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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Jan 2017

The standardized four-page checklist describes each Islamic State drone mission in chillingly impassive detail: Mission type (spy, bombing, training). Location (city, province). Drone components (motor, bomb ignition). Operation (successful or not).

The form, apparently filled out by Islamic State drone operators in Iraq after every mission, was part of a batch of documents discovered in January by a Harvard researcher embedded with Iraqi troops in the battle of Mosul and then turned over to American military analysts for review.

The documents — in Arabic and English — offer a rare window into how the Islamic State has cobbled together a rapidly advancing armed drone program that increasingly threatens allied troops fighting the militant group, also known as ISIS or ISIL. They show how the group has institutionalized a program using off-the-shelf technology to bedevil the militarily superior American armed forces.

In the past two months, the Islamic State has used more than 80 remotely piloted drones against Iraqi forces and their allies. About one-third of the aircraft, some as small as model airplanes, dropped bombs or were rigged with explosives to detonate on the ground, said Col. John L. Dorrian, the spokesman for the American-led operation against the Islamic State in Baghdad.

Read more: New York Times

A counter-propaganda program aimed at thwarting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)’s recruiting over social media is plagued by incompetence, cronyism and skewed data, an AP investigation has found.

Known as “WebOps,” the program was launched several years ago by a small group of civilian contractors and military officers assigned to the information operations division at U.S. Central Command’s headquarters in Tampa.

But internal documents and interviews with more than a dozen people knowledgeable about WebOps suggest a program that appears aimed more at enriching contractors than thwarting terrorism. The people interviewed by the AP requested anonymity because they are prohibited from speaking publicly about WebOps due to the sensitive nature of the work and because they fear professional repercussions.

Read more: CBS News

A 27-year-old college student was charged Monday with the shooting at a Canadian mosque that the prime minister declared "a despicable act of terrorism." Alexandre Bissonnette, described as a loner with anti-immigrant views, was expected to appear in court to face six counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder. 

A former classmate of Bissonnette's told NBC News that he was shocked by the arrest but said that the suspect was known to troll Facebook pages dealing with immigration issues and that he had seen him comment on pages linked to a far-right, nationalist, anti-immigration movement. A local refugee group said in a Facebook post that Bissonnette was known to it for anti-immigrant and anti-feminist stances. 

"His online life was full of hate, but in real life he was calm and his chess game was on point," said Antoine Cabanac, a former classmate. 

Read more: NBC News

Police say a member of a civilian self-defense force has died while intercepting a suicide bomber at a mosque in northeastern Nigeria.

Police spokesman Victor Isukwu says the attack occurred early Tuesday near the University of Maiduguri, where five people died in a bombing earlier this month. Isukwu says many others could have been killed if the self-defense member, a recent graduate of the university, had not intervened.

Maiduguri is the birthplace of the Boko Haram insurgency.

News source: Associated Press 

The Navy SEAL killed in the raid on senior al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leaders in Yemen on Sunday has been identified as Chief Special Warfare Operator William "Ryan" Owens. 

"I extend my condolences to the family and shipmates of Chief Petty Officer William "Ryan" Owens," said Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in a statement. "Ryan gave his full measure for our nation, and in performing his duty, he upheld the noblest standard of military service," said Mattis. 

Three other SEALS were wounded in the firefight with the AQAP fighters. Three other service members were injured aboard a Marine MV-22 Osprey aircraft that experienced a "hard landing" as it attempted to med-evac the SEALS wounded in the firefight.
 
The raid targeting a compound housing three senior leaders with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was intended primarily to gather intelligence on the terror group that could be used to prevent future terror plots. 

Read more: ABC News