Eye on Extremism: January 13, 2022

The New York Times: Car Bomb Kills 8 In Somalia’s Capital

“A large explosion killed at least eight people and injured nine others in Mogadishu on Wednesday, according to the head of an ambulance service, the latest attack to hit Somalia’s capital as the country grapples with political infighting and a growing humanitarian crisis. The car explosion occurred just before noon on a road leading to Mogadishu’s international airport, according to Abdulkadir Adan, the founder of the ambulance service, Aamin Ambulance, Mogadishu’s only free ambulance service. The road also services a major police academy and a compound where United Nations and foreign government staff members and officials live. The bombing, part of a string of attacks blamed on the Qaeda-linked Al Shabab extremist group that have gripped Somalia in recent months, comes as the country’s leaders struggle to resolve a political crisis that has distracted the government from the deteriorating security situation. Somali Memo, a news website affiliated with Al Shabab, said the militants claimed responsibility for the attack on Wednesday. It said the group had targeted “a convoy of vehicles carrying white security officers.” Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu, a government spokesman, condemned what he described as a suicide attack, calling it “cowardly.”

Associated Press: Pakistan Sentences 4 To Death Over Attack Near Militant Home

“A Pakistani court on Wednesday sentenced four men to death for their involvement in a car bombing last year that killed four people near the residence of an anti-India militant leader. The court also served up a five-year jail term for a woman convicted of facilitating the attack in the eastern city of Lahore, according to a statement released by the Punjab province Counter Terrorism Department. All five of the convicted — including the four men convicted of murder — are Pakistani and were arrested after the June 23 attack last year near the residence of anti-India militant leader Hafiz Saeed. Saeed has been designated a terrorist by the U.S. Justice Department and has a $10 million bounty on his head. Saeed is the founder of the outlawed Lashkar-e-Taiba group, which was blamed for the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people. Lashkar-e-Taiba was active for years in Kashmir, which is split between Pakistan and India and is claimed by both. In 2020, Pakistan sentenced Saeed to 15 years in prison in a terror financing case, but he was never charged over the Mumbai attacks. He was serving his term under house arrest under a government order and he escaped the bombing attack unharmed. Four bystanders were killed. Pakistan and India have a history of bitter relations. They have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir since gaining independence in 1947.”

United States

Stars And Stripes: DOD Inspector General Looking At How Well Military Is Scrutinizing Recruits For Extremist Activity

“The Defense Department inspector general will launch a probe this month of the U.S. military’s efforts to screen recruits for any past extremist or other banned behaviors, the independent auditing organization announced. “The objective of this audit is to determine whether military service recruiting organizations screened applicants for supremacist, extremist, and criminal gang behavior, according to DOD and military service policies and procedures,” Richard B. Vasquez, a DOD assistant inspector general, wrote in a brief Jan. 3 memorandum announcing the new audit. “We may revise the objective as the audit proceeds, and we will also consider suggestions from management for additional or revised objectives.” The audit will at least initially start at the highest levels at the Pentagon, Vasquez noted in his memo. The Pentagon’s personnel and readiness office and the Army, Navy and Air Force departments were instructed to provide points of contact for the audit by this week. Vasquez did not provide an anticipated timeline for the audit nor say specifically what information the inspector general would request from the services. Megan Reed, a spokeswoman for DOD inspector general, said Thursday that she could not provide an estimated timeline for the audit’s completion.”

The Jerusalem Post: In Idaho, Extremist Experts Say Antisemitic Groups Are 'Emboldened'

“Weeks after a spree of antisemitic crimes in Boise, Idaho, officials say they’re still looking for the culprits while community members consider a task force to address the ongoing issues. In November and December, Boise police reported two incidences of antisemitic graffiti, as well as antisemitic flyers spread through one neighborhood. No arrests have been made in connection with any of the incidents. Boise Police Department Chief Ryan Lee told the Idaho Statesman he can’t speak to the progress in the investigation and whether these incidents may have been linked to one another or to similar incidents in other parts of the country. But Lee said the department takes the crimes very seriously, assigning them to a hate crimes detective on the level of a homicide or violent assault. Lee said he believes the actions are the result of a small number of people. Still, with similar flyers being distributed in California, North Carolina and Maryland, Lee said police are considering the possibility that the crimes could be tied to larger networks. “It’s a challenge to figure out: Is this something that’s coordinated to something larger?” Lee said. “In the issue of the leafleting ... I know that there were other communities throughout the United States that essentially received the same leaflets around the same time.”

Patch: MA Hate Group Stages Protest At NH Drag Show

“…The nonprofit Counter Extremism Project says NSC-131 is a “leaderless, decentralized organization” and lists Hood, previously of Malden, as its “alleged founder.” During the Jan. 6 riot, screenshots taken from Telegram, the encrypted messaging app NSC-131 uses to communicate, showed members holding up the group's logo outside the Capitol. “Known NSC tactics include antagonizing social-justice protesters, vandalism, and posting stickers and other propaganda,” the Counter Extremism Project says in its entry on NSC-131. “NSC members have joined right-wing and pro-police rallies where they have displayed Nazi flags and symbols, as well as engaged in physical altercations.”

Syria

The Washington Times: Iran-Backed Forces In Syria Attack U.S. Troops In Anti-ISIS Coalition

“Iran is believed to be behind a number of recent attacks targeting U.S. forces operating in parts of Iraq and Syria as part of a continuing mission to defeat the remnants of Islamic State forces, also known as Daesh. American troops have come under fire at least three times since the start of the new year. The U.S.-led coalition on Jan. 6 accused Iran-backed militias of targeting Green Village, a Syrian Democratic Forces base with a small international advisory presence in northeast Syria. The attack didn’t cause any casualties, but several rounds impacted inside the base and caused minor damage, officials said. Coalition and Syrian Democratic Forces fired six artillery rounds toward the attack’s point of origin in response. The attacks’ indiscriminate nature pose a “serious threat” to civilians in the area, said Army Maj. Gen. John W. Brennan Jr., commander of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. “The Coalition reserves the right to defend itself and partner forces against any threat, and will continue to do everything within its power to protect those forces,” Gen. Brennan said in a statement released by the command. “Our Coalition continues to see threats against our forces in Iraq and Syria by militia groups that are backed by Iran. These attacks are a dangerous distraction from our Coalition’s shared mission to advise, assist and enable partner forces to maintain the enduring defeat of Daesh.”

Turkey

Daily Sabah: Police Detain 17 Daesh Terrorists In Turkey's Mersin

“Security forces detained 17 suspects, mostly foreigners, in an extensive operation to nab 20 wanted Daesh terrorists in Turkey’s southern Mersin province on Wednesday. Some 300 police officers took part in the operation, dubbed “Claw-2,” which was launched at dawn, Anadolu Agency (AA) reported. Ten of the detained suspects were identified as Syrian nationals, and four of them were identified as Iraqi nationals. The police carried out simultaneous raids on 19 addresses and took security precautions on the entrances and exits of streets. They also confiscated some digital materials, as well as $30,000 found in the addresses, the report added. The police are still looking for the remaining three suspects, the AA report said. In 2013, Turkey became one of the first countries to declare Daesh a terrorist group. The country has since been attacked by the terrorist group multiple times, with over 300 people killed and hundreds more injured in at least 10 suicide bombings, seven bomb attacks and four armed assaults. In response, Turkey launched counterterrorism operations within and abroad to prevent further attacks. In May, Ankara arrested a Daesh terrorist identified as the right-hand of former terrorist leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.”

Egypt

Daily News Egypt: Extremist Organisations Spread Their Ideologies Through Social Media: ECCI

“The European Centre for Counterterrorism and Intelligence Studies (ECCI) warned of terrorist and extremist organisations spreading their ideologies and recruiting new fledglings on the internet and social media websites. The warnings come amid restrictions imposed by European countries on these groups as part of the EU’s comprehensive strategy to counter terrorism and extremism adopted in 2020. A recent study by the ECCI said that the EU is on high alert, as the threat the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and their affiliates pose continues, especially on internet applications, where they spread ideas and penetrate societies. The study said that the EU is preparing to face these threats that rely on modern technologies, such as the malicious use of drones, artificial intelligence, and chemical and biological materials. The centre also warned against spreading extremist ideologies through the use of online propaganda, with the use of social media often becoming an integral part of the attack itself. In the same context, another study issued by the centre spoke of the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood’s efforts to spread their extremist agendas on applications such as ‘Fatwa’ and in closed groups in messaging apps like Telegram and Signal.”

Africa

Reuters: Southern African Bloc Extends Mozambique Troop Deployment

“Southern African countries agreed at a summit on Wednesday to extend their troop deployment in Mozambique to help the government fight an Islamic State-linked insurgency, a communique said. The countries, linked in the Southern African Development Community, agreed in June to send troops to help Mozambique tackle the insurgency, which is concentrated in the northern province of Cabo Delgado and has claimed thousands of lives since it broke out in 2017l. “Summit noted the good progress made since the deployment of the SADC Mission in Mozambique and extended its mandate,” the communique said after leaders met in Malawi's capital Lilongwe. It did not say how long the extension was for. The SADC troop deployment was initially for three months from mid-July but it was extended in October. Rwanda, which is not a SADC member, has also sent soldiers to Mozambique.”

Al Jazeera: Sahel Violence Threatens West African Coastal States

“Benin, a small coastal country in West Africa, has been relatively unscathed from a security crisis that has wreaked havoc in its northern neighbours across the Sahel region for much of the past decade. However, fears are growing over a spillover of violence within its borders as armed groups operating in the landlocked Sahel countries push for expansion into coastal states. Last month, President Patrice Talon pledged his government will be “more determined and more vigilant” in the face of growing threats. It came after Beninise military officials said two soldiers were killed and several others wounded when fighters attacked a military post in the northern Atacora region, near the border with Burkina Faso. The al-Qaeda-linked Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM) armed group claimed responsibility for the attack, saying in a message shared across social platforms it killed four soldiers. Two other attacks have been reported in recent months in the same border area where JNIM has been active, although these have not been confirmed. Michael Matongbada, a Beninese researcher at Institute for Security Studies (ISS), said the rare hit-and-run on Atacora was the first attack to be claimed by an armed group in the country.”

United Kingdom

BBC News: Man Who Made 'Terrifying' 9/11 Terror Threats On Train Jailed

“A man who made “terrifying” threats of violence on a train carriage while carrying a knife has been jailed. Mohammed Khan caused “unacceptable panic” on the service, which he boarded in Manchester, during an outburst about 9/11 and the Taliban, police said. Officers arresting the 50-year-old found a knife in his backpack, prompting the evacuation of a station. Khan, of no fixed address, was jailed for 12 months at Preston Crown Court on Tuesday. He had earlier pleaded guilty to possessing a bladed article in a public place. Greater Manchester Police said Khan boarded the train bound for Clitheroe in Lancashire at Manchester Victoria on 9 August 2021. A concerned passenger then alerted a member of staff to a man “making threats to commit future acts of violence” and “comments about the atrocities of 9/11 and the Taliban”. The staff member called 999 and Khan was arrested at Darwen station, which was evacuated, after he became verbally abusive and aggressive to officers. Det Ch Insp Kay Dennison, from the region's counter-terrorism unit, described Khan's behaviour as “very worrying.”

France

Voice Of America: Yazidis Laud France, Sweden For Launching Joint Probe To Prosecute IS Fighters

“Yazidi groups and activists are welcoming France and Sweden's recent decision to organize a joint investigation team to assist in the prosecution of former Islamic State soldiers who perpetrated crimes against members of the persecuted religious minority in Syria and Iraq. The two European countries formed a joint investigation team last week to look into crimes against humanity and war crimes committed against Yazidis by foreign militants linked to IS during the group's ruthless rule over parts of Iraq and Syria. French and Swedish investigation efforts are being coordinated by the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust). The group said the joint team seeks to organize those efforts and enable information and evidence to be shared more effectively. “The main aim of the JIT [Joint Investigation Team] will be to identify FTFs [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,” Eurojust said in a statement. Jabir Jendo, a Yazidi volunteer who has helped Yazidi women and children who were rescued from IS in Syria, said the effort shows there is still time to get justice for Islamic State's victims.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

Fact:

On August 13, 2017, suspected al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) gunmen opened fire on a Turkish restaurant and hotel in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. 19 people were killed and 22 others were wounded.    

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