Eye on Extremism: September 14, 2023

Associated Press: US Military Resumes Drone Flights And Manned Counterterrorism Missions Out Of Niger Bases

“The U.S. military has resumed flying drones and manned aircraft out of air bases in the Niger more than a month after a coup temporarily halted all those activities there, the head of U.S. Air Forces for Europe and Africa said Wednesday. Since the July coup, the 1,100 U.S. forces deployed in the country have been confined inside their military bases. Last week the Pentagon said some military personnel and assets had been moved from the air base near Niamey, which is the capital of Niger, to another in Agadez. Niamey is about 920 kilometers away from Agadez. In response to a question from the Associated Press on how the U.S. was able to continue its counterterrorism missions without those flights, Gen. James Hecker, the top Air Force commander for Europe and Africa, said in recent weeks some of those intelligence and surveillance missions have been able to resume due to U.S. negotiations with the junta.”

The National: Belgium Rejects ISIS Bomber's Plea Not To Be Extradited To France

“A Belgian court on Wednesday rejected French terrorist Salah Abdeslam's request not to be extradited to France, saying that his claim that it would be a breach of his human rights was not “sufficiently substantiated”. Abdeslam, 33, was transferred to Belgium from France last summer to be tried by a separate Belgian court for his role in two ISIS-claimed attacks in Brussels in 2016 in which 35 people died. He was found guilty in July on all counts and is expected to be sentenced in the coming days. His lawyers, however, requested in early September that he not be transferred to France to serve a life sentence without parole, the country's harshest possible sentence, which was issued by a Paris court in June last year. The only survivor of a cell that perpetrated a series of attacks in Paris in November 2015, killing 130 people, Abdeslam was sent to Belgium with the expectation that he would return by September 30, according to Belgian media.”

United States

i24 News: U.S. Diverts $30 Million In Military Aid From Egypt To Lebanon - Report

“The United States has decided to reroute $30 million in designated military assistance from Egypt to Lebanon, according to a report by Al Arabiya English on Wednesday,  The reallocation highlights the Biden administration's commitment to supporting the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). The shift follows the Biden administration's notification to Congress of its decision to divert $85 million in military funds initially intended for Egypt due to concerns over human rights violations. Of the redirected funds, approximately $55 million is expected to be allocated to Taiwan, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. Support for the Lebanese Armed Forces has garnered bipartisan backing in recent years, given its crucial role in maintaining stability within the country, particularly in light of governmental paralysis, as emphasized by the U.S. official. Earlier this week, General Erik Kurilla, the top U.S. military official for the Middle East, visited Beirut, aiming to enhance training collaboration and address regional threats. During his visit, Kurilla met with LAF Gen. Joseph Aoun and interacted with the soldiers of the 4th Intervention Regiment.”


Foreign Policy: The Taliban Have A New Drug Of Choice

“...Hans-Jakob Schindler, senior director of the Berlin- and New York-based Counter Extremism Project, doesn’t believe the ban is genuine, let alone long-term. He regards it as an attempt to maximize profits while lulling the international community into recognizing the Taliban. Or it’s a diversification play. “If I was a Talib, I’d be getting into meth,” Schindler told Foreign Policy.”

Associated Press: Taliban Hail China’s New Ambassador With Fanfare, Say It’s A Sign For Others To Establish Relations

“The Taliban on Wednesday hailed China’s new ambassador to Afghanistan with fanfare, saying his arrival is a sign for other nations to come forward and establish relations with them. The Taliban seized power in August 2021 as U.S. and NATO forces withdrew after two decades of war. Their leaders are under sanctions and no country recognizes them as Afghanistan’s legitimate rulers. The country’s seat at the United Nations is still held by the former Western-backed government that was led by Ashraf Ghani. Only a handful of nations have working diplomatic missions in Afghanistan, including China, the world’s second-largest economy. The two sides have been open about their desire for closer ties, especially commercial ones. Ambassador Zhao Sheng’s car swept through the tree-lined driveway of the Presidential Palace escorted by a police convoy. He was greeted by uniformed troops and met top-ranking Taliban officials, including Mohammad Hassan Akhund, who heads the administration, and Foreign Affairs Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi.”


Euro ES Euro: Who Is Amer Mohamed Akil Rada, The Agent Involved In The Attack On The AMIA

“…The NGO Counter Extremism Project (CEP), whose ally is the United States Department of Homeland Security, indicated that Akil Rada, who is close to 60 years old, was born on September 7, 1964 or December 10, 1967 in Lebanon, although he also has with Colombian citizens. The man is head of the Akil Rada clan, which runs a wide range of businesses throughout South America and suspected of transferring large sums of money from his earnings to Hezbollah.”

Middle East

Associated Press: Powerful Explosion Kills 5 Palestinians In Gaza. Israel Says The Blast Was Caused By Mishandled Bomb

“At least five Palestinians were killed and over 20 others were wounded Wednesday in an explosion next to the separation fence along the Israeli frontier with Gaza, Palestinian health officials said. The cause of the blast was not immediately known. The explosion took place during a demonstration along the border marking the anniversary of Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005. The event on Gaza’s eastern border was organized by Hamas, the Islamic militant group that has governed the coastal territory since 2007. The Israeli army, which has fought four wars with Hamas, denied involvement. It said demonstrators were trying to throw a bomb over the fence when the device detonated prematurely. It released aerial footage showing a blast along the fence. Debris flew into the air, and several people could be seen running away. Protesters brandishing flags had been burning tires along the separation fence to celebrate the anniversary of Israel’s withdrawal. Suhail al-Hindi, a Hamas leader, praised the end of what he described as the “cruel Israeli occupation.””


Garowe Online: Al-Shabaab's Financial Operative Killed In Somalia

“A senior Al-Shabaab financial operative has been killed in Somalia, the government announced on Wednesday, in what has been nodded as an "important milestone" in the ongoing crackdown against the militants who are still dominant in central and southern Somalia. The Ministry of Defence announced that the group's notorious financier in the Bay region was killed along with several other militants as the national army mops up operations against the militants, who have been wreaking havoc in the Horn of Africa nation, which is seeking stability after three decades of turmoil. Without revealing the identity of the suspect, the Ministry of Defence insisted the victim has been leading a gang of individuals in extorting unsuspecting citizens in various parts of the country including but not limited to Adegabow Garar, Warta Dolar, Weley Bagal, and Ey-Duray, all of which are situated in the Bay region.”


BBC: Labour Plans Anti-Terror Style Crackdown On People Trafficking

“Sir Keir will seek a provisional agreement with the EU's policing body, Europol, for any future Labour government. Any deal to return migrants may require accepting migrant quotas from the EU. A government source said Sir Keir's plan to tackle gangs was a rehash of their policies. Sir Keir said: "The government's failure to tackle the criminal smuggling gangs orchestrating boat crossings is now so profound that I believe it needs to be considered on a par with the other three big security threats we face: climate change, hostile foreign powers and terrorism." Sir Keir told the Times that Labour would ultimately seek an EU-wide returns agreement. "We effectively exited the returns agreement we were in and have never replaced it," he said. Asked if he would be willing to accept the "quid pro quo" of migrant quotas in exchange for a deal, the Labour leader said: "That would be part of any discussions and negotiations with Europe."”

Reuters: EU Chief Calls For More Engagement With Africa

“The European Union must engage more with African countries, the bloc's chief executive said on Wednesday, accusing Russia of stirring chaos in the Sahel and saying military coups destabilise the region making it prone to risk of terrorism. "This is of direct concern for Europe – for our security and prosperity," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in her annual policy speech to the European Parliament on Wednesday. "We need to show the same unity of purpose towards Africa as we have shown for Ukraine. We need to focus on cooperation with legitimate governments and regional organisations," she said. Von der Leyen, widely expected to seek a second term at the helm of the EU executive after a continent-wide election next year, spoke as the bloc's promised major infrastructure spending in the global south moves at a snail's pace.”


The Times Of India: NIA Attaches Lucknow House Of Al-Qaeda's Active Member For Terror Acts

“The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has attached a house in Lucknow as ‘proceeds of terrorism’ after its probe found that the property was used by an active member of proscribed outfit Al-Qaeda affiliate Ansar Gazwat-ul-Hind to make preparations for carrying out terror attacks. The accused, Minhaj Ahmed, was using the house located at Dubagga, Lucknow, for various terror-related unlawful activities, including fabrication of improvised and petrol bombs, as part of a plot to carry out terrorist attacks in Uttar Pradesh, NIA said on Wednesday. The property, attached under Section 25 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, is registered in the name of Minhaj’s father Siraj Ahmad, grandmother and uncle. The NIA investigation found that Minhaj had been working closely with Adil Nabi Teli @ Musa, a terrorist affiliated with The Resistance Front (TRF), an arm of the banned terror outfit Lashker e Taiba. Musa was killed in an encounter with the security forces in Srinagar, J&K, on March 16, 2022.”

Reuters: Four Security Personnel, Two Militants Killed In Gunfights In Disputed Kashmir

“Four Indian security force personnel, including three officers, and two Islamist militants were killed in gunbattles in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir on Wednesday, officials said. Claimed in full but ruled in part by India and Pakistan, Muslim-majority Kashmir has seen a bloody insurrection against New Delhi for decades, with militants fighting security forces since the 1990s. Two officers of the Indian army - a colonel and a major - as well as a deputy superintendent of Kashmir police were killed in a gunbattle in the region of Anantnag, while a soldier and two militants were killed in a separate incident in the Rajouri district on Wednesday, officials told Reuters. Kashmir is not unfamiliar with loss of lives of security personnel as they try to clamp down on militancy. In a similar incident in the state in April, five Indian soldiers were killed when unidentified gunmen opened fire at an army vehicle. In August last year, militants attacked an Indian army post, killing three soldiers.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.


On September 15, 2019, a truck bomb exploded outside of the Al-Rai Hospital in Syria’s Aleppo Governorate, killing 12 civilians and injuring many more. There were no immediate claims of responsibility. 

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