TRACWatch Weekly Analyst Review 9/28/22



Weekly Analyst Review

28 September 2022

Bottom Line Up Front

On 21 September 2022, a large-scale police operation involving special forces led to the arrest of four Icelandic, far-right extremists. The suspects are said to be in their 20s and are being held on charges of conspiracy to commit mass murder against members of both private and public institutions in Kopavogur, a suburb of the capital Reykjavik, as well as in an industrial area in the southwestern town of Mosfellsbaer, Iceland. 

The police did not rule out the involvement of others in the attack plot, particularly after conducted searches resulted in the seizure of 3D-printed, semi-automatic weapons, also known as 'ghost guns', and thousands of rounds of stockpiled ammunition as well as computers and mobile phones. 

It should be noted that violence is rare in Iceland, a country considered to be one of the most peaceful in the world. This has been the first time that TRAC has noted such an investigation has occurred in the small country. While many details of the motives and timing of the attack remain unknown, there are rumors claiming that far-right Nordic groups, such as the Nordic Resistance Movement (Norðurvígi) or the Icelandic ‘Make Iceland Great Again’ (MIGA), may be behind the massive terror attack plans in Iceland.

The investigation is still ongoing and TRAC will provide new details as they emerge.

Other Developments

TRAC Incident Report:

Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) Expansion to Edo State

with an Assault on a Police Checkpoint in the Village of Etuno,

Near the Town of Igarra, Edo State, Nigeria

Image: (L) Attack on Nigerian police checkpoint; (R) ISWA Expansion Map 2022 – Nigeria

On 22 September 2022, Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) targeted a checkpoint of the Nigerian police, which led to the killing of one member and the escape of the rest, in the village of Etuno, near the town of Igarra, Edo State, Nigeria. The militants also burned a police vehicle and seized a gun. 

TRAC has closely followed the expansion of ISWA across the country, in which they have expanded in a swathe from the border with Benin in the west and spilled into the Lake Chad region of Niger, Chad, and Cameroon. ISWA has proven that they have both a solid supply lines and that the cells in these regions are so self-sufficient that they can stand up with little support. However, this does not mean they aren’t being directed.

With the expansion to Edo State, ISWA has now expanded to 16 states in Nigeria. Edo State is located in southern Nigeria, bordered by Kogi to the northeast and Anambra to the east. It also shares a border with the state of Ondo on the west and Delta on the south. Four days after this attack on 26 September, IS insiders were commenting on their expansion, where notably Edo State was referenced. Considering the recent movement of ISWA from Ondo to Edo, it is highly likely that ISWA will attempt to target the state of Delta next. ISWA has allegedly expanded to Osun State and Delta State recently, although, IS has not officially confirmed the expansion to these states.

TRAC Incident Report:

Al-Shabaab Suicide Bomber Targeted Nacnac Military Recruitment Base Killing More Than Seven Somalian Forces and Injuring Nine Others in Wadjir, Mogadishu, Somalia

Image: Screenshot of published claim.

On 25 September 2022, an al-Shabaab suicide bomber targeted the Nacnac military recruitment base in Wadjir, Mogadishu, Somalia. This attack comes days after al-Shabaab released a new photo report showing hundreds of newly graduated fighters ready to conduct attacks, and the suicidal militant was reportedly part of the recent queue of new recruits. The perpetrator disguised himself as a regular soldier before detonating his explosive device; it is unclear how the Shabaab agent gained access to the facility and if the security was lapsed or if he had credentials to allow him into the facility. This incident sends the clear message from al-Shabaab not to join security forces in Somalia under any circumstances because it is unsafe to do so.

According to government sources, the attack led to the death of seven members of the Somalian Force and the injury of nine others. In contrast, al-Shabaab claims that the attack killed 32 Somalian forces and injured 40 others. In response to al-Shabaab’s intensive attacks, Australia has started deploying troops to help train Somalian forces in their fight against terrorism. 

TRAC Incident Report:

Suspected Islamic State Khurasan (ISK) Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) Attack on Worshippers Leaving the Wazir Muhammad Akbar Khan Mosque, Killing 7 & Injuring 41 Civilians, near the Taliban Interior Ministry Building, Kabul, Afghanistan

Image: Screenshot of IED aftermath

On 23 September 2022, suspected Islamic State Khurasan (ISK) militants launched an Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) attack, during Friday prayers on worshippers who were leaving the Wazir Muhammad Akbar Khan Mosque near the Taliban Interior Ministry Building, Kabul, Afghanistan. The attack killed 7 and injured at least 41. While the attack has not yet been claimed, given the MO and the target choice, TRAC is certain that ISK militants are behind the attack.

The targeted mosque is situated in a public area next to the Taliban Interior Ministry headquarters, which likely made it the target of the attack, as staff members of the Interior Ministry met there to pray. The VBIED went off when the worshippers left the mosque after Friday prayers. It should also be noted that the last large scale ISK launched attack occurred one day prior in Kabul and because Friday prayers are the holiest, TRAC contends that ISK is striking when 'soft targets' are the most vulnerable.

On Our Radar:


Terrorgram Affiliated Telegram Channel Shares the List of all Officials & Establishments that Hosted the Chattanooga Drag Shows, Tennessee, United States

TRAC Incident Report: Suspected Islamic State Great Sahara (ISGS) Ambush & Arson on Food Convoy Near Gaskindé in Djibo, Soum, Burkina Faso

TRAC Incident Report:

A Series of Possible Improvised Explosion Device (IED) Detonations Took Place at Different Locations in 4 Days, Sweden



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