As Sahab has released two new messages from al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri in recent days. In the first, he again criticizes Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s Islamic State, accusing it of sowing dissent in the jihadists’ ranks. In the second, Zawahiri reminds jihadists and Muslims that his organization considers the US to be their “first enemy.”
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.
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.
Amaq News Agency, a propaganda arm of the Islamic State, says that one of the group’s fighters was responsible for the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida.
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.
‘Amaq News Agency, which is linked to the Islamic State’s online propaganda operations, released an infographic claiming that the “caliphate” launched 90 “martyrdom operations” in Iraq, Syria and Libya in February. The propaganda outfit previously claimed that the Islamic State carried out 85 suicide attacks in Iraq and Syria in January. These figures have not been independently verified.
The Islamic State’s Sinai “province” claimed responsibility for a bombing at a hotel in the Sinai earlier today. The group continues to run a prolific insurgency and has proven it is capable of committing mass casualty terrorist attacks against civilians as well.
Egyptian officials say that Ashraf Ali Hassanein al Gharabli, a commander in the Islamic State’s so-called Sinai ‘province,’ was killed during a shootout in Cairo. He once belonged to Ansar Bayt al Maqdis, which split into separate factions. Whereas Al Gharabli joined the Islamic State, some of his comrades remained loyal to al Qaeda.
The Islamic State’s Sinai “province” launched a massive assault on more than 15 Egyptian security locations earlier today. The coordinated raids involved 3 suicide bombers and dozens of other fighters.
Sanafi al Nasr, a senior al Qaeda operative, reposted part of a message from Ayman al Zawahiri that was released in January. The excerpt deals with how al Qaeda thinks an Islamic State should be built. It is intended as a rebuttal to the Islamic State’s announced caliphate, which al Qaeda still has not officially addressed.