Eye on Extremism: April 18, 2022

Daily Mail: Anger As Hate Preacher Anjem Choudary Blames BRITAIN For ‘Radicalising’ David Amess Killer Ali Harbi Ali – After Terrorist Watched His Extremist Videos

“Hate preacher Anjem Choudary has blamed Britain's foreign policy in Syria and Iraq for radicalising David Amess' killer. Ali Harbi Ali, 26, was handed a rare whole life tariff after being convicted of murder and preparing terrorist acts on Monday by jurors who spent just 18 minutes deliberating. The Islamic State fanatic carried out his attack at the backbench Conservative MP's constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, on October 15 last year. Family and friends claimed Ali was watching extremist videos online, including those by notorious hate preacher Choudary. After his arrest, searches of his mobile phone and laptop devices found images of terrorist attackers and ‘inspirational’ IS propaganda. According to The Sun, Choudary wrote in a blog on a website hosted by the US firm GoDaddy: 'Who radicalised him? MailOnline has contacted GoDaddy for comment. Last month, Choudary protested outside the Saudi Arabian embassy near Green Park, London. It was his first public protest since the 55-year-old's public speaking ban was lifted last year. Choudary, the former leader of the banned Islamist group Al-Muhajiroun, was jailed for five-and-half years in 2016 for inviting support for the Islamic State. He served less than half that term and was out in 2018.”

The Washington Post: Violence Rises As Israeli Forces Clamp Down In West Bank And Jerusalem

“Israeli forces killed six Palestinians in confrontations in the West Bank this week, and clashes between police and Palestinians broke out Friday after early Ramadan prayers in Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque. The surge of violence comes as Israel clamps down on militants and activists following the deadliest string of terrorist attacks to occur in Israel in years. Video on social media showed Israeli forces using tear gas and flash grenades at the holy site to break up a crowd of men — some in masks — throwing rocks and furniture. Medics said at least 154 Palestinians and three police officers were injured, according to local media reports. An Israeli police official said in a radio interview Friday that only a few of the estimated 12,000 worshipers were involved, including some who threw stones at Jews praying at the adjacent Western Wall. Officers cleared the plaza in time for an estimated 60,000 worshipers to return uneventfully to the mosque for noon prayers. Violence at the same holy site a year ago, in which Israeli police entered the mosque to battle protesters, led to a two-week air assault in the nearby Gaza Strip.”

United States

Financial Times: Ericsson Admits US Fines ‘Likely’ Over Possible Isis Payments

“Swedish telecoms equipment maker Ericsson has warned it will probably face further fines from US regulators over its handling of allegations that it made payments to terror group Isis in Iraq. The company’s chief executive Borje Ekholm said on Thursday that the company was engaging with US authorities in relation to breach notices they issued and that penalties levied against Ericsson “may likely include additional monetary payments, the magnitude of which cannot at this time be reliably estimated”. Ekholm conceded in February that the company could have made payments to Isis in Iraq for access to routes that would allow it to evade local customs, dealing a blow to investor confidence. Shareholders owning more than 10 per cent of the company — whose stock has lost about 14 per cent of its value since the start of the year — voted against discharging board members of liability for the handling of the corruption probe and its findings last month. Ericsson’s share price closed down 5 per cent on Thursday. In late 2019, the Swedish company paid more than $1bn to US authorities to settle criminal and civil investigations into corruption alleged to have taken place in countries including China, Vietnam and Kuwait.”

NJ.com: Terrorism Charge Filed Against N.J. Man Accused In Antisemitic Violent Crime Spree

“An Ocean County man charged in a hate-filled, violent crime spree against Orthodox Jews last week now faces additional charges including terrorism, authorities said Thursday. Dion Marsh, 27, of Manchester Township, has been jailed on charges he stabbed an Orthodox Jewish man in the chest and ran over pedestrians with a vehicle he carjacked after assaulting the driver. The crimes occurred Friday in neighboring Lakewood and Jackson, both in Ocean County. Lakewood is home to a majority Orthodox Jewish community. The township has more than 100,000 residents and more than two-thirds are Orthodox Jewish. Marsh was initially charged with three counts of attempted murder, weapons possession and three counts of bias intimidation. In an interview with detectives, Marsh said the crimes needed to take place because “the Hasidic Jews (are) the real devils,” according to police documents. On Wednesday, investigators added charges of attempted murder, attempted carjacking, attempted kidnapping and three more counts of bias intimidation, according to Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and Lakewood Township Police Chief Gregory Meyer. On Thursday, acting New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin agreed Marsh should be charged with terrorism, according to Billhimer and Meyer.”

The Arab Weekly: ISIS Killer El Shafee Elsheikh Convicted

“…Elsheikh was born in Sudan in 1988 but moved to Britain as a child. His father left the family when he was seven years old, according to the non-profit Counter Extremism Project (CEP). Elsheikh studied mechanical engineering at Acton College in London, according to CEP and was stabbed in a fight with a gang member when he was 19. He married an Ethiopian woman in Canada when he was 21, but was not allowed to bring her to Britain, allegedly deepening his anger at the British government. Elsheikh became increasingly radicalised and took part in a "Muslims Against Crusades" demonstration outside the US embassy in London on September 11, 2011, according to the US indictment. He travelled to Syria in 2012 to "wage violent jihad on behalf of radical Islamic groups," first joining an Al-Qaeda affiliate there and then ISIS, US prosecutors said. Between 2012 and 2015, Elsheikh and the other "Beatles" seized more than two dozen American, European, Japanese and Russian hostages, mostly journalists and relief workers. Ten former European and Syrian hostages testified at Elsheikh's trial accusing the "Beatles" of months of brutal treatment including beatings, electric shocks, waterboarding and mock executions.”

Syria

AFP: Islamic State Vows 'Revenge' For Ex-Leader's Death

“The Islamic State group on Sunday vowed “revenge” over the killing of its former leader, calling on supporters to take advantage of the war in Ukraine to stage attacks in Europe. “We announce, relying on God, a blessed campaign to take revenge” over the death of Abu Ibrahim al-Qurashi and the group's former spokesman, an audio message attributed to the group and circulated on the Telegram messaging app said. The group's new spokesman, Abu-Omar al-Muhajir, also called on supporters to resume attacks in Europe, taking advantage of the “available opportunity” of “the crusaders fighting each other” -- in reference to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The militant group's previous leader died in early February when he detonated a bomb to avoid capture during a U.S. raid in northwest Syria, the White House and U.S. defense officials said. On March 10, the group confirmed his death, along with the group's former spokesman, naming Abu Hasan al-Hashemi al-Qurashi as the new leader. Little is known about the new leader, who is the jihadist group's third chief since its inception. After losing their last territory under a military onslaught backed by the U.S.-led coalition in March 2019, the remnants of IS in Syria mostly went into desert hideouts.”

Iran

Al Monitor: Delisting IRGC As Terror Group Would Send 'Terribly Wrong Message,' Says Israel's US Ambassador

“Israel is concerned it will bear the consequences of a restored nuclear agreement with Iran that fails to build on the original tattered deal, Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Herzog said Thursday. Herzog spoke during a breakfast briefing hosted by Al-Monitor at the National Press Club in Washington, where the Israeli envoy discussed his government's views on the stalled nuclear talks, prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace, Israel's response to the war in Ukraine and its deepening ties with Arab states. Talks to salvage the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) are held up over Tehran's demand that Washington drop the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a powerful branch of Iran’s military, from its list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO). US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley has indicated the IRGC would remain subject to broad American sanctions even if it were taken off the terror blacklist, making the FTO designation largely symbolic. “Since the IRGC is on the terror list, delisting it now as part of a nuclear deal sends a terribly wrong message to our part of the world,” Herzog, who previously served as a general in the Israel Defense Forces, said. “I think it’s no coincidence that [Iran] insists and they define it as a red line that they want to delist the IRGC.”

Iraq

Al Monitor: Islamic State Uses Dust Storm As Cover For Desert Attack On Iraqi Soldiers

“Islamic State (IS) fighters took advantage of reduced visibility resulting from a massive dust storm blanketing large parts of Iraq in recent days to carry out an attack on Iraqi Army soldiers in the country’s westernmost province. IS later claimed responsibility for the April 9 attack, which occurred on a road near the town of Hit, about 50 kilometers northwest of the regional capital Ramadi. The attack killed two soldiers who were part of the Jazeera and Badia Operations Command. IS reportedly claimed 120 attacks in Iraq in the first quarter of 2022, and another 77 were claimed by the group across the border in Syria. The Anbar province is divided into two military operations areas, with the eastern part covering the regional capital of Ramadi and Fallujah and the western part stretching to the Syrian border. The western part is mostly uninhabited except for the fertile Euphrates River Valley and cities flanking it and is known as the Jazeera and Badia. Hit is the first major urban center on the main highway after entering the western part of the large province. The Ain al-Asad Air Base (AAAB) lies in a strategic area sometimes called the Hit-Haditha Corridor, just off the road between the two cities. US air defense systems at AAAB shot down at least one armed drone early on April 8.”

Deutsche Welle: Turkey Launches New Offensive Against Kurdish Militants In Iraq

“Turkey launched a new cross-border offensive against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq early Monday. Turkish warplanes, helicopters and drones hit Kurdish militant targets, camps, tunnels, shelters, and ammunition storage areas in northern Iraq, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar was quoted as saying by the state-run Anadolu news agency. “Until now, our operation is continuing successfully as planned. The targets identified in the first phase have been captured,” he said, but did not provide any information on casualties resulting from the operation. Turkish jets and artillery struck targets belonging to Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK. Then, commando troops crossed into the neighboring region by land or were airlifted by helicopters, Akar said. The minister added that the jets struck shelters, bunkers, caves, tunnels, ammunition depots and headquarters belonging to the PKK. The group maintains bases in northern Iraq and has used the territory for attacks on Turkey. What is the offensive aimed at? The operation, dubbed “Operation Claw Lock,” aimed to “prevent terror attacks” and “ensure our border security.” It was also supported by artillery units, Akar said. The operation targeted Metina, Zap and Avasin-Basyan regions of northern Iraq.”

Pakistan

Associated Press: Militants Ambush Pakistani Troops In Northwest, Killing 7

“Militants ambushed a Pakistani military convoy in a former stronghold of the Pakistani Taliban near the Afghan border, triggering an intense shootout in which seven soldiers and four insurgents were killed, the military said Friday. A statement from the military said the ambush took place on Thursday in North Waziristan, a district in the volatile northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. There was no immediate claim of responsibility but suspicion fell on the Pakistani Taliban, also known as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP, a militant group that is separate from the Taliban who seized power in Afghanistan last August. The Islamic State group's regional affiliate also has a presence in the area and has claimed carrying out some attacks there in the past. The latest violence comes as Pakistan’s military said Thursday that 128 militants have been killed since January in the region bordering Afghanistan. The military acknowledged that nearly 100 soldiers have been killed in militant attacks during the same period. Though separate, the Afghan Taliban and the TTP are close allies and Pakistani Taliban leaders and fighters have over the years sought sanctuary across the border in Afghanistan.”

Associated Press: Pakistan Warns Neighbor Afghanistan Not To Shelter Militants

“Pakistan fired off a sharp warning Sunday to Afghanistan's hard-line religious rulers to stop sheltering homegrown Pakistani Taliban militants who have staged increasingly deadly attacks against the country’s military. The warning followed Afghan reports that Pakistani aircraft late Friday carried out bombing raids in Afghanistan’s eastern Khost and Kunar provinces, killing civilians. Pakistan has so far refused to comment on the Afghan allegations, instead accusing the Afghan Taliban of doing nothing to stop attacks against Pakistan by militants in Afghanistan. “Terrorists are using Afghan soil with impunity to carry out activities inside Pakistan,” said the Foreign Ministry statement that was unusually harsh in its language. Pakistan was often accused of harboring Afghanistan's Taliban fighters before they swept to power last August as America ended its 20-year war. Since their takeover, Islamabad has led the way in pressing the world to engage with the religiously driven Afghan government. It's not clear, however, whether Pakistan's new Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif will be as supportive of the Afghan Taliban as was his predecessor Imran Khan, a cricket star turned conservative Islamist leader, who was ousted last weekend in a politically tumultuous no-confidence vote.”

Yemen

Associated Press: Ten Al-Qaida Inmates Escape From Prison In Eastern Yemen

“Ten jailed al-Qaida militants have escaped from prison in Yemen's eastern province of Hadramawt, security officials said on Friday. The inmates staged a quarrel among themselves late Thursday at the prison in the city of Seiyun, forcing guards to intervene. But when they did, the prisoners overpowered them, seizing their Kalashnikov rifles and binding their hands before running away, prison officials said. They asked to remain anonymous because they were not authorized to brief the media. Preliminary investigations indicated that the inmates must have coordinated their move with prison guards who collaborated, as well as other militants from outside, they added. The Yemen-based Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula has long been considered the global network’s most dangerous branch, and has attempted to carry out attacks on the U.S. mainland. A list of the fugitives' names has been put out on social media to help with the hunt, said the officials.”

Middle East

The Times Of Israel: Islamic State Calls On Supporters In Israel To Launch More Terror Attacks

“Islamic State on Sunday urged its supporters in Israel to launch additional terror attacks, the first such call since two deadly terror attacks were carried out last month by Arab Israelis thought to have been inspired by the jihadist group. Islamic State claimed responsibility for both attacks, though it did not appear the terrorists had been instructed by it to commit them. In a long address for the holy month of Ramadan, the jihadist group’s new spokesperson Abu-Omar al-Muhajjir called for a new “global offensive” in retaliation for the death of its leader, Abu Ibrahim al-Qurayshi, last February. Al-Qurayshi died when he detonated a bomb to avoid capture during a US raid in northwest Syria, the White House and US defense officials said. “Fight them all and Allah will answer and punish them at your hands,” al-Muhajjir said, referring to “heathen states.” The Ramadan address came as Israel has moved to crack down on Islamic State, after six Israelis were killed in a pair of terror attacks in Beersheba and Hadera by Arab Israeli supporters of the jihadist group. Last week, meanwhile, Israeli authorities announced the arrest of an Islamic state-linked Palestinian in connection to three murders, including of an elderly Jerusalem couple in their home in 2019.”

The Times Of Israel: Father Of Teen Girl Suspected Of Terror Stabbing Says Online Videos Incited Attack

“The father of a 15-year-old girl suspected of a terror stabbing in Haifa said online videos incited his daughter to attack Jews. The teenage girl decided to carry out the attack after watching YouTube videos of Israeli police clashing with Palestinians on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the father told Channel 12. The compound in Jerusalem’s Old City is the holiest site for Jews, and its Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third-holiest place for Muslims. It is a frequent flashpoint and the emotional epicenter of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. On Friday morning, hundreds of Palestinians fought with police at the site, resulting in widespread arrests. Tens of thousands later attended peaceful Ramadan prayers at the mosque. “On Friday, with all the protests, she started watching those videos,” the father told Channel 12 in an interview broadcast on Sunday. He showed the network his television’s viewing history, indicating that she watched footage of the clashes immediately before setting out on her attack. “Two days ago, just two days ago, this is on the day that she did it,” he said, pointing to a series of videos about the Temple Mount. The father, who remained anonymous in the interview, said he was raising four children by himself.”

The Jerusalem Post: Why It Took Law Enforcement 3 Years To Arrest Palestinian-ISIS Killer

“A Palestinian associated with ISIS has been arrested for three murders and one attempted murder. Two murders occurred in 2019, but were only recently solved, the police announced on Thursday. Wasim a-Sayed, 34, from Hebron, was arrested on March 22 as part of the investigation into the recent murder of Moldovan migrant worker Ivan Tarnovski in Jerusalem. But, bizarrely, he had been in administrative detention for almost three years because of his ISIS connection before his mid-March release. Even the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) had no clue that he could be tied to the earlier murders. He was being held on grounds of incitement and because it was thought he might become more dangerous. It was only through studying the murder of Tarnovski that police found common patterns with the earlier attempted murder of teenager Hadar Betzalel in January 2019 and of the murders of elderly couple Yehuda and Tamar Kaduri in their Armon Hanatziv Jerusalem apartment that same month. This means that Sayed went on a murder spree in 2019, was arrested for other reasons and immediately returned to his murder spree upon his release from detention.”

Africa

Reuters: Joint West African Force Says More Than 100 Insurgents Killed In Recent Weeks

“A joint military force from Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon said on Sunday it had killed more than 100 Islamist insurgents, including 10 commanders, in the past few weeks, as it intensifies a ground and air offensive in the Lake Chad region. Boko Haram fighters and its splinter Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) group have for more than a decade battled the Nigerian army in a conflict that has sucked in neighbouring states. Multinational Joint Task Force spokesman Colonel Muhammad Dole said troops had ventured deep into enclaves controlled by insurgents in the Lake Chad area and recovered several weapons, food and illicit drugs. “Within the period of this operation, well over a hundred terrorists have been neutralised, including over 10 top commanders ... following intelligence-driven lethal air strikes in the Lake Chad islands by the combined air task-forces,” Dole said. Dole did not give the period covered by the operation or number of troops killed but said 18 soldiers were injured by improvised explosive devices planted by retreating insurgents. The Islamist insurgency is concentrated in the northeast of Nigeria and has left thousands dead while driving millions from their homes into camps for internally displaced persons.”

United Kingdom

Daily Mail: Priti Patel Vows To Overhaul Prevent In Wake Of David Amess Murder Amid Concern Anti-Terror Strategy Focuses Too Much On Right-Wing Extremism And Not Enough On Islamist Threat

“…Ian Acheson, Senior Advisor at the Counter Extremism Project, agreed Prevent needed to change. He tweeted today: 'As the Home Secretary says and some of us have been saying for a while, Prevent has morphed into a strategy that awards a (convenient) completely false equivalence between Islamist and XRW threat and is swamped by mission creep. Time for a reset.' Meanwhile, Lord Carlile of Berriew, a former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation who previously led the review of Prevent, told the Times that Prevent had an 'overemphasis on right-wing extremism' because of an 'overemphasis on not being anti-Muslim'. The Henry Jackson Society's Dr Alan Mendoza said: 'This shake-up could not come soon enough... Priti Patel should be congratulated for cutting through the Home Office bureaucracy to make it happen. 'Her reforms must be allowed to restore Prevent to its founding purpose – cracking down on terrorism.' Now Miss Patel has pledged that 'things need to change' once she has been handed the findings of a long-awaited independent review of Prevent. 'The Prevent review is really important to me,' the Home Secretary said. 'I can't pre-judge that review. But it is quite clear to me from my own observations that there are things that need to change.'”

France

AFP: Two Men Get Lengthy Jail Terms In Foiled Attack Plot In France

“A Frenchman and a Moroccan received heavy prison terms on appeal Friday for an attack plot that was foiled after an intelligence agent posing as a jihadi infiltrated their cyber network. Yassine Bousseria, 42, was sentenced to 24 years in prison for participation in a terrorist conspiracy to prepare terrorist acts, the same term he had been handed by a lower court in February. The other man, Hicham El-Hanafi, 31, was sentenced to 30 years in prison, also in line with the lower court ruling. A third person convicted in the case, Frenchman Hicham Makran, was sentenced to 22 years in jail in February and did not appeal. The three were tried on charges of joining a terror group with a view to carrying out attacks. An agent from France's DGSI domestic intelligence service, using the codename Ulysse, had infiltrated communication networks of Islamic State (IS) group in a ruse that led to the arrest of the three. The case began in 2016. After intelligence indicating the IS group was seeking to obtain weapons for a “violent action” on French soil, the DGSI agent penetrated an encrypted Telegram messaging loop and make contact with an IS “emir” in Syria, nicknamed Sayyaf. Sayyaf said the jihadis needed munitions including four Kalashnikovs, which Ulysse said he could supply.”

Germany

Associated Press: 4 Germans Arrested Over Extremist Blackout, Kidnapping Plan

“Four people were arrested in Germany and weapons were seized in an investigation into suspected anti-government extremists who allegedly planned to cause a long nationwide blackout and kidnap well-known figures including the country’s health minister, authorities said Thursday. Prosecutors in Koblenz and Rhineland-Palatinate’s state criminal police office said that raids were carried out at 20 properties across Germany Wednesday following an investigation launched in October. The suspects were members of a chat group called “United Patriots” on the Telegram messaging service. Investigators said the suspects were associated with the protest movement against coronavirus restrictions and with the Reich Citizens movement, which disputes the legitimacy of the post-World War II German constitution and, by extension, the current government. In all, 12 people are under investigation. Authorities said the group’s declared aim was to destroy electricity supply facilities and cause a long blackout across the country, with the goal of producing “conditions similar to civil war” and ultimately overthrowing the country’s democratic system. Police seized 22 firearms, including a Kalashnikov rifle, along with hundreds of rounds of ammunition, thousands of euros in cash, and numerous gold bars and silver coins.”

Europe

Reuters: Riots Erupt In Sweden's Orebro Ahead Of Right-Wing Extremist Demonstration

“Violent riots erupted in the central Swedish city of Orebro on Friday as counter-protesters attacked police ahead of a planned right-wing extremist demonstration. Police said on its website that four police cars had been set on fire and at least four police officers and one private individual had been injured as protesters threw stones and large groups attacked police cordons and tore down riot fences. The demonstration, which had received police permission, was organised by Rasmus Paludan, leader of Danish far-right political party Hard Line. Police disbanded the demonstration to calm the situation, and later in the evening said most counter-demonstrators had left the area. A number of counter-protests against planned demonstrations by Paludan, some of which were cancelled, in Swedish cities have turned violent this week. Swedish news agency TT said violence erupted in the Stockholm suburb of Rinkeby after Paludan earlier on Friday set fire there to a copy of the Quran. Police said some of the officers taken to hospital had, among other things, suspected arm fractures.”

The National: Dutch ISIS Recruits 'Held Frontline Roles' Despite Their Protestations

“Dutch ISIS recruits held pivotal roles in the terrorist group — not the minor roles they have claimed — and they should be held fully accountable for their crimes, a report from the Counter Extremist Project think tank says. Claims that they were radicalised and groomed online have also been dismissed after evidence has emerged that many were members of extremist group Sharia4Holland — an offshoot of Britain's Anjem Choudary's banned Al-Muhajiroun group. Choudary has been accused of being one of Europe's most prolific ISIS recruiters. The Counter Extremism Project's (CEP) report, titled “Dutch Foreign Fighters: Before, During and After the ISIS Caliphate,” looks at the true nature of the role of Dutch recruits and calls on the authorities to hold them fully accountable. “This report seeks to provide a snapshot into some of the roles and activities in the Caliphate of Dutch recruits to ISIS. For those on whom information is readily available, the truth is certainly more complex than the existing tropes and caricatures imply,” the report's author, CEP Strategic Adviser Liam Duffy, said. “Too often, we fall back into easy explanations such as the unique and hypnotic power of IS propaganda.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

Fact:

On December 2, 2017, suspected Boko Haram suicide bombers killed 13 people and injured 53 others in a market in Borno State. The bombers struck as aid workers were distributing food to citizens.   

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