UN counter-terror chief says extremists are using COVID pandemic to spread terrorist ideology

New Europe - Elena Pavlovska

Vladimir Voronkov, the head of the United Nations’ counter-terrorism office, on Tuesday warned that terrorists are exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic and appealing to new “racially, ethnically and politically motivated violent extremist groups”.

Voronkov spoke at the UN security council’s 20th anniversary commemoration of the resolution to fight terrorism adopted after the 9/11 attacks on the United States, and six days after a violent assault on the US Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.

He warned that Al-Qaeda, which was responsible for the 9/11 attacks, is still proving resilient despite the loss of numerous leaders. He added that new groups have emerged in the past two decades, including Daesh, which is using social media to recruit followers around the globe.

Voronkov also said that terrorists have sought to exploit the COVID-19 crisis, and that they have quickly adapted to exploiting cyberspace and new technologies.

“Their tactics are appealing to new groups across the ideological spectrum, including racially, ethnically and politically motivated violent extremist groups”, Voronkov said.

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