Eye on Extremism, February6, 2017

Counter Extremism Project

CBS Evening News: Analyst: “Stunning” Amount Of Classified Information Being Leaked Against Trump Administration

“CEP President Fran Townsend discusses leaks of classified information from inside the Trump administration: “There’s sort of a base level of this we’ve come to expect out of Washington. But the amount of classified information that’s being leaked right now? Frankly, I find it stunning.”

MSNBC: CEP Spokesperson Tara Maller Discusses The Resignation Of General Flynn And Possible Replacements

Reuters: Pentagon May Recommend U.S. Deploy Combat Troops In Syria: CNN

“The U.S. Defense Department may recommend that the United States deploy regular combat troops to Syria to fight Islamic State militants, CNN reported on Wednesday. The idea is one of several ideas the Pentagon is considering after President Donald Trump gave defense officials until the end of the month to come up with proposals to speed up the war against Islamic State. A U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the United States already had a small number of special operation troops in Syria. The official added that the review was still underway and no options had been presented to Trump.”

Reuters: Mosul Bombings Temper Residents’ Relief At Islamic State Pushback

“The first blast, down the street from his uncle’s restaurant in eastern Mosul, sent Mohammed Badr racing towards the door to check the situation. The second one, moments later at the entrance of the restaurant itself, knocked him off his feet. Together, last Friday’s twin suicide bombings killed 14 people and fractured the sense of safety and relief that many residents felt after Iraqi forces pushed the jihadists out of their neighbourhoods in months of heavy street-to-street fighting. The eatery, called My Fair Lady, stayed open throughout Islamic State’s brutal 2-1/2 year rule in the northern city, serving few customers besides the fighters. It quickly expanded after recent military advances, gaining popularity with locals, soldiers and even foreign journalists covering the war.”

CNN: Election Of Hamas’ New Gaza Leader Raises Fear Of Confrontation

“Hamas has tapped one of its most hardline figures to become its new leader in the Gaza Strip, a move analysts say is a sign of the growing influence of the group’s military wing. Yehya al-Sinwar was a founder of Hamas’ military wing in the 1980s. Analysts say his election indicates the growing power of the military wing, al-Qasam Brigades, over the group’s political wing. The military wing, which boasts a large arsenal of rockets and thousands of fighters, has fought Israel in three wars since Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007.”

Voice Of America: IS Propaganda Switches From Utopian Caliphate To Battlefield Reality

“As the terror group Islamic State loses more and more territory in Iraq and Syria, its propaganda has undergone a significant change, according to analysts. Many of the recent videos produced by the group have focused on the battle for the Iraqi city of Mosul — with a decreasing emphasis on calls for foreign fighters to join the group. Charlie Winter of the London-based International Center for the Study of Radicalization has been tracking Islamic State’s propaganda for several years. One of the latest videos put out by the terror group, he says, shows suicide bomb attacks on Iraqi forces in Mosul.”

Reuters: Saudi Foreign Minister Optimistic About Overcoming Mideast Challenges

“Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said on Thursday he was optimistic about overcoming “the many challenges” in the Middle East and looked forward to working with the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump. Asked if he was concerned that the Trump administration was backing away from a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Jubeir said: “We look forward to working with the Trump administration on all issues in the region.” “We are very, very optimistic about our ability to overcome the many challenges we face in the region,” he added.”

USA Today: It’s Official: Our Enemy Is The Islamic State Of Iraq And Syria, Or ISIS

“The Islamic State terrorist group would be still be as barbaric under any of its labels: ISIL (preferred under the Obama administration), or Daesh (the moniker of choice ISIS for many world leaders and some of its adversaries in the Middle East). But henceforth, by decree, the Pentagon, in all official references will refer to the terror network as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS. A memo circulated Tuesday throughout the military makes that clear.”

The Indian Express: Al-Qaeda Using US Preoccupation With IS To Spread To India

“Al-Qaeda has used America’s “preoccupation” with the Islamic State to regain strength in South Asia and preparing to spread its ideology in India from its “home” in western Pakistan, top US lawmakers have warned. “Al-Qaida has never changed, and it still sees itself in what it conceives as an existential struggle against the West and against the United States in particular,” Bruce Hoffman, Director Center for Security Studies at Georgetown University, told members of the House Armed Services Committee. “I think that it’s taken advantage of our preoccupation with ISIS to rebuild its strength, particularly in South Asia, where, again, almost completely escaped notice when they created al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent which was designed simultaneously to reinvigorate its presence in Afghanistan,” he told Congressman Mac Thornberry, chairman of the committee.”

Reuters: Syrian Jihadists Execute Scores Of Insurgents: SITE Intelligence Group

“Syrian Islamist fighters have executed scores of insurgents in the west of the country in an increasingly bloody battle between different militant groups, the SITE Intelligence Group said. An offshoot of the Jund al-Aqsa group killed more than 150 members of rebel factions in the village of Khan Sheikhoun in southern Idlib province, the U.S.-based monitoring service reported on Wednesday. Dozens of those executed were members of a Free Syrian Army (FSA) faction, it said, citing a pro-al Qaeda social media outlet. The rest included members of the Tahrir al-Sham alliance, which includes the former al Qaeda branch in Syria, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham. Jund al-Aqsa is seen as ideologically close to Islamic State, al Qaeda’s main jihadist rival.”

Reuters: Afghanistan Gunmen Kidnap 52 Farmers, Regional Officials Say

“Gunmen in Afghanistan kidnapped 52 farmers on Wednesday, most of them members of the minority Uzbek community in the remote northern province of Jowzjan, regional officials said, but the motive for the abductions was not immediately clear. Afghanistan’s once-stable north has become a hotbed of kidnappings and shootings in recent years, as the militant Taliban gains ground, along with small groups loyal to Islamic State, mostly defectors from the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban. The men seized in Wednesday’s incident were kidnapped from three villages in the district of Darz Ab in Jowzjan, while they were at work on their land. Provincial police blamed Taliban fighters that control most of the district.”

Newsweek: The U.S. Saw A Dramatic Rise In Anti-Muslim Hate Groups Last Year

“The election of Donald Trump has been ‘absolutely electrifying’ to radical right-wing groups in the U.S., where the number of anti-Muslim groups increased by nearly 200 percent in 2016, according to a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The SPLC, which tracks hate groups and extremism across the U.S., said in its annual report that the overall number of hate and radical right-wing groups in the U.S. increased to 917 in 2016 from 890 in 2015. Mark Potok, senior fellow at SPLC, said during a briefing call on Wednesday that while that’s a small increase, it’s close to the all-time high of 1,018 hate groups recorded in 2011.”

United States

CNN: ‘Telephone Terrorism’ Has Rattled 48 Jewish Centers. Is Anyone Paying Attention?

“In all, 48 JCCs in 27 states and one Canadian province received nearly 60 bomb threats during January, according to a count by CNN. Most were made in rapid succession on three days: January 9, 18 and 31. A number of JCCs, including Orlando’s, received multiple threats. In a statement, the FBI said the bureau and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division are ‘investigating possible civil rights violations in connections with threats to Jewish Community Centers across the country.’ The JTA, a Jewish news agency, says it has obtained a recording of one of the calls. On it, the caller says a C-4 bomb has been placed in the JCC and that ‘a large number of Jews are going to be slaughtered.’”

Reuters: U.S. Commander Expects Tough Battle In Western Mosul

“Islamic State will put up a tough fight in the western side Mosul that remains under its control despite the losses the group suffered so far in the battle for the Iraqi, a U.S. commander said on Wednesday. ‘It is hard and hard every day here,’ Colonel Patrick Work, commander of the 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, said in an interview with Reuters TV at a brigade artillery position in northern Mosul. ‘There are no guarantees certainly when you are fighting and there is no timetable, it is a determined enemy that we are up against,’ he said.”

Fox News: Special Ops Chief: US Troops Have Killed 60,000 ISIS Militants The Past Two Years

“U.S. military forces have killed 60,000 Islamic State militants over the past two years, according to a U.S. Special Operations Commander. On Tuesday, while speaking at a defense conference near Washington D.C., Army Gen. Raymond Thomas said the figure is substantially higher than the one reported at the end of last year – when U.S. officials said they had killed 50,000 ISIS fighters. ‘I’m not into morbid body count, but that matters,’ Thomas said at the National Defense Industrial Association’s annual Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict conference, according to the Military Times. ‘So when folks ask, do you need more aggressive [measures], do you need better [rules of engagement], I would tell you that we’re being pretty darn prolific right now.’”

Radio Free Europe: U.S. Defense Chief Urges Allies To Increase Defense Spending

“U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has told Washington’s NATO allies that the United States will ‘moderate its commitment’ to the alliance unless they boost their defense spending. Mattis told NATO defense ministers gathered at NATO headquarters in Brussels on February 15 that U.S. taxpayers could no longer carry ‘a disproportionate share of the defense of Western values.’ Mattis told the ministers that if their countries ‘do not want to see America moderate its commitment to this alliance,’ each of their capitals ‘need to show support for our common defense.’”

Syria

Reuters: Syrian Government Rejects Report On Aleppo Chemical Weapons Use

“Damascus ‘utterly rejects’ a recent Human Rights Watch report that said its military and allied forces had used chemical weapons during their capture of Aleppo last year, Syrian state media reported on Wednesday. ‘An official source at the Foreign Ministry confirmed that the government… utterly rejects the false allegations,’ Syria’s official SANA news agency reported. Human Rights Watch, which monitors abuses around the world, said in the report published on Monday that Syrian government forces had dropped chlorine bombs ‘in residential areas in Aleppo on at least eight occasions’ late last year.”

Reuters: Syria Talks In Kazakh Capital Delayed, Delegations Downgraded

“The start of Syrian crisis talks has been delayed by a day after the late arrival of Syrian rebel negotiators, who have decided to only send a group technical experts after threatening to boycott the meeting, sources and the delegation said. U.N. special envoy Staffan de Mistura – who had also been invited and attended the previous Astana meeting in January – said he would not attend the talks and Turkey also sent a lower-level delegation than before. The talks also involve Syrian government backers Russia and Iran. Russia and Turkey, which backs the rebels, have sought to revive diplomacy towards ending the war since the Syrian government and its backers defeated the rebels in Aleppo in December, their biggest defeat of the conflict.”

Reuters: Anti-Assad States To Meet On Syria Amid Concerns Over U.S. Policy

“Countries opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will meet on Friday for the first time since Donald Trump’s U.S. administration took office, to seek common ground ahead of U.N.-backed peace talks in Geneva next week. The talks on the sidelines of a G20 foreign ministers meeting come as Assad, backed by Russia and Iran, is in his strongest position since the early days of the civil war, and as Trump’s policy on Syria remains unclear. ‘It’s urgent to meet to see whether all the like-minded countries are on the same page,’ said a senior French diplomatic source. ‘It’s a chance to get everyone pushing in the same direction before the Geneva talks.’”

Reuters: Displaced People Of Syria’s “Beehive” Villages Dream Of Return

“The sculpted mud domes of the villages southeast of Aleppo are collapsing from war damage and neglect after years on the front line between Syria’s army and Islamic State militants, their inhabitants long since gone. But in Aleppo’s Jibreen shelter, home to refugees who have been unable or unwilling to return to their houses or flee further afield, the inhabitants of Qalayah, one of the villages from that area, swear they will one day recover their land. ‘We raised sheep and had land. We sold everything when we left. God willing we shall return. It’s our village, we can’t leave it,’ said a lean man in his 40s, traditional headdress worn over a long robe, who identified himself as Abu Mohammed.”

Reuters: Assad Says Trump Travel Ban Targets Terrorists, Not Syria’s People

“Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad said President Donald Trump’s ban on Syrians entering the United States targeted terrorists, not the Syrian people, appearing to defend the logic of the measure in an interview broadcast on Thursday. Trump last month issued an executive order, since suspended by a U.S. district judge, that temporarily barred travelers from seven mostly Muslim countries including Syria, as well as imposing an indefinite ban on all Syrian refugees. ‘It’s against the terrorists that would infiltrate some of the immigrants to the West. And that happened. It happened in Europe, mainly in Germany,’ Assad said in the interview with Europe 1 radio and TF1 television which was recorded on Tuesday in English.”

Iraq

Reuters: Suicide Truck Bomber Kills At Least 15 In Sadr City Suburb Of Baghdad – Security Sources

“A suicide bomber detonated a pick-up truck on Wednesday in Sadr City, a heavily populated poor Shi’ite suburb of Baghdad, killing at least 15 and wounding 50, security sources said. The explosion, the deadliest in Baghdad so far this year, targeted a crowded street full of garages and used car dealers. Islamic has stepped up bombings in Iraq last year, in retaliation to a U.S.-backed campaign that dislodged the hardline Sunni group from most Iraqi cities it took over in 2014. The militants also control parts of neighbouring Syria.”

Reuters: U.N. Aid To Mosul Paused On Security Concerns, To Resume Soon

“Security concerns forced the United Nations to pause its aid operations this week in east Mosul, which Iraqi forces recaptured from Islamic State last month, but they will resume soon, a U.N. humanitarian official said on Wednesday. ‘Based on reports of insecurity, the U.N. decided that we would not send missions into eastern parts of Mosul until we reassess security conditions,’ said Lise Grande, the U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq. ‘This has now been done and we expect to reengage as soon as possible, hopefully within the next day or so.’”

Turkey

Reuters: Turkey Detains 27 Police Officers, Extending Post-Coup Crackdown – Anadolu

“Turkish authorities on Wednesday detained 27 police officers in eight provinces across the country, the state-run Anadolu news agency said, part of the widening crackdown following a failed coup attempt in July. The detentions, centred in the southern province of Adana, aimed to root out followers of the U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of orchestrating the putsch, and included three police chiefs, Anadolu reported. Turkish authorities have detained, sacked or dismissed tens of thousands of people from the police, military, public service, judiciary, and elsewhere since the abortive coup over suspected ties to Gulen’s network.”

Politico: Human Rights Group Urges Turkey To ‘Urgently Change Course’

“The Council of Europe on Wednesday urged Turkey’s leaders to reverse violations of media freedoms and the rule of law. ‘The space for democratic debate in Turkey has shrunk alarmingly following increased judicial harassment of large strata of society, including journalists, members of parliament, academics and ordinary citizens, and government action which has reduced pluralism and led to self-censorship,’ said Nils Muižnieks, the organization’s commissioner for human rights, after publishing a report on freedom of expression and media freedom in Turkey.”

Voice Of America: Fears Grow Over Fairness Of Upcoming Election In Turkey

“The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has signed into law constitutional amendments aimed at giving him sweeping new powers under an executive presidency. The reforms are deeply divisive, with supporters saying they will strengthen democracy, while critics warn of dictatorship. Turks will decide in a referendum set for April 16. Doubts over its fairness are growing among opponents of the reforms, who claim a crackdown against them already has started. Leading right-wing politician Meral Aksener recently spoke at a rally to oppose the presidential constitutional reforms. The meeting ended up being held in darkness after the electricity to the venue was mysteriously cut. Aksener said she had little doubt the blackout was deliberate, shouting to the audience, ‘President, what you are afraid of, me as a woman opposing you and your powerful state.’”

Afghanistan

Reuters: Pakistan Raids Hideout Of Militants Behind Surge Of Attacks; Six Dead

“Pakistani counter-terrorism police raided a militant hideout and killed six suspected members of a Taliban faction that has launched a new campaign of violence against the government, police said on Thursday. Since Monday, several bomb attacks across the country have shattered a period of improving security, underscoring how militant groups still pose a threat in the nuclear-armed country of 180 million people. The Counter Terrorism Department in Punjab province said its officers surrounded a hideout of the Pakistani Taliban’s Jamaat-ur-Ahrar faction in the city of Multan late on Wednesday and ordered the suspects inside to surrender.”

Associated Press: Afghan Official: Taliban Attack Kills 5 In Northern Village

“An Afghan official says that a Taliban attack on a village in northern Faryab province has killed five members of the local police force. Karim Yuresh, spokesman for the provincial police chief, says the Taliban gained control of the village, located in the Shirin Tagab district, following the surprise attack on Wednesday. He says five insurgents were also killed and two others were wounded in the battle. Qari Yusouf Ahamdi, a Taliban spokesman, claimed responsibility for the attack. In neighboring Jawzjan province, insurgents abducted about 50 local farmers in Darzab district. Mohammad Reza Ghafori, spokesman for the provincial governor, says the tribal elders are trying to secure their release. He says the motive behind the kidnapping isn’t yet clear.”

Voice Of America: Taliban Bombs Kill 6 People In Pakistan

“Two separate bomb explosions in northwestern Pakistan killed at least six people and wounded many more Wednesday. Officials say the deadliest incident happened in the Mohmand tribal district near the Afghan border, where a suicide bomber blew himself up after security forces spotted and tried to stop him. The blast killed three Pakistani security personnel and two civilians. A second bomber accompanying the attacker was gunned down while he tried to detonate explosives strapped to his body. A military statement asserted the two bombers had come from Afghanistan and planned to attack an area hosting offices, training facilities and residential buildings for employees of the local administration in the central town of Ghalanai.”

The Wall Street Journal: U.A.E. Envoy To Afghanistan Dies From Kandahar Blast Wounds

“The United Arab Emirates’ ambassador to Afghanistan has died in an Emirati hospital from wounds sustained in a bombing last month in the eastern Afghan city of Kandahar, Emirati state media reported Wednesday. Juma Mohammed Abdullah Al Kaabi was the sixth Emirati diplomat to die from the Jan. 10 attack, the deadliest single assault on the Gulf nation’s diplomatic corps in its history. His death brought to 13 the total number of people killed in the blast. No group has claimed responsibility for the explosion, which took place as the Emirati delegation was attending a dinner at the heavily guarded compound of the provincial governor.”

Egypt

Associated Press: Militants Kill Christian In Egypt’s Sinai, Second In A Week

“Suspected Islamic militants gunned down a Coptic Christian teacher on his way to school in northern Sinai on Thursday, the second killing of a Christian in less than a week in the turbulent region, officials said. The 50-year-old Gamal Tawfiq was shot in the head by two militants on a motorbike who were following him as he walked from home to work at El-Samran School in the morning in the city of el-Arish. A security official said the Islamic State’s affiliate in Sinai is suspected in the killing. A school official confirmed Tawfiq’s death to The Associated Press but declined to give details. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.”

Reuters: Egypt Brokers Libya Peace Roadmap, But Key Figures Fail To Meet

“Libyan factions have tentatively agreed on an Egyptian-brokered roadmap to heal divisions, Egypt said, though the failure to engineer a meeting between two key figures has cast a shadow on the diplomatic push. The deal comes after months of diplomatic efforts by Egypt, culminating this week with visits by Prime Minister Fayez Seraj of the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli, and Khalifa Haftar, a military commander supported by eastern factions. After meeting separately with senior Egyptian military officials the two men had been set to sit together in a session late on Tuesday, then failed to meet due to last-minute differences.”

The Jerusalem Post: Can Egypt Be The Path To Peace For The Middle East?

“In the Middle East, what they say is not what they mean, and what they mean is not what they say. According to The New York Times, US President Donald Trump is ‘developing a strategy on the Israeli- Palestinian conflict that would enlist Arab nations like Saudi Arabia and Egypt to break years of deadlock.’ It would behoove his new foreign policy team to reflect carefully on these words before forging ahead with Middle East diplomacy. The key to any possible path to conflict resolution in this region is to understand the shifting web of ‘interests’ that motivate the players on this chessboard in the sand. During meetings in Egypt and Israel this past week, almost everyone I spoke with cautioned against over-reaching beyond what is possible for the region at this time.”

Middle East

The Jerusalem Post: Israel’s Eye On Gaza: The Idf’s Electronic Observation Unit

“While the IDF’s evaluation is that Hamas currently has no interest in engaging Israel in another conflict, Israeli soldiers are on guard, watching the Gaza Strip 24/7. The IDF has surveillance techniques such as micro-observation balloons that collect high-resolution, image-based intelligence and also assist ground units in operations, but nothing can replace the IDF electronic observation unit, made up solely of women, which acts as the eyes of Israel. For the female soldiers who spend all day, every day, watching the Gaza Strip, it is clear that the scene has changed since Operation Protective Edge. Hamas has built military outposts all along the border with Israel and also carries out regular patrols, both to impose its control on the Strip and to watch what is happening on the Israeli side.”

The Jerusalem Post: Netanyahu To Trump: Recognize Golan Heights As Part Of Israel

“The United States should recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told US President Donald Trump when the two men met in Washington on Wednesday. ‘His reaction was not earth shattering,’ Netanyahu told reporters during a briefing at Blair House after the meeting. He did not elaborate any further about the mountainous area that Israel captured from Syria in the Six-Day war and then annexed in 1981. The United States and the international community have never recognized Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights. Israel has long argued that it must maintain that territory for security reasons. The two men also talked about the civil war in Syria in general, with Netanyahu explaining that Israel had no interest in getting involved in the conflict.”

Germany

Politico: Germany Investigates Imams Over Alleged Spying For Turkey: Report

“Authorities have searched the homes of members of the Turkish Islamic association Ditib in connection with an investigation into imams who are accused of spying on suspected Fethullah Gülen supporters in Germany. According to a Spiegel Online report published Wednesday, members of Cologne-based Ditib spied on religious community members and German teachers on behalf of Diyanet, Turkey’s directorate for religious affairs. More than 900 mosques fall under the auspices of the Islamic association, which is controlled by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.”

France

Associated Press: 3 Suspects Handed Terror Charges In Thwarted French Attack

“Paris’ prosecutor’s office says that three suspects in a thwarted attack last week in the southern French city of Montpellier have been handed preliminary terrorism charges. Authorities gave only the suspects’ first names. A teenage girl, Sara, and a man called Thomas were charged with terrorist association and possessing explosives Tuesday night. Another man, Malik, was also charged with justifying terrorism. Last week, anti-terrorism forces uncovered a makeshift laboratory for fabricating a bomb. France’s top security official Friday said the raid thwarted an ‘imminent attack.’ A police official said the teenage girl — among several arrested — had pledged loyalty to the Islamic State group in a recent video. France is still under a state of emergency after several deadly attacks in 2015 and 2016.”

USA Today: Eiffel Tower To Be Surrounded By $20M Bulletproof Glass Wall By Year’s End

“Donald Trump isn’t the only leader building a wall, and this one is just as controversial. The French government is constructing an 8.2-foot-high, bulletproof glass enclosure around the base of the Eiffel Tower to protect the iconic structure from a terrorist attack. But many French are offended by what they describe as a tasteless design that will be an eyesore. ‘It’s pure madness!’ said Bernard Thiebaut, a retired electrical engineer who lives in Paris. ‘It’s not just a physical barrier, it’s also a philosophical and a psychological barrier.’ After a public uproar over the $20 million project approved last month by the Paris City Council, Deputy Mayor Jean-Francois Martins defended the plan.”

Europe

The Washington Times: ISIS Drones Could Target Europe

Killer drones guided by Islamic State terrorists have made their debut in Northern Iraq, prompting concern about a new terror weapon outside of Iraq. ‘I can verify that the enemy has used drones to release grenade-sized munitions,’ wrote U.S. Air Force Col. John Dorrian, chief spokesman for the Combined Joint Task Force, Operation Inherent Resolve, in an email from Baghdad. He went on to say that Iraqi forces closing in on Islamic State’s last-remaining high-population stronghold in Iraq are dealing with them. Islamic State websites have reported more than 37 drone strikes in a wide area of Northern Iraq from Feb. 3, of which 10 attacks have been corroborated by Iraqi TV stations and news sites. Most strikes reported were in East Mosul, but some were on Sinjar Mountain near Iraq’s border with Syria, and others were reported 100 miles south of Mosul. For the first time, Islamic State dropped bombs from two drones during a combat engagement south of Tal Afar on Feb. 13.”

International Business Times: Terrorism In Europe: NATO To Open Anti-Terror Headquarters In Italy

“NATO was expected to approve a plan to build an anti-terrorism headquarters in Italy that would predominately focus on threats to the alliance’s southern borders. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the new defense hub, which was expected to employ 100 people, will be tasked with ‘increasing the capacity to identify threats and improve situational awareness.’ NATO strategically wanted the hub’s location to be in Naples in order to monitor intelligence surrounding terrorist activities in North Africa and the Middle East trickling into southern Europe, according to local reports Wednesday.”

Financing of Terrorism

Alikhbariaat Tounisia: Tunisia: 460 Cases Of Money Laundering And Terrorist Financing

“Lotfi Hachicha, Secretary General of the Tunisian Financial Analysis Commission (TFAC), disclosed it had forwarded to the judiciary roughly 460 cases on suspicions of money laundering and terrorist financing during 2016. Investigations were opened concerning each case. It should be noted that the Tunisian Parliament approved the issuance of a law on combating and preventing money laundering in August 2015.”

ISIS

Arabi21: Sinai: ISIS Succeeds In Luring Members Of Local Tribes

“Gunmen affiliated with ISIS in Sinai distributed leaflets earlier this week featuring the group’s statement to the citizens of El Arish in northern Sinai. This statement carried many “emotional” words emphasizing the solidarity of the terror group with the people of Sinai, according to eyewitnesses. On his part, Egyptian political researcher, Gamal Abdel Gawad, said that “ISIS may succeed in luring members of the tribes, but in low numbers. Those recruited are often those involved in criminal activity, such as human and drug trafficking. They join ISIS solely due to business and trade interests, not religious faith or conviction.” The expert added: “The group’s ideology is different from what the majority of the people of Sinai believe in. Even those who belong to political Islamic groups do not have much sympathy for ISIS.”

Muslim Brotherhood

Almasry Alyoum: Egypt: Government Challenges The Annulment Of Seizure Of Brotherhood-Affiliated Ex-Player’s Funds

“Egypt’s Ministry of Justice, represented by the State Lawsuits Authority, appealed on Wednesday to the Supreme Administrative Court. The appeal opposed the Administrative Court’s ruling to accept an appeal presented by Mohammed Abu Treika, the ex-Al Ahly Soccer Club and the national team star. The government demands the continued implementation of the ruling to appropriate the player’s assets. On January 10th, the First Circuit of the Court of Administrative Justice at the State Council, headed by Judge Ismail Bakhit, Vice President of the State Council, accepted the player’s appeal to halt the seizure of his funds.”

Elwatan: Experts: Money Remains Top Secret In The Muslim Brotherhood

“Following the fraud by a Yemeni businessman, which caused the Muslim Brotherhood to incur losses estimated at $40 million, Dr. Mohammed Habib, ex-deputy General Guide of the Brotherhood, explained that the organization raises funds in Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. According to Habib, certain officials and leaders of the group are in charge of investing its assets in various projects. As part of this activity, these leaders communicate with others regarding the investments of the funds. Habib added: “Individuals within the group know nothing about the issue of money.” He claimed this is because the group’s leaders consider its funds to be ‘top secret’, fearing security authorities will find out and confiscate them. The ex-leader stressed that “the question of money remains highly classified, shared only by certain group leaders.” In the same context, Sameh Eid, Muslim Brotherhood dissident, noted that its funds, which are donated by members of the group or {businessmen from} Gulf states, are confined to just a few individuals. Eid asserted: “Money is deposited in bank accounts of individuals, and after their death it goes to their heirs and the group might lose it. Many members of the Guidance Bureau know nothing at all about this issue.”

Houthi

Akhbar Alaan: Houthis Impose A Fine Of 100k Riyals On Whoever Defies Conscription

“In a continuation of the abuses against the Yemeni people, the Houthis in Yemen have now imposed mandatory recruitment on residents of the Al Marawi’ah district, in the Al Ḩudaydah province. Ahmed Alshraie, a member of the Resistance in another district, Tihama, revealed that the Houthis have held successive meetings with some of the local tribal elders and leaders to present their decision to them. Some welcomed the Houthi idea, but the vast majority turned it down. Alshraie added that the meetings ended with an agreement between Houthi leaders and some of their agents in the district. It was agreed that one member of each family must be recruited. In case of refusal, the family will be incur a fine of 100k Yemeni riyals ($ 400). Otherwise, [if the fine is not paid] the fate of this family will be imprisonment.”

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