sleeper cell

noun

Definition of sleeper cell

: a terrorist cell whose members work under cover in an area until sent into action

Examples of sleeper cell in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Now American and Israeli officials say the operation was the work of Iran, whose intelligence service activated a sleeper cell in Addis Ababa last fall with orders to gather intelligence also on the embassies of the United States and Israel. New York Times, "In a Dangerous Game of Cat and Mouse, Iran Eyes New Targets in Africa," 15 Feb. 2021 There was no claim of responsibility by the Islamic State, which was largely defeated in Iraq in 2017 but still maintains sleeper cells to target Iraqi forces. Washington Post, "World Digest: April 28, 2020," 28 Apr. 2020 Their accounts offer a rare glimpse into the world of Islamic State’s sleeper cells, which lie at the heart of its efforts to reassert its influence in the cities from which it’s been driven out. Washington Post, "ISIS at a crossroads," 24 Dec. 2019 Still, extremist sleeper cells have continued to launch attacks in Iraq and Syria and are believed to be responsible for targeted killings against local officials and members of the Syrian Democratic Forces. Calvin Woodward, Fortune, "Fact Checking Trump’s Recent Claims on Iran, Jobs, and the Environment," 13 Jan. 2020 Still, extremist sleeper cells have continued to launch attacks in Iraq and Syria and are believed to be responsible for targeted killings against local officials and members of the Syrian Democratic Forces. Calvin Woodward, Fortune, "Fact Checking Trump’s Recent Claims on Iran, Jobs, and the Environment," 13 Jan. 2020 Still, extremist sleeper cells have continued to launch attacks in Iraq and Syria and are believed to be responsible for targeted killings against local officials and members of the Syrian Democratic Forces. Calvin Woodward, Fortune, "Fact Checking Trump’s Recent Claims on Iran, Jobs, and the Environment," 13 Jan. 2020 Thousands of fighters are scattered among the group’s sleeper cells, and have claimed attacks in both Iraq and neighboring Syria in recent months. Washington Post, "IS gloats at Iran general’s death, says it pleased Muslims," 10 Jan. 2020 Still, extremist sleeper cells have continued to launch attacks in Iraq and Syria and are believed to be responsible for targeted killings against local officials and members of the Syrian Democratic Forces. Hope Yen, Anchorage Daily News, "Fact-checking Trump’s address on Iran," 8 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sleeper cell.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of sleeper cell

1968, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for sleeper cell

Time Traveler

The first known use of sleeper cell was in 1968

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Statistics for sleeper cell

Last Updated

1 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sleeper cell.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sleeper%20cell. Accessed 19 Apr. 2021.

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