The following are some of this week’s reports from the MEMRI Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM) Project, which translates and analyzes content from sources monitored around the clock, among them the most important jihadi websites and blogs. (To view these reports in full, you must be a paying member of the JTTM; for membership information, send an email to [email protected] with “Membership” in the subject line.)
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On December 26, 2019, the Islamic State (ISIS) in West Africa released a video showing the execution of 11 Christian men in Borno State, in the north east of Nigeria. According to the video, which was released by ISIS’s official A’maq News Agency, the execution of these men is part of an ISIS campaign to avenge the deaths of the group’s former leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi and its spokesman Abu Al-Hassan Al-Muhajir.
As part of the Islamic State (ISIS) “Campaign of Revenge” in response to the deaths of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi and Abu Al-Hasan Al-Muhajir, in recent days a branch of the organization in Nigeria has perpetrated a series of attacks against Christian citizens.
As is customary for Islamic State (ISIS) supporters during the Christmas holiday season, several pro-ISIS media groups have released posters promising imminent attacks. A number of such threatening posters have been published during the last few weeks.
On December 24, 2019, a Syria-based Saudi jihadi cleric shared a poster and a video on Telegram condemning Muslims who celebrate Christmas and New Year’s.
On December 21, 2019, a Spanish-language pro-Islamic State (ISIS) media outlet, posted a new video on Telegram titled “Message to the Ummah.” The clip features an audio message from one of the group’s operatives, urging ISIS supporters to remain patient and steadfast in the face of adversity, and encouraging them to go forth and kill unbelievers wherever they find them.
On December 23, 2019, on a pro-ISIS Telegram channel, a user posted a call for ISIS followers to join the campaign to avenge the death of ISIS leader Al-Baghdadi by carrying out individual attacks. He wrote:
On December 23, 2019, a pro-Islamic State (ISIS) media outlet released a 25-minute video on Telegram titled “And He Who Fulfills That Which He Has Promised Allah He Will Give Him A Great Reward.” The video is entirely comprised of edited archival footage from ISIS videos and Western TV, in Arabic and English, with the respective subtitles.
Scholars who defected from the Islamic State (ISIS) following the appointment of a new leader were already disillusioned with the organization and its leadership before the death of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi in a U.S. Special Forces raid in northern Syria in late October 2019. They viewed the ISIS announcement that a new leader had been chosen as another opportunity to question the legitimacy of the ISIS “caliphate” and its entire religious structure.
On December 23, 2019, the admin of a ‘jihadi affairs’ chat group hosted on an Al-Qaeda-affiliated server on Rocket.Chat called for attacks on U.S. forces protecting oil fields in Syria and their logistical support deliveries.
On December 25, 2019, as tough battles raged in the Idlib area – the last bastion of rebel resistance in Syria – between the rebel forces headed by Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) and the forces of the Syrian regime and its Russian and Iranian allies, a video was released of HTS leader Abu Muhammad Al-Joulani.
On December 26, 2019, the Islamic state (ISIS) in Al-Barakah Province in Syria, released a statement saying that its fighters attacked a military base where “Crusader” U.S. forces are stationed, in the city of Al-Shaddadi, with nine Katyusha rockets.
Over the past 24 hours the Islamic State (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks perpetrated in Iraq, Syria, and West Africa describing them as part of a campaign dubbed “The Raid of Revenge for the Two Glorious Sheikhs [leaders of the organization], the Commander of the Faithful Abu Bakr Al-Qurashi Al-Baghdadi and Abu Al-Hassan Al-Muhajir, may Allah accept them,” who were killed in a raid by US special forces at the end of October 2019.
Over the past few days, Islamic State (ISIS) media operatives using Riot.im and TamTam messaging apps posted links to the group’s official media arm and pro-ISIS media groups on the Canadian messenger app Nandbox. The move aims to maintain a presence on the free messaging app in response to the ongoing purge of ISIS accounts, groups, and channels on other platforms mainly Telegram, TamTam, and Riot.im, which began on November 22, 2019. However, ISIS is likely to continue publishing its content on various platforms simultaneously in an effort to “disseminate the mujahideen’s media materials” and counter the massive online clampdown.
A jihadi Facebook page shares clips of sermons by the late Yemeni-American cleric and Al-Qaeda leader Anwar Al-‘Awlaki. The page, which describes itself as a religious organization, was created on November 4, 2019, and as of this writing has 416 followers.
In the days following the Kuala Lumpur Summit in Malaysia, jihadi clerics, mainly based in Syria, published posts in which they voice their disappointment in the summit, and condemn Iran’s participation in it.
On December 22, 2019, an airstrike believed to have been carried out by the U.S. struck a car driving in the northern Syrian town of Turmanin, killing senior Al-Qaeda operative Bilal Khuraysat.
On December 23, 2019, the military wing of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) released a statement declaring a general mobilization to protect rebel-controlled areas in Syria.
In a December 15, 2019 article, veteran Taliban affairs expert Rahimullah Yusufzai assesses the U.S.-Taliban peace negotiations currently underway in Doha. The article – titled “Taliban-United States Peace Talks For Afghanistan: 10th Time Lucky?” – was published by the Pakistani daily The News where Yusufzai is a senior editor.
On December 22, 2019, Islamic scholars at a conference in the western Afghan city of Herat adopted a resolution calling on the Afghan government and the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (the Taliban organization) to announce a temporary ceasefire, according to an Afghan website.