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BBC The bodies of 11 Nigerien soldiers missing since Tuesday's ambush have been discovered, bringing the death toll to 28.Militants killed four US soldiers at the same place in 2017.Niger and other countries in the Sahel have been facing a growing militant threat from several Islamist groups.The Islamic State group has said it was behind the ambush but there has been no confirmation of this claim by the authorities.Militants belonging to affiliates of al-Qaeda are also active in the region.They are most active in neighbouring Mali, where French troops intervened in 2013 to prevent them from advancing on the capital, but they often stage cross-border raids.How did the attack happen?The soldiers were in pursuit of militants who attacked a high security prison 50km (30 miles) on Tuesday outside the capital, Niamey, a government spokesman told the BBC."One of the soldiers' vehicles drove into a landmine and then the assailants started...
AL.com By Mike Cason  and Carol Robinson An Alabama State Trooper was called to the scene on Dec. 13, 2017 when a vehicle overturned in Chilton County.The driver, Siraj Wahhaj, was with an adult and seven children and said they were going from Georgia to New Mexico for a camping trip, according to news reports at the time.The trooper’s report said he found no camping equipment but noted Wahhaj had five guns, a bag of ammunition and a bulletproof vest.“Mr. Wahhaj seemed to be very concerned about his weapons and stated several times that they were his property and that he owned them legally,” according to the report, shared by CBS News.It was the last time one of those children -- Wahhaj’s 3-year-old son Abdul-ghani Wahhaj -- was seen alive. Read more: https://www.al.com/news/2019/05/it-was-in-our-backyard-alabama-terrorist-camp-report-shocks-macon-county.html...
The Wall Street Journal U.S. Embassy Staff to Leave Iraq as Iran Tensions Mount Directive comes amid warnings of heightened threats in the Middle East from Iran-allied militias, as lawmakers press Trump administration for details on reasons for withdrawalsBy Ghassan Adnan in Baghdad and Courtney McBride and Siobhan Hughes in WashingtonThe Trump administration ordered a partial withdrawal of its diplomats from Iraq on Wednesday, as Washington warned of heightened threats from Iran and Tehran-backed Shiite militias.This week, a U.S. official said Iran likely was behind recent attacks on oil tankers in waters off the United Arab Emirates, something Tehran has strenuously denied. Last week, the administration deployed an aircraft carrier, a bomber task force and other equipment and personnel, citing unspecified threats from Iran. Read more: https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-embassy-staff-told-to-leave-iraq-amid-iran-tensions-11557910345...
The Washington Examiner Thousands of ISIS fighters remain undefeated in underground cells, coalition general admits by Jamie McIntyre Despite the destruction of the Islamic State's physical caliphate in March, thousands of its fighters have simply gone underground and remain a significant threat, carrying out deadly attacks, a senior coalition military officer said Tuesday.“It has been reorganizing itself into a network of cells and intent on striking key leaders, village elders, and military personnel to undermine the security and stability in Iraq and Syria,” British Maj. Gen. Chris Ghika, a senior spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, said from Baghdad in a briefing for Pentagon reporters.“Daesh fighters are still ambushing security patrols, detonating [improvised explosive devices], and conducting kidnappings,” said Ghika, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS. “Despite its territorial setbacks, Daesh is still having successes, and its ideology still inspires people around the world.” Read more: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/defense-national-security/thousands-of-isis-fighters-remain-undefeated-in-underground-cells-coalition-general-admits...
By Clarion ProjectA teenager from Fort Worth, Texas says he helped recruit for a Pakistani terror organization. Michael Kyle Sewell, 18, could face 20 years in jail after he pleaded guilty to using social media to recruit for Lashkar-e-Taiba. LeT, the organization behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks that left 166 dead and many more wounded. Sewell provided contact details for someone he believed could help facilitate travel to Pakistan for a potential LeT recruit. A Department of Justice statement offers more details: Sewell then provided the coconspirator, who he spoke to on social media, with contact information for an individual he believed could facilitate the coconspirator’s travel to Pakistan to join LeT. Unbeknownst to Sewell and the coconspirator, the facilitator was an undercover FBI agent. Sewell and the coconspirator discussed what the coconspirator should say to the undercover agent who posed as the facilitator, in order to gain the facilitator’s...
U.S. News BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Twitter is making headway in tackling online terrorism content on its platform as it suspended over 166,000 accounts in the second half of last year, about a fifth less than in the previous period, the social media company said on Thursday.Together with Facebook and Google, Twitter is under pressure from regulators and governments worldwide to remove extremist content more rapidly or face more heavy-handed legislation.Announcing its latest transparency report, the company said its technical tools were producing results, with 91 percent of accounts promoting terrorism content proactively suspended by its internal technology, the majority of which happened before their first tweet because the data used to set them up raised red flags. Twitter suspended 166,153 accounts between July and December last for promoting terrorism, a 19 percent drop from the 205,156 accounts suspended in the previous six months. Read more: https://www.usnews.com/news/technology/articles/2019-05-09/twitter-suspended-166-153-accounts-for-terrorism-content-in-second-half-2018...

What makes a hotel safe from terrorism?

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The Telegraph by Hugh Morris, Travel writer It was after the 2015 terror attack in Sousse, Tunisia, in which left 38 tourists, including 30 Britons, were killed, that David Wood and Bob Quick realised holidaymakers had no way of knowing how capable their hotel was of keeping them safe, whether from low-level crime or terrorism.“There was no way of checking the level of hotel security,” said Wood, a former police officer of 31 years. “You could check that the sheets were clean, the food was good, but there was nothing that told you how safe you would be. A hotel with five stars doesn’t necessarily have good security.”So Wood and Quick, also a former officer, launched Global Secure Accreditation. It lets hotels demonstrate that they have... Read more: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/news/safest-hotels-in-london-global-secure/...

Europe's Three Concerns About Iran

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Europe's Three Concerns About Iran   by Amir Taheri  •  Gatestone Institute   The question is: who will take the reins in Iran and make sure that the vast country does not morph into yet another "ungoverned territory" in the heart of the Middle East? I think the question is designed to dodge the issue of confronting a rogue regime that has provoked the current crisis. Iran has an old and well-established bureaucracy, dating back to the 16th century, and capable of operating within a strong culture of governance. Despite the serious damage done to state structures by the mullahs and their acolytes, the reservoir of experience and talent available is vast enough to ensure governance even on autopilot. The mullahs are playing with fire and, "He who plays with fire risks being burned!"     Talking to European think-tankers and policymakers in recent weeks, one gets the impression that,...

May: Spotlight on Global Jihad

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Spotlight on Global Jihad (May 2-7, 2019) The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center At the Israeli Intelligence Heritage and Commemoration Center Main events of the weekIn the Syrian arena, most of the fighting took place between the jihadi organizations and the Syrian army in the Idlib area. During the past week, the intensity of the incidents in the area increased: The Syrian army attacked bases of the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham in the southern Idlib area. In addition, Russian and Syrian aircraft carried out intensive airstrikes against rebel targets in the rural areas of Hama, Idlib, and Aleppo. The rebel organizations (once again) launched rockets at Russian aircraft at the Hmeymim airbase and attacked Syrian army targets using armed UAVs. In the Iraqi arena, the Iraqi security forces began extensive mopping up operations against ISIS in the deserts of the northwestern part of the country. The...
Daily Sabah PKK terrorist on Turkey’s most wanted list killed in operations in eastern TunceliTurkish security forces in the eastern province of Tunceli killed four PKK terrorists, including one sought by Turkey in the orange category, in counterterrorism operations, the Interior Ministry said in a statement Monday.The terrorists were killed in ongoing operations in the rural areas of Pülümür-Kızılmescit in Tunceli.The orange-listed terrorist was identified as Zilan Tek, who went by the code-name "Şilan Siirt." She had a TL 600,000 ($98.397) bounty on her head.The Interior Ministry's wanted list is divided into five color-coded categories, with red marking the most wanted, followed by blue, green, orange and gray, depending on the sensitivity of their criminal activity.Meanwhile, the provincial governor's office said in a statement that counter-terrorism operations and investigations to detect the terrorists' locations across the province are continuing in the region.Read more: https://www.dailysabah.com/investigations/2019/05/13/pkk-terrorist-on-turkeys-most-wanted-list-killed-in-operations-in-eastern-tunceli/...
ABC News By Bram Ianssen, associated press It was a chilly January evening, and Khadija Abd and her family had just finished supper at their farm when the two men with guns burst into the room.One wore civilian clothes, the other an army uniform. They said they were from the Iraqi army's 20th Division, which controls the northern Iraqi town of Badoush. In fact, they were Islamic State group militants who had come down from the surrounding mountains into Badoush with one thing on their mind: Revenge. "How can we live after this?" Khadija said. The three brothers were the providers for the entire family. "They left their children, their livestock, their wives, and their elderly father who doesn't know what to do now." A year and a half after the Islamic State group was declared defeated in Iraq, the militants still evoke fear in the lands of their former...
Forbes Countering Online Extremism Is Too Important To Leave To Facebookby Kalev LeetaruSocial media has a complicated history with terrorism. As groups like the Islamic State harnessed the power of social platforms for recruitment, incitement and propaganda, the initial response from Silicon Valley was to refuse government calls to take action in deference to terrorists’ free speech rights. In the face of overwhelming public pressure and threats of new legislation across the world, the Valley made an abrupt about-face and began actively touting its counter-terrorism efforts. Yet, whistle-blower claims that Facebook's counter-terrorism efforts are far from as successful as the company publicly claims and new reporting of just how pervasive and easily discoverable terrorism content is on Facebook reminds us how little we actually know about the success or failure of Silicon Valley’s counter-terrorism efforts.Facebook has become in many ways the public face of Silicon Valley’s embrace of machine learning...

ISIS ‘caliphate’ heading west

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Asia Times ISIS ‘caliphate’ heading westBy Faisal Al YafaiWhen Islamic State’s self-styled “caliph,” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, reappeared last week in his first video message in five years, most observers focused on his attempt to rally what remains of his largely defeated group. Less attention was paid to an almost throwaway reference to two pledges of allegiance to the group from jihadist militias in the West African countries of Mali and Burkina Faso. But the intention of that second message was to reinforce the first. After being wiped out in Iraq and Syria, Islamic State (aka ISIS) is searching for other territories in which to operate, and the Sahel region is a prime candidate.Their presence has not gone unnoticed. In the same week that Baghdadi’s message appeared, German Chancellor Angela Merkel landed in those two countries, pledging nearly US$40 million in financial aid in addition to the nearly 1,000 German troops...
FBI uncovers homegrown terror training camp in Alabama ABC 33/40by KRISTINE FRAZAO, Sinclair Broadcast Group WASHINGTON (SBG) - At first glance, it looks like an abandoned dump.But this plot of land in Macon County, Alabama is described in an FBI search warrant as a "makeshift military-style obstacle course" belonging to a small group of terrorists led by Siraj Wahhaj who owned the property up a long dirt road but just a few miles from downtown Tuskegee.    "Just because you’re in a small town or a small state does not mean you might not potentially have individuals engaged in the types of activities that would call into question threats to national security," says Tim Fuhrman, Former Special Agent with the FBI field office in Mobile, Alabama.The property, similar to another compound in New Mexico the group is now linked to where federal prosecutors say Wahhaj and four other suspects were training...
  KETV 7 'Tracking Terror' UNO students study extremists for Department of Defenseby Sarah Fili OMAHA, Neb. — A group of local college students believes their work may stop the next terrorist attack, both within the country and abroad.The Department of Defense funds the project at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.The students come from all around the United States, and all different majors, to work in the program.It's all online, tracking social media, educational articles and even terrorist autobiographies to figure out who's who in a terror organization and what they want.It’s housed inside a small computer lab on the UNO campus. But it’s home to some of the government's most important work.“We focus on a variety of issues related to violent extremism, terrorism,” said Michael Logan, a research associate and criminology student.The group researches ISIS, Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and others.Logan is a Ph.D. candidate with a background in criminology. He's on...
ABC News by Byjulie watson and elliot spagat, associated press As the 19-year-old college student sped away in his 2012 Honda Civic, he dialed 911 and said: "I just shot up a synagogue."   He told the dispatcher that he thought he had killed some people and that he did it "because Jewish people are destroying the white race."   The chilling account in a federal affidavit unsealed Thursday was the most detailed yet of a gunman's attack on a Southern California synagogue that killed a woman and wounded three others during Passover service last month in the San Diego suburb of Poway.   It describes a deeply disturbed man filled with hatred who claimed to be inspired by the attacks on the mosques in New Zealand and the shooting at the Pittsburgh synagogue last fall.   The Department of Justice filed 109 hate crime and other charges against the...
The Hindu Pakistan uses ‘terrorism as tool’ against India: former CIA director by PTIFormer CIA acting director Michael Morell, in a podcast discussion with Kurt Campbell and Rich Verma on Thursday, alleged that Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries in the world.Pakistan, obsessed with India as a perceived existential threat, has “created terrorist groups to be a tool” in its struggle against India, a former top American spymaster has said.Former CIA acting director Michael Morell, in a podcast discussion with Kurt Campbell and Rich Verma on Thursday, alleged that Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries in the world.Mr. Campbell, the former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian Affairs and Verma, the former US Ambassador to India, now regularly host ‘The Tealeaves’ Podcast of the Asia Group.“What they don’t realise is that it’s impossible to keep those terrorist groups under control. And that eventually comes back...
WGBH News Boston's New FBI Special Agent In Charge Seeks To Fight Terrorism And Strengthen Counterintelligence Joseph Bonavolonta is the new special agent in charge of Boston's FBI headquarters located in Chelsea. By Marilyn SchairerThere's a new leader at the Boston Field Office of the FBI. Since late January, 45-year-old Joseph Bonavolonta is settling into his new role as special agent in charge after previously working in the office from 2013 to 2017. Bonavolonta has been with the FBI since 1996, and has also worked in the FBI headquarters in Washington and New Jersey.WGBH News reporter Marilyn Schairer sat down with Bonavolonta to discuss his vision for the office, his aspirations and goals for the FBI, and his relationship with the community. This transcript has been edited for clarity.Marilyn Schairer: What are your goals for the Boston FBI office as the new special agent in charge?Joseph Bonavolonta: What a lot...
SiLive.com Extremist, terrorist content falls through Facebook cracks; Rep. Rose says more needs to be doneBy Kristin F. Dalton STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Facebook said it’s doing all it can, and has been successful thus far, in keeping extremist and terrorist content off of its platform.However, a complaint from the National Whistleblower Center to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which was obtained by the Associated Press, alleges Facebook isn’t as successful in its attempt as it lets on. The complaint alleges that over five months in 2018, researchers monitored pages by Facebook users who affiliated themselves with groups the U.S. State Department has identified as terrorist organizations. Read more: https://www.silive.com/news/2019/05/extremist-terrorist-content-falls-through-facebook-cracks-rep-rose-says-more-needs-to-be-done.html?outputType=amp...
Voice Of America Fears Grow Islamic State's Foreign Fighters Ready to Carry On by Jeff SeldinWASHINGTON — Even as the Islamic State’s caliphate was clinging to life with its last defenders cornered in a small town in northeastern Syria, the terror group managed to shock those who would eventually see it die.Instead of waiting out about 1,000 civilians and 300 or so hard-core IS fighters who had retreated to Baghuz, the U.S.-led coalition watched for weeks in late February and March, as upwards of 30,000 civilians and 5,000 fighters, slowly surrendered.“Very much unanticipated,” a senior U.S. defense official said at the time, describing what he called “the magnitude of humanity” flowing out of the terror group’s final shred of territory.“We continue to be surprised by the numbers,” the official added.But when it comes to the Islamic State terror group, numbers have always been a challenge for the United States and...

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