CEP: Eye on Extremism April 28,2022






Eye on Extremism

April 28, 2022


CBS News: Irvine Man Indicted For Attempts To Assist Multiple Terrorist Organizations


“Federal prosecutors indicted an Irvine man on Wednesday, after he was allegedly found to have made multiple attempts in aiding terrorist organizations. The 24-year-old man, Jason Fong, was formally accused of attempting to assist two separate terrorist groups. Most recently, he was accused of allegedly trying to send weapons and supplies to Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham, or HTS, and Hamas. Prosecutors also further alleged that in 2020 Fong attempted to send training material on tactical, combat and weapons to HTS, which included information on how to make improvised explosive devices and chemical weapons. Again in 2020, he was accused of seeking to raise funds for Hamas. A press release states that Fong knew at the time of each of these attempts that the groups had been designated as foreign terrorists organizations by the United States government. Fong faces up to 20 years on each of the four counts of indictment. The investigation was being conducted by the FBI, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Homeland Security Investigations, the Irvine Police Department and the New York Police Department. Fong was previously arrested on weapons charges in 2020, after his home was raided by FBI agents.”


Associated Press: Denmark Arrests Man Over Promotion Of IS On Social Media


“A man was arrested in Denmark on Wednesday on suspicion of violating anti-terrorism laws by allegedly promoting the Islamic State group on social media. Police said domestic security agency PET took part in the operation, but they did not give further details, including the suspect’s age. “We still have a longer investigation ahead of us,” Copenhagen Police Inspector Dannie Rise said. PET reported last month that Denmark’s “the biggest terrorist threat” remains people who sympathize with Islamic militants, including the Islamic State group and al-Qaida. The agency said “a significant number of terrorist attacks have been averted in Denmark” and the threat against the country “remains serious.”


United States


Fox News: Former Alabama Student Gets 7 Years For Hiding Terrorism Funds To Al Qaeda


“A former University of Alabama student was sentenced Wednesday to seven and a half years in prison for concealing financing to the Islamic terrorist group, al Qaeda. Alaa Mohd Abusaad, 26, was also ordered to spend 10 years on supervised release following the prison term, prosecutors said in a statement. Abusaad pleaded guilty in 2019 to a charge of concealing terrorism financing after she told an undercover FBI employee how to send money to fighters engaged in terrorism and that money “is always needed,” authorities said. She told the agent to use fake names and addresses when sending electronic transfers to avoid detection by police. Prosecutors said Abusaad also introduced the undercover agent to a financial facilitator who route money to “brothers that work with aq (al Qaeda).” The defense argued Abusaad's childhood and mental health issues made her vulnerable to the dangers of the internet, WBMA-TV reported. Court documents described a young girl ostracized by being the only Muslim family in housing projects in Tuscaloosa, where she faced bullying from other children and a teacher.”




Al Monitor: Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham Hands Over Islamic State Jihadists To Turkey


“Reports about Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) handing over foreign jihadis to Turkey in exchange for being removed from international terrorist lists has sparked anger from jihadis opposing the group in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib. Saleh al-Hamwi, a former jihadi leader, revealed in a tweet April 18, “What it used to do in secret has become public today. Today, [HTS] handed over 50 foreign detainees to Turkey, and previously it submitted terrorist files to Western intelligence services, which prompted the International Crisis Group and the Syrian Dialogue Center to call for removing it from the terrorist lists and make it a partner in the fight against terrorism.” While the International Crisis Group has not directly called for de-listing HTS, in a February 2021 report they argued that Washington, in cooperation with Ankara and European allies, should press the group to address “key local and international concerns, and to define clear benchmarks which (if met) could enable HTS to shed its 'terrorist' label.” Several media sources who are in the know on HTS’ activities in Idlib told Al-Monitor that HTS has recently handed over 50 militants of foreign nationalities to the Turkish authorities, which HTS arrested over the years, as part of its many campaigns against rival jihadis in Idlib, where it kept them in its prisons to decide their fate within the framework of negotiations between the movement and the intelligence services of the prisoners’ countries of origin.”




Voice Of America: Afghan ‘Fighting Season’ Ushers In New Anti-Taliban Groups


“With the onset of the “fighting season” in Afghanistan, small pockets of anti-Taliban resistance appear to be forming across much of the country. The development, coupled with a spike in deadly attacks by the Islamic State terrorist group, could threaten the Taliban's hold on power eight months after their takeover of Afghanistan. In recent weeks, about a half-dozen previously unknown “resistance” groups have announced their existence, vowing to fight the Taliban alongside the National Resistance Front, the only prominent anti-Taliban group. The new groups have names such as the Afghanistan Freedom Front and the Afghanistan Islamic National & Liberation Movement. But beyond claims made on social media, little is known about their kinetic power. Researchers who have studied the groups say while they all share the goal of toppling the Taliban’s eight-month-old government, they are hobbled by a lack of unity and coordination. “It will take some coordination and unity to be able to have a more decisive effect in terms of contesting Taliban governance,” said Peter Mills, Afghanistan researcher at the Institute for the Study of War, who recently published a study of anti-Taliban groups.”




Arab News: Saudi Arabia Condemns Terrorist Bombing At Pakistan’s Karachi University


“Saudi Arabia strongly condemned the terrorist bombing that took place near a Chinese institute at Pakistan's Karachi university killing a number of people. The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs renewed in a statement the Kingdom’s solidarity and stand with Pakistan against violence, extremism and terrorism. It also stressed Saudi Arabia’s rejection of these criminal acts that are incompatible with all religious principles and morals and human values, the Saudi Press Agency said. The ministry offered condolences to the families of the victims, and the Pakistani government and people. A Pakistan separatist group warned Wednesday of more deadly attacks on Chinese targets, a day after a woman suicide bomber killed four people — including three teachers posted from Beijing. Three Chinese teachers and a Pakistani driver were killed near the gate of the Confucius Institute at Karachi University, when the bomber detonated explosives next to their minibus. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged Pakistan to ensure the safety of all Chinese citizens and interests in the country and to launch a full investigation. It also advised citizens to “take strict precautions, and do not go out unless necessary.”


Middle East


Reuters: Israeli Soldiers Kill Palestinian In W. Bank Clash, Militant Group Says


“Israeli soldiers shot dead a Palestinian in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, medics and a militant group said, in clashes that erupted after an arrest raid. It was the second time in two days that Israeli forces have killed a Palestinian during a late-night incursion. The Israeli military said its forces had apprehended two suspects in what it described as “counter-terrorism activities” in the city of Jenin. Subsequently it said dozens of Palestinians threw rocks and explosives devices and opened fire at the soldiers, who responded with live ammunition. The Palestinian foreign ministry condemned the raid, saying the slain man, Ahmad Massad, had been summarily executed. Video circulated on social media appeared to show at least one Palestinian firing a rifle in the street as more gunshots were heard. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group said in a statement that Massad was one of its members and that he had been killed “as he confronted the occupying forces”. Israel has stepped up incursions in the West Bank following a string of recent deadly Palestinian and Arab attacks which killed 14 people in the country, including three police officers. The subsequent raids into Palestinian towns have sparked deadly clashes in which at least 17 Palestinians, including gunmen and civilians, have been killed by Israeli forces.”




The National: Egypt Has Lost More Than 3,000 In Fight Against Militants Since 2013, Says El Sisi


“Egypt’s army and police have lost 3,277 men fighting militants since 2013, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has revealed. The Egyptian leader said the police and army also saw 12,280 service members sustain injuries that prevented them from returning to active service. This is the first time any Egyptian government official has given a figure for the number of army and police personnel killed or injured in the years-long battle against militants based in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula. The war against the militants in northern Sinai has been waged with barely any media access to the rugged region bordering Gaza and Israel, with the army the sole source of information on operations there. The militants have for years fought against the Egyptian government, but the number of attacks spiked after the 2013 ousting of an Islamist president by the military, led by Mr El Sisi, who was defence minister at the time. The removal of Mohammed Morsi of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood took place amid mass street protests against his divisive one-year rule. “I am citing these (casualty) figures lest people forget now that things have quietened down in Sinai,” Mr El Sisi said. “This country paid a very high price to get to where it is now.”




Al Monitor: Over 20 Killed In Anti-Muslim Attack In Ethiopia: Islamic Group


“More than 20 people have been killed in an attack on Muslims in the northern Ethiopian city of Gondar during the funeral of a Muslim elder, a local Islamic group said on Wednesday. The Islamic Affairs Council of Amhara, the region where Gondar is located, described Tuesday's attack at a cemetery as a “massacre” by heavily armed “extremist Christians.” The attackers “fired a barrage of heavy machine guns and grenades... leaving many dead while others who were injured have been taken to hospital,” the religious body said. “More than 20 have died due to yesterday's attack which also saw the looting of Muslim properties,” it added. The mayor of Gondar, Zewdu Malede, told Ethiopian public broadcaster EBC that the “incident was carried out by a few extremist individuals.” “There has been some destruction and loss of lives from all sides,” he said, without offering further details about the identity of the attackers or the victims. “The situation was (brought) under control by 7:00 pm.” The cemetery where the attack occurred neighbours a mosque and church and has been the subject of an ongoing dispute between Muslims and Orthodox Christians, who are the dominant group in Ethiopia.”


All Africa: Somalia: Ethiopia Arrests Four Over Hotel Bomb Attack


“Ethiopian authorities have arrested four suspects in connection with the Sunday bomb attack at a hotel in the historic city of Harar. In a statement on Tuesday, Harari Regional State Police Commissioner, Nesri Zekerya, said that the four suspects are being investigated. “Police are monitoring the situation closely,” the statement added. Eight people were injured after a bomb exploded inside the hotel in the capital of Harari Regional State, regional Police Commissioner said. The explosion happened on Sunday night as Ethiopians across the country were celebrating the Easter holiday. Four of the eight victims were treated for minor injuries and returned home immediately, while the rest remain in critical condition and are receiving treatment at nearby hospitals. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, the second in the region in less than two weeks. Sunday night's attack comes one day after Ethiopian authorities announced the arrest of 34 suspected members of Al-Shabaab terror group. In a statement issued on Saturday, the Ethiopian National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) said the Shabaab suspects were planning to carry out terror attacks in various parts of the country during the Easter holiday.”


United Kingdom


BBC News: 'Terror Threat' Boy Spared Custody Over Synagogue Bomb Twitter Post


“A boy who downloaded manuals for explosives and tweeted that he was a “domestic terror threat” who would “bomb a synagogue” has avoided custody. The 16-year-old was arrested in Bootle, Merseyside, in 2021 after authorities in the US were alerted to his post. Liverpool Youth Court heard he had also been pictured doing a Nazi salute and a “white power” symbol. However, chief magistrate Paul Goldspring said he believed detaining the boy may undo his rehabilitation. Handing the teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, a 12-month referral order, he said a “non-custodial sentence would be in the public interest”. The court heard how the boy, who is autistic, was arrested on 28 May 2021 after taking to Twitter to post a message which read: “I am a domestic terror threat. I will bomb a synagogue.” The hearing was also told he had searched online for “nearest synagogue to me”. Prosecutor Diana Wilson said on arrest, the boy told his mother the post “was a joke”, but a subsequent search of his devices showed he had downloaded handbooks about weapons. Ms Wilson said the documents were “lengthy, difficult to obtain, detailed descriptions of how to make bombs”. She also said the boy had created numerous posts which were anti-Semitic, racist, transphobic, homophobic and reflected an incel ideology.”


New Zealand


NZ Herald: Violent Extremism: White Supremacism Biggest Source Of Illegal Content Online - DIA Report


“White identity-motivated extremism continues to be the leading driver of online content investigated and shut down by Internal Affairs. The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) today released its first annual report into online violent extremism content, covering 2021. The report is in part a result of the Christchurch Call - efforts by governments to eliminate such content online led by New Zealand and France after the March 15 attacks on Christchurch mosques in 2019 - and aims to produce a yearly snapshot of the volume of content investigated and removed. It shows white identity-motivated extremist ideology accounts for the largest portion of investigated content by far. Nearly three years after the mosques terror attack, the massacre livestream continued to be shared and promoted, particularly by white-identity motivated extremists, it found. The DIA said it highlighted the huge impact the attacks continued to have on New Zealand's online violent extremist environment. Twitter was the biggest source of content referred to the department, and the biggest source of content deemed illegal which it then sought to have removed. However Twitter did act on all cases of content flagged for removal by the DIA.”




Axios: Experts Warn About Rising Extremism In Gaming


“Far-right extremists are a growing presence in gaming, researchers have found, while the industry’s hidden metrics, lackluster content moderation and head-in-the-sand attitudes get in the way of assessing and combatting the problem. Why it matters: Gaming and game-adjacent platforms have grown into some of the largest entertainment industries in the world, leading to massive opportunities for recruitment and organizing by extremist groups. A December 2021 report from the Extremism and Gaming Research Network (EGRN) found that innovative efforts to prevent and counter violent extremism in gaming spaces are “nearly undetectable.” State of play: Extremism in games is “a growing threat,” Alex Newhouse, the deputy director at the Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism, said in a Games Developers Conference talk last month. “Games are becoming increasingly social ... those social hooks provide the structures and the infrastructure for extremists to organize, mobilize and spread their hateful and extreme ideologies,” Newhouse said. What's happening: In games stretching from military shooters like Call of Duty to open creative environments like Roblox, extremist groups spread abusive messages and foster relationships.”


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