Eye on Extremism: November 17, 2022

Axios: U.S. Tells Iraq It Won't Work With Officials Linked To Terror Groups

“The Biden administration has made it clear to Iraq's new prime minister that it will not work with ministers and senior officials who are affiliated with Shiite militias the U.S. has designated as terrorist organizations, two sources briefed on the issue told me. Why it matters: Mohammed Shia al-Sudani became the prime minister after he was endorsed by the pro-Iranian factions in the Iraqi parliament, known as the Coordination Framework. These factions include some Shiite militias on the U.S. Foreign Terrorist Organizations list. Still, the U.S. plans to largely work with and give the new Iraqi government and al-Sudani a chance, as Axios recently reported. Iraq is a key partner for the Biden administration in the region, with many U.S. security and economic interests that need to be preserved. State of play: The Biden administration has already decided it will not work with the minister of higher education, Naim al-Aboudi, who is a member of Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq (AAH), a Shiite militia that is funded by Iran and was designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S., the two sources said. The U.S. is also concerned about Rabee Nader, who was appointed to head the Iraqi prime minister's press office. Nader worked in the past for media outlets affiliated AAH and with the Kata’ib Hezbollah — a Shiite militia designated by the U.S. as a terror group.”

Voice Of America: Somalia Fights Back Against Al-Shabab Attack On Education Sector

“The Somali government said it plans to reopen schools in territories recently recovered from militant group al-Shabab. Education Minister Farah Sheikh Abdulkadir says his ministry has a plan to take education to the areas seized by the government and local forces. Somali security forces supported by local clan militias have been dislodging al-Shabab from towns and villages in central Somalia since August. “The Somali people have risen up in support of their government, a sizable land has been liberated; we are going to reopen the schools, we are going to take the curriculum there, and we are going to send teachers there,” Abdulkadir said in an interview with VOA Somali. “The government will utilize all of its power to provide education service to the people who have not had regular or proper education for a long time.” He said the government already sent school supplies to Hirshabelle State, which was a focal point for the offensive against the militants. Abdulkadir said only 24% of Somalis currently have opportunity to access education. “They [al-Shabab] have taken advantage of this lack of knowledge and ignorance, and God willing; we are going to put a lot of effort into that to change,” he said. The minister’s pledge to revive education in areas captured from al-Shabab is not a coincidence. It comes nearly three weeks after two consecutive al-Shabab bombs targeted the Ministry of Education in Mogadishu, killing 121 people and injuring more than 330 others.”

United States

NBC News: FBI, DHS, And Social Media Firms Like Meta, TikTok Aren't Adequately Addressing Threat Of Domestic Extremists, Senate Report Says

“An investigation by the Senate Homeland Security Committee alleges that the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and leading social media companies are not adequately addressing the growing threat of domestic terrorism, especially white supremacist and anti-government extremists. In a 128-page report obtained by NBC News, the committee’s majority Democrats say federal law enforcement agencies have not appropriately allocated resources to match the metastasizing threat, and have failed to systematically track and report data on domestic terrorism incidents, as required by federal law. “Unfortunately, our counterterrorism agencies have not effectively tracked the data that you need to measure this threat,” Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., who chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said Wednesday. “If they’re not tracking it, it’s likely they are not prioritizing our counterterrorism resources to effectively counter this threat.” In a statement, the FBI said it is “agile” and adjusts resources to meet the latest threats, while DHS said that “addressing domestic violent extremism is a top priority” for the department. A Meta spokesperson pointed to the company's most recent Community Standards Enforcement Report, which highlights what the spokesperson described as a low prevalence of terror and organized hate content on Facebook and Instagram.”

Syria

The Washington Post: Two Girls Found Beheaded, Dumped In Syrian Detention Camp, Charity Says

“Two Egyptian girls were found dead in northeastern Syria’s al-Hol camp, which holds relatives of suspected Islamic State fighters in northeastern Syria, according to a major children’s charity that works in the camp. Save the Children did not identify the cause of death of the two girls, whose ages it gave as 12 and 15. But the Associated Press, citing the London-based war monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and unnamed officials with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, reported that both girls had been beheaded and their bodies dumped in the sewage system. The Washington Post was unable independently to verify the reports and has contacted the SDF for comment. “This news is utterly heartbreaking. These two girls were trapped in the Al Hol camp through no fault of their own,” Save the Children’s interim Syria response director, Beat Rohr, said in a statement Tuesday. “Their death is a stark reminder that no child should grow up in these camps. We continue to urge all countries to repatriate children stuck in North East Syria as soon as possible.” Doctors Without Borders, which runs medical facilities at al-Hol camp, reported this month that the facility houses more than 50,000 people, more than half of whom are children. Detainees from Syria and Iraq are housed together, and other foreign nationals, numbering about 11,000, are housed separately, the group said.”

Kurdistan 24: ISIS Threat Continues To Exist Due To ‘The Ideology’, Says Ex-Coalition Official

“The ongoing ISIS threats both in Syria and Iraq are due to the existence of “the ideology”, a top official from the international coalition against the terror group told Kurdistan 24 on Wednesday. The remarks by the former spokesperson for the anti-ISIS Operation Inherent Resolve Myles B. Caggins III came during an interview on the sidelines of the Middle East Peace and Security Forum 2022 held at the American University of Kurdistan (AUK) in the Kurdistan Region's Duhok province. “ISIS continues to exist because of the ideology. There are people who believe in what ISIS believes in. And they are willing to fight for those beliefs,” Caggins III told Kurdistan 24 in response to a question regarding the persistent threats from the group despite the military defeat it suffered in 2017. The former coalition official said that the Iraqi and Kurdish security forces have defeated the ability of the terror group to launch major attacks, limiting their activities to only “small attacks”. Caggins III concluded his assignment in September 2020. The terror group’s self-proclaimed caliphate was brought down by the Kurdish and Iraqi forces with the support of the international coalition against ISIS.  Despite its territorial defeat, ISIS still launches low-level insurgency against security and civilian targets across the country, including the disputed territories. The third annual conference officially began on Tuesday on the AUK campus, where parallel workshops were held.”

Iran

Associated Press: Gunmen Attack Bazaar In Southwest Iran, Kill 5, State Media Says

“Gunmen opened fire in a bazaar in the southwestern Iranian city of Izeh on Wednesday, killing at least five people, including a young girl, and wounding civilians and security forces, state TV reported. It was not immediately clear what motivated the attack or if it was linked to the nationwide protests that have convulsed Iran over the past two months. Another 10 people, including security forces, were wounded in the shooting, according to state TV. Valiollah Hayati, deputy governor of the Khuzestan province, where the city is located, told state TV that a young girl and a woman were among those killed. State TV said that groups of several dozens of protesters had gathered in different parts of Izeh late Wednesday, chanting anti-government slogans and hurling rocks at police, who fired tear gas to disperse them. State-linked media also reported that someone set fire to a Shiite religious seminary. Violent clashes have erupted around some of the protests as security forces have clamped down on dissent. Iran has also seen several recent attacks blamed on separatists and religious extremists, including a shooting at a major Shiite shrine last month that killed more than a dozen people and was claimed by the Islamic State group.”

Turkey

Voice Of America: Political Repercussions Grow Over Turkey Bombing

“The political and diplomatic fallout is growing after Sunday's bombing in Istanbul. Turkey blames Kurdish militants backed by the United States for the attack, which comes months before elections. Mourners have not stopped laying flowers at the scene of Sunday’s fatal bomb attack on Istanbul's most famous shopping street. While the country comes to terms with the bombing, the political repercussions are growing. After detaining the alleged bomber, Turkish security forces claim the attack was carried out by the Kurdish militant group the PKK, a charge the group denies. Devlet Bahceli, leader of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's parliamentary coalition partner, the MHP, called Tuesday for the closure of Turkey's legal Kurdish party, the HDP. Bahceli said the coalition does not want to see separatists in the parliament. He said its members cannot stand seeing terrorists and cannot tolerate “for even a second” the HDP. The HDP is already facing closure with many of its parliamentary deputies already in jail over links to the PKK, convictions the European Court of Human rights has condemned as politically motivated. In a statement, the jailed former HDP leader, Selahattin Demirtas, warned the government could use Sunday’s bombing as a pretext to launch a new offensive into Syria against Kurdish forces of the YPG. Turkey's Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu has claimed the alleged Sunday bomber confessed to being trained by the YPG, a group Ankara claims is affiliated with Kurdish militants of the PKK.”

Pakistan

Associated Press: Ambush, Army Raid Leave 6 Police, 2 Troops Dead In Pakistan

“Armed militants on Wednesday ambushed a routine police patrol in northwestern Pakistan, killing all six policemen in the vehicle, while a shootout with gunmen elsewhere in the volatile region killed two soldiers, officials said. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the ambush in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which borders Afghanistan and has seen frequent attacks on security forces. The militant group — formally known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP — is separate but allied with the Afghan Taliban. The attackers who ambushed the police in the Dadewala area of the Lakki Marwat district escaped on motorcycles, according to police officer Rab Nawaz Khan. He said an investigation was underway. A TTP spokesman, Mohammad Khurasani, said the police patrol was ambushed while on the way to carry out a raid in the area. The militants snatched police weapons before fleeing the scene, he said. Also in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, two soldiers were killed in a shootout with militants. The gunbattle erupted during an overnight raid in the Hilal Khel area in Bajur. A militant was also killed, according to a military statement. The military said troops seized arms and ammunition from the militant killed in the raid. The army said he had been involved in past attacks on security forces.”

Middle East

The Times Of Israel: Israeli Arab Teen Indicted For Affiliation With Islamic State, Plans To Make Bombs

“Prosecutors on Wednesday filed an indictment against an Arab teen from northern Israel over his alleged affiliation with the Islamic State terror group, the Justice Ministry said. According to the charge sheet, over the past two years, the 16-year-old was in contact with several members of the jihadist group via the Telegram messaging application and other social media sites. The indictment, citing the teen’s interrogation by the Shin Bet security agency, said in 2020 he was interested in swearing allegiance to IS and potentially joining its ranks abroad. In 2021, the teen swore allegiance to the group, and continued being in contact with members, who provided him with instructions to build explosive devices and makeshift weapons, the indictment read. The teen also attempted to convince several of his friends to join IS as well, however, they declined, according to the indictment. As he is a minor, the suspect’s name and other identifying details, such as when he was arrested, were barred from publication. The prosecution has asked to keep the suspect held until the end of legal proceedings. Last month, six Arab men were arrested for alleged affiliation with IS and plans to commit terror attacks. The men, from Nazareth in northern Israel, were accused of planning to attack a Muslim school, a busy bus stop, a police station and a park where Jewish Israelis often visit.”

i24 News: Analysis: 2022 Terror Wave Continues With No End In Sight

“Country records highest number of casualties at hands of Palestinian terrorists since 2008 Israel recorded a grim milestone this week as the number of Israeli civilians and security forces killed by Palestinian militants this year reached 29 - the highest number of casualties since 2008.  The latest attack came on Tuesday, seeing three Israeli civilians murdered at the hand of a Palestinian terrorist near the West Bank settlement of Ariel. The deadly wave of attacks began back in March with a series of deadly shootings, stabbings, and car-ramming attacks deep inside Israel - in cities like Be'er Sheva, Jerusalem, Hadera, and Bnei Brak. Between mid-March and early May, 19 people were killed in Israel and the West Bank, prompting the Israeli military to launch Operation “Break the Wave” to crack down on Palestinian terrorism, conducting nightly arrests and raids on suspected terrorists. Yet, the operation had only limited results so far, and the wave of murderous attacks against Israelis shows no signs of stopping. A shooting attack in the heart of Tel Aviv in April that killed three civilians hit close to home for many, a soft target for thousands of revelers in one of the most popular spots in the country. In May, three Israelis were killed and four wounded in a brutal axe attack on Israel's independence day.”

Nigeria

Sahara Reporters: Nigerian Army Kills Notorious Terrorist, Kachalla Gudau And His Trusted Lieutenant In Kaduna

“Gudau was killed by troops on Sunday at a place called Kankomi in Kaduna. Kachalla Gudau, leader of a gang of bandits notorious for killing and abductions, has been killed by the Nigerian Army. The terrorist is allegedly responsible for many kidnappings and killings in the Chikun, Kachia, and Kajuru local government areas of Kaduna State. According to the state government, Gudau was killed by troops on Sunday at a place called Kankomi in Kaduna. Samuel Aruwan, the state internal security and home affairs in commissioner, said Gudau was killed during a gun battle with soldiers. He said, “The remains of the notorious bandit – who is said to have links with other notorious kingpins across the North-West and North-Central states – were retrieved in the Kankomi Forest where he bled to death. “Credible sources reported that after his remains were retrieved, a large number of bandits under his command buried him in a location said to be around Kaku Forest situated in Kaso general area of Chikun LGA. “The identity of another of the neutralised bandits whose remains were found by the troops, has been confirmed as ‘Rigimamme’ one of Gudau’s trusted criminal aides. “Gudau played leading roles in the joint kidnappings of students and expatriates in Kajuru, Chikun and Kachia councils, aside from the murder of kidnapped citizens and victims who resisted abduction. “Added to these nefarious activities, Gudau was engaged in coordinated attacks on herder settlements, disposing them of livestock, which made him the illegal possessor of large herds of cattle.”

Somalia

All Africa: Somalia: Over 600 Civilians Killed In Somali Terror Attacks Since January - UN Official

“At least 613 civilians have been killed and 948 injured in Somalia since January this year, a senior United Nations (UN) official said Monday. Volker Turk, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, decried the sharp rise in civilian casualties in Somalia, due largely to attacks by the al-Shabab group which he said has exacerbated the already grim human rights and humanitarian situation for the people of Somalia. “This year has brought an abrupt halt to a general decline in deaths and injuries documented since 2017. I am deeply concerned that more Somalis continue to lose their lives on a daily basis,” Turk said in a statement. According to the UN, most of the casualties have been due to improvised explosive devices, at least 94 percent of which were attributed to al-Shabab. Other casualties have resulted from al-Shabab suicide bombings. Turk called on all parties to the conflict to uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law and ensure that civilians are protected.”

Africa

Sahara Reporters: Breaking: ISWAP Says It Attacked Red Cross Office In Borno, Burnt Over 20 Vehicles, Took Others Away

“As part of the statement, the terror group also posted pictures of its attack on the Red Cross compound. The Islamic State's West Africa Province (ISWAP) militant has reportedly attacked the compound of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Mongunu, Borno state. Borno is in northeastern Nigeria and is the epicentre of insurgency in the country. In a statement sighted by SaharaReporters on Wednesday, the terrorist group said it burnt over 20 official vehicles of the Red Cross and reportedly drove some away after the attack that took place last Thursday. As part of the statement, the terror group also posted pictures of its attack on the Red Cross compound. The attack it was gathered happened at about 1 am last Thursday. In October 2018, the terror jihadists, a faction of Boko Haram, executed Hauwa Leman, an aid worker with the ICRC. In September 2018, the insurgent group killed Saifura Ahmed, one of the three humanitarian workers abducted in Rann, Kala Balge local government area of Borno state. Leman, a 24-year-old midwife and student of health education at the University of Maiduguri, was in the group that was abducted. ISWAP, in a short statement, then said: “We have kept our word exactly as we said, by killing another humanitarian worker, Hauwa Leman, who is working with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) that were abducted during a raid on a military facility in Rann, Kala Balge in March 2018.”

Germany

AFP: German Far-Right Extremist On Trial Over Deadly 1991 Fire At Refugee Centre

“A far-right extremist has gone on trial in Germany over a deadly arson attack on a refugee asylum centre more than 30 years ago. The 51-year-old man — identified only as Peter S. — is accused of deliberately starting the blaze in the town of Saarlouis in 1991. He faces charges of murder, attempted murder, and arson resulting in death. He denies the allegations. The fatal fire at the refugee centre in September 1991 has remained unsolved for decades. Samuel Yeboah, a 27-year-old asylum seeker from Ghana, died from his injuries after petrol was poured down the stairs of the building. The 20 other refugees staying at the centre managed to escape, although two people suffered broken bones after jumping out of the windows. Peter S. was initially questioned by investigators, but no charges were brought for lack of evidence. The investigation was relaunched two years ago, and he was arrested in April. According to prosecutors, the suspect had participated in a number of far-right rallies in Germany, was motivated by “racist beliefs,” and had “accepted that residents could be killed or injured” in the fire. The suspect has a “deep contempt and enormous hostility” towards refugees, prosecutor general Sophie Gössl told the court in Koblenz. Defence lawyers say the suspect has distanced himself from such ideologies since 2007.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

Fact:

On November 29, 2020, an assailant detonated an explosives-filled military vehicle on an Afghan army base, killing at least 31 and wounding 24. 

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