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Periodical Review – Summary from the Jihadi Forums – The Second Half of July 2016

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This report summarizes notable events discussed on jihadist Web forums during the second half of July 2016. Following are the main points covered in the report:

Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of Al-Qaeda, calls on jihad fighters to kidnap Western civilians and army personnel in order to use them as bargaining chips for the release of Muslim prisoners from jails in the West and other countries. According to him, this should serve as a guideline for jihad fighters. In addition, he calls on jihad fighters in Libya and in the Maghreb in general to help their fellow Muslims in Egypt in order to topple al-Sisi’s regime. In addition, al-Zawahiri shared a eulogy in memory of jihad leaders in Somalia, the Caucasus and Egypt, and in memory of the prominent Salafi-jihadist proponent, Salem Mirjan.

Al-Qaeda condemns the Pakistani government for the imprisonment of three Muslim women, the wives of former Al-Qaeda members, including two of the daughters of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of Al-Qaeda. The organization disputes that negotiations for their release failed because of US dictates, and emphasizes that the Pakistani government and army are responsible for their welfare and treatment.

Abu Mohammad al-Julani, the leader of Al-Nusra Front (Al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria), declares his decision to cut ties with any external entity while hinting at the organization’s split from Al-Qaeda in an effort to maintain unity among the ranks of the muajhideen in Syria, and announces the establishment of a new organization under his leadership named Jabhat Fatah al-Sham. The announcement is accepted by the Al-Qaeda leadership. Ahmad Hasan Abu al-Khayr, deputy to the leader of Al-Qaeda, notes that – following a thorough examination of the political and military circumstances as well as the difficulties and challenges in Syria – it is preferable to maintain unity among the ranks of the mujahideen and, therefore, al-Julani’s step is understandable and welcomed.

Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent calls on Muslims in Kashmir to attack Indian security forces using various means, such as Molotov cocktails and knives, and to adopt the way of jihad of Burhan Wani (1984-2016), the leader of the “Mujahideen Party” (a Salafi-jihadist faction in Kashmir) who was killed in clashes with Indian security forces in July 2016. 

As a result of the stabbing attack in Nice, and as part of the ongoing effort to encourage “lone wolf” attacks by Muslims in the West, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula publishes a guidebook for Muslims living in the West on how to improve their skills and tips on how to improve the impact of attacks on western civilians. For example, the organization recommends adding a sharp edge to the front of a vehicle in order to increase the number of casualties. In addition, the organization threatens to carry out additional attacks against France as long as it continues its oppression in the battle against Muslims.

The Islamic State claims responsibility for a series of IS-inspired terrorist attacks carried out by Muslims against Western targets, including the ramming attack in Nice, France; a shooting spree at a mall in Ansbach, Germany; the murder of a pastor in a church in Normandy, France; and more. In addition, IS supporters continue to disseminate threats to attack coalition states participating in the battle against the organization.

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