The International Institute for Counter-Terrorism Monthly Summary of Events September 2016
During the month of September, stabbing and ramming attacks continued against civilians and security forces. Most of the attacks took place in the West Bank, especially Efrat, Kiryat Arba and Hebron. In Jerusalem, a stabbing attack planned by a Jordanian citizen against security forces was thwarted when he was shot and killed.
During the month, the Air Force attacked several Syrian army artillery bases in response to high-trajectory fire at the Golan Heights. In addition, the Iron Dome battery shot down a rocket that was fired from Syrian territory towards the Golan Heights. Meanwhile, the Air Force attacked Hamas targets throughout the Gaza Strip in response to high-trajectory fire into Israel.
During the month of September, battles continued in the framework of the civil war in Syria, as did international intervention. The fighting was centered mainly in the north of the country, in the city of Aleppo, where Syrian regime forces aided by Russia returned to lay siege around the city itself. Air coalition forces led by the US continued to attack IS and Al-Nusra Front targets, especially in the north and in Raqqah. A total of 335 air strikes were carried out during the month, an increase in the number of strikes compared to the month of August.
Alongside the regime’s tightened control over Aleppo, rebels reported having captured parts of the city of Hamat. In addition, dozens were killed and injured in a series of terrorist attacks in the cities of Tartus, Homs, Hasakah and the suburbs of the capital, Damascus.
During the month of September, the political crisis in Lebanon continued and was again expressed in the Parliament’s failure to elect a president for the 44th time. Despite the fact that Hezbollah claimed responsibility for the continuing crisis, Parliament member Samir Geagea again called for the appointment of Michel Aoun to the presidency in an effort to end the crisis.
The Lebanese army continued to act against the presence of the IS and Al-Nusra Front on the Lebanon-Syria border, with emphasis on the areas of Ras Baalbek and Arsal. Hezbollah also attacked IS targets in the border area with Syria near the town of Tufayl. In addition, Lebanese Army Special Forces arrested the Emir of the IS in Lebanon at the Ein al-Hilweh refugee camp.
During the month of September, Egyptian routine security measures continued in the Sinai Peninsula in light of continued IS activity and presence in northern Sinai. As part of these activities, it was reported that 60 Islamic State fighters were killed during an operation by Egyptian security forces. Meanwhile, several police officers were injured during an attempt to neutralize an explosive device in the city of Damietta, and several soldiers were killed and injured in a roadside bomb explosion near their vehicle in Al-Arish, in the northern Sinai Peninsula.
During the month of September, elections for the Jordanian Parliament were held, during which the Muslim Brotherhood won 16 seats following a six-year absence.
During the month of September, the Iraqi army – backed by coalition forces, Shi’ite militias and Iran – continued to prepare for the battle to liberate the city of Mosul from the IS. Meanwhile, coalition air forces continued to strike targets in areas under IS control. A total of 291 coalition air strikes were carried out during the month of September, an increase when compared to the previous month. As part of the air strikes, an IS chemical weapons production plant next to Mosul was bombed. In contrast, IS fighters tried to attack the oil field in Ajeel, and two attacks that were carried out on the battlefronts in Ba’ashika and Gwer were warded off by Peshmerga forces.
Meanwhile, terrorist attacks continued to take place throughout the country, claiming dozens of lives. Most of the attacks took place within and around the capital of Baghdad but other significant attacks took place in other areas, including a suicide attack in southern Kirkuk, and a combined shooting and explosives attack at a blockade at the entrance to the city of Tikrit. The IS claimed responsibility for all of the attacks.
During the month of September, the military operation to liberate the city of Sirte from the IS continued, with help from American air forces, and battles continued around the last IS strongholds in the city of Sirte.
During the month, Libyan National Army (LNA) forces seized control of oil terminals in Ras Lanuf, Es Sider and Brega. This move was designed to weaken the strength of the unity government that was established with the support of the UN and western countries.
During the month, two Italian citizens and a Canadian citizen were abducted on the Libya-Algeria border, seemingly by AQIM.
During the month of September, another maritime incident took place between Iran and the US with the approach of Revolutionary Guard sea craft to a US patrol ship in the Straits of Hormuz. After alerts and warning calls, the US ship deviated course in order to avoid a crash. During the month, battles continued between Kurdish militants and the Revolutionary Guard. Dozens of Revolutionary Guard soldiers were killed and dozens more were injured in an attack by Peshmerga fighters on the Revolutionary Guard headquarters in the city of Piranshahr, in Azarbaijan Province, in northwest Iran. Despite this, Revolutionary Guard fighters arrested several Jaysh al-Adl militants near the border with Pakistan.
During the month, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on all Muslims around the world to reconsider the management of Islamic holy sites by Saudi Arabia.
During the month of September, a ballistic missile launched from Yemen towards the Khamis Mushait air force base in southern Saudi Arabia was shot down. In addition, several soldiers were killed in battles on the Saudi-Yemen border, especially in the area of Najran.
During the month of September, the civil war continued in Yemen, as did Sunni coalition air strikes led by Saudi Arabia. Most of the battles were focused in Taiz, Jizan, Najran, Sa’dah, Sana’a, Ma’rib, Al-Jawf and Al-Bayda.
Meanwhile, US drone strikes continued against AQAP targets in Marib and Al-Bayda. In addition, a local leader of the organization was killed during a raid on his house in Abyan Province by the Yemeni army Special Forces. In contrast, at least ten Yemeni soldiers were killed in a suicide attack seemingly carried by AQAP in the same province.
North and West Africa
During the month of September, several soldiers were killed in a shooting attack carried out by the Islamic State’s Sahara branch against the Burkina Faso army camp on the Niger border.
In addition, unverified reports were published according to which AQIM captured the town of Boni in central Mali.
During the month of September, Al-Shabab Al-Mujahideen continued to act throughout the country, in the framework of which the organization carried out terrorist attacks, killed a senior officer and his bodyguards, captured most of Moqokori District from retreating African Union forces, and attacked a Somali army base in Gedo near the border with Kenya. In contrast, four Al-Shabab militants were killed in a US air strike.
During the month of September, security forces thwarted a knife and Molotov cocktail attack against a police station in Mombasa. The three attackers, who were killed during the attack, had previously sworn allegiance to the IS.
During the month of September, the Nigerian army and air force continued their efforts to eradicate Boko Haram’s presence in Borno State. In contrast, the organization continued to operate in the area, including in Niger and Chad, where several soldiers were killed in ambushes carried out by the organization. In response, Niger and Chad launched a joint military operation during which dozens of Boko Haram fighters were killed.
During the month of September, the Afghan army – backed by NATO forces – continued to operate throughout the country, mainly against the Taliban but also against the IS, which is operating in the country. Most of the operations against the Taliban were concentrated in Baghlan and Badakhshan Provinces. In Khost Province, approximately 85 Taliban fighters were killed in an air strike that accompanied a raid by Special Forces. Several more militants were killed in a US drone strike in Farah Province in western Afghanistan. The US continued to operate against IS targets in Nangarhar Province.
During the month, the Taliban continued to carry out terrorist attacks. In the capital of Kabul, dozens of people were killed in three separate suicide attacks while at least one other person was killed in a shooting attack at a hospital in the city of Kandahar. Meanwhile, senior US officials reported that the organization controls approximately 10% of the country.
During the month of September, several terrorist attacks were carried out and others were thwarted throughout the country. The most significant attacks included two bomb blasts outside of a courthouse in the city of Mardan in northwest Pakistan in which approximately 20 people were killed and dozens more were injured, and the explosion of a suicide terrorist at a mosque in the tribal region in western Pakistan in which approximately 30 worshippers were killed – an attack for which a faction that split from the Pakistani Taliban (TTP-JA) claimed responsibility. Another suicide attack was carried out at a mosque in Sindh Province. Other attacks were directed at security forces in the cities of Peshawar and Quetta. Meanwhile, security forces in Lahore arrested eight suspected members of the IS.
During the month of September, the operation continued to restore state institutions from the remnants of the coup that occurred in July. Meanwhile, the Turkish army continued to move armored forces into Syrian territory in the framework of its struggle against the IS and the Kurdish resistance. Reports in Turkey indicated that one goal of the operation is to establish a security zone within Syrian territory.
In the capital of Ankara, an attempted stabbing attack at the entrance to the Israeli Embassy was thwarted. The terrorist was shot and arrested by local security forces.
During the month, Turkish security forces continued to act against the Kurdish PKK. In contrast, the organization carried out several terrorist attacks, including one in which dozens of people were injured in a car bomb explosion next to the ruling party building in the city of Van in southeast Turkey.
Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia
During the month of September, 14 people were killed and over 70 others were injured in a bomb blast at a market in Davao City in the Philippines.
In the city of Uri in Kashmir, at least 17 Indian soldiers were killed in a shooting attack on their base. All four terrorists were killed by Indian army forces.
Europe and the United State
During the month of September, efforts continued throughout Europe to thwart terrorist attacks in light of the wave of terrorism that has befallen the continent in recent months. Nevertheless, two police officers were injured in a stabbing attack in Molenbeek, Belgium, that was carried out by an illegal migrant from Morocco.
In the US, a Somali immigrant stabbed ten passerby in a mall in the city of Minnesota before being shot and killed. The IS claimed responsibility for the attack despite the fact that the attacker seems to have acted alone. In New York City and New Jersey, several improvised bombs exploded and others were neutralized. The explosions were timed to coincide with a race for veteran soldiers but due to a delay in the starting time, there were relatively few injuries. Nevertheless, in one of the blasts involving a wired pressure cooker, over 20 people were injured. The terrorist, a 28-year old Afghan immigrant, was wounded and arrested following a gun battle with police forces. In the investigation, it was determined that he acted alone under inspiration from Al-Qaeda and Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in September 2011.