FILE - Al-Qaeda Flag - Reuters FILE - Al-Qaeda Flag - Reuters

Qaeda renews strategy to expand in sub-Saharan Africa: Egypt's Iftaa

Tue, Jan. 1, 2019
CAIRO – 1 January 2019: Egypt’s Dar al-Iftaa Fatwa Monitoring Observatory said that Al-Qaeda is seeking to extend its influence in sub-Saharan Africa in accordance with a strategy based on methods it "did not use before."

Al-Qaeda's strategy is based on four main principles, according to Iftaa's observatory body.

First: Forming alliances with other terrorist groups in the region. The observatory body said that al-Qaeda seeks to ally with various groups in the region, which adopt the same ideology and share common interests and objectives.

The terror group formed an alliance in March 2017, dubbed Jama'at Nusratul-Islam wal-Muslimin with a number of groups, including al-Mourabitoun militant group, Ansar al-Din, Sahara Emirate, and Macina Liberation Front, the observatory said.

Second: Using ethnicity. Al-Qaeda always remains on an ethnic backer that mainly leads terrorist elements to join Al-Qaeda, with the aim of compensating the losses suffered due to military operations carried out against Al-Qaeda, the observatory said. This gives the organization's attacks an ethnic character, which is likely to leave a sign in the region even after the Islamic State (IS) is defeated and expelled, the observatory added.

Third: Using new methods.Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb(AQIM) attempts to respond to the attacks against it in different and quick ways, to protect its internal cohesion and the ability to expand in the region, the observatory said, adding that this leads Al-Qaeda to resort to suicide operations, use women to blow themselves up in markets and gatherings to increase human and material losses.

Fourth: Reliance on youth. AQIM relies on young people, most of whom are not known and have high combat skills and are desert dwellers, the observatory said.

Al-Qaeda's efforts come following the decline of IS's influence in the region following its defeat in Syria and Iraq, the observatory said, adding that Al-Qaeda has made many changes at the organizational and operational levels.

IS, Christmas

Earlier in December, the observatory said that the Islamic State (IS) has committed 11 operations since it emerged, where their cars ran over people, resulting in the death and injury of 892 people.

Such terror operations were carried out in Britain, Spain, France, the US, Germany and Canada, the observatory said.

The Islamic State (IS) has launched a new video dubbed "Prepare Yourself", which was produced in Spanish and translated to Arabic and English, urging its elements and hiding members to carry out terrorist acts during Christmas celebrations through explosions and running over people, the observatory said.

The IS also urged its elements and supporters to hide among people and put on the same clothes with an explosive belt hidden under the elements' clothes to kill who they call "disbelievers," the observatory added.

The observatory explained that IS called on its supporters during the eight minute video to target Christian gatherings during the celebrations of Christmas, by either explosive belts, by running them over with cars, or by stabbing them with knives.

The observatory warned of the seriousness of the terrorist operations that may occur, urging the security services to mobilize their forces during these celebrations to foil IS's potential attempts to carry out terror attacks.

On July 14, 2016, a Tunisian resident of France deliberately drove a cargo truck into a number of people celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France, causing the death of 86 people and the injury of over 450 others before France's police managed to eliminate him after fire exchange. IS claimed responsibility for the attack.
 
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