Spotlight on Global Jihad (October 22-28, 2020)

Compound of the Iraqi Counterterrorism Unit northeast of Baqubah before it was destroyed.

Compound of the Iraqi Counterterrorism Unit northeast of Baqubah before it was destroyed.

ISIS operative standing on the ruins of an observation tower (Telegram, October 25, 2020)

ISIS operative standing on the ruins of an observation tower (Telegram, October 25, 2020)

IEDs and weapons found by the Iraqi army (Facebook page of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, October 25, 2020)

IEDs and weapons found by the Iraqi army (Facebook page of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, October 25, 2020)

Bodies of the victims of the suicide bombing attack carried out by ISIS (Afghanistan Times, October 24, 2020).

Bodies of the victims of the suicide bombing attack carried out by ISIS (Afghanistan Times, October 24, 2020).

The suicide bomber codenamed Abdullah al-Khorasani (i.e., the Afghan) (Telegram, October 25, 2020).

The suicide bomber codenamed Abdullah al-Khorasani (i.e., the Afghan) (Telegram, October 25, 2020).

The crowded and neglected Shiite slum where the attack was carried out (Khaama Press, October 25, 2020).

The crowded and neglected Shiite slum where the attack was carried out (Khaama Press, October 25, 2020).

Main events of the past week
  • In the Idlib region, two airstrikes were carried out last week by Syria and Russia: Russian fighter jets attacked a training camp of the Turkish-sponsored rebel organization Faylaq al-Sham (dozens killed, more than 100 wounded). The reason for this is unclear. US aircraft attacked a meeting of commanders of the Guardians of Religion Organization (17 killed, according to American military sources). The Al-Qaeda-affiliated Guardians of Religion Organization is a target of frequent US airstrikes (two senior commanders of the organization were killed by a US aircraft last week).
  • ISIS has announced a new campaign of attacks, entitled Raids of Response to the Call (i.e., response to the call of ISIS’s spokesman last week). To date, ISIS has carried out over 50 attacks as part of the campaign, most of them in Iraq (27), but the two most noteworthy attacks were carried out in Afghanistan. The campaign is expected to continue in ISIS’s provinces around the world.
  • Noteworthy attacks to date in the following countries:
    • Iraq: As in previous campaigns, this time too most of the attacks were carried out in Iraq. Most of them were routine attacks, mainly ambushes, activating IEDs, sniper fire, small arms fire and targeted killings.
    • The Democratic Republic of Congo: ISIS operatives broke into a prison in the northeast of the country and liberated most of the prisoners. This operation is presented by ISIS as the start of the current campaign of attacks.
    • Nigeria: ISIS’s intensive activity continues in Borno State, in the northeast of the country. This activity consisted mainly of attacking convoys, activating IEDs, and attacking army camps and facilities. According to ISIS, dozens of Nigerian soldiers were killed in the attacks.
    • Afghanistan: ISIS’s Khorasan Province carried out intensive activity, mainly in Kabul and Jalalabad. This activity included two suicide bombing attacks in Kabul against Shiite civilians (perceived by ISIS as infidels). Dozens of Shiites were killed in these attacks.
  • In its media outlets, ISIS published an article praising the murderer who beheaded the teacher in France. The article calls on jihadists to carry out terrorist attacks in Western countries wherever they are, using whatever means available to them: ramming attacks, stabbing attacks, and slitting throats. On the ground, ISIS flags were waved in demonstrations in support of the murder and in condemnation of France, which were held in northeastern Syria in the region of Deir ez-Zor (in the Euphrates Valley) and in the city of Ras al-Ayn (near the border with Turkey).
ISIS’s attacks around the world

Following the release of an audiotape of ISIS Spokesman Abu Hamza al-Qurashi last week[1], ISIS declared a new campaign of attacks entitled Raids of Response to the Call (i.e., response to the call of the spokesman). The campaign was intended to spur ISIS’s operatives and supporters to carry out terrorist attacks around the globe, as well as to liberate prisoners incarcerated in various prisons. The first attack which allegedly opened the campaign was an attack on a prison in the Democratic Republic of Congo (October 20, 2020). Many prisoners were liberated (Al-Naba’ weekly, Telegram, October 22, 2020). So far, over 50 attacks were carried out as part of the campaign, most of them in Iraq (27). In addition, attacks were carried out in Nigeria (8), Afghanistan (7), Syria (6), Somalia (2), and the Democratic Republic of Congo (1). The campaign is not over yet and additional attacks are to be expected.

Announcement on the launch of the Raids of Response to the Call campaign in the main article in ISIS’s Al-Naba' weekly. The picture shows the prison in the Democratic Republic of Congo from which hundreds of prisoners were liberated by ISIS (Al-Naba' weekly, Telegram, October 22, 2020).

Announcement on the launch of the Raids of Response to the Call campaign in the main article in ISIS’s Al-Naba’ weekly. The picture shows the prison in the Democratic Republic of Congo from which hundreds of prisoners were liberated by ISIS (Al-Naba’ weekly, Telegram, October 22, 2020).

Summary of ISIS’s activity in the various provinces (October 15-21, 2020)
  • On October 22, 2020, ISIS’s Al-Naba’ weekly published an infographic summarizing ISIS’s activity on October 15-21, 2020. During this period, ISIS carried out 45 attacks around the world, compared to 30 in the previous week. The largest number of attacks was carried out in Iraq (26). Also noteworthy was the increase in the number of attacks in West Africa (9). Attacks were also carried out in ISIS’s other provinces: Syria (5); Central Africa (3); and Khorasan, i.e., Afghanistan (2) (Al-Naba’ weekly, Telegram, October 22, 2020).
  • According to the infographic, over 125 people were killed and wounded in these attacks, compared to 69 in the previous week. The largest number of casualties (72) was in West Africa. The other casualties were in Iraq (27); Central Africa (20); Syria (5); and Khorasan, i.e., Afghanistan (1) (Telegram, October 22, 2020).
The Syrian arena
The Idlib region

In the Idlib region, exchanges of fire continued between the Syrian army and the rebel organizations south and southwest of Idlib. Most noteworthy this week was an airstrike by Russian fighter jets against a training camp of the Turkish-sponsored Faylaq al-Sham rebel organization[2]. At least 32 operatives were reportedly killed in the attack, and over 100 were wounded. In recent months, dozens of Russian airstrikes were carried out against the rebel organizations, but in the ITIC’s assessment, they were directed mainly at operatives of HTS, the jihadi rebel organization which is the dominant power in the Idlib region. The ITIC is unclear about the background and reason for the Russian attack against an organization operating under Turkish sponsorship. It might be a Russian message to Turkey due to reasons which are not necessarily related to the Syrian arena[3]. At any rate, the attack may arouse tension between Russia and Turkey, two countries that have agreed on a ceasefire and the stabilization of the situation in the Idlib region (following the meeting between Putin and Erdoğan in Moscow, March 5, 2020).

Russian airstrike against a training camp of a Turkish-sponsored rebel organization
  • On October 26, 2020, Russian fighter jets attacked a training camp of the Turkish-sponsored Faylaq al-Sham rebel organization about 20 km northwest of Idlib (about 10 km from the Syrian-Turkish border). At least 32 operatives were reportedly killed, about 100 were wounded, and 9 were reported missing (Khotwa, October 26, 2020). A new batch of Faylaq al-Sham fighters were reportedly about to finish their training in the coming days (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, October 26, 2020). Russia did not officially claim responsibility for carrying out the airstrike, and so far no official reactions have been found in the Russian media. However, Russian Telegram channels reportedly published an aerial photo of a group of operatives in the camp before the attack (Enab Baladi, a Syrian news website affiliated with the rebel organizations, October 27, 2020).
Kafr Takharim, near the border with Turkey, where the training camp was attacked (Google Maps)
Kafr Takharim, near the border with Turkey, where the training camp was attacked
(Google Maps)
Aerial photo showing dozens of Faylaq al-Sham operatives a short while before they were targeted by the airstrike (Edlib Media Center, October 26, 2020)    Faylaq al-Sham training camp which was attacked by Russian fighter jets. The large compound on the bottom left was apparently the main target of the attack (almodon.com, an electronic newspaper operating from Beirut, Lebanon, October 26, 2020).
Right: Faylaq al-Sham training camp which was attacked by Russian fighter jets. The large compound on the bottom left was apparently the main target of the attack (almodon.com, an electronic newspaper operating from Beirut, Lebanon, October 26, 2020). Left: Aerial photo showing dozens of Faylaq al-Sham operatives a short while before they were targeted by the airstrike (Edlib Media Center, October 26, 2020)
  • During the funeral procession in Idlib, the spokesman for the National Liberation Front, an umbrella framework operating under Turkish sponsorship, announced that the airstrike was a violation of the non-escalation agreement [between Russia and] Turkey. He added that in response to the airstrike, artillery was fired at Syrian army positions (Khotwa, October 26, 2020). On the following day, a Syrian news website reported that the National Liberation Front had fired at Syrian army positions in several sites in the Idlib region and in the rural area west of Aleppo (Enab Baladi, October 27, 2020).
  • HTS, the jihadi organization dominant in the Idlib region, a rival of the attacked organization, published a condolence notice. According to the notice, dozens of operatives were killed or wounded in a Russian airstrike which targeted a camp of Faylaq al-Sham. HTS promised to avenge the death of those operatives (Ibaa, October 26, 2020).
Airstrike against an Al-Qaeda-affiliated organization
  • On the night of October 22, 2020, Coalition aircraft attacked a target of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Guardians of Religion Organization (Hurras al-Din) in a village about 35 km northwest of Idlib (near the border with Turkey). It was reported that the airstrike targeted a meeting of the organization commanders, and that 10 commanders were killed in the airstrike. According to American military sources, 17 operatives were killed (AFP, October 22, 2020; Orient News, October 23, 2020). The Guardians of Religion Organization in the Idlib region is frequently targeted by US airstrikes (last week, two senior commanders of the organization were killed in a US airstrike near Idlib).
The site of the airstrike, near the border with Turkey (Google Maps)
The site of the airstrike, near the border with Turkey (Google Maps)
ISIS’s activity in the Syria Province[4]
The region of Deir ez-Zor and Al-Mayadeen
  • On October 27, 2020, an SDF fighter was targeted by gunfire about 10 km north of Al-Mayadeen. He was killed.
  • On October 26, 2020, a local authority official affiliated with the SDF was targeted by machine gun fire in a village about 10 km north of Al-Mayadeen. The official and his escort were wounded.
Al-Raqqah region
  • On October 21, 2020, an IED was activated against a tanker of Al-Qaterji Co. which carried oil for the Syrian regime about 10 km northwest of Al-Raqqah. The tanker was damaged.
An escape attempt from the Al-Hawl camp thwarted
  • On October 22, 2020, the Kurdish Internal Security forces (Asayish) thwarted an escape attempt by four women and their children from the Al-Hawl detention camp, about 40 km east of Al-Hasakah. Three of the women are Russian and the fourth is Tunisian with Austrian citizenship (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, October 22, 2020).
Palmyra region
  • On October 23, 2020, ISIS operatives fired machine guns at a convoy of the Syrian army and the forces supporting it on the Palmyra-Deir ez-Zor highway. Passengers in the vehicles were killed or wounded.
The desert region northeast of Hama
  • On October 20-22, 2020, ISIS operatives carried out attacks against forces supporting the Syrian army in the desert region northeast of Hama. The ISIS operatives advanced and forced the troops supporting the Syrian army to retreat. In response, the Syrian army sent reinforcements of the Palestinian Al-Quds Brigade, the Homeland Defense Forces and Military Security teams. Russian aircraft carried out nearly 40 airstrikes against ISIS targets. During the fighting, ISIS operatives took control of two tanks and seized large amounts of weapons, ammunition and military equipment (albadia24, October 23, 2020).

Site of the fighting between the ISIS operatives and the forces supporting the Syrian army (Google Maps)
Site of the fighting between the ISIS operatives and the forces supporting the Syrian army (Google Maps)

Syrian-Turkish border area
  • On October 23, 2020, an IED was activated against a vehicle of a mukhtar (commune leader) in a village south of Manbij (about 80 km northeast of Aleppo). The vehicle was damaged.
ISIS flags in demonstrations against France in northeastern Syria
  • On October 25, 2020, a demonstration was held in the Deir ez-Zor region (in the Euphrates Valley) addressing the murder of the French teacher by an Islamist in France last week. The demonstrators, local members of the Al-Shueitat tribe, called “to support the prophet of Allah.” During the demonstration, an ISIS flag was waved (Telegram, October 25, 2020). This may indicate that ISIS enjoys local support among the Al-Shueitat, a large Sunni-Arab tribe living in the area of Deir ez-Zor, where ISIS carries out intensive guerrilla and terror activity.
ISIS flag waved during a demonstration in the Deir ez-Zor region. The main sign reads, “It wasn’t you who overcame him [i.e., the infidel], but Allah who brought [you] the victory. Allah promised victory to His prophet […], but He [Allah] warned people not to quit supporting him [i.e., the prophet], otherwise He [Allah] will punish the failing nation [for that] and replace it with others who will overcome them” . The second sign reads, “Deir ez-Zor / the protest of Al-Shueitat – support of [the prophet of] Allah – October 25, 2020 (Telegram, October 25, 2020).
ISIS flag waved during a demonstration in the Deir ez-Zor region. The main sign reads, “It wasn’t you who overcame him [i.e., the infidel], but Allah who brought [you] the victory. Allah promised victory to His prophet […], but He [Allah] warned people not to quit supporting him [i.e., the prophet], otherwise He [Allah] will punish the failing nation [for that] and replace it with others who will overcome them”[5]. The second sign reads, “Deir ez-Zor / the protest of Al-Shueitat – support of [the prophet of] Allah – October 25, 2020 (Telegram, October 25, 2020).
  • In the city of Ras al-Ayn, about 70 km northwest of Al-Hasakah (near the Syrian-Turkish border), a similar demonstration was held[6]. The demonstrators raised the ISIS flag as well as another flag associated with radical Islam (Russia al-Youm, October 25, 2020).
Flag associated with jihadist Islam (the Shahada alongside the sword of jihad). One of the photos shows French President Macron covered in blood (Russia Al-Youm, October 25, 2020)    Demonstration in which an ISIS flag was waved in Ras al-Ayn. The poster on the right reads in Arabic and French: “We shall cut off the tongue that has the audacity to go against the Messenger of Allah” (Russia Al-Youm, October 25, 2020).
Right: Demonstration in which an ISIS flag was waved in Ras al-Ayn. The poster on the right reads in Arabic and French: “We shall cut off the tongue that has the audacity to go against the Messenger of Allah” (Russia Al-Youm, October 25, 2020). Left: Flag associated with jihadist Islam (the Shahada[7] alongside the sword of jihad). One of the photos shows French President Macron covered in blood (Russia Al-Youm, October 25, 2020)
 The Iraqi arena
Provinces of Iraq (Wikipedia)
Provinces of Iraq (Wikipedia)

ISIS attacks in the various provinces[8]

The city of Baghdad
  • On October 23, 2020, an Iraqi soldier was targeted by machine gun fire in northern Baghdad. He was wounded.
Diyala Province
  • On October 27, 2020, ISIS operatives captured a Shiite about 35 km northeast of Baqubah. He was shot to death. His body was booby-trapped with an IED. Operatives of the Iraqi Military Intelligence were tricked into approaching his body, and the IED was detonated. An officer and three soldiers were killed and two others were wounded.
  • On October 25, 2020, two fighters of the Iraqi Counterterrorism Unit were targeted by sniper fire about 25 km northeast of Baqubah. One was killed and the other was wounded.
  • On October 24, 2020, an Iraqi soldier was targeted by sniper fire about 55 km north of Baqubah. He was wounded.
  • On October 24, 2020, an Iraqi soldier was targeted by sniper fire about 60 km north of Baqubah. He was killed.
  • On October 23, 2020, ISIS operatives tricked an Iraqi army force into entering a house which was booby-trapped with IEDs about 40 km northeast of Baqubah. An officer and two soldiers were wounded.
  • On October 22, 2020, ISIS bomb squads activated 10 IEDs against eight compounds and observation towers of the Iraqi Counterterrorism Unit about 15 km northeast of Baqubah. The facilities were destroyed.
  • On October 21, 2020, an Iraqi policeman was targeted by sniper fire in central Al-Miqdadiya, about 40 km northeast of Baqubah. He was wounded.
  • On October 21, 2020, ISIS operatives set up a roadblock about 80 km northeast of Baqubah. Three Popular Mobilization fighters were captured and executed.
Al-Anbar Province
  • On October 26, 2020, an IED was activated against an Iraqi army vehicle about 75 km north of Al-Rutba (about 30 km southeast of the Iraqi-Syrian border). The passengers were killed or wounded.
  • On October 26, 2020, ISIS operatives ISIS operatives ambushed Iraqi Border Police fighters near the Iraqi-Syrian border. Four fighters were killed and two others were wounded.
  • On October 24, 2020, an Iraqi soldier was targeted by sniper fire in a village near Al-Rutba. In addition, an Iraqi army compound in the same area was targeted by small arms fire. One soldier was wounded.
  • On October 22, 2020, a car bomb parked near an Iraqi army roadblock east of Ramadi (about 90 km west of Baghdad) was activated. One soldier was killed and two others were wounded.
  • On October 20, 2020, a Tribal Mobilization compound east of Fallujah (about 50 km west of Baghdad) was targeted by machine gun fire. One fighter was killed and two others were wounded.
Erbil Province
  • On October 27, 2020, two Iraqi soldiers were targeted by sniper fire north of Makhmur, about 60 km southwest of Erbil. One was killed and the other was wounded.
  • On October 25, 2020, an Iraqi army compound east of Makhmur, about 60 km southwest of Erbil, was targeted by machine gun fire. Two soldiers were killed and another was wounded.
Salah al-Din Province
  • On October 26, 2020, Tribal Mobilization fighters were targeted by machine gun fire about 60 km north of Baghdad. Two fighters were killed and two others were wounded.
  • On October 26, 2020, the general prosecutor was targeted by machine gun fire near his house (about 70 km north of Baghdad). He was wounded.
  • On October 25, 2020, two Iraqi soldiers were targeted by machine gun fire about 30 km north of Baghdad. One soldier was killed and the other was wounded.
  • On October 25, 2020, a Tribal Mobilization compound was targeted by machine gun fire. It went up in flames and one fighter was wounded.
  • On October 23, 2020, Popular Mobilization fighters east of Samarra were targeted by sniper fire. Five fighters were killed.
  • On October 23, 2020, an IED was activated against a Popular Mobilization vehicle east of Samarra. The passengers were killed or wounded.
Kirkuk Province
  • On October 24, 2020, an Iraqi police compound was targeted by machine gun fire about 40 km west of Kirkuk. A policeman was wounded.
  • On October 22, 2020, an IED was activated against an Iraqi army vehicle about 60 km south of Kirkuk. One soldier was killed and two others were wounded.
Nineveh Province
  • On October 22, 2020, an IED was activated against an Iraqi army vehicle about 40 km south of Mosul. The passengers were killed or wounded. When a force arrived on the scene to provide assistance, it was targeted by machine gun fire. Several soldiers were killed or wounded.
Counterterrorism activities by the Iraqi security forces
Kirkuk Province
  • On October 22, 2020, Iraqi security forces detained five operatives of ISIS’s Tigris region. One of the operatives was involved in transferring military equipment, food supplies and electronic equipment to ISIS squads and another operative furnished them with information about the movements of the Iraqi security forces (Al-Sumaria, October 22, 2020).
  • On October 22, 2020, Iraqi military intelligence teams captured four wanted ISIS operatives in the Daqouq District, some 30 km south of Kirkuk (Al-Sumaria, October 23, 2020).
Nineveh Province
  • On October 24, 2020, Coalition aircraft carried out an airstrike against a tunnel where ISIS operatives were hiding, about 40 km south of Mosul. The tunnel was destroyed (Al-Sumaria, October 25, 2020).
  • On October 23, 2020, teams from the Iraqi National Security Agency captured 10 operatives of dormant ISIS cells (Al-Sumaria, October 23, 2020).
The city of Baghdad
  • On October 25, 2020, teams from the intelligence agency subordinate to the Iraqi Interior Ministry captured two “terrorist operatives” (implicitly ISIS operatives) in the city of Baghdad. One of the operatives was a fighter and the other was a fighter and a distributor of salaries for ISIS in the Southern Province. In their initial interrogation, both of them admitted that they had taken part in carrying out attacks against the Iraqi security forces and against Iraqi civilians (Al-Sumaria, October 25, 2020).
Salah al-Din Province
  • On October 25, 2020, a force of the Iraqi army’s Salah al-Din Operations Command located an ISIS weapons depot about 100 km north of Baghdad. The weapons depot contained IEDs and weapons, which were neutralized by an Iraqi army combat engineering unit (Facebook page of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, October 25, 2020)
The Sinai Peninsula
ISIS activity in the Bir al-Abd region
  • On October 24, 2020, a mine was activated in the village of Aqtia, west of Bir al-Abd. A woman was killed. Her two sisters were on their way to her when another mine was activated. They were both killed, along with two other women. In addition, three teenage boys were wounded (Shahed Sinaa – Al-Rasmia Facebook page, October 24, 2020).
  • On October 22, 2020, a mine was activated in the village of Aqtia, west of Bir al-Abd. A boy was killed (Shahed Sinaa – Al-Rasmia Facebook page, October 22, 2020).
The deaths of civilians in the explosion of IEDs left behind by ISIS operatives
  • According to human rights activists, in the past two weeks, 16 civilians were killed in the Sinai Peninsula and eight civilians were wounded by ISIS operatives. ISIS operatives planted IEDs in residents’ homes, on roads and in fields during the 70 days when the villages (west of Bir al-Abd) were under their control. The intended target of these IEDs was Egyptian soldiers after the withdrawal of ISIS operatives, but when the IEDs exploded, the actual casualties were civilians.
  • According to a report in Al-Araby Al-Jadeed (October 26, 2020), the We Record human rights organization warned about an increase in the number of civilians killed or wounded in the Bir al-Abd region. The organization demanded the removal of all traces of explosives and shells from the villages in the region, in order to protect the lives of civilians.
ISIS’s activity around the globe[9]
Africa
Nigeria
  • On October 26, 2020, an IED was activated against a Nigerian army vehicle about 200 km north of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State. Ten soldiers were killed.
  • On October 25, 2020, ISIS operatives attacked a Nigerian army compound about 80 km southwest of Maiduguri. Ten soldiers were killed and others were wounded.
  • On October 25, 2020, ISIS operatives exchanged fire with Nigerian soldiers about 90 km northeast of Maiduguri. Several soldiers were killed or wounded.
  • On October 24, 2020, ISIS operatives attacked a Nigerian army camp in northeastern Borno State (near the border with Chad). Five soldiers were killed and others were wounded.
  • On October 24, 2020, ISIS operatives attacked a Nigerian army compound in Yobe State. Three soldiers were killed and others were wounded. In addition, weapons and ammunition were seized.
  • On October 22, 2020, ISIS operatives ambushed and fired machine guns at Nigerian soldiers on the road leading from Maiduguri to Mainok (about 50 km west of Maiduguri). Six soldiers were killed and others were wounded.
  • On October 22, 2020, ISIS operatives attacked a Nigerian army compound about 40 km northwest of Maiduguri. Six soldiers were killed and others were wounded.
  • On October 20, 2020, ISIS operatives fired four Grad rockets at Nigerian soldiers in Borno State. Accurate hits of the target were observed.
Somalia
  • On October 24, 2020, ISIS operatives attacked a Somali police roadblock in the city of Mogadishu. One policeman was killed and two others were wounded.

Asia

Afghanistan

During the past week, there has been an increase in the intensity and deadlines of ISIS’s activity. This activity included two noteworthy suicide bombing attacks against Shiites in Kabul, which resulted in dozens of fatalities.

Suicide bombing attacks in Kabul
  • On October 24, 2020, a suicide bomber attempted to enter a private educational facility in a mainly Shiite neighborhood in western Kabul[10]. When the security guards prevented him from doing so, he activated an IED on his body (Wion, October 25, 2020). A total of 24 people were reportedly killed and 57 wounded (Afghanistan Times, October 25, 2020).
  • ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. According to the claim of responsibility, an ISIS suicide bomber codenamed Abdullah al-Khorasani activated his explosive vest among a group of Shiites. According to ISIS, 25 Shiites were killed and 50 others were wounded (Telegram, October 24, 2020).
Use of car bombs against a procession of Shiites
  • On October 27, 2020, an IED was activated in the city of Kabul. Three civilians were killed and 10 wounded (Afghanistan Times, October 27, 2020). ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. According to ISIS’s claim of responsibility, the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber codenamed Ahmed the Pakistani. The terrorist activated a car bomb among a procession of Shiites in the city of Kabul. A total of 20 Shiites were killed or wounded (Telegram, October 27, 2020).
Additional attacks
  • On October 27, 2020, an IED was activated against a foot patrol of the Afghan forces about 10 km southwest of Jalalabad, in the Nangarhar Province. Two fighters were wounded.
  • On October 26, 2020, an IED was activated against an Afghan police vehicle in central Jalalabad. Five policemen were wounded.
  • On October 25, 2020, an IED was activated in the city of Jalalabad against a vehicle carrying an official in charge of the Rural Development Ministry in the Nangarhar Province. He was wounded and three of his escorts were killed (Telegram, October 25, 2020).
  • On October 25, 2020, an IED was activated against an Afghan army vehicle in the city of Jalalabad. Six of the passengers were killed or wounded (Telegram, October 25, 2020).
  • On October 23, 2020, an IED was activated against a vehicle of a militia supporting the Afghan army in the city of Jalalabad. Five fighters were killed or wounded (Telegram, October 24, 2020).
Pakistan
  • On October 22, 2020, ISIS operatives fired machine guns at an oil tanker belonging to the Pakistani regime. The passengers were wounded and the tanker was damaged (Telegram, October 23, 2020).
Somalia
  • On October 25, 2020, three Somali soldiers were targeted by gunfire in the capital Mogadishu. All three soldiers were killed.
The battle for hearts and minds
  • An article about the murder of the teacher in France appeared in ISIS’s Al-Naba’ weekly (October 22, 2020). The article describes the murderer, codenamed Abdullah the Chechen, as a shaheed who beheaded a “Crusader criminal who disrespected the Prophet [Muhammad]…” and “would rather die than fall into the hands of the French police.” The article goes on to state that the killing of the “Crusader criminal” gladdened the hearts of the Muslims by protecting the honor of the Prophet.
  • The article notes that “we will pray to Allah to exalt his status in Paradise and give him his reward, like the jihad fighters who preceded him.” The article also notes that jihad fighters have found diverse ways to operate, ranging from the use of knives and vehicles to the use of chemicals to poison the “infidels.” According to him, there are many Muslims who face a mental block, because they only perceive large-scale terrorist attacks, such as hijackings, as acts of jihad, but ISIS makes it easy for those who seek to carry out jihad and enables them to do so by carrying out a variety of attacks. Therefore, if they are prevented from joining ISIS, they can still carry out jihad wherever they are, with an emphasis on attacks in the West and attacks against Western entities in their countries of residence. Such attacks can be carried out in various ways such as: ramming attacks, slitting throats or stabbing attacks. The article ends with a call on ISIS’s supporters to continue to encourage jihad, including in the media (Telegram, October 22, 2020).

The Al-Naba’ article about the murder of the teacher in France. Top right: The murderer codenamed Abdullah the Chechen, seen to the left of French President Emmanuel Macron (Al-Naba’ weekly, Telegram, October 22, 2020)

The Al-Naba’ article about the murder of the teacher in France. Top right: The murderer codenamed Abdullah the Chechen, seen to the left of French President Emmanuel Macron (Al-Naba’ weekly, Telegram, October 22, 2020)

[1] For an analysis of the content of the audiotape, see the ITIC's Information Bulletin from October 29, 2020, “Analysis of the new statement of ISIS spokesman following the normalization agreements between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain”
[2] Faylaq Al-Sham is an Islamic rebel organization operating under Turkish sponsorship. It was established in March 2014 by Syrian army officers who had deserted. It numbers several thousand operatives and is part of the Turkish-sponsored National Liberation Front which is active in the Idlib region.

[3] In the passing week, another airstrike was carried out (in the ITIC's assessment, by Syrian and/or Russian planes) against oil tankers on the outskirts of the city of Jarabulus, near the Syrian-Turkish border. This region is controlled by rebel organizations operating under Turkish sponsorship (October 24, 2020). Dozens of people were reportedly killed and wounded, and more than 40 oil tankers were destroyed (Halab Al-Youm, October 24, 2020).

[4] According to ISIS’s claims of responsibility posted on Telegram

[5] This is an Islamic tradition referring to those who insult the prophet Muhammad and asserting that they will be punished.

[6] The population of Ras al-Ayn numbers 80,000, most of them Arabs, in addition to Kurdish, Assyrian, Armenian and Syrian Turkmen minorities (Wikipedia).

[7] The declaration that “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger,” which is at the foundation of Islam.

[8] According to ISIS’s claims of responsibility posted on Telegram

[9] According to ISIS’s claims of responsibility posted on Telegram

[10] The name of the institution is Kosar Education Center and it is located in west Kabul, in the Dasht-e-Barchi slum where most of the residents are Shiites.