Eye on Extremism: September 26

TIME: U.N. Head Warns World Faces 'Unprecedented Threat' From Violent Extremism And Terrorism

“Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Wednesday that the world is facing “an unprecedented threat from intolerance, violent extremism and terrorism” that affects every country, exacerbating conflicts and destabilizing entire regions. The U.N. chief told a Security Council ministerial meeting on the sidelines of the annual gathering of world leaders that “the new frontier is cyber-terrorism — the use of social media and the dark web to coordinate attacks, spread propaganda and recruit new followers.” He stressed that the response to the unprecedented terrorist threat “must complement security measures with prevention efforts that identify and address root causes, while always respecting human rights.” Russia, which holds the council presidency this month, organized the meeting on cooperation between the U.N. and three Eurasian organizations in countering terrorism — the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Collective Security Treaty Organization, and Commonwealth of Independent States. The United States and its Western allies echoed the secretary-general, stressing the importance of respecting human rights in counter-terrorism operations.”Efforts to counter terrorism that do not respect human rights ultimately breed resentment and violent extremism,” U.S. deputy ambassador Jonathan Cohen said.”

Voice Of America: US Military Struggles To Weed Out Members With Far-Right Ties

“The arrest of a U.S. soldier with far-right sympathies who is suspected of plotting an attack on American soil to spark “chaos” has highlighted a challenge for the Pentagon: purging its ranks of extremists. Jarrett Smith, a private in the U.S. Army based at Fort Riley in Kansas, was arrested and charged in federal court with one count of distributing information related to explosives after offering a detailed explanation to an undercover FBI agent. Smith also expressed interest in targeting members of the leftist group Antifa and heading to Ukraine to fight with a far-right paramilitary group, the FBI says. But he is hardly the first U.S. soldier to reveal far-right or ultra-nationalist leanings — and some fear the U.S. military is being used as a training ground by extremist groups.”

Reuters: World Losing Ground Against Violence In Sahel, U.N. Says

“West African and international powers are failing to tackle the spiralling threat of Islamist militancy in the Sahel region, which is spreading towards the Gulf of Guinea, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday. Groups with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State have strengthened their foothold across the arid Sahel region this year, making large swathes of territory ungovernable and stoking ethnic violence, especially in Mali and Burkina Faso. France, the former colonial power in the region, intervened in Mali in 2013 to drive out Islamist militants who had occupied the north, but rather than stabilising the region, the situation has progressively worsened. “Let’s be clear, we are losing ground in the face of violence,” Guterres told a high-level panel on the sidelines of the United National General Assembly. “I know we are all very concerned about the continuing escalation of violence in the Sahel and its expansion to the Gulf of Guinea countries.” In July, the U.N. said Islamist attacks were spreading so fast in West Africa that the region should consider bolstering its response beyond current military efforts.”

The Jerusalem Post: ‘Look, You Can See ISIS Down There’: How ISIS Operates In Iraq Today

“Mount Qarachogh, Iraq - A long mountain that juts from the flat plains like a knife today separates Kurdish Peshmerga forces and the Iraqi security forces. This is a result of clashes that took place in October 2017, almost two years ago, following the Kurdistan Regional Government’s referendum. Since the clashes there have been on-again-off-again relations between the Iraqi division commanders and their Kurdish counterparts, working together through the US-led Coalition Operation Inherent Resolve, which is supposed to be fighting and defeating ISIS. We’d heard rumors that ISIS was still operating below this mountain, called Mount Qarachogh, since last year. The members of ISIS who were not killed during the 2014-2017 war in which the group was slowly defeated in parts of Iraq have gone to ground. These are hard core fighters or hangers-on, men for whom ISIS offers a ready-made escape from the drudgery of life and a place to go to resist what they see as an Iranian-backed Iraqi government. These ISIS networks have existed for more than a decade in one form of another, going back to the insurgency against US forces after 2003.”

The New York Times: Our Family Members Are Being Held Hostage In Iran. Help Us

“The Trump administration barred senior Iranian government officials from entering the United States on Wednesday, just hours after a failed attempt to renew diplomacy with President Hassan Rouhani as he attended an annual gathering of world leaders in New York. The order followed a new round of American economic penalties against China, Iran’s largest oil customer, to further squeeze the Iranian economy and force Tehran into new negotiations to limit its nuclear and military programs. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States was still open to talking to Iran, and hoped to tamp down inflamed tensions after leaders in the United States, Europe and Arab nations blamed Tehran for attacks on oil fields in Saudi  Arabia this month. “We want peace and we want a peaceful resolution,” Mr. Pompeo said during a news conference Wednesday afternoon with President Trump. “In the end, it will be up to the Iranians to make that decision whether they choose violence and hate.”

The National: European Parliament May Force Online Firms To Remove Terrorism Content

“The European Parliament’s civil liberties committee has already back the parliament’s position and MEPs could start negotiations shortly with EU member states on the regulations. Under them, EU countries would have to designate a competent authority and tell the European Commission, which would then publish a list with all the relevant bodies. When these authorities flag terrorist content, a removal order would be sent to the internet platforms, which would have one hour to delete it or disable access to it in all EU member states. There are also proposals to help smaller platforms – companies which have never received a removal order would be contacted 12 hours before their first order, when they would be given information on procedures and deadlines.”

United States

The New York Times: After Attacks In U.S., Extremist Symbols Draw Scrutiny

“The bowl-shaped haircut worn by the white supremacist who killed nine black worshipers in Charleston, S.C., stands among the most disturbing and distinctive images that extremists have shared online. Others include letters drawn from the ancient runic alphabet — a particular favorite among neo-Nazis — or slogans like “Diversity=White genocide.” They are among the many symbols, slogans and memes that white supremacists are deploying as propaganda and which are drawing more scrutiny amid a broader effort to curtail extremist violence in the United States. On Thursday, the Anti-Defamation League is adding 36 entries to its longstanding online catalog of extremist symbols, many of which are built around racist stereotypes that have been spread about African Americans and Jews. About 10 of them are the logos of extremist organizations. Several others are numeric codes that can carry hidden messages, like the numbers 109 or 110, anti-Semitic shorthand that claims that Jews have been expelled from 109 countries and that the United States should become the 110th. Hate symbols have long historical roots, including the white hoods and the cross burnings of the Ku Klux Klan that were meant to convey both menace and power.”

HuffPost: Army Service Members Warned About Extremist Violence At ‘Joker’ Screenings

“Army personnel have been cautioned on the risk of mass shooters when attending screenings of the movie “Joker.” The Army confirmed Wednesday that a security notice was distributed internally after an FBI investigation unearthed social media posts associated with extremists classified as misogynistic “incels” that suggested replicating the 2012 movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, during the Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises,” Gizmodo reported. The notice, obtained by Gizmodo, said: Team, Posts on social media have made reference to involuntary celibate (“incel”) extremists replicating the 2012 theatre shooting in Aurora, Colorado, at screenings of the Joker movie at nationwide theatres. This presents a potential risk to DOD personnel and family members, though there are no known specific credible threats to the opening of the Joker on 4 October. Incels are individuals who express frustration from perceived disadvantages to starting intimate relationships. Incel extremists idolize violent individuals like the Aurora movie theatre shooter. They also idolize the Joker character, the violent clown from the Batman series, admiring his depiction as a man who must pretend to be happy, but eventually fights back against his bullies. When entering theatres, identify two escape routes, remain aware of your surroundings, and remember the phrase “run, hide, fight.”

NPR: How The U.S. Hacked ISIS

“The crowded room was awaiting one word: "Fire." Everyone was in uniform; there were scheduled briefings, last-minute discussions, final rehearsals. "They wanted to look me in the eye and say, 'Are you sure this is going to work?' " an operator named Neal said. "Every time, I had to say yes, no matter what I thought." He was nervous, but confident. U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency had never worked together on something this big before. Four teams sat at workstations set up like high school carrels. Sergeants sat before keyboards; intelligence analysts on one side, linguists and support staff on another. Each station was armed with four flat-screen computer monitors on adjustable arms and a pile of target lists and IP addresses and online aliases. They were cyberwarriors, and they all sat in the kind of oversize office chairs Internet gamers settle into before a long night. "I felt like there were over 80 people in the room, between the teams and then everybody lining the back wall that wanted to watch," Neal recalled. He asked us to use only his first name to protect his identity. "I'm not sure how many people there were on the phones listening in or in chat rooms."

Bloomberg: Family Of Victim Killed By Hezbollah Awarded $20M

“The family of a U.S. national killed in Israel during a Hezbollah rocket attack on his kibbutz was awarded over $20 million by a federal court in D.C. in its suit against Syria under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. The award covers compensatory and economic damages, but not punitive damages, the opinion by Judge Rudolph Contreras of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said. The Syrian Arab Republic never responded to the family’s tort claims and they were given a default judgment.”

Syria

The Washington Post: Former Rebel Stronghold In Syria Begins To Rebuild

“Portraits of Syrian President Bashar Assad adorn a few buildings still intact after years of fighting and Russian soldiers hand out food and other supplies to residents of this Syrian town that was recently captured by the Syrian army. Khan Sheikoun, which holds a strategic position in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province, fell to Assad’s forces last month following weeks of a massive offensive by Syrian troops backed by Russian military support. On Wednesday, a group of foreign reporters on a trip to Syria organized by the Russian Defense Ministry saw municipal workers clearing the streets of debris, and Russian troops distributing aid. The town, which had a population of 65,000 when Syria’s civil war erupted in 2011, now has only about 4,000 residents.”

Reuters: Canada Revokes Consul Position Of Supporter Of Syria's Assad

“Canada has revoked its approval of a diplomat in Montreal who is a supporter of Syrian President Bashir al-Assad, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Wednesday. Freeland previously came out strongly against Waseem Ramli’s appointment to the position of Syrian honorary consul and promised timely action, but she had first wanted to hear Global Affairs Canada’s explanation for approving the position. “Upon review of the department’s decision, I have instructed officials to immediately revoke his status,” she said. Canada joined several other countries in ejecting all Syrian diplomats after the 2012 Houla massacre, but Syria has maintained honorary consul positions in Montreal and Vancouver to “provide basic consular services to Syrians in Canada,” Freeland said.”

Iran

NBC News: Trump Orders Visa Ban For Family Members Of Iranian Officials

“President Donald Trump on Wednesday ordered a visa ban on senior Iranian government officials and their family members, barring them from entering the United States to travel, study or work. The move comes after families of Americans imprisoned in Iran lobbied the White House for years to deny visas to the children or relatives of top-ranking officials in the Iranian government, as NBC News has previously reported. There are at least four Americans currently imprisoned in Iran and human rights groups and U.N. monitors say the detentions are arbitrary and baseless. Trump's proclamation accused Iran of threatening peace and stability in the Middle East and arbitrarily detaining Americans. "I have determined that it is in the interest of the United States to take action to restrict and suspend the entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of senior government officials of Iran, and their immediate family members," Trump stated in the order.”

The Wall Street Journal: Trump Can Do Even More On Iran

“The effectiveness of the Trump administration’s sanctions strategy against Iran has been astonishing—doubly so because the “maximum pressure” policy has faced wide opposition, including from close U.S. allies. Most foreign companies have decided to avoid doing business with Iran rather than face potential U.S. secondary sanctions, and this week Britain, France and Germany joined in blaming Tehran for the recent missile attack on Saudi Arabia. Iran complains bitterly about Mr. Trump’s policy, but by violating its nuclear commitments and attacking its neighbors, it practically invites the U.S. to do more. One option is to put the full weight of international law behind its sanctions campaign—unilaterally. President Obama’s sanctions rested largely on six binding resolutions adopted by the United Nations Security Council between 2006 and 2010. They were terminated in 2015 by Resolution 2231 implementing the nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.”

The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Sanctions Chinese Firms For Allegedly Shipping Iranian Oil

“The Trump administration blacklisted several Chinese companies including units of a state giant for allegedly shipping Iranian oil in violation of U.S. sanctions, attempting to cut off the last vestiges of Iran’s crude exports. The action signaled the administration’s commitment to its “maximum pressure” campaign as European allies and other nations push Washington to ease sanctions and cool rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran. The move Wednesday hit state-owned companies that collectively represent some of the biggest movers of oil and petroleum products in the world. The action is expected to strain ties further between Washington and Beijing as the two superpowers clash over trade, security and a host of other topics, former U.S. officials warn.”

AMN: Hezbollah Leader Photographed In Iran With Ayatollah Khamenei And Quds Forces Commander

“The Secretary-General of Hezbollah Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah posed next to Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khameni and the Quds Force commander Major General Qassem Suleimani in an undated photo that was posted on the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader’s official website. While the photo’s date is unknown, it is believed that the Hezbollah leader visited Iran in the past three months.”

BBC News: Stena Impero: Iran 'Still Investigating' Seized British Tanker

“Iran says it has lifted a detention order on a Swedish-owned, British-flagged oil tanker, but that it may not leave because of an ongoing inquiry. Foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi tweeted that the Stena Impero was suspected of "violations and damages inflicted on the environment". The ship's owner, Stena Bulk, said it was not aware of any formal charges. Iran seized the Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz in July, accusing it of violating maritime rules. The seizure came two weeks after an Iranian tanker was held off Gibraltar with the help of the Royal Marines. That ship, now called the Adrian Darya 1, was suspected of violating EU sanctions on Syria but it was released by Gibraltar on 15 August.”

The New York Post: The UN’s Disgraceful, Dangerous Refusal To Face Facts On Iran

“Days before the UN General Assembly gathered to discuss world peace, an Iranian drone and missile attack devastated Saudi oil facilities. For years, Israel has been the lone voice calling attention to the danger the Tehran regime poses to the Middle East. Yet an attack that threatens to destabilize global energy markets demonstrates that the best prosecutor of the case against Iran is … Iran. As the international community meets in Turtle Bay to discuss the gravest threats to international peace and security, it must review the evidence Tehran has put forth and get serious about the regime. Since seizing power 40 years ago, the regime has exported an extremist ideology that leaves nothing but chaos and bloodshed in its wake. Through its elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and with the use of its national airlines, Iran has spread its tentacles to four countries — ­Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon — as well as the Gaza Strip, dedicating years and more than $7 billion annually to building this extensive terrorist network.”

Iraq

Iraqi News: Security Forces Kill Eight IS Terrorists In Iraq’s Anbar

“Eight Islamic State (IS) militants were killed Wednesday during a security operation in the western province of Anbar, a military commander said. “The Jazeera Operations Command, backed by tribal mobilization fighters and army warplanes, carried out a preemptive security operation in the northern parts of Rawa, leaving eight IS terrorists dead,” Leader of al-Hashd al-Shaabi in Anbar Province, Qatari al-Obeidi told Alsumaria News. The operation is still ongoing, he added. The Islamic State group appeared on the international scene in 2014 when it seized large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria, declaring the establishment of an Islamic “caliphate” from Mosul city. Later on, the group has become notorious for its brutality, including mass killings, abductions and beheadings, prompting the U.S. to lead an international coalition to destroy it. Despite the group’s crushing defeat at its main havens across Iraq, Islamic State continues to launch sporadic attacks against troops with security reports warning that the militant group still poses a threat against stability in the country.”

Iraqi News: Iraqi Police Apprehend Five Islamic State Terrorists In Mosul

“The Iraqi Interior Ministry announced on Wednesday that five members of the Islamic State militant group were arrested in Mosul city. “A force of the 12th police emergency regiment of the Nineveh Police Command arrested five IS militants, who are involved in terrorist acts in Mosul city,” the Interior Ministry spokesman, Maj. Gen. Saad Maan, said. Three of the arrestees were members of Islamic State’s so-called Jund (soldiers) Diwan, the spokesman said. They were arrested in al-Shaimaa, al-Quds, al- Qadisiyyah and al-Maa’mon districts in Mosul, he added.Former prime minister Haider al-Abadi announced in July 2017 liberation of the second largest Iraqi city of Mosul from IS militants, who had captured it in 2014. More than 25,000 militants were killed throughout the campaign, which started in October 2016. The campaign was backed by paramilitary troops and a U.S.-led international coalition. Iraq declared the collapse of Islamic State’s territorial influence in Iraq in November 2017 with the recapture of Rawa, a city on Anbar’s western borders with Syria, which was the group’s last bastion in Iraq.”

Turkey

The Washington Post: Explosion Hits Riot Police Bus In Southern Turkey; 5 Wounded

“Turkey’s official news agency says a bomb exploded in southern Adana province, wounding five people. The governor’s office in Adana said Wednesday the explosion went off as a riot police bus passed. The statement said a police officer was among the wounded. Images of the explosion’s aftermath showed a badly damaged bus. Turkey has been hit by a string of bombings by outlawed Kurdish militants and the Islamic State group starting in 2015, killing hundreds. Attacks decreased after 2017. Two anti-terrorism prosecutors were assigned to the case, according to Anadolu news agency quoting Adana’s chief prosecutor. Prosecutor Omer Faruk Yurdagul said they were investigating the type of explosive and said initial findings pointed to an extremist attack.”

Afghanistan

The Washington Post: Afghanistan’s Election On Saturday Could Be Bloodier Than Expected. This Explains Why.

“This weekend, Afghanistan will hold its fourth presidential election since the Taliban government’s fall in 2001. Since the U.S. and Taliban’s recent breakdown in negotiations, the Taliban has killed more Afghan civilians than at almost any other point since the beginning of 2018, as you can see in the figure below. The Taliban has killed at least 58 civilians in the past eight days alone. And that may be about to get worse. In earlier presidential elections, the Taliban has tried not to kill civilians when they go to vote. That may change this weekend. Here’s why. In a study published in American Economic Review in 2018, one of us, Andrew Shaver, and his colleagues examined detailed Department of Defense wartime records of the Taliban’s violence shortly before and during elections between 2003 and 2014. Tracking insurgent activity by the hour, the study found the Taliban carried out an extraordinary number of attacks on election days — but that it avoided hurting civilians in those attacks. For instance, the Taliban tended to concentrate violence during election days’ early morning hours, before citizens traveled to the polls — which wasn’t the case with attacks on non-election days. In other words, the Taliban wasn’t significantly more likely to hurt civilians during elections than on other days.”

Xinhua: Afghan Air Raids Kill More Than 110 Insurgents In Northern Region

“More than 110 militants have been killed and over four dozen others sustained injuries as fighting planes struck Taliban hideouts in Afghanistan's northern Sari Pul, Jawzjan and Faryab provinces Tuesday night, army spokesman in the northern region Mohammad Hanif Rezai said Wednesday. The sorties struck Taliban hideouts in Sari Pul's Qashqari area, parts of Qaramqul district in Faryab and Gardan village of Darzab district in Jawzjan province, the official said, adding more than 50 armed militants have been wounded in the raids. No security personnel or civilians were wounded in the air raids, the official asserted. Aimed at stabilizing security ahead of the voting day, Rezai said that crackdowns on militants would continue. Afghanistan's presidential elections are slated for Saturday and more than 9.4 million eligible voters are expected to cast their vote amid tight security. Taliban outfit has termed the coming elections in Afghanistan as a sham practice and vowed to disrupt the voting process.”

Radio Free Europe: Taliban Lifts Ban On Who Vaccine Operations In Occupied Afghan Territories

“Taliban militants in Afghanistan have lifted a ban on World Health Organization (WHO) activities in areas they control, another apparent move by the extremist group to improve their image following the collapse of peace talks with the United States. The move announced on September 25 reversed a decision made in April when the extremist group barred the WHO and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) from operating in its occupied territories, accusing the groups of carrying out “suspicious” activities associated with polio-vaccination campaigns. “After realizing its shortcomings and following constant contact and meetings with our representatives, the WHO received permission for their activities,” Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, said in a statement. The ban had threatened to intensify a major humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, one of three countries in the world where the disease is endemic. The Taliban on September 15 revoked its ban on the ICRC and restored its guarantee for the security of Red Cross staff doing humanitarian work in Afghanistan, but it did not mention the WHO.”

The New York Times: A Desperate Battle, And A Victory For Now, At A Remote Afghan Outpost

“In one of the most remote places in Afghanistan, government forces this month managed to achieve something vanishingly rare these days: They clawed back not one but three districts from the Taliban’s grip. But the cost was high, and the victory was tenuous. Even as the Afghan forces turned their attention toward defending their gains against fierce Taliban counterattacks in Badakhshan Province, paramilitary fighters were swamped by grief: One of their most revered commanders, Najmullah, was among the dead. His men washed and wrapped his body carefully in white cloth, then loaded it onto a police pickup. They followed behind with heads bowed, weapons strapped across their backs and the morning sun glinting off their ammunition bandoleers. A visit by New York Times journalists to Badakhshan, a far-northern spit of Afghanistan sandwiched by Tajikistan, China and Pakistan, showed the desperate nature of a fight in a place cut off from the rest of the country for months every year by winter storms and rugged terrain.”

Pakistan

Pakistan Today: Religion And Terrorism Are Not Linked: PM

“Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday stressed there was no “link” between religion and terrorism as he linked the terror incidents with “marginalisation” of communities that “radicalise” them. The prime minister made these comments at a round table discussion on hate speech on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, co-hosted by Pakistan and Turkey, which was also attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations (UNAOC) Miguel Ángel Moratinos. Noting the growing incidents of discrimination and violence based on religion and belief, the prime minister underscored the importance of addressing both the drivers and consequences of these phenomena. He cautioned against attempts to “belittle revered personalities and scriptures cloaked in the right to freedom of expression and opinion”. “The world must understand Muslim sensitivities for Islam and the reverence for Prophet Muhammad (PBUH),” he said. He underscored the need for effective measures to be put in place so that hate speech, especially that which stems from Islamophobia, can be countered.”

Yemen

The National: Yemen's Houthi Rebels Force Children Out Of School With Fees

“Yemen’s Houthi rebels have started charging school fees in areas under their control, depriving children of an education and putting them at greater risk of exploitation and violence, according to government officials. In Sanaa, the Houthis are demanding up to 1,150 Yemeni rials [Dh17] in registration fees and a monthly charge of 1,000 rials, said Hooria Mashhour, Yemen’s former minister of human rights. Education in Yemen is free and open to all children from the ages of 6 to 15 in government-funded schools. “According to my sources in Sanaa, the Houthis are justifying their demands for these fees by stating that it will be paid towards the transport and allowance for volunteer teachers,” Ms Mashhour told The National. The charges are the “main reasons why children drop out of schools”, because their families cannot afford to pay them, she said.”

Lebanon

The Washington Examiner: New Indictment Piles On Evidence Of Hezbollah Terrorist Activity In US

“An indictment filed in the Southern District of New York last week against a New Jersey man on terror-related charges revealed strong evidence of organized Hezbollah activity in the United States. Ali Hassan Saab, known also as Alexei Saab, a resident of New Jersey and a U.S. citizen, was charged with nine felony counts based on Hezbollah activity spanning from “at least” 1996 until his capture in 2019. His charges included conspiracy to provide and subsequent provision of support to the Iranian terrorist organization, receiving military training from Hezbollah, immigration fraud to perpetuate international terrorism, and marriage fraud, among others. Hezbollah is a Lebanon-based Shi'ite Islamic group supported by Iran that has been active since the 1980s. The U.S. designated them as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 1997, and the State Department described Hezbollah as the “most technically capable terrorist group in the world” in 2010. Saab's alleged Hezbollah activities over the last two decades reportedly began in Lebanon, doing reconnaissance in Lebanon on Israeli and Lebanese soldiers. After receiving weapons training in Hezbollah camps, he joined the Islamic Jihad Organization, the branch of Hezbollah responsible for outside operations.”

Middle East

Gulf News: Qatar Continues To Finance Extremists: Al Jubeir

“Qatar has continued to support terrorist and militant groups despite a pledge to stop doing this, a Saudi minister has said, amid a bitter diplomatic row between the two neighbours. “Qatar continues to finance extremists and terrorists, and interfere in others’ internal affairs,” Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al Jubeir added in New York on the sidelines of the annual General Assembly meetings. In 2017, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt broke off diplomatic, transportation and trade ties with Qatar over its support for terrorism and sheltering wanted militants. Saudi television Al Arabiya also quoted Al Jubeir as saying that Qatar has not observed a 2014 pact it signed in the Saudi capital to mend its ways. “They have not implemented it over five years. And we said this is enough,” the official said. Al Jubeir also accused Qatar of providing millions of dollars for Iran-allied militias in Lebanon and Iraq. The anti-Qatar quartet presented a list of demands to Doha to end the dispute. They included stopping support for radical groups, downgrading ties with Iran and shutting down the Qatari Al Jazeera television network seen as a mouthpiece of the banned Muslim Brotherhood.”

Asharq Al-Awsat: Bahrain Sentences 4 Terror Suspects To Prison

“Bahrain on Wednesday sentenced four terrorist suspects to prison, reported the BNA news agency. The fourth High Criminal Court found them guilty of forming a terrorist group and receiving training and training others on making explosives. They were also accused of acquiring and possessing materials related to making explosives and funding terrorism activities. The court handed down seven-year jail sentences to the first and second defendants, and three-year jail-sentences to the third and fourth. The second and the third suspects were also fined BD 100,000 each. Court documents revealed the suspects had formed a terrorist cell in Bahrain to make explosive devices and prepare the necessary materials for their manufacture and to plant them in the places where security personnel are stationed. They also recruited many members. One suspect was tasked with making chemical materials used in manufacturing explosive devices. They also requested him to recruit other members to assist him, and he managed to recruit the fourth defendant.”

The Times Of Israel: Islamic Jihad Seeking To Build Rockets In West Bank

“The Islamic Jihad terror group is seeking to set up rocket production capabilities in the heart of the West Bank, threatening to fire the projectiles at cities in central Israel, according to an Israeli television report. Channel 12 news on Wednesday showed photographs of makeshift rockets assembled in Tulkarem and reported that three Islamic Jihad operatives were arrested in the northern West Bank city this week by Palestinian Authority security forces. The PA forces also seized a rocket prototype built by the cell, the report said. The instructions for building the rockets reportedly came from Lebanon. The report said it was not clear if the orders were from Islamic Jihad or the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, both of which are backed by Iran. Though the rockets produced by the Islamic Jihad cell were amateurish, the report noted they could be improved over time, threatening the heavily populated Tel Aviv metropolitan area and Israeli coastal plain. Israel has accused Islamic Jihad of being behind recent violence emanating from the Gaza Strip and last month charged that it was actively trying to ignite a fresh war in the region.”

Egypt

Egypt Today: Muslim Brotherhood, IS Bots, Spam Groups Exploit Egypt Protest Hashtags

“After enduring continuous losses, extremist groups have turned to “digital-jihad” to carry out their devious schemes to bring down the stability of and security of countries through “dirty” online campaigns that only aim to sow discord and chaos. In a report, BBC Monitoring has noted that pro-Islamic-State groups have been using bot accounts to urge Egyptians to abandon the “futile” protests and to support the jihadist group instead. Other analysts say that huge numbers of tweets have been sent from previously dormant accounts as well as newly created ones in crude attempts to dominate the conversation. It's not known who was behind these spam campaigns, or why. According to the report, Writer Erin Gallagher noted a large number of fake accounts posting near-identical content onto Egypt protest hashtags. Her research found that up to 20% of Tweets using the Arabic “Tahrir Square now” hashtag originated from bot accounts posting via the IFTTT application. If This Then That, also known as IFTTT, is a free web-based service to create chains of simple conditional statements, allowing bots to repeat the same hashtag at certain times.”

Libya

Bloomberg: US Targets Islamic State In Libya With Second Airstrike In Week

“A U.S. airstrike killed 11 suspected Islamic State militants in southern Libya, U.S. Africa Command said, its second reported raid in a week against the extremist group that once controlled a key coastal city. Tuesday’s strike was carried out around the town of Murzuq, the same location where a Sept. 19 attack was assessed to have left eight militants dead, according to statements. Islamic State took root in Libya after the ouster of Moammar Al Qaddafi, seizing the central city of Sirte in 2015 and threatening to use it as a launchpad for attacks in the OPEC member and neighboring countries. It was driven out after a year by a coalition of Libyan armed groups.”

Nigeria

AllAfrica: Nigeria: Boko Haram Kills Abducted Humanitarian Worker

“One of the six workers of Action Against Hunger, an international humanitarian organisation, who was abducted by Boko Haram two months ago, has been killed. The insurgents uploaded a video online showing how the humanitarian worker was beheaded. Nigerian journalist, Ahmed Salkida, broke the sad news via his Twitter handle with a blurred photograph of a masked man beheading one of the abductees. The headquarters of the Action Against Hunger in France has confirmed the development to PREMIUM TIMES. The Action Against Hunger was on September 18 forced by the Nigeria military to close its operations on allegations that the NGO was aiding and abetting operations of the Boko Haram. “#ISWAP has executed one of the six aid workers, working with the Action Against Hunger that was abducted two months ago in Borno,” Mr Salkida's tweet reads. “One of the male aid workers was executed at close range in a short video clip seen by this reporter. “The group, in a horrific video of the execution, said it took the action because “the government deceived them” following months of what is now known as secret negotiations between a team of intermediaries and unnamed officials.”

Reuters: Islamic State Says It Killed 14 Nigerian Soldiers In Northeast Borno State - Amaq

“Islamic State said via its Amaq news agency that it killed 14 Nigerian soldiers in the northeast state of Borno in attacks on Wednesday.  There were clashes in the state after the insurgents ambushed soldiers, a military source told Reuters. A Nigerian army spokesman did not immediately respond to phone calls requesting comment.”

Somalia

The Straits Times: Somali Military Kills 30 Al-Shabab Militants In Southern Region

“The Somali military confirmed on Thursday (Sept 26) its forces have killed 30 al-Shabab militants and injured 40 others in an offensive in the country's Lower Shabelle region on Wednesday. Hassan Aden Hashi, deputy commander of the April 12 Unit of the Somali army, told journalists that the forces carried out a planned operation on a base used by the militants in an area between El Salini and Dhanane villages in Lower Shabelle. "Our forces inflicted heavy casualties on the militants during the operation. We killed 30 of them and injured 40 others," Hashi said, adding that the forces also seized three battle vehicles and detained some members of the terrorist group during the offensive.”

Africa

Asharq Al-Awsat: Tunisia Seizes Terrorist Cell Linked To Bizerte Stabbing Incidents

“Security agencies fighting terrorism have arrested four terrorist elements linked with the stabbing incident carried out on Monday in Bizerte city, 60 km north of the capital, Tunis. Tunisia’s interior ministry stressed that the terrorist elements arrested are between 25 and 35 years old and reside in one of Bizerte’s crowded neighborhoods. It said they are active in the field of parallel trade in the region's markets. Head of the security office in Bizerte’s Court of Appeal was killed, and a soldier was slightly injured. More than one security party suggested that the terrorist attacker belonged to ISIS since he supported Ajnad al-Khilafa terrorist cell. Tunisian security authorities are expected to announce the details of the schemes prepared by this cell following the arrest of the attacker in the city. The probe conducted with elements belonging to the terrorist cell revealed the readiness of the cell’s members to carry out further attacks against security and military figures. Three traditional-made incendiary flasks were also seized along with other things found in the attackers’ house. Two members of the terrorist cell admitted to planning to attack a security patrol using Molotov cocktails. A terrorist element whose image appeared in a surveillance camera is being prosecuted.”

News 24: 12 Killed In Jihadist Attacks In Mozambique

“Twelve people were killed late on Monday in fresh attacks by suspected jihadists in northern Mozambique ahead of elections next month, officials said. Ten people were murdered in the village of Mbau, in Mocimbao da Praia district, and half of the homes in the locality were burned down, along with the offices of the ruling Frelimo party, a local official said on Tuesday. “They entered the village and came across a group of young people who were drinking alcohol. Many were killed,” the official, Assane Issa, told AFP. “The villagers then fled into the forest.” Police then intervened, forcing the assailants out after a gun battle that finished at around 01:00, Issa said. Earlier on Monday, suspected jihadists attacked the village of Mindumbe, a few dozen kilometres to the south. “The rebels came across two men in their fields - they killed them and then decapitated them,” a villager told AFP. Northern Mozambique has borne the brunt of a nearly two-year-old wave of attacks by a shadowy jihadist organisation, defying attempts by the government to secure the region. At least 300 civilians have been killed and tens of thousands of people have fled their homes.”

Germany

The Washington Post: Germany: Man Convicted Of Membership In Islamic State Group

“A German court has convicted a German-Tunisian man of membership in the Islamic State group and another extremist organization. The Stuttgart state court sentenced the 30-year-old man to two years and five months in prison on Wednesday. The court said he traveled to Syria in late 2013 to join the Islamic State group and received military training, but left IS in February 2014 and joined another group, Junud al-Sham. The court says the man spent a couple of months as a fighter and paramedic before returning to Germany, where he was in custody for the past year. Judges ordered his release after taking into account time he spent jailed in Tunisia from June 2015 until January 2018 while accused of Islamic State membership.”

Europe

El País: Two Catalan Separatists Confess To Making And Testing Explosives

“Two members of a Catalan independence protest group, who were arrested on Monday for allegedly planning acts of violence, have confessed to making explosives and testing them, according to sources from the investigation. The two detainees belong to the violent wing of the Committees to Defend the Republic (CDR), a network of grassroots activists who have made headlines in recent years through public acts of protest in support of the independence movement. They were among nine CDR members arrested by the Civil Guard in a raid against radical separatists suspected of planning acts of violence ahead of the second anniversary of the unauthorized independence referendum of October 1, 2017. According to sources from the investigation, officers have video recordings that show some of the detainees testing the explosives, as well as testimony from witnesses who recognized several group members who bought chemical substances to make explosives. Tests conducted on the substances seized by the Civil Guard during Monday’s raid have confirmed the presence of ammonium nitrate, a common fertilizer that can be used to make explosive mixtures like ammonal, sources close to the investigation told EL PAÍS.”

The Copenhagen Post: Denmark Stepping Up Fight Against Terrorism

“The foreign minister, Jeppe Kofod, announced yesterday at the ongoing UN summit in New York that Denmark would be dedicating more funds to tackling terrorism. Kofod revealed that 37 million kroner has been earmarked for prevention and fighting the problem. “We want to create a secure and safe Denmark. That requires us to engage in the fight against terrorism in Africa and the rest of the world,” said Kofod. More specifically, the funding will go to initiatives that support the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCF) – an alliance consisting of 29 countries and the EU, which have linked up to tackle terrorism. Some 14 million kroner will go to supporting Ethiopia’s ability to fight terror financing, 9 million kroner to supporting the IGAD regional centre for countries in the Horn of Africa, while 14 million kroner has been earmarked for GCF’s prevention fund that works towards preventing radicalisation in fragile countries, such as Mali. Kofod also invited the members of the GCF to attend a meeting in Copenhagen sometime in 2020.”

Euronews: Europe’s Problem With Jihad: The Foreign Fighters Who Tore Families Apart

“As the so-called Islamic State group built its caliphate in Syria and Iraq, it was boosted with the recruitment of armies of foreign fighters. Thousands of these came from Europe, causing untold misery on battlefields in the Middle East, and tearing apart families back home. Dominique Bons’s son Nicolas was one of among the more than 5,000 European nationals who, according to the EU, joined a terrorist organization between 2011 and 2016. She told Euronews that when he left home to go travelling to Thailand, it was in fact only a pretense - he was heading to join a terror group in Syria. Following his death in that country in 2013, Dominique decided to fight back, setting up an association, which worked to warn the authorities of what was happening to young men and women across the country. “I know a mother who says my daughter is 18 and is no longer my daughter…I don’t recognize her anymore,” Dominique tells us. “We’re in 2019. So it does continue. What do we do about it? Nothing.” And a new generation of children of foreign fighters growing up in brutal conditions in detention camps will only add to the problem facing European governments. In squalid camps in Syria, thousands of children are at risk of becoming radicalised, as governments struggle to decide what should be done with them.”

Southeast Asia

Reuters: Malaysian Police Arrest 15 Over Links To Islamic State

“Malaysia has arrested 15 people, mostly foreigners from neighboring Indonesia, on suspicion of having links with the Islamic State militant group, police said on Thursday. Malaysia has been on high alert since January 2016, when gunmen allied with Islamic State carried out a series of attacks in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. The suspects were arrested in several raids across the country between July and September, Malaysia’s police counter-terrorism chief Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said in a statement. The first case involved a 25-year-old Indonesian palm plantation worker in the state of Sabah in Borneo, who police believe had acted as a facilitator for a family of five that carried out a suicide attack on a church in Jolo, in the southern Philippines in December 2018. Ayob said the suspect had also allegedly channeled funds to the Maute group, which seized control of the lakeside town of Marawi in the Philippines for five months in 2017, a conflict that killed over 1,100 people. Police said they also arrested 13 other Indonesians and a Malaysian in separate raids on suspicion of carrying out activities in support of Islamic State, which included promoting the group’s ideology and recruiting new members on social media, with the aim of launching attacks in their two countries.”