The enduring appeal of violent jihad

The Islamic State group (IS) has lost its short-lived caliphate in the Middle East, with hundreds – possibly thousands – of would-be international jihadists stuck in limbo, and tempted to return home despite fears of arrest and imprisonment.

Yet the scourge of violent jihad – where extremists attack those they perceive to be enemies of Islam – has not gone away.

The hotel attack in Nairobi two weeks ago by the al-Qaeda-affiliated militant group al-Shabab was an uncomfortable reminder. Large swathes of north-west Africa are now vulnerable to attack by marauding jihadists. Somalia, Yemen and Afghanistan remain ideal refuges for jihadists.

So just what is the enduring appeal of violent jihad for certain people around the world?

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