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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Dec 28, 2016

A federal judge has rejected arguments made by an alleged Islamic State supporter's arguments that the charges he faces violate his free speech rights.  Mohamed Elshinawy, who lived in Edgewood, sought to have the case against him thrown out, arguing that he hadn't committed a crime and that any admiration he expressed for the terror group was protected by the First Amendment.

Judge Ellen L. Hollander roundly rejected that position.  "Defendant's assertion that the Indictment violates his rights under the First Amendment distorts the allegations and misapprehends the statute," Hollander wrote in an opinion issued this month.

Read more: Baltimore Sun

The US has described as "ludicrous" a claim by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that it supported so-called Islamic State (IS) in Syria.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner said there was no basis for such an accusation.

The Turkish leader earlier said he had evidence and also said the US had supported the Kurdish YPG and PYD groups.

Turkish troops have been fighting to push IS out of northern Syria.

"They were accusing us of supporting Daesh," Mr Erdogan told a press conference in Ankara, using an alternative name for IS.

"Now they give support to terrorist groups including Daesh, YPG, PYD. It's very clear. We have confirmed evidence, with pictures, photos and videos."

Read more:  BBC News

In a new video purportedly released by the Islamic State titled “The Fighting Has Just Begun,” the Chechnyan gunmen who launched the December 18 attack in Grozny pledge “bayat,” or allegiance, to ISIS “caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The video was released on ISIS terrorist channels on December 28. Along with the Grozny attackers pledging themselves to al-Baghdadi, they also urge other Russian Muslims to carry out attacks on Russia, according to terrorism watchdog SITE Intel Group.

The attack in Grozny occurred last week and barely made western news. No civilians were killed in the attack, although 7 militants were killed by the police. 4 were arrested. According to Russia Today, the militants attacked a police officer and stole his car before engaging in a shootout with police.

Chechnya has been a hotbed of extremist, Muslim activities since late 2000. Chechen leaders, under Moscow pressure, have struggled to keep the rising Islamist militants at bay. In a press briefing by United States Secretary of State Colin Powell at NATO meeting in Rome on May 28, 2002, he said:  With respect to Chechnya, Chechnya is an area of enormous interest to the international community. Russia is fighting terrorists in Chechnya, there’s no question about that.

When the Islamic State arose in 2014, Chechen fighters travelled to Iraq and Syria to join the battle, according to The New Yorker.

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A bomb attack targeted a member of Afghanistan's parliament in the capital, Kabul, on Wednesday, wounding him and several other people, officials said.

Fakori Behishti, a member of parliament from Bamyan province, and his son were wounded in the blast, an official with the parliament's security department said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which destroyed the vehicle in which Behishti was traveling, badly damaged other vehicles and shattered the windows of nearby shops.

Last week, another member of parliament was targeted by a suicide bomber who killed seven people. The member of parliament survived.

Source:  Reuters

Police in Bangladesh have arrested five suspected Islamist militants believed to be plotting to attack New Year celebrations, a counter-terrorism police chief said on Wednesday.

The five were believed to be members of a faction of the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) group, which was blamed for an attack on a cafe in Dhaka in July in which 22 people were killed, most of them foreigners.

"They planned to attack on New Year's Eve," Monirul Islam, head of the counter-terrorism police unit, told a news conference.

Islam declined to elaborate when asked about the militants' target and how they planned to attack but said police had also seized 60 kg (132 lb) of explosives, when the five were detained in overnight raids in the capital.

The five were paraded before the media but did not speak to reporters.

Authorities have already banned all outdoor gatherings in Dhaka from dusk on Dec. 31 to dawn on Jan. 1 on security grounds.

Militant attacks have increased in mostly Muslim Bangladesh, a country of 160 million people, over the past few years with several prominent liberal writers and members of religious minorities killed.

Read more:  Reuters