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State Department designates Egyptian jihadist group, ex-Gitmo detainee

December 18, 2014
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The State Department today added Ajnad Misr, an Egyptian jihadist group, and Ibrahim Rubaish, a senior al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) official, to the US government's list of specially designated global terrorists.

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Islamic State retakes Baiji after Iraqi forces withdraw

December 18, 2014
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Iraqi forces withdrew from the city yesterday just one month after retaking it from the Islamic State with the help of Iranian-backed Shiite militias.

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Mass grave of Islamic State's victims reportedly found in eastern Syria

December 18, 2014
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A mass grave of approximately 230 Sheitaat tribesmen has been reportedly found in eastern Syria. The tribe has been battling the Islamic State since earlier this year.

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US airstrike targets Pakistani, Afghan Taliban in Nangarhar

December 17, 2014
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The strike is the fifth that has targeted Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan fighters and leaders operating inside Afghanistan since the last week of November.

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Afghan Taliban releases statement condemning attack on Pakistani school

December 16, 2014
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The Afghan Taliban has released a statement condemning the Pakistani Taliban's attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar.

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Pakistani Taliban assaults military high school in Peshawar

December 16, 2014
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More than 100 high school students are said to have been killed as Taliban fighters fanned out and killed everyone in their path.

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Al Nusrah Front, Ahrar al Sham advance in northwestern Syria

December 15, 2014
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The Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda's official branch in Syria, backed by Jund al Aqsa, Ahrar al Sham, and several other groups, has launched an offensive on two major regime bases in the northwestern province of Idlib.

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Taliban attacks in Afghanistan surge as Coalition ends combat mission

December 14, 2014
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The Taliban launched suicide bombings, assassinations, IED attacks, and ambushes in the capital and four provinces over the weekend.

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AQAP blames Obama administration for death of Luke Somers

December 12, 2014
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In the most recent video released by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, one of the terrorist group's senior leaders blames President Barack Obama for the death of American hostage Luke Somers last week.

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French troops kill MUJAO founder during raid in Mali

December 11, 2014
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In a midnight raid in the Gao region of Mali, the French military killed Ahmed el Tilemsi. He had a long history of al Qaeda ties, and was wanted by the United States.

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Islamic State overruns Badr Brigade position near Samarra

December 11, 2014
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The jihadist group also launched suicide attacks and assaults in towns around the central Iraqi city.

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6 Guantanamo detainees transferred to Uruguay were part of al Qaeda's network, files allege

December 9, 2014
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Intelligence cited in leaked Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) threat assessments link the six recently transferred Guantanamo detainees to Abu Zubaydah and al Qaeda.

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AQAP claims double suicide attack at military base in Hadramout

December 9, 2014
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Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed credit for the double suicide attack today that killed at least five soldiers at the First Military Command base in Hadramout province.

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Al Qaeda commander reported killed in drone strike in Pakistan

December 8, 2014
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The ongoing targeting of al Qaeda commanders in Pakistan's tribal areas refutes past claims by US officials that al Qaeda is "decimated" and that only two relevant leaders remain.

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Representative of Ayman al Zawahiri reportedly captured in Turkey

December 7, 2014
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Abd al Baset Azzouz, an al Qaeda operative who served as Ayman al Zawahiri's representative in Libya, was captured in Turkey in mid-November. Azzouz is reportedly being investigated for his possible ties to the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi.

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AQAP murders 2 hostages, including an American, during US rescue attempt

December 6, 2014
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Forty special operations troops assaulted an al Qaeda compound in the southern province of Shabwa in an attempt to free American photojournalist Luke Somers.

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Tunisian jihadist group posts pictures of spoils, claims attacks on Tunisian military

December 18   The Tunisian Uqba Ibn Nafi Battalion, which is linked to Ansar al Sharia Tunisia and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, released pictures on Twitter showing weapons taken after clashes with the Tunisian military. The group also claimed two recent attacks in the North African country. Comments (0)


The Peshawar attack: sickening, but no surprise

December 16   Pakistan's refusal to sever ties with the so-called "good Taliban" has allowed groups like the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan to fester. Comments (1)


Al Nusrah Front uses American-made anti-tank missile in Idlib

December 14   The Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda's official branch in Syria, has used a BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missile in the recent assault on Wadi al Daif in the Idlib countryside. Comments (3)


Islamic State overruns town in Anbar, executes Awakening fighters

December 14   The jihadist group remains on the offensive in the western Iraqi province. Comments (5)


Islamic State releases pictures from recent fighting near Samarra

December 14   The Islamic State continues to showcase the recent fighting near Samarra. Photos show the group's capture of the Mutassim sub-district southeast of Samarra and fighters overrunning Badr Organization positions between Samarra and Tikrit. Comments (0)


Taliban kill 6 Afghan soldiers, foreigner in pair of suicide attacks in Kabul

December 11   Taliban suicide bombers struck a military bus and at a high school in the Afghan capital. Comments (0)


AQAP claims shelling of American section of airbase in Yemen

December 11   Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has claimed credit for a rocket attack on the US division of the al Annad airbase in Yemen's Lahj province. Comments (0)


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Today In...


December 18, 2014:

Army Lt. Gen. James Terry, commander of US forces in the battle against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, said it is likely to take "a minimum of three years" to reach a turning point against the group. The Pentagon said that coalition airstrikes in Iraq since mid-November have killed "multiple senior and mid-level" Islamic State leaders. Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appeared in court and said he was satisfied with his defense counsel. One of his friends, Stephen Silva, may plead guilty to possessing a gun used in the attacks. The Treasury Department yesterday imposed sanctions on "11 individuals and entities, located in four countries" for helping the Assad regime procure fuel for "its military campaign against the Syrian people." Today the State Department added Ajnad Misr, an Egyptian jihadist group, and Ibrahim Rubaish, a senior al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula official, to the terrorist list.


A mass grave holding 230 bodies was uncovered in Deir Ezzor province. Those killed, including many civilians, were members of the Shaitat tribe, which had resisted the Islamic State. The US conducted six airstrikes in Syria since Dec. 15; five near Kobane and one near Abu Kamal. Only about three percent of all airstrikes in Syria by the US-led coalition since the start of the campaign have not been conducted by the US. SOHR estimates that more than 120,000 regime fighters have been killed in the Syrian war. The UN is looking for $8.4 billion to aid Syrian refugees in 2015. Two Kurdish freelance journalists have been reported kidnapped by the Islamic State "on December 15 on the main road between Qamishli and Al-Yarubyia."


In the ongoing investigation into incidents in January when Turkish intelligence trucks headed into Syria were stopped and searched, 19 new suspects have been charged with spying and obtaining state secrets. The trucks reportedly carried weapons destined for Syrian rebels. Terrorism charges were filed against the editor and general manager of a major Turkish newspaper. Turkey was called the 10th worst country in the world for journalists in 2014 by the Committee to Protect Journalists.


The Parliament authorized the deployment of up to 850 German soldiers in 2015 to Afghanistan to participate in NATO's "Resolute Support" training mission. The government is also planning to send some 100 Bundeswehr soldiers to northern Iraq to train Kurdish Peshmerga forces.


December 17, 2014:

Since Dec. 15, the US and partner nations have conducted 61 airstrikes in Iraq and six in Syria against the Islamic State; 45 of the airstrikes in Iraq were in support of Peshmerga and Iraqi forces in the region. President Obama announced the resumption of diplomatic ties with Cuba and Havana's release of US citizen Alan Gross and a prisoner exchange of a US intelligence "asset" for three Cuban spies. The FBI has indicated that North Korea is likely behind a major cyberattack at Sony Pictures; the company has pulled a film on North Korea that was slated for release. Uruguay's president has claimed that the six former Guantanamo prisoners recently transferred to his country were not terrorists.


A ministry of national security spokesman stated that military intelligence arrested at least seven suspected Shabaab fighters in Kahda district and Shabelle province; 228 were arrested during a security operation in Mogadishu. The jihadist group claimed that it has collected $9 million in zakat (alms) in areas under its control.


The army stated that it has killed 17 militants, arrested 11 others and destroyed 64 "militant sites" in north Sinai in the past three days. The Interior Ministry has expelled 40 Cairo police cadets for ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. The British Embassy in Cairo has reopened after unspecific security issues were "resolved."


Pro-government and Islamist forces are fighting over two of the country's largest oil ports in eastern Libya, shutting both down. The Islamist Libya Dawn carried out its first airstrikes of the conflict, hitting security forces in the port cities of Sidra and Ras Lanuf. Pro-government allied Zintanis claim to have captured "a senior Libya Dawn commander near Abu Khammash" and that there were three army airstrikes near Zuwara and Zultan.


The Tunisian government has declared security forces "ready to cope" as fighting rages at the Ras Jedir border crossing in Libya and as the country's presidential run-off election looms. Tunisians go to the polls on Dec. 21.


"Scores" of suspected Boko Haram fighters were arrested near the capital of Borno state after fleeing the town of Bama disguised as refugees. The UN estimates that the number of refugees displaced by the jihadist group in northern Nigeria has reached 1.5 million.


Prime Minister Abbott ordered an investigation into the Dec. 16 siege at a Sydney cafe by Man Haron Monis, an Iranian Sunni extremist who had been accused of violent crimes and was out on bail, that left three people dead and several others wounded. Iran claimed that it had asked Australia to extradite Monis 12 years ago.


December 16, 2014:

Home Minister Singh announced that the government has banned the Islamic State terrorist group. Police are investigating the likelihood that Mehdi Masroor Biswas, who was arrested for running a prominent pro-ISIS Twitter account, has links to Islamic State operatives. The Intelligence Bureau warned of the possibility of lone-wolf terrorist attacks.


The Al Nusrah Front, Ahrar al Sham, and elements of the Free Syrian Army have taken two key regime bases in Idlib province. Al Nusrah has used an American TOW anti-tank missile against regime forces. The US-led coalition has conducted nine airstrikes in Syria since Dec. 13; eight of them "destroyed nine ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL buildings and two ISIL staging positions and also struck another ISIL fighting position" near Kobane; one destroyed an Islamic State vehicle near abu-Kamal. European Union countries have pledged to help rebuild Aleppo if a UN-proposed ceasefire is successful. The UN chief for humanitarian affairs "has run out of words" to describe the chaos in Syria.

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