Eye on Extremism: May 6, 2022

The Wall Street Journal: Suspected Terrorist Attack In Israel Kills At Least Three On Independence Day

“A suspected terrorist attack in central Israel killed at least three people and injured several others late on Thursday, shaking the country as it celebrated Independence Day. Two unidentified assailants were involved in the attack, including one who was armed with an ax, according to Deputy Superintendent Mirit Ben Mayor, an Israeli police spokeswoman. It occurred in Elad, a largely ultra-Orthodox town adjacent to the occupied West Bank, and came in the wake of increased tensions at one of Jerusalem’s most contested holy sites, where Israeli police and Palestinians clashed in the morning. Hundreds of officers were searching for the perpetrators who fled the scene after carrying out the attack and whose identity the police hadn’t confirmed yet, Ms. Ben Mayor said. Avi Biton, the police commander for Israel’s central district, told reporters that special forces, intelligence officers and helicopters were participating in the pursuit of the attackers. The deadly incident could fuel tensions, which have soared in recent months as a wave of Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank have left 15 Israelis dead before Thursday’s attack, while more than two dozen Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security forces in recent months.”

The Times Of Israel: UN Chief Expresses ‘Grave Concern’ Over Hezbollah’s Arms Ahead Of Lebanese Elections

“The UN chief called for Lebanon’s parliamentary elections on May 15 to be “free, fair, transparent and inclusive” in a report circulated Wednesday, and warned of Hezbollah’s destabilizing presence in the country that is undergoing multiple crises. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in the report to the UN Security Council that political polarization in the country has deepened and the Lebanese people “are struggling daily to meet basic essential needs.” He pointed to frequent protests across the country sparked by “public frustration with the political situation and the economic and financial crisis.” The May 15 elections for parliament are the first since Lebanon’s economic meltdown began in late 2019. The government’s factions have done virtually nothing to address the collapse, leaving Lebanese citizens to fend for themselves as they plunge into poverty, without electricity, medicine, garbage collection or any other semblance of normal life. The elections are also the first since the August 4, 2020, catastrophic explosion at Beirut port that killed more than 215 people and wrecked large parts of the city. The destruction sparked widespread outrage at the traditional parties’ endemic corruption and mismanagement.”

Afghanistan

Foreign Policy: Millions Of Afghans Want To Flee. LGBTQ Afghans Have To.

“Sixty Afghan LGBT people who had been living in fear for their lives due to their sexual orientation and gender arrived in Canada in time to celebrate the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr this week, safe at last from persecution and death threats from the extremist Taliban now in control of their country. They are among what Nemat Sadat, an Afghan activist who has lived in the United States for more than a decade, calls “the most vulnerable people in the most dangerous country in the world.” Since the Taliban reinstated extremist rule last August, Sadat said, Afghanistan’s untold thousands of LGBT people have lived in fear of violence for not conforming to the Islamists’ notion of sexual normalcy. He has helped more than 80 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and nonbinary people reach safety outside Afghanistan since the Western-supported government collapsed last summer. That leaves around 1,000 more he has identified as needing urgent evacuation. “Even that number in a country of 35 million is small,” Sadat said.”

Pakistan

Gulf News: US Wants To Continue Working With Pakistan On Border Security, Counter-Terrorism

“The United States wants to continue working with Pakistan in areas of mutual interests including border security and counterterrorism. “We value our bilateral relationship,” Ned Price, the US Department of State spokesperson, said at a press briefing on Thursday. “We want to continue to work together in areas where we do have mutual interests with our Pakistani partners. That includes counterterrorism. That includes border security as well. He said this in response to a question about resumption of US security assistance suspended by previous US administration amidst surge in terror attack due to situation in Afghanistan. The spokesperson also “strongly condemned” the militant attack on Karachi University last week, in which three Chinese nationals and one Pakistani lost their lives in a deadly suicide bombing. The attack was claimed by the banned militant organisation Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) and carried out by a woman suicide bomber. “A terrorist attack anywhere is an affront to humanity everywhere, but for a terrorist attack to take place at a university, or at a religious site, or at some of the locations we’ve seen recently – that is a true affront to mankind,” Price added The US has congratulated Shehbaz Sharif on becoming Pakistan’s new prime minister last month, however, the two countries have remained at odds.”

Middle East

Al Monitor: Islamic Jihad Claims New Drones Made In Gaza

“As part of their ongoing military preparations and less than a year after the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip in May 2021, the military factions in the Gaza Strip continue to threaten to respond to Israeli actions in the Palestinian territories using new military equipment they are developing. Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Jihad, announced April 28 having locally manufactured, for the first time, a new drone it called the “Jenin drones” to carry out attacks against Israel. Islamic Jihad made the announcement in a video posted on its website, showing an earlier version of the new drone, which it had used against Israeli military vehicles stationed near the border with Gaza in September 2019. The video footage shows the drone dropping an explosive device from a medium altitude range, before returning to the Gaza Strip safely. Later, the video shows members of the brigade equipping the drone with small-sized missiles at the headquarters of Al-Quds Brigades, showing that the drone is now able to carry more advanced military bombs than before. In another video released April 28, on the eve of International Quds Day, which falls on the last Friday of Ramadan every year, Al-Quds Brigades’ spokesman Abu Hamza said that the Jenin drone became part of the brigades’ air force that Islamic Jihad continues to develop inside the besieged Gaza Strip since 2007.”

Africa

All Africa: West Africa: Enablers Of Political Extremism - A Checklist For West African Countries

“The Sahel - the region just south of the Sahara - is home to the world's fastest growing extremist group, Jama'at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin or JNIM, and the most deadly group, Islamic State in West Africa, according to the 2022 Global Terrorism Index. The various militant groups in the Sahel have different tactical preferences and operate in specific contexts. What they share is a general ideological commitment to unsettle and obliterate existing state structures, not necessarily to take over the state. Security continues to deteriorate across the Sahel. Groups are expanding their reach and carrying out deadlier attacks, taking hostages, ambushing highways and attacking villages. This is despite many counterterrorism interventions over the last decade, including various French-led programmes, the G5 Sahel Joint Force, the Multinational Joint Task Force and the United Nations Multidimensional Stabilisation Mission in Mali. The withdrawal of France and its EU partners from Mali signals a counter-terrorism fatigue. Military takeovers in the sub-region also suggest the situation may continue to get worse. As extremist groups form alliances, co-opt pre-existing conflicts and head south from the Sahel, West African countries like Ghana, Benin, Togo and Côte d'Ivoire are increasingly on edge.”

All Africa: Mozambique: Muslim Leaders Reject Terrorism

“The Muslim community in Mozambique on 2 May celebrated the end of the fasting month of Ramadan with appeals to peace and harmony, particularly in the northern province of Cabo Delgado which has been ravaged by terrorist attacks perpetrated by jihadist groups since October 2017. In Nampula province, Sheik Abdul Latifo stressed that Muslims repudiate armed violence and will cooperate with the government to identify those who are using Islam to manipulate and murder. “We are facing the problem of terrorism in Cabo Delgado”, he said. “They are killing our fellow countrymen, burning down houses, destroying public and private buildings, and looting property. These bandits are trying, without success, to use the name of Islam, they have tried to use the name of Allah in their raids”. “They are trying to besmirch the good name of Islam”, said Latifo. “They have forgotten that, in Islam, human blood is sacred and must not be shed”. Addressing the terrorists, he said, “We shall show society what Islam is. We shall warn our young people not to fall into your poisonous traps. We shall block any attempts to turn our youths into your instruments”. Nampula provincial governor Manuel Rodrigues added, “We would urge our Muslim brothers to multiply their efforts to make our society a space for peaceful and harmonious co-existence between citizens of different religious beliefs”.”

United Kingdom

BBC News: Terror-Accused Student 'Wanted A Full On War'

“A would-be terrorist hatched plans for a “full on war” and wrote recipes for a bomb intended for use on a police station, a jury heard. Student Luke Skelton wanted to run a violent group and attack “rape gangs”, Teesside Crown Court was told. The 18-year-old, who was arrested in October, is alleged to have held an extreme right-wing ideology. Mr Skelton, of Washington, Tyne and Wear, denies preparing to commit terrorist acts. The jury heard details of comments made online, in text messages and in handwritten notes found at his home. Det Con Melanie Clarke, from North East Counter Terrorism Policing, read out excerpts in which the defendant said he wanted to protect “white girls” by targeting “rape gangs”. The jury heard the Gateshead College student had written: “I've got all the equipment I need to hunt down the gangs…I want a full on war.” It was also said he wrote that he wanted “a chat with a drag queen…involving a knife”. The court was told Mr Skelton devised recipes for explosives, including “nails and ball bearings” and a named chemical “for [a] faster boom.” Sarah Wilson, a forensic explosives expert at the government's Porton Down laboratories, told the jury a viable device could be made from the ingredients.”

Canada

CBC: Online Content Creators Are Making Money From Hate, Misinformation, Mps Told

“Creators of hateful content and misinformation are making millions of dollars through social media, the head of an international non-profit group told MPs studying ideologically motivated violent extremism Thursday. Imran Ahmed is chief executive officer of the Center for Countering Digital Hate, which has been tracking online hate for the past six years. He told members of the House of Commons public safety and national security committee that a profitable online economy has emerged around hate and misinformation. “There are commercial hate and disinformation actors who are making a lot of money from spreading discord and peddling lies,” Ahmed said. “There is a web of commercial actors, from platforms to payment processors to people who provide advertising technology that is embedded on hateful content, giving the authors of that hateful content money for every eyeball they can attract to it, that benefit from hate and misinformation. “It's got revenues in the millions, the high millions, tens of millions, hundreds of millions of dollars. That has made some entrepreneurs in this space extremely wealthy.” Online platforms and search engines “benefit commercially from this system,” Ahmed said.”

Europe

CAPX: Don’t Pretend A Vote For Sinn Fein Is A Vote For Reconciliation

“Sinn Fein would have NI voters believe they have changed. With unctuous faux-sincerity, their leader Mary Lou McDonald even calls Unionists ‘brothers and sisters’ these days. Yet poke under the bonnet a bit, and this remains a party that venerates the most cold-blooded of sectarian murderers. The Troubles-era murders of three brothers in South Fermanagh will not sway any voters in today’s Northern Ireland Assembly elections, even if they are recalled to mind. But they ought to make clear to anyone casting their ballot for Sinn Fein that, whatever their motivation, they are not doing so in the cause of reconciliation. McDonald has called the IRA campaign that executed three defenceless Protestants ‘justified’. Granted, she later tried to qualify these comments by saying that she wished such murders had never happened – a wish fervently shared by the one remaining sister of Ronnie, Cecil and Jimmy Graham, whose murders were all too typical of the relentless campaign of terror visited by Republican extremists on the Protestant minority living on the Fermanagh border.”

Technology

The Jewish Chronicle: YouTube Again Refuses To Remove Videos Glorifying Terrorism

“YouTube has refused to take down videos that glorify terrorists and promote antisemitic conspiracy theories in a move that the UK’s former independent reviewer of anti-terror legislation said “beggars belief”.  It comes after the JC exposed a succession of hate-filled clips on the video-sharing giant, many of which YouTube was eventually forced to remove. But now the company appears to be hardening its stance. Last week, the site hosted a clip in which controversial commentator Abdel Bari Atwan railed against “Jewish Israeli lobbies” in Parliament, calling the terrorists who killed Israelis “martyrs” and describing their actions as “a legitimate right”. He also blamed Mossad for the removal of his previous YouTube video praising the murder of Israelis in Tel Aviv, which was taken down after it was exposed by the JC. But when we brought the latest clips to YouTube’s attention, a spokesperson said: “YouTube’s community guidelines prohibit violent extremism and hate speech. The flagged videos have been reviewed and do not violate our policies.” Lord Carlile, a leading law expert and former reviewer of UK anti-terror legislation, said: “It is clear from the penetrating investigation carried out by the JC that hateful material all too easily is finding its way onto YouTube, because of inadequate moderation and editorial policies.”

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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