Counter Daesh Insight Bulletin 7 – 13 May


Between 7 and 13 May Daesh claimed attacks and killings in Iraq, Syria, France, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Russia and Dagestan. Some of these attacks relate to the anti-democracy rhetoric Daesh has used in the last couple of months and focussed on events around the Iraqi elections held on 12 May. Last week’s al-Naba included an article urging imprisoned jihadists to try to escape using examples of previous jailbreaks and the latest attempt in Indonesia. It also carried an infographic on the alleged rise of Daesh activity in West Africa and an article on military operations in Syria over the last three weeks, claiming 640 Syrian soldiers killed. Daesh’s Amaq brand issued a statement claiming the Paris knife attack, followed by a video featuring the alleged attacker. Amaq also released an infographic of Daesh claimed attacks in Afghanistan over the last 12 months, possibly in response to a similar product issued by the Taliban.

Unofficial channels released threats against the World Cup in Russia and the Egyptian president using posters inciting for, and warning of, attacks. Daesh supporters criticized their rival Hayat Tahrir al-Sham over the deal they made with the Syrian government and praised Daesh’s harsh treatment of Syrian soldiers.

Paris knife attack

On 12 May around 21:00 local time a man yelling “Allahu Akbar” stabbed passers-by in Paris. The attacker was shot after he killed one man and wounded four others. Three hours later Daesh claimed responsibility by releasing a statement via Amaq saying the perpetrator was a member of the group and that he acted in response to Daesh’s calls to target countries of the coalition. They did not give any evidence to support this claim.

Later Amaq released a short video, of the man they claimed was the attacker, pledging his allegiance to Daesh and calling for attacks in France, Germany and England. As the man in the video keeps his face covered and does not give his name, it cannot be verified that he is Khamzat Asimov, the French citizen of Chechen origin named by French authorities as the attacker.

Daesh supporters distributed several posters following the attack; one with the words “sang pour sang” (blood for blood) and one showing a man with a knife approaching Pope Francis.

Prison riots and bombings in Indonesia

On 8 May Daesh claimed responsibility for a riot in a high security prison in Jakarta, a detention centre for convicted terrorists. Under the brand of East Asia province, it released photos, and Amaq released a video, claiming to show members of the security forces killed inside the prison. On 11 May, the weekly Al-Naba newspaper featured an article urging imprisoned jihadists not to ‘live in humility in prison’, but to escape, referring to the unsuccessful attempt in Indonesia, which it called the “blessed operation”.

Daesh claimed responsibility for three attacks on churches in Indonesia on Sunday 13 May, but offered no evidence. The claim gave no detail of the attackers, despite the unusual feature later revealed by Indonesian authorities that a single family, including young children, was responsible. Amaq reported that the attacks caused 52 casualties (11 killed and 41 wounded), a figure corresponding closely to that given by the East Java police.

Suicide operations in West Africa

The 11 May edition of al-Naba also carried an infographic entitled “a month of battles”, in which confrontations with soldiers of the Multinational Joint Task Force are claimed in Eastern Nigeria and to the west of Lake Chad. The article claims to show proof of three suicide operations in Chad, killing 10 soldiers, wounding hundreds more and destroying tanks and military vehicles. In Nigeria, it claims to have targeted seven military vehicles with IEDs and killed 95 soldiers. It also claims to have killed an unspecified number of Nigerian soldiers in Koloram village in the state of Borno, and that Nigerian aircraft mistakenly caused casualties to their own side.

See previous editions of the insight bulletin here.

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