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Main events of the week
Following the murder of the Jordanian pilot, the Royal Jordanian Air Force carried out intensive airstrikes against ISIS targets in both Syria and Iraq (up to now, the Jordanians have only carried out airstrikes in Syria). The Commander of the Royal Jordanian Air Force said that the airstrikes would continue. ISIS published a detailed list of Jordanian pilots and offered financial rewards to anyone who kills or wounds a Jordanian pilot.
ISIS claimed that one of the Jordanian airstrikes killed a female American aid worker who was in its hands. The White House confirmed that she was killed, but there is no reliable information about the date and circumstances of her death.
After the liberation of the city of Kobani, Kurdish forces began to repel ISIS from the surrounding countryside. ISIS forces are retreating and are trying to curb the Kurdish forces’ advance towards the city of Aleppo and the Idlib province. Apart from that, there have been no significant developments this week in the rest of the battle zones in Syria and Iraq.
Following the killing of around 30 Egyptian soldiers, and the wounding of dozens, last week the Egyptian Army carried out intensive security activity in northern Sinai against Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (the ISIS branch in Sinai). According to Egyptian sources, 151 operatives of the organization were killed, including 47 senior operatives. Egyptian combat helicopters participated in this activity. ISIS, on its part, published a photo of an operative in Sinai carrying a Strela (SA-7) anti-aircraft shoulder missile, as a demonstration of the organization’s anti-aircraft capabilities.
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ISIS’s interest in light helicopters
On February 2, 2015, a Twitter account affiliated with ISIS published an urgent call to engineers working in industries in Iraq, Syria and Egypt, to send plans for the Islamic State (this is an implicit reference to building or assembling light helicopters (Twitter account affiliated with ISIS, February 2, 2015).
Jihadist from Rafah killed in the ranks of ISIS in Libya
Abd al-Ilah Qishta, a 25-year-old from Rafah, was killed on February 6, 2015, in the city of Derna, eastern Libya, during battles between the Libyan Army and jihadi organizations. Qishta left his family in Rafah a few months ago and joined the ranks of ISIS in Libya (Rai al-Youm, February 7, 2015).
According to a relative of the deceased, Abd al-Ilah Qishta was a prominent Hamas military operative in Rafah until he decided to leave the Gaza Strip and fight in Libya (Rusaifa News, Libya, February 7, 2015). Following his death, the Qishta family in Rafah posted an official death notice on its website (the Qishta family’s website, February 7, 2015).
Written by: The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC)