Eye on Extremism: July 12

The Washington Post: Judge Oks Phone Seizures In New York City Bike Path Attack

“Prosecutors can show jurors at a terrorism trial the contents of two phones found in a truck used to kill eight people on a New York City bike path, a judge ruled Thursday. U.S. District Judge Vernon S. Broderick rejected efforts by lawyers for Sayfullo Saipov to toss out the evidence, saying a search warrant used to learn the contents of the phones was supported by probable cause. Saipov, 31, is scheduled to stand trial next March in the Oct. 31, 2017, attack. He has pleaded not guilty and could face the death penalty, if convicted. Authorities say Saipov was arrested after emerging from the truck carrying a pellet gun and a paintball gun and shouting an Arabic phrase, “Allahu Akbar,” meaning “God is Great.” He was shot by a police officer and arrested at the scene. In his ruling, Broderick noted one of the phones was ringing when it was recovered from the truck.” 

Arab News: Deadly Clashes, Car Blast In Northwest Syria Leave 84 Dead

“Regime forces and allied Syrian fighters were locked in clashes on Thursday on the edge of an opposition bastion in northwest Syria after an opposition-led advance that killed 71 fighters overnight, a monitor said. Russian and regime aircraft have ramped up their deadly bombardment of the Idlib region — administered by Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) — since late April, despite a months-old international truce deal. Clashes have also raged on the edges of the region, including in the north of Hama province. Late Wednesday, HTS and allied opposition fighters took control of Hamameyat village and hilltop, in clashes that killed 41 regime troops and 30 opposition fighters, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. “The fighting is ongoing as regime planes and artillery pound the area,” the head of the Britain-based monitor Rami Abdel Rahman said on Thursday morning.”

Fox News: Indiana Brothers Accused Of Trying To Support ISIS

“A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted two Indiana brothers for allegedly attempting to provide firearms and other support to the Islamic State (ISIS). Moyad Dannon, 21, and Mahde Dannon, 20, both of Fishers, appeared in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis, where they face various firearms-related charges and one count of attempting to provide material support and resources, including firearms, to the terrorist group. The younger Dannon was already awaiting trial on felony theft charges when he introduced his brother to a person working for the FBI in a scheme to provide firearms to the informant, the Justice Department said. Federal prosecutors said the pair sold illegally obtained firearms to the informant between July and December 2018. They began to make “ghost guns,” weapons that can't be traced, by purchasing firearms parts without serial numbers online and making .223-caliber semi-automatic rifles. Those rifles were sold to an undercover FBI agent introduced to the pair by the informant, according to prosecutors. In February, Moyad Dannon traveled with the undercover agent to the U.S.-Mexico border to sell rifles to a potential buyer who said the weapons were going to be shipped to the Middle East for ISIS.”

The Jerusalem Post: Argentina To Designate Hezbollah As Terror Group - Report

“Argentina's government is planning on designating the Lebanese-based Hezbollah group as a terror organization for its role in the terror attacks against the Israeli embassy and the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentinian newspaper La Nacion reported on Tuesday. “We are evaluating different possibilities. One of them is to pass a decree,” sources in the Ministry of Security and the Financial Intelligence Unit told the newspaper. The two entities have been tasked by President Mauricio Macri to find the “most rapid” solution to achieve the goal of including the Iranian-backed group in the list of terror organizations. “We do not have a majority in Parliament, and it would take too long to pass a law there,” highly-placed sources in the Argentinian government explained to La Nacion. July 18, 2019, will mark the 25th anniversary of the bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association in the country's capital. The attack left 85 people killed and 300 injured. The report added that on that day Macri would pay tribute to the victims with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is scheduled to visit the country next week. Pompeo will participate in the Western Hemisphere Ministerial anti-terrorism summit that the government of Argentina will host commemorating the bombing on July 19.”

The National: America Faces A New Counter-Terrorism Problem It Is Completely Unprepared For

“Now and over the coming five years, prison time for a deluge of extremists is coming to an end. Unlike other countries, "the United States has neither established a formal rehabilitation and re-entry programme for convicted terrorists nor developed infrastructures to support individuals upon their release", reports a recent study by the Counter Extremism Project, an international policy organisation.”

Motherboard: The Nazi-Free Alternative To Twitter Is Now Home To The Biggest Far Right Social Network

“Mastodon was launched as a decentralized, social justice friendly Twitter alternative that was free of Nazis and harassment. But two years later, the biggest Mastodon instance is now Gab, a far-right social media network known widely as a gathering space for white supremacists. “Gab has always been attractive to fascist and neo-Nazi groups that advocate violence,” Joshua Fisher-Birch of the Counter Extremism Project said. “In the past, Gab has actively promoted itself as a social media alternative when Twitter has banned extreme right groups and individuals.”

United States

The New York Post: Alleged ‘Bike Path Terrorist’ Can’t Keep Cellphones Out Of Case: Judge

“A judge has denied a bid by the alleged ”bike path terrorist” accused of killing eight people in a Halloween 2017 truck attack to exclude evidence gathered from two cell phones he had on him during the attack — one of which was ringing after police shot him and took him into custody. Seyfullo Saipov is accused of acting on behalf of the Islamic State when he allegedly drove a flatbed truck onto the cycling and pedestrian path on the west side of Lower Manhattan and the authorities say his phones contain thousands of images of ISIS propaganda.  Saipov could face the death penalty if convicted. It was revealed in March that investigators had Saipov, who was born in Uzbekistan, in their sights for yearsbefore the attacks.  As for the incoming call, District Judge Vernon Broderick of the Manhattan federal court said in his ruling to deny Saipov’s motion to suppress information found on the phones that it may have been a co-conspirator calling to discuss the alleged attacks.  Saipov, who has pleaded not guilty to the attacks and is scheduled to go to trial next March, had argued that the authorities did not have probable cause to get a search warrant for his phones, which were two of only a few items that Saipov had with him in the Home Depot truck that he allegedly used to carry out the attacks on the West Side Highway bike path.”

The Jerusalem Post: The Us And Hezbollah

“The US took the brave and important step on Tuesday of blacklisting three Hezbollah operatives, including two sitting members of Lebanon’s parliament. Former chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot called on the US to condition its support for the Lebanese Armed Forces on it intercepting the flow of weapons to Hezbollah, and stopping Hezbollah’s increasing presence in southern Lebanon. The US move comes more than a decade after UN Resolution 1701 was supposed to end Hezbollah’s military and terrorist role in southern Lebanon, and the weapons trade between Iran and Hezbollah. The resolution called for no foreign forces in Lebanon without the consent of the government, and no sales or supply of arms and related material to Lebanon except as authorized by its government. Nevertheless, Hezbollah has built up an arsenal of around 150,000 missiles, and has warned that they can strike everywhere in Israel.”

The National: Beyond The Headlines: The Minnesota Model For Fighting ISIS In The US

“Despite waging the war on terror for nearly two decades, America has never attempted to win the battle of ideas at home. The country has no federal level counter-extremism programmes and no national model other than jail time for handling American citizens at home who support the views of radical groups around the world.  With roughly 80 people convicted of supporting terror groups set for release between now and 2024, there is no national system to reintegrate them into society or ensure they no longer harbour dreams of joining militant groups.  In Minnesota, many young people in the 100,000 strong Somali-American population of Minneapolis have been targeted by online recruiters from groups like ISIS and Al Shabab. Dozens have been arrested for supporting or trying to join the militants.  Even though ISIS has been defeated on the battlefields of Iraq and Syria, the draw of the ideology still holds.  Now in Minnesota, a small programme is trying to work with young people drawn to extremism to guide them away from dangerous groups and reintegrate them into society. This week, we hear from The National's reporter Stephen Star who spoke with those running the programme about what they are trying to do and why.”


The Defense Post: Syria: Bomb Explodes Outside Church In Qamishli Christian Neighborhood

“A car bomb that blew up outside a church in a Christian area of the city of Qamishli in northeast Syria injured nearly a dozen people, security services in northeast Syria said. Islamic State said it carried out the bombing, which Syrian state television said wounded 11 people and damaged several cars. Security services have said eight people were injured, mostly lightly, the Rojava Information Center told The Defense Post. The bomb exploded just as people were leaving a Church service around 5:45 p.m. local time (1445 GMT). The bomb went off at the Virgin Mary church in the majority Christian district of al-Wasta, which is held by Syrian government forces. ISIS continues to claim deadly attacks in Syria despite the loss of its last stronghold of Baghuzin March. Qamishli, which Kurds who make up the majority in the city call Qamishlo, is the capital of the self declared autonomous region of North and East Syria. Most of the city is under control of the Syrian Democratic Forces, a mixed Kurdish-Arab militia that is supported by the U.S.-led Coalition in the fight against ISIS, although parts of the city are also under the control of the Syrian government.”

Voice Of America: Women In Syria's Raqqa Enjoy Newfound Freedoms After Islamic State 

“Women in the Syrian city of Raqqa say their lifestyle drastically changed after U.S.-backed forces freed their city from the Islamic State terror group. The Syrian Democratic Forces liberated the city in October 2017. Since then, Raqqa residents have been determined to bring a sense of normalcy back to their city, which was once the de facto capital of IS's self-proclaimed caliphate.  Throughout the partially restored market in downtown Raqqa, shops selling women's clothing and cosmetics now openly showcase their merchandise, something unthinkable during IS rule. “Now, I can exhibit anything I want in front of my store,” said a 37-year-old man who owns a women's boutique.   “When Daesh was here, we had to hide things like revealing clothes and lingerie in the back of the store. Men couldn't sell these things to women, so we had to hire women to sell to other women,” he told VOA, using the Arabic acronym for Islamic State.  Under IS rule, strict social codes were imposed on the local population. Men and women who were not related weren't allowed to interact.  Women, in particular, were required to wear black dresses covering their entire bodies and faces. Those who disobeyed received harsh punishments, including imprisonment and flogging.”


The Hill: It's Time To Hold Iran Accountable For Terrorism In Argentina

“Twenty five years ago this month, the world watched in horror as rescuers in Buenos Aires picked through the rubble of a Jewish community center, searching for survivors of a suicide bombing that leveled the building, killing 85 people, including a five-year-old boy, and wounding 300 more. Every year since, the international community has mourned the loss of life, holding rituals of remembrance and issuing demands for accountability for the Iranian and Hezbollah terrorists who organized the massacre. But for a quarter of a century, the alleged bombers of the Argentine Jewish Mutual Aid Association, known as the AMIA, have lived freely in Iran. Ali Fallahian, one of the suspects, served on Iran’s influential Assembly of Experts until 2016. Mohsen Rezai, another suspect, is a senior adviser to Iran’s supreme leader. A third, Ahmad Vahidi, served as Iran’s defense minister until 2013 and today is president of Iran’s Supreme National Defense University. They have also traveled widely, in the Middle East, Asia and Latin America, including as representatives of the Iranian regime. This flagrant impunity is not for lack of effort by Argentina. In 2004, Argentina appointed a hard-charging special prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, to investigate Iran’s role in the AMIA bombing.”

Reuters: Iran Cleric Says U.K. Will Be 'Slapped In The Face' For Seizure Of Its Tanker: TV

“Britain will soon be "slapped in the face" for the capture of an Iranian supertanker last week, Iranian state TV quoted a cleric as saying on Friday, amid heightened tension between Iran and the West in the Gulf. "Iran's strong establishment will soon slap Britain in the face for daring to seize the Iranian oil tanker," cleric Kazem Sedighi told worshippers during Tehran's Friday prayer sermon, TV reported. Earlier Iran called on Britain to immediately release the oil tanker that British Royal Marines seized last week on suspicion it was breaking European sanctions by taking oil to Syria.”

The Guardian: Iran Warns Western Powers To 'Leave Region' Amid Gulf Crisis

“Iran has called on the UK to release the oil tanker seized last week and warned foreign powers to “leave the region because Iran and other regional countries are capable of securing the regional security”. Royal Marines seized the supertanker Grace 1 on suspicion it was breaking European sanctions by taking oil to Syria. Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, told the IRNA news agency: “This is a dangerous game and has consequences ... The legal pretexts for the capture are not valid ... The release of the tanker is in all countries’ interests.” Iran has said it would take reciprocal measures if its tanker is not released. Britain said on Thursday that three Iranian vessels tried to block the British-owned commercial vessel British Heritage from passing through the strait of Hormuz, which controls the flow of Middle East oil to the rest of the world, but backed off when confronted by a Royal Navy warship. Iran has denied the allegations.”


Voice Of America: Islamic State Remains Unpredictable As It Regroups

“The Islamic State terror group is adapting to the loss of its self-declared territorial caliphate by returning to its origins and becoming once again a more local, Iraq-focused insurgency, and is recruiting in remote border areas in Iraq’s western desert. But it still harbors ambitions to strike in the West, warn European officials and analysts. Britain’s Security Minister Ben Wallace on Thursday warned that Islamic State and rival jihadists in al-Qaida remain a serious threat to the West. Exploiting the internet and social media platforms, IS can still recruit Westerners, and if not organize attacks itself at least inspire adherents to strike, he said. “That means that everyone has potentially an ISIS problem in every country around the world,” he told Britain’s Sky News. “It is a different type of threat because at the moment it's manifesting itself in lone actors.” For security services the threat is unpredictable “because they have to watch one person who may be just literally talking to themselves on one day and the next day they'll go and grab a knife or a truck.” But IS has not lost the ambition to plot and organize terror attacks in the West itself. In the current top IS leadership, two out of 12 members of al-Lajna al-Mufawada, the group’s Cabinet, are tasked with overseeing operations abroad.”

Asharq Al-Awsat: Iraqi Army Concludes ‘Will Of Victory’ Operation Against ISIS

“The Iraqi Army has concluded the operation dubbed as the ‘Will of Victory’, which was launched starting this week by Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi against ISIS in three provinces. This operation coincided with the 3rd anniversary of liberating Mosul on July 10 in 2017, which represented the key to military elimination of the group at the end of this year. In this context, Iraq's National Wisdom Movement Leader Ammar al-Hakim has called for putting a comprehensive political, security and community strategy to maintain the victory. In a statement issued Thursday, Hakim stressed that this historic achievement should be retained via setting a comprehensive strategy, especially in the liberated regions. He called on the Iraqi government and the parliament to exploit this occasion to reconstruct liberated cities and march towards development. The Joint Operations Command announced Thursday that the first phase of the ‘Will of Victory’ has been completed. Deputy of Army Chief of Staff for Operations Abdul Amir Rasheed Yarallah revealed in a statement that the military sectors participating in the operation managed to achieve the determined goals. During a press conference on Thursday, Member of Iraq's parliamentary Security and Defense Committee Nayef al-Shammari said that the committee held a meeting with the Iraqi PM.”


Ahval News: ISIS Threatens Erdoğan In Newly Released Video

“The Islamic State (ISIS) on Wednesday released a video in Turkish threatening Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) reported. ISIS is thought to be responsible for a series of attacks in Turkey that killed hundreds of people from 2015 until its latest attack on the morning of January 1, 2017 at an Istanbul night club. “Hey, Erdoğan, the arrogant tyrant of Turkey, do not think the swords of the caliphate's soldiers are far away from you,” dpa quoted one of the Turkish-speaking ISIS members in the video as saying. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-declared caliph of ISIS, appeared in a video on Apr. 29, saying that ISIS will eventually win in a war of attrition against the “Crusaders”. At some point in the video, he was given a folder titled Wilayat Turkey, Province of Turkey in Arabic. Wednesday's video was also given the same title. Following his conversation with Erdoğan last November about the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria, U.S. President Donald Trump said the Turkish President would “eradicate whatever is left” of ISIS in Syria. “Know that standing among the ranks of the Crusaders will not help you against the soldiers of the caliphate,” dpa quoted the militant as saying.”

The Defense Post: Islamic State Turkey Province Video Claims New Wilayah In Old Turf

“ISIS released a propaganda video from ‘Wilayah Turkey,’ showing a small group of militants pledging bayah, or allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The eighth in the “And the best outcome is for the righteous” series, the video is the first from this new province, but ISIS already has a complex presence in Turkey. The five-minute long video released on July 10 is typical of earlier bayah videos. It features three militants sitting in front of what appears to be a handmade, large black standard commonly used by ISIS. They are joined by two more when making the pledge of allegiance while a sixth presumably operates the shaking camera. The speaker is identified as Abu Qatada at-Turki, and he reaffirms the militants’ allegiance to Baghdadi while also threatening Turkey and America. A weapons researcher known as Calibre Obscura noted that the militants appear well-armed in comparison to fighters seen in other videos in this series. A Draganov sniper rifle, a PKM machine gun, an RPG-7 rocket-propelled grenade launcher, two AKMS assault rifles, a Glock pistol, and some grenades appear throughout.”

The New York Times: Turkey Gets First Shipment Of Russian Missile System, Defying U.S.

“The first shipment of a sophisticated Russian surface-to-air missile system arrived in Turkey on Friday, the Turkish Defense Ministry announced, a process that is expected to incur United States sanctions and will test the NATO alliance. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has been insistent in his determination to purchase the S-400 system, Russia’s most advanced antiaircraft weaponry, despite warnings from the United States. Washington has cautioned that the deal will lead to economic penalties against Turkey, a fellow NATO member, and cancellation of Turkey’s purchase of American F-35 fighter jets. The United States has been unyielding in its opposition to Turkey’s acquisition of the S-400. American officials have argued that the missile system is incompatible with NATO equipment, and that having Turkey operating both the Russian weapons and the F-35 could give Russia access to the American jets’ secret stealth technology.”


The New York Times: General Calls Rushed Troop Withdrawal From Afghanistan A ‘Strategic Mistake’

“Withdrawing American troops from Afghanistan too soon would be a “strategic mistake,” President Trump’s nominee for Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman said Thursday, clearly outlining the Pentagon’s position as the White House wrestles with whether to pull military forces and end the 18-year war. “I think it is slow, it’s painful, it’s hard — I spent a lot of my life in Afghanistan — but I also think it’s necessary,” Gen. Mark A. Milley, the nominee, said about the American military’s continuing mission at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee. General Milley’s tough line on the war comes as the United States and the Taliban navigate their seventh round of peace negotiations. Earlier peace dialogues have focused on two main planks: the withdrawal of Western troops and the Taliban’s pledge to deny any safe haven to terrorist groups in Afghanistan. On Thursday, Zalmay Khalilzad, the veteran American diplomat leading the negotiations with the Taliban, sought to make clear that the United States was not just looking for an exit ramp from the war. “We’re not cutting and running,” Mr. Khalilzad said in a taped video statement to a Georgetown University forum on ensuring that women and civil society are included in the peace talks.”

Al Arabiya: Suicide Bomber Kills Five At Wedding Party In Eastern Afghanistan

“A suicide bomber on foot targeted a wedding party in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Nangarhar on Friday, killing at least five people and injuring 40, local officials said. Atahullah Khogyani, a spokesman for Nangarhar province’s governor, said a 13 year old boy set off his explosives inside the house of a pro-government militia commander in Pacheragam district. Khogyani said 40 wounded men and women were rushed to hospital and local residents said 10 people were killed. Pro-government militias often work with overstretched Afghan security forces to prevent territories falling into the hands of the Taliban and ISIS fighters. Last month, Taliban militants killed at least 26 members of a pro-government militia in northern Afghanistan. No group has claimed responsibility for the wedding party attack but Islamic State militants have carried a string of suicide bombings and attacks on government offices, schools, and aid groups in recent years in Jalalabad, Nangarhar’s main city.”

Yahoo News: Afghan Women Note Taliban Shift After Doha Talks

“An Afghan campaigner who took part in breakthrough talks with the Taliban said Thursday that she saw subtle improvements in the attitude towards women of the insurgents, who severely curtailed their rights while in power. In a meeting earlier this week in Qatar, the Islamist militants sat down with Afghan representatives and issued a joint statement that called for assuring women's rights “within the Islamic framework of Islamic values.” The conference, co-organized by Germany, came as the United States negotiates with the Taliban to pull troops from Afghanistan -- with women's rights not explicitly on the agenda. Asila Wardak, a women's rights campaigner who works for the Afghan foreign ministry, said she was surprised at the positive atmosphere in Doha as women mingled directly with the Taliban over dinner and tea breaks. “It was interesting to me as an Afghan woman as they didn't shake hands but they warmly welcomed us,” she told a symposium at Georgetown University on the peace process, speaking by video from Kabul. Two Taliban delegates even showed flashes of humor, telling the Afghan women that they heard they would be coming and saying, “Please don't give us a hard time,'“ she said.”

Xinhua: 53 Militants Killed As Afghan Gov't Forces Step Up Operations: Officials

“At least 53 militants have been killed over the past 24 hours as Afghan government forces have intensified operations, security officials said Thursday. In one crackdown on militants, government forces struck Taliban hideouts in Jalalabad area of Argo district in northern Badakhshan province early on Thursday and the firefight lasted until the security forces recaptured the area and forcing militants to flee after leaving five bodies behind and injuring 11 others, provincial administration spokesman Nik Mohammad Nazari said. According to Nazari, no security personnel had been hurt. Separately, government forces, according to Jilani Farhad, the spokesman for western Herat provincial government, launched operations against Taliban hideouts in Obe district of the province on Wednesday and so far 15 insurgents had been killed and 10 others injured. Government forces have also killed nine militants and injured four others in Bilchiragh district of the northern Faryab province over the past 24 hours, provincial police spokesman Abdul Karim Yurash said. A total of 17 militants have been killed in the southern Kandahar and seven more killed in the neighboring Helmand province since Wednesday, officials said Thursday.”


Vice: Al Qaeda Calls For ‘Unrelenting Blows’ On The Indian Army In Kashmir

“For the first time in the history of India, terrorist outfit Al-Qaeda has called for terror attacks in the state of Kashmir. In a terrifying clip called ‘Don’t Forget Kashmir’ that released on July 10, the organisation’s new chief Ayman al-Zawahiri asked his forces to inflict “unrelenting blows” on the Indian army and the government of body in Kashmir in order to “bleed” the economy dry and make the country suffer. The video was released by Al-Qaeda’s in-house production channel As-Sahad. This is the first time that the organisation, which was also responsible for the 9/11 terror attacks in New York, has specifically instructed for action in Kashmir, something the government officials feel is a desperate attempt to fight back against the recently improved situation in the Kashmir Valley. Speaking in Arabic in the video, Zawahiri made no mention of Zakir Musa, the founder of the Indian cell of the Al-Qaeda, who was killed by security forces in Kashmir in May. But Musa’s photo showed up on the screen as the new chief spoke about Kashmir.”


The JC: Qatar’s Record On Terrorism Is Sketchy At Best: The US Must Choose Its Allies More Carefully

“Since taking office, the Trump administration has adopted a zero-tolerance approach to Iran’s destructive foreign policy objectives and has clamped down on Tehran’s army of proxy extremists in Gaza, Lebanon, Yemen, and elsewhere. In a week when the emir of Qatar visited Washington, the White House must apply similar pressure to disrupt the emirate’s disturbing links to terror and extremist groups. Qatar’s record on terrorism is sketchy at best. A recent Wall Street Journal investigation implicated several of its most prominent citizens in assisting foreign terrorist groups. Financier Khalifa al-Subaiy is noted for his connection to senior figures in al-Qaeda, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — the architect of the September 11, 2001 attacks. The financier was first put on a United Nations terror blacklist in 2008 for repeatedly providing financial aid to terrorists.”

Middle East

Asharq Al-Awsat: Israel Said It Thwarted 50 Operations By Iran, ISIS Around The World

“Senior intelligence sources in Tel Aviv announced Wednesday that the Mossad and the Israeli military intelligence division have thwarted at least 50 terrorist attacks in 20 countries over the past three years, including Turkey, France, and some Arab countries. The sources said, according to a report broadcast by Channel 12 of Israeli television, that some of these operations were plotted by ISIS, while others by Iran, its militias, and various organs. Of the 50 operations in 20 countries, 12 were foiled in Turkey alone, the report said. Despite the strained relations between Israel and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Israel has decided to inform the latter of these operations. “In more than one case, he has been informed of this while he continued his strong attacks against Israel,” according to the sources. The report added that one of the aborted operations was a plan to assassinate Iranian opposition figures, who participated in a conference in France. Information reached Israel, which was quick to inform the French intelligence. The report also noted that Israel prevented a plot to detonate a civilian Australian aircraft.”

Metro: Inside The Islamic State Infowar: Ex-Jihadi Reveals Secrets Of His Battle To Wipe ISIS Off The Internet Forever

“The so-called Islamic State has been defeated on the ground – but its ideology is very much alive online. In dark, encrypted corners of the internet, zealots are still spreading the twisted message of extremist Islam as well as the terror training manuals which allow lone wolfs to launch deadly solo attacks anywhere in the world. Using apps like Telegram which offer the ability to communicate in total secrecy, jihadi recruiters are able to quietly build communities dedicated to spreading their message and teaching recruits how to kill unbelievers. Police find it difficult or even impossible to penetrate this digital underworld, so potential terrorists feel empowered to talk openly to each other without fear of prying eyes. But lurking among the extremists are people who call themselves ‘hunters’ – volunteers who have spent the past four years fighting ISIS online and penetrating its ‘dark networks’ through subterfuge.”

Gulf News: UAE Committed To Tackle Terrorism-Crime Nexus

“The UAE has reaffirmed its commitment to continue implementing best practices and the most advanced international initiatives to combat the linkages between organised crime and international terrorism, including combating money-laundering and strengthening border security in the interest of maintaining international peace and security. The commitment was made at the United Nations Security Council Open Debate on threats to international peace and security: linkages between international terrorism and organised crime yesterday. In a statement at the debate, Saud Al Shamsi, Deputy Permanent Representative and Charge d’affaires of the UAE to the UN, stressed that the UN focuses on strengthening the capacity of member-states to better understand and implement their obligations when the UN Security Council adopts new resolutions on this issue, in addition to holding member-states that finance and support terrorist groups accountable when they violate these resolutions. He emphasised the need to better understand the linkages between international terrorism and organised crime, and to implement tailored programmes that take into consideration the regional context to effectively combat these crimes.”


Bloomberg: Car Bombings Kill At Least Five At Eastern Libyan Army Funeral

“Several car bombs targeting the funeral for a special forces commander in Libya’s second-largest city killed at least five people, the pan-Arab satellite channel Al-Hadath reported. At least another 11 people were wounded in the attack in Benghazi, Al-Hadath and SkyNews Arabia reported. Al-Hadath said no military leaders were among the dead. Eastern Libya is the base for strongman Khalifa Haftar, whose Libyan National Army is waging an offensive on the capital, Tripoli, the seat of the internationally-backed government led by Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. It comes as Islamic State is reportedly making a comeback in Libya and has vowed to target Haftar’s forces. The Libyan commander has cast his campaign to secure the country as a battle against terrorists. Islamic State secured the central city of Sirte in 2015, hoping to use it as a launchpad for attacks in Libya and neighboring countries. The militants, however, were driven out by forces loyal to Sarraj, with the backing of U.S. airstrikes. The group also held Derna before being routed.”


The Washington Post: UN Says 10 Peacekeepers Wounded By Mine In Northern Mali

“The United Nations says 10 U.N. peacekeepers were injured, four seriously, when a vehicle hit a mine during an operation outside Kidal city in northern Mali. U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq says the U.N. Mission in Mali is investigating the incident early Thursday involving the mine-protected vehicle. He says the injured peacekeepers are receiving medical care. Mali has been in turmoil since a 2012 uprising prompted mutinous soldiers to overthrow the president of a decade. An Islamic insurgency and a French-led war ousted the insurgents from power in 2013, but extremist groups affiliated with al-Qaida and the Islamic State organization remain a threat. The 16,000-strong U.N. mission in Mali is one of the most dangerous for peacekeepers. More than 100 peacekeepers have died since it was established in 2013.”

The Independent: Hundreds Of Thousands Flee Homes In Mali Amid Deadly Militia Attacks

“Hundreds of thousands of people have fled their homes in Mali amid deadly militia attacks on villages in the country’s central region. Over 200,000 have fled so far this year, according to figures from the Rapid Response Mechanism, an emergency response system designed to help deliver aid to vulnerable people. Several massacres since the start of 2019 have killed hundreds of civilians. Hassane Hamadou, country director for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in Mali, said: “The first victims of this cycle of violence are civilians. They are killed, they are maimed, they are threatened; and their only chance of survival is to flee. Today, people are caught between armed groups, self-defence militias, and military forces.” “The protection of civilians is a major concern, especially in places where the state authority has been absent. Humanitarian actors should be given unrestricted access to these people to deliver aid and ensure their protection.” In the worst of the bloodshed, at least 160 people were killed in the village of Ogossagou ​in March. The slayings marked an escalation in violence between ethnic Dogon hunters and Fulani herders, who have been pitted against each other in tit-for-tat violence."

Voice Of America: Cameroon Fights Boko Haram Recruitment With Goats, Sheep

“The government of Cameroon this week began rolling out an unlikely weapon in the fight against Boko Haram militants. Authorities are distributing thousands of goats and sheep to young Cameroonians in villages along with border with Nigeria. The program aims to providing livestock for a basic income in order to stop the Islamist militant group’s recruiting tactics. The hope is that the livestock will empower thousands of vulnerable families and stop them from joining the extremists, who promise jobs. In the village of Salak, 17-year-old Oumar Nafisatu received four sheep. Nafisatu says she is looking forward to having baby sheep so she can sell them to pay for her school fees. She is the only one to take care of herself, she says, after her father and mother passed away. Boko Haram fighters killed Nafisatu’s parents, along with 21 others, when they attacked her village in 2017, forcing her to flee. Just a week later, Nafisatu’s only sister was killed in a suicide bomb attack in a mosque at Kolofata. Boko Haram had recruited her with promises of a job as a house cleaner, then forced her to carry out the attack. Cameroon's government plans to distribute 60,000 goats and sheep by the end of the year.”

Xinhua: AU Envoy Urges Greater Involvement Of Youth In Anti-Terrorism War

“African countries should harness the energy and creativity of the youth to revitalize action on violent extremism that has gained foothold amid poverty, conflicts and social exclusion, an African Union (AU) envoy said on Thursday. Aya Chebbi, AU youth envoy said that success of counter-terrorism initiatives in Africa depends on robust engagement of the continent's youthful population in policy formulation and awareness on the menace. “Our governments should change policies that discriminates the youth in leadership and policy formulation to ensure they play a meaningful role in peace, security and prevention of violent extremism,” Chebbi said on the sidelines of a Pan African counter-terrorism forum underway in Nairobi. The 31-year old Tunisian peace activist said the African regional high-level conference on counter-terrorism presented an opportunity to discuss greater involvement of youth to fight a vice that is a drawback to the continent's quest for stability, development and peace. “Senior leadership and policymakers in this continent have a duty to engage the youth as partners in the war against terrorism,” said Chebbi.”


Fox News: 30 German Mosques And Cultural Centers Tied To Hezbollah: Intel Report

“Some 30 mosques and cultural centers in Germany have ties to the U.S.-classified terrorist organization Hezbollah, according to a Hamburg intelligence agency report. The U.S. government and a bipartisan group of American lawmakers have urged Berlin to outlaw the Lebanese terrorist group in Germany. “In Germany, there are currently about 30 known cultural and mosque associations in which a clientele regularly meets that is close to Hezbollah or its ideology,” wrote the intelligence agency. According to the 282-page intelligence document and other German reports reviewed by Fox News, there are 1,050 Hezbollah supporters and members in Germany. U.S. Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell told Fox News: “The danger that Hezbollah sympathizers are raising funds in Hamburg is further evidence that Hezbollah must be banned from Germany in its entirety. Any funds bound for Hezbollah are used by the Iranian regime to support Assad’s violence in Syria and sponsor terrorism around the world.” Grenell previously worked as a Fox News contributor. Iran’s regime is a major financial sponsor of its chief proxy Hezbollah. Both Hezbollah and the Islamic Republic of Iran are allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.”

BBC News: IS Wife And Her Children Must Be Repatriated, Rules German Court

“A Berlin court has ruled that the government must repatriate the German wife of a suspected Islamic State (IS) group fighter and her three children. The court said the children would suffer if they remained in the al-Hol refugee camp in Syria. The case came about because the woman's family sued the foreign ministry after officials had refused to help her return to Germany. It is the first such ruling in the country. Until now Germany had been prepared to allow some of the children to travel to Germany without their mothers, fearing that the women might have been radicalised and could pose a danger to German society. In this case, the court explained that "inaction" meant the three children would be faced with "serious, unreasonable and unavoidable disadvantages". The children are eight, seven and two years old, reports the Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper. The mother is from the federal state of Lower Saxony."

CBS News: Germany Steps-Up Monitoring Of “Extreme Right” Identitarian Movement

“The German domestic intelligence agency said Thursday it is stepping up observation of the far-right Identitarian Movement in Germany, a group that campaigns against immigrants and Islam. The agency, known by its German acronym BfV, said after two years of investigating the group it has concluded that it has “passed beyond the stage of suspicion” and “is now classified as a verified extreme right movement. In a statement, it said the group “ultimately aims to exclude people of non-European origin from democratic participation and to discriminate against them in a way that infringes their human dignity.” The decision comes amid fresh fears about far-right extremism in Germany following the arrest last month of a man with a long history of neo-Nazi activity over the killing of a regional politician from Chancellor Angela Merkel's party. The Identitarian Movement in Germany was founded in 2012, after originating in France. It has sister organizations in other European countries, and many of its members are students. There is a Facebook page for the “American Identitarian Movement,” but it has less than 100 followers. According to the page, the “goals of the American Identitarian Movement is to push back against 'multiculturalism' and to preserve American culture.”

Southeast Asia

The Jerusalem Post: IDF Troops Train Philippine Counterparts In Counterterror Tactics

“A delegation of IDF troops trained their Philippine counterparts in counter-terrorism methods despite ongoing concerns of human rights abuses by the government of Rodrigo Duterte, The Jerusalem Post has learned. The 10-man IDF delegation led by Col. Dan Goldfus, commander of the Nahal Brigade, spent two weeks training 175 Filipino elite unit officers at Fort Bonifacio, Taguig, north of Manila. IDF Col. Dan Goldfus receives plaque in the Philippines.  The troops trained by the IDF delegation were in the Philippine’s special units including the Special Forces, First Scout Rangers, and Light Reaction regiments, as well as troops from the 2nd, 5th, 7th, and 9th Infantry Divisions. Philippine army chief Lt.-Gen. Macairog Alberto was quoted by local media as saying that the Counter-Terrorism Training was part of a program to hone and improve the anti-terror skills of its troops. Alberto was quoted by PhilipineStar news site as saying that the collaboration with the IDF and other armies in addressing terror is necessary after the siege of Marawi on the island of Mindanao in 2017.”


The Wall Street Journal: Google Contractors Listen To Recordings Of People Using Virtual Assistant

“Google said contractors are listening to customer audio recorded by the company’s virtual assistant, a disclosure prompted by a media report that adds to privacy concerns associated with the technology. Belgian public broadcaster VRT NWS said in a report this week that the Alphabet Inc. GOOG 0.33% unit employs contractors around the globe to listen to some recordings of conversations that people have with the Google Assistant, which is available on its Google Home speakers and Android devices. In a blog post Thursday, Google confirmed it employs people world-wide to listen to a small sample of recordings. The public broadcaster’s report said the recordings potentially expose sensitive information about users such as names and addresses. It also said Google, in some cases, is recording voices of customers even when they aren’t using Google Assistant. In its blog post, Google said language experts listen to 0.2% of “audio snippets” taken from the Google Assistant to better understand different languages, accents and dialects. “This is a critical part of the process of building speech technology, and is necessary to creating products like the Google Assistant,” it said.”

Gizmodo: The Dirty Business Of Hosting Hate Online

“The Council of Conservative Citizens site is just one of the 391 websites we ran through web-based tools to determine which tech companies are providing services to groups like it. We reached out to a handful of non-profit organizations that work to monitor and counter hate—the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Anti-Defamation League, Hope Not Hate, the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, and the Counter Extremism Project. They each provided us a list of groups they see as being involved in the propagation of hate.”