The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center's Spotlight on Global Jihad (October 27 – November 2, 2022)
Main events of the past week
- The most prominent of this week’s incidents were two terrorist attacks: one carried out by ISIS in the Shiite Shah Cheragh shrine in Shiraz, Iran, where at least 15 people were killed and 40 others were wounded; and another attack carried out by the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Shabaab Organization in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, with over 100 people killed and about 300 wounded.
- Syria: ISIS carried out several attacks against the Kurdish SDF forces in the Deir ez-Zor-Al-Mayadeen and the Al-Hasakah regions. ISIS exchanged fire with former rebel fighters in the city of Daraa.
- Iraq: The Iraqi forces’ counterterrorism activity against ISIS continued, alongside sporadic attacks carried out by ISIS.
- Africa: Nigeria: A large force of ISIS operatives attempted to break into a Nigerian army base in Niger State to liberate ISIS prisoners held there. The Nigerian army thwarted ISIS’s attempt and killed dozens of the attackers. Mali: ISIS operatives attacked Al-Qaeda operatives in the east of the country and killed, according to ISIS, about 40. Burkina Faso: Terrorist operatives (apparently affiliated with Al-Qaeda or ISIS) ambushed a force of the Burkina Faso army in the east of the country. A total of 15 soldiers were killed and four others were wounded. Morocco: Five ISIS operatives who planned to carry out terrorist attacks were detained.
- Afghanistan: ISIS carried out a shooting attack against a Taliban minibus in the city of Herat, east of the Afghanistan-Iran border. At least five Taliban members were killed and 15 others were wounded.
Attack in a Shiite shrine in Shiraz, southern Iran
- On October 26, 2022, an ISIS operative armed with a rifle carried out a shooting attack in the Shiite Shah Cheragh shrine, the most important Shiite shrine in the city of Shiraz, in Fars Province, southern Iran. At least 15 people were killed and about 40 were wounded. The perpetrator was arrested after being wounded (Tasnim, October 26, 2022).
- ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. In its statement, the organization notes that its operative shot at several Iranian policemen and security guards at the entrance to the Shiite shrine and several policemen and security guards were killed or wounded. Then he entered the shrine compound and shot at a group of worshipers. ISIS threatened the Shiites that “the offspring of the Prophet’s Companions inherit the [right of] taking revenge on them a generation after generation.” ISIS also mentions the attack carried out by its operatives in 2018, during an Iranian military parade in the Ahvaz Province, in southwestern Iran, as evidence that the organization continues to operate against the Shiites (Telegram, October 26, 2022).
- The attack was documented by security cameras in the shrine and the footage was disseminated on social media. The video shows the ISIS operative shooting at the security guards at the entrance to the shrine and then shooting at the worshipers inside (Telegram, October 26, 2022). Another video documented his arrest (Telegram, October 29, 2022).
The Iranian regime attributed the responsibility for the attack to the protesters, claiming that by their activity they destabilized security in Iran in a way that made it possible to carry out the attack. The regime announced that it would escalate its steps against the demonstrators.
The Sinai Peninsula
- On October 31, 2022, an Egyptian army force was attacked, apparently by ISIS, in the Sinai Peninsula (no specific location was mentioned). One soldier was killed (Telegram, October 31, 2022).
- The body of Mubarak Hussein Eissa was reportedly found. Eissa, a Sinai resident, has recently been abducted by ISIS operatives (Sinaa Al-Aan Facebook page, November 1, 2022).
The Syrian arena
Deir ez-Zor-Al-Mayadeen region
- On October 27, 2022, militants, apparently ISIS operatives, riding two motorcycles, carried out a shooting attack and threw hand grenades at the headquarters of the Military Intelligence Directorate in central Albukamal. One of the security guards was killed. In response, the Syrian army imposed a lockdown on the headquarters, banning motorcycle entry, exit and traffic in the city (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, October 28, 2022).
- On October 25, 2022, an SDF fighter was abducted by ISIS in the village of Jazrat Albuhamid, about 60 km northwest of Deir ez-Zor. He was interrogated and then executed (Telegram, October 26, 2022).
- On October 28, 2022, a suicide bomber, apparently an ISIS operative, detonated his explosive belt in the apartment of Ghassan Abazid, a former commander in the rebel organizations, in the Daraa al-Balad neighborhood in south Daraa. The following day, October 29, 2022, there were exchanges of fire between former fighters in the rebel organizations and ISIS operatives in the Karak neighborhood and the Tariq al-Sadd neighborhood, where there reportedly were about 50 ISIS operatives. The former rebel fighters imposed a curfew, closed roads and set up checkpoints. Syrian army forces did not take part in the exchanges of fire (Enab Baladi, October 29, 2022; Al-Araby al-Jadeed, October 30, 2022).
- On October 30, 2022, a Syrian army compound was targeted by gunfire in the region of the Tabqa airfield, about 40 km west of Al-Raqqah. One soldier was killed (Telegram, November 1, 2022).
- On October 30, 2022, ISIS operatives held in Al-Raqqah main prison started a rebellion inside the prison. Sounds of shots were heard in the prison area and the SDF carried out patrols in the region. Hundreds of ISIS operatives are held in the Al-Raqqah prison (Jisr, October 30, 2022).
The Iraqi arena
ISIS attacks by province
- On October 29, 2022, an IED was activated against an Iraqi police vehicle near the village of Albu Seif, about 40 km southwest of Kirkuk. The passengers on board were killed or wounded (Telegram, October 29, 2022).
- On October 26, 2022, an Iraqi army foot patrol was targeted by gunfire near the village of Al-Tar, about 30 km south of Kirkuk. Two soldiers were killed and another was wounded (Telegram, October 26, 2022).
Kirkuk and Nineveh provinces
- On October 28, 2022, forces of the Iraqi National Security Apparatus acting on intelligence detained 12 ISIS operatives wanted in the provinces of Kirkuk and Nineveh (Iraqi News Agency, October 28, 2022).
- On October 31, 2022, Iraqi security forces detained three prominent ISIS operatives in three different operations carried out in the Kirkuk Province. One of them had served as ISIS’s internal security operative in Kirkuk, acting as part of four ISIS squads that included 16 operatives. His job was to collect intelligence and observe checkpoints and other important sites of the Iraqi security forces. Another operative, detained in Hawija (about 55 km west of Kirkuk), had been driving ISIS operatives who were engaged in collecting intelligence, observations, and surveillance. The third operative was detained in Taza (about 10 km southwest of Kirkuk). He admitted to having pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2014 and fighting against Iraqi security forces in the Rashad region, about 35 km southwest of Kirkuk (SecMedCell Facebook page, October 31, 2022).
- On October 26, 2022, Iraqi security forces detained six terrorist operatives (ISIS operatives). One of them had been involved in the detonation of a tanker bomb in Baghdad (Al-Sumaria, October 26, 2022).
Summary of ISIS’s activity in the various provinces
- An infographic published by ISIS, summing up its activity around the world on October 20-26, 2022, indicates that the organization carried out 28 attacks in its various provinces around the globe (compared to 27 in the previous week). The largest number of attacks was carried out by ISIS’s Syria Province (8). Attacks carried out in the other provinces: West Africa (7); Iraq (3); Pakistan (2); Khorasan, i.e., Afghanistan (2); Sinai (1); East Asia (1); Central Africa (1); Mozambique (1) Somalia (1); and Iran (1). A total of 110 people were killed or wounded in the attacks, compared to 45 in the previous week. The largest number of casualties was in Iran (60), in the shooting attack at the shrine in Shiraz. The other casualties were in the following provinces: West Africa (15); Syria (9); Iraq (8); Central Africa (7); Khorasan, i.e., Afghanistan (6); Pakistan (2); Sinai (1); Mozambique (1); and Somalia (1) (Al-Naba weekly, Telegram, October 27, 2022).
ISIS attacks by week (according to ISIS data)
- On October 29, 2022, a large force of ISIS’s West Africa Province operatives attempted to break into a Nigerian army base in the town of Wawa, in Niger State, about 90 km east of the Nigeria-Benin border, where hundreds of terrorist operatives are being held pending a special legal procedure, in order to liberate ISIS’s prisoners held there. Nigerian army soldiers, with air support, operated against the attackers and thwarted their break-in attempt. At least 47 ISIS operatives were killed and three were detained (Nigerian Tribune, October 30, 2022; thedefensepost.com, October 31, 2022; theeastafrican, November 1, 2022). This is yet another ISIS activity in an attempt to liberate its prisoners.
- On October 30, 2022, a Nigerian army patrol trying to advance toward ISIS positions in the town of Banki, about 90 km southeast of Maiduguri, was targeted by gunfire. Four soldiers were killed and weapons and ammunition were seized (Telegram, November 1, 2022).
- On October 26, 2022, an IED was activated against a Nigerian army foot patrol near the town of Gidimbari, about 120 km north of Maiduguri. Several soldiers were killed or wounded (Telegram, November 1, 2022).
- On October 26, 2022, three mortar shells were fired at Nigerian police personnel in the town of Damboa, about 80 km southwest of Maiduguri (Telegram, October 26, 2022).
- On October 26, 2022, an IED was activated against a sapper of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) in the city of Afgoye, about 20 km northwest of Mogadishu. He was wounded (Telegram, October 26, 2022).
- On October 29, 2022, a suicide bomber of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Shabaab Organization detonated a car bomb near the Ministry of Education compound in the capital Mogadishu. Several minutes afterward, another car bomb was detonated in front of a packed restaurant (Al-Jazeera, October 29, 2022). Somalia’s president said in an official statement that at least 100 people had been killed and 300 had been wounded and that Al-Shabaab was responsible for carrying out the attack. The number was later updated to 120 fatalities (Reuters, October 30-31, 2022). As at the date of releasing the current bulletin, Al-Shabaab Organization has still not claimed responsibility for the attack.
- The US Department of the Treasury imposed economic sanctions on several financial figures and institutions providing financial and logistical support to ISIS’s Somalia Province. On top of the list is Liibaan Yousuf Mohamed, a businessman who was formerly an Al-Shabaab operative and became an ISIS supporter (US Department of the Treasury website, November 1, 2022).
- On October 25, 2022, the US Military AFRICOM, operating in coordination with the Somali government, carried out an airstrike against Al-Shabaab operatives that, on October 23, 2022, attacked Somali army forces near the town of Bulobarde, about 190 km north of Mogadishu. A total of 17 Al-Shabaab operatives were killed, including senior commanders (Horseed Media, October 27, 2022).
- On October 29, 2022, terrorist operatives (apparently affiliated with Al-Qaeda or ISIS) ambushed soldiers of the Burkina Faso army on the road between Fada N’Gourma and Natiaboani, in eastern Burkina Faso. A total of 15 soldiers were killed and four others were wounded (Reuters, October 30, 2022).
- On October 29, 2022, ISIS operatives attacked Al-Qaeda operatives in the Ménaka region, in eastern Mali, about 60 km north of the Mali-Niger border. According to ISIS, about 40 Al-Qaeda operatives were killed in the exchange of fire. In addition, five vehicles were set on fire and nine were seized, and weapons and ammunition were seized as well (Telegram, October 31, 2022).
- On October 25-26, 2022, the internal security service arrested five ISIS operatives, aged 20-45, in various regions in the country, including Casablanca, Quneitra (about 25 km northeast of Rabat), and Chichaoua (about 65 km west of Marrakech), on suspicion that they were planning to carry out terrorist attacks. During the operation, cold weapons as well as digital equipment and materials were seized (Al-Arabiya, October 26, 2022).
- According to the Taliban Defense Ministry, on the morning of October 27, 2022, an armed man shot at a minibus carrying a military medical staff in the region of Pul-e-Khaima, in central Herat, about 120 km east of the Afghanistan-Iran border. At least five people were killed and 15 others were wounded (Amu TV Twitter account, Afghan Analyst Twitter account, October 27, 2022). ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack and issued a video documenting the incident. According to ISIS’s report, its operative carried out the shooting and threw hand grenades at a bus carrying Taliban members in the city. According to the statement, at least 10 people were killed or wounded. The report also noted that the perpetrator had managed to escape (Telegram, October 27-29, 2022).
- On November 1, 2022, Turkish intelligence and counterterrorism teams of the Adana police, in southwestern Turkey, detained a 25-year-old Syrian ISIS operative. He entered Turkey illegally from Syria and was engaged in intelligence activity for ISIS in Syria (Anatolia News Agency, November 1, 2022).
The United States
- On October 29, 2022, the United States released Saifullah Paracha, 75, to his home in Pakistan, after 19 years during which he was held in the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba. Paracha, the oldest detainee in Guantanamo, studied in the US and owned an import and export company that provided merchandise to prominent retailers. He was arrested in 2003 in Thailand, two years after the 9/11 attacks in the US. The US authorities claimed that he had been an Al-Qaeda supporter and stayed in touch with Al-Qaeda leaders, including Osama bin Laden (The Business Standard, October 30, 2022).
- Australian Minister for Home Affairs Clare O’Neil announced that on October 29, 2022, a total of 17 Australian nationals, four women and 13 children, who were held in detention camps of ISIS families in northeastern Syria from 2019, had been repatriated to the state of New South Wales, in southeastern Australia. It should be noted that dozens of other Australian nationals, family members of ISIS operatives, are still held in camps in Syria (The New York Times, October 29, 2022).
- On November 1, 2022, the Netherlands announced that it would repatriate 12 women and 28 children, members of ISIS families who were held in the Al-Hawl detention camp, about 35 km east of Al-Hasakah, in Syria. Upon their arrival in the Netherlands, the women will be arrested and indictments will be filed against them for terrorist activity in the ranks of ISIS. It should be noted that early in 2022, the Netherlands repatriated five ISIS mothers and their 11 children from the Roj detention camp in northeastern Syria (Akhbar Al-Aan, November 1, 2022).
 For further details, see the ITIC's Information Bulletin from October 30, 2022, “ISIS’s attack on a Shiite shrine in Shiraz, Iran: analysis and possible implications” ↑
 The Shah Cheragh (literally, “King of the Light”) shrine is a mausoleum where Ahmad bin Musa, the brother of the ninth imam of Twelver Shia Islam, Ali bin Musa Rida, is buried. It is the third most important shrine in Shia Islam in Iran and the most important place of pilgrimage within the city of Shiraz. According to Shiite belief, the tomb was discovered when light emanated from it (Wikipedia). ↑
 This was ISIS’s previous attack in Iran, carried out in commemoration of the 38th anniversary of the start of the Iran-Iraq war. At least 25 people were killed and 60 were wounded, mostly Revolutionary Guard members. ↑
 According to ISIS claims of responsibility on Telegram and the Arab media. ↑
 According to ISIS claims of responsibility and the Iraqi media ↑
 The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) is an African Union force which includes soldiers of East African countries: Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. It received a mandate to operate in Somalia until the end of 2024. Afterward, security activity will be fully transferred to the Somali army. ↑
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