Eye on Extremism: January 5, 2023

Associated Press: Death Toll In Somalia Twin Bombings Rises To At Least 20

“A doctor says the death toll in a pair of suicide car bombings in Somalia early Wednesday has risen to at least 20, including nine members of the same family. Dr. Yahye Abdi with the hospital in Mahaas district told The Associated Press that more than 50 people were admitted for treatment after the explosions. Police have said the attackers targeted a military facility in the Hiran region, which is at the heart of the government’s offensive against al-Shabab extremists. The attack occurred after the dawn prayer. Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack. Mahaas is at the center of the ongoing offensive against al-Shabab, the al-Qaida-linked group of thousands of fighters that has controlled parts of central and southern Somalia for years. The government has vowed to defeat it this year.”

Reuters: U.N. Security Council To Meet On Taliban Ban On Female Aid Workers

“The United Nations Security Council is due to meet privately next week to discuss a decision by Afghanistan's Taliban-led administration to ban female humanitarian aid workers, diplomats said Wednesday. The closed-door meeting was requested by the United Arab Emirates and Japan for Jan. 13. The UAE announced the request in a tweet. The ban on female aid workers was announced by the Islamist Taliban-led administration on Dec. 24. It followed a ban imposed earlier last month on women attending universities. Girls were stopped from attending high school in March. U.N. aid chief Martin Griffiths is due to visit Afghanistan in the coming weeks to meet with Taliban officials. At least four major global groups have suspended operations because they said they were unable to run their programs without female staff. The United Nations has said that 97% of Afghans live in poverty, two-thirds of the population need aid to survive, and 20 million people face acute hunger.”

United States

WTOP: The Hunt: The New Year’s Eve Terror Attack In Times Square

“What have authorities learned about the event? On this episode of “The Hunt with WTOP national security correspondent J.J. Green,” Dr. Hans-Jakob Schindler, Senior Director of the Counter Extremism Project, says it could’ve been much worse.”


The National: Terrorist Who Posed With Bodies In Syria Jailed Years After MI6 Failure

“Al Qaeda-linked terrorist Bherlin Gildo has been jailed for four months in Sweden for international crimes committed in Syria which saw him pose with corpses. His conviction comes seven years after a trial against him in the UK collapsed amid allegations Britain’s security and intelligence agencies would have been deeply embarrassed had it gone ahead. Gildo, also known as Nathan Benoitzon, has been convicted of international law crimes by having, together with others, subjected several people from the opposing side in Syria to humiliating and degrading treatment, according to Swedish newspaper Expressen.”

Daily Mail: 'ISIS Bride', 31, Who Returned To Australia From Syria Is Charged With Flying To Terrorist Strong-Hold Two Months After She And Her Kids Were Rescued From Refugee Camp

“A Sydney woman has been charged just months after being rescued from a Syrian refugee camp for reformed Islamic State fighters and eight years after she allegedly left Australia to fight for the militant group with her husband. Mariam Raad, 31, was arrested after search warrants were issued in the NSW country town of Young and the western Sydney suburb of Parklea on Thursday morning. Police will allege Ms Raad travelled to Syria in early 2014 to join her husband Muhammed, who left Australia in 2013, to join the fight for Islamic State. She was charged with entering and remaining in parts of Syria that were under the control of the Islamic State terrorist organisation. Muhammad Zahab, a former Sydney maths teacher was a prolific Islamic State recruiter and lured dozens of his family members to Syria before being killed in 2018. Police allege Ms Raad knew her husband's activities with Islamic State and, of her own free, will joined him.”

Voice Of America: Rockets Target Coalition Forces In Syria

“Two rockets targeted coalition forces in northeastern Syria on Wednesday, according to U.S. Central Command, a day after Iran and Iraq commemorated the third anniversary of the death of Iranian Quds Force leader Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad. “The attack resulted in no injuries or damage to the base or coalition property,” CENTCOM said. CENTCOM spokesman Lt. Col. Dave Eastburn told VOA the 107-millimeter rockets targeted an area known as “Mission Support Site Conoco” at 9 a.m. local time in Syria. Syrian Democratic Forces later went to the site where the rockets were fired from and found a third, unfired one. "Attacks of this kind place coalition forces and the civilian populace at risk and undermine the hard-earned stability and security of Syria and the region," CENTCOM spokesman Col. Joe Buccino said. No one has claimed responsibility. Iran-backed militias have previously carried out rocket and drone attacks against U.S. and coalition forces in both Syria and Iraq. One year ago, U.S. forces thwarted attacks on January 3 and 4 by suspected Iranian-backed militias.”


Voice Of America: Taliban Spokesperson Says Court Due To Rule On Media Licenses

“The Taliban have said that a court on Thursday is expected to issue a ruling on whether licenses should be revoked for several media outlets. Abdul Haq Hammad, a spokesperson for the Taliban’s Ministry of Information and Culture, told Voice of America the move is focused on 10 media outlets and news agencies deemed to be spreading “propaganda and rumors against” the regime. If the court rules to revoke the licenses, the media outlets will no longer be able to work in the country. “They will not be able to open their office or have reporters in the country. This will be illegal,” Hammad said. But Afghan journalists and media associations see the move as an attempt to further curtail press freedom. Conditions for media have deteriorated since the Taliban's return to power, with news outlets shuttering, and a large number of female journalists leaving the profession.”

Reuters: Afghanistan's Taliban Administration In Oil Extraction Deal With Chinese Company

“Afghanistan's Taliban-led administration is to sign a contract with a Chinese company to extract oil from the Amu Darya basin in the country's north, the acting mining minister said on Thursday. The contract would be signed with Xinjiang Central Asia Petroleum and Gas Co (CAPEIC), officials told a news conference in Kabul. It will be the first major public commodities extraction deal the Taliban administration has signed with an foreign company since taking power in 2021. It also underscores neighbouring China's economic involvement in the region even though the Islamic State militant group has targeted its citizens in Afghanistan. "The Amu Darya oil contract is an important project between China and Afghanistan," China's ambassador, Wang Yu, told the news conference. China has not formally recognised the Taliban administration but it has significant interests in a country at the centre of a region important for its Belt and Road infrastructure initiative.”

Associated Press: Afghan Taliban Kill 8 In Raids Of IS Hideouts In Afghanistan

“Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban killed eight Islamic State militants and arrested nine others in a series of raids targeting key figures in a spate of attacks in Kabul, a senior Taliban government spokesman said Thursday. Zabihullah Mujahid, spokesman for the Taliban government, said the raids in the capital city and western Nimroz province on Wednesday targeted IS militants who organized recent attacks on Kabul’s Longan Hotel, Pakistan’s embassy and the military airport. Eight IS fighters, including foreign nationals, were killed and seven others arrested in Kabul, while a separate operation in western Nimroz province resulted in two more IS arrests, Mujahid said. “These members had a main role in the attack on the Chinese hotel and paved the way for foreign IS members to come to Afghanistan,” Mujahid said in a tweet. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a deadly bombing near a checkpoint at the Afghan capital’s military airport Sunday. IS said that attack was carried out by the same militant who took part in the Longan Hotel assault in mid-December.”


Reuters: Pakistani Militants Claim Killing Of Two Intelligence Officials

“Islamist militant group Tehreek-e-Taliban on Wednesday claimed the killing of a senior official of Pakistan's premier intelligence agency and another officer, the latest in a resurgence of jihadist violence shaking the country. The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) officers were shot dead outside a hotel in Punjab province on Tuesday, police said. The TTP, an umbrella group of militants that associates itself with Afghanistan's ruling Taliban, ended a months-old ceasefire with the Pakistani government last year and launched a spate of attacks across the country. "Yesterday, a secret squad of TTP killed ISI Deputy Director Multan Naveed Sadiq along with his colleague Inspector Nasir Butt at Bismillah Highway in Khanewal District of Punjab," TTP spokesman Muhammad Khorasani said in a statement to media.”

Middle East

The Jerusalem Post: Fmr. Hezbollah Member Spied For Israel After Mossad Blackmail – Report

“A former member of Hezbollah was arrested in September in Lebanon on suspicion of spying for the Mossad, and was blackmailed into doing so on threat of the release of videos showing him engaged in sexual relations, the Lebanese Al-Akhbar newspaper reported on Wednesday. According to the report, in June 2021, the former Hezbollah member, identified as Mohsen S., met a woman who said she was Belgian at a cafe in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. The next day, they met at her house and had sex. A few days later, the woman disappeared and would not answer his calls. A week after the woman disappeared, Mohsen received a video clip on his phone showing him in intimate situations with the woman. Mohsen responded by sending question marks and received no answer except for a message reading "Rejoice, sweetheart." A short time afterward, he received a call from the number, with a man telling him that he was "a friend who wanted help" and that he was from the Mossad.”


Sahara Reporters: Islamic State Claims Responsibility For Killings In Kogi Church Last October, Brags About 15 Successful Attacks

“Terrorists group, Islamic State (IS) has claimed that its fighters hit a church in Kogi State in October 2022, killing two persons. The group made the claims through an Instagram page. SaharaReporters had in October 2022 reported that gunmen suspected to be terrorists attacked the church service at the Celestial Church of God in the Felele area of Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, killing two persons and injuring three worshippers. Witnesses had said the terrorists, who were fully armed, attacked the church during the service and started shooting sporadically which made everyone to scamper for safety. It was learnt that two people died on the spot, while the injured were taken to the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja. The IS group which made this claim on behalf of the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP), claimed to have carried out the attack, while boasting that it had carried out 15 successful attacks in the state alone in 2022.”

Daily Trust: ISWAP Commander Behind Kogi Explosion During Buhari’s Visit Arrested – DSS

“The Department of State Services (DSS) says it has arrested a high commander of Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), Abdulmumin Ibrahim Otaru aka Abu Mikdad, in connection with the explosion around the palace of the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland in Kogi State. Four persons were killed in the incident that occurred last Thursday when President Muhammadu Buhari visited the state to commission some projects executed by Governor Yahaya Bello. The DSS in a statement on Wednesday by its Public Relations Officer, Peter Afunanya, said one of Otaru’s associates, Saidu Suleiman was also apprended. Afunanya noted that the ISWAP commander sustained a gunshot injury on his left foot while attempting to escape adding that he is receiving treatment at an undisclosed facility.”

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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