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Terrorist Training and Indoctrination

Role of the Internet

The Internet has become a key means of indoctrinating and training would-be terrorists. Extremists use websites and social media to recruit and radicalise individuals through videos and propaganda. Such websites and social media messages can also provide advice and instructions on how to plan and prepare for attacks, acting as a "virtual training camp" or ideas forum. A number of individuals in the UK and elsewhere have been convicted of running or contributing to extremist websites, or have been found in possession of downloaded material that would assist in preparation of terrorist attacks.


Training camps

Despite the destruction of many jihadist training facilities, numerous camps are known to still exist. Terrorist groups like the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Al Nusra Front (ANF) continue to provide these facilities. Camps usually include basic physical fitness training, progression to weapons training and armed assault techniques and potentially instruction in bomb making. Individuals in these camps will also be given guidance to help them avoid coming to the attention of the authorities, and on communicating securely. In most cases, these camps take place in parts of the world which are far from safe, such as Syria, Iraq, Somalia and the Tribal Areas of Pakistan and spending time there will involve physical hardship and danger. The trainee will have to satisfy those providing the training of their commitment and loyalty.


After training

Having undergone training some will go on to fight. A number of British residents have travelled to Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan to join the insurgencies. However, trainees will also have acquired skills which are of value to terrorist campaigns against the West. In order to mount attacks in the UK or other Western countries, terrorist groups seek those who can easily travel to target countries (for example, without the need for a visa), can blend in once there, and can best access other individuals and facilities to assist them in mounting a terrorist attack. In the case of the UK, British citizens would be best placed to do this, and are therefore of great interest to Al Qaida and ISIL.

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