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 firstname.lastname@example.org with "Membership" in the subject line.)
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By: M. Khayat
Over the past decade, jihadis have come to rely heavily on the Internet for communication, propaganda, recruitment, and fundraising. The Clearnet, or surface Web – the portion of the World Wide Web accessed directly and indexed by common search engines – provides the jihadi community with plethora of outlets, among them password-protected forums, blogs, and social media. Recently, however, jihadis have begun to discuss the need to find different, presumably less visible, online outlets to serve their goals, and the Dark Web, or Deep Web – the part of the Web not indexed by search engines – has been proposed as one option. The Dark Web's appeal to jihadis is obvious – it allows them to operate hidden jihadi webpages and forums away from the prying eyes of the law; it enables them to use Bitcoin, the crypto currency which is the Dark Web's currency of choice, to funnel money for jihad, to obtain fake identification, and more; and it allows them to communicate securely.
Many foreign fighters engaged in fighting on jihadi fronts are using social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to chronicle their experiences and to create contacts with like-minded enthusiasts. This report profiles a young American in Somalia using the online alias Mujahid Miski.
Daniyal Mirza, a 19-year-old Canadian teenager of Pakistani origin, recently wrote about his intention to travel to Syria to join the jihad there. On his Tumblr blog, which he named "Random Musings of a Semi-Apathetic Teen," Mirza expressed tendencies toward jihad and radical Islamic ideology.
Abu Al-Qa'qa' Al-Faransi
On May 20, 2014, the Twitter account of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the Ninawa province published a series of posters commemorating suicide bombers who carried out attacks in the province, among them a French national and a Danish one.
The poster dedicated to the French national, who is identified as Abu Al-Qa'qa' Al-Faransi (the Frenchman), says: "Days after converting to Islam Abu Al-Qa'qa' Al-Faransi, of French origin, emigrated from his country to Syria and from there to Iraq, seeking martyrdom in the sake of Allah. Allah enabled him to storm the headquarters of the [Iraqi] federal police in Mosul with his explosive belt and his light firearm. He then killed the commander and many police officers. May Allah have mercy on him…"
On May 22, 2014, the Twitter account of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the northern Baghdad province published the image of Abu Osama Al-Faransi, a French national who, according to the tweet, carried out a suicide attack (via a car bomb) against a gathering of Safavid army (a derogatory term for the Iraqi army) personnel near the flour factory in Al-Mashahada area (Baghdad Governorate) on that same day. The attack, according to ISIS, took place on the 23 of Rajab 1435, which corresponds to May 22, 2014, and killed and injured many Iraqi army personnel.
On May 17, 2014, a coalition of Islamic rebel organizations released a communiqué titled The Fighting Brigades' Revolutionary Covenant of Honor, that seeks to set out the principles of the revolutionary activity being carried out by the insurgents in Syria.
The coalition comprises The Islamic Union of Ajnad Al-Sham; Failaq Al-Sham (The Syrian Corps); Alwiyat Al-Furqan (The Salvation Brigades); and the Islamic Front, a coalition of six powerful Islamist organizations.
The covenant was read out in a video that was posted on YouTube; the reader, Hassan 'Abboud, the leader of Ahrar Al-Sham, who is also Islamic Front political secretary.
The signatories to the covenant stressed that it was aimed at ousting the Assad regime, but omitted the statement that that the revolution seeks to establish a state ruled by Islamic law. At the same time, they announced the continuation of the struggle against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and openly and implicitly expressed their organizations' criticism of ISIS.
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On May 21, 2014, the "News of the Islamic State" Twitter page, affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), posted photos of two young children, allegedly the son and daughter of an ISIS fighter from France who has been killed in Syria. The children, Abu Mus'ab and Nussaybah, are shown raising their index fingers and holding weapons. Their father, who called himself Abu Dujana Al-Faransi, was reportedly killed in the Naqqarin suburb of Aleppo in April 2014.
In an announcement issued May 19, 2014, the Syrian rebel organization Jaish Al-Islam, which is part of the Islamic Front, claims that it shot down a Syrian military helicopter over the town of Mleiha using a SA-8 (Osa) missile. To prove the claim the organization released a YouTube video allegedly showing footage from the SA-8's control system.
On May 22, 2014, the Shumoukh Al-Islam forum announced that it would be opening the doors for forum members to submit their questions and comments for the fighting jihadi groups in Syria (i.e., Jabhat Al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), in particular).
On May 18, 2014, the Shumoukh Al-Islam forum published several guidelines for posting material in its technical subsection. The subsection is used by forum members to discuss a variety of technical topics, primarily pertaining to computers and cyber-security.
According to user "Muraqib9," who is Shumoukh Al-Islam's technical subsection supervisor and published the guidelines, the publishing of any technical materials that are prohibited according to the shari'a was now banned. Topics published in the technical subsection should exclusively deal with tutorials, inquiries, technical-related news, and information security topics, which can be beneficial for the mujahideen and their supporters.
A new terror group is using Twitter to publish jihadi videos, images and statements from the Taliban in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.
The group, which describes itself as a group of Baluchi mujahideen in the land of jihad called Khorasan (Afghanistan-Pakistan region), is followed by more than 215 Twitter users as of May 20. The group owes allegiance to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the Taliban's shadow government led by Mullah Omar.
On May 17, 2014, the jihad group Ansar Al-Tawheed fi Bilad Al-Hind (The Supporters of Monotheism in the Land of India), released a 10-minute video addressed to the leaders of global jihad throughout the world. Speaking in Arabic, the head of the group, 'Abd Al-Rahman, asks for these leaders' help in the war against the Indian authorities and urges them to carry out attacks against Indian targets and interest worldwide. (For previous MEMRI reports on Ansar Al-Tawheed, see:Ansar ut-Tawheed Releases Video, Vows To Avenge Atrocities Against Muslims In India and Video Of Anti-India Group Ansar Ut-Tawheed Shows Militants Undergoing Arms Training)
With the ongoing armed offensive against Islamists in Libya, especially in the city of Benghazi, the Salafi-jihadi group Ansar Al-Shari'a in Libya (ASL) issued a statement condemning the military attack against it, and calling it a part of the unbelievers' war against those who call for the implementation of the shari'a. Referring to the situation in Benghazi, ASL said that "the option of confrontation has become mandatory [and is] inevitable," while adding that any attack against Benghazi would result in a response from ASL.
In a May 22, 2014 message on its Twitter page, the jihad organization Ansar Al-Shari'a in Libya posted photos of its fighters in Benghazi posing with shoulder-held Man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADs). The posting of the photos follows an attack by militias loyal to General Muhammad Hifter on Islamist militias, among them Ansar Al-Shari'a.
On May 13, 2014, released a video in which the group's commander, Salahudin Shishani, and his deputy, 'Abd Al-Karim Krimsky ('the Crimean'), discuss the fighting in Syria and the situation in Crimea. The group is led by Russian-speaking foreign fighters, but apparently includes Syrian fighters as well.
Salahudin Shishani (left) and 'Abd Al-Karim Krimsky
Abuzar Azzam al-Burmi
A Pakistani media report warns that jihadi militants from the Taliban and allied groups could launch attacks on Chinese interests inside Pakistan.
The report in The Friday Times, a weekly magazine, said that the Pakistani government officials and security analysts fear that fighters from Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the anti-China group East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), as well as Sindhi insurgents, could "separately target Chinese interests in Pakistan."
Malaysian officers take the suspect in custody (image: thestar.com.my)
Malaysia's counter-terrorism officials have arrested a Sri Lankan national on charges of involvement in an international plot to attack the U.S. and Israeli consulates in southern India, according to a Malaysian website.
It should be noted that on April 29, India had arrested a Sri Lankan national, Mohammed Zakir Hussain, who is believed to have links to jihadi cells in Sri Lanka, Maldives, Pakistan, and India. He was arrested in connection with the reconnaissance of the U.S. and Israeli consulates in Chennai and Bangalore. Indian media reports had alleged that Zakir Hussain was part of a terror plot being hatched by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to attack the consulates.
According to an Urdu-language daily, security at airports in Pakistan has been tightened following information that Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) could hijack passenger planes.
The Pakistan Air Force is producing 37 types of drones but their sale to private institutions is banned, according to an Urdu-language daily.
Jihadi fighters in Pakistani tribal region
A militant commander of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has said that a Chinese tourist kidnapped by the Taliban can be exchanged for the freedom of Taliban prisoners in Pakistani jails, according to a Pakistani daily.
Abdullah Bahar, who claims to represent the TTP''s Hakimullah Mehsud faction, claimed responsibility for kidnapping Chinese tourist Hong Xu Dong from Dera Ismail Khan district. The TTP's Hakimullah Mehsud faction is led by Sheryar Mehsud.
In Audio Lecture, Burmese Militant Explains Prophet Muhammad's Forecast Of 'Battle Of India', States: 'In The Prophet's Time, Hind Was Referred To A Very Big Area Including … Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Kashmir
In an audio lecture posted on YouTube, Mufti Abuzar Azzam of the Pakistan-based terror group Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) argues that the jihad in Pakistan is essential to the success of jihad in Afghanistan.
Azzam, who is Burmese and speaks in Urdu, discusses the Ghazwa-e-Hind (Battle of India) forecast by Prophet Muhammad and goes on to argue that the territory called "Hind" also includes Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Kashmir, Burma, and Bangladesh.
It is not clear when the video was recorded, but it may have been produced sometime in 2013, possibly before the killing of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) emir Hakimullah Mehsud, who is mentioned in the address but was killed in a U.S. drone strike on November 1 that year.
In Video Posted On Facebook, TTP Emir Maulana Fazlullah Urges Suicide Bombers To Prepare For Attacks On Pakistan Army, Says: 'Our Jihad Will Continue 'Til The Establishment Of Sharia Or We Embrace Martyrdom'
Maulana Fazlullah – the diminutive man in the center – is TTP's emir
Using a Facebook account, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has released a video featuring Taliban fighters undergoing intense military training in an undisclosed mountainous region somewhere along the northeastern Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
The 7:37-minute video was released by the TTP's chapter for Dara Adamkhel district of Pakistan. TTP emir Maulana Fazlullah addresses the militants briefly at the training camp, though it's not clear when the video was prepared. Fazlullah took over as the TTP emir after Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in a U.S. drone strike on November 1, 2013.
According to an Afghan website, local Afghan officials in Nawbahar district of the country's southern Zabul province warned that the district could soon fall to the Taliban.
Deputy Governor Mohammad Jan Rassoulyar said that the Taliban militants had laid siege to Nawbahar district over the past few months, attacking local forces, and that there was a need for action "on an emergency footing," according to a report on the Afghan website Pajhwok.com. The district shares a border with Nawa district of southern Ghazni province.