This month’s report covers terror related incidents throughout the world, with special emphasis in Middle East, specifically in Iraq where a video was disseminated on July 5, showing Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State (IS), purportedly leading Friday prayers at the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul, one of the most important mosques in Iraq. In the 21 minute video, Al-Baghdadi addressed all Muslims preaching the importance of Ramadan and jihad. He urged people to follow his call to create a "caliphate," an Islamic state, in Iraq and Syria, and wage "jihad". During the speech, Al-Baghdadi spoke in classical Arabic and was dressed in traditional black robes and a black turban. At the beginning of the video, as the call to prayer was made, Al-Baghdadi is seen cleaning his teeth with a miswak, a twig used as a traditional toothbrush similar to one supposedly used by the Prophet Mohammed before prayer. This was significant as it indicated Al-Baghdadi’s shifting role in IS from the battlefield the spiritual role for the self-proclaimed "caliph". July 2014 was also marked by terrorist incidents in Afghanistan, China, Cameroon, Egypt, Libya, Iraq, Israel and the West Bank, Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, and Tunisia.
This month’s report also covers counter-terrorist incidents throughout the world, with particular emphasis on events in Middle East. On July 8, following relentless rocket fire targeting Israeli civilians and the discovery by Israel’s security forces of Hamas’ vast underground tunnel network in Gaza, the IDF initiated ‘Operation Protective Edge’. The military campaign, which lasted 50 days, had the duel aim to restore security to Israeli civilians and to dismantle the Hamas tunnel network used by Hamas militants to infiltrate Israel. On July 18 after continued terrorist assaults on Israel from land, air and sea, the IDF commenced the ground phase of the operation with the aim to locate and destroy the underground tunnel network. The IDF forces neutralized 32 terror tunnels. According to the IDF, during the Operation, Hamas militants fired 3,360 rockets at Israel but 86% were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome System. Israeli authorities said during Operation Protective Edge, 64 IDF soldiers were killed and 469 others injured. Five Israeli civilians, including a four year old child, were killed by rocket or mortar strikes, one Thai worker was killed and 36 other civilians were wounded by shrapnel. Gaza health officials said more than 2,100 people were killed in Strip in the fighting and many thousands more were wounded. During the operation, Hamas violated 11 ceasefire agreements, firing at Israeli civilians and IDF forces during ceasefires and UN-declared humanitarian windows. ‘Operation Protective Edge’ ended in a cease-fire agreement announced on August 26, brokered by the Egyptian government with the support of Qatar and the US, but without a fixed long term agreement.
July 2014 was also marked by counter-terrorist incidents in Bulgaria, Canada, Egypt, France, Israel and the West Bank, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Nigeria, North America, Pakistan, Philippines, and the United Kingdom.