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Old 10-15-2021, 08:15 AM
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Arrow Eye on Extremism - October 15, 2021

Eye on Extremism - October 15, 2021
By: Counter Extremism Project - 10-15-21

Eye on Extremism - as of October 15, 2021:

Associated Press: Suicide Attack On Shiite Mosque In Afghanistan Kills 37

“Suicide bombers assaulted a Shiite mosque in southern Afghanistan that was packed with worshippers attending weekly Friday prayers, killing at least 37 people and wounding more than 70, according to a hospital official and an eyewitness. The attack on the Imam Barga mosque came a week after a bombing claimed by a local Islamic State affiliate killed 46 people at a Shiite mosque in northern Afghanistan. Murtaza, an eye-witness who like many Afghans goes by one name, said four suicide bombers attacked the mosque. Two detonated their explosives at a security gate, allowing the other two to run inside and strike the congregation of worshippers. Speaking to The Associated Press by phone, he said Friday prayers are typically attended by around 500 people. Video footage from the scene showed bodies scattered across blood-stained carpets, with survivors walking around in a daze or crying out in anguish. A local hospital official was not authorized to brief media and so confirmed the casualty toll on condition of anonymity.”

Voice Of America: Somalia Marks Anniversary Of Deadliest Terror Attack

“On October 14, 2017, a truck bomb exploded at a busy intersection in Mogadishu, killing 587 people and almost 1,000 more. Four years later, the scars of the attack are still seen and felt in the Somali capital. Today the intersection is known as the October 14 junction, and a monument marks the spot where the bomb blew apart buildings and ended so many lives. Most of the buildings at the former Soobe Junction have been rebuilt, but four years later some lots are still covered in rubble, a reminder of the destruction the blast caused. The blast also ripped apart hundreds of families who lost relatives and friends. Fahma Hassan Yusuf says she lost her close friend Ayan Mohamed, who was an important pillar in her family, adding that Mohamed’s body, together with another friend, was discovered later. She says Ayan informed her about imminent security threat in the city one week before the attack in order to stay indoors but unfortunately lost her own life. Stationery shop owner Hassan Abdullahi is a resilient man who was wounded in the blast. Despite the horror he experienced, he is now back at his renovated shop. He recalls that it was an unexpected painful day when he was admitted to the hospital for three weeks after sustaining a neck injury.”

United States

Fox News: House Republican Warns Bagram Prisoners Released By Taliban Could Try US Entry Via 'Porous' Southern Border

“A top House Republican is warning of an “urgent” terrorist threat to the United States after the Taliban's release of thousands of prisoners from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, including the ISIS-K suicide bomber that killed 13 U.S. service members, suggesting that those released prisoners could attempt to enter the country through the “porous southern border,” and demanding answers from the Biden administration on its plans to quell that threat. Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., wrote a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Thursday, warning that released prisoners could attempt entry to the U.S. through Mexico with the purpose of committing terrorist attacks on the homeland. “I write with grave concern over the security risks posed by the release of 7,000 terrorists, including members of the Taliban, ISIS-K, and Al-Qaeda from Bagram Air Base combined with the porous southern border,” McClintock wrote. “Shortly after the president ordered the unconditional surrender of Bagram Air Base to the Taliban, Taliban forces took control and released the terrorists that had been in U.S. custody. Days later, 13 U.S. service members were murdered by a suicide bomber at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul.”


Reuters: Pro-Iran Militias Warn Of Forceful Response After Israeli Strike On Syria's Palmyra

“Iran-backed forces in Syria said on Thursday they would respond forcefully to an Israeli strike over Syria’s Palmyra area in the province of Homs on Wednesday evening in the second such strike within a week. The Syrian defence ministry said in a statement that one soldier was killed in the attack that took place at 11:34 p.m. (2034 GMT) and targeted a communications tower and caused some material losses. Israel has kept silent about the strikes that came days after Damascus reported its air defences intercepted an Israeli missile attack above the Homs countryside, wounding six Syrian soldiers and causing some material damage. Israeli missiles flew over Jordanian airspace above U.S. forces based in the Tanf area at the Syrian-Iraqi border, the Syrian defence ministry statement said. The latest strikes are part of an escalation of what has been a low-intensity conflict in recent years that has seen hundreds of Israeli raids whose goal was to slow down Iran’s growing entrenchment in Syria, Israeli and regional military experts say. Tehran-backed forces including Lebanon’s Hezbollah have built a presence since deploying to help President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian conflict that erupted in 2011.”

Kurdistan 24: ISIS Financier Arrested In Al-Hol Camp: Coalition

“The US-led coalition confirmed on Thursday that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) carried out a successful anti-ISIS operation that resulted in the arrest of an ISIS financier in the notorious al-Hol camp. The official Twitter account of the US-led coalition against ISIS said that the SDF, with the assistance of the coalition, continue daily operations against ISIS that “are crucial to paving the way for stability and prosperity in NE (Northeast) Syria.” “Recently, 2 terrorists were arrested including a Daesh (ISIS) financier,” the account added. The SDF's Coordination and Military Operations Center said on Wednesday that SDF special forces with help from the coalition captured an ISIS financier in al-Hol, which is located in Syria’s eastern Hasakah province near the Iraqi border. “Documents and military equipment were confiscated - another step to #DefeatDaesh (ISIS),” the SDF said. Although the SDF and the coalition announced the territorial defeat of ISIS in Syria in March 2019, sleeper cell attacks continue in northeastern Syria. The majority of al-Hol’s residents are Iraqis and Syrians. However, there is also a large number of foreign residents and their children who are thought to have links to ISIS living in the notorious camp.”


Maria Maloof TV: Fran. Townsend: Iran Is A Destabilising Regime, Hizbollah Is A Real Threat, KSA Helped Us In 9/11

“Frances M. “Fran” Fragos Townsend is an American lawyer and business executive who served as former Homeland Security Advisor to United States President George W. Bush from 2004 to 2007, and she is currently executive vice president for corporate affairs at Activision Blizzard. She previously served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Combating Terrorism. In 2008, Townsend joined CNN as a contributor, but later switched over to CBS where she was a national security analyst for them. Townsend was president of the Counter Extremism Project.”


Voice Of America: Will US Drawdown In Iraq Reboot Islamic State Militants?

“In Mosul's Old City, the rule of the Islamic State group is not a distant memory of horrors long past. On every block are reminders: bombed out houses, piles of rubble and families toiling daily, just to survive. “An IS family lived over there,” says Sahara Mahmoud, a mother of 11, pointing to a sparse pile of rocks that was once a house. “And another house over there. That's why they bombed those houses directly.” “Families?” I ask. It's odd for anyone living in Mosul to sound remotely sorry for the deaths of IS fighters. “There were children in there,” she says. It has been more than four years since IS was driven out of Mosul, and the possibility the group could reemerge and take over again seems far-fetched to many Iraqis. But here in the Old City, they are wary. Some say the recent Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has them on edge, dredging up memories they wish they could forget. In other parts of the city, and in the far-off Iraqi capital, Baghdad, locals say the United States withdrawal from Afghanistan sent them a signal: The U.S. is no longer interested in policing the region. For some, this is a good thing, and they welcome U.S. plans to end the combat mission in Iraq this year. But others, including Warqa Talib, a mother of five in the Old City, fear IS will be emboldened by the move and try to reclaim the towns and cities it held between 2014 and 2017.”


AFP: Blast Kills Taliban Commander In Asadabad, Wounds 11

“A bomb ripped through a vehicle carrying a Taliban police chief in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, killing him and wounding 11 others, officials said. The blast happened in Asadabad, the capital of Kunar province, targeting the Taliban police chief for Shigal district, said an official from the Islamist group. “The police chief has died and eleven people have been wounded,” he told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity. A doctor in Kunar central hospital confirmed to AFP that it had received 11 wounded people, including four Taliban fighters and seven civilians. No one claimed responsibility for the attack but the Islamic State-Khorasan group, who are active in eastern Afghanistan, have claimed similar attacks on the Taliban in the past. The Taliban have battled with IS-K since its emergence in Afghanistan in 2014. IS-K has claimed responsibility for some of the most recent attacks, including a suicide bombing among worshippers last week in a Shiite mosque in Kunduz province that killed around 100 people.”

Axios: Taliban Press Biden To Release Frozen Afghan Assets As Economy Shrivels

“With the Afghan government and economy starved of cash, the Taliban are pressing their claim to the roughly $8 billion in Afghan foreign reserves that have been frozen by the U.S. Why it matters: Afghanistan is barreling into a humanitarian crisis, and donor countries and international institutions have cut off the aid that accounted for some 75% of the previous government’s budget. The U.S., EU and others are providing humanitarian assistance through third parties on the ground, but experts fear the economy is shriveling up due in part to a dire cash shortage. “Right now, with assets frozen and with development aid paused, the economy is breaking down,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said this week. Between $7 billion and $8 billion of the roughly $9 billion in frozen Afghan assets are held in the U.S. Those reserves are the “No. 1 issue” on the Taliban’s agenda in talks with foreign interlocutors, according to a source familiar with those discussions. Taliban representatives asked the U.S. to unfreeze the funds last weekend in the first meeting between the sides since the U.S. completed its withdrawal on Aug. 31. The other side: The Biden administration appears set to leave the Afghan assets in limbo for some time.”

Fox News: Biden Planning To Allow Some Afghan Civil Servants Employed By Taliban Exemption From Terror Bans

“The Biden administration is planning to allow some Afghan civil servants who were employed by the 1996-2001 Taliban government to be exempt from terror-related bans on entering the United States, according to a draft document obtained by Fox News. The administration continues to bring in tens of thousands of Afghans as part of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. The draft U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) planning document, reviewed by Fox News, outlines how the Department of Homeland Security is planning on issuing a memorandum to allow Afghan civil servants who worked during the Taliban regime to be exempted from terrorism-related inadmissibility grounds (TRIG) if they fulfill other background and screening requirements. TRIG places limits on individuals who are members of a terrorist organization or who have engaged in terrorism, making them inadmissible to the U.S. and ineligible for immigration benefits. The USCIS website says that the definition of terrorism-related activity “is relatively broad and may apply to individuals and activities not commonly thought to be associated with terrorism.” It means that TRIG would likely rule out those who worked under the Taliban regime, which ruled from 1996 until its ouster by the U.S. in 2001 due to its harboring of al Qaeda after the 9/11 attacks.”


The Wall Street Journal: Beirut Gunfights Leave 6 Dead After Hezbollah Protest Against Lebanon’s Explosion Probe

“Sectarian clashes turned neighborhoods of Beirut into a free-fire zone Thursday, killing six and reviving memories of Lebanon’s civil war, after tensions over a judicial probe into last year’s devastating port blast spilled over into violence. Fighters from Shiite groups and their hard-line Christian rivals took cover behind parked cars, firing automatic weapons and rocket launchers as explosions reverberated around the city. Passersby fled for cover before the army deployed troops, eventually restoring a semblance of order. Many of the clashes took place in an area that was a major front line during the wars that divided the city, a jarring reminder of how precarious the security situation is. Millions have fallen into poverty during an economic collapse that has been worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic and last year’s devastating fertilizer explosion at the city’s port. Many Lebanese fear worse is to come as hyperinflation sets in, passing 400% for food, and murder rates and thefts increase. Thursday’s shooting began during a demonstration held by the Shiite group Hezbollah and its allies against a judge leading the investigation into the August 2020 port blast. The explosion killed over 200 people and left a path of destruction through the capital.”


Reuters: Nigerian General Says Leader Of Islamic State West Africa Is Dead

“Nigeria's top general said on Thursday that Abu Musab al-Barnawi, leader of the insurgent group Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), was dead. ISWAP is an offshoot of the Boko Haram insurgent group that has been fighting against the Nigerian armed forces for 12 years. The two militant groups later turned on each other. The conflict between the insurgents and Nigeria's armed forces, which has also spread to neighbouring Chad and Cameroon, has left about 300,000 dead and millions dependent on aid. “I can authoritatively confirm to you that Abu Musab is dead,” Lucky Irabor, the chief of defence staff, told reporters at the presidential villa in Abuja, without elaborating. Vincent Foucher of France's National Centre for Scientific Research, an expert on the insurgent groups, said sources had told him al-Barnawi was wounded in August during a clash against Boko Haram fighters and had died later, possibly in September. He said that while it was hard to get solid information, the report of al-Barnawi's death seemed plausible as the ISWAP leader had issued a number of lengthy audio recordings in May and June but had gone completely quiet since August. Al-Barnawi was the third leader of an Islamist insurgent group in West Africa to die this year, after Boko Haram's Abubakar Shekau in May and Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi of Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) in August.”

Sahara Reporters: Islamic State Fighters Now Chasing Boko Haram To North-West Region – Governor El-Rufai

“The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has disclosed that his biggest fear is that the Boko Haram insurgents are relocating to the North-West region after being displaced in the war-torn North-East by the Islamic State West African Province. The governor revealed that the ISWAP fighters are pushing the Nigeria-grown terrorists to the Northwestern part of the country. According to Daily Post, El-Rufai disclosed this at the ‘Fountain Summit’, an event organised by the Ekiti Government on Thursday. He, then, called for a collaborative effort between the Nigerian government, state governments, and the entire citizens in defeating terrorism. He said, “Remember once upon a time, Boko Haram was only in North-East. Now, the biggest fear we have in the North-West is that they are relocating to the North-West because they are being chased out from the North-East by ISWAP. “When they are chased out of the North-West, where do you think they will come? Somewhere else; it is something we should all be concerned about; not only federal and state collaboration, but also across the country. “Don’t see what is happening in Kaduna and say it is not my problem. It will be your problem one day, unless it is solved.”


Bloomberg: Southern African Troops To Stay In Mozambique Indefinitely

“Southern African Development Community troops helping to fight an Islamic State-linked insurgency in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province will remain in the country until the situation on the ground is under control, the regional bloc said. SADC also plans to add more ground forces to hold onto areas retaken from the insurgents, Mpho Molomo, special representative of the chair of the bloc’s organ on politics, defence and security cooperation, told reporters in Maputo, Mozambique’s capital, on Thursday. The bloc this month extended its mission’s mandate in Mozambique by another 90 days. The four-year insurgency has caused more than 3,400 deaths and displaced over 800,000 people. Lasting peace and stability in the area may convince TotalEnergies SE to resume work on its $20 billion liquefied natural gas project that was suspended in April due to an escalation of violence in the region. Gas projects are seen as key to ramping up economic growth in the nation that contracted the most in almost three decades last year. President Filipe Nyusi’s government accepted an offer for military help from SADC and a separate one from Rwanda this year, after a major attack near the gas projects in March showed his own troops had failed to contain the violence.”

United Kingdom

BBC News: Manchester Arena Inquiry: Terror Offender 'Will Not Answer Questions'

“A convicted terror offender who was the Manchester Arena bomber's friend has refused to co-operate with the inquiry into the attack, his lawyers have said. Abdalraouf Abdallah, from Manchester, was visited by Salman Abedi in jail in the months before his 2017 attack. Abdallah, who denies any involvement in the bombing, was jailed for terror offences in May 2016. The Manchester Arena Inquiry is due to hear from the 27-year-old as part of evidence about Abedi's radicalisation. Twenty-two people were killed when Abedi detonated his device at the end of an Ariana Grande concert on 22 May 2017. Lawyers for the families of those who died have insisted Abdallah should be forced to give evidence. Rajiv Menon QC, representing Abdallah, told the inquiry if his client was compelled to be a witness, his advice would be to not answer any questions for fear of incriminating himself, adding that “nobody can force” him to answer questions. He said the “spectacle” of Abdallah sitting through “hours of questions” would “serve no useful purpose” and would merely “frustrate” everyone at the hearing. Abdallah's lawyers have also argued he is “medically unfit” to give evidence and forcing him to do so would breach his human rights.”


The Jerusalem Post: Cyprus Police Investigating Attempt To Kill Israelis As Terrorism

“Terrorism is the Cyprus Police’s leading theory for the motive behind the attempt to murder Israeli businessmen on the European Union island, consistent with Israel’s allegation that it was an Iranian plot. Police in Cyprus arrested a 38-year-old Azeri-Russian man on September 27 for targeting Israeli businessmen. The case drew attention earlier this month, when billionaire Teddy Sagi said that he was tipped off by the Israeli authorities – likely the Mossad – that assassins were after him, and he escaped Cyprus, where he lives, to Israel. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s spokesman Matan Sidi said the following day that the attempted murder was an Iranian terrorist attack. Cyprus Police has not confirmed that Iran was behind the attack, but found evidence that the Azeri planned his attack on Israelis to take place on a Muslim holiday, which led them to believe he was trying to send a message, Phile News reported on Thursday. However, they are still following other leads, as well. An accomplice of the Azeri hit man, a 27-year-old Pakistani food distributor working for a major company, was arrested in Paphos, Cyprus, on Wednesday. Communications between the Pakistani and Azeri men were found on the latter’s phone.”


IT Pro: Senators Seek To Reform Section 230 Protections

“…Others expressed support for the bill, including Dr. Hany Farid, senior advisor at UC Berkeley's Counter Extremism Project. “By hiding behind a distorted interpretation of a three-decade old regulation crafted at the dawn of the modern internet, the titans of tech have escaped responsibility for their dangerous and deadly products,” he said. “This modest bill takes an important and critical step to holding Silicon Valley responsible for their reckless disregard of allowing their services to be weaponized against children, individuals, societies, and democracies.” The bill follows a Congressional hearing in March that quizzed big tech platforms on misinformation.”

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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