ISIS Progress (May 21-29, 2015)
By Rachel Ehrenfeld
Friday, May 29th, 2015 @ 8:51PM
Left: A suicide bomber blew himself up in the parking lot of the Imam Hussein mosque, the only Shiite mosque in the port city of Dammam, Saudi Arabia, killing four people, May 29, 2015.
The Obama Administration has yet to decide whether it should stop ISIS. In the meantime, the territory under control of the terrorist entity in Iraq and Western Syria is growing, as “ISIS takes care to fill the governmental vacuum that has been created and to provide the civilian population with most of the services that enable them to maintain the routine of daily life (water, electricity, fuel, education). This activity is usually carried out concurrently with the establishment of alternative government institutions while brutally enforcing Islamic religious law (Sharia).”
The following are updates and excerpts on some of ISIS’s Global Jihad* activities:
- Abu Abdallah Uthman al-Asimi, who headed a network by the name of the “Army of the Caliphate” (Jund al-Khilafa), which sees itself as ISIS’s branch in Algeria, was killed in a military operation carried out by the Algerian security forces in the Bouira province on May 20, 2015, (All4Syria, May 21, 2015). On May 22, 2015, an ISIS-affiliated Twitter account posted an announcement of his death. He was reportedly killed along with another 24 operatives.
Left: The bodies of the operatives who were killed. Right: Abu Abdallah Uthman al-Asimi (Twitter status, May 22, 2015)
- On May 29, 2015, “ISIS has seized control of Sirte’s airport and attached military base, after the Tripoli based Libyan government forces withdrew..The city of Sirte, which is on the south coast of the Gulf of Sidra, has been under ISIS control since February. “After they left, Islamic State group fighters entered the base which had been completely emptied of equipment, except for one military plane which is out of use.”
- On May 20, 2015, after a fierce battle, ISIS gained control of Camp Jalit, east of the city of Sirte, which serves as the headquarters of a Libyan Army brigade. At the camp, ISIS operatives seized a large quantity of military supplies, weapons and vehicles (http://www.alwasat.ly/ar). ISIS issued a statement signed by the “Information Office of the Tripoli province” about the takeover of Camp Jalit. According to the statement, the battles there are still raging (ISIS-affiliated forum, May 20, 2015).
- Bernardino León, the UN envoy to Libya, spoke about the growing threat to Libya posed by ISIS operatives. In a speech, he warned against the rapid growth of ISIS in Libya.According to him, the number of ISIS operatives in Libya is around two thousand (http://www.alwatanvoice.com, May 23, 2015).
- On May 29th, ISIS suicide bomber attacked a shiite mosque in the city of Dammam.
- On May 22, 2015, a suicide bomber equipped with an explosive belt blew himself up in the Imam Ali bin Abi Talib Mosque, in the center of the town of Qudaih. This town is situated in the east of the Qatif province in Saudi Arabia, an area where most of the population is Shiite. Twenty-one people were killed and a few dozen were wounded (Al-Riyadh, May 23, 2015). According to initial eyewitness reports, the suicide bomber was wearing traditional Afghan clothing. ISIS published a signed claim of responsibility, issued by the Najd province information office. The statement noted that the suicide bombing attack was carried out by Abu Amer al-Najdi, by means of an explosive belt. ISIS threatened to eradicate all the Shiites from the Arabian Peninsula (ISIS-affiliated forum, May 22, 2015).
- Hezbollah condemned the blast in the Imam Ali Mosque in the town of Qudaih. The organization claimed that “takfiri terrorist elements” do not differentiate between Sunnis and Shiites, or between Muslims and non-Muslims, and that they act violently against everyone. Hezbollah blamed the Saudi authorities for the attack, on the grounds that the state is cultivating and sponsoring the criminals (Al-Ahed, May 22, 2015).
- On May 20, 2015, the Ifriqiya propaganda institution, which belongs to a network by the name of “The Uqba eben Nafi Battalion,” posted a message on its Twitter page stating that it has pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (Tunis Al-Aan, May 20, 2015).
- Budra Qalool,head of the Tunisian Center for Security and Military Studies, said that studies recently conducted by the Center had found that approximately 700 women from Tunisia had joined the ranks of ISIS. Many of them went to Syria and hold various positions in ISIS. According to Qalool, they hold teaching positions and recruit fighters, among other things (Al-Jarida al-Tunisia, May 21, 2015).
- On an ISIS-affiliated forum, ISIS published a video signed by the “Information Office of the Euphrates province,” addressing its operatives in Somalia. The video shows five operatives of Somali descent addressing Muslims in Somalia in their own language and calling on them to join ISIS, which “fulfills the laws of God and fights against the Christian Ethiopians” (ISIS-affiliated forum, May 21, 2015).
Publications: New issue of ISIS Dabiq Journal
- On May 22, 2015, ISIS published the ninth issue of Dabiq, its online English-language organ published monthly by ISIS’s media arm, the Al-Hayat Media Center. The ninth issue, entitled “They Plot and Allah Plots,” includes articles and advertisements for selected videos and radio broadcasts produced in the various provinces of the Islamic State. A few of the articles:
- An article entitled “The Perfect Storm,” about ISIS’s transition from a local organization in Iraq to international phenomenon which threatens the West and continues to grow despite Western efforts to stop it.
- An article entitled “In the Words of the Enemy,” which includes quotes from Western journalists, consultants and experts advising the US government to cooperate with jihadi organizations in order to fight against ISIS.
- An article discussing ISIS’s medical infrastructure and listing the diverse state-of-the-art medical services that it provides.
- An article entitled “Advancing East and West,” about the coalition’s efforts to stop the expansion of the Islamic State and, on the other hand, ISIS’s success in taking over more territory in Syria and Iraq.
- An article about the battles conducted by ISIS in the Al-Yarmouk refugee camp south of Damascus.
The cover of the ninth issue of ISIS’s organ, Dabiq, entitled “They Plot and Allah Plots”
*These excerpts are from The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center Spotlight on Global Jihad (May 21-27, 2015)