“Friday night’s attack in Moscow was nightmarish but sadly the horror is likely to be just beginning.”

That’s the assessment of Greg Barton, professor of Global Islamic Politics at Deakin University, whose analysis today seeks to unpack some of the key issues at stake in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack in Russia on Friday.

More than 133 people were killed and scores more injured after gunmen with automatic weapons stormed a concert hall in Moscow and opened fire. Islamic State has claimed responsibility and it has been widely reported the attack was carried out by Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K), the branch of the organisation established in 2015 in Afghanistan.

Today, Barton explains who this group is, why they might target Russia and what this grim development means for Russian President Vladimir Putin and the broader terrorism threat in the West.

The name might not be immediately recognisable in the West, but ISIS-K has been carrying out numerous large attacks in Russia, Afghanistan and Iran in recent years. In fact, the offshoot group has planned more than 20 attacks in nine countries in the past year alone, up from eight attacks the year before.

If ISIS-K is indeed responsible for the Moscow theatre shootings, Barton writes, we should prepare for further attempted attacks – not just in Russia but across Europe. “After five years of mostly operating in western Asia, the Middle East and Africa, these groups now pose a renewed threat to the West,” he says.

Justin Bergman

International Affairs Editor

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