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Arrow Eye on Extremism - October 16, 2019

Eye on Extremism
October 16, 2019

As of October 16, 2019:

The Washington Post: UN: 85 Civilians Killed In Attacks Targeting Afghan Election

“A special U.N. report has described the severe impact of election-related violence on Afghanistan’s civilians, mainly from the Taliban’s campaign targeting its presidential election last month. The report released Tuesday says attacks aiming to disrupt the electoral process killed 85 people and wounded 373 others across the country. The number includes 277 civilian casualties, 28 killed of whom were killed Sep. 28 on the polling day. More than one-third of civilian casualties were children, it added. Afghans voted in presidential elections earlier last month despite Taliban threats and violence. However, the polling was marred by widespread misconduct and accusations of fraud — as well as controversy over what appeared to be low turnout and claims from a lead contender, Abdullah Abdullah, that he had won the vote.”

The Wall Street Journal: Turkey Rejects U.S. Call For Immediate Cease-Fire In Syria

“Turkey dismissed a U.S. call for an immediate cease-fire in northeast Syria, pressing ahead with its military offensive as senior Trump administration officials rushed to Ankara to try to halt fighting triggered by the withdrawal of American troops from the region. President Trump has dispatched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence to the Turkish capital, where they will meet with Mr. Erdogan, on Thursday, to urge him to stop a weeklong military incursion in northeastern Syria.”

The New York Times: ‘We Looked To Escape Death’: Violence Uproots Nearly 500,000 In Burkina Faso

“A wave of violent attacks and suspected terrorist activity in Burkina Faso has triggered a sudden humanitarian crisis, uprooting hundreds of thousands of people from their homes in what was once one of West Africa’s most tranquil nations. In the space of just three weeks, the number of internally displaced people in Burkina Faso has increased by almost 70 percent to nearly half a million people, in a nation of 20 million, according to the United Nations refugee agency. About one-third of the country’s territory has become engulfed in fighting between armed groups, making the area inaccessible to aid workers, UNICEF officials said…”

Deutsche Welle: Southeast Asia In The Crosshairs Of 'Islamic State'

“Last week, Indonesian Security Minister Wiranto was stabbed twice as he was getting out of a car in the city of Pandegland in West Java. He suffered severe injuries and is currently being treated at a military hospital in Jakarta. The minister is said to be in a stable condition. Wiranto's attacker was 31-year-old Syahril Alamsyah, a member of the terrorist organization Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD). JAD is one of the many terrorist groups in Southeast Asia that have allied with the “Islamic State” (IS). Other outfits include Abu Sayaf and the Maute group in the Philippines, along with more than a dozen Islamist terror organizations that are active across Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines. However, not all of these groups have joined IS. For example, the terror group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) in Indonesia carried out a bombing on the island of Bali, a famous tourist destination, in 2002 that killed over 200 people. After this attack, security forces were able to get JI mostly under control. But experts say that JI is back, strengthening its network. Zachary Abuza, a Southeast Asia expert at National War College in Washington DC, and Colin P. Clarke of the RAND Corporation recently wrote a report on the security blog Fortuna's Corner concluding that “Southeast Asia may be the newest breeding ground for militant Islam.”

Reuters: Exclusive: U.S. Carried Out Secret Cyber Strike On Iran In Wake Of Saudi Oil Attack: Officials

“The United States carried out a secret cyber operation against Iran in the wake of the Sept. 14 attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities, which Washington and Riyadh blame on Tehran, two U.S. officials have told Reuters. The United States carried out a secret cyber operation against Iran in the wake of the Sept. 14 attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities, which Washington and Riyadh blame on Tehran, two U.S. officials have told Reuters.”

The Telegraph: How Youtube Led Me Down A Wormhole Of Neo-Nazi Conspiracy Theories

“How long does it take for supremacists to target you on YouTube? For one user, it was immediate. “I once clicked on some old German folk songs, and was then fed folk song videos of neo-Nazis,” the user explains. “I did not regret having clicked on the politically correct folk songs... but rather that YouTube apparently thinks that those who listen to such songs are highly likely to be considered close to National Socialism.” This is one of 28 crowd-sourced stories from people who claim their use of YouTube backfired, gathered by search engine Mozilla this week.”

United States

Associated Press: Hearing Examines Video That Wasn’t Disclosed In Terror Case

“Surveillance video taken on the day that two Phoenix men left for suburban Dallas to attack a 2015 Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest shows them in religious clothing, one of the men with a handgun on his hip and both carrying unspecified objects out of their apartment, an FBI agent has testified. The footage showing Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi outside their Phoenix apartment before the attack in Garland was the focus of a court hearing Tuesday. The FBI didn’t turn over the footage until three years after a friend of Simpson and Soofi was convicted for providing the guns used in the attack.”

The New York Times: U.S. Indicts Turkish Bank On Charges Of Evading Iran Sanctions

“The Justice Department on Tuesday sharply escalated economic pressure on Turkey by filing fraud and money-laundering charges against the country’s second-largest state-owned bank, accusing it of helping Iran evade United States sanctions. The charges against the institution, Halkbank, came as the administration sought ways to project that it was taking a tough line with Turkey after President Trump effectively signaled this month that the United States would not stand in the way of Turkey’s desire to send forces into northern Syria.”


The New York Times: Pence And Pompeo To Push Erdogan For Pullback From Syria

“Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey in Ankara on Thursday to relay President Trump’s demand that Mr. Erdogan negotiate a cease-fire in Syria and to reiterate the president’s threat to impose economic sanctions if he does not comply. The president’s sending of the delegation — to also include his national security adviser, Robert C. O’Brien, and the State Department’s special envoy for Syrian affairs, James F. Jeffrey — is part of a scrambled effort to wrest back control of a chaotic situation in Syria that has endangered American forces there even as they prepared to leave.”

Associated Press: Russia Seeks To Cement Its Role As Power Broker In Syria

“Russia moved to fill the void left by the United States in northern Syria on Tuesday, deploying troops to keep apart advancing Syrian government forces and Turkish troops. At the same time, tensions grew within NATO as Turkey defied growing condemnation of its invasion from its Western allies. Now in its seventh day, Turkey’s offensive against Kurdish fighters has caused tens of thousands to flee their homes, has upended alliances and is re-drawing the map of northern Syria for yet another time in the 8-year-old war.”

The Wall Street Journal: U.S. To Try Diplomacy In Turkey As Russian Forces Swoop Into Syria

“The Trump administration dispatched senior officials to Turkey to press for an end to Ankara’s military offensive in northeastern Syria, as Moscow began to fill a void created by departing U.S. troops. President Trump on Tuesday said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would travel to Turkey with Vice President Mike Pence, who will meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday where, the White House said, Mr. Pence will reiterate the administration’s commitment to maintain sanctions on Turkey until a resolution is reached.”

Reuters: France, Britain Try To Revive Fight Against Islamic State; Decry Turkey, U.S

“France and Britain on Tuesday accused Turkey and the United States of undoing five years worth of work in fighting Islamic State and scrambled to define how to react should militants escape prisons and camps in Syria. Turkey has pressed on with its assault against Kurdish militias in northern Syria, while the Russia-backed Syrian army roared into one of the most hotly contested cities abandoned by U.S. forces in President Donald Trump’s retreat. “These decisions put into question five years of effort by the coalition,” French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe told lawmakers. “This intervention is devastating for our collective security with the inevitable resurgence of Islamic State in northern Syria and also probably northwest Iraq.” Britain’s Foreign Minister Dominic Raab echoed those comments and called Turkey’s offensive “reckless” an “counterproductive.” Ankara’s unilateral offensive has angered Washington and Turkey’s main European NATO allies who fear a return of Islamic State in the region. European countries are especially concerned about what foreign Islamic State fighters and adults returning to Europe.”

Reuters: France's Le Drian To Go To Iraq To Discuss Trials For Jihadists From Syria

“France’s foreign minister said on Wednesday that he would soon go to Iraq to discuss a judicial framework to enable jihadists being held in Syria to face trial. “The subject with the Iraqi authorities is to find a judicial system that could try all these fighters, including the French ones,” Jean-Yves Le Drian told BFM television, referring to Islamic State militants held in Kurdish-controlled camps in northeastern Syria. European states are trying to fast-track a plan to shift thousands of foreign Islamic State militants out of Syrian prison camps and into Iraq, after the outbreak of fresh conflict in Syria raised the risk of jihadists escaping or returning home, diplomats and officials have told Reuters. “There needs to be an ad hoc judicial system and that’s what we’ll be talking to the Iraqi authorities about,” le Drian said. Le Drian said he would head to Iraq very soon because it was vital to offer support to Baghdad which was in danger of seeing the hardline militant group revive its activities in the northwest Iraq. Iraq saw some of the bloodiest battles against Islamic State and its government is already conducting trials of thousands of suspected Islamic State insurgents with many arrested as the group’s strongholds crumbled throughout Iraq.”

The National: ISIS Supporters In Syrian Camps Beg Australian Government For Repatriation

“Two former partners of ISIS fighters have sent audio messages to the Australian government asking for help as the Syrian army advances on the Al Hol camp in northern Syria. In one message, the Australian mother of two young children sobs: “Until now Australia hasn't done anything for us.” “We understand the world has hate but we're asking just as regretful humans, don't let us fall into the hands of the regime, please.” The woman is among 66 Australians, including 46 children, living in the camp for the children and former partners of ISIS fighters. Syrian government soldiers and a pro-Damascus militia arrived in the region yesterday as part of a deal with Kurdish leaders to deter the Turkish invasion. The soldiers arrived on trucks with some residents cheering them on, but for the occupants of Al Hol camp it is a frightening development, as the Syrian army has executed ISIS prisoners. The Australian government has indicated that it will not take home the women and children. Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton told radio station 2GB that some of the women in the camp are as “hard-core” as the fighters and “have the potential and capacity to come back and cause a mass-casualty event.”


Reuters: Iran Holding Second French Researcher: Le Figaro

“A second French national is being detained in Iran and has been imprisoned since the summer, Le Figaro newspaper reported on Wednesday, which is likely to complicate France’s efforts to defuse tensions between the United States and Tehran. Two sources aware of the matter confirmed to Reuters that Roland Marchal, a senior researcher from Science-Po university was being held in Iran, but declined to give further details given the sensitivity of the matter.”


Al Monitor: Pentagon To Stay In Islamic State Fight From Iraq

“The Pentagon expects to fight the Islamic State from Iraq, a senior defense official said today, as American troops are set to leave northern Syria under pressure from a Turkish offensive probing deeper into the war-torn country than the Defense Department anticipated. The campaign to defeat the Islamic State (IS) will continue, the official told reporters at the Pentagon. “We have significant assets, personnel as well as coalition capabilities throughout the region, and we will continue to prosecute that campaign.” The US Central Command is still planning the details of how to remotely wage the campaign, which has leaned heavily on a Kurdish troops that have struck a deal for protection with the Bashar al-Assad regime under intense military duress from Turkey’s three-pronged drive into the country. “We will be adjusting to new circumstances on the ground that create new challenges,” the official said. “But we’re good at adapting and we’ll continue to do so.” The official said the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) had “signaled a willingness to continue prosecuting” the fight to defeat IS in Syria. Gen. Raymond Thomas, then-head of US Special Operations Command, told Congress in March that the Pentagon was “working on solutions” to remotely provide support to the SDF, but conceded it would be “harder” for American units not to have proximity with their Syrian Kurdish and Arab counterparts.”


The Guardian: Erdoğan’s Calamitous Syrian Blunder Has Finally Broken His Spell Over Turkey

“If Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s belligerent president, were a true patriot with his country’s security and wellbeing at heart, he would resign immediately. He has made an appalling hash of things. His Syrian misadventure, while unusually calamitous, is but the latest in a long line of foreign blunders. Erdoğan abuses his position. He harms his country. He is still in office not because he is popular but because of the fear he instils and the power he crudely wields. It’s time for him to go.


Al Jazeera: Taliban Truck Bomb Kills Police, Wounds Children In Afghanistan

“At least three security officers have been killed and dozens wounded, mostly children, after the Taliban set off explosives in a truck near a police headquarters building in eastern Afghanistan, officials have said. The spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Interior Affairs, Nasrat Rahimi, said Wednesday's attack in Alishang district, in Laghman province, wounded 36 people, mainly civilians. Asadullah Daulatzai, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said 20 children, studying inside a nearby religious school, were among those wounded. The building was also damaged. “The students were wounded by flying glass,” he said. “The explosion was huge.” A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, confirmed in a statement that fighters used a large truck packed with explosives in the attack, leaving dozens of Afghan security forces dead and wounded. Rescuers searched through the ruins of buildings destroyed by the blast. “We, with the rescue teams, are still looking for bodies under the rubble,” Obaidullah, a resident, told Reuters news agency. The attack came during a relative lull in violence after a presidential election last month that saw a surge in attacks by the Taliban, who denounced the vote as a sham.”

Xinhua: Afghan Forces Kill Over 50 Militants In 24 Hours

“More than 50 militants have been killed elsewhere in Afghanistan over the past 24 hours as the government forces have intensified crackdowns on the armed insurgents, officials said Tuesday. The security forces in the latest operations struck a Taliban hideout in Aband district of the eastern Ghazni province early Tuesday killing three militants, provincial government spokesman Aref Nuri said. According to Nuri, four more insurgents were killed in the neighboring Deyak district on Monday. Similarly, the government forces' operations have killed 13 militants and wounded four others in Ghazni's neighboring Zabul province over the past 24 hours, said a press release of national army released Tuesday. At least 16 insurgents have been killed and two others injured as the security forces backed by fighting planes targeting Taliban hideouts in Kohna Shakh area of Khawja Bahaudin district in the northern Takhar province since Monday, an army statement said. Government forces have also stormed Taliban hideout in Wardoj district of the northern Badakhshan district on Monday killing 15 militants and injuring five others, a district official Zalmay Khan said.”


The New York Times: As Militants Kill In Kashmir, People Are Afraid To Go To Work

“Militants are terrorizing civilians in the fractious Kashmir Valley, hoping to bring life there to a halt in protest of India’s dramatic reorganizing of the region. And many civilians eager to return to work after weeks of a military clampdown say they are terrified of provoking the militants’ ire. The fatal shooting of a truck driver transporting apples on Monday night is the most recent in a campaign of threats and violence that separatist militants have carried out since August, when the Indian government unilaterally revoked the autonomy that Kashmir had held for years. “This is bad news for business,” said Mohammad Asharf Wani, the president of the Fruit Association of Shopian, in Kashmir’s apple-producing region. Apple growing is a source of income for thousands of Kashmiris, and October is the height of apple picking season. In Monday night’s attack, a truck driver — from Rajasthan, a state hundreds of miles away — was set on by a mob as he was loading his truck with apples in the Shopian area. Witnesses said that a crowd pelted the driver with stones, and that when he tried to crawl into a sleeping area at the front of the truck to escape, members of the crowd dragged him out. A masked militant then pulled out an assault rifle, witnesses said, and shot the driver in the head at close range, killing him instantly.”

Time: Pakistan Faces Blacklisting Over Terrorism Financing And Money Laundering

“Pakistan is trying to avoid getting blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force, a global watchdog, when it meets Wednesday in Paris. A report earlier this month by the task force’s Asia Pacific Group, which monitors Pakistan’s progress, is not encouraging. The report says Pakistan has fully implemented only one item from a list of 40 measures that the country should be taking to curb terrorist financing and money laundering. The other 39 measures were either partially implemented or in some cases overlooked entirely. Iran and North Korea are currently the only two countries on the blacklist. Being blacklisted would be a serious blow for Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan as he tries to boost its faltering economy and attract foreign investment and loans. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has denounced India’s crackdown in Kashmir and warned of a “bloodbath” in the disputed region. Pakistan got a mixed review for its efforts to curb terrorist financing and money laundering as it tries to avoid getting blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force, a global watchdog, when it meets Wednesday in Paris. A report earlier this month by the task force’s Asia Pacific Group, which monitors Pakistan’s progress, was not encouraging.”


Xinhua: Houthis Intensify Attacks In Southern Yemen

“Yemen's Houthi rebels intensified their attacks against areas controlled by the pro-government forces in the country's southern part on Tuesday evening, a military official told Xinhua. The military source said on condition of anonymity that "Houthi fighters launched a series of attacks against different locations in areas controlled by the pro-government forces in the southern province of Dhale." The Houthi attacks targeted the pro-government military locations on northern outskirts of Dhale near Qataba district, the source said.”


Xinhua: Somali Forces Kill 11 Al-Shabab Militants In Southern Regions

“Somali national forces on Tuesday killed 11 al-Shabab extremists in an operation in the southern region of Gedo, a military official said. Ali Mohamed Hassan, commander of the Unit 49 division 10 of Somali National Army told journalists that the forces launched an attack on the militants in the outskirts of Bardhere town following a tip-off from the residents that the militants were forcefully collecting taxes from the locals. “There was a fierce gunfight between our army and the militants, but our forces finally drove the militants out of the town. We killed 11 of them during the gun fight,” the commander said. He noted that the security forces recovered 300 animals which the militants forcefully took from the residents. The commander also said their forces captured al-Shabab fighters during the battle. Locals reported heavy fighting in the town between the army and the militant group which has been fighting to overthrow the Western-backed government. “Al-Shabab ordered the residents to collect a large number of animals and suddenly they were attacked by the government army. Both sides exchanged heavy artillery for a while, but the situation returned to normal after the militants were chased from the town,” Asmo Bashir, a resident told Xinhua through phone.”

North Korea

Associated Press: Kim Rides Horse On Sacred Peak, Vows To Fight US Sanctions

“North Korea released a series of photos Wednesday showing leader Kim Jong Un riding a white horse to a sacred mountain he has often climbed before making key decisions. Near the mountain, Kim reportedly vowed to overcome U.S.-led sanctions that he said had both pained and infuriated his people. The images and Kim’s rhetoric appeared aimed at bolstering his leadership at home as the North tries to pressure the United States into making concessions in nuclear diplomacy.”

United Kingdom

The Telegraph: Britain To Consider Bringing Back Children Of Islamic State Fighters, Dominic Raab Says

“Orphans thought to be British caught up in fighting in Syria should be brought back to the UK, Dominic Raab said yesterday, adding that the “fluid situation” may mean Islamic State fighters could be repatriated too. Amira, 10, her sister, Hiba, eight, and their brother Hamza, who were brought to Syria to live in Isil’s “caliphate” five years ago by their late parents, were discovered this week in a detention camp. They had to be rescued by the UN’s refugee agency on Sunday after Ain Issa camp came under Turkish attack and detainees escaped. “It is clear that the humanitarian situation will be compounded, not made any better, by the intervention made by Turkey, it also has much broader implications for stability.” Mr Raab, Foreign Secretary, told the Commons. “In relation to minors, unaccompanied minors or orphans, I can tell you that, assuming that they would represent no security threat... we would be willing to see them return home if that can be done in a safe way given the situation on the ground.” The security situation has dramatically worsened since Turkish and allied Syrian forces began their offensive on Kurdish-held north-east Syria last Wednesday. Any possible extraction of the children would also be complicated by the deal made between Kurdish forces and the Bashar al-Assad regime, with whom the UK has no diplomatic relations.”


RFI: French Women “Rejoin IS” After Fleeing Displacement Camps In Northern Syria

“At least three French women who were being held in a Syrian Kurdish-run camp for families of jihadists, claim they have rejoined the Islamic State armed group according to messages they sent their lawyers on Tuesday. Several French women who had travelled to Syria to join Islamic State when the jihadist group was growing in numbers, were captured once main elements of the armed group were defeated. The women and children had been separated from the fighters and placed in a camp for displaced persons in northeast Syria. But since Turkey’s week-long incursion into northern Syria to target Kurdish forces, many of the Kurdish-run prisons housing families of jihadists have been abandoned, giving those inside a chance to escape as they did over the weekend. The Kurdish administration in northern Syria says Turkish bombardments near the camp in the northern town of Ain Issa gave 785 relatives of IS members a chance to be rescued by Islamic State fighters. In one message sent to a relative, as confirmed by AFP, one of the women said they had been “retrieved” by IS. One of her relatives told the families’ lawyer, Marie Dose, in a message that the men who took charge of the women said “We are your brothers from the Islamic State, we will take you to safety in the desert.”


Iran Focus: Experts Say It’s Time For EU To Blacklist Iran-Tied Hizballah In Its Entirety

“Both the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council have already classified the Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. The European Union, however, decided six years ago to put only the "military wing" of Hezbollah, an ally of Iran, on its terrorist list. At the time, this partial recognition was a success. The 28 Member States finally - after much resistance - added Iran-funded Hezbollah on the EU terror list. Thanks to the initiative of Britain and the determination of Bulgaria - which had to face a deadly Hezbollah attack last year - as well as Cyprus - where a Hezbollah supporter was arrested for spying on targets - the EU acknowledged the threat posed by Hezbollah in European cities.”


The Guardian: Threat From Extreme Rightwing Terrorism In Australia Has Increased, Asio Says

“The threat from extreme rightwing terrorism in Australia has increased in recent years and will remain an “enduring threat”, according to Australia’s spy agency. The Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation issued the warning in its latest annual report, adding that “extreme rightwing groups in Australia are more cohesive and organised than they have been in previous years”. The comments amp up the agency’s concern about rightwing extremist terrorism, after Asio boss Duncan Lewis told Senate estimates in April it was an important issue but the Christchurch massacre had not changed the agency’s calculus. The massacre of 49 people at two mosques in Christchurch, for which 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant has been charged, prompted renewed scrutiny of the far right including by Australia’s home affairs department. The Asio report said the national terrorism threat level remained at “probable” because “credible intelligence … indicates an intention and capability to conduct a terrorist attack in Australia”. “The principal source of the terrorist threat remains Sunni Islamist extremism and emanates primarily from small groups and individuals inspired, directed or encouraged by extremist groups overseas,” it said.”

The Guardian: Accused Rightwing Terrorist Researched Recipe For Mace And Bombs, Court Hears

“The Victorian supreme court has heard that an accused rightwing terrorist allegedly labelled members of a socialist organisation “traitors” and looked up a recipe for mace and how to make bombs when writing a how-to guide. Phillip Galea, 34, is standing trial over alleged terrorist plots against Melbourne anarchist and socialist groups between August 2015 and 2016. He called a member of the Socialist Alliance a “traitor”, a Victorian supreme court jury was told on Wednesday. The guide Galea is accused of writing was titled the Patriot’s Cookbook. “The only way you can strike fear into them was to put something like that out there so that way they realise they’re in danger,” he allegedly told police after he was arrested. “I told people to defend themselves, to arm themselves ... but I’d never encourage anybody to commit a terrorist attack.” However, prosecutors argued he intended for the document to incite others to act with violence. “He was writing this as a counter to the effect of the Anarchist Cookbook ... and was doing so in the knowledge it was likely to cause others to commit terrorist offences,” the prosecutor, Richard Maidment QC, said. Documents found on his laptop were said to have included guides and images of home-made shotguns and body armour.”

Southeast Asia

Al Jazeera: US 'Concerned' Over Untrackable China Ships Carrying Iran Oil

“The White House has warned Chinese shipping companies against turning off their ships' transponders to hide Iranian oil shipments in violation of United States sanctions, two senior administration officials said. "We've been messaging very heavily to the shipping companies, you don't want to do this, it's not worth it," said one official, who spoke to Reuters news agency on condition of anonymity.

South China Morning Post: Indonesia On Alert As Isis Fighters Escape Syria To Awaken Sleeper Terror Cells Back Home

“Some 50 Indonesian Islamic State fighters and their family members imprisoned in northern Syria are believed to have escaped during Turkey’s invasion of the region to oust Kurdish forces, according to a counterterrorism source. Turkey began a military assault on Syria after the United States abruptly withdrew its troops from the country last week. Of the 12,000 Isis militants held in Syrian jails, about 2,000 come from foreign countries, including Indonesia and Malaysia. The rest are mostly from Syria and Iraq. “According to our intelligence, around 50 Indonesian fighters and their families held in prison in Syria have escaped. That is our latest information,” an Indonesian counterterrorism source, who declined to be named, told the Post. Indonesia has an estimated 34 jihadist fighters and about 700 Isis family members in Syria, he said. “We have tightened up our surveillance at the airports, ports, land borders,” he said. The 12,000 jailed Isis militants in Syria are guarded by only 400 Kurdish soldiers, who also oversee a sprawling camp holding over 70,000 Isis family members. As Turkey escalates its assaults in Syria, the Kurdish guards are buckling under severe strain.”


CBS News: Facebook Officially Launches Libra Cryptocurrency Despite High-Profile Defections

“Facebook officially moved forward with its plans Monday to create a new digital currency called Libra, despite several high-profile defections from the project and intense criticism from U.S. regulators and politicians. The Libra Association, the nonprofit that will govern the currency, officially signed on 21 charter members on Monday at the organization's inaugural meeting in Geneva. Originally the Libra Association had 27 potential members, but several companies dropped out in recent days, including Visa, Mastercard and PayPal.”

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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