March-July 2016: ISIS Media Points Become Target For U.S. Airstrikes

August 3, 2016

ISIS Media Points – cyber information booths where religious and propaganda materials are distributed by ISIS members – have been strategically placed in select towns and localities in areas controlled by the group in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere. The media points are a crucial element in ISIS’ propaganda and indoctrination efforts, and MEMRI has already done extensive research on this topic.[1] Over the past few months, in the efforts to destroy ISIS’ communication infrastructure, the U.S. has targeted these media points with airstrikes.

Since August, 2014, the U.S. has been collaborating with Coalition forces, concentrating its efforts in the region of the city of Mosul, Iraq, in order to assist the efforts of the Iraqi army to recapture the city from ISIS.[2] Despite ISIS efforts to adapt to the bombings, which include the use of vans acting as “mobile media points,”[3] the U.S. has continued to target them. United States Central Command (CENTCOM) has publicly confirmed that “media centers” have been among the targeted sites slated for attack by the U.S. Airforce.[4]

In 2016, the U.S. conducted multiple nighttime air-strikes, a strategy which has managed to prevent ISIS convoys from moving resources around its territory.[5] On March 17th, 2016, seven media points throughout the city of Mosul were destroyed by bombing campaigns by the U.S.[6]

By March 19, 2016, three additional media points had been destroyed in Mosul. The media points destroyed in this campaign were located mainly in the Bab Al-Mal’ab, Azzour, Al-Risalah, Nablus, Yarmouk, Al-Bakir and Duasa neighborhoods.[7]

On March 21, CNN reported that the airstrikes had hit Mosul University, a hub for ISIS fighters in the city, and that 17 senior ISIS members had died in that particular bombing campaign.[8]

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Twitter user shares image circulated by the ISIS-affiliated A’maq News Agency showing a destroyed media point and claiming that the U.S. had bombed seven media points in Mosul

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Abu Osama, a jihadi-sympathizer on Twitter, also shared the news of seven media points being destroyed in Mosul

On July 20, 2016, the U.S. conducted another nighttime campaign against ISIS in Mosul, during which four media points were allegedly destroyed. The ISIS-affiliated A’maq News Agency responded to the development by releasing an official statement through Justpaste.it claiming that the media points were specifically targeted by the airstrikes. [9] A’maq released an additional update on July 20, stating that four additional media points inside the city of Mosul had been attacked by a coalition airstrike that night.

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Endnotes:

[1] See MEMR Inquiry & Analysis Series Report No. 1190, The Islamic State (ISIS) Establishes ‘Media Points’ In Syria, Iraq, Libya To Indoctrinate Caliphate Citizens And Enhance Its Cyber Activities On The Ground: A One-Year Review, October 7, 2015.

[2] Bbc.com, August 16, 2014.

[3] Newsabah.com, November 14, 2015.

[4] Airforcetimes.com, May 26, 2016.

[5] “U.S. Airstrikes Destroy 120 ISIS Vehicles in Stunning Display of Firepower” by Andrew Tilghman. MilitaryTimes. July 1st, 2016. (http://www.militarytimes.com/story/military/2016/06/30/air-strikes-destroy-isis-120-vehicle-convoy/86549420/)

[6] Newsabah.com, March 19, 2015.

[7] Newsabah.com, March 19, 2015.

[8] Cnn.com, March 21, 2016.

[9] Justpaste.it, July 20, 2016.