Eye on Extremism, February 22, 2017

Counter Extremism Project

CBS News: CEP President Fran Townsend Joins “CBS This Morning” To Discuss President Trump’s Revised Travel Ban, And His Newly-Appointed National Security Adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. Mcmaster.

Fox Business News: CEP Spokesperson Tara Maller Discusses What May Be Different In The Expected New Pentagon Plan For Fighting ISIS. Maller Said The Plan Should Also Address Fighting ISIS Online, Including Getting Internet And Social Media Companies To Take Down Horrific And Brutal Extremist Content That Is Being Used To Recruit And Incite Violence.

The Irish Sun: Online Championing Of Murder And Destruction In The Name Of Islam Is Not Free Speech

“They can be killed with drones and other targeted attacks, prevented from accessing materials leading to radicalisation via the internet or they can be persuaded that there is a better way through education, counter-narrative strategies and tackling exclusion and poverty. The first option is the least appealing. Taking a human life, even if it is one intent on the destruction and carnage of innocent people, is something that cannot happen lightly. It is the last resort, although under President Barack Obama it was used a lot. In fact, under his presidency, there were six times more drone strikes than at any other time in US history.”

Reuters: Iraqi Forces Fighting Islamic State Set To Storm Airport, Clear Way To Western Mosul

“U.S.-backed Iraqi forces closing in on the Islamic State-held western half of Mosul prepared on Tuesday to storm the airport and a nearby military base on its southern outskirts to create a bridgehead for a thrust into the city. Since ousting the militant group from eastern Mosul last month, Iraqi forces have advanced in sparsely populated outlying areas but fighting will intensify as they near the teeming inner city of western Mosul and the risk to roughly 750,000 civilians there will rise. The U.S. military commander in Iraq has said he believes U.S.-backed forces will retake both of IS’s urban bastions – Mosul and Raqqa in neighboring Syria – within the next six months, which would end the jihadists’ ambitions to territorial rule three years after they declared a ‘caliphate’.”

CBS News: More U.S. Troops May Be Sent Into Syria To Fight ISIS

“Gen. Joseph Votel, the commander of American forces in the Middle East, said Wednesday that in order to maintain momentum in the push to liberate the Syrian city of Raqqa from the ISIS militants who have made it their de-facto capital, the U.S. might ‘take on a larger burden ourselves.’  Asked by CBS News if  more U.S. troops would be sent into Syria, Votel responded, ‘perhaps,’ and went on to explain that the local forces the U.S. is supporting in Syria ‘don’t have as good mobility, they don’t have as much firepower, so we have to be prepared to fill in some of those gaps for them and that may involve additional fire support capability, a variety of other things that we bring in to help offset some of the gaps that they have and we take the burden on ourselves for that aspect of the fight.’”

The Washington Post: Use Of Weaponized Drones By ISIS Spurs Terrorism Fears

“Late last month, a pair of Islamic State fighters in desert camouflage climbed to the top of a river bluff in northern Iraq to demonstrate an important new weapon: a small drone, about six feet wide with swept wings and a small bomb tucked in its fuselage. The two men launched the slender machine and took videos from a second, smaller drone that shadowed its movements. The aircraft glided over the besieged city of Mosul, swooped close to an Iraqi army outpost and dropped its bomb, scattering Iraqi troops with a small blast that left one figure sprawled on the ground, apparently dead or wounded. The incident was among dozens in recent weeks in a rapidly accelerating campaign of armed drone strikes by the Islamic State in northern Iraq.”

The New York Times: 3 Generals Bound By Iraq Will Guide Trump On Security

“At one point or another, they each strode the sands of Iraq, fighting on the unforgiving battlefield of America’s costliest war since Vietnam. Now all three will sit around the table in the White House Situation Room, steering a new president through the treacherous crosscurrents of a stormy world. President Trump’s appointment of H. R. McMaster, an Army lieutenant general, as his new national security adviser creates a powerful troika of senior officers who served in Iraq, teaming him up with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and John F. Kelly, the secretary of homeland security, both retired four-star Marine generals. This administration is the first to have all three security jobs filled by senior military veterans at the same time.”

The Times Of Israel: In Surprise Attack, IS Affiliate Captures Land Near Israeli-Syrian Border

“An Islamic State-affiliated group on Monday captured territory in south-western Syria, near the convergence of the Israeli and Jordanian borders, after launching a surprise attack on more moderate rebel fighters near the Golan Heights. The Khalid Ibn Al Walid Army used dozens of armored personnel carriers and several tanks in a dawn attack against positions held by the Free Syrian Army, rebel sources said, according to Reuters. Jordanian army units on the border were ordered to assume a heightened state of readiness, a Jordanian security source said; explosions from the battle could be heard across the border.”

The Jerusalem Post: IDF Jets Allegedly Attack Hezbollah Targets In Syria Overnight

“Israeli jets allegedly struck targets near the Syrian capital overnight on Wednesday, reportedly a weapons shipment to the Shiite militant group Hezbollah, Lebanese media reported. Syrian media reported witnesses hearing ‘loud explosion sounds’ in the early morning hours. According to Lebanese media, the targets that were hit around 3.00 a.m. were affiliated with the Assad regime and were the regime army’s 3rd Division in the al-Katif suburbs of the capital. The report also claimed that the IDF struck from within Lebanon, circling the Beqaa Valley and Baalbek, so as not to be blocked by the Russian defense systems operating in the area.”

Haaretz: Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei: Support for Palestine Resistance Forces Is Vital

“Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei declared that support for Islamist resistance forces is obligatory and called for unity among all Palestinian factions during his keynote speech Tuesday at the International Conference on the Palestinian Intifada in Tehran. Some 80 delegations are taking part in the sixth-annual, two-day conference, among them senior officials of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The attendee list is more impressive than in previous years. One of the organizers of the event in Iran said, ‘Resistance forces receive great support from this country, and their situation has improved.’”

Reuters: Seeking To Secure Sinai, Egypt Builds Closer Ties With Hamas

“After years of strained relations, Egypt is moving closer to Hamas in Gaza, offering concessions on trade and free movement in return for moves to secure the border against Islamic State fighters who have killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers in northern Sinai. Egypt has been at odds with Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, since a crackdown by Cairo on the armed group’s Islamist allies. Egypt closed the border, opening it only rarely. But in recent weeks Egypt has eased restrictions, allowing in trucks laden with food and other supplies, and providing relief from an Israeli blockade that has restricted the flow of goods into the coastal territory.”

BBC: British Suicide Bomber Dies In Attack On Iraqi Forces In Mosul

“A British IS fighter who died in a suicide bomb attack on Iraqi forces in Mosul is a former Guantanamo Bay detainee, the BBC understands. The self-styled Islamic State group said two days ago that Abu-Zakariya al-Britani detonated a car bomb at an Iraqi army base in Tal Gaysum, south-west of Mosul. He is believed to have been originally known as Ronald Fiddler. Fiddler, 50 and from Manchester, was sent to Guantanamo Bay in 2002. IS has now published a photograph of Fiddler, who was also known as Jamul-Uddin al-Harith before taking the nom-du-guerre Abu-Zakariya al-Britani.”

Reuters: Senior Yemeni General Killed In Houthi Missile Attack: Military Source

“Yemen’s deputy chief of staff was killed on Wednesday when the armed Houthi movement battling government forces fired a ballistic missile at an army camp on the Red Sea coast, according to a military source. The attack killing Major General Ahmed Saif al-Yafei was a blow to Yemeni government forces and hit outside the strategic coastal city of al-Mokha, which they captured from the Iran-allied Houthis last month. A military coalition led by Saudi Arabia intervened in Yemen’s civil war nearly two years ago to back President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after he was ousted from the capital Sanaa by Houthi forces.”

News And Observer: Army Vet Charged With Plotting Islamic State Terror Attack On Kansas City

“A Missouri man is accused of plotting a Presidents Day jihadist terrorist attack on buses, trains and a train station in Kansas City. Robert Lorenzo Hester Jr., 25, was charged in U.S. District Court of Kansas City with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. The charges were the culmination of a months-long FBI investigation during which Hester allegedly expressed his willingness to assist in what he believed was an Islamic State plan to cause mass casualties in an attack on U.S. soil. During the investigation, undercover FBI employees posing as Islamic State operatives met with Hester on numerous occasions. At their request, he allegedly bought items that he believed were to be used in constructing bombs, including nails to cause maximum casualties.”

The Washington Post: Terrorists Are Building Drones. France Is Destroying Them With Eagles.

“Under French military supervision, four golden eagle chicks hatched last year atop drones — born into a world of terror and machines they would be bred to destroy. The eagles — named d’Artagnan, Athos, Porthos and Aramis — grew up with their nemeses. They chased drones through green grass that summer, pecking futilely at composite shells as seen in Sky News footage. They were rewarded with meat, which they ate off the backs of the drones. When the eagles were ready — this month — d’Artagnan launched screeching from a military control tower across a field, Agence France-Presse reported.”

The New York Times: Danes Fighting For ISIS Were Paid Welfare Benefits, Government Says

“The Danish government has been inadvertently paying benefits to citizens fighting for the Islamic State in Syria, Danish officials said Tuesday, as outrage grows that militants are manipulating the country’s generous welfare system. About 145 Danes have traveled to Syria or Iraq to fight for militant groups since 2012, according to the Danish security and intelligence services. Officials said this week that they had identified a number of Danish citizens who, while receiving government disability pensions, had traveled to Syria to join the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.”

News24: Logistics Nightmare: Helping The Boko Haram Displaced

“Not a single car remains in the town of Dikwa in northeast Nigeria and there’s no way to communicate to the outside world, as all the telephone lines have been blown up. But it is here that humanitarian groups are trying to bring aid to at least 57 000 people forced out of their homes by Boko Haram Islamists, whose insurgency has devastated the remote region since 2009. “On average, 200 to 300 people arrive per day,” one soldier posted in the town said. “They left their village because there’s no protection, no food there, and they can’t farm.” Abubakar Gambo Adam, a consultant in a clinic run by Unicef, said the new arrivals are often in a bad way. Some are severely dehydrated, others have trauma injuries or gunshots.”

United States

Reuters: Trump’s New Security Advisor Differs From Him On Russia, Other Key Issues

“U.S. President Donald Trump has shown little patience for dissent, but that trait is likely to be tested by his new national security adviser, Army Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster. McMaster is joining the White House staff with views on Russia, counterterrorism, strengthening the military and other major security issues that diverge not only from those of the Trump loyalists, but also from those the president himself has expressed. A military intellectual whose ideas have been shaped more by experience than by emotion, more by practice than by politics, and more by intellect than by impulse may also find himself in political terrain that may be as alien, and perhaps as hostile, to him as the sands and cities of Afghanistan and Iraq were.”

CNN: Vandals Damage 100 Headstones At Jewish Cemetery, Police Say

“Even from the air it looks chaotic, like someone has angrily scattered previously tidy rows of toy blocks. A view from the ground shows a more somber reality — scores of granite and marble tombstones, toppled and damaged in a historic Jewish cemetery at a time tensions in the nation’s Jewish communities are already high. A vandal or vandals toppled and damaged more than 100 headstones at the Chesed Shel Emeth Society cemetery in the St. Louis suburb of University City within the past week, police said Monday. Workers spent part of Tuesday using crane trucks to upright some stones and documenting which memorials will need replacing altogether.”

Syria

Reuters: Geneva Talks To Encompass Syrian Transition Process: U.N.

“Syria peace talks due to start this week in Geneva are based on the broad mandate of a U.N. resolution that asks the U.N. mediator to hold talks on a ‘political transition process’, an official involved in the talks said on Tuesday. Last week the United Nations appeared to back away from using the phrase ‘political transition’, which is understood by the opposition to mean a removal of President Bashar al-Assad or at least an erosion of his powers. Michael Contet, chief of staff of Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, told a regular U.N. briefing that de Mistura was putting the final touches to arrangements for the talks.”

Reuters: U.S.-Backed Alliance Enters Syria’s Deir Al-Zor Province: Kurdish Military Source

“The U.S.-backed Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance has crossed into Deir al-Zor province for the first time as part of an offensive against Islamic State, a Kurdish military source said on Tuesday. The advance into the province, most of which is under the control of the ultra-hardline group, is part of an operation to encircle and ultimately capture its de facto Syrian capital of Raqqa in the north of the country. One aim of the campaign is to cut IS’s supply lines from Raqqa to Deir al-Zor province.”

Reuters: Exclusive: CIA-Backed Aid For Syrian Rebels Frozen After Islamist Attack – Sources

“CIA-coordinated military aid for rebels in northwest Syria has been frozen since they came under major Islamist attack last month, rebel sources said, raising doubts about foreign support key to their war against President Bashar al-Assad. Rebel officials said that no official explanation had been given for the move this month following the jihadist assault, though several said they believed the main objective was to prevent arms and cash falling into Islamist militant hands. But they said they expected the aid freeze to be temporary.”

The Washington Post: Long Road Ahead For Justice And Accountability In Syria

“A fresh round of Syrian peace talks is set to begin in Geneva on Thursday. And while the U.N-sponsored talks may represent the best opportunity in years to make progress toward an end to the conflict, the burning question for many Syria observers is whether justice will be sacrificed in the name of peace. To the dismay of those active in the fields of human rights law, accountability is not even a prominent topic on the agenda. Syrian dissident and lawyer Anwar al-Bunni calls the diplomatic effort in Geneva ‘a waste of time’ at the expense of the blood of the Syrian people. He is among those pushing for the creation of a Syrian court to prevent war criminals from escaping with impunity.”

CNN: Girl, Five, Pulled Alive From Damascus Rubble In Dramatic Video

“The dramatic rescue of a young girl trapped in the rubble of a bombed-out Syrian house has been caught on video and posted online. The frantic work of a team of white-helmeted Syrian civil defense teams shows the heart-wrenching extrication of the crying child, a five-year-old named Aya, from a ruined house in the Tishreen area of Damascus. In the clip, a team is seen walking through the Damascus neighborhood as dust settles from a recent explosion. A woman starts yelling in Arabic, directing the team of rescuers to a door and up a flight of stairs. When they reach the wrecked room where Aya is trapped one man calls out to another, instructing him to begin clearing the rubble with their bare hands.”

Iraq

NPR: New Report Finds ISIS Territorial Defeats Are Also Hitting The Group’s Wallet

“The so-called Islamic State’s financial fortunes are bound to the amount of territory it controls. And the group’s dramatic loss of ground in its strongholds in Syria and Iraq is putting pressure on its finances, according to a new report from the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation. Though exact figures are murky, the researchers assessed information, including leaked documents, about ISIS finances. They found that the group took in $870 million last year, which is approximately 50 percent less income than in 2014. That’s because its most significant income sources — taxes and fees, oil, and looting — are linked to territory, as ICSR Director Peter Neumann tells All Things Considered.”

Reuters: British Museum Trains Iraqi Archaeologists To Rebuild Post-Islamic State

“Standing in front of two ancient Assyrian statues, eight Iraqi archaeologists discuss not only the homes some have fled, but also how to avoid explosives when they finally go back to work. They’re in London as part of a British Museum scheme aimed at equipping Iraq with the digital and excavation skills necessary to salvage artifacts and rebuild ancient sites Islamic State fighters have attempted to destroy. Jonathan Tubb, head of the British Museum’s Iraq Emergency Heritage Management Training Scheme, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation the project began as an attempt to do something positive when nothing was possible on the ground.”

The New York Times: Afghanistan Police Surround Vice President’s House

“Afghan soldiers and policemen surrounded the house of Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum on Tuesday in an apparent effort to arrest nine of his aides accused of kidnapping and raping a political opponent on his orders. The attempt to bring about the arrests came after the attorney general complained to police authorities that they had ignored previous orders to carry out the arrests. The police had said they feared an armed confrontation and would have to evacuate the residential neighborhood ‘to avoid civilian casualties,’ according to copies of official documents obtained by The New York Times.”

Turkey

Reuters: Turkey Strips One Jailed Opposition Leader Of MP Status, Other Leader Sentenced

“Turkey’s parliament on Tuesday stripped one of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) two leaders of her status as a member of parliament and jailed the other, weeks ahead of a referendum on extending the president’s powers. Figen Yuksekdag has been in detention on terrorism charges since November after being arrested with co-leader Selahattin Demirtas and, on Tuesday, Demirtas was sentenced to five months in jail, broadcaster NTV and other media reported. HDP lawmaker Idris Baluken has also been arrested, NTV said. The arrests have left the second-largest opposition party leaderless before Turks vote on April 16 to replace Turkey’s parliamentary system with an executive presidency. The HDP, which says as many as 5,000 of its members have been detained, opposes the changes, which, if passed, could see President Tayyip Erdogan rule until 2029.”

Reuters: Turkey Detains 35 Suspected Islamic State Members In Istanbul: Haberturk

“Turkish authorities on Wednesday detained 35 suspected members of Islamic State in raids across Istanbul, broadcaster Haberturk said. Police carried out simultaneous raids in 41 locations across the city and collected several documents linked to the jihadist group, it said. The group has been blamed for at least half a dozen attacks on civilian targets in Turkey over the past 18 months, prompting the authorities to intensify efforts to break up its suspected networks. Thirty-nine people, mainly foreigners, were killed on New Year’s Day when an Islamic State militant opened fire inside the Reina nightclub Istanbul. Islamic State said the attack was revenge for Turkish military involvement in Syria.”

Reuters: Turkey Sees Change In U.S. Stance Toward Operation In Syria’s Raqqa: Defense Minister

“Turkey’s defense minister said on Wednesday there had been a slight change in the stance of the United States toward an operation on Syria’s Raqqa and the role of a Syrian Kurdish militia as a result of Turkey’s persistence on the matter. In an interview with broadcaster NTV, Defence Minister Fikri Isik also said Turkey had once again spoken with U.S. officials on the withdrawal of the Syrian Kurdish YPG from Syria’s Manbij. He said Turkey’s persistence on the matter continued. Turkey views the YPG as an extension of the PKK militant group, which has waged a three-decade insurgency against the Turkish state and is considered a terrorist organization by Ankara, the United States and the European Union.”

Middle East

The Guardian: Israeli Soldier Jailed For Killing Injured Palestinian Attacker

“An Israeli military medic who was filmed killing an incapacitated Palestinian attacker last year has been sentenced to 18 months in prison. Elor Azaria’s sentence was handed down by a panel of three judges sitting in a military court in Tel Aviv. Prosecutors had demanded a sentence of between three and five years, while Azaria had asked the court to be ‘merciful’ and sentence him to open detention. Human rights groups argued that the sentence was too lenient, while Azaria’s supporters, including some ministers, said he should not have been sentenced to prison at all.”

Libya

BBC: Dozens Of Migrants Drown Off Libya

“The bodies of 87 African migrants have washed ashore in the Libyan city of Zawiya, in the latest drowning tragedy to hit the region. It is believed they were trying to cross the Mediterranean to Italy. Migrant deaths have risen to record levels along this smuggling route in recent months. A torn rubber boat was found nearby, and it is feared more bodies may surface as such vessels usually carry up to 120 people. Some of those who died are believed to be children. A spokesman for the Libyan Red Crescent – the country’s Red Cross – said the bodies were retrieved by its workers.”

United Kingdom

BBC: Tunstall Imam In Court Over Mosque Terror Charges

“An ‘influential’ imam accused of encouraging support for so-called Islamic State at a mosque has appeared in court. Kamran Sabir Hussain faces eight terrorism charges in connection with his work in Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent. He is accused of influencing his congregation to carry out terrorist acts. The 39-year-old, of Knightsbridge Way, Tunstall, was remanded in custody at Westminster Magistrates’ Court. Prosecutor Karen Jones described Mr Hussain as a ‘prominent and influential person in the community’. The offences are alleged to have taken place between June and September 2016 at the mosque, based at 229 High Street.”

Germany

Reuters: Germany To Increase Army To 198,000 By 2024 Amid NATO Spending Row

“Germany is to increase its army by 5,000 soldiers, the defence ministry said on Tuesday, bringing the total to 198,000 in 2024, at a time when U.S. pressure is mounting on European NATO members to raise military spending. ‘The German army faces demands like never before,’ Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement, adding that the army had to be able to respond in an appropriate way to developments abroad and security concerns. Germany, reluctant for decades after World War Two to get involved in military missions abroad, has in the last few years become more active in supporting international deployments such as in Afghanistan, Mali and against Islamic State militants.”

Deutsche Welle: Syrian Migrants Are Not Always Entitled To Refugee Status, Says German Court

“The Higher Administrative Court of North Rhine Westphalia (NRW) in Münster on Tuesday ruled against a Syrian man’s claim for full refugee status according to the Geneva Convention. Judges said there was no reason to assume that Syrian migrants going back to their country would be politically persecuted only because they filed an asylum application, or spent some time in Germany or because they left their home country illegally. It would imply that President Bashar al- Assad’s regime was ‘blind to reality’ to assume that it could not perceive that most people were fleeing from war, the court said.”

Deutsche Welle: Germany Failed To Track Extremist ‘Reichsbürger’

“The Green party has accused the German security forces of being too slow to recognize the danger presented by the Reichsbürger movement, some of whose members have murdered police officers and been accused of planning terrorist attacks. In an official answer to a parliamentary question submitted by the Green party and shown to DW on Tuesday, the German Interior Ministry admitted that domestic intelligence only began defining Reichsbürger attacks as politically-motivated (like far-right or Islamist attacks) in January this year, even though the movement’s ideology has been known about for decades. That means the country’s counter-terrorism forces have only just started collecting statistics on Reichsbürger crimes.”

France

BBC: France ‘Attack Plot’: Three Arrested

“Three people have been arrested in France on suspicion of plotting a terrorism attack, police sources say. A bomb disposal squad was called in to sweep the home of one of the suspects, in the central city of Clermont-Ferrand, French media say. The other two arrests were reportedly in Marseille and in the Paris region. France is on high alert after a series of deadly attacks in recent years by militants claiming to be from the Islamic State group. Few details of Tuesday’s arrests are yet known. One source told Reuters news agency that the suspects were arrested ‘as part of a preliminary investigation started in January on suspicion of leaving for Syria or committing an act in France’.”

China

BBC: Chinese Police To Track Cars In Xinjiang In Terror Crackdown

“Chinese authorities in part of the western Xinjiang region have ordered all vehicles to be installed with satellite tracking devices as part of a crackdown on terrorism. The government wants an end to sporadic attacks in the province, which it blames on Islamist militants. A police statement said cars are the main means of transport for terrorists. Drivers in the Bayingol area who refuse to install the system will not be allowed to buy fuel. Xinjiang has seen a series of bombings and knife attacks over recent years, which the government blames on separatist elements of the region’s large Muslim Uighur population.”

ISIS

ARA News: Sources: ISIS Moved Its Money Out Of Mosul

“Local sources from the right side of the city of Mosul in northern Iraq, which is under a large offensive by the Joint Iraqi forces, claimed that ISIS made several changes, a week before the start of the current offensive. The same sources confirmed that “among the changes that have occurred is the disappearance of a large proportion of the foreign militants residing in the popular neighborhoods of the right side. This resulted in the appointment of local leaders to replace the foreign ones.” The sources added that “the second change is that the terror organization managed to smuggle out all its funds and important documents with those foreign leaders.”

Muslim Brotherhood

Al-Wafd: Egypt: Owners Of Currency Exchange Companies And Hospitals Summoned On Charges Of Funding Muslim Brotherhood

“Director of East Cairo General Prosecution, Ahmed Rabia, under the supervision of Attorney General of East Cairo Prosecution, Counsellor Ibrahim Saleh, summoned 59 owners of hospitals, currency exchange offices and schools, suspected of financing terrorist entities, including the Muslim Brotherhood’s new organizational structure. The prosecution also heard statements of another 45 individuals, who denied charges directed at them. All of these suspects denied any connection to the funding of the group. The assets of these individuals were seized by the Brotherhood Asset Freeze Committee, from which they will only be allotted a monthly {living} allowance. Note that they are banned from travelling and are under the surveillance of security authorities.”

Hezbollah

Alwatan: Iran Cutting Support For Hezbollah

“A source within Hezbollah said that Iran’s support for the group “is not what we knew in past years.” The source added that an Israeli raid had targeted a Hezbollah convoy from Syria, which carried millions of dollars for the Shiite group’s use. This further worsened the already-poor economic conditions that Hezbollah is suffering. The convoy bombed by Israel was carrying, according to available information, over $500 million, which was completely incinerated {by the bombs} and therefore did not reach the coffers of Hezbollah in Lebanon. In addition, the source confirmed that Hezbollah’s leadership issued orders to reduce {financial} support for the families of the dead and wounded, including {medical} insurance which covered the costs of medicine and hospitals. In the past, this insurance covered up to 100% of these expenses. The source also disclosed that Hezbollah leadership has recently decided to cut the health insurance for its militants due to the financial crunch it is undergoing.”

Hamas

Shms News: Facebook Page Of Gaza-Based News Agency Close To Hamas Removed

“Facebook closed the page, two days ago, of Shehab News Agency, which is close to Hamas in Gaza. This move was taken even though it received the “blue mark”, meaning an “authenticated account”, nearly a year ago. It is noteworthy that in 2016, Israel reached a deal with Facebook to remove web pages which promote “inflammatory content.”

Houthi

Erem News: Expert: Many Houthi-affiliated news websites are financed from abroad

“Over the past two years, the Houthis have devoted efforts to intensifying their media presence, through the creation of news websites designed to counter online media outlets loyal to Yemeni President Hadi. These Houthi-affiliated websites are funded by Yemen’s “Supreme Political Council” and the “Media Organization of Ansar Allah.” In this context, the chief editor of a pro-Houthi news site said in off-the-record comments to “Erem News” that “a large number of journalists and media enthusiasts now own news websites funded directly from the Houthis’ media arm.” The editor stressed that “the lack of experience in sourcing the news and writing it has created many problems for these (Houthi-affiliated} websites. Consequently, they rely on copying and pasting news from official Houthi websites especially almasirah.net. He explained that “a lot of Houthis news websites are financed from abroad, including alhakk.net website, which is funded by Lebanon’s Hezbollah at $5000 a month.”

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