Posts Tagged ‘Abdul-Rahman’

Senior Islamic State commanders killed in Afghanistan air strike: U.S. military

August 13, 2017

By Josh Smith


KABUL (Reuters) – Several senior members of Islamic State’s central Asian affiliate were killed in a U.S. air strike in Afghanistan, officials said on Sunday.

The attack on Thursday killed Abdul Rahman, identified by the U.S. military as the Kunar provincial emir for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria-Khorasan, according to a statement from the command in Kabul.

“The death of Abdul Rahman deals yet another blow to the senior leadership of ISIS-K,” said General John Nicholson, the senior U.S. commander in Afghanistan.

Image result for Abdul Rahman, afghanistan, photos

Abdul Rahman

Three other senior ISIS-K members were also among those killed in the strike in eastern Kunar province.

Nicholson has vowed to defeat Islamic State militants in Afghanistan this year.

The group’s emir, Abu Sayed, was reported killed in a strike on his headquarters in Kunar in July, the third Islamic State emir in Afghanistan to be killed since July 2016.

In April, Nicholson deployed a 21,600-pound (9,797 kg) “Massive Ordnance Air Blast” bomb against Islamic State positions in neighboring Nangarhar province, one of the largest conventional weapons ever used by the United States in combat.

Image result for Nangarhar, afghanistan, photos

Smoke rises after the U.S. strikes positions during an ongoing operation against ISIS in Nangarhar province

On Saturday, Afghan officials said as many as 16 civilians, including women and children, had been killed by a U.S. air strike in Nangarhar, but American officials said only militants were killed.

As part of an increased campaign against both Islamic State and the Taliban, the dominant Islamist militant group in Afghanistan, the U.S. Air Force has dropped nearly 2,000 weapons in the country as of the end of July, compared to fewer than 1,400 in all of last year.

Despite some battlefield successes by Afghan and American special operations troops, Islamic State has continued deadly attacks around Afghanistan, fueling fears that the group is seeking to bring the group’s Middle East conflict to Central Asia.

Reporting by Josh Smith; Editing by Kim Coghill


Islamic State beheading videos might now be backfiring

November 18, 2014


Still covered up: Jihadi John has so far shown the world only his eyes

Jihadi John has so far shown the world only his eyes

The latest Islamic State video, showing beheaded American aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, looked hastily done and suggests that the group has become ‘carried away with its own fanaticism.’

By Howard LaFranchi, Staff writer

Beyond its barbarity, the latest beheading video from the Islamic State offers hints of an organization in transition and perhaps under duress.

Unlike earlier videos of the beheadings of four Westerners by IS executioners, the latest video is devoid of the slick production quality that had counterrorism experts touting the group’s media savvy.

The apparently hasty filming of the final segment, which shows evidence of the beheading of American aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, tells some analysts that IS, now under threat of US bombing and surveillance, no longer has ample time to produce a professional video outdoors.

Recommended: How much do you know about the Islamic State?

But other counterterrorism experts see a different message in Sunday’s video: IS has become so enthralled with its efforts to instill fear that it doesn’t realize its actions are beginning to backfire.

“We’re continuing to see, including in this last video, a group that is so carried away with its own fanaticism and its own barbarity that it is not seeing how what is meant to compel people to cower and be fearful is actually having the opposite effect,” says Wayne White, a former deputy director of the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence for the Near East. “We’re seeing how it’s causing a stiffening of resistance and feeding a determination not to be dominated by these people.”

Recent polls in Arab countries indicate a rejection of Islamic State ideology, while recent fierce ground fighting has pushed IS fighters back from the northern Syrian town of Kobane. Even within Sunni Arab communities in Iraq – areas that in some cases initially showed support for IS aims – resistance to its advances has grown. This suggests to Mr. White that IS’s barbarity might in the long run lead to its demise.

Unmasked: The 16 followers of Jihadi John prepare to behead the Syrian soldiers they have held hostage. Nasser Muthana from Cardiff isto the right of John, who is dressed in black with a balaclava

Unmasked: The 16 followers of Jihadi John prepare to behead the Syrian soldiers they have held hostage. Nasser Muthana from Cardiff isto the right of John, who is dressed in black with a balaclava

“It says to me that IS is so blinded by its own heinous fanaticism that it doesn’t get it,” says White, now an adjunct scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington.

The bulk of the new video involves the forced kneeling and beheading of more than a dozen men who appear to be Syrian military officers and airmen. Unlike earlier beheading videos that included the final, clearly scripted words of Americans James Foley and Steven Sotloff and Britons David Haines and Alan Henning, Sunday’s video does not include Mr. Kassig’s execution or any final words.

The British-accented speaker (sounding like the executioner in earlier videos whom British media have dubbed “Jihadi John”), appears to try to explain the absence of Kassig’s final words by stating in a flip manner that “Peter … doesn’t have much to say.”

On the contrary, Kassig, who had changed his first name to Abdul-Rahman when he converted to Islam in captivity, had said much about his compassion for the Syrian people in a recent letter that was smuggled to his parents in Indiana.

A more likely explanation, some terrorism analysts say, is that Kassig refused to give his captors the scripted statement they wanted.

While analyst White doesn’t doubt that the US bombing campaign “has been effective in causing IS grief,” he cautions that it’s too early to view one amateurish video and assume that IS is on the ropes.

Sunday’s video suggests two other possibilities to him.

One is that the first part of the video, which shows uniformed IS fighters with their faces in plain view, is intended as a propaganda video to bolster what may be the flagging confidence of the IS faithful within Syria and Iraq.

“Clearly, where the proverbial rubber meets the road, IS fighters can see the difference between their stunningly easy early 2014 and summer conquests versus the much tougher situation now,” he says.

The fact the executioners include foreign fighters – families in France and Britain have said since Sunday that they see their sons among the IS fighters – could bolster analysts’ earlier claims that these videos are an important recruiting tool.

The other possibility is that IS is “trying to goad the despised American and other Western governments into committing ground troops to go against them,” White says. “They believe they would inflict high casualties on them and that would be the ultimate glory.”

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jihadists Issue New Threat To Sochi Winter Olympics

January 20, 2014

Washington (AFP) – A new threat to the upcoming Winter Olympics surfaced Sunday as US lawmakers worried about attacks at the Games to be hosted by Russia.

In a video posted on a well-known jihadi forum, two men believed to have been suicide bombers in last month’s deadly bombings in Volgograd speak of them — and warned of more.

“We’ve prepared a present for you and all tourists who’ll come over,” the video says in part.

“If you hold the Olympics, you’ll get a present from us for the Muslim blood that’s been spilled.”

The US-based SITE Monitoring Service identified the men as “purported Volgograd bombers Suleiman and Abdul Rahman.”

December suicide bombings at a railway station and on a trolleybus in the southern Russian city — which investigators have linked to suspects from the mostly Muslim republic of Dagestan — killed 34 and injured dozens.

Russian firefighters and security personnel inspect …

Russian firefighters and security personnel inspect a destroyed trolleybus in Volgograd in December 2013

Islamist insurgents based in North Caucasus republics such as Dagestan who are seeking their own independent state have vowed to disrupt the Sochi Games in order to undermine Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“The threats are real. They are basically calling for attacks on the Olympics. I think you’re going to see attempts to do that,” said Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

The Republican, in an interview from Moscow with ABC’s “This Week,” said Russian authorities were taking the threats seriously, deploying 100,000 security officials to erect a “ring of steel” to secure the Sochi airport, mountain trains and the Games themselves.

If there were attacks, he said, they would more likely be directed at soft targets like transportation.

The congressman added that the diplomatic security corps said it was getting good cooperation from the Russians, and noted that two dozen FBI agents were assigned to the massive sports event.

Russian firefighters and security personnel inspect …

Russian firefighters and security personnel inspect the damage at a train station following a suicide attack

But “it could be a lot better. I want to press that while here,” he added, saying he wanted to know more about emergency evacuation planning.

Another key congressman, House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers, said Russian authorities were clearly concerned about security.

“But we don’t seem to be getting all of the information we need to protect our athletes in the Games,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Rogers, also a Republican, said the Russians’ unwillingness to share information with US intelligence was “a departure of cooperation that is very concerning to me.”

“So what we’re finding is they aren’t giving us the full story about what are the threat streams, who do we need to worry about,” the lawmaker said.

“Are the terrorist groups who have had some success, are they still plotting?”

“There’s a missing gap and you never want that when you’re going into something, I think, as important as the Olympic Games,” he added.

The Games open February 7 in Sochi, a resort city on the Black Sea coast.


PHOTO: A video published on a Russian extremist website claims to show two would-be suicide bombers responsible for twin attacks in Volgograd, Russia in December 2013.

Citing a new “surprise package” for Russia and Olympic spectators, Islamist militants in the North Caucasus =Sunday launched a new threat to the Sochi Olympics with a purported “martyrdom” video by two suicide bombers who attacked a transit hub 400 miles away.

The video posted on a Chechen extremist site considered a credible platform for militant statements featured two unidentified men before the black flag of jihad and cradling AKMS rifles.

The duo — dressed in street clothes and without the usual trappings of jihadis — casually explained that Russians and those attending the Winter Games next month will not be safe as long as forces sent by President Vladimir Putin occupy the North Caucasus region near Sochi, Russia.

“We’ll have a surprise package for you,” one of the men said in the militants’ video. “And those tourists that will come to you, for them, too, we have a surprise. If it happens [the Olympics], we’ll have a surprise for you. This is for all the Muslim blood that is shed every day around the world, be it in Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria, all around the world. This will be our revenge.”

The new video posted online overnight showed news and security camera footage of two suicide bomb blasts late last month at a busy train station and a commuter trolley in the city of Volgograd, which is a major transit hub in Russia.

U.S. officials said they are studying  the video.

The video comes one day before the Olympic torch relay is scheduled to go through Volgograd Monday.

U.S. intelligence officials consider the threats from the Islamic terror groups against the Olympics to be very serious, which helped lead to the unusually strong travel advisory issued by the State Department this week for Americans who plan to travel to Sochi for the Olympics.

“I think the threats are real. [Islamist Chechen leader Doku] Umarov basically called for attacks on the Olympics,”  House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, told ABC News’ “This Week” today. “I think you’re going to see attempts to do that. I think it’s more likely that the attacks will happen outside the perimeter, more soft targets, transportation nodes.”

ANALYSIS: Sochi 2014 Olympics in Terrorists’ Crosshairs

A secret contingency operation is underway by the U.S. government to prepare for responding to a terrorist attack in Sochi and evacuating athletes and dignitaries, ABC News intelligence sources said.

U.S. officials continue to say the Russians are not fully cooperating with American security forces, at least as much as the Americans would like.

There will be small armed teams of U.S. security personnel allowed to be in Sochi, but the Russians are very much running their own show, in their own way, and apparently don’t see any need to let U.S. security personnel in on every plan or piece of intelligence. U.S. officials said they are concerned that if they complain too much, the Russians could restrict even more the number of armed U.S. personnel allowed to be in the country.

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