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The Targeted Killings of the Al Harzi Brothers in Iraq and Syria

On June 23, the Pentagon announced Tunisian Ali al Harzi, who was a suspect in the 2012 Benghazi embassy attack, was killed in an airstrike in Mosul, Iraq on June 15. Yesterday, the Pentagon announced his brother, Tariq al Harzi, (pictured above) was killed in an airstrike in Syria on June 16. I wrote a long post on the background of the al Harzi brothers here, commenting that Tariq seemed to be the more significant of the pair.

But there's more to Tariq that I find interesting and hasn't been reported in Government reward listings or OFAC notices: Tariq was a champion boxer in Tunesia who lost a leg in a 2004 U.S. bombing attack in Fallujah in Iraq. Human rights groups said he was tortured for three months by Iraqi intelligence at Abu Ghraib. (He later told his father the Americans had treated him well.) U.S. detention records list him as #009 654. [More...]

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Indonesia Refused U.S. Request in Fight Against ISIS

Indonesia's former foreign minister says the U.S. asked Indonesia to send ground troops to Iraq to fight ISIS, and it refused: It didn't want to upset "radical Muslims" at home.

Indonesia was asked by the United States to send troops to join the fight against the Islamic State terror group in Iraq but declined because it feared a backlash among radical Muslims at home, the country's former foreign minister has revealed. Marty Natalegawa, the long-serving top envoy under Jakarta's previous administration, said Indonesia felt it could better contribute by tackling its own domestic extremism problem, whereas sending forces would be "cosmetic".

Maybe the next time it gets hit by a massive Tsunami, our response should be "We can better use that money at home."

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Islamic State One Year Later: Lasting and Expanding

The Islamic State is one year old today. Its long term goal remains the creation of a "lasting and expanding" Caliphate.

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ISIS-Inspired Attacks: 3 Hours, 3 Countries, 3 Continents

When ISIS official spokesman Mohamed al-Adnani gave his audio speech last week at the beginning of Ramadan, he ended it with a call for more attacks:

“O mujahedeen everywhere, rush and go to make Ramadan a month of disasters for the infidels.”

On June 25 and June 26, ISIS launched a surprise attack in Kobane, Syria, killing around 200 people.

On June 26, within a span of three hours, lone wolves struck alone or in a pair in 3 countries: France, Tunisia and Kuwait. ISIS has taken credit for the attacks in Kuwait and Tunisia. [More...]

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ISIS Publishes Video of Extremely Cruel Killings

ISIS continues to shock the world with atrocity killings. Its latest video, filmed in or around Mosul and released by the Nineveh Wilayat, is titled "If You Promised We Came Back." I won't link to it, but I did watch it.

In the 7 minute video, orange-clad prisoners are divided into three groups. Each makes a statement. The first group is put inside a vehicle. An ISIS member fires a grenade missile launcher at the car, blowing it up and setting it on fire. The prisoners burn to death inside the vehicle.

The second group are put in a cage, suspended over water. The cage is lowered and they drown to death. There's a camera underwater filming their painful drowning.[More...]

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Benghazi Suspect Ali Awni al-Harzi Killed in Mosul Drone Strike

Ali Awni al-Harzi, a suspect in the 2012 Benghazi embassy attack, has been killed by a U.S. drone strike in Mosul.

Ali, a Tunisian, was arrested in 2012 for his suspected role in the embassy attack, and freed by Tunisia in January, 2013. [More...]

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al-Baghdadi's Ex-Wife Gives Birth in Lebanon

Back in December, 2014, Lebanon claimed to have arrested Saja Abdul Hamid al-Dulaimi, the wife or ex-wife of ISIS leader al Baghdadi. She was caught using a fake passport at the border, along with one of her small children.

Lebanon news is now reporting she has just given birth. She was three weeks pregnant when arrested. Her current husband is Kamal Khalaf, a Palestinian.

The baby was born in a military hospital and she and the baby are now at a General Security detention center. [More...]

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"Jihadi John" Reportedly Now in Libya

An unnamed source in the Joint Terrorism Task Force says Mohamed Emwazi, aka "Jihadi John" is now in Libya.

[A] source with America’s Joint Terrorism Taskforce, which along with the CIA and U.S special forces DEVGRU is hunting Emwazi, believes he has slipped over the border.

“We think it is a tactical move by ISIS to keep Emwazi out of the limelight. “His unmasking by the Press took away the mystery surrounding his ‘bogey man’ persona and though we have targeted him with conventional missiles we have had no confirmation of a successful strike.

I wonder if he's hanging out with the English speaking ISIS beheader in Wilayat Tarabulus (Tripoli) who appears in the video of the killing of Egyptian Coptic Christians on a beach near Sirte.

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ISIS Child Recruits Train in Raqqa

ISIS yesterday released a new video of kids in Raqqa training to be fighters and snipers. In it, they talk about the Crusaders, defeating opposing forces and threaten to kill President Obama. The physical training is almost the same as in the adult training videos.

What's unusual is that some of these kids these do not appear to be children of ISIS sympathizers, but Syrian kids who were traumatized by the Bashar regime. [More...]

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U.S. Targets and Kills Algerian AQ Terrorist in Libya

The U.S. conducted an airstrike inside Libya today, killing Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the Algerian former al Qaida terrorist who left al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)to form the al Mulathameen Brigade, which joined with Al Murabitoon. Via the New York Times:

In a significant escalation of American counterterrorism operations, the United States carried out an airstrike against a midlevel operative of Al Qaeda in Libya early Sunday, American officials said.

It was the first time the American military has carried out any kind of airstrike in Libya since the NATO operation there in 2011 helped oust Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.

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What Will U.S. Do With Umm Sayyaf?

Daily Beast has an update on U.S. captive Umm Sayyaf, widow of the Abu Sayyaf, killed in the U.S. raid. Apparently, she may be held for months without charges. The U.S. still hasn't decided what to do with her.

What happens if the U.S. captures numerous ISIS fighters in Iraq or elsewhere? Will a new detention center have to be built? Is their long-term detention authorized under the old AUMF? There are a lot of unknowns.

I'd still like to know the real name of Abu Sayyaf and his role in ISIS. The various pseudonyms and descriptions so far are unconvincing. Can't we at least have a photo?

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Obama and the 450 Military Trainers for Iraqi Forces

President Obama has ordered 450 military trainers to deploy to Iraq to train Iraqi forces in the Anbar region. The new training facility would be at Taqaddum, which is near Ramadi in the eastern part of the province.

Obama decided on the new troop deployment in response to a request from Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, the White House said. The two leaders met on the margins of the G7 summit in Germany earlier this week.

The White House press release is here. [More...]

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USAF Finds ISIS Headquarters Via Social Media and Bombs It

Just another reason not to restrict ISIS accounts on Twitter - a careless ISIS member posted a picture of himself standing outside an IS headquarters on an open forum. The U.S. was able to identify it and bombed it.

Air Force Gen. Hawk Carlisle, head of Air Combat Command, described Monday how airmen at Hurlburt Field, Florida, with the 361st Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group, recognized a comment on social media and turned that into an airstrike that resulted in three Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) missiles destroying am Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) headquarters building. “It was a post on social media to bombs on target in less than 24 hours,” Carlisle said. #8220; Incredible work when you think about.”

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India Prepares 28k Chargesheet Against Shami Witness

The Bangladore Police say they will file charges against Mehdi Masroor Biswas, aka @Shami Witness, next week.

We have finally received the MHA’s approval. Now, we will file the chargesheet against him next week. We have built a solid case. We had to prove how he conspired and helped the IS. Consequently, the chargesheet is one of the longest in recent times,” a source in the Bengaluru Police said. The chargesheet is supposed to be in excess of 28,000 pages.

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U.S. Blames Ramadi on Iraqi Forces

U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter says the Iraqi Forces are to blame for ISIS' recent takeover of Ramadi. He says they lack the will the fight.

They were not outnumbered. In fact, they vastly outnumbered the opposing force and yet they failed to fight and withdrew from the site,” he said. “That says to me and, I think, to most of us, that we have an issue with the will of the Iraqis to fight ISIL and defend themselves.”

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