The rising of Islamic State sleeper cells could become more common as the Kurdish-dominated SDF is diverted to the newly announced Turkish invasion of northern Syria.
The US-led coalition has announced a new offensive against the Islamic State in eastern Syria. The offensive, named “Operation Jazeera Storm,” aims to clear the so-called caliphate out of territory north of the city of Deir Ezzor.
As US-backed forces seize the city of Raqqa, the Syrian regime moves to retake ground in Deir Ezzor, where the Islamic State has laid siege to Bashar al Assad’s forces since 2014. Assad’s regime has received a boost from Iranian-sponsored militias, as well as the Russians, during its recent offensive in eastern Syria.
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.
US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have entered the Old City of Raqqa after the coalition blew two holes in a historic wall the Islamic State was using as a defensive fortification. The SDF’s fighters first approached the Old City in mid-June, but the wall and heavy fighting in a nearby neighborhood impeded their advance. Meanwhile, an Australian jihadi is featured in a new propaganda video recorded in Raqqa.
The UK Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee has released its investigative report on the Aug. 21, 2015 drone strike that killed UK national Reyaad Khan. The bombing was “the first time outside participation in a military campaign that the UK had conducted a lethal drone strike against a terrorist target.” Khan was one of the Islamic State’s most prolific cyber planners.
The Department of Justice announced yesterday that a 24 year-old Ohio man, Terrence J. McNeil, has pleaded guilty to terrorism charges. Prosecutors charged McNeil with soliciting the murders of American servicemen after he republished an Islamic State “hit list” online. The list was first compiled by Junaid Hussain, an Islamic State operative who was subsequently killed in a drone strike in Raqqa, Syria.
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.
Justin Nojan Sullivan has pleaded guilty to terrorism charges, including conspiring with Islamic State operative Junaid Hussain to plan “mass casualty shooting attacks on behalf” of the Islamic State. Hussain, who was killed in an airstrike last year, asked Sullivan to make a video of the attacks and Sullivan agreed. Hussain was one of the Islamic State’s key digital planners.
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.
On July 18, an Afghan refugee named Riaz Khan (also known as “Muhammad Riyad”) assaulted passengers on a train in Würzburg, Germany with an ax and a knife. Nearly one week later, on July 24, a Syrian refugee identified as Mohammad Daleel blew himself up outside of a music festival in the German city of […]
The Department of Justice announced today that Munir Abdulkader, a 21 year-old man living in Ohio, has pleaded guilty to terrorism charges. Abdulkader was in contact with Junaid Hussein, an Islamic State recruiter who encouraged him to carry out attacks in the US. Hussein established ties to a number of Islamic State suspects in the West prior to his demise in an August 2015 American airstrike in Raqqa, Syria.
The Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency claims that three Russian soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb in Syria. The claim could not be immediately verified. In recent days, the Russian-Syrian-Iranian axis has suffered setbacks along the same road where the Russians were allegedly killed. [Update: A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman subsequently denied Amaq’s claim.]
Russian airstrikes targeted the Islamic State throughout Syria this past week. The self-declared “caliphate” released dozens of propaganda photos claiming that the Russians damaged bridges and buildings in Raqqa, and killed civilians in a marketplace in Al Bukamal. Civilian casualties have been confirmed by other sources. Meanwhile, Western officials say it is increasingly likely that the Islamic State’s co-called Sinai “province” downed a Russian airliner in the Sinai on October 31.
In a speech before the UK parliament today, Prime Minister David Cameron said that two British nationals recently killed in airstrikes carried out by the US and UK were plotting attacks in Britain. Both were members of the Islamic State. One of the two was well-known for computer hacking and online recruiting.
Kurdish forces and fighters from the Free Syrian Army have seized a military base and a town just 30 miles north of the city of Raqqa, which is the seat of the Islamic State’s so-called “caliphate.” The losses are problematic for the Islamic State, which claims that its territorial rule is “remaining and expanding.”
The Islamic State claims that an American hostage was killed during Jordanian airstrikes earlier today. However, the statement could very well be a propaganda ploy, at least in part.