Monday (4/17/17)
  • Iraqi forces gained fresh ground in door-to-door fighting in the Old City of Mosul, a military spokesman said on Monday, as the U.S.-backed offensive to capture ISIS’ de facto capital in Iraq entered its seventh month. Drones are extensively being used to locate and direct air strikes on the terrorists who are dug in the middle of civilians. Troops have focused on the famous centuries-old al-Nuri Mosque leaning minaret since last month, as capturing it would mark a symbolic victory over the insurgents. Their progress has been slow as about 400,000 civilians, or a quarter of Mosul's pre-war population, are trapped in neighborhoods still under control of ISIS.
  • The Tunisian who killed 12 people by driving a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin received his orders directly from ISIS, a German magazine reported on Saturday. The terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack on Dec. 19, but it was unclear whether it had planned and executed it, or just inspired the attacker with its calls on supporters to hit targets in enemy countries. Der Spiegel cited information provided to German security authorities from the United Arab Emirates on Jan. 8 that said Anis Amri, the failed asylum seeker who drove the truck into the crowd, had received an order from a squad within ISIS. The squad is known to German authorities from other proceedings against suspected ISIS fighters disguised as refugees.
  • An ISIS fighter linked to the deadly 2015 attack on French weekly Charlie Hebdo could be still be alive, the Iraqi military said on Saturday. Boubaker el-Hakim was reported by American defense officials to have been killed in November, in a U.S. drone strike in Raqqa, ISIS’ de facto capital in Syria. Iraqi intelligence supplied information to the Syrian air force to carry out a series of strikes on ISIS headquarters and hideouts in Syria, including one believed to belong to el-Hakim. Aircraft from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's airforce targeted several locations in Raqqa and Albu Kamal, near the Iraqi border, without indicating the location of el-Hakim's headquarters or the date of the raids. An Iraqi military spokesman said el-Hakim's headquarters were destroyed but it wasn't clear if he was killed.
  • A Palestinian man fatally stabbed a British student on Jerusalem's transit network on Friday, Israeli police said. Israel's ambassador to Britain, Mark Regev, named the victim as Hannah Bladon on his Twitter account, adding that she was "murdered in a senseless act of terror." The incident occurred in a train carriage on the light rail network near the walled Old City.
  • On Thursday an 11-ton "mother of all bombs" was dropped by U.S. forces on ISIS-linked fighters in Afghanistan. The 21,600-pound (9,797-kg) GBU-43 (Guided Bomb Unit), one of only 15 ever built, was developed after the U.S. military found itself without the ordnance needed to deal with al Qaeda tunnel systems in the hunt for Osama Bin Laden in 2001. But the Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb, or MOAB, as it is also known, had never been used in combat until Thursday when a U.S. MC-130 aircraft dropped one on the Achin district of Nangarhar, bordering Pakistan. Afghan officials say it killed as many as 36 suspected ISIS fighters.
  • The State Department announced on April 13th that two Canadian citizens have been added to the US government’s list of designated terrorists. One of them, Tarek Sakr, is allegedly “linked” to Al Nusrah Front, which was the public arm of al Qaeda in Syria until mid-2016. Even though Nusrah was rebranded as Jabhat Fath al Sham in July 2016 and then merged with four other groups to form a joint venture (“Assembly for the Liberation of the Levant”) in January, State still refers to organization by its original name and describes it as al Qaeda’s “affiliate in Syria.” The other newly designated jihadist is Farah Mohamed Shirdon, a Canadian citizen with Somali roots who joined the ISIS in 2014. State describes Shirdon, also known as Abu Usama al Somali, as “a prominent ISIS fighter and recruiter” who “has also been involved in fundraising.

Tuesday (4.18.17) 

  • French police thwarted an imminent “terror attack,” arresting two suspected terrorists Tuesday in the southern port city of Marseille. The men, both French, one born in 1987 and the other in 1993, are “suspected of wanting to commit, in an imminent way, a violent action on the eve of the French presidential election,” the minister said Interior Minister Matthias Fekl.
  • Pakistan's military captured a would-be ISIS female suicide bomber in the cultural capital of Lahore before she could carry out an attack on the Christian community during Easter celebrations, the army's chief spokesman said on Monday. The military identified the woman as Noreen Leghari, a medical student who grew up in the southern city of Hyderabad. Part of a video confession by the woman was shown at a news briefing. In it, she says she was part of a planned attack on an unnamed church on Easter, and had traveled from Hyderabad to Lahore and was working with two other men.
  • ISIS is talking to al Qaeda about a possible alliance as Iraqi troops close in on ISIS fighters in Mosul, Iraqi Vice President Ayad Allawi said in an interview on Monday. Allawi said he got the information on Monday from Iraqi and regional contacts knowledgeable about Iraq. "The discussion has started now," Allawi said. "There are discussions and dialogue between messengers representing Baghdadi and representing Zawahiri," referring to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi and Ayman al Zawahiri, the head of al Qaeda.
  • Nigeria troops on Monday at Jarawa village in Kala Balge Local Government Area of Borno, rescued 1,623 captives held by remnants of Boko Haram terrorists after they neutralized 21 terrorists in a battle, an official said. According to a statement issued by the army spokesperson, the troops also recovered 3 AK-47 Rifles, a 36 hand grenade, 12 cutlasses, and four motorcycles.
  • U.S. aircraft attacked southern Somalia on Saturday morning, killing more than 100 al-Shabaab terrorists, including 20 commanders, residents and officials have said. Witnesses said the planes targeted the terrorists’ hideouts in War Gaduud and El-Adde where many Kenyan soldiers were killed by the terrorists in January 2016.

Thursday (4.20.17) 

  • The Egyptian military carried out air strikes in northern Sinai today reportedly killing 19 members of the country’s ISIS affiliate following an attack on security forces near St. Catherine’s Monastery in south Sinai this week claimed by the terrorist group.
  • Russia’s Federal Security Service has identified the person who orchestrated an attack that killed 14 people on the St. Petersburg metro earlier this month, Russian news agencies reported today citing FSB chief Alexander Bortinkov. On Wednesday, the Russian Investigative Committee said that Russian authorities detained the elder brother of the suspected organizer of the attack who allegedly helped transfer money, prepare for the attack, and organize communication with international terrorists.
  • Major General Joseph Martin, the commander of coalition ground forces in Iraq, said on Wednesday that ISIS had used a chemical agent in an attack on Iraqi forces over the weekend and that the agent has been sent for testing to try to identify it.
  • U.S. military officials said on Wednesday that U.S. troops are still battling ISIS fighters near the site where the GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb was dropped in eastern Afghanistan last week. Relatedly, despite claims by Afghan officials that nearly 100 ISIS fighters were killed by the bombing, the terrorist group suggested in a recent broadcast that they suffered no casualties.
  • Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian terrorist on Wednesday who rammed his car into a bus stop at Gush Etzion Junction, a busy intersection in the West Bank, injuring an Israeli civilian.
  • Finland’s government is considering a law, presented on Wednesday, that would allow the Finnish intelligence services to monitor citizens’ data communications beyond Finnish borders if there is suspicion of a “serious threat” against national security. The legislative proposal is aimed at countering threats like terrorism and spying on the heels of growing concerns in the country after recent attacks in neighboring Sweden and Russia.
  • A man held in France over a foiled plot to stage an attack ahead of the first round of presidential elections in the country was also sought by Belgian authorities, according to Belgium’s federal prosecutor. Clement Baur, 23, was one of the two people detained on Sunday in Marseilles and authorities said he had plotted an “imminent and violent attack.”
  • A U.S. drone strike killed four suspected al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) members in an overnight strike as they were traveling through Yemen’s central desert province of Marib, local officials said on Wednesday.

Friday (4.21.17)

  • ISIS quickly claimed responsibility for the Champs Elysees shooting yesterday in Paris that killed a police officer and injured two others, releasing seemingly prepared statements in multiple languages just hours after the attack. French authorities have identified the gunman who was killed during the course of the attack as French citizen Karim Cheurfi and said that he had served time for armed assaults on law enforcement officers going back 16 years. In addition to the assault rifle used in the attack, Cheurfi had a pump action shotgun and knives in his car. A French interior ministry spokesman confirmed on Friday that a manhunt was underway for a second individual identified as Youssouf El Osri whom Belgian security officials described as a “very dangerous individual en route to France” shortly before Thursday’s attack.
  • President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he does not see a role for the United States in Libya apart from defeating ISIS in the country. “I see that as a primary role,” the President explained, “and that’s what we’re going to do, whether it’s in Iraq, or Libya or anywhere else.”
  • Russian investigators said on Thursday that a man suspected of detonating a bomb in the St. Petersburg metro earlier this month had received money from an “international terrorist group” in Turkey. Russia’s Investigative Committee said Akram Azimov, the brother of the suspected organizer of the attack, had transferred money from Turkey to the suspected bomber, Akbarzhon Jalilov.
  • An elderly, one-armed leader of the ISIS-linked Abu Sayyaf group has indicated via an emissary that he wants to surrender to the Philippine authorities and is tired being on the run, an army general said on Thursday. Brigadier-General Cirilito Sobejana, army commander on the Abu Sayyaf stronghold of Jolo island, said he has met an emissary who was seeking to negotiate the surrender of Radullan Sahiron, who is more than 70 years old and wanted by the United States for the kidnapping of Western tourists 17 years ago.
  • Terrence McNeil, a 24 year-old man from Akron, Ohio, pleaded guilty to terror-related charges on Wednesday after authorities alleged that he posted an ISIS hit list online. Prosecutors did not charge McNeil with plotting to commit an attack himself. Instead, he pleaded guilty to soliciting the murder of American military personnel.