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Arrow Eye on Extremism October 30, 2018

Eye on Extremism - October 30, 2018

Eye on Extremism - October 30, 2018

The New York Times: American ISIS Suspect Is Freed After Being Held More Than A Year

“The Trump administration has freed an American citizen whom the military imprisoned without trial for more than 13 months as a suspected Islamic State member, United States officials said on Monday. His release brings a close to a legal saga that raised novel issues about the scope of the government’s national security powers and individual rights. The man, a dual American and Saudi citizen, was captured in September 2017 by a Kurdish militia in Syria. The Kurds turned him over to the American military, which held him as a wartime detainee at a base in Iraq while a court battle over his fate played out. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he was released in Bahrain, where his wife and daughter are living. The identity of the man at the center of the extraordinary case has been kept secret, so he has been called “John Doe” in court filings and public debates. But his real name is Abdulrahman Ahmad Alsheikh, The New York Times has learned, in part by obtaining an unredacted version of his Islamic State intake form and identifying public records about him.”

The Washington Post: The Washington Post: Hate Speech Tied To Suspect In Synagogue Massacre Rekindles Calls For Regulating Social Media

“The anti-Semitic online screeds tied to the man police say killed 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue are rekindling a debate in Congress over the role that social media companies should play in policing their platforms — and the penalties they should face if they fail. Days before the Pittsburgh attack, an account matching the suspect’s name, Robert Bowers, published violent, anti-Semitic posts on Gab, a social networking site that’s become a haven for the alt-right. The site has billed itself as a hub for “free speech” with few rules on what users can say and share. “Hate speech is free speech,” Gab’s leaders previously have said. For lawmakers already concerned about incendiary, extreme content online, the posts offered the latest reason to consider new regulation of the tech industry writ large. Some questioned whether Silicon Valley’s prized legal shield — a decades-old law that protects social media giants from lawsuits — might be in need of an overhaul. “I have serious concerns that the proliferation of extremist content — which has radicalized violent extremists ranging from Islamists to neo-Nazis — occurs in no small part because the largest social media platforms enjoy complete immunity for the content that their sites feature and that their algorithms promote,” said Virginia Sen. Mark R. Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee.”

Associated Press: US Helps Syrian Partners Regroup For ISIS ‘Last Stand’

“The U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State group says it is helping local Syrian partners regroup after a major setback over the weekend as the militants fight for their last pocket in Syria, near the Iraqi border. Coalition spokesman Col. Sean Ryan said Monday the Syrian Democratic Forces are sending new fighters to the front, while the coalition is helping "expedite" their resupply capabilities. He says the militants know this is "their last stand." Iraq's state-sanctioned paramilitary groups meanwhile say they are on high alert and ready to confront any militants who try to cross the border. Taking advantage of bad weather, ISIS militants attacked the Kurdish-led SDF over the weekend, expelling them from areas they had captured in a month of intense fighting in the area.”

The Wall Street Journal: ‘Taliban Five,’ Once Held At Guantanamo, Join Insurgency’s Political Office In Qatar

“Leading members of the Taliban who were once held by the U.S. at Guantanamo Bay have joined the group’s political office in the Gulf nation of Qatar, according to sources inside the Taliban, a potentially important development in tentative peace talks now under way between the insurgency and Washington. The move follows two rounds of talks between the Taliban and American officials in Qatar in July and October. Freeing the “Taliban Five” and bringing them into the political process appears to be a significant concession from the U.S. side. It had been a longstanding demand from the Taliban that was previously opposed by the White House. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the Trump administration approved the move or was aware of it. There was no immediate comment from Qatar. Four of the men are very senior members of the Taliban. Joining the group’s political representatives in Doha significantly boosts the standing of that office, which could enable a more serious political dialogue with Washington.”

The New York Times: On Social Media, No Answers For Hate

“On Monday, a search on Instagram, the photo-sharing site owned by Facebook, produced a torrent of anti-Semitic images and videos uploaded in the wake of Saturday’s shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue. A search for the word “Jews” displayed 11,696 posts with the hashtag “#jewsdid911,” claiming that Jews had orchestrated the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Other hashtags on Instagram referenced Nazi ideology, including the number 88, an abbreviation used for the Nazi salute “Heil Hitler.” The Instagram posts demonstrated a stark reality. Over the last 10 years, Silicon Valley’s social media companies have expanded their reach and influence to the furthest corners of the world. But it has become glaringly apparent that the companies never quite understood the negative consequences of that influence nor what to do about it — and that they cannot put the genie back in the bottle. “Social media is emboldening people to cross the line and push the envelope on what they are willing to say to provoke and to incite,” said Jonathan Albright, research director at Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism. “The problem is clearly expanding.”

CNBC: Accused Mail Bomber Cesar Sayoc Had List Of More Than 100 Other Potential Targets: WNBC

“Cesar Sayoc, the man accused of mailing more than a dozen pipe bombs to leading Democrats and other critics of President Donald Trump, was eyeing more than 100 other people as potential targets, WNBC reported Monday. Sayoc’s list of people that he was researching included many political figures, but some were journalists and entertainers, officials told NBC. A review of electronic devices seized from Sayoc suggest he did similar research on the people to whom he is accused of sending mail bombs. Law enforcement authorities will visit the people on Sayoc’s list and alert them. The FBI believes it has an obligation to warn anyone who may have been a potential target, particularly since it is not known how many as-yet-undelivered pipe bombs still could be working their way through the postal system.”

United States
Associated Press: U.S. Citizen Held 13 Months For Suspected Ties To Islamic State Is Freed

“The U.S. has released a dual American-Saudi citizen suspected of working with the Islamic State and detained by the U.S. military for more than a year without charge. The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented the detainee, confirmed Monday that he is now a free man. The ACLU said that under a confidential agreement, the U.S. government has released him to an unidentified country. The New York Times said he was released in Bahrain, but The Associated Press could not independently confirm where he was released. The release of the detainee, who once lived and studied in Louisiana, follows months of legal wrangling between government lawyers and the ACLU over what the U.S. should do with suspected militants picked up on the battlefield.”

The Hill: Controversial Gab Platform Faces Crackdown After Pittsburgh Shooting

“Gab, a social media haven for far right groups, is facing a crackdown after the alleged shooter who killed eleven people in a Pittsburgh synagogue used the platform to share his views. Robert Bowers, 46, had posted hateful messages, including that "jews are the children of satan." Bowers was charged Monday with 29 felony counts, including 11 counts for using a firearm to commit murder. Gab has defended itself as "the home of free speech online," and says it bears no responsibility for the shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue on Saturday. The shooting in Pittsburgh is bringing new scrutiny on the platform and has already led a number of tech service providers to finally cut ties with Gab. GoDaddy, which hosted its domain, and PayPal, both ended service to the social media company on Monday. “What we’d like to see is more proactive action on extremist content and materials that can be found on social media sites,” said Steven Cohen, communications director at the Counter Extremism Project, a non-profit calling for tougher enforcement of hateful content on the internet. “It shouldn’t be something that happens after the fact.”

Politico: Inside The Online Cesspool Of Anti-Semitism That Housed Robert Bowers

“As news of Saturday’s tragic shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh broke, the nation soon learned of the vile hate that motivated the alleged attacker, a 46-year-old white man named Robert Bowers. He regularly posted anti-Semitic content on Gab, an “alternative” social media platform, with assertions like “jews are the children of satan” and other vile ideas. Posts and reposts on Bowers account, which was removed following his attack, echoed all the major points of the white nationalist community: railing against “ZOGs” (“Zionist Operated Governments”), Jews’ “war against” white people and “kike infestation.” Just hours before his attack on October 27, he posted of Hebrews Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), a refugee-aiding organization connected to Tree of Life Synagogue: “HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can't sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I'm going in.”

Fox News: Package Bomb Suspect Cesar Sayoc Kept Hit List, Reports Say

“The man suspected of sending more than a dozen pipe bombs to prominent Democrats and other critics of President Trump kept a list of what officials believe were his intended targets, The Associated Press and New York Post reported Monday. The Post report, which cited law enforcement sources, said 56-year-old Cesar Sayoc's list had "hundreds" of names on it. The paper also reported that Sayoc was mailing out suspicious packages as late as this past Thursday, the day before he was arrested outside an auto parts store in Plantation, Fla. Consequently, the paper reported that more bombs may be making their way through the postal system and workers have been put on alert to identify them. "We don’t have anything to indicate there are hundreds," said one source, who added that the FBI would warn anyone facing a "credible threat.”

Voice Of America: A Look At Mail Attacks In The US

“Although it has not yet been determined whether the suspect in custody in the mailing of explosive devices to critics of President Donald Trump will be charged with terrorism, at least one analyst asserts that this week’s spate of mail bombs can be labeled as such for several reasons. Randall Rogan, an expert on terrorism and hostage negotiation and a professor of communications at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., laid out his logic: "I would define these acts as domestic terrorism — terrorism being defined as acts of violence or threat of violence against non-combatants for political reasons, with ‘political’ being used very broadly to be inclusive of religious, social and other ideological purposes, and this is domestic in nature." Rogan admitted, though, "The definition of terrorism is vague, with no truly universally accepted definition.”

Independent Mail: Anderson Man Who Warned Of Jihad Pleads Guilty To Building Homemade Explosives

“An Anderson man has admitted that he built explosives and placed them along roads near his home in January and February, including one that detonated inside a wicker basket to injure a father, federal prosecutors announced Monday. Wesley Dallas Ayers, 27, pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in letters and warned of a jihad, according to investigators' testimony in an earlier hearing. Now, after pleading guilty to using weapons of mass destruction, Ayers faces at least 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He could face life imprisonment, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Ayers has not yet been sentenced, and a date for the sentencing has not yet been set, Lance Crick, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, told the Independent Mail. One of Ayers' homemade explosives was discovered Jan. 30 near the intersection of Travis and Martin roads. In that case, a 49-year-old man found a wicker basket and heard something in it hissing, he told investigators. When he opened the basket, the device detonated and he suffered a minor leg injury, according to the Anderson County Sheriff's Office. His 14-year-old daughter was with him, and her screams were captured on home video and audio surveillance footage. Previously: Anderson man indicted on explosives-related charges Along with the basket was a drawing that depicted the White House with flames superimposed over it, FBI agent Ted Socha testified at a preliminary hearing for Ayers last March.”

Associated Press: Taliban: 5 Freed From US Military Prison Now In Qatar Office

“A Taliban spokesperson says five members of the Afghan Taliban who were freed from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay in exchange for captured American army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl have joined the insurgent group's political office in Qatar. That means they will now be among Taliban representatives negotiating for peace in Afghanistan, spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tells The Associated Press. After drawn-out negotiations, the five Taliban were released in 2015. Bergdahl, who had been held in Taliban custody since 2009 when he wandered off a U.S. army base, was given a dishonorable discharge last year and fined $1,000 on charges of desertion and misbehavior. The stature of the five, which includes an ex-army chief, would make a peace deal palatable to the rank and file, says former Taliban Hakim Mujahed.”

Reuters: Syria Says Turkey Not Implementing Idlib Deal: Report

“The Syrian government has accused Turkey of failing to meet obligations set out in an agreement with Russia to create a demilitarized zone free of jihadists in the northwest, at odds with the Russian view that Ankara is fulfilling the deal. The agreement forged in September between Russia, President Bashar al-Assad’s most powerful ally, and Turkey, which backs the rebels, staved off a major government offensive into the opposition-held Idlib region.”

Al Jazeera: Russia's New Game In Syria

“After several delays, the Istanbul summit finally took place on Saturday, bringing together the leaders of Turkey, Russia, France and Germany to discuss peace in Syria. The four-way meeting was originally scheduled for early September, but major differences between the four led to its postponement. The summit brought together parties from the Astana process group (Russia, Turkey and Iran) and the Syria Working Group (the US, the UK, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt), but it failed to mend differences between and within each of the two groups. Apart from a very broad joint statement that emphasised the need to initiate "an inclusive, Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political process" to end the Syrian conflict, no agreement was reached on how to achieve it. The main divisive issues continue to be the political fate of Bashar al-Assad, foreign military presence, the question of the refugees and reconstruction, and the future of the Kurdish areas in the northeast.”

Jerusalem Post: Analysis: ISIS Counterattacks In Syria Threaten Iraq And U.S. Partners

“A reddish sandstorm settled on areas of the Syria-Iraq border over the last week. It turned the air into a reddish soup, where people could not see more than a few meters in front of their face. Through the haze and dust, the Islamic State launched a coordinated counter-attack along a front line near the Euphrates area in an area known as the Hajin pocket. This is the last area ISIS holds in Syria and the US-led Coalition and its Syrian Democratic Forces partners have been seeking to defeat ISIS in Hajin for the last two months. On October 29, the SDF sent special forces to bolster the front line, according to a spokesman for the Coalition. “The SDF is engaged in a difficult battle and fighting bravely to protect and free their people from ISIS. We salute the martyred SDF heroes as the intense fight against evil continues,” the spokesman wrote. More than a dozen SDF fighters were killed in the clashes and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said up to 40 had been killed.”

Fox News: International Red Cross Fears For City In Syria It Can't Reach With Aid

“The International Committee of the Red Cross is sounding the alarm over the fate of civilians in the city of Afrin, Syria, where aid workers have been unable to gain access in the eight months since it was seized by a Turkish-supported militia. “This worries me. It is not just about the ICRC not getting access. No humanitarian actors impartial and neutral are able to access the area,” ICRC Director-General Yves Daccord told Fox News. “This worries me for the people affected and the community in this area.” The Free Syrian Army (FSA) earlier this year took control of Afrin thanks to a Turkish military offensive aimed at driving out the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), which in turn is part of the U.S.-supported Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The Turkish-backed FSA maintains authority in Afrin, while the SDF holds scattered territory farther south. The ICRC hasn't been in Afrin since early March. Even then the situation was described as "dire," with few hospitals in operation, and more than 30,000 people displaced. Daccord noted that despite repeated recent requests – while not specifically addressing whether Turkey was allowing cross-border operations – the ICRC has not been granted permission to enter Afrin, situated in Syria’s northern Aleppo Governorate.”

Reuters: Syrian Kurds Boost Fight Against Islamic State In East After Setback

“Syrian Kurdish special forces have joined an offensive against Islamic State militants in eastern Syria, a commander said, after the jihadists recovered ground from U.S.-backed forces in a fierce counter attack. Islamic State (IS) launched the assault against the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the Deir al-Zor region near the Iraqi border on Friday. Iraqi Shi’ite militias reinforced their side of the frontier in response and Iraq’s military said it was ready to take on any militants who tried to cross. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said around 70 SDF fighters were killed in the assault which Islamic State launched under cover of a sandstorm and drew on suicide bombers and female jihadists. The SDF says it lost 14 fighters. A spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition said Islamic State had been able to regain some ground but the SDF would “come back with coalition support”. An SDF commander attributed the setback partly to the relative inexperience of the Arab SDF forces which have carried out much of the fighting against hardened Islamic State militants in Deir al-Zor. While the Arab fighters of the Deir al-Zor Military Council had been able to make advances to a “certain level”, Islamic State is resisting even more fiercely as the offensive closes in on its last pockets.”

CBS News: With Iran Under Pressure, Foreign Minister Tells CBS News U.S. Sanctions "Hurt," But Won't Work

“In the Iranian capital, a pious crowd assembled on cue for Friday prayers. From the pulpit there was spiritual guidance, mixed with the usual anti-American rhetoric. All Iranians -- be they religious or not -- are worried right now about punishing American sanctions due to kick in on November 4. The measures, imposed by President Trump as he pulled the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal, are aimed at preventing Iran from selling its oil around the world. The worries have already sent Iran's currency plunging, and commodity prices soaring. But to no one's surprise, the Iranian government is putting a bold face on it, insisting that no economic penalties imposed from Washington can force the Islamic Republic's hand. We asked Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif if his country was ready and able to withstand a loss which could amount to more than a third of its vital oil revenue.”

Voice Of America: Iran Silent On S. Korea's Hyundai Quitting Major Construction Project

“South Korean conglomerate Hyundai's cancellation of a major Iran construction project due to problems related to U.S. economic sanctions has been met with silence in Iranian media. In a brief regulatory filing published Monday, Hyundai Engineering & Construction said it canceled a $521 million contract a day earlier for building a petrochemicals complex in Iran. "The contract was canceled because financing is not complete, which was a prerequisite for the validity of the contract, as external factors worsened, such as economic sanctions against Iran," Hyundai said. Twelve hours after Hyundai made the announcement, there were no mentions of it in Iranian state-controlled media. There also was little Farsi-language discussion of the move on Twitter.”

The Wall Street Journal: Iran Holds A Hostage For ‘Spying On The Dead’

“Give President Trump credit for bringing unjustly detained Americans home. Whatever misgivings you may have about his North Korean diplomacy, three American prisoners freed in May are better for it. So is Pastor Andrew Brunson, whom Turkey released this month. “I hope my husband is next,” Hua Qu tells me. “He has literally been taken hostage by Iran.” Her husband is Xiyue Wang, a history graduate student at Princeton arrested in Tehran in August 2016 and sentenced to 10 years in the notorious Evin Prison. He is one of at least five Americans currently detained in Iran—and the only one who doesn’t also hold Iranian citizenship. Mr. Wang, then 35, ventured to Iran in January 2016 to research the Qajar dynasty, which ruled Persia from 1794 to 1925. The espionage allegation came after he copied thousands of pages of research material from the National Archives of Iran. As one of his Princeton professors put it, Mr. Wang was accused of “spying on the dead.” The documents he copied were from between 1840 and 1910, according to Ms. Qu.”

Daily Mail: ISIS Bomb Maker Blows Himself Up While Constructing Explosive Charges In Iraq

“An ISIS bomb maker has blown himself up while trying to manufacture explosives. The terrorist, codenamed Abu Moaaz, died in Diyala province on Monday, according to Iraqi News. Moaaz was described as a dangerous bomb expert who helped make devices that were used in the killings of police and civilians in recent months. ISIS swept across Iraq in 2014, seizing a swathe of territory that stretched from its border with Syria to Ramadi and Tikrit, on the outskirts of Baghdad. The terror group declared a caliphate which encompassed both its territory in Iraq and Syria, though that has now collapsed. Thanks to a fightback from the Iraqi Army and concerted bombing campaign led by America, ISIS was driven out of all of Iraq's major cities last year. In December, Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi declared 'final victory' over the terrorist group, though in reality pockets of resistance remain.”

Iraqi News: Islamic State Executes Two Leaders After Troops Confiscate Weapon Stash In Diyala

“Islamic State militant group has executed two of its leaders in Diyala province, a security source said on Monday, indicating confiscation of a main weapon stash for the group in the province. Speaking to Baghdad Today website, the source said “Islamic State killed two of its militants in Hamrin basin, northeast of Baquba, after confiscating the main weapon stash of the so-called Diyala State by security troops few days ago.” “Seizing the main weapon stash, which included hundreds of weapons and explosives, was a strong blow against the group,” the source who preferred anonymity, added. The execution, according to the source, “indicates the unstable situation within the group after losing a main source for weapons.” In December, the Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi announced gaining control on all the territories that were captured by Islamic State, since 2014. However, Security reports indicate that the militant group still poses threat against stability in the country. The group still has dormant cells, through which it carries out attacks, across Iraq like it used to do before 2014. Thousands of Islamic State militants as well as Iraqi civilians were killed since the government campaign, backed by paramilitary troops and the coalition was launched in October 2016.”

CNN: Pilot Misreading Navigation System Caused Iraq Helicopter Crash That Killed 7, Report Says

“The helicopter crash that killed seven US service members in Iraq this March occurred because the pilot misinterpreted the navigation display and the helicopter became tangled in a steel cable, a new report says. The finding was reported in an Air Combat Command Accident Investigation Board report released Monday. "The investigation concluded that the pilot misinterpreted aircraft navigation displays, which caused the formation to overfly the intended destination," the report reads. "As a result, the aircraft descended into an unplanned location." The helicopter then struck and became tangled in a steel cable strung between two towers, according to the report. Following the crash, Army Brig. Gen. Jonathan P. Braga, the director of operations for the combined task force leading the fight against ISIS in the region, said all personnel aboard the helicopter were killed. The crash, marking one of the deadliest days for US in Iraq in 2018, occurred while the pilot was moving the helicopter to a landing zone closer to ground operations. The servicemen included four flight crew members and three pararescuemen, according to the report. The Defense Department released the names of the seven airmen in March. They are: Captain Mark K. Weber, 29, of Colorado Springs, Colorado; Captain Andreas B. O'Keeffe, 37, of Center Moriches, New York; Captain Christopher T. Zanetis, 37, of Long Island City, New York; Master Sergeant Christopher J. Raguso, 39, of Commack, New York; Staff Sergeant Dashan J. Briggs, 30, of Port Jefferson Station, New York; Master Sergeant William R. Posch, 36, of Indialantic, Florida; and Staff Sergeant Carl Enis, 31, of Tallahassee, Florida.”

Reuters: Turkey Rejects Syrian Accusations Over Idlib Deal

Turkey rejected on Tuesday Syrian government accusations that it is not meeting its obligations under an agreement to create a demilitarized zone around the insurgent-held Idlib region, saying the deal was being implemented as planned. The agreement forged in September between Russia, President Bashar al-Assad’s most powerful ally, and Turkey, which backs the rebels, staved off a major government offensive into the opposition-held region in northwest Syria. Russian President Vladimir Putin said after a four-way summit on Syria with Turkey, Germany and France on Saturday that Ankara was fulfilling its obligations in Idlib, which with adjacent areas is the last stronghold of the anti-Assad insurgency. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said in comments reported late on Monday that Turkey appeared unwilling to implement the deal.”

The Straits Times: In Syria's Rebel North, Turkey Deepens Roots, Spreads Influence

“"Brotherhood has no limits." The phrase is painted in Arabic and Turkish on a wall in Azaz, the town at the heart of Turkey's de facto protectorate in northern Syria. From Turkish-language classes for Syrian children to the state-owned Turk Telekom company erecting its first cell towers on Syrian soil, Ankara's role in the rebel-held region around Azaz has been expanding. "All the support we receive is Turkish - education, services, and so on," said Mr Mohammad Hamdan Keno, 64, head of the Azaz Local Council (ALC), which governs the town. "Everything here is from our Turkish brothers." Like the rest of his hometown, his desk in the ALC's headquarters is adorned with both the two-star flag of the Syrian uprising and Ankara's red-and-white crescent emblem. Turkey began providing humanitarian, political and military backing to Syria's opposition soon after anti-regime protests began in 2011, and it has remained a steady ally ever since.”

Associated Press: Turkish Forces Shell Kurd Fighters In Syria

“The Turkish army on Sunday shelled positions held by the U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria, east of the Euphrates River, in a new spike in tension along the borders. Ankara considers the U.S.-backed Kurdish militia an extension of its own insurgent groups, which it refers to as "terrorists and separatists," and sent its military into Syria two years ago to drive the group and Islamic State militants away from its borders in northwestern Syria. Recently, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to expand the military operations to clear the borders from "terror." The Syrian militias, known as the Kurdish People's Protection Units, are the backbone of the U.S.-backed force that is fighting against militants of the Islamic State extremist group. The alliance between the Kurdish fighters and Washington soured relations between the U.S. and Turkey, a fellow NATO member. The rare Turkish shelling east of the Euphrates comes a day after an international summit on Syria hosted by Turkey, which called for an inclusive political process and for creating conditions to allow the return of millions of refugees. Speaking at the summit, Erdogan said Turkey has been among those most harmed by "terror organizations" in neighboring Syria. "We will continue eliminating threats against our national security at its root in the Euphrates' east as we have done so in its west," Erdogan said. Turkey's official Anadolu news agency said Turkish artillery strikes Sunday hit trenches and positions built by the Kurdish People's Protection Units on a hill in the village of Zor Moghar, in rural northern Aleppo.”

Xinhua: Drone Strike Kills Taliban Shadow District Chief In E. Afghanistan

“A Taliban shadow district chief for Amna district in the eastern Paktika province was killed in an unmanned plane attack against Taliban hideout on Monday night, provincial government spokesman Shah Mahmoud Aryan said Tuesday. The drone attack, according to the official, was conducted on a tip off against Mullah Mutawakil, the shadow district chief of Taliban for Amna district, late on Monday night, killing him on the spot. Taliban militants have yet to make comments.”

Reuters: Islamic State Claims Blast Near Election Commission In Afghan Capital - Amaq

“Islamic State claimed responsibility on Monday for a blast near the election commission in Afghan capital Kabul, according to a statement on the group’s Amaq news agency. The bomber detonated an explosive vest and after approaching several official vehicles close to the election commission, the statement said. At least six people were wounded in the blast, Afghan officials said.”

Arab News: Yemeni Minister Calls On Houthis To Release 51,000 Tons Of Wheat Intended For Relief Efforts

“The head of Yemen’s Supreme Relief Committee Abdulraqeeb Fatah has called for the release of 51,000 tons of WFP wheat stocks in the province of Hodeidah from the Houthi militia. The stock was intended for more than 3.7 million people, WFP spokesman Herve Verheusel said. The action is contrary to all international and humanitarian laws and contributes to the deterioration of the humanitarian situation and the suffering of millions of Yemenis, Fatah said in a press statement published by Yemen’s official news agency. He called for the immediate release of wheat and to end all actions that continue the suffering of Yemeni people through the continued detention of relief convoys and the looting of humanitarian aid, as well as creating obstacles to local and international relief organizations.”

Asharq Al-Awsat: At Least 55 Houthi Militiamen Killed In Saada, Southern Hodeidah

“Around 55 Iran-backed Houthi militiamen were killed and others injured in clashes with the Yemeni National Army, the coalition raids of the legitimacy support coalition in Saada, northwest of Sanaa, and south of the key Red Sea port city of Hodeidah. Yemeni army forces, backed by a heavy air raids by the Saudi-led Arab Coalition, were able to directly attack Houthi concentrations, achieve high-value military objectives across various combat fronts and continue a strong push against coup-held southern fronts. In a statement posted on its Facebook page, Houthi coupists admitted to the killing of 40 members and the injury of dozens in clashes on landbridges connecting the coup-captured Sanaa and the eastern port of the city Hodeidah. “Arab Coalition aircraft targeted reinforcements and Houthi equipment with destructive air raids,” local field sources reported. In Saada, some 15 Houthis were killed and others wounded last Saturday. “Houthi militias tried exploiting seasonal changes in weather in Saada province to stage a tri-frontal ambush with over 20 combat vehicles and dozens of armed motorbikes, but these movements were monitored and destroyed by the army and Arab Coalition force,” sources added. In another development, tension and armed confrontations widened between the militias of Abdul Malik al-Houthi and his uncle, Abdul Azim al-Houthi, a Zaidi cleric in several areas in the governorates of Saada, Hajjah, Amran and Sanaa with both rallying their bases in many regions of Saada. In al-Jawf province, military sources said that army divisions targeted positions and gatherings of the militias on the western fronts late Saturday night front, inflicting considerable losses in coup ranks.”

Arab News: Houthis Fighting Education In Yemen By Kidnapping Teachers, Administrators: Arab Coalition

“Houthi militia fights education and kidnaps teachers and administrators in Yemen, according to the Arab Coalition spokesperson. Speaking at a weekly press conference in Riyadh, Col. Turki Al-Maliki said joint forces are continuing efforts to provide assistance to those affected by the hurricane. Yemen’s eastern Mahra province was battered by cyclone Luban earlier this month, with three days of rainfall and flooding destroying property and killing livestock.”

The Express: ISIS Returns As Militants Murder Four At Libya Police Station In Savage Attack

“The local authorities have said the attack occurred on a police station in central Libya. The Municipal Council of the Jufra district wrote on Facebook: “Currently, four people from the al-Fuqaha area have died as a result of the attack. “Among them is the son of the chairman of the local council in the Jufra district.” ISIS terrorists kidnapped a significant amount of young men, the council representative told news website, Sputnik. The local authorities have said the attack occurred on a police station in central Libya. The Municipal Council of the Jufra district wrote on Facebook: “Currently, four people from the al-Fuqaha area have died as a result of the attack. “Among them is the son of the chairman of the local council in the Jufra district.” ISIS terrorists kidnapped a significant amount of young men, the council representative told news website, Sputnik.”

Associated Press: Islamic State Attacks Libyan Town, Kills 4

“Islamic State militants attacked a small town in central Libya on Monday, killing at least four people, including the mayor’s son and two policemen, and torching the local police station, according to residents and a lawmaker from the area. The attack on al-Fuqaha began around 1 a.m. At least a dozen townspeople have gone missing, presumed abducted by the militants, including an 80-year-old man, said Ismail al-Shareef, a lawmaker from the area. The Islamic State later claimed the attack in an online statement, saying it took hostages. The militants torched the town’s police station along with two houses, residents said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals. The attack on al-Fuqaha, south of the former Islamic State bastion of Sirte on the Mediterranean coast, underscores the volatility of Libya’s central region, where the Islamic State and other armed groups, including some from neighboring Chad, operate as highway robbers or attack patrols of the self-styled Libyan National Army led by General Khalifa Hifter. Following the attack, Hifter’s forces, which answer to the government based in eastern Libya, pursued the attackers into the desert, according to al-Shareef. He said he believed the attack was retaliation for recent Libyan National Army operations against Islamic State militants in the area and the capture of senior militants. The United Nations mission in Libya condemned the attack and said two of the four killed by the militants were ‘‘executed in public.”

The Washington Post: Al-Shabab’s Former No. 2 Leader Runs For Office In Somalia

“The normal-looking campaign rally in Somalia’s capital this month was anything but. Dozens of people in T-shirts bearing the smiling candidate’s image and “Security and Justice” were praising the former No. 2 leader of Africa’s deadliest Islamic extremist group, the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab, who until recently was the target of a $5 million U.S. reward. Stunned, Somalia’s federal government is in an awkward spot. If Mukhtar Robow’s campaign for a regional presidency goes forward, observers say the man who once praised Osama bin Laden and tried to impose an Islamic state has a good chance at winning next month’s election. Ever since surprising Somalis by defecting to a delighted government last year, the former al-Shabab spokesman and founding father has not been shy. Robow openly discussed his break with hardliners that led him to quit the extremist group — “I disagreed with their creed, which does not serve Islamic religion,” he said — and the threats that pushed him to defect after years of living in the safety of his clan. Then he donated blood in a show of support after Somalia’s deadliest attack, the October 2017 truck bombing in Mogadishu that killed over 500 people. Now the lanky, bearded Robow, al-Shabab’s highest-profile defector, seeks to lead his native Southwest region despite a sharp “no” from the federal government. The interior ministry says he’s ineligible to run because he remains under international sanctions.”

Associated Press: Female Suicide Bomber Wounds 9 In Tunisia's Capital

“A female suicide bomber wounded nine people, mostly police officers, on a busy avenue in Tunisia's capital on Monday afternoon, authorities said. The 30-year-old woman set off the blast in Tunis just before 2 p.m. (1300 GMT) on Habib Bourguiba avenue, the Interior Ministry said. The bomber, who wasn't previously known to authorities, blew herself up near a police patrol, a ministry statement said. It said eight police officers and one civilian were wounded. Apart from the bomber, there were no further reported deaths. An AP reporter at the scene saw ambulances arriving to take the wounded to hospitals. The avenue, as well as several adjacent streets, was cordoned off by police. Habib Bourguiba avenue is considered the cultural, political and economic heart of Tunis — and is sometimes called Tunisia's Champs Elysees. Tunisian radio station Mosaique FM said the attacker was wearing a homemade bomb belt with a small quantity of explosives. The station cited a security source it did not name. The bomber's body appeared largely intact after the explosion. Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi called the bombing a terrorist attack, in comments reported from Germany, where he was attending an investment conference.”

Egypt Today: Germany Classifies 1,040 Muslim Brotherhood Followers As Terrorists

“The German Ministry of the Interior, Building, and Community released in July 2018 the “Brief summary 2017 Report on the Protection of the Constitution: Facts and Trends” offering figures on “politically motivated crimes” and on groups adopting extremist doctrines and posing threats to the country’s security. In the section titled “Islamism/Islamist terrorism,” the report indicated that the number of individuals living in Germany and falling under that category in 2017 is 25,810. Those include 1,040 members of the Muslim Brotherhood. The number of politically motivated crimes recorded 39,505 in 2017 and 41,549 in 2016. The report assigns those into two main categories which are propaganda offences and criminal offences. The latter accounted for 4,311 in 2016 to 3,754 in 2017. The former accounted for 13,406 in 2016, and 13,923 in 2017. For criminal offences perpetrators, 75.6 percent in 2017 and 74.5 percent in 2016 had an extremist background. The figures reveal that although the number of politically motivated crimes decreased in 2017 compared to 2016, the number of crimes driven by extremism increased. Extremism is categorized into left-wing, right-wing, religious ideology by foreigners, and political ideology by foreigners. The number of crimes committed by foreigners and driven by religious ideology is 907 for the year 2017. “The majority (885 cases) had an Islamist/fundamentalist background, including 60 violent crimes, three of which were homicides (two actual and one attempted) and 48 were cases of bodily injury.”

Terrorist Financing
El-Watan News: Some Tutorial Centers In Egypt Accused Of Terrorist Financing

“Dr. Mohammed Omar, Deputy Egyptian Minister of Education for Teachers' Affairs, disclosed that some of the private tutorial centers operating in Egypt use their profits to finance terrorism. During a telephone interview with the "ONE" Egyptian digital television channel, the Deputy Minister mentioned that the Education Ministry recently launched a campaign against the centers for {remedial} private lessons across Egypt in efforts to put an end to this dangerous phenomenon.”

Gulf 365: ISIS Recaptures Major Oilfield In Syria's Deir Ezzour Region

“ISIS militants recently recaptured the Al-Omar oilfield in Deir Ezzour in eastern Syria, the country's largest oilfield. This came just one year after ISIS lost it to Syrian rebels. A source at the pro-opposition Civil Council of Deir Ezzour said that ISIS militants besieged, stormed and conquered the oilfield last Sunday as troops of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fled from the scene of this vital site.”

Muslim Brotherhood
Veto Gate: Journalist: Appraisal Of Muslim Brotherhood Funds Will Take A Long Time

“The Director of Al-Hayat's Cairo Bureau, Mohammed Salah, explained the causes of the delay in the appraisal of the Muslim Brotherhood's funds and assets in Egypt. The journalist said he isn't surprised that the valuation process is taking so long, since the group's multi-billion assets have been deposited in a very large number of highly-diversified investment channels all over Egypt. The leaders of the banned Islamist group constantly attempt to mislead the authorities, deceive the citizens and circumvent the laws, Salah explained. He added that in order to come to power, the Muslim Brotherhood set up {in the past} a parallel economy, predominantly in countries where the outlawed group enjoys strong popularity and influence, such as Egypt.”

Alsharq Times: Egyptian Government Expedites Sale Of Assets Belonging To Individuals Suspected Of Muslim Brotherhood Financing

“Governmental entities, which were previously assigned to manage the assets of people suspected of financing the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood, have recently started selling some of these properties, particularly the removable ones. This sale is being conducted on the basis of seizure decisions issued by the state committee tasked with confiscating and managing the funds and assets of the entities and persons classified as "terrorist," underpinned by a relevant ruling by the Urgent Matters Court dated last September (2018). Informed state sources reported that the Ministries of Health and Education have already issued instructions to sell part of the equipment, machinery and devices in several hospitals and schools, which were subject to seizure as of 2013. The same sources added that the government began selling these assets without waiting for final verdicts on appeals filed by the owners of these assets.”

Yemen Akhbar: Yemen's Muslim Brotherhood Exploits War To Amass Wealth

“The civil war in Yemen, which was initiated by the Houthi militia, an Iranian proxy, enabled the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood's political arm in the country to amass great wealth in less than two years. The Islamist party has gotten its hands on the money provided by the Saudi-led coalition in support of the internationally recognized president Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi. Additionally, chiefs of the Muslim Brotherhood in Yemen have become wealthy businessmen, within a very short period, by taking over the money donated as medical support and salaries for the anti-Houthi resistance forces. Furthermore, the Islamist group collected various taxes from local citizens {e.g.' war effort' fees}. Therefore, the Muslim Brotherhood seeks, in fact, to extend the Yemeni civil war, in which it doesn't really take part, according to some analysts. Those experts stressed that the war has aided the Muslim Brotherhood in building a financial empire, as some figures identified with the group have recently transferred funds to Turkey and even made investments there.”

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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