In a message released on Feb. 5, al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri harshly criticizes the jihadists in Syria. He says they are engaged in a misguided “competition” for “imagined authority” over territory that is under the oversight “of secular Turkish checkpoints.”
Abu Hammam al-Shami and Dr. Sami al-Uraydi have rejected a proposal that they say would create a new military council in northern Syria under the leadership of an Assad regime dissident. The proposal was allegedly put forth by Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham’s leaders, whom al-Shami and al-Uraydi have quarreled with in the past.
According to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), al Qaeda’s senior leaders are strengthening the al Qaeda “network’s global command structure.” Meanwhile, the Islamic State “still commands thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria.” Both groups maintain worldwide networks or affiliates, branches, and supporters.
The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for two suicide bombings at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Jolo, Sulu earlier today.
Bilal Khuraysat, an al Qaeda ideologue in Syria, has released a treatise justifying Shabaab’s war with the Islamic State in Somalia. The Islamic State continues to battle al Qaeda’s branches and like-minded jihadists in several theaters.
Three Taliban jihadists attacked a National Directorate of Security (NDS) training center in Wardak earlier today. The assault was led by a Taliban suicide bomber driving a Humvee packed with explosives.
The Russian government says that a gas leak was most likely responsible for an explosion at an apartment building in Magnitogorsk on Dec. 31. On Jan. 17, the Islamic State claimed that the incident was really an “operation” conducted by the Islamic State’s Caucasus province.
Shabaab released a two-page statement saying the Jan. 15 attack at a hotel in Nairobi was conducted in accordance with Ayman al Zawahiri’s “guidelines.” The al Qaeda arm has other reasons for striking inside Kenya as well, including the government’s role in the guerrilla war in Somalia.