Monthly Archives: February 2016

Ex-Guantanamo detainee allegedly led recruiting cell for the Islamic State

A former Guantanamo detainee named Hamed Abderrahaman Ahmed was arrested on Feb. 23 in Ceuta, a Spanish enclave in North Africa, for allegedly running a jihadist recruiting cell for the Islamic State. Spanish authorities also claim that he and others were willing to carry out a terrorist attack on Spanish soil. According to a leaked Joint Task Force Guantanamo threat assessment, Ahmed traveled through Iran to Afghanistan to receive training in al Qaeda’s camps in 2001.

Another town in southern Yemen reportedly falls to AQAP

AQAP reportedly seized the southern Yemeni town of Ahwar earlier today. Press reports indicated that Ahwar was under the jihadists’ control earlier this month, but it appears operations were still ongoing at the time. The fog of war often makes it difficult to determined which towns and villages are truly in al Qaeda’s possession, but AQAP has begun to advertise its implementation of sharia law and provision of social services throughout southern Yemen.

Jund al Aqsa leaders join Al Nusrah Front

According to a statement published online, twelve senior figures in Jund al Aqsa have joined Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria. Jund al Aqsa has suffered from internal disputes for months and these disagreements likely led to the leaders’ announcement. Despite operating somewhat independently from Al Nusrah, the group has long been a front for senior al Qaeda operatives.

Ex-Guantanamo detainee prominently featured in al Qaeda propaganda

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released a two-part lecture by ex-Guantanamo detainee Ibrahim al Qosi earlier this month. Qosi threatened the Saudi government and explained al Qaeda’s rationale for waging jihad in Arabia. Qosi has starred in several AQAP productions since the group revealed his leadership role in early December.

Philippines-based jihadist groups pledge allegiance to the Islamic State

While jihadist groups in the Philippines were thought to have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State since late 2014, a video released last month by Islamic State supporters in the country confirmed these speculations. In a video released a few days ago by an Islamic State media outlet, the jihadist group officially recognized the pledges.

Shabaab claims ‘Western intelligence officials’ targeted in airliner bombing

Shabaab, al Qaeda’s official branch in East Africa, has issued a statement claiming responsibility for a failed airliner bombing on Feb. 2. The group portrays the bombing as part of its ongoing war with “Western and apostate intelligence” services, but doesn’t explain how its adversaries in the CIA and other spy agencies were specifically targeted.

The IRGC’s involvement in the battle for Aleppo

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has invested significant resources to prop up Bashar al Assad’s regime. Qods Force Commander Qassem Soleimani, who oversees all of the Shiite militias active in Syria, is directing operations in the battle of Aleppo.

Treasury sanctions Islamic State oil and religious officials, facilitator in Gaza

The Treasury Department announced today that three Islamic State officials have been sanctioned. One is a senior official in the “caliphate’s” oil and gas division. A second was the deputy leader of the Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem before swearing allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi and agreeing to establish a foothold for the Islamic State in Gaza. The third is the group’s “chief religious advisor.”

Treasury designates head of al Qaeda’s eastern zone in Afghanistan

Nayf Salam Muhammad Ujaym al Hababi, also known as Farouq al Qahtani, has been added to the US government’s list of specially designated global terrorists. Hababi, a senior al Qaeda leader, has been heavily involved in both the insurgency in Afghanistan and in plotting terrorist attacks in the West. He has also worked with the Taliban.