Monday 10.22.18
  • Voters in Afghanistan have defied deadly attacks to cast ballots in large numbers in the nation's long-awaited parliamentary elections. Several explosions targeted polling stations, with dozens of people killed or injured in scores of incidents across the country. Voters unable to cast ballots on Saturday turned out on Sunday as polling was extended in some areas. A new biometric verification system had caused technical problems.
  • The assassin who killed General Raziq, the chief of Kandahar’s police, and Hassan Khail, the head of the provincial NDS, trained at a Taliban camp. The US military and Resolute Support have yet to identify the assassin as a member of the Taliban, let alone acknowledge that he trained in a Taliban camp. The Taliban lionized Raziq’s killer in a video that was released on Voice of Jihad, the group’s official website, on Oct. 20. The video was produced by “Al Hijrah Studio, part of the Multimedia Branch of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s Cultural Commission.”
  • A U.S. general officer was wounded in an attack last week in Afghanistan's Kandahar province that killed two senior Afghan provincial officials and targeted a group that included the senior U.S. commander in the country, four people with knowledge of the assault said. Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Smiley is recovering after suffering at least one gunshot wound inside the Kandahar governor's compound, three of the people said. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. On Sunday, the Pentagon confirmed Smiley was shot in the attack, the Associated Press reported.
  • The US Treasury Department announced on Oct. 17 that Afaq Dubai, a “money services business (MSB)” based in Iraq that moves money for the Islamic State, has been sanctioned. Treasury says Afaq Dubai is part of a larger “financial network that includes an array of other MSBs, hawalas, and financial facilitators in the Middle East.” Indeed, the US government regularly exposes parts of the Islamic State’s global financial network. And recent terrorist designations, including the one targeting Afaq Dubai, highlight the geographic reach and diversity of sources the group relies on for funding.
  • Four Iraqi police personnel were killed in two attacks carried out by Islamic State members in different regions in Mosul, a security source from Nineveh police said on Sunday. In remarks to BasNews, Col. Ghazwan Sheet said “Islamic State carried out two attacks. The first was at the entrance of al-Shoura region, while the other was at the entrance of Makhmur, southwest of Mosul. The two attacks left four police personnel killed and a fifth seriously injured.”
  • An airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group targeted a mosque in Syria last week because it was determined to be an insurgent command-and-control center, the U.S. said Sunday. The coalition said in a statement that while the law of war protects mosques, the use of the building as a headquarters by ISIS caused it to lose that protected status. It said a dozen fighters were killed. U.S. Army Gen. Joseph Votel, the top American commander for the Middle East, said Sunday that he is very satisfied that commanders went through the proper procedures to determine that the mosque was being used by ISIS and that it was a legitimate target.
  • A senior US military commander has called on the UK to take back Islamic State fighters who have been "caught on the battlefield" in Syria. Maj Gen Patrick Roberson, commander of US special ops, also called on the government to repatriate two Londoners who have been called the "ISIS Beatles". The UK says El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey have been stripped of their British citizenship. The government is negotiating for them to face trial in the US.
  • The Islamic State group early Saturday released two women and four children they had been holding since July in the first part of an exchange with the Syrian government that will set free dozens of women related to members of the extremist group, opposition activists said. The women and children were among 30 people kidnapped by ISIS in the southern province of Sweida on July 25 when they carried out a raid that left at least 216 people dead. One woman died in ISIS custody while another was shot dead. In August, a 19-year-old man was also killed while in detention.
  • A Syrian war monitor and an opposition paramedics group say an explosion in the rebel-held northwestern city of Idlib has killed at least three people and wounded others. The Civil Defense, also known as the White Helmets, said Sunday's blast occurred near a mosque killing three people, including a child. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said four people were killed, including a child and a foreign fighter whose nationality was not immediately clear.
  • The Israeli military says forces shot and killed a Palestinian who attempted to stab a soldier in the West Bank. The military says troops opened fire on the Palestinian after he tried stabbing the soldier, who was lightly wounded. The incident occurred on Monday in Hebron, outside the Cave of the Patriarchs, or the Ibrahimi Mosque, a site holy to Jews and Muslims. Hebron is the West Bank's largest city and a frequent flashpoint of Israeli-Palestinian violence. Several hundred hard-line Jewish settlers live in heavily fortified enclaves amid tens of thousands of Palestinians.
  • Egyptian security officials say three workers contracted to build a security wall in the northern Sinai city of el-Arish have been shot dead by suspected militants. The officials say a fourth worker was wounded in the attack, which took place Saturday outside their homes. The officials say six militants have been killed in two separate raids by security forces targeting hideouts in northern Sinai. The Saturday raids left two policemen wounded following shootouts.
  • Algerian authorities detained 17 people in Tissemsilt for their involvement in providing an al-Qaeda terror cell with information about the movement of police, gendarmerie and army. “Within the context of fighting terrorism, (the authorities) arrested 17 people who support terror groups in Tissemsilt on October 20,” the ministry of defense said in a statement.

Tuesday 10.23.18

  • The U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions targeting Afghanistan's Taliban insurgency on Tuesday, designating eight people including two Iranians linked to Tehran's Revolutionary Guards' Quds force, according to the department's website. The individuals, which include two Pakistanis and four Afghanis, were identified as global terrorists by the Treasury Department, an action that allows the U.S. government to freeze property or interest in property under American jurisdiction.
  • A servicemember from NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan was killed Monday in an apparent insider attack, the second deadly shooting of friendly forces in recent days believed to be carried out by an Afghan servicemember. Two other soldiers were wounded in the incident, which occurred in the western Herat province, the international coalition said in a statement. “Initial reports indicate the attack was committed by a member of the Afghan security forces,” the statement said.
  • In multilateral action, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have designated four individuals and entities - previously designated by the US Treasury - on their terror list for providing sponsorship and financial and material support to the Iranian terrorist activities. They were named as follow: Qasem Soleimani, Hamed Abdollahi, Abdul Reza Shahlai, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Saudi Arabia’s State Security Presidency and the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center sanctioned and designated 9 individuals associated with the Taliban and their Iranian facilitators.
  • From northern Syria, Muslim convert Sufyan is imploring his native Germany to take him back, having been captured years after joining the Islamic State group's so-called "caliphate". His beard n eatly buzzed, Sufyan is one of hundreds of foreigners held by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in war-torn Syria, accused of fighting for ISIS. The 36-year-old insists he was not a fighter, but a misguided civilian making orthopaedic shoes and prosthetics in IS territory.
  • Syria's Kurds are holding hundreds of alleged foreign fighters from the Islamic State group, but say they will not try them and have urged their home countries to repatriate them. Kurdish forces who have been fighting ISIS in Syria with backing from the US-led coalition say they hold around 900 of the organization’s foreign jihadists from 44 countries. The most infamous captives include Alexanda Amon Kotey and El Shafee el-Sheikh, two survivors of the ISIS kidnapping quartet dubbed "The Beatles" due to their British accents. The group was notorious for videotaping beheadings.
  • The US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group in eastern Syria said Monday that it had bombarded a mosque believed to be a military command post for the jihadists -- the second such strike in a week. The coalition said that on Monday, it had "destroyed several buildings" used by ISIS fighters to "launch attacks against Syrian Democratic Force partners" in the village of Sousa. One of the buildings was a "mosque that was being used as a defensive fighting position and command center," it said in a statement, adding that several ISIS fighters had been killed as they fired on coalition forces.