The making of a homegrown terrorist: The details of Abdul Razak Ali Artan’s attack last week at the Ohio State University campus in Columbus remain scarce, but in social media posts attributed to him there is praise for both the Islamic State and slain al-Qaeda preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, who the U.S. said directed attacks on Americans. The OSU attack comes just two months after Ahmed Khan Rahimi detonated two bombs in New York and New Jersey. In pages from Rahimi’s blood-soaked journal, he scribbled support for both al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. How, many are asking, could jihadist allegiances be divided in such a way? An article from the American Military University explains that many Western jihadists are motivated by the rhetoric and ideology of the wider global jihadist movement rather than by a specific ideology. READ MORE
Is ISIS leader dead? ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may be dead, according to an unconfirmed report from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which says that the leaders of the Syrian arm of ISIS, called al-Raqqah State, had been summoned to Iraq to choose a “caliph successor” to al-Baghdadi. The brief SOHR article said the organization’s “confirmed information” came from “several reliable sources.” In October, he and three other jihadis were reported to be seriously ill after eating food possibly laced with poison. The International Business Times quoted recent reports that Baghdadi, the self-styled ISIS “caliph,” was hiding in tunnels beneath the embattled Iraqi city of Mosul, keeping a suicide belt at hand so that we would not be taken alive by coalition forces. The IB Times article says the Alalam News report quoted reports from Mosul saying Baghdadi “died following ongoing fighting in the Iraqi city of Mosul.” The report also claimed that Baghdadi “has not been seen since September, when he was seen travelling through Mosul under heavy guard.” No further details are available. Read more HERE and HERE.