. Maintain vigilance throughout Bangkok and nationwide, given the general militant threat. We advise against nonessential travel to the provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, and Songkhla at the border with Malaysia, due to a persistent threat of militancy and ongoing counterinsurgency operations.