Eye on Extremism: July 2, 2024

The New York Times: Female Suicide Bombers: A Terrorist Group’s Hidden Weapon

“A woman held a baby as she detonated a bomb over the weekend in northern Nigeria, killing them both and at least half a dozen others, the local authorities said, putting an abrupt end to a rare lull in the violence that has plagued the region for over a decade. She was joined by two other female suicide bombers in Nigeria’s Borno State who killed at least 32 and wounded dozens more in a series of bombings, according to Vice President Kashim Shettima. The attacks, experts said, demonstrated the complex and deadly role women can play in terrorist insurgencies like Boko Haram. The attackers struck three locations — a wedding celebration, an area near a hospital and a funeral service for the victims of the earlier bombing, said Barkindo Saidu, the director general of Borno State’s emergency management agency. The attacks took place in Gwoza city, an area formerly controlled by Boko Haram for 15 years.”

Associated Press: UN-Led Meeting In Qatar With Afghan Taliban Is Not A Recognition Of Their Government, Official Says

“A United Nations-led meeting held in Qatar with the Taliban on increasing engagement with Afghanistan does not translate into a recognition of their government, a U.N. official said Monday. The gathering on Sunday and Monday in Qatar’s capital of Doha with envoys from some two dozen countries was the first time that representatives of the Afghan Taliban administration attended such a U.N.-sponsored meeting. The Taliban were not invited to the first meeting, and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said they set unacceptable conditions for attending the second one, in February, including demands that Afghan civil society members be excluded from the talks and that the Taliban be treated as the country’s legitimate rulers. Ahead of Doha, representatives of Afghan women were excluded from attending, paving the way for the Taliban to send their envoys — though the organizers insisted that demands for women’s rights would be raised.”


Voice Of America: iraqi Police Arrest 3 Militants For Arson In Kurdistan

“Iraqi police announced Monday the arrest of three suspected members of a militant group accused of arson attacks in the country's north. The announcement comes at a time of heightened tension in Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region, where the Turkish army is conducting operations against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is listed as a "terrorist" group by Ankara and several Western allies. The region is also scheduled to hold much-delayed elections in October. The fires in 2023 and 2024 struck markets and shopping centers in the cities of Kirkuk, Irbil and Dohuk, Iraqi interior ministry spokesperson Moqdad Miri said during a news conference, adding that the suspects made "confessions." One suspect was arrested at the end of May and "chemical products" used to start fires were found in his vehicle, Miri said. "The entity responsible for execution ... is the PKK organization, a banned organization," he added.”

Reuters: Iraq Says It Has Arrested PKK-Linked Cell Suspected Of Planning Attacks

“Iraq said on Monday it had arrested three people linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and suspected of planning attacks across the country, including on a key oil export pipeline in the north. Interior ministry officials showed reporters three suspects dressed in yellow jumpsuits with their faces covered by masks and said they had comprised a cell connected to the PKK. "An investigation showed that these PKK members had plans to attack the Ceyhan oil pipeline linking Kirkuk, Erbil and Duhok to Turkey," Interior Ministry spokesman Brigadier General Muqdad Meeri told a press conference in Baghdad. Meeri said that the three had confessed to setting sabotage fires at commercial markets in the Kurdistan region including the city of Kirkuk over the past few months. He said the recent fires had incurred losses of around $300 million and were ordered by the PKK as a part of a campaign to attack the commercial interests of a “neighbouring state”, which Iraqi security officials said was Turkey.”


Reuters: Turkey Mediating Somalia-Ethiopia Talks On Port Deal

“Turkey has begun mediating talks between Somalia and Ethiopia over a port deal Addis Ababa signed with the breakaway region of Somaliland earlier this year, Ankara and four officials familiar with the matter said. The negotiations are the latest attempt to mend diplomatic ties between the East African neighbours, whose relationship soured in January when Ethiopia agreed to lease 20 km (12 miles) of coastline from Somaliland, in exchange for recognition of its independence. Mogadishu called the agreement illegal and retaliated by expelling the Ethiopian ambassador and threatening to kick out thousands of Ethiopian troops stationed in the country helping battle Islamist insurgents. Turkey's foreign ministry said Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan had hosted both his Ethiopian and Somali counterparts in Ankara, adding the three had signed a joint statement following "candid, cordial and forward-looking" talks on their differences.”


The New York Times: Taliban Talks With U.N. Go On Despite Alarm Over Exclusion Of Women

“Taliban officials attended a rare, United Nations-led conference of global envoys to Afghanistan on Sunday, the first such meeting Taliban representatives have agreed to engage in, after organizers said Afghan women would be excluded from the talks. The two-day conference in Doha, Qatar, is the third of its kind. It is part of a United Nations-led effort, known as the “Doha process,” started in May 2023. It is meant to develop a unified approach for international engagement with Afghanistan. Envoys from around 25 countries and regional organizations, including the European Union, the United States, Russia and China, are attending. Taliban officials were not invited to the first meeting and refused to attend the second meeting, held in February, after objecting to the inclusion of Afghan civil society groups that attended.”

Associated Press: The Taliban Tell The West To Look Past Harsh Edicts On Afghan Women And Girls And Build Ties

“The Taliban on Sunday told the West to look past the measures they have imposed on Afghan women and girls for the sake of improving foreign relations. Their chief spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the Taliban uphold certain religious and cultural values and public aspirations that “must be acknowledged” to facilitate progressive bilateral relations rather than encountering disputes and stagnation. Mujahid made his demand on the opening day of a United Nations-led meeting in Qatar on increasing engagement with Afghanistan and to have a more coordinated response to the country’s issues. It’s the third such U.N.-sponsored gathering in Doha. The Taliban were not invited to the first meeting, and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said they set unacceptable conditions for attending the second one in February, including demands that Afghan civil society members be excluded from the talks and that the Taliban be treated as the country’s legitimate rulers.”


BBC: Pakistan Will Continue Attacks In Afghanistan - Minister

“Pakistan will continue to launch attacks against Afghanistan as part of a new military operation aimed at countering terrorism, the country's defence minister has told the BBC. Khawaja Asif said the aerial strikes were targeting groups which Pakistan accuses to targeting security forces and civilians. Previously, senior officials in Pakistan had only admitted to one such strike on the neighbouring country, in March of this year. The Taliban government in Afghanistan describes the strikes as violations of its sovereignty. “It’s correct that we have been carrying out operations in Afghanistan, and we will continue to do so. We won’t serve them with cake and pastries. If attacked, we’ll attack back,” Mr Asif told BBC Urdu. He also dismissed fears over the legality of the strikes, saying Pakistan does not inform the Taliban of impending attacks.”


Reuters: Yemen's Houthis Say They Targeted Four Ships 'linked To The US, UK And Israel'

“Yemen's Houthis said on Monday that they conducted four military operations targeting four ships in the Red, Arabian and Mediterranean Seas as well as the Indian Ocean "linked to the United States, the United Kingdom and Israel." In the first operation, "Israeli ship MSC Unific was targeted in the Arabian Sea," Yahya Sarea, the Yemeni group's spokesperson said. "A U.S. oil tanker Delonix" was also targeted in a second operation that was carried out in the Red Sea "for the second time this week," he added. The third operation targeted "U.K. landing ship Anvil Point in the Indian Ocean" and a fourth operation in the Mediterranean Sea targeted a ship that Sarea identified as the "Lucky Sailor". Reuters was not immediately able to verify the claims. Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi group has been launching drone and missile strikes in shipping lanes since November, saying they are in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.”


The Guardian: Israel Risking Disastrous War Against Hezbollah For Political Reasons, Says Former US Official

“Israel risks going to war against Hezbollah to ensure Benjamin Netanyahu’s political survival, but it would be a miscalculation that could lead to mass civilian deaths in both Lebanon and Israel, a former US military intelligence analyst has warned. Harrison Mann, a major in the Defence Intelligence Agency who left the military last month over US support for Israel’s war in Gaza, also told the Guardian that such a disastrous new war would pull the US into a regional conflict. Despite an announcement in June by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) that planning for a Lebanon offensive had been completed, and increasingly bellicose rhetoric from Israeli politicians, US officials have been saying privately that Netanyahu’s government is aware how dangerous a war with Hezbollah would be and is not seeking a fight. Mann, the most senior US military officer to have quit over Gaza to date, said that assessment was optimistic and that there was a high risk of Israel going to war on its northern border for internal political reasons, led by a prime minister whose continuing hold on power and consequent insulation from corruption charges, depends largely on the nation being at war.”

Middle East

Reuters: Palestinian Militants Fire Rockets Into Israel, Tanks Advance In Gaza

“The Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad fired a barrage of rockets into Israel on Monday as fighting raged in Gaza and Israeli tanks advanced deeper in parts of the enclave, residents and officials said. Islamic Jihad, an ally of Hamas - both of whom are backed by Iran - said its fighters fired rockets towards several Israeli communities near the fence with Gaza in response to "the crimes of the Zionist enemy against our Palestinian people". The volley of about 20 rockets caused no casualties, the Israeli military said. But the attack showed militants still possess rocket capabilities almost nine months into an offensive that Israel says is aimed at neutralising threats against it. Residents of several neighbourhoods in eastern Khan Younis, which is in southern Gaza, said they had received audio messages from Israeli phone numbers ordering them to leave their homes. "For your safety, you must evacuate immediately to the humanitarian zone," army spokesperson Avichay Adraee posted on social media platform X in a call to residents and displaced people living in those areas.”

Bloomberg: Israel Tells Palestinians To Leave Khan Younis As Hamas Regroups

“The Israeli army ordered Palestinians to leave Khan Younis ahead of a possible new assault, underscoring the struggle to stop militants regrouping in areas that were previously cleared. The Israel Defense Forces warned people in eastern neighborhoods of Gaza’s second-biggest city to evacuate. The military said warplanes hit the area overnight after 20 rockets were fired toward Israel. While there were no injuries among Israelis, it was one of the worst missile barrages from Gaza in weeks. Israeli ground forces began fighting in Khan Younis late last year and by February said they’d mostly defeated Hamas’ military units there. Israel pulled some troops out in April and said it was ending its mission. The city has largely been reduced to rubble but some residents had moved back in the past two months, and Israel’s evacuation order was met with anger. “Where shall we go?” said Ahmed Al-Shami, who’s in Khan Younis. He said hundreds of people spent the night on the street with their belongings because they could not find transportation to leave.”


USA Today: Terrorism Threats Cause Pentagon To Raise Security Alert At US Military Bases In Europe

“U.S. military bases in Europe have been placed on higher security alert due to "a combination of factors" that could affect the safety of troops and their families, military officials said Monday. U.S. European Command oversees 83,000 American troops at Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps installations across the continent. The command "is redoubling its efforts to stress vigilance during the summer months," according to a statement released Monday. Russia's continuing war in Ukraine and the Paris Olympics are some of the factors that affect the security environment in Europe. Concerns about security at the Olympics was one of the primary reasons for tightening security, according to a senior Defense official who was not authorized to speak publicly. The move appears to be proactive rather than a response to a specific threat.”

Southeast Asia

Bloomberg: Singapore To Tighten Casino Rules To Counter Terrorism Funding

“Singapore will lower the threshold for checks on cash deposits received by casinos in a bid to prevent exploitation by terrorist and criminal organizations. The new rule, to come into effect this year, will require casino operators to conduct due diligence checks on cash deposits of at least S$4,000 ($2,950) from a customer, lower than the current threshold of S$5,000. The rule is among fresh measures laid out in Singapore’s updated National Strategy for Countering the Financing of Terrorism published Monday.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.


On May 8, 2019, Taliban insurgents detonated an explosive-laden vehicle and then broke into American NGO Counterpart International’s offices in Kabul. At least seven people were killed and 24 were injured.

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