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Old 03-02-2021, 07:17 AM
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Arrow Prominent Islamic State Leaders Killed In Iraq

Prominent Islamic State Leaders Killed In Iraq
By: Counter Extremism Project - 03-02-21

Eye on Extremism: - As of March 2, 2021

Al Monitor: Prominent Islamic State Leaders Killed In Iraq

“Despite concerns that the sharp drawdown of international troops over the past year might negatively impact counterterrorism activities, Iraq has announced the killing of several high-level commanders and operatives since late January. Following a double suicide attack on a working-class market in central Baghdad on Jan. 21 that killed over 30 people, Operation Revenge of the Martyrs was launched. The top Islamic State (IS) commander for Iraq — Abu Yasser al-Issawi, the nom de guerre of Jabbar Salman Ali al-Issawi, a 39-year-old native of Fallujah in Anbar province — was killed in the southern part of the Kirkuk region only a week later on Jan. 28. Before becoming the “wali” (governor) of all of Iraq, Issawi held several other leadership positions within the international terrorist organization, including being in charge of the northern Baghdad area. He was killed in Wadi al-Shay, a valley long known for being infested with insurgents. A lack of intelligence sharing between the federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has long plagued attempts to clear territory in areas disputed between the two government entities since the 2017 takeover of oil-rich, strategic Kirkuk by federal government forces following the KRG’s holding of a controversial referendum on independence for the Kurdish region.”

Agence France-Presse: Jihadists Attack UN Base In Nigeria, Trapping 25 Aid Workers

“Jihadists linked to the Islamic State have attacked a UN base and overrun a humanitarian hub in northeastern Nigeria, trapping 25 aid workers, security and humanitarian sources said. Scores of Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) fighters invaded the town of Dikwa in restive Borno state, dislodging troops from the military base and torching the humanitarian hub, a military source told AFP on Monday. “We have 25 staff sheltering in the bunker which is under siege by the militants... but so far no staff has been affected,” a humanitarian source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Military reinforcements, including fighter jets and a helicopter gunship, had been deployed to help repel the attackers, the military source said. A spokesman for UN chief Antonio Guterres confirmed only that there was a “security incident”, but gave no further details. For more than a decade, Nigeria's military has battled an insurgency by the Islamist group Boko Haram that has devastated the northeast, killing at least 36,000 people and displacing more than two million. The ISWAP group split from Boko Haram in 2016 and has become a dominant threat in the region, attacking soldiers and bases while killing and kidnapping passengers at bogus checkpoints.”

United States

The New York Times: Far-Right Groups Are Splintering In Wake Of The Capitol Riot

“Just eight weeks after the Capitol riot, some of the most prominent groups that participated are fracturing amid a torrent of backbiting and finger-pointing. The fallout will determine the future of some of the most high-profile far-right organizations and raises the specter of splinter groups that could make the movement even more dangerous. “This group needs new leadership and a new direction,” the St. Louis branch of the Proud Boys announced recently on the encrypted messaging service Telegram, echoing denunciations by at least six other chapters also rupturing with the national organization. “The fame we’ve attained hasn’t been worth it.” Similar rifts have emerged in the Oath Keepers, a paramilitary group that recruits veterans, and the Groyper Army, a white nationalist organization focused on college campuses and a vocal proponent of the false claim that Donald J. Trump won the 2020 presidential election. The shake-up is driven in part by the large number of arrests in the aftermath of the Capitol riot and the subsequent crackdown on some groups by law enforcement. As some members of the far right exit more established groups and strike out on their own, it may become even more difficult to track extremists who have become more emboldened to carry out violent attacks.”


Reuters: U.S. Envoy Visits Kabul Looking For Ways To Speed Up Afghan Peace Process

“The U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad held discussions on Monday with a senior Afghan official in Kabul over ways to accelerate the peace process, before heading to Qatar, where negotiations with Taliban representatives are ongoing. U.S.-brokered peace talks between the Afghan government and the militant group began in September but progress has slowed and violence has risen, while there is also uncertainty over whether international forces will pull out troops by May as originally planned. The State Department said in a statement on Sunday that Khalilzad and his team were visiting Kabul and Qatar. It said the U.S. diplomats would also visit other regional capitals as part of a mission aimed at working toward “a just and durable political settlement and permanent and comprehensive ceasefire”. It did not provide dates or other details of where they intended to go, though Pakistan is a neighbour with keen interest in how the Afghan conflict plays out. On Monday, Khalilzad discussed the peace process with Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation, and he was also expected to meet other Afghan officials.”

Middle East

Arab News: Don’t Let Pandemic Distract From Fight Against Extremism: Experts

“The UK and Middle Eastern countries should not allow the coronavirus pandemic and its restrictions to distract from the importance of countering extremism, a group of experts said on Monday. At an event hosted by the UK’s Emirates Society and attended by Arab News, Sir John Jenkins, former British ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said: “The danger of the pandemic is that it distracts our attention (from extremism), and weakens the ability of governments and societies to deal with it and address it honestly and intelligently.” He added that the appeal of extremist ideologies “hasn’t gone away,” and that all governments need to remain focused on this issue. “One of the major threats to the Middle East is the spread of Shiite Islamist militias that have a degree of loyalty not simply to Iran, but to the supreme leader himself — they’re Khameneists, basically,” he said. “We see it with Hezbollah in Lebanon, we see it in Syria, and we see it extraordinarily in Iraq. The hollowing out of state capacity in large parts of the Middle East, in favor of these predatory militias, is a major long-term threat,” he added. “The key for governments is not to lose focus of all of this.” John Woodcock, the UK special envoy for countering violent extremism, echoed those concerns over the persistent threat of violent extremism.”


The New York Times: Nigeria’s Boarding Schools Have Become A Hunting Ground For Kidnappers

“When nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls were kidnapped from their boarding school by the Islamist group Boko Haram in 2014, the world exploded in outrage. Hundreds marched in the country’s capital, the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls was picked up by then First Lady Michelle Obama and Nigeria’s president scrambled to respond to the mass abduction in the village of Chibok. It seemed an aberration. But since last December, mass kidnappings of girls and boys at boarding schools in northwest Nigeria have been happening more and more frequently — at least one every three weeks. Just last Friday, more than 300 girls were taken from their school in Zamfara state. They were released this week, the governor of the state announced early Tuesday. The week before, more than 40 children and adults were abducted from a boarding school in Niger state. They were freed on Saturday. With Nigeria’s economy in crisis, kidnapping has become a growth industry, according to interviews with security analysts and a recent report on the economics of abductions. The victims are now not just the rich, powerful or famous, but also the poor — and increasingly, school children who are rounded up en masse.”

Daily Trust: Nigeria: Borno Confirms 10 Killed, 47 Injured In Boko Haram Shelling

“Borno State Government on Sunday said shells fired by insurgents on Maiduguri on Tuesday killed 10 civilians and injured 47 others. Governor Babagana Umara Zulum was said to have visited two hospitals in Maiduguri where the victims were hospitalised. The statement signed by the governor's spokesman, Isa Gusau, said weapons fired by the attackers from Kaleri, outskirts of Maiduguri included Rocket Propelled Grenades. “The grenades traveled to hit Gwange and Adam kolo communities, both densely populated areas in the inner city. Most of the deaths occurred in Gwange. One of the RPG shots, hit a children's playground in Gwange, it was also gathered,” it said. Governor Zulum who confirmed the attacks during his empathy visits to the State Specialist Hospital and the University of Maiduguri Maiduguri where the victims who had sustained various degrees of injuries were being treated, also directed the ministry of health shoulders the bills. Speaking on the military's recapture of Marte town, he said, “I am optimistic that the insurgents will not take over Marte again.”


Shabelle Media Network: Somalia: Al-Shabaab Militants Dead In Army Operation

“At least nine al-Shabaab terrorists were killed in Somalia Sunday when the al-Qaeda-affiliated terror group mounted an attack Sunday morning on an army base in the country's southwest. Mohamed Mukhtar, the district deputy commissioner in the town of Qasahdhere in the Bay region, told local media that the army, backed by Ethiopian forces serving under the African Union peacekeeping mission forces in the Horn of Africa country (AMISOM) killed at least nine terrorists during the attack. Speaking to Anadolu Agency over the phone, Qasahdhere district commissioner Abdirisaq Abdi Ibrahim said his administration, along with the regional paramilitary forces and AMISOM were aware that the attack was coming and ambushed the terrorists. “We received intelligence about the imminent attack and our forces managed to repulse the attack,” Ibrahim said. He added that more than 11 terrorist fighters were also wounded in the attack and their weapons seized. Qasahdhere is an agriculture town located some 346 kilometers (214 miles) southwest of the Somali capital Mogadishu and 90 km west of Baidoa, Bay's capital.”


Reuters: Suspected Islamists Kill Nine Civilians In Central Mali

“Suspected Islamist militants riding 4x4 vehicles and armed with machine guns killed nine civilians in attacks on three villages in central Mali late on Sunday, local officials said. Two different sets of assailants struck the ethnic Dogon villages of Gorey, Simikanda and Djamnati in Mali’s Mopti region, which has been ravaged in recent years by Islamist and inter-ethnic violence, the officials said. Moulaye Guindo, the mayor of Bankass, which is near Gorey and Simikanda, blamed the attacks on the same militants who killed eight people in attacks on a Malian military post and a gendarme base last Thursday. Islamist groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State regularly attack Malian security forces, U.N. peacekeepers and civilians in the area, and they have stoked ethnic conflict between farming communities like the Dogon and Fulani herders. Guindo and Yacouba Kassogué, the deputy mayor of Doucoumbo, which is near Djamnati, said four people were killed in Gorey, four in Djamnati and one in Simikanda. “They attacked, set fires and stole cattle,” Kassogué told Reuters. Mali has been in crisis since Islamist militants seized its desert north in 2012, forcing France to intervene the following year to push them back.”


Al Jazeera: Suspected ADF Rebels Kill Villagers In Eastern DRC: Army

“Fighters believed to be from the notorious Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) have killed at least 10 civilians in two overnight attacks in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the army said on Sunday. At least eight people were decapitated in the village of Boyo in the northeast Ituri province, while two others were shot dead in Kainama village by suspected ADF fighters, army spokesman Lieutenant Jules Ngongo said. Soldiers were in pursuit of the attackers, he added. Local officials confirmed the two attacks, adding that houses were also burned in the violence. Kainama lies at the extreme north of North Kivu province, where it borders with Ituri. It is just five kilometres (three miles) from Boyo. Both provinces sit on the DRC’s border with Uganda to the east. The ADF, which originated in the 1990s in western Uganda with the aim of creating a so-called “Islamic state”, have made their base in the eastern DRC since 1995. While they have not launched raids into Uganda for several years, the group has been blamed for killing more than 800 civilians over the past year in both North Kivu and South Kivu provinces. While the army has conducted operations against them in the region since October 2019, it has not been able to put a stop to the massacres of civilians.”

United Kingdom

The Indepndent: Man Accused Of Terror Plot Said He Wanted To ‘Hunt Down’ Gay People In UK, Court Hears

“An alleged terror plotter said he wanted to “hunt down” gay people in the UK, a court has heard. Sahayb Abu, 27, denies planning an atrocity and told the Old Bailey he was just “flexing his muscles” in a pro-Isis chat group. The court heard that in a message posted to a private group on the encrypted Telegram app, Mr Abu wrote that he had “panic attacks” when he saw gay people, adding: “I need to hunt them down.” In another message, he wrote that he “saw a woman-man thing and almost battered them” while walking down a road near his home in London. The jury was read messages where Mr Abu called Barack Obama the “LGBT president” and called gay people “disgusting”. While being questioned by prosecutor John McGuinness QC on Monday, Mr Abu admitted writing the messages but said they did not represent his real views or intentions. He said he brought up the subject to be a “bad boy” in the pro-Isis chat group, adding: “I’m bringing it up as an ego trip on my behalf … just to flex my muscles.” Mr Abu said the story about walking past someone he wanted to “batter” had been fake, and that he believed all life was sacred. “I don’t find them disgusting at all,” he added, telling jurors that he was once kissed by a man in London’s Heaven nightclub, and told him “I’m not gay, sir.”


Voice Of America: Jihadist Women’s Demands Come At Crucial Time For France

“A group of French women who joined the so-called Islamic State militant group and are currently detained in Syria continue a hunger strike as the French government denies their requests to be repatriated to France, along with their children. At least 12 French women who had joined the so-called Islamic State in Syria launched a hunger strike last week to protest what their organizers describe as “the stubborn refusal of the French authorities to organize their repatriation.” A total of 80 women and their 200 children live in poor conditions in camps or underground prisons in Syria. They denounce what they described as “an arbitrary detention which deteriorates to infinity and without aim.” They asked to be brought to justice in France for their alleged crimes. Marie Dose is a lawyer representing these women. She explains that these French women live in harsh conditions in camps in Al Hol and Roj, in Northern Syria. She describes their situation as a dead end as a French judge has issued international warrants for their arrests and the French judicial system wants to prosecute them. Therefore, these French women cannot face trial in Syria or Northern Kurdistan. However, French authorities refuse to repatriate them.”


Vice: Stash Of Illegal Weapons Found On Suspected Far-Right German Soldier

“A suspected right-wing extremist German soldier has been arrested with a cache of illegal weapons, police said Monday, amid growing concerns about hidden far-right radicals in the country’s armed forces. Police special forces in the central state of Hesse arrested the soldier during a raid in the Hochtaunus district Sunday, seizing ammunition and weapons, including firearms, knives, knuckledusters, a hand grenade and a tomahawk. Police said an accomplice, who was not a member of the military, was also arrested during the raid, before another suspect, also non-military, turned himself in on Sunday evening. The men, aged 21, 63 and 20, have been charged with illegal weapons possession and expressing right-wing extremist sentiment, according to a police statement. Unlike in similar recent cases, the weapons did not appear to have been taken from defence force arsenals, according to reports. Police said they could not provide further information about the case, as the investigation was ongoing. The arrest is just the latest extremism scandal connected to the Bundeswehr, the German armed forces, amid growing concern about hidden far-right sympathies in the ranks following a string of high-profile scandals in recent years.”


The Sydney Morning Herald: Terror Charge Accused Granted Bail But Staying In Custody For Now

“A young woman accused of associating with a person who intended to fight for Islamic State has been granted bail but remains in custody pending an appeal by Commonwealth prosecutors. Hadashah Sa’adat Khan, 23, has spent the past year in custody after she was charged last year over online contact she had with an American man in 2016, when she allegedly encouraged him to travel to the Middle East and fight for the terrorist organisation. Police allege that as a teenager Ms Khan acted as a conduit between Islamic State and the American man, who was arrested in 2017 trying to board a one-way flight to Morocco. His subsequent interview with authorities prompted Australian police to investigate Ms Khan. Her family home in Hallam was raided by police in January 2018 and she was interviewed but not taken into custody until February last year, when she was charged with providing assistance to a person who intended to engage in hostile activity for a terrorist organisation, and other offences. Ms Khan was granted bail on Monday when magistrate Ross Maxted found she met the test for exceptional circumstances because she would have spent more than 2½ years in custody before she faced trial in late 2022.”

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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