Today In

Syria

SOHR claims that the regime killed 18 people, including three children, while shelling the town of Daraa in southern Syria.The US dropped graphic anti-jihadist leaflets over the Islamic State-held city of Raqqa. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons will investigate claims of a chemical weapons attack on the village of Sarmin that killed sex and wounded dozens. The UN doubled its estimate of Syrians living in besieged areas to about 440,000. An Islamic State suicide bomber hit a Kurdish checkpoint in the city of Hasakah, killing one and injuring another. A Hezbollah commander and two fighters were reportedly killed by Syrian rebels near the Lebanese border.

Kenya

Shabaab gunned down a senior officer with Kenya’s counterterrorism police in Mombasa. Security forces are on high alert amidst reports that Shabaab operatives have snuck into the country to conduct attacks.

Somalia

A senior Shabaab commander was captured along with three others when security forces raided his hideout in Mogadishu, according to a senior intelligence officer. Amisom troops deserted the strategic towns of Awdeegle , Barrire and Sabiib in Lower Shebelle region, according to residents. Interim Jubbaland Forces and African Union troops are conducting an offensive against Shabaab in the Jubba region.

 

Egypt

A ten-year-old girl was killed when she picked up an improvised explosive device placed near her school in Fayoum province. A senior police official was killed in a shootout with unknown gunmen in Suez. The rise in terrorist attacks in Egypts is apparently failing to drive off investors. Egypt is ready to send troops into Yemen along with regional Arab partners.

Libya

Jihadists allied with the Islamic State clashed with both pro-government and rival Islamist militia forces in Sirte and Benghazi. A suicide bomber killed five security personnel working for a rival Islamist faction in Sirte, while a string of suicide bombing in Benghazi killed at least 12 individuals fighting for the internationally recognized government. Islamic State jihadists released two Bangladeshi hostages taken in the attack on the Al Ghani oilfield south of Sirte more than two weeks ago.

Tunisia

Newly released video shows the moment gunfire erupted during the jihadist attack on the Bardo museum in Tunis. Tataouine, the Tunisian town famous as the setting for the planet of Tattooine in the movie Star Wars, has reportedly become a waypoint for jihadists transiting to Libya.

Mali

Two bomb makers were killed when their explosives prematurely detonated, destroying a house in Gao.

Nigeria

Boko Haram kidnapped hundreds of civilians rounded up from primary schools as it fled from Damask earlier in March. The jihadist group is reportedly using the hostages as human shields. Nigeria has closed its borders ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections on Mar. 28.

Libya

The UN special envoy stated that the terrorist attack in neighboring Tunisia has added a “sense of urgency” to ongoing peace talks in Libya. Gen. Khalifa Haftar told the AP that the Islamic State will spread to Europe if Libya receives no foreign military aid. Libya’s foreign minister congratulated the rival Libya Dawn on fighting the Islamic State in Sirte.

Tunisia

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack on a museum in Tunis that killed 23 people. The attackers targeted Westerners and reportedly received weapons training in Libya. Authorities say that up to 3,000 Tunisian citizens have traveled abroad to wage jihad.

Mali

Security personnel have arrested two men in connection with the small arms attack on a nightclub in Bamako that killed five people. Three Malians, a Frenchman and a Belgian were killed in the assault on Mar. 7.

Nigeria

Residents of Bama in Borno state claim that Boko Haram fighters “slaughtered their wives” before they retreated from a Nigerian Army offensive. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan believes that the jihadist group could be pushed out of towns and villages it holds in about a month.

Nigeria

The Nigerian military retook the strategically important city of Bama in northeastern Nigeria. Troops from Chad, Niger and Nigeria have reclaimed more than 30 towns from the jihadist group in the past month, but have yet to clear Abadam, Gwoza and Askira.

Mali

A helicopter crash during a military exercise in northern Mali killed two Dutch peacekeepers. Tuareg-led rebels have agreed to another round of UN-brokered peace talks.

Algeria

A detachment of the People’s National Army killed “two terrorists” in Ain Defla, according to a release by the Ministry of National Defense. Algeria has become the largest importer of arms in Africa.

Tunisia

Gunmen attacked the country’s parliament around noon, resulting in “a number of casualties.” Security forces have surrounded two attackers who may hold hostages in the Bardo Museum, adjacent to the parliament building.

Libya

Ten soldiers were killed when the Islamic State and the Libyan Army fought by the town of Nofaliya, near the jihadst-held oil hub of Sirte. Brigade 166, a coalition of “both moderate and extremist Islamists” from Misurata, has launched a campaign to drive the Islamic State from Sirte. The jihadist group captured 20 foreign medical workers in Sirte, then released them on the condition that they treat wounded Islamic State fighters. Army chief Khalifa Haftar pledged to retake Benghazi from Islamist forces within a month.

Syria

The SOHR claimed that the Assad regime conducted a poison gas attack in Idlib province that killed six people. Amnesty International accused the regime of bombing civilians in the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa. The US-led coalition conducted five airstrikes in Syria on Mar. 16, striking targets near al Haskah and Kobani.

Somalia

Ethiopian troops invaded the Buhoodle district in northern Somalia in an attempt to arrest a Koran teacher who fled from the area. A military tribunal in Puntland sentenced three men to death after finding them guilty of working for Shabaab.

Egypt

An Egyptian court sentenced Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie and 13 others to death after they were found guilty of “planning attacks against the state.” Islamic State affiliated jihadists claimed to have captured the engine from an American-made tank after an ambush on Egyptian forces in the Sinai; an Egyptian military spokesman denied the claim.

Syria

Researchers estimate that 83% of access to electricity has been cut and average life expectancy has dropped by 20 years in Syria over the course of the war. More than 600 physicians have been killed and half of the country’s medical facilities have been badly damaged or destroyed, according the Lancet. SOHR claims that nearly 13,000 people have been “tortured to death” in regime prisons since 2011. The US-led coalition conducted five airstrikes near Kobani in the past day. Kurdish forces called for the coalition to use airstrikes to blunt an Islamic State offensive in northeastern Syria. Syria’s information minister reportedly said the regime is ready to negotiate with the Kurds, labeling them a “major partner” against the Islamic State.

Somalia

A US drone strike on Mar. 12 reportedly killed Adan Garaar, a leader in Shabaab’s security service, the Amniyat. Suspected Islamists staged a complex attack on the government headquarters in Baidoa in southwest Somalia, “killing at least four government soldiers and two civilians.” Three of the attackers were also killed in the assault.

Egypt

A Coptic church was bombed in Kafr el-Dawar on Mar. 9, injuring two police guards. An Egyptian Army officer was killed by gunmen in Rafah, North Sinai on Mar. 11; two additional attacks in Al-Arish on Mar. 10 killed a civilian, a security officer and injured 45 people. Military airstrikes killed 11 suspected jihadists on the Sinai on Mar. 11; the raid targeted a leader of Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis. Egyptian Interior Minister Magdi Abdel Ghaffer said his country is in an “existential war” with jihadist groups.

Libya

The elected parliament asked for a one-week postponement of UN peace talks in a bid to form a unity government. Libya shut down two eastern oilfields due to security concerns over recent jihadist attacks on the facilities. Libya Dawn conducted three airstrikes on the city of Zintan in northwest Libya on Mar. 11. The Islamist group’s fighters and pro-government forces also fought about 80 km. west of Tripoli on Mar. 11. The Islamic State’s Tripoli branch destroyed Sufi shrines. Russia’s UN representative said that his country “would not rule … out” a naval blockade to prevent arms shipments to anti-government forces in Libya.

Tunisia

Analysts warn of weapons smuggling to jihadist groups in Tunisia via the border with Libya. Ansar al Sharia has expanded its influence in post-revolutionary Tunisia.

Mali

Hundreds of people protested in Kidal against a UN-brokered peace proposal between Tuareg separatists and the government. Recent attacks by jihadists are said to be aimed at undermining any accord. French counterterrorism investigators arrived in Bamako to aid in the search for militants who attacked a nightclub popular with expatriates.

Nigeria

Nigerian troops cleared Boko Haram from the Lame/Burra forest in Bauchi state, according to an army spokesman. Soldiers also recaptured three towns and a village in Yobe state from the jihadist group on Mar. 10. A South African military contractor and five Nigerian troops were killed when their vehicle was attacked at a roadblock near Maiduguri on Mar. 9. The US has the potential to expand its campaign against the Islamic State to include Boko Haram, according to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter.

Syria

About 95 prisoners escaped from an Islamic State prison in al Bab near the border with Turkey but many have been recaptured, according to SOHR. The jihadist group beheaded eight men from al Bab on Mar. 9. Kurdish fighters are training a civilian defense force. The US-led coalition conducted 12 airstrikes in Syria from Mar. 6-9, all of them on Islamic State targets near Kobani. According to a separate report, the US also hit an Al Nusrah headquarters near Aleppo on Mar. 8. Unidentified gunmen killed 12 Islamic State fighters in the town of al-Mayadin in eastern Syria.

Egypt

Egypt temporarily reopened the Rafah border crossing with Gaza for the first time in about two months. Several bombings killed one person and injured nine in Alexandria on March 8. A roadside bomb killed three Egyptian soldiers and seriously injured another in the Sinai. Egyptian airstrikes killed 25 suspected jihadists in the Sinai in the past two days, according to security sources.

Libya

Jihadists affiliated with the Islamic State attacked an oil field in al-Ghani, beheading eight guards and kidnapping nine foreign workers. Pro-government forces conducted airstrikes on the airport in Tripoli, which remains controlled by rival Islamist forces. General Khalifa Haftar was sworn in as the chief of Libya’s army.

Mali

Militants launched a barrage of rockets into the UN base in Kidal, killing three and wounding twelve. An assault team attacked a nightclub in the capital of Bamako with hand grenades and small arms, killing five people and wounding several others. Al Murabitoon has claimed responsibility for the latter attack.

Yemen

An Iranian diplomat who has been held hostage since July 2013 has been freed and has returned to Iran. Iranian officials claimed he was freed in a military operation, but Yemeni officials claimed he was released as part of a prisoner swap. Houthis seized control of the National Dialogue headquarters in Sana’a and demanded former president Hadi leave the country.

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Saudi Arabia

King Salman awarded Indian cleric Zakir Naik, who runs “Peace TV,” with the King Faisal International Prize and gave him $200,000. Naik has called 9/11 an “inside job” and called the US the “biggest terrorist.”

Libya

Islamic State fighters reportedly took over two radio stations in Sirte; the group has also published photos of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians kidnapped in December and January in Sirte. The UN restarted negotiations between the country’s warring parties.

Tunisia

The army shelled terrorist “hideouts” in mounts Salloum and Samama in Kasserine. A Libyan National Army spokesman identified a Tunisian as the leader of Islamic State militants in Tripoli; Tunisia is one of the largest sources of jihadist fighters.

Nigeria

A female suicide bomber blew herself up in a market in Biu in northeastern Nigeria, killing at least seven people. Political violence has killed 58 people in the run-up to Nigeria’s elections. A poll by Transparency International ranked the country’s political leadership as the world’s most corrupt.

Chad

Boko Haram conducted its first attack on Chadian territory, killing one soldier and wounding four others before being driven back from the village of Ngouboua. The jihadist group has pushed into Chad, Niger and Cameroon recently in its bid to expand its “caliphate.”

Syria

The Islamic State claims in a propaganda magazine that the widow of the gunman who attacked a Paris supermarket is now in Syria with the group. The US struggles with an “intelligence gap” while trying to track Western foreign fighters; it is believed “more than 20,000 foreign fighters from more than 90 countries have gone to Syria.” Regime forces and Hezbollah launched a major offensive in Southern Syria.

Somalia

At least 10 members of Shabaab were killed and scores more injured in a clash with AMISOM forces in Barawe town. The US will be providing 20 MRAPs to African Union peacekeepers in Somalia. A military court executed Ahmed Ismail Ali, “a senior Al Shabaab leader in Gedo region.” The Somali National Army claims to have “taken new areas” from Shabaab in the in Bakol region.

Libya

Libya reopened the Hariga oil port after the end of a strike by security forces. Libyan Special Forces recaptured a key military base in Benghazi from Islamist militias. Islamic State-allied jihadists staged a parade in Noufliya, which is “some 60km from the eastern oil port of Sidra.” Libya is on track to exhaust its wheat reserves in two to three months.

Tunisia

Tunisia arrested 32 Islamists for “planning terror attacks against buildings belonging to the country’s Ministry of Interior, security posts and civilian targets.” A general strike was declared at the country’s two main border crossings with Libya in protest of excessive force by police.

Algeria

Algeria announced the founding of a “national monitoring board” to combat religious extremism. Algeria reportedly declined to join the US-led coalition against the Islamic State after requests from the US and France.

Nigeria

The Nigerian National Security Adviser promises that there will not be another election postponement due to security issues. A report states that Boko Haram has gathered fighters to attack again Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state.

Syria

The US-led coalition conducted three airstrikes near near Kobani, Deir al-Zor and Raqqa in the past day. Kurdish forces have recaptured more than a third of villages (“128 of some 350″) surrounding Kobane. Jordan has launched 56 airstrikes in retaliation for the death of Lt. Muath al-Kasasbeh, the pilot murdered by the Islamic State. The Syrian foreign minister said the Assad regime does not need Jordan’s help to fight the jihadist group. “At least 15 people were killed and dozens wounded” in a regime airstrikes near Damascus. The Islamic State has withdrawn some of its men and material from Aleppo. A humanitarian organization estimates that about 210,000 people have been killed since the start of the Syrian Civil War.

Somalia

Members of Shabaab shot and killed a member of Somalia’s Federal Parliament in Mogadishu. Jihadists attacked a police station in Bossaso in Puntland; at least two of the attackers were killed and three others captured. A land mine targeting Turkish workers in Mogadishu killed one person.

Libya

Pro-government forces launched a new offensive to take Benghazi from Islamist militias; more than 40 people have been killed and dozens injured. The country’s warring parties will resume UN-sponsored peace talks on Feb. 10. A strike by security personnel has closed Libya’s last onshore oil export terminal.

Tunisia

The Interior Ministry announced that it arrested 32 extremists who were plotting spectacular attacks on “civilian and military sites around the country.” Operations to apprehend more suspects remain ongoing in Kasserine, near the Algerian border.

Nigeria

Nigeria is postponing upcoming elections for six weeks to focus on an offensive against Boko Haram. Nigeria, along with Benin, Cameroon, Niger, and Chad have jointly pledged to deploy an additional 8,700 troops in the fight against the jihadist group.