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Terrorism News

A collection of open-source terrorism news from around the world.
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There has been a spike in online threats made against airlines since Jan. 17, when a bomb threat was made against a flight between Atlanta and Raleigh, according to a U.S. official.  Since that threat, authorities have received more than 50 threats made online against airlines.  The official says most of the incidents are believed to be copycat incidents.  None of the threats have proven credible. The official, as well as other government officials CNN spoke with on Wednesday, point to the publicity these threats receive for the increase.

"We are continuing to investigate these threats with our law enforcement and airline partners as we do with all stated threats," an FBI spokesman told CNN on Wednesday. "Threats of this nature can and do result in costly responses from a multitude of law enforcement and airport entities and greatly inconvenience travelers. Individuals responsible can be prosecuted federally."

On Jan. 17, F-16 fighter jets were called in to escort two passenger planes into Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport after a bomb threat made on Twitter was deemed credible, according to military officials.  Southwest Airlines Flight 2492 and Delta Flight 1156 landed safely at the airport and were searched by bomb disposal units, according to airline officials. Nothing out of the ordinary was found, officials said.  One runway was closed temporarily, causing delays for other flights as passengers on the two flights were questioned and their luggage was searched by bomb-sniffing dogs, officials said.

Source: CNN

France unveiled a short video and web site on Wednesday designed to dissuade potential jihadists from joining Islamist fighting groups in Syria and Iraq, where recruiters have lured hundreds of Westerners using slickly produced clips and social media.  In the fast-paced 2-minute montage, an unnamed recruiter approaches a potential jihadist on Facebook noting his interest in the Syrian conflict and asking if he would like to join friends fighting "over there".  It then shows a series of jihadist recruitment statements superimposed over footage of Islamist militants celebrating, which are then contradicted by statements of the 'reality' laid over footage of executions, crucifixions, children suffering and women crying.

The video was posted on a new web site (www.stop-djihadisme.gouv.fr) featuring information for parents worried their children could join the fighting, including a toll-free number they can call to speak to indoctrination specialists.  The government-funded efforts follow similar U.S. initiatives including a video and the #ThinkAgainTurnAway Twitter profile, which has more than 20,000 followers and regularly publishes stories against the Islamic State.

They make up one aspect of a wider French campaign to thwart future attacks and counter jihadist ideology after 17 people and three Islamist attackers were killed in a series of attacks in early January. The government estimates that some 1,200 people are involved in jihadist circles with several hundred having traveled to Syria and Iraq - more than have left from any other Western nation.

Read more: Reuters

Foreign ministers from 22 countries are meeting in London to discuss ways to co-ordinate their efforts to combat the jihadist group Islamic State (IS).  IS controls large swathes of Syria and Iraq and the US-led coalition has been carrying out air strikes since August.  But UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond insisted much more needed to be done.

He told the BBC that the countries wanted to find ways to halt the flow of recruits to IS, cut off its funding and "tackle the underlying narrative".  They will also look at providing more military assistance to those fighting IS on the ground, and more humanitarian aid to its victims.

BBC diplomatic correspondent James Robbins says the recent attacks by Islamist militants in France have put even greater political pressure on governments to show decisive results.

Read more: BBC

The Obama administration has repatriated a Qatari man jailed for ties to al-Qaeda, U.S. officials said Tuesday, putting an end to the 13-year legal saga of one of only three terrorism suspects held as enemy combatants on U.S. soil.

Ali Saleh Mohammad Kahlah al-Marri, 49, was released from a maximum security prison in Florence, Colo., on Friday, officials at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said. Hours later, he boarded a commercial flight at Denver International Airport, escorted by ICE officers, and began his journey back to the Qatari capital, Doha.

Marri’s release and deportation, carried out without fanfare, is a milestone for the Obama administration as it seeks to unwind the web of military detentions and legal cases that resulted from the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

Read more: Washington Post

France is to create 2,680 new jobs and boost spending by €425m (£325m; $490m) to bolster counter-terrorism efforts, Prime Minister Manuel Valls has said.  He said such resources were crucial to dealing with an expanded extremist threat, with 3,000 people currently requiring surveillance across France.  Mr Valls was laying out the government's plans following attacks in Paris in which 17 were killed.

Earlier, a prosecutor gave details on four men charged over the attacks. Three of the men are alleged to have helped supply arms to Amedy Coulibaly, who is believed to have shot dead a policewoman on 8 January, a day before attacking a Jewish supermarket in Paris where four hostages were killed.  On 7 January, brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi attacked the Paris offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing 12. All three gunmen were shot dead by police.

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said that international co-operation with authorities in Turkey, Spain and Belgium would continue, as investigators sought information on possible accomplices, the suspects' travel records, and information about how they got their weapons.

Read more: BBC