Eye on Extremism: January 6, 2023

Associated Press: US, Turkey Sanction Alleged Islamic State Group Supporters

“The U.S. said Thursday it has worked with Turkey to impose sanctions on four people and two firms that it says provided financial support to the Islamic State group. The announcement signaled counterterrorism cooperation between the two countries at a time of tensions over efforts to fight Islamic State. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has threatened an offensive into Syria against Kurdish militants he has blamed for a deadly Nov. 13 bombing in Istanbul. That has alarmed U.S. officials. Kurdish groups have been allied with the U.S. in the fight against Islamic State group and have warned that a Turkish escalation would threaten anti-IS efforts. In its announcement Thursday, Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said it was imposing sanctions on an Iraqi national living in Turkey, Abd Al Hamid Salim Ibrahim Ismail Brukan al-Khatuni, his sons and the Turkish money service firm where they all worked. They are accused of facilitating financial transfers to and from Iraq and Syria for the benefit of the Islamic State. Another individual, Lu’ay Jasim Hammadi al-Juburi, an Islamic State financial administration official also living in Turkey, was accused of using the firm Sham Express, a company founded in 2020 by Brukan al-Khatuni, to transfer funds to ISIS.”

BBC: Brussels Bombings Trial Held Up By Suspects' Boycott

“Repeated interruptions have cast doubt on the trial of suspects accused of the Brussels bombings that killed 32 people and wounded hundreds more in 2016. The court has had to postpone sessions because of questions over the rights of the 10 accused. The defendants complained of being humiliated by facing strip searches every day they go to court. When a solution was found to that objection, some of the suspects said they wanted to drop their lawyers. "Lawyers for several of the defenders say they no longer have a mandate to represent their clients, and that means the trial cannot proceed," spokesman for Belgium's federal prosecutor's office told the BBC. "At this point it is impossible to say when the trial will resume". Of the 10 men accused of murder and attempted murder with a terrorist motive, six have already been found guilty of involvement in the Paris attacks in November 2015. One is presumed to have died in Syria. Three suicide bombers blew themselves up at Zaventem airport and then Maelbeek station in co-ordinated attacks by jihadist group Islamic State on Brussels on 22 March 2016. The main suspects on trial in Brussels are convicted Paris plotter Salah Abdeslam, airport bomb suspect Mohamed Abrini, and metro bomb suspect Osama Krayem.”

United States

Raw Story: Founder Of Violent White Supremacist Group RAM Re-Indicted On Rioting Charges

“In a blog post published in December 2020, Rundo promoted his vision for “active clubs” as local groups that would “combine fitness and nationalist activism, building camaraderie, and developing team-building skills.” Over the past year, white power formations using the “active club” moniker have cropped up in at least a dozen states, along with Canada and France. "Rundo has been able to spread the active club brand in the US while he's been in Europe, and he outlined the idea of the active club as a successor to the Rise Above Movement," Joshua Fisher-Birch, a researcher at the Counter Extremism Project, told Raw Story. "In communications, he is the voice of authority regarding what is considered proper and how others should conduct themselves and recruit. He's appeared on podcasts, sold t-shirts with the movement's slogans, and has managed to make ideological relationships with members of other groups in the US, such as Patriot Front. Rundo is a model for his brand of white supremacism that seeks to normalize fascism and focus on a clean lifestyle and appearance, and fitness and combat sports." Neo-Nazis from across the country attended a mixed-martial arts tournament at an undisclosed location in San Diego in August.”


Al Arabiya: Turkish Court Suspends Funding For Pro-Kurdish Party Over Alleged Ties To Terrorism

“A top Turkish court on Thursday suspended funding for the main pro-Kurdish party over its alleged ties to terrorism. The court decision deprives the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) – parliament’s second-largest opposition group - of a key source of revenue heading into a general election due by June. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuses the party of being the political wing of banned militants who have been waging a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state. The HDP denies formal links to the fighters and accuses the government of targeting the party because of its strong opposition to Erdogan. The HDP’s future could play a major role in deciding Erdogan’s success in parliamentary and presidential elections now posing one of the stiffest challenges of his two-decade rule. Turkey’s constitutional court is hearing a prosecutor’s request to ban the party before the vote. Chief prosecutor Bekir Sahin is due to argue his case in court on Tuesday. The court will then have the option of either dissolving the party or banning some of its members if it rules against the HDP. Turkish media reports say the party was due to receive 539 million liras ($29 million) in treasury funding this year.”


Politico: Biden Aides Struggle To Respond To Taliban’s Latest Curbs On Women

“The Biden administration is grappling with how to respond to new Taliban restrictions on women’s rights in Afghanistan, knowing that punishing the ruling Islamists risks rupturing the limited relationship the United States has with them. The discussion among administration officials is fluid and positions have varied depending on the proposed penalties, a current administration official and a former U.S. official familiar with the talks said. Those proposals include new economic sanctions and tighter bans on Taliban leaders’ travels abroad, as well as limiting certain types of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. But in broad terms, according to the current and former officials, the debate has pitted Tom West, the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan, against Rina Amiri, the U.S. special envoy for Afghan women, girls and human rights. West is wary of going too far in isolating the Taliban, with whom the U.S. tries to cooperate on counter-terrorism, while Amiri wants to get tougher on them as they try to erase women from public life.”


Voice Of America: Pakistan Kills 11 Militants Near Afghan Border Amid Spike In Terrorism

“Pakistan said Thursday that a military counterterrorism raid in a remote region near Afghanistan’s border had killed at least 11 militants linked to a banned militant organization. The “intelligence-based operation” in the South Waziristan district “successfully foiled a high-profile terrorist activity,” a military statement said. Security sources said the slain men, including suicide bombers and a key commander, were members of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), or the Pakistani Taliban, waging terrorism in Pakistan, mostly targeting security forces and civilians. The TTP has killed hundreds of people, including security forces, in the last year. More than 40 Pakistani security forces were killed in December alone, which turned out to be the deadliest month in a decade of terrorist violence in the country. The TTP, designated as a global terrorist organization by the United States, is a Pakistani offshoot and close ally of Afghanistan’s ruling Islamist Taliban. Pakistan has maintained that fugitive TTP leaders and commanders are directing terrorist attacks from the Afghan side of the border, saying the Taliban rulers are not stopping them in line with their counterterrorism pledges.”


The National: US Offers $5m For Help In Tracking Down Senior Al Qaeda Leader In Yemen

“The US is offering up to $5 million for information on the whereabouts of Ibrahim Al Banna, a senior leader of Al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen. Al Banna, also known as Abu Ayman Al Masri, is the last surviving founding member of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the US State Department said. He served as the terrorist group’s chief of security and also provided military and security guidance to the terror group. “In a 2010 article for AQAP’s English-language online magazine, Al Banna described the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States as virtuous and threatened to target Americans worldwide in response to US actions overseas,” the State Department said. It appealed for information on Al Banna through its Rewards for Justice programme on Thursday. The US officially designated Al Banna as a terrorist in June 2017. The State Department said AQAP, which was designated as a terrorist group in 2010, has aimed at local, US, and western interests in the Arabian Peninsula, as well as abroad. The group has claimed responsibility for a number terrorist attacks, including the January 2015 assault on the offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris that killed 12 people. Prior to joining AQAP, Al Banna was a leader of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad group in Yemen from 1996 to 1998 and was in charge of the its training and intelligence operations.”

Middle East

The Jerusalem Post: Hamas Terrorist Boasts Suicide Bombings In Book He Wrote In Jail

“The armed wing of Hamas on Thursday published a book written by one of its commanders who was responsible for a series of suicide bombing attacks against Israel. The book, The Buses are Burning, was written by Hassan Salameh, who is serving 46 consecutive life sentences and another 30 years in Israeli prison for directing three mass-casualty attacks in Israel. Salameh, who was born in Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip, was arrested by Israeli security forces in 1996 in Hebron. The title of the book refers to the buses that were targeted by suicide bombers. In the book, Salameh relates how he and his friends planned and carried out several terror attacks. Why was the book launched now? The book launch was held in Khan Yunis to mark the 27th anniversary of the assassination of Hamas arch terrorist and chief bomb maker Yahya Ayyash, who was killed in a mobile phone explosion in the Gaza Strip in 1996. After the assassination, Hamas entrusted Salameh with the task of carrying out terrorist attacks in Israel to avenge the killing of Ayyash, nicknamed “The Engineer” because of his expertise in manufacturing bombs.”


Reuters: Somalia Militants Kill Six In Raid On Village They Recently Lost

“Islamist militants from al Shabaab killed at least six people on Friday while raiding a village in central Somalia that they were pushed out of last week, a government-allied militia said. Somalia's government and allied clan militias have forced the militants from large swathes of territory since launching a major offensive last August, but al Shabaab has retaliated with a string of attacks, including bombings in the capital Mogadishu. It killed at least 35 people and wounded 40 more on Wednesday, when it detonated two car bombs in the central Somalia town of Mahas. Friday's attack targeted the village of Hilowle Gaab in Hirshabelle State, which Somalia's army and allied militiamen captured from al Shabaab last week. The fighters attacked the village during morning prayers at around 5 a.m. (0200 GMT) with car bombs, said Hussein Aden, a spokesman for the local clan militia. A gunfight ensued, during which the militants were repelled, he said, adding that soldiers and militiamen were among the six fatalities. "We were woken by three deafening blasts on the edge of the village, and then a heavy exchange of gunfire followed," said Mohamed Hussein, a resident of Hilowle Gaab. "Fighting has died down. I do not know how many died." Al Shabaab said in a statement that it had recaptured the village and seized military vehicles and weapons, but residents and a local politician disputed that claim.”


The Defense Post: US Offers Reward For Shabaab Militant Over Kenya Attack

“The United States on Thursday offered a $10 million reward to find a leader of Somalia’s Al-Shabaab militants over a 2020 attack on an air base in Kenya that killed three Americans. The State Department said it would offer the reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction in any country of Maalim Ayman, leader of the Al-Shabaab unit Jaysh Ayman. “Ayman was responsible for preparing the January 2020 attack,” a State Department statement said. Al-Shabaab, the Somali movement designated a terrorist group by Washington since 2008, claimed responsibility for the attack at the Manda Bay Airfield on Kenya’s northern coast. Authorities say the Jaysh Ayman unit carried out the pre-dawn raid, which killed two US military service members and a US defense contractor and destroyed several aircraft. The United States has worked closely both with Kenya and the fragile government in Mogadishu to counter Al-Shabaab, which has lost ground inside Somalia in recent months under pressure from an African Union force and US air strikes.”

United Kingdom

BBC: Barber Shop Owner Jailed For Using Covid Grants To Fund Terrorists

“A man has been jailed for 12 years for sending Covid relief grants he received from a London council to fund so-called Islamic State terrorists in Syria. Barber shop owner Tarek Namouz, 43, was given thousands of pounds of bounce back loans which he transferred abroad. Kingston Crown Court heard at the time of the offences Namouz was on licence for raping a woman, 18, in a north London pub where he was the landlord. After he was sentenced, Namouz shouted "may Allah destroy you" at police. The court was told Namouz ran Boss Crew Barbers, in Hammersmith, west London, and received coronavirus relief grants from Hammersmith and Fulham Council during the pandemic. However, he sent the funds via a money transfer bureau to help organise terror attacks in Syria. The court heard that during the investigation police found transfers totalling about £11,280 - but Namouz then told a friend he sent £25,000 to Yahya Ahmed Alia, who he described as an "ex-fighter with Islamic State" who could buy sniper rifles. Another £3,000 was found in his bedroom drawer in the flat above his barber shop in Blyth Road.”

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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