The US has launched 62 “precision” airstrikes against the Islamic State in Sirte, Libya since Aug. 1, according to data provided by US Africa Command earlier today. The jihadists have lost significant ground, but continue to conduct suicide attacks using vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) inside the city.
Hamza bin Laden, Osama’s son, criticizes Saudi Arabia’s intervention in Yemen in a newly released audio message. Hamza claims that the Saudi campaign has aided Houthi rebels by interfering in Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s war against them. He calls on Muslims to overthrow the Saudi government.
Senior Iranian government officials have defended Russia’s use of an air base in Western Iran to launch strikes in Syria, despite concerns within the policy elite. A high-ranking parliamentarian claims that Russia will use the base primarily for refueling.
A leaked Joint Task Force – Guantanamo threat assessment describes Haji Hamidullah, who was recently transferred from Guantanamo to the UAE, as an “agent” of Iran. The Long War Journal first profiled Hamidullah in 2011. The leaked JTF-GTMO file contains numerous intelligence reports tying Iranian intelligence to the Afghan insurgency.
Moscow and Tehran have reportedly struck an agreement permitting the Russian Air Force to use an Iranian military base to conduct airstrikes in Syria.
The Taliban is sustaining offensive operations through Afghanistan as Afghan security forces, backed by US airpower and special forces, continue to struggle with containing the jihadist group.
Amaq News Agency claims the Islamic State still controls four neighborhoods inside Sirte, Libya. Amaq says that special forces from four Western countries (US, UK, France and Italy) are involved in the offensive. The jihadists have lost significant ground in and around the city since May.
The Taliban continue to bring recalcitrant leaders back into the fold. The Dadullah family and commanders from the Mullah Dadullah Front, a jihadist faction with close ties to al Qaeda, rejoined the Taliban and swore allegiance to its emir, Mullah Haibatullah.