Testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee Counterterrorism and Intelligence, on the future of counterterrorism and addressing the evolving threat to domestic security.
As shadow governor for Kunduz, Salam has succeeded in making the province one of the most unstable in all of Afghanistan. His forces overran the provincial capital in 2015 and then again in 2016.
Hay’at Tahrir al Sham (HTS), a newly formed group that includes al Qaeda’s Syrian arm, launched a complex assault on the Assad regime’s security services in the city of Homs earlier today. A high-ranking military intelligence official was killed in the suicide raid.
The Afghan Ministry of Defense claimed the helicopter made an emergency landing due to a technical issue. In the past, the Afghan military has been less than forthcoming about attacks on its aviation assets and has even attempted to cover up the loss of its helicopters.
The US Treasury Department and the UN have added two senior jihadists to their terror sanctions lists. Both of them were leaders in the group formerly known as Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria. Treasury’s announcement provides new details about al Qaeda’s operations in Syria, including the organization’s history and personnel.
A monument dedicated to an Iranian general has been erected in Iraq for the first time in the country’s modern history. The landmark commemorates Hamid Taghavi, a commander in the Qods Force, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ extraterritorial branch.
A former Guantanamo detainee known as Jamal al Harith (formerly Ronald Fiddler) launched a suicide attack with a vehicle borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) south of Mosul earlier this week. He is at least the second former Guantanamo detainee to launch a suicide attack in or around Mosul on behalf of the Islamic State and its predecessor organization.
The Imam Bukhari Jamaat and the Islamic Jihad Union have claimed attacks in eastern and northern Afghanistan. Members of these two groups are also known to have operated in Syria.
The Taliban claims it now controls four of Kandahar’s 18 districts, and that others are contested. Shorabak was the location of an al Qaeda camp that was described by a US general in 2015 as “probably the largest training camp-type facility that we have seen in 14 years of war.”
Al Qaeda agitated for Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman’s release from a US prison for more than 20 years. Rahman, whose teachings had a significant influence on al Qaeda’s development, was convicted in 1995 of conspiring to attack several New York City landmarks.
Qari Saifullah Akhtar’s waged jihad for four decades. He has been directly linked to Osama bin Laden and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate.
This marks at least the second time a French fighter has been killed alongside the Turkistan Islamic Party in Syria.
A letter recovered in Osama bin Laden’s compound reveals that a senior AQIM commander recommended that his group train Boko Haram’s forces. Other official sources confirm that AQIM did provide the training and also groomed part of Boko Haram’s leadership. However, one of the Boko Haram leaders identified in the letter later cofounded a splinter group known as Ansaru, which rejects Boko Haram’s policies. Ansaru has been supported by AQIM.
The Islamic State’s Khorasan province claimed credit for today’s suicide bombing at a Sufi shrine in Sindh province, Pakistan that killed at least 70 people and wounded scores more.
A Uighur commander known as Abu Omar al Turkistani was killed in a US drone strike in Syria on Jan. 1. According to a jihadi biography posted online, he had a lengthy career fighting alongside al Qaeda-linked forces. He purportedly participated in the Battle of Tora Bora in late 2001.
Jamaat-ul-Ahrar claimed that attack, which killed at least 10 people and wounded scores more, under Operation Ghazi. The operation targets all factions of the Pakistani state.
On Feb. 12, the newly formed Hay’at Tahrir al Sham (HTS) and other insurgent groups launched an offensive against Bashar al Assad’s regime in the southern city of Daraa. Two HTS suicide bombers were deployed at the beginning of the battle. HTS includes al Qaeda’s arm in Syria.
The US-led coalition targeted Rachid Kassim near Mosul, Iraq earlier this week. Kassim is an Islamic State operative responsible for “remote-controlling” attacks in France. He has been tied to several plots.
Abu Jaber has released his first speech as the general commander of the newly formed Ha’yat Tahrir al Sham (“Assembly for the Liberation of Syria”). He calls on other factions to join his group, promises to wage jihad on Bashar al Assad’s regime until the end and claims that losing the war would be catastrophic for Syria’s Sunnis.
Katibat Imam al Bukhari, which also operates in Syria alongside al Qaeda’s forces there, claims that four Afghan soldiers were killed in the attack.
It is the Islamic State’s first major operation in Puntland since it captured the town of Qandala last October.
The Pentagon announced that 11 al Qaeda operatives were killed in a pair of airstrikes near Idlib, Syria earlier this month. One of them, Abu Hani al Masri, is described as “a legacy al Qaeda terrorist with ties to the group’s senior leaders, including Ayman al Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden.”
The Taiban claimed the murder of six Red Cross workers and the abduction of two more in Jawzjan province is “the work of kidnappers.” But the group has attacked NGOs in the past.
The attack was executed by a Tajik fighter, who may have been a member of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan faction that merged with the Islamic State’s Khorasan province.
The Caucasus Emirate in Syria has previously shown its forces partaking in battles in Aleppo, but it is now detailing fighting in Idlib Province.
An Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) member embedded with Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces has been killed near Tal Afar, to the west of Mosul.
The Khalid Mehsud Group, which commands Taliban fighters in South Waziristan, has rejoined the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan after breaking away in 2014.
The seventh issue of Al Qaeda’s Al Nafir Bulletin, which was released earlier today, denounced the recent American counterterrorism raid in Yemen. The group’s statement portrayed the operation as an assault on all Muslims and threatened President Donald Trump, saying “the flame of jihad has ignited and reached all over the world.”
FDD’s Long War Journal has previously identified Abdulrauf al Dhahab, one of the senior jihadist operatives killed in the raid, as a member of a family with strong ties to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
The video, from Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a powerful faction of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, highlights the training of suicide bombers and an assault on a Pakistani military base that took place last November.