Eye on Extremism: January 12

Newsweek: U.S. Warns Tourists In France To 'Exert Increased Caution' Over ISIS Threat

“The U.S. government has issued a warning for American travelers to ‘exercise extreme caution’ in France because of the threat of extremist attacks, after French security services revealed they had foiled as many as 20 plots in 2017. French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told Le Progres newspaper on Tuesday that France is no longer safe from the threat of extremism. ‘We have to be vigilant everywhere,’ he said. ‘Today no part of the territory is free of risk.’ A day later, the State Department issued an advisory on its website that told tourists to be extra careful in the country for fear of a spontaneous extremist attack or the execution of a well-planned plot.”

The New York Times: U.S. Bombs Afghan Militia Behind Insider Attack, Officials Say

“The American military bombed members of an Afghan government militia who were on the front lines of the battle against the Islamic State in eastern Afghanistan, killing at least 13 fighters after at least one opened fire on American Special Forces soldiers deployed there, Afghan officials said Thursday. While some Afghan officials said that at least two American soldiers were killed in what was described as an insider attack by friendly forces, Capt. Tom Gresback, a spokesman for the United States military in Afghanistan, rejected those reports and said that only one American service member had been wounded. Captain Gresback would not say whether the service member had been wounded by friendly fire, or whether the United States had bombed the militia afterward. The episode unfolded in the Achin district of Nangarhar Province, the stronghold of the Islamic State’s affiliate in Afghanistan. Over the past year, Afghan forces, with the help of American Special Forces units and airpower, have tried to wipe out the group there, but it has been an uphill task because the Afghan government has had little control in the area for many years. Every time the Islamic State has been squeezed in Achin, the fighters have shifted to a neighboring district.”

Newsweek Pakistan: Islamic State Cells Expand Into Kabul

“Middle-class Afghans turned jihadists have assisted the Islamic State group’s expansion from its stronghold in Afghanistan’s restive east to Kabul, analysts say, helping to make the capital one of the deadliest places in the country. I.S. has claimed nearly 20 attacks across Kabul in 18 months, with cells including students, professors and shopkeepers evading Afghan and U.S. security forces to bring carnage to the highly fortified city. It is an alarming development for Kabul’s war-weary civilians and beleaguered security forces, who are already struggling to beat back the resurgent Taliban, as well as the U.S. counter-terrorism mission in Afghanistan. ‘This is not just a group that has a rural bastion in eastern Afghanistan—it is staging high casualty, high visibility attacks in the nation’s capital and I think that’s something to be worried about,’ said analyst Michael Kugelman of the Wilson Center in Washington.”

U.S. News & World Report: Bangladeshi Man Pleads Not Guilty In NYC Subway Bomb Attack

“A Bangladeshi immigrant still recovering from injuries suffered in the failed pipe bombing of the New York subway system pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges Thursday. Akayed Ullah, 27, entered the plea after he was indicted a day earlier on charges he provided material support to a terrorist organization and used a weapon of mass destruction. The bearded Ullah was the only person seriously hurt when the bomb went off Dec. 11 in a corridor linking the subway to Manhattan's Port Authority bus terminal. U.S. District Judge Richard J. Sullivan asked Ullah how he wanted to plead to the six-count indictment. Ullah responded: ‘At this moment, not guilty.’ His court-appointed attorney, Amy Gallicchio, did not elaborate on the plea outside court.”

Fast Company: Facebook And Twitter Shareholders Are Demanding Action On Fake News And Abuse

“Over the last year or so, the scourge of disinformation and harassment on popular social networks has been an escalating source of frustration for users, and perhaps the most frustrating part of all is the constant foot-dragging of the Silicon Valley firms tasked with reining in the problem. Sure, Facebook and Twitter now readily admit there’s a real problem—which is more than they did a few years ago—but despite the constant mea culpas and vows to do better, we always seem to end up right back where we started. Now a group of Facebook and Twitter shareholders is hoping to force the companies to change their ways, and they’re doing it from inside the investor pool. Arjuna Capital, an activist investment firm with a history of trying to force tech companies to behave more ethically, said today it has filed shareholder proposals demanding that Facebook and Twitter figure out ways to get a handle on the fake news and rampant abuse that infect their platforms. The group says both companies have an obligation to demonstrate how they manage content and prevent violations of their terms of service. Facebook and Twitter, the group adds, always seem to be one step behind the problem, implementing solutions that are “reactive, not proactive.”

United States

The Wall Street Journal: Anti-Terror Victory In Congress

“The House voted 256-164 on Thursday to reauthorize a surveillance law critical to America’s security for another six years. If the Senate follows up, this will mark a victory for sensible antiterror policy over exaggerated fears on the right and left. Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) authorizes intelligence agencies to surveil non-U.S. persons who are “reasonably believed” to be located outside the United States. Foreigners don’t enjoy U.S. constitutional protections, and as we have learned the hard way some of them may be plotting attacks on Americans at home or abroad. Surveillance is an essential U.S. weapon to prevent such attacks, as officials across Democratic and Republican administrations have averred. The House Intelligence Committee notes the law “has been instrumental in preventing numerous acts of terrorism,” including by top Islamic State terrorist Haji Imam.”

The Hill: The US Cannot Stand Alone In Middle East Negotiations

“Unrest in Iran has dominated news coming out of the Middle East for nearly two weeks. It is a big story, with protests spreading to nearly 80 cities. Iran looked less to be the behemoth whose reach could not be stopped in the region, and more a country whose long-term stability might well be in question. The focus on Iran won’t lessen this week, as President Trump must again respond to legislation that requires him to certify that the Iranians are not in material breach of their obligations in the JCPOA, the nuclear deal, and that it is in the national security interests of the United States. While he is once again certain not to certify the deal, it remains to be seen whether he will walk away from it. If Trump seizes on the unrest and demonstrations as a pretext to re-impose nuclear-related sanctions, he will do so alone: The Europeans have made clear that they will continue to abide by the deal — especially because Iran is fulfilling its obligations under its terms. There is room for the president to impose new non-nuclear sanctions and gain European support for them, particularly if they understand this may keep the U.S. in the JCPOA.”

The International Business Times: Stung By Washington, Turkey Issues Travel Warning For US Citing Rising Number Of Terror Acts

“In a bitter tit-for-tat move, Turkey has issued a warning to its citizens travelling to the US to take precautions against increasing terror acts in the country. Its foreign ministry advised Turks to revise their travel plans as they could even face arbitrary arrests in the US. ‘We observe an increasing number of terror plots and acts of violence in the United States,’ said a statement from the foreign ministry on Friday, 12 January. Vehicles could be used for such acts of violence, besides bomb explosions and armed assaults, it said. Listing some recent incidents in the US, the Turkish foreign ministry added that state buildings, city centres, metro stations and schools could be targeted by far-right organisations and racist groups.”

Bloomberg: Trump Targets Hezbollah Before Key Iran Sanctions Deadlines

“The Trump administration moved to ratchet up pressure on Iran Thursday as the president faces a series of deadlines for decisions on sanctions underpinning the 2015 nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic. The Justice Department said it will establish a “financing and narcoterrorism” team to target Iran’s ally Hezbollah, which the U.S. considers a terrorist organization. Later in the day, President Donald Trump was scheduled to meet with his national security team before the first deadlines on Iran sanctions come Friday. While the president plans to extend waivers on sanctions against Iran that were suspended under the nuclear deal, he is also preparing new sanctions targeting Iran for ballistic missile, human rights and cyber violations. Those moves are intended to increase pressure without abrogating the nuclear accord that Iran reached with the U.S. and five other world powers, according to two administration officials familiar with the matter. “I am expecting new sanctions on Iran,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said at the White House Thursday, without giving further details. “You can expect there will be more sanctions coming.”

Politico: Sessions Creates Team To Focus On Hezbollah Financing And Drugs

“Attorney General Jeff Sessions is creating a dedicated team of prosecutors and investigators to focus on drug trafficking by the Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah in response to a recent POLITICO article that highlighted some such cases were softpedaled during the Obama administration in order avoid derailing a nuclear deal with Tehran A Justice Department statement said the newly-formed Hezbollah Financing and Narcoterrorism Team will "begin by assessing the evidence in existing investigations," including the so-called Project Cassandra probes highlighted in the POLITICO report. "The Justice Department will leave no stone unturned in order to eliminate threats to our citizens from terrorist organizations and to stem the tide of the devastating drug crisis,” Sessions said. “In an effort to protect Americans from both threats, the Justice Department will assemble leading investigators and prosecutors to ensure that all Project Cassandra investigations as well as other related investigations, whether past or present, are given the needed resources and attention to come to their proper resolution. The team will initiate prosecutions that will restrict the flow of money to foreign terrorist organizations as well as disrupt violent international drug trafficking operations.”


Cipher Brief: Managing The Risk Of The ISIS’ Diaspora In The Caribbean

“It’s been on the mind of President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly, for some time. He was a Marine general and commander of U.S. Southern Command in January 2016, when he told reporters that foreign terrorist fighters from former British colonies in the Caribbean posed a serious security threat to the U.S. and its allies. Kelly underscored the limited resources and capabilities of the state security services in places like Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname, compared with their American counterparts. Even a few extremists, either returning to the region from Syria and Iraq, or never having left, ‘can cause an awful lot of trouble down in the Caribbean, because they don’t have an FBI, they don’t have law enforcement like we do,’ Kelly told the reporters at the time. ‘And many of these countries have very, very small militaries, if they have militaries at all, and they welcome the help from the United States.’ His warning and the continuing—possibly escalating—threat highlights the need for timely, coherent and synchronized policy interventions by governments on America’s ‘third border’ to combat violent extremism.”


The New York Times: Fighting Rages In Syria’s Last Major Insurgent Stronghold

“The United Nations expressed alarm on Thursday about a surge of fighting and destruction in the Idlib Province of northwestern Syria, the last major area of the country held by insurgents, where assaults by Russian-backed Syrian forces have put tens of thousands of civilians at risk. United Nations relief officials also called on Thursday for an urgent humanitarian pause in fighting around Eastern Ghouta, the rebel-held Damascus suburb where roughly 400,000 civilians have long been trapped without access to emergency aid. The assault on Idlib, including areas near the Turkish border, has forced more than 100,000 people to flee for safety since the start of December, Jan Egeland, the United Nations adviser on humanitarian affairs in Syria, said after a meeting of a humanitarian task force in Geneva on Thursday. The United Nations estimates Idlib’s population at 2.5 million, including more than a million who fled or were evacuated to the province to escape offensives elsewhere in the country, and who are packed into camps scattered across the province.”


The Washington Post: Treasury Secretary Says New Iran Sanctions Are Coming As Administration Faces Another Deadline On Nuclear Deal

“The Trump administration said Thursday that it plans additional sanctions on Iran that are separate from those covered under the international nuclear deal with Iran, an indication that President Trump is unlikely to break the 2015 deal now. The president's top national security advisers met with Trump on Thursday afternoon at the White House ahead of a deadline Friday for the president to again exempt Iran from a suite of tough economic sanctions imposed years ago. Announcement of the decision was expected Thursday night or Friday morning. If those sanctions are reimposed, the United States would violate the deal brokered by his predecessor that lifted sanctions in exchange for a rollback of Iran's nuclear development program. “You're going to be finding out very soon,” Trump said Thursday when asked about Iran. “You'll be finding that out very soon.” U.S. officials and others have said Trump is expected to take the recommendation of senior advisers that he keep the old nuclear-related sanctions in suspension, while announcing new ones that would target other aspects of Iran's behavior, including mass arrests during anti-government protests this month.”

Forbes: Iran Protests: What We Are Learning

“The future of Iran’s protests is on the minds of many as the fate of this strategically important state remains in limbo. This subject gains even more importance considering U.S. President Donald Trump’s upcoming Friday decision on the controversial Iran nuclear deal. Iran’s state media claims the protests have come to an end, a result similar to that of 2009. Yet the world is witnessing how further cities and towns are expressing their abhorrence over the ruling elite. This status quo is a struggle between the Iranian people literally fed up with this regime and a dictatorship weakened from domestic unrest, internal rifts and international pressures. Escalating matters far beyond previous scenes of nationwide protests in 2009 and 1999 is the clear reference made by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to the party behind these rallies.”


Voice Of America: Yazidi Children Rescued From IS Getting Psychological Help

“Dozens of Yazidi children who have been rescued from the Islamic State terror group in Iraq and Syria are now receiving counseling to cope with and recover from the trauma they experienced during their years in captivity. At Qadiya refugee camp near the Iraqi Kurdistan Region's northern city of Duhok, more than 100 Yazidi boys and girls aged between 4 and 13, who were kidnapped by IS in August 2014, are getting assistance to recover from the psychological harm they sustained under IS control. The children were smuggled out of IS-controlled territories in Iraq and Syria in recent months. Most of the boys were trained by IS to engage in militancy, while many girls were sexually abused.”


CBC News: Turkey Says It Won't Extradite Any Suspects To U.S. Until It Gets Fethullah Gulen

“Turkey will not extradite any suspects to the United States if Washington doesn't hand over the cleric Ankara blames for orchestrating a failed 2016 military coup, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday. Ankara accuses U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen of masterminding the putsch and has repeatedly asked Washington for his extradition. U.S. officials have said courts require sufficient evidence to extradite the elderly cleric, who has denied any involvement in the coup. "We have given the United States 12 terrorists so far, but they have not given us back the one we want. They made up excuses from thin air," Erdogan told local administrators at a conference in his presidential palace in Ankara. "If you're not giving him [Gulen] to us, then excuse us, but from now on whenever you ask us for another terrorist, as long as I am in office, you will not get them," he said.”


ABC News: US: American Soldier Wounded In Afghan Attack

“The U.S. military says one of its soldiers was wounded when insurgents launched an attack in eastern Afghanistan's remote Achin district of Nangarhar province. Capt. Tom Gresback, a U.S. military spokesman in Afghanistan, told the Associated Press one U.S. service member was wounded and in stable condition in what he would describe only as ‘active ground engagement.’ He refused to give further details including whether it involved a local militia. In Afghanistan, local militias are often paid by the U.S. and are partnered with them in operations in remote regions. The Taliban claimed the attack Thursday was carried out by two insurgent disguised as local militiamen. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told The Associated Press the attackers had infiltrated the local force months earlier. Gresback said they were investigating the incident.”

Associated Press: Afghan Official: Taliban Kill 3 Policemen In Country's West

“An Afghan official says a Taliban attack has killed three policemen in western Farah province. Mohammad Naser Mehri, spokesman for the provincial governor, says the attack took place early in the morning on Friday, targeting a highway security outpost in the province's Bala Buluk district. Mehri says more than 80 Taliban fighters took part in the attack. Police called in reinforcements, which repulsed the attackers. There was no immediate Taliban comment or claim of responsibility from the insurgent group. Meanwhile, in western Ghor province, Abdul Hai Khateby, the spokesman for the provincial governor, says explosives prepared by a would-be suicide bomber blew up on Friday, killing a family member and wounding four. The would-be bomber was away at the time of the explosion.”


Xinhua: Pakistan Will Take Action Against Militants On "Actionable Intelligence": Spokesman

“Pakistan on Thursday rejected U.S. allegations that it has provided sanctuaries to Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network, saying Pakistani forces will take action on "actionable intelligence" about the presence of the militants on Pakistani soil. ‘We have repeatedly said that Pakistan will take action on the basis of any actionable intelligence or information provided to us. We have conveyed to the U.S. that actionable intelligence sharing can help in advancing the shared goal of defeating terrorism from the region,’ Foreign Ministry Spokesman Muhammad Faisal said. ‘We have repeatedly said that we will take action against any terrorist element, in Pakistan, if actionable intelligence is shared with us. Similarly, Pakistan expects that the Afghan side will also do the same so that the menace of terrorism, which is a global phenomenon, can be rooted out,’ Faisal said at a weekly briefing.”

Saudi Arabia

The National: Saudi Arabia Shoots Down Houthi Missile Fired At Najran

“Saudi air defence forces shot down a ballistic missile fired by Yemen's Houthi rebels at the southern province of Najran on Thursday evening. Colonel Turki Al Malki, spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition fighting the rebels, said the missile launch site had been traced to Amran province in northern Yemen. The missile was targeted at heavily populated areas but was destroyed in mid-air without any casualties, Col Al Malki said in a press release carried by the Kuwait News Agency Houthi media said the missile fired on Thursday was a Qaher 2-M ballistic missile and was targeting a special forces camp and a facility for helicopter gunships in Najran. The Iran-backed rebels had fired a ballistic missile at Najran on January 5 that was also intercepted by the Saudi air defence. Col Al Malki said the missile attacks proved that the Iranian regime was continuing to provide the rebels with weapons in contravention of the UN Security Council resolutions 2216 and 2231.”


Fox News: Sessions Announces Hezbollah Financing, Narcoterror Team After Bombshell Report

“The Department of Justice announced Thursday that it is creating a task force to take a fresh look at drug-trafficking and money-laundering operations linked to Hezbollah after an investigative report last month claimed that the Obama administration turned a blind eye to such activities to preserve the Iran nuclear deal. The task force, dubbed the Hezbollah Financing and Narcoterrorism Team (HFNT), will begin its work by reviewing investigations stemming from Project Cassandra, a campaign led by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) targeting the Lebanese terror group’s actions. According to a Politico report published last month, officials with the Obama Justice and Treasury Departments repeatedly delayed or rejected requests by Project Cassandra leaders to pursue significant investigations, prosecutors or sanctions.”


Jerusalem Post: The Trump Effect? Shin Bet Says Terror Attacks Tripled In Last Month

“The number of violent attacks in Israel and the Palestinian territories tripled last month, from 84 in November to 249 in December, according to statistics released by the Shin Bet. Of the 249 attacks, 219 were in the form of Molotov cocktail throwing, which the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) considers terrorism. The most serious of the attacks were two stabbings, one of which occurred outside the Jerusalem Central Bus Station when a Palestinian man stabbed a security guard in the chest, wounding him critically. In the second, a 19-year-old Palestinian man from Hebron stabbed a Border Police officer twice in the shoulder during a protest in Ramallah, wounding him moderately.”


Reuters: Suspected Islamic State Bomber Surrenders At Libyan Checkpoint: Official

“A suspected Islamic State militant driving a car laden with explosives surrendered to Libyan security forces at a checkpoint on Thursday rather than go ahead with an attack in the city of Misrata, a security official said. The Misratan counter-terrorism official, who asked not to be named for security reasons, said he had surrendered at a checkpoint near Abu Grain town, but it was not immediately clear why he had handed himself in. Abu Grain is about 100 km (60 miles) south of Misrata and 140 km west of Sirte, a city that Islamic State controlled until they were driven out by a Misratan-led military campaign in 2016. ‘The suspect handed himself in to the security forces early morning on Thursday,’ the official told Reuters. ‘The car bomb is now being dismantled by explosives experts.’”


News 24: Four Dead In Two Boko Haram Attacks In Cameroon: Sources

“Four people were killed and two others kidnapped in separate overnight attacks in the far north of Cameroon, blamed on the Islamist group Boko Haram, sources told AFP on Thursday. Three of the victims were ‘slaughtered’ in Kolofata, a town which borders Nigeria and that has seen a spate of attacks blamed on the jihadists, said a source close to the security services. A security officer in the region confirmed the information to AFP, and that two people were also abducted.”


The Washington Post: Russia Has Fooled The U.S. Again In Syria

“LAST YEAR Russia brokered a series of cease-fires, or “de-escalation zones,” in Syria, including one with the United States covering the southwest corner of the country. The Kremlin claimed its aim was to wind down the country’s civil war and lay the groundwork for a peace deal between the regime of Bashar al-Assad and rebel groups, some of them Western-backed. Longtime observers of the Syrian war wondered if the cease-fires, like many previously agreed to by Russia and the Assad regime, would be broken as soon as the allies were prepared to launch new offensives against rebel-held areas. But President Trump and his aides expressed optimism that Russian President Vladi­mir Putin was sincere. “If we get . . . a few more [cease-fires], all of a sudden we are going to have no bullets being fired in Syria,” Mr. Trump said in July. “I think there is a level of commitment on the part of the Russian government,” said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The administration should now be discovering, as the Obama administration did before it, just what Russia’s word in Syria is worth. With heavy Russian air support, Syrian government forces have been conducting new offensives against two of the de-escalation zones, the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta and the northern province of Idlib.”

North Korea

Newsweek: Will North Korea Attack The U.S.? It Would Be A 'Suicidal' Move, Russian Expert Reports From Pyongyang

“North Korean officials are taking the possibility of conflict with the U.S. seriously, but the first strike won’t come from them, a Russian expert who recently visited Pyongyang wrote on 38 North, a North Korea–monitoring website based in the U.S. Alexander Vorontsov, a scholar who holds several teaching and research posts, including head of the Korean and Mongolian studies department at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Moscow-based Russian Academy of Sciences, visited the country in mid-November and met with Foreign Ministry officials and diplomats. North Korea observed a six-week break in missile launches between September 15 and November 29, but the prospect of war with the U.S., which held a series of joint military drills with South Korea during that period, never stopped preoccupying the officials who spoke with Vorontsov.”


Voice Of America: Indonesia, Philippines Hold Talks On Security Cooperation

“The Philippines and Indonesia are working together to stop supporters of the Islamic State terror group from entering the Philippines. Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi recently met with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in the southern city of Davao for talks. The discussion centered on Islamic State sympathizers in Indonesia going to the Philippines to join anti-government fighters. Duterte and the Indonesian foreign minister agreed to additional cooperation in stopping terrorism. The website of the president’s office said they also discussed ‘maritime security.’ Indonesia is mainly a Muslim country. It has so-called sleeper cells of people who sympathize with the Islamic State. The extremist group has mainly been driven out of bases in Iraq and Syria.”


CNN: Myanmar Military Admits Role In Killing Rohingya Found In Mass Grave

“Myanmar has said members of its security forces were involved in the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslims found in a mass grave last month in Rakhine State, where the country's military has been accused of ethnic cleansing. "Action will be taken against the villagers who participated in the case and the members of security forces who broke the Rules of Engagement under the law," the Myanmar military said in a statement posted to Facebook. Before this admission, Myanmar's military had denied any wrongdoing in the violence that began in late August 2017 and has led to the exodus of more than 650,000 Rohingya from Myanmar to Bangladesh. In a statement, the military said around 200 "Bengali terrorists" attacked security forces with sticks and near the village of Inn Din, north of the provincial capital Sittwe, on September 1, 2017. The military "shot into the sky to disperse them (and) during that incident they captured 10 Bengali terrorists.”

United Kingdom

The International Business Times: Teenage Jihadis Who Prepared To Fight For ISIS With Paintball Were Arrested After School Tip-Off

“A group of teenage jihadists who planned to travel to Syria to fight for Isis were arrested after their school notified anti-terror police. Ahmedeltigani Alsyed, 20, and Yusef Alsyed, 18, from Feltham, Middlesex, have admitted terror charges, while Mohammed Ali and an unnamed 17-year-old were jailed at earlier hearings. Woolwich Crown Court was told on Thursday (11 January) that the brothers prepared for jihad with paintball sessions and took out gym subscription to ‘increase their fitness.’ The unnamed 17-year-old worked as a Deliveroo driver and had planned to sell his Playstation to fund his trip to Syria. While 18-year-old Ali booked plane tickets and travel documents and believed that his death would ‘achieve martyrdom,’ reported the Daily Mail.”

Middle East Eye: Britain To Join France In West Africa Counter-Terrorism Mission

“Britain is in talks with France to join a French-led campaign in West Africa, with British deployment looking set to include military helicopters and surveillance aircrafts, according to a British government source. British deployment would bolster French ground forces that have been sent to quell militancy across the restive Sahel region. British troops are not thought to be on the cards. “We are looking at rotary support or Istar [Intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, reconnaissance],” a Whitehall source said to the Times. “The effort is counter-terrorism, to counter organised crime and to help re-establish state authority.” The talks come amid French efforts to secure funding and military support for Operation Barkhane, which includes 4,500 French troops deployed across the former French colonies of Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso, Niger and Mauritania, known collectively as the G5.”


The New York Times: She Left France To Fight In Syria. Now She Wants To Return. But Can She?

“Having spent the last five years living in Syria, where she joined Islamic extremists, Emilie König, 33, wants to come home to France. But does France want her back? The daughter of a policeman from a small town in Brittany, she converted to Islam as a teenager. After she began covering herself from head to toe in a black abaya and veil, she felt so scorned in France that she left her two small children to go to Syria, eventually becoming a prominent propagandist and recruiter for the Islamic State. “She would like to come back; she has asked for pardon from her family, her friends, her country,” her mother said in an interview with Ouest-France, a newspaper in Brittany, after speaking to her daughter by telephone two weeks ago. Ms. König’s personal story is unusual, not least because she is a convert and gained prominence within the male-dominated Islamic State. Yet the quandary her case poses is an increasingly common one for France and other European countries: What should they do when citizens who are former Islamic State fighters or supporters want to return?”

Fox News: French Counterterrorism Inquiry Launched Into Prison Attack

“French prosecutors say they have opened a counterterrorism investigation into attempted murder after an attack at a high-security prison in northern France. The Paris prosecutor's office can't confirm details of the Thursday afternoon attack at the Vendin le Vieil prison that French media say was launched by a knife-wielding inmate against several people. French media say no one has been killed and no one is in a life-threatening condition. The prosecutor's office said its investigation was launched by its anti-terrorism branch Thursday and centered on the attempted murder of civil servants.”


Jerusalem Post: Germany Permits Iranian Regime Mass Murderer To Flee The Country

“Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi – considered a successor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei – fled Germany on Thursday for Iran amid criminal complaints filed against him for crimes against humanity, after the cleric received medical treatment for a brain tumor. Critics accuse Shahroudi, the who headed Iran’s judiciary system from 1999 to 2009, of imposing executions on 2,000 people, including adolescents. “Germany has a choice,” Dr. Michael Rubin, an Iran expert with the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday. “Does it want to be a safe haven for terrorists and mass murderers? Alas, for Sigmar Gabriel [Germany’s foreign minister], it seems that the answer was and is ‘yes.’ But why should principle matter if German businesses can make an extra million euros?” Shahroudi’s presence in Hanover prompted protests and widespread calls on social media for Germany’s government to arrest and prosecute the religious leader.”

The Local: Man On Trial Over Deadly 'Islamist' Knife Attack In Hamburg Supermarket

“A 26-year-old Palestinian man goes on trial in a German court on Friday over his deadly knife rampage in a Hamburg supermarket that prosecutors believe was an Islamist attack. Ahmad Alhaw took a 20-centimetre (eight-inch) knife from the shelves of a supermarket last July, using it to kill one and wound six in the assault. He was arrested after passers-by overpowered him. Charging him with murder, as well as six counts of attempted murder and grievous bodily harm, prosecutors said he acted with a likely Islamist motive. ‘The results of the investigation show that the accused sought out his victims indiscriminately, retaliating against people, who in his view represent perpetrators of injustice targeting Muslims,’ said prosecutors.”


The Telegraph: Facebook Pays Teen Undisclosed Damages Over Naked Photograph In First Case Of Its Kind

“Facebook has settled a landmark legal action over a naked photograph of a 14-year-old girl posted on a “shame” page. The social media giant agreed to pay undisclosed damages to the teenager after failing in its attempt to get the action thrown out of court. Legal experts said the case - the first of its kind - could see social media firms face an avalanche of fresh claims for damages and shine a spotlight on their responsibility for inappropriate content. The girl, who cannot be identified, claimed the nude image was obtained after she was blackmailed and was then published as a form of revenge. Her legal team launched High Court proceedings in Belfast after it was allegedly posted on a so-called shame page on Facebook several times between November 2014 and January 2016. She sought damages for misuse of private information, negligence and breach of the Data Protection Act.”