Eye on Extremism: October 12, 2022

Reuters: Prayers, Wreaths Mark 20th Anniversary Of Bali Bombing

“Survivors of the Bali bombing, alongside families and friends of the victims, prayed and laid wreaths on Wednesday to mark the 20-year anniversary of the attacks, joining gatherings held near the site of the blasts in Indonesia and across Australia. A total of 202 people, including 88 Australians and 38 Indonesians, were killed in a car bomb explosion outside the Sari Club in Bali's Kuta Beach area and another almost simultaneous blast at the Paddy's Bar across the road on Oct 12, 2002. People of about 20 other nationalities also died in the attacks on the island that is a popular holiday destination, especially for visitors from nearby Australia. A ceremony including peace prayers and the symbolic release of 20 birds was among several events taking place on the predominantly Hindu island, including at a memorial erected in the area of the blasts. "The memorial for us is to remember, to remind everyone there was a terrorist attack there and that we don't want it to happen again," said Ni Luh Erniati, who lost her husband in the attack and joined the morning prayers in Bali with her children.”

Vice Of America: US Places More Sanctions On Taliban Over Treatment Of Women

“The United States announced new sanctions Tuesday against the Taliban as punishment for their repressive treatment of women and girls in Afghanistan. Secretary of State Antony Blinken unveiled the new visa restriction policy for current or former members of the Taliban and others involved in repressing women through restrictive policies and violence. Blinken made the announcement on the U.N.'s International Day of the Girl Child. “As a grim example, for more than a year, Afghanistan remains the only country in the world where girls are systemically barred from attending school beyond the sixth grade, with no return date in sight,” Blinken said. After returning to power in August 2021 following the retreat of U.S.-led forces, the hardline Taliban have barred girls from attending secondary school. But women are allowed to attend university. A recent suicide bombing of a Kabul classroom killed and wounded dozens of students as they prepared for exams. The United Nations has put the death toll at 53, including 46 girls and young women. The bomber blew himself up next to women at a gender-segregated study hall packed with hundreds of students taking a practice test for university admissions.”

United States

The Wall Street Journal: New York Terror Attack Defendant Faces Rare Federal Death-Penalty Trial

“An alleged terrorist charged with killing eight people in Manhattan will be on trial for his life beginning this week, in a rare case in which federal prosecutors are seeking a death sentence. Sayfullo Saipov, an Uzbek man who lived in New Jersey, is accused of intentionally driving a truck into a bicycle path in 2017 to run over cyclists and pedestrians. He was inspired by Islamic State to carry out the attack, prosecutors say. The presiding judge will begin questioning prospective jurors Tuesday. Mr. Saipov has pleaded not guilty. His lawyers have argued that capital punishment violates his constitutional rights, saying the sentence is rarely sought in federal cases and is applied arbitrarily. The lawyers also appealed directly to Attorney General Merrick Garland to withdraw the death penalty from the case but were turned down, court filings show.  The death-penalty trial will be the first to take place during President Biden’s administration and comes as Mr. Garland has put a moratorium on federal executions while he reviews policies and protocols put in place under the Trump administration that led to the highest rate of federal executions in over a century. If Mr. Saipov were to be sentenced to death while the moratorium was still in place he wouldn’t be executed, although the appeals process for any sentence could take years.”

Syria

Voice Of America: IS Relies On Extortion In Eastern Syria To Raise Funds

“Militants affiliated with the Islamic State (IS) group are increasingly relying on money raised by extortion of local communities in eastern Syria to fund their terror activity, local officials said. The practice has largely been taking place in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour, according to military officials with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a military alliance that has been a major U.S. partner in the fight against IS. Large parts of Deir el-Zour have been under the control of the SDF since 2019 following a major U.S.-backed military campaign that marked the territorial defeat of IS, also known as ISIS or Daesh. The terror group has maintained a network of sleeper cells, though, and they have carried out occasional attacks against civilians and SDF fighters throughout the region. “Daesh uses several ways to demand money from storeowners,” said Turki al-Dhari, an official with the Deir el-Zour Military Council, an SDF-affiliated group. “This includes the use of violence or the threat of violence against civilians to extort money.” The military official said IS militants also have used this method to collect money from people who work or cooperate with the SDF and its civilian institutions. “We have seen Daesh doing this activity increasingly in the eastern countryside of Deir el-Zour,” al-Dhari told VOA. “Those who refuse to pay them face punishment — often by bombing their stores, houses or cars.”

Pakistan

Associated Press: Thousands Protest After Deadly Attack On Pakistan School Van

“Thousands of people protested in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday after a gunman opened fire on a school van, killing the driver and critically injuring a child, a decade after schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai was shot by the Taliban in the same city. Monday’s attack took place in Mingora in the Gully Bagh neighborhood, sparking fears of a resurgence in militant activity in the Swat Valley. The Swat Valley was the focus of a monthslong army offensive in 2009 to push out militants from the area, but the operation also displaced hundreds of thousands of people. Political activists, members of civil society and members of the public thronged to the city’s main intersection chanting slogans denouncing the Gully Bagh attack. The mass protest brought the city to a standstill, with businesses and markets closing in solidarity. Protesters demanded the immediate arrest of the attackers and for peace and order to be restored. One placard read: “We cannot let the hard earned peace be destroyed,” while another read: “Act now against the attackers before it becomes too late.” The school van attack coincided with the 10th anniversary of Yousufzai being shot in Swat for her outspoken advocacy for girls’ education. On Tuesday, the Nobel winner arrived in Pakistan to visit flood-hit areas. The funeral for the driver killed in Monday’s attack hadn’t yet take place as his relatives are demanding the arrest of the perpetrators.”

Lebanon

The Times Of Israel: Hezbollah Terror Chief Welcomes Border Deal, Claims ‘Resistance’ Prodded Israel

“The leader of the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah on Tuesday cautiously welcomed the agreement between Israel and Lebanon to settle a maritime border dispute, claiming his group’s “resistance” helped prod Israel toward a deal. Hezbollah had repeatedly threatened Israel during the negotiations and launched several drones at Israel’s offshore gas installations. “Tonight we will not issue threats. Tonight there will only be joy and clapping,” Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised address, adding that Hezbollah will “remain on alert” until the agreement is signed. “We don’t need to send out drones or carry out maneuvers because the goal was for the enemy to understand that the resistance is serious,” he said. The terror chief also said, “Israel is more afraid of war than the Lebanese.” Earlier Tuesday both countries announced their acceptance of the latest US proposal for the first-ever mutually agreed upon boundary between Israel and Lebanon. The two countries have no direct diplomatic relations and are technically in a state of war. If ratified by both governments, the deal will put to bed a long-running dispute over some 860 square kilometers (330 square miles) of the Mediterranean Sea, covering the Karish and the Qana offshore gas fields.”

Middle East

Bloomberg: Israel Army Says Soldier Was Killed In West Bank Shooting Attack

“The Israeli military said sad a soldier was killed in a shooting attack by Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank.  In the incident, which occurred earlier on Tuesday, the gunmen fired from a vehicle at soldiers who were trying to secure the area, the army said on Twitter. Troops are currently searching for the attackers. The shooting follows another shooting on Saturday, when a soldier was shot and killed at a checkpoint by a Palestinian gunman.”

The Jerusalem Post: Lions' Den Terrorist Group Warns Israel Of 'Surprises' In Coming Hours

“The Lions' Den terrorist group which has claimed responsibility for a number of recent shooting attacks, including the attack in which IDF soldier Ido Baruch was killed, warned that the coming hours would bring “surprises” to Israel in a statement on Tuesday night. “We announce to the masses of our people that the coming hours will bring surprises that the enemy does not expect,” said the group. “We pledged to God and we pledge to you now that the volcano of our operations has begun and only God will extinguish it.” The group additionally announced a “general mobilization” for Wednesday, calling for clashes throughout the West Bank in support of the Shuafat refugee camp where the shooter who carried out the deadly terrorist attack on Saturday night is believed to be hiding.”

Nigeria

The Christian Post: 3 Christians Killed, Dozens Wounded By Islamic Extremists In Attack On Chibok Village

“Islamic extremist militants killed three Christians in an attack on a village of Chibok County, northeast Nigeria, that wounded dozens of others and burned homes, sources said. The terrorists attacked Njilang village, Borno state, on Oct. 4 in the latest of many acts of terrorism over several years targeting the Chibok area. An area resident identified the assailants as members of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), though local news reports attributed the assault to Boko Haram. A faction of Boko Haram in 2016 aligned with the Islamic State and changed its name to ISWAP, but many Nigerians still refer to the group as Boko Haram. Area resident Daniel Musa said ISWAP militants attacked after 2:30 a.m. armed with high-powered weapons, surrounding the village about four kilometers from Chibok town and shooting at Christian villagers who tried to flee after waking to the sound of gunshots. “The ISWAP terrorists also set fire to six houses and looted five shops belonging to Christians in the village, and afterward burned down the shops,” Musa told Morning Star News in a text message. Musa said ISWAP has attacked three other predominantly Christian communities in the area in the past two weeks.”

Somalia

Voice Of America: Somalia: Lifting Arms Embargo Key To Battling Islamist Militants

“Somalia is getting support for its campaign to have an arms embargo lifted after Ethiopia joined Uganda in backing the action. The U.N. Security Council is set to vote in November on renewing the partial ban, which Somalia says should be removed so it can better fight al-Shabab terrorists. Ethiopia's support came after a rare July incursion by Islamist militants into Ethiopia amid a large-scale offensive by Somalia and its allies against the group. Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed say the three-decades-long U.N. Security Council sanctions should be removed so Somalia can better fight the militant Islamist group al-Shabab. The two leaders issued a joint statement September 30 amid an offensive by Somali troops and their allies. Somalia called on African Union member states in July to support its campaign to lift the embargo, which includes bans on high-caliber weapons and military vehicles. The Somalia-based security research group Hiraal Institute said in a February report the arms embargo was failing to stop al-Shabab from smuggling weapons that federal forces were not allowed to buy. The institute's Samira Gaid said Somalia's capabilities are limited because it needs permission from U.N. security council members to buy certain arms. “But on the other hand, you have al-Shabab, that is able to purchase from the local markets and illegally smuggle these weapons from, say, Yemen or elsewhere,” Gaid said.”

United Kingdom

The National: Manchester Arena Bombing Victim's Mother Fears New Terror Law Will Leave 'Loopholes' Open

“A woman whose son was killed in the Manchester Arena bombing on Tuesday voiced an evocative “mother-to-mother” message for Prime Minister Liz Truss, as she continues to battle for a change of law five years on. Figen Murray said the killing of her 29-year-old son Martyn Hett in the terrorist attack in May 2017 ripped her family apart. The mother of five is the driving force behind Martyn’s Law, officially known as the Protect Duty legislation, which is under consultation by the UK government. Championed by victims’ groups, the bill aims to protect people from the threat of terrorism by introducing new security requirements for public venues and locations. The idea to create change was sparked in Mrs Murray’s mind after she attended a concert in Manchester in the months after attack and was shocked by the lack of security. She voiced her fears that the end result of the arduous process would fail to live up to her expectations, with “loopholes” left in security requirements. Speaking on Tuesday at an event organised by insurance company Pool Re, the bereaved mother called on Ms Truss to do everything within her power to bring about a safer environment for people to attend events in public spaces, and to ensure no other parent has to endure an ordeal like hers.”

The Times: Treason Law Update Could Help To Indict Expat Jihadis

“Ministers are planning to update Britain’s 650-year-old treason laws so they can be used to prosecute jihadis, hackers and other “malign” actors who swear allegiance to a hostile foreign power. Proposals being drawn up by the Home Office would make it an offence to aid a state or organisation that is attacking or preparing to attack the UK or UK forces in an armed conflict. It would apply to anybody in the UK or the actions of British citizens anywhere in the world. Those convicted of treason would face a life sentence. Government sources said that an amendment updating the 1351 Treason Act could be added to the national security bill, which is going through parliament. A separate piece of legislation is also being considered.”

Germany

AFP: German Teen Charged With Planning School Bomb Attack

“German prosecutors on Tuesday said they had charged a 17-year-old boy with allegedly planning a May school bomb attack that was only narrowly avoided when he was arrested the day before. The suspect, named as Jeremy R., planned the “right-wing extremist motivated attack” on a school he attended in the city of Essen using explosives and various other weapons, federal prosecutors said in a statement. “Teachers and a larger number of pupils were to be killed” in the massacre planned for May 13, they said. Jeremy R., who was 16 at the time of his arrest, had allegedly acquired the necessary materials to assemble pipe bombs and obtained information on the internet about how to build them. He had also assembled weapons including knives, brass knuckles, machetes, crossbows and arrows as well as firearms, the prosecutors said. Police in Essen stormed the teen's room overnight on May 12, uncovering anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim materials as well as his own writings which suggested he was suffering from serious psychiatric problems. Investigators at the time said they had been tipped off by another teen who informed them that the young man “wanted to place bombs in his school”, located about 800 metres from his home.”

Southeast Asia

9 News: Jemaah Islamiyah Gathering Strength 20 Years After Bali Bombings

“…Senior Director at the Counter-Extremism Project Dr Hans-Jakob Schindler told 9News.com.au the terror group has not yet regained its 2002-era prominence. “There has been a steady trickle of terrorist incidents for which JI is reported to be responsible,” Dr Schindler said. “While JI of old was attacking primarily government and security forces as well as Western targets, some of the newer JI networks seem to have learned a lesson from ISIS and are now also targeting religious and ethnic minorities in Indonesia in an apparent attempt to cause societal discord.” JI has turned to surprising ways to generate income.  The organisation is now running palm oil farms as a means of bankrolling their terror, he said. Indonesian police said the terror group owns farms in Kalimantan and Sumatra. Leaders of the group are drawing an income from the farms. In the wake of the Bali bombings, Indonesia very effectively dismantled most cells of JI and locked up its core leadership. But the advent of ISIS complicated things. “First of all, the authorities had serious problems keeping some of its prisons, in particular high-security ones under control,” Dr Schindler said. “Some of the terrorist prisoners took control of some of the prisons, even swearing allegiance to ISIS while they were in prison.” But Dr Schindler said Indonesia's efforts to quash JI was hampered by the justice system itself.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

In Their Own Words:

Without doubt, the secularists are evil and more malicious than the polytheists and secularism is farther astray from the path and more malicious than polytheism. The secularists who are associated with Islam even [merely] by identity are considered apostates by a group of scholars. The Jews, Christians, those who worship graves, and many polytheists and unbelievers have committed lesser acts of unbelief than the secularists.

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, Salafist propagandist Mar. 1, 2021
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