The Islamic State claimed responsibility for a shooting at a church in Kizlyar, a town in Dagestan, earlier today. Russian officials have confirmed that at least five people were killed and four more wounded.
The State Department has added a former Guantanamo detainee, Ayrat Nasimovich Vakhitov, to the US government’s list of designated terrorists. According to press reports, Vakhitov was recently arrested in connection with the terrorist attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport. Also designated today is Aslan Avgazarovich Byutukaev, who leads the Islamic State’s forces in Chechnya.
Abu Muhammad al Julani, the head of al Qaeda’s Al Nusrah Front in Syria, addresses Russia’s intervention in an audio message. Julani calls for reprisal attacks against Russians and says the jihadists must strike Shiite villages in order to extract concessions from Bashar al Assad’s regime.
The Islamic Caucasus Emirate (ICE) publicly recognized Muhammad Abu Usman as its new emir earlier this month. The ICE, which is affiliated with al Qaeda, has suffered a string of defections to the Islamic State since last year.
The Ansar al Din Front in Syria has released a statement mourning the death of Harith al Nadhari, a sharia official in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula who was killed in a US drone strike on Jan. 31. The statement is further evidence that Ansar al Din is, at a minimum, closely allied with al Qaeda’s international network.
Sharia officials from both Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Al Nusrah Front, two official branches of al Qaeda, have signed a statement saying that the Islamic State’s ‘caliphate’ is invalid. The statement is addressed to the Caucasus jihadists who announced their allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi in December.
Dozens of fighters fanned out across the Chechen capital and attacked police and other government targets. The Press House was set ablaze.
Ali Abu Muhammad al Dagestani quietly served as the senior sharia official for the Islamic Caucasus Emirate for three years before assuming the position of emir after Doku Umarov’s death.