Eye on Extremism: Jun 18, 2020

Associated Press: Grand Jury Indicts 3 Men On Terror Charges Over Protest Plot

“Three men that prosecutors say have ties to an anti-government movement and tried to spark violence during recent Las Vegas protests were indicted on terrorism charges by a county grand jury Wednesday. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported the charges in the indictment are similar to a complaint filed by prosecutors earlier this month, charging 23-year-old Andrew T. Lynam Jr., 35-year-old Stephen T. Parshall and 40-year-old William L. Loomis each with two felony terrorism and two explosives charges. The grand jury indictment allows the case to go directly to trial and skip a preliminary hearing where evidence is presented. A federal grand jury on Tuesday also indicted the three each on a federal conspiracy charge and a firearm and destructive device charge on accusations of possession of a Molotov cocktail. Prosecutors say the men have ties to the right-wing extremist “boogaloo” movement, an internet-based network expressing support for overthrowing the U.S. government. Prosecutors say the men hoped to create civic unrest by capitalizing on protests over businesses closed due to the coronavirus and later, the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis after a white officer pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes.”

The Guardian: Number Of Far-Right Terrorist Prisoners In Britain Hits Record High

“The number of far-right prisoners convicted for terror offences in Great Britain climbed by a third last year to their highest recorded level, and accounts for more than one in six of all terrorists held in prison, according to official figures. Labour said the disclosure underlined the “dangerous threat” posed by the far right, which comes after last weekend’s counter-demonstration in Westminster where more than 100 were arrested following violent clashes. The Home Office data shows that 44 “extreme rightwing” prisoners were in custody for terror offences across Great Britain, up from 33 a year ago. Three years ago, the figure was nine and no higher than five before that. Those who have been jailed in recent years include Thomas Mair, who murdered Jo Cox four years ago this week, and a neo-Nazi who plotted to kill another Labour MP, Rosie Cooper, with a machete a year later. Islamist extremists still form the largest category of terror prisoners, but at 183 last year the overall number has remained roughly flat since 2018 – meaning the proportion of far-right terror prisoners has increased to a record 18%. Conor McGinn MP, the shadow security minister, said: “This significant rise shows the very serious and dangerous nature of far-right extremism.”

United States

Bloomberg: The U.S. Remains Key In The Fight Against The Islamic State

“Despite a resurgence by the Islamic State, the U.S. is coming under increasing Iraqi pressure to withdraw forces from the country. President Trump, who believes the terrorist group has been vanquished, seems disinclined to lead the effort to make sure it stays that way. This presents a challenge for the 82-member coalition Washington put together to defeat IS after 2014: Can Operation Inherent Resolve, which was created to take on the terrorist group in Iraq and Syria, remain resolute if the convening power of the U.S. is diminished? The short answer is yes. The key to curbing the IS revival is not the size of the forces on the ground, because local partners have proved increasingly competent, but rather a coordinated regional strategy that leverages American assets. Overall coalition troop numbers in Iraq are around 9,000. Some European countries have temporarily withdrawn forces because of the coronavirus pandemic, and the U.S. has pulled out from smaller posts to consolidate and protect its units from Iranian proxy attacks. Washington and Baghdad are holding a strategic dialogue in the backdrop of continued of U.S.-Iran tensions, which spiked in January when an American drone attack killed Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ elite Quds Force, and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in January in Iraq.”

NBC News: Alleged 'Boogaloo' Extremist Charged In Killing Of Federal Officer During George Floyd Protest

“An Air Force sergeant who was arrested in the fatal ambush of a Santa Cruz County deputy was charged Tuesday in connection with the killing of a federal security officer during George Floyd protests in Oakland last month, authorities said. Staff Sgt. Steven Carrillo, 32, was charged with murder and attempted murder in the killing of federal officer Dave Patrick Underwood, 53. Underwood was one of two officers who were shot May 29 while guarding the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building. The other officer was critically wounded in the drive-by attack. Both were members of Homeland Security's Federal Protective Service. Authorities said Carrillo and a second man traveled to Oakland with the intent to kill police and believed the large demonstrations spurred by the death of Floyd in Minneapolis — which they were not a part of — would help them get away it. “They came to Oakland to kill cops,” said John Bennett, special agent in charge of the San Francisco division of the FBI.”

Syria

Al Jazeera: Calls Grow For EU To Repatriate ISIL Children From Syria Camps

“The Center for Global Policy has called on European governments to urgently intervene on behalf of as many as 750 children of EU member states citizenship who are held in ISIL (ISIS) detention camps in Syria. In a new report, the organisation said urgent intervention and support in the form of investment in diplomatic and financial resources, the development of rehabilitation services and provision of non-extremist religious education, as well as the creation of a pan-European leglislative body to determine the fate of these children, were urgently needed. The report titled The Children of ISIS Detainees: Europe's Dilemma was based on research that focused on two camps in northeast Syria, al-Hawl and al-Roj, where some 70,000 women and children are being detained. According to the report at least 12,000 of the detainees are European nationals. “Immediate action by European governments will limit future extremism and terrorism and promote the health and wellbeing of these children,” Azeem Ibrahim, director of the Center for Global Policy and co-author of the report, said in a press release. Ibrahim, who visited the camps in April, added: “The coronavirus pandemic has not diminished the urgent need to deal with these children.”

Iraq

Al Monitor: Iraq Keeps Heat On Islamic State By Targeting Leaders

“Spokesman for the commander-in-chief of the Iraqi Armed Forces, Brig. Yahya Rasoul, said June 6, “The Islamic State is trying to hide in the desert, mountainous and valley regions, but the security and military redeployment will leave them no space to exploit for transportation and supplies.” The Iraqi intelligence services have been intensifying operations against the Islamic State over the past months, pursuing its new caliph Abdullah Qardash in cooperation with the US-led international coalition that killed former caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in October 2019. Every other day the Iraqi authorities announce the arrest of IS operatives in the northern and western areas of the country and often the killing or the arrest of an IS leader. Most recently on May 27, the Iraqi authorities announced the killing of Mutaz al-Jabouri, known as Haji Tayseer, and nicknamed “the architect of death.” A week before the operation targeting Jabouri, the National Intelligence Service, which is still run by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, announced the arrest of Abd al-Nasser Qardash, IS’ second-in-command and brother of the new caliph.”

Afghanistan

Radio Free Europe: Afghans Say Taliban Attacks Kill At Least 17 Military Personnel In Northern Provinces

“Afghan officials say Taliban fighters have attacked a checkpoint in the northern province of Jawzjan, killing 12 security force members. Abdul Marouf Azar, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said on June 17 that five others were wounded in the attack that occurred at dawn in the Aqcha district. The militants have taken four soldiers hostage following the attack, Azar said, adding that the militants also suffered casualties. “Five Taliban were also killed and 10 others were wounded in the clashes,” he said. The Defense Ministry confirmed the attack and said six of its soldiers were among the dead. A Taliban spokesman said the group was responsible for the attack, but he said the death toll was higher, though he did not elaborate. In another northern province, Kunduz, militants attacked an Afghan National Army checkpoint on the outskirts of the provincial capital, Kunduz city, killing five soldiers, according to the provincial police chief, Faqir Muhammad Jawzjani. At least seven others were wounded in the incident, he added. Meanwhile, the explosion of a mortar shell in the southeastern province of Ghazni left four children dead, while wounding three others, the provincial governor's spokesman, Arif Noori, said.”

Middle East

Gulf News: Bahrain Top Court Upholds Up To 15 Years Jail For 6 Terror Suspects

“Bahrain’s Court of Cassation upheld the lower court’s ruling that handed down prison sentences ranging between three to 15 years to six convicts, found guilty of setting up a terrorist group affiliated to “Saraya Al Ashtar” (Al Ashtar Brigades) terrorist organisation and carrying out a number of attacks in the kingdom. The court, however, turned down revoking citizenship of the convicts. Bahrain’s High Criminal Court sentenced 13 defendants to life sentence and revoked the citizenship of 11 of them, The court also sentenced other defendants to 10 years in prison for transporting equipment to a member of the terrorist group, who fled the Kingdom to Iran. Seven defendants were also fined BD100,000 ($265,188) each. The Court of Appeals commuted the life sentence handed down to nine defendants to 15 years in jail, and the life sentence to seven years to two others. It also commuted a 10 years’ jail handed down to a defendant to three years in prison. In 2017, Bahraini High Criminal Court issued a verdict to revoke the citizenship of 15 defendants for sharing intelligence with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and Lebanon’s Hezbollah terrorist group. In the same ruling, known under the name of “Al Basta,” the Bahraini High Criminal Court sentenced eight defendants to life in jail, nine to 15 years, and two to 10 years and a 100,000-dinar fine.”

Africa

Voice Of America: Experts Debate Government Response To Insurgency In Northern Mozambique

“Security forces in Mozambique continue to curb a growing Islamist insurgency in the northern part of the country, where violence has killed hundreds of civilians and forced thousands to flee their homes. Since 2017, Islamist militants, some of which are affiliated with the Islamic State terror group, have carried out attacks against civilians and government security forces in the northern province of Cabo Delgado. According to the United Nations, 11 of the 16 districts in the Muslim-majority province have experienced attacks claimed by the insurgents. Locally known as al-Shabab, Ahlu Sunna wa Jama is the main militant group responsible for the attacks in Cabo Delgado. It is considered the Mozambique affiliate of IS. Experts say Islamist insurgents have exploited social and economic grievances of the local population in the resource-rich region. “The insurgents seem to grow in areas where the population has been marginalized by the government, particularly young people, who in some cases sold what little they had and went to join the [armed] groups,” said José Mateus M. Katupha, associate professor at Eduardo Mondlane University in Pemba, the provincial capital of Cabo Delgado.”

United Kingdom

BBC News: Man, 31, Charged With Terrorism Offences In Hull

“A man has been charged with two counts of encouraging terrorism after a street disturbance in Hull. Humberside Police were called to Cheadle Close on Saturday to reports of man armed with a knife shouting in the street. A 31-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of affray and later re-arrested on suspicion of offences under section 41 of the Terrorism Act. He has been remanded and will appear at Leeds Magistrates' Court on Thursday. The investigation is being led by Counter Terrorism Policing North East.”

BBC News: Boy, 14, Charged With Terror Attack Plot

“A 14-year-old boy has been charged with plotting an “Islamist” terror attack, police have said. The teenager, from Eastleigh, who cannot be named, faces one count of preparation of terrorist acts. Hampshire Police, which arrested the boy on 12 June, said it believed the investigation was “isolated”. The boy was later re-arrested by counter-terror police. He is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Thursday.”

Germany

The Jerusalem Post: Rise Of German Terrorist Hezbollah Supporters, Members In Lower Saxony

“The number of Hezbollah members and supporters in the German state of Lower Saxony increased from 150 in 2018 to 160 in 2019, according to a damning new intelligence report released in late May. The report said that in “Lower Saxony supporters and sympathizers of Hezbollah are organized in several associations that have specified the care and dissemination of Lebanese culture and the practice of their religion as their purpose and goal in statutes.” The report said that Hezbollah associations are located in Hanover, the capital of Lower Saxony, the city of Osnabrück and the town Uelzen. Hezbollah members and supporters are also located in South Lower Saxony. The report added that Hezbollah “activities can also be observed in the area around Bremen in Lower Saxony.” The German Interior Ministry declared Hezbollah a terrorist movement in late April and banned all Hezbollah activity in Germany. The intelligence document said that “the Lebanese Shi’ite organization Hezbollah (Party of God) uses terrorist means to fight the State of Israel, but also directs its propaganda against Western institutions.” It is unclear if the German authorities plan to take legal action against the Lebanese Shi’ite Hezbollah members and supporters in Lower Saxony and their mosques and associations.”

Southeast Asia

The National: Shamima Begum: ISIS Recruit Barred From Bangladesh

“Bangladesh has reinforced its stance that it will not allow British citizen Shamima Begum – the schoolgirl who fled London to join the ISIS in Syria – into the country because she “was never a Bangladeshi national”. Ms Begum is a British citizen of Bangladeshi descent but her citizenship to the latter country is disputed. Bangladesh’s foreign minister Ar AK Abdul Momen said in February that his country would not accept Ms Begum. “Bangladesh’s firm position is – British citizen Shamima Begum has never been a Bangladeshi national, she has also no right to claim in this regard and there is no question to allow her to enter into Bangladesh,’ the South Asian country’s foreign affairs ministry said a statement on Tuesday. In February 2015 when she was aged 15, Ms Begum and two schoolmates fled from east London through Turkey to Syria, where they were married off to ISIS fighters. She was found in a Syrian refugee camp, nine months pregnant, in February last year. Ms Begum, now 20, is in legal limbo after Britain refused to let her back in and stripped her of her passport in February last year. She is still based in Syria. The British government reportedly made the decision after receiving advice that Ms Begum could qualify for Bangledeshi citizenship.”