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CounterTerrorism Digest January 2018
COUNTERTERRORISM DIGEST - January 2018
CALIFORNIA: On 4 January, a USPER was charged with attempting to provide material support to ISIS and distributing information related to destructive devices. [pg. 7]
WORLDWIDE: On 4 January, the Department of State designated Muhammad al-Ghazali, Abukar Ali Adan, and Wanas al-Faqih as global terorrists. [pg. 7] WORLDWIDE: On 3 January, Israeli authorities uncovered a suspected Iranian recruited Palestinian violent extremist cell operating in South Africa. [pg. 8] UNITED KINGDOM: On 9 January, a couple was found guilty of plotting ISIS-inspired chemical and bomb attacks in the UK. The couple met online and the woman was a pharmacist. [pg. 7]
UNITED KINGDOM: On 3 January, the Government of the UK published an opportunity for a potential provider to develop a mobile alert system to provide customers in a defined area awareness of an ongoing incident. [pg. 14]
AUSTRIA: On 7 January, Austrian national Lorenz K. was charged on terror-related accounts, which included inciting and instructing a boy, 12, to conduct an attack on a Christmas market. [pg. 7]
ISRAEL: In December, two ISIS-inspired women were arrested for planning to conduct attacks in Israel on behalf of ISIS. They also intended to travel to the Sinai to join ISIS. [pg. 11]
JORDAN: On 8 January, Jordanian authorities stated they disrupted simultaneous attacks against miltiary installations, shopping centers, media outlets, moderate clerics, and other targets by ISIS. [pg. 11]
SYRIA: On 6 January, al-Qa‘ida and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) produced a joint agreement to neutralize al-Qa‘ida’s independence in Syria, placing them under HTS command. [pg. 10]
PAKISTAN: On 8 January, Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed served a legal notice to Pakistan’s defense minister for “defamation.” [pg. 12]
SPOTLIGHT SUMMARY ISIS Media Output Diminishing Amid Territory Losses: ISIS battlefield territorial losses in Syria and Iraq has also hampered ISIS’s media output. From September to November, ISIS’s Syria and Iraq media offices have experienced a nearly 60 percent drop in production. Additionally, the group’s affiliated A’maq News Agency experienced a 50 percent decrease in output from September to October, demonstrating the depth of decline in ISIS’s media enterprise. (NCTC) Al-Qa‘ida Media Dissemination Methods: Al-Qa‘ida and its affiliates routinely use social media to broadcast their propaganda to global audiences. Al-Qa‘ida’s global network maintains a presence on a variety of social media platforms, including Blogspot, Facebook, Periscope, Soundcloud, Twitter, Telegram, and YouTube. (NCTC)
This section provides a comprehensive look at a terrorist group(s) or leader(s), and/or CT tools and literature.
ISIS Media Output Diminishing Amid Territory Losses
ISIS’s media output has declined as the group suffers territorial losses in Syria and Iraq, with a 58 percent decrease from September to October 2017. In the third quarter of 2017, ISIS produced an average of 14 official products per day, and in October and November the daily average decreased to six and five products a day, respectively.
■ ISIS’s monthly flagship multilingual magazine Rumiyah did not publish in October or November, the only times the magazine did not publish since its inaugural issue in September 2016. The group’s once-daily multilingual Al-Bayan Radio news bulletin was only released for 16 days in October and seven days in November, primarily in Arabic, with only seven multilingual broadcast days during the two-month period. Additionally, the group’s affiliated A’maq News Agency experienced a 50 percent decrease in output from September to October, demonstrating the depth of decline in ISIS’s media enterprise.
■ Despite the battlefield setbacks, ISIS managed to sustain production of all nine of its scheduled issues of its weekly Arabic-language al-Naba’ newsletter, which it used to highlight the group’s battlefield “successes” in Syria and Iraq and promote its external branches. ISIS also produced attack claims and multimedia from its branches in the Sinai and Khorasan regions but had minimal output from its West Africa and Yemen branches.
■ ISIS’s Syria and Iraq media offices continued to produce the majority of media output for the group despite experiencing a nearly 60 percent drop in production from September to November because production of the group’s Al-Bayan radio news bulletin—which previously accounted for approximately a third of the group’s total output—dropped by more than 90 percent during this same time period.
■ ISIS maintains a presence on various social media platforms where official media distributors and supporters are primarily reposting old ISIS videos and limited new releases each day. A’maq News Agency and al-Bayan Radio continue to reconstitute websites taken down by platform owners for supporters to consume content. (NCTC)