While world leaders have spent the last few months focusing on how to contain ISIS in Iraq and Syria, there are some fears the Sunni jihadist group may be exporting its violent tactics to foreign countries. Australian authorities announced Thursday that they had detained six people after counterterrorism raids foiled a plan inspired by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to carry out random beheadings in Sydney and Brisbane.
The thwarted plot has gripped the world, but it may be too early to determine whether it's part of a larger global campaign for ISIS, says Christian Leuprecht, a security expert affiliated with the Royal Military College and Queen's University in Kingston, Ont.
"What we don't know yet about [ISIS] is if it intends to compete with al-Qaeda as the pre-eminent transnational organization, or whether it intends to stick with its current strategy," which is to capture and hold territory in Iraq and Syria, says Leuprecht.
Even so, there are other indications the group may be operating outside the borders of the caliphate, or Islamic state, that it declared in July.
In May, Saudi authorities arrested 62 suspects in what was thought to be the first ISIS-related cell.