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Terrorism News

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

When Moner Mohammad Abusalha drove a truck packed with explosives into a restaurant in northern Syria in May, American authorities conceded that they knew little about how a young man who grew up a basketball-obsessed teenager in a Florida gated community had become a suicide bomber.  And they have never publicly acknowledged the startling discovery they made weeks into their investigation: that after receiving training by an extremist group in Syria, Mr. Abusalha had returned to the United States for several months before leaving the country for the last time.

Mr. Abusalha, 22, chose to carry out his attack in Syria rather than in the United States, but the difficulty learning about his background, motivations and travels illustrates the problems law enforcement officials face in trying to identify the Westerners — including dozens of Americans — believed to have been trained by Islamic militants in Syria.

Counterterrorism officials in both Europe and the United States have long said they consider the return of their radicalized citizens from Syria a looming threat, especially to nations easily reached from Syria. But with so many Americans traveling abroad, officials in the United States face the difficult question of how to deal with a potential danger posed by a small group of people.

Read more: New York Times

U.S. lawmakers voted Tuesday to thwart efforts to fund Hezbollah by punishing banks and other financial organizations that help the funneling of money to the Lebanese Shiite militant group.  The House of Representatives voted unanimously to broaden financial sector sanctions on Hezbollah and allow the U.S. Treasury more power to “relentlessly” pursue foreign banks, including central banks, that do business with the group that Washington designated a foreign terrorist organization in 1995.

The Senate would need to pass the legislation before President Barack Obama signs it into law. The bill has yet to be placed on the Senate calendar.  “This bill builds on the existing sanctions regime by placing Hezbollah’s sources of financing under additional scrutiny, particularly those resources outside of Lebanon,” House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce said shortly before the vote.  And the U.S. sanctions would help reduce Hezbollah’s global reach, he said.

Read more: Al-Arabiya

Fighting raged in Ukraine's east on Wednesday when separatists tried to break through the lines of government forces near the border with Russia and a tentative step towards agreeing conditions for a ceasefire failed.  Eleven more Ukrainian soldiers were killed in the space of 24 hours while hundreds of bodies of rebels were found in shallow graves in a former separatist stronghold, the army said.

Fighting has escalated sharply since Friday with the downing of a Ukrainian military transport plane and the deaths of civilians in air and artillery attacks on residential areas on both sides of the border, which Russia and Ukraine have blamed on each other.  Accusations of direct Russian involvement in the three and a half month conflict, in which hundreds have died, is being pushed hard by Ukraine to persuade the United States and its European allies to impose tougher sanctions on Russia.

In telephone conversations with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, late on Tuesday, President Petro Poroshenko again set out evidence of fighters crossing into Ukraine from Russia with heavy military equipment, his website said.

Read more: Reuters

Mali's government and Tuareg rebels have exchanged prisoners in a goodwill gesture on the eve of peace talks.  The army said 45 Malian soldiers held by the rebels in the north of the country arrived at Bamako airport.  They were replaced on the plane by 41 Tuaregs, who had been held prisoner in the capital.

The move comes a day before the peace talks due to open in Algeria's capital Algiers. The two sides agreed a ceasefire in May.  However, there is not much optimism for any quick progress at Wednesday's gathering, the BBC Alex Duval Smith in Bamako reports.

Rebel groups - including the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) - have gained control of much of northern Mali in recent months.  In 2012, a Tuareg rebellion in northern Mali triggered a military coup in Bamako and an Islamist takeover of the north.  Civilian rule was re-established in 2013, but Islamist and separatist forces remain active in some areas.  The government has accused the Tuaregs of being backed by al-Qaeda militants.

Source: BBC

Thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators turned out on the streets of London, Paris, and Oslo on Friday to call for an end to Israeli military strikes on Gaza.  Several thousand people crowded the streets outside the Israeli Embassy in west London, waving placards that read "Gaza: End the Siege" and "Freedom for Palestine."  The crowds blocked an entire road, and several protesters managed to climb on top of a double-decker bus stuck in traffic, but police said the protest was largely peaceful.

Norwegian news website The Local reported that some 3,000 protestors gathered in front of the Norwegian parliament in Oslo calling for the end of violence in the region.  The event was organized by the Palestine Committee of Norway and other organizations.  A smaller protest took place in Paris Friday, where about 100 people demonstrated near the French Foreign Ministry.

Read More: Haaretz