The following are some of this week's reports from the MEMRI Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM) Project, which translates and analyzes content from sources monitored around the clock, among them the most important jihadi websites and blogs. (To view these reports in full, you must be a paying member of the JTTM; for membership information, send an email to [email protected] with "Membership" in the subject line.)
Note to media and government: For a full copy of these reports, send an email with the title of the report in the subject line to [email protected]. Please include your name, title, and organization in your email.
By: M. Shemesh
In recent months, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of deadly terror attacks carried out by the Islamic State (ISIS) in major cities in Turkey. This extensive wave of attacks spiked after the Turkish military launched its Operation Euphrates Shield in the region of the Syrian city of Jarablus, the stated aim of which was to remove ISIS from the border area. ISIS replied with fierce attacks on Turkey, while its supporters called for attacks against Western tourists and interests in Turkey, in addition to their calls for attacks against Turkish institutions.
Islamic State (ISIS) supporters and fighters depend on online communication to spread and distribute jihadi content, to recruit new members and potential operatives in the West, and to coordinate and organize activities, which may be of a terrorist nature. Online networks of jihadi supporters have proved to be resilient, switching platforms when necessary to avoid and thwart efforts to shut them down.
A 16-year old FrenIslamic State (ISIS) supporter, is active on Instagram. Al-Faransi follows numerous pro-ISIS accounts, and promotes fellow supporters as well.
On December 7, 2016, a British female ISIS member, created a Telegram channel. She, who appears to be of Pakistani origin, migrated to Syria with her children, mother-in-law, and husband; her husband has made several trips in and out of Syria.
In light of the ongoing tensions between the Islamic State's (ISIS) Sinai province and Hamas, sparked by a recent wave of arrests of Salafi-jihadi ISIS supporters in Gaza, supporters of ISIS called the group to take harsh measures against Hamas. A post on the pro-ISIS Telegram channel associated with ISIS supporters in Gaza, called for increased coordination between ISIS supporters in the Gaza Strip and ISIS in Sinai.
On January 20, 2017, the media office of the Islamic State (ISIS) Aleppo province released a 28-minute video titled "Between Two States – Challenges and Rewards," which highlights the challenges encountered in the early Islamic state by the Prophet Muhammad and his rightly guided caliphs in their spreading of Islam, and their rewards that came from God, and likens them to the challenges faced in our time by ISIS's Caliphate State. The video was posted on the jihadi forum Shumoukh Al-Islam.
Following the December 19, 2016, assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov by Mevlüt Mert Altintas, a Turkish police officer, a dispute erupted in Islamist and jihadi circles over the assassin's religious status. While many argued that he was a hero, some ISIS supporters declared him an apostate.
January 21, 2017, the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar reported on the riots currently raging in Bahrain following the authorities' execution of three Shi'ite oppositionists.
A female Brazilian member of the Islamic State (ISIS) is active on Instagram. She shares glimpses of her life through her Instagram account, which features numerous photos of cats, food, and photos of her surroundings in Syria. The woman does not reveal a lot of personal information, however, in one post she revealed that she left home in Brazil without her parents knowing.
On January 24, 2017, the media office of the Islamic State (ISIS) in Ninawa province, Iraq, released a video showing its drones dropping dozens of bombs on Iraqi soldiers and documenting martyrdom operations carried out by its fighters, some of them teenagers. In the video, which is titled "Knights of the Department," and was published on the leading online jihadi forum Shumoukh Al-Islam, ISIS presented its capabilities in carrying out attacks using drones, which they claimed have become "nightmares" for the "infidels," in addition to its martyrdom operations.
On January 24, 2017, Jabhat Fath Al-Sham (JFS), the Syria-based jihadi group, which was previously the Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Al-Nusra (JN), released a statement condemning military factions for participating in the Syrian opposition summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, and expressing their willingness to fight JFS and help the international coalition to target it.
On January 13, 2017, the Al-Qaeda-affiliated English-language magazine Al-Risalah released a special issue that featured an exclusive interview with leading Algeria-born jihadi Hisham Abu Akram, a religious leader of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and a member of its shura council. The nine-question interview focuses on the history of jihad in Algeria, its failures in the face of the Algerian regime's effective counter-insurgency policies, the Algerian jihad's successful spread to the Sahara region, and the founding of AQIM.
Osed Agha, of the pro-Islamic State (ISIS) hacking group United Cyber Caliphate (UCC), identified himself as the group's leader in his 12-minute audio address titled "They Want to Distinguish the Light of Allah with Their Mouths" (Quran 9:32), posted December 25, 2016 on the UCC Telegram channel. In that address, Agha warned: "Our cyber attacks will only increase, and names and addresses [of targets for assassination] will soon be posted. You will see what our lone wolves will do to these targets."
On January 23, 2017, the pro-Islamic State (ISIS) hacking group United Cyber Caliphate (UCC) released a 26- page PDF guide on how to securely navigate Windows 10. The post on their Telegram channel is titled "Security Tips."
Islamic State (ISIS) supporters are continuing to post threats and calls for lone-wolf attacks against the West on the encrypted messaging app Telegram. Several such posters were circulated recently on a pro-ISIS channel. One poster shows a photo of U.S. president Barack Obama in crosshairs, while a few others threaten attacks on New York City. Another poster notes that lone wolves are everywhere, awaiting the right moment to attack, while yet another stated: "We continue to promise you more [attacks], and make you taste of that which you inflicted upon Muslims – but with a more severe version of what you did."
On January 20, 2017, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) released a 7-minute audio message by one of its senior clerics, Abu 'Abd Al-Rahman Al-Sanhaji, titled " And There Is None Who Likes that the People Should Repent to Him and Beg His Pardon [More] than Allah."
On January 22, 2017, the Syrian branch of the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP) published an official eulogy for several Jabhat Fath Al-Sham and Nur Al-Din Zanji fighters who were recently killed in a staging area in Syria.
On January 25, 2017, the Taliban Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid wrote an open letter to U.S. President Donald Trump, which was published on the Taliban's official website. The letter stresses America's failures in Afghanistan, both in terms of human and material losses, and asks what the end goal is of the 15-year long war. The spokesman explains: "To bring an end to this war feeding on the blood of your and our people, you must further understand the geography and nature of this war..." Six topics are covered in the letter, including Afghanistan's long history of independence, the refusal of military and "western colonial" presence in Afghanistan, and the rejection of U.S.-backed politicians who are running the Afghan government.
Following is the full text of the letter in the original English:
"To Donald Trump, President of the United States of America! Availing this opportunity of understanding arisen due to the presidential change of your country, I wish to share with you a few realities about the ongoing war in Afghanistan. The war launched on Afghanistan by your troops has completed its fifteenth year, is the longest war in your history (still prolonging) and has caused human and material losses to both sides."
On January 20, 2017, the Taliban released a 19-minute video titled "Al-Farouq Camp," showing its fighters undergoing training. The video was released by Tora Bora Studio, a division of the Taliban's media wing, and was circulated on the Taliban's Telegram channel.
On January 23, 2017, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, also known as the Taliban, published on its website an official message in English to U.S. President Donald Trump, titled "A Few Frank Points to Ponder for the New American President." It calls upon the new president to put an end to the presence of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and argues that more troops will achieve none of the desired goals. In the message, Taliban describe the fight against U.S. troops in Afghanistan as "an Islamic Afghan popular resistance against [U.S.] occupation" and denounce the "imposed surrogate Administration on the Muslim people of Afghanistan." It also promises that were the U.S. to "end the occupation... this will restore peace in our country and region and will allow you to restore your credibility in the world."