The International Institute for Counter-Terrorism Monthly Summary of Events October 2016.
During the month of October, terrorist attacks continued to take place against civilians and security forces, especially in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Most of the attacks took the form of stabbings but one shooting attack carried out in Jerusalem killed one civilian and a police officer. In addition, the IAF attacked dozens of Hamas posts in the Gaza Strip in response to high-trajectory fire into Israel. In addition to rocket fire from the Gaza Strip into Israel, Hamas continued to perform firing exercises and drills across the sea using extended-range rockets. It was also reported that several Hamas militants were killed in the collapse of two terror tunnels in the Strip.
During the month, it was cleared for publication that the police and Shin Bet had arrested a cell composed of seven Israeli citizens from the village of Ajar who spied for Hezbollah and planned to carry out a bombing attack in the north of the country. In addition, an IDF soldier was injured by small arms fire from Lebanese territory.
During the month of October, the siege around Aleppo continued as did air strikes on the city by Syrian regime forces and the Russian Air Force, which led to the end of coordination talks and negotiations between the US and Russia. In addition, Russia deployed its aircraft carrier to the region in order to help its forces operating in the country.
During the month, coalition air forces continued to attack Islamic State (IS) targets, especially in northern Syria. Despite this, the number of air strikes (273) marked a decrease from previous months.
Turkey also increased its operations in Aleppo Province during the month and reported that its Air Force had attacked Kurdish rebel targets in the battle arena. Meanwhile, rebel forces aided by Turkey captured the town of Dabiq from IS fighters.
During the month of October, the IS continued to carry out bomb attacks, mostly using suicide terrorists. Significant attacks carried out by the organization took place at a wedding in the city of Hasaka, at the Ba’ath Party headquarters in the city of Hamat, and at one of the border crossings between Syria and Turkey – an attack that killed approximately 30 rebels.
Towards the end of October, the political crisis in Lebanon came to an end. After several repeated votes, the Lebanese Parliament elected Michel Aoun as President. The solution to the crises was made possible after former Prime Minister Saad Hariri transferred his support and the support of most of the March 14 Alliance to Michel Aoun, an ally of Hezbollah. The move apparently included Hezbollah’s agreement to Hariri’s appointment as Prime Minister instead of Tammam Salam. Nabih Berri, Lebanese Parliament Speaker and Nasrallah’s rival, expressed his anger over these moves that weaken his status, and he claimed that the US and Iran are behind the compromise agreement. It should be noted that Saudi Arabia already announced that it would invite Aoun for an official visit immediately following the election.
During the month, the Lebanese army continued to act against the IS presence, with emphasis on the villages of Ras Baalbek and Al-Qaa. Meanwhile, Hezbollah attacked Jabhat Fatah al-Sham targets north of Arsal.
During the month of October, the IS continued to act against security forces throughout the Sinai Peninsula, especially in the area of Al-Arish and Bir al-Abd. Most of the attacks involved roadside bombs aimed at police vehicles. In a shooting attack by the organization at a police barrier near the town Bir al-Abd, over ten police officers were killed. In response, the Egyptian Air Force attacked several IS targets, killing close to 100 militants. Later in the month, IS targets in Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid were also attacked from the air.
During the month of October, the campaign to liberate the city of Mosul from the IS began. As part of the preparations ahead of the start of the campaign, the US expressed its intention to increase its forces by approximately 600 soldiers and propaganda messages were broadcast by the Iraqi government over the airwaves to the city’s residents. As part of the campaign itself, Iraqi Army Special Forces arrived at the outskirts of one of the city’s districts. In addition, air coalition forces continued to attack IS targets throughout the country, marking a small increase in attacks compared to the previous month.
In contrast, the IS continued to operate throughout Iraq in the cities of Baghdad, Samarra and north of Tikrit. In the city of Kirkuk, IS fighters invaded the center of the city and killed dozens, mostly security forces.
During the month of October, the campaign to liberate the city of Sirte from the IS continued with the help of US air strikes. At the same time, the organization continued to act against regime targets in coastal cities, including the launch of rockets at the city of Benghazi.
During the month, clashes erupted between militias loyal to the UN-recognized government and militias supporting the rival Islamic government that ruled in the city until the declared establishment of the current government.
During the month of October, gun battles continued between Kurdish forces and Iranian security forces in the border area with Iraq, during which heavy losses were reported on both sides. Meanwhile, the Kurds reported that Iran was using chemical weapons against their forces. On the other side of the country, Iranian border forces fired several mortar bombs into Balochistan, Pakistan.
During the month of October, it was reported that Saudi Arabia had cut the salaries of construction workers. It was also reported that authorities had abandoned the Muslim calendar and moved to the Gregorian calendar as part of its cost-cutting efforts.
During the month, ballistic missiles continued to be fired from Yemen against the backdrop of Saudi Arabia’s involvement in air strikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen.
During the month of October, Arab coalition air forces led by Saudi Arabia continued to carry out air strikes against Houthi rebel targets throughout the country, with emphasis on Taiz, Ayub and Sana’a. In one air strike in Taiz Province, over 30 prisoners were killed when the prison exploded, and over 140 civilians were killed in another strike on a funeral in the capital of Sana’a. During the month, a short humanitarian ceasefire went into effect throughout the country. As a result of the continued fighting and the large number of civilian casualties in air strikes, there were increasing calls in the West to stop the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia.
During the month, several shore-to-sea rockets were fired at military ships in the Egyptian Bab el-Mandeb area, apparently by Houthi rebels and with assistance from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. While a UAE aid ship was hit and heavily damaged, three separate strikes against a US battleship were intercepted or fell into the sea without causing any damage. In response, the US attacked three coastal radars that were manned by Houthi rebels with the help of cruise missiles.
During the month of October, US drone strikes continued against AQAP targets in Shabwah and al-Bayda Provinces. At the same time, a car bomb exploded near the Central Bank in Aden.
Persian Gulf States
During the month of October, a failed attempted attack took place against American soldiers in Kuwait using a truck bomb near a US Navy shuttle vehicle. Among the terrorist’s belongings, documents were found indicating ties to the IS.
North and West Africa
During the month of October, over 20 Niger army soldiers were killed in an attack by gunmen at a refugee camp on the border with Mali.
During the month of October, Al-Shabab fighters continued to operate throughout the country, especially in the capital of Mogadishu and in the cities of Afgooye and Beledweyn. Most of the attacks involved car bombs or suicide bombers, and were directed against entertainment spots frequented by government officials or against local security forces and African Forces bases operating in the country.
In contrast, the US continued to carry out air and ground operations in the country against Al-Shabab. During one ground operation by Special Forces, the US Air Force was required to provide aerial assistance, as a result of which soldiers and local civilians were hurt.
During the month of October, the Somali Al-Shabab carried out several shooting attacks in northeast Kenya in which approximately 20 civilians were killed.
During the month of October, military operations continued against Boko Haram during which the Nigerian Air Force continued to attack the organization’s targets in the city of Sambisa. In one such operation by the Nigerian army in Borno State, it was reported that over 80 Nigerian soldiers had gone missing. Meanwhile, Chad and Niger forces also launched a military operation against the organization during which over 120 Boko Haram fighters were killed.
In contrast, Boko Haram continued to act against civilian targets using suicide terrorists, car bombs and raids on villages. Most of the organization’s attacks took place in Borno State, especially in the cities of Maiduguri, Chibok and Gwoza.
During the month of October, several US army soldiers were killed and injured throughout the country. One soldier was killed and two others were injured in a roadside charge explosion in Nangarhar Province, and another American soldier and civilian were killed in a shooting attack that was carried out by an Afghan soldier at an army base in the capital of Kabul. In contrast, American drone strikes continued against IS targets in Nangarhar Province in which over 40 suspected IS members were killed. In other operations by local security forces and NATO forces, dozens of Taliban and IS fighters were killed.
During the month, the Taliban continued to carry out terrorist attacks against security forces and civilians in the city of Kunduz and in Helmand andJowzjanProvinces, most of which involved car bombs, shooting attacks and roadside explosions. The IS also carried out several terrorist attacks, the most prominent of which was a bombing at the entrance to a Shi’ite mosque in BalkhProvince and the execution of over 30 civilians in GhorProvince, located in the center of the country, as revenge for security forces’ victories against them.
During the month of October, a combined attack involving shooting and an explosive vest that was carried out against a police college in Quetta, Balochistan Province, was attributed to the Pakistani Taliban. Over 60 cadets were killed in the attack.
The month of October saw a continuation of the wave of arrests of persons tied to the failed coup attempt in July 2016. Meanwhile, the Kurdish resistance continued its wave of attacks against security forces in southeast Turkey, mostly using car bombs. There was also a marked increase in the number of attacks by the Kurdish resistance against the resort city of Antalya, using explosives and rockets.
During the month, the IS also continued to act against Turkey. Dozens were killed in a car bomb explosion at the border crossing between Syria and Turkey, and several police officers were killed in a suicide blast carried out by the organization during a raid on his house in southern Turkey.
The Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia
During the month of October, the Indian Air Force attacked terrorist camps in the Kashmir region, which is under Pakistani control. An Indian air strike in Pakistani territory was an unusual event in light of security-nuclear tensions between the two countries.
Europe and the United States
During the month of October, a stabbing attack was carried out against police officers in Belgium by a Muslim Belgian citizen.
In the US, authorities looked into the possibility that a light aircraft crash in Hartford, Connecticut, was intentionally caused by a Jordanian-born pilot.