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Terrorism News

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

Canada and Britain will work together to urge other nations to halt the flow of ransom payments to terrorists, prime minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday, as he fielded questions about the recent death of a Canadian hostage in the Philippines.

“Canada does not and will not pay ransom to terrorists, directly or indirectly,” Trudeau told reporters in Alberta. The statement came one day after Trudeau announced that Canadian hostage John Ridsdel, a former mining executive, was killed by Abu Sayyaf militants, hours after a ransom demand from the group went unanswered.

Ridsdel’s death has reignited debate over whether nations should engage with ransom demands from terrorists. On Tuesday, Trudeau forcefully argued that ransom payment simply serve to fund terrorism and criminal activity, while also setting a dangerous precedent. “Paying ransom for Canadians would endanger the lives of every single one of the millions of Canadians who live, work and travel around the globe every single year,” Trudeau said.

Read more: The Guardian (UK)

The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld actions taken by Congress and President Obama that held Iran financially responsible for acts of terrorism dating back to the 1983 bombing of a Marine Corps barracks in Beirut.

The 6-2 ruling by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a victory for more than 1,000 victims and their surviving family members, who had sought access to about $1.75 billion in assets controlled by Iran in a U.S. bank.

The court determined that a law passed by Congress did not dictate to the courts how to handle the dispute, as the Iranian challengers had claimed. The justices also said the Constitution gives the president and Congress broad powers to conduct foreign policy.

"Exercise by Congress and the president of control over claims against foreign governments, as well as foreign government-owned property in the United States, is hardly a novelty," Ginsburg said in summarizing her 24-page opinion from the bench.

Read more: USA Today

Stephane Medot knows a thing or two about Belgian prisons.  He spent 10 years in them.  Arrested for carrying out more than a dozen armed bank robberies, the stocky, bald-headed Medot moved from prison to prison, from one cell of his own to another, until he served out his time.  Along the way, he got a front-row seat in a prison system that has become a breeding ground for violent Muslim extremists.  Many of those involved in the Paris and Brussels attacks first did short stints behind bars for relatively petty crimes.  And there these wayward young people met proselytizers and appear to have acquired a new, lethal sense of purpose.

A Belgian prison is where Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who helped plan the Paris attacks and who was killed in a police raid in November, met Salah Abdeslam, an alleged Paris attacker who was captured in Brussels this month.  Salah’s brother Brahim, who blew himself up in Paris, also served time.  Two of the suicide bombers in the Brussels attacks last week, brothers Ibrahim and Khalid el-Bakraoui, had spent time in Belgian prisons for violent offenses that included armed robbery and carjacking. More than a dozen people were killed, and several others were injured, after explosions at an airport and metro station in the Belgian capital.

Medot, now 37, said that from prison to prison, the routine he witnessed was similar.  Proselytizing prisoners used exercise hours and small windows in their cells to swap news, copies of the Koran and small favors such as illicit cellphones.  Gradually, they won over impressionable youths and taught them to stop drinking and start thinking about perceived injustices such as the invasion of Iraq, the plight of Palestinians or the treatment of their own immigrant families.  The prison guards, who could not understand Arabic, had a “laissez-faire attitude,” he said, and did nothing to stop the pulsating music or political discussions.

Read more: Washington Post

The Department of State has designated Santoso as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT).  

Indonesian citizen Santoso is the leader of the Mujahidin Indonesia Timur (MIT).  MIT, under Santoso’s leadership, has been responsible for numerous killings and kidnappings in Indonesia over the past few years. 

Read more: U.S. Department of State

The Maryland Transit Administration is "at a level of heightened awareness" at facilities in the area following attacks in Europe Tuesday morning.  MTA spokesman Paul Shepard said, "We have stepped up our awareness, but its important to note that there has been no threat, direct or indirect, to the U.S. We're remaining vigilant."

Read more: Baltimore Sun