Author Archives: Thomas Joscelyn

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for FDD's Long War Journal.

As US relocates embassy to Jerusalem, al Qaeda leader condemns international system

Al Qaeda has released a message from its leader, Ayman al Zawahiri, that is timed to coincide with the Trump administration’s relocation of the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Zawahiri notes that the decision caused a “big uproar,” but he reminds listeners that Tel Aviv is also supposedly Muslim land. He calls for jihad to uproot the entire international system led by the US and the UN.


Paris knife terrorist swore allegiance to ISIS leader before attack

The Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency has released a video purportedly showing the young man who attacked several people with a knife in Paris yesterday. FDD’s Long War Journal cannot independently verify that the person shown was responsible for the knife attacks. However, the footage is similar to previous videos released by Amaq after a series of small-scale attacks in Europe since mid-2016.


Authorities say ISIS-linked family conducted suicide bombings at Indonesian churches

According to authorities, an ISIS-linked family carried out suicide bombings at three churches in the Indonesian city of Surabaya earlier today. The bombings came just days after other ISIS-affiliated militants conducted a prison riot south of Jakarta. ISIS has long targeted Christians, among many others. The group previously ruled that suicide attacks aimed at churches were an acceptable way to attain “closeness to Allah.”


Analysis: Shabaab advertises its al Qaeda allegiance

Since late April, Shabaab has released a series of videos emphasizing its place in al Qaeda’s global network. Two of the videos were recorded by the group’s emir, Abu Ubaydah Ahmad Umar, a normally reclusive figure. Abu Ubaydah refers to the Taliban’s emir as the “Commander of the Faithful” and Ayman al Zawahiri as the “father-emir” while addressing the mujahideen in Syria and Yemen.



ISIS targets elections in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya

Since late April, the Islamic State has claimed a string of operations targeting elections in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. The group’s spokesman, Abu al-Hasan al-Muhajir, threatened Iraq’s upcoming election on May 12 and the jihadists are carrying out operations accordingly.


Islamic State continues to battle Assad regime, allies

Since mid-April, the Islamic State and the Assad regime have been engaged in an intense battle in the southern neighborhoods of Damascus. ISIS claims to have killed or wounded hundreds of Assad’s soldiers, but its figures cannot be independently verified. Meanwhile, the so-called caliphate continues to fight the Syrian government and its allies in other areas as well, including in eastern Syria.


Treasury sanctions ISIS facilitator based in the Philippines

The US government has designated Myrna Mabanza, an Islamic State facilitator based in the Philippines, as a terrorist. The Treasury Department identifies Mabanza as a woman in her mid-20s who has worked with some of the Islamic State’s most senior personnel in Southeast Asia and has also served as an “intermediary” to jihadists in Syria.