Eye on Extremism: October 13, 2023

Associated Press: Israel Orders Unprecedented Evacuation Of 1 Million In Gaza As Possible Ground Offensive Looms

“Israel’s military told some 1 million Palestinians on Friday to evacuate northern Gaza and head to the southern part of the besieged territory, an unprecedented order applying to almost half the population ahead of an expected ground invasion against the ruling Hamas militant group. The U.N. warned that so many people fleeing en masse would be calamitous. Hamas, which staged a shocking and brutal attack on Israel nearly a week ago and has fired thousands of rockets since, dismissed it as a ploy and called on people to stay in their homes. The evacuation order, which includes Gaza City, home to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, sparked widespread panic among civilians and aid workers already running from Israeli airstrikes and contending with a total siege and a territory-wide blackout. “Forget about food, forget about electricity, forget about fuel. The only concern now is just if you’ll make it, if you’re going to live,” said Nebal Farsakh, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Red Crescent in Gaza City, as she broke into heaving sobs. The war has already claimed over 2,800 lives on both sides and sent tensions soaring across the region. Israel has traded fire in recent days with Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group, sparking fears of an ever wider conflict, though that frontier is currently calm.”

Reuters: India Condemns Hamas 'Terrorist Attack', Reiterates Backing For Independent Palestine

“India considers the weekend attack by Hamas militants in Israel a "terrorist attack", a spokesperson for the country's foreign ministry said Thursday, while reiterating its longstanding position for an independent Palestine. "We see this as a terrorist attack," the spokesperson said. Israel has vowed to annihilate the Hamas movement that governs the Gaza Strip in retribution for one of the deadliest attacks on its soil. It has put Gaza under total siege and launched its biggest bombing campaign in the 75-year history of the conflict. Over 2,500 people have died between the two sides up to now. The spokesperson's remarks were the first reiteration of India's stance on an independent Palestinian state since the latest hostilities broke out between Israel and Hamas over the weekend. "India has always advocated the resumption of direct negotiations towards establishing a sovereign, independent and viable State of Palestine living within secure and recognised borders, side-by-side at peace with Israel," spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said in a weekly briefing. Immediately after the attacks Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had expressed shock over the "terrorist attacks in Israel". "We stand in solidarity with Israel at this difficult hour," he said on social media platform X, and also during a phone conversation with Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday.”

United States

The New York Times: Trump’s Remarks On Hezbollah And Netanyahu Prompt Bipartisan Outcry

“Former President Donald J. Trump drew scorn from both sides of the political aisle on Thursday for remarks that he made one day earlier criticizing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and referring to Hezbollah, the Iran-backed militant group, as “very smart.” During a speech to his supporters in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Wednesday, he weighed in on the Hamas attacks on Israel, the worst experienced by America’s closest Middle East ally in half a century. Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite group, has clashed with Israeli forces in the days after Hamas fighters from Gaza attacked border areas in southern Israel, intensifying concerns that the country could be drawn into a conflict on a second front. “You know, Hezbollah is very smart,” Mr. Trump said. “They’re all very smart.” He took swipes at Mr. Netanyahu on the “Brian Kilmeade Show,” a Fox News Radio show, broadcast on Thursday, arguing that intelligence lapses by Israel had left it vulnerable to the sweeping attack, kidnappings and slaughter of civilians leading to the war.” A broad spectrum of political rivals condemned Mr. Trump on Thursday, including the White House and several of his Republican primary opponents.”

CNN: Blinken Pledges US Will Never Falter From Supporting Israel As He Likens Hamas’ Crimes To ISIS

“US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Israel Thursday to pledge that the United States will never falter from its support for Israel as he condemned Hamas’ “litany of brutality and inhumanity” as evoking “the worst of ISIS.” “The message that I bring to Israel is this: you may be strong enough on your own to defend yourself, but as long as America exists, you will never, ever have to,” Blinken said in remarks alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv. “We will always be there by your side.” The top US diplomat’s trip, days after Hamas’ deadly attacks in Israel, is another show of support as the Biden administration seeks to bolster the country’s defenses and stop the conflict from expanding or spreading. The visit also comes as the US seeks to help secure the release of hostages, including American citizens, held by Hamas and as the death toll, both as a result of Hamas’ attacks and Israeli strikes in Gaza, continues to grow. Following his departure from Tel Aviv Thursday, Blinken will travel to Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates. “Across each of these engagements, we’ll continue pressing countries to help prevent the conflict from spreading, and to use their leverage with Hamas to immediately and unconditionally release the hostages,” Blinken said at a press conference.”

The New York Times: No Immediate Threat To U.S. Security Amid Hamas Call For Protests, Officials Say

“Top American counterterrorism officials on Thursday said there was no credible or specific intelligence pointing to a current threat to the United States related to the Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel or the ensuing war. However, intelligence officials were still assessing the potential impact inside the United States of a Hamas call for protests in the next few days. “We’re also aware of information on the internet about a Hamas call for action or demonstrations,” Christopher A. Wray, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said on Thursday. “And we’re working to confirm whether there’s any validity to that information.” Mr. Wray was speaking during a seminar hosted by the Secure Community Network, an organization that provides consultation and support on safety matters to Jewish communities across North America. “We cannot and do not discount the possibility that Hamas, or other foreign terrorist organizations, could exploit the conflict to call on their supporters to conduct attacks here on our own soil,” he said. Monitoring for threats involves sifting through rhetoric online and looking for information that indicates a specific plan, like details about a time and place, and assessing whether any purported plotters have the capability to carry out an attack, a Homeland Security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said during a call with reporters on Thursday evening.”


Washington Post: U.S. Intel Deemed Wider Conflict Between Israel, Hezbollah ‘Unlikely’

“On Wednesday, at around 6:30 p.m. local time, air sirens sent millions of people racing into shelters across northern Israel. The country’s Home Front Command had detected dozens of unknown aircraft, presumably drones, coming across the border and infiltrating Israeli towns. It turned out to be a false alarm, the result of what an Israeli military spokesman called “human error,” but panicked civilians probably feared that Hezbollah, Israel’s longtime enemy in neighboring Lebanon, had just opened a second front in the war. According to a top secret U.S. intelligence document, however, a massive attack by Hezbollah, the political party and militant group backed by Iran, would be unlikely. As of early this year, U.S. intelligence analysts saw a predictable if still violent balance between Israel and Hezbollah diminishing the risk of a full-scale war in 2023. Those assumptions are being tested in the wake of last week’s attack by Hamas, in Israel’s south, which took Israeli and U.S. officials almost completely by surprise. According to an analysis prepared in February by the intelligence directorate for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Israel and Hezbollah had settled into a posture of “mutual deterrence” since the conclusion of a historic agreement, in October 2022, in which Lebanon and Israel agreed to demarcate their contested maritime borders. The deal, 11 years in the making, signified a breakthrough and allowed each country to finally explore the lucrative gas fields off their coasts.”

Middle East

Newsweek: Has Hamas Called For A Global Day Of Jihad? What To Know

“…While leader of Hamas' political branch, Mashaal was based in Qatar, where he still lives. According to the Counter Extremism Project, he is now leader of Hamas' diaspora office.”

Reuters: Israel Releases Images Of Slain Children To Rally Support After Hamas Attack

“Israel's government showed U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and NATO defence ministers graphic images of dead children and civilians on Thursday, saying they were killed by Palestinian group Hamas as it builds support for its response. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office also released on social media a picture of a dead infant in a pool of blood and the charred body of a child, part of an apparent effort to stoke global anger against the Gaza militants over Saturday's attack. Blinken, who flew into Tel Aviv earlier on Thursday, told reporters he was shown photographs and videos of a baby riddled with bullets, soldiers beheaded and young people burned alive in their cars or hideaways. "It's simply depravity in the worst imaginable way," Blinken told a news briefing. "Images are worth a thousand words. These images may be worth a million." Netanyahu has vowed to annihilate Hamas following its deadly assault on unsuspecting Israeli communities on Saturday, which killed more than 1,300 people, the deadliest attack by Palestinian militants since Israel was founded in 1948. The Israeli airforce has launched intense bombing raids on Gaza over the past five days and is massing tens of thousands of troops along the border ahead of a possible ground invasion.”

The Times Of Israel: IDF Says Islamic State Inspiration Booklet Found On Body Of Hamas Infiltrator

“The Israel Defense Forces releases an image showing the cover of an “Al-Qaeda/Islamic State training and inspiration booklet” found on the body of a Palestinian terrorist who infiltrated into Israel during Saturday’s attack. Israeli officials have repeatedly linked Hamas to IS in the aftermath of the attack, though the comparison is mainly seen as an attempt to explain the enormity of the atrocities and level of depravity as Israel rallies support for its counterattack on the Gaza-based group.”

ABC: Years Of War, Rise In Terrorism Led To The Current Israel-Hamas Conflict, Experts Say

“The origin of the bloody conflict happening in Gaza and Israel is complicated given the long, disputed history of the region, according to experts who have spent decades studying the region. As the attacks continue in both countries, the experts fear that any attempts at truly achieving peace between the Palestinians and Israelis may have been pushed back heavily. Susannah Heschel, the chair of the Jewish Studies Program at Dartmouth University, who has written several books about this region, told ABC News that the conflicts run deep and as far back as the Middle Ages, but specifically, the most modern clashes have stemmed from the fallout of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. The war, known in Israel as the Six-Day War, ended with Israel gaining control of several territories, including the Gaza Strip, and that has led to the violence and political fallout that has befallen the area currently, Heschel, the school's Eli M. Black Distinguished Professor of Jewish Studies, said. "What we are seeing today is the consequence of that war, or how the various parties to that war …responded to the end," she told ABC News. Following its battles with Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, Israel touted its swift victory and new territory, which included lands with long historical significance to Israeli Jews, Heschel, who is teaching a course on the war this semester, said.”

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.

View Archive