Monday (4.9.18)

  • An Indonesian court on Monday jailed the mastermind behind last year’s ISIS-linked suicide bombings at a Jakarta bus terminal for nine years. Kiki Muhamad Iqbal was convicted of organizing the twin bombings, in which two men blew themselves up using pressure cookers packed with explosives and killed three police officers and injured 12 at Kampung Melayu bus terminal.
  • Syrian doctors and rescue workers said Sunday that dozens of people had died in an apparent chemical attack on a besieged enclave near Damascus as government forces escalated their offensive to recapture the last rebel strongholds near the capital. The attack killed at least 40 people in the city of Douma on Saturday. President Trump responded to the attack on his Twitter account Sunday, describing it as an “atrocity.”
  • American and Afghan forces have expanded their air strikes against drug labs into western Afghanistan, aiming to choke Taliban revenue. U.S. Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A) and Afghan forces conducted strikes on 11 Taliban drug production facilities in the western provinces of Farah and Nimroz this week, U.S. Forces said on Saturday.
  • German police said they detained several people in Berlin who they suspected of planning a crime linked to Sunday’s half-marathon, and one was suspected of planning a knife attack at the popular event. The newspaper said the four men were linked to Anis Amri, a Tunisian man with Islamist extremist ties who killed 12 people in an attack in Berlin in December 2016 when he hijacked a truck and drove it into a crowded marketplace.
  • Afghanistan forces killed an ISIS commander in an air strike, one year after he defected from the Taliban and established a new ISIS foothold within the country, security officials said. The leader is at least the seventh senior ISIS member killed in Afghanistan in the last 11 months.
  • The United States attacked al Qaeda’s branch in Somalia in the southern town of Jilib, a recurring strike location and known al Shabaab safe haven. The strike killed three terrorists and destroyed a vehicle with a mounted heavy machine gun on Thursday afternoon, according to a US Forces Africa Command (AFRICOM) press release on Friday. The US has now conducted a total of eleven strikes in Somalia in 2018, all of which have targeted Shabaab.
  • Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR), which oversees the coalition to defeat ISIS, warned today that “much work remains to defeat” Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s organization in Iraq and Syria. The US-led coalition’s statement is at odds with the Trump administration’s stated position earlier last week. The White House claimed on Apr. 4 that the “military mission to eradicate ISIS in Syria is coming to a rapid end, with ISIS being almost completely destroyed.”

Tuesday (4.10.18) 

  • On Monday, Israel struck the T-4 military air base in Syria’s Homs Governorate. At least four Iranians including a Colonel died in the attack, according to Iranian media outlets affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which have set out to retract the articles. Israeli officials have said that they would not tolerate the IRGC’s military build up in Syria.
  • A French policewoman was among six people detained and held for questioning on Monday as part of an investigation into the 2016 murder of two police officers claimed by ISIS, a judicial source said. In 2016 Larossi Abballa killed police commander Jean-Baptiste Salvaing and his partner Jessica Schneider, who also worked for the police, at their home near Paris.
  • The man who bought two rifles that terrorists used to kill 14 people in a 2015 California terrorist attack should be sentenced to 25 years in federal prison, the government urged Monday. The U.S. attorney's office filed a 177-page sentencing recommendation in federal court for Enrique Marquez Jr. It said that while he hadn't taken part in the attack, he did place weapons "in the hands of a killer, motivated by violent extremist ideology."
  • Two men thought to be members of the ISIS ‘Beatles’ terror cell have declared there will be "more IS-inspired attacks in Europe" The duo, Alexanda Kotey and Shafee Elsheikh, were captured by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) this year. The men, both from west London, did not deny being members of the 'Beatles' group and appeared to show no regret for their actions in an interview for Sky News on Monday.
  • The US military killed Qari Hikmatullah, who was described as “the senior ISIS-K (Islamic State Khorasan province or IS-K) commander and the main facilitator of ISIS-K fighters into northern Afghanistan” in an airstrike in the northern Afghan province of Faryab on April 5. Hikmatullah is part of the contingent of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan that defected and joined ISIS after the Taliban was caught hiding the death of Mullah Omar.
  • In a newly released video, the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), an al Qaeda-affiliated Uzbek group, showcased a joint raid with the Taliban in northern Afghanistan. The video, which is dated for Oct. 2017, shows a clash with Afghan forces, the majority which occurred at night.

Wednesday (4.11.18)

  • Philippine troops killed about a dozen members of a pro-ISIS group in air and ground assaults this week on the southern island of Mindanao, the army said on Wednesday, in what it called preemptive moves to thwart terrorist attacks on cities. The military wanted to send a message to terrorists that they should surrender, “or fight and be killed”, he said.
  • Yemen’s armed Houthi movement said on Wednesday it had launched a drone strike on a facility belonging to oil giant Saudi Aramco in southern Saudi Arabia - though the company said its facilities there were operating “normally and safely”. The Houthis’ Al-Masirah TV channel said the Houthis had also launched an attack with the same model of drone on the airport of Abha in neighboring Asir province.
  • Iraq will take “all the necessary measures” to prevent cross-border attacks by ISIS terrorists in Syria, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Tuesday. He said he had asked the country’s military command “to lay out all possible plans, as I am keen to protect Iraqi citizens” from cross-border attacks. An expert close to the Baghdad government said last week that Iraq may carry out special forces operations against ISIS terrorists in Syria.
  • The U.S. is reducing the presence of American commandos on Africa’s front lines, a move U.S. officers believe will make troops less vulnerable to the type of terrorist attack that left four U.S. soldiers dead in a West African country last fall. American Green Berets, Navy SEALs and Marine special operators serving as advisers to African forces will largely stay closer to the rear, working from command centers and battalion headquarters, rather than accompanying African troops on hazardous operations against terrorist groups.

Thursday (4.12.18)

  • The Taliban overran the district of Khwaja Omari and killed at least eight people, including the district governor, on Thursday. Seven policemen were also killed in the attack. Khwaja Omari was considered to have been one of the more secure districts in Ghazni province. The police claimed that 27 Taliban fighters were killed in retaliatory airstrikes.
  • Armed men on Wednesday kidnapped a German man in western Niger near the border with Mali, Niger’s attorney general said. The man was identified as Joerg Lange, a humanitarian worker. Terrorist groups, including some affiliated with al Qaeda and ISIS, have repeatedly attacked military and civilian targets along the porous border between Mali and Niger.
  • Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem denounced Jason Greenblatt, President Trump's envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, in a statement on the organization's official website, after Greenblatt suggested that the terror group disarm and relinquish its control over the Gaza Strip. Greenblatt has repeatedly condemned Hamas, on Twitter and in interviews, and says that the US believes wrestling control of Gaza from the group is critical to the success of any effort to forge a lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace.
  • The UK has conducted a "major offensive cyber-campaign" against ISIS, the director of the intelligence agency GCHQ has revealed. The operation hindered the group's ability to co-ordinate attacks and suppressed its propaganda, the director stated. It is the first time the UK has systematically degraded an adversary's online efforts in a military campaign.