Eye on Extremism: January 3, 2023

Bloomberg: Nearly 700 Islamic State Operatives Killed In 2022, US Says

“US military forces and their allies in Iraq and Syria killed almost 700 Islamic State operatives, including several of the organization’s leaders, in 2022, according to the US Central Command. “The emerging, reliable and steady ability of our Iraqi and Syrian partner forces to conduct unilateral operations to capture and kill ISIS leaders allows us to maintain steady pressure on the ISIS network,” Major General Matt McFarlane, commander of a combined task force in Syria and Iraq, said in a Centcom statement released Thursday. According to the statement, 466 Islamic State operatives were killed in Syria, and another 220 in Iraq. A total of 374 militants were captured in both countries. “No US forces were injured or killed in these operations,” Centcom said.  Last February, Islamic State leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi was killed in northwestern Syria when he detonated a bomb in his apartment as US forces closed in, eliminating what President Joe Biden called a “major terrorist threat.” Al-Qurayshi had taken over as leader of the terrorist group after his predecessor, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed in a US raid in 2019, also in Syria.”

Associated Press: Pakistan Says It Won’t Allow Countries To Shelter Militants

“Pakistan’s political and military leadership on Monday vowed that no nation will be allowed to shelter militants who stage attacks against the country — an apparent reference to neighboring Afghanistan. The statement came amid a spike in attacks by the militant Pakistani Taliban, many of whom are hiding in neighboring Afghanistan. The attacks are on the rise across Pakistan, especially in the northwest near the Afghan border. The announcement came at the end of a lengthy meeting of Pakistan’s National Security Committee, which was attended by Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, the newly appointed army chief Gen. Asim Munir, and other officials. According to a government statement, the committee vowed that there will be “zero tolerance for terrorism in Pakistan” and that militants will be dealt with using the “full force of the state.” The announcement came two weeks after Pakistan’s special forces killed more than two dozen detainees linked to the Pakistani Taliban in a raid after they overpowered guards at a counter-terrorism center in the northwest and killed three hostages. Before launching the rescue operation, the detainees had demanded safe passage to Afghanistan, a demand the government rejected.”

United States

WABI CBS: Maine’s First ISIS-Related Terrorism Trial Postponed Until February

“The trial of an allegedly ISIS-inspired teenager from Maine, Xavier Pelkey, which was scheduled to begin with jury selection in Bangor federal court on Tuesday, January 3, has been postponed for a month until February. Jury selection is now scheduled for February 7 and 8. It is unclear when opening statements and trial testimony will commence. U.S. District Judge Lance Walker agreed to the postponement – the third in the case – following a joint request to do so by the U.S. Attorney for Maine and Pelkey’s defense attorney. Pelkey, 19, from Waterville, faces a two-count indictment -- conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and possession of unregistered destructive devices -- for allegedly planning to attack religious sites in Chicago. Pelkey was first indicted last April after his arrest in February. Federal prosecutors and the FBI accuse Pelkey of communicating with a pair of teenagers in Illinois and Kentucky over Instagram to conduct a violent attack on a Shia mosque, and possibly a Jewish synagogue, last March.”

Newsweek: Six Months After Roe V. Wade Demise, Abortion Opponents Are Shaken And Angry

“...Newsweek was unable to find any way to reach Jane's Revenge for comment. "Jane's Revenge has no known hierarchal structure. Its messaging supports autonomous networks and the group's driving leadership has not publicly revealed itself," according to the non-profit, non-partisan Counter Extremism Project. More recent incidents include a threat received on December 3 by a Catholic campus ministry center at the University of Nebraska in a note signed 'Jane's Revenge.' A group called Students for Life had been scheduled to meet there that day.”

The New York Times: Frank James To Plead Guilty To Terrorism In Brooklyn Subway Attack

“Frank R. James, who is charged with shooting 10 people last April in one of the worst attacks in recent years on the New York subway, is expected to plead guilty to terrorism on Tuesday afternoon in federal court in Brooklyn, according to court records. Mr. James, 63, had initially entered a not guilty plea, but his court-appointed lawyers from the Federal Defenders of New York said last month that he would plead guilty to an 11-count indictment that charged him with 10 counts of terrorist attack — one for each of the 10 people struck in the subway shooting — as well as with a firearms charge. He faces a possible life sentence. Lawyers for Mr. James did not respond to messages on Monday. During the morning rush last April 12, the authorities said, Mr. James opened fire on an N train in Brooklyn. No one was killed, but the attack set off a 31-hour manhunt, unnerving New Yorkers as law enforcement combed the city looking for Mr. James. The police finally seized him in the East Village in Manhattan after several people — including Mr. James himself — called the police tip line to report his whereabouts.”


Voice Of America: Major Losses Shift Islamic State, Al-Qaida's Balance Of Power

“Across the United States and many other Western countries, the threat from Islamist terror groups has been increasingly overshadowed by the threats from other extremist groups, some of whom have proven to be more deadly in recent years. But despite a rise in far-right and white-supremacist-driven terrorist threats, counterterrorism officials have been careful not to overlook the still persistent threat from groups such as the Islamic State and al-Qaida. “Jihadism is, yes, it is the main threat right now still in the Netherlands,” Netherlands Justice and Security Minister Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius said in response to a question from VOA during a visit to Washington in late November. “Now you see the threat. You see still the ideology,” she said. “But the firm organization and the level of organization, also in Europe and in our country, that's breaking down.” One reason for the breakdown – both the Islamic State, known as IS, ISIS or Daesh, and al-Qaida suffered significant setbacks in 2022. “It was certainly a year of decapitations,” Edmund Fitton-Brown, a former senior United Nations counterterrorism official, told VOA.”

Washington Examiner: Ten Killed In Terrorist Bus Attack In Syria: State Media

“Ten workers are dead after terrorists attacked three buses in Syria early Friday morning, according to a Syrian state-controlled news agency. The Syrian Arab News Agency says it happened near the al Taym oil field in Deir Ezzor, Syria. The outlet says two people were also injured. The attack comes just a day after Syrian Kurdish-led forces announced an offensive against ISIS, Al Jazeera reports. It is believed the attacks were carried out by ISIS. “The attack began with explosive devices that went off as the buses drove by, and then the group’s militants shot at them,” Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said, according to Al Jazeera. U.S. Central Command released data on Thursday as part of a year-in-review summation of its operations against the Islamic State, saying it carried out a total of 313 operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in the 2022 calendar year that resulted in the death or detention of more than a thousand ISIS operatives.”


Reuters: Britain To Proscribe Iran's Revolutionary Guard As Terror Group - Telegraph

“Britain will officially declare Iran's Revolutionary Guard, which has arrested seven people with links to the United Kingdom over anti-government protests, as a terrorist group, the Telegraph reported on Monday, citing sources. The move, which will be announced within weeks, is supported by Britain's security minister, Tom Tugendhat, and Home Secretary Suella Braverman, the report said. Proscribing Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist group would mean that it would become a criminal offence to belong to the group, attend its meetings, and carry its logo in public. The UK Home Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Telegraph report. Iran's Revolutionary Guards last week arrested seven people with links to Britain over anti-government protests that have rocked the country following the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian who was arrested for wearing "inappropriate attire" under Iran's strict Islamic dress code for women.”


Voice Of America: UN Warns Taliban Ban On Women Aid Workers To Further Isolate Afghanistan

“The United Nations said its envoy to Afghanistan had pressed the Taliban rulers Monday to reverse bans on work and education for women and girls to prevent further isolation of the crisis-ridden country. Markus Potzel, the acting head of the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), conveyed the international community's call in a meeting in Kabul with Taliban Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani. "The ban on Afghan women aid workers will deepen the humanitarian crisis creating greater economic misery and further Afghanistan's isolation," UNAMA wrote on Twitter after the meeting. Late last year, the men-only Taliban administration ordered national and foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to immediately suspend Afghan female staff for allegedly not wearing the Islamic hijab and breaching mandatory gender segregation at work. The global community swiftly denounced the move, saying it would have "immediate life-threatening consequences" for all Afghans.”

Reuters: Taliban Seeks Economic Self-Sufficiency And Foreign Investment For Afghanistan, Minister Says

“The Taliban administration will encourage self-sufficiency and wants international trade and investment, the acting commerce minister said, as Afghanistan faces isolation and suspension of some humanitarian operations over restrictions on women. "We will start a national self-sufficiency programme, we will encourage all government administrations to use domestic products, we will also try to encourage people through mosques to support our domestic products" Haji Nooruddin Azizi told Reuters. "We will support any item which can help us for self-sufficiency." Another part of their strategy was to boost trade and foreign investment, he said. "Those who were importing items to Afghanistan from abroad, they are asking us to provide opportunities for investing in Afghanistan and they want to invest here instead of importing from abroad," he said. He said that countries including Iran, Russia and China were interested in trade and investment. He said some of the projects under discussion were Chinese industrial parks and thermal power plants, with involvement from Russia and Iran.”

Reuters: Islamic State Claims Responsibility For Kabul Attack

“Islamic State on Monday claimed responsibility for an attack on Taliban forces in Kabul. The militant group said on Telegram that the attack on Sunday had killed 20 people and wounded 30. A spokesman for Afghanistan's Taliban-run interior ministry said an explosion outside the military airport in the capital Kabul had caused multiple casualties. The interior ministry denied the casualty figures claimed by Islamic State and said it would release the official death toll. Islamic State has claimed several high-profile attacks in Kabul, including the storming of a hotel that caters to Chinese businessmen and a shooting at Pakistan's embassy that Islamabad called an assassination attempt against its ambassador, who escaped unharmed.”


Arab News: Yemeni Forces Launch Final Push To Drive Al-Qaeda From Abyan

“Yemeni military leaders have launched the final push to expel Al-Qaeda militants from Abyan, deploying hundreds of soldiers and armored personnel carriers as reinforcements. The APCs, armed vehicles and support trucks were seen traveling from the city to the nearby southern province. Brig. Mohsen Al-Wali, the general commander of Security Belt forces, said the reinforcements would boost operation “East Arrows” to battle the Al-Qaeda remnants, who are believed to be sheltering in the mountainous Al-Mahfad area. “Security Belt troops would tighten checkpoints in cities along with the General Security, as Support and Reinforcement (forces) would battle terrorism and pursue terrorist elements in the mountainous regions where they are hiding and attempting to undermine security," Al-Wali told Al-Ghad Al-Mushreq TV. The Support and Reinforcement and the Security Belt groups are both controlled by the pro-independence Southern Transitional Council. Al-Wali said that Aden and other southern cities had enjoyed relative peace in recent months due to military operations in Abyan and Shabwa, which forced many Al-Qaeda militants from their long-standing safe havens.”


Iran International: Hezbollah Faces Financial Problems As Aid From Iran Decreases

“Lebanese media report that Hezbollah is facing financial problems due to the situation in Iran, as it cannot import Iranian goods to sell at a discount to its supporters. Two years ago, Lebanon's Hezbollah distributed a card called "Sajjad" among the families of its members to buy food stuff with a 60% discount at shops selling Iranian products. The Lebanese website "Janoubieh" quoted its sources as saying that now shopping with this card has encountered problems. According to this report, the Islamic Republic is unable to send food items such as cooking oil and tea to Lebanon due anti-regime protests and its economic problems, including the sharp increase of the US dollar against its currency, the rial. The militant Hezbollah group has reportedly replaced Iranian goods with the Lebanese, Turkish, and Indian items for the users of the Sajjad card.”

Middle East

i24: Israel: 31 Killed In Terrorist Incidents In 2022 – Military

“The Israels Defense Forces (IDF) on Thursday published a report with statistics of attacks in 2022, revealing that 31 people have been killed in terror-related incidents since the beginning of the year. It is a significant increase as opposed to 4 people killed in 2021 and 3 in 2020. This makes 2022 the deadliest year since 2015, when 29 people were killed in a series of stabbing, shooting and car-ramming incidents. According to the report, 24 of the deceased were Israeli citizens. The overall number of attacks have also increased significantly with 7,589 incidents of throwing stones compared to 5,532 in 2021, 285 shooting attacks compared to 61 in 2021. The number of stabbing incidents slightly decreased to 14 from 18 in 2021.”

National World News: Al Qaeda’s Strange Silence About Successor To Its Leader Zawahiri Who Was Killed In July

"…“It’s really rare. A network only works with one leader. You need one person around whom everything revolves,” Hans-Jacob Schindler, director of the independent Counter-Extremism Project think tank, told AFP. told. All options are open for other experts. “It certainly could be that the United States is wrong about his death,” investigators Raffaello Pantucci and Kabir Taneja noted in early December on the Lawfair website. Experts recalled that the announcement of the execution of important jihadist leaders, which reappeared later, had already shocked Westerners. He analyzed, “Given the confidence with which President Biden has spoken about the bombings, this seems unlikely.”


WVIT NBC: Islamic State Claims Attack On Egypt Police That Killed 4 In Suez Canal City

“The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a militant attack on a police checkpoint in Egypt’s Suez Canal city of Ismailia that killed at least four people, including three police. The extremist group claimed the attack in a statement late Saturday carried by its Amaq news agency. The attack took place Friday afternoon when armed militants opened fire on police in Ismailia. At least 12 people, mostly conscripts, were wounded in the attack. The dead included three police officers and a still unidentified person, according to a hospital tally document obtained by The Associated Press. The state-run al-Qahera News television station reported that security forces killed one of the attackers. Egypt has been battling IS in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula for years. The militants have carried out numerous attacks in Sinai and elsewhere in the country mainly targeting security forces, minority Christians and those who they accuse of collaborating with the military and police.”


ABC News: Burkina Faso's Military Regime Expels French Ambassador

“Burkina Faso's military junta has expelled France's ambassador, authorities said Monday, amid a surge in anti-French sentiment as the West African country moves to develop closer ties with Russia. Government spokesman Jean-Emmanuel Ouedraogo confirmed to the Associated Press that Ambassador Luc Hallade was asked to leave, but provided no further details. The French embassy refused to comment. Hallade's expulsion comes less than two weeks after the United Nations’ resident and humanitarian coordinator in Burkina Faso, Barbara Manzi, was also declared persona non grata. Burkina Faso has been wracked by violence linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group that has killed thousands and displaced nearly 2 million people. The current military regime overthrew a previous junta last year, claiming it had not done enough to stop the fighting. The previous junta had cited the same reason for seizing power from a civilian government months earlier.”

Reuters: U.S. Cuts Off Burkina Faso From Africa Duty-Free Trade Program

“The United States has dropped Burkina Faso from its AGOA trade preference program citing deep concerns over "unconstitutional change" in government in the West African country, the U.S. Trade Representative's (USTR) office said on Sunday. Frustrations over the government's inability to curb an Islamist insurgency spurred two military coups in Burkina Faso in 2022. Both the previous and current juntas have made efforts to beef up security, but Islamist attacks have continued. The junta's foreign affairs ministry reacted to the U.S. decision on Monday by repeating a November statement saying that the timetable for a return to democracy had not changed. Burkina Faso had committed to return to constitutional rule in 24 months in a July agreement with West African regional bloc ECOWAS. The U.S. African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) provides sub-Saharan African nations with duty-free access to the United States if they meet certain eligibility requirements, such as eliminating barriers to U.S. trade and investment and making progress toward political pluralism.”


‘Civilian Life Is Boring’: British Volunteer Fighters Return From Ukraine And Pine For The Trenches | I News

“…Concerns about political extremists joining the war led to counter-terrorism officers being stationed at UK airports in February. The US-based Counter Extremism Project claims that several hundred “Western individuals with extreme right wing or nationalist convictions” have travelled to fight for ideologically aligned militias in Ukraine, such as Right Sector, since fighting began in 2014. The International Centre for Counter Terrorism, a think-tank in the Netherlands, published a report last year on the threat of “blowback” from foreign fighters in Ukraine titled Foreign Volunteers in Ukraine: Security Considerations for Europe. “Volunteers will have gained combat experience, will possibly have been active in highly ideological environments and will have built (transnational) networks of like-minded fighters,” the paper stated.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

In Their Own Words:

We must use our privilege as humans to fight back against the system that keeps animals oppressed... They can’t wait. The earth can’t wait. Get off your ass and FIGHT.

Animal Liberation Front (ALF), ALF statement Jul. 23, 2019
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