Eye on Extremism: November 22, 2022

Associated Press: Yemen: Houthi Drones Attack Ship At Oil Terminal

“Yemen's Houthi rebels targeted a ship at an oil terminal in the south of the country on Monday, the internationally recognized government said, in the latest in a series of recent attacks that threaten to escalate the conflict after months of relative calm. The government, which controls the territory where the terminal is located, said in a statement that the strike took place while a commercial ship was in the port of Al-Dabah, near the city of Mukalla, and that it had been carried out by drones. It did not say whether any damage had been sustained or to which nation the vessel belonged. The Houthis appeared to acknowledge the afternoon strike in a series of tweets. Houthi military spokesman Yahia Sarea said that “the armed forces succeeded in forcing an oil ship — that had come close to the Al-Dabah port in the south of the country — to leave.” He said that the ship had “refused to heed warnings.” The group takes issue with its rivals receiving funds from oil exports. Yemen's warring parties failed last month to renew a months-long truce that had spurred hopes for a longer peace. Later in October, the rebels targeted several other ships in drone attacks. War has raged since 2014 in Yemen between the Houthi rebels and pro-government forces backed by a coalition of Sunni Gulf Arab states. The Iran-backed Houthis swept down from the mountains in 2014, occupied northern Yemen and the country’s capital and forced the internationally recognized government to flee into exile to Saudi Arabia.”

Reuters: Turkey Vows More Retaliation After 2 Killed In Cross-Border Kurdish Strikes

“Turkey said a Kurdish militia killed two people in mortar attacks from northern Syria on Monday, in an escalation of cross-border retaliation following Turkish air operations at the weekend and a deadly bomb attack in Istanbul a week ago. Turkey's armed forces said it was responding, and a senior security official told Reuters that Turkish jets had again started hitting targets in northern Syria. In the latest in a series of tit-for-tat attacks, several mortar shells hit a border district in Turkey's Gaziantep province, leaving a child and a teacher among the dead and at least six wounded, said Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said. A pregnant woman initially reported as killed was badly wounded and is under treatment in hospital, Soylu said later. Local governor Davut Gul said five rockets had hit a school, two houses and a truck near the Karkamis border area. Broadcaster CNN Turk said the attack was launched from Syria's Kobani area, controlled by the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia. Turkish warplanes had carried out strikes in Syria and Iraq on Sunday, destroying 89 targets linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the YPG, which Ankara says is a wing of the PKK. In a statement, the Turkish defence ministry said 184 militants were killed in operations on Sunday and Monday. It said the operations had included air strikes and land-fired weapons.”

United States

The Hill: GLAAD CEO On Nightclub Shooting: ‘We’re Under Attack And The Rhetoric Is Driving It’

“Sarah Kate Ellis, the president of the civil rights organization GLAAD, on Monday said the LGBTQ community across the country is “under attack” and the violence is being spearheaded by anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and action. The LGBTQ community is reeling after a gunman opened fire at Club Q, a nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colo., over the weekend and killed five people, injuring at least 25 others. “We have been screaming from the tops of mountains of LGBTQ leadership that an environment like this is being created [to foster] violence against our community,” Ellis said in an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” Police are still investigating Saturday night’s attack and have yet to identify a motive. The suspect in the shooting, who was subdued by two nightclub patrons, is being treated for his injuries. The violence came on the eve of Transgender Day of Remembrance, which was honored on Sunday to remember transgender people who have been killed because of transphobia. The Colorado Springs shooting was also a painful reminder of the 2016 shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., which left 49 people dead. Ellis tweeted on Sunday that anti-LGBTQ legislation and hate speech against the community has fueled violence, joining other activists in calling for an end to the rhetoric.”

Fox News: Christian Persecution Rising Around The World Amid Jihadism, Totalitarianism: Report

“Persecution of Christians has worsened in at least 18 countries at the hands of both totalitarian governments and militant non-state actors in recent years, according to a new report. “Indicators strongly suggested that, over the period under review, the persecution of Christians continued to worsen in core countries of concern,” reads the report titled “Persecuted and Forgotten? A Report On Christians Oppressed For Their Faith 2020-22.” Released by Catholic group Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) on Nov. 16 and presented to the U.K. Parliament earlier this week, the report pinpointed Asia, Africa and the Middle East as the regions where the persecution of Christians is most grave. The report also laid partial blame for the worsening global situation on “a cultural misperception in the West that continues to deny that Christians remain the most widely persecuted faith group.” Examining “human rights violations” in 24 nations where Christian persecution is “of particular concern,” the report said conditions for the faithful have gotten “worse” or “slightly worse” in 18 of them within the past two years, compared to 2017 through 2019. The watchdog discerned “religious nationalism and authoritarianism” as the driving animus against Christians in the offending nations, which included China, Afghanistan, Turkey, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Mali, Nigeria, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Pakistan, Myanmar, Russia, North Korea, Vietnam, India and Qatar.”

Iran

Newsweek: Iran Considered Carrying Out Terror Attack At World Cup: IDF Intel Chief

“Iran allegedly considered carrying out a terror attack at the men's soccer World Cup in Qatar in an attempt to disrupt the event, the military intelligence chief of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said Monday. Speaking at an Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, Major General Aharon Haliva said that the “only thing” stopping Iran from an act of terror was concern over how host country Qatar might respond, according to The Jerusalem Post. The 2022 World Cup kicked off Sunday and is set to last through December 18. Iran's national team is one of 32 that secured a place in the World Cup, but turmoil at home has shifted additional attention to its participation in the event. Iran began experiencing massive protests and civil unrest after the death in September of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman who was arrested by the country's “morality police” for allegedly wearing an “improper” form of hijab in the Iranian capital of Tehran. Iranian authorities have denied accusations that the severe beatings she allegedly suffered while in custody caused her death. Mehdi Taremi of Iran looks on during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between England and Iran at Khalifa International Stadium on November 21, 2022, in Doha, Qatar.”

Afghanistan

Reuters: Blast In Afghan Capital Kills Two

“Two people were killed in an explosion that struck a car in the Afghan capital Kabul on Monday, police said. “Two have been killed due to a blast in a Corolla-type car...The identity of those killed is not clear yet,” said Khalid Zadran, spokesperson for Kabul's Taliban-run police. It was not immediately clear who was behind the blast on Monday evening. Several attacks have taken place on civilian and Taliban administration targets in Afghanistan in recent months, some of which have been claimed by Islamic State militants.”

CBS News: As The Taliban Doles Out Lashings, What Have Afghan Women And Girls Lost In 15 Months Under The Extremists?

“Afghanistan's Taliban rulers said over the weekend that 10 women and 11 men were lashed for crimes of theft, adultery and running away from their homes. The country's Supreme Court said each of those convicted was “lashed 39 times,” in beatings meted out at the main mosque in the city of Taloqan, in the northern Takhar province, after Friday prayers last week. Local elders, scholars and residents watched. A man and woman were also publicly lashed in a sports stadium last week in central Bamyan province, in what appeared to be the first official lashing implemented in the country since the Taliban retook power 15 months ago. While the Taliban's harsh interpretation of Islamic “Shariah” law has had an undeniable impact on all Afghans, the country's women and girls have lost the most. Below is a look at some of the most dramatic steps taken by the Taliban to systematically erase women from public life since August 2021, when the last U.S. soldier left the country. In education: During the 20 years of war that started with the U.S. and its allies invading to topple the Taliban from power in 2001, Afghanistan produced an educated class of women. Girls got formal education and went on to become journalists, parliamentarians, musicians, entrepreneurs and athletes. Some held positions in the government cabinet.”

Middle East

The Jerusalem Post: Break The Wave: Security Forces Arrest 9 Terror Suspects

“The IDF, Shin Bet and Border Police arrested nine people suspected of involvement in terrorism in the West Bank on Sunday night, according to the IDF Spokesperson Unit. As well as the arrests, the forces confiscated illegal vehicles that were found in possession of the suspects.”

The Times Of Israel: Palestinian Killed In Clash With IDF; Troops Nab Suspect In Planning Attacks

“Israeli troops clashed with Palestinian gunmen near the West Bank city of Jenin on Monday morning, as they went in to arrest a wanted man accused of planning “significant” terror attacks, the military said. One Palestinian man was killed and four others were hurt amid the clashes, the Palestinian Authority Health Ministry said. The Israel Defense Forces said the suspect, Ratib al-Bali, previously jailed for terror offenses, was involved in numerous shootings in recent weeks, and was “advancing significant terror attacks.” Troops had surrounded al-Bali’s home in the village of Burqin, near Jenin, as clashes broke out. A local wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad said its members opened fire at troops as they operated in the city and near al-Bali’s home. According to the IDF and footage of the incident, al-Bali surrendered to troops at his home and was arrested. The IDF said gunmen opened fire and hurled explosive devices at troops, who responded with gunfire. The army added that “hits were identified.” Palestinian media identified the killed man as Mahmoud Saadi. The ministry said four others were moderately or lightly wounded in the clashes. In footage published by Palestinian media outlets, gunfire can be heard in the Jenin area.”

Nigeria

Punch Nigeria: 51 Boko Haram Terrorists Surrender In North East

“Boko Haram insurgents have continued to surrender in the terror-troubled North-East as the Nigerian military widens its offensive against terror in the region and around Lake Chad. No fewer than 51 of the insurgents, comprising two of their commanders, Ba’a Usman (Munzir) and Alhaji Ari (Nakib), and 49 fighters surrendered to troops of the Operation Hadin Kai Thearter Command, in Damboa, 85 kilometres south of Maiduguri, on Sunday, November 20. A military source, Zagazola Makama, investigation revealed that the insurgents sneaked out of the surrounding Sambisa forest, where they had been hiding and waging a campaign of terror. Authoritative sources told The PUNCH that by mid-November, about 100,000 insurgents, comprising combatants and non-combatants and their families, had surrendered to Nigerian troops.”

Sahara Reporters: Again, ISWAP Terrorists Clash With Boko Haram Rivals, Kill Many, Seize Weapons

“A counter-insurgency expert, Zagazola Makama, disclosed this in a series of tweets on Monday. In what appeared to be a continuation of their sustained inter-rivalry clash, the fighters of the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) has attacked a convoy of Boko Haram, during which many of them were killed. A counter-insurgency expert, Zagazola Makama, disclosed this in a series of tweets on Monday. The rival groups have been attacking communities in the Northeast region since both camps fell apart over leadership issues. The groups have also since been having clashes, and Abubakar Shekau, leader of Boko Haram, was reportedly killed during one of such clashes in 2021. According to Makama, the recent inter-rivalry clash occurred in Chillaria axis of Sambisa Forest. He said ISWAP terrorists during the weekend ambushed a moving convoy of the Boko Haram elements which triggered a heavy gun battle at about 4:30 pm and lasted almost 40 minutes. “The ISWAP who had taken strategic positions totally routed Boko Haram fighters and killing unspecified numbers of them,” the counter-insurgency expert and security analyst in Lake Chad said. He added that one Hilux truck, several motorcycles and weapons were seized by the ISWAP group from Boko Haram.”

Somalia

Associated Press: Al-Shabab Gunman Kills 3 Kenyan Peacekeepers In Somalia

“A lone gunman entered a military base in Somalia and killed at least three Kenyan peacekeepers Monday, the latest attack by extremist fighters who oppose the presence of foreigners in the Horn of Africa nation, according to Kenya's military. The gunman fired his rifle indiscriminately, wounding five other soldiers before he was gunned down, said a Kenyan military official who requested anonymity because he was not yet authorized to reveal the information. The attack on Monday morning took place at the Sarira Forward Operating Base in the Lower Jubba region of southern Somalia near the border with Kenya. Al-Shabab through its media confirmed it had carried out the attack. “We believe the lone wolf was testing the ground for more such incidents. We must be more careful and vigilant,” said the Kenyan military official. “As we near the festivities, we need to be very vigilant of our surroundings. The terror threat is still rife and all measures should be taken to tame any plan.” Kenyan authorities also are urging vigilance after the start of the soccer World Cup in Qatar. In 2010, at least 76 people were killed when al-Shabab targeted a rugby club and a restaurant in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, where customers were watching the World Cup final on giant screens. “It is at this time the militants know we might let our guard down as we watch” the World Cup, the official said.”

Africa

Africanews: Côte d'Ivoire: 2016 Terrorist Attack Trial To Get Underway Next Week

“The long-awaited trial of 18 suspects believed to behind a 2016 attack by al-Qaeda gunman in the Ivorian town of Grand-Bassam is due to get underway next week. Nineteen people, including four French citizens, died in the incident and dozens others were wounded. The attack took place at the Etoile du Sud hotel in the seaside resort, which is located some 40 kilometres east of Côte d’Ivoire's economic capital, Abidjan. Three young assailants stormed the beach, popular with locals and foreigners, firing Kalashnikovs at people before being shot dead by Ivorian security forces. A source told the AFP news agency that the 18 suspects due to appear in court next week stand accused of ‘acts of terrorism in association with a collective organisation’. The assault was the first of its kind in Côte d’Ivoire, and was believed to have been in retaliation to anti-jihadist operations carried out by France and its allies in the Sahel region. It severely impacted the country’s tourism industry which had already been weakened by years of post-election crises. Judicial sources say the trial will likely run until 22 December.”

The Telegraph: UK Troops May Go To Ghana In Shift Of Strategy Against Terror

“Britain may be invited to send special forces to Ghana after it was forced withdraw all of its 300 peacekeepers from Mali in the face of bands of Russian mercenaries and jihadist groups, The Telegraph understands. British ministers will this week fly to Ghana to hammer out a new security agreement. It is unclear if the move is a face saving operation in the wake of the mission in Mali being shut down or something more significant as British forces already train troops in Ghana. Three years ago, Britain announced a major 'pivot' to the jihadist-stricken Sahel region on Europe's southern flank to great fanfare at home. New embassies were opened. Hundreds of millions of pounds were promised in humanitarian and military aid. And 300 crack troops were sent deep into Mali to scout for gunmen allied to Islamic State and Al Qaeda. This was post-Brexit Global Britain in action, ministers said. But now that policy, like the land on which it played out, has turned to dust. Thousands of French troops were chased out of the same region by the Malian military junta they were supposed to protect in August. And now the Brits are following suit. Last week the UK announced it was withdrawing all of its troops from Mali, which until only a few months ago, Whitehall officials were describing as “the new frontline of the war on terror.”

United Kingdom

The Scotsman: Manchester Arena Terrorist Attack Report Shows Why Emergency Service Staff Must Be Well Trained – Tom Wood

“The evidence of poorly trained security guards lacking the confidence to confront the suspected bomber. The lack of coordination between emergency services. The inexplicable decision by firefighters to stand off until their safety was assured. It has a familiar ring to it. The scandal of young vulnerable girls being systematically abused by gangs of men in northern English towns had similar threads running through it. Police and social work stepping back for fear of being smeared as racist while back-up systems were either absent or inadequate to sound the alarm. It’s an old maxim that all you need to succeed is good trained people and good systems of governance. In both the Manchester bombing and the gang grooming cases, there was neither. I wonder how this could have come about. For decades, the emergency services, including social work and other local agencies, have exercised their contingency plans for all manner of major incidents. From table-top exercises to complex live dress rehearsals, all scenarios were catered for. Fire, flood, terrorism, rail crashes, you name it, we exercised for it, all with the intention of training ourselves and getting to know the people we would be working with. The theory was simple, get used to working with other agencies in the good times and it’s easier in an emergency.”

Australia

ABC News Australia: Home Affairs Keeps Sensitive Report On Terrorist Assessments Hidden From Public View

“A report criticising methods for assessing the risk posed by terrorists once they leave prison is being kept hidden by the Department of Home Affairs for “operational security reasons”. The existence of the “sensitive” research commissioned by the department was revealed during an inquiry by the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor (INSLM), which is examining laws that allow terrorists to be detained after serving their sentences. In 2020, Victorian Abdul Nacer Benbrika became the first convicted terrorist to be subjected to a continuing detention order in Australia after he completed a 15-year jail term for terror offences but was found to still pose a threat. Section 105A of the Criminal Code, allowing the use of continuing detention orders (CDOs) against terrorists deemed to pose an unacceptable risk of committing another offence, was introduced in 2016. Grant Donaldson, who heads the INSLM, told a hearing in Canberra he had “very real concerns” and that it was “not appropriate” for the department's 150-page report on the powers to not be publicly available. The research titled, “Testing the reliability, validity, and equity of terrorism risk assessment tools” was completed by ANU academic Emily Corner and handed to the department in May 2020. “I have formed the view that the report does not contain operationally sensitive information,” Mr Donaldson said.”

Europe

AFP: Spain To Repatriate Wives, Children Of IS Fighters From Syria

“Spain has decided to repatriate several Spanish wives and children of Islamic State fighters from jihadist detention camps in Syria, the government said Monday. The return of relatives of captured or killed jihadist fighters from Syria and Iraq has been a thorny issue for European countries since the fall of the Islamic State group's so-called “caliphate” in 2019. Thousands of extremists in Europe decided to join the group as fighters, often taking their wives and children to live in the “caliphate” declared in territory conquered in Iraq and Syria. Spain plans to repatriate three women and 13 children before the end of the year, a government source told AFP, confirming a report in top-selling Spanish daily El Pais. One of the women is married to an Islamic State fighter and the other two are widows of jihadist fighters. Previously, Spain has refused to repatriate such family members of jihadist fighters. The women face charges of cooperating with a terrorist organization for allegedly aiding the Islamic State group. If convicted, they face jail terms of up to five years. The women have been in the detention camps since 2019. They say they were tricked by their husbands to go to Syria and did not take part in any jihadist activities, according to El Pais. Spain has also agreed to repatriate a Moroccan woman who is the widow of a Spanish fighter and the couple's three children, but they fled from a detention camp near Iraq in 2020 and their whereabouts is unknown.”

Southeast Asia

Reuters: Two Militants Sentenced To Death For Killing U.S. Blogger Escape From Bangladesh Court

“Two Islamist militants sentenced to death for killing a U.S. blogger critical of religious extremism escaped from a crowded court in Bangladesh's Dhaka on Sunday. Avijit Roy, an engineer of Bangladeshi origin, was hacked to death by machete-wielding assailants in February 2015 while returning home with his wife from a Dhaka book fair. His wife, blogger Rafida Bonya Ahmed, suffered head injuries and lost a thumb in the attack. Five members of an Islamist militant group were sentenced to death last year, while one was jailed for life. Two of those on death penalty escaped on Sunday, after bikers sprayed chemical on the police before snatching away the convicts, police said. “A massive manhunt has been launched to capture them and their helpers,” Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan told reporters, adding that border security officials had been put on alert to stop the men fleeing the country. Police has also announced an award of two million taka (about $19,350) for tracing the convicts. The convicted men belong to the al Qaeda-inspired domestic militant group Ansar Ullah Bangla Team and police say the group was behind the murders of more than a dozen secular activists and bloggers. Muslim-majority Bangladesh saw a string of deadly attacks between 2013 and 2016 targeting bloggers, secular activists and religious minorities, claimed by Islamic State or al Qaeda-aligned groups.”

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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