Thomas Joscelyn’s testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee’s Task Force on Denying Terrorists Entry into the United States on what happens to the Islamic State after it loses its territory in Iraq and Syria.
The Islamic State demolished the Great Mosque of Al-Nuri earlier today. Abu Bakr al Baghdadi delivered his first speech as “Caliph Ibrahim” at the mosque in July 2014. Just days earlier, the Islamic State declared itself a so-called caliphate, ruling over large parts of Iraq and Syria.
The Islamic State’s Ninawa province has released a video highlighting its use of improvised weapons of war in the battle for Mosul, Iraq. The weapons include: vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) with armor attached, modified drones, and a remote-controlled rocket launcher. Children or young adolescents used as “martyrdom” bombers are also featured in the propaganda production.
A former Guantanamo detainee known as Jamal al Harith (formerly Ronald Fiddler) launched a suicide attack with a vehicle borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) south of Mosul earlier this week. He is at least the second former Guantanamo detainee to launch a suicide attack in or around Mosul on behalf of the Islamic State and its predecessor organization.
The US-led coalition targeted Rachid Kassim near Mosul, Iraq earlier this week. Kassim is an Islamic State operative responsible for “remote-controlling” attacks in France. He has been tied to several plots.
The Islamic State claims to have carried out 1,112 suicide attacks in Iraq and Syria during 2016. Additional suicide bombers were deployed in Libya and elsewhere. If the group’s claims are accurate, then the so-called caliphate has been using “martyrs” at a historically high rate.
The Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency has released a new video featuring John Cantlie, who discusses the destruction of four of the five bridges in Mosul. The US-led coalition destroyed or damaged the bridges in November at the request of the Iraqi government in order to interrupt the flow of suicide bombers driving vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs).
The Islamic State has claimed 1,034 suicide bombings in Iraq, Syria and Libya through the first eleven months of 2016. Many of the recent claimed suicide attacks have taken place in and around Mosul, where the so-called caliphate is trying to thwart a multi-sided offensive.