Friday, October 21, 2016

Eye on Extremism October 21, 2016

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Eye on Extremism

October 21, 2016

The Daily Caller: FBI Reveals Arizona ISIS Recruiter Sent US College Kid To Die For ISIS
“Federal prosecutors revealed this week that an indicted Arizona man helped a 24-year-old U.S. college student join Islamic State in Syria, where he died in November, 2015. The FBI indicted Ahmed Mohammed el Gammal in August, 2015, but only revealed the death of U.S. college student Samy Mohammed El-Goarany this week. Goarany was raised in Middletown, N.Y. and attended college in Manhattan in 2014. Sometime in 2014 he began showing an interest in radical Islam, and began making pro-ISIS comments online. Goarany connected with Gammal on a forum, and continued to communicate via encrypted messaging software recommended by Edward Snowden, the FBI alleges. Gammal then allegedly traveled to New York in October, 2014, to help facilitate Goarany’s trip to Turkey. The FBI believes Goarany received military-style training in Turkey, before passing into Syria in February, 2015.”
Associated Press: Iraqi Special Forces Join Battle For Mosul, US Soldier Dies
“In a significant escalation of the battle for Mosul, elite Iraqi special forces joined the fight Thursday, unleashing a pre-dawn assault on an Islamic State-held town east of the besieged city, and the U.S. military announced the first American combat death since the operation began. U.S. officials said the American service member died Thursday from wounds sustained in a roadside bomb explosion north of Mosul. More than 100 U.S. special operations forces are embedded with Iraqi units in the offensive, and hundreds more are playing a support role in staging bases. The American had been operating as an explosive ordnance disposal specialist in support of the Iraqi Kurdish force known as the peshmerga, the U.S. officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss details.”
Voice Of America: Iran Reportedly Steps Up Weapons Flow To Yemen’s Houthis Via Oman
“Iran has stepped up weapons transfers to the Houthis, the militia fighting the Saudi-backed government in Yemen, U.S., Western and Iranian officials tell Reuters, a development that threatens to prolong and intensify the 19-month-old war. The increased pace of transfers in recent months, which officials said include missiles and small arms, could exacerbate a security headache for the United States. Last week, the U.S. struck Houthi targets with cruise missiles in retaliation for failed missile attacks on a U.S. Navy destroyer. Much of the recent smuggling activity has been through Oman, which neighbors Yemen, including via overland routes that take advantage of porous borders between the two countries, the officials said.”
Haaretz: Israel Says Uncovered Islamic Jihad Plot To Attack Wedding Hall, Kidnap Soldier
“The Shin Bet said on Thursday that it had uncovered an Islamic Jihad plot to carry out an attack in Be'er Sheva and kidnap an Israeli soldier. The security service and the police said they arrested the members of an Islamic Jihad cell that was planning a major attack on a wedding hall in the southern city of Be'er Sheva. The suspects planned to carry out the wedding hall attack by throwing grenades at the people dancing and setting off explosives concealed in the furniture while using weapons hidden in trash cans outside, according to the indictment. This, in addition to the kidnapping and murder of a policeman, officer or soldier.”
Deutsche Welle: Libya In Chaos Five Years After The Death Of Moammar Gadhafi
“There are hundreds of different armed groups and at least five or six different centers of power in Libya. One major power is the government of General Khalifa Haftar, it is in the east of Libya but moving westward. In Tripoli there are two governments: One is unrecognized as such and currently holds just one building, but it still calls itself a government. The other is the internationally recognized government of Fayez al-Sarraj. There are lots of groups calling themselves governments in Libya, but none actually does the things that a government must do, such as: managing a budget, maintaining an army, issuing passports, and so on.”
The Guardian: UK Policy To Deport Refugees For 'Extremist Behaviour' Criticised
“UK immigration laws permitting refugees to be deported if they exhibit ‘extremist behaviour’ may breach a United Nations convention, the organisation’s general assembly is to be told. In a speech condemning states for exploiting security fears to frustrate their international legal obligation to provide safe havens, the UN official responsible for reporting on counter-terrorism, Ben Emmerson QC, will criticise the UK’s record. ‘The link between displacement of people from their homes and risks to national security in the countries in which they seek refuge has been irresponsibly and misleadingly overblown in many states, with the refugee crisis being used to stoke public fears of terrorism,’ he is due to tell the UN session on Friday.”
The Wall Street Journal: How Islamic State Weaponized The Chat App To Direct Attacks On The West
“A predawn attack on a French policeman’s home, the killing of a priest during Mass and a car bomb planted near Notre Dame Cathedral in recent months were plots that appeared isolated until investigators discovered a common thread. Their authors had all allegedly been in contact with a man whom authorities identify as 29-year-old Rachid Kassim. From somewhere in Islamic State-held territory in Iraq or Syria, authorities say, the French national had used the encrypted Telegram chat app and other social-media tools to contact people back home—mainly French teenagers who are believed to have little or no previous connection to the terror group or each other—and instruct them on how to mount attacks.”

United States

USA Today: U.S. Service Member Killed In Northern Iraq
“A U.S. service member died Thursday from wounds sustained in an improvised explosive device blast in northern Iraq, the U.S. military said. The U.S. military did not release details. American advisers are with Iraqi forces in the battle for Mosul, the largest offensive yet against the Islamic State in Iraq. The serviceman was part of the Mosul operation, said a U.S. official who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to discuss the incident publicly. On Monday, Iraqi forces launched a major offensive to retake Mosul — Iraq's second-largest city — from Islamic State control. American advisers are generally positioned with headquarters and are not engaged in direct combat.”
International Business Times: ISIS Shoots Down American Plane? Pentagon Denies A-10 Aircraft Shot By Islamic State Group In Syria
“The Pentagon is reportedly denying the Islamic State group's claim it shot down a U.S. A-10 Thunderbolt jet aircraft near a Syrian town Thursday morning, according to Reuters. The news comes as Iraqi security forces battle ISIS in Mosul with help from the United States. The initial report, coming from ISIS communications arm Aamaq Agency, stated the terror group claimed to have downed the powerful jet in Markadah, located 102 kilometers (63.3 miles) south of the town of Al Hasakah, Syria. The report also stressed the fate of the alleged pilot’s fate was not known as the U.S. helps Kurdish militias fight ISIS in northern Syria. ISIS has made false claims of killing U.S. serviceman or downing U.S. aircraft before.”
Fox News: Ex-College Student Sentenced To 30 Years For Trying To Help ISIS
“A former California college student was sentenced Wednesday to 30 years in prison for trying to aid the Islamic State group. Muhanad Badawi, 25, was also sentenced to a lifetime of supervised release during a hearing in federal court in Santa Ana. He was convicted earlier this year of conspiracy to aid a foreign terrorist organization and other crimes. Authorities said Badawi and now-25-year-old Nader Elhuzayel concocted a scheme for Elhuzayel to fly to the Middle East to fight for the Islamic State and that Badawi lent him his debit card to buy a one-way plane ticket to Israel with a six-hour layover in Turkey.”
Huffington Post: Appeals Court Upholds Conviction Of Bin Laden Assistant In 9/11 Terror Plot
“A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld the conviction of Ali Hamza Ahmad al Bahlul, a filmmaker and public relations assistant found to have actively helped Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda prepare for the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. In a divided 163-page ruling, the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected Bahlul’s constitutional challenge to his conviction for conspiracy under the laws of war, reasoning that Congress has authority to make the crime of conspiracy a punishable offense that can be tried in an American war tribunal. ‘An enemy of the United States who engages in a conspiracy to commit war crimes ― in‎ Bahlul’s‎ case,‎ by‎ plotting‎ with ‎Osama ‎bin ‎Laden‎ to murder thousands of American civilians ― may be tried by a U.S. military commission for conspiracy to commit war crimes,’ the court said in its main conclusion.”
Reuters: Pentagon Chief To Stress Iraq Sovereignty In Turkey Talks
“U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said he would stress the need to respect Iraq's sovereignty during a visit on Friday to Turkey, which has been locked in a dispute with Baghdad over who should participate in the campaign to retake Mosul from Islamic State. Carter, acknowledging it was a delicate issue, declined to explicitly say whether he thought Turkey should be allowed toparticipate in the operations in Iraq. Washington in the past has deferred that matter to Baghdad. ‘Of course we'll talk about that. And yes, of course there are sensitivities there. We conduct ourselves, and the coalition does, respecting Iraqi sovereignty. That's an important principle of ours,’ Carter said.”


The New York Times: Wary Of Russian Guarantees, Residents Stay Put In War-Torn Aleppo
“Russia billed its brief, unilateral cease-fire as a good-will gesture, a chance for weary rebel fighters and civilians to escape besieged areas in the Syrian city of Aleppo. But during the 11-hour window on Thursday, there were few takers. People trapped in east Aleppo said they did not trust that Russia, which has been helping the Syrian government bomb them for months, would now keep them safe in designated ‘humanitarian corridors.’ ‘All the human corridors that the regime is promoting, are all lies,’ Bassem Ayoud, an antigovernment activist, said via an internet message. ‘What’s happening is an extermination of people.’ Whether to stay or go has long been a life-or-death choice for the residents of east Aleppo, who number 275,000, the United Nations estimates, including around 8,000 fighters.”
CNN: Russian Warships Sail Down British Coast, Likely En Route To Syria
“A fleet of Russian warships and fighter jets, including the flagship aircraft carrier the Admiral Kuznetsov, has reached the North Sea and is headed for the English Channel, the UK's Ministry of Defence told CNN in a statement. The flotilla is believed to be on its way to the Mediterranean and eventually, most Western defense analysts believe, to Syria. ‘It's a show of force and a show of capabilities,’ Peter Felstead, editor of Jane's Defence Weekly, told CNN. ‘In terms of strike missions, they (the Russians) could just as easily have conducted them with the land-based aircraft they already have in Syria.’ The UK Ministry of Defense says it is closely monitoring the Russian vessels, which left Russia October 15.”
The Wall Street Journal: U.N. Members Propose Bypassing Security Council On Syria
“The U.N.’s General Assembly met informally Thursday to discuss whether to take steps to override the Security Council on the Syrian conflict, as the council remains deadlocked over how to bring an end to the bombing of the northern city of Aleppo. Four of the five permanent members of the Security Council are butting heads over competing resolutions for a cease-fire in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, where rebels are battling the Russian-backed Syrian government. The council’s division pits Russia against the U.S., the U.K. and France. China, the fifth member, is neutral. Several member states and the U.N.’s envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, asked the Assembly to invoke a provision that would allow it to convene a special emergency session while the Security Council is at an impasse. The session would allow the Assembly to recommend measures to its members for collective action.”


The New York Times: Kurds, Heading Into The Teeth Of ISIS, Open A New Front
“The sounds of battle north of Mosul on Thursday morning told the story of how Islamic State fighters had chosen to meet a new Kurdish assault: the eruptions of suicide car bombs and roadside mines. Grim-faced, a group of Kurdish troops moved to meet the ambulances and gun-laden pickup trucks as they bore the casualties back from the fight at midday. Blood stained the sand near their front-line aid station, and a medevac helicopter touched down on the highway back to Dohuk, ready to take the most grievously hurt to treatment there. One Kurdish fighter was so desperate to get his injured comrade through the snarl of military traffic that he began to fire shots into the air.”
CNN: Mosul: Most Intense Day Of Fighting Since Offensive Began
“Iraqi-led forces engaged Thursday in the most intense fighting yet in the battle to liberate the city of Mosul from two years of brutal ISIS rule, on day four of an offensive that's been met with fierce resistance from ISIS fighters. But with the clashes have come sweeping gains -- the coalition has now recaptured at least 100 square kilometers of territory, a CNN analysis of the battlefield shows. Iraqi Maj. Gen. Maan al-Saadi said 200 ISIS fighters were killed as Iraqi forces took the Christian town of Bartella from ISIS militants, the latest territorial win for a coalition of around 100,000 people quickly closing in on Mosul. The Iraqi-led coalition launched the operation on Monday to retake Mosul, seen as the cultural capital of ISIS's envisaged caliphate, or so-called Islamic State.”
CNN: Iraq Captures Key Town Near Mosul
“Iraqi special forces reclaimed a strategically important town from Islamic State on Thursday and joined Kurdish fighters in opening a new front against Islamic State, while the U.S. suffered its first combat death since the start of the Mosul offensive. The capture of Bartella, about 8 miles east of Mosul, by the U.S.-trained special forces puts militant positions in the city well within the range of government artillery. The unit, which is known as the Golden Division and specializes in urban warfare, took part in the offensive to retake Iraq’s second-largest city for the first time Thursday, a sign that the government and its allies are moving closer to directly engaging Islamic State inside Mosul.”
Associated Press: Islamic State Fighters Attack Northern Iraq's Kirkuk
“Militants armed with assault rifles and explosives attacked targets in and around the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk early on Friday in an assault quickly claimed by the Islamic State group and likely aimed at diverting authorities' attention for the battle to retake IS-held Mosul. Multiple explosions rocked the city and gun battles were underway, said witnesses in Kirkuk, speaking on condition of anonymity as they were concerned for their safety. Much of the fighting was centered on a government compound in the city. IS said its fighters were behind the attack, which the extremist group said targeted the Iraqi government. The claim was carried by the IS-run Aamaq news agency and could not immediately be verified.”


Reuters: Turkish Military Says It Killed 18 Kurdish Militants In Iraq And Southeast
“The Turkish military said on Friday it had killed 12 Kurdish militants in southeast Turkey and another six in air strikes in northern Iraq, while also targeting their allied fighters in northern Syria. Twelve of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) guerrillas were ‘neutralized’ on Thursday in the Cukurca district of Hakkari province, near the Iraqi border, the army statement said. In northern Iraq, the Turkish air strikes hit the Avashin Basyan region, killing six PKK fighters and destroying four targets on Thursday, it added. In another statement on its operation to drive Islamic State and the Kurdish YPG militia away from the border in northern Syria, the army said it fired on 40 Islamic State and six YPG targets on Thursday, leaving them 'incapable of maneuver'. On Wednesday night, Turkish air strikes pounded YPG fighters and allied fighters in northern Syria and the army said it killed between 160 and 200 combatants.”
Reuters: Turkey Detains 40 Soldiers In Coup Probe: Media
“Turkey detained 40 soldiers from an air base in the central Anatolian city of Konya as part of investigations into July's failed military coup, Turkish media outlets said on Thursday. Detention warrants had been issued for a total of 47 soldiers from Konya, the private Dogan news agency said, in what was the third wave of action against suspected followers of U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom the government blames for masterminding the coup attempt. More than 32,000 people are in jail and 100,000, including top military figures, have been dismissed from jobs in the security and civil services for their alleged links to Gulen's network. The cleric denies involvement in the putsch.”
The Wall Street Journal: Turkey Strikes Syrian Kurds As Multifaceted Conflict Rages On
“Turkish jets bombed U.S.-allied Syrian Kurds battling Islamic State, as Ankara and Washington’s competing priorities in the multisided Syria conflict strain ties between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies. There were conflicting reports on Thursday about who was hit in the overnight attack, and the death tolls varied significantly. As many as 200 Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG, fighters were killed in 26 strikes on 18 targets, the Turkish military said, in what would appear to be Turkey’s deadliest strike yet on Syrian Kurdish fighters.”


Reuters: Afghan Displaced Crisis May Be Larger Than Expected, U.N. Says
“A wave of internally displaced people in Afghanistan and returning refugees in need of aid may be even bigger than previously feared, U.N. officials warned on Thursday as they called for more money and attention for the growing crisis. Nearly 400,000 Afghan refugees have returned from Pakistan alone, according to the United Nations, forced out in many cases by pressure there. In one week in October, more than 50,000 people crossed the border back into Afghanistan from Pakistan. Rising violence and economic depravation, meanwhile, have led to nearly 300,000 Afghans being displaced within the country.”
Reuters: NATO Trains Afghan Troops To Make Air Strikes More Accurate
“NATO forces have begun a new program to train Afghan soldiers to pinpoint ground targets for aircraft flying overhead, hoping that it will help stem militant advances in recent months and reverse a sharp rise in civilian casualties. The alliance has shifted most military responsibility on to Afghanistan's armed forces since it ended its main combat mission after 2014, including building up air capabilities that are crucial to holding back Taliban gains. A growing number of mainly small Afghan aircraft have been firing increasingly powerful weapons at militants with little or no guidance from the ground, a problem that U.S. advisers like Lieutenant Colonel Andy Janssen are trying to address.”
International Business Times: War, Bombings And Poverty In Afghanistan: 10 Million Afghans Have Mental Illness Or Distress After Decades Of Conflict
“Almost a third of people in Afghanistan suffer from mental health problems, the Reuters Foundation reported Thursday. Decades of conflict, widespread poverty, a lack of doctors and the stigmatization of mental illness have led to an estimated 10 million Afghans with some sort of mental health distress or illness. Afghanistan's Ministry of Health has upgraded the classification of mental illness from second tier to first tier, placing it among the nation’s top five health concerns. But obstacles to addressing the problem remain nearly insurmountable. Only 200 psychological counselors existed in the entire country as of 2015. In 2011, there were .26 doctors for every 100,000 people in Afghanistan, though that number has been steadily rising. The lack of mental health professionals has led to some Afghans seeking help from traditional healers who often do more harm than good, Reuters reported.”


Reuters: Yemen Missile Launch, Saudi-Led Air Strike Strain Truce
“A 72-hour truce in Yemen came under pressure on Thursday when missiles fired from Yemen killed two civilians in Saudi Arabia, the United States said, while a Saudi-led coalition launched air strikes that Iran-allied Houthi fighters said killed three people. Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab allies have been embroiled in a conflict in Yemen since March 2015, fighting on behalf of an exiled Yemeni government against the Houthi group, which controls the capital Sanaa. A U.N.-brokered ceasefire took effect late on Wednesday, raising hopes of an end to a war that has devastated the Arab world's poorest country and left it on the verge of famine.”
BBC: Yemen Conflict: Rebels Accused Of Violating Ceasefire
“The Saudi-led military coalition backing the government in the war in Yemen has accused Houthi rebels of repeatedly violating a ceasefire. A statement said the rebels had breached it more than 40 times along the border with Saudi Arabia. The UN-brokered truce, meant to last three days, began on Wednesday just before midnight. Rebels, meanwhile, said an air strike on their territory had killed three civilians. The UN had hoped that the truce might be extended and lead to renewed peace talks. Rockets were fired by Houthi rebels at Jazan and Najran in Saudi Arabia, the coalition said in a statement.”
BBC: Australian Coach Kidnapped In Yemen Appears In Hostage Video
“An Australian football coach who was kidnapped in Yemen has appeared in a video saying his captors demand the Australian government pay a ransom to secure his release. In the footage released online, 56-year-old Craig Bruce McAllister said he was kidnapped by an unnamed group. Australia said on Wednesday it was aware one of its nationals had been kidnapped in the country. It has previously said it does not pay ransom money. Yemen is engulfed in a war between forces backing President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and Houthi rebels. Mr McAllister is believed to have lived in Yemen for about six years, where he was coaching a youth football team in the capital, Sanaa.”

Saudi Arabia

CNN: Saudi Arabia Executes Member Of Royal Family
“Saudi Arabia has taken the rare step of executing a member of its royal family after he was found guilty of murder, the Saudi Interior Ministry said in a statement. Prince Turki bin Saud bin Turki bin Saud Al-Kabeer was convicted in the shooting death of a man during a ‘group quarrel,’ the statement said Tuesday, according to the state-run Saudi Press Agency. The dead man was identified as a Saudi national. The execution took place Tuesday. The statement did not include any details about the method of execution. In other cases in Saudi Arabia the death sentence has been carried out by beheading. The guilty verdict was supported by an appeals court and later sanctioned by the Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia. A royal order was then issued to execute the courts' ruling, the press agency reported.”
Reuters: Civilians Injured In Saudi Arabia By Missiles Fired From Yemen - Saudi Civil Defense
“A number of civilians in the southern Saudi Arabian province of Jazan have been injured by missiles fired from Yemen, the Saudi civil defense unit was quoted as saying by the Saudi-owned television news channel Al Arabiya on Thursday. It was not immediately clear when the attack happened, but Yemen's Houthi movement said on Thursday it had launched attacks on military targets in Saudi Arabia over the last two days. ‘The violations happened along on the border between Saudi Arabia and Yemen, and specifically in the regions of Najran and Jazan,’ a civil defense official said. ‘A variety of weapons were fired, including rockets and projectiles.’ A U.N.-brokered 72-hour truce between Yemen's Houthis and a Saudi-led coalition began just before midnight on Wednesday amid hopes of an end to the 19-month-old conflict, which has drawn in regional powers and killed thousands of civilians.”


Associated Press: Egypt’s Fight Against Islamic Militancy Makes Enemies
“Egypt has made fighting Islamic militants its overriding foreign policy objective, a decision that has brought it closer to Syrian President Bashar Assad, Russia and Iran, in turn antagonizing its chief financial backer, Saudi Arabia. The policy is risky at a time when Egypt is struggling to contain a homegrown Islamic insurgency and tackling its worst economic crisis in decades. Saudi Arabia, which has helped keep Egypt's economy from collapse with billions in aid, has already signaled its displeasure by holding back promised supplies of fuel. This direction of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi's foreign policy is rooted in the military's 2013 ouster of his predecessor Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Middle East

The Times Of Israel: Palestinian Who Stabbed Cops Sought ‘Martyr’s Death’ — Prosecution
“Palestinian who stabbed and wounded two police officers in Jerusalem last month wrote in a will made before the attack that he was seeking a ‘martyr’s death,’ according to an indictment submitted Thursday at Jerusalem District Court. Ayman Kurd, 20, from East Jerusalem, stabbed the two officers near the Herod’s Gate entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City on September 19, seriously wounding a 38-year-old policewoman and moderately injuring her 47-year-old male colleague. The policeman managed to shoot and wound Kurd several times after he was stabbed. The indictment states that prior to carrying out the attack, Kurd wrote several wills on his phone.”
Haaretz: Israel Charges Arab Couple With Joining ISIS In Iraq
“A husband and wife from the Israeli Arab town of Sakhnin who joined Islamic State and moved to Syria and Iraq with their children were detained upon attempting to return to Israel. An indictment was filed against the couple, Wissam, 41, and Sabareen Zabidat, 30, at the Haifa District Court on Thursday.  Wissam had fought alongside ISIS, and the family resided in the Iraqi city of Mosul. The two are charged with numerous counts of security-related offenses, including contacting a foreign agent and membership in a terror organization. According to a police and Shin Bet investigation, the couple flew in June 2015 to Romania, from which they planned to carry on to Turkey and then Syria in order to join ISIS. Sabareen allegedly contacted an ISIS operative who transported the family to Syria.”


Reuters: Libya Forces Free Five Foreign Captives From Islamic State In Sirte
“Libyan pro-government forces have freed five foreign nationals held by Islamic State in Sirte after heavy fighting in their battle to capture the final district of the city, a local official said on Thursday. Islamic State took over Sirte more than a year ago, profiting from chaos caused by infighting among rival brigades of Libyan forces who once battled together to oust Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, but steadily turned against each other. Two of the freed foreigners were from Turkey, two from India and one from Bangladesh, said Rida Issa, a spokesman for the Bonyan Marsous forces which have been battling for six months against militants in Sirte. ‘There was a desperate resistance by Daesh, but it was confronted by heavy weapons,’ Issa said, using one of the Arabic names for Islamic State.”

United Kingdom

Daily Mail: Muslim Leaders Plan Their Own Anti-Radicalisation Scheme After They Lose Faith In The Government's Prevent Programme 
“British Muslim leaders are to create their own initiative aimed at steering young people away from terrorism, in competition with the Government's controversial Prevent programme. The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), which represents 500 charities, schools and mosques, is behind the new anti-radicalisation scheme. Prevent is deeply controversial among Muslim communities, with many suspecting they are targeted only because of their faith, despite the scheme being aimed at all extremism. Miqdaad Versi, assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, told the BBC Today programme: 'We need the Government to be talking to Muslim communities, listening to Muslim communities.”
Reuters: Police Exlpode Suspicious Object At London Station, Launch Terrorism Inquiry
“British police carried out a controlled explosion on a suspicious item found at a London underground station on Thursday, and said counter-terrorism officers had launched an investigation. Police were called shortly after 1000 GMT after rail staff reported finding the item on a train at North Greenwich underground station, near the Canary Wharf financial district and close to the O2 entertainment center. A controlled detonation was carried out to make the item safe and officers from London's Counter Terrorism Command have taken the lead in the investigation, police said. The North Greenwich underground station which was evacuated has now reopened, police said.”


The Wall Street Journal: Trial Of Teenager ‘Safia S’ Starts Behind Closed Doors In Germany
“The trial of a teenage girl accused of stabbing a policeman, in what officials allege was the first attack ordered by Islamic State on German soil, began on Thursday behind closed doors. The case casts light on the growing phenomenon of radicalization among teens and the new challenge it presents for authorities, given the extensive legal protections juveniles enjoy in most Western countries. This special status was on evidence on Thursday when the court in this small northern German town ordered reporters and the public out of the courtroom. The minor’s right to a closed-door trial, the judges argued, trumped even the ‘great public interest given the growing threat of Islamist terrorism.’”


Newsweek: France's Francois Hollande Warns Isis Jihadis Escaping Mosul Battle Fleeing To Raqqa
“French President Francois Hollande warned Thursday that fighters for the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) are already fleeing the embattled northern Iraqi city of Mosul to regroup in its de-facto capital, the Syrian city of Raqqa. ‘We can’t afford mistakes in the pursuit of the terrorists who are already leaving Mosul for Raqqa,’ Hollande said at an international conference in Paris. France has been the target of several high-profile radical Islamist attacks in the last two years, the most deadly being the Paris attacks in November 2015 when an ISIS cell killed 130 people in the French capital. French authorities ordered airstrikes on Raqqa immediately after the attack and believe that plots have been organized and directed from ISIS-controlled territory.”
Newsweek: How Is France Fighting Militant Islamism In Africa?
“France would be forgiven for prioritizing other military interests ahead of North and West Africa, with Islamist attacks on its home soil and its leading role in the coalition fighting the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) in Syria and Iraq. But on Wednesday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault was at pains to emphasize the country’s commitment to Africa—which includes many former French colonies—particularly in the face of an ongoing threat from militant groups. ‘France remains committed as long as the jihadist threat continues to weigh on the future of these countries,’ Ayrault told lawmakers, according to Reuters. ‘We do not have the right to abandon our African brothers at the exact moment when they need us the most to consolidate the fragile balances.’”

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