President Donald Trump said Wednesday that officials would announce next week that “100 percent” of the ISIS caliphate had been liberated. ISIS currently holds only about 1 percent of land in Iraq and Syria, the global coalition to counter ISIS announced late last year. However, the caliphate continues to hold territory in Afghanistan, Libya, the Sinai and West Africa.
Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi made his first speech since last September and urged followers to continue fighting. The 54-minute audio released on Wednesday is entitled ‘Give Glad Tidings to the Patient’ and encourages followers to ‘persevere.’ The undated audio appears to reference recent events including the detention of a US pastor in Turkey.
US and Tajik officials announced on Monday that four tourists, including two Americans, cycling through Tajikistan were killed when a driver hit them and joined his passengers in attacking the cyclists with knives. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was ‘in response to calls to target citizens of Coalition countries.’
After being imprisoned in military custody for three months in Iraq, a United States citizen, suspected of fighting for the Islamic State, will be permitted to meet with an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer. A federal judge made the ruling Saturday, ordering the Pentagon to allow the meeting, calling the Trump administration’s position ‘troubling.’
Two British men believed to be the last two members of an Islamic State cell nicknamed, ‘the Beatles,’ have been seized by Syrian Kurdish fighters, US officials said, Thursday. The ‘execution cell,’ beheaded more than 27 Western hostages and tortured others, officials claim. The captured members were identified as Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh.
The Trump administration is seeking to forcibly deport an American citizen accused of being a member of ISIS from his place of military detention in Iraq to Syria in the next 72 hours. Lawyers for the unidentified suspect call the plan ‘a death warrant’ and plan to fight the transfer in court.
Syrian forces backed by the U.S. have completely liberated Syria’s Raqqa from ISIS. According to a spokesman for the coalition, there are about 100 members of the group still in the city and it could take months to clear Raqqa of all the explosives laid by them. Nearly all the citizens have fled the city.
A “Swift and decisive victory” according the commander of U.S. coalition forces in Iraq, was marked when Iraqi government announced the liberation of Tal Afar from the ISIS Thursday. Tal Afar, a city of province Mosul, has produced some of ISIS’s most senior commanders. The victory is seen to put an end to the group in northern Iraq. ISIS had been holding Tal Afar from three years.
ISIS’s grip on Iraqi territory has apparently ended according to Iraq’s Prime Minister after government forces recaptured the site of historic Al-Nuri Mosque in Mosul where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has ever made a public appearance. The Islamic State considered the site the symbolic center of their self-declared caliphate. Iraqi militants are now dealing with the rubble that has been left since last week.
ISIS, on Thursday, released a video of their reclusive leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. A 46-minute audio recording was released, the first since last year November, in the recording Baghdadi praises his soldiers for their battle in Mosul. Baghdadi also references the London and Barcelona attacks in his speech, emphasizing the threat ISIS poses to the western world.