Monday (3-13-17)

  • A car bomb near a hotel on a busy street in the Somali capital killed at least 13 people on Monday, police and the emergency medical services said, hours after a man was killed by a blast as he tried to ram through a checkpoint. A spokesman for Somali Islamist terrorists group, al Shabaab claimed the attack. Earlier on Monday, police shot at a minibus, also in Mogadishu, when the driver refused to stop as it approached a checkpoint. The minibus exploded, wounding two bystanders and killing the driver.
  • Malaysian police said on Monday they had arrested seven people, including five Filipinos, for suspected links to the ISIS terrorist group. A Philippine suspect with permanent residency in Malaysia was detained on suspicion of raising funds and channeling them to Mahmud Ahmad and Mohamad Joraimee Awang Raimee, two Malaysians who had joined up with ISIS in the southern Philippines. One Philippine man was planning to travel to Syria to join up with ISIS there, while another was found to have pledged allegiance to Isnilon Hapilon, the Philippines' most-wanted man and leader of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group.
  • Afghan special forces have freed up to 32 people, including four policemen, imprisoned by Taliban insurgents in the southern province of Helmand, the defense ministry said on Monday. Swathes of Helmand are controlled by Taliban fighting to overthrow the United States-backed government in the capital, Kabul, and install a strict interpretation of Islamic law. Late on Sunday night, special forces launched the raid in a village in the district of Nad Ali, after gathering intelligence that the Taliban were holding dozens of civilians and security personnel, security officials in Helmand said.
  • German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said on Sunday that a Tunisian man wanted in his homeland for his possible involvement in a deadly attack on a Tunis museum in 2015 can be deported. The man was arrested last month on suspicion of planning an Islamist terrorist attack in Germany.
  • Hay’at Tahrir al Sham (HTS), a group formed by al Qaeda’s branch in Syria and several other organizations, has claimed responsibility for two suicide bombings in Damascus on Saturday. Dozens were killed and many more wounded when the bombers struck Shiite pilgrims visiting holy sites in the Syrian capital. Many of the victims were from neighboring Iraq. HTS portrays the attacks as a retaliatory strike against Iranian-backed Shiite militias, which fight Sunnis in both Iraq and Syria. In its statement, HTS claims that one of the bombers struck “Iranian militias” and the second hit Assad’s forces. The statement could be read as an attempt to draw a distinction between civilians and supposedly legitimate military targets.
  • Gunmen attacked a military air base in the eastern Afghan province of Khost, officials said on Saturday. Khost police spokesman Faizullah Ghairat said that three militants had attacked the base, close to the border with Pakistan. One had been killed, while two others were still holding out, he said. There was no immediate comment from the headquarters of the NATO-led Resolute Support mission in Kabul.
  • Indonesian police arrested nine suspected terrorists on the island of Sulawesi, a police spokesman said on Saturday, in an operation that media reported had targeted a group with affiliations to ISIS. With investigations continuing, police spokesman Martinus Sitompul declined to give further details, but media reported police had also seized bomb-making materials meant for use in attacks on police and official buildings. The suspects were all members of Mujahidin Indonesia Timur, a group that had been controlled until last year by one of the first Indonesian militants to pledge loyalty to ISIS.
  • Iraqi special forces are engaged in a punishing and paranoid close-quarters battle against ISIS in western Mosul as they seek to drive the jihadists out of their last urban bastion in Iraq and deal a major blow to their self-styled caliphate. Mosul is divided by the Tigris river that runs through it, north to south. Iraqi forces, supported by a U.S.-led coalition, pushed into the western side of the city last month after recapturing the east in an offensive that began late last year. The urban warfare is now more intense than ever, both because ISIS fighters have been backed into one half of the city and because the west - home to the old city and city center - is more densely populated.
  • The remains of hundreds of mainly Shi'ite inmates killed by ISIS when they overran a prison in northern Iraq more than two years ago have been unearthed by forces retaking the area from the group, a spokesman said. An Iraqi Shi'ite paramilitary group made the discovery after driving the terrorists from the Badush area where the prison is located, as part of a wider U.S.-backed campaign to dislodge Islamic State from the city of Mosul.

Tuesday (3-14-17)

  • Iraqi government forces killed Abu Abdul Rahman al-Ansary, the ISIS commander of Mosul's Old City, during operations on Tuesday to clear Bab al-Tob district as the battle for the terrorists’ last stronghold in Iraq focused on a bridge crossing the Tigris River. ISIS snipers were slowing the advance of Interior Ministry Rapid Response units on the Iron Bridge linking western and eastern Mosul but the elite forces were still inching forward, officers said. Government forces also pushed into areas of western Mosul, ISIS’ last redoubt in the city.
  • A blast on a bus in Syria's Homs on Tuesday killed one person and injured two others. The explosion follows a coordinated attack by jihadist insurgents in Homs city center last month that killed scores including a senior security official. The attack in Homs on Feb. 25 was carried out by Tahrir al-Sham, a jihadist alliance whose main group is Fateh al-Sham, an al Qaeda offshoot in Syria.
  • German authorities on Tuesday raided apartments linked to a mosque in the city of Hildesheim visited by Tunisian failed asylum seeker Anis Amri, who drove a truck into a Berlin Christmas market in December and killed 12 people. The local state interior ministry said more than 300 police searched the apartments of eight people and shut down the mosque and the association which ran it, saying it recruited young Muslims to join ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria.
  • Russian-led peace talks on Syria were derailed on Tuesday as rebels backed by Turkey boycotted a third round of meetings in Kazakhstan and the Kremlin indicated there were international divisions over the process. Russia, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's most powerful ally, said the rebels' reasons for staying away were unconvincing and their decision came as a surprise. While, the rebels said they would not attend the talks, scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, because of what they called Russia's unwillingness to end air strikes on rebel-held areas and its failure to get the Syrian army and Iranian-backed militia to abide by a ceasefire.
  • Malaysia and Australia will share intelligence on terrorists in Southeast Asia, a senior Malaysian minister said on Tuesday, as the two allies brace for the possible return of ISIS fighters from Iraq. Iraqi forces backed by a U.S.-led coalition have taken 30 percent of west Mosul from ISIS in an operation launched in October to drive the group out of its last major stronghold. Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the success of the Mosul operation would drive hundreds of ISIS members and sympathizers from Southeast Asia back to their home countries.
  • Authorities in China's western region of Xinjiang on Tuesday offered leniency to "separatists, terrorists and religious extremists" who turn themselves in, the latest in a string of recent security measures in the violence-prone region. China says militants have stirred up tension in Xinjiang, where hundreds of people have been killed in recent years in unrest between mostly Muslim ethnic Uighurs and majority Han Chinese. Many rights groups and exiles doubt the existence of a coherent militant group in Xinjiang and say Uighur anger at repressive Chinese policies is more to blame for the unrest. Late last month, Uighurs purportedly fighting with ISIS released a video threatening China and vowing to shed Chinese blood.
  • An explosion in the center of the Afghan capital Kabul destroyed a bus carrying employees of one of the country's biggest telecoms firms on Monday, killing at least one person and wounding eight, Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said. A security official said earlier the blast was caused by a suicide bomber on foot, but Sediqqi said it appeared to have been caused by a roadside bomb. The explosion, as people were leaving work in a well-to-do area of the city, came less than a week after dozens of people were killed and wounded in an attack on the country's largest military hospital by gunmen dressed in medical uniforms.
  • Fierce clashes resumed on Monday at a tower block complex in southwest Benghazi where forces loyal to Libya's eastern government have been battling for weeks to dislodge rival fighters, a security official said. A spokesman for the special forces of the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA), Milad al-Zwai, said jets had bombed the buildings and three special forces soldiers had been killed and three wounded in clashes. Over the past year the LNA has made major gains in Libya's second city, securing several districts and pushing back fighters linked to ISIS and al Qaeda. However, they still face pockets of resistance, including in the tower blocks between the districts of Ganfouda and Bosnaib.
  • Unknown gunmen killed Farhad Hossain Chowdhury, 55, a Sufi minority spiritual leader, and his house help in northern Bangladesh on Monday, police said, amid a surge in attacks on liberal activists, minority sects and other religious groups in the Sunni Muslim-majority country. No one claimed responsibility for the killing but the South Asian country of 160 million people has seen a string of deadly attacks in the past years. In the past both al Qaeda and ISIS have made competing claims for a series of killings but the government has blamed domestic militant groups.
  • On Saturday, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) sources revealed to Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida that the IRGC has built weapons factories for Hezbollah in Lebanon and handed them over to the Shiite group that is a designated foreign terrorist organization. This comes one week after Iranian Defense Minister Hussein Dehqan declared that Hezbollah “now possesses the capabilities to build and produce any projectile or missile” capable of reaching any location in Israel. However, it remains unclear how Hezbollah is acquiring the materials and domestically producing the sophisticated components necessary to manufacture such advanced weapons when the Iranians themselves experience difficulty in doing so at home.

Wednesday (3-15-17)

  • Four female teenage suicide bombers killed two people and injured 16 others in a residential area in the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri, a disaster agency spokesman said on Wednesday. The girls knocked on the door of a house and then detonated their devices, demonstrating a new tactic of focusing on individual homes. The number of attacks or attempted attacks bearing the hallmarks of Boko Haram in crowded areas, such as markets and refugee camps, has escalated since the end of the rainy season in late 2016.
  • Iraqi government forces battling ISIS for Mosul took control of a main bridge over the Tigris river on Wednesday and advanced towards the mosque where the group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a caliphate in 2014, federal police said. The seizure of the Iron Bridge, linking eastern Mosul with the terrorist-held Old City on the west side, means the government holds three of the five bridges over the Tigris and bolsters Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's assertion that the battle is reaching its final stages. The gains were made in heavy fighting in which troops fought street-by-street against an enemy using suicide car bombs, mortar and sniper fire, and grenade-dropping drones to defend what was once their main stronghold.
  • Afghan authorities have detained 24 people in connection with what appears to have been an insider attack on a military hospital in Kabul last week, including some of the staff, officials said on Wednesday. However they stonewalled a growing chorus of questions about how it was possible for gunmen to get into Afghanistan's largest military hospital, just a stone's throw from the heavily fortified U.S. embassy in the heart of the capital. The attack was claimed by Islamic State, although some officials say the group, based mainly in eastern Afghanistan, was unlikely to have been capable of mounting such a sophisticated operation without help from more experienced groups, such as the feared Haqqani network.
  • Islamist terrorists group, Boko Haram on Tuesday released a video purporting to show the execution of three men the group accused of being Nigerian military spies. The seven-minute clip, the first online video posted in two years of an execution said to be by Boko Haram, showed three men wearing orange jumpsuits. One is decapitated by masked men while the other two are shot. The masked men criticize President Muhammadu Buhari and Nigeria's military campaign against Boko Haram's eight-year long insurgency in the northeast of the country. The militant group has killed more than 15,000 people and forced more than 2 million to flee their homes.
  • The US Department of Justice announced on Tuesday its first ever extradition request to try a Hamas terrorist who murdered Americans during the Second Intifada. Prior to US President Donald Trump taking office, the only legal proceedings against such terrorists have been criminal proceedings in Israeli courts or civil wrongful death proceedings brought by the families of victim, not by the US government, in US courts. The request is addressed to Jordan to extradite Ahlam Tamimi, who was in Israeli jails for multiple murders.
  • The US Treasury Department announced yesterday that Muhammad Hadi al-`Anizi, who is “based in Kuwait,” has been designated as a terrorist. Al-`Anizi, a “terrorist facilitator and financier,” has “provided extensive material and financial support” for both al Qaeda and its arm in Syria. This designation is the latest in a series targeting al Qaeda’s support network inside Kuwait.

Thursday (3-16-170

  • Three suspected members of an Islamist terrorist group blamed for a deadly cafe attack in Bangladesh last July were killed on Thursday when their suicide vests exploded during a police raid on their hideout, a police official said. Police said a woman was also among the four dead, who belonged to a faction of the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh group, known as New JMB, which has pledged allegiance to ISIS.
  • Heavy rain slowed Iraqi government forces battling ISIS on Thursday around Mosul's Old City, where militants holed up in narrow alleyways and homes resisted with sniper fire, suicide attacks and car bombs. Troops from the federal police and elite Rapid Response units were about 500 yds from the al-Nuri Mosque from where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a caliphate spanning Iraq and Syria in 2014.
  • The violent anti-establishment Greek group Conspiracy of Fire Cells has claimed responsibility for a parcel bomb mailed to German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, police said on Thursday. The parcel was mailed to Schaeuble from a post office branch in Athens but was intercepted by the German finance ministry's mail department. The militant group has previously claimed responsibility for a wave of parcel bombs sent to foreign embassies in Athens in 2010.
  • Two suicide bomb attacks killed at least 31 people and wounded dozens more in Damascus on Wednesday, in the second such spate of bombings in the Syrian capital in five days. The first suicide bomber targeted the Palace of Justice, the main courthouse in central Damascus near the Old City where Justice Minister Najem al-Ahmad told reporters the initial death toll was 31, mostly civilians. The second suicide blast struck a popular restaurant in the al-Rabweh area of Damascus to the west of the first attack causing several casualties. Analysts who follow Syria have predicted that as jihadist rebels fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad suffer military reverses, they will increasingly turn to guerrilla attacks. Just this past weekend former al Qaeda leader in Syria, Abu Mohammad al Golani, vowed more attacks after claiming multiple suicide attacks in the city of Homs last month.
  • Suspected members of Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram attacked a town in northeast Nigeria's Borno state on Wednesday, shooting indiscriminately and forcing locals to flee their homes, witnesses said. Residents who fled Magumeri, a town around 31 miles from state capital Maiduguri, said the attackers burned down buildings and opened fire after arriving around 5:00 p.m.
  • Eight people were killed and more than 50 wounded when a car bomb exploded in a crowded street in the Iraqi city of Tikrit on Wednesday, a local official said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing although ISIS has carried out similar actions as it battles against a government offensive on its former stronghold in Mosul, 125 miles north of Tikrit.
  • West African forces freed 5,000 people being held in villages by Boko Haram, in an operation that killed more than 60 fighters and destroyed the terrorist group's hideout along the Nigeria-Cameroon border, Cameroon said on Wednesday.
  • A Saudi soldier was killed by gunmen late on Tuesday in the Eastern city of Qatif, in an incident the interior ministry said was carried out by "terrorist elements". There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack although Shi'ite militants angry at what they say is repression of their community have attacked security forces in Eastern province in the past.

Friday (3.17.17) 

  • A suicide car bomb detonated near an army base in the eastern Afghan province of Khost on Friday, killing one soldier and wounding several before the army repelled at attack on the base by four gunmen, the district chief said. The blast, 50 yards from the base, was heard several miles away and damaged several shops, homes and a school. In a statement, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack and said it had caused heavy casualties however; the terrorist group often exaggerates casualties caused by its operations.
  • Iraqi forces battling ISIS in Mosul advanced into the Old City and around the al Nuri mosque on Friday trying to seal off a main road to prevent terrorists sending in suicide bombers. Troops are meeting fierce resistance as terrorists retreat into the Old City, where street fighting is expected in the narrow alleyways and around the mosque where ISIS declared its caliphate nearly three years ago.
  • The Israeli military said it shot down one of numerous anti-aircraft missiles launched on Friday at its air force which was operating in Syria, in a rare such incident that spilled over into neighboring countries. The Syrian army said it had shot down an Israeli jet during the operation. Israel denied this, saying that all its aircraft had returned unscathed.
  • A Saudi Arabia-born man was convicted on Thursday of participating in a 2003 attack in Afghanistan that killed two U.S. servicemen and plotting to bomb a U.S. embassy in West Africa, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn said. A jury found Ibrahim Suleiman Adnan Adam Harun, known by the nom de guerre Spin Ghul, guilty of all counts after only two hours of deliberations. The al Qaeda operative faces life in prison at his sentencing.
  • A female employee of the International Monetary Fund suffered injuries to her face and arms on Thursday when a letter bomb mailed from Greece and addressed to the world lender's European representative blew up as she opened it, officials said. Paris anti-terrorism prosecutors opened an investigation and although a terrorist Greek group, Conspiracy of Fire Cells, claimed responsibility for a parcel bomb mailed to Germany’s Finance Minister on Wednesday, but there was no immediate claim for the Paris attack.
  • The Somali terrorist group, al Shabaab, is letting civilians in drought-hit regions under their control move with relative freedom to find food, the group and a U.N. official said on Thursday, but they are continuing to restrict the access of international aid groups. Somalia, struggling to recover from more than 25 years of civil war and an ongoing battle between its U.N.-backed government and Islamist insurgents, could sink into famine if the April rains fail.
  • Warplanes struck a mosque in the rebel-held village of al-Jina, in northwest Syria, killing at least 42 people and wounding dozens, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said on Thursday.
  • An air strike carried out by U.S. forces on Thursday in Idlib, Syria, killed several al Qaeda militants, U.S. Central Command said in a statement. "Idlib has been a significant safe haven for al Qaeda in recent years," the statement said, making no mention of civilian casualties.
  • U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis met with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Thursday and they discussed U.S.-Saudi military cooperation in the fight against ISIS, the Pentagon said in a statement. Mattis and Prince Mohammed, who is the kingdom's defense minister, also discussed "confronting Iran's destabilizing regional activities."