Eye on Extremism: August 19

The New York Times: Terrorists Turn To Bitcoin For Funding, And They’re Learning Fast

“Hamas, the militant Palestinian group, has been designated a terrorist organization by Western governments and some others and has been locked out of the traditional financial system. But this year its military wing has developed an increasingly sophisticated campaign to raise money using Bitcoin. In the latest version of the website set up by the wing, known as the Qassam Brigades, every visitor is given a unique Bitcoin address where he or she can send the digital currency, a method that makes the donations nearly impossible for law enforcement to track. The site, which is available in seven languages and features the brigades’ logo, with a green flag and a machine gun, contains a well-produced video that explains how to acquire and send Bitcoin without tipping off the authorities. Terrorists have been slow to join other criminal elements that have been drawn to Bitcoin and have used it for everything from drug purchases to money laundering. But in recent months, government authorities and organizations that track terrorist financing have begun to raise alarms about an uptick in the number of Islamist terrorist organizations experimenting with Bitcoin and other digital coins. The yields from individual campaigns appear to be modest — in the tens of thousands of dollars.”

The Hill: Internet Infrastructure Companies Must Help Keep Extremists Offline

“Before launching his shooting rampage at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius posted an anti-immigrant screed on the online messaging board 8chan. 8chan has become a popular vehicle for extremists to share hateful content and glorify mass shootings. After the massacre in El Paso U.S. policymakers and tech companies are finally taking notice. Last Friday, the White House hosted a meeting with tech companies to discuss violent online extremism. President Trump also called upon the Justice Department to work with local, state, and federal agencies as well as tech companies to develop tools that can help detect potential mass shooters. Additional hearings are planned by the House Homeland Security Committee, which has asked 8chan founder Jim Watkins to testify about the proliferation of extremist content. The El Paso attack was not the only recent extremist incident with links to 8chan. Just prior to the March attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, Brenton Tarrant posted his manifesto on Twitter and 8chan. The 8chan post also reportedly contained a link to Tarrant’s Facebook page, where he later broadcasted the shootings using Facebook Live. A month later, John T. Earnest posted an anti-Semitic manifesto on 8chan prior to initiating his attack at a synagogue in Poway, Calif.”

CNN: Andrew Cuomo: Mass Hate Shootings Should Be Treated As Domestic Terrorism

“Two weeks ago, a gunman killed 22 people in El Paso, Texas, in what he later told authorities was a targeted attack against Mexicans, according to the arrest affidavit. This tragedy is the latest incident of hate-fueled violence; it's clear our country is plagued by the toxic cocktail of guns and hate. And while the federal government refuses to address this violence, New York is stepping up with a proposal to call these hateful acts exactly what they are -- domestic terrorism.  Hate is nothing new in America. Our country bears the scars of the KKK, the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, and the Porvenir Massacre in 1918, which led to the execution of 15 Mexicans -- just to name a few. Many of us thought these incidents were long in the past, but this hate remains a part of our reality today.  Hate crimes have been on the rise. In recent years, we have seen hateful acts against African-Americans in Charleston, Jews in Pittsburgh, Muslims in New York, Latinos in El Paso and LGBTQ people in Orlando. Many of these targeted groups are wrongly cast as “other,” even though we are a nation made stronger by people from different backgrounds.  Since September 11, far-right extremists carried out nearly three times as many attacks on Americans in the US as Islamic extremists, according to government data cited by the New York Times.”

Vice News: Militant Neo-Nazi Group Actively Recruiting Ahead Of Alleged Training Camp

“The Base, which is connected to extreme-right groups the Atomwaffen Division and the Feuerkrieg Division, has been promoting its growth on social media with photos announcing its presence in major cities across North America, including New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle, and in Europe, South Africa, and Australia. For Joshua Fisher-Birch, a research analyst at the Counter Extremism Project, a U.S.-based terrorism watchdog, The Base presents a "significant threat" because it is attempting to build a network with "individuals in different groups, or those with slight ideological differences." According to Fisher-Birch, the group has "combined online recruitment efforts with real-world efforts" including supporiting "lone-actor violence" and "shared terrorist tactics."

Huff Post: Trump Threatens Antifa With Terrorist Label As Portland Braces For Far-Right Rally

“As Portland, Oregon, braced for dueling protests between right-wing extremists and the anti-fascists who have vowed to confront them on Saturday, President Donald Trump threw gasoline on the fire, threatening that the far-left demonstrators could be labeled terrorists.  “Major consideration is being given to naming ANTIFA an ‘ORGANIZATION OF TERROR,’” he tweeted, adding that the city “is being watched very closely” and telling Mayor Ted Wheeler to ”properly do his job.” Contrary to the president’s description, antifa is not a singular organization, but a loose collection of groups and individuals who confront the far right, sometimes with violent means. Saturday’s far-right rally has been organized the Proud Boys, an organization of self-described “western chauvinists” that has been deemed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its spread of white nationalism, misogyny and Islamophobia. Joe Biggs, formerly of InfoWars, the website helmed by conspiracy theory-mongering radio host Alex Jones, has helped to organize the rally. The Proud Boys also appeared at the 2017 Charlottesville, Virginia, “Unite the Right” rally where a neo-Nazi rammed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.”

United States

Vice News: International Neo-Nazi Extremist Group Claims Prior Knowledge Of Vegas Bomb Plot

“An international neo-Nazi extremist group has claimed in chat channels that it had advance knowledge of planned terrorist attacks by an alleged member, a Las Vegas man arrested for plotting bombings against a local synagogue. Tipped by the Counter Extremism Project, a US-based terrorism watchdog, VICE has viewed messages by the Feuerkrieg Division (FKD), a splinter of the violent white supremacist extremist group Atomwaffen Division (AWD). FKD, which is based in Europe, has claimed it not only encouraged attacks by Conor Climo, 23, on Las Vegas’ LGBTQ and Jewish communities, but knew of his plot before his arrest.”

Syria

Asharq Al-Awsat: Western Countries Continue To Resist Return Of ISIS Children

“Years after their parents left Belgium and France to join ISIS, 18 children were taken from squalid refugee camps in Syria and flown recently to new lives in Belgium and France, drawing widespread attention in those countries as examples of Europe grudgingly accepting the children of its extremists. But they were the exceptions, not the rule; estimates vary, but 1,300 or more children of European fighters and followers of the self-professed “caliphate” remain trapped in Syria and Iraq. While some European governments have softened their stands on repatriation, marginally, it is still unclear when — or even whether — the children might be able to leave. The recent airlifts, which took place only after months of negotiation and vetting of the children, illustrate how resistant Western countries still are. On those flights in June, France and Belgium received only children whose extremist parents were dead; most are orphans, and some were taken to ISIS lands by their fathers, who were killed there, while their mothers remained in Europe. Days earlier, a Belgian team had set up a makeshift clinic in the overcrowded Al Hol camp in northeastern Syria, which holds thousands of current and former ISIS adherents and their family members, providing medical care and psychiatric assessments for the children of Belgian nationals.”

Newsweek: ISIS Blooper Video Posted By Al-Qaeda Proves Terrorists Can Be Petty Too

“Terrorist group al-Qaeda has released a new video mocking its rival, the Islamic State. Proving that fundamentalist zeal and bloodlust are no match for pettiness, the legacy terror organization posted a clip of a recruit in Yemen stumbling as he tries to renew his vows to ISIS. Heroic bird relentlessly drowns out ISIS-Y's attempt to renew allegiance to the caliph. Leader's feeble memory adds to the woes... These bodged “takes” didn't make it into the official video of this solemn event, released end July The video supercut shows the man repeatedly falter as he tries to renew his allegiance to the terrorist organization that had murdered more than 1,400 people globally as of 2018, according to data gathered by CNN. British newspaper The Telegraph identified the absent-minded radical as Abu Muhammad al-Adeni. Unable to remember the words, the forgetful fighter pulls out a piece of paper to review his lines. He starts over as someone off-camera tells him to “stay calm, keep cool” according to a translation by The Telegraph. Then he gets distracted by a loud bird call. To the bumbler's right, a man with his face covered occasionally alternates between picking at the ground in front of him and looking up at the camera, his scarf hiding his identity but not his side-eye.”

Iraq

Iraqi News: Iraqi Intelligence Arrest Three Islamic State Terrorists In Nineveh

“Iraqi military intelligence forces arrested on Sunday three Islamic State militants during a military operation in Nineveh province. In a press release carried by Iraqi TV channel Alsumaria News, the Iraqi Military Intelligence Directorate said its troops arrested the three terrorists in al Sahaji village, west of Mosul. The three terrorists, according to the statement, were implicated in several terrorist attacks against Iraqi security forces in Mosul city. The arrest of the Islamic State militants was based on intelligence information, added the statement. Former Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi announced in July 2017 liberation of the second largest Iraqi city of Mosul from IS militants, who had captured it in 2014. More than 25,000 militants were killed throughout the campaign, which started in October 2016. The campaign was backed by paramilitary troops and a U.S.-led international coalition. Iraq declared the collapse of Islamic State’s territorial influence in Iraq in November 2017 with the recapture of Rawa, a city on Anbar’s western borders with Syria, which was the group’s last bastion in Iraq.”

The Arab Weekly: Pentagon Sees Iraq And Syria Facing Greater Threat From ISIS, Iran Proxies

“The death of a US Marine in Iraq serves as a reminder that the war against the Islamic State is not over, US defence strategists said. The Pentagon’s task in Iraq is further complicated by the presence of pro-Iran proxies in the region. US Marine Gunnery Sergeant Scott Koppenhafer, 35, died August 10 in northern Iraq during a mission targeting suspected Islamic State (ISIS) members. In December, US President Donald Trump proclaimed that ISIS had been defeated and that the United States would be withdrawing all troops from Syria. Following an outcry by lawmakers that ISIS was not defeated, the White House retracted the full withdrawal in February and said it would slowly withdraw troops and keep 200 on the ground. Despite claims that ISIS had been defeated in December, a US Department of Defence report released in August said the pull out of approximately 1,000 US troops from Syria led to a resurgence of ISIS in both Syria and Iraq. The Pentagon report said that 14,000-18,000 ISIS militants are present in Iraq and Syria. The report noted: “Despite losing its territorial ‘caliphate,’ the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) solidified its insurgent capabilities in Iraq and was resurging in Syria.” The ISIS campaign of expanding throughout Syria and Iraq makes it difficult for dwindling troops to combat.”

Turkey

The National: Turkey Removes Three Pro-Kurdish Mayors Over Terrorism Charges

“Turkey replaced three pro-Kurdish party mayors who were elected this year by cities in the country’s southeast on Monday over alleged terrorism charges. The elected mayors of Diyarbakir, Van and Mardin, all in the predominantly Kurdish part of Turkey, were relieved of their duties, with state-appointed governors temporarily taking over their posts, according to a statement from the Interior Ministry.  “The mayors, who evidence shows are in contact with terrorist organisations and support terrorist organisations, have been removed from office,” the statement said, accusing the politicians of having links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.  “The PKK … use municipalities for illegal purposes through some mayors,” it said. The three mayors – Adnan Selcuk Mizrakli of Diyarbakir, Ahmet Turk of Mardin and Van’s Bedia Ozgokce Ertan – were accused of crimes that include membership of a terrorist organisation and spreading terrorist group propaganda. The statement also accuses them of changing street and park names to the names of terrorists and attending terrorists’ funerals.  They were elected to office in March for the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), which Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan frequently accuses of links to the PKK.”

Afghanistan

The Washington Post: Afghans Voice Fears That The U.S. Is Undercutting Them In Deal With The Taliban

“For months, Afghans have been waiting anxiously to see whether negotiations between U.S. officials and Taliban insurgents will lead to a lasting peace and a solid path to power-sharing or leave them bereft, facing revived conflict and a possible Taliban takeover. Those concerns deepened Saturday as news spread that President Trump’s top peace negotiator, Zalmay Khalilzad, had presented him Friday with a nearly finished deal that would remove thousands of U.S. troops but had not locked in Taliban commitments to a cease-fire or political negotiations with Afghan officials. President Ashraf Ghani, who has been left out of the U.S.-Taliban talks at the insistence of the insurgents, made no statements Saturday. His spokesman, Sediq Sediqqi, said Ghani had not yet been briefed on Friday’s developments but that his government would work with U.S. officials to achieve a “dignified and sustainable peace.” Speaking at a news conference, Sediqqi noted that U.S. officials had assured Ghani that a U.S. troop withdrawal would be based on “conditions,” meaning only if the Taliban hold to their commitments. He said that if the insurgents are ready to stop violence and turn to political activity, “this can be a good deal for the Afghan people.”

Associated Press: A Look At The Islamic State Affiliate’s Rise In Afghanistan

“A suicide bombing at a wedding party in Kabul claimed by a local Islamic State affiliate has renewed fears about the growing threat posed by its thousands of fighters, as well as their ability to plot global attacks from a stronghold in the forbidding mountains of northeastern Afghanistan. The attack came as the Taliban appear to be nearing a deal with the U.S. to end nearly 18 years of fighting. Now Washington hopes the Taliban can help rein in IS fighters, even as some worry that Taliban fighters, disenchanted by a peace deal, could join IS. The U.S. envoy in talks with the Taliban, Zalmay Khalilzad, says the peace process must be accelerated to put Afghanistan in a “much stronger position to defeat” the Islamic State affiliate. On Monday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani vowed to “eliminate” all IS safe havens. Here’s a look at IS in Afghanistan, a militant group some U.S. officials have said could pose a greater threat to America than the more established Taliban: The Islamic State affiliate appeared in Afghanistan shortly after the group’s core fighters swept across Syria and Iraq in 2014, carving out a self-styled caliphate, or Islamic empire, in around a third of both countries.”

Reuters: Islamic State Claims Afghan Wedding Blast As Families Bury The Dead

“The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility on Sunday for a suicide blast at a wedding reception in Afghanistan that killed 63 people, underlining the dangers the country faces even if the Taliban agrees a pact with the United States.  The Saturday night attack came as the Taliban and the United States try to negotiate an agreement on the withdrawal of U.S. forces in exchange for a Taliban commitment on security and peace talks with Afghanistan’s U.S.-backed government.  Islamic State fighters, who first appeared in Afghanistan in 2014 and have since made inroads in the east and north, are not involved in the talks. They are battling government and U.S.-led international forces and the Taliban. The U.S. special envoy for reconciliation in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, said the attack showed the need to accelerate efforts to reach a deal with the Taliban, to help defeat Islamic State. The Sunni Muslim group, in a statement on the messaging website Telegram, claimed responsibility for the attack at a west Kabul wedding hall in a minority Shi’ite neighbourhood, saying its bomber had been able to infiltrate the reception and detonate his explosives in the crowd of “infidels.”

Reuters: Taliban Say Killing Of Leader's Brother Will Not Derail U.S. Talks

“Afghan Taliban officials said on Saturday the killing of the brother of their leader in a bomb attack would not derail talks with the United States aimed at securing the withdrawal of U.S. troops after 18 years of war. There was no claim of responsibility for the bomb that killed the younger brother of Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhundzada near the Pakistani city of Quetta on Friday. It came after both Taliban and U.S. officials have reported progress in talks on an agreement centered on a U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in exchange for a Taliban security guarantee. ”If someone thinks martyring our leaders would stop us from our goal they’re living in a fool’s paradise,” a Taliban leader said by telephone from an undisclosed location. ”We are close to our goals,” he said, referring to the talks with the United States. He declined to be identified. The militants have been fighting to expel foreign forces and set up an Islamic state since they were ousted in October 2001, weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States. Both U.S. negotiators and the Taliban have reported progress after eight rounds of talks since late last year but the violence has not eased.  The bomb at the mosque near Quetta killed four people, and wounded 20, Pakistani police said.”

Pakistan

Radio Free Europe: Two Pakistani Soldiers Killed In Roadside Bomb Near Afghan Border

“Two Pakistani army soldiers were killed in a roadside bomb attack in the country’s northwest, Pakistani intelligence officials said as reported by AP. The bomb exploded when a security-forces vehicle was patrolling the Ladha area of South Waziristan. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. The Pakistani Taliban has claimed previous such attacks. The area where the attack took place has been a stronghold of Mahsud militants. The army claims to have cleared the area near the Afghan border of Islamic militants, following a series of multiple offenses against them in recent years. On August 16, the brother of the leader of the Afghan Taliban was reported to have been among those killed in a bomb blast at a mosque in southwest Pakistan. Police said four people were killed and more than 20 injured in the explosion at the mosque some 25 kilometers from the city of Quetta, the capital of the restive Balochistan Province. Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhundzada was not in the mosque when the bomb went off but his younger brother, Hafiz Ahmadullah, was among those killed, according to Afghan Islamic Press and Reuters, which quoted two Taliban sources.”

Yemen

The Jerusalem Post: Yemeni Houthis Claim Attack On Saudi Arabia's Shaybah Oil Field

“Houthi forces in Yemen have made a drone attack on oil facilities at Shaybah in Saudi Arabia, the Yemeni movement's Al Masirah television said on Saturday.  A drone attack launched by Yemen's Houthi group on an oil field in eastern Saudi Arabia caused a “minor” fire at a gas plant but had no impact on oil production, a Saudi industry source said.  The attack on the Shaybah oil field was carried out “most probably” by three drones, the source said, adding that it had caused no casualties and that the fire had been extinguished. The facilities attacked included a refinery and oil storage, Al Masirah said, citing a military spokesman. It did not say when the attack took place. Shaybah, operated by state-oil company Saudi Aramco, is located in the east of the kingdom, close to the United Arab Emirates border. The Houthis, who control Sanaa and most of Yemen's other populous areas, have stepped up attacks against targets in Saudi Arabia in recent months. In response, the Saudi-led coalition has targeted military sites belonging to the group, especially around Sanaa.”

Lebanon

Bloomberg: Brazil Mulls Labeling Hezbollah As Terrorists In Pivot To U.S.

“Brazil is considering designating Lebanese group Hezbollah a terrorist organization, as President Jair Bolsonaro increasingly aligns his government with the U.S. on foreign policy. Officials are reviewing their options to move forward with the idea, which is being discussed at the highest levels of government but doesn’t have across-the-board support, according to three people with direct knowledge of the matter. It wouldn’t be easily implemented due to the particularities of Brazilian law, they added, requesting anonymity because the discussion isn’t public. The idea is part of Bolsonaro’s efforts to forge stronger ties with Donald Trump, with whom he also seeks a trade deal. It also fits into the world-view of Brazil’s right-wing president and his inner-circle. During last year’s presidential campaign, his son Eduardo, who may become the Brazilian ambassador to the U.S., already advocated a strong stance against Hezbollah, and Hamas. Yet the move could strain relations with Iran, a Hezbollah ally which imports $2.5 billion of Brazilian products per year, and displease Brazil’s influential Lebanese community. The government also worries it could make the country a target of terrorism, said one of the people.”

The Times Of Israel: Netanyahu Says He’s ‘Not Impressed’ By Hezbollah Chief’s Threats

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed boasts by Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah of the terror group’s military strength and ability to defeat Israeli troops Saturday. In a televised speech Friday marking the anniversary of a 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel, Nasrallah claimed that the conflict had helped his groups develop “a military system to defend our villages, towns and cities.” “If [Israel] enters southern Lebanon… you will see a live broadcast of the destruction of Israeli brigades,” he warned. He said that the residents of southern Lebanon were now secure and safe from attack due to cooperation between his group, the Lebanese people and the country’s military, though the Lebanese army official denies any cooperation with Hezbollah’s armed wing. He also claimed Israel ”is afraid of hitting Lebanon” due to his organization’s fierce fighting skills. Netanyahu responded Saturday that “we are not impressed by Nasrallah’s threats.” “He knows very well why he broadcasts them from the depths of his bunker,” he said in a statement distributed via WhatsApp. Nasrallah is rarely seen in public and is thought to be in hiding out of fear of Israeli assassination attempts.”

The National: Hezbollah's Pernicious Influence Spans The Globe

“The message from the US administration over the past week has been loud and clear: the menace from Iran-backed proxy Hezbollah is a spider’s web that spans the globe. At a press conference yesterday in Argentina, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took the opportunity to talk of its pernicious influence from the other side of the globe. Hezbollah might have its roots in Lebanon but its fund-raising activities stretch from Paraguay, Brazil and Venezuela to Africa. “The roots of these terror groups may be many miles away, but their branches twist around the globe — raising funds, seeking recruits, probing for our weaknesses, challenging our defences,” Mr Pompeo said. His warning to South America came after a five-day visit from Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who met key US officials in a bid to protect his country’s fragile economy from the fallout of escalating US sanctions against Hezbollah. The message he takes back to Beirut is that Lebanon will never be free to plot a course towards a prosperous and peaceful future while its political institutions remain in thrall to an armed militia whose loyalty belongs not to the Lebanese people but to its paymasters in Tehran.”

Middle East

Reuters: Israel Fires On Militants At Gaza Border, Palestinians Say Three Killed

“Israeli forces opened fire at a group of Palestinian gunmen as they tried to cross the Gaza border, the military said on Sunday and Palestinian health officials said three of the men were killed.  “A short while ago, IDF (Israel Defence Forces) troops spotted a number of armed suspects adjacent to the security fence in the northern Gaza Strip. An IDF attack helicopter and a tank fired towards them,” the military said in a statement.  Palestinian medics said they retrieved three bodies from the site and Gaza hospital officials said a fourth man was injured.  The incident happened overnight between Saturday and Sunday, shortly after three rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel, one of them landing in a town near the border, according to the Israeli military and police.  The Israeli military released security video footage it said showed the gunmen trying to cross the border. It showed three figures crouching and walking between trees and rocks, with at least one of them apparently carrying a rifle. There was no immediate comment from any of the major armed groups in Gaza. No Israelis were hurt. Gaza is ruled by the Islamist group Hamas, which has fought three wars with Israel over the past decade. Israel pulled its troops and settlers from the territory in 2005 but keeps the enclave under a blockade, citing security concerns.”

Egypt

The New York Times: Egyptian Sought In F.B.I. Qaeda Query Says He Has Nothing To Hide

“An Egyptian who has been living and working in Brazil as a furniture mover says he long ago got an inkling that he was on the American security establishment’s radar. A few years ago, while he was living in Istanbul, a friend told the man, Mohamed Ahmed El Sayed Ahmed Ibrahim, that American officials wanted to meet with him, he said. They wanted to learn, he was told, about the diaspora of Egyptians who sought refuge in Turkey after the crackdown on Egypt’s Islamist movement in 2013. “I didn’t have interest in speaking to them,” Mr. Ibrahim said in a telephone interview on Saturday from São Paulo, the teeming financial hub where he says he is happily married and in the furniture moving business. Mr. Ibrahim said he had thought little of the American request until last week. That is when the F.B.I. disseminated a bulletin with his name and photograph alleging that he is an operative of Al Qaeda who has plotted attacks against American interests. The notice said Mr. Ibrahim, who has lived in Brazil for a year and a half, should be considered armed and dangerous and said the bureau wanted to question him. The bulletin, disseminated through the bureau’s most-wanted Twitter account, came as a shock, said Mr. Ibrahim.”

Asharq Al-Awsat: 44 Suspects Charged With Forming Terrorist ‘Cluster’ Cells In Egypt

“Witnesses in the trial of 44 suspects in the Sinai State case revealed Saturday that the accused funded the group out of their own pockets in order to carry out attacks in Egypt. Their plots failed however, due to the preemptive measures adopted by the security forces, they added. Some plots included the targeting of the police chief in Kfar al-Sheikh in the Egypt Delta region. Another “cluster cell” monitored security forces in the Umm Rabih area in the al-Qalyubia region. The suspects are held on charges of inciting violence in Cairo, Giza, al-Qalyubia, Dakahlia, Kfar al-Sheikh, Faiyum and North Sinai. The suspects include Aswan club football player Hamada al-Sayyed. They are charged with forming seven cluster cells and pledging allegiance to the so-called Sinai State terrorist group between 2015 and 2018. They planned to commit terrorist attacks and attacks against the police, armed forced and civilians. The suspects had received training by the group in northern Sinai. Some members had joined the group in Syria where they also received military training. Saturday’s court hearing has been adjourned to September 14 to complete witness testimonies. Security forces had launched in February 2018 an operation to crackdown on terrorist activity in the northern Sinai region.”

Nigeria

All Africa: Nigeria: Boko Haram - 35,000 Killed So Far In Nigeria - UN

“An estimated 35,000 persons have lost their lives in the ongoing Boko Haram insurgency in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe States and other parts of Nigeria since the beginning of the conflict in 2009, the United Nations has said. “These are 35,000 too many deaths,” it said in a statement. The agency also said 37 aid workers lost their lives in the course of their duties in the region. This was disclosed in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES on Saturday by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in commemoration of its humanitarian day. “In total, 37 aid workers have lost their lives in service of humanity since the beginning of the conflict. We are here together to honour them and their grieving families, relatives, and children surviving them. “As I stand before you today, my thoughts also go to the families of our colleagues who are still being held captive by armed groups. The UN and its humanitarian partners call for their immediate release and return to safety. “My heart also goes out to the families of the thousands of civilians who have been similarly abducted and whose whereabouts are still unknown,” it said. “Today, we are here together to remind the world that the humanitarian crisis hitting Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states is far from over.”

Somalia

Xinhua: 2 Al-Shabaab Militants Killed, 4 Injured In Southern Somalia

“Two al-Shabaab militants were killed and four were injuried during an intense fighting with government army in southern Somalia on Saturday , a military official told reporters. A fierce battle broke out in Eel Sanini, a village 15 km from Number 50 Airstrip in Lower Shabelle region after the militants attempted to attack a military base, said Aden Ahmed Ali,Somali National Army ( SNA)' Unit one commander. “We got a tip-off that al-Shabaab militants moved towards our base and we intercepted them, there was a confrontation, but we overpowered them,” said Ali. “We killed two of the attackers and injured four others. Our forces are now pursuing the rest who ran towards El Dhanane neighborhood, “he added. Residents said the fighting caused panic in the area. “As we were on our daily business, heavily armed forces passed by our village, and minutes later we heard the sound of gun fire exchanges by government army and the militants,” Hirsi Elmi, a local resident told Xinhua. The latest battle came barely four days after government forces killed 7 al- Shabab militants and injured ten others in a fierce fight with the militants in Awdeegle town in the same region.”

United Kingdom

Evening Standard: Jihadi Jack: Muslim Convert Who Travelled To Syria To Join Islamic State 'Is Stripped Of British Citizenship'

“The Muslim convert dubbed Jihadi Jack who travelled to Syria to join the Islamic State terror group has reportedly been stripped of his British citizenship. Jack Letts was 18 when he left his Oxfordshire home and joined the terrorists in 2014, marrying in Iraq and moving to Raqqa in Syria. Captured by the Kurdish YPG forces as he attempted to flee to Turkey in May 2017, the 24-year-old has since been held in jail in northern Syria. According to the Mail on Sunday, Mr Letts - who is a dual UK-Canadian national - has had his British citizenship revoked, a move which was one of the last actions of Theresa May's government. A Home Office spokesman said: “Decisions on depriving a dual national of citizenship are based on substantial advice from officials, lawyers and the intelligence agencies and all available information. “This power is one way we can counter the terrorist threat posed by some of the most dangerous individuals and keep our country safe.” In an interview with ITV earlier this year, Mr Letts said he felt British and that he wanted to return to the UK, but admitted he did not think that would be likely. “I'm not going to say I'm innocent. I'm not innocent. I deserve what comes to me.”

Germany

Deutsche Welle: Germany's Jewish Council Warns Against AFD's 'Right-Wing Extremism'

“The president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, has accused the far-right populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party of having right-wing extremist tendencies. ”In my view, the AfD is much more closely interwoven with right-wing extremism than it appears,” Schuster told Germany's Welt am Sonntag newspaper. “The party incites fears and promotes a climate of exclusion of minorities,” he said. The AfD links attacks carried out by Islamist-motivated perpetrators with populist propaganda “in order to stir up hatred against minorities in general,” Schuster said, pointing out that this “ultimately also creates a climate against Jews.” Schuster sees right-wing extremism as posing the “greatest danger” to Germany and Jews living in the country. The number of anti-Semitic attacks in Germany increased by over 10% from 2017 to 2018, which has prompted many Jews living in the country to consider emigrating. According to official figures, the number of anti-Semitic crimes committed increased from 1,504 in 2017 to 1,646 in 2018. The number of cases considered violent increased from 37 to 62 over the same period.”