Palestine/Da’esh – The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group has threatened the Palestinian armed group Hamas, vowing to end the faction's rule in the territory. In a 16-minute long video shared by social media accounts sympathetic to ISIL on the 1 Jul 15, fighters based in Syria's Aleppo province condemned Hamas for its crackdown on Salafist groups in the Gaza Strip, and its failure to implement a rigid enough interpretation of Islamic law. "The point of jihad is not to liberate land ... but jihad as defined by God, is fighting for and implementing the law of God," said one masked fighter who appeared in the video, who further condemned Hamas for its dealings with Iran and Lebanese Shia movement Hezbollah, as well as "nationalist", "secularist", and "communist" factions. "They raise their children to respect this (Palestinian) flag," the fighter said, telling Palestinians that Hamas could not secure their freedom. "The road to liberate Palestine goes through Iraq and we (ISIL) are getting closer, day by day ... while they (Hamas) are moving away from that goal." Another fighter condemned the Palestinian faction for referring to ISIL and its supporters as "khawarij", a term used to refer to a group of Muslims in early Islamic history, meaning "those who have transgressed". The fighter later refers to ISIL's seizure of parts of the Yarmouk refugee camp in the Syrian capital of Damascus after clashes with Palestinian groups, including a faction associated with Hamas. "What is happening today in Syria, especially in the Yarmouk camp, we swear by God, will happen in Gaza," the fighter said. Hamas has clamped down on alleged supporters of ISIL in recent months, in a campaign to snuff out purported attempts by the group, which controls large parts of Syria and Iraq, to establish a foothold in Gaza.
Abu Dhabi/United States/Da’esh – The US and Emirati governments launched a new Mideast digital communications centre on the 8 Jul 15 focused on using social media to counter the Da’esh terror group's propaganda efforts online. Da’esh supporters have deftly harnessed social media to spread the group's slickly produced Hollywood-style film clips and other messages aimed at recruiting and drawing support from plugged-in young Muslims. The Obama administration has urged Arab allies to do more to combat the media blitz, characterising the fight on the communications front as a key pillar in the overall effort to defeat the group. The new Sawab Centre is one of the most concrete responses to that call yet in the region. Named for the Arabic word for "the right or proper way", it will be based in Abu Dhabi a key American ally and a member of the US-led coalition against the IS group. The Emirati minister of state for foreign affairs said in a joint statement the centre's aim is to support coalition efforts, challenge Da’esh propaganda and "amplify moderate and tolerant voices from across the region”. "What the Sawab Centre will do is, it will begin to rectify the wrong impression that ISIL [Da’esh] is beating us in the information war and the social media war," he said. The centre released YouTube videos and Twitter messages in Arabic and English announcing its launch. The Abu Dhabi centre's staff will engage social media users on various platforms and partner with prominent individuals and organizations to counter Da’esh messaging, according to Hussain. It will also host a content-sharing platform so partners can upload and download files. Hussain said it sends a powerful message when Muslim communities publicly reject extremists' messages, and he expressed appreciation for the Emiratis' leadership in supporting the new centre. "It's important that our partners step up in the messaging space in a way that reflects the Muslim communities around the world," he said. Separately, the United States has been expanding an existing US State Department division set up in 2011 that Hussain heads known as the Centre for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications. Its responsibilities include countering jihadist messages online and coordinating American counterterrorism messaging efforts. Following a revamp, it is increasingly sharing stories of defectors and former radicals, highlighting Muslim victims of terrorism, and showcasing living conditions and battlefield realities in Da’esh militant-held areas, Hussain said.
Jordon/Iran – Jordanian security forces have foiled a terror plot by a member of an Iranian-backed group, local newspaper Al Rai reported on the 6 Jul 15. The report states that the suspect belongs to the Iranian Bayt al-Maqdis group and holds Iraqi and Norwegian citizenship. The suspect was found to be in possession of large amounts of explosives and was arrested in northern Jordan. Jordan's state security court was set to hold its first hearing on the case on the 6 Jul. An individual familiar with the investigation said that 45 kilograms of explosives were found in the suspect's possession. "This is the most serious case in a decade in terms of the quantity of explosives discovered and their quality," said the source, adding that a major terror operation had been averted. Despite similarities in the name, the Iranian-backed group is reportedly unrelated to Egyptian militant group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, which recently changed its name after pledging allegiance to ISIS.
Kuwait – All citizens in Kuwait will be legally required to give a DNA sample to the country's police force in an attempt to make it easier for security services to solve crimes in the country it was reported on the 6 Jul 15. The new law, passed through by the Kuwaiti parliament, also includes expatriates living in the small Gulf State. Anyone who refuses to give a DNA sample could face a year in prison and a hefty fine of as much as $33,000. Any false samples could also lead to the perpetrator being sentenced for up to seven years in jail. It appears the new law comes as a reaction to the devastating suicide bomber attack on a Shi'a mosque in the capital. As well as compulsory DNA tests, the Kuwait Parliament has also approved a $400 million emergency funding plan for bolstering security in the country.
The Gulf state of Kuwait, hit by the worst suicide attack in its history in Jun 15, decided on the 13 Jul 15 to set up a permanent committee to fight terrorism and extremism. At its weekly meeting, the cabinet "decided to form a permanent committee to coordinate between various bodies to ensure security and fight against all forms of terrorism... and extremism," a statement said. The cabinet statement said the new committee will also work to drain sources of terror funding and intensify awareness programmes. It said the move came after the recent surge in terrorism. A Saudi suicide bomber blew himself up in a Shiite mosque in Kuwait City on the 26 Jun 15 killing 26 worshippers and wounding 227 others in an attack claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group. The interior ministry has arrested more than 40 people in connection with the attack and referred them to the public prosecution for legal action. The interior ministry has said two Saudi brothers arrested by police in Saudi Arabia transported the explosives into Kuwait. It said they delivered the explosives to Abdulrahman Sabah Eidan Saud, a stateless Arab who passed them on to the suicide bomber and drove him to the mosque. An IS-affiliated group calling itself Najd Province claimed the Kuwait bombing and also said it carried out two suicide attacks at Shiite mosques in neighbouring Saudi Arabia in May 15.
Saudi Arabia – Yemeni forces have fired as many as 38 rockets at several Saudi military bases in the south-western province of Jizan it was reported on the 8 Jul 15. There has been no immediate report on the possible casualties or damage caused on the 2 Jul 15 attack. The attack has been in retaliation for the deadly Saudi aggression against the impoverished Arab nation. Earlier in the day, Saudi war planes targeted a market in the north-western Yemeni province of Amran, killing at least seven people. Meanwhile, the Saudi fighter jets bombarded the region of Sadad in the district of Bagim in the north-eastern province of Sa’ada. Saudi forces also fired shells at an area in the town of Munabbih in Sa’ada. Saudi warplanes also launched six airstrikes targeting the headquarters of Yemeni forces in the district of al-Bayda in the central province of al-Bayda. In a separate development, the political council of Yemen’s Ansarullah movement condemned the deadly Saudi airstrikes against Yemeni people and the international community’s silence regarding the Saudi aggression. The council said that Riyadh has crossed all red lines in its aggression against the impoverished nation. Saudi fighter jets have been bombarding Yemen since March 26 without authorization from the United Nations and headless of international calls for a halt to the onslaught.