Egyptian forces have killed over 250 Takfiri militants over the past 10 days in the country's violence-plagued Sinai Peninsula, according to the country's military sources on the 12 Jul 15. Egypt's army spokesman Mohamed Samir made the remarks on his Facebook page on the 12 Jul 15 saying that at least 252 terrorist were killed during the period. He further noted that at least 63 terrorism suspects have been arrested, adding that Egyptian forces have arrested 10 wanted people as well. The military official noted that Egyptian forces have destroyed as many as 18 bases and over 50 vehicles belonging to the terrorists. The spokesman added that the Egyptian forces have also confiscated large amounts of explosives belonging to the militants. A statement, released by Egypt's General Command of the Armed Forces on July 1, said over 100 ISIL Takfiri terrorists had been killed by the Egyptian military's counterattacks in the peninsula. The military has poured troops and armour into the peninsula where security forces have been fighting. The Takfiri group active in the peninsula was formerly named Ansar Beit al-Maqdis. It, however, changed its name after pledging allegiance in Nov 14 to the ISIL.
The Islamic State’s branch in Egypt claimed responsibility for the bombing at the Italian consulate in the capital of Cairo that killed one person and wounded at least nine others it was reported on the 12 Jul 15. Egyptian policemen and civilians were among those injured in the blast that occurred outside the main entrance of the consulate building, which was completely destroyed. No Italians were hurt by the remotely-detonated car bomb. The Islamic State has officially claimed the attack in a communiqué released online. The jihadist organization said that “a parked car bomb loaded with 450kg of explosives” detonated near the Italian consulate in Cairo. The Islamic State ended the statement by warning Muslims to avoid similar locations as they are “legitimate targets.” “We recommend Muslims stay away from these security dens because they are legitimate targets for mujahedeen strikes,” the statement concluded. Interestingly, the communiqué was signed by the “Islamic State in Egypt” and not its “Sinai Province,” the terror group’s main branch in the North African country. It is unclear if the “Islamic State in Egypt” is a new branch of the Islamic State or an extension of its network in the Sinai. The Islamic State’s Sinai Province was formerly known as Ansar Bayt al Maqdis (ABM), which had ties to al Qaeda. On the 10 Nov 14, an unidentified jihadist from ABM announced his group’s allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the self-appointed head of the Islamic State’s “caliphate.” ABM was quickly rebranded as part of the Islamic State, and has claimed numerous attacks in the months since. On Nov. 13, 2014, al Baghdadi formally acknowledged the pledge of allegiance (bayat) from ABM, as well as several other groups, in an audio message. Not every member of ABM defected, however. Credible reports indicate that part of ABM remained loyal to al Qaeda. And another jihadist group in Egypt, Ajnad Misr (“Soldiers of Egypt”), had already broken off from ABM. Ajnad Misr’s former leader, Hammam Attiyah, was eulogized by both al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) after his death earlier this year.
Chad – Suspected Boko Haram fighters have killed 26 people by cutting their throats in night attacks on two villages on Lake Chad over the 4/5 Jul 15 Chadian officials have said. "The two villages were attacked by surprise on Saturday and Sunday night. There were 13 dead in each attack," a Chadian official said. Boko Haram have stepped up assaults in recent weeks across the region in what appears to be a fight back against an offensive mounted by soldiers from Nigeria and its neighbours, Chad, Cameroon and Niger. Fighters also attacked a group of camel herders at the village of Tiskra, cutting 13 people's throats before fleeing when guards of the village chief opened fire. Boko Haram has launched a string of cross border raids during the reporting period and more than 200 people have died in a string of attacks inside Nigeria, piling pressure on the new President Muhammadu Buhari.
Niger – Suspected Boko Haram militants launched an attack on a prison in the southern Niger town of Diffa late on the 11 Jul 15, military sources said, in an apparent bid to free fellow members of the Nigerian Islamist group held there. Three of the assailants and one soldier were killed before the attack was repelled. Boko Haram also attacked the prison in Feb 15. 361 COMMENT: With so many operations against the terrorist group they maybe short on recruits. This could be a growing trend for the future as they find difficulty keeping those members who are loyal and finding those willing to fight. Future kidnappings of children may also occur. COMMENT ENDS
Nigeria – Twin bomb attacks have hit a crowded mosque and a restaurant in the central Nigerian city of Jos, killing dozens, according to officials reports claimed on the 6 Jul 15. At least 44 people were killed by the explosions on the night of the 5 Jul 15, including at the Yantaya Mosque, home to Muslim religious leader Sani Yahaya, who preaches coexistence between Nigeria's different religions. The attack targeted Yahaya as he was preaching, witnesses said. Gunmen started shooting sporadically and then there was a loud blast. Yahaya was known to be critical of the armed group Boko Haram, which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group. Another bomb exploded at Shagalinku, a restaurant popular with politicians. Abdussalam Mohammed of the National Emergency Management Agency said 67 others were injured in the attacks and were being treated in hospitals. The blasts came shortly after a suicide bomber attacked a church in the restive north-eastern Nigerian state of Yobe killing five people.
Thirteen persons were killed, 43 churches and 300 houses were burnt on the 4 Jul 15 when Boko Haram insurgents attacked Mussa community, in Borno State. Boko Haram returned to Mussa (A&B), remote villages in Askira/Uba Local Government, Killings 10 civilian’s with the militant losing three members to the attack.
Explosives were found at a church in the central Nigerian city of Jos on the 12 Jul 15 police said, adding that the device went off but there were no casualties. It was averted because the bomb was detected by the church's security personnel. The incident in the north of the city came a week after a suicide bomber blew him-self up at a church in the north-eastern city of Potiskum, killing the pastor and four other worshippers. Jos was also targeted on the 5 Jul 15, when Boko Haram militants fired on a mosque, including with a rocket-propelled grenade, and also hit a restaurant popular with travellers from the restive northeast. The twin attack left 51 dead and 47 injured. Boko Haram will likely come under suspicion for the latest incident, as it has repeatedly hit both churches and mosques in the past. The Islamists claimed a failed suicide attack in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri that killed two people on the 11 Jul 15 and a suicide bombing in Chad's capital, N'Djamena that left 15 dead. 361 COMMENT: Unfortunately churches and schools are very soft targets but the terrorist group still feels that it is in control by attacking them. Especially as operations against the group are making them feel insecure. By attacking the soft targets they will be attempting to discourage attacks on themselves and hope that the Security Forces concentrate their efforts on locations such as these in order to divert military operations. COMMENT ENDS.
Somalia – Somalia's government said on the 11 Jul 15 that 12 al-Shabaab militants were killed on the 12 Jul 15 evening’s raids on two heavily fortified Mogadishu hotels. Internal Security Minister Abdirasak Omar Mohamed said that "it was only them [the attackers] who died" in the coordinated suicide strikes. "The violent elements attacked the Weheliye and Siyaad hotels in order to disrupt people from breaking their fast in peace. Seven attackers were involved in the hotel Weheliye attack while five attackers were involved in the Siyaad hotel, and all of them were killed," he said. However a statement from the UN Special Representative for Somalia, Nicholas Kay, said the raids "resulted in the death and injuries of civilians, members of the security forces, AMISOM [African Union] troops and government officials". Security sources said late Friday at least five people died, and witnesses said at least a dozen people were injured. The evening also saw mortar rounds fired at Mogadishu's former main football stadium, now a key base for African Union troops. The two hotels are both fortified and heavily guarded, and are popular with lawmakers from the nearby parliament, as well as government workers and businessmen. Al Shabaab insurgents have carried out repeated attacks in the area, and messages posted on websites close to the Al Qaeda-linked group said the Islamists claimed responsibility for the hotel raids. The Islamist militants have stepped up their attacks during holy fasting month of Ramadan, and the Friday raids came as people settled down to break their daylight fast.
Tunisia – British tourists holidaying in Tunisia received a warning that another terror attack is "highly likely" it was reported on the 10 Jul 15. Thirty Britons were killed in an attack in Sousse in Jun 15 - and the Foreign Office had urged Britons to leave. Tunisia's PM stated the country had "done everything it can" to protect tourists. Between 2,500 and 3,000 British package holidaymakers were believed to be in Tunisia, as well as about 500 independent travellers. It is not known which other nationalities were holidaying there. People who had arrived two days ago had armed police chaperone their buses, prior to that there were none, possibly something had changed or it was another step in protecting people in light of the buses not having protection as they travelled to and from the airport. The UK government said there was no new "specific or imminent" threat but intelligence had led officials to the view that a further terror attack was "highly likely". Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the Tunisian investigation into the Sousse attack - and an attack in Mar 15 on the Bardo Museum near Tunis which left 22 dead, including one Briton - was continuing and Tunisian authorities had "made clear they want to track down further individuals who they suspect may have links" to the attacks. He said a security assessment in tourist areas found more work was needed "to effectively protect tourists from the terrorist threat". BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner said the gunman's associates were believed to still be at large in Tunisia and, he said, were quite likely to be looking for targets. At the time of the last attack some witnesses, including a former policeman, were convinced they saw a second attacker. Gardner said the UK's decision was taken "reluctantly" but the intelligence of a threat was "overwhelming". The Tunisian government had increased security in tourist areas, and announced plans for a wall along the border with Libya, to counter the terror threat.
Tunisia's interior minister said on the 13 Jul 15 that his country has largely destroyed local armed group Okba Ibn Nafaa, suspected of orchestrating the Mar 15 attack on a museum in the capital, Tunis. Najim Gharsalli announced that the operation 'broke the spine' of the al-Qaeda linked group in North Africa. The Tunisian minister said the operation took place on the 10 Jul 15 when Tunisian security forces killed five fighters in clashes in mountains near the central town of Gafsa. "This operation broke the spine of Okba Ibn Nafaa Brigade. I can say at 90 percent. And this is very important," Gharsalli said. Okba Ibn Nafaa, which is aligned to al-Qaeda, has been fighting a low-level insurgency against Tunisian authorities near the Algerian border. But the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has also claimed responsibility for attacks in Tunisia. "There is no structured organisation in Tunisia called Daesh, this does not mean that there aren't people who pay allegiance to Daesh, some elements pay allegiance to Daesh," Gharsali added. The new leader of Okba Ibn Nafaa brigade Mourad Gharsalli was among those reportedly killed in the operation.