Eye on Extremism, January 20, 2017

Counter Extremism Project

American Military News: Counter Extremism Project Releases Updated Terrorist Database

Yesterday, Counter Extremism Project, or (CEP), a non-profit organization that partners with agencies and governments worldwide to combat ideological extremists and terrorists, released a new and improved database, along with a slew of updated profiles, including information on dozens of well-known, high-level terrorists who are wanted around the world. The database released an array of features, including the ability for users to search through categorized information such as name, organizational affiliation, and country of origin. According to their website, users will be able to utilize a ‘searchable list and an interactive map of detailed biographical information on more than 400 of the world’s most dangerous extremist leaders, propagandists, operatives, and financiers.’

New York Times: U.S. Bombs ISIS Camp In Libya

“Two United States Air Force B-2 bombers attacked Islamic State training camps in Libya overnight, killing more than 80 militants, including some who were involved in plotting terrorist attacks in Europe, the Pentagon said on Thursday. The attack, which also included strikes by armed reaper drones flying from a base in Sicily, was a parting shot from President Obama at the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, and one of his final actions as commander in chief. “We need to strike ISIL everywhere they show up,” Ashton B. Carter, the departing defense secretary, told reporters. “We know that some of the ISIL operatives in Libya were involved in plotting attacks in Europe.”

The Wall Street Journal: Islamic State Steps Up Oil And Gas Sales To Assad Regime

“Islamic State has ramped up sales of oil and gas to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, U.S. and European officials said, providing vital fuel to the government in return for desperately needed cash. The regime’s purchases are helping sustain Islamic State amid unprecedented military pressure on the militant group in both Syria and Iraq. It is also helping the group despite the regime’s insistence that it is dedicated to eradicating the militant group with the help of its top allies Russia and Iran. Oil and gas sales to Mr. Assad’s regime are now Islamic State’s largest source of funds, replacing revenue the group once collected from tolls on the transit of goods and taxes on wages within its territory, the officials said. Their information comes from the monitoring of oil-truck traffic routes, which have changed from carrying oil to Turkey and Iraq to transporting it to Syria.”

Reuters: Most Islamic State Commanders In Mosul Already Killed, Iraqi General Says

“Most Islamic State (IS) commanders in Mosul have been killed in battles with Iraqi government forces that raged over the past three months in the eastern side of the city, an Iraqi general said on Thursday. The fight to take the western side of Mosul, which remains under the jihadists’ control, should not be more difficult than the one on the eastern side, Lieutenant-General Abdul Ghani al-Assadi told Reuters before embarking on a tour of areas newly retaken. Assadi’s Counter-Terrorism Service announced on Wednesday that almost all of the city’s eastern half had been brought under government control. ‘God willing, there will be a meeting in the next few days attended by all the commanders concerned with liberation operations,’ he said, replying to a question on when he expects a thrust into the western side of Mosul to begin.”

Reuters: Iraqi Sheep, Locals, Environment Suffer Islamic State Oil Fires

“Shepherds herd blackened flocks through the Iraqi desert. Locals cough and wheeze under vast clouds of smoke, and NASA images show oil threatening to encroach on the Tigris River, a major water source. Lit by Islamic State as they fled Iraqi forces in August, huge oil fires are still raging across northern Iraq, bringing a litany of problems in their wake. A toxic cloud has hung for months over the town of Qayyara, just 60 km (40 miles) from Mosul where Iraqi forces are battling to defeat the militant Sunni group. It is an eerie reminder of the group’s rule of the area as traumatized residents begin to rebuild.”

Reuters: Iraq Counts On U.S. Advisers, Mostly Out Of Sight, In War On Islamic State

“When Iraqi forces faced a fierce Islamic State counter-attack last month at a hospital in Mosul they had stormed without enough troops to hold it, U.S. advisers behind the front lines shepherded them to safety. And as they punched through the city’s northern limits a few weeks later, it was again the Americans who counseled them how best to avoid roadside bombs and head off Islamic State suicide car bombers. Washington, leading an international coalition against the jihadists in Iraq and Syria, has launched thousands of air strikes over the past 2-1/2 years and provided aerial surveillance vital to pushing them back.”

Time Magazine: Jeb Bush And Dennis Ross: Donald Trump Should Isolate Iran Immediately

“Just days before Christmas, as U.S. policymakers were settling into the holidays, Iran staged massive war drills, with one of its top military leaders even boasting that the Persian Gulf was within “range” of its fighting forces. At nearly the same time, Qassem Soleimani, the Commander of the Qods Forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), surveyed the battered remains of Aleppo. Soleimani now appears prominently wherever the Iranians deploy Shia militias to weaken existing states and regimes in the broader Middle East. Whether threatening to heat up the Persian Gulf or using Shia militias as an instrument of their power, we are witnessing a pattern of Iranian aggression that has accelerated in the year since the nuclear deal with Iran was implemented.”

New York Times: Jewish Centers Across U.S. Face New Wave of Bomb Threats

“On Wednesday, for the second time this month, someone called the Jewish community center outside Wilmington, Del., and said a bomb was on the property. For the second time this month, children were evacuated from schools, gym patrons had their workouts interrupted and police dogs searched the campus. And for the second time this month, it turned out to be part of a frightening nationwide hoax targeting Jewish facilities. “It’s concerning, it’s frustrating,” said Seth J. Katzen, the chief executive of the Jewish Federation of Delaware, whose staff trains several times a year for emergencies. “But as in any J.C.C. across the country, safety and security is our primary concern.”

Newsweek: ISIS Destroys Facade Of Roman Amphitheater N Syria’s Palmyra

“Islamic State militant group (ISIS) fighters have destroyed part of the Roman amphitheater in the ancient city of Palmyra, the Syrian director of antiquities confirmed Friday. Maamoun Abdulkarim, speaking to Newsweek by phone, said the extremist group had also destroyed the tetrapylon, a cubic-shaped ancient Roman monument. He provided satellite images, given to him by the Boston-based ASOR Cultural Heritage Initiative and taken by satellite imagery company DigitalGlobe, that displayed the destruction. “I am sure the future is very bad. It will be dramatic,” he says. “We are sure that the coming times may be worse than before.”

The Indian Express: Osama Bin Laden Documents: Worry Over IS Tactics, ‘Ageing’ Al-Qaeda

“Months before his death, Osama bin Laden fretted about the Islamic State group’s impatient, violent tactics and the fading of Al-Qaeda, documents released by the CIA on Friday showed. The latest release from the trove of documents found when Navy Seals stormed the Al-Qaeda chief’s secret Pakistan compound and killed him in 2011 show bin Laden trying to keep his jihadist followers around the world aligned in his war against the United States. They also reveal a worried father warning his sons that they could be injected with electronic chips to track them, and advising Al-Qaeda soldiers in Northern Africa that it was okay to masturbate. He also spent significant time trying to manage the handling of foreigners kidnapped by far-flung affiliates of his radical Islamic group. And he showed a strong focus on affairs in his family’s original homeland, Yemen, where a powerful new branch –Al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) — was having a strong impact.”

Washington Post: Boko Haram Attacks Camp Bombed By Nigeria’s Air Force

“Boko Haram extremists attacked a refugee camp in northeast Nigeria just days after Nigeria’s air force bombed it, witnesses said Friday, as reports emerged that the death toll from the bombing could be as high as 170. More than 100 Boko Haram fighters launched the attack Thursday evening, and soldiers battled for hours trying to repel them, witnesses said. One witness said eight Boko Haram fighters were killed and one soldier was injured, though others said the toll was still being determined. The witnesses, who included aid workers and camp residents, spoke on condition of anonymity because of safety fears.”

Deutsche Welle: IS ‘Headhunting’ Minors Online, Warns Domestic Intelligence Chief

“At a special Q&A session with foreign media in Berlin on Thursday, Germany’s president of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), Hans-Georg Maassen, highlighted teenage and even younger Islamic radicals as a growing problem in the country. Maassen compared the ‘jihadist movement’ with both communism and National Socialism as totalitarian ideologies that specifically targeted young people. He said that groups like the so-called ‘Islamic State’ (IS) were trying to exploit the immature personality traits of adolescents by going after ‘narcissistic young people searching for black-and-white truths, underdogs who want to be top dogs and part of the social avant-garde, and people who rebel against their parents and the system.’ To illustrate his point, the BfV chief invoked a 15-year-old girl from the city of Hanover who attacked a policeman with a knife in February, seriously wounding him.”

United States

The Wall Street Journal: Tight Security Planned For Donald Trump’s Inauguration

“Along with about 28,000 security personnel to protect the city on Inauguration Day will be dozens of trucks, dumpsters and buses to fortify the edge of events that are projected to draw up to 900,000 people. Security along a so-called hard vehicle perimeter, within which only official cars may operate, reflects a renewed focus on the threat posed by trucks after deadly terrorist attacks using such vehicles last year in Nice, France, and Berlin. ‘This year in particular the hard vehicle perimeter will be heavily fortified,’ said Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. He added: ‘We know of no specific, credible threat directed toward the inauguration.’”

Reuters: U.S. Air Strike Killed An Al Qaeda Leader In Syria: Pentagon

“A U.S. air strike killed an al Qaeda leader in Syria on Tuesday, the Pentagon said in a statement on Thursday. Mohammad Habib Boussadoun al-Tunisi, a Tunisian who was involved in ‘external operations and has been connected to terrorist plots to attack Western targets,’ was killed in the strike near Idlib in Syria, the statement said.”

The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Bombers Hit Islamic State In Libya

“American B-2 bombers and drones struck Islamic State training camps and other targets in Libya on Wednesday evening, killing dozens of militants, according to Pentagon officials, in a broadening of the U.S. war against the extremist group in northern Africa. Two training camps approximately 30 miles southwest of the city of Sirte were hit in the operation, Pentagon officials said. Non-U.S. forces on the ground were assessing the impact of the strikes, but Defense Secretary Ash Carter said according to initial estimates more than 80 Islamic State militants were believed killed in the operation. Mr. Carter, who briefed the media at the Pentagon on his last full day in office, said the strikes were necessary because the militants were known to be actively plotting against targets in Europe.”

Deutsche Welle: Obama Leaves Behind A Mess In Afghanistan

“The outgoing US president, Barack Obama, is leaving behind a mixed legacy in Afghanistan. In 2009, during his first term in office, Obama ordered a drastic increase in the number of US troops in Afghanistan to tackle the Taliban insurgency. After coming to power in 2008, Obama reviewed Washington’s war strategy in Afghanistan and concluded that the US troops in the country – around 68,000 at the time – were well below the strength that was needed to quell the Afghan insurgency. Thus, he ordered a surge and deployed an additional 33,000 US troops to Afghanistan in the hope to restrain Taliban militants and train the Afghan security forces. But he later decided to prematurely reduce a significant number of US soldiers from the war-torn nation that led to a spike in terrorist attacks in the country.”

The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Military Moves To Clear ‘Ghost Soldiers’ From Afghan Payroll

“The U.S. military has wiped more than 30,000 names of suspected ghost Afghan soldiers from its payroll, as part of a widening corruption crackdown that a top American general estimates will save the U.S. millions of dollars each month. Major General Richard Kaiser said that as of this month, the U.S. military would pay only Afghan soldiers who were biometrically enrolled in their country’s army and had matching identity cards. The U.S. military removed from its payroll those it couldn’t prove existed. ‘Step one is knowing who you have, step two is whether they show up for work or not,’ he said.”

The Hill: Obama’s Last Gitmo Transfers Sent To Saudi Arabia, UAE

“One of the Guantanamo Bay detainees transferred in President Obama’s last effort to shrink the facility was sent home to Saudi Arabia, and three others were sent to the United Arab Emirates, the Pentagon said Thursday evening. Saudi citizen Jabran Said Wazar al Qahtani returned to the kingdom from military prison in Cuba on Thursday night, the Saudi state news agency SPA reported. Qahtani will be reunited with his family and will be subject to the kingdom’s regulations, including participating in Saudi Arabia’s rehabilitation program for extremists, according to SPA.”

Syria

Newsweek: ISIS Territory Shrinks By Almost A Quarter In 2016

“The Islamic State militant group (ISIS) lost almost a quarter of the territory it held across Syria and Iraq in 2016 including areas ‘vital’ for its bid to form a caliphate, according to research. The group’s domain shrunk by 23 percent, following on from a smaller contraction in 2015 of 14 percent, analytics firm IHS Markit reported. This means ISIS lost control of almost 18,000 square kilometers (6,900 square miles) over the last 12 months, bringing the totality of the landmass it holds in the region to 60,400 square kilometers (23,320 square miles)—slightly smaller than Florida.”

Reuters: Syria’s Assad Hopes For ‘Reconciliation’ Deals From Astana Talks

“Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said he believed peace talks in Kazakhstan would lead to local ‘reconciliation’ deals with rebels, a sign of his confidence in a process launched by his Russian allies after the opposition’s defeat in Aleppo. Assad told a Japanese TV station he hoped the conference would be a platform to discuss ‘everything’ but that it was unclear if there would be political dialogue ‘because it is not clear who will participate’. Russia set the new diplomatic process in motion after its air force helped the Syrian government and allied, Iran-backed militia defeat rebels in Aleppo city’s east last month – the diverse opposition’s biggest defeat of the war. Rebels due to attend the talks say they will discuss only shoring up a ceasefire brokered by Turkey and Russia last month – and which the rebels say has been widely violated by the government and its allies – as well as humanitarian issues.”

The New York Times: Despite Syria Cease-Fire, U.N. Says, Aid Isn’t Reaching Besieged Areas

“Deliveries of lifesaving aid to Syrian civilians trapped in besieged areas are at their lowest level in almost a year, despite a cease-fire that has curbed fighting across much of the country, the United Nations said on Thursday. In Idlib Province, residents of some towns are dying for want of medical care. Armed opposition groups and government forces ‘are routinely doing what they can, all of them it seems, to avoid us helping women, children, wounded on the other side,’ Jan Egeland, the United Nations adviser on humanitarian affairs, told reporters in Geneva.”

Haaretz: Islamic State Executes 12 In Palmyra, Syria

“Islamic State militants put at least 12 people to death in execution-style killings in the ancient city of Palmyra, which they recaptured from the government for a second time in December, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Thursday. The jihadist group beheaded four of the people – state employees and teachers – outside a museum, the group said. The eight others – four of them government soldiers and four of them rebel fighters captured elsewhere in Syria – were shot. Some of the killings took place at an ancient Roman theatre in Palmyra, where Islamic State last year put at least 25 government fighters to death, the Observatory said.”

Iraq

The Guardian: Kurdish Trench In Iraq Stakes Out Claim For Bigger Territory

“On the plains north and east of Mosul, far from the battle in the city centre, a new frontline is taking shape. Mounds of earth have been heaped above a trench gouged out of the ground along about 650 miles (1,050km) of northern Iraq, which before the war with Islamic State was in Arab hands. The berm runs from Sinjar, in the north-west, to Khanaqin, near the Iranian border, following the line of Kurdish military control. Woven into it are peshmerga positions, and on top flies the Kurdish flag, a clear statement of the Kurds’ hope that their role in fighting the war has already secured them a bigger slice of Iraq.”

Turkey

Reuters: Commentary: Islamic State Lashes Out As Turkey Flirts With Russia

“For years, as an insurgency raged against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Turkey turned a blind eye while rebels groups, including Islamic extremists, moved weapons and fighters across the Syrian-Turkish border. Jihadist groups like Islamic State established strong networks in Turkish towns to smuggle recruits and supplies into Syria. Despite pleas from Western allies concerned about militant plots emanating from the border areas, the Turkish government felt that it could contain the jihadists and saw the toppling of Assad’s regime as its priority. But after Turkey was targeted with a series of bombings in mid-2015 linked to Islamic State, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan began cracking down along the southern border and granted the United States access to military bases that would be used for air strikes against jihadist groups in Syria.”

The Guardian: Turkey’s Parliament Set To Approve Sweeping New Powers For President

“A sweeping bill that will alter the Turkish constitution and grant broad powers to the president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is on track to pass in parliament, paving the way for a historic spring referendum that could transform the country’s politics and strengthen the ruling party. The parliament passed amendments to seven articles in the constitution in a second round of voting in the early hours of Thursday, and is expected to continue voting on the remaining articles on Friday. Legislators have so far approved amendments that increase the number of MPs from 550 to 600, lower the minimum age for serving in the assembly to 18, mandate holding presidential and parliamentary elections every five years, and allow the president to maintain his affiliation with his party.”

The Guardian: Democracy In Turkey Is Now Under Threat

“Owen Jones accurately describes the circumstances in Turkey (What I saw in Turkey is an assault on democracy itself, 18 January). However, the development of challenges to democratic principles in Turkey predates Trump. These have intensified since the AKP government lost its parliamentary majority in the June 2015 general election. The most valuable part of any democratic governance, namely public contestation of political authority through free speech, right to public demonstrations, freedom of expression and press, have gradually eroded under various government measures initiated under the claims to security. These have accelerated since the attempted coup in July 2016. A series of legal cases against public intellectuals, academics and journalists has severely curtailed practice of these freedoms. Continued charges against these people and their imprisonment are leading to self-censorship.”

The Washington Post: Turkey Expects Improved Relations With The Trump Administration

“Turkey is confident that its relations with the United States will improve significantly under President-elect Donald Trump and expects positive responses to concerns it believes the Obama administration played down, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Thursday. At the top of Turkey’s list of issues, he said in an interview, are its request for U.S. extradition of Fethullah Gulen, the Pennsylvania-based Turkish cleric charged with orchestrating last summer’s coup attempt, and U.S. dependence on and support for Syrian Kurdish fighters that Turkey considers terrorists.”

Afghanistan

Reuters: Taliban Seeks To Reassure UAE Over Afghanistan Attack

“Afghan Taliban has sought to reassure the United Arab Emirates that it was not behind an attack in the southern city of Kandahar that killed five UAE diplomats and injured the ambassador, senior Taliban officials said on Thursday. More than a dozen Afghan and foreign officials were killed last week by a bomb hidden under a couch in the Kandahar governor’s residence in an attack Afghan authorities have blamed on the Taliban and Pakistani intelligence services. However the Taliban has denied responsibility, instead accusing ‘covert intelligence circles’ close to the government of carrying out the attack to damage relations between the insurgents and a friendly Arab government. No claim of responsibility has been made.”

Radio Free Europe: Afghan Group Says 2016 Was Deadliest For Journalists On Record

“Last year was the deadliest year on record for Afghan media, with 13 journalists killed, the Afghanistan Journalist Safety Committee said in a report on January 18. The press group documented at least 101 incidents of killings, assault, intimidation, abuse, and other physical attacks, a 38 percent increase over numbers recorded in 2015. Although the Taliban was blamed for 10 of the 13 deaths, half of the overall increase in violence toward journalists was attributed to the Afghan government. ‘This is an ugly, worrying, and serious trend, and if certain actions are not taken, 2017 could be worse,’ said committee head Najib Sharifi.”

The Washington Post: Deadly Insurgent Attacks Dim Hopes For Talks, Spur Regional Worries

“Just one month ago, Afghanistan’s moribund peace process seemed to be sputtering to life. Taliban leaders had welcomed delegations from Kabul to their offices in Qatar, and the governor and police chief of Kandahar province had hosted a large regional gathering, declaring that the 16-year conflict had to be resolved through talks and offering a haven for Taliban negotiators and family members. Today, that hopeful moment has been eclipsed by a one-day blitz of terrorist attacks in Kabul and two other cities on Jan. 10 that left 50 people dead. Two attacks were claimed by the Taliban. The third, an explosion at another gathering hosted by top officials in Kandahar, took the lives of five visiting Emirati diplomats.”

Middle East

The Jerusalem Post: Training For The Next Missile Attack Or Earthquake To Hit Israel

“The building had been hit by a missile and was completely destroyed, trapping over 20 people inside. The IDF’s Home Front Command’s search and rescue unit made it to the scene in record time from their bases in the West Bank, and set up command posts where they assessed the situation from as many angles as possible before climbing onto the rubble to begin their lifesaving work. Right away, one man was pronounced dead at the scene, but less than a meter away, another was found alive. The unit’s engineers were on hand, advising the soldiers which piece of rubble to move and at what angle in order to save the man’s life. With his okay, the soldiers began using an air-lifting bag to move the large slab of concrete off of the injured man.”

Nigeria

CNN: Nigeria’s Fight Against Boko Haram Is Going To Be Long And Messy

“The admission by Nigeria that its air force accidentally targeted a camp for people who have been internally displaced represents a significant change in attitude by the forces fighting the terrorist insurgency known as Boko Haram. In what the Nigerian officials have described as a ‘regrettable operational mistake,’ fighter jets on Tuesday bombed the camp as part of an operation against Boko Haram in Rann in the northeastern Borno state. Mistakenly believing that a gathering of Boko Haram terrorists was in Borno, Nigerian Maj. Gen. Lucky Irabor says his forces ‘got the coordinates and I directed that the air (force) should go and address the problem.’ As we now know, the jets hit innocent civilians who had been fleeing Boko Haram attacks, killing at least 70 — including some members of Red Cross staff — and injuring many more.”

United Kingdom

RT: London University ‘Monitoring’ Emails To Stop Students ‘Being Drawn Into Terrorism’

“King’s College London is warning staff and students their computer activity could be monitored as part of the British government’s counter-radicalization strategy, Prevent. The prestigious university, home to one of the world’s foremost centers for radicalization studies, published a notice on its email login section warning users that by accessing the page they consented to ‘monitoring.’ Middle East Eye reports the message also cautions users they must not “download, store, or transmit unlawful material, or material that is indecent, offensive, defamatory, threatening, discriminatory or extremist.”

RT: Britain Now At ‘Greater Risk Of Terrorist Attack Than 6yrs Ago’

“The growing number of jihadists returning to the UK from Syria means Britain is now at greater risk of suffering a terrorist attack than it was six years ago, the government’s independent reviewer of terror legislation, David Anderson QC, has warned. Anderson says the pervading sense of the country being ‘over the worst’ when he started his role in 2011 was a ‘false dawn.’ Speaking to the Press Association, he said there is now a ‘wider range’ of dangers than there has been before, and despite having the skills to fight terrorism, ‘we need a bit of luck as well.’ He said rather than sophisticated plots to bomb transport hubs and shopping centers, jihadists already in the UK are being groomed, often online, to carry out ‘lone wolf’ attacks using knives, machetes, and vehicles.”

Germany

Deutsche Welle: Terror Cell Had ‘Advanced Plans’ For Düsseldorf Attack

“A suspected terrorist cell of the jihadist group ‘Islamic State’ (IS) already had more detailed plans than previously thought for an attack in the western city of Düsseldorf when its members were arrested more than half a year ago, the German Federal Court of Justice (BGH) said in a ruling on Thursday. According to the ruling on extending the period of investigative custody for the four Syrian men, they had planned to carry out the attack on a Friday or Saturday, ‘because the old city center of Düsseldorf is particularly busy on these days.’ Their plans envisaged having two suicide bombers blow themselves up in the city center on two parallel streets, the ruling said. Two other terrorists were then to take up position at the four exits from the old part of the city to ‘shoot as many fleeing people as possible before also blowing themselves up when their magazines were empty.’”

Deutsche Welle: Bundestag Holds Minute’s Silence In Remembrance For Berlin Terror Attack Victims

“One month on, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Joachim Gauck and state premiers joined parliamentarians in Berlin Thursday to observe a minute’s silence remembrance for the victims of the Berlin terror attack.  Speaking exactly one month the day after the attack on Berlin Christmas market, which killed 12 and injured around 50 people, Bundestag President Norbert Lammert praised the country’s ‘sober’ reaction. ‘The aim of terrorism is to shatter, paralyze and destabilize democratic societies,’ Lammert told parliamentarians. ‘This goal has not been achieved by the terrorists in Germany. The population reacted to terrorism with a remarkable sense of calm.’”

Europe

The Wall Street Journal: Europol Says Data Sharing On Potential Terrorists Rises Significantly

“Terrorist attacks in France and Belgium spurred greater cooperation among European security services, with Europol reporting a 10-fold rise in information sharing about suspected terrorists over the last two years. The law-enforcement coordination arm of the European Union said Thursday that the amount of data EU countries shared via a database that tracks suspected foreign terrorist fighters rose fivefold in the year after the January 2015 Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris. The figure doubled again last year after attacks in Paris in November 2015 and in Brussels and Nice in 2016.”

Sputnik News: European Commission Praises EU-US Cooperation On Counter-Terrorism Efforts

“The European Commission has published reports praising the increased cooperation between the United States and the European Union on two key agreements on preventing and combating terrorism, the EU-US Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme (TFTP) Agreement and the EU-US Passenger Name Records (PNR) Agreement. The report on the TFTP found that the agreement had been utilized in terrorist attack investigations in the European Union, including the January 2015 Charlie Hebdo attack and the November 2015 Paris attacks. Under its provisions, progress has also been made in uncovering EU-based recruiting and financing of terrorist fighters.”

Reuters: Seven Kosovo Men Jailed For Helping Islamic State

“A court in Kosovo sentenced seven men to jail for fighting for Islamic State and recruiting on behalf of the militant group, the court said on Thursday. The men, all Kosovo citizens, were sentenced to between 2-1/2 and 4-1/2 years in jail, the court in Pristina said in a statement. Police say around 300 Kosovars have joined Islamic State and more than 50 have been killed. More than 200 people in Kosovo have been arrested, jailed or are under investigation for recruiting on behalf of Islamic State or fighting in Syria and Iraq.”

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