Eye on Extremism: July 30

CNN: Two US Service Members Killed In Afghanistan As US Eyes Troop Reduction By 2020

“Just hours after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that President Donald Trump wants a reduction in American troop levels in Afghanistan before the 2020 election, the US military announced that two US service members had been killed in that country on Monday. The US military did not provide additional details about the deaths and the names of the service members were withheld so that next of kin could be notified. Kandahar police told CNN that an Afghan solider opened fire on the service members. A Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousof Ahmadi, also confirmed the incident in a media message Monday, saying the Afghan soldier was wounded after the exchange of fire. The American service members are the fourth and fifth to be killed in Afghanistan in a little over a month.”

The Washington Post: Syrian Troops Advance In Northwest, Breaking Stalemate

“Syrian troops made advances on the ground in northern Syria on Monday, seizing a hilltop village and a nearby town from insurgents in the first breakthrough for President Bashar Assad’s forces following weeks of intensive air and artillery bombardment. The area has been repeatedly targeted in recent days as Syria’s government looks to regain momentum in its stalled offensive against the last opposition-controlled stronghold in Syria. The rebel area encompasses Idlib province and the surrounding rural areas of Hama province. At least 450 civilians have been confirmed killed in the three-month offensive, including more than 100 in the last 10 days alone, according to the U.N. human rights chief. Over the last three years, the government has regained control of most of the territories that were initially seized by the opposition in the early days of the civil conflict — now in its 9th year. Those military victories, supported by Russian airpower and Iranian-backed militias on the ground, followed intense military campaigns and tight sieges that forced rebels to surrender and move north. The Idlib region is dominated by al-Qaida-linked militants and other jihadi groups, and is home to an estimated 3 million people, many of them displaced by other bouts of violence in other areas.”

Voice Of America: UN Warns Islamic State Leader Plotting Comeback From Iraq

“The Islamic State terror group's self-declared caliphate may be dead, but its leaders are hanging on in Syria and Iraq, dreaming of the day when they can again direct attacks on targets around the world. The conclusion is part of a sobering assessment in a newly released quarterly United Nations report on IS, also known as ISIS or ISIL, which warns the epicenter for the terror group's budding renaissance is Iraq, “where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and most of the ISIL leadership are now based.” “The leadership aims to adapt, survive and consolidate in the core area and to establish sleeper cells at the local level in preparation for eventual resurgence,” the report cautioned. “When it has the time and space to reinvest in an external operations capability, ISIL will direct and facilitate international attacks.” In the meantime, the report warns the terror organization, “has continued its evolution into a mainly covert network,” since the fall of Baghuz, the last territory it held in Syria, this past March. While the assessment that Baghdadi is operating mostly out of Iraq is new, the other warnings are similar to concerns voiced by U.S. officials and others dating back to last year. IS “is well-positioned to rebuild and work on enabling its physical caliphate to re-emerge,” Pentagon spokesman Commander Sean Robertson told VOA last August.”

U.S. News & World Report: 2 Refugees In Arizona Charged With Supporting Islamic State

“Two Somalia refugees living in Arizona were charged with providing support to a terror group after federal agents say they were planning to travel from Tucson to Egypt to join the Islamic State. A criminal charge unsealed Monday alleged 21-year-old Ahmed Mahad Mohamed and 20-year-old Abdi Yemani Hussein had told an undercover FBI employee that they wanted to travel to the Middle East to carry out violence and “achieve martyrdom.” Both Tucson residents, who had received government documents to travel to Egypt, were arrested Friday after they checked in for their flights and made their way through security at Tucson International Airport. Mohamed is accused of expressing an interest in beheading people, while authorities say Hussein expressed a desire to kill people in the Middle East. Tom Hartzell, an attorney for Mohamed, didn't return a call seeking comment on his client's behalf. Brad Roach, attorney for Hussein, said his client is asserting his innocence and “looking forward to the legal process going forward.” Authorities say Mohamed told an undercover FBI employee during social-media exchanges that he was “thirsty” for the blood of disbelievers and that “the best wake up call is (for the) Islamic State to get victory or another 911.”

The Defense Post: UN ISIS Investigator Calls For Nuremberg-Style International Tribunal

“The head of the United Nations special probe into Islamic State crimes has called for trials like those at Nuremberg of Nazi leaders to ensure the jihadists’ victims are heard and their ideology “debunked.” For a year, British lawyer Karim Khan has traveled around Iraq with a team of almost 80 people to gather evidence and witness testimony for the U.N. body known as UNITAD. “It’s a mountain to climb”, the human rights specialist told AFP, as the investigative team works to analyze up to 12,000 bodies from more than 200 mass graves, 600,000 videos of ISIS crimes and 15,000 pages from the group’s bureaucracy. Five years ago, when their self-proclaimed “caliphate” spanned territory the size of the United Kingdom, the jihadist group imposed its brutal rule over seven million people across Iraq and Syria with administrations, schools, child soldiers, a severe interpretation of Islam and medieval punishments. Minority groups considered by ISIS to be “heretics” or “satanists” were killed by the thousands, tortured or enslaved. ISIS “wasn’t some kind of guerrilla warfare or a mobile rebel group … that’s one aspect that is unusual” for international justice, Khan said from the ultra-secure UNITAD headquarters in Baghdad.”

The Telegraph: Spies Seek 'Backdoor' Access To Encrypted Social Media To Combat Terrorists And Paedophiles

“Spy agencies and police should have “backdoor” access to encrypted social media messages on platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp to combat online child abuse and terrorism, say Western intelligence agencies and Governments. The “Five Eyes” nations - UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand - will meet in London on Tuesday to discuss plans to give law enforcement agencies “lawful access” to encrypted emails, text messages and voice communications before issuing a joint communique. Intelligence agencies say it is necessary because of increasing encryption by platforms like Facebook, which is due to introduce end-to-end encryption to its billion-user Messenger service, and WhatsApp, Apple and Google."

United States

ABC 15 Arizona: FBI Arrests Two At Tucson Airport For Trying To Join ISIS

“Federal agents arrested two men Friday at Tucson International Airport for conspiring to join the Islamic State. The Federal Bureau of Investigation says Ahmed Mohamed and Abdi Hussein were arrested at the airport on July 26 and says the pair had been communicating with an undercover agent posing as a supporter of ISIS. Agents say Mohamed started talking with an undercover employee on an unnamed social media platform in August 2018. The conversation continued with a second FBI agent on a different social media platform that December. The FBI says Mohamed and Hussein wanted to travel overseas to fight for ISIS or conduct an attack within the United States. Mohamed told the undercover agent, "[I]f I go to Syria I want to be the beheading person," according to court documents. The FBI says he also met with the undercover agent several times in Tucson, and brought Abdi to one of those meetings.”

ABC News: Police: Synagogue Shooting Leaves 1 Wounded, Suspect Sought

“Authorities said Monday they have yet to determine whether the weekend shooting of a member of a Miami area synagogue constituted a hate crime, adding they're still seeking the suspect after the attack outside the temple's front door. The victim, identified by the rabbi as temple member Yosef Lifshutz, was shot several times in the legs Sunday evening and underwent surgery at a hospital, police said. He was listed in stable condition at Aventura Hospital. Miami-Dade police detective Alvaro Zabaleta told news outlets the attacker got out of a black Chevrolet Impala around 6:30 p.m. Sunday and shot the 68-year-old victim as he approached the front door of the Young Israel of Greater Miami temple. The Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office's hate crimes unit is reviewing the case, spokeswoman Lissette Valdes-Valle said Monday. The rabbi of the synagogue described Lifshutz as an esteemed member of the temple community. “He's a wonderful person,” Rabbi David Lehrfield told WSVN . “Everybody loves him.” Police were searching for the shooter. The car had circled the temple several times as Lifshutz walked toward the building, Zabaleta told WSVN. “It circled once again, and by that time the victim was approaching the door,” Zabaleta said.”

Syria

The National: US-Led Coalition Says Air Strike Kills Five ISIS Fighters In Syria

“A US-led coalition air strike killed five ISIS militants in eastern Syria on Monday, in the first such raid since the collapse of the terrorist group's “caliphate”. “Coalition forces conducted a strike against a Daesh cell near Busayrah,” a town in Deir Ezzor province, coalition spokesman James Rawlinson said. “This operation eliminated five terrorists who played a key role in facilitating attacks across the region against security forces and innocent civilians.” The five ISIS fighters were all Syrian, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor reported from Britain. It was the first attack by coalition warplanes since ISIS was driven out of its last holdout in Syria four months ago, the group said. A US-backed, Kurdish-led force announced it had expelled the extremists from their last patch of territory in eastern Syria, the town of Baghouz, on March 23. That came after a months-long campaign backed by coalition air strikes. The Syrian Democratic Forces' victory spelt the end of the ISIS reign declared in 2014 after the militants seized large parts of Syria and neighbouring Iraq. But despite losing their territory, ISIS fighters continue to launch regular attacks across war-torn Syria. They have claimed operations in SDF-held areas, including assassinations and setting fire to vital wheat crops.”

Asharq Al-Awsat: Concerns In South Syria Over Damascus’ Release Of ISIS Members

“Local sources in southern Syria said that concern prevails in the Yarmouk Basin area, southwest Daraa, over the large number of ISIS members who returned to the area after the Syrian regime started releasing them in batches since early last month. Most of those ISIS militants were members of the Jaysh Khalid ibn al-Walid, the local ISIS affiliate. The western Daraa countryside was ISIS’ last stronghold in the area, before the Assad forces took over the Yarmouk Basin, via a military campaign, backed by Russian aircraft and settlement opposition factions in August 2018. Since then, Daraa has been in a state of security chaos, with hundreds of people arrested, including those who have agreed to the settlements with the regime's forces, which have also obliged many into forced conscription. This has angered several residents, especially the factions that agreed to the settlements. Activists in the Yarmouk Basin told Asharq Al-Awsat on Monday that currently, around 1,000 ISIS-affiliated militants returned to the area. They said that one year ago, when the Assad forces launched its military campaign against the organization, the Syrian regime killed tens of ISIS militants and arrested around 400.”

Yahoo News: IS Threat Hovers Over Syria Camp, Rattling Authorities

“Stabbing guards, stoning aid workers and flying the Islamic State group's black flag in plain sight: the wives and children of the 'caliphate' are sticking by the jihadists in a desperate Syrian camp. Months after the defeat of the jihadist proto-state, families of IS fighters are among 70,000 people crammed into the Kurdish-run Al-Hol camp in northeastern Syria. Swarming around an AFP journalist, women clad-in-black complain of poor medical assistance, a lack of aid, and boiling tents. They also praise the elusive IS supremo Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, saying they are waiting for orders from their leader. Umm Suhaib, the widowed wife of a jihadist, admits that IS supporters have attacked Kurdish security forces guarding the camp. "Two or three times, the Asayesh were stabbed," said the 23-year-old Iraqi mother of three.”

Military.Com: Coalition Says Strike Kills ISIS Jihadists In Syria

“A US-led coalition air strike killed five jihadists in eastern Syria on Monday, a spokesman said, in the first such raid since the collapse of the Islamic State group's "caliphate". "Coalition forces conducted a strike against a Daesh cell near Busayrah", a town in Deir Ezzor province, said coalition spokesman James Rawlinson, using an Arabic acronym for ISIS. "This operation eliminated five terrorists who played a key role in facilitating attacks across the region against security forces and innocent civilians," he told AFP. The five jihadists were all Syrian, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor. It was the first aerial attack by coalition warplanes since ISIS was driven out of its last holdout in Syria four months ago, the Britain-based group added. A US-backed, Kurdish-led force announced it had expelled the extremists from their last patch of territory in eastern Syria, the town of Baghouz, on March 23.”

Iran

Newsweek: Iran Says It Will Expand Military Ties With Russia, Hold Joint Drills As U.S. Tries To Build Rival Coalition

“The head of Iran's navy has said he signed a document to expand ties with Russia, with whom his forces planned on conducting joint drills in the same tense waters that the United States sought to counter the Islamic Republic with international support. Iranian naval commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi said Monday that he signed an unprecedented memorandum of understanding with Russia, largely involving the two countries' naval forces, and that it “may be considered as a turning point in relations of Tehran in Moscow,” according to Iran's semi-official Fars News Agency. The news came as Khanzadi was visiting St. Petersburg to celebrate Russia's Navy Day and he further announced that “joint Russian-Iranian exercises in the Indian Ocean are expected to take place soon.” “When we talk about the Indian Ocean, perhaps the most significant part of the area is the northern Indian Ocean, which flows into the Gulf of Oman, the Strait of Hormuz and also the Persian Gulf,” Khanzadi said. Such an exercise would take place in the same waters in which the U.S. has accused Iran of attacking and seizing international vessels in recent months, charges Tehran has denied as it faced mounting sanctions in the wake of Washington's withdrawal last year from a 2015 nuclear deal with its longtime foe.”

The Jerusalem Post: Israel Launched Two F-35 Attacks On Iranian Targets In Iraq In July - Report

“Israel used their F-35i stealth fighter jets to conduct attacks on Iranian targets to Iraq in the past month, hitting two Iraqi bases used by Iranian forces and proxies and storing Iranian ballistic missiles, the London-based Saudi daily Al Sharq Al Awsat reported on Tuesday. The first attack happened on July 19 at a base in Amreli in the Saladin province of Iraq. Iraqi and Iranian sources blamed Israel at the time, and Al Sharq Al Awsat reported that "diplomatic sources" confirmed this to be true, specifying that the attack was carried out by an Israeli F-35. Al-Arabiya reported that Iranian-made ballistic missiles were transported to the base shortly before the attack via trucks used to transport refrigerated food. The identity of the aircraft which conducted the attack was unspecified at the time, and the US denied any involvement. Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah members were killed in the air strike, according to Al-Arabiya, however the Iranian-backed al-Hashd ash-Sha'abi (Popular Mobilization Forces - PMF) denied that any Iranians had been killed in the attack, according to Fars.”

Iraq

Iraqi News: Iraq Arrests Two Islamic State Jihadists In Maysan Governorate

“The Iraqi Interior Ministry announced on Monday that its forces arrested two members of the Islamic State terrorist group in the eastern governorate of Maysan. Speaking to the privately-owned Alsumaria News TV channel, Maj. Gen. Saad Maan, the ministry’s spokesman, said counter-terrorism forces and intelligence arrested two Islamic State terrorists, who are wanted on terror charges pursuant to article no. 4 of the anti-terrorism law. According to the spokesman, the two terrorists were handed over to the competent authorities for interrogation and legal action. Former Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi declared the end of military operations against Islamic State in Iraq on December 9, 2017 three years after the militant group captured about a third of Iraq’s territory. The jihadist group had seized large swathes of Syria and Iraq in 2014, when it proclaimed a “caliphate” and imposed its rule over some 10 million people.”

Afghanistan

The New York Times: An Afghan Candidate Wrote His Will, Then Survived A Suicide Squad

“Even before he received specific intelligence about an attempt planned on his life, Amrullah Saleh had a feeling they were coming for him soon. So he wrote his will. As a former Afghan intelligence chief who is staunchly anti-Taliban, he had been near the top of the militants’ list for a long time. But now there was an added reason for targeting him: He was about to launch his campaign as the running-mate of President Ashraf Ghani in his September re-election bid. About a week ago, Mr. Saleh took a new look at the four-page will. He added instructions for his wife and five children on how to handle news of his death, and how to gain access to his savings. Mr. Saleh said he was convinced that “I wasn’t going to survive this time.” The attack he dreaded came on Sunday, the first day of the presidential campaign, after he and President Ghani had appeared at a tightly guarded rally in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital. Soon after Mr. Saleh reached his political headquarters, he was greeted by an enormous car bomb. That was followed by a half-dozen suicide bombers climbing up to his fourth-floor office. In the nearly seven hours of havoc that ensued, about 30 people were dead — 20 of them Mr. Saleh’s guests or colleagues who had spent years at his side.”

Voice Of America: Two Americans Killed In Apparent Insider Attack In Afghanistan

“Two U.S. service members have been killed in action in Afghanistan in what appears to be an insider attack. The NATO-led Resolute Support Mission said Monday that two Americans are dead, withholding additional information pending notification of their families. A U.S. official later confirmed the deaths were the result of a so-called “green on blue” attack, during which an Afghan service member or an attacker wearing an Afghan uniform, fires on U.S. or allied forces. The initial U.S. assessment followed claims by Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid on Twitter that the Americans died when an Afghan soldier turned his gun on them in a military camp in Afghanistan's southern Kandahar province. The Taliban also claimed at least one other soldier was killed and that several others were wounded, though those claims could not be confirmed. With the two confirmed deaths, at least 14 U.S. service members have been killed in Afghanistan this year, according to a tally by the website iCasualties.org. Thirteen U.S. service members were killed in Afghanistan in 2018. The latest deaths also come as the U.S. has been engaging the Taliban in talks, seeking a peaceful resolution to the 18-year war in Afghanistan.”

The Guardian: More Afghan Civilians Killed By Government And Nato Than Taliban

“More Afghan civilians were killed by Afghan and Nato forces than by the Taliban and other militants in the first half of 2019, according to UN figures, suggesting that similar findings for the first quarter of the year were not a blip. Most of the civilian casualties were apparently inflicted during Afghan and Nato operations against insurgents, such as airstrikes and night raids on militant hideouts. Insurgents often hide among civilians. The report by the UN mission in Afghanistan said 403 civilians were killed by Afghan forces in the first six months of the year and a further 314 by international forces, a total of 717. In the same period, 531 were killed by the Taliban, an Islamic State affiliate and other militants. It said 300 of those killed by militants were directly targeted. The Taliban have been carrying out near-daily attacks, mainly targeting security forces. In April, the UN published figures for the first three months of 2019 with the same top line. That was the first time that pro-government forces had caused a majority of deaths since the UN began tracking civilian casualties in Afghanistan more than a decade ago. The Taliban have rejected calls for a ceasefire as they hold talks with the US aimed at ending the 18-year war.”

Yemen

Asharq Al-Awsat: Yemen Condemns ‘Houthi Massacre’ In Saada Market

“Yemen’s Minister of Information Moammar al-Eryani strongly condemned the “abhorrent massacre” committed by the Iran-backed Houthi militias in the Al Thabet market in Saada. The minister said the militias deliberately targeted the popular market with Katyusha rockets, killing 10 civilians and injuring 20, including a number of children. “This terrible crime by the Houthi militias against people is a collective punishment for their national stand, rejection of the coup and support for the legitimate government,”he tweeted. “It is another in their series of crimes against humanity and confirms the terrorist and bloody nature of the militia that only knows killing, bloodshed and intimidation," he added.”

Lebanon

The Jerusalem Post: Israel, U.S. Working To Upgrade Unifil’s Mandate To Weaken Hezbollah

“Israel and the United States are jointly working to have the United Nations Security Council to upgrade the mandate of the international peacekeeping force based in southern Lebanon, providing it with greater authority in an effort to weaken Hezbollah. Israel Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon told The Jerusalem Post that Israel is working with the US to upgrade UNIFIL’s mandate, specifically to give it the ability to visit and inspect any area in southern Lebanon. Under the existing mandate, UNIFIL cannot enter villages and urban areas unless it first coordinates such visits with the Lebanese Armed Forces. Danon told the Security Council last week that in the 13 years since the war ended, “[we have] yet to receive an accurate picture of the gravity of the situation in southern Lebanon. It is unfortunate that some have chosen to turn a blind eye to the reality on the ground.” Danon added that “UNIFIL must be fully equipped to discharge its mandate and contribute to stability in the region.” Resolution 1701 calls for no sale or supply of arms and related material to Lebanon except as authorized by its government, he pointed out. “It appears, however, that this call for an embargo has been completely ignored.”

Middle East

Asharq Al-Awsat: UAE Says ‘Dangerous’ Recordings Prove Qatar’s Terrorism Ties

“United Arab Emirates State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash said Tuesday that a recent New York Times report proves Qatar’s ties to terrorism. Earlier this month, the New York Times obtained an audio recording of a telephone call between the Qatari ambassador to Somalia and a businessman who is close to Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani that reveals Doha’s complicity in terrorist bombings in the African country. The businessman, Khalifa Kayed al-Muhanadi told Qatari Ambassador Hassan bin Hamza Hashem that militants had carried out a bombing in the port city of Bosaso in northern Somalia, to advance Qatar’s interests by driving out its rival, the UAE. Gargash tweeted: “The dangerous recording cannot be denied with a hasty statement.” “Resorting to terrorism against the UAE is regrettable escalation and justifies the four countries’ boycott of Qatar,” he added.”

Nigeria

The Defense Post: Nigeria: Soldier, 10 Islamic State Insurgents Killed In Baga, MNJTF Says

“One soldier was killed and five were injured in an attack in northeastern Nigeria’s Borno state that also saw 10 Islamic State West Africa Province fighters killed, the regional force battling insurgency in the Lake Chad area said. The incident in Baga was described as a “surprise dawn attack on Multinational Joint Task Force and national troops,” by the MNJTF’s Chief of Military Public Information Colonel Timothy Antigha in a Monday, July 29 release published by Nigeria’s Defence Headquarters. Antigha said that around around 30 ISWAP militants – including suicide bombers – attempted to infiltrate a defensive position in the Baga area around 0530 local time. He said that “vigilant troops spotted their approach” and thwarted the assault. “In the process, 10 terrorists, including four suicide bombers were neutralized. Others escaped with gun shot wounds,” Antigha said. “Unfortunately, a soldier paid the supreme [price], while five others sustained varying injuries and have been evaluated for medical attention,” Antigha said, without specifying the soldiers’ nationalities. Arms and ammunition were later recovered, Antigha said, and an image showing four AK-pattern assault rifles and a mobile phone was published.”

Al Jazeera: Death, Anguish And Flickers Of Hope: 10 Years Of Boko Haram

“Since July 2009, when Islamic scholar Mohammed Yusuf was killed in Maiduguri, capital of the northeastern state of Borno, Nigeria, the region has become the most discussed piece of real estate in West Africa. In the ensuing Boko Haram killing spree, nearly 30,000 people have died and more than two million were displaced, according to the Council on Foreign Relations' Nigeria Security Tracker.  Having snaked its way across the Lake Chad basin to Chad, Niger and Cameroon, roads in the area keep rustling with the sound of young people fleeing to start new lives away from the armed group. Abubakar Bala, a 32-year-old shoe repairer, watched his hometown Bama transform from the commercial capital of Borno state to a war-torn zone. His wife was killed when attackers invaded the city in September 2014 and he watched neighbours run over bodies as he fled through the forest. “It makes me so sad to remember those times,” he told Al Jazeera. “Only Allah can heal us. I still don't know where some of my family members are.” Hundreds of young women have been abducted by the group to become brides and suicide bombers, with two incidents particularly gaining global news traction.”

Deutsche Welle: Nigeria's Ban Of Shiite Muslim Group Risks Boko Haram Repeat

“Announcing a government ban on the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), presidential spokesman Garba Shehu accused the Shiite Muslim group of running “terrorist activities, including attacking soldiers, killing policemen, destroying public property and consistently defying state authority.” IMN followers have been holding protests to demand the release of their detained leader, Ibrahim Zakzaky. At least 20 members of the group were killed over the past week in a series of demonstrations that have shown little sign of abating, increasing pressure on the government. Zakzaky, a pro-Iranian cleric, has been in detention since 2015 despite a court order to release him. On Monday, a court adjourned his bail hearing until August 5. Ibrahim Musa, a spokesman for IMN, has denied the government accusations. “All the people we interacted with know that we are not terrorists, because we don't carry arms even during our processions,” he said. Zakzaky founded the organization — originally a student movement inspired by Iran's Islamic revolution — in the late 1970s. The Nigerian cleric convinced fellow students that an Islamic revolution was also possible in their country."

Somalia

Africa News: U.S. Airstrike Targets ISIS-Somalia In Support Of The Federal Government Of Somalia

“In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting ISIS terrorists in the Golis Mountain region, Somalia, on July 27, 2019. “Airstrikes like these remain an effective tool in the counter-terrorist campaign against ISIS and al-Shabab,” said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. William West, deputy director of operations, U.S. Africa Command. “The Federal Government of Somalia and the United States will continue to disrupt terror organization operations and degrade their capabilities whenever possible.” The Golis Mountains are a known area for terrorist activity. Precision airstrikes such as these support Somali security forces efforts to protect the Somali people from terrorism and support long-term security in the region.  At this time, it is assessed the airstrike killed one (1) terrorist who played a key role in facilitation for the group. Currently, we assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.  Our process and procedures allow for additional information to inform post-strike analysis. U.S. Africa Command will continue to work with its partners to transfer the responsibility for long-term security in Somalia from AMISOM to the Federal Government of Somalia and its Member States."

Africa

Bloomberg: India Offers To Help Mozambique Fight Growing Terrorism Threat

“India will co-operate with Mozambique to fight terrorism and radicalization, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said during a visit to the southeast African nation. Mozambique asked for help “to deal with the growing menace” and Singh gave an assurance of assistance, according to a statement on the Indian government’s website Monday. The pledge comes after Islamic State announced its presence in Mozambique in June, though India’s statement didn’t refer to any specific group.”

North Korea

The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Sanctions North Korean Over Illicit Trade, Missile Program

“The Treasury Department imposed sanctions on a North Korean man on Monday it accuses of evading trade restrictions and being an employee of a government department that helped develop the nuclear-capable missiles Pyongyang fired last week. The blacklisting of Kim Su Il—who the U.S. says was employed by North Korea’s Munitions Industry Department—follows U.S. condemnation of the test firings amid stalled talks between Washington and Pyongyang. The U.S. is seeking nuclear disarmament by North Korea. The Treasury Department said Mr. Kim—also a member of the sanctioned Workers’ Party of Korea—is running an illicit import-export business out of Vietnam that trades North Korean coal and other goods. Those operations raise much-needed funds and foreign currency for the regime in defiance of international sanctions that have squeeze the country’s economy.”

United Kingdom

The Telegraph: Met Launch Terror Investigation After Grenades And Firearm Found In Suffolk Home

“The Metropolitan Police has launched a terrorism investigation after grenades, a fake gun and various chemicals were found in a home in Suffolk. A 59-year-old man was arrested first on suspicion of possession of a firearm, and then on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism. Police raided a terraced house in Lowestoft early on Sunday afternoon. Two inert military grenades and an imitation gun were found, along with various chemicals that led Suffolk Police to call in counter-terrorism investigators from the Metropolitan Police. A 100-metre cordon was initially put in place and three neighbouring properties in Normanhurst Close evacuated as the inquiry continued. A smaller cordon is still in place, and the man is in custody at a Suffolk police station. Detective Chief Superintendent Alexis Boon, from the Met Police Counter Terrorism Command, said: “After a pre-planned operation by Suffolk Constabulary in which officers arrested a man, the Met Police Counter Terrorism Command is now leading this investigation, working closely with police in Suffolk. “Suffolk Constabulary acted quickly to make the area safe, including erecting a cordon around the address as a precautionary measure while inquiries are ongoing, however we have found nothing to suggest an ongoing threat to the public.”

The Guardian: Britain's Youngest Terrorist's Identity To Remain Secret

“The identity of Britain’s youngest terrorist, who plotted to murder police officers in Australia, will remain a secret for the rest of his life following a high court ruling. The teenager, from Blackburn, Lancashire, who can be identified only as RXG, sent encrypted messages when he was 14 instructing an Australian jihadist to launch attacks during a 2015 Anzac Day parade. Now 18, he was jailed for life at Manchester crown court in October 2015 after he admitted inciting terrorism overseas. A ban on identifying him made at the time he was sentenced would normally expire upon his 18th birthday, but Dame Victoria Sharp granted him lifelong anonymity in a ruling delivered on Monday. The judge said that identifying him was likely to cause him “serious harm” and it was therefore necessary to take the rare step. Sitting with Mr Justice Nicklin, she said: “We are satisfied that RXG’s case is an exceptional one. We acknowledge that any prohibition on the identification of a defendant in a criminal proceedings is a serious matter and represents a significant interference with the open justice principle. Nevertheless, on the evidence before us, in our judgment it is both necessary and proportionate.” The judge said experts had concluded that identifying RXG would “fundamentally undermine” his rehabilitation.”

The Jerusalem Post: UK Forced To Disclose Audits Of Funds Used By Pa For Terrorists’ Salaries

“The United Kingdom’s Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham has ordered the Department for International Development (DFID) to disclose audit reports of accounts into which British grant money was transferred and allegedly used to pay salaries to convicted Palestinian terrorists. The decision, signed on Friday by Jonathan Slee, senior case officer for the Information Commissioner’s Office, overturns a 2018 refusal by both the DFID and its internal reviewer to disclose these reports, following a Freedom of Information request made by UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) last year. The commissioner is requiring that DFID provide UKLFI with a copy of the information falling within the scope of its request within 35 days or face being sent before the High Court. “The Commissioner has concluded that there is a significant public interest in the disclosure of the information,” Slee’s letter said.”

Yahoo News: Britain Rules Out Seized Tanker Swap With Iran

“Britain on Monday ruled out swapping seized oil tankers with Iran as a second UK warship arrived in the Gulf to conduct convoys that have irritated Tehran. A sense of crisis in the world's busiest oil shipping lane has been building up for weeks as Iran responds to US President Donald Trump's "maximum pressure" campaign. The US economic sanctions and stepped-up military presence are designed to force Iran to renegotiate a landmark 2015 nuclear pact from which Trump pulled out last year. Britain further outraged Iran by seizing one of its tankers -- the Grace 1 -- on July 4 on suspicion of it carrying oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions. Iran vowed to retaliate and its Revolutionary Guards stormed and detained the UK-flagged Stena Impero and its 23 crew as they sailed through the Strait of Hormuz on July 20."

Germany

The Washington Post: Germany Extradites Man Wanted Over Paris Attacks To Belgium

“German authorities say they have extradited a Bosnian man to Belgium, where he was sought in connection with the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris. News agency dpa reported that prosecutors in the eastern town of Naumburg said the 39-year-old man was handed over to Belgian authorities on Monday. He was arrested in June, and a court rejected his objections to extradition. His name wasn’t released. German prosecutors have said the man is suspected of being connected to the Nov. 13, 2015 extremist attack that killed 130 people and was wanted by Belgian authorities for alleged support of a terrorist organization. They didn’t detail the nature of his suspected involvement. During the Paris attacks, Islamic extremists with guns and suicide bombs attacked the Bataclan music hall, a stadium, bars and restaurants.”

China

The Wall Street Journal: Why Russia And China Are Joining Forces

“Russian and Chinese military aircraft probed South Korean and Japanese air defenses last week, leading the South Koreans to fire more than 300 warning shots before the intruders departed. This was just the latest manifestation of a deepening alliance between Russia and China. James Dobbins, Howard Shatz and Ali Wyne described the emerging alignment in an April essay in the Diplomat. In 2016, Russia displaced Saudi Arabia as China’s largest source of imported oil. In 2017, the two countries held their first joint naval exercise in the Baltic Sea. In June 2018, Xi Jinping called Vladimir Putin “my best, most intimate friend,” and later that year Chinese forces participated in the largest military exercise on Russian soil since 1981. The departing director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, says the two Eurasian supergiants are as close as they were in the 1950s. From Venezuela to Syria to Serbia, they are working to frustrate the West. They are also increasingly cooperating in sub-Saharan Africa and have found ways to reduce their competition in Central Asia."

Latin America

Reuters: Venezuela Is Terrorist Sanctuary: Colombian President

“Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has turned his country into a terrorist sanctuary and committed the grave error of protecting guerrilla groups and drug traffickers, Colombian President Ivan Duque said on Monday, as tensions between the neighboring countries escalated once again.  The comments came after Maduro said on Sunday that two missing former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) commanders sought by Colombian judicial authorities were “welcome in Venezuela.” Tensions have worsened since Duque joined the United States and most Latin American countries in recognizing Juan Guaido, president of Venezuela’s opposition-controlled National Assembly, as the country’s rightful leader, arguing that Maduro’s 2018 re-election was illegitimate. ”What we are seeing is that not only has (Maduro) harbored Colombian terrorists for many years, but he ratifies more and more that Venezuela is a sanctuary for terrorists and drug traffickers,” Duque said in Shanghai, China, where he is on an official visit. Maduro said over the weekend that Seuxis Paucias Hernandez and Luciano Marin, known respectively by their nom de guerres Jesus Santrich and Ivan Marquez, were “leaders of peace.” 

Technology

NBC News: Instagram Account Connected To Gilroy Shooter Pushed Staple Of White Supremacist Internet Forums

“An Instagram post connected to the 19-year-old who killed three people at a food festival in Northern California points to literature that is part of an ecosystem of white nationalist literature, according to extremism researchers. On Sunday, police officers shot and killed Santino William Legan at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California, after he opened fire at the event. Earlier the same day, a post appeared on an Instagram page attributed to him referring to a proto-fascist white supremacist manifesto by a pseudonymous 19th-century author. NBC News has declined to identify the literature by name in order to limit its spread. According to extremism researchers, the manifesto is part of a collection of white nationalist literature that’s been pirated and distributed for free on far-right websites. The material is part of a yearslong recruiting technique by white nationalists to target those vulnerable to their message on forums frequently populated by teenagers. The book strongly advocates combat, violence and death along racial lines, and is filled with anti-Semitic rhetoric. It is a staple among neo-Nazis and white supremacists on extremist sites such as 4chan’s /pol/ board, National Vanguard, Stormfront and The Daily Stormer. Links to the PDF version of the book have been posted hundreds of times on 4chan in the last several years, including as recently as last month.”

The Verge: Sites Could Be Liable For Helping Facebook Secretly Track Your Web Browsing, Says EU Court

“The European Union’s top court says website owners could face legal risk over Facebook’s ubiquitous “Like” buttons. The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled today that site owners could be held liable for transmitting data to Facebook without users’ consent — which appears to be exactly what happens when users visit a site with a Like button, whether or not they click it. The ruling doesn’t stop Facebook, or other companies with similar widgets, from offering these options. But sites must obtain consent from users before sending data to Facebook, unless they can demonstrate a “legitimate interest” in doing otherwise. Right now, data gets seemingly sent to Facebook as the page loads — before users have a chance to opt out. So in the future, sites might have to approach Like buttons differently.”