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Terrorism News

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

At least 50 people have been killed in blasts near the Shia shrine of Sayyida Zeinab, south of the Syrian capital Damascus, state media say. The Islamic State group said on social media it had carried out the attack. The shrine, which is highly revered by Shia Muslims, has been targeted before, most recently in February last year.

The attack happened as the government and opposition groups gathered in Geneva in a bid to start talks aimed at a political solution to the conflict. While both sides are in Geneva, the talks have yet to begin - the main opposition group says the Syrian government must first meet key humanitarian demands.


US Secretary of State John Kerry urged both sides to seize the opportunity to end the bloodshed. Mr Kerry said there was "no military solution" to the spiralling crisis, which he warned could engulf the region if the tentative UN-sponsored negotiations fail as previous attempts have.
Source: BBC

ISIS may be losing ground in its strongholds of Iraq and Syria but as the attack in Indonesia this month showed, the militants are rallying other groups under their banner, analysts say.  In most cases, these groups have no direct contact with the leadership of ISIS’s self-proclaimed caliphate, but the group is happy to claim responsibility for the blood spilled in its name, the experts say.  “From the start, Islamic State (ISIS) has vowed to take its fight globally, but until recently it has been focused on managing its caliphate in Iraq and Syria,” said Michael Kugelman, of the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington.

With the Iraqi army re-taking some of the territory the group had taken, ISIS “has re-dedicated attention to focusing on a more global approach”, he said.  “The big question, after the Jakarta attacks and all of these attacks around the world in recent months that have been claimed by ISIS is - are these militants only inspired by ISIS or have they been directly managed by ISIS?” he said.

Kugelman, like all of the experts questioned by AFP, believes that ISIS is for now content to take credit for the attacks, using the “brand recognition” of its name that has spread across the world, partly through social media, without necessarily dedicating resources or manpower to these groups.  “What you have here are disillusioned, alienated militants, who have been fighting with a different organization, who are interested in identifying themselves with a more dynamic cause.  And they see ISIS as a very dynamic cause - they are in the media all the time and commit spectacularly brutal attacks,” he said further.

Read more: Al-Arabiya

The Obama administration is overhauling its faltering efforts to combat the online propaganda of the Islamic State and other terrorist groups, U.S. officials said, reflecting rising White House frustration with largely ineffective efforts so far to cut into ISIS’s use of social media to draw recruits and incite attacks.

Officials will create a counter­­terrorism task force, which will be based at the Department of Homeland Security but aims to enlist dozens of federal and local agencies. Other moves include revamping a State Department program that was created to serve as an information war room to challenge the Islamic State online and erode its appeal.

U.S. officials said the unit at the State Department will turn its focus toward helping allies craft more localized anti-terrorism messages and will stop producing any videos or other material in English — ending a campaign that had been derided by critics.

Read more: Washington Post

A convicted mobster credited with providing the FBI information about hidden explosives in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing plot had his sentence shaved by a decade on Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Edward Korman in Brooklyn reduced the 40-year racketeering sentence being served by Gregory Scarpa Jr. as he blasted prosecutors and the FBI for their handling of the reduction request. The 10-year reduction means Scarpa could be eligible for release in 2025, though the judge said he could die before that because of cancer and generally poor health.

In a written ruling, the judge said that the son of an infamous Colombo crime family enforcer reached out to the government in 2005 while Scarpa and Terry Nichols were serving time together. The judge noted that Scarpa told the FBI Nichols had told him there was a secret cache of explosives in the house where he lived at the time of the Oklahoma City bombing.

Read more: ABC News

More than two dozen federal agencies are joining forces with police to bring an unprecedented level of security to the annual Rose Parade in Pasadena, California, in the aftermath of the deadly mass shooting this month in nearby San Bernardino.

Extraordinary security measures planned for the New Year's Day event include more than a dozen armed tactical "rapid-response" teams to be posted along the parade route, along with dozens of surveillance cameras, bomb-sniffing dogs and radiation-detection devices, law enforcement officials said.

Some 700,000 spectators are expected to turn out in Old Town Pasadena, north of the Los Angeles, for the 127th Tournament of Roses Parade, a 5 1/2-mile procession of flower-adorned floats, marching bands and equestrian teams. Millions more will watch the two-hour event on live television.

Read more:  Reuters