Yesterday, ISIS’ news platform Amaq shed light on the
mysterious circumstances of a foiled attack at the main police station in the
Kenyan port city of Mombasa. On September 11, three women wearing hijabs reportedly
attempted to stage a terrorist attack after entering the police station under a
false pretext. Two were wounded after the women stabbed one officer and set fire to the building before
the police shot them. Jaysh al-Ayman, a group linked to Al-Shabab, was believed to be behind the failed attempt in
light of Shabab’s precedent efforts to spark violence in Kenya since
Kenyan authorities intervened in Somalia to oust al-Shabab terrorists in 2011. As
reported by SITE Intelligence Group, Amaq
claimed yesterday that the attackers were ISIS supporters.
Amaq’s post marks the absolute first public acknowledgment and endorsement by ISIS of
a militant operation carried out by women. In her Twitter feed, SITE Director Rita
Katz has observed the growing role of women in terrorist activities across the
globe, and stressed that two recently attempted ISIS attacks in France and
Kuwait have directly involved women. “Women are part of group’s Western support network,” Katz claimed,
in line with other experts’ opinions that female operatives - once mostly
active in recruiting and assisting terrorist operations - are now playing a more
assertive role as fighters on the battlefront.
From Deutsche Welle:
“This is the first time in Kenya that women have been
used to carry out an attack against a police station in broad daylight. […]
This means that extremism in Africa is starting to include women
as active fighters. According to Hansen [expert on al-Shabab and Islamism on
the Horn of Africa Stig Jarle Hansen], until now women had taken a back seat in
al-Shabab operations. Jihadist women in Somalia had been used mainly to provide
operational assistance. He adds that elsewhere in the region the women are
being used to recruit members in the diaspora.
"You also have this strange phenomenon where you actually
have a magazine for female jihadist called Al-Ghuraba that has been produced in
Dar el Salam in Tanzania," he said. The magazine publishes articles on how
to behave if you are a female supporting the jihadists. "What to do, how
to dress, how to provide logistics or support. So there are special signs there
that seem to indicate that the role of the female has been strengthened,"