No Link Between Islamic State And Boko Haram, US Says

Boko Haram, Islamic StateThe United States says Boko Haram’s claim to having allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) jihadists is merely an attempt at getting international recognition.

US officials told Reuters that they have seen no evidence of operational support or financing for the dreaded terrorist group from IS.

They dismissed Boko Haram’s claim of its recent attack in Niger Republic in the name of the Syria-based jihadists, saying that it was only a move to attract more recruits and possible assistance from IS.

However, the officials said they are closely watching for any deepening ties between both terror groups.

“If there is no meaningful connection between ISIL and Boko Haram, and we haven’t found one so far, then there are no grounds for US military involvement in West Africa other than assistance and training,” a US official said.

The official noted that the onslaught against the Boko Haram insurgents was an African fight, saying that the US could assist them.

Islamic State Finance Chief ‘Killed In Air Strikes’

Islamic State Finance Chief 'Killed In Air Strikes'The US military says the finance chief of the Islamic State (ISIS) militant group has been killed in air strikes by the US-led coalition.

Officials said that Muwaffaq Mustafa Mohammed al-Karmoush, A.K.A Abu Salah, and two other senior leaders were killed in the strikes which took place in “recent weeks”.

A military spokesman, Warren, said that two other figures in ISIS fundraising networks were also killed in coalition air strikes in late November.

The terrorists were identified as Abu Mariam, an enforcer and senior leader in ISIS extortion networks, and Abu Waqman al-Tunis, who Warren said coordinated ISIS’s transfer of people, weapons and information.

Abu Mariam appears on the State Department terrorist list as Mounir Ben Dhaou Ben Brahim Ben Helal, a 32-year-old Tunisian.

The US-led coalition has been targeting ISIS leaders in Syria and Iraq with air strikes to try to pick apart its command structure.

After the attacks in Paris last month, the United States said it was deploying a special operations unit in Iraq that would be able to mount raids into Syria to capture or kill ISIS leaders.

“We want this expeditionary targeting force to make ISIL and its leaders wonder when they go to bed at night, who’s going to be coming in the window”, US Defence Secretary, Ashton Carter, told a Senate hearing on Friday.

San Bernardino Attack: Obama Vows To Overcome Terror Threat

obamaUS President, Barack Obama, in a rare oval office address, says the San Bernardino killings were “an act of terrorism designed to kill innocent people”.

But he said “freedom is more powerful than fear” and warned that falling prey to divisiveness in American society would play into the hands of extremists.

President Obama on Sunday, issued his most passionate denunciation yet of ISIS, vowing to “destroy” the group in a relentless, strong and smart campaign that is consistent with the nation’s values.

“Dark Path Of Radicalisation”

The President, speaking in the symbolic surroundings of the Oval Office, unequivocally told millions of television viewers in prime-time that last week’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, was a terrorist attack by a couple who had gone down the “dark path of radicalisation” and embraced a “perverted” form of Islam.

“The threat from terrorism is real, but we will overcome it. We will destroy ISIL and any other organisation that tries to harm us.”

In an appeal that will likely anger conservatives, Obama demanded tougher gun control, saying it was a key part of combating ISIS. He said it is currently too easy for people who want to harm Americans to buy guns.

“Congress should act to make sure no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun. What could possibly be the argument for allowing a terrorist suspect to buy a semiautomatic weapon? This is a matter of national security,” Obama said, and also argued it should be harder to buy powerful assault weapons like those used in the San Bernardino attacks that killed 14 people.

“What we can do and must do, is make it harder for them to kill,” Obama said.

Syria Conflict: Coalition Strike ‘Kills Government Forces’

Syria Conflict: Coalition Strike 'Kills Government Forces' A series of air strikes killed three Syrian soldiers in the country’s east, Syria’s government said on Monday, accusing the US-led coalition of responsibility for the attack.

The US military denied any involvement.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the strikes took place in Deir Al-Zour province, which is largely held by the Jihadist group Islamic State.

If confirmed, it would be the first coalition strike to have killed Syrian government forces.

The UK-based Syrian observatory said 13 military personnel were also wounded.

The strike hit part of the Saeqa military camp, near the town of Ayyash.

The area is largely under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and the US-led coalition has regularly targeted the group in the eastern province.

Syria’s air force is active in the region and its ally Russia also began launching strikes in the country in late September.

Syria’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday that four fighter jets from the US-led coalition targeted a Syrian Army camp with nine missiles, killing three soldiers and wounding 13 others.

The Ministry said it sent letters to the United Nations denouncing the attack on its forces.

“The Syrian Arab Republic strongly condemns this flagrant aggression by the US-led coalition forces, which blatantly violates the objectives of the UN charter,” a Ministry statement said .

US Air Strike Kills Libya Islamic State Head

Islamic State-2Air strike by the US has killed the leader of the Islamic State (IS) group in Libya, the Pentagon said on Saturday.

Iraqi national Abu Nabil, also known as Wissam Najm Abd Zayd al-Zubaydi, was a “long-time al-Qaeda operative and the senior Isil leader in Libya”, it said, using another acronym for IS.

There was no word on the location of the strike that took place on Friday night.

The Pentagon said the strike demonstrated that it would “go after Isil leaders wherever they operate”.

Pentagon spokesman, Peter Cook, said the operation had been authorised and taken place before terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday evening.

According to a BBC report, Mr Cook stated that Nabil may have been the IS spokesman pictured in a February 2015 video showing the apparent execution of Coptic Christians in Libya.

“Nabil’s death will degrade Isil’s ability to meet the group’s objectives in Libya, including recruiting new Isil members, establishing bases in Libya, and planning external attacks on the United States,” he said.

It has been four years after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, but Libya has remained in chaos and the growth of Islamic State there has become a source of worry for Western governments.

Buhari Tasks Foreign Governments On Fight Against Violent Extremism

BuhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday highlighted the roles required of UN member states in order to stop violent extremism and the threat posed by terror groups in Middle East and Africa.

Speaking on a panel on Countering ISIL and Violent Extremism chaired by United States’ President, Barrack Obama, at the 70th United Nations General Assembly, President Buhari noted that “the international community will be required to disrupt illicit financial flows from nations with weak anti- theft structures to other parts of the world” adding that “where such funds are identified, the victim states should be helped to recover them expeditiously”.

He noted that Boko Haram regained strength after it declared its allegiance to the Islamic State, adding that the group’s recruitment has expanded to the Sahel region and encouraging activities of Boko Haram.

President Muhammadu Buhari reminded UN member states that “groups like al-Qaeda and ISIL express their anger when people feel that injustice and corruption leaves them with no choice of improving their lives

He also reminded UN Member states that there is an urgent need to “address local social grievances by formulating policies that ensure growth-based transformation through job creation, equalisation of opportunities and expansive access to social services.

“We in Africa also need to rededicate ourselves to the mandate of the African Union Peer Review Mechanism and other good governance initiatives that we have adopted in our region to encourage conformity with political, economic and corporate governance values” he said.

Nigeria’s president also insisted that all options must be explored and all hands must be on deck in the quest for a durable and a lasting panacea to the threat posed by ISIL, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and the likes.

He further maintained that good governance, accountability, transparency and the rule of law remains the basis to kick-start the process of ridding the world of the menace of terrorism and violent extremism.

ISIL Claims Responsibility For Saudi Mosque Suicide Blasts

ISIL on saudi blastThe Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a mosque in southwest Saudi Arabia that killed at least 15 people, the group said in a statement on Thursday.

One of its fighters wearing an explosive belt triggered the blast, the ISIL statement said.

The blast, which was triggered by a suicide bomber, killed 15 people at a mosque inside a Special Forces headquarters in Saudi Arabia near the border with Yemen.

The Interior Ministry said in a statement that 10 of those killed were members of the country’s security forces.

The Interior Ministry spokesman, Major General Mansour al-Turki, said on Thursday that the “terrorist” attack took place during noon prayers in the city of Abha, in the southern province of Asir.

Mr al-Takur said that nine other people were wounded in the attack, three of them seriously.

He further said that the bomb targeted police trainees as they were in the middle of prayer.

Twelve of those killed were members of a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit, while the other three were workers at the compound, officials said.

ISIL’s local affiliate had claimed responsibility for a number of attacks in recent months, including various deadly shootings and smaller attacks against police at checkpoints in the capital, Riyadh.

Thursday’s attack was the deadliest against Saudi security forces since ISIL attacks began in the kingdom in 2014.

In November, a gunman opened fire at a mosque in the eastern Saudi village of al-Ahsa, killing eight.

A suicide bomber that struck a Shia mosque in the eastern village of Qudeeh in May killed 22 people. That was the deadliest such assault in Saudi Arabia in more than a decade. A week later, a suicide bombing outside another eastern Shia mosque left four people dead.

Saudi authorities in July, announced the arrest of more than 400 suspects in an anti-terrorism sweep.

They said that they thwarted other ISIL attacks being plotted in the oil-rich kingdom, including a suicide bomb plot targeting a large mosque in eastern Saudi Arabia that could hold 3,000 worshippers and attempts to attack other mosques, diplomatic missions and security bodies.

Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition targeting Iran-allied Shia rebels in neighbouring Yemen, not far from Abha. The rebels had carried out a number of cross-border attacks against military targets.

Three New York Residents Deny Aiding IS Plot

IS-New-YorkThree foreign New York residents have denied charges that they tried to aid Islamic State (IS) militants.

The trio, Abdurasul Juraboev, Abror Habibov and Akhror Saidakhmetov aged between 19 and 30, were arrested last month by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

They caught the attention of the authorities, after they posted to Uzbek-language website in recent months.

The FBI said a suspect had pledged to kill U.S. President, Barack Obama.

Another allegedly tried to travel to Syria via Turkey in order to join IS, while the third was accused of helping to fund efforts to join the Syrian jihadist.

The three men appeared in New York’s Federal court on Friday, where they pleaded not guilty of the charges against them. After the session, the Judge had set their next court hearing for June 19.

The US has charged about 20 people with plans to join militant groups abroad, many who intend to go to Syria to fight for IS.

Figures suggest more than 20,000 foreigners have joined the fights in Iraq and Syria in the past three years.

Libya Urges UN To Lift Arms Embargo To Combat ISIL

Dairi told the UN Security Council that the UN “shouldered a legal responsibility” to help in the rebuilding of Libya’s army

Libya has asked the United Nations to lift an arms embargo on weapon sales to the country’s internationally recognised government so that it can deal with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.

Libya’s Foreign Minister, Mohammed al-Dairi, said this would help the government build its army and deal with “rampant terrorism”.

Dairi told the UN Security Council in New York on Wednesday, that the UN “shouldered a legal responsibility” to help in the rebuilding of Libya’s army.

He stressed that Libya needed a “decisive stance” from the international community to help build the country’s national army’s capacity, adding that it could only come through a lifting of the embargo on weapon sales to the country.

“If we fail to have arms provided to us, this can only play into the hands of extremists,” he said.

Libya has been under an arms embargo since the 2011 uprising that drove out the former long-time leader, Col Muammar Gaddafi and his armed forces.

The Libyan government is already allowed to import weapons and related materiel with the approval of a Security Council committee overseeing the embargo.

Dairi’s appeal came after fighters pledging allegiance to ISIL released a video on Sunday purporting to show the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians.

Egypt launched air strikes in Libya on Monday the following day.

Egypt’s Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry, said he supported the lifting of the embargo as events in Libya posed an “enormous danger”.

Dairi said Libya was seeking “support to combat terrorism” and “not calling for international intervention”.

He also called for a naval blockade on arms heading to areas of Libya that were not in the control of the internationally recognised Tobruk government.

UN special envoy to Libya, Bernardino Leon, said that ISIL can only be defeated with a united Libyan government in place that has strong international support.

The UN is mediating between the rival factions to get them to forge a unity government and end hostilities.

Iraq Violence: Parliament Delays Vote On Emergency

iraqIraqi security forces in the north patrol an area near Kirkuk have been fighting Sunni insurgents from an Al Qaeda splinter group called the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL.

The militants took control on Tuesday near Mosul, Iraq’s second biggest city.

On Wednesday, their control of the city extended further south, where the country’s biggest oil refinery lies.

Wednesday’s advance by ISIL is a devastating show of strength against the Shiite-led government.

An Audio recording purportedly of Abu Muhammad al-‘Adnani, an official spokesman for ISIL, was released on Wednesday where he appears to boast of the group’s recent conquests and urges fighters to march on the Iraqi capital.

Meanwhile, Turkey says it will retaliate if any of its 80 nationals seized by an Al Qaeda splinter group in northern Iraq are harmed.

Those captured during a lightning advance include Special Forces Soldiers, diplomats and children.

Also, The United States has expressed concern about the deteriorating security situation in Iraq and pledged “any appropriate assistance” to help the Iraqi government fend off a rapid military advance by Sunni militants.

“We join Turkey and the international community in calling for the immediate release of Turkey’s kidnapped personnel. The security reiterated the United States’ commitment to working with the Iraqi government and leaders across Iraq to support a unified approach against ISIL’s continued aggression. We are in touch with the governments of Turkey and Iraq and stand ready to provide any appropriate assistance.”

In the five days of fighting, half a million Iraqis have fled the city.