Eye on Extremism: March 21, 2024

Associated Press: German Woman Loses Appeal Of 14-Year Sentence For Letting Enslaved Yazidi Girl Die In Iraq

“A German federal court said Wednesday it had rejected a woman’s appeal of her 14-year sentence for allowing a 5-year-old Yazidi girl she and her husband enslaved when they were members of the Islamic State group in Iraq to die of thirst in the sun. The defendant, a German convert to Islam, was convicted in October 2021 of, among other things, two counts of crimes against humanity through enslavement — one case resulting in death — and membership in a terrorist organization abroad. She was initially given a 10-year sentence, which was overturned by the Federal Court of Justice on the grounds that judges had erred in sentencing the defendant for a “less severe case” of crimes against humanity and overlooked aggravating circumstances. A new sentencing hearing for the woman, identified only as Jennifer W. in line with German privacy rules, ended in August with the 14-year sentence. The court said Wednesday it rejected her appeal as “manifestly unfounded.” The statement on the ruling didn’t specify on what grounds she appealed.”

Reuters: Pakistan Port Attack Kills Two Soldiers, Eight Militants, Say Officials

“Pakistani security forces on Wednesday repulsed a gun and bomb attack by militants on a complex outside the strategic port of Gwadar, which killed all eight militants and two soldiers, officials said. China has invested heavily in the mineral-rich southwestern province of Balochistan, including developing Gwadar, despite a decades-long separatist insurgency. Armed with guns and bombs, the militants stormed the complex just outside the port that houses offices of government departments, intelligence agencies and paramilitary forces, said Saeed Ahmed Umrani, a government commissioner. The militants detonated a number of bombs before launching a shooting attack and trying to storm the complex, he told Reuters. In a post on social media platform X, Provincial Chief Minister Sarfraz Bugti said eight militants were "neutralised by security forces." He added: "The message is loud & clear. Whosoever chooses to use violence will see no mercy from the state." Two soldiers were also killed, said a Pakistan army statement, which said the attack was successfully thwarted by the troops deployed at the facility.”

United States

The Washington Examiner: Former Top Commander Blames Chaotic Afghanistan Withdrawal On Biden’s Delay In Ordering Full Evacuation

“BLAMING BIDEN, ‘TOO SLOW AND TOO LATE’: The two generals have testified before, both in public hearings and in private classified briefings, about what went wrong in the summer of 2021 as they tried to execute a plan to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan that they had both strongly recommended against. Retired Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, former commander of the U.S. Central Command, and retired Gen. Mark Milley, former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, out of uniform and sporting gray hair and dark suits, were still constrained from revealing their conversations with President Joe Biden but made clear they believed then, and still believe now, that abandoning Afghanistan, and in particular the way the withdrawal was carried out, was a mistake that had deadly consequences.”

Associated Press: Blinken Adds Israel Stop To Latest Mideast Tour As Tensions Rise Over Gaza War

“U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Israel this week as part of his sixth urgent mission to the Middle East since the Israelis’ war with Hamas began in October, as relations between the two countries have soured dramatically in recent weeks. The visit comes amid a flurry of calls, planned trips by U.S. and Israeli officials and public airings of severe disagreements over the state of the conflict — notably Israeli plans to mount a major military operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah and what will happen to Gaza after the war ends. The State Department said the Israel stop would cap Blinken’s latest Mideast tour that started in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday and will continue in Egypt on Thursday. The top U.S. diplomat will be in Tel Aviv on Friday after talks with Arab leaders and foreign ministers in Jeddah and Cairo focused on the war in Gaza. “In Israel, Secretary Blinken will discuss with the leadership of the government of Israel the ongoing negotiations to secure the release of all hostages,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said. “He will discuss the need to ensure the defeat of Hamas, including in Rafah, in a way that protects the civilian population, does not hinder the delivery of humanitarian assistance, and advances Israel’s overall security.””


Reuters: Three Killed, 12 Injured In Afghanistan Suicide Bombing - Police

“A suicide bombing in front of a bank killed at least three people and injured 12 others in Afghanistan's Kandahar city on Thursday, local police said. The blast mostly killed civilians who had gathered in front of the bank to withdraw cash, the Kandahar police department said in a statement.”


Bloomberg: Militants Stage Attack Near China-Operated Pakistan Port Complex

“Unidentified militants have staged an attack near Pakistan’s Gwadar port complex in the country’s southwest Balochistan region, according to a local police official. Three people have been killed in the ongoing attack and the army has surrounded the area, Anwar Jameel, the police official, said from the port city. It wasn’t immediately clear if those killed were militants, civilians or military personnel. There are reports of explosions and exchange of fire from the area close to the port that is operated by a Chinese company. Balochistan province has seen low-intensity insurgency for decades, with Baloch nationalists demanding greater political autonomy and a bigger share of the province’s resources.”

Middle East

Bloomberg: China, Russia Reach Agreement With Houthis On Red Sea Shipping

“The Yemen-based Houthis have told China and Russia their ships can sail through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden without being attacked, according to several people with knowledge of the militant group’s discussions. China and Russia reached an understanding following talks between their diplomats in Oman and Mohammed Abdel Salam, one of the Houthis’ top political figures, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing private matters. In exchange, the two countries may provide political support to the Houthis in bodies such as the United Nations Security Council, according to the people. It’s not entirely clear how that support would be manifested, but it could include blocking more resolutions against the group.”

Wall Street Journal: Israelis Craft Secret Plan To Put Anti-Hamas Palestinians In Charge Of Gaza Aid

“Israeli security officials are quietly developing a plan to distribute aid in the Gaza Strip that could eventually create a Palestinian-led governing authority there, Israeli and Arab officials said, causing a fierce backlash from Hamas and creating divisions in Israel’s war cabinet. A top Israeli defense official has held talks with Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan to build regional support for an emerging effort to enlist Palestinian leaders and businessmen who have no links to Hamas—a U.S.-designated terrorist organization—in distributing aid, some of the officials said. The aid would enter by land and sea after Israeli inspection and would head to large warehouses in central Gaza, where Palestinians would then distribute it, the officials said. When the war is over, the people in charge of aid would assume authority to govern, backed up by security forces funded by wealthy Arab governments, the officials said.”

Associated Press: A Palestinian Boy Is Shot Dead After He Lit A Firework. Israel’s Use Of Deadly Force Is Scrutinized

“A  12-year-old boy in east Jerusalem lights the fuse of a long firework and hoists it in the air. Then, just before it explodes and illuminates the night sky with a burst of red, he is shot in the chest by Israeli police and falls to the ground. A clip of Rami Halhouli’s final moments last week has been circulating on social media for days. Human rights activists say it shines a light on the surge of Palestinians — including dozens of children — who have been killed without justification by Israeli forces since Oct. 7. Halhouli’s family says the boy was struck by a bullet fired from the direction of an Israeli police watchtower looking over the Shuafat refugee camp. Halhouli, his brother and four friends, the family says, were lighting fireworks to celebrate the end of another day of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month marked by dawn-to-dusk fasting. Israeli police say the officer who fired the shot acted appropriately, citing regulations that permit shooting someone who is aiming a firework at another person in a life-threatening way. The Israeli government says the shooting is under investigation.”

The New York Times: The War In Gaza Has Left A Power Vacuum, And Scant Planning To Fill It

“Since the start of the war in the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has repeatedly spoken of the need to topple Hamas but has done little to address the power vacuum that would leave — especially after Israeli forces withdraw. That is already apparent in Gaza City, where a deadly battle at the territory’s largest hospital complex stretched into a third day on Wednesday, after the Israeli military said the re-emergence of Hamas fighters had forced it to return to a site it first stormed in November. The military said on Wednesday that it had killed dozens of militants in the operation at Al-Shifa Hospital and questioned or arrested hundreds of people, while Hamas has said that it caused “deaths and injuries” to Israeli forces; neither account could be independently confirmed. The crossfire has endangered displaced people seeking shelter on the grounds, along with medical teams, patients and nearby residents. Former Israeli security officials are split on how to address the growing anarchy in northern Gaza, but many agree that until the government has a detailed, workable plan for how the enclave will be governed and made secure, it will be impossible to chart a path toward a more stable future. And they said Mr. Netanyahu should have long since developed such a plan.”


Associated Press: EU Leaders Gather With Ukraine Ammunition Production And Gaza Aid At The Top Of Their Agenda

“European Union leaders gathered Thursday to consider new ways to help boost arms and ammunition production for Ukraine and to discuss the war in Gaza amid deep concern about Israeli plans to launch a ground offensive in the city of Rafah. Ukraine’s munition stocks are desperately low, and Russia has more and better-armed troops. There is also a growing awareness that the EU must provide for its own security, with election campaigning in the U.S. raising questions about Washington’s commitment to its allies. Ahead of the summit in Brussels, EU Council President Charles Michel said the Europeans “face a pivotal moment. Urgency, intensity and unwavering determination are imperative.” New plans are on the table, notably to use the profits from frozen Russian assets to buy Ukraine arms and ammunition. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will join the leaders at the start of their two-day meeting, in part to encourage some member countries to resume funding for the U.N. Palestinian relief agency, the main provider of aid in Gaza.”

Reuters: Terrorism Threat Against Denmark Has Increased, Security Service Says

“The threat of terrorism in Denmark and against its interests abroad has risen because of Israel's war against Hamas militants in Gaza and a series of Koran burnings in Denmark last year, the Danish security and intelligence service PET said on Thursday. The PET rated the overall threat level at 4 out of 5, but said the risks within that level had increased. "The conflict between Israel and a number of militant groups is of course of concern to many people, including in Denmark," PET said in a statement. "The conflict also contains a significant potential for radicalisation and mobilisation, which can potentially activate actors for spontaneous or planned reactions in Denmark, including terrorist attacks." Anti-Islam activists last year damaged several copies of the Koran in Denmark and also in neighbouring Sweden, two of the most liberal countries in the world, which have allowed trenchant criticism of religion in the name of free speech. Sweden raised its terrorism alert to the second highest level, saying it had thwarted attacks after the Koran burnings and other acts against Islam's holiest text that triggered threats from jihadists.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

In Their Own Words:

We reiterate once again that the brigades will directly target US bases across the region in case the US enemy commits a folly and decides to strike our resistance fighters and their camps [in Iraq].

Abu Ali al-Askari, Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) Security Official Mar. 2023
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