An Update On ISIS Activities

January 15, 2019

January 15, 2019

 

A group of people walking on a sidewalk

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Nairobi Hotel Attacked by Terrorists (BBC Jan 15)

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Major corruption scandal erupts over Baiji refinery, AAH, Oil ministry.​​ [..]

A social precedent set in Diyala: Two Daesh wives file for divorce. [..]

Intel suggests possible upcoming Daesh attack in Kirkuk city. [..]

Mass grave of executed Daesh fighters found in Kasik, Tal Afar. [..]

Syria

Coalition conducted 575 airstrikes in Syria in last two weeks. [..]

SDF-Daesh battle continues in Al-Susah amid heavy Coalition airstrikes. [..]

 

Other​​ countries

Kenya: ​​ Al-Shabab attack on Nairobi hotel-office compound kills at least 14.​​ [..]

Nigeria: ​​ 

Boko Haram attacks major IDP camp in Borno; at least 7 killed,​​ [..]

. . . as number of IDPs from NE Nigeria fighting soar. [..]

Afghanistan: ​​​​ Toll from Monday’s Kabul car bomb attack now 5 dead, 110 wounded. [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Corruption

Qais Al-Khazali’s Asa’ib Ahl Al-Haq (AAH) and Ammar Al-Hakim’s Al-Hikma (Wisdom) bloc feuded over corruption and theft allegations surrounding the Baiji refinery.​​ Bas News​​ reported that there had been a “deal” between the Ministry of Oil and AAH in September 2017. Their source said that AAH, which had previously fought Daesh around the refinery area, returned 12 trucks worth of refinery equipment in exchange for 1.5 billion Iraqi dinars, and that the money had been accounted for as “transfer fees” by the Ministry. A source at the Ministry said that the deal was supposed to make former PM Haider Al-Abadi look good by enabling the refinery to re-open quickly.

Recently Al-Hikma and​​ Forat, which is associated with Ammar Al-Hakim, accused AAH of stealing refinery equipment. This prompted MPs from AAH to retaliate by saying that they had video recordings implicating current PM Adel Abd Ul-Mahdi in “what happened in Baiji,” as Abd Ul-Mahdi was Minister of Oil from 2014-2016. A spokesman for AAH said on Saturday that a committee would be formed to work out the differences between the​​ two​​ sides, as well as what would happen with the refinery equipment, which​​ Bas News​​ characterized as an implicit admission that the equipment had​​ in fact​​ been stolen and returned under “mysterious circumstances.” [BasNews]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

The Coalition said that between December 30, 2018 and January 12, 2019,​​ it had conducted 13 airstrikes in Iraq. [InherentResolve]

 

The Federal Central Criminal Court sentenced a man to life imprisonment for distributing money to Daesh members. He was paid $100​​ for​​ each Daesh member that he paid. [Sumaria]​​ [Baghdadia]​​ 

 

A military source said on Tuesday that Iraqi Army soldiers were waiting for the “zero hour” to join the fight against Daesh in Syria. The source claimed that “more than 30,000” Iraqi Army soldiers were gathered at the Iraq-Syria border in preparation to fight Daesh in the Syrian desert. The source also said that PMF participation in this operation had not been decided yet, but that PMF groups were likely to participate. Finally, the source said that there was “high-level” coordination between Baghdad and Damascus to eliminate Daesh in Syria with the aid of Russian air support. [Etejah]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ It’s hard to evaluate a story from an unattributed “military source. If there was a “zero hour” for joining the anti-Daesh fight in Syria, it was long ago. The obvious purpose of all the Iraqi troops on the border is to keep escaping Daesh terrorists in Syria and prevent them from gaining refuge in Iraq.

 

Foreign policy

The Saudi-owned​​ Al-Arabiya​​ TV channel says​​ that​​ the US demanded​​ that​​ Iraq​​ freeze and disarm​​ 67 PMF militias. Iraqi​​ Prime​​ Minister​​ Abd Ul-Mahdi​​ requested some time to respond.​​ The militias​​ listed​​ included​​ Al-Sadr’s​​ Saraya Al-Salam, Hadi Al-Amiri’s Badr Organization, Qais Al-Khazali’s Asa’ib Ahl Al-Haq (AAH),​​ and many others. [BasNews]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Bringing​​ the PMFs under direct government control was a major policy of Prime Minister Al-Abadi. Post-election political maneuvering suggests that pro-Iran elements in the PMF leadership are instead trying to use their PMF roles as a wedge to increase their​​ influence and their room for maneuver, an effort supported rather blatantly by Iran. The situation is an example of the weak government resulting from the election.

 

Hassan Khalati, a CoR member in the Al-Hikma (Wisdom) bloc, says there is a need for Iraq and the US to sign a new security cooperation agreement, as the strategic framework agreement is still in place. [Sumaria]

 

Prime Minister Adel Abd Ul-Mahdi received​​ Christopher Pyne, the Australian Minister of Defense, and his accompanying delegation.​​ The war on terror and military cooperation between the two countries was discussed.​​ [Rudaw]

 

BAGHDAD

No reports

 

ANBAR

Qasim Musleh, the Anbar Ops Commander for the PMF, said that he “prevented” US forces from carrying out “suspicious” reconnaissance of Iraqi units on​​ the​​ Iraq-Syria border, which he said​​ would​​ violate Iraqi sovereignty. He said that the the reconnaissance would have revealed classified and sensitive information related to Iraqi units. [Sumaria]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ This sounds more like PMF propaganda, an illustration of the problem cited by the comment above.

 

Falluja

Security Media Center spokesman General Yahya said on Tuesday that units under Anbar Ops Command had found and destroyed 40 IEDs in the Albu Daaij area,​​ in​​ Falluja​​ District. He said that they also found 15 IEDs left behind by Daesh near the train yard. [Ghad]​​ 

 

Daesh published on Tuesday photos of murdering the mukhtar of Al-Masalma village. [ICDNJan15]

Daesh had​​ previously​​ said​​ that​​ it captured and​​ murdered the mukhtar on Sunday. [ICDNJan14]

 

Rutba

Security Media Center spokesman General Yahya said on Tuesday that units under Anbar Ops Command had arrested a terrorist in Rutba. [Ghad]

SALAHUDDIN

Shirqat

The PMF media office said that on Tuesday, the 51st​​ PMF Brigade had found and dismantled an IED that was planted in a laboratory in Shirqat.​​ [Ghad]

 

Tikrit

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Monday that security units captured a man who was smuggling food items on his motorcycle to Daesh terrorists in the Himrin Mountains area. The source said the units confiscated the man’s phone and found videos of Daesh meetings and other activities. The source sent us two of the videos.​​ 

 

Southern Salahuddin​​ (Balad)

The PMF media office said on Tuesday that the 43rd​​ PMF Brigade had found a cache of weapons and explosives in Rafiyat​​ village in​​ Balad​​ District, south of Balad city. It said that the cache was intended for use by Daesh to attack pilgrims coming to the nearby graves of imams.​​ [Buratha]​​ 

 

DIYALA

A local source in Diyala Province said on Tuesday that 2 wives of Daesh members had filed for divorce, and that these were the first such cases in the province in 2019. [BaghdadToday]

 

Baquba/Southeast Diyala

A security source in Diyala Province said on Tuesday that 2 Daesh members had been killed by poisoning in the Al-Waqf​​ Basin area. The source said that a woman had poisoned food and given it to the Daesh members, and characterized this as a “popular rejection” of the presence of Daesh cells in Al-Waqf. [BaghdadToday]

 

Daesh said it targeted the Shia village of Kharnabat, in the Al-Waqf area, with a Katyusha rocket, on Monday. [ICNDJan15]​​ 

 

Northern Diyala (Kifri, Khanaqin,​​ Khalis​​ north)

The Chairman of the Security Committee for Diyala Provincial Council, Sadiq Al-Husseini, said on Tuesday that a “joint security force” had killed 4 Daesh members in the Himrin Basin. He added that security forces had also confirmed the death of a senior Daesh leader in the area from an Iraqi Air Force bombing two days prior. [BaghdadToday]​​ 

 

A security source said that Daesh had attacked the village of​​ Mohammed Abbas,​​ in​​ Khanaqin​​ District, on Tuesday. The source said that Khanaqin Police responded to the attack and that fighting between the police and Daesh was ongoing as of the story’s publication.​​ [PUKMedia]​​ 

 

KIRKUK

Kirkuk

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Monday that according to information obtained by Iraqi security units, Daesh is planning to attack oil facilities, trucks, and pipelines in the Kirkuk area during the next​​ several​​ days.​​ 

 

The Governor of Kirkuk​​ also​​ warned that the number of Daesh fighters in Kirkuk city had increased to the point that they formed a serious threat. [IraqPress]

 

Hawija (Riyadh)

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Tuesday that 5 PMF soldiers were killed and 3 others wounded in a Daesh attack on their military position in the Riyadh desert. The source said the terrorists, who were on motorcycles, stole 2 machine-gun-mounted vehicles before fleeing.​​ 

 

A member of the IFP was killed in an IED explosion in Hawija on Tuesday morning. [SotIraq]

 

Southwest (Daquq, Rashad)

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Monday that IFP units killed 3 Daesh terrorists who were hiding in a tunnel in the desert near Rashad. The source sent us a photo of one of the terrorists.​​ 

 

NINEWA

Mosul​​ city

On Tuesday, the Ministry of the Interior (MoI) said that Ninewa Ops Command and the Directorate of Intelligence and Counter-terrorism​​ in​​ Ninewa found an explosive belt ready to detonate, 11 hand grenades, and rifles in east Mosul. [IraqPress]

 

Western​​ Ninewa

Tal Afar

A Ninewa Police source says that a Daesh mass grave was found near Kasik, containing 45 bodies of Daesh fighters. It appears that the victims were executed by Daesh for desertion and disobedience. Personal IDs belonging to the victims were also found. [BasNews]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Sunday that 2 PMF fighters were killed in a Daesh attack on military positions west of Abu Mariya hills. The source said the PMFs killed 2 Daesh terrorists, including the former​​ wali​​ of Shura.​​ 

 

Sinjar

Daesh said it killed two Iraqi Army​​ soldiers, wounded two others, and damaged an SUV with 2 IEDs on Monday near the Sinjar Cement Factory, east of the city. [ICDNJan15]

 

SOUTHERN IRAQ

Basra

Al-Mada​​ reported​​ on Tuesday​​ that 6 demonstrators had been arrested on Sunday in Huwayr, northwest Basra. A local coordinator of the demonstrations said that security personnel had fired​​ live ammunition at protestors near an oil company in northern Basra. He said that at least 1 person had been shot and injured in the recent protests in Huwayr. [AlMada]

 

KURDISTAN​​ NEWS

ERBIL

Kurdish media said on Tuesday that there had been an explosion in Erbil city, killing a civilian. [Ghad]​​ 

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY​​ 

 

Foreign policy

Turkish​​ President Recep​​ Tayyip​​ Erdogan expressed regret for the differences between the US​​ and Turkey on Syria, saying that​​ the Turkish Army could establish the​​ safe​​ zone” in​​ northern​​ Syria​​ mentioned by the US.​​ He said that this was contingent on the US and the Coalition providing financial and logistical support, and that the Turkish Housing Company could take over the construction work in the “safe zone.” However, in the same speech, he also said he would “force the YPG to return to their holes.” Erdogan was speaking​​ to​​ his​​ AK Party’s​​ bloc in the Turkish​​ Parliament. [Qasioun]​​ [ElDorar]

 

Turkish President Erdogan says that Turkey does not need permission to combat terrorism. This came in an article by Erdogan published in a Russian paper. He also says that the Syrian crisis can only be solved by parties directly affected by it. [Arabi21]

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

United Nations

The Syrian​​ Foreign​​ Minister told​​ United Nations Special Envoy to Syria​​ Geir Pedersen that Syria is ready to cooperate to activate​​ an​​ interSyrian dialogue and​​ solve any pending​​ issues. He says that all foreign forces must leave the country,​​ and Syrian unity​​ must be​​ preserved.​​ [SyriaNow]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

The Coalition said that between December 30, 2018, and January 12, 2019, it had conducted 575 airstrikes in Syria. It also said that in that same time period, the Coalition had detected 373 strikes from “other actors” that “crossed the Euphrates River Valley.” [InherentResolve]

 

Another​​ Coalition statement on Tuesday said that the Coalition and its partner forces were continuing to​​ reduce​​ Daesh’s presence. The statement noted that SDF units had freed the town of Kashma​​ in​​ Albu Kamal​​ District,​​ on the west side of the river,​​ and said that the SDF had continued to rescue civilians fleeing from Daesh. [InherentResolve]

 

Northwest

Afrin

Hawar​​ reported on Tuesday that a car bomb explosion in​​ the​​ Mahmudiya neighborhood in Afrin resulted in “many” deaths and injuries. [Hawar]

 

Northeast​​ 

Hasaka

Local sources say that pro-Daesh themes and slogans were found on the walls of the Markada market area,​​ in​​ southern​​ Hasaka,​​ an​​ SDF-held area. [Qasioun]

 

Central and West​​ 

Idlib

Mustafa Siri, commander of the Political Bureau of the opposition Mutasim Brigade, demanded international intervention in Idlib after Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) took control of a wide area in Idlib. He said that Tahrir Al-Sham is a terrorist group and is the Sunni arm of Iran in Syria. [ElDorar]

 

The SOHR says that following Tahrir Al-Sham’s takeover of many areas in Idlib and Aleppo, 15 opposition militias announced that they were joining Faylaq Al-Sham (aka Sham Legion), an alliance of Turkish-backed Islamist militias. [SyriaHR]

 

The​​ SOHR​​ also​​ says​​ that​​ the fragile truce reached by Turkey and Russia in 4 Syrian provinces is still active,​​ despite sporadic breaches here and there. The agreement to establish a demilitarized area was linked by​​ Presidents Putin and Erdogan​​ with​​ stopping​​ the​​ Syrian​​ Army from attacking Idlib. [SyriaHR]

 

Homs

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Sunday that 4 Syrian soldiers, including a captain, were killed at a Daesh fake checkpoint in the desert near Tadmur.​​ 

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

The SOHR says that unidentified armed men wearing Syrian Army uniforms executed a civilian in Jura neighborhood, Deir Ez-Zor city. Another body was found near the railway east of Deir Ez-Zor, and a third was found beheaded near Mayadin. An SDF fighter was also found beheaded in Dhiban, Mayadin​​ District. [SyriaHR]

 

Deir Ez-Zor​​ District

Daesh said on Tuesday it killed two SDF members, wounded another, and damaged their truck with an IED on the road between Abu Hamam village and Deir Ez-Zor city. [ICDNJan15]

 

Albu Kamal​​ District

The SOHR reported intense Coalition airstrikes, in 2 waves, on Daesh targets late Monday night and Tuesday morning. 2 Coalition convoys also entered the area, heading to the front​​ lines, while battles between the SDF and Daesh are continuing in Al-Susah. [SyriaHR]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Sunday that SDF units captured a Daesh Ethiopian in a house in Al-Sha’afa town. The source said the terrorist, who had joined Daesh in 2014, was wounded in his foot and hiding in a house.​​ 

 

Daesh said it killed or wounded SDF soldiers on Sunday when it targeted their “gathering” in Albu Badran village. [ICDNJan15]​​ 

Daesh said it targeted SDF “gatherings” in Albu Badran village with 60 mortar shells, on Monday. [ICDNJan15]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ However, they are “targeting” Albu Badran because they have already lost it, largely to produce this propaganda story that distracts attention from their defeat. Who know what “gathering,” if any, they actually targeted.

 

South​​ 

Damascus/Rif Damashq​​ 

On Tuesday​​ Dorar​​ reported that the leadership of the 4th brigade of the Syrian Army decided to dissolve the “Hermon​​ Brigade,” which operates in Rif Damashq. The resolution stipulated that the soldiers had to turn in their weapons and sign up with the Syrian Army within 6 months. [ElDorar]

 

Daraa/Quneitra

The anti-government Popular Resistance Front militia attacked a Syrian Army barracks​​ in Tafas, in Daraa near the border with Jordan, causing several casualties. [ElDorar]

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

North Africa

Egypt

Daesh said on Tuesday it destroyed an Egyptian Army Humvee with an IED near the Sadout security barrier, in Rafah. [A3maq]

 

Libya

The Libyan Army announced a large military operation Tuesday in the southwest of the country to clear Libya of Daesh, Al-Qaeda, and similar groups. [Hawar]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

AFRICA

Kenya

There was a major​​ and dramatic​​ terrorist incident in Nairobi Tuesday, as​​ Somali Al-Shabab terrorists attacked a hotel and office compound frequented by western business personnel and tourists. Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta announced​​ this morning​​ that 14 innocent people had been killed in the attack and an unspecified number of others injured. Other sources think this may not be the final total. 700 people escaped or were safely evacuated from the compound. All the terrorists were killed.​​ [BBC]

There was an earlier report that​​ two​​ explosions and gunfire​​ had been​​ heard in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital. Police reported a gun fight with an armed group, but did not specify​​ at the time whether​​ it was a terrorist group​​ or a criminal group. [Anadolu]​​ 

 

Nigeria

On Monday,​​ Boko Haram fighters attacked a military base in Rann, in the northeast of Borno State, and set fire to shelters​​ erected​​ there​​ to house​​ IDPs fleeing the conflict. Rann currently hosts around 35,000 IDPs.​​ The attack killed at least 7 people.​​ [VanguardNGR] [AFP]

Nigerian troops retook control of Rann on Tuesday. [Pulse]

IDPs coming from Rann to Maiduguri reported on Tuesday that Boko Haram had burned​​ down medical and school facilities in Rann. Camp officials said that they expected the number of IDPs to rise due to the attack in Rann and a previous attack on Damasak. [DailyPost]

 

The UN’s humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, had already said last Wednesday that “more than 30,000” IDPs had arrived in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, in the last few weeks. He said the IDPs were mostly coming from Baga, where the fight with Boko Haram has been intense. Kallon said that the current IDP crisis was particularly triggered by fighting around Baga on December 26 and 28, 2018, which led residents to flee to already-overcrowded camps. [VanguardNGR]​​ 

 

Boko Haram attacked Magumeri, a local government headquarters in Borno State, on Sunday. 3 soldiers were reported killed and 6 injured. [PremiumTimesNG] [Legit]

Daesh said its fighters​​ killed or wounded Nigerian soldiers, wounded others, set fire​​ to​​ a military position and an SUV, and stole weapons and ammunition on Monday in attack on​​ Mamri​​ town, in Borno State. [ICDNJan15]​​ Daesh issued a video of the attack. [ICDNJan15]

 

Daesh issued on Tuesday a propaganda video about its terrorists in west Africa. In the video, Daesh calls on its supporters to “migrate” to areas under its control. [ICDNJan15]

 

ASIA

Afghanistan

The Taliban claimed responsibility for Monday’s car bomb attack in Kabul, which is now reported to have killed 5 people, including 4 security personnel and 1 Indian citizen.​​ Reuters​​ said the number of injured had risen to over 110 people. [Hawar]

The Indian Embassy in Kabul confirmed the death of 1 of its citizens in the attack. [Khaama]

NATO condemned the attack and called for the Taliban to stop using violence and “come to the negotiating table.” [Khaama]

 

The Ambassador of Afghanistan to the US, Roya Rahmani, formally presented her credentials to President Trump. [Khaama]

 

Daesh said on Tuesday it killed an Afghan intelligence​​ officer​​ and destroyed his vehicle with a sticky IED near the presidential palace, in Kabul. [ICDNJan15]​​ 

 

 

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