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.
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.
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.”
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.
The Islamic State claims that its “soldiers” were responsible for a prison riot south of Jakarta, Indonesia yesterday. A police spokesman was quick to dismiss the group’s statements, images and a video purportedly shot at the scene. Instead, he blamed the clash on a fight over food.
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.
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.
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.