Check out my new article in The CTC Sentinel: "Fifteen Years After The Djerba Synagogue Bombing"

Abstract: Fifteen years ago this month, a Tunisian operative named Nizar Nawar detonated a truck bomb outside the el-Ghriba synagogue in Djerba, Tunisia, killing 19, including 16 German and French tourists. Orchestrated by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, it was al-Qa`ida’s first successful international attack after 9/11, but it has received far less attention than other attacks launched by the group. Court documents, case files, and primary sources shed significant new light on the attack and al-Qa`ida’s then modus operandi for international attack planning, which has both similarities and differences with recent international terrorist plots carried out by the Islamic State. In retrospect, the Djerba attack should have been a warning sign of the international threat posed by Tunisian foreign fighters, who are now one of the most dangerous cohorts within the Islamic State. On April 11, 2002, a Tunisian al-Qa`ida operative named Nizar Bin Muhammad Nasar Nawar (Sayf al-Din al-Tunisi) ignored security officers’ orders to stop and drove a truck filled with liquid propane into the wall of el-Ghriba Synagogue, one of Africa’s oldest Jewish synagogues, in Djerba, Tunisia.1 Masterminded by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM),a the attack killed 14 Germans, three Tunisians, and two Frenchmen and left 30 others injured. Although it was al-Qa`ida’s first successful external operation following the 9/11 attacks, little has been written about how the attack materialized. It is one of the only large-scale, post-9/11 attacks or plots that has not been given a full retrospective treatment based on information that has been gleaned since its execution.2 Additionally, in light of the current Islamic State external operation campaign, it is worth examining how the Djerba bombing compares to more recent terrorist attacks in order to shed light on the evolution of terrorist attack planning. This article draws on court documents, media reports, Guantanamo Bay prisoner review files, and Arabic primary sources from the jihadi movement to tell the story of the attack. While there is much contradictory information, the author has attempted to piece together what really happened by cross-referencing sources and weighing their credibility. While many scholars and general observers were surprised at the number of Tunisians who became involved with jihadism following the country’s revolution, this study of the network behind the Djerba attack makes clear that Tunisians have, in fact, played a significant role in the global jihadi movement for decades. Equally relevant to understanding the contemporary threat picture, this article sheds light on the longstanding importance of entrepreneurial individuals who link different nodes of networks together.3 Click here to read the article in full.

New statement from the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan: "Regarding the Brussels Conference"

It has been announced that on 04-05 October 2016, a conference will be held in the capital of Belgium, Brussels, where financial support will be pledged to the Kabul administration. It must be reminded that over the past decade and a half, several conferences concerning Afghanistan have taken place at the behest of occupying nations however these conferences have not benefited the Afghans in the least except for astronomically widening the gap between the rich and the poor. The money pledged in the name of our country at each conference has either gone to the pockets of foreign contractors or to their partners inside the country, failing completely at bringing any meaningful change into the lives of the ordinary citizens. It is also known to everyone that the Kabul administration has no constitutional legitimacy, where the parliament calls the government illegitimate and the government vice versa.
In reality the occupying countries – due to their colonial peculiarity – always seek to prolong their occupation and attain their colonial goals through such conferences. This is because they always give precedent to their interests over the wellbeing and welfare of the people.
If their goals truly are demands and advancement of the Afghan nation, they would have immediately decided on ending the occupation in the previous conferences or should do it in the current conference. Or they would have given conditional aid for state level economical, industrial, agricultural and other foundational development projects over the past decade and half so that Afghanistan could have become independent and stood on its own feet. However everyone knows that the invaders want an Afghanistan that is always dependent on them politically, economically and militarily. And another distressing part of these aid packages are that a large part of it is either embezzled by the corrupt officials or is used to destroy our beloved homeland and kill our ordinary countrymen.
In the opinion of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, if this conference is truly for the economic wellbeing of the Afghans, then it is the moral and ethical duty of the participants to decide on ending the occupation before all other matters. Withdraw your troops and killing machines from our beloved homeland. Stop oppressing, killing and bombing the miserable defenseless Afghans and forcing an illegitimate Kabul administration upon them.
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
01/01/1438 Hijri Lunar
15/07/1395 Hijri Solar               02/10/2016 Gregorian

New video message from The Islamic State: "An Eye For An Eye – Wilāyat al-Furāt"

The title of this release is in reference to Qur’anic verse 5:45. Here it is in full: “And We ordained for them therein a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth, and for wounds is legal retribution. But whoever gives [up his right as] charity, it is an expiation for him. And whoever does not judge by what God has revealed – then it is those who are the wrongdoers.”



To inquire about a translation for this video message for a fee email: [email protected]

New video message from The Islamic State: "They [Are] Suffering As You Are Suffering – Wilāyat al-Khayr"

The title of this release is in reference to Qur’anic verse 4:104. Here it is in full: “And do not weaken in pursuit of the enemy. If you should be suffering – so are they suffering as you are suffering, but you expect from God that which they expect not. And God is ever Knowing and Wise.”



To inquire about a translation for this video message for a fee email: [email protected]

Jihadology Podcast: Emergency Pod: Background on The Paris Attacks

In light of the recent attacks in Paris, Timothy Holman comes on the show to discuss the history of French and Belgian jihadi networks. Some of the topics covered include:

  • How those networks have been repurposed over time depending on changing political contexts and external conflicts
  • The legacy of these networks after the Iraq war
  • How the latest attacks in Paris fit into a pattern of plots and attacks in France since 2012


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The podcast is produced by Karl Morand. If you have feedback you can email [email protected], or find us on Twitter: @JihadPod.
Download this episode (18MB mp3)
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