Eye on Extremism: September 23, 2022

Reuters: Second Suspect Wanted Over Oslo Gay Bar Shooting, Police Say

“A second man is now wanted on suspicion of involvement in a mass shooting that killed two people and wounded 21 in and around an Oslo gay bar in June, Norwegian police said on Friday. "The hypothesis that it was an act of terrorism has now been strengthened," police lawyer Boerge Enoksen told a news conference. He said the second suspect was a Norwegian citizen in his 40s previously known to police for criminal activity and who was currently abroad. Only one suspect, named by police as Zaniar Matapour, was arrested at the scene of the June 25 shooting. An international arrest warrant has now been issued for the second suspect, who was not publicly named.”

CNN: ISIS Attempts Suicide Attack On Al-Hol Camp In Syria

“A group of ISIS militants in two vehicles rigged with suicide explosives attempted to attack the al-Hol camp in Syria which holds around 60,000 displaced persons, according to US Central Command. One of the vehicles exploded prematurely about 12 miles northeast of the camp, which alerted the nearby US partnered forces, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), said CENTCOM spokesman Col. Joe Buccino. When the SDF arrived at the scene, two men got out of the second vehicle. One man detonated a suicide vest, Buccino said, while the second was shot and killed by SDF forces. Another ISIS militant is in SDF custody. The second vehicle was rigged with approximately 110 pounds of explosives, Buccino said. A total of four ISIS militants were killed in the engagement, including in the first vehicle which detonated prematurely. “The response of our partnered forces highlights not only dedication to their people, but also their tenacity and commitment to the enduring defeat of ISIS,” Buccino said. Earlier this month, Gen. Erik Kurilla became the first commander of US Central Command to visit the al-Hol camp and the most senior US official to ever speak with the camp’s residents in person, Buccino said.”


Reuters: Western Nations Concerned By Presence Of Extremist Groups In Afghanistan

“Some western countries expressed grave concern about the presence and operations of extremist groups in Afghanistan and said the Taliban were not meeting their counter-terrorism commitments. Special envoys and representatives for Afghanistan of the European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States met last week and released a joint communiqué on Thursday in which they said the presence of Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was recently killed in a U.S. strike, showed the Taliban was not keeping its commitment.”


Asharq Al-Awsat: US House Of Representatives Urges EU To Designate 'Hezbollah' In Its Entirety As Terrorist

“The US House of Representatives approved a resolution “urging the European Union to designate Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization.” The draft proposed by Democratic and Republican representatives aims to pressure the EU to follow the US and include Hezbollah's political wing in its terrorist lists. The bill's sponsor, Representative Ted Deutch, said: “Hezbollah is a proxy for Iran. It's time for the EU to join the US, Germany, Argentina, the Arab League, and others in saying […] that it is one, a unified terrorist organization.” Deutch said that the approval of the House of Representatives of this resolution sends an “important message to our European allies: more can and must be done to counter the Iranian proxy (Hezbollah), which begins with calling them what they are: a terrorist organization in its entirety that is committed to the destruction of our ally Israel and continues to undermine the values and interests of both US and Europe.” The Rep. reiterated there is no difference between Hezbollah's branches, and the military wing cannot be separated from the political wing. The Democratic representative called on the European Union to stop allowing Hezbollah's political wing to operate freely in some EU countries and join the United States in targeting the terrorist group and its global criminal networks.”

Middle East

The Jerusalem Post: Security Forces On High Alert As Terror Attack Threat During Holidays Rises

“The IDF has sent reinforcements to the northern West Bank ahead of the High Holy Days, as violence continues to rage in the West Bank and Israeli cities. As security forces increase their alert level, an extra battalion of Golani forces will be immediately deployed to the northern West Bank in the face of a rise in shooting attacks in the area by Palestinian gunmen. “Starting from Saturday night, police vigilance will be raised to the highest level throughout the country until the end of the holiday period.” Though the defense establishment does not believe the high number of attacks can be described as an intifada, security forces, including the IDF, police and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), have increased their level of alertness due to the high threat level. There have been about 10 attacks this past week, with at least two shooting attacks identified in the northern West Bank early on Thursday. Shots were fired toward the settlement of Har Bracha near Nablus, as well as toward a nearby military post. The shooter managed to escape, but the IDF found at least 60 shell casings during sweeps. The Palestinian terrorist group Lions Den later claimed responsibility for the shootings, posting a video on Twitter.”

The Times Of Israel: Eight Lightly Hurt In Suspected Terror Stabbing Near Modiin; Assailant Shot Dead

“Eight Israelis were lightly hurt in a suspected terror stabbing attack near the central Israeli city of Modiin on Thursday evening, medics and police said. Officials said the assailant stopped his vehicle at a traffic light, close to the Shilat junction, and began to open car doors and attack people with a knife and pepper spray. According to the Magen David Adom ambulance service, two men in separate cars — aged 39 and 23 — were treated for minor stab wounds to their hands. Another five people — passengers of the two cars — were treated by MDA medics after being maced with pepper spray. The attacker was shot dead by an off-duty Border Police officer who was in the area, police said. MDA added that the officer was also treated for a minor injury. Police officials said the assailant was a 22-year-old Palestinian from the Ramallah area. In a separate statement, police said he was a resident of East Jerusalem. Police described the incident as a terror attack. The Shilat Junction is close to the West Bank security barrier. Speaking to Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai, the Border Police officer,  Sgt. Maj. ‘Dalet’ — identified only by his rank and initial of his first name in Hebrew — said he saved his partner from being stabbed.”


AFP: Mozambique, Tanzania Pen Deals To Fight Terrorism

“Leaders of Mozambique and Tanzania said on Wednesday they had signed defense 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 neighbors 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.”

United Kingdom

Evening Standard: Man Charged With 14 Terror Offences After Arrest At Stansted Airport

“A man has been charged with terrorism offences after he was arrested at Stansted airport following an investigation by the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command. Ismail Kissa, 23, of east London, was charged on Thursday with 13 counts of dissemination of a terrorist publication under section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006. He also faces one charge of possessing a document containing information likely to be useful for terrorism under section 58 of the Terrorism Act 200. Kissa was remanded in custody over the charges which relate to alleged Islamist terror and was due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court. on Thursday Kissa was arrested by counter terrorism officers at Stansted Airport on 29 March 2022. A police statement said: “The investigation is related to Islamist terrorism.”


Associated Press: Germany: Teen Arrested For Alleged Extremist Attack Plans

“A teenager accused of planning an Islamist-motivated attack in Germany was arrested Thursday, the federal prosecutor’s office said. The dual German-Kosovar citizen detained in the western town of Iserlohn allegedly was under the influence of an Islamic State group follower who posted propaganda on online messaging services, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement. The teenager’s exact age was not given, and he was identified only as Etrit P. for privacy reasons, according to the statement. Investigators accused him of preparing a serious act of violence threatening the state and supporting a foreign terrorist organization. “In implementation of this decision, he already had himself taught how to build an unconventional explosive and incendiary device,” the statement said. Prosecutors think the suspect worried his alleged bombing plans would be foiled. They said he had therefore decided to attack police officers with a knife instead but was arrested before before doing so, the statement said.”


The National: India's Anti-Terror Agency Arrests 100 Members Of Alleged Extremist Organisation

“India’s federal anti-terror agency has arrested more than 100 members of an alleged Islamist organisation, during a nationwide clampdown on the group over allegations of terror funding and radicalising people. The National Investigation Agency on Thursday morning raided the offices and homes of senior members of the Popular Front of India (PFI) across 10 states. These included Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in the south. The NIA called the operation the “largest ever to date” in the country, alleging the group promotes radicalisation, anti-government activities and fans communal troubles. Indian security forces have in the past arrested members of the PFI, who they say were in possession of weaponry and extremist propaganda materials. Kerala police said that in 2017, six members of the group were identified as having joined ISIS. The highest number of arrests — 42 ― were made in Kerala. The NIA raided at least 10 locations across Bengaluru city in Karnataka, including the residence of the state PFI president Nazeer Pasha. Supporters of the organisation staged a protest against the raids in Mangaluru city, also in Karnataka. The PFI has a strong presence in southern states and calls itself a “neo-social movement to empower people from marginal communities and ensure justice.”


The Guardian: Icelandic Police Arrest Four People Over Alleged Terror Attack Plans

“An unprecedented investigation into an alleged terrorist plot in Iceland has led to the arrest of four men suspected of targeting “various institutions of society” and “citizens of the state”. Several semi-automatic weapons, including 3D-printed ones, were seized at nine locations, as well as “thousands” of rounds of ammunition, by a large police operation involving 50 officers. Karl Steinar Valsson, the national commissioner of the Icelandic police, declined to expand further on the nature of the targets but suggested they may have included the parliament and police. Local media reported that officers were exploring potential links to Nordic far-right groups and that the police were the central target. Valsson said: “It is safe to say that our society is safer than it was.” He added: “We are just starting some work and are seizing a large amount of phones and computers and other such things. All that work is in the very early stages. “We took certain measures while we were getting the situation under control. Of course, we don’t want to reveal what the exact response of the police is. “At its peak, there were about 50 police personnel who took part in the police operation. With them, we think we’ve covered what we’re investigating and don’t think there’s any danger in travelling.”

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