Eye on Extremism: February 22, 2024

Associated Press: Rape And Sexual Assault Took Place During Hamas Attack, Israeli Association Says

“The Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel on Wednesday said it has found evidence of “systematic and intentional” rape and sexual abuse during the Hamas attack on Oct. 7 that ignited the war in Gaza. The report said the attacks were more widespread than earlier thought, taking place at a series of locations across southern Israel. “In some cases, rape was conducted in front of an audience, such as partners, family, or friends, to increase the pain and humiliation for all present,” it said. Orit Sulitzeanu, the executive director of the association, said that in many cases, the bodies of male and female victims, including their genitals, were severely mutilated. The report, published on Wednesday, did not specify the number of cases it had documented or identify any victims, even anonymously. Sulitzeanu said victim identification was difficult because many were killed after being assaulted, and first responders were so overwhelmed by the scale of death and destruction that they did not document signs of sexual abuse.”

DW: German Police Arrest Suspect After Wuppertal School Attack

“Police said a large-scale operation was underway on Thursday in the city of Wuppertal, in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, after several students were injured. According to Germany's mass-circulation Bild newspaper, a student attacked fellow pupils with a knife. Five people were injured, according to police, as well as a suspect who was arrested at the scene. "We are on site with a large number of officers. There are injured school children," Wuppertal police said on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.”

United States

Reuters: US Senators Say It Is 'Urgent' For Hezbollah-Israel War To De-Escalate Soon

“The Israeli military and Hezbollah have a window to de-escalate tensions along Lebanon's southern border before a possible Israeli military offensive against the Lebanese armed group, two Democratic U.S. senators told Reuters on Wednesday. Senators Chris Coons and Richard Blumenthal met Lebanese officials on a tour of the region, which has been gripped by conflict following Hamas's Oct. 7 attack on Israel, which responded with a heavy air, land, and sea assault on Gaza. In Lebanon, Israeli shelling has killed nearly 190 Hezbollah fighters and 50 civilians. A dozen Israeli troops and five Israeli civilians have been killed in northern Israel, and tens of thousands have been displaced on each side. "The next few weeks are a real hinge point - for Gaza, for Israel, for Lebanon, for the Red Sea, for Iraq," said Coons, adding that a ceasefire for Gaza could have "positive consequences" for Lebanon. "It could create that window of 45 days, quite likely during Ramadan as well, when the next steps can be taken to begin to build the confidence that could lead to a full implementation of (United Nations Security Council resolution) 1701," he said.”

National Review: Queens College Muslim Student Association To Host Event With Speaker Who Accused Israel Of Creating ISIS And Involvement In 9/11, Jews Of Pedophilia

“The Muslim Student Association at Queens College, a public institution under the City University of New York (CUNY) system, plans to host an event on February 29 titled “Analyzing the Israel-Palestine Conflict: A Multifaceted Examination.” Their featured speaker at the discussion is an author named Daniel Haqiqatjou, a writer at a website called Muslim Skeptic  and the author of the book “The Modernist Menace to Islam.” According to his bio, he attended Harvard University for his undergraduate studies and then earned a master’s degree in philosophy at Tufts University.”


Associated Press: State Media Say An Israeli Strike Kills 2 In A Damascus Residential Area. Another Kills 2 In Lebanon

“Israeli strikes hit a neighborhood of the Syrian capital on Wednesday morning, killing two people and causing material damage, Syria’s state TV said. There was no confirmation of the strikes from Israel. In neighboring Lebanon, state media and security officials said an Israeli airstrike killed two people, including a young girl, triggering a rocket attack on a village in northern Israel by the militant Hezbollah group. Syrian state TV reported that several missiles hit the western neighborhood of Kfar Sousseh but did not elaborate or say who were the people killed. The pro-government Sham FM radio station said the strike hit a building near an Iranian school. SANA, the state news agency, quoted an unnamed military official as saying that the missiles were fired from the direction of Syria’s Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and hit a building, killing two civilians and wounding another.”


Reuters: Exclusive: Iran Sends Russia Hundreds Of Ballistic Missiles

“Iran has provided Russia with a large number of powerful surface-to-surface ballistic missiles, six sources told Reuters, deepening the military cooperation between the two U.S.-sanctioned countries. Iran's provision of around 400 missiles includes many from the Fateh-110 family of short-range ballistic weapons, such as the Zolfaghar, three Iranian sources said. This road-mobile missile is capable of striking targets at a distance of between 300 and 700 km (186 and 435 miles), experts say. Iran's defence ministry and the Revolutionary Guards - an elite force that oversees Iran's ballistic missile programme - declined to comment. Russia's defence ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The shipments began in early January after a deal was finalised in meetings late last year between Iranian and Russian military and security officials that took place in Tehran and Moscow, one of the Iranian sources said.”

Associated Press: Iran Accuses Israel Of Sabotage Attack After Explosions Strike A Natural Gas Pipeline

“An Israeli sabotage attack on an Iranian natural gas pipeline last week caused multiple explosions on the line, Iran’s oil minister alleged Wednesday, further raising tensions between the regional archenemies against the backdrop of Israel’s war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The accusations by Iran’s Oil Minister Javad Owji come as Israel has been blamed for a series of attacks targeting Tehran’s nuclear program. The “explosion of the gas pipeline was an Israeli plot,” Owji said, according to Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency. “The enemy intended to disturb gas service in the provinces and put people’s gas distribution at risk.” “The evil action and plot by the enemy was properly managed,” Owji added, without providing any evidence to support his claims. Israel has not acknowledged carrying out the attack, though it rarely claims its espionage missions abroad. The office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a longtime foe of Iran, did not respond to a request for comment.”


Reuters: Turkey To Provide Maritime Security Support To Somalia - Official

“Turkey will provide maritime security support to Somalia to help the African country defend its territorial waters, an official from the Turkish defence ministry said on Thursday. Turkey and Somalia signed a defence and economic cooperation agreement earlier this month during Somali defence minister's visit to Ankara. Commenting on the details of the agreement, a Turkish defence ministry official speaking on the condition of anonymity said Ankara had been providing training to Somali army for more than ten years. The agreement aims to enhance defence cooperation between Turkey and Somalia, the official said. "Upon request from Somalia, we will provide support in the field of maritime security, as we did in the field of fight against terrorism," he said. "We will help Somalia develop its capacity and capabilities to combat illegal and irregular activities in its territorial waters." Turkey has become a close ally of the Somali government in recent years. Ankara has built schools, hospitals and infrastructure and provided scholarships for Somalis to study in Turkey.”


Voice Of America: Afghan Fund Untapped In Switzerland, Taliban Make No Demand

“Sixteen months after its establishment, the U.S.-backed Fund for the Afghan People has yet to release any payments for its intended purposes, a board member reveals. The fund, created using half of Afghanistan's frozen assets in the United States, aims to help stabilize the Afghan economy without benefiting the de facto Taliban authorities. Established in the wake of the Taliban's takeover in 2021, the Switzerland-based fund holds $3.5 billion that formerly belonged to the Afghan Central Bank. It is authorized to support activities such as paying Afghanistan's debts to international organizations, funding electricity imports and even printing currency. “I’m surprised that they [the Taliban] have not asked for any payment so far,” Anwar ul-Haq Ahady, a co-chair of the fund’s board of trustees, told VOA. Ahady emphasized his willingness to facilitate the funding of authorized activities. Taliban officials declined to comment.”

Middle East

Associated Press: Suspected Houthi Rebel Missile Sets Cargo Ship Ablaze. Israel Intercepts Separate Attack Near Eilat

“A suspected missile attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels set a ship ablaze in the Gulf of Aden on Thursday as Israel intercepted what appeared to be another Houthi attack near the port city of Eilat, authorities said. The attacks come as the rebels escalate their assaults over Israel’s war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The attack Thursday in the Gulf of Aden saw two missiles fired, the British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations center said. It said the unnamed ship was ablaze, without elaborating. Ship-tracking data analyzed by The Associated Press identified the vessel ablaze as a Palau-flagged cargo ship named Islander. It had been coming from Thailand bound for Egypt and previously sent out messages saying “SYRIAN CREW ON BOARD” to potentially avoid being targeted by the Houthis. “The missile attack lead to a fire onboard and coalition military assets were responding to the incident,” the private security firm Ambrey said.”


Associated Press: Somalia Announces Deal With Turkey To Deter Ethiopia’s Access To Sea Through A Breakaway Region

“Somalia announced on Wednesday a defense deal with Turkey that includes support for the Horn of Africa nation’s sea assets and appears aimed at deterring Ethiopia’s efforts to secure access to the sea by way of the breakaway region of Somaliland. Ethiopia signed a memorandum of understanding with Somaliland on Jan. 1. The document has rattled Somalia, which said it’s prepared to go to war over it because it considers Somaliland part of its territory. Somaliland says Ethiopia agreed to recognize its independence in return for a naval port. Somali Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre described the defense and economic deal with Turkey as “a historic day for the country,” after the council of ministers approved it. “Somalia will have a true ally, a friend, and a brother in the international arena,” he said. Details of that agreement have not been made public, but Somalia sees such a deal as an act of aggression, even though Somaliland has enjoyed de facto independence for three decades.”

United Kingdom

The Guardian: Public Left ‘At Risk’ Over UK Counter-Terrorism Strategy, Says Prevent Review Author

“The author of a controversial review of Britain’s counter-terrorism strategy claims the public have been left “at risk” because many of his key recommendations have been ignored. In a heavily criticised review of Prevent for the Home Office last year, William Shawcross concluded that it had concentrated too much on the far-right and not enough on Islamist extremism. Shawcross told the BBC on Wednesday that Prevent was failing to identify terrorist sympathisers and that there was an increased risk in the UK due to the war in Gaza. Prevent gives public bodies a legal duty to identify people who may turn to extremism, and intervene. Shawcross was previously accused of failing to do the job properly after it was revealed he had attended only six of the review panels charged with examining the more extreme cases identified by Prevent. Ministers published a progress report on Tuesday, on the anniversary of the publication of Shawcross’s review, and said they had “brought Prevent back to its core mission.”

Associated Press: An Attempt By UK Lawmakers To Vote On A Cease-Fire In Gaza Descended Into Chaos

“U.K. lawmakers called Wednesday for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war — but only after dozens walked out of the House of Commons in protest at how the vote was handled. Lawmakers had been debating three separate resolutions related to the war. All were largely symbolic and not binding on the government. But Parliament descended into chaos as legislators from the governing Conservatives and an opposition party accused Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle of upending parliamentary procedure. The mayhem broke out during debate on a motion from the opposition Scottish National Party, or SNP, urging an immediate cease-fire, the release of all Israeli hostages held by Hamas and “an end to the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.” The main opposition Labour Party, which is divided over how strongly to criticize Israel, submitted a tweaked version of the motion calling for an “immediate humanitarian cease-fire,” without the mention of collective punishment.”


Bild: Police Prevent Serious Right-Wing Extremist Attack

“The police in Hesse announced this on Wednesday. Five teenagers aged 15, 16 and 19 were arrested. She is being investigated on suspicion of conspiring to commit a crime. On Friday (February 16), the Hessian State Office for the Protection of the Constitution (LfV) received information that several young people from a right-wing extremist group were planning an attack on a Wetzlar citizen. The police said: “For tactical reasons, we cannot say where the information about the attack came from.”

Reuters: Switzerland To Ban Hamas After Israel Attacks

“Switzerland's government said on Wednesday it wants to ban Hamas after the Palestinian militant group's attacks in Israel last year which killed nearly 1,200 people and sparked a war in Gaza. Bern said it was taking action after the attacks on October 7 which killed two Swiss nationals and resulted in nearly 250 people being taken hostage. In response, Israel launched a military assault on Gaza that local health authorities say has killed nearly 29,000 Palestinians with thousands more feared lost amid the ruins. The Swiss government said under the new legislation Hamas and "cover or successor organisations" as well as organisations or groups that act on its behalf or in its name will be banned. The ban aims to punish Hamas for the October attacks as well as prevent the group using Switzerland as a safe haven or carrying out attacks in the country for example by making entry bans or expulsions easier to arrange.”

Associated Press: UN Top Court Shouldn’t Urge Israel To Immediately Withdraw From Palestinian-Claimed Lands, US Says

“The United States said Wednesday the United Nations’ top court should not issue an advisory opinion that says Israel should “immediately and unconditionally withdraw” from territories sought for a Palestinian state. Acting State Department legal adviser Richard Visek said the 15-judge panel at the International Court of Justice should not seek to resolve the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict “through an advisory opinion addressed to questions focusing on the acts of only one party.” Visek spoke on the third day of hearings at the court into a request by the General Assembly for a non-binding advisory opinion on the legality of Israel’s policies in the occupied territories. He said the court “can address the questions before it within the established framework based on the land for peace principle and within the parameters of established principles of occupation law.” Visek added that the court’s opinion “will have consequences for the parties to the conflict and for the ongoing efforts of all of those working to achieve a durable peace.”

Southeast Asia

ABC News: Philippine Troops Clash With Muslim Militants In A Gunbattle That Has Left Eight Dead

“Philippine troops clashed with Muslim militants in a gunbattle that left at least six soldiers and two rebels dead in a fog-shrouded hinterland in the south, military officials said Monday. Military chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. said four other soldiers were wounded in the army offensive Sunday against fighters of the Dawlah Islamiyah, a small armed group aligned with the Islamic State group, near Munai town in Lanao del Norte province.”

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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