Update and Assessment: November 25, 2015
By The Editors
November 25, 2015
- The claim of responsibility from the Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) for an attack in Tunis may mark a shift in how ISIS is selecting targets in Tunisia. An ISIS suicide bomber attacked a bus transporting presidential guards on November 24, killing at least 13 people in the center of Tunis, according to Tunisian authorities. The attack occurred near the Tunisian Ministry of Interior, a secure area in Tunis. Previous ISIS attacks focused on the tourism industry.
- Al Qaeda-linked groups continue to target Westerners in Mali. At least two Islamist militants laid siege to an American-owned hotel in the center of Mali’s capital, Bamako, on November 20, temporarily holding 170 hostages and killing at least 19 people, similar to an attack in August. Multiple Islamist jihadist groups are implicated in the attack. Al Murabitoun claimed responsibility with support from al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb’s (AQIM) Saharan Brigade. AQIM affiliate Ansar al Din’s southern brigade, the Macina Liberation Front, also claimed credit for the attack. The attack was reportedly in retaliation for the French counterterrorism campaign in Mali, Operation Barkhane. AQIM affiliates in Mali will likely build off of the Bamako attack to target UN, French, and Malian security forces, as well as those who cooperate with them.
- Iran’s decision to join the Syrian peace talks in Vienna does not signal a thawing of relations with the West; the Supreme Leader will not shift his position and authorize direct negotiations with the U.S. on non-nuclear issues.