ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) has taken note of the coronavirus (covid19) and posted advice in their online newspaper al Naba on how followers should deal with this pandemic disease. The advice is simple; avoid sick people, wash your hands and don’t travel in areas where covid19 is known to be present. If ISIL members do contract the virus and fall ill they must trust in Allah to decide their fate. While some Moslems believe that Moslems are immune to covid19, the majority see the virus as a major threat.
Medical care for Islamic terrorists has always been a problem. In 2014, when the Islamic state was established in western Iraq and eastern Syria ISIL called for like-minded Moslems to come join them. ISIL specifically called for medical and technical personnel to help essential provide services. That appeal brought some medical personnel but there were never enough doctors and such answering the call. Medical professionals who were trapped in areas ISIL overran in 2014 were assured of good treatment if they continued using their healing skills for other residents of the Islamic State. If that didn’t work family members were held as hostages to ensure cooperation. Wounded or ill ISIL fighters were given priority but there was no specialty care for the seriously ill, even senior leaders. Some of these might be covertly moved to Turkish hospitals where cash purchased discreet specialized care.
In some cases, wounded ISIL men sought to disguise their true occupation and seek care in Israel. That was because Israel provided medical care for badly wounded civilians living near the Israeli border. This was unpopular in Israel because of that risk but the care continued as a good-will gesture to Syrians along the border who would often provide information on what was going on in Syria. Israel did ID and capture at least three ISIL members seeking care and others may have received care and returned to Syria a bit confused about just how evil the Israelis were.
Israel also used access to advanced medical care for Palestinians in Gaza as a recruiting tool. Hamas, an admitted Islamic terrorist group that saw itself at war with Israel and ruled Gaza, often saw its border crossing with Israel closed because of Hamas rocket and mortar attacks on Israel. Those crossings were not closed permanently because they were also needed to move food and other essential supplies in. Some sick Palestinians were also allowed into Israel for advanced care but those allowed in were carefully scrutinized. Those Palestinians related to informants were always allowed to pass and were often permitted to remain in Israel for extended care. Hamas knew this was going on but could not do much to stop it because most of the Palestinians allowed into Israel for medical care were not related to informants and many were related to Hamas officials and staff.
In Afghanistan, the Taliban could often obtain care at regional clinics via the use of bribes, threats or kidnapping kin of medical staff. Very serious cases could be moved to Pakistan, where the Taliban always had sanctuary and access to all manner of services. Senior Taliban leaders often received extended stays in Pakistani military hospitals for acute conditions. Such was the case with Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar, who had extended stays in these Pakistani hospitals. The exact location of the hospital where Mullah Omar was being treated was kept secret and this enabled the Taliban to keep his 2013 death in one of these hospitals secret for two years. When it became known that his death had remained a secret even to most Taliban members, it triggered a civil war within the Taliban. This conflict continues because Mullah Omar’s death was kept secret to provide Pakistan more time to find a suitable successor who would willingly do whatever Pakistan wanted. Mullah Omar had been cooperative and that rankled many Taliban members. It still does, more so than access to medical care.