The Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency released a short message claiming that the terrorist responsible for attacking the Strasbourg Christmas market was a “soldier” of the so-called caliphate. The message was disseminated online hours after Chérif Chekatt, who has been identified as the assailant, was shot dead by French police. Thus far, the Islamic State hasn’t provided any corroborating details.
In the past 24 hours, the Islamic State has conducted more than one suicide bombing against US-backed forces in Hajin, Syria. One Islamic State “martyr” blew himself up near the Hajin hospital, which became the scene of intense fighting earlier this week.
The Department of Justice announced yesterday that Damon M. Joseph, a 21-year-old man from Ohio, has been arrested and charged with planning an attack on one or two synagogues in Toledo. According to court documents, Joseph praised the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in late October. He was allegedly inspired by both the Islamic State and Anwar al-Awlaki.
Nashir News Agency, which disseminates content on behalf of the Islamic State, reposted an oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The statement reaffirming the jihadis’ fealty to Baghdadi comes in the middle of a crackdown by Telegram, which has suspended dozens of Nashir accounts since the beginning of the month. The bay’ah statement is not new, as it has been circulated in the past.
The US-led coalition, Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR), says it was forced to strike a hospital in Hajin, Syria because it was being used by Islamic State fighters. US-backed forces have been battling the Islamic State for control of Hajin for weeks.
The US-led coalition announced today that Abu al Umarayn and “several” other Islamic State leaders were killed in recent airstrikes in Syria. Umarayn was purportedly involved in the 2014 murder of Peter Kassig, a former US Army Ranger who was working as a humanitarian worker in Syria.
The US-led coalition and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) counterattacked the Islamic State in eastern Syria yesterday. The jihadists launched a large-scale offensive in Deir Ezzor province on Nov. 23, assaulting SDF positions along two axes.
The US State Department has designated Hajji ‘Abd al-Nasir, a senior Islamic State official, as a terrorist. The US government says al-Nasri has served in “several leadership positions,” including as the group’s military emir in Syria and the “chair” of the Islamic State’s delegated committee.