A letter recovered in Osama bin Laden’s compound reveals that a senior AQIM commander recommended that his group train Boko Haram’s forces. Other official sources confirm that AQIM did provide the training and also groomed part of Boko Haram’s leadership. However, one of the Boko Haram leaders identified in the letter later cofounded a splinter group known as Ansaru, which rejects Boko Haram’s policies. Ansaru has been supported by AQIM.
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.
On Oct. 9, a statement attributed to Mokhtar Belmokhtar was circulated online. The message eulogizes Sheikh Ag Aoussa, a prominent Tuareg leader who was reportedly killed in an explosion after attending a meeting at a UN camp in Mali. The statement’s author, presumably Belmokhtar, blames France for Aoussa’s death and calls on tribes to turn against the French.
The Pentagon has confirmed that Ahmed Salama Mabrouk was killed in an Oct. 3 airstrike in Syria’s Idlib province. According to Defense Department Press Secretary Peter Cook, Mabrouk was “one of Al Qaeda’s most senior leaders” and his death is “a blow to their ability to plot external attacks.” Mabrouk was one of the most senior officials in Jabhat Fath al Sham, al Qaeda’s rebranded branch in Syria.
Fifteen years after 9/11, Al Qaeda remains a threat to the West despite not carrying out a large-scale attack in years. The group is waging insurgencies in several countries and is far larger than it was on 9/11.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Al Nusrah Front have jointly issued a eulogy for Mullah Mansour, the Taliban’s chief leader. Mansour was killed in an American drone strike on May 21.
An infographic in the Islamic State’s Al Naba newsletter highlights the “caliphate’s” fighting against both its jihadist rivals and the Libyan Army in the eastern city of Derna. The Islamic State was forced out of Derna’s center last year, even as it gained ground elsewhere in Libya.
Newly released files recovered in Osama bin Laden’s compound reveal that al Qaeda’s leadership drafted a truce proposal for the Mauritanian government. There is no evidence in the files that Mauritania agreed to the deal, which would have allowed al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) to operate freely in the country. In a separate letter, AQIM emir Abdelmalek Droukdel asked for bin Laden’s advice concerning the staffing of his elite Shura council.
Libya’s air force confirmed that a jet was shot down by anti-aircraft fire earlier today. Ansar al Sharia Libya, which says its fighters were responsible, openly promotes al Qaeda ideologues in its propaganda.
The Mujahideen Shura Council (MSC) in Derna claims to have captured a top Islamic State leader in Libya. The MSC has been battling the Islamic State in Derna since June, but appears to have the upper hand in the jihadists’ infighting.
The Islamic State’s newest edition of Dabiq magazine features an interview with Abul Mughirah al Qahtani, who is identified for the first time as the head of the “caliphate’s” Libyan “province.” Qahtani complains bitterly about the Islamic State’s jihadist and Islamist rivals. He notes, for example, that Ansar al Sharia has failed to swear allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi and says the group is close to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
Al Qaeda’s branches and allies have held or continue to control ground in Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Mali, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Libya, contrary to the narrative that only the Islamic State seeks to take territory.
The Islamic State’s supporters in Libya have released dozens of “wanted dead” posters online. The images are part of a campaign targeting the “caliphate’s” jihadist and Islamist opposition in Derna and elsewhere in Libya. If the information in the graphics is accurate, then the Islamic State is offering up valuable intelligence on its pro-al Qaeda adversaries in North Africa.
A statement released online today confirms that Mokhtar Belmokhtar is now the emir of Al Murabitoon, which calls itself “Al Qaeda in West Africa.” Another Al Murabitoon emerged in Egypt last month and it is also loyal to al Qaeda.
AQIM has issued a pair of statements backing the Mujahideen Shura Council (MSC) in Derna against its rivals in the Islamic State. Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s men picked a fight with the MSC last month, but have sustained significant losses since then.
The raid occurred in the Tigharghar mountains and comes just months after French special forces killed two al Qaeda leaders in Mali.
Ansar al Sharia, which is now led by a jihadist known as Abu Khalid al Madani, continues to battle General Khalifa Haftar’s forces. Contrary to erroneous accounts, the group has not sworn allegiance to the Islamic State.
The Pentagon said today that Ali Awni al Harzi, the first suspect publicly identified in the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, was killed in a US airstrike in Mosul, Iraq. Al Harzi and his brother have been working for the Islamic State as facilitators.
AQIM denies that Mokhtar Belmokhtar was killed in US airstrikes earlier this month. The jihadists have now released five statements on the matter. Two of the statements deny Belmokhtar has been killed, while the other three imply he is alive. None of them say he is dead.
A jihadist leader known as Adnan Abu Walid al Sahrawi has declared allegiance to the Islamic State. It appears that he has pledged fealty to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi on behalf of MUJAO, a jihadist group in West Africa. There is no indication that al Qaeda loyalists, such as Mokhtar Belmokhtar, have also defected.
The statement highlights the close working relationship between al Qaeda and the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, and al Qaeda’s influence over the fellow jihadist group.
Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb’s emir, Abdulmalek Droukdel, has released an audio message praising the head of the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, for working with other Islamist and jihadist groups to capture the city of Idlib.
Ansar al Sharia Libya now operates a radio station in Benghazi and several Twitter feeds. The group is at war with General Khalifa Haftar’s forces, but is promoting its governance efforts even while in the thick of battle. While a senior sharia official has defected to the Islamic State, there is no indication the group as a whole has followed suit.
French forces free Dutch hostage in Mali
Official says commander of group that massacred 21 in Tunisia is dead
Suspected jihadists have hit the central Malian town of Teninkou and the northern town of Kidal in the last 24 hours. Four people, including a Chadian peackeeper, were killed.
Algerian Army Kills Man Behind French Beheading
Islamic State looks to usurp AQIM
Senior al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb leader reportedly killed in Libya
Serge Lazarevic: Mali confirms militants freed for French hostage