The White House announced earlier today that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of the Islamic State, has been killed during a raid in Syria’s Idlib province. Under his leadership, the Islamic State grew into an international terrorist menace.
In a newly-released audio message, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi boasts that his Islamic State has conducted “unified raids” across the globe this year. Many of these operations were conducted by the Islamic State’s wilayat, or provinces,
The Islamic State has released the first video of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in nearly five years.
In a speech released earlier this week, Islamic State spokesman Abul-Hasan al-Muhajir claimed that the group remains a “reality” despite its territorial losses. He also references the terrorist attack by a white supremacist in New Zealand earlier this week.
The public seldom hears from the reclusive Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, who last released a speech nearly a year ago. But in his latest message, Baghdadi downplays the loss of his territorial caliphate while claiming the US has entered a new stage of “weakness.”
The Islamic State announced today that Hudhayfah al-Badri, the son of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, has been killed during a raid on Syrian and Russian forces in Homs province. Al-Badri’s death was announced via a graphic that is part of the Islamic State’s “Caravan of the Martyrs” series, which has featured deceased jihadists from around the globe. The so-called caliphate has offered few details concerning al-Badri’s purported death.
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.
The Islamic State’s propagandists continue to take aim at rival jihadists, including al Qaeda and Hay’at Tahrir al Sham (HTS). A recent Islamic State video calls upon HTS fighters to defect to the so-called caliphate’s cause.
The Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency has claimed responsibility for a jihadist’s assault on police in Grozny on Mar. 20. Amaq released a video of the alleged perpetrator swearing allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi prior to his day of terror. The video is similar to a string of other clips released by Amaq since mid-2016.
The US Treasury Department and several Gulf States announced today that eight jihadists in Yemen have been designated as terrorists. The newly-sanctioned terrorists serve either the Islamic State’s Yemeni branch, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or both.
The Islamic State’s Al Bayan radio station has released several religious lectures dealing with an internal controversy over takfir, the practice of excommunicating other Muslims and denouncing “polytheists.” The so-called caliphate tried to quell the controversy by repealing a problematic memo earlier this month.
The Islamic State demolished the Great Mosque of Al-Nuri earlier today. Abu Bakr al Baghdadi delivered his first speech as “Caliph Ibrahim” at the mosque in July 2014. Just days earlier, the Islamic State declared itself a so-called caliphate, ruling over large parts of Iraq and Syria.
Two American soldiers were killed during a raid against the Islamic State in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province. A third American perished during combat earlier this month. The Islamic State’s so-called Khorasan province has lost ground since the beginning of 2016, but is still able to engage in heavy fighting and launch significant attacks.
The UK Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee has released its investigative report on the Aug. 21, 2015 drone strike that killed UK national Reyaad Khan. The bombing was “the first time outside participation in a military campaign that the UK had conducted a lethal drone strike against a terrorist target.” Khan was one of the Islamic State’s most prolific cyber planners.
The Islamic State has claimed credit for bombings at two Coptic churches in the Egyptian cities of Tanta and Alexandria earlier today. The attacks killed dozens of people and wounded approximately 100 others. The so-called caliphate has a history of targeting Christians in Iraq, Egypt and Libya.
The eighth edition of the Islamic State’s Rumiyah magazine features a cover story on Ahmad Abousamra, who was added to the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist List in 2013. Abousamra was the “chief editor” of Dabiq, the Islamic State’s English-language magazine, and also one of al Qaeda’s fiercest rhetorical opponents. He described al Qaeda’s leaders and pro-al Qaeda ideologues as the “Jews of Jihad.”
The US Treasury Department and the UN have added two senior jihadists to their terror sanctions lists. Both of them were leaders in the group formerly known as Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria. Treasury’s announcement provides new details about al Qaeda’s operations in Syria, including the organization’s history and personnel.
The Islamic State claims to have carried out 1,112 suicide attacks in Iraq and Syria during 2016. Additional suicide bombers were deployed in Libya and elsewhere. If the group’s claims are accurate, then the so-called caliphate has been using “martyrs” at a historically high rate.
The Islamic State has issued a statement claiming responsibility for the attack at the Reina nightclub in Istanbul in the early hours of New Year’s Day. Although the group had long been reticent to claim operations inside Turkey, both Abu Bakr al Baghdadi and his new spokesman called for such attacks in November and December.
State has upped the reward for Abu Bakr al Baghdadi as the Islamic State has been under significant pressure in Iraq. The $25 million reward puts Baghdadi on par with Ayman al Zawahiri, the emir of al Qaeda.
The Pentagon announced today that the Islamic State no longer controls any part of Sirte, Libya. The ground campaign to liberate the city began more than six months ago and the US has launched 495 airstrikes in support of the operation. The Islamic State’s “governor” in Libya vows to fight on, saying that his men have spread out across the country.
More than six months after a ground offensive was launched to dislodge the Islamic State from Sirte, Libya, the so-called caliphate’s fighters remain holed up inside a few blocks of the city. According to AFRICOM, approximately 200 jihadists are entrenched in their positions.
During a congressional hearing earlier today, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified that “violent extremism” — that is, jihadism — demands more intelligence collection and analysis now “than at any other point in history.”
The Pentagon says that more than 60 vehicle bombs have been destroyed in airstrikes since the battle for Mosul began in October. The Islamic State claims to have carried out 120 “martyrdom operations,” many utilizing vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs), during this same timeframe. However, some of these claimed suicide bombings were likely neutralized before they could hit their intended targets.
On Nov. 2, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi called for attacks inside Turkey as retribution for Turkish operations in Iraq and Syria. Earlier today, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for a car bombing in the city of Diyarbakir, which is in southeastern Turkey.
The Islamic State has released an audio message from Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. It is the first message from Baghdadi in nearly one year. Baghdadi frames the wars being fought in Iraq and elsewhere in sectarian terms and says that his men are waging a “grand jihad” against their many enemies.
The FBI is seeking information on two “unknown individuals” to question them about luggage that contained an improvised explosive device on 27th street in Manhattan on Sept. 17. The two men allegedly “removed an improvised explosive device from the luggage, and then left the vicinity leaving the device behind but taking the luggage.”
In the second episode of the “Brief Messages to a Victorious Ummah” series, Ayman al Zawahiri blasts the Islamic State for dividing the mujahideen’s ranks. Zawahiri, who is openly loyal to the Taliban’s emir, calls on Muslims to support the Taliban.
Amaq News Agency has released a video purportedly showing the two jihadists responsible for attacking Russian policemen in Balashikha yesterday. The video is consistent with the pattern followed after small-scale attacks in Germany and France in July. In each case, the assailants recorded themselves swearing allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi prior to their assaults.
The Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency released a video purportedly showing the two terrorists responsible for yesterday’s assault on a church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, France. One of the two, identified as Abu Jalil al Hanafi, swears allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi on behalf of himself and his comrade. The Islamic State has also released a profile of Mohammad Daleel, the jihadist who blew himself up in Ansbach, Germany on July 24. The biography indicates that Daleel was a veteran of the jihad in Syria.