Ahead of Iraq’s May parliamentary elections, Iranian-backed militias this month announced a coalition called al-Fatah al Mubin (Manifest Victory). It is led by Hadi al Ameri, the chief of the Badr Organization and current parliamentarian with close ties to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) – Qods Force chief Qassem Soleimani called him a “living martyr” last year.
US Africa Command confirmed today that US forces took part “in an advisory capacity” in a Somali-led raid on an “indoctrination center” operated by Shabaab, al Qaeda’s branch in East Africa. Five people, some of whom were “under the age of 18,” were killed in the Jan. 18 operation. 30 other “male children” were freed.
The attack forced the charity to temporarily shut down its offices across the country.
The Pakistan government often criticizes US airstrikes that kill members of the Afghan Taliban, including Haqqani Network leaders.
The State Department designated two Islamic State members, Siddhartha Dhar and Abdelatif Gaini, as terrorists. Dhar “is believed to be the masked leader who appeared in a January 2016 ISIS” execution video.
The State Department has added Khalid Batarfi, an al Qaeda veteran and senior al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader, to the US government’s list of specially designated global terrorists. Batarfi threatened the US and Jews in a video released by AQAP just yesterday.
Afghan forces will be on the offensive in the coming year, but have significant challenges ahead.
The Taliban quickly claimed credit for an assault on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan. The jihadists’ siege lasted more than half a day before it was finally ended by Afghan security forces.