The Islamic State has claimed credit for bombings at two Coptic churches in the Egyptian cities of Tanta and Alexandria earlier today. The attacks killed dozens of people and wounded approximately 100 others. The so-called caliphate has a history of targeting Christians in Iraq, Egypt and Libya.
The US Treasury Department and the UN have added two senior jihadists to their terror sanctions lists. Both of them were leaders in the group formerly known as Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria. Treasury’s announcement provides new details about al Qaeda’s operations in Syria, including the organization’s history and personnel.
The State Department has designated Ibrahim al Banna as a terrorist. Al Banna has served as an al Qaeda official in Yemen since the 1990s. He originally joined the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) and has been one of Ayman al Zawahiri’s loyalists for decades.
The Islamic State threatened further attacks in its “war on polytheism,” meaning against Christians and Jews, in Egypt and elsewhere. The group and its predecessor, the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), have assaulted Coptic Christians in the past.
The Syrian town of Dabiq, which has long been central to the Islamic State’s apocalyptic messaging, was captured by Turkish-backed rebel forces on Oct. 16. Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield says that more than 1,300 square kilometers of territory along Syria’s border with Turkey has been seized from the Islamic State since August.
A video disseminated by the Islamic State celebrates the group’s depravity. Warning: This article includes graphic images of violence.
The Islamic State of Iraq appears to be using the same plan it implemented in 2006, when it seized Baghdad’s surrounding “belts” and launched attacks into the capital.
Al Qaeda’s Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has claimed responsibility for a deadly string of bombings inside Iraq on Aug. 10. The State Department also confirmed that the ISIL’s emir has relocated to Syria.