Eye on Extremism: September 11

Reuters: Russia Sends 175 De-Miners To Syria's Deir Al-Zor: Interfax

Russia is to send 175 de-mining engineers to defuse mines in Syria’s Deir al-Zor, Interfax news agency quoted Russia’s Defence Ministry as saying on Monday. The first detachment of 40 de-miners has already been deployed to Russia’s Hmeimim air base in Syria, the ministry said. Syrian government forces and U.S.-backed militias converged on Islamic State in separate offensives against the militants in the eastern Syrian province of Deir al-Zor on Sunday.

Daily Times: As ISIS Shrinks, Al Qaeda Expands

Al-Qaeda is creating its most powerful stronghold ever in north-west Syria at a time when world attention is almost entirely focused on the impending defeat of ISIS in the east of the country. It has established full control of Idlib province and of a vital Syrian-Turkish border crossing since July. “Idlib Province is the largest al-Qaeda safe haven since 9/11,” says Brett McGurk, the senior US envoy to the international coalition fighting ISIS. The al-Qaeda-linked movement, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), which used to be called Jabhat al-Nusra, has long been the most powerful rebel group in western Syria. After the capture of east Aleppo by the Syrian army last December, it moved to eliminate its rivals in Idlib, including its powerful former Turkish-backed ally Ahrar al-Sham.

Bloomberg: Yemen Says 7 Al-Qaeda Militants Killed In U.S. Drone Strikes

A series of U.S. drone strikes killed seven al-Qaeda militants Saturday in the central province of al-Baidha, al-Masdar news website reported. Citing unnamed local officials, the website said the first attack targeted two militants on a motorbike, killing one and wounding the other. A second strike killed three and wounded others rushing to rescue victim of the first attack. A third killed three militants near the houses at the village of Quraidah in the al-Sumah district, according to the website.

Daily News: We Always Knew Qatar Was Trouble, As The 1990s Escape Of Terror Mastermind Khalid Sheikh Muhammad Showed

Amid all the accusations being traded recently against each other by Gulf Arab states some truths are getting lost in the smoke. It has been true that Qatar has served as a sanctuary for leaders of groups that the U.S. or other countries deem to be terrorist organizations. That, however, is nothing new. It has been going on for at least 20 years — and one of those who had sanctuary was the mastermind of the 9-11 attacks. Most people associate the name of Osama Bin Laden with the mass murders of 9/11, but another man, a serial terrorist, was the real ringleader. I first learned his name, Khalid Sheihk Muhammad (KSM), in 1993 as someone connected to the truck bomb attack on the World Trade Center. We later learned that he had an unparalleled ability to organize large-scale terrorist attacks, something bin Laden lacked.

The Telegraph: Exclusive: North Korea 'Secretly Helped By Iran To Gain Nuclear Weapons', British Officials Fear

North Korea’s sudden advancement in developing nuclear weapons may be due to secret support from Iran, British officials fear. The Foreign Office is investigating whether “current and former nuclear states” helped Kim Jong-Un in his drive to mount nuclear warheads on missiles.  Senior Whitehall sources told The Sunday Telegraph it is not credible that North Korean scientists alone brought about the technological advances.  Iran is top of the list of countries suspected of giving some form of assistance, while Russia is also in the spotlight.

Daily Caller: US Citizen Pleads Guilty To Supporting Somali Terror Group Al-Shabaab

U.S. citizen Maalik Alim Jones has pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support to Somalia-based terror group al-Shabaab. Jones, 32, left his wife back home and flew to Kenya from New York in 2011, traveling to Somalia via land once he had arrived in Kenya. Upon entering Somalia, Jones immediately began working with al-Shabaab and receiving military training from the terror group, including how to operate an AK-47 and rocket-propelled grenades, according to a Department of Justice press release. “I knew that my actions were a violation of the laws of the United States,” Jones said. Jones quickly moved up the ranks to join al-Shabaab’s special unit, known as Jaysh Ayman. As part of that unit, Jones attacked soldiers from the Kenyan government.

The Daily Caller: ISIS Holds Thousands Of Blank Syrian Passports, Germany Warns

Islamic State holds around 11,100 authentic Syrian passports that can be completed with any person’s details, German authorities warned Sunday. Germany’s federal police (BKA) are aware of at least 18,002 blank passports stolen from Syrian government offices, tabloid Bild am Sonntag reports. A majority of them have ended up in the hands of ISIS and other groups, sparking fears they can be used to send terrorists posing as refugees to Europe. Members of the terror cell behind the attack in Paris in November 2015 used fake Syrian passports to travel to Europe.

Reuters: Exclusive: Iraq Holding 1,400 Foreign Wives, Children Of Suspected Islamic State Fighters

Iraqi authorities are holding 1,400 foreign wives and children of suspected Islamic State fighters after government forces expelled the jihadist group from one of its last remaining strongholds in Iraq, security and aid officials said. Most came from Turkey. Many others were from former Soviet states, such as Tajikistan, Azerbaijan and Russia, Iraqi army and intelligence officers said. Other Asians and a ‘very few’ French and Germans were also among them.  The wives and children are being held at an Iraqi camp south of Mosul. Most had arrived since Aug. 30, when Iraqi troops drove Islamic State out of Mosul.

Inside Sources: Sixteen Years After 9/11, Iran Remains A Threat To America

After the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Americans collectively searched for answers about who was behind the terror attack and why it occurred.  While Osama bin Laden will forever be known as the mastermind of the tragedy, Iran’s role in the devastating attacks, and its collusion with al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations more generally, must not be overlooked. An early 1990s meeting in Sudan between an emissary of Iran and al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, culminated in a decision to put aside Sunni-Shia divisions in favor of an Iran-al-Qaeda pact to conspire against the U.S. As a report by the 9/11 Commission would state, “discussions in Sudan between al-Qaida and Iranian operatives led to an informal agreement to cooperate in … actions carried out primarily against Israel and the United States.

United States

Daily Signal: 16 Years After 9/11, Government Lacks Answers In Combating Terrorism

The United States and allies seem to lack a clear strategy for toppling the terrorist threat 16 years after the worst terrorist attack in American history, experts say. Since the 9/11 attacks, there have been another 97 terrorist plots against the United States, and the bulk of those 15 successful attacks happened in the last six years, according to a database maintained by The Heritage Foundation. A total of 27 of the overall plots came from the Islamic State, David Inserra, a homeland security policy analyst for The Heritage Foundation, said Friday during a panel.

CNN: 16 Years After 9/11: The State Of The Terrorist Threat

Sixteen years after the 9/11 attacks, there is a fair amount of good news about the state of the battle against jihadist terrorists: The United States has not suffered a successful attack by a foreign terrorist organization since al Qaeda's horrific attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Al Qaeda's core group, based in Afghanistan and Pakistan, hasn't launched a successful attack in the West since the suicide bombings on London's transportation system more than a decade ago in 2005, which killed 52 commuters. The terrorist group that sprang up in the wake of the setbacks suffered by al Qaeda, ISIS is itself now largely defeated, having lost the city of Mosul, its headquarters in Iraq, and much of the city of Raqqa, its headquarters in Syria.

Star Tribune: Feds Have At Least Six Open Cases Looking At ISIS Support In Minnesota

The St. Louis Park family had just started a two-month vacation with relatives in Morocco in 2015 when they noticed that their 18-year-old son was on his cellphone even more than usual. He told them it was just a distraction while adjusting to the Casablanca area, a place he found more hectic than his suburban hometown. But within days, Abdelhamid Al-Madioum had disappeared. His parents now know that the young man had secretly booked a flight to Istanbul, on his way to Syria to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). His case, laid out in newly unsealed court filings, is the first new disclosure of a young Minnesotan attempting the terrorism pilgrimage since the high-profile prosecution of nine Twin Cities men drew national attention last year.

Al Arabiya: Analysis: Revisiting Iran’s 9/11 Connection

16 years have passed since that tragic day, September 11, 2001, when over 3,000 innocent people lost their lives in the “the largest mass casualty terrorist attack in US history.” The course of modern history changed as we know it. For more than 15 of these past years the policy of appeasement has withheld the international community from adopting the will needed to bring all the perpetrators of this hideous crime to justice. Iran has a history of fueling foreign crises to avoid responding to its own domestic concerns. 9/11 provided the window of opportunity to derail world attention to other states and buy Tehran crucially needed time.

Bloomberg View: Eli Lake Column: The Art Of Renegotiating The Iran Nuclear Deal

Since Donald Trump assumed the presidency, European allies have worried he will fulfill his campaign promise and pull the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal. Trump’s national security cabinet has a different idea. U.S. officials tell me that a new strategy on the agreement is ready for the president’s approval. Instead of blowing it apart, the plan is to make it stronger. The idea can be summed up as “waive, decertify and fix.” On Sept. 14, Trump is expected to waive the crippling sanctions on Iran’s banks and oil exports that were suspended as a condition of the 2015 nuclear bargain known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. A law passed by Congress in 2015 requires the president to make a decision on sanctions every 120 days. Trump waived the sanctions in May and is expected to do so again.


CNN: US-Backed Forces Kick Off Offensive Against ISIS In Syrian City

US-backed forces in Syria said Saturday they were launching an offensive against ISIS in the eastern city of Deir Ezzor. The Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance of mostly Kurdish and some Arab militias, said the push is designed to forcethe terror movement from eastern parts of the city -- the largest in eastern Syria and one of the largest in the country. The SDF is already fighting ISIS in its de facto capital of Raqqa, Syria, and is now aiming to clear the eastern bank of the Euphrates River of the militant fighters, a statement said.

Jerusalem Post: 'If Assad Wants To Survive, He Needs To Keep Iran Out Of Syria'

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked addressed some of the pressing threats looming over the Jewish state during a live interview at IDC Herzliya's International Counterterrorism Conference on Monday morning. Shaked spoke about the impact of Syrian President Bashar Assad's actions in the region, saying that he has a clear interest to "keep Iran out if he wants to survive." According to the justice minister, "Israel needs to pressure world powers to not allow [Iran to establish a strong presence in Syria]," and should world powers not comply, the Jewish state should "do what we need to do." Speaking about the possibility of a growing Iranian presence in the conflict-addled Syria, Shaked said that "Iran's [presence] in Syria can be very bad and Israel will not agree to them" establishing weapons factories and ports. She also expressed her hope that "world powers won't allow it.

Reuters: Syrian Rebels Say U.S. Allies Push For Retreat From Southeast Syria

Two Western-backed Syrian rebel groups fighting the Syrian army and Iranian-backed militias in southeastern Syria have been asked by their Western and Arab backers to pull out of the area and retreat into Jordan, rebels and diplomatic sources said on Sunday. Both Usoud al-Sharqiya and Martyr Ahmad Abdo, part of the Free Syrian Army group, said they were told to end fighting in the area by their backers from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and neighboring states that support them, which include include Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Reuters: Syrian Army Seizes Oilfield From Islamic State In East: State TV

The Syrian army and its allies recaptured an oilfield from Islamic State near the eastern city of Deir al-Zor on Saturday in further advances against the militants, state TV reported. Government forces also seized part of a main highway running from Deir al-Zor down to the city of al-Mayadeen, to which many Islamic State militants have retreated, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said. The Syrian army this week broke through Islamic State lines to reach a government-held enclave of Deir al-Zor besieged for years by the jihadists, and is fighting to reach a nearby air base which IS still surrounds.

Reuters: Syria Army, U.S.-Backed Forces Converge On Islamic State In Separate Offensives

Syrian government forces and U.S.-backed militias converged on Islamic State in separate offensives against the militants in the eastern Syrian province of Deir al-Zor on Sunday. The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces alliance of mostly Kurdish and Arab militias (SDF) said it had reached Deir al-Zor’s industrial zone, just a few miles to the east of the city after launching operations in the area in recent days. The Syrian army and its allies, backed by Iran and by Russian air cover, meanwhile advanced from the west to seize full control of the Deir al-Zor-Damascus highway, a Hezbollah-run media unit reported.


The Washington Post: Shattered By War, Sunni Arabs Despair Over Future In Iraq

Sunnis have been barred from returning to their homes in numerous villages and towns that the Kurds seized during fighting with Islamic State militants in a belt of territory across the north stretching down to Iraq’s eastern border. Kurdish officials cite security reasons for not allowing residents back, even though IS was driven out of the area late last year. At the same time, the Kurds have repeatedly said they intend to incorporate the captured territory into their own self-rule zone — even as they plan a referendum for outright independence later this month. That raises questions over the future of Sunni Arab villages like Hassan Shami.

The New York Times: For Iraq’s Long-Suffering Kurds, Independence Beckons

Numbering about 30 million people spread across four countries – Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran – the Kurds are often described as the world’s largest ethnic group without their own homeland. Iraqi Kurdistan, an oil-rich enclave in northern Iraq, may be their best hope yet. The referendum’s approval would start the process of turning the autonomous region into an independent state. But outside of Kurdistan, every major player in the neighborhood opposes the vote, which could break up Iraq and further destabilize a volatile, war-torn region.

BBC News: Iraqi Kurds 'Prepared To Draw Own Borders', Barzani Warns Baghdad

The president of Iraqi Kurdistan has signalled it will draw the borders of a future Kurdish state if Baghdad does not accept a vote for independence in a referendum due later this month. Massoud Barzani told the BBC he wanted to reach an agreement with the central government if Kurds opted to secede. Iraq's prime minister has rejected the referendum as unconstitutional. Mr Barzani also warned the Kurds would fight any group that tried to change the ‘reality’ in Kirkuk by force. Shia militias have said they will not allow Kirkuk to be part of an independent Kurdistan.


Reuters: Turkey Kills 99 Kurdish Militants In Latest Operations: Military

Turkish security forces have killed 99 Kurdish militants, including a high-ranking one, in operations in southeast Turkey over the last two weeks, the armed forces said on Saturday.  Security forces targeted outposts and caves used by the militants for shelter and storage in the southeastern provinces of Sirnak and Hakkari, near the Iraqi border, the military said in a statement. ‘Ninety-nine terrorists have been neutralized. One is in the so-called leading ranks,’ it said.

Reuters: Turkey Cautions Citizens About Travel To 'Anti-Turkey' Germany

Turkey cautioned its citizens on Saturday to take care when traveling to Germany, citing what it said was an upswing in anti-Turkish sentiment ahead of a German national election later this month. The advisory is likely to further exacerbate tensions between the two NATO allies, whose ties have soured following last year’s failed coup against Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and his subsequent crackdown on alleged coup supporters. ‘The political leadership campaigns in Germany are based on anti-Turkey sentiment and preventing our country’s EU membership. The political atmosphere... has actually been under the effects of far-right and even racist rhetoric for some time,’ Turkey’s foreign mininstry said in a statement.


Reuters: Gunmen Kill Four In Sectarian Attack In Pakistan

Gunmen in southwestern Pakistan killed four members of a Shi‘ite Muslim Hazara family, including a 12-year-old boy, on Sunday, in the latest sectarian attack on the minority community, a senior police official said. Two men on a motorcycle opened fire on a family of eight while they at a filling station some 30 kilometres (19 miles) north of Quetta, the capital of Pakistan’s Baluchistan province. Aside from those killed, two others were wounded. Two female members of the family were unscathed, having remained in their vehicle.

Reuters: Nancy Hatch Dupree 'Grandmother Of Afghanistan' Dies In Kabul

Nancy Hatch Dupree, a historian from the United States who helped set up the Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University, has died in the country whose culture she worked for more than five decades to preserve, the university said on Sunday. She was 89. Dupree arrived in Kabul in 1962 as a diplomat’s wife but soon divorced and married Louis Dupree, an archaeologist celebrated for his adventurous exploits and groundbreaking discoveries of Paleolithic Afghan tools and artifacts.


NPR: Mother Of 9 Goes Door-To-Door As Part Of Yemen's Anti-Cholera Brigade

How do you stop the world's worst cholera epidemic? One way is to send volunteers door-to-door to tell people how they can avoid the disease and what to do if they suspect an infection. That's what Faytha Ahmed Farj is doing. A 45-year-old mother of 9, Farj has never held a paying job but she's part of a nationwide campaign of volunteers fighting cholera. Since April, more than 600,000 cases across Yemen have been reported. There was a time when so many sick people were arriving at the cholera center of Alsadaqah Hospital in southern Yemen that patients had to share beds. Health authorities say the numbers are the highest ever seen in one country. The deputy manager and head of the center, Nahla Arishi, was seeing some 300 people a day.


Reuters: Egyptian Security Forces Kill 10 Suspected Militants In Cairo Raids

Egypt’s security forces killed 10 suspected militants on Sunday in a shootout during a raid on two apartments in central Cairo, the Interior Ministry said. Nine policemen, including four officers, were injured during the two raids, it said in a statement. An insurgency led by Islamic State in Egypt’s rugged Sinai peninsula has killed hundreds of soldiers and policemen since the Egyptian military overthrew President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood in mid-2013, but attacks have increasingly moved to the mainland in recent months.

Middle East

Fox News: Hamas Chief Heads To Egypt In Sign Of Gaza's Improving Ties

The Hamas militant group says its top leader is heading to Cairo to discuss renewed cooperation with Egyptian authorities. Saturday marks the first time Egypt has allowed Ismail Haniyeh to leave the Gaza Strip since he was elected the Palestinian group's chief in May. A Hamas statement said Haniyeh and other leaders will discuss ‘boosting' recent easing of the blockade Egypt imposes on Gaza along with Israel. Egypt has long accused Hamas of aiding Islamic insurgency in the neighboring Sinai Peninsula.

The Times Of Israel: Palestinians Release Activist Jailed For Facebook Post

The Palestinian Authority has released a prominent Palestinian activist a week after he was arrested for writing a Facebook post criticizing the government of PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Issa Amro’s lawyer said Sunday that his client was released on $1,400 bail after being held under a recent edict that allows the government to crack down on social media critics. In a Facebook post earlier this month, Amro criticized the detention of a local journalist who had called for Abbas’s resignation. Amro’s attorney, Farid Atrash, said it was ‘shameful’ that his client was arrested for exercising his right of free expression.

Haaretz: Israel's Security Chief: West Bank Situation 'Fragile,' Hamas Ready For Another Gaza Conflict

The head of Israel's Shin Bet security service told the cabinet meeting on Sunday that the relative calm in the West Bank is ‘fragile.’ Nadav Argaman noted that a similar situation exists in Gaza. Hamas is in strategic distress, he said, but is nevertheless militarily prepared for a renewed confrontation with Israel. ‘Despite the relative quiet, the security reality in Judea and Samaria is fragile,’ he said, referring to the West Bank, adding that the situation includes ‘high sensitivity regarding events of religious nature and an ongoing threshold of terror attacks.’

The Times Of Israel: Israeli Satellite Images Show Damage To Syrian Weapons Facility

An Israeli satellite imaging company released photographs on Sunday showing the effects of last week’s airstrike on a Syrian weapons base that was attributed to the Israeli Air Force. Early Thursday morning, the Syrian military’s Scientific Studies and Research Center (CERS) facility near Masyaf, in the northwestern Hama province, was hit from the air, damaging several buildings and killing two Syrian soldiers. Western officials have long associated the CERS facility with the production of precision missiles, as well as chemical weapons.

The Washington Post: Lebanon To File UN Security Council Complaint Against Israel

Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry says it will file an ‘urgent complaint’ against Israel with the United Nations Security Council. Lebanon said in a statement Saturday that Israel violated its air space when it conducted an airstrike against a Syrian government installation on Thursday. Israeli jets struck an installation that former Israeli military and intelligence officials said was producing weapons possibly bound for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, Israel’s chief rival in the region. The Syrian army said at the time that two soldiers were killed. Hezbollah is part of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s government, though Lebanon officially remains neutral over the neighboring Syrian civil war.

United Kingdom

BBC News: Memorial To UK Victims Of Overseas Terrorism Revealed

Designs for a memorial dedicated to UK victims of terrorism overseas have been revealed. The sculpture, called Still Water, will be installed at the National Memorial Arboretum by the end of the year. It will commemorate all UK citizens who have been killed in terrorist attacks overseas, the government said. Defence minister Tobias Ellwood said it would also ‘stand for those events that, sadly, are likely in future years’. Mr Ellwood, who was previously a Foreign Office minister, added: ‘My hope is that this memorial will become a peaceful and contemplative site, offering solace and comfort to those affected by the terrible terrorist events.’

Reuters: UK Police Release Two Of Group Arrested Over Suspected Far-Right Terrorism

Two men arrested on suspicion of belonging to a banned far-right group and planning terrorist acts have been released without charge, British police said on Sunday. The men were among five, including some serving soldiers, arrested on Sept. 5 as part of a pre-planned, intelligence-led operation. They were detained on suspicion of being involved in the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism and of being members of neo-Nazi organization the National Action group. ‘Two men arrested by officers from West Midlands Police Counter Terrorism Unit on suspicion of terrorism offences have been released from custody ... without charge following enquiries,’ West Midlands Police said in a statement.


The Jerusalem Post: As Antisemitism Rises, Germany Labels Hezbollah Right-Wing Extremist Group

The German government reported to Green Party deputy Volker Beck on Friday an increase in the number of criminal antisemitic acts in the country. This includes Israel-related antisemitism, and the classification of Hezbollah’s crimes as far-right extremism. Beck received the information in his role as president of the German-Israeli Parliamentary Friendship Group in the Bundestag. There were 681 antisemitic incidents in the first half of 2017 – a 4% increase over the same period in 2016 (in which 654 criminal antisemitic acts took place), the federal government said.


Deutsche Welle: French Prosecutor Links Explosives Lab With 'Islamic State'

Prosecutor Francois Molins (pictured) told reporters Sunday that two suspects linked to an explosives lab which was discovered last week have been placed under formal investigation on charges of associating with terrorists and manufacturing explosives. ‘Analysis from the material seized showed one of the suspects had been in direct contact in August 2016 with Rachid Kassim via Facebook,’ Molins said. Kassim is believed to be a senior so-called ‘Islamic State’ (IS) militant.

Reuters: Prosecutor Links Suspect Arrested Last Week Near Paris To ISIS

A French prosecutor said on Sunday that a man arrested last week after a police raid on a flat near Paris had a direct connection with Islamic State. Police discovered a stash of explosives in the raid last Wednesday in Villejuif, south of Paris, and found TATP, a product often used by suicide bombers. A second cache of explosive materials was discovered in a nearby town the following day. Two men who were arrested were put into formal investigation on Sunday and placed in detention, the Paris prosecutor, Francois Molins, told a news conference. A third suspect was released with no charges. “Analysis from the material seized showed one of the suspects had been in direct contact in August 2016 with Rachid Kassim via Facebook,” Molins said.

ABC News: 2 Suspects In France Face Terror Charges Over Explosives Lab

French prosecutors on Sunday issued preliminary terror charges for two men linked to an explosives lab discovered in an apartment near Paris. Paris counter-terrorism prosecutor Francois Molins said the men detained last week were charged with terrorist association and the manufacture of explosives. Molins said the men — a 36-year-old apartment owner named Ali M.R. and a man known as Frederic L. who was previously known to intelligence authorities — aimed ‘to manufacture a bomb’ to carry out an attack in France. He said, however, no specific plan had been found.

The Times Of Israel: Jewish Family Beaten, Robbed In ‘Anti-Semitic’ Home Invasion Near Paris

Three members of a prominent French Jewish family were kidnapped, tied up, brutally beaten and robbed on Thursday night in their home in the suburb of Livry-Gargan northeast of Paris, French authorities said Sunday. According to the National Bureau for Vigilance against Anti-Semitism (BNVCA), three individuals broke into the house Roger Pinto, the president of the Siona group representing Sephardic Jews, by cutting through the home’s window bars. They then cut off the electricity in the house, tied up Pinto’s son, and held and beat his wife. It was only on Friday morning, several hours later, that Pinto managed to discretely contact police, causing the intruders to flee.


U.S. News & World Report: The Latest: 217 Migrants Found In Black Sea Seeking Europe

Coast guard forces from Romania and Bulgaria have intercepted 217 migrants in the Black Sea who are suspected of trying to illegally enter Romania. Romanian border police said Saturday they spotted a tourist ship carrying 97 migrants from Iran and Iraq sailing close to Romanian waters late Friday. The ship, carrying 40 men, 21 women and 36 children, was taken to the port of Mangalia. Separately, a joint Romanian-Bulgarian effort blocked a fishing vessel carrying 120 migrants in the Black Sea late Friday near the northern Bulgarian town of Shabla. The ship and its passengers were handed over to Turkey.


Fortune: Terrorists Are Using Drones Now. And That’s Not The Worst Of It.

Sixteen years after the 9/11 attacks and the onset of the ‘war on terror,’ the jihadist movement has grown stronger in almost every measurable way. Jihadists enjoy more safe havens throughout the globe, control more territory, are at the forefront of more insurgencies, and have achieved more popular support than they did 16 years ago. The pace and lethality of terrorist attacks in Europe represents something of a nightmare scenario, with hundreds of Europeans dying in the past three years. ISIS’s mobilization of foreign fighters creates a looming security issue across dozens of countries that will have to deal with returning fighters.

Terror Financing

Addiyar: Cigarette Trafficking Accounts For More Than 20% Of Terrorist Organizations' Funding

Roughly 15 terrorist organizations around the world regularly use cigarette smuggling to fund their operations. These include the Taliban in Pakistan, al-Qaeda in the Maghreb and ISIS. Several factors have encouraged terrorist organizations to engage in tobacco smuggling to increase their funding. Firstly, cigarettes are easy to transport and dispose of. In addition, it is easy to counterfeit documents for smuggling cigarettes before they are sold. Note that profits from cigarette smuggling are high compared to the limited risk entailed in smuggling. According to a study published by the France-based Center for Terrorist Analysis, cigarette trafficking represents more than 20% of the sources of funding for terrorist organizations.


Al-Ghad Press: ISIS Uses Donkeys To Transport Money

A local source in Kirkuk province disclosed that ISIS is using donkeys as a new means of moving and smuggling money from Hawija in the southwest part of the province to the borders of Diyala and Salahuddin provinces. The source claimed that "several ISIS members, especially leaders managed to infiltrate with bags full of money smuggled from Hawija to the abovementioned areas across, using donkeys." The source asserted that "ISIS militants decided to use donkeys as a means of transportation thanks to their ability to move through rugged mountainous roads, on the one hand, while, on the other hand, not to make conspicuous noise like cars and motorcycles, which draw attention to their movements by security forces and reconnaissance aircraft.

Muslim Brotherhood

Elbalad: Report: Muslim Brotherhood Misused Funds From The Austrian Government To Disseminate Extremism

A joint report prepared by the Austrian Foreign Ministry and Austrian intelligence agencies documented the exploitation of the Austrian government's funds and schools to disseminate extremism in local Muslim communities. Austrian territory was being used as a base for the Muslim Brotherhood's activity in Western countries, the Saudi daily Asharq Al Awsat reported. According to the report, in recent years, many European governments have begun to review their {liberal} policies towards the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic organizations. This trend began in 2014 when the British government ordered a review of the activities and presence of the group in Britain and how the official policy should deal with it. The report added that the process, however, did not evolve as some opponents of the Brotherhood had hoped – i.e. to designate it as a terrorist organization. It sufficed the British government to condemn the ideology and objectives of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Egyrep: Egypt: Seizure Of Muslim Brotherhood-Affiliated Media Outlets

The Arab Media Freedom Monitor condemned the Egyptian authorities' seizure of the funds of six Egyptian media networks affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. In a statement, the Monitor announced that the Muslim Brotherhood Asset Freeze Committee today issued a new list of companies and entities that it has decided to appropriate. The list includes Rassd News Network and five media production companies, namely Red Line Media Services, owned by Osama Zeinhom Hassan; Al-Nahar for Media and Publishing, owned by Ahmed Sayed Mekawy El Shazly; Nour Media, owned by Khaled Abdullah; and Al-Diaa, owned by Diaa Eddin Farhat. This is in addition to the Civilizational Center for Future Studies, which is headed by Dr. Gamal Nassar.

Elmwatin: Preacher: Muslim Brotherhood Raises Donations Under The Guise Of Helping Burma Victims

Egyptian cleric Khaled el-Gendy, member of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, claimed in a TV interview that the Muslim Brotherhood is trying to {exploit} events in Burma to raise funds. Speaking on Sunday evening, the cleric stressed that the siege on terror-sponsoring countries has dried up, to some extent, the funding sources used by the group. According to el-Gendy, the Brotherhood exploits crises in various countries to raise funds which are then spent on the group's activities aimed at ruining the Egyptian state, its institutions, army and the police.