Eye on Extremism, February 14, 2017

Counter Extremism Project

CBS News: Former Homeland Security Adviser On Gen. Flynn’s Resignation: CEP President Fran Townsend Discusses The Ramifications Of The Resignation Of National Security Adviser Gen. Michael Flynn On CBS This Morning.

The Washington Post: As Islamic State Loses Territory, It Seeks To Survive Online

“Al-Qaeda’s main affiliate in Iraq avoided extinction at the hands of U.S. and Iraqi forces a decade ago by backing away from military engagements and moving the remnants of its network underground until its reemergence as the Islamic State. That successor organization, now confronting its own eventual fall, is devising a modified survival strategy that may involve surrendering control of its ‘caliphate’ in Iraq and Syria but seeks to preserve a virtual version of it online. That plan is described in a new report on the Islamic State’s evolving media strategy as its physical territory shrinks. The study, published by King’s College London, warns that it is premature to imagine a ‘post-Islamic State world at this time.’”

International Business Times: War On ISIS: US Aircraft Carrier Launches New Naval Front Against Islamic State Targets In Iraq And Syria

“The U.S. Navy’s George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group began launching aerial attacks on positions held by the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq Monday. The group, which includes the flagship aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush, entered the Mediterranean Sea Feb. 2 and has been tasked with supporting the U.S. campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, called Operation Inherent Resolve in addition to other allied operations against the militant group. The aircraft carrier was backed up by a team of other warships including guided-missile cruisers and destroyers supporting the U.S.’ 6th Fleet usually headquartered in Naples, Italy.”

Voice Of America: Islamic State Imposes Stricter Travel Restrictions On Raqqa Residents

“Islamic State (IS) fighters are making it more difficult for people to travel regionally among IS areas in northern Syria, activists and news reports say. IS issued a new decree, which went into effect Monday, that requires residents of its de-facto capital Raqqa to get permission from IS’s security offices for any travel between villages under IS control. ‘In the past, people couldn’t leave [IS] territory, but what’s new this time is that they can’t even leave their cities to other IS-held areas,’ said Hussam Eesa of Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently, an activist group that reports on IS activities in Raqqa and other parts of Syria. As part of the new ruling, IS has established strict measures, setting up more security checkpoints in and outside Raqqa to prevent local residents from leaving the city.”

ABC News: Officials Doubt Claim ISIS Leader Al-Baghdadi Wounded In Strike But Say Hunt Continues

“U.S. officials and some of their Iraqi comrades in arms were skeptical of an official Iraqi military claim today that it wounded ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in an airstrike west of the capital, Baghdad, but said his days may be numbered. American and Iraqi officials contacted by ABC News were in dispute over the strike today, with one Iraqi official claiming al-Baghdadi was in the targeted city of al-Qa’im but most of the others voicing strong skepticism. Numerous senior American counterterrorism officials made it clear they aren’t uncorking Champagne in celebration just yet, though some reiterated that al-Baghdadi is being aggressively hunted amid a stepped-up U.S.-led campaign in Mosul and may not survive for long.”

The Washington Post: Hamas Names Hard-Liner As Its New Political Leader In Gaza

“The Islamist militant organization Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, has named a hard-liner and top militia commander as the movement’s new leader in the impoverished Palestinian coastal enclave. Yehiya Sinwar, a founder of Hamas’s military wing, has been branded a committed terrorist by Israel. He is also close to Iran, unlike more pragmatic Hamas politicians who want better relations with moderate Sunni Arab states, according to Israeli analysts. Israel has arrested Sinwar three times — in 1982, 1985 and 1988, when he was sentenced to multiple life terms for his role as the mastermind in the abduction and killing of two Israeli soldiers. He served 22 years.”

The Washington Post: Turkey’s Erdogan Wants To Establish A Safe Zone In The ISIS Capital Raqqa

“Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took his proposal for a Turkish-backed assault against the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa to the Sunni Arab states of the Persian Gulf on Monday, telling an audience in Bahrain that he wants to create a ‘safe zone’ in that part of Syria. Speaking on the first stop of a three-nation gulf tour, Erdogan said the safe zone would encompass 3,475 square miles and include the Syrian town of Manbij, which was taken from the Islamic State in August by Syrian Kurds working closely with the U.S. military. The Turkish offer to participate in the Raqqa battle is not new, but it has been revived amid reports that President Trump has ordered an overhaul of the Obama administration’s plan to arm the Syrian Kurds to assault Raqqa.”

Haaretz: Egypt, With Israel’s Aid, Racks Up Successes Against ISIS In Sinai

“Egyptian security forces have registered a series of successes in their war against the ISIS branch in Egypt called Wilayet Sinai in recent months, according to intelligence sources in Israel. It seems the Egyptians managed to hit a relatively large number of ISIS members, among them senior commanders in Sinai. As a result, the organization has struggled lately to carry out the kind of widespread terror attacks it used to do, as the number of weekly assaults has declined. Wilayet Sinai blames Israel for giving the Egyptians intelligence for their war on the organization and for joining aerial attacks aimed at its leaders. Israel and Egypt confirm that there is security coordination between the countries.”

Voice Of America: Rights Report: Syria Dropped Banned Chlorine Bombs On Aleppo

“A leading international human rights organization is accusing Syrian government forces of dropping banned chlorine bombs on residential areas of a key northern city at least eight times late last year. Human Rights Watch (HRW), in a report issued Monday, said the chlorine attacks on Aleppo began November 17, as government forces backed by Russian airpower pushed into rebel-controlled sectors of the city. The report said it found no evidence that Russian forces backing the offensive were directly involved in the chlorine attacks. Video embedded in the report shows an explosion from a distance and yellowish-green gas spreading from the blast site. A still photograph then shows four dead children lying side-by-side with a caption saying the toxic vapors killed an entire family. HRW says about 200 people suffered injuries.”

The Economist: Michael Flynn Quits Over Secret Contacts With Russia

“SOME resignations from high office are like the cauterising of a wound: brutal but decisive. Others resemble a battlefield amputation: a painful loss which cannot dispel the sinister whiff of some deeper infection. As Washington, DC absorbs the news, just before midnight on February 13th, that Michael Flynn has quit as National Security Adviser to President Donald Trump after less than a month in office, an ominous note lingers in the air. There is something unhealthy about the way this new government operates. Mr Flynn, a retired three-star general and former chief of a Pentagon spy agency, had to quit after admitting that he had misled Vice-President Mike Pence about his contacts with a Russian envoy after the November presidential election but before the inauguration in January, when Mr Flynn was still a private citizen. That inaccurate briefing had left Mr Pence to head out onto television and unwittingly spread false information as he defended the man who on January 20th became head of the National Security Council.”

NPR: Why Is Russia Helping Anti-U.S. Insurgents In Afghanistan?

“Russia is supporting anti-U.S. insurgents in Afghanistan — and through them, terrorists, top U.S. national security leaders say. What isn’t clear is why. The top American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Nicholson, stopped short of detailing everything the U.S. knows about the Russian return to Afghanistan in an appearance before a Senate panel last week. But he did confirm some lawmakers’ accounts of what U.S. intelligence has established about the relationship. The disclosures about Russia’s operations in Afghanistan, which Nicholson said are increasing after they resumed last year, could complicate any effort by President Trump to work more closely with Moscow on fighting terrorism.”

Daily Mail: ISIS Threats To Spanish Tourist Hotspots

“ISIS fanatics have issued ‘direct threats’ on Spanish tourist hotspots where millions of Britons are expected to visit this year, according to a government report. The warnings were reportedly found on social media amid fears the terror group is also recruiting translators and foreign jihadists from the country. Its bid to find Spanish speaking fanatics started last summer, the document claims, adding that extremists were increasingly publishing in the language. It comes just weeks after police in San Sebastian, in the country’s north, arrested a Moroccan boxing coach suspected of recruiting for ISIS.”

PBS NewsHour: A Rare Glimpse Into The Brutality Of Life Under Boko Haram

“Last year, Voice of America News Service, which is funded by the U.S. government, received a stunning trove of videos from Nigeria, 18 hours of footage recorded by Boko Haram’s own cameras in 2014. The pictures comes from northeastern Nigeria. Now, at the time, Boko Haram had total control of the region. The videos take us behind Boko Haram’s assault on the Nigerian military and into villages where their leaders administer rough justice. VOA has produced a series of four reports based on the videos. And joining me to talk about what we can learn from these images is VOA’s Ibrahim Ahmed. He hosts a weekly program for their service broadcast in Nigeria.”

Reuters: Belgian Foreign Fighter Sentenced To 28 Years For Murder In Syria

“A Belgian man was sentenced to 28 years in jail on Monday for killing a prisoner while fighting with jihadist groups in Syria, the first murder conviction of a returned fighter in Belgium. Hakim Elouassaki, 24, returned to Belgium in 2013 after being wounded in the conflict, a few months after police had intercepted a phone call in which he bragged to his girlfriend about executing a prisoner. The prisoner’s family was supposed to pay 70,000 euros (£59,458) in ransom money but only came up with 30,000. ‘A bullet through the head, bang, hahaha,’ Elouassaki, from Vilvoorde near Brussels, was heard telling his girlfriend by phone, according to court documents.”

United States

The New York Times: Case Of Captive In Yemen Could Test Trump’s Guantánamo Pledge

“The Trump administration is considering what to do about a Qaeda suspect being held in Yemen, a decision that presents an early test of President Trump’s campaign pledge to send terrorism suspects to the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The suspect, known as Abu Khaybar, was captured last fall in Yemen and is being held there by another country, according to four current and former senior administration officials. The circumstances of his detention are not clear, but he is wanted on terrorism charges in New York. Mr. Khaybar, who is about 40, presents an important legal and policy test for Mr. Trump, who said the Obama administration was too soft on terrorists and promised to fill the prison in Cuba with ‘bad dudes.’”

The Washington Post: The Syrian War Isn’t Stopping For Trump

“On Monday, Human Rights Watch issued a report on the regime’s alleged use of chlorine bombs during its successful campaign last year to reclaim the last rebel-held territory in the city of Aleppo. The rights group documented at least eight separate chlorine gas attacks before a cease-fire was signed on Dec. 13. ‘The attacks resulted in the deaths of nine civilians, including four children, and wounded roughly 200,’ reported my colleague Thomas Gibbons-Neff. ‘If confirmed, the attacks would be a significant breach of the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention that Syria signed in 2013.’ That year, the Obama administration almost went to war against the Assad regime for its alleged role in a sarin gas attack that killed hundreds of civilians.”

Syria

Reuters: Russia Sends Military Police Battalion To Syria, RIA Reports

“Feb 13 A battalion of Russian military police has been sent to Syria from the Republic of Ingushetia, a Russian region in the North Caucasus, the regional head was quoted as saying by the news agency RIA on Monday. Unus-Bek Yevkurov also said, according to RIA, that the police will provide security for the Russian air force and the ‘centre for reconciliation’ in Syria. It was not immediately clear how many troops the battalion represents.”

Reuters: Dozens Killed In Fighting Among Jihadists In Syria

“Dozens of fighters have been killed in two days of fighting between rival jihadist factions in northwestern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Tuesday. The fighting has pitted a jihadist group seen as ideologically close to Islamic State – Jund al-Aqsa – against a newly formed jihadist alliance spearheaded by a faction that was once al Qaeda’s official affiliate in the war. The jihadist alliance – Tahrir al-Sham – has captured at least six villages from Jund al-Aqsa since Monday, the Observatory reported. Their power struggle is focused in northern areas of Hama province and adjoining areas of Idlib.”

Reuters: Syrian Kurdish Militant Killed In Cross-Border Clash: Turkish Army

“Turkish security forces returned fire into Syrian territory controlled by a Kurdish militia on Monday and killed one member of the group, Turkey’s armed forces said on Tuesday. It said the clash occurred at a border post in the Nusaybin area of Mardin province in southeast Turkey, across the border from an area controlled by the YPG militia. Ankara regards the Syrian group as closely tied to militants who have fought a three-decades-old conflict within Turkey.”

Radio Free Europe: Russia Emphasizes It Wants Closer Cooperation With U.S. On Syria

“Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has stressed that Moscow is hoping for closer cooperation with the United States on Syria under new U.S. President Donald Trump. Lavrov spoke on February 13, ahead of two gatherings in Germany this week that could provide the opportunity for a one-on-one meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Russia is ‘counting on establishing close, much more effective interaction on Syria with Donald Trump’s administration, given his absolutely unequivocal approach to terrorism as an absolute evil,’ Lavrov said.”

Reuters: Syrian Rebels Cast Doubt On Kazakhstan Talks, Slam Russia

“Syrian rebels cast doubt on Monday that they would attend Russian-backed peace talks this week, accusing Moscow of failing to get Damascus to fully comply with a ceasefire or take any confidence-building steps. Kazakhstan said on Saturday it had invited the government and rebels for Feb. 15-16 talks. They attended a similar indirect meeting in the Kazakh capital Astana last month aimed at shoring up a ceasefire brokered by Turkey and Russia, President Bashar al-Assad’s most powerful ally. ‘The opposition factions will not attend Astana because the Russian side did not abide by what they agreed to before during and after Astana to uphold the ceasefire agreement,’ Mohammad Al Aboud, a senior rebel official, told Reuters.”

Iraq

Reuters: Analysis: Baghdad’s Bloody Protests Mark Resumption Of Shi’ite Power Struggle

“Bloody protests in Baghdad over the weekend by followers of influential cleric Moqtada al-Sadr signal the resumption of a power struggle between Iraq’s Shi’ite leaders which had been put on hold to focus on the war against Islamic State. With Iraqi forces all but certain to defeat Islamic State in Mosul this year, Sadr has begun mobilizing his supporters ahead of two elections, for provincial councils in September and the crucial parliamentary vote, by April 2018. His main rival is former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a pro-Iranian politician who started positioning himself last year as a possible kingmaker or even for a return to the premiership itself.”

Reuters: Exclusive: After Islamic State Defeat, Broken Iraqi Farmers Weigh Heavy Losses

“Sami Yuhanna was making a decent living as a wheat farmer until a jihadist put a gun to his head and declared his land in Iraq’s Nineveh province the property of Islamic State. An army offensive has cleared the militants from the eastern half of the provincial capital, Mosul, and nearby towns and villages like Qaraqosh, home to Yuhanna’s fields. But the terror and mismanagement that characterized their two-year rule after seizing Iraq’s agriculture heartland has devastated farmers and exacerbated the country’s food security problem. Yuhanna, who used to sell about 100 tonnes of wheat per year, now lives in a small trailer and drives a taxi in the Kurdish capital of Erbil to barely survive. He is still haunted by the day armed militants arrived.”

Turkey

Reuters: Suspected Istanbul Nightclub Attacker Wanted To Kill Christians – Hurriyet, Citing Court Document

“An Islamist gunman, who has confessed to the killing of 39 people at an Istanbul nightclub on New Year’s Day, told a court that he had aimed to kill Christians during his attack, Hurriyet newspaper said on Monday, citing testimony given this weekend. Abdulgadir Masharipov initially planned to attack the area around Taksim Square but switched to the upscale Reina nightclub due to the heightened security measures around the square, Hurriyet said, without saying how it had obtained the document. Reuters was not given access to the confidential document.”

Reuters: Turkish Police Detain More Than 500 People In Operations Targeting PKK – Anadolu

“Turkish police detained more than 500 people on Monday in operations across Turkey targeting suspects linked with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group, state-run Anadolu news agency reported. It said senior members of the group were among the 544 suspects held in operations across 25 provinces, including the major western cities of Istanbul and Izmir. Officials from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) were among the 45 detained in the southeastern province of Gaziantep, the provincial governor’s said in a statement. The government accuses the HDP, the second biggest opposition party in parliament, of being a political extension of the PKK and many of its officials and MPs have been remanded in custody on charges of such links.”

Afghanistan

Reuters: Rights Group Says Pakistan Has ‘Forced’ Mass Afghan Refugee Returns

“The number of Afghan refugees returning from Pakistan, already at the highest level in years, may increase this year if Pakistan maintains its forceful policies, Human Rights Watch said on Monday. Last year, hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees left Pakistan, a 12-year-high that the rights group called the ‘world’s largest unlawful mass forced return of refugees in recent times’. Aid workers and Afghan officials worry that the returnees are coming back to a country in conflict and economic crisis, led by a government already struggling to maintain basic living standards. Pakistan has provided millions of Afghans with refuge for decades, and police and officials deny reports that they are targeting Afghans, though officials have said they should go home.”

Voice Of America: Moscow Expected To Host Afghanistan Talks

“Russia is expected to host a second round of international talks on Afghanistan in Moscow on February 15, reports Russia’s TASS news agency, with Afghanistan representatives invited for the first time. Russia says it wants stability and cooperation in the fight against extremists in the region. But Afghan officials are not happy with Russia’s direct talks with the Taliban, which U.S. officials say are aimed at undermining their efforts. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the peace talks on February 7, during a visit by his Afghan counterpart, Salahuddin Rabbani. China and Pakistan were at December talks in Moscow, while Iran, India and Afghanistan representatives are invited to participate at this week’s round for the first time.”

Egypt

Associated Press: APNewsBreak: Cyber Spies Target American-Egyptian Writer

“American-Egyptian author Mona Eltahawy is one of many activists and human rights advocates targeted in a sweeping cyberespionage campaign blamed on Egypt’s government, The Associated Press has found. A booby-trapped email sent to Eltahawy and examined by the AP shows that she was targeted by the same password-stealing technique used to try to compromise staff at more than half a dozen Egyptian human rights organizations. Digital clues such as matching email addresses employed to send the malicious messages and the use of the same credential-harvesting website proved the same actor was involved. Eltahawy, a fierce critic of Egypt’s government who has frequently complained about state surveillance, said she felt violated but not surprised.”

Middle East

USA Today: Netanyahu, Trump Meeting To Set Tone For U.S.-Israeli Ties

“When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets Wednesday with President Trump at the White House, they’ll likely focus more on Iran than controversial West Bank settlements or moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv. ‘The alliance between Israel and America has always been extremely strong. It’s about to get even stronger,’ Netanyahu said Monday on the tarmac as he prepared to take off for Washington. Netanyahu said he and Trump ‘see eye to eye on the dangers emanating from the region but also on the opportunities.’”

Libya

Voice Of America: Opinions Differ On EU Deal With Libya To Curb Migration

“The European Union is touting a plan it says will help Libya curb the number of migrants leaving its shores, but some advocates believe the plan does little more than trap African and Middle Eastern migrants in a war zone. On February 3, the European Union announced it would give $212 million to help Libya’s U.N.-backed government bolster its coast guard capabilities as well as offer training and equipment in order to block smuggling routes. Preben Aamann, spokesman for European Council President Donald Tusk, said the current migration situation is both tragic and untenable. He said last year 181,000 people set off from Libya en route to Italy and approximately 5,000 drowned in the central Mediterranean. Both of those figures were all-time highs.”

Reuters: U.N. Chief Says Fayyad Right Choice As Libya Envoy Despite U.S. Objection

“U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Monday he believed former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad was the right person to be the world body’s envoy to Libya after the United States raised objections. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has expressed disappointment over Guterres’s choice, saying the United Nations has for too long been ‘unfairly biased in favor of the Palestinian Authority to the detriment of our allies in Israel.’ ‘It is a loss for the Libyan peace process and for the Libyan people that I am not able to appoint him,’ Guterres said at a summit in Dubai. ‘I do not think there is any valid reason to avoid someone who is very competent to do a job that is extremely important,’ he said, adding that ending the Libyan conflict was in ‘everybody’s interest.’”

United Kingdom

Daily Mail: Man, 43, Charged With Possessing Explosives Was Allowed To Go On Holiday To Italy For Two Weeks After ‘Pipe Bomb’ Was Seized At Manchester Airport

“A Ryanair passenger was detained under the Terrorism Act after he tried to allegedly smuggle a pipe bomb in his luggage through security at Manchester airport. Nadeem Muhammed, 43, was allegedly found with the device as he tried to board a Ryanair flight to Bergamo, Italy from Manchester Airport. But after the explosive substance was discovered he was released on bail and allowed to leave the country days later. He appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court today charged with possession of an explosive substance, namely an improvised explosive device known as a pipe bomb. Wearing a check shirt and beige trousers in the dock, with the help of a Punjab interpreter, Muhammed spoke only to confirm his name, age and address.”

Germany

Deutsche Welle: Blame Traded Over Berlin Truck Attack

“Monday’s Bundestag interior committee hearing into why authorities lost track of Amri before he murdered 12 people at a Berlin Christmas market culminated in denials of responsibility among parties within Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition. Stephan Mayer, interior affairs expert of Bavaria’s Christian Social Union (CDU) party – long aligned with Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) – put the blame on North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), the German state where the rejected asylum-applicant had been registered.”

Deutsche Welle: German Police Raid Chemnitz Apartment Block Following Possible Terrorism Alert

“Police on Monday night stormed an apartment block in the German city of Chemnitz in what was potentially a response to a terrorism alert. At least one person was arrested. Police confirmed the raid late on Monday after local media had reported that anti-terrorism forces had entered a housing building, accompanied by explosives sniffer dogs. The officers were reportedly wearing gas masks and carrying machine guns. Authorities declined to provide further information, other than confirming the reports. They said they would announce further details on Tuesday. However, the German ‘DPA’ news agency, citing security officials, reported that a number of apartments were raided in the block.”

Reuters: Germany, Iraq Finalise 500 Million Euro Credit To Aid Stabilisation

“Germany signed an agreement with Iraq on Monday to provide a 500 million euro (£424.2 million) credit facility to fund investments aimed at rebuilding Iraqi infrastructure damaged in the war with Islamic State militants. The credit line, the biggest yet provided to Iraq, was promised by Chancellor Angela Merkel to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi a year ago. ‘We want to help the Iraqi government rebuild public infrastructure so that the people who had to flee IS terrorism can return to their homes,’ Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said in a statement. Gabriel said the liberation of eastern Mosul from Islamic State by Iraqi security forces marked an important success, and tens of thousands of Iraqis had already returned to their homes, as they had in other areas such as Ramadi, Falluja and Tikrit.”

Europe

Radio Free Europe: Both Sides In St. Petersburg Cathedral Tussle Accused Of Extremism

“Locals in Russia’s northern capital who oppose a government plan to hand control of the iconic St. Isaac’s Cathedral over to the Russian Orthodox Church have vowed to continue mass protests and other actions. About 1,000 protesters formed a living ring around the massive cathedral on February 12 to protest the decision, which they see as part of the church’s strengthening grip over the country’s cultural life. ‘We will carry out other protests as well, although I don’t want to get too specific about them now,’ said protest organizer Aleksei Sergeyev. ‘We are thinking of erecting a monument ‘To The Unknown Offended Believer.’ We might ask Gazprom to arrange an eternal flame for us, a little reminder of the eternal flame in which sinners spend eternity. Since they are going after libraries, we might show what they would be like with only spiritual books. We have many ideas.’”

Financing of Terrorism

Alwatan: Syria: Rise In The Terror Financing Crime Rate

“The Anti- Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Authority in Syria reports a rise in the rate of terror-financing crimes, exacerbated by the circumstances faced by the country over the past six years. It revealed that the number of anti-money laundering cases reviewed by the authority totaled 263 last year, 96 of which were forwarded to the courts. The authority also stated that it has forwarded the cases of eight foreign exchange companies and two local money-transfer companies to the judiciary. The Syrian authority further confirmed its monitoring of suspicious transactions by several companies and private banks. Concerning the smuggling of foreign currency to terror hotbeds, the Syrian authority confirmed it has closed branches of public and private banks as well as foreign currency exchange offices and local money-transfer companies. In these banks, the ATMs were also disabled.”

Muslim Brotherhood

Ahlmisr News: Foiled Attempt By Muslim Brotherhood To Smuggle Money Into Egypt

“Muslim Brotherhood turns to diverse methods whenever their schemes to finance terrorist operations are blocked. The group has been making a tremendous effort to raise funds for these operations, especially after the seizure of their funds in Egypt. Private sources revealed that over the past few days, Egyptian security forces confiscated funds belonging to the group, when thwarting an attempt to smuggle them into Egypt. The attempt at the border was carried out by an individual unknown to security authorities. The sources claimed that the seized money was meant to support the group’s activities in Cairo. This comes after authorities seized Brotherhood assets and placed most of them under the supervision of a special committee.”

Dostor: Egyptian Official Accuses Muslim Brotherhood Of Smuggling Imitation Turkish Medicines Into Egypt

“Dr. Ali Ouf, head of the Pharmaceuticals Division at the Federation of Egyptian Chamber of Commerce (FEDCOC), disclosed that the value of pharmaceutical sales in the parallel market came to roughly 500 million pounds ($29 million) in 2016. He added that the parallel market includes smuggled and counterfeit drugs which are {of course} unauthorized for use by the Ministry of Health. He warned that Egypt has become a large market for this kind of fake drugs. Ouf claimed that Turkey is the biggest source of contraband drugs into the Egyptian market through “bag merchants”, wholesale dealers and the “Mafia”. He asserted that the drug smuggling is being done via airports and customs, explaining that medicines in Turkey are cheaper than in Egypt. The head of the Pharmaceuticals Division stated that the drug smuggling activities began during the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood. Group members were the first to help the Turkish side in the drug trade by exploiting their political connections.”

Hamas

Palestine Today: Israel Prevents Entry Of Aggregates Into Gaza As Hamas Is Set To Impose New Tariffs  

“The Palestinian Minister of Public Works Mofeid Hassaina confirmed on Monday that the imposition of additional levies on construction materials coming from the Israeli side into the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip would ultimately obstruct reconstruction projects. In recent days, unconfirmed reports claimed that Hamas’ Economy Ministry in Gaza intends to introduce a new 3-shekel ($0.85) tax on aggregates for each ton imported. This move has been rejected by merchants. Israel responded to the new tax by deciding to halt the supply of aggregates to the Strip.”

Houthi

Hadramout Net: Expert: Iranian Institutions Manage Houthi Funds

“Yemeni economic expert Abdul Karim Al Awadi said that Iranian institutions are managing funds belonging to Yemen and Houthi group. He added that some organizations have been involved in fundraising for the Houthis in several countries. Al Awadi was quoted as saying: “I suggest that the Yemeni government shut down the Telecommunications Company, which provides the Houthi group with roughly 10 million Saudi riyals ($2.66 million) per day. In addition, there is a need to establish a new state-owned company based in Aden for telecommunications and Internet. Moreover, funds owned by banks and merchants who are doing business with the Houthi group should be frozen. I suggest closely monitoring goods entering Yemen because shipments originating from foreign countries, with financing from Iran, are reaching merchants who support the Houthi group. They then sell these goods in the local market and hand the proceeds over to the Houthi group.”

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