The US carries out targeted drone strikes in Yemen, killing five al Qaeda operatives and took place in the town of al Bayda. The strikes were the first to take place under President Trump. The strikes did not require Trump to sign off on them. Under then-President Barack Obama, the authority to order such strikes in Yemen was devolved to the four-star commander of US Central Command, Gen. Joseph Votel.
A sulphur plant in Mishraq is set on fire amid fighting between United States troops and the Islamic State in the Mosul region. The fire is releasing poisonous fumes, forcing American soldiers to wear gas masks.
US soldiers at a base near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul have donned protective masks against toxic fumes from a sulphur plant set alight in fighting with so-called Islamic State. They took the precaution after the wind blew smoke from the fire towards Qayyarah air field.
A military coalition air strike led by Saudi Arabia hits a mourning party gathered in Sanaa, Yemen, killing 82 civilians and injuring 534. The attack is one of a series of attacks to support Yemen President Hadi against the armed religio-political rebel groups Houthis. The Houthis administration condemns the attack. However, Saudi air forces deny any such attack happened.
Libyan forces renew their push to oust ISIS from its former North African stronghold of Sirte, saying they had seized the city’s main mosque and a jail run by the militants’ morality police. The forces, mainly brigades from the city of Misrata, say that they are close to capture Sirte after taking most of the city in a three-month campaign, and have restricted militants to a residential area in the city. They have been supported by U.S. air strikes. At least nine brigade fighters are killed.
An airstrike hits the Abs hospital in Hajjah, Yemen, and kills at least 11 people, and injures 24. The strike kills a Médecins Sans Frontier staff member. The Saudi-led coalition carrying out airstrikes in Yemen says it is aware of the hospital strike and will look into it. MSF is still surveying the damage in the area and will launch its own internal investigation into the incident.
Israeli forces shoot 21 Palestinians in multiple incidents across the occupied territories, including a nine-year-old girl shot in the hand, while standing on the porch of her home, and a ten-year-old boy shot in the head with a rubber-coated bullet in the head. Others at the same scene are affected by tear gas. The girls is taken to a local hospital and is reported to be in moderate condition.
South Korea fires warning shots at a North Korean drone that flew several hundred yards south of the border between the two countries. The drone turned back into North Korea and was not hit by the warning shots.
A missile strikes a MSF hospital in Yemen, killing four and injuring ten. It isn’t known whether the missile came from Saudi-led pro-government coalition airstrikes or from ground fire.
23 Syrians die of starvation as government forces besiege the town of Madaya in Syria. Damascus permits MSF to access the town, but refuses to allow residents to leave as they continue to lay siege to the city.
Syrian airstrikes hit a courthouse and prison associated with Al Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda affiliate, killing both guards and prisoners. Reports differ as to the number killed.
Israel stations the army at exits from the village of Sair, near the West Bank city of Hebron. The deployment comes in response to the shooting deaths of four Palestinian teens allegedly planning to stab Israeli soldiers in the occupied city.
Iraqi forces are fighting Islamic State (ISIS) fighters as they try to reach the center of Ramadi. Six hundred to 1,000 Islamic State fighters were said to have been in Ramadi when the overall offensive began two weeks ago, but several hundred of them have been killed in fighting and airstrikes since then. Iraqi forces face heavy fire and are assaulted by car bombs. The Islamic State destroys three bridges over the Euphrates River to slow the security forces’ advance. Iraqi Army:
We went into the center of Ramadi from different axes, and we started clearing residential areas. The city will be cleared within the coming 72 hours.
Abbott deploys the National Guard to protect the border from a growing number of illegal immigrants.
[M]y request for more border patrol agents and strategic resources to secure the border were ignored. Now, the concern I warned about has turned into reality: A substantial spike in illegal crossings has occurred at a particularly unsuspecting time, once again challenging Texas’ security and resources…Texas will not sit idle in the face of this challenge. We will not be victimized as a state by a federal government’s apathetic response to border security.
Two airstrikes, the most recent over the weekend, destroy almost 500 tanker trucks ISIS uses to smuggle oil and sell it on the black market. It is estimated the attacks have destroyed roughly half the trucks ISIS uses to bring in $1 million a day in revenues. To avoid civilian casualties, the U.S. planes first dropped leaflets warning the drivers and then conducted staffing runs to scare them away. Previously, a strike would be called off if any civilians were spotted in the area. For these attacks, if there were more than five civilians in the target area the strike would be called off.
French fighter planes carry out their biggest bombing raid in Syria, dropping 20 bombs on the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa. The fighters were launched from the United Arab Emirates and Jordan. French foreign minister Laurent Fabius said France had the “legitimacy” to take action against ISIS after the terror attacks in Paris. ISIS casualties are reported, but no civilian casualties. The French Defence Ministry
The first target destroyed was used by ISIS as a commanding post, a jihad recruitment center and a depot for arms and munitions. The second target housed a terrorist training camp.
A Kurdish force of up to 7,500 soldiers is on the offensive to reclaim Sinjar from ISIS. With help from collation air strikes the Kurdish forces attack from three fronts to recapture the town. By recapturing the town they will cut off ISIS main supply line to Mosul, allowing for a future attack on Mosul sometime in the future. By controlling Highway 47, which is used by ISIS to transport weapons, fighters, illicit oil, and other commodities that fund their operations, the Coalition intends to increase pressure on the group and isolate their components from each other
Through the last three days, Russia has been targeting and destroying key ISIS facilities in Syria. Kremlin has been using airstrikes to target key terrorist facilities. At least 448 facilities have been destroyed throughout the country. A Kremlin spokesman warned that Russia’s ongoing campaign has meant terrorists have changed their tactics
President Putin is sending 4000 troops to Syria to fight the Islamic State. Russia’s foreign ministry has stated that these troops will not serving a combat role, and are to guard Russian bases and working with the Syria military. The figure has doubled since Moscow began airstrikes against the terror group, according to US officials
The U.S. military carries out an airstrike on the northern Afghan city of Kunduz one day after Taliban insurgents fought their way into the major city, repelling local Afghan forces.
Burkina Faso’s military declares it now controls the country, confirming that a coup has taken place, and that the transitional government has been dissolved. Thee coup leaders says the former president’s former chief-of-staff, General Diendere, will lead the country. The Economic Community of West African States calls for the immediate release of the interim President Kafando and Prime Minister Zida. The coup leaders say talks will be held to form a new interim government that will organize “peaceful and inclusive elections”. Transitional parliamentary speaker Sy said the move was “clearly a coup” and that the presidential guard had “sequestrated” the interim government, and he urges people to protest on the streets.
We are in a resistance situation against adversity.
Presidential forces open fire to disperse protesters in the capital, and 10 people are reported killed. French President Hollande said he strongly condemns the coup, but says France. would not intervene militarily,
Forty-five soldiers from the United Arab Emirates’ armed forces and five soldiers from Bahrain are killed during a Saudi-led military operation. The campaign targeted Yemen’s Houthi rebels. Since the fighting began this is the deadliest day for Gulf forces. Yemeni security officials:
The UAE troops are killed when a Houthi missile hits a weapons storage depot near their position in the province of Maarib, about 120km east of the capital Sanaa.
North and South Korea exchange artillery fire across their mutual border. After North Korean soldiers fire several shots at a military loudspeaker that speaks in high voice against Pyongyang, South Korean troops return ‘dozens of shells” to the suspected source. No casualties are reported. North Korea later warns Seoul in a letter that it will take military action if the South did not stop the loudspeaker broadcasts within 48 hours. In a separate letter, Pyongyang says it is willing to offer an opening to resolve the conflict even though it considers the broadcasts a declaration of war.
U. S. High Command in Europe says six U.S. F-16 fighter jets plus 300 support personnel. have arrived in Incirlik, Southern Turkey, increasing the unit equipment of the United States Air Force-led coalition against ISIS. The detachment is part of the 31st Fighter Wing based at Aviano Air Base, in Italy. Turkish media reports say the U.S. is expected to deploy around 30 fighter jets at Incirlik for strikes against ISIS. Incirlik is located close to ISIS strongholds across the border in Syria.
While clearing terrorists in and around Dikwa, Borno State, Nigerian troops discover a pile of street lamp poles cut into pieces by Boko Haram terrorists which they use in making Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) for terror activities in parts of the North-East. Troops also recover 15 cows, 174 goats and a donkey from rustlers. Troops have near Jakana, arrest a fuel supplier to Boko Haram terrorists and Madu who coordinates buying of food items from neighbouring villages for the terrorists. The Nigerian military also blocked Boko Haram elements that attacked Dumbuluwa village.
Syrian government forces, backed by members of Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah group, advance from different directions in the mountain resort of Zabadani near the border with Lebanon. The fighting comes as Ahrar al-Sham insurgent group say that it has stopped communicating with Iranian mediators after they insisted that fighters and residents leave the resort. Ahrar al-Sham says the government aims to clear out the area’s Sunni Muslim population. Syrian opposition groups accuse the government and Hezbollah of displacing thousands of Sunnis from areas along the border with Lebanon and preventing them from returning to their homes.
Coalition warplanes target areas held by the Islamic State group near the town of Tabqa in the northern province of Raqqa, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Raqqa is Being Silently Slaughtered, a local activist group. The Observatory says the airstrikes killed at least five IS fighters and wounded 23, including teenage fighters of the so-called ‘Cubs of the Caliphate.’
Israeli forces enter the Dawabsheh’s house in the village of Duma, searched it and confiscate some of the family’s possessions. Palestinain activists say that the IDF also entered a number of houses and shops located in the vicinity of the Dawabsheh’s home, and that they confiscated all the recordings they found in any surveillance cameras. The Dawabshen family has set up a tent next to their home so as to receive those coming to offer condolences and express solidarity over Ali’s murder.
The U.S., and its allies launch coordinated airstrikes on the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. At least 23 airstrikes are conducted over the two nations, with nine launched over Syria and 14 launched over Iraq. These airstrikes target tactical units and fighting positions in seven cities between the two countries.
ISIS conducts a 24-hour “killing rampage” through the Kurdish town of Kobane, Syria. A majority of those slain are mainly women and children. Over 120 civilians are reported executed in their homes or killed by rocket and sniper fire. The killings are widely seen as vengeance for a series of defeats inflicted on ISIS by Kurdish militia in recent weeks.
At least 19 Boko Haram fighters and two Chadian soldiers are killed in combat after the insurgents attack a Chadian village. Chad security:
Boko Haram attacked the post of Konguia at around five in the morning, the army responded, killing 19 Boko Haram members. A soldier died and the attackers fled to Nigeria.
Burundi’s army kills 31 suspected rebels and capture 170 others in fighting in the country’s north. Six soldiers are wounded in fighting with suspected rebels, and nearly 80 assorted weapons are seized.
Soldiers and unidentified gunmen clash in Kayanza province, near the border with Rwanda. The governor of Kayanza says the gunmen crossed from Rwanda, a charge denied by Rwanda’s government. The US is:
deeply concerned by reports that fighting has broken out in several areas of Burundi and by recently broadcast remarks by Burundians threatening to use force against the government.
Rwandan foreign minister:
I would think it’s better for Burundi to concentrate on the issues Burundi has rather than looking for issues elsewhere.
Islamic State militants take over the local government compound in the Iraqi city of Ramadi, raising their black flag. An Iraqi parliamentarian states the city is not in complete Islamic State control, however. Iraqi government forces continue to hold out in several other government buildings,while coalition aircraft bomb militant positions. Anbar provincial council member says that Ramadi is experiencing a “catastrophe.” He says the militants launched a massive attack, using over a dozen suicide vehicles and causing numerous casualties.
Al Qaeda announces the death of one of their senior leaders along with other operatives by drone strike. A U.S. based security firm confirms this statement.
A senior al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula leader who claimed the group’s responsibility for the Charlie Hebdo massacre and the murder of an American hostage during a botched raid in December has been killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen.
Iran Revolutionary Guard patrol boats fire shots at a commercial cargo ship, the Marshall Islands-flagged M/V Maersk Tigris, and then intercept the vessel, which is crossing the Strait of Hormuz. The Tigris issues a distress call and the USS Farragut is ordered to head towards the incident. The Navy says it is “to be determined” what the USS Farragut will do when it reaches the vicinity of the incident.
The Pentagon thinks about 30 individuals are on board. According to a U.S. official, there are no Americans on board the vessel and the U.S. believes that Iranians will “send the ship on its way.” A State Department spokesperson notes that the U.S. has a security compact with the Marshall Islands on defense issues. But he adds that there hasn’t been a specific request for assistance from the Marshall Islands and says it is premature to say whether this could require the use of force.
It’s a key concern of the United States to ensure that sea lanes in the region remain open and safe.
Nigeria’s military says it is moving 200 girls and 93 women from a northeastern forest where they were rescued from Boko Haram extremists. The army says many are traumatized and that military will fly in medical and intelligence teams to establish their psychological and physical health. They started evacuating them from the Sambisa Forest but would not say to where. Military operations continue in the forest, while troops destroy four Boko Haram camps. Sources say Boko Haram used some of the women as armed human shields, a first line of defense who fired at troops.
Israel launches an airstrike after troops see “a group of armed terrorists” approach the border of the Golan Heights.with an explosive intended to target Israeli troops. It said that Israeli aircraft “targeted the squad, preventing the attack.” Iran’s state-run, English-language satellite news channel Press TV reports four people were killed. Hours before the border strike, Israeli Defense Minister Ya’alon warned Syria and Iran against arming Hezbollah with such weapons.
We will not allow the transfer of quality weapons to terror groups led by Hezbollah and we know how to reach them and those that dispatch them at any time.
The Iraqi army recaptures central Tikrit from ISIS. Spokesperson of Iraqi PM, Jaboori:
Iraqi forces reached the center of Tikrit, raised the Iraqi flag and are now clearing the city
PM Al-Abadi announces the liberation of Tikrit and congratulates Iraqi security forces and popular volunteers on the historic milestone
— Haider Al-Abadi (@HaiderAlAbadi) March 31, 2015
Iraqi forces regain control of northern section of Tikrit, an important city held by ISIS since June 2014. Security official:
Iraqi security forces and the different supporting groups are winning the battle against ISIS in Saladin, it is a matter of time and we will release the news of taking over Tikrit within few days.
The Iraqi army with the help of some Shia militant groups launches an operation to clear ISIS from Tikrit, hometown of former dictator Saddam Hussein. The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington think-tank:
The Shia militias participating in the operation to retake Tikrit are highly motivated to deal a counterblow in this symbolic area
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says regime forces had taken the villages of Bashkawi and Sefat and are battling to block the key highway leading from rebel-held east Aleppo to the Turkish border. The fighting stops traffic on the road, which passes through the town of Tal Rifat and up to the border. They also says fierce clashes are also raging between rebel forces and government troops in the nearby villages of Ratyan and Hardtaneen. It says regime fighters are shelling the town of Hayan, which lies on the road to two government-held villages that rebels have besieged for more than 18 months. Observatory director:
The regime troops have two goals in the area: to cut the road leading from Aleppo to the Turkish border, which is the key supply road for the rebels and to open the way to (besieged) Nubol and Zahraa,
The Pentagon says it is considering modest numbers of ground troops to fight alongside Iraqi forces. Joint Chiefs chairman Dempsey to the House Armed Services Committee:
I’m not predicting at this point that I would recommend that those forces in Mosul and along the border would need to be accompanied by U.S. forces, but we’re certainly considering it
The statement comes after Baghdadi releases an audio recording saying that the air campaign has failed.
Training teams will be sent to the semi-autonomous Kurdish zone, the first UK troop presence in the country since its withdrawal in 2011. Whitehall spokesman:
If Iraq fails or the government becomes sectarian then that is a massive problem
The number of troops isn’t specified.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says airstrikes by the Assad government have killed at least 232 civilians in the last two weeks. Among the weapons deployed, the regime has dropped least 401 barrel bombs on rebel-held areas in eight provinces. The regime says that it only uses the weapons against terrorists. A refugee camp in Idlib was hit. A man who says his house in Anadan has been destroyed by barrel bombs three times:
Barrel bombs kill those we love most, they destroy houses, dreams and memories, and leave us without any hope that the killing will ever stop.
Harakat Hazm and the Syrian Revolutionary Front, who were meant to form the main line of attack against ISIS and have been receiving heavy weapons including GRAD rockets and TOW anti-tank missiles, surrender military bases and weapons supplies to Nusra, the Syrian Al Qaeda affiliate, as it storms villages in Idlib. Nusra members announce on Twitter that they have seized the TOW missiles. Some of the rebels are reported to defect to Nusra.
Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. Kirby says ISIS is still able to recruit in large numbers:
They are facing some attrition through these operations not just from the air but from the ground. But there’s no question that they still possess the ability to reconstitute their manpower and that’s just an indication of the strength of their ideology right now, which is why we’re working hard to counter that, and the fact that this is going to be a long struggle.
He confirms ISIS personnel have been targeted and killed, along with vehicles and installations.
ISIS orders al-Shishani to leave the Shingal area in northern Iraq to take over operations in Kobani. Another shift in strategy will be to remove its heavy weapons and artillery from near Kobane, in order to avoid airstrikes. ISIS also plans to increase the number of car bomb and motorcycle suicide attacks in the city.
Germany is instituting a government-backed pilot program designed to teach school students about the dangers of radical groups like ISIS. Project leader:
We laughed when we saw those first rudimentary extremist videos in 2005. But a new politico-religious movement has grown up out of nothing and taken all of us completely by surprise.
The Pentagon drops 28 loads of military grade weapons for the Kurds. Wind shifts one of the loads, falling into the hands of ISIS militants. Turkey criticizes, but US officials say one cache of weapons in not a significant boon for the Islamic State. Apparently, amateur video footage proves militants did seize the cache of weaponry, consisting of rocket-propelled grenades, hand grenades and many other items. Army Lieutenant Colonel Warren:
One bundle worth of equipment is not enough equipment to give the enemy any type of advantage at all. It’s a relatively small amount of supplies. This is stuff [Isis] already has.
I do want to add, though, that we are very confident that the vast majority of the bundles did end up in the right hands. In fact, we’re only aware of one bundle that did not.
U.S. Air Force officials say the group’s air power is effective for propaganda but doesn’t pose a threat. Official:
If ISIS is flying, or is thinking about flying, it will not be doing so for very long
ISIS is reported to have acquired three Soviet-built Mikoyan MiG-21 Fishbed and MiG-23 Flogger fighters and a number of Aero Vodochody L-39 Albatross aircraft, traditionally used for advanced training and light attack. Marine Corps fighter pilot:
I’d sell my first born to engage all three… by myself
Speaking during a national security conference in London, United Kingdom senior police officer Sir Hogan-Howe reveals that a minimum average of five British citizens are traveling to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS. Tracking and reacting to the threats of home terrorists who obtain experience from ISIS training grows worse, what he calls “potentially militarized individuals.” After citing some examples, Sir Hogan-Howe:
Those are the ones that we believe have gone. There may be many more who set out to travel to another country and meandered over to Syria and Iraq in a way that is not always possible to spot when you have failed states and leaky borders. We know that over 500 British nationals travelled to join the conflict. Many have returned and many will wish to do so in the coming months and perhaps in future years. The Met say they have made 218 arrests for terrorist-related activity this year, an increase of about 70% in three years. A large part of this increased arrest rate is due to terrorist activities, plots and planning linked to Syria. The trend is, I think, set to continue.