Egypt – A suicide bomber blew himself up near one of Egypt’s most popular tourist sites on the 10 Jun 15 injuring four people, including two policemen. Although officials said no tourists were wounded, the attack at the ancient Egyptian Karnak Temple near Luxor was the second in just over a week on a major attraction in Egypt, where tourism is a vital source of income and foreign currency. There were 604 tourists in the sprawling Nile-side complex at the time. Police in Luxor said they had averted a “massacre” after security officials grew suspicious when a taxi refused a request for the car boot to be searched. One attacker then detonated a suicide vest outside the world famous Karnak temple, injuring a handful of bystanders. One accomplice was killed and another seriously injured in the ensuing fire-fight. “If they had managed to enter the temple, it would have been a massacre,” he stated saying the bags had contained 19 fully loaded rifle magazines. The foiled attack raises uncomfortable memories of one of the darkest chapters in Egypt’s recent history. In 1997, militants turned guns and machetes on tourists at the site, killing 58 people in the country’s worst ever terrorist assault. The recent attack raised the spectre of future attacks on the country’s fragile tourism industry, underscoring the fragility of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s promise to restore economic stability and security to a country that has yet to recover from the turmoil which followed its 2011 uprising. Although there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attempted attack, the militants appeared to have been attempting a complex operation bearing the hallmarks of Egypt’s Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) loyalists, Sinai Province. The recent terrorist attack was the second this month by suspected Islamist militants near a major tourist attraction. On the 3 Jun 15 gunmen on a speeding motorcycle opened fire outside the famed Giza Pyramids on the outskirts of Cairo, killing two police officers. 361 COMMENT: This latest attack shows that the terrorists in Egypt know, and are more than aware, that tourism is seen as a major monetary income for the country. With security still a little unstable from the 2011 uprising the terrorists are taking advantage and are attempting to hit the tourist areas. If they manage to severely injure one or more tourists then this will have a major impact on the countries tourism future. As in the 1997 attack the government of the day raised the security and the trend was nipped in the bud. The new government will want to conduct a similar strategy in order to deny the terrorists the opportunity of hurting Egypt’s reputation and economy. COMMENT ENDS
Kenya/al-Shabaab – Al-Shabaab has been making waves in a big way in Kenya over the last several days it was reported on the 3 Jun 15. On the 2 Jun 15 the Islamist organization took control of a village only nine miles from a military base, and the leaders from Isiolo County, in the northwest of the country, have asked the Kenyan government to investigate armed men, believed to be linked to al-Shabaab, who have erected roadblocks and are collecting “taxes” from locals. Residents of Warankara, the village al-Shabaab is occupying, say that militants are patrolling the streets, occasionally preaching their form of Islam and hatred of the West. They have yet to kill any civilians, but the villagers are living in constant fear of violence. Officials are alarmed that al-Shabaab may be becoming more and more difficult to uproot from Kenya, as well. Experts believe one of the reasons ISIS has been so successful at amassing wealth and territory is that they have been able to extricate resources through taxing the population. Al-Shabaab seems to be beginning to pursue a similar strategy in Kenya.
Kenya/al-Shabaab – Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab is planning to attack neighbouring Kenya during the Muslim holy months of Ramadan, which begins on the 17 Jun 15 the Islamist militants said on the 11 Jun 15. "We are planning to give Kenyan non-believers a true taste of Jihad [the holy war] in the next few days and weeks," a senior al-Shabaab commander stated. Attacks were mainly planned in Kenya's north-eastern province that borders Somalia, he said. The group claims it already infiltrated the region. "We will keep targeting and destroying Kenya's education sector and business sector," the al-Shabaab commander said. The terrorists are also threatening to attack Kenyan troops stationed in southern Somalia in coming weeks, according to the commander. 361 COMMENT: The Islamic State has already reported that it will strike at the start and during Ramadan. Al-Shabaab who have claimed alliance to the group appear to be copying them. COMMENT ENDS
Libya/Da’esh/Islamic State – A Libyan Islamist militant alliance joined forces with local people in Derna to drive back ISIS fighters, capturing the group's Yemeni commander and retaking a city courthouse reports claimed on the 3 Jun 15. ISIS loyalists, who have been expanding their foothold in the North African country, have been engaged in fierce fighting for control of Derna for a week with local Islamist umbrella group Majlis Mujahideen. But local residents say Majlis Mujahideen, with local armed people, have pushed ISIS out of much of Derna, taking back the courthouse, and killing several of the group's fighters including an Egyptian. Fighting contined in the city centre, with most shops and businesses closed. ISIS is mostly in the Ras El Hilal and Fattiah areas of the city. Derna, a conservative city where Islamist hardliners resisted Muammar Qaddafi before his 2011 fall, was the first place ISIS tried to gain support in Libya. The group recruited from other militant groups, slowly implemented Sharia law, banning public smoking and shisha pipe cafes. The Yemeni, who locals believe to be named Abu El-Bara El-Azadi, arrived in Derna late last year as a representative of ISIS's Iraqi leadership. But the group also faced competition from locals with more domestic agendas. Majlis, which is linked to former rebel groups who fought Qaddafi, enjoys local support going back to the revolution. Fighting erupted during the reporting period when a Majlis commander was killed and the group declared a holy war against ISIS fighters in the city.
Libya – A coalition of Islamist militias in the Libyan city of Darnah has vowed to eliminate a local unit of the Islamic State, testing its strength and emphasizing the deep divisions among the country’s Islamist forces it was reported on the 10 Jun 15. The challenge in Darnah comes just as another Islamic State unit based in the mid-coastal city of Surt has been steadily expanding its territory, fending off opposing militias from the neighbouring city of Misurata. The clash is also taking place at a moment of growing internal tension within various factions competing for power. Four years after the uprising that ousted Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, Libya has been torn apart by a conflict between two rival factions — one centred in the central city of Misurata and allied with some Islamists; the other based in the eastern cities of Tobruk and Bayda and allied with an anti-Islamist military leader, Gen. Khalifa Hifter. Now, the United Nations mediators are pushing to form a unity government that might bring together moderate or conciliatory elements from both warring factions against the hard-liners from either side — and against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISL. So hawks and doves within each city, tribe and political bloc are now newly divided over whether to accept the proposal or continue to fight.
Libya/Islamic State/Da’esh – The Libyan wing of the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) released a video on the 11 Jun 15 purportedly showing it blowing up two warplanes at an air base while its fighters paraded heavy weapons in a show of force. The video showed the group’s fighters manning a tank, firing a mortar gun and destroying the planes parked in front of a hangar at the base seized by the militants near the central city of Sirte. The authenticity of the video could not be verified. In the video, a Sudanese fighter mocked the Misrata troops which have withdrawn from Sirte and vowed to take on Misrata, a western city.
Libya/al-Qaeda – Libya's recognised government says that the leader of an al-Qaeda-linked group in Algeria, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, has been killed in a coordinated attack with the US. Earlier on the 14 Jun 15, the US Department of Defence said the US military conducted a counterterrorism strike against an al-Qaeda-associated target in Libya on the 13 Jun 15 night, but were assessing results before providing more details. "The Libyan government in the east of Libya confirms that the US fighter jets conducted air strikes last night in a mission which resulted in the death of the terrorist Belmokhtar," the internationally recognised government based in Tobruk said. The strike apparently took place in the east of the country near Tobruk, and according to Libyan news websites it was aimed at Ansar al-Sharia group where several commanders of the group were meeting. Belmokhtar was a leader of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, but later split from the group in 2012 to form his own militia, called Those Who Sign With Blood, that later became al-Mourabitoun. He has been involved in cigarette smuggling and one of his nom de guerre is "Mr Marlboro". He has also been associated with various groups involved in attacks on governments in the region including, Mali. The death of Belmokhtar has been declared at least on four occasions in recent years. In 2013, Chad's military claimed to have killed Belmokhtar, who was behind a bloody mass hostage-taking at an Algerian gas plant the same year. It's the first publicised operation by the US forces in Libya since 2011.
Nigeria - Almost daily bomb attacks in north-eastern Nigeria (the latest reported on the 5 Jun 15 was a bombing in a market in the town of Jimeta in Adamawa state that killed as many as 45) seem designed to send an ominous message to new President Muhammadu Buhari: Boko Haram is not going away. Buhari has made Boko Haram’s defeat his top priority, but the continued bombings by the terror group underscore how difficult it is for an unwieldy, often ineffectual military force such as Nigeria’s army to prevent ruthless bomb attacks on soft civilian targets by a nimble terrorist group. More than 60 people have been killed in attacks in the week since he took office. In the attack on the 4 Jun 15 night-time attack in Jimeta, a bomb was left at a market, in a tricycle taxi, the main means of taxi transport in the northeast. Though no one has claimed responsibility for the blast, it resembles previous attacks by Boko Haram, which has left bombs in taxis and cars in public places before. The attack at the Jimeta night market came shortly after an attack by a female suicide bomber at a checkpoint in Maiduguri, which killed two. Authorities said the Jimeta death toll was 45, with another 40 injured, while other reports put the death toll at 31. Buhari has announced that the military’s command centre will be moved from the comfort of the capital, Abuja, to the uncomfortable front line city of Maiduguri, in the northwest, saying the battle against Boko Haram couldn’t be won from distant Abuja. He has also visited his counterparts in neighbouring Chad and Niger, his first foreign trips as president, sending a strong message of greater regional unity in the fight against the terror group. Buhari also vowed to leave no stone unturned in investigating allegations this week by Amnesty International that the Nigerian military and security forces were responsible for the deaths of more than 8,000 men and boys who were suspected of Boko Haram involvement. About 1,200 were shot down in the street or in captivity while an additional 7,000 who were detained died in horrendous conditions involving denial of water and food for days, and torture, according to the rights group. Critics say abuses by the Nigerian security forces have fuelled support for Boko Haram.
Three women wearing explosive vests blew up near Maiduguri in an apparent failed suicide bombing attack on Nigeria's beleaguered north-eastern city, police said on the 11 Jun 15. Dozens of people have been killed in suicide bombings in Maiduguri during the reporting period, all blamed on the extremist Boko Haram group. A police bomb expert investigating the blasts said the women's bodies were cut in half by the explosions, which took place on the highway leading to the city. The expert said most bombs strapped to girls and women are triggered by remote devices, which they have no control over. Boko Haram has kidnapped hundreds of girls and women in a nearly 6-year-old uprising aimed at enforcing the group's strict version of Shariah law across Nigeria. The bomb expert said three other women died last week when their explosive vests detonated as they were approached by soldiers while boarding a bus near the Maimalari Barracks, on the outskirts of Maiduguri.