by Florian Flade
“The hero of Khorasan Zaid Saleh al-Hourani, known to everyone as Abu Musab al-Hourani”, the beginning of a short biography of a Jordanian Jihadist fighter killed in Afghanistan reads. The article about Al-Hourani was posted on Jihadist Internet forums recently and gives a rare insight into the situation of foreign fighters in Afghanistan these days.
“Abu Musab al-Hourani”, a resident of Amman, from a Jericho family, allegedly was a close aid to former Iraqi Al-Qaida leader Abu Musab az-Zarqawi and recruited about 30 other Jordanians to Jihad in Iraq. In Jordan al-Hourani was imprisoned for 5 years because of his terrorist activities.
In 2010 he traveled to Pakistan and joined the mujaheddin in the tribal areas. Pictures released with his biography are showing Abu Musab al-Hourani in the Pakistani tribal agency of Orakzai. “He took part in operations targeting the Pakistani military”, the biography reads. Al-Hourani was wounded during the fighting in Pakistan, both in battle with Pakistani troops (on his leg) and in CIA drone strikes (again his leg) but recovered from the injuries. Read the rest of this entry »
By: Murad Batal Al-Shishani
Full article available on mlm.jamestown.org
Unlike most of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) releases, the death of Tariq al-Dhahab was confirmed by al-Fajr Media Centre, al-Qaeda’s official media arm, instead of Al-Malhim, AQAP’s media arm. This could represent a new effort designed to centralize the “condolence” statements and messages of the al-Qaeda affiliated groups.
At 35 years old, al-Dhahab was a tribal strongman, Anwar al-Awlaki’s brother-in-law, and the leader of AQAP’s newly formed “Ansar al-Shari’a” in al-Bayda Governorate. The stated aim of Ansar al-Shari’a is to implement Shari’a in various areas of Yemen. On February 16, 2012, al-Dhahab was reportedly killed by his half-brother Hizzam al-Dhahab (Ma’rib Press, February 16). Hizzam was accused of receiving orders from Yemeni authorities to attack his brother.  In ordering Tariq al-Shabab’s death, Yemeni authorities were trying to exploit an old tribal rift in the leadership of the al-Dhahab clan.
Hizzam al-Dhahab, who supported Yemeni authorities and the Saleh regime, fundamentally disagreed with Tariq’s ties to AQAP. With Tariq’s death Hizzam, his older brother, temporarily held leadership of the Yemeni city of Rada’a. Tariq’s AQAP affiliates were quick to retaliate to the killing of Tariq. They initiated an attack on Hizzam al-Dhahab’s home, killing Hizzam by planting a car bomb. Hizzam was dead less than twenty-four hours after the attack and death of his brother Tariq.
In the al-Fajr Media Centre statement AQAP said: “Sheikh Tariq al-Dhahab…was the first among tribes that resorted to rule and judge by Shari’a. His home was a shelter for those oppressed and the refuge of the needing persons.” Among other laudatory mentions, the statement described al-Dhahab as wise, patient, polite and brave. 
AQAP Affiliate Not Member
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s statement and the prompt revenge they conducted show the importance of al-Dhahab to them, although he was not a formal member of AQAP as many media outlets have suggested. 
Al-Dhahab’s connection to AQAP as an affiliate became apparent in mid-January 2012 when fighters led by him seized the al-Amiriyah historical site and announced Shari’a rule in the city of Rada’a, Yemen. Al-Dhahab later withdrew from the city following a tribal mediation that led to the release of his brother, Nabil al-Dhahab, and AQAP members held by Yemeni authorities.
Nabil was arrested by Syrian authorities in 2006 while travelling to Iraq to join the jihadi fight against American troops. Syria repatriated Nabil to Yemen. Tariq then sought Nabil’s release from the custody of Yemeni authorities. In 2007, Tariq appealed to Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh, asking him to release Nabil with the threat that his tribe, “Qaifah” – one of the largest in Yemen, will do what it takes to release their sons.  Later, in return for Nabil’s freedom, Tariq agreed to withdraw AQAP troops from Rada’a but he reneged on this agreement.
Nabil al-Dhahab and Kaid al-Dhahab, Tariq and Hizzam’s brothers, are said to be taking steps to consolidate Rada’a in the wake of the family massacre. Tariq al-Dhahab was accused on multiple occasions of being a puppet of Saleh and executing his policies in order to send a message to the West that the alternative to his regime is al-Qaeda. Tariq denied the allegations, retorting that he could not be aligned with a regime that “imprisons our children, is loyal to the U.S. and does not rule by Shari’a.” 
AQAP Integration into Yemeni Tribes
Tariq al-Dhahab’s strongest link to AQAP was his relation to American-born Yemeni cleric and prominent AQAP leader Anwar al-Awlaki (killed in September 2011) who was married to al-Dhahab’s sister.  Read the rest of this entry »
News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
(November 23-29, 2011 )
On the night of November 28 three rockets were fired from south Lebanon into the western Galilee. There were no casualties but property was damaged. A network affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the global jihad calling itself the Abdullah Azzam Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack. Two years ago the same network claimed responsibility for two rocket attacks.
Sporadic rocket fire from the Gaza Strip continues to plague southern Israel. This past week two rocket hits were identified in the western Negev. In response the Israeli Air Force attacked two terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip.
On November 24 Mahmoud Abbas and Khaled Mashaal met in Cairo as part of the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation process. Both sides described the meeting as positive. In effect it would seem that both preferred not to decide the essential items on the agenda, and the agreements reached reflected common issues of relatively slight importance.
Rocket Fire into Northern Israel
On the night of November 28 three rockets were launched from south Lebanon into the western Galilee. There were no casualties. A chicken coop and gas balloons were hit by shrapnel. The IDF returned fire (IDF Spokesman, November 29, 2011). On the morning of November 29 UNIFIL and Lebanese Army forces patrolled the region of Aita al-Shaab in the western sector of south Lebanon from which the rockets were fired (Al-Jazeera TV, November 29, 2011). UNIFIL said in a statement that it was investigating the incident (MTV, November 29, 2011).
Since the end of the Second Lebanon War there have been a number of rockets fired into Israeli territory from south Lebanon. The last was a little over two years ago on October 27, 2009, when a rocket was fired into the eastern Galilee, apparently a 107mm shell (IDF Spokesman, October 27, 2009).1
Firefighters put out one of the fires caused by the rocket fire
(Photo by Max Yelinson, courtesy of NRG, November 29, 2011).
A network calling itself the Abdullah Azzam Brigades claimed responsibility for the rocket fire (Al-Nashra website, November 29, 2011). The network is affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the global jihad. It is headed by Salah al-Qar’awi, a Saudi Arabian who fought the Americans at Fallujah in Iraq. The Abdullah Azzam Brigades are a terrorist network in Lebanon operating in the Palestinian refugee camps and have a branch in the Arabian Peninsula which calls itself the Companies of Yusuf al-Ayiri.2
Two years ago the Abdullah Azzam Brigades claimed responsibility for two rocket attacks from south Lebanon against Israel:
On September 11, 2009, two or three 122mm rockets were fired from the western sector of south Lebanon into the western Galilee. On September 14 an Internet forum affiliated with the global jihad posted the statement that a group called the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, whose Lebanese branch was called the Companies of Ziad al-Jarrah, claimed responsibility for the rocket fire (Al-Fallujah forum, September 14, 2009).
On October 27, 2009 a rocket, apparently 107mm in diameter, was fired into Israel from the central sector of south Lebanon. It fell in an open area near one of the villages in the eastern Galilee. There were no casualties but the rocket caused a fire (IDF Spokesman, October 27, 2009). The following morning the Lebanese found four additional rockets ready for launching in the same area from which the first rocket had been fired. They were located in the yard of a building under construction on the outskirts of the town of Hula. (Lebanese News Agency, November 28, 2009). A global jihad forum issued a statement claiming responsibility for placing five rockets around the Hula (Al-Fallujah forum, October 29, 2009).
Logo of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades
Important Terrorism Events Israel’s South
Rocket Fire into Israeli Territory
On November 26 two rocket hits were identified in Israeli territory. Both fell in open areas in the western Negev. There were no casualties and no damage was done
Rockets and Mortar Shells Fired into Israeli Territory 3
Rocket Fire — Monthly Distribution
Mortar Shell Fire — Monthly Distribution
Israeli Air Force Activity
In response to the rocket attacks, on November 27 Israeli aircraft struck two focal points of terrorist activity in the southern and central Gaza Strip (IDF Spokesman, November 27, 2011).
Judea and Samaria
The Situation on the Ground
This past week the IDF carried out routine counterterrorist activities in Judea and Samaria, detaining Palestinians suspected of terrorist activities and confiscating weapons. There were an increasing number of incidents in which stones and Molotov cocktails were thrown at Israeli security forces and vehicles.
Developments in the Gaza Strip
Export of Agricultural Products from the Gaza Strip to Europe
On November 27 agricultural products began being exported from the Gaza Strip to markets in Europe. The forecast is for 150 tons of cherry tomatoes, 50 tons of green peppers, 100 tons of strawberries and 20 million flowers. The trucks leave the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom crossing. The exports are part of a large-scale project carried out in coordination with the Israeli government coordinator and financed by the Dutch government (IDF Spokesman, November 27, 2011).
Truck loaded with strawberries for European markets
(Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades website, November 28, 2011).
Hamas has great expectations for the elections currently being held in Egypt. It assumes that the Muslim Brotherhood, its parent organization, will gain significant influence in the Egyptian politics and be able to support Hamas in various areas, especially the conflict with Israel. However, in public Hamas spokesmen are careful to express support of all the Egyptian parties in order to preserve its flexibility and freedom to maneuver. Read the rest of this entry »