Eye on Extremism, January 17, 2017

Counter Extremism Project

New York Times: Twitter Must Do More TO Block ISIS

“Like many Americans, the two of us have strong reasons to hope that 2017 is better than recent years. On Nov. 13, 2015, Beatriz’s daughter, Nohemi, was killed in the Paris terror attacks by an Islamic State cell operating out of Brussels. On March 22, 2016, Cameron’s husband, Alexander, and her sister-in-law, Sascha, were murdered at the Brussels Airport by terrorists from the same cell. One hundred and fifty-nine others also died in those attacks, and more than 600 people were injured. The months since have been anguishing for us, and it is tempting to assign blame — to authorities who failed to heed warnings about suspected terrorists, to government policies that prevented effective surveillance and interdiction of the planners, and of course to the Islamic State terrorists who murdered our loved ones. But our primary motivation in taking action is not to blame others. We want to make it less likely that families will suffer similar anguish in the future.”

Washington Post: Captured Suspect In Nightclub Attack Is Uzbek With Islamic State Ties, Says Turkey

“Turkish officials on Tuesday confirmed the arrest of a suspect accused of fatally shooting 39 people during a New Year’s party at an Istanbul nightclub, saying he was an Uzbek national linked to the Islamic State militant group who had received training in Afghanistan. Officials said the suspect, Abdulkadir Masharipov, was arrested overnight in Istanbul’s high-rise Esenyurt district and detained along with four other people. “The perpetrator of this vile attack has been captured,” Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told reporters in Ankara, the Turkish capital.  “The powers behind this will be revealed,” he added, without elaborating. The attack on the waterfront Reina nightclub was among the worst mass killings in recent memory in Turkey. The details and surveillance footage shocked the country, depicting a brazen assault, with the gunman shooting his way through the front entrance of the club, one of Turkey’ most famous venues, as people fell around him.”

BBC: Mosul Battle: Iraq Forces ‘Retake’ University From IS

“Iraqi forces have seized full control of Mosul University in their battle with so-called Islamic State, Iraqi state television said. Military forces have been attempting to retake the city – the last major IS stronghold in Iraq – since October. Iraqi officials said the IS group had used laboratories in the university complex to make chemical weapons. The head of the country’s counter-terrorism operations said retaking the area was a significant victory. Iraqi military officials claim they now control a large majority of the city’s eastern half. They also control three of the five key bridges crossing the river Tigris, which divides Mosul in two.”

BBC: Syria War: Dozens Dead In IS Attack On Deir Al-Zour

“Islamic State militants have launched a fierce assault on government-held areas in the eastern Syrian city of Deir al-Zour, with dozens reportedly killed. Twelve government soldiers and 20 IS fighters were killed, said the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. At least two civilians were also killed in IS rocket fire on government-controlled parts of the city, it added. The jihadists have besieged government-held parts of the city, which borders Iraq, since early 2015. IS already controls half of the city as well as most of the surrounding province, which shares the same name.”

The Daily Caller: ISIS Leader Baghdadi May Finally Be Cornered In Iraq

“Infamous Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may be trapped in Iraq, according to intelligence gathered by an Iraqi militia group. Iraq’s Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Units, or PMUs, reported Saturday that Baghdadi was stuck in Nineveh province, not far from the city of Mosul. The militia group cited unconfirmed intelligence reports gathered by a joint intelligence task force comprised of the PMUs and Iraq’s Joint Operations Command. ‘Initial information with the intelligence bodies tell that … Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi remains in Nineveh … as security forces impose control over the eastern side of Mosul, while the western side is totally isolated from Syrian territories,’ said Jawad al-Tleibawi, the military spokesman for Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, one of the PMU militias.”

Newsweek: Suspected ISIS Militants Kidnap 14 From Religious School In Afghanistan

“Suspected militants from the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) attacked a religious school in eastern Afghanistan Sunday, kidnapping 12 teachers and two other members of staff, according to officials. The fighters entered the school in the Haska Mina district of Nangarhar province during an examination, according to the education department in the provincial capital of Jalalabad, Reuters reported. The other two kidnapped members of staff were administrators. ‘We are saddened by the news and ask security departments, local elders and prominent figures in the area to help us release our teachers,’ the department said in a statement.”

Reuters: In Northern Afghanistan, Bereaved Women Join Fight Against Islamic State

“Gul Bibi, an Afghan grandmother well into her eighties, never expected to become a fighter. But now she is one of more than a hundred women in Afghanistan’s northern Jawzjan province who have taken up arms against Islamist militants. Nearly all of the women have lost a husband, son or brother to the Taliban or the newly active Islamic State in the province bordering Turkmenistan. ‘I lost nine members of my family. The Taliban and Daesh (Islamic State) killed my five sons and four nephews,’ Bibi said by phone from Jawzjan. ‘I have taken up arms to defeat the terrorists so other people’s sons won’t get killed.’ Determined to protect their families, the women approached a local police commander, Sher Ali, in December and asked him for guns and ammunition.”

The Times Of Israel: Hamas, Islamic State Resume Close Cooperation Despite Pressure From Cairo

“Cooperation between Gaza’s Hamas rulers and Islamic State’s affiliate in Sinai has decreased noticeably in recent weeks, but documents seen by The Times of Israel show the two organizations continue to coordinate and help each other in many key areas. Despite pressure from Egypt, which is battling an ongoing insurgency led by the so-called ‘Sinai Province’ of IS, Hamas has refused to crack down on smuggling by IS through tunnels run by its members under the Gaza-Sinai border. Instead, the Palestinian terror group has looked to this activity as a source of income, and recently raised its taxes on goods brought into the Strip by IS smugglers.”

New York Times: Wife Of Orlando Nightclub Gunman Arrested On Federal Charges

“The FBI on Monday arrested the wife of the gunman who killed 49 people at an Orlando gay nightclub last year, a massacre that intensified fears about attacks against Americans inspired by Islamic State, officials said. Noor Salman, 30, is being charged with obstruction of justice and aiding and abetting by providing material support to a terrorist organization, Orlando Police Chief John Mina said in a statement.Salman’s arrest came seven months after her husband, Omar Mateen, went on a hours-long siege at the Florida club that ended when police killed him. She was due to appear in federal court in Oakland, California on Tuesday morning. “Certainly I can confirm that an arrest did occur in this case,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch told MSNBC.”

Reuters: Boko Haram Claims Nigeria University Attack

“Islamist militant group Boko Haram has said it was behind Monday’s twin suicide bombing at a university in north eastern Nigeria which killed two people. A video featuring an audio recording purporting to be leader Abubakar Shekau was posted on social media late on Monday. Reuters was unable to verify if the voice was indeed his. “The bomb that exploded on Monday morning, it’s our brothers responsible for it,” the recording said. A professor at the University of Maiduguri and a child were killed and 17 people wounded in a twin suicide bombing, officials said on the day of the attack.”

Fox News: Six Reported Dead In Attack On Security Checkpoint In Egypt

“An attack on a security checkpoint in Egypt’s Western Desert killed at least six people Monday, state media reported. Gunfire continued into the evening, Reuters added. The attack unfolded in the New Valley province, according to state TV. A possible motive was unclear. Police did not identify the attackers. The shooting unfolded at the Naqb checkpoint more than 40 miles from Kharga, state media added. Egypt has faced a string of attacks linked to the Islamic State after the army overthrew the president, Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, in 2013. Many of the attacks have unfolded in the Sinai Peninsula. A car bombing at a police checkpoint in northern Sinai last week killed at least nine people and wounded 12 others, The New York Times reported.”

Newsweek: Spain Arrests Moroccan Boxing Coach Accused Of Recruiting For ISIS

“Spanish police have arrested a Moroccan boxing coach suspected of leading a radical Islamist cell that recruited for the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) in the country, the government said Monday. The ISIS cell focused on ‘sending foreign fighters to Turkey where they received instructions from Daesh to commit attacks in Europe,’ the Spanish interior ministry said in a statement, using an Arabic term for ISIS. ‘The accused was very active in finding new recruits and would approach young people at risk of social exclusion, easily influenced and emotionally unstable, and make the most of his position as boxing teacher to win their confidence,’ the ministry said.”

Voice Of America: Writings Of Obscure American Leftist Drive Kurdish Forces In Syria

“Could the writings of a little-know leftist from a rural American state help to reshape the political structure of the nation that emerges from the Syrian civil war? That could be the case if the Kurdish YPG — one of the most effective forces in the U.S.-backed struggle against Islamic State extremists — succeeds in its goal of carving out a self-governing entity in the areas it controls in northern Syria. For decades, autonomy-seeking Kurds in Syria and Turkey have been deeply influenced by the published works of Murray Bookchin, Marxist-inspired writer who advocated a radical form of grassroots democracy.”

Syria

Reuters: Syria Fighting Derails Plans To Fix Damaged Damascus Water Source

“The Syrian army and allied militia clashed with rebels near Damascus on Sunday, threatening to disrupt planned repairs to a pumping station that supplies most of the capital’s water, a war monitor said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the army and the allied Lebanese militia Hezbollah had made some gains against rebels in the Wadi Barada area. Heavy fighting reached the outskirts of the Ain al-Fija town, where the waterworks is located, the British-based war monitor reported. Artillery shelling by government forces killed nine people and wounded at least 20 others in the nearby Deir Qanoun village, it said. A local media office for opposition activists said the shelling hit a center for displaced people.”

Reuters: Russia To Upgrade Its Naval, Air Bases In Syria: Interfax

“Russia plans to improve and expand its naval and air bases in Syria, Interfax news agency reported on Sunday, citing an unnamed source, as Moscow cements its presence in the Middle Eastern country, its only overseas military deployment. The source told Interfax that Russia will start repairing a second runway at Hmeimin air base near Latakia, while the Tartus naval base will be upgraded in order to handle bigger ships such as cruisers. President Vladimir Putin has announced a partial withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria, where they have been helping forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. But Moscow wants to retain a permanent presence both in Hmeimin and Tartus. The source also told Interfax that Russia will still deploy S-300 surface-to-air defense systems and Bastion coastal missile launchers in Tartus.”

Voice Of America: Syrian Rebels Say They Support Upcoming Peace Talks In Kazakhstan

“Syrian rebel negotiators announced Saturday their support of Russia-Turkey brokered talks aimed at finding a political solution to the nearly six-year-long conflict in Syria, but they say a planned meeting this month in Kazakhstan should be seen only as a first step toward the resumption of the long-stalled U.N.-backed Geneva peace process. The Syrian opposition’s High Negotiations Committee, which has been shut out of the Russian-Turkish talks process, said in a statement that it backed a military delegation, which will attend the meeting in the Kazakh capital of Astana.”

Iraq

CBS News: Iraq Makes Swift Territorial Gains Against ISIS In Mosul

“Iraqi forces have won a string of swift territorial gains in Mosul in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) after months of slow progress. Government troops retook the eastern edge of a third bridge in Mosul Saturday and a cluster of buildings inside Mosul University, according to a senior Iraqi officer overseeing the operation. Iraqi forces now control the eastern sides of three of the city’s five bridges that span the Tigris river connecting Mosul’s east to west. Warplanes from the U.S.-led coalition bombed the city’s bridges late last year in an effort to isolate ISIS fighters in the city’s east by disrupting resupply routes.”

Reuters: Twenty Years After Diana Campaign, New Landmine Crisis Plagues Iraq And Syria

“Twenty years after Princess Diana’s iconic visit to a minefield in Angola, the world faces a new landmine crisis in Syria and Iraq on a scale not seen for decades, campaigners said on Sunday. The Mines Advisory Group said it had cleared and destroyed more than 9,000 newly laid landmines in both countries in the past six months in areas formerly occupied by the Islamic State militant group. Jane Cocking, the group’s chief executive, said at least $100 million of additional funding will be needed per year to tackle both newly laid land mines and those still in the soil from previous conflicts in more than 60 countries. ‘The problem is that we’re seeing the emergence of a new crisis of a scale that we haven’t seen since the 1990s, and to deal with that as well requires substantially more money,’ Cocking told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.”

NPR: Iraqi Troops Edge Deeper Into Mosul — With Caution

“Iraqi forces are nearing what is expected to be the toughest part of the fight for the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. As troops push toward the river dividing the city, they face new tactics from Islamic State fighters adapting to an urban environment and the limitations of U.S. air and artillery support. The more densely populated west side of the historic city, with its twisting streets and covered market, is still in ISIS hands. But Iraqi counter-terrorism troops this week for the first time reached the east bank of the Tigris River that splits the city.”

Turkey

Reuters: Roadside Bomb In Southeast Turkey Kills Three Police Officers: Security Sources

“Three Turkish police officers were killed and nine more wounded when a roadside bomb hit a passing police bus in the largely Kurdish southeastern province of Diyarbakir on Monday, security sources said. The bomb was detonated as the bus carrying riot police passed an area near the campus of Diyarbakir’s Dicle University, the sources said. Three of the wounded were in critical condition, the sources added. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has previously said it was behind similar attacks on police and soldiers.”

Reuters: Turkish Cargo Jet Crashes Into Kyrgyz Village, 37 Killed

“A Turkish cargo jet smashed into a village in Kyrgyzstan on Monday as it tried to land at a nearby airport in dense fog, killing at least 37 people, Kyrgyz officials and the airline said. According to airport officials, the Boeing 747 was supposed to make a stopover at Manas airport, near the capital Bishkek, on its way from Hong Kong to Istanbul, airport officials said, but it crashed in poor visibility at 7:31 a.m. The plane ploughed on for a few hundred metres (yards) through the Dachi Suu village, home to hundreds of families, sheering into mangled pieces and damaging dozens of buildings. Four crew members on board were killed. The rest of the dead were villagers. Kyrgyzstan’s Emergencies Ministry put the initial toll at 37. The Healthcare Ministry said 13 children and teenagers were among the dead.”

The New York Times: Turkey’s Relentless Attack On The Press

“It should come as no surprise that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey would praise Donald Trump for refusing to talk to a CNN reporter at a news conference. For years, Mr. Erdogan has been crushing independent voices as part of a broader effort to assert authoritarian control. Earlier this month, the Turkish police arrested the top legal adviser and a former chief executive of Dogan Holding, a conglomerate that owns the newspaper Hurriyet and CNN Turk. This followed the detention in mid-December of another company executive, Barbaros Muratoglu, reportedly accused of ‘aiding a terror group,’ namely the organization of Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999. The company has denied links to Mr. Gulen.”

Reuters: Turkey And Russia To Invite U.S. To Syria Talks: Turkish Minister

“Turkey and Russia have decided to invite the United States to Syria peace talks due to be held this month in the Kazakh capital Astana, Turkey’s foreign minister said on Saturday. Mevlut Cavusoglu reiterated that Turkey remained opposed to the inclusion of the Syrian Kurdish militant group YPG in the peace talks.”

NPR: State Media: Turkey Arrests ‘Main Suspect’ From Deadly New Year’s Attack

“Turkish police have arrested the ‘main suspect’ from an attack on an Istanbul nightclub on New Year’s Day that killed at least 39 people, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency. Officials have not publicly named the suspect. The arrest happened late Monday during a police raid in the Esenyurt neighborhood of Istanbul, Anadolu reported. Police have taken at least 16 other people into custody in connection to the deadly attack. It happened in the early hours of the morning on Jan. 1, when the gunman shot his way into the packed Reina nightclub. Turkish authorities also previously ‘released a ‘selfie’ video purportedly showing the gunman walking along a city street,’ as The Two-Way has reported. ‘Turkish authorities did not say when the video was recorded or how they obtained it.’”

Afghanistan

Voice Of America: Roadside Bomb Kills 7 Civilians In Eastern Afghanistan

“Officials in Afghanistan say that at least seven civilians were killed and two wounded when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb in an eastern troubled border region. The violence happened just hours before Islamic State militants in the same region abducted 13 seminary teachers. The Afghan Interior Ministry said Sunday the early morning blast took place in the Bargholi village of the Nangarhar province, which shares a border with Pakistan. The ministry condemned the deadly violence as an ‘unforgivable and shameful’ act of ‘enemies of peace and stability’ in Afghanistan, and vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Voice Of America: Pakistan Warns Afghanistan ‘Blame Game’ Hurting Peace Efforts

“Pakistan’s military chief told Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday that his troops have eliminated ‘all safe havens’ of terrorists on Pakistani soil, and he emphasized the need for security cooperation between the two countries to deter cross-border terrorist infiltration. General Qamar Javed Bajwa contacted Ghani by phone following Tuesday’s almost simultaneous bombings in different Afghan cities, including the capital city Kabul. The violence left more than 50 people and wounded scores of others. Five diplomats of the United Arab Emirates also were among the dead. Bajwa spoke to the Afghan president to condole the loss of life in recent terrorist attacks, and he expressed sympathy with victim families, according to Pakistan army spokesman, Major-General Asif Ghafoor.”

Reuters: Spanish Aid Worker Freed In Afghanistan: Red Cross

“A Spanish employee of the International Committee of the Red Cross has been released less than a month after he was kidnapped by gunmen in northern Afghanistan, the aid group said on Sunday. The staff member, identified by the ICRC only as Juan Carlos, was traveling with three Afghan colleagues between Mazar-i-Sharif and Kunduz on Dec. 19, 2016, when gunmen stopped the vehicles. The other ICRC staff were immediately released, but Juan Carlos was held for nearly four weeks. The aid group thanked Afghan authorities and community members who helped secure the man’s release, but would not identify the abductors and their motives, or provide any details on how the employee was freed.”

Yemen

The Washington Post: Saudi Soldier Killed By Cross-Border Fire Amid Yemen War

“Saudi Arabia says a soldier has been killed by cross-border fire from Yemen amid the kingdom’s campaign against Shiite rebels there. The Interior Ministry announced early Sunday the soldier’s death in the kingdom’s Najran region as a result of shelling and intensive fire Saturday afternoon. The war in Yemen began in 2014 after the Shiite rebels known as Houthis and their allies seized Yemen’s capital, Sanaa. In March 2015, a Saudi-led coalition of Arab countries began a military campaign against the Houthi forces. It said its mission served in part as a counterbalance to Iran’s influence following its nuclear deal with world powers. Saudi-led airstrikes have come under international criticism for their heavy civilian casualties. The U.S., which had provided the coalition targeting assistance, pulled back its presence over it.”

Egypt

Associated Press: Egypt Drops Case Against Mob That Attacked Christian Woman

“Egyptian prosecutors have thrown out a case brought by an elderly Christian woman against several members of a Muslim mob who stripped off her clothes and paraded her naked through the streets, her lawyer said Sunday. Last May’s assault in the central Minya province began after rumors spread that the son of the 70-year-old woman had an affair with a Muslim woman — a taboo in majority Muslim and conservative Egypt. Saturday’s decision by the prosecutors cited lack of sufficient evidence, according to the lawyer, Eihab Ramzy. Another case against the alleged perpetrators of the violence, which also targeted Christian homes, remains ongoing.”

Associated Press: Egypt Slams EU, UK For Criticizing Ruling On Activists

“Egypt blasted the EU and Britain on Saturday for criticizing a recent court decision to freeze the assets of three rights activists, accusing both of double standards, telling them to mind their own business, and demanding that it be left alone to pursue its goal of becoming a ‘modern’ state. An Egyptian court on Wednesday ruled to freeze the assets of three rights activists, including a prominent women’s rights campaigner, Mozn Hassan. It’s the latest chapter in a widening crackdown against civil society groups that includes travel bans and a recent law that gives security agencies extensive powers over their work.”

NPR: Egyptian Court Rules Against Government Bid To Give Two Islands To Saudi Arabia

“A top Egyptian court has ruled against the government’s bid to hand over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia. It’s an embarrassing ruling for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, who has argued that the islands of Trian and Sanafir are historically Saudi. The Supreme Administrative Court disagreed, saying that they are Egyptian sovereign territory. ‘It’s enshrined in the court’s conscience that Egypt’s sovereignty over Tiran and Sanafir is beyond doubt,’ presiding judge Ahmed al-Shazli told the court, according to The Associated Press. This started last April, when Sissi announced that he planned to give the territory to Saudi Arabia during a visit to the kingdom. Saudi Arabia has given Egypt billions of dollars in aid since the 2013 ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, which Sissi led.”

Middle East

The Times Of Israel: Hamas Trying To Drum Up Support In West Bank, Shin Bet Says, Arresting 13

“Israeli security forces arrested 13 alleged Hamas members on Sunday night who were involved in a ‘hearts and minds’ operation in the West Bank aimed at garnering local Palestinian support for the terrorist organization, the Shin Bet security service revealed Monday. Over the past few weeks, the Shin Bet, working alongside the Israel Defense Forces, uncovered the ‘extensive’ Hamas operation in the West Bank, specifically in Ramallah and the surrounding areas, the agency said. This Hamas operation, which included dozens of operatives, was geared toward winning over the Palestinian population through social outreach projects and financial assistance.”

The Times Of Israel: Palestinian,17, Shot Dead In Clashes With Israeli Forces

“Palestinian teen was shot dead Monday evening during clashes with Israeli security forces in the southern West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry said. The IDF said the shooting occurred during a ‘violent riot’ in which Palestinian hurled rocks at security forces in the Bethlehem-area village of Tuqua, near the settlement of Tekoa in the Etzion Bloc. ‘Due to the extent of violence, Border Police fired 0.22-caliber rounds toward the main violence instigator, resulting in his death,’ an army spokeswoman said. The Tuqua municipality identified the youth as 17-year-old Qusay Hussein Umour.”

The Times Of Israel: IDF Tank Shells Hamas Post After Army Vehicle Gets Shot

“Israeli troops working near the Gaza security fence came under fire on Sunday, in an attack that damaged a military engineering vehicle but caused no injuries, the army said. In response, an army tank shelled a Hamas position in the southern Gaza Strip, the Israel Defense Forces said. According to the IDF, the troops were doing routine work near the security fence with the southern Gaza Strip when shots were fired at them. The shots struck a heavy engineering vehicle, likely a D9 bulldozer, but no soldiers were injured, the army said.”

Haaretz: Gaza Rocked By Rare Mass Protests Against Hamas – But Israel May Pay The Price

“The intervention by Qatar and Turkey seems to provide a temporary, partial solution to Gaza’s dire electricity shortage. The promises of aid by the two countries, both supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood that didn’t want to see its sister movement Hamas fall, are supposed to help stabilize the Islamic regime in Gaza. On Monday, a young man from one of Gaza’s refugee camps was badly injured after setting himself on fire in protest of the power crisis, and large protests are expected across the Strip this evening. Events this past week send warning signals both to Hamas and Israel, which might bear the consequences of this crisis it helped create.”

The Jerusalem Post: Israel Gives Pal. Authority Limited Water Autonomy In West Bank

“The Palestinian Authority now has autonomy over water projects in Palestinian towns and villages in the West Bank, a Palestinian official told The Jerusalem Post. Dib Abdel Ghafour, a top official at the PA Water Authority, announced the change Monday, just one day after Israelis and Palestinian signed an agreement to reconvene the Joint Water Committee for the West Bank, which last met in 2010. The document was signed by the Coordinator for Government Affairs in the Territories Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai and Palestinian Authority Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh. ‘I believe this is a step in the direction of comprehensive peace agreement with the Israeli government and a real and serious peace that gives Palestinians and Israelis a real chance…I know there is a huge crisis of trust between the two sides, but what strengthens trust [between us] is what it is agreed upon between us,’ Sheikh said after signing the agreement.”

Libya

Daily Mail: Images Show The Harsh Realities Of The Libyan National Army’s Fight Against Jihadists…In A Country Still Bitterly Divided After The Ousting Of Gaddafi 

“Carrying an injured comrade on their shoulder and with their trousers splattered with blood – these images show the harsh realities of the Libyan National Army’s fight against jihadists. The LNA, led by military strongman Khalifa Haftar, have battled Islamic extremists in the country’s second city of Benghazi and elsewhere in the east for more than two years. Haftar presents himself as Libya’s saviour in the face of a growing jihadist threat, but is himself a hugely divisive figure. Haftar’s forces can count on support from other eastern cities such as Al-Marj, Al-Bayda and Tobruk and from the anti-Islamist Zintan militia and regional tribes in the west. Libya has been bitterly divided since the NATO-backed 2011 ousting of longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi, with rival militias vying for influence and control of oil resources.”

BBC: Migrant Crisis: About 100 Feared Drowned After Boat Sinks Off Libya

“About 100 migrant passengers are feared drowned in the Mediterranean Sea after their boat sank off the coast of Libya. Eight bodies were recovered from the water on Saturday, and four people were rescued, the Italian coastguard said. But difficult conditions hampered an overnight search for survivors, and at least 90 people are still missing. The boat sank between Libya and Italy, about 30 miles (50km) from the Libyan coast. The search, involving several ships and air support, continued on Sunday. It is unclear what the nationalities of the migrants involved are.”

United Kingdom

Daily Mail: Twelve Of Britain’s Most Dangerous Jihadis Will Be Put In Isolation Units At Cost Of £1million A Year To Taxpayer

“Twelve of the most infamous jihadi extremists in prison will be placed in isolation inside three jails at a cost of £1million per year. Anjem Choudary, who was jailed for five-and-a-half years in 2015 for supporting ISIS, is thought to be among the prisoners due to be separated. It is believed that the hate preacher, who has been encouraging British Muslims to wage holy war on the West for years, is trying to radicalise other inmates. Another of the high-profile inmates expected to be isolated is Michael Adebolajo, one of the men who killed soldier Lee Rigby outside his Woolwich barracks in 2013. Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale were sentenced to life in prison after they ran the soldier down in a car then hacked him to death in front of people in the street. It is said that Adebolajo is now using his notoriety to radicalise other Muslim inmates.”

Daily Mail: Deaf Boy, Six, Who Fled Iraq With His Family When ISIS Threatened To Kill Disabled Children Is Told He Can Stay In Britain After An 11th Hour Reprieve

“A six-year-old deaf boy who fled Iraq with his family after ISIS threatened to kill disabled children has been given a last minute reprieve to stay in Britain. Law and Hamadamin, who was born deaf and unable to communicate, fled the country with his parents and brother last year, coming to the UK after staying in a French refugee camp. The Home Office had warned the devastated family they faced deportation – but they have now been told they can stay while a High Court judge looks into the case. Lawand, six, lived with his mother Golbahar Hussein, 33, father Rebwar Golbahayh, 35, and nine-year-old brother in a French refugee camp before they came to Britain and settled in Derby.”

Germany

CNN: How Germany’s Open-Door Refugee Policy Helps Fight Terrorism

“Donald Trump thinks that Angela Merkel’s immigration policies have been a ‘catastrophic mistake’ and has blamed the broader refugee crisis for Britain’s decision to leave the EU. In a joint interview for German newspaper Bild and the Times newspaper in London, the President-elect said: ‘I have great respect for her, I felt she was a great leader, I think she made one very catastrophic mistake and that was taking all these illegals and taking all these people where ever they come from and nobody really knows where they come from.’ However, I believe that Germany’s open-door refugee policy will, in the long run, help protect Germans from terrorism. There is evidence that with the right immigration policy, refugees can play a valuable role in the war against terror.”

RT: 2 Men Detained By German Police For Having Explosives May Have Links To Right-Wing Terrorist Group

“Two suspects detained with 155 kilograms of pyrotechnic explosives may have links to a neo-Nazi terrorist group, German DPA news agency reported, citing a local prosecutor’s office. One reportedly had an explosive device bearing a swastika and SS signs. The explosives were found in a private flat in Lauterecken in western Germany on December 29. A local prosecutor’s office said the suspects may belong to a neo-Nazi group called the ‘Oldschool Society, DPA reports. In addition to the explosives, investigators found an improvised explosive device bearing a swastika and SS runes, according to the report.”

Counter-Terrorism

Innfrad: Egypt: Call For The Establishment Of A National Council For The Fight Against Terrorism

“Maj. Gen. Fouad Allam, the former Vice Director of the Egyptian State Security Agency, stated that all terrorist organizations, including ISIS, derived from the mantle of the Muslim Brotherhood. Allam urged Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to establish a national council to counter terrorism. He explained that this body will aim at monitoring, following up and analyzing terrorist activities by groups and movements inside Egypt and abroad. The ex-security official added that the council will also work to dry up the sources of terrorism financing. This will be carried out via monitoring the various monetary transactions and bank accounts of companies, institutions and individuals that conduct activities across countries. According to Allam, terrorism has no country and works to subvert the minds of young people.”

ISIS

All4syria: Syria: ISIS Petroleum Moves Through The Regime’s Checkpoints

“Activists in the southern Syrian area of Deraa documented the death of 10 civilians killed in three fires that broke out last week due to the use of what has become known as “ISIS fuel oil”. Activist Hani Al Omari disclosed that the latest victims from the usage of “ISIS” or “Anbari” fuel oil belonged to a family from the town of Dael, in western of Deraa. The fire, in which an elderly woman perished, occurred on Wednesday evening (January 11th). ISIS fuel oil began to appear in Deraa in the latter half of 2015, at competitive prices compared to fuel oil originating from areas under the control of regime, according to petroleum merchant Saeed Abdul Rahman. The supply of ISIS fuel oil into the southern parts of Syria is done through checkpoints manned by the Assad regime’s army and security forces. Abdul Rahman claimed that the largest share of proceeds from this activity goes into the (personal) pockets of heads of security branches who are based in As-Suwayda, among them Chief of the Military Security Branch, Wafiq Nasser.”

Muslim Brotherhood

Parlmany: Parliament Members Demand Closure Of Brotherhood Schools

“Following investigations of officials from Fatima Elzahraa-School in the village of Aldedamon in Fakous, members of the Education Committee in the Egyptian Parliament called on the Ministry of Education to close such schools and fire their teachers. This is for sake of “protecting the future of the children and preventing the planting of extremist ideas in their minds.” This came after complaints by parents whose children were told that Pharaonic civilization was just “a bunch of stones and idols” and girls were forced to wear the hijab. MP Magda Nasr, a member of the Committee on Education and Scientific Research, vowed she would request a briefing from Dr. El Helali el Sherbini, Egypt’s Minister of Education, about  Brotherhood schools in the governorates of Fayoum and Sharqia, which are {still} under the financial and administrative supervision of the group. Another member of the committee, Mohammed Sudki Heikal, stressed that the Education Ministry must supervise all schools and textbooks, because young children could be {adversely} affected. He added that financial fines on Brotherhood schools are not enough and they must be completely closed.”

Houthi

Gulfeyes: Drugs And Human Trafficking – Houthis’ Predominant Means Of Financing

“According to a report, by Al-Arabiya Al-Hadath, Houthi militias have turned to human trafficking and abductions to obtain huge amounts of money. Houthis demand from families who wish to release their kidnapped sons a payment of what they call “security funds,” which are transferred to Houthi leaders. It is noteworthy that trafficking in drugs, arms and people is the Houthis’ preferred way of financing. This is part of their efforts to fill their coffers in Sanaa by all means. These include burdening citizens, sometimes by raising prices and sometimes by trading on the black market.”

Hamas

Alarab: Qatar Temporarily Rescues Hamas From The Electricity Crisis By Sending $12 Million

“Qatar rushed to provide Hamas with $12 million, to buy fuel for the sole power plant in the Gaza Strip. This came after mass protests, which broke out recently against the movement as a result of a power outage. Qatar is Hamas’s key sponsor. It shelters the movement’s leaders, including Khaled Meshaal, its political chief. Qatar also has several investments in the Strip. Doha is seeking to avoid any harm to Hamas’ position since it considers the movement a bargaining chip against regional parties, particularly Egypt, with regard to the Palestinian issue. Officials claimed the electricity crisis that has sparked protests in Gaza receded on Monday after Qatar transferred $12 million to buy the fuel.”

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