Eye on Extremism: July 3

Foreign Policy: Fears Rise Of An ISIS Comeback

“With the United States continuing its drawdown in Syria, experts fear that the Islamic State could return stronger than ever unless other nations step in—but no replacement forces have yet been committed. “Our expectation is the slack will be taken up by coalition forces — and we are getting a very encouraging response from them,” James Jeffrey, the top U.S. envoy to Syria and the counter-Islamic State coalition, said in an interview with Defense One in Brussels on Friday. He added that the U.S. withdrawal from Syria—promised in a December tweet by U.S. President Donald Trump, which prompted the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis—was continuing on pace. But so far, no partner forces have committed to sending additional forces to fill the gap when the majority of U.S. troops depart, potentially providing a dangerous opening for the terrorist group to resurge. Without some level of American commitment, both political and in the form of funding for operations and stabilization, it’s unlikely key allies will step up to the plate, said Melissa Dalton, an analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “We really do serve as the political backbone of this operation and for those critical enabling partners,” Dalton said.”

The New York Times: Navy SEAL Chief Accused Of War Crimes Is Found Not Guilty Of Murder

“In a war-crimes trial that roiled the elite Navy SEALs and drew the attention of President Trump, a decorated eight-tour SEAL platoon leader was found not guilty on Tuesday of first-degree murder of a captive ISIS fighter and attempted murder of civilians in Iraq. But the platoon leader, Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, was convicted of one charge: posing for photos with the teenage captive’s dead body. Chief Gallagher, 40, who was serving with SEAL Team 7, became a rallying cause of some Republicans in Congress and members of the conservative media. Mr. Trump said on Twitter in March that he would have the chief released from pretrial confinement “in honor of his past service to our country.” Because the maximum sentence Chief Gallagher could now face is four months, and he has spent more time than that in pretrial confinement, he was expected to go free on Tuesday.”

Al Jazeera: Niger: Attackers Kill 16 Soldiers In Inates Military Camp Attack

“Unidentified attackers have killed 16 soldiers in a car bomb attack on a military camp in western Niger near the border with Mali, local residents and security sources said on Tuesday. The raid occurred on Monday afternoon near the town of Inates in the same region where an ambush by the West African branch of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) armed group killed 28 soldiers in May. Zakari Insa, the brother of one of the soldiers killed in Monday's attack, and Souley Marou, a local villager, said that 16 soldiers had died. Two security sources confirmed the death toll, and one of them said about a dozen vehicles had been stolen. Armed fighters have previously launched attacks using vehicles stolen in previous raids. Niger hosts an African Union summit from July 6 to 9, less than 200km away in the capital Niamey. In the run-up to the summit, the European Union has been training Nigerien forces to respond to armed attacks. Security has deteriorated in recent months across West Africa's Sahel region, a semi-arid strip of land south of the Sahara. Fighters loyal to Adnan Abu Waleed al-Sahrawi, the ISIL leader in the Greater Sahara, operate along Mali's border with Burkina Faso and Niger.”

The New York Times: A Taliban Attack On Children Causes Outrage, Everywhere But At Peace Talks

“Even by the standards of Afghanistan’s long war, the Taliban attack near a school that wounded dozens of schoolchildren on Monday stood out as unusually brutal, and expressions of outrage came thick and fast from governments around the world. But from Doha, the Qatari capital where American negotiators were meeting with Taliban officials in a seventh round of talks, now in their fourth day, there was publicly only silence on the assault. Several of the earlier rounds of talks, which began in earnest this year, also coincided with attacks in Afghanistan, where more than 32,000 civilians have been killed in the last decade of the war, now in its 18th year. Most of those deaths have been blamed on the insurgents, a result of indiscriminate bombings and suicide attacks. In earlier rounds this year, American negotiators had brought up the violence at the negotiating table, according to officials with knowledge of the talks, speaking on condition of anonymity because of diplomatic sensitivities. But now they have stopped doing so, the officials said, in a possible sign of just how keen negotiators have become to seal a deal that would set a timeline for an American troop withdrawal in exchange for a Taliban promise not to let terrorists operate from Afghanistan.”

JNS: US Sanctions Hezbollah Operative, Updates Iranian Terrorist Group Designation

“The United States sanctioned on Tuesday a top Hezbollah operative, updated a designation of an Iranian terrorist group and designated Pakistan’s Balochistan Liberation Army as a terrorist entity. Husain Ali Hazzima is the chief of Hezbollah’s intelligence unit, while the Iranian group Jundallah, which was designated in 2010 as a terrorist group, began using the new name Jaysh al-Adl and associated aliases in 2012, according to the U.S. State Department. Jundallah has allegedly been behind numerous attacks that have killed Iranian civilians and government officials, including a suicide-bombing in February and kidnapping of Iranian security personnel in October. The Balochistan Liberation Army has allegedly been responsible for terrorist attacks in the Pakistani province.”

CNN Business: Germany Fines Facebook For Under-Reporting Illegal Content

“Facebook has been fined more than $2 million in Germany for inaccurately reporting the amount of illegal content on its platform. German authorities said Tuesday that Facebook had provided "incomplete" information in mandatory transparency reports about illegal content, such as hate speech. The Network Enforcement Act, which took effect last year in Germany, requires social media platforms to publish reports every six months detailing the number of complaints of illegal content they have received. Companies are also required to remove hate speech and fake news within 24 hours of it being flagged, or face penalties of up to roughly $60 million.”

United States

The Post And Courier: SC Man Sentenced To 20 Years For Attempting To Join Islamic State Will Appeal Ruling

“The South Carolina man sentenced to 20 years in prison for attempting to join the Islamic State terror group will appeal a federal judge’s ruling, court filings show.  Zakaryia Abdel Abdin was arrested by federal agents in March 2017 as he attempted to leave the country. He was 18 at the time. Abdin told undercover federal agents in numerous conversations on social media that he considered planning an attack similar to the Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016, in which a man who claimed support for IS killed 49 people in Orlando, Fla. Abdin also said he wanted to go to Syria to fight Americans overseas. Though he decided against launching an attack, Abdin made plans to fight with the Islamic State’s ranks. He started buying guns and training with firearms at Charleston-area shooting ranges, according to court documents. Abdin bought a ticket bound for Amman, Jordan, with money from the sale of an AK-47-style semi-automatic rifle he owned, prosecutors said. Federal agents stopped him from boarding an outbound flight at Charleston’s airport on March 30, 2017. The FBI began monitoring Abdin after he was released on parole for a possession of a firearm arrest in York County in 2015. Authorities said at the time that he planned to get more guns and target military bases.”

CBS News: Top Counterterrorism Official: U.S. Must Avoid Returning To "Pre-9/11 State":

“Although the U.S. has not seen a large-scale terrorism attack on its soil in almost two decades, threats from several extremist organizations persist and some trends are "ominous," says Russ Travers, the deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. "When I testify [before Congress] now, 'complacency' is a word that I use a lot, because I do worry that we are a bit of a victim of our own success," Travers said. "There's a bit of a fatigue factor, I think, settling in with terrorism in general." "There are a lot of ominous trends out there," he continued. "And the key question now is going to be the extent to which we reallocate resources and attention away from terrorism." In an interview with Intelligence Matters host and CBS News senior national security contributor Michael Morell, Travers said he was in "complete agreement" with the country's strategic shift, as described in the 2018 National Defense Strategy, from a focus on counterterrorism objectives to one on competition with Russia and China.

Asharq Al-Awsat: Washington Adds Chief Of Hezbollah Intelligence Unit To Terrorist List

“The United States designated on Tuesday Pakistan’s Balochistan Liberation Army and Lebanese Hezbollah operative, Husain Ali Hazzima, as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs), the State Department said in a statement. Additionally, the US has amended the terrorist designations of Jundallah, which has started using the name Jaysh al-Adl. According to the statement, the new measures seek to deny Hazzima, BLA and Jaysh al-Adl the resources to plan and carry out terrorist attacks. They also expose and isolate organizations and individuals and deny them access to the US financial system.”

Arab News: US Condemns Houthi Attack On Abha Airport That Injured 9

“Abha International Airport in Saudi Arabia’s Asir province has fully resumed operations following a drone attack by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia based in Yemen. Arab coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said the attack by the Houthis had injured nine civilians — eight Saudis and one Indian citizen — all of whom are in stable condition in a hospital. The US "strongly condemned" the strike - the third such attack in less than three weeks. "These attacks are risking the lives of many and injuring innocent civilians," a State Department spokeswoman said. "We call for an immediate end to these violent actions, which only exacerbate the conflict in Yemen and deepen mistrust.”


Iraqi News: Syria Hands Over 100 Islamic State Fighters To Iraq, Says Mayor

“Iraq has received 100 Islamic State jihadists, including senior leaders, from Syria, an Iraqi mayor said seemingly under an agreement to hand over a total of 502 fighters. “The Syrian side has handed the Jazeerah Operations Command a total of 100 Islamic State elements, who were arrested by the Syrian army near the borderline with Iraq,” the independent news website of Almaalomah quoted the mayor of Iraqi border town Al-Qaim, Ahmed al-Mahallawi, as saying on Tuesday. “The terrorists were moved to the Ain Assad airbase in al-Baghdadi district, west of Anbar, for interrogation and judicial action,” al-Mahalawi said, adding that there were senior leaders among the arrestees. Around 800 of foreign jihadist fighters who joined Islamic State, including many Iraqis, are being held in Syria by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, the group said. More than 2,000 family members are also in camps, with dozens more arriving each day. The militant group still poses a threat in Iraq and some western officials believe that the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, may still be hiding there.”

Voice Of America: US-Backed Syrian Forces Pledge To End Child Recruitment

“A major armed group in Syria has committed to identifying and releasing young boys and girls currently within its ranks, and put in place preventative, protection and disciplinary measures related to child recruitment and use, according to the the United Nations. Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a Kurdish-led military alliance that has played a significant role in defeating the Islamic State (IS) terror group, signed an action plan with the U.N. to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children under the age of 18. “It is an important day for the protection of children in Syria and it marks the beginning of a process as it demonstrates a significant commitment by the SDF to ensure that no child is recruited and used by any entity operating under its umbrella,” said Virginia Gamba, the Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict. The People’s Protection Units (YPG), the main group within the SDF, has been listed in the U.N. Secretary-General's annual report on children and armed conflict for the recruitment and use of children since 2014. In its 2018 annual report on children in armed conflict, the U.N. found 224 cases of child recruitment by the YPG and its women’s unit in 2017.”


Fox News: Iran Warns Europe It 'Will Take Next Step' To Enrich Uranium To Weapons-Grade Level If New Deal Isn't Reached

“Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani warned European nations Wednesday that Tehran will "take the next step" in increasing its uranium enrichment closer to weapons-grade levels this coming Sunday if they do not offer a new deal by then, adding that they will increase it to "any amount that we want".Speaking at a Cabinet meeting in Tehran, Rouhani said: "In any amount that we want, any amount that is required, we will take over 3.67. "Our advice to Europe and the United States is to go back to logic and to the negotiating table. Go back to understanding, to respecting the law and resolutions of the U.N. Security Council. Under those conditions, all of us can abide by the nuclear deal." Iran's nuclear deal currently bars it from enriching uranium above 3.67%, which is enough for nuclear power plants but far below the 90% needed for weapons.”

USA Today: 'Any Amount We Want': Iran Poised To Increase Uranium Enrichment At Higher Levels

“Iran's President Hassan Rouhani issued a fresh ultimatum Wednesday over its civilian-use nuclear program, saying the country would on Sunday "take the next step" toward increasing its enrichment of uranium unless European powers are able to find a way to offset the impact of the Trump administration's sanctions on its economy.  Earlier this week, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations' nuclear watchdog, confirmed Iran passed the limit on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by exceeding the 300kg (661 pounds) that was set in a landmark 2015 nuclear deal made with world powers. President Donald Trump has pulled the U.S. out of that agreement. The higher-level enrichment Rouhani said will commence July 7 is still far off the levels Iran would need to produce weapons-grade nuclear materials, but it narrows the time it would take to make a nuclear bomb – something Iran says it does not want to do. Speaking during a Cabinet meeting in Tehran on Wednesday, Rouhani warned that because of the faltering nuclear deal Iran was entitled to increase its enrichment of uranium to "any amount that we want, any amount that is required.”

NBC News: Several Suspected U.S. Spies 'Due To Be' Sentenced To Death, Iran Says

“Iranian prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for several individuals accused of spying for the United States, Iran’s spokesman for the judiciary announced Tuesday. Suspected U.S. spies affiliated with the Iranian military are due to be sentenced to death because of the “severity of their crimes,” Iranian judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said on state television. Two other suspects who are also accused of spying for Washington but were not affiliated with the military have received “long” jail sentences, he added. NBC News could not independently confirm the reports and the CIA said it had no comment. A State Department spokesperson said, "We cannot comment on matters of intelligence." The announcement comes as tensions between Tehran and Washington continue to simmer. Iran’s state-run news agency IRNA reported Monday that the country had breached the limit on the amount of enriched uranium it is permitted to hold under the 2015 nuclear deal.”

Reuters: Iran Will Increase Uranium Enrichment To Whatever Levels It Needs: Rouhani

“Iran will increase its level of uranium enrichment after July 7 to whatever levels it needs beyond the 3.67% cap set in the landmark 2015 nuclear deal, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday, according to the IRIB news agency. If the remaining signatories of the nuclear deal with world powers do not fulfill their promises, then the Arak nuclear reactor will return to its previous activities after July 7, Rouhani said.”


CNN: They Escaped ISIS. Then They Got Sucked Into Baghdad's Sex Trafficking Underworld

“Nadia's handshake is strong, but her voice trembles as she says hello. Leaning against a window, she describes in painful detail the twisted journey that saw her evade the grip of terrorists only to fall victim to Baghdad's sex trafficking underworld.  Stories like Nadia's have become all too familiar in the wake of ISIS' defeat in Iraq. The decline of the militant group has given rise to another evil: human trafficking networks that thrive on the spoils of war, the displaced and the desperate.  And she was the perfect mark. Nadia was living in Sinjar, northern Iraq, in 2014 when ISIS rounded up thousands of women and girls like her from the Yazidi ethnic minority and forced them into sexual slavery. But she says she managed to escape, fleeing with her family through scattered hills to an IDP camp in Iraqi Kurdistan. CNN is not using Nadia's real name out of concerns for her safety.  Still, she was haunted by the fate of others who were not as lucky. She said she started sending money to a man she believed was a trusted friend, who she had met while on the run from ISIS and who said he was coordinating humanitarian aid for other Yazidis. Encouraged by their conversations and propelled by her desire to help, she began organizing demonstrations at the camp, demanding the release of Yazidi women.”

Iraqi News: Iraqi Pro-Gov’t Forces Kill Four Islamic State Terrorists In Nineveh

“An Iraqi paramilitary force said on Wednesday that its fighters killed four members of the Islamic State terrorist group in Nineveh province. “A force of the 53rd and 40th brigades of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) killed four Islamic State militants during a preemptive operation in the Sheikh Ibrahim mountain range, south of Tal Afar,” Iraqi website Alghad Press quoted the paramilitary force as saying in a press statement. Two hotbeds of the Islamic State terrorist group were also destroyed in the operation, the statement read. Former Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi announced in August 2017 that Nineveh province was fully liberated from Islamic State after the district of Tal Afar was recaptured. The announcement came after the defeat of the jihadist group in the town of Ayadiya, where the militants had fled to from Tal Afar. Islamic State militants seized control of much of Nineveh, including the provincial capital of Mosul, in June 2014. The Iraqi government launched an operation to retake Tal Afar on August 20, 2017 involving some 50,000 personnel from the army, air force, federal police, special forces and the Shia Muslim-led paramilitary Popular Mobilization Forces.”


Iraqi News: Turkish Police Arrest Nine Islamic State Terrorists In Central Turkey

“At least nine foreign nationals were arrested in central Turkey on Tuesday over their suspected links to the Islamic State terror group, police sources told Turkish daily newspaper Yeni Şafak. Police in Kayseri province conducted a counter-terrorism operation to nab 10 suspects upon an arrest warrant. Anti-terror police arrested nine suspects, who were found to be involved in terrorist activities for the IS group in Syria and Iraq. Police launched a manhunt to nab the other terrorist.”

The National: As Turkey Admits To Arming Libya Militants, Ankara's Open Support Is Causing Conflict

“Turkey’s support of fighters against eastern-based Libyan commander Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s has been no secret, but recent statements from Ankara mark a particularly brazen step. The Field Marshal’s Libyan National Army has consistently accused Turkey of aggressively violating Libyan sovereignty and bolstering groups, including extremists, who the LNA says run Tripoli, propping up the UN-backed government. Two weeks ago, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for the first time, admitted his country was supplying arms to the militias of western Libya who are fighting the LNA for Tripoli. The Erdogan government has allegedly provided armoured vehicles and weapons, with even the Turkish president conceding it had provided drones. Libyan militias supported by Ankara published photos purporting to show the new arsenal. Unverified videos shared online appears to show Turkish-speaking advisers showing Libyan fighters how to operate the arms.  Turkey has also been the home of Libyan rivals to the field marshal’s camp, some of whom are sanctioned by the United Nations.”


The Washington Post: All-Afghan Peace Summit Set For July, But On Taliban Terms

“A surprise announcement by President Donald Trump seemed to accelerate the expected time frame for U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan ahead of an all-Afghan peace summit planned for July 7-8 in Qatar. The gathering apparently will be held on Taliban terms as there will be no official Afghan government representation. Trump told Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson Tonight on Monday that nearly half of all American troops have already been pulled out. That pullout was expected to be announced as part of a time frame being negotiated by Washington’s peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who is in the middle of talks with the Taliban in Qatar. “I’ve wanted to pull them out. And you know, I have pulled a lot out. We were at 16,000. We’re down to about 9,000, which a lot of people don’t know,” Trump said, according to the transcript of the interview shared with The Associated Press. “So we’ve reduced the force very substantially in Afghanistan, which I don’t talk about very much, and that’s okay,” Trump added. According to a senior U.S. defense official, however, there are still close to 14,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan - a number that has remained fairly steady for many months.”

Vox: Trump Calls Afghanistan “The Harvard Of Terrorists,” Says He’ll Leave Intel Assets There

“President Donald Trump wants to get out of Afghanistan. But he says he’s worried that the country has become the “Harvard of terrorists” — so even if the US does end up leaving, he says he plans to keep a US intelligence presence behind to monitor the situation. That’s the biggest takeaway from Trump’s interview with Fox News’s Tucker Carlson, which aired Monday night. Prompted by the death of two US soldiers in Afghanistan last week, Carlson asked the president if he had plans to remove all service members from the country nearly 20 years after America first went in to defeat al-Qaeda. Trump rattled off some usual talking points, like how he believes the US shouldn’t be the world’s policeman and that America has spent too much money building things like hotels and gas stations in Afghanistan.  But Trump, who remains skeptical of US intervention abroad, surprisingly said that the terrorism situation in Afghanistan is why he wouldn’t fully withdraw. “I would like to just get out. The problem is it just seems to be a lab for terrorists,” the president told Carlson. “I call it ‘the Harvard of terrorists.’” So what’s his proposal instead? “I would leave very strong intelligence there,” he said. “You have to watch.”


The Washington Post: US Declares Pakistan Separatists A Terrorist Group

“The United States has declared Pakistan’s separatist Baluchistan Liberation Army organization a terrorist group and says it will seek to deny it resources for planning and carrying out attacks. The State Department announced the decision Tuesday. It says the Baluchistan Liberation Army is an armed separatist group that targets security forces and civilians mainly in southwest Pakistan. It says the group carried out a suicide attack in August 2018 that targeted Chinese engineers in Baluchistan, a November 2018 attack on the Chinese Consulate in Karachi, and a May 2019 attack on a luxury hotel in the port town of Gwadar. Baluchistan has long been the scene of a low-level insurgency by armed groups demanding more autonomy and a greater share in the region’s natural resources.”


The National: Qatar Asked To Explain How Al Qaeda Financier Was Able To Withdraw $10,000 A Month

“A French senator has called on Qatar to explain why an Al Qaeda financier had access to his bank account despite an asset freeze. Nathalie Goulet said that Khalifa Al Subaiy circumventing UN sanctions and having access to his funds at Qatar National Bank was a “collective failure” and a global security risk. “Qatar needs to explain to the world why it has allowed such a dangerous person to continue having banking services,” she wrote in an opinion piece in The Hill. Ms Goulet urged the international community to wake up to the dangers posed by weak legislation. Al Subaiy has been accused by the US of giving financial support to Al Qaeda leaders, including the architect of the September 11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Al Subaiy, who used to work at Qatar’s Central Bank and was designated for sanctions by the UN in 2008, has been withdrawing up to $10,000 (Dh36,733) a month for “basic necessities” despite his frozen accounts, The Wall Street Journal reported last week.”


Atlantic Council: Hezbollah Won’t Stand Down In A US-Iran Conflict

“On January 28, 2015, a colleague and I were driving north in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley to report on the latest developments involving the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS), which was then occupying a desolate mountain range straddling the Lebanon-Syria border. Shortly before midday, we received news that Hezbollah had just launched an ambush against an Israeli military convoy on Lebanon’s southeast border. We immediately did a U-turn and began heading south. Attacks by Hezbollah in south Lebanon against Israeli forces had been rare since the end of the month-long 2006 war. But this one did not come as a surprise. Ten days earlier, a pair of Israeli combat drones had attacked a motorcade in the Golan Heights, killing six members of Hezbollah and a major general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Among the Hezbollah fatalities was the son of Imad Mughniyah, Hezbollah’s military commander who had been assassinated in Damascus seven years earlier. The “rules of the game” that dictated clashes between Israel and Hezbollah allowed the former to strike the latter in Syria with relative impunity. But any Israeli attacks inside Lebanon would be met with retaliation.”

Middle East

Radio Farda: Israel Says It Is Bracing Militarily For Possible U.S.-Iran Escalation

“Israel is preparing for its possible military involvement in any escalation in the Gulf confrontation between Iran and the United States, the Israeli foreign minister said on Tuesday. The unravelling of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal under U.S. diplomatic pressure, Iran's downing of a U.S. drone and its alleged role in the holing of oil tankers in the Gulf have driven up tensions and stirred war worries. Israel has encouraged the Trump administration to press ahead with sanctions against its arch-foe, predicting that Tehran will eventually renegotiate a more limiting nuclear deal. But Foreign Minister Israel Katz told an international security forum that Iran might accidentally stumble out of what he termed the "gray zone" of contained confrontation.”


The Washington Post: Airstrike Hits Migrant Detention Center In Libya, 40 Killed

“An airstrike hit a detention center for migrants early Wednesday in the Libyan capital, killing at least 40 people, a health official in the country’s U.N.-supported government said. The airstrike targeting the detention center in Tripoli’s Tajoura neighborhood also wounded 80 migrants, said Malek Merset, a spokesman for the health ministry. Merset posted photos of migrants who were being taken in ambulances to hospitals. Footage circulating online and said to be from inside the migrant detention center showed blood and body parts mixed with rubble and migrants’ belongings. The U.N. refugee agency in Libya condemned the airstrike on the detention center, which houses 616 migrants and refugees. The Tripoli-based government blamed the self-styled Libyan National Army, led by Khalifa Hifter, for the airstrike and called for the U.N. support mission in Libya to establish a fact-finding committee to investigate. A spokesman for Hifter’s forces did not immediately answer phone calls and messages seeking comment. Local media reported LNA had launched airstrikes against a militia camp near the detention center. The LNA launched an offensive against the weak Tripoli-based government in April.”


Anadolu Agency: Wanted Terrorist In Tunisia Kills Self After Standoff

“The ministry said in a statement that Ayman al-Samiri -- wanted for his involvement in terrorism and organized crime -- was cornered in an operation in Al-Intilaqa district. Ministry spokesperson Sufyan ez-Zeak said on state TV that al-Samiri detonated his explosive vest and there were no other victims. Al-Samiri had been sought by security forces for his role in suicide attacks last Thursday in Tunis which left one police officer dead and eight injured. The Daesh terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack.”

United Kingdom

Xinhua: 16-Year-Old Boy Faces 6 Terrorism Charges In London Court

“A 16-year-old boy is to face six terrorism charges at Westminster Magistrates Court in London, counter terrorism police in northeast England said Tuesday. The teen from Durham, who cannot be named because of his age, has been charged with offences following an investigation led by Counter Terrorism Policing North East and supported by Durham Constabulary. The boy is charged with one offence of engaging in the preparation of an act of terrorism, a charge of disseminating terrorist publications, one offence of possessing material for terrorist purposes, and three offences of collecting or possessing information useful in the preparation of an act of terrorism. He also faces one sexual offence. Police said the boy was arrested on March 13 after an intelligence led operation into Right Wing Terrorism.”


Foreign Policy: Germany Has A Neo-Nazi Terrorism Epidemic

“When the German politician Walter Lübcke was found shot in the head outside of his home near Kassel on June 2, commentators were quick to assert that a right-wing extremist was the most likely culprit. Even the police seemed half-hearted in their calls for restraint in judging the motive of the crime, and the brief suspicion that the culprit had been someone close to the victim was quickly laid to rest. The unanimity of the official response, in one sense, was admirably forthright. But it was also its own national admission of negligence. Lübcke, a member of the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, served as Kassel district president from 2009 until his death and had long been a figure of regional importance. Tributes from local papers emphasize that he was widely liked and had good relationships with his constituents. In 2015, however, he became a favorite target of right-wingers throughout Germany when, in the midst of the refugee crisis, he told an assembly gathered in the West German city of Lohfelden about the planned construction of a refugee camp, and he brushed away dissent by saying that Germany is a country based on Christian values…”


The Guardian: Two Men Charged As Police Uncover Alleged Isis-Inspired Plot Targeting Central Sydney

“Two men have been charged after police uncovered an alleged Islamic State-inspired plot to attack several targets including police stations, consulates and churches in Sydney’s central business district. Federal and New South Wales counter-terrorism police raided six properties in Sydney’s west on Tuesday morning and arrested three Sydney men aged 20, 23 and 30. Authorities say the younger men were members of Isis. An Australian federal police spokesman the 23-year-old was due in court on Wednesday after he was charged with being a member of a terror organisation. The 20-year-old man is expected to be charged with being a member of a terrorist organisation, preparing for a terrorist act and preparing to enter a foreign country for the purpose of engaging in hostile activities. The 30-year-old was charged with obtaining a financial benefit by deception and granted police bail before his matter goes to court later in July. He has not been charged with terrorism offences.  The federal police assistant commissioner Ian McCartney said the plot bad been in the “early stages” of planning and targeted police stations, defence establishments, embassies and consulates, councils, courts and churches.”

The Guardian: What Can Australia Do For Children Forced To Live Under Islamic State?

“When the Australian terrorist Khaled Sharrouf proudly posted a photo of his young son holding the severed head of a murdered Syrian solider in 2014, it seemed to confirm the world’s worst fears about the children of Islamic State. Along with the caption “That’s my boy!”, Sharrouf’s photo demonstrated – in the most shocking way possible – how children living with Isis were being exposed to a world of almost unimaginable barbarity. That world has largely crumbled. Isis has lost its territory and thousands of foreign fighters and their families have fled, landing in displacement camps run by Kurdish authorities. Governments of these nationals are scrambling to deal with them – how to get them home, if they even should, and what to do about them when it happens. The picture of Sharrouf’s son was part of an image the regime cultivated. Beyond the use of children as frontline soldiers and suicide bombers, sleek propaganda produced during the height of its power put religious violence at the centre of what it called its education system. Textbooks produced by the regime showed chemistry lessons detailing the different ways gases can be consumed, arithmetic was taught by counting bullets, and children played games of “hide and seek” in which they searched for and killed Isis prisoners in the ruins of buildings.”


The Jerusalem Post: From Nazism To Islamism In Europe

“After the end of World War II in Europe and the victory of the Allies over the Nazis, any return to Nazist symbols and behaviors was prohibited. Considering the widespread crimes of the Nazis in Europe, which led to the killing of more than 50 million people during the war, European countries, and later the European Union, laid down rigorous laws to condemn and ban the adoption of Nazi behaviors and symbols in Europe. One of the most important Nazi behaviors that was banned after the war in Europe was “antisemitism.” But antisemitism in Europe is not specific to Hitler and his National Socialist party; and contrary to the general perception, antisemitism has a long history in Europe. In fact, Nazism and all other antisemitic currents in Europe take their doctrines from the medieval Catholic Church. In other words, Hitler and his friends and followers are only the distilled version from the entrenched antisemitism in Western European civilization. However, since today any hint of Nazism in Europe is harshly criticized by governments and civil societies, and it is also highly costly with regard to both credit and finance, Nazi views tend to emerge in other ways that are seemingly unrelated to Nazism and, consequently, are less dangerous for their holders.”

The Defense Post: Islamic State Claims Killing Of Chechnya Police Officer In Grenade And Knife Attack

“Islamic State claimed one of its fighters killed a police officer in the Achkhoi-Martanovsky district Chechnya on Monday, just eight days after an ISIS-claimed attack in regional capital Grozny. ISIS in a Tuesday, July 2 statement claimed a fighter from its Caucasus Province affiliate “managed to attack a Chechen police officer with a knife and a hand grenade in the village of Bamut … which led to his death.” A law enforcement officer was killed and several others injured at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Bamut, around 40 km (25 miles) west of Grozny, the capital of the Chechnya region in Russia’s North Caucasus, Tass reported, adding that the assailant was killed. On June 23, two people were injured in an ISIS-claimed knife attack near Chechnya leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s residence in Grozny. The attacker was shot dead at the scene. According to police he was a Chechen born in 1997. A day earlier, two alleged “followers of the Islamic State” who had been planning attacks were killed in the North Caucasus region of Dagestan. The two men opened fire on security forces after their car was stopped, and officers returned fire, killing the attackers, Tass reported. The republic of Dagestan, one of the poorest and most unstable regions of Russia, is east of Chechnya, and is the target of regular attacks, some of which have been claimed by Islamic State.”

Southeast Asia

Arab News: Kenyan linked to Al-Shabaab arrested in Philippines

“A Kenyan national believed to be a member of the militant group Al-Shabaab, an affiliate of Al-Qaeda, has been arrested in the Philippines. Police Maj. Gen. Amador Corpus, director of the Philippines National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, announced the arrest of Cholo Abdi Abdullah, 28, in Iba, Zambales province, 142 miles northwest of the capital Manila on Tuesday. Abdullah, a student from Nairobi at the All Asia Aviation Academy, was arrested around 4:30 p.m. on July 1 in his room at the Rasaca Hotel. Corpus said he had been studying “different aviation threats, aircraft hijacking, and falsifying travel documents.” He had been in the Philippines since 2017. “This was ... an urgent operation considering that he was very dangerous. That’s why (joint government elements) worked overtime monitoring him, and in the application of a search warrant which was approved by a Bataan regional trial court judge,” said Corpus. A team comprising multiple departments of the nation’s security services worked on the arrest, and recovered a firearm, hand grenades and bomb making components from the hotel room. Corpus said investigations revealed that Abdullah was allegedly a member of Al-Shabaab, an insurgent group based in Somalia.”

Jakarta Globe: Politics Will Determine Fate Of Indonesian Islamic State Sympathizers In Syria

“Thousands of Islamic State sympathizers from Indonesia currently in Syria may wish they had the opportunity to vote for the right candidates in the April 17 election, as the decision whether to allow them to return now rests on a political compromise between parties in the House of Representatives. “The decision is currently being discussed by the various factions in the legislature, because we know that this isn't only about repatriating someone with a different mindset,” Commissioner General Suhardi Alius, head of the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT), said on Monday, as quoted by Antara.  The government has grappled with the dilemma of repatriating supporters of the international terrorist group since its defeat earlier this year. Under Indonesian law, they remain citizens because they did not swear allegiance to any recognized state.  On the other hand, returnees from Syria could bring back extremist ideas, or worse, the skills and means to carry out terror attacks in the country. About a year ago, a family of six who spent time in Syria, attacked two churches in Surabaya, East Java.  On a practical level, Indonesian Islamic State sympathizers mostly do not have official identity documents as they burned whatever they had when joining the radical group, making it difficult for the government to confirm their identity.”


Quartz: Terrorists Are Trafficking Looted Antiquities With Impunity On Facebook

“Networks of criminals are trading priceless Middle Eastern antiquities—from entire Roman mosaics to full Pharaonic coffins—on Facebook, and there are no rules to stop them. The Athar Project, a group of volunteer anthropologists, have released a new report based on their monitoring of 95 Arabic-language Facebook groups where individuals in conflict zones like Syria, Yemen and Libya offer artifacts for sale, including to US buyers. According to their network analysis, one of the most important individuals in the trafficking network is based in Michigan City, Indiana. The researchers identified several extremist groups, some fighting in Syria and others connected to Al Qaeda or ISIS, that benefitted from these sales. Some managers of the private Facebook groups, for instance, require new members seeking access to pay a tax on the sales generated by their participation. The organizers use the same Arabic term for the tax, khums, that was used by ISIS to profit from antiques trafficking during its brief existence as a state. “[This] also reveals a more concerning issue: that the institutionalization of antiquities trafficking first established under ISIS was never fully dismantled, it just moved to a new medium,” the report says.”

ProPublica: Civil Rights Groups Have Been Warning Facebook About Hate Speech In Secret Groups For Years

“Facebook says its standards apply just as much in private groups as public posts, prohibiting most slurs and threats based on national origin, sex, race and immigration status. But dozens of hateful posts in a secret Facebook group for current and former Border Patrol agents raise questions about how well if at all the company is policing disturbing postings and comments made outside of public view. Many of the posts ProPublica obtained from the 9,500-member “I’m 10-15” group (10-15 is Border Patrol code for “alien in custody”) include violent or dehumanizing speech that appears to violate Facebook’s standards. For example, a thread of comments before a visit to a troubled Border Patrol facility in Texas by Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, of New York, and Veronica Escobar, of Texas, included “fuck the hoes” and “No mames [fist].” Another post encouraged Border Patrol agents to respond to the Latina lawmakers visit by hurling a “burrito at these bitches.”