Eye on Extremism: March 17, 2023

AFP News: Nigeria Rival Jihadists Locked In Deadly Infighting

“Two jihadist groups have for weeks been engaged in deadly clashes in their northeast Nigeria strongholds according to security sources and residents, who said hundreds of fighters had died. Boko Haram militants have been fighting government troops for almost 14 years in a bid to establish an Islamic caliphate in the region. But they have also been fighting against rival jihadists from the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) group, who emerged in 2016. Clashes initially started over ideological differences, with ISWAP objecting to Boko Haram's indiscriminate killings of Muslims.”

Unherd: The Sahel Now Accounts For Nearly Half The World’s Terrorism

“The Sahel region in Sub-Saharan Africa is now the epicentre of terrorism worldwide, constituting nearly half (43%) of the global death toll, according to the latest edition of the Global Terrorism Index (GTI). Up from 1% of the global total in 2007, incidents in the Sahel have increased by over 2000% in the last 16 years. As of this year, it accounts for more terror fatalities than South Asia and the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) combined, with the latter region experiencing a 32% fall this year — its lowest figure since 2013. The report, produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace, uses data from sources including TerrorismTracker to study trends relating to terrorist activity across the world. The global death toll caused by terrorist attacks fell by 9% last year and is now 38% lower than its 2015 peak, with a 2022 total of 6,701. The number of attacks worldwide declined by 28% to 3,955, and 121 out of 163 countries surveyed — roughly three-quarters — recorded no deaths from terrorism. That is the highest number of fatality-free nations since 2007.”

United States

Reuters: Blinken Brings U.S. Aid To Sahel For Fight Against Islamist Insurgencies

“U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced $150 million in new humanitarian aid for Africa's Sahel region during a visit on Thursday to Niger, a country Washington views as an important ally in the fight against Islamist insurgencies. Blinken's visit to Niger is the first by a U.S. Secretary of State and a strong show of support for an impoverished nation that has had relative success in containing rebel groups and managed a democratic transition in a coup-prone region. ‘It will help provide life-saving support to refugees, asylum seekers, and others impacted by conflict and food insecurity in the region,’ Blinken said in a statement about the new aid, which will go to Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Mauritania as well as Sahelian refugees in Libya. Blinken's trip is the latest in a series of visits to Africa by U.S. government figures as Washington seeks to boost ties with a continent where China's influence is strong and many countries maintain cordial relations with Russia.”


Voice Of America News: Iranian-Born Belgian MP: EU Ministers Working Toward IRGC Terrorist Designation

“The only European Union lawmaker of Iranian origin who lived in Iran until adulthood says EU foreign ministers are working to resolve obstacles to designating Tehran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization. The 27-nation EU bloc has already had sanctions in place for years against Iran’s top military force and its senior personnel in response to their perceived malign activities. But the EU has stopped short of applying the terrorist designation to the IRGC — a step taken by the United States in 2019. European members of parliament, or MEPs, overwhelmingly approved a resolution on January 19 urging the executive EU Council to add the IRGC to its terrorist list. MEPs cited Iran’s violent crackdown on peaceful nationwide protests that erupted in September against the nation’s Islamist rulers and Tehran’s provision of drones to Russia for its war on Ukraine.”


U.S. News: U.S. Commander: ISIS In Afghanistan 6 Months Away From Foreign Attack Capability

“…The non-profit Counter-Extremism Project noted in a March analysis note that the number of attacks carried out by ISIS-K appeared to drop earlier in the year, as did its propaganda initiatives to build international cache for its organization. The project attributes the drop to weather conditions as Afghanistan experiences the coldest winter in 15 years, as well as some successful Taliban operations to target and contain the group.”

Associated Press: UN Seeks Independent Ideas On Tackling Afghanistan’s Taliban

“The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution Thursday calling for independent recommendations on how a united international community should address the enormous challenges confronting Afghanistan — above all the Taliban’s drastic curtailment of education and work for women and girls, but also terrorism and the country’s dire humanitarian and economic situation. The resolution, co-sponsored by Japan and the United Arab Emirates, asks U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to establish an independent panel to assess the situation in Afghanistan and make proposals for a ‘coherent approach’ for key players inside and outside the United Nations dealing with the political, humanitarian and development issues. It ordered the assessment to be provided to the Security Council no later than Nov. 17. United Arab Emirates Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh was asked afterward whether the Security Council and the U.N. Secretariat have run out of their own ideas to address the future of Afghanistan. She called the Afghan situation very complex and said council members hope the ideas from the independent assessment will help bolster the council’s thinking ‘and the thinking of the international community around an international strategy.’”


Pakistan Today: Imran Charged With Terrorism, Attempted Murder In Violent Police Raid On Home

“Imran Khan and members of his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party have been charged with attempted murder and terrorism during violent clashes between police and former prime minister’s supporters that occurred in the aftermath of an attempted arrest at his residence in Lahore. The standoff on Tuesday resulted in four separate cases being filed against the former prime minister. These complaints have been registered under charges of terrorism, attempts to murder, burning and damaging government property, and other provisions. According to the first information report (FIR) filed at Lahore’s Race Course police station, the violent riots were orchestrated by a criminal conspiracy led by Imran Khan himself. The FIR alleges that PTI workers, incited by Khan and other party leaders, attacked police with batons, bricks, stones, and petrol bombs, resulting in injuries to Shehzad Bukhari, the deputy chief of operations for the Islamabad police team.”

Tribune: Terrorists’ Hideout Located In IBO

“The security forces on Wednesday identified a location of the terrorists and recovered huge cache of arms and ammunition after launching an intelligence-based operation (IBO) in general area Boghra Road, Chaman, the military’s media wing said on Thursday. A statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that the IBO was carried out to search a suspected hideout of terrorists who were linked with recent firing incidents on law enforcement agencies and civilians in the Chaman area besides planting of improvised explosive devices in surrounding areas. As a result of continuous technical surveillance and reconnaissance of the area, a location of terrorists was identified and security forces along with CTD were inducted, the statement added. ‘Resultantly, while terrorists had already escaped, a huge cache of arms and ammunition including rockets, improvised explosive devices and other accessories has been removed.”


LBC International: Lebanese Army Thwarts ISIS Plot, Arrests Two Brothers Linked To The Group

“After the Dawn of the Outskirts battle in 2017, which defeated ISIS and Al-Nusra fighters in the outskirts of Arsal, Ras Baalbek, and Al-Qaa, the influence of these terrorist organizations diminished within Lebanon. However, their activities have not entirely ceased, particularly within Palestinian camps and those belonging to Syrian refugees. In a recent development, the Lebanese Army's Intelligence Directorate carried out a preemptive operation in one of the Palestinian camps in Tyre, Lebanon. On March 3, 2023, the operation led to the arrest of two Palestinian brothers with Syrian nationality, proven to be in contact with an ISIS leader in Syria's Daraa. Following months of security monitoring, information obtained by the Intelligence Directorate indicated that the brothers, Abdul Rahman and Mustafa Khalil, were linked to a terrorist cadre in the ISIS organization known as Abu Hafs. This prompted a lure operation resulting in their arrest.”

Middle East

CNN: At Least 4 Palestinians Killed In IDF Operation In Jenin

“At least four Palestinians were killed on Thursday and 23 others injured after an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) operation in Jenin, in the occupied West Bank, according to the Palestinian Authority Health Ministry. At least five of the injured are in critical condition, the health ministry added. In a statement the Israeli security forces said they ‘neutralized two operatives of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization who are suspected of significant terrorist activity.’ A third person ‘was neutralized after he tried to attack the fighters with an iron crowbar,’ the statement continued. ‘During the operation, the forces fired at armed men who fired at them, injuries were detected. Also, violent disturbances developed during which suspects threw stones at the forces.’ Hamas announced in a statement that two of the Palestinians killed in Jenin were its members.”


Garowe Online: US Signs Deal To Continue Training Somalia's Special Forces

“The United States has signed an agreement with the federal government of Somalia on strengthening of Danab Brigade, a move which comes at the time the elite forces are fighting to reclaim most parts of the country from Al-Shabaab. Al-Shabaab militants have been fighting to topple the fragile UN-backed federal government of Somalia for almost two decades but their penetration to most parts of the country has often been thwarted by security forces. The militants, however, control most parts of central and southern Somalia. Thursday's agreement will enable Somalia to benefit from advanced training of the national army particularly the Danab Special forces which are critical in the fight against Al-Shabaab. The Danab Special forces are trained by the US Africa Command in the Ballidogle Airfield in Lower Shabelle.”


Morocco World News: Morocco Arrests ISIS-Affiliated Suspect Plotting Terror Acts

“Morocco’s security services arrested on Thursday an ISIS-affiliated suspect in Safi, 138 kilometers away from the city of Marrakech. Morocco’s security services arrested on Thursday an ISIS-affiliated suspect in Safi, 138 kilometers away from the city of Marrakech. The suspect was plotting terror attacks aimed at undermining Morocco’s security, a statement from the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations (BCIJ) said, adding that preliminary investigations confirmed that the suspect pledged allegiance recently to the emir of ISIS. The suspect was planning to use the ‘lone wolf’ strategy to attack his targets, including civil servants. A lone wolf attack is when an individual carries out heinous crimes alone, such as committing murder. BCIJ said that security services seized video evidence containing the suspect’s pledge of allegiance to ISIS as well as his confession to join Daesh conflict zones and camps.”

The North Africa Post: Morocco: Arrest Of Daesh Sympathizer In Safi

“Judicial police in Safi on Wednesday arrested a Daesh-sympathizer, allegedly involved in preparing a terrorist plan in an individual project to seriously undermine public order. This operation was carried out based on detailed information provided by the Directorate General of Territorial Surveillance (DGST), said a statement released on Thursday by the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations (BCIJ). The investigation revealed that the suspect had pledged allegiance to the alleged emir of Daesh, said the statement, adding that he has effectively started to locate and identify targets of his criminal plan, mainly officials, using the operational modes of lone wolves. Sweep operations conducted at the suspect’s home led to the seizure of a video containing his alleged allegiance to the Daesh organization and his intention to join the fighting camps of the said organization. The defendant will be tried at the end of the investigation process conducted by the BCIJ under the supervision of the terrorism and extremism prosecutor, the statement said.”


Anadolu Agency: 10 Terror Suspects, 1 Convicted DHKP-C Terrorist Released From Prison In Greece

“At least 11 people, including one convicted DHKP-C terrorist, have been released from prison in Greece, according to local media on Thursday. Out of 11, only one of them was sentenced to 18 months after being found guilty for possession of weapons, while 10 others were acquitted, the EFSYN newspaper reported. However, that convict was released as he was remanded in custody for three years. In March 2020, Greek counter-terrorism police carried out operations against the terror group in Exarcheia and Sepolia regions in the capital Athens.”

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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