Editor’s Note: This story is periodically updated with new information. The most recent update published on July 25, 2016.
Since declaring its caliphate in June 2014, the self-proclaimed Islamic State has conducted or inspired more than 140 terrorist attacks in 29 countries other than Iraq and Syria, where its carnage has taken a much deadlier toll. Those attacks have killed at least 2,043 people and injured thousands more.
It can be difficult to divine the precise role that international terrorists play in this or that attack. For example, the person who killed four U.S. Marines and a sailor in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in July 2015 was “motivated by foreign terrorist organization propaganda,” FBI Director James Comey said, though he added that it’s hard to say which terrorist group motivated the killer.
It also can be hard to get precise information about some attacks, but it’s clear the deadly tentacles of ISIS have spread quickly from the terrorist group’s epicenter in Iraq and Syria to points around the globe.
Here’s a look at terrorist attacks outside Iraq and Syria believed to have been inspired or conducted by ISIS or its regional affiliates, along with context about the known connections to ISIS:
October 20, 2014 – Martin Rouleau-Couture runs over two soldiers, killing one, outside a government office in Saint-Jean-sur-Richilieu, Quebec. Rouleau-Couture had converted to Islam and expressed support for ISIS online. He may have been responding to ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani’s call to arms, according to the Institute for the Study of War. ISIS mentioned Rouleau-Couture in its English-language magazine Dabiq, claiming the attack resulted from Adnani’s call. It also included a picture of Rouleau-Couture in the magazine. The attack is believed to have been inspired by ISIS.
October 22, 2014 – Gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau opens fire at Canada’s National War Memorial and Parliament Hill in Ottawa, killing army reservist Cpl. Nathan Cirillo. Zehaf-Bibeau is killed by House of Commons Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers. Two others, including a security guard, are injured. ISIS mentioned Zehaf-Bibeau in Dabiq, claiming that the attack was the “direct result of (Adnani’s) call to action,” the Institute for the Study of War reported. The attack is believed to have been inspired by ISIS.
October 23, 2014 – A man with a hatchet attacks four police officers in New York. Police said the attacker, a U.S. citizen named Zale Thompson, was self-radicalized. Thompson had searched online for information on beheadings, al Qaeda, ISIS and al Shabaab, according to police. ISIS mentioned Thompson in Dabiq, according to the Institute for the Study of War. The attack is believed to have been inspired by ISIS.
May 3, 2015 – Two men open fire outside a Prophet Mohammed cartoon contest in a Dallas suburb. The gunmen, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, wound a security guard before police shoot and kill them. Simpson linked himself to ISIS in a tweet posted before the attack, according to a federal law enforcement source.
The keynote speaker at the event was right-wing Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who was on an al Qaeda hit list. At least one of the gunmen appeared to have been in contact with an ISIS operative in Syria via social media. ISIS claimed responsibility, describing the attackers as “soldiers of the caliphate,” according to the Institute for the Study of War. The institute described the attack as “ISIS-inspired,” and U.S. officials said the group probably was being “opportunistic” in claiming responsibility. The attack is believed to have been inspired by ISIS.
November 4, 2015 – University of California, Merced, student Faisal Mohammad stabs four people before being shot to death by police. Authorities initially said the attack was simply the work of a disgruntled student, but the FBI concluded four months later that Mohammad had looked at ISIS and other terrorist websites and propaganda before the attack. The agency concluded the attack appeared to be terror-inspired, but said “it may never be possible to definitively determine why he chose to attack people on the UC Merced campus.” None of the stabbing victims died.
December 2, 2015 – Tashfeen Malik and her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, shoot 14 people to death and injure 21 others at a gathering of local government health workers in San Bernardino, California. Malik and Farook are gunned down in a shootout with law enforcement.
Malik pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Facebook, three U.S. officials familiar with the investigation told CNN.
The husband-and-wife team had developed extremist views as early as 2013, a time that predates the rise of ISIS, FBI Director Comey has said. And Farook tried to contact other terrorist groups, a senior law enforcement official said.
“Individuals inspired by the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) and with links to al Qaeda conducted the terrorist attack,” according to the Institute for the Study of War. “This attack was the first al Qaeda- or ISIS-related in the U.S. by a skilled shooter team using both guns and explosives.” The attack is believed to have been inspired by ISIS.
January 8, 2016 – A man identified as Edward Archer is arrested after a Philadelphia police officer is shot and wounded. Officer Jesse Hartnett was hit three times and suffered “some very serious injuries that will require multiple surgeries,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said. Despite being seriously injured, Hartnett got out of his patrol car and shot the assailant, who later was apprehended by other officers, Ross said.
Archer claims to have committed the attack on ISIS’ behalf, telling police: “I pledge my allegiance to the Islamic State, and that’s why I did what a did.” Archer has a criminal history and impending court appearances. He had traveled to Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
June 12, 2016 – A gunman killed 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The shooter, Omar Mateen, was killed by police three hours after taking hostages in the club. Mateen was a 27-year old U.S. citizen of Afghan descent who pledged allegiance to ISIS in a 911 phone call during the siege. Subsequent analysis of his computer shows he was also an admirer of al Qaeda cleric Anwar al Awlaki.
President Obama said there was no evidence the attacker was under direction from a terrorist network, or carrying out any group’s larger plot. ISIS media outlet Al-Bayan later described Mateen as “one of the soldiers of the Caliphate in America,” but the group provided no evidence of communication with the attacker. The attack is believed to have been inspired by ISIS.
May 24, 2014 –Three people are killed and another seriously injured in a shooting at the Jewish Museum in Brussels, Belgium. The suspect was identified as Mehdi Nemmouche, a 29-year-old Frenchman from Roubaix in the Pas-de-Calais region of northern France. Nemmouche, who had spent a year in Syria, is a radicalized Islamist, according to the chief prosecutor of Paris.
Nemmouche was arrested with a Kalashnikov, a handgun, an audio recording claiming responsibility and a white sheet emblazoned with the name of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, according to the Institute for the Study of War. The attack is believed to have been inspired by ISIS.
December 20, 2014 - A man stabs three police officers in the French city of Tours. The attacker was a 20-year-old French citizen who was born in Burundi. He was shot dead by police. CNN terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank reported that the attacker had posted the ISIS flag on his Facebook page. The attack is believed to have been inspired by ISIS.
January 9, 2015 - Amedy Coulibaly is killed during a police rescue operation to end his siege at a kosher grocery store in Paris. Authorities say he killed four hostages. He allegedly shot a Paris policewoman the previous day. Coulibaly had pledged his allegiance to ISIS in a video made before the attack. He was a friend of Said and Cherif Kouachi, who killed 12 people two days earlier in an attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility for the attack at Charlie Hebdo.
Pro-ISIS sources circulated a video in which Coulibaly pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in front of an ISIS flag, according to the Institute for the Study of War. Investigators found ISIS flags, automatic weapons, detonators and cash in an apartment rented by Coulibaly outside Paris. The attack is believed to have been inspired by ISIS.
February 14, 2015 - A gunman attacks a free speech forum featuring a controversial artist and then fires shots near a synagogue in Copenhagen, Denmark, killing two people and wounding five police officers. Police shoot and kill him. The man swore fidelity to Baghdadi before the shooting spree in a posting made on what was apparently his Facebook page. The attack is believed to have been inspired by ISIS.
June 26, 2015 – A man on France’s terror watch list shoots selfies with the decapitated body of his boss before launching an attempted suicide attack at a U.S.-owned chemical factory near Lyon in southeastern France. Photos made with suspect Yassin Salhi’s phone may have been intended to become part of a social media propaganda campaign for ISIS, said Paris prosecutor Francois Molins.
The head was tied to the factory’s fence, along with two flags bearing “the Islamist profession of faith,” authorities said.
“We can note that this perfectly matches ISIS’ watchword, which regularly calls for committing terrorist attacks on the French territory, and to precisely slit the throats of the nonbelievers,” Molins said. “The beheading also precisely recalls this terrorist organization’s modus operandi.” The attack is believed to have been inspired by ISIS.
September 2, 2015 - ISIS announces that its affiliate in the Caucasus had launched an attack on a Russian military facility in southern Dagestan, a troubled Russian republic, claiming a number of Russian soldiers were killed or injured. There is no independent confirmation of the attack.
November 13, 2015 - A series of terror attacks in Paris kills at least 130 people and wounds more than 350 others. The attackers, armed with assault rifles and explosives, target six locations across the city – including a soccer match as France plays world champion Germany and the Bataclan concert hall, where most of the fatalities occur. In an online statement distributed by supporters, ISIS said eight militants wearing explosive belts and armed with machine guns attacked precisely selected areas in the French capital. The Institute for the Study of War described the attacks as the terror group’s “most sophisticated assault in the West to date.” It was the worst violence in France since World War II. The attack is believed to have been conducted by ISIS or one of its affiliates.
December 5, 2015 - A 29-year-old man attacks another man in the Leytonstone Underground station in London, England. He cut the man’s throat in a “sawing motion,” prosecutors said. The attacker was heard to shout, “This is for Syria, my Muslim brothers.” Britain’s Press Association said his cell phone contained images and flags associated with ISIS. Police said they were investigating the incident as a terrorist offense. The attack is believed to have been inspired by ISIS.
December 30, 2015 - An ISIS affiliate in the Caucasus says it carried out a gun attack in the city of Derbent in Dagestan, claiming to have killed a “Russian intelligence officer.” Reports from the region say a shooting at the ancient citadel in Derbent targeted a group of tourists and killed a security guard, injuring several others. The Islamic Emirate of the Caucasus pledged allegiance to ISIS in June 2015.
January 7, 2016 - A man is shot dead by police in Paris as he wields a large knife outside a metro station. A Paris prosecutor later says the man – thought to be Tunisian – had a sketch of an ISIS flag and had pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Baghdadi. “We might be confronted to highly organized networks like the one in November or we could also run into an isolated attack by a person with psychological problems,” says the prosecutor, Francois Molins.
February 15, 2016 - The ISIS affiliate in the Caucasus claims a vehicle-suicide bombing at a police checkpoint in the Russian republic of Dagestan. The attack occurred in the city of Derbent. Local officials say two police were killed and 12 injured. The attack is believed to have been carried out by ISIS or one of its affiliates.
March 19, 2016 - A suicide bomber strikes a busy tourist area in Istanbul, Turkey, killing four and hurting 36. Interior Minister Efkan Ala said the attacker is linked to ISIS. The attack is believed to have been carried out by ISIS or one of its affiliates.
March 22, 2016 - Two explosions at Brussels airport and another at a subway station in the Maalbeek district of the Belgian capital leave at least 32 people dead and scores injured. In a statement posted online by several prominent supporters and by the ISIS-affiliated Amaq news agency, ISIS claimed that its fighters carried out the attacks.
March 30, 2016 - Two attacks in two days in the Russian republic of Dagestan are claimed by the ISIS affiliate. The first, on March 29, claims to have killed ten Russian soldiers near Kaspiysk; the following day a suicide attack on a police checkpoint kills several, according to the ISIS media office in the Caucasus. Russian officials acknowledge both attacks took place, but say casualties are much lower than claimed.
June 13, 2016 - Larossi Abballa, a 25-year-old Islamic extremist, killed a police officer and his romantic partner in the town of Magnanville, west of Paris. In the midst of his attack, he pledged allegiance to ISIS via Facebook. Abballa had previously been convicted for jihadist activities and was under investigation by French authorities. The attack is believed to have been inspired by ISIS.
June 28, 2016 - Three suicide bombers attack the Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul. They killed 44 people with gunfire and the explosions of powerful suicide vests. The incident marks the highest death toll in a terror attack against an airport. The perpetrators were identified by Turkish authorities as from the central Asian states of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, and from the Dagestan region of Russia. Turkish officials told CNN the three had been dispatched from ISIS’ headquarters in Raqqa, Syria, and had occupied an apartment in Istanbul for a month before carrying out the attack. The attack is believed to have been carried out by ISIS.
July 14, 2016 - A French-Tunisian man drove a truck into crowds celebrating France’s National Day in Nice, killing 84 people and injuring many more, investigators said.. At least ten children were among the dead. Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, who had no record of terrorist involvement, was shot dead by police after driving the truck more than one kilometer through crowds who had been watching a fireworks display on the Promenade des Anglais. The ISIS-affiliated news agency Amaq described Bouhlel as “from the soldiers of the State.”
US Secretary of State John Kerry said later there was “no indication” that ISIS played a role in directing or ordering the Nice attack. But French prosecutor Francois Molins said Bouhlel had apparently planned the attack for several months and had “support and accomplices.” The attack is believed to have been inspired by ISIS.
July 16, 2016 - A 17-year old Afghan launched a knife attack on passengers on a train in Germany. The ISIS-affiliated news agency Amaq later claimed that Muhammad Riyad, who was shot dead by police after escaping from the train, “attacked the Crusader passengers with an axe and a knife.” It later issued a video of Riyad in which he said he was a “soldier of the Caliphate” and would “carry out a martyrdom operation in Germany.” The attack took place near the city of Wurzburg in Bavaria. Five people were wounded, one of them critically. The attack is believed to have been inspired by ISIS.
THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
September 20 or 21, 2014 - French citizen Herve Gourdel is abducted in the Tizi Ouzou region of Algeria, east of Algiers. An online video days later shows militants beheading him and pledging loyalty to ISIS. In the video, armed men claim to belong to Islamist militant group Jund al-Khilafah – or Soldiers of the Caliphate – in Algeria. They pledge allegiance to Baghdadi. Jund al-Khilafah “stated in a video released on September 22 that the kidnapping was their fulfilling the order of IS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-’Adnani to attack citizens of countries participating in the U.S.-led coalition against the IS,” according to INSITE on Terrorism, a blog of the SITE Intelligence Group. ISIS does not acknowledge the group as an affiliate, and little is heard from the group after Gourdel’s killing. The attack is believed to have been inspired by ISIS.
January 27, 2015 - An attack on the luxury Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli, Libya, kills at least 10 people. The Libyan branch of ISIS claims responsibility for the assault, which killed five foreigners, including David Berry, an American security contractor.
“The attack was an inflection in ISIS’s Libya campaign, aimed at securing the cooperation of Islamist rebel groups in western Libya while slowly expanding ISIS’s stronghold in the east,” the Institute for the Study of War reported. The attack is believed to have been conducted by ISIS or one of its affiliates.
January 29, 2015 - Car bombs and mortar rounds target army and police positions in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, killing at least 26 and wounding nearly 40 others. Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, a militant group that has pledged allegiance to ISIS, said via Twitter that it was behind the attacks. The attack is believed to have been conducted by ISIS or one of its affiliates.
February 15, 2015 - ISIS releases a video it says shows the beheadings on a Libyan beach of 21 Coptic Christians who had been kidnapped in Egypt. The attack is believed to have been conducted by ISIS or one of its affiliates.
February 20, 2015 - Three simultaneous suicide car bomb attacks kill at least 30 people and injure more than 40 others in Gobba, Libya. The Libyan branch of ISIS claims responsibility. The attack is believed to have been conducted by ISIS or one of its affiliates.
March 18, 2015 - A terrorist attack on the landmark Bardo Museum in Tunis, Tunisia, leaves 23 dead, including many foreign tourists. Another 36 people are hospitalized, and eight others are treated and released. The siege ends when security forces kill two of the attackers. Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi later confirmed that a third person took part in the museum attack and got away.
ISIS claimed responsibility. “The suicide gunmen attack on the Bardo Museum in Tunis … demonstrates how the confluence of ISIS and al-Qaeda elements in North Africa may lead to emergent threats in the region,” the Institute for the Study of War says.
“While both groups recruit heavily from Tunisia, the al-Qaeda affiliated Uqba Ibn Nafaa Brigade is the country’s strongest operational extremist group. However, the Bardo attack diverged from Uqba’s usual pattern of attacking security forces near its mountainous stronghold in western Tunisia, indicating that ISIS-linked elements likely played some role in the operation.” The attack is believed to have been conducted by ISIS or one of its affiliates.