Eye on Extremism: May 2, 2022

Reuters: Blast Kills More Than 50 At Kabul Mosque, Its Leader Says

“A powerful explosion killed more than 50 worshippers after Friday prayers at a Kabul mosque, its leader said, the latest in a series of attacks on civilian targets in Afghanistan during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The blast hit the Khalifa Sahib Mosque in the west of the capital in the early afternoon, said Besmullah Habib, deputy spokesman for the interior ministry, who said the official confirmed death toll was 10. The attack came as worshippers at the Sunni mosque gathered after Friday prayers for a congregation known as Zikr - an act of religious remembrance practised by some Muslims but seen as heretical by some hardline Sunni groups. Sayed Fazil Agha, the head of the mosque, said someone they believed was a suicide bomber joined them in the ceremony and detonated explosives. "Black smoke rose and spread everywhere, dead bodies were everywhere," he told Reuters, adding that his nephews were among the dead. "I myself survived, but lost my beloved ones." Resident Mohammad Sabir said he had seen wounded people being loaded into ambulances.”

Associated Press: Egyptian Officials: Militants Blow Up Gas Pipeline In Sinai

“Suspected Islamic State militants blew up a natural gas pipeline Saturday in Egypt’s restive northern part of the Sinai Peninsula, causing a fire but no casualties, security officials said. The officials said the suspected militants planted explosives under a pipeline in the town of Bir al-Abd. The expulsion sent thick flames of fire shooting into the sky, and authorities stopped the flow of gas to extinguish the fire, according to eyewitnesses. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak to media and the eyewitnesses asked not to be named for fear of reprisal. No group immediately claimed the attack which caused no human casualties. The Islamic State group affiliate, which is centered in Northern Sinai, however, has claimed previous attacks targeted gas pipelines between Egypt and both Jordan and Israel. Egypt is battling an Islamic State-led insurgency in the Sinai that intensified after the military overthrew an elected but divisive Islamist president in 2013. The militants have carried out scores of attacks, mainly targeting security forces and Christians. Saturday’s attack comes as the militants suffered heavy losses in recent months with Egyptian security forces, aided by armed tribesmen, who intensified their efforts to eliminate the group.”

Syria

Al Jazeera: ISIL Attacks Warn Of A Re-Emergence In Northeast Syria

“ISIL (ISIS) is believed to have carried out a spate of attacks in the past week in northeastern Syria, an indication, experts and monitors have said, that the group is potentially on the rise once again. A suspected ISIL attack at a Ramadan iftar gathering near Deir Az Zor on Wednesday killed seven people, including the former spokesperson of the United States-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, Nouri Hamish. The brazen nature of the attack has alarmed residents, and analysts and humanitarian agencies now fear that increased attacks could risk life-saving humanitarian work in the impoverished region, and put millions of vulnerable people at risk of attack. ISIL has increased its attacks in northeast Syria after US special forces assassinated then-leader Abu Ibrahim al-Qurayshi and his official spokesperson. Current ISIL spokesman Abu Omar al-Muhajir called on ISIL fighters to avenge their deaths on April 17 in an audio message called “Vengeance for the Two Sheikhs”. According to the northeast Syria-based media group Rojava Information Center, ISIL has conducted at least 20 attacks since then.”

Afghanistan

Reuters: Second Bombing In Two Days In Kabul On Eve Of Eid Al-Fitr Holiday

“A bomb blast in a passenger van in Kabul on Saturday killed at least one person, officials said, in the second explosion in the Afghan capital in two days, as security concerns rise on the eve of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr. Islamic state claimed responsibility for the attack on Saturday, according to the group's telegram channel. "One woman was killed and three more injured," Khalid Zadran, a spokesman for Kabul's commander, told Reuters. A day earlier, an explosion killed more than 50 worshippers after Friday prayers at a Kabul mosque amid a spate of mosque attacks during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. One witness to the passenger van blast, Ali Maisam, 19, who was waiting outside a nearby bakery at the time, said he saw a number of bodies. "I saw people coming out of the minibus with bloody and burnt faces... I saw that four bodies were taken out and a woman was among the dead,” he said.”

Business Insider: Constant ISIS Terror Attacks Are Challenging The Taliban's Tenuous Grip On Power In Afghanistan

“A recent string of deadly terror attacks across Afghanistan has left the country reeling, challenging the Taliban's already strained governance just eight months after the US withdrawal. An explosion at a mosque on Friday in Afghanistan's capital city Kabul killed at least 10 people and left 20 others injured, according to multiple reports. It's the latest in a series of attacks this month that have targeted mosques, schools, and buses — leaving dozens dead and hundreds more injured. And the attacks have not been limited to Kabul — people have also died in the northern cities of Mazar-e Sharif and Kunduz. Some of the carnage has been officially claimed by ISIS-K, also known as the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, and is the terror group's Afghanistan affiliate. But Michael Kugelman, an expert on the region at the Wilson Center, a DC-based think tank, told Insider he believes most — if not all — of the attacks were carried out by ISIS-K. The reasoning behind this surge in violence? ISIS-K — a rival of the Taliban — is essentially looking for ways to make the Taliban look bad and undermine its legitimacy. Kugelman said ISIS-K also wants to “push back” against the Taliban's narrative that it restored peace and stability across the country in the wake of the US departure.  “If Afghans are seeing things blown up left and right, obviously that flies in the face of that Taliban narrative,” Kugelman said.”

Middle East

The Times Of Israel: Islamic State Accuses Israel Of Slaying Jihadist Leader In Sinai Airstrike

“The Islamic State terror organization claimed Thursday the Israeli Air Force helped assassinate a local jihadist group leader in Egypt’s Sinai Desert in April. In its weekly al-Naba newspaper, Islamic State said Abu Omar al-Ansari, a military leader in the terror group’s so-called Sinai Province, was killed by “Jewish planes” as the Egyptian army launched a new campaign against the group. The report said Israeli jets and drones have intensified their air support for the Egyptian army in the past month, in its fight against jihadist group members in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula, close to the border with the Gaza Strip. “This greatly limits the ability of the Mujahideen to move and maneuver,” a security source was quoted as saying in the Islamic State publication. It was not clear exactly when or where al-Ansari was killed. Egypt is battling an Islamic State-led insurgency in the Sinai that intensified after the military overthrew an elected but divisive Islamist president in 2013. The terrorists have carried out scores of attacks, mainly targeting Egyptian security forces and Christians. On Saturday, suspected Islamic State terrorists blew up a natural gas pipeline in northern Sinai. In 2018, it was reported that Israeli drones, fighter jets, and helicopter gunships carried out more than 100 airstrikes against Islamic State-affiliated terrorists over a two-year period in the area, close to Israel’s border.”

France 24: Palestinian Militant Group Claims Responsibility For Killing Israeli Guard

“Israeli security forces reinforced their presence in the occupied West Bank on Saturday and made arrests after the killing of a guard at a Jewish settlement. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, one of the main militant groups present in the West Bank, claimed responsibility for the murder which -- along with the killing of a Palestinian, brought a deadly conclusion to a Friday marked by clashes at Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque. The army said the guard was on duty at the entrance to Ariel settlement on Friday night when attackers opened fire. Emergency services confirmed that the man, in his 20s, had died from his wounds. Soldiers on Saturday stepped up their presence particularly at the entrance to the neighbouring Palestinian community of Salfi, an army statement said. It added that security forces had made arrests and seized weapons at Bruqin, also nearby, and at the Balata refugee camp. The group which on Saturday said it carried out the attack is the armed wing of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah faction. “We claim responsibility for the heroic operation in the colony of Ariel in which a Zionist officer was killed, in response to violations committed by the occupation government in Jerusalem,” the group said.”

Haaretz: Israelis From ISIS-Linked Shooters' Hometown Charged With Knowledge Of Terror Attack

“Prosecutors charged on Friday two residents of the Arab-Israeli city of Umm al-Fahm for failing to prevent a terror attack in the Israeli city of Hadera last month. Hassan Mahagna, 18, and Muhammad Agbarieh, 26, are accused of having knowledge of the assailants' intent to carry out the attack and of failing to report it…”

Nigeria

All Africa: Nigeria: 22 Boko Haram Killed By Joint Air, Land Forces Of MNJTF In Lake Chad

“Troops of the Multi-national Joint Task Force, MNJTF have neutralized twenty-two Boko Haram terrorists following increased aggressive patrols and mounted offensives on criminals' hideouts in Lake Chad. The Chief of Military Public Information, HQ MNJTF N'Djamena Chad, Lieutenant Colonel Kamarudeen Adegoke, made this known in a statement. The statement said, “The troops of combined Taskforce Mallam Fatori/Damasak at forwarding Operations Base, Arege drawn from MNJTF Sectors 3 and 4 (Nigerian and Nigeriene troops) have continued with aggressive patrols from 27 April 2022 to dominate and put pressure on the criminals. “With multiple sorties against the terrorists' positions, Air Taskforce gave effective close air support and attacked the criminals to enable ground forces to access thitherto well-defended terrorists' strongholds in the vicinity of Tumbun Rago. “Despite strong resistance by the Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs), the ground troops charged through several obstacles and cleared the mined routes which made them come in contact with elements of the BHTs. “After the operational engagement which was firmly supported by the ATFs of OPHK and the MNJTF, a battle damage assessment clearly revealed at least 20 BHT were neutralised, twelve (12) AK47 rifles, 1X Mortar 60mm and large catches of ammunition of different calibres were recovered.”

Sahara Reporters: Terrorist Bomb Threat: Nigeria Police Tighten Security Around Places Of Worship In Capital City, Abuja

“Amid threats by terrorists to attack important places, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command has assured the Muslim faithful and other residents in the territory of safety during the Sallah celebration. In a statement by the spokesperson for the command, DSP Josephine Adeh, the Commissioner of Police, Babaji Sunday, said robust security architecture had already been deployed for the celebration, noting that the operation was designed to ensure watertight security at all places of worship and their environs. The statement reads, “The Command wishes to emphatically enjoin members of the public to go about their lawful businesses without the fear of harassment or molestation of any kind from any quarters in this period and beyond. “In addition to the above, the CP, while highlighting the importance of the holy month of Ramadan, called on the faithful to take advantage of the blessings and the values attached to the season in seeking peace, adherence to the laws of the land, and above all, love for fellow humans.” The Command further urged the people of the FCT not to relent in cooperating with the police and to remain vigilant and report any suspicious or abnormal occurrence in the city through the emergency lines.”

Africa

Al Jazeera: Joint West African Force Claims 20 Rebels Killed In Lake Chad

“Troops participating in a West African joint military force claim to have killed an estimated 20 rebel fighters in the Lake Chad basin. Between April 27 and 29, “at least 20 terrorists were neutralised” despite “strong resistance”, the Multinational Joint Task Force (MJTF), a coalition of the militaries of Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria and Niger, said on Sunday. A senior MJTF official told AFP news agency that “neutralised” meant killed, adding that the operation took place in Cameroon and in Nigeria. Lake Chad’s basin, which is shared by the four countries, and the lake’s many islets have become one of the main locations for fighters from Nigeria’s Boko Haram and its dissident branch, the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP). For years the rebels have launched attacks from their island enclaves in Lake Chad, littering the area with improvised explosive devices, laying road ambushes and, more recently, firing mortar bombs towards military posts. The coalition launched a new offensive in March that aimed to “completely destroy Boko Haram and other terrorist groups which plague the basin”, the senior official said. The MJTF said in a statement on Saturday that aerial support provided by Nigerien and Nigerian forces allowed the coalition to carry out “aggressive patrols … against terrorists’ positions” in Tumbun Rago, in the Nigerian state of Borno.”

Al Jazeera: Central African Republic: Six Soldiers Killed In Rebel Attack

“Rebels have killed at least six soldiers in an attack on a military outpost in southeast Central African Republic, the latest reported incident in a decade-long conflict, a local official and a hospital director have said. Members of an alliance of armed groups known as the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) assaulted a military camp on the outskirts of Bakouma town early on Thursday morning, said a local government official who did not wish to be named for security reasons. Six soldiers and four rebels were killed, he said. The attack was confirmed by the head of a hospital in the nearby city of Bangassou, also on condition of anonymity, where bodies and wounded soldiers were taken. Mineral-rich Central African Republic has been mired in violence since a coalition of mainly Muslim Seleka rebels deposed then-President Francois Bozize in 2013, sparking reprisals from mostly Christian militias. In recent years the army, backed by United Nations peacekeepers, Russian and Rwandan troops – has been battling CPC fighters seeking to overturn the outcome of an election in December 2020 that saw President Faustin-Archange Touadéra clinch a second term. The UN has accused all parties of abuses including summary killings, torture, conflict-related sexual violence and the use of child fighters among others.”

All Africa: Uganda Ready To Support The Fight Against Terrorism

“Uganda has expressed its will to support Mozambique in fighting terrorism in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, where, since October 2017, islamist terrorists have murdered nearly 3,000 civilians and displaced over 800,000, Radio Mozambique reported on Wednesday. Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi announced Uganda's willingness to help combat terrorism in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, where he is paying a three day State visit, at the invitation of his counterpart, Yoweri Museveni. Nyusi said that Uganda's support will be channeled to the veterans of the country's liberation war who are now part of the local militias, assisting the Mozambican armed forces in Cabo Delgado. “Uganda is already supporting Mozambique logistically and one of the purposes of this visit is to thank the sister country,” Nyusi said addressing a joint press conference between the two leaders shortly after the official talks between the delegations of the two countries. “I also do this on behalf of the war veterans. President Museveni knows many of them very well.” The Ugandan leader, Nyusi declared, also intends to support agro-industrial development projects in Montepuez district, in Cabo Delgado, for the liberation war veterans.”

Canada

CBC: Intelligence Agency Needs To Keep A Closer Watch On Extremism In Prisons, Report Says

“Canada's spies could be doing a better job of investigating extremism in the prison system, says an internal report. The document, obtained through an access to information request, emerged from a behind-the-scenes review of how the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the RCMP share information. “One of the concerns we have is the lack of coverage over persons convicted of terrorism offences once they are in jail,” says the report. It was written by two national security lawyers tasked by the RCMP and CSIS with making recommendations to deal with information-sharing bottlenecks in the national security intelligence sphere. “It is accepted that there is a radicalisation problem within our correctional institutions, not only Islamic extremism but also extreme right-wing white nationalism,” the report says. “The vast majority of inmates will be released to the community. The challenge is to monitor these released offenders to evaluate the threat posed, if any.” RCMP officers quit after being asked to arrest national security target with no details, report says. The authors write that while it's impossible for CSIS to investigate every potential threat, “it can and should investigate threats arising from those in custody.”

Technology

The Jerusalem Post: Cyber Police: Over 10,000 Terror Incitement Posts Removed In April

“The cyber state prosecution on Sunday announced that law enforcement had obtained the removal of over 10,000 terror incitement posts over the last month. According to the prosecution, these removals came from approximately 14,000 posts with some connection to terror and incitement which were reviewed by the cyber police and prosecution. The state announced that over the last month there has been a systematic campaign to encourage terror on social media through Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Tik Tok, Twitter and Telegram.  The actions taken by the cyber prosecution were designed to try to limit the violent impact of online incitement. According to a press statement, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), IDF and other intelligence forces were also involved in efforts to track social media terror incitement. On Facebook, around 7,700 posts were checked, of which approximately 5,500 were found to be problematic from an incitement perspective. Approximately 90% of those posts which Israel asked to be removed, were in fact removed by Facebook. Regarding TikTok, approximately 3,500 videos were reviewed. Around 2,300 were found to be problematic and about 74% of those were removed upon request.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

Fact:

On May 23, 2016, two suicide bombings at a military base in Aden, Yemen, killed at least 45 army recruits and injured approximately 60 people. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.   

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