Eye on Extremism: November 7, 2023

Associated Press: Israeli Forces Cut Off North Gaza To Isolate Hamas As An Advance On The Urban Center Looms

“The Israeli army severed northern Gaza from the rest of the besieged territory and pounded it with airstrikes Monday, preparing for expected ground battles with Hamas militants in Gaza’s largest city and an even bloodier phase of the month-old war. Already, the Palestinian death toll surpassed 10,000, the Health Ministry of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip said Monday. The ministry does not distinguish between fighters and civilians. About 1,400 people in Israel have died, mostly civilians killed in the Oct. 7 incursion by Hamas that started the war. The war has quickly become the deadliest Israeli-Palestinian violence since Israel’s establishment 75 years ago, with no end in sight as Israel vows to remove Hamas from power and crush its military capabilities. Casualties are likely to rise sharply as the war turns to close urban combat. Troops are expected to enter Gaza City soon, Israeli media reported, and Palestinian militants who have had years to prepare are likely to fight street by street, launching ambushes from a vast network of tunnels. “We’re closing in on them,” said Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, an Israeli military spokesperson. “We’ve completed our encirclement, separating Hamas strongholds in the north from the south.”

The Times Of Israel: Yemen’s Houthis Claim New Drone Attack On Israel, But No Assault Detected

“Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels claimed to have launched on Monday a fresh drone attack against Israel, but there was no sign of it in the Jewish state. The Houthis, who claim large swaths of the impoverished country on the south of the Arabian Peninsula, claimed without evidence that its latest strike temporarily halted activity at Israeli military bases and airports. But there were no sirens or infiltration alerts set off indicating any such intrusion, and airports and military bases across the country appeared to continue operating as normal. The IDF did not provide any comment on Monday on the Houthi claims. An unsourced Channel 12 TV report suggested that the purported drones from Yemen may have been shot down by Jordan. Other Houthi attacks over the past few weeks were intercepted by the US and Israel. Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree said on X, formerly Twitter, that “the Yemeni armed forces… launched a batch of drones during the past hours at various sensitive targets of the Israeli enemy in the occupied territories.” “As a result of the operation, the activity at the targeted bases and airports stopped for several hours.”

CEP Mentions

Express: Britain's Shame: Terrified Holocaust Survivor Left Fearing For His Life After Hate Marches

“…Professor Ian Acheson, senior adviser to the Counter Extremism Project, said: “Jewish people are saying protest Saturdays have made central London a no-go zone. “This is London in 2023. We are not talking about Berlin in 1936.”

United States

The New York Times: Blinken Warns Iran Against Widening The Conflict Between Israel And Hamas

“If Iran had any doubts about American resolve in the Middle East, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, with an assist from the Pentagon, spent the weekend reinforcing the notion that the United States was not going anywhere. During a quick trip to the region, Mr. Blinken repeatedly warned Iran against using its proxies to widen the conflict between Israel and Hamas, while in an unusual move the U.S. Central Command, which oversees American forces in the region, on Sunday announced that a nuclear-powered attack submarine was traveling through the region. The submarine added to the already considerable American firepower steaming through the waters around the Middle East, and Central Command, as if flaunting the vessel’s deployment, went so far as to post on X a photo of it in the region. The most important progress, however, occurred out of public view. American allies in the Middle East have played a crucial role in preventing Iran and its proxies from expanding the war. Mr. Blinken sought to maintain those efforts during his trip, which included stops in Israel, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey. “Countries are very much engaged in trying to make sure that that doesn’t happen,” Mr. Blinken said on Monday after meeting with Turkey’s foreign minister, Hakan Fidan, in Ankara.”

Associated Press: After Biden And Blinken Push, Netanyahu Says Israel Open To ‘little Pauses’ In Gaza, No Cease-Fire

“After more than a week of public pressure from the U.S. for “humanitarian pauses” in Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday allowed that his government might be open to only “little pauses” in its assault on Hamas. The Israeli leader sought to play down differences with his country’s most vocal backer on the world stage at a time of rising scrutiny of the sharply rising civilian toll of fighting. Netanyahu spoke after President Joe Biden made a direct appeal to him nearly a month into the war seeking to rally support behind securing even limited relief for civilians in the spiraling conflict. The back-and-forth spotlighted the challenges facing Biden and his administration as they seek to manage what is emerging as one of the defining foreign policy crises of his presidency. The U.S. thus far remains focused on keeping the fighting from exploding into a wider regional war and pushing for limited steps to alleviate civilian suffering. But it has remained steadfastly behind Israel and Netanyahu’s goal of ending Hamas control over Gaza, even as the death toll in Gaza reached 10,000, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.”

Associated Press: Maine Man Sentenced To 15 Years For Mosque Attack Plot

“A 19-year-old from Maine who the FBI says built homemade explosives and plotted to attack a mosque in the name of the Islamic State group was sentenced Monday to 15 years in prison. Xavier Pelkey, of Waterville, entered an agreement with prosecutors in April in which he pleaded guilty to providing material support to terrorists while a second charge was dropped. Pelkey planned to contribute firearms, ammunition and explosives for a mass shooting at a Shiite mosque in the Chicago area and possibly other houses of worship, and he was in communication with a pair of juveniles, one in Canada and one Chicago, about the plot, law enforcement officials said. Pelkey was 18 when he was arrested by FBI agents who found three homemade explosives in his home. The devices were made of fireworks bundled with staples, pins and thumb tacks to create shrapnel, the FBI said. Investigators also found a handwritten document about the planned mosque attack, claiming it in the name of the Islamic State group. The defense argued for a six-year prison sentence, contending Pelkey accepted responsibility, lacked a violent criminal history and was just a few months beyond being charged as a juvenile.”


Associated Press: Hezbollah And Hamas’ Military Wings In Lebanon Exchange Fire With Israel. Tension Rises Along Border

“The military wing of Palestinian group Hamas said Monday it fired rockets from Lebanon into northern Israel, triggering Israeli airstrikes on the Lebanese side of the border. The Qassam Brigades said in a statement its militants fired 16 rockets on the town of Nahariya and the southern outskirts of the city of Haifa in retaliation for Israeli attacks on Gaza. Haifa is the furthest city targeted by rockets from the Lebanese side since the start of the Israel-Hamas war nearly a month ago. The Israeli army said approximately 30 rockets were fired from the Lebanese side targeting northern Israel, adding it was responding by shelling the origin points of rocket launches. The exchange lasted about half an hour and Israel’s Iron Dome could be clearly seen intercepting rockets from Lebanon. Relative clam prevailed afterward. About three hours later, Israel’s air force carried out airstrikes on “Hezbollah targets” inside Lebanon, Israeli military spokesman Avichay Adraee posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, adding that details would follow later. Strong explosions could be heard in the area. The exchange of fire came as Lebanon’s militant group Hezbollah said its fighters attacked at least three Israeli military posts along the border around sunset Monday.”

Middle East

BBC: Hamas Leader Refuses To Acknowledge Killing Of Civilians In Israel

“Moussa Abu Marzouk told the BBC that "women, children and civilians were exempt" from Hamas's attacks. His claims are in stark contrast to the wealth of evidence of Hamas men shooting unarmed adults and children. The proof includes video from Hamas body cameras and first-hand testimony given to international news networks. Israel says more than 1,400 people were killed by Hamas in the 7 October attacks, most of them civilians. Mr Marzouk, the group's deputy political leader, who is subject to an asset freeze in the UK under counter-terrorism regulations, was interviewed on Saturday in the Gulf. He is the most senior member to speak to the BBC since the 7 October atrocities. The BBC pressed Mr Marzouk on the war on Gaza, specifically on the scores of hostages being held inside the territory. He responded that they were not able to be freed while Israel was bombing Gaza. The Hamas-run health ministry says 10,000 people have been killed since Israel started operations last month. "We will release them. But we need to stop the fighting," he said. Mr Marzouk recently travelled to Moscow to discuss eight Russian-Israeli dual citizens snatched on 7 October by Hamas, a proscribed terror organisation in many countries including the UK and US.”

Politico: Israel Has Only Weeks To Defeat Hamas As Global Opinion Sours, Former PM Ehud Barak Says

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may be digging in for a “long and difficult war” but former leader Ehud Barak fears Israel has only weeks left to eliminate Hamas, as public opinion — most significantly in the U.S. — rapidly swings against its attacks on Gaza. In an exclusive interview with POLITICO, the former prime minister and chief of the Israel Defense Forces also suggested a multinational Arab force could have to take control of Gaza after the military campaign, to help usher in a return of Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority to take over from Hamas. Even with that change of the political order in Gaza, however, Barak stressed the return to diplomacy aimed at the creation of a Palestinian state was a very remote prospect. Barak, who led Israel between 1999 and 2001, observed the rhetoric of U.S. officials had shifted in recent days with a mounting chorus of calls for a humanitarian pause in the fighting. The sympathy generated toward Israel in the immediate wake of October 7, when Hamas launched the deadliest terrorist attack on Israel in the Jewish state’s 75-year history, was now diminishing, he worried.”


Associated Press: Militants Kill 11 Farmers In Nigeria’s North, Raising Fresh Concerns About Food Supplies

“Islamic rebels killed 11 farmers and abducted several others in Nigeria’s northeast, locals and authorities said Monday, the latest of several such attacks that analysts say threaten food supplies in the hard-hit region. The rebels attacked the farmers as they worked in their fields in Borno state’s Jere district Sunday evening before beheading them and shooting and wounding others as they escaped, according to Dauda Ibrahim, a resident in the area. “About six of the farmers that were killed are from the same family,” said Dauda. Borno police spokesman Daso Nahum confirmed the attack but could not further provide further details, saying the police chief in the state is in the area to assess the situation. Such attacks on farmers have become rampant in Borno state where Islamic extremist rebels launched an insurgency in 2009 to fight against Western education and to establish Islamic Shariah law in the region. The attacks have raised fears of worsening hunger in the troubled region where 4.4 million face acute hunger, according to the U.N. World Food Program. At least 35,000 people have been killed and more than 2 million displaced due to the violence by the Boko Haram group and a breakaway faction backed by the Islamic State, according to U.N. agencies in Nigeria.”


Voice Of America: Mali Rejects Claims Of Targeted Killing Of Civilians

“Mali's ruling junta on Monday rejected as "unfounded" accusations by a rights group that its soldiers and Russian mercenaries killed 40 civilians in three operations. In Bamako, the foreign ministry said the Human Rights Watch (HRW) report released last week took a "sensationalist and biased approach" and put the nation's army "on the same level as the armed Islamist groups." The ministry listed "unfounded allegations, gratuitous affirmations, testimonials taken from a distance and slanted, erroneous conclusions.” It also again denied working with Russia's Wagner paramilitary company, without naming it. HRW said Islamist armed groups and Malian soldiers killed at least 175 civilians, many of them children, between April and September, condemning the targeted killing of civilians as war crimes. The Al-Qaeda-linked Support Group for Islam and Muslims was responsible for the deaths of at least 135 civilians in two attacks, the New York-based HRW said. Malian soldiers and fighters apparently from Wagner killed 40 civilians in three operations between April and September, it said. Bamako's junta leaders struck up a partnership with Wagner after French troops pulled out of Mali in 2022.”


Associated Press: Ailing Pope Francis Meets With European Rabbis And Condemns Antisemitism, Terrorism, War

“Pope Francis met with European rabbis on Monday and decried antisemitism, war and terrorism in a written speech he declined to read, saying he wasn’t feeling well. Francis told the rabbis during the audience in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace that he was very happy to receive them, but added: “I’m not feeling well, and so I prefer not to read the speech but give it to you, so you can take it with you.” Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said the pope “has a bit of a cold and a long day of audiences.’' The 86-year-old pontiff ”preferred to greet the European rabbis individually, and that’s why he handed over his speech.” Bruni said the pope’s scheduled activities would proceed, and they did. The activities included an hour-long meeting in late afternoon in a Vatican auditorium with some 7,000 children from 84 countries. Francis seemed at ease, chatting with kids and answering their prepared questions, including about how to make peace — “extend your hand” — and about war — “war is always cruel, and who pays the price? Children.” As he sat in a chair, he shook dozens of young hands and autographed many caps and at least one sports jersey.”

Voice Of America: Israel-Hamas War Poses New Security Challenges For Europe

“Security alerts ramped up following Islamists attacks in France and Belgium, following a pair of Islamist attacks. A spike in anti-Jewish acts and a string of bomb alerts. Once again, some European countries are seeing the spillover of another conflict in the Middle East, a month into the Israel-Hamas war. But there are clear differences between the nature and potential ramifications of today’s security threat and that of nearly a decade ago — when the Islamic State, which controlled large swathes of Iraq and Syria, spawned terrorist attacks that killed hundreds in Europe, officials and analysts say. If the Israel-Hamas war is drawn out and spreads, some add, Europe could see a mix of potential fallouts going beyond extremist violence, potentially weakening Europe politically, placing new demands on it to support Ukraine in its war against Russia, and emboldening far right parties. “The similarity is rising awareness of [the] threat in European countries,” said Gesine Weber, a Paris-based European security expert at the German Marshall Fund, of the two Middle East conflicts. “But the attacks in 2015/16 were attacks against a Western liberal lifestyle and frustration against a system in place. Whereas the attacks we’re seeing now are more against a targeted group of individuals: Jews.”


The New York Times: Antisemitic And Islamophobic Incidents Surge In Australia

“Posters plastered across Sydney portraying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel as Adolf Hitler in disguise. A record increase in reports of Islamophobia, including threats to Muslim community organizations. Antisemitic chants at a pro-Palestinian rally and charges that Nazi salutes were performed outside a Jewish museum. Australia has experienced a flurry of incidents targeting Muslims and Jews, making it one of many countries reporting a rise in such cases since Hamas’s Oct. 7 attacks on Israel. Reports to the Islamophobia Register Australia, an independent organization that tracks anti-Muslim sentiment, have increased tenfold since the start of the war, Sharara Attai, the executive director of the group, told an Australian news service, adding that many more incidents have likely gone unreported. Interfaith relations have become strained, with at least two Australian rabbis resigning last month from the Jewish Muslim Christian Association, a group that works to promote religious harmony, after some faith leaders failed to condemn the Hamas attacks, which killed some 1,400 people in Israel. Members of the country’s roughly 100,000-strong Jewish community have been left feeling isolated, representatives said, over a perceived absence of sympathy for the suffering caused by the attacks.”


The New York Times: Brazil Cracks Down On Surprising New Threat: Neo-Nazis

“In southern Brazil in July, Laureano Toscani and João Guilherme Correa were smoking cigarettes along a busy road in their prison-issued garb, shorts and sandals, waiting for a ride after seven months in jail. Mr. Toscani was once convicted of stabbing a group of Jewish men, and Mr. Correa has been accused of murdering a couple leaving a party. But this time, they were behind bars for attending what they said was a harmless barbecue. The Brazilian authorities, however, say it was something far more sinister: a meeting of the Hammerskins, a neo-Nazi group founded in Dallas in 1988 that they say has recently found its way thousands of miles south, to Brazil’s most starkly conservative region, reflecting a surge in far-right extremists in Latin America’s largest nation. In September 2022, the state police in Santa Catarina began trailing the Hammerskins as members strategized on how to attract new recruits. Two months later, as eight men met at a farmhouse outside the coastal city of Florianópolis, a police hate-crimes unit burst in, arresting everyone under anti-discrimination laws and accusing them of being members of the Hammerskins. Two other accused members were arrested weeks later.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.


On May 8, 2019, Taliban insurgents detonated an explosive-laden vehicle and then broke into American NGO Counterpart International’s offices in Kabul. At least seven people were killed and 24 were injured.

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