Eye on Extremism: February 7, 2024

Associated Press: Twin Bombings At Pakistan Political Offices Kill At Least 26 A Day Before Voting Begins

“A pair of bombings at the election offices of a political party and an independent candidate in southwest Pakistan killed at least 26 people and wounded more than two dozen others, officials said Wednesday, the day before parliamentary elections are to be held. The first attack hit the election office of Asfandyar Khan in Pashin, a district in Baluchistan province, said Jan Achakzai, the spokesperson for the provincial government. Officials said at least 15 people were killed in the attack and the wounded are being transported to a nearby hospital. Police said some of them were listed in critical condition. Later Wednesday, another bombing at the elections office of politician Fazlur Rehman’s Jamiat Ulema Islam party in Qilla Saifullah town of Baluchistan killed at least 11 people, Acahkzai and local authorities said.”

Reuters: Blasts In Somalia's Capital Mogadishu Kill At Least 10 - Residents

“Several blasts at a popular open-air market in Somalia's capital Mogadishu killed at least 10 people and left many others injured on Tuesday, local residents told Reuters. "I have counted 10 dead people and 15 others injured. My shop is completely destroyed. The blasts took place in four places in the centre of the market," Hassan Ali, a trader at the Bakara market told Reuters. It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the blasts but Islamist group al Shabaab frequently carries out bombings in Somalia and elsewhere. The government was not immediately available for comment. Bakara, Mogadishu's largest market, teems with traders and is where most residents buy their food, clothes, medicine, electronics and other items daily. Residents told Reuters several blasts went off, destroying many shops. Three nurses at Erdogan Hospital in Mogadishu told Reuters over 20 injured people had been brought to the facility.”

CEP Mentions

Foundation For Defense Of Democracies: Podcast: New UN Report On Al Qaeda And Islamic State: Here’s What To Know

“Bill and Caleb are joined again by Edmund Fitton-Brown — former coordinator of the UN’s Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team — to discuss the group’s latest report on the threat posed by al Qaeda and the Islamic State. They unpack the report’s highlights and key takeaways, including uncertainty surrounding the new IS leader and why the reason behind it could be “earth-shattering;” West Africa’s slide into even deeper chaos; how only one ‘member state’ denied that al Qaeda’s leader is inside Iran, the state which Edmund says is “the spider at the center of the web; and more.”

United States

Associated Press: Blinken To Brief Israeli Leaders On Cease-Fire And Hostage Talks As War In Gaza Enters 5th Month

“U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was set to meet Israeli leaders on Wednesday as Hamas suggested it was open to a new ceasefire and hostage release deal, but both sides remain dug in on thus far elusive goals as the war enters its fifth month. The deadliest round of fighting in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has killed over 27,000 Palestinians, leveled entire neighborhoods, driven the vast majority of Gaza’s population from their homes, and pushed a quarter of the population to starvation. Iran-backed militant groups across the region have conducted attacks, mostly on U.S. and Israeli targets, in solidarity with the Palestinians, drawing reprisals as the risk of a wider conflict grows. Israel remains deeply shaken by Hamas’ Oct 7 attack, in which militants burst through the country’s vaunted defenses and rampaged across southern Israel, killing some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducting some 250, around half of whom remain in captivity in Gaza.”

Iran

New York Post: Iranian Ambassador To UN Denies Involvement In Israel Massacre — But Boasts About ‘Training’ Palestinian Terrorists

“... However, Iravani was quick to detail the Iranian regime’s extensive efforts to support “resistance” against Israel and the West in the Middle East region. “In the case of the Palestine [sic], we’re sending arm [sic], we’re training them and empowering them,” the UN ambassador said. “But with the other parts of the region, resistance part of the, in the region, we have some coordination, cooperation, consultation, and maybe some financing also.”

Iraq

Associated Press: UN Envoy Warns More Attacks On Iraq Threaten Its Hard-Won Stability

“Iraq’s government is focused on avoiding a domestic or regional spillover of the Israel-Hamas war but continuing attacks on the country threaten its hard-won stability, the U.N. envoy for Iraq warned Tuesday. With the war raging in Gaza, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert told the U.N. Security Council that “the Middle East is at a critical juncture” and “the same is true for Iraq.” Attacks originating from inside and outside Iraq will not only undo the country’s stability but “other achievements made in the past 18 months,” she said, adding that “messaging by strikes only serves to recklessly heighten tensions, to kill or injure people and to destroy property.” She pointed to the Jan. 28 drone strike on a Jordanian facility hosting U.S. forces fighting Islamic State extremists that killed three U.S. Army members and injured many more – and to the U.S. response with 85 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against sites used by Iranian-backed militias and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard on Feb. 2. Both Iraq and Syria claimed civilians were killed and injured, and property destroyed.”

Turkey

Associated Press: 3 People Killed In Alleged Extremist Attack At Turkey’s Largest Courthouse

“Two people attacked Turkey’s largest courthouse before being shot dead Tuesday in an exchange of fire that also left one other person dead and five wounded. Authorities alleged the assailants were part of an extremist organization that had been largely inactive in recent years. Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said the man and woman attacked a security checkpoint at the Caglayan courthouse in Istanbul, and then were killed in an exchange of fire. Authorities said that one other woman also was killed in the gunfire, and that three police officers and two civilians were wounded. Yerlikaya later said the attackers were alleged members of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front, or DHKP/C, a far-left group that is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. The Caglayan courthouse, also known as the Istanbul Justice Palace, is a huge and heavily guarded court complex in the Kagithane district. It was Europe’s largest courthouse when it opened in 2011.”

Yemen

Voice Of America: Houthis Fire 6 More Anti-Ship Missiles Into Red Sea

“Iranian-backed Houthi militants have once again ignored U.S. calls to stop attacking international shipping lanes or face consequences, this time firing six anti-ship missiles from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen into the Red Sea, a U.S. official tells VOA. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said U.S. naval forces had shot at least one of the missiles down on Tuesday, with others falling into the sea. There were no reported injuries, and the ship was able to continue toward its destination, CENTCOM said in a statement.”

Middle East

Associated Press: Qatar Gets ‘Positive’ Response From Hamas On Cease-Fire Plan As Group Reiterates Its Broader Demands

“Hamas’ response to the latest plan for a cease-fire in Gaza and the release of hostages was “generally positive,” key mediator Qatar said Tuesday, as the militant group reiterated its demand for an end to the war, something Israel has thus far ruled out. Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdurrahman Al Thani announced the response during a news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who said he would brief Israeli leaders on it Wednesday when he meets with them. Blinken, who met with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman the day before, said the Saudis still have a “strong interest” in normalizing relations with Israel but require an end to the war and a “clear, credible, time-bound path to the establishment of a Palestinian state.” Qatar, which has long mediated with Hamas, has been working with the U.S. and Egypt to broker a cease-fire that would involve a halt in fighting for several weeks and the release of the over 100 hostages still held by Hamas after its Oct. 7 cross-border raid that ignited the war.”

Reuters: Hamas Proposes 135-Day Gaza Truce With Total Israeli Withdrawal

“Hamas has proposed a ceasefire plan that would quiet the guns in Gaza for four-and-a-half months, during which all hostages would go free, Israel would withdraw its troops from the Gaza Strip and an agreement would be reached on an end to the war. The militant group's proposal - a response to an offer sent last week by Qatari and Egyptian mediators - comes in the biggest diplomatic push yet for an extended halt to the fighting, and was met with hope and relief in the Gaza Strip. There was no immediate public response from Israel, which has said it will not pull its troops out of Gaza until Hamas is wiped out. According to a draft document seen by Reuters, the Hamas counterproposal envisages three phases of a truce, lasting 45 days each. Militants would exchange remaining Israeli hostages they captured on Oct. 7 for Palestinian prisoners. The reconstruction of Gaza would begin, Israeli forces would withdraw completely, and bodies and remains would be exchanged.”

Reuters: Israel Strike Targets Syrian Army Outposts In Homs Province - State Media

“Israeli missiles struck a number of sites in Syria's Homs province, the Syrian army said on Wednesday, with local sources saying the attacks targeted Syrian army outposts and an airbase in the area. Syrian air defense shot down a number of missiles, state media said, without giving details on the targets hit. A military source later told state media that there were several casualties and people injured as well as damage to property. State television showed ambulances rushing to the scene of a strike, where wreckage and debris lay from a building that was hit. Reuters could not verify the location of the site. Since the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on Israeli civilians and soldiers, Israel has escalated its strikes on Iranian-backed militia targets in Syria and also struck Syrian army air defences and some Syrian forces. The attacks targeted the Shuyrat airbase and several locations on the outskirts of Homs, according to a Syrian military intelligence source familiar with the matter.”

Germany

Politico: Far-Right AfD’s Youth Wing May Be Classified As ‘Extremist,’ German Court Rules

“A German court has ruled that Germany’s domestic intelligence agency may classify the youth wing of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party as extremist, fueling a debate about whether the group should be banned. The youth group, known as Young Alternative, “continues to engage in massive anti-foreigner and, in particular, anti-Islam and anti-Muslim agitation,” an administrative court in Cologne found, according to German media reports. Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, which is tasked with surveilling groups deemed anti-constitutional, classified the Young Alternative as extremist in 2023 after monitoring it for years. The AfD and Young Alternative sought to counter the move in court. The Cologne court, however, ruled that the classification of Young Alternative as extremist is justified, though the group is likely to now appeal that decision.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

Fact:

On February 26, 2015, a Boko Haram suicide bomber detonated his explosives near a market in Biu, Nigeria, killing 19 people and injuring 20 others. A second attempted-suicide bomber was caught and beaten by a crowd before he was able to carry out his attack.

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