The Islamic State’s loyalists claimed more operations in Somalia in 2018 than in 2016 and 2017 combined. The group has also expanded its operations to include tactics normally associated with its larger rival, Shabaab.
The Islamic State released its first video footage of a clash with Shabaab, al Qaeda’s branch in Somalia and East Africa.
Shabaab has managed to launch 418 attacks of different types during the six-month timeframe in support of its persistent and ongoing insurgency against Somalia’s weak central government and allied African Union forces.
The Islamic State has claimed several attacks inside Somalia in the past month, further outpacing the past two years in claimed attacks in the country. While the Islamic State has had a difficult time establishing a foothold inside the country, its claimed operations paints a picture of its areas of operation and types of operations it conducts.
On Dec. 25, the Islamic State released a video promoting its fighters in Somalia and inciting attacks in the West. The group’s propagandists referred to the cadre as the Islamic State’s Somali “province.”
The raid shows that while Shabaab is largely focused in central and southern Somalia, it continues to be a threat in the north as well.
The bombing was the first claimed attack in months for the Islamic State forces inside Somalia.
The al Qaeda branch claimed a massive IED attack on a military convoy in Puntland, as well as shelling a military base in southern Somalia that also reportedly hosts US troops.