Eye on Extremism: October 17, 2023

The New York Times: Hamas Posts Hostage Video Of Woman Abducted From Israeli Music Festival

“Hamas released a video late Monday of Mia Schem, one of the nearly 200 people believed to be held hostage in Gaza after the group launched a cross-border assault on Israel nine days ago. The 60-second video — the first released by the group to show any of the hostages — begins with Ms. Schem, 21, receiving medical treatment for a wound above her right elbow and shows her arm being wrapped in bandages by a person off-camera. The next images are of Ms. Schem, who disappeared from the site of a music festival where at least 260 people were killed, speaking directly to the camera in Hebrew. “At the moment I am in Gaza,” Ms. Schem says in a solemn, clipped voice. She says that she is being looked after and that her arm was operated on for three hours at a hospital. The video ends with her plea to be returned to Israel. “I just ask that I am returned as fast as possible to my family, to my parents, and to my siblings,” she says. “Please get us out of here as quickly as possible.” The Israeli military issued a statement after the video was released that said Hamas was “trying to portray itself as a humane organization, while it is a murderous terrorist organization responsible for the murder and abduction of babies, women, children and elderly.””

Voice Of America: Somali TV Journalist Killed In Mogadishu Suicide Bombing

“A Somali television journalist was killed Monday evening in a suicide bombing at a restaurant in Mogadishu, police said. Abdifatah Moalim Nur Qeys, who worked for Somali Cable Television, was fatally injured in the explosion at Blue Sky restaurant near the national museum. “At around 21:00 a Khawarij suicide bomber detonated explosives on people who were having tea outside the Blue Sky restaurant in Bondhere district,” police in Mogadishu said in a brief statement. Khawarij, or "deviants,” is a term the government uses to refer to al-Shabab. Four other people were injured in the explosion, according to police. “Security forces provided assistance to those impacted by the attack,” police said. “There is an ongoing investigation, and any updates will be shared with the public.” The station Qeys worked for confirmed his death in a Facebook post. It said Qeys was the director of the station’s branch in Mogadishu. “He was pronounced dead after we brought him to Recep Tayyip Erdogan hospital,” said Abdishakur Mohamed Mohamud, who was among the journalists who took Qeys to the hospital. “He had shrapnel on the upper part of his body,” he told VOA Somali. In a Telegram message, the al-Shabab militant group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. In the message, al-Shabab said a suicide bomber was behind the blast.”

United States

NPR: Biden Set To Visit Tel Aviv And Amman As Israel-Gaza Conflict Intensifies

“President Biden plans to travel to Tel Aviv and Amman on Wednesday, a trip meant to signal full U.S. support as Israel responds to the Hamas attacks — but also to press for humanitarian aid for civilians in Gaza, and safe passage out for Americans in the conflict zone. The trip comes as Israel prepares to launch a ground assault on Hamas in Gaza. Shortages of food, water and medicine in Gaza – and a rising civilian death toll from Israeli strikes – mean the situation is volatile. The trip was announced by Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Tel Aviv after a meeting that stretched more than 7 hours with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top Israeli officials. In brief remarks afterward, Blinken said the United States and Israel had agreed on aid to Gaza. Biden will meet with Netanyahu for an update on the strategy and pace of military operations, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters on a conference call Monday night. In Amman, Biden will meet with King Abdullah, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to talk about efforts to get humanitarian aid into Gaza. "We want to see assistance get in through that Rafah gate and also for people to be able to get out," Kirby said.”


Associated Press: Hezbollah Destroys Israeli Surveillance Cameras Along The Lebanese Border As Tension Soars

“Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group said Monday it has started destroying surveillance cameras on several Israeli army posts along the border as tension rose following the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war. Hezbollah’s military media arm released a video showing snipers shooting at and destroying surveillance cameras placed on five points along the Lebanon-Israel border including one outside the Israeli town of Metula. The militant group appears to want to prevent the Israeli army from monitoring movements on the Lebanese side of the border after days of fire exchange that left at least seven people dead, including four Hezbollah fighters, on the Lebanese side. Since the Oct. 7 attack by the Palestinian militant Hamas group on southern Israel that killed more than 1,400 Israeli civilians and troops, tension has been on the rise along the Lebanon-Israel border. Hezbollah fighters fired anti-tank missiles on Israeli army positions and Israeli troops shelled border areas on the Lebanese side of the border. Israel and Hezbollah are bitter enemies that fought a monthlong war in the summer of 2006. Israel considers the Iran-backed Shiite militant group its most serious immediate threat, estimating that Hezbollah has around 150,000 rockets and missiles aimed at Israel.”

Middle East

Metro: Hamas Is ‘Using Horrific Imagery In Gaza To Try And Spark A Regional War’

“... The senior director of the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) spoke after Israel told 1.1 million people in northern Gaza to evacuate their homes as it ramps up its military response to Hamas’s mass incursion nine days ago. Gaza has been pounded by nine days of Israeli air strikes amid reports of dire humanitarian conditions from international organisations including the United Nations. The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said on Saturday that it is preparing for a ‘significant ground operation’ in Gaza from the ‘air, sea and land’. Dr Schindler assesses that a large-scale Israeli ground offensive in the 25-mile long strip would be ‘phase two’ of Hamas’s plan, despite the militant group being no match for the IDF in military terms.  ‘What is 100% certain is that Hamas wants an Israeli incursion in order to reverse the victim-perpetrator image,’ he said. ‘Israel was the victim on October 7 but Hamas’s intent is to turn the picture in the region and beyond to Israel being the aggressor. ‘It is clear that part of Hamas’s overall strategy for this abhorrent terrorist attack is to force a large-scale Israeli reaction in Gaza. ‘The aim by Hamas seems to be to generate as many Palestinian casualties as possible in Gaza to generate political pressure forcing other groups such as Hezbollah, and potentially some Arab countries, to join the conflict and therefore create a multi-front confrontation for Israel.”

Global With JJ Green: THIS Is How Hamas Surprised Israel; A Diversion

“Dr. Hans-Jakob Schindler, Sr. Director of the Counter Extremism Project, explains how they did it.”


TVP World: Terrorism Returns To Europe

“France raised its terror threat alert to the highest level last Friday after a knife-wielding man of Chechen origin killed a teacher and injured three other people at a school in northern France. Officials described the killing as an Islamist terror attack. The murder put President Macron’s government under severe pressure as officials acknowledged that the main suspect in the attack and various members of his family had been identified by French intelligence services as radicalized or had been convicted on terrorism charges. Should we be concerned about another wave of terror in Europe caused by Islamic extremism? To delve more into the topic, we were joined by Dr. Hans-Jakob Schindler, Senior Director of the Counter Extremism Project.”

Reuters: Italy Arrests Two People In Counter-Terrorism Operation

“Italian authorities carried out a counter-terrorism operation early on Tuesday that led to the arrest of an Egyptian citizen and an Italian citizen of Egyptian origin, police said in a statement. The operation was coordinated by the Milan Prosecutor's Office and the two suspects have been accused of inciting terror offences and being members of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group. The two suspects were active in propaganda activities, were trying to recruit potential affiliates online and were financing support initiatives for IS, the prosecutor's office said. "This morning two people were arrested on charges of terrorism," Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani told RAI-Radio Anch'io. He added that the alert level had already been raised and authorities were working to prevent potential threats. Asked if the country could expect terror attacks such as the one that struck Belgium late on Monday, Tajani said there were no specific threats towards Italy at the moment. Two Swedish nationals were shot dead and a third person was wounded in central Brussels on Monday night by a man who identified himself as a member of IS and claimed responsibility in a video posted online.”

The New York Times: Police Kill Suspect In Brussels Shooting, Official Says

“A suspect in the killing of two Swedish nationals in Brussels on Monday evening, in what officials called an act of terrorism, was fatally shot by the police on Tuesday morning after an overnight search, the office of Belgium’s public prosecutor said. The suspect, a man whose name was not released, died in a hospital, the prosecutor’s office said. A weapon was found at the scene after the man was shot, according to the interior minister. Belgium’s justice minister, Vincent Van Quickenborne, said on Tuesday that the suspect, a Tunisian man who was living in the country illegally, had been known to the authorities for possible radicalization and criminal activity since 2016, but the authorities had not acted on mounting intelligence that he posed a threat. The shooting in central Brussels on Monday evening, before a scheduled soccer match between Sweden and Belgium, was described as terrorism by Prime Minister Alexander De Croo. It shocked the Belgian capital, which has a painful history of terrorist attacks. Islamic State militants carried out bombings there in 2016 that killed more than 30 people and wounded hundreds more.”


Reuters: Tether Freezes Crypto Linked To 'Terrorism And Warfare' In Israel And Ukraine

“Cryptocurrency issuer Tether has frozen 32 crypto wallet addresses containing a combined $873,118 it said were linked to "terrorism and warfare" in Israel and Ukraine, the company said on Monday. Israeli police said last week they had frozen crypto accounts used to solicit donations for Hamas on social media. Hamas' Oct. 7 attack on Israel killed 1,300 people. Tether's first Israel-related freeze was on March 16, 2023, while the first Ukrainian-related freeze was on June 16, 2021, a Tether spokesperson told Reuters via email. TRM Labs, a major U.S. blockchain analysis company that works with law enforcement agencies, said in a blog in February that Tether was a "currency of choice" for terrorist financing. Tether said that it is committed to "working closely" with law enforcement agencies globally "to combat cryptocurrency-funded terrorism and warfare." Crypto operates mostly outside of the traditional financial system and wallet addresses are pseudonymous, which makes those behind transactions difficult to track. Tether, whose stablecoin is the third-largest cryptocurrency by circulation, said it was working with Israel's National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing (NBCTF) "to counter cryptocurrency-funded terrorism and warfare". The Tether spokesperson declined to give any details about this work.”

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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