The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center's Spotlight on Global Jihad (August 11-17, 2022)

    Main events of the past week
    • This week, the activity around the globe continued on a relatively low scale.
    • Israel: Israeli security forces detained two residents of Umm al-Fahm and a resident of the Bedouin diaspora in the Negev on suspicion of activity for ISIS. Charges were filed against the three detainees.
    • The Sinai Peninsula: The Egyptian army and the Sinai Tribal Union have been fighting for several days against ISIS in the area of the village of Jilbanah, near the Suez Canal. This is not the first time that ISIS has reached an area near this strategic transportation artery. A senior Palestinian ISIS operative was killed in a targeted killing in northern Sinai.
    • Syria: ISIS carried out activity against the Syrian army and the forces supporting it. Five soldiers were killed in the area of the Tabqa airfield, west of Al-Raqqah. At the same time, ISIS continued its attacks against the Kurdish SDF forces in the Deir ez-Zor-Al-Mayadeen region.
    • Iraq: This week as well, the scope of ISIS activity remained low.
    • Afghanistan: Most of the activity was carried out in Kabul. The main attack was a suicide bombing attack against a senior Taliban cleric known for his opposition to ISIS.
    • Africa: The main attack was another prison break-in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Dozens of Muslim prisoners were liberated. Attacks continued on a relatively limited scale in Nigeria, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
    Israel
    Exposing ISIS networks in Israel
    • On July 14, 2022, Israeli security forces detained two residents of Umm al-Fahm for questioning on suspicion of intending to carry out terrorist activity for ISIS in Israel or abroad[1]. Among other things, they are suspected of intending to join the fighting in Africa as ISIS operatives. The detainees are Muhammad Farouk Yousuf Agbariah, 21, and Abdel Mahdi Masoud Muhammad Jabbarin, 21, who was known to the security forces from a previous incident, in which he planned to carry out an attack in Israel (Israel Security Agency media, August 15, 2022).
    • During their interrogation, it became evident that Abdel Mahdi had contacted a local element in Nigeria to find out how to get to the West Africa Province, where ISIS is currently carrying out intensive activity. The two received physical fitness training and practice at firing ranges as part of their training and preparation for fighting in the ranks of ISIS. It also emerged that the two were exposed to extremist ISIS content, including content about weapons, pictures of fatalities and executions (Israel Security Agency media, August 15, 2022).
    Right: Abdel Mahdi Jabarin. Left: Muhammad Agbaria (Israel Security Agency media, August 15, 2022)
    Right: Abdel Mahdi Jabarin. Left: Muhammad Agbaria‌‌(Israel Security Agency media, August 15, 2022)


    During July 2022, Israeli security forces arrested Muhammad al-Rafa’iyeh, around 30 years old, a resident of Rafa’iyeh in the Negev, on suspicion of committing security offenses inspired by ISIS. During his interrogation, he admitted to identifying with ISIS and supporting its ideas and goals. He also admitted to receiving weapons training together with several other operatives in order to join ISIS and fight in its ranks (Israel Security Agency media, August 15, 2022).

    The Sinai Peninsula
    Clashes with ISIS near the Suez Canal
    • Several dozen ISIS operatives, deployed along the Al-Arish-Al-Qantara international highway, abducted three civilians traveling on the road and seized five vehicles. On the morning of August 11, 2022, there were exchanges of fire between Egyptian army forces with air support and Sinai Tribal Union fighters on the one hand, and ISIS operatives on the other, around the village of Jilbana, in the northwestern Sinai Peninsula, about 20 km east of the Suez Canal. Egyptian army forces blocked the international highway on both sides and stopped the traffic for several hours. ISIS operatives planted mines along the roads leading to the village to hinder the Egyptian forces’ advance (Al-Quds al-Araby, August 15, 2022). The clashes have been going on for several days. The Sinai Tribal Union continues to send reinforcements to the area (Sinai Tribal Union’s Facebook page, August 16, 2022).
    Vehicle carrying ISIS operatives that was destroyed (Nuna al-Sisi Twitter account, August 13, 2022)
    Vehicle carrying ISIS operatives that was destroyed (Nuna al-Sisi Twitter account, August 13, 2022)
    The village of Jilbana (Google Maps).
    The village of Jilbana (Google Maps).

    Air support (Sinai Tribal Union’s Facebook page, August 15, 2022)
    Air support (Sinai Tribal Union’s Facebook page, August 15, 2022)
    Sinai Tribal Union vehicles (Sinai Tribal Union’s Facebook page, August 16, 2022).
     Sinai Tribal Union vehicles (Sinai Tribal Union’s Facebook page, August 16, 2022)
    ISIS activity
    • At the same time, ISIS continued to operate in northern and central Sinai. Three Egyptian lieutenants and a Border Police fighter were reportedly killed in a series of terrorist attacks carried out by ISIS against Egyptian army forces in Sinai (Naba Sinaa Twitter account, August 16, 2022; Shahira Taher’s Twitter account, August 11, 2022; Abd al-Sabour Mahmoud Qandil al-Shahir Hussam’s Twitter account, August 12, 2022).
    Counterterrorism activity
    • Egyptian army forces reportedly killed Hamzah Adel Muhammad al-Zamli, AKA Abu Kazem al-Maqdisi, a Palestinian ISIS operative who was a resident of the Za’rab region in the Gaza Strip. His brother, Mohammad Adel al-Zameli, was killed in the Sinai Peninsula in 2017 (Aseemo Twitter account, August 15, 2022). Sinai tribal sources confirming his death noted that he had been a senior ISIS operative and an authority on Islamic religious law (Sinai Tribal Union’s Facebook page, August 15, 2022).
    • Hamzah al-Zamli appeared in an ISIS video on January 3, 2018, where he was seen vehemently attacking Hamas. The video also shows an ISIS operative executing Musa Abu Zammat, a smuggler from the Egyptian Rafah whom ISIS accused of smuggling weapons to Hamas’s military wing.[2]
    Hamzah Adel Muhammad al-Zamli speaking before the execution of Musa Abu Zammat (Akhbar al-Muslimeen, January 3, 2018)
    Hamzah Adel Muhammad al-Zamli speaking before the execution of Musa Abu Zammat (Akhbar al-Muslimeen, January 3, 2018)
    Hamzah Adel Muhammad al-Zamli in a video released by ISIS (aseemo23@aseemo23 Twitter account, August 15, 2022).
    Hamzah Adel Muhammad al-Zamli in a video released by ISIS (aseemo23@aseemo23 Twitter account, August 15, 2022).
    The Syrian arena
    Map of the Syrian provinces (freeworldmaps.net)
    Map of the Syrian provinces (freeworldmaps.net)
    Deir ez-Zor-Al-Mayadeen region
    • An IED was activated against an SDF vehicle in the village of Sabha, about 20 km north of Al-Mayadeen. The vehicle was put out of commission (Telegram, August 14, 2022).
    • An SDF checkpoint was targeted by gunfire in the town of Al-Jaradi, about 20 km southeast of Al-Mayadeen. Several fighters were wounded (Telegram, August 13, 2022).
    • On August 8, 2022, an SDF checkpoint was attacked in the village of Al-Wahid, in the Al-Suwar region, about 50 km northeast of Deir ez-Zor. Several fighters were wounded. An additional IED was activated against a force arriving on the scene to provide assistance. An SDF fighter was killed and several others were wounded (Telegram, August 9, 2022).
    Al-Raqqah region
    • On August 15, 2022, an SDF vehicle was targeted by gunfire near the town of Al-Karamah, about 20 km east of Al-Raqqah. The passengers on board were wounded, and the vehicle was damaged (Telegram, August 16, 2022).
    • On August 15, 2022, a Syrian soldier was targeted by gunfire on the road leading to the Tabqa airfield, about 40 km west of Al-Raqqah. He was killed and his weapon was seized (Telegram, August 15, 2022).
    • On August 7, 2022, a Syrian army vehicle was targeted by gunfire west of the Tabqa airfield. Four soldiers were killed. The vehicle was put out of commission (Telegram, August 9, 2022).
    Counterterrorism activity
    • Syrian security forces operating in the city of Tafas, about 10 km northwest of Daraa (and about 30 km east of the Syria-Jordan-Israel tri-border area), killed Mahmoud Ahmad al-Hallaq, AKA Abu Omar al-Jabani, a senior ISIS commander in southern Syria. He had been ISIS’s former commander of the Yarmouk basin and was in charge of training camps. In addition, he had fought alongside Abu Salem al-Iraqi, ISIS’s commander in southern Syria, who was killed in the town of Adwan on August 9, 2022 (SANA, August 15, 2022).
    The Iraqi arena
    Provinces of Iraq (Wikipedia)
    Provinces of Iraq (Wikipedia)

    ISIS attacks by province[3]

    Al-Anbar Province
    • On August 15, 2022, an Iraqi army compound was targeted by gunfire on the Hadithah-Baiji road (about 200 km northwest of Baghdad). It sustained damage (Telegram, August 16, 2022).
    Kirkuk Province
    • On August 13, 2022, IEDs were activated in the home of the mukhtar of the village of Al-Sumoud, south of Daquq, about 30 km south of Kirkuk. The village leader is known as collaborator with the Iraqi government (Telegram, August 14, 2022).
    Counterterrorism activity
    • Iraqi police forces carrying out searches in the Kabibah region, in the Hawijah District, about 50 km southwest of Kirkuk, found several dozen ISIS IEDs of various kinds. Police sappers neutralized them (Iraqi Police Headquarters’ Facebook page, August 14, 2022).
    Dozens of ISIS IEDs which were found (Iraqi police Facebook page, August 14, 2022)
    Dozens of ISIS IEDs which were found (Iraqi police Facebook page, August 14, 2022)


    On August 13, 2022, the Iraqi army Joint Operations Command received 50 Iraqi ISIS operatives who had been caught in Syria. The operatives were handed over at the Rabi’ah border crossing, about 100 km northwest of Mosul. They were transferred to the Federal Intelligence and Investigation Agency in the Iraqi Interior Ministry (SecMedCell Facebook page which belongs to the Iraqi Prime Minister’s Office, August 13, 2022).

    • The Iraqi National Security Service released a video showing an ISIS operative confessing that for two months he had been installing metal plates for bulletproofing 45 car bombs, and was also responsible for manufacturing 1,450 IEDs in the Salah al-Din Province (Iraqi intelligence Apparatus’s YouTube channel, August 13, 2022).
    ISIS’s car bomb, which had been armored by metal plates, moments before it was detonated against the Iraqi security forces (Iraqi National Intelligence Service’s YouTube channel, August 13, 2022)
    ISIS’s car bomb, which had been armored by metal plates, moments before it was detonated against the Iraqi security forces (Iraqi National Intelligence Service’s YouTube channel, August 13, 2022)
    ISIS operative confessing (Iraqi National Intelligence Service’s YouTube channel, August 13, 2022).
    ISIS operative confessing (Iraqi National Intelligence Service’s YouTube channel, August 13, 2022). 

    The Iraqi Federal Intelligence and Investigations Agency caught six ISIS operatives in three provinces. In addition, weapons were found (SecMedCell Facebook page, which belongs to the Iraqi Prime Minister’s Office, August 11, 2022).

    Weapons that were found (SecMedCell Facebook page, which belongs to the Iraqi Prime Minister’s Office, August 11, 2022)
    Weapons that were found (SecMedCell Facebook page, which belongs to the Iraqi Prime Minister’s Office, August 11, 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 4 and August 10, 2022, indicates that the organization carried out 35 attacks in its various provinces around the globe (compared to 36 in the previous week). The largest number of attacks was carried out in the West Africa Province (8). Attacks carried out in the other provinces: Syria (6); Central Africa (5); Iraq (4); Khorasan, i.e. Afghanistan (4); Mozambique (4); Sinai (3); and Pakistan (1). A total of 146 people were killed or wounded in the attacks, compared to 86 in the previous week. The largest number of casualties was in the Khorasan (Afghanistan) Province (101). The other casualties were in the following provinces: Syria (14); West Africa (13); Central Africa (5); Mozambique (4); Sinai (4); Pakistan (3); and Iraq (2) (Al-Naba weekly, Telegram, August 11, 2022).
    Summary of ISIS attacks (Al-Naba weekly, Telegram, August 11, 2022)
    Summary of ISIS attacks (Al-Naba weekly, Telegram, August 11, 2022)
    ISIS attacks by week (according to ISIS data)
    ISIS attacks by week (according to ISIS data)

    Africa

    ISIS activity against the Christian population in Africa
    • ISIS published an infographic summing up its activity against the Christian population in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, Nigeria and Cameroon in June and July 2022. According to the infographic, during this period ISIS operatives carried out attacks in which approximately 190 Christians were killed, as follows: the Democratic Republic of the Congo (55%), Mozambique (26%), Nigeria (13%), and Cameroon (6%). Hundreds of homes of Christians were set on fire, along with 13 churches (ISIS’s Moata Agency, Telegram, August 11, 2022).
    Summary of ISIS activity against the Christian population (ISIS’s Moata Agency, Telegram, August 11, 2022)
    Summary of ISIS activity against the Christian population‌‌(ISIS’s Moata Agency, Telegram, August 11, 2022)
    Nigeria
    • On August 14, 2022, an IED was activated and shots were fired at a Nigerian army convoy on the Maiduguri–Damboa highway, about 80 km southwest of Maiduguri. Three soldiers were wounded. Several vehicles were damaged (Telegram, August 16, 2022).
    • On August 12, 2022, an attack was carried out against a Nigerian army convoy between the towns of Gajiram and Monguno, northeast of Maiduguri. Several soldiers were wounded. An ATV and a medium machine gun were seized (Telegram, August 13, 2022).
    • On August 11, 2022, Christian civilians were targeted by gunfire in a village in Yobe State, west of Borno State. Three Christians were killed (Telegram, August 13, 2022).
    • On August 11, 2022, a Nigerian army checkpoint was targeted by gunfire in the town of Dikwa, about 80 km northeast of Maiduguri. Two soldiers were wounded (Telegram, August 12, 2022).
    • On August 9, 2022, a Nigerian army convoy was targeted by gunfire near the town of Karito, near Lake Chad in northeastern Nigeria. Four soldiers were killed and several others were wounded. Several vehicles were damaged (Telegram, August 10, 2022).
    • On August 6, 2022, mortar shells were fired at a Nigerian army compound in the town of Wajiroko, about 100 km southwest of Maiduguri. The compound sustained damage (Telegram, August 8, 2022).
    • On August 6, 2022, a Nigerian police station was attacked in the town of Auno, about 15 km west of Maiduguri. One policeman was killed and the rest fled (Telegram, August 10, 2022).

    The Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Break-in at the central prison in Butembo
    • On August 10, 2022 at 02:00 (local time), armed ISIS operatives broke into Kangwangura Prison in the northwest of the city of Butembo, in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. According to the Congolese army spokesman, the armed men killed two policemen guarding the prison and set fire to a cell intended for female detainees. He also confirmed that several prisoners had escaped, although he did not specify how many (according to one estimate, over 100 prisoners escaped). According to him, one of the attackers was killed and his weapon was seized, and three prisoners were captured and returned to prison. About 600 prisoners are incarcerated in the prison, although it is intended for only 120 inmates (HumAngle, August 10, 2022).
    • ISIS claimed responsibility for breaking into the prison. According to its claim of responsibility, ISIS operatives were divided into three squads: the first attacked the guard post and killed two guards. The other guards fled. The second entered the prison after breaking down its gates and setting fire to parts of it. The third squad was deployed on the road leading to the city of Butembo, in order to block the arrival of aid forces. According to ISIS, dozens of Muslim prisoners were liberated. It was noted that this is the second time that ISIS operatives have broken into a central prison in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, after previously breaking into the Kangbai Prison in the Beni region, about 50 km from the Congo-Uganda border (Amaq News Agency, August 12, 2022). ISIS later released a video filmed shortly after the prison break-in and documenting the events (Amaq News Agency, Telegram, August 15, 2022).
    The prison after the break-in by ISIS operatives (Amaq News Agency, August 12, 2022)
    The prison after the break-in by ISIS operatives (Amaq News Agency, August 12, 2022)
    The entrance gate to the central prison (UN website, December 13, 2016).
    The entrance gate to the central prison (UN website, December 13, 2016).

    Mozambique

    Threats by ISIS’s Mozambique Province
    • ISIS released a video in which a masked operative speaking fluent Arabic, along with other operatives, is seen making threats in Arabic against the “tyrants” of Mozambique, and promising that ISIS will continue fighting against the army and the Christians until sharia law is implemented in Mozambique. He notes that the spread of jihad in Mozambique is part of the spread of ISIS around the globe and that they will not stop, will not surrender their weapons and would rather die than do so. He also notes that there is a long reckoning and an ancient revenge between them and the Christians (Amaq News Agency, Telegram, August 10, 2022).
    Mozambique Province operative making threats (Amaq News Agency, Telegram, August 10, 2022)
    Mozambique Province operative making threats (Amaq News Agency, Telegram, August 10, 2022)


    On August 10, 2022, an attack was carried out against the Christian village of Mandila, in the Muidumbe region, in Cabo Delgado Province in northeastern Mozambique. Dozens of Christians’ homes were set on fire, after the residents had fled (Telegram, August 10, 2022).

    Mali
    • According to an announcement issued by Al-Zallaqa, the media arm of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimeen organization, on August 13, 2022, the organization’s operatives ambushed fighters of the Russian Wagner Group in the Bandagari region of central Mali. According to the announcement, four members of the Wagner Group and one of the organization’s operatives were killed in the attack (Daniele Garofalo@G88Daniele Twitter account, August 15, 2022).
    Claim of responsibility for the attack (Daniele Garofalo’s Twitter account, August 15, 2022) Asia
    Claim of responsibility for the attack (Daniele Garofalo’s Twitter account, August 15, 2022)

    Asia

    Afghanistan
    Killing of a senior cleric in Kabul
    • On August 10, 2022, a suicide bomber detonated an IED against senior Taliban cleric Sheikh Rahim Allah Haqqani in Kabul. He was killed. It was noted that Haqqani, who was a staunch opponent of ISIS and a supporter of the Taliban regime, had already been the target of an assassination attempt by ISIS’s Khorasan Province (Khaama Press, August 11, 2022).
    • ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, claiming that the suicide bomber, Khaled al-Logari (i.e., from the Logar Province south of Kabul), went through all the security layers, entered Haqqani’s office and detonated his explosive vest. Haqqani and several of his security guards were killed. According to ISIS, Haqqani published a number of Islamic rulings (fatwas) permitting the killing of ISIS operatives (Amaq News Agency, Telegram, August 11, 2022).
    The suicide bomber (Telegram, August 11, 2022)
    The suicide bomber (Telegram, August 11, 2022)
    Sheikh Rahim Allah Haqqani, (Khaama Press, August 11, 2022).
     Sheikh Rahim Allah Haqqani, (Khaama Press, August 11, 2022).
    Additional attacks
    • On August 15, 2022, an IED was activated against a Taliban convoy in Kabul. Several Taliban members were killed or wounded (Telegram, August 15, 2022).
    • On August 7, 2022, an IED was activated against a bus carrying Shiites in Kabul. At least 10 passengers were killed or wounded. The bus was put out of commission (Telegram, August 8, 2022).
    Pakistan
    • On August 14, 2022, an IED was activated against the head of one of Pakistan’s political parties in the Salarzi region in Bajaur, northern Pakistan, on the border with Afghanistan. He and his escort were wounded (Telegram, August 14, 2022).
    • On August 8, 2022, a group of Christian residents were targeted by gunfire in the city of Mastung, in the Baluchistan Province, about 30 km southwest of Quetta, east of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. One person was killed and several others were wounded (Telegram, August 9, 2022).
    Turkey
    • On August 12, 2022, teams of Turkey’s counterterrorism unit in Istanbul carried out an operation designed to detain ISIS operatives who were planning to carry out attacks. As part of the operation, six different apartments were broken into and 12 suspects were detained. In addition, equipment and electronic devices were seized (Anatolia News Agency, August 12, 2022).
    Britain
    • On August 10, 2022, British police arrested Aine Davis, 38, from Hammersmith in west London, on suspicion of being an ISIS operative. He was arrested immediately upon landing at Luton Airport on a flight from Turkey. Davis was detained by Turkey’s counterterrorism unit in November 2015 and sentenced to seven and a half years in prison on charges of membership in ISIS. Upon completion of his prison term, he was deported to Britain. His girlfriend, Amal Al-Wahabi, was convicted in 2018 and was the first person convicted in the UK of helping to finance ISIS activity after having attempted to transfer EUR 20,000.
    • Davis is the fourth member of the squad of British ISIS operatives known as the Beatles. These operatives were responsible for abducting and holding over 20 Western civilians captive and murdering at least seven of them, including the British David Haines and Alan Henning and American aid workers Kayla Mueller and Peter Kassig. This squad caused great outrage around the globe when videos of the executions of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff were released. Muhammad Emwazi of London, codenamed John the Jihadist, who was the head of the squad, was killed in Syria on November 12, 2015 in an airstrike by an American UAV. Two other members of the squad, Al-Shafi’ee Al-Sheikh and Alexanda Kotey of west London, were extradited to the US. Kotey was convicted of torturing and murdering hostages and was imprisoned in the US, whereas Al-Sheikh will be tried in August 2022 for his part in these crimes (Sky News in Arabic, August 11, 2022).
    ISIS’s situation in Syria and Iraq
    • On August 9, 2022, Vladimir Voronkov, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Director of the United Nations Counterterrorism Office, published a report claiming that there are currently around 10,000 ISIS operatives in Syria and Iraq. The report also states that despite its regional defeat and the losses it sustained in its chain of command, ISIS still poses a threat to international peace and security and that although ISIS has lost the territories that it took over in Syria and earlier in Iraq, it has not stopped carrying out attacks. According to the report, the threat posed by ISIS and its affiliated organizations is greater among societies subject to conflicts, such as Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and countries in Africa (Al-Hurra, August 10, 2022).
    • According to Raed al-Hamed, head of the security research department at a research institute based in Baghdad, most of the attacks carried out by ISIS in Iraq, including attacks on Iraqi army positions and compounds, the Popular Mobilization Forces or the Kurdish Peshmerga, or against the Syrian army and the militias supporting it, are carried out by squads numbering 10-15 operatives. According to an ISIS infographic, in the period between July 28 and August 3, 2022, six attacks were carried out in Syria and 10 in Iraq, i.e. 16 attacks in total. This compared to 2013, when ISIS carried out around 100 attacks a day in Iraq alone. Al-Hamed estimates that there are 2,000-3,000 armed ISIS operatives in Iraq and Syria who carry out the attacks (Al-Hurra, August 10, 2022).

    [1] On August 15, 2022, an indictment was filed against them in the Haifa District Court. ↑
    [2] For further details, see the ITIC’s Information Bulletin from January 10, 2018, “Spotlight on Global Jihad (January 4-10, 2018)”. ↑
    [3] According to ISIS claims of responsibility and the Iraqi media ↑

    SOURCE: The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center

    Ghost: Turn your audience into a business
    The world’s most popular modern publishing platform for creating a new media platform. Used by Apple, SkyNews, Buffer, OpenAI, and thousands more.

    Evarist Chahali

    Evarist Chahali

    Read more posts by this author.