In a nine-minute video posted on YouTube on Sunday, the so-called Islamic State (IS) group has called on its members to carry out jihad in Russia.
The video, which has subtitles, depicted footage of armed men attacking armoured vehicles and tens and collecting arms in the desert. One of the subtitles read, “breaking into a barrack of the Rejectionist military on the international road south Akashat.” In the last minutes of the video, a masked men driving a car in the desert yells “Listen Putin, we will come to Russia and we will kill you at your homes…Oh Brothers, carry out jihad and kill and fight them.”
While it was not immediately possible to independently verify the video, the link to the footage was published on a Telegram messaging account used by the militant group. Furthermore, while it was not immediately clear why Russia would be a target, the country, along with the United States, are talking about boosting military and intelligence cooperation against both IS and al-Qaeda in Syria. IS has called on its supporters to take action with any available weapons targeting countries it has been fighting.
Over the past several weeks, there has been a string of deadly attacks that have been claimed by IS. Last week, assailants loyal to IS forced an elderly Catholic priest in France to his knees before slitting his throat. Since the mass killing in Nice, southern France on 14 July, there have been four incidents that have occurred in Germany, including the most recent suicide bombing that occurred at a concern in Ansbach.
In an audio recording two years ago, the so-called Islamic State (IS) group urged its followers to attack French people with vehicles.
A speech from the jihadists’ group’s spokesman, Abu Mohammed al Adnani, encouraged devotees to turn to more basic methods of terrorism if they were unable to obtain guns or explosives. In the recording, he stated, “if you are not able to find a bomb or a bullet, then smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or crush him with your car, or throw him down a high place, or choke him, or poison him.” In his remarks, Adnani singled out “the spiteful French” amidst a long list of enemies, which was topped by “the disbelieving American” and their allies.
His September 2014 speech came shortly after a US-led coalition, which included France, launched airstrikes against the jihadist group’s strongholds. A month later, a man rammed his car into two Canadian soldiers in Quebec, killing one of them, in an attack that may have been inspired by Adnani’s recording. In December 2014, a man rammed a van into a crowd of shoppers at a Christmas market in Nantes, injuring nearly twenty people. That incident came just days after another driver rammed pedestrians in the central French city of Dijon, wounding about a dozen. However in both incidents, police refrained from calling the Dijon and Nantes incidents attacks because they said that both individuals had a history of psychiatric illness.
The method has become more common in various parts of the world, however many of the vehicles involved in such attacks are usually rigged with large bombs. In June 2007, two men in a burning jeep smashed into the main terminal at Scotland’s Glasgow Airport. One of the men was later jailed for life, with the judge describing him as a “religious extremist.”
According to CIA Director John Brennan, the efforts of the US-led coalition that is fighting the so-called Islamic State (IS) group have failed to reduce its ability to carry out militant attacks.
Speaking to the Senate intelligence committee, in an update on the threat from extremists, Mr Brennan told the hearing that the group remains “formidable” despite territorial losses. He stated, “unfortunately, despite all our progress against ISIL (Islamic State) on the battlefield and in the financial realm, our efforts have not reduced the group’s terrorism capability and global reach.” He indicated that he estimates that IS now has more fighters than al-Qaeda when that militant group was at its strongest, adding that there are as many as 22,000 IS fighters operating in Iraq and neighbouring Syria. He also indicated that the CIA is particularly concerned about the growth of Libya as an IS base.
While Mr Brennan indicated that the US-led coalition had made progress against IS, the group has “a large cadre of Western fighter who could potentially serve as operatives for attacks in the West,” warning that “to compensate for territorial losses, ISIL will probably rely more on guerrilla tactics, including high-profile attacks outside territory it holds.”
Mr Brennan’s appearance comes just days after the attack on a gay nightclub in Florida. The gunman, Omar Mateen, had pledged allegiance to IS, however Mr Brennan told the hearing that the CIA had not uncovered any direct link between Mateen and foreign militant groups.
US officials indicated in early June that they see no evidence that Nigerian-based militant group Boko Haram has received significant operational support or financing from the so-called Islamic State (IS) group, more than a year after Boko Haram pledged allegiance to it.
The assessment, which is detailed by multiple US officials, suggests that Bok Haram’s loyalty pledge has so far mostly been a branding exercise designed to boost its international jihadi credentials as well as to attract recruits and appeal to the IS leadership for assistance. The US view of Boko Haram as a locally-focused, homegrown insurgency, is likely to keep the group more to the margins of the US fight against IS in Africa. The US military’s attention is largely centred on Libya, which is home to IS’ strongest affiliate outside the Middle East and where the US has carried out air strikes. According to officials, no such direct US intervention is currently being contemplated against Boko Haram. One US official has disclosed that “if there is no meaningful connection between ISIL (IS) and Boko – and we haven’t found one so far – then there are no grounds for US military involvement in West Africa other than assistance and training,” adding, “this is an African fight, and we can assist them, but its their fight.”
In public comments, senior US officials have disclosed that they are closely watching for any increased threat to Americans from Boko Haram and any confirmation of media reports of deepening ties with IS.
On the 4th of July 2016, once again Baghdad was severely hit by one of the major bombing in the history of terrorism and the deadliest single attack in the war-weary country in years. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack in response to the battlefield setbacks, including the recent loss of the western city of Falluja. The militants have stepped up their attacks on civilians and this is the latest in a string of assaults during Ramadan, a period of fasting and prayer for Muslims; but also a time when jihadists launch operations against those they regard as their enemies.
Iraqi officials have raised the figure for the number of people killed in Sunday’s suicide bombing in Baghdad; the health ministry has reported 281 killed in the attack, which targeted a shopping complex in the mainly Shia Muslim Karrada district. In Sunday’s bombing, an explosives-laden lorry blew up outside a crowded, three-storey shopping centre where people were enjoying a night out after breaking their daily fast for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The bombing has sparked widespread anger among Iraqis, some of whom have accused the government of failing to protect them. When Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visited the bombing site, people threw stones and shoes at his convoy and called him a “thief”. In the following days the Prime Minister dismissed key officials, including the country’s intelligence chief and directors of six state-owned banks, as he is trying to push through government reforms in the face of growing popular protests.
One protester hacked an official Iraqi government website Sunday, causing the address to link to a Blogspot page that accused the government of using fake bomb detectors. The official government website stayed down for several hours. The hacker changed the homepage of the government website to an image of a bloody child and a drawing of a fake bomb detector with the ISIS symbol on it. Concerns have been raised for years about fake, non-functional, hand-held bomb detectors being sold to and used by Iraq’s government at security checkpoints. Many online echoed the hacker’s opinion, saying the deadly bombing could have been prevented. Shortly after the hack, the prime minister’s office issued a press release saying that Iraqi security agencies would “withdraw manually held devices at checkpoints” and reopen a previous investigation into whether or not many bomb detectors are in fact functional. The fake bomb detectors, based on cheap devices for finding golf balls, were sold in large numbers to Iraq by fraudsters. The fake detectors were still being used at checkpoints in Iraq until few days ago. The man behind the ADE 651, the fake bob detectors, is James McCormick. In 2013 he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in the ruse. The former policeman, of Langport, Somerset, who was found guilty of three fraud offences at the Old Bailey, is thought to have made more than £50m from selling three models based on a novelty £13 golf ball finder, to Iraq and other countries.
The type of explosive used for the attack remains classified. A forensic examination of the site has not yet publicly unveiled any data, however in the November 2015 attacks in Paris, TATP (triacetone triperoxide) was used as the primary explosive in a number of bombs and suicide belts during the hours-long siege. TATP was again used in the 2005 London bombings that killed 56 and was also confiscated from Najibullah Zazi in his failed plot to attack the New York City subway system in 2009. Moreover there is an ongoing investigation on the primary ingredient in the devices detonated during the bombings at Brussels airport and a metro station 2016. The attack could become the latest example of the chemical’s use in terrorist strikes across Europe. Acetone peroxide is an organic peroxide formed by the oxidation of acetone to yield a mixture of linear monomer and cyclic dimer, trimer, and tetramer forms. The trimer is known as triacetone triperoxide (TATP) or tri-cyclic acetone peroxide (TCAP) a highly unstable explosive. Acetone peroxide coalesces into a white crystalline powder with a distinctive bleach-like odor and can detonate when exposed to exothermic reactions, friction, or shock. As a non-nitrogenous explosive, TATP has historically been more difficult to detect, and it has been implicated as the explosive used in terrorist attacks. TATP is easy to make and hard to detect, but is also incredibly unstable. In fact, all it takes is a firm tap to explode TATP with a force that’s about 80% as strong as TNT. Regardless of the nature of compound the entrusted ADE 651 would have always failed to detect any threats or hazardous materials.
The ISIS success is primarily due to the failure of the security services. In an embarrassing admission, the government has had to order security personnel to stop using bogus bomb detectors that, for years, have been widely known to be useless and admitting the critical failure of the country’s security services.