Eye on Extremism: March 14, 2023

CNN: NYC Bike Path Terrorist To Serve Life In Prison After Jury Fails To Reach Unanimous Decision On Death Penalty

“A terrorist convicted of committing a 2017 attack for ISIS that killed eight on a New York City bike path will serve life in prison after a jury said Monday it could not reach a unanimous decision on the death penalty. Sayfullo Saipov effectively learned his sentence when the jury in the penalty phase of his trial in Manhattan federal court told a judge that it was unable to reach an undivided decision favoring the death penalty on any of the nine capital counts it was asked to consider. A unanimous decision would have been required to sentence Saipov to death in the first death penalty trial under the Biden administration. Absent the death penalty, the statutorily mandated sentence for the convictions is life in prison, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York said. US District Judge Vernon Broderick did not immediately impose the mandated sentence Monday, and said an official sentencing date will be scheduled.”

Voice Of America News: US Hate Crimes Hit Record High: FBI Updated Report

“The number of hate crimes in the United States jumped dramatically in 2021 to set a record high of nearly 11,000 incidents, the FBI said in a supplement to its annual hate crimes report. There were 10,840 reported incidents of hate crime in 2021, according to the update, a 31% increase from 8,263 reported the previous year. The FBI had previously put the number of hate crimes in 2021 at 7,262, based on incomplete data. The year-on-year increase in hate crimes in 2021 was the largest in more than three decades, according to Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. ‘This represents a horrifying new era that we're in with elevated historic levels across many years and a broken record in 2021,’ Levin said in an interview with VOA. The FBI defines hate crime as a criminal offense motivated ‘by the offender's bias(es) against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender or gender identity.’ The most reported hate crimes in 2021: intimidation, simple assault and destruction, damage and vandalism.”

United States

CNN: Stanford University Police Launch Hate Crime Investigation After Antisemitic Drawing Found On Jewish Student’s Dorm Room Door

“The placing of an antisemitic drawing in a dormitory at Stanford University is being investigated by campus police as a hate crime, officials said. The drawing, which included “multiple swastikas and an image modified to resemble Adolf Hitler,” was discovered on a whiteboard attached to a Jewish student’s dorm room door Friday, the university said in a statement. ‘This incident is being investigated by the Department of Public Safety as a crime motivated by hate. Purposely intimidating and threatening people based on protected identities is antithetical to Stanford’s values,’ the statement said. Antisemitism ‘and other acts of hate and intolerance are unacceptable on this campus.’ Due to the criminal investigation, the drawing isn’t considered protected speech and the person or persons responsible could face legal or disciplinary action, the university said.”


The National: RAF Drone Strike Hits 'Leading' ISIS Terrorist In Syria

“The Royal Air Force carried out a drone strike in Syria against a ‘leading’ ISIS terrorist who was involved in chemical and biological weapons, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told the Commons on Monday. The strike took place in December, with two missiles fired, both of which ‘struck the target accurately’, Mr Wallace told MPs. ISIS once had a stronghold in north-east Syria. Currently several groups, including US-backed Kurdish-led forces as well as Syrian government troops with their Russian and Iranian allies, control the area. But ISIS sleeper cells still carry out deadly attacks.”

Al-Mayadeen: US-Led Forces In Syria Transport 150 ISIS Militants From Al-Hasakah

“Al Mayadeen sources reported that the so-called ‘International Coalition’ led by the United States in Syria has transferred a number of ISIS militants from the Industrial Secondary Prison in the city of Al-Hasakah. The sources stated that the ISIS militants of various foreign nationalities, who number about 150, were transferred to the US bases of Al-Shadadi and Al-Omar in the countryside of Deir Ezzor and the Semalka border crossing, on the border with Iraq. On Sunday, the head of the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service, Abdul-Wahhab Al-Saadi, confirmed the elimination of 22 terrorists, including prominent leaders, in a qualitative operation in Al-Anbar Governorate, in the west of the country. The Iraqi News Agency quoted Al-Saadi as saying that 22 terrorists were killed in a specific operation in Al-Anbar, adding that the terrorists who were killed included prominent leaders of ISIS terrorist gangs, and they were all wearing explosive belts. This came in parallel with the launch of the Popular Mobilization Authority in Iraq, a large-scale security operation in the western Nineveh Governorate.”


Associated Press: IS Claims Bombing At Shiite Center In Northern Afghanistan

“The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for a bombing over the weekend at a cultural center run by the minority Shiite community in northern Afghanistan that killed one person and wounded eight people. The Tabian center of the Hazaras in Balkh’s provincial capital, Mazar-e-Sharif, was struck on Saturday, during an event honoring local journalists. The regional affiliate of IS — known as the Islamic State in Khorasan Province — is a key rival of the Taliban and has frequently targeted members of Afghanistan’s Shiite minority. The militant group has increased its attacks in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover of the country in August 2021. IS attacks have also included Taliban patrols.”


The News International: Two Terrorists, Including ‘KPO Attack Mastermind’, Killed In Overnight CTD Operation

“The Sindh police on Monday claimed to have killed the mastermind of the recent terrorist attack on the Karachi Police Office (KPO) along with his accomplice during an overnight operation. Two other suspects were also arrested in the operation that was carried out by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of the police. The CTD said it seized weapons, motorcycles and suicide vests from the possession of the arrested men. The operation took place on the night between Sunday and Monday near the Northern Bypass in the Manghopir area. According to CTD Incharge Raja Umer Khattab, the mastermind of the KPA attack was a man, Aryadullah, alias Hassan, who was killed along with his companion Waheedullah, alias Khalid, alias Huzaifa, during an exchange of fire with the CTD. The CTD incharge added that their two accomplices, Abdul Aziz, alias Ali, and Mehran, alias Maherban, were also arrested during the operation. Later in the day, Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon addressed a press conference to brief the media on the CTD operation. He was accompanied by the CTD incharge, Additional IG CTD Imran Yaqoob Minhas, DIG CTD Zulfiqar Larik and SSP Tariq Nawaz.”

Middle East

i24 News: Islamic Jihad Calls On Israeli Arabs To Start Another Intifada

“A spokesman for the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group called on Israeli Arabs to start an intifada, an armed uprising.  Speaking after large-scale military drills were held in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday, Abu Hamza threatened that ‘the Islamic Jihad will cause the stupid enemy to be worn down by launching rockets in its direction, since the organization has many other means of warfare that will hurt the enemy.’ ‘We call on all the fighters among our people and the free people in the West Bank and in Israel to mobilize for this war, so that there will be an overall intifada that will create the basis for the end of our enemy and its expulsion from all of Palestine,’ he said. ‘We will turn the so-called Gaza envelope, including cities and the occupied colonies, into a place that cannot be lived in, and we will launch rockets to ever further ranges,’ Hamza claimed.”


Garowe Online: Al-Shabaab Morning Bombing In Somalia Leaves Several Dead

“Al-Shabaab has waged yet another attack on Tuesday morning in the suburbs of Bandhere town, multiple eyewitnesses reported, in what could be a revenge mission after having suffered several defeats across the country as Somalia heightened operations against the group. For the last seven months, the Somali National Army [SNA] with the help of the US Africa Command, the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS] and local militia, has been fighting the militants in their strongholds, recovering many strategic towns in the process according to the government. According to reports, the militants struck Bandhere town on Tuesday leaving quite a number of people dead and wounded Gedo governor Ahmed Bulle Gared and a military official named colonel Ahmed Abdullahi.”


Asharq Al-Awsat: Mauritanian Security Pursues 'Sleeper Cells', Fears Return Of Clashes With 'Al-Qaeda'

“The Mauritanian authorities announced that an anti-terrorism military unit carried out a special operation in a remote desert area, killing three of the four al-Qaeda members who escaped from the central prison in Nouakchott a week ago. The fleeing prisoners were apprehended about 400 km northeast of the capital en route to a desert road used by smugglers leading to Mali. A Mauritanian army source believed the terrorists most likely intended to head towards northern Mali, the strongholds of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. The source told Asharq Al-Awsat that they were in a four-wheel drive car, but it broke down, and they were spotted by locals, who informed security.”

United Kingdom

The Guardian: Police Officer Charged With Terror Offence For Ulster Defence Association Social Media Posts

“A police officer has been charged with a terrorism offence after posting on social media in support of the Ulster Defence Association. William Loyd-Hughes, 26, is alleged to have posted images promoting the loyalist paramilitary group last year while employed by West Yorkshire police. The officer, who was based at Huddersfield police station, has been charged with publishing messages in support of a proscribed organisation contrary to the Terrorism Act 2000. The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said Loyd-Hughes had also been charged with three counts of sharing grossly offensive messages on Twitter. The alleged offences are believed to have taken place in August and September 2022, while he was serving with West Yorkshire police as a detention officer.”

The National: Climate Protester Jailed After Vowing To Continue Disruptive Action

“…’Imprisoning peaceful protesters has changed the terrain and we have to choose how we react to that.’ In January, Prof Ian Acheson of the Counter Extremism Project called on the UK to use existing laws and set up special courts to expedite the arrest, prosecution and punishment of people whose actions have a disproportionate effect on the public. He warned some radicalised people involved in protest causes may feel the only way to keep their case alive may be ‘through a high-profile act of violence’. He spoke after Extinction Rebellion, also known as XR, vowed at the start of this year to end acts of public disruption.”


The Jerusalem Post: Journalists Of French State-Owned Network Suspended For Hitler, Hamas Praise

“On the heels of the exposé of antisemitic social media posts by four journalists working for France 24, the French state-owned news network has suspended the journalists and is currently investigating their social media pages. The France 24 news site reported online that ‘after the publication of an article on the CAMERA website [Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America], and taken up by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, implicating a journalist and three Arabic-language correspondents of France 24 regarding certain comments they allegedly posted on their personal pages on social networks, the channel's management has immediately opened an audit on these alleged posts, as it communicated internally on March 10.’ CAMERA’s exposé, which can be read here in full, demonstrates that the four journalists failed to live up to France 24’s charter of ethics. In numerous social media posts, the journalists can be seen praising Hitler, minimizing the Holocaust, and glorifying Hamas-affiliated terrorists who murdered and maimed scores of Jewish civilians.”


The Tribune: NIA Raids House Of ISIS Suspect In Srinagar

“The NIA today said it had raided the house of a suspected Islamic State operative in Srinagar as part of an investigation into a case related to activities of some individuals from Kerala linked to the global terror group — Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). In an official statement, the NIA said the house of Uzair Azhar Bhat, suspected to have been a part of the Kerala module of the Islamic State, was raided at the Karfali Mohalla locality in Srinagar’s downtown. The NIA also confirmed that the raiding team seized digital devices which are being examined. Further investigation is in progress. In 2021, the NIA had launched a probe against Mohammed Ameen, alias Abu Yahya, of Kadannamanna in Kerala, who had been running various Islamic State propaganda channels on different social media platforms. ‘Through these channels, he was propagating violent jihadi ideology of the ISIS. He was radicalising and recruiting new members into this terror module. He and his associates had even identified certain individuals for targeted killings,’ the NIA said, adding that they had also made plans to undertake ‘Hijrah’(migration) to Jammu and Kashmir for engaging in terrorist acts and had raised funds from various sources for this trip.”


Daily Sabah: ‘PKK Terrorists, Armenians Train Together At Iranian-Run Karabakh Camp’

“Two experts have claimed that members of the PKK terrorist group and Armenians are being trained together at a military camp in Azerbaijan’s disputed region of Karabakh where Iran allegedly moved some 4,000 militants left idle following the détente in Syria, mostly propelled by the twin earthquakes that killed thousands on Feb. 6. ‘These Iranian militants are highly likely to be sent to not just Karabakh but also to the warzone between Russia and Ukraine,’ according to professor Toğrul Ismayıl, an expert in Russian and Eurasian politics. ‘These allegations are 100% accurate,’ said another expert, Babek Şahit of Tabriz Research Institute. As tensions boil between neighbors Azerbaijan and Iran, Tehran has declared Armenia’s border security as its redline and has been shifting militants to Karabakh, the source of the longstanding conflict between Baku and Yerevan, according to Ismayıl and Şahit.”


Wired: The Case For Regulating Platform Design

“IN THE SUMMER of 2017, three Wisconsin teenagers were killed in a high-speed car crash. At the time of the collision, the boys were recording their speed using Snapchat's Speed Filter—123 miles per hour. This was not the first such incident: The same filter was linked to several other crashes between 2015 and 2017. Parents of the Wisconsin teenagers sued Snapchat, claiming that its product, which awarded ‘trophies, streaks, and social recognition’ to users who topped 100 miles per hour, was negligently designed to encourage dangerous high-speed driving. A lower court initially found that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act immunized Snapchat from responsibility, claiming the app wasn’t liable for third-party content created by people using its Speed Filter. But in 2021 the Ninth Circuit reversed the lower court's ruling. Platforms are largely immune from being held liable for this kind of content due to Section 230. But, in this important case–Lemmon v. Snap–the Ninth Circuit made a critical distinction between a platform’s own harmful product design and its hosting of harmful third-party content. The argument wasn’t that Snapchat had created or hosted harmful content, but rather that it had negligently designed a feature, the Speed Filter, that incentivized dangerous behavior.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.


On March 25, 2017, as Bangladesh Armed Forces raided a militant hideout in South Surma Upazila, Bangladesh, militants detonated two bombs in a crowd of 500-600 onlookers. The attack, claimed by ISIS, killed four civilians and three police officers, and injured 50 others.

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