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Blog posts tagged in al Qaeda

Tunisia: 5 Suspected Extremists Shot Dead

in SITREP

AFP/Getty Images // A Tunisian soldier guards the beach at the Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel in Port el Kantaoui, on the outskirts of Sousse.Lizzie Dearden (The Independent) — Five suspected jihadists have been shot dead in Tunisia amid fears of another terror attack following the massacre in Sousse. Security forces killed the men yesterday during a counter-terrorism operation near the town of El Ktar in Gafsa governate.

The alleged extremists were reportedly found with four Kalashnikovs, the same weapon used by beach gunman Seifeddine Rezgui, a pistol, two grenades, several mobile phones, documents and a large sum of cash.

Tunisian news website Kapitalis reported that Mourad Gharsalli, who was wanted by the interior ministry on terror charges, was among the dead. The 27-year-old was thought to be a member of al-Qaeda affiliate the Okba Ibn Nafaa Brigade and had been implicated in several attacks, including a deadly raid on a minister’s home and murdering members of the Tunisian National Guard.

Analysis: Using 'Terrorist Encryption' Is a Good Way to Get Noticed by the NSA

in Analysis

Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images // Computer monitors inside the NSA's Threat Operations Center.Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai (Motherboard) — If you’re a terrorist, perhaps you shouldn’t use terrorist-made encryption software—unless you want to paint a giant digital target on your back.

In the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations, which have laid bare a long list of NSA’s spying activities and techniques, many have feared that extremist groups such as Al Qaeda or ISIS would change their communication habits to avoid being spied on. In fact, several groups supporting Al Qaeda have gone so far as to develop three different versions of encryption software to scramble communications, according to a recent report.

But homegrown terrorist crypto might actually be good news for the NSA. According to new Snowden documents published on Wednesday by The Intercept, NSA analysts can easily identify messages sent using terrorist groups’ homegrown encryption tools.

Analysis: Manual Used by Al Qaeda and ISIS to Brainwash People Revealed

in Analysis

Reuters/Rodi SaidAn advocacy office that belonged to Islamic State fighters in the town of Tel Abyad, Raqqa governorate, on June 19, 2015.Pamela Engel (Business Insider) — The US and other Western countries have been alarmed at how the Islamic State militant group has been able to lure teenagers and young people to the Middle East to join its ranks.

Rukmini Callimachi of The New York Times recently wrote about a 23-year-old American woman from Washington state who has been communicating with Islamic State (also known as ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh) recruiters online.

The woman, "Alex," showed Callimachi the messages and reading materials these recruiters had sent her, and their approach to grooming her seems textbook.

Analysis: Expanding the Caliphate

in Analysis

Goran Tomasevic/Reuters // An Afghan border policeman escorts a detained suspected Taliban fighter near Walli Was in Paktika province near border with Pakistan.Seth G. Jones (Foreign Affairs) — For over a year, the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) has been attempting to expand into South Asia. ISIS has developed a loose organizational structure in Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided money to local groups, and adopted a confrontational approach to the Afghan Taliban and al Qaeda—all on al Qaeda's home turf, no less. Its goal is straightforward: to co-opt disaffected local militants in an effort to build influence and power in the region.

ISIS in South Asia, which it calls the Islamic State of Khorasan, is larger than most recognize, boasting between several hundred and several thousand fighters.

And its push into the subcontinent has led to numerous skirmishes with the Afghan Taliban, the largest and best-organized militant group in Afghanistan. In early June, for example, ISIS and Taliban fighters engaged in pitched battles in Shinwar, Achin, and other districts in Nangarhar province.

Pakistan: Raid Killed Senior al Qaeda Figure

in SITREP

AFP/File // Shuja Khanzada named the Al Qaeda leader only as 'Abdali' in a news conference.Dawn — The head of Al Qaeda in Pakistan was among the four militants killed in Monday's police raid in Sheikhupura district's Kala Shah Kaku area, a provincial official said on Wednesday.

Punjab Home Minister Shuja Khanzada named the Al Qaeda leader only as “Abdali” in a news conference and said he and three other operatives were planning an attack on government figures. “Their leader who was giving them the briefings, who was leading the entire team, was the head of Al Qaeda in Pakistan. His name was Abdali,” he told reporters.

The minister later confirmed by telephone that Abdali was one of four killed on Monday when Pakistani forces raided a hideout in the small town of Kala Shah Kaku, a few kilometres outside Lahore.

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