Eye on Extremism: October 24, 2022

Reuters: Pakistan Taken Off Global Watchdog's 'Grey' List For Terrorism Financing

“Pakistan has been removed from an international grey list that warrants increased surveillance for terrorism financing, the head of the international money laundering watchdog which makes the list said on Friday. The decision, which provides a boost to the reputation of the crisis-ridden South Asian nation, was taken at the end of a two-day meeting in Paris, Financial Action Task Force (FATF) president T Raja Kumar told a news conference. “After a lot of work by the Pakistani authorities, they have worked through two separate action plans and completed a combined 34 action items to address deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing systems,” FATF president T Raja Kumar told a news conference in Paris. In a meeting in June, the FATF had said it was keeping Pakistan on the so-called “grey list”, but said it might be removed after an on-site visit to verify progress. Kumar said a FATF team had visited Pakistan and was satisfied with the implementation of the programme. “Pakistan exiting the FATF grey list is a vindication of our determined and sustained efforts over the years,” Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Twitter. Pakistan was listed in 2018 because of “strategic counter-terrorist financing-related deficiencies”. Even though the country had been removed from list, “there is work to be done,” Raja said, adding that the FATF encouraged Pakistan to strengthen its monitoring mechanisms.”

Associated Press: Report: Salman Rushdie Lives, But Loses Use Of Eye And Hand

“Salman Rushdie’s agent says the author has lost sight in one eye and the use of a hand as he recovers from an attack from a man who rushed the stage at an August literary event in western New York, according to a published report. Literary agent Andrew Wylie told the Spanish language newspaper El Pais in an article published Saturday that Rushdie suffered three serious wounds to his neck and 15 more wounds to his chest and torso in the attack that took away sight in an eye and left a hand incapacitated. Rushdie, 75, spent years in hiding after Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a 1989 edict, a fatwa, calling for his death after publication of his novel “The Satanic Verses,” which some Muslims consider blasphemous. Over the past two decades, Rushdie has traveled freely. Hadi Matar, 24, of Fairview, New Jersey, has been incarcerated after pleading not guilty to attempted murder and assault in the Aug. 12 attack on Rushdie as he was being introduced at the Chautauqua Institution, a rurally located center 55 miles (89 kilometers) southwest of Buffalo that is known for its summertime lecture series.”

United States

USA Today: Patriot Front Sued; New Mexico Civil Guard Shut Down: The Week In Extremism

“It was a bad week in court for extremist groups. The Texas-headquartered white supremacist organization Patriot Front has been hit with a lawsuit from the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Meanwhile, in New Mexico, a militia group has been ordered to disband and slapped with a fine, and the Oath Keepers Jan. 6 trial continues. It's the week in extremism. White supremacist organization Patriot Front is the target of the latest lawsuit from the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. The activist group and private attorneys are suing the Texas-headquartered hate group on behalf of residents of Richmond, Virginia, alleging Patriot Front members violated their civil rights when the group vandalized a Richmond mural honoring Black tennis great Arthur Ashe last year. Patriot Front has caused a stir elsewhere in the country since then, particularly when members ended up being arrested in Idaho in June. The Lawyers' Committee has a long history of suing extremist groups on behalf of local residents or organizations affected by hateful activity. Last year, the group sued the extremist group the Proud Boys and its then-chairman Henry “Enrique” Tarrio for vandalism during protests in Washington, D.C., in late 2020. That lawsuit is ongoing. In June, 31 members of Patriot Front were arrested while traveling in a U-Haul van allegedly to disrupt a Pride event in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho. The group was also deeply exposed by a leak of its private messages earlier this year.”

Syria

Associated Press: Report: Mass Grave Of IS Victims Found In Syria’s Palmyra

“Syrian authorities found a mass grave in the historic town of Palmyra with bodies of victims of the militant Islamic State group, which controlled the area years ago, Syria’s state news agency said Friday. According to the report on SANA, the mass grave was discovered near the second-century Roman amphitheater. The agency said the remains of 12 people buried there have been taken to hospital morgues for identification before they can be handed over to their families. Palmyra is a UNESCO world heritage site and once linked Persia, India, China with the Roman empire and the Mediterranean area. The Islamic State militants controlled the area in two turns in 2015-2016, and killed scores of people there — killings often captured in extremist propaganda videos — before they were evicted. IS also damaged some of the town’s famed archaeological treasures. The brutality and the actions by IS in Palmyra triggered an international outcry. Palmyra was retaken in 2017 by Syrian government forces who have held it since then. Palmyra, with its 2,000-year-old towering Roman colonnades and priceless artifacts, was affectionately referred to by Syrians as the “Bride of the Desert.” Before Syria’s civil war erupted in 2011 — a conflict that killed hundreds of thousands — Palmyra, was home to 65,000. To this day, a desert oasis surrounded by palm trees about 215 kilometers (155 miles) east of Damascus, it is also a strategic crossroads linking the Syrian capital with the country’s east and neighboring Iraq.”

Iraq

Fox News: ISIS Resurfacing In Iraq As Country Looks To Hit Back At Terror Organization

“The Islamic State caliphate, which held large swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq, was defeated in 2018, yet analysts are seeing signs, including a growing number of attacks in northern and western Iraq, of a resurgence, a cause for concern that needs to be watched closely. “The Islamic State has begun to regain its activity in an attempt to gather what remains of its members,” Fadil Abu Ragheef, an Iraq-based expert on terrorist groups, told Fox News Digital. He said that while the organization had lost the main centers of power it held under the first generation of its leadership, it continues to pose a danger in the areas where it still has strength, the northern cities between Salah al-Din, Kirkuk and the Mam Mountains. Ragheef also referred to areas in western Anbar that constitute a fortification for the organization and still pose a widespread danger. In recent months authorities have dismantled an ISIS arms factory for booby-trapping armored and fortified vehicles, presumably for suicide attacks in Kirkuk and elsewhere. Recent attacks include suicide bombings close to Baghdad and other parts of the country, and Iraqi authorities have also uncovered and stopped some ISIS operations. During an interview with Fox News Digital on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in September, Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein urged western countries to keep going after ISIS.”

Afghanistan

Voice Of America: Taliban Claim To Have Killed 9 ISIS-K Fighters

“The Taliban said Saturday their special forces had killed nine Islamic State operatives and captured two others in overnight raids in the capital, Kabul, and elsewhere in Afghanistan. Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesman for the Taliban government, said that intelligence information had led security forces to an “important hideout of Daesh” in Kabul late Friday. He used a local name for the self-proclaimed Islamic State’s Afghan affiliate, known as Islamic State Khorasan, or ISIS-K. Mujahid said the ensuing gunbattles killed six militants and one Taliban security force member. The raid came shortly after security forces had captured two key ISIS-K members in a separate operation in another part of Kabul, he noted without elaborating. Separately, the Taliban-led Afghan Interior Ministry said Saturday that “on the basis of solid intelligence” government forces late last night assaulted an ISIS-K hideout in northeastern Takhar province, which borders Tajikistan. The raid in the Dasht Qala district killed three Daesh members, including an “important” commander, the statement said. Mujahid claimed that all the six Daesh men killed in Kabul were linked to recent suicide bombings in the city, one on an educational center and the other on a mosque. “They had plotted attacks on Kabul’s Wazir Akbar Khan Mosque, the Kaaj tuition center and other civilian targets,” Mujahid said.”

Middle East

The Jerusalem Post: Top Lions' Den Palestinian Terrorist Killed In Nablus Explosion, Israel Blamed

“Palestinians accused Israel of assassinating a senior member of the Lions’ Den terrorist group in Nablus with an explosive device placed on a motorcycle on early Sunday. Though initial reports said Tamer al-Kilani was killed while preparing an explosive device, the Lions’ Den later said the explosion was caused by a bomb placed on his motorcycle by a “collaborator.” The group claimed it would reveal details about what it called an “assassination” and warned that there would be a response. “We promise the occupation and [IDF Chief of Staff Aviv] Kohavi a severe, agonizing and painful response. We call on every resident who can enter Nablus to participate in his funeral today,” the group said. “Today, we gave our land the best of our soldiers. The lions will go one after the other, either to victory or to become a martyr.” “We promise the occupation and [IDF Chief of Staff Aviv] Kohavi a severe, agonizing and painful response. We call on every resident who can enter Nablus to participate in his funeral today. Today we gave our land the best of our soldiers. The lions will go one after the other, either to victory or to become a martyr.” Shortly afterward, the Lions’ Den published surveillance footage it claimed showed an individual placing an explosive on Kilani’s motorcycle and the charge exploding as Kilani walked by.”

Nigeria

Reuters: US And UK Warn Of Possible Attack In Nigeria's Capital

“The United States and Britain on Sunday warned of a possible terrorist attack in Nigeria's federal capital Abuja, especially aimed at government buildings, places of worship and schools, among other targets. Nigeria is fighting an Islamist insurgency mainly in the northeast, but in July the Islamic State claimed responsibility for a raid on a prison in Abuja, which freed around 440 inmates, raising fears that insurgents were venturing from their enclaves. The U.S. Embassy in Nigeria said “there is an elevated risk of terror attacks in Nigeria, specifically Abuja” and added that shopping malls, law enforcement facilities and international organisations were among places at risk. “The U.S. Embassy will offer reduced services until further notice,” the embassy said in an alert to citizens in Nigeria. The United Kingdom government warned that its citizens in Nigeria should stay alert due to an “increased threat of terrorist attack in Abuja.” “Attacks could be indiscriminate and could affect western interests, as well as places visited by tourists,” it said. Insecurity, which has spread across Nigeria, is a major issue for voters when they go to the polls next February to elect a new president to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari. Nigeria's foreign affairs ministry was not immediately available to comment.”

Sahara Reporters: Nigerian Army Rescues Two Chibok Girls, 99 Others From Boko Haram Camps In Borno

“The Nigerian Army on Friday said its troops rescued two Chibok school girls and 99 other abductees from Boko Haram camps in Borno State. This was revealed by the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 7 Division and Commander Sector 1 Joint Task Force North East Operation HADIN KAI (OPHK), Major General Waidi Shaibu while briefing newsmen in Maiduguri. General Waidi said the troops rescued the victims from different locations in Borno state between September 29 and October 2. The rescued girls are Rejoice Sanki, 24, and mother of two children; and Yagana Poly, 24, a mother of four. The 99 other rescued abductees include 47 women. Boko Haram insurgents kidnapped 276 female students from the Government Girls Secondary School Chibok in April 2014. SaharaReporters had also reported earlier this month that troops of Operation Hadin Kai rescued another Chibok girl, Yana Pogu, who had a four-month-old set of twins in Borno State. It was gathered that Pogu married one of the Amir (Commanders) who fled the onslaught and left behind his wife and four children.”

Somalia

Associated Press: 8 Killed In Somalia As Militants Attack Port City Hotel

“Eight people were killed after militants stormed a hotel in Somalia’s port city of Kismayo, an attack that started with a suicide bombing Sunday before gunmen forcibly entered and exchanged fire with security forces. The Islamic extremist group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack, saying its fighters had penetrated the Tawakal Hotel. Security forces from the southern Somali state of Jubaland later ended the siege, killing the gunmen and rescuing scores of people, state media reported. There was no official word on casualties, but a doctor at Kismayo Hospital told The Associated Press of eight dead people, four of whom were security personnel. At least 41 people were wounded in the attack, the doctor said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to divulge such information. Journalists were prevented from getting close to the scene of the attack. Footage shared on social media showed ambulances collecting the wounded from outside the hotel in central Kismayo. The city is located about 500 kilometers (310 miles) from the Somali capital, Mogadishu. The attack began when a car driven by a suicide bomber rammed the entrance gate of the hotel and then exploded, police officer Abshir Omar said by phone. A number of small businesses along the street were destroyed.”

Africa

AFP: Suspected Jihadist Attack Kills 11 In Niger: Local Sources

“A suspected jihadist attack on three lorries and a motorcycle in western Niger near the border with Mali killed 11 people, local sources told AFP on Sunday. The attack took place on a remote road in the so-called “three borders” region between Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso plagued by jihadist insurgents linked with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group. A local government official in the Banibangou area where the attack occurred said armed men intercepted three trucks on a remote road on Saturday morning and killed their nine occupants. Two people riding a motorcycle also died, he added. A local lawmaker also confirmed the toll of 11 dead, saying two of the trucks were burned and the other taken away. Attacks by militants had been less frequent in recent months in Banibangou, located in the vast and unstable Tillaberi region in western Niger. Civilians have often been caught in the fighting between the rebels and security forces. In November 2021, authorities said at least 69 local self-defence militiamen were massacred.”

Human Rights Watch: Hundreds Flee Attacks In Mozambique’s Ruby Mining Region

“This week, suspected Al-Shabab fighters attacked precious gem-rich areas of Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province, closing at least two mining operations and causing hundreds of people to flee villages in Ancuabe and Montepuez districts. On Thursday, the ruby mining group Gemfields announced it was stopping operations at its Montepuez site after an early morning attack on the nearby mine, Gemrock. Various sources reported that vehicles in the facility were set ablaze and some employees were missing. The same day, hundreds of people arrived in Montepuez and Pemba cities. Several told Human Rights Watch they fled their villages because the mashababos (a local term for Islamist fighters) had destroyed their homes. They also reported heavy fighting between the armed group and government soldiers who were deployed to the ruby mine after the attack. “These heartless mashababos are everywhere,” said a resident of Namanhumbire village, in Montepuez district. “They came to our villages and burned everything, even water jerricans.”Media reports attributed the recent attacks to Al-Shabab or Mashabab, an armed group linked to the Islamic State (ISIS) that for several years, has killed, kidnapped, and raped civilians and pillaged villages across northern Mozambique. Earlier this month, suspected Al-Shabab members set houses on fire in the villages of Chiute, Nguida, Mesa, and Nonia, in Ancuabe district.”

United Kingdom

BBC News: Preston Man In Court Accused Of Sharing Islamic State Videos

“A man accused of sharing Islamic State videos on social media has appeared in court. Mohammed Afzal, 18, allegedly shared material showing an execution and fighters in combat on Instagram between March and September. He is also accused of collecting instructions on how to make explosives. Mr Afzal, of Preston, Lancashire, appeared by videolink for the hearing at London's Old Bailey where he was remanded in custody. He has been charged with four offences of disseminating a terrorist publication and four offences of collecting information useful to a terrorist. He is due to next appear at Liverpool Crown Court on 10 February.”

The Independent: Hyde Park Terror Plot Accused Appears In Court

“A man accused of plotting a terror attack at London’s Hyde Park has appeared at the Old Bailey. Edward Little, 21, allegedly planned to buy a firearm and kill a Christian preacher and others gathered at Speakers’ Corner on or before September 23. Little was arrested on September 23 after taking a taxi from Brighton to London. He was charged with engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts. On Friday, the defendant, from Pelham Street in Brighton, appeared at the Old Bailey for a preliminary hearing. Prosecutor Kathryn Selby told the court the allegation in the case “concerns a plan to carry out an attack on Hyde Park”. Mr Justice Sweeney set a plea hearing for February 10 next year and a provisional trial from June 26 next year. The case would be heard either by the Recorder of London or a High Court judge, he said. Little, who wore a grey tracksuit top in the dock, spoke only to confirm his identity and was remanded into custody.”

The Telegraph: Youngest Girl Charged With Terrorism Offences Killed Herself After Being Groomed By US Neo Nazis

“The youngest girl charged with terrorism offences in the UK was found hanged after being groomed and exploited by American neo-Nazis, a Sunday Telegraph investigation can disclose. Rhianan Rudd killed herself while living in a children’s home after being taken into care. She had gouged a swastika onto her forehead at the time of her arrest and had subsequently tried to “scratch it out”, care home staff said. At the age of just 14, the schoolgirl had been charged with the possession of instructions to make both firearms and explosives. She was accused of having written instructions and a video on how to make a bomb and a guide for the 3-D printing of guns that had so alarmed authorities she was charged with the “commission, preparation of instigation of an act of terrorism”. It is alleged that a former boyfriend of her mother had been involved in radicalising the child. A US Supreme Court ruling had described Dax Mallaburn as a member of neo-Nazi group the Arizona Aryan Brotherhood. Rhianan, who had grown up in Essex before moving to Derbyshire, was also groomed and exploited sexually online by a second older American male, sources have told The Sunday Telegraph. Her death raises disturbing questions for British authorities on how to tackle the growing numbers of children being lured into extreme Right-wing terrorism.”

Australia

The Guardian: Australian Government To Restore Powers To Strip Citizenship From Terrorism Suspects

“The Albanese government will restore powers to strip dual citizens who are suspected of committing terrorist offences of their Australian citizenship after Peter Dutton’s laws were struck down by the high court. The home affairs minister, Clare O’Neil, has revealed the government will legislate to allow courts to strip terrorist suspects’ citizenship after the high court ruled it was unconstitutional to give the minister power to do so. The bill, to be introduced this year, is likely to sail through parliament as the Coalition has already given in-principle support to closing a “loophole” created by the citizenship cancellation law being struck down. In June the high court ruled in favour of Delil Alexander, a Turkish citizen whose Australian citizenship was cancelled in July 2021 due to an assessment he had joined Islamic State and engaged in foreign incursions and recruitment. The decision resulted in the government restoring the citizenship of Alexander and one other person, but it is now believed up to 20 others could apply to have their citizenship restored as a result of the precedent. That was a major blow to citizenship cancellation powers first passed by the Coalition in 2015, when then prime minister Tony Abbott and current Liberal leader, Peter Dutton, unsuccessfully argued even sole Australian nationals should be able to be targeted. O’Neil said the laws which allowed ministerial discretion to cancel citizenship were “a monumental mistake by Mr Dutton.”

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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