How terrorist groups and gangs are responding to the coronavirus crisis


It’s not just governors and presidents who are leading the fight against coronavirus — drug dealers, mobsters and terrorists are also battling the bug. In regions of the globe controlled by shadowy underworld organizations — from Central American narco-strongholds to remote Middle Eastern areas — deadly thugs are doing things like enforcing social distancing and making people wear hand sanitizer. And while Homeland Security has warned that extremists could exploit the overwhelming focus on the crisis to launch deadly attacks, many are also trying to avoid getting ill like regular people. “A weak pandemic response from a formal government creates an opportunity for the violent group to earn legitimacy in the eyes of the public,” University of Maryland political scientist Jori Breslawski wrote in The Conversation. “Violent groups often take actions to gain legitimacy in order to gain support from civilians living under their rule as well as potential supporters abroad.”


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