Monday (2-13-17)
  • Syrian jihadists seen as close to ISIS battled a rival hardline Islamist faction on Monday in northwestern Syria, a war monitor and an official with another insurgent group said. Jund al-Aqsa and Tahrir al-Sham clashed around Kafr Zeita in the countryside north of Hama, and near Tamaniaa, Khan Sheikhoun and Tal Aaas in southern Idlib Province. A statement released by Tahrir al-Sham said Jund al-Aqsa was responsible for the violence, accusing it of coordinating with ISIS and of having attacked Tahrir al-Sham with suicide blasts and a car bomb.
  • Sudanese security forces have found explosive materials and foreign passports in an apartment they raided on Sunday after a small blast detonated in South Khartoum, the Interior Ministry said. A bomb exploded while the suspect was assembling it, the ministry said in a statement, adding that the alleged bomb-maker, who is on the run, was wounded.
  • A suicide bomber killed seven people and wounded 20 others outside a bank in the capital city of Afghanistan's Helmand province on Saturday. The bomber detonated an explosives-packed car next to an Afghan army vehicle as soldiers arrived at a bank in Lashkar Gah to collect their pay. Among the dead were four civilians and three soldiers, while sixteen civilians and four soldiers were wounded. There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the Taliban have seized large areas of Helmand and have often threatened Lashkar Gah.
  • Australian ISIS fighter Khaled Sharrouf has become the country's first dual nationality individual to be stripped of Australian citizenship under anti-terrorism laws, the Australian newspaper said on Saturday.
  • Iranian security forces have arrested eight hardline Sunni Islamists suspected of planning attacks to disrupt celebrations for Iran's Islamic revolution in the past week, Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi said on Saturday. Alavi said the eight were "Takfiri" foreigners, some of whom were linked to a "Takfiri" leader who had been killed in Iran. He did not give details of which countries they were from.
  • Munther Omar Saleh, 21, from New York City pleaded guilty on Friday to conspiring to provide material support to ISIS and assaulting a federal officer. Prosecutors said Saleh discussed carrying out a pressure cooker bomb attack for ISIS with one of its top hackers and helped another man try to travel abroad to join the terrorist group.
  • At least 18 civilians were killed last week in air strikes by international forces in Afghanistan's Helmand province, an initial United Nations inquiry has concluded. American military officials say their aircraft have conducted around 30 air strikes in Helmand in the past week. A spokesman said they were looking into the inquiry.
  • The US-led coalition targeted Rachid Kassim, an aspiring rapper turned Islamic State operative, near Mosul, Iraq earlier last week. The airstrike was announced on Friday by Pentagon spokesman Major Adrian J.T. Rankine-Galloway. American officials remain uncertain if Kassim was killed, although some French reports are claiming his death. French officials have tied Kassim to a string of plots in their country. They found that Kassim was part of a network of online operatives who “remote-control” attacks via social media applications. This network has coordinated small-scale attacks around the globe, including in European nations and the US.
  • Boko Haram fighters have killed seven Nigerian soldiers and wounded 19 more in an ambush on a road in the northeastern state of Borno, the military said on Friday. The attack and continued suicide bombings throughout the northeast raise doubts about how close the conflict with the Islamist group is to a conclusion, despite the military reclaiming most territory held by Boko Haram. The ambush on the Ajiri-Dikwa road hit the troops as they were on a routine rotation on Thursday night and the military said troops were in "aggressive pursuit" of the fleeing terrorists.

Tuesday (2-14-17)

  • Dozens of fighters have been killed in two days of fighting between rival jihadist factions in northwestern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Tuesday. The fighting has pitted a jihadist group seen as ideologically close to ISIS- Jund al-Aqsa - against a newly formed jihadist alliance spearheaded by a faction that is affiliated with al Qaeda. The jihadist alliance - Tahrir al-Sham - has captured at least six villages from Jund al-Aqsa since Monday, the Observatory reported. Their power struggle is focused in northern areas of Hama province and adjoining areas of Idlib.
  • According Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, Turkey-backed rebels have largely taken control of Syria's al-Bab from ISIS fighters. Syrian rebels, backed by Turkish special forces, tanks and warplanes, swept into northern Syria in August in an operation, dubbed "Euphrates Shield" by Ankara, to push ISIS from Turkey's border and stop the advance of Kurdish fighters. However, on Tuesday the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the terrorists remained in control of the northern Syrian town.
  • Turkish authorities have arrested a Frenchman suspected of helping plan a New Year's Day shooting in an Istanbul nightclub which killed 39 people, the state-run Anadolu news agency said on Tuesday. The man, a 22-year-old French citizen of Turkish descent, was caught in Istanbul. A police official said he had been detained weeks ago and formally charged last week, although his detention had not previously been made public.
  • An explosion near the Punjab provincial assembly in the Pakistani city of Lahore killed at least 13 people and wounded 83 others on Monday, a senior police official said. Mushtaq Sukhera, inspector general of police in Punjab province, said five police officers were among the dead when an explosion rocked a protest organized by Pakistan's chemists and pharmaceuticals manufacturers. A spokesman for Jamaat-ur-Ahrar, a faction of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility and also warned the Lahore attack was the start of a new campaign against government departments.
  • The United States blacklisted Venezuela's Vice President Tareck El Aissami for drug trafficking, the first crackdown by the Trump administration against a top official in President Nicolas Maduro's government for money laundering and the drug trade. The U.S. Department of Treasury said it designated El Aissami for sanctions under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. Venezuelan opposition groups have long accused El Aissami of repressing dissent, participating in drug trafficking rings, and supporting Middle East terrorist groups such as Hezbollah.
  • On Monday, a top Pakistani bomb squad officer was killed along with another policeman while trying to defuse a bomb in the southwestern city of Quetta. The Sunni Muslim terrorist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi's Al Alami faction claimed responsibility on Tuesday.
  • Syrian government forces used chemical weapons in opposition-controlled parts of Aleppo during battles to retake the city late last year, Human Rights Watch said in a report published on Monday. The findings add to mounting evidence of the use of banned chemical weapons in the six-year-old Syrian civil war and could strengthen calls by Britain, France and the United States for sanctions against Syrian officials. According to the New York-based group, government helicopters dropped chlorine bombs "in residential areas in Aleppo on at least eight occasions between November 17 and December 13, 2016."

Wednesday (2-15-17)

  • Taliban insurgents attacked a village in northern Faryab province on Wednesday, killing five members of the local police force, an Afghan security official said. After a surprise early morning attack, the Taliban gained control of the village, located in the Shirin Tagab district, he added. Five terrorists were also killed and two others were wounded in the battle.
  • A suicide bomber attacked a van carrying judges in the Pakistani city of Peshawar on Wednesday, killing the driver and a passerby, police said, the second attack of the day in a new surge in terrorist violence. Security has improved in Pakistan over the past few years but a spate of attacks in recent days, and a threat by a hardline militant faction to unleash a new campaign against the government, has raised fears of bloodshed.
  • Gunmen in Afghanistan kidnapped 52 farmers on Wednesday, most of them members of the minority Uzbek community in the remote northern province of Jowzjan, regional officials said, but the motive for the abductions was not immediately clear. Afghanistan's once-stable north has become a hotbed of kidnappings and shootings in recent years, as the Taliban gains ground, along with small groups loyal to ISIS, mostly defectors from the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban.
  • Russian jets pounded rebel-held areas of the Syrian city of Deraa on Tuesday for a second day in the first such intensive bombing campaign since Moscow's major intervention in Syria over a year ago.
  • Bangladesh police on Tuesday shot dead a suspected terrorist commander and a close aide of the mastermind of the cafe attack last year that killed 22 people, mostly foreigners, a police official said. Police said Abu Musa, 32, was a close associate of Jahangir Alam, one of the masterminds of the July attack who was arrested last month, and wanted for killings of religious minorities and a Japanese citizen in the northern region.
  • Hamas has named one of its most hardline figures as its new leader in the Gaza Strip, a move analysts say is a sign of the growing influence of the group’s military wing. Yehiya Sinwar was released from an Israeli jail in October 2011 as part of a prisoner exchange deal with Hamas. He had been serving a life sentence for the murder of Palestinians suspected of collaboration with Israel, and was accused of overseeing the torture and killing of a fellow Hamas commander in Gaza last year.
  • The US Special Operations head, Gen. Raymond Thomas, said Tuesday that the US and its allies had eliminated more than 60,000 ISIS fighters. His estimate represents a sharp increase over recent numbers provided by the US and its allies. The US-led coalition has ramped up airstrikes against the terror group's self-declared capital in Raqqa, Syria, in recent weeks, while Iraqi troops, backed by US air power, have continued their assault on Mosul.
  • The Boko Haram terrorist group has continued their attacks in northeastern Nigeria despite the government declaring that the group, affiliated with ISIS, is about to be defeated. On Tuesday, about 30 terrorists attacked a village in Borno State, where they once had their stronghold, but were quickly repelled by a defense force comprised of villagers and soldiers. One Boko Haram fighter was killed. A day earlier, Boko Haram fighters ambushed and killed 12 Nigerian army troops and wounded 20 others who were among a convoy traveling through Borno.

Thursday (2-16-17)

  • Enrique Marquez Jr. is expected to plead guilty today to providing the high-powered rifles used to kill 14 people in the San Bernardino terror attack. Marquez of Riverside, California is the only person criminally charged in the deadly December 2015 attack that also left 22 people wounded at a meeting of San Bernardino County employees. Husband-and-wife assailants Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik were killed in a gunfight with authorities later that day.
  • Russia's top security official on Thursday offered the Philippines access to an intelligence database to help it fight crime and militancy, and training for the elite forces assigned to protect President Rodrigo Duterte. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the Russia had invited the Philippines to join a database-sharing system to help combat trans-national crime and terrorism, which he said could help track Islamist terrorists and their financial transactions.
  • Pakistani counter-terrorism police raided a terrorist hideout and killed six suspected members of a Taliban faction that has launched a new campaign of violence against the government, police said on Thursday. The Counter Terrorism Department in Punjab province said its officers surrounded a hideout of the Pakistani Taliban's Jamaat-ur-Ahrar faction in the city of Multan late on Wednesday and ordered the suspects inside to surrender. Two hand grenades, two automatic rifles and two pistols were recovered.
  • Syrian Islamist fighters have executed scores of insurgents in the west of the country in an increasingly bloody battle between different terrorist groups, the SITE Intelligence Group said. An offshoot of the Jund al-Aqsa group killed more than 150 members of rebel factions in the village of Khan Sheikhoun in southern Idlib province, the U.S.-based monitoring service reported on Wednesday. Dozens of those executed were members of a Free Syrian Army (FSA) faction, while the rest included members of the Tahrir al-Sham alliance, which includes al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham.
  • ISIS is using kidnapped Yazidi children to carry out suicide missions as the U.S.-led coalition forces continue their assault on the terror group’s remaining strongholds in Syria and Iraq. In a video posted Tuesday, two young Yazidi boys seemingly brainwashed by the Islamic terror group talk about their departure from their Yazidi identity and their desire to carry out a suicide attack for ISIS.
  • During a Congressional hearing on Wednesday Bruce Hoffman, Director Centre for Security Studies at Georgetown University, noted that al-Qaeda has used America's "preoccupation" with ISIS to regain strength in South Asia and preparing to spread its ideology in India from its "home" in western Pakistan.
  • If ISIS is driven from its Iraqi stronghold of Mosul, it will switch tactics to wage an insurgency from mountains and deserts, according to a top Kurdish intelligence official. Lahur Talabany, a senior figure in Kurdistan’s counter-terrorism efforts, also expressed concerns that another group similar to the Sunni Muslim ISIS could emerge to menace Iraq again if political leaders fail to secure reconciliation between sects.
  • On Tuesday the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS conducted 17 strikes in 21 engagements in Syria and conducted five strikes in 21 engagements in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government.

Friday (2/17/17)

  • Seven suspected Boko Haram fighters blew themselves on the outskirts of a northeast Nigerian city on Friday, a local aid agency said, in an attack witnesses said targeted refugees preparing to return to their home villages. The bombing took place outside Maiduguri, the population center at the heart of a government campaign to eradicate the Islamist group, whose more than seven-year insurgency has killed 15,000 people and forced some two million from their homes. The Borno State Emergency Management Agency said eight members of a local militia, the civilian Joint Task Force, were wounded in the attack.
  • Pakistani security forces killed dozens of suspected militants on Friday, a day after ISIS claimed a suicide bombing that killed more than 80 worshippers at a Sufi shrine in the latest of a series of attacks across the country. The bombing at the famed Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine in southern Sindh province was Pakistan's deadliest attack in two years, killing at least 83 people and underlining the threat of terrorist groups like the Pakistani Taliban and ISIS.
  • ISIS fighters are developing a network of passageways and tunnels in the narrow alleys of west Mosul that will enable them to hide and fight among the civilian population when Iraqi forces launch an attack that is expected any day now. Residents said the fighters have been opening passages in the walls between houses to allow them to move from block to block undetected, disappear after hit-and-run operations and track government troop movements. They have also opened sniper holes in buildings overlooking the Tigris river bisecting the city into east and west.
  • Turkey's military said on Friday it was close to taking Syria's al-Bab from ISIS, but a war monitor said the jihadists still controlled 90 percent of the town itself and that shelling and air strikes had killed dozens of civilians in recent days. Al-Bab, an ISIS stronghold 20 miles from the Turkish border, has been a prime target since Turkey launched an incursion last August to push the jihadists from its frontier and prevent gains by a Kurdish militia also fighting them. Taking control of the town would deepen Turkish influence in an area of Syria where it has already effectively created a buffer zone and allow Turkish forces to press on towards Raqqa, Islamic State's de facto capital in Syria.
  • The government of the restive far-western Xinjiang marched thousands of armed officers through the region's southern city of Hotan in a shock and awe campaign against what it says is the rising threat of terrorism and ethnic separatism. The large-scale parade in Hotan, a hotspot of ethnic tension in Xinjiang's southern Muslim Uighur heartland, involved thousands of armed police and paramilitary officers and was designed to "show strength and intimidate", according to a front-page report in the official Xinjiang Daily on Friday.
  • U.S. and coalition military forces continued to attack ISIS conducting 15 strikes consisting of 19 engagements in Syria and nine strikes consisting of 16 engagements in Iraq.