On January 15, 2019, al-Shabaab gunmen stormed an upscale hotel and office complex in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. The attack lasted over 12 hours, killing 22 people and wounding 27 others.
“Survivors of a deadly attack in Nigeria’s northwest said Sunday the death toll has reached 200, but authorities said that only 58 people were killed in the three days of bloodshed — the latest attack in a cycle of violence in the West African nation. Locals had earlier reported that at least 100 were killed in the attack by hundreds of gunmen which lasted from Tuesday till Thursday in northwest Zamfara state. On Sunday, as residents told The Associated Press that bodies from at least eight affected communities have reached 200, authorities and police insisted they have an upper hand in the fight against extremism in Nigeria’s troubled northern region. The Zamfara governor’s office and police said 58 people were killed in the attack in Bukkuyum and Anka local government areas of Zamfara, citing accounts of local chiefs given during a visit to the affected communities on Saturday.”
“Authorities in Sweden and France have launched a joint team to investigate atrocities committed by ISIS against the Yazidi community. Europe's crime agency, Eurojust, has set up the team to prosecute foreign terrorist fighters for their persecution of the Yazidi population. More than 10,000 Yazidis were killed when ISIS swept through northern Iraq in 2014 and about 7,000 women and girls were enslaved, many of whom are still missing. “The main aim of the team will be to identify foreign terrorist fighters who were involved in core international crimes, such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, primarily perpetrated against members of the Yazidi minority during the armed conflict in Syria and Iraq, in view of potential prosecution,” Eurojust said. “The team will also focus on identifying victims and witnesses of these crimes committed by foreign terrorist fighters in Syria and Iraq.” The joint initiative aims to share information and evidence more swiftly and avoid several interviews of the same victims. Investigations in the two countries are ongoing and are co-ordinated by Eurojust through the Swedish and French authorities, with the support of the Genocide Network Secretariat, hosted by Eurojust.”
“The U.S. Navy is adding two weeks to its formerly eight-week boot camp program this year to focus on improving recruits' emergency skills and war readiness, as well as equipping them to handle issues related to suicide prevention, sexual assault, hazing, and racism. The news comes as the Navy deals with a series of shipboard crises in recent years, including fatal fires and collisions. Suicides, sexual assaults, and other objectionable behavior have also risen, according to The Associated Press. “We're telling our recruits ... here are all of the things that we expect you to do, and here's how we expect you to behave and act,” said Rear Adm. Jennifer Couture, according to the AP. She added that the training involves treating people with respect and holding peers accountable. “We believe very strongly that those types of behaviors are directly impacting our fighting readiness and the performance of our sailors.” In 2017, Navy commanders suggested changes regarding how sailors are trained following two fatal collisions that year, which killed 17 sailors. Dozens of recommendations were laid out in a report regarding how to improve seamanship training, navigation, and use of ship equipment. Sleep and stress management were also included.”
“An extremist who spent months trying to cross the Syrian border from Turkey to join a terrorist training camp has been jailed for 12 years in the UK. Mamun Rashid, 28, of East London, was arrested by the Turkish authorities in February 2019 within walking distance of the north Syria border. He had spent six months plotting his route over the border after flying to Istanbul from London with the ambition of dying a martyr. Rashid was deported to the UK where he pleaded guilty to preparing acts of terrorism and was jailed on Thursday. He has since claimed that he is no longer an extremist but judge Andrew Lees sentenced him to 12 years in prison, with a further five years of being monitored. The court heard that Rashid had signed up to a university course to secure a student loan to fund his mission to Syria to fight against the regime of Bashar Al Assad. He had taken an interest in the plight of Muslims in Syria and told a friend “I hope I can be the best martyr.” The court heard Rashid was briefly kicked out of his family home by his father, who suspected him of being a terrorist, before relenting and allowing him to return. He flew to Istanbul in July 2018 and started trying to find a way into Syria.”
“Turkey will eradicate terrorism at its source, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said Saturday, adding that the country has no interest in the territory of other countries. The minister met with representatives of the press in the capital Ankara at the annual assessment meeting. Expressing that Turkey is working intensively in its region and in critical geographies, Akar, aware of the country's geopolitical and geostrategic importance, said that it is seeking to maintain its national security and foster peaceful relations with its neighbors and allies. Turkey entered the new year with increased motivation, Akar stressed, emphasizing that it has adopted the method of ending terrorism at the source in accordance with the new security concept, and in doing so, has no eye on other countries’ territorial integrity and sovereignty. From July 24, 2015, up until today, 33,275 terrorists have been eliminated, whereas this number from Jan. 1, 2021, is 2,795, Akar noted. “Turkey has torn apart the terror corridor that was intended to be created in Syria, and the terrorists have been buried in the pit they dug,” Akar said, who also added that more than 1 million Syrians have voluntarily returned to terror-free areas to date.”
“The Taliban have arrested a Kabul university professor who gained national fame for berating a senior official on live television, a sign of the intensifying crackdown on critics of Afghanistan’s new regime. Faizullah Jalal, a professor of political science and law at Kabul University, was arrested Saturday, weeks after he confronted a Taliban official in a debate on Afghanistan’s largest television network, Tolo. Lashing out at the Taliban’s extremist rule, he called Mohammad Naeem, the spokesman for the Taliban’s political office in Doha, a “terrorist” and a “calf,” an Afghan insult for people of low intelligence. Taliban chief spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid confirmed the arrest of Mr. Jalal on Twitter, calling the professor a “fanatic” who used social media to incite people. Mr. Mujahid posted screenshots of a social-media account posting anti-Taliban messages in the professor’s name. Mr. Jalal’s family members, who run his official Twitter account, said the account in the screenshots was fake. Mr. Jalal’s daughter, Hasina, told The Wall Journal that the family hadn’t been able to contact the professor since Saturday afternoon local time. In the weeks after seizing power in August, the Taliban repeatedly said that they supported free media and mostly refrained from jailing critics, even as scores of former government officials and security force members were gunned down, often by unknown assailants.”
“The growth of the Islamic State Khorasan, or ISIS-K, and al Qaeda in the months since the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan could result in both groups having the capacity to launch international attacks in a matter of months, officials said. This continues a pattern of warnings that began just weeks after the withdrawal. Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during his Sept. 29 testimony on Capitol Hill that either terror group could reconstitute within six to 36 months. That timeline remains accurate, a spokesperson from the Joint Chiefs office told the Washington Examiner, meaning that the groups could return as soon as three months from now. The United States withdrew from Afghanistan after nearly 20 years of war, just weeks after the Taliban overthrew the U.S.-backed Ghani government. With the Taliban now in control, officials at the Department of Defense expressed concern about the possibility that the groups could become operational and an international threat at some point in the future. “It's a real possibility in the not too distant future, six, 12, 18, 24, 36 months, that kind of time frame, for reconstitution of al Qaeda or ISIS,” Milley said, with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin agreeing with his assessment.”
“Pakistani counterterrorism police killed six militants from the Islamic State group in an overnight raid at a hideout in the southwestern city of Quetta. A police statement issued Sunday said the raid was carried out in the provincial capital's Manzoor Shaheed precinct area. It said the raid was based on strong intelligence the militants were preparing to stage an attack in the city. The militants opened fire when the police arrived and lobbed grenades. The ensuing exchange of fire continue for well over an hour and six militants were killed, the statement said. Some managed to escape in the dark and they were being sought, it said. One of the dead militants was identified as Asghar Sumalani, who had a bounty on his head. The counterterrorism police provided no further details. Pakistani authorities have denied any organized presence of the Islamic State group in the country but the group strikes sporadically in southwestern Baluchistan and northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces, both on the border with Afghanistan.”
“The Arab Coalition has condemned Yemen’s Houthi rebels for using civilian ports in the country’s west for warfare. Hodeidah, Al Saleef and Ras Isa have become staging areas for attacks on global maritime trade, as well as hubs for weapons smuggling and production. “The Houthi rebels have been practising piracy in the international waters of the Red Sea and Bab Al Mandeb, which threatens maritime security and poses a big threat to global trade,” the Arab Coalition spokesman Gen Turki Al Malki said on Saturday. “The act of piracy, which was committed by the Houthi rebels against the Emirati-flagged Rawabi ship last week is a severe violation of international laws and threatens maritime security.” The Houthis have used long-range ballistic missiles, which can strike oil infrastructure in the region. Last week, they hijacked the Emirati-flagged Rawabi in the waters near Ras Isa. The coalition said this constituted an act of terrorism. “The rebels orchestrated and executed the attack which targeted the Rawabi,” Gen Al Malki said. He said the attack originated “from Hodeidah port, using fishing boats, and redirected it [the ship] to Al Saleef port”. Gen Al Malki said the rebels were using Ras Isa, Hodeidah and Al Saleef ports to import and assemble Iranian ballistic missiles, and for the covert manufacture of explosive-laden boats used to attack commercial ships.”
“A woman who supported terrorism has been banned from teaching for life. Miriam Sebbagh, who worked at Hunwick Primary School in Crook, County Durham, was found to have given money to people she knew were involved in terrorism. A teacher misconduct panel also heard she tried to radicalise a friend. Ms Sebbagh was arrested in 2017 and investigated by police but the Crown Prosecution Service concluded there was insufficient evidence to bring criminal charges, the panel heard. Counter Terrorism Policing North East (CTPNE) “maintained a high level of concern regarding Ms Sebbagh's state of mind, the opinions which she espoused and her actions within the teaching arena”, its report said. The panel heard CTPNE had received information that Ms Sebbagh had given £2,500 to an individual linked to a proscribed terrorist organisation. She had made “numerous” other payments to individuals, charities, overseas accounts and crowd-funded donation sites. The panel heard CTPNE was concerned Ms Sebbagh was funding travel from the UK for people wanting to join ISIS or other extremist groups. It told the Teaching Regulation Authority that some of the payments were made to people who had been investigated or arrested for suspected terrorism related offences.”
“Britain’s fight against terrorism has become more challenging than ever before, a senior police official has told The Independent newspaper. Changing methods in planning, targeting and execution meant that authorities were struggling to detect potential attacks, said Dean Haydon, senior national coordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing. Lone attackers have carried out the majority of terror incidents in Britain since 2017. And although the majority of incidents, including failed attacks, are carried out by Islamists, a growth in the number of far-right terrorists has concerned police. “The main threat we currently see is from people within this country that are being self-radicalised,” he added. “The timelines have been shortened. You can go out and buy a kitchen knife in a supermarket and decide, ‘This afternoon I’m going to commit an attack’ in the name of whatever ideology, and it’s a terrorist attack. “Would we see that coming? That’s really difficult to detect. Our collective challenge is far more difficult than it has ever been. The profile of a terrorist has completely changed, and that comes back to how the threat has changed.” He said the radicalization leading up to an attack had altered significantly since the 1990s.”
“The explosion that went off under a French vehicle involved in the Dakar car rally in Saudi Arabia last week may have been a terrorist attack, France's foreign minister said on Friday. “We told the organisers and the Saudi officials to be very transparent on what had happened because there were hypothesis that it was a terrorist attack,” Jean-Yves Le Drian told BFM TV and RMC Radio on Friday. “There was perhaps a terrorist attack targeting the Dakar rally.” His comments are likely to irk Saudi Arabia. Its Public Security on Jan. 1 said that “preliminary evidence-gathering procedures found no criminal suspicion”. Dakar rally director David Castera ruled out ending the ongoing competition in Saudi Arabia. “The question is not being raised at the moment,” he told franceinfo radio. Sufficient safety measures have been put in place thanks to Saudi authorities to ensure the safety of the rally, he said. Saudi authorities have not responded to Reuters queries about the incident or the French investigation and did not immediately respond to Reuters' request for comment on Friday. French prosecutors said on Tuesday they had opened a terrorism investigation into the matter. The blast, which seriously injured one of the rally competitors, hit a support vehicle belonging to the French team Sodicars soon after it left its hotel in Jeddah for the race route, according to accounts from the team and race organisers.”
“A controversial Islamic organization has removed Iran’s Hamburg Center from its Shura executive board after German intelligence sources revealed that the Iranian entity in the city-state supports the late Qasem Soleimani, who was a designated terrorist according to US and EU law. The Hamburg Shura Council is an association of Muslim organizations. The German daily paper Die Welt reported that the Islamic Center of Hamburg (IZH) is “Iran’s long arm in Europe” and has “links to a terrorist organization,” including being controlled by Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei. However, the Shura Council’s executive board did not eject the radical revolutionary Islamic Center and its Blue Mosque from the organization. There has been growing pressure on the Social Democrat and Green parties coalition in Hamburg to pull the plug on its agreement with the Shura Council because of the Islamic Center’s membership. The new head of the Shura executive board, Fatih Yildiz, told the German Press Agency that an evaluation of the state treaty played a subordinate role in the restructuring. Hamburg’s intelligence agency has monitored the Islamic Center and its Blue Mosque over the decades and concluded that the mosque is “directly connected” with Khamenei and receives “instructions” from him.”
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