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Old 01-15-2020, 11:16 AM
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Arrow Eye on Extremism: January 15, 2020

Eye on Extremism: January 15, 2020

Bloomberg: The FBI Can Unlock Florida Terrorist’s Iphones Without Apple

“The FBI is pressing Apple Inc. to help it break into a terrorist’s iPhones, but the government can hack into the devices without the technology giant, according to experts in cybersecurity and digital forensics. Investigators can exploit a range of security vulnerabilities -- available directly or through providers such as Cellebrite and Grayshift -- to break into the phones, the security experts said. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, the perpetrator of a Dec. 6 terrorist attack at a Navy base in Florida, had an iPhone 5 and iPhone 7, models that were first released in 2012 and 2016, respectively. Alshamrani died and the handsets were locked, leaving the FBI looking for ways to hack into the devices. “A 5 and a 7? You can absolutely get into that,” said Will Strafach, a well-known iPhone hacker who now runs security company Guardian Firewall. “I wouldn’t call it child’s play, but it’s not super difficult.” That counters the U.S. government’s stance. Attorney General William Barr slammed Apple on Monday, saying the company hasn’t done enough to help the FBI break into the iPhones. “We are helping Apple all of the time on TRADE and so many other issues, and yet they refuse to unlock phones used by killers, drug dealers and other violent criminal elements,” President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter Tuesday.”

The New York Times: Plan To Cut U.S. Troops In West Africa Draws Criticism From Europe

“A Pentagon proposal to greatly reduce American forces in West Africa faced criticism from allies on Tuesday, with French officials arguing that removing United States intelligence assets in the region could stymie the fight against extremist groups. American officials said they were proceeding nonetheless. While no final decision has been made on how many troops will be transferred from Africa and the Middle East as the Pentagon refocuses its priorities to confront “great powers” like Russia and China, America’s top military officer said the United States needed to shift its forces to better counter China in particular. Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, acknowledged that the proposal was “causing some anxiety.” But he said that the United States needed to seriously re-examine its military footprint in Africa, and the Middle East and Latin America after that, given the heightened focus on China. General Milley’s comments came ahead of a NATO military chiefs’ meeting in Brussels, where he also sought to lay out the United States’ rationale for killing Iran’s top military commander, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani this month.”

The Telegraph: Government Considers New Law To Ban The Possession Of Terrorist Propaganda

“A new law that would make it illegal to possess extremist material, such as videos of Isil beheadings, is being considered by the Government in the wake of 2017 London Bridge attacks, the Home Secretary has confirmed. Khuram Butt, the ringleader of the atrocity, was known to have viewed terrorist propaganda online before launching the attack in which eight people were killed. But at the victims' inquests last year, the Chief Coroner, expressed concern that gaps in the legislation made it difficult to act against those possessing and viewing such material. Mark Lucraft QC, recommended the introduction of a new law that would ban material of the “most offensive and shocking character”, putting it on a par with indecent images of children. In her official response to the coroner's report, published on Tuesday, Priti Patel said: “The Government accepts this recommendation and is currently considering the necessity for a further offence of possessing the most serious extremist material which glorifies or encourages terrorism. “The Government notes the Chief Coroner's comments regarding the evidence at the inquests, the existence of the offence for a person in possession of a prohibited image of a child, and the perception that the lack of a comparative counter-terrorism offence may sometimes prevent counter terrorism policing from taking disruptive action.”

United States

Vice: FBI Arrests Suspect In Neo-Nazi Swatting Ring That Targeted 'Hundreds'

“In the summer of 2018, Andrea Rovenski was on the tail end of a Spyro 2 speedrun when, unknown to her, a contingent of armed police officers started organizing outside of her house in Maryland. Seeing light reflections on her wall and hearing the muffled sound of someone yelling into a megaphone, Rovenski, a streamer by the name Cyberdemon531, looked outside, saw the authorities, and knew exactly what was happening—she was being swatted. Someone had called 911 pretending to be Rovenski, claiming she had a hostage in the basement. “I go outside and what I see is maybe five or six police cars and 10 to 15 riot cops,” Rovenski told VICE. “They all have assault rifles and they‘re all pointed at me. You know, my arms are up and, you know, it’s horrifying.” Rovenski, a transgender streamer who had been doxed previously, was familiar with the idea of swatting—lying to authorities about a dangerous situation in the hopes of getting someone raided by armed officers—but her mother was not. After Rovenski was tackled to the ground by police her mom came to the door and was swarmed by the cops. Rovenski said police weren’t kind to her mother’s disability, preventing her from getting on the ground easily and manhandled her.”


CNN: ISIS Carried Out Attacks On Iraq-Syria Border Posts After US Suspended Operations

“ISIS has carried out two attacks on Iraqi border posts along the border with Syria following the US decision to suspend counter-ISIS missions in order to focus on protecting Iraqi bases and coalition forces amid tensions with Iran, according to a US defense official and Iraqi security officials. On Monday night, ISIS militants carried out attacks on an Iraqi security border post near the Syrian border, killing one officer and wounding four others. An ISIS militant was also killed after Iraqi security forces clashed with them. ISIS used light weapons to attack the border post about 45 kilometers north of the al-Walid border crossing with Syria, Iraqi officials said. On Sunday, a number of ISIS militants attempted to attack another security post near the Syrian border but fled the scene after Iraqi security forces fired back, the Iraqi security officials added.”ISIS group is well known for exploiting the situation. We knew the group will take advantage of current tension between America and Iran,” Iraqi military Col. Shaker al-Raishawi said. Al-Raishawi and another Iraqi security official told CNN from Anbar Province on Tuesday that ISIS has increased its activity in the border area. The increased ISIS activity comes follows the escalation of tensions between the US and Iran that has led to the suspension of anti-ISIS operations.”

Reuters: Russian Jets Resume Bombing Of Syria's Rebel-Held Northwest - Residents

“Russian jets struck several rebel-held towns in northwest Syria’s Idlib for the first time since a ceasefire agreed with Turkey came into force two days ago, witnesses and rebels sources said. They said the towns of Khan al Subl, Maasaran and several others in southern Idlib province were targeted after a two-day lull in aerial strikes against the last rebel bastion that had been pounded for over a month in a renewed assault. “The Russian air strikes have shattered two days of relative calm that gave people a small relief from daily raids,” Mohamad Rashid, an activist, said. Hundreds of thousands of people have fled Idlib province in recent weeks as Russian jets and Syrian artillery pounded towns and villages in a renewed government assault aimed at clearing the opposition. Senior U.N. officials said this month that the humanitarian situation had become more acute with at least 300,000 civilians now on the run in Idlib province, adding to the more than half a million people who fled earlier bouts of fighting to the safety of camps near the Turkish border. The latest offensive had brought the Russian-led military campaign closer to heavily crowded parts of Idlib province, where nearly 3 million people are trapped, the vast majority of whom are women and children, according to the United Nations.”

Reuters: Syrian Army Says Israeli Jets Attack Air Base In Homs

“The Syrian army said on Tuesday Israeli jets attacked the main T4 air base in Homs province, saying its air defences downed several missiles in strikes that caused only material damage. An army spokesman told state media that four Israeli missiles did reach the base, but said air defences intercepted several others. State television earlier did not say who was behind the attack on the major air base, which Israel accuses of hosting an Iranian military presence and has attacked several times in recent years. “The Israeli airforce conducted new aerial aggression and immediately our air defences confronted the enemy missiles,” an army statement said. The Syrian army statement said the Israeli war jets flew from Tanf, to the southeast, where the United States has set up a base near the Iraqi-Jordanian border. Tanf lies on the strategic Damascus-Baghdad highway, a major supply route for Iranian weapons into Syria. This makes the base a bulwark against Iran and part of a larger U.S. campaign against Iranian influence in Iraq and Syria. Israel has repeatedly bombed Iranian backed militia targets in Syria, saying its goal was to end Tehran’s military presence which Western intelligence sources say has expanded in recent years in the war-torn country.”

Kurdistan 24: ISIS Attack On Syria-Iraq Border Wounds Four Guards, Iraqi Military Says

“At least four security forces at a border checkpoint between Iraq and Syria were wounded in an alleged Islamic State attack, the Iraqi military said on Tuesday. Iraq’s Security Media Cell said in a statement that “ISIS terrorist gangs carried out an attack on a point belonging to the border guard forces north of the Al-Waleed port with Syria.” “The terrorist attack resulted in the injury to an officer and three members of the third regiment of the fourth brigade of the Border Guard Forces command,” it added. Islamic State border attacks occur despite tight security measures imposed by the Iraqi forces on the border to prevent the infiltration of terrorist fighters from neighboring Syria. Last week, Islamic State remnants launched an attack against an Iraqi border police headquarters at the Iraq-Syria border, killing two people and wounding two others. Iraq’s security media cell said in a statement that “terrorist elements” attacked “the third regiment in the fourth border police brigade within the Iraqi-Syrian borders.” The terrorist group also seems to be encouraged by the escalating US-Iran tensions in the region as the Islamic State continues to launch attacks and attempts to re-establish a foothold in Iraq.”


The New York Times: Why ISIS Is Delighted That Suleimani Is Dead

“In 2016, Donald Trump, then a candidate for president, described Barack Obama as the “founder of ISIS.” In the end, it may be Mr. Trump who comes to be known not as the terrorist group’s founder, but as its savior. The Islamic State has been weakened considerably since its peak in 2015, when it controlled a territory the size of Britain, but the Trump administration’s targeted killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani may have poised the group for a comeback. Just as the misguided American invasion of Iraq in 2003 revitalized Al Qaeda, some 17 years later, a return to chaos in the same country may yet do the same for the Islamic State. Granted, the White House was correct to identify General Suleimani, the leader of Iran’s Quds Force, as an enemy of the United States. Using the militia groups he cultivated and controlled, he was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of coalition soldiers in the late 2000s and early 2010s. But war in the Middle East is nothing if not complex; General Suleimani’s proxies also indirectly served American interests by fighting the Islamic State — to great effect.”
The Hill: Make No Mistake: Iran Remains A Powerful Threat To The US

“Not long ago, Iranian terror mastermind Qassem Soleimani was traveling around the Middle East with a sense of invincibility. And for good reason. The years preceding his death gave Soleimani nearly full impunity to kill Americans. Over-confidence in U.S. inaction cost Iran its top general. In a career full of death and destruction, Soleimani never will know that his last, fatal mistake was taking a single American life — that of Nawres Hamid, an American patriot who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our nation on Dec. 27. Hamid, an American-Muslim of Iraqi descent, was based at K1 air base near Kirkuk, Iraq. Kata’ib Hezbollah, the Iranian militia whose leader was killed alongside Soleimani, launched a rocket attack on Hamid’s base. At 33, Hamid left behind his wife and sons, ages 2 and 8, in California. Until the U.S. drone strike on Soleimani, Iran believed America was a paper tiger. Despite complaints and warnings from the U.S. and our allies for years, Iran’s military and proxy forces acted with increasing hostility and lethality. Under Soleimani’s direction and influence, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its proxies slaughtered thousands of civilians from Iraq to Afghanistan, Lebanon, Israel, Yemen and even inside Iran.”


Kurdistan 24: Iraqi Forces Arrest Prominent ISIS ‘Health Official’ South Of Mosul: Interior Ministry

“Iraqi security forces arrested a “prominent terrorist” in southern Mosul, the country’s Interior Ministry announced on Tuesday. The operation took place in the Tal Abata district, south of the city of Mosul, a statement from the Interior Ministry said. “A force from the Nineveh Police Directorate, based on accurate information, was able to arrest a terrorist known by the acronym FZE in the Tal Abata district, south of Mosul city,” the statement read. According to the ministry, the suspect was allegedly working in the so-called Islamic State’s health bureau and was in charge of medicine and ammunition for the terror group during its control of Mosul. Elsewhere on Tuesday, at least four security forces at a border checkpoint between Iraq and Syria were wounded in an alleged Islamic State attack, the Iraqi military said. Iraq’s Security Media Cell said in a statement that “ISIS terrorist gangs carried out an attack on a point belonging to the border guard forces north of the Al-Waleed port with Syria.” The Islamic State seems to be encouraged by US-Iran tensions in the region as the terror group continues to launch attacks and attempts to re-establish a foothold in Iraq.”

Yahoo Finance: Could ISIS Take Control Over Iraq’s Largest Oil Field?

“As always, it’s the fear of sanctions that provides the leverage Trump seeks in this cat-and-mouse game with Iran. And this time, the leverage is over Iraq, which would like to see both American and Iranian forces out of the country, for obvious reasons. There is nothing ISIS would love more than this. It would also devastate Iraq because the sanctions threatened would include blocking access to Iraq’s U.S.-based account where all the oil revenues are kept. That threat stands if Iraq moves to kick U.S. forces out of the country. That would mean victory for Iran (temporarily). Kicking out Iranian forces is not nearly as simple because the line between state and non-state actors is blurred, at best. A few weeks ago, a U.S. drawdown of military forces in Iraq was already expected, but that now seems unlikely because of the implications. The very military base that Iran attacked following the assassination of General Soleimani was already preparing for a drawdown. In addition to the threat of sanctions on oil money, a U.S. withdrawal would likely open the door for an ISIS return. There is no consensus on this question, other than the fact that no one wants Iraq to be the proxy battleground between the United States and Iran.”


Foreign Affairs: Hezbollah Has Prepared For This Moment For Decades

“What is just retribution?” So asked Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in a speech on January 5, two days after the United States killed Iranian Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in a drone strike in Baghdad. With no American official “on par with Soleimani or Muhandis,” in Nasrallah’s estimation, the answer was to retaliate against “the American military presence in our region.” American civilians shouldn’t be harmed, he said, but “the U.S. bases, the U.S. warships, every American soldier and officer” in the Middle East would all be fair game. Hezbollah is unlikely to pick a fight with the United States by itself. The group has its own tensions with Israel to worry about, and huge domestic protests jeopardize its political grip on Lebanon. It also suffered heavy losses in Syria, where it fought hand-in-glove with Iran to prop up President Bashar al-Assad. But not wanting a war isn’t the same as being unwilling to fight one. Hezbollah has been preparing for this day for decades, building up military, terrorist, and cyber capabilities in Lebanon, the Middle East, and around the world in order to strike back at the United States and anyone else who might join a war against Iran and its allies.”


Washington Examiner: US Ally Imprisons Christian Activist On Bogus Terrorism Charges

“At midnight on Nov. 23, 2019, Egyptian state security broke into a young Coptic activist’s home and arrested him without a warrant, confiscating his phone, laptop, camera, and personal documents. They interrogated him without a lawyer and reportedly tortured him on suspicion of joining a terror group, receiving foreign funding, funding a terrorist organization, broadcasting false information, and using social media for the purpose of committing a crime. Today this Coptic activist, Ramy Kamil, is under pretrial detention in Egypt's Tora Prison. I first met Kamil in 2010 when I was part of an ambitious new think tank founded to look at Egypt’s problems through the lens of classical liberalism. Back when there was active civil society in Egypt, young activists like Kamil and me would often meet to discuss the best ways to advocate for Coptic rights in Egypt. The Coptic community in Egypt is the largest Christian community in the Middle East, making up around 5% to 10% of the total population of Egypt. But as with most Christian communities in the region, Coptic numbers have been on the decline.”


Bloomberg: How Libya Became The Ultimate Proxy Conflict

“Once again, a U.S.-backed toppling of a longstanding dictator has led to a power vacuum and widespread violence that’s been exploited by a revolving door of militant groups. The scenario that unfolded in Iraq after the 2003 U.S. invasion is replaying in Libya, where warring factions are battling for control of the capital, Tripoli. The conflict has killed more than 2,000 people, forced tens of thousands to flee and opened up the oil-rich country to traffickers of African migrants to Europe. It’s been a mess since NATO helped oust dictator Moammar Qaddafi in 2011. The latest attempt to secure a negotiated end to the war — by Russia and Turkey, which back opposing sides — failed when military commander Khalifa Haftar left Moscow yesterday without signing a deal. It comes at a delicate moment for mainly Muslim areas of north and west Africa. Fighters allied to Islamic State and al-Qaeda are moving through Libya to carry out attacks in a wide area. French and UN forces have been unable to stem the tide. With anti-French sentiment growing, President Emmanuel Macron yesterday coaxed West African leaders into publicly backing his nation’s intervention. But as long as the fighting in Libya continues, militants there can use it as a staging post to spread violence across ever greater swathes of Africa.”
Xinhua: 14 Pro-Turkey Syrian Militants Killed In Libya: Monitor

“A total of 14 pro-Turkey Syrian rebels were killed during the fighting in Libya, a war monitor reported on Tuesday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the bodies of 14 slain Syrian militants arrived in Syria on Tuesday, it said. These fighters were
sent there to join the forces led by the UN-backed government to fight against the eastern-based army led by Khalifa Haftar. The Britain-based watchdog said 1,600 Turkey-backed Syrian rebels have so far been sent from Syria through Turkey to Libya. The Turkey-backed rebels opened four centers in the northern Syrian city of Afrin to recruit fighters to be sent to Libya, it said.”


Daily Post Nigeria: Boko Haram: Borno Village, Ngulde Under Attack

“Reports reaching DAILY POST in Maiduguri, Borno State capital revealed that Ngulde, a village in Biu local government area of Borno state in the northeast Nigeria is currently under Boko Haram attack. Locals, who fled to Biu and managed to call relatives in Maiduguri, said the attackers came in several vehicles and were shooting sporadically. This is coming barely 48 hours after the insurgents attacked Gajiram in Nganzai local government area of Northern Borno, killing 11 people and injuring 20 others. Those injured are currently receiving treatment in Maiduguri.”
Premium Times: Nigerien President Sacks Army Chief, Others After Terrorist Attack On Military Base

“Nigerien President Issoufou Mahamadou fired the country’s top security chiefs on Monday, in a move that sent a strong message to citizens about his handling of recent security crisis in the country. Mr Mahamodou ordered immediate replacement of the chief of army staff, Ahmed Mohamed, days after terrorists killed 89 soldiers on January 9. Local media initially reported preliminary military account as saying 25 soldiers and 63 terrorists were killed during the firefight at the forward operating base near the border with Mali. The death toll was later updated, putting military casualties at 89 while 77 terrorists were killed. The attack in Chinagodrar, in the country’s southwest, was the third targeting military asset in a month, leading to at least 160 deaths. At least 71 soldiers were reportedly killed in attacks on December 10 and 25. Terrorists linked to Al-Qaeda and Islamic State have ramped up attacks in the Sahel in recent months, targeting mainly Niger and Burkina Faso. Mr Mohamed, a lieutenant-general who has served as the country’s army chief for two years, was replaced by Salifou Modi, a major-general, Nigerien media reported. The country’s defence secretary and chief of land staff were also fired and immediately replaced, reports said.”


The Washington Post: 2019 Saw Record U.S. Airstrikes In Somalia. Why Is Al-Shabab Surging?

“Just as soon as the U.S. military closed out a year in which it struck al-Shabab militants more times than ever — at a pace of just over one airstrike per week — the Somali militant group carried out its most brazen and successful attack on U.S. forces in its history, killing one soldier and two private contractors, and destroying six aircraft at an airstrip in Kenya. It was symbolic of the greater U.S. effort against al-Shabab: Since the Trump administration loosened rules of engagement in Somalia in March 2017, leading to a more aggressive use of airstrikes, the group has staged nearly 900 attacks on civilians alone, not counting hundreds more against U.S., Somali, Kenyan and other armed forces. “The rate of al-Shabab’s attacks, at least against civilians, is higher now than before,” said Hussein Sheikh-Ali, a former national security adviser to the Somali president who took part in discussions with Pentagon officials as they weighed changing their rules of engagement in 2017. Nearly 2,000 Somali civilians have probably been killed by al-Shabab since that change, according to data from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, or ACLED, a nonprofit research group that aggregates reports of violence.”
Xinhua: Somalia Launches Manhunt For 5 Terror Suspects

“Somalia on Tuesday launched a manhunt for five terror suspects who took part in terror-related crimes across the country. The government which circulated names and photos of the suspects called on members of the public to forward any information that may lead to their eventual arrest. “Share the information about them with security agencies,” it said in a statement. The government is also offering an undisclosed financial awards for information leading to the arrest of five who are armed and dangerous. Four of the suspects have been sentenced to death in absentia for terror-related offenses while the fifth person is sentenced to life in absentia for terror-related offenses. The suspects were accused of being behind murder of several people in the Horn of Africa nation.”
The Jamestown Foundation: Islamic State’s Mixed Fortunes Become Visible In Somalia

“Islamic State’s (IS) attempts to gain ground in Somalia and beyond have remained slow, five years after a splinter group from al-Shabaab emerged in a mountainous region in the northern state of Puntland and declared its allegiance to the caliphate. The factions’ leadership re-asserted that allegiance in November, swearing support to Abu Ibrahim al-Hashim al-Qurayshi, the new leader of IS. Al-Qurayshi was picked to lead the group following the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a U.S. airstrike. Some analysts argue that the Somali faction is now a pivotal outpost for the group after its losses in Syria (Goobjoog News, November 4, 2019). Shaykh Abdulqadir Mumin, a former al-Shabaab propagandist and imam, unveiled the faction in October 2015. A fiery preacher who had traversed Europe before returning to Africa, Mumin had assembled a group of 200 or so heavily armed fighters, and pledged allegiance to the late IS leader, al-Baghdadi. The announcement was made from a secret hideout in the Golis Mountains and Galgaga ranges near the border between Puntland and the semi-autonomous region of Somaliland (Intelligence Briefs, October 23, 2015).”


Voice Of America: West African Leaders, France Vow New Fight On Terrorism

“A surge of terrorist violence in Africa’s Sahel region is forcing West African nations to reconsider their strategy and unify military forces. Leaders invited by French President Emmanuel Macron to a G5 summit in the southern French city of Pau on Monday agreed to pursue their engagements with France - and put aside their differences with the former colonial power – to fight against jihadism. Presidents of Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Chad joined Monday with French President Emmanuel Macron at a ceremony in Pau commemorating French soldiers killed recently in Mali. Macron’s purpose for inviting members of G5 Sahel was to clarify their position on France’s military presence in the Sahel region at a time when protests are growing in Mali and Burkina-Faso against French military operation Barkhane. Protesters blame Paris for failing to restore stability. Amid growing anti-French sentiment in the region, Macron was looking to boost the legitimacy of France’s presence. He received it from his West African counterparts – who at this meeting – appeared to be on his side. The French leader, at a news conference, said the heads of state of the G5 Sahel wish to pursue their engagements with France and its allies in the region.”

Reuters: Islamic State Claims Responsibility For Niger Army Base Attack

“Islamic State’s West Africa affiliate on Tuesday claimed responsibility for an attack on an army base in Niger last week that killed at least 89 Nigerien soldiers, according to a statement translated by the SITE Intelligence Group. Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP) said in the statement that its fighters killed 100 soldiers and wounded an unspecified number of others in the raid last Thursday on the base in the town of Chinagodrar, near the Malian border.”

Long War Journal: Islamic State Kills Almost 100 Soldiers In Niger

“On Thursday, at least 89 Nigerien soldiers were killed in a massive assault on a military base near the borders with Mali. Following several days of silence, the Islamic State has officially claimed the raid. On Jan. 9, the Nigerien military base at Chinagoder, which sits on the border with Mali, was targeted by dozens of jihadists from the Islamic State’s group in the region. While the Islamic State’s claim of responsibility stated that it killed over 100 soldiers, it otherwise did not present any new information. The statement repeats the local reporting that the jihadists were able to briefly overrun the base after a sustained firefight. And while the group’s death toll is indeed exaggerated, it is not distorted by that much. Initially, Nigerien officials downplayed the attack, reporting 25 soldiers dead and that the majority of the jihadists were also killed. In the days following, however, Niger has progressively raised the death toll which now stands at 89 soldiers dead. Nigerien authorities have also maintained that 67 jihadists were also killed in the assault. Though photos released by the Islamic State purportedly from the attack have directly contradicted this claim. The photos show the jihadists raiding the base before briefly occupying it. The Islamic State’s men can be seen capturing weapons and equipment, as well as standing over the dead bodies of several Nigerien soldiers.”

United Kingdom

Arab News: Islamist Extremism ‘Remains A Potent Global Threat’

“Islamist extremism continues to pose a grave threat worldwide, with levels of violence increasing in several regions, and cells in the West as potent as ever, according to a report published on Wednesday by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change. The report, “Global Extremism Monitor: Islamist Violence After ISIS” (GEM), says the overarching goal of statehood, or a “caliphate,” remains the focus of various militant groups, inspired at least partially by the initial success of Daesh, despite its defeat in Iraq and Syria. The GEM highlights seven regions where Islamist militancy has increased, with various groups seeking to exploit institutional weaknesses in governments, as well as sectarian and other social tensions, to fill power vacuums and assume control. The report took into account 35,000 incidents worldwide in 2018, identifying 43 organizations operating across 40 countries as having played a significant role in conducting terrorist operations, including 6,876 recognized attacks. According to the GEM, the number of overall attacks had in fact decreased from 7,697 in 2017, a drop of 11 percent.”
LBC: Four Children Of ISIS Couple Could Return To London If Mother Stays In Syria

“The children of parents who fled the country in 2014 to join the so-called Islamic State (IS) in 2014 could be repatriated from a Syrian refugee camp if their mother agrees she won't return with them. Both parents have been stripped of their British citizenship, but it is thought the four children still retain their right to a British passport. According to reports, the Government will “urgently investigate” the return of the children from the camp they are in, which could lead to the return of dozens of children trapped in camps following the defeat of IS. Mehak Aslam, form East London, joined the terrorist group with her husband Shahan Choudhury, who became an IS gravedigger and was later imprisoned. Choudhary’s family revealed that he became radicalised in Belmarsh prison, while on remand, after falling under the influence of followers of hate preacher Anjem Choudary while he was in prison. He spent eighteen months on remand but was acquitted. He began attending the hate preacher’s sermons shortly after leaving prison. Both have been stripped of their British citizenship. Mohamed Aslam urged his daughter to sign a proposal from the Government which promised to begin investigating the process of the children's return.”


The Times Of Israel: German Police Arrest Islamist Terror Cell Said To Be Targeting Berlin Synagogue

“German police carried out raids on suspected Islamists and made arrests across the country early Tuesday over allegations they were plotting an attack, Berlin officials said. German authorities are on high alert for Islamist threats to Europe’s most populous country, which has in recent years suffered several attacks. “On suspicion of planning a serious violent act endangering the state, search warrants are being executed in Berlin, Brandenburg, North Rhine-Westphalia and Thuringia,” the Berlin attorney general’s office said via Twitter. The alleged militants, of Chechen origin, are aged between 23 and 28 and “suspected of having scouted locations for a possible Islamist attack,” Berlin police said in a statement. The suspicions were prompted by pictures found on the cellphone of one of the suspects during a routine police check, it added. German news magazine Spiegel said the suspects may have had a synagogue in Berlin in their sights after video material of the building was found.”

The Times Of Israel: Time For Germany To Outlaw All Of Hezbollah

“The targeted killing this month of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani brought forth calls for revenge from Iran and its terrorist proxies, including Lebanon-based Hezbollah. Those new threats should be the impetus for the German government to finally outlaw Hezbollah in its entirety. Like most of the European Union, Germany recognizes only Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist organization, allowing its political supporters to operate in the country unhindered. The partition stems from a desire in Germany to avoid alienating Hezbollah’s powerful politicians in Lebanon’s government. And yet those politicians wave the same flag and answer to the same chain of command as Hezbollah’s terrorist fighters. Hezbollah’s secretary-general, Hassan Nasrallah, has promised revenge for Soleimani’s death. This should raise concern everywhere Hezbollah operates. As head of Iran’s Quds Force, Soleimani was the chief liaison between Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Hezbollah, as well as Iran’s other terrorist proxies. He directly provided financial and military support to these groups, helping them become dominant powers in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq.”


The New York Times: Kosovo Woman, Man Repatriated From Syria Charged With Terror

“Kosovo prosecutors on Tuesday filed terrorism charges against an Albanian woman and a man for allegedly joining the Islamic State group in Syria. A prosecutors' office statement said the defendant woman identified as V.K. and the man identified as F.D. left Kosovo in March 2015 to first go to neighboring Skopje, North Macedonia, and then to Turkey where they crossed the Syrian border to join IS until early 2019 when they handed themselves over to Kurdish forces. In April, they were part of a group of 110 Kosovo citizens repatriated from Syria. Both are charged with organization and participation in a terror group. If convicted, they could face prison sentences of up to 15 years. Kosovo authorities say 30 of the country’s citizens are still actively supporting terror groups in Syria. Scores of Kosovo citizens have been convicted of or charged with supporting terror groups since 2015 when authorities reinforced anti-terror legislation.”

Southeast Asia

Straits Times: Singaporean On Trial For Terror Funding Admits Sending $450 To Aid ISIS

“The first Singaporean to be charged with terror financing admitted in his trial yesterday that he had transferred funds overseas to support the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group. Former logistics professional Imran Kassim, 36, was charged with transferring $450 through remittance company Western Union to Mohamad Alsaied Alhmidan in Turkey for the publication of ISIS propaganda about six years ago. “I do admit to making the transfer, and I did it to benefit the Islamic State,” he said, using another common name for ISIS. On an official website, the United States government lists Mohamad Alsaied as a specially designated national, and says he is linked to ISIS. Under Singapore's Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act, introduced in 2002 to counter terrorism financing here, anyone convicted of the offence of providing property and services for terrorist purposes could be jailed for up to 10 years, fined up to $500,000, or both. Imran, who was taken into court handcuffed and blindfolded, and was ushered in by four men, is representing himself. The court heard that he was previously represented by a law firm, which has since discharged itself. In court yesterday, Imran argued that while he had made the fund transfer to ISIS, he had not broken the law as he did not recognise Singapore law, and recognised only syariah law.”

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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