The Tunisian state continues to face a jihadist threat from both the Kasserine region and what is emanating from the Libyan border.
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.
The Islamic State’s Caucasus Province claimed responsibility for two attacks in Dagestan on Mar. 29 and Mar. 30. Russian officials have confirmed that explosions occurred on those days, but the government’s version of events differs from the Islamic State’s claims.
The US launched six drone and airstrikes against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula during the Month of March, equaling the total of the previous five months. The intensified airstrikes coincided with the strengthening of AQAP’s hold on southern Yemen.
The Syrian Army claims to have retaken the city of Palmyra from the Islamic State. Bashar al Assad’s forces, backed by their Iranian and Russian allies, are battling Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s jihadists on several fronts. The Islamic State frequently claims “martyrdom operations” against Syrian regime fighters in Aleppo province, Deir Ezzor, and elsewhere.
“The target was Christians,” the official spokesman of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan Jamaat-ul-Ahrar said after a suicide bomber killed more than 70 people, mostly women and children, at a park in Lahore.
The Islamic State’s propagandists have celebrated the terrorist attacks in Brussels with videos, articles and infographics praising the three suicide bombers responsible. One video features two Belgian fighters who say the operation was a “new 9/11” and part of Osama bin Laden’s legacy.
The Defense Department announced today that Abd al Rahman Mustafa al Qaduli, a senior Islamic State leader, has been killed. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter did not provide any details concerning how or when Qaduli met his demise. Carter said that Qaduli served the Islamic State in multiple roles and was involved in its “external operations” wing, which is responsible for planning attacks in the West.
The deployment would mark the first time that Army forces, including commandos and snipers of the Rapid Response Battalions, have operated outside Iranian borders since the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s.
While the US military said that the strike will deny AQAP “safe haven,” the air campaign waged by the US against the jihadist group since 2009 has done little to halt its advance.
Amaq News Agency, a propaganda arm of the Islamic State, has claimed responsibility for the terrorist attacks in Belgium earlier today. Belgium has long been in the Islamic State’s crosshairs.
Abu Warda Santoso As Syarqi Al Indunisi declared allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi days after the Islamic State emir announced the formation of the caliphate. Santoso has called on Indonesians to attack Special Detachment 88, the counter-terrorism police.
Shabaab continues its gains in southern Somalia despite large-scale presence of African Union troops.
“We want to be a third power in Iraq,” the commander of Saraya Khorasani said. “Why can’t the Hashd [Popular Mobilization Force] be like the Revolutionary Guard in Iran?”
The Jund al Tawhid Battalion makes at least three Abu Sayyaf Group battalions to have defected to the Islamic State. However, it is still unclear if the entirety of Abu Sayyaf has done so.
Ahmed Salama Mabruk, a veteran Egyptian jihadist, is now a key figure in Al Nusrah Front. Mabruk’s dossier stretches back to the early 1980s, when he was first imprisoned following the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. He reportedly oversaw Egyptian Islamic Jihad and al Qaeda networks in the 1990s, before being captured in a CIA-led manhunt. He was released from an Egyptian prison following the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.
On Mar. 17, Abu Muhammad al Julani, the emir of Al Nusrah Front, issued a statement commemorating the fifth anniversary of the Syrian uprisings. Julani argued that the jihadists are inseparable from the Syrian people. Several years into the war, there are pockets of resistance to Al Nusrah, but the West has no strategy for harnessing this discontent and rolling back Al Nurah’s influence within the insurgency.
AQIM says the attack is meant to show that it can target Algeria in “whatever area we want, and to let you know that your fortifications that you have made will not prevent the strikes of the mujahideen from reaching you.”
The Islamic State has released a new video featuring John Cantlie, who has been held hostage by the group since 2012. Cantlie speaks from the ruins of a media kiosk that was bombed in Mosul, Iraq. While Cantlie is made to downplay the importance of the media kiosks, the Islamic State itself recently trumpeted them as “one of the cornerstones” of its media strategy.
Mohammed al Zawahiri, the younger brother of al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri, was released from an Egyptian prison earlier this week. He was imprisoned in Egypt in 1999, but released following the uprisings in 2011. He quickly became a prolific advocate for al Qaeda’s jihadist ideology. Along with other al Qaeda-linked jihadists, he helped orchestrate the protest outside the US Embassy in Cairo on Sept. 11, 2012.
An infographic in the Islamic State’s Al Naba newsletter highlights the “caliphate’s” fighting against both its jihadist rivals and the Libyan Army in the eastern city of Derna. The Islamic State was forced out of Derna’s center last year, even as it gained ground elsewhere in Libya.
Harakat al Nujaba has a long history with Hezbollah and Iran, in both Iraq and Syria. “The blood of Hezbollah which flowed in the land of Iraq is our responsibility for so long as we exist,” the group’s spokesman said.
The Syrian regime is trying to recapture the city and Russian troops appear to be helping in the endeavor. This also comes just days after Vladimir Putin announced that Russia will be withdrawing the “main part” of its forces in Syria.
An al Qaeda media operative known as Shaybat al Hukama returned to Twitter on Feb. 15 after having his previous accounts suspended. Hukama has implied that Saif al Adel, a senior al Qaeda leader wanted for his alleged role in the 1998 US Embassy bombings, is in Syria to lead the fight against the Russians.
At least 22 women were killed as two female suicide bombers launched a coordinated assault at a mosque in the north. The Islamic State West Africa (Boko Haram) has used 105 women and girls as suicide bombers, according to data compiled by The Long War Journal.
Omar al Shishani’s status has been uncertain since the US announced it targeted him last week, and it is still unknown if he is dead, alive, or seriously wounded.
Al Qaeda continues to prioritize targeting hotels, which are considered soft targets, across the African continent. AQIM has launched assaults on several hotels in West Africa in recent months, while Shabaab regularly targets hotels in Somalia.
Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, raided the 13th Division’s headquarters and seized its weapons. The 13th Division, which has received US-made TOW missiles, has long coexisted with the jihadists in northwestern Syria. But that all changed in the past 48 hours as al Qaeda’s men stormed its locations.
Hisham Ali Ashmawi, also known as Abu Umar al Muhajir, released an audio message earlier this month calling on Egyptian scholars to support jihadists in their fight against President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s government. Ashmawi, a former Egyptian special forces officer, leads an al Qaeda-linked group named Al Murabitoon.
Al Qaeda leaders Abu Yahya al Libi and Atiyah Abd al Rahman provided detailed feedback on the Movement of the Taliban’s proposed charter.