Eye on Extremism, February 27, 2017

The New York Times: U.S. Forces Play Crucial Role Against ISIS In Mosul

“One week after Iraqi forces began their push into western Mosul, American firepower is playing an essential role in softening the opposition from the Islamic State. The thunderous booms from howitzers near Hamam al-Alil, a town along the Tigris River, are just part of the American military’s contribution to keeping the Iraqi offensive moving forward. Capt. Geoffrey Ross, who commands the unit of self-propelled artillery here, said his soldiers had been a lot busier than he had anticipated.”

Radio Free Europe: Iraqi Forces Look To Bridge Tigris As Casualties Mount In Mosul

“U.S.-backed Iraqi forces battling to retake western Mosul from Islamic State (IS) militants are attempting to construct a floating bridge across the Tigris River to open supply lines with the government-controlled east bank. ‘We had an important operation this morning to move towards the bridge,’ Colonel Falah al-Wabdan of the Iraqi Rapid Response forces told AFP, referring to one of five damaged and unusable bridges spanning the Tigris. He added the area was heavily mined and that his forces had killed 44 militants on February 26 alone.”

The Wall Street Journal: Islamic State Drones Terrorize Iraqi Forces As Mosul Battle Rages

“As they advance into Islamic State’s remaining urban stronghold of west Mosul, Iraqi forces are struggling to counter the terror caused by the militant group’s drones. Iraqi forces have grown accustomed to enemy drones flying over the battlefield since Islamic State seized swaths of the country in 2014. They have used rifle fire and high-tech gadgets to counter them, and even have drones of their own. But the militants have fine-tuned their drone technology. What were once improvised, remote-controlled aircraft resembling model planes are now commercially available quadcopters—drones with four helicopter-like blades—that have been retrofitted to carry grenades that can be dropped over targets.”

The Guardian: US Drone Strike In Syria Kills Top Al-Qaida Leader, Jihadis Say

“One of al-Qaida’s most senior leaders has been killed by a US drone strike in north-west Syria, jihadi leaders have said. Abu al-Khayr al-Masri – who has been part of the global jihadi organisation for three decades and was a son-in-law of its founder, Osama bin Laden – was killed on Sunday when a missile fired from a drone hit the small car in which he was travelling. Masri had also been a close aide to al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, a fellow Egyptian. On Monday, the Pentagon confirmed it had carried out a strike in north-west Syria, but did not say whom the attack had targeted. Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, the al-Qaida-inspired group that Masri had worked alongside in Syria, acknowledged the death, as did individual jihadi leaders.”

The Washington Post: Syria Opposition On Same Tack As US On Terrorism, Iran

“A top Syrian opposition leader hopes to persuade the new administration of U.S. President Donald Trump that rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad share the same priorities with Washington when it comes to fighting the Islamic State group and containing Iran. Nasr al-Hariri, head of the negotiating team of the main opposition delegation in Geneva, also expressed support for the establishment of safe zones in the war-torn nation as the United Nations makes a fresh bid to settle the conflict. Speaking on Saturday in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, al-Hariri said members of Trump’s team held multiple meetings with the Syrian opposition, which is backed by Turkey and Saudi Arabia, before and after he was elected to office with the purpose of finding common ground.”

BBC: Syria: Twin Attacks On Homs Security Bases Kill Dozens

“State TV said the local head of military intelligence was among the dead and some reports say more than 40 died. Jihadist group Tahrir al-Sham said it carried out the attacks. Homs has been under government control since December 2015 when rebels left under a ceasefire deal. Syria’s government said the attacks would not go unanswered. Its UN Ambassador Bashar al-Jaafari, who leads the government delegation at peace talks in Geneva, said they were a message to the talks from “the sponsors of terrorism”. He demanded that all opposition groups present denounce the violence, saying direct talks could only be held with a unified opposition.”

Radio Free Europe: Ten Afghan Police Officers Killed In Ambush, Officials Say

“Afghan officials say 10 police officers and the wife of a police commander have been killed in an attack in the northern province of Zawzjan. Mohammad Reza Ghafori, spokesman for the provincial governor, said the officers were ambushed on February 24 as they were coming out of a mosque in the Darzab district. A local police commander was among the dead and his wife was also killed when she rushed to the scene, Ghafori added. Brigadier General Rahmatullah Turkistani, the provincial police chief, said four militants were killed and six others wounded in retaliatory firing. Ghafori blamed the attack on Islamic State (IS) militants, but the Taliban claimed responsibility.”

Associated Press: Egypt’s Christians Flee Terror In North Sinai Security Void

“After Islamic militants barged into his uncle’s house, shot him and his son dead, then looted the place and set it on fire, Said Sameh Adel Fawzy knew it was time to leave. The 35-year-old Christian, who owns a plumbing supply business in Egypt’s troubled northern Sinai town of el-Arish, packed up a few belongings and brought his family to the Suez Canal city of Ismailia, joining hundreds of Christians fleeing a spate of sectarian killings last week. ‘My cousin went to open the door after he heard knocking,’ Fawzy said, speaking from a youth hostel where authorities were putting up dozens of families who fled the tow’. ‘Masked extremists, terrorists with a pistol, took him inside and shot him in the head,’ then dragged his screaming mother out to the street half-dressed and killed her husband. The woman, still in shock after the Tuesday night slayings, sat nearby.”

Reuters: Iran Holds Naval War Games Amid Rising Tensions With U.S.

“Iran launched naval drills at the mouth of the Gulf and the Indian Ocean on Sunday, a naval commander said, as tensions with the United States escalated after U.S President Donald Trump put Tehran ‘on notice’. Since taking office last month, Trump has pledged to get tough with Iran, warning the Islamic Republic after its ballistic missile test on Jan. 29 that it was playing with fire and all U.S. options were on the table. Iran’s annual exercises will be held in the Strait of Hormuz, the Gulf of Oman, the Bab el-Mandab and northern parts of the Indian Ocean, to train in the fight against terrorism and piracy, Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said, according to state media.”

The Times Of Israel: Palestinian Terror Leader Urges Iran To Join ‘All-Out War’ On Israel, Then Jordan

“The head of a Palestinian terrorist group in Lebanon said he would like to see Iranian soldiers take part in an ‘all-out war’ to liberate Palestine, and that the future Palestinian conquest would include an invasion of both Israel and Jordan. Ahmad Jibril, leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, told Hezbollah’s Al-Mayadeen TV on February 17 that his group wants ‘to see the revolutionary fighters from [Iran] in the Galilee.’ His remarks were translated by watchdog group MEMRI on Friday.”

BBC: Germany Hate Crime: Nearly 10 Attacks A Day On Migrants In 2016

“Nearly 10 attacks were made on migrants in Germany every day in 2016, the interior ministry says. A total of 560 people were injured in the violence, including 43 children. Three-quarters of the attacks targeted migrants outside of their accommodation, while nearly 1,000 attacks were on housing. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to open up Germany to people fleeing conflict and persecution has polarised the country and boosted hate crime. Germany is struggling with a backlog of asylum applications and there are fears about security following a series of terrorist attacks across Europe.”

The Guardian: How Nigerians Took Boko Haram’s Victims To Their Hearts

“The rise of the Islamist militant group Boko Haram has forced more than 2.6 million people to flee from their homes across Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad, more than half of them children. Many survivors have endured horrific violence, including sexual assault. But there has been humanity amid the horror, as nearby communities welcomed many of the refugees. Hauwa Ari is one of the Nigerians who has made huge sacrifices to help families escaping from the terror, turning land and houses she used to rent into an informal camp. “Now I feel like I have 90 children! It’s the happiest feeling in the world,” explains the soft-spoken mother of three. “Even if these families go back to their own homes, towns and villages, I’ll visit them.”

News.Com.Au: Indonesian Police Shoot A Suspected Terrorist After An Attack In The City Of Bandung In West Java

“The suspect, who has yet to be identified, let off a pressure cooker bomb in a park in the city of Bandung on Monday afternoon before running and hiding at a nearby government building where he started a fire. It is understood no one was injured in the attack. West Java Provincial Police Chief, Inspector General Anton Charliyan said the man had since been shot by officers and it was unclear as to whether he was alive. He said they instructed officers to “catch him alive” and that the man was on his way to hospital. “We don’t know yet (whether he is alive) because it has got to be medical team (who declare that). Hopefully, he will be saved,” Inspector General Anton told reporters. “The situation has been controlled and secure, but we still need to be alert because we’re still sweeping, just in case there are still traces of (the) bomb around the scene.”

United States

The New York Times: Father Of Commando Killed In Yemen Refused To Meet Trump

“The father of the commando killed in a Special Operations raid in Yemen last month said in an interview published this weekend that he had refused to meet with President Trump on the day his son’s body was returned home, and criticized the White House over the mission, saying, ‘Don’t hide behind my son’s death to prevent an investigation.’ ‘The government owes my son an investigation,’ the father, William Owens, told The Miami Herald, referring to Chief Petty Officer William Owens, 36, a member of the Navy’s SEAL Team 6.”

Reuters: Trump Might Support Probe Into Yemen Raid, White House Says

“President Donald Trump might support an investigation into last month’s U.S. raid in Yemen that killed several al Qaeda militants but also left a Navy SEAL and several civilians dead, the White House said on Sunday. ‘I haven’t had the chance to speak with him directly about that, but I would imagine that he would be supportive of that,’ White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on ABC’s ‘This Week’ television program. Navy SEAL William ‘Ryan’ Owens, 36, was killed in the raid on a branch of al Qaeda, also known as AQAP, in al Bayda province on Jan. 29, the first operation authorized by Trump as commander in chief.”

The Wall Street Journal: Headstones Vandalized At Philadelphia Jewish Cemetery

“More than 100 headstones at a Jewish cemetery were vandalized in Philadelphia over the weekend, adding to a recent wave of anti-Semitic acts across the nation. Police arrived at Mount Carmel Cemetery in the Wissinoming section of the city on Sunday morning to find someone saying three of their relatives’ headstones were damaged, according to the Philadelphia police department. The officers inspected and found dozens of additional headstones knocked over. Police said the incident occurred on Saturday night, and they are investigating the crime.”

The Hill: Pence Pledges Support For Israel At Jewish Group Speech

“Vice President Mike Pence on Friday reaffirmed the Trump administration’s commitment to Israel in a speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) in the wake of a rise in anti-Semitic acts in the U.S. ‘If the world knows nothing else, the world will know this: America stands with Israel,’ Pence told the RJC at the group’s annual leadership meeting in Las Vegas, the Associated Press reported. He also said the administration is ‘assessing’ a potential decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and that, under President Trump, relations between Israel and the U.S. have already improved.”

Syria

Reuters: Bombings, Air Strikes In Syria Rattle Geneva Peace Talks

“A United Nations peace envoy said a militant attack in Syria on Saturday was a deliberate attempt to wreck peace talks in Geneva, while the warring sides traded blame and appeared no closer to actual negotiations. Suicide bombers stormed two Syrian security offices in Homs, killing dozens with gunfire and explosions including the head of military security, prompting airstrikes against the last rebel-held enclave in the western city. ‘Spoilers were always expected, and should continue to be expected, to try to influence the proceedings of the talks. It is in the interest of all parties who are against terrorism and are committed to a political process in Syria not to allow these attempts to succeed,’ U.N. mediator Staffan de Mistura said in a statement.”

Reuters: Russia Hopes Syrian Opposition To Form Unified Delegation For Geneva Talks – RIA

“Russia hopes the Syrian opposition will form a joint delegation for the Geneva peace talks, RIA Novosti news agency reported on Monday, citing Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov. The agency also quoted Bogdanov as saying that Kurdish representatives should also take part in the talks. The United Nations opened the Syria peace talks with a symbolic ceremony last Thursday.”

Reuters: Syrian Army Advances Against Islamic State Near Aleppo: Monitor

“The Syrian army and its allies made a sudden advance on Saturday and Sunday into areas held by Islamic State in northwest Syria, a war monitor said, as the jihadist group retreated after losing the city of al-Bab to Turkey-backed rebels. By taking Islamic State territory south of al-Bab, the army is preventing any possible move by Turkey and the rebel groups it supports to expand southwards, and is moving closer to regaining control of water supplies for Aleppo. On Sunday, the army took the town of Tadef, just south of al-Bab after Islamic State withdrew from it, state television reported. Earlier this month, a senior Russian official said Tadef marked an agreed dividing line between the Syrian army and the Turkey-backed forces.”

BBC: Syria: Twin Attacks On Homs Security Bases Kill Dozens

“Gunmen and suicide bombers have attacked security bases in Homs, western Syria, killing at least 32. State TV said the local head of military intelligence was among the dead and some reports say more than 40 died. Jihadist group Tahrir al-Sham said it carried out the attacks. Homs has been under government control since December 2015 when rebels left under a ceasefire deal. Syria’s government said the attacks would not go unanswered.”

Iraq

Reuters: Bombs Target Oil Pipeline In Iraq’s Kirkuk, One Killed

“Four bombs went off on Saturday near a minor pipeline from an oilfield close to the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, security and oil industry sources said. The pipeline delivers crude from the Bai Hassan oilfield to a degassing station in Kirkuk, though pumping had been halted for maintenance at the time of the blasts, security sources and officials at the state-run North Oil Company said. ‘Four bombs blew up near a pipeline in Bai Hassan oilfield this morning, causing a fire. Firefighters are trying to put out the blaze,’ said an oil engineer. One member of the Kurdish security forces was killed and two were wounded when three more bombs exploded as they approached the location of the first blast, a Kurdish security member said.”

CNN: Kurdish Reporter Shifa Gardi Killed In Iraq

“A reporter and anchor for an Iraqi Kurdish TV station was killed Saturday while working on the front lines as Iraqi forces battle ISIS for the city of Mosul. Shifa Gardi, 30, a beloved journalist in a male-dominated profession, died in a roadside bomb blast that also injured her cameraman, Younis Mustafa, according to her employer, Rudaw. Bayan Sami Rahman, the Kurdish government’s representative to the United States and a former journalist, tweeted that Kurdistan ‘has lost a courageous and professional journalist who cracked the glass ceiling.’”

Fox News: Iraq: Officials Recapture New Neighborhood In Mosul

“A senior commander said Iraqi militarized police captured a neighborhood in western Mosul on Sunday morning amid clashes with Islamic State militants. Maj. Gen. Haider al-Maturi of the Federal Police Commandos Division told The Associated Press that his troops entered the Tayaran neighborhood. Al-Maturi said it is now ‘under their full control.’ Al-Maturi said at least 10 suicide car bombs were deployed by ISIS militants. Nine of the car bombs were blown up before reaching their targets. The tenth killed two policemen and wounded five. Al-Maturi also said his forces arrested two militants — an Iraqi and a foreigner who speaks Russian.”

Turkey

Reuters: Turkish PM Seeks Backing For ‘Strong, Stable’ Turkey In April Vote

“Turkey’s prime minister called on voters on Saturday to back a change to the constitution in an April referendum that would greatly strengthen President Tayyip Erdogan’s powers, portraying the reform as a vote for stability. Thousands of ruling AK Party members waved Turkish flags and rallying songs resounded around a packed sports arena in the capital as Prime Minister Binali Yildirim handed out red carnations and kicked off the campaign for a Yes vote in April. ‘There is a rising voice from the town squares: for a strong Turkey, for lasting stability our decision is …’ Yildirim called out earlier to thousands who couldn’t get into the full stadium, eliciting the shouted response ‘Yes’.”

Afghanistan

Voice Of America: Officials: Pakistani Religious Schools Increasingly Linked To Afghan Taliban

“When Afghan intelligence officials, assisted by international investigators, probed a terror attack last month that killed five Emirati diplomats in Kandahar, they traced the suspects to a conservative religious seminary in Pakistan. ‘The attack was planned in Mawlawi Ahmad Madrassa in Chaman, Quetta,’ said Sediq Seddiqi, a spokesperson for the Afghan Ministry of Interior. The investigation shed light on the increasing links of some madrassas — Islamic seminaries — in Pakistan with Afghan Taliban who are fighting the Afghan government and U.S.-led international forces in Afghanistan.”

Deutsche Welle: Afghanistan Ambassador Warns Against Travel To Pakistan

“Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan on Saturday warned Afghan nationals against travel to Pakistan, if and when the border between the two countries is reopened. Pakistan closed the border on February 16 due to security concerns after a series of bombings and shootings claimed by Taliban and ‘Islamic State’ militants. Islamabad claims the militants responsible for the attacks came across from Afghanistan, as the Pakistani military steps up operations in the porous border region. At least 130 people have been killed in terror attacks across Pakistan in the past two weeks. The Afghan ambassador, Omar Zakhilwal, said on Facebook he hoped the border would be reopened in three or four days for those in need of medical treatment or who are stranded in Pakistan. But he warned Afghans against ‘unnecessary travel’ to Pakistan.”

BBC: Taliban Leader Urges Afghans To Plant More Trees

“The leader of the Taliban in Afghanistan, Hibatullah Akhundzada, has urged Afghans to plant more trees. In a statement, he called on civilians and fighters to ‘plant one or several fruit or non-fruit trees for the beautification of Earth and the benefit of almighty Allah’s creations’. Afghanistan has a severe problem of deforestation. Trees are cut down for heating and illegal timber sales. Statements from the Taliban on environmental issues are rare. Akhundzada, who became leader of the Taliban last May, has a stronger reputation as a religious leader than a military chief. Sunday’s ‘special message’, carried on official Taliban outlets, was in stark contrast to the more familiar fiery rhetoric against the Afghan government and its Nato coalition backers.”

Middle East

The Times Of Israel: Palestinians Urge Boycott Of Israeli Military Courts

“Palestinian officials on Sunday called for a boycott of Israeli military courts after a Palestinian murder convict freed in a 2011 prisoner exchange was rearrested and sent back to prison for life. Speaking in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Palestinian Prisoners Club head Qadura Fares called on detainees’ families and Palestinian organizations to stop taking part in military trials and to refuse to pay convicts’ fines, which he said amounted to $6 million in 2016. Palestinians captured by Israeli security forces are generally brought before the army courts, where defense lawyers say they are often not notified of the charges against their clients or allowed to meet them before the trial.”

The Times Of Israel: Rocket From Gaza Hits Southern Israel In Dead Of Night

“A rocket fired from Gaza struck an open field in southern Israel early Monday morning, causing neither damage nor injury, the army said. The rocket hit the Sha’ar Hanegev region, northeast of the Gaza Strip, the military said. It was launched shortly before 4:15 a.m., according to the Israel Defense Forces. The incoming missile alert siren was not activated as the rocket was not headed toward a populated area. There were no immediate reports of Israeli retaliation. In the two and a half years since Israel waged a war against Hamas in 2014, the number of rocket attacks against the Jewish state has dropped to historically low levels, approximately once or twice a month.”

The Washington Post: Israeli Intelligence Minister Says Trump Created A New Path To Peace

“Israeli Minister of Intelligence Israel Katz is known as a political bulldozer. It’s a label he is proud of and a trait, he believes, could bring about peace with the Palestinians. Albeit in a roundabout way. Katz’s plan, which he says has been adopted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is regional and multilayered. And if all goes smoothly, there might be some type of autonomous, demilitarized Palestinian entity at the tail end. This was the one of the messages Netanyahu shared in a news conference with President Trump in the White House earlier this month.”

Haaretz: UN Suspends Gaza Staffer Israel Claims Was Elected To Hamas’ Leadership

“The UN agency for Palestinian refugees suspended a Palestinian staffer Sunday, a spokesman for the agency said as Israel alleged the employee was elected to a leadership position with the Islamist group Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Chris Gunness of UNRWA said Suhail al-Hindi, the chairman of the UNRWA Palestinian workers’ union in Gaza and the principal of a UNRWA elementary school, was suspended due to ‘substantial information’ received by the agency. The Israeli defense body COGAT said al-Hindi was elected to Hamas’ politburo in a secret vote this month, though al-Hindi denied that. The UN agency forbids its staff from holding political office and Gunness reportedly said earlier that al-Hindi has denied that he was elected as a Hamas official.”

The Times Of Israel: At Least 15 Hamas Tunnels Extend Into Israel, TV Report Says

“The Gaza-based terror group Hamas has at least 15 attack tunnels that reach into Israeli territory, according to a Channel 2 report aired Sunday, quoting unnamed sources in the high-level security cabinet. Sunday’s report on the new cross-border tunnels came two days ahead of the scheduled publication of a damning state comptroller report on the 2014 Gaza war. Leaked copies of the report have been highly critical of the army’s failures to prepare adequately for the threat of Hamas tunnels, and chastise the political leadership for improperly managing the war effort.”

United Kingdom

BBC: London Teens Remanded In Custody On Terror Offences

“Five teenagers from London have been remanded in custody charged with terrorism offences. Four of the male teenagers are alleged to have planned to travel to Syria to join so-called Islamic State (IS). All four are accused of plotting to carry out acts of terrorism abroad. A fifth boy, aged 15, is accused of having terrorist materials, including IS publication Inspire and a bomb-making video. All five appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Saturday. Mr Alsyed, the two 17-year-olds and the 16-year-old will next appear at the Old Bailey on 17 March. The 15-year-old appeared pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. He will stand trial on 2 May at the same venue. Mr Alsyed is the only suspect who can be named, owing to the ages of the others being held.”

The Guardian: British Men Jailed On Terrorism Charges After Trying To Leave UK

“Two British men who were caught trying to leave the UK via a southern port have been sentenced to more than seven years in prison after pleading guilty to terrorism offences. Mohammed Mayow, 23, from Hayes, Middlesex, and Mohanned Jasim, 21, from Southall, west London, were arrested at Dover eastern docks by police as they tried to leave the UK in November 2015. On Saturday, the south-east counter terrorism unit (Sectu) said in a statement that both men had been sentenced after pleading guilty to terrorism offences at the Old Bailey in London. Police also released an image showing Mayow draped in what appeared to resemble the black flag of jihad.”

BBC: UK Terror Threat ‘At Highest Since 1970s IRA Plots’

Britain faces a level of terror threat not seen since the IRA bombings of the 1970s, according to a new watchdog. Max Hill QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism laws, told the Sunday Telegraph that Islamist extremists were targeting UK cities. He credited the effectiveness of the intelligence services in limiting the level of threat to Britain. Home Secretary Amber Rudd told ITV’s Peston on Sunday that defending the UK was her ‘main priority’. Ms Rudd said she agreed with Mr Hill’s assessment of the current terror threat facing the UK, adding that ensuring a country is well-defended is ‘the most important job a home secretary does’.”

Germany

Reuters: One Dead After Man Drives Into Crowd In Germany, No Sign Of Terrorism: Authorities

“A man died and two other people were injured after a 35-year-old German man drove into a crowd standing near a bakery in the southwestern town of Heidelberg on Saturday, but the authorities said there were no indications that it was a terrorist attack. The 73-year-old man who died in hospital from his injuries was also German. The two other people injured, a 32-year-old Austrian man and a 29-year-old woman from Bosnia and Herzegovina, also received hospital treatment but were then discharged, police and prosecutors said in a statement. ‘Based on investigations so far, there are no signs of a terrorist motive,’ they said.”

France

The Hill: French President Rips Trump’s Paris Comments

“French President Francois Hollande chided President Trump on Saturday for saying that one of his friends – ‘Jim’ – suggested that terrorist attacks had deterred him from taking his family to Paris. ‘There is terrorism and we must fight it together,’ Hollande said, accordinItaly has deported two Tunisian nationals suspected of religious extremism as well as links to last year’s Berlin Christmas market truck attacker, the country’s Interior Ministry said.”

Europe

Sputnik: Italy Deports Berlin Truck Attacker Associate

“Italy has deported two Tunisian nationals suspected of religious extremism as well as links to last year’s Berlin Christmas market truck attacker, the country’s Interior Ministry said. ‘Two people have been extradited today over security concerns. The number of religious extremists expelled with escort up to the border has thus reached 147 since January 2015, 15 of these were expelled in 2017,’ the ministry said in a statement on Saturday. One of the Tunisians was a 44-year old who was found among those contacted by Berlin ramming attacker Anis Amri, also a Tunisian. The man has been sent home on board a ship leaving from Palermo and headed for North Africa, according to the statement.”

Bloomberg: Facing Russia And Terrorism, A NATO Outsider Urges EU To Step Up

“Finland is urging Europe to increase NATO contributions and focus more on security as the continent grapples with political turmoil from all sides, including from within. Once the U.K. has quit the European Union, the 27 nations left behind need to double down on the bloc’s founding principle and give the remaining 444 million citizens what they most crave: security, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said in an interview at his seaside residence in Helsinki on Friday. The 68-year-old is head of state of the nation that shares the EU’s longest border with Russia, a country with which Finland has regular contact for security and practical reasons.”

Terror Financing

The Seventh Day: Egypt: 2,004 Individuals On The Terror Financing Lists

“Legal sources revealed that Egyptian terror lists, prepared by relevant authorities over the past two years, contain 2004 individuals. The lists have been prepared since the issuance of the decision by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on the approval of the Terrorist Entities Law. The lists were composed following instructions of the Attorney General and requests by prosecutors, with the aim of laying siege to the financial sources of the Muslim Brotherhood and the implementation of the Terrorist Entities Law. The sources noted that judicial investigations revealed the direct involvement of those listed in the planning of terrorist operations and violent incidents in the country, in addition to financing activities in violation of the law to harm {Egypt’s} national security and social harmony. The sources added that the relevant judicial authorities did not include on the lists the names of all individuals charged with participating in {pro-Brotherhood} demonstrations. This is because the Terrorist Entities Law applies only to those directly linked to terrorist offenses.”

Akhbar Elyoum: Algeria: Terror Financing Through Mobile Phone Network

“The trial of 14 defendants, including three Palestinian nationals, one of whom is affiliated with Fatah movement, exposed the fact that they had hacked into the network of all three mobile phone companies in Algeria; then transferred the proceeds to international terrorist networks. Based on the revelations in the case, which is currently being heard in Algiers Criminal Court, the mastermind of the scheme was involved in the financing of international terrorist groups and recruiting young Algerians to join the fighting fronts in countries experiencing an escalation in terrorist acts, namely Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Mali and Niger.”

ISIS

Thaqfny: Saudi Arabia: Detention Of Prominent Preacher On Charges Of Involvement In Funding ISIS And Al-Qaeda

“Saudi security forces arrested preacher Essam Al-Owayed on charges of being implicated in financing and supporting terrorist entities, especially those linked to ISIS. Some sources claimed that Al-Owayed had tried to escape across the desert, after shutting off his cell phone. The sources confirmed that the Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution decided to put Al-Owayed on trial after interrogations implicated him in financing terrorist organizations. Videos and Saudi sources pointed to the preacher’s links to al-Qaeda by his description of fighters of “Nusra Front”, al Qaeda’s branch in Syria, as “Jihad fighters.”

Moheet: A New Report Concerning ISIS Sources Of Funding

“The International Center for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence has published a comprehensive report via its website under the title: “Caliphate in Collapse: Assessment of the financial fortunes of the Islamic State.” According to the report, the known funding sources of topmost importance are taxes (Zakat), tariffs, oil, looting, confiscation of property and fines. There is no evidence pointing to the significance of foreign funding {to the group’s revenues}. Similarly, the value of money obtained from ransom kidnappings does not represent a major source of income {for ISIS}. In the years after 2014, the annual revenues of the terror organization dropped by more than half; while amounting to $1.9 billion in 2014, they reached a maximum of $870 million in 2016. So far, there is no evidence that the organization has introduced new methods of financing. If this trend continues, it will inevitably will lead to ISIS’s collapse.”

Muslim Brotherhood

Al-Ahram: Egypt: Lawsuit To Disband Muslim Brotherhood Society Postponed

“The Second Circuit of the Administrative Court at the State Council, headed by Judge Sami Abdel Hamid, State Council Deputy Chairman, decided on Sunday to postpone a lawsuit demanding suspension in the execution of a decision by Egypt’s Prime Minister or the Minister of Solidarity to dissolve the Brotherhood. The lawsuit was filed by the Muslim Brotherhood’s legal representative. Decision no. 644 of 2013 was officially registered in the Ministry of Solidarity’s records. The next court session in this case will be held on May 28th.”

Alshahed: Sources: Muslim Brotherhood Seeks New Funding Methods In Kuwait

“Kuwaiti Parliament members affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood are applying pressure to government ministers with the aim of gaining control of some {crucial} departments through the appointment of their associates. Meanwhile, an official source at the Ministry of Social Affairs disclosed that Muslim Brotherhood members are still seeking new ways to raise funds through charities they own in order to regain the dominance they enjoyed in the past. The source claimed that the terms and conditions set by the Ministry for fundraising activities were reviewed by the Brotherhood, in the hope of finding loopholes to circumvent, taking into account that the month of Ramadan is approaching. The same source disclosed that the number of registered charities in Kuwait totals 27, of which 15 have already been approved. Most of these charities are controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood. In addition, there are many applications pending, to establish other associations that will support the Brotherhood, but this issue is not being publicized.”

Dostor: Muslim Brotherhood Leader In Britain To Discuss Financing Of The Organization

“Medhat al-Haddad, Director of the Muslim Brotherhood’s overseas office, headed last week to the British capital of London, arriving from Turkey. He went there to meet with Ibrahim Munir, Secretary General of the Muslim Brotherhood abroad, to discuss a number of issues related to funding. The main aim of Al-Haddad’s visit was to resolve the crisis between the leaders of the London Office and those of Sudan’s Kurdufan province, who threatened to quit the Brotherhood following the suspension of financial support to them. It is apparent that al-Haddad succeeded in reaching a deal to resolve the crisis between the two sides.”

Elwatan News: Egypt Releases 18 Brotherhood Activists On Charges Of Funding The Group

“First Attorney-General of West Cairo Prosecution, Judge Abdul-Rahman Shatla, released 18 members of the Muslim Brotherhood accused of funding the group. Judge Haitham Abu Deif from Cairo Prosecution had previously charged them with financing the Brotherhood, joining a banned organization and harming the national economy. The defendants denied the charges and claimed their funds had been impounded by the State.”

Loma News: Egypt: Brotherhood-Affiliated Warehouses For Weapons, Drugs And Sugar Uncovered

“Thanks to cooperation by locals with {Egypt’s} Interior {Ministry} representing the Supply Police, General Security, National Security and the Public Funds Investigation Department, the ministry succeeded in directing a painful blow to Brotherhood leaders. This comes following the discovery of several warehouses containing weapons, drugs and sugar, and the detention of a cell linked directly to Mahmoud Ezzat, the Acting General Guide of the Brotherhood. The cell specialized in collecting hard currency. Egyptian forces seized Alnuza Pharmaceuticals warehouse, which housed blood products, injection needles, chemotherapy drugs, diabetes medications and thousands of bottles of various solutions. All of these products were stored to cause scarcity in the market, {artificially} raise prices and incite the public against the government. Another {similar} warehouse was uncovered in Sheikh Zayed district in addition to a warehouse in Alkhanka containing 7 tons of sugar.”

Houthi

Alshbaka: Houthi Group Threatens To Arrest Teachers For Refusing To Collect Money From Students

“Local sources in Sanaa revealed that a Houthi leader threatened school teachers with arrest if they refuse to collect money from students under the banner of their “war effort.” The sources claimed that Saleh Alshehri, Deputy Chief of Sanaa Police, was the one who threatened teachers with detention, demanding they collect 1000 riyals ($4) from each student.”

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