Eye on Extremism: October 5, 2021

Reuters: Militants Kill 14 Soldiers, Injure Seven In Burkina Faso Attack

“A large group of heavily armed militants killed 14 Burkina Faso soldiers and injured seven others in a dawn attack in the north on Monday, the government said in a statement. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack on the military detachment, which took place near the town of Yirgou, in the center-north Sanmatenga province, an area overrun by jihadist insurgents linked to al-Qaeda and Islamic State. Yirgou was the scene of another militant ambush in June, when at least 15 police officers were killed. Their unit had been visiting the town on a relief mission following a previous bout of militant violence. Attacks linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State have surged across Africa's Sahel region, killing thousands and displacing millions across Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. About 1.2 million people have been displaced by the violence in Burkina Faso alone.”

The New York Times: Why The Taliban’s Repression Of Women May Be More Tactical Than Ideological

“Why are the Taliban stripping away so many of Afghan women’s hard-won freedoms? That may seem like a facetious question. When the Taliban ruled the country in the 1990s, after all, their regime was known for having some of the world’s harshest restrictions on women. The group still adheres to a fundamentalist vision of Islamic society. But ideology is only part of the story. Every group has a range of beliefs, and not all of them become priorities for governance. Some Taliban officials, particularly those who conducted peace negotiations and favored international engagement, have suggested that this iteration of Taliban governance might be less restrictive toward women. And there are certainly economic incentives, as the resumption of international aid would be based at least in part on human rights considerations. None of that has seemed to make a difference thus far. Though some Taliban officials continue to say that conditions will improve, women are still being kept from workplaces and schools. Each week seems to bring a new report of restrictions. In that light, the Taliban’s decision to restrict women’s freedom begins to look like a political choice as much as it is a matter of ideology. Understanding why the Taliban might see that choice as rewarding, experts say, offers insight into the group’s state-building efforts, and to the nature of the society they now rule again.”

United States

Chicago Tribune: Federal Trial Begins For Ex-DePaul Student Accused Of Writing Computer Code To Help Spread ISIS Propaganda

“Thomas Osadzinski was a DePaul University computer science student in June 2018 when he allegedly sent out a message in an online chat room seeking the recipe for a powerful explosive favored by terrorists and suicide bombers, according to federal prosecutors. When someone in the chat room responded that he should be very careful, Osadzinski allegedly responded he “will be doing some studying.” “You mean studying for school?” asked the person in the chat room, who unbeknownst to Osadzinski was a covert FBI agent. Osadzinski allegedly replied, “For jihad,” followed by a heart emoji and a symbol associated with the Islamic State terrorist group. That conversation three years ago will be a focal point for prosecutors as Osadzinski’s trial gets underway at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse, where he faces charges of using the computer skills he was learning at DePaul to craft a first-of-its-kind code designed to spread violent terrorist propaganda online. Osadzinski, 22, who is originally from Park Ridge and lived in an apartment in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood at the time of his arrest, was charged with attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization, which carries up to 20 years in prison if convicted.”


BBC News: Israel Accuses Iran Over Cyprus Alleged Hitman Plot

“Israel has accused Iran of plotting to kill Israelis in Cyprus after police there arrested a man suspected of being hired to carry out the attacks. The Israeli prime minister's office said “an act of terror... was orchestrated by Iran against Israeli businesspeople” living on the island. His office denied media reports that the target was Israeli billionaire Teddy Sagi. Iran - Israel's arch-foe - has denied Israel's claims. “This regime is always making such a baseless allegation against the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the Iranian embassy in the Cypriot capital, Nicosia, said in a statement to Reuters news agency. The suspect - said to be a 38-year-old Azeri using a Russian passport - was arrested a week ago in Nicosia after crossing from Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus, according to local media. Reports say he had arrived from Russia about three weeks ago and was under police surveillance. Cypriot media say he had a gun with a silencer in his car when he was arrested, though police have not confirmed details of the case. There are conflicting reports as to who might have been a target. Some reports in Israeli and Cypriot media say Mr Sagi was one of a number of Israeli businesspeople on a hit list. Both the Israeli prime minister's office and Mr Sagi's company, the Sagi Group, denied the tycoon was known to be a would-be victim.”


Associated Press: Turkey Says It Captures Kurdish Militant Base In North Iraq

“Turkish troops have captured a major base belonging to Kurdish militants in northern Iraq, Turkey’s Defense Ministry said on Monday. Twelve members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, were “neutralized” in the operation, the ministry said in a tweet. It uses the term to describe opponents that are killed, wounded or captured. The operation took place close to the Turkish border in a region where three Turkish soldiers were killed in August. The ministry said the “eastern headquarters” of the PKK were captured in what it called a “powerful blow” against the group, which is listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and EU. There were no details when the operation happened. Turkey launched its latest air and ground campaign in northern Iraq in April in a bid to limit the PKK’s ability to mount cross-border attacks in Turkey. Tens of thousands of people have been killed since the PKK began its armed campaign in 1984.”


Al Jazeera: Taliban Killed 13 Members Of Hazara Ethnic Group: Report

“The Taliban killed at least 13 members of the Hazara ethnic group, including a 17-year-old girl, in the central province of Daykundi, shortly after they took power in Afghanistan, according to a new report from Amnesty International. On August 30, a convoy of 300 Taliban fighters entered Khidr district and killed at least 11 former members of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), nine of whom were taken to a nearby river basin where they were executed shortly after having surrendered, the rights group said in its report published on Tuesday. A teenager, identified by the name of Masuma, was killed in crossfire after the Taliban targeted Afghan forces who were attempting to flee the area. Another civilian, Fayaz, a newly-wed in his 20s, was also among those killed in the crossfire. The ANSF members who were killed ranged in age from 26 to 46, Amnesty said. All the victims were Hazara, who were persecuted during the Taliban’s first stint in power between 1996 and 2001. It is the second killing of Hazaras documented by Amnesty. At least nine Hazara men were killed by Taliban fighters in Ghazni province in July before the group captured power, Amnesty reported on August 19. Both the Taliban and their rivals, the Islamic State Khorasan Province, ISKP (ISIS-K), an ISIL affiliate, have been accused of targeting the Hazara people, who make up the majority of Afghanistan’s Shia population.”

Reuters: Taliban Say Forces Destroy Islamic State Cell Hours After Kabul Blast

“Taliban government forces destroyed an Islamic State cell in the north of Kabul late on Sunday in a prolonged assault that broke the calm of a normally quiet area of the capital with hours of explosions and gunfire, officials and local residents said. With Afghanistan's economy close to collapse and large areas of the country in danger of famine, the presence of an apparently well-armed militant cell in Kabul underlined the daunting scale of the challenge facing the new government. The Taliban operation came after a bomb attack near a mosque in Kabul earlier on Sunday that was later claimed by Islamic State. That blast killed and wounded a number of civilians in what appeared to be the worst attack in the Afghan capital since the withdrawal of U.S. forces at the end of August. The local affiliate of Islamic State, known as ISIS-Khorasan after an ancient name for the region, has already claimed to have carried out attacks on Taliban targets and remains unreconciled to the Afghan Islamist movement. Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said a special Taliban unit carried out an operation against ISIS elements in Kabul's 17th district, in the city's north, destroying their base and killing all those in it.”


Arab News: Houthis Under Fire For Killing Displaced Civilians In Marib

“Yemeni government officials, local and international activists and rights groups and western diplomats on Monday strongly condemned the Houthi shelling of a residential area in the central city of Marib that killed and wounded more than three dozen civilians. On Sunday, three ballistic missiles fired by the Iran-backed Houthis hit the city of Marib, killing two children and wounding more than 30 people. One of the three missiles landed in a house in Al-Rawada neighborhood hosting thousands of internally displaced people, flattening the building and killing Ghazlan Faisal Al-Bareq and her brother Rada and critically wounding their parents. The family comes from the northern province of Amran, sheltering in Marib like thousands of Yemenis who fled the fighting and Houthi repression. Graphic images taken by local journalists show the headless and burnt Ghazlan lying in a bed in a local hospital in Marib, with several other badly wounded children crying as they receive medication. The US embassy in Yemen strongly condemned the “terrible” attack by the Houthis and demanded the militias work on achieving peace in Yemen.”

Middle East

The Jerusalem Post: Palestinian Terrorist Should Be Given Death Sentence, Father Says

“The father of Yehuda Guetta, who was murdered by convicted Palestinian terrorist Muntasir Shalabi in an attack in May, requested the Judea Military Court judges punish Shalabi with the death penalty during a sentencing hearing on Monday. “That is the only way to prevent the next murder,” Elisha Guetta said, adding the death penalty “is just what he deserves.” Guetta also demanded Shalabi's family, whose West Bank home was razed by the IDF in July, be deported from Israel. “We demand to deport his family, maybe to Syria,” Guetta said. “We cannot allow his children to travel to Lake Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee) and take photos to upload on Facebook,” he added. In August, Muntasir Shalabi was convicted for the murder of 19-year-old Guetta in a drive-by shooting on May 2 at Tapuah junction. Shalabi, 44, was also convicted of multiple attempted murder counts after he wounded two other 19-year-olds during the attack. Muntasir Shalabi, who holds dual Palestinian-American citizenship, said during the hearing Al-Aqsa was his motive for the drive-by shooting. In response, attorney Haim Blecher of the Honenu legal aid organization, who represents the Guetta family, said “we need to understand what we are up against...every shred of hope must be erased.”


Premium Times: Nigeria: Troops Repel Attack On Repentant Terrorist Camp - Army

“The army says the terrorists made attempt to access the camp in Damboa Local Government Area of Borno State but were resisted by superior gun power. Troops of Operation Hadin Kai have foiled an attack by members of the Islamic State West Africa (ISWAP) on a camp housing repentant members of Boko Haram. Spokesperson of the Army, Onyema Nwachukwu, made this known in a statement on Sunday. According to him, the terrorists made attempt to access the camp in Damboa Local Government Area of Borno State but were resisted by superior gun power. The attack is coming on the heels of reported massive surrendering by members of the terrorist group. Thousands of terrorists alongside their family members have recently repented and handed over themselves to authorities. President Muhammudu Buhari had, on Friday, during a nationwide address commemorating Nigeria's 61st anniversary, stated that about 8,000 terrorists had surrendered. The latest attack according to the army could be an attempt to discourage intending surrendering terrorists from laying down their arms.”


Reuters: Four Suspected IS-Linked Militants, One Sudanese Security Forces Member Killed In Khartoum

“Four suspected Islamic State-linked militants and one Sudanese security forces member were killed during clashes in a raid in Sudan's capital Khartoum on Monday, state news agency SUNA reported. Sudanese security forces clashed with militants in southern Khartoum on Monday, state TV and witnesses said, days after a raid on what officials said was an Islamic State-linked cell in the same area. Monday's raid included two sites and security forces arrested four other suspected militants, a day after they captured eight “foreign elements” in a raid in Omdurman, the capital's twin city, on Sunday, SUNA said. Three security forces members were injured in Monday's raid, it added quoting a statement of the General Intelligence Service. Witnesses in the Jabra neighbourhood told Reuters they saw security forces exchange gunfire with a group inside a residential building and close the main road in the area. State TV described the group as being a terrorist cell. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of Sudan's ruling council, visited the site of the clashes, state TV reported. On Tuesday, five members of the General Intelligence Service were killed and a sixth injured following a raid where 11 suspects of different nationalities were arrested, the service said.”

Reuters: Mozambique President Calls On Insurgents To Surrender After Key Militant Killed

“Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi urged Islamist militants in its far north to surrender on Monday, saying they had nowhere to run, after allied Rwandan, Mozambican and southern African forces pushed them out of territory they had been occupying. Nyusi's comments to mark Peace and National Reconciliation Day came a day after regional southern African forces said they had killed a senior Islamist militant leader along with 18 other fighters in an offensive on September 25. Awadhi Ndanjile, a religious leader instrumental in recruiting and indoctrinating members of the Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama'a (ASWJ), was killed on a militants base in the Nangade district of Cabo Delgado, the statement from the Southern Africa Development Community's mission in Mozambique said, using one of the names given to the country's militants. “We wanted to invite them not to wait for death ... this is not the intention of the defense and security forces,” Nyusi said. “Surrender yourself ... because you have nowhere to go ... You are running from one forest to another being endlessly chased.” A number of areas previously held by militants have been cleared, including the town of Mocimboa da Praia, more than a year after insurgents first seized it. Insurgent bases have also been destroyed, according to security forces.”

Southeast Asia

The Defense Post: Six Dead As Thai Military Battles Rebels In Restive South

“Six days of gun battles between soldiers and militants in Thailand’s restive south have left six people dead, the military said Monday, as troops hunt insurgents hiding in a swampy forest. Thailand’s three southernmost provinces have been in the grip of a 17-year conflict that has killed more than 7,000 people, the majority civilians, as militants in the Muslim-majority region fight for more autonomy from the Thai state. The pandemic had brought a lull to the clashes — often characterized as tit-for-tat attacks — but fighting has renewed in recent weeks. Thailand’s 4th Army Region, which oversees the southern provinces, said Monday that the military has been locked in gun battles with separatists in Narathiwat province since September 28. Authorities surrounded a swampy forest in Bachao district on Tuesday after receiving a tip that a group of suspected armed rebels were hiding there, said Colonel Keattisak Neewong, a spokesman for the southern military unit in charge of security. “We lost our first officer in the gunfight last Tuesday,” he told AFP. “We continued to negotiate with them since day one with the help of local religious leaders but they have rejected the talks and kept firing.” By Sunday morning, the group tried to escape, sparking a gunfight that left four suspected rebels and one soldier dead.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.


On October 16, 2020, while shouting “Allahu Akbar,” 18-year-old Abdoulakh Anzorov decapitated history teacher Samuel Paty in the Paris suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. Paty had recently received death threats after showing caricatures of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad in class as part of a lesson on freedom of speech.  

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