Eye on Extremism: November 16

Associated Press: UN Condemns Arms Supply To Somalia's Al-Shabab, Keeps UN Ban

“The U.N. Security Council condemned the supply of weapons and ammunition to al-Shabab extremists and others in Somalia in violation of a U.N. arms embargo and voted Monday to extend the ban for a year, saying the al-Qaida affiliate’s terrorist activities continue to destabilize the Horn of Africa nation. It urged Somalia’s federal government to keep working with financial authorities, private sector financial institutions and the international community to crack down on al-Shabab’s ability “to generate revenue and launder, store and transfer resources” for use in terrorist and other activities. The council’s resolution also expressed concern at “continued reports of corruption and diversion of public resources in Somalia.” The council kept in place the arms embargo on the sale or resale of weapons and military equipment to Somali forces, a ban on the sale or shipment to Somalia of components used to manufacture improvised explosive devices that al-Shabab is increasingly using, and a ban on the export of charcoal, once a key money-earner for the country. The vote was 13-0, with Russia and China abstaining. Russia objected to references to Eritrea and Djibouti in the resolution, which says the council “will continue to follow developments towards the normalization of relations between Eritrea and Djibouti.”

The Washington Post: U.K. Raises Terrorism Threat Level After Taxi Explosion Outside Liverpool Hospital

“The British government raised its terrorism threat warning to its second-highest level on Monday, after police labeled two attacks in the past month — a car explosion outside a Liverpool hospital and the fatal stabbing of a British lawmaker — terrorist incidents. The government announced it was upgrading its terrorism threat level from “substantial” to “severe” — meaning that the government considers the possibility of an attack “highly likely.” The move came after an incident Sunday morning, when a taxi pulled up outside an entrance to Liverpool Women’s Hospital in northwestern England. Video footage shows a blast ripping through the vehicle, which then burst into flames. Police said that the blast killed the passenger in the car, who they suspect was carrying a homemade bomb. Police arrested four men in relation to Sunday’s car explosion, but they were released after questioning on Monday. Although police declared the car explosion a “terrorist incident,” they did not release any details to support that conclusion and said the motive was unclear. On Monday evening, police identified the deceased and indicated he was a suspect in the bombing. “Our inquiries are very much ongoing but at this stage we strongly believe that the deceased is 32-year-old Emad al Swealmeen,” detective chief inspector Andrew Meeks said in a short statement.”

United States

Associated Press: Proud Boys Leader Seeks Release, Citing DC Jail Conditions

“Complaining about jail conditions, a top leader of the Proud Boys far-right extremist group asked a judge on Monday to free him before he finishes serving a five-month sentence for burning a Black Lives Matter banner taken from a historic Black church in Washington, D.C. D.C. Superior Court Judge Jonathan Pittman said Monday he would rule by the end of the week on whether to reduce Proud Boys chairman Henry “Enrique” Tarrio's sentence to 90 days. But the judge struck a consistently skeptical tone that left Tarrio, testifying by video from jail, visibly slumped in frustration. Tarrio asked that his sentence be reduced or that he be allowed to finish it under house arrest because he claims he has been harassed by correctional officers and exposed to inhumane jail conditions. He said his cell has regularly flooded with dirty toilet water from a neighboring cell. “I've been to jail before and what I've seen here, I've never seen anywhere else,” Tarrio said, wearing an orange jumpsuit and a mask over his face. “This place needs to be shut down immediately.” He detailed abusive guards, constantly flooded cells, smoke-filled hallways and medical neglect, saying he witnessed a prisoner have a seizure who lay there for a half hour before any help arrived.”

Syria

Kurdistan 24: SDF Arrest ISIS Facilitator In Deir Al-Zor

“The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) arrested an Islamic State (ISIS) weapons and explosives facilitator in the eastern Syrian province of Deir al-Zor on Sunday night, the Special Operation Joint Task Force – Levant’s official Twitter account announced on Monday. “This operation, assisted by Coalition forces, was part of continued efforts of SDF to deter Daesh (ISIS) resurgence and shut down their terrorist network,” the account said. “(The) SDF is an effective ground force partner in the continued mission to make a safer and more secure #NESyria (Northeast Syria) and the surrounding region,” it added. “They are making tactical and strategic moves to stop the logistics, facilitation and planning of Daesh (ISIS) terrorism.” Special Operations Joint Task Force–Levant (SOJTF-Levant) replaced Special Operations Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve on July 1, which had been overseeing special operations activities in Syria and Iraq, Military Times reported. The SOJTF-Levant now also oversees activities in Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt, in addition to Syria and Iraq. Although the SDF and the coalition announced the territorial defeat of ISIS in Syria in March 2019, sleeper cell attacks continue in northeastern Syria. In response, with coalition support, the SDF continues operations against ISIS sleeper cells in the region, especially Deir al-Zor.”

Iraq

Al Monitor: Iraqi Airstrikes Hit Terror Targets

“The Iraqi air force has reported conducting new airstrikes against enemy fighters. Pilots commanding F-16 fighter jets carried out the aerial strikes northwest of Mutaybija in Iraq’s Salah ad-Din province in the north of the country. They destroyed a tunnel used for smuggling weapons, a generator and other structures used by “terrorists,” Iraq’s Security Media Cell said yesterday. The statement did not specify who the strikes targeted. In April, the Iraqi air force bombed Islamic State fighters in Mutaybija. IS was territorially defeated in 2017 but continues to operate in the country. The group conducted a deadly attack on a village near Diyala north of Baghdad in October. Iraqi forces arrested a group of IS fighters earlier this month. IS’ continued presence is one factor pushing Iraqis to flee abroad. The mysterious insurgent group the White Flags has also been active in northern Iraq in recent years. Iraq’s air force also carried out airstrikes against unspecified “terrorists” near the disputed northern city of Kirkuk in September. The US-led anti-IS coalition also provides air support to Iraqi security forces.”

Kurdistan 24: Iraqi Security Forces Destroy 18 ISIS Hideouts In Diyala: Coalition

“The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) destroyed 18 Islamic State (ISIS) hideouts in Diyala, sixty kilometers north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, on Monday with support of the US-led coalition. “Our shared mission to #DefeatDaesh (ISIS) continues as we transition from combat ops to #AdviseAssistEnable,” the official account of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR), the US-led coalition against ISIS, tweeted. The spokesman for the ISF, Gen Yehia Rasool, also tweeted that the Iraqi forces continued an operation in Diyala with coalition and Iraqi air support for a second day. During the operation, near Hamrin mountains, 11 villages and orchards were cleared of the militants. The ISF also found 32 explosive devices, 10 rockets, and rocket launchers. ISIS remnants regularly launch attacks in territories disputed by Baghdad and Erbil due to a security vacuum between ISF and Kurdish Peshmerga front lines in disputed provinces such as Diyala and Kirkuk. Diyala has faced security challenges following the territorial defeat of ISIS in 2017. Also, in September, three Iraqi soldiers were killed in a suspected ISIS attack in rural Diyala. Recently, the ISF have carried out several operations against ISIS sleeper cells.”

Afghanistan

The Defense Post: Taliban Launch Operation Against IS In Southern Afghanistan

“The Taliban have launched a crackdown on suspected Islamic State hideouts in southern Afghanistan, officials said Monday, following an increase in bloody attacks by the group in recent weeks. The operation against Islamic State-Khorasan — the local chapter of the jihadist group — started around midnight in at least four districts of Kandahar province and continued through Monday morning, Taliban provincial police chief Abdul Ghafar Mohammadi told AFP. “So far, four Daesh (IS) fighters have been killed and ten arrested… one of them blew himself up inside a house,” he said. A member of the Taliban intelligence agency who declined to be named told AFP at least three civilians were killed in the operation. Local media quoted a Taliban official as saying there had also been a blast in a western suburb of Kabul Monday morning with no casualties. In the three months since the Taliban came to power, IS-K has been active in Jalalabad, Kunduz, Kandahar, and Kabul. Last month the group claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack on a Shiite mosque in Kandahar that killed at least 60 people and injured scores more. That attack came a week after another deadly mosque blast claimed by IS-K in northern Kunduz province killed more than 60 people. The group on Sunday claimed responsibility for a bomb that destroyed a minibus in Kabul at the weekend killing a well-known local journalist and up to two others.”

Lebanon

The Times Of Israel: Hezbollah Planned To Murder Israeli In Colombia To Avenge Soleimani – Report

“Hezbollah planned to assassinate an Israeli national in Bogota as part of an operation that also targeted Americans to avenge the January 2020 killing of Iranian al-Quds Force commander General Qassem Soleimani, a Colombian newspaper reported Sunday. The El Tiempo newspaper said the Israeli targeted by the Lebanese terror group was a former intelligence officer who had been stationed in the city as a member of the diplomatic corps, then opened a company involved in the import and sale of surveillance cameras and technology. The report, citing unnamed sources in Colombia’s military intelligence services, said Israel’s Mossad security service discovered that the businessman had been spied on at a number of locations. The Colombian daily said an intelligence dossier on the matter, including information provided by Mossad, indicated that in addition to the Israeli, members of a US delegation in the city were also under surveillance by the terror group. The report said Colombian authorities were notified that evidence indicated that the Israeli was going to be assassinated, and that the group was additionally spying on other foreigners in the Colombian capital. The newspaper said the Israeli national was quickly whisked out of Bogata, back to Tel Aviv.”

Africa

Reuters: Burkina Attack Death Toll Rises To 32 In Security Forces' Worst Loss Yet

“At least 32 people, including 28 military police officers and four civilians, were killed in an attack on a gendarmerie post in northern Burkina Faso, the government said on Monday, raising its earlier death toll of 20. The government's statement said the toll was provisional as of Monday afternoon. The attack is the deadliest suffered by Burkina Faso troops since an insurgency by Islamist militants took off in 2017. President Roch Kabore decreed three days of national mourning for the victims of the attack, which took place on Sunday morning near a gold mine in Inata and came two days after another raid in the area killed seven police. The government said it was carried out by unidentified armed men. Burkinabe forces and civilians are regularly targeted by militants linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State, particularly near the borders with Mali and Niger. The militants' insurgency across West Africa's Sahel region has expanded in recent years, claiming thousands of lives, forcing millions from their homes and wearing down national forces. The gendarmerie post in Inata had run out of food and been forced to slaughter animals in the vicinity for the past two weeks, according to a memo sent by the post's commander to his superiors last week and seen by Reuters.”

United Kingdom

The National: Tareena Shakil: I Had Lost My Way When I Joined ISIS

“The first woman found guilty in the UK of joining ISIS has said she “just lost her way in life” and regretted her decision to align with the terrorist group. Tareena Shakil was jailed for six years for joining ISIS in Syria and is now living in the UK. She travelled to Syria in 2014 with her young son and spent several months as a member of the extremists. After becoming disillusioned and escaping ISIS-held territory, she flew back to Britain and was arrested at Heathrow Airport, west London, in 2015. She was jailed for being a member of ISIS and encouraging acts of terrorism on social media. In her first interview since being released, Shakil, who is from the English city of Birmingham, expressed scepticism about allowing other British ISIS recruits to return. In a new documentary for ITV called Tareena: Return From ISIS, the 32-year-old said her case was different from that of many other recruits, such as Shamima Begum, because she chose to leave when ISIS still controlled a large territory. “I can't sit here and say: 'No, don't bring them back', because that makes me a hypocrite, because I've been in a very similar situation,” Shakil said. She said her story was different from others who joined ISIS “because I escaped.”

France

The National: Female ISIS Inmate Uses Knotted Bedsheets In Escape Attempt At French Prison

“A female inmate at a French prison tried to escape by tying bedsheets together then climbing down the security wall. The woman, 31, who has served four years on terrorism charges after travelling to Syria, was caught after setting off motion detectors. She had dug a hole in the wall of her cell before using her improvised rope. France’s Justice Ministry said guards had thwarted the escape attempt from the Paris region’s second-largest prison on Sunday morning. Guards immediately inspected all of the women’s cells at the Fresnes Prison to ensure all other prisoners were accounted for and an investigation was launched by the National Anti-Terrorism Prosecutor's Office, the ministry said. The prisoner was jailed after she travelled to Syria to join ISIS, Broadcaster France Info reported.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

Fact:

On November 28, 2020, Boko Haram militants attacked farmers as they worked in the rice fields of Koshebe near the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri. Abubakar Shekau confirmed his faction was responsible for the massacre of 110 civilians.   

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