Egypt – A senior Egyptian official denied reports of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militancy in the Sinai Peninsula which was reported in the last reporting period. In an interview with Al Arabiya’s Randa Abul Azm, Northern Sinai Governor Abdel-Fattah Harhoor said that although insurgents followed tactics similar to the militant group, he confirmed that ISIS is not present in the peninsula, where a 23 Oct 14 attacks by extremists left at least 30 Egyptian soldiers dead. 361 COMMENT: It is possible that the IS are attempting to export their brand of terrorism. COMMENT ENDS
On the 10 Nov 14 al-Jazeera reported that Egypt's Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, the country's most active armed group, pledged its allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, in a recording posted on its Twitter account. If genuine, the declaration of allegiance would be a boost for ISIL showing its widening influence in the region alongside its territorial advances in Iraq and Syria. "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. In the audio clip, which is 9 minutes and 26 seconds in length, the Sinai-based armed group also urged Muslims around the world to follow suit and support ISIL. "Your unity is strength and your division is weakness… Determine your fate, unite among yourself, and support your (Islamic) State," the recording said. Ansar Beit al-Maqdis (Partisans of Jerusalem) had previously expressed support for ISIL, but stopped short of pledging its allegiance before the 10 Nov 14 even denying it last week. It has conducted cross-border attacks against neighbouring Israel, as well as attacks on Egyptian soldiers and police. Ansar Beit al-Maqdis on the 7 Nov 14 threatened to escalate its assaults on Egyptian military targets, saying it was engaged in a "war without end". "We will continue to fight the army until the day of judgement," said a recording posted on Twitter by the group. 361 COMMENT: It is possible that if the IS are squeezed out of Iraq then there is a possibility that it could move into the Sanai. With a supportive group already in place and not that far the migration of terrorists could with ease find their way there. This could be a real threat to the Egyptian peninsula although the Egyptian authorities do not think so. There would also be a greater threat to Israel at the same time. COMMENT ENDS
Libya – On the 3 Nov 14 reports in open source emerged that Libya’s army had urged residents to evacuate a central district of Benghazi that is home to its seaport, a spokesman said on the 2 Nov 14 as it prepares a military operation against Islamists in the country’s second-largest city. “The chief of staff asks all residents of the Assabri district to leave by 12:00 noon (on 3 Nov 14),” said Ahmed al-Mesmari, spokesman for the chief of staff. He gave no details but the army had previously said that members of the Ansar al-Sharia militant group had fled there after the army had seized other districts. The following day, 4 Nov 14, heavy fighting around the port area was reported with tanks and artillery being deployed in the area.
Three young activists have been found beheaded in Derna, in eastern Libya reports stated on the 11 Nov 14. The three, who had relayed information about the city through social media, had been kidnapped earlier during November. Beheadings are rare in Libya even in areas controlled by militant Islamists, and no group had claimed that it had carried out the latest killings. The activists have been named as Siraj Ghatish, Mohamed Battu and Mohamed al-Mesmari. There appears to be three main groups in Derna; the Islamic Youth Shura Council, a branch of Ansar al-Sharia, and the more moderate Martyrs of Abuslim Brigade. The group that declared allegiance to the Islamic State is unclear, although it appeared to be a group that broke away from the Shura Council. Derna has been out of government control since 2012. In Aug 14, a video emerged on social media showing a man being shot dead by an unknown group in a football stadium.
Car bombs have been detonated in two eastern Libyan cities, leaving at least seven people dead and many more injured reports claimed on the 12 Nov 14. The first attack on a busy road in Tobruk was thought to have killed at least three people. Another four died when a car blew up outside an air base in al-Bayda. The Tobruk blast appears to have reportedly taken place close to the city's intelligence headquarters suggesting that, that was the target but was well guarded. No group had claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Car bombs went off outside the Egyptian embassy and that of the United Arab Emirates in the Libyan capital on the 13 Nov 14 causing some damage to the buildings. Both the Egyptian and the Emirati embassy, along with most diplomatic missions, foreign and international organizations have been closed for months as Islamist-allied militias seized Tripoli after weeks of fierce fighting. The blasts occurred a day after three car bombs in two eastern Libyan cities. 361 COMMENT: As with the previous incidents no-one is claiming responsibility for the attacks. COMMENT ENDS.
Nigeria – A bomb targeting Shia pilgrims observing the holy day of Ashoura has exploded in Yobe state in north-eastern Nigeria killing at least 11 people it was reported on the 3 Nov 14. The blast happened on the 2 Nov 14 in the city of Potiskum, as Shia Muslims were marking the religious occasion. The worshippers were gathered outside a seminary in the Tsohuwar Kasuwa area of the city, after visiting the palace of the local emir. At the time of reporting the type of blast had not been confirmed, and no group had claimed responsibility for the attack. Yobe is one of three north-eastern states which was placed under emergency rule last year when the military launched a massive operation to crush the Boko Haram uprising.
On the 1 Nov 14 the leader of Boko Haram terrorist group, Abubakar Shekau, has rubbished the claim of the Nigerian government that a ceasefire agreement was reached with the group, insisting that at no time has he or his representatives sat with any agent of government. He said: "Have you forgotten that? And it is you today claiming we made truce with you? In what way did we make truce? Which kind of negotiation, with whom? That your Danladi (Ahmadu), the infidel like you, who we will not spare and will decapitate if he falls into our hands today? "Where do we know him, not to talk of him representing us? Who is Danladi on this earth?" He added: "Therefore I tell you (that) we have not made ceasefire with anyone. Only battle, hitting, striking and killing with gun which we long for like tasty meal. This is what we believe in and fight for. Our goal is to see only Koran being followed on earth. This is our focus. "It is said Chadian President, Nigerian ambassador, the people of Cameroon and us met and agreed on a truce. How? Don't you know we are still holding your German hostage, always crying. If we wish we hack him or slaughter him or shoot him. We fear no one but Allah. This is our job." He said the group does not have any plan of releasing the abducted Chibok girls. "When did we release Chibok schoolgirls that we seized, those that Shekau who is now talking seized, brought them and kept them in the place he chose for more than six months now?" 361 COMMENT: There appears to be no clear reports of what is exactly going on between the terrorist group and the Nigerian government regarding the supposed ceasefire. Could this be a direct ploy from Boko Haram into embarrassing the government by accepting talks only to then deny them? Or is it a propaganda ploy by the Nigerian government to ramp up polls for the forthcoming presidential elections? The problem in the north-west of Nigeria is with Boko Haram claiming a caliphate and that the government could do nothing to secure the 200 Chibok school girls. Jonathan Goodluck Johnson may have trouble getting re-elected. What next in the drama; a proposed prisoner swap using one prisoner for one girl? It appears that Boko Haram are holding all the cards and the Nigerian government has nowhere else to go. Its army is considered poorly armed and led and in places flees when Boko Haram appear. Efforts to secure the girls release in the past are long gone. In order for Johnson to win using the anti-terrorism vote he and his current government and military leaders need to come up with an eleventh hour deed to secure a general election victory. COMMENT ENDS
A suicide bomber killed at least 29 people in a procession of Shi'ite Muslims marking the ritual of Ashoura in northeast Nigeria's Yobe state on the 3 Nov 14. In a separate incident overnight in central Kogi state, gunmen using explosives blew their way into a prison in the city of Lokoja, killing one person and freeing 144 inmates, Adams Omale, prisons coordinator for the state said. In the suicide bombing in Potiskum in Yobe state the attacker joined the line of Shi'ites before setting off his device as they marched through a market in the town.
Dozens of people have been killed after an explosion ripped through a secondary school in northeast Nigeria, as students gathered for morning assembly before classes began it was reported on the 10 Nov 14. The blast happened at the Government Comprehensive Senior Science Secondary School in Potiskum, Yobe state. Death toll reports were conflicting with the news reports saying that between at least 35 to 48 were killed in the attack. The students had gathered for the morning assembly when something exploded in their midst at exactly 7:50am local time (0650 hrs GMT). The attack will probably be accounted for or attributed to Boko Haram.
Nigerian press reported on the 10 Nov 14 that A new video was released on the 9 Nov 14 by the Boko Haram, showing its leader, Abubakar Shekau, delivering a sermon during Friday (7 Nov 14) prayers. Shekau in the video appears in clothes typically worn by Imams (clerics that lead Muslims during prayers) unlike in previous videos where he appeared wearing battle clothes. He is shown in a mosque in a light blue gown (babbar Riga) with a garb (Alkyabba on top) a cap (popularly known as Zanna Bukar) which is half covered with a turban. In the sermon, apparently referring to Gwoza town in Borno State, Shekau speaks for about 20 minutes in Arabic in the 44 minute-video where he emphasises his "firm authority" over what he calls the "Islamic caliphate" and reiterates that there is no ceasefire agreement with the Nigerian government. Shekau also pays allegiance to jihadists in other parts of the world, stressing that his caliphate has come to stay. He said: "To all Muslims and all devout Mujahideen, my esteemed brethren, Allah has bestowed on us Islamic victory, and we pray to Allah to give us the opportunity to fight infidels on the face of the earth. We fight and kill whoever opposes what the prophet brought. My brethren in Islam, we are living in Islamic Caliphate. We send our greetings to our brethren living in the Islamic caliphates-the caliphates in Iraq and Syria. "My brethren in Islam, wherever you may be, in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, in Azerbaijan, in Shishan, in blessed Yemen, in Somalia - to everyone living in Islamic caliphates, we convey our greetings at this moment. Look at this Nigeria, liars. Look at these tyrants. They are sabotaging Islam. We have indeed established an Islamic Caliphate. This is an amazing thing. Victory from Allah! "We don't call ourselves Boko Haram. We are Jama'atu Ahlissunnah Lidda'awati Wal Jihad. "If Allah decides I die today, by Allah I will die." After the first part if the sermon, worshippers are shown outside, chanting Allahu Akbar. His fighters are later shown celebrating with armoured personnel vehicles.
Boko Haram or People Committed to the Prophet's Teachings for Propagation and Jihad (Arabic Name: Jama'atu Ahlissunnah Lidda'awati Wal Jihad)