Eye on Extremism, May 1, 2017

The Washington Post: Pentagon Identifies Soldier Killed In Bomb Blast Outside Of Mosul

“The Pentagon has identified the soldier killed by a roadside bomb outside the Iraqi city of Mosul Saturday. First Lt. Weston C. Lee, 25, of Bluffton, Ga., was an infantry officer from the 82nd Airborne Division and was on patrol at the time of his death, according to an emailed statement from his unit. Lee joined the Army in 2015 and deployed to Iraq in December. He was a platoon leader and died on his first deployment. ‘1st Lieutenant Wes Lee was an extraordinary young man and officer.  He was exactly the type of leader that our Paratroopers deserve,’  Col. Pat Work, commander of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, said in the statement.  ‘Our sincere condolences and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time.’”

Reuters: Iraqi Commander Says To Complete Capture Of Mosul In May

“An Iraqi commander expects to dislodge Islamic State from Mosul in May despite resistance from militants in the densely populated Old City district. The battle should be completed ‘in a maximum of three weeks’, the army’s chief of staff, Lieutenant General Othman al-Ghanmi, was quoted as saying by state-run newspaper al-Sabah on Sunday. A U.S.-led international coalition is providing air and ground support for the offensive in Mosul, the largest city in northern Iraq, which fell to hardline Sunni Muslim fighters in June 2014. Islamic State has lost most of the city since the offensive began in October and is now surrounded in the northwestern districts, including the historic Old City center.”

Al Jazeera: US Drone Strike Kills Five Suspected Al-Qaeda Fighters

“A US drone strike has killed five suspected members of al-Qaeda in central Yemen, according to local news media and a government security official. Yemen Ajel, a local news website, reported that the drone fired three consecutive missiles at 12:30am local time on Sunday, or 22:30 GMT on Saturday, at a car reportedly transporting weapons to Marib province. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a military official told AFP news agency that the car belonged to a local leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The strike comes 24 hours after a similar raid killed three suspected AQAP operatives in the southern Shabwa province, which has been a central target of the US military.”

The Guardian: Social Media Firms Must Face Heavy Fines Over Extremist Content – Mps

“Social media companies are putting profit before safety and should face fines of tens of millions of pounds for failing to remove extremist and hate crime material promptly from their websites, MPs have said. The largest and richest technology firms are ‘shamefully far’ from taking action to tackle illegal and dangerous content, according to a report by the Commons home affairs committee. The inquiry, launched last year following the murder of the Labour MP Jo Cox by a far-right gunman, concludes that social media multinationals are more concerned with commercial risks than public protection.”

CNN: Exclusive Drone Footage Captures West Mosul In The Throes Of War

“Families carry white flags and sob as they escape from their homes. A car bomb explodes. Then another. The rotting bodies of ISIS soldiers, abandoned by their units, contaminate the streets. Children walking through the rubble of what was once their home don’t flinch. To them, this is the new normal. These are scenes from western Mosul as Iraqi forces wage a street-to-street battle to retake the city from ISIS, which the group has controlled for almost three years. A man carries a sick relative on his back as they flee from their home in west Mosul’s al Yarmouk neighborhood on April 11. Equipped with a drone and a camera, Brazilian photojournalist Gabriel Chaim spent 20 days embedded with Iraq’s Golden Division, capturing harrowing footage of the destruction and the chaos there.”

Reuters: Islamic State Kills Senior Afghan Taliban Official In Pakistan: Militants

“Islamic State killed a senior Afghan Taliban official in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar, the Afghan militants said on Saturday, in a rare clash between the rival Islamist groups inside Pakistan. Afghan Taliban sources told Reuters Maulvi Daud was killed on the outskirts of Peshawar with two other men on Thursday. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed Daud’s death. The Islamic State on Friday claimed responsibility for ‘assassination of a Taliban leader’ a day earlier, without naming him, through the group’s affiliated news agency AMAQ.”

CNN: US Troops Patrol Turkey-Syria Border After Turkish Strikes On Kurds

“US forces have begun patrolling part of the Turkey-Syria border after Turkish airstrikes in the area killed fighters closely allied to the United States. The People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Peshmerga in Iraq — both Kurdish groups — said at least 25 of their fighters had been killed in the strikes on Tuesday. Ankara denies deliberately targeting them. The YPG fights in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a rebel alliance armed and supported by the United States, but is considered a terrorist group by the Turkish government. The airstrikes — targeting the Sinjar Mountains northern Iraq and the Karachok Mountains in northeastern Syria– and the reported cross-border skirmishes since then, have added yet another complication to an already complex situation.”

Reuters: U.S.-Backed Militias Claim Big Advance Against IS In Syria’s Tabqa

“U.S.-backed militias said on Sunday they had made a big advance in Tabqa, a strategically vital town controlling Syria’s largest dam, in their campaign to drive Islamic State from its stronghold of Raqqa, 40km (25 miles) downstream. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a group of Kurdish and Arab militias, will wait to assault Raqqa until it seizes Tabqa, its military officials have previously said, but it had made only slow progress since besieging the town early this month. In a statement it circulated on social messaging sites, the SDF said it had captured six more districts of Tabqa and distributed a map showing that Islamic State now controlled only the northern part of the town, next to the dam.”

Reuters: France Kills More Than 20 Militants On Mali, Burkina Border

“France has killed more than 20 militants hiding in a forest near the border between the West African countries of Mali and Burkina Faso this weekend, its regional force said in a statement. The operation followed the death of a French soldier nearby earlier this month. It involved both air and ground strikes, the statement said. It did not identify the militant group. Mali has been regularly hit by Islamist militant violence, despite a 2013 French-led operation to drive them out of key northern cities they had seized. It extended a state of emergency by six months this weekend. But violence in its southern neighbor, Burkina Faso, began to intensify last year with an attack in the capital that killed dozens. Burkinabe officials believe a new Islamist militant group called Ansar al-Islam led by a local preacher was using the Foulsare Forest as a base for launching attacks elsewhere.”

Al Jazeera: Saudi Arabia Arrests 46 Over 2016 Medina Mosque Attack

“Saudi Arabia has arrested 46 people suspected of belonging to a cell responsible for an attack in Medina outside of one of Islam’s holiest sites last year. “Investigations revealed they were directly involved in the crime of targeting worshippers in the Prophet’s sacred mosque,” Interior Ministry spokesman Major-General Mansour al-Turki told reporters on Sunday. Turki said the group was also behind a suicide bombing near the US consulate in Jeddah in 2016. Both attacks took place in July during the final days of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The bombing outside Prophet Muhammad’s mosque in the western Saudi city of Medina killed four security officers, while two policemen were wounded in the attack in Jeddah.”

Allafrica: Nigeria: Boko Haram’s Renewed Attacks Spread Fear In North-East

“Residents of Sabon Garin Kimba in Damboa Local Government Area of Borno State were about calling it a day after toiling the whole day on April 16, when the strange but not unfamiliar sounds of relentless gunfire broke out some minutes to 6pm. Instead of seeking the comfort of their beds, therefore, the frightened locals took cover in the bush to save their lives. Suspected Boko Haram militants had invaded the military barracks in the town. True to the spirit and zeal to fight they displayed across the North-East recently, the soldiers in the barracks held their ground and engaged the terrorists in a gun duel that lasted over an hour. Unfortunately, the troops were subsequently overwhelmed, given that the Boko Haram invaders were armed with Rocket Propelled Grenades, Anti-Aircraft Guns and backed up by two Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs).”

United States

The Daily Caller: Marines Back In Helmand To Support Battered Afghan Army

“U.S. Marines officially assumed command Saturday of a mission to support the struggling Afghan army, more than two years after they thought they had left Afghanistan’s volatile Helmand Province for good. The 300 Marines of Task Force Southwest take over for a U.S. Army contingent as the Taliban insurgency threatens to overwhelm Afghan forces in the area. About half have previously served tours in the province, which has been the scene of some of the most intense and deadly fighting for U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Reuters reported. Thousands of Marines fought in Helmand from 2009 to 2014 as a part of the surge that began under former President Barack Obama.”

Associated Press: Pentagon: Blast Kills US Service Member Outside Mosul

“A U.S. service member in Iraq was killed Saturday by an explosive device outside Mosul, according to a statement released by the Pentagon. The Pentagon said the service member died from wounds sustained in an ‘explosive device blast,’ stating further information would be released as appropriate. Saturday’s incident marks the second American military fatality since the start of the Mosul operation against the Islamic State group more than six months ago. In October, just days after the operation to retake Mosul was formally launched, Navy chief petty officer Jason C. Finan, 34, of Anaheim, California died of wounds sustained in a roadside bomb attack north of Mosul.”

Reuters: U.S.-Led Fight On ISIS Has Killed 352 Civilians: Pentagon

“At least 352 civilians have been killed in U.S.-led strikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria since the operation began in 2014, the U.S. military said in a statement on Sunday. The Combined Joint Task Force, in its monthly assessment of civilian casualties from the U.S. coalition’s operations against the militant group, said it was still assessing 42 reports of civilian deaths. It added that 45 civilians were killed between November 2016 and March 2017. It reported 80 civilian deaths from August 2014 to the present that had not previously been announced. The report included 26 deaths from three separate strikes in March.”

Syria

Reuters: Eight Syria Civil Defence Workers Killed In Air Strike: Statement

“Eight Syria Civil Defence workers died on Saturday when an air strike hit their office in northern Hama province, the rescue service said on its Twitter page. Also known as the White Helmets, the civil defense rescue service operates in opposition-held parts of Syria. The civil defense center was in Kafr Zeita, a town in rebel-held northern Hama province, which came under intense aerial bombardment on Saturday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said. Backed by Russian air strikes and Iranian-backed militias, the Syrian army is waging an offensive against rebel areas north of government-held Hama city, reversing insurgent gains made last month.”

Reuters: Russia’s Lavrov Says Ready To Cooperate With U.S. On Syria: Agencies

“Moscow is ready to cooperate with the United States on settling the Syrian crisis, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday, Russian news agencies reported. Russian authorities reiterate periodically that they stand ready to renew cooperation with Washington on Syria and, more globally, on fighting terrorism. Relations between the two countries, however, are seen reaching another low after U.S. fired missiles at Syria to punish Moscow’s ally for its suspected use of poison gas earlier in April. Russia condemned the U.S. action.”

Iraq

Radio Free Europe: Four Iraqi Policemen Killed By Islamic State Suicide Bomb In Baghdad

“Four traffic policemen were killed in the Iraqi capital on April 28 when a suicide car bomb blew up outside their station, near the location of several foreign media outlets in Baghdad. Five people were also wounded by the blast which occurred alongside the east bank of the Tigris River. The French Embassy is located in the same area of the Karrada neighborhood, the site of the blast. The Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the bombing. The militant group has carried out similar attacks in the past. In July of last year. a massive truck bombing in the same Baghdad neighborhood killed more than 300 people.”

Turkey

Radio Free Europe: Turkey Arrests Iranian Suspected Of Smuggling Russian Antitank Missile Parts

“Turkish authorities say they have arrested an Iranian national suspected of smuggling components of a Russian-made antitank missile system from Ukraine in order to deliver them to a terrorist group. The Turkish Customs and Trade Ministry said on April 30 that the man was detained in the city of Zonguldak, on Turkey’s Black Sea coast, following a search of his truck after it arrived by boat from Ukraine. The ministry said in a statement that documents officially listed diapers as the truck’s cargo, but that the vehicle was actually carrying the ‘main’ components of two Russian-made antitank missile systems used by armed groups, including Islamic State militants and Kurdish rebels.”

Reuters:  Military Says Kills 14 Kurdish Militants In Northern Iraq

“Turkey’s military said it killed 14 members of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in air strikes in northern Iraq on Saturday, as Ankara steps up a push against the group and their affiliates in Iraq and Syria. Turkey has intensified attacks on the PKK in northern Iraq and its Syrian-Kurdish affiliate, the YPG, in northern Syria. President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that as many as 220 militants had been killed in recent strikes elsewhere in northern Iraq. Six militants were killed around the area of Sinat-Haftan and eight in the countryside around Adiyaman in two separate air strikes in northern Iraq on Saturday morning, the military said in a statement.”

Voice Of America: Turkey Fires Nearly 4,000 From Civil Service, Military, Gendarmerie

“Turkey has dismissed nearly 4,000 people from its civil service, military, and gendarmerie, in what appears to be a purge related to last year’s attempted coup. Turkey announced the move on Saturday, saying in the government’s Official Gazette that those let go include 1,127 employees of the justice ministry, made up of prison guards, academics and religious affairs ministry employees. It appears to be one of the largest such purges since the coup attempt last July.”

Fox News: Iranian TV CEO Karimian Shot And Killed In Turkey

“The Iranian founder of a Middle Eastern satellite television network accused of spreading Western culture was shot dead in Istanbul alongside a Kuwaiti business partner, Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper reported on Sunday. Gunmen opened fire on Saeed Karimian, chairman of GEM TV, after cutting off his car with an SUV in Istanbul late Saturday night. Karimian reportedly died immediately after the masked gunmen opened fire on the vehicle, while his business partner died later in a hospital. Police later found the SUV abandoned and burned, the newspaper said.”

BBC News: Turkish Authorities Block Wikipedia Without Giving Reason

“Turkey has blocked all access inside the country to the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia. Officials said ‘an administrative measure’ had been taken, but gave no reason why. Turkish media said authorities had asked Wikipedia to remove content by writers ‘supporting terror’. Turkey has temporarily blocked social media sites including Facebook and Twitter in the past, usually following protests or terror attacks. The Turkey Blocks monitoring group said Wikipedia was unreachable from 08:00 (05:00 GMT). People in Istanbul were unable to access any pages without using a Virtual Private Network (VPN).”

Afghanistan

Deutsche Welle: Afghan Warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar Urges Taliban To End War

“In his first public appearance in nearly two decades, notorious Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar (pictured) urged Taliban insurgents to join a ‘caravan of peace.… stop the pointless, meaningless and unholy war,’ Hekmatyar told a gathering of his followers and Afghan politicians in Laghman province, east of the capital, Kabul. Hekmatyar, the leader of the Islamist organization Hezb-i-Islami, had occasionally collaborated with al-Qaeda and the Taliban after the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan. He was Afghanistan’s prime minister from 1993 to 1994, and again briefly in 1996, before the Taliban took over Kabul. In September last year, the Afghan government signed a peace agreement with Hekmatyar and his militant group despite criticism from some sections of Afghan society.”

Daily Mail: NATO Could Boost Afghanistan Mission: Stoltenberg

“NATO is considering boosting its troop strength again in Afghanistan, where it is helping the military in the fight against Islamist insurgents, chief Jens Stoltenberg told a German newspaper Sunday. Given the ‘challenging’ security situation, the 28-nation alliance was weighing an increase of the personnel of its ‘Resolute Support’ train, assist and advise mission from about 13,000 now, he told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper. NATO expected to make a decision by June on the possible troop increase and on whether to lengthen the time frame of the deployments which are now renewed annually, he was quoted as saying.”

Voice Of America: A Look At Islamic State’s Operations In Afghanistan

“So-called Islamic State has wreaked havoc in eastern Afghanistan since 2015, mostly through its loose affiliates — attacking government installations and villages, killing and abducting hundreds of people, and keeping schools shuttered and replacing them with IS religious seminaries. It also claimed responsibility for several deadly attacks in the country’s capital, Kabul. Here is a rundown in a question-and-answer format about how IS operates in Afghanistan.”

Daily Mail: Inside The ISIS Base That Was Blown To Bits By Trump’s ‘Mother Of All Bombs’

“Incredible footage has emerged of the aftermath of the ‘mother of all bombs’ which was dropped on ISIS fighters by the US military earlier in April. Since the GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb targeted a fortified tunnel complex used by suspected Islamic State fighters in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan access to the site has been controlled by US and Afghan troops. However an eye opening video from local police reveals the weapon’s effects on the mountainside and buildings in the immediate area, with large holes carved into the earth and houses reduced to rubble.”

NBC News: Violence, Bloodshed Mount In Afghanistan, Report Says

“The latest report from the federal government’s Afghanistan watchdog paints a picture of increased violence and bloodshed in the war-torn nation and suggests that preventing the Taliban and other insurgents from increasing their control of the countryside will continue to be a ‘challenge’ for Afghan security forces. The quarterly report, issued Monday by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), says the Afghan forces’ fight against the Taliban has become increasingly bloody, with casualties ‘shockingly high’ 16 years after the first U.S. forces arrived in the country.”

Yemen

Associated Press: Suspected Us Airstrike Kills 4 Al-Qaida Operatives In Yemen

“A suspected U.S. airstrike killed four al-Qaida operatives in Yemen’s eastern province of Marib on Sunday, Yemeni tribal and security officials said. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media, say the operatives killed were driving a car when an unmanned aircraft targeted their vehicle. Two of the men killed were identified as belonging to one of the local tribes, the others remain unidentified. The airstrike comes less than a day after a similar strike killed three al-Qaida members in the neighboring province of Shabwa.”

Egypt

Associated Press: Pope’s Timely Egypt Visit Comforts Grief-Stricken Christians

“Pope Francis wrapped up a brief but deeply symbolic visit to Egypt on Saturday with an open-air Mass for the country’s tiny Catholic community, defying security concerns to show his support for the Christians of this Muslim majority Arab nation who have increasingly become targeted by Islamic militants. Military helicopters flew overhead and police fanned out in force as Francis zoomed around the soccer stadium in suburban Cairo where Mass was held, using an open-topped golf cart and waving to members of the congregation, evidence of his hallmark desire to be close to his flock at all costs.”

Middle East

Haaretz: North Korea Snarls at Israel After Defense Chief Calls Pyongyang ‘Crazy’

“North Korea lashed out at Israel on Saturday after Israel’s defense minister called the hermit kingdom’s regime a ‘crazy and radical group,’ blamed it of being an ally of Syria’s Assad and the Lebanese group Hezbollah and said growing tensions between the U.S. and Pyongyang have ‘direct implications’ for Israel. A statement released by the North Korean Foreign Ministry called Avigdor Lieberman’s statement ‘reckless’ and a form of ‘sordid and wicked behavior’ that posed a ‘grave challenge to the DPRK.’”

The Times Of Israel: Arab Media Reports Israeli Strike On Syrian Army Near Border

“Arab media and Syrian opposition forces reported Saturday night that the Israeli Air Force had carried out strikes near the border town of Quneitra. The strikes reportedly targeted Syrian army forces in the area. Sky News Arabic reported explosions and said Israeli choppers were sighted in the area. However, Lebanon’s Al Mayadeen network quoted Syrian army officials who denied an attack had taken place. There were no immediate reports of casualties, and no official comment from Israel.”

Libya

CNBC News: War-Torn Libya Has Become A ‘Torture Archipelago’ For Migrants Sold Into Slavery

“Wracked by civil war, terrorism and political instability, Libya is now grappling with the resurgence of a pernicious old problem: an active slave trade that sees countless migrants forced into a life of exploitation and abuse. On a yearly basis, thousands of desperate African refugees attempt to make their way to Europe, fleeing instability in their home countries, but many end up exploited by modern-day slave traders. According to an April report by the UN Migration Agency, North Africans are held in parking lots and private prisons in the oil-rich country, and eventually sold on the black market for only hundreds of dollars.”

United Kingdom

BBC News: British ‘Syria fighter’ Josh Walker accused of terror offences

“A British man who allegedly fought against so-called Islamic State in Syria has been accused of terror offences. Josh Walker, from Bristol, is charged under Section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000. Mr Walker, aged 26, who lives in Aberystwyth, is due before Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Friday, South Wales Police said. He was arrested at Gatwick Airport by counter terror officers, last December. He had returned to the UK on 29 December and was detained at the airport by the Welsh Extremism and Counter Terrorism Unit. The charge is ‘collecting or making a record of information that is of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism’.”

Fortune: U.K. Police Penetrate Terrorist’s Whatsapp Messages

“The Independent reports that U.K. investigators have successfully retrieved the final message sent by terrorist attacker Khalid Masood using the encrypted messaging service WhatsApp. The message was a declaration that Masood was waging jihad as retribution for Western interventions in Muslim countries. Get Data Sheet, Fortune’s technology newsletter. Security agencies had sought to retrieve the message to establish what motivated Masood, also known as Adrian Ajao, to kill five and injure 50 when he drove a car through crowds on Westminster Bridge in London. It was hoped that the message, sent two minutes before the attack began, could help determine whether he was communicating with a terrorist network.”

Daily Mail: Don’t Waste Time Quizzing Migrants, Border Staff Are Told: Staff Are Ordered To Concentrate On Extremists Arriving From Europe

“Border guards at Heathrow Airport have been secretly told not to waste their time interrogating potential illegal immigrants – because terrorists from Europe pose a greater threat. A leaked memo, seen by The Mail on Sunday, reveals that extremists arriving from the Continent are the ‘number one’ priority. It comes as huge numbers of foreign fighters, including Britons fleeing the crumbling Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, attempt to return to the EU via Turkey.”

Germany

The Times Of Israel: Scandal Widens Over Far-Right German Soldier In ‘Attack Plot

“Germany’s defense minister on Sunday vowed zero tolerance for far-right extremists in the military amid a widening scandal over a soldier who allegedly plotted an attack which he planned to blame on refugees. She was reacting to the strange case of a 28-year-old army lieutenant, named by German media as Franco A., who led what prosecutors called a ‘double life’ pretending to be a Syrian refugee. He was arrested last Wednesday on suspicion of planning a gun attack which he meant to blame on his alter-ego — a fictitious Damascus fruit seller.”

Terror Financing

Sudan Tribune: The Central Bank Of Sudan Has Not Detected A Single Case Of Terrorist Financing Offenses

“A Sudanese official said on Saturday that the Central Bank of Sudan has not revealed any criminal cases of terror financing in the country. The International Financial Action Task Force (FATF) decided, at the end of its 2015 meetings in Paris, to remove Sudan from the list of countries suffering from deficiencies in {legal and regulatory frameworks for combating} money laundering and terrorist financing. Haidar Abbas, head of the Central Bank of Sudan’s financial investigation unit, speaking at a workshop on strategic planning to prevent money laundering in Khartoum, maintained that his country has not detected any case of terrorist financing crime so far. “Sudan is building a fully protected system against money laundering and terrorist financing,” he noted, adding that the country has already started preparations for the assessment by the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENA-FATF} in 2022.”

Muslim Brotherhood

Al-Wafd: Egypt: Prosecutors Forward Brotherhood’s ‘Motadarereen Committee’ Cases To Criminal Court

“East Alexandria Prosecution’s First Attorney General Counselor Walid el-Bahiri issued an order to forward the case of members of the Brotherhood’s “Motadarereen Committee (Committee of Damaged) to the Criminal Court. They are accused of inciting demonstrations against the army and police and using violence against state institutions. One of the defendants admitted that he was the head of the “Motadarereen Committee”. He was in charge of providing aid for members who had been arrested and imprisoned. He was also responsible for caring for their families, including arranging means of transportation to visit them in jail, payment of monthly salaries to the detainees’ families and fees to their lawyers.”

Albawabh News: Sources: Muslim Brotherhood Plots To Create A Food Shortage To Hike Prices In Egypt

“Egyptian sources revealed that security services have been monitoring a plot by the Muslim Brotherhood to empty the local food markets in conjunction with the upcoming month of Ramadan. According to these sources, the international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood allocated $200 million to the operation, which will remove essential food items in order to hike prices drastically. This is contrary to what the government seeks to achieve in the market.”

Houthi

Almashhad-Alyemeni: Ongoing Dispute Between Houthi And Saleh Loyalists Over Pension Authority Assets

“All mediation attempts conducted over the past few weeks, to remove Houthi militants from the office-building of Yemen’s General Authority for Social Security and Pensions in the capital Sanaa, have failed. The gunmen seek to forcefully ‘appoint’ a militia leader as the Authority’s new president. The Houthis insist on humiliating their coup partner, former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, by excluding his supporters and marginalizing them in all state institutions. Houthis are striving to take control, by force of arms, of governmental and public financial resources. It is being claimed that the Houthis aim to steal {vast sums of} money belonging to the Pension Authority, which includes $200 million in cash deposited in the Central Bank of Yemen’s branch in Sana’a.”

Hezbolla

Al-Watan: Hezbollah Intensifies Fundraising Efforts

“Recent field reports reveal that the Lebanese militia Hezbollah is intensifying its efforts to raise funds from the public under the guise of charitable donations. The money is earmarked for developing the organization’s military capabilities to counter what its leaders describe as US pressure. Field activists from the southern suburb of Beirut said the militia-led fundraising campaigns are usually launched on social media networks, using slogans of confronting the Israeli occupation. Sources stressed that recent militia-led security campaigns inside several residential neighborhoods {in Beirut} came only as an attempt to demonstrate that the militia is not suffering from a financial crunch due to its {over} six-year involvement in the Syrian conflict.”

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