Islamic State/Jordon/Coalition – Jordan has confirmed the death of pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh after a video published online by Islamic State (IS) claimed to show him being burned alive it was reported on the 3 Feb 15 a month after his death. Jordan's King Abdullah hailed Lt Kasasbeh as a hero, saying Jordan must "stand united" in the face of hardship. The pilot was captured when his plane came down near Raqqa, Syria, during a mission against IS in December. The video posted on the 3 Feb 15 was distributed via a Twitter account known as a source for IS propaganda. The world already shocked by the calculated cruelty of Islamic State's actions, the horrific video was aimed primarily at Arab populations in Jordan and the Gulf states. Jordanians greeted the news with horror. Many have seen the gruesome video, barely edited, played over and over on television.
Lebanon – The Al-Qaeda-affiliated Abdullah Azzam Brigades is reportedly planning attacks across Lebanon as well as for the assassination of political or non-political figures, according to local newspaper As-Safir Friday on the 13 Feb 15. The report claimed that Abdullah Azzam Brigades were preparing to carry out bomb attacks and firing rockets on a Lebanese city and its surrounding and also on a main highway linking a Lebanese region with the capital Beirut. This has prompted authorities to take measures, including informing a number of political and non-political figures about the need to take extreme caution and restrict their movements. The report said a Syrian national identified only by his initials F.Sh. has rigged three cars with explosives: a silver Kia, a navy blue Nissan Maxima and a BMW X5. As-Safir said the source would not confirm or deny information about a Hyundai 4WD that had been rigged in one of the northern Bekaa Valley towns for terrorism purposes. The source, however, pointed out that the intensive security measures taken by the military on the 12 Feb 15 had been aborted a terrorist attack against the Lebanese Army in the outskirts of the north-eastern Bekaa town of Arsal after the discovery of a bomb planted on the road routinely patrolled by the Army. The bomb in Ras al-Sarj weighed 25 kilograms, the source said, adding that the military were searching for similar bombs likely planted by terrorist groups in the area. The source said security forces were also hunting for suicide-bombers, most of them non-Lebanese.
Saudi Arabia – A US defence contractor said on the 1 Feb 15 that two of its American employees came under fire in the latest attack against Westerners in Saudi Arabia. It was the second time in recent months that staff of the contractor Vinnell Arabia have been targeted. "We can confirm that two Vinnell Arabia employees were involved in an incident on the 30 Jan 15 in which they were shot at by assailants in Al Ahsa province of Saudi Arabia," the company said in a statement issued through a public relations firm. Saudi police said earlier that one American had been wounded in a shooting in the eastern region which is the source of most of the kingdom's oil wealth. Vinnell Arabia provides training for the Saudi National Guard, a parallel army. A source close to the incident said that several rounds were fired at the Vinnell vehicle from a white car. The incident occurred just east of a National Guard base near Hofuf city. There was no indication as to the reason for the shooting. The attack is the fourth against Westerners in the kingdom since Oct 15. It comes as Saudi Arabia participates in United States-led air strikes against the Islamic State jihadist group in Syria, raising concerns about possible retaliation.
Syria – At least seven people were killed and 20 wounded when a blast ripped through a bus in a central district of the Syrian capital on the 1 Feb 15. It was not immediately clear what had caused the blast in the Souq al-Hamadiyeh neighbourhood of Damascus. The bus was reportedly carrying Shiite Muslim pilgrims visiting religious sites in the capital.