Tuesday (5.30.17)

  • Two car bombs killed at least 20 people in Baghdad and wounded about 80 others early on Tuesday, security sources said, one targeting the late-night crowds typical of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan who shop and eat ahead of the next day's fast. ISIS claimed both attacks in statements on its Amaq news agency. A car packed with explosives blew up near a popular ice cream shop in the commercial Karrada district, killing at least 13 people and wounding 40 just after midnight on Monday. A few hours later, a second bombing killed ten people and wounded 44 more near a government office in Karkh district.
  • The Philippine military urged Islamist terrorists occupying a southern city to turn themselves in on Tuesday, the eighth day of a push by security forces using armored vehicles and firing rockets from helicopters to eliminate the gunmen. The government says it is close to retaking Marawi from the ISIS-linked Maute group, which seized parts of the city after a failed attempt by security forces to capture Isnilon Hapilon, the terrorists’ so-called emir of Southeast Asia.
  • Egypt made clear on Monday that it planned to press ahead with air strikes against Islamist terrorists in neighboring Libya who it says were responsible for killing Egyptian Christians in an ambush last week. Libyan military commanders said Egyptian jets hit the Libyan city of Derna on Monday, continuing attacks that began hours after ISIS claimed responsibility for a massacre that was carried out Friday in Minya, south of Cairo, Egypt. Masked gunman opened fire on a bus filled with Coptic Christians who were traveling to the St. Samuel Coptic Orthodox Monastery. At least 29 people were killed. ISIS’ branches in the Sinai and mainland Egypt have repeatedly attacked Coptic Christians. The group has also targeted Copts in neighboring Libya. In early 2015, the so-called caliphate’s men released a video documenting the beheadings of 21 Copts on Libya’s shores.
  • British police said on Monday they had arrested a 16th person in connection with the Manchester suicide bombing last week. The 23-year-old man was arrested in Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex, "on suspicion on offences contrary to the terrorism act", Greater Manchester Police said on Twitter. A total of 16 people have been arrested in connection with the attack, in which 22 people died. Two were released without charge, while 14 men remained in custody for questioning, the police said.
  • Al Qaeda’s branch in Somalia, al Shabaab, stoned a man to death on Sunday as punishment for alleged adultery, they said, a reminder that the terrorist group is still strong enough to carry out public executions despite losing its grip on most towns and cities.
  • Iraq's Iran-backed Shi'ite paramilitary force said on Sunday it had dislodged ISIS from a number of villages west of Mosul, scoring further progress toward the border with Syria. The villages taken by the Popular Mobilization paramilitary force include Kojo, where ISIS fighters abducted hundreds of Yazidi women in 2014. Kojo and the other villages of the Sinjar mountain region will be returned to the Yazidi community, a Popular Mobilization leader, Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, told Iraqi state television.   
  • A suspected suicide bomber killed as many as 14 people in Afghanistan on Saturday and fighting between militants and security forces left at least 36 people dead on the first day of Islam's holy Month of Ramadan. In eastern Khost province, a Taliban attacker detonated a car bomb near a football field that is close to a military base, officials said. At a local hospital, doctors received at least 14 dead bodies and eight wounded people, said Gul Mohammaddin Mangal, head of the public health department in Khost. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the Khost attack, saying it was aimed at members of the Afghan security forces. In the north-western province of Badghis, militants attacked security forces in Qadis district, sparking fighting that killed 22 insurgents, six security forces, and eight civilians, said Zahir Bahand a spokesman for the provincial governor. The fighting also left 33 militants and 17 civilians wounded, he said.
  • Libyan Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia, a group affiliated with al-Qaeda, is formally “dissolving” itself, it said in a statement on Saturday. The group, which Washington says was behind the 2012 Benghazi attack that killed the U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens, had been at war with Khalifa Haftar's eastern-based Libyan National Army. The group said its decision came on the back of heavy losses that have wiped out its leadership and decimated its fighters, but called on revolutionary forces and shura councils in Benghazi to unite in order to form a united front.
  • A new video produced by the Group for Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM), al Qaeda’s group in West Africa released on Saturday, detailed last year’s deadly raid on a Malian military base in the southern town of Nampala. The video is the first major production for the group since its founding earlier this year. The first segment of the video detailed purported Malian government crimes and corruption across the country, while also chastising the French forces in the country for their alleged support and complicity. The majority of the video is focused on combat, however, with a makeshift training camp also shown.

Wednesday (5.31.17)

  • A vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) was detonated near diplomatic facilities in the Afghan capital during rush hour this morning. Preliminary casualty reports say that at least 80 people were killed in the blast and dozens more wounded. The bomb exploded at 8:22 am local time “in Kabul near Zambaq Square outside the Green Zone, which houses diplomatic and government facilities,” according to NATO’s Resolute Support. Afghan security forces “prevented the VBIED from gaining entry to the Green Zone,” but dozens of nearby civilians perished. The Taliban has already denied any involvement via a statement attributed to Zabihullah Mujahid, the group’s spokesman. It is likely that ISIS, which has carried out large-scale operations in Kabul this year, will claim responsibility.
  • A Russian warship and submarine have fired four cruise missiles from the Mediterranean at ISIS targets near the Syrian city of Palmyra, the Defense Ministry said on Wednesday. The strike, which Russian news agencies said was the first of its kind since November, was carried out by the frigate "Admiral Essen" and the submarine "Krasnodar," and targeted terrorists and equipment in an area east of Palmyra.
  • Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi likely purchased most of the key bomb components himself and many of his actions were carried out alone, British police investigating the attack said on Wednesday. Officers in the northern English city have arrested 16 people since the attack in a packed concert hall killed 22 children and adults and injured 116 others last week. Police have been probing Abedi's last movements by delving into his phone calls and watching his movements on closed-circuit television.
  • Shabaab, al Qaeda’s branch in East Africa, has released a 55-minute video professing its adherence to global jihadist principles. The production is titled, “They Are Not Welcome — They Shall Burn In Their Fire.” It emphasizes that “defending Muslim lands is from the most important of individual obligations” and calls the U.S. the “Satan of our time.” Al Qaeda figures are peppered throughout the video, including clips of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri, as well as the leaders of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
  • Gunmen in northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday gunned down the former secretary to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, an Afghan warlord turned insurgent who signed a peace deal with the government in Kabul, officials said. Hekmatyar's Hizb-i-Islami party identified the slain man as Mohammad Fareed and blamed "elements against peace" for the killing. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

Thursday (6.1.17)

  • At least seven civilians were killed and 23 wounded by ISIS mortar shells as they tried to flee Mosul's terrorist-controlled Zanjili district on Thursday, Iraqi police said. Zanjili is part of the enclave that remains in the hands of ISIS in the northern Iraqi city, alongside the Old City centre and the Medical City hospitals complex. The population in the ISIS-held enclave lives in harrowing conditions, running low on food, water and medicine, and with limited access to hospitals.
  • An air strike on Islamist rebel holed up in a southern Philippine city has killed 11 government troops, the armed forces said on Thursday, in a major blow to the country's bid to end its biggest internal security crisis in years. The bombing accident happened on Wednesday when one of two planes bombing rebel positions missed its target in the heart of Marawi City, where ground troops have been battling pro-ISIS militants holed-up in buildings for nine days. The incident came during what was the first offensive deployment of fixed-wing aircraft in the nine-day operation, aimed at flushing out the Islamist gunmen who have defied expectations by clinging on through days of ground assaults and helicopter rocket attacks.
  • An air strike by the U.S.-led coalition has killed the founder of the ISIS propaganda media outlet Amaq in the eastern Syrian province of Deir al-Zor, his brother said in a Facebook post on Wednesday. The post said the strike killed Rayan Meshaal and his daughter in their home in the city of al-Mayadin. Syrian opposition activists had been sharing news of Meshaal's death on social media.
  • Three army officers and a soldier were killed in Egypt's Western Desert on Wednesday when an explosive belt seized from Islamist terrorists went off, the military said in a statement. The Egyptian Air Force was conducting reconnaissance over the Bahariya Oasis area when it discovered and fired on two four-wheel drive vehicles transporting the terrorists. As the Egyptian Army was clearing the area and dealing with the weapons and equipment the fighters left behind, an explosive belt went off, killing three officers and a soldier.
  • ISIS fighters have closed the streets around Mosul's Grand al-Nuri Mosque, residents said, apparently in preparation for a final showdown in the battle over their last major stronghold in Iraq. Dozens of fighters were seen by residents taking up positions in the past 48 hours around the medieval mosque, the site where ISIS’ leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared an Islamist caliphate in July 2014.
  • Tairod Pugh, a U.S. Air Force veteran convicted of attempting to join ISIS, was sentenced to 35 years in prison on Wednesday after delivering an impassioned speech in which he maintained his innocence and decried what he called the United States' racism and Islamophobia.
  • ISIS’ Amaq News Agency has released a short video, just over a minute and a half long, from Marawi. The so-called caliphate has previously disseminated photos from the southern Philippine city, but yesterday’s video is the first posted by Amaq. The video depicts the ISIS loyalists fighting on city streets and taking possession of abandoned armored vehicles. The dead bodies of Filipino troops can be seen in one of the vehicles.
  • Four police officers and a civilian were killed on Wednesday and two more police are missing after their truck hit a landmine on a road along Kenya's northern coast, a police report said. Last week, three roadside bombs killed 11 police officers in attacks along Kenya's long northeastern border with Somalia. Somali terrorist group al Shabaab claimed responsibility for all three attacks.

 Friday (6.2.17)

  • Two suicide bombers killed nine other people and wounded 30 on Friday near a camp in northern Cameroon housing civilians displaced by Nigeria's Boko Haram terrorists, the region's governor and other officials said. The bombers - both men - entered the town of Kolofata, around 6 miles from the border with Nigeria, before dawn on Friday, posing as refugees looking for food before the start of the daytime fast for Ramadan.
  • ISIS claimed responsibility for an attack on a casino in the Philippine capital Manila that killed at least 36 people on Friday, the group's Amaq news agency said, after Filipino government officials said there was no evidence of militant involvement. A gunman burst into the Resorts World Manila entertainment complex on Friday, firing shots, setting gaming tables alight and killing at least 36 people, all suffocating in thick smoke, in what officials have believed was a botched robbery.
  • A bomb blast at a market in a northern Yemeni town killed six civilians and injured 15 others on Thursday night, security officials said. Assailants planted an improvised explosive device at a market in al-Hazm northeast of the capital just as it was packed with shoppers during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Al Qaeda and ISIS fighters have taken advantage of more than two years of a conflict pitting the government, backed by a Saudi-led military coalition, and the armed Houthi movement to carry out bombings on both sides, whom they accuse of being apostates.
  • The Taliban warned the Afghan government on Thursday against harming any of their prisoners after reports that President Ashraf Ghani would order the execution of 11 militants on death row in revenge for the devastating truck bomb attack in Kabul.
  • Several French soldiers were wounded on Thursday, one seriously, in a mortar attack claimed by al Qaeda's local affiliate on a United Nations peacekeeping camp in northern Mali. In a statement, the French army said the attack on Thursday morning targeted the MINUSMA peacekeeping force in Timbuktu, close to a French unit operating as part of a separate counter-terrorism operation. An al Qaeda branch in Mali, Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen, said it carried out the "barrage of mortar shells" in a claim made in a post on social media. 
  • The Afghan Taliban paraded its forces in broad daylight without fear of retribution after overrunning the district center of Waghaz in the southeastern Afghanistan province of Ghazni last month. The Taliban detailed its exploits in Ghazni in a video, entitled “Conquest of Waghaz,” that was released Thursday on its official propaganda website, Voice of Jihad. “Waghaz district of Ghazni province is among the regions which has been completely liberated from enemy presence with the commencement of the blessed new military campaign of Islamic Emirate dubbed ‘Operation Mansouri,” the statement accompanying the video proclaimed. In the video, the Taliban paraded scores of fighters driving motorcycles, cars, and a US-made Humvee that was captured during the assault on the district center. The fighters operated in the open, unconcerned that they will be targeted by US or Afghan aircraft.
  • Gunmen attacked an Algerian military patrol in an area south of the capital, slightly wounding four gendarmes, the ministry of defense said, in an attack later claimed by ISIS. Attacks are rare in Algeria since the end of the country's 1990s civil war with Islamist militants, but al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and small brigades allied to ISIS are active in remote areas. Gunmen opened fire on the gendarmerie patrol late on Wednesday in Larbaa area in Blida region, around 19 miles south of Algiers. 
  • Gunmen killed six security agents in southwestern Niger, a security source and local resident said, in an area near the Malian border where jihadists have been increasingly active. The attackers opened fire on a security post in the town of Abala, about 90 miles northeast of the capital Niamey, at around 7 p.m. on Wednesday, killing four national guard troops and two gendarmes.