ISIS Military-Political Leadership Increasingly Under Pressure as US Kills its Grand Mufti and Russi

ISIS Military-Political Leadership Increasingly Under Pressure as US Kills its Grand Mufti and Russia its Supreme Leader

US-led coalition has announced that it killed ISIS self-proclaimed 'Grand Mufti' Turki al-Bin'ali in an airstrike on May 31st in Mayadin, Syria. If Russian accounts are true that it killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi in airstrikes, and if reports are accurate about the loss of other senior ISIS commanders and leaders, then it seems likely that ISIS military-political leadership in severely degraded, and we may see the group fracture even as it morphs into a global menace.

Meanwhile, in a close call yesterday, “Adam D.” drove a white Renault Megane into a gendarmerie van on the Champs-Elysees in Paris just before 4 p.m. local time (1400 UTC) on Monday. The 31-year-old was on a terror watch list as an Islamic extremist and died in the attack. The terrorist was armed and the vehicle laden with explosives. No police or civilians were injured in the attack. French authorities have reportedly seized weapons and detained four relatives of the attacker including his ex-wife, father, brother and sister-in-law.

Cameroon has reportedly attested 30 of its soldiers fighting Boko Haram in the northern part of the country for desertion.

Egyptian military airstrikes killed 12 ISIS militants in Egypt's North Sinai province bordering Israel and the Gaza Strip on Tuesday. The Sinai-based Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis group changed its name to ISIS in the Sinai and has claimed responsibility for most of the terrorist attacks, including those against Coptic churches that killed dozens and wounded hundreds. Egyptian Army raids in North Sinai killed three extremists and captured 23 terror suspects.

At least 15 people were killed and dozens injured after a bomb was exploded near Wadajir district headquarters in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Tuesday. Al-Qaeda-aligned terror group al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred just days after a deadly attack at a restaurant in Mogadishu claimed 29 lives.

Australia has reportedly suspended air operations in Syria amid escalating tensions between Washington and Moscow after Russia threatened to target US led-Coalition aircraft after a US F-18 shot down a Syrian Su-22 fighter plane yesterday. The US warned that it would fly anywhere it needed to in the conflict and signaled so today when a US F-15 fighter aircraft shot down an Iranian-made Shaheed-129 drone in Southern Syria, near At Tanf.

Kurdish forces in Syria have entered the city of Raqqa, where an estimated 2,000 ISIS fighters are battling to maintain control of their de facto capital. The fighting has slowed down to street by street in the old walled-city, fortified in the eighth century by the Abbasid Caliphate. Syrian regime forces and Iranian militias have penetrated east, just south of Tabqa city, toward Deir ez-Zor and the small collection of Sunni majority villages along the Euphrates river.

As ISIS rapidly loses territory, the US and its partner forces in the region have come into increasing conflict with Syrian regime and Iranian-backed militias in the Euphrates River Valley.

In Mosul US-backed Iraqi government forces are fighting again street by street and building by building. The UN has warned that ISIS may be holding more than 100,000 people there as human shields. Pro-government forces launched an offensive to retake Mosul in October and they captured the eastern half of the city in January. On Sunday, Iraqi commanders announced the start of the "final chapter" of the Mosul offensive, attacking the now surrounded Old City where the Iraqi Army believes there are no more than 300 ISIS militants left alive out of a force of 6,000. But Kurdish security officials in Kirkuk are warning that ISIS militants are trying to regroup.

A statement by Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said Tuesday that at least 65 ISIS militants were killed in its recent missile attack on Syria's eastern region including foreign fighters from Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Afghanistan. Iran said that it had killed the senior Saudi ISIS commander, Sa'ad al-Qosaibi, in the strike on Deir ez-Zor. Additionally, Iran announced that it had attacked an ISIS command and operation center in the eastern Syrian city of al-Muhassan. Sunday, Iran struck ISIS targets in response to the June 7th Tehran terror attacks that killed 17 people at the Mausoleum of Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini and the Iranian Parliament.

But the veracity of the Iranian account was challenged by Israeli sources who said Iran’s missile strike on ISIS was a massive failure, after only two of the seven missiles fired hit their targets. Two of the Zolfaqar Short-Range Ballistic Missiles (SRBMs) missed their targets in Syria, while three others did not even make it out of Iraqi airspace.

Two Pakistani sailors were killed and three others were wounded when their vehicle was attacked in the Jiwani area of Gwadar district, Balochistan on Monday. The sailors were ambushed by four assailants on two motorbikes who then opened fire on the vehicle.

Indonesia is on alert for ISIS militants disguising as refugees from Marawi city in the southern Philippines. Joint naval patrols by Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines to fight terrorism in the Sulu Sea were launched on June 19th from Tarakan island in North Kalimantan.

Meanwhile, NATO has held its first war games focused on defending the Suwalki Gap, a land corridor along the Polish-Lithuanian border sandwiched between Russia's Kaliningrad exclave and Belarus. Some 1,500 troops from the United States, Poland, Britain, Lithuania, and Croatia took part in the exercises on June 17th and 18th. The war games were held just after Russia, Belarus, and Serbia held joint military exercises near the Belarusian border with Poland.

It was announced that US President, Donald Trump, will receive Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko, ahead of his first meeting with Russian President, Vladimir Putin, in meeting that could mark a shift in US policy toward Russia.

The trial of 17 journalists accused of being involved in July’s failed coup, got underway in Istanbul on Monday.

Qatar has refused to negotiate with neighboring countries unless they cease their economic and travel "blockade" of the Gulf state.

A Pakistani Air Force JF-17 has reportedly shot down an Iranian spy drone over Balochistan some 45 miles into Pakistani airspace.

The Chinese Embassy in Laos has issued a safety warning to its citizens after a Chinese national was shot dead in Xaysomboun province.

The inaugural US-China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue, jointly initiated by US President, Donald Trump, and Chinese resident, Xi Jinping, is expected to touch on a range of bilateral and international issues, including the South China Sea, Taiwan, and North Korea.

Otto Warmbier, the 22-year-old University of Virginia student who was detained in North Korea for nearly a year and a half died on Monday afternoon. The death comes just days after he returned home in a coma from North Korean captivity. Otto Warmbier was arrested in January 2016 at the end of a brief tourist visit to the Hermit Kingdom.

The US has reportedly dispatched two B-1B Lancer heavy strategic bombers to the Western Pacific to conduct drills with Japan near the East China Sea, and Korean Peninsula.

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