Aftermath of attack in Sousse, Tunisia (image EPA)
Ramadan 2015 is likely to continue to be a bloody month in terms of terrorist attacks. Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, spokesperson for Islamic State (IS) earlier called for Muslims to mark the holy month of Ramadan by carrying out acts of “jihad” (holy war) and that those doing so would be rewarded for their actions.
IS has now accepted responsibility for Friday’s attack on the tourist resort of Sousse, Tunisia where 39 people died, as Prime Minister David Cameron stated, “people must be prepared for the fact that many of those who died were British”. The perpetrator was named as Abu Yahya Qayrawani (nom de guerre) on IS linked social media accounts who was shot dead by security forces. (Tunisian authorities name him as Seifeddine Rezgui according to BBC).
As Jon Williams (ABC) tweeted,
ISIS claims it was behind
#Sousse attack: Abu Yahya Al Qayrawani targeted “vile dens of whoring, blasphemy & vice”.
He earlier tweeted,
A witness of the attack told the Daily Mail, he was laughing and joking around, like a normal guy. He was choosing who to shoot. Some people, he was saying to them ‘you go away’. He was choosing tourists, British, French.” As Al Jazeera reported, Rafik Chelli, a senior interior ministry official, said “he was a student, unknown to authorities and not on any watchlist.” Al Qayranwani is alleged to have come from the city of Kairouan which saw clashes in 2013 between authorities and Salafi group, Ansar al Sharia, (Salafis are fundamentalists who believe in a return to the original ways of Islam) see following link,
“How to deal with Tunisia’s Salafists”
Abu Yahya Qayrawani allegedly responsible for attack at Moussa, Tunisia
Alleged claim of responsibility from Islamic State
Islamic State affiliated group in Saudi Arabia named Najd Province have already claimed responsibility for yesterday’s attack on the Shia mosque of al Emam Al Sadiq in Kuwait City which left 27 dead and over 200 injured. The bomber was reported in Reuters as being Abu Suleiman al- Muwahed who blew himself up as worshippers attended Friday prayers. A statement on social media claimed he was targeting a “temple of rejectionists” referring to Shia as heretics. There were allegations that the mosque was working to revert Sunni Muslims to the Shia sect. A photo of the alleged bomber was circulated on social media, see below….
Abu Suleiman al- Muwahed allegedly responsible for Kuwait mosque attack
Alleged claim of responsibility from Islamic State
No group has yet claimed responsibility for another terrorist attack on the Air Products chemical factory in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, near Lyons in south-west France on Friday. Yassin Salhi (35) from Saint-Priest, near Lyon has been detained and 3 others also arrested. Salhi was known to be linked to Salafists in Lyon and was under surveillance until 2008 after concerns he had become radicalized. According to Soren Kern of the New York Daily News, Salafism is the “the fastest-growing Islamic movement in Europe”. The name Salafi comes from as-salaf as-saliheen which refers to the ‘pious predecessors’ of the early Muslim community which in traditional Islamic scholarship means someone who died within the first four hundred years after the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Special forces respond to attack on Bardo Museum, Tunisia (image, Guardian)
Returning to Tunisia, the country is still reeling from an attack on the Bardo Museum which left 22 tourists dead.
In March 2015, I wrote an article on how Islamic State claimed responsibility for the Bardo attack publishing their comment in IS publication Dabiq no 8 (March 2015) also making reference to the assault on “two temples” in Saana, Yemen. The attackers are named as, Abū Zakariyyā at-Tūnusī and Abū Anas at-Tūnusī, (those that join jihadist groups are often given new nom de guerre which can be confusing to the public). IS stated,
‘this month, the soldiers of the Khilāfah sent a forceful message to the camp of kufr and riddah, striking and terrorizing them in multiple lands, and with no visas, borders, and passports to stand in the way. Strikes were carried out in Yemen and Tunisia by men whose allegiance lies, not with a false citizenship, but with Allah, His Messenger, and the believers. They readily sacrificed themselves for the cause of Allah in their own lands, bringing massacre to the disbelievers and murtaddīn, not differentiating between them on grounds of nationalism.’
‘in the city of Tunis, two soldiers of the Islamic State carried out an assault on kāfir tourists in the Bardo National Museum. The two mujāhidīn, Abū Zakariyyā at-Tūnusī and Abū Anas at-Tūnusī, were sent on their mission after having trained with their brothers in Libya and having declared their bay’ah to the Khalīfah (hafidhahullāh). They returned to Tunisia, bravely advanced towards the security quarter in Tunis, entered the museum – located across from the Tunisian parliament – and poured terror on the kuffār inside, killing more than 20 of them and injuring a dozen others. They then faced off against the local murtadd security forces with their AK assault rifles, hand grenades, and explosive belts, and were killed fī sabīlillāh.
The operation succeeded in bringing anguish to a number of the nations involved in the crusader coalition (Italy, France, Britain, Japan, Poland, Australia, Spain, and Belgium), after some of their own citizens became prey for the soldiers.’
France 24 states that Tunisian authorities allege fighters from Okba Ibn Nafaa were involved in the assault and have killed nine men accused of belonging to the group saying,
‘Tunisia’s Prime Minister Habib Essid confirmed later Sunday that one of the leaders of the group, Lokmane Abou Sakhr – an Algerian who was singled out as the organiser of the museum attack was among the dead.’”
The following is a special report by Reuters referring to Jabeur Khachnaoui and Yassine el-Abidi alleged to have carried out the Bardo attack, it also refers to Salafist links.
“Special Report: The middle-class Islamists behind Tunisia’s museum attack”
There was some confusion over exactly which terrorist group(s) had links to the Bardo museum incident, as Middle East Eye points out, “many analysts have pointed fingers towards a group linked to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) called the Uqba bin Nafie Brigades” see following link also,
“Analysts unclear of al-Qaeda – IS link to Tunis Bardo Museum attack”
The Sousse and Bardo attacks will not only affect the tourist industry on which many Tunisians rely for their livelihood but as Prime Minister Habib Essid announced, the government is to close down 80 mosques outside state control considered to be responsible for inciting violence.
Whether IS is responsible or not for Tunisia attacks the warning is clear as written by IS hostage John Cantlie in his article ““Paradigm Shift” (Dabiq no 8, March 2015).
THE ONLY QUESTION IS,
HOW MANY MORE WESTERNERS WILL DIE BETWEEN THEN AND NOW?
“The way things are going at the moment, the answer is many. France, Belgium, Denmark, Australia, and Canada, have all been the targets of mujāhidīn attacks over the last three months alone, and as more Islamic fighters from different groups in different countries pledge allegiance to the Islamic State, such attacks will surely only become more numerous and better-executed.”
Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad . She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.