Eye on Extremism, January 31, 2017

Counter Extremism Project

Fox News: CEP Spokesperson Tara Maller Joins Host Shepard Smith To Discuss President Trump’s Appointments To The National Security Council (NSC).

International Business Times: ISIS Threatens To Execute 350,000 Children Trapped In Mosul If They Try To Leave

“An estimated 350,000 children are trapped inside the embattled city of Mosul as the Islamic State (Isis) threatens to execute fleeing families, aid agencies have said. The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) have essentially regained control of the city to the east of the Tigris, triggering the next stage of conflict, which promises another brutal battle with the Islamists. Aid agencies estimate that up to 750,000 civilians are believed to be still living in west Mosul which remains under Isis control, with humanitarian organisations deeply concerned for their safety.”

The New York Times: Killings At Quebec City Mosque Force Canadians To Confront A Strain Of Intolerance

“In a world often hostile to migration, Canada has stood out, welcoming thousands of refugees fleeing war and seeking a haven. It has been a feel-good time for Canada, proud of its national tolerance. On Sunday, that was upended when a man walked into a mosque and started shooting, killing six people and wounding eight. The man accused of being the gunman, Alexandre Bissonnette, was charged with six counts of murder on Monday. The nation quickly rallied after the attack. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called it an act of terrorism, and there was a collective outpouring of remorse and empathy. But the attack also forced Canadians to confront a growing intolerance and extremism that has taken root particularly among some people in this French-speaking corner of the country.”

Fox News: Hit Squad Reportedly Kills ISIS Madman Who Beheaded Hundreds

“A notorious ISIS executioner who beheaded hundreds of innocent citizens has been stabbed to death by a hit squad in northwest Iraq. Sayyaf was infamous for collecting the heads of his victims and dumping them in the same hole in the region of al-Khasafa. Iraqi journalist Muhammad Yawar said: ‘Abu Sayyaf was one of the scariest executioners in Nineveh… He was a reflection of the brutality of this terrorist group. He was known for his huge body and heavy arms. He was one of the notorious faces in the ISIS propaganda videos.’”

NBC News: SEAL, American Girl Die In First Trump-Era U.S. Military Raid

“In what an official said was the first military raid carried out under President Donald Trump, two Americans were killed in Yemen on Sunday — one a member of SEAL Team 6 and the other the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, the New Mexico-born al Qaeda leader who himself was killed in a U.S. strike five years ago. The raid in southern Yemen, conducted by the supersecret Joint Special Operations Command, was intended to capture valuable intelligence, specifically computer equipment, according to a senior U.S. military official. Three al Qaeda leaders were killed, according to U.S. officials. Contrary to earlier reporting, the senior military official said, the raid was Trump’s first clandestine strike — not a holdover mission approved by President Barack Obama. The mission involved “boots on the ground” at an al Qaeda camp near al Bayda in south central Yemen, the official said.”

Politico: Iraq Parliament Approves ‘Reciprocity’ To U.S. Ban

“Two lawmakers say that the Iraqi parliament has approved a ‘reciprocity measure’ after U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily banning citizens from Iraq and six other Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. The measure, adopted by lawmakers at a Monday session of parliament, is to apply to Americans entering Iraq. Lawmakers Kamil al-Ghrairi and Mohammed Saadoun told The Associated Press that decision is binding for the government. Both say the decision was passed by a majority votes in favor but couldn’t offer specific numbers. No further details were available on the wording of the parliament decision. It was also not immediately clear who the ban will apply to — American military personnel, non-government and aid workers, oil companies and other Americans doing business in Iraq.”

CNN: Trump Ban Is Boon For ISIS Recruitment, Former Jihadists And Experts Say

“President Donald Trump’s travel ban on seven Muslim-majority nations will be used by ISIS as a recruitment tool, giving the militant group a major propaganda boost, former jihadists have told CNN. The executive order, which blocks all immigrants and visa holders who are citizens of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia, reinforces ISIS’ narrative, according to former jihadi Abu Abdullah. ‘It can play into their propaganda, to make it clear for anyone who could be in doubt, that it’s a war on Islam and all Muslims,’ Abdullah told CNN over a messaging service. The names of the now-defected foreign fighters in this story have been changed to protect their identities. Another former jihadi said the wedge being driven between Muslims living in the West and their governments is exactly what ISIS wants.”

Radio Free Europe: U.S. Calls Urgent Un Security Council Meeting Over Iranian Missile Test

“The United Nations Security Council scheduled an urgent meeting for January 31 to discuss an Iranian ballistic missile test at the request of the United States. “In light of Iran’s January 29 launch of a medium-range ballistic missile, the United States has requested urgent consultations of the Security Council,” the U.S. mission said late on January 30. It was the first request made by the United States since new U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley took office last week. U.S. officials said they would bring the latest test before the Security Council if they determined it violated a UN resolution barring Iran from developing missiles “designed to carry nuclear warheads.”

The Times Of Israel: Arab Israeli Man Charged With Terrorist Shootings In Haifa

“After his girlfriend called him a ‘Zionist Jew’ and a ‘Jew lover,’ an Arab Israeli man allegedly carried out two shooting attacks, which left one man dead and another seriously wounded, in the northern port city of Haifa earlier this month, the Shin Bet security service said. On Monday, the suspect — 21-year-old Muhammad Shinawi — was charged with murder and attempted murder in a Haifa court for the attacks, along with two other men accused of helping him. Yehiel Iluz, 48, a senior judge on a Haifa rabbinic conversion court, was moderately wounded at 9:30 a.m. on January 3, in the first shooting on the city’s Haatzma’ut Road. A few minutes later, the shooter opened fire at a Jewish woman, but missed. And a few minutes after that, Guy Kafri, 47, a van driver from Haifa’s Nesher neighborhood, was shot and killed on the nearby Hagiborim Street.”

New York Times: Arizona Man Is Convicted Of Helping New York City College Student Join ISIS

“An Arizona man who prosecutors said helped a college student from New York City join ISIS, sending him “down that trail to terror” — and to his eventual death — was convicted Monday of terrorism charges. The man, Ahmed Mohammed el-Gammal, 44, was found guilty after a three-week jury trial and faces up to 55 years in prison, according to a spokesman for Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York. In a statement, Mr. Bharara hailed the verdict as a vindication of the role of civilian courts in such cases, which some Republicans lawmakers have argued should be tried in military courts instead.”

Fox News: Pennsylvania Man Admits He Conspired To Help ISIS

“A little more than a year after he exhorted online followers to ‘kill’ military personnel and sought to buy a sex slave, a 20-year-old Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty Monday to trying to help ISIS. Jalil Ibn Ameer Aziz now faces the potential of up to 25 years in prison and a $500,000 fine after admitting to a charge of conspiring to provide material support to ISIS and to transmitting a communication containing a threat, both felonies. ‘As evidenced here, [ISIS] loyalists need not travel to the field of battle to threaten lives and do harm,’ said Michael Harpster, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. ‘An American citizen provided material support to terrorists from American soil, while enjoying all the rights and privileges scorned by ISIL. We are gratified that Mr. Aziz is being brought to justice for these acts.’”

Reuters: Rockets Hit U.N. Yemen Ceasefire Office In Saudi Arabia

“A building in southern Saudi Arabia used by United Nations staff to monitor ceasefire violations in Yemen was damaged by rocket fire on Monday. Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV reported that the entrance of the building in Dhahran al-Janoub province, near the Yemeni border, had been hit by Katyusha rockets launched by the Iranian-allied Houthi group who control Yemen’s capital, Sanaa. United Nations special envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed did not attribute blame but said it was ‘especially tragic that this attack took place at a point in time where we are calling for a restoration of the Cessation of Hostilities’.”

Wall Street Journal: Officials Say At Least Seven Killed In Fighting In Eastern Ukraine

“At least seven Ukrainian troops have been killed in an apparent uptick in fighting in eastern Ukraine, government officials said on Monday. An armed conflict between government troops and separatist rebels has killed more than 9,600 since it began in 2014, according to the U.N. Human Rights Office. A January cease-fire had until recently helped to limit the fighting to sporadic shootouts. The government’s press office for the operation in the east said it recorded an increase in fighting on several fronts on Sunday which left at least five killed and nine troops injured. Two more were killed and five injured Monday morning, north of the rebel stronghold of Donetsk, the press office said.”

Voice Of America: Taliban Assaults District Center In Afghanistan’s Helmand Province

“Heavy clashes have erupted in southern Afghanistan, after Taliban rebels staged a coordinated assault on a district center. Afghan officials and insurgents have made conflicting claims about Monday’s fighting in the Sangin district of Helmand, the largest of the 34 Afghan provinces. Provincial government spokesman Omar Zwak told VOA insurgents assaulted multiple security outposts, but Afghan forces repulsed the Taliban. He claimed many assailants were killed and wounded, but would not say whether government forces also suffered casualties. A Taliban spokesman claimed insurgents overran more than 25 outposts and bases around Sangin, saying intense fighting continued in the area.”

United States

Daily Mail: Mattis Pleads For Iraqi Military Interpreters And Pilots To Be Exempt From 90-Day Ban On Entering U.S.

“After not being consulted during crafting of President Donald Trump’s new immigration ban, Pentagon chiefs are drawing up a list of Iraqis who have assisted the United States who would be exempted from a 90-day seven-country ban. Those Iraqis who served the United States as drivers, interpreters, or in other roles would be exempted from the new ban, which went into effect as soon as it was issued Friday night. A list being drawn up by the Pentagon under newly-installed Secretary of Defense James Mattis could number thousands of people, the Los Angeles Times reported.”

BBC: Will The US Entry Ban Affect The Fight Against IS?

“There is no scientific way of accurately measuring how many people will be so incensed by President Trump’s executive order on immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries that they feel compelled to carry out a violent act against a US or Western target. Perhaps dozens, perhaps none. There is also no scientific way of measuring how many potential violent extremists have now been shut out of the US because of the order. But one thing is clear: in the ever-shifting ideological battle to win hearts and minds, this is one-nil to the extremists of so-called Islamic State (IS).”

ABC News: Navy SEAL Killed In Yemen Raid Identified

“The Navy SEAL killed in the raid on senior al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leaders in Yemen on Sunday has been identified as Chief Special Warfare Operator William ‘Ryan’ Owens. According to a Pentagon statement, Owens, 36, of Peoria, Illinois, died ‘of wounds sustained in a raid against al-Qaeda.’ ‘I extend my condolences to the family and shipmates of Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens,’ said Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in a statement. ‘Ryan gave his full measure for our nation, and in performing his duty, he upheld the noblest standard of military service,’ said Mattis. ‘The United States would not long exist were it not for the selfless commitment of such warriors,” he added. “I thank our gallant troops and their families for their dedication to protecting this nation, and I pass our respects to Ryan’s family in this most difficult time.’”

Syria

Reuters: 14 Syrian Soldiers Killed in Islamic State Assault Near Damascus

“Islamic State fighters killed at least 14 Syrian soldiers in a fierce attack on a military airport northeast of Damascus, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group reported. The British-based Observatory said the ultra-hardline group had launched the assault the day before near the Dumeir airport some 40 km (25 miles) from the capital, taking over several positions in the area held by the Syrian army. ISIS controls vast areas of eastern Syria including most of Deir al-Zor province and its de facto Syrian capital of Raqqa.”

Reuters: Hama-Based Rebel Group Withdraws From Syria Ceasefire: Statement

“A rebel group fighting under the Free Syrian Army banner in northwest Syria has withdrawn from a shaky nationwide ceasefire, blaming the government and its allies for violations. ‘Due to Russia’s lack of commitment as a guarantor…we announce that, as of today, we are not bound by this agreement,’ Jaish al-Ezza, a signatory to the deal brokered by Russia and Turkey, said in a statement on Sunday. The group said its decision was in response to what it described as heavy Russian bombardment of its positions and surrounding areas in Hama province. Fighting and air strikes have plagued the ceasefire between the government and rebel groups since it took effect in late December, with the combatants accusing each other of violations. After two days of negotiations in Kazakhstan last week, Russia, Turkey, and Iran agreed to ensure full compliance with the fragile truce.”

Reuters: Syrian Government Denies Rumors Assad In Poor Health

“The Syrian government has denied rumors that President Bashar al-Assad is suffering from ill health, saying he was ‘carrying out his duties quite normally’. Speculation swirled in recent days on social media and some Arab news websites saying Assad, 51, was in critical condition, citing rumors of stroke, or even that he had been shot. ‘The presidency denies all these reports. President Assad is in excellent health,’ his office said in a statement on Friday. ‘They (the reports) coincide with the changing circumstances in the field and politically,’ it said, without elaborating. The Ikhbariya news channel said on Monday that Assad had spoken by phone to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, the first report from state media to detail Assad’s activities since the health rumors emerged.”

Voice Of America: Syria Warns Of Setting Up Safe Zones For Civilians As Unsafe

“Syria warned Monday of safe zones for civilians that U.S. President Donald Trump has expressed interest in creating, saying it would have to come in coordination with the Syrian government, otherwise it would be unsafe and violate the Arab nation’s sovereignty. The announcement was made in Damascus by Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem during a meeting with the head of the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR, Filippo Grandi, who began an official visit to Syria on Monday. The announcement came about a week after the Trump administration’s expressed interest in setting up safe zones for civilians in war-torn Syria, an idea that was greeted with caution by Russia and Turkey, who have taken the lead in the latest peace efforts to end the Mideast country’s devastating six-year war.”

The New York Times: Syria Reclaims Damascus Water Source From Rebels

“Syrian armed forces appear to have retaken the contested Barada Valley area north of Damascus, the capital’s main source of water, signaling a possible end to a war-induced shortage that has left millions of inhabitants thirsty and dirty for six weeks. Syrian government news media reported on Monday that hundreds of rebel fighters and their families had evacuated the Barada Valley, under an agreement reached on Sunday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an outside monitoring group, corroborated the government account, saying ambulances and buses had been seen taking evacuees to other rebel-held areas, and that government soldiers and allied militia fighters were in control.”

Iraq

NPR: Trump’s Immigration Order Creates Political Tension With Iraq

“President Trump’s immigration order has caused political problems for one of the country’s key allies in the battle against ISIS: Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. Now we’re going to hear what’s happening in one of the countries named in President Trump’s executive order on immigration. That’s Iraq. With limited exceptions, Iraqi citizens are temporarily banned from traveling to the United States under the order. It’s a particularly important case for the U.S. because Iraq is a key ally in the war against ISIS. There are roughly 6,000 U.S. troops there.”

The Washington Post: Trump’s Travel Ban Threatens U.S. Partnership With Iraq Against Islamic State

“A backlash against President Trump’s new immigration rules intensified Monday, threatening Washington’s relationship with its main partner in battling the Islamic State as Iraq’s parliament voted for a reciprocal ban on visas for Americans.  The Iraqi lawmakers’ decision is subject to ratification by the government, but it underscores growing resentment over a U.S. executive order that imposed visa restrictions on Iraqis and the citizens of six other Muslim-majority nations. Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari issued a terse statement describing the ban as unreasonable, given that Iraq is sacrificing the ‘blood of its sons’ in the front-line fight against the militant group. He urged the United States to reconsider.”

Turkey

Reuters: Turkish Soldiers In Extradition Row Seek Release From Greek Police Custody

“Turkish soldiers caught in an extradition row between Athens and Ankara appeared before a Greek court on Monday to challenge an order extending their custody by three months, court officials said. The eight men landed a helicopter in northern Greece in July after the failure of a coup against President Tayyip Erdogan and requested asylum, saying their lives were in danger at home. Greece’s top court blocked their extradition last week, angering Turkey, a NATO ally which alleges the men were involved in efforts to overthrow Erdogan and has demanded they be sent home. The men – three majors, three captains and two sergeant-majors – have been kept in custody pending final decisions on their asylum applications in Greece. They are challenging a decision by immigration authorities to extend that custody by three months on public order and national security grounds.”

Reuters: Two Pro-Kurdish Lawmakers In Turkey Arrested On Terrorism Charges – Sources

“A Turkish court ordered the arrest of two lawmakers from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) on Monday, security sources said, bringing the total of jailed deputies from the Turkish opposition group to 12. HDP’s Adana deputy Meral Danis Bestas was detained by police at her home in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir, while Ayhan Bilgen, the head of the party’s parliamentary group chief, was taken by security forces at the city’s airport. Both are accused of being members of an armed terrorist organisation, sources said. Turkish authorities say the HDP, parliament’s third-largest party with 59 seats, is an affiliate of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.”

Reuters: Turkey Reopens Embassy In Libya, Vows To Support Unity Efforts

“Turkey reopened its embassy in Libya on Monday, 2-1/2 years after closing it due to lack of security, becoming the second country to reopen its diplomatic mission in the divided country. Turkey shut the embassy in Tripoli in 2014 as rival factions fought for control after the overthrow of long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi. Italy became the first country to reopen its embassy in Tripoli earlier this month. ‘The reopening of the embassy will allow Turkey to make stronger contributions to efforts to build peace and stability, as well as reconstruction in Libya,’ the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.”

Afghanistan

Sputnik: Afghan Police Eliminate Taliban Senior Commander In Country’s Southeast

“Afghan police eliminated Mawlavi Hamid, a Taliban leader, in the country’s southeastern province of Zabul, local media reported Monday, citing police officials. According to the Khaama Press news agency, Hamid was killed along with two other militants around 12:00 p.m. (07:30 GMT) on Sunday. Hamid was reportedly commanding over the operations of the militants in the province’s Arghandab district. Taliban is a militant group, which seeks to establish a Sharia law state in Afghanistan. The activities of the group prompted political, security and economic instability in the country. In 2016, the group extended the territory under its control, after the United States started to withdraw troops deployed there since 2002.”

Saudi Arabia

Associated Press: Saudi Arabia Says Yemeni Rebel Boat Rams Frigate In Red Sea

“Saudi Arabia said Monday that a ‘suicide gunboat’ belonging to Yemen’s Iranian-backed Shiite rebels rammed one of its frigates in the Red Sea, killing two crew members and injuring three. The official Saudi Press Agency said the gunboat was one of three that attacked the frigate which was patrolling off the Yemeni port of Hodeida, but gave few details. The Yemeni rebels, also known as the Houthis, gave a different version, claiming that the frigate was hit by a rocket they fired, starting a fire on board the ship. A video clip broadcast by the Houthis’ al-Masirah television showed a warship being hit and a fire on board starting as a man not shown in the video shouted the rebels’ trademark chant of ‘Allahu akbar (God is greatest), death to America, death to Israel, a curse on the Jews and victory for Islam.’”

Middle East

Haaretz: Israeli Army Kills Palestinian Teen In West Bank Clashes

“A 19-year-old Palestinian man was killed overnight on Saturday and three others were wounded during clashes with Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, Palestinian sources said. The Israel Defense Forces did not immediately acknowledge the death of Mohammed Mahmoud Abu Halifa, saying only that soldiers fired at residents throwing pipe bombs and that two Palestinians were wounded. An IDF force entered the refugee camp of Jenin on Saturday night to make arrests, but was met by dozens of youths who threw stones and firebombs at them. The soldiers responded by firing tear gas, sponge-tipped bullets and live bullets. Abu Halifa was shot and died shortly afterward at Jenin Government Hospital, which also treated the three wounded people.”

Libya

The Guardian: German Report Details Libya Abuses Amid Pressure To Stem Migrant Flows

“Conditions for migrants and refugees in Libya are worse than in concentration camps, according to a paper sent to the German foreign ministry by its ambassador in Niger. The German embassy in Niger has authenticated reports of executions, torture and other systematic rights abuses in camps on the refugee route in Libya, Die Welt cited the report as saying on Sunday. The warning came as EU leaders prepare for a summit in Malta on Friday to discuss ways to control migration across the Mediterranean from Africa this summer, amid pressure from Italy to take decisive action.”

Germany

BBC: 100 Days: Germany’s Rising Tide Of Populism

“Germany’s Baltic coastline can be a bleak place out of season. In the small fishing village of Freest, boats creak idly against their moorings. A lone fisherman, stark in his yellow overalls, stands on deck, scraping the scales from yesterday’s catch. It feels a long way from Berlin. And inside the quayside smokehouse, as she carefully threads sprats on to long metal skewers, fish factory worker Ines tells me she feels forgotten by Angela Merkel’s government. ‘They just look after the big cities,’ she says. ‘But these small communities up here – no. Nothing is being done for us. Nothing gets through to us.’ It can be hard to make a good living here, especially in the winter. The workers in the smokehouse worry about unemployment. This is not a rich community and they feel it’s time for political change.”

France

Deutsche Welle: Suspect In Brussels And Paris Terror Attacks Charged In France

“French prosecutors launched an official terrorism investigation against Mohamed Abrini on Monday. The prosecutor’s office in Paris confirmed that Abrini was suspected of belonging to a terrorist organization and being complicit in the terror attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015, which left 130 people dead. Belgian authorities ‘surrendered’ the terror suspect to French authorities for a day so he could be charged by an investigating magistrate in the Palais de Justice in the French capital. Investigators allege that Albrini was part of a Brussels-based jihadist cell affiliated with the Islamic State that planned both the Paris attacks and suicide bombings in Brussels on March 22, 2016, in which 32 people died.”

Europe

Reuters: Italy Smashes Gang That Smuggled Migrants Into France In Vans

“Italian police said on Monday they had smashed a criminal gang that smuggled migrants packed into vans across the border with France for up to 1,000 euros (851 pounds) each. Police issued more than 30 arrest warrants for human trafficking after a two-year investigation that documented dozens of smuggling incidents. About half the suspects targeted by the warrants lived outside Italy, the statement said. Citing one bust, Milan prosecutor Ilda Boccassini said police had found 40 migrants crammed in the back of a van that had been padlocked shut.”

Reuters: Third Migrant Dies In A Week In Harsh Greek Camp Conditions

“The third migrant to perish in a week was found dead in his tent on Monday on Greece’s Lesbos island, raising alarm about the grim winter conditions in overcrowded camps that critics have denounced as deplorable. The dead man is believed to be about 20 and from Pakistan, a police official on the island said. Another migrant who shared his tent was critically ill and taken to hospital. The death at the island’s Moria camp follows those of a 22-year-old Egyptian and a 46-year-old Syrian who shared a tent and died days apart. Greek media reported they had inhaled fumes from a heater, but authorities would not confirm or deny that.”

Canada

BBC: Quebec Mosque Attack: Student Alexandre Bissonnette Charged

“Canadian police have charged a French-Canadian student over the fatal shooting of six Muslim worshippers at a mosque in Quebec. Alexandre Bissonnette faces six counts of first-degree murder and five of attempted murder. The 27-year-old briefly appeared in a Quebec City court over Sunday evening’s attack, during evening prayers at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre. Vigils have been held across Canada to commemorate those killed and injured. More than 50 people were at the mosque when the shooting erupted just before 20:00 on Sunday. Nineteen people were wounded – all men – and of five people still in hospital, two were in a critical condition. A man of Moroccan heritage who was also arrested after the attack, Mohamed Khadir, is now being treated as a witness.”

ISIS

Elbalad: Egyptian Expert: Eliminating ISIS Will Take More Than 30 Days

“Maj. Gen. Mohammad Mujahid al-Zayat, the former proxy of Egypt’s General Intelligence Directorate and head of the National Center for Middle East Studies, stated that the order of US president, Donald Trump to the Pentagon to prepare a plan for ISIS’s elimination within 30 days is ‘complicated’. He mentioned in this context a previous statement by the US Army’s Chief of Staff clarifying that the elimination of ISIS will require at least three years. Al-Zayat stressed that Trump’s executive order reflects the seriousness of his intention to wipe out this group. The expert explained that ISIS has a presence in three countries, namely Libya, Iraq and Syria. Efforts to eliminate it there may merely open the door for the group to spread into other areas.”

Muslim Brotherhood

Alshahed: Kuwait: Muslim Brotherhood Won Substantial Bids In Local Construction And Oil Sectors

“Muslim Brotherhood has won six hefty bids in the Kuwaiti construction and petroleum sectors since the beginning of this year. This is in addition to picking up 15% of all real estate transactions in 2016. The total value of these transactions came to 2.5 billion dinars ($8.2 billion). This means the Brotherhood made a profit of 375 million dinars ($1.23 billion) from selling and buying properties through its affiliated companies. Sources disclosed that Brotherhood leaders in Kuwait have been discussing how to win government tenders worth millions of dinars during their meetings with parliament members. They are especially interested in tenders in the petroleum, commerce and import sectors. This is in addition to deals designated for the food industry, car agencies and real estate companies. Sources added that the Brotherhood was selling real estate through one of its companies to attain liquidity. Brotherhood leaders are still seeking ways to attain liquidity by winning new tenders, after their financial sources became subject to an external and local crackdown.”

Moheet: Egyptian Mps Seek To Lift Abu Treika’s Name From Terror List Due To Brotherhood Affiliation

“Several Egyptian MPs seek to lift the name of Mohammed Abu Treika, the former soccer player, from the terror list. MPs stressed they will use all possible measures to remove his name from the list, even if they need to ask President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to pardon him. The MPs insisted that what happened to Abu Treika was not based on solid evidence that proves his ‘real affiliation’ with the Muslim Brotherhood. They claimed the decision was based on an investigation which later turned out to be baseless. The MPs also emphasized that the ex-player was cleared more than once in the past. The Cairo Criminal Court added Abu Treika to the terror list based on provisions of the Terrorist Entities Law. His name will appear on the list for three years together with another 1500 figures whose funds were impounded by the Brotherhood Asset Freeze Committee.”

Shorouk: Egypt: Postponement Of Verdict In Case Of “Al-Shater Sons” Till February 20th

“Egypt’s Military Court decided to delay the date for announcing the verdict in the case of Khayrat al-Shater, the Brotherhood’s Deputy Guide, and other defendants. They were charged with planting spy devices and trying to hack websites of ministries and sensitive state entities. The verdict will be announced on Feb. 20th. The officer in charge of the investigation in the case said, “The cell changed its modus operandi after the ouster of Mohammed Morsi. It focused on monitoring the movements of public figures and heads of sensitive state institutions. The cell tried to hack the military spokesperson’s social media account. In addition, cell members tried to control many social media pages to disseminate news related to the group and other false rumors concerning the regime.” He added, “Brotherhood members abroad provided the necessary funds to buy weapons and equipment for the cell. The funds were transferred through a specialized foreign currency transfer company, with the belief that the money could not be tracked.”

Hamas

Sawa: Imposition Of New Taxes On Gazan Citizens Condemned

“The Ramallah-based Palestinian government denounced Hamas’ imposition of additional restrictions and taxes on residents of the Gaza Strip. The latest move includes new fees and restrictions on the movement and travel of citizens “in order to raise money.” The official government spokesman, Yusuf Mahmoud, stated in a Sunday evening press release published by its official news agency: “Hamas’ issuance of these recent decisions is contrary to all laws and rights. Furthermore, this step intensifies the suffering of our people in the Gaza Strip who have been subjected to an Israeli siege for many years. Gazans are suffering not only from harsh living conditions caused by the unjust siege, but also from the black {Palestinian} division.”

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