Al Qaeda

Guantanamo detainee selected for aborted 9/11 hijacking transferred to Oman

Mohammed Al Ansi was one of ten Guantanamo detainees transferred to Oman earlier this week. Ansi had been denied transfer as recently as March 2016. The US government found that he "participated in advanced combat training and may have met with al Qaeda external operations chief Khalid Shaykh Mohammed." Ansi may have been "considered for participation in a suicide attack or deployment in the West” as part of the 9/11 hijackings. Read more >

Pentagon: Airstrikes kill 20 or more al Qaeda fighters in northern Syria

The Pentagon is still assessing the results of airstrikes on Jan. 1 and Jan. 3 in northern Syria, but it is believed that 20 al Qaeda "militants" were killed in the bombings. The airstrikes are likely among the most significant carried out against al Qaeda in Syria since Sept. 2014. President Obama reportedly authorized a more robust air campaign against al Qaeda in Syria late last year, after the administration had previously defined down the threat. Read more >

Russia’s new favorite jihadis: The Taliban

Russia is openly advocating on behalf of the Taliban, arguing that the jihadist group should be considered a bulwark against the Islamic State's branch in Afghanistan. But the Taliban is a bigger threat to Afghan security than Abu Bakr al Baghdadi's men, the organization remains closely allied with al Qaeda and its own extremism should not be downplayed. Read more >

US Treasury continues to target AQAP’s financial network

The US Treasury Department announced the designations of two "key facilitators" for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) today. A charity that is really a "front organization" for AQAP and has collected funds from Gulf businessmen was also designated. Treasury has systematically targeted AQAP's support network throughout the year and today's announcement is part of a series of related moves. Read more >

Pentagon confirms death of senior al Qaeda leader in Afghanistan

The Pentagon confirmed today that Faruq al Qatani, a senior al Qaeda leader, was killed in an airstrike in Afghanistan on Oct. 23. Qatani was suspected of planning attacks against the US. He established safe havens for al Qaeda in Afghanistan several years ago and also worked with the Taliban in the insurgency against the Afghan government, US forces and their allies. Read more >

Pentagon: Al Qaeda veteran in Syria was planning attacks against the West

The Defense Department announced today that Haydar Kirkan, a veteran al Qaeda operative who was plotting against the West, was killed in an airstrike in Idlib, Syria on Oct. 17. Kirkan was one of several al Qaeda leaders targeted in Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen during the month of October. The Pentagon emphasized that the airstrikes demonstrate the "transregional nature" of al Qaeda. Read more >

Jihadists and other rebels launch new offensive in Aleppo

Al Qaeda's rebranded guerrilla army in Syria is fighting alongside other jihadists, Islamists and Free Syrian Army-branded rebels in an offensive intended to break the Assad regime's siege of Aleppo. Most of the participating groups belong to two coalitions: Jaysh al Fath ("Army of Conquest") and Fatah Halab ("Aleppo Conquest"). These same two alliances tried and failed to break the siege earlier this year. Read more >

Tuareg leader honored in eulogy attributed to Mokhtar Belmokhtar

On Oct. 9, a statement attributed to Mokhtar Belmokhtar was circulated online. The message eulogizes Sheikh Ag Aoussa, a prominent Tuareg leader who was reportedly killed in an explosion after attending a meeting at a UN camp in Mali. The statement's author, presumably Belmokhtar, blames France for Aoussa's death and calls on tribes to turn against the French. Read more >

Pentagon confirms Egyptian al Qaeda veteran was killed in airstrike

The Pentagon has confirmed that Ahmed Salama Mabrouk was killed in an Oct. 3 airstrike in Syria's Idlib province. According to Defense Department Press Secretary Peter Cook, Mabrouk was "one of Al Qaeda's most senior leaders" and his death is "a blow to their ability to plot external attacks." Mabrouk was one of the most senior officials in Jabhat Fath al Sham, al Qaeda's rebranded branch in Syria. Read more >

Taliban promotes yet another jihad training camp

The Taliban's "Real Men" video contradicts many of its public statements where the group claims it only seeks to liberate Afghanistan from occupation. Instead, it makes it clear that the Taliban views itself as a defender of Islam and part of the global jihad. Read more >

Al Qaeda-linked foreign fighter recruiter designated by State Department

The State Department has designated Omar Diaby, who has recruited French men and women to wage jihad in Syria, as a terrorist. Diaby faked his death in 2015 so he could receive treatment for wounds he suffered. He resurfaced earlier this year. Diaby is infamous for producing a series of videos under the brand "19HH." The videos have explicitly marketed his loyalty to al Qaeda. Read more >

Estimated number of Guantanamo recidivists continues to rise

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) released its most recent statistics on Guantanamo recidivism this week. 208 former detainees are either confirmed or suspected of rejoining the jihad. 188 of them were transferred or released during the Bush administration and the remaining 20 by the Obama administration. The estimated number of recidivists has steadily climbed since 2008, when the government first provided statistics on this topic. Read more >