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Ansar Jerusalem beheads 4 Egyptians accused of being Israeli 'spies'

August 29, 2014
A little more than one week after the Islamic State released a video featuring the beheading of an American photojournalist, Ansar Jerusalem has released a video online showing four Egyptian civilians being executed in the same manner. The video marks an escalation in the tactics Ansar Jerusalem is willing to broadcast in its propaganda.

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Analysis: Boko Haram focuses on seizing territory

August 28, 2014
Boko Haram is seeking to hold territory in northeastern Nigeria. In a recent video, Boko Haram's leader declared that his jihadists rule over the town of Gwoza as a "state among the Islamic states." This was widely interpreted to mean an Islamic caliphate, but that does not appear to be the case.

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Islamic State documents takeover of Syrian airbase

August 27, 2014
After taking control of Tabqa in Raqqah province, Islamic State fighters executed Syrian soldiers, and captured at least three MiG fighter aircraft as well as a large quantity of weapons systems and munitions.

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Taliban splinter group Jamaat-ul-Ahrar forms in northwestern Pakistan

August 26, 2014
The new group includes Taliban factions from the tribal agencies of Mohmand, Bajaur, Khyber, and Arakzai, and the districts of Charsadda, Peshawar, and Swat.

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Boko Haram's new caliphate

August 25, 2014
In its ongoing offensive, Boko Haram has taken control of parts of northern Nigeria, establishing what its leader Abubakar Shekau calls a "caliphate" in the group's latest video release.

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Al Nusrah Front video features captured members of Lebanese security forces

August 25, 2014
The Al Nusrah Front is using hostages from Lebanon's security forces in its anti-Hezbollah propaganda. Al Nusrah, an official branch of al Qaeda, is attempting to pressure Hezbollah into withdrawing its forces from Syria.

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Islamic State fighters assault last Syrian stronghold in Raqqah

August 24, 2014
Islamic State fighters are reported to be in control of large areas of the Tabqa military airport, the last major stronghold for the Syrian military in Raqqah province.

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Treasury designates 2 'key' al Qaeda financiers

August 22, 2014
The Long War Journal first exposed one of the two, a jihadist known as Sanafi al Nasr, as a senior al Qaeda operative in March. Al Nasr is a senior al Qaeda leader who relocated from Pakistan to Syria last year. Treasury reveals that he previously served as the head of al Qaeda's Iran-based network.

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Al Nusrah Front attempts to thwart Islamic State's advances north of Aleppo

August 22, 2014
A video released by the Al Nusrah Front features three fighters shortly before they head off to fight the Islamic State's jihadists, who have advanced on rebel positions north of Aleppo.

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US posts rewards for 5 Haqqani Network leaders

August 21, 2014
Siraj Haqqani's reward is raised to $10 million, putting it in the top tier of wanted terrorist leaders. Rewards of $5 million were posted for four other Haqqani leaders.

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US adds Taliban hawala, owner, and commander to terrorist list

August 21, 2014
The Treasury designation added the Pakistan-based Basir Zarjmil Hawala and its owner Haji Abdul Basir, along with a Taliban commander known as Qari Rahmat to the US government's list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists.

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US launched raid in Syria to rescue American hostages held by Islamic State

August 20, 2014
The raid failed to rescue "a number of American hostages held in Syria" by the Islamic State, the Department of Defense's spokesman said today.

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Islamic State beheads American reporter

August 19, 2014
James Wright Foley, a journalist who was captured in Syria by the Islamic State in November 2012, was executed on camera. The Islamic State threatened to kill another captive American reporter if the US military does not halt its air campaign against the jihadist group in northern Iraq.

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Islamic State repels Iraqi military's 3rd attempt to retake Tikrit

August 19, 2014
Iraqi forces broke off their advance on Tikrit after taking heavy fire from Islamic State fighters based in and around the capital of Salahaddin province.

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US government adds Gaza-based jihadist 'umbrella' group to terrorist designation lists

August 19, 2014
The US government today added the Mujahidin Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem (MSC) to the foreign terrorist organization list and labeled the group a specially designated global terrorist entity.

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US airpower supports Peshmerga, Iraqi forces to retake Mosul Dam

August 18, 2014
President Obama expanded the US military mission in Iraq to include protecting "critical infrastructure" and supporting Iraqi Army and Peshmerga offensive military operations in northern Iraq.

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UN reticent about 'armed group' holding 43 Golan Heights peacekeepers

August 29   Although 124 United Nations peacekeepers in the Golan Heights have recently fallen under the control of "armed elements of the [Syrian] opposition," the UN wouldn't say which group it is. Comments (0)

Jaamat-ul-Ahrar is 'separate from the TTP leadership,' spokesman says

August 27   "Jaamat-ul-Ahrar deals with itself and does not take orders from TTP leadership," the group's spokesman told The Long War Journal. Comments (0)

Islamic State goes from 'junior varsity' to all pro in 8 months, Admiral Kirby says

August 25   Administration and military officials shouldn't bristle when asked why they failed to properly assess the danger of the Islamic State. Comments (18)

Prospect of sectarian slaughter challenges new Iraqi government

August 24   The murder of Sunni worshipers at a mosque in Diyala imperils the formation of a new government. Comments (0)

Taliban 'condemns' US rewards for Haqqani Network leaders

August 23   "This act has proved that the Americans are now trying to hide their defeat through such propaganda wiles," the Taliban said. Comments (1)

General Dempsey: 'It is possible to contain' the Islamic State

August 22   While top US officials have described the Islamic State as "a cancer," "evil," and an "imminent threat" that must be "defeated," the nation's top military leader floats the idea of containment. Comments (19)

US launches 6 more airstrikes against Islamic State

August 21   Despite claims to the contrary, the US military is now acting as Iraq's air force. Comments (10)

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Today In...

August 29, 2014:

The government raised the terror alert level to "severe," the second highest level, due to concerns that terrorists in Syria and Iraq are planning attacks against the West. Urging vigilance, the head of national counterterrorism police said, "[I]t is highly likely that a terrorist attack could happen in the UK."

August 28, 2014:

President Obama said the US does not yet have a strategy for defeating the Islamic State, but said the US focus for now is on protecting American personnel in Iraq. Sources said James Foley and at least three other captives were waterboarded and tortured by the Islamic State in Syria. Ahmad Ibrahim Al Ahmad, a Syrian who supplied IEDs for use against US troops in Iraq between 2005 and 2010, appeared in a Phoenix, Ariz., federal court on terrorism charges.

Thirty-six Taliban fighters and nine policemen are reported to have been killed in fighting in Ghor. The military claimed it retook control of the Doab district in Nuristan. The Taliban killed three Afghan soldiers in IED attacks. The military said it captured 27 Pakistanis in Paktika.

Islamic State fighters are said to have torched three wellheads as they withdrew from the Ain Zalah oilfield. The military claimed it killed 34 Islamic State fighters in Bayji, 12 in Babil, seven in Ninewa, and seven more in Haditha. The US launched five airstrikes near the Mosul Dam.

The Islamic State battled regime forces in Aleppo, where it used US cannons seized in Iraq; and in Deir Izzour, where regime aircraft struck a meeting of IS leaders, killing a number of foreign fighters at the house of "the military commander of the Operation Chamber of the Airbase of Deir Ezzor which is affiliated to the Military Council which pledged allegiance to IS weeks ago." The IS also clashed with regime forces in Hama, where it executed an engineer; and in Raqqah, where the IS executed "dozens" of captured regime soldiers, reportedly killing over 160 in 24 hours. IS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi is said to be offering $1,200 and a furnished house to any IS fighter who agrees to marry. The IS also battled the Kurdish YPG in Hasakah, and clashed with the Islamic Front and the Jabhat al Akrad in Aleppo. The Al Nusrah Front and the Islamic Front fought regime forces in Damascus, blowing up tunnels under two regime buildings; in Reef Dimashq; in Hama; and in Quneitra, where Al Nusrah and the Islamic Front took over the Quneitra crossing to the Golan Heights yesterday. The UN said that 43 UN peacekeepers in the Golan Heights had been detained by "armed elements of the opposition" and that the movements of 81 other peacekeepers in the area have been restricted. The Islamic Front also fought regime forces in Idlib.

Arrest warrants were issued for Islamic State commander Imad Jomaa, who was detained in Arsal on Aug. 2, and Ahmad Jomaa, another militant; authorities are continuing to interrogate 18 other suspects who were arrested during the Arsal clashes. Imad Jomaa is charged with crimes including attempting to set up an Islamic emirate in Arsal. Military forces clashed with 13 armed terrorists in a minibus attempting to infiltrate from Syria in the Bekaa Valley, and dismantled a six-man terrorist cell that included wanted militant Mohammed Barakat. An alleged IS militant posted photos on Twitter that show him beheading a captive Lebanese soldier and threatening that more soldiers will be beheaded if Hezbollah continues to try to disrupt negotiations between the militants and the government.

Egypt said it would carry out military strikes in Libya if so requested by the Libyan parliament. The Sinai-based terrorist group Ansar Jerusalem (Ansar Bayt al Maqdis) released a video showing the beheading of four Egyptian men it accused of spying for Israel. Egyptian intelligence said the group has contacts with Libyan jihadists who are influenced by the Islamic State. On Aug. 25, the military said it had arrested five wanted terrorists, including Sweilam Mohamed Salem Salama; killed 14 militants in a clash in the Sinai; destroyed a terrorist field hospital and a bomb-making facility; and smashed five tunnels in Rafah. A Muslim Brotherhood member who was trying to set fire to an electricity unit in Port Said was arrested. The first World Food Program convoy to pass through Rafah into Gaza since 2007 crossed over yesterday.

Gunmen killed a policeman in Benghazi. Four Egyptian Christians were abducted at a checkpoint near Sirte by gunmen who asked about their religious beliefs. After a report by Libyan envoy Ibrahim Dabbashi that his country was close to civil war, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution yesterday authorizing sanctions on individuals or groups that threaten peace, security, and a successful transition to democracy in Libya. The head of the Libyan military met with his Egyptian counterpart in Cairo yesterday to discuss ways to maintain stability in Libya. The current prime minister and his cabinet reportedly resigned in a "routine step"; but the government also denied a report that six ministers had resigned, saying it was aired by an Islamist news outlet.

Somali and African Union forces have taken over the town of Tiyeglow from Shabaab militants, who withdrew into nearby forests on Aug. 25, giving the government control of the Bakool region. AMISOM has announced a "second phase" of the campaign against Shabaab, which will focus on militant bases in central and southern Somalia.

President Kenyatta urged police chiefs from 13 African countries to share intelligence on terrorism, and to crack down on the illicit trade in wildlife products that helps to fund terrorism. The Special Police unit shot and killed three "thugs" in Nairobi's Gigiri neighborhood, a short distance from the US Embassy and UN complex, after trailing the suspected robbers, who had reportedly hijacked a truck full of gas canisters shortly before being intercepted; authorities also confiscated police radios, guns, and ammunition. Suspected Shabaab gunmen attacked a police station in Garissa on Aug. 18, injuring a woman and stealing two rifles.

Authorities refused to comment on a Norwegian media report that the July 24 terror alert was triggered by warnings that four Islamic State operatives were on their way to Norway via Greece to commit a major attack. Authorities reportedly said that two Norwegians answer directly to IS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi; one is Bastian Vasquez, of Skien, and the other is of African origin and lived in Boerum. A Norwegian man confirmed that Greek authorities stopped a Syrian man with a Norwegian passport from flying to Oslo from Parga, Greece on Aug. 10 because he could not explain why he was flying to Norway from the resort town. Security officials said that as many as 300 Norwegian oil and energy companies were hacked, in the biggest such incident yet in Norway.

August 27, 2014:

Intelligence chief David Irvine said that about 60 Australians are fighting in Syria or Iraq for the Islamic State or the Al Nusrah Front, and that 15 of them have died fighting there, two as suicide bombers. Irvine also warned that "dozens" have already returned home, and that another 100 Australians are known to be actively supporting jihadists groups at home by recruiting fighters, including suicide bombers, and assisting with financing. Officials said new counterterrorism units that began working at Australia's airports a week ago have stopped two would-be jihadists from traveling abroad to fight. The trial of Adnan Karabegovic, 26, suspected of planning to carry out al Qaeda-inspired terrorist acts, has been postponed. Authorities continue to monitor the activities of the relatives of the Pendennis Nine, an al Qaeda-linked terrorist group uncovered in 2005, which are thought now to extend to fighting for the Islamic State in Syria or Iraq.

The Islamic State battled regime forces in Hama; Deir Izzour, where Shaitaat tribal officials begged forgiveness and mercy from the IS, and regime airstrikes targeted an IS training camp in the Tal Tabus area of al Shmeteyyi; and Raqqah, where the IS captured 20 soldiers and four civilians, including three women, and has executed other regime forces. The IS also clashed with the Islamic Front and the Kurdish YPG in Aleppo. The Al Nusrah Front and the Islamic Front fought regime forces in Quneitra, where they took over a border crossing to the Israel-occupied Golan Heights and battled over nearby towns. Al Nusrah and the IF also clashed with regime forces in Aleppo, Hama, and Reef Dimashq. The Islamic Front also battled regime forces in Damascus, where regime airstrikes blew up a tunnel with IF fighters inside; Deraa; Hama; Idlib; Latakia; and Reef Dimashq.

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