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Main Developments in Theaters of Jihad

This article summarizes the main activities and developments of Al-Qaeda during the past six months in the following theaters of jihad: Mali, North Africa, Somalia, The Sinai Peninsula and Gaza Strip, and the Northern Caucasus. While some of these theaters have seen a relative lull in jihadist activities, others have become more volatile and seen an increased influx of mujahideen [jihadist fighters]. In Mali, for example, Islamist rebels with ties to Al-Qaeda wrested control of the country’s north from the central government, sparking a French-led military offensive that eventually pushed them out. However, concerns have since intensified that the rebels are regrouping in the restive North African countries of Libya, Tunisia and Algeria. In the US, the Boston Marathon bombings in April 2013 by militant brothers Dzokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who apparently had ties to the Islamist-jihadist Caucasus Emirate, embodied a new wave of independent, individual “lone wolf” jihadist attacks, as envisioned by Al-Qaeda theoretician Abu Musab al-Suri. These incidents suggest that while Al-Qaeda may have been eliminated in one part of the world, it has surfaced elsewhere – evidence of its resilience. These and other major developments will be examined below.

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