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Terrorism News

A collection of open-source terrorism news from around the world.

Haroon Aswat pleaded guilty Monday to terrorism charges related to his efforts to establish a terrorist training camp in the U.S., the Department of Justice said. Mr. Aswat was arrested in Zambia in 2005, deported to the U.K. a month later and then extradited to the U.S. in 2014. He pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and one count of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization. Each count carries a maximum term of 10 years in prison. “With this guilty plea, Haroon Aswat is being held accountable for his provision of material support to al Qaeda and his role in a plot to establish a terrorist training camp on American soil,” said Assistant Attorney General John Carlin. After the completion of his prison sentence, Mr. Aswat will be deported.

According to the DOJ, Mr. Aswat and co-defendants Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, also known as Abu Hamza, Ouassama Kassir and Earnest James Ujaama attempted to create a terrorist training camp on a rural parcel of property located in Bly, Ore. Correspondence among the men indicated they were stock-piling weapons and ammunition in Bly, which was described as resembling Afghanistan.

Read more:  Wall Street Journal

The Islamic State group released a new video Sunday showing its fighters cutting off the heads of eight men described as Shiite Muslims, who were led to their execution by teenage boys.  The eight men were beheaded in the central Syrian province of Hama. Blindfolded and with their hands tied behind their backs, the men are seen being led forward in a field by teenage boys, the Daily Mail reported.

The video was posted on social media. It could not be independently verified but it appeared to be genuine, the Associated Press reported. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in the United Kingdom said the video appeared authentic.  The video shows the hostages led in a field by teenage boys, where they were handed over to a group of fighters. A boy wearing a black uniform is seen handing out knives to the fighters before the hostages are killed.

An Islamic State fighter speaks in the video, calling the hostages "impure infidels" and saying the military campaign against the Islamic State will make the group stronger.  "Our swords will soon, God willing, reach ... allies like Bashar and his party," the man said in reference to Syrian President Bashar Assad and Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group that is fighting on his side.

Read more: USA Today

The Nusra Front, Syria's al-Qaida affiliate, is consolidating power in territory stretching from the Turkish border to central and southern Syria, crushing moderate opponents and forcibly converting minorities using tactics akin to its ultraconservative rival, the Islamic State group.  But while the Islamic State group gets most of the attention largely because its penchant for gruesome propaganda, the Nusra Front quietly has become one of the key players in the four-year civil war, compromising other rebel groups the West may try to work with while increasingly enforcing its own brutal version of Islamic law.

Its scope of influence now abuts the Golan Heights bordering Israel, and its membership largely composed of Syrian nationals refuse any negotiations with the government of embattled President Bashar Assad, further complicating the brutal conflict.  "The Nusra Front will most likely outlast ISIS in Syria, and will represent a severe and existential threat to the aspirations of the Syrian people in terms of a pluralistic, democratic society," said Fawaz A. Gerges, director of the Middle East Center at the London School of Economics, using an alternate acronym for the extremist group.

Read more: ABC News

A blogger has been hacked to death in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, a month after a prominent atheist writer was killed in a similar attack.
Washiqur Rahman was attacked close to his home in Dhaka's Begunbari area, a police official told AFP news agency.  Two students at an Islamic seminary have reportedly been arrested.
Last month, Avijit Roy, a US-based writer who had criticised religious intolerance, was killed in a machete attack while he was visiting Dhaka.  His death sparked fresh concerns for freedom of speech in Bangladesh, where several secular-minded writers have been targeted by militants. 
Mr Rahman was killed on a busy street in Dhaka. Two of the suspected attackers, armed with meat cleavers, were caught near the scene.  The suspects told police they had targeted Mr Rahman because of his anti-Islamic writing, a police official told the Associated Press news agency.
Read more: BBC

Clashes between Afghan forces and the Taliban have cut off the main supply of power to Afghanistan's Helmand and Kandahar provinces, according to residents and the chief of the national power company.

Both areas are militant strongholds and major centers of opium production, which partly funds the insurgency. Key drug smuggling routes cross both provinces, making them a strategic priority for both Taliban and coalition forces.

The two provinces rely on the Kajaki plant in Helmand for the bulk of their already severely limited supply of electricity, but intense fighting in the area has halted around 90 percent of power. 

Read more: Reuters