Eye on Extremism: January 3, 2024

The Washington Examiner: Iranian With Terrorist Ties Apprehended At Northern Border

“An Iranian with terrorist ties was caught after illegally entering the U.S. near Niagara Falls, New York, as a record number of known, suspected terrorists (KSTs) were apprehended in the first three months of fiscal 2024 at the northern border. After the Iranian was apprehended, agents with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Enforcement and Removal Operations-Buffalo office removed him on Dec. 21. The Iranian national first attempted to enter the U.S. on Oct. 10 by presenting himself to American immigration authorities at the Rainbow Bridge Pedestrian Walkway in Niagara Falls, New York. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers denied him entry and returned him to the Canada Border Services Agency the same day. Two days later, on Oct. 12, he illegally entered the U.S. in another area attempting to bypass agents stationed at the Whirlpool Bridge Port of Entry in Niagara Falls, New York. He illegally entered outside of the port of entry, “without being admitted or paroled by a designated immigration official,” ICE said, but he was apprehended.”

Reuters: US Says No Damage Reported After Latest Houthi Attack In Red Sea

“Iranian-backed Houthi militants fired two anti-ship ballistic missiles into the Southern Red Sea, though no damage was reported, the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said late on Tuesday. The Houthis, who control much of Yemen including the capital, have since October attacked commercial vessels in the Red Sea they say have Israeli links or are sailing to Israel, in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza. Multiple commercial ships in the area reported the impact of the missiles in surrounding waters, CENTCOM added. Britain's United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations Authority earlier reported up to three explosions one to five nautical miles from a merchant vessel in the Bab al-Mandab strait, 33 nautical miles east of Eritrea's Assab, with no reports of damage. Several shipping lines have suspended operations through the Red Sea waterway in response to the attacks, instead taking the longer journey around Africa. The Houthis have vowed to continue their attacks until Israel halts the conflict in Gaza, and warned that it would attack U.S. warships if the militia group itself was targeted.”

CEP Mentions

Daily Caller: Three Senior Hamas Officials Killed In Lebanon

“... The alleged strike on an apartment in Beirut also took out Saleh al-Arouri, the deputy political leader of Hamas, The Times of Israel reported. Al-Arouri was a founding member of the West Bank armed wing of Hamas and a financier of the group, according to the Counter Extremism Project. Al-Arouri was also designated as a terrorist by the United States and had a bounty of $5 million issued in 2018 for information leading to his capture, the Project added.”

DW News: Drone Strike In Beirut Kills Hamas Deputy Leader

“Hans-Jakob Schindler interview on Deutsche Welles News TV on the killing of Arouri.”


Jerusalem Post: Argentina Arrests Three From Lebanon, Syria In Maccabi Games Terror Plot

“Police in Argentina have arrested three people for suspicion of planning a terrorist attack at the Pan American Maccabi Games in Buenos Aires, according to police reports from Argentina.”
“The Argentine Federal Police (PFA) arrested three men from Syria and Lebanon, in Buenos Aires and the metropolitan area town of Avellaneda. The three men were reportedly waiting for a 35-kilogram package to arrive from Yemen, related to their planned attack. According to the PFA, the package was addressed to the home of one of the three men.”


Voice Of America: In Major Escalation, Drones Target Key Kurdish Power Base Near Irbil

“In a significant escalation of aggression toward the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq, local officials confirmed that two "suicide drone" attacks by suspected Iran-backed Shiite militants late Saturday hit the key headquarters of Peshmerga forces in Pirmam, Irbil. The district is the de facto stronghold of the ruling Masoud Barzani family and the Kurdistan Democratic Party. Several sources familiar with the strikes, who spoke to VOA on the condition of anonymity, said the attack was aimed at the headquarters of Gulan special forces, less than 5 kilometers from the "Barzani Headquarters," where the former Kurdish president resides. No Kurdish official was willing to comment on the proximity of the attack to the headquarters, but Irbil's governor called the attack "a dangerous development.""Previously, the militias claimed to target only the coalition forces. But it turns out that they are also targeting the Peshmerga, Irbil and the Kurdistan Region," Governor Omed Khoshnaw told VOA via phone on Tuesday. "The attack on the Peshmerga is a dangerous development, and we expect the Iraqi government to take a decisive stance. The Kurdistan Regional Government will not stand inert," he said.”


Bloomberg: Why Yemen’s Houthi Rebels Joined The Fight Against Israel

“The war between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas has drawn in the Houthi rebels who have controlled northwestern Yemen for nearly a decade. Like Hamas, the Houthis are hostile to Israel and backed by Iran. The rebels have disrupted traffic in the Red Sea by repeatedly attacking ships there. They say they’re targeting Israel-linked vessels, though ships with no such direct connection have been affected. The Houthis have also attempted to strike Israel with missiles and drones. They are rebels who seized control of Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, in 2014, launching a civil war that continues to this day. Part of a clan that hails from Yemen’s northwestern Saada province, the Houthis are followers of the Zaidi branch of Shiite Islam to which an estimated 25% of the country’s population belongs. After North Yemen and South Yemen were unified in 1990, the Houthis waged a series of rebellions before successfully taking the capital in 2014. The Houthis are anti-Western and anti-Israeli. Analysts say the Houthis get training, technical expertise and increasingly sophisticated weapons — including drones and ballistic and cruise missiles — from Iran and its Lebanese ally, Hezbollah, a Shiite militant group. The US in 2021 revoked its designation of the Houthis as a terrorist group out of concern the label would harm Yemenis’ access to basics such as food and fuel; the Biden administration in mid-November said it was reviewing that reversal.”


Reuters: Lebanon's Hezbollah Says It Targeted Israeli Soldiers In Vicinity Of Marj

“Lebanon's Hezbollah said on Tuesday it had targeted a group of Israeli soldiers in the vicinity of Marj with missiles. The incident came after top Hamas official Saleh Al-Arouri and other Al-Qassam members were targeted in Lebanon's Beirut earlier Tuesday by an Israeli drone strike.”

Middle East

Associated Press: Apparent Israeli Strike Kills Senior Hamas Figure In Beirut And Raises Fears Conflict Could Expand

“An apparent Israeli strike in the Lebanese capital of Beirut killed Hamas’ No. 2 political leader Tuesday, marking a potentially significant escalation of Israel’s war against the militant group and heightening the risk of a wider Middle East conflict. Saleh Arouri, who was the most senior Hamas figure killed since the war with Israel began, was also a founder of the group’s military wing. His death could provoke major retaliation by Lebanon’s powerful Hezbollah militia. The strike hit an apartment in a building in a Shiite district of Beirut that is a Hezbollah stronghold, and Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has vowed to strike back against any Israeli targeting of Palestinian officials in Lebanon. Hezbollah and the Israeli military have been exchanging fire almost daily over the Israeli-Lebanese border since Israel’s military campaign in Gaza began nearly three months ago. But so far the Lebanese group has appeared reluctant to dramatically escalate the fighting. A significant response now could send the conflict spiraling into all-out war on Israel’s northern border.”

Associated Press: Israel On Alert For Possible Hezbollah Response After Senior Hamas Leader Is Killed In Beirut Strike

“Israel was on high alert for an escalation with Hezbollah on Wednesday after one of the top leaders of the Palestinian Hamas was killed in a strike in Beirut that was widely blamed on Israel and heightened the risk of a broader Middle East conflict. The killing of Saleh Arouri, the most senior Hamas member slain since the war in Gaza erupted nearly three months ago, provided a morale boost for Israelis still reeling from Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack as the militants put up stiff resistance in Gaza and continue to hold scores of hostages. But its implications for the war remain unclear. Israel has killed several top Hamas leaders over the years, only to see them quickly replaced. And the strike in Hezbollah’s southern Beirut stronghold could cause the low-intensity fighting along the Lebanon border to boil over into all-out war. Much depends on how Hassan Nasrallah — who has led Hezbollah since an Israeli strike killed his predecessor in 1992 — chooses to respond. He has previously vowed to retaliate for any Israeli targeting of allied militant leaders in Lebanon, and was expected to deliver a speech at 6 p.m. (1600 GMT).”


CNBC: Maersk Halts Red Sea Shipping Until Further Notice After Houthi Militant Attack

“Maersk will pause all shipping through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden until further notice after one of its vessels came under attack from militants over the weekend, the company announced Tuesday. The decision by the Danish shipping giant extends a 48-hour pause implemented on Sunday in the immediate aftermath of the attack. “We have made the decision to pause all transits through the Red Sea / Gulf of Aden until further notice,” the company said in an update to customers. Oil prices were volatile Tuesday, jumping more than 2% earlier in the day on Red Sea tensions but later giving up those gains. U.S. crude was last down 82 cents, or 1.14%, to trade at $70.83 a barrel. Brent lost 68 cents, or 0.88%, to trade at $76.36 a barrel. Helima Croft, head of global commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets, said oil prices do not reflect the increase in tensions because traders are not convinced that a major supply disruption is on the horizon.  “The market is basically saying ‘we will wait and see until something happens,’” Croft told CNBC on Tuesday. “But it’s really getting much more serious every day,” she said of tensions in the region.””

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

In Their Own Words:

We reiterate once again that the brigades will directly target US bases across the region in case the US enemy commits a folly and decides to strike our resistance fighters and their camps [in Iraq].

Abu Ali al-Askari, Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) Security Official Mar. 2023
View Archive