Monday (4.3.17)

  • At least 10 people were killed in explosions in two train carriages at metro stations in St. Petersburg on Monday, Russian authorities said. Interfax news agency quoted an unnamed source as saying one of the blasts was caused by a bomb filled with shrapnel. President Vladimir Putin, who was in St. Petersburg for a meeting with Belarussian leader Alexander Lukashenko, said the cause of the blasts was not yet clear and efforts were underway to find out. He said he was considering all possibilities including terrorism.
  • Philippine soldiers killed "more than 10" ISIS-linked Abu Sayyaf terrorists in an attempt to free Vietnamese captives held on a remote southern island as troops fired howitzer shells on rebel positions, an army general said on Monday. The small but violent militant group, known for extortion, beheading and kidnap-for-ransom activities, is holding more than two dozen captives on Jolo island. It beheaded a German captive two months ago when no ransom was paid for his release.
  • U.S. backed Syrian forces repelled a major counter-attack by ISIS fighters holding out at the country's largest dam and in the nearby town of Tabqa, the group and activists said on Sunday. The dam is a key strategic target in the military campaign to isolate and capture the Syrian city of Raqqa, 25 miles to the east and ISIS’ biggest urban stronghold.
  • Salem Salmy al-Hamadeen, also known as Abu Anas al-Ansari, a leader in ISIS’ Egyptian affiliate was killed in an air raid last month, the Egyptian military said on Sunday. Hamadeen was one of the founders of the group which was formerly called Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, now called Egypt's Sinai Province, and was responsible for arming and training militants. He died after being wounded in an air raid on March 18th.
  • At least 13 policemen and three civilians were wounded when a bomb exploded near a police training center in the Nile Delta city of Tanta on Saturday in an attack claimed by a newly emerged Islamist terrorist group that calls itself Louwaa el Thawra, or the Revolution Brigade. The bomb was planted on a motorcycle parked near the center, which was cordoned off following the blast as security forces combed the scene, the Interior Ministry said in a statement. Two of the wounded are in a critical condition, a health ministry spokesman said.
  • Three Islamist terrorists were killed on Saturday during a police operation in Bangladesh’s north east Borohat of Moulavibazar, said Monirul Islam, chief of the counter-terrorism unit of Bangladesh police. “Police asked them to surrender but instead the female militant (of the three)...responded with a grenade attack on SWAT,” Monirul said. The operation on Saturday was the latest clash in the South Asian country that has seen a rise in Islamist violence.
  • Ayad al-Jumaili, believed to be a deputy of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed in an air strike on Friday, an Iraqi intelligence spokesman said on Saturday. The U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition said it was unable at the moment to confirm the information that was reported earlier in the day by Iraqi state-run TV. Jumaili was killed with other ISIS commanders in a strike carried out by the Iraqi air force in the region of al-Qaim, near the border with Syria.
  • The US military announced on Friday that a senior ISIS propaganda official was killed in an airstrike on Mar. 25 in Al-Qa’im, Iraq. The propagandist, Ibrahim al-Ansari, was killed along with “four of his associates,” according to Joe Scrocca, the public affairs director for Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR). Al-Ansari “was a leader in producing and disseminating propaganda to direct, encourage and instruct terror attacks, as well as to recruit foreign terrorist fighters,” Scrocca said. He “promoted terror attacks against US and Turkish citizens” and was also responsible for “the brainwashing of young children to perpetuate ISIS’s brutal message,” Scrocca added.
  • A Danish court on Friday stripped the citizenship of a 25-year former pizzeria owner who was convicted last year of fighting for ISIS in Syria. The court order comes at a time of growing concerns about increased radicalization among Muslims in Europe in the wake of attacks in countries such as France, Germany and Britain. Danish media identified the man Enes Ciftci, who was born and raised in Denmark.
  • The White House has granted the U.S. military broader authority to carry out strikes in Somalia against al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab terrorists, the Pentagon said on Thursday, the latest sign President Donald Trump is increasing U.S. military engagement in the region. Last Friday, the head of U.S. forces in Africa said that greater ability to fight the terrorists would lead to more flexibility and quicker targeting. Al Shabaab has been able to carry out deadly bombings despite losing most of its territory to African Union peacekeepers supporting the Somali government. The group's insurgency aims to drive out the peacekeepers, topple Somalia's western-backed government and impose its strict version of Islam on the Horn of Africa state.

Tuesday (4.4.17)

  • The faction of the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram led by Abubakar Shekau released a video on Tuesday denying that fighters are dying of hunger in its northeast Nigerian forest base. Nigeria's military last week said it was "ransacking" territory it said it had recaptured from Boko Haram in the hunt for Shekau, who leads one of two main branches of the jihadist group. It also said he might be hiding in the Sambisa forest. Large parts of northeast Nigeria, particularly in Borno state, remain under threat from Boko Haram as suicide bombings and gun attacks have increased in the region since the end of the rainy season late last year.
  • Somalia's al Shabaab Islamist terrorist group has taken control of El Bur, a town in the Horn of Africa's semi-autonomous region of Galmudug, after Ethiopian forces left, a government official has said. Al Shabaab is seeking to drive the African Union-mandated peace keeping force, AMISOM, out of Somalia and topple the country's Western-backed central government.
  • Turkish security forces have detained 18 people attempting to illegally cross to Turkey from its Syrian border, including a Chechen man suspected of planning an attack, the military said on Tuesday. The security forces found 3.3 pounds of explosives and two grenades in the Chechen man's bag. The group was made up of nine other men, four women and four children.
  • The United Nations said on Tuesday it is expanding camps for displaced people around Mosul, as air strikes resumed on ISIS positions in Iraq's second largest city. More than 300,000 people have fled Mosul since the start of the U.S.-backed campaign in October. Iraqi forces captured the eastern side in January and in February launched a second phase to take the western side, with air and ground support from a U.S.-led coalition. They are now battling to take the northwestern part, but the civilian death toll has mounted in the densely populated Old City, where the terrorists are dug in amongst residents.
  • A blast in a St Petersburg train carriage on Monday that killed 14 people and wounded 50 was probably carried out by a Russian citizen born in Kyrgyzstan. Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported on Tuesday that authorities had received a warning of a possible second attack at the same Sennaya Ploshchad metro station. Interfax news agency said several fire engines were outside the station, which had been closed. The explosion on Monday was a suspected suicide bombing by a perpetrator with ties to radical Islamists.
  • A suspected gas attack, believed to be by Syrian government jets, killed at least 58 people including 11 children under the age of eight in the northwestern province of Idlib on Tuesday, a war monitor and medical workers in the rebel-held area said. A Syrian military source strongly denied the army had used any such weapons.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to consider reviving litigation seeking to hold Arab Bank Plc financially liable for militant attacks in Israel and the Palestinian territories that accused the Jordan-based bank of being the "paymaster" to terrorist groups. The justices agreed to hear an appeal by roughly 6,000 plaintiffs, who included relatives of non-U.S. citizens killed in such attacks and survivors of the incidents, of a lower court ruling throwing out the litigation.
  • A New Jersey teen pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to terrorists in what media called an ISIS-inspired effort to kill Pope Francis in 2015 during a public Mass in Philadelphia, according to a statement by federal prosecutors. Santos Colon, 17, admitted on Monday in a federal court in Camden, New Jersey, that he attempted to conspire with a sniper to shoot the Pope during his visit in Philadelphia and set off explosive devices in the surrounding areas.
  • The US military has continued its increased targeting of al Qaeda’s network in Yemen, launching more than 20 airstrikes against the terrorist group over the weekend. The US has now launched more than 75 airstrikes in Yemen since the beginning of the year, already nearly double the yearly total since the drone program against al Qaeda in Yemen began in 2009.

Wednesday (4.5.17)

  • The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on army personnel that killed at least six people and wounded 18 in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore on Wednesday. Punjab government spokesman Malik Ahmed Khan said the blast, which hit an army vehicle taking part in Pakistan's census, killed four soldiers and two civilian bystanders.
  • A car bomb rammed into a cafe in the Somali capital Mogadishu near compounds housing government ministries on Wednesday, killing seven people, officials and ambulance services said. Witnesses said the blast destroyed the cafe and damaged another one. Police said the blast took place near the compounds housing the security and sports ministries. The incident occurred after the new security minister, Mahamed Abuukar Islow, took office and promised he would come up with a plan to tighten security.
  • At least 31 people were killed, including 14 police officers, and more than 40 wounded in attacks overnight by ISIS fighters in the northern Iraqi city of Tikrit, security and medical sources said on Wednesday. The terrorists wore police uniforms and used a police vehicle to enter the city, 110 miles north of Baghdad. Police colonel Khalid Mahmoud said there were around 10 attackers, including two suicide bombers. ISIS’ Amaq news agency said seven suicide fighters attacked a police position and the home of the head of the city's counter-terrorism service, who was killed. The assailants blew themselves up when they ran out of ammunition, it said.
  • Six people of central Asian origin have been detained on suspicion of recruiting for radical Islamist groups, Russian investigators said on Wednesday, but added there was no proof linking the detainees to the deadly metro bombing in St Petersburg. Russian state investigators say their main suspect in Monday's bombing, which killed 14 people and injured 50, is Akbarzhon Jalilov, who was born in 1995 in Kyrgyzstan, a Muslim majority state in central Asia. He was killed in the blast.
  • Two Florida men have pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support to ISIS by planning to travel to Syria to join the terrorist group, the U.S. Justice Department said on Tuesday. Dayne Antani Christian, 32, and Darren Arness Jackson, 51 are both U.S. citizens and live in Palm Beach County. Each man faces a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted on the conspiracy charges.

Thursday (4.6.17)

  • Hamas, a designated terrorist organization and the ruling party in Gaza, executed three Palestinians on Thursday convicted of collaborating with Israel, hanging the men during a campaign to persuade any Israeli-recruited agents to come forward in return for more lenient punishment.
  • A French soldier was killed in Mali after a clash with armed terrorists, French President Francois Hollande's office said on Thursday, highlighting instability in the west African state which is vulnerable to attacks from jihadist groups. Previous similar attacks have been claimed by al Qaeda's North African wing which says it wanted to punish France and groups cooperating with the government.
  • ISIS killers used “sharp tools” to murder 33 people in Syria on Wednesday before dumping the bodies into a mass grave “filled with blood,” a the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The slaughter was the largest execution operation carried out by ISI] in 2017, but the identities of the dead – men aged 18-25 – were not immediately known, and it was unclear if they were civilians or captured soldiers.
  • Libyan authorities released on Wednesday 28 Eritreans and seven Nigerians who were captured and enslaved by ISIS in Sirte and had been held in detention since the jihadist group lost the city in December. The group, all but two of whom are women and children, escaped from Sirte, a former ISIS stronghold in central Libya, while forces from the nearby city of Misrata battled to oust the terrorists late last year. Some of the women were on their way to Europe when ISIS fighters kidnapped and held them as sex slaves. After they escaped from Sirte, they were investigated for possible ties to the group and held for several months in a Misrata prison.
  • African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) said its forces Wednesday thwarted attempts by the al-Shabaab terrorists to attack its base in Hiran region in south-west Somalia. The AU mission said the insurgents who have been fighting the Western-backed government retreated after incurring losses and injures in an attempt to attack the base Jalalaqsi town.

Friday (4.7.17)

  • The United States fired cruise missiles on Friday at a Syrian airbase from which President Donald Trump said a deadly chemical weapons attack had been launched, the first direct U.S. assault on the government of Bashar al-Assad in six years of civil war. With this move the U.S. directly targeted the Syrian military for its suspected role in a poison gas attack that killed at least 70 people.
  • Mortar shells fired into homes in the Somali capital of Mogadishu has killed three people and wounded five, police and ambulance services said on Friday, a day after the government changed heads of security agencies. Police said they suspected the al Qaeda affiliate, al Shabaab, was behind the attack.
  • Two Iraqi army pilots were killed on Thursday when their helicopter was shot down over the city of Mosul by ISIS, according to a military statement. The helicopter was providing air support to Federal Police forces battling ISIS fighters on the western side of Mosul. It is the first aircraft downed by ISIS over Mosul since the start of the U.S.-backed offensive on the northern Iraqi city, in October.
  • A roadside bomb killed 10 people in a minibus in southern Somalia on Thursday, a military officer and residents said, blaming Islamist terrorists who denied planting the device. The blast in Golweyn village occurred hours after Somalia's president replaced his security chiefs and called on al Qaeda-affiliated al Shabaab fighters to surrender within 60 days in return for education and jobs. Al Shabaab governor for the Lower Shabelle region, Mohamed Abu Usama, said its fighters were not at the village, and put the number of dead at eight.
  • A U.S.-Syrian ISIS fighter who helped run an online media campaign disseminating jihadist material to sympathizers around the world from its self-declared caliphate has been killed in Syria, the group said. Ahmad Abousamra was killed in early January when a missile struck a house where he was staying north of the Syrian city of Tabqa, according to ISIS publications including the English language online magazine Rumiyah which he helped set up. Abousamra, 35, was born in Paris but brought up in Boston, Massachusetts, where he studied computer science, Rumiyah said. He traveled to Yemen, Pakistan and Iraq before returning to the United States, but fled after his plans for an armed attack with two accomplices on U.S. soil were uncovered.