Threat Update


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CTP’s Threat Update series provides you with a weekly analysis and assessment of the al Qaeda network and Iran

[Notice: The Critical Threats Project frequently cites sources from foreign domains. All such links are identified with an asterisk(*) for the reader's awareness.]

Below are the takeaways from the week: 


Al Shabaab may increase attacks against foreign companies in Somalia as well as Somali politicians  and institutions linked to foreign investment. Al Shabaab assassinated the European manager of an Emirati-run port in Puntland and threatened similar attacks in response to an *international auction of Somali oil. Al Shabaab might also seek to capitalize on anti-Emirati sentiment in Somalia and might attack Emirati interests in Puntland and possibly Somaliland.


The regime may activate its proxy networks in the Levant against Israel, following an uptick in Israeli strikes against Iranian assets and *personnel in southern Syria in recent weeks. Iran’s foreign minister met with senior *Hezbollah, *Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) officials during a visit to Lebanon. A senior regime security official *warned Israel that Iran will issue a “definitive and proportional” response if Israel continues its attacks in Syria.  


The Abu Abbas Brigade, a Salafi-jihadi militia fighting in Yemen’s Taiz governorate, may have suspended its relationship with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Islamic State. The Abu Abbas militia *targeted AQAP and the Islamic State *four *times *between January 19 and February 7 in *Taiz. The U.S.-sanctioned leader of the Abu Abbas Brigade probably remains ideologically aligned with the Salafi-jihadi movement and could rebuild these relationships.

The Abu Abbas Brigade has operated alongside AQAP for a few years and has received support from Saudi Arabia and the UAE.


Bangladeshi security forces disrupted efforts to reconstitute the al Qaeda-linked Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT).  Bangladeshi counterterrorism troops *arrested ABT recruiters who sought to train new fighters and break the ABT emir out of prison. Bangladeshi    counterterrorism operations forced ABT underground after 2016, and ABT has not been able to rebuild.