All posts in Extremism

Meet Abu Omar: Al Qaeda Busted Him Out of Abu Ghraib. Now He Fights in Syria

Waiting for the tram in the southern Turkish city of Gaziantep, Abu Omar is on his way to the mall. No groceries today, his shopping list includes a Turkish-made tablet computer and a small GPS navigation device loaded with digital maps of the Middle East.

“It’s nothing special,” says Abu Omar, an Iraqi national, as he puts the goods in his rucksack. “But this stuff might come in handy after I make it to Syria.”

Abu Omar, a handsome young man with long black hair, is not the only one making the trek to Syria. Hundreds of Iraqi prisoners, mostly suspected or convicted jihadists, were freed in July after al Qaeda-linked militants staged a deadly jailbreak at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad. At the time, Iraqi and Western authorities feared that some of those men would travel to Syria, helping to fuel the rise of extremist groups there. Those fears have now become a reality.

Jihadist Media Unit Urges Fighters to Strike Egyptian Army

The Ibn Taymiyyah Media Center (ITMC), a jihadist media unit tied to the Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem, yesterday called for jihadists to strike the Egyptian army.

In the communique, translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, the jihadist media group claimed that Egyptian soldiers recently committed a “massacre” in the Sheikh Zuweid area. The ITMC appeared to be referencing an incident from Sept. 13 that, according to the jihadist group Ansar Jerusalem (Ansar Bayt al Maqdis), resulted in the deaths of seven civilians, including four children.

The statement further denounced efforts by Egyptian security forces to stem the flow of goods and people in and out of Gaza. “[T]he criminal butcher Abdel Fattah el Sisi” has increased the siege on Gaza, the statement charged.

The ITMC statement also criticized the Muslim Brotherhood. “He [Mohammed Morsi] gave no indications, neither he nor the Brotherhood, that they wish to establish an Islamic State where the rule is for Allah,” the ITMC said.

Ansar al Sharia in Libya Criticizes Muslim Brotherhood

On Aug. 20, Ansar al Sharia in Libya released a statement that criticized the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt for participating in the democratic process, and for failing to implement sharia, or Islamic law. The statement, which was obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, is very similar to criticisms leveled by al Qaeda’s emir, Ayman al Zawahiri, and by Shabaab, al Qaeda’s affiliate in Somalia.

Abdullah Azzam Brigades Claims Responsibility for Rocket Attack on Israel

In a statement posted to jihadist forums yesterday, the Abdullah Azzam Brigades took official responsibility for the Aug. 22 rocket attack on Israel from Lebanon. In the statement, which was obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, the group said that fighters from its Ziad Jarrah Battalions fired four Grad rockets towards the northern Israeli cities of Acre and Nahariya.

“This operation comes within the series of our jihadi work directed at the Jews,” the statement said.

Shabaab Urges Egyptian Muslims to ‘Pick Up Arms and Defend Yourself’

In a series of tweets posted to its official Twitter account today, Shabaab commented on the ongoing crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. The jihadist group had previously chastised the Muslim Brotherhood on Twitter following the ouster of Mohammed Morsi in early July.