The IED claim is the group’s first since July and just the second attack claim of the year for the small Tunisian Al Qaeda wing.
As JNIM rallies its members and supporters against France and Mali, it depicts the fight with the two countries as part of al Qaeda’s wider global jihad.
AL Qaeda’s operatives are fighting in more countries around the world today than was the case on 9/11. And its leaders still want to target the United States and its interest and allies. The war they started is far from over.
The State Department announced today that it has designated Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM), al Qaeda’s branch in Mali and West Africa, as a terrorist organization. JNIM and its leader, Iyad Ghali, are openly loyal to al Qaeda and the Taliban’s emir.
This is the first strike since early June, when the United States targeted both the Islamic State and Al Qaeda in separate strikes in Bani Walid.
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.
Yesterday’s ambush was the highest death toll in a terrorist attack in the country since the Islamic State’s foray into Ben Gardane in March 2016.
The State Department has designated Ansaroul Islam, a Burkinabe jihadist group affiliated with al Qaeda’s network in Mali, as a terrorist organization. FDD’s Long War Journal has tracked the rise of the group since its founding in late 2016.