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War against ISIS

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4 ISIS Suspects Arrested in Nicaragua
26 June, 2019

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Members of Nicaragua’s special forces. (Reuters file photo)


Asharq Al-Awsat

Nicaraguan authorities arrested on Tuesday four suspected ISIS members after entering the country illegally from Costa Rica, Nicaraguan police said.

The identities of three of the men matched those of suspects featured in an alert attributed to US Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) warning that three possible terrorists had recently arrived in Central America.

In a statement, Nicaraguan police said two of the men were Egyptian nationals and the other two were Iraqi. The four were due to be deported back to Costa Rica, it added.

The Egyptians were named as Mohamed Ibrahim, 33, and Mahmoud Samy Eissa, 26, while the Iraqis were Ahmed Ghanim Mohamed Al Jubury, 41 and Mustafa Ali Mohamed Yaoob, 29.

The first three men were named in the HSI alert published by Mexican media on Monday, which identified them as possible members of ISIS headed for the United States.

Questioned on the HSI alert on Tuesday, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said his government was aware of the search for the suspects and was dealing with the matter.

US Homeland Security officials could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters.

The three men who featured in the HSI alert were registered in Costa Rica on June 9, according to the Nicaraguan statement. That date matched the information as the HSI statement.

The fourth suspect, Mohamed Yaoob, was registered in Costa Rica on June 13, the statement said.

The men entered Nicaragua through an unauthorized crossing point known as La Guasimada in the Cardenas municipality on the southwestern border with Costa Rica, Nicaraguan police said.

After arresting the men at around 10 am, the army handed them over to national police for investigation, whereupon they were taken to migration authorities for deportation via the Penas Blancas border crossing, the statement said.

The four men were delivered to Costa Rican migration authorities at around 7 pm, Nicaragua’s government said.

 

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Islamic State claims responsibility for attacks on military camp in western Niger
July 3, 2019 / Updated 2 hours ago

View attachment 9020
CAIRO (Reuters) - The Islamic State claimed responsibility on Wednesday for attacks on a military camp in western Niger on Monday, the group’s Amaq news agency said.

At least 18 soldiers were killed and four others were missing after suspected Islamist militants blew up two cars and fired on a military camp in Niger, the army said on Tuesday.

The Islamist militants took control of the base near the town of Inates, Amaq news agency reported, close to the border with Mali.
The attack included two car bombs, and gunmen opened fire from motorcycles.

Reporting By Ahmed Tolba, editing by Hadeel Al Sayegh

 

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South Korean man arrested over alleged Daesh terror plot
Jeff Sung
July 04, 2019

View attachment 9065
Screen grab from South Korea’s national television, KBS. The TV has reported on Thursday that Seoul has arrested a serving soldier for his alleged links to Deash. ( Source KBS TV screen )
  • Soldier, 23, discharged from army this month held after stealing explosives equipment
SEOUL: A South Korean man with alleged links to Daesh militants was on Thursday arrested on suspicion of plotting acts of terrorism.
The 23-year-old soldier, identified only by his surname Park, had been discharged from the East Asian country’s army on July 2 this year, according to South Korean national television channel, KBS.

He was arrested by a police and military task force for having stolen a sparking-plug for explosives in October 2017 while participating in special training on demolition techniques.

The man is accused of having collected video clips of Daesh operations and other related materials to post online. The TV report said investigation authorities had seized emails Park had received from Daesh on how to join the terror group.

South Korean police and military started their probe after obtaining intelligence on Park provided by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

If the allegations are found to be true, it would be the second reported Daesh-linked case involving a South Korean national.

In 2015, a 17-year-old South Korean, identified only as Kim, disappeared after telling family he was going to study in Turkey. Authorities suspect he made his way into Syria to try and join Daesh.

Although police could not confirm he linked up with the terror group, they found evidence of his interest in the Islamic militants on his Twitter account. The teenager had posted a picture of a Daesh flag and frequently tweeted, “I want join” while asking to meet “brothers.” He had followed pro-Daesh accounts and often retweeted the group’s propaganda.

 

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3 French Women Arrested in Turkey for ISIS Links
04 July, 2019

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A member of Turkish police special forces stands guard in Azaz, Syria January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

Asharq Al-Awsat

Three French citizens suspected of ISIS membership were detained along with nine children as they tried to enter Turkey from Syria, Turkish media reported Thursday.

Turkish authorities stopped the three women, sought by Interpol and identified by their initials JC, CA and MD, in the border province of Kilis, according to state news agency Anadolu.

A security source told AFP that JC referred to Jennifer Clain, niece of the brothers Fabien and Jean-Michel Clain, who claimed responsibility on behalf of ISIS for the attacks that hit the Bataclan nightclub and other Paris locations in November 2015.

She is also married to Kevin Gonot, a French citizen sentenced to death in Iraq last May for his role in the terrorist organization.

Anadolu said 12 people had been arrested and were being transferred to immigration authorities awaiting their expulsion from Turkey.

In the first years after the Syrian conflict began in 2011, Turkey was the main point of entry for foreign militants seeking to join extremist groups.

Accused of turning a blind eye to the problem, Ankara later tightened border controls and began widespread arrests and extraditions, especially after a spate of devastating terrorist attacks in Turkey.

 

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Iraqi forces begin operation against Daesh along Syrian border
Updated 29 sec ago
AFP
July 07, 2019

View attachment 9188
The operation against Daesh is being carried out by Iraqi troops and members of the Popular Mobilization Forces, above. (Reuters file photo)


  • Operation is being carried out by Iraqi troops and members of the Popular Mobilization Forces
  • Iraq declared victory against Daesh in July 2017, but extremists have turned into an insurgency
BAGHDAD: Iraq's military announced a new operation Sunday in an attempt to secure the vast western desert leading to the Syrian border, amid fears militant sleeper cells were using the area to regroup.

The operation, dubbed "Will of Victory", began early Sunday morning and would push to clear the remote territory between the provinces of Salahaddin, Nineveh and Anbar, a statement by the military said.

Iraqi armed forces, paramilitary units of the Shiite-dominated Hashed al-Shaabi, tribal groups and US-led coalition warplanes were all taking part, according to the statement.

"There are pockets of Daesh fighters in the northwestern, western, and southwestern parts of Salahaddin province," a media official from the province's military command told AFP.

"Daesh is still present in these areas, and the operations will continue until they are cleared."

Iraq formally declared victory against Daesh in late 2017, a few months after ousting the militants from their seat of power Mosul, the capital of Nineveh province.

The group lost their last sliver of territory in Syria -- a small desert hamlet near the Iraqi border -- in March.

But Daesh sleeper cells have kept up hit-and-run attacks in isolated parts of Iraq, targeting government checkpoints, public infrastructure and local officials.

Security analyst Hisham al-Hashemi said "Will of Victory" was aimed at depriving Daesh of the resources it uses to carry out those raids.
"It will drain Daesh's logistical support in an area that makes up nearly a quarter of Iraq, by destroying their bases, training camps, depots and tunnels," he told AFP.

He said security forces were seeking to oust an estimated 1,000 Daesh fighters from the desert regions around Baaj, Rawah and Tharthar.

Iraq's security forces have targeted Daesh in several coalition-backed operations in recent months, including in the rugged Hamrin region north of Baghdad.

In May, they armed tribal forces in several dozen villages in Nineveh province to enable populations to defend themselves against insurgent attacks.


 

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Typhoon jets back up Iraqi security forces against Daesh
02 Oct 2019
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On Wednesday, Typhoon jets attacked terrorists who had been in combat with Iraqi security forces in northern Iraq.

The Ministry of Defence say in a release that Royal Air Force aircraft have continued to fly daily armed reconnaissance missions over Iraq and eastern Syria as part of the global coalition against the Daesh terrorist movement.

On Wednesday the 25th of September say the MoD, a pair of Typhoons responded to reports that a small group of Daesh extremists had been engaged in fighting with Iraqi security forces.

“Coalition surveillance aircraft had tracked the terrorists after the engagement to a group of buildings in the desert, some forty miles west of Bayji.”

The surveillance aircraft reportedly conducted a thorough check of the area for any civilians that might be placed at risk before the Typhoons attacked, using Paveway IV guided bombs to destroy the two key buildings occupied by the terrorists.
 

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Canada extends anti-ISIS mission in Middle East by one year

Move comes over three years after ISIS's battlefield defeat

Murray Brewster · CBC News · Posted: Mar 30, 2021

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A door gunner with the tactical aviation detachment watches out of a CH-146 Griffon helicopter during Operation IMPACT on September 27, 2017. (Combat Camera/DND)

The Liberal government has approved a slimmed-down extension of the Canadian military's contribution to the ongoing fight against the remnants of ISIS.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan issued a statement Tuesday announcing an extension of the seven-year-old campaign, known as Operation Impact.

The international effort to shore up the military capacity of Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon will see the involvement of Canadian troops for one more year.

Although the government has authorization to deploy up 850 soldiers in support of the anti-terrorism mission, Canada's current contribution in the coming year will be significantly smaller, involving 17 troops serving with NATO in an advisory capacity. NATO is helping to rebuild the country's defence ministry and its ability to stand up to ISIS militants.

Two Canadian C-130J transport planes and a headquarters in Kuwait will also provide ongoing support to the anti-ISIS coalition.

Canada's contribution to the mission was substantially larger in previous years, when it led the NATO training mission in Baghdad and provided security for instructors from other countries.

Denmark took over command of the alliance mission in November of last year.

The Canadian military has separate training missions in Jordan and Lebanon involving a handful of personnel.

A Canadian special forces contingent based in Erbil in northern Iraq was conducting counter-terrorism training — its status is unclear. The Department of National Defence rarely discusses special forces operations.

Operation Impact was launched by the former Conservative government in 2014 after ISIS militants swept out of the chaos of the Syrian civil war and proceeded to capture a vast swath of territory in neighbouring Iraq.

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Royal Canadian Air Force members of Air Task Force-Iraq and several members of the coalition participate in the SHAMAL SERIALS, a combat search and rescue exercise held for personnel of the Middle East Stabilization Force, in a training area in Kuwait on March 16, 2015. (Op Impact, DND)

The U.S. organized a global coalition to evict the extremists from both countries, using a combination of Iraqi and Kurdish forces and Western special forces.

Although Canadian commandos never served in Syria, they were instrumental in assisting Kurdish forces with the recapture of Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city.

ISIS was largely defeated on the battlefield over three and a half years ago, but remnants of the extremist organization continue to conduct low-level terror campaigns throughout the region.

"Canada will remain a reliable partner in multinational operations around the world," Sajjan said.

"By renewing Operation IMPACT, we are reinforcing Canada's support to our NATO Allies and our partners in the Global Coalition, and continuing our important work in the Middle East."
 

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Eisenhower strike group launches missions against Islamic State

By Ed Adamczyk

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Aircraft of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, launched missions against the Islamic State this week, the U.S. Navy reported on Wednesday. Photo by MCS2 Ryan McLearnon/U.S. Navy

March 31 (UPI) -- The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group is participating in Operation Inherent Resolve with new airstrikes, the Navy said on Wednesday.

Missiles were launched by Carrier Air Wing 3 against Islamic State positions in Iraq and Syria from the strike group's position in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, the Navy statement said.

The air launches came after IS took responsibility for an attack this week at Palma, Mozambique.

"Our Strike Group is ready and capable of providing direct, long-range combat operational air support from the Eastern Mediterranean Sea," Rear Adm. Scott F. Robertson, commander of Carrier Strike Group 2, said in a statement on Wednesday.

"We can provide a wide range of options to our nation and allies in deterring adversarial aggression and disruption of maritime security and regional stability," Robertson said.

The flagship aircraft carrier, the cruiser USS Monterey and destroyers USS Mitscher USS Laboon, USS Mahan, and USS Thomas Hudner currently comprise the strike group. It is the aircraft carrier's second deployment this year.

The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower is expected to assume control of the U.S. Central Command's Task Force 50 in June, the multinational mission in the Middle East currently led by the French aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle.
 

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Storm Shadow makes combat debut with Typhoon

16th March 2021
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A Royal Air Force (RAF)-operated Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 has fired an MBDA Storm Shadow for the first time in combat, having used the air-launched cruise missile to strike a target in Iraq on March 10.

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) revealed on March 15 that the munition had been used to strike a cave complex – located to the southwest of the city of Erbil in northern Iraq – which was being used by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) forces. It detailed that two Typhoon FGR4s were tasked to conduct strikes in support of ground forces from the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service.


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An RAF-operated Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 - serial ZK344 (c/n 384) - takes off from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus on March 10, 2021. Note that the aircraft is equipped with MBDA's Storm Shadow air-launched cruise missile, which is the dark grey and yellow munition on the multi-role fighter's underwing pylon. MoD Crown Copyright/Cpl Steve Buckley

“[The aircraft] conducted surveillance of the area to confirm that there were no signs of civilians who might be place at risk, before conducting the first attack using Storm Shadow missiles, which had been selected as the most appropriate weapon for the task. Following the mission, the Typhoon’s weapons were confirmed to have struck their targets precisely,” the MoD added.

This employment marked the first combat use of the cruise missile from the Typhoon FGR4, after it was integrated onto the multi-role fighter as part of Project Centurion in 2018. The munition had been previously employed by the RAF’s fleet of Panavia Tornado GR4 ground attack/strike aircraft until the platform was retired from UK service in April 2019.

MBDA’s Storm Shadow air-launched cruise missile has been developed to offer a highly flexible, deep-strike capability to its operators. It has been designed with low-observable features to reduce its radar cross-section (RCS) and is launched from stand-off ranges, striking pre-planned targets using a sophisticated mission planning system. The firm boasts that the munition has a range “in excess” of 250km. At 5.10m in length and weighing 1,300kg each, the Eurofighter Typhoon can carry two Storm Shadow missiles in one sortie.
 

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Air Force continues to pound ISIS targets in Iraq

Howard Altman
1 day ago
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A U.S. Air Force F-15 Strike Eagle flies over the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, Feb. 10, 2021.(Staff Sgt. Sean Carnes/Air Force)

U.S. airpower continues to play a role in the ongoing fight against the remnants of the Islamic State.

At least one U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle was “part of coalition forces which conducted air strikes at request and approval of government of Iraq,” a defense official told Military Times Saturday afternoon.

The jets took part in a combined air and partner ground operation against ISIS targets in Iraq’s Salah-al-Din Governate, according to a tweet from Yahia Rasool, spokesman for the Iraqi Ministry of Defense.

The attacks, in the Wadi al-Tharthar and Mutaybija areas north of Baghdad, destroyed two ISIS camps and two caves, killing at least two ISIS fighters, Rasool tweeted.

“The effects of @Coalition airstrikes & partner ground ops have left Daesh with no sanctuaries & crippled its ability to resurge,” Army Col. Wayne Marotto, CJTF-OIR spokesman, tweeted Saturday morning.

The airstrikes marked the second time in recent weeks that U.S. airplanes pounded ISIS targets in Iraq.

“Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, prime minister of Iraq and CINC, approved the use of coalition air power to ensure the enduring defeat of Daesh in the Makhmour Mountains,” said Army Col. Wayne Marotto, spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, in a statement to Military Times on March 24. “This is some tough terrain, and Daesh was hiding out in caves and tunnels. In support of the ISF, the U.S. Air Force F-15E and F-16 were part of the coalition air power used against Daesh to eliminate Daesh remnants.”

During Operation Ready Lion, coalition jets, as well as Iraqi air force and army aviation units, supported the ground operations with 312 airstrikes that destroyed 120 hideouts and positions and killed 27 “terrorists,” Marotto tweeted.

Rasool, spokesman for the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, wrote that the operation was launched March 9 in the Makhmour mountain range, southeast of Mosul, “targeting the remnants” of ISIS.

These recent airstrikes came after President Joe Biden ordered his first military action in February. A U.S. airstrike in Syria targeted facilities belonging to a powerful Iranian-backed Iraqi armed group, killing one fighter and wounding several others, an Iraqi militia official said Feb. 26, according to the Associated Press.

Pentagon officials said the strikes were retaliation for recent attacks on U.S. interests in Iraq, including a rocket attack in northern Iraq on Feb. 15 that killed one civilian contractor and wounded a U.S. service member and other coalition troops.

John Kirby, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman, said on Feb. 26 that two Air Force F-15E aircraft launched seven precision-guided munitions, fully destroying nine facilities and heavily damaging two others, rendering the two “functionally destroyed.” He said the facilities, at “entry control points” on the border, had been used by militia groups the U.S. deems responsible for a number of recent attacks against U.S. interests in Iraq.
 

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RAF supports 10-day assault on the Islamic State in Iraq

08 April 2021
by Gareth Jennings

The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) supported a 10-day assault on Islamic State positions in Iraq, undertaking the service’s most intense bombing campaign in recent months.

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An RAF Typhoon carrying a pair of Storm Shadows on what was the aircraft’s first operational use of the long-range cruise missile. (Crown Copyright)

Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 combat aircraft operating out of RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus supported other allied air units and Iraqi ground forces during the operation in March, which targeted Islamic State fighters in the Makhmur Mountain region of northern Iraq.

“Throughout the 10-day operation, the RAF used 42 Paveway IV bombs and 10 Storm Shadow cruise missiles [over] multiple strikes. The operation builds on the success of recent years and represents a significant increase in activity from previous months,” the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.

As noted by the MoD, the campaign saw the first operational use of the MBDA Storm Shadow cruise missile, which was used against underground cave systems. In March the MoD noted that the Storm Shadows were “confirmed to have struck their targets precisely”, although images seemingly of Storm Shadow parts published by an Iraqi news website appeared to indicate that at least one missile had fallen short of its intended target.

Separately, the MoD announced that an RAF General Atomics Aeronautical Systems MQ-9A Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle had struck a group of Islamic State fighters in northern Syria on 4 April using its Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire II air-to-surface missile system. “Having checked that there were no civilians nearby, the Reaper’s crew attacked the terrorists, striking the target successfully,” the MoD noted.
 
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