August 21, 2017
Iraqi Soldiers near Tal Afar
TODAY’S MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS
Al-Abadi officially launches the Tal Afar campaign. Early results positive [..]
Iraqi aircraft deliver stark message to remaining Daesh fighters. [..]
Governor insists Kirkuk will participate in KRG independence vote. [..]
Turkmen Kirkuk MPs accuse “armed groups” of forcing Turkmen off their land. [..]
Only 17,000 IDPs have returned to Hamdaniya. [..]
UN official says over 30,000 residents have already left Tal Afar. [..]
PKK launches risky governance initiative for Sinjar. [..]
Inside letter reflects major split in Daesh leadership. [..]
Coalition airstrike in Hasaka alleged to have killed at least 18 civilians. [..]
Syrian forces gain further ground in Sukhnah area in Homs. [..]
Russian air attack destroys Daesh column heading to Deir Ez-Zor, kills 200. [..]
Lebanese Army advances against Daesh along Lebanon border areas. [..]
Spanish police kill alleged van driver involved in Barcelona massacre. [..]
REPORTS FROM IRAQ
On Sunday, Prime Minister Abadi announced the start of the Tal Afar liberation campaign. The targeted area is 60 km (37.5 miles) by 40 km (25 miles) and includes Tal Afar city, Ayadhiya, Muhalabiya (in the Mosul subdistrict), and 47 villages. [Anadolu]
Twenty-four hours after the start of the Tal Afar liberation operations, the IWMC says Iraqi planes dropped thousands of leaflets on Daesh controlled areas in Hawija, Al-Qa’im, Anah, and Rawa, telling Daesh terrorists to surrender or die. [Anadolu]
The Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs will visit Baghdad on Wednesday to meet President Masoum, Prime Minister Abadi, Speaker Jubouri, and Foreign Affairs Minister Jaafari, according to a statement from his ministry. [Anadolu]
The Coalition says it conducted 9 airstrikes on Daesh positions in Iraq, in or near Tal Afar (4) and Qayara (1), and in or near Rawa (2), Al-Qa’im (1), and Al-Asad base (Haditha) (1). [InherentResolve]
Security-related incidents reported
West (Ghazaliya, Abu Ghraib, etc.)
A police source says one person was killed and four others wounded when an IED exploded near a wholesale market in Radwaniya. [Sumaria]
An Anbar Police source says an employee of the Falluja Cement Factory was severely wounded when an IED exploded on a road near the factory, in east Falluja. [Etejah]
The Iraqi Army 7th division commander announced the names of 5 Daesh suicide terrorists killed by Iraqi forces in the Al-Sahl area, near Baghdadi, on Sunday, before they could attack Iraqi forces in the area. [Ghad]
A security source says 5 rockets were launched from the Ain Al-Assad Base targeting Daesh positions in Al-Qa’im, Rawa, and Anah. [Ghad]
A security source says Iraqi Army Air (IAA) helicopters destroyed a Daesh convoy of 7 vehicles near Anah, killing the terrorists inside. [Baghdadia]
A security source says Coalition planes destroyed a Daesh guesthouse in Rawa, killing 10 terrorists. [Sumaria]
A military source says Coalition planes bombed a school in Al-Qa’im used by Daesh as a vehicle bomb factory. [Sumaria]
A source from Al-Qa’im says Daesh imposed conscription on males age 13-30; but gave them the option of paying $500 each, every six months. The same source says some people are leaving Al-Qa’im by paying $3,500 each to smugglers. The source also says that Daesh hunts down these families; last week it killed a couple and their three children. [Ghad]
The IWMC says IAF aircraft destroyed several Daesh ferries carrying a vehicle bomb and oil barrels in Shirqat district. [Baghdadia]
Eastern Salahuddin (Al-Daur, Tooz)
A Peshmerga commander says two of his fighters were wounded when an IED exploded on their vehicle on the road to Tuz Khurmatu. [ROJ]
DIYALA (No reports)
Kirkuk Governor Najmaldin Karim said in a statement after a meeting with the UN Special Repetitive to Iraq, Ján Kubiš, on Sunday that Kirkuk will participate in the KRG’s independence referendum on September 25th. He also demanded that provincial elections should be held in Kirkuk “without any conditions.” [ROJ]
DaeshDaily comment. One absolute condition should be that the elections be supervised directly and strictly by the Iraq High Electoral Commission. Otherwise, non-Kurdish citizens will not have confidence that the outcome won’t be influenced by Kurdish political maneuvering.
Two Turkmen CoR members asked the Minister of Interior to intervene in Kirkuk, claiming that armed groups are taking Turkmen lands in Kirkuk and forcing people out. They say that Saddam’s regime had confiscated these lands. [Anadolu]
DaeshDaily comment. When Saddam confiscated Turkmen and Kurdish lands decades ago, they became government property. By taking advantage of the partial Daesh takeover in mid-2014 by seizing Kirkuk, the Kurds became the “government.” The inference behind the euphemistic term “armed groups” is actually quite specific, therefore. They are referring to the Kurdish-controlled government and accusing the Kurds of forcing Turkmen out as part of an effort to shift the population balance in Kirkuk in favor of the Kurds.
The Kirkuk Asayesh says it captured 3 men who have been smuggling Daesh families out of Hawija to Kirkuk. [Hawar]
Nineveh Plain (Hamdaniya, Tel Keif, etc.)
The Ministry of Migration and Displacement says 17,000 displaced people have returned to their houses in the Hamdaniya District. It says that although these numbers are low compared to the total number of people displaced, it is a “good start.” [ROJ]
DaeshDaily comment. The larger fear is not the slow pace of returns but that many of the displaced have moved on permanently and won’t come back. The low number recorded by the Ministry is probably influenced to some extent by that factor.
Daesh claimed responsibility for killing the mukhtar of Aden. [A3maq]
A Ninewa Police source said on Friday that the mukhtar of the Aden neighborhood was killed by armed men while going to attend Friday prayers near his house. [BasNews]
The IWMC says Iraqi planes dropped hundreds of thousands of leaflets on Tal Afar asking people to stay away from Daesh positions, and warning Daesh terrorists that they should surrender. [Sumaria]
Lise Grande, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq says “Thousands of people are fleeing Tal Afar for safety.” She also says “Families are trekking for 10 to 20 hours in extreme heat to reach mustering points. They are arriving exhausted and dehydrated.”
“More than 30,000 people have already fled the district,” said Ms. Grande. “We don’t know how many civilians are still in the areas where fighting is occurring, but we are preparing for thousands more to flee in coming days and weeks. Conditions are very tough in the city. Food and water are running out, and people lack the basic necessities to survive.”
“The Government is leading the humanitarian operation, providing transport and aid. Humanitarian partners are helping to cover gaps by providing life-saving assistance at mustering points and supporting families when they reach emergency sites and camps,” said Ms. Grande. [UN]
The Tal Afar Liberation commander said on Sunday that Iraqi Army 16th division liberated 5 villages east of Tal Afar, and CTS units liberated 2 villages southwest of the city. [ROJ]
An Iraqi Army 16th division captain says US artillery in the Kahriz Camp extensively targeted Daesh positions in several areas in south Tal Afar, while US recon drones gathered information. [Anadolu]
The IFP commander says his troops cleared the Al-Abra Valley area and are “meters away” from Hay Al-Kifah, one of the first neighborhoods in west Tal Afar city. [Anadolu]
An Iraqi Army commander says other Iraqi forces are 900 meters away from Tal Afar city, also on the west side. He says Iraqi forces killed 22 Daesh terrorists, mostly snipers, in the second day of military operations, He also says three Iraqi soldiers were killed and seven wounded. [Anadolu]
An IFP officer says Iraqi Army 9th armored division, supported by PMFs, advanced 9 km from the Tal Afar Airport to the south and arrived near the city. He says 4 Daesh vehicle bombs were destroyed by airstrikes southwest of the city. An Iraqi Army 15th division officer says Iraqi forces destroyed a charging Daesh vehicle bomb near the southern entrance of the city. He says one soldier was slightly wounded in the explosion. [Anadolu]
Belgian media sources say elite units from the Belgian Army are helping Iraqi forces in the Tal Afar battles. [Baghdadia]
A security source says Daesh is burning oilfields in Tal Afar to block the vision of aircraft crews. [Baghdadia]
Daesh says “tens” of Iraqi soldiers were killed or wounded and 35 vehicles were destroyed in military operations, including a suicide attack with a vehicle bomb conducted by an Iraqi terrorist in Tal Al-Samen. It says 20 of the vehicles were destroyed by an errant “American” airstrike near Karkari village, southwest of Tal Afar. [ICDNAugust21]
Daesh publishes photos of a suicide attack with a vehicle bomb conducted by a Turkish terrorist on Iraqi forces in the Tal Al-Samen area. [ICDNAugust21]
Elsewhere in the target area, an Iraqi Army 16th division lieutenant colonel says Iraqi forces captured the Kasik Bridge after a 3-hour battle with Daesh, killing 17 terrorists. [Anadolu]
The PMF Press says Iraqi forces isolated Muhalabiya subdistrict and cut off the road between Tal Afar and Mosul. [Etejah]
A Sunni CoR member from Ninewa says Yazidi PMFs burned down 3 Arab villages, and parts of a fourth one, in the Sinjar area on August 17.th He also accused them of kidnapping 53 Arabs from Kojo village in June. He demanded an intervention from Prime Minister Abadi. [ROJ]
The “Self-Administration Council of Sinjar” said in a statement on Sunday that it has established a road map to establish an administration in Sinjar. The plan includes forming a UN-sponsored committee from representatives of the Iraqi government, the KRG, and the YPG in Syria. The committee would support and supervise the current “council” in additions to representatives of all people in the Sinjar area “who don’t have Yazidi blood on their hands” to establish a foundation council (a Sinjar parliament,) while the YPS and YGS (groups similar to the YPG in Syria) will form a military command that includes Yazidi commanders from “other Yazidi armed groups,” but not the groups themselves; (i.e. the Yazidi Peshmerga units will not be included, but their commanders will.)
DaeshDaily comment. This is an initiative by the PKK through its affiliates in Sinjar, which hold some of the territory in Sinjar taken from Daesh. The PKK and its affiliates did important and life-saving work in protecting Yazidi people, saving perhaps thousands of them after the vicious Daesh attack on the Yazidis in 2014. Now it wants to be paid off by controlling the entire area.
Unfortunately, this is a direct invitation to Turkey to invade Sinjar. Turkey and its allied militias in Syria are already shooting at YPG units there and threatening to take over the territory seized from Daesh by the YPG. Moreover, Erdogan said, after a visit by the Iranian military chief of staff, that a joint military operation with Iran against the PKK (including in Iraq) could happen anytime. While the Iranians are rumored to have supported the PKK against Turkey, and Turkey is rumored to have supported Iranian Kurds against Tehran, things seem to be shifting now.
This move will also anger the KRG leadership, or at least Barzani and the KDP, because the Kurds aspire to add Sinjar to Kurdistan, notwithstanding that Sinjar is not contiguous to Turkey. Barzani has already claimed it repeatedly. All those Peshmerga in Sinjar are there to occupy it until this goal can be realized. It’s all part of the disputed territories issue that defines, more than anything else, the hostility between Erbil and Baghdad. Barzani is now strongly anti-PKK, and has been Erdogan’s ally on that for several years, and is also an opponent of the Kurdish PYD party (PKK-affiliated) in Syria.
In the face of all this, the PKK is acting like it wants military command of the area in addition to political control. Why it would make this move now is a good question, but the presence of Iraqi troops in force just to the east in Tal Afar, and the PMFs in Sinjar and neighboring Baaj, could have something to do with the timing.
NRT-TV, an anti-referendum channel, said on Sunday that Farhad Sinkawi, a KRG Parliament member, was kidnapped by armed men in Chamchamal. Sinkawi was fired last week from the PUK because he opposed the KTG referendum. [ROJ]
The Rafidain Operations Commander says security units captured a person on terrorism charges in Wasit. [Baghdadia]
Daesh says its snipers killed a PMF fighter and wounded another in Al-Askari, in Musayyib. [A3maq]
REPORTS FROM SYRIA
Opposition groups in northern Syria, including some Turkey-backed groups, issued a statement on Sunday saying they support Usud Al-Sharqiya and Ahmed Al-Abdou to start the Deir Ez-Zor liberation battles, and fight Daesh and government forces in the Syrian Desert. They asked “friend countries” and the international community to support the two groups. [Dorar]
Last week, a stark evidence of split within the Daesh organization showed up in the form of a letter from a Daesh shar’i (religious leader) in Mayadin, Deir Ez-Zor, who calls himself Abu Mohammed Al-Hashemi, His open 35-page letter to Baghdadi, calling him by his first name, started by reminding Baghdadi that Daesh is losing, and says the reason for the defeat is that Daesh swayed from its “right religious path” and chose to depend on less qualified leaders. He says that Daesh’s claim about being a “caliphate” turned out to be a lie, demonstrated by the fact that Daesh leaders are killing their own members and not dealing with their fighters in a just way. He gave many examples, including a hint that Daesh senior leaders sexually harassed two Daesh female members—an American and a French woman.
Al-Hashemi says Daesh put one of its senior Kuwaiti leaders in a prison, with 60 other members, after they criticized a Daesh Saudi leader. The prison was then hit by an airstrike, killing all 60. He accused Daesh members of providing information about the location (using electronic chips Daesh obtained from Coalition sources it captured on the ground.) He says he saw the bodies of 30 of them after the airstrike, and hinted that at least some were already dead before the airstrike. He says Daesh is openly cursing Binali in mosques, and that Binali and other Daesh leaders were killed after Daesh members leaked information to the Coalition. He says many others were killed or imprisoned by Daesh. He painted a grim picture of the life under the “caliphate,” where foreign fighters are literally begging in the streets while senior commanders are getting all the loot.
Al-Hashemi says that Daesh leaders sidelined the “shar’is,” and told its fighters that the shar’is are dangerous and that they should listen to their commanders instead. He also said that Daesh “judges” are powerless and the commanders do whatever they like. The writer of the letter obviously knows a lot of details about Daesh leaders and inner circles. And the letter is two months old.
A similar letter, but less detailed, had been published days earlier by another shar’i from Deir Ez-Zor.
The losses on the ground are just one part of Daesh’s disintegration. If this letter was any indication, Daesh is losing trust within its own base. Daesh commanders are acting as independent decision-makers, and the “caliph” is not showing himself.
DaeshDaily comment. The accusation that Daesh brought on a Coalition airstrike on its own prisoners sounds bizarre but raises an intriguing and troubling question. Rumor has it that Coalition informants on the ground identify or verify airstrike targets by placing electronic chips that can be detected by planes. In this case, Al-Hashemi’s inference is that certain Daesh operatives stole one from a captured Coalition source and placed it at the Daesh prison.
Thinking about this further, there have been numerous other reports in which the Coalition is accused of bombing civilian targets and killing innocent people. Daesh makes regular accusations, as in today’s reports, that “American” airstrikes kill innocent people, so as to gain a propaganda advantage. Civilians who die help Daesh’s cause, one reason it uses a human shields strategy. Coalition air crews either avoid bombing the target (a victory for Daesh), or bomb a target where there are many civilians (a victory for Daesh). This has us wondering about how many similar incidents there have been to the one cited by Al-Hashemi.
The Coalition says it conducted 26 airstrikes on Daesh positions in Syria (near Raqqa (21), Shaddadi (1), Deir Ez-Zor (2), and Albu Kamal (2). [InherentResolve]
Northeast (Hasaka, Raqqa)
The Syrian News Agency, SANA, says Coalition planes killed more than twenty civilians, wounded others, and destroyed houses in an airstrike on Jazaa village, south of Shaddadi. Agence France Press says Coalition planes killed eighteen civilians, including three children, and 3 Daesh terrorists in an airstrike on the village. [Qasioun] [Dorar]
Central Raqqa. SDF fighters killed 9 Daesh terrorists in Hay Al-Mansour just west of Old Raqqa, 11 in Hay Al-Rasheed, and 4 in Old Raqqa. [Hawar]
SDF special units secured 10 civilians in Al-Mansour. [Hawar]
SDF fighters killed 6 Daesh terrorists in Hay Al-Murur just west of Al-Mansour, and 5 in Hay Al-Nahdha just to the northwest of Al-Murur. [Hawar]
Three SDF fighters were killed in the Raqqa battle on Monday. [Hawar]
The YPG publishes names and photos of six of its fighters—four killed in Raqqa, one in Qamishli, and one in Afrin. [Hawar]
North Raqqa. Daesh says two of its suicide terrorists, a Syrian and an Indian, attacked SDF units in the Al-Romaniya neighborhood in northwest Raqqa with explosives vests, killing or wounding fighters. [ICDNAugust21]
Airstrikes. Twenty-seven civilians, including seven children and six women, were reportedly killed by Coalition airstrikes on Raqqa, raising the number of civilian casualties to 125 during the last seven days. [SyriaHR]
A local activist says at least forty civilians were killed by a Coalition airstrike on a residential building in Hay Al-Badou. He says number of casualties might increase because there are still people under the rubble. [ZamanAlWasl]
Daesh says eighteen people were killed and fifty-seven wounded by “American bombing and shelling” on Hay Al-Badou. [A3maq]
Daesh issues a video of the results of Coalition airstrikes on Raqqa. [A3maq]
Daesh says its snipers killed an SDF fighter and wounded two others in two areas in Raqqa. [A3maq]
Humanitarian conditions in Raqqa
The situation in Raqqa city is deteriorating rapidly, and people are suffering a severe lack of water, food items, and medicine. [SyriaHR]
A man was killed by a sniper while he was trying to escape towards SDF positions in Raqqa. [SyriaHR]
East of Raqqa
Heavy battles continued between government forces and Daesh east of Ghanem Al-Ali village. Planes conducted airstrikes on Daesh positions in the area. [SyriaHR]
Syrian planes conducted extensive airstrikes on Daesh positions in Maadan city and nearby areas. [SyriaNow]
Northwest (Aleppo, Idlib)
Turkish Army and allied Syrian armed groups targeted several areas in Afrin and Azaz with tens of shells. [Hawar]
Clashes erupted between the SDF and Turkey-backed opposition groups near Mare’ in Azaz. No casualties were reported. A civilian was killed by SDF shelling on Kaljibrin village. [SyriaHR]
Four people were wounded by Turkish shelling on Tal Rifaat in Azaz. [SyriaHR]
Central and West (Homs, Hama, etc.)
Anti-government Syrian activists warned that government forces might commit massacres against civilians in the Aqairbat area. Russian planes conducted tens of airstrikes on the area while government forces are advancing from several sides. The forces completely surrounded Daesh in the area. [Qasioun] [Qasioun]
The Free Hama Province Council, anti-government, issued a statement asking the UN and international organizations to open secure routes for civilians to leave the area. It says that government forces are not allowing civilians to leave. [EnabBaladi]
Tahrir Al-Sham shelled government forces in the Taldra area, east of Salmiya. [SyriaHR]
Daesh publishes photos of battles east of Salmiya. [ICDNAugus21]
Government forces and allied militias captured 4 villages north of Sukhnah after heavy battles with Daesh. Both sides sustained casualties. Government forces also captured the Huwaisis area, including the town. [SyriaHR]
Government sources say Syrian Army units, supported by foreign militias, captured Al-Tabia city, north of Sukhnah, killing or wounding Daesh terrorists. [Qasioun]
The Syrian Army and allied militias captured Hamima city and Tal Al-Sawana on Sunday, according to government sources. Government forces are moving ahead towards Deir Ez-Zor from three areas: Sukhnah, Hamima, and southern Raqqa Province. [Qasioun] [EnabBaladi] [Dorar]
East (Deir Ez-Zor)
The Russian Ministry of Defense says Russian planes destroyed a large column of Daesh terrorists that was heading to the Deir Ez-Zor area, killing 200 terrorists and destroying more than 20 machine gun– mounted vehicles, in addition to rocket launchers, tanks, and armored vehicles. The ministry also said that Daesh is trying to make its last stand in Deir Ez-Zor after suffering heavy losses in Raqqa and Homs provinces. [Hawar]
The ministry issues a video of the airstrikes. [Qasioun]
The Russian Ministry of Defense says government forces are advancing towards Deir Ez-Zor from 3 sides and are close to capturing the central area. It also says its warplanes conduct 60-70 airstrikes every day on Deir Ez-Zor and its surroundings. [Qasioun]
Heavy battles erupted between government forces, supported by foreign militias, and Daesh in the Al-Maqaber area. No casualties were reported. [Qasioun]
Government sources say local residents attacked a Daesh meeting in Manjam Al-Milh, west of Deir Ez-Zor, killing 50 terrorists. [SyriaNow]
Local sources say Daesh blew up a sports club and a school in Buqris city. They also say that Daesh is confiscating people’s houses in the city and giving them to its terrorists. [SyriaNow]
Daesh issues a propaganda video about its operations in the Deir Ez-Zor area. [ICDNAugust21]
Coalition planes targeted the Al-Omar oil fields with several airstrikes on Sunday. Coalition planes also destroyed oil truck tankers and primitive oil refineries in the Mayadin area. [Qasioun]
Daesh raided internet cafes in Albu Kamal and arrested many people without giving any reasons. [Qasioun]
Hezbollah, supported by Syrian planes, captured a strategic mountaintop in the Al-Jarajir area in Rif Damashq that overlooks the entire southern area of West Qalamoun, after heavy battles with Daesh. [Qasioun]
Hezbollah used drones to bomb Daesh targets in West Qalamoun. (video) [Qasioun]
Daesh says it killed 40 Hezbollah fighters and wounded others in heavy battles in several areas in West Qalamoun. [ICDNAugust20]
Government media sources issued a video of Daesh members surrendering with their families to Hezbollah in the West Qalamoun area. [Dorar]
DaeshDaily comment. This video created a lot of reactions on social media. One of Daesh terrorists, when asked why they surrendered, he replied “We are done!” while laughing. Many opposition supporters accuse Daesh of being a Syrian government tool to fight the revolution. According to them, Daesh’s role in Syria is almost over now because the anti-Assad revolution is ending. Opposition sources published the name and the photo of the Daesh’s shar’i (religious leader) of the area, who appeared in the video and said that he was involved in forcing Free Syrian Army fighters to escape the area.
Government security forces arrested in Damascus several displaced families from Deir Ez-Zor, including children, in order to exchange them for the Syrian pilot shot down by Usud Al-Sharqiya, a previously Coalition-backed opposition group mostly from the Deir Ez-Zor area, according to two sources, one a relative to one of the detained families. [EnabBaladi]
The Deir Ez-Zor Tribes Council issued a statement on Sunday saying that the YPG is not allowing displaced people from Raqqa and Deir Ez-Zor to enter Hasaka and is instead forcing them to stay in displacement camps under poor conditions. It also alleged that the YPG is selling food and water to the displaced people for high prices. It said several displaced people have died in the camps. [Dorar]
OTHER MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REPORTS
The Lebanese army launched an offensive on Saturday against a Daesh enclave on the northeastern border with Syria, as Hezbollah announced a simultaneous assault on the militants from the Syrian side of the frontier. A Lebanese security source the Lebanese army targeted Daesh positions near the town of Ras Baalbek with rockets, artillery and helicopters. The area is the last part of the Lebanese-Syrian frontier under insurgent control.
An army spokesman said that so far one-third of the area in the hands of the terrorists has now been recaptured since the offensive began, with 20 terrorists killed in direct combat, shelling or aerial strikes. Ten soldiers were injured.
Hezbollah-run Al-Manar TV said that its fighters were ascending a series of strategic heights known as the Mosul Mountains that overlook several unofficial border crossings used by Daesh.
A Hezbollah statement said the group was meeting its pledge to “remove the terrorist threat at the borders of the nation” and was fighting “side by side” with the Syrian Army. It made no mention of the Lebanese army operation. The Lebanese Army said it was not coordinating its assault with either Hezbollah or the Syrian Army. [Reuters]
The Lebanese National News Agency says the Lebanese Army captured the Daesh security official in Arsal. It says the Syrian terrorist had been involved in attacks on the army and had kidnapped and killed soldiers. [Qasioun]
The Lebanese Army said on Sunday that three of its soldiers were killed and another seriously wounded when an IED exploded on their vehicle in the Arsal area. [EnabBaladi]
Daesh says it destroyed a Tunisian Army armored vehicle on Maghila Mountain in Kasserine. [A3maq]
REPORTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES
President Trump announced a ramped up US and allied effort in Afghanistan, in a speech televised nationwide. This has been covered in detail on major media.
The police say that Younes Abouyaaqoub, the lone fugitive from the Spanish cell that killed 15 people in and near Barcelona was shot to death Monday after he flashed what turned out to be a fake suicide belt at two troopers who confronted him in a vineyard near a train station west of Barcelona. The police also said they have evidence that Abouyaaqoub drove the van that plowed through Barcelona’s crowded Las Ramblas promenade, killing 13 people on Thursday, then hijacked a car and fatally stabbed its driver while making his getaway. Abouyaaqoub’s brother and friends made up the rest of the 12-man extremist cell, along with an imam who was one of two people killed in what police said was a botched bomb-making operation. [CanadianPress]
DaeshDaily comment. According to The Independent, the “imam” had been imprisoned for drug dealing.
A man was shot dead by police after knifing people apparently at random in the Siberian city of Surgut on Saturday morning.
The state-owned RIA Novosti agency said two people were in critical condition in the hospital.
“A man was running along the main streets stabbing people,” the TASS news agency reported. There were initially fears of a second attacker, but police later said he was acting alone. [Independent]
Daesh issued a video of a masked terrorist speaking in Russian and threatening to conduct attacks. Daesh claims he was the one who conducted the attack. [ICDNAugust21]
Videos of the Day
Iraqi forces battle Daesh in Tal Afar. [PressIraq]
A 13 year old boy from Raqqa says he was imprisoned and tortured 50 times by Daesh. [Hawar]
Daesh audio newsletter for today [Bayan]