Spotlight on Global Jihad (April 22-29, 2021)

ISIS operatives attacking a police camp in Al-Sous (Telegram, April 24, 2021)

ISIS operatives attacking a police camp in Al-Sous (Telegram, April 24, 2021)

Motorcycles seized by ISIS (Telegram, April 27, 2021)

Motorcycles seized by ISIS (Telegram, April 27, 2021)

ISIS’s operatives attacking in Mainok.

ISIS’s operatives attacking in Mainok.

The operatives setting fire to the barracks (Telegram, April 27, 2021)

The operatives setting fire to the barracks (Telegram, April 27, 2021)

Weapons seized by ISIS.

Weapons seized by ISIS.

ISIS operatives attacking Congolese army camps in Makundi (Telegram, April 25, 2021)

ISIS operatives attacking Congolese army camps in Makundi (Telegram, April 25, 2021)

ISIS operatives attacking Congolese army camps in Makundi (Telegram, April 25, 2021)

ISIS operatives attacking Congolese army camps in Makundi (Telegram, April 25, 2021)

The weapons seized (Telegram, April 28, 2021)

The weapons seized (Telegram, April 28, 2021)

ISIS operatives before setting out to attack an army camp in Litri (Telegram, April 27, 2021).

ISIS operatives before setting out to attack an army camp in Litri (Telegram, April 27, 2021).

Main events of the past week
  • In the second week of Ramadan, ISIS’s terrorism further increased, especially in Iraq, Syria, and Africa.
  • In Africa, ISIS operatives mainly took control of army camps. In Nigeria, there were two noteworthy incidents: an attack against a military base in Mainok, 200 km west of the Nigeria-Cameroon border; and the takeover of Geidam in the northeastern part of the country. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, ISIS attacked three army camps about 50 km west of the Congo-Uganda border. In Chad, an army camp was attacked in the west of the country.
  • Syria: ISIS continued to inflict casualties on the Syrian army in the desert area (Al-Badia). In addition, ISIS continued to operate against the SDF forces in the northeastern part of the country. In southern Syria, ISIS claimed responsibility for two attacks against the Syrian army.
  • Iraq: This week, there was an increase in ISIS’s terror activity in general, and especially in the Diyala Province. ISIS carried out at least three attacks against electricity and water infrastructure, as part of what it calls the “economic war.”
  • Afghanistan: An increase was evident in the scope of ISIS’s attacks against security personnel, especially in the Jalalabad region.
  • In France, a police worker was stabbed to death at the entrance to a police station near Paris. The stabber, a Tunisian citizen, shouted “Allahu Akbar” before carrying out the attack. A short while before, he allegedly watched jihadi videos praising attacks as part of jihad. The stabbing attack may have been inspired by ISIS’s call on its operatives and supporters to carry out attacks during the month of Ramadan.
The Syrian arena
 Syrian governorates (freeworldmaps.net)
Syrian governorates (freeworldmaps.net)
The Idlib region
  • During the week, exchanges of artillery fire continued almost daily between the Syrian army the forces supporting it, and the rebel forces in the south and southeast of the rebel enclave (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, April 22-28, 2021).
The Deir ez-Zor-Al-Mayadeen region
  • On April 26, 2021, an IED was activated against an SDF vehicle in the Kisra region, about 50 km northwest of Deir ez-Zor. The vehicle was put out of commission and the passengers were wounded. On the same day, another IED was activated at an SDF headquarters in the Basira region, about 15 km north of Al-Mayadeen. The building sustained damage.
  • On April 26, 2021, an SDF commander was targeted by gunfire in Shahil, about 10 km north of Al-Mayadeen. He was wounded.
  • On April 24, 2021, an IED was activated against a vehicle of the SDF forces in the Basira region, about 15 km north of Al-Mayadeen. The passengers, including a commander, were wounded. On the same day, an SDF “spy” in Abu Hamam, about 30 km southeast of Al-Mayadeen, was targeted by gunfire and wounded.
  • On April 23, 2021, an IED was activated against an SDF building east of Deir ez-Zor. The building, which was under construction, was destroyed.
The Al-Raqqah region
  • On April 24, 2021, the SDF Military Police headquarters in the town of Karamah, about 30 km east of the city of Al-Raqqah, was targeted by gunfire. Two SDF fighters were wounded.
  • On April 21, 2021, an SDF patrol in Hazima, north of Al-Raqqah, was targeted by gunfire. An SDF fighter was killed and another was wounded. Later, an IED was activated against another SDF vehicle arriving on the scene. A sapper and two of his assistants were killed. Another assistant was wounded.
The Al-Hasakah region
  • On April 23, 2021, two SDF fighters were targeted by gunfire in Hamail, south of Al-Hasakah.
  • On April 22, 2021, a gas station belonging to an SDF fighter was attacked in Markada, about 70 km northeast of Deir ez-Zor. Two SDF fighters securing the station were killed. The station and its fuel storage tank were bombed and sustained heavy damage.
The desert region (Al-Badia)
  • On April 25, 2021, an IED was activated against a Syrian army vehicle in the Al-Sukhnah Desert, about 120 km southwest of Deir ez-Zor. The passengers were killed or wounded. The day before, an IED was activated against a Syrian army convoy in the area. A truck was hit and all its passengers were killed or wounded. A short while afterwards, another IED exploded while the soldiers tried to neutralize it. Several soldiers were killed and wounded.
  • On April 23, 2021, a Syrian army post was targeted by gunfire in the Ithriya region, about 100 km northeast of Hama. Several soldiers were killed or wounded.
ISIS operatives setting out to attack a Syrian army camp in the Ithriya region (Telegram, April 24, 2021)      ISIS operatives setting out to attack a Syrian army camp in the Ithriya region (Telegram, April 24, 2021)
ISIS operatives setting out to attack a Syrian army camp in the Ithriya region
(Telegram, April 24, 2021)
Southern Syria
  • This week as well, ISIS claimed responsibility for attacks carried out in southern Syria against the Syrian army. Following are the incidents:
  • On April 26, 2021, a tanker carrying water for the Syrian army was targeted by gunfire east of Daraa. The driver was killed.
  • On April 24, 2021, an officer and a soldier in the Syrian army’s Air Force Intelligence Directorate were targeted by gunfire east of Daraa. They were both killed.
Denial of the Russian report on killing 200 ISIS operatives
  • In a report in this week’s issue of its Al-Naba’ weekly, ISIS denied the announcement by the Russian army last week, according to which 200 ISIS operatives were killed in an airstrike carried out by Russian aircraft in the desert area in Syria (Al-Badia). The report claimed that “the Russians disseminate many lies in the media” (Al-Naba’ weekly, Telegram, April 22, 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. Especially noteworthy was the Diyala Province, which sustained the largest number of attacks. At least three attacks were carried out against electricity and water infrastructure, as part of what ISIS refers to as the “economic war” against the Iraqi government. Following are the attacks according to ISIS’s claims of responsibility.
Diyala Province
  • On April 27, 2021, two Shiite residents were targeted by gunfire west of Khanaqin, about 90 km northeast of Baqubah. They were seriously wounded.
  • On April 27, 2021, mortar shells were fired at the Shiite region of Qara Tapa, about 75 km north of Baqubah. No casualties or damage were reported.
  • On April 26, 2021, a Rapid Response force of the Iraqi Interior Ministry was targeted by gunfire in the Al-Waqf region, northwest of Baqubah. An officer was killed and six fighters were wounded.
  • On April 26, 2021, a total of 17 generators and a water pump used by the Tribal Mobilization forces were targeted by gunfire in Albu Bakr, on the outskirts of the Al-Azim region, about 60 km north of Baqubah. In addition, an Iraqi army camp in the area was targeted by gunfire. One soldier was wounded.
  • On April 26, 2021, the house of a commander in the Popular Mobilization forces was targeted by gunfire and hand grenades south of Baqubah. The commander was killed.
  • On April 25, 2021, an IED was activated against a Tribal Mobilization vehicle about 2 km southeast of Baqubah. One fighter was killed and three others were wounded.
  • On April 23, 2021, a policeman was targeted by gunfire west of Baqubah. He was wounded.
  • On April 22, 2021, an IED was activated against an Iraqi army vehicle in the Al-Waqf region, northwest of Baqubah. One soldier was killed and three others were wounded. An Iraqi police patrol that arrived on the scene was targeted by gunfire and also hit by an IED. Six policemen, including an officer, were killed, and two others, one of them a captain, were wounded.
  • On April 21, 2021, an IED was activated against an Iraqi army vehicle west of Khanaqin. The passengers were wounded.
  • On April 20, 2021, houses of Shiite residents were targeted by gunfire about 90 km northeast of Baqubah. One resident was killed, and four houses and two cars were set on fire. An Iraqi army patrol arriving on the scene to provide assistance was targeted by an IED and gunfire. Three soldiers were killed and two officers and another soldier were wounded.
 Shiites’ houses set on fire (Telegram, April 25, 2021)    ISIS operative setting fire to the house of Shiite residents (Telegram, April 25, 2021).
Right: ISIS operative setting fire to the house of Shiite residents (Telegram, April 25, 2021). Left: Shiites’ houses set on fire (Telegram, April 25, 2021)
Kirkuk Province
  • On April 27, 2021, Iraqi policemen handled an IED planted by ISIS in the Rashad region, about 40 km southwest of Kirkuk. While they were trying to neutralize the IED, it blew up. Four policemen were killed and five were wounded.
  • On April 22, 2021, an Iraqi policeman was targeted by gunfire in Kirkuk’s rural area. He was wounded.
  • On April 22, 2021, an Iraqi police camp in Al-Sous, south of Kirkuk, was targeted by gunfire. Two policemen were killed and several others were wounded. The camp sustained heavy damage.
Salah al-Din Province
  • On April 26, 2021, several mortar shells were fired at an army camp on the Tuz Khormato-Tikrit road, around the Zarka junction, about 90 km northeast of Samarra. Hits were observed, but no casualties were reported.
  • On April 25, 2021, an IED was activated against a high-voltage pylon supplying electricity to the Al-Ajil oilfield area, east of the city of Al-Alam (about 10 km north of Tikrit). The pylon sustained heavy damage.
  • On April 20, 2021, an Iraqi army camp was targeted by gunfire and rockets west of Tuz Khormato, about 100 km northeast of Samarra. One soldier was killed.
  • On April 20, 2021, an IED was activated against a vehicle of the Iraqi National Security Apparatus near Al-Alam. Two apparatus members were killed, and another was wounded.
Al-Anbar Province
  • On April 26, 2021, ISIS operatives attacked a Popular Mobilization headquarters on the border between Iraq and Saudi Arabia. The headquarters caught fire and was burned down to the ground. ISIS operatives seized weapons left there. A day earlier (April 25, 2021), several mortar shells were fired at an Iraqi army camp west of Ramadi. Direct hits were observed.
Nineveh Province
  • On April 26, 2021, an IED was activated against a Popular Mobilization vehicle in Al-Salam, south of Mosul. No casualties were reported. Another IED was activated against a Popular Mobilization patrol in Sheikh Younis, south of Mosul. A sapper was killed and four fighters were wounded.
  • On April 17, 2021, two IEDs were activated against a high-voltage pylon south of Mosul. The pylon collapsed, causing power outages (Al-Naba’ weekly, Telegram, April 22, 2021).
Babel Province
  • On April 27, 2021, an IED was activated against a commander in the Hezbollah organization (this is probably one of the pro-Iranian militias trained by the Lebanese Hezbollah) in the Jarf al-Sakhr region, about 40 km south of Baghdad. The commander and some of his escorts were killed. Several days before, on April 24, 2021, ISIS operatives exchanged fire with a Hezbollah force which tried to ambush ISIS operatives in the area. Two Hezbollah operatives were killed and the others fled.
Counterterrorism measures in Iraq
  • The Iraqi Security Information Department reported that due to the activity of the security forces against ISIS groups, those groups attempt to attack the security forces in the various arenas by firing rockets at areas where there are Iraqi forces. According to the Information Department, three out of eight rockets landed in the Baghdad Airport area. One rocket landed near the Main Prison; another in an open area near the Counterterrorism Academy; and the third near the headquarters of one of the rapid deployment battalions. According to the report, there were no casualties. The Baghdad Operations Headquarters set up a team to investigate the incident (Iraqi News Agency, April 23, 2021).
Al-Anbar Province
  • On April 25, 2021, a Popular Mobilization force destroyed two ISIS guesthouses in the Western Iraq deserts. They found IEDs in one of the guesthouses and food in the other (Al-Sumaria, April 25, 2021).
IEDs found in one of ISIS’s guesthouses which was destroyed (Al-Sumaria, April 25, 2021)
IEDs found in one of ISIS’s guesthouses which was destroyed (Al-Sumaria, April 25, 2021)
  • On April 21, 2021, the Iraqi army found 15 IEDs and 20 mortar shells belonging to ISIS in the Ramadi desert region.
Sulaymaniyah Province
  • On April 21, 2021, the Kurdish Special Forces announced that during the last three months, they had captured 22 people suspected of ISIS activity in the Sulaymaniyah Province. One of the detainees was Ali al-Jamili, ISIS’s commander of the Fallujah region (www.rudaw.net, April 21, 2021). The detentions carried out in the Sulaymaniyah Province may indicate that ISIS’s operatives are able to extend their territory of activity in Iraq, or attempt to find refuge in the Kurdish region because the Iraqi security forces operate against them in other regions of the country.
The Sinai Peninsula
  • Military sources in Bir al-Abd reported that the Egyptian Air Force had detected, through reconnaissance and surveillance aircraft, five ISIS operatives in a desert region. Apache helicopters were immediately sent to the area and carried out airstrikes. After the attack, the bodies of the five operatives were found, along with weapons, food, and a solar panel which they had used for charging their communications devices and cellphones. According to the sources, based on intelligence and security information, ISIS is planning to carry out a large-scale attack during the month of Ramadan (Anbaa Sinaa Facebook page, April 22, 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 15-21, 2021. According to the infographic, during this period, ISIS operatives carried out 63 attacks in the various provinces in Asia and Africa, compared to 43 in the previous week. The largest number of attacks were carried out in Iraq (39). Attacks carried out in ISIS’s other provinces: Syria (13); West Africa (5); Khorasan, i.e., Afghanistan (5); Pakistan (1) (Al-Naba’ weekly, Telegram, April 22, 2021).
  • According to the infographic, 153 people were killed and wounded in those attacks, compared to 117 in the previous week. The largest number of casualties was in Iraq (69). The other casualties were in the following provinces: West Africa (40); Syria (27); Khorasan, i.e., Afghanistan (13); and Pakistan (4) (Al-Naba’ weekly, Telegram, April 22, 2021).
  • According to the infographic, there has been a significant increase in the number of attacks carried out by ISIS in the various provinces since the beginning of Ramadan, mainly in Iraq. ISIS’s Central Africa and Sinai provinces were not active at all during the week in question.
The infographic in ISIS’s Al-Naba' weekly (Al-Naba', Telegram, April 22, 2021)
The infographic in ISIS’s Al-Naba’ weekly (Al-Naba’, Telegram, April 22, 2021)
  •  This week, ISIS posted an infographic summing up the activity in its Iraq and West Africa provinces during the first third of the month of Ramadan (April 13-22, 2021). According to the infographic, during this period, 40 attacks were carried out in Iraq, causing 73 casualties. In West Africa, there were seven attacks, with 61 casualties (Al-Naba’ weekly, Telegram, April 22, 2021).
The infographic in ISIS’s Al-Naba' weekly (Al-Naba', Telegram, April 22, 2021)
The infographic in ISIS’s Al-Naba’ weekly (Al-Naba’, Telegram, April 22, 2021)

Africa

Nigeria
  • A noteworthy event this week was the attack against a military base in Mainok, 200 km west of the Nigeria-Cameroon border. As reported by the security forces, ISIS’s operatives arrived at the site in 16 ATVs equipped with machine guns and six mine sweeping vehicles. After exchanges of fire which lasted for several hours, ISIS took over the base. The soldiers called for air support, and upon its arrival, the ISIS operatives fled. A total of 33 soldiers were reportedly killed (Reuters, April 26, 2021).
  • ISIS’s West Africa Province and Amaq News Agency issued a statement that ISIS’s operatives attacked a Nigerian army camp in Mainok. According to ISIS, at least 14 Nigerian soldiers were killed in the attack, and several others were wounded. ISIS’s operatives set fire to five of the barracks, three vehicles, two tanks, and 10 motorcycles. They seized four cars, six motorcycles, weapons and ammunition. According to the report, the operatives spread out in the town and controlled it for 15 hours (Telegram, April 26, 2021).
  • On April 23, 2021, a large-scale attack was carried out against the town of Geidam, 30 km south of the Nigeria-Niger border, in Yobe State, northeastern Nigeria. There were exchanges of fire with Nigerian soldiers. Several soldiers were killed and several others were wounded. The operatives set fire to a Nigerian army camp, a tank and other vehicles. A Nigerian army vehicle arriving on the site to provide assistance was hit by an IED and all the passengers on board were killed. The ISIS operatives took over the town and set fire to government buildings and buildings of international institutions. They distributed da’wa (i.e., Islamic propaganda) leaflets among the residents.
  • Local sources reported that at least 11 residents had been killed by ISIS in the town (AFP, April 25, 2021). During their stay in the town, the ISIS operatives reportedly looted stores and destroyed three communication poles. After two days, on April 25, 2021, the Nigerian army reportedly carried out airstrikes, killing about 20 Boko Haram operatives (i.e., of the Boko Haram faction affiliated with ISIS) in the town (www.legit.ng, April 25, 2021).
  • On April 26, 2021, ISIS operatives attacked Nigerian soldiers in the town of Matari, on the Nigeria-Cameroon border, in northeastern Nigeria. There were exchanges of fire, in which several soldiers were killed or wounded.
  • On April 21, 2021, an IED was activated against a Nigerian army convoy in Kamuya, about 150 km southwest of Maiduguri, in northeastern Nigeria. The passengers on board one of the vehicles were killed or wounded.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • On April 24, 2021, three Congolese army camps were targeted by gunfire in Makundi, Beni region, about 50 km west of the Congo-Uganda border. There were exchanges of fire, in which two officers were killed. The ISIS operatives seized eight rifles and ammunition.
ISIS operatives attacking Congolese army camps in Makundi (Telegram, April 25, 2021)    ISIS operatives attacking Congolese army camps in Makundi (Telegram, April 25, 2021)
ISIS operatives attacking Congolese army camps in Makundi (Telegram, April 25, 2021)
  • On April 23, 2021, Congolese army camps were targeted by gunfire in the Oicha region, about 20 km north of Beni. There were exchanges of fire, in which a soldier was killed and several others were wounded. The ISIS operatives seized weapons and ammunition.
Chad
  • According to ISIS’s report, on April 26, 2021, there was an attack against a Chadian army camp in Litri, in western Chad. There were exchanges of fire, in which 20 soldiers were killed and wounded. The ISIS operatives set fire to the camp and seized weapons and ammunition.
The weapons seized (Telegram, April 28, 2021)   ISIS operatives before setting out to attack an army camp in Litri (Telegram, April 27, 2021).
Right: ISIS operatives before setting out to attack an army camp in Litri
(Telegram, April 27, 2021). Left: The weapons seized (Telegram, April 28, 2021)
Mali
  • On April 27, 2021, ISIS operatives ambushed Malian soldiers in the Ansongo region, in the tri-border region of Mali-Niger-Burkina Faso. Several soldiers were killed.
The scene of the attack in Ansongo (Telegram, April 27, 2021)
The scene of the attack in Ansongo (Telegram, April 27, 2021)

Asia

Afghanistan
  • This week, too, ISIS attacked Afghan security officials. Most of the attacks took place in the city of Jalalabad. Following are noteworthy attacks, according to ISIS’s claims of responsibility:
    • On April 28, 2021, a “spy” of the security forces of the Afghan government was targeted by gunfire in Khogyani, in the Nangarhar Province.
    • On April 26, 2021, a member of the Afghan security forces was targeted by gunfire in Kabul and was killed.
    • On April 25, 2021, an Afghan intelligence operative was targeted by gunfire and was killed. On the same day, an IED was activated against policemen in Jalalabad. Two of them were killed, and another was wounded.
    • On April 24, 2021, an IED was activated against an Afghan army vehicle, killing three soldiers.
    • On April 24, 2021, the home of a man referred to by ISIS as a sorcerer was broken into in a village in the Nangarhar Province. He was killed and his weapon was seized.
    • On April 23, 2021, an IED was activated against an Afghan army vehicle. Two soldiers were killed and two other were wounded.
    • On April 21, 2021, a vehicle of Shiite residents on a road west of Kabul was targeted by gunfire. The four passengers were killed, including a government official.
    • On April 18, 2021, an IED was activated against the car of a member of parliament. Two of his escorts were killed and three others were wounded. Apparently, the MP was not in the car at the time of the explosion.
India
  • On April 23, 2021, ISIS operatives threw a Molotov cocktail at a police post in Srinagar, in northern Kashmir. Several policemen were wounded. The post was damaged.

Europe

France
  • A police worker was stabbed to death at the entrance of a police station in Rambouillet, near Paris. According to a source close to the investigation, the stabber, a Tunisian citizen, shouted “Allahu Akbar” before stabbing the victim. Policemen shot and killed him. It is estimated that this was a terror attack (Reuters, April 23, 2021). Two days after the incident, it was reported that a short while before carrying out the attack, the stabber had watched jihadi videos praising attacks as part of jihad (Reuters, April 25, 2021). The attack may have been inspired by ISIS’s call on its operatives and supporters to carry out attacks during the month of Ramadan.
Denmark
  • Security forces in Copenhagen detained six people suspected of ISIS activity and funding. Two of the detainees had been in Syria and joined the ranks of ISIS. Five of them are accused of funding ISIS (AP, April 27, 2021).
The battle for hearts and minds
  • This week, the main article in Al-Naba’ weekly, entitled From Baghdad to Africa, is about ISIS’s expansion in Africa. According to the author, the “infidels” could not believe that ISIS would be able to expand beyond Iraq and Syria, and today they witness its expansion in Africa, where ISIS operates not only against local army forces, but also against the Christian population (the “infidel Christians”).
  • The author notes that the attacks by ISIS operatives in Africa made the true Muslims happy and sowed fear among Christians and Muslims collaborating with the Western countries. It has reached a point where news from Africa received much attention in world media, such as the events in Mozambique (ISIS’s takeover of Palma), which made headlines in the United States (“Crusader America”). The author says that concurrently with its activity in Africa, ISIS continues to strike in Iraq.
  • The author further notes that the United States and Coalition countries failed in their mission to differentiate between the various arenas where ISIS’s attacks take place. According to him, ISIS acts as one entity throughout the world, transcending geographical and ethnic borders. Although the West has declared victory over ISIS in Syria and Iraq, it now finds itself entangled in the countries of Africa, whose governments and armies have been shaken.
  • The author ends with a call on Muslims everywhere to contemplate Allah’s grace bestowed on ISIS’s operatives, despite the difficulties that have encountered, and understand that this is the path to win Allah’s grace. Addressing ISIS’s operatives in Africa, he congratulates them on their attacks against the “infidels,” calling on them to persevere while remembering that Allah has bestowed success upon them in Africa, and that many more successes are in store for them at the hand of Allah in the future (Al-Naba’ weekly, Telegram, April 22, 2021).
The article in the Al-Naba' weekly (Telegram, April 22, 2021)
The article in the Al-Naba’ weekly (Telegram, April 22, 2021)