Tuesday (2.20.18)

  • An explosion killed at least three tribal elders and wounded two when it hit a hotel in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad on Tuesday, officials said. The cause of the blast was not immediately clear and there was no immediate claim of responsibility.
  • Foreign ISIS fighters forced out of Syria and Iraq have been arriving in the Philippines with the intent of recruiting, and they have plans to attack two Philippine towns, the head of the country’s largest Muslim rebel group said on Tuesday. In addition, Philippine security forces have arrested a foreigner, Fehmi Lassoued, suspected of recruiting domestic fighters for pro-ISIS terrorist groups, including an alliance that occupied a southern city for five months last year, police said on Monday.
  • More than 200 people have been convicted in Nigeria on charges related to their involvement with the terrorist group Boko Haram, the justice ministry said on Monday. Jail terms ranged from three to 60 years, said the ministry. It also said a total of 526 people allegedly affiliated with Boko Haram had been released for rehabilitation, and said 73 cases had been adjourned.
  • ISIS terrorists ambushed a convoy of pro-government militia fighters near the northern Iraqi oil city of Kirkuk late on Sunday, killing at least 27 of them, the government-backed Popular Mobilisation Forces said on Monday. A security official said Iraqi forces were pursuing the terrorists, who had disguised themselves in police uniforms to carry out the ambush.
  • A gunman opened fire at an Orthodox church in Kizlyar, a town in the province of Dagestan in Russia, on Sunday. At least five people were killed and four others wounded. ISIS quickly claimed responsibility via Amaq News Agency, one of its propaganda arms.
  • On Saturday a bomb blast on the Israel-Gaza border wounded four Israeli troops. Israel responded with what the military said were air strikes and tank fire against 18 targets belonging to Hamas, the dominant terrorist group in Gaza, and Islamic Jihad. The Israeli military said weapons-making facilities, training camps and observation posts were hit.
  • U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster called on Saturday for more forceful action to halt Iran’s development of what he said was an increasingly powerful network of proxy armies in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Iraq. McMaster accused Iran of escalating a campaign to increase its influence in the Middle East by building and arming “Hezbollah-style” proxy armies in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere as it has done in Lebanon. The United States deems Lebanon’s Hezbollah a terrorist organization.
  • Three suicide bombers killed 18 people in the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri, capital of the state worst hit by the Boko Haram insurgency, its police commissioner said on Saturday. Nobody has claimed responsibility for the attack but the use of suicide bombers in crowded areas is a hallmark of the Islamist terrorist group.
  • Federal authorities have charged three men with illegally exporting drone parts and other material from the United States to the Iranian-backed terrorist group in Lebanon, Hezbollah, the U.S. Justice Department said on Friday. It said in a statement that suspects Usama Darwich Hamade and Issam Darwich Hamade were in custody in South Africa while Samir Ahmed Berro remained at large.
  • Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has urged Egyptians to topple their government in the second message from Islamist terrorists this week calling for violence in Egypt where presidential elections are due in March. ISIS, an enemy of al Qaeda, released a video on Sunday in which it warned Egyptians against taking part in the vote and urged Islamists to attack security forces and leaders.
  • The Afghan Taliban issued a “Letter of the Islamic Emirate to the American people” on Feb. 14, which was reported as an appeal for negotiations between the Taliban and the United States. Instead, the Taliban demanded that the US and the West withdraw from Afghanistan so the Taliban can establish its government. Throughout the letter, the Taliban said the only acceptable outcome is for the US to quit so it can return to power.

Wednesday (2.21.18)

  • Lebanese intelligence arrested a man on Wednesday they believe was a financial official for ISIS, a security source said. The Syrian, arrested in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, was responsible for collecting money for the terrorist group in Albu Kamal, a city in eastern Syria, before ISIS was routed from the area, the source said. It was not clear when he entered the country and whether he was planning any terrorist activities, the source said.
  • More than 90 Nigerian schoolgirls are feared missing after Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram attacked a village in the northeastern state of Yobe, two sources said on Wednesday. Their disappearance, if confirmed, would be one of the largest since Boko Haram abducted more than 270 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok in 2014.
  • The State Department added the Burkinabe jihadist group Ansaroul Islam, which is tied to al Qaeda’s network in Mali, to the US government’s list of specially designated global terrorist organizations on Tuesday. State noted that Ansaroul Islam has “launched numerous attacks in northern Burkina Faso near the border with Mali.” While State’s announcement did not mention it, Ansaroul Islam is closely associated with al Qaeda’s network in Mali.
  • Malaysian police have arrested 10 people on suspicion of aiding the movement of terrorists between the eastern state of Sabah and the southern Philippines, a hotbed of Islamic terrorism, in the second batch of arrests this year. Among the suspects is a 27-year-old Filipino believed to be a senior leader of the Abu Sayyaf, and another Filipino, 32, believed to have arranged passage of foreign nationals to the southern Philippines to join ISIS.
  • Pakistan has been given a three-month reprieve by a global watchdog over a U.S.-led motion to put the South Asian country on a terrorist financing watchlist, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said late on Tuesday. The international community continues to have concerns about deficiencies in Pakistan’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing system, and a State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, could not confirm that FATF deferred action for three months.

Thursday (2.22.18)

  • Iraq has handed over to Russia four women and 27 children suspected of having ties to ISIS, local television broadcaster Al-Sumaria quoted the foreign ministry as saying on Thursday. The women and children were investigated by authorities who concluded that they did not participate in “terrorist operations against civilians and Iraqi security forces,” the spokesman said, adding that “they will be prosecuted in Russia for entering Iraq illegally.”
  • An Egyptian court on Thursday sentenced 21 suspected terrorists to death, including 16 in absentia, on charges of bomb making and planning attacks on public and private infrastructure, judicial sources said. The charges also included having extremist Islamist views and forming an illegal group, the sources said. Those sentenced had been arrested in 2015.
  • Two French soldiers were killed on Wednesday and a third wounded after their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device near the locale of In-Delimane in the northern Gao region. The fatalities came as French forces renewed pressure on al Qaeda’s Group for Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) in northern Mali. No terrorist group has claimed credit for the blast.
  • US forces killed three members of al Qaeda’s branch in Somalia and East Africa, Shabaab, in an airstrike on Feb. 19. The strike was executed in the southern city of Jilib, according to a US Africa Command press release on Wednesday. According to USAF Major Karl J. Wiest, US forces have now conducted four strikes in Somalia in 2018, all of which targeted Shabaab.
  • Three suspected Bahraini terrorists wanted on terrorism charges died at sea in unexplained circumstances this month and another is missing, activists said, after they appear to have fled the country by boat headed for Iran. The incident shines a light on alleged links between a small, armed fringe of Bahrain’s Shi‘ite Muslim opposition and Iran, which authorities in the Western-allied Gulf kingdom accuse of helping stoke years of attacks against its police.
  • The Nigerian military rescued 76 schoolgirls and recovered the bodies of two others on Wednesday, after the students went missing during a Boko Haram attack on a village, three parents, a resident and a local government official said. At least 13 students may still be missing.

Friday (2.23.18)

  • A global money-laundering watchdog has decided to place Pakistan back on its terrorist financing watchlist, a government official and a diplomat said on Friday. The move is part of a broader U.S. strategy to pressure Pakistan to cut its support to Islamist terrorists unleashing chaos in neighboring Afghanistan and backing attacks in India.
  • International donors have raised half a billion dollars for a multi-national military operation in West Africa’s Sahel region, the EU’s top diplomat said on Friday, as Europe seeks to stop migrants and terrorists reaching its shores. At a conference of about 50 countries including the United States, Japan and Norway, countries pledged 414 million euros ($509 million) for the G5 Sahel force, made up of troops from Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.
  • Britain has warned of a threat of attacks by Islamists on foreigners in South Africa after two British nationals were kidnapped in a small town there, but South African police said they had no evidence terrorists were behind the incident. Africa’s most industrialized country has a large expatriate community and attracts many tourists, and has seldom been associated with Islamist terrorism.
  • A couple has been jailed for plotting a terror attack in the UK using a homemade bomb. Munir Mohammed, from Derby, was handed a life sentence, with a minimum of 14 years. Pharmacist Rowaida El-Hassan has been jailed for 12 years. The trial heard the pair met on a dating website and Mohammed used El-Hassan's chemical knowledge to help plan an attack.
  • US forces conducted an airstrike on Wednesday in Jamaame, a coastal town in southern Somalia. The strike killed four terrorists associated with Shabaab, al Qaeda’s branch in Somalia and East Africa. A US Africa Command press release said that US forces will continue to partner with the Somali military and the African Union mission in the country in “combined counterterrorism operations and targeting terrorists, their training camps, and their safe havens throughout Somalia and the region.