The US government and intelligence services have consistently underestimated the strength of AQIS, which is an official branch of al Qaeda that is based in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh.
At least 27 people are reported to have been killed in the twin bombings. The second suicide bomber targeted emergency personnel as they rendered aid to the victims of the first blast.
A former Iranian government official claims Tuesday’s appointment of a new armed forces chief means several changes for the Iranian military including a boost in Qods Force capabilities and enhancement of Iran’s “geopolitical agility.”
Iran has appointed a new Armed Forces General Staff chief amid a shakeup. Iran’s official armed forces media outlet has reprinted a 2014 interview with the senior Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander, in which he reiterated Tehran’s security red lines and priorities, warning that Iran would directly intervene in Iraq if Baghdad were threatened.
Taken on its own, the Ministry of Interior’s data on the number of districts ruled by the Taliban indicates that the security situation has worsened since the last time the government such disclosed information. The Long War Journal estimates that 39 districts are under Taliban control.
Jaysh al Fateh, a jihadist-led coalition that includes al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, and various groups affiliated with the Free Syrian Army have launched a new offensive on government-held positions in the Latakia province. The assault has been named the “Battle of Yarmouk.”
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leader of a Hezb-i-Islami faction, has toyed with the Afghan government in the past and withdrew from peace talks under similar circumstances.
This suicide bombing is the first attack of its kind in Jordan since the civil war in Syria began.
The video is the culmination of the Islamic State’s build up of its propaganda and activity in the region.
A short clip has circulated on Arab Twitter accounts claiming to show an Iranian who was arrested in Fallujah, Iraq. [Update: the video is from 2005]
The Jaysh al Fateh alliance captured three more villages in the southern countryside of Aleppo during an offensive that began on June 17. The jihadist-led coalition has made steady gains in Aleppo province since May, further demonstrating al Qaeda’s prowess in guerrilla warfare.
The Department of Defense announced the transfer of Abdel Malik Ahmed Abdel Wahab Al Rahabi to the Government of Montenegro. Joint Task Force Guantanamo, President Obama’s Guantanamo Review Task Force, and a Periodic Review Board all previously deemed Rahabi too dangerous to transfer. A PRB cited his “possible” role in an aborted part of the 9/11 plot, but reversed its decision and eventually approved him for transfer.
The Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency claims that three Russian soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb in Syria. The claim could not be immediately verified. In recent days, the Russian-Syrian-Iranian axis has suffered setbacks along the same road where the Russians were allegedly killed. [Update: A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman subsequently denied Amaq’s claim.]
Last weekend, the Afghan Ministry of the Interior claimed that Mullah Mohammad Qasim and an undisclosed number of fighters were killed in an airstrike in the Aab Band district. A Taliban spokesman said Qasim is alive and well.
Omar Mateen mentioned his allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi at least twice during a 911 call the night of his attack on a LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Florida. He also discussed his allegiance to Baghdadi during a call with the Orlando Police Department’s Crisis Negotiation team and may have posted his fealty on Facebook as well. The Islamic State specifically instructs followers to swear allegiance before dying.
“History shows that such befallings have never weakened this Movement, but more often than not, has only strengthened their resolve,” the Taliban said in the wake of the US drone strike that killed its previous emir. The West has “failed to understand the psychology of the Taliban” and its desire for martyrdom.
A senior advisor to the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps – Qods Force vowed that Iranian forces would continue to fight in Iraq and Syria until the last Islamic State and “takfiri” fighters are killed. The statement signals the entrenchment of Iranian military assets in Iraq and Syria and the two countries continue to be mired in civil wars.
Two hours before an attack on the headquarters of Banque du Liban et d’Outre-Mer in Beirut, Hezbollah hinted at an attack from “Lahad’s Banking Army,” warning against Lebanon’s Central Bank to back down from their application of U.S. financial sanctions or face potential violence. Sunday’s attack was a first volley, with greater bloodshed possible.
The discussions reportedly centered around the Taliban’s commitment to preventing the Islamic State from expanding, “especially in Afghanistan’s northeastern border and the Afghanistan-Tajikistan border.” The Taliban and Iran have colluded since the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
The Taliban controls one of Uruzgan’s five districts, and contests the other four. The shadow governor for Uruzgan said in April his forces would emphasize complete control of the province.
After Usman Ghazi, the last emir of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, joined the Islamic State’s Khorasan province, the group split in two and a core cadre remained loyal to the Taliban and al Qaeda.
The IRGC’s officer college yesterday held a funeral ceremony for a comrade killed during an “advisory mission” in Syria. The college’s chief commander acknowledged last month that college officers rotate to Syrian combat zones. Addressing the funeral ceremony, the college’s top political commissar stressed the importance of the wars in Syria and Iraq, and also announced willingness to “defend the oppressed Muslims of Nigeria.”
Jaish Muhammad is the latest foreign fighter group to join the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria.
Amaq News Agency, a propaganda arm of the Islamic State, says that one of the group’s fighters was responsible for the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida.
The infographic gives information on how many Filipino troops have been killed in Islamic State operations and how many “fighting battalions” it has in the country.
Ayman al Zawahiri has sworn allegiance to the Taliban’s new leader, Mullah Haibatullah. Zawahiri’s oath of bay’ah continues a tradition of al Qaeda’s leaders swearing their fealty to the Taliban’s top man.
The Turkistan Islamic Party released an audio message from its leader, Abdul Haq, on May 30. The message is the latest indication that Abdul Haq survived a US drone strike in 2010. The man identified as Haq blasts the Islamic State’s so-called caliphate and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), which swore allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi in 2015. Haq claims the IMU has “disappeared” since.
The Islamic State is losing ground around Sirte, Libya, which is the so-called “caliphate’s” capital in North Africa. Al Bunyan Al Marsoos military operations room, which draws fighters from Misrata, and other forces have been closing in on Sirte since late May. However, the current status of the fighting is murky.
Iranian media reported that the head of Iranian-backed Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces left the front lines of Fallujah yesterday to brief a senior cleric in Najaf, who praised the forces and stressed the protection of civilians.
Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and associated groups have unleashed a string of attacks in Mali and elsewhere in West Africa this year.