Eye on Extremism: June 28

The New York Times: Suicide Bombers Attack Security Forces In Tunisia

“Two suicide bombers struck security forces in quick succession on Thursday morning in the Tunisian capital, killing at least one police officer and wounding at least eight other people, the Interior Ministry said. It was the second suicide assault on the streets of Tunis in nine months, stoking worries of renewed instability in a country that emerged as a rare democratic success after the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011. The previous attack, in October 2018, was carried out by an unemployed female graduate who, according to her family, had been radicalized online. The first bomber on Thursday morning struck a security patrol in the city center, near the site of the October attack, killing one police officer and wounding other officers and passers-by, the Interior Ministry said in a statement. Ten minutes later, another bomber detonated a device at the back door of a police building in the El Gorjani area of the city, wounding four security officers, the ministry said. The building is part of a large complex that includes the headquarters of an antiterrorism brigade. Tunisia’s state news agency also said that unidentified “terrorist elements” tried to sabotage a radio transmitter on Mount Orbata, about 175 miles south of Tunis, early on Thursday.”

The Washington Post: Turkish Soldier Killed In Attack In Syria’s Rebel Province

“Turkey’s defense ministry says a Turkish soldier was killed in an artillery strike by Syrian government forces in northwestern Idlib province, the country’s last rebel stronghold. The strike hit a Turkish observation post. This marks the first Turkish death in a Syrian government attack since it launched an offensive to retake Idlib in April. The ministry said late Thursday that three soldiers were wounded in the attack and have been evacuated from Syria. It says Ankara warned Turkey would respond with “heaviest punishment.” Turkish troops man 12 observation posts in Idlib as part of a de-escalation agreement struck with Russia and Iran in September 2017. A cease-fire negotiated last year by Turkey, which backs Syrian opposition groups, and Russia, which backs Syrian President Bashar Assad, collapsed amid the government offensive.”

The Wall Street Journal: Inside The Brutal Battle For Control Of Tripoli

“When rogue Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar launched an attack on Tripoli in April, it plunged the North African country into one of its worst crises since Moammar Gadhafi’s death in 2011. The battle imperiled monthslong peace talks and raised the specter of a bloody showdown for control of the country. “Libya is on the verge of descending into a civil war, which could lead to the permanent division of the country,” Ghassan Salame, the United Nations’ special envoy to Libya, told the Security Council in May. The battle is taking a toll on Tripoli. At least 739 people have been killed since April, the World Health Organization said. Photographer André Liohn takes us inside the battle for Tripoli, visiting hospitals treating the wounded, and to the front lines with fighters battling Mr. Haftar’s forces.”

Xinhua: 2 Killed In Houthi Artillery Shelling In Yemen's Hodeidah

“Heavy artillery shelling was launched on Thursday by the Houthi rebels against government-controlled neighborhoods in Yemen's Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, causing casualties among residents. The local government official, who preferred to be unnamed, said that “the Houthis carried out heavy artillery bombardment against the densely populated neighborhood of Mundhar, south of Hodeidah province.” The official said that “the shells randomly landed on some houses, leaving two civilians killed and six others injured.” The Houthi-fired artillery shells partially destroyed a mosque in Mundhar neighborhood, according to the official. Other officials of the pro-government Giants Brigades said that the Houthi rebels continued their bombardment against different locations in Hodeidah, causing damage to private and government institutions in the city. They said that a number of mortar shells fired by the Houthis landed on a hospital in Hodeidah's eastern suburbs. “The Houthi shelling caused a huge fire that burned all the equipment inside the 22nd of May Hospital and partially damaged the second and third floors of the building,” an army officer said anonymously.”

The Independent: Facebook And Youtube Must Do More To Stop Terrorists Live Streaming Atrocities, May To Tell G20

“Theresa May is calling on tech giants like Facebook and YouTube to co-operate more closely with governments and security agencies to stop terrorists from being able to broadcast their atrocities in real time over the internet. Speaking at the G20 summit in Japan, the prime minister will urge the companies to development technology to allow livestreams of atrocities to be swiftly identified and removed from the web. She will highlight a new crisis response mechanism being developed in response to the murder of 51 people in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March, when the killer broadcast his murders as they happened via Facebook Live. Some 1.5 million copies of the footage were removed by Facebook, but film of the atrocity could still be found on YouTube for as long as eight hours after it was first posted. In a discussion on the digital economy at the Osaka summit, Ms May will say that governments around the world need to learn the lessons from the attack and will urge close collaboration between security officials and social media and tech companies.”

Voice Of America: US Institute Trains Kenyan Women To Spot Potential Terrorists

“The U.S. Institute of Peace is training Kenyan women from 20 organizations to help fight terrorist radicalization campaigns. The program comes as Kenya struggles to halt the recruitment efforts of Islamist militant group al-Shabab. The organization Sisters Without Borders was formed in 2014. One of its missions is to bridge the mistrust between Kenyan security agencies and families of terrorism suspects. The organization includes at least 20 women’s groups from Nairobi, Mombasa and Garissa, all of which have seen deadly terrorist attacks by the Islamist militant group al-Shabab. Sureya Hirsi, a member of the sisters' group from Mombasa, attended the conference in Nairobi. She says it is time for women to take an active role in the fight against terrorism. “The reason I joined this sisters group, it’s because I have been affected, I have family members, people whom I know, I know youths who have been recruited, and this is happening because as a community we don't speak up about these issues. As a woman who is lucky and also educated, I have decided to be on the frontline to help my community so that we can speak about these issues that affect our community.”

United States

The New York Post: ‘Looney Tunes Terrorist’ In Plea Talks Over Foiled Times Square Plot

“The “Looney Tunes terrorist” is already in plea talks with the government following his foiled plot to shoot up Times Square, according to a federal prosecutor. Ashiqul Alam pleaded “not guilty” Thursday to an indictment charging him with possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number. Assistant US Attorney Jonathan Algor told the court both sides “have begun plea negotiations.” Alam, 22, allegedly underwent Lasik eye surgery first because he worried that if he bungled the shooting he’d be dubbed the “Looney Tunes Terrorist” or “Blind Terrorist,” according to federal charging documents. “Let’s say we are in an attack, right, say that my glasses fall off. What if I accidentally shoot you?” Alam is quoted as telling an undercover law enforcement officer in the filing in the Brooklyn federal court filing. “You know what I mean? Imagine what the news channel would call me, the ‘Looney Tunes Terrorist’ or the ‘Blind Terrorist.’ ” The Queens man was arrested earlier this month following months of plotting an attack with informants and undercover agents.”

CBS Pittsburgh: New Evidence Photos Released In Alleged Pittsburgh Church Bombing Terror Plot

“New photos have been released in the case against a young man from Syria who is accused of planning a bombing attack on a church on Pittsburgh’s North Side. Mustafa Alowemer, 21, living in Northview Heights, is accused of planning an attack on the Legacy International Worship Center. He’s accused of telling an undercover FBI agent he was going to walk up to the church with a backpack full of explosives and put the bag on the side of the church.  The suspect allegedly said he would leave an ISIS-affiliated flag with the words “we arrived” near the scene of the attack. Now, two evidence photos have been released by the court. Undercover FBI agent — Gary Morgan, who posed as an ISIS sympathizer — said Alowemer sent the videos to him, asking that they be forwarded on to ISIS command.  Instead, they’ll be used to put Alowemer away for a very long time. The first image shows Alowemer in a hoodie with a black and white mask covering his face. An ISIS-like flag can be seen in the background. The second image shows an explosion and smoke billowing up over homes and buildings from a propaganda video. Last week, Alowemer appeared in federal court.  Judge Cynthia Eddy ruled that the government presented enough evidence for his case to go to trial.”

DW: US Urges New Syria Peace Strategy For UN

“US officials have called for the UN to "try other routes to achieving the political solution." The UN envoy for Syria has failed to make progress on a post-war constitution, once considered a priority for new elections. The US on Thursday urged the UN to find a new way forward for the Syrian conflict, saying its efforts to establish a political solution have so far failed to gain traction. "It is time to admit that not only has progress stalled, it is likely to remain out of reach for some time, because that's where the regime wants it to be," said acting US Ambassador to the UN Jonathan Cohen. Cohen said a 17-month effort to form a committee that would re-write Syria's constitution has stalled due to the regime's disagreements over its makeup. "The time has come for the Security Council to encourage special envoy (Geir) Pedersen to try other routes to achieving the political solution," Cohen said.”

ABC News: Acting Defense Secretary Urges Allies To Condemn Iran, Join Maritime Security Effort To Protect Strait Of Hormuz

“Acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper urged European allies on Thursday to publicly condemn Iran's actions and join a new U.S.-proposed maritime security effort to protect the Strait of Hormuz, after a series of attacks on tankers and the shoot down of a American drone in that strategic waterway. His comments come as Iran is expected to breach the agreed upon cap on its enriched uranium stockpile. During a news conference at the NATO Defense Ministerial in Brussels, Esper said he asked allies to join a coalition of "like-minded countries" that would support freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz through "broader maritime surveillance." "And that should include air surveillance all the way up to a picket line of ships to help protect the international waterways and to include maybe even escorts," Esper said. "We have to flesh it out on our end, and we'll see what makes the most sense."

Inside Higher Ed: White Supremacy Activity Spreads On Campuses

“Despite college administrators' attempts to stamp out white supremacist activities on campuses, these often-anonymous outsiders are distributing their literature with greater frequency, according to a new Anti-Defamation League report. The group's Center on Extremism tracks and verifies incidents involving white supremacists each academic year. It has found sustained growth in propaganda incidents on campuses in recent years. White supremacists were more active on campuses than ever before during the spring semester, according the new analysis ADL released on Thursday. From January to May, at least 161 examples of white supremacy propaganda were recorded on 122 different campuses in 33 different states and Washington, D.C. A total 313 cases of white supremacist materials were documented during the 2018-19 academic year. An ADL analysis earlier this year focused on white nationalist activities outside of campuses, but also included statistics on colleges that were similar to the Thursday report.”


Voice Of America: Al-Qaida-Affiliated Militants Claim To Have Killed Dozens Of Syrian Troops

“At least 27 Syrian troops were killed and three wounded in two attacks on Thursday by al-Qaida-affiliated fighters in the central Syrian province of Hama, according to jihadi sources. The two surprise attacks took place against Syrian military positions near the village of Atshan in the northern part of Hama, al-Bayaan, an Arabic website dedicated to jihadi news in Syria, reported. The website also published a statement by a jihadi coalition that has launched an offensive against Syrian regime forces in parts of Hama and the nearby northwestern province of Idlib. “This blessed operation resulted in killing and wounding more than 30 soldiers and officers from the [Syrian] army … an ammunition depot unit was destroyed, and the army retreated from the checkpoints near the location of the raid, due to the fear that struck them,” the statement said. Several pro-rebel media outlets reported on the attacks as well, but attributed them to rebel forces that are also active in the region. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor that has researchers on the ground, told VOA that it couldn't confirm whether the jihadists or rebels were behind Thursday's attacks. “The ongoing battle in northern Hama is a complicated one,” said Rami Abdulrahman, head of the Syrian Observatory.”


The Wall Street Journal: Iran Threatens To Pull Out Of Nuclear Treaty, Like North Korea

“Iran raised the stakes in its standoff with the U.S. and Europe on Thursday, warning that if the 2015 nuclear agreement unravels, it would follow the path of North Korea and quit a treaty aimed at stopping the spread of nuclear weapons. The threat, voiced by an Iranian official to reporters, marked the first time Tehran has explicitly used its participation in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or NPT, as leverage in its talks with European officials over keeping its commitments in the separate 2015 deal. Iran ratified the NPT in 1970, committing not to develop or allow the spread of nuclear weapons and to basic international inspections of its nuclear program. Leaving the NPT would suggest Iran is prepared to turn its back on years of insisting its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes. It could end international monitoring of Iran’s nuclear program and almost certainly galvanize a sharp international response.”

Associated Press: Iran, Nuclear Deal Partners To Meet As Accord Under Threat

“Senior officials from Iran and the remaining signatories to its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers were meeting Friday as tensions in the Persian Gulf simmer and Tehran is poised to surpass a uranium stockpile threshold, posing a threat to the accord. At the heart of the meeting in Vienna is Iran’s desire for European countries to deliver on promises of financial relief from U.S. sanctions. Iran is insisting that it wants to save the agreement and has urged the Europeans to start buying Iranian oil or give Iran a credit line to keep the accord alive. The regular quarterly meeting of the accord’s so-called joint commission, which brings together senior officials from Iran, France, Germany, Britain, Russia, China and the European Union, is meant to discuss implementation of the deal. There was no comment from the participants as they arrived for the gathering at a Vienna hotel.”


Al Arabiya: One Dead, At Least 24 Wounded As Bombs Hit Buses In Iraq’s Kirkuk

“One person was killed and at least 24 wounded when bombs hit two crowded passenger buses in Iraq’s oil-rich city of Kirkuk on Thursday, officials said. The two devices exploded as the buses drove through the city center around 7 p.m. (1600 GMT), police sources told Reuters. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Iraq’s military called the blasts an “act of terrorism.” ISIS has mounted a series of hit-and-run attacks aimed at undermining the government. Iraq declared victory over the militants in December 2017, but they have regrouped in the Hemrin mountain range in the northeast, which extends from Diyala province on the border with Iran across northern Salahuddin province and into southern Kirkuk. On Tuesday, four Iraqi federal policemen were killed after a bomb went off southwest of Kirkuk, two security sources told Reuters. It followed an attack on Monday on a village 65 km southwest of Kirkuk, which killed three residents.”

Xinhua: 6 IS Militants Killed In Airstrike, Anti-IS Operations In Northern Iraq

“A total of six Islamic State (IS) militants were killed on Thursday in an airstrike carried out by the U.S.-led coalition aircraft and operations by the Iraqi army in the northern province of Nineveh, the Ministry of Defense said in a statement. The U.S.-led coalition aircraft conducted an airstrike on a tunnel used by IS militants as a hideout in the province, killing four of the extremist militants inside, the statement said, without providing further details about the exact location of the tunnel. Also in the province, a force from the Iraqi army carried out search operation looking for IS remnants in al-Fawarat area in al-Baaj area near the border with Syria, killing two IS militants, one of them a Syrian national, the statement said. Meanwhile, the security forces conducted another search operation outside the town of Bashiqa in northeast of the provincial capital Mosul, about 400 km north of Baghdad, and found a minefield, four explosive devices and three artillery shells left by IS militants and destroyed them all, it added. The security situation in Iraq was dramatically improved after Iraqi security forces fully defeated the extremists IS militants across the country late in 2017.”


The Daily Sabah: Turkey Retaliates As 1 Soldier Killed, 3 Wounded In Attack On Observation Post In Syria’s Idlib

“One Turkish soldier was killed and three were wounded on Thursday when their observation post in Syria's Idlib region was attacked by shelling and mortar fire, the Turkish Defense Ministry said. In response, Turkish military retaliated in kind against the Assad regime forces. In a statement, the Turkish Defense Ministry said Syrian regime forces carried out the attack on the post in the province's de-escalation zone. The wounded were evacuated and have begun receiving medical treatment, the ministry said. Russia's Ankara attache was summoned to military headquarters and was told that the attacks will be “punished in the strongest way,” the ministry noted. The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) sent reinforcements to the area last night, as the area has been targeted several times by Assad regime forces over the past three months. It was the sixth such attack near the observation post, with similar attacks by the regime also reported on April 29, May 4, 12, 31, and June 8. Idlib, the last opposition last enclave in Syria, had a pre-war population of 1.5 million. The number swelled to around 3 million with new refugee waves after it was designated a “de-escalation zone” under the Astana agreement between Turkey, Russia and Iran in May 2017 that paved the way for a permanent political solution in Syria.”


The New York Times: What Do The Taliban Want In Afghanistan? A Lost Constitution Offers Clues.

“There is an air of expectation on both sides as the Taliban and American diplomats gather to meet for the latest round of peace talks on Saturday. Afghan and Western officials say that if the Taliban express willingness to finally go to the negotiating table with the Afghan government, American diplomats might be willing to play their main negotiating card this time: offering some sort of provisional schedule for the withdrawal of United States troops from Afghanistan. That phase of agreement has evaded negotiators for more than nine months, through six rounds of talks in Doha, Qatar. The hardest work, however, might come only after the Taliban and Afghan officials agree to sit down and begin discussing a political settlement. The Taliban have remained officially vague about what kind of government they envision if they join the political process. But some clues to how the insurgents view power and governance can be found in a constitution that the group drafted while it ruled Afghanistan but that was never ratified before the Taliban were ousted by the United States invasion in 2001. The New York Times obtained a rare copy of that draft constitution — a 14-page document that was confirmed by people close to the Taliban, including some former officials who worked on the draft.”

Radio Free Europe: Afghan President Travels To Pakistan For Talks On Peace With Taliban

“Afghanistan’s president has held talks with Pakistan’s prime minister as momentum builds for peace talks with the Taliban that are aimed at ending Afghanistan's decades of war and conflict. Ashraf Ghani’s June 27 meeting with Imran Khan came as the Afghan leader started a two-day trip to Pakistan, his first since elections that brought Khan to power last year. In addition to the Taliban peace negotiations, Ghani’s visit is also seen as an attempt to improve the often-strained relationship between the two neighbors. According to a statement released by Khan’s office, the two leaders “agreed to open a new chapter of friendship and cooperation…based on mutual trust and harmony for the benefit of the two peoples and countries and for advancing the cause of peace, stability and prosperity in the region.” Earlier, Ghani met with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi where he “praised Pakistan's role in the peace process,” according to a Foreign Ministry statement. Pakistan has facilitated ongoing peace negotiations between Washington and the Taliban, with U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad trying to find a negotiated exit to the 17-year war in Afghanistan.”


Gulf News: Yemeni Forces Repel Al Houthi Attacks In Hodeida

“Yemeni government forces had repulsed fierce attacks by Iran-allied Al Houthi militants that had targeted residential areas inside the coastal city of Hodeidah and outskirts, military forces said on Thursday. Al Houthis had shelled the district of July 7, about four kilometres from the Hodeidah port, and the city’s southern suburbs, they added. The government troops had also inflicted heavy casualties on the extremists. The attacks violated a UN-brokered peace ceasefire deal reached in Sweden six months ago. In December, the Yemeni government and Al Houthis reached an agreement after UN-sponsored indirect talks near Stockholm, providing for a truce and withdrawals from Hodeida. At the time, the deal was hailed as a breakthrough to end the fighting in the impoverished country. However, the accord has since bogged down over Al Houthis’ procrastination."


Xinhua: Lebanon's State Security Arrests IS Member

“Lebanon's state security arrested on Thursday a Lebanese national belonging to the Islamic State (IS) militant group for implementing terrorist attacks targeting military personnel and civilians. Hussein Ahmad al Houjeiry was arrested, who also worked in transferring military arms and equipment to terrorist groups in addition to hiring people and transporting them to fight inside Syria, according to Elnashra, an online independent newspaper. Houjeiry was referred to judiciary bodies for further investigation and legal procedures. Lebanese Interior Minister Raya El Hassan announced earlier this month that more than 30 people suspected of planning terror attacks have been arrested since 2016. Lebanon has been a target for terrorist groups in the past few years. On June 4, an IS member blew himself up in the northern city of Tripoli after being pursued and cornered. The terrorist attack killed several members of the Lebanese Army and Internal Security Forces.”

Middle East

The Jerusalem Post: Inside Intelligence: ‘Israel-Egypt Cooperation Key To Beating Back Isis In Sinai’

“Israeli-Egyptian cooperation is the key to confronting the threat posed by ISIS Sinai, former director of the US National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) Nick Rasmussen told The Jerusalem Post in a recent exclusive interview. Rasmussen, who was the center’s chief from 2014 until December 2017, straddling the Obama and Trump administrations, complimented the reports of quiet-but-effective cooperation between Cairo and Jerusalem. Currently director of the McCain Institute’s Counterterrorism Program, he said that, “given the extensive capabilities of Israel’s intelligence apparatus,” this would make it harder for ISIS to attack Israel from Sinai – although it has clearly tried. While some have looked at Sinai as one of the new key bases of operations for ISIS, he said that the jihadist organization is “not moving en masse to set up the caliphate” in a single, specific alternative spot. Rather, there are many alternatives, he said, noting that “the Sinai is not the only one.” Rasmussen added the Philippines and, even more so, Libya. In addition, he said that he personally is most concerned about reprisal terrorist attacks within other Arab countries. The NCTC has over a thousand intelligence professionals working for it across 20 US agencies, analyzing and carrying out strategic planning to fight terrorist threats to America.”


News 24: Thousands Displaced By Boko Haram In Nigeria Protest Over Food

“Thousands of people displaced by Boko Haram violence poured into the streets of the Nigerian city Maiduguri on Thursday to vent their anger over food and medicine shortages in their camp. An AFP reporter witnessed about 4 000 men, women and children from the Gubio camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) block a busy highway in the northeastern city and disrupt traffic. The protesters accused camp officials of diverting aid supplies meant for the 33 000 IDPs from eight districts in Borno state sacked by jihadists. "We don't get the food and medical supplies meant for the camp because they are usually diverted by the camp officials," Sani Abubakar, one of the protesters, told AFP. "We see food consignments brought to the camp being driven away in the same trucks that bring them and we don't know where they take them," said 46-year-old Sani, surrounded by a hoard of protesters who nodded in agreement.”


Reuters: Violence Affects More People Than Ever Before In Africa's Sahel

“Violence in West Africa’s Sahel region has never spread so fast nor affected so many people, the United Nations said on Thursday, warning of an “unprecedented” humanitarian crisis. The number of people uprooted in Burkina Faso, Mali and western Niger has increased five-fold since last year, said the U.N. humanitarian agency (OCHA). “We have never seen the levels of violence that we’re seeing today,” said Sofie Garde Thomle, regional head of OCHA, at a press conference in Senegal’s capital Dakar. “The displacement is happening so fast that it makes us all a bit afraid,” she said. The countries of the Sahel, a semi-arid strip below the Sahara desert, have been struggling with rapid population growth, extreme climate shifts and Islamist violence for years.”

The Washington Post: Tunisia Hit By Twin Bombings On The Same Day Its President Falls Gravely Ill

“Suicide bombers carried out two separate attacks on security forces in Tunisia’s capital early Thursday, killing one police officer and injuring at least seven other people, Tunisia’s Interior Ministry said. The bombings occurred in rapid succession and shattered a sense of relative calm in Tunis, which had gone eight months without a major militant attack. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the bombings later on Thursday, saying they were carried out by two of the militant group’s “fighters,” according to a message distributed on social media accounts affiliated with the group. Separately, Tunisia’s 92-year-old president, Beji Caid Essebsi, was hospitalized on Thursday after what his office said was a “severe health crisis.” Officials did not disclose the nature of his illness but sought to tamp down rumors throughout the day that Essebsi had died, on a day already filled with anxiety.”

Euronews: Morocco Prosecutor Seeks Death Sentences In Scandinavian Women Murder Trial

“A Moroccan prosecutor on Thursday demanded the death sentence for three suspects in the murder of two female Scandinavian tourists in the Atlas mountains in December. Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, from Denmark, and Maren Ueland, 28, from Norway, were found dead on Dec. 17 near the Moroccan village of Imlil, a popular hiking and trekking destination. The three men had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in a video made three days before the murder. Authorities described them after their arrest as “lone wolves” who had not coordinated the killings with Islamic State. Last month in a court hearing in Sale near Rabat, two of the suspects, Abdessamad Ejjoud and Youness Ouziyad, admitted to attacking and decapitating the two women, who were staying overnight in a tent in the mountains.  A third suspect, Rachid Afatti, said he filmed the killing. Ejjoud said the video of the murder was shared with other Islamic State sympathizers. The prosecutor called for life in prison for a fourth suspect who left the group on the day the murder took place.  The prosecutor also demanded prison sentences ranging from 10 to 30 years for 20 other people, who were arrested for links to the main suspects.”


The Washington Post: Gunman Wounds 2, Kills Himself In Attack Near French Mosque

“An unidentified gunman shot and wounded an imam and one other person Thursday in front of a mosque in the western French city of Brest, then killed himself, police said. The motive for the attack is unclear. France’s interior minister ordered security tightened at places of worship around the country. The shooter fired at two people then fled the scene in a car, according to a national police spokesman. The shooting took place in front of the Mosquée Sunna de Brest, on France’s Atlantic Coast. Police launched a manhunt, but soon found the attacker’s Renault Clio car in a nearby neighborhood — and nearby lay the attacker, who had shot himself in the head, the spokesman said. The manhunt was called off, as police do not suspect the attacker had accomplices. The two wounded people were hospitalized but “are doing OK,” the police spokesman said. He was not authorized to be publicly named. One of them was prominent imam Rachid Eljay, the police spokesman said. Authorities released no details about the identities of the suspect or the other victim. France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office said it is evaluating the situation and whether there is a reason to suspect terrorist motives.”


The Wall Street Journal: Germany Detains Suspect Linked To Paris Terrorist Attacks

“German authorities on Thursday said they had arrested a suspect wanted in connection with the 2015 Islamic State terrorist attack in Paris. Local prosecutors said that the man, a 39-year old Bosnian citizen named only as Adis A., was detained a week ago. Belgium had issued a European arrest warrant for the man, whom German police tracked down after discovering a weapons cache in Dresden, Germany, earlier this year. Belgian authorities, who are prosecuting the 2015 attacks together with their French counterparts, said he was suspected of providing weapons to the Paris attackers. In November 2015, Islamic State gunmen, all but one wearing suicide vests, killed 130 people in attacks across the French capital. Months later, another group of Islamic State militants bombed the airport in Brussels and a metro station, leaving 32 people dead.  The suspect was arrested on June 20 in Bad Dürrenberg in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt. The man was linked to two other Bosnians who had been detained near the railway station in Dresden last February when police found 17 hand grenades following a routine search of their car after a parking offense.”

Deutsche Welle: Germany Records Small Uptick In Far-Right Extremist Violence

“Germany's domestic intelligence service recorded a small rise in the number of far-right extremists and the number of far-right violent crimes in 2018, a new report published Thursday has shown. The 2018 report by the Germany's domestic security agency (BfV), presented in Berlin by Interior Minister Horst Seehofer and BfV head Thomas Haldenwang, found that there were 24,100 right-wing extremists in Germany — 100 more than in 2017 — of whom 12,700 were considered “violence-oriented.” While the overall number of right-wing extremist crimes dropped by 0.3% in 2018, the number of violent crimes committed by known right-wing extremists rose by 3.2% (from 1,054 to 1,088), according to the report. That marks a new upturn after the number of crimes dipped in the wake of a high point during the “refugee crisis” of 2015 and 2016. There were also a total of 6 attempted homicides categorized as right wing extremist crimes in 2018, the report found, up from 4 the year before.”


CNN: For The First Time, Canada Adds White Supremacists And Neo-Nazi Groups To Its Terror Organization List

“Canada has added to its list of terrorist organizations a neo-Nazi group and its “armed branch,” the first time the country has classified white supremacists that way. Blood and Honour and Combat 18 were labeled terrorist entities last Friday, joining about 60 groups that include al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and the Islamic State. Under the designation, the groups could have their assets seized and organizations that aid in the terrorist activities would be subject to criminal penalties. The Canadian government described Blood and Honour as “an international neo-Nazi network whose ideology is derived from the National Socialist doctrine of Nazi Germany” and referred to Combat 18 as Blood and Honour's “armed branch.”  Blood and Honour was founded in England in 1987 by Ian Stuart Donaldson, the lead singer of a hate rock band. The group takes its name from the slogan of the Hitler Youth movement, and its chapters and associated groups have carried out murders and bombings throughout the world. In 1998, four members of a Tampa, Florida chapter of Blood and Honour killed two homeless men in that state, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.”

The National Post: Canada Needs To Recognize Iran's Revolutionary Guard, In Its Entirety, As A Terror Group

“The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is not listed in its entirety as a terrorist entity by the government of Canada, despite its long record of support for acts of terror. Instead, only the Qods Force, the armed wing of the IRGC, is listed as a terrorist group. It is of grave concern to both the grassroots Jewish and Iranian communities in Canada that only one segment of an infamous state-sponsored terrorist army is recognized as a terrorist group. Last summer, a private member’s motion by MP Garnett Genuis received bipartisan support in the House of Commons, calling on the government of Canada to correct this omission by listing the entirety of the IRGC as a terrorist group. A similar motion was introduced in the Senate in December 2018 by Sen. Linda Frum.”


Reuters: Europe Safer Since Islamic State Defeat But Threat Endures, Europol Says

“Europeans were safer from jihadist attacks last year than at any point since Islamic State set up its caliphate in 2014, but a number of foiled attacks including plots to use poison chemicals show that the threat still endures, police agency Europol said. Thirteen people were killed and 46 injured in attacks by jihadists across Europe in 2018, Europol said in a report. The figures were the lowest by far since 2014, when Islamic State swept into control of a third of Iraq and Syria and launched a campaign of mass casualty attacks in Europe. In each of the intervening years, jihadists killed scores of people and wounded hundreds in Europe, with large scale attacks in cities including Manchester, Nice, Brussels and Paris. Islamic State has been driven in the past year from all territory it once held in Syria and Iraq, although authorities say it remains a threat as an underground movement. All attacks last year in Europe were perpetrated by “lone wolves” using firearms and knives. Such home-grown attacks are less deadly than strikes by former fighters, but Europol says they are harder for police to spot and stop. European law enforcement foiled 16 jihadist plots, a sign that while Islamic State’s territorial rule may be over, the group’s ideology and online reach remain a threat.”

Jewish News Syndicate: Kosovo Designates Hezbollah As A Terrorist Group

“Kosovo has now included Hezbollah on its list of terrorist organizations. The World Jewish Congress lauded the move as a “principled step in the critical quest for international peace and security.” “The global community has been terrorized for more than three decades by Hezbollah and its operatives, who have executed their violent actions under the patronage of the Islamic Republic of Iran across nearly every continent,” declared World Jewish Congress president Ronald S. Lauder in a statement on Thursday. “And yet, several top international organizations, including the United Nations, still refuse to recognize Hezbollah in its entirety as the terrorist entity that it is,” he added. “It’s clear that there is absolutely no distinction between the military wing of Hezbollah and the political arm which guides it.”

Southeast Asia

Long War Journal: Jihadists In The Caucasus, Philippines Renew Allegiance To Baghdadi

“The Islamic State has continued to produce videos depicting small bands of jihadists renewing their allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.  The latest such video was released yesterday (June 26), and featured jihadists from the Caucasus region. Just days earlier, the Islamic State’s so-called Caucasus province carried out a small-scale attack outside the home of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov in Grozny.  On June 22, the Islamic State released a short production from its East Asia province, which has fighters in the Philippines.  The videos are part of the Islamic State’s “And the End Is Best for the Righteous” series, in which jihadists around the globe reiterate their fealty to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The group previously released similar footage from West Africa and the Sinai. The short clips are clearly part of an orchestrated campaign designed to reinforce the Islamic State’s global presence, especially in the wake of the group’s loss of its territorial caliphate in Iraq and Syria. Each of the videos, including the ones produced for the Philippines and Caucasus region, open with text emphasizing that the jihadists remain committed to their “pledge” to fight the infidels who “claim to have destroyed the caliphate.”

Business Standard: In Osaka, Modi Says Terrorism The 'Biggest Threat' To Humanity

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday asserted that terrorism is the "biggest threat" to humanity, and urged BRICS member countries to contribute in ending all mediums of support to terrorism and racism. Speaking at an informal meeting of BRICS leaders ahead of the G20 summit here, Prime Minister Modi outlined three major challenges the world is currently facing. "I want to focus on three major challenges-- economy slow down and uncertainty, to make development more sustainable and terrorism," said Modi, while sitting alongside Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. "Terrorism is the biggest threat to humanity. Not only does it claim the lives of the innocents, it negatively affects economic development and communal harmony. We have to stop all mediums of support to terrorism and racism," he said.”

Deutsche Welle: Bangladesh's Mainstream Pupils More Radical Than Islamic School Graduates

“The Anti-terrorism Unit of Bangladesh's police published the report, called Preventing Terrorism and Extremism through Community Engagement, last week. The study used data collected from 3,000 suspects who were arrested between 2015 and 2017.  ”The common idea is that only Madrassas produce militants, which is absolutely wrong. It is evident that only the Madrassa or Islamic education system cannot be blamed for militancy,” Additional Deputy Inspector General (Intelligence) Mohammed Moniruzzaman told DW. Schooling in Bangladesh is divided into three chief systems. The general, or mainstream education system treats all religions equally and the curriculum is controlled by the government. Madrassas focus on Islamic education for their students and English-medium schools offer all subjects in the English language. There are around 100,000 primary schools in Bangladesh that follow the general system. Data from the police study revealed that 56% of Islamic radicals had been educated in the general system, while 22% each came from English-medium and Madrassa schools, although the English system has only 200 schools compared to 20,000 madrassas.”

Xinhua: Sri Lanka's Army Chief Sees No Immediate Terrorism Threat After Easter Blasts

“Sri Lanka's army chief Mahesh Senanayake said there was no immediate terrorism threat in Sri Lanka following the Easter Sunday terror explosions, but security forces would continue to remain vigilant, local media reported on Thursday. Senanayake, testifying before the Special Parliamentary Committee probing the suicide attacks on April 21, said that army forces, police and intelligence agencies were ensuring that all attempts to revive terrorism had been thwarted. He added since the terrorist attacks in April, coordination between the military, police and intelligent agencies had been strengthened and they were coordinating with foreign intelligence agencies as well. “We meet regularly and have been able to create an integrated intelligence network with inputs from foreign intelligence agencies as well,” Senanayake said. “Security forces have been able to contain the situation and have reached a critical juncture where sweeping arrests have been made and links to the banned organizations have been weakened. The security forces are now maintaining their state of alertness,” he added.”


The Daily Beast: Al Qaeda’s Master Terrorists Are Still On Facebook And Youtube

“In 2006, Ibrahim Suleiman al-Rubaish was repatriated to Saudi Arabia from Guantanamo Bay after he’d served more than five years as an enemy combatant for training with al Qaeda, and fighting alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan against the United States. Released as part of the Obama administration’s plans to shutter the offshore prison, Rubaish was admitted to Riyadh’s rather lackluster “deradicalization” program.  Then, sometime in  2009, he escaped the program and Saudi Arabia with 11 other jihadists.  They all turned up in Yemen and Rubaish soon emerged as the mufti, or Islamic jurist, for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) where he spent the next six years appearing in propaganda videos for the group’s media outlet Al-Malahem, as well as releasing a number of fatwas and articles for other al Qaeda outlets including the English-language Inspire magazine. Rubaish was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in 2015.  But his ideas and legacy live on through his sermons and speeches, still hosted on Facebook and YouTube.”

USA Today: Is Facebook Listening To Me? Why Those Ads Appear After You Talk About Things

“My editor, Michelle, was at a birthday party for her son's friend recently, when the mom mentioned a company she liked called Joymode. Minutes later, an ad for Joymode appeared on Michelle’s Facebook news feed.  When she told me about it, we both wondered whether the urban legend could be true. Does Facebook really listen to our conversations to serve us ads? "I swear I think you guys are listening." That's how CBS This Morning host Gayle King put it just this week when she spoke with Adam Mosseri who heads up Instagram, which is owned by Facebook. "Can you help me understand how I can be having a private conversation with someone about something I'm interested in seeing or buying, and an advertisement for that will pop up on my Instagram feed," King asked.  "I haven't searched for it, I haven't talked to anybody about it.”

Fox News: Zuckerberg Admits Facebook Made An 'Execution Mistake' In Its Handling Of Doctored Pelosi Video

“Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted that the social network made an “execution mistake” in its handling of a doctored video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that went viral on the platform. The social network faced a backlash over its response to the video of Pelosi, which experts say was slowed down to make Pelosi appear drunk or senile. “It took a while for our systems to flag that and for fact checkers to rate it as false - once the fact checkers saw it they were able to rate it within an hour, but it took more than a day for our systems to flag it,” Zuckerberg said, during an interview at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado on Wednesday. "That was an execution mistake," he added. During the time it took for Facebook's systems to flag the video as false, Zuckerberg explained, the video became more widely distributed than Facebook’s policies should have allowed.”

American Security: House Aims At Tech Failure To Halt Spread Of Online Extremist Content

“The U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security held a hearing Wednesday, on social media companies’ efforts to counter online terror content and misinformation. The hearing was called in the wake of March’s New Zealand mosque shootings—in which a terrorist killed 51 people and livestreamed it all on Facebook. A full 24 hours after the livestream, Facebook failed to remove 300,000 reuploads of the attack video. A week later, and then a month later, the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) discovered that the video was still widely available. “We commend the House Committee on Homeland Security for holding tech companies accountable for their lack of effective action,” said CEP Executive Director David Ibsen. “Reuploads of the New Zealand attack video illustrate that the tech industry is unable to deliver on its promises to share information and technology via the GIFCT.”