FACT CHECK: No, ISIS Does Not Just Target Adversaries Of The United States And Israel

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

A post shared on X claims the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) only targets adversaries of the United States and Israel.

Verdict: False

ISIS and ISIS-inspired attackers have targeted several allies of the U.S., such as Jordan, Iraq, France, Belgium and the Philippines. Furthermore, ISIS and its supporters have carried out attacks against the U.S. and Israel, including a suicide bombing that killed 13 U.S. service members and 170 Afghani civilians during the August 2021 Afghanistan withdrawal.

Fact Check:

ISIS took credit for a terrorist attack on a Moscow concert hall that killed at least 137 people, according to the Washington Post. A U.S official told the outlet that they did not have reason to doubt ISIS’s claim they carried out the attack, the outlet reported.

Social media users are claiming that ISIS only targets U.S. adversaries. One user wrote, “ISIS really likes going after US and Israeli adversaries, that’s so weird.” (RELATED: Donald Trump Claims He Defeated ISIS In 4 Weeks)

This claim is false. ISIS has targeted the U.S. and its allies before, and ISIS-inspired actors have also targeted Israel. For example, ISIS claimed responsibility for an attack on a Catholic church in Istanbul, Turkey in January 2024, according to BBC News. Turkey is a U.S. ally along with being a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), according to the U.S. Embassy in Turkey.

Check Your Fact has assembled a partial list of ISIS and ISIS-inspired attacks/wars on the U.S., Israel and its allies. A more complete list can be viewed here (via Wikipedia):

  • November 2015 Paris terrorist attacks: ISIS claims credit for attacks that killed 130 people, which included terrorists attacking “popular nightspots,” an attack on the Bataclan concert hall, amid other incidents, including suicide bombings, according to Britannica. The alleged mastermind of the attack was later captured in Belgium the next year and sentenced to life in prison in 2021.
  • December 2015 San Bernardino attack: A married couple attacked the Inland Regional Center, killing 14 people and injured 21, according to the Chicago Tribune. The wife pledged allegiance to the leader of ISIS the day before the attack, the outlet reported. An ISIS magazine praised the terrorists as “martyrs” in January 2016.
  • June 2016 Tel Aviv terrorist attack: Two Palestinians opened fire on Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market, killing four people and injuring another 41, according to the Times of Israel. The Shin Bet, one of Israel’s intelligence agencies, said that the two were “inspired” by ISIS, the outlet reported.
  • The Battle of Marawi, waged from May 2017 to October 2017: ISIS-aligned terrorists seized the city of Marawi in the Philippines, leading to a five month siege, according to the Australian Security Policy Institute. The think tank noted it “marked the first time that militants aligned with Islamic State (IS) joined forces to claim territory in the Asia–Pacific.”
  • August 2021 Kabul suicide bombing: An ISIS-K suicide bomber detonated a bomb that killed 13 U.S. service members and 170 Afghani civilians during the August 2021 Afghanistan withdrawal, according to the Defense Department. The Taliban later killed the mastermind of the attack in April 2023, according to the Associated Press.

The U.S. and its allies have conducted an extensive campaign against ISIS from August 2014 through Operation Inherent Resolve. ISIS had attacked U.S. ally Iraq, overrunning and capturing a large part of the country in the spring and summer of 2014, including taking the city of Mosul, according to the Wilson Center.

While ISIS was territorially defeated in March 2019, it continues attacks on various countries. In January 2024, it claimed credit for a pair of bombings in Iran that killed dozens of people, according to The Wall Street Journal. It also took credit for a bombing that killed four people during a Catholic Mass in the Philippines, Al Jazeera reported. (RELATED: Image Claims TO Show US Building Naval Base In Gaza)

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
Follow Elias on Twitter Have a fact check suggestion? Send ideas to [email protected].