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Terrorism News

A collection of open-source terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Jun 26, 2019

A town in Florida has paid $500,000 (£394,000) to hackers after a ransomware attack. The total paid by Florida municipalities over ransomware in the last two weeks now stands at $1.1m. Officials in Lake City voted to pay hackers in Bitcoin after suffering downed computer systems for two weeks.

Coastal suburb Riviera Beach recently paid hackers $600,000 following a similar incident that locked municipal staff out of important files. According to reports, IT staff in Lake City disconnected staff computers within minutes of the attack starting, but it was too late. 

Workers were locked out of email accounts and members of the public were left unable to make municipal payments online.

The town's insurer was contacted by the hackers and negotiated ransom payment of 42 bitcoins, or roughly $500,000. Officials felt that paying the ransom was the most efficient way of regaining computer access.

"I would have never dreamed this could have happened, especially in a small town like this," mayor Stephen Witt told local media. Insurance would cover the vast majority of the ransom payment, he added, although $10,000 would be incurred by taxpayers.

Just last week, it was reported that another Florida municipality had paid $600,000 in Bitcoin to hackers following a similar ransomware attack.

The computer infection in Riviera Beach, a suburb of Palm Beach, affected email as well as emergency response systems and forced staff to switch to using paper for some tasks.

Ransomware attacks have become an increasingly common tool for cyber-criminals. Municipal staff in one Alaskan community reverted to using typewriters after their computers were hit by ransomware last year.

Attacks have also affected the US cities of Baltimore and Atlanta as well as towns in California, North Carolina and Ohio, among other places.

Read more: BBC News

Seven police officers have been killed in an extremist attack in restive North Sinai, Egypt’s interior ministry said on Wednesday.

The attack near the regional capital al-Arish targeted an “assembly center” for police, according to the ministry,  AFP reported.

Earlier, security officials said at least four militants were also killed, including a suicide bomber who set off his explosives at one of the checkpoints attacked in al-Arish late Tuesday, according to The Associated Press.

The security Officials said at least six policemen were killed and eight other officers were injured in the attack.

Read more: Al Arabiya

Four men with suspected ties to the Islamic State (IS) group were arrested in Nicaragua after crossing illegally from Costa Rica, officials say.

The identities of three of the men matched those in an alert attributed to US officials saying three suspected jihadists were in Central America.

There were fears they could have plans to try to enter the US, reports said.

The four, aged between 26 and 41, included two Egyptians and two Iraqis. They have been deported to Costa Rica.

Read more: BBC News

City halls in Erfurt, Thuringia; Pforzheim, Baden-Württemberg; and Zwickau, Saxony, were all evacuated on Wednesday after receiving bomb threats. The city hall of Saarlouis in Saarland was evacuated after a similar threat on Tuesday. Traffic and public transportation were halted around the sites, and some nearby public spaces were cleared as well.

The buildings were all later deemed safe after police in the respective cities inspected all premises with bomb-sniffing dogs and found no explosives at any of the sites.

Police cannot yet confirm whether the threats were related, but say they are exchanging information to determine if that is the case.

Read more: Deutsche Welle

Saudi Arabia’s special forces captured the leader of the Islamic State group’s branch in Yemen during a raid on a house that was under surveillance, a Saudi military statement said Tuesday.

The IS group in Yemen, like al-Qaida, has taken advantage of the chaos from that country’s political upheaval and civil war to expand its reach in the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula.

A spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition at war in Yemen, Col. Turki al-Maliki, said the June 3 operation lasted just 10 minutes and resulted in the arrest of Yemen’s IS leader, known by his moniker as Abu Osama Al-Muhajir, along with the group’s chief financial operator in Yemen and other suspects who were not named.

Read more: AP