An Update On ISIS Activities

January 23, 2019

January 23, 2019

 

A pile of hay

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Daesh Tunnel Found Near Bashiqa (DD Jan 23)

 

 

 

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

 

Iraq

Former Baghdad Mayor sentenced to 7 years for corruption, but he’s hanging out in DC. [..]

Abu Saida subdistrict manager reports serious deterioration of security conditions.​​ [..]

Daesh stages five deadly incidents against soldiers, IFP in Hawija. [..]

Building reconstruction projects start in Sinjar.​​ [..]

Daesh Daily source details continuing major Daesh presence in Hatra-Anbar desert area. [..]

 

Syria

US House approves legislation that would increase sanctions on Syrian regime. [..]

EU sanctions 5 businesses, 11 individuals for doing business with Assad regime. [..]

The SDF captures Al-Baghouz. ​​​​ Daesh now holds only two​​ Bukamal​​ villages.​​ [..]

27,000 civilians have escaped Daesh-controlled areas in past month. [..]

 

Other​​ countries

United States: ​​ FBI arrests three ISIS recruits in Michigan. [..]

Nigeria:​​ Boko Haram storms another town in NE Nigeria. [..]

Afghanistan:​​ US soldier killed in Afghanistan.​​ [..]

 

REPORTS FROM IRAQ

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Reconstruction

The Kirkuk Governor’s office says that representatives of 6 provinces met in Salahuddin and agreed on reconstruction and improvement in​​ living conditions of their citizens. The representatives of Salahuddin, Anbar, Ninewa, Diyala, Kirkuk, and Baghdad agreed to coordinate on security issues and support international organizations working on reconstruction. [Sumaria]

 

Also see stories​​ under Sinjar.

 

Corruption

On Wednesday the Baghdad Criminal Court sentenced the former Mayor of Baghdad, Naeem Aboub, to 7 years imprisonment in absentia for​​ criminally​​ wasting 12 million dollars.​​ Among specific charges was that Aboub had issued sole-source contracts without cost estimates,​​ which suggests favoritism and possible kickbacks.​​ Aboub had been the​​ Mayor of Baghdad from 2013 to 2015, when he was dismissed from his position by Haider Al-Abadi due to suspicions about his character. Aboub has been in​​ 

Washington DC for “several months.” [BasNews]

 

Anti-Daesh campaign

The head of the UN team investigating Daesh’s crimes, Karim Assad Khan, says that Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani told him that Daesh prisoners should be treated according to secular and Islamic law. He described the meeting as positive. The purpose of the meeting was to explain the team mission, which will have a special focus on crimes against women. [Sumaria]

 

Foreign policy

Iraqi MP Hassan Al-Kaabi said in a meeting with the Palestinian National Council on Wednesday that there would be no “normalization” of relations with Israel. [Anadolu]

 

BAGHDAD

No reports

 

ANBAR

Qasim Musleh, Anbar Ops Commander for the PMF, says that the PMF thwarted a Daesh infiltration attempt across the border. [Sumaria]

 

Falluja

The PMF media office says that the 2nd​​ PMF Brigade, in cooperation with the 14th​​ Army Division, found and destroyed a tunnel leading from the Shuhada area to Hayakel in Falluja​​ city. It says the tunnel was prepared for use by Daesh militants to attack the city. [Sumaria]

 

Ramadi

A security source in Anbar says intelligence units arrested a Daesh recruitment officer in Anbar on the expressway west of Ramadi. The arrestee previously fled to Turkey, and lived in Urfa, southeastern Turkey, since 2016. He topped the list of wanted persons​​ because of previous​​ attacks against Iraqi military and security targets. [BasNews]​​ [Ghad]​​ 

 

Al-Qa’im

The subdistrict manager of Al-Qa’im​​ subdistrict, Ahmad Jidyan, called on Wednesday for the local government to deport the families of Daesh members to “maintain the security of the western areas.” Jidyan noted that the border area of Al-Qa’im was an important security arena, and said that local residents were concerned about the presence of Daesh families and feared the return of Daesh fighters. He said that Daesh family members should be housed in camps or in new housing away from the Al-Qa’im city center.​​ [BasNews]​​ 

 

SALAHUDDIN

Baiji

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Wednesday that Daesh terrorists in the Makhoul Mountains area are spreading rumors about a “surprise” for Iraqi and Coalition forces. The source said that Daesh sources claim that Daesh​​ has​​ manufactured chemical weapons and plan to “restart the resistance” against the Coalition.​​ 

 

DIYALA

Central Diyala (Muqdadiya/Abu Saida)

The subdistrict manager for Abu Saida, Harith Al-Rubai’e, said on Wednesday that most of the villages south of Abu Saida are under the control of Daesh, and that security personnel are targeted in these areas on a daily basis. Al-Rubai’e​​ named the villages of Mukhaisa,​​ Abu Khanazir, Sheikhi, and Chalabi as still being “havens” for Daesh members. He also said that smuggling in the province was the main means of funding for the terrorist operations there.​​ [Sumaria]

Following​​ the​​ Al-Rubai’e​​ statement, local tribes told their tribal members to prepare for a confrontation with Daesh. The head of the council for Abbara subdistrict, Adnan Ghadhban Al-Tamimi, said that tribes from both Abbara and Abu Saida were ready for a confrontation, as they saw Daesh already infiltrating some villages and orchards. Al-Tamimi also said that Daesh had launched attacks against local families and security positions within the last few weeks. [Buratha]​​ 

 

KIRKUK

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says that there are more than 500 Daesh terrorists hiding in the Himrin Mountains area, between northern Salahuddin and southern Kirkuk. The source says that PMF commanders accuse the Iraqi government of not allocating enough resources to clear the area. The source says that IFP and PMF units are surrounding the area, but there have been no real efforts to break into it. The source says that Daesh uses it as a base to conduct “hundreds” of attacks in villages in southwest Kirkuk and northern Salahuddin. Daesh is also depending on sleeper cells in these villages to conduct attacks. The source says PMF commanders warn that the government has withdrawn hundreds of soldiers from the area, making the situation even more vulnerable.​​ 

 

A source in the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) said on Wednesday that orders were issued to withdraw the CTS from Kirkuk Province. The source said that CTS functions in Kirkuk would be performed by the “special team” of the Presidential Brigade. [Sumaria]​​ 

DaeshDaily comment.​​ With​​ so​​ many​​ security problems reported almost daily from many different parts of the country, the absence of news from the Counter Terrorism Service, Iraq’s most effective fighting force,​​ has been noticeable. Now they are withdrawing from Kirkuk too. So where are they working?

 

Hawija​​ 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said that 2 PMF soldiers were killed and 2 others wounded on Friday when a group of Daesh terrorists on motorcycles attacked PMF military positions near Al-Saray village, in Riyadh subdistrict. ​​ 

 

A security source in Kirkuk says a car bomb explosion killed 1 IFP soldier and wounded 3 others at the entrance to the Riyadh subdistrict of Hawija. [Sumaria]​​ [Sumaria]

​​ 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said that 1 PMF soldier was killed and 4 others wounded when a group of Daesh terrorists on motorcycles attacked PMF military positions near Al-Sadouniya village. ​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said that 3 IFP members were killed when on Sunday when an IED destroyed their vehicle between Al-Sadouniya and Bakara villages. The source said the IFP arrested 5 young men from Bakara village, located close to Hawija city,​​ after the attack.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said that an IFP member was killed by a Daesh sniper on Tuesday near​​ Al-Tarqiya village​​ in Al-Zab subdistrict. The source said the IFP arrested several young men from the village after the attack.​​ 

 

NINEWA

Nineveh Plain (Bashiqa)

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Wednesday that Iraqi Army 16th division units arrested 4 Daesh terrorists in 3 tunnels near Al-Naurat village​​ (spelling approx.)​​ in Mosul’s Bashiqa subdistrict,​​ in the Nineveh Plain,​​ and confiscated light weapons, computers, and food supplies. The source said the terrorists admitted they were receiving help from residents of the area.

 

Mosul District

West (Hamidat/Muhalabiya)

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said that 3 Iraqi Army soldiers were killed and another severely wounded on Saturday when a roadside IED destroyed their vehicle near Badoush. The source said there are still many Daesh terrorists hiding in the Badoush Hills area.​​ 

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said that 2 PMF soldiers were killed on Friday in a Daesh attack on a checkpoint near Sahaji village, 9 miles​​ southwest of Mosul city

 

Western​​ Ninewa

Sinjar

The Ninewa Provincial Council says that work to reconstruct all destroyed buildings in Sinjar has started. The reconstruction will be​​ overseen​​ by the Reconstruction Committee of the Council,​​ and conducted by​​ the Al-Saad and Al-Faw contracting companies. [BasNews]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Wednesday that 250 electricity transformers, donated by Kuwait, arrived in Sinjar city. The source also said that 22 displaced families returned to Sinjar. ​​ 

 

Southern Ninewa

Hatra

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source says that while security forces are “virtually” in charge in the Hatra area, Daesh is still active and is able to conduct attacks and intimidate the population. The source says that Daesh​​ still​​ has many tunnels and hideouts in the area. Daesh killed​​ two​​ shepherds recently just to intimidate people. The source says Daesh is collecting extortion money from people, and many displaced people are refusing to return. The situation is even worse in southern Hatra, where Daesh is still in charge of several villages, and its presence extends to western Anbar.​​ 

The source also says that in the desert between southern Ninewa and western Anbar, there are 1,400-2,000 Daesh terrorists, many of​​ them​​ foreigners from Arab countries. The source also says that some Daesh terrorists from European countries who have fled from Syria came to this area. The source says the terrorists have what they need to remain in hiding, including different kinds of weapons, vehicles, mobile phones, etc. The source says that Daesh even continues its religious lectures for its terrorists in those areas.​​ 

 

SOUTHERN IRAQ

Babel

A security source said on Wednesday that a person wanted on terrorism charges was arrested at a checkpoint while attempting to enter Babel Province.​​ [Buratha]​​ 

 

KURDISTAN​​ NEWS

DAHUK

The General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces said on Wednesday that airstrikes taking place between January 20 and 22 in Iraqi Kurdistan had killed 21 PKK fighters, who the statement claimed had been preparing to attack Turkish bases. It said that the airstrikes took place in the areas of​​ Avasin, Haftanin,​​ Metina, and Zab, near the Turkey border.​​ [Forat]

 

REPORTS FROM TURKEY​​ 

 

No reports

 

REPORTS FROM SYRIA

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Political developments

On Wednesday, President Putin said he supported dialogue between the Syrian regime and the PYD. He said the US withdrawal from Syria would help bring stability to Russia-controlled areas. [BasNews]

 

United Nations

Syrian official TV reported that Bashar Jaafari, Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, said that if the UN Security Council would not take measures against Israel’s attacks on the Damascus airport, Syria would have to retaliate by bombing the Tel Aviv airport. [Qasioun]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ That may not be a good idea for Syria.

 

The Permanent Representative of Qatar to the UN told the UN Security Council on Wednesday that Qatar had allocated 50 million dollars for humanitarian aid in Syria. She said that the human suffering in Syria would only end with a political solution that meets the demands of all the Syrian people. [ElDorar]

 

Foreign policy

United States

On Tuesday, the US House of Representatives passed the Caesar Syrian Civilian Protection Act of 2019, which would “drastically increase” sanctions against the Al-Assad regime and anyone who does business with it, its security services, or the Central Bank of Syria. The bill is named after a defected Syrian soldier who escaped with thousands of photographs of civilians who had been tortured and killed in regime prisons. The bill has yet to pass the Senate. [ElDorar] [WaPo] [Congress]

 

Europe

On Monday, the EU sanctioned 11 individuals and 5 businesses for business dealings with the Al-Assad regime. [WSJ]

 

In response to EU sanctions against Syria, the Syrian government cancelled multi-entry visa procedures for EU diplomats.​​ Top EU officials will now have to apply for a single-entry visa every time they visit Syria. [ElDorar]

 

Northwest

Afrin

Kurdish media sources say a car bomb​​ exploded in front of​​ the HQ of the pro-Turkey​​ Ahrar Al-Sham​​ militia​​ in​​ Afrin,​​ killing 3​​ of their fighters. [Hawar] [Hawar]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ This kind of incident in Afrin would normally be attributed to the YPG, but Tahrir Al-Sham and Daesh are also enemies of Ahrar Al-Sham, raising some uncertainty about the source.

 

Northeast​​ 

No reports

 

Central and West​​ 

Idlib

The SOHR says that Tahrir Al-Sham​​ killed​​ 4 of its members in Idlib on charges of spying for Daesh, as part of a “wave” of operations and counter-operations by the 2 groups against each other. [SyriaHR]

 

East (Deir Ez-Zor)

Deir Ez-Zor​​ District

The SOHR says that unidentified armed men assassinated an SDF fighter in Al-Busayrah town using a hand grenade. It believes that a Daesh cell is behind the operation. [SyriaHR]

Daesh said on Wednesday that its snipers killed an SDF fighter in Al-Busayrah. [A3maq]

 

Albu Kamal​​ District

The SDF took control of Al-Baghouz town following fierce battles with Daesh on Tuesday. The SDF recently also captured Al-Susah, Mozan, and​​ Al-Safafiyah​​ with the support of the Coalition. Many civilians managed to escape battle areas through safe routes opened by the SDF. Daesh now only holds the Marashidah​​ and​​ Al-Shajla villages​​ east of the Euphrates,​​ both in Al-Susah subdistrict;​​ and some areas in the Deir Ez-Zor desert and Homs desert west of the Euphrates. [Qasioun]​​ 

 

Qasim Musleh, Anbar Ops Commander for the PMF in Iraq, says that PMF units on the Iraqi side of the border carried out “precise” artillery strikes on Al-Baghouz, killing 43 Daesh fighters and destroying several warehouses. [Sumaria]

 

Daesh said it killed or wounded several SDF fighters on Tuesday in clashes “on the outskirts of” Al-Baghouz town. [ICDNJan23-Telegram]​​ 

Daesh said it killed or wounded several SDF fighters on Tuesday when it set off a parked vehicle bomb near Al-Marsoumi building, “on the outskirts of” Al-Baghouz town. Daesh also said that another suicide terrorist blew himself up near the same building, killing or wounding more fighters. [ICDNJan23] [ICDNJan23] [A3maq]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ Again, we see “victorious” stories​​ written to distract attention from a defeat. Notice, however, that the “clashes” are “on the outskirts” of Al-Baghouz, an implicit admission that Daesh has lost this town.

 

Daesh said it killed or wounded four SDF fighters on Tuesday when it targeted a “gathering” in Al-Marashidah town with a rocket. [ICDNJan23]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ This “victorious” story accidentally implies that Daesh has already lost at least part of Marashidah, one of its last two villages. Otherwise, why would they be rocketing the town?

 

The​​ SOHR reported 1,500​​ people​​ leaving Daesh-held​​ areas towards SDF-held​​ areas,​​ including 200 Daesh​​ fighters. 90 trucks carried the civilians,​​ while 9 others carried weapons taken​​ by​​ the​​ SDF from Daesh during the battles. This​​ brings​​ the total number​​ of people​​ that​​ have​​ left​​ the​​ Daesh-held​​ areas​​ since​​ December 2018​​ to​​ 26,950,​​ of which​​ 4,900 (including 470 Daesh​​ fighters)​​ left​​ within the past 24 hours. [SyriaHR]

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Wednesday that 400 people, including women and children, escaped during the last 48 hours from Al-Baghouz, Albu Badran, and Al-Shajla to SDF controlled areas. The source said that Daesh snipers killed 11 civilians who tried to escape. The source said the civilians managed to escape because of the heavy Coalition bombing that forced Daesh terrorists to hide.

 

A​​ DaeshDaily​​ source said on Wednesday that 600 families returned from Hajin camp to their houses in several areas in Deir Ez-Zor province. The source said the families expressed their thanks to the SDF who escorted them to their houses.

 

South​​ 

No reports

 

OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS

 

Neighboring countries

Yemen

A source within the Yemeni government said that the head of the UN monitoring mission in Hodeida, General Patrick Cammeart, had resigned and would depart when a successor was appointed.​​ Reuters​​ reported on Wednesday that negotiators representing the Houthis and the Saudi-backed government in Yemen expected to achieve a prisoner-swap deal within the next​​ two​​ weeks. [Anadolu]

 

Daesh said on Wednesday its snipers wounded a Houthi fighter in the Za’aj area, in Qifa. [ICDNJan23]

 

North Africa

Egypt

Daesh said it stopped an Egyptian Army attack on Tuesday on the Al-Talalja area, south of Sheikh Zuweid. It said it killed or wounded several soldiers and damaged an M113 armored vehicle with “heavy sniper guns.” [A3maq] [ICDNJan23] [ICDNJan23]

 

Daesh said on Wednesday its snipers killed an Egyptian Army soldier at Al-Hammami security barrier, near Rafah port. [A3maq]

 

Tunisia

The Tunisian National Unit for the Investigation of Terrorist Crimes said​​ it​​ arrested a terrorist cell in the Kasserine Mountains, central-west Tunisia, which was planning to kidnap businessmen and hold them for ransom. It said some members of the cell had been implicated in a shooting of security personnel in November 2018. [Tunisien]

 

Morocco

On Wednesday, the Moroccan Interior Ministry said that Moroccan police dismantled a Daesh cell consisting of 13 individuals. [Forat]

 

REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

 

UNITED STATES

Three Michigan residents were arrested Monday afternoon for conspiring to​​ support ISIS.​​ All three men, in their​​ 20s, are naturalized U.S. citizens who were born in Kenya and currently reside in Lansing, Michigan.

The FBI was alerted to their activities in 2016 by pro-ISIS and violence-supporting Facebook posts by one of the arrestees. The FBI assigned an undercover agent to the case in 2017, posing as an ISIS recruiter, who learned of the involvement of the man’s brother and brother-in-law.​​ Another undercover agent began communicating with the man in 2018.​​ The three were persuaded​​ (by the FBI posing as ISIS)​​ that they had been accepted by ISIS in Somalia,​​ and​​ they​​ were at the airport​​ in Grand Rapids, Michigan​​ and ready to leave​​ when arrested.​​ [Yahoo]​​ 

 

EUROPE

Switzerland

The US​​ Embassy in Switzerland released a security warning after reports of an explosion near the US​​ Embassy in Geneva. [Sumaria]

 

AFRICA

Somalia

A car bomb in Mogadishu wounded 4 civilians. The explosives were attached to a parked car. [Anadolu]

 

On Wednesday,​​ Daesh issued​​ a propaganda video about its terrorists in Somalia. The video shows Daesh “medical services” in a clinic in Puntland. In the video, Daesh also calls on its supporters, especially doctors, to go join it in Somalia. [ICDNJan23]​​ 

 

Nigeria

On Wednesday, Boko Haram fighters stormed the town of Geidam, Yobe State, northeast Nigeria. A resident said that many other residents were either barring themselves in their homes or had fled town. The resident added that “the military cannot say this is a surprise attack,” as everyone in town was aware that an attack might occur. [Punch]

Daesh said on Wednesday it killed or wounded “many” Nigerian Army soldiers, destroyed 2 tanks and 4 SUVs, and stole a tank, 5 SUVs, and weapons and ammunition. [ICDNJan23-Telegram] [A3maq-Telegram]

DaeshDaily comment.​​ How bad is the government’s security operation in northeast Nigeria? Boko Haram is now making major attacks on a seemingly daily basis.​​ 

 

ASIA

Afghanistan

The Resolute Support mission said late Tuesday that a US service member had been killed in action by “anti-government armed militants.” In accordance with DoD policy, the identity of the service member has not yet been released. [Khaama]

 

The National Directorate of Security (NDS) said in a statement that the “mastermind” of the attack on a base in Maidan Wardak on Monday had been killed. The statement said that the plotter, identified as “Neman,” was killed by an airstrike on Tuesday night in Maidan Shahr, the provincial capital of Maidan Wardak, along with 7 other fighters who were with him. [Khaama]

 

China’s ambassador to Pakistan said that​​ China now recognizes​​ the​​ Taliban as a “political force,” following its participation in the Afghanistan peace process. Taliban representatives recently met US​​ Special Representative​​ Zalmay Khalilzad in Doha. [Anadolu]

 

Daesh said it killed an Afghan government “spy” on Tuesday near Jalalabad city. [A3maq]

In another report on Wednesday, Daesh said it beheaded an Afghan intelligence “spy” in the Jalalabad area. [ICDNJan23]

 

DAESH MEDIA

 

See story above under Somalia.

 

*****

 

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