War against ISIS | Page 46 | World Defense

War against ISIS

Strike Eagle

MEMBER
Joined
Sep 17, 2016
Messages
94
Reactions
142 2
Country
USA
Location
USA
Airstrikes against IS in 2017
Raqqa
-48 units eliminated
-50 fighting positions destroyed
-1 artillery position destroyed
-3 vehicle bomb storage facilities destroyed
-10 supply routes damaged
-----------------------------------------------------
Mosul
-20 units eliminated
-22 mortar teams eliminated
-11 fighting positions destroyed
-18 mortar positions destroyed
-11 IS held buildings destroyed
-6 supply caches destroyed
-9 car bombs destroyed
-1 rocket factory destroyed
-4 HQs destroyed
-3 vehicle bomb storage facilities destroyed
-124 supply routes damaged
 

Strike Eagle

MEMBER
Joined
Sep 17, 2016
Messages
94
Reactions
142 2
Country
USA
Location
USA
https://www.defense.gov/News/Article/Article/1041949/us-led-coalition-airstrikes-eliminate-key-isil-leaders-in-syria-iraq
U.S.-led coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria targeting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have recently killed several prominent leaders of that organization, Air Force Col. John Dorrian, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman, said today during a news briefing
Speaking to Pentagon reporters via teleconference from Baghdad, Dorrian said precision coalition airstrikes in Mosul and other areas around Iraq have continued attacking ISIL leaders who facilitate and command and control the terrorist network
terrorist leaders from occupied cities,” he said, confirming the deaths of Ahmad Abdullah Hamad al-Mahalawi, Abu Turq, andFalah al-Rashidi.

“Al-Rishidi, struck on Dec. 4 in Mosul, [Iraq,] was an ISIL leader who was involved in ISIL's use of [vehicle bombs] in Mosul,” Dorrian said. “His removal further degrades ISIL's [vehicle bomb] threat, which has been the enemy's weapon of choice for attacking Iraqi security forces and civilians.”

Al-Mahalawi, the spokesman said, was struck Dec. 21 in Qaim, Iraq, and was a “legacy” al-Qaida in Iraq member serving as an ISIL leader in Qaim. “His removal will disrupt ISIL's ability to conduct operations along the Euphrates River Valley,” the colonel said. “This is significant because as ISIL continues to lose population centers, they want to transition toward spoiler attacks in the outlying areas of Iraq and Syria. The loss of Mahalawi degrades ISIL's ability to make that transition.”

Abu Turq was killed Dec. 4 in Sharqat, Iraq. Dorrian described him as an ISIL financial facilitator in Qanfusah, Iraq -- about 50 miles southwest of Irbil -- who had connections to ISIL leaders and ensured money reached the terrorist group.

“He was killed by an airstrike while fighting from a rooftop position in Sharqat, where he and several other fighters were moving a heavy weapon to fire upon partner forces. His removal increases pressure on the ISIL financial network, which is already severely disrupted by several hundred strikes on oil infrastructure and bulk cache sites,” he said.
In Syria, more than 100 airstrikes have occurred in the Tabqa Dam area, about 25 miles west of Raqqa, killing many ISIL fighters, including Abu Jandal al-Kuwaiti, Dorrian said, adding, “Kuwaiti, a prominent foreign fighter and leader, had been sent to improve ISIL's control in the region in the face of [the Syrian Democratic Forces’] advance.”
 

Khafee

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
6,557
Reactions
5,481 260
APRIL 29, 2019
IS leader al-Baghdadi appears in new video for first time in 5 years
By Ed Adamczyk


Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, last seen in 2015, appeared in a recently-produced video released on Monday. Image by EPA-EFE/IS video


April 29 (UPI) -- Islamic State terror leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appeared for the first time in five years Monday in a new propaganda video for the militant group.

In the video, al-Baghdadi speaks for about 18 minutes with an assault rifle at his side. His face was uncovered, but faces of other three IS members are covered. The video offers no indication of where it was shot.

The new video was released by Al-Furqan, the Islamic State's publicity arm. In it, al-Baghdadi mentions last month's battle for Baghouz, the last IS stronghold in eastern Syria to fall. He says with the end of that battle, the physical caliphate of the Islamic State, which he announced five years ago, is over.

Al-Baghdadi was last seen in public in 2014 to announce the rise of the IS caliphate from the Grand Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul, Iraq. In Monday's video, he appears noticeably older, but in good health despite diabetes and high blood pressure.

Reports said in 2015 the terror leader was seriously injured in a U.S.-led attack and some rumors suggested his death.

IS leader al-Baghdadi appears in new video for first time in 5 years
 

Khafee

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
6,557
Reactions
5,481 260
After ‘caliphate’ collapse, extremists head to Afghanistan to plot attacks


A recent UN report said Daesh in Afghanistan has between 2,500 and 4,000 members. (File/AFP)

Updated 30 April 2019
AFP

  • The warning comes as Daesh seeks to assert a regional influence after the loss of its self-proclaimed Middle East “caliphate”
  • Daesh in the Khorasan, or IS-K as the local affiliate is known, had grown in both numbers and capabilities
KABUL: Daesh fighters who waged a bloody campaign in Syria and Iraq are heading to Afghanistan to continue their battle and help plot “spectacular” attacks against America, a US official has told AFP.

The warning comes as Daesh seeks to assert a regional influence after the loss of its self-proclaimed Middle East “caliphate,” and as South Asia reels from a series of devastating attacks.

“We know some have already made their way back here and are trying to transfer the knowledge, skills and experience they learned over there,” a senior US intelligence official in Kabul told AFP in a recent interview.

“If we don’t continue counterterrorism pressure against (Daesh in Afghanistan), there will be an attack in our homeland — and a spectacular attack — probably within the year,” added the official, who asked not to be named for security reasons.

The official did not describe the nature of any plot, but Daesh has been linked to or inspired several big attacks in America, including a 2016 mass shooting in Florida.

The gunman, who had sworn allegiance to Daesh, killed 49 people in an Orlando nightclub.

A recent UN report said Daesh in Afghanistan has between 2,500 and 4,000 members — about the same number the Pentagon was citing two years ago, even though officials say thousands of extremists have been killed.

US Senator Jack Reed, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said after a recent visit to Afghanistan that Daesh in the Khorasan, or IS-K as the local affiliate is known, had grown in both numbers and capabilities.

In 2017, the Pentagon offered a rosy assessment that IS-K could be wiped out by the end of that year. But Resolute Support, the NATO mission in Afghanistan, underestimated the group’s tenacity.

“Resolute Support realized that this was bigger than a little problem in southern Nangarhar and instead would take something more to address it,” the official said, referring to IS-K’s bastion in eastern Afghanistan.

The official and a team of experts arrived in Kabul over the past year to help General Scott Miller — the four-star general in charge of US and
NATO forces — tackle IS-K.

He did not say how many former “caliphate” fighters are in Afghanistan, but argued “any number is significant.”

Europeans — including from Britain and France — are among those who have joined IS-K, he added.

Their presence could complicate any peace deal with the Taliban, who have pledged to prevent terrorists using Afghanistan as a haven to plot foreign attacks.

“Unless or until we get the Taliban to work and address this problem as well, they will never be able to keep this land free from outwardly facing
organizations,” the official said.

The US has led an unrelenting air campaign, including famously dropping the so-called Mother Of All Bombs (MOAB), the Pentagon’s largest non-nuclear bomb, to smash extremist tunnels and bunkers.

But the well-funded group has replenished its ranks with foreign fighters and local recruits looking for a decent wage.

IS-K has suffered losses in the northern Jowzjan province but maintains strongholds in Nangarhar and Kunar in the east, where they have beaten back Taliban forces and displaced thousands of locals.

Internationally, Daesh claimed responsibility for a string of recent attacks, including the Easter Sunday bombings that killed 253 people in churches and hotels in Sri Lanka.

On Monday, the extremists’ elusive leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi apparently resurfaced in a propaganda video, his first purported appearance since 2014.

IS-K conducted six high-profile attacks in Kabul in 2016, according to the US. In 2017 that number grew to 18, and last year there were 24. On April 20, Daesh claimed a suicide attack on a government ministry.

Some Afghan officials question whether Daesh always oversees such assaults, or if the Taliban and Pakistan groups such as the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Haqqani network are responsible.

“These attacks are carried out mostly by these Afghan and Pakistani groups, while the credit goes to Daesh who is ready to jump and claim it,” an Afghan security official told AFP, using the Arabic name for Daesh.

Disillusioned Taliban insurgents sometimes switch to IS-K over spats or for ideological reasons, viewing the Taliban as not austere enough in their interpretation of Islam.

Tech-savvy recruiters track and groom potential extremists through social media and in Kabul’s universities, where middle-class and upwardly mobile students are sometimes targeted.

They are “looking for men who ... have been taught at schools paid for by this coalition. That’s a little aggravating,” the official said.
Thomas Joscelyn, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and editor of its Long War Journal, said that while the US military had failed to beat IS-K, it “probably stymied their growth and disrupted their operations at times.”
“But it hasn’t taken them out of the game,” he told AFP.

 

Khafee

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
6,557
Reactions
5,481 260
Large-Scale Operation against ISIS Remnants in Iraq’s Kirkuk
Thursday, 02 May, 2019

A military vehicle of the Iraqi security forces is pictured near the University of Anbar, in Anbar province July 28, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

Baghdad - Fadhel al-Nashmi

A commander in Iraq's Joint Operations Command has confirmed that Iraqi forces backed by US-led coalition warplanes have launched a military operation against ISIS remnants in Kirkuk province.

The commander, who refused to be identified, spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat a day after the US Central Command announced that two US Air Force F-35A Lightning II aircraft conducted an air strike at Wadi Ashai, Iraq, in support of Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve on April 30.

He said that Wadi Ashai has a rugged terrain that ISIS militants can turn into hideouts.

The US Central Command said on Tuesday that the April 30 strike marked the F-35A’s first combat employment.

The F-35As conducted the airstrike using a Joint Direct Attack Munition to strike an entrenched ISIS tunnel network and weapons cache deep in the Hamrin Mountains, a location able to threaten friendly forces, said the statement.

“The F-35As, recently deployed from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, joined the Combined Forces Air Component team in the US Central Command area of operations on April 15,” it added.

A member of Kirkuk’s council told Asharq Al-Awsat that the operation against ISIS remnants is considered the largest since Iraq announced the organization's defeat late 2017.

“At least 35 terrorists have been killed and more than 8 ISIS hideouts have been destroyed,” the source said.

“The operation was launched after Iraqi authorities received information that extremists have infiltrated into uninhabited areas in Hamrin Mountains and Wadi Ashai after escaping the battles in Syria," the source added.

 

Khafee

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
6,557
Reactions
5,481 260
Baghdadi outlines path forward for Islamic State post-caliphate
By: Jon Gambrell and Zeina Karam, The Associated Press  
02.May.2019



This image made from video posted on a militant website on Monday, April 29, 2019, purports to show the leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, being interviewed by his group's Al-Furqan media outlet. Al-Baghdadi acknowledged in his first video since June 2014 that IS lost the war in the eastern Syrian village of Baghouz that was captured last month by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces. (Al-Furqan media via AP)


COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — No longer burdened by territory and administration, Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi outlined the new path forward for his group: Widen your reach, connect with far-flung militant groups and exhaust your enemies with a “war of attrition.”


The deadly Easter attacks in Sri Lanka a week before his video appearance underscored this message in blood. It also highlighted the ease with which IS, like al-Qaida before it, can inflict chaos through a loosely defined brand of global jihad in the most chilling way. That’s even after losing the relative safety of its so-called caliphate across stretches of Iraq and Syria.

"Al-Baghdadi was letting his followers know that he was prepared to lead a guerrilla insurgency in Iraq and Syria, while not forgetting that ISIS is a global organization," said Colin P. Clarke, a senior research fellow at the Soufan Center, using another acronym for the group.

Though disheveled and never standing up in the video released Monday, al-Baghdadi’s appearance alone contradicted past Russian and Iraqi claims the militant leader had been killed during the long war targeting the militants. It was the first time he has appeared in public since June 29, 2014, when he delivered a sermon from the pulpit of Mosul’s Great Mosque of al-Nuri.

The contrasts in the appearances are glaring.

In 2014, he wore an expensive-looking watch and a neatly trimmed beard and urged Muslims around the world to swear allegiance to the group's self-proclaimed caliphate and obey him as its leader.

In Monday’s video, he sat on the floor, with an AK-47 assault rifle at his side like the one Osama bin Laden took in Afghanistan during the mujahedeen’s fight against the Soviets and always carried with him. He had a big bushy beard and wore a black tunic and a military-style beige vest over it.

No longer an administrator, al-Baghdadi wants to be seen as an insurgent leader. Analysts say that both glosses over the loss of territory the militants claimed would spark an apocalyptic confrontation with the “crusader” West and ensures he maintains his status in the extremist world.

"We believe it is really an attempt to divert attention from the core group's heavy losses and to ensure that the franchise groups and grassroots supporters remain loyal to the Islamic State pole of the jihadist universe," the Austin, Texas-based private intelligence firm Stratfor said in an analysis. "Many are saying that the video is a show of strength, but we believe it is more likely an act of desperation."

The loss of its territory cuts both ways, however. Foreign militants once part of the "caliphate" now have scattered, like they did at the end of the 1980s war against the Soviets in Afghanistan and after the 2001 U.S.-led invasion that toppled the Taliban government sheltering al-Qaida.

Al-Baghdadi barely mentioned Iraq and Syria in the 18-minute video, except to praise the steadfastness of his fighters there. Instead, he congratulated militants in Libya, "brothers" in Burkina Faso, Mali, Pakistan and the Western Sahara for pledging allegiance.

The group also recently claimed numerous attacks around the world, including in Saudi Arabia, Congo and Libya. Jihadi propaganda by IS supporters online recently threatened India and Bangladesh, where IS claimed an attack for the first time in some two years this week.

Sri Lankan police late Wednesday made public the names and photographs of nine suicide bombers who carried out the series of Easter Day explosions, including the locations where their bombs were detonated.

The list of eight men and one woman included the man officials say led the attack, extremist preacher Mohamed Zahran, also known as Zahran Hashim, who was one of two attackers at Colombo's Shangri-La Hotel. The woman who was identified was the wife of another bomber who triggered an explosion in front of her children at her spice trader father-in-law's Colombo villa, killing herself and three police officers investigating the earlier near-simultaneous blasts at three churches and three hotels.

While some IS claims of late have been exaggerated or outright bogus, its focus on expanding outward follows the same pattern of al-Qaida, which grew to have dangerous franchises in areas like Yemen.

"This is part of the vengeance that awaits the crusaders and their henchmen," al-Baghdadi said in the video.

He extolled militants in Sri Lanka for "striking the homes of the crusaders in their Easter, in vengeance for their brothers in Baghouz," a reference to the Islamic State group's last bastion in eastern Syria, which was captured by U.S.-backed fighters in March. The militants involved in the attacks that killed more than 250 people followed a local extremist leader, but more than 30 Sri Lankans are believed to have once been Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq.

"It is still unclear if any of the Sri Lanka terrorists had fought for ISIS in Syria and Iraq and were returnees, or if they were locally trained and linked up with ISIS online," an analysis from the Asia-Pacific Foundation said. "What we are witnessing has been an evolving terrorist dynamic where an attack is developed and conceived abroad but that local radicals are recruited to implement the final stage."

Simply put: The new threat from the Islamic State is a lot like the old threat, except the group doesn't have a home address anymore. For years, the group's leaders huddled in IS-held cities in Iraq and Syria to plot attacks abroad, even as they terrorized residents at home.

Now mass casualty assaults like the 2015 attacks on the Bataclan theater in Paris may be planned much closer to local militants' homes, like the Easter attack in Sri Lanka. One of the churches hit was just a town from where the alleged leader of that assault preached his extremist message.

That has been the case in the southern Philippines, where al-Baghdadi's group has set its eyes on latching on to local insurgencies or remotely executing plots it has financed, such as a massive siege of the Muslim-majority city of Marawi. Hundreds of IS-aligned local militants occupied buildings, homes and school campuses there in May 2017.

It took Filipino troops five months to quell the urban insurrection, which was reportedly patterned after the IS takeover of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

IS-aligned militants are also accused of carrying out two suicide attacks in the southern Philippines, including the Jan. 27 suicide bombing of a Roman Catholic cathedral during a Mass that killed 23.

That's led to a monthslong counterinsurgency operation that Philippine Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano said has contained the militants.

For how long remains the question.

"Intensive military operations may weaken these groups temporarily, but airstrikes and killings only reinforce the narrative of state oppression in a way that serves the ideological cause," said Sidney Jones, director of the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict.

As the holy fasting month of Ramadan begins in just days, experts warn there could be even more attacks looming.

"Our battle today is one of attrition and stretching the enemy. They should know that jihad is ongoing until the day of judgment," al-Baghdadi said.

Karam reported from Beirut. Associated Press writer Jim Gomez in Manila, Philippines, contributed to this report.

 

Khafee

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
6,557
Reactions
5,481 260
More than 500 Foreign ISIS Members Convicted in Iraq
08 May, 2019

Iraqi soldiers carry weapons during an operation against ISIS militants in the neighbourhood of Intisar, eastern Mosul, Iraq, December 5, 2016. Reuters file photo

Asharq Al-Awsat

The Iraqi judiciary has tried and sentenced more than 500 foreigners since the start of 2018 for joining ISIS, the country's Supreme Court announced on Wednesday.

It said "514 verdicts were issued, for both men and women, while another 202 accused are still being interrogated and 44 are still being tried."

Another 11 were acquitted and released, it said.

The statement referred to "different nationalities" but did not list any specific countries.

It said interrogations were taking about six months for those simply accused of ISIS membership, but anyone accused of actively taking part in the extremist group's operations could be questioned for up to a year.

Iraq declared victory over ISIS in late 2017 and began trying foreigners accused of joining the militant group the following year.

It has condemned many to life in prison, including 58-year-old Frenchman Lahcen Ammar Gueboudj and two other French nationals.

It has also issued death sentences for other foreign ISIS members, although they have not yet been carried out.

Among those awaiting trial in Baghdad are 12 accused French ISIS members, who were caught in Syria and transferred to Iraqi custody in February.

Government sources have told AFP that Baghdad would be willing to try all foreigners currently held in Kurdish detention in northeast Syria for a price.

Around 1,000 suspected foreign ISIS militants are in detention in northeast Syria, in addition to around 9,000 foreign women and children in camps there.

Wednesday's statement by the court "urged all trials of foreign terrorists to be moved to Baghdad, as most of the embassies are in the capital and so embassy representatives from the terrorists' countries can attend the sessions."

Iraq has also already tried thousands of its own nationals arrested on home soil for joining ISIS, including women.

It has begun trial proceedings for nearly 900 Iraqis repatriated from Syria and sentenced four to death last month under its counter-terrorism law.

 

Khafee

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
6,557
Reactions
5,481 260
Tunisian Takfiri Jailed for Inciting Women to Join ISIS
08 May, 2019

Workers clean the site of an explosion in the center of the Tunisian capital Tunis, Tunisia October 29, 2018. (File photo: Reuters)

Tunis - Mongi Saidani

The court of first instance has sentenced a Tunisian takfiri to 18 months in prison for inciting young people to join ISIS terrorist organization.

The counter-terrorism agency had placed the takfiri fighter called “Emir of Tajerouine” under surveillance. Tajerouine refers to the city where he lived.

Investigators said he contacted a group of four girls via social media, encouraging them to adopt extremist thinking.

They said he asked the girls for marriage and then invited them to head to Syria to join ISIS.

After his arrest, the man denied his intention to travel to Syria or wanting to send the girls there by urging them to join the terrorist organization. However, he admitted to his desire to marry the girls.

In other news, Tunisian security sources confirmed the arrest of Tunisian terrorist Raed Touati during a recent operation in the Sidi Ali Ben Aoun area of Sidi Bouzid, a city in central Tunisia.

The operation allowed security forces to have access to very important information on the terrorist elements in the mountainous areas, especially in al-Kasserine, Jendouba, and el-Kef.

Investigators were able to gather clear and accurate data on the number of terrorists killed in the mountains and their burial places.

Touati informed investigators that around 18 terrorists were buried in the mountains. Most of them were killed in clashes with the army and guards, while others died in the explosion of landmines that they had planted in the mountains.

The latest pre-emptive security operation succeeded in thwarting terrorist plots by al-Qaeda’s Oqba Bin Nafie Brigade to target mainly security and military forces during the month of Ramadan.

 

Khafee

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
6,557
Reactions
5,481 260
Even in Defeat, Islamic State's Foreign Fighters Expanding
May 08, 2019
Jeff Seldin
FILE - An Islamic State flag hangs amid electric wires over a street in Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp, near the port-city of Sidon, southern Lebanon Jan. 19, 2016.

FILE - An Islamic State flag hangs amid electric wires over a street in Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp, near the port-city of Sidon, southern Lebanon Jan. 19, 2016.

This is part two of a four-part series.

WASHINGTON — It was March 2018, approximately five months after U.S.-backed forces had declared victory in the battle for the Islamic State terror group's Syrian capital of Raqqa. And Afghan officials had reason to worry.

Intelligence suggested the fallout from that victory had been making its way, slowly but surely, to their country.

"There has been a growth in the number of the foreign fighters in the country," then-Afghan national security adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar said during a visit to Washington. "We're talking about hundreds of them coming from the Middle East through Pakistan."

FILE - Then-Afghan National Security Adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar speaks with The Associated Press, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Oct. 24, 2015.

FILE - Then-Afghan National Security Adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar speaks with The Associated Press, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Oct. 24, 2015.

The warning did not go unnoticed. Soon, the concern was being shared by a growing number of countries.

IS fighters were coming in increasing numbers, a United Nations report warned in August, adding that those making the journey were "bringing with them skills in handling weaponry and improvised explosive devices, and knowledge of military tactics."

"Central Asian fighters tend to feel most comfortable relocating among Afghans of Uzbek and Tajik ethnicity," the U.N. report said.

The trend has not slowed.

A U.N. report issued in January cited intelligence from one member state that "30% of foreign terrorist fighters have left the Syrian Arab Republic and Iraq for various countries, usually their countries of origin."

Such numbers are not insignificant. Despite claims by U.S. and coalition officials that as many as 70,000 IS fighters were killed in the effort to destroy the caliphate, the foreign fighter presence remained strong.

"We don't know how many have died. But we can assume that at least 50% survive," Edmund Fitton-Brown, coordinator of the United Nations analytical support and sanctions monitoring team for IS, al-Qaida and the Taliban, told the CTC Sentinel, in an interview published in April.
"My personal guess is more. I think probably one would be looking at more like a one-third attrition rate or something of the sort," Fitton-Brown added.

It is a concern that has been grabbing the attention of top U.S. officials, as well, long before IS's self-declared caliphate entered its final death throes.

"Even if the numbers are small, they always have a disproportionate effect," Lt. Gen. Michael Nagata, director of strategic operational planning at the National Counterterrorism Center, told VOA in 2017.



"They bring leadership. They bring skill. They bring experience. And perhaps most importantly, they are totally committed," Nagata said.
More recently, senior U.S. officials have been shifting their attention to where IS foreign fighters are likely to make the biggest impact.

"In terms of the next phase of the mission, it is continuing to remain vigilant about the ongoing threat of ISIS," a senior U.S. administration official said this past December, using an acronym for the terror group, and pointing to places such as Afghanistan, Libya and Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, long seen as potential landing spots for surviving foreign fighters.


Libya
Perhaps the biggest concern focuses on Libya, where the coastal city of Sirte was at one time seen as IS's third capital.


Once a base of operations for as many as 6,000 fighters, some of them sent by IS leadership in Iraq and Syria, the IS presence in Libya has dwindled, with some analysts estimating fewer than 1,000 fighters remain.Many warn, however, the failed state has been a perfect incubator for IS foreign fighters who likely make up more than 80% of the total force.

"ISIS in Libya is back," said Jason Pack, founder of Eye on ISIS in Libya, a nonprofit research organization. "They retreated, regrouped and then reengaged."

Pack warned the recent spike in fighting, a result of a military offensive by Libyan strongman Gen. Khalifa Haftar, may make Libya an even more attractive destination for IS fighters.

FILE - A fighter of the Libyan forces, affiliated with the Tripoli government, runs for cover while fighting against Islamic State positions in Sirte, Libya, Sept. 22, 2016.

FILE - A fighter of the Libyan forces, affiliated with the Tripoli government, runs for cover while fighting against Islamic State positions in Sirte, Libya, Sept. 22, 2016.

"If I was a jihadi and I saw that he was winning, I'd very much want to be there," Pack said. "Whereas they are not going to defeat [Syrian President Bashar al-] Assad, they may participate in the defeat of Haftar."

In early April, IS launched an attack against Haftar's forces in southwestern Libya, claiming six soldiers were killed.

IS in Libya may also be finding ways to benefit from the country's history as a transit and resupply point for jihadis active in other conflicts.

"It's definitely likely that Libya is being used as a place to move people to try and get to other war zones or rest from battles in places like Mali, especially in the southern part of the country," said Aaron Zelin, a fellow with The Washington Institute for Near East Policy and founder of the Jihadology website.

Sinai
In neighboring Egypt, IS has established a solid foothold in the Sinai Peninsula, with its branch there long viewed as the country's most dangerous terror group.

Boasting an estimated 500 to 750 fighters, it has carried out repeated attacks against Egyptian security forces in the Sinai Peninsula and the Nile Valley. In October 2015, a bomb planted by IS Sinai brought down a Russian airliner, killing all 244 people on board.

"It's one of those classic ungoverned territories, and the Egyptians are really struggling to combat the insurgency there," said Colin Clarke, a senior research fellow at The Soufan Center."Some of the tribes in and around the Sinai are a bit more transactional and so less willing to drop a dime on people that may be up to nefarious things."

West Africa
Islamic State's West African province was established in May 2015, when the then-leader of Nigeria's Boko Haram terror group, Abubakar Shekau, abandoned ties to al-Qaida and pledged allegiance to IS.

Since then, the group has split in two, with the larger faction keeping the IS name.

"They're the one that we have the most concern about," Gen. Thomas Walhauser, the outgoing head of U.S. Africa Command, told lawmakers earlier this year.

"They have been very aggressive," he said. "They now have taken large pieces of real estate in northern Nigeria."

Adding to the concern, U.S. officials believe the group has been growing, boasting between 3,000 and 4,000 fighters.

It also appears to have started a recruiting campaign specifically to attract foreign fighters.

According to SITE Intelligence, the IS-aligned Muntasir Media group began publishing posters online this month.

"Each day that goes by, your brothers in Wilayat West Africa become stronger," one of the posters read, in English. "Stand up and join the fight with your brothers in Nigeria."

Another, showing a photo of an armed gunman, read, "O Crusaders, Today in Mali and Nigeria. Tomorrow in al-Andalus [Spain]. Without Black Flage [sic] Will Be No Security."


Philippines
In May 2017, militant Islamists who had pledged themselves to IS attacked Marawi, a city on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, sparking a five-month battle with the Philippine military for control.

Philippine officials said the attackers, mainly local groups that had flocked to the IS banner, got help from the outside, and boasted foreign fighters from Syria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Kuwait, Chechnya, Pakistan, Indonesia and Malaysia.

According to U.S. defense officials, by the time the battle for Marawi had ended, more than 1,000 fighters had died. Officials also thought that ties between IS-Philippines and IS in Syria had been severed following the death of IS-P's leader, Isnilon Hapilon, in October 2017.

Since then, U.S. officials estimate IS-Philippines has been able to rebuild some of its strength — up to about 500 fighters — though independent analysts say the number is likely closer to 750.

As of December 2018, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command told a U.S. inspector general report that "there were approximately 40 foreign fighters, mostly from Malaysia and Indonesia, in the Philippines," adding, "there was no evidence of either an influx or exodus of foreign fighters during the quarter."

 

Khafee

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
6,557
Reactions
5,481 260
Kurdish-led SDF Transfers IS Relatives to Home Countries

May 08, 2019
Sirwan Kajjo
FILE - Women and children evacuated from the Islamic State group's holdout of Baghuz arrive at a screening area held by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, in the eastern Syrian province of Deir el-Zour, March 6, 2019.

FILE - Women and children evacuated from the Islamic State group's holdout of Baghuz arrive at a screening area held by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, in the eastern Syrian province of Deir el-Zour, March 6, 2019.

U.S.-backed Syrian forces have handed over more than 100 women and children of Islamic State (IS) fighters to their home countries, local officials told VOA.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a Kurdish-led military alliance, said Wednesday that Kazakhstan and Sweden were the latest countries that had agreed to take some of their citizens held in northeast Syria.

"We handed over 70 children and 32 women to representatives of the Kazakhstan government yesterday," Kamal Akif, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led administration in northeast Syria, told VOA. "Sweden took seven children on the same day."

Officials in Sweden confirmed the transfer of the children.

Thousands of IS relatives
SDF is holding more than 1,200 IS militants from nearly 50 countries, local officials said. There are also about 8,000 IS family members who have been settled in an overcrowded camp in northeast Syria, the same sources said.

The SDF declared victory over the so-called IS caliphate on March 23 after defeating the terror group in its last stronghold in eastern Syria.

But SDF officials said they could not bear the responsibility of dealing with IS captives alone and that other countries should step in by taking back their citizens, particularly those who have fought with IS.
FILE - In this March 31, 2019, photo, women purchase goods from the back of a truck in the marketplace at al-Hol camp, near Hasakah, Syria. Al-Hol camp is home to thousands of people who streamed out of the Islamic State group’s last strongholds.

FILE - In this March 31, 2019, photo, women purchase goods from the back of a truck in the marketplace at al-Hol camp, near Hasakah, Syria. Al-Hol camp is home to thousands of people who streamed out of the Islamic State group’s last strongholds.

"Our region is still unstable, so any major turmoil could offer an opportunity for these dangerous individuals to escape prison and pose yet another threat to the entire world," Abdulkarim Omar, co-chair of foreign relations in the Kurdish-led region in Syria, told VOA in a previous interview.

European citizens
U.S. President Donald Trump also has urged European countries to take back their citizens who had joined IS in Syria.
Countries such as France so far have been reluctant to respond. But French officials said they're considering taking in more parentless children who are now in the custody of Kurdish forces in Syria.

"We are trying our best to bring back these orphans," French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly told a Monte Carlo radio station Wednesday. "We must first make sure they are indeed orphans."

She added that the French "Foreign Ministry had sent representatives [to Syria] to clearly determine these cases so that we can conduct more repatriation operations."

In March, France took back five children who had been either orphaned or separated from their parents during the war on IS in Syria, according to the AFP news organization.

Local Kurdish officials said that in April, Kosovo took back 100 Kosovar citizens who were children and wives of IS fighters.

Pressure at home
Analysts believe that many European governments have been under pressure at home to address the issue of children and women left behind by IS militants after the defeat of the terror group.

"It is something that they have to deal with sooner or later," said Sadradeen Kinno, a Syrian researcher who follows Islamist groups in the region.

"So Europeans feel that if they don't solve this problem once and for all, then they could face challenges posed by these very children in the future," he told VOA.


 

Khafee

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
6,557
Reactions
5,481 260
Egypt's Dar Al Ifta: ISIS Issued Controversial Fatwas in Ramadan
11 May, 2019


AAAWSAT AR Website

Cairo – Waleed Abdurrahman

Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah, an Egyptian body which works to keep contemporary Muslims in touch with religious principles, said that 10 religious edicts released by the terror group ISIS are highly controversial.

For the time during Islam’s holy month of fasting, Ramadan, the terror group outlawed keeping special calendars, allowing women outside homes during the day, decorating homes, and lighting incense.

“Hardliners and radical groups are the furthest away from the guidance and teachings of the prophet (pbuh) and his family. Prohet Mohammad, the messenger of Allah, taught values of compassion. He did not come to order us to kill or slaughter, nor to corrupt the earth,” a Dar al-Ifta source told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The Egyptian scholastic body is used as a global reference for Muslims looking for clarity on the "the right way," the removal of doubts concerning religious and worldly life, and religious law for the new issues of contemporary life.

More so, the terror group has exempted fighters engaged in duty from fasting, releasing an edict which justified the exception by saying that fasting exhausts and strains combatants during battle.

Another fatwa prevented women from going out during daytime in Ramadan, so that their departure does not lead to sedition. Female Muslims, only when guided by a guardian, are allowed outside the confines of their houses after the intermittent fasting period is up.

Saying it aims to bolster devotion ahead of Eid El-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of Islam’s lunar month of fasting, ISIS released another fatwa ordering the closure of all commercial shops 10 days ahead of the holiday. Its justification was that the closure of shops will help Muslims observe religious affairs more intently.

One of the more extreme ISIS fatwas was one which disclaimed the fasting of non-ISIS Muslims. This outrageously means that Muslim congregations living in ISIS-run neighborhoods could be subjected to punishment if found fasting during Ramadan.


 

Khafee

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
6,557
Reactions
5,481 260
Islamic State claims 'province' in India for first time after clash in Kashmir
May 11, 2019
Fayaz Bukhari, Alasdair Pal

NEW DELHI/SRINAGAR, India (Reuters) - Islamic State (IS) claimed for the first time that it has established a “province” in India, after a clash between militants and security forces in the contested Kashmir region killed a militant with alleged ties to the group.

IS’s Amaq News Agency late on Friday announced the new province, that it called “Wilayah of Hind”, in a statement that also claimed IS inflicted casualties on Indian army soldiers in the town of Amshipora in the Shopian district of Kashmir.

The IS statement corresponds with an Indian police statement on Friday that a militant called Ishfaq Ahmad Sofi was killed in an encounter in Shopian.

IS’s statement establishing the new province appears to be designed to bolster its standing after the group was driven from its self-styled “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria in April, where at one point it controlled thousands of miles of territory.

IS has stepped up hit-and-run raids and suicide attacks, including taking responsibility for the Easter Sunday bombing in Sri Lanka that killed at least 253 people.

“The establishment of a ‘province’ in a region where it has nothing resembling actual governance is absurd, but it should not be written off,” said Rita Katz, director of the SITE Intel Group that tracks Islamic extremists.

“The world may roll its eyes at these developments, but to jihadists in these vulnerable regions, these are significant gestures to help lay the groundwork in rebuilding the map of the IS ‘caliphate’.”

Sofi had been involved in several militant groups in Kashmir for more than a decade before pledging allegiance to Islamic State, according to a military official on Saturday and an interview given by Sofi to a Srinagar-based magazine sympathetic to IS.

He was suspected of several grenade attacks on security forces in the region, police and military sources said.

“It was a clean operation and no collateral damage took place during the exchange of fire,” a police spokesman said in the statement on Friday’s encounter.

The military official said it was possible that Sofi had been the only militant left in Kashmir associated with IS.

Separatists have for decades fought an armed conflict against Indian rule in Muslim-majority Kashmir. The majority of these groups want independence for Kashmir or to join India’s arch-rival Pakistan. They have not, like Islamic State, sought to establish an empire across the Muslim world.

Nuclear powers India and Pakistan have fought two wars over Kashmir, and came to the brink of a third earlier this year after a suicide attack by a Pakistan-based militant group killed at least 40 paramilitary police in the Indian-controlled portion of the region.

A spokesman for India’s home ministry, which is responsible for security in Kashmir, did not respond to a request for comment.

Reporting by Fayaz Bukhari in SRINAGAR and Alasdair Pal in NEW DELHI, additional reporting by Hesham Hajali in CAIRO; Edited by Martin Howell and Christian Schmollinger

 

Khafee

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
6,557
Reactions
5,481 260
UAE courts jail man for joining Daesh
Arab News
May 14, 2019

DUBAI: UAE courts have jailed a man for joining Daesh and for pledging allegiance to the terror network’s leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi via Twitter, state news agency WAM reported.

The 21-year-old man, from the African island, Comoros, who was only identified by his initials A A A Z, was jailed for five years and fined $272,300.
The court also ordered the confiscation of all equipment used to commit the offenses.

 

Khafee

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
6,557
Reactions
5,481 260
Malaysia foils Daesh-linked plot, seizes explosives
13 May 2019
AFP

  • Authorities in Muslim-majority Malaysia regularly announce Daesh-related arrests
  • Malaysia practices a moderate brand of Islam and has not seen any notable terror attacks in recent years
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian police said Monday they have arrested four militants linked to the Daesh group who were in possession of explosives and planned to attack non-Muslim places of worship.

The suspects — a Malaysian who led the group, two Rohingya from Myanmar and one Indonesian — were detained last week in raids around Kuala Lumpur and in eastern Terengganu state.

Malaysia’s national police chief Abdul Hamid Bador described them as an “Islamic State cell” and said they planned to “assassinate high-profile individuals and attack Hindu, Christian and Buddhist places of worship in Malaysia.”

He did not give any details about who the high-profile individuals were. Police also seized six improvised explosive devices, a pistol and 15 bullets, he said.

The planned attacks were to avenge the high-profile death of a Muslim fireman during riots at an Indian temple outside Kuala Lumpur last year, police said.

One of the Rohingya admitted supporting the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, a militant group blamed for attacks in Myanmar that sparked an army crackdown, and had also planned to target the Myanmar embassy in Kuala Lumpur, police said.

The second Rohingya was a 25-year-old laborer who admitted to being militant with ties to Daesh, police said.

The Rohingya are a Muslim minority that have long faced persecution in their Buddhist homeland.

Police are hunting for three more members of the suspected terror cell who allegedly planned to attack entertainment outlets.

Authorities in Muslim-majority Malaysia regularly announce Daesh-related arrests but it is rare for police to seize explosives or weapons.

Malaysia practices a moderate brand of Islam and has not seen any notable terror attacks in recent years.

But security forces are on alert for militants from Malaysia and other parts of the region heading to the country after Daesh lost the last of its territory in the Middle East.

Authorities say scores of Malaysian radicals flocked to fight with the militants in Iraq and Syria.

 

Top