The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center's Spotlight on Global Jihad (August 25-31, 2022)

    Main events of the week
    • This week, there was a moderate increase in the scope of ISIS’s activity around the globe.
    • The Sinai Peninsula: ISIS continued to operate against the Egyptian security forces in the western and central Sinai Peninsula. At the same time, the intensive counterterrorism activity by the Egyptian army and the Sinai Tribal Union continued.
    • Syria: ISIS continued to operate against the Kurdish SDF forces in the Deir ez-Zor-Al-Mayadeen and Al-Raqqah region. The SDF forces arrested 48 suspected members of ISIS sleeper cells in the Al-Hawl camp in the Al-Hasakah region.
    • Iraq: There was an increase in the scope of ISIS activity, along with intensive counterterrorism activity by Iraqi security forces.
    • Africa: In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, ISIS operatives continued to attack Christian villages and army forces in the Beni region, near the border with Uganda. In Mozambique, ISIS continued to attack Christian villages and army forces in the northeast of the country. In Somalia, the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Shabaab movement issued an announcement threatening the Kenyan government, stating that the movement will continue to carry out attacks in Kenya as long as Kenyan forces continue to fight against the organization in Somalia.
    • India: In northeastern India, 35 people suspected of being affiliated with Al-Qaeda were arrested.
    • Turkey: There was a stabbing attack against police in Istanbul. The ISIS-affiliated attacker was neutralized.
    • The United States: An American citizen from New Mexico was convicted of attempting to set up an ISIS training center.
    The Sinai Peninsula
    ISIS activity
    • This week, ISIS continued to operate in western and central Sinai against Egyptian security forces. The following are the main attacks:
    • On August 30, 2022, two Coptic Christian farmers were targeted by gunfire in the village of Jalbanah, east of the Suez Canal. They were killed. So far, no organization has claimed responsibility for the attack, but ISIS is probably responsible for it (MeSat, August 30, 2022).
    • On August 28, 2022, Egyptian army forces were attacked in Jalbanah, in northwestern Sinai. No casualties were reported (Telegram, August 28, 2022).
    • On August 28, 2022, a Sinai Tribal Union force was attacked in the Maghara region, in central Sinai, about 60 km southwest of Al-Arish. Three Sinai Tribal Union fighters were killed (Al-Araby al-Jadeed, August 29, 2022). ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, stating that three Sinai Tribal Union fighters were killed and five others were wounded (Telegram, August 29, 2022).
    Counterterrorism activity
    • Egyptian security forces carried out searches for ISIS operatives in the village of Jalbanah. During the past two weeks, this was the site of fighting between the Egyptian army and the Sinai Tribal Union on the one hand, and ISIS on the other. A total of 59 ISIS operatives were reportedly killed during the fighting, others were detained, and weapons were found (Sinaa Mubasher Facebook page, August 25, 2022).
    ISIS weapons found in the village of Jalbanah and its environs (Sinaa Mubasher Facebook page, August 25, 2022)
    ISIS weapons found in the village of Jalbanah and its environs (Sinaa Mubasher Facebook page, August 25, 2022)
    • On August 25, 2022, the Egyptian army and the Sinai Tribal Union operating in the Risha region in central Sinai, about 40 km south of Bir al-Abd, killed an unknown number of ISIS operatives (Sinai Tribal Union’s Facebook page, August 25, 2022).
    • The Egyptian security forces in Sinai found seven tunnels, apparently on the Rafah-Gaza border (@Oded121351 Twitter account, August 25, 2022).
    The tunnels that were found (@Oded121351 Twitter account, August 25, 2022)
    The tunnels that were found (@Oded121351 Twitter account, August 25, 2022)
    ISIS threatens Sinai Tribal Union, Egyptian army, and its collaborators
    • ISIS released a two-minute video on social media, showing an ISIS-affiliated masked man threatening to kill Egyptian soldiers and Sinai Tribal Union fighters. He says that ISIS operatives will kill them one by one by rifles, handguns, and IEDs. He also says that ISIS has a blacklist of the names of Egyptian soldiers and Sinai Tribal Union fighters, and that in the coming days there will be targeted killings among them. The speaker then addresses Sinai residents, advises them to keep their sons away from the Egyptian army, and threatens that ISIS will kill collaborators (Telegram, August 29, 2022).
    ISIS operative making threats in the video (Telegram, August 29, 2022)
    ISIS operative making threats in the video (Telegram, August 29, 2022)
    The Syrian arena
    Map of the Syrian provinces (freeworldmaps.net)
    Map of the Syrian provinces (freeworldmaps.net)
    Deir ez-Zor-Al-Mayadeen region
    • On August 30, 2022, armed men, apparently ISIS operatives, shot and killed a clerk working at a court in the village of Hammar al-Ali, about 25 km northwest of Deir ez-Zor (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, August 30, 2022).
    • On August 29, 2022, an SDF post was targeted by gunfire apparently by ISIS at the water station of the village of Al-Zirr, in the Basira region, about 15 km north of Al-Mayadeen. No casualties were reported (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, August 30, 2022).
    • On August 27, 2022, an SDF fighter was shot and killed near the town of Al-Suwar, about 50 km northeast of Deir ez-Zor (Telegram, August 27, 2022).
    Al-Raqqah region
    • On August 28, 2022, an SDF vehicle was targeted by gunfire on the Manakher road east of Al-Raqqah. The passengers on board were wounded (Telegram, August 28, 2022).
    • On August 28, 2022, an IED was activated against a Syrian army vehicle on the Tabqa airfield road, about 40 km west of Al-Raqqah. Two SDF fighters were killed (Telegram, August 28, 2022).
    • On August 26, 2022, an IED was activated against a Syrian army vehicle north of the Ayn Eissa region, about 35 km south of the Syrian-Turkish border. An SDF fighter was killed and another was wounded (Telegram, August 27, 2022).
    • On August 26, 2022, an SDF vehicle was targeted by gunfire on the Hanida village road, about 30 km southwest of Al-Raqqah. An SDF fighter was killed and another was wounded (Telegram, August 27, 2022).
    Aleppo region
    • On August 28, 2022, a vehicle of the Palestinian Al-Quds Brigade (Liwa al-Quds) was targeted by gunfire apparently by ISIS operatives on the Khanaser road, about 50 km southeast of Aleppo. No casualties were reported (Al-Badia 24 Facebook page, August 28, 2022).
    Al-Hasakah region
    • On August 28, 2022, an SDF vehicle was targeted by gunfire on the Shadadi-Markada road (south of Al-Hasakah). The passengers on board were wounded (Telegram, August 29, 2022).
    • The SDF forces, operating against ISIS squads in the Al-Hawl camp, about 35 km east of Al-Hasakah, detained about 60 men suspected of being members of ISIS sleeper cells. In response, ISIS released a leaflet calling on its supporters to help the organization’s operatives in the camp and encouraging them to provide financial support for the wives of ISIS’s operatives (Al-Arab, August 28, 2022; Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, August 29, 2022). Family members of ISIS operatives are held in the Al-Hawl camp. According to the SDF forces, the camp has become a “constant danger” and ISIS is operating there to recruit operatives for its ranks and disseminate its ideology (Enab Baladi, August 25, 2022; Rudaw, August 28, 2022).
    The SDF forces inside the Al-Hawl camp (Enab Baladi, August 25, 2022)
    The SDF forces inside the Al-Hawl camp (Enab Baladi, August 25, 2022)
    Southern Syria
    • Over the past few days, Syrian security forces operated against ISIS’s terrorist hotspots in the rural area west of Daraa. Three ISIS operatives were killed in the operation, several others were detained, and weapons hidden in several underground depots were seized (SANA, August 30, 2022).
    The Iraqi arena
    Provinces of Iraq (Wikipedia)
    Provinces of Iraq (Wikipedia)

    ISIS attacks by province[1]

    Diyala Province
    • On August 27, 2022, an Iraqi police vehicle was targeted by gunfire in the village of Had al-Akhdar, about 15 km northeast of Baqubah. One policeman was wounded (Telegram, August 28, 2022).
    • On August 27, 2022, an Iraqi army patrol was targeted by gunfire west of Jalula, about 75 km northeast of Baqubah. Two soldiers were killed and three others were wounded. Two bulletproof vehicles were damaged (Telegram, August 27, 2022).
    • On August 26, 2022, hand grenades were thrown into an Iraqi army compound in the village of Al-Bijat, about 15 km southeast of Baqubah. One soldier was killed and two others were wounded (Telegram, August 27, 2022).
    • On August 22, 2022, a Tribal Mobilization compound was attacked in the village of Albu Mussa, about 70 km northeast of Baghdad. One fighter was wounded (Telegram, August 24, 2022).
    Salah al-Din Province
    • On August 29, 2022, an Iraqi army “agent” was shot and killed near Tarmiyah, about 30 km north of Baghdad (Telegram, August 29, 2022).
    Kirkuk Province
    • On August 29, 2022, two boys were abducted east of Kirkuk, on the Kirkuk-Sulaymaniyah road (Baghdad Al-Youm, August 29, 2022).
    • On August 28, 2022, shepherds were attacked in the Lilan region, southeast of Kirkuk. One of them was killed and another was wounded (Rudaw, August 28, 2022).
    • On August 25, 2022, an IED was activated against an Iraqi army foot patrol near the village of Albu Saraj, about 30 km south of Kirkuk. One soldier was killed (Telegram, August 27, 2022). Iraqi security sources confirmed the report (Al-Sumaria, August 25, 2022).
    • On August 24, 2022, an Iraqi army patrol was targeted by gunfire near the village of Jardaghli, west of Tuz Khormato, about 70 km south of Kirkuk. The vehicle was damaged. No casualties were reported (Telegram, August 25, 2022).
    • On August 23, 2022, an IED was activated against an Iraqi army vehicle near the village of Dabaj, in the Tuz Khormato region. The passengers on board were killed (Telegram, August 27, 2022).
    Economic war
    • ISIS’s weekly Al-Naba published a report, according to which ISIS operatives blew up two Iraqi government high-voltage pylons as part of the “economic war” (Al-Harb al-Iqtisadiyah) waged by ISIS against the Iraqi government. On August 18, 2022, the organization blew up a pylon near the village of Al-Kawaz, about 5 km west of the city of Kirkuk. The second incident occurred on August 24, 2022, east of Al-Hawija, about 50 km southwest of Kirkuk. Both high-voltage pylons collapsed (Al-Naba, Telegram, August 25, 2022).
    One of the high-voltage pylons blown up by ISIS (Al-Naba, Telegram, August 25, 2022)
    One of the high-voltage pylons blown up by ISIS (Al-Naba, Telegram, August 25, 2022)
    Young Kurds join ISIS
    • The Kurdish security forces recently noted that young Kurds continue to join the ranks of ISIS, although ever since the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime, the Kurdistan region has been considered the most stable in Iraq in terms of security and administration. The interrogation of ISIS operatives recently detained in the Sulaymaniyah region, who were members of ISIS sleeper cells, revealed that they were influenced by ISIS ideology disseminated on social media and planned to kill clerics, army officers, and members of the security forces. They also planned to attack government ministries (The Independent, August 26, 2022).

    Counterterrorism activity

    Al-Anbar Province
    • On August 29, 2022, Iraqi Air Force planes attacked and destroyed an ISIS hiding place in a cave and a tunnel north of the city of Rawa, about 85 km east of Al-Qaim (SecMedCell Facebook page, which belongs to the Iraqi Prime Minister’s Office, August 29, 2022).
    • On August 26, 2022, Iraqi army forces with air support surrounded an ISIS hideout north of the Al-Jabab region, about 35 km east of Al-Qaim, near the Iraqi-Syrian border. ISIS operatives hiding there were killed (SecMedCell Facebook page, August 26, 2022).
    Diyala Province
    • On August 26, 2022, Iraqi soldiers who were on a manhunt for ISIS operatives who were trying to attack a military post in the Hamrin Mountains region, about 60 km northeast of Baqubah, killed four ISIS operatives and wounded several others (SecMedCell Facebook page, August 26, 2022).
    Nineveh Province
    • On August 28, 2022, five ISIS operatives were killed in an exchange of fire between a Popular Mobilization force and an ISIS squad in the village of Al-Sheikh Yunis, near the security post in Al-Aqrab, at the entrance to Mosul. The manhunt for the other squad members continues (Information Directorate of the Popular Mobilization Headquarters, August 28, 2022).
    • On August 24, 2022, a force of the Iraqi counterterrorism unit operated against ISIS operatives near the Makhmur region, about 70 km southeast of Mosul. One ISIS operative was killed and two others were wounded (Al-Sumaria, August 24, 2022).
    Kirkuk Province
    • Iraqi Air Force planes carried out an airstrike against an ISIS guesthouse in the Kirkuk Province. Two ISIS operatives were killed (Facebook page of Iraqi Armed Forces Spokesman Yahya Rasoul, August 29, 2022).
    • On August 27, 2022, Iraqi security forces operating in the Dulan Mountains, about 25 km southeast of Kirkuk, killed a suicide bomber and wounded another operative (Al-Sumaria, August 28, 2022).
    • On August 25, 2022, an Iraqi army force captured three ISIS operatives in Lilan, about 12 km southeast of Kirkuk, and in the village of Sulan (SecMedCell Facebook page, August 25, 2022).
    • On August 27, 2022, Iraqi security forces operating in the Kirkuk Province destroyed three ISIS terror hotspots and found many weapons (Al-Sumaria, August 27, 2022).
    Iraqi security forces operating against ISIS in the Kirkuk Province (Al-Sumaria, August 27, 2022)
    Iraqi security forces operating against ISIS in the Kirkuk Province (Al-Sumaria, August 27, 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 18 and August 24, 2022, indicates that the organization carried out 23 attacks in its various provinces around the globe (compared to 29 in the previous week). The largest number of attacks was carried out by ISIS’s Iraq Province (11). Attacks carried out in the other provinces: West Africa (6); Syria (3); Central Africa (1); Khorasan, i.e. Afghanistan (1); and Sinai (1). A total of 29 people were killed or wounded in the attacks, compared to 50 in the previous week. The largest number of casualties was in the Iraq Province (10). The other casualties were in the following provinces: Central Africa (7); Syria (6); Khorasan, i.e. Afghanistan (4); Sinai (1); and West Africa (1) (Al-Naba weekly, Telegram, August 25, 2022).
    Summary of ISIS attacks (Al-Naba weekly, Telegram, August 25, 2022)
    Summary of ISIS attacks (Al-Naba weekly, Telegram, August 25, 2022)
    ISIS attacks by week (according to ISIS data)
    ISIS attacks by week (according to ISIS data)

    Africa

    Nigeria
    ISIS activity
    • On August 25, 2022, a Nigerian government truck was set on fire on the Gajiram-Gajiganna highway, north of Maiduguri, in northeastern Nigeria (Telegram, August 29, 2022).
    • On August 22, 2022, an attack was carried out against the Christian village of Takulashi, near the town of Chibok, about 100 km southwest of Maiduguri. Several buildings were set on fire, including a church (Telegram, August 24, 2022).
    Counterterrorism activity
    • On August 25 and 27, 2022, the Nigerian army foiled two ISIS attacks against the town of Gajiram in northeastern Nigeria, about 120 km southeast of the Nigeria-Chad-Cameroon tri-border area. No casualties were reported (www.ndarason.com, August 29, 2022).
    • On August 20, 2022, acting on the basis of intelligence indicating that terrorist operatives were preparing to carry out a terrorist attack, Nigerian Air Force planes attacked a camp of ISIS’s West Africa Province in the Sambisa Forest, about 70 km southeast of Maiduguri. A total of 25 ISIS operatives were killed and 18 were seriously wounded. The fatalities include a senior ISIS operative codenamed Uzaifa, who is fourth in ISIS’s chain of command in the West Africa Province (Vanguard, August 23, 2022; The Cable, August 25, 2022).
    • On August 24, 2022, the Nigerian army and local forces attacked an open market used by Boko Haram in the village of Bararam, about 60 km southeast of Maiduguri. Six Boko Haram operatives were killed. Logistics personnel collaborating with the organization were also detained, and weapons were seized (Guardian.ng, August 25, 2022).
    The Democratic Republic of the Congo
    • On August 27, 2022, an attack was carried out against the Christian village of Kabasiwa and a Congolese army compound in the Beni region, about 50 km from the Congo-Uganda border. The soldiers fled. Four civilians were killed, several houses were set on fire, and ammunition was seized (Telegram, August 27, 2022).
    Christian homes set on fire by ISIS operatives in the village of Kabasiwa (Telegram, August 27, 2022)
    ‌ ‌Christian homes set on fire by ISIS operatives in the village of Kabasiwa‌ ‌(Telegram, August 27, 2022)
    • On August 27, 2022, a Congolese army compound was attacked in the village of Makoyuba, in the Beni region. The soldiers fled and the compound was set on fire. Weapons and ammunition were seized (Telegram, August 27, 2022).
    • On August 22, 2022, an attack was carried out against the Christian village of Banyangala, in the Rwenzori area of the Beni region. Seven civilians were killed (Telegram, August 24, 2022).
    Mozambique
    • ISIS continued to attack Christian villages and Mozambican army forces in the northeast of the country. Following are the main incidents:
    • On August 27, 2022, an attack was carried out against the village of Namoimba, in Cabo Delgado Province, in northeastern Mozambique. A civilian was killed (Telegram, August 29, 2022).
    • On August 26, 2022, an attack was carried out against the village of Kolobilo, in the Muidumbe region. Three civilians were killed and homes were set on fire (Telegram, August 28, 2022).
    • On August 24, 2022, an attack was carried out against the village of Minhanha, in Cabo Delgado Province. Three civilians were killed (Telegram, August 28, 2022).
    • On August 24, 2022, an attack was carried out against a Mozambican army compound in the village of Mandila, in the Muidumbe region. The soldiers fled. Ammunition was seized (Telegram, August 28, 2022).
    Cameroon
    • On August 22, 2022, an attack was carried out against the Christian village of Chika, in the Kosiri region in northern Cameroon. Five civilians were killed (Telegram, August 28, 2022).
    Niger
    • On August 28, 202, ISIS operatives commandeered a Red Cross vehicle in the town of Malam Pairi, in the Diffa region, about 2.5 km north of the Niger-Nigeria border (Telegram, August 29, 2022).
    Somalia
    • The Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Shabaab movement issued a statement to the Kenyan government threatening to carry out attacks on Kenyan soil as long as Kenyan forces continued to operate against the organization in Somalia (VOA, August 28, 2022).
    Al-Qaeda predicts that the Al-Shabaab movement will soon take over Somalia
    • The latest issue of Al-Qaeda’s magazine Uma Wahida was devoted to Somalia. The magazine predicts that the Al-Shabaab movement will soon take over Somalia, just as the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August 2021. According to the magazine, the signs that indicate this are the increase in the number of attacks in the capital Mogadishu; the weakness of the country’s central regime; Al-Shabaab’s control over a large population that is loyal to it; and international circumstances that will enable this to happen (Telegram, August 30, 2022).
    The cover of the Uma Wahida magazine (Telegram, August 30, 2022)
    The cover of the Uma Wahida magazine (Telegram, August 30, 2022)
    Morocco
    • On August 28, 2022, Moroccan police arrested a 36-year-old ISIS-affiliated terrorist in the city of Tangier, in the north of the country. The suspect was arrested after attempting to use a nail gun to kill a man working with him at a construction site because the latter had allegedly violated commandments of Islam. He was wounded. Weapons and an ISIS flag were found in the suspect’s room (Sky News in Arabic, August 28, 2022).

    Asia

    Afghanistan
    • On August 28, 2022, an IED was activated against a Taliban vehicle in Bazar Asadabad, about 80 km northeast of Jalalabad. A Taliban member was killed and six others were wounded. The Taliban forces detained three people on suspicion of involvement in the attack (Khaama Press, August 28, 2022). ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, stating that two Taliban members were killed and four others were wounded (Telegram, August 28, 2022).
    • On August 25, 2022, an IED was activated against a Taliban vehicle in the Khogyani region, which lies southwest of Jalalabad in the Nangarhar Province. Four Taliban members were wounded. The vehicle was put out of commission (Telegram, August 25, 2022).
    • On August 25, 2022, there was an explosion in the city of Mazar-i Sharif in northern Afghanistan. According to the Taliban, the explosion took place during an attempt to smuggle explosives into the city. Three people were wounded, but according to local sources, the number of casualties was higher (Khaama Press, August 25, 2022). To date, no organization has claimed responsibility for the attack, but it was apparently carried out by ISIS.
    India
    • On August 28, 2022, police in the state of Assam in northeastern India arrested 35 people suspected of affiliation with Al-Qaeda (www.business-standard.com, August 28, 2022).
    Turkey
    • On August 29, 2022, Turkish security forces detained at least eight suspected ISIS operatives in the Samsun Province in northern Turkey (Anatolia News Agency, August 29, 2022).
    • On August 24, 2022, a man stabbed and wounded two policemen in an Istanbul neighborhood. He was shot and killed by police. He was an ISIS-affiliated operative who was apparently inspired by videos of Halis Bayanchuk, codenamed Abu Hanzala, ISIS’s commander in Turkey (Daily Sabah, August 24, 2022).
    Lebanon
    • On August 29, 2022, the General Security Directorate in Nabatieh, in southern Lebanon, announced the capture of a squad of eight ISIS operatives, including a woman. The squad, which began its activity in Syria, moved to Lebanon illegally and stayed in a house in the village of Aita al-Sha’ab, in the Hezbollah-controlled Bint Jbeil district. To finance their activity, the squad members operated a network for distributing counterfeit foreign currency and drugs (Anatolia News Agency, August 29, 2022; janoubia.com, August 29, 2022).
    The United States
    • The US Department of Justice announced that on August 23, 2022, a federal court convicted Herman Leyvoune Wilson, AKA Bilal Mu’min Abdullah, 45, from Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was convicted of attempting to provide material assistance to a foreign terrorist organization by establishing an ISIS training center called the Islamic State Center in New Mexico. The purpose of the center was to teach ISIS’s ideology, provide tactical and martial arts training, and serve as a shelter for volunteers willing to travel and fight for ISIS in the US and abroad. Wilson helped operate an online platform that promoted recruitment to ISIS and held discussions about attacks in the US and abroad (US Department of Justice website, August 26, 2022).
    The battle for hearts and minds
    • The editorial of this week’s issue of ISIS’s Al-Naba weekly is entitled “Turkey and the March for Interests.” It severely criticizes the Turkish government, which pursues its interests at the expense of the values of Islam. According to the author, this is reflected in Turkey’s fight against ISIS in Syria, in the use of the Syrian people as a bargaining chip with European countries with regard to immigration, and in the normalization with Israel (“the infidel Jews”), which is designed to realize Turkey’s economic interests. The author goes on to say that while Turkey claims that it is working for the Syrian people, it is penetrating Syria’s borders and expanding its influence at Syria’s expense by creating a buffer zone in Syria. The author also criticizes Syrian opposition organizations that are loyal to Turkey, calling them mercenaries. At the end of the article, the author states that only ISIS is loyal to the principles of sharia (Islamic religious law) and is not motivated by material interests (Al-Naba, Telegram, August 25, 2022).
    The editorial in ISIS’s Al-Naba weekly (Al-Naba, Telegram, August 25, 2022)
    The editorial in ISIS’s Al-Naba weekly (Al-Naba, Telegram, August 25, 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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