Tuesday (1.16.18) 
  • More than 1,800 Pakistani Muslim clerics have issued an Islamic directive, or fatwa, forbidding suicide bombings, in a book unveiled by the government on Tuesday. For years, the South Asian nation has been plagued by violence by Islamist terrorists, who often use suicide bombers and preach that their struggle is a holy war to impose Islamic rule. Suicide attacks are frequently condemned as fanatical and immoral, especially when civilians are killed, but terrorists view the tactic as their most effective weapon.
  • Venezuelan authorities on Monday arrested five members of a “terrorist cell” linked to self-proclaimed rogue Venezuelan helicopter pilot Oscar Perez, and killed several other terrorists during a shootout in a poor area outside Caracas. He rose to fame in June after allegedly hijacking a police helicopter, flying over Caracas’ center and firing shots at and lobbing grenades on the Interior Ministry and the Supreme Court. Perez claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was to fight a tyrannical government. 
  • U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday thanked the ruler of Qatar for “action to counter terrorism and extremism in all forms,” the White House said in a statement that suggested a warming of ties between the two countries. In June, Trump had called on Qatar to stop funding groups that commit terrorism. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, who along with Qatar are members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, plus non-GCC member Egypt cut off diplomatic, travel and trade ties with Qatar last year, accusing it of supporting terrorists and Iran.
  • The Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram released a video on Monday which purported to show some of the girls kidnapped from the Nigerian town of Chibok nearly four years ago, saying they do not wish to return home. Of the some 270 girls originally abducted from their school in April 2014, about 60 escaped soon afterwards and others have since been released after mediation. Around 100 are still believed to be in captivity.
  • At least 27 people were killed and 64 wounded in a twin suicide bombing in central Baghdad on Monday, the deadliest attack so far this year in the Iraqi capital, an interior ministry official said. Iraq declared victory last month over ISIS who seized control of nearly a third of the country in 2014. However, ISIS continues to carry out attacks and bombings in Baghdad and different parts of the country.
  • Israel said on Sunday it had destroyed a cross-border attack tunnel that ran from Gaza into Israel and Egypt dug by Hamas, the Islamist terrorist group that controls the Palestinian enclave, and that it would destroy all attack tunnels by the year’s end. Residents in Gaza said Israeli jets bombed an area east of the southern town of Rafah, by the Egyptian and Israeli borders, late on Saturday night. Israel confirmed the attack immediately after, but gave no details until Sunday.
  • A bomb blast wounded a member of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas in the Lebanese city of Sidon on Sunday, destroying his car as he was about to get in. A statement from Hamas confirmed he was a member of the group, without detailing his role, and said “initial indications” suggested Israel was behind the bombing. There was no immediate comment from Israel.
  • The leader of ISIS’s branch in West Africa has claimed responsibility for an attack that killed four U.S. special forces and four soldiers from Niger in October on Saturday. The troops were killed when their joint patrol was attacked near the village of Tongo Tongo, on the Mali-Niger border, on Oct. 4 by dozens of terrorists armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.
  • Al Qaeda’s branch in Somalia, al Shabaab, who have carried out frequent bombings in the capital, Mogadishu, said a former leader who defected to the government side was an apostate who could be killed. Al Shabaab fell out with its former spokesman and deputy leader, Mukhtar Robow Abu Mansur, in 2013. He defected to the U.N.-backed government in August last year. Al Shabaab has been fighting for years to try to topple Somalia’s central government and rule the Horn of Africa country according to its own interpretation of Islamic law.

Wednesday (1.17.18)

  • Russia called on Wednesday for urgent talks between the government in Afghanistan and the Taliban, its Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding Russia could host such talks. “We strongly recommend that negotiations start as soon as possible... to put an end to the civil war,” the ministry said.
  • The New Jersey man found guilty last year of planting two homemade bombs in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, one of which wounded 30 people, has tried to radicalize fellow inmates with ISIS and al Qaeda propaganda, U.S. prosecutors said on Tuesday. Ahmad Khan Rahimi, 29, faces a mandatory life sentence under federal law after being convicted in October of eight counts, including using a weapon of mass destruction and bombing a public place. His sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 13.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday he was discussing with India ways to strengthen security cooperation against the menace of from Islamist extremism that both democracies faced. Both Israel and India have long sought to counter Islamist terrorists - in Israel’s case, mainly from Gaza and Egypt’s Sinai region and, in India’s case, mainly from Pakistan. Away from the public eye, India and Israel have been cooperating against the threat through, in part, intelligence sharing, officials say.
  • Saudi security forces shot and killed a man suspected of involvement in “terrorist crimes” in an exchange of fire in the eastern part of the kingdom, state news agency SPA reported late on Tuesday. The agency, citing the recently formed Presidency of State Security, identified the man as Abdullah bin Mirza Ali al-Qallaf and said he was killed during a security operation on Monday night at a farm between the restive Shi‘ite Muslim communities of Awamiya and Qudaih.
  • A religious teacher brainwashed boys and encouraged them to join his “death squad” as he planned a terrorist attack on Elizabeth Tower, which houses Big Ben, and the “Queen’s guard”, a London court was told on Tuesday. Umar Haque, 25, is accused of plotting atrocities inspired by ISIS. Haque, the administer of Ripple Road Mosque in east London, allegedly tried to entice children as young as 11 into terrorism through role-play and videos games.

Thursday (1.18.18)

  • Gunmen in Pakistan shot and killed two women working on a polio eradication campaign on Thursday, the latest in a string of attacks on efforts to protect children from the crippling and sometimes deadly disease. No group claimed responsibility for the killings in the southwestern city of Quetta but such attacks have in the past been carried out by Islamist terrorists, who oppose the immunization of children as un-Islamic.
  • The World Cup soccer tournament to be held in Russia in June and July will be an “attractive target” for ISIS given Russia’s role in the territorial defeat of the terrorist group, the U.K.-based analysis firm, IHS, said on Thursday. The participation of the national teams of Saudi Arabia and Iran in the tournament provided an even greater incentive for the group to target it, the report said.
  • The US wounded an “Afghan extremist” in an airstrike in Pakistan’s tribal agency of Kurram on Wednesday. The US counterterrorism operation is the first of its kind reported inside Pakistan in 2018. On Jan. 1, Trump ramped up the pressure on Pakistan and increased the likelihood that the US would step up its air campaign after accusing the country of returning US aid with “nothing but lies & deceit” while continuing to provide the Afghan Taliban a “safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan.”
  • U.S. prosecutors on Wednesday accused a German man currently imprisoned in France of supporting al Qaeda in the years leading up to the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on New York City, and conspiring to kill Americans. In an indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court, New York federal prosecutors said Christian Ganczarski, 51, had personal relationships with Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda members.
  • Suspected Boko Haram suicide bombers killed 12 people and injured 48 others in an attack on Wednesday on the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, officials from the State Emergency Management Agency for Borno said. In recent weeks, Nigeria’s military has embarked on an offensive against the Islamist terrorists in the northeastern state of Borno, the epicenter for much of the conflict, which began in 2009.
  • A delegation approved by the Taliban’s supreme leader visited the Pakistani capital this week for exploratory talks on restarting peace negotiations to end Afghanistan’s 16-year war, two senior officials in the movement said. It was unclear if any progress was made in the unofficial meetings with a representative of a prominent Afghan politician. Many previous attempts have failed to revive direct talks that ended nearly as soon as they started in 2015.

Friday (1.19.18) 

  • Lebanon has thwarted a planned ISIS cell by detaining a terrorist and turning him into an informant, Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk said on Friday. The Iraqi man, identified only by the initials A.Z., had been sent by ISIS to Lebanon to form a new cell to carry out attacks, Machnouk said. For five months A.Z. carried on communicating with ISIS abroad and working on the cell - all the while feeding information back to Lebanese security forces.
  • The U.S. State Department urged Turkey on Thursday not to take military action against Afrin region in Syria and called instead for Ankara to remain focused on fighting ISIS terrorists in the region. However, Turkish artillery fired into Syria’s Afrin region on Friday in what Ankara said was the start of a military campaign against the Kurdish-controlled area.
  • Somali authorities said troops stormed a school run by al Qaeda’s branch in Somalia, al Shabaab, on Thursday night and rescued 32 children who had been taken as recruits by the terrorist group. This comes on the same day that al Shabaab denied that it was threatening and abducting civilians to hand over their children for indoctrination and military training.
  • Suspected Boko Haram terrorists have killed at least four soldiers and a civilian in an attack on a military post in Niger’s southeastern Diffa region, local officials and two security sources said on Thursday. Troops were taken by surprise and abandoned their position, allowing the terrorists to confiscate 10 armored vehicles before retreating to their stronghold in neighboring Nigeria, the security sources said.
  • Israeli forces killed a Palestinian gunman and captured another in a clash in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, saying they were part of a Hamas cell responsible for an ambush in which a Jewish settler was shot dead. Two Israeli police commandos were also wounded in the raid in the city of Jenin, a spokesman said.
  • In July 2017, a new terrorist group began advertising its presence in northwestern Syria. The outfit, Katibat al Ghuraba, or Katibat al Ghuraba al Turkistan (KGT), claims to be mainly comprised of ethnic Uighurs, but other ethnicities are represented in its ranks as well. It has become more prevalent on social media in recent weeks, as it takes part in battles against the Assad regime alongside other jihadist groups.