Spotlight on Global Jihad (April 15-21 2021)

This week (the start of the month of Ramadan), there was an increase in the number of attacks carried out by ISIS in the various provinces in comparison with previous weeks. In Africa, ISIS’s intensive activity continued. Syria: This week, ISIS carried out two noteworthy attacks against the Syrian security forces in the Hawran region in southern Syria. Iraq: The most noteworthy attack was the detonation of a car bomb in a Shiite neighborhood in eastern Baghdad. The Sinai Peninsula: ISIS continued its activity against the Egyptian security forces, albeit on a small scale. Asia: In Afghanistan, ISIS continued its activity against the security forces, mainly in the form of activating IEDs. India: Fields of grain belonging to
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Spotlight on Iran (April 4–18, 2021)

In mid-April, the senior adviser to the Iranian minister of foreign affairs met with the special envoy of the Russian president to the Middle East and with the UN special envoy to Syria and discussed developments in Syria, and particularly the negotiations concerning the settlement of the war. Iranian news websites reported that the wife of the Syrian president, Asmaa’ al-Assad, recently acted to stop the activities of private companies in Syria that are linked to Iranian investors. On April 5-6, the commander of the Qods Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) visited Iraq and met with senior Iraqi officials and heads of parties and political blocs in the country. On April 12, the Iraqi national security adviser arrived for a visit in Tehran, during which he met with the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, the minister of defense and minister of foreign affairs of Iran.
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Spotlight on Iran (March 21, 2021 – April 4, 2021)

The activity of Iran and its proxies in eastern Syria: fighters of the Afghan Fatemiyoun Brigade, which operates under the guidance of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in Syria held training maneuvers in southeastern Syria. An investigation of Agence France-Presse revealed that the control of Shia pro-Iranian militias of Iraq’s border crossings has allowed them to funnel billions of dollars in customs duties, which ought to have been collected by the State, to their own coffers, to political parties connected to them and corrupt officials. In the economic sphere: the head of the Joint Iranian-Syrian Chamber of Commerce estimated that the volume of trade between Iran and Syria will rise in the coming year. The Iranian ambassador to Yemen rejected the Saudi peace proposal for resolving the crisis in Yemen and declared that any real initiative to end the war will entail lifting the siege placed on Yemen, withdrawing of Saudi armed forces, and an end to Saudi Arabia’s support for its “mercenaries” in the country.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (April 8 – 14, 2021)

ISIS’s activity in Africa was noteworthy this week as well. In Nigeria, ISIS operatives attacked, for the third time in the past month, the town of Damasak, near the border between Nigeria and Niger. Syria witnessed a decrease in the scope of ISIS’s activity this week. Iraq also witnessed a decrease in the scope of ISIS’s activity this week. In Afghanistan, ISIS continued its activity mainly against security personnel and government officials.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (March 25 – April 7, 2021)

The main event was the takeover of the city of Palma by operatives of ISIS’s Central Africa Province. Syria: In the Idlib region, artillery exchanges continued between the Syrian army and the forces supporting it and the rebel forces. Iraq: ISIS’s activity in the past two weeks focused on carrying out attacks against police and army posts in the Kirkuk Province. The Sinai Peninsula: Over the past two weeks, ISIS operatives continued to carry out targeted attacks against the Egyptian security forces, as well as abducting civilians suspected of collaborating with the security forces.
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Hezbollah’s response to the economic crisis in Lebanon

For over a year, there has been a severe economic and political crisis in Lebanon, whose end is not in sight. Underlying the crisis are fundamental problems, mainly firmly-rooted corruption and a chronic state of political instability. Additional difficulties have been added to the fundamental problems: the COVID-19 crisis; the negative effects of US sanctions on the Lebanese economy and banking system; the explosion at the Port of Beirut; difficulties stemming from the Syrian civil war (the problem of Syrian refugees who fled to Lebanon); and the lack of external assistance due to Lebanon’s failure to carry out the reforms required by the international community
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The events in Lebanon for the anniversary of the killing of Qassem Soleimani were exploited by Hezbollah for a propaganda campaign within the Shi’ite community to spread a message of solidarity with Iran and its policies

At the beginning of January 2021 Hezbollah held a series of events and ceremonies within the Shi'ite community in Lebanon to mark the anniversary of the killing of Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps' (IRGC) Qods Force, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandas, the deputy commander of the Popular Mobilization in Iraq (January 2, 2020). Most of the ceremonies were held in south Lebanon (in the Shi'ite villages near the Israeli border). Some of them were held in the Dahiyeh, Beirut's Shi'ite southern suburb, and in the Beqa'a Valley.
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Analysis of the activity of ISIS’s branches in Congo and Mozambique following the imposition of US sanctions

Following the expansion of ISIS’s activity in the past year in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Mozambique, the US Department of State announced on March 10, 2021, the imposition of economic sanctions on ISIS’s branch in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its leader, Seka Musa Baluku, and ISIS’s branch in Mozambique and its leader, Abu Yasir Hassan (website of the US Department of State, March 10, 2021)
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (March 18-24, 2021)

Syria: In the Idlib region, exchanges of artillery fire continued between the Syrian army and the forces supporting it, and the rebel forces. In the Deir ez-Zor-Al-Mayadeen region, ISIS operatives continued to attack Kurdish SDF forces. Iraq: This week, there was a decrease in the volume of ISIS’s terrorist activity. As part of ISIS’s “economic war,” its operatives blew up two high-voltage pylons in the Al-Khales region, about 10 km northwest of Baqubah. Sinai: There was a decrease in ISIS’s terrorist activity in the Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid region. Africa: ISIS’s intensive activity in Africa continues. In the United States: a man opened fire in a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado. At least 10 people were killed, including a police officer.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (March 5-11, 2020)

On March 5, 2020, an agreement was signed in Moscow between Russia and Turkey, which is intended to end the fighting in the Idlib region. In the ITIC’s assessment, this is a shaky ceasefire (like its predecessors). In the Euphrates Valley, ISIS’s intensive attacks continued, mainly in the form of activating IEDs. In Iraq, ISIS’s activity consisted mainly of activating IEDs, sniper fire and targeted killings. With regard to noteworthy ISIS activity abroad, the Khorasan Province recently resumed its activity and carried out two showcase attacks in the capital Kabul
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News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (March 4 – 10, 2020)

This past week the Gaza Strip was relatively quiet. A stabbing attack was attempted at the Nablus Gate in the Old City in Jerusalem. A spokesman for the Palestinian Authority (PA) government announced that so far 26 people infected with the coronavirus have been identified, most of them in Bethlehem. In Judea and Samaria Palestinians continue throwing stones at Israel vehicles driving on the roads
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (February 6-12, 2020)

This week, the Syrian army, with Russian air support, continued its attack on the Idlib region and managed to take over the city of Saraqib The Syrian army is now preparing to take over the city of Idlib. Violent friction continues between the Syrian army and Turkish forces in the area where the Syrian forces operate. The Syrian General Staff announced that the Turkish attacks would not prevent the Syrian army from continuing its military operation in the Idlib area and Aleppo. This week saw decrease in its activity in the Iraqi arena. Outside of these two “core countries,” ISIS’s Sinai Province carried out intensive activity.
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (January 30 – February 5, 2020)

The Syrian army, with Russian air support, continued to advance towards Idlib. The Syrian army’s operation in an area where there are Turkish observation posts, and hundreds of thousands of refugees who fled from the battle zones (some towards the border with Turkey), have created friction on the ground and diplomatic tension between Turkey and Syria (which enjoys Russian support). On February 2, 2020, a Muslim terrorist, a released prisoner with a jihadist ideology, carried out a stabbing attack in south London
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Wave of orchestrated ISIS terrorist retaliation attacks around the globe: overview and assessment

During four days, between April 8 and 11, 2019, the various ISIS provinces in Syria, Iraq and around the globe carried out a wave attacks in retaliation for the blow ISIS suffered in Syria. ISIS reported that eight of its provinces carried out more than 92 attacks in more than 80 areas. The attacks were accompanied by a media campaign and claims of responsibility entitled "Battle of vengeance for blessed [Province of] Sham" [Syria].
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Spotlight on Global Jihad (19-27 September 2017)

The Islamic State is disintegrating in Syria and Iraq. Its territorial areas of control Iraq are falling to the two anti-ISIS coalition forces one after another, although in some important strongholds ISIS operatives continue stubborn fighting.
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Analysis of the new statement of ISIS spokesman following the normalization agreements between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain

On October 18, 2020, ISIS’s Al-Furqan Media Foundation released an audiotape of the organization’s spokesman Abu Hamza Al-Qurashi. The title of the tape is a verse from the Quran – “So narrate to them stories of the past, so perhaps they will reflect ”. In the 32-minute tape, the spokesman calls for the overthrow of the “tyrannical” rulers in Arab countries, following the normalization agreements between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain.
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Germany outlaws Hezbollah, joining other countries which designated it as a terrorist organization

On April 30, 2020, Germany banned Hezbollah from operating on German soil and designated it as a terrorist organization. Immediately after doing so, German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer instructed the security forces to conduct searches in mosques, in gathering places of Hezbollah followers and in a number of suspects’ homes in several cities (including Berlin, Bremen, Münster and Dortmund).
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Iranian Subversion in Bahrain: The United States designates the Saraya al-Mukhtar as a Bahraini terrorist organization handled by Iran

On December 15, 2020, the American State Department announced it was designating the Bahraini terrorist organization Saraya al-Mukhtar as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist organization. According to the announcement, the organization receives "financial and logistic support" from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. The organization's "self-described goal is to depose the Bahraini government with the intention of paving the way for Iran to exert greater influence in Bahrain" (State Department website, December 15, 2020).
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More countries have recently declared all of Hezbollah a terrorist organization but some EU countries still refrain from doing so.

On March 1, 2019, Britain designated all of Hezbollah (i.e., both its military and political infrastructures) as a terrorist organization. Thus, Britain joined Israel, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands. In the wake of Britain, a new wave of similar declarations began, with American encouragement, from European and Latin American countries.
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