Eye on Extremism: August 24

Associated Press: US Urges 'Enduring Defeat' Of IS, Offers Force If Necessary

“U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley urged all countries on Thursday to ensure that the Islamic State extremist group faces "an enduring defeat" and said the United States will deepen partnerships with countries fighting terrorism "when force is necessary." She told the Security Council that the militant group's ideology has taken root in new corners of the world, demonstrating that it is "an enemy that adapts, and one that will seek out the world's ungoverned spaces." Haley urged countries to outsmart IS which is also known as ISIL, deny its fighters and supporters "safe haven," end conflicts in areas where the extremist group flourishes, and use sanctions "to deny funding to terrorist groups." "The fight against terror will take different forms, but the outcome is certain," she said. "The United States will continue to be a force in this effort against ISIS and al-Qaida until we defeat this threat." Undersecretary-General for Counter-Terrorism Vladimir Voronkov said IS continues to pose a serious challenge, "especially due to its transformation into a covert network, the activities of its regional affiliates, and the complex threat posed by returning and relocating foreign terrorist fighters and their families." While IS has been defeated in Iraq and "is in headlong retreat" in Syria, Voronkov warned that the rising threat from the militant group's fighters "will be diverse and hard to predict.”

Chicago Tribune: Former Indiana Woman Accused Of Sending Supplies, Funds To ISIS Fighters

“A former Elkhart mother provided funds and supplies, including tactical gear, to ISIS fighters, according to an indictment. Samantha Marie Elhassani, also known as Samantha Sally, was charged Wednesday in a two-count indictment with conspiracy to provide material to support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, and aiding and abetting individuals in providing material support to ISIS. “My office is committed to aggressively pursuing and prosecuting those who support designated terrorist organizations such as ISIS,” U.S. Attorney Thomas L. Kirsch II said in a release. “...The indictment alleges that Elhassani traveled abroad and provided funds and supplies for use by two ISIS fighters. The seriousness of the charges reflect the gravity of Elhassani’s alleged conduct.” Elhassani, 32, appeared in Hammond’s federal court last month on a previous indictment accusing her of lying to the FBI on March 19, 2015, in the Northern District of Indiana. Elhassani pleaded not guilty. The new indictment accuses Elhassani of providing material support and resources to ISIS between fall 2014 and summer 2015, knowing that the organization was a designated terrorist organization that engaged in terrorist activity and terrorism. Elhassani allegedly procured tactical gear and provided funds to support two people, identified in court records as individuals A and B, who were personnel for ISIS, according to the indictment. Attorney Thomas Durkin, of Chicago, was appointed to represent Elhassani. The Wall Street Journal wrote an article titled “A terror suspect's best hope in court” about Durkin in 2016 after his client, who admitted to trying to join the Islamic State, received 40 months in prison.”

The Wall Street Journal: France Challenges Islamic State Claim Of Responsibility In Knife Killings

“French authorities took the rare step of challenging an Islamic State claim of responsibility after a man stabbed his sister and mother to death on Thursday. Police arriving at the scene of the stabbing, southwest of Paris, shot the assailant dead after he emerged from his family’s home wielding a knife. A third person, whom police didn’t identify, was wounded in the stabbing. The assailant was a “fighter” of Islamic State, the militant group said Thursday in a statement issued by its media arm Amaq, without providing details. Islamic State said the killer was responding to its calls to attack citizens of countries that are part of a U.S.-led coalition targeting the group. French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb questioned the claim, describing the assailant as someone with “significant psychological problems.” “He seems more like an unstable person than someone who was committed—someone who could follow orders and advice from a terrorist organization, and from ISIS in particular,” Mr. Collomb said, using an alternative name for the extremist group.”

Global News: Online-Inspired Extremists Are ‘The Greatest Terrorist Threat,’ Declassified CSIS Document Says

“Attacks by extremists inspired over the internet have become the country’s top terrorist threat, according to a declassified Canadian intelligence document obtained by Global News. “The greatest terrorist threat is from extremists who are inspired, enabled or directed by others online,” said the Canadian Security Intelligence Service document released under the Access to Information Act. Titled Terrorism in the Digital Age, the CSIS document named al-Qaida and mentioned the transition from “the physical Caliphate to a virtual one,” an apparent reference to the so-called Islamic State. On Wednesday, ISIS released an audio address by its leader on social media that urged followers to carry out terrorist attacks in Western countries. In the 55-minute speech, the reclusive Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi praised attackers in Canada, Europe and elsewhere and called on supporters to “follow in their footsteps.”

The New York Times: Three Men Sentenced To Prison For Violence At Charlottesville Rally

“Three men who took part in a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., last year were sentenced this week to several years in prison in connection with a couple of the event’s most violent episodes. On Thursday, two of the men received prison time for participating in the beating of a black man in a garage. Jacob Scott Goodwin, 23, was sentenced to serve eight years in prison, and Alex Michael Ramos, 34, received a sentence of six years. Richard W. Preston, 53, who was described as a Ku Klux Klan leader, was sentenced on Tuesday to four years in prison for firing a gun at the rally. Mr. Goodwin, who is white, was found guilty this month of “malicious wounding” in the assault of DeAndre Harris, which was captured in a video that spread widely on social media. Mr. Ramos, who court records list as being Hispanic, was convicted in May of malicious wounding for his role in the beating.”

United States

Times Of Israel: Bolton Says US Rejected Halting Iran Sanctions For Rollback In Syria

“US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser on Thursday said the White House had rejected a Russian proposal to put off sanctions on Iran’s oil sector in exchange for a rollback of Iranian forces in Syria, despite Israeli calls for an immediate withdrawal. John Bolton’s comments to reporters came after a meeting in Geneva with his Russian counterpart, Nikolai Patrushev. “Patrushev brought up the suggestion that the Russians made previously to Israel, France and Germany about the geographic constriction of Iranian forces in exchange for the United States suspending the imposition of the oil sanctions now set for early November,” Bolton said. “That was a suggestion we had rejected before and rejected it again today,” he added. Bolton did not say when the proposal was initially made nor whether Israel, France, or Germany voiced support for the offer.”

WRAL: Cary Man Pleads Guilty To Aiding Terrorists In Syrian Civil War

“A Cary man pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to a charge of trying to provide support to the Iraqi arm of al-Qaida by fighting in Syria's civil war. Basit Javed Sheikh, 29, of 300 Swansboro Drive, was arrested at Raleigh-Durham International Airport in November 2013, before he could board a plane to Canada, with a final destination of Lebanon, according to federal court documents. An indictment against him was unsealed three days later. Sheikh is Pakistan native, and in his plea he acknowledged that he faced deportation from the United States. If he's not removed from the country, Sheikh faces a maximum of 15 years in prison. According to the indictment, Sheikh was arranging to provide personnel to al-Nusrah Front, an Iraqi group affiliated with al-Qaida that has claimed responsibility for hundreds of attacks in Syria. An affidavit of an FBI agent states that Sheikh repeatedly posted on his Facebook page links to news stories and videos backing a jihad in Syria. He also discussed with a government informant going to Syria to fight in that country's civil war and that he was ready to be a "martyr," according to the affidavit. Believing the government informant could help smuggle him from Lebanon to Syria, authorities say, he purchased a one-way ticket to Lebanon.  An arrest report indicates Sheikh works at a local post office, but more information wasn't available Monday.”

Syria

Associated Press: Iranian Presence In Syria On Tap For Key US, Russia Meeting

“Russian state media report that the top national security advisers for U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are meeting in Geneva to discuss subjects including the presence of Iranian troops in Syria. Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, and Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev were meeting Thursday as a follow-up to a summit between the Russian and U.S. leaders in Helsinki last month. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Russian news agencies that Bolton and Patrushev will be discussing Iran's presence in Syria, among other things. Iran and Russia are two leading backers of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Bolton is a fervent critic of Iran's leadership, saying it supports terrorism, and has defended the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal involving Russia, China, Germany, France and Britain.”

Reuters: U.N. Invites Iran, Russia, Turkey To Talks On Syria Next Month

“U.N. Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura has invited Iran, Russia and Turkey to talks on Syria’s Constitutional Committee, to be held in Geneva on Sept. 11-12, a U.N. spokeswoman said on Friday. The talks on forming a committee to draw up a new constitution for Syria are expected to be followed by parallel U.N. talks involving countries including the United States, but she had no date for those.”

The New York Times: In Syria, An Ugly Peace Is Better Than More War

“At their summit in Helsinki, Finland, in July, President Trump and President Vladimir Putin of Russia reportedly agreed to end the Syrian war and to move Iranian forces away from the Syria-Israel border. President Trump has also indicated that he is willing to accept President Bashar al-Assad’s remaining in office and is prepared to withdraw American forces from Syria. This is a start. But more is needed to end the violence in Syria. Beginning in 2011, Western and Middle Eastern powers rallied around the slogan “Assad must go.” This singular focus on the fate of Syria’s president hardened positions on all sides and made it much more difficult to explore other options. The calls for regime change have diminished since then, but there are still some voices in Western policy circles that demand a full transition of power from the Assad government. A better approach at this point would be to test the Syrian government’s ability to embark on a new course that has the potential to bring the war to a close.”

BBC: Russia Says 63,000 Troops Have Seen Combat In Syria

“A defence ministry video said more than 63,000 Russian military personnel had "received combat experience" in the country since September 2015. Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said at the end of last year that 48,000 personnel had been deployed. The video also said Russian air force had flown 39,000 sorties, destroying 121,466 "terrorist targets" and killing more than 86,000 "militants". There was no mention of any Russian military or Syrian civilian casualties. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, says at least 7,928 civilians and 10,069 combatants have been killed in Russian air strikes.”

Iran

The Wall Street Journal: Tech Giants Target Accounts Linked To Iran

“America’s biggest tech companies are zeroing in on Iran, scrubbing their online networks of fake accounts, videos and social-media posts by the rising cyber adversary aimed at spreading misinformation. Alphabet Inc.’s GOOGL -0.05% Google on Thursday said it had terminated dozens of YouTube channels found to be pushing misinformation on behalf of Iran’s state broadcasting arm. The announcement marked the latest in a flurry this week from major online businesses detailing efforts to curtail foreign abuse on their networks, many involving Tehran. Until now, Silicon Valley’s efforts have been focused almost exclusively on Russia, as revelations over the past year about Moscow’s influence operations targeting U.S. politics put pressure on social-media giants to detect and remove Kremlin-sponsored campaigns. Iran’s tactics are different, cybersecurity experts said, focusing on advancing its foreign policy interests in ways not as extreme as Russia’s efforts to disrupt U.S. elections. Iran’s moves have expanded as the toll of international sanctions against the nation rose and tensions between Washington and Tehran increased.”

The New York Times: British Airways And Air France To Suspend Iran Service

“Two major European airlines said Thursday that they would suspend service to Tehran next month, a double-punch that underscored the power of reimposed American sanctions on Iran and the limited abilities of others to sidestep them. The suspensions, by British Airways and Air France, mean at least three large European carriers, which once held out great promise for their Iran business under the now-threatened nuclear agreement, will quit flying to and from the country in September. KLM, the Dutch sister airline of Air France, announced a similar suspension last month. The moves seemed bound to deepen Iran’s sense of economic isolation, which has worsened considerably in the nearly four months since President Trump scrapped American participation in the nuclear agreement negotiated by the administration of his predecessor, Barack Obama.”

Iraq

The Wall Street Journal: Nisreen’s Choice: Women Rescued From Islamic State Are Told to Leave Children Behind

“When Nisreen searches her baby’s budding features she can sometimes see traces of his father: the Islamic State militant who raped her, as his cohorts did to thousands of women from the Yazidi minority to which she belongs. He was the third militant to take possession of Nisreen after she was captured in Iraq along with several thousand fellow Yazidis whom Islamic State targeted in a genocidal campaign in the summer of 2014. After three years in captivity, Nisreen was finally freed last year as Islamic State’s caliphate crumbled. But her community and her family refused to take her back with her child, the product of a forced, taboo marriage with a Muslim. She would have to give up the baby if she wanted to rejoin the Yazidis in Iraq. Faced with that choice, Nisreen kept her baby. “I can’t live without my son,” she said, bouncing the eight-month-old on her lap. The 23-year-old mother didn’t want to be identified by her full name, citing concerns about her safety and that of her child.”

Reuters: U.N. Team, Approved A Year Ago, Starts Work On Islamic State Crimes In Iraq

“A U.N. investigative team that will collect and preserve evidence of acts by Islamic State in Iraq that may be war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide started work this week, nearly a year after the Security Council created it. At last September’s annual U.N. gathering of world leaders, the council unanimously adopted a British-drafted resolution - after a year of talks with Iraq - asking U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to create the team “to support domestic efforts” to hold the militants accountable. U.N. experts had warned in June 2016 that Islamic State was committing genocide against the Yazidis in Syria and Iraq to destroy the minority religious community through killings, sexual slavery and other crimes. Guterres notified the 15-member Security Council in a letter that the U.N. team, led by British lawyer Karim Asad Ahmad Khan, would start work on Aug. 20. Guterres announced in May that he had appointed Khan after the Security Council approved the scope and limitations for the team in February. He said in the letter, released on Thursday, that Khan visited Iraq earlier this month. Use of evidence collected by the team in other venues, such as international courts, would “be determined in agreement with the Government of Iraq on a case-by-case basis.”

Iraqi News: Seven Islamic State Members Killed In Army Airstrike In Salahuddin

“Seven Islamic State members were killed in an airstrike carried out by the Iraqi army in Salahuddin province, DPA reported. In remarks on Wednesday, Col. Mohamed Khalil al-Bazi, from Salahuddin Operations Command, said “the shelling took place on Wednesday in al-Shai region in Mutaibija, east of Samarra, leaving seven fighters killed and two motorbikes destroyed.” The shelling, according to the source, “targeted two rest houses and tunnels that were discovered through drones.” The dormant cells in Mutaibija, “changed its style and reduced number of its militants to avoid airstrikes,” it added. Thousands of militants as well as Iraqi civilians were killed since the government campaign, backed by paramilitary troops and the coalition was launched in October 2016 to fight the militant group, which declared a self-styled “caliphate” from Mosul in June 2014. Islamic State continues to launch sporadic attacks across Iraq against troops. Security reports indicate that the militant group still poses threat against stability in the country. The group still has dormant cells, through which it carries out attacks, across Iraq like it used to do before 2014. A total of 79 Iraqi civilians were killed and another 99 injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in Iraq in July 2018, according to casualty figures recorded by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq.”

Turkey

ABC News: Turkey Warns Against Syrian Govt Offensive On Idlib

“Turkey's foreign minister on Friday warned against a possible Syrian government offensive on the last remaining stronghold of opposition against President Bashar Assad, while Russia indicated that it's losing its patience with the rebels. Mevlut Cavusoglu, who was in Moscow for talks with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, said that Russia and Turkey should work to separate opposition groups from "terrorists" in the northwestern province of Idlib. He warned against a government offensive there, saying that it will cause a "humanitarian catastrophe." "Our goal is to alleviate the concerns of our Russian counterparts and get rid of the terrorists in that area," he told a briefing in Moscow. "We can work together but we could be putting civilian lives at risk while eradicating those radical groups.”

Reuters: Turkey Accuses U.S. Of Waging 'Economic War' In Pastor Dispute

“Turkey accused Washington on Wednesday of waging “economic war” and failing to respect its legal system over the fate of an evangelical Christian pastor whose 21-month-long detention on terrorism charges has roiled relations between the NATO allies. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman said comments by President Donald Trump’s national security adviser were proof that the United States is targeting Turkey’s economy and not reflecting the fundamental principles and values of the NATO alliance. “His statement is proof that the Trump administration is targeting a NATO ally as part of an economic war,” Erdogan spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said in a written statement to Reuters responding to comments by Trump adviser John Bolton. “The Trump administration has ... established that it intends to use trade, tariffs and sanctions to start a global trade war,” Kalin said, pointing to similar disputes with Mexico, Canada, Europe and China. “Turkey has no intention of starting an economic war with any party. It cannot, however, be expected to keep silent in the face of attacks against its economy and judiciary,” he said. Kalin said Turkey would work with the rest of the world against restrictive and punitive measures. Bolton told Reuters during a visit to Israel he was skeptical about the pledge of $15 billion (£11.61 billion) of investment support for Turkey by Qatar’s emir, which was “utterly insufficient to have an impact on Turkey’s economy.”

Afghanistan

The Washington Post: The Taliban Doesn’t Need Peace. It’s Winning.

“There are certain enduring rituals in U.S. foreign policy that are pursued whether they have any chance of success. Every administration since Franklin D. Roosevelt’s has tried to improve relations with Moscow. Every administration since Harry S. Truman’s has tried to solve the Israeli-Arab dispute. Every administration since Jimmy Carter’s has tried to persuade the Iranian mullahs to behave better. And every administration since Bill Clinton’s has tried to negotiate with the Taliban. As Ahmad Majidyar of the American Enterprise Institute noted in an eye-opening report: “Between 1995 and 2000, declassified records show, American diplomats held more than 30 meetings with the Taliban to persuade the group to close down terrorist training camps in territories under its control. . . . In 1998, for example, the Clinton administration held direct talks with the Taliban and obtained a pledge that the Taliban would ‘not allow terrorists to use Afghanistan as a base for terrorism.’ A few months later, however, al Qaeda carried out the deadly bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.” President George W. Bush wasn’t in a negotiating mood after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, but as the United States and its allies became bogged down in Afghanistan, talks commenced at the local level to persuade Taliban fighters to “reconcile” with the Western-backed government. Those attempts bore scant fruit, and the security situation deteriorated.”

Qatar

The National: With Its Involvement In Turkey, Qatar's Support For Extremism Is Laid Bare

“Ever since the crisis over Qatar’s links to Islamist terrorist groups erupted last year, Doha has proved itself to be adept at persuading the international community that its activities are legitimate. Despite compelling evidence that Qatar has a long and proven history of financing and supporting extremist organisations, ranging from the Muslim Brotherhood to Hamas, the Qataris, with the help of an army of highly paid public relations advisors in London and Washington, have managed to temper the criticism by claiming they do no more than support political activists who just so happen to take an opposing view to the political mainstream. Supporting groups like Hamas, the Qataris contend, is the best way to resist Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, while they claim that that Muslim Brotherhood is nothing more than a political organisation.”

Saudi Arabia

Arab News: Saudi Arabia Intercepts Houthi Missile Targeting Jazan

“Saudi air defense forces on Thursday intercepted a missile fired by the Houthi militia from Yemen towards Jazan.”

Middle East

Gulf News: Arab Coalition Foils Al Houthi Attacks On Commercial Vessels In Red Sea

“The Saudi-led Arab Coalition announced today (Friday) that it had foiled attacks by explosives-laden speedboats deployed by the Iran-backed Al Houthi militia against commercial vessels in the Red Sea. The coalition affirmed that it had taken necessary measures to protect commercial ships in the Red Sea.”

Nigeria

The Nation: 28 Boko Haram Suspects Held In Adamawa

“About 28 suspected Boko Haram insurgents were arrested yesterday in Dar, Madagali Local Government of Adamawa State, following the murder of four persons in Driff, another town in Madagali. Their arrest followed a combined operation by the Army and Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF). Coordinator of the State Security Nigerian Hunter’s Association Garba Salvia Tarfa, who addressed reporters yesterday, said the suspects were planning to attack Mbutuku when they were arrested by officials of the CJTF. One of his members, Ishaya Jamari, was killed while another, Jiabada John, was shot in the leg. Tarfa added that some of the insurgents who attacked Driff went to Dar but were resisted.”

Somalia

MENAFN: 18 Killed As Al Shabab Raids On Army Base

“At least 18 people were killed in an assault on Somalia army base in an agricultural rich town of Afgoye, 30 Km west of Mogadishu, residents said. The battle erupted after Al Shabab fighters launched an ambush assault on Mukayga military base manned by government soldiers, killing at least 18 people including soldiers and militants. Somalia military officials told Shabelle Media in Mogadishu that its troops had killed more than 10 Al Shabab militants during the ambush raid in the town of Afgoye. Meanwhile, Al Shabab militants claimed to have killed at least 8 Somali government soldiers, adding that its militants had destroyed technical military vehicles in the raid. The latest reports in the battle zone indicated that situation is calm and things have returned back to normal as the fighting subsided, local residents said on Saturday morning.”

Russia

Newsweek: How Many Russian Troops In Syria? Military Reveals Full Count As U.S. Told To Leave

“Russia has revealed the full extent of its military intervention in Syria, where it has helped the government suppress a 2011 uprising backed by the West, Turkey and Gulf Arab states, for the first time. The Russian Defense Ministry released a video Wednesday which said that the country has sent up to 63,012 servicemen to help battle rebels and jihadis trying to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose request for military assistance from Moscow was answered in September 2015. That number included 434 generals and 25,738 officers who "received combat experience." The video also said that Russian forces had conducted about 39,000 airstrikes in Syria and had killed up to 86,000 "militants" and 830 leaders. They also eliminated some 121,466 "terrorist targets." The number of actual Russians in Syria may be higher as certain private military companies such as the Wagner Group were known to be active, fighting alongside pro-Syrian government forces. The video also said that up to 4,500 of the "militants" killed were from Russia and the post-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States.”

Central Asia

Modern Diplomacy: Central Asian Jihadists Under Al Qaeda’s & Taliban’s Strategic Ties

“At the time when the Uzbek authorities held an international conference on Afghanistan on March 26-27, 2018, and the Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov hosted the Afghan Taliban delegation led by the Movement’s political chief Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai on August 6-10, 2018, Taliban-backed Uzbek Salafi-jihadi groups continued their military operations against the Afghan government forces. Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s diplomatic efforts to establish a direct dialogue between the Afghan government and the Taliban have not yet produced the desired result. Moreover, these two important events in Tashkent city could not diminish the terrorist activity of jihadist groups from the Ferghana Valley, which are under the dual patronage of al Qaeda and the Taliban. The dispute between the UN and the US about the al Qaeda’s and the Taliban’s strategic ties. Monitoring of the Central Asian Salafi-jihadi groups activities showed that since 2018 al Qaeda-linked Katibat Imam al Bukhari (KIB) has stepped up its participation in the terror attacks against the Afghan Armed Forces. This Uzbek terrorist group has a high level of trust among the leaders al Qaeda and Taliban and has become a link in their strategic ties.”

France

The Times: Terrorism Alert After Man Kills His Family In Paris

“A 35-year-old man was shot dead by police after he killed his mother and sister with a knife and wounded another person in an outer suburb of Paris yesterday. He was named as Kamel Salhi and had a record for supporting the actions of terrorists. He was reported to have shouted Allahu akbar after he attacked four people in a bungalow in Trappes, a town with a high crime rate 20 miles west of Paris. Local police shot him when he emerged from the house as officers from the tactical intervention police were taking up positions. He was pronounced dead half an hour later.”

Germany

Al Bawaba: German Police Detain Russian Suspected Of Plotting Jihadist Attack

“A Russian suspected Islamist militant accused of having plotted an explosives attack was arrested by German police commandos on Wednesday. Identified only as 31-year-old Magomed-Ali C., he was allegedly an accomplice of Clement Baur, who was arrested in Marseilles shortly before the 2017 French elections accused of plotting an imminent attack in Germany. The Russian man "is suspected of having plotted, together with Clement B., detained in France, a serious act of violence against the state," German federal prosecutors said in a statement. Commandos of the elite police unit GSG 9 stormed the man's Berlin apartment in an operation which prosecutors said was linked to the Baur case. Baur and another suspect, who had both pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, were arrested in April 2017 in a Marseilles apartment. French police found an IS flag, a loaded Uzi sub-machine gun, two pistols, a homemade grenade and TATP, a volatile explosive dubbed "mother of Satan". The German prosecutors said that Magomed-Ali C. and Baur had also planned an explosives attack "at an unknown location in Germany, meant to maim or kill the greatest possible number of people". For this purpose, Magomed-Ali C. had kept in his Berlin flat "a substantial amount" of TATP since at least October 2016. Those attack plans were foiled however by an unspecified German "preventive police operation", which led the accomplices to split up and Baur to travel to France, said the prosecutors. Foiled attacks Germany remains on high alert after several deadly attacks claimed by the IS group, including a 2016 truck rampage through a Berlin Christmas market by Tunisian asylum seeker that claimed 12 lives.”

Technology

Marketwatch: Facebook And Whatsapp Aren’t Just Flawed — They’re Downright Dangerous

“Facebook’s woes are spreading globally, first from the U.S., then to Europe and now in Asia. A landmark study by researchers at the University of Warwick in the U.K. has conclusively established that Facebook has been fanning the flames of hatred in Germany. The study found that the rich and the poor, the educated and the uneducated, and those living in large cities and those in small towns were alike susceptible to online hate speech on refugees and its incitement to violence, with incidence of hate crimes relating directly to per-capita Facebook use. And during Germany-wide Facebook outages, which resulted from programming or server problems at Facebook, anti-refugee hate crimes practically vanished — within weeks. As The New York Times explains, Facebook’s FB, -0.43%  algorithms reshape a user’s reality: “These are built around a core mission: promote content that will maximize user engagement. Posts that tap into negative, primal emotions like anger or fear, studies have found, perform best and so proliferate.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

Fact:

On December 6, 2018, a suicide car bomb exploded near a police post in the Iranian port city of Chabahar, killing four officers and wounding 48 other people. Ansar al-Furqan, an al-Qaeda-linked Baloch insurgent group, claimed responsibility.

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