Eye on Extremism: June 13, 2022

The Wall Street Journal: French Prosecutors Seek Life In Prison For Key Participant In 2015 Paris Terrorist Attack

“French prosecutors are seeking a life sentence for the highest-profile surviving participant in a November 2015 terrorist attack that killed 130 people across the nation’s capital in a single night, in a coordinated assault that demonstrated the reach of Islamic State. Prosecutors asked a court here Friday to sentence Salah Abdeslam to at least 30 years without parole, a rarely imposed penalty and the heaviest under French law. After that period, a judge could determine whether to grant parole under certain circumstances. The 32-year-old Frenchman is charged with participating in murder in a terrorist context, attempted murder in a terrorist context and participation in a terrorist group. Mr. Abdeslam has said that he participated in the attack but didn’t commit any of the killings personally. A lawyer for Mr. Abdeslam didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Friday. Later this month, judges will deliver a verdict in the trial, which centers on one of the deadliest massacres in French history, following nine months of proceedings that have generated national reflection around the country’s yearslong effort to counter Islamist terrorism. Islamic State gunmen opened fire on audience members at Paris’s Bataclan concert hall in November 2015, killing 90 people there as part of a coordinated attack across the city.”

Associated Press: NATO Chief: Turkey Has “Legitimate Concerns” Over Terrorism

“NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Sunday that Turkey has “legitimate concerns” over terrorism and other issues that need to be taken seriously. Turkey has accused Finland and Sweden of supporting Kurdish militants and says it will not back the two Nordic nations joining NATO until they change their policies. Speaking at a joint news conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, Stoltenberg stressed that “no other NATO ally has suffered more terrorist attacks than Turkey” and pointed to its strategic geographic location with neighbors like Iraq and Syria. “These are legitimate concerns. This is about terrorism, it’s about weapons exports,” Stoltenberg said. “We have to address the security concerns of all allies, including Turkish concerns about the terrorist group PKK.” He spoke at Finland's presidential summer residence Kultaranta in western Finland. After decades of military non-alignment, Russia’s war in Ukraine pushed Finland and Sweden to apply to join NATO in May. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, however, accuses the Nordic nations of supporting Kurdish militants deemed by Turkey to be terrorists and has vetoed their entry into the 30-member alliance.”

United States

The New York Times: Dozens Of White Supremacists Arrested In Idaho Had Planned To Riot, Authorities Say

“Dozens of members of a white supremacist group were arrested on Saturday in Idaho before they could act on plans to riot at a local Pride event, the police said. After receiving a tip from a concerned citizen, the police detained and charged 31 people who belonged to a far-right group known as Patriot Front, said Lee White, the chief of the Coeur d’Alene Police Department, at a news conference. They are being charged with conspiracy to riot, a misdemeanor, he said. Bob Norris, the sheriff of Kootenai County, said that a person reported seeing a group of people jump into a U-Haul van near the intersection of Northwest Boulevard and Interstate 90 in Coeur d’Alene. “And they were all dressed like a small army,” Sheriff Norris said. “We had units in their area, and we were able to intercept them pretty quickly.” A few miles away, the North Idaho Pride Alliance was holding “Pride in the Park,” an annual event, at Coeur d’Alene City Park. The Anti-Defamation League, which tracks extremist organizations and hate crimes, describes Patriot Front as a Texas-based white supremacist group that formed when members of another white supremacist group, Vanguard America, broke off after the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017.”

Syria

Kurdistan 24: SDF Units Arrest Three ISIS Suspects Near Al-Hol Camp

“Special units of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) supported by the US-led coalition arrested three terrorist suspects in al-Hol town, near the notorious al-Hol camp, east of al-Hasakah city, the SDF Press Centre said on Sunday. “The arrested terrorists were responsible for transferring funds financing the ISIS cells in al-Hassaka countryside and other areas in the north and eastern Syria,” the SDF said. “Weapons, equipment, and documents were confiscated.” The SDF and the coalition regularly carry out raids against ISIS in northeast Syria to prevent ISIS from making a resurgence in the region. The majority of raids are carried out in the Hasakah and Deir Ez-Zor (Deir al-Zor) provinces. Last Friday, the SDF said that they killed a suspected ISIS leader during a security operation in the Attala village of al-Shadadi town in the southern countryside of Hasaka province. The suspected ISIS leader was allegedly responsible for funding and transferring money to ISIS cells and their families.”

Iraq

Al Monitor: Iraqi-KRG Counterterrorism Cooperation Increases In Response To Attacks

“As discord at other levels grows more acute between the central government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), coordination in counterterrorism against alleged Islamic State (IS) operatives continues. Gen. Yehia Rasoul, the spokesman for the commander-in-chief of Iraq’s armed forces, announced in a June 8 tweet that the Iraqi Counterterrorism Services (CTS) in collaboration with Asayish in the Sulaimaniyah area of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) had arrested three men from the “Takfiri gangs of IS.” The Asayish are the security and primary intelligence services of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Rasoul did not state exactly when or where these arrests took place, nor who the men arrested were or why they were seen as important targets. Requests for further information had not been answered by the time of publication. Photos of the operation showed the forces amid palm groves. Attempts to overcome disagreements and longstanding grievances between the larger Erbil-based Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the smaller Suleymaniyah-based Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the two largest parties in the KRI, continue amid multiple stumbling blocks.”

Afghanistan

Voice Of America: Taliban Claim Killing 8 ISIS-K Militants In Northeastern Afghanistan

“Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban said Saturday their security forces had killed at least eight key militants of the self-proclaimed Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K) and captured three others. Taliban forces carried out an afternoon raid against an ISIS-K base in Taloqan, the capital of the northeastern province, Takhar, and eliminated what local officials told Afghan state-run media was a “funding, equipping and training center” of the terrorist group. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid late Saturday confirmed the military action, saying special forces of the General Directorate of Intelligence, the new name of the Afghan spy agency, assaulted the militant base. Mujahid added that the ensuing heavy clashes killed eight men, including an important commander of the group, identified as Younis Uzbekistani. He did not share further details. City residents said the security operation had temporarily blocked the main highway linking Taloqan to the neighboring province, Badakhshan. Both Afghan provinces are on the country’s border with Tajikistan. Growing ISIS-K activities in Afghan border areas have worried Tajikistan and other Central Asian neighbors.”

Voice Of America: Taliban Accused Of Torturing Afghan Civilians In Panjshir

“Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban have illegally detained and tortured residents in northern Panjshir province for their alleged links to armed opposition forces, Human Rights Watch said Friday. The U.S.-based global rights monitoring group said fighting had escalated in Panjshir since mid-May, when fighters of the National Resistance Front (NFR) started attacks on Taliban units and checkpoints. The violence prompted the Taliban to deploy thousands of fighters to the province and conduct search operations. “Taliban forces in Panjshir province have quickly resorted to beating civilians in their response to fighting against the opposition National Resistance Front,” said Patricia Gossma, the associate Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The Taliban’s longstanding failure to punish those responsible for serious abuses in their ranks puts more civilians at risk,” she added in the statement. The Pashtun-based Islamist Taliban is reportedly struggling to effectively control Panjshir, a traditional NRF stronghold and one of the non-Pashtun Afghan provinces. The report quoted former detainees alleging that Taliban forces detained about 80 residents in Panjshir’s Khenj district and beat them to compel them to provide information about the NRF. Out of those, 10 suspects are still being held on charges that their relatives are members of the NRF.”

Nigeria

Reuters: Gunmen Free 11 Passengers From Nigerian Train Attack

“Gunmen have released 11 passengers who were abducted during a train attack in northern Nigeria at the end of March, a government minister said, though dozens of others are thought to remain in captivity. Gbemisola Saraki, the minister of state for transportation, said in a statement late on Saturday that the government was working to ensure all the kidnapped passengers were released. The freed passengers were taken to a hospital in Abuja. Saraki did not say how and where they were released, or if ransom was paid. Armed gangs, known locally as bandits, blew up the track on the Abuja-Kaduna route in the north of the country and opened fire on the night train on March 28, killing eight people. Nigeria's state railway company initially said it could not account for 168 people who according to a passenger log had booked to travel on the train. Most were later traced to their homes, but 65 were confirmed missing.”

Reuters: Suspected Islamist Insurgents Kill 25 In Nigeria's Northeast

“Suspected Islamist fighters killed 25 people on Thursday in a village in Nigeria's northeastern Borno state, two residents and a military source said on Friday. An insurgency by Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province in Nigeria's northeast and southern Chad has killed thousands of people and displaced millions more in over a decade, humanitarian groups say. The residents said gunmen arrived on motorbikes in Boboshe Mukdala village of Dikwa local government area of Borno, where they shot at people who were searching for scrap metal in a nearby forest. “We recovered 25 bodies of the victims and we took those who sustained bullet wounds to (the) general hospital in Dikwa town,” said a military source who declined to be named because he is not authorised to speak to the media. Abba Kawu Masta a member of the traditional council in Dikwa told Reuters that children were among those killed. An army spokesman did not respond to calls and messages to his phone.”

Premium Times Nigeria: Boko Haram Kill 55 Scrap Metal Collectors – Police

“At least 55 scrap metal collectors lost their lives in a series of attacks coordinated by Boko Haram insurgents in the last three weeks in Borno. The Commissioner of Police in the state, Abdu Umar made this known while speaking on the sideline of a security stakeholders’ meeting on Saturday in Maiduguri. The stakeholders comprised the Police, Army, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), and Department of State Security (DSS) among others. The meeting was to deliberate and proffer a solution to the incessant attacks on scrap metal collectors in the state. Mr Umar said the insurgents killed 32 scrap metal collectors at Modu village in Kala-Balge Local Government Area while 23 others were murdered at Mukdala village of Dikwa LGA, respectively. He said the victims sneaked into the forests, located about 25 kilometers from the towns without informing the security agencies for scrap metal collection. He said that Governor Babagana Zulum directed security agencies to adopt proactive measures to stop the killings to forestall future occurrence of the incident. “The state government is working to come up with a policy plan to checkmate these activities. “This is because the government have had bad experience where infrastructure and individual vehicles, especially in liberated communities are being vandalised by scrap metal collectors.”

Africa

Reuters: Attackers Kill 11 Military Police In Burkina Faso

“Eleven military police were killed in northern Burkina Faso on Thursday evening when their post was attacked by armed men, the army said in a statement on Friday. The West African country is battling militant groups, some linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State, that are waging an insurgency which has killed thousands across Burkina Faso and neighbouring Mali and Niger. The attack took place at a security post in Seytenga, in the province of Seno, the army statement said. The gendarmes fought back but were outnumbered, it said. Also on Thursday, four military police were killed in an attack in the western province of Kossi and two people were killed in an attack on a gold mine in the north, the army said.”

All Africa: West Africa: Lake Chad Task Force Extends Operation To Flush Out Islamist Militants

“The militaries of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria have hailed the success of a joint security operation they say has freed 4,500 civilians and killed more than 800 militants since late March. The Multinational Joint Task Force agreed to extend Operation Lake Sanity during a meeting Thursday in the Cameroonian town of Mora, on the border with Chad and Nigeria. The task force commander, Nigerian Major General Abdul Kalifa Ibrahim, declared Operation Lake Sanity a success. Ibrahim said 3,000 troops from the participating nations launched the operation in late March to clear the Lake Chad basin of Islamist insurgents. Speaking on Cameroon's state broadcaster, CRTV, he said the task force had destroyed scores of houses and vehicles used by Boko Haram militants. “We have cleared a lot of settlements” that Boko Haram had used before, including on islands in Lake Chad, “and so far over 800 of the Boko Haram criminals have been neutralized or killed in Operation Lake Sanity,” Ibrahim said. Ibrahim said the task force had freed 4,500 people held captive by the insurgents, who killed five task force troops and wounded 20. He said the joint forces also had seized large quantities of ammunition and weapons, but he did not elaborate.”

Christian Post: Islamic Extremists Kill 18 Civilians, Set Fire To Homes In Night Raid In Eastern Congo

“In a night raid, suspected militants from the Islamic extremist group Allied Democratic Forces killed at least 18 civilians and burned down many houses in a village in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, according to media reports. The attack occurred in Otomabere village in Ituri province’s Irumu area late at night last Sunday, leaving at least 18 people dead, Nigeria’s newspaper The Guardian reported. “We were chatting with some friends outside when we heard gunshots and everyone fled in a different direction. It was total panic,” Kimwenza Malembe, a resident of Otomabere, was quoted as saying. “This morning we counted 18 dead, killed by knives and firearms.” The ADF, which is a Ugandan militia that started operating in the DRC during the 1990s, killed about 1,300 people between January 2021 and January 2022, according to a United Nations report. It was formed in 1996, merging several existing rebel groups. In January 2021, more than 100 people were killed in three large attacks in the same province by the ADF, Open Doors reported at the time. About 46 people belonging to the Pygmy ethnic group were killed in Ituri province by suspected militants of the extremist group, which is known for attacking, kidnapping and killing Christians, as well as training and sending jihadists to other countries in Africa.”

United Kingdom

BBC News: Shah Rahman: Terrorist Sent Back To Jail Over Secret Bank Account

“A convicted terrorist who was jailed for plotting to bomb the London Stock Exchange has been put back behind bars after police uncovered a secret bank account following his release. Shah Rahman was one of four al Qaida-inspired British extremists who pleaded guilty to engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism in 2012. He was released on licence in 2017. On Friday at the Old Bailey, Mr Justice Sweeney jailed Rahman for eight months. In 2012 a hand-written target list discovered at the home of one of the men gave the names and addresses of the then-London mayor Boris Johnson, two rabbis, the US embassy and the Stock Exchange. The conspiracy was stopped by undercover anti-terror police before firm dates could be set for attacks. After his release on licence on 6 August 2021, Rahman's wife was subjected to a port stop and an unauthorised number for him was found on her phone under the name “hubby”. Police later carried out a search at his home which also uncovered an undeclared bank account. Some proceeds from Rahman's online perfume business had been put into the account. The 39-year-old, of no fixed address, was subsequently recalled to prison. He admitted three breaches of a notification requirement in relation to an undeclared bank account, email and phone.”

Australia

Australian Associated Press: Woman Sentenced For Recruiting Terrorist

“Hadashah Sa'adat Khan was an isolated and withdrawn teen when she began seeking out online relationships with people who support terrorist organisation Islamic State. The Melbourne woman, who was 18 at the time, was trying to “impress” another teenager in the US when she helped arrange for him to join Islamic State in Syria, Victoria's County Court heard. Khan advised the man about what he needed to do to enter Syria and communicated with two other intermediaries to help him join IS. The 24-year-old was sentenced to two years and six months in prison on Friday, after pleading guilty to providing support and resources to a terrorist organisation. Born in Afghanistan, Khan migrated to Australia when she was nine. She left school in year 10 and was required to stay at home and assist her mother with household chores. Feeling isolated from her community, between 2014 and 2016 she found solace in online relationships with Muslims of a similar age. At the same time, Islamic State was rising in prominence and trying to attract and recruit young Muslim men and women from across the world. Khan said the people she met online “were nice to me, they gave me advice and they said they loved me”, the court heard.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

Fact:

On June 24, 2017, Tehrik-i Taliban Pakistan (TTP) launched back-to-back explosions at a market in Kurram Agency of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in northwest Pakistan. The attack killed 67 people who were shopping in preparation for a religious holiday and wounded 200 others. 

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