Eye on Extremism: April 8, 2024

Garowe Online: Al-Shabaab Attacks Strategic Town Near Somali Capital

“Al-Shabaab militants raided the National Intelligence Security Agency (NISA) base in Bal'ad town near the Somali capital, Mogadishu, sources say, in the latest attack which comes at the time Somalia is fighting violent extremism. According to multiple sources, the militants targeted three checkpoints and a security office in the town. After the raid, reports indicate, the militants started retreating from the town to strategic areas perhaps awaiting a response from the national army. Photos taken from the scene of the Saturday morning attack show a badly destroyed NISA building where Al-Shabab had detonated their explosives leading to the damage. Al-Shabaab claims their fighters entered the station and “most” of the town’s neighbourhoods. Local sources now say the militants are retreating, but the number of casualties remains unknown. The militants have been on rampant onslaught as most Muslims in the country observe the Holy Month of Ramadan.”

Reuters: Turkey Detains 48 People With Suspected Ties To Islamic State, Minister Says

“Turkish authorities have detained 48 people suspected of having ties to Islamic State in connection with a shooting at an Istanbul church in January, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said on X on Saturday. One Turkish citizen was killed by two Islamic State gunmen at the Italian Santa Maria Catholic Church in Istanbul in January.”

CEP Mentions

The Sunday Paper: Meth’s Route From Taliban-Run Afghanistan To Australia

“...Hans-Jakob Schindler, director of the Berlin- and New York-based Counter Extremism Project, says drugs are “just one of the standard income streams for terrorism financing”. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the Taliban, up until its victory in the war for control of Afghanistan, was earning almost $3 billion a year from trafficking opium and heroin, which accounted for as much as 14 per cent of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product. The Taliban’s capture of Afghanistan presents a huge, but largely unacknowledged, danger to world security. The Taliban is now protecting dozens of banned and sanctioned terrorist organisations that fought alongside it throughout the 20-year war against the Western-supported republic. The close relationship between Taliban leaders and Al Qaeda has never diminished, despite lies told to negotiators during the “peace negotiations” that led to the 2020 Doha agreement and the catastrophic American withdrawal approved by United Sates President Joe Biden the following year.”

Voice Of America: Worrying Signs Exist That IS Growing Stronger In Syria

“...The nonprofit Counter Extremism Project (CEP), in a report released earlier this week, counted at least 69 confirmed attacks by the Islamic State group, also known as IS, ISIS or Daesh, in central Syria last month. The attacks resulted in the deaths of at least 84 Syrian soldiers and 44 civilians, and more than doubled the total number of confirmed IS operations for all of 2024. "March was, by every metric, the most violent month of ISIS’s Badia [central Syrian desert] insurgency since late 2017, when the group first lost control of its territory," according to the CEP report. "The unique and alarming difference in March was the scale of attacks against security forces," the report added. "ISIS cells successfully and consistently targeted regime outposts and ambushed patrols, frequently capturing and executing soldiers." And at a time when most of the world is focused on Islamic State’s Afghan affiliate, blamed for the deadly attack last month on a concert hall near Moscow, CEP is not alone in its warning about the group’s Syrian operatives.”

Modern Tokyo Times: ISIS Attacks In Syria Are Increasing: NATO Turkey Bombs SDF (Kurds)

“…In total, over 200 Syrian soldiers and fighters affiliated with the Syrian government have been killed this year by ISIS. Attacks are notably happening in Deir Ezzor, Homs, and al-Raqa provinces. The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) reports, “March was, by every metric, the most violent month of ISIS’s Badia [central Syrian desert] insurgency since late 2017, when the group first lost control of its territory.

United States

Reuters: US On High Alert For Iran Threat In Region After Israeli Strike In Syria

“The United States is on high alert and preparing for a possible attack by Iran targeting Israeli or American assets in the region in response to Israel's strike on the Iranian embassy in Syria, a U.S. official said on Friday. "We're definitely at a high state of vigilance," the official said in confirming a CNN report that said an attack could come in the next week. Suspected Israeli warplanes bombed Iran's embassy in Damascus on Monday in a strike that killed an Iranian military commander and marked a major escalation in Israel's war with its regional adversaries. Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has said that seven Iranian military advisers died in the strike, including Mohammad Reza Zahedi, a senior commander in its Quds Force, which is an elite foreign espionage and paramilitary arm. Iran has said it reserves the right "to take a decisive response." U.S. President Joe Biden discussed the threat from Iran in a phone call on Thursday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "Our teams have been in regular and continuous contact since then. The United States fully supports the defense of Israel against threats from Iran," a senior Biden administration official said.”

Associated Press: Biden Urges Egypt, Qatar Leaders To Press Hamas To Come To Agreement For Israeli Hostages In Gaza

“President Joe Biden on Friday wrote to the leaders of Egypt and Qatar, calling on them to press Hamas for a hostage deal with Israel, according to a senior administration official, one day after Biden called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to redouble efforts to reach a cease-fire in the six-month-old war in Gaza. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private letters, said Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, will meet Monday with family members of some of the estimated 100 hostages who are believed to still be in Gaza. The letters to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and Qatar’s ruling emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, come as Biden has deployed CIA Director William Burns to Cairo for talks this weekend about the hostage crisis. David Barnea, the head of Mossad, Israel’s spy agency, and negotiators from Egypt and Qatar are expected to attend. The Hamas side of the talks is indirect, with proposals relayed through third parties to Hamas leaders sheltering in tunnels beneath Gaza.”


The National: Notorious Iraqi Extremist Killed In Suicide Bombing In Syria

“A notorious Iraqi extremist leader was killed in a suicide bombing in Syria's rebel-held north-west, it was revealed on Friday. Abu Maria Al Qahtani was killed in an attack by an ISIS fighter using an explosive belt, said former Al Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir Al Sham, which rules Syria's last remaining rebel bastion, on its affiliated Amjad media outlet. Al Qahtani, whose real name was Maysar Ali Musa Abdallah Al Juburi, "was killed and two of his companions seriously injured after a suicide bomber blew himself up", the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The war monitor, which has a network of sources in Syria, did not provide further details about the identity of the suicide bomber. No group has so far claimed responsibility for Al Qahtani's killing. He was one of the founders of Al Nusra Front, a former Al Qaeda offshoot in Syria that later renamed itself Hayat Tahrir Al Sham. The US designated Hayat Tahrir a terrorist organisation and the group has long been a target for Syrian government troops and Russian forces.”

Voice Of America: Report: 20 Killed In Clashes In Syria's Restive Daraa Province

“At least 20 people were killed in clashes Sunday in Syria's Daraa governate a day after an explosion killed a group of children, a rights monitor said. Daraa was the cradle of the 2011 uprising against President Bashar Assad but it returned to government control in 2018 under a cease-fire deal backed by Russia. The southern province has since been plagued by unrest. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said Ahmed al-Labbad, who "leads an armed group," was accused by a rival group of planting an explosive device that killed eight children Saturday in the city of Al-Sanamayn. Labbad, who previously worked for a state security agency, denied involvement, according to the Britain-based monitor. On Sunday, a rival armed group led by an individual who previously belonged to Islamic State (IS) and is now "affiliated with military intelligence," entered Al-Sanamayn and clashes erupted, the monitor said. The attackers burned the homes of the Labbad family and killed people living there, it added. Among the 20 dead were three members of Labbad's family and 14 of his fighters, the observatory said.”


Associated Press: Iranian Commander Renews Vow To Avenge Syria Strike Attributed To Israel That Killed 2 Generals

“A top military commander Saturday renewed Iran’s promise to retaliate after an airstrike earlier this week widely blamed on Israel destroyed Iran’s consulate in Syria, killing 12 people, including two elite Iranian generals. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, Iran’s joint chief of staff, told mourners gathered for the funeral of Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahdi that Iran will decide when and how to stage an “operation” to take revenge. Zahdi was the highest ranking commander slain in Monday’s attack. “The time, type, plan of the operation will be decided by us, in a way that makes Israel regret what it did,” he said. “This will definitely be done.” The attack on an Iranian diplomatic compound was a significant escalation in a long-running shadow war between the two archenemies, and Israel has been bracing for an Iranian response. In all, 12 people were killed in the strike: Seven Iranian Revolutionary Guard members, four Syrians and a Hezbollah militia member. On Friday, the commander of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard, Gen. Hossein Salami, warned that “our brave men will punish the Zionist regime,” escalating threats against Israel.”


Reuters: Iraq To Send 10 Million Litres Of Fuel To Gaza

“Iraq agreed on Sunday to send 10 million litres of fuel to the Gaza Strip in support of the Palestinian people, Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani said. Iraq also agreed to receive wounded Palestinians from Gaza and provide them treatment in government and private hospitals, the prime minister added in a statement. The lack of fuel has crippled hospitals, water systems, bakeries and relief operations in the strip. The Gaza war began when Hamas, which controls Gaza, sent fighters into Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and seizing 253 hostages, according to Israeli tallies. Since Oct. 7, at least 33,175 Palestinians have been killed by Israel's military offensive on Gaza, with 75,886 others injured, according to Palestinian health authorities.”


Voice Of America: Afghan Women Deprived Of Rights Under Taliban Face Mental Health Issues

“The past 2½ years have been “very tough” for 28-year-old Maryam Maroof Arvin, as she has been “deprived of all her rights” under the Taliban in Afghanistan. Arvin was a master’s degree student in a private university in Kabul in December 2022 when the Taliban, the de facto government of Afghanistan, barred women from universities. “It has created in me a feeling of depression. I am under mental and psychological pressure, and I feel very angry,” said Arvin who dreamed of becoming a politician to raise the voices for Afghan women. A U.N. report, released in September 2023, stated that under the Taliban, who seized power in 2021, the mental health of women in Afghanistan deteriorated. According to the report, more than two-thirds of women in Afghanistan reported “feelings of anxiety, isolation and depression” between April and June. “Women spoke of psychological issues, including depression, insomnia, loss of hope and motivation, anxiety, fear, aggression, isolation and increasingly isolationist behavior, and suicidal ideation,” the report stated.”


The Times Of India: Pakistan: 6 Security Personnel And 12 Militants Killed In Anti-Terror Operations Across Country

“The media wing of the Pakistan armed forces on Sunday said that six security personnel, including a senior police officer and 12 militants were killed in separate terror incidents and security operations in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces in the past two days. According to the officials, four militants were killed in two separate incidents in Balochistan while, eight militants were killed in the Kot Sultan area of Kulachi tehsil in Dera Ismail Khan district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa when the security forces carried out an operation against them. The Inter-Services Public relations (ISPR), the media wing of the Pakistan armed forces added that the security forces recovered weapons, ammunition and explosives from the eliminated terrorists. Meanwhile, a DSP and two cops were also killed and a constable was injured in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by the armed miscreants in two separate incidents on Friday night. The officials said DSP Gul Muhammad, along with other policemen, had set up a temporary checkpoint on the busy Peshawar-Karachi highway as part of police's security preparations before the festival of Eid-ul-Fitr.”

Associated Press: Motorcycle Bomb Kills 2 People And Wounds 5 In Pakistan’s Restive Southwest

“A motorcycle bomb killed two people and wounded five in Pakistan’s southwest, a police official said Sunday. It’s the latest unrest to hit Baluchistan province, where militants have tried to target a naval facility and a government building in recent weeks. Nobody immediately claimed responsibility for Sunday’s blast in Khuzdar, which is on the main highway connecting the provincial capital Quetta with the port city of Karachi in neighboring Sindh province. Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Arif Zarkon said a woman and two police officers were among the wounded. For years, Baluchistan has been the scene of a low-level insurgency by groups demanding independence from the central government in Islamabad. Although the government says it has quelled the insurgency, violence in the province has persisted. Last Saturday, an improvised explosive device killed one person and wounded 14, including three soldiers.”


Reuters: Yemen's Houthis Say They Targeted Western Ships

“Houthi forces in Yemen said on Sunday they had launched rockets and drones at British, U.S. and Israeli ships, the latest in a campaign of attacks on shipping in support of Palestinians in the Gaza war. The Iran-aligned group said it had targeted a British ship and a number of U.S. frigates in the Red Sea, while in the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean it had attacked two Israeli vessels heading to Israeli ports. The operations took place during the last 72 hours, Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Saree said in a televised statement, without providing further details of the attacks. Britain and the United States have also been launching retaliatory strikes against the Houthis. U.S. forces destroyed a mobile surface-to-air missile system in a Houthi-controlled area of Yemen Saturday, the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said. U.S. forces also shot down an unmanned aerial vehicle over the Red Sea, its statement said, adding that a coalition vessel also detected, engaged and destroyed one inbound anti-ship missile. No injuries or damage were reported.”

Middle East

Reuters: Israeli Military Says It Has Increased Its Readiness For War In North

“The Israeli military said on Sunday that it had completed another step in preparing for a possible war along its northern front, where it has been trading fire with the Lebanese militia Hezbollah for six months. In a statement titled "Readiness for the Transition from Defense to Offense," the military said the phase completed centred on logistics "for a broad mobilization of IDF (Israel Defence Forces) troops". "The commanders of the regular and reserve units are prepared to summon and equip all the required soldiers in just a few hours and transport them to the front line for defensive and offensive missions," the military said. Hezbollah has been trading fire with Israel across Lebanon's southern border since Oct. 8, a day after the Palestinian group Hamas launched an attack on Israel that triggered Israel's war in Gaza, and has sent shock waves throughout the Middle East. Earlier, the military said it launched airstrikes on eastern Lebanon and hit Hezbollah infrastructure sites after the Iranian-backed group downed an Israeli drone Hezbollah said it later fired dozens of Katyusha rockets that hit an air defence base in the occupied Golan Heights, in retaliation for the Israeli raids on eastern Lebanon.”

Voice Of America: Israeli Military Says Strike Killed A Hezbollah Commander

“Israel’s military said Monday it carried out an airstrike in southern Lebanon that killed a Hezbollah commander who had conducted multiple attacks targeting northern Israel. An Israeli military statement identified the commander as Ali Ahmad Hassin of Hezbollah’s Radwan Force. The militant group announced the death of one of its fighters by the same name without giving details about his death. Israel Defense Forces said the strike also killed two other people. Cross-border attacks by Israeli forces and Hezbollah militants have been common throughout Israel’s six-month-old war against Hezbollah ally Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Also Monday, the Israeli military said it carried out an airstrike in the Khan Younis area of southern Gaza in response to multiple rocket launches. Israeli officials announced Sunday the withdrawal of troops from Khan Younis. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said forces were “exiting and preparing for their next missions,” which included a coming mission in the Rafah area. The war has driven more than half of Gaza’s population to Rafah, an area located along the Gaza-Egypt border.”

Associated Press: Palestinians Returning To Khan Younis After Israeli Withdrawal Find An Unrecognizable City

“Streams of Palestinians filed into the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis on Monday to salvage what they could from the vast destruction left in the wake of Israel’s offensive, a day after the Israeli military announced it was withdrawing troops from the area. Many came back to the Gaza Strip’s second-largest city to find their former hometown unrecognizable. With scores of buildings destroyed or damaged, piles of rubble now sit where apartments and businesses once did. Streets have been bulldozed. Schools and hospitals were damaged by the fighting. Israel sent troops to Khan Younis in December, part of its blistering ground offensive that came in response to a Hamas-led attack on Oct. 7 into southern Israel. Israeli authorities say 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were killed and roughly 250 people taken hostage. The war, now in its seventh month, has killed more than 33,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, according to local health authorities, displaced most of the territory’s 2.3 million people and left vast swaths of the beleaguered Gaza Strip uninhabitable.”


The Washington Examiner: Twin Car Bombs Kill 13 Near UN Office In Somalia

“At least 13 people have been killed in two car bomb attacks near a United Nations peacekeeping zone and the international airport serving Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia. According to reports, a suicide car bomb was detonated at a checkpoint to the African Union Mission in Somalia, or AMISOM, base near the airport. The base is in the secure “green zone” of Mogadishu, where United Nations offices and foreign embassies are located. Another blast hit the airport’s perimeter wall.Among those dead are believed to be security guards. The militant Islamist group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the blasts, saying they were targeting the African Union mission’s headquarters. The group has been carrying out frequent attacks in Somalia in an attempt to oust the UN-backed government. The AMISOM base was previously infiltrated by al-Shabaab in December 2014. The Somali government and AU forces are working together to fight al-Shabaab around the East African country. The AU mission in Somalia condemned “these senseless attacks that aim to disrupt and cripple the lives of ordinary Somalis” in a statement on Twitter.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.


On May 8, 2019, Taliban insurgents detonated an explosive-laden vehicle and then broke into American NGO Counterpart International’s offices in Kabul. At least seven people were killed and 24 were injured.

View Archive