Islamic Jihad Union (IJU)

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    iju flag.jpg
    Status: Active
    AKA: IJU, Islamic Jihad Group, Ittihad al-Jihad al-Islami, Jamaat al-Jihad al-Islami, Jamaat Mojahedin of Central Asia in Kazakhstan, Majahidin of Central Asia
    Formed: March 2002
    Areas of Operation: Afghanistan, Germany, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan; FATA, Waziristan, Syria, Turkey, Uzbekistan
    Ideology: Religious (Islamist-Sunni)
    Leader: Abdullah (Mohammad) Fatih
    Affiliates: Al Qaeda, Al Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQLIM), Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), Taliban
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    Overview

    The Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), also called the Islamic Jihad Group, is a splinter group of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), founded in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) region by breakaway members of the latter organization. Originally called the Islamic Jihad Group, it changed its name after several failed incidents in Uzbekistan in 2004 and 2005. Officials have discovered group members plotting attacks in Pakistan and Europe, including Germany.


    The IMU began the 21st century in Northern Afghanistan with a large stake in the drug trade with the Taliban in the Golden Crescent, the region of illicit opium production and distribution that spans Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan. The group became bankrupt after the U.S. defeat of the Taliban and subsequent crackdown on opium growing and trafficking operations, and some key members eventually moved into the safer tribal areas of Pakistan. With this move, the new leader of IMU, Tohir Abduhalilovich Yo’Idoshev, decided to commit himself and the group to al Qaeda’s global jihad movement. A few members in the organization resolved to resume operations in Uzbekistan, although the IMU Shura Council decided against it. Those who disagreed, (Nadzhmiddin Kamoldinovich Jalolov, Muhammad Fatih, Suhayl Fatilloevich Buranova) broke away and formed the Islamic Jihad Group (IJG) in March 2002.[1]

    In May 2005, the IJG changed its name to Islamic Jihad Union after they realized it was too difficult to wage jihad in Uzbekistan due to loss of funds and a number of failed terrorist attacks. The IJU was designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist Group by the U.S. State Department, as well as the United Nations, in 2005. They are currently working closely with the Taliban in Afghanistan in targeting U.S. security forces, and the leader, Najmiddin Jalolov, was killed in a drone strike in November 2009. With the announcement of Abdullah Fatih as the new leader, the IJU also threatened attacks in retaliation for Jalolov’s death. 

    Arsenal

    Included in IJU’s arsenal are various bomb making materials, rockets, rocket launchers, plastic explosives, and different types of rifles and handguns.

    Funding

    The IJU received its initial funding from Libyan groups living in the tribal areas. Later in their operations, the IJU was found to have contact with Abu Laith al-Libi, a contact representative between al Qaeda and the Uzbek organization. Their current connection with the Taliban’s Haqqani group has ensured both logistical and financial support.

    Recruitment

    Due to the IJU’s refocus on Western targets, individuals who blend in with the population are being selected. In general, the recruits are mainly Turks from Turkey and Turkish communities in Western Europe, but also Muslim converts from Europe. As of 2005, many new recruits, especially women, are chosen and trained by Deputy Emir Suhayl Buranov, also known as Suhayl Mansur or Abu Hufaiza, to be suicide bombers.[1]

    Tactics

    The group has been responsible for several high-profile bombings in Uzbekistan, including suicide and vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) incidents, as well as ambush attacks at checkpoints and targeting civilian businesses and residences. Members have attacked Uzbek civilians, security officials, and the U.S. and Israeli embassies. According to the NEFA Foundation, al Qaeda ordered the organization to begin targeting Germans and Turks in Europe.[1]

    In 2004, the IJU perpetrated numerous attacks over the course of three days which killed almost 50 people in an effort to spread their message of jihad in order to establish an Islamic state. A few months after this attack, they launched bombing attacks against the U.S. and Israeli embassies, along with the head of the Uzbek prosecutor’s office. The attacks were deemed in response to the foreigners’ support of the conflicts taking place in Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, and “other Muslim lands.”[2] More recently, IJU attacks have been focusing their efforts on Afghanistan alongside the Taliban’s Haqqani network. 

    Gallery

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    The IJU released a video in September 2008 about the Lal Masjid siege, which also depicted child soldiers training at an IJU camp.[3]

    jalolov.jpg

    IJU leader Najmiddin Jalolov was killed in a drone strike in North Waziristan, Pakistan on September 14, 2009.[4]

    iju sauerland cell.jpg

    Four members of the Sauerland cell, three German nationals and a Turk, were affiliated with the IJU. They plotted to carry out attacks in Germany.[5]

     

    iju salahuddin.jpg

    The IJU announced the death of its propoganda chief, Salahuddin Turki (right), in May 2010.[6]

    iju bren.jpg

    IJU member Eric Breininger, a German national, was killed alongside Salahuddin Turki on April 30, 2010.[6]

    iju fatih.jpg

    IJU's new leader, Abdullah Fatih (right), announced the death of Najmiddin Jalolov (left) through the group's media wing, Badr al-Tawheed.[7]

    References 

    1. Sandee, R. (2008, October 14). The Islamic Jihad Union (IJU). The NEFA Foundation. Retrieved from [1]
    2. Factbox: Who are the Islamic Jihad Group? (2007, September 5). Reuters. Retrieved from [2]
    3. Retrieved from [3]
    4. Retrieved from [4]
    5. DPA. (n.d.). Retrieved from [5]
    6. Retrieved from [6]
    7. Retrieved from [7]

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