Islamic State

Thousands of Islamic State Militants Surrender as Group Nears Total Defeat

Thousands of Islamic State militants have surrendered to the U.S.-Syrian Democratic Forces as the caliphate nears complete defeat, according to the group’s spokesman. “Number of Daesh (ISIS) members surrendered to us since yesterday evening has risen to 3,000,’ Syrian Democratic Forces spokesman Mustafa Bali tweeted in English on Tuesday evening. “[Three] Yazidi women and [four] children were rescued, too.” Bali added that the “decisive moment is closer than ever before,” following heavy fighting in the Syrian town of Baghouz, the final stretch of territory in Syria and Iraq still held by the Islamic State. However, the group has not provided a timeline for when the group will be completely defeated. The operation to completely expel the caliphate from the Euphrates Valley has taken far longer than expected, having begun nearly six months ago. On January 25th, the SDF’s commander-in-chief Mazloum Kobani declared that the caliphate would be fully defeated within a month, a target the forces have not achieved. Meanwhile, U.S.-led coalition has previously explained that Baghouz had been “more crowded with both civilians and fighters than expected,” requiring troops to evacuate around 40,000 civilians from the area. “The overflow during the lull in battle has been difficult for the SDF and they have responded to everything well,” said coalition spokesman Colonel Sean Ryan last month.

 

Leader of ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan killed in US drone strike, officials say

The leader of an ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan, who was responsible for a spate of recent bombings that left hundreds of civilians dead, was killed in an American drone strike, U.S. officials told Fox News on Sunday. The deputy spokesperson for Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani announced the death of ISIS-K leader, Abu Sayeed Orakzai, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan spokesman Lt. Col. Martin O’Donnell said. “I would also add that the United States unrelentingly continues its counterterrorism efforts against ISIS-K, Al-Qaeda, and other regional and international terrorist groups,” O’Donnell said in a statement. The airstrikes were launched in the Nangarhar province, near the border with Pakistan, according to Agence France-Presse. Ten other ISIS fighters were also killed. Orakzai is at least the 3rd ISIS-K leader in Afghanistan killed in the past 2 years. The Islamic State has lost around 90 percent of the lands bordering Iraq and Syria since declaring a caliphate in June 2014. The killing of Orakzai comes just takes after an audio recording of the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi apparently resurfaced, in which he congratulated his followers on the occasion of Eid al-Adha, an Islamic holiday, and referenced Turkey’s recent quarrel with the U.S. over its detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson. He purportedly said “America is going through the worse time in its entire existence,” and said Russia was competing with the U.S. over regional influence and clout. Al-Baghdadi’s whereabouts has eluded captors since the rise of the Islamic State. His only public appearance was in 2014 in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. His last know audio recording was released on Sept. 28, 2017, and there have been several reports of his death or injury. Next weekend, a new U.S. military commander will be taking over in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. Scott Miller, the former head of Joint Special Operations Command which oversees the elite commando units Delta Force, SEAL Team 6 and the 75th Ranger Regiment. The U.S. military has doubled its air strikes in Afghanistan over the past year and increased them fivefold over 2016 levels.

Another Islamic wako killed.  Score another one for the good guys!  Excellent!!       🙂

Top U.S. Gen. Warns: Islamic State in Afghanistan ‘Harboring Intentions’ to Attack West

The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) branch in Afghanistan has become a significant menace against the West despite the fall of the group’s caliphate in Iraq and Syria, a top American commander warned this week. In June, Brig. Gen. Lance R. Bunch, the top U.S. air commander in Afghanistan, noted that the ISIS wing has attempted to “establish” its own “caliphate” twice this year alone in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar along the Pakistan border, considered the group’s primary stronghold in the region. U.S.-NATO-assisted Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) have so far managed to thwart the ISIS attempt to establish a caliphate in Afghanistan, Gen. Bunch declared. Gen. Joseph Votel, the chief of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), charged with overseeing the war in Afghanistan, warned Pentagon reporters on Wednesday the American military is “concerned” ISIS in Afghanistan intends to attack the West. “I think we always have to be concerned about ISIS, whether it’s ISIS-K or whether it’s any of the other branches of it, harboring intentions to operate, you know, much more globally or externally from the areas in which they’re operating. And so, you know, we do have that concern about them,” Votel said. The ISIS branch in South Asia, which primarily operates in Afghanistan and Pakistan, is known as the Khorasan Province (ISIS-K). Asked whether the U.S. military is aware any links between ISIS-K and outside groups that would potentially carry out attacks in Europe or against the United States, Gen. Votel responded: “I think in general ISIS does have that intention.” When pressed to describe any actual plots by ISIS-K on the West, the top commander added, “I think there probably has been, but I can’t cite a specific example to you.” Back in October 2016, the U.S. military acknowledged that ISIS was “very focused on trying to establish their caliphate, the Khorasan caliphate, inside Afghanistan.” ISIS officially announced its presence in Afghanistan in early 2015, less than a year after the United States declared its combat mission over at the end of 2014. The U.S. has been assisting the Afghan forces in their fight against ISIS in their stronghold of Nangarhar. “We have killed numerous ISIS-K fighters this year,” Gen. Votel told reporters Wednesday. “The military campaign against ISIS has been both continuous and effective.” The general stressed that U.S. efforts towards “reconciliation” between Kabul and the Taliban, the primary goal of American President Donald Trump’s strategy to end to the nearly 17-year-old war, are separate from the fight to annihilate ISIS. “It is important to recognize that while we apply military pressure against the Taliban to bring them to the table of reconciliation, we harbor no illusion about reconciliation with ISIS-K; our mission is to destroy this organization,” he declared. Citing U.S. officials and the latest American intelligence estimates, Voice of America (VOA) reported this week that efforts to root out and decimate ISIS-K have “so far failed to prevent the terror group from maintaining a foothold in the country.” “IS-Khorasan is thought to have more than 1,000 fighters, most of them located in Afghanistan’s southern Nangarhar province, with a small number operating in the country’s eastern Kunar province,” VOA added. The ISIS branch reportedly reached a peak of 3,000 fighters in Afghanistan. According to a report from the United Nations Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), ISIS-K was behind more than 50 percent of civilian casualties in the war-ravaged country through the first half of 2018. The University of Maryland’s renowned National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) listed ISIS-K among the 10 top prolifically deadliest terrorist group’s in the world last year, separate from core Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Last year, ISIS-K carried out 197 attacks, killing 1,302 people, the study revealed.

So, we’re VERY glad to hear GEN Votel say that his mission is “to destroy this organization.”  Outstanding!!  Having spent some time in Afghanistan myself, I’m thrilled to hear that we’re going on the offense again there.  Excellent!!     🙂

U.S. airstrikes targeting Islamic State surge 300 percent

American warplanes are working overtime against Islamic State targets in Syria, with the number of combat sorties in May against the terror group surging over 300 percent compared to recent months, says new airstrike figures released by command officials Friday. U.S. and coalition combat aircraft flew 225 airstrikes last month, hitting 280 known Islamic State or ISIS redoubts in Syria, located mostly in the volatile Euphrates River Valley, said American commanders with the U.S.-led counterterrorism mission Operation Inherent Resolve. During a single six-day period in May, American and allied fighter jets executed 41 airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq, resulting in 49 enemy targets hit, coalition officials said in a statement. “This demonstrates a 304 percent increase over the 74 strikes conducted in March and a 123 percent increase over the 183 strikes recorded in April,” according to Friday’s statement. The majority of the airstrikes were carried out in support of Operation Roundup, the ground campaign led by the Syrian Democratic Forces or SDF — the American-backed coalition of Kurdish and Arab paramilitaries — to eliminate remaining pockets of ISIS resistance in the Euphrates River Valley. “Operation Roundup will continue to build momentum against Daesh remnants remaining in the Iraq-Syria border region and the [Euphrates River Valley],” command officials said in the statement, using the derogatory Arabic term for ISIS. “The Coalition remains committed to the lasting defeat of Daesh here, increasing peace and stability in the region and protecting all our homelands from the Daesh threat,” coalition officials added. Kicking off in early May, the operation is the first major anti-ISIS operation by the SDF and the American-led coalition since the fall of Raqqa — the terror group’s de facto Syrian capital and the heart of its so-called caliphate — in 2017. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet fighters aboard the U.S.S Harry S. Truman carrier strike group began bombarding Islamic State positions in May, linking up with the Navy’s Sixth Fleet — which is responsible for U.S. maritime operations in Europe and North Africa — late last April, as part of the Pentagon’s seemingly final push to eradicate ISIS from its Syrian enclaves. On Thursday, Joint Staff Director Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie said American advisers on the ground in Syria and their higher ups at the Pentagon were seeing good progress from the SDF. “We’re making progress, and, in concert with our SDF partners, I think that we’re beginning to clear out the final pockets of ISIS,” he told reporters during a Defense Department briefing. “We want to leave behind security elements that are going to be able to maintain [security] at the local level,” the three-star general said. “That’s sort of a long-term aim we have, as we push down the Euphrates River Valley, and that progress is continuing.”

American flag destroyed, replaced with ‘ISIS flag’ at Utah high school

An American flag at a high school in Southwest Utah was found destroyed and replaced with an ISIS flag Thursday, Fox 13 reported. An unknown perpetrator had taken down the flag at Hurricane High School, which is in the Washington County School District, and replaced it with “what looked like a flag used by ISIS,” police said. The American flag was left shredded at the scene. The words “ISIS is COMI” had been spray-painted on a wall on the school’s east side, KUTV reported. Ken Thompson, a spokesman for Hurricane Police department, said authorities don’t know if the perpetrator was a student or someone from outside the community. “Officers have received tips this morning and they’re following those leads and so far they haven’t generated a credible lead but tips can help us out a lot,” he said. Hurricane Police sent additional officers to the school Thursday to reassure students and faculty of their safety. Classes resumed normally on Thursday and will reportedly continue through Friday. Authorities released a statement saying school employees have replaced the “ISIS flag” with a new American flag, and removed the graffiti. Images of the ISIS flag were then sent to the FBI for analysis. “[B]ased on information we received from the FBI we do not believe this act was perpetrated by someone linked to the Islamic State,” Hurricane PD said in a statement. “This investigation is ongoing and investigators will continue to follow-up on leads.”

Hopefully they are able to identify the piece(s) of garbage who did this, arrest them and appropriately charge them.  Awful…

U.S. ramps up air war against Islamic State in Yemen as fight subsides in Iraq and Syria

As the fight against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria comes to a close, U.S. military and counterterrorism officials are setting their sights on the group’s growing presence in the war-torn country of Yemen. The number of U.S. airstrikes against Islamic State’s Yemeni faction has increased in the past several weeks as the mission for American drones and warplanes against the group’s bastions elsewhere in the Middle East ramp down. A trio of deadly strikes this month against Islamic State training camps in Yemen marks a refocus by American counterterrorism forces back onto the Gulf state that has been a regular target of U.S. forces battling the al Qaeda faction known as al Qaeda in the Arabic Peninsula, or AQAP, for the past two decades. But strikes in the country this month are the first time Washington has gone after the Islamic State inside Yemen. The uptick in U.S. operations against the Yemeni-based Islamic State cells began in mid-October with an airstrike against a suspected camp in the country’s al Bayda governorate. The strike, which the Pentagon said was critical to “disrupting the organization’s attempts to train new fighters,” was the first such strike specifically targeting Islamic State in the country. On Wednesday, American forces launched a pair of airstrikes against another suspected target in al Bayda, reportedly killing nine jihadis tied to Yemen’s Islamic State factions. All told, American warplanes killed roughly 60 insurgents from the group during all three strikes, said Central Command officials, according to reports. “ISIS has used the ungoverned spaces of Yemen to plot, direct, instigate, resource and recruit for attacks against America and its allies around the world,” Pentagon officials said after the initial Oct. 9 strike, using an acronym for the group. “U.S. forces are supporting ongoing counterterrorism operations in Yemen against ISIS and AQAP to degrade the groups’ ability to coordinate external terror attacks and limit their ability to hold territory seized from the legitimate government of Yemen,” Pentagon officials added. U.S. forces have launched over 100 airstrikes against al Qaeda in Yemen this year, according to figures compiled by the Washington-based think tank the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. The high rate of airstrikes this year under the Trump administration dwarfs the previous high of 46 strikes in 2016 ordered by President Obama.

MOAB damage in Afghanistan extreme, widespread

It has been one month since the U.S. military dropped its largest non-nuclear combat weapon — the MOAB — to eradicate ISIS from its base in Afghanistan’s Nanganhar province. And still, the ghostly destruction zone is a vision that haunts. FoxNews.com has obtained exclusive images illuminating the bomb’s impact taken this week, showing the gouged and singed earth and even the limb of a dead fighter that had yet to be removed or buried. While the use of the MOAB, which stands for Massive Ordnance Air Blast, has been controversial, with analysts claiming it had little effect other than decimating Afghanistan’s territory, others on the ground are still insistent that it worked extremely well, not only to kill more than 90 ISIS fighters, but to eliminate supply routes and squash morale within the terrorist organization. “This was very effective — many of ISIS’ training camps are gone, bunkers destroyed,” Gen. Qadamshah Shahim, chief of the general staff of the Afghan Ministry of Defense, who just stepped down from his role following the Mazar-i-Sharif attack, told Fox News. But according to one high-ranking Afghan defense official, who requested anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the topic, the decision to use the MOAB was not taken hastily. Rather, it was a carefully calculated move. The official said that a request to use such a weapon — one designed to penetrate the earth’s surface and thus destroy underground tunnels and dwellings — was brought to the attention of Afghan officials several months ago, and wasn’t given the green light until all other options were explored and potential collateral damage and effectiveness studied. “This was the only solution to bring stability to the area and avoid more bloodshed by this brutal terrorist group,” said Commander Ahmad Muslem Hayat, a former military attaché for Afghanistan’s British Embassy and current security adviser for the U.S.-based firm, TigerSwan. “This wasn’t about sending quick messages to show strength to other threatening countries like North Korea. This was about saving innocent Afghan lives from ISIS torture.” Capt. William Salvin, a U.S. military spokesman in Kabul, defended the use of the MOAB, saying it was used for a “specific tactical purpose on the battlefield.” Nonetheless, the area remains a no-go zone for all. It is not yet clear whether U.S. forces — which are currently revising the battle strategy toward the increasingly unstable Afghanistan — intend to deploy such a large-scale weapon anytime in the near future. But there is a growing sentiment among the Afghan people for such attention to be devoted to defeating Taliban hubs, too, which they view as a much greater threat to their safety than the country’s fast weakening ISIS branch. “Different flags, different names,” noted Major Abadullah Karimi, spokesperson for the 202nd Shamshad Police Corps, the headquarters for operations in eastern Afghanistan. “But the same games.”

Agreed!!  And, well said, Major.  As a fellow “field grade” officer who served on the ground in Afghanistan, I can tell you that the MOAB definitely made a difference, despite what the liberal pointy-headed electoid, liberal, academic critics have said.  It wasn’t just about how much physical damage was done (and boy howdy was that a lot!)..but rather the psychological effect it had on these uneducated, toothless, animals hiding in caves.  They got the message that no matter where they are (i.e. underground, hiding in caves, etc.), that we can reach out and kill them…and not have to put one of our soldiers or marines in harms way to do it.  That is a HUGE psychological impact.  Yes, we killed over 90 bad guys (which is great!), and yes we kinda rained on their parade..  BUT, the MOAB sent a message to others that joining that organization might not be such a smart move..  It was a great idea to drop the MOAB, and its use definitely had a positive effect.  Even the Afghans on the ground would like to see it used again against the Taliban.  Enough said..  Anyway, to see some pics of the aftermath of this awesome bomb being dropped in Afghanistan, click on the text above.

Herd of Stampeding Wild Boars Kills Three Islamic State Jihadists

A herd of stampeding wild boars killed three Islamic State terrorists in a fiercely contested area of Northern Iraq, according to local sources. The Times of London reports that a group of Islamic State jihadists was preparing an ambush in a field 50 miles from the Iraqi city of Kirkuk before being overwhelmed by a stampeding herd of wild boars, killing three terrorists and leaving five seriously injured. Sheikh Anwar al-Assi, chief of the local Ubaid tribe organizing anti-ISIS forces, told The Times that some militants had escaped death by managing to hide in large areas of reeds, but others had not been so lucky. “It is likely their movement disturbed a herd of wild pigs, which inhabit the area as well as the nearby cornfields,” he said. “The area is dense with reeds, which are good for hiding in.” A group of refugees fleeing the region discovered the bodies. According to deputy head of the Kurdish intelligence service Brigadier Azad Jelal, jihadists in the area responded to the incident by going on a killing spree of the area’s wild boars. Anwar al-Assi also revealed that the incident happened shortly after the militants had slaughtered 25 people to death in Hawija, one of the few districts the Islamic State still controls, and a site where they regularly carry out mass killings. In August last year, the group massacred 85 civilians in Hawija as an apparent show of strength. Mosul, the country’s second-largest city, remains the last major Islamic State stronghold in Iraq, as Kurdish forces fight to reclaim it.

Stories like this are evidence that there truly is a God in heaven.  I mean, c’mon..  For some Islamic wacko..  What is a more degrading and humiliating way to die…then by being stampeded to death by a heard of pigs?!?  That is like Mastercard; “priceless.”    🙂

Islamic State finds success infiltrating its terrorists into refugee flows to West

The Islamic State has planned to infect refugee flows to the West with mass killers, and it has had some violent successes. The CIA said last year that the terrorist group’s official strategy is to hide its operatives among refugees entering Europe and the United States via human flows out of the Middle East and North Africa. The Islamic State, also known as ISIL and ISIS, has inspired followers to commit atrocities in San Bernardino, California; Orlando, Florida; and the Fort Lauderdale airport in Florida. Scores of U.S. residents have been charged with or suspected of providing material support to the Islamic State. Some have left the U.S. to commit war crimes in Syria and Iraq. As President Trump places a 120-day ban on immigration from what he considers high-risk Muslim-majority countries, the history of the mass migration shows that some took part in the Nov. 13, 2015, massacre in Paris — two posed as refugees from Syria — and the Christmastime truck carnage in Berlin. Two of the airport and Metro attacks in Brussels last year had fought in Syria and gained entry back into Belgium. The German press has reported refugee knife and ax attacks on innocents. “ISIS has claimed on multiple occasions the intent to infiltrate terrorists into the refugee flow,” said Robert Maginnis, a retired Army officer and terrorism analyst. “One can argue that the Tunisian who drove the truck into the Berlin Christmas market was an immigrant tagged as influenced by ISIS. Certainly ISIS will do whatever it can to infiltrate those coming to this country as well. Time will tell whether they are successful, and meanwhile we are vulnerable.” In August, the deputy head of Bavaria’s intelligence service told the BBC that the Islamic State has injected “hit squads” via migrants entering Germany. “We have to accept that we have hit squads and sleeper cells in Germany,” said Manfred Hauser, vice president of the Bavaria region’s intelligence-gathering agency, BayLfV. “We have substantial reports that among the refugees there are hit squads. There are hundreds of these reports, some from refugees themselves. We are still following up on these, and we haven’t investigated all of them fully,” Mr. Hauser said. Months earlier, Hans-Georg Maassen, chief of German domestic intelligence, told ZDF public television that officials in Europe have “seen repeatedly that terrorists are being smuggled in, camouflaged as refugees. That is a fact that security authorities must always see to recognize and identify.” In June, CIA Director John O. Brennan told a Senate committee: “We judge that ISIL is training and attempting to deploy operatives for further attacks. ISIL has a large cadre of Western fighters who could potentially serve as operatives for attacks in the West. And the group is probably exploring a variety of means for infiltrating operatives into the West, including refugee flows, smuggling routes and legitimate methods of travel.” Shortly before he left his post as NATO commander, Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove said in March that the Islamic State had injected 1,500 fighters into Europe. “I think every refugee flow needs to be looked at with an eye towards it could be taken advantage of by those who seek to do us harm,” Gen. Breedlove told the Senate Armed Services Committee. Committee Chairman John McCain, Arizona Republican, responded, “Logic then compels us to assume the risk of attacks on the United States of America or European countries is significantly increased.”

Gee, Senator..  Ya think?!?  And yet Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is wringing his hands over Trump’s, extremely smart, temporary ban on immigrants and refugees from 7 countries in northern Africa and the middle east for exactly this reason!  How crazy is that?!?!  What the press, who supports the protesters against this temporary ban, should be asking is..  “Why wasn’t this done already?”

Islamic State destroys part of ancient Roman amphitheater in Palmyra

Islamic State group militants destroyed a landmark ancient Roman monument and parts of the theater in Syria’s historic town of Palmyra, the government and opposition monitoring groups said Friday. Maamoun Abdulkarim, the head of Syria’s antiquities department, said the militants destroyed the facade of the second-century theater along with the Tetrapylon, a cubic-shaped ancient Roman monument that sits in the middle of the colonnade road that leads to the theater. Abdulkarim told The Associated Press that reports of the destruction first trickled out of the IS-held town late in December. But satellite images of the damage were only available late Thursday, confirming the destruction. The imagery, provided by the US-based American Schools of Oriental Research, show significant damage to the Tetrapylon and the theater. The ASOR said the damage is likely caused by intentional destruction from IS but they were unable to verify the exact cause. Abdulkarim said only two of the 16 columns of the Tetrapylon remain standing. The stage backdrop has sustained damage, according to ASOR. State-run news agency SANA reported the damage Friday and Syrian opposition monitors also confirmed but gave no immediate details. The extremists recaptured the ancient town in December from government troops — nine months after IS was expelled in a Russia-backed offensive. During their first stay, from May 2015 until May 2016, IS destroyed ancient temples including the Temple of Bel, which dated back to A.D. 32, and the Temple of Baalshamin, a structure of stone blocks several stories high fronted by six towering columns. The militants also blew up the Arch of Triumph, which had been built under Roman emperor Septimius Severus between A.D. 193 and A.D. 211. A UNESCO world heritage site, Palmyra boasts 2,000-year-old towering Roman-era colonnades and priceless artifacts. Syrians affectionately refer to it as the “Bride of the Desert.” The extremists have destroyed ancient sites across their self-styled Islamic caliphate in Syria and Iraq, viewing them as monuments to idolatry. A desert oasis surrounded by palm trees in central Syria, Palmyra is also a strategic crossroads linking the Syrian capital, Damascus, with the country’s east and neighboring Iraq. Located 155 miles east of Damascus, the city was once home to 65,000 people before the Syrian civil war began. However, most Palmyra residents did not return after it was retaken by the government. Activists estimated the city is now home to a few hundred families. Many of them tried to flee as IS recaptured the city in December. On Thursday, reports emerged the militant group killed 12 captives it held in Palmyra, some of them beheaded in the Roman theater.

And just think FORMER Pres. Obama couldn’t even bring himself to say “radical Islam.”  These barbaric animals continue to rape, pillage, and murder…committing genocide against Christians in Iraq and Syria, while continuing to destroy priceless pieces of history like this.  Just awful..  Hopefully Pres. Trump will follow through on his pledge to wipe out ISIS; a tall order to be sure.  But, we cannot allow this cancer to continue.