Eye on Extremism, June 15, 2017

New York Post: Qatar Looks To Make A Dent In NYC Luxury Real Estate
“Although Qatar has been cut off by several other Middle Eastern neighbors for supporting and harboring terrorists, its sovereign wealth fund is doing business as usual and has investments and partners in New York City and around the globe. The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) was created to invest earnings from liquefied natural gas, and has become one of the world’s largest investors…The Counter Extremism Project (CEP), which focuses on rooting out terrorists, said it is unaware of a specific terror-linked individual working at QIA. “Of course, QIA is a state-run fund, and the issue the Gulf Cooperation Council countries have right now is the Qatari state policy of supporting terrorists and extremist movements,” said David Ibsen, executive director of the CEP. “A U.S. citizen could potentially file a lawsuit against Qatar for complicity in a specific terror attack (as they have done against Iran) but unless Qatar is designated a state sponsor of terrorism by the USG, the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act would stop any such lawsuit from proceeding.”
The Washington Post: ISIS Drones Are Attacking U.S. Troops And Disrupting Airstrikes In Raqqa, Officials Say
“Islamic State drones are attacking U.S. Special Operations forces located around the group’s de-facto capital of Raqqa in Syria, U.S. officials and Syrian fighters said, sometimes disrupting the ability of American troops to call in airstrikes. The Pentagon, in response, is looking to send additional anti-drone equipment and troops into Syria, according to one official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss planning. Unlike in Mosul, where U.S. forces have deployed an array of drone-stopping systems, U.S. troops on the ground in Raqqa are operating with fewer resources and have a limited ability to defend against the small, hard-to-spot aircraft, the official said.”
New York Times: ISIS Captures Tora Bora, Once Bin Laden’s Afghan Fortress
“Tora Bora, the mountain redoubt that was once Osama bin Laden’s fortress, fell to the Islamic State early Wednesday, handing the extremists a significant strategic and symbolic victory, according to Afghan officials and local elders and residents. Taliban fighters who had previously controlled the extensive cave and tunnel complex fled overnight after a determined, weeklong assault by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, according to villagers fleeing the area on Wednesday. Hazrat Ali, a member of Parliament and a prominent warlord from the area who helped the Americans capture Tora Bora from Al Qaeda in 2001, said that the offensive was prompted by the American decision to drop the so-called mother of all bombs on an Islamic State network of tunnels in Achin District in April. The 20,000-pound bomb was thought to be the largest non-nuclear bomb ever deployed.”
The Times Of Israel: Hamas Could Easily Solve Gaza’s Electricity Crisis, But Prefers To Finance Tunnels And Rockets
“The word from Gaza on Tuesday was that residents had power for only three hours. That latest decline sparked rumors in the Strip that Israel had already started to reduce the electricity supply, as requested by the Palestinian Authority, which is no longer ready to pay the bills for the Hamas-run Strip. In fact, however, the cause was one of the frequent technical problems in the power supply from Egypt, which also provides electricity to Gaza. This typifies the daily reality for the nearly two million Palestinians of Gaza this past decade. Ten years have passed since Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in a violent and swift coup during which 160 members of PA chief Mahmoud Abbas’s rival Fatah party were wiped out.”
Reuters: Exclusive: U.S. Expands Presence In Syrian Desert, Rebels Say
“U.S. troops based in Syria’s southeastern desert have expanded their footprint, rebels there say, increasing the risk of direct ground confrontation between the Americans and Iran-backed pro-government forces. U.S. special forces have been based since last year at Tanf, a strategic Syrian highway border crossing with Iraq, where the Americans have assisted rebels trying to recapture territory from fleeing Islamic State fighters. The U.S.-backed Syrian rebels in the area are in competition with pro-government forces who are also trying to recapture territory from Islamic State. On several occasions in recent weeks, warplanes of the U.S.-led coalition have struck pro-government forces to prevent them advancing, in what Washington has described as self defense.”
Associated Press: Austria: More Than 300 Muslim Clerics Call For Tolerance
“More than 300 clerics representing the majority of Austria’s Muslims are expressing support for a declaration condemning extremism and terrorism and urging their followers to integrate by actively participating in Austrian society. The initiative was launched by the Society of the Islamic Faith in Austria, which normally speaks for all Muslim groups in the country. At a signing ceremony Wednesday, society head Ibrahim Olgun said the declaration was meant as a clarification for the ‘black sheep’ among Muslims who turn to extremism in the name of their religion.”
AfricaNews: Somalia Restaurant Siege Over: 18 Killed In Al Shabaab Attack
“18 people have been confirmed dead and 19 injured after hours of gun battle since Wednesday evening between Somali security forces and Al Shabaab militants who had taken hostages in a popular restaurant in the capital Mogadishu after launching a car bomb attack in an adjacent restaurant. Spokesperson for the Somali security forces, Ahmed Mohamed Mohamud said the siege ended Thursday morning and investigation is ongoing, state news agency SONNA reported. “The operation ended now, 18 people killed and 19 others injured in this terrorist attack, investigations is going on at moment,” he said. Five al Shabaab militants were reported to have carried out a car bomb attack at the Posh Treats restaurant in Mogadishu and then entered the adjacent Pizza House restaurant on Wednesday evening when residents were breaking their Ramadan fast.”
United States
Reuters: Pentagon Sees More ‘Agility’ With New Power On Afghan Troops Levels
“President Donald Trump’s decision to empower the Pentagon to set troop levels in Afghanistan will increase the U.S. military’s agility, giving U.S. forces greater latitude to ‘provide air power and other vital support,’ the Pentagon said on Wednesday. ‘The delegation of this authority does not in itself change the force levels for Afghanistan,’ Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in a statement.  ‘This will enable our military to have greater agility to conduct operations.’ There currently are about 8,400 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Earlier in the day, Mattis dismissed the prospect of a return to the major U.S. troop deployments in Afghanistan, which peaked at more than 100,000 in 2011 during the Obama administration.”
CNN:  Confirms White House Has Given Him Authority To Set Afghanistan Troop Levels
“Secretary of Defense James Mattis confirmed Wednesday that President Donald Trump has given him the authority to make decisions about how many US troops are deployed to Afghanistan without first having to get formal agreement from the White House. ‘At noon yesterday, President Trump delegated to me the authority to manage troop numbers in Afghanistan,’ Mattis told the Senate Appropriations Committee during a hearing on the Pentagon’s budget request. ‘The delegation of this authority, consistent with the authority President Trump granted me two months ago for Iraq and Syria, does not at this time change the troop numbers for Afghanistan,’ Mattis added.”
The Washington Post: US Deploys Mobile Missile System To Eastern Syria
“The U.S. has deployed a truck-mounted missile system into Syria, an official said Wednesday, to a forward operating group of rebels and U.S. military advisers that have repeatedly clashed with government forces. The deployment raises the stakes in eastern Syria, where Iranian-sponsored pro-government forces have outflanked U.S. advisers and rebels holding the Tanf border crossing to establish their own link to Iraq for the first time in years. They are now waiting for pro-Iranian forces to link up with them on the Iraqi side of the border, while preparing to march on Islamic State positions to the north, in the Euphrates River Valley.”
CNN: GOP House Whip Steve Scalise Remains In Critical Condition After Shooting At Baseball Practice
“Rep. Steve Scalise, a congressional staffer, a lobbyist and a member of the Capitol police force were shot Wednesday in Alexandria, Virginia, during a Republicans’ early-morning practice ahead of a charity baseball game. Federal law enforcement officials identified the alleged shooter as James Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois, who died following a shootout with authorities. At least six people including Scalise, the third ranking member of House Republican leadership as the majority whip, were hospitalized. Scalise was in critical condition after suffering damage to internal organs, and his injuries will require additional operations, according to a MedStar Washington Hospital Center medical update late Wednesday.”
Syria
Reuters: Syrians Say Militants Shoot Escapees, Air Strikes Kill Civilians As Raqqa Battle Intensifies
“Islamic State militants in Raqqa are passing themselves off as civilians to try to avoid intensifying air strikes and shooting anyone caught trying to escape their Syrian bastion as U.S.-backed coalition forces close in, witnesses said. At a camp for the displaced in the village of Ain Issa north of the city, people who arrived on Wednesday also said the air strikes supporting an assault by U.S.-backed forces had inflicted widespread destruction as the battle intensified. United Nations war crimes investigators said the air campaign had killed at least 300 civilians in the city, captured by Islamic State in 2014 in the chaos of Syria’s civil war.”
Reuters: U.N. Syria Envoy Says May Hold Geneva Talks In July
“U.N. mediator Staffan de Mistura said on Wednesday he may reconvene peace talks between the Syrian government and opposition in Geneva in July, depending on the progress made in setting up ‘de-escalation’ zones in Syria.  The Russian Foreign Ministry had said on Tuesday that talks between Russia, Turkey and Iran to discuss these zones would take place in the Kazakh city of Astana in early July. ‘There is an aim of having an Astana meeting sometime early July, just before (the G20 meeting in) Hamburg, and perhaps just before we may be wanting also to relaunch Geneva talks,’ the U.N. envoy told reporters on the margins of a peace mediation conference.”
Reuters: Syria Gives U.N. Go-Ahead To Deliver Aid From Aleppo By Truck
“Syria has given the United Nations permission to get aid to the Kurdish-dominated city of Qamishli by truck, the organisation said on Wednesday, relieving the strain on a base supporting thousands displaced by the war with Islamic State. Although Qamishli lies on the Turkish border, the crossing is closed and the U.N. aid effort in northeastern Syria has relied on airlifts from Damascus to Qamishli since July 2016. These flights are running at full capacity, twice a day, six days a week and between mid-March and the end of May, the U.N. World Food Programme used them to provide food for over 172,000 people in the provinces of Raqqa, Deir al-Zor and Hassakeh.”
Voice Of America: Why Islamic State Chose Raqqa As Its Syrian Capital
“Raqqa is a remote oil-rich provincial city in northern Syria on the north bank of the Euphrates River. Dating back to the Hellenistic period, the city was an important trading post between the Sassanid and Byzantine empires. Between the years 796 and 809 – during a period generally seen as the ‘golden age’ of Islam – the then ruler of the Abbasid caliphate, Harun al-Rashid, moved his capital from Baghdad to Raqqa.  Before the outbreak of Syria’s civil war in 2012, Raqqa had a diverse population of nearly 300,000 residents, making it the sixth largest city in Syria. Sunni Arab tribes made up the majority in the city, but there were also a significant number of minorities such as Kurds and Christians.”
The New York Times: U.S.-Led Airstrikes In Syria Killed Hundreds Of Civilians, U.N. Panel Says
“Airstrikes by the American-led coalition against Islamic State targets have killed hundreds of civilians around Raqqa, the militant group’s last Syrian stronghold, and left 160,000 people displaced, a United Nations panel said on Wednesday. The findings of the panel, which has been documenting the war in Syria with periodic reports almost since the conflict began more than six years ago, reinforced fears by humanitarian groups over the heavy loss of civilian life that would result from the American-led coalition’s airstrikes.”
Iraq
Reuters: Iraq Says Syrian Army Delegation In Baghdad To Discuss Borders Security
“A high level Syrian army delegation held talks in Baghdad with Iraqi counterparts on border security in the first public visit of its kind in years to coordinate the fight against Islamic State, the Iraqi defence ministry said on Wednesday. The Syrian army last week reached the Iraqi border in a move that could open an overland supply route from their allies in Iran, in a major concern for the United States and its own allies in the region. The Iraqi army’s chief of staff, Lieutenant General Othman al-Ghanmi, met in Baghdad with a ‘high-level delegation’ from the Syrian defence ministry on Tuesday to discuss controlling joint borders, according to a defence ministry statement.”
Reuters: Iraqi Forces Repel Islamic State Counter-Attack In West Mosul – Police
“Iraqi forces repelled a major counter-attack by Islamic State fighters at dawn on Wednesday in a district south of the Old City of Mosul, their remaining enclave in the city, a police commander said.  Dozens of IS fighters were killed in the operation to push back the militants, many of whom wore suicide vests, the commander told Reuters. Residents said the militants seized a number of blocks in the Danadan district of the northern Iraqi city before being driven out in fierce clashes. ‘Terrorists came from the Old City and attacked our forces using mortars and sniper shots. They managed to temporarily seize some buildings but we forced them to retreat after shelling their positions,’ said a federal police officer.”
Turkey
The Washington Post: Turkish Guards Will Be Charged In Embassy Protests, Officials Say
“D.C. authorities will announce criminal charges Thursday against 12 members of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail and the police force who authorities say attacked protesters outside the ambassador’s residence last month, according to two officials familiar with the case. Authorities have scheduled an 11:45 a.m. news conference with D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) and D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham. Police officials say arrest warrants have been issued and that the suspects, all believed to be in Turkey, are now wanted in the United States.”
Reuters: Turkish Minister Lands In Qatar Aiming To Help Ease Gulf Rift
“Turkey sent its foreign minister to Qatar on Wednesday as part of a drive to repair Qatar’s rift with fellow Gulf Arab states. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have broken off ties and imposed sanctions on Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism and courting regional rival Iran – allegations Doha denies. ‘We do not want any differences between our brothers in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries, and it is not enough to say that there is a problem without trying to resolve it,’ Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told the Qatari news agency QNA on arrival. ‘Turkey seeks to resolve the unprecedented crisis between brotherly countries in the GCC.’ President Tayyip Erdogan has cultivated close ties to Qatar, setting up a military base there, while preserving relations with Saudi Arabia.”
Reuters: Turkey Seeks Detention Of 189 Lawyers In Post-Coup Probe: Media
“Turkish authorities issued detention warrants for 189 lawyers as part of an investigation into followers of a Muslim cleric accused of orchestrating last July’s attempted coup, state-run Anadolu news agency said on Wednesday. The scope of purges that have also seen more than 130 media outlets shut down and some 150 journalists jailed has unnerved rights groups and Western allies, who fear President Tayyip Erdogan is using the coup bid as a pretext to muzzle dissent. The 189 suspects were sought by anti-terrorist police across eight provinces including Istanbul for alleged links to the network of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, the agency said. He has denied involvement in the failed putsch. Police have so far detained 78 of the lawyers, some believed to be users of ByLock, an encrypted messaging app the government says was used by Gulen’s followers.”
Reuters: Turkish Opposition Lawmaker Gets 25-Year Sentence In Espionage Case
“A Turkish court on Wednesday sentenced a lawmaker from the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) to 25 years in prison on spying charges, a move his party saw as an attempt to intimidate. Enis Berberoglu, the first CHP lawmaker to be handed prison time since the lifting of parliamentary immunities last year, was accused of giving an opposition newspaper video purporting to show Turkey’s intelligence agency trucking weapons into Syria. CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu said he would launch a march in protest against the conviction at an Ankara park on Thursday. Party officials said the march would head to Istanbul.”
Afghanistan
Business Standard: Taliban Arrests Five IS Fighters In Afghanistan
“Amid a widening rivalry between the Taliban and the Islamic State in Afghanistan, the Taliban said it had captured five IS militants in the northern province of Jawzjan, police said on Thursday. ‘A five-member delegation of IS group under Sayed Jalal was visiting Darzab district to organize its fighters when the Taliban militants on the way back captured them,’ Xinhua news agency quoted the police as saying.
Newsweek: ISIS Moves Into Osama Bin Laden’s Old Home In Afghanistan
“The Islamic State militant group (ISIS) has overtaken an area in Afghanistan once used as a headquarters for former Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. ISIS, the foremost killer of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan this year, captured Wednesday the complex of caves known as Tora Bora, located in the country’s eastern, restive Nangahar province. The advance reportedly followed a weeklong battle with the Taliban, a rival ultraconservative Sunni Muslim group whose affiliation with Al-Qaeda prompted the U.S.’s post-9/11 invasion of the country in 2001. As the U.S. prepares to mark its sixteenth year of involvement in the war-torn country, its forces now face a duel threat from both ISIS and Taliban fighters vying for influence over Afghanistan. ISIS’s latest conquest was not only indicative of the group’s power, but of a lack of preparedness on the side of U.S.-backed government forces.”
Yemen
Fox News: Crewman Injured After Yemen Rebels Fired Missile At UAE Ship, Saudi Coalition Says
“Houthi militants attacked a United Arab Emirates ship off the coast of Yemen Wednesday, injuring one crew member, the Saudi-led coaltiion said. The statement released by the state-run Saudi Press Agency said that the attack began after rebels fired a missile at the Emirati ship as it left Al-Mokha, a Red Sea Port. There were no damages to the ship but one crew member was injured, Reuters reported. The attack comes after an international naval coalition said it would increase its patrols of waters off Yemen over concerns about attacks on ships in the area.”
Egypt
The New York Times: Despite Public Outcry, Egypt To Transfer Islands To Saudi Arabia
“The fate of Tiran and Sanafir, a pair of small, barren islands in the Red Sea, is one of the most politically sensitive issues facing Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Since Mr. Sisi announced a plan to hand the islands to Saudi Arabia last year, he has faced an unusually virulent backlash. A top court ruled against the transfer, there were rare public protests, and an opinion poll found that a large majority of Egyptians bitterly opposed the idea. Yet Mr. Sisi may be about to get his way. On Wednesday, after three days of rowdy and emotional debate, Egypt’s Parliament voted to allow the contentious transfer of the islands to proceed. The decision did not come as a surprise — Mr. Sisi’s supporters dominate the largely pliant chamber, which is openly manipulated by his security agencies. The decision could yet be blocked in the courts.”
Middle East
The Times Of Israel: Israeli Plan To Double Size Of Qalqilya Enrages Settler Leaders
“An Israeli plan to double the size of the Palestinian city of Qalqilya in the northern West Bank has drawn anger from settlement leaders. The plan, Channel 2 news reported Wednesday, would see 14,000 new apartments built on 2,500 dunams (617 acres) in Israeli-controlled Area C surrounding the city. It would potentially double the city’s population from 50,000 to 110,000. Sources in the Defense Ministry told the TV station that the plan was not new, and was part of Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s carrot and stick approach that would ease the lives of Palestinians. But settler leaders reacted with outrage to the news.”
The New York Times: Finding Bravado, And Worry, At An Iranian Shrine Where ISIS Struck
“At least 17 people were killed and dozens more were wounded when five homegrown Islamic State fighters entered the two sites armed with assault rifles, grenades and suicide vests. It was the first successful assault in Iran by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. Many in Iran are trying to grasp the new reality, completely opposite the image of a strong and invincible country long presented to them by their leaders. The attack hit the Islamic republic in its political heart. Iran’s Parliament is home to 290 directly elected representatives. The Khomeini shrine is the resting place of the man who introduced political Islam to the world.”
Libya
BBC News: Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi Case: ICC Calls For Arrest Of Ex-Libya Leader’s Son
“The International Criminal Court (ICC) has called for the arrest and surrender of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, who was released by a militia in Libya last week after six years in jail. The son of late leader Col Muammar Gaddafi is wanted for alleged crimes against humanity during the rebellion that ousted his father in 2011. His location is unclear. The UN-backed government has condemned the release. It is feared that the move could fuel further instability in the country. Saif al-Islam was freed from jail last Friday by the Abu Bakr al-Siddiq Battalion militia in the western town of Zintan under an amnesty law. He has not been seen in public since then. A source told the BBC he was in the Tobruk area of eastern Libya.”
Nigeria
Reuters: On Boko Haram Front Line, Nigerian Vigilantes Amass Victories And Power
“His broken arm is in a bamboo splint, his torso pock-marked with shrapnel and his jaw wired together by a Nigerian army surgeon. But 38-year-old vigilante Dala Aisami Angwalla is undaunted by two nearly fatal brushes in the last year with Boko Haram, one involving a landmine, the other an ambush, and is determined to rid northeast Nigeria of the jihadists. It is a sentiment shared by thousands of other volunteer vigilantes who have been instrumental in checking Boko Haram’s progress but whose presence now casts a shadow over longer-term efforts to bring stability to the troubled Lake Chad region. ‘Why do I do it? Because it’s my country,’ the father-of-five told Reuters in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state and epicenter of Boko Haram’s bloody, eight-year campaign to build an Islamic caliphate in the southern reaches of the Sahel.”
United Kingdom
The Jerusalem Post: London Mayor Faces Calls To Ban ‘Terrorist Supporting’ Anti-Israel March
“Thousands of advocates have called on London Mayor Sadiq Khan to cancel an upcoming anti-Israel rally in the British capital due to concerns that the march propagates displays of antisemitism and terrorism. The controversial event is scheduled to be held in the UK on Sunday as part of the annual ‘Al Quds Day,’ which Iran initiated in 1979 to express support for the Palestinians and opposition of Israel’s existence and is held on the last Friday of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan. As of Wednesday afternoon, an online petition entitled ‘BAN The Extremist, Terrorist Supporting Al Quds March In London On June 18th’ had garnered nearly 8.5 thousand signatures.”
BBC News: Barking Man Charged With Encouraging Terrorism
“A man has been charged with encouraging others to commit acts of terrorism. Detectives from the Met Police counter terrorism command executed a search warrant at a home in east London on Tuesday. Officers arrested Khalid Javed Baqa, 52, from Barking. He was charged with the production and distribution of extremist material encouraging others to commit acts of terrorism, contrary to Section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006. He was remanded in custody at Westminster Magistrates’ Court to appear at the Old Bailey on 30 June.”
Germany
Deutsche Welle: Germany Presents Racism Action Plan, Invests Millions Into Preventing Extremism
“Germany’s Family and Interior Ministries have announced a new national action plan against racism. In tackling extremism, some 100 million euros are to be specifically invested in preventing Islamist radicalization. Newly-appointed Family and Youth Minister Katarina Barley (SPD) on Wednesday called to further strengthen efforts to prevent all forms of extremism, calling for a federal law on the prevention of extremism to stabilize projects and initiatives against, for example, right-wing extremism. Although there is now more money available for prevention, ‘we aren’t yet on target,’ Barley said on Wednesday. Announcing the findings of a report into extremism prevention, Barley said at a press conference in Berlin that in fighting Islamist extremism, ‘we must not wait until young people have become radicalized.’”
USA Today: Islamist Extremism: Germany Invests Millions To Prevent Radicalization
“Germany’s Family and Youth Minister Katarina Barley on Wednesday called for her country to strengthen its efforts to prevent all forms of extremism, calling for a federal law on the prevention of extremism to stabilize projects and initiatives against, for example, right-wing extremism. Although there is now more money available for prevention, ‘we aren’t yet on target,’ Barley said on Wednesday. Announcing the findings of a report into extremism prevention, Barley said at a press conference in Berlin that in fighting Islamist extremism, ‘we must not wait until young people have become radicalized.’”
Fox News: German Security Officials Agree On New Anti-Terror Measures
“Germany’s state and federal security officials have agreed upon new measures to strengthen their ability to fight terrorism and crime, including allowing authorities to monitor suspects’ use of WhatsApp and other messaging services. The dpa news agency reported Wednesday that German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere and his state counterparts agreed to broaden the current law governing authorities’ ability to monitor phones and text-messaging to include messaging apps, under the same restrictions. To better track identities of asylum-seekers, they’ve agreed on lowering the age that migrants entering the country are fingerprinted, from 14 to 6.”
Europe
Reuters: Kosovo Charges 9 Men With Plotting Attacks At Albania-Israel World Cup Match
“Kosovo prosecutors said on Wednesday they had charged nine Kosovar men with planning attacks at a World Cup soccer match in Albania against the visiting Israel team and its fans last November. Last year, Kosovar police arrested 19 people – including the nine charged on Wednesday – on suspicion that they had links with the Islamic State militant group and were planning attacks in Kosovo and neighboring Albania. At the time, fearing such attacks, Albanian authorities moved the Nov. 12 qualifier to a venue near the capital Tirana from a stadium in the northern town of Shkoder.”
Reuters: Finnish Security Service Raises Terrorism Threat Level
“The Finnish Security Intelligence Service (Supo) raised its threat level on Wednesday, saying it had become aware of more serious terrorism-related projects and plans in Finland. ‘The most significant terrorist threat in Finland is still posed by individual actors or small groups motivated by radical Islamist propaganda or terrorist organisations encouraging them’, Supo said in a statement after raising the threat level to elevated from low. The Nordic country has not witnessed attacks like other European countries, but Helsinki has grown more concerned after recent attacks in neighbouring Sweden and Russia.”
The Daily Caller: Exclusive: West Ignores Growing Terrorist Threat From ISIS Bosnian ‘Safe Havens’
“Western leaders are ignoring a growing terrorist nightmare originating from Bosnia as battle-hardened ISIS fighters return to the country and are finding protection in its Islamic ‘safe havens,’ The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group has learned. Bosnia and Herzegovina — a Muslim-majority country in southeastern Europe more popularly known as ‘Bosnia’ — have put out the welcome mat to the foreign fighters, making it clear that shelter is available to them. Bosnia was formerly part of Yugoslavia, one of the Soviet Union’s Eastern European satellites.”
Australia
BBC News: Man Arrested At Sydney Airport ‘Heading For Syria’
“A 22-year-old man has been arrested at Sydney Airport as he was allegedly attempting to leave for Syria. It is a crime for Australian citizens to travel to parts of Syria, including areas controlled by the Islamic State (IS) militant group. New South Wales Police said the man was arrested at 10:00 local time on Thursday (midnight GMT). They said it was part of an ongoing investigation and there was no impending threat to the public. The police shared a picture on Twitter showing two plainclothes officers outside the terminal leading the man in handcuffs.”
Counter-Terrorism
Sky News Arabia: Germany: Former Intelligence Chief Warns Of Funding Extremist Mosques
“Germany’s former intelligence director claimed the funding of mosques serving extremists in Europe, especially in his country, ultimately led to acts of terrorism that killed dozens in Germany and Europe. He outlined the critical role of Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood in this regard. The former director of German intelligence, August Hanning, called to stop the funding of mosques promoting extremism in Europe as part of the counter-terrorism effort in European countries. He named Qatar and Turkey in this context, when speaking about foreign funding in general, and in the Gulf region in particular. In an article in the German newspaper Söddeutsche Zeitung, titled “We Are Against Them,” August Hanning criticized political Islam, especially the Muslim Brotherhood. He said this group dominated the Manchester mosque, where the Manchester City suicide bomber had been radicalized.”
Muslim Brotherhood
The Seventh Day: Egypt: Committee Formed For Management Of Funds Of 1,500 Brotherhood Members
“The Criminal Court of Cairo decided to form a committee headed by a representative of the Ministry of Justice. Its members will come from the Ministries of Interior, Finance, Social Solidarity, and Local Development, along with representatives of the Central Bank of Egypt and the National Security Agency. Two additional committee members will represent the Egyptian Financial Regulatory Authority and the General Authority for Investment (GAFI). The committee will be in charge of overseeing all assets and properties owned by 1553 defendants in case No. 653 of 2014, which is publicly known as “Funding Terrorist Entities.” The Official Gazette published the ruling issued by the Criminal Court of North Cairo to include on the terror list over 1500 individuals affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, most notably Mohammed Abou-Treika and Safwan Thabet. The list was composed, based on the Terrorist Entities Law, after these individuals were accused of funding the group and harming the economy of Egypt.”
Elwatan: Egypt: Brotherhood Owner Of Mobile-Phone Shop Accused Of Hoarding Foreign Currency
“Forces belonging to Menofia Security Directorate, in cooperation with the National Security Agency, arrested an owner of a mobile telephone shop in the center of Menof on charges of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood. A security source in Menofia disclosed that police had arrested the 52-year-old suspect after finding huge sums of foreign currency in his possession. Police charged the shop owner with hoarding foreign currency to fuel the crisis in the currency market, in addition to joining the Muslim Brotherhood and financing banned groups.”
Hezbollah
Al-Quds Al-Arabi: Sources: US Sanctions Begin To Impact Donations Made By Hezbollah For Its Social Activities
“Information from inside Shiite circles in Lebanon indicates that the financial consequences of the imminent US sanctions are starting to have a detrimental effect on the societal donations made by Hezbollah. Sources disclosed that the budgetary constraints have reached healthcare institutions and schools affiliated with the Shiite group. On its part, Hezbollah is trying to instill high morale in its supporters and to stress that it will not be affected by any new sanctions as long as it has no bank accounts in Lebanon and abroad and as long as it makes only cash transactions. Note that Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah said in one of his past speeches that “as long as Iran has money, we have money … the same way we obtain the missiles we use to threaten Israel, we obtain our money. No law is going to prevent us from obtaining it.”
Houthi
Al-Arabiya: Houthi Group Seizes Tankers Loaded With Cooking Gas
“Residents in Marib province complained about the inaccessibility of cooking gas in shops, stations and sales outlets since the beginning of this week. Meanwhile, the price of one gallon comes to more than YR6,000 ($24) if available. Drivers of tankers in Dhamar province, south of Sanaa, related that Houthi militias seized tankers loaded with cooking gas after their owners refused to pay the heavy charges imposed by the Houthis, valued at SR1 million ($4,000) per tanker, for permission to enter Dhamar. The Dhamar General Hospital, under the Houthis’ control, has also imposed new fees on patients afflicted with cholera.”

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