Eye on Extremism, May 01, 2017

Reuters: Islamic State Fighters Seal Off Mosul Mosque Preparing For Last Stand

“Islamic State militants have closed the streets around Mosul’s Grand al-Nuri Mosque, residents said, apparently in preparation for a final showdown in the battle over their last major stronghold in Iraq. Dozens of fighters were seen by residents taking up positions in the past 48 hours around the medieval mosque, the site where Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared an Islamist caliphate in July 2014. Islamic State’s black flag has been flying from the mosque since the militants captured Mosul and seized swathes of Iraq and Syria in the summer of 2014. U.S.-backed Iraqi government forces retook eastern Mosul in January and began a new push on Saturday to capture the group’s remaining enclave in western Mosul, comprising of the Old City center where the mosque is located, and three adjacent districts alongside the western bank of the River Tigris.”

The New York Times: Deadly Bombing In Kabul Is One Of The Afghan War’s Worst Strikes

“A truck bomb devastated a central area of Kabul near the presidential palace and foreign embassies on Wednesday, one of the deadliest strikes in the long Afghan war and a reminder of how the capital itself has become a lethal battlefield. In one moment, more than 80 lives ended, hundreds of people were wounded and many more were traumatized, in the heart of a city defined by constant checkpoints and the densest concentration of Afghan and international forces. President Ashraf Ghani, whose palace windows were shattered in the blast just as he had finished his morning briefing, called it ‘a crime against humanity.’ President Trump called him to offer condolences.”

Reuters: U.S.-Led Coalition Strike Kills Founder Of Islamic State Media Outlet: Brother

“An air strike by the U.S.-led coalition has killed the founder of the Islamic State propaganda media outlet Amaq in the eastern Syrian province of Deir al-Zor, his brother said in a Facebook post on Wednesday. Reuters could not independently confirm whether he had been killed. There was no immediate comment from the United States-led coalition against Islamic State. The post said the strike killed Rayan Meshaal and his daughter in their home in the city of al-Mayadin. Syrian opposition activists had been sharing news of Meshaal’s death on social media.”

The Hollywood Reporter: ISIS Using Hollywood Movies In Recruiting Propaganda

“Footage from Eastwood’s Flags of Our Fathers (2006) has found its way into the 22-minute propaganda short Healing of the Believers’ Chests, created by the terror group. And a shot mimicking the 86-year-old director and well-known Republican’s American Sniper (2014) appears in another ISIS video, Shoot to Redeem Yourself 2, which re-creates Sniper’s slow-motion image of a bullet fired from a rifle. Both exemplify the increased use of Hollywood footage in videos made by ISIS, which is “deliberately and strategically using these references,” says Lara Pham, deputy director of the Counter Extremism Project, an organization (co-founded by former Sen. Joseph Lieberman, former Homeland Security Advisor Frances Townsend and other foreign-policy experts) that has analyzed 1,275 films made by ISIS media companies. “I haven’t found anything suggesting Hollywood is aware of this, but I’m sure plenty of individuals would be concerned,” adds Pham.”

Fox News: ISIS Threat In Afghanistan Shows No End In Sight

“Last summer a prominent Kabul politician, who founded a small Sufi political party that supports monarchial rule, received a letter inviting him to join the ISIS branch in Afghanistan. ‘This is all part of their activity,’ the 65-year-old Sayed Ishaq Gailani, who founded the National Solidarity Movement of Afghanistan, told Fox News, shortly before Wednesday’s horrific car bomb explosion in the capital that killed at least 80 people. ‘They study people. They find out who has a good name. Then they reach out.’ Gailani is not only a known figure in elite Afghan circles, but his family members are hereditary leaders of a distinguished Sufi sect, the Qadiriya.”

Fox News: CEP Spokesperson Tara Maller discusses new evidence uncovered in the continuing investigation of the May 22 suicide bombing in Manchester England.

New York Times: Philippines’ Duterte Says Mindanao Rebellion Not Maute But ‘Purely ISIS’

“Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said a rebellion on the southern Mindanao island was not the work of rebels from the Maute group but was “purely ISIS”, and he had long warned of Islamic State’s imminent arrival in his country. Duterte said Islamist militants being driven out of Iraq and Syria were looking for a new base and the siege of Marawi City was planned a long time ago. He also reiterated that the radicals in the southern Philippines were getting funding from the illicit drugs trade, and said the Maute brothers, who the militant group is named after, were involved in narcotics. Duterte, who has declared war on drugs, has long maintained that narcotics are at the heart of the country’s crime and security problems.”

New York Post: ISIS-Loving Air Force Vet Gets 35-Years At Weepy Sentencing

“A US Air Force vet who became the first American ever to be convicted of attempting to join ISIS prattled on, sometimes tearfully, for nearly 40 minutes Wednesday before a Brooklyn federal judge interrupted him to say he wasn’t the militant’s “psychiatrist” and sentenced him to 35 years behind bars. “This isn’t about whether you’re Muslim or Christian or Jewish,” US District Judge Nicholas Garaufis told Tairod Pugh before handing down his decision. “This is about whether you’re going to stand up for your country, which has done so much for you, or betray your country. “You made your choice,” the jurist growled. “I have no sympathy.”

Washington Post: How Terrorists Warp The Meaning Of Ramadan To  Justify Their Atrocities

“For Muslims, the month of Ramadan is a time to reread the Koran, focus on one’s faith, be charitable and commune with family and friends in celebration of life and God. The belief is that acts of piety, or even everyday kindnesses, are rewarded more generously by the Almighty during Ramadan. Terrorists, particularly members of the Islamic State, espouse a heinous ideology in which such acts of piety include the murder of those they consider infidels. To kill and martyr oneself during Ramadan is encouraged by such extremists. The collision of Islam’s peaceful and joyous Ramadan traditions with terrorists’ warped version of them produces a unique kind of dissonance and heartbreak. Most of the victims of Islamist terrorists are other Muslims, after all. For instance, the Islamic State has bombed a popular shopping street in Baghdad on Ramadan two years in a row. Last year’s attack was the worst Baghdad had seen, with more than 300 people either blown up or dead in a fire that subsequently swept through a shopping arcade.”

Quartz: Al Shabaab Overtook Boko Haram As Africa’s Most Deadly Terror Group In 2016

“Waging war from a corner in the Horn of Africa, Al Shabaab has grown to become the most deadly terror group on the continent. Last year, the group killed more people than any other terrorist sect on the continent, including the deadly Boko Haram. Data collected by Africa Center for Strategic Studies shows Al Shabaab attacks resulted in over 4,00o deaths in 2016. The Somali terrorist group has become deadly in its operations, relentlessly attacking both civilian and military outposts. In its attempt to topple the weak Somali government, Al Shabaab has specifically carried out deadly attacks in the capital Mogadishu, targeting the presidential palace, the parliament, and supreme court offices. And as the country revives from a two-decade war, the group has staged numerous attacks on hotels, parks, and beachside restaurants—symbols of hope in a country bedeviled by scars of its civil war.”

Washington Post: Scapegoating Saudi Arabia Won’t Help Us Fight Terrorism

“Terrorism is a problem that we all still struggle to understand. That challenge only increases when partisan politics are injected into the mix. This is what happened earlier this month, when President Trump visited Saudi Arabia, provoking the publication of a flurry of articles such as Fareed Zakaria’s “How Saudi Arabia played Donald Trump” criticizing the visit and describing the kingdom as the evil empire responsible for much of the world’s scourge of terrorism. If anything, such rhetoric only serves to further muddle a critical issue the world can ill afford to misdiagnose. In making Saudi Arabia the villain, critics inevitably cherry-pick their evidence to suit their constructed narrative. Their data point of preference is a leaked Hillary Clinton email claiming that the Saudi government provided financial support to radical Islamic groups. Meanwhile, the critics ignore much more credible findings, like those of the joint congressional commission investigating 9/11, which observed as far back as 2004 that “the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is now locked in mortal combat with al-Qaeda.”

United States

Hollywood Reporter: ISIS Using Hollywood Movies In Recruiting Propaganda

“Footage from Eastwood’s Flags of Our Fathers (2006) has found its way into the 22-minute propaganda short Healing of the Believers’ Chests, created by the terror group. And a shot mimicking the 86-year-old director and well-known Republican’s American Sniper (2014) appears in another ISIS video, Shoot to Redeem Yourself 2, which re-creates Sniper’s slow-motion image of a bullet fired from a rifle. Both exemplify the increased use of Hollywood footage in videos made by ISIS, which is ‘deliberately and strategically using these references,’ says Lara Pham, deputy director of the Counter Extremism Project, an organization (co-founded by former Sen. Joseph Lieberman, former Homeland Security Advisor Frances Townsend and other foreign-policy experts) that has analyzed 1,275 films made by ISIS media companies. ‘I haven’t found anything suggesting Hollywood is aware of this, but I’m sure plenty of individuals would be concerned,’ adds Pham.”

Vanity Fair: The One Place Wonder Woman Isn’t Welcome

“Here’s an homage no director wants. Footage from Clint Eastwood’s Flags of Our Fathers has found its way into ISIS recruiting videos, and movies such as The Hunger Games, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Eastwood’s American Sniper are providing creative inspiration for the terror group’s propaganda efforts, The Hollywood Reporter’s Paul Bond writes. ‘ISIS fighters are forbidden to watch American movies,’ Lara Pham, deputy director of the Counter Extremism Project, told Bond, ‘which is ironic, since they use these images to attract people to their cause.’”

The Washington Post: What Happens When You Join The Islamic State — Then Change Your Mind

“As soon as his cab arrived in an Islamic State safe house in December 2015, his lawyers say, Mohamad Khweis realized he had made a huge mistake. The 27-year-old Fairfax County native fled the group three months later and was captured by Kurdish forces in Iraq. Now, as his trial begins this week in federal court in Alexandria, a jury will weigh whether a mistake of that gravity can be forgiven under terrorism laws. Khweis, prosecutors say, quite clearly committed the crimes of which he is accused. He knowingly offered himself up as a fighter for a bloodthirsty terrorist group. He conspired with Islamic State facilitators online to do so. And he handled weapons while he was there.”

The New York Times: U.S. Begins Arming Syrian Kurds For Final Assault On Raqqa

“The United States has started arming Syrian Kurds with heavy machine guns, antitank weapons and other arms, a critical step in preparing a pivotal part of the force that will carry out the final assault on the Islamic State’s de facto capital of Raqqa, Pentagon officials said. The weapons deliveries follow the Trump administration’s decision earlier in May to arm the American-backed Kurdish militias over the objections of Turkey, an important NATO ally that considers the Kurdish fighters to be terrorists. ‘The U.S.-led coalition has begun issuing arms and equipment to Kurdish elements of the S.D.F.,’ Col. Ryan S. Dillon, a military spokesman in Baghdad, said in an email on Tuesday, using the abbreviation for the Syrian Democratic Forces, a combination of mostly Syrian Kurdish and Arab militias.”

Syria

Reuters: Syrian Rebels Say Russian Jets Halt Advance On Desert Outpost

“Western-backed Syrian rebels said on Wednesday that Russian jets attacked them as they tried to advance against Iran-backed militias in a region of Syria’s southeastern desert. They said six jets bombed their positions as they moved towards Zaza checkpoint near Sabaa Biyar, a small town near the Damascus-Baghdad highway and the borders with Iraq and Jordan. They identified them as Russian because they flew in formation and at higher altitude than Syrian jets. ‘A sortie of Russian jets bombed us to repel our advance after we broke the first lines of defence of the Iranian militia and took over advanced positions near the Zaza checkpoint,’ Saad al Haj, a spokesman for Jaish Osoud al-Sharqiya, one of the main groups in the area told Reuters.”

BBC News: Russia Fires Cruise Missiles At IS Targets In Syria

“A Russian warship and submarine in the Mediterranean have fired four cruise missiles at so-called Islamic State (IS) positions in central Syria. The strike – the first of its kind since November – targeted militants and heavy weapons near the city of Palmyra, the Russian defence ministry said. The militants had been redeployed from the IS stronghold of Raqqa, it added. Russia has been carrying out air and missile strikes in support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since 2015. Government forces recaptured Palmyra and its Unesco World Heritage-listed ruins with Russian help in March 2016, but were driven out by IS eight months later. They eventually regained the city this March, but fighting continues nearby.”

Iraq

USA Today: Iraqi Families Fear Reprisals Against Relatives Forced To Help ISIS

“As Iraqi forces near the liberation of Mosul from the Islamic State, thousands of families fear reprisals against relatives forced to serve on behalf of the militants. USA TODAY spoke to several families who admitted that their husbands or sons were trained by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, because of desperation or coercion. Asia Khalaf, who stays with her two children in the Jeddah refugee camp about 60 miles southwest of here, said her now-arrested husband joined ISIS because he could not earn any money as a carpenter after the militants arrived. ‘Our children were often hungry,’ Khalaf said.”

Turkey

Reuters: Three Turkish Soldiers Killed Fighting Kurdish Militants In Southeast: Security Sources

“Three Turkish soldiers were killed in clashes with Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir, security sources said on Wednesday. Earlier in the day, the army said airplanes had killed two PKK militants in the Lice district of Diyarbakir.  Turkey’s largely Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence following the collapse of a 2-1/2-year ceasefire between the state and the PKK in 2015. The PKK took up arms in 1984 to fight for an autonomous state, and more than 40,000 people have since been killed in the conflict since then. It is considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.”

Reuters: Turkey Says U.S. Support For Syrian Kurdish YPG ‘Not Befitting’ Of An Ally

“Turkey’s National Security Council said on Wednesday that the U.S. government’s decision to arm the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia in Syria was ‘not befitting’ of a friend. In a statement released after a 4-1/2-hour meeting chaired by President Tayyip Erdogan, the council said Turkey’s expectations on the matter had been disregarded. ‘It has been stressed that the policy of supporting the PKK/PYD-YPG terrorist organization, acting under the guise of the Syrian Democratic Forces, by disregarding Turkey’s expectation is not befitting of a friendship and alliance,’ the council said in a statement.”

Newsweek: Turkey Grows Further From Europe As EU Nations Change Nato Meeting Location

“A number of European nations have expressed staunch opposition toward fellow NATO member Turkey’s bid to host a gathering for the Western military alliance next year, according to high-ranking officials cited Wednesday in German media. Turkey, which is also attempting to join the EU, has expressed its desire to host the 2018 NATO summit, but it has found itself at odds with other European nations over its increasingly authoritarian politics and diplomatic spats with other countries. Though European partners informally agreed to let the NATO meeting take place in Istanbul during a separate gathering in Warsaw in 2016, according to Politico Europe, German newspaper Die Welt quoted a top NATO official as saying a group of at least 18 EU nations led by Germany, France, the Netherlands and Denmark, as well as Canada, would veto such a motion and opt for a summit in Belgium instead.”

Radio Free Europe: Putin Cancels Some Sanctions Against Turkey

“Russia has lifted some of the sanctions it imposed on Turkey after a Turkish military jet shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border in November 2015. A decree signed by President Vladimir Putin on May 31 removes restrictions on hiring Turkish workers and on Turkish firms operating in Russia. It also partially restores an agreement on the movement of each country’s citizens that was suspended after the plane was shot down. A Russian pilot died in the incident. Russia and Turkey have taken big steps to improve relations since then, and Putin agreed to lift some of Russia’s sanctions after meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on May 3.”

Reuters: Thirteen Turkish Soldiers Killed In Military Helicopter Crash

“All 13 Turkish soldiers on board a Cougar military helicopter were killed when it crashed after getting caught in a high-voltage power line in the Senoba district of Turkey’s southeastern Sirnak province, the army said on Wednesday. In a statement, the army said the AS 532 Cougar had crashed shortly after taking off around 1855 GMT on Wednesday. It said emergency search and rescue teams were dispatched to the area and evaluations were underway at the crash site. Broadcaster CNN Turk said Defence Minister Fikri Isik would travel to Sirnak, while presidential sources said President Tayyip Erdogan had been briefed on the crash following a National Security Council meeting earlier on Wednesday.”

Afghanistan

The Daily Beast: Who Set Off The Enormous Bomb In Kabul? ‘Not Us,’ Say Taliban. Don’t Believe It.

“The Ramadan morning began with an enormous explosion in Kabul, right at rush hour near the Afghan capital’s embassy row. The boulevard in Wazir Akbar Khan district is one of the busiest in the city, filled with pedestrian traffic as well as cars coming and going to the offices of diplomats, the American military, and Afghan government officials. More than 80 people were killed and hundreds injured, many of them severely, and, as it happened, virtually all of them were Afghan citizens, from street vendors to soldiers, traffic cops, bank clerks, and workers in the telephone company. ‘I have not seen or felt such a massive explosion in my life,’ says journalist Ghusodin  Ferotan. ‘There was a jolt like big earthquake,  followed by huge terrifying bang and a gust that blew me from the place where I was sitting to a place several meters away.’”

The Guardian: Why Deadly Kabul Bombing Is Crisis For All Of Afghanistan

“For years the Afghan capital was an island of relative security in a country battered by a rising tide of violence. The devastating bombing this Wednesday morning was confirmation that it has now become one of the most dangerous places in Afghanistan, and is another heavy blow to a weak and fractured government. The rising tempo of attacks in Kabul pose an outsize threat to the government, the fragile economy, to the foreign support that keeps Afghanistan running, to education, media and civil society, that all cluster in the capital. The attacks are also disproportionately deadly to civilians, because most military and government targets in the city are heavily protected.”

Fox News: Inside Afghanistan’s War Hospitals: Children Left For Dead Amid Escalating Violence

“Hospitals have become the focal point of life in Afghanistan, and perhaps none more than the Surgical Center for War Victims, which has long been poised in the heart of the nation’s deteriorating capital. Operated by EMERGENCY, the Italian non-governmental organization (NGO), it runs on a somewhat controversial policy of neutrality. The staff don’t ask questions when patients are rushed through the gate; they just get on with saving lives. ‘We don’t discriminate. We don’t ask if they are Afghan Army or Taliban or ISIS or civilians,’ Cristina Contini, the hospital’s country administrator, tells Fox News. ‘But most end up being civilians – and children. Too many children.’”

Yemen

Reuters: Rival Factions Clash At Aden Airport-Witnesses

“May 31 Fighters loyal to rival factions in Aden, seat of Yemen’s internationally-recognised government, traded gun and rocket-fire for nearly three hours at the city’s airport over Tuesday night, witnesses said. One combatant was killed, they said. The clash ended when other forces backed by a Saudi-led military coalition intervened, a security official said. The incident indicated the government’s inability to enforce order nearly two years after it recaptured the southern port city from its foes in the Iranian-backed Houthi movement. Militias and shadowy armed groups have proliferated in Aden since then, though internal clashes has been rare as fighters have mostly focused on securing the city from attacks by the local branch of Islamic State.”

Egypt

Reuters: Three Army Officers And A Soldier Killed In Western Egypt

“Three army officers and a soldier were killed in Egypt’s Western Desert on Wednesday when an explosive belt seized from Islamist militants went off, the military said in a statement. The Egyptian Air Force was conducting reconnaissance over the Bahariya Oasis area when it discovered and fired on two four-wheel drive vehicles transporting militants. As the Egyptian Army was clearing the area and dealing with the weapons and equipment the militants left behind, an explosive belt went off, killing three officers and a soldier. Egyptian security forces have been battling Islamic State, which killed hundreds from the military and police.”

Reuters: Is Egypt Bombing The Right Militants In Libya?

“Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was quick to launch air strikes on militants in Libya in response to a deadly attack on Coptic Christians in Egypt – but the attacks do not seem to be targeting those responsible. The response was popular with many Egyptians. The country’s state-owned and private news media celebrated it as swift justice, but the president has been vague about exactly who he is attacking. The strikes have been directed at Islamist groups other than Islamic State, which claimed responsibility for Friday’s massacre of dozens in the southern province of Minya, and seem to be intended to shore up Sisi’s allies in eastern Libya.”

Middle East

Reuters: Gulf Arab Row Rattles Trump’s Anti-Iran Axis

“Just 10 days after President Donald Trump called on Muslim countries to stand united against Iran, a public feud between Qatar and some of its Gulf Arab neighbours is jolting his attempt to tip the regional balance of power against Tehran. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are incensed by Qatar’s conciliatory line on Iran, their regional archrival, and its support for Islamist groups, in particular the Muslim Brotherhood, which they regard as a dangerous political enemy. The bickering among the Sunni states erupted after Trump attended a summit of Muslim leaders in Saudi Arabia where he denounced Shi’ite Iran’s ‘destablising interventions’ in Arab lands, where Tehran is locked in a tussle with Riyadh for influence.”

Newsweek: Iran To ‘Renew Funding’ For Hamas, Despite Trump’s Riyadh Speech

“Iran will reportedly resume financial assistance to the Palestinian militant group Hamas following a freeze in relations, caused by Hamas’ refusal to support the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, an ally of Tehran, and the group’s unwillingness to take Iran’s side in its rivalry with regional enemy, Saudi Arabia. Iran appears to have backed down on these demands and ties have warmed in recent weeks after the election of Ismail Haniyeh as Hamas’s new political leader on May 6 over former deputy head Moussa Abu Marzouk, who Tehran reportedly did not want to work with.”

The Jerusalem Post: Israel Police Thwart Stabbing Attack In Hebron

“A Palestinian teen aged 17 was arrested by Israel Border Police near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron after authorities found a large kitchen knife in her bag Wednesday evening. According to the Israel Police spokesperson’s office, the teen raised the suspicion of police that were in the area, who then searched her bag and found a large kitchen knife. The teen resisted arrest and did not pay attention to the instructions by police, who subsequently arrested her. The suspect was then taken in by police for questioning. The police declared that, by arresting the suspect, they prevented a stabbing attack.”

Germany

Reuters: Germany Cancels Flight Deporting Migrants To Afghanistan After Blast: Media

“The German government has canceled a flight planned for Wednesday to deport rejected asylum seekers to Afghanistan after an explosion killed at least 80 people in the Afghan capital Kabul, broadcaster ARD cited the interior minister as saying. The interior ministry could not immediately comment. In December Germany began carrying out group deportations of Afghans as the government sought to show it was tackling the high number of migrants by getting rid of those who do not qualify as refugees.”

Philippines

BBC News: Maute Rebel Group: A Rising Threat To Philippines

“Losing control of a major city to a small insurgent group that was hardly known two years ago is an embarrassment to the Philippines government and armed forces. Even on Mindanao, where tens of thousands have been killed over five decades of armed conflict, the week-long battle for Marawi stands out as a fiasco. The army, though, now believes it unwittingly interrupted a plan by the Maute group to take over the city and sack it. Soldiers were following a tip-off that Isnilon Hapilon, leader of the notorious Abu Sayyaf Group and the most wanted insurgent leader in the Philippines, was in Marawi.”

Newsweek: Philippines: Why ISIS-Linked Rebels In Marawi Are Proving Hard For The Army To Defeat

“Since May 23, a small group of Islamist militants linked to the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) have held the city of Marawi, in the south of the Philippines. The Maute Group is small, yet has managed to fend off the army in street battles, as well as maintaining control over parts of the city after government airstrikes. There are believed to be 30 to 40 Maute Group members left in the city, which has a predominantly Muslim population in a Christian majority country. After the government ramped up its attempts to regain control by firing rockets from helicopters, eight rebels surrendered Wednesday, providing ‘valuable intelligence’ according to the armed forces. How did this small group of rebels manage to keep the army at bay for over a week, and cause the government to fear a spread to nearby towns?”

Counter-Terrorism

Almanar: Detention Of Six Tunisians Suspected Of Funding Terrorist Groups  

“The Tunisian Interior Ministry announced on Tuesday the arrest of six Tunisians implicated in supporting and financing terrorist groups holed up in the mountains in the Western part of the country. The ministry also issued search warrants against six other suspects, some of them believed to be outside Tunisian borders. The ministry said in a statement that “the detainees and their leader were active in the form of sleeper cells in the northern areas of the capital city and in the district of Hassi El Ferid in the province of Kasserine, which borders with Algeria.” The ministry added that “the direct involvement of {those arrested} to support terrorists holed up in the mountains was proven, as were their ties with terrorists present in the hotbeds of tension.” The statement asserted that “the detainees and their leader backed the terror group of Jund al-Khilafah with substantial sums of foreign and Tunisian currency.”

ISIS

Ennahar: Algeria: Investigation Of Young People Who Tried To Join ISIS

“According to sources, the registrar of the Boudouaou Court issued an order to arrest three Algerian young men, under the age of 20, while two others were placed under judicial supervision. The five young men are implicated in attempting to join a terrorist organization abroad, most likely affiliated with ISIS. According to the sources, the five suspects are university students majoring in various subjects. The investigation revealed that they took part in terrorist {propaganda} activities on Facebook, where they praised the {terror} organization, called for its financing and encouraged others {to join it}. This was confirmed by files and downloaded materials found in their computers. Note that during interrogations, the suspects denied any affiliation with ISIS, claiming they were working for Al Nusra Front.”

Muslim Brotherhood

Elwatan: Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood Asset Freeze Committee Seizes 252 Companies

“According to judicial sources, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Asset Freeze Committee, headed by Dr. Mohammed Yasser Abu El-Fotouh, has, since its inception in 2013, seized a total of 252 companies, including 12 that were seized in recent weeks. In addition, the committee seized 120 schools and 92 hospitals. The sources added that investigation findings proved that these companies had been funding the Muslim Brotherhood with the aim of destroying state institutions. In all its decisions, the Committee relies upon the Urgent Court’s decision to ban the activity of the Brotherhood and seize all its funds and properties.”

Masr Alarabia: Egypt: Three Websites Owned By Members Of The Muslim Brotherhood Blocked

“Head of the Egyptian Supreme Council for Media Regulation (SCMR), Makram Mohammed Ahmed, disclosed that it has received six grievances from Egyptian websites that were recently blocked. He claimed that three of the grievances related to websites owned by individuals whose funds were seized by the Muslim Brotherhood Asset Freeze Committee. Ahmed emphasized in a press statement that the three complaints concern “Elborsa News”, Daily News Egypt and Almesryoon. He commented: “This is a matter for the judiciary, and the Council has no say in the matter.” Regarding the other three sites – Masr Al Arabia, Mada Masr and Cairo Portal, Makram noted that the Council will form a committee composed of Board members, its legal advisor, and Hatem Zakaria, Secretary-General of the Egyptian Union of Journalists. The committee will hold a meeting next Sunday to study the legal status {of these websites}.”

Houthi

Alwatan: Fugitive Houthi Leaders Are Transferring Funds To Beirut

“Yemeni forces prevented Houthi leader Ali Alkhazzan from leaving the country. An informed source revealed that at a time when many Houthi leaders have begun to flee Yemen through various ports and roads, security forces managed to capture Alkhazzan. He was hiding in Marib province and was caught while attempting to flee to the Sultanate of Oman and from there to Beirut. The source added that several Houthi leaders were arrested recently while attempting to flee abroad. These leaders, especially those involved in the looting of funds and real estate, fear the backlash of citizens. The source stressed that some Houthi leaders have transferred funds to Beirut, and some own properties there, purchased during the past three months. The sources added that most of them were destitute before stealing the Yemeni people’s assets. The source also claimed that some of these leaders offer large sums of money {bribes} to Yemeni officials, to permit them to pass through.”

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