Eye on Extremism: November 26

The Washington Post: Helicopter Crash Kills 13 French Soldiers During Operation In Mali

“A collision of two helicopters killed 13 French soldiers during a night operation in Mali, French authorities announced Tuesday. The deaths, which happened Monday night, took place during a broader military effort against Islamist radicals in the Sahel region, according to a statement from the Élysée Palace, the official seat of the French presidency. The two helicopters involved in the collision, a Tiger and a Cougar, were providing overhead assistance to ground forces engaged in the counterterrorism operation, France’s Defense Ministry said in a statement. President Emmanuel Macron expressed his “greatest respect” for the fallen soldiers and his “total support” for the French military. “These 13 heroes had only one aim: to protect us,” Macron said in a separate statement, posted on Twitter. “I bow my head before the sadness of their loved ones and their comrades.” Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, Mali’s President, expressed his condolences in a statement. He said that if the soldiers died for France, they also “died for Mali, for the Sahel, for liberty, and for man.” Operation Barkhane, France’s ongoing counterinsurgent operation in the Sahel, officially began in 2014.”

The New York Times: Florida Man Sought ISIS Attack On Deans At 2 Colleges, Prosecutors Say 

“A 23-year-old man was charged with trying to get the Islamic State to launch attacks on deans at two colleges in southern Florida after he was suspended by one and then expelled by the other, according to court documents made public on Monday. The man, Salman Rashid, 23, of North Miami Beach, Fla., was arrested Friday and charged with solicitation to commit a crime of violence, according to the documents. Prosecutors said in a news release on Monday that Mr. Rashid had asked a confidential F.B.I. source, who was assisting the federal bureau, to contact members of ISIS to conduct the attacks. If convicted, Mr. Rashid would face up to 20 years in prison, prosecutors said. It was not immediately clear if Mr. Rashid had a lawyer. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, which is prosecuting the case, declined on Monday night to comment beyond the publicly available court documents.”

Associated Press: Iran’s Guard Threatens US, Allies Over Protests

“The head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard threatened the U.S. and its allies Monday as he addressed a pro-government demonstration attended by tens of thousands of people denouncing last week’s violent protests over a fuel price hike. Gen. Hossein Salami, echoing other Iranian officials, accused the U.S., Britain, Israel and Saudi Arabia of stoking the unrest. He said the rise in gasoline prices was a “mere pretext” for an attack on the nation. “If you cross our red line, we will destroy you,” he said. “We will not leave any move unanswered.” He said if Iran decides to respond, “the enemy will not have security anywhere,” adding that “our patience has a limit.” Amnesty International said late Monday that at least 143 people have been killed in the protests since Nov. 15, updating an earlier toll. The London-based rights group said it had “clear evidence” that Iranian security forces used firearms against unarmed protesters. “The rising death toll is an alarming indication of just how ruthless the treatment of unarmed protesters has been by the Iranian authorities and reveals their appalling assault on human life,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty’s research and advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa.”

The New York Times: Turkey Not Resuming Military Operation In Northeast Syria: Security Source

“Turkey is fully abiding by the agreements it reached with Russia and the United States regarding northeast Syria and is not resuming its military offensive, a security source said on Monday. Ankara reached separate agreements with Moscow and Washington last month to remove the Kurdish YPG militia from a swathe of land in northeast Syria bordering Turkey, which in return stopped its military offensive against the militia. But Ankara has previously said neither Russia nor the United States had kept up their side of the deal, and threatened to launch a new operation. The security source said on Monday that Turkey was responding to attacks by the YPG in the region within the scope of self defense.”

NBC News: A Prominent Neo-Nazi Lives In An Apartment Not Far From Downtown Denver

“James Nolan Mason, 67, lives a seemingly quiet life around his Section 8 apartment building, yet online, the life-long neo-Nazi has recently found his name, image and writings held to high esteem by a violent group called Atomwaffen, which means “atomic weapon” in German. A book called "Siege," which is a compilation of Mason’s newsletters from the 1980s, has become required reading for members of Atomwaffen. Online images and videos show Mason posing with men in fatigues and skull masks at Red Rocks and in his apartment adorned with swastika flags and other Nazi memorabilia. Mason has also been actively spreading Atomwaffen’s message from his Denver apartment to the world, through websites and podcasts. According to the Counter Extremism Project, a nonprofit that tracks hate groups, Siege Culture and Atomwaffen can be tied to five murders.”

Reuters: European Police Attack Islamic State's Online Presence 

“European police agencies have knocked out several internet servers used by Islamic State in a significant blow to the armed group’s ability to spread propaganda online, the Europol police agency said on Monday. The move shut down a large number of accounts and websites run by the group’s news arm, Europol said. “They have disappeared from an important part of the internet”, Belgian prosecutors’ spokesman Eric Van Der Sypt said at a news conference at Europol headquarters in The Hague. “I cannot say at this time it is 100%, we will see how they recuperate from this. It will take a huge effort for them to come back.” Police officers involved in the joint action by Europol and police agencies in 11 countries said around 26,000 items were taken offline last week, including a high number of communication channels. Europol earlier said in a statement it had been working with nine of the largest Internet platforms to counter Islamic State propaganda operations, including with Google, Twitter, Instagram and Telegram. Europol said on its website it had examined “propaganda videos, publications and social media accounts supporting terrorism and violent extremism” over the course of two days last week.”

United States

Associated Press: Man Charged In Synagogue Bomb Plot Pleads Not Guilty

“An alleged white supremacist accused of planning to bomb a Colorado synagogue pleaded not guilty to a hate crime and other charges on Monday as members of the congregation he is suspected of targeting watched from the back of the courtroom. Federal public defender Mary Butterton entered not guilty pleas to each of the charges on behalf of Richard Holzer, 27, who sat in the nearby jury box with other defendants appearing before a judge magistrate, dressed in a yellow jail jumpsuit. Holzer was charged last week with attempting to obstruct the exercise of religion by force by using explosives and fire against Temple Emanuel in Pueblo, attempted arson and using fire or an explosive device to commit a felony. He would face a maximum of 50 years in prison if convicted of all three. Butterton declined comment after the hearing because her office does not comment on allegations against their clients. Holzer was arrested Nov. 1 after the FBI said he accepted what turned out to be phony pipe bombs and dynamite from undercover agents to bomb Temple Emanuel, the second oldest synagogue in Colorado. In court documents, an FBI investigator claims that Holzer repeatedly said he was ready to go ahead with the attack the following day.”

NBC News: Florida Man Tried To Enlist ISIS To Attack Colleges That Suspended, Expelled Him

“A Florida man was arrested for trying to enlist ISIS to carry out attacks against the deans of two schools where he’d been suspended or expelled from, authorities said Monday. Salman Rashid, 23, of North Miami Beach, faces charges of soliciting someone to bomb Miami-Dade and Broward colleges, court documents say. The documents, filed in United States District Court of Southern Florida, say that Rashid allegedly stalked a fellow student at Miami-Dade College and was suspended last December after he sent her threatening text messages. In one, Rashid allegedly told her that “the creator” had “decided our destiny and chosen separate paths for us.” In the “hereafter, will meet once again,” he allegedly wrote. “But things will be a little different :). You will not have excuses, will not be given a choice and will have to come closer to me.” Earlier this year, Rashid was expelled from Broward College for not telling the school about what had happened at Miami-Dade, the documents say. The Federal Bureau of Investigation began monitoring Rashid’s Facebook posts in April 2018, after he displayed a “growing hatred for America, non-Muslims” and others, and professed a belief in the “violent overthrow” of the “democratic system,” the documents say.”

U.S. News & World Report: Trump Welcomes Dog Who Helped Catch Islamic State Leader To White House

“U.S. President Donald Trump welcomed an unusual guest to the White House on Monday - Conan, the military service dog who helped hunt down Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. “This is Conan, right now probably the world's most famous dog,” said Trump, flanked by his wife Melania, Vice President Mike Pence, Conan and a handler. “We're very honored to have had Conan here and to have given Conan a certificate and an award that we're going to put up in the White House,” Trump told reporters on the steps facing the White House garden. Baghdadi, an Iraqi who rose from obscurity to declare himself “caliph” of all Muslims as the leader of Islamic State, died last month by detonating a suicide vest after he fled into a dead-end tunnel as elite U.S. special forces closed in. Marine General Kenneth McKenzie, the commander of U.S. Central Command which oversees American forces in the Middle East, said previously that Baghdadi brought two young children into the tunnel with him. Both children were believed to be under the age of 12 and both were killed, he said. “Conan is really a hero,” Pence said of the dog who was injured in the operation.”

Chicago Tribune: ISIS Wife Elhassani Pleads Guilty To Financing ISIS; Avoids January Trial 

“Samantha Elhassani pleaded guilty to one count of financing terrorism Monday afternoon in U.S. federal court in Hammond Elhassani, previously of Elkhart, appeared before U.S. District Court Judge Philip P. Simon with her attorneys, Thomas Durkin and Josh Herman. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Abizer Zanzi and Nathaniel Whalen represented the government. Elhassani, 33, has been in federal custody since July 2018, when a military cargo transport plane brought her and her children to Gary from Syria. The children were placed with the Department of Child Services. She was scheduled to go on trial in Simon’s courtroom on Jan. 6, charged with aiding ISIS. On Monday, Elhassani affirmed that when her husband, Moussa Elhassani, and his brother intended to join ISIS, she made three trips to Hong Kong between November 2014 and August 2015 transporting more than $30,000 in cash, gold and precious stones. Those assets were intended to be used by ISIS, she said. When asked if she disclosed the cash and gold to customs officials, Elhassani replied, “No.” Elhassani previously pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to provide material support to the Islamic State group, and aiding and abetting individuals in providing material support to the Islamic State group.”


The Wall Street Journal: The Fighting Continues In Northern Syria 

“The sound of Turkish artillery breaks the silence of the morning in the village of Umm Kaif, less than 2 miles from Tal Tamr near the Syrian-Turkish border. Despite the proclamation of a cease fire last month, the Turkish army and its Syrian rebel allies are still clashing with the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces, and lately also the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Kurdish mortars return fire a minute or so after the shelling starts. Umm Kaif’s defenders burn tires and oil, creating a cloud of black smoke intended to obscure the vision of the Turkish drones. It doesn’t work. The drones extract a steep price from the defending forces. The road rapidly fills with vehicles as the remaining civilians in these front-line villages make for the relative safety of Tal Tamr and towns farther south. Cars and trucks overflow with whatever a family can carry—mattresses, bedding, tables, blankets. The Turkish assault that began on Oct. 9 has carved out a 75-mile-long, 20-mile-deep zone of control between the towns of Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ain. The traditionally Christian (but now largely deserted) town of Tal Tamr stands in the way of further Turkish advances.”

Reuters: Chemical Weapons Body Defends Syria Attack Conclusions After Leaks 

“The head of the global chemical weapons organization on Monday defended the agency’s conclusion that poison was used in a high profile attack in Syria last year, after leaked documents suggested two former employees doubted some of its findings. More than 40 people were killed in the April 7 attack in Douma, a town on the outskirts of Damascus that was then held by rebels. The United States, Britain and France retaliated a week later by firing missiles at Syrian government targets, the biggest Western military action against the Damascus authorities of the eight year war. Inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons concluded in a report released on March 1 that a toxic chemical containing chlorine was used in an attack. The team was not mandated to assign blame for who used the toxic chemical. However, the Syrian government and its Russian allies have rejected the findings, saying they believe the incident was staged by rebels and no attack had taken place. On Saturday, anti-secrecy group Wikileaks published an internal email to the former chief of staff at the OPCW in which an unidentified inspector described a report as having been edited to appear more conclusive than the inspectors’ findings.”

Voice Of America: 3 Women Repatriated From Syria Face Terror Charges In Kosovo

“Kosovo prosecutors have filed terrorism charges against three women repatriated from Syria for allegedly joining terror groups there. Prosecutors said Monday that the three women had left Kosovo in 2013, 2014 and 2015 to join the Islamic State group in Syria and Al-Nusra in Iraq. Spouses of two of them had died, apparently in fighting there. The three women were among 110 Kosovo citizens repatriated from Syria in April. If convicted, they could face a prison sentence of up to 15 years. Kosovo authorities say 30 of the country's citizens are still actively supporting terror groups in Syria.”


CBS News: Iran Rejects Court Order To Pay Freed U.S. Journalist Jason Rezaian $180 Million

“Iran on Monday rejected a U.S. court order for a Washington Post reporter to be paid $180 million in damages for Tehran jailing him on espionage charges. Jason Rezaian spent 544 days in an Iranian prison before he was released in January 2016 in exchange for seven Iranians held in the United States. On Friday, a U.S. district court judge ordered damages be paid to Rezaian and his family in compensation for pain and suffering as well as economic losses. The order, from U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon in Washington, did not lay out specifically how the money should be paid to Rezaian — be it from Iran or possibly from a fund established by the U.S. government to compensate victims of state sponsored terrorism. That fund has previously been used to distribute money to victims of Iran's 1979 student takeover of the U.S. Embassy in the Iranian capital.”

The Wall Street Journal: Iranians Hold Pro-Establishment Rallies, Blaming U.S. For Unrest

“Thousands of Iranians staged pro-establishment rallies in Tehran and other cities in a show of support after the country’s leaders suppressed nationwide protests that erupted this month over a sudden hike in gasoline prices. Monday’s marches followed a week of violence against protesters and an internet blackout aimed at halting demonstrations. Authorities began to ease internet restrictions this weekend as protests subsided. At least 143 protesters were killed in clashes with security forces, according to Amnesty International. Iranian authorities blamed the unrest on Iranian opposition groups based abroad and foreign powers, including Israel and the U.S., which has severely damaged the country’s economy with sanctions, and called on Iranians to unite against foreign pressure. The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard warned the U.S., Israel and other rivals not to foment unrest. “We have shown self-restraint, we compromised, but be careful. Our patience has an end. Respect the Iranian people and behave,” Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami told the crowd at Tehran’s Revolution Square. He accused Iran’s enemies of using the gas-price rise to stir unrest. “The enemy was waiting for months but wasn’t able to create an incident,” he said.”

Voice Of America: Iran's Guard Threatens US, Allies Over Protests 

“The head of Iran's Revolutionary Guard threatened the U.S. and its allies Monday as he addressed a pro-government demonstration attended by tens of thousands of people denouncing last week's violent protests over a fuel price hike. Gen. Hossein Salami, echoing other Iranian officials, accused the U.S., Britain, Israel and Saudi Arabia of stoking the unrest. He said the rise in gasoline prices was a "mere pretext" for an attack on the nation. "If you cross our red line, we will destroy you," he said. "We will not leave any move unanswered." He said if Iran decides to respond, "the enemy will not have security anywhere," adding that "our patience has a limit." Amnesty International says more than 100 people were killed in the protests. Iran has not released a death toll and cut off internet for several days, making it difficult to ascertain the extent and severity of the demonstrations. At the pro-government rally, which state TV referred to as the "Rise of the people of Tehran against riots," protesters carried signs bearing traditional anti-U.S. slogans.”


Xinhua: Iraqi Forces Kill 5 IS Militants In Northern Iraq

“The Iraqi forces, backed by U.S.-led coalition, killed on Monday five Islamic State (IS) militants, including a group leader, in Iraq's northern province of Kirkuk, the Iraqi military said. A statement by the Iraqi Interior Ministry's intelligence force, named al-Suqour Cell, said that the force conducted a joint operation with the international coalition forces in Hawijah area, in the southwestern part of Kirkuk province. It said the troops destroyed three IS hideouts, leaving five IS militants killed inside. One of the killed was a local group leader named Abu Bara. The operations also resulted in the capturing a wounded IS militants in one of the hideouts, in addition to finding an explosive belt, explosive devices and hand grenades, as well as assault rifles inside the hideouts, according to the statement. The security situation in Iraq was dramatically improved after Iraqi security forces fully defeated the extremist IS militants across the country late in 2017. IS remnants, however, have since melted in urban areas or resorted to deserts and rugged areas as safe havens, carrying out frequent guerilla attacks against security forces and civilians.”


Associated Press: Report: Turkey To Start Testing Russian S-400 Defense System

“Turkish media say Turkey is poised to begin testing Russian-made S-400 air defense systems, despite threats of sanctions from the United States. The Milliyet newspaper, which has close links to the government, said Monday that the military is planning to test the S-400s that are currently deployed at an airbase in the outskirts of the Ankara. Turkey took delivery of two Russian S-400 batteries this year, dismissing warnings from the United States that they pose a threat to NATO security. As a result, Washington suspended Turkish participation in the multinational F-35 fighter jet program. U.S. legislators have warned of sanctions if Turkey activates the system.”

U.S. News And World Report: Erdogan Says Qatar Backs Turkey's Plans To Settle Syrian Refugees: NTV 

“Qatar could support Turkey's plans to settle more than a million Syrian refugees in northeast Syria after its offensive against Kurdish militia in the region, broadcaster NTV quoted President Tayyip Erdogan as saying on Tuesday. Turkey launched a military incursion against the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia last month, seizing a 120-km strip of land along its southeastern border. Since launching its offensive, Turkey has urged Western allies to back its plans to build new towns in northeast Syria, where it says up to half of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees it currently hosts could be settled. It has called for an international donors summit to back the plan. Western officials say they would be reluctant to fund any project which involved involuntary returns or changes to Syria's demographics - something Ankara denies it is planning. Speaking to reporters on his return flight from a visit to Doha, Erdogan said he presented his plans to Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, adding that "Mr Tamim liked our projects", according to NTV. Asked whether Qatar will help fund the plans, Erdogan said: "They are at the point of: 'We can carry out these efforts together'. There really isn't another way.”


The Telegraph: UN Development Worker Killed In Afghan Blast

“An American working for the United Nations has been killed when his car was attacked with a grenade in the Afghan capital. The United Nations was placed in lockdown after the attack, which also wounded at least five others, including two other UN workers travelling alongside the victim. The dead man working with the UN's development programme died when a specialist armour-piercing grenade or bomb was placed on, or thrown at, the top of his vehicle and split the roof open, sources said. White armoured UN vehicles emblazoned with the body's name are a common site in the Afghan capital, where the organisation maintains a heavy presence despite a parlous security situation. The specialised type of bomb and the deliberate targeting of the UN were “foreboding”, one source said and the UN had confined staff to their compounds. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which was the latest in a growing trend of assaults on aid and humanitarian workers in Afghanistan. Aid agencies and medical groups have reported increasing cases of workers being killed, kidnapped, robbed and harassed as humanitarians have tried to negotiate a worsening conflict.”

Xinhua: Over 40 Militants Killed As Afghan Troops Combat Taliban In Restive Provinces

“More than 40 Taliban militants have been killed within past 24 hours as the Afghan army, backed by air force and NATO-led coalition's aircraft, continued to pound militants by conducting daily operations, the Afghan Defense Ministry said Tuesday. The latest wave of airstrikes and military operations on the group were conducted in 11 of the country's 34 provinces since early Monday, the ministry said in a statement. In southern provinces, six Taliban militants were killed and a militants' vehicle and a motorcycle was destroyed in Marja district of Helmand province during a cleanup operation, according to the statement. The Afghan army also distributed blankets and carpets as winter assistance package to 200 families in restive Marja district during the operation. A total of 11 Taliban hideouts were destroyed and 11 landmines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were defused during a raid in neighboring Nahri Sarraj district of Helmand. Two militants were killed in Afghan army's responsive shelling in Uruzgan province. In eastern provinces, nine Taliban were killed in two separate airstrikes in Alishing and Alinagar districts of Laghman province, as the Afghan troops clashed with militants during operations in Ghazni province, killing five militants.”


India Today: 3 ISIS Men Planning To Strike Delhi Held, One Has A 'Love Jihad' Past

“One of the three ISIS-inspired terror operatives arrested by Delhi Police in Assam was involved in a love jihad controversy seven months back. The Delhi Police Special Cell and Assam Police in a joint operation on Monday busted an ISIS-inspired terror module and apprehended three operatives planning an attack in the Capital. Explosives and raw materials used to manufacture bombs were recovered from them. Ranjeet Islam, Mukadir Islam and Luit Zameel Zaman were arrested from Goalpara in Assam while on way to plant an IED at Raas Mela, a local fair, in Dudhnoi village of the district. Police believe the three, all residents of Goalpara district, are inspired from the Bangladesh module of ISIS. Police sources told India Today that Zameel had an affair with a Hindu girl in his hometown Krishnai in Goalpara district. After the affair came to light, some locals called it love jihad and circulated the couple’s photos on social media. As word spread about the affair in the town, the couple had to call it off. So much so that police had to be involved. Zameel then came in contact with module leader Ranjeet. He became radicalised and learnt making bombs through videos posted by ISIS on Telegram, a cloud-based instant messaging and voice-over service.”

Xinhua: Government Forces Kill 2 Militants In Indian-Controlled Kashmir Gunfight

“At least two militants were killed Tuesday in an overnight fierce gunfight with government forces in restive Indian-controlled Kashmir, police said. The gunfight erupted at village Patchhara in Pulwama district, about 42 km south of Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir. “Last evening a gunfight triggered here between militants and army, which continued throughout the night. So far two militants have been killed in the stand-off,” a police official posted in Pulwama said. “The gunfight began after an army contingent cordoned off the area on specific intelligence information suggesting the presence of militants.” According to police, while the cordon was underway in the area, the army came under fire, which they retaliated and the exchange between two sides went on for several hours. “No sooner the gunfight triggered additional reinforcement of police was rushed to the spot,” the police official said. “The searches in the area are underway.” Indian army or police have not suffered any damage in the gunfight, police said. Preliminary investigations suggest both the slain militants are local cadres of Hizbul Mujahideen, the region's indigenous militant outfit.”


Al Jazeera: Lebanon Protesters Defiant Despite Hezbollah Confrontation

“Protesters remained defiant on Monday after supporters of main Shia groups Hezbollah and Amal attacked demonstrators overnight, sparking a UN call to keep protests peaceful. Demonstrators demanding a complete government overhaul have been mobilised since protests began on October 17, but a bitterly divided political class has yet to find a way forward. Lebanon has faced five weeks of anti-government protests fuelled by anger at corruption among the sectarian politicians who have governed Lebanon for decades. Frustrated by the stalemate protesters called for roadblocks and a general strike on Monday, but an attack by supporters of allied parties Hezbollah and Amal on Sunday night weakened the turnout. Political parties “are trying to instil fear in us as a people so we don't progress and stay at home”, said Dany Ayyash, 21, who was blocking a key road in Beirut's Hamra district. But “the attack gave us all - at least the ones here right now - a sense of determination,” Ayyash said. At around midnight on Sunday, backers of Hezbollah and Amal attacked demonstrators at a flyover near the capital's main protest camp. Brandishing party flags, they hurled stones at peaceful demonstrators and taunted them as riot police deployed to contain the violence.”

Middle East

The Jerusalem Post: Israel’s Battle Against Iran

“The recent attack by Israel Air Force (IAF) warplanes against Iranian and Syrian sites in Syria was very massive, one of the largest strikes in the last three years. The wide-scale strikes occurred in the early hours of Wednesday, November 19. Israeli security officials said that 16 targets of the al-Quds Force and its affiliated Shi’ite militia were hit, including warehouses and missiles near Damascus International Airport, as well as in southern Syria and in other parts of the country. Several anti-aircraft batteries were also damaged after Syrian forces failed to fire missiles to intercept the Israel planes. Yet it is worth noting that the IAF was very cautious and refrained from targeting the advanced Syrian S-300 ground- to-air aircraft batteries which are still manned by Russian personnel. In the past, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel would not have hesitated to attack even the S-300 batteries, which were delivered to Syria six months ago. But it’s clear that Israel doesn’t want to upset the delicate choreography of the dance in Syria between Syria, Iran and Russia.”

War On The Rocks: When Does Terrorism Have A Strategic Effect?

“One of the worst terrorist attacks in the post-9/11 era killed no one. When Al Qaeda in Iraq bombed the Askari shrine in Samarra in 2006, only the mosque itself was damaged. However, by striking at one of the most important Shiite shrines in the world, it enraged Iraq’s Shiite majority, inflaming sectarian tension and exacerbating that country’s civil war. Tens of thousands of Iraqis would die in the resulting violence. In contrast, a far bloodier jihadist attack a decade later, and one closer to home for most Americans, had little long-term impact beyond the deaths of innocent people. In 2016, Omar Mateen shot 49 people at the Pulse night club in Orlando in the name of the Islamic State. This attack soon faded from the headlines, and U.S. foreign policy did not change. Not all terrorism is created equal. Some attacks are merely blips on the terrorism radar screen, grabbing headlines for a few days before life resumes as before. Other attacks, however, shake the world. The strategic effects of such an attack go far beyond whether it helps a terrorist group win, and they can be divided into two areas.”


Asharq Al-Awsat: Egypt Hands Down 7 Death Sentences On Terror Charges

“The Cairo Criminal Court has handed down death sentences to seven people convicted of carrying out attacks that killed 11 policemen in 2016. The Court on Monday also sentenced 18 others to 10-15 years in prison for the same charges, the Associated Press (AP) reported. Those include attacking security forces, joining a terrorist group and possession of weapons and explosives. The charges stem from multiple attacks in Cairo, including one that killed eight police in a microbus in the suburb of Helwan. That attack was claimed by ISIS. The court acquitted seven others. According to AP, the verdicts can be appealed. In response to terror attacks, Egypt has granted police forces and courts sweeping powers.  Rights observers said the crackdown has resulted in an abandonment of due process and violations of international law.”

Xinhua: Egyptian Coptic Rights Activist Faces 'Terror' Charges 

“An Egyptian Coptic rights activist is facing charges of joining a “terror” group and spreading misinformation, his lawyer confirmed Monday, amid a renewed crackdown on dissidents in the country. Ramy Kamel was arrested from his Cairo home early Saturday by seven plainclothes police officers, a member of his defence team, Atef Nazmy, told AFP. He said Kamel was questioned by state security prosecution until 10 pm (2000 GMT) and that his lawyers only managed to see him for the first time on Sunday. The prosecution has alleged Kamel joined a “terror” group, received foreign funding and broadcast false information. Kamel was set to be kept in temporary custody at Tora prison in southeast Cairo for 15 days, with further questioning scheduled for later this month. The vocal activist is a leading member of the Maspero Youth Union, a Coptic human rights organisation born in the wake of the January 2011 protests that toppled longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak. Coptic Christians, the largest non-Muslim religious minority in the Middle East, make up about 10-15 percent of Egypt's predominantly Sunni Muslim population of 100 million and have long faced sectarian discrimination. In recent years, the community has been targeted by a series of militant attacks, including by the Islamic State group.”


The New York Times: Libyan Officials Say US Drone Shot Down By Mistake

“Libyan forces trying to seize Tripoli shot down a U.S. military drone over the capital by mistake last week, officials said Monday. The U.S. military said it lost the drone Thursday while it was assessing the security situation and monitoring extremist activity. U.S. Africa Command declined to elaborate Monday, saying only that the incident was under investigation. The self-styled Libyan National Army, led by Gen. Khalifa Hifter, launched an offensive to capture Tripoli in April after seizing much of eastern Libya from Islamic militants and other rivals in recent years. The country was plunged into chaos when a NATO-backed uprising toppled longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011. The country is now split between a government in the east allied with Hifter and one in Tripoli, in the West, that is supported by the United Nations. The LNA is backed by Egypt and UAE, while the Tripoli-allied militias receive aid from Turkey and Qatar. The fighting has stalled in recent weeks, with both sides dug in and shelling one another along Tripoli's southern reaches. They have also carried out airstrikes and drone attacks.”


All Africa: Nigeria: 95% Of Terrorists, Kidnappers' Weapons Pass Through Land Borders - Govt

“The federal government has justified the closure of its land borders with its West African neighbours by insisting that terrorists and kidnappers were capitalising on the porous borders to smuggle in arms and illicit drugs into the country. The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this on Monday, while addressing a press conference at the Nigeria- Benin Republic border outpost of Seme. He said that 95 percent of the illicit drugs and weapons that were being used for acts of terrorism and kidnapping in Nigeria arrived through its porous borders. He said the ongoing Operation Swift Exercise and border closure effected by government had led to arrests and seizure of goods, which value is worth N4billion and that would have had grave security consequences. Mohammed put the number of illegal immigrants that had been arrested at 296. He also revealed some items seized included; 38,743-50kg bags of parboiled foreign rice; 514 vehicles; 1,012 drums filled with PMS; 5,400 Jerricans of vegetable oil; 346 motorcycles; 10, 553 Jerricans of PMS and 136 bags of NPK fertilizer used for making explosives. He, however, said that since this partial closure, the acts had drastically subsided.”


Al Jazeera: Angry Demonstrators Storm UN Camp In DRC After Deadly Attack

“Protesters stormed UN facilities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) town of Beni on Monday, angered by the failure to stop an armed group that killed eight civilians. Dozens of people broke into the UN headquarters in the city despite gunshots fired by Congolese security forces seeking to disperse the angry crowd. Eight people were killed on Sunday night in an attack by armed fighters in the northeastern city of Beni. At least two more were killed and several wounded after angry residents took to the streets and clashed with security forces. Police said protesters also torched the mayor's office in response to the overnight attack. A tweet by the police force showed flames shooting from the window and thick black smoke billowing above. Demonstrators then marched to the offices of the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo (MONUSCO), said Teddy Kataliko, a civil society leader in Beni. “Several offices at the MONUSCO headquarters were set on fire and looted,” Kataliko said. “Residents are demanding the withdrawal of MONUSCO from Beni because of the inaction of UN forces.” Gunfire could be heard outside the UN offices as police and peacekeepers tried to disperse the crowd that burned UN vehicles.”


Reuters: Thirteen French Helicopter Troops Killed In Mali Combat Operation

“Thirteen French soldiers fighting jihadists in Mali were killed in an accident between two helicopters, the French presidency said on Tuesday, the single biggest loss of French troops in combat in the region since intervening there in 2013. France has a 4,500-strong Barkhane force countering Islamist insurgencies in the Sahel region, where violence by militants linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State in the sparely-populated area has proliferated in recent years. “The president announces with deep sadness the death of 13 French troops in Mali on the evening of Nov. 25, in an accident between their two helicopters during a combat mission against jihadists,” the statement from the president’s office said. The circumstances surrounding the accident were not immediately clear. France’s Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly said the incident occurred while the helicopters were in flight. The Defence Ministry said the helicopters involved were a Tiger and Cougar and the operation took place in central Mali. “They were supporting commandos from the Barkhane force who were engaged with armed terrorists,” the ministry said in a statement.”


Daily Sabah: Berlin Mosque Receives Bomb Threats From Right-Extremist Group

“Suspected far-right extremists emailed a bomb threat to Berlin's prominent Şehitlik Mosque on Monday. Mosque officials told Anadolu Agency (AA) that they immediately informed the police after receiving an email from the far-right terrorist group Combat 18 that claimed that the group had planted plastic explosives in the mosque complex. “Today some bombs will explode in the mosque,” the mail read, sent by [email protected]. Rıfkı Olgun Yücekök, the Turkish consul general in Berlin, urged German authorities to take stronger measures to protect the mosques. “This may turn out to be a hoax but still it's an attempt to disrupt peace and social cohesion,” he stressed, adding that they expect German authorities to identify those behind such threats and bring them to justice. “We don't have the luxury to ignore this.” The Şehitlik Mosque, which belongs to the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB), is a well-known Muslim place of worship in the capital. Two days before this incident the Yeşil Mosque in the German city Menden received a threat as well. A criminal complaint was filed.”


NBC News: Russia Is Winning The Electronic Warfare Fight Against Ukraine — And The United States

“There’s an invisible battle that the U.S. is losing to Russia right now, and like so much of our current domestic political turmoil, it both centers on and transcends Ukraine. The U.S. has mostly focused on fighting non-state actors like the Taliban and Al Qaeda that lacked the technology to engage in electronic warfare, lulling the Pentagon into complacency. Russia is currently dominating the arena of ground-based electronic warfare, the discipline dedicated to detecting and interfering with enemy radar and communication signals while protecting friendly forces from similar effects. This realm is essential to the modern battleground because militaries increasingly rely on radar, radio signals and satellites to track and relay the position of friendly and enemy forces, coordinate attacks between headquarters and those in the field across long distances, operate drone systems and guide weapons to targets. Perhaps Russia’s most successful deployment of this capability is in its ongoing conflict with Ukraine, where a 2017 Army study detailed the devastating effectiveness of its electronic warfare capabilities in shutting down Ukrainian FM radio and cellular networks. Jammers, which disrupt command signals, brought down over 100 Ukrainian drones, while signals intelligence was used to target deadly artillery strikes.”

Voice Of America: Denmark Repatriates 11-Month-Old Boy Reportedly Orphaned In Syria

“The Danish government has repatriated an 11-month-old boy after his mother, who was linked to the Islamic State terrorist group, was killed in the Syria conflict. The child arrived in Copenhagen on Nov.  21 from Irbil in northern Iraq after a nearly nine-month effort by relatives and the Danish government, authorities say. They also say the child, identified as Bay T, was being held at the Al-Hol refugee camp in northern Syria since March of this year, when his mother died. Baby T's grandfather, who could not be named, told VOA Somali that the child was now being treated at a hospital for vomiting and diarrhea. “The boy has gone through a lot; he is a child without a mother, without a father, he needs a lot of assistance, and he is in a difficult condition.” “He is the son of my late daughter,” said the grandfather during a telephone interview. The boy's mother left Denmark in October 2015 to join Islamic State. While in Syria, she met the father of her child, who also joined the terror group. The mother was killed in an airstrike, according to her father. Kurdish fighters rescued the child and brought him to the Al-Hol camp. It is not clear what happened to the boy's father, who had also joined Islamic State. According to the boy's grandfather, the family was given conflicting accounts of the child's father.”

Southeast Asia 

The Strait Times: Sultan Mosque Holds Anti-Terrorism Exercise; First Time Such A Drill Is Held In Place Of Worship

“The iconic Sultan Mosque in Kampong Glam came under a "terror attack" on Sunday (Nov 24) as part of an exercise to test its readiness to deal with terrorism. It was the first time such an exercise was held at a place of worship in Singapore, the Singapore Police Force (SPF), Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and the mosque said in a joint statement on Monday. Codenamed Exercise Heartbeat, the drill on Sunday was part of a series of anti-terrorism exercises held at various locations. It was also held at the lobby of Crowne Plaza Changi Airport on May 17, and at Republic Polytechnic on July 23 this year. Given the recent attacks on places of worship and religious institutions around the world, Exercise Heartbeat was aimed at validating and enhancing the mosque's contingency plans to better respond to a terror attack, the statement said. In March this year, there were two mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, where at least 49 people were killed and dozens injured, causing the government to place the country on its highest security threat level.”


MarketWatch: Sacha Baron Cohen Doubles Down On His Sharp Rebuke Of Top Tech Companies, Even After Facebook Calls Him Out

“Sacha Baron Cohen — the British comedian who gave the world such controversial hits as “Borat” and “Who is America?” — was in no mood for laughs last week. In a Thursday speech hosted by the Anti-Defamation League, Cohen claimed Facebook, if it existed in the 1930s, would have allowed Adolf Hitler to post ads for his “solution” to the “Jewish problem” because the social-media giant cares “more about boosting their share price than about protecting democracy.” It’s not only Facebook that’s helped racism and extremism run rampant, either, according to Cohen. He also called out Alphabet unit Google and Twitter for complicity: “All this hate and violence is being facilitated by a handful of internet companies that amount to the greatest propaganda machine in history,” he said. “The algorithms these platforms depend on deliberately amplify the type of content that keeps users engaged — stories that appeal to our baser instincts and that trigger outrage and fear.”

NPR: Islamic State 'Not Present On The Internet Anymore' Following European Operation 

“In a major blow to terrorist radicalization efforts, European law enforcement agencies have stripped Islamic State propaganda from popular online services such as Google and Twitter. Over 26,000 items, which included videos, publications, social media accounts and communication channels, were flagged by authorities as being terrorist propaganda. Europol, the European Union's law enforcement agency, sent those items to several online service providers for removal. “For the time being, for as far as we know, IS is not present on the internet anymore and we will see how fast, if ever, they will regain service,” Belgian Federal Prosecutor Eric Van Der Sypt said at a press conference Monday. Authorities said that services such as Google, Twitter, Instagram and Telegram cooperated with the European-wide efforts to disrupt terrorist activities. Telegram, an online messaging platform used by about 200 million users, contained the most offending material, which resulted in a “significant portion of key actors within the IS network” being removed from the service. As part of the operation, an individual suspected of distributing terrorist propaganda was arrested in the Canary Islands by Spanish police.”