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Daily Global Brief as at 09 Mar 15

Palestinian territories: PA security forces arrest dozens of suspected Hamas members in West Bank

Amid reports indicating the Palestinian Authority had halted all security cooperation with Israel, PA forces detained at least 30 suspected Hamas supporters across the West Bank during overnight hours local time; the mass round up of the militant group supporters – which Hamas claimed was politically motivated – was very likely executed in an effort to send a message to Israel that despite public threats, the PA has no genuine interest in halting security cooperation with the Jewish state. Moreover, the PA is likely aware that a suspension of security cooperation with Israeli authorities would bring forth a major threat to its own rule as only seven months prior, reports indicated Hamas was organizing a coup to overthrow the PA’s leadership in the West Bank.

Nigeria: Suicide bombing attacks strike Maiduguri as Boko Haram pledges allegiance to the IS

At least 54 people were killed and another 139 were injured when three female suicide bombers and one male detonated their explosives-laden bodies – within moments of each other – at a fish marke and a bus station in violence-wracked Borno state capital’s Maiduguri. On the same day, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau released an audio message, indicating the group had officially pledged allegiance to “the Caliph of the Muslims, Ibrahim ibn Awad ibn Ibrahim al-Husseini al-Qurashi,” AKA Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The claim of allegiance came amid a concerted effort by the group to mimic known tactics of the IS; Boko Haram most recently released two videos, one of which showcased two “spies” being executed and decapitated and featured the hallmark sound effects used by IS in previous videos footage of the groups own beheadings. In the immediate term, Boko Haram’s public allegiance to IS is unlikely to trigger any significant changes on the ground but nonetheless underscores the influence of the Islamic State outside of the Middle East. Shortly after the announcement,, Nigerian forces backed by Niger and Chad troops, continued pressing forward with their offensive against Boko Haram, waging an intense aerial assault on the group’s positions and attacking it on foot near the Dout­chi bridge, connecting Niger to Nigeria.

Syria: US-led coalition airstrike targets IS-controlled oil field on Turkish border

A United States-led coalition airstrike targeted an Islamic State-controlled oil field, killing at least 30 IS militants including three foreign nationals from Saudi Arabia and Egypt, in an area located near Raqaa province’s al-Munbatih, close to the Turkish border, during evening hours local time on 8 March. Coalition airstrikes also struck an al-Nusra compound in Idlib province’s Atmeh – another town located near the Turkish border – killing at least nine militants, including four foreigners, earlier that same day.

Mali: Al-Murabitun claims responsibility for deadly attack targeting bar in Bamako

At least five people, including one French national and one Belgian national, were killed and eight others were injured when a masked gunman ambushed the La Terrasse bar and opened indiscriminate machine gunfire while shouting “Allahu Akbar,” in the Hippodrome area of Mali’s capital Bamako during evening hours local time on 7 March.  Following the deadly assault, the al-Murabitun Islamist group claimed responsibility for the attack via audio message, indicating it was in retaliation for one of their leader’s deaths who had been killed by Malian security forces.

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