- The Philippines is certain of "very strong" links between ISIS and home-grown militants and is concerned about regional repercussions from tension between China and the new U.S. administration, Manila's defense minister said on Thursday. Intelligence from various sources had shown Muslim rebels in the southern Philippines had been communicating with ISIS, and funds were being transferred via mechanisms commonly used by Filipino workers in the Middle East.
- An ISIS-affiliated group claimed responsibility for firing rockets on Thursday towards Israel's Red Sea resort of Eilat from Egypt's Sinai peninsula, an attack that Israel said caused no damage or casualties. The Sinai Province group said it fired "a number of Grad rockets against gatherings of Zionist occupiers" in Eilat. In an apparently unrelated incident several hours after the rockets were fired, two Palestinians were killed along Gaza's border with Egypt when a tunnel beneath the frontier was bombed.
- Turkish-backed Syrian opposition fighters resumed a major offensive inside the ISIS-held city of al-Bab on Thursday, a day after they broke through ISIS defenses in its remaining stronghold in Aleppo province. A rebel commander in the Euphrates Shield forces said fighters of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), working with Turkish commanders, were moving forward from territory near the western gates of the city they had stormed on Wednesday.
- Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed in an overnight phone call on joint action against ISIS in the Syrian towns of Raqqa and al-Bab, both held by the terrorists, Turkish presidency sources said on Wednesday. U.S.-Turkish differences during former President Barack Obama's administration impeded the U.S.-led campaign against ISIS, and closer coordination could mean faster progress towards freeing swathes of northern Syria from ISIS.
- Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem, an Arizona man, was sentenced on Wednesday to 30 years in prison for conspiring to support ISIS for his role in planning a attack at a cartoon exhibit in Garland, Texas, featuring images of the Prophet Mohammed in May 2015. Two co-conspirators, Kareem's former roommates, were killed at the event in a shootout with police.
- Yemen said on Wednesday it had not suspended counter-terrorism operations with the U.S. government, despite controversy over a U.S. commando raid on al Qaeda terrorists in which several civilians were also killed. The raid in al-Bayda province, approved by new U.S. President Donald Trump, resulted in a gun battle that left one Navy SEAL dead and an American aircraft a charred wreck. Local medics said several women and children were killed.
- The Defense Department announced on Wednesday that 11 al Qaeda terrorists were killed in a pair of airstrikes near Idlib, Syria earlier this month. Ten al Qaeda men were reportedly killed on Feb. 3, when the US struck a building they were using as a “meeting place.” On the following day, Feb. 4, a jihadi known as Abu Hani al Masri perished in a second airstrike. The Pentagon says Abu Hani served al Qaeda for decades and had ties to the group’s senior leaders, including Ayman al Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden.
I serve as Chairman of the Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade Subcommittee. Among other areas of jurisdiction, the subcommittee oversees U.S. efforts to manage and coordinate international programs to combat terrorism, and efforts to bring international terrorists to justice. This update provides a daily snapshot of the latest news related to foreign terrorism. For more information on the subcommittee, please click here.