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Old 01-21-2021, 09:41 AM
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Arrow Eye on Extremism - January 21, 2021

Eye on Extremism - January 21, 2021
By: Counter Extremism Project - 1-21-21

As of January 21, 2021:

Voice Of America: Al-Shabab Claims Responsibility For Deadly Somalia Explosion

“The militant group al-Shabab is claiming responsibility for a landmine explosion in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, that killed four people. Dalsan FM radio reports the deputy commissioner for security and politics in Garasbaale, Abdi-Rashid Dubad, was among the victims killed in Tuesday's blast. Six others were injured in the explosion just two days after the United States completed the withdrawal of 700 military personnel from Somalia who supported security forces with counter terrorism operations. The pull out of U.S. troops from Somalia was one of President Donald Trump’s last official actions. It is unknown whether President-elect Joe Biden will reverse the withdrawal of U.S. military personnel from Somalia after he becomes the 46th U.S. president at noon on Wednesday. The absence of U.S. troops in Somalia has taken on a greater significance because the country is weeks away from the February 8 presidential election, which militants have previously attempted to disrupt.”

USA Today: As Capitol Riot Arrests Climb, FBI Says Extremist Oath Keepers Conspired In Attack

“Chilling details emerged this week as federal authorities continued to round up and arrest some of the hundreds who joined the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol two weeks ago. A criminal complaint filed Tuesday alleges conspiracy and other crimes against three members of an extremist group, the Oath Keepers. The three have been arrested. The complaint traces how they planned the attack weeks in advance, then coordinated by radio as they moved into the Capitol with precision, wearing helmets, reinforced vests and military-style insignia. The group communicated via Facebook with someone who might have had inside knowledge, egging them on and directing them where to find legislators who were shielded and protected, the FBI alleges in the complaint. “All members are in the tunnels under capital seal them in. Turn on gas,” one such message read. The charges – against Thomas Caldwell of Virginia and Jessica Watkins and Donovan Crowl of Ohio – are among a number of more serious crimes alleged as the riot investigation begins its third week. Those three are among seven charged with conspiracy by the FBI and the Department of Justice.”

United States

NBC News: Connecticut Man Charged In Attack On Police Officer Who Was Trapped In Doors At Capitol Riot

“The FBI arrested a Connecticut man for allegedly assaulting a Washington, D.C., police officer who was seen in viral videos trapped between doors during the Capitol riot, authorities said Wednesday. Patrick Edward McCaughey, 23, was taken into custody at around 7 p.m. Tuesday in White Plains, New York, and charged with assaulting a police officer, civil disorder and unlawful entry, officials said. In McCaughey's initial court appearance on Wednesday, a judge ordered him held without bail, citing the suspect's danger to the community. “What we see in that video from this defendant is extraordinarily disturbing,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Krause said. Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Gianforti said footage clearly links McCaughey to the disturbing attack on Officer Daniel Hodges. “This video is crystal clear, you can clearly see the defendant’s face and you can see officer Hodges' face as he’s screaming out of pain,” Gianforti said. The suspect has been unemployed since late 2019 and lives with his parents, according to McCaughey's defense attorney, who had argued for a $150,000, which was denied. The Justice Department criminal complaint says McCaughey repeatedly told the officer “just go home” and “come on man, you are going to get squished, just go home” while allegedly using a police shield against the officer during the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol Building.”


Daily Sabah: Al-Qaida Terrorist Captured In Turkey, Jailed In Italy

“24-year-old Italian suspected of fighting in the Middle East since 2014 with al-Qaida-affiliated groups was arrested in Turkey and jailed in Italy, Italian police said on Wednesday. The unnamed man, who had lived with his wife and their four children near the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib, agreed to hand himself over after being tracked down on accusations of terrorist activity in Syria and Iraq, police told a news conference according to a Reuters report. “We managed to find him and bring him back to Italy ... we were also able to get his wife and children out of a crisis area,” said Italy's anti-terrorism agency Chief Diego Parente. The man was transferred to Turkey's southeastern province of Hatay and then on to jail in Italy, while his family remains in Turkey. The hunt began on information from his parents in Switzerland, where he had lived and was radicalized, police said. Turkey has been carrying out extensive anti-terror operations at home and abroad to capture terrorists. Al-Qaida-linked groups are active in Syria where the ongoing civil war led to the rise of Daesh, another terrorist group with a similar ideology.”


Agence France-Presse: Peace Talks At 'Snail's Pace' Due To Taliban, Says Afghan Govt

“Afghan authorities lambasted the Taliban Wednesday for failing to actively participate in peace talks seeking to end the country's long-running war. Following months of deliberations and a first round that failed to achieve any major breakthrough, the Afghan government and Taliban are meeting again in Qatar -- but so far only discussing the agenda for round two. “Unfortunately, the talks are going at a snail's pace,” Waheed Omar, media adviser to President Ashraf Ghani told reporters. “The Taliban have no clear vision. We see no changes in them.” Kabul is pushing for a permanent ceasefire and to protect governance arrangements in place since the ouster of the Taliban by a US-led invasion following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. But since the second round of talks began on January 6 in Doha there has been no significant announcement about how negotiations were proceeding. The talks have been marred by a surge in violence, with a recent spate of high-profile killings of officials, judges, journalists and activists leaving the war-weary country reeling. Omar said there was no plan to release more Taliban prisoners to help spur the talks along, saying the government's previous experience of releasing insurgents failed to reduce fighting.”


Agence France-Presse: Hundreds Protest In Yemen Capital Against US Terrorist Label

“Hundreds of supporters of Yemen's Huthi rebels took to the streets of the capital Sanaa Wednesday to protest against the US labelling their movement as terrorists in one of the final acts of outgoing President Donald Trump. “We've come out to say the United States is the mother of terrorism and doesn't have the right to classify anyone as terrorist,” a demonstrator told AFP, hours before President-elect Joe Biden was to take over from Trump. Hizam al-Assad, a member of the Huthis' political office, condemned “the continued aggression against the Yemeni people by US administrations”. Biden's pick for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said Tuesday the new administration would review the designation and also end support to the devastating Saudi offensive on the country. Blinken said he would “immediately” review the labelling by the outgoing administration of the Iran-linked insurgents, fearing the move would worsen Yemen's humanitarian crisis. Trump's administration announced the move on January 11, just nine days before Biden's takeover. Trump was a staunch ally of Saudi Arabia, offering US logistical help and military sales for its six-year campaign to dislodge the rebels who have taken over much of neighbouring Yemen.”


Al Monitor: Egypt Resumes Trade At Sinai Port As Islamic State Threat Regresses

“For the first time in several years, a commercial ship docked Jan. 4 at al-Arish port in North Sinai, where all activities had been suspended due to military operations against IS militants. The reopening is part of the Egyptian government’s efforts to link this strategic port to the Suez Canal, seeking to boost development in Sinai. The New Moon cargo ship is transporting 3,000 tons of cement from the military-owned al-Arish cement factory to Libya for reconstruction projects, according to the port’s director Maj. Gen. Mohamed Sharif. In a Jan. 4 statement, Sharif said that five more vessels will dock at the port soon. He said that reopening the port to export traffic will offer a lifeline for the people of North Sinai. Sharif added that the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) Authority made great efforts during the downtime to develop and modernize al-Arish port and turn it an international harbor on the Mediterranean coast. On July 15, 2019, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ordered that the port be affiliated with the Egyptian Armed Forces, with the SCZone Authority financing, developing, operating and managing it while the army provided security.”


Al Jazeera: Libya: UN Chief Urges Foreign Fighters To Leave By Saturday

“The UN chief urged the departure of all foreign fighters and mercenaries from Libya by Saturday as called for in the October 23 ceasefire agreement signed by the warring sides after years of fighting split the oil-rich North African nation in two. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also urged the UN-recognised government that holds sway in the capital, Tripoli, in western Libya and the forces of renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar who runs most of the east and the south, “to maintain their resolve in reaching a lasting political solution to the conflict, resolving economic issues, and alleviating the humanitarian situation”. In a report to the UN Security Council obtained on Tuesday, Guterres welcomed the road map adopted by the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum – 75 representatives from the country’s political and social spectrum – leading to presidential and parliamentary elections on December 24, 2021. After a NATO-led uprising in 2011 that overthrew and later killed hardline leader Muammar Gaddafi, Libya was divided between the rival administrations in the east and west, each backed by an array of militias and foreign powers. Turkey is the main patron of the Tripoli government, while the United Arab Emirates, Russia and Egypt back Haftar.”


The Christian Post: Islamic State Fighters Temporarily Capture Nigerian Military Base, Force Residents To Flee

“Militants believed to be aligned with the Islamic State temporarily overran a town and military base near Lake Chad in Nigeria’s troubled Borno state, forcing many residents to flee for their lives as the rise of extremism continues to plague the northeast part of the West African country. Brig. Gen. Sagir Musa, the director of the Nigerian Army’s public relations unit, said in a statement shared by the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday that military troops were able to regain control of the Marte area of Borno following an attack by extremists believed to be affiliated with the Islamic State West Africa Province. The attack, which security sources said was claimed by the Islamic State terrorist group through its Amaq News Agency, occurred Friday and drove military personnel from the area. The Islamic State claimed to have killed seven people and captured one. The terror group also claimed that aligned fighters seized weapons, ammunition and at least six vehicles. The group additionally claimed to have burned down an Army barracks. Reuters reports that the assault came about two months after residents, who had earlier been driven from their homes due to attacks by extremists, had returned home under a government program.”

Sahara Reporters: Again, Boko Haram Terrorists Capture, Destroy Armed Personnel Carrier Newly Acquired By Nigerian Army

“Militants belonging to the Islamic State-backed faction of Boko Haram, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), formerly known as Jamā'at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da'wah wa'l-Jihād, have again destroyed an Armed Personnel Carrier the group captured from Nigerian soldiers. According to ISWAP in a statement sighted by SaharaReporters on Tuesday, the Isotrex Phantom 2 APC was captured when the group ambushed some trucks conveying Nigerian soldiers at Gorigi, Borno State. The group also claimed to have wounded and killed 30 soldiers and destroyed two other APCs. The Insurgents had on Monday displayed a modified FV103 Spartan APC it said it captured from the military. SaharaReporters gathered that about eight Isotrex Phantom 2 APCs were recently acquired by the Nigerian Army for the newly launched operation tagged ‘Tura Takaibango’ in the North-East theatre of operation, comprising Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states. Chief of Training and Operations, Nigerian Army, Major General Nuhu Angbazo, who launched the operation on behalf of the Chief of Army Staff on January 7, 2021, said the operation would boost the efforts of troops of Theatre Command Operation Lafiya Dole to enable the army to deal with the emerging threats of the Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists in North-East.”


Reuters: Malian Police Disperse Protest Against French Military Presence

“Malian security forces used tear gas on Wednesday to disperse an unsanctioned protest in the capital Bamako against France’s military presence in the country, one of the rally’s organisers said. France has more than 5,100 military personnel based in Mali and the West African Sahel region to help counter militants linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State, an involvement that is facing increased opposition at home and in Mali. Malian authorities, who have denounced those opposed to the French military presence, deployed police in riot gear to block around 1,000 protesters from gathering in Bamako’s Independence Square, said organiser Adama Diarra. “We demand the departure of French forces. After eight years of intervention it’s been a total failure,” he said by phone. France deployed troops to Mali in 2013 to help drive out Islamist militants who had occupied the north of the country after hijacking a Tuareg rebellion. Though the fighters have been pushed from main towns, Mali has failed to stabilise while the militants have regrouped and have carried out attacks in a prolonged insurgency. The violence has spread to neighbouring states, stoked ethnic and intercommunal tensions, and rendered large swathes of the country’s semi-arid north ungovernable.”

United Kingdom

BBC News: Manchester Attack: Prisoner In Touch With Bomber Recalled To Jail

“A convicted terrorist organiser and friend of the Manchester Arena bomber has been returned to prison weeks after being released on licence, the BBC has learned. Abdalraouf Abdallah, 27, was jailed in 2016 after being found guilty of helping people travel to Syria to join the Islamic State group. In November the BBC revealed he was about to be released on licence. It is now understood he was returned to a high-security prison on Tuesday. While living at an approved premises he received a number of warnings relating to his conduct, resulting in a breach of a general condition requiring good behaviour, the BBC has been told. A source said the breach was not terrorist-related. When Abdallah was released, a source said his licence conditions would be among the strictest ever imposed on a released prisoner. A public inquiry into the Manchester Arena attack heard Abdallah was in touch with bomber Salman Abedi in the months leading up to the attack. But he has refused to assist the inquiry despite being regarded as an important witness. In July 2016, Abdallah was jailed for five and a half years, but time spent on remand and on curfew at home meant that his period in custody automatically expired in late November.”

BBC News: Bristol Islamic Extremist Shared 'Terror Tutorials'

“An Islamic extremist has admitted sharing “terrorist tutorials” and having a stash of bomb and poison-making instructions. Souhaib Embarek, 34, was arrested after firearms officers forced entry into his Bristol home on 9 December 2019. He denied two charges of disseminating a terror document but changed his plea for one count as his trial opened. Embarek had already admitted five charges of possessing information useful to a terrorist. Judge Philip Katz QC, sitting at the Old Bailey, ordered for the other charge to lie on file. Embarek, a Spanish national, rolled his eyes as he entered a guilty plea by video link from Wandsworth Prison. Prosecutor Joel Smith said Embarek threw a mobile phone from his bedroom window as his Clifton home was stormed by armed police in December 2019. He said: “After being arrested, he denied to police that he even had a mobile telephone. “Notwithstanding his attempts to frustrate the police, a number of mobile phones and a computer that he was using were recovered.” Material relating to weapons, poison, violence and terrorism, in particular radical Islamic ideology, was found on the devices at his home in Tyndale Court, Mr Smith said.”


Asharq Al-Awsat: Chechnya Kills Militant Tied To ISIS

“Chechnya's strongman leader Ramzan Kadyrov said Wednesday that police had killed Aslan Byutukayev, alleged leader of ISIS in the volatile republic and mastermind of deadly attacks in Moscow. Byutukayev, also known as Amir Khamzat, was designated in 2016 as a “global terrorist” by the US State Department, which said he had become an ISIS leader in June 2015. The department also said Byutukayev was responsible for suicide bombings in Russia including the January 2011 attack on Moscow's Domodedovo airport that killed 35. Kadyrov said Chechen police officers had killed Byutukayev and five militants associated with him who were on Russia's wanted list “on the spot”. “The bandit underground in the Chechen Republic is completely eradicated!” the leader of the North Caucasus region wrote on his Telegram channel alongside graphic images of bloodied corpses. The militants had evaded pursuit twice before they were killed and he had personally taken part in the planning of the operation “long ago”, Kadyrov added. Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated the Chechen leader on the operation in a phone call, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists Wednesday.”


Fox News: Airbnb Used Social Media To Identify And Ban Extremist Users: Report

“It’s not a good time to be a member of an extremist hate group who wants to go on vacation. In the wake of the riot at the U.S. Capitol, Airbnb says it has been taking more aggressive actions to prevent members of violent hate groups from using its service. The company reiterated, however, that its concern is focused on people who may commit violent acts, regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum. In a report from Engadget, which cited a tech website called The Information, Airbnb has been using dummy accounts on Facebook, Twitter and other online forums to identify users with ties to various hate groups. Members of Airbnb’s team would reportedly avoid interacting with individuals and would only search out public posts to make their determinations. Since many users link their Airbnb accounts with their Facebook accounts, team members could easily take action in those cases. When reached for confirmation, an Airbnb spokesperson told Fox News on Wednesday that the company has long taken a stance against members who are associated with “terrorist, organized criminal and violent racist groups.” The company has required users to agree to this through its Community Standards since 2016.”

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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