The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center's Spotlight on Global Jihad (January 5-12, 2021)

    Main events of the past week
    • This week, the relatively low level of ISIS activity in the various provinces continued. ISIS carried out noteworthy attacks in Mozambique and Nigeria.
    • Syria: There was a significant decrease in ISIS activity, which continued to target the Syrian army in the desert region and the SDF forces in the Al-Raqqa region.
    • Iraq: ISIS continued its attacks against the Iraqi army, the Popular Mobilization and the Kurdish Peshmerga, mainly in the Diyala and Salah al-Din provinces. The Iraqi security forces continued their counterterrorism activity. This week, they killed an ISIS operative and deactivated his explosive belt in the Tarmiyah region, about 30 km north of Baghdad.
    • Africa: In Nigeria, attacks continued against the Nigerian army and militias loyal to it in the northeast of the country. ISIS operatives also attacked a government hospital in a town in northeastern Nigeria and a military college. Mozambique: Several attacks were carried out against Christian villages in the northeast of the country, and dozens of homes were set on fire. The Democratic Republic of the Congo: ISIS’s Amaq News Agency released a late report on a suicide bombing attack in a pub in the city of Beni on Christmas Eve.
    • Of late, there has been a relative lull in ISIS activity in Afghanistan.
    • The Philippines: There has been a resurgence in ISIS activity in the country. ISIS belatedly announced an attack carried out by its operatives against two Philippine army camps in the town of Sedona, on the island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines.
    • The battle for hearts and minds: The lead article in Al-Naba’ weekly was devoted to ISIS’s struggle against Christianity on the African continent. The article called on Muslims in countries in Africa that are ruled by Christians to initiate jihad against the Christian regime. Another article stresses the importance of ISIS’s propaganda and media activity, which is no less important than jihad.
    The Syrian arena
    Syrian governorates (freeworldmaps.net)


    Syrian governorates (freeworldmaps.net)

    The Idlib region
    • This week, artillery fire continued between the Syrian army and the forces supporting it, and the rebel organizations in the Idlib enclave. The main area where the Syrian army directed its fire this week was Jabal al-Zawiya, which is situated in the southern part of the enclave (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, January 9, 2022).
    The desert region (Al-Badia)
    • According to the Syrian opposition website Khotwa, ISIS operatives attacked a convoy of the Syrian regime forces in the Deir ez-Zor-Palmyra highway. Four fighters and seven officers were killed in the massive exchange of fire, and two fighters were wounded. Three ISIS operatives were also killed (Khotwa, January 11, 2022).
    • During the week, Russian fighter jets continued to attack ISIS caves and hiding places throughout the desert region. Since the beginning of 2022, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights documented at least 125 airstrikes carried out by the Russian Air Force in Syria (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, January 9, 2022).
    Deir ez-Zor and Al-Mayadeen
    • On January 10, 2022, an SDF “spy” was abducted in Hajin, about 50 km southeast of Al-Mayadeen. He was executed (Telegram, January 11, 2022).
    • On January 8, 2022, an oil well north of Deir ez-Zor was set on fire. Two days before, another oil well in the area was set on fire (Jisr, January 10, 2022). The area where the oil wells were set on fire is under SDF control.
    • On January 4, 2022, an IED was activated against an SDF vehicle near Mohaimadiya, about 15 km north of Deir ez-Zor. It was damaged (Telegram, January 6, 2022).
    The Iraqi arena
    Syrian governorates (freeworldmaps.net)


    Provinces of Iraq (Wikipedia)

    Attacks by province[1]

    Kirkuk Province
    • On January 8, 2022, an Iraqi police post was targeted by gunfire in the Riyad region, about 50 km southwest of Kirkuk. One policeman was killed.
    Diyala Province
    • On January 8, 2022, three posts of the Iraqi army and the Popular Mobilization forces were targeted by gunfire in the Al-Azim region, about 60 km north of Baqubah. Nine soldiers and Popular Mobilization fighters were killed or wounded. An IED was activated against a vehicle arriving at the scene. It was put out of commission and the passengers on board were wounded.
    • On January 7, 2022, a Tribal Mobilization fighter was abducted in the Al-Waqf region, about 15 km northeast of Baqubah. He was interrogated and then executed.
    • On January 5, 2022, an IED was activated against an Iraqi police vehicle in the Nahrawan region, about 40 km south of Baqubah. The passengers were killed or wounded.
    Salah al-Din Province
    • On January 9, 2022, an IED exploded when a convoy carrying equipment for the Iraqi army was passing through the Nabai region, about 50 km northwest of Baghdad. One vehicle was damaged and its driver was wounded (Al-Sumaria, January 9, 2022). It can be estimated that ISIS was behind the attack, although it has not issued any claim of responsibility for the incident.
    • On January 8, 2022, during a military operation in the Tarmiyah region, about 30 km north of Baghdad, an Iraqi army patrol was targeted by gunfire. Three soldiers were killed and seven others were wounded (Al-Sumaria, January 9, 2022). ISIS claimed responsibility for the incident (Telegram, January 9, 2022).
    • On January 6, 2022, an Iraqi army thermal camera was targeted by gunfire northeast of Taji, about 20 km northwest of Baghdad.
    Nineveh Province
    • On January 6, 2022, ISIS operatives exchanged fire with a Kurdish Peshmerga patrol near Makhmur, about 70 km southeast of Mosul. Three fighters were wounded.

    Counterterrorism measures

    Kirkuk Province
    • The Iraqi security forces detained an ISIS operative in charge of ISIS’s logistical and financial support in the province (Al-Sumaria, January 7, 2022).
    Salah al-Din Province
    • Iraqi Air Force F-16 fighter jets attacked ISIS targets on the border between the Salah al-Din and Nineveh provinces. They destroyed eight ISIS hiding places (Khaliyat al-I’lam al-Amni Facebook page, January 10, 2022).
    • The Iraqi security forces in the Tarmiyah region killed an ISIS operative and deactivated his explosive belt (Al-Sumaria, January 8, 2022).
    Baghdad Province
    • Iraqi Military Intelligence detained a senior ISIS operative who had served as the sharia authority for the southern Karkh neighborhood (a central Baghdad neighborhood). He was reportedly incarcerated in Boca Prison in 2003, and in 2016 held a position in ISIS’s morality police (Hisba) (Al-Hal, January 10, 2022).
    Iraq receives ISIS detainees from Syria
    • Iraq received 50 Iraqi detainees suspected of activity in the ranks of ISIS. They were captured by the Kurdish forces in Syria. In addition, 403 relatives of ISIS operatives from the Al-Hawl camp were also sent to Iraq (Rojava Information Center, January 9, 2022; Al-Sumaria, January 8, 2022).
    Sinai Peninsula
    • The Egyptian security forces killed two armed operatives (apparently ISIS operatives) in the Bir al-Abd region in the northern Sinai Peninsula (Shahed Sinaa al-Rasmia Facebook page, January 9, 2022).
    Summary of ISIS’s activity in the various provinces
    Weekly summary of ISIS’s activity
    • An infographic published by ISIS summing up its activity around the world in the period between December 30, 2021, and January 5, 2022, indicates that in this period, ISIS carried out 30 attacks in its various provinces in Asia and Africa (similarly to the previous week). The largest number of attacks was carried out by ISIS’s Iraq Province (7). Attacks carried out in the other provinces: West Africa (6); Central Africa (6); Syria (5); Khorasan (i.e., Afghanistan) (3); East Asia (1); Sinai (1); and Somalia (1). A total of 70 people were killed or wounded in the attacks, compared to 89 in the previous week. The largest number of casualties was in the West Africa Province (16). The other casualties were in the following provinces: Iraq (13); Syria (10); Khorasan (10); East Asia (9); Central Africa (6); Sinai (3); and Somalia (3) (Al-Naba’ weekly, Telegram, January 6, 2022).
    The infographic summing up ISIS’s attacks (Al-Naba' weekly, Telegram, January 6, 2022)


    The infographic summing up ISIS’s attacks (Al-Naba’ weekly, Telegram, January 6, 2022)

    ISIS attacks in recent months (according to ISIS data)
    ISIS attacks in recent months (according to ISIS data)
    Infographic summing up ISIS’s activity around the globe in 2021
    • ISIS’s Amaq News Agency published an infographic summing up ISIS’s activity around the globe in 2021. According to the infographic, in 2021, ISIS carried out 2,748 attacks in 20 countries around the globe. The largest number of attacks was carried out in Iraq. A total of 8,038 people were killed or wounded in those attacks. The main form of attacks was the activation of IEDs (1,065). Other forms were raids and exchanges of fire (855); targeted killings (279); ambushes (203); suicide bombing attacks and attacks where suicide bombers took part (23); and other forms (323) (Telegram, January 9, 2022).
    Infographic summing up ISIS’s attacks around the globe in 2021 (Telegram, January 9, 2022)


    Infographic summing up ISIS’s attacks around the globe in 2021 (Telegram, January 9, 2022)

    ISIS activity in Africa[2]

    Nigeria
    • On January 11, 2022, mortar shells were fired at a Nigerian army base in Bama, about 70 km southeast of Maiduguri, in northeastern Nigeria. No details were given regarding hits or casualties.
    • On January 10, 2022, the Nigerian army’s Tukur Buratai military college was attacked in Buratai, in the northeast of the country. At least 10 Nigerian soldiers were killed in the exchange of fire and several others were wounded. ISIS operatives set fire to a tank, an armored vehicle, and six other vehicles. They seized weapons and ammunition. According to ISIS, the Nigerian government is concealing the information about the attack, claiming that it was repelled.
    ISIS operatives at the entrance to the military college (Telegram, January 11, 2022)


    ISIS operatives at the entrance to the military college (Telegram, January 11, 2022)

    • On January 10, 2022, a Nigerian army camp was targeted by gunfire in Kawari, in northeastern Nigeria. Several soldiers were wounded.
    • On January 7, 2022, IEDs were activated against a Nigerian army convoy on the Dikwa-Marte highway, in Borno State in northeastern Nigeria. A total of 15 soldiers were killed or wounded. Armored vehicles and ATVs were also destroyed.
    • On January 6, 2022, a government hospital was attacked in Gojiya, in northeastern Nigeria. Hospital equipment was seized and vehicles were set on fire.
    • On January 4, 2022, positions of militias loyal to the Nigerian army were targeted by gunfire in Garkida, in Adamawa State in eastern Nigeria. One militia fighter was killed and ISIS operatives set fire to several residential buildings used by the militia fighters.
    • On January 3, 2022, a Nigerian army post was targeted by gunfire in Gombi (or Kombi) in Borno State, in northeastern Nigeria. At least two soldiers were killed. ISIS operatives set fire to the post and seized various types of weapons and ammunition.
    ISIS operatives setting fire to the post (Telegram, January 5, 2022).
    ISIS operatives near the Nigerian army post (Telegram, January 5, 2022).


    Right: ISIS operatives near the Nigerian army post (Telegram, January 5, 2022). Left: ISIS operatives setting fire to the post (Telegram, January 5, 2022).

    Mozambique
    • During the week, ISIS concentrated on attacking Christian villages located southwest of Mocímboa da Praia, in the Cabo Delgado Province in the northwest of the country:
    • On January 7, 2022, the village of Nashi Bandi was attacked. In an exchange of fire with Christian militia fighters, two militia fighters were killed. ISIS operatives set fire to the homes of 30 residents and four motorcycles and then left.
    • On January 7, 2022, the village of Ikomila in the Mueda region was attacked. A militia fighter was killed in the exchange of fire. ISIS operatives set fire to dozens of houses and then left.
    • On January 4, 2021, the village of Nova Fida in the Macomia region was attacked. Several fighters of militias loyal to the Mozambican army were wounded in the exchange of fire. ISIS operatives set the village on fire and then left.
    • On January 3, 2021, the village of Nahafara in the Mueda region was attacked. Several vehicles and many homes in the village were set on fire. The operatives left.
    • On January 3, 2021, the village of Mariria in the Miloko region was attacked. Fighters of militias loyal to the Mozambican army fled. ISIS operatives set fire to a large number of houses in the village and then left.
    Democratic Republic of the Congo
    • On January 10, 2022, a Congolese army foot patrol was ambushed and targeted by gunfire in Kamango, in the Beni region, about 50 km west of the Congo-Uganda border. A soldier and a “spy” were killed.
    • On January 8, 2022, a truck owned by Christian residents was targeted by gunfire on the Kasundi Highway in Beni. The truck went up in flames.
    • On January 6, 2022, two Congolese army “spies” were targeted by gunfire near Kamango. Both of them were killed. IEDs were activated against a patrol that arrived at the scene.
    • On December 25, 2021, after a significant delay, ISIS’s Amaq News Agency announced that an ISIS suicide bomber codenamed Bayan al-Ughandi (i.e., the Ugandan) had entered a pub in the city of Beni, where Christians were celebrating Christmas, and detonated his explosive belt. Seven people were killed in the attack, including an officer, and around 20 others were wounded, including two senior government officials (Telegram, January 10, 2022). According to local sources, a suicide bomber detonated his explosive belt near the entrance to a bar-restaurant in the city, after the security guards at the entrance prevented him from entering. Seven people were killed and 12 others were wounded (AP, France 24, December 26, 2021).
    Bayan al-Ughandi who carried out the suicide bombing attack (Telegram, January 10, 2022)


    Bayan al-Ughandi who carried out the suicide bombing attack (Telegram, January 10, 2022)

    Asia

    Afghanistan

    • The downtrend in ISIS’s attacks in Afghanistan continued this week, targeting Taliban members and government institutions:
    • On January 10, 2022, an IED exploded in a shopping cart in the Lalopar region of the Nangarhar Province. Nine children were killed and four others were wounded (AP, January 10, 2022). No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but it is believed to have been carried out by ISIS, which operates in the area.
    • On January 10, 2022, an IED was activated against a Taliban vehicle in Kabul. The vehicle was damaged and around seven people on board were killed or wounded (Telegram, January 10, 2022).
    • On January 4, 2022, a Taliban “spy” was abducted in the Mamandra region in Nangarhar. He was executed (Telegram, January 5, 2022).
    Pakistan
    • Six ISIS operatives were killed in an operation by the Pakistan Counterterrorism Unit against an ISIS hiding place in southwestern Quetta, in the northwest of the country. Four or five other operatives managed to flee (www.ndtv.com, January 10, 2022).
    The Philippines
    • On January 10, 2022, “infidel Christian” workers were targeted by gunfire at one of the government projects in Piagapo, in the Lanao del Sur region in the southern Philippines. Three workers were killed and another was wounded (Telegram, January 11, 2022).
    • On December 18, 2021, two Philippine army camps were targeted by gunfire in Sedona, on the island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines. Three soldiers were killed and six others were wounded (Telegram, January 5, 2021).
    The battle for hearts and minds
    • The lead article in this week’s issue of ISIS’s Al-Naba’ weekly was entitled “Christian Illusions in Africa,” and was devoted to ISIS’s struggle against Christianity on the African continent. The article credits ISIS with the reduction of Christian missionary activity on the Dark Continent. This activity began in 1406, with the objective of turning all the residents of Africa into Christians by the year 2000. Today, according to the author, 21 years after the date set as the target, ISIS is attacking the Christians and thwarting the Christian West’s plot to turn Africa into a Christian continent, weaken Africa’s Muslim identity and prevent the application of Islamic law.
    • The author notes that all the humanitarian activity carried out by European countries on the continent, such as medical treatment, education, and fighting poverty, were not done with pure intent, but rather with the goal of converting the Muslims and turning Africa into a Christian continent. Christian humanitarian organizations also served as spy bases for Western Christian countries.
    • The emergence of the Imam and reformer Muhammad bin Abd al-Wahhab, founder of the Wahhabi movement in the Arabian Peninsula in the 18th century, and his preaching of Islam in Africa, prepared the ground for ISIS’s activity on the continent. The emergence of ISIS’s Islamic Caliphate and its operatives’ determination to wage jihad against the Christian presence in Africa and against the military bases of Western countries and their collaborators in Africa are a new phase in the Muslim campaign against the Christians. The author ends by calling on Muslims in countries in Africa that are ruled by Christians to initiate jihad against the Christian regime.
    Lead article about Christians in Africa (Al-Naba’ weekly, Telegram, January 6, 2022)


    Lead article about Christians in Africa (Al-Naba’ weekly, Telegram, January 6, 2022)

    ISIS’s leadership is encouraging its supporters to continue operating at the propaganda level
    • This week’s issue of Al-Naba’ includes an infographic in which ISIS’s leadership addresses its supporters, and women in particular, to continue operating at the propaganda level. The infographic states that encouraging propaganda activity (tahridh) is obligatory for every believer and that it is conducted concurrently with and as an integral part of jihad. The infographic states that the rewards of those who encourage this activity are high and that women have taken part in it since the beginning of Islam (Al-Naba’ weekly, Telegram, January 6, 2022).
    Infographic encouraging propaganda activity (Al-Naba’ weekly, Telegram, January 6, 2022)


    Infographic encouraging propaganda activity (Al-Naba’ weekly, Telegram, January 6, 2022)

    [1] Mostly according to ISIS’s claims of responsibility posted on Telegram ↑
    [2] Mainly according to ISIS’s claims of responsibility posted on Telegram

    SOURCE: The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center

    Evarist Chahali

    Evarist Chahali

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