Eye on Extremism, May 8, 2017

CBS News: U.S. Identifies Navy SEAL Killed In Raid In Somalia As Kyle Milliken

“The Defense Department has identified the Navy SEAL killed during an operation against al-Shabaab militants in Somalia. Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Kyle Milliken, 38, was killed during the raid on May 5 about 40 miles west of Mogadishu, the Pentagon said in a release. Milliken was a native of Maine and assigned to a Navy unit based on the East Coast. Milliken’s death marked the first American battlefield casualty in Somalia since the doomed “Black Hawk Down” mission in 1993 in which 18 American service members were killed in the capital of Mogadishu. The raid on Friday targeted a local leader of al-Shabaab, an al Qaeda-linked terrorist group. Navy SEALs were advising Somali troops on the mission.”

Voice Of America: IS Attacks Iraq Base Where US Advisers Stationed

“At least two people were killed and six injured when multiple Islamic State suicide bombers attacked a base in northern Iraq where U.S. military advisers are stationed, security sources said Sunday. It was not immediately clear if U.S. personnel were among the dead and wounded. In addition, two of the militants died when they detonated their vests at the entrance to the K1 base overnight, and three more were killed by Kurdish peshmerga forces who control the Kirkuk area where it is situated. ‘They were wearing uniforms like the Kurdish peshmerga and had shaved their beards to look like us,’ one officer told Reuters.”

Independent: Isis Defends Killing Women And Children As Terror Group Loses Territory And Troops

“Isis has launched an “extremely defensive” propaganda effort to defend its slaughter of women and children as it struggles to retain territory, troops and attention. The latest edition of the terrorist group’s Rumiyah magazine celebrated bombings that killed at least 45 people marking Palm Sunday at Coptic churches in Egypt. Hundreds of people attended the victims’ funerals, with Egyptians of all religions uniting to condemn the bloodshed and the government threatening a new crackdown. Jean-Marc Rickli, a research fellow at King’s College London and the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, said that even for some of Isis’s supporters attacks on churches in the Arab world is “crossing a red line”.

Daily Mail: British Jihadi Bride Sally Jones Shoots Up Pentagon’s Kill List As She’s Reveals As ISIS Planner Behind A Dozen Terror Plots

“British ISIS bride Sally Jones has shot up the Pentagon’s kill list as it is revealed she and her late husband were responsible for planning a dozen terror plots. Jones, a 49-year-old mother-of-two from Kent, is considered to be a ‘high priority’ for assassination in Syria. The failed punk rocker’s extremist husband Junaid Hussain, a computer hacker from Birmingham, was wiped out by an American drone strike in Raqqa in 2015. One foiled plot hatched by the pair involved kidnapping a former US soldier and beheading him on camera, according to The Sunday Times. Another plan was to be carried out by a teenager shooting at hundreds of people at a nightclub or concert.”

BBC News: Afghanistan IS Head Killed In Raid – US And Afghan Officials

“The head of so-called Islamic State (IS) in Afghanistan, Abdul Hasib, has been killed in a military raid, US and Afghan officials have said. He died 10 days ago in an joint special forces operation in eastern Nangarhar province, the US military said. Hasib is believed to have been behind March’s attack on a military hospital in Kabul, killing at least 50 people. Last month, the Pentagon said Hasib had probably been killed in a raid by US and Afghan special forces. Two US army rangers also died in the raid, near an underground system of tunnels believed to be used by IS which were targeted by the largest conventional bomb ever used by the US.”

Associated Press: Decapitated Bodies Found In Egyptian Sinai Border Town

“The decapitated bodies of a father and his two sons recently kidnapped by Islamic militants were found on Saturday lying in the street in the northern Sinai town of Rafah, according to security officials and witnesses – the latest grotesque act of brutality in the country’s long-running insurgency. They said the mother of the two siblings was killed last week by militants from the Islamic State group when they raided the family home in the village of Yamit, west of Rafah, and kidnapped the three men they suspect of being collaborators.”

Reuters: Iran Minister Warns Saudi Arabia After ‘Battle’ Comments: Tasnim

“Iran will hit back at most of Saudi Arabia with the exception of Islam’s holiest places if the kingdom does anything ‘ignorant’, Tehran’s defense minister was quoted as saying on Sunday after a Saudi prince threatened to move the ‘battle’ to Iran. ‘If the Saudis do anything ignorant, we will leave no area untouched except Mecca and Medina,’ Iranian Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan was quoted by the semi-official Tasnim news agency as saying. ‘They think they can do something because they have an air force,’ he added in an apparent reference to Yemen, where Saudi warplanes regularly attack Iran-aligned Houthi forces in control of the capital Sanaa.”

Deutsche Welle: Worst Border Clashes In Years: Are Afghanistan And Pakistan At War?

“Clashes on the Afghan-Pakistani borders have continued for the past three days, with both countries claiming they inflicted heavy losses on the other side. On Sunday, the Pakistani military said it had killed more than 50 Afghan soldiers since the fighting erupted Friday at the Chaman border crossing, which divides Pakistan’s southwest Baluchistan province and Afghanistan’s southern Kandahar province. Gunfire and artillery shells have killed scores of civilians as well, and hundreds of villagers have fled to safer areas.”

BBC News: Nigeria Chibok Girls: Eighty-Two Freed By Boko Haram

“Islamist militants of the Boko Haram group have released 82 schoolgirls from a group of 276 they abducted in north-eastern Nigeria three years ago, the president’s office says. They were handed over in exchange for Boko Haram suspects after negotiations. The girls arrived in the capital Abuja on Sunday, and will be received by President Muhammadu Buhari. The abduction of the so-called ‘Chibok girls’ triggered a global outcry and sparked a huge social media campaign. Before the latest release, about 195 of the girls were still missing. The number of Boko Haram suspects released by authorities remains undisclosed.”

Star Tribune: In  Quebec,  One  Who  Turned  Away  From  Extremism  Helps  Others  Find  The  Path

“They kept the worshipers’ boots long after their bodies were carried away and their bloodstains were cleaned from the mosque’s carpeted floor. Resting on a shelf inside the Islamic Cultural Center, the six pairs form a humble monument to the victims gunned down by a troubled loner one evening last January after sunset prayer. Not long ago, Maxime Fiset could have been the killer. A Quebec native who grew up nearby, Fiset founded a right-wing extremist group as a teenager and later drew up plans to carry out his own suicide attack. “One hundred fifty dollars, three stores and an afternoon: I could have assembled a bomb pretty easily,” he said one recent afternoon.”

The Washington Post: Smoke-Filled Pool Halls Are Back In Mosul. After ISIS, ‘We Seek Joy.’

“Inside the Captain pool hall in eastern Mosul there are few signs that a war still rages in this city or that earlier this year the Islamic State was in control here. A gathering place for pool and snooker lovers since the 1990s, the smoke-filled room tiled with grimy beige marble exudes a faded charm, one mirrored in its customers, now back at the tables after being deprived of their favorite pastime for more than two years. Shortly after the Islamic State took control of Mosul in the summer of 2014, hitting brightly colored balls with a well-chalked cue was among the many activities the group ruled un-Islamic and a distraction from jihad, and it ordered the halls to be shut down.”

United States

Fox News: Trump Mulls Additional Troops As Afghan Stalemate Grinds On

“President Trump could be asked next week to send more troops to Afghanistan as the 16-year war grinds on in a bloody stalemate. The U.S. commander in Afghanistan wants 3,000 more troops and Pentagon officials told Congress this week that the war plan recommendations being sent to Trump are aimed at moving ‘beyond the stalemate’ with the ISIS-affiliated Taliban insurgency. Afghan soldiers are suffering what Pentagon auditors call ‘shockingly high’ battlefield casualties, and prospects are narrowing for a negotiated peace settlement with the Taliban. The insurgents may have failed to capture and hold a major city, but they are controlling or influencing ever more territory.”

The Times Of Israel: US, Saudi Arabia Negotiating Major Arms Deal — Report

“The United States is seeking to finalize arms deals worth tens of billions of dollars with Saudi Arabia ahead of US President Donald Trump’s visit to Riyadh later this month, Reuters reported Friday. Trump is due to arrive in Saudi Arabia in late May as part of his first foreign trip since becoming US president, after which he will visit Israel. He is also set to travel to the Vatican, as well as NATO and G7 summits in Brussels and Sicily. The proposed weapons contracts are said to include the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-missile system (THAAD), which costs $1 billion and was recently deployed by the US in South Korea to defend against the threat of North Korean missiles.”

Syria

Reuters: Syria’s Al-Moualem Says Government Will Abide By ‘De-Escalation’ Plan

“Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said on Monday that the Damascus government would abide by the terms of a Russian plan for ‘de-escalation’ zones so long as the rebels also observed the proposals. Speaking at a televised news conference, he also said that rebels involved in the process must help to clear areas they control of jihadist factions, including the group formerly known as the Nusra Front.”

The Hill: Russia: Deal Reached With US To Prevent Syria Mid-Air Collisions

“Russia says it’s reached an airspace deconfliction deal with the U.S. aimed at avoiding mid-air collisions in Syria, Reuters reported Saturday. The memorandum of understanding between the two countries was suspended by Russia last month after the U.S. launched a retaliatory missile strike on a Syrian military airfield. The U.S. strike was in response to a chemical weapons attack in northern Syria allegedly carried out by the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. That chemical attack left more than 80 civilians dead, including many children.”

Reuters: U.S.-Backed Militias Say They Made New Advance Against Islamic State In Tabqa

“A group of Kurdish and Arab militias supported by the United States captured a district of the town of Tabqa from Islamic State on Monday, they said in a statement, a step towards the capture of Syria’s largest dam. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has been fighting Islamic State in Tabqa for weeks, aiming to capture not just the town but its Euphrates dam, a vital strategic objective before assaulting the jihadists’ regional stronghold of Raqqa. ‘The forces of Wrath of the Euphrates managed to liberate the First Quarter of the town of Tabqa this morning, which divides the three new quarters of the town from the Euphrates dam, after intense fighting,’ it said.”

Reuters: Syrian Army Advances Despite Deal To Cut Violence, Monitor Says

“The Syrian army seized control of the village of al-Zalakiyat north of Hama on Sunday amid a heavy bombardment, a war monitor reported, despite a deal brokered by Russia, Syria’s main foreign backer, to reduce fighting. Violence has raged in the countryside north of Hama for over a month, since rebels there launched an assault against government forces that was quickly reversed and has now turned into an army push into areas the insurgents gained last year. Under an agreement that took effect at midnight on Friday, fighting was intended to subside over six months in four ‘de-escalation zones’ where violence between the army and rebels have been most intense.”

Reuters: Syrian Rebels Start Leaving Damascus District Under Evacuation Deal

“Hundreds of Syrian rebels began leaving the besieged Damascus district of Barzeh on Monday as part of an evacuation deal with the government, state media and a war monitor reported. State television said fighters and their relatives had started departing Barzeh for rebel-held Idlib province in northwest Syria. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based war monitoring group, said buses had arrived in Barzeh at dawn and hundreds of fighters and family members had started to board them. More people would leave over the next five days, state TV and the Observatory said.”

Reuters: Syria Fighting Eases As Russian Deal Takes Effect

“Fighting between Syrian rebel and government forces eased on Saturday as a Russian-led effort to shore up a ceasefire took effect, although battles continued on important frontlines near Hama and Damascus, rebels and a war monitor said. The deal to create ‘de-escalation’ zones in the major areas of conflict in western Syria took effect at midnight. The initiative was proposed by Russia, President Bashar al-Assad’s most powerful ally, with the support of Turkey, which backs the opposition. Iran, Assad’s other major ally, also backed it.”

Reuters: Syria Says Up To 5,000 Chinese Uighurs Fighting In Militant Groups

“Up to 5,000 ethnic Uighurs from China’s violence-prone far western region of Xinjiang are fighting in various militant groups in Syria, the Syrian ambassador to China said on Monday, adding that Beijing should be extremely concerned about it. China is worried that Uighurs, a mostly Muslim people who speak a Turkic language, have gone to Syria and Iraq to fight for militants there, having travelled illegally via Southeast Asia and Turkey. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the killing of a Chinese hostage in 2015, highlighting China’s concern about Uighurs it says are fighting in the Middle East.”

Turkey

Fox News: Turkey Issues Warrants For 23 Judges And Prosecutors

“Turkey’s state-run news agency says detention warrants have been issued for 23 judges and prosecutors who have been dismissed from their posts. Anadolu news agency said Saturday the warrants were issued for 17 judges and six prosecutors for ‘membership in an armed terror organization.’ They are suspected of being followers of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen who the government says is behind the July 15 coup attempt. Gulen denies involvement in the coup. Two judges were detained while working. The suspects are among the 107 judges and prosecutors dismissed from public service Friday.”

Deutsche Welle: Turkey Justice Minister To Ask For Gulen In Washington

“At a meeting with his US counterpart, Jeff Sessions, in Washington on Monday, Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag will demand the extradition of an exiled cleric accused of helping mastermind a 2016 coup, the Anadolu news agency reports. Fethullah Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the US state of Pennsylvania since 1999, denies any involvement in the failed July 15 plot. Bozdag plans to underline President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s stance during his US trip with ‘new evidence with reference to Gulen being behind the coup,’ Turkey’s official news agency reported on Saturday.”

Afghanistan

CNN: Thousands Flee As Taliban Take District In Kunduz Province

“The Taliban have captured a district in northern Afghanistan, police tell CNN, reportedly forcing thousands of people to flee. After almost two days of heavy clashes, Afghan security forces withdrew Saturday from Qala-e-Zal district, one of six within Kunduz province, according to Mahfuzullah Akbari, a regional police spokesperson. An Afghan National Army commando aims his weapon amid ongoing fighting between Taliban militants and Afghan security forces in Kunduz on October 5, 2016. Clashes continue between Afghan security forces and the Taliban on the Kunduz-Khanabad highway, where Afghan troops are trying to clear the road for local residents, he added.”

Middle East

CNN: Ismail Haniya Elected New Hamas Leader

“A longtime senior Hamas official was elected Saturday to replace the Palestinian militant group’s outgoing head, Khaled Meshaal, an official in Meshaal’s office told CNN. Hamas’ Shura Council chose Ismail Haniya to become the new leader. Haniya is a onetime Palestinian prime minister based in Gaza — which the group has controlled for 10 years. The Shura Council will decide whether Haniya will follow the example of Meshaal and live outside Gaza. Meshaal has been living in exile in Qatar and once resided in Syria. This week, Hamas issued a new policy document that for the first time indicated the group was willing to accept the idea of a future Palestinian state falling within borders that existed in 1967 before Israel took control of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.”

Reuters: Israeli Police Kill Palestinian Girl Who Tried To Attack Them In Jerusalem: Police

“Israeli paramilitary police officers shot and killed a knife-wielding Palestinian teenage girl who tried to attack them at an entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City on Sunday, a police spokeswoman said. The incident was the latest in a 19-month-long period of sporadic street attacks by Palestinians against Israelis, and the bustling Damascus Gate entrance to Jerusalem’s walled Old City where it occurred has seen many attacks. Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said a knife was recovered from the scene together with a farewell letter from the teenager to her family quoting a verse from the Koran that signed off with the word ‘shahida’ – Arabic for martyr.”

Nigeria

The New York Times: After Boko Haram Releases Nigerian Girls, An Anguished Wait For Parents

“The father of two girls kidnapped by Boko Haram was suspicious when friends told him that dozens of girls had been freed, because he had heard similar rumors countless times during the three years the schoolchildren have been missing. But by Sunday morning, it became clear to the Rev. Enoch Mark that the news was true. The Nigerian government announced that 82 of the girls who had been taken from a school in Chibok, Nigeria, had been released in exchange for handing over as many as six suspected militants to Boko Haram. While Mr. Mark was thrilled with hearing some of the girls were safe, his joy was mixed with the awful, gut-wrenching torment of not knowing if his own two daughters were among those released.”

Germany

Deutsche Welle: Report: Spike In Number Of Guns Obtained Legally By Right-Wing Extremists In Germany

“Around 750 right-wing extremists in Germany have legally acquired guns, up from 400 in 2014, the ‘Welt am Sonntag’ newspaper reported on Saturday. The newspaper acquired the statistics after German lawmaker Martina Renner, member of the socialist Left party, submitted a request for information to the federal government. ‘Police and those responsible for the enforcement of gun laws must deal urgently with the 750 right-wing extremists who have obtained gun licenses,’ Renner said after the figures were released.”

Reuters: Nazi Memorabilia At German Army Base Escalate Far-Right Scandal

“German investigators have found Nazi-era military memorabilia in a barracks, similar to that found in the garrison of an army officer arrested on suspicion of planning a racially motivated attack, the Defence Ministry said. The discovery broadens a scandal about right-wing extremism in the German army that has hurt Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, a close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, less than five months from a national election. Spiegel Online reported that a display cabinet containing Nazi-era Wehrmacht helmets stood outside the canteen at the Fuerstenberg barracks in Donaueschingen, in southwest Germany.”

France

Daily Mail: French Police Blow Up British Roofer’s Van Because They Thought It Was A Terror Threat When He Left It Parked Outside A Church During Romantic Break In Paris

“Paris is supposed to be the city of love and romance. But a visiting British couple had a very difference experience – when French police blew up their van thinking it was a terror threat. Roofer Louis Cole, 27, from Kent, treated his girlfriend to the city break and drove down to the French capital in his van. But they struggled to find a car park where he could leave the van, so instead they parked it outside a church on Sunday morning. After sightseeing around the city the pair returned to the van to find it gone. Anti-terror police had been called to the spot by worried locals and carried out a controlled explosion on the van by blowing a huge hole in the roof and smashing the windows. The vehicle was removed and taken to a compound.”

Daily Mail: ISIS Calls For Terror Attacks On French Election Calling For Lone Wolf Extremists To Kill Le Pen And Macron And Burn Down Poll Stations

“ISIS has allegedly called for lone wolf extremists to kill the French presidential candidates and burn down polling stations during the upcoming election. An article in the terror group’s propaganda magazine, Rumiyah, reportedly called for the deaths of Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron when the country goes to the polls on Sunday. A French edition of the magazine the article is said to state: ‘Don’t forget your duty as a Muslim. Choose a candidate to kill & polling station to burn.’”

CNN: Emmanuel Macron Wins Presidency As France Rejects Far-Right

“France’s president-elect Emmanuel Macron has promised to ‘fight the divisions that undermine France,’ after defeating far-right candidate Marine Le Pen. Macron has won 66.06% of the vote with 99.99% of registered votes counted, France’s interior ministry said. In a clear rejection of France’s mainstream parties, voters have turned to the 39-year-old to help bring unity to a deeply fractured country. The result is remarkable considering Macron, a centrist independent, campaigned without a traditional party and with no experience of governing.”

Terror Financing

Sudan Tribune: Fears In Sudan Of Terror Financing Through Mobile Phones

“Sudanese bankers on Saturday issued a warning that unspecified entities and individuals were liable to exploit the transfer of funds via mobile phones to finance terrorism and militant groups. They cautioned that this danger was caused by the absence of oversight regarding the amount of money circulating via mobile phone services and the disbursement of these funds. Large segments of the Sudanese people exchange money via their mobile phones, through a service provided by the three mobile operators in the country. The government recently launched the “pay by mobile” service in an attempt to control money that is traded outside the banking system, but this service did not have a sufficient demand.”

Muslim Brotherhood

The Seventh Day: Egyptian Parliament Accuses Muslim Brotherhood’s ‘Electronic Army’ Of Discrediting Egypt

“Egyptian MP Ahmed Refaat claimed that the international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood pays the ‘electronic army’ affiliated with the group to tarnish the image of the Egyptian parliament and spread rumors about new laws that are {allegedly} being drafted. He stressed that all their attempts are doomed to failure. The Brotherhood is seeking to support some of the international parties conspiring against Egypt and is backing ISIS and other extremist groups. He added that the Brotherhood is making every effort to railroad Egyptian foreign policy.”

Dotmsr: TV Series Documents Muslim Brotherhood Activities In The UAE

“The Abu Dhabi TV channel has launched a series of documentaries under the title “Corridors of Darkness”, which chronicles the history of the Muslim Brotherhood’s secret organization in the UAE from its inception up to the trial of July 2. The series includes confessions of detained members of the Brotherhood cell, along with methods of recruitment and pledging allegiance to it. The documentary elaborates on the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood and presents their confessions and witness testimonies. The Brotherhood cell, which was dismantled a few years ago, recruited members of the Egyptian community in the UAE. It was involved in establishing companies and entities to support the organization there. Cell members also collected large sums of money which were transferred illegally to the parent organization in Egypt.”

Houthi

Asrar 7days: Houthis Deploy ‘Security Checkpoints’ To Collect Money

“Security checkpoints were recently established in the streets of the Yemeni city of Ibb to extort passers-by. Local residents revealed that the Houthi militia and the forces loyal to ousted Yemeni president Ali Saleh have started to patrol the streets of Ibb, inspecting cars and extorting their owners under various excuses. One resident was quoted as saying that the security checkpoint soldiers ask the driver for his driving license and then the car’s license and then extort payment before allowing him to continue on his way.”

Hamas

Amad: Fatah Accuses Hamas Of Stealing 30% Of Gaza’s Electricity Revenues

“A member of the Fatah Central Committee, Hussein al-Sheikh, stated that the new political document announced by Hamas does not bear any news. He claimed that it is timed politically to show the region and the world that Hamas is a viable alternative to the PLO. According to Al-Sheikh, the {Palestinian Authority} leadership has taken practical measures to block the Hamas’ coup {in Gaza}, emphasizing that the Authority will not stand by as a force that supports and finances this coup. The Fatah official also asserted that Hamas is stealing 30% of the electricity revenues in Gaza in its capacity as the fee-collection authority, while the Palestinian Authority pays Israel between NIS 40 to 50 million ($10.5 million – $11 million) per month. “The measures taken by the leadership are not intended as a punishment; their aim is to undermine the coup and end the {internal Palestinian} division,” he added.”

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