In 2017, LWJ reported unprecedented levels of airstrikes in Somalia and Yemen. Thus far in 2018, the United States has sustained its high strike tempo in Somalia and improved transparency on its air campaign in Yemen. Strikes in Pakistan have leveled off, however press restrictions make tracking operations there difficult. In Libya, the U.S. has targeted jihadists sparingly.
On May 23, Al-Badr Media Foundation announced its presence online, saying it will work to serve the interests of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and its supporters in several ways. AQAP remains under pressure and its media output has been degraded by a US-led campaign. Al-Badr is AQAP’s latest attempt to improve the group’s security measures and boost fighter morale.
Two regional combatant commands acknowledged reports of civilian casualties in recent operations.
The US military has conducted 27 counterterrorism strikes in Yemen in 2018, but has only provided complete information on two. One of the strikes hit an AQAP training camp in Hadramout.
Since late April, Shabaab has released a series of videos emphasizing its place in al Qaeda’s global network. Two of the videos were recorded by the group’s emir, Abu Ubaydah Ahmad Umar, a normally reclusive figure. Abu Ubaydah refers to the Taliban’s emir as the “Commander of the Faithful” and Ayman al Zawahiri as the “father-emir” while addressing the mujahideen in Syria and Yemen.
The military has not produced detailed press releases for any strikes this year, continuing 2017’s limited transparency.
In his latest message, Hamza bin Laden warns that Shiites are expanding throughout the Middle East and claims that the Saudi government is incapable of stopping them. Hamza calls upon Muslims to support the jihadists in Yemen. He also criticizes the relationship between the Saudis and the US.
The US military has launched 22 airstrikes against al Qaeda int he Arabian Peninsula and the Islamic State’s Yemeni branch, a spokesman told FDD’s Long War Journal.