Showing posts from November 20, 2016

Islamic State And Terror In The Social-Media Age

Earlier this month I attended the Web Summit conference in Lisbon where, among an assorted crowd of politicians, coders, and Silicon Valley millionaires born in the 1990s, I sat on a panel discussing the role narratives play in 21st-century terrorism. Speaking alongside me was Helan Abdulla -- known as Helly Luv, a Kurdish-Finnish singer, dancer, and actress -- who told our audience a story. As a Kurd, Luv told us, she had taken an interest in the Syrian civil war from its beginnings. In a February 2014 music video titled Risk It All and filmed inside a Syrian refugee camp filled with Kurdish refugees fleeing the war, Luv proudly sang about Kurdish independence dressed in high heels and a short dress, while backing dancers held AK-47s. Luv received a barrage of online abuse -- including death threats -- both for its political content as well as its supposed provocative imagery. Things only worsened with her next video, Revolution, which continued the central themes of

Rewards Offered For Capture Of North Caucasus Insurgency Leaders

The Chechen Interior Ministry and the Federal Security Service (FSB) directorate for Chechnya have posted rewards of up to 5 million rubles (approximately $80,000) for information leading to the capture of two North Caucasus militant leaders, neither of whom has shown any sign of life for at least a year. The two men are Chechen Aslan Byutukayev, 42, and Rustam Aselderov, 35, a Dargin. Byutukayev (aka Emir Khamzat) emerged as second in command to self-styled "Caucasus Emirate" head Doku Umarov in late 2010 and by his own admission mentored the young Ingush who perpetrated the suicide bombing at Moscow's Domodedovo airport in January 2011 in which 37 people were killed and a further 180 injured. Chechen fighters who participated in the  December 2014 attack  on Grozny were quoted as saying Byutukayev masterminded that attack. In June 2015, Byutukayev was reported to have  pledged allegiance  to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State (IS) extremist gro

What’s up with military airfield in Russian North Caucasus

Builders of Federal Special Construction Agency are completing improvement of a runway in Mozdok airfield located in the Russian North Caucasian Republic of North Ossetia, the Agency’s press office told Construction.RU today. According to the Agency’s source, at present, the runway number two is 90% completed. A total construction readiness of the airfield’s facilities is 84,5%. Currently, 235 builders and 67 items of building and road machinery are engaged in the construction works at the site. Apart from construction of a new runway, the main taxi track is being extended and a number of other taxi tracks are under construction. Construction works are scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. Source:

Private contractors from US seek employment in Chechen anti-terrorism center – Kadyrov

About 10 security specialists from the United States have applied for work in the unique international anti-terrorism training center that is being constructed in Chechnya, the republic’s leader has told the press. “ We cannot deny there are people in the United States who have extensive experience of licensed and ‘black’ special operations in Latin America, Asia and Africa. Private specialists from the USA are interested in our project. My aide who oversees the power bloc in the government, Daniil Martynov, has told me that he had received about 10 applications from US instructors, their names are well known in the professional community and we will study them ,” Ramzan Kadyrov said in an interview with Interfax. The Chechen leader emphasized that the vacancies in the counter-terrorist center can only be filled by Americans who work as private specialists because US state agencies have sanctions against them in the republic. Read more Chechen special ops center to invite

Indonesia arrests militant planning bomb strike on Myanmar embassy

JAKARTA, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Police in Indonesia have arrested a suspected Islamist militant and seized a large quantity of bomb making material that he planned to use in attacks on government buildings and the Myanmar embassy in Jakarta next month, a police spokesman said. The suspect, arrested at his home in Majalengka regency in West Java earlier this week, was identified as Rio Priatna Wibawa, 23, who is believed to be a member of an Indonesian group that supports Islamic State. Local media reported that the amount of explosives seized would have resulted in a blast twice as powerful as the bomb that killed 202 people in a Bali nightclub in 2002. Police also confiscated some books, a black flag, rounds of bullets and several weapons, including an air rifle and a machete, police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar told a press conference on Saturday. "We are now trying to prove how he had planned everything, whether he was working alone and how he managed to get the money to buy

Terrorist Fires Turn Israel Into A Blazing Inferno [PICTURES]

Terrorist elements are responsible for starting a series of fires which have engulfed Isreal in recent days, according to Israeli officials. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu assured Israelis that those responsible for  setting the blaze  would be brought to justice. “It’s a crime for all intents and purposes and in our opinion it is terror for all intents and purposes,” said Netanyahu while visiting the Israeli city of Haifa Thursday. He added that the perpetrators may have been incited to set the fires, but did not note who may be responsible. Haifa, Israel’s third largest city, endured the most damage from the blaze. Dry conditions and windy weather spread the flames through the city’s northern neighborhoods, forcing residents to flee the area. Ofir Gendelman, Netanyahu’s spokesman for Arab media, tweeted several pictures of the fires, which show the flames and smoke covering the sky. He noted that some Arabs and Palestinians praised the fires. “Arabs [and] Palest

French Authorities Foil ISIS-Directed Christmas Terror Plot Against Disneyland

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins confirmed Friday that five men arrested last week in connection with planning a terror plot against Disneyland Paris and police headquarters were receiving direct orders from the Islamic State. The five men, arrested last Sunday in Strasbourg and Marseille, were  looking to strike on Dec. 1 , Reuters reports. Molins stated the men  received direction from an ISIS member  abroad via “encrypted applications popular among terrorists.” French counter-intelligence had apparently been  spying on the group for about eight months  before moving in for arrests, after which point police extracted information on the attack plans from a smartphone. Just before the arrests, the men  downloaded the Periscope app , suggesting a possible plan to livestream the attack they intended to carry out. Authorities also found documents in a Strasbourg house pledging allegiance to ISIS and its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Out of the five men arrested, two had traveled

Suspects in foiled terror attack 'took orders' from IS group in Iraq, Syria

Paris Prosecutor François Molins said Friday that five men arrested in weekend raids in Strasbourg and Marseille had received orders from the Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq or Syria and were planning a terror attack for next week. “An imminent attack was thwarted,” Molins told a news conference. "A Strasbourg commando team and a man arrested in Marseille were told to acquire weapons by a commander from the Iraqi-Syrian region via encrypted apps that are popular among terrorists," he said. Molins spoke a day after anti-terrorism authorities took the unusual step of holding the men – four French and one Moroccan national – in custody without charge beyond the maximum period, citing a new anti-terrorism measure. Handwritten documents pledging allegiance to  the IS group  and glorifying martyrdom were found at the house in Strasbourg, Molins said. Two of the five suspects had travelled to the Turkey-Syria border via Cyprus in March 2015. Molins said the suspec

Erdogan, Putin discuss Syria as Turkish-backed rebels push to Al Bab

ISTANBUL: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan discussed an attack on Turkish troops in Syria with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Friday as Turkish-backed rebels pressed an offensive to take the Syrian city of al-Bab from the militant Islamic State group. The Turkish military has said Thursday’s air strike, which killed three of its soldiers, was thought to have been carried out by the Syrian air force. It would be the first time Turkish soldiers have died at the hands of Syrian government forces. Russia is Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s main military backer, while Turkey backs the rebels fighting to oust him. Erdogan told Putin that Turkey respected Syria’s territorial integrity and that its military incursion, launched in August to repel the IS from the border, showed its determination to fight militant groups, sources in the Turkish presidency said. The Kremlin said the discussion on Syria was constructive and that both sides agreed to continue active dialogue t

View from abroad: No safe place for Muslim reformers

SO here’s a question: in this interconnected, global and interdependent world, where can free-thinking, liberal Muslim thought-leaders and reformists live and work in peace? They can’t do it at home. Most of the Muslim world is a mess. Muslim majority nations are either ruled by nasty autocrats, military strongmen or flawed and fragile democrats. In many places, to speak up is to find yourself dead or in prison. If you are lucky, you can go into exile. Not for long, however. Escape routes to the West are closing fast. Islam-bashing has become the favourite sport not just for Donald Trump, the president-elect of the United States and his friends, but also among populist parties across Europe. Rants against Islam unite members of the “populist international” on both sides of the Atlantic. And as the far right rides to victories in many Western countries in the coming months, expect the anti-Islam vitriol to get nastier. So critical thinkers and outspoken Muslims are caught betw

Pak Female polio worker shot at in Bannu

Parents of children being immunised in a polo vaccination drive in Bannu shot at a female polio worker after she vaccinated their children on Thursday, police said. District Police Officer Qasim Ali Khan said that the parents of the children shot at the polio worker as she was leaving their house after vaccinating their children. The parents did not want anti-polio drops to be administered to their child. Polio remains endemic in Pakistan after the Taliban banned vaccinations, attacks targeted medical staffers and suspicions lingered about the inoculations. They stepped up attacks targeting polio immunisation teams after Pakistani doctor Shakeel Afridi was recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency to set up a hepatitis immunisation drive as part of efforts to track down Al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden. The persistence of this crippling, sometimes fatal virus shows just how difficult wiping out a disease can be, even amid campaigns seeing thousands of vaccinators go into the

Terrorism: bill passed to enhance punishments

ISLAMABAD: The Senate passed on Friday a bill to amend various laws with the objective of strengthening the criminal justice system and enhancing punishments for various offences to effectively curb terrorism and extremism. The bill, proposing amendments to the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860; the Police Act, 1861; the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898; the Qanoon-i-Shahadat, 1984; and the Protection of Pakistan Act, 2014 (POPA), was moved by Minister of State for Interior Baleeghur Rahman. However, it was pointed out that POPA had lapsed and, therefore, no amendment to it could be introduced. The bill was approved, dropping the proposed amendment to POPA, through a voice vote. Through an amendment to Section 182 of the PPC, the punishment for giving false information to a government servant that causes him to use his lawful powers to injury was increased from a maximum of six months to up to seven years in case the offence about which information has been given is punishable with death

4 suicide bombers, 2 soldiers killed in attack on FC camp in Mohmand

At least four militants were killed in retaliatory fire by security forces when they launched a "suicide attack" on a camp of the Mohmand Rifles Headquarters in Mohmand Agency on Saturday. Two soldiers of the Frontier Corps (FC) were killed in the attack in Ghalanai, DG Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Asim Bajwa said on Twitter. He said security forces had "defeated" the attack, killing all four suicide bombers. At least 14 FC men were injured in the attack.  Follow Gen Asim Bajwa   ✔ @AsimBajwaISPR Security Forces valiantly defeated Suicide Attack on Ghalani Camp in Mohmand Agency killing all 4 Suicide Bombers.Own 2 sldrs martyred 8:50 AM - 26 Nov 2016     797 797 Retweets     2,715 2,715 likes The Jamaat-ul-Ahrar militant group claimed responsibility for the attack. Four suicide bombers attempted to enter the camp at 6:20am and attack a mosque in a residential area where a large number of soldier