Islamic State in Iraq and Syria - updates

Rappler's latest stories on Islamic State in Iraq and Syria


Women of the Eastern Caliphate: By blood and marriage

Dec 28, 2019 - 9:28 PM

(UPDATED) Part 2: Their men fight at the frontlines, but by blood and marriage, these women played a crucial role in the Marawi siege and the establishment of an ISIS caliphate in the Philippines

Women of the Eastern Caliphate: Hiding in plain sight

Dec 27, 2019 - 7:00 PM

(UPDATED) Part 1: From hapless accomplices, women are becoming willing and enthusiastic actors in jihad

Army denies ISIS claim of military deaths in Lanao del Sur

Jan 26, 2019 - 2:50 PM

ISIS announced on January 25 that its East Asia Province in Lanao del Sur clashed with government troops

]COMMUNIQUE. Screengrab of the January 25, 2019 ISIS statement posted on

Wife of new ISIS Southeast Asia 'emir' nabbed in General Santos

Jul 16, 2018 - 5:43 PM

Nafisa Pundog, identified by authorities as the wife of Abu Dar, has a standing warrant of arrest for allegedly possessing a blasting cap/incendiary device

NABBED. Nafisa Pundog is arrested in what is believed to be her safehouse in General Santos City. Military photo

ISIS operatives, Tito Sotto, World Cup 2018 | Midday wRap

Jun 18, 2018 - 2:00 PM

Watch Rappler’s midday newscast with Mara Cepeda

Airstrikes, clashes between military, ISIS-Maute group in Lanao del Sur towns

Jun 18, 2018 - 8:33 AM

(3rd UPDATE) According to Colonel Romeo Brawner, current reports indicate 5 members of the Maute-ISIS group led by Abu Dar, have been killed. The military is still verifying these reports.

[ANALYSIS] What Islamic State East Asia looks like post-Marawi

Oct 15, 2017 - 5:30 PM

The siege of Marawi, in its 143rd day, has opened a door for the Islamic State that the eventual retaking of Marawi by government forces cannot shut

AFTERMATH. Smoke rises after aerial bombings by Philippine Air Force planes on Islamist militant positions in Marawi, on the southern island of Mindanao on June 6, 2017. Photo by Noel Celis / AFP

New York 'plotter' was allegedly doctor to pro-ISIS gunmen

Oct 09, 2017 - 5:15 PM

The Philippine military says Russell Salic had links to the Maute terror group, which since May had been occupying parts of Marawi City

NY PLOT SUSPECT. Filipino orthopedic doctor Russel Salic is a suspect in a foiled New York terror plot. Screenshot from PTV file video

Opium of the people in Marawi

Jul 29, 2017 - 7:30 PM

In this day and age extremism religious or otherwise has become the new opium of the people an addiction to the promise of paradise and its ultimate high is the assurance of going to heaven as a reward for martyrdom

Terrorists used water route to beat Philippine offensive – army

Jun 27, 2017 - 5:55 PM

Military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jo ar Herrera says the route was discovered following the arrest of a man who used a boat to smuggle ammunition into the battle zone and ferry wounded terrorists out

STANDING GUARD. Soldiers hold their position near the shoreline of Lake Lanao in Marawi City on Thursday, June 22,2017. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

Duterte to visit wake of Resorts World attack victims

Jun 03, 2017 - 7:12 AM

The President is expected to condole with the families of those who died from the attack in a Pasay City funeral home on Saturday night

MEMORIAL MASS. Relatives of victims of the casino attack ight candles and offered flowers during a mass at the Resorts World hotel in Pasay on June 2, 2017. Photo by Angie De Silva/Rappler

Baghdad blasts kill 27 as Iraq forces battle ISIS in Mosul

May 30, 2017 - 5:11 PM

UPDATED A suicide bomber blows up a vehicle near an ice cream shop and a car bomb explodes near one of Baghdad s main bridges

Rappler Talk: Rohan Gunaratna on ISIS in the Philippines

May 25, 2017 - 3:25 PM

Watch our interview with terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna live

FAST FACTS: What you should know about the Maute Group

May 24, 2017 - 12:50 PM

The ISIS inspired Maute group has been active in recent months as it seeks the support of the international terror group

MARAWI ATTACK. Marawi City attacked by suspected ISIS inspired militants belonging to the Maute group on May 23, 2017. Photo by Mohammad Manshawi

Kuwait quizzes ISIS suspect deported from Philippines

Apr 18, 2017 - 6:40 PM

Hussein al Dhafiri was arrested in Manila last month along with his Syrian wife Rahaf Zina on suspicion of being members of ISIS

Egypt Copts ready for Easter mass despite attacks

Apr 15, 2017 - 12:13 PM

The faithful will spend a large part of Easter eve going through arduous security checks outside places of worship

EASTER. Egyptian Christians take part in the Good Friday procession at the Arch Angels Greek Orthodox Church in the capital Cairo, on April 14, 2017. Photo by Khaled Desouki/AFP

ISIS now controls less than 7% of Iraq, military says

Apr 12, 2017 - 12:14 AM

Iraqi forces backed by US led air strikes and other support are now battling ISIS inside second city Mosul after retaking much of the other territory the jihadists had seized

BATTLE WITH ISIS. Fire and smoke billow following a car bomb explosion as Iraqi forces clash with Islamic State (ISIS) group fighters in Mosul on March 5, 2017. Photo by Aris Messinis/AFP

Returning ISIS fighters to regroup in Philippines – experts

Apr 04, 2017 - 5:53 PM

Instability and the easy flow of weapons have made Mindanao and nearby Philippine islands attractive to extremist groups experts say

Iraq forces retake Mosul train station

Mar 14, 2017 - 10:43 PM

UPDATED Iraqi forces have taken back a series of neighborhoods as well as sites including the city s airport the Mosul museum and the provincial government headquarters

RETAKING MOSUL. Smoke rises following an airstrike in western Mosul on March 6, 2017, during an offensive by Iraqi forces to retake the western parts of the city from Islamic State (IS) group. Photo by Aris Messinis/AFP

Many 'lone-wolf' attacks are coached from afar, study claims

Mar 11, 2017 - 10:31 AM

According to researchers evidence now shows that many so called lone wolves are in reality encouraged and directed by ISIS operatives to undertake attacks for which the group can then claim credit

Atop Palmyra's damaged theater, Syrian musicians sing of return

Mar 05, 2017 - 8:17 PM

Everyone will rebuild in their own way We want to rebuild it with music and singing teenage musician Angel Dayoub says

SOUND OF MUSIC. Syrian musicians play at the site of the damaged Roman amphitheatre in the ancient city of Palmyra in central Syria, during a tour organized by the Syrian army for journalists, on March 4, 2017. Syrian troops backed by Russian jets completed the recapture of the historic city of Palmyra from Islamic State (IS) group fighters on March 2, 2017, the Kremlin and the army said. Photo by Louai Beshara/AFP

Rappler Talk: Baker Atyani's 18 months with the Abu Sayyaf

Jan 24, 2017 - 9:16 AM

Journalist Baker Atyani relives the 18 months he was held captive by the Abu Sayyaf

ISIS wreaks new destruction in Syria's ancient Palmyra

Jan 21, 2017 - 11:20 AM

The UN s cultural agency has reacted with outrage calling the fresh destruction a war crime and cultural cleansing

NEW DESTRUCTION. This handout picture provided on January 20, 2017 by UNITAR-UNOSAT and taken on December 26, 2016, shows a close-up of a satellite-detected image of the Roman amphitheater in the ancient city of Palmyra in central Syria. Handout photo by UNITAR-UNOSAT/AFP

Al-Qaeda chief denounces Islamic State 'liars'

Jan 06, 2017 - 8:44 AM

In an audio message Ayman al Zawahiri complains that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi had alleged that Al Qaeda opposes sectarian attacks on Shiites and was prepared to work with Christian leaders

AL-QAEDA CHIEF. Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri denounces what he said was a dishonest propaganda campaign by rival jihadist group the Islamic State against his organization. File photo by AFP

ISIS claims Istanbul night club shooting

Jan 02, 2017 - 8:58 PM

On social media ISIS says one of the soldiers of the caliphate had carried out the attack on the Istanbul night club

WORK OF ISIS? This handout video grab taken from CCTV and released on January 2, 2017 by Haber Turk Gazete newspaper shows an gunman carrying out an attack on the Reina nightclub, on the bank of the Bosphorus, in Istanbul on January 1, 2017. AFP PHOTO / CCTV / STRINGER

Kuwait jails Filipina for joining ISIS

Dec 26, 2016 - 7:15 PM

The ruling which is not final also calls for deporting the 32 year old after serving a 10 year jail term

Duterte and human rights, U.S. and Mindanao, Berlin attack | Midday wRap

Dec 21, 2016 - 2:05 PM

Watch Rappler s midday newscast with Maria Ressa

Duterte fears ISIS caliphate in Southeast Asia

Dec 07, 2016 - 7:30 PM

ISIS wants to establish a caliphate a kingdom that would comprise Indonesia Philippines Malaysia and Brunei says the Philippine President

FOREFRONT OF FIGHT. President Duterte speaks to military forces fighting Maute group in Lanao del Sur on November 30, 2016. Photo from Presidential Photographers Division

Russian security service kills North Caucasus ISIS 'emir'

Dec 04, 2016 - 10:14 AM

Russia s FSB kills Rustam Aselderov also known as Sheikh Abu Mohammad al Qadari and 4 of his close associates

KILLED. Rustam Aselderov pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in December 2014. Illustration by Nico Villarete/Rappler

Marcos burial, Kerwin Espinosa, Facebook vs terrorism | 12PM wRap

Nov 18, 2016 - 2:41 PM

Watch the 12PM wRap with Maria Ressa

U.S. buys ads on Facebook to fight jihadists

Nov 18, 2016 - 7:25 AM

The United States has found this year that online ads on media like Facebook rather than posts are a cost effective way to fight the jihadist propaganda of the Islamic State and other such groups

SOCIAL MEDIA. An artwork by artist Geo Law at Facebook's space during the Web Summit at Parque das Nacoes, in Lisbon on November 9, 2016. File photo by Patricia De Melo Moreira /AFP

Iraq says forces enter Mosul as 'true liberation' begins

Nov 01, 2016 - 9:08 PM

3rd UPDATE Troops had entered the Judaidat Al Mufti area within the left bank of the city of Mosul the Joint Operations Command says in a statement

OFFENSIVE. Shiite fighters from the Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization) flash the sign of victory as they drive towards the village of Umm Sijan, south of Mosul, on October 31, 2016 during Iraqi forces' operation to recapture the main hub city from Islamic State (ISIS) group's jihadists. Photo by Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP

Coalition huddles as forces inch towards Mosul

Oct 25, 2016 - 7:31 PM

UPDATED Forces from the elite counter terrorism service CTS retook areas close to the eastern outskirts of Mosul ISIS s last major urban stronghold in Iraq

MOSUL CAMPAIGN. Iraqi forces gather in the al-Shura area, south of Mosul, on October 24, 2016, during an operation to retake the main hub city from the Islamic State group jihadists. Photo by Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP

Iraq forces in fierce Kirkuk clashes with ISIS

Oct 22, 2016 - 9:21 PM

A day after the shock attack on the Kurdish controlled city of Kirkuk jihadist snipers and suspected suicide bombers are still at large

ENEMY LINE. In this file photo,  a flag of the Islamic State is seen on the other side of a bridge at the frontline of fighting between Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Islamist militants in Rashad, on the road between Kirkuk and Tikrit, on September 11, 2014. JM Lopez/AFP

Pentagon chief in Iraq to discuss Mosul offensive

Oct 22, 2016 - 6:08 PM

US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter is expected to discuss the post ISIS future of Mosul Iraq s second city and the place where jihadist supremo Abu Bakr al Baghdadi proclaimed the caliphate in June 2014

RETAKING MOSUL. Iraqi forces drive their vehicle near the village of Tall al-Tibah, some 30 kilometers south of Mosul, during an operation to retake the main hub city from the Islamic State group jihadists on October 21, 2016. The operation is Iraq's biggest in years and aims to wrest back Mosul, the country's second city and the last major ISIS stronghold in Iraq. Photo by Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP

Syria making 'great strides' in war – FM tells UN

Sep 25, 2016 - 12:23 AM

Syria s foreign minister says facts show that a US led coalition air strike on Syrian soldiers was an intentional attack and not an error even if the United States claims otherwise

Germany arrests 3 ISIS suspects with 'links' to Paris attackers

Sep 13, 2016 - 10:50 PM

More than 200 police commandos take part in the pre dawn raids in northern Germany to detain the men who were suspected of either plotting an attack or awaiting orders to commit one

POLICE OPERATION. Police operation in Saint Denis, near Paris on November 18, 2015, five day after Paris terror attacks. Photo by Thomas Samson/AFP

Woman held after 'foiled' Paris attack was ISIS follower

Sep 09, 2016 - 3:25 PM

UPDATED France is on high alert following a string of jihadist attacks including last November s coordinated bloodshed in which Islamic State extremists killed 130 people

ARRESTED. French police investigating the discovery a car containing six gas cylinders in Paris, on Thursday arrested three female suspects said to have been planning new acts of violence, shooting one of them in the process. Photo by Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt/AFP

US fears over ISIS group's Southeast Asia expansion

Aug 26, 2016 - 6:45 PM

A senior US counter terrorism official notes that militants from Southeast Asia fighting with ISIS in Iraq and Syria have been deployed in a unit called the Katibah Nusantara

Syrian regime jets hit Kurdish positions, even after US warning

Aug 20, 2016 - 11:15 AM

In another escalation of Syria s bloody conflict warplanes from President Bashar al Assad s regime bombard the city of Hasakeh – targeting US backed Kurdish forces

ISIS abducts 2,000 civilians in north Syria

Aug 13, 2016 - 12:06 AM

The abductions come as Russian and Syrian jets pounded rebel positions in second city Aleppo

An image grab taken from a propaganda video released on March 17, 2014 by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)'s al-Furqan Media allegedly shows ISIS fighters raising their weapons as they stand on a vehicle mounted with the trademark Jihadists flag at an undisclosed location in the Anbar province. File Photo by Al-Furqan Media/AFP

Trump says comment on Obama founding ISIS was sarcasm

Aug 12, 2016 - 8:12 PM

As he often does the Republican presidential nominee accuses the news media of misconstruing something he said

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a town hall at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida, USA, 14 March 2016. EPA/JIM LO SCALZO

Clinton, Trump spar over Islamic State claim, economy

Aug 12, 2016 - 1:30 PM

A furious Democratic National Committee calls on Donald Trump to apologize for his outrageous unhinged and patently false suggestions

RIVALS. A file combo picture made available on April 20, 2016 shows US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (L) addressing the National Action Network's national convention in New York, New York, USA, April 13, 2016; and US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (R) speaking at Trump Building in New York, New York, USA, on November 3, 2015. File photos by EPA/Justin Lane/Andrew Gombert

Brazil arrests man on terrorism charges ahead of Olympics

Jul 29, 2016 - 8:30 AM

The man allegedly had links to terrorist organizations at least as far back as 2014 when Brazil hosted the football World Cup

SECURITY. Members of Brazilian army stand guard near the Olympic Park as part of security operations for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 24, 2016. Photo by Marcelo Sayao/EPA

Clashes rock Syria's Manbij as ISIS ignores ultimatum

Jul 24, 2016 - 12:30 AM

Thousands of civilians have already fled Manbij which lies in Syria s northern Aleppo province

80 dead as ISIS claims twin blasts during Kabul protest

Jul 23, 2016 - 8:42 PM

3rd UPDATE The attack represents a major escalation for the ISIS group which so has largely been confined to the eastern province of Nangarhar

DEADLY ATTACK. People collect the belongings of the victims at the scene of a suicide bomb attack that targeted a demonstration of Hazara minority in Kabul, Afghanistan, July 23, 2016. Photo by Jawad Jalali/EPA

ISIS claims Nice massacre as France defends security

Jul 16, 2016 - 5:00 PM

UPDATED Police say they have arrested 4 more people linked to suspect Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel as well as his estranged wife

TERRORIST ATTACK. Police officers stand guard near the truck after it crashed into the crowd during the Bastille Day celebrations in Nice, France, July 14, 2016. Photo by Franck Fernandes/EPA

Iraq PM sacks security chiefs as new attack kills 30

Jul 08, 2016 - 7:38 PM

UPDATED Prime Minister Haider al Abadi issues an order to relieve the Baghdad Operations commander and the officials responsible for intelligence and security in the capital

AFTERMATH. Iraqis visit the site of a suicide truck bomb attack in Karada district in central Baghdad, Iraq, July 6, 2016. Photo by Ali Abbas/EPA

17 more charged over Istanbul airport attack

Jul 05, 2016 - 10:02 PM

Seventeen people including 11 Russians have been charged over the Istanbul airport attack bringing to 30 the total number charged in connection with the suicide assault

AFTERMATH. People carry a coffin covered with Turkish national flag of Hamidullah Safar on June 30, 2016 during his funeral two days after he was killed by a suicide bombing and gun attack targeted Istanbul's Ataturk airport, killing 42 people. Photo by Ozan Kose / AFP

Bangladesh in mourning after hostage bloodbath

Jul 03, 2016 - 9:44 AM

Flags are being flown at half mast in government offices and at other sites across the country while funerals of the two Bangladeshi victims are expected to be held

TERROR ATTACK. Bangladeshi soldiers and police walk along a street leading to an upscale restaurant in Dhaka on July 2, 2016, following a bloody siege there by armed attackers that began on July 1. Photo from STR / AFP