Skip Navigation

Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Jun 7, 2017

One of the London Bridge terror attackers was allowed to enter the UK despite Britain's intelligence agencies being told he wanted "to be a terrorist".

Youseff Zaghba was placed on an international 'watchlist' of suspected foreign fighters after the Italian police caught him trying to travel to Syria last year.

The Italians claim both MI6 and MI5 were informed of the fears surrounding Zaghba, who told police he was "going to be a terrorist" when he was stopped at Bologna airport.

Read more: The Telegraph (UK)

Suspected fighters for the Islamist militant group Boko Haram attacked the city of Maiduguri in northeast Nigeria on Wednesday, triggering loud bangs and explosions and causing civilians to flee, according to Reuters witnesses.  Maiduguri in Borno state is the epicenter of the eight-year fight against Boko Haram but has been largely free of violence for the past two years.

In December, President Muhammadu Buhari said Boko Haram had technically been defeated after the army pushed it into the remote Sambisa forest. However, attacks have continued since then, with suicide bombers hitting the outskirts of Maiduguri.

Much of Borno state remains off limits, although some towns have been recaptured and are now home to hundreds of thousands of refugees. Most of the roads connecting them are dangerous.  Soldiers and police were moving toward the area of Maiduguri where the suspected Boko Haram fighters attacked, the Reuters witnesses said.

Source: Reuters

Police searching for French national Xavier Thomas, 45, who has been missing since the London terror attack, have recovered a body from the Thames.  Scotland Yard said the body was recovered from the river near Limehouse on Tuesday at 19:44 BST.  Police say the death toll from the attacks on Saturday night has now risen to eight.

Police have named Youssef Zaghba, a 22-year-old Moroccan-Italian man who lived in east London, Khuram Butt, 27, from Barking, and Rachid Redouane, 30, who also lived in Barking, as the men who carried out the attack.  They drove into pedestrians on London Bridge before stabbing people in Borough Market on Saturday.

An Italian police source has confirmed to the BBC that Zaghba had been placed on a watch list, which is shared with many countries, including the UK.  In March 2016, Italian officers stopped Zaghba at Bologna airport and found IS-related materials on his mobile phone.

Former SAS commander Col Tim Collins has said intelligence "isn't good enough", adding that police needed to recruit informants from within the Muslim community and appoint Muslim officers.

Read more: BBC News 

The Islamic State group claimed the attacks, marking the first time the Sunni extremists have taken responsibility for an assault in Shiite-majority Iran. The militants are at war with Iranian-backed forces in Syria and Iraq, and view Shiites as apostates.

The attacks began midmorning when assailants armed with Kalashnikov rifles stormed the parliament building. One of the attackers later blew himself up inside, where a session had been in progress, according to a statement carried by Iran's state TV.

A 24-second video released by the IS group's Aamaq news agency purported to show the siege. The video, circulated online, shows a gunman and a bloody, lifeless body of a man lying on the ground next to a desk.

A voice on the video praises God and says in Arabic: "Do you think we will leave? We will remain, God willing." Another voice repeats the same words. The two appeared to be parroting a slogan used by IS spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani, who was killed in Syria last year.

Read more: ABC News

France created a new counter-terrorism task force on Wednesday comprised of all intelligence services that will coordinate responses to attacks, a day after a man carrying Algerian papers attacked police officers outside the Notre Dame cathedral.

Newly-elected President Emmanuel Macron, portrayed by rivals as weak on security during the presidential campaign, last month instructed the task force be created to bring together France's multiple security agencies inside the Elysee presidential palace.

The performance of France's intelligence services have come under close scrutiny since the November 2015 attacks on Paris, when militant gunmen and suicide bombers struck entertainment venues across the capital, killing 130 people.

In total, more than 230 people have been killed in a wave of attacks in France either claimed by or inspired by Islamic State over the past two-and-a-half years.

In Tuesday's attack, a 40-year-old Algerian student armed with a hammer and kitchen knives shouted "this is for Syria" as he wounded a policeman, before being shot by police officers.

A source close to the investigation said a video in which the attacker pledged allegiance to Islamic State had been found in his flat during a police raid on Tuesday evening.

Government spokesman Christophe Castaner said that the assailant had not previously "shown any signs of radicalization".

Read more:  Reuters