The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center's Spotlight on Global Jihad (November 17-23, 2022)
Main events of the past week
- The most noteworthy event this week was an incident between the Egyptian army and ISIS operatives in Al-Qantara, near the Suez Canal. An Egyptian officer and five or six soldiers were killed. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.
- This week, there was a moderate increase in ISIS’s activity throughout the world:
- Syria: ISIS carried out two attacks against the Syrian army and the forces supporting it in the desert region. At least four soldiers were killed. Other attacks were carried out against the Kurdish forces in the Deir ez-Zor-Al-Mayadeen region. The Turkish intelligence apparatus and forces supporting it in Syria detained ISIS operatives in northern Syria.
- Iraq: Three IEDs were activated against a Popular Mobilization patrol north of Baqubah. Two fighters were killed and five others were wounded.
- Iran: ISIS operatives shot at civilians and policemen in the main bazaar in the city of Izeh, in southwestern Iran. Seven people, including policemen, were killed and ten were wounded.
- Africa: Nigeria: ISIS carried out several attacks against the Nigerian army forces in the northeast of the country. Nine soldiers and two policemen were killed in an attack in Malam Fatori, in Borno State. Mozambique: ISIS claimed responsibility for carrying out several attacks against Christian civilians and local security forces in the Cabo Delgado Province in the northeast of the country. The Democratic Republic of the Congo: This week, there was a significant increase in ISIS’s activity along the border with Uganda. Mali: ISIS operatives exchanged fire with Al-Qaeda operatives on the Mali-Burkina Faso border. According to ISIS, about 80 Al-Qaeda operatives were killed and dozens were wounded. Ten other operatives who were captured by ISIS were executed.
- The battle for hearts and minds: The main article in ISIS’s Al-Naba weekly was dedicated to the Mozambique Province, where ISIS’s activity has recently increased.
The Sinai Peninsula
- ISIS operatives took over several government buildings, a college of pharmacy studies and a school in the eastern part of the city of Al-Qantara (Al-Qantara al-Sharq), which is located close to the Suez Canal and about 40 km south of Port Said. They exchanged fire with forces of the Egyptian army starting on the night of November 18, 2022, until the early morning of November 19, 2022. Egyptian army forces were sent to the scene and Sinai Tribal Union fighters arrived to support them. Egyptian Air Force fighter jets fired missiles at the school where ISIS operatives had barricaded themselves and a part of the building collapsed.
- An Egyptian army officer (according to another version, two officers) and six soldiers (according to another version, five soldiers) were killed and several others were wounded. Apparently, the ISIS operatives who had barricaded themselves in the school were killed (Al-Araby al-Jadeed and Al-Bawaba, November 19, 2022; Mu’asasat Sinaa li-Huquq al-Insan’s Twitter account, November 19, 2022).
- ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack (Telegram, November 20, 2022). It should be noted that this is the second time this year that ISIS activity takes place in the region of the Suez Canal, one of the most important maritime traffic routes in the world. The expansion of ISIS’s activity to this region may cause damage to the Egyptian economy and also to international trade.
Arrest of an Israeli-Arab boy who joined ISIS
- On November 16, 2022, a 16-year-old Israeli-Arab boy from northern Israel was accused in the Haifa District Court of membership in ISIS. According to the indictment, he began to show interest in ISIS in 2020. He contacted several ISIS operatives to pledge allegiance, join the ranks of ISIS, and fight outside Israel’s borders. In 2021, he became an ISIS member and continued to maintain contact with the organization’s operatives. He downloaded to his smartphone ISIS materials on the self-production of weapons and explosives, instructions on how to make poison, and how to prepare Molotov cocktails. He also tried to convince his friends to join ISIS but was unsuccessful (Ynet, November 16, 2022).
The Syrian arena
Deir ez-Zor-Al-Mayadeen region
- ISIS carried out several attacks against the Kurdish forces:
- On November 22, 2022, an SDF fighter was targeted by gunfire near Hussein al-Taha Bridge in Al-Basira, about 15 km north of Al-Mayadeen. He was killed (Deir ez-Zor 24 Twitter account, November 22, 2022).
- On November 20, 2022, an SDF “spy” was targeted by gunfire in the Al-Basira region and was killed (Telegram, November 21, 2022).
- On November 19, 2022, militants, apparently, ISIS operatives, riding on a motorcycle shot at a civilian in a village in the Al-Basira region. The civilian, a driver of a public vehicle on the Al-Basira-Al-Hasakah line, was killed (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, November 19, 2022).
- Militants, apparently ISIS operatives, shot at an SDF position in the village of Hammar al-Ali, about 25 km northwest of Deir ez-Zor. No casualties were reported (Deir ez-Zor 24 Twitter account, November 19, 2022).
The desert region
- On November 20, 2022, ISIS operatives ambushed and fired at a Syrian army force carrying out searches west of Palmyra. Four soldiers were killed (Al-Badia 24, November 20, 2022).
- No November 17, 2022, ISIS operatives fired heavy machine guns at a position of the Syrian army and the forces supporting it about 50 km west of Al-Tabqa. Several soldiers and fighters were killed or wounded (Al-Badia 24 Twitter account, November 17, 2022).
- On November 20, 2022, an IED was activated against an SDF bulletproof vehicle around the village of Ayn Eissa, about 45 km north of Al-Raqqah. The vehicle was damaged (Telegram, November 21, 2022).
- On November 17, 2022, ISIS operatives activated an IED against an SDF vehicle near the village of Tal al-Saman, about 30 km north of Al-Raqqah. An SDF commander and his escort were killed (Telegram, November 18, 2022).
- On November 15, 2022, two bodies of 11- and 13-year-old Egyptian girls were found in the sewers of the Al-Hawl camp, about 35 km east of Al-Hasakah, where family members of ISIS operatives are held. The two had been murdered by a sharp object (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, November 15, 2022). In the ITIC’s assessment, they were murdered by female ISIS operatives who terrorize the other detainees in the camp.
- On November 19, 2022, teams of the Turkish intelligence apparatus and the Turkish-affiliated Syrian National Army (Al-Jaysh al-Watani al-Suri) operating in northern Syria raided three apartments in northern Syria (the exact locations were not mentioned) and detained 11 ISIS operatives. The detainees had in their possession over 4,000 electric devices for activating IEDs, about 1000 programmable devices, and over 600 electric circuit boards and an electric voltmeter. In their preliminary interrogation, they admitted having provided logistical and military assistance to ISIS operatives (Anatolia News Agency, November 19, 2022).
- On November 21, 2022, SDF fighters detained an Iraqi ISIS operative at his home in the village of Al-Areisha, about 25 km south of Al-Hasakah. It was reported that searches were being conducted for six other ISIS operatives in the village (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, November 21, 2022).
The Iraqi arena
ISIS attacks by province
- According to a report by an Iraqi security source from November 19, 2022, ISIS operatives attacked an Iraqi army force in the Al-Dabas district, about 35 km northwest of Kirkuk. Four soldiers were killed. Assault rifles, communications devices and cellular phones of the soldiers were seized (Al-Sumaria, November 19, 2022). ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack (Telegram, November 21, 2022).
- On November 14, 2022, ISIS operatives shot at an Iraqi police compound near the Zaghaytun Bridge, in the Rashad region, about 35 km southwest of Kirkuk. Two policemen were wounded (Telegram, November 16, 2022).
- On November 19, 2022, three IEDs were activated against a Popular Mobilization patrol operating north of the Al-Azim region, about 60 km north of Baqubah. A commander of a fawj (a military unit whose size is between a regiment and a brigade) and his escort were killed and five others, including a commander, were wounded. Two vehicles were put out of commission (Telegram, November 20, 2022).
- On November 21, 2022, Iraqi counterterrorism unit fighters operating in the Erbil Province in intelligence coordination with the General Directorate of the Asayish (the Kurdistan Province internal security forces) detained six ISIS operatives (SecMedCell Facebook page, November 21, 2022).
- On November 21, 2022, a Popular Mobilization force located and destroyed an ISIS workshop for making IEDs in Jazirat al-Hadr, about 90 km southwest of Mosul (Twitter account of the Information Directorate of the Popular Mobilization Headquarters, November 21, 2022).
- On November 21, 2022, Iraqi Air Force aircraft operating on intelligence carried out airstrikes against ISIS in Wadi al-Khassa, in the Kirkuk Province. Iraqi army Special Forces found the bodies of six ISIS operatives at the site (Al-Sumaria, November 21, 2022). Four ISIS hiding places were destroyed in attacks carried out in Wadi Zaghaytun, about 35 km southwest of Kirkuk (SecMedCell Facebook page, November 21, 2022).
Summary of ISIS’s activity in the various provinces
- An infographic published by ISIS, summing up its activity around the world between November 10 and November 16, 2022, indicates that the organization carried out 24 attacks in its various provinces around the globe (compared to 14 in the previous week). The largest number of attacks was carried out by ISIS’s Mozambique Province (9). Attacks carried out in the other provinces: Syria (5); West Africa (5); Iraq (1); Khorasan, i.e., Afghanistan (1); Central Africa (1); Pakistan (1); and Sinai (1). A total of 42 people were killed and wounded in the attacks, compared to 38 people in the previous week. The largest number of casualties was in the Mozambique Province (20). The other casualties were in the following provinces: Syria (9); West Africa (6); Iraq (2); Central Africa (2); Pakistan (1); Khorasan, i.e., Afghanistan (1); and Sinai (1) (Al-Naba weekly, Telegram, November 17, 2022). This is a continuation of ISIS’s low-scale activity around the world. The large scope of activity in the Mozambique Province is noteworthy.
ISIS attacks by week (according to ISIS data)
- From the late evening hours of November 18 until the morning hours of November 19, 2022, ISIS operatives moving in trucks equipped with machine guns attacked the town of Malam Fatori, about 200 km north of Maiduguri, in Borno State. One ISIS group attacked a Nigerian army base and the other carried out a shooting attack in the town and set fire to buildings. During the attack, ISIS also used IEDs. Nine Nigerian soldiers and two policemen were killed on the base. A resident of the town reported having seen 12 bodies of civilians at the site (VOA, November 20, 2022).
- On November 18, 2022, an IED was activated against a Nigerian army patrol in the Damboa region, about 80 km southwest of Maiduguri, in northeastern Nigeria. The passengers on board one of the vehicles were killed or wounded. The vehicle was destroyed (Telegram, November 20, 2022).
- On November 16, 2022, ISIS activated an IED and fired at a Nigerian army convoy between Maiduguri and Damboa. Several soldiers were wounded (Telegram, November 18, 2022).
- On November 10, 2022, Boko Haram operatives beheaded at least 26 women out of 40 who were held in a village near the town of Gwoza, in Borno State. The beheading was carried out at the instruction of a Boko Haram commander, Ali Guyile, as they were accused of being “witches” (Mail Online, November 15, 2022).
- On November 3-17, the Nigerian army carried out a large-scale counterterrorism operation against terror targets (ISIS and Boko Haram) around the country. As part of the operation, it was reported that 53 ISIS operatives were killed in Nigerian army airstrikes (PRNigeria, November 17, 2022). The Nigerian army reported that two senior members of ISIS’s West Africa Shura Council, Malam Ali Kwaya and Bukar Mainoka, had been killed in one of the airstrikes carried out by the Nigerian Air Force in Borno State, in the northeast of the country (The Heritage Times, People’s Gazette, November 17, 2022). On November 16-17, 2022, a Nigerian Air Force fighter jet carried out airstrikes against Boko Haram operatives in the Banki region, about 140 km east of Maiduguri, near the Nigeria-Cameroon border. A total of 16 Boko Haram operatives riding motorcycles were killed (The Guardian, November 20, 2022).
- Nigerian army forces operating in the northeast and northwest of the country killed 32 terrorist operatives of Boko Haram and ISIS’s West Africa Province. A total of 244 terrorist operatives and their families (43 men, 80 women, and 121 children) turned themselves in to the Nigerian army in various places. Furthermore, funds worth US$37,000 were confiscated (Blueprint, November 17, 2022). On November 17, 2022, a Nigerian army patrol operated against Boko Haram in the Mafa region, about 45 km east of Maiduguri, in Borno State. A total of 14 operatives, including a commander codenamed Abu Hassan, were killed (Vanguard, November 17, 2022).
- On November 20, 2022, in an operation by ground forces and Air Force fighter jets against Boko Haram hotspots in Sambisa Forest, about 60 km southeast of Maiduguri, two Boko Haram senior commanders and 47 operatives turned themselves in (Idoma Voice, November 21, 2022).
ISIS’s Mozambique Province’s activity
- ISIS’s Al-Naba weekly published an infographic summing up the activity of the Mozambique Province on November 9-14, 2022, in the provinces of Cabo Delgado and Nampula, in the northeast of Mozambique. According to the infographic, during this period, the province’s operatives carried out nine attacks against Christian civilians and the Mozambican army forces, in which 20 people were killed or wounded (14 Christian civilians and six soldiers). In those attacks, thousands of Christian residents were displaced from their homes, and over 250 houses and two vehicles were set on fire (Al-Naba weekly, Telegram, November 17, 2022).
ISIS claimed responsibility for carrying out several attacks against Christian civilians and local security forces in Cabo Delgado Province. The following are details of the attacks:
- On November 17, 2022, ISIS attacked a Mozambican army compound in the village of Naguida, in the Macomia district, in the eastern part of Cabo Delgado Province. Five soldiers were killed and others were wounded. Weapons and ammunition were seized (Telegram, November 18, 2022).
- On November 15, 2022, two Christian civilians were abducted and beheaded near the village of Litandaqua in the Macomia district (Telegram, November 18, 2022).
- On November 15, 2022, a joint patrol of the Mozambican and Tanzanian armies was targeted by gunfire on the road between the village of Fundanhar and the Nangade region. The soldiers fled. Three vehicles were set on fire. A machine gun and an assault rifle were seized (Telegram, November 18, 2022).
On November 14, 2022, ISIS attacked two Christian villages: the village of Marica, in the Balama region. Two Christian residents were beheaded (Telegram, November 16, 2022); and the village of Namacule, in the Muidumbe region. Several homes were set on fire (Telegram, November 16, 2022).
The Democratic Republic of the Congo
- On November 21, 2022, ISIS attacked a joint force of the Congolese and Ugandan armies in the village of Bosio, in the Ituri province, in northeastern Congo (on the border with Uganda). Two soldiers were killed and the rest fled. The staging zone was set on fire (Telegram, November 21, 2022).
- On November 21, 2022, ISIS attacked a Congolese army compound in the village of Nazinga, in the Beni region, about 50 km west of the Congo-Uganda border. Two soldiers were killed and the rest fled. ISIS seized weapons and ammunition (Telegram, November 21, 2022).
- On November 20, 2022, ISIS attacked a Congolese army compound in the village of Malibongo, in the Ituri province. An officer was killed and his weapon was seized. The compound was set on fire (Telegram, November 21, 2022).
- On November 16, 2022, ISIS ambushed and fired at Christian civilians in the village of Lumalisa, on the Mambasa-Komanda road, in northeastern Congo, near the Uganda-Congo border. Two civilians were killed. A truck and three motorcycles were set on fire (Telegram, November 21, 2022).
- On November 12, 2022, there was an exchange of fire between ISIS operatives and Al-Qaeda operatives who were on their way to attack ISIS operatives on the Mali-Burkina Faso border. According to ISIS, about 80 Al-Qaeda operatives were killed and dozens were wounded. ISIS captured and executed 10 Al-Qaeda operatives. One vehicle was set on fire and six vehicles were seized along with a large quantity of weapons and ammunition (Telegram, November 20, 2022).
- On November 14, 2022, the US ambassador to Somalia, Larry Andre, announced that the US had doubled the reward (US$10 million) for anyone who will provide information that will help locate three of Al-Shabaab’s leaders: the organization’s leader, Ahmed Diriye; his deputy, Mahad Karate; and a senior operative in the organization called Jehad Serwan Mostafa, who was born in the USA and is an explosives expert, a propaganda specialist, a military instructor, and a translator. The three are accused of taking part in deadly terrorist attacks in Somalia and Kenya (VOA, November 14, 2022). Al-Shabaab was designated by the US State Department as a terrorist organization in March 2008.
- The Kenyan army reported that on the morning of November 21, 2022, an operative of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Shabaab Organization had entered the Sariira Forward Operation Base, used by the African Union Task Force (ATMIS) , in southwestern Somalia, near the border with Kenya. He fired in all directions, killing three soldiers and wounding five others before he was shot to death. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack (Somali Guardian, November 22, 2022).
- On November 16, 2022, forces of the Libyan National Army (LNA, whose commander is Khalifa Haftar) operated against an ISIS camp in southwestern Libya, about 220 km north of the Libya-Chad-Niger tri-border area, a region considered an ISIS stronghold in Libya. Seven ISIS operatives were killed and two operatives were detained. The forces found light and medium weapons, ammunition, and two ATVs (Anatolia News Agency, November 16, 2022).
- On November 17, 2022, a cleric related to the fighting against ISIS was targeted by gunfire in Kabul. The cleric and his escort were killed (Telegram, November 18, 2022).
- On November 20, 2022, a terrorist affiliated with ISIS was severely wounded in the explosion of a pressure cooker with explosives that he had prepared himself. The explosion occurred while the terrorist was traveling in a rickshaw in the city of Mangalore (Mangaluru), in southwest India. He planned to plant the bomb in the city and activate it using a timer. The Indian police identified the terrorist as Mohammed Shariq. He was hospitalized with burns. Equipment and materials for preparing charges were located and confiscated from his home by Indian police officers. Shariq was previously arrested for writing pro-terror graffiti on walls in Mangalore and after being released became wanted by the police on terrorism charges (India Today, November 21, 2022).
On November 18, 2022, Indian Interior Minister Amit Shah said during a conference on terrorism financing that after the regime change in Afghanistan (referring to the rise of the Taliban) in August 2021, the increasing influence of Al-Qaeda and ISIS in Southeast Asia is evident and that this constitutes a significant challenge for security in the region (ABP, November 18, 2022).
- Two Islamist terrorist operatives, who were sentenced to death after being convicted of the murder of an American blogger who criticized religious extremism, escaped on November 20, 2022, from a courthouse in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. According to a local source, the two escaped with the help of motorcyclists, who sprayed a chemical substance at the police (Gurbaksh Singh Chahal@gchahal Twitter account, November 21, 2022).
- The blogger, Avijit Roy, an engineer of Bangladeshi origin, was murdered with machetes in February 2015, when he returned home with his wife. His wife, the blogger Rafida Bonya Ahmed, was injured in the attack (Reuters, November 21, 2022).
- On November 16, 2022, ISIS operatives on two motorcycles shot at civilians and Iranian police in a bazaar in the southwestern Iranian city of Izeh, in Khuzestan Province. Seven people, including policemen, were killed and 10 others were wounded. A senior official in the Khuzestan Province legal system said that three of the main people involved had been arrested. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack (Al-Hadath, November 17, 2022).
- Chechnya leader Ramzan Kadyrov said that a terrorist armed with a knife stabbed to death a policeman in the center of the capital Grozny while he was on his way to purify himself for prayer. The stabber was shot dead while trying to flee the scene after taking the policeman’s gun. The identity of the terrorist is unknown but a video was published in the Russian media, in which he is seen being shot by Chechen security personnel (Meduza, November 21, 2022). In a photo published on social media, the terrorist is seen masked, in black clothing, holding a knife in his left hand and an ISIS flag in his right hand (Telegram, November 21, 2022).
- According to a statement on November 21, 2022, by a Spanish government source, Spain has decided to repatriate several Spanish wives and children of ISIS operatives from the Al-Hawl camp (about 35 km east of Al-Hasakah) and the Roj camp (about 130 km northeast of Al-Hasakah), two detention camps which are run by the Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria (Al-Araby al-Jadeed, November 21, 2022).
- On November 18, 2022, a Danish court sentenced a 35-year-old Danish citizen to three years in prison for promoting ISIS terrorist activity and entering and staying in a conflict zone. The woman, who had been the wife of an ISIS operative in Syria, arrived there eight years ago and lived in Al-Raqqah and Deir ez-Zor provinces (EuroNews, November 18, 2022).
- A jury in Chicago, in the state of Illinois in the USA, sentenced Thomas Osadzinski, 23, a resident of Chicago, to seven and a half years in federal prison on charges of attempting to provide material aid to ISIS and distributing the organization’s propaganda (US Department of Justice, November 17, 2022).
The battle for hearts and minds
- This week, the editorial of ISIS’s weekly Al-Naba is entitled “Mozambique and the Blessing of the Caliphate [of ISIS]” and discusses the recent expansion of the activity of ISIS’s Mozambique Province. At the beginning of the article, the author says that the Global Coalition countries were surprised by the spread of ISIS in Mozambique, as they did not correctly assess the spirit of jihad and the level of preaching (da’wa) that exists in the region. Contrary to the Coalition’s expectations, ISIS’s branch in Mozambique expanded its activity and struck the military and economic interests of the organization’s enemies as well as the Christian population, which is fleeing the region for fear of ISIS’s operatives.
- Below are several issues addressed by the author (Al-Naba weekly, Telegram, November 17, 2022):
- Feeling helpless, the Mozambican army began to use local militias against ISIS, but those militias soon failed in their mission and asked the Mozambican army for assistance. The army turned to the African Coalition for help, but according to the author, even when they are all together, they are unable to deal with ISIS and stop its expansion.
- The Mozambique Province threatens the world economy by disabling or at least reducing the activity of the international projects of the gas deposits off the coast of the country. The Western countries (the “Crusaders”) had not yet recovered from the damage to the gas project, and then ISIS’s operatives in Mozambique began to act against the mining industry (ISIS attacked a ruby mine last month). In the West, they also began to express concerns about the possibility of a “sea jihad” (ISIS attacks in the maritime arena).
- What is happening now in Mozambique is a direct result of the establishment of ISIS’s caliphate, in which Muslims around the world are fighting under one flag. The author appeals to Muslims who have not yet joined the jihad camp to join it, especially those Arabic speakers among them who haven’t yet joined ISIS, in contrast to the people of the Black Continent, who are at the forefront of jihad.
- In Mozambique and African countries in general, a new generation of believers is growing, which is not subject to the influence of religious scholars deviating from the path of jihad. The new generation operates in accordance with the path of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, and is united in the fight against the Global Coalition that works against ISIS and tries in vain to stop its expansion.
 For further details, see the ITIC’s Information Bulletin from November 22, 2022, “Incident between Egyptian army forces and ISIS in the Suez Canal region” ↑
 According to ISIS claims of responsibility on Telegram and the Arab media. ↑
 According to ISIS claims of responsibility and the Iraqi media. ↑
 According to ISIS’s claims of responsibility. ↑
 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. ↑