Eye on Extremism: September 9, 2022

Associated Press: Cuba Says US Is Acting Immorally By Keeping It On Blacklist

“Cuba’s deputy foreign minister accused the Biden administration of acting immorally, illegitimately and unfairly by keeping Cuba on the list of state sponsors of terrorism, claiming it has been a victim of state-sponsored terrorism by the United States for more than 60 years. Carlos Fernández de Cossio said in an interview with The Associated Press that maintaining Cuba on the State Department blacklist with North Korea, Iran and Syria is “an easy way to punish Cuba with the overall aim of trying to make Cuba what it is not — to make Cuba a failed state.” “The U.S. unfortunately pays no price for doing something that is illegitimate, unsustainable and immoral,” he said. “And even though, speaking with government officials, they find no reason why Cuba should be in the list, they claim that it is politically difficult for them.” The United States imposed an economic embargo on Cuba in 1960 following the revolution led by Fidel Castro and the nationalization of properties belonging to U.S. citizens and corporations. Removing Cuba from the blacklist had been one of then-President Barack Obama’s main foreign policy achievements as he sought better relations with the Caribbean island, an effort endorsed by Biden as his vice president.”

AFP: EU Unveils New Aid For Mozambique After Jihadist Attack

“The European Union's top diplomat said on Thursday the bloc was committed to help Mozambique fight “against terrorism”, as he unveiled new military aid for the country a day after a deadly jihadist attack. Josep Borrell held security talks with Mozambique's President Filipe Nyusi and Foreign Minister Veronica Macamo in the capital Maputo after arriving in the southern African nation for a two-day visit. “I wanted to express the commitment and the solidarity of the European Union with Mozambique in fighting against terrorism,” Borrell, the EU's foreign policy chief, told a press conference. The diplomat said the EU on Thursday approved €15 million ($15 million) in additional military aid to support a regional mission in the restive northern province of Cabo Delgado. The money will provide equipment including camp fortifications and vehicles, and adds to the previously agreed €89 million in assistance earmarked for the Mozambican armed forces, the EU said in a statement. Macamo described relations with the EU as “excellent”, while Nyusi praised the bloc's support, including the creation of a military base to train Mozambican forces, which Borrell is due to visit tomorrow.”

Syria

AFP: Kurd Fighters Killed, Jihadists Detained In Syria Camp Clashes

“The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said two of their fighters were killed and six jihadists arrested Thursday following clashes in a volatile Syria camp where a security operation is underway. “Two of our fighters have succumbed to their wounds following clashes” with Islamic State group militants in the Al-Hol camp overnight, the SDF said. “Two women and five men masquerading as women,” were involved in the attack on SDF fighters in the camp, the force said. The ensuing fighting led to the killing of one jihadist and the arrest of six others, it added. The Kurdish-run Al-Hol camp, which houses thousands of relatives of IS fighters, is the largest camp for displaced people who fled after IS was dislodged from its last scrap of territory in Syria in 2019. It is still home to more than 56,000 people, mostly Syrians and Iraqis but also including other foreigners linked to the Sunni Muslim extremists. The SDF, the de facto army of the autonomous Kurdish administration in northeastern Syria, launched a security operation in the camp last month to flush out hideout jihadists following an uptick in attacks. Dozens of suspected IS operatives have been detained and major networks dismantled since the start of operations, the US-led anti-IS coalition said on Wednesday.”

Turkey

Reuters: Turkey's Erdogan Says Senior Islamic State Figure Captured - Anadolu

“Turkish police captured senior Islamic State figure Bashar Hattab Ghazal Al Sumaidai, President Tayyip Erdogan was quoted by state-owned Anadolu news agency as saying. The militant, code-named Abu Zeyd, was captured in Turkey in an operation carried out by police and Turkey's intelligence agency, Erdogan told journalists on his return from a trip to the Balkans on Thursday, Anadolu said. He was quoted as saying the militant was transferred to judicial authorities in Turkey after interrogation by police and intelligence personnel.”

Lebanon

Arab News: Bomb Detonates At Hezbollah-Backed Minister’s Home

“A bomb detonated outside of a Hezbollah-backed Lebanese minister’s home on Thursday in the eastern Bekaa valley. The press office of caretaker Public Works Minister Ali Hamieh said in a statement that the explosive wrapped in electrical wires was detonated in his garden outside his home in the village of Taraya. The statement did not report any casualties or further details. Hamieh’s spokesperson did not immediately reply to The Associated Press’ inquiry about the incident. Security forces are currently investigating the matter. Crime rates are usually higher in the eastern Bekaa valley than in other parts of Lebanon. Violent crime has soared across the crisis-hit country as it continues to suffer from an economic crisis that has plunged three-quarters of its population into poverty.”

Middle East

Associated Press: Israeli General Readies To Lead The Charge Against Hezbollah

“In his just-completed role as head of the Israeli military’s Home Front command, Maj. Gen. Ori Gordin was in charge of bolstering a network of early-warning systems and shelters in case of rocket attacks. It may have been the ideal preparation for his new assignment. Gordin is set to soon take over the Northern Command -- putting him at the forefront of Israel’s efforts to contain Hezbollah. At a time of heightened tensions, the Lebanese militant group is believed to possess tens of thousands of rockets and missiles capable of striking anywhere in Israel, dwarfing any threat posed by the Palestinian militant groups in Gaza that have battled Israel in recent years. To Gordin, the connection is clear: His new role will be to keep Hezbollah far away from his old one and ensure that any future fighting “not reach the civilian front.” In an interview with The Associated Press, Gordin said there is “no doubt” that Israel remains the more powerful side. But he said the Hezbollah is nonetheless a potent enemy.”

The Times Of Israel: Officers Nab Armed Palestinian Planning ‘Large-Scale’ Terror Attack In Tel Aviv

“A Palestinian man carrying a makeshift firearm and two bombs was arrested by officers in Jaffa on Thursday, and later admitted he sought to commit a major terror attack in Tel Aviv, police said. According to police, the 19-year-old resident of Nablus, with no permit to enter Israel, aroused the suspicion of officers of the elite police reconnaissance unit Yasam near Jaffa’s clock tower, a major landmark and tourist attraction. He was detained and found to be carrying a ‘Carlo’ submachine gun and two pipe bombs filled with nails. Police said he had been taken for further questioning by the Shin Bet security agency. Police commissioner Kobi Shabtai said the teen was planning a major terror attack. In his initial questioning by officers, the suspect admitted he was on the way to carry out an attack in Tel Aviv, and said he was looking for a crowded place, according to police. “He was looking to commit a massacre,” Shabtai told reporters at the scene. Shabtai thanked the Yasam officers who “prevented a large-scale deadly terror attack” by noticing the suspect and questioning him. Sharif Hasson, one of the cops involved in the arrest, said the man had “no chance to resist arrest.”

The Times Of Israel: Shin Bet Foiled Hundreds Of Terror Attacks In Last Year, Lapid Says

“The Shin Bet security service thwarted hundreds of terror attacks this year, Prime Minister Yair Lapid says at an awards ceremony for the organization’s agents who excelled in intelligence operations in 2021. “The Shin Bet foiled hundreds of attacks since the beginning of the year. Shooting attacks, explosives, suicide [attacks], and kidnappings,” Lapid tells assembled agents and staffers from the Shin Bet and other intelligence and defense agencies gathered for the biennial event at the Shin Bet’s northern Tel Aviv headquarters. One operation recognized at the event involved the arrest of more than 60 Hamas members in a major operation in the West Bank in late 2021, disrupting alleged plans for major terror attacks “in the immediate term,” according to Lapid’s office. Dozens of weapons and explosives were seized in the operation, which sought to crack down on Hamas efforts to build a terror infrastructure in the West Bank, the Prime Minister’s Office says. “Intelligence organizations from around the world come here regularly to learn from the Israeli Shin Bet how to fight terrorism and threats that no Western country faces. The advanced technology that is developed in the service allows the State of Israel to always be one step ahead of the enemy,” Lapid adds.”

Nigeria

Sahara Reporters: Nigerian Security Personnel Detained 275 Children In Cells With Adult Inmates Over Suspicion Of Having Affiliation With Terrorists — UN

“At least 275 children have been detained by Nigerian security personnel over suspicion of having affiliation with terrorists, according to the United Nations. This was disclosed in a third report of the UN secretary-general on children and armed conflict in Nigeria, released on Wednesday. The UN said the majority of the children were taken to the Giwa military barracks in Maiduguri, Borno State's primary military detention facility, adding that the conditions of confinement at the Giwa barracks were of major concern. The report stated in part: “The Nigerian Security Forces continued to apprehend children on suspicion of involvement with Boko Haram-affiliated and splinter groups during security sweeps, military operations and screen procedures outside internally displaced persons camps and on the basis of information provided by informants. “In many cases, children were arrested with little or no evidence, and some remained detained for periods ranging from one week to eight years. “The country task force verified the detention by the Nigerian Security Forces of 275 children (260 boys, 15 girls), aged between 10 and 17 years, for actual or alleged association with armed groups.”

Africa

Voice Of America: Mozambique Struggling To Contain Violence In Troubled Northern Regions

“Mozambique's president said Islamist militants in the country's northern Nampula province have killed six people, all by beheading, and abducted three others. The Islamist militant movement in northern Mozambique is spreading to new territory despite efforts by government and regional forces to contain it. Speaking live on national radio Wednesday from the southern Gaza province, President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi confirmed the beheadings and abductions and said dozens of houses were set on fire on Tuesday. This was the third terrorist attack within five days in Nampula province, where the incidents are creating a new wave of displaced people, though authorities do not have exact numbers. The president said the militants were attempting to bolster their numbers. He said the militants tried to recruit new members in Nampula province but were unsuccessful. “Hence, their nervousness,” the president said in Portuguese. “They are very nervous.” On Friday night, militants attacked the village of Kutua, in the district of Eráti. On Sunday, they attacked the village of Naminhanha, also in the Memba district. In his speech, Nyusi said Mozambique's defense and security forces, with the support of troops from Rwanda and the regional bloc SADC, are fighting the militants.”

United Kingdom

Daily Mail: Record Number Of Child Terror Arrests During Lockdown After School Shutdowns Sparked By The Covid Pandemic

“A record number of children were arrested on suspicion of terrorism-related offences in the past year, according to new figures released by the Home Office, as online 'terrorist propaganda' is blamed for the rise.  Terror-related arrests increased overall by 11 percent over the past year, according to figures released today. Counter terrorism bosses are 'most concerned' after police arrested a record-breaking 33 children in the 12 months to June 2022, up just over a third on last year's 24. Of the 203 total arrests for terror-related offences, more than one in seven were of a child under 18. Counter Terrorism Policing's acting senior national co-ordinator, Commander Richard Smith blamed 'the digital world' for the rise, saying children are being increasingly exposed to online extremists. It follows the closure of schools and an increasing reliance on online platforms over the last two years due to the coronavirus pandemic - which experts said at the time could pose a risk to children vulnerable to radicalisation. Then-security minister Damian Hinds said coronavirus may have contributed to a rise in terrorist threats. 'Clearly, logically, when you have more people who are spending more time in their bedrooms at their computer...you are going to get a growth in that tiny proportion of people for whom that is a dark journey.”

Technology

Reuters: Social Media Firms To Testify At U.S. Senate Homeland Security Hearing

“The U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday with Facebook parent Meta Platforms (META.O), Alphabet's YouTube (GOOGL.O), Twitter (TWTR.N) and short video app TikTok on social media's impact on homeland security. The panel led by Democratic Senator Gary Peters will also hear from a panel of former executives including from Twitter and Facebook. The committee said the hearing will be an opportunity "to understand the extent to which social media companies’ business models, through algorithms, targeted advertising, and other operations and practices, contribute to the amplification of harmful content and other threats to homeland security.”

The Daily Caller: ‘Unprecedented Coordinated Action’: Anti-Israel Activists Have Set Their Sights On Big Tech

“…Palestine has become a cause du jour among many grassroots social justice groups, which has led to an infusion of antisemitism by those promoting anti-Israel narratives,” Josh Lipowsky, senior research analyst for the Counter Extremism Project, said to the DCNF. “We’ve witnesse[d] a rising number of antisemites hijack social justice causes and spread anti-Jewish discrimination.” “Time to show these companies that the general public, their own users, and their workers are united against the companies’ decision to profit off of fueling Israeli apartheid,” Ariel Koren, who headed Google’s internal movement to drop Nimbus, Jewish Diaspora In Tech, wrote on Twitter Wednesday in preparation for the protests.” “Today’s protests represent unprecedented coordinated action from big tech workers, unified across two companies (Google and Amazon) and across three cities,” Workers Against Nimbus told the DCNF. A fourth city was later added to the roster. Workers Against Nimbus told the DCNF it is a “worker-led campaign,” adding that MPower Change, JVP and other sponsoring organizations were “coordinating with us to support our efforts.” Google stakeholders overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to shut down the project in June.”

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