Eye on Extremism: March 27, 2024

Reuters: Houthis Claim Strikes On Ships, Maersk Denies It Was Attacked

“Houthi militants in Yemen said on Tuesday they had mounted six attacks on ships with drones and missiles in the last 72 hours in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, but one of the companies named, Denmark's Maersk, denied its vessel had been targeted. The Houthis said they attacked the Maersk Saratoga, APL Detroit, and the Huang Pu after identifying them as either U.S. or British, in addition to Pretty Lady ship which they claim was heading to Israel, the group's military spokesperson Yahya Sarea said in a statement. Maersk (MAERSKb.CO), opens new tab denied that the Saratoga had been attacked. "We can confirm that no such incident was reported by the vessel, which is currently safely continuing her normal journey far from the mentioned location," the company said in a statement. Maersk Saratoga is part of Maersk Line, Limited (MLL) which is the Danish company's U.S. subsidiary that carries significant amounts of cargo for the Department of Defense, Department of State, USAID, and other U.S. government agencies.”

Associated Press: Seven Soldiers In Chad Are Killed In An Explosion Blamed On Boko Haram Extremists

“An explosive device detonated and killed seven soldiers in Chad during a patrol in the country’s west near Lake Chad, the government says. The interim president, Mahamat Deby Itno, announced the deaths Monday on social media. Chadian authorities said they suspected Boko Haram extremists from Nigeria were behind the attack, renewing concerns about an escalation of violence near the border. Boko Haram launched an insurgency more than a decade ago against Western education and seeks to establish Islamic law in Nigeria’s northeast. The insurgency has spread to West African neighbors including Cameroon, Niger and Chad. More than 36,000 people have been killed, mainly in Nigeria, according to the United Nations. Violence has returned to the Lake Chad area after a period of peace following a successful operation launched in 2020 by the Chadian army to destroy the extremist group’s bases there. Schools, mosques and churches have reopened and humanitarian organizations have returned. But there are concerns that a Boko Haram resurgence in Chad could affect the presidential election in May.”

CEP Mentions

Global With JJ Green: The Crocus City Hall Attack: What Happened?

“Dr. Hans Jakob Schindler, Sr. Director at the Counter Extremism Project discusses why we may never know the truth.”

Gatestone Institute: Biden Administration's Terrorist Pier In Gaza: The Trojan Horse For Terrorists To Take Over The Region

“... Qatar has a long history of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamist offshoots, but also Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Hezbollah and the Al Nusra Front (here, here and here). According to the Counter Extremism Project: "During the Brotherhood's year in power in Egypt, Qatar loaned President Mohammed Morsi's government approximately $7.5 billion.... During Morsi's presidency, funds as high as $850,000 were reportedly secretly transferred to the Brotherhood from Qatar's former Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani." The Muslim Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in 1928, is a radical Islamist organization with affiliates in more than 70 countries, including groups such as Hamas, which is designated by the US as a foreign terrorist organization. The founder of Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan al-Banna, a devout admirer of Adolf Hitler and Germany's Nazi regime, said that "it is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its law on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet."”

United States

Reuters: US Denies Reports It Carried Out Dawn Strikes In Syria

“The U.S. on Tuesday denied that it had carried out dawn air strikes in Syria after Syrian and Iranian state media said U.S. forces had bombed an eastern region and killed at least seven soldiers, including a member of Iran's Revolutionary Guards. Syrian state media said a civilian was also killed and at least 19 other soldiers and 13 civilians were wounded in strikes on residential areas and military sites in Deir al Zor province, with significant damage to public and private properties. Iranian state media said a Revolutionary Guards adviser was killed in the air strikes, without giving his rank. "We did not carry out air strikes in Syria last night," Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh told reporters in Washington. Iranian-backed forces in eastern Syria have previously attacked some of the 900 U.S. troops based in the remote region. The United States has occasionally responded by carrying out strikes there against targets linked to Iran. Israel has repeatedly bombed Iranian targets in Syria. Iran says its officers serve in an advisory role in Syria at the invitation of Damascus to support President Bashar al-Assad against internal and external foes including during a decade-long civil war with opposition forces who failed to topple him.”

Voice Of America: US Does Not Support Pakistan Iran Pipeline

“The U.S. State Department has said it does not support Pakistan’s plan to build a pipeline to import gas from Iran. State Department spokesperson Mathew Miller refused to comment on the nature of sanctions Pakistan could face for importing energy from Iran. However, he cautioned Islamabad against going ahead with the plan. “But we always advise everyone that doing business with Iran runs the risk of touching upon and coming in contact with our sanctions, and would advise everyone to consider that very carefully,” said Miller, adding that “the assistant secretary made clear last week, we do not support this pipeline going forward.” Donald Lu, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia told the House Foreign Affairs committee last Wednesday in a hearing that importing gas from Iran would expose Pakistan to U.S. sanctions. Pakistan’s outgoing caretaker government approved the construction of an 80-kilometer section of the pipeline in February, largely to avoid paying Iran $18 billion in penalties for years of project delays. Miller’s remarks came after Pakistani media reported Tuesday, Islamabad was planning to seek a U.S. sanctions waiver.”


Associated Press: Airstrikes In Syria Kill An Iranian Adviser And A Member Of A World Health Organization Team

“A series of airstrikes in eastern Syria on Tuesday killed more than a dozen people, including an Iranian military adviser and a team member working for the World Health Organization, officials and reports said. It was not immediately clear who was behind the airstrikes in Syria’s eastern province of Deir el-Zour that borders Iraq. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, said the strikes killed 15 people including an Iranian adviser with Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, two of his bodyguards as well as nine Iraqi fighters from an Iran-backed group and two Syrians working with the Iranians. It added that a Syrian engineer was also killed. Iran’s state news agency confirmed that a Revolutionary Guard member was killed in Syria.Dama Post, a pro-government media outlet in Syria, said the strikes targeted the provincial capital of Deir el-Zour that carries the same name, and the towns of Mayadeen and Boukamal. It said 20 people, including women and children, were among the dead.”


Reuters: Pakistan Reviews Security Protocols For Chinese Nationals After Suicide Bombing, Minister Says

“Pakistan has reviewed security protocols for Chinese nationals in the country at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday, Information Minister Attaullah Tarar said, a day after five Chinese engineers working on a dam project were killed in a suicide attack.”


Bloomberg: The ‘No-Fail’ Mission To Protect The Red Sea Isn’t Working

“The gray F/A-18 fighter jets hurtled one by one from the deck of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower into the heat of the Red Sea morning, scrambling to counter the latest attack drone launched by the Houthis. The $56 million aircraft were part of a coalition operation that nullified the attack, returning hours later as they have almost daily for the last several months. Yet for all the costly hardware the US and its allies have thrown at the Islamist group from northwest Yemen, they haven’t been able to stop the attacks on civilian freighters and warships. As a result, the world’s biggest shipping companies are still largely avoiding a route that once carried 15% of global commerce. The success of the Iran-backed rebel group in stymying the world’s most sophisticated militaries is the latest setback for Washington’s efforts to limit the spread of a regional conflict that began with Hamas’ deadly attack on Israel on Oct. 7. The Houthi campaign, which claimed its first civilian ship sunk in early March and its first fatalities not long after, is also a growing threat to the global economy. The number of vessels sailing through the southern Red Sea is down about 70% compared with the start of December. Container shipping has dropped about 90% and gas tankers have also all but ceased transit.”


Reuters: Lebanon's Hezbollah Says It Launched Dozens Of Rockets After Israeli Strikes

“Lebanon's Hezbollah said it launched dozens of rockets at Kiryat Shmona, an Israeli town over the border, early on Wednesday in response to deadly Israeli strikes on the village of Hebbariyeh in southern Lebanon a day earlier. Israel and Iran-backed Hezbollah have been trading fire across the border since the Israel-Hamas war erupted in Gaza, in the biggest escalation between the old enemies since a month-long conflict in 2006. Both sides have said they do not want all-out war and are open to a diplomatic process but strikes, have picked up this week after a lull in cross-border shelling. Israeli emergency services said a rocket strike on Wednesday killed a factory worker in Kiryat Shmona following warning signs in the area. Paramedics from the MDA ambulance service said the man was pulled from the wreckage of the factory with severe wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene. At least seven people were killed in the Israeli strikes on Hebbariyeh, two Lebanese security sources told Reuters.”

Associated Press: 7 Lebanese And An Israeli Killed In An Exchange Of Fire Along The Lebanon-Israel Border

“An Israeli airstrike on a paramedics center linked to a Lebanese Sunni Muslim group in south Lebanon killed seven of its members early Wednesday and triggered a rocket attack from Lebanon that killed one person in northern Israel, officials said. The strike on the village of Hebbariye came after a day of airstrikes and rocket attacks between Israel’s military and Lebanon’s Hezbollah group along the Lebanon-Israel border, raising concerns of further escalation along the frontier that has been active for the past five months of the Israel-Hamas war. The airstrike after midnight Tuesday hit an office of the Islamic Emergency and Relief Corps, according to the Lebanese Ambulance Association. It was one of the deadliest single attacks since violence erupted along the border. The paramedics association listed the names of seven volunteers who were killed in the strike. It said the strike was “a flagrant violation of humanitarian work.” Hebbariye resident Ali Noureddine told The Associated Press that the seven dead were pulled out from the rubble before sunrise Wednesday.”

Associated Press: Lebanese Sunni Militant Group Head Says Coordination With Shiite Hezbollah Is Vital To Fight Israel

“The head of a Lebanese Sunni political and militant group that has joined the Shiite militant group Hezbollah in its fight against Israel on Lebanon’s border said Tuesday that the conflict has helped strengthen cooperation between the two groups. The Secretary-General of al-Jamaa al-Islamiya, or the Islamic Group, Sheikh Mohammed Takkoush said his faction decided to join the fighting along the Lebanon-Israel border because of Israel’s crushing offensive on the Gaza Strip and its strikes against Lebanese towns and villages killing civilians, including journalists, since the Israel-Hamas war started on Oct.7. “We decided to join (the battle) as a national, religious and moral duty. We did that to defend our land and villages,” Takkoush told The Associated Press at his group’s headquarters in Beirut. “We also did so in support of our brothers in Gaza,” where he said Israel was committing an “open massacre.””

Middle East

Reuters: Israel Truce Team Leaves Doha, Official Blames Hamas For 'Dead End'

“Israel has recalled its negotiators from Doha after deeming mediated talks on a Gaza truce "at a dead end" due to demands by Hamas, a senior Israeli official said on Tuesday. The official, who is close to the Mossad spymaster heading up the talks, accused Hamas' Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar of sabotaging the diplomacy "as part of a wider effort to inflame this war over Ramadan". The warring sides had stepped up negotiations, mediated by Qatar and Egypt, on a six-week suspension of Israel's offensive in return for the proposed release of 40 of the 130 hostages still held by the Palestinian militant group in Gaza. Hamas has sought to parlay any deal into an end to the fighting and withdrawal of Israeli forces. Israel has ruled this out, saying it would eventually resume efforts to dismantle the governance and military capabilities of Hamas. Hamas also wants hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who fled Gaza City and surrounding areas southward during the first stage of the almost six-month-old war to be allowed back north.”

Associated Press: Israel And Hamas Dig In As Pressure Builds For A Cease-Fire In Gaza

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday blasted a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a Gaza cease-fire that his country’s top ally, the United States, chose not to block. He said the resolution had emboldened Hamas and he vowed to press ahead with the war. As the war grinds through a sixth month, both Israel and Hamas have rejected cease-fire efforts, each insisting its version of victory is within reach. The passage of the U.N. resolution has also escalated tensions between the U.S. and Israel over the conduct of the war. Netanyahu has said Israel can only achieve its aims of dismantling Hamas and returning scores of hostages if it expands its ground offensive to the southern city of Rafah, where over half of Gaza’s population has sought refuge, many in crowded tent camps. The U.S. has said a major assault on Rafah would be a mistake. Hamas says it will hold onto the hostages until Israel agrees to a more permanent cease-fire, withdraws its forces from Gaza and releases hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, including top militants. It said late Monday that it rejected a recent proposal that fell short of those demands — which, if fulfilled, would allow it to claim an extremely costly victory.”

Reuters: Qatar: UN Gaza Resolution Has No Immediate Impact On Doha Ceasefire Talks

“The United Nations Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza has not had an immediate impact on ceasefire talks in Doha, mediator Qatar said on Tuesday. The resolution demanded an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants Hamas, as well as the release of hostages. The United States abstained from the vote, angering ally Israel which had wanted Washington to veto it. The remaining 14 council members voted in favour. "We haven't seen any immediate effect on the talks, they are ongoing as they were before, as the (UN) decision was taking place," said Qatar foreign ministry spokesperson Majed Al-Ansari during a press conference in Doha on Tuesday. A source briefed on the talks earlier told Reuters that a delegation from Israel's Mossad spy agency, which had arrived in Qatar more than a week ago, was still engaging in discussions. A small Mossad team was returning to Israel from Doha for consultations on developments, the source added.”


The Washington Post: Putin Sees Kyiv In Moscow Terrorist Attack. But ISIS Is Its Own Story.

“After a hideous slaughter in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin is still intent on pointing the finger at Kyiv. It’s been five days since Russia experienced its worst terrorist attack in two decades, when a clutch of Islamist gunmen burst into a crowded concert venue in the capital, opened fire and set the hall ablaze, killing at least 139 people. The extremist Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the assault, but Kremlin officials continue to gesture to their more immediate enemy — a Ukrainian government that has resisted Russia’s costly and bloody full-scale invasion for more than two years. “We know that the crime was committed by radical Islamists,” Putin acknowledged in a televised government meeting Monday evening, before taking an angrier, conspiratorial turn. “We also know that the U.S. via various channels tries to persuade their satellites and other countries that, according to their intel, there is allegedly no Kyiv trace in the Moscow terrorist attack and that it was carried out by members of ISIS.””

Politico: Lukashenko Contradicts Putin, Says Moscow Terrorists Were Fleeing To Belarus, Not Ukraine

“Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has said the men who allegedly attacked the Crocus music hall in Moscow on Friday were initially headed to Belarus, not Ukraine — contradicting a previous claim by Russian President Vladimir Putin. “We placed our units on high alert to prepare for a combat situation,” Lukashenko said at a Tuesday press conference. “As a result they were unable to enter Belarus by any means. Recognizing this, they diverted their course and headed toward the Ukrainian-Russian border.” The March 22 terrorist attack on Crocus City Hall, a concert venue on the outskirts of the Russian capital, resulted in 139 fatalities. To date Russian law enforcement has apprehended eight suspects, with at least four appearing to have been tortured. The ISIS transnational jihadist group has claimed responsibility. Six of the suspects are Tajikistani citizens, while two have Russian citizenship. So far no evidence has been produced connecting them to either Belarus or Ukraine, although the chief of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), Alexander Bortnikov, claimed today to have “primary data that we received from the detainees” allegedly confirming the men were linked to Ukraine.”

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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