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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Dec 15, 2016

The U.S. government on Thursday stepped up efforts to cut the sale of antiquities stolen by the Islamic State, filing a civil action to recover looted items that appeared in photographs found during a 2015 U.S. Special Operations raid in Syria.

The lawsuit, filed in Washington, marks the first time the U.S. Justice Department has gone to court to seize cultural artifacts the Islamic State holds or once held, U.S. authorities said. The new legal approach comes amid a growing international push to counter black market trading of historical treasures from Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Read more: Washington Post

The lawyer for the main suspect in a high-speed train attack thwarted by three Americans last year in northern France says that her client acted on orders from the leading member of the Islamic State cell that attacked Paris in November 2015.

Sarah Mauger-Poliak told The Associated Press on Thursday that Ayoub El Khazzani testified that he received specific orders from Abdelhamid Abaaoud to attack a Paris-bound Thalys express train in August 2015.

El Khazzani, a Moroccan, was questioned at his request by a Paris counterterrorism judge Wednesday for more than five hours. It was the first time he agreed to answer questions about the case.

Read more: Seattle Times

This iconic wine capital seems an unlikely ground zero in France’s battle against militant Islam. Yet, down a narrow street off the city’s center, an experiment is under way to bring at-risk youngsters back from the edge.

 A partnership, between Bordeaux’s city hall and the local Muslim federation, is one of dozens of initiatives springing up around France to tackle a daunting challenge: how to fight the powerful lure of radical Islam.

The question is critical for France, western Europe’s biggest exporter of jihadists and the target of three major, and largely home-grown terrorist attacks in two years. If it works, some see Bordeaux’s holistic and inclusive approach to preventing radicalization as a model for other French cities.

Read more: Voice of America

An Australia Federal Police spokesman said it was the first time anyone in Australia had been charged with advocating terrorism.

The Flinders Park man, 50, was arrested at a facility in Northfield today and was charged with four counts of advocating terrorism. Each offence carries a maximum penalty of five years' imprisonment. Police said he was arrested as a result of information received via the National Security Hotline.

"In each video the defendant is depicted advocating with other persons engaged in acts of terrorism via the defendant providing explicit verbal instructions as well as physical demonstrations with weapons as to how to kill Jewish people," Mr Clover said.

Read more: ABC.Net.Au

A suicide car bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle near a restaurant in the Somali capital Thursday, killing himself and injuring three others, a Somali police officer said.

The attacker detonated the massive bomb after his car overturned during a high-speed chase by police near the presidential palace in Mogadishu. Only the bomber died in the blast in the heavily guarded area where there are key government institutions, said Capt. Mohamed Hussein.

The attacker's exact target was not clear, but Hussein said he believed the bomber was trying to ram his vehicle into a car carrying a senior police commander. The commander's bodyguards were injured in the attack, he said.

A surge in al-Shabab attacks could further delay the country's presidential elections, which have been postponed several times and are now set for Dec. 28.

Read more: AP