The three ISIS operatives who were detained (SecMedCell Facebook page, November 27, 2022)
An ISIS ATV before it was destroyed in the airstrike (@Zagazola Twitter account, November 29, 2022)
Villa Rose Hotel in Mogadishu (the Villa Rose Hotel website)
Main events of the past week
- As in recent weeks, this week as well, ISIS’s activity throughout the world remained moderate. Prominent attacks took place in the Sinai Peninsula, Afghanistan, and Nigeria. The Somali government recorded achievements in fighting against the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Shabaab Organization.
- The Sinai Peninsula: ISIS attacked a checkpoint of the Egyptian security forces in the Suez Canal area, killing between five and six soldiers.
- Syria: The Kurdish SDF forces announced that they would not be able to operate against ISIS as long as Turkey continues to attack the Al-Hasakah region. Gunmen, apparently ISIS operatives, shot at a vehicle about 40 km east of Palmyra. A Syrian army colonel and a soldier were killed.
- Afghanistan: A gunman opened fire at a Shiite mosque in Kabul. Six people were killed and another was wounded. So far, no organization has claimed responsibility, but apparently ISIS was behind the attack.
- Somalia: About 150 Al-Shabaab operatives were killed by the Somali army about 200 km southwest of Mogadishu. Al-Shabaab operatives attacked a hotel in Mogadishu, killing eight civilians and one Somali soldier.
- Nigeria: ISIS continued to operate this week in northeastern Nigeria at a relatively high intensity against the Nigerian security forces, firing mortar shells, activating IEDs, and firing machine guns.
- The battle for hearts and minds: ISIS issued hostile messages against the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, calling on its operatives to drive away the polytheists, Jews, and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula. An element affiliated with ISIS disseminated a video on social media calling for attacks on Christmas against the “enemies of Muslims” throughout the world.
The Sinai Peninsula
- On November 29, 2022, it was reported that an Egyptian army force was attacked in the Sinai Peninsula and a commando soldier was killed. The location or other details about the attack were not provided. So far, no organization has claimed responsibility, but it was probably ISIS (Rassed Sinaa Telegram channel, November 29, 2022).
- In the early morning of November 27, 2022, an ISIS suicide bomber activated an explosive belt that he carried on his body at the Al-Muthalath (Triangle) checkpoint of the Egyptian security forces near the Suez Canal, about 3 km northeast of Al-Qantara. There were exchanges of fire between the Egyptian army and ISIS. Two ISIS operatives were killed. Five or six Egyptian security personnel were killed (Al-Araby al-Jadeed, the Sinai Foundation for Human Rights, Sinaa Mubasher Facebook page, November 27, 2022; @Mousax07 Twitter account, November 27, 2022). As will be recalled, on November 18-19, 2022, there was a heavy exchange of fire in the same place between the Egyptian army and ISIS operatives who took over public buildings in the city.
Al-Muthalath checkpoint northeast of Al-Qantara and close to the Suez Canal (Google Maps)
- It should be noted that the Suez Canal area is a strategic region being an international traffic artery of importance to world trade in general and the Egyptian economy in particular. The expansion of ISIS activity into the region could cause damage to Egypt’s economy and disrupt international trade.
The Syrian arena
Map of Syria’s provinces (freeworldmaps.net)
Deir ez-Zor-Al-Mayadeen region
- On November 21, 2022, an SDF fighter was abducted by ISIS in the Al-Basira region, about 15 km north of Al-Mayadeen. He was interrogated and then executed (Telegram, November 22, 2022).
- On November 28, 2022, an IED was activated against an SDF vehicle near Al-Hilal market in southeast Al-Raqqah. Two fighters were killed (Telegram, November 29, 2022).
- On the morning of November 28, 2022, two gunmen on a motorcycle, apparently ISIS operatives, shot at SDF fighters in a vehicle north of the town of Al-Karamah, about 20 km east of Al-Raqqah (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, November 28, 2022). No casualties were reported.
The desert region
- Gunmen, apparently ISIS operatives, ambushed and fired at a vehicle near the T3 junction of the oil pumping station, about 40 km east of Palmyra. A Syrian army colonel and a soldier were killed (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, November 29, 2022).
- On November 28, 2022, an SDF force detained two citizens suspected of being ISIS operatives about 65 km north of Deir ez-Zor (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, November 28, 2022).
- On November 25, 2022, several ISIS women with foreign nationality tried to escape from the Al-Hawl detention camp, about 35 km east of Al-Hasakah, where family members of ISIS operatives are held by the Kurdish SDF forces. The camp security guards captured them. There were exchanges of fire between the camp security guards and two boys affiliated with the Caliphate Cubs (Ashbal al-Khilafah), children of ISIS operatives. The two boys were wounded (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, November 25, 2022).
Threat to stop the SDF activity against ISIS
- On November 24, 2022, the Kurdish SDF forces announced that they would not be able to secure compounds in which families of ISIS operatives are detained if Turkey launches a ground operation in northern Syria. This was stated following hundreds of airstrikes by Turkey against Kurdish targets in this region, in response to the attack that took place in Istanbul on November 13, 2022, in which at least six people were killed and dozens were wounded. Turkey accused the Kurdish PKK of being responsible for thas attack. The commander of the SDF forces, General Mazloum Abdi, warned that a ground attack by Turkey in northern Syria would lead to the resurgence of ISIS. It should be noted that in the largest compound, Al-Hawl camp, located about 35 km east of al-Hasakah, there are over 50,000 members of the families of ISIS operatives, and two-thirds of them are children (BBC, November 25, 2022).
The Iraqi arena
Provinces of Iraq (Wikipedia)
- On November 27, 2022, the Iraqi security forces operated against ISIS squads in the Kirkuk Province. Three ISIS squad members were detained. They had planned to carry out terrorist activity against the Iraqi security forces in the province (SecMedCell Facebook page, November 27, 2022).
The three ISIS operatives who were detained (SecMedCell Facebook page, November 27, 2022)
Summary of ISIS’s activity in the various provinces
- An infographic published by ISIS, summing up its activity around the world between November 17 and November 23, 2022, indicates that the organization carried out 27 attacks in its various provinces around the globe (compared to 24 in the previous week). The largest number of attacks was carried out by ISIS’s West Africa Province (7). Attacks carried out in the other provinces: Iraq (5); Syria (5); Central Africa (4); Mozambique (4); Sinai (1); and Khorasan, i.e., Afghanistan (1). A total of 118 people were killed and wounded in the attacks, compared to 42 in the previous week. The largest number of casualties was in the West Africa Province (72). The other casualties were in the following provinces: Mozambique (15); Iraq (11); Central Africa (10); Syria (5); Sinai (3); and Khorasan, i.e., Afghanistan (2) (Al-Naba weekly, Telegram, November 24, 2022). This indicates a continuation of ISIS’s activity at a relatively low scale around the world.
Summary of ISIS’s attacks (Al-Naba, Telegram, November 24, 2022)
ISIS attacks by week (according to ISIS data)
- This week, ISIS continued to operate in northeastern Nigeria at a relatively high intensity mainly against Nigerian security forces, firing mortar shells, activating IEDs, and firing machine guns. The following are the main incidents:
- On November 28, 2022, a mortar shell was fired at a Nigerian army camp in the town of Malam Fatori, about 200 km north of Maiduguri. Another mortar shell was fired the day before, on November 27, 2022, at the same target. According to ISIS, definite hits were observed (Telegram, November 29, 2022).
- On November 27, 2022, ISIS attacked a Nigerian army checkpoint in the town of Dikwa, about 80 km northeast of Maiduguri. Three soldiers were killed and the others fled. A medium machine gun and ammunition were seized (Telegram, November 29, 2022).
- On November 26, 2022, ISIS fired four mortar shells at a Nigerian army camp near the town of Malam Fatori. According to ISIS, definite hits were observed (Telegram, November 27, 2022).
- On November 25, 2022, six mortar shells were fired at a Nigerian army camp near the town of Malam Fatori. According to ISIS, definite hits were observed (Telegram, November 27, 2022).
- On November 25, 2022, ISIS activated an IED and fired at a Nigerian army convoy between Maiduguri and Damboa, about 80 km southwest of Maiduguri. Three soldiers were killed and the others fled. One armored vehicle was destroyed. A heavy machine gun and ammunition were seized (Telegram, November 26, 2022).
- On November 25, 2022, terrorist operatives, apparently from ISIS or Al-Qaeda, attacked residents in the village of Rafin Sarki in Kaduna State, about 240 km north of the Nigerian capital, Abuja. At least 11 residents were killed (Sahara Reporters, November 25, 2022).
- On November 21, 2022, an IED was activated against a Nigerian army vehicle between the towns of Gajiganna and Gajiram, about 70 km north of Maiduguri. The vehicle was put out of commission (Telegram, November 27, 2022).
- On November 23, 2022, ISIS fired mortar shells at a Nigerian army camp near the town of Malam Fatori. According to ISIS, definite hits were observed. A soldier in the camp was targeted by sniper fire and was killed (Telegram, November 24, 2022).
- On November 29, 2022, Nigerian Air Force planes carried out airstrikes against ISIS operatives while they were undergoing training for making IEDs in the Lake Chad region. A total of 24 ISIS operatives were killed (@Zagazola Twitter account, November 29, 2022).
An ISIS ATV before it was destroyed in the airstrike
(@Zagazola Twitter account, November 29, 2022)
- On November 27, 2022, a Nigerian Air Force plane carried out an airstrike against several vehicles carrying ISIS operatives about 80 km southwest of Maiduguri. Dozens of ISIS operatives were reportedly killed (The Cable, November 28, 2022).
The Democratic Republic of the Congo
- On November 26, 2022, ISIS attacked a Congolese army compound in the village of Kanihonga, in the Beni region, about 50 km west of the Congo-Uganda border. One officer was killed and the others fled. Weapons and ammunition were seized (Telegram, November 27, 2022).
- On November 22, 2022, ISIS attacked a Ugandan army compound in the village of Chabi, in the Ituri region, in northeastern Congo, on the border with Uganda. Several soldiers were wounded and the others fled (Telegram, November 21, 2022). It should be noted that Ugandan army forces support the Congolese army in fighting against ISIS in the border area between the countries.
Terrorist attack against a hotel in Mogadishu
- On November 28, 2022, operatives of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Shabaab Organization attacked the Villa Rose Hotel in Mogadishu. The hotel is the site of a restaurant popular among members of the Somali government and security establishment. The attack began with an explosion, apparently of a car bomb, followed by two more explosions and then a shooting attack. Special Forces of the Somali government exchanged fire for over 12 hours with the attackers, who had barricaded themselves in the hotel. Dozens of Somali administration personnel and civilians who were on the scene during the attack were rescued. A spokesman for the Somali police reported that eight civilians and a soldier had been killed. Five other soldiers were wounded. Somali sources reported that Somalia’s Minister of Defense, Dr. Muhammad Ahmed Sheikh Ali, had been wounded in the attack. Six Al-Shabaab operatives were killed. The Al-Shabaab Organization claimed responsibility (Akhbar Al-Aan, Okaz, The Washington Post, November 27, 2022; The Guardian, November 28, 2022).
Villa Rose Hotel in Mogadishu (the Villa Rose Hotel website)
Somali army activity against Al-Shabaab operatives
- The Somali army operated with the support of international partners (the African Coalition and possibly also other parties) against the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Shabaab Organization about 200 km southwest of Mogadishu:
- On November 26, 2022, the forces operated based on intelligence indicating that Al-Shabaab operatives had been in the final stage of preparations for an attack against the Somali army in the area. At least 100 Al-Shabaab operatives, including 12 commanders, were killed (VOA, November 26, 2022).
- On November 23, 2022, it was reported that 49 Al-Shabaab operatives had been killed as a result of the activity (VOA, November 23, 2022).
- In the ITIC’s assessment, the recent successes of the Somali army in carrying out counterterrorism activity against Al-Shabaab constitute significant damage to the organization. However, the organization is well established in the country and there is still a long way before it is defeated.
- On November 22, 2022, operatives of ISIS’s West Africa Province or Boko Haram attacked a Chadian army force near Ngouboua, in the Lake Chad region, about 50 km north of the Chad-Cameroon-Nigeria tri-border area. A total of 10 soldiers were killed and others were wounded (Africa News, November 22, 2022).
- On November 30, 2022, a rickshaw carrying an explosive device collided with a truck carrying Afghan police officers and civilians in the Balali region, in western Pakistan, near the border with Afghanistan. As a result of the explosion of the device, whose weight was estimated at 25 kg, at least three people were killed, including a woman, and about 28 people were injured, including 20 police officers. The truck overturned and two other vehicles were damaged (Dunya News, November 30, 2022).
The truck that was hit by the explosion of the rickshaw
(@Mughees Ali Twitter account, November 30, 2022)
- On the morning of November 23, 2022, a gunman shot at worshippers in the Hazrat Bilal mosque in west Kabul, in an area where members of the Shiite Hazara minority live. Six people were killed, including a father and four of his children, and one person was injured. The gunman fled the scene and the Taliban’s security forces carried out a manhunt to capture him. So far, no organization has claimed responsibility for the attack, but it is most likely ISIS, which over the past few years has carried out attacks against members of the Shiite Hazara minority, whom it considers infidels (Khaama Press, November 23, 2022).
- On November 25, 2022, an IED was activated against a Pakistani intelligence “spy” in the Mamund region, in the Bajaur district, on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. He was killed (Telegram, November 26, 2022).
- On November 27, a Pakistani government “spy” was targeted by gunfire in the Bajaur district, on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. He was killed (Telegram, November 27, 2022).
- On November 25, 2022, forces of the Counter-Terrorism Division of the Pakistan Police arrested two ISIS operatives in the city of Rawalpindi, south of Islamabad, in two different operations. The first operative was wanted by the Pakistani security apparatus. They both had explosives in their possession and had planned to carry out attacks in the city or in the capital Islamabad (Saudi News Agency, November 25, 2022).
- On November 25, 2022, teams of the Turkish Counter-Terrorism Unit raided 20 apartments in 12 different areas in the Istanbul district as part of an operation against ISIS and Al-Qaeda. Eighteen suspected terrorist operatives were arrested. Some of the detainees had participated in activities in Syria or Iraq or tried to cross the border to these areas (Anatolia News Agency, November 25, 2022).
- Tarek Namouz, 43, from West London, was put on trial in the UK on November 24, 2022, on charges of transferring funds to ISIS in Syria in a total of £25,000 (about US$29,900) to purchase weapons. Seven of the eight money transfers were made between November 2020 and April 2021. Namouz emigrated from Syria to Britain when he was 14. In a raid on a hair salon he owns, sums of cash were located as well as a smartphone which includes his WhatsApp correspondence with an ISIS operative in Syria named Yahya Ahmed Alia (Mail Online, 24 November 2022).
- Neil Prakash, 31, an Australian ISIS operative born in Melbourne to a father from Fiji, will be extradited under heavy security from Turkey to Australia to stand trial on charges of terrorist activity and is expected to serve a life sentence there. He was arrested in Turkey in 2016 after fighting in the ranks of ISIS in Syria, was convicted of membership in a terrorist organization and was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison in Turkey. Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton revoked Prakash’s Australian citizenship in 2018 on the grounds of terrorist activity (The Sydney Morning Herald, November 26, 2022).
The United States
- Abdullah al-Faisal, a Muslim preacher from Jamaica who supports ISIS, who worked in Britain and Kenya and was arrested in Jamaica in 2017, was extradited to the United States and five indictments were filed against him, including conspiracy and support for terrorist activities of ISIS. If convicted, he is expected to serve up to 25 years in prison. Al-Faisal was arrested after making contact in 2016 via WhatsApp with a woman in New York who expressed a desire to become a jihad operative. He offered to help her join ISIS and introduced her to an ISIS operative who had carried out brutal executions. Al-Faisal did not know that the woman was actually an undercover police officer in the New York Police Department (The New York Times, November 28, 2022).
- Al-Azhar University’s Extremism Monitoring Center in Egypt, which monitors the activities of Islamic extremists, stated that it recently detected ISIS activity on social media, including dating apps, to raise funds for its terrorist activity through drug trafficking, especially the stimulant drug Captagon, and through organ trafficking. According to the monitoring center, many funds come through these channels to ISIS and are directed mainly to finance terrorism in Africa (Al-Masry Al-Youm, November 29, 2022).
The battle for hearts and minds
- The editorial of ISIS’s Al-Naba weekly which appeared on November 24, 2022, entitled “Action on the Recommendation of your Prophet”, reflects a hostile attitude toward the World Cup in Qatar. According to the article, the Jews and the Christians defame Qatar with their infidel presence and spread apostasy and obscenity in the Arabian Peninsula. The author calls on Muslims to remove the polytheists, Jews, and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula until it is left exclusively to Muslims (Al-Naba weekly, Telegram, November 24, 2022). It should be noted that the article does not explicitly call for terrorist attacks. In the article, ISIS also reacts to Al-Qaeda, which called on Muslims to boycott the World Cup since it promotes, according to Al-Qaeda, obscenity and homosexuality.
The editorial entitled “Action on the Recommendation of your Prophet”
(Al-Naba weekly, Telegram, November 24, 2022)
- Before the forthcoming Christmas, an ISIS-affiliated element distributed a propaganda video on social media. The video, entitled “Hunt them, O ye who believe in the oneness of Allah,” was first published on December 26, 2017, by the Haqq News Agency on behalf of ISIS’s Somalia Province. It calls for terrorist attacks on Christmas against the “enemies of Muslims,” mainly Christians, around the world (Telegram, November 23, 2022).
 For further details, see the ITIC’s Information Bulletin from November 29, 2022, “Hostile references by ISIS and Al-Qaeda to the FIFA World Cup games in Qatar” ↑
 See the ITIC’s Information Bulletin from November 24, 2022, “Incident between Egyptian army forces and ISIS in the Suez Canal region” ↑
 According to ISIS claims of responsibility on Telegram and the Arab media. ↑
 According to ISIS claims of responsibility. ↑
 According to ISIS claims of responsibility. ↑
 For a reference to Al-Qaeda’s notice, see: https://www.memri.org/jttm/al-qaeda-affiliate-yemen-calls-muslims-boycott-world-cup-it-promotes-homosexuality-and-alcohol ↑