Monday (5.1.17)

  •   Three young women were arrested under anti-terrorism laws in east London on Monday in connection with a security operation in the capital last week, police said. The two 18-year-old and one 19-year-old women were held on suspicion of the commission, preparation and instigation of terrorist acts, the Metropolitan Police force said.

  • U.S.-backed militias said on Monday they had pushed ISIS out of the old quarters of Tabqa, a strategically vital town controlling Syria's largest dam, hemming the terrorists into the remaining modern district along the shore. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance made up of Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighting groups, are fighting a multi-phased campaign to drive ISIS from its stronghold of Raqqa, 25 miles downstream and east of Tabqa.
  • France has killed more than 20 terrorists hiding in a forest near the border between the West African countries of Mali and Burkina Faso this weekend. The operation followed the death of a French soldier nearby earlier this month. It involved both air and ground strikes, but the statement did not identify the militant group.
  • A U.S. service member who died when an improvised explosive device detonated while he was on patrol outside the northern Iraqi city of Mosul was identified on Sunday as 1st Lieutenant Weston Lee. Lee, 25, of Bluffton, Georgia, was an infantry officer assigned to 1st Battalion, 325th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.
  • Tunisian security forces killed a senior commander in an Islamist group who detonated his suicide belt as he was shot during a raid against terrorists planning attacks during the holy month of Ramadan, officials said on Sunday. Tunisia's armed forces have been cracking down on militants allied to ISIS and al Qaeda's North Africa branch, especially since the country suffered four major attacks in the last two years, including two against foreign tourists.
  • Two Pakistani Taliban commanders were among seven jihadists reportedly killed in a suspected US drone strike that took place on April 29 in Pakistan’s tribal agency of North Waziristan, according to reports from the region. The strike would be the second inside Pakistan since the US killed Taliban emir Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour in an attack in May 2016. The Taliban and other terrorist organizations such as al Qaeda that are known to operate in the Datta Khel have not announced the deaths of any senior leaders, commanders, or operatives.
  • ISIS killed a senior Afghan Taliban official in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar, the Afghan militants said on Saturday, in a rare clash between the rival Islamist groups inside Pakistan. Afghan Taliban sources said Maulvi Daud was killed on the outskirts of Peshawar with two other men on Thursday. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed Daud's death.
  • The leader of the al Qaeda-linked Uzbek group, Katibat Imam al Bukhari (KIB), was assassinated early Saturday in the northwestern province of Idlib. Connected jihadists on social media blamed an “undercover member of ISIS” for the assassination. The assassination of Salahadin al Uzbeki was first reported by Hay’at Tahrir al Sham (HTS), al Qaeda’s joint venture in Syria. HTS’ Al Eba News Agency reported that “the infiltrator who assassinated Salahadin, the emir of Katibat al Bukhari, and his companions has been arrested in Ariha, Idlib today.” Reports suggested that three other jihadists were assassinated alongside Salahadin.
  • British counter-terrorism police said on Friday they had thwarted an active plot after a woman was shot during an armed raid on a house in north London in the second major security operation in the British capital in the space of a few hours. Armed counter-terrorism officers using tear gas stormed a house in the Willesden area of the capital on Thursday evening which had been under surveillance, shooting a woman in her 20s. She is said to be in a serious but stable condition in hospital.
  • The US military may have killed Abdul Hasib, the ISIS emir for Khorasan province, during the April 27 raid in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan that resulted in the deaths of two US Army Rangers. Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said that Abdul Hasib was the target of the raid, and he may have been killed although his death has not been confirmed. Davis estimated that 35 ISIS fighters were killed during the fighting, which lasted for more than three hours after US and Afghan troops assaulted “a heavily fortified compound and tunnel system.”
  • Backed by the Iraqi air force, the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) – an umbrella organization for Iraqi paramilitaries – launched an offensive last week southwest of Mosul in Nineveh Province to capture territory from the ISIS. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has embedded operatives in the PMF and supports a number of its component militias. Abu Mahdi al Muhandis – the PMF operations commander and designated global terrorist – announced the launch of “Operation Muhammad Rasulollah” (Muhammad, Prophet of God) on Tuesday. Proclaiming the capture of the ancient town of Hadr on Wednesday – after meeting light resistance – he claimed the area serves as launching pad to advance northwest towards the town of Baaj near the Syrian border, as well as creating more maneuvering space around Tal Afar – a town to the west of Mosul that has been besieged by the Iraqi forces, the PMF and IRGC-backed militias since November.

Tuesday (5.2.17) 

  • An ISIS attack on Tuesday against a position held by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northeast Syria killed at least 24 people, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said. The attack on a checkpoint at Rajm al-Salibi, the location of a refugee camp near the border between Syria and Iraq, led to violent clashes. More than 30 other people were also injured.
  • A British man who stored material about missile systems on data sticks disguised as cufflinks and created an extensive online manual for members of ISIS was sentenced to eight years' jail on Tuesday. Samata Ullah, 34, an unemployed man from Cardiff in Wales, had admitted five terrorism charges including membership of ISIS. Police recovered 30 pairs of USB sticks disguised as cufflinks, which contained a guide to missile systems and instructions on how to avoid detection online.
  • ISIS stepped up attacks on Iraqi army positions near the border with Syria, killing seven soldiers and wounding 12 in two attacks staged on Sunday and Tuesday, military sources said. Four soldiers were killed and four wounded on Tuesday in an army position near Rutba, a town that controls the access to both the Syrian and Jordanian borders. Three soldiers were killed and eight wounded on Sunday in Akkashat, north of Rutba, near the Syrian border. ISIS has already claimed the attack on Akkashat.
  • Terrorists killed three policemen and injured five others in a shooting in Cairo late on Monday. Attacks on security forces are common in Egypt's northern Sinai, where the country is battling an Islamist insurgency, but targeted assaults in Cairo are rare and the shooting comes amid a campaign by militants to spread violence to the country's mainland.
  • The U.S. State Department issued a travel alert for Europe on Monday, saying U.S. citizens should be aware of a continued threat of terrorist attacks throughout the continent. In the alert, the State Department cited recent incidents in France, Russia, Sweden and the United Kingdom and said ISIS and al Qaeda "have the ability to plan and execute terrorist attacks in Europe."
  • On Monday the Palestinian Islamist terrorist group, Hamas, dropped its longstanding call for Israel's destruction, but said it still rejected the country's right to exist and backs "armed struggle" against it. Hamas also said it would end its association with the Muslim Brotherhood, a move apparently aimed at improving ties with Gulf Arab states and Egypt, which view the Brotherhood as a terrorist group. Israel said Hamas was trying to delude the world by issuing a new policy document that purportedly softens the Palestinian Islamist group's policy towards Israel.
  • Members of the Somali terrorist group al Shabaab said they publicly stoned one man to death and shot dead another on Monday after both were accused of raping a girl in central Somalia. A senior terrorist spokesman said the group had picked up both men in the town of Beledweyne, where the rape occurred. Both had belonged to pro-government forces, he said, but the government denied that, saying they were "bandits".
  • Both the Taliban and the Afghan government have slightly increased the number of Afghan districts under their control over the past three months, but the security situation remains virtually unchanged, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said in its most recent quarterly report to United States Congress. The Taliban controls 11 districts and influences 34 of Afghanistan’s 407 districts (11 percent), while the Afghan government controls 97 districts and influences 146 (60 percent). Twenty-nine percent of Afghanistan’s districts remain contested. Taliban control of Afghan districts has increased one percent, while Afghan control has increased by 2.5 percent, according to SIGAR.

Thursday: 

  • The U.S.-backed Iraqi offensive to take back Mosul from ISIS gained fresh momentum on Thursday, with an armored division trying to advance into the city from the northern side. The terrorists are now besieged in the northwestern corner of Mosul which includes the historic Old City center, the medieval Grand al-Nuri Mosque, and its landmark leaning minaret where their black flag has been flying since June 2014. The Iraqi army's 9th Armoured Division and the Rapid Response units of the Interior Ministry have opened a new front in the northwest of the city. The attack will help the elite Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) and Interior Ministry Federal Police troops who are painstakingly advancing from the south.
  • ISIS’ Amaq News Agency has claimed responsibility for a bombing that targeted a NATO convoy in Kabul, Afghanistan early Wednesday. A jihadist detonated his vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) near a security checkpoint in the Afghan capital, close to where the US Embassy is located. Amaq reported that eight people were killed in the blast. According to news reports, all eight of the deceased were civilians and more than two dozen others were wounded. US officials say that no American servicemen were killed in the bombing.
  • ISIS fighters are developing their own social media platform to avoid security crackdowns on their communications and propaganda, the head of the European Union's police agency said on Wednesday. Europol Director Rob Wainwright said the new online platform had been uncovered during a 48-hour operation against Internet extremism last week. During a Europol-coordinated crackdown on IS and al Qaeda material, which involved officials from the United States, Belgium, Greece, Poland, and Portugal, more than 2,000 extremist items were identified, hosted on 52 social media platforms.
  • A “key” al Qaeda commander was among seven jihadists reportedly killed in the Apr. 29 drone strike in Pakistan’s tribal agency of North Waziristan, according to press accounts from the region that came to light yesterday. The strike took place in an area that the Pakistan military claimed was cleared of jihadists more than two years ago. Abdul Raheem, an Iraqi citizen from Mosul, was an “important” figure for Al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Seven jihadists, including “two militant commanders” known as Abdul Rehman and Akhtar Mohammad, were initially reported killed in the attack.
  • The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan (TTP) claimed 120 of its fighters assaulted a Pakistani military base in the Shawal area of North Waziristan to retaliate for the April 29 US drone strike in Datta Khel that reportedly killed an al Qaeda leader. Shawal is one of several areas in North Waziristan that the Pakistani military claimed to clear free of jihadists during an operation in 2014. However, the fact that the TTP can organize 120 fighters and assault a base there indicates the area is not actually cleared. The TTP released a statement Tuesday on its Telegram account by Mohammad Khurasani, the group’s “Central Spokesman,” that claimed at least 10 Pakistani soldiers were killed during the fighting.

Friday (5.5.17)

  • A "radicalized" man has been arrested near a military base at Evreux in western France, a judicial source said on Friday and prosecutors specializing in terrorism cases have been informed.
  • A U.S. service member was killed in Somalia on Thursday during a Somali-led mission against the al Shabaab terrorist group, U.S. military officials said in statement released on Friday. U.S. Africa Command said the service member died while U.S. forces were advising and assisting a Somali National Army operation about 40 miles west of Mogadishu near Barii, Somalia.
  • The ninth edition of the ISIS’ Rumiyah (“Rome”) magazine was released online early Thursday. And it features an interview with an unnamed jihadist who is identified as the “emir” of the group’s “soldiers” in Egypt. This man runs a branch of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s organization in Egypt that is apparently separate from Wilayah Sinai, or the Sinai “province.” Although the interview is part of the so-called caliphate’s propaganda efforts, it contains some telling admissions. ISIS’ “emir” concedes that his group’s church bombings aren’t very popular in Egypt, nor is its jihadist ideology. This new issue of Rumiyah attempts to justify the jihadists’ slaughter of innocents at places of worship.
  • Additionally, in an interview in ISIS’ Al Naba weekly newspaper published on Telegram, ISIS’ leader in Egypt has warned Muslims to stay away from Christian gatherings as well as government, military and police facilities, suggesting that the terrorist group will keep up attacks on what he referred to as "legitimate targets".
  • The U.S. military said on Thursday it will offer recommendations on the war in Afghanistan to President Donald Trump within the next week, amid expectations of a request for thousands of more troops to break a stalemate with Taliban insurgents.
  • A federal court convicted eight Brazilians on Thursday of planning an attack on the Rio Olympics inspired by ISIS and sentenced them to between six and 15 years in prison.
  • The Somali government arrested two soldiers on Thursday in connection with the killing a government minister in a suspected case of mistaken identity, the minister of information said. Public works minister Abbas Abdullahi Sheikh Siraji died in his car on Wednesday when security forces on patrol in the capital Mogadishu opened fire on the vehicle, believing it was being driven by terrorists, officials said. The country's youngest minister, the 31-year-old was an inspiration to many Somalis having grown up in a Kenyan refugee camp, and his death caused an outpouring of grief online.
  • Legal experts said on Thursday there was growing evidence to prove atrocities by ISIS against Iraq's Yazidi minority, including sexual slavery and mass killings, legally constitute genocide, which could help bring terrorists to justice if they ever go on trial.