Eye on Extremism: Feb 10, 2020

The Guardian: Preacher Who Inspired Streatham Terror Attack Peddling Jihad From Behind Bars

“Hundreds of sermons preached by the Islamist cleric who inspired the men who carried out the terrorist attacks in Streatham and on London Bridge in November are available on a website that allows his followers to communicate in private chatrooms, the Observer has established. Abdullah al-Faisal, who was born into an evangelical Christian family in Jamaica and spent many years in Britain, has become one of the most successful propagandists for al-Qaida and Islamic State. Sudesh Amman, 20, who was shot dead by police last week after coming out of prison for terrorism offences, had copies of Faisal’s speeches, the Times reported. The newspaper also said that Usman Khan, 28, who fatally stabbed two Cambridge graduates near London Bridge last November, had the cleric’s number in his mobile phone when he was arrested over his links to a plot to bomb the London Stock Exchange in December 2010. Others influenced by Faisal include the shoe bomber Richard Reid; at least two of the 7/7 bombers – Mohammad Sidique Khan and Germaine Lindsay; Dhiren Barot, who was jailed for trying to blow up the New York Stock Exchange; the University College London student Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to blow up an aircraft on Christmas Day 2009; and Mohammed Chowdhury, who was part of a cell that sought to assassinate Boris Johnson and two rabbis.”

The New York Times: Two American Soldiers Killed In Shootout With Afghan Forces

“A shootout between Afghan and American soldiers during joint operations in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday resulted in deaths on both sides, with two Americans killed, officials said. A spokesman for the United States military in Afghanistan, Col. Sonny Leggett, said current reports indicated that “an individual in an Afghan uniform opened fire on the combined U.S. and Afghan force with a machine gun.” Six other American service members were wounded, Colonel Leggett said in a statement early Sunday. He said an investigation was underway and that the motive for the attack was unclear. The two soldiers killed, part of the Seventh Special Forces Group, were Staff Sgt. Javier J. Gutierrez, 28, of San Antonio and Staff Sgt. Antonio R. Rodriguez, 28, of Las Cruces, N.M., according to a Pentagon statement released Sunday. Other details of the incident in Nangarhar Province, where American Special Forces were helping Afghan commandos and the Afghan Army clear an area threatened by the Taliban, were scarce. It was not clear whether the firefight was the work of Taliban infiltrators, a major concern in the past.”

The Jerusalem Post: Hezbollah’s Popularity Seen Waning As Lebanese Protests Continue

“Anti-government protestors continued to take to the streets of Beirut over the weekend, declaring their lack of confidence in the country’s new prime minister, Hassan Diab, and his cabinet. As the new government’s biggest backer, the Iran-backed Hezbollah movement is seeing its popularity wane and possibly losing its legitimacy as a resistance movement.  “The government failed before it even started,” Ali Amin, a Lebanese analyst and journalist who writes for the London-based Al-Arab newspaper, told The Media Line, explaining that people were revolting against an entire political system but were given a new government with the same platform and same political powers. “Hezbollah is a key party in forming this new government and is perhaps its primary backer, as [the government] could never have been formed without Hezbollah's support for its leader and members,” he said. “The ongoing battle here is between the new government and the street, which rejects it and is expressing this through protests.” The protests have been taking place since mid-October, when people rose up against a new tax on the use of internet-based communications programs like Whatsapp. The protests widened to express a deep dissatisfaction with economic mismanagement, corruption and sectarianism.”

United States

Al Jazeera: El Paso Walmart Shooting Suspect Charged With Federal Hate Crimes

“The man accused of killing 22 people and wounding two dozen more in a shooting that targeted Mexicans in the United States border city of El Paso, Texas, has been charged with federal hate crimes. Patrick Crusius, 21, has been charged with 90 counts under federal hate crime and firearms laws for his role in the August 3 shooting, according to an indictment unsealed Thursday. Federal prosecutors announced the charges against Crusius, of Allen, Texas, at a Thursday news conference in El Paso. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) will consult with the defence and victims' families before deciding if they will pursue a death penalty. Ultimately, the decision is up to Attorney General William Barr. The DOJ will prosecute on a parallel track with state officials. Crusius faces the death penalty on a state capital murder charge to which he pleaded not guilty last year. Hate crime charges show members of targeted communities that "they are valued, that their protection matters, and then we will protect them and their rights," said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the DOJ Civil Rights Division.”

Syria

Voice Of America: Support Crumbling For Plan To Try IS Foreign Fighters In Syria

“Syrian Kurdish officials determined to bring captured Islamic State foreign fighters to justice may have to do so without assistance from the international community. Support for a special tribunal, to the extent it existed, appeared to crumble this week as a growing number of nations are declining to back the latest proposal to put about 2,000 IS fighters who flocked to Syria on trial in the country’s Kurdish-led region. The biggest blow came from Finnish officials, who said reports that they had offered assistance to the autonomous administration in northeast Syria had been exaggerated, following a meeting last week in Helsinki. “Finnish representatives took note of the administration’s plans,” the Finnish Foreign Ministry said in a statement to VOA, regarding the meeting between Abdulkarim Omar, the administration’s foreign relations representative, and Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto. “At the same time, we highlighted many of questions that remain open, including the jurisdiction and legislation applied, and the applicability of international conventions,” the statement added. The initial plan to hold a tribunal for the IS foreign fighters called for trials to begin within three months.”

Deutsche Welle: Over 60 Germans Among Islamists In Idlib

“Over 60 Germans are fighting in Islamist groups in Idlib, the last stronghold of Islamist fighters in northwest Syria, according to reports German broadcaster SWR shared Sunday. SWR reviewed transcripts of instant messages sent by the fighters and determined that the individuals are largely members of “Hayat Tahrir al-Sham,” a group with ties to al-Qaida. At least one person is working with the group “Junud al-Sham.” Using messenger apps like Telegram, the fighters solicited financial aid from supporters back in Germany by way of text, video and voice messages.”My brothers,” said one masked man in a video message, “if you could help, that would be very good. Even if you're in Germany, [by donating,] it's as if you've completed jihad.” A woman sits with her children at a soil field in cold weather at Harbanush village, Idlib. Muhammed Said / Anadolu Agency Supporters are instructed to send donations to an individual in Turkey via Western Union bank transfer or to use cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. German security agencies are aware of the practice and said they have been monitoring the use of cryptocurrency to finance terrorism for some time. Idlib is the final holdout of Islamist rebels in Syria, who are backed by Turkish support.”

Iran

Radio Farda: Remember, Iran’s Terror Network Is Global

“They are warriors who have no borders… They are warriors who show their presence wherever needed.” That’s how Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei described the Qods Force, the special operations unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) during a Friday Prayer sermon in Tehran in January. Despite its name meaning Jerusalem in Arabic, the “Qods” (Quds) Force (and Iran’s security services more broadly), have not limited the scope of their networks and operations to the Arab world or the Middle East. As Washington thinks through escalation scenarios between the U.S. and Iran for the rest of 2020, Khamenei’s reference to the borderless nature of the Qods Force cannot be ignored. It’s rare for Khamenei to address Iranians from the Friday Prayer pulpit; his previous sermon having taken place eight years ago in February 2012. Following a string of assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists and escalating Western sanctions, Khamenei then claimed that Iran would respond to such threats with “our own threats… that when needed, God willing, will be applied.” Days later came attempted bombings of Israeli diplomats in Georgia, India, which Israel blamed on Iran and in Thailand, as well as attacks in Bulgaria by Iran’s Lebanese proxy Hezbollah that killed six people.”

Iraq

Kurdistan 24: Iraqi Military Arrests 3 ISIS Terrorists In Mosul

“The Iraqi Directorate of Military Intelligence on Sunday announced that they had apprehended three terrorists in the Hamam Alil area, located south of Mosul. The directorate said in a statement that the detachment division in coordination with the military infantry division arrested three terrorists in the Al-Arej village, which is located in Hamam Alil on the eastern bank of Mosul. The statement also mentioned that the detained terrorists were “militants tasked with providing intel to ISIS against the Iraqi Security Forces before the liberation of Mosul, and tasked with promoting the terrorist group’s ideology.” “The arrests were carried out based on a legal warrant according to Article 4 of the terrorism law,” it added. Earlier, on Sunday, Iraq’s ministry of interior said Iraqi security had arrested five terrorists south of Mosul on the Mosul-Baghdad road. The statement mentioned that two of the terrorists were working as the so-called Islamic State’s police (Al-Hasba), charged with implementing the extremist group’s laws in Mosul when it controlled the city. The three others were fighters working in the Islamic State’s recruitment office.”

Xinhua: 1 Soldier, 2 IS Militants Killed In Clash In Central Iraq

“An Iraqi soldier and two Islamic State (IS) militants were killed on Saturday in a clash in the central province of Salahudin, a provincial police source said. The deadly clash erupted in the morning when IS militants attacked an army outpost in Mteibijah, a rugged area in the eastern part of the province, Mohammed al-Bazi told Xinhua. A reinforcement force was dispatched to the area for security as the extremist militants withdrew to their hideouts in Mteibijah, al-Bazi said. Iraqi security forces have repeatedly tried to retake control of Mteibijah, but the vast rugged land and mountains have made it difficult for them to dislodge the extremist militants from the region. The security situation in Iraq has improved since Iraqi security forces fully defeated the extremist IS militants across the country late in 2017. However, IS remnants have since melted in urban areas or resorted to deserts and rugged areas, carrying out frequent guerilla attacks against security forces and civilians.”

Afghanistan

The Washington Post: Afghanistan Claims The Islamic State Was ‘Obliterated.’ But Fighters Who Got Away Could Stage A Resurgence.

“For nearly four years, U.S. and Afghan forces unleashed hundreds of punishing airstrikes in this remote corner of mountainous eastern Afghanistan. The strikes transformed clusters of sparse farming villages, cratering dirt roads and, in some areas, leaving every third mud house demolished. The target: the Islamic State, whose offshoot in Afghanistan was the group’s most deadly branch outside Iraq and Syria. By November, the offensive appeared to be a success. The group’s deadly attacks in the Afghan capital have largely subsided, and hundreds of civilians who fled villages here have returned. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani triumphantly declared the Islamic State had been “obliterated.” But it has now become clear that military operations also scattered many fighters they aimed to defeat: The group’s senior leadership fled further into the Spin Ghar mountains, crossing into Pakistan or pushing north into Konar province’s more rugged terrain. Others simply went into hiding. Afghan officials estimate that hundreds of Islamic State fighters continue to operate across the country, raising the dangerous potential for a resurgence.”

The New York Times: They Fight Suicide Bombers. But Can Afghan Police Fight Crime?

“Here is a meme that briefly made the rounds on Afghan social media: “Breaking news,” it reads. “A suicide bomber has been robbed by thieves in Kabul. The thieves took from him his suicide vest, the detonators, and 2,000 afghanis.” (About $25.) It’s kind of a joke, but mostly not. For years, the bombing and infiltration attacks that racked Kabul have dominated headlines and reshaped the city. But that kind of violence in the capital has been at a relative lull for months as the Taliban and United States conduct peace negotiations that officials hope could lead to some sort of lasting cease-fire. Now, the headlines are coming to grips with the rampant crime that has become a steady drumbeat in the city: kidnappings, robbery at gunpoint, extortion, murder. Even without the bombings, Kabul is proving a dangerous place to be. Social media platforms are filled with daily reports of muggings and knife attacks, often just to steal a cellphone. In one of the most brutal recent cases, a family of four were axed to death in their home in the daytime. Afghan security officials say the brief window of calm from terrorist attacks has provided a wake-up call.”

New York Post: UK Considers ‘Terror-Offenders’ List For Released Jihadis

“Britain looks to be moving toward a sex offenders-style registry for terrorist. The registry could be tucked into a measure being pushed through Parliament after a jihadi went on a stabbing spree in London last Sunday, injuring three, The Sun reported. A terror offenders list would be similar to the UK’s register for sex offenders, restricting who released prisoners could meet and where they could travel. They also would have to show police their phones, laptops and internet and social media use, according to the Sun. ISIS claimed responsibility for the stabbing attack carried out by Sudesh Amman, who was shot dead by police at the scene.  Amman was jailed for possessing and distributing terrorist documents in December 2018 and was released from prison after serving half of his 40-month sentence. Amman wore a fake explosive device strapped to his body, just like Usman Khan, another released jihadi, who was considered a success story for a prisoner rehabilitation program before he killed two people and injured three in a stabbing attack near the London Bridge on Nov. 29.”

Xinhua: 10 Militants Killed In Airstrike In E. Afghanistan

“At least 10 Taliban militants were killed in an overnight airstrike in Afghanistan's eastern Kunar province, the Defense Ministry said on Sunday. “The strike conducted in Chawkay district, Kunar province, targeted an enemy position, killing 10 Taliban members,” the ministry wrote on Twitter. The ministry did not provide details on whether the strike was conducted by Afghan Air Force or NATO-led coalition forces. The province has been the scene of clashes between Taliban and security forces. Afghan security forces have recently beefed up security operations against the Taliban militants who have been attempting to take territory and consolidate their positions in the countryside during the winter. The militant group has not made comment on the report so far.”

Pakistan

The New York Times: Roadside Bomb In SW Pakistan Kills 1 Soldier, Wounds 5

“A roadside bomb exploded near a Pakistani paramilitary vehicle in the restive southwestern Baluchistan province, killing one soldier and wounding five others, a local government official said Sunday. The paramilitary troops were attacked while on patrol near the Sharag coal mines, according to Azeem Jan Damar, a deputy commissioner in Harnai district. He said the wounded were taken to a nearby medical facility. Baluchistan province has been the scene of a low-level insurgency by separatists demanding more autonomy and a greater share in the region’s natural resources, such as gas and oil. The province shares a long border with Afghanistan and Iran. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blast, but such attacks on security forces in the past have been claimed by Baluch separatist groups. Islamic militants also operate in the region. Last month, a roadside bomb hit a paramilitary force vehicle in the provincial capital, Quetta. The blast killed two soldiers and wounded 12 others. Hizbul Ahrar, an offshoot of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack.”

France 24: Key Member Of Pakistani Taliban Killed In Afghanistan: Insurgents

“The Pakistani Taliban has confirmed that one of its key leaders and another member of the group were killed in a clash with security forces in Afghanistan. In a statement published by the SITE monitoring group Friday, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) said Sheikh Khalid Haqqani, who served on the group's consultative council and had been a deputy leader, had been killed January 31. “Haqqani embraced martyrdom while fighting with slaves of the United States”, the TTP said. Haqqani's close confidant Qari Saifullah Peshawari was also killed in the clash that took place inside Afghanistan during a “mission”, a senior Pakistani Taliban leader told AFP. Afghan security forces declined to comment, and it was not immediately clear what type of mission Haqqani may have been on. Haqqani was not thought to be related to the Haqqani network, which is also affiliated to the Afghan Taliban. Both Islamabad and Kabul have long accused each other of allowing militants to shelter in the border regions and launch bloody attacks that threaten regional stability. “Haqqani, also a writer of several books on different topics, was known for giving a befitting reply to so-called torch-bearers of democracy,” the TTP said in its statement.”

India

Bloomberg: India, Sri Lanka Discuss Ways To Fight Terrorism, Boost Trade

“India and Sri Lanka agreed on Saturday to strengthen cooperation to combat terrorism and boost trade and investment. “India has been a trusted partner in Sri Lanka’s development,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said a joint briefing after meeting Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in New Delhi. New lines of credits announced in November will deepen development and cooperation, Modi said, adding that Sri Lanka’s stability, security and prosperity was a matter of interest not only for India, but for the entire Indian Ocean region. Rajapaksa said the talks centered on security co-operation. “India has always assisted Sri Lanka to enhance our capabilities in intelligence and counter-terrorism,” he said in a statement. The tiny island nation had heavily weighed on China for its infrastructure development during Rajapaksa’s previous 10-year rule as Sri Lanka’s president that ended in 2015, creating tensions with New Delhi. Mahinda’s brother Gotabaya won Sri Lanka’s presidential election in November and since then has committed to neutral foreign relations. Both brothers chose India as the site of their first official state visit.”

Yemen

The New York Times: Killing Of Terrorist Leader In Yemen Is Latest Blow To Qaeda Affiliate

“For more than a decade, Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen has been one of the most dangerous terrorist organizations on the planet. The group spent years inventing explosives that are difficult to detect, including trying to disguise bombs in devices like cellphones. It has tried at least three times to blow up American airliners, without success. But the White House’s announcement last week that the United States had killed the group’s leader, Qassim al-Rimi — confirming what The New York Times first reported several days earlier — was the latest in a string of setbacks over the past few years that have damaged the group’s ability to orchestrate or carry out operations against the West, American and European counterterrorism specialists say. A flurry of American drone strikes in Yemen in recent years has now killed two successive leaders of the group as well as Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, the affiliate’s notorious bomb maker. Clashes with rival Islamic State and Houthi rebel fighters in Yemen have also weakened the group, whose full name is Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. And its once formidable jihadi news media presence has been far surpassed by the Islamic State’s.”

Middle East

The Washington Post: Israeli Court Sentences Radical Islamic Cleric To 28 Months

“An Israeli court on Monday sentenced a radical Islamic cleric to 28 months in prison for “inciting to terror” in a series of speeches he made after a deadly attack in 2017 on Israeli police at a contested Jerusalem holy site. Raed Salah, head of the outlawed northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, was convicted in November on incitement charges for exhorting others to follow the example of the gunmen who killed the two Israeli policemen in that attack. The attack, carried out by two Arab citizens of Israel at the Jerusalem shrine known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount, triggered a flareup of deadly violence between Israeli forces and Palestinians. The cleric has denounced the charges against him as false and said following his sentencing that all the proceedings in the case were “far from the truth.” Salah has had repeated run-ins with Israeli authorities. He completed a nine-month prison sentence earlier in 2017 for “incitement to violence” and “incitement to racism.” Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan tweeted that Salah’s sentencing “illustrates that terror supporters and inciters belong in prison for a long time and not in the Knesset,” Israel’s parliament.”

Egypt

The Times Of Israel: Seven Egyptian Soldiers, Ten Militants Killed In Sinai Attack, Army Says

“Seven Egyptian soldiers were killed in a militant attack on security facilities in restive North Sinai on Sunday, Egypt’s military said. The army said it “foiled” the attack, “killing 10 terrorists and destroying a four-wheel drive used by the terrorist elements.” The slain soldiers were of various ranks, according to the brief statement posted to the military’s Facebook page on Sunday. Egypt has struggled to contain an insurgency in North Sinai that escalated after the military’s 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi following mass protests. In February 2018, Egyptian security forces launched a nationwide, large-scale operation against militants, mainly focused on North Sinai. Earlier this month, the Islamic State group claimed it blew up a gas pipeline in Sinai connecting Egypt to Israel. Security sources said the pipeline hit was a domestic one. More than 840 suspected militants have been killed in the region since February 2018, according to army figures. Some 67 security personnel have also been killed.”

Nigeria

Sahara Reporters: Boko Haram Terrorists Kill 11 Persons In Fresh Attacks

“No less than 11 civilians have been killed after Boko Haram terrorists launched two separate attacks in Niger. An official told the AFP on Saturday that in one attack on Friday, members of the group killed six civilians in Bosso district in the South-East region of Diffa bordering Chad and Nigeria. Four members of the same family were among those killed, said the official. Officials in Bosso district confirmed the attack, but said five people had been killed. In a separate attack in the South-Western region of Tillaberi, which borders Mali, four armed men on two motorbikes opened fire on workers in the village of Molia, killing four people on Thursday, a regional official told AFP. The attacks were just the latest in a surge in violence in the West African country. Niger’s Diffa and Tillaberi regions are vulnerable to increasingly deadly incursions by the jihadists based in Northern Nigeria. According to an official toll, three attacks in December and January all claimed by Islamic State, have killed 174 soldiers. In January, officials in Tillaberi were forced to suspend voter registration in several towns because of the growing violence.”

Africa

The Defense Post: French Operations In Mali Put 30 Militants ‘Out Of Action,’ As Barkhane Builds Sahel Coalition Coordination

“French commando operations and airstrikes against groups linked to Islamic State and al-Qaeda in Mali put 30 militants “out of action,” the Armed Forces Ministry said. The operations come as the France-led Operation Barkhane builds command coordination with local partner forces in sub-Saharan Africa’s Sahel region, setting up dedicated coordination mechanisms for the new Sahel Coalition in Niger’s capital Niamey and Chad’s capital N’Djamena. Between February 6 and 7, forces deployed to Operation Barkhane conducted an “operation of opportunity”  which “resulted in the neutralization of some 20 terrorists and the destruction of several vehicles,” the ministry said, in a Friday, February 7 release. A Reaper drone, a Mirage 2000 fighter jet patrol, a Tigre attack helicopter and a Cougar transport helicopter “took part in two targeted strikes in an area where terrorist fighters had been spotted,” it said. The action was carried out “in the west of the Gourma” region, in an area where the “katiba is rampant,” the release said. The ministry did not give further detail, but the likely target was Katiba Macina, one of the constituent groups of JNIM, which has pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda.”

Al Jazeera: UN Chief Calls For Sudan Removal From US 'Terrorism' List

“UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for Sudan to be removed from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism, as Khartoum slowly returns to the international fold. “It is time to remove Sudan from the list of state supporters of terrorism, and to mobilise massive international support to enable Sudan to overcome its challenges,” the UN chief said on Sunday during an address at the annual African Union summit in Addis Ababa. The US government added Sudan to its list of state sponsors of terrorism in 1993 over allegations that then-President Omar al-Bashir's government was supporting “terrorist” groups. The designation makes Sudan technically ineligible for debt relief and financing from the IMF and World Bank. Washington began a formal process to de-list Sudan in January 2017, but this was put on hold when Sudan's mass protests erupted a year ago. The uprising toppled al-Bashir and eventually forced the military into a power-sharing agreement with civilians. Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has repeatedly urged the West to end his country's international pariah status. He says it is the only way to save the nation's fragile democratic transition from a plunging economy.”

United Kingdom

Foreign Policy: Tougher Sentencing Won’t Stop Terrorism

“In the wake of Britain’s third terrorist incident in two months—a stabbing carried out by a recently released terrorist offender in the South London neighborhood of Streatham—the U.K. government is reaching for the most obvious legislation at hand to prevent such attacks and seeking to extend the detention of convicted terrorist offenders. Drafting policy in the wake of a terrorist attack is always fraught with danger. With emotions high, people will grasp at whatever flaw in the system seems obvious at that moment—police surveillance, parole leniency, sentencing laws—and use that as the basis for new policies. Yet the consequences of such knee-jerk reactions can be far-reaching, and undoing the damage later can be complicated. Most worryingly, quick fixes tend to overlook the real reasons behind the problem. While some of the government’s proposed responses—such as increasing investment in probation—deserve to be applauded, the push to simply extend detention won’t address the issue at hand. It is helpful to start by looking at the three recent cases in detail.”

The Independent: Ministers Refuse To Reveal How Many Extremists They Have Stripped Of British Citizenship

“The government has refused to reveal how many people have been deprived of their British citizenship in the past two years after dramatically increasing its use of controversial powers to prevent the return of Isis members. The number of people subjected to the measure rose by more than 600 per cent in 2017, despite an official review warning that it might be an “ineffective and counter-productive weapon against terrorism”. An official “transparency” report containing statistics on citizenship deprivations was due for release last summer but has not yet been published, and the Home Office refused to give The Independent updated figures. Officials would not give a reason for the delay, meaning that no new information has been released for 18 months. The situation is no clearer in Syrian prisons holding Isis members, where British inmates interviewed recently by The Independent said they had not been told whether they were still UK citizens. Some asked journalists to request information from the government on their behalf, while others found out through media reports that they had been stripped of British nationality. Campaigners said the government’s silence suggested that it has “something to hide”, amid legal challenges and allegations that it has broken international law by making people stateless.”

Sky News: Streatham Terror Attack: Police To Return To Scene To Step Up Appeal For Information

“Police will return to Streatham a week after two people were stabbed by a convicted terrorist who was under surveillance. Sudesh Amman was shot dead by officers in Streatham High Road, south London, last Sunday after the 20-year-old grabbed a knife from a shop and used it to attack two bystanders. It came 10 days after he was freed automatically halfway through a jail sentence, handed down in December 2018 for possessing and distributing terrorist documents. Scotland Yard said officers will be back at the scene of the attack on Sunday to hand out leaflets appealing for information about what happened, as detectives continue their investigation. More than 100 witnesses have been identified and more than 250 exhibits have been seized, with officers having also reviewed hours of CCTV footage and searched an address in Streatham and Bishop's Stortford in Hertfordshire. Commander Richard Smith, head of the Met's counter terrorism command, said: “We continue to carry out extensive inquiries and our focus remains on ensuring there is no wider threat connected with this incident.”

The Guardian: PM’s Plan For Terrorists Could Be ‘Counter-Productive’, Says Father Of London Bridge Attack Victim

“David Merritt felt heavy with grief when news of the Streatham terrorist attack broke, but he wasn’t shocked. The father of Jack Merritt, a 25-year old prison rehabilitation worker who was killed in the London Bridge terror attack in November, has warned that “the government is failing to do its job to keep the public safe” and that the prime minister’s plans to force through emergency terrorist sentencing is “a hasty measure” that “could be counter-productive.” Last week, the government announced plans to rush through emergency legislation that would prevent the release of terrorist offenders without parole board-risk assessments. Alex Carlile, the UK’s former reviewer of terror legislation, cast doubt on whether changes could be made retrospectively to the sentences of up to 224 terrorist offenders currently in prison. Ministers expect a legal challenge. Speaking to the Observer, Merritt was wearied but unsurprised by the government’s “panicky response” and described it as “the austerity chickens coming home to roost”. Just as his son had “devoted his energy to the purpose of prisoner rehabilitation”, Merritt called for urgent and proper funding into prison services to prevent further attacks.”

The Telegraph: Prosecutors Allow Dozens Of Charges Brought Against Terrorists To ‘Lie On File’

“Prosecutors are allowing dozens of charges brought against terrorists to ‘lie on file’ amid claims jihadists are ‘going unpunished’ for serious offences. An analysis by a think tank suggests more than 40 convicted terrorists were sentenced for fewer offences than they were originally charged with. Critics accused the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) of striking a series of plea-bargaining deals that could have led to terrorists serving shorter sentences. The CPS denied the claims and insisted allowing charges to lie on file was common practice. The controversial deals include a terror suspect who admitted being a member of Al Qaeda but had charges of encouraging other Muslims to kill Gordon Brown and Tony Blair laid on file, meaning he was not convicted of that offence....”

Europe

Asharq Al-Awsat: Brussels Calls For Overturning Judicial Ruling To Repatriate 10 ISIS Kids

“The Belgian government will submit a request to the judiciary to overturn a decision binding it to provide the necessary aid to repatriate 10 ISIS children from Syria, announced Belgian Foreign Minister Philippe Goffin. Speaking before the parliament, Goffin who returned from a visit to the Middle East, including Iraq, explained that the required documents are available at the Belgian Consulate in Erbil, but there are three obstacles to bringing the children back. He explained that Kurdish officials refuse to hand over the children without the guardians and some of the ISIS widows refuse to hand over their children. He also indicated that Syria remains a conflict zone, making it difficult to send an official to bring the children back. The government earlier lodged an appeal against the decision requiring it to bring 10 children back. The children’s defense also appealed the decision because it states that they can only return without their mothers. The defense team of the families of the 10 children began sending judicial custody staff to the Ministries of Justice and Foreign Affairs last Wednesday demanding compensation of half a million euros for the delay in returning these children, according to a decision issued last December by the Brussels Court.”

Southeast Asia

New York Daily News: 3 Arrested For Stabbing Chinese And Australian Tourists In The Maldives

“Three people were arrested in the Maldives after allegedly stabbing two Chinese tourists and an Australian tourist. The victims were attacked on Tuesday on Hulhumale, an island four miles north of the capital Male. They were reported to be in stable condition. The police were investigating whether the stabbings were connected to Islamic extremists after a video surfaced online of a masked man claiming responsibility. The main claimed to be affiliated with the Islasmic State in the video. At a conference in October, former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed warned about the rise of radical Islamic groups in the region. The Maldives, a string of islands, in the India Ocean, about 1,000 miles southwest of India and Sri Lanka. The archipelago is known for its luxury tourist resorts.”

Technology

Brisbane Times: Swiping Right Into The Alt-Right Online Dating World

“Finally! The dating site for those wishing to preserve their heritage.” I stare at the announcement of what appears to be the world’s first white supremacist dating site, WASP Love. On this obscure site, White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPs) can find fellow “white people of diverse religions, nationalities, political ideology and backgrounds, united in one cause for the benefit of our race and children”. I can’t help but wonder: what kind of people do you find on WASP Love? How do they present themselves and how do conversations differ from normal dating apps? To access WASP Love, you need to create an account. WASP profile descriptions are much longer than on the more mainstream dating platforms such as Tinder, Bumble or Happn. To create a profile, you have to complete a lengthy questionnaire and provide details about your political and religious views. The ice-breakers and pick-up lines are not dissimilar from more mainstream dating apps. “Conservative and patriotic” is the standard answer but some are a little more forthright: “The 14 words are my goal. Trying to build a nuclear family with a loving and loyal-as-she-is-humble stay-at-home wife. Wanting many kids to bring honour to my family name and legacy” or “The Church and Lord are essential to keeping society from becoming the degenerate shell it is today.”