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Terrorism News

A collection of open-source terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Dec 5, 2018

The Global Terrorism Index 2018 showed the decline was most pronounced in Iraq and Syria. Islamic State tops the list of deadliest terror groups, but far-right extremism is also on the rise. For the third consecutive year, deaths caused by terrorism are down globally, according to the Global Terrorism Index 2018 report published on Wednesday by the Institute for Economics and Peace. "The total number of deaths fell by 27 percent between 2016 and 2017, with the largest falls occurring in Iraq and Syria," the report said.

However, despite both Middle East countries seeing the biggest improvement in sheer numbers, they still ranked in the top three countries most impacted by terrorism. In total, Iraq recorded more than 5,000 fewer deaths as a result of terrorism last year, while Syria had more than 1,000 fewer compared to 2016.

The military defeat of the "Islamic State" (IS) militant group in Iraq and Syria resulted in the significant drop in terrorism-related deaths in the Middle East as well as in Europe. "ISIL has now lost most of its territory and sources of revenue and is actively redirecting. "Despite its reduced capacity, ISIL remained the deadliest terrorist group globally in 2017."

In Europe, the number of deaths fell by 75 percent. "Europe was the region with the biggest improvement, and recorded a marked fall in terrorist activity, despite the threat of returnees and online radicalization," the report said. In western Europe, the number of deaths fell from 168 in 2016 to 81 in 2017. The most significant decline was noted in Germany, Turkey, France and Belgium. The UK, Sweden, Finland, Spain and Austria saw numbers rise. However, the number of terrorist incidents went up in Europe, from 253 to 282 in 2017.

The report noted that right-wing extremism "is a growing concern." The number of deaths resulting from that type of terror attack rose to 17 in 2017, from three in 2014. Most of the perpetrators acted alone and harbored white nationalist and/or anti-Muslim beliefs.

Read more: Deutsche Welle 


 

Somali commandos backed by U.S. forces raided two al-Shabab checkpoints at which the extremists extort money from commercial vehicles, killing several fighters, Somali intelligence officials said Wednesday.

The officials also said two U.S. airstrikes in the area during the overnight raid destroyed an explosives-laden minibus that was prepared for a complex attack on an unspecified location. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Al-Shabab uses widespread extortion of businessmen and travelers to fund its high-profile attacks in major cities such as Mogadishu, collecting millions of dollars a year.

The U.S. military in coordination with Somali forces, as well as an African Union force, have targeted al-Shabab's finance operations in recent weeks.

Last month, Somali intelligence officials said at least four missiles hit a base for over 30 extremists assigned to collect livestock taxes from nomadic communities in the central Mudug region. In October, the AU force said the head of tax collection in Lower Shabelle region was killed after an ambush on a meeting of al-Shabab fighters in southern Somalia.

Read more: ABC News

The US has established its first diplomatic presence in Somalia for nearly 30 years. The state department said the "historic event" reflected the progress the east African nation had made. Ambassador Donald Yamamoto is heading the embassy in Mogadishu. Previously it had been based in Nairobi, Kenya.

The US closed its embassy in Somalia in January 1991 amid fighting between rebels and the government and had to airlift out its ambassador and staff.

Commenting on the latest move, state department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement: "This historic event reflects Somalia's progress in recent years and is another step forward in formalising US diplomatic engagement in Mogadishu since recognising the Federal Government of Somalia in 2013." She added: "Our return demonstrates the United States' commitment to further advance stability, democracy and economic development that are in the interest of both nations."

Security has improved in Mogadishu recently, although al-Shabab rebels remain a threat. Al-Shabab was forced out of the capital in August 2011 following an offensive spearheaded by African Union troops.
But it still has a strong presence in regions around the capital.

US President Donald Trump expanded operations against al-Shabab in March 2017 and the US military has conducted more than two dozen air strikes, including drone strikes, in Somalia this year, Traditionally, US presidents have been wary of intervening in Somalia since 18 special forces soldiers died fighting militias in Mogadishu in 1993, a battle dramatised in the film Black Hawk Down.

Last month, the US announced it was cutting 700 counter-terrorism troops from Africa over the next few years, although its activities in Somalia will remain largely the same.

Source: BBC News

A group of cybersecurity, national security and legal experts is warning that Russia’s efforts to weaken America’s democratic institutions aren’t limited to elections — but also extend to the U.S. justice system. 

“While we all focused on the electoral system, I think this disinformation effort is organized to really attack any of the pillars of democracy,” Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker, a former general counsel at the National Security Agency and the CIA, told me. “And when you think of the system that is the most highly regarded among the three branches of government, it is the court system. If you were installed in the position of a Russian disinformation planner, wouldn’t you want to erode that?” 

Russia’s digital campaign to influence the 2016 presidential race in favor of President Trump put election security in the national spotlight, resulted in congressional investigations and prompted lawmakers on Capitol Hill to set aside federal funding for states to strengthen their election systems. By contrast, Russia's apparent attempts to use similar tactics of spreading propaganda and disinformation on social media platforms to corrode the legitimacy of the U.S. judicial system have drawn much less scrutiny from policymakers. 

Read more: Washington Post