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Terrorism News

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

A Pakistani man was sentenced to 40 years in prison on Tuesday for plotting to bomb a shopping center in England as part of an al Qaeda plan for attacks in Europe and the United States.  Abid Naseer, 29, had faced up to life in prison following his conviction by a U.S. jury in March on charges including that he provided material support to the Islamic militant group.  "I know you're not what I'd say for any lack of a better word a 'typical' criminal. Not in any sense of the word," U.S. District Judge Raymond Dearie in Brooklyn told Naseer when imposing the sentence. "You're a terrorist."

James Neuman, Naseer's lawyer, said he plans to appeal.  Naseer was convicted nearly six years after he was first arrested in a British anti-terrorism operation.  British authorities never charged Naseer, but he was later indicted in the United States and extradited in 2013.  Naseer, who was raised in Peshawar, Pakistan and said he was a semi-professional cricket player, led an al Qaeda cell that plotted to bomb a shopping center in Manchester, England, in April 2009, prosecutors said.

Read more: Reuters

When Islamic State fighters overran a string of Iraqi cities last year, analysts at United States Central Command wrote classified assessments for military intelligence officials and policy makers that documented the humiliating retreat of the Iraqi Army.  But before the assessments were final, former intelligence officials said, the analysts’ superiors made significant changes.  In the revised documents, the Iraqi Army had not retreated at all. The soldiers had simply “redeployed.”

Such changes are at the heart of an expanding internal Pentagon investigation of Centcom, as Central Command is known, where analysts say that supervisors revised conclusions to mask some of the American military’s failures in training Iraqi troops and beating back the Islamic State.  The analysts say supervisors were particularly eager to paint a more optimistic picture of America’s role in the conflict than was warranted.  In recent weeks, the Pentagon inspector general seized a large trove of emails and documents from military servers as it examines the claims, and has added more investigators to the inquiry.

The attacks in Paris last week were a deadly demonstration that the Islamic State, once a group of militants focused on seizing territory in Iraq and Syria, has broadened its focus to attack the West. The electronic files seized in the Pentagon investigation tell the story of the group’s rise, as seen through the eyes of Centcom, which oversees military operations across the Middle East.

Read more: New York Times

At least three dozen people in the United States suspected of ties to the Islamic State were under heavy electronic or physical surveillance even before the Paris attacks, senior American officials say.  But unlike the attackers in France, the officials say, the majority of those under investigation here never traveled to Syria to fight alongside the Islamic State or receive training from it.

In many ways, the officials say, that makes the American investigations even harder. Those under investigation typically have little terrorism expertise or support from a cell, which makes thwarting an Islamic State-inspired attack in the United States less like stopping a traditional terrorist plot and more like trying to prevent a school shooting.

Stopping a potential attack has taken on new urgency after Paris, which served as a reminder that even people who have already caught the eye of intelligence services can spring attacks on short notice.  Although at this point American officials say there is no credible threat from the Islamic State inside the United States, they worry that Paris could provide the spark to inspire angry, troubled people to finally do something violent.

Read more: New York Times

Pacific-rim nations closed ranks against terrorism on Thursday at the end of a summit that was darkened by last week's attacks in Paris, but still Washington and Moscow sparred over how to deal with Syria and the Islamic State fighters sheltering there.
Read more: Reuters

China’s foreign minister on Sunday sought international support for Beijing’s fight against a separatist movement in the restive Xinjiang region and backed calls for a united global front against terrorism after deadly attacks last week in Paris.

Speaking at the G-20 summit in Turkey, Wang Yi renewed Beijing’s longstanding criticism of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a group it blames for waging a violent separatist campaign in Xinjiang and, increasingly, beyond. The Chinese border region is home to the Turkic-speaking and mainly Muslim Uighur ethnic group.

“China is also a victim of terrorism,” the official Xinhua News Agency on Monday quoted Mr. Wang as saying at a luncheon with fellow foreign ministers. “Cracking down on the ‘East Turkestan’ terrorist forces, as represented by the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, should become an important component of international counterterrorism.”

Beijing has long accused the ETIM of perpetrating terrorist attacks in China and having links to foreign terrorist organizations including al Qaeda. While the United Nations and the U.S. have designated ETIM as a terrorist group, some security experts doubt that the movement is as cohesive and organized as Beijing alleges.

Read more: Wall Street Journal