The International Institute for Counter-Terrorism Monthly Summary of Events June 2016
During the month, there was a marked decrease in the number of terrorist attacks in the country. The main attack that took place this month was a shooting at the Sarona Market in central Tel Aviv, in the framework of which four people were killed and over ten others were injured. The attack was carried out by two Palestinians from the village of Yatta, located next to Hebron, one of whom was killed and the other was captured. In addition, a Palestinian terrorist was shot and killed during an attempted stabbing attack against soldiers in the Nablus area. The legislative process of the counter-terrorism law came to an end following a third reading vote at the assembly of the Israeli Knesset. The law will come into effect in November 2016.
The reconciliation talks in Doha, Qatar, between Hamas and representatives of the Palestinian Authority continued without real results at this stage. Meanwhile, Hamas officials declared that they would not allow Israel to build a concrete wall along the border with the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli government and Turkey signed a reconciliation agreement in the framework of which it was agreed to restore diplomatic relations to full level, and that Israel would pay compensation in the amount of 21 million dollars to the Turkish victims of the Marmara flotilla and would allow the wider crossing of goods to the Gaza Strip via the Ashdod Port.
Several foreign sources reported that the Israel Air Force attacked missile depots and anti-aircraft systems near the city of Homs.
The battle continued in Syria, in the framework of which there was a marked increase in the number of strikes by coalition air forces (375 attacks during the month) against targets in areas controlled by the Islamic State and Al-Nusra Front. It should be noted that US Navy aircraft attacked IS targets for the first time from an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean Sea.
The Russian Air Force provided assistance to the Syrian army by carrying out targeted attacks against rebel organizations, especially in the areas of Aleppo, Deir Ezzor and the city of Idlib (in which at least 27 civilians were killed).
In the framework of the ground battle, the Syrian army lost two towns in Aleppo Province to Al-Nusra Front and territories near Raqqah to the Islamic State. In addition, in response to an attack by Kurdish forces and their allies in the city of Mabij, the IS kidnapped approximately 90 Kurds. In addition, moderate rebel forces captured Al-Bukamal airfield on the Syria-Iraq border from the Islamic State.
During the month, attacks by the IS continued in the country, including a noteworthy attack that was carried out by a suicide terrorist next to a mosque in the city of Latakia (in which at least two people were killed and eight others injured) as well as an attack involving a suicide bomber and a car bomb at the entrance to a Shi’ite mosque in the southern suburbs of Damascus (at least 20 people were killed and tens more injured).
Disagreements between Hezbollah and the Syrian army regarding the nature of the battles in Aleppo led to an exchange of fire between the two sides and resulted in casualties.
Hezbollah continued to be involved in the fighting in Syria, in the framework of which it was reported that the organization had destroyed several vehicles belonging to jihadist organizations southwest of the town of Tufail, located in Lebanese territory near the Syrian border.
The Lebanese government began to pay the salaries of the organization’s fighters in cash and not directly to their bank accounts as in the past in light of the US government’s threats to boycott banks with ties to Hezbollah. Members of Hezbollah’s Parliament made threats against the Central Bank following the latter’s freezing of 100 Hezbollah-related accounts and its intention to freeze close to 3,000 additional accounts. In this framework, it is worth noting an explosion that took place at the BLOM Bank near the capital of Beirut that was seemingly carried out by Hezbollah fighters.
In a series of suicide attacks that took place in the Christian village of Qaa, which is located on the Lebanon-Syria border, IS fighters blew themselves up ten minutes apart from one another. Nine people were killed in the attacks and approximately 15 others were injured. Later that evening, eight people were injured when three other suicide terrorists blew themselves up.
The Lebanese army arrested several IS suspected members and even discovered several explosive vests near the town of Zabadani, next to the Syria-Lebanon border north of the Beirut-Damascus axis.
During the month of June, the political crisis in Lebanon continued as a result of the failure to appoint a president of the country. Two ministers from “Al-Kataeb” party submitted their resignations from the government as a result of what they claimed was its inefficiency.
IS attacks continued against security forces in the country, in the framework of which the organization claimed to have destroyed a Syrian army APC in the area of Sheikh Zuweid in Sinai, killed an Egyptian soldier in an attack at a military roadblock near Rafah, killed one police officer and injured another in a roadside explosion in the center of the Sinai Peninsula, and killed one police commander and injured another in an ambush carried out by IS supporters near Al-Arish in the northern Sinai Peninsula. Meanwhile, the Egyptian army reported having killed over 22 IS fighters in the northern Sinai Peninsula.
During the month, the Mufti of Egypt affirmed the death sentence for deposed President Mohamed Morsi.
Five Jordanian intelligence officials were killed in an attack carried out by gunmen against the intelligence headquarters in a Palestinian refugee camp south of the capital of Amman, and six soldiers were killed and 14 others injured in a car bomb explosion on the Syria-Jordan border. The Jordanian Border Guard killed two infiltrators from Syria and, as result of both incidents, Jordan declared its northern and northeastern border with Syria to be a closed military zone.
During the month, the battle in Iraq continued, in the framework of which coalition air forces attacked targets in areas under IS control. In addition, the Iraqi army and Shi’ite militias assisted by coalition forces continued to attack the city of Fallujah and even managed to capture most of the city from the IS. Meanwhile, reports increased that the IS had executed civilians attempting to flee the city.
The IS continued its series of attacks throughout the country, including two suicide attacks outside of Baghdad, a car bomb explosion in the city of Karbala, and a suicide blast in a mosque in the area of Abu Ghraib (approximately 30 km. west of Baghdad).
In addition, the Turkish Air Force continued to strike PKK targets in northern Iraq, near the Iraq-Turkey border.
During the month of June, the operation to liberate the city of Sirte from the IS continued. While the air force base located near the city was captured by its fighters, the organization continued to execute attacks in the area, with emphasis on car bombings.
In other incidents throughout the country, armed militias attacked the industrial zone near oil facilities in the area of Ajdabiya. In another attack, four people were killed and 14 others were injured in a car bombing outside of a hospital in the city of Benghazi.
The Iranian regime continued its actions against various organizations in the country. In this framework, the Iranian police killed five suspected members of a terrorist organization in Dalani, in Balochistan-Sistan Province, and reports were received of battles between Kurdish forces and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in the area of Piranshahr on the Iran-Iraq border. In addition, it was reported that security forces in Tehran had thwarted a series of terrorist attacks in the capital.
During the month, the regime in Tehran signed a deal to purchase 100 passenger planes from the American “Boeing” company. A similar deal that was signed with the European “Airbus” manufacturer has not yet been completed in light of a delay in paying the advance fee by the Iranians.
Reconciliation talks continued while the truce between Houthi rebels, and the government of Yemen and coalition forces led by Saudi Arabia, continued to be violated.
In a series of attacks that were carried out by three suicide terrorists from the IS in the port city of Al-Mukalla, over 40 people were killed and dozens of others were injured, mostly soldiers.
Persian Gulf States
The government in Bahrain revoked the citizenship of a senior Shi’ite religious figure, an act that resulted in a threat by Hezbollah in Lebanon.
North Africa and West Africa
A Chinese peacekeeper and three civilians were killed in attacks by AQIM against two UN peacekeeping forces posts in Gao, Mali.
Algerian security forces killed eight AQIM fighters in the mountainous region of Al-Medea Province.
During the month, at least 14 people were killed in an attack by Al-Shabab fighters at a hotel in central Mogadishu, including the Minister for Environmental Affairs. The terrorists detonated a car bomb at the entrance to the hotel before bursting inside, shooting at guests and taking some of them hostage. In one incident, Al-Shabab attacked an Ethiopian army camp in the country, an attack that cost the lives of dozens of soldiers.
At least five police officers were killed in an ambush by Al-Shabab gunmen in northeast Kenya.
During the month, Boko Haram continued to carry out terrorist attacks in northeast Nigeria, in the framework of which 30 Niger army soldiers and two Nigerian soldiers were killed in an attack on a base on the Niger-Nigeria border (as a result of which approximately 50,000 local civilians fled their homes) and seven police officers were killed in another attack in Niger. In addition, 24 civilians were killed in Madagali, Nigeria, and several women were kidnapped near the town of Chibok.
The Nigerian army continued its operations against Boko Haram, destroyed eight Boko Haram training camps in Borno State, and caught 77 militants who surrendered. Against this backdrop, an international task force launched a military operation against the organization along the Niger-Nigeria border.
The Taliban continued to carry out terrorist attacks throughout the country, including four suicide terrorists at a court in Ghazni Province in southern Afghanistan, the explosion of a roadside bomb in Nangarhar Province, a suicide blast next to a minibus in the capital of Kabul, an explosives-ridden motorcycle at a market in Badakhshan Province, an attack on a military base in Urozgan Province, and the abduction of at least 25 drivers in Helmand Province.
During the month, American drones attacked Taliban targets in Logar and Kunduz Provinces, IS targets in Nangarhar Province, and even a senior member of the Haqqani network who was killed in Paktika Province.
The leader of Al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahari, swore allegiance to the new leader of the Taliban, Hibatullah Akhundzada.
During the month, terrorist attacks continued throughout the country, including a roadside explosion in Peshawar, booby-trapped bikes in the city of Quette in Balochistan Province, and two shooting attacks in Quetta. Meanwhile, counter-terrorism forces killed four suspected members of Al-Qaeda in Layyah Province.
In a combined attack by the IS at the Incirlik Air Base in Istanbul, 42 people were killed and approximately 147 others were injured when three suicide terrorists carried out a shooting attack at the entrance to the departures hall and inside the hall, and later blew themselves up.
During the month, attacks by Kurdish organizations continued, including a car bombing near a police bus in central Istanbul, a car bombing near a police station in the city of Mardin in southern Turkey, and a car bombing in Diyarbak?r. The Turkish Air Force continued to strike Kurdish targets in southeast Turkey.
At the same time as the reconciliation agreement with Israel was signed, the Turkish government offered an apology to Russia for downing a Russian fighter aircraft last year.
The Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia
Islamic State attacks against foreigners and security forces continued throughout Bangladesh. The Bangladesh police carried out a wave of arrests in the framework of which five terrorism suspects were killed and over 5,000 additional suspects were arrested.
In a raid by the Philippine army on the training camp of an organization identified with the IS in the south of the country, four soldiers and 37 gunmen were killed. In addition, the Abu Sayyaf group in the southern Philippines beheaded a Canadian hostage after demands for ransom from the Canadian government went unheeded.
In addition, Indian security forces raised the alert level in the Bay of Bengal after receiving information according to which a terrorist organization intended to carry out a Mumbai-style attack using terrorists who would arrive from several islands simultaneously.
During the month, the US State Department and the British Foreign Ministry issued travel warnings to South Africa out of fear of terrorist attacks against foreign targets during the month of Ramadan. In addition, South Korea increased its security at American Air Force bases in the country as a result of intelligence information indicating the Islamic State’s intention to attack US and NATO bases around the world.
During the month of June, the IS continued to act around the world. In the United States, 49 people were killed at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, and 53 people were injured in a shooting attack carried out by a Muslim-American who swore allegiance to the IS before he was killed by SWAT team forces during a hostage rescue attempt. In France, a senior police officer and his partner were killed in a stabbing attack outside their home in a suburb next to Paris, an attack that was filmed and broadcast on Facebook. In this attack as well, the terrorist swore allegiance to the IS before he was killed by SWAT team fire.
Against the backdrop of the 2016 Euro tournament games to be held in France, the British Foreign Ministry issued guidelines cautioning its citizens who intended to visit the soccer stadium. Meanwhile, Ukrainian security forces arrested a French citizen who tried to smuggle weapons and over 100 kilograms of explosive material for the purpose of executing a terrorist attack against Muslim and Jewish targets in France.
In other incidents around the world, a bomb exploded in the National Stadium in Madagascar during local Independence Day celebrations, and gunmen attacked a military camp in the city of Aktobe in Kazakhstan using weapons that they robbed before the attack.
In Paris, at a peace conference not attended by Israelis or Palestinians, a joint declaration was signed by all participants.
In addition, during the month a referendum was held in the United Kingdom determining that the Kingdom would withdraw from the European Union.