ISIS

ISIS Strategically Features Leader in New Video

ISIS Strategically Features Leader in New Video

ISIS’s release of a video featuring its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, prior to Ramadan likely indicates efforts to rally supporters during its post-caliphate period, purport its global presence, and encourage attacks during the holy month. On April 29, ISIS released its first video in five years with Baghdadi, who has not publicly appeared since he proclaimed ISIS’s caliphate in 2014 at the Great Mosque in Mosul, Iraq.

ISIS West Africa Posturing For Prolonged Insurgency

ISIS West Africa Posturing For Prolonged Insurgency

ISIS West Africa’s tactical successes and support in Nigeria have given the group the ability to expand its influence throughout the Sahel in the coming months, threatening US economic interests in the region, including direct investment opportunities. ISIS West Africa, formed in 2016 following a split with Boko Haram, operates primarily in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region and maintains an estimated 5,000 fighters, according to open-source reporting.

ISIS: Magazine Suggests Hostage Taking as a Tactic

ISIS: Magazine Suggests Hostage Taking as a Tactic

On May 4, ISIS released the ninth edition of its online magazine, Rumiyah, which featured an article on detaining people during an attack—stating the purpose is “not to hold large numbers of the [disbelievers] hostage in order to negotiate demands…the objective is to create as much carnage and terror as possible.” The article also praises the attacks at the Bataclan theater in Paris and the Pulse nightclub in Orlando as examples for sympathizers to emulate. 

New Jersey: Family’s Report Thwarts Pressure-Cooker Bomb Plot

New Jersey: Family’s Report Thwarts Pressure-Cooker Bomb Plot

A Point Pleasant (Ocean County) man faces federal terrorism charges after a family member notified law enforcement of his erratic behavior—underscoring the role friends, relatives, and close associates play in countering violence. According to authorities, Gregory Lepsky plotted to build a pressure-cooker bomb and detonate it in New York City to “kill as many people as possible” in support of ISIS.

New Propaganda Emphasizes Attacks at Large Gatherings

New Propaganda Emphasizes Attacks at Large Gatherings

Since the beginning of May, al-Qa’ida, as well as its affiliate al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and ISIS have disseminated new propaganda, encouraging homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) to target large gatherings and outdoor events in the United States during the summer months.

ISIS: Paris Attack Highlights Threat to Law Enforcement

ISIS: Paris Attack Highlights Threat to Law Enforcement

On April 20, ISIS claimed responsibility for a shooting against law enforcement officers in Paris, killing one and injuring two, declaring the perpetrator a “fighter of the Islamic State.” This is the second ISIS strike this year against police officers in Europe. At this time, there are no known or credible threats to New Jersey.

ISIS Strikes Churches in Egypt

ISIS Strikes Churches in Egypt

On April 9, ISIS claimed responsibility for suicide bombings at Coptic Christian churches in two Egyptian cities, killing roughly 45 and injuring 106, during Palm Sunday services. At this time, there are no known or credible threats to the Coptic Christian community in New Jersey, which has one of the largest concentrations of Coptic Christians in the United States.

ISIS: Deploying Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) (UPDATED)

ISIS: Deploying Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) (UPDATED)

ISIS will likely continue refining its UAV capabilities and touting successes as proofs of concept for future operations. Since February, ISIS claims it has conducted approximately 80 UAV attacks in Iraq and Syria, killing approximately 40 and injuring 100. The UAVs are primarily quadcopters, which can be easily purchased online and customized to drop small explosive munitions.

Rumiyah 6: A Further Signal of ISIS’s Decline

The content of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) latest edition of its online English-language magazine Rumiyah—released on February 4—suggests the group continues to use propaganda to compensate for a spate of territorial and leadership losses since early 2015. Rumiyah 6 centers around three themes—targeting Turkey, local and regional “successes,” and the importance of martyrdom operations to strengthen global followers’ morale.

Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)

The terror threat from ISIS to New Jersey is moderate because of the group’s ability to attract and dispatch foreign fighters to and from Iraq and Syria, as well as to inspire individuals to plot and conduct attacks. Since 2015, ISIS supporters have issued several threats targeting law enforcement in New Jersey. 

Anwar al-Aulaqi: Inspiring Jihadists Five Years After His Death

The attack on Monday at Ohio State University highlights the enduring influence of radical cleric Anwar al-Aulaqi, who was killed in a US airstrike in Yemen in 2011. Abdul Artan, who shortly before the Ohio State attack posted a statement on Facebook praising Aulaqi as “our hero,” drove his vehicle through a crowd and struck fellow students with a knife, injuring 11. Artan’s motives are still under investigation., and in the same Facebook post, he made references to ISIS and lone-wolf attacks.

Hotel Security: Lessons From Terrorist Attacks in Africa

Since 2015, foreign terrorist organizations, including al-Qa’ida affiliates and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), have directed and inspired attacks against the hotel industry in Africa, with the goal of depleting emergency responder resources and maximizing casualties. Hotels are often open to the public and host tourists, government officials, and entrepreneurs, as well as provide a conducive environment for meetings, conferences, and other special events.

ISIS: Redefining Success to Compensate for Losses

Since May, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has tried to maintain operational and strategic momentum in the face of setbacks by recasting its propaganda, downplaying territorial losses, and emphasizing its potential long-term impact on the global jihad. Since 2015, the group lost approximately 30 percent of its territory and 120 leaders.