Tag Archives: Salim Benghalem

Islamic State Claims the Failed Paris Attacker: Salah Abdeslam

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 8 February 2018

Salah Abdeslam in prison, April 2016 (image source)

In the 118th edition of Al-Naba, the Islamic State’s newsletter, there was an acknowledgment of Salah Abdeslam as a “brother”. Abdeslam is a Belgian citizen of Moroccan extraction, who acted as a logistician and facilitator for the 13 November 2015 massacre in Paris, though failed on the night to carry out his own part in the atrocity. Abdeslam is one of the few conspirators involved in the Paris attacks and the subsequent bombing in Brussels on 22 March 2016 who is still alive.[1] The significance of this is that IS has generally ignored its operatives if they end up being arrested, and Abdeslam is an acute case of this: he has never been acknowledged in IS’s propaganda since the Paris attack, notably being excluded from the twelfth issue of IS’s Dabiq magazine released on 18 November 2015 that named the Paris attackers and described how the operation was carried out. The Naba article is reproduced below. Continue reading

Islamic State Operative Connected to Charlie Hebdo Attack Might Still Be Alive

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 15 April 2017

Boubaker al-Hakim (Abu Muqatil al-Tunisi) in Dabiq

Earlier today, an Iraqi military statement made public that the Iraqi government had provided coordinates to Bashar al-Assad’s air force, via the intelligence-sharing cell set up in Baghdad with Russia and Iran, for targets in Raqqa and al-Bukamal. One of the targets was Boubaker al-Hakim (Abu Muqatil al-Tunisi), a French-Tunisian Islamic State (IS) operative. Whether the Syrian regime’s strikes against al-Hakim were successful was not made clear. The interest here is that the U.S. announced on 10 December 2016 that it had killed al-Hakim in an airstrike near Raqqa on 26 November 2016, meaning that either the U.S. was mistaken or the Iraqis are. Al-Hakim is a very interesting figure in his own right with an extensive history in the jihadist movement and also highlights some broader trends, notably the assistance the Assad regime has provided to the IS movement. Continue reading

A Frenchman Directing the Islamic State’s Foreign Attacks

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on November 23, 2016

Abdelilah Himich (Abu Sulayman al-Firansi) [image source]

The United States released sanctions yesterday that confirmed the identity of Abu Sulayman al-Firansi, a senior commander in the external operations division of the Islamic State (IS). Abu Sulayman is Abdelilah Himich, a French citizen, as was first reported last month. Among the interesting aspects of this are the revelation that a European made it to a very senior position within the structure of IS’s foreign intelligence service, the amn al-kharji. Continue reading