France says its forces killed Yahia Djouadi, a senior veteran of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, inside northern Mali. The raid comes after France and its European allies are set to withdraw from Mali.
Former CIA Officer Sarah Carlson discusses her career as a counterterrorism analyst, the jihadist scene in Libya and the U.S. evacuation from Tripoli in 2014.
After many years of conflict in Syria and Libya, the involvement of Turkey, Russia and other powers is leading to increasingly sophisticated clashes between the latest UAV and air defense technology. The use of new technology has ramifications for future conflicts in the Middle East and provides an emerging model for how regional powers are fighting proxy wars to redraw the balance of power in the region.
Hosts Bill Roggio and Tom Joscelyn discuss the history of America’s drone campaign against al-Qaeda and ISIS.
The US military launched its second airstrike against the Islamic state near the town of Murzuq in the past week.
The U.S. military killed eight Islamic State fighters yesterday in the first recorded airstrike against the group in more than one year.
The Islamic State’s loyalists raided a military camp in southern Libya on May 4, targeting a prison inside the facility. In an appearance late last month, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi praised the jihadists in Libya, saying that they and other Islamic State representatives are fighting a “battle of attrition.”
Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has released a statement claiming that the victims of an American airstrike on Nov. 29 “were a group of Tuareg youth” and not members of the organization. US Africa Command previously said that 11 AQIM “terrorists” were killed and three vehicles destroyed in the “precision airstrike near Al Uwaynat, Libya.”
The US military hit al Qaeda’s branches in Somalia and Libya twice over the past several days, killing 20 fighters in strikes that appear to have targeted the groups’ military capacity.
The Libyan National Army (LNA) claims to have captured Hisham al-Ashmawy, a former Egyptian officer who defected to the jihadists’ cause. Ashmawy has been accused of orchestrating jihadist operations in both Egypt and Libya. The Egyptian government alleges that he has been involved in a series of terrorist attacks targeting officials.
This is the first strike since early June, when the United States targeted both the Islamic State and Al Qaeda in separate strikes in Bani Walid.
In 2017, LWJ reported unprecedented levels of airstrikes in Somalia and Yemen. Thus far in 2018, the United States has sustained its high strike tempo in Somalia and improved transparency on its air campaign in Yemen. Strikes in Pakistan have leveled off, however press restrictions make tracking operations there difficult. In Libya, the U.S. has targeted jihadists sparingly.
The United States has conducted three counterterrorism strikes in Libya in 2018.
Since late April, the Islamic State has claimed a string of operations targeting elections in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. The group’s spokesman, Abu al-Hasan al-Muhajir, threatened Iraq’s upcoming election on May 12 and the jihadists are carrying out operations accordingly.
The US military announced that it killed Musa Abu Dawud, a high-ranking al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb leader in Libya, in an airstrike last weekend. Dawud is an established jihadist who has been in the fight with the GSPC and AIQM for at least three decades.
The pattern of operations in 2017 in what the Obama administration used to call areas outside of active hostilities indicates that the US will continue the reinvigorated air campaign in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya in the coming year.
The United States conducted two strikes against the Islamic State in central Libya, its southernmost strikes in the Libyan air campaign.
US Africa Command launched airstrikes against the Islamic State in Libya for the first time in eight months. AFRICOM also revealed to FDD’s Long War Journal that an estimated 800 to 900 Islamic State fighters were killed during Operation Odyssey Lightning’s air campaign in Sirte last year.
The US carried out six airstrikes against an Islamic State camp “approximately 150 miles southeast of Sirte” on Sept. 22, according to US Africa Command. The bombings reportedly killed 17 jihadists and destroyed three vehicles.
Jihadists loyal to the Islamic State overran a checkpoint manned by the Libyan National Army (LNA) yesterday. A spokesman for the LNA confirmed that 11 victims were beheaded.
The State Department’s newly released Country Reports on Terrorism 2016 says that “many members” of the Islamic State’s Libyan branch fanned out across the country after the battle for Sirte last year. Sirte had served as the group’s stronghold inside Libya.
The Department of Justice announced today that Aaron Travis Daniels pleaded guilty terror-related charges after trying to join the Islamic State in Libya last November. Daniels had been in contact with an Islamic State “external attack planner” who encouraged him emigrate to North Africa for jihad, according to the DOJ.
British officials say they are still investigating a possible “wider conspiracy” behind the Manchester Arena bombing on May 22. Meanwhile, British interior minister Amber Rudd told BBC News that security services are “looking at 500 different plots” with 3,000 possible terrorists on the “top list” and 20,000 “underneath that.”
The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for yesterday’s massacre of at least 28 Coptic Christians traveling on a bus in Minya, Egypt. The group’s arms in both the Sinai and mainland Egypt have repeatedly targeted Copts. The Egyptian government has retaliated by bombing suspected training camps in Libya.
International authorities are investigating the possibility that a “network” assisted Salman Abedi in the Manchester Arena bombing earlier this week. The investigation stretches from the UK to Libya, where Abedi’s younger brother and father have been detained. His brother, Hashim, has allegedly admitted prior knowledge of the plot and that the siblings were Islamic State members.
During his last press briefing as Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter said that some of the Islamic State jihadists recently targeted in Libya were “external plotters, who were actively planning operations against our allies in Europe.”
The US bombed two Islamic State camps 28 miles southwest of Sirte, Libya last night. The camps were located in a remote desert location, but were part of the jihadists’ plan to mount a comeback in the more populated areas of Libya. The Islamic State lost control of Sirte late last year.
The Islamic State claims to have carried out 1,112 suicide attacks in Iraq and Syria during 2016. Additional suicide bombers were deployed in Libya and elsewhere. If the group’s claims are accurate, then the so-called caliphate has been using “martyrs” at a historically high rate.
The Defense Department has confirmed that Boubaker al-Hakim, a French-Tunisian Islamic State leader, was killed in Raqqa, Syria on Nov. 26. Al-Hakim had ties to Ansar al Sharia Tunisia, an al Qaeda-affiliated group, before defecting to the Islamic State’s cause. He admittedly assassinated one Tunisian politician in 2013 and knew the assailants responsible for a second slaying.
The Pentagon announced today that the Islamic State no longer controls any part of Sirte, Libya. The ground campaign to liberate the city began more than six months ago and the US has launched 495 airstrikes in support of the operation. The Islamic State’s “governor” in Libya vows to fight on, saying that his men have spread out across the country.