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Terrorism News

A collection of open-source terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Feb 22, 2019

A Swiss military court has sentenced a former soldier for fighting against the Islamic State group in Syria.

Johan Cosar used his military training to recruit hundreds of men to defend Christian groups from IS.

He was found guilty of undermining Switzerland's neutrality and security by joining a foreign army - and given a three-month suspended sentence and fined 500 francs (£383; $500).

Cosar made no attempt to hide his actions, and remains proud of them. 

He says he plans to appeal the sentence - which is relatively lenient when compared to the maximum of three years in prison.

He was born in Switzerland, and is a Swiss citizen. But his grandparents have Syrian roots, and the Cosar family are members of the Syriac Christian community.

After returning from Syria, he was arrested and charged under Switzerland's military penal code, which forbids Swiss citizens from serving in foreign armies. 

The verdict reflects similar sentences handed down to other Swiss men over the last 10 years, most of whom joined the French Foreign Legion.

At the outset of the trial, an army spokeswoman said: "The law forbids fighting for a foreign force. Who that force actually is, is irrelevant."

Read more: BBC News

The German Interior Ministry deported a Moroccan secret agent to hide his involvement in theDecember 2016 Christmas market attack in Berlin, according to an internal document leaked to the German magazine Focus.

It says that Bilel Ben Ammar, himself a "radical Islamist" who was once believed to planning a separate attack in Berlin, was an associate of Anis Amri, the Tunisian man who drove a stolen truck into a crowded Christmas market in central Berlin, killing 12 people and injuring 60 more. Amri himself was killed by police a few days later in Italy.

According to the document, Ammar met Amri a day before the attack, and took photos of the market in its aftermath, which he sent to an unknown phone number two hours later.

Ammar may even have helped the attacker to escape; CCTV footage mentioned in the document showed a man "with the appearance of Ben Ammar" hit a man on the head with a piece of wood in order to clear a path for the escaping attacker. The man is still in a coma now, Focus reported.

Read more: Deutsche Welle

Two car bombings in two areas of northwest Syria killed at least six people on Thursday in the latest such attacks in towns held by Turkey-backed rebel groups, witnesses and rebels.

In the northwestern city of Afrin, a 10-year-old girl and a man were killed and at least 20 people were wounded when a car bomb was detonated remotely in a main street only hours after a parade by Turkish-backed security police cadets, a witness said.

Since the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia backed by Washington was driven out of Afrin by Turkey-backed Arab rebels last year, the area has seen frequent bombings blamed by rebels on the Kurdish militia.

Read more: Reuters

After Lt. Christopher Hasson was arrested at Coast Guard headquarters last week, court documents released Wednesday show chilling similarities between plans investigators say he was making and those of known mass murderers.

Hasson, an avowed white supremacist, followed a number of extremists, most notably Anders Breivik, the far-right Norwegian domestic terrorist who murdered 77 people, mainly teenagers in 2011.

In many instances, it appears Hasson was using Breivik’s 1,500-page manifesto as a blueprint to help design his plan to kill as many people as possible.

Breivik wrote, "Targets should be influential media personalities including politicians and journalists...who do not have armed body guards."

Read more: WJLA

The Syrian-German director of an Oscar-nominated documentary about the life of al-Qaida-linked extremists in Syria said he took enormous risks during filming to better understand what led to the rise in extremism in his home country.

Talal Derki, the director of Of Fathers and Sons, is in Los Angeles, where his film will compete with four others in the Best Documentary Feature category Sunday at the 91st Academy Awards.

Derki began a risky journey in 2014 when he traveled to northwestern Syria and acted as an al-Qaida sympathizer for two and a half years to produce his documentary.

"It was a dangerous task. I could have been killed at any moment by different means," Derki told VOA during an interview.

Read more: Voice of America