Syria

Spotlight on Global Jihad (March 10-16, 2022)

This week, ISIS officially confirmed the death of its leader and spokesman (who were killed on February 3, 2022) in an audio recording by its new spokesman, Abu Omar al-Muhajer. According to the recording, ISIS's new leader is Abu al-Hassan al-Hashimi al-Qurashi. In Syria, low-scale activity continued, mainly against the SDF forces. Syrian army forces and forces of the militias supporting it reportedly sent reinforcements to the Palmyra Desert in preparation for an operation to locate ISIS operatives in the desert region. In Iraq as well, relatively low-scale activity continued. The Sinai Peninsula: In several hotspots in the northern part of the peninsula, including Al-Arish, Egyptian army forces and Sinai Tribal Union forces exchanged fire with armed men, apparently ISIS operatives. Several soldiers and Sinai Tribal Union fighters were killed or wounded. For the time being, ISIS has not claimed responsibility for the incidents.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (March 3-9, 2022)

The main event of the week was a multi-casualty suicide bombing attack carried out by operatives of ISIS’s Khorasan Province in a Shiite mosque in Peshawar, Pakistan. A total of 63 people were killed and more than 200 were wounded. Syria: 13 soldiers were killed and 18 others were wounded east of Palmyra when their bus was attacked by armed men, apparently ISIS operatives. Iraq: Relatively sparse ISIS activity was detected this week as well, most of which took place in the Al-Anbar Province. The Sinai Peninsula: According to eyewitness reports, armed men, apparently ISIS operatives, attacked the headquarters of the Egyptian army's 101st Battalion in Al-Arish. Several soldiers were killed or wounded. Official Egyptian sources have denied the report. The US Department of the Treasury has designated four major ISIS funding sources in Africa, who work for ISIS’s branches in Syria, Iraq and Mozambique.
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Spotlight on Iran (February 17, 2022 – March 3, 2022)

In late February, the Syrian National Security Adviser, Ali Mamlouk, visited Tehran and met with the Secretary of the Iranian Supreme National Council, Ali Shamkhani. The Iranian minister of foreign affairs met with his Iraqi colleague on the sidelines of the Munich International Security Conference and discussed political developments in Iraq, as well as the possibility of restarting the dialogue between Iran and Saudi Arabia, mediated by Iraq. Representatives of Iraq, Iran, Russia and Syria took part in a meeting of the joint center for counter-terrorism intelligence exchange in Baghdad and discussed security developments along the Iraqi-Syrian border. The former Iraqi Prime Minister, Iyad al-Allawi, opined in an interview to a Turkish news agency that since the outbreak of popular protests in Iraq in October 2019, during which protesters chanted against Iranian meddling in Iraq, Iranian influence in the country has diminished.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (February 24 – March 2, 2022)

Similar to recent weeks, the epicenter of ISIS activity was in Africa, particularly Nigeria and Mozambique. Syria: ISIS carried out relatively low-intensity activity. Iraq: The downtrend in ISIS activity in Iraq continued. The Sinai Peninsula: During the week, ISIS operatives continued to attack the Egyptian army and the Sinai Tribal Union which supports it. Afghanistan: The downtrend in ISIS activity against the Taliban continues. Lebanese security forces detained a Palestinian ISIS squad in the Ein al-Hilweh refugee camp. The members of the squad, which was handled by an ISIS operative in Syria, planned to carry out three attacks in the Hezbollah stronghold of south Beirut. The battle for hearts and minds: The lead article in Al-Naba’ weekly was devoted to those who adhere to the path of ISIS, in spite of the difficulties.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (February 17-23, 2022)

Syria: ISIS continued to carry out relatively low-intensity activity. Iraq: The decrease in the scope of ISIS’s terrorist activity continued. The Sinai Peninsula: Three residents were killed and two were wounded in two IED explosions in the Sheikh Zuweid region in northern Sinai. Africa: There was an increase in ISIS activity this week, mainly against the Nigerian security forces in northeastern Nigeria. Afghanistan: The decline in ISIS activity continued this week. The battle for hearts and minds: The lead article in this week's issue of Al-Naba’ weekly was devoted to stressing the importance of the principle of sowing fear among the enemies of Islam.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (February 10-16, 2022)

This week, the relatively low level of ISIS activity around the world continued. According to a report released by the UN on the terrorist threat, ISIS and al-Qaeda are still the biggest risk factor worldwide. Hypotheses about the successor of ISIS’s leader: It is surmised that ISIS’s new leader will be chosen from among its four Iraqi senior officials, members of the founding generation. ISIS has not yet disclosed any details on the matter. ISIS’s activity in Syria continued on a relatively low scale. Most of the attacks were directed against the Kurdish SDF forces in the Deir ez-Zor-Al-Mayadeen region. Since October 2021, HTS reportedly detained about 300 jihadi operatives in the rebel enclave in Idlib. In Iraq as well, ISIS’s activity was on a relatively small scale, mainly against Iraqi military forces. Several soldiers were killed and wounded in a relatively complex operation in the Rutba region in western Iraq.
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