5 Incidents to Catch Up On by Intelligence Fusion 3/5/2023

 



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Intelligence Fusion Weekly Newsletter Email Banner 2023

Friday 3rd March 2023

Hi there,

 

Here's your weekly rundown of the global security landscape, highlighting key incidents that have taken place in each region in the last seven days;

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EUROPE

Greece

On the night of Tuesday 1st March, a passenger service carrying 350 people collided with a freight train in the area of Tempi in central Greece. The crash happened after the trains ended up on the same track. The passenger train was derailed and the front carriages burst into flames. The death toll has reached 57 at this time, while 48 people have been hospitalised and 56 more are still missing. Rescue and recovery operations are ongoing. The station master in Larissa has been charged with manslaughter by negligence and has admitted to having a share of responsibility in the accident. The lack of investment in the country’s railway system due to the austerity during Greece's economic crisis in the 2000s is also believed to have contributed to the crash. The Transport Minister has resigned and has stated that he would assume responsibility for the authorities' failure to maintain the railway system in good condition.

 

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’s statement after the train crash focused on human error as the cause of the accident which has caused widespread anger. Rail workers held a one-day strike to protest poor infrastructure and dangerous working conditions while they accused the government of neglect. Thousands of people have participated in the protests that have erupted following the crash. Some of the protests turned violent and clashes between protesters and riot police broke out in Athens and Thessaloniki. Rioters lit fires in the streets and attacked police stations and office buildings of the Hellenic Railways Organisation throwing stones and firecrackers. Protests are very likely to continue across the country over the next few days causing disruptions and violent riots are likely to occur again. Far-left groups are likely to be particularly active during these events taking this opportunity to promote anti-government sentiments and are likely to participate in acts of vandalism.  

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NORTH AMERICA

USA 

There have been major disruptions due to a severe winter storm moving across the USA. The storm started in the Western parts of the country, moved towards the Midwest and has now reached the Northeast. In northern Arizona, several highways and interstates were closed along with schools, businesses, public facilities and medical centres. Related power outages were also reported and many flights were cancelled. In California, more than 165,000 customers were left without power due to strong winds. Following that, there was another widespread blackout with 46,000 residences in Los Angeles County being left without power. Multiple highways were closed and thousands of flights were cancelled across the state. San Bernardino County declared a state of emergency as residents were trapped in their homes and motorists were left stranded.

 

A major outage happened in Michigan due to an ice storm and around 740,000 homes and businesses were without power. In Oklahoma, there were at least seven tornadoes prompted by the severe storms, which injured 12 people. Two more tornadoes were reported in Kansas. Extensive damages and power outages were caused and roads were shut down. Heavy snowfalls have been reported Northeast mainly in east central New York and western and central Massachusetts. A winter storm warning is now in effect in parts of Minnesota and North Dakota.

 

Power has been restored in some areas but many remain without power. The storm will very likely continue to cause travel disruptions across the Midwest and Northeast parts of the country while snowfalls could continue in Western states. Cities at risk for severe storms include Dallas, Memphis, Little Rock, Louisiana and Mississippi. More power outages seem very likely and it is estimated that the storm is also likely to cause heavy rainfall and flooding.

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MIDDLE EAST & ASIA

Huwara, Palestine

The killing of 2 Israelis has led to violent mob reprisals in the town of Huwara. On the 26th February, two brothers were killed in a terrorist attack most likely connected to an earlier botched IDF raid in Nablus. Their car was rammed as they were driving and they were then shot at close range. Following this, settlers entered the town and set fire to a number of houses and vehicles. Nine Palestinian families were reportedly rescued from burning homes by Israeli forces. The Palestinian Health Ministry said one man was shot dead by Israeli fire but it is unclear if the victim was shot by security forces or armed settlers who were present. Reports suggest that 30 homes have been burned and Palestinian Red Crescent said its medics treated 390 people with at least one stabbed.

 

The incident has also emerged as a charged political issue across the Israeli spectrum with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu comparing recent protesters opposed to his judicial overhaul to those who rampaged in Huwara. For their part, anti-government protesters were heard chanting “Where were you in Huwara?” to the police. The far-right has also seized on the incident for political capital with Otzma Yehudit MK Limor Son Har-Melech claiming the village was destroyed by Palestinians instead of Israelis. Finance minister Bezalel Smotrich, who handles administration for the West Bank, has called for the village to be wiped out.

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AFRICA

Democratic Republic of Congo

M23 rebels captured the coltan mining town of Rubaya on 26th February after advancing in areas west of Sake, located 25 km west of Goma. Although the Congolese armed forces took control of the town on 28th February, fighting has caused thousands more to flee to Sake where they join other internally displaced people living in dire conditions.

 

According to a new timetable adopted by East African leaders, "all armed groups", including the M23, must withdraw by March 30, starting from 28th February. Although the M23 has withdrawn from Matanda, Bihambwe and Rubaya, they remain in control of the Mushaki frontline. Living conditions have worsened in Goma, with the M23 controlling three of four roads leading to the city. Furthermore, UN OCHA has suspended all humanitarian flights in conflict areas of North Kivu and Ituri provinces after a helicopter operated by WFP was shot at near Goma.

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SOUTH AMERICA

Argentina 

On the 1st March, a rural fire between Campana and General Rodríguez in Buenos Aires Province damaged a transmission line triggering safety protocols which ceased operations at the Atucha I nuclear power plant. This outage caused an electricity blackout affecting approximately 40% of the national grid.

 

Outages were reported from 16:00 and affected over 20 million people amid heatwave conditions across eleven provinces with temperatures consistently around 36C/97F. Buenos Aires recorded the hottest summer since records began over the summer period of 2022-2023 with an average temperature of 25.6C/78.8F.

 

People and businesses should be aware of the risk to health from high temperatures across Argentina and the disruption caused by intermittent or widespread power outages. Also, from the possibility of increased demonstrations linked to climate change and rising global temperatures. 

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