The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center's Spotlight on Global Jihad
Main events of the past week
- Syria: This past week there was relatively little activity. ISIS operatives focused on the desert region, where they attacked positions of the militias supporting the Syrian regime. In the al-Hasakeh and Deir al-Zor-al-Mayadeen regions they attacked Kurdish SDF fighters.
- Iraq: ISIS operatives abducted a number of civilians and conducted economic terrorist activity. They set fire to a gas station in western Iraq whose owner was a fighter in the Popular Mobilization Forces.
- The Sinai Peninsula: Several civilians were abducted, and it can be assumed their abductors were ISIS operatives. The Egyptian army and its auxiliary forces continued operations against the ISIS infrastructure in the northern Sinai Peninsula.
- Africa: ISIS’s West Africa Province continued activities at a relatively high level of intensity. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, its operatives targeted residents of Christian villages. Dozens were killed and a significant amount of property was set on fire. ISIS operatives also attacked Congolese security forces. A multi-national task force operating near Lake Chad killed a senior commander of ISIS’s West Africa Province and about twenty operatives. In Somalia most of ISIS’s attacks focused on police forces. Al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabab operatives fired mortar shells at an African Coalition Forces base, calling it revenge for Kenya’s involvement in the fighting in Somalia.
- Afghanistan: ISIS operatives continued activities against Taliban forces, but at relatively low intensity. They also carried out an “economic attack” on a high voltage electric tower. ISIS’s Khorasan Province was active in Pakistan near the Afghan border. ISIS’s Khorasan Province magazine called on organization operatives and supporters to participate in the ideological war against the West by utilizing the social media.
- India: ISIS joined the protest against the government’s law banning the hijab in government educational institutions.
- The battle for hearts and minds: The lead article in al-Nabā’, ISIS’s weekly magazine, was devoted to criticism of the Muslim Brotherhood movement’s positive position regarding the nascent Israeli-Turkish bilateral relations, and of Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s visit to Turkey. The author claimed the Muslim Brotherhood supported détente because of economic and strategic interests, and ignored the aspect of Islamic religious law.
The Syrian arena
The Idlib region
- This past week artillery fire continued between the Syrian army and the rebel forces in the southern rebel enclave in Idlib (Syrian Human Rights Observatory, April 9 and 10, 2022).
The Headquarters for the Liberation of al-Shams releases senior Hurras al-Din commanders and operatives
- According to reports, the Headquarters for the Liberation of al-Shams, the most important organization in the rebel enclave, released three senior commanders of Hurras al-Din, al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, who were imprisoned in 2020 (al-Medan, April 5, 2022). The reason for their release was not reported. Two days later it was reported that the Headquarters for the Liberation of al-Shams released three organization operatives from prisons in Idlib. A Russian news agency claimed they had been released so they could be sent to fight in Ukraine (al-Nashra, Sputnik, April 7, 2022).
The Desert Region (al-Badia)
- April 10, 2022: ISIS operatives attacked pro-Iranian militia fighters supporting the Syrian regime in the al-Sukhnah region, about 120 kilometers southwest of Deir al-Zor. Four military fighters were killed and two were wounded. A few hours earlier it was reported that ISIS operatives had attacked a pro-Iranian militia post in the area, but no casualties were reported (Syrian Human Rights Observatory, April 10, 2022).
- April 10, 2022: Syrian army intelligence operatives in al-Sukhnah detained three militia operatives belonging to the Homeland Defense forces, which support the Syrian regime. The three had tried to connect with ISIS operatives (Syrian Human Rights Observatory, April 10, 2022).
Attacks on ISIS targets
- April 19, 2022: Russian air force aircraft attacked ISIS targets in the desert region about twenty times. Since the beginning of April 2022 Russian air force aircraft have attacked ISIS targets more than 170 times. It was an increase in the number of attacks, which had reduced significantly in March 2022 (Syrian Human Rights Observatory, April 9, 2022).
The Deir al-Zor-al-Mayadeen region
- April 5, 2022: ISIS operatives abducted and then executed an SDF fighter in al-Azba, about 50 kilometers northeast of Deir al-Zor (Telegram, April 6, 2022).
The al-Hasakeh region
- April 6, 2022: ISIS operatives assassinated the head of the local council in Qal’at al-Hadi in northeastern Syria, who had been appointed by the Kurdish SDF forces (Telegram, April 7, 2022).
- April 5, 2022: ISIS operatives shot at an SDF vehicle in Hajin, about fifty kilometers southeast of al-Mayadeen. An SDF fighter was killed and two were wounded (Telegram, April 6, 2022).
ISIS operatives celebrate Ramadan
- ISIS issued pictures of operatives in Syria celebrating Ramadan. They show the operatives praying, preparing food and eating together (Telegram, April 12, 2022).
The Iraqi arena
Attacks by provinces
- April 7, 2022: Four shepherds were abducted by ISIS operatives in the Daquq area south of Kirkuk, who took one of the herds (Kurdistan24, April 7, 2022).
Salah al-Din Province
- April 11, 2022: An alleged Iraqi army “spy” was assassinated in the al-Tarmiyah area, about thirty kilometers north of Baghdad and a vehicle was set on fire (Telegram, April 11, 2022).
- April 6, 2022: Shots were fired at an Iraqi army post in the al-Khidhir region, south of Mosul, killing two soldiers and wounding one.
- April 4, 2022: ISIS operatives detonated and IED to attack an Iraqi army force in the al-Sheikh Yunis region, south of Mosul. Eight soldiers were wounded, two of them officers.
- April 9, 2022: Shots were fired at an Iraqi army post on the Kubaysah-Hit road, about 140 kilometers northwest of Baghdad, killing two soldiers.
- April 8, 2022: The Iraqi oil ministry reported that ISIS operatives had captured civilians at a gas station about 25 kilometers west of al-Rutba in western Iraq. They set a fuel tanker on fire and abducted one the of the gas station employees. A search for him has reportedly been instituted (al-Sharq al-Awsat and the Iraqi oil ministry’s Facebook page, April 9, 2022). ISIS’s media outlets reported that the gas station had been set on fire because its owner was a Popular Mobilization Forces fighter, and that three trucks at the station at the time had also been set on fire (Telegram, April 8, 2022).
April 8, 2022: ISIS operatives attacked an Iraqi army post about 70 kilometers west of al-Rutba, damaging it. They detonated and IED to attack a force sent to assist the post, immobilizing the force’s vehicle.
- April 6, 2022: ISIS operatives attacked an ATV belonging to the Popular Mobilization forces in the region of Akashat, near the Iraqi-Syrian border. The vehicle was damaged and its passengers fled.
- April 9, 2022: ISIS operatives attacked a police post with mortar shells in Aida in the Daquq area south of Kirkuk.
- April 9, 2022: ISIS operatives shot at a Tribal Mobilization post in the al-Rashad area, about 40 kilometers southwest of Kirkuk. Three fighters were killed and four were wounded. Two vehicles and a thermal camera installed at the post were destroyed.
- April 9, 2022: ISIS operatives detonated an IED to attack an Iraqi police post in al-Ba’abilat in the al-Riyadh region. A vehicle was destroyed and its passengers were killed or wounded.
- April 7, 2022: ISIS operatives fired shots at an Iraqi police post in al-Rashidiya in the al-Riyadh area, about 50 kilometers southwest of Kirkuk. A policeman was killed and two were injured.
- April 7, 2022: ISIS operatives fired shots at an Iraqi police post in al-Ba’abilat, wounding a policeman.
The Sinai Peninsula
- April 8, 2022: Two agricultural workers were abducted from a field belonging to an Egyptian government advisor or judge in Jalbana, west of el-Arish (Facebook page of Shahed Sinaa al-Rasmi, April 8, 2022).
- April 8, 2022: According to reports, three residents of Malsaq, in the Bi’r al-Abd region, were abducted by armed men, apparently ISIS operatives, who accused the ministry of collaborating with the Egyptian army. One of the abductees was released after three days (Facebook page of Shahed Sinaa al-Rasmi, April 11, 2022). A few days previously two residents of el-Arish were released; they had been abducted by ISIS operatives on a different occasion (Facebook page of Shahed Sinaa al-Rasmi, April 8, 2022).
- The Egyptian army and supporting tribal forces continued their operations against the ISIS infrastructure in the northern Sinai Peninsula. This past week the forces in al-Sheikh Zuweid located a large quantity of ISIS weapons and equipment. They included cell phones, hand grenades, IEDs, ammunition and materials for making explosives (Nor Sinai Facebook page, April 8, 2022). On April 11, 2022, operatives of the Tribal Unity in the Sinai Peninsula announced that in conjunction with the Egyptian army, they had taken control of areas in the Rafah and el-Sheikh Zuweid region, and had killed five ISIS operatives in the region north of Rafah (Facebook page of Shahed Sinaa al-Rasmi, April 11, 2022).
Summary of ISIS’s activity in the various provinces
- ISIS published an infographic summarizing its activities around the world for the week of March 31–April 6, 2022. According to the infographic, its operatives carried out 45 attacks in its various provinces, similar to the previous week. The largest number, nineteen, were carried out in the West Africa Province. Seven were carried out in Iraq, six in Central Africa, five in al-Sahel, three in Khorasan [i.e., Afghanistan], two in Syria, two in Somalia and one in the Sinai Peninsula. The attacks killed 295 people, up from 142 the previous week. The largest number of victims was in al-Sahel, 147. There were 50 in West Africa, 40 in Central Africa, 33 in Khorasan, 16 in Iraq, four in Syria, four in Somalia, and one in the Sinai Peninsula (al-Nabā’, Telegram, April 6, 2022).
- According to the infographic, the al-Sahel Province, which lies on the border between Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, and whose formation was announced by ISIS last month, continues to establish itself and take a central place in the organization’s activities.
ISIS attacks in recent months (according to ISIS data)
Senior West Africa Province ISIS operative killed
- Twenty ISIS operatives from its West Africa Province, including Abubakar Dan-Bubuma, a province commander, were killed in an airstrike in the Lake Chad region. The strike was carried out by Multinational Joint Task Force air craft, a force of soldiers from Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Benin and Niger (dailypost,ng, April 9, 2022).
- April 6, 2022: ISIS operatives detonated an IED to attack a Nigerian army patrol on the Qatwila-Maraba road in Borno State in northeastern Nigeria. A Nigerian army demolitions expert was killed.
- April 5, 2022: ISIS operatives attacked Damboa, about 80 kilometers southwest of Maiduguri in northwestern Nigeria. They set fire to the governor’s house and to government property (Telegram, April 6, 2022). No casualties were reported and the site may have been unoccupied because of repeated ISIS attacks in the region.
West Africa Province video
- ISIS’s West Africa Province issued a 19-minute video documenting the execution of “infidels” who had collaborated with local authorities. It was meant to deter other residents from collaborating. It also contained encouragement for continuing to fight “infidels” and clips of West Africa Province operatives attacking the security forces of Nigeria and Niger (Telegram, April 6, 2022).
- The Nigerian army carried out counterterrorism activities in the Lake Chad area, exposing and destroying a number of bunkers used by ISIS operatives. An automotive workshop was also found. The activities killed a number of ISIS operatives. The soldiers also seized weapons and ammunition which had been taken by ISIS in various operations against the Nigerian army (Nigerian army Facebook page, April 11, 2022).
Democratic Republic of Congo
- According to the Red Cross, at least thirty Christian civilians were killed by the ISIS-affiliated ADF in several villages in the Ituri region, about 50 kilometers west of the Congo-Uganda border (thedefensepost.com, April 11, 2022).
- On April 10, 2022, ISIS operatives attacked a Congolese army post in Mangusu. One soldier was killed in an exchange of fire and the rest fled. ISIS operatives chased them over the bridge leading away from the village. After the attack the operatives killed at least ten Christian civilians in the village and set their houses, a truck and several stores on fire
This past week ISIS operatives from its Central Africa Province attacked several Christian villages, killing civilians and burning a significant amount of property (according to ISIS’s Telegram channel):
- April 10, 2022: Shots were fired at Christians in a village on the Nigeria-Uganda border, killing eight, one of them a policeman.
- April 10, 2022: Shots were fired at Christian villagers in the Beni region, about 50 kilometers west of the Congo-Uganda border. One villager was wounded. ISIS operatives set fire to three motorcycles.
- April 9, 2022: Shots were fired at Christian villagers in the Ituri area, killing at least ten. The operatives then set fire to the villagers’ houses.
- April 9, 2022: Shots were fired at Christian villagers in the Ituri area, killing or wounding ten. The operatives then set fire to the villagers’ houses.
- April 8, 2022: Shots were fired at Christian villagers in four villages in the Ituri area, killing at least twenty. The operatives then set fire to the villagers’ houses.
- April 7, 2022: ISIS operatives ambushed militia fighters loyal to the Congo army about 50 kilometers west of the Congo-Uganda border. Six militia fighters were killed in the exchange of fire and several were wounded.
- April 6, 2022: ISIS operatives killed a Christian riding a motorcycle in the Ituri area, about 50 kilometers west of the Congo-Uganda border.
- ISIS operatives attacked a Burkina Faso army base in the Sanmatenga State in the northern part of the country. At least 12 soldiers and four local fighters were killed, and at least 21 more were wounded. Presumably the attack was carried out by jihadist operatives affiliated with al-Qaeda or ISIS (Reuters, April 9, 2022).
- April 11, 2022: A hand grenade was thrown at a Somali police roadblock in Mogadishu, wounding a policeman.
- April 6, 2022: Shots were fired at a policeman on the Mogadishu-Afgoye road, about twenty kilometers northwest of Mogadishu.
- April 6, 2022: A hand grenade was thrown at a group of policemen in Mogadishu, wounding three of them.
Al-Shabab activity in Somalia
- Operatives of the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabab fired mortar shells at an African Union Mission to Somalia base in the Dansur region in the southern part of the country. A massive battle ensued. No casualties were reported. Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the mortar fire, stating it was in revenge for Kenya’s intervention in the fighting in Somalia. Most of the soldiers at the base were from Ethiopia (allafrica.com, April 11, 2022).
Call for increased propaganda activity
- The third edition of the Voice of Khurasan, the English-language Internet magazine of ISIS’s Khorasan Province, noted the importance of the battle for hearts and minds against the West. The magazine claimed the West was waging an ideological war against Islam using think tanks and other institutions to distort reality. Therefore, stated the Voice of Khurasan, jihad was the best way to deter the West and its allies, and not rely only on fighting, but also on ideological warfare, which was no less important than physical combat. The magazine called for an increase in propaganda, especially in the social media, which was the most influential arena for forming opinions (hstoday.us, April 11,2022).
- April 9, 2022: ISIS operatives detonated an IED to attack a Taliban vehicle in Kabul, killing or wounding five Taliban operatives (Telegram, April 10, 2022).
- April 8, 2022: ISIS operatives detonated an IED to attack a high-voltage electrical tower in the city of Kunduz in northwestern Afghanistan (Telegram, April 9, 2022).
- April 8, 2022: ISIS’s Khorasan Province, which operates mostly in Afghanistan, announced that is operatives shot a former officer of the Pakistani police force in the region near the Pakistani-Afghan border (Telegram, April 9, 2022).
ISIS joins the protest banning the hijab
- Last week, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri harshly criticized the Indian government for passing a law to banning women from wearing a hijab in government educational institutions. ISIS then joined the anti-hijab protest in the Karnataka State in southwestern India. In the most recent edition of Sawt al-Hind, the organization’s publication, ISIS praised the women fighting the ban while criticizing the Indian authorities and democratic rule in general. The publication also advocated for the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate in the spirit of ISIS (newindianexpress.com, April 8, 2022).
The battle for hearts and minds
- The lead article in al-Nabā’, ISIS’s weekly magazine, was entitled “Are you unbelievers better than all those before you [who were destroyed]?” It criticized the position of the Muslim Brotherhood regarding Israeli-Turkish relations.
- Relating to the recent state meeting held by Israeli President Isaac Herzog (“the Jewish tyrant”) and Turkish President Erdogan (“the Turkish tyrant”), the author criticized the Muslim Brotherhood movement (“the Muslim Faith-Losing Brotherhood”), most of whose members were in favor of the meeting. He claimed they supported the meeting because of economic and strategic interests based on ties with Israel, ignoring the related aspects of Islamic religious law. For example, there were even Muslim Brotherhood members who claimed bilateral Israeli-Turkish ties served the Islamic nation, while the relations between Israel and other Muslim states, such as the UAE, were considered a betrayal of the Islamic nation. That showed, said the author, hypocrisy and inconsistency. In the Qur’an, he said, Allah forbade trusting Jews and Christians.
- The article also attacked the Muslim Brotherhood movement for not criticizing Erdogan’s condemnation of the terrorist attacks carried out in Israel during the past two weeks. He accused Erdogan of acting like the rulers of the Arab states which had relations with Israel, and of exploiting the Palestinian cause for his own ends. Sometimes, according to the article, he represented himself as defending as defending Muslims and other times he cooperated with Israel, claiming they had common interests.
- In summary, according to the author, the Muslim Brotherhood movement has deviated from the path of Islam, while ISIS’s motives are pure and it acts in concert with the ideology of the oneness of Allah and the faith of believers, while rejecting the infidels (al-Nabā’, Telegram, April 6, 2022).
Al-Nabā’ also published an infographic of the historic battles in which a Muslim minority overcame a significantly larger force of non-Muslims (al-Nabā’, Telegram, April 6, 2022). It fosters the idea of a victory of faith despite inferior numbers to encourage ISIS fighters to continue fighting, and if the issue had already been referred to, it was worthwhile to give examples of historic battles.
 Next week the bulletin will not appear because of the Passover holiday. We wish all our readers a happy, calm holiday. ↑
 Claims of responsibility from ISIS's Telegram channel. ↑
 Most of the information from ISIS claims of responsibility on its Telegram channel. ↑
 Surah 54, Al-Qamar, verse 43. The Qur'an castigates members of the Quraish tribe, urging them not to take the path of heresy, otherwise they would be destroyed like those who came before them, like the generations of Noah and the Pharaohs.