A video released by ISIS-allied fighters in Somalia urges members of the terror group (and sympathizers) to take advantage of holiday “drunkenness” to kill non-believers, according to USA Today.
“#ISIS called on lone wolves to attack during #Christmas and #NewYearsEve, and to hit nightclubs, churches, and markets, regardless of the presence of children,” reported intelligence analysts for the SITE (Search for International Terrorist Entities) Intelligence Group.
The Associated Press reports that the video is believed to be the first such video of its kind ever produced by ISIS affiliates in Somalia; the terror group is reportedly growing in size in the African nation as it acquires fighters who have defected from the Al-Shabab terror group linked to Al-Qaeda. Many are concentrated in the northern segment of the country. Their numbers could continue to grow as ISIS fighters flee toppled strongholds in the Middle East.
ISIS and al-Shabab have been fighting for dominance in the country in recent years, according to Newsweek. While ISIS-allied fighters control territory in the country’s north, Al-Shabab fighters control land in the south of Somalia. The groups are kept at bay by troops serving with the Somali National Security Forces and the African Union Mission in Somalia.
The African Union Mission troops, numbering 22,000, are set to withdraw from the nation in 2018, per Newsweek.
The United States launched drone strikes against ISIS targets in Somalia for the first time in November, according to CNN. On the occasion of the strikes, Samantha Reho of the Department of Defense’s Africa Command (AFRICOM) said: “U.S. forces will continue to use all authorized and appropriate measures to protect Americans and to disable terrorist threats … targeting terrorists, their training camps and safe havens throughout Somalia, the region and around the world.”
While the strikes were the first carried out against ISIS targets, the United States has launched airstrikes against al-Shabab targets for years, and dozens this year alone. President Donald Trump paved the way for more airstrikes by granting a request from AFRICOM commanders for fewer inter-agency reviews and less inter-agency oversight over airstrikes, reports The Hill.