Combined Joint Force Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) announced today that four members of the Islamic State’s illicit gas and oil network were killed during “operations” on May 26. They were targeted in the Middle Euphrates River Valley. Separately, CJTF-OIR’s local partners seized and destroyed $1.4 million dollars worth of drugs from the so-called caliphate in southern Syria.
According to a State Department report published this week, the Taliban continues “to assassinate and threaten religious leaders with death for preaching messages contrary to” its “interpretation of Islam or its political agenda.” As part of its widespread assassination campaign, Taliban gunmen have been killing “imams and other religious officials throughout the country.”
The Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency has issued a short statement claiming that the assailant who conducted the attack in Liège, Belgium yesterday was one of the group’s soldiers. Amaq did not provide any descriptive information about the attacker, whom authorities have identified as a criminal on temporary leave from prison.
The Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency has released a video purportedly showing the young man who attacked several people with a knife in Paris yesterday. FDD’s Long War Journal cannot independently verify that the person shown was responsible for the knife attacks. However, the footage is similar to previous videos released by Amaq after a series of small-scale attacks in Europe since mid-2016.
According to authorities, an ISIS-linked family carried out suicide bombings at three churches in the Indonesian city of Surabaya earlier today. The bombings came just days after other ISIS-affiliated militants conducted a prison riot south of Jakarta. ISIS has long targeted Christians, among many others. The group previously ruled that suicide attacks aimed at churches were an acceptable way to attain “closeness to Allah.”
Two suicide bombers killed dozens inside the Afghan capital today. The first targeted a checkpoint near an Afghan intelligence building, while the second struck journalists and others who rushed to the scene. Reporters Without Borders says it “was the deadliest attack on the media since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001.”
In a lengthy audio message released on Apr. 22, Islamic State spokesman Abu-al-Hasan al-Muhajir claims that the US is retreating from Iraq and Syria. He argues that his group is in a better condition than when the US withdrew its forces from Iraq in 2011. He advises the Islamic State’s members that they should prepare for the war against the Russians and Iranians, who are filling the void left by the Americans.
The US-led coalition said in a statement that “much work remains to defeat” Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s organization in Iraq and Syria. The statement is at odds with the White House’s view that ISIS has been “almost completely destroyed.”