Egypt – A roadside car bomb detonated on the 20 Nov 13 killing ten Egyptian soldiers and injuring many more. The soldiers were off duty and travelling by bus in the border region of northern Sinai between Rafah and the coastal city of el-Rish. The soldiers were from the 2nd Field Army which is doing most of the fighting against terrorist groups waging an insurgency against security forces in Sinai. This route must be travelled on numerous occasions by military traffic and will be surveyed by terrorists that will attempt attacks of this nature. It is difficult to find other routes due to roads not being that numerous and so the military will have to travel on the same road. However, if this is the case then timings that military convoys travel should be varied all the time. If other routes exist then they should look at taking them. The terrorists will find military convoys with soft vehicles an easy target.
On the 25 Nov 13 Egypt's interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi said he expects a referendum on the constitution, currently being drafted, will take place in the second half of January. "I believe that it will take place in the second half of January," Beblawi stated. The referendum had been expected in mid-December.
Kenya – A Kenyan militia group linked to Al-Shabaab is fast becoming a threat to security in the Horn of Africa, a United Nations report reveals. The group has allegedly made new contacts across East Africa, including recruitment of affiliates in Rwanda and Burundi, and plans to unleash terror in the region. The group sprung up after extra-judicial killings of suspected Al-Shabaab sympathisers in Kenya. Al Shabaab, or Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen, as the terror group is known in Somalia, remains a threat two years after the militants were driven out of Mogadishu. The 5,000-member group is believed to have the support of about 500 Kenyans of a group calling itself Al-Hijra (the migration) that has grown out of the Muslim Youth Centre.
Libya – Speculation about Ansar al-Sharia's plan for Libya ended on the 13 Nov 13 when the al-Qaeda proponents released a mission statement demanding the imposition of Islamic law.
The agenda is clear: today, Derna, tomorrow, all of Libya. "Stability and security are dependent on the application of Sharia,” quoted the Islamist organisation. The group, which began as a brigade of revolutionary fighters, advocates Sharia as the sole source of legislation. At the same time, it refuses to recognise state institutions, including the security services. The jihadist organisation accuses anyone working for the government of apostasy and of being "taghuts" (evil forces in the service of tyranny). Ansar al-Sharia Libya members control neighbourhoods in Benghazi and Sirte, and most of Derna, with an arsenal of weapons looted from Kadhafi's stockpiles. They made it a point to say in their statement that their arms would "not be aimed at children".
On the 21 Nov 13 rival Libyan militias surrendered their bases to the army and retreated from Tripoli in the face of popular anger against their refusal to disarm in the two years since they toppled long-time leader Muammar Qadhafi. Libya’s chaotic struggle to control militia fighters and Islamist militants has become an increasing worry for Western powers, concerned that violence in the OPEC country could spill over to its North African neighbours. At Mittiga air base, militias tied to the Islamist-leaning Supreme Security Committee (SSC) said they would turn over control to the army. The powerful Al Qaqaa brigades from Zintan, southwest of Tripoli, also handed over their base. But with Libya’s fledgling military still outgunned by the former fighters, his government may struggle to reassert control over the gunmen. Zeidan himself was briefly abducted by militia last month. “The government is still weak and doesn’t have enough force to secure the city or the country,” said Adel Faraz, a public employee in Tripoli. “This might be a good initiative, but I don’t trust them not to come back or to give up their weapons.” Militias also pose a challenge outside Tripoli. For months, former fighters once employed to guard oil sites have taken over ports in the east, disrupting exports in protests for regional autonomy. Libyans have grown increasingly frustrated with the gangs of ex-fighters who remain loyal to their commanders in turf wars and disputes, even after the government put them on its payroll to provide security in Tripoli. Many of the militias, who have heavy weaponry and trucks with anti-aircraft cannons, were associated with the defence or interior ministries as vigilantes or security guards. The retreat from the capital was triggered by clashes on the 16 Nov 13, when more than 45 people were killed after gunmen from one militia opened fire on protesters marching on their base to demand they leave the city. It leaves Tripoli’s security mostly in the hands of the nascent armed forces and police. Militias from Misrata, including the Gharghour Brigades which were involved in the clashes, withdrew from Tripoli on the 19 Nov 13 under instructions from leaders of their city, which lies east of the capital. Although people are concerned that the militias may return in the long run this could be good news for the country. Security would hopefully get better which in the long term will attract investors which will create jobs. Also the threat of terrorism taking over will stop as it becomes more difficult to work without chaos.
Clashes between Libyan troops and an armed group in the eastern city of Benghazi have killed at least nine people and wounded at least 47 during a military operation, on the 25 Nov 13 an interior ministry said. The Libyan army on Monday declared "a state of alert" in Benghazi and summoned all troops to report for duty after the battle with Ansar al-Sharia fighters erupted. Rival militia groups withdrew from Tripoli last week after clashes killed more than 40 people when protesters marched to one of the fighters' bases to demand they leave the capital. The government has hired some of the armed groups to provide security, but they remain loyal to their commanders or tribes, and often clash in disputes over territory or personal feuds. The Libyan government has struggled to restore order as fighters, most of whom were among the rebels who fought in the war that toppled Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, defy the new military's attempts to disarm them.
Nigeria – Nigerian legislators have approved a six-month extension for the state of emergency that is governing the country's north-eastern states, which have been terrorised by an Islamic uprising. Wednesday's (27 Nov 13) decision came as the State Security Service paraded five suspected Islamic extremists at a news conference, including Muhammad Nazeef Yunus, a lecturer in Islamic studies at Kogi State University in north-central Nigeria. Yunus, 44, denied to reporters that he recruits for Islamic extremists, saying that he speaks against the militants who are accused of killing hundreds of mainly Muslim civilians in recent months. Four others arrested in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, claimed that Yunus recruited them. Three north-eastern states have been under a state of emergency since 14 May 13. Troops have driven insurgents from cities but attacks have increased in rural areas.
Somalia – Al Qaeda-linked militants detonated a car bomb at the entrance to a police station on the 19 Nov 13 near the Somalia-Ethiopia border, then opened fire with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, an attack that left at least 19 people dead. After the explosion the Islamic extremists opened fire at police officers and civilians inside the station. The police station housed Somali police as well as Djiboutian and Ethiopian troops. Al-Shabaab have claimed responsibility for the attack.
China/Xinjiang Region – A group of ethnic Uyghur youths were shot dead while storming a police station in China's restive north-western Xinjiang region last week had wanted to hoist a flag symbolizing regional independence in a possible suicide mission at the facility, according to Chinese police. The attack by the nine youths, in their late teens and early twenties, on the Siriqbuya police station in Kashgar prefecture's Maralbeshi (Bachu) county was believed prompted by the arrest of two men linked to the assailants. The nine youths, who were armed with knives and sickles, had killed three policemen on the 16 Nov 13 raid, which the authorities have called a "terrorist" attack. Uyghur Service that the youths had carried the blue and white flag that represented two short-lived independent republics set up within China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region some seven to eight decades ago. He said they were trying to take control of the station and fly the East Turkestan flag above it in emulation of a deadly attack in southern Xinjiang's Hotan city in Jul 11, when a group of young Uyghurs took hostages at a police station and took down the Chinese flag there. The flag of the republics of East Turkestan set up in 1933 and 1944 within what is now known as Xinjiang, continues to be a symbol of independence for many Uyghurs.
India – On the 27 Nov 13 it was reported that a crude blast occurred near a nuclear plant in southern India. The police recovered two other explosive devices near the site. Six people were killed including an anti-nuclear activist, two houses were also destroyed but the blast did not damage the plant. The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant has inspired years of protest by local people in Tamil Nadu state has had problems in the past. The People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) is an anti-nuclear power group in Tamil Nadu, India, founded by S.P. Udayakumar. Since September 2011 the aim of the group is to close the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant site and to preserve the largely untouched coastal landscape, as well as educate locals about nuclear power.
Japan – Two improvised launch devices were fired at the United States military base Yokota near the capital Tokyo. The news station NHK reported that the pipes were stuck in a field approximately 300 metres away and positioned towards the base, police also found steel pipes, wires and batteries at the scene. The improvised mortars appear to have been set up and operated by remote control or by a timer. Using this type of firing mechanism means that those responsible could escape prior to the improvised weapons being fired. It is not known who was responsible for the attack but authorities believe that it could have been from a left-wing radical group.
Pakistan – There is growing unrest in the city of Kohat where members of the Sunni Muslim group Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat held a rally on the 18 Nov 13 to protest against the earlier killing of several Sunnis in Rawalpindi. Unidentified gunmen fired on a procession from near a Shia Mosque killing two people. Pakistan is facing rising violence with armed Sunni groups linked to al-Qaeda and the Tehreek-e-Taliban often attack gatherings of Shias who make up approximately 20 percent of the countries overwhelming Muslim population.
At least two security personnel have been killed and seven others wounded after Pakistani Taliban fighters launched two separate attacks on security checkpoints in northwest Pakistan, it was reported on the 20 Nov 13. In Wednesday's first attack, a suicide bomber drove his explosives-filled car into a security checkpoint as fighters armed with guns stormed a nearby building in Shawa area of North Waziristan tribal district, killing two personnel. The post is run jointly by the paramilitary Frontier Corps and tribal police and the adjacent building houses more than 40 security forces. The umbrella Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan faction and al-Qaeda-linked fighters has led a bloody campaign against the Pakistani state in recent years, carrying out hundreds of attacks on security forces and government targets, concentrated largely in the northwest. Abu Baseer, a purported spokesman of little-known Taliban faction Ansarul Mujahideen, claimed responsibility for the attack.
Russia – A group of radical islamists have been arrested in Moscow with explosives, hand grenades and weapons it was reported on the 27 Nov 13. Fifteen people were arrested and were thought to be members of the At-Tafkir Wal-Hijra, an islamist group originally founded in Egypt. At-Takfir Wal-Hijra was banned by Russia's Supreme Court in 2010 for "inciting interethnic and interreligious enmity", Russia's Interfax news agency reports. With just over two months to go before Russia hosts the Winter Olympics in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, these arrests will attract more international attention than usual.
Al-Takfir W’al Hijra Background
Al-Takfir W’al Hijra was originally established as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood in the early 1970’s. The group has operated in several countries since its inception and has been responsible for lethal terrorist activity in places where they have a presence. The name “Al-Takfir W’al Hijra” is translated to mean “excommunication and migration” and is indicative of the group’s radical ideology. The Takfiri ideology emphasizes a complete withdrawal from modern society, seen as a treacherous anti-Islamic culture. The ideology of Al-Takfir W’al Hijra is considered a foundation for other global terrorist groups, deriving its popular form of Islamism from past influential leaders such as Sayyid Qutb and Shukri Mustafa.
The original Al-Takfir W’al Hijra group was founded in 1971 as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. The group was formally known as Jama’at al-Muslimun in the late 1960’s, and was composed of members of the MB who had been imprisoned by the regime of Gamel Abdel Nasser. The primary influence behind of this Islamist movement was Sayyid Qutb, a militant figure from the Muslim Brotherhood, whose radicalism eventually led him to break from the MB, who he felt was too passive. He was known for a more violent, intolerant Islamist ideology even than that espoused by the MB.
The ideology of Al-Takfir W’al Hijra originated with the account of Sayyid Qutb in his book Ma’alim fi’l-Tariq (Milestones On The Road). Qutb described Egypt as being ridden with ignorance (jahiliyya) and said that the truly pious Muslims must detach themselves from society and create isolated Islamic enclaves that would provide for the true practices of Muhammad. The most powerful declaration of this stream of Islamism was the aggressive call to arms through a war of jihad that would suppress the ‘infidels’ once and for all. Qutb’s book was written in 1954 after he and fellow members of the MB were arrested and subsequently tortured by the Nasser regime. The book was, in effect, a response to the betrayal at the hands of the Nasser regime and also a decree of the Muslim Brotherhood who had dealings with Nasser.
Al-Takfir W’al Hijra backs a unique—and extreme—Islamism that is known to be the principle behind numerous terrorist activities worldwide. Because Al-Takfir W’al Hijra was one of the original groups to mobilize according to Qutb’s ideas, its ideology gained credence and played a role in the formation of numerous terrorist organizations. What’s distinct about the Al-Takfir W’al Hijra tenet is that it demands a complete withdrawal from a society that is deemed corrupt and menacing. According to the Takfiri doctrine, Islamic society is undergoing a period of weakness similar to the phase of isolation experienced by Muhammad during his period of Da’wa (preaching) in Mecca. Therefore, it is necessary for the true disciples of Islam to migrate out of the corrupt society and build their strength and unity in isolation.
The Takfiri doctrine is mostly based on a virulent practice of rejectionism. The idea is that anything having to do with modernity is a threat to Islam. This practice is manifested in the rejection of modern science, modern education, and certain modern technologies if they are contrary to Islamic traditions. Although terrorist groups may in practice use modern weapons, they resent the fact that they were created by infidels and therefore suggest that their use is only to cause the infidel’s demise. The formation of anti-US and anti-Western sentiment is rooted in this principle. The deliberate targeting of anything oriented with the US and/or the West is an expression of this principle and is implemented through a violent practice of jihad.
Lebanon – The Iranian embassy in Beirut was attacked on the 19 Nov 13 killing twenty three people including an Iranian diplomat. An al-Qaeda affiliated group claimed responsibility for the two suicide bombings, the obscure Abdullah Azzam Brigades said that it carried out the attack in a southern Beirut Hezbollah stronghold. Hezbollah is fighting alongside the Assad forces in Syria and the terrorist group stated that it will continue to carryout such attacks until the terrorist group Hezbollah withdraws from Syria. In another statement by an unidentified Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman blamed Israel for the attacks while Hezbollah and Syrian officials blamed Saudi Arabia. The Abdullah Azzam is a Sunni Islamist militant group affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the global jihad movement. The group, which began operating in 2009, has local networks in various countries. It is named after the late Sheikh Abdullah Azzam, a Palestinian from Jordan who was among the first Arabs to volunteer to join the Afghan Jihad against the forces of the then Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s.
Syria – A mortar round was fired at the Russian embassy in Damascus on the 28 Nov 13 and landed inside the compound. Although it is unsure who fired the mortar at the embassy it was probably the work of those who are against the Assad regime. Russia is a supporter of the Assad government and supplies weapons to the regime. This attack was probably instigated because of their support.
Yemen – Two gunmen on a motorbike killed a Belarussian defence contractor and injured another as the left a hotel in the Yemen capital on 24 Nov 13. They were attacked near the entrance to the Amsterdam hotel in central Sanaa and the victims were under contract and working for the Yemeni Army but the Russian embassy stated that it had no advisors officially seconded to the Yemeni army as military cooperation between the two countries was suspended. The Yemeni military has instead relied on private contractors to assist maintain its largely Russian and Chinese supplied weapons. There has not been much published in open source material regarding the targeting of civilian contractors in Yemen so this maybe a new trend in order to dissuade civilian contractors assisting the Yemeni authorities.
Forthcoming Significant Dates:
Future dates and anniversaries can often be used as a reason why terrorist’s carryout attacks. The 361 Terrorist and Security Report are displaying these dates for people’s awareness.
02 Dec 1971 – United Arab Emirates: The six emirates that agreed to join in the UAE were Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ajman, Al Fujayrah, Sharjah, and Quwayn. On the 2 Dec 1971, the six emirates declared their independence from Britain and called themselves the United Arab Emirates. (Ras al Khaymah initially opted out, but eventually joined the federation in February 1972).
04 Dec 2000 – Israel: Awad Selmi, senior HAMAS leader on the wanted list killed during a terrorist mission.
09 Dec 1961 – Tanzania: Tanzania became independent from the United Kingdom.
12 Dec 1963 – Kenya: Kenya gains independence from the United Kingdom
12 Dec 1997 – Egypt: Security forces killAbd al-Hafiz, al-Gama’at al-Islamiyya leader responsible for the Luxor attack.
12 Dec 1983 – Kuwait: US and French embassies bombed killing six and injuring 80; Hezbollah were responsible.
14 Dec 1995 – Former Republic of Yugoslavia: Dayton Peace Agreement was signed in Paris, France. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia agree to fully respect the sovereign equality of one another and to settle disputes by peaceful means.
14 Dec 1987 – West Bank: Founding of the Islamist Resistance Movement (HAMAS) by Shaykh Ahmad Yasin.
Dates are taken from the NCTC terrorist calendar and 361 Security Significant dates.
NFDK – No Further Details Known
NTR – Nothing To Report
Senior Counter Terrorist Analyst