February 9, 2019 Special Announcements No. 728

Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM) Weekend Summary

February 9, 2019
Special Announcements No. 728

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 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 Please include your name, title, and organization in your email.


EXCLUSIVE: Losing Faith In Al-Baghdadi – Part I: Islamic State Supporters Openly Criticize, Renounce Al-Baghdadi And The 'Caliphate'

By: R. Green

In recent months, there have been signs of waning commitment on the margins of the Islamic State (ISIS) to the ideological underpinnings of the movement, revealed through doubts as to whether the caliphate is legitimate, and whether its leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, is the rightful leader of Muslims worldwide. This erosion of commitment is caused by internal disputes and struggles, and linked to the loss of territory and the setbacks on the battlefield faced by the group. However the main cause appears to be the ongoing ideological dispute within ISIS. This erosion a has appeared on both sides of the controversy – in the dissident "scholars' camp," comprised of former officials in the now-defunct ISIS religious bureaucracy, and among the "extremists" or ultra takfiris (those with a propensity to proclaim other Muslims as unbelievers). The ideological dispute exacerbated and brought to the surface criticism regarding lack of competence and injustice on the part of the ISIS leadership.  In the past, detractors and dissenters were careful to refrain from criticizing Al-Baghdadi personally, and declared that they were firm in their loyalty to ISIS, ascribing the faults in the organization to those he appointed to carry out his orders, namely the "governors" of Syria and Iraq, and the members of the Delegated Committee (the top ISIS executive body). ISIS members are bound by their oath of allegiance to obey all directives, unless the caliph commits a clear transgression against the Islamic faith, and reneging on this oath is highly problematic from a religious standpoint. However, developments in recent months have led to criticism of, and a lack of faith in, Al-Baghdadi himself and the ISIS project as a whole. This report will be presented in two parts. The first will provide examples of supporters of the "scholars' camp" expressing their disillusionment, and the second part will present an example of an extremist who explains why he left ISIS entirely.

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EXCLUSIVE: Motivational Video From Al-Qaeda Affiliate In Syria Tells Story Of Suicide Mission

On February 3, 2019, the "Incite the Believers" operations room, which coordinates the military activities of Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in Syria, released a 17-minute video titled "The Four Lions On The Day Of Battles."


EXCLUSIVE: Telegram Channel Encourages Women To Participate In Jihad

A jihadi Telegram channel appears to have been created by a woman and for women.


In New Video, Al-Qaeda Leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri Urges Muslims To Unite Behind Mujahideen And Scholars To Confront Iran, U.S., Israel, Russia, France, China, Hindus, And 'Treasonous Rulers'

On February 5, 2019, Al-Sahab, the media arm of Al-Qaeda, released a video featuring the group's commander, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, declaring that the 2011 Arab uprisings have failed to achieve their objective and calling on the ummah to unite behind the mujahideen and the scholars to confront the ummah's enemies, which he describes as the U.S., Israel, Russia, France, China, the Hindus, and treasonous rulers.


Activists From U.S., U.K., Other Countries, Launch Project To Unify Foreigners' Efforts In Syria

On February 1, 2019, activists from different countries, including the U.S. and the U.K., reported on Telegram the launch of an initiative called the "Unity Project" to unite foreign activists in rebel-held territory in northwest Syria and coordinate and maximize the results of their efforts.


Foreign Fighters In Syria Release Statement In Support Of Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS)

On February 5, 2019, several foreign jihadi fighters in Syria, representing various groups comprised of foreign fighters fighting against the Assad regime, signed a statement of effusive praise for Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), defending the jihadi organization against the criticism it has recently received from Al-Qaeda supporters, both in Syria and abroad.


Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham Is 'Killing The Jihadist Spirit' Claim Al-Qaeda Leaders In Syria

On January 30, 2019, two leaders of Al-Qaeda in Syria who established the Hurras Al-Din group released a statement on Telegram demanding their "weapons and rights" from Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS).


Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) Forbids Members To Publish Personal Opinions About Current Events

A general order by the Monitoring and Overseeing Committee of Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), issued on January 30, 2019,  prohibits the group's members from publishing their opinions about current military and political events in Syria and abroad without the permission of HTS command.


Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham Special Forces Training Camp Focuses On Instinctive Shooting, Live Fire Drills, Day And Night Storming Operations

A video showcasing Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham's special forces training camp was uploaded to the Internet on January 30, 2019. The narrator explained that the special forces training stands out for its focus on concentration, instinctive shooting, weapons proficiency, and day and night storming operations, as well as its use of live ammunition, APCs, tanks, and armored fighting vehicles during drills. The video shows HTS operatives performing various training exercises.

Note to media and government: For a full copy of this video, send an email with the title of the video in the subject line to Please include your name, title, and organization in your email. JTTM subscribers can view this video here.


Al-Qaeda Affiliate In Syria Documents Its Military Operations

The "Incite The Believers" operations room, which coordinates the military operations of Al-Qaeda affiliated groups in Syria, has recently released material on Telegram documenting its activity in video and photography.


Syria-Based Saudi Jihadi Cleric Abdallah Al-Muhaysini Condemns Pope's Visit To UAE, Considers It 'Humiliating' To Muslims

On February 6, 2019, a Syria-based Saudi jihadi cleric condemned on his Telegram channel the Pope's visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and said it was a "humiliation" for the Muslim ummah.


Issue 29 Of Al-Qaeda Bulletin 'Al-Nafir' Condemns UAE For Pope's Visit

On February 6, 2019, Al-Sahab, the media arm of Al-Qaeda, released Issue 29 of its Al-Nafir bulletin, titled "The Most Beneficial Way To Stop The Crusader Campaign Against Muhammad's Peninsula," in which the group condemns the UAE for hosting the Pope and urged Muslims to wage jihad on everyone who allows the Christians to spread their religion in Muslim countries.


Al-Shabab Claims It Assassinated Maltese National Who Worked For Dubai-Based Company In Puntland

On February 4, 2019, Al-Shabab Al-Mujahideen, an Al-Qaeda affiliate active in Somalia and the Horn of Africa, claimed via its Shahada News Agency that a "security detachment" belonging to the jihadi organization assassinated the operator of the Bosaso Port on the Gulf of Aden.


Pro-ISIS News Outlet Eulogizes Belgian Media Operative

On February 4, 2019, a pro-Islamic State (ISIS) media outlet published a eulogy for a Belgian operative identified who worked in the organization's Media Department.


Pro-ISIS News Outlet Commemorates German Media Operative Killed In Syria

On February 3, 2019, a pro-Islamic State (ISIS) media outlet published a eulogy for a slain German media operative. According to Al-Muhajireen, the media operative was born to a German father and a Hungarian mother who both worked as teachers, and was raised in "an atheist Christian family" in the town of Hildesheim.


Pro-ISIS Group Publishes Audio Production On Soundcloud Featuring ISIS Fighters Including Children Urging Muslims To Take Part In Jihad

On January 31, 2019, a pro-Islamic State (ISIS) media foundation, uploaded to the audio distribution website SoundCloud an audio production that featured ISIS fighters urging Muslim men to join ISIS.


ISIS-Affiliated Nasher News Opens Account On Russian Social Media Platform VK

On January 31, 2019, the Islamic State (ISIS)-affiliated Nasher News announced on Telegram that it had opened an account on the Russian social media platform Vkontakte (VK). In the same announcement, Nasher News posted a link to its account on, a collaboration platform that the group began using in December 2018.


Jihadi Social Media – Account Review (JSM-AR): Palm Beach, Florida Competitive Marksman Posts About Buying Guns, Says He Hopes U.S. Muslims Have Been 'Preparing'; Shares Content Featuring Anwar Al-'Awlaki, Suleiman Anwar

Platform: Facebook


Pro-ISIS 'Military Sciences' Telegram Channel Distributes Detailed DIY Instructions On How To Build Explosives, Some With Poisonous Chemicals, Without Getting Caught And Effectively Detonate VBIEDs, Says Instructions Are 'Prepared For Jihad Against Apostates And Infidels Of Jews, Christians And Others'

A pro-Islamic State (ISIS) Telegram channel distributed dozens of posts worth of step-by-step technical English-language instructions, often accompanied by diagrams, photos, and videos, on how to build explosives.


Jihadi Social Media – Account Review (JSM-AR): Pro-ISIS WhatsApp Group Publishes ISIS Songs

The following information is based on a general overview of a social media account demonstrating terror-related activity / sympathies

Platform: WhatsApp


Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP) Video Highlights Children's Ambitions To Liberate East Turkestan, Documents Religious And Military Indoctrination

On February 5, 2019, the Syrian branch of the Uyghur jihad group Islamic Turkestan Party (TIP) released Part 2 in a video series titled "Protectors Of The Koran," which documents the religious and military training of Uyghur children in Syria. The 24-minute video is in Uyghur and Arabic, and is dated January 2019.


Radical Pakistani Cleric Maulana Ilyas Qasmi: 'America Surrendered On Its Knees Before The Mujahideen' In Afghanistan

Speaking at a martyr's conference the Hangu district of Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, radical Islamic cleric Maulana Ilyas Qasmi said: "Mujahideen's victory [in Afghanistan] is the peak of the happiness of the Muslim ummah."


In 28 Lectures, Pakistani Clerics Tell Audiences: 'There Is Life In Jihad And Death In Rejection Of Jihad'

A group of Islamic clerics delivered 28 lectures in villages around Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.


Radical Pakistani Cleric Maulana Ilyas Qasmi: 'Muslims! Do Not Benefit From Excuses To Stay Away From Jihad'

Radical Islamic cleric Maulana Ilyas Qasmi delivered a keynote speech at a conference in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.


Radical Pakistani Cleric Maulana Ataullah: 'Islam Received Strength From The International Movement Of Jihad'

Addressing a Seerat-un-Nabi ("Life of the Prophet") conference in the Bahawalpur district of Pakistan's Punjab province, radical Islamic cleric Maulana Ataullah said: "Islam received strength from the international movement of jihad."


Jihadi Charity Organizes Meetings For Radical Clerics In Pakistani Towns

According to a report in the January 18-24, 2019 issue of an Urdu-language weekly, a delegation of radical clerics associated with the charity wing of Pakistani jihadi group Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), held several meetings with Islamic religious scholars and their aides in the regions of Sialkot in Punjab province and Narwal in Pakistani Kashmir.


Jihadi Clerics Tell Audiences In Peshawar Not To Think Of A 'Shortage' Of Resources While On The Path Of Jihad

A delegation of radical Islamic clerics from the Pakistani jihadi organization Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) delivered eight lectures in Peshawar, telling their audiences not to think about a "shortage" of resources while on in the path of jihad.


Pakistani Cleric Maulana Talha As-Saif: 'Today, The Mujahideen Of Jaish-e-Muhammad Can Walk With Their Heads Held High'

Addressing a large congregation at a mosque at Khar Batkhela in Malakand district of Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, radical Islamic cleric Maulana Talha As-Saif said: "Jihad is an act that is never unsuccessful in any situation."


Pakistani Cleric Maulana Khalid Islam: The World Of Unbelief 'Is In A Panic Due To The Blessing Of The Martyrs' Blood'

Addressing a conference held to remember Noman, a young man identified only by his first name and who recently died fighting, possibly in Kashmir, a radical Pakistani cleric paid tribute to the young man.

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