The US State Department announced today that it is offering rewards for information on two senior AQAP leaders: Qasim al-Raymi and Khalid al-Batarfi. Both men attended al Qaeda’s training camps in pre-9/11 Afghanistan before assuming leadership roles in Yemen.
The State Department has released its Country Reports on Terrorism 2017. As in past reports, State says that “Iran has allowed AQ [al Qaeda] facilitators to operate a core facilitation pipeline through Iran since at least 2009, enabling AQ to move funds and fighters to South Asia and Syria.”
According to a State Department report published this week, the Taliban continues “to assassinate and threaten religious leaders with death for preaching messages contrary to” its “interpretation of Islam or its political agenda.” As part of its widespread assassination campaign, Taliban gunmen have been killing “imams and other religious officials throughout the country.”
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 State Department announced today that Osama bin Laden’s son, Hamza, has been added to the US government’s list of designated terrorists. Al Qaeda has released several messages from Hamza since Aug. 2015. He has threatened the West, said that all Muslims should support the jihad in Syria, and called for the Saudi government to be overthrown.
The State Department has designated Jund al Aqsa in Syria as a terrorist organization. The Long War Journal previously exposed Jund al Aqsa as an al Qaeda front group. Al Qaeda veterans have been embedded within the organization and Jund al Aqsa’s “general command” remains loyal to al Qaeda’s leaders.
The State Department’s newly released Country Reports on Terrorism for 2015 suggests that several Gulf States still have a lot of work to do when it comes to terrorist fundraising.
The Long War Journal’s assessment of Ms. Harf’s press briefing was entirely accurate and her response actually validates our key points.