Eye on Extremism: May 3, 2022

Associated Press: Hamas Claims Deadly Attack That Killed Israeli Guard

“The Palestinian militant group Hamas claimed responsibility Monday for a deadly shooting that left an Israeli security guard dead at the entrance of a Jewish settlement in the West Bank last week. It was the first time Hamas has claimed such an attack targeting Israelis in the occupied West Bank since 2018. Friday evening’s attack was the latest in a long string of incidents in recent weeks. Tensions have mounted after deadly attacks on Israelis by Palestinian assailants, an Israeli military crackdown in the West Bank, and clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police at a flashpoint Jerusalem holy site. The site contains the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest place in Islam. It is also the holiest site for Jews, who call it the Temple Mount because it is the location of the biblical Temples destroyed in antiquity. The site is a frequent flashpoint for tensions, and violence there last year helped spark an 11-day war between Israel and Gaza militants. “This is an episode in a series of responses by Al-Qassam Brigades to the aggression on Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Hamas’s armed wing said in a short statement. The claim of responsibility came a day after the Israeli army spokesperson told Kann public radio that two Palestinian suspects apprehended by the military did not belong to any militant group.”

The Times Of Israel: Gantz Designates 4 Alleged IS Fighters As Foreign Terrorists, Per US Request

“Defense Minister Benny Gantz has designated four alleged Islamic State senior members as foreign terrorist operatives, his office said on Monday. This is the first time that the Defense Ministry has designated foreign terror operatives at the request of the United States, Gantz’s office said. It also said the decision was made in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373, which calls on member states to assist in the effort against global terrorism. The four individuals — Farhad Hoomer, Siraaj Miller, Abdella Hussein Abadigga and Peter Charles Mbaga — are accused of setting up IS cells across the continent of Africa, raising funds and planning attacks. The four were designated by the United States Treasury as terrorists in March. “Israel and the United States see the need to fight terrorist organizations, anywhere and anytime,” Gantz said in a statement. “We will continue to work to curb the capabilities of terrorist organizations and their operatives, and we will continue to strengthen our cooperation with partners around the world in the face of those who seek to undermine stability and harm [innocents].” Israel has moved to crack down on Islamic State after six Israelis were killed in a pair of terror attacks in Beersheba and Hadera by Arab Israeli supporters of the jihadist group in March.”

Iraq

Associated Press: Thousands Flee After Clashes Erupt In Embattled Iraqi Town

“Thousands or people fled a northern Iraqi town amid fierce clashes between the army and a militia linked to a Kurdish separatist group, the military and local Iraqi Kurdish officials said Monday. At least 3,000 people left Sinjar and its surrounding areas, the officials said, and headed farther north toward the semi-autonomous Kurdish region to seek asylum. They left when clashes intensified on Monday between the Iraqi army and the YBS, a militia group with ties to the Turkish insurgent Kurdistan Worker’s Party, or PKK. Many were Yazidis displaced during the 2014 Islamic State onslaught and are bracing for another round of violence after returning to their homes only a few years ago. Most of the displaced were distributed across camps in the Kurdish region, said Pir Dayan, director of the migration and crisis response department in Dohuk province, in the Kurdish-run region. The Kurdistan government has formed a committee to deal with the situation. The violence erupted when the Iraqi military launched an operation late Sunday to clear the area of YBS forces, most of them comprised of members from the Yazidi religious minority. By Monday, the fighting spread to other areas in Sinjar district.”

AFP: Years After IS Defeat, Northern Iraq Struggles To Rebuild

“In Iraq, “maku” means “nothing”, and father-of-five Issa al-Zamzoum says “maku” a lot: no electricity, no home, no rebuilding and no job. Eight years after heavy fighting between Islamic State jihadists and the army, the reconstruction of his war-ravaged village in northern Iraq is at a standstill. “There is nothing here, no electricity,” 42-year-old Zamzoum sighed. “Even work, there is none.” Zamzoum lives with his wife and family in Habash, some 180 kilometres (110 miles) north of the capital Baghdad, a village dotted with dozens of bomb-blasted houses still ruined from intense fighting in 2014. Part of their roof, which caved in during the bombardment, still lies in crumbling and bullet-scarred wreckage. In one room, a hen watches over her chicks. In another, filthy mattresses are piled up against the wall. The building does not even belong to Zamzoum: his own home was left uninhabitable. While the Baghdad government eventually celebrated military “victory” over IS in December 2017, the scale of destruction was immense. “Reconstruction? We do not see it,” Zamzoum said gloomily. “Nothing has happened since the war.” Habash paid a heavy price during IS's siege of Amerli, a town less than 10 kilometres away.”

Middle East

The Times Of Israel: Teen Girl Charged With Terrorist Act Over Stabbing Of Haifa Man

“Prosecutors on Monday filed charges against a teenage girl for stabbing an Israeli man in Haifa last month amid a spate of terror attacks. The 15-year-old was arrested after stabbing and moderately wounding the man on April 15. Police have said her father had alerted authorities of her intentions shortly before the attack. The minor, whose name is barred from publication, was charged with a terrorist act of aggravated sabotage and possessing a knife for racist motives. According to the indictment, the teen took an increasing interest in religion and the Temple Mount ahead of the attack, which came hours after Palestinians and police clashed at the Jerusalem holy site. It also noted that she had heard the same morning that a Palestinian she corresponded with had died of wounds sustained while trying to attack Israeli security forces in Jenin. A report last week identified the Palestinian as her boyfriend. At least 26 Palestinians have been killed in clashes with Israeli soldiers during raids in the West Bank in recent weeks, including the ostensible boyfriend, 17-year-old Shawkat Kamal Abed from Kafr Dan, who was critically hurt on April 14 during clashes with Israeli troops in the town near Jenin, according to Palestinian media reports.”

The Jerusalem Post: Sheikh Indicted For Incitement To Terror In Temple Mount Speech

“56-year-old Sheikh Esmat Hamouri was indicted for calling directly for acts of terror during a speech to prayer goers on the Temple Mount, the State Attorney's Office's Jerusalem District said on Monday. Approximately two weeks ago some 200 young Palestinians gathered near the Dome of the Rock, some with green flags and calling “Allah Akbar.” The sheikh spoke for about 10 minutes, during which the crowd chanted praise for Muhamad Def, head of Hamas' military wing. “We tell our brothers in Gaza and Palestine and everywhere the words of Allah — do not trust those who grasped hell, and whoever wants to free the al-Aqsa mosque will not succeed without weapons and power and the unity of Muslim countries,” Hamouri was quoted in the indictment as saying. “There is no alternative but to unify the Islamic countries and determinedly free al-Aqsa mosque. This is not impossible for Allah. The good began at al-Aqsa and the goodwill return to al-Aqsa,” he said. His words were filmed and posted on TikTok. The State Attorney's Office requested that Hamouri be detained until the end of his legal proceedings.”

The Medialine: 11 Years Later, Al-Qaida Is Stronger, On Its Way To Recentralizing

“…Dr. Hans-Jakob Schindler, senior director of the Counter Extremism Project and former coordinator of the ISIL, al-Qaida, and Taliban Monitoring Team of the UN Security Council, told The Media Line that the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan last August has led to a significant change in al-Qaida’s approach to its operations. He explained that since bin Laden’s death and with the rise of his successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaida became decentralized. At the same time, it has managed to expand through affiliates, stepping back from centralized, large-scale terrorist operations against the West, and concentrating on creating a broader base in Islamic countries. Now, for the first time in 20 years, al-Qaida has a safe haven, and the consequences of that are starting to manifest themselves, Schindler said. In time, al-Qaida may reach a point where it continues to have affiliates around the world to attack its “near enemies” in the Islamic world, but it will no longer exercise restraint in attacking its “far enemies” based in Europe and the US because it again has a protected area in Afghanistan, protected by the Taliban, he explained. “You don’t need thousands of individuals. You need a handful to organize a spectacular terror attack,” Schindler said.”

Nigeria

All Africa: Nigeria: Battle Against Terrorists Will End Soon - Buhari

“President Muhammadu Buhari has said the battle waged against terrorists who falsely masquerade under the name of Islam is approaching its conclusion. The President said this Sunday while sending his best wishes to Muslims in Nigeria and across the world celebrating the occasion of the Holy month of Ramadan that reached its end and they marked the Eid. Buhari, who said “The fight has been long and hard. Final victory is within sight. Boko Haram and its offshoots' final embers are now fading, added that “After a period of fasting and reflection, this year, we have cause to welcome the occasion in hope.” The President, in a statement issued by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, further directed increased coordination and cooperation among security agencies. Buhari, who said an end had been brought to a silo approach among the agencies, assured that there would be no shortage of funds to provide security for the citizens. The President, who appraised the security situation across the country, said: “Last month, the leader of ISWAP was killed in an airstrike. Since the New Year, thousands of fighters have surrendered to enter rehabilitation programmes. The territories they used to occupy are now seeing the return of those who were forced to flee their barbarity.”

All Africa: Nigeria: Troops Arrest 3 Boko Haram/ISWAP Gun Suppliers In Lake Chad

“Troops of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), have intercepted three gun runners, who were smuggling in AK47 to Nigeria from the border town between Cameroon and Nigeria. Leadership reports that the arrest is coming at a time when proliferation of small arms has been named as the major reason for insecurity in the Nigeria's North-East. Sources close to Zagazola Makama, a Counter Insurgency Expert, said that the incident which occured on April 28, followed a credible information about the gun runners moving weapons into Nigeria from Gamborun Ngala, a Nigerian border town close to Cameroon and Niger Republic. The sources said that the highly vigilant troops mounted a successful ambush and intercepted the criminals, adding that items recovered include AL47 riffles which were obviously going to the camps of Boko Haram/Islamic State of the West African Province (ISWAP) terrorists. The suspects were taken to the military authorities for further investigation and interrogation. It could be recalled that the MNJTF, through Operation Lake Sanity had sustained its operational domination into the strongholds of the Boko Haram/ISWAP as well as intensified watch in all the illegal routes around the borders of the Lake Chad as part of the efforts to completely decimate the insurgents from the areas.”

Somalia

All Africa: Somalia: Danab Takes Control Of Villages From Al-Shabaab

“The US-trained elite DANAB Commandos carried out anti-al-Shabaab operations in the Bay and Lower Shabelle regions in southern Somalia. The operations took control of Leego and Jameo areas in the two regions, according to the army commanders. The troops wrested control of several villages during the action. DANAB destroyed the bases that Al Shabaab used to tax offices to extort local people. The offensive will continue until to ensure security in the southern regions of Somalia. DANAB receives military training and equipment from the United States, with its main base in Balidoogle, Lower Shabelle region.”

Mali

Asharq Al-Awsat: US Embassy In Mali Issues Security Alert, Warns Citizens Of Possible Terrorist Attack

“The US Embassy in Mali issued a security alert on Friday, advising its citizens that a terrorist attack may be planned in Bamako through the celebration of Eid al-Fitr. The attack may be targeting locations frequented by Westerners, including embassies, hotels, and restaurants, the embassy noted. It advised the citizens to continue to exercise vigilance while in Mali, stay alert in locations frequented by tourists or westerners, review their personal security plans, keep a low profile, be aware of their surroundings, keep a means of communication with them at all times, and monitor local media for updates. There are many active armed groups in Mali, some of whom pledged allegiance to ISIS and al-Qaeda. Mali, a vast nation of 21 million people, has been ruled by a military council for nearly a year now. Separately, a group of 4,000 Nigerians who fled years ago to neighboring Niger have returned home despite ongoing insecurity and almost non-existent services in the area. The refugees’ return to Mallam Fatori town in the Abadam district of Borno state on March 31 and April 1 is part of the authorities' effort to shut crowded camps, bring back refugees and relocate internally displaced people who want to go home.”

Africa

Arab News: Moroccan King Pardons 29 Jailed For ‘Terrorism’ Offenses

“Morocco’s king pardoned 29 people jailed for “terrorism or extremism” offenses in a gesture marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, the justice ministry announced. The 29 prisoners were pardoned “after having officially expressed their attachment to the... sacredness of the nation and to national institutions, revised their ideological orientations and rejected extremism and terrorism,” said a justice ministry statement issued late Sunday. Of those pardoned, 23 will be freed while the remaining six will have their sentences reduced. The 29 are part of a total of 958 people sentenced by various courts across the country that Morocco’s King Mohammed VI pardoned to mark the Eid Al-Fitr holiday at the end of Ramadan. In 2017, the North African nation launched a reintegration program called “Moussalaha,” or “Reconciliation,” in its prisons, targeting inmates convicted of “terrorism” who were willing to question their beliefs. Since 2022, the security services have dismantled more than 2,000 extremist cells and made over 3,500 arrests linked to terrorism, according to official figures. The country has largely been spared jihadist attacks since 2003, when five suicide attacks killed 33 people and wounded scores more in the economic capital Casablanca.”

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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