ISIS

The son of a Boston police captain was sentenced Wednesday to 20 years in prison for an ISIS-inspired terrorist plot — three years after his father tipped off federal law enforcement.

Alexander Ciccolo, 26, went by the name Ali Al Amriki. His father, Robert Ciccolo, noted his son's admiration of the terrorist group and alerted the FBI.

An estimated 300 Americans attempted to join the Islamic State and other radical Islamist groups in Iraq and Syria, including a small number who rose to senior positions, according to the most detailed report to date on this issue.

So far, 12 of those Americans have returned home, yet none has carried out an attack on U.S. soil, according the report released Monday by George Washington University's Program on Extremism.

The Islamic State no longer controls cities. Its previously large ranks are decimated. Survivors have scattered into the desert. Yet ISIS still has militants with weapons and plans for renewed mayhem.

"We have repeatedly said in this room, the war is not over," Defense Secretary James Mattis noted last week at the Pentagon.

He said U.S. forces are still tracking down small pockets of ISIS fighters. In Iraq, the U.S. is still working closely with the Iraqi security forces, in hopes they can take full control of the country's territory.

Iran says security forces have killed the "mastermind and main commander" of last week's attacks in Tehran that killed 17 people. ISIS had claimed responsibility for the violence at the parliament and the mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Updated at 2 p.m. ET

U.S. personnel "could not have predicted" that dozens of Mosul residents would be in a building where ISIS snipers were firing when they authorized a strike on it in March, the Pentagon says in a newly released report. That airstrike in Iraq killed at least 105 civilians.

The report also says the building collapsed after the strike triggered explosives that had been planted by ISIS.

The U.S. and Iraq are changing tactics in the fierce battle against ISIS for the Iraqi city of Mosul, NPR News has learned.

The Iraqi commander coordinating the battle tells NPR the Iraqi military will slow an offensive pushing into the crowded old district of the city to try to minimize civilian casualties. The new tactics will mean fewer U.S. and Iraqi air strikes.

"We agreed among the commanders to not depend on the air strikes because that means we will maybe lose a lot of people," says Maj. Gen. Najm Abdullah al-Jabouri, head of the Ninevah Operations Command.

R
Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters

ISIS seems to be arranging for residents in Mosul to be struck and killed by US-led coalition airstrikes, in order to boost civilian death counts and to create controversy around the coalition campaign.

The militant group has a long history of forcing civilians to serve as human shields — to ward off airstrikes. But in recent weeks ISIS has reportedly been placing Mosul residents at military locations, secretly, and then inviting airstrikes.

How alone are 'lone wolf' jihadi attackers?

Mar 24, 2017

The investigation into what exactly happened in London on Wednesday is really only just beginning. But the initial impression is that it was a "lone wolf" attack by an ISIS supporter, like we saw in Orlando, Nice and Berlin.

We've become accustomed to hearing the phrase "self-radicalized" in connection with these lone wolves. But is that really the case? Are they alone, radicalizing themselves?

It turns out that most lone wolves are actually groomed and mentored, one-on-one, by individual ISIS operatives.

President Trump says he wants a swift and complete victory over the Islamic State, and he inherits the battle at a moment when the extremist group is losing ground in Iraq and Syria. The group's self-declared caliphate is looking increasingly fragile.

Could 2017 be the year the U.S. and its allies break the back of ISIS?

Progress is being made in the war against the Islamic State, according to analysts. But they caution that the U.S. is likely to face a recurring challenge in the Middle East: how to turn battlefield gains into a comprehensive political solution.

Dozens are dead in Baghdad after bombs were detonated across the city on Monday. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the bombings.

The death toll from the attacks is still climbing.

NPR's Alice Fordham reported on the bombings, telling our Newscast Unit:

The Islamic State issued a statement on Monday saying it was responsible for the attack at a New Year's Eve celebration at a nightclub in Istanbul, Turkey, in which at least 39 people were killed.

The ISIS-linked Amaq News Agency published the statement:

Carola Garcia-Calvo spends her days poring over Islamic State propaganda. It's part of her job as a global terrorism analyst at Madrid's Elcano Royal Institute, a think tank.

Recently, she has noticed a shift.

Journalism in Mosul right now is punishable by death

Oct 25, 2016
R
Reuters/via Amaq news agency 

Citizen journalists inside Mosul say the government there, imposed by ISIS, is starting to break down. An offensive to drive the terror group out of the Iraqi city has been ongoing for 10 days.

But — who are these citizen journalists?

N
Moises Saman/National Geographic

In the now week-long battle for the strategic city of Mosul, the United States and coalition partners have pounded jihadist fighters with more targeted airstrikes than ever before. 

But ISIS combatants will not be easily dislodged.  

Those who've fled ISIS-controlled areas describe a reign of terror, including public executions that are mandatory viewing. Many forms of Western dress are prohibited, as is smoking, playing soccer and most cell phone use.  

Another aspect of daily life for civilians stuck in ISIS territory: Boredom. Serious boredom.

One of the Islamic State's top commanders and the man in charge of disseminating its propaganda was killed in Aleppo, Syria, the group's semi-official Amaq news service announced.

Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, the news service said, was "martyred while surveying the operations to repel the military campaigns against Aleppo."

The report did not list a cause of death.

Pages