- The wave of terrorist attacks called “raids of attrition” which began on July 22, 2020, ended on July 31. 2020. During its ten days more than 100 attacks were carried out (similar to the previous wave, between May 14 and 24, 2020). The largest number of attacks was in Iraq, which continues to be ISIS’s main arena of activity.
- Most of the attacks were routine (detonating IEDs, attacking military facilities and camps, sniper fire, executions). However, in Iraq, the Sinai Peninsula and Afghanistan, several were showcase attacks:
- Iraq: In an ISIS attack on a roadblock in Anbar Province (about 140 kilometers northwest of Baghdad) a brigadier general, the commander of the Iraqi army’s 29th brigade was killed. He was the army’s second high-ranking officer recently killed in an ISIS attack (the commander of the 59th brigade was killed in an ambush on a Iraqi army convoy on July 17, 2020, about 30 kilometers north of Baghdad). In addition, an IED was detonated to attack a minibus carrying Shi’ites inside Baghdad. The attacks provide additional indications that ISIS’s operational capabilities in Iraq are improving.
- The Sinai Peninsula: Operatives of ISIS’s Sinai Province attacked an Egyptian military camp near Rabia’, west of Bir al-‘Abd (about 30 kilometers from the Suez Canal). Dozens of Egyptian soldiers were killed. After the attack ISIS operatives took control of four nearby villages. So far Egyptian security forces with air support have not retaken the area. ISIS continues using guerilla tactics, including IEDs and abducting and executing Egyptian military personnel. The ISIS-affiliated media exaggerated the attack on Rabia’, calling it a symbol of “glory and honor” for jihad. The attack showed the improvement in ISIS’s operational capabilities and the weakness of the Egyptian security forces in the Sinai Peninsula.
- Afghanistan: On August 2, 2020, ISIS operatives carried out a complex attack on the jail in the city of Jalalabad, the capital of the Nangarhar Province. ISIS operatives detonated a car bomb and IEDs at the entrance to the jail, stormed the site and exchanged fire with the Afghan security forces for several hours. They freed several hundred prisoners and killed dozens of Afghan security force operatives. The attack showed ISIS’s success in recovering its operational capabilities in Afghanistan after the blows it suffered. Apparently ISIS in Afghanistan poses a threat to the peace agreement between the United States and the Taliban, and to the country’s internal stability.
ISIS’s Activity Worldwide
- On July 30, 2020 ISIS’s weekly al-Nabā’ published an infographic with the caption “The harvest of the fighters,” summarizing ISIS’s activities between July 23 and 29, 2020 [i.e., most of the period of the “raids of attrition”]. During that time ISIS carried out 105 attacks around the globe (up from 42 the previous week). Thirty-four attacks were carried out in Iraq, 16 of them in the al-Anbar Province; in Syria, 28; in the Sinai Peninsula, 16; in West Africa, 13 (mostly in Nigeria); in Central Africa, three; in Yemen, three; in Khorasan (i.e. Afghanistan), three; in East Asia, three (mostly in the Philippines); in Somalia, one; in Pakistan, one; and in Bangladesh, one in Yemen (al-Nabā’, Telegram, July 30, 2020).
- More than 325 people were killed in the attacks, up from 95 killed and wounded in the previous week’s “raids of attrition.” The largest number of casualties, 117, was in the Sinai Peninsula. The others were in the provinces of Syria (64), Iraq (59), West Africa (48), Central Africa (8), Yemen (7), Khorasan (i.e., Afghanistan) (6), Central Asia (the Philippines) (6), Bangladesh (5), Somalia (4), Pakistan (1) (al-Nabā’, Telegram, July 30, 2020).
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