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Terrorism News

A collection of open-source terrorism news from around the world.
Keyword: policy support

It is with tremendous sorrow that we recently concluded that a U.S. Government counterterrorism operation in January killed two innocent hostages held by al-Qa’ida. Our hearts go out to the families of Dr. Warren Weinstein, an American held by al-Qa’ida since 2011, and Giovanni Lo Porto, an Italian national who had been an al-Qa’ida hostage since 2012. Analysis of all available information has led the Intelligence Community to judge with high confidence that the operation accidentally killed both hostages. The operation targeted an al-Qa’ida-associated compound, where we had no reason to believe either hostage was present, located in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan. No words can fully express our regret over this terrible tragedy.

We also believe two other Americans were recently killed in U.S. Government counterterrorism operations in the same region. We have concluded that Ahmed Farouq, an American who was an al-Qa’ida leader, was killed in the same operation that resulted in the deaths of Dr. Weinstein and Mr. Lo Porto. We have also concluded that Adam Gadahn, an American who became a prominent member of al-Qa’ida, was killed in January, likely in a separate U.S. Government counterterrorism operation. While both Farouq and Gadahn were al-Qa’ida members, neither was specifically targeted, and we did not have information indicating their presence at the sites of these operations. 

The President directed that the information being shared today, which was properly classified until now, be declassified and shared with the American people. He takes full responsibility for these operations and believes it is important to provide the American people with as much information as possible about our counterterrorism operations, particularly when they take the lives of fellow citizens. The uniquely tragic nature of the operation that resulted in the deaths of two innocent hostages is something we will do our utmost to ensure is not repeated. To this end, although the operation was lawful and conducted consistent with our counterterrorism policies, we are conducting a thorough independent review to understand fully what happened and how we can prevent this type of tragic incident in the future. 

Many within our government spent years attempting to locate and free Dr. Weinstein and Mr. Lo Porto. The pain of their deaths will remain with us as we rededicate ourselves to adhering to the most exacting standards in doing all we can to protect the American people.  

News source: The White House Blog

Army chiefs from Arab League nations met in Cairo on Wednesday to start work on the establishment of a region-wide military force aimed at combatting radical fighters, including the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group.  The regional bloc agreed in March to set up the force, with member states given four months to hammer out the details over its composition and precise rules of engagement.  Wednesday’s meeting was overseen by the Egyptian Armed Forces’ Chief of Staff Mahmud Hegazy, an AFP journalist said.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi pushed for the creation of the regional force after the Islamic State organization executed a group of Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya in February, prompting retaliatory air strikes by Cairo.  The plan gained further momentum after Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched air strikes on Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

ISIS has carried out widespread atrocities in the region and won the support of several other jihadist organizations.  On Sunday it released a video purportedly showing the execution of about 30 Ethiopian Christians captured in Libya.

Read more: Al Arabiya

The Obama administration placed two Greek far-left militants on a terrorism blacklist Tuesday amid concerns that a third could soon be released from prison to serve the remainder of his sentence under house arrest.

The State Department on Tuesday added Christodoulos Xiros and Nikolaos Maziotis to the blacklist that freezes any assets they may have under U.S. jurisdictions. It also prohibits Americans from any transactions with them. Xiros was a member of the November 17 group that killed more than 20 people, including Americans, between 1975 and 2000. Maziotis is the leader of Revolutionary Struggle, a group held responsible for a 2007 grenade attack on the U.S. Embassy in Athens.

The designations come as Washington has complained that another November 17 member, Savvas Xiros, may complete his prison term under home confinement. Xiros, who is disabled, could benefit from new Greek legislation that would allow him to serve the remainder of his five life sentences under home confinement.

Read more: Seattle Post-Intelligencer

A U.S. State Department official says Spain and Cuba are in extradition discussions about two members of the Basque armed separatist group and wanted by Spain since 2010.

State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke revealed the Spain-Cuba bilateral talks Wednesday while telling reporters about steps taken by Cuba in return for President Barack Obama's decision to decision to remove Cuba from a list of state sponsors of terror.

A Spanish court says Jose Angel Urtiaga and Jose Ignacio Etxarte sought permission for grenade- and mortar-launching tests in Venezuela in cooperation with the Colombian FARC rebel group. They have been living in Cuba since the 1980s.

ETA killed 829 people in its Basque homeland campaign and declared a permanent cease-fire in 2011. It has not disbanded.

Source: U-T San Diego

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found guilty Wednesday on all 30 federal counts in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing case and faces a possible death sentence.  He was convicted of a string of charges, including the deaths of four people and conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction. Seventeen of the 30 counts carried a possible death penalty.

The twin bombings on April 15, 2013, killed three people and injured 260. A fourth person, an MIT security officer, was killed during a six-day manhunt for the suspects that brought the stunned city to a standstill.  Tsarnaev, flanked by his three lawyers, showed no emotion while the verdict was read, mostly staring at the defense table and occasionally looking straight ahead. At one point the 21-year-old former college student crossed his arms as federal Judge George O'Toole read the lengthy verdict.  The courtroom was silent as each count came down as "guilty."

Read more: USA Today