Eye on Extremism: October 16, 2023

Reuters: Hezbollah Says Calls For It Not To Intervene In War 'Will Have No Effect'

“Hezbollah deputy chief Naim Qassem said on Friday that the group would not be swayed by calls for it to stay on the sidelines of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, saying the party was "fully ready" to contribute to the fighting. "The behind-the-scenes calls with us by great powers, Arab countries, envoys of the United Nations, directly and indirectly telling us not to interfere will have no effect," he told supporters gathered in the southern Beirut suburb for a rally. "Hezbollah knows its duties perfectly well. We are prepared and ready, fully ready," Qassem said. The group has already clashed with Israel across the Lebanese border multiple times in the past week in the deadliest confrontations since they fought a month-long war in 2006. The cross-border rocket fire and shelling followed the assault by Palestinian faction Hamas against Israeli towns and Israel's retaliatory bombardment of the Gaza Strip. But sources say Hezbollah has designed its moves so far to be limited in scope, preventing a big spillover into Lebanon while keeping Israeli forces occupied. "The question being asked, which everyone is waiting for, is: what Hezbollah will do and what will its contribution be?" Qassem said. "We will contribute to the confrontation within our plan... when the time comes for any action, we will carry it out."”

CBC: Threats In U.S. Rising After Hamas Attack On Israel, Says FBI Director Christopher Wray

"Threats in the U.S. have been rising, since Hamas invaded Israel a week ago, FBI Director Christopher Wray and FBI officials said Sunday in a rare phone briefing for reporters.  "The threat is very much ongoing and in fact, the threat picture continues to evolve," Wray said. "Here in the U.S., 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 on our own soil." He said that Jews and Muslims alike, as well as their institutions and houses of worship, have been threatened in the U.S. and told reporters that the bureau is "moving quickly to mitigate" the threats. Wray, in an address Saturday to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, also noted "an increase in reported threats" and in particular warned that "we've got to be on the lookout ... for lone actors who may take inspiration from recent events to commit violence of their own." He urged police chiefs to "stay vigilant" because as first responders, "you're often the first to see the signs that someone may be mobilizing to violence." Senior FBI officials said most of the threats are not credible, and some have been addressed. As Wray suggested, the bureau's biggest concern is a lone wolf-style assailant who is not on their radars.”

United States

Detroit Metro Times: Growing Neofascist Group Spreads Hate In Metro Detroit, Trains To Become ‘White Warriors’

“…Active clubs are a strand of the white nationalist movement that is aimed at creating “a stand-by militia of trained and capable” right-wing extremists “who can be activated when the need for coordinated violent action on a larger scale arises,” according to a 52-page report from the Counter Extremism Project (CEP).”

The New York Times: Fearing Escalation, Biden Seeks To Deter Iran And Hezbollah

“The Biden administration has grown increasingly anxious in recent days that Israel’s enemies may seek to widen the war with Hamas by opening new fronts, a move that could compel the United States to enter the conflict directly with air and naval forces to defend its closest ally in the region. The administration has sought to use diplomatic and military avenues to head off any expansion. The Pentagon dispatched a second aircraft carrier to the region over the weekend along with additional land-based warplanes, even as Washington sent back-channel messages to Iran through intermediaries in Qatar, Oman and China warning against escalation. Fears of a second front deepened on Sunday as intense clashes broke out along Israel’s northern border. Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed militia that controls southern Lebanon, fired missiles into Israel, and Israel responded with artillery fire and airstrikes. A full-fledged attack on the north could overwhelm Israel, as most of its forces are focused on a potential ground invasion of Gaza, in the south. “We can’t rule out that Iran would choose to get directly engaged some way,” Jake Sullivan, President Biden’s national security adviser, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “We have to prepare for every possible contingency. That’s exactly what the president has done. That is part of what has motivated the president’s movement of these assets, to send that clear message of deterrence to make clear that this war should not escalate.””

Washington Examiner: Majority Of US Residents Worry Israel-Hamas Conflict Will Lead To Terrorism In US: Poll

“A majority of residents in the United States have expressed concern that the conflict between Israel and Hamas could escalate into terrorism domestically, according to a new poll. While 66% of respondents expressed fear, various demographics expressed a higher level of concern, including 75% of U.S. residents 65 and older, 72% of women, and 76% of Republicans, according to the latest CNN poll from SSRS. Respondents were also asked if the Israeli government's military response to the Hamas attacks was appropriate, with 50% saying the response was fully justified and 20% saying it was partially justified. Meanwhile, 8% stated the military's response was not justified at all, and 21% stated they were not sure. Many respondents in the poll also expressed doubt that President Joe Biden would respond correctly to the crisis in Israel, with just 16% having a great deal of trust in the president. Nearly one-third stated they trust Biden moderately (31%), while 26% stated they do not have a lot of trust in Biden, and 28% said they have no trust in Biden at all. The poll was conducted from Thursday to Friday among a random national sample of 1,003 adults and had a margin of error of +/-4%.”


Reuters: Israeli Official: Iran Trying To Deploy Arms In Or Through Syria

“A senior Israeli official accused Iran on Sunday of trying to open a second war front by deploying weapons in or through Syria as Israel steps up a counter-offensive in Gaza to the south. Responding to a post of the X social-media platform that posited such a scenario, Joshua Zarka, head of strategic affairs for Israel's Foreign Ministry, said: "They (Iranians) are." The original post also said "the Israelis are determined to prevent" such developments. To that, Zarka responded" "We are." Syria accused Israel of carrying out strikes against Damascus and Aleppo airports last week.”

Voice Of America: Iran Warns Israel Of 'Axis' Response As Fears Grow Of Regional War

“Iran, Hamas' major supporter, has warned that Israel "could receive a response" from Tehran's allies amid growing fears the conflict between Israel and Hamas could spiral into a regional Middle East war. Israel responded to Saturday's cross-border attack by Hamas by dropping over 6,000 bombs on what it described as Hamas targets in Gaza. Authorities there say more than 1,500 Palestinians have already been killed in the retaliatory strikes, including over 500 children. Israel's military Friday told all civilians in northern Gaza — more than 1 million people — to relocate south within 24 hours, as it amassed tanks and troops on the border ahead of an expected ground invasion. Arriving in Beirut on Thursday for talks with his Lebanese counterpart, Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian warned that Tehran's allies in the region could take action against Israel. "The continuation of war crimes against Palestine and Gaza will receive a response from the rest of the axis. And naturally, the Zionist entity and its supporters will be responsible for the consequences of that," Amirabdollahian said. He added that the displacement of Palestinians and cutting water and electricity to the Gaza Strip are considered war crimes. Israel has said it will continue a complete siege of Gaza until all the hostages kidnapped by Hamas are freed.”


Associated Press: Pakistani Forces Clash With Militants And Kill 6 Fighters During A Raid In The Northwest

“Pakistan security forces killed six militants and wounded eight others in a shootout during an overnight raid in the country’s northwest, the military said Sunday. Security forces conducted an intelligence-based operation in the Mir Ali area of the North Waziristan District when they exchanged fire with militants, the military said. One soldier also died and troops recovered weapons and ammunition from the militants’ hideout. North Waziristan had served for decades as a safe haven for militants until the military carried out a major operation after an attack on an army-run school in Peshawar in 2014 killed more than 150 people, mostly schoolchildren. After the yearslong operation, the army announced it had cleared the region of local and foreign militants. Occasional attacks have continued, however, raising concerns that the local Taliban, known as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, found sanctuaries in Afghanistan and are regrouping in the area. The Pakistani Taliban are a separate group but allies of the Afghan Taliban, which seized power in Afghanistan in 2021 as the U.S. and NATO troops were in the final stages of their pullout after 20 years of war.”

Voice Of America: Baluch Militants Kill 6 Pakistani Laborers

“Pakistani police said Saturday that gunmen killed at least six construction workers and injured two others in an overnight attack in the turbulent southwestern Baluchistan province — the country’s largest province bordering Afghanistan and Iran. The shooting occurred in the Turbat district of the natural resources-rich province, targeting a group of migrants from the country's most-populous central Punjab province. Police and witnesses said the victims were asleep when unknown assailants stormed their residence and sprayed them with bullets before fleeing the site. "Deeply saddened to hear about the terrorist attack on innocent laborers in Turbat," Pakistani caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar said on social media platform X, and he expressed condolences to the victims' families. "We condemn this heinous act and stand united against terrorism." The so-called Baluch Liberation Army, or BLA, an ethnic-based separatist militant group, took responsibility for the deadly shootings. BLA and other Baluch insurgents routinely attack Pakistani security forces and settlers from other parts of the country. Baluchistan has recently received significant Chinese investment under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC, a bilateral extension of Beijing’s global Belt and Road Initiative infrastructure development undertaking.”


Fortune: As Israel Plans Its Gaza Invasion In The South, Iran-Backed Hezbollah Attacks Its Military Positions In The North

“Militant group Hezbollah attacked Israeli army positions near the border with Lebanon, killing at least one person, in the latest deadly violence in Israel’s north as it prepares a ground offensive on Gaza to the south. Iran-backed Hezbollah, one of the Middle East’s most powerful militias, said it fired guided missiles against an Israeli army post in Shtula in Upper Galilee. An hour later, it said it targeted another post in Al-Raheb with “live ammunition” and destroyed a tank. It said the attacks were in retaliation for the killing of two Lebanese nationals in Shebaa Farms and a Reuters reporter near the southern village of Alma Al-Shaab last week. Shebaa Farms is land claimed by both Lebanon and Syria that Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war. One Israeli was killed and three others wounded in the initial attack in Shtula, according to Israel’s rescue service. Israel’s army said it struck Hezbollah military targets in response to the three anti-tank missile assaults and has sealed off an area up to 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from the Lebanese border. Hezbollah and Israel have traded fire along the frontier since Oct. 8, a day after fighters from Palestinian militant group Hamas infiltrated Israeli territory by land, sea and air in an unprecedented attack, killing 1,200 people and abducting others.”

The Times Of Israel: IDF Again Strikes Hezbollah After Drones From Lebanon Intercepted Over North

“The Israel Defense Forces said early Saturday that it had carried out a drone strike against a target belonging to the Hezbollah terror group in southern Lebanon in response to three apparent drones that were shot down over northern Israel. In a separate incident on Saturday morning, the IDF said it killed three terrorists attempting to infiltrate into Israel from Lebanon, The incidents were the latest skirmishes around the Lebanese border amid fears that the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group will open up a second front amid the war triggered by last weekend’s unprecedented Hamas invasion from the Gaza Strip, which killed more than 1,300 Israelis, most of them civilians. Shortly after midnight, explosions were heard over the northern city of Haifa with the IDF later saying that air defenses had intercepted two “unidentified objects” — believed to be drones. The IDF said no sirens sounded in the city, “according to protocol.” A short while later, a suspected drone alarm sounded in the northern city of Shefa-‘Amr, with the IDF later saying it had intercepted another “unidentified object” that entered Israeli airspace. Shrapnel from the interception crashed down on a home in the Arab city, causing damage, footage showed. The IDF said that it also intercepted a missile that was fired toward a military unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) amid the incidents.”

Middle East

Reuters: Israel Strikes Back After Syria Rockets Set Off Sirens, Military Says

“Israel's military said on Saturday its artillery had struck Syrian areas from which two rockets were fired toward Israeli territory, falling in open areas. The military also said it had fired an interceptor toward what it described as a "suspicious target" that crossed from Lebanon into Israeli territory. It did not provide details. The Syrian projectiles set off sirens in the northern Israeli town of Alma, near the Lebanese border, and in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights town of Avnei Eitan, the military said. Israel has traded fire with Lebanon's Hezbollah and militants in Syria in recent days, a wider conflict over its northern border as it battles Islamist Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip following a deadly attack in Israel.”

UN News: UN Still Does Not Label, Sanction Hamas As Terror Group Despite Murderous Attacks

“As Israel reels from the deadliest terror attack in years by Hamas, the United Nations Security Council still does not recognize or sanction Hamas as a terror group — despite multiple other nations declaring it to be so. "The U.N. Security Council votes to impose sanctions and designations on groups like al Qaeda, the Taliban or ISIS. But no such sanctions or designations exist for Iran’s axis of terror groups, including Hamas and Hezbollah," Richard Goldberg, senior adviser at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told Fox News Digital.  The Council, under resolutions passed in 1999, 2011 and 2015, sanctions ISIS and al Qaeda, along with associated individuals and groups. The Council’s committee on those resolutions oversees sanctions measured imposed by the council. However, there are no such sanctions in place for Hamas and Hezbollah. The lack of sanctioning comes as Israel is pushing back against Hamas after it was hit by a surprise attack that killed more than 1,300 Israelis.  "The U.N. insists these are legitimate political movements and therefore can freely work with them," said Goldberg, who previously served as the director for countering weapons of destruction at the White House National Security Council between 2019 and 2020.”

The New York Times: C.I.A. Reports Contained General Warnings Of Potential Gaza Flare-Up

“A pair of classified C.I.A. intelligence reports issued in the days ahead of a major Hamas attack on Israel warned about a potential escalation in violence but did not predict the complex, multipronged attack that Hamas gunmen launched against Israel, according to U.S. officials. The first of the intelligence reports, dated Sept. 28, described the possibility that Hamas would launch rockets into Israel over a period of several days.  The second report, dated Oct. 5, built on the first but was more analytical. The Oct. 5 report appeared in a daily C.I.A. summary of intelligence that is distributed widely to policymakers and lawmakers, the officials said. But intelligence officials did not brief either of the reports to President Biden or senior White House officials. Nor did the C.I.A. highlight the reports to White House policymakers as being of particular significance, officials said. Several U.S. officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, described the reports as routine, and similar to other intelligence reports about the possibility of Palestinian violence that were written throughout the year. One U.S. official familiar with the Sept. 28 report said it had language that warned of a possible escalation by Hamas through greater cross-border fire against Israel from Gaza.”


Reuters: Burkina Faso And Russia's Rosatom Sign Agreement For Nuclear Power Plant

“Burkina Faso and Russian state nuclear company Rosatom on Friday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for construction of a nuclear power plant in the landlocked Sahel West African state, Burkina Faso's energy ministry said in a statement. The nuclear power plant will enable the country to meet its energy needs, it said, adding that the agreement was signed by energy and mines minister Simon-Pierre Boussim, and Nikolay Spasskiy, Rosatom's deputy director general. The deal follows a request made by Burkina Faso junta leader Captain Ibrahim Traore to Russian President Vladimir Putin during the Russia-Africa summit in St Petersburg in July. Traore, who sized power in a military coup in September 2022, has moved closer to Russia as its relationship with its former colonial power France sours, while Russia has move to break Western isolation over the Ukraine conflict and expand its influence in Africa. The semi-arid country of over 20 million people has an installed power generation capacity of just over 420 megawatts. The country, like neighbours Mali and Niger, which are also strengthening ties with Russia particularly on military cooperation, are struggling to contain Islamist insurgencies linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State.”

Associated Press: As Elections Near, Congo Says It Will Ease Military Rule In The Conflict-Riddled East

“Congo’s president said he will gradually ease the state of military rule in the conflict-riddled east and lift some restrictions imposed more than two years ago. Speaking to the nation Thursday, President Felix Tshisekedi said there would be a gradual easing of the state of siege in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, which includes ending a curfew, allowing peaceful demonstrations and for people to live normal lives. The announcement comes more than two months ahead of presidential elections, when Tshisekedi hopes to secure a second term. He implemented the state of siege in 2021, allowing military and police to take control from civilian institutions, in an attempt to stem rising violence. More than 120 armed groups are fighting in the region, mostly for land and control of mines with valuable minerals, while some groups are trying to protect their communities. “I have taken the firm resolution to lead the populations of the provinces of Ituri and North Kivu towards a gradual and progressive easing of the regime and the restriction of the state of siege,” said Tshisekedi. Civil society and rights groups have criticized the state of siege, accusing security forces of exploiting their power against the population.”

Reuters: Congo-Based Islamist Group Stages Deadly Ambush In Uganda

“A rebel group based in Congo and allied to Islamic State killed at least one man and injured another when it ambushed a truck in western Uganda overnight, the army said on Friday, in a relatively rare cross-border attack. The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) started as a Ugandan insurgency but has operated from the jungles of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo for almost three decades. In 2019 the ADF pledged allegiance to Islamic State, which has since claimed responsibility for a number of the group's bombings and massacres. At around 01:00 (1000 GMT) on Friday, five ADF fighters ambushed a vehicle carrying onions at a road junction in Katojo, a village some 3 km from the Congolese border, said Deo Akiiki, deputy spokesman for the Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF). Of the truck's four occupants, one man was shot dead, another is missing, a third was seriously injured, while a woman escaped unhurt, he said in a statement. "UPDF squads are tracking down the attackers," Akiiki said. Two years ago the UPDF launched ground and air campaign operation in eastern Congo to try to root out the insurgents, which it claims has succeeded in killing more than 560 fighters and destroyed their camps.”

United Kingdom

Daily Record UK: Brazen Scots Are At Forefront Of Far-Right Wave As Fascist Fight Clubs Explode

“…The number of far-right, white supremacist fight clubs is exploding. The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) published a recent report that pinpointed at least 100 in the USA, Canada, and Europe.”

BBC: Glorify Hamas And You Break Law, Says UK Terror Watchdog

“It comes as Home Secretary Suella Braverman says "the full force of the law" should be used against support for Hamas, a proscribed terrorist group. The BBC showed Jonathan Hall KC footage from speeches collected by BBC Verify. Mr Hall said that several appeared in breach of terrorism legislation and police should have taken action. Mr Hall, whose role allows him to regularly report on how Britain's terrorism legislation is working, said: "If you take what happened in the Be'eri kibbutz, where babies were massacred, that is unambiguously an act of terrorism," he said. "People need to know, if you glorify that you risk committing a really serious terrorism offence." His comments came as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was asked if waving Palestinian flags or saying "Free Palestine" in public could constitute a crime. Mr Sunak told broadcasters: "Inciting violence, racial hatred, is illegal. People who are acting in an abusive or threatening manner causing distress are breaking the law." He said that police would "make sure anyone who breaks the law meets the full force of that law". At a pro-Palestinian rally in Manchester on 8 October, a day after Hamas attacked Israel killing hundreds of civilians, a man wearing a red football shirt with "Palestine" written on the back told the crowd: "We have all seen the scenes and it is the most inspiring act of resistance."”


Associated Press: France Is Deploying 7,000 Troops After A Deadly School Stabbing By A Suspected Islamic Radical

“France will mobilize up to 7,000 soldiers to increase security around the country after a teacher was fatally stabbed and three other people wounded in a school attack by a former student suspected of Islamic radicalization, the president’s office said Saturday. Some schoolchildren, parents and personnel returned to the Gambetta-Carnot school in the northern city of Arras as it reopened Saturday morning to reconnect and seek support, after the attack Friday that rattled France in a context of global tensions over the Israel-Hamas war. Counterterrorism authorities are investigating the stabbing, and the suspected assailant and several others are in custody, prosecutors said. The suspect had been under recent surveillance by intelligence services for radicalization. Court documents viewed by The Associated Press show he is from the Ingushetia region in Russia’s Caucasus Mountains, which neighbors Chechnya. Authorities had initially identified him as Chechen. The French government heightened the national threat alert, and President Emmanuel Macron ordered up to 7,000 soldiers deployed by Monday night and until further notice to bolster security and vigilance around France, his office said. The “attack emergency” threat posture allows the government to temporarily mobilize the military to protect public places among other measures.”

Associated Press: French Authorities Link A School Stabbing That Killed A Teacher To Islamic Extremism

“A man of Chechen origin who was under surveillance by French security services over suspected Islamic radicalization stabbed a teacher to death at his former high school and wounded three other people Friday in northern France, authorities said. France raised its threat alert to its highest level, and the attack was being investigated by anti-terrorism prosecutors amid soaring global tensions over the war between Israel and Hamas. It also happened almost three years after another teacher, Samuel Paty, was beheaded by a radicalized Chechen near a Paris area school. The suspected attacker had been under surveillance since the summer on suspicion of Islamic radicalization, French intelligence services told The Associated Press. He was detained Thursday for questioning based on the monitoring of his phone calls in recent days, but investigators found no sign that he was preparing an attack, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said. ’’There was a race against the clock. But there was no threat, no weapon, no indication. We did our our job seriously,″ Darmanin said on TF1 television. French intelligence suggested a link between the war in the Middle East and the suspect’s decision to attack, the minister said.”


DW: Germany Takes Action Against Hamas Supporters

“…"These bans are one of the most important instruments a democracy has to prevent money flowing to terrorist organizations," Hans-Jakob Schindler from the transatlantic think tank Counter Extremism Project (CEP) told DW. However, he added: "It is always difficult, because in Germany associations and non-profit organizations enjoy a certain degree of protection, and investigations by authorities such as the Office for the Protection of the Constitution are limited when it comes to finances." The line is crossed when violence is openly called for or endorsed. "As long as individuals restrain themselves in this regard, it will be very difficult," Schindler explained, adding that suspects usually pay close attention to what they say, so as not to attract attention from the authorities.”


Reuters: Meta Takes Steps To Remove Hamas-Related Disinformation

“Meta (META.O) said on Friday it was taking steps including removing praise and substantive support for Hamas from its platforms after the European Union reprimanded social media companies for not doing enough to tackle disinformation. Since Palestinian militant group Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, misleading claims and doctored images have spread on Facebook and other social media. In the three days after the attack, Meta said it removed or marked as disturbing more than 795,000 pieces of content in Hebrew or Arabic. Meta is also temporarily expanding its violence and incitement policy and removing content that clearly identifies hostages taken by Hamas, even if it is being done to condemn or raise awareness of their situation. Content with blurred images of victims is still allowed but the company will prioritise the safety and privacy of kidnapping victims if unsure or unable to make a clear assessment, it said. Following the attack, Hamas has taken scores of Israeli and foreign hostages to the Palestinian enclave of Gaza. Meta said it was aware of Hamas' threats to broadcast footage of the hostages and it would swiftly remove any such content and prevent copies being re-shared.”

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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