Eye on Extremism: June 19

The New York Daily News: Canadian Terrorist Sentenced To 26 Years In Prison For Role In Iraq Suicide Bombing That Killed Five U.S. Soldiers

“A Canadian man was sentenced on Tuesday to 26 years in prison for his role in a 2009 suicide bombing in Iraq in which five U.S. soldiers were killed. Prosecutors said wiretap evidence linked Faruq Khalil Muhammad 'Isa to a terror network that used a suicide bomber to detonate a truck filled with explosives outside the U.S. base in Mosul. The blast left a 60-foot crater in the ground. 'Isa admitted corresponding by email with two of the jihadists while they were in Syria and "facilitators" who were trying to get the attackers into Iraq, according to court papers. Authorities said he also wired $700 to one of them and provided “words of encouragement and religious guidance” to his co-conspirators. 'Isa, 51, a Canadian citizen and Iraqi national, was arrested in 2011 on a U.S. warrant after an investigation by authorities in New York, Canada and Tunisia. "There's no excuse for even trying to kill American soldiers," said U.S. District Judge Roslynn Mauskopf. She said 'Isa’s actions warranted a significant prison term, but one less severe than the life sentence called for under federal sentencing guidelines.”

Associated Press: UN: Nearly 71 Million Now Displaced By War, Violence At Home

“A record 71 million people have been displaced worldwide by war, persecution and other violence, the U.N. refugee agency said Wednesday, an increase of more than 2 million from a year earlier — and an overall total that would amount to the world’s 20th most populous country. The annual “Global Trends” report released by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees counts the number of the world’s refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people at the end of 2018. The figures, coming on the eve of World Refugee Day on Thursday, are bound to add fuel to a debate at the intersection of international law, human rights and domestic politics, especially the movement in some countries, including the U.S., against immigrants and refugees.”

The Washington Post: UN Aid Chief Says ‘Humanitarian Disaster’ Unfolding In Idlib

“The U.N. humanitarian chief declared Tuesday that “a humanitarian disaster” is unfolding in Syria’s last rebel-held territory where Bashar Assad’s forces have launched an offensive, ending a cease-fire negotiated by Turkey and Russia in September. Mark Lowcock told the Security Council that since Syrian troops began pushing into Idlib on April 30 an estimated 330,000 people have been forced to flee their homes and more than 230 civilians have died. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed to Russia and Turkey to stabilize the situation in Idlib, home to over three million people, “without delay.” He called the situation “especially dangerous given the involvement of an increased number of actors,” and said civilians are again “paying a horrific price.” U.N. political chief Rosemary DiCarlo told that council that for Syria’s close ally Russia, the presence in Idlib of radicals from the al-Qaida-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, or HTS, “is not tolerable” and “for Turkey, time is required to effectively isolate and address HTS’ most hardline fighters.”

The Guardian: Method Of Attack On Tankers Remains Key Evidence Against Iran

“The sophistication of the attacks on two shipping tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week had already led most independent analysts to conclude Iran was responsible for the high-profile explosions. But there has been scepticism from some key countries, including Germany and Japan, after the US initially released a grainy black and white video it said showed Iranian forces removing an unexploded mine from one of the two targeted ships. Iran has denied involvement. The fresh set of colour images released by the US Department of Defense overnight add a little more visual clarity to the diplomatic debate, including an image of an armed speedboat with troops in red life-jackets on board, and life-jacketed personnel by the side of the Japanese vessel that was struck last week. But the principal evidence used to justify Iranian involvement has been the method employed. The two tankers were mined above the waterline – damaging them, but not sinking them – prompting the conclusion the actions were designed to make a point. There were no fatalities in either case, with both crews rescued.”

BBC News: Nigeria: 'Children Used' As Suicide Bombers In Borno Attack

“Children were used as suicide bombers in a triple attack in Nigeria on Monday, Unicef has said.  Two girls and a boy carried out the bombing outside a video hall in Konduga village in north-eastern Borno State, the UN children's charity said. Their ages are not yet known.  Officials say at least 30 people were killed and 40 injured in the attack. The bombing is believed to have been carried out by the Boko Haram jihadist group. It has not yet commented. According to Unicef, five children have been used in suicide attacks since the beginning of the year. In 2018, 48 children were used as human bombs in Nigeria, including 38 girls. "Unicef appeals to all those involved in this terrible conflict to protect children at all times and to keep them out of harm's way," the organisation said.  Formed in Borno State, Boko Haram has waged a brutal insurgency across the north-east for a decade.  As part of the ongoing armed conflict, thousands of children have been recruited and used by armed groups as combatants and non-combatants. Unicef said girls are raped and forced to marry, with some becoming pregnant in captivity and giving birth without medical care.”

The Defense Post: Houthi Landmines: A Tool Of Terrorism In Yemen

“In the past four years, the Iran-backed Houthi militia has indiscriminately littered Yemen with more than a million landmines, not with any strategic military purpose, but rather as a tool of domestic terrorism aimed directly against the Yemeni civilian population. The Houthi use of landmines is a clear, undeniable violation of international humanitarian law, but so far no one is holding them accountable for this war crime, so they continue to produce and scatter landmines, 1.1 million dispersed and counting, making Yemen the most mined nation since World War II, according to data from the Saudi Project to Demine Yemen (Masam). Houthi landmines have been found in schools and hospitals, on farmland and inside drinking wells. More than 9,000 Yemeni civilians have been killed or injured by Houthi landmines; many of these victims are children. The Houthis say civilians are not targeted but when these landmines are reconfigured, as Project Masam says, to detonate from 10 kilograms of pressure, around 22 pounds, rather than 100 kilograms, about 220 pounds, there can only be one explanation – the Houthis are targeting civilians, including young children.”

United States

ABC News: Schiller Park Mother Of Four Gets Prison Time For ISIS Terror Ties

“After more than four years behind bars, a Schiller Park mother of four young children will be spending some more time away from home. Mediha Medy Salkicevic was sentenced on Tuesday to 6 1/2 years in federal prison for supporting terrorist fighters in Syria. As the ABC7 I-Team first reported in 2015, Salkicevic was part of a small group of Bosnian nationals in Illinois, Missouri and New York who bought tactical gear and sent it overseas to ISIS fighters along with field supplies and cash. At the time of her arrest, she was working for an air cargo company at Chicago O'Hare Airport and has been locked up since then. Now 39, Salkicevic was among six accused terror-group operatives to be sentenced in the case which was prosecuted in St. Louis. One of accused ISIS supporters was from Rockford. The patriarch of the group, Abdullah Ramo Pazara, is a St. Louis Bosnian who died during jihadist combat in Iraq.”

Fox News: US Squadron Of F-15E Fighters Arrive In UAE Amid Iran Tensions

“A squadron of American F-15E Strike Eagles arrived in United Arab Emirates on Thursday as part of reinforcements against the Iranian threat as announced last month by the Pentagon. President Trump announced the additional military presence in the Middle East last month, saying additional 1,500 troops will be sent together with a squadron of U.S. Air Force jets. The arrival of the U.S. jets on Thursday coincided with an attack on oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, an attack that the U.S. says was perpetrated by the Iranian regime. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Iran was responsible for the “blatant assault” on oil tankers, an assessment he based on “intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication.” President Trump, meanwhile, told “Fox and Friends” Friday that the attack had “Iran written all over it.’”


The Washington Post: New Suffering For The Children Of The ISIS Caliphate As Hunger And Sickness Spread

“At a makeshift clinic on the edge of this desolate camp, several dozen of the last and smallest inhabitants of the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed caliphate bawled and whimpered as they waited to see the only doctor on duty.  Shortages of food, clean water and medicine combined with the early arrival of the scorching summer heat have contributed to worsening conditions in the camp, which houses more than 73,000 family members of the Islamic State fighters who made their last stand in Baghouz, the last village of their self-proclaimed caliphate in March. The vast majority of those — 49,000 — are children, and 95 percent of them are under the age of 12, according to Kurdish and United Nations officials. It is the children who are suffering the most. They are falling ill by the hundreds, mostly with diarrhea, according to Ramadan Zaher, who manages the clinic for the Kurdish Red Crescent. Medical staff are also detecting a small but rising number of cases of severe malnutrition, he said, as they pay the price for the choices their parents made. They endured months or years of relentless U.S.-led airstrikes, were hustled from place to place under fire by their families as the Islamic State’s territory dwindled, and now face an uncertain future living indefinitely in what amounts to an internment camp, stuck in the desert, surrounded by barbed wire and armed guards.”

Al Arabiya: Syria Clashes Kill 45 Fighters: Monitor

“Clashes between pro-government forces and extremist-led groups that control Syria’s northwest killed at least 45 combatants on Tuesday, a war monitor said. The fighting flared on the edge of Hama province when the extremist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham launched a dawn attack on regime positions, leaving 14 pro-government forces dead, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. “Regime forces foiled the attack,” Observatory head Rami Abdul Rahman told AFP. State news agency SANA also said the offensive had been thwarted. Hama’s northern countryside lies on the edge of a extremist-controlled region including most of Idlib province. The frontline had been relatively calm since clashes on Saturday killed more than 35 combatants, including extremists and regime forces, Abdul Rahman said. Regime airstrikes on northern Hama and neighboring Idlib had also paused for more than 24 hours, before resuming on Tuesday following the latest bout of fighting, according to the monitor. The bombardment killed one civilian in southern Idlib, it said. The latest battles come after rocket fire by HTS - led by a former al-Qaeda affiliate - and allied militants killed more than 12 civilians in a regime-held village in Aleppo province late Sunday.”


Gatestone Institute: Iran: New Terrorist Activity in Europe

“Iran is intensifying its efforts to build a global terror network as the ayatollahs come under increasing economic and political pressure resulting from US sanctions. While US officials continue to investigate Iran's involvement in the recent series of attacks on a number of oil tankers operating in the Gulf, counter-terrorism experts have uncovered evidence that Iran is also working hard to develop its terrorist infrastructure well beyond the confines of the Middle East. Intelligence officials are particularly concerned about Iran's activities in Europe where they have identified a recent upsurge in Iranian-sponsored terrorist activity. The first suggestion that Iran was using Europe as a new theatre in which to stage its terrorist operations came in 2012 when a Hizbollah terror cell carried out a bomb attack against a tour bus in Bulgaria that was ferrying a party of Israeli holidaymakers to a local airport. Five Israelis and the Bulgarian bus driver were killed in the attack, and 32 Israelis were injured. Evidence subsequently produced by Bulgarian security officials to the European Union showed that two Lebanese-based Hizbollah terrorists were responsible for the attack, which resulted in the EU taking the unprecedented step of officially listing the military branch of Hizbollah as a terrorist organisation.”

Associated Press: Lebanese US Resident, Freed By Iran, Leaves For America

“A Lebanese man and permanent U.S. resident released by Tehran after years in an Iranian prison has left Lebanon for the United States, where his three sons reside. Nizar Zakka’s office says the 52-year old information technology expert is travelling to the U.S. on Tuesday. Zakka was released last week and flew to his native Lebanon after nearly four years in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison. Zakka was detained in Iran in September 2015 while trying to fly out of the country and subsequently sentenced to 10 years in prison on accusation of spying for the U.S. He vigorously rejected the charges. He told The Associated Press after his release that he was tortured in prison and appealed to Washington and other Western countries to get their nationals held in Iran.”

Task & Purpose: Iranian Revolutionary Guard Chief: Iran's Ballistic Missiles Can Easily Strike 'Carriers In The Sea'

“The commander of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards Corps said on Tuesday that Iran's ballistic missiles were capable of hitting "carriers in the sea" with great precision. "These missiles can hit with great precision carriers in the sea ... These missiles are domestically produced and are difficult to intercept and hit with other missiles," Brigadier General Hossein Salami said in a televised speech. He said Iran's ballistic missile technology had changed the balance of power in the Middle East. His comments followed attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week that added to already rising tensions between Tehran and Washington, which has increased its military presence in the region.”

Reuters: Iran Says Europe Not Cooperating In Buying Iranian Oil: Fars News

“Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said on Wednesday that Europe was not cooperating with Tehran to buy its oil in the face of U.S. sanctions against Iran’s energy sector. “The Europeans are not cooperating to buy oil,” Zanganeh was quoted as saying by Fars news agency.”


Al Jazeera: Rocket Hits Site Of Foreign Oil Firms In Iraq's Basra, Three Hurt

“A rocket landed at the headquarters of several global oil companies in Iraq's southern city of Basra on Wednesday, wounding three Iraqi workers and raising alarm amid rising tensions between the US and Iran in the region. The rocket hit the Burjesia residential and operations headquarters west of Basra, Iraqi police said. The site is home to a number of international oil giants, including US firm ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, and Italian Eni SpA. Al Jazeera's Charles Stratford, reporting from Basra, said a local security official confirmed Exxon evacuated 21 foreign staff in the immediate aftermath of the incident. "The oil ministry is saying that oil production in the area has not been affected by this attack," Stratford said, adding the security official described the rocket used as a Katyusha. "[But] we are seeing what can only be described as an increase in the frequency of such incidents, over the last month and a half there has been a number involving rockets fired at what has been interpreted to be foreign interests here," he added. According to security official Mahdi Raykan, the Katyusha rocket landed at dawn in the Zubair and Rumeila oil fields camp, operated by the Iraqi Drilling company, where Exxon Mobil and other foreign oil companies have tents.”

The National: Katyusha Rocket Hits Second US Iraqi Base As Trump Calls Iran 'Nation Of Terror'

“A Katyusha rocket was fired at a US-Iraqi training base in the city of Mosul late on Tuesday, in the second such attack in almost 24 hours. About 11.15pm, the rocket was fired at the Presidential Palaces Compound in the east of the city, where US trainees are stationed alongside Iraqi forces, Sky News Arabia reported. The attack is the second this week, after three Katyusha rockets were fired at the Taji joint US-Iraqi base north of Baghdad. The attacks come despite US pressure on Baghdad to rein in pro-Iranian proxies and other militias in the country. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi last Friday and discussed Iranian threats. Mr Pompeo “appreciated Prime Minister Al Mahdi’s commitment to protect US personnel in Iraq, supporting the Iraqi people and continue the defeat ISIS campaign, and his continued efforts to counter threats to Iraq’s sovereignty from Iran-backed militias", a statement read.”


Xinhua: 7 Militants Killed As Taliban Offensive To Capture N. Afghan District Repulsed

“Taliban militants' offensive to overrun Shuhada district in the northern Badakhshan province has been repulsed and the militants fled away after leaving seven bodies behind, an army spokesman in the northern region Abdul Hadi Jamal said Wednesday. According to the official, Taliban outfit launched massive offensive early Wednesday to capture the headquarters of Shuhada district, but the security forces stationed there offered stiff resistance, forcing the militants to flee after leaving seven bodies behind and five more injured. Two security personnel were also killed in the firefight which lasted for a while, the official further said. Taliban militants, who are in control of Wardoj and Yamgan districts over the past four years and have been fighting over the past couple of days to overrun Shuhada district, are yet to make comment on the situation there in the troubled district.”


Xinhua: Suspected Al-Qaida Gunmen Kill Yemeni Security Member

“Gunmen suspected of belonging to the Yemen-based al-Qaida branch opened fire and killed a security member in the country's southeastern province of Hadramout on Tuesday, a police official told Xinhua. "Two masked gunmen riding a motorbike opened fire from an automatic rifle and killed a member of the newly-recruited security troops in Hadramout's district of Qatan," said the local police official, who asked to remain anonymous. He said that the Yemeni security member died instantly at the scene after he was shot in the head. The suspected al-Qaida assailants fled the area to an unknown destination following the drive-by shooting that occurred in Qatan district, northwest of Hadramout, he added. The Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) network, mostly operating in eastern and southern provinces, has been responsible for many high-profile attacks against security forces in the country. Provinces of Abyan and Shabwa, former main strongholds of AQAP, have also witnessed sporadic attacks or heavy clashes between newly-recruited security forces and al-Qaida militants.” 


The Times Of Israel: Rivlin Warns Lebanon, Hezbollah Against Launching Attack On Iran’s Behalf

“President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday warned Lebanon and Hezbollah against launching an attack on Israel at the behest of Iran. “We warn Hezbollah not to impose Iran’s agenda on Lebanon, and we warn Lebanon not to be a base for attacks on Israel,” Rivlin said during a memorial ceremony in Jerusalem for Israeli soldiers killed in the First Lebanon War. “We are not eager to fight. But the IDF is alert and ready to respond to any threat and to any scenario,” he added. Rivlin’s warning came as he remarked on Operation Northern Shield, an Israel Defense Forces operation to locate and destroy Hezbollah tunnels dug under the border that the army believes were intended to be used to ferry the terror group’s fighters into Israel as the opening salvo in a future war. The Iranian-backed Hezbollah, which Israel fought in the 2006 Second Lebanon War, is part of the Lebanese government. Some Israeli politicians have called for the IDF to treat Lebanon and Hezbollah as a single entity in any future conflict, with a top general warning earlier this month that the country would “pay a heavy price” for allowing the terror group to take root there.”


The Punch Nigeria: Boko Haram Attacks Four Army Bases In One Week

“Boko Haram fighters backed by the Islamic State West African Province have attacked at least four Nigerian Army bases between last Wednesday and Tuesday. This has already been raising concerns among the troops of the Operation Lafiya Dole in the North-East. The army has lost a yet-to-be-ascertained number of soldiers when Boko Haram fighters attacked its bases in the Mobbar, Damasak, Monguno and Gajiram areas of Borno State. Also, the acting Director of Army Public Relations, Col. Sagir Musa, has yet to confirm the number of casualties in any of the attacks. In the attacks on army bases by the insurgents within the last one week, ammunition worth at least N20m was carted away by the fighters. On June 12, while the Democracy Day celebration was ongoing nationwide, Boko Haram insurgents attacked a military location at Kareto village in the Mobbar Local Government Area of Borno State. The terrorists reportedly killed the Commanding Officer of 158 Battalion and an undisclosed number of soldiers. On Saturday, June 15, Boko Haram terrorists attacked another troops’ location in Damasak, Borno State, during which an unconfirmed number of soldiers were injured.”

Al Jazeera: Nigeria Villagers In Borno Mourn The Dead, Lament State Failures

“Mohammed Bomboi is in shock and mourning as he sits in a raffia hut less than a metre from where his friend was killed by one of three suicide bombers. Local officials say 20 people died in this small fishing and farming village, though emergency workers in Borno state put the death toll at 30. Villagers say between 21-25 died. "We were resting on that mat in this tent Sunday night when I heard a loud sound outside," Bomboi said, pointing to the sandy floor where he had slept. "It was Boko Haram again. I saw many bodies outside as they were scattered on the road." One target was a thatched hut in the centre of the village, where people gather after work to watch movies or gossip. On Sunday, a Women's World Cup football match had attracted a crowd. "People usually come to watch matches in the viewing centre. One match was playing in the TV. We didn't know Boko Haram was watching us. My friend went to join them and he died," Bomboi said. There were three suicide bombers: an adult male and two young girls who blew themselves up among those watching football and enjoying tea at a shop along Sambisa street, named for the Sambisa Forest - the notorious stronghold of Boko Haram less than 100 kilometres away.”


All Africa: Somalia: U.S. Airstrike Kills 2 Al-Shabab Militants In Southern Somalia

“The United States military said Monday its special forces killed two al-Shabab militants in an airstrike in southern Somalia on Sunday. The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) said the strike was conducted in cooperation with Somali government near Jilib, Middle Juba Region. Since 2017, the U.S. military has stepped up air raids against al-Shabab. The al-Shabab group still controls large parts of rural southern and central Somalia and continues to carry out high-profile attacks in the capital Mogadishu. The United States is reopening its permanent U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission in Somalia, 28…”


Al Jazeera: Gunmen 'Kill Dozens' In Attack On Two Villages In Central Mali

“Dozens of people are reported killed after a new attack on two villages in central Mali, a part of the country experiencing a dire security situation amid an increase in tit-for-tat ethnic violence. A local mayor told Reuters News Agency on Tuesday that unidentified gunmen on motorbikes attacked the villages of Yoro and Gangafani 2 the previous evening, killing at least 41 civilians. The victims of the raids were mostly ethnic Dogons, according to Issiaka Ganame, the mayor of Yoro, where 24 people were killed. Another 17 died in Gangafani 2. "About 100 unidentified armed men circulating on motos all of a sudden invaded Yoro and fired on the population," Ganame said. "Then they descended on the village of Gangafani 2, which is about 15km away." Separately, local judicial official Boubacar Sidiki Samake told the AFP news agency that Monday's attacks in the two villages near the border with Burkina Faso had left "14 people dead according to a provisional toll". A Malian military source said as many as 40 people may have been killed.  No other information was immediately available.”

North Korea

Associated Press: Russia, China Block UN From Saying Nkorea Violated Sanctions

“Russia and China have blocked the U.N. Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against North Korea from declaring that Pyongyang breached the annual limit for importing refined petroleum products which are key for its economy, two U.N. diplomats said Tuesday. The diplomats said the Russians and Chinese notified the committee before Tuesday’s deadline for objections. The United States and 25 other countries accused North Korea of violating U.N. sanctions by importing far more than the annual limit of 500,000 barrels of refined petroleum products. A U.S.-led complaint had asked the sanctions committee to rule that Pyongyang breached the cap and demand an immediate halt to deliveries. It said most of the excess petroleum products were obtained from dozens of illegal ship-to-ship transfers."

United Kingdom

The Washington Post: Two British Teens Convicted For Promoting Far-Right Terrorism Online

“Two British teenagers who reportedly posted an image of Prince Harry and accused him of being a “race traitor” last year were convicted Tuesday of promoting terrorism and neo-Nazi propaganda online, according to news reports. The outcome of the trial comes after the United Kingdom strengthened its laws to prosecute terrorism activity online, and the judge called the picture “abhorrent” and “criminal.” Authorities said Michael Szewczuk, 19, and Oskar Dunn-Koczorowski, 18, used pseudonyms for personal accounts on Gab, a social media site primarily used by far-right activists. They also shared control of the official page for the Sonnenkrieg Division, a British neo-Nazi organization, where they frequently created and shared racist and violent propaganda online. On the site, the two teens posted an image of Prince Harry with a gun to his head and the caption “See Ya Later Race Traitor” months after his marriage to Meghan Markle in May 2018, according to U.K. news reports. When detectives arrested Szewczuk after a BBC report last year exposed his online activity, they discovered in his residence bombmaking instructions, a “white-resistance” manual and instructional propaganda on conducting Islamist terrorist attacks.”

The Guardian: Campaign Calls For Entertainment Venues To Plan For Terror Attack

“A group representing terrorism survivors will call on the Home Office to require all venues and public spaces – from arenas to pubs – to prepare a dedicated security plan in case of an attack. Called Martyn’s law, the proposal is named after Martyn Hett, who was killed in the Manchester arena attack two years ago, and is supported by his mother, other terror survivors and former counter-terror police officers. But the Home Office has so far resisted the idea, prompting campaigners to go public and lobby the remaining contenders in the Conservative leadership contest for their support. Figen Murray, Hett’s mother, said that she “never set out to be an activist or stir things up” but, a year after her son was one of 22 killed in the Manchester attack, she felt she had to act after visiting a theatre where no security checks were performed. “I had wrongly assumed that since the attack in May 2017, venues would have learned their lessons and would have put stringent security checks in place. I was devastated to see that this was not the case,” Murray said. “It felt as if what happened in Manchester on that fateful night had been forgotten.”


The Washington Post: Germany: Syrian Faces Islamic State-Linked Terrorism Charges

“Prosecutors in Germany say a 31-year-old Syrian citizen faces terrorism charges for joining the Islamic State group in Syria. Fares A.B., whose last name wasn’t released for privacy reasons, is also charged with war crimes and violations against the war weapons control act, prosecutors said Wednesday. They said in 2012 he first joined a local branch of the Free Syria Army and shot two prisoners. In 2014, he joined the Islamic State and participated in the mistreatment of three prisoners in Syria. He also took several people prisoner and abused the driver of a pickup during a vehicle inspection by beating his machine gun against the man’s head. Later in 2014, he participated in the execution of a prisoner. Prosecutors didn’t say when the Syrian arrived in Germany, but said he is already imprisoned for another crime.”


Voice Of America: Spain Arrests 10 Syrians Suspected Of Financing Al-Qaida

“Spanish police Tuesday arrested 10 Syrian nationals suspected of financing al-Qaida militants in Syria. Agents carried out raids in Madrid, Toledo and Valencia province. "The organization was led by a family clan that for years allegedly used a legal business structure to hide illicit operations with which they evaded tax authorities and laundered large amounts of money," Spain's Interior Ministry said. It accuses the suspects of funneling money to "give support and backing to the terrorist militia" in Syria's rebel-held Idlib province. Police have declined to provide details of their operation.”

El País: The Spanish ISIS Women Who Are Caught In A Legal Limbo

“In the Al-Hol refugee camp in northeast Syria, 72,000 people live in tents surrounded by a wire fence. Most are women and children who once were a part of the self-proclaimed Caliphate in Iraq and Syria, which was brought to its knees by the Kurds last March with the support of an international coalition. A gloomy sea of dark headscarves and niqabs, fights and insults are the order of the day here as tensions run high with little prospect of relief. This is where, in April, EL PAÍS tracked down the only three ISIS women in Syria claiming to be Spanish. Stranded, with 15 minors in their care, they told their story. Two months on, the Spanish jihadist women are no longer in Al Hol. But nor are they in Spain. The first to arrive at the Al-Hol camp on March 1 was Luna Fernández Grande, who was born in Madrid in 1989. She was five months pregnant and taking care of eight children under the age of 16, four of whom were hers and the other four orphans belonging to the second wife of her husband, a Spanish jihadist who died in Syria. The next to arrive was Yolanda Martínez Cobos, who was born in Madrid in 1985. She came with four children fathered by a Spanish jihadist, who is currently behind bars in a Kurdish jail.”

Southeast Asia

South China Morning Post: Top Malaysian Police Officer Warns Of Suicide Attacks As ISIS Fighters Return Home

“Malaysian returnees from Syria and Iraq are frustrated with their failure to achieve martyrdom with the collapse of the  Islamic State’s caliphate and could attempt to continue their holy mission in their homeland by staging suicide attacks, Malaysia’s top police officer warned on Tuesday. “There has been a lot of hype that these [returnees] are frustrated fighters. They have not been able to implement all their ideals, practise what they have been trained for … so they want to do this [holy mission] back home to release their frustration,” Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador said in an interview with the South China Morning Post. Currently, more than two dozen Malaysians are holed up in refugee camps in northern Syria after the fall of Isis in March. “All these possibilities are there when they return, based on the experience of countries who have dealt with returnees,” Bador said. “We will cover all these angles. We will deal with it cautiously.” Bador said the failure of tech giants to identify and remove extremist messages swiftly has allowed impressionable young people to easily access harmful material, which ends up radicalising them. Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Google are platforms commonly exploited by Isis and radical groups to disseminate their propaganda.”

The Jakarta Post: IS-Linked Militants Kidnap 10 Fishermen Off Borneo

“Suspected Islamic State-linked militants kidnapped 10 fishermen off Borneo island Tuesday and took them to the southern Philippines, police said, the latest abductions in the strife-torn waters.  The heavily armed assailants snatched the group of nomadic sea gypsies in the early hours as they sailed in two boats off eastern Sabah state, in the Malaysian part of Borneo. Six others escaped. Sabah police chief Omar Mammah confirmed to AFP that the fishermen had been kidnapped. Philippine kidnap-for-ransom gang Abu Sayyaf is thought to be responsible, and the fishermen were taken to islands in the south of the country, reported Malaysia's official news agency Bernama, citing police. The southern Philippines is home to numerous armed groups, and Abu Sayyaf is notorious for kidnappings of foreigners.  The militants, who demand large ransoms and have beheaded several hostages, have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) group. There has been a spate of kidnappings in the waters between the southern Philippines and the Malaysian part of Borneo in recent years. Borneo is shared between Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. Several Southeast Asian nations began naval patrols in the area in 2017 in a bid to deter kidnappers.”

The Diplomat: Islamic State Comes For South Asia

“Last month, the Islamic State (IS) formally announced the creation of wilayah (provinces) in Pakistan and India. The announcement was made by the Islamic State’s media front, the Amaq News Agency. The two provinces have been carved out of the erstwhile Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP), which encompassed the Af-Pak border region. ISKP, which was founded in January 2015, months after IS had announced its so called caliphate in the Iraq and Levant, spearheaded all activity in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and was the source of IS-affiliated militant activity in India as well. The two IS provinces in India and Pakistan were announced in the immediate aftermath of the group claiming responsibility for gun attacks on security forces in Shopian district of Indian-administered Kashmir. During the same week, IS claimed a similar gun attack in Mastung district of Pakistan’s Balochistan province. A month before the Islamic State’s creation of the Wilayah Pakistan, the group bombed the Hazarjangi marketin Balochistan’s capital of Quetta, killing 20 people. April’s Quetta bombing targeted the Shia Hazara ethnic group, which, along with the local Christian community, has been regularly targeted by the Islamic State and its affiliates, in line with the ideological goal of purging religious minorities from areas it intends to occupy.”

New Zealand

The New York Times: Could The Christchurch Attacks Have Been Prevented?

“He traveled abroad, visiting places where extremists once killed civilians in cold blood. He appears to have posted radical opinions online. He moved overseas, applied for gun licenses and is believed to have purchased several assault rifles. But Brenton H. Tarrant escaped the attention of the authorities both in Australia, where he was born and spent most of his life, and New Zealand, where he relocated in recent years and is alleged to have assembled his arsenal. He now stands accused of killing 51 Muslims at two mosques in Christchurch last March. He pleaded not guilty to 92 counts last week including murder and terrorism, and a trial has been scheduled for May. In the long months until then, Australia and New Zealand will continue to grapple with a difficult question: Could the massacre have been prevented? Or, more pointedly: Have Australia and New Zealand neglected the threat of right-wing extremism as they have overwhelmingly focused on the peril of Islamist terrorism?”


The New York Times: Facebook Under Oath: You Have No Expectation Of Privacy

“In a San Francisco courtroom a few weeks ago, Facebook’s lawyers said the quiet part out loud: Users have no reasonable expectation of privacy. The admission came from Orin Snyder, a lawyer representing Facebook in a litigation stemming from the Cambridge Analytica scandal. In a court transcript, first surfaced by Law360 and later uploaded in full by Sam Biddle at The Intercept, Snyder and U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria debate what has become an existential platform question: Does posting, even to a small group of friends, on social media mean that a user is forfeiting all expectation of privacy? ‘There is no privacy interest, because by sharing with a hundred friends on a social media platform, which is an affirmative social act to publish, to disclose, to share ostensibly private information with a hundred people, you have just, under centuries of common law, under the judgment of Congress, under the SCA, negated any reasonable expectation of privacy.’”