Tuesday (2-21-17)
  • Suicide bombers attacked a court complex in Pakistan on Tuesday, killing five people and wounding 20, police officials said, the latest incident in a new surge of Islamist violence. All three of the attackers were carrying hand grenades and AK-47 assault rifles. One attacker blew himself up outside the court, while two were killed by policemen before they could enter the building.
  • ISIS-linked Syrian terrorist groups on Monday launched a surprise attack on moderate rebels in southwestern Syria near the Golan Heights near where the Jordanian and Israeli borders converge, seizing several villages and a large town, rebels and witnesses said. Rebels said the militants were able to extend their area of control in territory that forms a natural barrier between Syria and Israel where the Yarmouk River flows after they overran the towns of Tseel, Sahem al Golan, Adwan and Tel Jamoua.
  • U.S.-backed Iraqi forces battling ISIS fighters have fought their way close to Mosul's airport on the second day of a ground offensive on the jihadists' remaining stronghold in the western side of the city, military statements said on Monday. Federal police and elite interior ministry units known as Rapid Response are leading the charge toward the airport on the southern outskirts of Mosul and plan to turn it into a close support base for the push into western Mosul.
  • Forty-four ISIS militants were killed by Turkey-backed operations around the Syrian town of al-Bab and in U.S.-led coalition air strikes on Monday. One Turkish soldier was killed and two were wounded during work to clear landmines and explosives in the area, the army said, reiterating that it had largely established control in the residential areas of al-Bab.
  • Hundreds of Afghan families have been displaced by cross-border rocket and artillery fire by Pakistani troops, an aid group said on Monday, as tension rose after Pakistan said militants implicated in recent attacks had taken shelter in Afghanistan. As many as 200 families have been displaced from their homes, while some civilian casualties have also been reported after Pakistani border troops fired rockets and artillery. ISIS’ regional branch claimed responsibility for a bomb attack on Thursday at a Sufi shrine in Pakistan's Sindh province. The toll in that attack has reached 90 people dead and more than 350 wounded, police said on Monday.
  • Gunmen in southern Philippine waters killed one crewman of a Vietnamese vessel and abducted seven in what appeared to be the latest attack by pirates in the area, the Philippine coastguard said on Monday. Coastguard and marine soldiers rescued 17 Vietnamese who were part of the 25-man crew of MV Giang Hai, which was attacked on Sunday evening near Baguan Island in Tawi-Tawi, an area close to the stronghold of the notorious ISIS-linked Abu Sayyaf terrorist group.
  • After years of strained relations, Egypt is moving closer to Hamas in Gaza, offering concessions on trade and free movement in return for moves to secure the border against ISIS fighters who have killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers in northern Sinai. Egypt has been at odds with Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, since a crackdown by Cairo on the armed group's Islamist allies. Egypt closed the border, opening it only rarely, but in recent weeks Egypt has eased restrictions, allowing in trucks laden with food and other supplies, and providing relief from an Israeli blockade that has restricted the flow of goods into the coastal territory.
  • The National Directorate of Security (NDS), Afghanistan’s intelligence service, confirmed that its forces killed Qari Saifullah Akhtar, a top Pakistani al Qaeda leader, during a raid last month in the southern province of Ghazni. Akhtar’s involvement with jihad spanned four decades, and he has been directly linked to Osama bin Laden and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI-D). The NDS said it killed Akhtar and one of his “comrades” during a raid in the district of Nawa in Ghazni on January 9 however, it is unclear why the NDS took more than five weeks to confirm Akhtar’s death.

Thursday (2-24-17)

  • U.S.-backed Iraqi security forces captured Mosul airport on Thursday, state television said, in a major gain in operations to drive ISIS from the western half of the city. Elite Counter Terrorism forces advanced from the southwestern side and entered the Ghozlani army base along with the southwestern districts of Tal al-Rumman and al-Mamoun. Iraqi forces hope to use the airport as a launchpad for their campaign to drive the terrorists from the rest of the city.
  • Turkey-backed rebels have seized the center of the town of al-Bab from ISIS, Turkish state media and rebels officials said on Thursday, marking a likely breakthrough in Ankara's drive to wipe out the militant group in northern Syria. Taking control of al-Bab, an ISIS stronghold 20 miles from the Turkish border, would deepen Turkish influence in an area of Syria where it has effectively created a buffer zone and would allow the Ankara-backed forces to press on toward Raqqa, ISIS’ de facto capital in Syria.
  • Police have arrested a 26-year-old German man who has admitted planning to lure police or soldiers into a trap and kill them with a home-made bomb, prosecutors and police said on Thursday. Prosecutors said chemicals that could be used to make explosive devices were found during a search of his home in the town of Northeim in central Germany.
  • Fifty-six ISIS fighters were killed by Turkey-backed forces around the Syrian town of al-Bab and by U.S.-led coalition air strikes in the latest operations on Wednesday. Turkish artillery fire also hit 104 ISIS targets, including buildings and bombed vehicles, the army said in a statement, reiterating it had largely established control in the residential areas of al-Bab.
  • Swiss police raided several houses and searched a mosque in the southern canton of Ticino on Wednesday as part of an investigation into suspected Islamist activity, federal prosecutors said. More than 100 officers took part in the operation and arrested one man. The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) said it was conducting criminal proceedings against two men, one with dual Swiss-Turkish citizenship and the other a Turkish citizen, based on suspicions of recruiting for ISIS or associated groups.
  • Turkish authorities on Wednesday detained 35 suspected members of ISIS in raids across Istanbul. Police carried out simultaneous raids in 41 locations across the city and collected several documents linked to the jihadist group.
  • On Wednesday news outlets discovered that a former Guantanamo detainee known as Jamal al Harith (formerly Ronald Fiddler) had blown himself up in a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) in Iraq. Al Harith reportedly took part in ISIS’ defensive suicide attacks around Mosul, which is one of the organization’s de facto capitals. The so-called caliphate claims to have launched scores of suicide VBIEDs in defense of the city. On the same day al Harith executed his attack (Feb. 20), ISIS’ Amaq News Agency released a short video of three SUVs being deployed as bombs. All three vehicles had armor added to the front. One of the three was presumably driven by al Harith.
  • The German military plans to beef up security for a U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali by deploying a number of tethered aerostats - small airships with threat-tracking sensors - like those used by the U.S. military in Afghanistan, a spokeswoman for the armed forces said on Wednesday. The dangers facing the U.N. peacekeeping force in Mali were highlighted last month when a suicide bombing killed 77 people at a military base housing government soldiers in the northern town of Gao in an attack was claimed by an al Qaeda affiliate.
  • Somalia's new president was inaugurated on Wednesday, promising his people that the era of al Shabaab and other Islamist terrorist groups was over. Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, a dual U.S.-Somali citizen, called on al Shabaab's thousands of fighters to surrender, promising them "a good life" if they did. "To those who work with al Qaeda, al Shabaab and IS (Islamic State), your time is finished," he said at the inauguration ceremony.
  • Two al Qaeda-linked Uzbek jihadist groups have released videos touting their operations inside Afghanistan. The two groups, Katibat Imam al Bukhari (aka the Imam Bukhari Jamaat) and the Islamic Jihad Union, have claimed attacks in eastern and northern Afghanistan. In Katibat Imam al Bukhari’s (KIB) video, the group shows its forces shelling an Afghan army installation somewhere in northern Afghanistan. The second video released was from the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) and unlike KIB’s video, IJU’s focuses on heavy combat with Afghan troops in the eastern part of the country sometime late last year.
  • The Taliban claimed it “completely liberated” the district center for Shorabak in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar early Tuesday. Shorabak was the site of a massive al Qaeda training camp that was assaulted and destroyed by US forces in October 2015. The Taliban now claims to control four of Kandahar’s 18 districts, and that others remain contested. According to a statement released on Voice of Jihad, the Taliban’s official propaganda outlet, Taliban forces torched the administration buildings and police headquarters after local police and Afghan soldiers abandoned the Shorabak district center.
  • Several Jewish community centers (JCC) across the United States were evacuated for a time on Monday after receiving bomb threats, the latest wave of threatened attacks against them this year, the national umbrella organization said. Some 11 centers including those in the Houston, Chicago and Milwaukee areas received phoned-in bomb threats that were later determined to be hoaxes.