Recent Highlights in Terrorist Activity

Mar 27, 2013

February 1, 2013 (TURKEY): A suicide bomber attacked the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, killing a Turkish security guard outside the facility. Turkish authorities blamed the attack on the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front, an outlawed Marxist-Leninist group that was involved in attacks on U.S. targets in Turkey in the early 1990s. The United States announced that it was launching its own investigation. – New York Times, February 1

February 1, 2013 (PAKISTAN): A suicide bomber killed at least 23 people outside a Shi`a mosque in Hangu District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. – CNN, February 1; BBC, February 1

February 1, 2013 (MALI/NIGERIA): A report in the Wall Street Journal suggested that hundreds of Boko Haram group militants trained in Mali’s Timbuktu, learning to repair Kalashnikovs and launch shoulder-fired weapons. The report, which was based on interviews with locals in Timbuktu, said that Nigerian Boko Haram fighters trained in the city for about 10 months, working with the local al-Qa`ida-linked militant group Ansar Eddine. “The presence of Nigerian trainees here [Timbuktu] validates recent fears among regional and Western intelligence officials that parts of the Sahara have become incubators where al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, is training Africans to fight jihad,” the article said. Islamist militants controlled Timbuktu for much of 2012, but in January 2013 French forces regained control of the city. – Wall Street Journal, February 1

February 2, 2013 (PAKISTAN): Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants attacked a Pakistani Army base in Lakki Marwat District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, killing at least nine army soldiers and four paramilitary soldiers. During the attack, 10 civilians were also killed. According to a TTP spokesman, the attack was in retaliation for the killings of two Taliban commanders in U.S. drone strikes. – New York Times, February 2

February 3, 2013 (IRAQ): A suicide bomber in a vehicle filled with explosives attacked the police headquarters in Kirkuk. After the explosion, militants wearing police uniforms tried to storm the building. According to one police officer, “I saw the three suicide bombers running into the police building. They were throwing hand grenades at us. We opened fire on them and killed them immediately.” At least 30 people were killed in the assault. – CNN, February 4; Reuters, February 3; New York Times, February 3

February 4, 2013 (IRAQ): A suicide bomber attacked a government-supported militia in Taji, 12 miles north of Baghdad. The explosion killed at least 22 people. According to Reuters, “It was the seventh suicide bombing in a month in Iraq, indicating insurgents are intent on stepping up violence a year after U.S. troops pulled out of the country, where Shi’ite, Sunni and ethnic Kurdish factions still struggle over how to share power.” – Reuters, February 4

February 4, 2013 (SOMALIA): Al-Shabab said that they opened a new Twitter account in English, less than two weeks after Twitter suspended its previous account. According to the BBC, “The new al-Shabab account has 280 followers, compared to the previous account which had more than 20,000 followers. It was closed on 25 January, about a week after it announced the killing of a French spy, Denis Allex, it was holding hostage.” – BBC, February 4

February 5, 2013 (BULGARIA): The Bulgarian government completed its six-month inquiry into the bus bombing that killed five Israelis in Burgas, Bulgaria, in July 2012. The inquiry found that two suspects—who held Australian and Canadian passports—were directly linked to the militant wing of Iranian Hizb Allah. The report also found that “initial investigations—including the discovery of the bomber’s head at the scene of the attack—suggested the strike may have been a suicide bombing. But officials now believe the device may have been remote-controlled, or accidentally detonated by the bomber.” – BBC, February 5

February 5, 2013 (IRAQ): A suicide bomber in an explosives-laden vehicle attacked an Iraqi Army checkpoint in Taji, 12 miles north of Baghdad, killing at least three people. It was the second suicide attack in two days in the town. – Reuters, February 5

February 6, 2013 (SYRIA): A car bomb exploded in a military intelligence compound in Palmyra in eastern Syria, causing at least a dozen casualties among security personnel. – Reuters, February 6

February 6, 2013 (SOMALIA): An improvised explosive device struck a vehicle carrying Ethiopian soldiers in Baidoa, reportedly killing two of them. – Garowe Online, February 7

February 7, 2013 (PAKISTAN): A new report in Pakistan’s The News International claims that Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) have created a joint special unit with the prime mission to attack prisons and free jailed militants. The unit, called Ansar al-Aseer (Supporters of Prisoners), is reportedly led by Adnan Rasheed, who himself escaped from prison in April 2012 after 200 Taliban militants attacked the Central Jail in Bannu, where he was held. Rasheed was in prison for trying to assassinate former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. – The News International, February 7

February 7, 2013 (SOMALIA): Al-Shabab fighters ambushed Ethiopian troops between El Barde and Hudur, resulting in an unspecified number of casualties. – Garowe Online, February 7

February 8, 2013 (IRAQ): Two car bombs exploded at a vegetable market in the Shi`a city of Hilla, Babil Province, killing 15 people. – Reuters, February 8

February 8, 2013 (IRAQ): Two car bombs exploded at a bus stop near a street market in a Shi`a area of Baghdad, killing at least 16 people. – Reuters, February 8

February 8, 2013 (PAKISTAN): A suspected U.S. drone killed nine alleged militants in South Waziristan Agency of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Seven of the dead were reportedly members of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, while two were allegedly members of al-Qa`ida. – Dawn, February 8

February 8, 2013 (MALI): Former U.S. Ambassador to Mali Vicki Huddleston said that France paid $17 million in ransom to free hostages seized from a French uranium mine in Niger in September 2010, money that allowed groups such as al-Qa`ida in the Islamic Maghreb to “buy weapons and recruit.” In February 2011, three of the hostages, including a Frenchwoman, were freed. According to the Associated Press, Huddleston’s allegations “strengthened the view that the Mali rebellion was funded largely by ransoms paid in recent years.” French officials have denied paying ransoms. – AP, February 9

February 8, 2013 (MALI): A suicide bomber on a motorcycle attacked a military checkpoint in Gao in northern Mali, wounding one Malian soldier. The Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), a group linked to al-Qa`ida in the Islamic Maghreb, took responsibility. The incident marked the first suicide bombing in northern Mali since the start of the French-led military offensive in January 2013. – Voice of America, February 8; AFP, February 8

February 8, 2013 (NIGERIA): Suspected gunmen from the Boko Haram group killed at least nine women vaccinating children against polio in Kano in northern Nigeria. – Guardian, February 8

February 9, 2013 (MALI): A suicide bomber in military fatigues detonated explosives near a checkpoint at the entrance to Gao, wounding one soldier. Authorities said that the bomber was Arab and a suspected member of the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO). A suicide bomber attacked the same checkpoint the previous day. – AP, February 10

February 10, 2013 (GLOBAL): Muhammad al-Zawahiri, the brother of al-Qa`ida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, told a reporter that “if America does not stop (its) violations or attacks, there will not be just one Ayman al-Zawahiri, but all Muslims will (become like) Ayman al-Zawahiri.” Muhammad, who denies he is a member of al-Qa`ida, was freed from prison following the revolution that unseated Hosni Mubarak. He was in jail for 13 years on militancy charges. According to USA Today, Muhammad al-Zawahiri, who is 61-years-old, “is portrayed by Egyptian newspapers as a leader of some of Egypt’s Salafis, who follow a radical ideology.” Muhammad defended his brother in the interview, saying that the al-Qa`ida leader “is trying to defend against part of the aggression. We didn’t attack the United States first, but they attacked us.” Muhammad publicly supported the Islamist insurgency in Mali and said that those who refuse to support it are traitors to their religion, according to the Associated Press. – USA Today, February 10

February 10, 2013 (THAILAND): A car bomb killed five soldiers in Yala Province in southern Thailand. – Voice of America, February 10

February 11, 2013 (IRAQ): A suicide bomber in a vehicle killed at least eight people at a military checkpoint in Mosul, Ninawa Province. – RFE/RL, February 11

February 11, 2013 (SOMALIA): An al-Shabab suicide bomber in a vehicle targeted a senior police official in Galkayo, wounding the official and killing four people. – Voice of America, February 11; AFP, February 11

February 12, 2013 (YEMEN): Al-Qa`ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) reportedly said that a drone strike last month killed the group’s top religious cleric, Shaykh Adel al-Abab, in Shabwa Province. “A drone strike had targeted Sheikh Adel al-Abab’s vehicle but he escaped and fled to a mountainous region where a raid by another drone killed him immediately,” a source close to AQAP told Agence France-Presse. – AFP, February 12

February 13, 2013 (THAILAND): At least 60 insurgents attacked a military base in Narathiwat Province in southern Thailand. The military, which reportedly knew of the attack in advance, killed at least 16 of the militants. The military said it suffered no casualties. – Deutsche Welle, February 13; BBC, February 13

February 14, 2013 (GLOBAL): The U.S. Treasury Department announced that it was freezing any assets of Yahya Abu al-Hamman, identified as the leader of al-Qa`ida in the Islamic Maghreb’s Sahel branch. – Reuters, February 14

February 14, 2013 (RUSSIA): A suicide bomber in a vehicle killed at least four police officers in Dagestan, located in Russia’s North Caucasus region. As stated by the Associated Press, “Russia’s North Caucasus and Dagestan in particular has for years been plagued by Islam-inspired insurgency which spread throughout the area after two separatist wars in Chechnya.” – RFE/RL, February 14; AP, February 14

February 14, 2013 (PAKISTAN): A suicide bomber in an explosives-laden vehicle killed seven people at a Frontier Corps checkpoint in Hangu District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. – The News International, February 14

February 16, 2013 (PAKISTAN): A suicide bomber in an explosives-laden water tanker targeted Shi`a Muslims at a crowded marketplace in Hazara, on the outskirts of Quetta. The explosion killed 83 people. According to a Quetta police official, the water tanker carried between 1,760-2,200 pounds of explosives. The sectarian militant group Lashkar-i-Jhangvi claimed responsibility. – CNN, February 17

February 16, 2013 (SOMALIA): A car bomb exploded at a restaurant near Mogadishu’s Liido beach, causing an unknown number of casualties. – Garowe Online, February 16

February 16, 2013 (NIGERIA): The Nigerian militant group Ansaru, which broke from Boko Haram, attacked a local prison in Bauchi State, and then targeted a worker’s camp for construction company Setraco, kidnapping seven foreign workers from the United Kingdom, Greece, Italy and Lebanon. The militants shot and killed one guard at the camp. On March 9, Ansaru said that they had killed all seven hostages in response to attempts by the United Kingdom and Nigeria to free them. The statement included screen shots of a video purportedly showing a number of dead hostages. – AP, February 17; Vanguard, February 23; Reuters, March 9

February 17, 2013 (AFGHANISTAN): Afghan authorities captured Pakistani Taliban leader Maulvi Faqir Muhammad in Nangarhar Province in eastern Afghanistan. According to the New York Times, “Muhammad, believed to be in his 40s, fled to Afghanistan in 2010 after an offensive by Pakistan’s military on his stronghold in the Bajaur tribal agency…Muhammad continued to attack Pakistani forces in Bajaur after taking refuge in the isolated valleys of Kunar and Nuristan Provinces in northeastern Afghanistan.” – New York Times, February 19

February 17, 2013 (IRAQ): A suicide bomber killed Ali Aouni, the head of Iraq’s intelligence academy, outside his home in Tal Afar. The explosion also killed three of his bodyguards. – Global Post, February 16

February 17, 2013 (IRAQ): At least eight car bombs tore through Baghdad, killing 28 people in Shi`a districts in the city. The Islamic State of Iraq claimed responsibility. According to Reuters, “Insurgents are stepping up attacks at a time when [Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki] is facing two months of protests by thousands of Sunni Muslims in western provinces, who accuse his government of marginalising their sect.” – Reuters, February 18

February 19, 2013 (CAMEROON): Boko Haram kidnapped seven French tourists, including four children, in northwest Cameroon. According to Agence France-Presse, “A Western diplomat in the region told AFP that six armed kidnappers on three motorbikes abducted a couple, their four children and an uncle in the northern [Cameroon] village of Dabanga near the Nigerian border.” Boko Haram later claimed responsibility. On February 26, Boko Haram released a video showing the kidnapped family, saying that if the group’s demands are not met, “we will kill these hostages.” Boko Haram demanded that Nigeria and Cameroon release jailed members of the group.   – Telegraph, February 19; Premium Times, March 18; CNN, February 26

February 21, 2013 (UNITED KINGDOM): A UK court found three men guilty of planning a terrorism campaign in the United Kingdom, raising money for terrorism and recruiting others for a terrorist act. The men, Irfan Naseer, Irfan Khalid and Ashik Ali, were based in Birmingham and planned to use eight suicide bombers, armed with guns, to cause “carnage” in the United Kingdom. According to the Telegraph, “Naseer, a pharmacy student, had planned to extract ammonium nitrate—used as [the] main explosive—from sports injury cold packs…They also considered other forms of attack such [as] putting poison in hand cream to rub on car and door handles or even putting blades on the front of a vehicle and driving it into a crowd of people.” – Telegraph, February 21

February 21, 2013 (SYRIA): A suicide bomber in a vehicle killed at least 53 people near Syria’s ruling party headquarters in Damascus. – AP, February 22

February 21, 2013 (KENYA): Gunmen shot and killed seven people—five men and two women—in an attack on a mosque in northeastern Kenya near the Somali border. – BBC, February 21

February 22, 2013 (IRAQ): Gunmen wearing Iraqi army uniforms shot and killed seven members of a government-backed militia in Tuz Khurmato, 105 miles north of Baghdad. – Reuters, February 22

February 22, 2013 (MALI): Two suicide bombers in separate vehicles targeted civilians as well as members of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) near Tessalit in northern Mali, killing three people. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. The MNLA is a Tuareg separatist group that is now working with the French military in northern Mali. – AFP, February 22; Voice of America, February 22

February 24, 2013 (AFGHANISTAN): A suicide bomber in an explosives-laden vehicle attacked a police checkpoint in Pul-i-Alam on the main highway between Kabul and Logar Province, killing one policeman. – Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, February 24

February 24, 2013 (AFGHANISTAN): A suicide bomber in an explosives-laden vehicle attacked the National Directorate of Security compound in Jalalabad, killing two Afghan intelligence agents. – Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, February 24

February 24, 2013 (AFGHANISTAN): A suicide bomber in a vehicle was shot to death before he could trigger his explosives in Kabul’s diplomatic enclave of Wazir Akbar Khan. – Dawn, February 24; Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, February 24

February 24, 2013 (AFGHANISTAN): A suicide bomber detonated an explosives vest while being searched at the entrance to the police headquarters for Baraki Barak district in Logar Province, wounding one policeman. – Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, February 24

February 26, 2013 (AFGHANISTAN): The U.S.-led military coalition in Afghanistan said that it mistakenly reported a decline in Taliban attacks for the year 2012. According to a report in Fox News, “The U.S.-led coalition had incorrectly reported a 7 percent decline in Taliban attacks last year. In fact, there was no change in the number of attacks on international troops from 2011 to 2012…A spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition said the mistakes were noticed ‘during a quality control check.’” – Fox News, February 26; BBC, February 26

February 26, 2013 (AFGHANISTAN): Taliban militants poisoned members of a government-backed militia at an outpost in Ghazni Province. After the militia members became incapacitated, the militants shot and killed them. The attack left 10 militia members and seven of their civilian friends dead. The Afghan Taliban claimed responsibility, but said that the men were shot and killed in their sleep and that no poison was involved. – Guardian, February 27

February 26, 2013 (AFGHANISTAN): A suicide bomber slid underneath a bus filled with Afghan soldiers in Kabul, wounding six soldiers and four civilians. According to the Guardian, “The man, wearing a black overcoat, approached the bus purposefully in heavy morning snow as soldiers were boarding, set down his umbrella and went under the chassis as if to fix something, according to a witness.” He then detonated his explosives. – Guardian, February 27

February 26, 2013 (MALI): A suicide bomber in a vehicle detonated explosives at a checkpoint run by the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) in Kidal, killing at least six MNLA fighters. The MNLA is a Tuareg separatist group that is now working with the French military in northern Mali. – Voice of America, February 27

February 28, 2013 (LIBYA): Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zidan demanded that militias evacuate their buildings and headquarters, promising that the government would be decisive in dealing with armed groups that have hijacked the country. He said that Libya “will not be lenient and we will not permit hijacking of Tripoli or Benghazi or any other city.” – AP, February 28

February 28, 2013 (TURKEY): A Turkish news agency reported that police have arrested 11 people with suspected links to al-Qa`ida, as well as seizing 55 pounds of plastic explosives, in simultaneous raids in Istanbul and Tekirdag Province. The police reportedly recovered photographs of the U.S. Consulate, a synagogue and a church in Istanbul. – AP, February 28

February 28, 2013 (PAKISTAN): Militants bombed four boys’ schools in Mohmand Agency of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. There were no casualties. According to a Pakistani official, Taliban attacks have now destroyed more than 100 schools in Mohmand Agency. – Dawn, February 28

February 28, 2013 (THAILAND): For the first time since the start of the current insurgency in southern Thailand in 2004, Thailand’s government said that it will hold formal peace talks with a major Muslim rebel group in March. According to Reuters, “The talks follow a shift in Thailand’s stance last year when it acknowledged the conflict’s ‘political nature’ for the first time after years of relying on military action…in the southern provinces.” Since 2004, the insurgency in southern Thailand has claimed more than 5,000 lives. According to Reuters, “Resistance to Buddhist rule from Bangkok has existed for decades in the predominantly Muslim provinces in the south, waning briefly in the 1990s before resurfacing violently in January 2004.” – Reuters, February 28

February 28, 2013 (MALI): Algerian television reported that French forces in Mali have killed Abdelhamid Abu Zeid, a leading commander in al-Qa`ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). The station said that Abu Zeid was killed three days earlier in the region of Tigargara in northern Mali. On March 23, France confirmed “with certainty” that Abu Zeid was killed during a French offensive at the end of February. – Reuters, February 28; Reuters, March 23; New York Times, March 23