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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Dec 23, 2016

The Tunisian who drove a lorry into a busy Berlin Christmas market filmed a video pledging his allegiance to Islamic State.

Anis Amri was killed in a shootout with police in Milan four days after he killed 12 people.

Islamic State's Amaq propaganda wing released the footage of the 24-year-old's declaration of support for leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi just hours after Amri was confirmed dead.

Read more: Sky News

An airliner on an internal flight in Libya was hijacked and diverted to Malta where it landed on Friday, Maltese media reported.

Two hijackers had threatened to blow up the Airbus A320, which had 118 people aboard, outlets including the Times of Malta said. The aircraft had been flying from Sebha in southwest Libya to Tripoli for state-owned Afriqiyah Airways.

The tiny Mediterranean island of Malta is about 500 km (300 miles) north of the Libyan coast.

Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat tweeted: "Informed of potential hijack situation of a #Libya internal flight diverted to #Malta. Security and emergency operations standing by -JM".

Source:  Reuters

Australian police say they have foiled a terror attack planned for Melbourne on Christmas Day.  Five men are in custody after early-morning raids on Friday, Victoria Police chief Graham Ashton said.  Mr Ashton said the threat involved "use of explosives" and other weapons including "knives or a firearm".

The threat was to prominent city locations including Flinders St Station, Federation Square and St Paul's Cathedral, he said.

Mr Ashton said there was no longer a threat to the public.  "We don't have any threat over and above that threat that we've currently neutralised," he said at a press conference.

Four of the suspects were Australian-born men in their 20s of a Lebanese background, while the fifth was an Australian of Egyptian origin, Mr Ashton said.

He claimed they were "self-radicalised" but inspired by propaganda of the so-called Islamic State.

Read more:  BBC News

The Berlin market attack suspect Anis Amri has been shot dead by police in Milan, Italy's interior minister says.

The man, who opened fire on police who asked him for ID during a routine patrol in the Sesto San Giovanni area in the early hours of Friday morning, was "without a shadow of a doubt" Anis Amri, Marco Minetti said.  One police officer was injured in the shootout.

Germany has been on high alert since the attack, which left 49 injured.

Separately, police arrested two people in the German city of Oberhausen on suspicion of planning an attack on a shopping centre.  The fingerprints of the dead man match Amri's, reports in the Italian media say.

German officials have confirmed Amri's fingerprints were found inside the truck that was used to kill 12 people and wound 49 others in Berlin on Monday evening.

The attack took place at a Christmas market at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in the west of the German capital.

According to the Italian news agency Ansa, Anis Amri had travelled by train from France to Turin, and then taken another train to Milan.

Read more:  BBC News

As the world battles a spike in assaults and plots by Islamist militants, Indonesia's anti-terrorism unit is drawing praise for stemming a wave of bloody attacks in the sprawling Muslim-majority nation.

Indonesia has foiled at least 14 attacks this year alone and made more than 150 arrests, disrupting plots ranging from suicide attacks in Jakarta to a rocket attack from Indonesia's Batam island targeting Singapore.

Going back to 2010, a Reuters analysis of data shows the elite unit, Special Detachment 88 (Densus 88), has prevented at last 54 plots or attacks in the nation of 250 million people, the world's fourth largest.

"Densus 88 has become better than pretty well any other counter-terrorism group in the world," said Greg Barton, a terrorism export and research professor in Global Islamic Politics at Alfred Deakin Institute in Melbourne.

"They have had an incredible workload and they have become remarkably good at what they do."

Read more:  Reuters