March 30, 2021
“An investigation by a U.N. team of experts found Yemen’s Houthis were responsible for a Dec. 30 attack on Aden airport that killed at least 22 people as members of the country’s internationally recognized government arrived, two diplomats familiar with the matter said on Monday. The experts presented their report to the U.N committee that oversees Yemen-related sanctions during closed consultations on Friday, but Russia blocked its wider release, the diplomats said. They asked for anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. The Iran-aligned Houthis denied responsibility for the attack when it took place. The diplomats did not elaborate on why Russia blocked the release of the findings. The Russian mission to the United Nations did not respond immediately to a request for comment. The report comes at a sensitive time for new U.S. President Joe Biden as his administration and the United Nations press the Houthis to accept a peace initiative that includes a ceasefire. Saudi Arabia and the Yemeni government have endorsed the initiative but the Houthis say it does not go far enough. The Houthi movement, which controls most of Yemen’s north, has been fighting forces loyal to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s internationally recognized government and a Saudi-led coalition in what is widely seen as a proxy war between Tehran and Riyadh.”
“Islamic State said on Monday its fighters had carried out an attack on the northern Mozambique town of Palma, where dozens were killed, thousands displaced and some remain missing. Islamist insurgents hit the town, adjacent to gas projects worth $60 billion, with a three-pronged attack on Wednesday. Fighting continued on Monday, according to a security source directly involved in efforts to secure the town. The government confirmed on Sunday that dozens of people had died, including seven when their convoy of cars was ambushed during an escape attempt. Islamic State claimed the attack via its Amaq news agency, saying its fighters had taken control of the town after days of clashes with security forces. They had killed at least 55 people, including a number of soldiers, destroyed and taken control of buildings including factories and banks, and seized vehicles, it said. Reuters could not independently verify the claims. Most communications to Palma have been down since Wednesday. Officials at Mozambique’s defence ministry and its national police could not be reached for comment by phone on Monday and did not immediately reply to text messages. The country’s northernmost province of Cabo Delgado, where Palma is located on the border with Tanzania, has been home since 2017 to a simmering Islamist insurgency now linked to Islamic State.”
“A judge on Monday threw out one of the charges against three men accused in connection with the plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, but the men are still headed to trial court. Judge Michael Klaeren ruled there wasn’t enough probable cause in the case against Pete Musico, 43; his son-in-law, Joseph Morrison, 26, and Paul Bellar, 22, to send charges forward for communicating a threat of terrorism. His ruling came at the conclusion of their preliminary examination in Jackson, Michigan. Musico and Morrison were already facing charges related to this, but the Michigan Attorney General’s Office had asked that Bellar face such a charge, too. However, charges for providing material support to a terrorist act, charges connected to gang membership, and charges of carrying a firearm in the commission of a felony were bound over to circuit court, marking the end of a multi-day hearing for which testimony was held earlier in March. Each count is punishable by up to 20 years in prison upon conviction, except for the weapons charge, which is punishable by two years in prison upon conviction for a first offense. The men are three of the 14 said to have plotted to target Whitmer in response to her coronavirus restrictions.”
“Domestic White-supremacist extremism is the greatest threat to U.S. security, President Joe Biden’s top homeland security official told Congress — in the same way Islamist extremists were cast as the greatest threat before and after the 9/11 attacks two decades ago. But unlike after 9/11, when Congress enacted broad measures to combat Islamist terrorism — ranging from a new airport security regime to warrantless wiretapping — key homeland security lawmakers aren’t likely to pursue expanded powers to fight the domestic threat any time soon. Some lawmakers believe the solutions to domestic violent extremism can be found in current rules and better resource allocation. There’s also the reality that passing legislation could prove impossible in a political climate in which the definition of domestic terrorism is contested and highly charged. For example, 12 Republicans opposed a bill to award Congressional Gold Medals to Capitol Police officers who died from the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol because the lawmakers disputed the bill’s characterization of the attack as an “insurrection.”
“U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have announced a major security operation against Islamic State (IS) cells inside al-Hol camp in northeast Syria. The campaign, launched Sunday, is in response to growing violence inside the camp, which is home to nearly 62,000 people, including thousands of families of IS foreign fighters. Nearly 6,000 SDF fighters, local security forces and members of anti-terror units are participating in the operation, local military officials said. “All these forces are involved in this operation in order to achieve the goal of clearing al-Hol camp from the remnants of Daesh,” said Ali Hassan, a spokesman for the SDF-linked internal security forces in northeast Syria, using an Arabic acronym for the terror group. At least a dozen individuals with suspected links to IS have so far been arrested during the operation, local news sources said. In recent months, the camp has seen an increase in killings among its population. According to the United Nations, at least 40 people, including two children, have been killed inside the camp since the beginning of the year.”
“Iraq’s Joint Operations Command has secured about 140 kilometers (87 miles) of the border with Syria against Islamic State militants in coordination with Russia, Iran and the Syrian regime. Despite the terror group’s defeat in July 2017, IS continues to maintain sleeper cells in large areas of Iraq and Syria and its sporadic attacks kill and injure many people. Since the beginning of 2020, there has been an uptick in IS attacks, reaching their highest level since the collapse of IS’ last strongholds in eastern Deir ez-Zor on March 23, 2019. IS now conducts direct attacks on checkpoints and patrols and assassinates operatives or collaborators with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The militants plant improvised explosive devices and place booby-trapped vehicles on routes used by its targets. A 610-kilometer (380-mile) border separates Syria and Iraq. Some 220 kilometers (137 miles) held by the Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga forces in the Kurdistan Region are not fortified. The Iraqi Ministry of Defense, the Iraqi Ministry of Water Resources and the Popular Mobilization Units Authority secured a long portion of this porous land strip, digging a trench three meters deep and four meters wide and installing embankments, barbed wire and observation towers.”
“A human rights group in Afghanistan said Monday it was probing a shooting last week in which CIA-trained Afghan forces reportedly killed 20 civilians during an anti-Taliban operation in eastern Khost province. The development comes as Washington is trying to negotiate a reduction in violence between the Taliban and Afghan government forces. The reports first surfaced on Sunday, when residents from the province’s Saberi district said pro-government forces — the so-called intelligence special forces — killed several civilians, including women and children. The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission said it launched an investigation. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid circulated photographs of the purported victims and urged the government to stop such attacks if it seeks a reduction in violence. A video taken by an alleged Saberi resident and circulated on social media shows an old man carrying a child’s lifeless body, claiming several members of his family were killed. He says no Taliban were killed in thes operation. The CIA-trained Afghan special forces have in the past been accused of repeated attacks on civilians and have been called out by Human Rights Watch and the United Nations for their often heavy-handed tactics that have left civilians dead.”
“Gunmen killed an official of India’s ruling party and a policeman in disputed Kashmir on Monday, police said. Police blamed anti-India militants for the attack. None of the rebel groups that have been fighting against Indian rule since 1989 immediately claimed responsibility. Police officer Sudanshu Verma said militants fired at a municipal office in northwestern Sopore town during a meeting of local councilors. A councilor and a police official were killed, and another councilor was wounded, he said. Police and soldiers cordoned off the area and searched for the attackers. The dead councilor was a member of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. The Himalayan region of Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan, and both countries claim it in its entirety. Many Muslim Kashmiris support the rebel goal that the territory be united, either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country. New Delhi describes the Kashmir militancy as Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. Pakistan denies the charge, and most Kashmiris consider it a legitimate freedom struggle. Tens of thousands of civilians, rebels and government forces have been killed in the conflict.”
“United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, was urged by lawmakers to redesignate the Iran-backed Houthi militias as a terrorist organization, Al Arabiya reported on Tuesday. Members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee wrote in a letter to Blinken that attacks in the Middle East have increased, which include targeting civilians and energy infrastructures, the report said. President’s Joe Biden’s administration reversed one of Donald Trump’s decisions that placed the Houthi militia as a terrorist organization. Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had blacklisted the Houthis on Jan. 19, one day before Biden took office. “The designations are intended to hold Ansar Allah accountable for its terrorist acts, including cross-border attacks threatening civilian populations, infrastructure, and commercial shipping,” Pompeo said. “The designations are also intended to advance efforts to achieve a peaceful, sovereign and united Yemen that is both free from Iranian interference and at peace with its neighbors.”
“The United States on Monday offered $10 million to find a fugitive Hezbollah suspect who was convicted over the assassination of Lebanon’s former prime minister Rafic Hariri. The State Department said it would offer the reward for “information leading to the location or identification” of Salim Ayyash or “information leading to preventing him from engaging in an act of international terrorism against a US person or US property.” The Special Tribunal for Lebanon, set up by the United Nations in The Netherlands, in December convicted Ayyash in absentia to life in prison over the killing of Hariri in 2005. Ayyash, 57, is believed to be in hiding in Lebanon where Hezbollah’s chief Hassan Nasrallah has refused to hand him over. The tribunal has since said it will also try Ayyash over three other attacks on Lebanese politicians in the mid-2000s. The State Department said that Ayyash has also plotted to harm US military personnel. Hariri, a Sunni Muslim, was allegedly killed because he opposed Lebanon’s control by Syria, which is allied with Hezbollah, a Shiite Muslim movement backed by Iran. The assassination sparked the Cedar Revolution which forced out Syrian troops. The United States considers Hezbollah a terrorist group but the movement wields political power in Lebanon, holding seats in parliament.”
“Al-Shabaab calls for attacks on US, French interests in Djibouti. The leader of Somali’s jihadist group Al-Shabaab has called for attacks on “American and French interests” in Djibouti, in a video released Saturday night, less than two weeks before the country’s presidential election. Ahmed Diriye, also known as Ahmed Umar Abu Ubaidah, lashed out at Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh, who has been in power since 1999 and is set to run a fifth term in elections on April 9. TheAlshabaab accused Djibouti President Guelleh of turning the Horn of Africa country “into a military base from where every war against the Muslims in East Africa is planned and executed”. “Make American and French interests in Djibouti the highest priority of your targets,” he told followers in the video. Djibouti’s strategic location as a gateway to both Africa and the Arabian Peninsula has made it a sought-after destination for foreign military bases.”
“Ivorian authorities said three soldiers were killed and five wounded in attacks on two military targets near the country’s border with Burkina Faso amid an escalation of jihadist violence in the region. Three assailants were also killed in the first attack on a military base in Kafolo overnight, according to a statement from Armed Forces Chief Lassina Doumbia Monday. The army blamed the attack on “about sixty heavily armed terrorists from Burkina Faso,” without giving details on their affiliation. The authors of a second attack on a post in Kolobougou are unknown, Doumbia said. The incident comes less than a year after a similar strike in June, which also targeted Kafolo’s army base. That was the first suspected militant attack in Ivory Coast since a March 2016 raid on the beach resort of Grand-Bassam left 19 people dead. The world’s top cocoa grower has been largely spared from violence that’s ravaged its northern neighbors in recent years. Insurgents have been moving further south since groups affiliated to al-Qaeda occupied urban centers in northern Mali in 2012, and the violence has spilled over to several other countries in the region. There’s also been a rise in attacks perpetrated by groups affiliated to the Islamic State.”
“An attack on the northern Mozambique town of Palma where dozens were killed and thousands displaced may show the increasing “brazenness” of Islamic State in the country, a U.S. official said on Monday. The U.S. Department of State’s acting special envoy for the global coalition to defeat ISIS, John Godfrey, told reporters the attack was in line with what has been seen from Islamic State in Mozambique and said the U.S. government is closely monitoring events. He cited what he said was the brutality of the attack and the killing of civilians as well as the increased brazenness of the group, which is now seeking to hold some towns. “The attacks there are horrific, frankly, and show a complete disregard for the life, welfare and security of the local population,” Godfrey said of the attacks in Palma. “Attacks such as these are clear indicators that ISIS continues to actively seek to spread its malign activity to new fronts,” he added. Godfrey said one American was on the ground in Palma and that the understanding is the citizen has been successfully evacuated. Islamist insurgents hit the town, adjacent to gas projects worth $60 billion, with a three-pronged attack on Wednesday. Fighting continued on Monday, according to a security source directly involved in efforts to secure the town.”
“A draft law being debated in the French Senate this week aimed at strengthening the country and stamping out extremism has unwittingly revealed just how divided the country is. Proponents of the controversial bill put forward by President Emmanuel Macron’s government say it is simply intended to reinforce the nation’s “republican values” — liberty, equality and fraternity. France defends state neutrality through its distinct secularist model known as “laïcité.” To crack down on extremist tendencies in the wake of a slew of terrorist attacks, the legislation would require community groups to sign a charter on those national principles and cap the funding the groups receive from abroad. “What the French government right now is trying to tackle is what they see and what a majority of the French population sees as rising radicalism in certain neighborhoods,” said Benjamin Haddad, director of the Europe Center at the Atlantic Council think tank. “It’s obvious that some of that conversation is being hijacked by populist movements,” he said, noting that Macron’s moves have been criticized not only for pandering to right-wing voters, but also for being too soft on radicalism.”
“An Australian father-of-eight will remain behind bars after he was denied bail during his first appearance in a Queensland court, accused of helping a terrorist arrange to travel to Syria to fight against government forces in 2013. Ahmed Luqman Talib, 31, from Doncaster East in Melbourne’s north-east, was extradited from Victoria and applied for bail in Brisbane Arrest Courts on Monday after he and Gabriel Crazzi, 34, from Chambers Flat, south of Brisbane, were arrested in a counter-terrorism sting on Thursday. Mr Talib is charged with one count of preparations for foreign incursions into foreign states for purpose of engaging in hostile activities between September 1, 2013 and October 1, 2020. He was born in Britain, left there aged four and eventually made his way to Australia. His father is a biostatistics professor and Mr Talib runs the family gemstone business, Talib & Sons. Mr Talib completed a bachelor of international relations at Bond University on the Gold Coast in 2012. Prosecutor Clare O’Connor said Mr Talib allegedly provided “information and advice for the safe passage of witness 1 into Syria”. The witness co-operated with the Australian Federal Police, which led to the arrests.”
“The Myanmar military is a “terrorist group” that should be brought before the international criminal court, and funds flowing to it should be cut via a global sanctions regime, the Special Advisory Council for Myanmar says. The council has called for a “three cuts” strategy to combat the Tatmadaw, as the military is known.First, refer the situation in Myanmar to the international criminal court. Second, impose a comprehensive and internationally monitored arms embargo. And third, use targeted financial sanctions against senior military officials and all military-owned companies. Australian international lawyer Chris Sidoti, a member of the advisory council and a former member of a UN independent fact-finding mission on Myanmar, said the international community must “follow the lead” of the Myanmar people who are defying the military daily on the streets of the country’s cities. The special advisory council is an independent group of international experts on Myanmar. “Myanmar people are calling for international action under the responsibility to protect,” Sidoti said. “In response, we want to see three cuts imposed on the Myanmar military: cut the weapons, cut the cash, cut the impunity.”
“Two suicide bombers who attacked an Indonesian cathedral on Palm Sunday were newlyweds who joined a pro-Islamic State extremist group, police said Monday, as they arrested others suspected in the plot. About 20 people were wounded in the powerful explosion outside the church in Makassar city on Sulawesi island while worshippers celebrated the start of Holy Week. Both suspects were killed instantly after they rode a motorbike into the church compound and, when challenged by security, detonated a bomb packed with nails, police said. They were the only fatalities. About 15 victims remained in hospital Monday, with two in intensive care for burn injuries. Four have been discharged. On Monday, Indonesian authorities said the pair, identified through DNA and fingerprint testing, had been married for about six months. The male suspect, who was in his mid-twenties, left his family a suicide note that said he was ready to die as a martyr. The couple belonged to an Islamic study group along with several of nine other suspects arrested since Sunday over their alleged roles in the attack, police said. “They each had their own role, including buying the ingredients, teaching bomb making, creating the explosives and using them,” National Police Chief Listyo Sigit Prabowo told reporters.”
March 19, 2021
“Four countries including the U.S. called on the Afghan government and the Taliban to reduce violence and begin discussions on sharing power, in a fresh effort to end the two-decade war as a deadline for the full withdrawal of American troops draws closer. At a peace conference hosted by Moscow on Thursday, the U.S., Russia, China and Pakistan added that they would not support the restoration of an Islamic Emirate under the Taliban, and that any peace settlement must protect the rights of all Afghans, including women and minorities. Kabul’s chief peace envoy, Abdullah Abdullah, called for “an end to targeted killings and a comprehensive cease-fire to begin the next rounds of the talks in a peaceful environment.” The summit took place amid intensifying international efforts to end fighting ahead of a May 1 deadline for the full withdrawal of U.S. troops. U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad represented the Biden administration at the conference, which underlined foreign countries’ desire to have a hand in shaping Afghanistan’s future, from curbing the threat of Islamist militants to securing nearby borders against drug smuggling and human trafficking.”
“Suspected Al-Qaeda gunmen in Yemen killed four civilians and eight pro-government soldiers in a dawn attack Thursday, launching grenades and firing machine guns on a southern checkpoint, an official said. The suspected jihadists opened fire in the southern province of Abyan before escaping, the official told AFP, asking not to be named. “It was gunmen, believed to be from Al-Qaeda, who launched the attack with machine guns and RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades), killing eight soldiers and four civilians,” the official said. The checkpoint in the coastal district of Ahwar was manned by members of the Security Belt, a powerful southern Yemen separatist force. The militia is dominated by the Southern Transitional Council (STC), which last year joined a power-sharing unity government, fighting the Iran-backed Huthi rebels in the country’s north. Security Belt forces have played a decisive role in the fight against Al-Qaeda and Islamic State group forces, forcing them to retreat from towns into rural areas. An STC official and medic in Abyan confirmed the death toll, but Al-Qaeda has not yet issued any statements on the attack. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was born in 2009 between the network’s offshoots in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, as they faced the onslaught of US and regional military campaigns.”
“…According to the Counter Extremism Project, Muthana took part in vile ISIS propaganda and even urged jihadists in the US to go on deadly shooting sprees. After her first husband, an Australian jihadist, was killed in Kobani, she urged ISIS supporters to “go on drivebys, and spill all of their blood, or rent a big truck and drive all over them. “Veterans, Patriots, Memorial, etc day… Kill them,” she added. However, she insists she has now seen the light and described ISIS’s murderous operations as “complete corruption(which) ruined many people’s lives.” The runaway said things reached an all-time low when her son was forced to eat grass for dinner. She said: “I dropped everything and left. I walked out, I just walked despite there being (explosive devices) and not being the way out. “I walked out with the Syrians just to save my child and me from the starvations and the bombings and this horrible way. “I really regret it for the rest of my life and wish I could erase.” Muthana told the documentary makers she joined ISIS because she wanted to feel useful. She said: “I felt like I was useless my whole life. And every website I visited (said) the Syrians need help and the Syrians are starving and the Syrians are going through trouble.”
“During the second week of March, Russian warplanes intensified airstrikes targeting the Islamic State (IS) in eastern Syria. There are several goals behind the Russian airstrikes. Chief among them is securing the roads in the Badia region (the Syrian desert), limiting IS operations and military capabilities and curbing the spread of the organization in the Badia, which extends over Raqqa, Hama, Homs, Deir Ez-Zor and Aleppo provinces. The Syrian regime forces and their allied militias have failed to achieve their goals during their ground operations against IS in recent months. In order to intensify air operations against IS in the desert, the Russian forces have beefed up their presence in two air bases belonging to the Syrian regime in the Badia in the eastern countryside of Homs in order to use these bases as a launching pad for the aircraft striking IS positions and sites in the area. A journalist and activist in the eastern countryside of Hama told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, “The ground military operations waged by the regime forces against IS in the Syrian Badia have failed to weaken the organization, as its militants are still roaming the region while attacking roads and launching almost daily attacks against the regime’s sites and oil and phosphate fields.”
“Turkey has foiled 26 attempted terrorist attacks since January, with the latest one thwarted today, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu stated on Thursday, adding that Turkey will continue its fight against terrorism on all platforms. Speaking at an event in the capital Ankara to mark Çanakkale Victory and Martyrs’ Day, Soylu said that though the PKK is at a time when foreign support to the organization has peaked, the number of armed terrorists within Turkey has decreased to under 300, while those giving up arms and surrendering to security forces is five times higher than those joining the terrorist group. Soylu underlined that as part of a new security concept, Turkey carries out operations not after terrorist attacks take place, but beforehand. “In all of our counterterrorism operations, we have eliminated 121 PKK terrorists since January. Four joined the organization. Only two of these are from within Turkey, while two are from Germany. Despite this, 35 surrendered thanks to persuasion efforts,” he pointed out. Soylu further stated that Turkey not only targets terrorists themselves but also their financial means to weaken the organization.”
“The blast hit a bus which was rented by the Afghan Ministry of Information and Technology to transport employees, said Abdul Samad Hamid Poya, a ministry adviser. No one claimed immediate responsibility for the blast, but the Afghan government has blamed Taliban insurgents for recent attacks targeting government employees, civil society figures and journalists. The Taliban has denied involvement in the campaign. INTERPRETER: I was sitting near these shops when the blast happened. As I walked towards the explosion site, I heard people shouting, save us. With the help of others, we pulled five people who were seriously injured out of the vehicle. I think there were about 20 people in the vehicle, five of whom were alive, and the rest were martyred.”
“Hezbollah possesses thousands of missiles and rockets located in the heart of the civilian population that are deliberately intended to target Israeli civilians, the Chief of General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on Thursday. “The IDF will take all necessary steps to prevent that from happening,” Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi said during a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron. Kochavi is accompanying Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on a visit to France.”
“For over a decade, the North-eastern region of Nigeria has been ravaged by insecurity, as the militant group Boko Haram has destabilised border communities. The damage ranges from loss of life to destruction of property and farmlands. We analysed the efforts of various state and non-state actors (both local and international) to address these security challenges, and found evidence of uncoordinated actions between government agencies and other stakeholders. This has forced international actors to withdraw their troops and support from the fight against Boko Haram, leaving the border communities in crisis. To win the confidence of communities under threat, the Nigerian government needs to demonstrate its resolution and sincerity of purpose. It must devise coordinated efforts with other stakeholders to end the insurgency. We conducted group discussions and individual interviews in six border communities in 2017 and 2018. A total of 276 participants were interviewed in the states of Borno, Adamama and Yobe. We also looked at the legal framework backing Nigeria’s counterinsurgency and considered the state’s military responses as well as the quality of support received from external actors.”
“At least 33 soldiers were killed in an attack in northern Mali this week after one of two devastating attacks in the Sahel region since Monday. Concerns have been raised over the capability of the Malian army to deal with the frequent attacks that have claimed hundreds of the security forces. A number of civilians and high-ranking officials have expressed their discontent and concern after the deadliest attack. Some civilians expressed disappointment over the way the national army was handling the issue of security with some even calling for a more robust way to deal with incompetent soldiers. “If your enemies are among you, it will be difficult to deal with the enemy you are facing. So you have to investigate that, and if there are doubts about someone you have to replace that person,” Nouhoum Togo, former advisor to the Ministry of Defence and Veterans Affairs of Mali said. Much of the central Sahel has been locked in a vicious conflict between state forces, jihadists and ethnic militias for years, in a battle that shows no sign of abating. Dozens of assailants on motorbikes and pickup trucks on Monday stormed a military post southwest of the town of Ansongo, near the borders with Burkina Faso and Niger, the army said on social media.”
“One of two brothers arrested in terror raids in Melbourne’s north allegedly purchased a knife this week in preparation for a terrorist attack, police say. Aran Sherani, 19, and his 20-year-old brother, Ari Sherani, faced Melbourne magistrates court on Thursday after being arrested by counter-terror officers on Wednesday. Both are facing charges of attempting to engage in a terrorist act over an incident at Humevale, north of Melbourne, on 21 February. Aran Sherani is facing three additional charges including intentionally causing injury to an unnamed person in Preston on 9 March. Court documents state Aran Sherani is also accused of knowingly being a member of the terrorist organisation Islamic State and allege he purchased a knife at Epping on Wednesday in preparation for a terrorist attack. The brothers were arrested in Wednesday’s raids alongside a 16-year-old boy from Pascoe Vale who was subsequently released without charge. The older men each faced court via video link on Thursday and did not apply for bail. Aran Sherani’s lawyer, Sarah Condon, said he had no prior convictions and this was his first time in custody. She said for those reasons and the nature of the charges he would be vulnerable behind bars.”
“New Zealand Police have charged a 27-year-old man, already in custody for allegedly threatening to bomb two Mosques, with distributing the Christchurch Mosques terrorist’s manifesto. The man, who has been granted name suppression by the Christchurch District Court, has been on remand since early March. News outlet Stuff reports he has pleaded not guilty to seven charges of distributing the terror screed of Brenton Tarrant, the Australian terrorist who is serving life imprisonment for carrying out the 2019 shooting. Possession or distribution of the white supremacist’s manifesto is a crime in New Zealand. He has also pleaded not guilty to one charge of threatening to kill, has elected a trial by jury and will next appear in court on April 22. The man’s arrest came just before the two-year anniversary of the country’s worst modern-day mass shooting. He is alleged to have threatened to car-bomb Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre – the same two houses of worship targeted by Tarrant – on the anniversary. The threat was made on a public and notorious right-wing forum. It was reported to police by a member of the public through Crime Stoppers – causing consternation that New Zealand’s security agencies or police haven’t sharpened up their act in the wake of the 2019 attack.”
“The military intelligence service SGRS is keeping a group of around 30 serving soldiers under close surveillance, on suspicion they have extreme right-wing or neo-Nazi sympathies, the RTBF has revealed. The question of a presence of right wing extremists in the Belgian forces arose after it was revealed that the French army contains a sizeable number of extremists, who display their affiliations openly and apparently without any sanction. The problem of right-wing extremists is not new, although in recent years attention has concentrated more on an increase in Islamist extremism within the armed forces. As recently as last year, however, with the declining influence of IS, the intelligence services have turned their attention to right-wing extremism, which appears to be on the rise – at least partly as a reaction to Islamic extremism and to successive waves of refugees and migrants escaping that very problem. The RTBF contacted Tony Bargibant of the union that represents members of the armed forces, to find out if Belgium has the same problem as that revealed in France. “As far as I know, the SGRS carries out checks at this level. So there could be problematic cases but it is a tiny minority, they hardly represent anything. The problem is not the same as in France,” he said.”
“A Tunisian man who was living illegally in Italy has been charged with planning to incite terrorist acts and deported to his home country. Prosecutors said Nairi Nasir, 28, was expelled from Italy following a detailed investigation by Italian counter-terrorism police. Carlo Ambra, chief of the anti-terrorism branch in the northern city of Turin, told Italian news agency ANSA that Nasir had confided to other Tunisians in the country on several occasions that he wanted to carry out attacks in Italy, attempting to persuade some to carry out acts of terrorism as well. Prosecutors said Nairi Nasir, 28, was expelled from Italy following a detailed investigation by Italian counterterrorism police. The investigation was prompted last October when Nasir approached an imam at a mosque in the northern city of Turin at the end of a religious function. After praising the murder of French teacher Samuel Paty, Nasir openly and publicly criticized the preacher for having condemned the attack. He was later sent to a repatriation center, where he was reported to police by fellow migrants over exhibiting violent behavior, and after he reportedly threatened to “cut the throats” of health workers at a clinic after he tested positive for the coronavirus disease.”
“Indonesian authorities on Thursday transferred 22 suspected militants arrested in recent weeks to the capital. The suspects were linked to a banned militant organization, the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah network, police said. The group is blamed for a string of bombings in Indonesia, including the 2002 bombings in Bali that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists. The men were flown under the guard of Indonesia’s elite counterterrorism squad from Surabaya, the capital of East Java province, to a police detention center in Jakarta for further questioning. Television footage showed the suspects wearing orange uniforms and full face masks and their feet and hands cuffed as they were led off the plane. A dozen of them were arrested in raids in different cities in East Java province late last month. The counterterrorism police arrested another ten suspected militants in several raids in the province early this month. Among them was Usman bin Sef, also known as Fahim, a convicted leader of Jemaah Islamiyah in East Java province. Fahim, was a veteran fighter in Afghanistan and was sentenced to three and half years in jail in 2005 for harboring Malaysian terror fugitive Noordin Top and for a plot to attack police, said Aswin Siregar, the operation chief of police counterterrorism squad, known as Densus 88.”
March 09, 2021
Extremist Content Online: Al-Qaeda Bomb-Making Materials Shared By User on White Supremacist Forum
(New York, N.Y.) – The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) reports weekly on the methods used by extremists to exploit the Internet and social media platforms to recruit followers and incite violence. A user of an imageboard on the dark web shared a collection of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s magazine Inspire, with the intention that the explosives guides and other information contained in them would help white supremacists commit acts of terrorism. Last week, ISIS-affiliated Amaq News released a video allegedly showing a roadside bombing of a vehicle near Raqqah, Syria.
Meanwhile, CEP researchers located a website dedicated to an Austrian neo-Nazi rapper, whose arrest was first reported on February 2, that contains news related to the case and includes information for sending money via cash apps and cryptocurrency to allegedly aid in his legal defense. Finally, CEP researchers located bomb-making instructions in Russian on Telegram’s Telegra.ph feature.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula Magazines Including Explosives Guides Shared on White Supremacist Dark Web Imageboard
On March 3, a user of an imageboard on the dark web shared a collection of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s magazine Inspire, with the intention that the explosives guides and other information contained in them would help white supremacists commit acts of terrorism. The files were shared via a download site, which removed them after they were reported by CEP. The imageboard venerates white supremacist terrorists and encourages others to follow their actions. The board has previously encouraged mass casualty attacks to further accelerationist goals.
Amaq News Video Released
On March 1, ISIS-affiliated Amaq News released a video allegedly showing a roadside bombing of a vehicle near Raqqah, Syria. ISIS online supporters shared the footage on Telegram and Hoop and spread links on RocketChat. The video was uploaded to at least seven websites: File.Fm, PixelDrain, Top4top, Dropbox, the Microsoft One Drive, the Internet Archive, and Mega.Nz. Approximately 48 hours later, the video was still available on Top4Top and the Internet Archive in addition to Telegram and Hoop.
Website Dedicated to Jailed Austrian Neo-Nazi Rapper Raises Cryptocurrency
CEP researchers located a website dedicated to the Austrian neo-Nazi rapper “Mr. Bond,” whose arrest was first reported on February 2. The website contains news related to the case and includes information for sending money via cash apps and cryptocurrency to allegedly aid in his legal defense. As of March 4, the site had raised approximately $2,400 through Bitcoin donations alone. In a message shared publicly on Telegram, the website’s creator spoke about how the rapper had inspired him or her to create white power music and their hope that it would one day inspire others to commit acts that would threaten the government and perceived opponents. The website uses Cloudflare as its name server and NetEarth as its registrar.
According to Austrian authorities, the accused is charged with “producing and broadcasting Nazi ideas and incitement to hatred.” It is also alleged that he translated the Christchurch terrorist’s manifesto into German. Mr. Bond’s music was played during the live stream of the October 2019 Halle Attack.
Bomb Making Instructions Located on Telegram Bulletin Board Feature Telegra.ph
CEP researchers located bomb-making instructions in Russian on Telegram’s Telegra.ph feature. Telegra.ph functions similarly to a bulletin board, allowing users to share content with individuals who do not have Telegram accounts. Several guides were found, including instructions for making different types of homemade explosives, detonators, booby traps, and incendiary weapons. The posts contained multiple references in support of neo-Nazism and encouraged acts of violence. The Telegra.ph pages had been online for approximately one year. The Telegram channel that posted the Telegra.ph links had about 950 subscribers on March 4. An affiliated Telegram channel had over 2,000 subscribers on March 4, encouraged acts of terrorism, and posted neo-Nazi propaganda and James Mason’s book Siege. The Telegra.ph links were removed by Telegram after they were reported by CEP, however no action was taken against the public channel that posted them.
Explosives symbol used as a header on Telegra.ph homemade explosives instructional guides