The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center's Spotlight on Global Jihad (September 1 – 7, 2022)

    Main events of the past week
    • This week, ISIS carried out two large-scale terrorist attacks in Afghanistan. The first, a suicide bombing attack at the entrance to the Russian Embassy in Kabul. A total of 10 people were killed, including two Russian government officials. The second, a multi-casualty attack at the Guzarga Mosque in the city of Herat, in the northwest of the country. A total of 48 people were killed and 86 others were wounded. ISIS claimed responsibility only for the attack on the embassy.
    • The Sinai Peninsula: Egyptian security forces continued their intensive counterterrorism activity in the Jalbanah region in northwestern Sinai. At least 10 ISIS operatives were killed.
    • Syria: ISIS continued to operate against the Kurdish SDF forces in the Deir ez-Zor-Al-Mayadeen and Al-Raqqah region. In an operation by the SDF forces against the ISIS squads in the Al-Hawl camp, where wives and children of ISIS operatives are held, about 100 suspects have been detained. A guided missile was fired, apparently by ISIS operatives, at a vehicle carrying Syrian soldiers, south of the Tabqa military airfield.
    • Iraq: ISIS carried out several attacks against the Iraqi security forces, mainly IED attacks.
    • Africa: In Nigeria, the security forces continued their activity against ISIS and Boko Haram. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, massacres of Christian residents in the east of the country have exacerbated. In Burkina Faso, an IED was activated against a supply convoy. A total of 35 civilians were killed and 37 others were wounded. To date, no organization has claimed responsibility for the attack.

    Afghanistan

    Suicide bombing attack at the entrance to the Russian Embassy
    • On September 5, 2022, a suicide bomber detonated his explosive vest at the entrance to the Russian Embassy on Darul Aman Street in Kabul. According to official sources in Afghanistan, 10 people were killed, including a diplomat, a security guard, and Russian citizens who worked at the embassy, and at least 10 people were wounded. The local media reported 11-15 fatalities (Republic World, September 6, 2022). The terrorist was reportedly standing with a group of civilians applying for visas who were waiting outside the embassy. Taliban security personnel at the embassy identified him as a suicide bomber and opened fire on him, after which he apparently activated his explosive vest (Reuters, September 5, 2022; Khaama Press, September 5, 2022).
    The embassy area a few minutes after the attack (Al Jazeera, September 5, 2022)


    The embassy area a few minutes after the attack (Al Jazeera, September 5, 2022)

    • ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack and announced that an ISIS operative by the name of Waqas al-Muhajir (i.e., the immigrant) arrived at the entrance to the Russian embassy in Kabul and detonated his explosive vest among embassy employees, contractors, and “agents” of the Russian forces while they were waiting to receive permission to leave the country. According to ISIS, over 25 people were killed or wounded, including at least two embassy employees and Taliban security guards. In addition, damage was caused to the entrance and to several vehicles (Telegram, September 5, 2022).
    ISIS operative Waqas al-Muhajir who carried out the suicide bombing attack at the entrance to the Russian Embassy (Telegram, September 5, 2022)
    ISIS operative Waqas al-Muhajir who carried out the suicide bombing attack at the entrance to the Russian Embassy (Telegram, September 5, 2022)
    Attack on a mosque in western Affghanistan
    • On September 2, 2022, there was an explosion during Friday prayers at the Guzargah Mosque, in the west of the city of Herat, in northwestern Afghanistan. A total of 48 people were killed and 86 others were wounded. The fatalities included Mawlawi Mujib Rahman Ansari, 38, a cleric affiliated with the Taliban. So far, no organization has claimed responsibility for the attack, but it was apparently an ISIS suicide bombing attack. It should be noted that at a conference held on August 18, 2022, in Kandahar, in southern Afghanistan, Ansari called for beheading anyone who rebels against the Islamic rule of the Taliban, implicitly referring to ISIS operatives (Khaama Press, September 2-3, 2022).
    Mujib Rahman Ansari, who was killed in the attack (Khaama Press, September 2, 2022)
    Mujib Rahman Ansari, who was killed in the attack (Khaama Press, September 2, 2022)
    The scene of the attack (Twitter account muslim daily@muslimdaily, September 2, 2022).
    The scene of the attack (Twitter account muslim daily@muslimdaily, September 2, 2022)


    It should be noted that ISIS operatives recently carried out two suicide bombing attacks against Taliban-affiliated clerics who were considered vehement opponents of ISIS. On August 10, 2022, a suicide bombing attack was carried out in Kabul, killing Sheikh Rahim Allah Haqqani (Khaama Press, August 11, 2022). In a suicide bombing attack at a mosque in Kabul on August 17, 2022, at least 21 people were killed, including Muhammad Kabuli, a member of the Taliban’s Islamic Jurisprudence Authority (Khaama Press, August 18, 2022).

    Attack against a Taliban convoy
    • On August 31, 2022, a car bomb was activated against a Taliban military convoy in the city of Kabul. Several Taliban members were killed or wounded and three vehicles were damaged (Telegram, August 31, 2022).
    The Sinai Peninsula
    ISIS activity
    • On August 29, 2022, an IED was activated against an Egyptian army armored vehicle in the Maghara region, in the central Sinai Peninsula, about 60 km southwest of Al-Arish. The passengers on board were killed or wounded (Telegram, August 31, 2022).
    Counterterrorism activity
    • Egyptian army forces and Sinai Tribal Union fighters continued to operate against ISIS in the village of Jalbanah, in northwestern Sinai. The activity took place mainly in densely forested agricultural areas, where ISIS operatives usually hide (al-Araby al-Jadeed, September 1, 2022). On September 3, 2022, Egyptian security forces reportedly killed at least 10 ISIS operatives and detained four others (mahmouedgamal44 Facebook page, September 4, 2022).
    • On September 2, 2022, Egyptian army forces and Sinai Tribal Union fighters operating in the Akhshin region in northern Sinai killed one ISIS operative, detained four others, and seized weapons (Ittihad Bir al-Abd al-Rasmia Facebook page, September 2, 2022).
    ISIS operatives captured in the Akhshin region (official Facebook page of the Bir al-Abd Tribal Union, September 2, 2022)
    ISIS operatives captured in the Akhshin region‌ ‌(official Facebook page of the Bir al-Abd Tribal Union, September 2, 2022)
    The Syrian arena
    Map of Syria’s provinces (freeworldmaps.net)
    Map of Syria’s provinces (freeworldmaps.net)

    Deir ez-Zor-Al-Mayadeen region

    ISIS activity
    • On September 3, 2022, ISIS operatives riding a motorcycle in Deir ez-Zor abducted a civilian suspected of collaboration with the Kurdish SDF forces (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, September 3, 2022).
    • On September 1, 2022, an SDF truck was targeted by gunfire near Al-Attal Square, about 15 km north of Al-Mayadeen. The truck driver was killed (Telegram, September 1, 2022).
    Counterterrorism activity
    • Helicopter-borne US military forces carried out two anti-ISIS operations in the Al-Mayadeen region:
    • In the early morning hours of September 2, 2022, US forces landed near the home of a former commander in ISIS’s Morality Police (Hisba) in the village of Takihi, about 15 km north of Al-Mayadeen. He was killed (Al-Araby al-Jadeed, September 3, 2022).
    • In the early morning hours of September 3, 2022, a force was landed near the home of Qussay Abu Sirin, a resident of the town of Shahil, about 9 km north of Al-Mayadeen. He was suspected of working for ISIS. Smoke bombs were thrown at his home and Abu Sirin surrendered without resistance.
    • On August 31, 2022, an SDF force detained an ISIS operative at his home in the town of Shahil. The detainee was a former ISIS commander who took part in the reconciliation arrangements with the Syrian regime but apparently continued his activity in the ranks of ISIS (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, August 31, 2022).
    Al-Raqqah region
    • On September 4, 2022, an IED was activated against a Syrian army vehicle south of the Tabqa airfield, about 40 km west of Al-Raqqah. The passengers on board were wounded (Telegram, September 5, 2022).
    • On September 4, 2022, an SDF checkpoint was targeted by gunfire east of the Ayn Eissa region. Three fighters were killed and two others were wounded (Telegram, September 5, 2022).
    • On September 3, 2022, an IED was activated against an SDF vehicle east of the town of Karamah, about 20 km east of Al-Raqqah. The passengers on board were killed or wounded (Telegram, September 3, 2022).
    • On September 2, 2022, an SDF vehicle was targeted by gunfire near the town of Tal al-Saman, about 30 km north of Al-Raqqah. One fighter was wounded (Telegram, September 3, 2022).
    • On September 1, 2022, a guided missile was fired at a Syrian army vehicle carrying soldiers south of the Tabqa airfield. The soldiers were killed or wounded. ISIS was apparently behind the incident (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, September 1, 2022).
    • On August 31, 2022, a Syrian army truck was targeted by gunfire west of the Tabqa airfield. Two soldiers were killed and several others were wounded (Telegram, September 1, 2022).
    • On August 31, 2022, an IED was activated against an SDF vehicle east of Karamah. The passengers on board were wounded and the vehicle was damaged (Telegram, September 1, 2022).
    • On August 31, 2022, an SDF vehicle was targeted by gunfire on the Al-Manakher road east of Al-Raqqah. One fighter was wounded (Telegram, September 1, 2022).

    Al-Hasakah region

    ISIS activity
    • On September 4, 2022, an SDF APC was targeted by gunfire near the town of Tal Barak, about 30 km north of Al-Hasakah. Four fighters were killed and several others were wounded (Telegram, September 4, 2022).
    • On September 2, 2022, an IED was activated at an SDF headquarters in the village of Al-Qal’ah, near the Syria-Iraq border. One fighter was killed and the headquarters was damaged (Telegram, September 4, 2022).
    Counterterrorism activity
    • On September 6, 2022, special SDF units and forces of the US-led Global Coalition against ISIS detained an ISIS operative at his home in Al-Hasakah. The detainee, who had helped in financing ISIS, had carried out money transfers to and from ISIS commanders and squad members in various regions in northern and eastern Syria. The forces seized electronic equipment from the office in north Al-Hasakah which he had used to transfer the funds (SDF Press, September 6, 2022).
    • An SDF operation against ISIS cells in the Al-Hawl camp started on August 25, 2022. A total of 98 suspects were detained, including 24 women (as at August 31, 2022). In addition, the forces dismantled 96 tents used as classrooms for teaching ISIS’s version of Islamic religious law (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, August 31, 2022).
    • On August 31-September 1, 2022, US-led Global Coalition forces and SDF forces, with helicopter support, carried out two operations in the neighborhood of Ghuwayran, in the southern part of the city of Al-Hasakah. Three ISIS operatives were detained and weapons were seized (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, September 1, 2022).
    The Iraqi arena
    Provinces of Iraq (Wikipedia)
    Provinces of Iraq (Wikipedia)

    ISIS attacks by province[1]

    Diyala Province
    • On September 5, 2022, an IED was activated against an Iraqi army vehicle north of the Al-Azim region, about 60 km north of Baqubah. The passengers on board were wounded (Telegram, September 6, 2022).
    • On September 3, 2022, an IED was activated against an Iraqi army vehicle in the village of Al-Jil, about 5 km south of Baqubah. One soldier was killed and four others were wounded (Telegram, September 4, 2022).
    • On August 31, 2022, an IED was activated against an Iraqi army vehicle south of the Bahraz region, about 5 km south of Baqubah. One soldier was killed and the vehicle was put out of commission (Telegram, September 1, 2022).
    • On August 30, 2022, an IED was activated against an Iraqi army vehicle in the village of Albu Hadhal, about 60 km north of Baqubah. The vehicle was put out of commission (Telegram, September 1, 2022).
    Salah al-Din Province
    • On August 31, 2022, an IED was activated against a vehicle of the Tribal Mobilization forces in the village of Al-Tha’er, about 25 km north of Baghdad. Another IED was activated against Tribal Mobilization fighters who arrived on the scene. A commander was killed and four fighters were wounded (Telegram, August 31, 2022).
    Kirkuk Province
    • On September 4, 2022, three mortar shells were fired at an Iraqi army vehicle during an operation near the village of Al-Tar, about 30 km south of Kirkuk (Telegram, September 4, 2022). No casualties or damage were reported.
    • On September 2, 2022, an Iraqi police compound was targeted by gunfire near the village of Al-Khasha, about 30 km south of Kirkuk. One policeman was wounded and a transformer was destroyed. In addition, an IED was activated against an Iraqi police vehicle in the area. The passengers on board were wounded (Telegram, September 4, 2022).

    Counterterrorism activity

    Nineveh Province
    • On September 2, 2022, an Iraqi army and Popular Mobilization force located an ISIS hideout in the Adaya Mountains, about 30 km southwest of Mosul. It contained IEDs and other equipment (Popular Mobilization headquarters’ Twitter account, September 2, 2022).
    The force fighters holding an ISIS flag, with the equipment that was seized in front of them (Popular Mobilization headquarters’ Twitter account, September 2, 2022)
    The force fighters holding an ISIS flag, with the equipment that was seized in front of them (Popular Mobilization headquarters’ Twitter account, September 2, 2022)
    Kirkuk Province
    • On September 1, 2022, an Iraqi National Security Service force operating on intelligence in the Kirkuk Province detained nine ISIS operatives who were planning to carry out terrorist attacks against civilians and security forces personnel. They also detained four ISIS operatives from ISIS’s Islamic Police and Army Bureau (Diwan al-Jund) who had taken part in attacks against Iraqi security forces (SecMedCell Facebook page, which belongs to the Iraqi Prime Minister’s Office, September 1, 2022).
    • On September 4, 2022, Iraqi Air Force planes attacked an ISIS target in the Jayman region, in central Kirkuk. ISIS’s official in charge of security in the Al-Dabas sector (northwest of Kirkuk), codenamed Abu Dunya, and two of his aides were killed (SecMedCell Facebook page, September 4, 2022).
    Al-Anbar Province
    • On August 31, 2022, an Iraqi army force ambushed and detained three wanted ISIS operatives in Jazirat al-Saqlawiya, about 5 km northwest of Fallujah (and 55 km west of Baghdad). In addition, they found two tunnels, one 450 m long and the other 500 m long, in the Al-Jazeera region, Al-Anbar Province. The tunnels contained weapons and equipment and were used as shelters by ISIS operatives. The Iraqi force blew up the tunnels and destroyed the equipment (SecMedCell Facebook page, August 31, 2022).
    One of the tunnels that were found in the Al-Anbar Province (SecMedCell Facebook page, August 31, 2022)
    One of the tunnels that were found in the Al-Anbar Province‌ ‌(SecMedCell Facebook page, August 31, 2022)
    Summary of ISIS’s activity in the various provinces
    • An infographic published by ISIS, summing up its activity around the world in the period between August 25 and August 31, 2022, indicates that the organization carried out 44 attacks in its various provinces around the globe (compared to 23 in the previous week). The largest number of attacks was carried out by ISIS’s Iraq Province (13). Attacks carried out in the other provinces: Syria (8); West Africa (7); Mozambique (5); Khorasan, i.e. Afghanistan (4); Sinai (3); Central Africa (3); and Somalia (1). A total of 93 people were killed or wounded in the attacks, compared to 29 in the previous week. The largest number of casualties was in the Khorasan (Afghanistan) Province (20). The other casualties were in the following provinces: Iraq (19); Syria (16); West Africa (13); Sinai (11); Mozambique (7); Central Africa (5); and Somalia (2) (Al-Naba weekly, Telegram, September 1, 2022).
    Summary of ISIS attacks (Al-Naba weekly, Telegram, September 1, 2022)
    Summary of ISIS attacks (Al-Naba weekly, Telegram, September 1, 2022)
    ISIS attacks by week (according to ISIS data)
    ISIS attacks by week (according to ISIS data)

    Africa

    Nigeria
    ISIS activity
    • On September 4, 2022, an IED was activated against a Nigerian army vehicle on the road between the towns of Katavila and Mararaba, in eastern Nigeria. The passengers on board were killed (Telegram, September 5, 2022).
    • On September 1, 2022, a Nigerian army compound was attacked in the town of Damboa, about 80 km southwest of Maiduguri, in northeastern Nigeria. The compound was damaged but no casualties were reported (Telegram, September 1, 2022).
    • On September 1, 2022, mortar shells were fired at a Nigerian army compound in the town of Wajiroko, about 120 km southwest of Maiduguri. According to ISIS, accurate hits were identified (Telegram, September 1, 2022).
    • On August 31, 2022, an IED was activated against a Nigerian army armored vehicle on a road near the town of Damboa. The passengers on board were killed or wounded (archive.org, September 5, 2022).
    Counterterrorism activity
    • Nigerian army ground forces and the Nigerian Air Force killed about 200 Boko Haram operatives, including five commanders, in an operation carried out on September 1-4, 2022 on the outskirts of the Sambisa Forest in Borno State in northeastern Nigeria. During the operation, warplanes carried out airstrikes against ISIS and Boko Haram operatives, who attempted to escape in boats. Some of them drowned. In searches carried out by Nigerian soldiers, the bodies of over 100 operatives were found (The Guardian, September 5, 2022; Daily Nigerian, September 4, 2022).
    The Democratic Republic of the Congo
    • ISIS intensified its massacres of Christian residents. Following are the main events:
    • An attack that began on August 30, 2022, and lasted for several days against residents of the village of Yakato and its environs in the Mambasa region, near the Congo-Uganda border in northeastern Congo. Over 40 civilians were killed. Several houses were set on fire and property was seized (archive.org, September 4, 2022).
    • On August 25-29, 2022, at least 40 civilians were killed in several villages in the Beni region, in eastern Congo (Reuters, August 30, 2022). The attack was apparently carried out by ISIS operatives who regularly carry out raids on Christian villages and military forces in this region.
    Somalia
    • On September 5, 2022, operatives of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Shabaab Organization activated an IED. The IED had been planted in a vehicle and was activated against civilians in the Hiiraan region, about 200 km north of Mogadishu. At least 20 people were killed, including women and children. The Al-Shabaab Organization claimed responsibility for the attack. According to the claim of responsibility, its operatives attacked an armed force affiliated with the Somali government (FBC News, September 5, 2022; BBC, September 5, 2022).
    • On September 1, 2022, several mortar shells landed near the Presidential Palace in Mogadishu. At least three people were killed and seven others were wounded. No organization has claimed responsibility for the incident, but it was apparently carried out by Al-Shabaab (BBC, September 1, 2022).
    Burkina Faso
    • On September 5, 2022, an IED was activated against a supply convoy escorted by a Burkina Faso army force on the road between the towns of Bourzanga and Djibo (about 45 km south of the Burkina Faso-Mali border). One of the vehicles was carrying civilians. A total of 35 civilians were killed and 37 others were wounded. To date, no organization has claimed responsibility for the attack, but it was apparently carried out by ISIS or Al-Qaeda. This is the fifth IED that has been activated in the region since August 2022 (AP; Reuters, September 6, 2022).
    Tunisia
    • The Tunisian army carried out an operation against ISIS in the Mount Al-Salloum region, about 9 km southeast of the city of Kasserine, near the Tunisian-Algerian border. According to the Tunisian Ministry of Defense, three ISIS operatives were killed (Al-Arabiya, September 2, 2022).

    Asia

    Iran
    • A photo recently appeared on social media documenting three senior Al-Qaeda officials visiting Tehran. The photo, which is believed to have been taken before 2015, shows Saif al-Adel, whose name was mentioned as the leading candidate to replace Ayman al-Zawahiri as Al-Qaeda’s leader; Abu Muhammad al-Masri, a senior Al-Qaeda leader who planned the attacks against the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and was killed in a targeted killing in central Tehran on August 7, 2020; and Abu Al-Khayr al-Masri, Al-Qaeda’s director of foreign relations and chairman of its Shura Council, who was killed in a US airstrike in Idlib, Syria on February 26, 2017 (@Sw0rdOfAnon Twitter account, August 26, 2022). US intelligence officials confirmed to The Long War Journal website that this is indeed a photo from 2015 of three of the organization’s senior officials (The Long War Journal, September 2, 2022). Although the photo is old, it has the potential to be visual proof of the connection that existed between Iran and Al-Qaeda officials.
    The three senior Al-Qaeda leaders in a photo from Tehran: from left to right Saif al-Adal, Abu Muhammad al-Masri, and Abu al-Khayr al-Masri (Twitter account @Sw0rdOfAnon, August 26, 2022)
    The three senior Al-Qaeda leaders in a photo from Tehran: from left to right Saif al-Adal, Abu Muhammad al-Masri, and Abu al-Khayr al-Masri (Twitter account @Sw0rdOfAnon, August 26, 2022)
    Yemen
    • On September 3, 2022, Al-Malahem News Agency, Al-Qaeda’s media arm in Yemen, released a video that was apparently filmed on August 9, 2022. The video shows Akam Sofyol Anam, a Bangladeshi citizen who worked for one of the UN agencies. He was abducted, along with four of his colleagues, by Al-Qaeda operatives on February 11, 2022, in the Abyan Province, in southern Yemen. In the video, Anam, who served as director of the UN Office of Security and Safety in Yemen, asks the UN, the international community, and humanitarian organizations to meet his captors’ demands (the demands were not specified in the video). He also states that he is very ill and requires medication and urgent hospitalization (Dawn, September 4, 2022).
    Photo of Akam Sofyol Anam in the video (Telegram, September 3, 2022)
    Photo of Akam Sofyol Anam in the video (Telegram, September 3, 2022)

    Europe

    Switzerland
    • On September 1, 2022, Swiss police arrested two suspected ISIS operatives in the cantons of Vaud and Geneva. They were arrested as part of an investigation which began in July 2021 and centered on a citizen with dual Swiss and Macedonian citizenship as well as a citizen of Kosovo, who lived in these two regions. The two suspects, whose names are the subject of a gag order, were taken to the capital Bern for questioning (AP, September 1, 2022).
    Terrorist funds
    • An investigation by The Wall Street Journal reveals that ISIS uses NFT (Non-Fungible Token –a record on a blockchain which is associated with a particular digital or physical asset, mainly for the acquisition of intellectual property) to solicit donations and disseminate its ideology. Since NFT is a type of information stored using the blockchain method, which cannot be tracked and is almost impossible to remove from the Internet, ISIS chose to use it (Al-Hurra, September 5, 2022).
    The battle for hearts and minds
    • The editorial in ISIS’s Al-Naba weekly, which was entitled “The One Nation,” was devoted to the issue of the borders of the Islamic countries (“artificial borders,” to quote the article). The author claims that these borders prevent Muslims from supporting each other and acting as one body. According to the author, Muslims must ignore the borders and the “laws of the infidels” and remove these borders that separate them. According to him, the only way to do this is by fighting against those who designed them and those who protect them. This is how ISIS acted in June 2014 when it removed the borders between Syria and Iraq and this is how they should act everywhere else. This will make it possible to assist Muslims around the world, such as Pakistan, where Muslims are currently suffering from floods that are draining their property (Al-Naba, Telegram, September 1, 2022).
    The article about borders (Al-Naba, Telegram, September 1, 2022)
    The article about borders (Al-Naba, Telegram, September 1, 2022)

    [1] According to ISIS claims of responsibility and the Iraqi media ↑

    SOURCE: The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center

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    Evarist Chahali

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