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Terrorism News

A collection of open-source terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Jan 31, 2018

An Uzbek man who rammed a stolen truck into a crowd in downtown Stockholm in April, killing five and injuring 14, was charged Tuesday with terrorism, attempts to carry out a terror act and endangering others.

Rakhmat Akilov is the only suspect and has already confessed. He was arrested hours after he drove a stolen beer truck into a crowd of shoppers on a busy pedestrian shopping street and crashed it into an upscale department store in Stockholm's city center on April 7. A British man, a Belgian woman and three Swedes were killed.

"Akilov wanted to punish Sweden for taking part in the international coalition against (the Islamic State group)," prosecutor Hans Ihrman told a news conference.

Johan Eriksson, Akilov's defense lawyer, confirmed that was his client's motive. He said Akilov admits committing terror and exposing people to attempted murder, and has been cooperative during the investigation.

Read more - U.S. News & World Report

The United States has designated the political leader of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas as a terrorist and imposed sanctions on him.

The state department said Ismail Haniya had "close links with Hamas' military wing" and been a "proponent of armed struggle, including against civilians".

Hamas, which dominates the Gaza Strip, is already designated a terrorist group by the US, Israel, the EU and UK.

It denounced as "worthless" the blacklisting of Mr Haniya.

Read more: BBC News

Germany’s domestic intelligence chief wants the government to review laws restricting the surveillance of minors to guard against the children of Islamist fighters returning to the country as “sleeper agents” who could carry out attacks.

Hans-Georg Maassen, head of the BfV agency, told Reuters that security officials were preparing for the return of Islamic State fighters to Germany along with potentially “brainwashed” children, although no big wave appeared imminent.

Nearly 1,000 people are believed to have left Germany to join up with the Islamist militants. As the group’s presence in the Middle East crumbles, some are returning with family members.

Only a small number of the 290 toddlers and children who left Germany or were born in Syria and Iraq had returned thus far, Maassen said. Many were likely to still be in the region, or perhaps moving to areas such as Afghanistan, where Islamic State remains strong.


Read more:  Reuters

The Islamic State group and the Taliban are competing to take credit for a horrific spike in violence in Afghanistan over the last month, and analysts say both insurgent groups are growing in strength as security forces wither under their relentless attacks and a feuding government struggles to win over citizens.

Still, the two insurgent groups embrace different agendas and are at war with each other as well as the Afghan government, analysts say.

Recent large-scale attacks, which have included both suicide bombings and small arms fire, have left nearly 200 people dead and hundreds more wounded. Insurgents have targeted seemingly heavily secure areas in the heart of the Afghan capital, including an Afghan military academy on Monday and a hotel, owned by the government and frequented by foreigners, earlier this month. Using an ambulance to hide their deadly cargo, insurgents slipped passed checkpoints in Kabul’s heavily fortified center on Saturday to kill more than 100 people. They also targeted an international aid organization in eastern Jalalabad and a Shiite cultural center in Kabul.

Afghan Security Forces seem powerless against the onslaught.

Insurgents share the same goal of delegitimizing the governments they are fighting against, said Andrew Wilder, vice president of Asia programs at the U.S. Institute of Peace. However, in Afghanistan the similarity between IS and the Taliban ends there. Beyond toppling the Afghan government, the Islamic State affiliate and the Taliban have divergent goals, and where the Taliban are seen as possible negotiation partners in a search for peace, the IS is not.

The two groups have occasionally clashed on the battlefield.


Read more:  AP

In his first State of the Union address, President Trump announced that he signed a new executive order to keep the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay open. The move reverses an Obama-era order to close the detention center.

"I am keeping another promise," Mr. Trump said. "I just signed, prior to walking in, an order directing [Defense] Secretary [James] Mattis, who is doing a great job thank you, to reexamine our military detention policy and to keep open the detention facilities in Guantanamo Bay."

"I am asking Congress to ensure that, in the fight against ISIS and al Qaeda, we continue to have all necessary power to detain terrorists, wherever we chase them down."

Mr. Trump has said he wanted to keep Guantanamo open and "load it up with some bad dudes." However, this is the first formal reversal of former President Obama's effort to close it down.

President George W. Bush opened the prison after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to hold and interrogate suspected enemy combatants. At its peak in 2003, it held 680 detainees. Mr. Bush transferred about 500 out before leaving office.

Mr. Obama ran for office on a platform of closing the prison, and signed an executive order on Jan. 22, 2009 to close it within a year. But he was unable to completely shut it down during his presidency. During his time in office, he transferred 197 detainees out, leaving 41.

The order says the U.S. may transport additional detainees to the detention center in Cuba, when necessary to protect the nation. It requires the defense secretary to recommend criteria for determining the fate of individuals captured by the U.S. in armed conflict, including transferring individuals to Guantanamo Bay.


Read more:  CBS News