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.
On Dec. 25, the Islamic State released a video promoting its fighters in Somalia and inciting attacks in the West. The group’s propagandists referred to the cadre as the Islamic State’s Somali “province.”
The Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency has released its first video from the fighting in the southern Philippine city of Marawi. Jihadists loyal to the so-called caliphate launched their offensive in Marawi more than a week ago.
The Islamic State has officially recognized a loyalty oath sworn by Abu Walid al Sahrawi, a jihadist based in West Africa. Sahrawi first swore his fealty to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi in May 2015. It is not clear why it took so long for the so-called caliphate to recognize him as one of its representatives.
Al Jazeera has reportedly obtained an audio message from Adnan Abu Walid al Sahrawi in which he threatens to attack Morocco. Little has been heard from Sahrawi since May 2015, when he broke from Al Murabitoon and declared his fealty to the Islamic State. If the message is authentic, then it could indicate that he and his men plan on initiating new operations.
A group called Al Murabitoon has released a video featuring its emir, a former Egyptian special forces named Hisham Ali Ashmawi. He is wanted for a string of attacks in Egypt, including the assassination of Egypt’s chief prosecutor in late June. Al Murabitoon makes its loyalty to al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri clear in the video.