The US Treasury Department and the UN have added two senior jihadists to their terror sanctions lists. Both of them were leaders in the group formerly known as Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria. Treasury’s announcement provides new details about al Qaeda’s operations in Syria, including the organization’s history and personnel.
Abu Jaber has released his first speech as the general commander of the newly formed Ha’yat Tahrir al Sham (“Assembly for the Liberation of Syria”). He calls on other factions to join his group, promises to wage jihad on Bashar al Assad’s regime until the end and claims that losing the war would be catastrophic for Syria’s Sunnis.
The State Department has designated Ibrahim al Banna as a terrorist. Al Banna has served as an al Qaeda official in Yemen since the 1990s. He originally joined the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) and has been one of Ayman al Zawahiri’s loyalists for decades.
Abu Wahib has been waging jihad in Iraq for more than a decade. He fought for al Qaeda in Iraq, was imprisoned and escaped during an al Qaeda assault on a prison in 2014, and is responsible for the Islamic State’s successes in Anbar province.
While the AQAP commander’s statement may be technically true, it ignores the fact that jihadist groups’ local and foreign operations support each other, and both pose a threat to the West.
UN representative Jan Kubis reportedly met with Muthanna Harith al Dari yesterday. The UN National Security Council’s Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee has accused Dari of funding al Qaeda in Iraq.
Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook told reporters today that David Drugeon, a French bombmaker who belonged to al Qaeda’s so-called “Khorasan Group,” and Abu Bakr al Turkmani, a senior Islamic State leader, have been killed in airstrikes. Drugeon was killed in July, while al Turkmani perished earlier this month.
A newly released Ansar al Sharia video features Wissam Ben Hamid, a key figure in the security failures surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi. The video also shows Mohammed al Darsi, who appears to be the same jihadist released in exchange for a Jordanian ambassador earlier this year.