Eye on Extremism: July 1

The New York Times: Dozens Killed As Taliban Bombs In 4 Humvees Rip Through Afghan District

“When the Taliban overran the district center of Maruf in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar this year, the government resorted to a familiar tactic: Simply relocate the district office 25 miles to the south to say it had not fallen. From its new location, the government tried to offer basic services and even sent a team of election workers to register voters before presidential elections scheduled for September. But in the pre-dawn hours on Sunday, the Taliban, whose fighters had encircled the old center of Maruf for nearly two years, came for the new location — ramming as many as four vehicles packed with explosives into the government compound, leaving a trail of death and carnage. The casualty toll was not immediately clear, as the local authorities were characteristically reluctant to acknowledge the extent of the attack. But security officials in the province, as well as in the country’s capital, Kabul, put the number of dead, mostly police officers, at 34 to 50.”

Kurdistan 24: US Carries Out Rare Strike Against Al-Qaeda In Syria

“US forces carried out a rare strike against al-Qaeda in Syria on Sunday, killing eight commanders.  US Forces conducted the strike against al-Qaeda in Syria (AQ-S) leadership at a training facility near Aleppo Province on June 30, 2019, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) confirmed on Sunday. “This operation targeted AQ-S operatives responsible for plotting external attacks threatening U.S. citizens, our partners, and innocent civilians,” CENTCOM said. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), the fighters were affiliated with Hurras al-Din, a group that is headed by Abu al-Humam al-Shami, an al-Qaeda senior operative who fought with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. The coalition strike hit a meeting of the organization in the Rif Al-Muhandiseen suburb in the western countryside of Aleppo. In the strike, at least six commanders of non-Syrian nationalities were killed. According to the US military, northwestern Syria remains a safe haven for al-Qaeda to “actively coordinate terrorist activities, including planning attacks throughout the region and in the West.”

Military Times: U.S.-Led Coalition: ISIS Militants Cleared From Syrian Village In Massive Operation

“Islamic State militants were cleared from the Syrian village Abu Naytl, according to the U.S.-led coalition countering ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The clearing operation marked one of the largest since March when President Donald Trump and the Syrian Democratic Forces announced that ISIS lost its so-called caliphate and territory in Syria. Forces assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve aided approximately 1,000 Syrian Democratic Force soldiers in clearing out ISIS from the Syrian town on June 18. The operation was launched after the ISIS fighters intimidated community leaders and infiltrated the village. "Operations like this show just how much progress has been made in destroying Daesh," Maj. Gen. Christopher Ghika, deputy commander for stability for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, said in a statement Friday. "But that doesn't mean the fight is won,” Ghika said. “Daesh doesn't need territory to remain a global and regional threat as it attempts to resurge. Our resolve remains firm, and we will continue to assist our partners in consolidating their gains and pursuing the remnants of Daesh.”

The Los Angeles Times: White Supremacist James Alex Fields Jr. Sentenced To Life In Prison In Charlottesville Attack

“An avowed white supremacist who deliberately drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing a young woman and injuring dozens, apologized to his victims Friday before being sentenced to life in prison on federal hate crime charges. James Alex Fields Jr. of Maumee, Ohio, had pleaded guilty in March to 29 of 30 hate crimes in connection with the 2017 attack that killed Heather Heyer and injured more than two dozen others in Charlottesville, Va. Prosecutors and Fields’ lawyers agreed that federal sentencing guidelines called for a life sentence. But his attorneys asked U.S. District Judge Michael Urbanski to consider a sentence of “less than life,” hoping he would take into account Fields’ troubled childhood and mental health issues. Just before Urbanski announced his sentence, the 22-year-old Fields, accompanied by one of his lawyers, walked to a lectern in the courtroom and apologized.”

The Wall Street Journal: G-20 Tells Social-Media Operators To Step Up Efforts Against Terrorist Content

“The U.S. joined other major nations in calling for social-media companies to crack down on violent terrorist content online, an apparent easing of Washington’s concerns about internet censorship. A statement signed by all members of the Group of 20 at a summit in Osaka, Japan, demands that operators of online content-sharing platforms, such as Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc., step up efforts to ensure violent terrorism-related imagery can’t be streamed or uploaded. “We urge online platforms to meet our citizens’ expectations that they must not allow use of their platforms to facilitate terrorism and violent extremism conducive to terrorism,” said the statement, released Saturday. The declaration was proposed by Australia following an attack on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March that left 51 people dead. An Australian citizen who has been charged over the attacks—which were live-streamed on Facebook, and then the video was shared on other sites—pleaded not guilty in a trial in Christchurch. The decision by the U.S. to sign up to the statement comes after Washington declined to endorse a similar international initiative last month. An accord called the “Christchurch Call”was adopted by nine nations in May in response to the mosque massacres.”

Wired: Greed Is To Blame For The Radicalization Of Social Media

“Last week, Reddit quarantined "r/The_Donald," a pro-Trump message board, after the company determined that the subgroup had encouraged and threatened violence. Likewise, Twitter is signaling that it will flag—but not remove—posts by government officials who violate its rules. As with YouTube’s demonetization (rather than deletion) of anti-gay videos, these are welcome, but insufficient measures. Until recently, social media platforms could feign ignorance about the scope and impact of harmful content on their sites. Now bigotry and conspiracy theorizing, which could once be dismissed as the rants of outliers, have hijacked mainstream discourse—including on media produced by President Trump and his allies. As such posts have become some of the most popular, moneymaking content being viewed and shared, social media executives simply cannot excuse their indifference. Growing up, your parents most likely diverted your attention away from invented tabloid cover stories at the supermarket checkout counter. They might have admonished you that such stories were fake—or, better yet, made up.”

United States

ABC News: 'Domestic' Terrorists Could Target July 4 Holiday Events, But No Known Plots: Feds

“Federal authorities are warning that white supremacists and other political radicals could look to attack Independence Day revelers on July 4, noting in a bulletin to law enforcement around the country that domestic terrorists ”have attacked perceived oppressors, opponents, or enemies engaged in outdoor First Amendment-protected rallies or protests during past summers.” The warning came in a joint intelligence bulletin issued by the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and National Counterterrorism Center, urging law enforcement personnel to remain vigilant for suspicious activity. Such bulletins are routinely distributed in the days before a major national holiday, but previous bulletins have often focused on “homegrown” terrorists inspired by overseas groups like ISIS or al-Qaeda rather than “domestic” terrorists radicalized by domestic issues such as abortion or white supremacy. The bulletin, which was issued Wednesday, makes prominent mention of both threats inside the U.S. homeland.  “The FBI, DHS, and NCTC remain concerned that [they] could target upcoming Independence Day celebrations, gatherings, or parades, though we are unaware of any current plots specifically targeting such events,” stated the bulletin, obtained by ABC News.”

Al Jazeera: Islamberg: Three Plead Guilty To Plot Against Ny Muslim Community

“Three young men accused of plotting to attack a Muslim community in upstate New York with homemade explosives have pleaded guilty. The three men and a 16-year-old high school student from the Rochester area were arrested in January and accused of planning to attack the community of Islamberg, near Binghamton. Police have said the defendants had access to 23 rifles and shotguns and three homemade explosives. Investigators uncovered the plot after a student reported a suspicious comment in a lunchroom. On Friday, Vincent Vetromile, 20, pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted criminal possession of a weapon. He faces seven to 12 years in prison. Brian Colaneri, 20, and Andrew Crysel, 19, also pleaded guilty to “terrorism-related conspiracy”. Each faces four to 12 years in prison. “Mr Colaneri and Mr Crysel both admitted to conspiracy, they both admitted to agreeing to ... essentially kill members of the Islamic community in Islamberg,” assistant district attorney Matthew Schwartz told reporters outside the court.  “And Mr Vetromile, he admitted to his role as it related to the acquiring, if you will, the various explosive devices.” Lawyers for Vetromile and Colaneri said the plea deals were contingent on no federal charges being filed against their clients.”

Syria

The National: Two Al Qaeda-Linked Leaders Killed In North-Western Syria

“Two Al Qaeda-linked rebel leaders were killed Sunday in a missile strike in Syria's rebel-held north-west, a war monitor said. They belonged to Hurras Al Deen, which maintains ties to the global extremist network and fights alongside Al Qaeda's former Syria branch, Hayat Tahrir Al Sham. Hayat Tahrir dominates most of Idlib province and parts of neighbouring Hama, Aleppo and Latakia. “Two leaders were killed, one Tunisian and another Algerian, in a missile attack that targeted a meeting in the western countryside of Aleppo,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said from Britain. Fourteen other fighters and a commander were wounded in the attack, it said, but the source and type of strike was unknown. The greater Idlib area was supposed to be protected by a buffer zone under an September agreement between Russia and Turkey. But backed by its ally Moscow, Damascus has since late April intensified its bombardment of the region, home to about three million people. Almost half of those civilians have been displaced from other parts of Syria. Hayat Tahrir seized most of Idlib at the start of the year. Since its formation in 2014, the US-led coalition against ISIS has also attacked extremist leaders in Idlib, but the strikes have dropped off significantly since 2017.”

The Jerusalem Post: Us Forces Attack Al-Qaeda In Aleppo

“US forces attacked al-Qaeda terrorist targets in Aleppo overnight, according to Maariv. The US Army Central Command explained, in a statement, that the purpose of the attack was to target fighters responsible for planning attacks against US citizens, allies and innocent civilians. The statement continued to say that North-West Syria remained a haven for al-Qaeda leaders, who plan and continue to try and carry out attacks throughout the region.”

Asharq Al-Awsat: Lebanon’s Hezbollah ‘Secretly’ Withdrawing From Syria

“The Lebanese Hezbollah party was secretly pulling out its fighters from Syria away from the media spotlight, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Large numbers of its forces have been withdrawn from various regions in Damascus and its countryside, as well as southern Syria. This explains why its fighters and Iranian militias were limiting their operations in “de-escalation” zones in the war-torn country. Local sources told the Observatory that Hezbollah pulled out its members towards the al-Zabadani region in the western Damascus countryside. The party still boasts a military barracks in the area and it is located west of the town of Qara.”

Iran

The Washington Post: Iran Vows To ‘Soon’ Breach Uranium Stockpile Limits, As European Efforts Fall Short

“European efforts to persuade Iran to stick within the limits of the nuclear deal have been insufficient and the country will breach uranium stockpile limits “soon,” Tehran’s semiofficial Fars News Agency reported Saturday, a move that could further escalate tensions with the United States. Iran has been threatening to surpass the limit of 300 kilograms (660 pounds) of low-enriched uranium that the country is allowed to possess under the nuclear agreement, unless it receives the sanctions relief that the deal promised in return. Breaching the limit would be a symbolic move but would not put Iran significantly closer to building a nuclear weapon. The 300-kilogram limit of uranium enriched to 3.67 percent is suitable for use in power plants but falls far short of the more than 90 percent enriched uranium needed for fissile material in a nuclear bomb. The move would come against the backdrop of knife-edge tensions in the region, with President Trump last week saying he had been close to launching a strike on Iran after its forces shot down a U.S. surveillance drone in the Strait of Hormuz. The United States has also accused Iran of using magnetic limpet mines to attack petrochemical tankers in the Gulf of Oman — which Tehran denies.”

Haaretz: Israel Strikes Iranian Targets In Syria, Report Says; 16 Killed, 21 Wounded

“Syrian air defenses responded to attacks on Homs and Damascus outskirts launched from Lebanese air space, Syrian state media says ■ Anti-aircraft missile fired at assailants hits Turkish Cypriot mountainside, causing no casualties. Sixteen people including a baby were killed and 21 were wounded by an Israeli attack on multiple Syrian and Iranian targets on the outskirts of Damascus and Homs, Syrian state-run al-Ikhbariya broadcaster reported, citing its correspondent. Israeli warplanes fired missiles at Syria that targeted Syrian military positions in Homs and Sahnaya, south of Damascus, the Syrian military said on Monday. Meanwhile, Turkish-held Cyprus said a Syrian anti-aircraft missile that was fired at Israeli jets landed north of Nicosia. No casualties were reported.”

The Washington Post: U.S. Tells Europe: Choose Between Us And Iran, As New Trading System Launches

“The U.S. special representative for Iran said Friday that European companies have a choice: Do business with the United States or do business with Iran, as Europe announced that a new system to allow trade with Tehran was in place. The comments by Brian Hook came as European countries made a last-ditch effort to prevent Iran from breaching the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal, a move that could add to soaring tensions in the Persian Gulf. Europe has been scrambling to come up with a mechanism to persuade Iran to stay within the limits of the deal, as Tehran complains that it no longer sees the economic benefit of the accord after the Trump administration pulled out and reimposed sanctions on the nation. Iran has indicated that if it does not receive some form of sanctions relief, it plans to exceed the limit of 300 kilograms (660 pounds) of low-enriched uranium that the country is allowed to possess under the nuclear agreement. That threat added urgency to efforts by Britain, France and Germany to set up a complex barter system that would allow some trade with Iran to continue in order to keep Tehran from breaching the deal. The system is now operational, senior E.U. diplomat Helga Schmid said after a meeting of officials from the remaining E.U. signatories in Vienna on Friday. She said she expected more E.U. countries to join.”

Iraq

The Washington Examiner: Attacks From ISIS Sleeper Cells In Iraq And Syria Could Set The Stage For A Future Land Grab

“Remnants of the Islamic State are engaged in a campaign of violence, extortion, and terrorism in Syria and Iraq in an apparent effort to regroup after the disintegration of the jihadist group's land caliphate earlier this year. These ISIS fighters have reverted to insurgent tactics, forcing U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces and Iraqi security forces to adjust their strategy from the focus on countering a conventional threat. Some experts are concerned this could be a sign the group is preparing to make a push to retake lost territory. The SDF, supported by U.S.-led Operation Inherent Resolve forces, has conducted more than 50 operations targeting ISIS “sleeper cells” in northeast Syria since the defeat of the land caliphate on March 23, according to U.S. Central Command. They have reportedly led to the capture of more than 140 ISIS fighters and the removal of more than 3,000 improvised explosive devices and unexploded ordnance. One of the most recent operations took out a cell in Abu Naytl on June 18. ISIS members were trying to incite violence and threaten tribal leaders before a contingent of 1,000 SDF soldiers cleared them from the Syrian town.”

Xinhua: 6 IS Militants Killed In Airstrike, Anti-IS Operation In Northern Iraq

“A total of six Islamic State (IS) militants were killed on Sunday in an airstrike carried out by the U.S.-led coalition aircraft and an operation by Iraqi security forces in the northern province of Nineveh, the Iraqi army said. Acting on intelligence reports, the U.S.-led coalition aircraft carried out an airstrike on a tunnel used by IS militants as a hideout in Ayn al-Jahesh area in south the provincial capital Mosul, the media office of the Joint Operations Command (JOC) said in a statement. Four extremist IS militants were killed in the airstrike which was conducted in coordination with Nineveh's Operations Command, the statement said. Also in the province, Iraqi security forces conducted an operation in the village of Um Haram in west of Mosul, killing two IS militants and confiscating an explosive belt and a assault rifle, as well as their vehicle and motorcycle, the JOC said in a separate statement. The security situation in Iraq was dramatically improved after Iraqi security forces fully defeated the extremists IS militants across the country late in 2017. IS remnants, however, have since melted in urban areas or resorted to deserts and rugged areas as safe havens, carrying out frequent guerilla attacks against security forces and civilians.”

Iraqi News: Iraqi Army Kills Two Islamic State Terrorists On Border With Syria

“The Iraqi Defense Ministry announced on Sunday that its troops killed two Islamic State terrorists during a military operation on the country’s border with Syria. The operation was launched after hearing the sound of a large explosion, the ministry said in a statement, adding that the two terrorists tried to escape the scene but the troops managed to kill them. According to the statement, the troops also found bodies of three Islamic State suicide bombers wearing explosive belts at the scene. Iraq declared the collapse of Islamic State’s territorial influence in November 2017 with the recapture of Rawa, a city on Anbar’s western borders with Syria, which was the group’s last bastion in Iraq. IS declared a self-styled “caliphate” in a third of Iraq and neighboring Syria in 2014. A government campaign, backed by a U.S.-led international coalition and paramilitary forces, was launched in 2016 to retake IS-held regions, managing to retake all havens, most notably the city of Mosul, the group’s previously proclaimed capital.”

Radio Free Europe: Iraqi Leaders Say Country Deserves Global Support After Long Fight Against Islamic State

“Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi has called on the world community to bolster its support for reconstruction efforts in his war-devastated country given the sacrifices it has made in the fight against Islamic State (IS) militants. Abdul-Mahdi was speaking on June 29 during a meeting with a visiting UN Security Council delegation, the first such visit to Iraq. The delegation also met with Iraqi President Barham Salih, who told the group that Baghdad had a desire to resolve international matters “by encouraging dialogue between all sides.” Baghdad has offered to help mediate between the United States and Iran to help ease long-standing tensions between the two rivals. Salih also said it was important “to preserve Iraq's sovereignty, security, and unity amid the crises the region is witnessing. Iraq declared victory over IS extremists in July 2017 following the recapture by government forces of Mosul, three years after Iraq’s second-largest city was taken by IS fighters who declared it the capital of their so-called Islamic caliphate. But after years of fighting, Iraqi cities and towns were left in ruins, and Baghdad has struggled to raise funds for the rebuilding process.”

Turkey

Bloomberg: Turkey Threatens Military Action In Libya If Turks Not Released

“Turkey accused forces loyal to Libya’s eastern commander Khalifa Haftar of capturing six of its citizens and threatened to take military action in the conflict-ravaged North African country unless they’re freed. “We expect our citizens to be immediately released,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Shortly after Turkey’s warning, the LNA said it targeted an armed Turkish drone at a Tripoli airport. The escalation risks drawing NATO’s second-largest military force deeper into what’s rapidly becoming the Middle East’s latest proxy conflict to control an oil-rich country divided between two rival administrations. Haftar, who is supported by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, accuses Turkey of providing armed drones and other weapons to the United Nations-backed government in Tripoli to help repel his campaign to capture the capital. Over the weekend, the Tripoli government said its forces have found sophisticated U.S. and other foreign weapons after they pushed Haftar’s forces out of a strategic city south of the capital. The cache included U.S.-made anti tank missiles originally sold to the U.A.E., a key American ally, the government said. Agreement Violation? Their presence, if true, raises questions whether the U.A.E. has violated its sales agreement with the U.S.”

Afghanistan

The New York Times: As U.S. And Taliban Resume Talks, More Deadly Attacks In Afghanistan

“Deadly violence surged across Afghanistan as American and Taliban officials started a seventh round of peace talks on Saturday, with high hopes for a breakthrough. The talks, held in the Qatari capital, Doha, aim to hammer out a provisional schedule for American troop withdrawal in exchange for Taliban guarantees that international terror groups will not be allowed to operate on Afghan soil. Such an agreement is seen as a crucial step toward opening negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government over the country’s political future. A spate of attacks on Friday and Saturday that killed nearly 300 fighters from both sides, according to claims by the Taliban and the Afghan government, was a sign that optimism at the negotiating table might not translate to an immediate reduction in violence, as the rivals seek to use battlefield gains for leverage. Casualty numbers provided by both sides are often exaggerated and difficult to verify. One of the deadliest episodes took place in northern Baghlan province, where the Taliban killed at least 25 members of a government militia during an overnight attack on their outposts in Nahrin district. Residents and officials described a large number of insurgents amassing for a surprise assault that routed the government militia and the reinforcements that arrived at the scene.”

Voice Of America: Latest Taliban Attacks Kill At Least 42 Afghan Forces

“The Taliban has killed dozens of government forces in its latest battlefield attacks in Afghanistan as the insurgent group opens a new round of peace negotiations with the United States in Qatar to discuss a political settlement to the deadly Afghan war. Officials in northern Baghlan province said Saturday a large group of insurgents assaulted several security outposts in Nahreen district, triggering hours-long fierce clashes. The district chief, Fazluddin Mardi, told VOA the attack killed 26 in the pro-government anti-Taliban forces and wounded eight others. He asserted that insurgents also suffered heavy casualties but gave no further details. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid gave a much higher casualty toll for Afghan forces, saying several senior commanders were also among those killed. The Taliban also carried out an early morning attack against police posts in southern Kandahar province. A security official told VOA the insurgent raid in the Takhta Pol district near the airport of the provincial capital, also named Kandahar, killed 16 policemen and wounded four others. The insurgent group in a statement claimed it killed 20 Afghan police personnel, though Taliban spokesman people often issue inflated claims for such attacks.”

Asharq Al-Awsat: Taliban Kills Eight Election Commission Employees In South Afghanistan

“Taliban militants killed eight election commission employees on Saturday night inside a district center in Afghanistan's southern province of Kandahar, officials said. The employees of the Independent Election Commission were stationed at the government office in Maruf district to register voters when hard-line militants launched the attack. Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack, Reuters reported. Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, said they killed election commission employees and 57 members of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF). They also captured 11 others with five vehicles and a large cache of weapons during the attack at the district center. However, according to Afghan government officials, the Taliban had exaggerated the casualty figures. Qaseem Azad, a secretary of the Kandahar police said ANDSF suffered some casualties, without providing further details. According to Reuters, the fight between the Taliban and Afghan forces has intensified even as leaders of the Taliban and US officials held peace talks to end 18 years of war in Afghanistan.”

CBS News: Drama Follows Powerful Bomb Blast In Afghan Capital

“A powerful bomb blast rocked the Afghan capital early Monday, rattling windows, sending smoke billowing from downtown Kabul about a-mile-and-a-half from the U.S. Embassy and wounding dozens of people, officials and a medic said. One unconfirmed report said several people were killed. There was no initial claim of responsibility. The explosion hit as the streets in the capital were packed with morning commuters. Officials and police were at the scene of the blast and few details were available. Ambulance sirens screamed throughout the downtown area as they rushed to the scene. Mohammad Karim, a police official in the area of the attack, said a car bomb exploded outside a Defense Ministry building. Militants then ran into a nearby high-rise located in a crowded market and began firing down on the ministry. Police and special Afghan security forces were swarming the area and cordoned it off. CBS News' Ahmad Mukhtar reports at least two of assailants took positions in the building and were fighting with the Afghan forces. Kabul's chief police spokesman, Firdous Faramaz, could only confirm the explosion, but was unclear on the target or the type of explosive device. Ambulance worker Mohammed Zahir said at least 50 people were wounded. The Reuters news agency put the number at 65.”

The Hill: Taliban Pushing To 'Rewrite' Draft Agreement For US Withdrawal From Afghanistan: Report

“The Taliban is pushing to “rewrite” a draft agreement under which the U.S. would withdraw from Afghanistan in exchange for pledges that Taliban leaders would help to combat terrorism, The Associated Press reported Sunday. “We are working to rewrite the draft agreement and incorporate it in clauses that have been agreed upon,” Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told the AP during peace talks in Qatar with U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad. Shaheen said the talks are “not finished yet.” The agreement would pave the way for withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops from Afghanistan and fulfill one of President Trump’s longtime goals. In 2013 he tweeted, “Let’s get out of Afghanistan. Our troops are being killed by the Afghanis we train and we waste billions there. Nonsense! Rebuild the USA.” The Trump administration in December planned to begin withdrawing forces from the country over the next few months, but the proposal was met with resistance from Republicans on Capitol Hill. The Senate voted in January for a “sense of the Senate” resolution warning against the “precipitous withdrawal” of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Syria. Trump temporarily backed off his plan to withdraw U.S. forces after hearing feedback from senior military leaders.”

Pakistan

Radio Free Europe: Anti-Taliban Party Official Gunned Down In Pakistan's Peshawar

“A local leader of the secular Awami National Party (ANP) was gunned down in Peshawar, Pakistan, on June 29 by unknown assailants. ANP activist Sartaj Khan was in his car when he came under fire from two gunmen on motorcycles. The attack occurred in the upscale Gulbahar neighborhood. Khan was a municipal district president and an important leader of the ANP, a prominent anti-Taliban political force. The party has supported the military campaign against militants in the Swat Valley and the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but ANP members have frequently been attacked by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in recent years. The ANP has said that “hundreds” of its leaders and activists have been killed since 2007.”

Qatar

Military.Com: F-22s Deploy To Qatar For The First Time Amid Iran Tensions

“The U.S. Air Force has deployed its F-22 Raptor stealth fighter to the Middle East for increased presence amid ongoing tensions with Iran. U.S. Air Forces Central Command announced Friday that the jets have arrived in Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar for the first time to "defend American forces and interests." The command posted photos alongside the announcement on social media. Nearly a dozen F-22s are now in the region, the Associated Press reported. Raptors have in the past been stationed at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates. The fifth-generation fighter had been part of the air campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria since the fight began in 2014; they returned home last fall, and were replaced by F-15C Eagles earlier this year.”

Yemen

Al Jazeera: Saudi Arabia Intercepts Two Houthi Drones Launched Into Kingdom

“Saudi Arabia has intercepted two drones launched by Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels, a Saudi-led coalition spokesman has said. The first drone targeted the province of Jizan, while the second was aimed at a residential area in Asir province, the coalition said in a statement released by the state-run Saudi Press Agency late on Saturday. Turki al-Maliki, the spokesperson for the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen, said the drones caused no damage or casualties. The Houthis' Almasirah satellite news channel also said late on Saturday the drones targeted Saudi airports in Abha and Jizan with Qasef-2K drones.”

Reuters: Yemen's Houthis Attack Military Positions At Saudi Jizan Airport: TV

“Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group attacked military positions and aircraft hangars at Saudi Arabia’s Jizan airport, the group’s Al Masirah TV said on Saturday, citing a military spokesman. There was no immediate confirmation from Saudi authorities. The Houthis, who ousted the Saudi-backed internationally recognized government from power in the Yemeni capital Sanaa in late 2014, have stepped up missile and drone attacks on Saudi cities this month."

Saudi Arabia

Asharq Al-Awsat: Lebanon: Guards Killed In Attack On Pro-Hezbollah Minister’s Convoy

“Two bodyguards of a Lebanese Druze minister, who is close to Hezbollah and the Syrian regime, were killed on Sunday when his convoy came under fire in a mountain area near Beirut. Saleh al-Gharib, Lebanon's minister of state for refugee affairs, is a member of the Lebanese Democratic Party headed by Druze leader Talal Arslan. In remarks to a television station, Gharib said “what happened was an armed ambush and a clear assassination attempt”. He said he was heading to the mountain village of Qabr Shamoun near the town of Aley when his convoy came under fire. The Lebanese army sent reinforcements to the area. It was not clear who opened fire, but the area was tense Sunday as supporters of Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt closed roads to prevent Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil from touring the region. Jumblatt said he didn’t want to engage in a media dispute with any side, calling for an investigation into the attack. President Michel Aoun called for an emergency meeting of the Higher Defense Council at Baabda Palace on Monday.”

The Times Of Israel: Hezbollah’s Secret, Grandiose Plan To Invade Israel In The Post-Tunnel Era

“In his latest speech, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah again boasted that his terror group can easily penetrate into Israeli territory from Lebanon. Hezbollah’s cross-border tunnel network may have been destroyed, but even in its absence Nasrallah insists that his commandos will try to storm Israel in secret and raid communities and army bases in the north. While Hezbollah knows it would pay a heavy price for such a step, the propaganda achievement would be crucial. Like a broken record, in every speech Nasrallah delivers he threatens a military operation in Israeli territory if a war breaks out. Sometimes he calls it “conquering the Galilee,” sometimes just “penetrating.” Last month that ritual repeated itself when Nasrallah told his supporters that Hezbollah has the ability to “easily penetrate the Galilee.” The question now is how, now that the Israeli military has revealed and destroyed Hezbollah’s secret strategic weapon — the cross-border tunnels — the Lebanese organization plans to operate inside Israeli territory and take control of a town or a piece of land. Perhaps Hezbollah doesn’t have another strategic weapon like the tunnels, but it can be assumed it still has an extremely ambitious and detailed plan to occupy communities and military posts on Israel’s northern border.”

Middle East

Washington Examiner: Attacks From ISIS Sleeper Cells In Iraq And Syria Could Set The Stage For A Future Land Grab

“Remnants of the Islamic State are engaged in a campaign of violence, extortion, and terrorism in Syria and Iraq in an apparent effort to regroup after the disintegration of the jihadist group's land caliphate earlier this year. These ISIS fighters have reverted to insurgent tactics, forcing U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces and Iraqi security forces to adjust their strategy from the focus on countering a conventional threat. Some experts are concerned this could be a sign the group is preparing to make a push to retake lost territory. The SDF, supported by U.S.-led Operation Inherent Resolve forces, has conducted more than 50 operations targeting ISIS "sleeper cells" in northeast Syria since the defeat of the land caliphate on March 23, according to U.S. Central Command. They have reportedly led to the capture of more than 140 ISIS fighters and the removal of more than 3,000 improvised explosive devices and unexploded ordnance.”

Libya

Egypt Today: Libyan National Army: Turkey Supports Terrorists, Directly Interferes In Libya

“The Libyan National Army has accused the Turkish regime of supporting terrorist groups in Libya. The army announced in a statement that Libyan National Army is fighting against armed terrorists on Libyan territories, while a Turkish logistic support has been offered to terrorist elements since years ago. The statement added that the Turkish support to the elements has evolved to a direct interference using military aircrafts to transport mercenaries, as well as ships carrying weapons, armored vehicles and ammunition to support terrorism in Libya. The Libyan National Army has released instructions to air forces to target Turkish ships and boats inside regional waters. The interim Libyan government demanded to fire all Turkish companies working in Libya, end their contracts, boycott Turkish products and industries, and suspend civil flights from and to Tukey via Libyan airlines in response to the Turkish terrorist aggression.”

Nigeria

Sahara Reporters: Boko Haram Takes Over Nigerian Navy Base On Lake Chad

“The video showed some members of the terrorist group jubilating in one of the ships belonging to the Nigerian Navy in Lake Chad. They shot into the air as a sign of victory, chanting “Allah Akbar” (God is the greatest). Four of the naval officers captured alive were made to introduce themselves while being recorded before they were eventually executed by the terrorist group. Three of the naval officers introduced themselves as Ebirek Adewale with official number X12907, Muhammed Muhammed, and Aliyu Adamu, an excavator operator. The fourth naval officers in the video released by the terrorist group said, “I was drafted from naval Air Wing, Port Harcourt, under the command of Nigerian Navy Ship Pathfinder to Naval Base, Lake Chad, Baga, Borno State. “Our base was attacked on the 26th to 27th. We are on our way to escape. I was captured by the Army Kalaifa (sic) and now we are under their detention as prisoners of war.” The insurgent group in the new video documentary released footage of the victories it has recorded in a series of attacks against the Nigerian military. The video showed different gun battles between the insurgent group and the military with the Boko Haram group having the upper hand.”

CFR: Five Years After Kidnapping, Nigeria’s Chibok School Girls Fade From The International Scene

“In April 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped 276 female students gathered in Chibok to sit for high school examinations. The international community responded with outcry and condemnation. At the time of the abduction, female empowerment and education in the developing world was widely discussed in the United States. The story and efforts of a young charistmatic Pakistani activist, Malala Yousafzai, drove interest in the topic, and Chibok fed into those concerns. First Lady Michelle Obama joined many celebrities in an international “bring back our girls” campaign. In Nigeria, the Jonathan administration, at first, did not take action. The Nigerian first lady characterized the kidnapping as a hoax. But Nigerian civil society, led by former education minister Oby Ezekwesili, among others, successfully pressured the Jonathan administration to take action, though to little avail.”

Yahoo News: Nigeria Protesters Demand End To Anti-Boko Haram Militia

“More than 2,000 people protested Sunday in the northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, calling for a ban on the anti-Boko Haram CJTF militia they accuse of abuses after the killing of a rickshaw driver. The protesters blocked major roads in the Suleimanti area of the city and set fires, causing chaos despite pleas from police and military officers, an AFP reporter at the scene saw. “We want the CJTF to be banned from the city because of the abuses we suffer in their hands,” said Suleimanti resident Bukar Saleh. “They have become a law unto themselves and are treating us badly. And now they have started killing us,” Saleh said. The CJTF militia tried to stop the demonstration, attacking protesters with batons and arresting scores of them. The protest erupted hours after a rickshaw driver was shot dead near a militia checkpoint. “The victim was a known resident and his name was Modu but the CJTF just shot him for no reason,” Saleh said. The CJTF insisted however that the victim was shot for failing to stop at a checkpoint during nighttime curfew hours. The militia have intensified night patrols in the area in recent days following incursions by the jihadists, he said. “The driver's refusal to stop raised the suspicion of our men and one of them took him down, because they believed he was a Boko Haram terrorist on a mission,” Babakura Abba-Ali, the CJTF head in Suleimanti area, said.”

Sahara Reporters: Boko Haram Takes Over Nigerian Navy Base On Lake Chad

“Four of the naval officers captured alive were made to introduce themselves while being recorded before they were eventually executed by the terrorist group. The video showed some members of the terrorist group jubilating in one of the ships belonging to the Nigerian Navy in Lake Chad. They shot into the air as a sign of victory, chanting "Allah Akbar" (God is the greatest). Four of the naval officers captured alive were made to introduce themselves while being recorded before they were eventually executed by the terrorist group. Three of the naval officers introduced themselves as Ebirek Adewale with official number X12907, Muhammed Muhammed, and Aliyu Adamu, an excavator operator. The fourth naval officers in the video released by the terrorist group said, “I was drafted from naval Air Wing, Port Harcourt, under the command of Nigerian Navy Ship Pathfinder to Naval Base, Lake Chad, Baga, Borno State.”

Yahoo News: Nigeria Protesters Demand End To Anti-Boko Haram Militia

“More than 2,000 people protested Sunday in the northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, calling for a ban on the anti-Boko Haram CJTF militia they accuse of abuses after the killing of a rickshaw driver. The protesters blocked major roads in the Suleimanti area of the city and set fires, causing chaos despite pleas from police and military officers, an AFP reporter at the scene saw. "We want the CJTF to be banned from the city because of the abuses we suffer in their hands," said Suleimanti resident Bukar Saleh. "They have become a law unto themselves and are treating us badly. And now they have started killing us," Saleh said. The CJTF militia tried to stop the demonstration, attacking protesters with batons and arresting scores of them.”

Somalia

Xinhua: 8 Militants Killed, 12 Others Injured In Southern Somalia

“Somali forces on Saturday killed 8 militants and injured 12 others in clashes between government forces and al-Shabab extremists in Moro Gabey, a village 30 km away from Hudur town in the country's southern region of Bakol, officials confirmed on Sunday. Mohamed Mo'alim Ahmed, commissioner of Hudur town told journalists that the clashes erupted after government forces launched an attack on militants who were forcefully collecting taxes from the residents of Moro Gabey village. “Our forces managed to kill eight of the terrorists and injured 12 others,” Ahmed said, noting that the government forces had lost four soldiers and two others sustained injuries during the operation. “Heavily armed forces attacked the militants in the village, the two sides exchanged heavy gunfight and there were casualties, but we can't indicate the exact figure,” Lul Omar, a local resident told Xinhua by phone. The move came after the government forces on Thursday also killed 8 al-Shabab militants in an operation in Jamame town in the country's southern region of Lower Juba. Somali forces have intensified the operations on al-Qaida affiliated group in central and southern regions to flush the militants out.”

Africa

Middle East Monitor: Tunisia Detains Suspected Terrorist For Investigations Following Attacks

“The Tunisian judiciary decided, Saturday, to detain Raed Touati, who is accused of belonging to Al-Qaeda, for investigations into armed attacks. This came in a press statement by Sofien Selliti, spokesperson for the Judicial Counter-Terrorism Division. Selliti explained that the decision came after “the submission of the file of the case of Touati (who is classified as a very dangerous terrorist) on Friday to the Public Prosecutor’s Office in the Judicial Counter-Terrorism Division, which permitted the opening of an investigation into the charges.” This comes two days after three terrorist attacks in Tunisia last Thursday; two of which in the capital Tunis, killing a police officer and injuring four people. These attacks occurred less than a year after a suicide bombing carried out by a woman in the heart of Avenue Habib Bourguiba in the capital. On Thursday, Daesh claimed responsibility for the suicide bombings in the capital. In early May, Tunisian security forces arrested Raed Touati after pre-emptive security operations.”

France 24: Double Attack In Tunis: ‘There Are People Who Don’t Want A Stable Tunisia’

“It is 8:30am Friday on Avenue Habib Bourguiba in the heart of the Tunisian capital. A clutch of police vehicles with caged-in windows snakes off the pedestrian central reservation (median strip) where they had been parked for hours. The convoy barely vacates the space before a street cleaner hoses down the pavement, like he would on any other day. As if life needed, quickly, to return to normal. At the café Le Parnasse nearby, young people in shirtsleeves are chatting on the terrace. “The attack took place 100 metres away, but here we are,” one says. A suicide bomber, yet to be identified, detonated explosives the morning before next to a police car parked at the intersection of Avenue Habib Bourguiba and the busy rue Charles-de-Gaulle. Police officer Mehdi Zammali succumbed to the injuries he sustained in the blast within minutes. Another officer and three civilians were wounded in the attack.”

France 24: Double Attack In Tunis: ‘There Are People Who Don’t Want A Stable Tunisia’

“In the aftermath of dual attacks against law enforcement on Thursday in Tunis, residents are determined to not capitulate to fear or fall prey to divisions that could threaten the democratic process Tunisia has set in motion. It is 8:30am Friday on Avenue Habib Bourguiba in the heart of the Tunisian capital. A clutch of police vehicles with caged-in windows snakes off the pedestrian central reservation (median strip) where they had been parked for hours. The convoy barely vacates the space before a street cleaner hoses down the pavement, like he would on any other day. As if life needed, quickly, to return to normal. At the café Le Parnasse nearby, young people in shirtsleeves are chatting on the terrace. “The attack took place 100 metres away, but here we are,” one says. A suicide bomber, yet to be identified, detonated explosives the morning before next to a police car parked at the intersection of Avenue Habib Bourguiba and the busy rue Charles-de-Gaulle. Police officer Mehdi Zammali succumbed to the injuries he sustained in the blast within minutes. Another officer and three civilians were wounded in the attack.”

Voice Of America: Kenyan Women Unite Their Voices To Prevent Extremism

“The U.S. Institute of Peace is training and working with Kenyan women as they build trust within their communities to prevent violent extremism. The program comes as Kenya struggles to halt the recruitment efforts of Islamist militant group al-Shabab. The organization Sisters Without Borders was formed in 2014. One of its missions is to bridge the mistrust between Kenyan security agencies and families of terrorism suspects. The organization includes at least 20 women’s groups from Nairobi, Mombasa and Garissa, all of which have seen deadly terrorist attacks by the Islamist militant group al-Shabab. Sureya Hirsi, a member of the sisters' group from Mombasa, attended the conference in Nairobi. She says it is time for women to take an active role in the fight against terrorism.”

News 24: Evaluating The Threat Of Islamist Extremism To South Africa And The Wider Region

“In recent years southern Africa, once thought to be relatively insulated against the threat of extremism, has seen an increase in extremist activity and associated acts of terrorism. This is by no means unique to the region and reflects its continued spread internationally. As indicated by the Global Terrorism Index, although the total number of deaths from terrorism has fallen since a high point in 2013 – largely because of strategic victories against Boko Haram and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) – the impact of terrorism continues to widen. In 2017, 67 countries experienced at least one death from terrorism, which is the second-highest number of countries in the past 20 years recording at least one death for the year. The risk posed by international terrorist organisations, particularly ISIS, Al-Qaeda and its affiliates, to South Africa has been debated for several years. The challenge of this debate lies in balancing the potential security threat posed by these groups against the risk of overestimating this threat and thereby fuelling unnecessary social divisions and xenophobia against both Muslim South Africans and Muslim immigrants.”

Al Jazeera: How Bloodshed In Mali's Villages Threatens The Region

“This week, The Take is reporting from Mali's new front, where an absent government is letting old rivalries flare. Groups like al-Qaeda are fuelling the fire and a major UN peacekeeping mission is unable to stop the unprecedented violence. Priyanka Tilve produced this episode with Alexandra Locke, Morgan Waters, Amy Walters, Ney Alvarez and Malika Bilal. Seth Samuel was the sound designer. Natalia Aldana is the social media producer. Graelyn Brashear is Al Jazeera's Head of Audio. Special thanks to Nicolas Haque, Eva Kasprowicz and Rachid Mkansi.”

North Korea

The New York Times: In New Talks, U.S. May Settle For A Nuclear Freeze By North Korea

“From a seemingly fanciful tweet to a historic step into North Korean territory, President Trump’s largely improvised third meeting on Sunday with Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, was a masterpiece of drama, the kind of made-for-TV spectacle that Mr. Trump treasures. But for weeks before the meeting, which started as a Twitter offer by the president for Mr. Kim to drop by at the Demilitarized Zone and “say hello,” a real idea has been taking shape inside the Trump administration that officials hope might create a foundation for a new round of negotiations. The concept would amount to a nuclear freeze, one that essentially enshrines the status quo, and tacitly accepts the North as a nuclear power, something administration officials have often said they would never stand for. It falls far short of Mr. Trump’s initial vow 30 months ago to solve the North Korea nuclear problem, but it might provide him with a retort to campaign-season critics who say the North Korean dictator has been playing the American president brilliantly by giving him the visuals he craves while holding back on real concessions.”

United Kingdom

The Independent: Teenage Isis Supporter Who Bought 15-Inch Hunting Knife Jailed For Preparing Act Of Terrorism

“A teenage Isis supporter who claimed he would launch a stabbing attackon a London train has been jailed. Haider Ahmed was 16 when he was reported to police, who discovered he had purchased a large hunting knife while planning to commit either a terror attack or robbery to fund his travel to Syria. In a message sent to contacts in September 2016, he said he would launch a “martyrdom” attack the next day if he had the “equipment”. “I wanna do inghamasi [martyrdom operation] here inshallah, I’m 100% serious,” Ahmed wrote. “I came home on train today and even imagined doing it.” Ahmed, now 19, was jailed for five years at Kingston Crown Court for preparation of terrorist acts and helping a fellow Isis supporter to join the group in Libya. The teenager, of Redhill in Surrey, pleaded guilty to six offences, including disseminating terrorist propaganda and collecting terrorist information. He denied a further charge of preparing for a terrorist act, after purchasing the “terrifyingly large” hunting knife, but was found guilty by a jury in March following a retrial. Detective Chief Superintendent Kath Barnes, head of Counter Terrorism Policing South East, said the investigation was triggered by a member of the public who contacted police with concerns about Ahmed’s behaviour.”

The New York Times: U.K. Couple End Joint Hunger Strike Over Her Detention In Iran

“They had been fasting together for more than two weeks: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian woman detained in Tehran, who went on a hunger strike in prison, and her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, who was outside the Iranian Embassy in London. On Saturday, the 15th day of their campaign, they suspended the strike demanding Ms. Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s unconditional release. Mr. Ratcliffe told BBC Radio’s “Today” program on Saturday that he had talked to his wife on the phone, and that she had told him she would end the hunger strike. “It was getting hard for me, but I’m sure it was much harder for her,” Mr. Ratcliffe said. “I’m relieved because I wouldn’t have wanted her to push it much longer.”

Germany

Deutsche Welle: German Neo-Nazi Doomsday Prepper Network 'Ordered Body Bags, Made Kill Lists'

“Germany's domestic intelligence agency says a group of neo-Nazis compiled a list of political opponents and ordered 200 body bags and quicklime in preparation for a potential collapse of state order, named “Day X.” Most of the more than 30 preppers, who called themselves Nordkreuz (Northern Cross), were associated with Germany's police and military, including several former and one active member of the elite forces unit of the state police of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.   Preppers is a term used to describe those preparing for social collapse or natural disaster by stockpiling food and emergency supplies. Speaking to the local Märkische Allgemeine newspaper in 2017, members of Nordkreuz described themselves as people with a “healthy conservative attitude” who simply collected supplies for a major disaster. But all of the members of the group were trained marksmen and had access to firearms and ammunition, according to the RND newspaper network, which reported the conspiracy on Friday, citing sources inside the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), Germany's domestic intelligence agency. The BfV also believes that the group, which communicated via the messenger app Telegram, was preparing for Day X with “enormous intensity,” and had used data from police computers to compile a list of 25,000 names and addresses.”

Europe

Al Arabiya: Alleged Italian ISIS Member Handed To Rome: SDF

“Kurdish authorities in northeastern Syria have handed to Italy one of its citizens accused of belonging to ISIS, a spokesman said on Saturday. “Italian jihadist Samir Bougana (aka Abu Abdullah) who had been captured fleeing ISIS and had been imprisoned since then, was handed over to Italian government,” said Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). He said the transfer had been made on Rome’s request. He did not specify when it took place or whether or not the suspected extremist had already left the country. Bougana - also known as Abu Hureyre al-Muhajir or Abu Abdullah al-Muhajir - was first captured by Kurdish fighters in Syria in August 2018 as he tried to flee into Turkey. He had allegedly been involved in weapons shipments to ISIS. His transfer is part of a wider effort by the Kurdish administration to rid itself of the dregs of the ISIS proto-state. Following the collapse of the group’s “caliphate” in March, alleged ISIS fighters from nearly 50 countries have been detained in Syria and Iraq. Over 11,000 of their family members are being held in Syria’s al-Hol camp alone. But repatriation is a sensitive issue for Western nations such as France and Britain, which have experienced attacks by homegrown extremists and have little interest in seeing more return.”

Dutch News: Utrecht Tram Shooter Accused Of Terrorism Tells Judges: ‘I Did It For My Faith’

“The man who shot dead four people and wounded two others on a tram in Utrecht in March has appeared at a preliminary court hearing. Gökmen Tanis, 37, is accused of four counts of murder with a terrorist motive. At the start of the hearing he told judges he refused to be represented by a lawyer because ‘I’m not a democrat and I don’t recognise your courts.’ Tanis opened fire on a packed tram near the city’s central station just before 10am on March 18. He was arrested later that day told police he acted alone. The trial is likely to revolve around the issue of whether he was a committed Islamic terrorist or a serial criminal and drug user with diminished responsibility. Appearing in handcuffs and flanked by six police officers, Tanis refused to stand when the judges entered the courtroom and interrupted them as they outlined the case. When a judge referred to ‘the accusations’ against him, he said: ‘Not accusations, I’ve already confessed.’ The prosecution service said Tanis was a known offender who was awaiting trial for rape when he carried out the attack, but there were no indications at that point that he had been radicalised. However, they added that his behaviour during the attack and statements he made to the police strongly indicated he had terrorist sympathies.”

Belfast Telegraph: Northern Ireland Prisoners To Be Allowed Books On Terrorism And Paramilitaries

“Inmates in Northern Ireland's prisons will be allowed access to books on paramilitaries and terrorism after a rule change. Such books were previously banned from prisons, but a review of the policy has reversed the decision. The review came after academic Dr Marisa McGlinchey discovered that her book 'Unfinished Business: The Politics Of Dissident Irish Republicanism' was prohibited in Maghaberry Prison. At the time all books relating to terrorism and paramilitaries were banned from the prison. The review found that the policy was “not proportionate”. Director General of the Northern Ireland Prison Service Ronnie Armour said that police officers were still dealing with the impact of the Troubles and “ongoing violence”. He cited the murders of prison officers David Black and Adrian Ismay by the New IRA. The BBC has reported that the books will not be allowed into prisons “unless they breach specific guidelines which include the promotion of, or support for terrorism/paramilitaries, or overtly promote or encourage the commission of criminal acts”. If a book is banned there will be an appeals process avaliable. A Northern Ireland Prison Service discussion said the review had prompted “serious discussion” and accepted that a blanket ban was no longer appropriate saying that the prison service was a “changing organisation and learning organisation.”

Australia

The New York Times: Australia Is Bringing Children Of ISIS Home. Is It Ready?

“It was the breakthrough that Karen Nettleton had pursued for five years: The orphaned Australian children and grandchildren of Khaled Sharrouf, a notorious Islamic State fighter, were removed from a Syrian camp this week and will soon return to Australia. Ever since her daughter, Mr. Sharrouf’s wife, took the eldest of the children to ISIS territory in 2014, Ms. Nettleton had searched for them, eventually making three trips to Syria and pressuring the Australian government to stage a rescue. Now that the children — there are six, from newborn to age 18 — are in Iraq and a step closer to repatriation, the government is confronting its next big challenge in the case: how to reintegrate them into Australian society. With the fall of the so-called caliphate established in Syria and Iraq by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, governments around the world are facing the same moral, political and security questions that have vexed Australia, as thousands of wives and children of the group’s fighters languish in camps in Syria.”

Southeast Asia

The Washington Post: Philippines: Abu Sayyaf Chief Likely Plotted Suicide Attacks

“An Abu Sayyaf commander aligned with the Islamic State group most likely plotted the suicide attacks on an army camp in the volatile southern Philippines by two militants whose identities remain unknown, a Philippine official said Saturday. Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano cited intelligence as showing Hajan Sawadjaan most likely harbored the two suicide bombers and plotted Friday’s attack in an army camp that killed three soldiers, two civilians and themselves. The military says 22 other soldiers and civilians were wounded. The Islamic State group claimed in a statement that two of its fighters carried out the attack with explosive belts but overstated the military casualties at about 100. It posted what it claimed was a picture of the two young-looking militants before the attack, wearing what appeared to be explosive vests and standing beside a black IS-style flag with lush foliage in the backdrop. Ano and other security officials have previously blamed Sawadjaan, who is based in the jungles of Sulu province’s mountainous Patikul town, for the Jan. 27 suicide bombing of a Roman Catholic cathedral during a Mass that killed 23 people in Sulu’s capital town of Jolo.”

The Guardian: Philippines: Isis Claims Bombing That Killed Five On Jolo Island

“Five people including three soldiers were killed in a bombing targeting an elite army unit in the Philippines’s restive south, which Islamic State claimed was a suicide attack, authorities and experts said. The military said the kidnap-for-ransom group and Isis-affiliate Abu Sayyaf was likely behind the midday blast on the island of Jolo on Friday, which also left nine other soldiers wounded. Isis claimed the bombing was the work of two suicide attackers, according to tweets from Rita Katz, the director of SITE Intelligence Group which monitors jihadist activities worldwide. The Philippines has renewed its campaign against the militants on Jolo this year after a suspected suicide bomber struck the island’s Roman Catholic cathedral in January, killing 21 people.”

G20

The Week: G20 Leaders Resolve To Prevent Use Of Internet For Terrorism, Extremism

“Leaders of the G20 on Saturday resolved to prevent the use of the internet to fund and facilitate terrorism and extremism, asserting that while the internet must be “open, free and secure”, it cannot serve as a safe haven for terrorists. The leaders of the Group of 20 major economies in a statement after the Osaka summit said they are committed to act to protect people from terrorist and violent extremism conducive to terrorism (VECT) exploitation of the internet. “As leaders, one of our greatest responsibilities is to ensure the security of our citizens. It is the state's role, first and foremost, to prevent and combat terrorism. Here in Osaka, we reaffirm our commitment to act to protect our people from terrorist and VECT exploitation of the internet,” they said in a separate statement.”

Technology

The Guardian: Facebook Terror Crackdown: Will Scott Morrison's Plan For Extremist Content Work?

“The G20 leaders have urged Facebook and other social media companies to step up their efforts to prevent the wide distribution of terror attacks on their platforms in the wake of the Christchurch massacre. At the summit in Osaka, Australia’s prime minister, Scott Morrison, succeeded in getting the leaders to put out the statement, despite reported hesitation from the Trump administration over free speech concerns. What does it mean for Facebook? In the statement, the leaders urge social media giants like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to “not allow use of their platforms to facilitate terrorism and VECT [violent extremism conducive to terrorism]”. The statement is symbolic, and not a binding statement that forces the tech giants to do anything, or the countries involved to make new laws in this area.”

Forbes: Pro-Louis Farrakhan Facebook Resurfaces After Ban, Name Change

“After Facebook yanked a web page supporting Nation of Islam Leader Louis Farrakhan after being banned for violating the company’s policies against hate speech, the site returned to the world’s largest social media network under a slightly different name. According to the page for Supporters of The Honourable Louis Farrakhan, the group was previously known as The Honourable Louis Farrakhan until it was shut down by Facebook, in the wake of Farrakhan’s ban. The group, which has 1,185 members, changed its name on May 28. “We tried to get it back by making reports, but they all went unanswered,” the group’s page says. “We had 21.000 members.”  Whether the second time for the Facebook page will be the charm is hard to say.  According to Facebook, the 86-year-old Farrakhan isn't allowed to have a presence on its site. Facebook removed his official pages on the site and from its Instagram photo-sharing service. The company plans to remove other pages, groups, accounts, and posts that are set up to represent him. That includes any content from the Nation of Islam (NOI) A company spokesperson said it isn't targeting content from Farrakhan's supporters or news reports about him.”