The Islamic State has suffered significant setbacks in Anbar over the past six months and in some areas has pulled back to conduct guerrilla attacks against Iraqi security forces, tribal fighters, and the Shiite militias that have filled the security vacuum.
Sheikh Abdallah Muhammad al Muhaysini has launched a new jihadist recruiting campaign throughout Syria. 200 sharia officials from various factions have fanned out across Syria in an attempt to recruit 5,000 new “mujahideen.” Muhaysini has multiple links to al Qaeda’s international network.
The unusual public call for information from USFOR-A follows the deadly suicide assault on a security installation in Kabul that took place on April 19.
AQIS quickly claimed responsibility for the murder of a prominent LGBT activist, Xulhaz Mannan, and his friend in Bangladesh. Mannan worked for USAID and previously worked for the US Embassy for eight years. AQIS has targeted alleged “blasphemers” in Bangladesh as part of a campaign authorized by Ayman al Zawahiri.
A Saudi-led Arab coalition has entered the Yemeni port city of Mukalla, which had been a stronghold for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) since April 2015. AQAP reportedly withdrew most of its forces from the city prior to the alliance’s advance. Mukalla is a key part of AQAP’s plan to build an Islamic emirate in Yemen.
The Islamic State promoted a training camp and announced its first attack in Somalia. Islamic State followers have been ruthlessly pursued by Shabaab, al Qaeda’s official branch in East Africa, as they attempt to gain traction in the country.
The Islamic State has been battling Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, inside the Yarmouk refugee camp since April 7. The so-called caliphate has gained ground from Al Nusrah since then.
Amaq News Agency published a statement conceding that the Islamic State has “retreated” from its positions outside of Derna, Libya but claims the fighters are making progress south of the city.
The jihadist group, founded by former Guantanamo Bay detainees, is listed by the US government as a specially designated global terrorist entity, and is known to operate a training camp in Syria.
In a video released earlier this month, the Taliban trumpeted the exchange of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five top Taliban commanders who were held at Guantanamo. The Taliban says this “achievement” was the result of its extensive operations in Afghanistan’s Paktika province.
The fighters shown training in urban Aleppo in the video are part of the Uzbek battalion’s ‘commando forces’ in Aleppo.
The Islamic State’s fighters have withdrawn from their positions on the outskirts of Derna, Libya. The so-called “caliphate” faced stiff opposition from pro-al Qaeda jihadist groups in the city.
“This attack is part of ongoing attacks against security forces and police,” the spokesman for Jamaat-ul-Ahrar said. “We believe the fighting will continue until we achieve the goal of implementing the Islamic system in Pakistan.”
The Taliban targeted a unit that is responsible for providing security for Afghan officials in a coordinated suicide assault in the Afghan capital. NATO’s commander claimed the Taliban won’t face security forces on the battlefield, ignoring the fact that the Taliban is openly engaging Afghan forces on multiple fronts.
The Hidayah Establishment for Media Production released an anti-Islamic State video on Apr. 8 in which a witness claims that the Islamic State has refused to publicly debate. The video includes an image of a letter purportedly written by Nasir al Wuhayshi, who was AQAP’s emir until his demise in June 2015. A follow up statement on Apr. 10 contained similar allegations against Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s organization.
The Defense Department announced the transfer of nine Yemeni detainees from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia on April 16. The transferred detainees include a man who was allegedly one of Osama bin Laden’s bodyguards, the brother of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) current emir, and a jihadist the Obama administration determined was “too dangerous to transfer but not feasible for prosecution.”
The two Australians were reportedly killed in a drone strike in November 2013 with several others, including a veteran al Qaeda member.
The Taliban planted an IED on the landing pad at a remote military base in Kunar. The Afghan government had previously claimed the helicopter was damaged in an “emergency landing,” but the Taliban recorded the attack on video.
Since 2010, the US military and intelligence services have maintained that al Qaeda had a minimal presence of 50 to 100 operatives in Afghanistan. Now a senior general in Afghanistan admits the estimate needs to be revised. The Long War Journal has warned from the beginning that the conventional estimate was wrong.
The Uzbek Imam Bukhari Jamaat joins several other jihadist groups and rebel factions in the battle for the Aleppo neighborhood of Sheikh Maqsud.
Jihadists in Mali continue to prove their potency in the north by launching a spate of attacks in recent days. One such assault left a French special forces soldier dead and three others wounded.
A main goal of “Operation Omari” will be “clearing the remaining areas from enemy control and presence,” according to the Taliban.
Several members of the Islamic State Khorasan Provinces’ “central council” as well as other senior and mid-level leaders based in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar have broken their oath to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi and have rejoined the Taliban.
Since Mullah Mansour was appointed the Taliban’s new emir in July 2015, the Taliban has consistently said that Zakir, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee and senior military commander, has been a member of the Quetta Shura. Zakir formally swore allegiance to Mansour late last month.
Khalid Ostman Timayare was the deputy emir of the Anwar Awlaki brigade, while Harris Cary Saneen “was “a trusted member of the cadre of foreign fighters,” the US military said.
The US killed Rifai Ahmed Taha Musa in an airstrike this week. Musa first began working with Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri in the 1980s and 1990s. US intelligence officials identified him as a key figure in al Qaeda’s so-called “Khorasan Group.” According to one of his former comrades, he was in Syria to promote unity between Al Nusrah Front and Ahrar al Sham.
The Al Nusrah Front confirmed today that Abu Firas al Suri, a veteran jihadist who served al Qaeda since the 1980s, was killed in a US airstrike on Apr. 3. A Pentagon spokesman recently explained that Al Nusrah has “ties” to al Qaeda, but this is not an adequate description of the relationship. Al Nusrah is one of al Qaeda’s regional branches and is openly loyal to Ayman al Zawahiri.
Mullah Manan was named the head of the Taliban’s Preaching and Guidance Commission, while Mullah Yacoub is a member of the Quetta Shura and commands military operations in 15 provinces. Omar’s kin previously opposed the Taliban’s new leadership.
The Syrian government says that a fighter jet was downed by a surface to air missile in the Aleppo province earlier today. There are conflicting reports concerning how the plane was hit. Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, has the pilot in custody and another al Qaeda-linked group, Ahrar al Sham, has claimed responsibility for downing the jet.
The US government announced the transfer of two Libyans from Guantanamo to the Republic of Senegal. Both of the men were allegedly members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and worked for al Qaeda prior to their detention. JTF-GTMO found both to be “high” risks. President Obama’s Guantanamo Review Task Force previously deemed one of them “too dangerous” to transfer.