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Homeland Security Expert Offers Insight on Sri Lanka Bombings

University at Albany, State University of New York

Gary Ackerman, an associate professor in the University at Albany’s College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity, is available to discuss the Sri Lanka bombings.

In response to ISIS claiming responsibility for the attacks, he said:

“This attack provides a gruesome demonstration of what many terrorism commentators have anticipated – the loss of the territorial caliphate has spurred ISIS leadership and their followers to maintain their relevance in the jihadist milieu through spectacular attacks more broadly.”

“Although terrorists are well-known for attacking soft targets at a tactical level, it appears as if ISIS is taking this approach to the strategic level by targeting a ‘soft target’ country like Sri Lanka with little history of jihadist violence and whose security and intelligence forces may have been too distracted by internal political rifts to interdict the threat. The claim that this was merely in retribution for the New Zealand attacks must thus be taken with a large grain of salt within this broader strategic context.”

Ackerman’s research focuses on understanding how terrorists and other adversaries make tactical, operational and strategic decisions, particularly with regard to innovating in their use of weapons and tactics. Much of his work in this area is centered on the motivations and capabilities for non-state actors to acquire and use chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear weapons.

View his University expert bio to learn more.

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