Not Surprising that Abu Usama al-Masri Suspected for Flight KGL9268 Downing

As the Islamic State’s (IS) claim for taking down KGL9268—the Russian plane that crashed over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on October 31—seems increasingly plausible by the day, British officials have now identified Abu Usama al-Masri as a “person of interest” in the matter.

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Assessing IS’ Claim of Responsibility for the Russian Plane Downing in Egypt

The downing of KGL9268 is a tragedy riddled with conflicting variables within a weighted geopolitical context: a plane of Russian passengers amid the escalation of Russian forces in Syria; the plane’s downing over an Islamic State (IS)-plagued region; a vague claim of responsibility from IS; and an equally vague statement by a Kogalymavia airline official that the crash was caused by “external influence.”

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Plot Against the Pope Highlights a Problem: Social Media is a One-Stop-Shop for Terror Advice and Manuals

Emerging reports of a 15 year-old boy inspired by the Islamic State (IS) to plot an attack against Pope Francis in Philadelphia speaks to what a terror resource social media has become. There remains little information on the case, but an FBI-DHS bulletin claimed, "The minor obtained explosives instructions and further disseminated these instructions through social media.” As a daily witness to the relentless campaign by IS recruiters to coordinate lone wolf attacks in the West, this is less than surprising.

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Issue 14 of AQAP’s “Inspire” Magazine Focuses on Assassinations, Provides Targets and Methods

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Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released the 14th issue of its English magazine, “Inspire,” with a thematic focus on “Assassination Operations.” The 88-page issue was released on September 9, 2015 in both English and Arabic.

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Zawahiri’s Pledge to the Taliban will Test al-Qaeda’s Cohesion

After much questioning whether al-Qaeda (AQ) would pledge to the Afghan Taliban's new leader, Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, AQ leader Ayman al-Zawahiri swore allegiance to the new chief on August 13, promising to him, "We are your soldiers and your supporters and a brigade of your brigades." This pledge, produced by AQ's as-Sahab Media Foundation and titled, "A Biography of Faithfulness," will serve as test of AQ's leadership strength and the ties to its affiliates. 

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