Militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) could turn themselves into Ebola “suicide bombers” against the Western world, terrorism experts have warned.
ISIS or other terrorist groups could simply dispatch individuals to Ebola-infected areas in West Africa where they would intentionally infect themselves and then spread the virus through the world’s air transportation network.
Capt. Al Shimkus, a professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College, said the scenario was plausible.
“The individual exposed to the Ebola virus would be the carrier,” Shimkus told Forbes.
“In the context of terrorist activity, it doesn’t take much sophistication to go to that next step to use a human being as a carrier,” he added.
Professor Anthony Glees, director at Buckingham University’s Center for Security and Intelligence Studies, also warned that terrorists may consider such a plan.
“In some ways it’s a plausible theory – IS [ISIS] fighters believe in suicide and this is a potential job for a suicide mission. They are sufficiently murderous and well-informed to consider it, and they know that we’ve been remiss in the UK,” Glees told Forbes.
Amanda Teckman, who authored a paper on Ebola’s bioterrorist threat in East Africa, told Forbes: “the threat of an Ebola bioterrorist attack in East Africa is a global health and security concern, and should not be ignored.”
ISIS has already contemplated the use of biological weaponry, according to recent media reports.
Documents found on a laptop seized from ISIS militants in Syria show instructions on how to “develop biological weapons and how to weaponize the bubonic plague from infected animals,” according to a Foreign Policy report.
The laptop reportedly belonged to a Tunisian militant named Mohammad S., who studied chemistry and physics in his country’s northeast.
“The advantage of biological weapons is that they do not cost a lot of money, while the human casualties can be huge,” according to one document. “When the microbe is injected in small mice, the symptoms of the disease should start to appear within 24 hours.”