ISIS Global Advances (March 26 – April 1, 2015)*

By rakefet
Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 @ 10:00PM

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Left: ISIS in Yarmouk, the Palestinian refugee camp south of Damscus

While the United States and its allies claim their air campaigns are successfully eroding the Islamic State expansion, ISIS took over the Yarmouk refugee camp, home to 18,000 Palestinians, in the south of Damascus. A United Nation’s Security Council Report on April 1, 2015, claims, “The number of fighters leaving home to join al-Qaida and the Islamic State group in Iraq, Syria and other countries has spiked to more than 25,000 from over 100 nations, according to a new U.N. report. The panel of experts monitoring U.N. sanctions against al-Qaida said in the report obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press that its analysis indicates the number of foreign terrorist fighters worldwide increased by 71 percent between mid-2014 and March 2015…It cited the “high number” of foreign fighters from Tunisia, Morocco, France and Russia, the increase in fighters from the Maldives, Finland and Trinidad and Tobago, and the first fighters from some countries in sub-Saharan Africa which it didn’t name.” (Turkey continues to be the key transit point to Iraq and Syria.).

In the meantime, ISIS campaign on the hearts and minds of Muslims everywhere goes uninterrupted. Here are a few examples:

In The United States

New York – Two women inspired by the ISIS terror group, trying to build an improvised explosive device they planned to detonate in New York City, were arrested by the FBI on Thursday, April 2, 2015.

The eight issue of the ISIS propaganda publication Dabiq calls to terrorize Virginia state Senator Richard Black, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and former CIA officer Gary Berntsen, who are “crusaders” and enemies. “Over the last month, a number of crusaders voiced their concerns over the power and drive of the Islamic State, its revival of Islam and the Caliphate, and its eventual expansion into Europe and the rest of the world.” (page 57)

“Chicago – Two cousins from Chicago were arrested by the FBI on suspicion of conspiring to carry out terrorist attacks on US Army bases. They are former National Guardsman Hasan Edmonds, 22, and his cousin Jonas Edmonds, 29. Hasan Edmonds was reportedly on his way to Egypt to join ISIS. It was further reported that Jonas Edmonds was going to use his cousin’s National Guard uniform to enter a military base in northern Illinois and carry out an attack there. They were apprehended after revealing their plans to an undercover FBI agent (AP, March 26, 2015).”

Germany 

“The German intelligence services estimate that around 650 people left Germany for Syria and Iraq to join the ranks of ISIS. Around 200 of them have returned to Germany. Action has already been taken against some of those who returned, while others are being monitored (rt.com, March 29, 2015). In early 2014, the BfV estimated the number of foreign fighters in Germany at over 200. The current estimate reflects the significant increase in the number of operatives from Germany as well as from other Western European countries joining ISIS

Hans-Georg Maassen, head of Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), Germany’s domestic security agency, said that more than seventy German women, nine of them school aged, had left Germany and gone to Syria.Forty percent of these women were under the age of 25. In his opinion, ISIS focuses on recruiting young women through social media posts showing a romanticized view of life at ISIS’s camps. According to Maassen, in most cases, the women who reach Syria are isolated upon their arrival and their passports and phones are taken away from them. He added that the women who join ISIS are generally low class and have a low level of education (rt.com, March 29, 2015).”

Italy

“Italian police are investigating a document published online by ISIS in Italian, entitled “A Valid Caliphate or Not?” At the end of the document there is a signature, “Your brother in Allah, Mehdi,” which appeared in the past on another document in Italian. Italian police claim that these documents were written by Madhi el-Halili (his name appears elsewhere asMehdi), a 20-year-old Italian of Moroccan descent who previously planned a terrorist act (ANSA, March 26, 2015)”

Russia 

“In an attempt to recruit operatives from Russian-speaking countries, ISIS published a pamphlet in Russian entitled “How to Make Hijrah [migration] to the Islamic State”. The pamphlet was written by an operative named Mohammad Abu Barud the Dagestani. The pamphlet provides information for those interested in joining the ranks of ISIS. It tells how to cross from Russia into Turkey and how to act in Turkey (www.themoscowtimes.com, March 27, 2015). ISIS recently issued updated security recommendations intended for operatives from European countries who travel to Syria via Turkey.

The various publications and instructions distributed by ISIS to diverse target audiences in the West and in Russia are designed both for propaganda purposes and to encourage foreign fighters to join its ranks (and if this is not possible – to encourage them to attack Western targets in their places of residence). The instructions are also designed to address the security-related difficulties involved in travelling to Syria due to the intensified preventive measures taken by Turkey and European countries.

In Syria and Iraq  

1. “Recruitment – A report issued by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) estimated that ISIS has increased the recruitment of children and youths into its ranks in the past year because it is having difficulty recruiting adults. According to the report, at least 400 children from Syria were recruited by ISIS in recent months.”

2. “Military training for male youths in Al-Raqqah, Syria  – Images posted on March 30, 2014 on ISIS websites show dozens of masked men who allegedly graduated from ISIS’s so-called School of Terrorism in northern Syria, apparently in the city of Al-Raqqah. Although the course graduates are masked, it is evident that most of them are boys in their teens (www.dailymail.co.uk, March 30, 2015).”

3. “Construction of roads and bridges by ISIS in northwestern Iraq – On March 28, 2015, an ISIS forum posted photos documenting the construction of bridges and roads by the Center for Services (in Arabic: Markaz al-Khidamat), ISIS’s public infrastructure construction arm. The construction took place in northwestern Iraq, in a province that ISIS calls the Al-Jazira province (Shabakat al-Jihad al-Alami, March 28, 2015)”

4. “ISIS continues to implement Islamic law (Sharia) in the places under its control in Syria and Iraq. A file-sharing website used by those affiliated with ISIS recently posted photos taken in the Nineveh province, showing the execution of three civilians who were shot and beheaded. The three were executed after being accused of corruption (ISIS-affiliated file-sharing website, March 30, 2015).”

5. “Ombudsman’s Office in Iraq’s Nineveh province – A video uploaded by ISIS on March 26, 2015, shows the offices of ISIS’s “ombudsman” (in Arabic: Diwan al-Mazalem) in the Nineveh province. The video shows a number of incidents in which civilians filed complaints, which were allegedly handled by the office (YouTube, March 26, 2015).”

6. “Establishing alternative administrative institutions in the territories under its control. It sets up state infrastructures, provides the daily needs of the citizens, controls prices, regulates commercial activity and enforces Islamic law (Sharia) with an iron fist and in brutal ways (even at the cost of friction with the local population).  In the ITIC’s assessment, the images published by ISIS, such as the activities of the “Ombudsman’s Office”, is intended for propaganda purposes, to show that ISIS is attuned to the feelings of the population.”

Tunisia

“Tunisian security forces arrested 23 suspects, including one woman, on suspicion of involvement in the terrorist attacks at the National Museum. One of those arrested wasMohamed Amine Guebli, commander of the cell (of global jihad operatives). Several other suspects were also arrested, including a Tunisian suspected of supplying weapons to the cell operatives. Three other operatives, an Algerian and two Moroccans, are still at large (AFP, March 26, 2015).”

Libya

“On March 28, 2015, “jihadi sources” in Libya said that the Libyan Abu Abdallah, the codename of a senior religious authority in the jihadi organization Ansar al-Sharia, had pledged allegiance to the leader of ISIS (Shabakat al-Jihad al-Alami, March 28, 2015). It is unclear whether ISIS accepted the pledge and what it means.”

These are excerpts from Spotlight on Global Jihad (March 26 – April 1, 2015)
by The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
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