Eye on Extremism: November 8, 2023

Associated Press: Islamic State Group Claims Responsibility For A Minibus Explosion In Afghan Capital That Killed 7

“The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a minibus explosion in the Afghan capital late on Tuesday that killed at least seven people. The Sunni militant group said its members detonated an explosive device on the bus carrying Shiite Muslims. Twenty others were wounded in the attack in Kabul’s western Shiite neighborhood of Dashti Barchi, according to police spokesman Khalid Zadran. The bombing was the second attack to have struck the area in as many weeks. Four people were killed and seven were wounded when an explosion hit a sports club in the neighborhood on Oct. 26. IS also claimed responsibility for that attack. The Dashti Barchi area of Kabul has been repeatedly targeted by the Islamic State group’s affiliate i Afghanistan. The group has carried out major assaults on schools, hospitals and mosques, and has also attacked other Shiite areas across the country. The IS affiliate is mainly based in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province and has been a major rival of the Taliban since the Sunni group seized control of Afghanistan in August 2021. IS militants have struck in Kabul, in northern provinces and especially wherever there are Shiites, whom IS considers to be apostates.”

Voice Of America: Senior US Envoy Visits Beirut As Israel-Hezbollah Clashes Intensify

“Amos Hochstein, a senior U.S. envoy, made an unannounced trip to Beirut on Tuesday to cool tensions with Lebanon's interim prime minister and parliamentary speaker as the nation's southern border sees fighting between Israel and Hezbollah intensify. "The United States does not want to see conflict in Gaza escalating and expanding into Lebanon," Hochenstein said at the meeting. He left without taking questions from reporters. Days ago, a Lebanese grandmother and her three granddaughters were slain in an Israeli drone assault, raising a furor. In retaliation, Hezbollah, an ally of Hamas, lobbed rockets at the northern Israeli village of Kiryat Shmona, killing one person. These bloody exchanges between Hezbollah and the Israel Defense Forces, or IDF, are in the spotlight as analysts debate whether the Israel-Hamas war could expand, opening new fronts in the region. Hochstein said on Tuesday that quelling unrest along the Israel-Lebanon border is of "utmost importance.” "Protecting civilians is a main pillar of the rules of engagement with the enemy," Hezbollah lawmaker Ali Fayad said before a large crowd at the funeral for the slain grandmother and her three granddaughters.nThe IDF considers the Iran-funded militant group a threat, saying Hezbollah has about 150,000 missiles and rockets ready to fire on Israel, as well as various high-tech material, including anti-ship missiles and deadly drones.”

CEP Mentions

RTVOnline:  Israel's Ground Offensive In Gaza: Urban Warfare Underway

“... Hamas' aim is to produce horrific images of dead Palestinian civilians and thereby drag Iran and its proxies into the conflict," Hans-Jakob Schindler, of the International NGO Counter Extremism Project, recently told DW. On Friday, in his first speech since the beginning of the current conflict, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah did not, however, call for war against Israel. "It looks as if the chances of regional escalation are now significantly reduced, in the short term anyway," said Ledwidge. "He's been quite realistic and I think taking account of the fact that 70% of the Lebanese people want this war confined to what they call Palestine."  What lies ahead? Israel's Defense Minister Yoav Gallant believes that the fight will, in any case, continue for quite some time. "It will take a month, two months, three, but in the end, there will be no Hamas," Gallant said on October 22, speaking at the Israeli Air Force's command center in Tel Aviv. But even if the Lebanese Hezbollah militia does not open a second front in the north and Israel manages to defeat Hamas, the question of what comes next remains. The most recent major ground offensive carried out by Israel in the Gaza Strip was initiated in July 2014, ten days after massive airstrikes had begun. The armed conflict went on for nearly two months in total.”

Daily Dot: Videos Celebrating Recent ISIS Terror Attack Rack Up Views On TikTok

“... Researchers with Counter Extremism Project (CEP), a nonprofit organization working to combat extremist ideologies, revealed in a report on Monday that they had discovered pro-ISIS content, including some celebrating a recent terror attack in Belgium. The attack saw two Swedish nationals shot to death in Brussels by a man who had claimed on social media to be a member of the Islamic State. The shooter, identified as 45-year-old Tunisian Abdesalem Al Guilani, was later confronted and shot by police before succumbing to his wounds in the hospital. The video celebrating the shooting, which had already been on the platform for 16 days when it was discovered by CEP, was able to garner more than 50,000 views. In total, the CEP was able to find five accounts spreading ISIS propaganda. Other profiles posted content created by the Amaq News Agency, a news outlet linked to the Islamic State. CEP says that the five accounts had accrued between 156 and 1,711 followers respectively. Although the organization says it reported all five accounts to TikTok on Nov. 2, only two of the accounts have been removed. In remarks to the Daily Dot, CEP research analyst Joshua Fisher-Birch noted that ISIS content is detected regularly on the platform.”

IGNews: Israel’s Ground Operation In Gaza: Civil War Continues IG news

“... Hans-Jakob Schindler of the international NGO Counter-Extremism Project recently stated that “Hamas aims to create gruesome images of dead Palestinian civilians and thereby drag Iran and its proxies into the conflict.” DW On Friday, in his first speech since the start of the current conflict, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, however, did not call for ‘war’ against Israel. “It seems that the potential for regional tensions is now significantly reduced, at least in the short term,” Ledwidge said. “He has been quite realistic and I think that considering the fact that 70 percent of the Lebanese people want this war to be confined to Palestine.””

United States

Associated Press: Americans Divided Over Israel Response To Hamas Attacks, AP-NORC Poll Shows

“Americans have become more likely to describe Israel as an ally that shares U.S. interests and values since the war with Hamas began, but they’re divided over whether Israel has gone too far in its response to last month’s attack, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The survey, which was conducted from Nov. 2 to 6, also reveals skepticism among Democrats toward Israel, which could present a challenge for President Joe Biden as he tries to balance support for the country’s defense and his party’s shifting priorities. The result is a rather muddled picture that presents few easy options for the White House as it keeps one eye on public opinion with an election year on the horizon. “It’s just so complicated,” said Carolyn Reyes, a 36-year-old Democrat in New York. “And I will not even pretend to understand the complicated nature of the relationship between the United States and Israel.” During an August poll, only 32% of Americans described Israel as an ally that shares U.S. interests and values. But that figure increased to 44% in the latest survey, which was conducted after the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas that killed 1,400 Israelis.”

Associated Press: House Votes To Censure Rep. Rashida Tlaib Over Her Israel-Hamas Rhetoric In A Stunning Rebuke

“The House voted late Tuesday to censure Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan — the only Palestinian American in Congress — an extraordinary rebuke of her rhetoric about the Israel-Hamas war. The 234-188 tally came after enough Democrats joined with Republicans to censure Tlaib, a punishment one step below expulsion from the House. The three-term congresswoman has long been a target of criticism for her views on the decades-long conflict in the Middle East. The debate on the censure resolution on Tuesday afternoon was emotional and intense. Republican Rep. Rich McCormick of Georgia pushed the measure in response to what he called Tlaib’s promotion of antisemitic rhetoric. He said she has “levied unbelievable falsehoods about our greatest ally, Israel, and the attack on October 7.” With other Democrats standing by her side, Tlaib defended her stance, saying she “will not be silenced and I will not let you distort my words.” She added that her criticism of Israel has always been directed toward its government and its leadership under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “It is important to separate people and government,” she said. “The idea that criticizing the government of Israel is antisemitic sets a very dangerous precedent. And it’s been used to silence diverse voices speaking up for human rights across our nation.””


NBC: Iran-Backed Groups Threaten To Expand Gaza War As They Step Up Attacks On Israel And U.S.

“Rockets launched from Lebanon reached deeper into Israeli territory Monday than any since the 2006 war, as the Hezbollah militant group’s second-in-command threatened to escalate cross-border attacks if Israel continues its deadly assault on the Gaza Strip. The threats by Naim Qassem, Hezbollah’s deputy secretary-general, in an exclusive interview with NBC News, came as Iranian-backed militant groups across the Middle East launched an unprecedented array of attacks against American targets. “Hezbollah participates for the sake of lowering the pressure on Gaza,” said Qassem. He framed Israel as the aggressor, saying that these growing attacks were “a clear message that if you expand there will be serious consequences.” Taken together, Hezbollah’s heightened rhetoric and the widening strikes by a group of Iran-backed proxies suggest that this “Axis of Resistance” is acting in harmony to ramp up pressure on the U.S. and Israel to check the latter's escalating assault on the Gaza Strip. “Those in the Axis of Resistance have seen that the mastermind is America,” Qassem said. “So they strike America under the principle of sending a message to stop. Just as Israel should stop.” He added: "How does America and the rest of the world have the right to stand on the side of Israel that kills civilians and children and destroys homes while we don’t have the right to support our people and our loved ones in Palestine and the region?"”


Associated Press: Pakistani Premier Tries To Reassure Afghans Waiting For Visas To US That They Won’t Be Deported

“Pakistan’s prime minister on Wednesday sought to reassure Afghans waiting in Pakistan for resettlement in the United States that they won’t be deported as part of his government’s widely criticized crackdown on undocumented migrants in the country. Islamabad this month launched a crackdown on illegal migration, saying any unregistered foreign national and migrant lacking proper documentation would face arrest and deportation. The drive mostly affects Afghans because they are the majority of foreigners living in Pakistan, although the government says it’s targeting all who are in the country illegally. Pakistan has long hosted about 1.7 million Afghans, most of whom fled during the 1979-1989 Soviet occupation. In addition, more than half a million people fled Afghanistan in August 2021, when the Taliban seized power in the final weeks of U.S. and NATO pullout. At least 25,000 of those who escaped the Taliban takeover had worked for the American military or government, U.S. and international organizations and aid agencies, media and human rights groups, and are now in Pakistan waiting for resettlement in the West. Pakistan’s caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar said in a televised a news conference Wednesday that authorities would deport only migrants who are in the country illegally.”

Middle East

Associated Press: Fighting Hamas Deep In Gaza City, Israel Foresees Control Of The Enclave’s Security After The War

“Israeli ground forces were battling Hamas fighters deep inside Gaza’s largest city, Israel said Tuesday. The push signals a major new stage in the month-old conflict, and its leaders foresee controlling the enclave’s security after the war. The push into Gaza City guarantees that the already staggering death toll will rise further, while comments from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about controlling Gaza’s security for “an indefinite period” pointed to the uncertain endgame of a war that Israel says will be long and difficult. Israeli ground troops have battled Palestinian militants inside Gaza for over a week, cutting the territory in half and encircling Gaza City. The army’s chief spokesperson, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, said Israeli ground forces “are located right now in a ground operation in the depths of Gaza City and putting great pressure on Hamas.” Hamas spokesperson Ghazi Hamad, speaking Tuesday from Beirut, denied that Israeli forces were making any significant military gains or that they had advanced deep into Gaza City. “They never give the people the truth,” Hamad said. He added that numerous Israeli soldiers were killed Monday and “many tanks were destroyed.” “The Palestinians fight and fight and fight against Israel, until we end the occupation,” said Hamad, who left Gaza days before Hamas’ Oct. 7 incursion in southern Israel, which sparked the war.”


Voice Of America: Mali Army Airstrikes Blamed For Civilian Deaths In Rebel-Held Town

“Mali's army said Tuesday it carried out airstrikes on what it called terrorist targets in the rebel stronghold of Kidal, where witnesses and separatists said civilians, including children, died in the attack. The armed forces said on social media that the strikes "neutralized several terrorist pickup trucks" at a military camp evacuated by U.N. peacekeepers last week in the strategic northern town. The army appealed to people "not to give in to the terrorists' propaganda intended to tarnish the reputation of the Malian armed forces. The Permanent Strategic Framework, an alliance of predominantly Tuareg armed groups, said 14 people died, including eight children gathered in front of a school. It said they were killed by Turkish-made drones belonging to Mali's army. Residents and witnesses, speaking mostly on condition of anonymity out of safety concerns, said between six and nine people died. "Six people, including children, were killed by airstrikes by the Malian army," said one health worker. "In the hospital, we have injured people." On Saturday, the army said on social media that it had "neutralized" a certain number of targets a day earlier using air power. The targets were operating inside the camp near Kidal that the U.N.'s stabilization mission vacated last week, it said.”

United Kingdom

The Independent: Public Urged To ‘Stay Alert’ As UK Terror Reports Double After Hamas Attack On Israel

“The public has been urged to “stay alert” after reports to the UK’s counter-terrorism hotline have more than doubled since Hamas launched its attack on Israel. Counter-terror police have received 1,350 reports between 7 and 25 October, since Hamas killed an estimated 1,400 Israelis in a coordinated terror attack which contributed to the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. That is more than twice the number of reports to the UK’s hotline during the same period last year, amid fears overseas events can inspire violence at home.   The number of reports with information useful to investigators went up by nearly four times to 200, police said. Metropolitan Police deputy assistant commissioner Laurence Taylor warned: “Sadly, history tells us that events overseas can inspire or accelerate acts of violence much closer to home. We are working day and night with our partners to monitor the threat picture. “We’re acutely aware of the energising effect the conflict could have on those with extremist or terrorist intent. “With that in mind, our counter-terrorism units across the country are reviewing their casework and checking that operational police activity is as effective as it can be to keep people safe.” DAC Taylor said reports from members of the public are critical to keeping the country safe, adding: “As the increase in the number of reports to Counter Terrorism Policing in the last month shows, there is a real willingness from our communities to tell us about their concerns.”


Bloomberg: Germany Designates Second AfD Chapter As Right-Wing Extremist

“German authorities classified a regional chapter of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt as an extremist group, according to public broadcaster ARD. It’s the second AfD branch to be categorized in this way. Germany’s domestic intelligence service, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, said it found numerous statements and documents from party officials which were anti-Muslim, antisemitic or racist, and thus violated the constitution. The decision has political significance because the AfD is currently the strongest party in Saxony-Anhalt, regularly polling well above 30%. The next state election will be held in 2026.”

Southeast Asia

Bloomberg: Malaysia Renews Hamas Support, Defying Threat Of US Sanctions

“Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim reiterated Palestine’s right to defend itself, and said the Southeast Asian nation will continue its relationship with Hamas irrespective of US pressure. US efforts to restrict external parties from supporting Hamas are unilateral and Malaysia will not recognize it, Anwar told Parliament on Tuesday. “Whatever happened is the legitimate right and struggle of the Palestinian people,” he said. Anwar was responding to a question from an opposition lawmaker, who had sought the government’s stance on the US House of Representative’s Hamas International Financing Prevention Act. The bill was approved on Nov. 1 and imposes sanctions on foreign persons, agencies and governments that assist Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or their affiliates. The US is Malaysia’s third-largest trade partner. Last year, their bilateral commerce totaled about $77 billion, with Malaysia enjoying a trade surplus of $31.3 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Any strain in relations could possibly affect trade terms. “I will not accept any threats, including this,” said Anwar. “This action is unilateral and not valid, because we as members of the United Nations only recognize decisions made by the UN Security Council.””

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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