Eye on Extremism: May 9, 2022

Reuters: New York Subway Shooting Suspect Indicted On Terrorism Charge

“A U.S. grand jury on Saturday indicted a man for terrorism and other charges stemming from an April 12 gunfire and smoke bomb attack that injured 23 people on the New York City subway. The indictment in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York charged Frank James, 62, with a terrorist attack and other violence against a mass transportation system plus a count of discharging a firearm during a crime of violence. If convicted on the terrorism charge James could be sentenced to life in prison. Defense attorneys representing James did not immediately respond to requests for comment. James is accused of setting off smoke bombs and opening fire inside a New York City subway car in Brooklyn, striking 10 people with gunfire and setting off a round-the-clock manhunt. Thirteen others were injured in the frantic rush to flee the smoke-filled train, police said. He was taken into custody some 30 hours later in lower Manhattan, about 8 miles (13 km) from the scene of the assault, after authorities determined his whereabouts with the help of tips from residents, some of whom posted sightings on social media, police said. James, a Bronx native with recent addresses in Philadelphia and Milwaukee, had previously been charged with a criminal complaint filed by law enforcement over the attack.”

Associated Press: Yemen Officials: 2 Commanders Killed In Clash With Militants

“Clashes at a militia facility in southern Yemen following the arrest of a group of suspected al-Qaida militants has killed at least a dozen people, including two force commanders, officials said. The officials said the fighting took place late Friday at the headquarters of the so-called Security Belt force in Dhale province. The Security Belt is a militia trained and funded by the United Arab Emirates and loyal to the secessionist Southern Transitional Council. The force is active in Yemen’s southern provinces. The militia reported that Col. Waleed al-Dhami, deputy commander of the Security Belt, and Col. Mohamed al-Shoubagi, commander of the government’s counterterrorism unit in Dhale, were killed. It did not offer further details. The security officials said the nearly hour-long firefight erupted when troops asked the militants to hand over their weapons. The militants refused and opened fire at the troops, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters. Eight militants and four security forces were killed in the fighting, including the two commanders, they said. There were a number of wounded troops who were taken to a hospital, the officials added. Al-Qaida and Islamic State group affiliates are active in several regions of war-torn Yemen and have taken advantage of the yearslong civil war to make inroads. The war pits Iran-backed Houthi rebels against the internationally recognized government, which is aided by a Saudi-led coalition.”

United States

Reuters: U.S. Police Trainers With Far-Right Ties Are Teaching Hundreds Of Cops

“On social media, Richard Whitehead is a warrior for the American right. He has praised extremist groups. He has called for public executions of government officials he sees as disloyal to former President Donald Trump. In a post in 2020, he urged law enforcement officers to disobey COVID-19 public-health orders from “tyrannical governors,” adding: “We are on the brink of civil war.” Whitehead also has a day job. He trains police officers around the United States. The Idaho-based law enforcement consultant has taught at least 560 police officers and other public safety workers in 85 sessions in 12 states over the past four years, according to a Reuters analysis of public records from the departments that hired him. A Washington state training commission in 2015 temporarily banned Whitehead from advertising courses on its website because of instructional materials that referred to a turban-wearing police officer as a “towel head” and contained cartoons of women in bikinis, according to emails from the commission to Whitehead that were reviewed by Reuters. Other marketing literature touted Whitehead’s “deception detection” technique that, among other things, teaches officers not to trust sexual-assault claimants if they use the word “we” in referring to themselves and their assailant.”

Associated Press: Al-Qaida Chief Blames US For Ukraine Invasion In New Video

“Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri made an appearance in a pre-recorded video to mark the 11th anniversary of the death of his predecessor Osama bin Laden. Al-Zawahri says in the video that “U.S. weakness” was the reason that its ally Ukraine became “prey” for the Russian invasion. The 27-minute speech was released Friday according to the SITE Intelligence group, which monitors militant activity. The leader appears sitting at a desk with books and a gun. Urging Muslim unity, al-Zawahri said the U.S. was in a state of weakness and decline, citing the impact of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan launched after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Bin Laden was the mastermind and financier behind the attacks. “Here (the U.S.) is after its defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan, after the economic disasters caused by the 9/11 invasions, after the Corona pandemic, and after it left its ally Ukraine as prey for the Russians,” he said. Bin Laden was killed in a 2011 raid by U.S. forces on his compound hideout in Pakistan. Al-Zawahri’s whereabouts are unknown. He is wanted by the FBI and there is a $25 million reward for information leading to his capture.”

Syria

Kurdistan 24: SDF Arrests Suspected ISIS Cell Leader In Raqqa

“The US-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced that it arrested a suspected ISIS leader and two local collaborators in Raqqa on Sunday. “Our forces have raided a house where the terrorist was hiding with the help of two local collaborators who helped in securing shelter and movement,” the SDF Media Centre said in a statement. “A large number of weapons and documents were confiscated.” The SDF liberated Raqqa from ISIS in October 2017 with support from the US-led coalition. The northeastern Syrian city was the de-facto capital of the group's self-styled caliphate, which was completely destroyed after the SDF captured the eastern town of Baghouz in March 2019. The SDF rarely carries out operations against ISIS sleeper cells in Raqqa since most ISIS sleeper cell activity is in the eastern Arab-majority Deir al-Zor province. However, in recent months the SDF has arrested more ISIS suspects in Raqqa.”

Iraq

AFP: Yazidis Displaced Anew By North Iraq Violence

“Iraqi policeman Jundi Khodr Kalo was among thousands of Yazidis again forced to flee their homes this month, after fierce clashes between the army and local fighters in their Sinjar heartland. “Last time we were displaced because we were afraid of the Islamic State” jihadist group, said Kalo, 37, from the non-Arab, Kurdish-speaking minority. The Yazidis are a monotheistic, esoteric community who were massacred by IS when the extremists swept across Iraq in 2014. Two days of fighting broke out on May 1 in northern Iraq's Sinjar region between the army and Yazidi fighters affiliated with Turkey's banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). A local official said the violence forced more than 1,700 families, or over 10,200 people, to flee. Some 960 families have settled in a displacement camp in the neighbouring Iraqi Kurdistan region, while others have sought shelter with relatives, according to the United Nations. Kalo, his wife and their five children took refuge in the crowded Chamisku camp, home to more than 22,000 people, near the city of Zakho. Like many Yazidis, the Kalo family suffered long years of displacement after IS overran swathes of their country. “We lived in a camp for six years,” he said, only returned to their home village two years ago.”

Yemen

The Jerusalem Post: Yemen’s Houthis Celebrate Terror Attack In Israel

“The Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen is celebrating Thursday’s terror attack in Elad, which they praised it as an operation “in the heart of the Zionist regime,” Iranian news media quoted the Houthi statement as saying. The Houthis are a rebel group in Yemen who have been fighting the Saudi-backed government of Yemen for years. In 2015, Saudi Arabia intervened in Yemen to prevent the group taking Aden and other cities. Since then, the Houthis have fired missiles and drones at Riyadh. They increasingly also condemn Israel and seek to work closely with Iran and Hezbollah. Their official slogan is antisemitic and calls for death to Israel and “cursing” Jews. The group put out a statement of “congratulations on the Palestinian operation against the Israeli enemy” and said the “operation” took place in response to the actions of the Zionist enemy and its attack on Islamic sanctuaries. The Houthis said they support the attacks that have “shaken the Zionist regime.” They also called on Muslims in the region to support the attacks. They accused Israel of threatening Al-Aqsa mosque.”

Middle East

The Wall Street Journal: Israel Arrests Two Palestinians Suspected In Elad Terrorist Attack

“Two Palestinians suspected of killing three Israelis in a bloody ax attack on Israel’s independence day were captured Sunday after an intensive manhunt, Israeli authorities said. The suspects, identified by a security official as Asad Al Refai and Subhi Sbeihat, were arrested in a wooded area adjacent to a quarry in central Israel not far from the city of Elad, where the attack occurred as independence day celebrations were ending on Thursday. Video of the arrest circulated on social media and authenticated by Israeli police showed security personnel with guns drawn surrounding a large bush and yelling for the suspects to surrender. Mr. Refai, 19 years old, and Mr. Sbeihat, 20, from Rumana, a Palestinian town near Jenin in the West Bank, were being interrogated by Israel’s Shin Bet security agency, officials said. After the arrests, officers walked one of the two suspects to a location nearby where an ax could be seen lying on the ground covered by underbrush, another video released by police showed. The Elad attack was the most recent in a wave of attacks against Israelis in recent months that have left at least 18 dead. On Sunday evening, a 19-year-old Palestinian man stabbed a police officer near an entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City, said Eli Levi, a spokesman for the police.”

The Times Of Israel: Israel To Return Bodies For Burial Of Two Terrorists Who Carried Out Hadera Attack

“Israel has agreed to return the bodies of two Arab-Israeli terrorists who carried out the deadly terror attack in Hadera in late March and they will be buried overnight Sunday-Monday in their hometown of Umm al-Fahm, Hebrew media reports said. Family members agreed to police demands to bury them overnight and restrict attendance to no more than 50 people at each funeral. They also agreed there would be no inciting calls or banners and no processions, the Walla news site reported. There was no official confirmation from the police. Police had previously expressed concerns that their funerals could attract thousands and could become rallying sites for terror. Ayman and Ibrahim Ighbariah, cousins from the northern Arab city, were killed by police during the Islamic State-inspired attack after fatally shooting Border Police officers Yazan Falah and Shirel Aboukrat. Ibrahim had been previously jailed for attempting to join the jihadist group. It was the first attack in Israel claimed by the Islamic State since 2017. Israel Police said the two arrived at the scene with 1,100 bullets, as well as at least three handguns and six knives. Ibrahim, 31, was arrested in 2016 by Turkish police after trying to join the Islamic State jihadist group in Syria.”

Egypt

Reuters: Islamic State Claims Responsibility For Attack On Egyptian Troops In Sinai

“Islamic State on Sunday claimed responsibility for a deadly attack that killed an officer and 10 Egyptian soldiers in Egypt's Sinai peninsula, the group said on its Telegram channel. Saturday's attack was one of the deadliest in recent years in northern Sinai, where Egypt's security forces have been battling Islamist militants with links to Islamic State.”

Nigeria

The Christian Post: Islamic Militants Kill 8 Christians, Including Children, In Nigeria

“Radical Islamic militants killed at least eight Christians, including children younger than 5, and wounded several others in an attack in Nigeria’s Borno state, according to reports. A picture from the scene shows two deceased victims, each appearing to be young children, lying side by side, said the U.S.-based persecution watchdog International Christian Concern about the attack in Borno state’s Kwal area. ICC added that one of its representatives met with a 2-year-old gunshot wound survivor whose mother was killed in the attack. According to various reports, the attackers were Islamic Fulani herdsmen or militants from the Islamic State West Africa Province. The attackers had AK-47 rifles and shouted, “Allah Akbar [Allah is the greatest]” while firing indiscriminately, according to ICC, which said a community member who was given intel about a possible attack had issued a security alert. “In response to this warning, an ICC representative went to the community before the attack began and rescued 15 children, whom he hid in his home beyond the scope of the assailants,” the watchdog said. “Despite an early warning, we told government officials, but they kept silent and allowed Fulani militants to kill us,” a leader in the community was quoted as saying. “The government is silent over the killings in my region because we are Christians, not Fulani Muslims.”

Africa

Associated Press: Two Islamic Extremist Attacks Kill 11 Burkina Faso Soldiers

“Eleven security forces were killed and nine injured in two separate jihadi attacks in northern Burkina Faso, the army said Friday. The attacks on Thursday targeted a military camp about 10 kilometers (6 miles) from Solle town in Loroum province and a special response unit for the gendarme in the Sanmatenga province, the army said in a statement. The military killed 20 attackers and seized or destroyed weapons, ammunition and communication devices, the statement said. Violence by extremists linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group is soaring in the West African country, which has become the center of the region's crisis, replacing neighboring Mali, according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project. Thousands of people have been killed and nearly 2 million internally displaced. The latest attacks come on the heels of other coordinated attacks less than two weeks ago where 15 people were killed including nine security forces in Burkina Faso's Sahel region. In January, mutinous soldiers overthrew Burkina Faso’s democratically elected president, Roch Marc Christian Kabore, promising to secure the country from jihadi violence. However, attacks have since increased, rising by 11% in February compared with the month prior, according to the U.N.”

Reuters: Heavily Armed Militants Break 60 Inmates From Burkina Faso Prison

“Militants freed around 60 prisoners during an attack on a jail in northwest Burkina Faso overnight, ransacking offices and setting vehicles ablaze before making their escape, two security sources and a judicial source said. Armed men entered the town of Nouna around midnight aboard 4x4s and motorbikes, brandishing Kalashnikovs and heavy machine guns, the security sources said. The militants freed around 60 men from the city jail, its entire prisoner population. Burkina Faso is battling a jihadist insurgency that has spread from neighbouring Mali over the past decade, where violent attacks are weekly occurrences. Thousands have been killed across the region, and millions forced to flee their homes. No one was killed during the weekend's prison raid, but a volunteer militia fighter was shot, according to security sources. Several of the prison's trucks and motorbikes were set on fire, and its offices were trashed. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. The raid came just hours after unknown militants killed at least 11 people between the northern towns of Dori and Gorgadji, according to two local officials. Among the dead were nine militiamen and two civilians. Burkina Faso's army on Friday said that another 11 soldiers, militiamen and police officers were killed in other attacks over the past week, but that more than 20 militants were killed in retaliation.”

France 24: At Least 35 Killed In Attack On DR Congo Gold Mine: Local Sources

“Raiders killed at least 35 people in an attack on a gold mine in Ituri, in the strife-torn northeast of Democratic Republic of Congo, local sources said Sunday. One local official, Jean-Pierre Bikilisende, of the rural Mungwalu settlement in Djugu, Ituri, said the CODECO militia had carried out the attack on the artisanal mine. Bikilisende said the militia had attacked the Camp Blanquette gold mine and that 29 bodies had been retrieved, while another six burnt bodies had been found buried at the site. Among the dead was a four-month-old baby, he added. “This is a provisional toll,” he said, as there had been other people killed whose bodies had been thrown down the mine shafts. Several other civilians had been reported missing, he said. “The search continues.” Camp Blanquette was set up in a forest, far from the nearest military outpost, so help came too late, said Bikilisende. Cherubin Kukundila, a civil leader in Mungwalu, said that at least 50 people had been killed in the raid. Several people had been wounded, nine of them seriously. They were being treated at Mungwalu hospital, he told AFP. The Camp Blanquette mine lies seven kilometres (four miles) from Mungwalu. CODECO has been blamed for a number of ethnic massacres in the province of Ituri.”

Al Arabiya: Morocco Arrests ISIS Suspect In Joint Probe With US

“Moroccan police said Friday they had arrested a suspected ISIS group member, in cooperation with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, who was implicated in plotting “acts of terrorism.” The announcement came ahead of the opening next Wednesday in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh of a conference of member countries in the US-led coalition against ISIS. The suspect, based in the kingdom’s northeastern Berkane region, was implicated in the “preparation of a terrorist plot aimed at delivering a serious blow to public order,” Morocco’s counterterrorism police, the Central Office of Judicial Research, said in a statement. For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app. “The outlines of his terrorist conspiracy were unmasked on the basis of research and technical investigation carried out jointly with the FBI,” it added. This operation “is further evidence of the persistent dangers of the terrorist threat that hangs” over Morocco and “the importance of bilateral cooperation... with the United States in the fight against terrorism.” The suspect, a 37-year-old engineer, “ran a closed user group dedicated to extremist goals and projects and aimed at recruiting and drawing in sympathizers,” the statement said. His objective was to carry out attacks against Moroccan and foreign dignitaries on Moroccan soil, it alleged.”

Canada

Edmonton Journal: Windsor Man Charged In RCMP Terrorism Probe

“…“(Members) view themselves as rebels who are opposed to the system in all the forms,” said Joshua Fisher-Birch, a researcher with the Counter Extremism Project. “When people are looking at various extreme right and neo-Nazi ideologies, Atomwaffen is like the most extreme accelerationist bent.” Combatting extremism takes education and early intervention, Fisher-Birch said, and there are resources out there for people concerned about a friend or family member’s views. But equally important is building a sense of community, which can help prevent people from falling into extremist beliefs.  A London, Ont., man was charged last year with terrorism, in addition to murder, after a pick-up truck veered onto the sidewalk killing four members of a Muslim family out for a walk. The alleged attack prompted police to allege the family was deliberately run down and targeted because of their faith.”

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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