Eye on Extremism: May 5, 2022

Associated Press: Extremist Rebels Launch Deadly Attack In Northeast Nigeria

“Islamic extremist rebels have killed at least seven people in an attack in northeast Borno state in Nigeria, witnesses told The Associated Press on Wednesday. The rebels attacked Kautukari village in the Chibok area of Borno on Tuesday evening, said residents. The attack happened at the same time that U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was in the state to meet with survivors of jihadi violence. The Chibok area is 115 kilometers (71 miles) away from Maiduguri, the state capital, where Guterres met with former militants being reintegrated back into the society and thousands of people displaced by the insurgency. “They came in large number with superior firepower (and) took over the community,” said Hassan Chibok, a community leader. Troops from a nearby military base were deployed to repel the attack but “the damage had been done,” Chibok said, adding that “casualties are up to 10.”

Voice Of America: At Least 30 Burundian AU Soldiers Killed In Al-Shabab Attack, Official Says

“At least 30 Burundian soldiers were killed and 20 others injured in Tuesday's attack by al-Shabab militants on an African Union base in southern Somalia, according to a Burundian official. The official, who requested anonymity because he is not allowed to speak to media, told VOA Somali that 10 soldiers died on the spot, and the rest of the soldiers succumbed to their wounds. He confirmed that other soldiers are still missing. Al-Shabab said it killed 173 soldiers in the attack on the AU base in the village of El-Baraf, about 150 kilometers north of Mogadishu. The casualty figure has not been independently verified. A separate source told VOA Somali that 161 soldiers were at the camp at the time of attack. The Burundian official confirmed that number. The Burundian official told VOA Somali that the soldiers had intelligence al-Shabab was gathering in a nearby village about 48 hours prior to the attack. He said the soldiers prepared to defend themselves and dug trenches. He said what caught the soldiers by surprise was the enormity of al-Shabab explosives detonated at the camp. He said the militants used three truck bombs, one of which fell into a ditch. He estimated the militants detonated about 20 kilograms of explosives, and that 450 militants overran the camp.”

United States

Associated Press: Dutch Woman Convicted In US Of Al-Shabab Fundraising

“A Dutch woman has been convicted of raising money for the Somali terrorist group al-Shabab, according to a federal prosecutor. Farhia Hassan, 38, was convicted Tuesday of conspiring to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, Jessica Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said in a news release. Court records and evidence showed Hassan was involved for more than three years with a group of women from more than a dozen countries who ran a fundraising ring to provide financial support to al-Shabab. The women funneled cash payments directly to members of the terrorist group, coordinating the payments using online chatrooms, and it was used to fund safehouses and to purchase trucks and weaponry in support of al-Shabab, the news release said.”

The Detroit News: Feds Fight To Jail 'Most Dangerous Individual In Metro Detroit'

“Federal officials seized weapons and destructive devices from a paroled Islamic State “soldier” in Detroit but waited almost a year to alert a judge or try to send him back to prison despite public safety concerns. The materials, including knives, bayonets and road spikes, were found in June as court officials searched the home of Sebastian Gregerson, aka Abdurrahman Bin Mikaayl, on the west side of Detroit. The 35-year-old was freed in October 2019 after serving a 45-month sentence for a gun crime and buying fragmentation grenades in a criminal case that drew national attention and left lingering questions about Gregerson's network of radical supporters.”

WTOP News: The Hunt: One Of The ISIS ‘Beatles’ Sentenced For Beheading Four Americans

“On this edition of “The Hunt with WTOP National Security Correspondent J.J. Green,” Dr. Hans-Jakob Schindler, senior director of the Counter Extremism Project, talked about the case of one of the ISIS “Beatles.”

Syria

The National: ISIS Attacks In Syria Have Declined 'While New Fighters Join Terror Cells'

“A significant drop in ISIS attacks in Syria is due to new fighters being integrated into the group, a terrorism monitor has said. The Counter Extremism Project (CEP), which keeps a monthly record of attacks by ISIS, suggests fighters freed in the Hassakeh prison break in January are joining new cells and being trained. Thousands of ISIS prisoners were believed to have initially escaped the Ghwayran jail in Hassakeh, Syria, when attackers detonated a car bomb near the prison gates. It led to a week of clashes inside and around the jail, which is run by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Hundreds died before US-led Kurdish forces recaptured the site. It is the largest prison holding ISIS detainees, with Human .36+9000Rights Watch estimating it holds 12,000 men, including up to 4,000 foreign terrorist fighters. It is not known how many are still at large. In April, the CEP recorded seven deaths from at least six ISIS attacks in the Homs, Deir Ezzor and Hama regions. CEP researcher Gregory Waters said he recorded a significant drop in activity and believed it could be because the escaped fighters are being trained and placed in terrorist cells. “ISIS activity decreased significantly in April compared to March, matching the historic low points that occurred in January and July 2019,” he said.”

Saudi Arabia

Reuters: Saudis Feel 'Let Down' By U.S. Over Houthi Security Threats, Says Senior Royal

“Saudi Arabia feels "let down" by the United States in tackling security threats to the kingdom and wider region by Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi movement, a senior member of the Saudi royal family and former intelligence chief said. Traditionally strong ties between Riyadh and Washington have been shaken under U.S. President Joe Biden by the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of Saudi agents and the ruinous Yemen war in which a Saudi-led coalition has been battling the Houthis for seven years. "Saudis consider the relationship as being strategic, but (feel) as being let down at a time when we thought that America and Saudi Arabia should be together in facing what we would consider to be a joint, not just irritant, but danger to the stability and security of the area," Prince Turki al-Faisal said, referring to Houthi missile and drone attacks. His remarks came in a video interview with Saudi newspaper Arab News published on Monday.”

Mali

Reuters: Germany To End EU Training Mission In Mali

“Germany will end its participation in the European Union training mission in Mali but is ready to continue with a U.N. peacekeeping mission in the country under certain conditions, Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht said on Wednesday. France and allies fighting Islamist militants in Mali earlier this year said they would pull out troops after almost a decade. The exit raised questions about the futures of the 14,000-strong United Nations peacekeeping mission (MINUSMA) and the European Union's EUTM and EUCAP missions. Under the current transitional Malian government, there was a danger that Germany-trained Malian soldiers could fight together with Russian troops and "commit cruel violations of human rights", Lambrecht said after a cabinet meeting in Meseberg, a city north of Berlin. "We cannot support such a system any longer," the defence minister said. "That's why we will stop our (participation in the) EUTM training mission.”

United Kingdom

The Independent: National Action Co-Founder Was A Ukip Activist While Forming Neo-Nazi Terrorist Group, Court Hears

“The co-founder of National Action was an active member of Ukip while he was forming the neo-Nazi terrorist group, a court has heard. Alex Davies, 27, is accused of remaining a member of the extremist organisation after it was banned by the British government in December 2016. Giving evidence to his trial at Winchester Crown Court on Wednesday, he said he had previously been a member of other political groups. They included the Hunt Saboteurs animal rights organisation, the British Movement, and a group called Western Spring. Mr Davies said he had “started playing an active part in nationalist politics” at the age of 16, but originally was only involved in “independent activism” online and printing off leaflets. He told the court he had joined the youth branch of the British National Party (BNP) in around 2010 and had travelled from his home in Wales to meetings in London. “Then in around 2012 to 2013 I became involved in Ukip at a local level,” Mr Davies said. “I was in the constituency branch. That was just leafleting and that sort of thing.” He was studying for his A-levels at a college in Swansea during the period, and had come into contact with his fellow National Action organiser Ben Raymond.”

Canada

Global News: Extremism, Hateful Rhetoric Becoming ‘Normalized’ In Canada, Spy Agency Head Warns

“The head of Canada’s spy agency says the hateful rhetoric associated with ideologically motivated extremism is becoming “normalized” and is seeping into the mainstream. Speaking at the University of British Columbia, Canadian Security Intelligence Service director David Vigneault said the use of social media and other online platforms to sow disinformation, misinformation, propaganda and hate continues to increase and accelerate. Vigneault told a gathering at the university’s School of Public Policy and Global Affairs that this type of information manipulation and propaganda can have serious consequences, eroding trust in democratic institutions and in reasoned deliberation and science. He says it also polarizes public opinion and amplifies conflicting narratives and messaging. Vigneault warned the combination of major disruptive events like the COVID-19 pandemic, the ever-increasing influence of social media and the spread of conspiracy theories has created an environment open to exploitation by influencers and extremists. The spy service says the confluence of factors has the potential to inspire individuals to commit acts of violence. Since 2014, Canadians motivated in whole or in part by their extremist ideological views have killed 26 people and wounded 40 others on Canadian soil, Vigneault said.”

Australia

The Guardian: Christchurch Attack Inquiry To Examine If Australian Terrorist Was Radicalised Online

“The online activities of the Australian white supremacist who opened fire on two New Zealand mosques – and how much of a role social media and internet platforms played in his radicalisation – will form part of a coroner’s inquiry into the deaths of 51 Muslim worshipers in the 2019 Christchurch terrorist attack. But the presiding coroner, Brigitte Windley, who announced the scope of her inquiry in a decision released on Thursday, has warned of “monumental hurdles” to exploring the terrorist’s online activities – including Brenton Tarrant’s attempts to wipe parts of his digital footprint before committing the attacks. The 15 March 2019 attack was planned for an online audience; the gunman streamed live footage and posted a manifesto online before he shot dozens of people at two mosques during Friday prayers. Windley’s decision to include the terrorist’s online activity in her investigation of what factors caused the deaths was welcomed by some Muslim groups, who had asked her at a preliminary hearing in February to examine the influence of social and digital media platforms. “This is a landmark moment for the accountability of digital platforms,” said Aliya Danzeisen, the national coordinator of the Islamic Women’s Council of New Zealand.”

Europe

The Defense Post: Getting The Global Fragility Act Together: Reimagining Counterterrorism Must Be Part Of The Plan

“The ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine overshadowed the latest step taken in Washington to turn the page on 20 years of a costly, largely military-driven approach to addressing conflicts. Informed by some of the lessons from the past two decades, the long-awaited US Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability marks a shift away from a reactive approach that often exacerbated the underlying drivers of, and prolonged rather than reduced, the violence. The new strategy, which is to implement the 2019 Global Fragility Act, favors a more sophisticated “whole of society” approach with an emphasis on prevention. It prioritizes addressing the factors contributing to violence and political instability and fostering and sustaining long-term partnerships in affected countries with governments, civil society, and the private sector. The strategy also articulates a long-overdue commitment to breaking down the array of bureaucratic and funding siloes that have too often hindered the development of a more integrated, effective, and sustainable approach to violence and conflict prevention. The framework makes references to counterterrorism and the need for complementarity between this new strategy and relevant, existing US strategic frameworks, including those related to counterterrorism.”

Southeast Asia

Arab News: Philippine Police Arrest Suspected Daesh Recruiter In Zamboanga Sibugay

“Philippine police said on Wednesday they had arrested a suspected Daesh recruiter and firearms supplier in southern Zamboanga Sibugay province. The suspect, identified as Abdul Salikala, was seized during a raid by security forces in the municipality of Tungawan on Tuesday. Police described him as “an ISIS-inspired supporter,” using another term for the terror group Daesh. A warrant for Salikala’s arrest had been issued in relation to a 2011 murder case. “He was also monitored recruiting both male and female individuals to be part of the IS/Daesh in Siocon,” police said in a statement. According to police, Salikala had transported “undetermined numbers of high-powered firearms” from the municipality of Alicia in Zamboanga Sibugay to undisclosed locations in Siocon municipality, in neighboring Zamboanga del Norte province. Ramboanga Sibugay police spokesperson Maj. Shellamie Chang told Arab News the suspect and some members of his family based in Zamboanga del Norte were supporters of Salahuddin Hassan of Dawlah Islamiya — also known as the Maute group — a militant organization in the southern Philippines that pledged allegiance to the Daesh in 2015. “They are recruiting members of Daesh” Chang said. “They are connected to someone in Manila and, accordingly, the family is working together.”

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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