Spotlight on Global Jihad (June 20-26, 2019)

Operatives of the National Front for Liberation, a Turkish-affiliated rebel organization, firing at Syrian army soldiers during the attack against Tal al-Malah and Jubain (YouTube channel of the National Front for Liberation, June 20, 2019)

Operatives of the National Front for Liberation, a Turkish-affiliated rebel organization, firing at Syrian army soldiers during the attack against Tal al-Malah and Jubain (YouTube channel of the National Front for Liberation, June 20, 2019)

Operatives of the National Front for Liberation firing a Grad rocket at Syrian army forces near Tal al-Malah and Jubain (YouTube channel of the National Front for Liberation, June 20, 2019). Left: Syrian army soldiers prepares rockets for launch at the area controlled by the rebel organizations in the rural area northwest of Hama (SANA, June 20, 2019)

Operatives of the National Front for Liberation firing a Grad rocket at Syrian army forces near Tal al-Malah and Jubain (YouTube channel of the National Front for Liberation, June 20, 2019). Left: Syrian army soldiers prepares rockets for launch at the area controlled by the rebel organizations in the rural area northwest of Hama (SANA, June 20, 2019)

Operative of the National Front for Liberation launches Grad rockets at a meeting place of Syrian and Russian army personnel (YouTube channel of the National Front for Liberation, June 24, 2019)

Operative of the National Front for Liberation launches Grad rockets at a meeting place of Syrian and Russian army personnel (YouTube channel of the National Front for Liberation, June 24, 2019)

A group of ISIS operatives in Sinai headed by an operative codenamed Abu Ja’far al-Ansari (Telegram, June 19, 2019)

A group of ISIS operatives in Sinai headed by an operative codenamed Abu Ja’far al-Ansari (Telegram, June 19, 2019)

Operatives of the organization before the pledge of allegiance. One of them is carrying a shoulder-fired missile (Telegram, June 19, 2019)

Operatives of the organization before the pledge of allegiance. One of them is carrying a shoulder-fired missile (Telegram, June 19, 2019)

Abu Harira al-Ansari, who carried out the suicide bombing attack against the African Coalition (Telegram, June 22, 2019)

Abu Harira al-Ansari, who carried out the suicide bombing attack against the African Coalition (Telegram, June 22, 2019)

ISIS operatives in the southern Philippines before (right) and during (left) the renewal of their pledge of allegiance (Al-Ansar, June 22, 2019).

ISIS operatives in the southern Philippines before (right) and during (left) the renewal of their pledge of allegiance (Al-Ansar, June 22, 2019).

Main events of the week
  • The Syrian army’s ground offensive against the rebel organizations, which has been going on for nearly two months, is still bogged down. This week, two more Syrian army attacks against the rebel organizations in the Tal al-Malah area (east of the southern part of the Al-Ghab Plain) were repulsed, with the Syrian army sustaining heavy losses. The Syrian army sent reinforcements to this area where its main effort is being carried out, transferring the forces of the 4th Division there. Previously, the 4th Division had operated in the Kabanah region of the Kurd Mountains (where the secondary effort of the Syrian ground offensive was taking place).
  • The Iraqi arena: ISIS’s main event was a suicide bombing attack in a Shiite mosque in east Baghdad (10 killed and 30 wounded). ISIS operatives also attacked vehicles carrying Shiites northwest of Baghdad. In the provinces of northern and western Iraq, various types of attacks were carried out: IEDs (the most common type of attack), mortar shell fire, sniper fire, and targeted killings.
  • In ISIS’s various provinces in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, routine activity continues: In the northern Sinai Peninsula, workers building a wall to secure Al-Arish Airport against ISIS were shot; In addition, ISIS operatives carried out a series of coordinated attacks against the Egyptian security forces in and around Al-Arish. In Nigeria, ISIS operatives attacked a Nigerian army base in Borno State in the northeast of the country; In Cameroon, ISIS operatives attacked army bases near the border with Nigeria; In Burkina Faso, ISIS operatives killed 17 civilians; In Congo (near the Ugandan border), ISIS operatives attacked a Congolese army camp; In Afghanistan, a series of attacks were carried out against the Taliban in the east of the country; In Pakistan, ISIS operatives killed a Shiite commander in the city of Karachi; In Somalia, policemen were shot and killed in the capital Mogadishu and in the northeast of the country; In Chechnya, ISIS’s Caucasus Province claims that an operative tried to assassinate President Kadyrov, but was shot and killed (according to the Russian version, a stabbing attack was carried out near the president’s residence); In Yemen, ISIS suffered a blow in the form of the capture of an ISIS leader (emir) in Yemen by Saudi Special Forces.
  • ISIS recently released videos filmed by its operatives in the various provinces. In these videos, the operatives are seen renewing their pledge of allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, praising the organization’s victories and calling on other Muslims to join ISIS. In the ITIC’s assessment, this campaign is intended to raise the morale of ISIS operatives, to recruit additional operatives, and to convey the message that ISIS continues to operate and win around the world even after the blow that it suffered in Syria.
Main events in Syria
The Idlib region

In the area northwest of Hama (east of the southern Al-Ghab Plain), fighting is still focused on the area of the village of Tal al-Malah, which was taken over by the rebel organizations. Two additional attacks of the Syrian army against Tal al-Malah were repulsed, and there is no change in the situation on the ground. The Syrian army continues to focus its efforts on this sector. Forces of the 4th Division were reportedly transferred from the Kabanah area in the Kurd Mountains (which was secondary in the Syrian army ground attack) to the fighting zone north of Tal al-Malah.

Fighting in the Tal al-Malah area
  • On June 20, 2019, the Syrian army mounted two additional counterattacks aimed at taking over the villages of Tal al-Malah and Jubain to its north from the rebel organizations (in continuation of the attack attempt last week). The Syrian army enjoyed air support: Russian and Syrian warplanes carried out airstrikes against rebel organization targets in Tal al-Malah, Jubain and other villages in the area (Khotwa, June 20, 2019). The attacks were repulsed by the rebel organizations headed by the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham. According to the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham, the Syrian army sustained heavy losses (at least 54 fatalities) (Ibaa, June 20, 2019). On June 24, 2019, the rebel organizations attacked Syrian army positions based on information on the Syrian army’s intention to attack the village of Jubain from the north (Enab Baladi, June 24, 2019).

Tal al-Malah (1) and Jubain (2), targeted by the Syrian army counterattacks, which were repulsed by the rebel organizations. The area controlled by the rebel organizations is marked in green; the area controlled by the Syrian army and the forces supporting it is marked in red (based on a Khotwa map from June 18, 2019; the numbers were added by the ITIC)
Tal al-Malah (1) and Jubain (2), targeted by the Syrian army counterattacks, which were repulsed by the rebel organizations. The area controlled by the rebel organizations is marked in green; the area controlled by the Syrian army and the forces supporting it is marked in red (based on a Khotwa map from June 18, 2019; the numbers were added by the ITIC)

 Operatives of the National Front for Liberation firing a Grad rocket at Syrian army forces near Tal al-Malah and Jubain (YouTube channel of the National Front for Liberation, June 20, 2019). Left: Syrian army soldiers prepares rockets for launch at the area controlled by the rebel organizations in the rural area northwest of Hama (SANA, June 20, 2019)    Operatives of the National Front for Liberation firing a Grad rocket at Syrian army forces near Tal al-Malah and Jubain (YouTube channel of the National Front for Liberation, June 20, 2019). Left: Syrian army soldiers prepares rockets for launch at the area controlled by the rebel organizations in the rural area northwest of Hama (SANA, June 20, 2019)
Operatives of the National Front for Liberation firing a Grad rocket at Syrian army forces near Tal al-Malah and Jubain (YouTube channel of the National Front for Liberation, June 20, 2019). Left: Syrian army soldiers prepares rockets for launch at the area controlled by the rebel organizations in the rural area northwest of Hama (SANA, June 20, 2019)
Syrian army withdrawal from the Kabanah area
  • Due to the fierce fighting in the area northwest of Hama, it was reported that the Syrian General Staff began to pull out its forces from the Kabanah area, in the Kurd Mountains (were the secondary effort of the Syrian ground attack was taking place), with the aim of transferring them to the area northwest of Hama, the focus of the fighting against the rebel organizations (Al-Masdar News, June 21, 2019). Following this decision, forces of the 4th Division were reportedly pulled out of the front in the Kabanah area and deployed in the Nabudah front, about 40 km northwest of Hama. The Nabudah area is controlled by the rebel organizations deployed in Tal al-Sakhr, about 2 km southeast of Nabudah (Al-Masdar News, June 21, 2019).

The area of Nabudah (2), where forces from the 4th Division, pulled from the Kabanah area, were transferred. South of it is Tal al-Malah (1), held by the rebel organizations (Google Maps)
The area of Nabudah (2), where forces from the 4th Division, pulled from the Kabanah area, were transferred. South of it is Tal al-Malah (1), held by the rebel organizations (Google Maps)

Attempt to attack the Hama military airbase with a UAV
  • On June 22, 2019, an attempt was made to attack the Hama military airbase with an advanced UAV of the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham. The aircraft was armed with rockets and included a mechanism to launch them and a GPRS-based[1] navigation component. It was shot down by Syrian army anti-aircraft fire before reaching its target (SANA, June 22, 2019). The aircraft used was larger than its predecessors and was designed to carry heavier munitions. Apparently, it was also equipped with a navigation system. About three weeks ago, the rebel organizations tried to use UAVs to attack a Syrian army helipad about 30 km west of Hama. Those UAVs were also shot down by Syrian army anti-aircraft fire.
Rocket fire at Syrian targets
  • The National Front for Liberation announced that on June 24, 2019, it had launched Grad rockets at a joint Syrian and Russian army operations room about 70 km northwest of Hama. Grad rockets were also launched at another site where Syrian army commanders met with Russian military personnel about 40 km northwest of Hama (YouTube channel and Twitter account of the National Front for Liberation, June 24, 2019).
Interim summary of the losses in the fighting
  • The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that since April 30, 2019 (the eve of the Syrian army offensive) until June 22, 2019, a total of 1,907 people had been killed. At least 780 of the dead belonged to the rebel forces, 614 to the Syrian army and the forces supporting it, and 513 were civilians (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, June 25, 2019).
Eastern Syria
The area of Al-Mayadeen and Deir ez-Zor
  • During the past week, ISIS continued its terrorism and guerrilla activity in the Al-Mayadeen and Deir ez-Zor area. The main types of attacks were light arms fire and the detonation of IEDs combined with RPG rocket fire against SDF vehicles and checkpoints. Following are the main activities, according to statements of the Al-Sham Province – Al-Khayr region):
    • June 20, 2019: An RPG rocket was fired at an SDF checkpoint in the village of Diban, about 5 km east of Al-Mayadeen. Several SDF fighters were wounded (Telegram, June 21, 2019).
    • June 20, 2019: An SDF patrol was shot at and an RPG rocket was fired at an SDF truck in the village of Diban. Six SDF fighters were wounded (Telegram, June 21, 2019).
    • June 20, 2019: Shots were fired and an RPG rocket was launched at an SDF checkpoint 4 km northeast of Al-Mayadeen, killing two SDF fighters (Telegram, June 21, 2019).
    • June 20, 2019: An IED was activated against an SDF vehicle in the village of Al-Basira, 14 km north of Al-Mayadeen. SDF fighters in the vehicle were wounded (Telegram, June 21, 2019).
The Al-Raqqah area
  • June 20, 2019: ISIS operatives fired at two SDF vehicles about 20 km southwest of Al-Raqqah, killing and wounding several SDF fighters (Telegram, June 20, 2019).
Northern Syria
The Qamishli area (northern part of the Kurdish control area, near the border with Turkey)
  • On June 23, 2019, a motorcycle bomb was detonated near SDF forces in a neighborhood in the western part of Qamishli. Five SDF fighters were killed and wounded. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack (Telegram, June 25, 2019).
Main developments in Iraq
ISIS’s terrorist and guerrilla activity

Suicide bombing attack at a Shiite mosque in Baghdad

On June 21, 2019, a suicide bombing attack was carried out in the Imam al-Mahdi Mosque in eastern Baghdad. On Friday, while many worshipers were inside the mosque, a suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest tried to enter the mosque. After security guards prevented him from entering, he activated his explosive vest at the entrance to the mosque. According to reports, 10 people were killed and 30 were wounded (Baghdad Al-Youm; Al-Ghad channel; Al-Hurra channel; Al-Sumaria, June 21, 2019).

  • ISIS’s Iraq Province – Baghdad region claimed responsibility for the attack. According to the claim of responsibility, the attack was carried out by an ISIS operative codenamed Abu Ali al-Ansari, who managed to infiltrate into the Shiite mosque in the Al-Baladiyat area in eastern Baghdad and detonated his explosive vest. Over 40 Shiites were killed and wounded in the explosion (Telegram, June 23, 2019).
  • Following are other terrorist and guerrilla activities for which ISIS claimed responsibility this week:
    • Kirkuk Province: Several mortar shells were fired east of Hawija, about 50 km west of Kirkuk. No casualties were reported (Telegram, June 19, 2019).
    • Kirkuk Province: An IED was detonated against an Iraqi police vehicle west of Kirkuk. Two of the passengers were killed (Telegram, June 22, 2019).
    • Kirkuk Province: An IED was detonated against the vehicle of a Popular Mobilization commander on the outskirts of Kirkuk. The commander was killed (Telegram, June 21, 2019).
    • Diyala Province: A hand grenade was thrown in central Khanaqin. Three Shiites were wounded (Telegram, June 22, 2019).
    • Diyala Province: Snipers fired at an Iraqi army base in the rural area southeast of Baqubah (Telegram, June 22, 2019).
    • Nineveh Province: An IED was detonated against an Iraqi army vehicle east of Makhmur. The passengers were either killed or wounded (Telegram, June 19, 2019).
    • Salah al-Din Province: An IED was detonated against a vehicle of a Tribal Mobilization “agent” about 60 km north of Tikrit. The “agent” was wounded (Telegram, June 21, 2019).
    • Diyala Province: A suicide bomber wearing an explosive belt blew himself up at a café in the city of Khanaqin. Several people were wounded. ISIS still hasn’t claimed responsibility for the attack, but it would be reasonable to assume that its operatives are behind it (Akhbar al-Iraq, June 21, 2019; Al-Sumaria, June 20, 2019).
    • Diyala Province: Snipers shot and killed an Iraqi army soldier in the Al-Nada area, about 40 km east of Baqubah (Telegram, June 23, 2019).
    • Nineveh Province: A Tribal Mobilization fighter was shot and killed in his house, about 70 km southwest of the city of Mosul (Telegram, June 23, 2019).
    • Baghdad Province: The Amaq News Agency announced that ISIS operatives had carried out two attacks against Shiites about 25 km northwest of Baghdad. In the first attack, ISIS operatives fired machine guns at a vehicle carrying Shiites. One of the passengers was killed and another was wounded. In the second attack, ISIS operatives detonated an IED against a vehicle carrying Shiites. Some of them were killed and others were wounded (Telegram, June 25, 2019).
    • Diyala Province: An IED was activated against a policeman of the Iraqi Federal Police about 15 km northeast of Baqubah. He was killed (Telegram, June 24, 2019).
    • Salah al-Din Province: An IED was activated against a Tribal Mobilization vehicle in Jazirat al-Shirqat, about 100 km west of Kirkuk. Two of the passengers were wounded (Telegram, June 24, 2019).
    • Nineveh Province: An IED was activated against the house of an Iraqi government “agent” in a village about 25 km northwest of Kirkuk (Telegram, June 24, 2019).
    • Nineveh Province: An IED was activated against a Tribal Mobilization vehicle about 35 km northwest of Mosul. Two of the passengers were wounded (Telegram, June 24, 2019).
Counterterrorist activities by the Iraqi security forces
  • Kirkuk Province: A force of the Iraqi Counterterrorist Service, acting in coordination with Coalition planes, killed 14 ISIS operatives south of Kirkuk (Iraqi News Agency, June 24, 2019).
  • Kirkuk Province: An Iraqi Intelligence force detained an operative who was engaged in transferring families of ISIS operatives in the Kirkuk Province. He was also wanted for his participation in several attacks (Al-Sumaria, June 21, 2019).
  • Nineveh Province: The Iraqi security forces detained a senior ISIS operative in west Mosul. The operative was formerly in charge of an ISIS bureau in Al-Qayruwan, 95 km west of Mosul (Iraqi News Agency, June 21, 2019).
  • Salah al-Din Province: A force of the Shiite “Peace Companies” militia thwarted an infiltration attempt of ISIS operatives by inflatable boats in the area west of Samarra, near Lake Al-Tharthar (Iraqi News Agency, June 23, 2019).
  • Al-Anbar Province: An Iraqi army motorized force, with the participation of the Tribal Mobilization, carried out security activity in western Al-Anbar Province (Iraqi News Agency, June 23, 2019).
An Iraqi army motorized force during the security activity (Iraqi News Agency, June 23, 2019)     A Peace Battalions force during security activity in Iraq.
Right: A Peace Battalions force during security activity in Iraq. Left: An Iraqi army motorized force during the security activity (Iraqi News Agency, June 23, 2019)
  • Salah al-Din Province: An Iraqi Federal Police force located and neutralized three IEDs in the city of Samarra (Al-Sumaria, June 23, 2019).
  • Nineveh Province: The Iraqi army announced that it had destroyed ten tunnels and logistics depots belonging to ISIS in the Nineveh Province (Aman Dustour, June 23, 2019).
The Sinai Peninsula and Egypt
ISIS’s activity in the northern Sinai Peninsula
  • ISIS’s attacks against the Egyptian security forces in the northern Sinai Peninsula continue:
    • June 22, 2019: Egyptian laborers working at Al-Arish Airport were shot at. A perimeter wall is under construction around the airport, to protect it from attacks by terrorist organizations. After the shooting, the attackers set the laborers’ cars on fire and fled the scene. Four laborers were killed and eight wounded (Egyptian Al-Arabi TV; Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed, June 22, 2019). ISIS claimed responsibility for the incident. The claim of responsibility states that ISIS operatives attacked Egyptian army soldiers securing laborers who were building fortifications around Al-Arish Airport. Ten laborers were killed and wounded in the exchange of fire (Amaq, June 24, 2019).
    • June 19, 2019: An ISIS sniper killed an Egyptian soldier at a checkpoint south of Rafah. ISIS’s Sinai Province claimed responsibility for the attack (Telegram, June 21, 2019).
    • June 20, 2019: ISIS detonated an IED against a minesweeping vehicle west of Al-Arish. The passengers in the vehicle were killed or wounded. ISIS’s Sinai Province claimed responsibility for the attack (Telegram, June 20, 2019).
    • June 25, 2019: ISIS operatives carried out several simultaneous attacks against several Egyptian army posts in the city of Al-Arish. ISIS claimed responsibility (Telegram, June 25, 2019). According to a report on the Al-Jazeera Channel, six members of the Egyptian security forces were killed and 10 were wounded in the series of coordinated late-night attacks on the Egyptian security forces in Al-Arish. The attacks were directed against checkpoints set up by the Egyptian security forces in the south and center of the city. According to a “security source,” five of the attackers were killed and seven were arrested (Al-Jazeera, June 25, 2019; Al-Arabiya, June 25, 2019).
  • ISIS’s Al-Nabā’ weekly reported that on June 13, 2019, Sinai Province operatives detained two residents of Al-Arish, lawyers at the Egyptian Supreme Court of Appeals, at a checkpoint set up by ISIS west of Al-Arish. It was reported that the two lawyers would be transferred to an ISIS Sharia court to stand trial on charges of collaborating with the Egyptian courts and with the “infidel laws” (Al-Nabā’, June 20, 2019).
Campaign to renew the pledge of allegiance to ISIS leader Al-Baghdadi
  • On June 19, 2019, ISIS’s Sinai Province released a video entitled “The [welcome] results will benefit the adherents [of the religion of Islam].” This video was preceded by a video released last week by ISIS’s West Africa Province, which bore the same title. The video shows a group of ISIS’s Sinai Province operatives renewing their pledge of allegiance to ISIS’s leader. One of the operatives is shown carrying a shoulder-fired missile. The group is headed by a speaker, codenamed Abu Ja’far al-Ansari, who calls on Muslim believers to join ISIS and carry out jihad as Allah ordered the believers. He notes that the determination of ISIS’s operatives in Sinai is tremendous since they know that Allah promised victory to the believers. The video also includes archival footage documenting the fighting and training of ISIS operatives in the Sinai Peninsula (Telegram, June 19, 2019).

A group of ISIS operatives in Sinai headed by an operative codenamed Abu Ja’far al-Ansari (Telegram, June 19, 2019)
A group of ISIS operatives in Sinai headed by an operative codenamed Abu Ja’far al-Ansari (Telegram, June 19, 2019)

ISIS’s activity around the globe
West Africa Province

ISIS attack against a Nigerian army base

  • According to a report by ISIS’s Amaq News Agency, on June 17, 2019, operatives of ISIS’s West Africa Province attacked a Nigerian army camp in the town of Gajiram, in Borno State, northeastern Nigeria (not far from the border between Chad, Cameroon, and Niger). Twelve Nigerian soldiers were killed and wounded and the base was burned. The ISIS operatives retreated from the scene of the attack (Telegram, June 19, 2019). According to Reuters, the attack was carried out by “militants” (almost certainly ISIS operatives) who arrived at the base in trucks and fought there for three hours. A total of 25 soldiers were killed. A spokesman for the Nigerian army declined to comment on the attack.

African Coalition troops offensive in the Lake Chad area repulsed

  • ISIS’s West Africa Province claims to have repulsed an offensive by the African Coalition troops operating in the Lake Chad area. According to the announcement, exchanges of fire took place between the sides, during which one of the ISIS operatives carried out a suicide bombing attack with a car bomb against a group of Coalition soldiers. At least 15 soldiers were killed and several others were wounded (Telegram, June 22, 2019).

Lake Chad (Google Maps)
Lake Chad (Google Maps)

Abu Harira al-Ansari, who carried out the suicide bombing attack against the African Coalition (Telegram, June 22, 2019)    Smoke rising from the scene of the suicide bombing attack.
Right: Smoke rising from the scene of the suicide bombing attack. Left: Abu Harira al-Ansari, who carried out the suicide bombing attack against the African Coalition (Telegram, June 22, 2019)

Attack by the Multinational Task Force against ISIS in the area of Lake Chad

  • The Joint Multinational Task Force carried out an attack against ISIS operatives in the area of Lake Chad. A total of 42 ISIS operatives were killed in the attack. One Nigerian soldier was killed and 10 were wounded. These were reportedly the heaviest losses sustained by ISIS’s West Africa Province over the past six months (Sky News; Euronews; Bloomberg News Agency, June 22, 2019).

Niger: Joint military operation by the United States, France and Niger against ISIS

  • According to a report by Niger’s Defense Ministry, 18 ISIS operatives were killed and five captured in a massive military operation carried out by the United States, France and Niger. The operation took place between June 8 and June 18, 2019 in the north of the country, near the border with Mali. It was directed against ISIS operatives who had ambushed and killed 28 Niger army soldiers. According to the announcement released by Niger’s Defense Ministry, the Niger army sustained no losses. France confirmed that the operation had taken place (BBC; Al-Nahar, June 20, 2019; Al-Hayat, June 21, 2019). The spokeswoman for the US Armed Forces African Command said that US forces had not been involved in the operation (The Independent, June 21, 2019).

Cameroon: Attack against the Cameroonian army near the border with Nigeria

  • According to an announcement by ISIS’s West Africa Province, on June 17, 2019, ISIS operatives attacked Cameroonian soldiers in the city of Fotokol, near the border with Nigeria. Some of the soldiers were wounded (West Africa Province, June 19, 2019). According to a Nigerian military spokesman, five ISIS operatives were killed and one was taken prisoner in a failed attempt to attack an army base in Ngouma, near the border between Cameroon, Nigeria and Chad (Western media outlets, June 22, 2019).

The Ngouma region, near the border between Cameroon, Nigeria and Chad (Google Maps)
The Ngouma region, near the border between Cameroon, Nigeria and Chad
(Google Maps)

Congo: Attack on a Congolese army camp

  • On June 24, 2019, ISIS operatives attacked a Congolese army camp in the area of Beni, near the border with Uganda. The operatives exchanged fire with Congolese soldiers. Nine soldiers were killed and several were wounded. ISIS operatives seized various types of weapons and ammunition and returned to their positions unscathed (Telegram, June 25, 2019).

The area of Beni, not far from the Congo-Uganda border (Google Maps)
The area of Beni, not far from the Congo-Uganda border
(Google Maps)

Burkina Faso
  • Burkina Faso’s Minister of Defense Chérif Sy reported that on June 18, 2019, “terrorist operatives” attacked civilians in a village about 70 km south of the border with Mali. A total of 17 civilians were killed in the attack. The Ministry of Defense added that preparations are underway for the start of a widespread military operation aimed at locating the assailants and securing the area (France 24, June 20, 2019).
  • According to a French media report, since 2015 more than 400 people have been killed in guerrilla attacks in Burkina Faso. France has reportedly deployed 4,500 troops in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad to help the local armies in their fight against the jihadists. Burkina Faso recently joined the four Sahel countries, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, in an initiative to establish a joint force of 5,000 troops to fight terrorism with the support of France (France 24, June 20, 2019).
Chechnya
  • On June 23, 2019, an ISIS operative carried out an attack in Grozny, the capital of Chechnya. There are two contradictory versions regarding the nature of the attack:
  • The Russian version: According to the Russian version, police stopped a vehicle to inspect documents near the residence of Chechen President Kadyrov. The driver, who was armed with a knife, stabbed a policeman at the checkpoint and a fighter from the Chechen National Guard who arrived on the scene. The stabber, who was shot and killed, was identified as a 23-year-old local resident. A hunting rifle was found in his vehicle (Russia Today, June 23-24, 2019).
  • ISIS’s version: ISIS’s Caucasus Province announced that an operative of the organization, codenamed Abdullah the Chechen, had managed to reach the entrance to the presidential palace of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov. He exchanged fire with the officers and security guards at the palace. As a result, several officers and security guards were killed and wounded. According to ISIS’s Caucasus Province, the operative managed to shoot at President Kadyrov’s office before being shot and killed (Telegram, June 23, 2019).
The Philippines
  • ISIS’s East Asia Province released a video entitled “The [welcome] results will benefit the adherents [of the religion of Islam].” The video shows a group of ISIS operatives, apparently in the southern Philippines, renewing their pledge of allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The voice of an operative codenamed Sheikh Abu Abdullah al-Tanumi can be heard in the background. He stresses the hope that “Allah will protect the jihad fighters, especially in the Philippines,” and calls on those who have not yet pledged allegiance to ISIS’s leader to do so. The video ends with footage documenting fighting against the Philippine army in Lanao del Sur in Mindanao (in the southern Philippines) (Al-Ansar, June 22, 2019).
Afghanistan
  • ISIS’s Khorasan Province released a series of claims of responsibility for attacks carried out by its operatives against the Taliban in the Kunar Province in eastern Afghanistan. The attacks lasted around three hours. According to ISIS, 32 Taliban operatives were killed and wounded (Telegram, June 19-20 and 25, 2019).
  • According to an announcement by ISIS’s Khorasan Province, on June 20, 2019, ISIS operatives detonated an IED against a vehicle carrying members of a militia that supports the government in the city of Jalalabad. Two militia fighters were killed and two others were wounded (Telegram, June 20, 2019).
Pakistan
  • ISIS’s Pakistan Province announced that on June 19, 2019, the organization’s operatives had fired at a Shiite commander in the city of Karachi. The Shiite commander was killed (Telegram, June 20, 2019).
Somalia
  • ISIS’s Somalia Province announced that on June 19, 2019, ISIS operatives had fired at a Somali policeman in an open market in the capital Mogadishu. The policeman was killed (Telegram, June 20, 2019).
  • ISIS’s Somalia Province announced that on June 20, 2019, the organization’s operatives had fired at a Somali policeman in the city of Bosaso, on the shores of the Gulf of Aden in northeastern Somalia. The policeman was killed (Telegram, June 21, 2019). Bosaso is a focal point for attacks in the Somalia Province.
Counterterrorism and preventive activity
ISIS leader captured in Yemen by Saudi Special Forces
  • Akid (Col.) Turki al-Maliki, spokesman for the Arab Coalition (which operates in Yemen against the Houthi rebels), announced that on June 3, 2019, Saudi Special Forces had captured ISIS’s emir (leader) in Yemen, whose codename is Abu Osama al-Muhajir. Three other ISIS operatives were captured along with him. The house where the four men were staying together with three women and three children was under surveillance. The operation took 10 minutes, during which weapons, ammunition, and communication devices were seized (Al-Arabiya, June 25, 2019).

ISIS’s emir in Yemen and three other ISIS operatives being led by Saudi Special Forces after being captured in Yemen (Saudi News Agency, according to a report on Al-Arabiya, June 25, 2019)
ISIS’s emir in Yemen and three other ISIS operatives being led by Saudi Special Forces after being captured in Yemen (Saudi News Agency, according to a report on Al-Arabiya, June 25, 2019)

The killing of two ISIS operatives in Dagestan
  • According to Russian media reports, two ISIS operatives were killed in Dagestan on June 23, 2019. They had planned to carry out attacks against the law enforcement authorities. The security forces reportedly tried to stop the car in which the two operatives were traveling. They were shot after opening fire at the security forces. A machine gun and rifle were found in their possession (TASS News Agency, June 23, 2019).

[1] GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) is a technology used for sending information and for navigation on a cellular network (it still works website).