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Terrorism News

A collection of open-source terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Feb 4, 2019

Five suspected Abu Sayyaf militants accused of involvement in a deadly suicide attack at a Roman Catholic cathedral in the southern Philippines have surrendered to authorities, the national police chief said Monday amid renewed terrorism fears.

Complaints for murder and attempted murder were filed against the five, as well as several other suspected Abu Sayyaf fighters who remain at large, for their alleged role in the Jan. 27 attack at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral in Sulu province’s Jolo town which killed 23 people and wounded nearly 100 others.

Before the bombing, the detained suspects escorted two Indonesians thought to have carried out the suicide attack around Jolo and to a meeting with an Abu Sayyaf commander, Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan, who has been accused of planning and funding the attack, police Director-General Oscar Albayalde said.

Read more: Washington Post

Irish police seized a substantial quantity of firearms and a suspected explosive device near the border with Northern Ireland on Friday as part of an investigation into the activities of militant Irish nationalist groups there.

The searches took place near the County Louth village of Omeath, which lies on a small peninsula separating part of the border between European Union-member Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland.

The currently seamless border will become the United Kingdom’s only land frontier with the EU when it leaves the bloc, scheduled for the end of March.

Read more: Reuters

President Trump plans to keep United States troops in Iraq to monitor and maintain pressure on neighboring Iran, committing to an American military presence in the region’s war zones even as he moves to withdraw forces from Syria and Afghanistan.

“I want to be able to watch Iran,” Mr. Trump said in an interview aired Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “We’re going to keep watching and we’re going to keep seeing and if there’s trouble, if somebody is looking to do nuclear weapons or other things, we’re going to know it before they do.”

Mr. Trump’s comments come as the United States has quietly been negotiating with Iraq for weeks to allow perhaps hundreds of American commandos and support troops now operating in Syria to shift to bases in Iraq and strike the Islamic State from there. Military leaders are seeking to maintain pressure on the militant group as the president fundamentally reorders policy toward Syria and toward Afghanistan, where peace talks with the Taliban are underway.

Read more: New York Times

A Maltese port manager has been shot dead in Somalia's northern semi-autonomous Puntland state, officials say. 

Paul Anthony Formosa, who was the construction project manager for DP World, was killed near Bossasso port. Islamist militant group al-Shabab has said it carried out the attack. 

Puntland, an arid region of north-east Somalia, declared itself an autonomous state in 1998, in part to avoid the clan warfare in southern Somalia. The state is a destination for many Somalis displaced by violence in the south.

Mr Formosa was manager for P&O Ports, a subsidiary of the Dubai-based DP World, one of the world's largest port operators.

He was waylaid by gunmen disguised as fishermen as he was heading to the port, news agency Reuters reports. 

Read more: BBC News

US Treasury on January 24 designated the Afghan Fatemiyoun Division and the Pakistani Zeynabiyoun Brigade, which are led by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), pursuant to counter-terrorism and human-rights-abuses designations. Treasury also designated a commercial airline that ferries weapons to Syria. Criticizing the US, the Shiite-Islamist militias emphasized that they are part of the IRGC-led transnational militant network, pledged to keep fighting, but stopped short of directly threatening the US.

On January 26, IRGC-linked news agencies circulated the reaction of the Fatemiyoun Division, followed by the Zeynabiyoun Brigade four days later. Rejecting the terrorism charge, the Fatemiyoun accused the US of supporting “terrorist” groups including the Islamic State, and vowed to continue its fight until uprooting “terrorism” and the “destruction” of Israel. The Zeynabiyoun promised that the terror designation would “strengthen the unity of the Islamic front.”

The Zeynabiyoun Brigade calls its militiamen “inheritors of the red school of Hossein,” referring to the third Shiite Imam Hossein, and “Shiite Pakistani youth” who “obey the guardianship of the jurisconsult, and are inspired by Imam Khomeini’s great spirit, and martyr Arif Hosseini’s allegiance to the jurisconsult.” Husayni was a follower of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini who preached Khomeini’s brand of Islamic revolution in Pakistan, and was assassinated in 1988. The statement also praised the “steadfastness” of Pakistan’s founder Mohamad-Ali Jinnah and the “mysticism” of poet Mohamad Iqbal.

The US has taken a series of financial actions against the IRGC, including Qods Force counterfeit cash operation and currency exchange network, and a network supporting the IRGC Organization for the Mobilization of the Oppressed, also known as the Basij paramilitary. Further US actions against the Afghan and Pakistani militias remain to be seen.  

Read more: Long War Journal