Eye on Extremism: April 3, 2023

CNN: US Bolsters Forces In Middle East Following Series Of Attacks On US Troops In Syria

“The US has bolstered its military forces in the Middle East following a series of attacks on US troops in Syria attributed to Iranian-affiliated militias, the Pentagon said Friday. A squadron of A-10 attack aircraft are deploying to the region ahead of a scheduled deployment. The deployment of the attack aircraft was expedited by several weeks following the attacks in Syria, according to Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Phil Ventura. In addition, the US ordered a carrier strike group to remain in the region to support US forces in Central Command, which covers the Middle East, and a squadron of A-10 attack aircraft to the region, Ventura said. ‘We are committed to supporting the defeat-ISIS mission alongside a global coalition in Syria and prepared to respond to a range of contingencies in the Middle East if needed,’ Ventura said in a statement.”

Reuters: Spain's Asturias Ravaged By Fires As Authorities Blame 'Terrorist' Arsonists

“The lush region of Asturias in northern Spain was ravaged by more than 90 wildfires on Friday, most of them believed to have been started by arsonists whom the region's leader called ‘fire terrorists’. Over 600 firefighters were deployed to tackle the blazes and several towns have been evacuated as police closed off roads and highways. The Spanish government has said it is worried more wildfires will flare this year after an unusually dry winter across parts of southern Europe and rising average temperatures due to climate change. ‘THEY ARE BURNING OUR ASTURIAS. We are dealing with real terrorists who are endangering lives, towns and cities,’ Adrian Barbon, the head of the regional government, said on Twitter.”

United States

Associated Press: U.S. Citizen Gets 20 Years For Joining Islamic State Group

“A U.S. citizen who moved his family to Syria to join the Islamic State terrorist group has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison. Emraan Ali, 55, a U.S. citizen born in Trinidad and Tobago, was sentenced Tuesday in Miami federal court, according to court records. He pleaded guilty in November to conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. According to court records, Ali moved his family from Trinidad and Tobago to Brazil, and then to Turkey and eventually Syria in March 2015. He falsely told his children that they were going on vacation but actually intended to join IS, prosecutors said. After arriving in Syria, IS registered Ali and his family, and Ali underwent IS religious and military training with other English speakers, officials said. The training included instruction on the operation of various automatic weapons such as the AK-47 assault rifle and PKC machine gun.”


Daily Sabah: 340 Terrorists Eliminated By Turkish Armed Forces In Past 3 Months

“National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar announced Saturday evening that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) had eliminated 340 members of the U.S.-backed PKK and its Syrian offshoot YPG in the last three months. Akar was using a term to indicate the terrorists in question were killed, injured or captured alive, though the term mostly refers to the first party in most cases. ‘We are determined and able to save our nation from this trouble that has plagued our noble country for 40 years. We are determined to neutralize terrorists, regardless of who is behind them, whether they provide weapons, helicopters, ammunition or money,’ Akar said Saturday in southern Hatay province. He said Ankara's only target is the terrorism threatening the country's borders and national security. In its 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the U.S. and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of more than 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.”


Associated Press: Pakistani Army Says 4 Troops Killed By Iran-Based Militants

“A militant attack from across the border with Iran left four Pakistani soldiers dead Saturday in southwestern Baluchistan province, the army said. The soldiers were part of a routine border patrol operating along the Pakistan-Iran border when the militants struck in the Jalgai sector of Kech district, the military said in a statement. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. The army said necessary contact was being established with Iranian officials for ‘effective action against terrorists’ to prevent such incidents in the future. It identified the casualties as Sher Ahmed, Muhammad Asghar, Muhammad Irfan and Abdur Rasheed.”

Saudi Arabia

Al Arabiya News: Saudi Arabia’s Etidal And Telegram Remove Over 6 Million Extremist Content

“Saudi Arabia’s Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology (Etidal) and Telegram have removed over 6 million pieces of extremist content in the first quarter of 2023, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Sunday. In a collaboration between Etidal and Telegram, 6,004,218 pieces of content were removed and a total of 1,840 channels belonging to ISIS, al-Qaeda and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham were closed between January 1 and March 31 for promoting extremist ideologies. The content targeted was in Arabic and varied between audio recordings, PDF files, and videos, an infographic shared by SPA showed. The Etidal team identified and monitored the activity of the three terrorist organizations on Telegram where it discovered and removed 2,773,902 pieces of extremist content on 477 channels belonging to Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, 1,807,215 similar pieces on 1,040 channels belonging to ISIS, and 1,423,101 pieces on 323 channels belonging to al-Qaeda.”

Middle East

Reuters: U.S. Seeks To Keep Yemen-Bound Ammunition Seized From Iran

“The United States is seeking to keep more than 1 million rounds of ammunition the U.S. Navy seized in December as it was in transit from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to militants in Yemen, the Justice Department said on Friday. ‘The United States disrupted a major operation by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to smuggle weapons of war into the hands of a militant group in Yemen,’ Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. ‘The Justice Department is now seeking the forfeiture of those weapons, including over 1 million rounds of ammunition and thousands of proximity fuses for rocket-propelled grenades.’ U.S. naval forces on Dec. 1 intercepted a fishing trawler smuggling more than 50 tons of ammunition rounds, fuses and propellants for rockets in the Gulf of Oman along a maritime route from Iran to Yemen, the Navy said.”

The Times Of Israel: Police Say DNA Found On Cop’s Gun Proves Old City Incident Was Terrorism

“Police announced on Sunday that they had found DNA evidence proving that a man who was shot in Jerusalem’s Old City had grabbed the gun of a police officer and carried out a terror attack. Police said testing found the DNA of 26-year-old Mohammed Elasibi — a resident of the Bedouin town of Hura in southern Israel — on a weapon he was accused of grabbing and firing twice before he was shot dead by officers near the Temple Mount. Eyewitnesses and Arab officials have mostly rejected that version of events, and former police officials said it is ‘hard to believe’ the force’s insistence that the shooting wasn’t captured on any of the many CCTV cameras in the area. Elasibi’s family rejected the ‘police’s story,’ which it called ‘false and slanderous” one of his sisters, who requested anonymity due to fear of retaliation, told AFP. She described her brother as a ‘polite and well-mannered person who loved helping others and [had] a peaceful personality.’”

The Times Of Israel: Gallant Vows To Block Iran, Hezbollah In Syria After Alleged Israeli Airstrikes

“Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Sunday warned Iran and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist group that Israel would not tolerate any efforts to harm the country or its citizens. The comments came after a series of airstrikes in Syria that the Syrian government attributed to Israel, and a warning from Iran over the attacks. ‘We have tensions on all fronts,’ Gallant said in a pre-Passover toast with soldiers in the Etzion Brigade in the West Bank, saying Iran was attempting to make inroads into the territory. ‘The Iranians are extending their outreach to Judea and Samaria and Gaza, and are attempting to entrench themselves in Syria and Lebanon,’ Gallant said. ‘We will not allow the Iranians and Hezbollah to harm us. We have not allowed it in the past, we won’t allow it now, or anytime in the future.’”


Garowe Online: Somalia Military Kills 14 Al-Shabaab Militants In Offensive

“The Somali National Army [SNA] confirmed the killing of over 14 Al-Shabaab militants in the outskirts of Baidoa, the seat of Southwest state, which has lately been the epicenter of tussles between the national army and the Al-Qaeda-linked group. According to senior SNA officials, the militants were ambushed at one of their hideouts in Makude which is situated at least 7 kilometers south of Baidoa town. The militants who tried to respond were killed on spot by the national army officers who were on the offensive, SNA added. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has announced the second phase of the Al-Shabaab crackdown which will target the militants in areas that are yet to be redeemed from the group, particularly in central and southern parts of the country where Al- Shabaab militants are predominant.”


Anadolu Agency: Algeria Rejects Foreign Military Intervention In Region For ‘Fighting Terrorism’

“Algeria’s army chief, Lt. Gen. Said Chengriha, on Sunday reiterated his country’s rejection of any foreign military intervention in the region under the claim of combating terrorism. ‘Algeria rejects any form of foreign intervention in the region under the pretext of combating terrorism because it is an approach that has proven to be a complete failure,’ Chengriha said in a speech during a military meeting. The army chief, however, did not provide any details about parties seeking military intervention in the region. ‘Algeria's will is to give a new dynamism to efforts to combat terrorism in the Sahel and Sahara region,’ Chengriha said. Algeria maintains that countries of the region have a responsibility to fight terrorism by themselves.”

United Kingdom

BBC: Ex-Boarding School Pupil Who Posted Neo-Nazi Videos Avoids Jail

“A former private school pupil who posted neo-Nazi and homophobic videos on the internet has avoided jail. Oliver Riley, 19, admitted a string of terrorism offences following his arrest at a boarding school in Gloucestershire in October 2021. He uploaded 23 videos to the internet that were racist, homophobic and glorified Nazism and terrorist attacks. The judge said he accepted Riley's ‘genuine remorse’ and sentenced him to a three-year community order. Police seized a mobile phone, a laptop and a red notebook during a search of Riley's room following his arrest. The channel he used to upload the offensive material was open to the public and had 21 subscribers, the Old Bailey heard.”


VICE: Street-Fighting US Neo-Nazi Leader Captured in Romania

“…Last summer, the Southern California Active Club held a boxing tournament in which neo-Nazis from across the United States attended. Rundo excitedly promised his followers more of these events in a recent YouTube interview and claimed that he was creating the new “street culture of white nationalism.’ Joshua Fisher-Birch, an analyst for the Counter Extremism Project, told VICE News that Rundo’s arrest is a ‘positive development’ but it likely won’t deeply impact the ‘active clubs.’ ‘Even though Rundo has been the public face of the movement, it is unlikely that his arrest will blunt its growth, mainly because active clubs are local entities with their own local structure,’ said Fisher-Birch. ‘Rundo’s potential detention will likely be a specific rallying call going forward for the movement and allied groups as they seek to create new narratives and expand.’”

Middle East Forum: Germany's Leftist Government Refuses To Confront Islamism

“…Hans-Jakob Schindler of the Berlin-based Counter Extremism Project told the Bundestag that the dearth of information about the financing of Islamist groups in Germany is partly due to ‘legal gaps and hurdles, existing limitations on the powers of the security authorities, as well as a lack of transparency requirements’ for mosques and Islamic associations. He said that the legislative proposals could lead to ‘major improvements’ in filling the knowledge gap (Erkenntnislücke) about the financing of Islamism in Germany. In a parliamentary debate before the two proposals were rejected, Bundestag Member Peggy Schierenbeck of the center-left Social Democrats branded the proposed bills as ‘prejudice against people of other faiths’ and claimed that if they were to be approved, ‘people from Muslim civil society would fall victim to generalization and stigmatization.’ Bundestag Member Lamya Kaddor of the Greens declared that ‘Islamism is nothing more than doing politics with religion.’ Kaddor, a first-generation German of Syrian origin known for her efforts to expand the teaching of Islam in German schools, said the sponsors of the proposals ‘want to determine who is a 'good' Muslim and who is a 'bad' Muslim — 'good' means 'secular,' they want Muslims without Islam.’ She insisted that anyone who ‘problematizes Islamism must also problematize Islamophobia.’”

Associated Press: Greece: Suspects In Foiled Passover Attack Appear In Court

“Two men accused of planning a Passover attack on a Jewish center in central Athens appeared in court Friday to answer to terrorism charges and were ordered to remain in pre-trial detention, authorities said. Greek officials announced the suspects’ arrests earlier this week and described the men as being of Pakistani origin. Police alleged they were planning to attack the Chabad of Athens center, which is part of Judaism’s international Chabad-Lubavitch movement. The center hosts religious services, as well as a kosher restaurant and grocery.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.


On October 27, 2018, domestic terrorist Robert D. Bowers carried out an anti-Semitic attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. He fired on congregants as they gathered for worship, killing 11 people and wounding six others.

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