The Jaysh al Fateh alliance captured three more villages in the southern countryside of Aleppo during an offensive that began on June 17. The jihadist-led coalition has made steady gains in Aleppo province since May, further demonstrating al Qaeda’s prowess in guerrilla warfare.
The Department of Defense announced the transfer of Abdel Malik Ahmed Abdel Wahab Al Rahabi to the Government of Montenegro. Joint Task Force Guantanamo, President Obama’s Guantanamo Review Task Force, and a Periodic Review Board all previously deemed Rahabi too dangerous to transfer. A PRB cited his “possible” role in an aborted part of the 9/11 plot, but reversed its decision and eventually approved him for transfer.
The Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency claims that three Russian soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb in Syria. The claim could not be immediately verified. In recent days, the Russian-Syrian-Iranian axis has suffered setbacks along the same road where the Russians were allegedly killed. [Update: A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman subsequently denied Amaq’s claim.]
Omar Mateen mentioned his allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi at least twice during a 911 call the night of his attack on a LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Florida. He also discussed his allegiance to Baghdadi during a call with the Orlando Police Department’s Crisis Negotiation team and may have posted his fealty on Facebook as well. The Islamic State specifically instructs followers to swear allegiance before dying.
Amaq News Agency, a propaganda arm of the Islamic State, says that one of the group’s fighters was responsible for the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida.
Ayman al Zawahiri has sworn allegiance to the Taliban’s new leader, Mullah Haibatullah. Zawahiri’s oath of bay’ah continues a tradition of al Qaeda’s leaders swearing their fealty to the Taliban’s top man.
The Islamic State is losing ground around Sirte, Libya, which is the so-called “caliphate’s” capital in North Africa. Al Bunyan Al Marsoos military operations room, which draws fighters from Misrata, and other forces have been closing in on Sirte since late May. However, the current status of the fighting is murky.
Amaq News Agency claims that the Islamic State has carried out 489 “martyrdom operations” in Iraq, Syria and Libya during the first five months of 2016, with 119 in May alone. If Amaq’s figures are accurate, then the Islamic State is executing more suicide attacks per month in 2016 than all terrorist organizations combined in 2015.