US troops in Iraq have been targeted three times in mortars and katyusha rocket strikes since last weekend. Shia militias that are supported by Iran are suspected of carrying out the attacks, which take place as tensions between the US and Iran increase.
On Aug. 29, the Treasury Department announced that Salim Mustafa Muhammad al-Mansur had been added to the US government’s list of specially designated global terrorists. The move was made in conjunction with the Iraqi government. Al-Mansur served as the Islamic State’s “finance emir for Mosul,” Iraq as of earlier this year, but he has “moved to Turkey.”
The Iraqi government announced the liberation of Tal Afar in northern Iraq earlier today. The offensive to retake the city began on Aug. 20 and progressed quickly. Three Iraqi army divisions, the Counterterrorism Service, Federal Police, the Popular Mobilization Forces and Kurdish Regional Government Peshmerga all took part and were backed by the US-led coalition.
Thomas Joscelyn’s testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee’s Task Force on Denying Terrorists Entry into the United States on what happens to the Islamic State after it loses its territory in Iraq and Syria.
The Islamic State demolished the Great Mosque of Al-Nuri earlier today. Abu Bakr al Baghdadi delivered his first speech as “Caliph Ibrahim” at the mosque in July 2014. Just days earlier, the Islamic State declared itself a so-called caliphate, ruling over large parts of Iraq and Syria.
The Islamic State’s Ninawa province has released a video highlighting its use of improvised weapons of war in the battle for Mosul, Iraq. The weapons include: vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) with armor attached, modified drones, and a remote-controlled rocket launcher. Children or young adolescents used as “martyrdom” bombers are also featured in the propaganda production.
A former Guantanamo detainee known as Jamal al Harith (formerly Ronald Fiddler) launched a suicide attack with a vehicle borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) south of Mosul earlier this week. He is at least the second former Guantanamo detainee to launch a suicide attack in or around Mosul on behalf of the Islamic State and its predecessor organization.
The US-led coalition targeted Rachid Kassim near Mosul, Iraq earlier this week. Kassim is an Islamic State operative responsible for “remote-controlling” attacks in France. He has been tied to several plots.
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 Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency has released a new video featuring John Cantlie, who discusses the destruction of four of the five bridges in Mosul. The US-led coalition destroyed or damaged the bridges in November at the request of the Iraqi government in order to interrupt the flow of suicide bombers driving vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs).
The Islamic State has claimed 1,034 suicide bombings in Iraq, Syria and Libya through the first eleven months of 2016. Many of the recent claimed suicide attacks have taken place in and around Mosul, where the so-called caliphate is trying to thwart a multi-sided offensive.
The Pentagon says that more than 60 vehicle bombs have been destroyed in airstrikes since the battle for Mosul began in October. The Islamic State claims to have carried out 120 “martyrdom operations,” many utilizing vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs), during this same timeframe. However, some of these claimed suicide bombings were likely neutralized before they could hit their intended targets.
The Islamic State claims to have carried out 120 “martyrdom operations” in Iraq and Syria in October. Seventy-nine (79) of these suicide bombings were purportedly launched around the city of Mosul. The so-called caliphate has claimed 902 “martyrdom operations” in Iraq, Libya and Syria during the first ten months of 2016. If accurate, then the group is carrying out suicide attacks at a historically high rate.
The Islamic State has released an audio message from Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. It is the first message from Baghdadi in nearly one year. Baghdadi frames the wars being fought in Iraq and elsewhere in sectarian terms and says that his men are waging a “grand jihad” against their many enemies.
Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend said today that the Islamic State is planning attacks against the West (“external operations”) from its headquarters in Raqqa, Syria. Townsend didn’t provide any specifics, but the group has used its safe havens to orchestrate multiple plots in the past.
The Islamic State claims to have carried out 12 suicide bombings south and east of Mosul during the first hours of the battle to retake the city. However, the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) claims that the suicide attackers were neutralized. The so-called caliphate has increasingly relied on its “martyrs” as it has lost ground in the past.
The US-led coalition has killed 13 Islamic State leaders in and around Mosul, Iraq in the past month. Three of them were Chechens, highlighting the important role that foreign fighters play in the group’s chain of command. According to Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Colonel John Dorrian, another fallen jihadist was responsible for manufacturing chemical weapons to be used in the defense of Mosul.
Amaq News Agency, a propaganda arm of the Islamic State, reports that Abu Omar al Shishani has been killed south of Mosul. In March, Amaq denied that Shishani was killed in an American airstrike in Syria.
The Islamic State has released a new video featuring John Cantlie, who has been held hostage by the group since 2012. Cantlie speaks from the ruins of a media kiosk that was bombed in Mosul, Iraq. While Cantlie is made to downplay the importance of the media kiosks, the Islamic State itself recently trumpeted them as “one of the cornerstones” of its media strategy.