Eye on Extremism: September 22, 2022

Fox News: ISIS Is Threat To Entire Human Race, Iraqi Foreign Minister Says In Exclusive Interview

“The Iraqi foreign minister urged Western countries to continue chasing the remnants of ISIS until the organization is completely eliminated because it presents a threat to humanity. “We must take it seriously because, when they started, they were also small. But once they became part of the problem, not only that they have got weapons in their hands, but this has to do with an ideology as ISIS has to do with their culture, with ideas,” Iraq’s Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein told Fox News Digital in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. “So we must fight ISIS … not only fighting ISIS on military field or by military means,” Hussein added. “We need different kinds of education so the fight against ISIS as an ideology is not yet there. And we need to do more. “We need different platforms talking about this ideology, because, at the end, it is a threat for humanity.” The U.S. and its allies declared a military victory over ISIS and an end to the caliphate in 2019 after destroying the last stronghold in the Syrian village of Baghouz. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which cooperates with the U.S. military, led the effort on the ground. But remnants of ISIS continued to operate in rural Iraq and Syria. Operatives have focused recruiting efforts on the al-Hol refugee camp, the largest such camp in Syria, which U.S. Central Command chief Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla warned was a “breeding ground” for future ISIS operatives.”

Reuters: U.S. Says It Kills 27 Al Shabaab Militants In Somalia Air Strike

“The U.S. military said on Wednesday it had killed 27 fighters from the al Shabaab militant group in an air strike in Somalia's central Hiran region, where the army and allied forces have launched an offensive against the insurgents in the last month. The United States has been carrying out air strikes in Somalia against al Shabaab, an al Qaeda franchise, for years. Sunday's strike was the sixth recorded in 2022, according to the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) website. In Hiran region residents say al Shabaab's torching of houses, destruction of wells and killing of civilians, combined with demands for taxes amidst the worst drought in 40 years, has pushed locals to form paramilitary groups to fight alongside the government. The militants, who are seeking to overthrow the Western-backed central government and implement a strict interpretation of Islamic law, were killed while attacking federal forces near Buulobarde, a town around 200 km (125 miles) north of the capital Mogadishu, AFRICOM said in a statement. “The defensive strikes allowed the Somali National Army and African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) forces to regain the initiative and continue the operation to disrupt al Shabaab in the Hiraan region of central Somalia,” AFRICOM said. “This operation is the largest combined Somali and ATMIS offensive operation in five years.”

United States

CNN: Man Who Attacked NYPD Officers In 2020 Jihadist-Inspired Attack Sentenced To 30 Years In Prison, Then Deportation, Prosecutors Say

“A man who attacked New York Police Department officers in a Jihadist-inspired attack in 2020 was sentenced 30 years in prison Wednesday, according to a news release from the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York. Dzenan Camovic, a Bosnian national who was living in Brooklyn illegally, was inspired by terrorism, prosecutors said, adding he will be deported after completing his sentence. Camovic pleaded guilty in March to charges related to the attack, the US Attorney’s Office previously announced. “Today’s 30-year sentence, along with Camovic’s removal from the United States, guarantees the community will be protected from his hate-filled ideology and actions,” Breon Peace, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a statement. Prosecutors said Camovic approached two uniformed NYPD officers on the night of June 3, 2020, and stabbed one of them in the neck with a knife, according to the indictment. Camovic then chased the second officer, “repeatedly and violently stabbing at the officer with the knife and eventually throwing the knife at the officer,” the indictment says. Camovic then returned to the first officer, attacked him again and robbed him of his gun, according to the indictment. He then used that weapon to fire multiple shots at several officers, prosecutors said.”


Kurdistan 24: SDF-Linked Forces Prevent ISIS Attack On Al-Hol Camp: Asayish

“The official Twitter account of Internal Security Forces (also known as Asayish) on Tuesday evening confirmed that their forces prevented an ISIS attack on al-Hol camp. Also Aram Hanna, spokesperson of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Wednesday confirmed in a tweet that SDF-linked forces yesterday prevented an attack on al-Hol camp by ISIS sleeper cells. “As a result of the information, our forces thwarted this plan and clashed with the cell that was preparing itself for the attack,” he tweeted. The clash resulted in the killing of a number of ISIS elements and the capture of others, he added. The Asayish last night said the search operation was still going on and that more information will be provided soon. The announcement by the Asayish and SDF comes a few days after the end of the anti-ISIS Operation Humanity and Security campaign in al-Hol camp. On Saturday, the Asayish announced the end of the campaign that lasted 24 days in which a total number of 226 ISIS suspects were arrested, including 36 ‘extremist women involved in murder and terrorism offenses.’ The SDF has always warned they had information ISIS was planning to attack the camp, which is seen by the coalition and the SDF as a breeding ground for the next ISIS generation.”


Associated Press: Taliban Official: Explosion Kills 3 People In Afghan Capital

“An explosion in Afghanistan’s capital has killed at least three people and wounded 13 others, a Taliban official said on Wednesday. According to Khalid Zadran, the Taliban-appointed spokesman for the Kabul police chief, the blast occurred in a restaurant in the city’s western Dehmazang neighborhood. A team has arrived in the area to find out the cause of the blast, he added. Police did not say if the blast was an accident or the result of an attack. Afghan cities are sometimes the target of the local Islamic State group affiliate. Residents and workers in the area said the restaurant was a popular place to eat for low-income workers and poor people because it was cheap. One of those killed in the explosion was a teenager who worked in a photography shop in the area. His funeral took place on Wednesday, several hours after the incident. An eyewitness, Hamid, said three of his friends were killed. “There were many casualties and we put them into a civilian vehicle and some other vehicles, and they were taken to Isteqlal hospital.” Mohammad Mukhtar, the father of one of the victims, said his son had been having lunch at the restaurant. “Five minutes later, we were informed that my son was martyred in the explosion. When I went to the hospital, I saw my son’s dead body. Who is responsible for it? Whom I can hold accountable for his loss?”

Middle East

CBS News: Palestinians Reach Truce To Stop Violent Clashes In West Bank City

“Palestinian security forces and militants agreed to a truce on Wednesday to end violent clashes in a flashpoint West Bank city, local officials said. The violence highlighted deep disenchantment with the internationally backed Palestinian leadership. For now, the deal to end the clashes eases tensions in the area, which on Tuesday was gripped by some of the fiercest antagonism directed at the Palestinian Authority in years. But the truce failed to address the underlying and widespread opposition to Palestinian security coordination with Israel. The clashes erupted after an arrest raid by Palestinian security against local militants. The two sides exchanged fire as angry residents pelted an armored jeep with objects and chased it away. One man was reported dead. The violence was reminiscent of the way Palestinians typically protest against Israeli troops. The unrest in Nablus reflected the deep unpopularity of the Palestinian leadership, which is widely seen because of its security ties with Israel as entrenching Israel's 55-year military occupation of the West Bank and its nearly 3 million residents. It has also been beset by corruption and has repeatedly delayed elections. A semblance of normal life returned on Wednesday to Nablus, known as the West Bank's business capital.”


AFP: Niger Receives $13 Million From US To Fight Extremism

“Niger has received new military equipment from Washington to support its fight against extremists plaguing the west and southeast of the country, Niamey’s defense ministry told AFP on Wednesday. The shipment consists mainly of vehicles, including armored models, the ministry said, with the consignment worth $13 million (8.5 billion CFA francs). The new support for Niger “is proof of the strength of our relations with the United States” in view of the “rise in capacity” of the Niger Armed Forces, said Defense Minister Alkassoum Indatou, who received the equipment in Niamey. The equipment will be used for a German-funded special forces training center in Tillia, in the western Tahoua region, where extremist groups affiliated to the ISIS terrorist group and al-Qaeda are active. The equipment will also be used to train Niger soldiers serving with the United Nations mission in Mali, which also faces extremism. Niger and the United States have had a military cooperation agreement since 2015 on “security and good governance” under which the two countries committed “to work together on the fight against terrorism.” The US military must also “train Niger’s military in the fight against terrorism,” according to the agreement.”


AFP: Suspected Jihadis Kill 11 Farmers In Niger

“Suspected jihadis have shot dead 11 farmers, nine from Niger and two Nigerians, in southeastern Niger, a local official said on Wednesday. “Eleven farmers have been executed by shooting [Tuesday] morning by elements of Boko Haram, seven kilometers from Toummour,” Issa Bonga, Toummour's mayor, told AFP. The town is in the Diffa region close to the Lake Chad basin, a strategic area where the borders of four countries converge: Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria. Boko Haram and its rival, the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP), have established bases on the many small islands in the vast, swampy Lake Chad basin. The 11 victims had set off to cut wood in the bush, the mayor said. The nine from Niger, who came from Bosso, a neighboring town to Toummour, were scheduled to be buried early Wednesday, the mayor added. “Thirteen woodcutters [who] left to look for wood have been intercepted by elements of ISWAP. Eleven have been executed,” a local group called Jeunesse Diffa (Diffa Youth), which has closely reported on the security problems in southeast Niger, said on Facebook. “In addition, the terrorists sent a message through the channel of one of the released woodcutters to warn residents to no longer frequent” the area where they operate, the group's posting said.”

AFP: Mozambique, Tanzania Pen Deals To Fight Terrorism

“Leaders of Mozambique and Tanzania said on Wednesday they had signed defence and security deals aimed at fighting terrorism and crime along their shared border. No details were released about the agreements, which were signed during a visit to Maputo by Tanzania's President Samia Suluhu Hassan. A deadly insurgency erupted in northern Mozambique, near the Tanzanian border, five years ago. It has killed thousands and displaced hundreds of thousands. But life now was “gradually returning to normal” after thousands of foreign troops from several African countries were deployed more than a year ago to quell the unrest, said Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi. “The enemy is now operating in small groups trying to descend into the southern districts,” Nyusi said during their talks. President Hassan said as the two neighbours share a “very long” boundary, “we need a good security system in which we can protect our border”. “We have been seeing... cross-border crimes (and) terrorism,” she said. Nyusi on Tuesday toured the recovered port of Mocimboa da Praia, previously the de-facto headquarters of the jihadists. In October 2017, about 30 armed men launched a dawn raid on three police stations in Mocimboa da Praia -- marking the start of the insurgency.”


The Guardian: ‘It Was War’: Survivors Of 2016 Nice Attack Describe Experiences In Court

“Survivors of the 2016 Bastille day attack in Nice have described how the seafront was turned into a “war zone” when a gunman drove a heavy truck at high speed into the crowd gathered to watch fireworks in the French Riviera city. “It was war, people were crushed, I saw a woman being run down with a baby in her arms,” said Abdallah Kebaïer, a retired maintenance worker, who was catapulted into the air by the truck and suffered seven broken ribs, head trauma and injuries to his liver and pancreas. Giving evidence at a trial of seven men and one woman, Kebaïer, 67, described the sense of confusion and panic as thousands who had gathered to watch fireworks on the seafront boulevard lined with palm trees noticed a heavy truck deliberately driving into the crowd, zigzagging and accelerating towards people for 2km along the esplanade. The attack, which killed 86 people and injured more than 400, was the second most deadly massacre in peacetime France. It came eight months after the Paris attacks on bars, restaurants, the national stadium and Bataclan concert hall that killed 130 people and were claimed by Islamic State. Kebaïer, whose daughter was getting married that week, watched the fireworks display with his brother and cousin.”

Southeast Asia

The Sydney Morning Herald: Fuelled On Social Media, Terrorism Remains A Threat In Indonesia: Police Chief

“The chief of Indonesia police’s anti-terror squad has warned that violent extremism still poses a danger in South-East Asia’s largest nation, admitting authorities are powerless to stop jihadists from spreading their ideology on social media. Indonesian authorities have rounded up hundreds of militants in the past two years in a crackdown that has severely weakened organisations such as Jemaah Islamiyah, the al-Qaeda-linked network that carried out the 2002 Bali terror attack. In an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Bali bombings on October 12, Inspector General Marthinus Hukom said terror groups were still a threat in Indonesia, the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country. “Today [JI] don’t have a structure, they are loose. But they can move together and get massive because they consist of small cells planted everywhere. So they are quite dangerous,” said Hukom, who heads Detachment 88, the counter-terrorism police unit set up after the Kuta nightclub blasts with funding and training from Australia and the United States. He warns Islamic State-affiliated groups in Indonesia remain equally dangerous despite lacking organisation.”


Global News: Fighting Extremist Content Online: Feds Dedicate $1.9M To Terrorist Analytic Tool

“The federal government is giving new funding to continue the development of an automated tool for finding and flagging terrorist content online. In a press released issued Tuesday evening, the public safety department detailed a $1.9-million, three-year investment in funding “to combat online terrorist and violent extremist content.” “We need to confront the rise of hate and violent extremism,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a tweet on Tuesday. “At the Christchurch Call Summit, I announced that Canada will fund a new tool that helps small and medium-size online platforms better identify and counter content related to terrorism and violent extremism.” The tool Trudeau referred to is the Terrorist Content Analytics Platform. Created by the United Nations’ Tech Against Terrorism initiative in 2020, the tool combs various corners of the internet for terrorist content and flags it for tech companies around the world to review — and, if they choose to do so, remove. The creation of this tool is funded by Public Safety Canada through the Community Resilience Fund. However, despite their funds supporting it, the government is at arms-length from the work TCAP does, according to the website for the tool.”

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