U.S. Special Operations Forces killed Bilal al-Sudani, a key Islamic State operative responsible for coordinating the group’s finances and activities across central, eastern, and southern Africa (and beyond).
The Sanaag Region, a territory contested by both Somalia and Somaliland, witnessed its first suicide bombing yesterday. No group has officially taken credit, though Shabaab is widely suspected given its history in the area.
The dual suicide bombings targeting an election site in central Somalia comes just one day after a brazen attack on a large military base in Mogadishu.
Terrorists haven’t launched major attacks in Somaliland in more than a decade. However, this does not mean it doesn’t face any real threats from Shabaab or the Islamic State.
Shabaab says it freed more than 400 prisoners from the central prison of Bosaso in northern Somalia, however, this number remains unconfirmed. The group also reiterates that prison assaults are one of its main goals in its fight against the Somali state.
Yesterday’s drone strike was the first US airstrike on the Islamic State in Somalia this year.
The month of May saw a relative spike in Islamic State claims inside Somalia compared to earlier months. However, this comes in the backdrop of several Puntland security operations against it.
Shabaab claims this is the first time the organization has grabbed territory in Somaliland.
The camp is at least the second one ran by the Islamic State in Somalia’s northern Puntland region.
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.
It is the Islamic State’s first major operation in Puntland since it captured the town of Qandala last October.
This marks the first time the fledgling Islamic State branch has claimed control over a town in Somalia.