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Old 02-23-2021, 07:49 AM
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Arrow Eye on Extremism - 02-23-21

Eye on Extremism - February 23, 2021
By: Counter Extremism Project

As of 02-23-21:

Today: Eye on Extremism

The New York Times: 4 Aid Workers Are Shot Dead In Pakistan

“Gunmen killed four aid workers in an ambush in the northwestern Pakistani district of North Waziristan on Monday, police officials said, an attack that could signal a revival of insurgency in the region bordering Afghanistan that was once a stronghold of the Pakistani Taliban. A vehicle carrying the aid workers, who were all Pakistanis and who were affiliated with a program for developing household skills for women, was fired upon by unidentified attackers in the town of Mir Ali, the police said.The four aid workers, all women, were killed and the male driver was wounded. A fifth aid worker, also a woman, survived the attack by taking refuge in a nearby house, the police statement said. The attackers fled into the nearby mountains. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan condemned the attack and demanded that the government bring the attackers to justice. “It is the responsibility of the authorities to protect the lives and property of citizens at all costs,” the commission said in a statement. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the ambush. But the shooting fits a pattern of attacks against aid workers and anti-polio medics across the country that officials have attributed to the Pakistani Taliban.”
Al Jazeera: Generation Identity: France Begins Shutting Down Far-Right Group

“France is beginning the process of shutting down the far-right Generation Identity (GI) group, a move that comes after Al Jazeera’s undercover investigation exposed the group’s racism, violence, and connections with Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party. On Saturday, dozens in Paris rallied against the move – scheduled to begin Monday – some of whom wore blue vests emblazoned with the words “Génération Identitaire”, the French name of the group which advocates for “defending the identity and culture of white Europeans” and decries what it calls the “great replacement” by immigration and “Islamisation”. According to a letter dated February 11 from the French Ministry of Interior to GI’s president, the Al Jazeera investigation Generation Hate “revealed the reality of this organisation” where members “rejoiced at the assault of a woman of North African origin”. The letter cites a number of cases that highlight the group’s racism, violence, and the basis on which it is considered a “private militia” and goes on to say that “the comments made and the Nazi-inspired gestures … as well as the threats of further attacks, demonstrate the true face of this organisation and its activists”. The letter accuses GI of “openly hateful rhetoric” which “contributes to heightening tensions within the national community” and “provokes violent attacks.”

United States

The Wall Street Journal: Families Of Pensacola Terror Attack Victims Sue Saudi Arabia

“The families of three service members killed and 13 others injured in a shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in 2019 sued Saudi Arabia, alleging that the Gulf kingdom should have known the gunman, a member of the Saudi air force, was a threat. The complaint, filed in federal court in Pensacola, Fla., on Monday, asks the court to find that Saudi Arabia is liable and seeks damages for the attack. Mohammed Alshamrani, a 21-year-old second lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force identified as the shooter, was stationed at the Pensacola base as part of a training program. He was killed during the attack. The three Navy men killed were Cameron Walters, 21, Mohammed Sameh Haitham, 19, and Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23. “Al-Shamrani was a Trojan Horse sent by his country, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the lawsuit says. The suit also accuses the Saudi government of failing to follow through on a promise to compensate the victims. The lawsuit says that Saudi officials failed to act on warning signs about Alshamrani’s behavior, including anti-American social-media posts. It says that Saudi authorities failed to properly screen Alshamrani when they nominated him for flight training in the U.S.”


Asharq Al-Awsat: SOHR: ISIS Attacks Iranian Militias In Syria's Badia

“The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported a number of ISIS sudden attacks on posts of Iranian-backed militias and regime forces in the surrounding areas of Arak oil field in east Homs desert. The attack was followed by clashes between the two sides, amid reports of casualties. ISIS cells targeted a guard post of al-Qura Guards, militias backed by Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), on the bank of Euphrates river in al-Asharah city in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor, killing four Syrian militiamen and injuring others. Earlier, a bomb planted by unknown gunmen believed to be of ISIS cells, exploded in the car carrying militiamen, near Wadha village of Maskanah town in the eastern countryside of Aleppo, according to the Observatory. As a result, four Iranian-backed militiamen were killed, and two others injured. ISIS also killed eight regime-backed militiamen in surprise attacks on their posts and checkpoints in different areas in the Syrian desert. In response, Russian jets executed tens of airstrikes on ISIS positions, leaving casualties. Since March 2019, SOHR documented various ISIS attacks, bombings, and ambushes which resulted in the deaths of at least 1,339 regime soldiers and loyalists of various nationalities, including two Russians, and 145 Iranian-backed militiamen of non-Syrian nationalities.”


The Jerusalem Post: 14 Arrested In Turkey Over Alleged Links To ISIS

“Some 14 suspects were arrested over alleged links to ISIS terror group in Turkey, a security source told the Turkish Anadolu Agency on Monday. Anti-terror police and intelligence teams found that 21 ISIS suspects were located in Ankara, according to the source who spoke anonymously. Some 14 foreign nationals were arrested in simultaneous operations in the early morning and the hunt for the remaining suspects is ongoing.”


The New York Times: Afghan Civilian Casualties Soared After Peace Talks’ Start

“Civilian casualties rose sharply in Afghanistan after peace negotiations between the government and the Taliban began in September, even as overall deaths and injuries dropped during 2020 compared with the previous year, the United Nations reported Tuesday. In its annual report documenting civilian injuries and deaths, the United Nations’ mission in Afghanistan found that the escalation in civilian casualties began shortly after intra-Afghan negotiations opened on Sept. 12 in Doha, Qatar, increasing by 45 percent in the final quarter of 2020 versus the same time period in 2019. The number of civilian casualties in November was the highest of any year that month since the U.N. began systematically documenting Afghan casualties in 2009, the report said. “2020 could have been the year of peace in Afghanistan,” said Deborah Lyons, the Special Representative of the U.N. secretary-general for Afghanistan. “Instead, thousands of Afghan civilians perished due to the conflict.” The report was released as talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban remain stalled amid unrelenting violence, and a February 2020 agreement between the United States and the Taliban is under review by the Biden administration.”


Al Jazeera: Nigeria: Kidnappers Free 53 People Seized On Bus

“Kidnappers released 53 people, including women and children, seized on a bus in Nigeria while dozens of others taken from a school in a separate attack are still missing. Criminal gangs in northwestern and central Nigeria have scaled up attacks in recent years, kidnapping, raping and pillaging. A gang last week seized 53 people, including 20 women and nine children, who were travelling on a state-owned bus in Kundu village in Niger State. “I was delighted to receive the 53 … bus passengers who were abducted by armed bandits a week ago,” the governor of Niger State, Abubakar Sani Bello, said in a tweet late on Sunday. It is unknown if a ransom was paid but state representatives have previously said they would not pay any. “We went through one week of dialogue, consultations, hard work and sleepless nights because we had to secure their release within the shortest possible time,” the governor’s spokeswoman, Mary Noel-Berje, said in a statement. The freed bus passengers received medical check-ups before being reunited with their families, she added. In a separate incident, 42 people, including 27 schoolboys, were abducted from a school last week and are still missing. “The Students of the Government Science College Kagara are still in the hands of their captives but everything is being done to ensure their release,” Noel-Berje said.”

Agence France-Presse: ISWAP Jihadists Overrun Nigerian Army Base As Residents Flee

“A jihadist attack in northeast Nigeria has forced many people to flee after Islamic State-affiliated insurgents overran a key army base, military sources and residents told AFP Sunday. The Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) group that split from the Boko Haram movement in 2016 has become a dominant threat in the region, attacking soldiers and bases while killing and kidnapping passengers at bogus checkpoints. Late on Friday ISWAP fighters on board several trucks fitted with machine guns raided Dikwa, in Borno state, where the Nigerian army has one of its key “super camp” military bases. “The terrorists attacked the super camp… and dislodged troops,” a military officer who asked to remain anonymous told AFP. “They attacked the base from the northern and northeastern flanks, overwhelming the soldiers and forcing them to withdraw,” said a second military source who also spoke on condition of anonymity. As residents started fleeing, the Nigerian airforce sent fighter jets, pushing the insurgents back out of the town, the sources said. This was not the first raid by insurgents on super camps. As recently as Monday ISWAP killed eight soldiers when its fighters dislodged troops from another base in Marte, also in Borno state, according to military sources.”


SOFREP: Somali Military Kills 70 Al-Shabaab Members In Two Operations

“On Friday, the Somali National Army (SNA) conducted a large operation in the Lower Shabelle region that resulted in the killing of 50 al-Shabaab fighters, including two senior commanders. Regional military officials confirmed the results of the operation in speaking with the Anadolu News Agency. The SNA military operation against the Somali affiliate of the al-Qaeda terrorist group took place in Mushaani, Daniga, and Majabta, according to Somali military radio. The Somali government is increasing the pressure on the terrorist group in the region. Local media carried pictures of the Danab Special Operations unit potentially indicating that Danab had carried out the operation, nonetheless this has not been confirmed yet. Odawa Yusuf Rageh, the Army’s Chief of Staff, said on Friday that the SNA destroyed al-Shabaab training camps in local villages and that among the dead terrorists was Moalim Bukhari, the group’s intelligence chief in the Lower Shabelle as well as Sheikh Hasan Ganeey, the commander in the region. Although Somalia is reeling politically from the delayed presidential elections, the military is aggressively trying to counter the terrorist attacks that al-Shabaab conducts.”


The Africa Report: In The Sahel, Terrorists Are Now Sitting At The Negotiation Table

“The idea of engaging in dialogue with certain jihadist groups was high on the minds of the Group of Five Sahel countries (G5 Sahel) during the N’Djamena summit in Chad on 15 and 16 February. Initiating negotiations with certain jihadist groups is increasingly being touted as a possible route towards finding a political resolution to the Sahel crisis. Back in 2017, Mali’s Conference of National Understanding (Conférence d’entente nationale) outlined key recommendations concerning shared commitments to achieve harmonious coexistence, lasting peace and national reconciliation throughout Mali by engaging in talks with all parties to the conflict. In 2019, the country’s “inclusive national dialogue”, which brought together major domestic actors, also made a case for engaging in discussions with all Malians, including militant leaders Iyad ag Ghaly and Hamadoun Koufa. The fifth pillar of the country’s “transition roadmap”, adopted in September 2020, echoes these recommendations in proposing the initiation of dialogue with radical armed groups, while Mali’s authorities, and more specifically the prime minister of the transition, Moctar Ouane, have made it clear that they intend to go forward with the discussions begun by former president Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta’s government prior to his ouster.”

United Kingdom

BBC News: Terror Suspect Jailed After Going On The Run

“A terror suspect who caused nine hours tailbacks at British ports after absconding has been jailed for breaking counter terrorism rules. The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is a senior member of the banned group al-Muhajiroun. He triggered a manhunt in September after cutting off an electronic monitoring tag and fleeing his home. Judge Anthony Leonard QC said the actions had caused “significant disruption for legitimate travellers”. Appearing at the Old Bailey by video link from prison, the man was jailed for three years and two months after previously admitting six breaches of his Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPIM) order. TPIM notices allow the authorities to monitor and control people considered to be terrorists - but who are not facing criminal charges. Prosecutor Kate Wilkinson said that, on 15 September last year, the man - known only as LF for legal reasons - cut off his tag, burned documents, ordered a taxi to London, and left his home at 01:00 BST. He was arrested in central London around 36 hours later having arranged to hand himself in.”

The Independent: Terror Suspect Told Police He Was A ‘One Nation Tory’, Court Hears

“A terror suspect described himself as a “one nation Tory” when asked about his political views by police, a court has heard. Muhamed Abu, 32, denies concealing an alleged terror plot mounted by his brother Sahayb last year from the authorities. Prosecutor John McGuinness QC told the Old Bailey that although only Sahayb is accused of preparing an act of terrorism, Muhamed also supported Isis. “Both defendants had extremist views and violent mindsets and that they supported the beliefs, aims and methods of Isis,” he said at the opening of the trial. “This, says the prosecution, is seen not only from their communications with each other but also from the internet searches which they made on their devices, as well as the documents, photographs and videos that were downloaded on to them.” But on Monday, the court was read summaries of Muhamed’s police interviews following his arrest on 9 July, showing him denying holding extremist views. He called Isis “a cancer, a tumour that needs to be excised from the face of the earth”, and said he had no animosity towards the UK or Western countries.”

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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