Gunmen shot dead three Egyptian judges on the 16 May 15 in the Sinai Peninsula, where security forces are battling an Islamist insurgency spearheaded by an affiliate of the Islamic State group, police said. The shooting injured three other judges in North Sinai's provincial capital El-Arish, and came hours after a court in Cairo sentenced ousted president Mohamed Morsi to death for his role in a mass jailbreak during the 2011 uprising. Some of Morsi's fellow defendants included jihadists in Sinai, where militants have regularly carried out attacks against policemen and soldiers. Police said the judges came under attack while they were travelling by car from the canal city of Ismailiya to El-Arish for a court hearing. Following the attack, the first of its kind in Sinai, Egypt's interior ministry put police on high alert across the country and suspended all leave, a ministry official said.
Egyptian authorities hanged six men convicted of carrying out attacks in the name of a group that pledged loyalty to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, police said on the 17 May 15. It was not immediately clear when they were executed though the report on the 17 May did say the six men had been sentenced to death by a military tribunal. In Nov 14, Egypt's Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, the country's most active armed group, pledged its allegiance to ISIL, in a recording posted on Twitter. "We announce our pledge of allegiance to the caliph Ibrahim Ibn Awad ... to listen and obey," the audio recording said, referring to ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. "Your unity is strength and your division is weakness… Determine your fate, unite among yourself, and support your [Islamic] State," the recording said.
Security officials in Egypt reported on the 31 May 15 that suspected Islamic militants had blown up a natural gas pipeline outside el-Arish, the provincial capital of North Sinai. No group immediately claimed the attack. However, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, or "Champions of Jerusalem," a jihadi group based in the Sinai Peninsula, has claimed responsibility for more than a dozen similar bombings and attacks on security forces. It pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group late in 2014. Egypt's state news agency MENA said the pipeline supplies natural gas to a power station and homes in el-Arish.
Kenya – The Al-Shabaab group has reportedly distributed leaflets in Kenya warning of more attacks on Christian schools, as seen by the recent attack on Garissa State University in Apr 15 that left 147 dead. The terrorist group has allegedly distributed leaflets in Kenya's Elgeyo-Marakwet County Rift Valley province, warning of planned terrorist attacks on the area's four major schools it was reported on the 14 May 15. Officials in the province have said they are investigating the source of the leaflets and their legitimacy. Following the Apr 15 attack, the al-Qaeda affiliated terror group said in an email to local media outlets to warn that more attacks were coming. "No amount of precaution or safety measures will be able to guarantee your safety, thwart another attack or prevent another bloodbath from occurring in your cities," the group said in their statement.
Libya/United Nations/Europe – The United Nations is considering giving a green light to European military action against people smugglers in Libya's territorial waters and even within ports and harbours along the Libyan coast it was reported on the 17 May 15. British diplomats are drafting a UN Security Council resolution that would allow the use of military force by European navies to combat the human trafficking gangs that currently operate with impunity in the increasingly unruly North African country. Military strikes on harbours and beaches could involve British forces. The wording of the UN resolution still has to be finalised but a strategy paper drawn up by the EU this week said that military operations ashore involving special forces units may be required in order to destroy the traffickers' assets, including fuel dumps. The UN resolution will be circulated after Philip Hammond and his fellow EU foreign ministers meet in Brussels on the 18 May 15 to discuss options for military force against the smuggling networks. The formal decision to set up the mission is expected to be taken at that meeting, with ministers then expected to ask European military commanders to draw up plans. The operation would then be launched at an EU summit in Jun 15. The UN resolution is required in order to provide international legal cover for military operations outside EU territory or waters. "The point will be to dismantle the business model of these people who are making millions of dollars out of this awful trade," a senior Security Council diplomat said. The main objective will be to destroy smugglers' boats, in military operations modelled on the successful campaign waged against Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean. The Security Council may not vote on the resolution before next month because Russian fears about destabilising Libya further need to be addressed. The resolution is expected to outline three geographical areas for military action to destroy smuggling networks - the high seas of the Mediterranean, Libya's territorial waters and the Libyan coast. The third area will be the most contentious as it could involve the use of special forces going ashore to target boats in ports and on beaches, or even the bases and holding camps used by smuggling gangs - despite previous assurances from diplomats that there will be "no boots on the ground". The UN is not debating the specifics of any military action. That will fall to Federica Mogherini, the EU's foreign policy chief, working with EU member states in Brussels. But the UN resolution would make clear that military action would be part of a broad maritime-based operation led by EU naval forces, a senior Security Council diplomat said. "We're moving here in parallel with moves in Brussels," the official added. Russia, which has a veto power at the world body, has objected to the use of the word "destroy" in relation to the smugglers' boats. To overcome Moscow's objections, the resolution may instead give approval to moves to "inspect, seize and render inoperable" the boats. "The model for this is the operation against Somali pirates. There will not be some sort of ground invasion," the diplomat said. But European forces conducting lightning raids could still find themselves under fire from heavily-armed Libyan militias and smugglers if they set foot on beaches or in harbours along the coast. They could be attacked by "heavy military armaments (including coastal artillery batteries) and military-capable militias," the EU strategy paper warned, as well as terrorists such as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which has a presence in parts of Libya. EU leaders are also seeking to secure support from the Libyan authorities for the UN-mandated military action. But that is a big challenge because the country does not have a functioning central administration. Its internationally-recognised government has been driven out of the capital Tripoli and is based in the eastern coastal city of Tobruk.
Libya/Egypt – Hundreds of Libyan tribal leaders met in Cairo on the 25 May 15 with Egyptian authorities hoping to enlist their help in preventing Islamist violence from spilling over their shared border. Islamist militants have thrived in the chaos of Libya, a North African oil producer that now has two competing governments backed by armed factions that four years earlier joined in an uprising that toppled autocrat Muammar Qadhafi. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi sees the rise of Islamists in Libya as a major security threat and is trying to secure the cooperation of tribal leaders to tackle it. Analysts say that Sisi would like Arab states to carry out a Yemen-type intervention in Libya to combat Daesh fighters and other radical factions that have taken advantage of the lawlessness to recruit and train in the vast desert country. Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri inaugurated the tribal conference, which ran through to the 28 May 15 by highlighting the positive role the tribes could play in restoring stability to Libya. Egypt had invited the tribal leaders to talks because they were the "backbone" of society and main guarantor of Libyan stability, security and territorial integrity, Shukri said. "Egypt will not hesitate to support her brother Libyans until they achieve security and reconciliation among themselves," he said. But achieving consensus among the hundreds of tribal leaders on how to tackle Islamic extremism could be a long process. Libya's two governments depend on various tribes and militias to support their claims to power. The country's internationally recognised government, which Egypt backs, has operated out of eastern Libya since a rival armed faction called Libya Dawn seized the capital Tripoli in August and set up its own government.
Islamic State militants in Libya say they have seized the airport in the coastal city of Sirte, as the group continues to make advances in the country the BBC reported on the 29 May 15. The news was announced by the group and by a Libyan militia that withdrew from the airport on the 28 May 15. Most of Sirte fell to IS last weerecentlyk. The group said it also seized the Great Man Made River water project. The irrigation project, the world's largest, supplies fresh water to Libyan cities and was also the base for the opposition Battalion 166, which has now fled. The battalion, and other Islamist militias, run the capital, Tripoli, although their government is not recognised by the international community.
A suicide bomber attacked a checkpoint outside the Libyan city of Misrata on the 1 May 15 killing several people, a local official said. Few other immediate details were available about the attack on the post west of Misrata on the highway to the capital Tripoli but ISIS militants have carried out several attacks in the area recently. Misrata city is allied with the unofficial government that controls Tripoli. The internationally recognized government operates out of east Libya.
Mali – French Special Forces have killed four members of al-Qaeda in northern Mali, including one of its leaders who was suspected of involvement in the killing of several French citizens, France's defence ministry said on the 20 May 15. Special Forces launched the raid overnight Sunday (17 May 15) into early Monday 18 May 15), according to the ministry statement on the 20 May 15. "Four terrorists were killed in the course of combat," among them was Amada Ag Hama, whose alias was "Abdelkrim the Tuareg" and who was a leader of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the ministry said. Ibrahim Ag Inawalen, known by the name "Bana" and a leader with Ansar Dine was also killed, it said. The statement provided no details about the operation. Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister, later said that Abdelkrim the Toureg was implicated in at least three operations against the French, and was the lead suspect in the November 2013 killings of two journalists, Claude Verlon and Ghislaine Dupont, with Radio France International. The Malian national was also implicated in the 2010 killing of French aid worker Michel Germaneau, and in the 2010 capture of four French people in the uranium mining town of Arlit, Niger. "One should keep in mind that France has a long memory," Fabius said in Paris, addressing a group at the Institute of International and Strategic Relations. Tuareg rebel groups seized control of northern Mali in early 2012, but shortly afterwards, al-Qaeda-linked fighters streamed in from their base in Algeria and won control of the area with the aim of imposing Islamic law. French forces led a military operation in January 2013 that pushed al-Qaeda members out of the cities and towns they had controlled and scattered them across a vast area of north-eastern Mali. Abou Zeid, the top al-Qaeda leader in Mali, was among scores of the group's members killed. France withdrew its intervention force but now has about 1,200 troops in north-eastern Mali as part of a five-nation counterterrorism operation.
Nigeria – An explosion took place at a bus station in Damaturu in north-eastern Nigeria, killing seven people and injuring 31 it was reported on the 16 May 15. A girl aged about 12 detonated an explosive under her clothes as she approached the station's perimeter fence. The head of the local Sani Abacha hospital, Doctor Garba Fika, said six bodies and 32 injured had arrived there with one person dying after being admitted. A witness claimed that the girl noticed the guards checking people at the gates and she decided to detonate the explosives in the middle of the crowd outside the gates. No claim of responsibility for the attack has been made but Islamist group Boko Haram has frequently used young girls to carry out suicide attacks.
As the Boko Haram terror sect continues to unravel under the weight of the ongoing military offensive, the full extent of its atrocities and bestiality have continued to emerge with horror it was reported on the 9 May 15. The offensive in Sambisa forest is yielding tremendous treasure trove of intelligence, with the discovery of sensitive materials including arms, ammunitions, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) gadgets and video recordings of beheadings they left behind. According to the report by PRNigeria on the 8 May 15 many of the video materials captured by the troops from Sambisa forest are currently being analysed by military experts. Some of the videos, the report said, included recording of scenes of trials, beheadings, executions, stoning, floggings and those taken during preparations for suicide attacks. A military source stated that capturing such recordings was another major feat in the battle against the terrorists as it was a tool used to really terrify mostly civilian population and cow them into submission. The source added that "some of the video were meant for release through their normal channels to the public before they were dislodged from their camps. They also show the barbaric life in their so-called caliphate. "The media and the public are advised to be careful in handling or sharing sensitive and offensive videos depicting atrocities that some viewers may find disturbing," the source said. Since they invaded Sambisa Forest a few weeks ago, Nigerian troops have liberated about 1,000 women and children from the various terrorists camps already dismantled. When contacted on the discovery of video recordings, the Director Defence Information (DDI), Maj-Gen. Chris Olukolade said: "A number of vital materials, apart from arms and ammunition, have been recovered which are being subjected to intelligent analyses. We don't want to say much about that now."
A suicide bomber who managed to beat all security checks and got to a mosque inside Maiduguri market, by pretending to be a hawker, killed 16 persons and injured nearly 30 others it was reported on the 30 May 15. The bomber, a young man pushing a wheelbarrow loaded with some fruits, was said to have waited until Muslim traders crowded themselves in small market mosque before he moved in to detonate his suicide belt. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, although Boko Haram is suspected. The attack came less than a day after Boko Haram militants launched a grenade attack on the city, killing about 17 people just hours after Nigeria swore in Muhammadu Buhari as its new president. At his inauguration, the president said he will relocate the military command structure to Maiduguri until the group is subdued.
Somalia – Samantha Lewthwaite, known as the White Widow, is at the "right hand" of terror leaders in Somalia reports claimed on the 18 May 15. Spy chief says White Widow Samantha Lewthwaite is responsible for the deaths of at least 400 people, including last month's slaughter of 148 people at a university in Kenya, according to Somali security chiefs. She is thought to have risen through the ranks of terror organisation al-Shabaab quickly after many of its leaders died in drone attacks and is now at the heart of its deadly mission. A security chief in Somalia said: "This lady sits at the right hand of the leader directing attacks." The British woman, a graduate of London University, is now trusted by bosses including al-Shabaab leader Ahmad Umar to co-ordinate major atrocities, terror raids, suicide attacks and car bombings in Somali and Kenya. Originally from Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, UK, she is also believed to be at the forefront of a recruitment drive to encourage youngsters and women to become suicide bombers for cash. The top officer at Somalia's National Intelligence and Security Agency said: "The lady has moved up the ranks. She is one of the most important figures in the terror group. "We think this lady is sitting at the right hand of the leader directing attacks. She does not carry out attacks herself as she is too important but is responsible for many, many deaths - hundreds. She uses children to kill for her after giving money to their families."
Al-Shabaab gunmen killed around 25 Kenyan police on the 25 May 15 ambushing some officers in a village in the east of the country after others died when their vehicle hit a landmine planted by the militants. The terrorist group claimed that it took all their weapons. There were some Kenyan forces that escaped in the course of the ambush fighting. Some 20 police died in the ambush during the evening in Yumbis village, 45 miles north of the town of Garissa. The officers were ambushed as they went to assist other police who had been targeted by an explosive device, believed to be a landmine or roadside bomb. The area is on the remote side of Garissa not far from the border and was difficult to get the correct information. Garissa County has remained volatile with numerous attacks since Apr 15 when four Shabaab militants stormed Garissa University College, killing 142 students and six security forces during a day-long siege. The attack in Garissa County came just days after extra Kenyan security forces were deployed in the area to strengthen security after a series of raids by gunmen from the Somali-led Al-Qaeda branch. Also during the reporting period Shabaab militants briefly took control of a mosque in Garissa, delivering a hard-line sermon to captive worshippers, before leaving.
Tunisia – On the 18 May 15, the Islamic State (ISIS) released an audio recording by a previously unknown Tunisian group, the "Mujahideen of Tunisia Al-Qayrawan," in which it swears fealty to Islamic State (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. In the recording, a group spokesman notes the importance unity among Muslims, and says that such unity is particularly important in these days because Islam's enemies are collaborating against it. He also says that unity cannot be achieved by groups or parties, but only by Muslims coming together under a single caliph and a single banner.
Uganda – The Ugandan police on the 14 May 15 said that it is on high terror alert following a video allegedly posted by the Somali militants; Al-Shabaab on YouTube calling for Jihad- inspired attacks on Uganda and Burundi. The Police in a statement issued here said the 12 minute video uploaded on the 4 May 15 on the link "the final message of the Kampala warrior", cannot be taken as a joking matter. "The police and its sister security agencies are actively examining the contents and authenticity of a YouTube link 'the final message of the Kampala warrior'," said the statement. "As the public already knows the threat of terrorism whether real or perceived has never been taken for granted by security," the statement added. It noted, "Although the threat has no specific information about what might be planned, the security and intelligence community continues to gather credible intelligence on the general threat." Uganda continues to face terror threats from the Al-Qaeda- linked Somali militants to avenge the East African country for sending troops in the war ravaged Horn of African country. Uganda provides the bulk of the African Union peace keeping troops in Somalia. Al-Shabaab on the 11 Jul 10 carried out twin bombings attacks that left over 76 people dead and dozens injured in the capital Kampala.