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.
The State Department announced today that Osama bin Laden’s son, Hamza, has been added to the US government’s list of designated terrorists. Al Qaeda has released several messages from Hamza since Aug. 2015. He has threatened the West, said that all Muslims should support the jihad in Syria, and called for the Saudi government to be overthrown.
During a congressional hearing earlier today, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified that “violent extremism” — that is, jihadism — demands more intelligence collection and analysis now “than at any other point in history.”
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.
Jabhat Fath al Sham, al Qaeda’s rebranded branch in Syria, announced earlier today that Ahmed Salama Mabrouk has been killed in an airstrike in Idlib. Mabrouk was an Egyptian al Qaeda veteran and served on Jabhat Fath al Sham’s elite shura council.
General John W. Nicholson Jr., who leads NATO’s Resolute Support and US Forces Afghanistan, said yesterday that the US is hunting al Qaeda in Afghanistan’s Kandahar, Zabul, Paktika, Ghazni, Kunar, Nuristan and Nangarhar provinces. His comments are just the latest indication that al Qaeda’s presence in Afghanistan has been underestimated.
Fifteen years after 9/11, Al Qaeda remains a threat to the West despite not carrying out a large-scale attack in years. The group is waging insurgencies in several countries and is far larger than it was on 9/11.
Anonymous Pakistani officials deny al Qaeda’s claim that General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani’s son was kidnapped and exchanged for Ayman al Zawahiri’s two daughters, a third woman and their children. But their denial raises a number of additional questions and only adds to the mystery.