CEP: Eye on Extremism April 27th, 2022






Eye on Extremism

April 27, 2022


The New York Times: Antisemitic Attacks In New York Are At Highest Level In Decades


“Orthodox Jews assaulted on busy streets in Midtown Manhattan and in quiet neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Swastikas drawn on a Long Island home and spray painted onto Wall Street’s Charging Bull statue. A bomb threat against a Jewish community center in Albany, and fliers in Dutchess County that warned residents, “Jews want to take your guns.” The number of antisemitic incidents in New York increased by 24 percent last year to the highest level in decades, including a surge in the number of assaults, as well as both criminal and noncriminal incidents targeting Jews, according to an annual report released on Tuesday by the Anti-Defamation League. The group said it counted 416 antisemitic incidents across the state, including 51 assaults, the most physical attacks it has recorded since it began compiling such data in 1979. The report was based on information collected from local law enforcement agencies and Jewish community leaders and individuals. The surge was part of a nationwide trend that saw 2,717 antisemitic incidents across the United States, including 88 assaults, an increase of 167 percent from the year before. That violence came after a yearslong string of antisemitic killings, including in Pittsburgh; Poway, Calif.; and Jersey City that have left the Jewish community on edge.”


Associated Press: German Prosecutors Suspect Terror In Extremist Blackout Plan


“German federal prosecutors on Tuesday took over an investigation of anti-government extremists who allegedly planned to cause a long nationwide blackout and kidnap the country’s health minister, saying there’s evidence that the group constituted a terror organization. Four German men were arrested on April 13 over their alleged roles in the plot, which authorities suspect was aimed at producing “conditions similar to civil war” and ultimately bringing down the government and parliamentary democracy. Federal prosecutors, who in Germany handle terrorism and national security cases, said they were stepping in because there are sufficient indications that the suspects may have founded or been members of a terrorist organization. The men are also suspected of preparing a serious act of violence and violating weapons laws. Investigators have said that the suspects were associated with the protest movement against coronavirus restrictions and with the Reich Citizens movement, which disputes the legitimacy of the post-World War II German constitution and, by extension, the current government. Authorities said at the time of the arrests that the group’s declared aim was to destroy electricity supply facilities and cause a long blackout across the country as part of its goal of creating chaos. Police seized 22 firearms, including a Kalashnikov rifle, along with hundreds of rounds of ammunition, thousands of euros in cash, and numerous gold bars and silver coins.”


United States


The New York Times: Youngest Guantánamo Detainee Is Cleared For Release


“The youngest detainee at Guantánamo Bay, a Yemeni man who has spent his entire adult life in U.S. custody, has been cleared for release, the Pentagon disclosed on Tuesday, but must wait for the Biden administration to find a country willing to offer him rehabilitation. At a Periodic Review Board hearing on Jan. 25, an unidentified U.S. military officer described the detainee, Hassan bin Attash, as believing that “his capture and subsequent detention had changed the trajectory of his life.” The officer said the now-cleared prisoner was influenced by American culture during his 20 years of detention, which according to a Senate study included at least 120 days at a C.I.A. black site. Mr. bin Attash, who was born in 1982 or 1985, was captured in a Pakistani security services raid on Sept. 11, 2002, along with a defendant in the Sept. 11, 2001, case, Ramzi bin al-Shibh. Mr. bin Attash’s older brother, Walid, is also accused of helping plot the Sept. 11 attacks. But Hassan bin Attash has never been charged with a crime. Of the 37 wartime detainees at Guantánamo, 20 have now been provisionally approved for transfer. Twelve have been charged with crimes, including the convicted Qaeda courier Majid Khan, who completed his sentence last month but does not have a release arrangement.”




Voice Of America: Female Bomber In Pakistan Kills 3 Chinese Nationals, Local Driver


“Police in Pakistan said Tuesday three Chinese nationals and their local driver were killed in a suicide bombing of a van in the southern city of Karachi. Senior police officers told reporters the victims had been traveling to the city's Chinese-built Confucius Institute when the blast hit their van at the entrance. Those killed included the director of the institute, which offers Chinese language graduate classes, and two female teachers. Also killed was their Pakistani driver. Another Chinese national was injured in the attack. Ghulam Nabi Memon, the Karachi police chief, said the blast might have been the work of a suicide bomber but an investigation was underway. He noted that an initial review of closed-circuit video from the site showed that a person dressed in a black burqa walked up to the van just before the explosion. Local television channels later aired footage showing a female attacker detonating the bomb as the slow-moving van was entering the institute. An outlawed separatist group known as the Baluch Liberation Army reportedly took responsibility for the bombing, saying a woman carried out the attack. It was not immediately possible to verify the militant group's claims from independent sources.”




The Times Of Israel: Police Seize 100 Grenades Smuggled From Lebanon, In Suspected Terror Plot


“Israeli security forces foiled an attempt to smuggle dozens of grenades and two firearms into Israel from Lebanon on Monday night, in what police suspect was part of a terror plot. According to the Israel Police, some 100 fragmentation grenades and two rifles were found in a bag left on the border by two suspects. “The suspicion is that they were intended to be used to carry out terrorist attacks,” police said. Security officials said they were investigating whether the smuggling was conducted on behalf of the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah. Officials have warned that Hezbollah is attempting to arm Arab Israelis in order for them to commit terror attacks in the event of another surge in violence between Jews and Arabs. “The fact that fragmentation grenades have been seized, an unusual weapon that has not yet been seized, raises the suspicion that they were intended to carry out attacks against crowded civilian places,” police said. The military published a video showing two suspects approaching the border. Hezbollah’s al-Manar network reported that the Israel Defense Forces launched flares over the Wazzani river area, close to the town of Ghajar, during the smuggling attempt. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett hailed the operation, repeating the suspicion that the weapons were intended to be used in terror attacks, while asserting that authorities will “continue until we suppress crime in the Arab community.”


Middle East


Al Monitor: Palestinian Shot Dead In Israeli 'Counter-Terror' West Bank Raid


“A Palestinian was killed Tuesday when Israeli forces stormed a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank in what the army called a “counter-terrorism” operation that sparked violent riots. The deadly shooting was the latest in a wave of bloodshed in the West Bank and Israel as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the Jewish holiday of Passover overlapped this month. The Palestinian health ministry said 20-year-old Ahmed Ibrahim Oweidat “succumbed to critical wounds sustained by live bullets to the head, at dawn today in Aqabat Jaber camp” near Jericho. Two other men were wounded by live fire when the “undercover” forces raided the camp overnight, the official Palestinian news agency Wafa said. Israel's army said in a statement to AFP that soldiers had conducted an overnight operation in Aqabat “to apprehend wanted suspects”. “During the operational activity, dozens of Palestinians violently rioted and attacked the soldiers,” it said, adding that no Israeli troops were hurt. “The rioters burned tyres and hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at the soldiers. The soldiers responded with riot dispersal means and live ammunition.” Clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians are common in the West Bank, a territory occupied by Israel since 1967, but recent weeks have seen a surge in unrest.”




Sahara Reporters: Breaking: Nigerian Troops, Civilian JTF Killed Several ISWAP, Boko Haram Terrorists, Recovered Weapons In Borno – Army


“The Nigerian Army has said troops have neutralised several members of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and Boko Haram in Borno State. The army said the operation was carried out in conjunction with the Civil Joint Task Force (CJTF) on Tuesday. It noted that weapons and ammunition were recovered by the joint assault team of the army and CJTF. In a post on its official Twitter handle on Tuesday, the Nigerian Army said, “Gallant troops of 195 Battalion in conjunction with members of CJTF on a clearance operation neutralized several ISWAP/BokoHaram at Kasha Kasha In Borno State today 26 April 2022. Weapons & ammunition amongst others were also recovered.” Similarly, the Nigerian Army on February 10, 2022, tweeted, “Troops of 149 Task Force Battalion in conjunction with CJTF while on fighting patrol today 10 Feb 2022 neutralized scores of BHT/ISWAP terrorists in Dunga Lawanti village near Gubio in Borno State. Troops recovered four AK-47 rifles, two motorcycles amongst other items.”




French Army Watches For Bombs And Potholes As It Withdraws From Mali Base | Reuters


“The French military left a remote base in northern Mali before dawn last week for the last time, one hundred vehicles forming a miles-long convoy across the barren desert terrain. Helicopters whirred above, air support for hundreds of troops in trucks and armoured cars leaving the camp near the town of Gossi. A team of sappers led the way, looking for explosives hidden on the sandy floor. "We are in the middle of the desert, on a road with big potholes and with a real direct risk from enemies who can lay mines or attack us with a car bomb," said Lieutenant Imran, part of a tactical team charged with protecting the convoy. This is what France's withdrawal from northern Mali looks like: painstaking and slow, through hostile territory that its forces have failed to secure in ten years of conflict. The departure from Gossi, which follows similar withdrawals from bases in Timbuktu and Kidal, is part of a staggered pullout announced by France in February, prompted by worsening violence and a breakdown in relations between the two countries.”




Associated Press: Hunger Grips Burkina Faso Due To Increasing Jihadi Violence


“Martine Roamba’s 10-month-old daughter weakly tugs at her mother’s breast searching for milk. The malnourished baby has been struggling to feed since birth as her mother hasn't had enough to eat to produce sufficient breastmilk since fleeing her village in northern Burkina Faso last year when jihadis started killing people. Seated on a hospital bed with other severely malnourished children and their parents on the outskirts of Burkina Faso's capital, Ouagadougou, 30-year-old Roamba tries to calm her crying daughter. “It’s very worrying and we’re praying to God that the baby doesn’t deteriorate into an even worse situation,” she said. Hunger is soaring across conflict-ridden Burkina Faso, a result of increasing violence linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group, which has killed thousands and displaced millions, preventing people from farming. Some 3.5 million people are food insecure, with nearly 630,000 expected to be on the brink of starvation, according to the latest food security report by the government and U.N. agencies. This is an 82% increase from last year of people facing emergency hunger.”


Reuters: At Least One Killed In Attack On North Benin Police Station


“At least one police officer was killed and several wounded in an attack on a police station in north Benin, an area affected by a spillover of militant activity in neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger, two police sources said on Tuesday. Unidentified assailants raided the Monsey police station in the northeastern commune of Karimama, less than 50 km (30 miles) from the border with Niger, before sunrise on Tuesday. A policeman was killed, several others wounded and the police station was set alight, said the sources, who did not wish to be named. Benin's army has not officially communicated on the incident and its spokesman did not respond to a request for comment. It was the latest in a string of deadly attacks in northern Benin, where groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State have spread from West Africa's Sahel region. Five soldiers were killed earlier this month when an army convoy struck an improvised explosive device planted in northern Benin's Pendjari National Park. Growing insecurity in the West African country has pushed park rangers and anti-poaching units to collaborate with army and police forces in their battle against the region's spiralling insurgency.”


Africanews: Burkina Faso Attempts Uncertain Dialogue With Armed Groups


“Community leaders and fighters from local armed groups have begun talks with an uncertain outcome in Burkina Faso, with the endorsement of the military junta that took power in the country facing jihadist violence since 2015. In early April, the junta that overthrew elected president Roch Marc Christian Kaboré on 24 January announced the creation of “local dialogue committees” with Burkinabe groups with no links to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS), which have been destabilising Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso through violence for several years. In Burkina Faso alone, jihadist violence has killed more than 2,000 people in seven years and forced at least 1.8 million people to flee their homes. When the jihadist attacks began, the enemy “was essentially crossing borders,” notes François Zoungrana, commander of the Special Intervention Unit of the National Gendarmerie (USIGN), which is spearheading the fight against jihadism. “Currently, the enemy is essentially composed of Burkinabe citizens” and “is very often invisible and confused with the population”, he says, which “forces us to rethink the war, the way we wage war.”


United Kingdom


The Independent: ‘Charismatic’ Terrorist Prisoners To Be Isolated In Jail ‘Separation Centres’


“Dangerous and influential terrorist prisoners are to be isolated from the main prison population to prevent them radicalising other inmates, the Government has announced. Justice Secretary Dominic Raab said a new team – set up at a cost of £1.2 million – will identify the most influential terrorists so they can be moved to one of the Prison Service’s three separation centres. Mr Raab said the Government would not allow “cultural and religious sensitivities” to prevent it taking firm action on terrorism. The move comes as a review of terrorist activity in jails in England and Wales by the Government’s independent reviewer of terrorist legislation, Jonathan Hall QC, is published. It follows a series of high-profile cases, including the 2019 London Bridge attack when Usman Khan, a terrorist prisoner out on licence, stabbed two people to death. The threat from terrorism is evolving, so our response must adapt. In 2020 Brusthom Ziamani, who was serving a 19-year sentence for plotting to behead a soldier, was convicted of attempted murder for trying to hack an officer to death in the maximum-security Whitemoor jail. Khairi Saadallah, who was given a whole life sentence last year for murdering three men in a terror attack in a Reading park, had been befriended by a radical preacher while serving an earlier prison term.”


The National: UK Anti-Terror Report Calls For Ban On Funding Groups That Undermine Prevent Scheme


“Counterterrorism experts have called on the UK government to ban funding of the Muslim Council of Britain, Cage and other groups which do not support its anti-extremism Prevent strategy. Former prime minister David Cameron said organisations critical of the UK's counterterrorism work were “enabling terrorism” and described Prevent as a “vital tool”. A report published on Tuesday by the Policy Exchange is calling for the Home Office to set up and run a Centre for the Study of Extremism, a communications unit to combat disinformation. It would work in tandem with a due diligence team to ensure government departments are not supporting or funding groups “that disseminate false narratives and conspiracy theories about Prevent, who campaign against counterterrorism or counterextremism efforts”. It names the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), Muslim Engagement and Development (Mend) and Cage in its report as organisations which have “sought to undermine Prevent and counterextremism efforts”. The report, 'Delegitimising Counter-Terrorism The Activist Campaign to Demonise Prevent', was led by Sir John Jenkins, who played an active role in Sir John Chilcott’s Iraq Inquiry and was previously asked by Mr Cameron in March 2014 to lead a policy review into the Muslim Brotherhood.”




Foreign Policy: ISIS Can’t Even Direct Lone-Wolf Attacks Anymore


“The jihadi Islamic State group recently called on its supporters to resume attacks in Europe while the West is focused on Russia’s Ukraine invasion. In a speech posted online last week, Islamic State spokesman Abu Omar al-Muhajir asked supporters to take advantage of the “crusaders fighting each other” by launching a global offensive to take revenge for a former Islamic State chief killed during a raid by U.S. special forces in northwest Syria earlier this year. He also asked sympathizers in Israel to “arm themselves” against the Israeli state and claimed that only the return of an Islamic caliphate could liberate Palestinians. Since the Islamic State was territorially defeated in 2019, analysts have been debating whether the group will reemerge as a major threat. That conversation became urgent in January when the group carried out a prison break in Hasakah, northeast Syria, to free thousands of its members. In 2020, the group claimed an average of 45 attacks in Syria every month. It has also gained strength in Afghanistan and in parts of Africa over the last few years. At least two recent terrorist attacks in Israel, in the cities of Beersheba and Hadera, were claimed by Islamic State sympathizers.”


Reuters: Military Unit In Moldovan Breakaway Region Hit By 'Terrorist Attack' - Media


“The Security Council of Moldova's breakaway Transdniestria region has reported a “terrorist attack” on a military unit near the city of Tiraspol, the TASS news agency reported on Tuesday. According to Novosti PMR, a local news agency, it was one of three such attacks on the region, after blasts tore through Transdniestria's state security HQ and two explosions damaged old Soviet-era radio antennae. Transdniestria is a breakaway, pro-Russian region of Moldova on the border with Ukraine.”


Southeast Asia


Al Jazeera: Bangladeshi Jailed For Life For Attack On Prominent Novelist


“A court in Bangladesh has sentenced a man to life imprisonment for stabbing one of the country’s most renowned authors, who the attacker accused of insulting Islam. Foyzul Hasan was convicted on Tuesday under “anti-terror” laws over the 2018 attack on science fiction writer and professor Muhammad Zafar Iqbal, who survived the ordeal. The 28-year-old assailant was caught by students and teachers after stabbing Iqbal in the head and neck at the author’s university campus in the northeastern city of Sylhet. He later told police that his target was “an enemy of Islam”. Hasan was not linked with any group but was encouraged to carry out attacks after reading material online, Judge Nurul Amin Biplob said in his verdict. The judge said Hasan believed a children’s book written by Iqbal mocked and defamed Solomon, one of the Biblical prophets also revered in Islam. A co-defendant of Hasan’s was sentenced to four years in jail while four others were acquitted, Public Prosecutor Mominur Rahman Titu told AFP news agency. Iqbal, 69, is a bestselling writer and celebrated secular activist. The author became a household name through his books that included science fiction, children’s stories, and other fiction and non-fiction, but in recent years he has received criticism, particularly on social media, for his political stands.”


The Counter Extremism Project depends on the generosity of its supporters. If you value what we do, please consider making a donation.