Monday (3.12.18)

  • Afghan forces backed by air strikes battled on Monday to recapture a district center in the western province of Farah, after Taliban terrorists seized the town in an overnight attack that killed several policeman, regional officials said. The Taliban killed at least 10 Afghan commandos and several other security personnel during the ambush on Friday night. Eight policemen were also killed and at least three more were captured by the Taliban during the fighting. 
  • Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps said on Monday it had killed two suicide attackers and defused their explosives near the border with Pakistan, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported. In a statement, the Corps said two members of Iran’s volunteer Basij militia were wounded during the clashes late on Sunday at the Saravan border crossing in the southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan province.
  • At least 44 pro-ISIS terrorists were killed and 26 more were wounded when Philippine soldiers shelled positions held by the rebels in southern Maguindanao province, the army said on Sunday. The terrorists in southern Philippines were regrouping, retraining and recruiting new members for another attack elsewhere after occupying the southern city of Marawi for five months last year, according to the army.
  • A reported U.S. airstrike killed eight suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) terrorists from the al Hashama tribe in al ‘Abr district, northwestern Hadramawt governorate, eastern Yemen on March 9. A U.S. airstrike killed four AQAP terrorists from the same tribe in al ‘Abr district on March 5.
  • The US State Department added Ahmad Iman Ali, the leader of al Shabaab’s network in Kenya, and Abdifatah Abubakar Abdi, a dangerous Kenyan commander, to its list of Specially Designated Global terrorists on March 8. Al Shabaab is al Qaeda’s branch in Somalia and East Africa. The two al Shabaab leaders have fueled the group’s insurgency in Kenya and southern Somalia for the past decade and are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of civilians.

Tuesday (3.13.18)

  • Seven people were killed in Yemen’s port city of Aden on Tuesday when a car bomb ripped through a military kitchen used by Yemeni forces trained and backed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), medics said. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, the second of its kind targeting security forces in the city, where UAE forces from the Saudi-led coalition that has been operating in Yemen since 2015 hold sway.
  • The man who stabbed a soldier outside the residence of the Iranian ambassador to Austria sympathized with radical Islamist ideology but it is too early to say what his motive was, the Interior Ministry said on Tuesday. The 26-year-old attacker in Sunday’s stabbing was an Austrian of Egyptian origin. He was shot dead by the soldier who was stationed outside the residence in a Vienna suburb.
  • The United States handed over six surveillance drones to its ally the Philippines on Tuesday, as part of efforts to boost its ability to tackle a growing threat from Islamist terrorists and to respond to natural disasters. The United States is the most important military partner of the Philippines, with a decades-old treaty alliance and numerous pacts that enable rotational deployment of U.S. troops and annual joint exercises.
  • Al Qaeda’s branch in Somalia, al Shabaab, attacked multiple military targets near Mogadishu between March 10 and March 12, according to an al Shabaab-affiliated social media account. Al Shabaab terrorists detonated an IED targeting Emirati-trained Somali soldiers in Taredishe town two miles west of Mogadishu on March 10. Al Shabaab terrorists claimed to kill two Somali soldiers in the Yaqshid district, Mogadishu on March 11 and also ambushed Somali forces on the outskirts of Mogadishu on March 12.
  • The Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), a largely Uighur jihadist group that is affiliated with al Qaeda, released a new video over the weekend highlighting its joint operations alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan. It is unclear where the video was filmed, but the locales featured appear to be in northern Afghanistan.

Wednesday (3.14.18)

  • China and the European Union believe the Taliban should seize Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s offer to recognize the movement as a legitimate political group, the EU’s special envoy to Afghanistan said on Wednesday. The Taliban have not yet given any formal answer to the offer, but U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Tuesday during an unannounced visit to Kabul that the United States is seeing signs of interest in talks from elements of the insurgency.
  • A trial for the widow of the gunman who killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in what prosecutors say was an attack in the name of ISIS, was set to begin on Wednesday with opening statements by both sides. Noor Salman, widow of Omar Mateen, faces up to life in prison if she is convicted in U.S. District Court in Orlando of aiding and abetting her husband and obstructing a federal investigation into the June 12, 2016 massacre at the Pulse nightclub.
  • A U.S. citizen was sentenced to 45 years in prison on Tuesday for supporting the terrorist group al Qaeda and helping to prepare a 2009 car bomb attack on a U.S. military base in Afghanistan, less than the life sentence sought by prosecutors. Muhanad Mahmoud Al Farekh, 32, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan in Brooklyn federal court. Al Farekh’s lawyer, David Ruhnke, said at the court hearing that Al Farekh would be appealing his conviction.
  • Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah survived an assassination attempt in Gaza on Tuesday, the Palestinian Authority said after an apparent roadside bomb targeted his motorcade. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for what one Palestinian Authority security official in Gaza said was a roadside bomb. A second device failed to explode, the official said.
  • For the first time since its meteoric rise in 2012 amid the chaos of war, al Qaeda’s branch in Syria is in retreat, battling rival terrorist groups in the north and fighting for survival in a key foothold near the capital, Damascus. Over the past three weeks, the terrorist group has been driven from nearly all of the northern province of Aleppo, losing dozens of fighters in battles there and in nearby Idlib province. The al Qaeda coalition known as the Levant Liberation Committee is still one of Syria’s most powerful armed groups, with fighters numbering in the thousands.

Thursday (3.15.18)

  • Italian police said on Thursday they had arrested a man on a tip from the FBI suspected of preparing pipe bombs and a judge’s order said he had been considering an attack on a kindergarten. The man, an Italian citizen of Latvian origin, had used social media to praise Sayfullo Saipov, the suspect charged with killing eight people with a speeding truck in New York City last year and perpetrators of other attacks in the United States, according to a police statement and a judge’s order.
  • A suicide bomb blast claimed by the Taliban ripped through a police checkpoint on the outskirts of the Pakistani city of Lahore on Wednesday, killing seven people and wounding 18, officials said. Located in the east of the country, Lahore has largely been spared the terrorist violence seen in the country’s northwest which sits at the edge of a lawless mountain range along the Afghan border.
  • The United States’ air campaign in Yemen has shown no signs of slowing down. US forces conducted 12 airstrikes against terrorist groups in Yemen over the last month that were not publicly announced. The US had conducted 10 counterterrorism strikes in Yemen when CENTCOM last issued a press release updating figures in early in February. This update brings the total strikes against AQAP and ISIS terrorists in Yemen in 2018 to 22.
  • The Imghad and Allies Self Defense Movement (GATIA) and the Movement for the Salvation of Azawad (MSA) alliance claims its fighters have recovered a vehicle used by US Special Forces from last October’s deadly ambush in northern Niger. Four US Special Forces soldiers and several Nigerien troops were killed in an attack by the so-called Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS).

Friday (3.16.18) 

  • A teenager was convicted of attempted murder Friday in a UK court for detonating a homemade bomb on a packed Underground commuter train in London last year. Ahmed Hassan, 18, left the device in a subway carriage with 93 passengers on board on the morning of September 15. It partially exploded at Parsons Green station in west London, injuring 30 people.
  • U.S. and Niger troops killed 11 Islamist terrorists from a Boko Haram splinter group in a firefight in December, the U.S. military said on Thursday, publicly acknowledging a previously unreported incident. The fight took place two months after four American and four local soldiers were killed in Niger, and could prompt further questions about the extent of the little-reported U.S. mission in West Africa.
  • Lebanon’s powerful Hezbollah does not expect its arch foe Israel to launch a war for now in Lebanon but is prepared for one, the deputy leader of the Iran-backed terrorist group said in an interview on Thursday. Hezbollah has spearheaded a coalition of Tehran-backed Shi’ite terrorist groups that have deployed to Syria from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • Saudi Arabia and its adversaries in Yemen’s armed Houthi movement are holding secret talks to try to end a three-year-old war that has unleashed the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, diplomats and Yemeni political sources said. A Saudi-led coalition is fighting to counter the influence of Riyadh’s arch-foe Iran, an ally of the Houthis, who deny any help from Tehran and say they are fighting a revolution against corrupt politicians and Gulf powers in thrall to the West.