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.)
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Against the backdrop of the losses taken by the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria and Iraq, there have in recent months been indications that the organization's peripheral branches are growing stronger, for example, in Afghanistan, Somalia, and Libya. Official ISIS media bodies are covering them more intensely, and the branches are becoming more active. ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi himself has referred in his speeches to the fighters of these ISIS branches, including Somalia. Over the past year, the number of fighters in ISIS in Somalia has increased from dozens to some 200; some may have come from Syria and Iraq. ISIS Somalia has also attracted fighters from other African countries, such as Kenya, Ethiopia, and Sudan. On the operative level, ISIS Somalia has recently stepped up its attacks and expanded its arena of operation in the country. Its activists are also involved in da'wa and charity activity for the local residents.
ISIS Somalia has been releasing an increasing number of videos documenting its attacks on Somali soldiers and special forces in the southern Somali city of Afgooye. Additionally, official ISIS channels on Telegram have stepped up their news releases about ISIS fighters in Somalia, and a number of new Telegram channels are now disseminating ISIS news in the Somali language. In light of ISIS's increased strength in Somalia, its fighters have become a target for U.S. forces. On November 3, 2017, U.S. military drones carried out the first American attack on an ISIS base in the country, in Puntland; the attack killed 20 ISIS activists. On November 27, U.S. forces attacked the ISIS base in Puntland again, in coordination with the Somali government; one ISIS fighter was killed in the attack. This report will focus on the growing strength of ISIS Somalia.
On March 31, 2018, Al-Qaeda’s media wing Al-Sahab released the sixth installment of a video series by Hamza bin Laden, the son of Osama bin Laden, that focuses on Saudi Arabia. The series has so far focused on the modern history of Saudi Arabia, during which Hamza has criticized its founder, the late King Abd Al-Aziz, of betraying Muslims and collaborating with Western powers.
A notice posted March 31, 2018, on Telegram channels affiliated with Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) announces a 15-day training course for "brothers interested in joining [HTS's] elite forces in Al-Badia" in southeastern Syria.
On March 27, a Telegram channel supportive of Al-Qaeda affiliate Ansar Ghazwatul Hind (AGH) released a video demonstrating how to make Molotov cocktails and encouraging viewers to use them. The Urdu-language video, titled "Together With The Mujahideen Of Kashmir," is about six minutes long.
A newly created Telegram channel has posted a message from Jaish-e-Muhammad ("Army Of Muhammad"), which is one of the leading jihadi organizations backed by the Pakistani military's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
Pakistan-based jihadi organization Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) has claimed the martyrdom of its district commander Saeed Khan and that of another militant in a clash with Indian security forces in the Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir.
A jihadi media outlet has released on its Telegram channel the prerecorded messages of two Kashmiri militants killed by Indian security forces in an operation in Jammu and Kashmir state on March 16, 2018.
Issue 125 of the Islamic State (ISIS) weekly Al-Naba', released online on March 29, 2018, praised the March 23 terrorist attack in the town of Trèbes in southern France. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, which killed four, and was carried out by 26-year-old Redouane Lakdim.
Muttahida Jihad Council (MJC), a network of anti-India jihadi groups based in Pakistan and headed by Syed Salahuddin, has paid tribute to militants and civilians killed during clashes with Indian security forces in the towns of Shopian and Anantnag in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday, April 2, 2018. The Muttahida Jihad Council is also known as the United Jihad Council (UJC). MJC chief Syed Salahuddin said in a statement after a meeting of his commanders: "The Indian forces' barbarity is breaking all records in Kashmir" and the Kashmiris' "sacred blood will not be wasted." He added: "The people of Kashmir prefer to face bullets to save the militants."
The last several months have seen an uptick in Islamic State (ISIS) media production, particularly in French, which peaked following the deadly March 23 terror attack in Trèbes. This was expressed, inter alia, in the publication of new ISIS posters, some of which are presented below:
On March 31, 2018 the Islamic State (ISIS)-affiliated group Jaysh Khalid Bin Al-Walid (JKBW), which is active in the Yarmouk Basin in southern Syria, released a series of photos showing the execution of Naji Mustafa, whom it had convicted of spying for the Assad regime in the town of Aabdyn in Syria.
On April 3, 2018, a media group that supports the Islamic State (ISIS) published a warning telling its followers to block a particular Telegram user and to share the warning widely.
In 2014, London taxi driver Samiun Rahman was charged with running a Bengali cell that recruited Islamic State (ISIS) militants. Police in Dhaka, Bangladesh have stated that Rahman confessed to participating in jihadi activities in Syria between September and December 2013.
On March 31, 2018, Islamic State (ISIS) channels on Telegram posted two BitTorrent files.
On March 29, 2018, a pro-Islamic State (ISIS) Instagram user posted tips he said would help those whose accounts are suspended quickly after they are opened.
On April 2, 2018, a number of leading Telegram channels that support the Islamic State (ISIS) shared posts promoting a new channel dedicated to publishing posts about cyber security and information technology.
On April 1, 2018, the Shahada news agency, affiliated with Al-Shabab Al-Mujahideen, claimed that 59 Ugandan troops had been killed in an Al-Shabab attack on two military bases in the towns of Bulo Marer and Golwein in the Lower Shabelle district in southern Somalia.
On April 2, 2018, a Telegram channel operated by Al-Qaeda supporters released a short clip celebrating the deaths of French soldiers killed in the Sahel region since 2013, when France launched its intervention against jihadi forces in Mali.
In late 2017, YouTube announced that it was going increase its vigilance in removing sermons by the late Yemeni-American Al-Qaeda cleric Anwar Al-'Awlaki.
On April 4, 2018, the tech channel on Telegram of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Global Islamic Media front (GIMF) shared a link to an article warning of a new Android malware that records phone calls and steals private data.
Maulana Muhammad Umair, a radical cleric of the Pakistani jihadi organization Jaish-e-Muhammad, told a religious gathering in Pakistan that a discussion of "the Koran and the Prophet's life cannot be complete without jihad."
Majlis Dawat-ul-Koran, one of the units of Pakistani jihadi group Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), has begun organizing a lecture series on jihad at 52 locations in the large towns of Pakistan, according to the Urdu-language weekly Haftroza Al-Qalam.
Maulana Abdul Aziz Isar, a radical Islamic cleric associated with Pakistani jihadi organization Jaish-e-Muhammad, told a religious gathering: "The mujahideen are Allah's dearest people and Allah has discussed his dearest people in the Koran."
It has been nearly seventeen years since Afghanistan was occupied by the American invaders, making it the longest war in the contemporary American history on one side; and on the other, it is a lingering calamity and affliction for our country and masses. In this unbalanced war, all kinds of sophisticated weapons and bombs are used by the savage American occupying forces and their internal [i.e. Afghan] mercenaries against the oppressed Afghan people.