Spotlight on Global Jihad (April 15-21 2021)

ISIS operative firing a rocket against an Egyptian tank (Telegram, April 17, 2021).

ISIS operative firing a rocket against an Egyptian tank (Telegram, April 17, 2021).

Execution of a Christian who erected an orthodox church in Sinai where, according to ISIS, there was collaboration with the Egyptian army against ISIS (Telegram, April 17, 2021).

Execution of a Christian who erected an orthodox church in Sinai where, according to ISIS, there was collaboration with the Egyptian army against ISIS (Telegram, April 17, 2021).

ISIS operatives setting fire to the base.

ISIS operatives setting fire to the base.

Nigerian army armored vehicle seized by ISIS operatives (Telegram, April 19, 2021)

Nigerian army armored vehicle seized by ISIS operatives (Telegram, April 19, 2021)

Documentation of the attack by ISIS operatives against a Nigerian army post.

Documentation of the attack by ISIS operatives against a Nigerian army post.

One of the vehicles set on fire (Telegram, April 17, 2021)

One of the vehicles set on fire (Telegram, April 17, 2021)

Weapons and ammunition seized by ISIS operatives (Telegram, April 17, 2021)

Weapons and ammunition seized by ISIS operatives (Telegram, April 17, 2021)

Main events of the past week
  • 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. Noteworthy attacks include detonating a car bomb in the Shiite neighborhood of Al-Sadr in Baghdad, which killed at least 20 people, and firing at a Russian helicopter attempting to land in the Homs Desert, which killed two Russian soldiers. The latest issue of ISIS’s Al-Naba’ weekly included an article calling on Muslims to carry out attacks during the month of Ramadan as one of the main commandments of this month.
  • In Africa, ISIS’s intensive activity continued. Nigeria: ISIS operatives, for the fourth time in a month, took over an army base and the town of Damasak on the Nigeria-Niger border. This takeover, like its predecessors, lasted several hours, after which the ISIS operatives left the area after setting fire to public buildings. In the town of Kamuya, in northeastern Nigeria, ISIS operatives attacked an army post. At least 10 soldiers were killed in the exchange of fire and several others were wounded. Niger: ISIS operatives attacked army forces and a police headquarters in the Diffa region, on the Niger-Nigeria border. Sixteen soldiers and policemen, including an officer, were killed, and several others were wounded.
  • Syria: This week, ISIS carried out two noteworthy attacks against the Syrian security forces in the Hawran region in southern Syria. In the Deir ez-Zor-Al-Mayadeen region, ISIS continued its terrorist activity against the Kurdish SDF forces. One noteworthy attack was carried out on April 13, 2021. It began with rocket fire at a camp of the SDF forces in Al-Jasmi, east of Deir ez-Zor. Two IEDs were activated against forces that arrived at the scene to provide assistance. At least 10 SDF fighters were killed or wounded. According to a Russian report, Russian forces carried out an airstrike against an ISIS base near Palmyra. About 200 operatives were killed and large quantities of equipment were destroyed.
  • Iraq: The most noteworthy attack was the detonation of a car bomb in a Shiite neighborhood in eastern Baghdad. It should be noted that this was the first attack in Baghdad (which has seen many attacks in the past) since January 21, 2021. In addition, there was an increase in the number of attacks in the Kirkuk Province this week.
  • The Sinai Peninsula: ISIS continued its activity against the Egyptian security forces, albeit on a small scale. ISIS’s Sinai Province released a video threatening residents of the Sinai Peninsula, especially members of the tribal militias operating alongside the Egyptian security forces, lest they take action against ISIS.
  • Asia: In Afghanistan, ISIS continued its activity against the security forces, mainly in the form of activating IEDs. India: Fields of grain belonging to Hindus in the New Delhi region were set on fire as part of what ISIS calls its economic war.
  • The chapter dealing with the threats posed by ISIS and Al-Qaeda in the American Intelligence Community’s annual threat assessment report published on April 9, 2021, states that these organizations remain the greatest Sunni terrorist threats to US interests overseas. It is estimated that these organizations are also working to carry out attacks on US soil, although counterterrorism activity on the part of the US and its allies has significantly reduced their ability to do so. Lone wolves in the US and small, ideologically-motivated squads still pose a greater immediate domestic threat.
The Syrian arena
Syrian governorates (freeworldmaps.net)
Syrian governorates (freeworldmaps.net)
The Idlib region
  • Exchanges of artillery fire continued between the Syrian army the forces supporting it, and the rebel forces.
    • On April 15, 2021, two fighters from the forces supporting the Syrian army were killed in an explosion in the Jabal al-Zawiya region, in the southeastern part of the rebel enclave (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, April 15, 2021). In response, the Syrian army fired rockets at HTS targets in the region. It also fired machine guns at the Al-Ghab Plain, in the southwestern part of the rebel enclave. No casualties were reported (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, April 16, 2021).
    • On April 13, 2021, the Syrian army fired artillery at the Al-Ghab Plain. In response, the rebel forces fired a guided missile at a Syrian army vehicle. The passengers on board were killed or wounded (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, April 13, 2021).
The Deir ez-Zor-Al-Mayadeen region
  • ISIS operatives continued to carry out attacks in the region, mainly against SDF forces and government officials affiliated with them. A noteworthy attack was carried out in April 13, 2021: rockets were fired at an SDF camp in Al-Jasmi, east of Deir ez-Zor. When forces arrived at the scene to provide assistance, two IEDs were activated against them. At least 10 SDF fighters were killed and wounded, and the camp sustained heavy damage. Following are additional incidents according to ISIS’s claims of responsibility:
    • On April 20, 2021, an IED was activated against an SDF vehicle about 20 km north of Al-Mayadeen. The passengers were wounded.
    • On April 20, 2021, an SDF intelligence operative was shot dead in the Diban area, about 3 km east of Al-Mayadeen.
    • On April 19, 2021, an SDF “spy” was targeted by gunfire in Shahil, about 10 km north of Al-Mayadeen. On the same day, an SDF intelligence operative was also targeted by gunfire in the area. He was wounded.
    • On April 17, 2021, an SDF vehicle in the Diban area was targeted by machine gun fire. A commander and his escort were killed, and the vehicle was put out of commission. On the same day, an IED was activated against an SDF truck in the Basira area, about 15 km north of Al-Mayadeen. Two SDF fighters were killed, and at least five others were wounded.
    • On April 15, 2021, an SDF intelligence operative was targeted by machine gun fire in the Sour area, about 50 km northwest of Deir ez-Zor.
The Al-Raqqah region
  • On April 19, 2021, an IED was activated against an SDF vehicle on the Al-Raqqah-al-Sahl road, southwest of Al-Raqqah. The passengers on board were killed or wounded.
The Al-Hasakah region
  • An IED was activated against an SDF truck carrying logistical equipment south of Al-Hasakah, near the border between Syria and Iraq. One SDF fighter was killed and two others were wounded. The truck was destroyed.
The desert region (Al-Badia)
  • On April 17, 2021, according to ISIS’s reports, Russian soldiers dropped from a helicopter in the Al-Sukhnah area (about 120 km southwest of Deir ez-Zor) were attacked by ISIS gunfire. According to ISIS, two soldiers were killed and several others were wounded. According to the same report, the helicopter was also damaged but could take off. It should be noted that in the Russian media, there is no mention of the above incident.
  • On April 16, 2021, two civilians were killed by the explosion of a mine left by ISIS northwest of Palmyra (Al-Alam, April 16, 2021).
Southern Syria
  • This week, ISIS’s media reported on activity against the Syrian security forces in Hawran, in southern Syria. Following are the incidents according to ISIS’s claims of responsibility:
    • On April 20, 2021, two Syrian soldiers were targeted by gunfire in Ghadir al-Bustan, in Quneitra’s rural area. They were killed and their weapons were seized.
    • On April 15, 2021, a vehicle of the Syrian regime’s military security apparatus was targeted by machine gun fire in Nawa, west of Daraa. Two military apparatus operatives were killed and two others were wounded. The vehicle was put out of commission.

Russian activity

Russian airstrikes
  • On April 19, 2021, Russian planes carried out over 200 sorties in the Palmyra area (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, April 19-20, 2021). According to Rear Adm. Alexander Karpov, the Deputy Director of the Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria, the Russian army received intelligence on armed operatives who had established a camouflaged base near Palmyra. After confirming the intelligence, Russian fighter jets attacked the base. Two facilities where operatives were hiding were destroyed and at least 200 operatives were killed. In addition, they destroyed 24 vans carrying machine guns and 500 kg of ammunition and components for manufacturing IEDs. According to the Russian spokesman, the facilities that were attacked had served as a base for terrorist groups about to carry out attacks throughout Syria (Arab News, April 20, 2021). The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights questions the credibility of the above report, since ISIS operatives usually move in small groups and are not in the habit of concentrating in one base. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimates that the Russian military sources disseminated the report in response to an announcement by ISIS a few hours before that its operatives had attacked a helicopter and killed two Russian soldiers during a failed landing operation in the Syrian Desert (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, April 20, 2021).
Bringing orphaned children from Syria back to Russia
  • A Russian Defense Ministry airplane flying from Syria with 44 Russian orphaned children landed in a Moscow airport. Most of the children, aged 2-16, arrived from the Al-Hawl camp controlled by the Kurds in northeastern Syria (where families of ISIS operatives are being held). Ten of them arrived from a Damascus orphanage. Anna Kuznetsova, the Children’s Rights Commissioner for the President of the Russian Federation, was in charge of bringing the children to Russia. Repatriating the children is part of a series of efforts by Russia to repatriate young people with Russian citizenship, family members of ISIS operatives, from Syria and Iraq (TASS, April 19, 2021).
The Iraqi arena
Provinces of Iraq (Wikipedia)
Provinces of Iraq (Wikipedia)
  • This week, there has been an increase in the number of attacks carried out by ISIS operatives in the various provinces in Iraq. Most of the attacks were directed against the Iraqi security forces and the militias supporting them. A noteworthy attack was carried out in a Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad, killing many civilians. Following are prominent attacks according to ISIS’s claims of responsibility.
Baghdad Province
  • Four people were killed and about 20 were wounded when a car bomb exploded in the Al-Habibiya open market in the Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City, in eastern Baghdad (Reuters, April 15, 2021; Al-Arabiya, April 18, 2021). ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack and noted that it had been carried out by a car bomb, which could be driven into the market area in spite of the many security measures taken in the city. According to ISIS, about 20 Shiites were killed or wounded in the attack (Telegram, April 16, 2021).
  • According to information obtained by the Saudi Al-Arabiya channel, pro-Iranian elements were behind the attack. According to that information, the car bomb was supposed to be detonated in a main street in Baghdad, against a logistical assistance convoy of the International Coalition forces. However, due to a malfunction, the car caught fire, the driver abandoned it, and it exploded. It was further reported that the driver, Hossein Ali Mahmoud al-Fartousi, who was wounded and is in a stable condition, is an operative of the pro-Iranian Sayyid al-Shuhada militia, which is part of the Popular Mobilization Forces (Al-Arabiya, April 18, 2021).
  • This is the first attack carried out in Baghdad (which has seen many attacks in the past) since January 21, 2021. A previous suicide bombing attack took place about two years ago, on June 21, 2019, in the Shiite Al-Mahdi Mosque in the city. The target of the attack, a crowded market in a Shiite neighborhood in the city, was targeted in a series of attacks carried out by ISIS operatives, and therefore it is more likely that ISIS, which claimed official responsibility for carrying out this attack, is behind it this time as well.
The scene of the attack in the Al-Habibiya market (Al-Sumaria, April 17, 2021)     The scene of the attack in the Al-Habibiya market (Al-Sumaria, April 17, 2021)
The scene of the attack in the Al-Habibiya market (Al-Sumaria, April 17, 2021)
Diyala Province
  • On April 19, 2021, two army camps south of the Al-Azim area, about 50 km north of Baqubah, were targeted by gunfire. Two soldiers were killed and an officer and a soldier were wounded. The same day, ISIS operatives destroyed 40 generators and transformers used by the Tribal Mobilization forces in the area.
  • On April 19, 2021, an IED was activated against an Iraqi army vehicle about 2 km southeast of Baqubah. The vehicle was destroyed and the passengers on board were killed or wounded.
  • On April 12, 2021, an IED was activated against a group of policemen operating in Umm al-Khanazir, in the Al-Waqf area, northwest of Baqubah. Nine policemen were wounded.
  • On April 12, 2021, an IED was activated against an Iraqi army vehicle in the Al-Mansouria area, about 50 km northeast of Baqubah. No casualties were reported. The vehicle was put out of commission. An IED was activated against another vehicle, in the Kara Tapa area, about 75 km north of Baqubah. Three soldiers were killed and two others were wounded. The vehicle was destroyed.
Kirkuk Province
  • In the Kirkuk region this week, there has been an increase in ISIS’s activity against the Iraqi army and the forces supporting it (the Popular Mobilization and the Tribal Mobilization). Following are several noteworthy attacks according to ISIS’s claims of responsibility:
    • On April 18, 2021, rockets and machine guns were fired at an Iraqi police camp in the Rashad area, about 35 km southeast of Kirkuk. One policeman was wounded and the camp sustained damage.
    • On April 17, 2021, several IEDs were activated against two oil wells near Al-Dabas, about 30 km northwest of Kirkuk. According to Iraqi sources, the wells were not damaged. According to ISIS, the wells did sustain damage (Telegram, April 18, 2021; Al-Sumaria, April 17, 2021). It appears to be yet another attack carried out as part of the “economic war” waged by ISIS against the Iraqi regime.
    • On April 16, 2021, rockets and machine guns were fired at three joint camps of the Iraqi army and the Popular Mobilization forces near the Al-Haliwa airport, south of Kirkuk. A force arriving on the scene to provide assistance was also attacked. Four soldiers were killed and five others were wounded.
    • On April 16, 2021, an Iraqi army camp was targeted by gunfire near Al-Kayf, about 30 km northwest of Kirkuk. Two soldiers were killed.
    • On April 16, 2021, an Iraqi police camp was targeted by gunfire in the Riyad region, about 50 km southwest of Kirkuk. Two policemen were killed.
    • On April 15, 2021, rockets were fired at houses of Tribal Mobilization fighters about 40 km southwest of Kirkuk.
    • On April 13, 2021, an Iraqi police camp was targeted by gunfire in the Daquq area, in the southern part of Kirkuk. Three policemen were killed and another was wounded.
  • ISIS’s intensive activity in the Kirkuk region was documented in a series of photos disseminated by ISIS’s media and entitled Part of the caliphate soldiers’ attacks against camps of Islam renegades in the various areas of Kirkuk (Telegram, April 19, 2021).
The title of the series of photos documenting ISIS’s activity in Kirkuk (Telegram, April 19, 2021)
 The title of the series of photos documenting ISIS’s activity in Kirkuk (Telegram, April 19, 2021)
ISIS operatives on their way to attack an Iraqi police camp in the Rashad area, about 35 km southeast of Kirkuk (Telegram, April 19, 2021).    Rocket fired at the houses of the Tribal Mobilization fighters about 40 km southwest of Kirkuk (Telegram, April 19, 2021).
Right: Rocket fired at the houses of the Tribal Mobilization fighters about 40 km southwest of Kirkuk (Telegram, April 19, 2021). Left: ISIS operatives on their way to attack an Iraqi police camp in the Rashad area, about 35 km southeast of Kirkuk (Telegram, April 19, 2021).
Salah al-Din Province
  • On April 18, 2021, an IED was activated against a mukhtar (head of a neighborhood) on the outskirts of Samarra.
  • On April 15, 2021, two camps of the Iraqi army and the Popular Mobilization were targeted by gunfire in the Tuz Khormato region, about 100 km northeast of Samarra. Three soldiers were killed.
  • On April 12, 2021, an Iraqi army intelligence operative was targeted by gunfire near Tarmiyah, about 30 km north of Baghdad. He was killed.
Al-Anbar Province
  • On April 18, 2021, rockets were fired at an Iraqi army camp west of Hit. Direct hits were reported but no casualties were mentioned.
  • On April 17, 2021, mortar shells were fired at an Iraqi army camp east of Al-Rutba, on the international highway. Direct hits were reported but no casualties were mentioned.
Nineveh Province
  • On April 18, 2021, an IED was activated against an Iraqi army foot patrol south of Mosul. Three soldiers were wounded.
Counterterrorism measures in Iraq
Nineveh Province
  • The Iraqi judiciary announced that a large quantity of valuables estimated at about $1.6 million had been found under the rubble in the city of Mosul. The valuables were left behind by ISIS operatives who controlled the city at the time. They consisted of gold and silver coins, gold artifacts and jewels. They were transferred to the Iraqi Central Bank (aramme.com, April 16, 2021). Two days earlier, the Iraqi security forces located a workshop for manufacturing explosives in the Tal Afar region, in western Iraq. It contained substances for manufacturing explosives, shells, mortars, and bullets of various types (Al-Sumaria, April 14, 2021).
Kirkuk Province
  • The Ministry of the Interior reported that police had found IEDs and explosive devices in several sites in the Kirkuk Province (Al-Sumaria, April 19, 2021).
The Sinai Peninsula
  • A relatively small number of attacks were reported this week. On April 12, 2021, ISIS operatives fired machine guns at an Egyptian army foot patrol on the international highway near Bir al-Abd. At least one soldier was wounded.
An ISIS video warning the residents of the Sinai Peninsula
  • ISIS’s Sinai Province released a video containing threats against residents of the Sinai Peninsula, especially the tribal militias operating in support of the Egyptian security forces. In the 13-minute long video, ISIS operatives warn the residents not to act against ISIS, threatening that they will take strong action against them thus making them suffer a bitter fate. To enhance what has been said, the video also contains photos documenting ISIS’s activity against the Egyptian security forces, attacks carried out by the operatives, executions of collaborators with the Egyptian regime (one of them a Christian who erected a church in Sinai, from which, according to the video, security elements were operating against ISIS), and more (Telegram, April 17, 2021).
  • The Egyptian Ministry of the Interior released a statement, according to which three terrorist operatives were killed in the Sinai Peninsula and the involvement of three others in the abduction and killing of a Christian resident in northern Sinai has been confirmed (@mahmoudgamal44 Twitter account, April 19, 2021).
Summary of ISIS’s activity in the various provinces
  • This week, ISIS posted an infographic summing up its activity around the globe on April 7-14, 2021. According to the infographic, during this period, ISIS operatives carried out 43 attacks in the various provinces in Asia and Africa, compared to 34 in the previous week. The largest number of attacks were carried out in Syria (11) and Iraq (11). Attacks carried out in ISIS’s other provinces: West Africa (10); Central Africa (4); Khorasan, i.e., Afghanistan (3); Sinai (2); Somalia (1); and India (1) (Al-Naba’ weekly, Telegram, April 15, 2021).
  • According to the infographic, 115 people were killed and wounded in those attacks, compared to 102 in the previous week. The largest number of casualties was in West Africa (46). The other casualties were in the following provinces: Iraq (29); Syria (26); Central Africa (4); Khorasan, i.e., Afghanistan (4); Somalia (3); and Sinai (3) (Al-Naba’ weekly, Telegram, April 15, 2021).
  • According to the infographic, the number of casualties in Africa is still very high, although the largest number of attacks were carried out in Syria and Iraq.
The infographic in ISIS’s Al-Naba' weekly (Al-Naba', Telegram, April 15, 2021)
The infographic in ISIS’s Al-Naba’ weekly (Al-Naba’, Telegram, April 15, 2021)
Africa
Nigeria[1]
  • This week (April 13, 2021), ISIS operatives carried out another attack in the Damasak region, on the Nigeria-Niger border in Borno State, northeastern Nigeria. This is the fourth time in the past month that its operatives have taken over the town. The attack was very similar to the previous one, on April 10, 2021. First, ISIS operatives attacked the Nigerian army base in the town. There were exchanges of fire and several soldiers were killed or wounded. ISIS operatives then spread throughout the town, killing eight employees of Western (“Crusader”) organizations and abducting another employee. They also set fire to three vehicles, a number of buildings belonging to organizations and a number of public buildings of the Nigerian government. After a few hours they again withdrew from the area. On April 17, 2021, ISIS operatives ambushed Nigerian soldiers on the road between Damasak and Gubio, some 70 km south of Damasak. There were exchanges of fire and several soldiers were killed or wounded.
  • On April 18, 2021, ISIS operatives attacked a Nigerian army base in Dikwa, about 50 km from the Nigeria-Cameroon border. There were exchanges of fire and a number of soldiers were killed or wounded. ISIS operatives set fire to the base and seized vehicles, weapons and ammunition.
Weapons and ammunition seized by ISIS operatives (Telegram, April 19, 2021)
Weapons and ammunition seized by ISIS operatives (Telegram, April 19, 2021)
  • On April 16, 2021, ISIS operatives attacked a Nigerian army post in Kamuya, near Biu, about 170 km southwest of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, in northeastern Nigeria. An exchange of fire took place, in which at least 10 soldiers were killed and several others were wounded. ISIS operatives set fire to the post and four armored vehicles.
  • On April 13, 2021, ISIS operatives attacked a Nigerian army camp in Gajiram, about 120 km southeast of the Nigeria-Chad-Cameroon tri-border area, in northeastern Nigeria. An exchange of fire reportedly took place, in which several soldiers were killed or wounded.
Niger
  • ISIS operatives fired machine guns at a group of soldiers and a Nigerien police headquarters in the Diffa region in southeastern Niger, on the Niger-Nigeria border. Ten soldiers and policemen were killed in the attack, including an officer, and several others were wounded. ISIS operatives seized six vehicles. An IED was activated against the forces that arrived at the scene to provide assistance, killing six more soldiers and raising the death toll to 16.
Asia
Afghanistan
  • This week, too, ISIS attacked Afghan security officials. Following are several noteworthy attacks, according to ISIS’s claims of responsibility:
    • On April 19, 2021, an Afghan security operative was targeted by gunfire in Jalalabad. He was killed.
    • On April 18, 2021, an officer in the Afghan security forces was targeted by gunfire in Jalalabad. He was killed. The same day, an IED was activated against the vehicle of an officer in the Afghan security forces. The officer was seriously wounded and his escort was killed.
    • On April 12, 2021, an IED was activated against an Afghan army vehicle in the Watapur region in the Kunar Province, about 20 km northwest of Islamabad. The vehicle was put out of commission and the passengers were wounded.
Pakistan
  • On April 19, 2021, a Taliban commander was targeted by gunfire in Peshawar, near the border with Afghanistan. Three of his escorts were wounded.
India
  • According to this week’s issue of ISIS’s Al-Naba’ weekly, as part of the ISIS’s ongoing economic war, ISIS operatives set fire to grain fields owned by “polytheistic” Hindus in the town of Nangal Brahman, about 50 km south of New Delhi (Al-Naba’ weekly, Telegram, April 15, 2021).
The report that appeared in ISIS’s weekly and documentation of the fields going up in flames (Al-Naba’, Telegram, April 15, 2021)
The report that appeared in ISIS’s weekly and documentation of the fields going up in flames (Al-Naba’, Telegram, April 15, 2021)
Turkey
  • Turkish security forces continued their counterterrorism activity. As part of this activity, the Counterterrorism Unit arrested 14 suspected ISIS operatives at several sites in Istanbul (Anatolia News Agency, April 20, 2021).
Assessment of US intelligence regarding the terrorist threats of ISIS and Al-Qaeda
  • The US intelligence Community’s annual threat assessment report to Congress, published on April 9, 2021, addresses global threats to US national security. In the chapter dealing with the threats posed by ISIS and Al-Qaeda, the report states that these organizations remain the biggest Sunni threats to US interests overseas. It is estimated that these organizations are also working to carry out attacks on US soil, although counterterrorism activity on the part of the US and its allies has significantly reduced their ability to do so. At the same time, lone wolves in the US and small, ideologically-motivated squads still pose an immediate threat from within.
  • With regard to ISIS, the report notes that despite the elimination of many of its senior officials, ISIS still has the power to carry out a prolonged insurgency in Syria and Iraq. Although there has been a decrease in attacks carried out by ISIS in Western countries since they peaked in 2017, carrying out such attacks is still a high priority for the organization. However, in light of the logistical and operational difficulties faced by ISIS, ISIS-inspired attacks very likely will remain the primary ISIS threat to the US homeland this year, rather than plots operationally supported or directed by ISIS, given the logistical and security challenges the group would need to overcome to deploy and support attackers in the United States.
  • With regard to Al-Qaeda, the report notes that its leadership has suffered heavy losses in recent years but the remaining leadership will encourage cooperation between regional elements and will continue to call for attacks against the US and other international targets and will seek to advance plotting around the world. Al-Qaeda’s regional affiliates will take advantage of local conflicts and areas where the government is weak in order to threaten the US and Western interests, as well as local governments and the population (US National Intelligence Agency website, April 9, 2021).
The battle for hearts and minds
  • The latest issue of ISIS’s Al-Naba’ weekly included an article calling on Muslims to carry out attacks during the month of Ramadan as one of the commandments of this month. The article, entitled Acts of the Righteous Ones in the Month of Ramadan, discusses the commandments to be performed during this month (which began on April 13, 2021). Beyond the importance of fasting, acts of kindness and charity to the poor, orphans, widows and the needy, and diligence in the study of the Quran, the article mentions jihad and carrying out attacks against the enemies as a commandment of paramount importance. This is in addition to defending Muslim lands (Al-Ribat). The author notes that there is a special reward for offensive jihadi activity. As an example, he cites the Battle of Badr fought by the Prophet Muhammad against the residents of Mecca, which ended with his successful conquest of the city. The author concludes by stating that anyone who wants to receive the highest reward in the month of Ramadan must carry out jihad (Al-Naba’ weekly, Telegram, April 15, 2021).
The text of the article about the month of Ramadan as it appeared in ISIS’s Al-Naba’ weekly (Al-Naba’ weekly, Telegram, April 15, 2021)
The text of the article about the month of Ramadan as it appeared in ISIS’s Al-Naba’ weekly
(Al-Naba’ weekly, Telegram, April 15, 2021)

According to ISIS’s claims of responsibility