Monday (2.5.18)

  • U.S. forces have begun reducing their numbers in Iraq after Iraqi authorities declared “victory” over ISIS, an Iraqi government spokesman said on Monday. The United States had more than 5,500 troops in Iraq at the height of the battle of Mosul in July 2017, making up about half the total force deployed by the coalition in the country.
  • The prime surviving suspect in the 2015 ISIS attacks on Paris said he would answer no questions as his trial in Belgium over a shooting that preceded his arrest got under way in Brussels on Monday. Appearing in public for the first time since the November 2015 attacks and his arrest in Brussels four months later, he remained seated, flanked by two masked Belgian police officers.
  • Lebanon’s army raided a suspected Islamist terrorist hideout in the northern city of Tripoli late on Sunday, leading to armed clashes in which a soldier and a suspected terrorist were killed, the army said. Lebanese authorities say they have disrupted a number of ISIS attacks and networks since the last major attack - a 2015 twin suicide bombing in Beirut.
  • Libyan forces killed three suspected ISIS terrorists near an oilfield in the southeast of the country, a local official said on Saturday. Two soldiers were also killed and five wounded during clashes over two days, one of which took place near the Dhahra oilfield on Saturday, said Umar al-Faqeh, head of the Maradah administration to which the area belongs. There had been fighting in another area on Friday, he added.
  • At least 11 soldiers were killed and 13 wounded on Saturday in a suicide attack near an army base in northern Pakistan, officials said, in a region that was once controlled by a local faction of the Taliban. The attack was claimed by the Tehreek-e-Taliban, also known as the Pakistani Taliban, in a statement sent to the media.
  • Hayat Tahrir al Sham (HTS, or the “Assembly for the Liberation of the Levant”) claims to have downed a Russian fighter jet in northwestern Syria on Saturday. The group released two videos and a short statement saying the warplane was struck with a shoulder-fired missile. The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that the jet was downed.
  • The Pakistani Taliban has claimed a pair of suicide bombings in recent days and the group promises to conduct more in the near future. The first was purportedly carried out on Feb. 2 in the Mastung district of Balochistan. The second was launched by a “martyrdom seeker” known as “Siddique,” who struck a Pakistani Army base in the Swat area of northern Pakistan on Feb. 3.
  • The Afghan Taliban publicized its Abu Bakr Siddique Camp, a facility that trains terrorists to battle Afghan and Coalition forces in Afghanistan. The footage is similar to other Taliban videos of its training facilities. Taliban fighters are shown marching in formation, training with weapons, navigating fiery obstacle courses, and conducting operations in vehicles.

Tuesday (2.6.18)

  • The terrorist threat facing Southeast Asia is growing as foreign fighters return to the region, Southeast Asian defense ministers said in a joint statement on Tuesday in which they pledged to improve cooperation to tackle terrorism. Six Southeast Asian nations launched an intelligence pact last month aimed at combating Islamist terrorism and improving co-operation on security threats, overcoming what analysts described as a high level of distrust. They also pledged to increase cooperation in July.
  • Israeli forces killed a Palestinian gunman in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, saying he was the head of a terrorist cell responsible for an ambush in which a Jewish settler was shot dead. Israel had been hunting the final member of the cell that it said killed Rabbi Raziel Shevah in a drive-by shooting on Jan. 9. Commandos already killed one of the gunmen involved and captured a another.
  • A Somali military court on Tuesday sentenced to death a man convicted of driving a truck bomb as part of a deadly attack that killed more than 500 people in the capital, Mogadishu, in October, the national news agency reported. The bombing sparked angry street protests against al Shabaab, al Qaeda’s branch in Somalia. Al Shabaab never claimed responsibility for the attack.
  • Two Palestinians, a mother and daughter, were arrested by police for planning terrorist activities, the Israel Police spokesman announced on Tuesday. The report stated, “As part of the ongoing investigation the suspicions are the daughter was planning to carry out a terrorist attack against civilians, while the mothers is suspected of being involved in incitement on social media in which she appears to hold an automatic weapon and makes threats of incitement.”
  • Ben Gal, a 29-year-old father of four, was stabbed to death on Monday outside the Israeli city Ariel in the West Bank. U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman called out Palestinian leadership Tuesday for praising the terror attack. After the attack a spokesman for Hamas praised the stabbing, saying it was "a continuation of the resistance to Trump's Jerusalem declaration." Hamas also urged the Palestinian Authority to "halt all coordination with Israel on security matters."
  • A senior Chinese shipping company executive was shot dead in the violence-plagued Pakistani financial hub of Karachi on Monday in what police described as a targeted attack. While there was no claim of responsibility and the motive was not immediately clear. China in December warned its nationals in Pakistan of plans for imminent attacks on Chinese targets.
  • The Afghan Taliban is continuing to promote its training camps on social media. Over the weekend, the group publicized its “Military Training Camp Umar Khattab” in a series of photographs that show its fighters training in the snow. The camp is thought to be located in Kunduz province. The Afghan military has attempted to wrest the rural areas of Kunduz from the Taliban’s control, but have had uneven results.

Wednesday (2.7.18) 

  • A Moroccan man who killed two and injured nine with a knife in Finland last August saw himself as a soldier of ISIS and cited U.S.-led air strikes in Syria as one reason for his attack, Finnish police said on Wednesday. Abderrahman Bouanane, at the time a 22-year-old asylum seeker, has admitted to the stabbings in what the police see as the Nordic country’s first terrorism-related attack.
  • A Palestinian assailant was shot dead on Wednesday after stabbing a security guard at the entrance to a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank, the Israeli military said. The civilian guard, stationed at the Karmei Tzur settlement north of the city of Hebron, was slightly wounded. Another security guard shot and killed the attacker, the military said in a statement.
  • A Saudi man who attended flight school in Oklahoma was charged on Tuesday with visa fraud for allegedly having lied about attending an al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan in 2000, the U.S. Justice Department said. A federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment against Naif Abdulaziz M. Alfallaj, 34, after his fingerprints turned up on documents found by the U.S. military at an al Qaeda safe house in Afghanistan, the Justice Department said in a statement.
  • A New York City man was sentenced to 18 years in prison on Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to aid ISIS and assaulting a federal law enforcement officer. Saleh and a high school senior, Imran Rabbani, were arrested in June 2015 after running toward a law enforcement surveillance vehicle as they drove to a mosque, according to court records.
  • The killing of a senior Algerian terrorist by special forces soon after he slipped into Tunisia has raised concern that al Qaeda is trying to regroup in the North African state as rival ISIS has suffered major setbacks, security sources say. Last month, Tunisian special forces killed Bilel Kobi, a top aide to Abdelmalek Droukdel, better known as Abu Musab Abdul Wadud, the leader of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, in a mountainous region along the Tunisian-Algerian border.
  • US forces conducted 10 counterterrorism strikes in Yemen in January, US Central Command announced in a press release on Tuesday. The US military appears to be maintaining operational tempo against al Qaeda and ISIS’s networks in Yemen in 2018 after a record number of strikes in 2017.
  • A Palestinian jihadist leader in Syria, Abu Muhammad al Filistini, released a message on Monday directed at jihadists in Lebanon and other Palestinians in the Ain el Helwe refugee camp near the southern Lebanese city of Sidon. This is not surprising as Ain el Helwe has a long history as a terrorist breeding ground with a reputation as a hotbed of extremism. Many al Qaeda-linked organizations call the camp home, including Fatah al Islam, which has supported al Qaeda operations in both Iraq and Syria in the past.
  • Over the past 96 hours the US military launched a series of airstrikes on Taliban training camps located in Afghanistan’s remote northeastern province of Badakhshan, which borders Tajikistan. The camps were used by the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and other terrorist groups. According to Resolute Support, the airstrikes also “destroyed stolen Afghan National Army vehicles that were in the process of being converted to vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices.”

Thursday (2.8.18)

  • U.S. forces in Afghanistan have attacked networks of anti-China terrorists in action likely to please Beijing which had called for Western cooperation in its fight against the group it says wants to split off its Xinjiang region. The strikes in northern Afghanistan’s Badakhshan province destroyed Taliban training camps which support terrorists operations in Afghanistan as well as operations by the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) in the border region with China and Tajikistan, Afghanistan’s NATO-led mission said in a release on Thursday.
  • The Treasury Department announced on Wednesday that three terrorists based in Pakistan have been added to the US government’s list of specially designated global terrorists. Treasury stated that they are targeting operatives who have provided logistical support, improvised explosive devices, and other technological assistance to al Qaeda, Lashkar-e Tayyiba, the Taliban, and other terrorist groups.
  • Al Shabaab, al Qaeda’s branch in Somalia, attacked a police station with hand grenades and small arms, killing one person and wounding at least five others in Boosaaso, the capital of Bari region, northeastern Somalia on Tuesday. Al Shabaab claimed its terrorists wounded the deputy commander of the station in the attack.
  • A more aggressive U.S. strategy in Afghanistan has put the Taliban on the back foot, soldiers and police say, but bloody recent attacks in Kabul show the insurgency remains potent and a prolonged stalemate looms. While Afghan security forces say the impact has been significant, the Taliban still roam huge swathes of the country and, with foreign troop levels at about 15,000 compared with 140,000 in 2014.
  • CENTCOM spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Earl Brown stated that US forces conducted 131 counterterrorism strikes in Yemen last year, which provides a concrete figure after CENTCOM noted “more than 120” in previous press releases. Brown added that the strikes are part of an “ongoing effort to prevent terrorists from directing or supporting external operations against the United States homeland and our citizens, allies, and partners overseas.”

Friday (2.9.18)

  • Egypt began a major assault against terrorists on Friday focused on the Sinai peninsula, where ISIS attacks have killed soldiers, police and civilians, aiming to crush their insurgency by an end of February deadline set by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The former general on Nov. 29 ordered the military to defeat terrorists in North Sinai within three months, after an attack on a mosque which killed some 300 people, the deadliest such incident in the Arab world’s most populous country.
  • The Kurdish Asayish police force in Iraq last year executed dozens of ISIS terrorists in their custody and disposed of their bodies in a mass grave northwest of Mosul, Human Rights Watch said in report on Friday. HRW’s report cites a KRG official, Dindar Zebari, who denied executions took place.
  • Two people were killed and 55 wounded in a twin bombing inside a mosque in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on Friday, medics said. Friday’s explosions occurred during prayers at a small mosque located in the Majouri district, residents said. The devices, placed in bags at the mosque doors, appear to have been activated remotely using a mobile phone, a military source said.
  • ISIS terrorists clashed with Syrian insurgent factions in the northwestern province of Idlib on Friday, a war monitor and a rebel commander said, accusing pro-government forces of opening a corridor for the jihadists to reach the region. Idlib is the largest chunk of Syrian territory held by groups opposed to President Bashar al-Assad.
  • Philippine soldiers have killed three suspected members of the pro-ISIS Maute group, the army said on Friday, including a fighter broken out of jail in a southern city taken over by terrorists last year. The three men were killed in a firefight on Thursday in the town of Pantar, just outside Marawi, the city half-destroyed by a five-month conflict last year that was the Philippine military’s biggest and longest battle since World War Two.
  • One of two British ISIS terrorists known for their role in the torture and killings of Western hostages in Syria was aiming to reach Turkey when he was captured by Kurdish-led forces last month, a Kurdish official said on Friday. U.S. officials said on Thursday that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a U.S.-backed militia force, had captured Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, two of four terrorists known as the “Beatles” for their English accents.
  • A stabbing attack on an Israel Defense Force soldier was foiled by troops in the southern West Bank on Thursday evening, the army said. The attempted attack took place near the Fawwar refugee camp near Hebron in the West Bank. There were no injuries and the would-be attacker was apprehended by troops.