AQAP has demonstrated the intent and capability to act outside its primary area of operations in Yemen and has attempted to strike the United States on three occasions since 2009. The group failed to release its English-language magazine, Inspire, in 2018, the first year without an issue since the publication’s inception in 2009.
Al-Qa’ida supporters are producing and disseminating propaganda targeting women amid losses to al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leadership.
Terrorist organizations in North Africa—namely al-Shabaab, al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and Boko Haram—continue to kidnap Westerners for political leverage and fundraising, potentially
impacting business operations for New Jersey-based companies with locations in the region. At this time, NJOHSP has no specific or credible information that these groups are explicitly targeting New Jersey companies or their employees.
Recent attacks in the West and renewed US raids in AQAP-controlled areas have prompted al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to disseminate new propaganda aimed at inspiring and providing tactical guidance to sympathizers in the United States. In January, Nawar al-Aulaqi—the eight-year-old daughter of deceased US-born radical cleric Anwar al-Aulaqi—was killed when US forces raided an AQAP-controlled area in a remote desert region of Yemen. AQAP has since leveraged this operation to spread anti-American rhetoric and motivate supporters in the West.
Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) continues to demonstrate its willingness to attack US aviation, prompting the United States to implement new security enhancements in this sector. Since 2009, the group has plotted unsuccessfully to blow up airliners over the United States three times using various non-metallic explosive devices, which can evade security detection. The chief architect of these attacks, bombmaker Ibrahim al-Asiri, likely remains active in Yemen.
Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is leveraging a recent US counterterrorism (CT) operation in Yemen to spread anti-American rhetoric and motivate supporters in the West. On January 29, US forces raided an AQAP-controlled area in Bayda Province, killing three tribal chiefs linked to the group and the daughter of deceased US-born radical cleric Anwar al-Aulaqi. In a rare audio statement, AQAP leader Qasim al-Rimi mocked the US President for the operation.
Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) continues to influence the global English-speaking jihadist community through newly created Inspire Guides, which allow the group to take credit for attacks and provide guidance for future operations. AQAP has not successfully executed an attack in the West since the operation in January 2015 against the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris.
The Nusrah Front—al Qa’ida’s affiliate in Syria—this summer changed its name to the Levant Conquest Front, or Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, as part of a rebranding strategy to improve its image among local Syrians, participate in future Syrian peace talks, and decrease the number of US-led airstrikes against its positions in Syria. In July, Abu Muhammad al-Julani, the head of the Nusrah Front, stated the organization would no longer associate with groups outside Syria, including al-Qa’ida.
On Saturday, al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released the 15th edition of its English-language magazine Inspire, focusing on the “professional assassination” of government and business leaders in the United States and lone offender attacks. There are no references to New Jersey or New Jersey-based individuals or businesses. The magazine does mention high-profile figures such as US President Obama and CIA Director Brennan, as well as US businessmen Bill Gates and David Koch.
Homegrown Violent Extremists (HVEs) are individuals inspired by foreign terrorist organizations and radicalized in the countries in which they are born, raised, or reside. In 2015, HVEs demonstrated an ability to operate in New Jersey and throughout the United States while connecting with like-minded individuals online and acting independently from organized terrorist groups. Since late 2014, a variety of radical groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) have encouraged HVEs to attack in their home countries.
This infographic depicts terrorist attacks in North America, Western Europe, and Australia in 2015. There were 34 attacks with 642 people killed or wounded, and another 21 hostages later rescued.
Two days prior to the anniversary of September 11, al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) released new editions of their English-language periodicals, which focus primarily on broad issues and contain no threats to New Jersey. On Wednesday, AQAP released Inspire 14 following an audio message disseminated earlier in the day by Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qa’ida’s leader, while ISIS published the 11th issue of its Dabiq magazine.
Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader Nasir al-Wahishi’s death probably will not impact the group’s operations in Yemen or its capacity to strike the West, including the United States. Wahishi’s demise comes on the heels of the group’s loss of five high-profile leaders—mostly involved in media and radicalization—since January as a result of US airstrikes.
Recent al-Qa’ida propaganda exposes the group’s view that the US maritime sector is an appealing target. Since last fall, al-Qa’ida in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) and al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) have highlighted in their English-language media limited port and cargo security throughout the United States—stressing to followers the negative economic consequences to the US of an attack on this sector.