ISIS Advances – January 22-28, 2015
By Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
Friday, January 30th, 2015 @ 2:50AM
Excerpts from The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center*
ISIS alleges Chinese technology experts joined the Caliphate
The ISIS forum website has announced that 400 Chinese missile and technology experts and engineers recently joined ISIS (Al-Minbar al-I’lami al-Jihadi, January 21, 2015). The figure is probably exaggerated, but it could indicate a trend on the part of ISIS to recruit experts in various fields, including military fields, to help strengthen its forces and its civil administration of the Islamic Caliphate.
ISIS currently controls about one third of the territory of Iraq and about one third of the territory of Syria. This large space, which extends from the outskirts of Baghdad to the outskirts of Aleppo, is home to many millions of residents (around 5-6 million residents, according to various estimates). In the area under ISIS’s control, which also includes major cities,there is a salient discrepancy between the relatively small number of ISIS’s military operatives and civilians and the extensive territory under its control. In order to bridge this “weak point,” ISIS is making major recruitment efforts in Syria and Iraq and in foreign countries as well, with the goal of adding high-caliber manpower to its military forces and its administrative systems.
ISIS transfers funds to Bedouin tribes in Sinai
On January 24, 2015, a website affiliated with ISIS posted photos documenting the transfer of funds from ISIS to Bedouins in Sinai.The website noted that the recipients are “needy Muslims whose homes were destroyed and burned by the Egyptian Army [which ISIS calls an apostate army]” (justpaste.it, January 24, 2015).
Left: One of the envelopes of money given to the Bedouins in Sinai. The envelopes read: “The Islamic State – Sinai province.” Right: Photo from the video in which ISIS operatives promise to continue to fight against the Egyptian Army and President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and are prepared to sacrifice their entire force in order to do so.
On November 10, 2014, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis pledged its allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of ISIS. From the perspective of Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, the reason for pledging allegiance was to ensure external support, taking advantage of the improved financial capabilities of ISIS. In the ITIC’s assessment, the transfer of funds to the Bedouins in Sinai (assuming the photos are authentic) may indicate the existing channels of communication used by ISIS to send aid to Ansar Bayt al-Maqdisi.
Training operatives from the Gaza Strip
On January 22, 2015, a Twitter account affiliated with ISIS posted photos of operatives allegedly from the Gaza Strip, training at ISIS training camps in Syria. These operatives are training with the Sheikh Abu Nur al-Maqdisi Company (Twitter account affiliated with ISIS, January 22, 2015).
Sheikh Abu Nur al-Maqdisi was a Salafist-jihadi sheikh in the Gaza Strip who was killed in 2009 by Hamas following his announcement of the establishment of an Islamic emirate in Palestine. After his death, he became a role model for Salafist jihadis in the Gaza Strip. It was previously reported that there were nearly forty operatives in Syria, some of whom probably operate within a separate unit in ISIS named after Sheikh Abu Nur al-Maqdisi.
* These are excerpts from Spotlight on Global Jihad (January 22-28, 2015).