Eye on Extremism: February 14, 2024

Associated Press: Islamic State Militants Attack Syrian Military Barracks And Kill 9 Troops, War Monitors Say

“Militants from the Islamic State group attacked military barracks in central Syria this week, killing nine soldiers, an opposition war monitor said. The Syrian army and officials have not confirmed the attack. IS claimed responsibility for the attack on Monday near the town of Al-Sukhna, saying its fighters also seized weapons abandoned by fleeing soldiers and set fire to the barracks. The militants’ statement claiming responsibility was posted late on Tuesday. The attack was the latest in intensifying clashes in the desert in eastern Syria between the militants and the Syrian army, supported by Iran-backed militias.”

Associated Press: Families Of Hostages Visit International Court To Urge The Arrest Of Hamas Leaders

“Former captives and relatives of hostages held since the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas in southern Israel are visiting the International Criminal Court on Wednesday to urge prosecutors to charge and seek the arrest of leaders of the militant group. The visit is the latest step in efforts by Israelis to seek justice for victims of the attacks, in which about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were killed and about 250 were taken hostage.”

CEP Mentions

Iran International: Discussion With Daniel Roth On Iran’s Oil Sanctions

CEP Managing Director Daniel Roth interview on Iran International.

AIC: What's New In The American-British Response To The Houthis?

CEP Managing Director Daniel Roth interview on AIC.

United States

Politico: FBI Reveals Controversial Spy Tool Foiled Terror Plot As Congress Debates Overhaul

“The FBI revealed it used a controversial foreign surveillance tool to foil a terrorist plot on U.S. soil last year, part of a series of last-minute disclosures it hopes will sway Congress as lawmakers debate overhauling the measure later this week. The bureau shared three newly declassified instances with POLITICO in which its access to data collected under the digital spying authority — codified in Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act — allowed it to protect national security, including one in which it thwarted a “potentially imminent terrorist attack” against U.S. critical infrastructure last year. The spying tool is set to expire in April if Congress does not renew it. The House is expected to vote as early as Thursday on whether to approve a major change to the foreign surveillance authority, which has faced backlash because it also sweeps in data from Americans. That change would require bureau analysts to acquire a warrant or court order before searching a database of emails, texts and other digital communications of foreigners for information on U.S. citizens.”


Reuters: Iran's Main Gas Pipeline Hit By Sabotage, Oil Minister Says

“Two explosions along Iran's main south-north gas pipeline network on Wednesday were caused by sabotage, the Iranian oil minister told state TV, without naming any suspects. Authorities also denied reports that the incident caused gas cuts to industries and offices in some provinces, state media reported. "This terrorist act of sabotage occurred at 1 a.m. (9.30 p.m. GMT) on Wednesday morning in the network of national gas transmission pipelines in two regions of the country," Minister Javad Owji said. Only villages near the damaged pipeline were experiencing gas outages, which will be fixed later today, Owji said. Temporary restrictions had been planned ahead for maintenance, state media reported. Owji pointed to a similar incident which took place in 2011, which he said was an act of sabotage that caused temporary gas outages in four different regions in the country. While such attacks are rare in Iran, Arab separatist militants in Iran claimed in 2017 that they had blown up two oil pipelines in coordinated attacks in the country's western Khuzestan province.”


Reuters: Shell Quits Iraqi Petrochemicals Plant Talks

“Oil major Shell has withdrawn from talks on building a petrochemicals plant in the southern oil hub of Basra, Iraq's oil ministry said on Tuesday. Shell in a separate statement confirmed, opens new tab it was leaving the project. A statement from Iraq's oil ministry said Shell would not continue discussions with the Ministry of Industry and Minerals and the Ministry of Oil regarding its role as "a major investor" in the Nebras Petrochemical Project, although it affirmed its continued support for the project through its partnership with Basra Gas Company. In 2015, Shell signed an outline deal worth $11 billion with Iraq to build the petrochemical complex that would in theory come online within six years and would make Iraq the largest petrochemical producer in the Middle East. An Iraqi energy official with knowledge of the project talks said financial and contractual issues delayed reaching a final deal with Shell and "caused the initial deal to collapse.”


Reuters: Turkey Arrests Russian At Nuclear Plant In Islamic State Probe, Sources Say

“Turkish counter-terrorism police investigating the militant group Islamic State have detained a Russian citizen working at a nuclear power plant under construction on Turkey's southern coast, security sources said on Tuesday. The suspect was caught working under a fake identity at the $20-billion Akkuyu nuclear plant, which is being built by Russian conglomerate Rosatom in the Mediterranean province of Mersin, the sources added. Police in Mersin said that a Turkish court formally arrested the foreign national. Its statement did not specify the suspect's nationality or give further details on the operation. Last week, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said Turkey had detained 147 people suspected of having ties to Islamic State in operations across 33 provinces. Last month, one Turkish citizen was killed by two Islamic State gunmen at the Italian Santa Maria Catholic Church in Istanbul. Turkish police detained two people suspected of carrying out the attack.”


NPR: Pakistan Party Nominates Shehbaz Sharif As Prime Minister, Ending Deadlock

“After compromised elections last week, a former prime minister of Pakistan is likely to resume the premiership, his party announced. Shehbaz Sharif will lead a coalition of junior parties that will form a majority in Pakistan's parliament. The move to reappoint Shehbaz Sharif as prime minister is a likely blow to millions of Pakistanis who voted in last Thursday's elections for independents backed by the country's most popular leader, Imran Khan. His party alleges that widespread irregularities occurred to prevent them from clearing a majority in parliament. Sharif's party, known as the PLM-N, received the largest number of votes in the Feb. 8 elections, with 79 seats of a contested 264.”


New York Times: Hezbollah Attack Injures 2 Israelis Amid Fresh Push To Reduce Tensions

“Hezbollah, the Lebanese militia, fired missiles into northern Israel on Tuesday that injured at least two people, emergency officials said, amid a fresh diplomatic push to end months of clashes along the border. Hezbollah said that it had launched two separate attacks into Israel — one aimed at Israeli soldiers and the other at a police building in the northern town of Kiryat Shmona. A 15-year-old boy and a 47-year-old woman were seriously wounded in Kiryat Shmona, according to Magen David Adom, Israel’s nonprofit emergency medical service. They had gotten out of the car they were traveling in when an anti-tank missile hit nearby, only to be injured when another landed, said Ofir Yehezkeli, Kiryat Shmona’s deputy mayor. Israel and Hezbollah — an ally of Hamas in Gaza — have engaged in near-daily cross-border strikes since the deadly Hamas-led Oct. 7 attacks in Israel. The clashes have displaced more than 150,000 people from their homes on both sides of the Israel-Lebanon border.”

Middle East

Jerusalem Post: IDF Soldier Killed As Northern Israel Hit By Hezbollah Rockets

“One soldier was killed, and several were hospitalized from rocket fire in northern Israel on Wednesday morning as Hezbollah ramped up its attacks on Israeli cities, the IDF stated.  An IDF base was hit in the barrage."A short while ago, numerous launches were identified crossing from Lebanon into the areas of Netu'a, Manara, and into an IDF base in northern Israel," the military said in a statement. "The IDF struck the sources of the fire. As a result of the launches, an IDF soldier was killed, and several other IDF soldiers were injured. The soldiers were evacuated for medical treatment at a hospital, their families have not yet been informed.”

North Korea

Korea Times: Experts Warn Of Possible Terrorist Attack By North Korea

“Experts warned, Wednesday, of a possible terrorist attack by North Korea, saying that the risk of a “jihad-like” strike is now greater after the regime’s decision to formally abandon peaceful unification with South Korea as its policy goal. Speaking at a forum in Seoul, analysts from the Korea Institute for National Unification said the most likely form of attack would be something similar to its landmine attack in 2015 ― a provocation that South Korea faces challenges in immediately pinpointing responsibility. Because of the mines planted secretly by the North Korean military in the demilitarized zone, two South Korean soldiers were seriously injured.”

United Kingdom

The Guardian: Three Guilty Of Terror Offence Over Paraglider Images At UK Palestine March

“Three people who displayed images of paragliders at a pro-Palestinian march in central London a week after Hamas militants went on a bloody rampage in Israel have been found guilty of a terror offence. Heba Alhayek, 29, Pauline Ankunda, 26, and Noimutu Olayinka Taiwo, 27, were each given a 12-month conditional discharge. Deputy senior district judge Tan Ikram told them: “You crossed the line, but it would have been fair to say that emotions ran very high on this issue. Your lesson has been well learned.” The three were not seeking to show support for Hamas, he said. Alhayek and Ankunda attached images of paragliders to their backs with tape, while Taiwo stuck one to the handle of a placard. They displayed the images on 14 October 2023, a week after militants from Hamas used paragliders to enter Israel from Gaza on 7 October. About 1,200 Israelis were killed in the attack and about 240 were abducted and taken to Gaza.”


Associated Press: Germany’s Top Security Official Wants Easier Ways To Track Right-Wing Extremist Financing

“Germany’s top security official said Tuesday that she aims to make it easier to trace right-wing extremists’ financing and plans to set up an “early recognition unit” to detect far-right and foreign disinformation campaigns as early as possible. Interior Minister Nancy Faeser’s proposals follow large protests against the far right in Germany in recent weeks. They reflect growing concern after a report said extremists met to discuss deporting millions of immigrants, including some with German citizenship, and that some members of the far-right Alternative for Germany party, whose support has doubled since the country’s 2021 election, were present. Germany’s domestic intelligence agency says the number of far-right extremists has been rising. In 2022, it reached 38,800, with 14,000 of them considered potentially violent. The agency’s head, Thomas Haldenwang, said the numbers are believed to have risen again last year.”


Reuters: Santander Says Internal Review Found No Breach Of US Sanctions Against Iran

“Spain's Santander on Tuesday said "categorically" that after a thorough investigation it had not found any breach of U.S. sanctions against Iran following a Financial Times report on Iranian-linked accounts. The Financial Times newspaper reported last week that Iran used accounts held at Santander and at Lloyds in the United Kingdom to covertly move money around the world in a sanctions-evasion scheme backed by Iran's intelligence services.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

In Their Own Words:

We reiterate once again that the brigades will directly target US bases across the region in case the US enemy commits a folly and decides to strike our resistance fighters and their camps [in Iraq].

Abu Ali al-Askari, Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) Security Official Mar. 2023
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