Eye on Extremism: June 4

The Wall Street Journal: I Invented The Jihadist Journal

“I’m a publishing pioneer: In April 2009, I launched the first English-language online jihadist magazine. A lot has changed since. I spent 3½ years in prison, where I deradicalized. I now work with Mitch Silber, the New York City Police Department’s former director of intelligence analysts, to combat violent extremism. The jihadist-magazine template I helped create is now among the most effective means of propagating extremist ideas. Five years after Islamic State declared its so-called caliphate, I’m taking the template back. My new magazine is called Ahul-Taqwa, Arabic for “People of Consciousness.” My objective with Ahul-Taqwa is to reclaim the propaganda method my fellow jihadists and I developed and use it to kill the resonance of their ideas and ideals.”

The Washington Post: Hundreds Of IS Relatives Leave Camp In Northeast Syria

“Scores of women and children related to fighters of the Islamic State group carried their belongings and boarded buses and trucks Monday, leaving an overcrowded camp in the country’s northeast to return to their homes. A total of 800 Syrian women and children left al-Hol camp in Hasakeh province Monday afternoon, according to Syrian Kurdish official Badran Ciya Kurd and witnesses. The departure is the largest since the IS group’s territorial defeat in Syria in March, when the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces captured Baghouz, the last village controlled by the militants near the Iraqi border. The SDF-controlled al-Hol camp in Hasakeh, which was initially built to house up to 10,000 displaced people, is now home to over 73,000. Ninety-two percent of them are women and children and 15 percent, or at least 11,000, are foreign nationals, according to the United Nations. Reducing the population of al-Hol will help ease the burden on aid groups that have been overwhelmed with the flow of people in the past months. At the height of their power, IS controlled nearly a third of Syria and large parts of Iraq, an area where millions of people had lived and the group imposed its self-declared caliphate.”

Voice Of America: Deadly Bus Blast Rattles Afghan Capital On Eve Of Eid

“Officials in Afghanistan say a powerful bomb ripped through a minibus carrying government employees in Kabul Monday, killing at least five people and injuring 10 others. The deadly attack in the capital occurred on the eve of annual Eid al-Fitr festivities that marks the end of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan. The violence comes as the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, visits the region. He is scheduled to hold a fresh round of peace talks with Qatar-based envoys of the Taliban insurgency in a bid to end Afghanistan's 17-year- war. An Interior Ministry spokesman, Nasrat Rahimi, said a magnetic improvised explosive device was used in the attack Monday and victims were mostly staff members at the Afghan Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission. There were no immediate claims of responsibility. The attack came a day after three separate bomb blasts in Kabul killed at least two people and injured 24 others. The Islamic State terrorist group claimed responsibility for those attacks, saying they caused 33 casualties among Afghan Shi’ites, journalists and security forces. Monday’s violence came shortly after the United Nations called on Taliban insurgents and U.S.-backed Afghan security forces to cease hostilities to allow Afghans to commemorate the Eid celebration.”

The New York Times: In Syria, Even The Hospitals Are Not Safe

“After eight brutal years, it is hard to find anything shocking about the Syrian civil war. But somehow, the government forces under President Bashar al-Assad always find a way. On May 15, Syrian bombs destroyed the Tarmala Maternity and Children’s Hospital in Idlib, the 19th medical facility attacked since late April. Mr. Assad’s campaign against hospitals is not just inhumane — it represents one of the most repellent aspects of modern warfare. Hospitals were once off limits; even in conflicts where the international laws of war were routinely flouted, medical facilities were spared. That has changed. Governments increasingly turn on civilians, and hospitals and medical workers are being deliberately targeted in an effort to silence them. Doctors are tortured and killed. Health care workers have been robbed, looted, beaten and murdered in Central African Republic, Congo, Lebanon and Myanmar.”

The Jerusalem Post: German Intel: Iran Buying Illegal Technology For Weapons Of Mass Destruction

“The Islamic Republic of Iran is involved in the illicit procurement of technology for weapons of mass destruction, the German intelligence agency for the northern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern wrote in its May report. In the 206-page report, that was reviewed by The Jerusalem Post, the intelligence agents wrote: “The fight against the illegal proliferation of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons of mass destruction and the materials needed for their manufacture, as well as the corresponding delivery systems [e.g. rockets], including the necessary knowledge, in cooperation with other authorities, is also the responsibility of counterintelligence.” The intelligence report continued, “From these points of view, it is essentially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea [North Korea] and the Syrian Arab Republic that need to be mentioned. The intelligence services of these countries, in many ways, are involved in unlawful procurement activities in the field of proliferation, using globally oriented, conspiratorial business and commercial structures.”

The National: ISIS Claims Car Bomb Attacks Against Haftar's Forces In Libya's Derna

“ISIS has claimed responsibility for two bomb blasts that injured at least 18 people in the eastern coastal city of Derna on Sunday, the first attack the group has claimed in the city since 2016. It announced the claim of the targeted attack against a military unit of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) on its self-styled news agency’s channel on encrypted app Telegram on Tuesday, claiming 19 people were either killed or injured, by a “platoon” of the group. “As part of a ‘wearing invasion’, a security platoon was able yesterday to detonate two car bombs near two headquarters where Haftar forces are based in Derna city, claiming the lives and wounding 19 of them,” the statement said in Arabic. The militant group controlled the city until it was ousted by the forces of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar and rival militias in mid-2016. The attack will raise fears that the group has returned to the city in some form. Derna, once a militant bastion, is about 292 kilometres (182 miles) distant from Libya's second city, Benghazi, and was declared to be under the complete control of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar's LNA in June 2018.”

United States

The New York Times: Caught Between U.S. And Taliban, A Family Dies And The Survivor Seeks Justice

“Masih Ur-Rahman Mubarez was working in Iran when his wife called him at 4 a.m. from their home in eastern Afghanistan. American and Afghan troops were inside the house, she said. It was a raid. It was Sept. 23, 2018, and the next time Mr. Mubarez, 39, managed to get a phone call through, her phone was off. Between 10:30 a.m. and noon, as Mr. Mubarez waited for word from his wife and seven children in Wardak Province, American aircraft dropped a GPS-guided bomb on his house, killing them and four other members of his family, according to Mr. Mubarez and the villagers who helped pull the 12 bodies from the rubble. The American-led military mission in Afghanistan initially denied the bombing. Three months later, it confirmed the airstrike down to the exact coordinates of Mr. Mubarez’s house in the small hamlet of Mullah Hafiz. But the American command said that they had been receiving sniper fire from the building, and that “after review, it is our assessment that only combatants were killed.” The disparity between Mr. Mubarez’s claim — that 12 members of his family were killed — and the matter-of-fact denial from the American military are emblematic of the nearly 18-year-old war, where civilians in virtually every corner of Afghanistan have been touched by violence and death at the hands of both sides.”

The National Interest: The Business Of Funding Terrorism Threats

“There’s a house on Harley Street in London—a street best known for its tony doctors—that reportedly houses 2,159 companies. Tight quarters, you might think, but these are shell companies, and Harley Street is an address of convenience, similar to thousands, probably millions more around the world. This gaping regulatory loophole is facilitating crime, corruption, terrorism and dictatorship. It’s time to fix it. Any U.S. citizen can form a limited liability corporation (LLC) in America with less information than is required to obtain a driver’s license or to buy a gun. A recent study found that it is generally easier to form a company than it is to obtain a library card. Technology accelerates the process. For around $100, anyone in the world can go online and set up an LLC in the United States. With a little help from less than scrupulous lawyers, realtors, or accountants—and possibly a connection to another offshore jurisdiction—you can ensure that nobody will ever find out who owns it. Two million such companies are created in the United States every year. States regulate the formation process, and limited liability corporations (LLCs) are free to move and store cash, services, and goods in America. The anonymous shell company—which has no identifiable owner and exists only to hold or transfer value—lurks beneath many of America’s mounting problems.”


Al Jazeera: Car Bomb Attack In Syrian Rebel-Held City Claims Lives

“More than a dozen people were killed in a car bomb in a city held by Turkish-backed rebels in northern Syria, a war monitor and Turkish state media said. The incident took place at a bustling market in the city of Azaz, near the Turkish border, killing 14 people, according to anonymous sources talking to Turkey's Anadolu Agency. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, Anadolu added. Four children were among those killed in the explosion, said war monitor Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which reported the death toll as 19.  The attack also wounded more than 20 people, according to the UK-based monitor.  “Many people were leaving evening prayers when the explosion happened,” Observatory head Rami Abdul Rahman told the AFP news agency. Shoppers buying clothes and gifts before the upcoming Eid al-Fitr holiday were among those killed, Jihad Berro, a coroner at a local hospital, told AFP. He said the medical facility was crammed with victims and their relatives.”

Fox News: Russia Halts UN Security Council Statement On Syria's Idlib

“Russia blocked the U.N. Security Council on Monday from issuing a statement sounding alarm about the increasing fighting in and around Syria's Idlib province and the possibility of a humanitarian disaster, a council diplomat said. The thwarted statement marked the latest in a series of logjams over Syria in the U.N.'s most influential body. Fighting has raged in Idlib and nearby areas in northwest Syria since government troops started pushing into the enclave on April 30, trying to retake the country's last rebel-held redoubt after eight years of civil war. The U.N. says an estimated 3 million people are caught in the crossfire. After multiple briefings last week on Idlib, Belgium, Kuwait and Germany proposed that the council express concern about attacks on civilians and assaults by extremist groups as well as a the potential for humanitarian catastrophe if a full-scale military operation unfolds, according to a draft seen by The Associated Press. It called for humanitarian access, safe return for refugees and for following international humanitarian law on protecting civilians.”

NPR: As Bombs Fall, A Neurosurgeon Tells How He Keeps Calm In Syria

“Sorry for late reply. We've been under nonstop air strikes today, and I've been with emergency patients all day." I received that Skype message in response to a request to interview 32-year-old neurosurgeon Omar Ibrahim, originally from Egypt but based for the past five years in Syria and the last two in Idlib, the northwest province that has been experiencing heavy bombardment by government forces and their allies since late April. According to reports from doctors on the ground in Syria and provided by Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations-USA, in that time 19 hospitals and medical clinics have been damaged or destroyed, further straining the area's already impaired health care network. NPR spoke to Ibrahim via Skype on May 31 during a break in his schedule. The interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and space."

ABC News: Hundreds Of IS Relatives Leave Camp In Northeast Syria

“Scores of women and children related to fighters of the Islamic State group carried their belongings and boarded buses and trucks Monday, leaving an overcrowded camp in the country's northeast to return to their homes. A total of 800 Syrian women and children left al-Hol camp in Hasakeh province Monday afternoon, according to Syrian Kurdish official Badran Ciya Kurd and witnesses. The departure is the largest since the IS group's territorial defeat in Syria in March, when the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces captured Baghouz, the last village controlled by the militants near the Iraqi border. The SDF-controlled al-Hol camp in Hasakeh, which was initially built to house up to 10,000 displaced people, is now home to over 73,000. Ninety-two percent of them are women and children and 15 percent, or at least 11,000, are foreign nationals, according to the United Nations. Reducing the population of al-Hol will help ease the burden on aid groups that have been overwhelmed with the flow of people in the past months. At the height of their power, IS controlled nearly a third of Syria and large parts of Iraq, an area where millions of people had lived and the group imposed its self-declared caliphate. At a conference in early May in northern Syria, tribal leaders called for the release of those being detained in the camps who have no blood on their hands.”

Yahoo News: Damascus Pounds Jihadist-Run Northwest, Ignoring Trump Warning

“Bombardments by the Syrian regime killed six civilians in northwest Syria Monday, hours after US President Donald Trump urged Damascus and its allies to “stop bombing the hell” out of the jihadist-held region. Trump's call came after US ally Israel carried out a series of strikes against Syria at the weekend, leaving at least 15 dead among pro-government forces, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The bombardment by Damascus and its ally Moscow of Idlib province and neighbouring areas has killed more than 300 people since late April, according to the Observatory, a Britain-based war monitor. It also displaced nearly 270,000 people in May alone, according to the UN. Russia on Monday blocked a UN Security Council statement criticising Syria's military campaign in the Idlib region. In a note seen by AFP, Moscow said the proposed statement was “unbalanced” because it did not mention the eastern Syrian towns of Hajin or Baghouz, where civilians suffered during a US-backed, Kurdish-led offensive against the Islamic State jihadist group. The violence in and around Idlib, which comes despite a truce deal brokered by Russia and Turkey in September, has raised fears of a humanitarian catastrophe on a scale yet unseen in Syria's eight-year conflict, which has already claimed more than 370,000 lives.”

Foreign Policy: The Kids Of The Islamic State

“The collapse of the Islamic State’s caliphate in March produced an unanticipated humanitarian crisis for tens of thousands of children now detained in a desolate camp outside the city of al-Hol in northeast Syria. They were an unanticipated byproduct of the U.S.-backed campaign against the jihadi extremist movement. Some 9,000 Islamic State fighters were captured in Syria and are now dispersed in local prisons. But another 73,000 Islamic State family members also either surrendered or were captured in the final months of the five-year war. Today, more than 90 percent of the residents in the al-Hol camp are women and children. Data on the Islamic State offspring is staggering: 65 percent of the residents of al-Hol are under the age of 12, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported on May 29. More than 20,000 residents are under the age of 5, meaning they were born after the Islamic State swept across Syria and Iraq in 2014 to create the caliphate. “Distribution data suggests that there may be as many as 3,000 unaccompanied and separated children in al-Hol, some of them also taking care of siblings,” the U.N. agency reported.”


Voice Of America: Iran Sends Journalist To Notorious Prison, Jails Another For 2 Years

“Iran has taken new steps against two detained journalists who covered domestic labor unrest and government corruption, sending one to a notorious women’s prison and sentencing another to a two-year jail term. Two human rights groups said Iranian journalist Sepideh Ghaliyan, who covered labor issues in the southwestern city of Ahvaz, was transferred to Qarchak women’s prison near Tehran on Monday. She previously had been detained in Tehran’s Evin prison and prior to that, in Ahvaz, where authorities arrested her last November as she attended a protest by workers demanding unpaid wages from the Haft Tapeh sugar cane factory, 100 kilometers to the north. She was accused of committing a national security offense in connection with that protest.”


The New York Times: French ISIS Supporters On Death Row In Iraq Ask For Mercy

“The French government came under criticism Monday from human rights advocates as Iraqi terrorism courts completed the trials of 11 French citizens and one French resident, sentencing all of them to death for support of the Islamic State. Human rights advocates believe that the Iraqi law, which criminalizes belonging to a terrorist organization, falls short in delivering justice because it does not consider the underlying crime. By failing to address that, both the rights of the accused and the victims get short shrift, said Belkis Wille, the senior researcher for Iraq for Human Rights Watch. “You don’t have a real examination of what the defendants did,” Ms. Wille said. “Some of them were war criminals but you have a trial and conviction and sentencing without anyone finding out what war crimes they were implicated in.” This approach also makes it impossible to modulate the punishments to reflect the gravity of the crime, she said. Forty five prominent French defense lawyers signed a letter published on France Info that blasted the government, saying it violated the constitution by risking the execution of its citizens and more generally using the threat of terrorism to justify an overall erosion of protections for suspects and detainees.”

Iraqi News: Coalition Airstrikes Bomb IS Hideouts, Kill Militants In Anbar

“Iraqi Ministry of Defense announced, on Monday, that the US-led coalition warplanes killed IS militants and destroyed a number of hideouts by two air strikes, in Anbar Province. The Ministry said in a press statement, “The army’s Chief of Staff instructed to chase terrorist gangs, lift war debris and help displaced families to return to their areas. Thus, based on these instructions, coalition warplanes carried out two air strikes on Anbar, destructing a tunnel belongs to the IS, and killing a number of militants. Security forces from army and police found a number of bodies, weapons and ammunition, as well as destroying a vehicle and hideouts, the statement added. In 2017, Iraqi government announced regaining its entire territory from the IS grip, backed by the US-led international coalition. However, the terrorist group still has dormant cells in different areas of the country.”

France 24: Iraq Sentences Two More Frenchmen To Death For IS Membership

“A Baghdad court Monday sentenced to death two more French nationals for belonging to the Islamic State group, leaving all 11 Frenchmen transferred from Syria facing the gallows in Iraq. Bilel Kabaoui, 32, and Mourad Delhomme, 41, join nine other French citizens and a Tunisian national already on death row after trials over the past week. They have 30 days to appeal the sentences. Iraq has sentenced more than 500 suspected foreign members of IS since the start of 2018. Its courts have condemned many to life in prison and others to death, although no foreign IS members have yet been executed. Iraqi law provides for the death penalty, which is carried out by hanging, for anyone joining a “terrorist group” even those who did not take up arms. A group of prominent French lawyers said earlier Monday that the execution of French jihadists on death row would be a disgrace for France. “We have taken a historic risk, which, if it is realised, will leave an indelible stain on the mandate of (President) Emmanuel Macron,” said the lawyers, including some of the country’s best known legal professionals such as William Bourdon, Henri Leclerc and Vincent Brengarth. It would mean allowing a “legal assassination which is now proscribed by the majority of countries on the planet,” said the open letter, published on the website of radio station Franceinfo.”

The National: Iraq In Process Of Formally Recognising ISIS Children, Commission For Human Rights Says

“Iraq is expected to set up courts that will permit children born to ISIS parents to obtain official documentation, granting them their basic rights, the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights said on Monday. The fate of thousands of undocumented children born to members of the militant group has become a significant problem for the Iraqi state. Children born in ISIS-held areas were given identification papers by the terror group but since their so-called caliphate collapsed in 2017, the documents are now considered worthless by Baghdad. “Courts are being set up to ensure that children born in areas that were controlled by ISIS will be legally registered with the state using forms of proof such as eye witnesses,” Wehda Al Jumaili, a member of the commission, told a Russian news outlet. “The process will be easier if their parents are still alive,” she said, adding the commission, Iraqi government and the judiciary made the decision. The Iraqi state is denying children schooling and medical care, as well as jobs and the right to marry when they grow up. International rights organisations have warned the government against such policies as it could re-ignite the grievances that boosted the groundswell of support for the group in the country before it rose in 2014."

Iraqi News: Iraqi Intelligence Apprehend 3 Islamic State Terrorists At Refugee Camp

“Iraqi military intelligence forces arrested on Monday three Islamic State terrorists at al-Salamiya refugee camp in Mosul city. The Iraqi Military Intelligence Directorate, in a press statement, said that two of the arrestees have fought against security forces during the military operation to liberate Sinjar district in Mosul from IS terrorists. “The third one was in charge of the Islamic State’s so-called Zakat Diwan,” the statement read, adding that the trio were wanted by the Iraqi judiciary on terror charges. Iraq declared the collapse of Islamic State’s territorial influence in November 2017 with the recapture of Rawa, a city on Anbar’s western borders with Syria, which was the group’s last bastion in Iraq. IS declared a self-styled “caliphate” in a third of Iraq and neighboring Syria in 2014. A government campaign, backed by a U.S.-led international coalition and paramilitary forces, was launched in 2016 to retake IS-held regions, managing to retake all havens, most notably the city of Mosul, the group’s previously proclaimed capital.”


Asharq Al-Awsat: Turkey Arrests 20 ISIS Terrorists Nationwide

“After staging a series of nationwide raids, Turkish security forces arrested 20 suspects tied to the ISIS group and who were suspected of plotting terror attacks. ”A total of 18 people planning [terror] acts have been caught in various provinces with their arms,” Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said, speaking at an opening ceremony in Istanbul's Tuzla district. Soylu added that two other alleged terror act plotters who were caught were believed to have been getting ready to carry out imminent attacks. ”We also revealed where and how they had been planning [a terror act], and we also detected how close they had been,” Soylu said. Lately, Turkey has scaled up its security operations nationwide, raising the level of alertness for potential terror attacks. On Friday, for example, anti-terrorist forces detained four ISIS members in the southern state of Adana, after obtaining an arrest warrant. Backed by armored vehicles, security swat teams carried out a raid in the early on Friday, arresting the operatives whilst in possession of illegal arms and communication devices. Similarly, another 10 terror suspects were nabbed last week for sharing ties with terror group ISIS in the central Kayseri Province.”


The Washington Post: Hope Dwindles For Cease-Fire In Afghanistan At End Of Ramadan

“A three-day holiday will begin here Tuesday without a cease-fire, after a wave of violence in recent days left at least 17 people dead and dozens injured.   An unprecedented cease-fire last year at the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan saw an influx of Taliban fighters into urban areas, where they mingled with civilians, posed for selfies and raised expectations for successful peace talks that would put an end to the country’s drawn-out war.  Despite the spike in violence during Ramadan this year, many were optimistic that a similar arrangement would again be made.  But negotiations failed to result in a truce that would put even a temporary end to the fighting. Violence has surged during the holy month, which Muslims observe with fasting and prayer, leaving civilians on edge as it comes to a close, in what is supposed to be one of the most joyous occasions on the Muslim calendar.  “Our hope has been broken,” said Ahmad Shoaib Shirzad, 33, a banker in Kabul. “Every second, I fear something will happen in front of me.” On Monday afternoon, a bomb exploded on a bus carrying government employees in Kabul, leaving at least five dead and 10 wounded.”

The New York Times: A Taliban Commander’s Double Life, In A War He Couldn’t Leave Behind

“In one life, he was Zabet Khan, a 25-year-old with a high school diploma, four children and a fondness for taking photos with his pink selfie stick. In the other, he was Commander Zarqawi, a Taliban veteran in eastern Afghanistan with 10 years of combat experience in a war he couldn’t break away from. Even after he went as far as Greece in search of a job, the war sucked him back in. Mr. Khan’s life by the gun, and his death in a mysterious parcel bombing last August, point to how complex the Afghan insurgency has become as the United States tries to negotiate its way out of the long war. Over 18 years, the Taliban’s ideological movement has intertwined with local rivalries, blood feuds and a thriving black market. And it may have seen a divide open up between some young fighters, like Mr. Khan, and the Taliban’s more dogmatic leadership.”

France 24: Taliban Detain Afghan Peace Marchers, Supporters Say

“Afghan peace protesters marching through Taliban territory have been detained by the insurgents, two supporters of the movement told AFP on Tuesday. The so-called People's Peace Movement attracted international attention last year when they walked across Afghanistan and into the capital Kabul in an attempt to reduce the record levels of violence across the country. Thousands of civilians have been killed or injured in the past 18 years of fighting between the militant group and US-backed forces. About 30 members of the People's Peace Movement started a new walk on May 27, when they set out from Lashkar Gah, capital of Helmand province. According to Abdul Malik Hamdard, a peace march supporter, the Taliban forced four members of the group to accompany them in vehicles Sunday night as they crossed into Taliban territory in the south of the country. Then on Monday, Taliban fighters returned and took the rest of the group, except for a few older members, he added. About 25 marchers were detained in total, he said. “Initially (the Taliban) told us that 'we will talk to them',” Hamdard told AFP.  “We have had no news from them since then.” After refusing to comment about the marchers' plight for more than 36 hours, the Taliban on Tuesday released photos of four of the group including its leader, Iqbal Khyber, and said the men were safe and would not be harmed.”

Saudi Arabia

Gulf News: UAE Slams Qatar Over Backtracking On Makkah Summits

“Qatar’s backtracking on statements adopted by Gulf and Arab leaders last week can be due to pressure, insincere intentions or absence of credibility, Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash has said. His remarks came after Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammad Bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani expressed his country’s reservations on two final statements issued by emergency Gulf and Arab summits held on Thursday in the Saudi city of Makkah on Iran’s regional escalation. Qatar sent its prime minister to attend both events, which condemned Iran’s meddling in the region and confirmed unity of the Gulf Cooperation Council amid a dispute between Doha and Gulf neighbours. Doha is a close ally of Iran. “It seems to me that presence, agreement at meetings, then going back on what has been agreed on is due either to pressure on the weak lacking sovereignty, insincere intentions or absence of credibility. Or all these factors combined,” Gargash tweeted. In another tweet, Gargash sarcastically noted that Qatar may later get a "new phone call and go back on what it has [already]gone back on."


Fox News: Attacker Blows Himself Up After Killing 3 Troops In Lebanon

“A lone gunman using a motorcycle fired on police and army vehicles in different parts of the northern city of Tripoli, killing two police officers and a soldier and wounding several others Monday night before blowing himself up later when confronted by troops, Lebanon's army and the state-run National News Agency said. Troops were deployed in areas of the city to search for the attacker, who was tracked down to an apartment, the army said. It said members of an elite military intelligence force stormed the apartment early Tuesday and opened fire at the suspect, who then set off an explosive belt he was wearing. “The operation is over,” an army officer told local LBC television. Troops and plainclothes security agents surrounded the area and prevented anyone from entering the building. There was no claim of responsibility for the attack. The army identified the gunman as Abdul-Rahman Mabsout, but gave no other details. LBC said Mabsout was a former member of the Islamic State group who fought with the extremist movement in Syria. It said he had been detained when he returned to Lebanon in 2016 and was released a year later. The attack occurred on the eve of Eid el-Fitr, the feast that marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan of fasting.”

Fox News: Israel Destroys Last Hezbollah Tunnel From Lebanon

“The Israeli military says it has finished sealing the last of a series of Hezbollah attack tunnels under the country's northern border with Lebanon, roughly six months after they were found. Military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus told reporters Monday during a tour of the tunnel that it was “the longest and deepest attack tunnel that Hezbollah dug,” plunging more than 80 meters (260 feet) below ground. Israel launched “Operation Northern Shield” in December to find and destroy what it said were six Hezbollah tunnels burrowed into Israeli territory for the purpose of attacking soldiers and civilians. Hezbollah has not commented. Conricus says the military has “now completed this operation” and that “it is safe to say that there are no more Hezbollah cross-border attack tunnels from Lebanon into Israel.”


Asharq Al-Awsat: Sisi Calls For Countering Extremism With Enlightened Thinking

“Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called for strengthening efforts to confront extremism through an enlightened religious and intellectual discourse. Speaking during a celebration of the Night of Decree (Laylat al-Qadr), Sisi the people’s behaviors could affect the image of their religion negatively or positively in other nations’ views. “Strong religion could be weakened by its believers’ behaviors,” the Egyptian president said, adding that Muslims should represent Islam in a good way through their practices. Sisi warned against the dangers of Islamophobia and called on religious scholars to raise the moderate religious awareness and combat extremism among the youth, adding that the enlightened religious discourse was the best way to fight extremist ideology. Since his accession to power in 2014, Sisi has focused on the issue of “renewing religious discourse.” His official speeches and interventions at public events often include a call to religious scholars to use moderate rhetoric. The president expressed his regret at the presence of some hardline and extremist intellectuals, who make Muslims feel insecure. “We have been killed by our own people for years and we spent a huge amount of money on our security [to be protected] from this ideology,” he stated.”


The Defense Post: Islamic State Fighters Attack Nigeria Military Bases In Lake Chad Area

“Islamic State militants conducted multiple attacks on military bases in northeast Nigeria’s Borno state over the weekend, security sources told AFP on Monday, June 3. Fighters believed to be from the Islamic State West Africa Province faction of Boko Haram attacked military bases on Saturday and Sunday, sources from the military and militia said. There were no immediate details on casualties. Since July last year, ISWAP has intensified attacks on military targets, killing dozens of soldiers and overrunning bases mainly in Lake Chad region in Nigeria, Chad and Niger where it is the dominant insurgent group. On Saturday, ISWAP fighters attacked a base in the town of Marte, around 90 km (56 miles) northeast of Borno state capital Maiduguri, pushing troops out after a prolonged gunfight, the two military sources said. The militants ransacked and burned the base, carting away weapons abandoned by fleeing soldiers. The soldiers withdrew to Dikwa, around 38 km south, and Marte residents fled to Maiduguri, arriving in trucks on Sunday, according to residents of the city. “The insurgents seem not to have intended harming any civilian, but only to capture the town; so they stormed the military base, taking troops there unawares at about 6 p.m.,” an unnamed source told Daily Trust.”

The Punch Nigeria: Security Forces Foil Suicide Bomb Attack On Niger Fuel Depot

“Security forces in southeast Niger shot dead four suicide bombers from the Boko Haram jihadist group as they prepared to blow themselves up at a fuel depot, local sources said on Monday. “Four BH suicide bombers were killed last night by the FDS (the defence and security forces) at the city of Diffa near the Nigerien Company for Oil Storage,” or SONIDEP, a municipal official told AFP. The depot, which stores oil and gas for the region, “was undoubtedly their target,” an elected official said. “Fortunately, they were stopped in time.” Hours earlier, “Two suspected Boko Haram elements were arrested as they preparing to carry out an attack, apparently on a (local) church,” the source said. “Explosive belts were found in a search of an address that they gave to the police.” Diffa, a city of around 200,000 people, has borne the brunt of raids launched by the jihadists from their stronghold in northeast Nigeria. In mid-April, jihadists attacked the central police barracks and took several people hostage in the home of a policeman. Two members of the two security forces and two assailants were killed in an hours-long battle, according to an incomplete toll. Last June, six people were killed when three suicide bombers exploded their suicide belts in a coordinated attack.”


Xinhua: Two Al-Shabab Militants Killed In Southern Somalia

“Somali forces on Monday killed two al-Shabab militants and injured three others in an offensive in the country's southern region of Gedo, officials said. Abdi Aziz Ali Omar, deputy commander of Somali national forces unit 49 told journalists that the forces launched an attack on al-Shabab's base in Bardhere town in Gedo region. “Our forces launched an attack this morning on the militants in Ali Hared and Jungle villages in Bardhere, we took the control of the two villages and inflicted heavy casualties on the extremists, killing two of them and injured three others,” Ali said, adding that their forces are pursuing the remnant of the militants. Residents said there was fierce fight between government forces and the militants in Bardhere town. “Government forces attacked the militants in Ali Hared town, the two sides exchanged heavy weapons but government forces are in the town now and the militants withdrew from it,” Awil Hasan, a local resident told Xinhua by phone. The offensive came three weeks after Somali forces killed 18 militants in an operation in Somalia's southern region of Middle Juba.”


Al Arabiya: Moroccan Police Arrest Three For Planning Terrorist Attacks

“Three ISIS-linked extremists were arrested in Morocco on Monday after planning to “execute terrorist attacks,” according to the counterterrorism office in the North African country. Primary investigations showed that the members were “promoting extremist ideology” and “working to recruit others” to prepare for attacks, the office revealed. The arrests happened in the two Moroccan cities of Errachidia and Tinghir in the southeast of the country. Moroccan authorities had also arrested seven suspected extremists with links to ISIS in April, according to the central bureau of investigations.”

All Africa: Kenya Raises Alarm Over Recruitment Of 100 Residents To Al-Shabaab

“The government has raised alarm over the recruitment of youth from Central region to the terror group Al-Shabaab. Speaking during the Madaraka day celebration in Othaya the Nyeri County commissioner David Kipkemei announced that the government was aware of the recruitment. He further stated that they have information that over 100 young men from the region had been approached to join the terror group. Kipkemei revealed that the government was pursuing two men suspected to have been in Somalia for Al-Shabaab training and recently returned to Nyeri to lead the illegal recruitment exercise. “We are aware they are being recruited by people from other counties and we have all the names. The two men who returned from Somalia should be informed that they are on the governments' radar,” he warned. The gang that was famous for terrorising residents, extorting money from them and carrying out killings has resurfaced in Othaya. “We have information about the criminal gangs coming back to the county and we will not allow these dangerous sects to terrorise the people. There will be a serious intelligence-led operation flush out members of the gang,” Kipkemei added.” 

United Kingdom

BBC News: London Bridge Terror Attack: Services Mark Two-Year Anniversary

“Memorial services have been held at Southwark Cathedral to mark the second anniversary of the London Bridge terror attack. Eight people were killed and 48 seriously injured when three men drove into pedestrians before stabbing people in Borough Market on 3 June 2017. An evensong began at 17:30 BST while a special prayer service finished at 22:16 - the time the attack ended. An inquest into the eight deaths has been adjourned until Tuesday. Xavier Thomas, 45, Christine Archibald, 30, Sara Zelenak, 21, Sebastien Belanger, 36, James McMullan, 32, Kirsty Boden, 28, Alexandre Pigeard, 26, and Ignacio Echeverria, 39, were all killed in the attack. The Old Bailey inquest into their deaths is on its 19th day of live evidence. It has heard the attackers stalked people like “predators” and 12-inch pink kitchen knives which had been bought from a Lidl supermarket weeks earlier were used during the attack. Lawyers representing several victims' families also told the inquest there were “opportunities galore” to identify that the London Bridge extremists were plotting an attack. Khuram Shazad Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba were shot by armed police at Borough Market during their rampage."


The Wall Street Journal: Russia Orders Tinder To Share User Data Amid Online Clampdown

“Russian authorities have ordered dating app Tinder to share user data and messages with government and intelligence agencies, the latest sign of Moscow’s tightening grip over online activities in the country and the Kremlin’s infringement on privacy. Russia’s communications censor, Roskomnadzor, has put Tinder on a list of services required to store user data and communication and hand it over to the government, the agency said on Monday. Apps must also be ready to pass encryption keys to security agencies, including the Federal Security Service. The move comes amid a spate of legislation Moscow has adopted recently aimed at strengthening its control over the internet, raising alarm among civil-rights and free-speech advocates. Online services like Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat have recently been a subject to increasingly stringent requirements in Russia regarding their user data.”

Southeast Asia

The Washington Post: Muslims Leave Sri Lanka Govt To Allow Probe Of Terror Claim

“Eleven Muslim politicians resigned from top government posts in Sri Lanka on Monday, saying they wanted to enable the government to investigate allegations that some of them had links to the extremists who carried out the deadly Easter attacks. Nine Cabinet and junior ministers and two provincial governors stepped down days after a Buddhist monk began a fast demanding the expulsion of three political leaders whom he said were linked to the local militant group that killed over 250 people in the bombings at churches and hotels. The resignations of the ministers will not affect the government’s stability because they have pledged to continue to support the government as backbench lawmakers. Rauf Hakeem, a lawmaker for Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, said he and the others who resigned asked the government to investigate the allegations and allow Muslim political leaders to vindicate themselves amid an ongoing anti-Muslim hate campaign in Sri Lanka. Muslims have seen their shops and home burned, been harassed in public places and subjected to hate comments since the April 21 suicide bombings, which were carried out by a local group that pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.”

Fox News: US To Launch New Program To Fight Extremism In Philippines

“U.S. and Philippine officials on Tuesday were discussing a new program to thwart efforts by Muslim extremists to recruit and mobilize followers in the country's south after a bloody siege by jihadists aligned with the Islamic State group. The three-year program involves helping local officials identify issues that foster extremism and find ways to address them, said U.S. Assistant Secretary Denise Natali of the State Department's Bureau of Conflict & Stabilization Operations. American and Australian surveillance aircraft helped Filipino troops quell the disastrous 2017 siege by hundreds of mostly local militants in southern Marawi city, where the commercial and residential center remains in ruins and off-limits to the public. Despite the militants' defeat, Philippine officials say surviving militants have continued efforts to recruit new followers and plot new attacks. More than 1,100 militants were killed and hundreds of thousands of residents were displaced in the five-month siege in the mosque-studded city, which renewed fears that the Islamic State group was stepping up collaboration with local jihadists to gain a foothold in the region. “We are focusing on how to prevent further and future incidences of violent extremism and radicalization from occurring so that we don't have another Marawi ever again,” Natali said at a news conference.”

Philipine Star: PNP Asks Israel For Anti-Terror Training

“The Philippine National Police (PNP) has asked the Israeli police to train its personnel on anti-terrorism. PNP chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde said yesterday this was the commitment he received from their counterparts in Israel during his official mission to Israel from May 27 to June 1. “They always see threats everyday that is why they are good when it comes to anti-terrorism operations,” he said in a press briefing at Camp Crame in Quezon City, noting the Israeli police force has to deal with suicide attackers on an almost daily basis. Their Israeli counterparts, Albayalde said, has expressed willingness to train Filipino police officers on anti-terrorism. Albayalde’s discussion with police officers in Israel centered on the presence of Islamic State-inspired militants in the country. “There is no monitored or reported threat to our security but we remain on active mode against any terror attacks across the country,” he said.”


The Wall Street Journal: Apple Touts New Privacy Features Amid Scrutiny Of Tech Giants

“Apple Inc. AAPL -1.01% sought to tout itself as a digital-privacy crusader with an anonymous login system and tools that prevent apps from tracking a user’s location, a push that is designed to further differentiate it from Google and Facebook Inc., which have built their fortunes on tracking user activity and behavior. At a gathering Monday of about 6,000 software developers here, the iPhone maker said its mobile operating system coming this fall, iOS 13, will include an Apple sign-in capability that allows people to log into apps without revealing any personal information. It said users would be able to generate automated and random email addresses provided by Apple rather than provide their own. “It’s a fast, easy way to sign in without all the tracking,” said Apple software chief Craig Federighi onstage at the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference. He showed the “Sign in with Apple” feature alongside similar offerings from Facebook and Google, which he said could share user information in a way that compromised privacy.”