Middle East and North Africa terrorism risk outlook

23 May 2019

Middle East and North Africa terrorism risk update Terrorism risks have decreased in line with the collapse of Islamic State across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). However, risks persist to the energy sector, particularly oil and natural gas facilities.

Terrorism activity has declined since 2017 as IS suffered heavy territorial losses. Attacks fell by 64% in Syria and 32% in Iraq between 2017 and 2018.

While the group no longer holds territory, it retains the ability to launch IED attacks in southern Syria and central and northern Iraq.

Private civilians and their property have been the principal targets of terrorism, with 42% of terror incidents in MENA between 2017 and 2018 targeting civilians.

There is a growing risk of successful attacks on property and infrastructure in politically unstable countries, including Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.

Houthi militants in Yemen have clear intent and increasing capability to target aviation assets, as well as sea vessels and oil infrastructure, using unmanned air and sea craft and ballistic missiles.

Key Terrorist actors in 2019

Islamic State


Hay'at Tehrir al-Sham

Ansar al-Sharla Libya


Which sectors are most exposed?


Terrorist attacks on oil and natural gas facilities have decreased from their peak in 2014-2015, but remain widespread.

In Algeria, energy facilities remain vulnerable to crossborder militant attacks. Areas most at risk are facilities closest to Algeria’s southern border with Mali and eastern border with Libya.

In Iraq, there is evidence of increased attacks by IS against energy sector targets.


There is an elevated risk of one-off attacks targeting cargo belonging to Western companies operating in Saudi Arabia.

Companies most at risk include energy and fuel suppliers as well as those supplying religiously sensitive goods such as tobacco and luxury products.

Risks are similarly elevated in Egypt, particularly in northern Sinai. Roadside IEDs pose high risks to cargo, particularly along the Suez-Ismailya-Port Said road that runs parallel to the Suez Canal.

Middle East and North Africa terrorism risk update



  • Raj RanaRaj Rana

    Raj started her career as an account technician in the back office of the newly merged Heath Lambert in July 2000.

    In September 2001 she relocated to the Head Office in London as an Account Handler in the international Property Division specialising in Terrorism and War.

    In the last 15 years Raj took over the running of the War and Terrorism Portfolio and has since built up a significant international portfolio of business delivering bespoke insurance and reinsurance placement solutions. She has an in-depth technical knowledge of market wordings and is also experienced in tailoring wordings to complement existing insurance arrangements whether this be local pool coverage or integrating with all risks covers.

    She has extensive experience in working with a varied client base including power, infrastructure, energy, retail, manufacturing, hotel and leisure, aviation, finance and public sector businesses. She joined JLT on 1st February 2016 as Head of War and Terrorism.

    For further information or to learn more about terrorism insurance, contact Raj Rana, Head of War and Terrorism on +44 020 3797 7732.

  • This article featured in our latest terrorism report.
    For an update on global terrorism trends and how the insurance market is responding, download our
    2019 Terrorism Report

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