The US military announced today that a senior Islamic State propagandist, Ibrahim al-Ansari, was killed in an airstrike in Al-Qaim, Iraq on Mar. 25. Al-Ansari “was a leader in producing and disseminating propaganda to direct, encourage and instruct terror attacks, as well as to recruit foreign terrorist fighters,” a US military spokesman said. Al-Ansari also “promoted terror attacks against US and Turkish citizens” and was responsible for “the brainwashing of young children to perpetuate ISIS’s brutal message.”
The Pentagon’s desire to actively target Shabaab reflects the growing concern that al Qaeda’s branch in East Africa is gaining strength despite the presence of both AMISOM and US forces.
Anjem Choudary, the British Islamist who is directly linked to Omar Bakri Muhammad, and who has formed several radical Islamist organizations, such as Al Muhajiroun, Al Ghurabaa, and Islam4UK, is among the newly designated terrorists.
“With this important victory, the Mujahideen have opened up operational lines between Kandahar, Helmand and Uruzgan provinces and can throw its brunt at a time and place of its choosing,” the Taliban claimed.
An ethnic Nogai group from the North Caucasus recently showed some of its fighters training in northern Syria. A group of the same name exists in the Caucasus Emirate, but it remains to be seen if this the same unit.
Iranian authorities have confirmed that at least two Iranians were killed in combat in Syria’s Hama province. Pro-Assad regime forces have been fighting a major insurgent offensive that was launched by a number of groups in Hama earlier this month.
While the report may be seen as a propaganda designed to bolster its claims of controlling territory, it does not inflate the Taliban’s control of districts centers and contested areas throughout the country. The Taliban also admits that there are large areas in Afghanistan where it has only a minimal presence.
The Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims, al Qaeda’s newly formed entity in West Africa, claimed a series of attacks today. One claim discussed its role in the recent communal violence between Fulani herders and Bambara farmers in central Mali.