Eye on Extremism: March 15, 2023

Voice Of America News: Officials Warn Against Underestimating Al-Shabab And IS In Somalia

“Somali officials are warning the federal and regional governments of Somalia not to underestimate the strength of militant groups al-Shabab and Islamic State as authorities plan new military operations against them. Despite recent successes in dislodging al-Shabab from vast countryside areas in central Somalia, the militant group hit back, setting off deadly explosions and raiding military bases and installations, killing dozens. In the latest attack Tuesday, an al-Shabab suicide car bomb targeted a building housing regional officials who have been planning mobilizations against al-Shabab in the town of Bardhere, Gedo region. The attack killed four soldiers and injured nine others. On March 7, al-Shabab raided a military base at Janaa Cabdalle village, killing at least five soldiers. Somali officials warn that al-Shabab’s militia strength is ‘intact,’ and they argue recent operations did not substantially weaken the group’s strength.”

The National: The Five Most Dangerous Terror Groups In 2022

“Four of the terrorist groups that killed the most people last year were ISIS affiliates, ending the lives of 1,833 people in 643 attacks worldwide, a new report has shown. Those numbers are a drop from 2021, when 2,194 people were killed in 865 attacks. The Global Terrorism Index (GTI) from the Institute of Economics and Peace released its annual report on Monday, detailing trends in terrorism around the world, including a list of the deadliest groups. Here's what you need to know:”

United States

IrishCentral: Boston Officials Have White Supremacists “On Their Radar” Ahead Of St. Patrick’s Day

“…Last year, members of the Nationalist Social Club / NSC 131, which is described as a neo-Nazi group by both the Counter Extremism Project and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), hung a banner that read "Keep Boston Irish" along the South Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade's route. The neo-Nazi group also filmed themselves that day handing out fliers at the parade. One flier read "if you love your heritage and your city, join us!" while another read, "above all, we stand for the security and prosperity of white New Englanders."”

WTOP News: Washington FBI Chief ‘Concerned All The Time’ About Terrorism, Spies And Crime

“…It was a threat that other terror groups adopted that chills western counterterrorism officials to the bone. “It means we need to be perfect 100% of the time. They need to be perfect only once,” said Hans-Jakob Schindler, Sr. Director of the Counter Extremism Project, in an interview. Schindler said terror groups are essentially waiting for the right opportunity to attack western countries. “They recognize that we have all the technology, that we have the military might, and great intelligence agencies,” Schindler said. “They also understand that we have very evolved and complex societies and economies.” But most importantly, he said, “They also know we can’t predict when they will attack.””

CT Examiner: Uproar In Stamford As White Supremacist Literature Blankets Neighborhoods

“…The NSC is a loose network of small chapters acting under their own rules, according to the Counter Extremism Project, a non-partisan international policy group that combats extremist threats. NSC is also known as NSC-131; the 131 is alphanumeric code for a-c-a, or anti-communist action, according to the Counter Extremism Project. The flyers found in Springdale, Pepper Ridge and High Ridge refer to New England 131, likely a chapter of NSC-131. ‘The flyers are in plastic bags so they won’t be destroyed if it rains. The rocks are in there so the bags don’t fly away,’ Sobel said. ‘In other places in Connecticut we’ve seen oatmeal in the bags instead of rocks. People are taking time to make sure you get their message.’ It’s a tactic designed to intimidate with little risk that the perpetrators will get caught, Sobel said.”


Voice Of America News: Pakistan Suffers Record Terror-Related Deaths, Afghanistan Registers 58% Drop

“Pakistan recorded the second largest increase in terrorism-related deaths worldwide in 2022, with the toll rising significantly to 643, a 120% rise from the 292 deaths the previous year, a new report said Tuesday. The year saw Pakistan overtake Afghanistan as the country with the most terrorist attacks and deaths in South Asia, a position held by the latter since 2017, said the annual Global Terrorism Index (GTI), released by the Australia-based Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). Burkina Faso had the largest number of deaths globally, increasing from 759 to 1,135 in 2022. The GTI said Afghanistan remained the country ‘most impacted’ by terrorism for the fourth consecutive year, despite attacks falling by 75% and deaths being reduced by 58% in 2022. Afghanistan recorded 633 deaths in 2022, according to the GTI.”

Pakistan Observer: CTD Arrests TTP Terrorist, Recovers Kalashnikov

“The Sindh Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) Investigation Wing on Tuesday claimed to have arrested a terrorist affiliated with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Tariq Geedhar group who had come to Karachi to carry out terrorist activities. According to a CTD spokesman, the arrested accused identified as Israr, was a close aide of the group’s commander and had reached Karachi 20 days ago from Darra Adam Khel. CTD also recovered a Kalashnikov from his possession, he said, adding, the accused had been a facilitator in a number of terrorist activities.”

Dawn: Four ‘Militants’ Killed In D.I. Khan, N. Waziristan

“Four alleged militants were killed and three injured in two separate intelligence-based operations in Dera Ismail Khan and North Waziristan districts on Tuesday. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police’s Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) said an operation was launched on a tip-off about the presence of militants near the Bhagwani area within the limits of the Dera Town police station. The CTD statement added that the militants opened fire on law enforcement personnel as they closed in on the location, forcing them to retaliate. The firing left two militants dead two while three managed to escape. The deceased were identified as Akhtar Munir and Abdul Aziz and they were wanted by the D.I. Khan CTD in several terrorism cases, according to the statement.”

Middle East

AFP News: Hamas Warns Israel Against 'Violations' During Ramadan

“The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas warned Israel on Tuesday it would react to any possible ‘violations’ at a flashpoint holy site in Jerusalem during the upcoming Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, issued the warning less than two weeks before the start of Ramadan and amid an escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict under Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Salah al-Aruri, deputy head of the Hamas political bureau, said the risk of escalation entirely "depends on the Israeli occupation's violations across Palestine and at Al-Aqsa mosque" located in annexed east Jerusalem. Al-Aqsa, a Jordan-administered mosque compound, is the third holiest site in Islam. It is built on top of what Jews call the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site.”

The National: UAE Teams Up With US Anti-Semitism Group To Combat Extremism And Promote Peace

“The UAE has launched a centre for coexistence to counter extremist ideologies and promote peace and tolerance across the region. The Manara Centre, based in Abu Dhabi, aims to help lay the groundwork for a future where all are treated equally, regardless of faith or ethnicity. It has been established in partnership with the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish civil rights group based in the US. The organisation will work with universities in the Middle East and South-East Asia to further its goals, with education programmes to be introduced in August. Ten universities are due to introduce scholarships as part of the academic scheme.”

The Times Of Israel: Far-Right MK Probed By Police For Terror Incitement After Calling For ‘Burnt Huwara’

“Police said Tuesday they summoned Otzma Yehudit MK Zvika Fogel for questioning as part of a probe into alleged incitement to terror after the lawmaker explicitly backed extremist settlers who torched Palestinian homes and vehicles in the northern West Bank town of Huwara. In a statement, police said they have opened an investigation into Fogel for the comments, and that he was summoned for questioning Tuesday by the serious crimes unit. Last month, the coalition lawmaker, a former Israel Defense Forces brigadier general, gave his unambiguous backing to the rioters, who rampaged through the town hours after two Israeli brothers were killed in a terror attack there, saying: ‘A closed, burnt Huwara — that’s what I want to see.’ ‘That’s the only way to achieve deterrence. After a murder like yesterday’s, we need burning villages when the IDF doesn’t act,’ Fogel told Galey Israel Radio. Following the outrage over his comments, Fogel tweeted that his words had been ‘distorted,’ without explaining how.”


Vanguard: I Killed Over 15 Persons In Katsina, Says 28-Year-Old Terrorist

“28-years-old Suleiman Iliyasu of Walawa Asaurara, Sabuwar  Ungwa, Jibiia LGA, Katsina State has confessed to killing over 15 persons in different banditry attack across katsina State. Iliyasu, popularly referred to as Yar’bushiya made the confession at the Katsina Police Command Headquarters where he was paraded before pressmen on Tuesday. The spokesperson of the Command, SP Gambo Isah, who paraded the suspect noted that “Yar’bushiya was arrested by the Area Commander, Dutsinma few days back for various crimes related to terrorism. ‘The suspect had participated in several armed robbery, kidnapping and cattle rustling across the state,’ Gambo said.”


Associated Press: Witnesses Say Extremist Attack In Somalia Kills At Least 9

“Witnesses say at least nine people, including five soldiers, were killed Tuesday when an explosives-laden car targeted the entrance of a guest house in the southern Somalia town of Bardhere in Gedo region. Suleyman Hassan, who works with the district commissioner, told The Associated Press that the governor and senior military officers were wounded and airlifted to the capital, Mogadishu. The extremist group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack that occurred as military officers and Gedo administration officials in Bardhere began to recruit locals to help drive al-Shabab out of the Middle and Lower Jubba districts. Witness Ibrahim Aden said at least 10 people including civilians were wounded. ‘I have seen with my own eyes several people, including two of my distant relatives, sustain injuries,’ he said.”


Reuters: Islamic State Claims Responsibility For East Congo Attack That Killed 19

“Islamic State claimed responsibility for an east Congo village attack that killed 19 people on Sunday, according to the group's Amaq news agency. Officials said on Sunday that suspected Islamist militants killed at least 19 people and burned a medical facility in a raid on Kirindera village in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.”

Reuters: As Russia Looms, US Seeks Influence In West Africa's Fight Against Islamists

“U.S. commanders leading annual counter-terrorism exercises in West Africa have urged coastal countries to depend on each other to contain a spreading Islamist insurgency, rather than non-Western powers, after Mali last year hired Russian mercenaries. Relations between Russia and the U.S. have become more hostile since Moscow invaded Ukraine over a year ago, and Washington and its allies oppose Russian influence in West Africa. During drills this month in northern Ghana, trainers urged troops to share phone numbers with foreign counterparts operating over poorly marked borders, often just a few miles apart. Elsewhere, soldiers have also learned to use motorbikes, as the insurgents do, for their speed and manoeuvrability.”

Defence Web: Fatalities From Militant Islamist Violence In Africa Soar By 50 Per Cent

“Over the last year, violence linked to Islamist groups in Africa increased by a quarter while deaths grew by almost 50% to over 19 000, representing a new record of extremist violence, according to a new report. The Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) said the increase in violence continues a decade-long upward trend, and reflects a near doubling in the number of such events since 2019, with violence concentrated in the Sahel, Somalia, Lake Chad Basin, Mozambique, and North Africa. The estimated 19 109 death toll passes the previous peak of 18 850 fatalities linked to militant Islamists set in 2015 when Boko Haram was at its height. It also marks a sharp reversal from 2021, which saw a slight drop in fatalities to 12 920. Militant Islamist violence in the Sahel and Somalia accounted for the majority (77%) of the total reported violent events across Africa in 2022 as extremist-linked deaths in the Lake Chad Basin, Mozambique, and North Africa all plateaued or declined over the past year, the ACSS reported.”

United Kingdom

Mirror: 'American Spy Working At GCHQ' Stabbed In 'Terror Attack' As Man, 29, Arrested

“A man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and terrorism offences after a woman was stabbed near GCHQ's headquarters. The woman sustained serious injuries and was taken to hospital for treatment, where she remains in a stable condition. Gloucestershire Police confirmed a 29-year-old suspect was arrested in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, following the incident outside a leisure centre at around 9.15am on March 9. The man was arrested on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of terrorism contrary to Section 41 of the Terrorism Act (2000), as well as on suspicion of preparing acts of terrorism under Section 5 of the Terrorism Act (2006). The force said due to some specific details of this incident, Counter Terrorism Policing South East is leading the investigation, working alongside Counter Terrorism Policing South West and officers from Gloucestershire Constabulary.”


Anadolu Agency: 319 German Soldiers Suspected Of Right-Wing Extremism: Ombudsman

“German authorities identified at least 319 suspected cases of right-wing extremism in the armed forces, parliamentary armed forces ombudsman Eva Hogl said Tuesday. Hogl said right-wing extremism in the military remains a concern despite a decrease in cases in 2022, compared to the previous year. ‘Right-wing extremism is also a problem in the German armed forces. In total, 319 cases were reported last year. While the decrease is a positive development, this is an issue which should be closely monitored,’ she said at a news conference in Berlin. Hogl said the military is taking new measures to address the problem, disciplinary processes will be accelerated and those who commit such offenses will be quickly expelled from military service.”


Daily Mail: ISIS Bride Who Was Returned To Australia Conceals Her Face As She Fronts Court On Charges She Willingly Entered Syria To Join Her Husband While He Fought For The Terror Outfit

“Mariam Raad on Wednesday fronted court in person for the first time since being charged with knowingly entering Islamic State territory in 2014 to join the father of her four children, senior IS fighter Muhammad Zahab. The 31-year-old appeared at Young Local Court where her case was adjourned to give prosecutors more time to compile 'outstanding' evidence including financial records and messages sent by mobile devices while she was in Syria. Ms Raad has been living in the regional NSW town since she was brought back to Australia in October last year from a displaced persons camp in north-eastern Syria where she had been living for about three years. She was rescued from squalid conditions in the Al Roj camp, near the Iraqi border, along with three other women and 13 children whose relatives are IS members who are missing or dead.”


5 Dariya News: 10 Killed In Al-Qaeda Attack In Yemen

“At least 10 people were killed on Tuesday in an attack by Al-Qaeda terrorists on members of government forces in Yemen's Shabwa province, the media reported, citing officials. ‘A group of gunmen of the Yemen-based al-Qaida branch launched an attack on Al-Safra point of the Fifth Brigade of Shabwa's local defence troops,’ an official told Xinhua news agency on the condition of anonymity. ‘The militants launched an attack on the checkpoint, using heavy weapons and grenades, surrounding the soldiers and cutting off their escape routes,’ he said. ‘However, reinforcements from other government troops in Shabwa arrived quickly on the scene and provided timely intervention support to the beleaguered troops,’ he added. The reinforcements engaged the attackers in a fierce fire-fight, eliminating at least six terrorists and bringing the situation under control.”

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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