Eye on Extremism: May 20, 2024

The New York Times: International Criminal Court Prosecutor Requests Warrants For Netanyahu And Hamas Leaders

“The International Criminal Court prosecutor, Karim Khan, said Monday that he had requested arrest warrants for the leaders of Hamas and for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel for war crimes and crimes against humanity in relation to the Oct. 7 attack and the war in Gaza. In a statement, Mr. Khan said he was applying for arrest warrants for Yahya Sinwar, Muhammad Deif and Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas. He also said he was requesting warrants for Mr. Netanyahu and for Israel’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant.”

CNN: Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi And Foreign Minister Confirmed Dead In Helicopter Crash

“Ultraconservative Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was killed Sunday, along with his foreign minister, in a helicopter crash in Iran’s remote northwest, injecting fresh uncertainty as the country’s hardline clerical establishment navigates rising regional tensions and domestic discontent. The loss of two of Iran’s most influential political figures comes as the country buckles under significant economic and political strain, with tensions with nearby Israel at a dangerous high.”

CEP Mentions

BBC: US Warns Of Possible Pride Month Attacks Worldwide

“...The Counter Extremism Project, a New York-based non-profit group, noted that anti-LGBTQ ideas had been taken up by both Islamist and far-right extremists. "It is no surprise that neo-Nazis and jihadis often express mutual admiration for their shared anti-gay visions," Mark D Wallace, the project's chief executive, said in a statement. Protests and threats against LGBTQ communities by homegrown US groups also have been on the increase in recent years, according to a number of experts and research organisations. According to a report by the Anti-Defamation League and Glaad, a group formerly known as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, there were at least 145 incidents of anti-LGBTQ violence, harassment and vandalism during Pride Month in 2023.”

United States

Axios: Scoop: U.S., Iran Held Indirect Talks This Week On Avoiding More Attacks

“Two top Biden administration officials held indirect talks with Iranian officials in Oman this week on how to avoid escalating regional attacks, two sources with knowledge of the talks told Axios. Why it matters: The talks — involving President Biden's top Middle East adviser, Brett McGurk, and Abram Paley the acting U.S. envoy for Iran — were the first round of discussions between the U.S. and Iran since January, when similar negotiations were held in Oman. The talks occurred just over a month after Iran's unprecedented missile assault on Israel on April 13. The attack put the Middle East on the cusp of a regional war. Driving the news: Iran fired 350 ballistic missiles and drones toward Israel in retaliation for Israel's assassination of Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahedi, a top Iranian Quds Force general in charge of that nation's military operations in Lebanon and Syria.”

Associated Press: Trucks Are Rolling Across A New US Pier Into Gaza. But Challenges Remain To Getting Enough Aid In

“Trucks carrying badly needed aid for the Gaza Strip rolled across a newly built U.S. pier and into the besieged enclave for the first time Friday as Israeli restrictions on border crossings and heavy fighting hindered the delivery of food and other supplies. The shipment is the first in an operation that American military officials anticipate could scale up to 150 truckloads a day, all while Israel presses in on the southern city of Rafah in its seven-month offensive against Hamas. At the White House, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said “more than 300 pallets” of aid were in the initial delivery and handed over to the U.N., which was preparing it for distribution. Kirby said the U.S. has gotten indications that “some of that aid was already moving into Gaza.””


The Times Of Israel: Iraq's Kurdish Regional Security Council Announces Arrest Of Top Aide Of Former Islamic State Leader

“The Kurdish Regional Security Council announced in a statement on Friday that it captured a senior Islamic State figure, Socrates Khalil. Khalil was known to be a confidant of the late Islamic State leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. "After spending five years in Turkey, Khalil returned to Kurdistan with a forged passport and was swiftly apprehended," the statement said. Khalil made bombs for the Islamic State and was entrusted by al-Baghdadi with various major operations, the statement added, saying that he was instrumental in the 2014 Islamic State takeover of Mosul, and participated in many battles against Iraqi forces and the Peshmerga forces.”


Voice Of America: Turkey Sends Syrian Mercenaries To Niger To Secure Strategic Interests

“Hundreds of Syrian mercenaries have been sent by Turkey to Niger in recent months to protect Ankara's economic and military interests in the West African nation, a rights group and experts said. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has researchers throughout Syria, reports that recruitment of Syrian fighters for deployment to Niger has been going on for several months. "We have confirmed that about 1,100 Syrian fighters have already been deployed to Niger since September of last year," said Rami Abdulrahman, director of the Syrian Observatory. Syrian nationals are being recruited from areas under the control of Turkey and Turkish-backed Syrian armed groups in northwest Syria, Abdulrahman told VOA. Syrians for Truth and Justice (STJ), a France-based advocacy group, said it has also documented such recruitments.”


Associated Press: The Islamic State Claims Attack In Afghanistan That Killed 3 Spanish Citizens And 3 Afghans

“The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for an attack on foreigners in central Afghanistan last week in which three Spanish citizens and three Afghans were killed. Seven people were wounded in the attack on Friday in on Bamiyan province, a major tourist area, according to Abdul Mateen Qani, a spokesman for the interior minister. He said seven suspects were arrested at the scene. The Islamic State group issued statements on its Aamaq news agency late Sunday that said IS fighters attacked a bus carrying tourists and their guides. “The attack was in response to the IS leaders’ directions to target citizens of the European Union wherever they are found,” it said.  Spain’s Foreign Ministry said three Spaniards died and at least one more had been wounded.”


The Times Of India: Militants Target Empty Pakistan Girls' School: Official

“An empty girls' school in Pakistan was partially damaged in a bomb explosion after militant groups demanded extortion money, officials said on Friday. It is the second attack on a girls' school in just over a week, both located in the former tribal areas close to the border with Afghanistan, where militancy has spiked since the return to power of the Afghan Taliban in Kabul. No one was hurt in the latest attack overnight on Thursday, according to the non-government group Wana Welfare Association which runs the school. "About a month ago, we received a letter from a militant group demanding a specific portion of our funding. A few days later, another letter was thrown into our office, demanding a payment of 10 million rupees ($36,000)," a senior member of the Wana Welfare Association in Peshawar said.”

Associated Press: Pakistan Asks Its Nationals Studying In Kyrgyzstan To Stay Indoors After Mobs Attacked Foreigners

“Pakistan asked its nationals in Kyrgyzstan to stay indoors after mobs attacked foreigners in the capital Friday night over some unknown dispute with migrants, the Foreign Ministry said Saturday. It also repatriated 140 Pakistani students from Bishkek after the violence. A special flight bringing the Pakistani students home from Kyrgyzstan landed at an airport on Saturday in Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore, the Interior Ministry said. Pakistan plans to use more such flights to bring back all those who want to leave Bishkek following the violence in the central Asian country, the ministry added. According to local media, the violence began last week following a clash between Kyrgyz people and foreigners in the city.  Earlier, Pakistan said its embassy in Bishkek was in contact with the Kyrgyz government to ensure the safety and security of its nationals. Some of the injured Pakistani students were treated at a local hospital in Bishkek, it said.”

Voice Of America: Pakistani Minister: Islamabad Would Like Beijing To Talk To Kabul On Terrorism

“Pakistan’s minister for planning and development, Ahsan Iqbal, says his country is not opposed to Afghanistan’s inclusion in a Chinese-funded mega-development project, but would like Beijing to persuade Kabul to crack down on terrorist groups operating on its soil against Islamabad. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s new government, which took office in March, is anxious to revive the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor or CPEC – a roughly $62 billion flagship project that is part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative – which has suffered a slump in recent years due to political, economic, and security problems in Pakistan. Iqbal recently met officials in China to prepare for Sharif’s upcoming visit aimed at quickening the pace and broadening the scope of CPEC.”


Bloomberg: China-Bound Oil Tanker Hit By Houthi Missile In Red Sea, US Says

“A China-bound oil tanker in the Red Sea was struck and temporarily disabled by a ballistic anti-ship missile fired by Houthi militants, the US Central Command said. The strike Saturday on the Greek-owned M/T Wind caused flooding that knocked out its propulsion and steering, which the crew restored without help from a coalition vessel that responded to a distress call. The Wind, which most recently docked in Russia, resumed its course under its own power, Centcom said in a statement. No casualties were reported. While Centcom didn’t provide a location, Agence-France Presse reported earlier Saturday that an oil tanker was hit near the Bab el-Mandeb strait, about 10 nautical miles (19 kilometers) southwest of the Yemeni port of Mokha. AFP cited maritime security firm Ambrey.”


Business Insider: IDF Claims Hezbollah Drone Struck Israel's Giant Missile-Detecting Airship, Report Says

“The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) claimed that a Hezbollah drone struck a large missile-detecting airship known as "Sky Dew," Israeli outlet Ynetnews reported. The radar-detecting balloon was deployed around 21 miles from the Israel-Lebanon border in an area called Golani Junction, the report said. "There were no casualties and no impact to the IDF's aerial situational awareness capability in the area," IDF Spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said, per Ynet News. The sytem was designed to add to Israel's air defenses by detecting incoming missiles and drones, officials have said, per The Times of Israel. The Israeli Air Force received the airship in 2022. It comes amid increasing tensions with the Hezbollah militant group, which has carried out a number of strikes on Israel following the latter's invasion of the Gaza Strip.”

Middle East

NPR: Israel Recovers The Bodies Of 3 Hostages

“Israel says it has recovered the bodies of three people killed in the Oct. 7 Hamas-led attack that triggered the invasion of the Gaza Strip. Israel's top military spokesperson, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, said Friday the three were identified as Shani Louk, Amit Buskila and Yitzhak Gelernter. He said they had been killed by the Palestinian militants when they attacked a music festival in southern Israel and their bodies taken into Gaza. Israel says more than 130 hostages remain inside Gaza, a quarter of whom are believed to be dead. More than 240 people were taken hostage during the Oct. 7 attack, when hundreds of Palestinian militants broke through the fencing surrounding Gaza and attacked Israeli communities and a music festival being held nearby. More than 35,000 Palestinians have been killed in the resulting war, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, and the Gaza Strip has been reduced to ruins.”

Associated Press: Airstrike Kills 27 In Central Gaza And Fighting Rages As Israel’s Leaders Are Increasingly Divided

“An Israeli airstrike killed 27 people in central Gaza, mostly women and children, and fighting with Hamas raged across the north on Sunday as Israel’s leaders aired divisions over who should govern Gaza after the war, now in its eighth month. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces criticism from the other members of his War Cabinet, with main political rival Benny Gantz threatening to leave the government if a plan is not created by June 8 that includes an international administration for postwar Gaza. His departure would leave Netanyahu more reliant on far-right allies who support full military occupation of Gaza and rebuilding of Jewish settlements there.  U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan met with Netanyahu to discuss an ambitious U.S. plan for Saudi to recognize Israel and help the Palestinian Authority govern Gaza in exchange for a path to eventual statehood.”


Voice Of America: Mali Rebels Accuse Army, Wagner Of Killing Civilians

“An alliance of separatist rebel groups fighting Malian government forces on Saturday accused the army and Russian paramilitary group Wagner of killing 11 civilians earlier in the week. The Malian authorities did not respond to a request for comment from AFP about the allegations posed in a statement from the Permanent Strategic Framework for the Defense of the People of Azawad (CSP-DPA), an alliance of predominantly Tuareg armed rebel groups. The CSP-DPA said that Wednesday, the village of Tassik in the northern Kidal region "was targeted by a patrol of mercenaries from the Russian Wagner group and the Malian army, who committed serious violations against the population." The separatist alliance put the death toll at 11 civilians, whose bodies were discovered "burned," with two more civilians reported missing.”


Punch News: 386 Abductees Rescued During Sambisa Clearance Exercise — Military

“The Nigerian Army said on Sunday that it rescued no fewer than 386 people, mostly women and children, from the Boko Haram insurgents’ stronghold, Sambisa forest in Borno State. The acting General Officer Commanding 7 Division,  Brig. Gen. AGL Haruna, said the abductees were rescued during a just-concluded 10-day clearing operation in Sambisa. According to him, some of the abductees had been in terrorists’ captivity for as long as 10 years befor their rescue over the weekend. Haruna, who spoke to journalists in the Konduga  Local Government Area, explained that the exercise tagged “Operation Desert Sanity 111” was to clear Sambisa forest of the remnants of all categories of terrorists as well as provide some of them willing to surrender the opportunity to do so. He said, “Our effort is to ensure that we clear the remnants of terrorists in the Sambisa forest and give those willing to surrender the opportunity to surrender.”


Associated Press: French Police Fatally Shoot A Man Suspected Of Setting Fire To A Synagogue

“French police shot and killed a man armed with a knife and a metal bar who is suspected of having started a fire that charred and blackened the insides of a synagogue in the Normandy city of Rouen early Friday, an attack the interior minister said was “clearly” antisemitic and which infuriated Jewish leaders facing a surge in hate crimes since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war. The suspected arsonist was an Algerian national who wasn’t flagged as a potential extremist, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said after inspecting the fire-damaged synagogue. He said the man had sought permission to stay in France for medical treatment and, after it was refused, had been placed on a police wanted list for possible return back to his country.”


Associated Press: Ireland’s Top Diplomat Concerned Over Slow Pace Of Justice In Peacekeeper’s Killing In Lebanon

“Ireland’s top diplomat in a visit to Lebanon on Monday expressed his concern over the slow progress in criminal proceedings against several Lebanese men charged with the killing of an Irish peacekeeper in 2022 in the tiny Mediterranean country. Micheál Martin, Irish foreign and defense minister, said he was “very, very concerned” about the case. He met with Irish peacekeepers in south Lebanon and with Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib and a representative of the Lebanese defense ministry. Lebanon’s military tribunal last June charged four men with the killing of Pvt. Seán Rooney, 24, of Newtown Cunningham, Ireland, following a half-year probe. Rooney was killed on Dec. 14, 2022. Only one of the suspects, Mohammed Ayyad, was arrested. However, he was released on bail in November, with officials citing his medical condition. The four others facing charges — Ali Khalifeh, Ali Salman, Hussein Salman, and Mustafa Salman — remain at large.”

Euronews: Political Violence Is On The Rise In EU, Driven By Extremism And Disillusionment

“European Policy Centre analysts say the general political climate and the upcoming European elections are, in part, responsible for the uptick in violence. The shooting of Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico is an example of the more serious acts of political violence in parts of the European Union. It was the first attempt on the life of a European head of state since 2003, and reflects a growing polarisation across the continent. Eric Maurice, researcher at the European Policy Centre, said there are numerous factors behind the discontent. ''It's true that on the one hand, we can see in the election results a rise in the extremes, in the radical forces, on both the right and the left, with an increasingly uninhibited political language, in verbal violence, in ad hominem attacks in political debate too. And then a radicalisation, a polarisation of society and a difficulty in debating with political adversaries who often become enemies,'' he said.”

Southeast Asia

Associated Press: A Man In Malaysia Who Killed 2 Police Officers Acted On His Own, A Minister Says

“The man who attacked a Malaysian police station and killed two officers was a recluse and is believed to have acted on his own despite suspected links to the Jemaah Islamiyah extremist group, the country’s home minister said Saturday. The man stormed the police station in southern Johor state near Singapore in the early hours of Friday with a machete. He hacked a police constable to death and then used the officer’s weapon to kill another. He wounded a third officer before being shot dead. Police initially said the man could have attempted to take firearms from the station. Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution called it a “lone wolf attack” based on an initial investigation and said there was no threat to the wider public. “We have established that the attacker acted on his own ... a lone wolf driven by certain motivation and his own understanding,” Saifuddin said. “His action is not linked to any larger mission.””

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.


On May 8, 2019, Taliban insurgents detonated an explosive-laden vehicle and then broke into American NGO Counterpart International’s offices in Kabul. At least seven people were killed and 24 were injured.

View Archive