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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Dec 1, 2016

The Islamic State has launched 632 vehicle bombs against Iraqi forces since their offensive to reclaim the city of Mosul began six weeks ago, a senior military official said Thursday.

The widespread use of vehicle-borne bombs — at a pace that amounts to 14 per day — has helped make the battle for the militants’ largest stronghold in Iraq particularly treacherous. Local troops are taking significant losses as they face a well-armed adversary in close-range firefights, while civilians bear the brunt of relentless militant shelling.

Read more: Washington Post

Abdel Razzaq Jalal paused, visibly traumatized, as he told how Islamic State militants tortured him in a Mosul prison to force him to say he was a spy. "I never confessed. I knew the punishment would be death," he said.  The ultra-hardline group arrested the 39-year-old in his village near Mosul in northern Iraq earlier this year, accusing him of spying for Kurdish forces.

After six nights and seven days of beatings, abuse and death threats, he says the militants let him go, after an Islamic State judge ruled there was not enough evidence to sentence him.  Jalal was lucky to escape with his life. Islamic State has executed scores of people it accused of spying in Mosul in recent weeks alone, as U.S.-backed Iraqi forces push further into its city stronghold.

Read more: Reuters

Islamic state has told its members to stop using internet-based communication apps like WhatsApp and Telegram on smartphones, suspecting they are being used by the U.S.-led coalition to track and kill its commanders.

Until recently, the hardline group used such apps to chat with members and supporters outside its main areas of control in Syria, Iraq and Libya -- including, say French officials, the assailants who staged attacks across Paris a year ago, killing at least 130 people.

A U.S.-led military coalition has been bombing Islamic State positions since 2014, when the group proclaimed a caliphate in Syria and Iraq. Twenty commanders of the group were killed this year, including spokesman Abu Muhammad Al-Adnani.

Read more: Reuters

Before Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury orchestrated Bangladesh's worst militant attack, he sought and won approval for it from Islamic State.  A Canadian of Bangladeshi origin, he was told by his contact in the militant group, Abu Terek Mohammad Tajuddin Kausar, to target foreigners, according to a senior police official who has seen communications between the two men.

Chowdhury, located in Bangladesh at the time, proposed an attack on a Dhaka eatery frequented by expatriates.  On July 1, a group of gunmen stormed the Holey Artisan café in the city's Gulshan neighborhood, murdering 22 people, most of them foreigners, in an overnight siege that shocked the country.

Read more: Reuters

The Philippines has raised its terror alert to its highest level after police said they had discovered a plot by Islamic State-linked militants to attack a park, following a foiled bombing near the U.S. embassy this week.

Ronald dela Rosa, the national police chief, said the plot was revealed by two men arrested over the planting of a bomb near the embassy in Manila on Monday.

"These men planned to detonate a bomb in a public park, but it failed, then they planted another improvised explosive device near the U.S. embassy," dela Rosa told a news conference, standing beside two men in yellow prisons shirts.

Three other men belonging to a southern Philippine Islamist militant group had evaded arrest, he added.

Read more: Reuters