The Islamic State has released a message from its new spokesman, Abu al Hassan al Muhajir. Abu Muhammad al Adnani had served in that role for years until his demise in August. Muhajir tries to rally Sunnis to the Islamic State’s cause in Iraq and elsewhere.
As each side converges on the Islamic State-held city of al-Bab, a military confrontation between Turkish-led rebels and pro-regime forces appear inescapable. In the meantime, tensions between Ankara and Moscow are rising yet again, risking pulling the United States and NATO further into the Syrian theater.
On Nov. 2, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi called for attacks inside Turkey as retribution for Turkish operations in Iraq and Syria. Earlier today, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for a car bombing in the city of Diyarbakir, which is in southeastern Turkey.
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.
The Defense Department announced today that Haydar Kirkan, a veteran al Qaeda operative who was plotting against the West, was killed in an airstrike in Idlib, Syria on Oct. 17. Kirkan was one of several al Qaeda leaders targeted in Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen during the month of October. The Pentagon emphasized that the airstrikes demonstrate the “transregional nature” of al Qaeda.
The Syrian town of Dabiq, which has long been central to the Islamic State’s apocalyptic messaging, was captured by Turkish-backed rebel forces on Oct. 16. Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield says that more than 1,300 square kilometers of territory along Syria’s border with Turkey has been seized from the Islamic State since August.
The State Department has designated Omar Diaby, who has recruited French men and women to wage jihad in Syria, as a terrorist. Diaby faked his death in 2015 so he could receive treatment for wounds he suffered. He resurfaced earlier this year. Diaby is infamous for producing a series of videos under the brand “19HH.” The videos have explicitly marketed his loyalty to al Qaeda.
Fifteen years after 9/11, Al Qaeda remains a threat to the West despite not carrying out a large-scale attack in years. The group is waging insurgencies in several countries and is far larger than it was on 9/11.
Jaysh al Tahrir, a group that has received several US TOW anti-tank missiles in the past, fought with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northern Aleppo. The SDF is the main anti-Islamic State fighting force for the United States and has received considerable support from the West.
Al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri blasts the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in a newly-released audio message, saying the organization has adopted secular ways.
The State Department has added a former Guantanamo detainee, Ayrat Nasimovich Vakhitov, to the US government’s list of designated terrorists. According to press reports, Vakhitov was recently arrested in connection with the terrorist attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport. Also designated today is Aslan Avgazarovich Byutukaev, who leads the Islamic State’s forces in Chechnya.
The US killed Rifai Ahmed Taha Musa in an airstrike this week. Musa first began working with Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri in the 1980s and 1990s. US intelligence officials identified him as a key figure in al Qaeda’s so-called “Khorasan Group.” According to one of his former comrades, he was in Syria to promote unity between Al Nusrah Front and Ahrar al Sham.
Shabaab, al Qaeda’s official branch in East Africa, has issued a statement claiming responsibility for a failed airliner bombing on Feb. 2. The group portrays the bombing as part of its ongoing war with “Western and apostate intelligence” services, but doesn’t explain how its adversaries in the CIA and other spy agencies were specifically targeted.
The designations include three jihadists from the Russian Caucasus, including Omar al Shishani’s deputy and a Turkey-based “overseas emissary.” A recruiter from the United Kingdom was also designated.
The Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, says that it is turning over the territory it controls in the northern Aleppo province to other rebel groups. The move is a response to Turkey’s proposed buffer zone in northern Syria.
The Islamic State has seized towns and villages in Aleppo province, provoking a counterattack from several rebel organizations. The “caliphate’s” move may have been timed to disrupt its jihadist rivals’ advances in northern Syria.
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President Erdogan denounced the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo for “incit[ing] hatred and racism.” Shabazz Suleman, a British jihadist who was among some 180 Islamic State fighters turned over to the terrorist group in October in exchange for 46 Turkish hostages, claimed that while in a Turkish prison he and fellow fighters were allowed contact […]
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A female suicide bomber detonated at a police station in downtown Istanbul, killing one policeman and wounding another; the attack came less than a week after the DHKP-C (Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front) threw a grenade at police near the prime minister’s office and threatened further attacks. A Dutch journalist was arrested on terrorism charges but […]
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