The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militant who staged an attack on Istanbul’s Reina nightclub in the early hours of Jan. 1 looks like a professional who received military training on how to use a weapon, according to security experts. Police have released the first footage of the Reina attacker, who killed 39 people and wounded 65 others, with initial police reports suggesting he may be from Uzbekistan or Kyrgyzstan. Officials are also investigating the possibility that the attacker may be from Xinjiang in eastern China and aged around 25, according to a report in daily Habertürk. It is still unclear how many minutes the attacker spent inside the club before fleeing. He went upstairs after entering Reina and started firing on revelers, before going downstairs to continue shooting.
Two gunmen reportedly dressed in Santa costumes struck Istanbul’s Reina nightclub on New Year’s Eve, killing at least 35 people and injuring at least another 45, the BBC reported Dec. 31. The attack is all but certainly inspired by or directed by the Islamic State, one of the three strands of terrorism currently threatening Turkey. At the time of this writing, at least one attacker is reportedly still at large, perhaps in the nightclub. Reina is a popular venue on the Bosporus Strait, and as many as 700 patrons were inside it at the time of the attack
WASHINGTON, Aug. 4, 2016 — U.S. Africa Command officials today announced results of the recent precision airstrikes conducted against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant targets in Sirte, Libya.
Africom is conducting the strikes at the request of, and in coordination with, the Libyan Government of National Accord, officials said.
Airstrikes Aug. 1-3
On Aug. 1, airstrikes hit a T-72 tank, two military support vehicles, an enemy fighting position, a T-55 tank and two pieces of heavy engineering equipment
Airstrikes on Aug. 2 hit a rocket launcher, an excavator and a pickup truck with a mounted recoilless rifle.
Yesterday, Africom struck a pickup truck with a mounted recoilless rifle.
These airstrikes bring the total number of airstrikes in support of Operation Odyssey Lightning to nine over the first three days of August, Africom officials said. “The U.S. stands with the international community in supporting the GNA as it strives to restore stability and security to Libya,” they added in a news release announcing the results of the airstrikes.
These and previous actions will help to deny ISIL a safe haven in Libya from which it could attack the United States and its allies, officials said in the release.
From a Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve News Release
SOUTHWEST ASIA, Aug. 3, 2016 — U.S. and coalition military forces continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq yesterday, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
Officials reported details of yesterday’s strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Strikes in Syria
Fighter aircraft conducted five strikes in Syria:
— Near Raqqah, a strike struck an ISIL headquarters.
— Near Manbij, four strikes struck four separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed five ISIL fighting positions.
Strikes in Iraq
Fighter, remotely piloted aircraft and rocket artillery conducted seven strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:
— Near Kisik, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL fighting position.
— Near Mosul, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle and suppressed an ISIL mortar position.
— Near Qayyarah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun, an ISIL mortar system, two ISIL vehicles and an ISIL assembly area.
— Near Ramadi, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle borne improvised explosive device, five ISIL vehicles and four ISIL tactical vehicles.
— Near Rawah, a strike destroyed an ISIL fuel tanker.
— Near Tal Afar, a strike struck an ISIL headquarters.
Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target. Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike.
Part of Operation Inherent Resolve
The strikes were conducted as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to eliminate the ISIL terrorist group and the threat they pose to Iraq, Syria, and the wider international community. The destruction of ISIL targets in Syria and Iraq further limits the terrorist group’s ability to project terror and conduct operations, officials said.
Coalition nations that have conducted strikes in Iraq include the United States, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Jordan, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Coalition nations that have conducted strikes in Syria include the United States, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, France, Jordan, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.
In late August ended the first phase of the sixth round training for a Peshmerga battalion, organized by the multinational Command Kurdish Training Coordination Center (KTCC) – composed of Italian, English, German, Dutch , Norwegian, Finnish and Hungarian military instructors – which is currently commanded by Italy. Those training activities are included in the “Prima Parthica” military operation, a response to the request for help presented by the Iraqi Permanent ONU Representative to the President of the Security Council.
The mission is intended to obstruct the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s threat, by supporting the security forces of regional partners. The tasks of Italian contingent concern, first of all, the training of Iraqui and Kurdish security forces, as well as the territory reconnaissance and surveillance, but also synergies with the Chief of the Coalition staff. During the training cycle, Italian soldiers handend down to 300 servicepersons of Kurdish unit the necessary skills to conduct tactical activities in different environments, to implement strategies of attack and defense in particular contexts, such as towns. But not only.
The know-how transferred to the local militia includes individual instruction for combat, research and clearance of IED (improvised explosive devices) and the establishment of a task force able to supervise emergency situations. Kurdish have learned and perfected the moving techniques in a variety of locations, and how to install of adequate facilities for telecommunications to guarantee instantaneous contacts. Finally, special attention to the planning of efficient combat operations as soon as possible and to the use of precision instruments.
This mission in Erbil is very important. Italy plays in the synergy with other countries of the Coalition to strengthen cooperation relations with Kurdistan, which is now fighting to defend its borders against jihadists attacks. Starting from last January, about 1.500 soldiers of local security forces have taken advantage of Italian support. The training phase ended with the verification of the operational capabilities through military exercises, and with the diplomas delivery ceremony. Kurdish authorities were satisfied with the training of the Peshmerga unit.