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Terrorism News

A collection of open-source terrorism news from around the world.
Keyword: worldwide terrorism threats & domestic extremist threats & trends

In a clear sign that al Qaeda is losing the ideological battle with ISIS, online forums once aligned with al Qaeda — including Osama bin Laden's favorite chat room — have switched allegiance to the more violent Islamic State, experts say.  The trend is one of several "metrics" indicating al Qaeda has been stung by losses in leadership and prestige and is losing the internal war for loyalty among the most radical Islamists, say both terrorism experts and U.S. government officials, who've seen al Qaeda operatives shift loyalties, as well.

Evan Kohlmann of Flashpoint Intelligence, an NBC terrorism analyst, said there are 10 or fewer terrorist forums where the most battle-hardened jihadis gather, and the chat rooms have rigorous controls on who can post. Only one of these terrorist forums, according to Kohlmann, remains loyal to al Qaeda and its affiliates.

Read more:  NBC News

The Pennsylvania State Police have charged a 76-year-old Maryland man with phoning in bomb threats to First National Bank branches in two western Pennsylvania counties.  Horace James of Dundalk, Maryland, has been charged with felony counts of making bomb threats and terroristic threats, and misdemeanor harassment charges, for the June 16 calls.

Police say James called on June 16 demanding a $500 million loan and complaining that the bank was stealing his money and gold before telling employees he planted bombs in the banks days before.  First National branches in Brownsville, Fayette County, and six branches in Hermitage and other parts of Mercer County, were closed due to the threats. No bombs were found.

Source:  CBS Baltimore

German police they have foiled a neo-Nazi plot to attack refugee centres with explosives, knives, baseball bats and a gun.  Flags emblazoned with banned swastikas, Nazi magazines and memorabilia from the Third Reich were among the items found at the homes of suspected conspirators in Bavaria.  Police in the historic city of Bamberg suspected a centre for refugees arriving in Germany through the Balkans to be the gang’s target.

Detectives had observed the group of 11 men and two women for more than a year before swooping on Wednesday morning, when they seized illegal firecrackers, a firearm, ammunition and other weapons.  Some of the accused plotters are members of an extremist party called Die Rechte, while others supported the local offshoot of anti-Islam group Pegida, which is called Nügida.  Several of the suspects have been “participants and managers” in xenophobic demonstrations, police said, possibly including the anniversary rally held by Pegida that drew more than 20,000 people in Dresden on Monday.

Read more: Independent (UK)

In the United States, the years since 9/11 have been a period of heightened awareness about the threat of terrorism, but they haven’t been a period of frequent attacks. The U.S. witnessed a much higher number of terrorist attacks in the 1970s than in the 2000s. But the destruction of the World Trade Center and a piece of the Pentagon was something unprecedented; no single terrorist attack in history up to that point had killed so many. The pipe bombings of the 1970s—when, as Marquette University’s Risa Brooks has written, “the country experienced a rash of bombings by Puerto Rican nationalist groups and the militant left, such as the Weather Underground, which combined were responsible for more than 100 bombings”—were low-casualty affairs that, if they killed anyone, tended to do so one or two people at a time.

At the time, the subject of “terrorism” didn’t attract much scholarly attention. Martha Crenshaw was one of the pioneers of terrorism studies and, incidentally, my advisor in graduate school. In the decades since she started researching it, terrorism has gone from a largely ignored subfield to an object of serious, and some might say excessive, concern among policymakers and the public. There are hundreds of ways to define “terrorism,” and they tend to involve violence committed by a non-state actor to achieve some kind of political objective. (Though, to complicate matters further, there is also the notion of “state terror” or “terror from above,” involving politically motivated violence by governments to oppress or intimidate domestic opponents.)  

Read more: The Atlantic

A man who plotted a suicide car bomb attack at a Wichita, Kansas, airport in 2013 was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison on Monday.

Terry Loewen, 60, had access to secure airport areas because of his work as an avionic technician, according to federal officials, who dubbed the bomb plot an attempted terrorist attack.

He was arrested trying to enter the ramp area of the airport known then as the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport with what he believed was a vehicle loaded with explosives. He had planned to detonate the explosives next to a terminal and die in the blast, according to federal officials. The airport was recently renamed the Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport.

Loewen pleaded guilty to one count of attempt to use a weapon of mass destruction, and entered into a plea agreement reached with prosecutors calling for the 20-year prison sentence, followed by lifetime supervision.

Read more: Yahoo News (Reuters)