In a lengthy audio message released on Apr. 22, Islamic State spokesman Abu-al-Hasan al-Muhajir claims that the US is retreating from Iraq and Syria. He argues that his group is in a better condition than when the US withdrew its forces from Iraq in 2011. He advises the Islamic State’s members that they should prepare for the war against the Russians and Iranians, who are filling the void left by the Americans.
“I did it for the Islamic State,” Akayed Ullah, who is charged with carrying out the failed bombing in Times Square yesterday, allegedly told authorities.
In a short video released yesterday, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) leader, Qasim al Raymi, reiterated his group’s call for “lone mujahid” attacks in the West. AQAP was an early innovator of the concept of “individual jihad,” but has been eclipsed by its rivals in the Islamic State in recent years. Raymi is attempting to move AQAP back to the fore of the “lone mujahid” effort.
The Pentagon announced today that three members of the Islamic State’s external operations arm were killed in an airstrike in Raqqa, Syria on Dec. 4. All three worked for Boubaker Al-Hakim, a notorious French-Tunisian jihadi who was killed on Nov. 26. Hakim and his network had been plotting attacks against Western targets, according to Defense Department.
The Islamic State has released a message from its new spokesman, Abu al Hassan al Muhajir. Abu Muhammad al Adnani had served in that role for years until his demise in August. Muhajir tries to rally Sunnis to the Islamic State’s cause in Iraq and elsewhere.
The Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency claims that its “soldier” carried out the attack at Ohio State University yesterday. The wording is similar to that used after previous claims of responsibility for attacks in both Europe and the US.
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 complaint filed in the case against Ahmad Khan Rahami, who is accused of planting bombs in New York and New Jersey on Sept. 17, omitted any reference to the Islamic State. But a newly released page from Rahami’s notebook shows that he mentioned Abu Muhammad al Adnani in the context of being unable to travel abroad for jihad. Prior to his demise in August, Adnani repeatedly told followers to strike in their home countries if they were unable to emigrate to the lands of the so-called caliphate.
Catherine Herridge of Fox News has shared nine pages from Ahmad Khan Rahami’s journal with The Long War Journal. Rahami is accused of placing bombs in New York City and New Jersey on Sept. 17. His notebook contains multiple references to jihadi figures.
The Islamic State issued a “martyrdom” statement today for Abu Muhammad al Adnani, who was one of the group’s top leaders and spokesman. The Defense Department subsequently confirmed that Adnani was targeted in an airstrike, but added that his status was still being assessed. The Pentagon described Adnani as the “principal architect” of the Islamic State’s “external operations,” meaning the part of the organization devoted to planning attacks in the West and elsewhere abroad.
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.
The Islamic State is losing ground around Sirte, Libya, which is the so-called “caliphate’s” capital in North Africa. Al Bunyan Al Marsoos military operations room, which draws fighters from Misrata, and other forces have been closing in on Sirte since late May. However, the current status of the fighting is murky.
The Islamic State’s Caucasus Province claimed responsibility for two attacks in Dagestan on Mar. 29 and Mar. 30. Russian officials have confirmed that explosions occurred on those days, but the government’s version of events differs from the Islamic State’s claims.
The US State and Treasury Departments announced 35 designations today. The designations target the Islamic State’s foreign fighters, leaders, “provinces” and other related entities. Several jihadists from the West were included among the designees.