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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Oct 2019

Islamic State confirmed on Thursday that its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in a weekend raid by U.S. forces in northwestern Syria and vowed revenge against the United States. 

An IS spokesman addressed the United States in the tape. 

“Beware vengeance (against) their nation and their brethren of infidels and apostates, and carrying out the will of the commander of the faithful in his last audio message, and getting closer to God with the blood of polytheists,” he said. 

Baghdadi’s death is likely to cause Islamic State to splinter, leaving whoever emerges as its new leader with the task of pulling the group back together as a fighting force, according to analysts. 

Whether the loss of its leader will in itself affect the group’s capabilities is open to debate. Even if it does face difficulties in the leadership transition, the underlying ideology and the sectarian hatred it promoted remains attractive to many, analysts say. 

H.A. Hellyer, senior associate fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International peace, said the group, also known as ISIS or Daesh, would have picked the name Quraishi for Baghdadi’s successor to suggest ancestry from the Prophet Mohammad’s tribe. 

Baghdadi’s “caliph” name also ended in Quraishi. 

Read more: Reuters

FBI Director Christopher Wray on Wednesday said that violent, racially motivated extremists in the U.S. are connecting with foreign extremists, with some traveling abroad to train.

Appearing before the House Homeland Security Committee, Wray was pressed to discuss how the FBI handles domestic terrorism suspects and how it is different than foreign terrorism suspects.

"We are starting to see racially motivated violent extremists connecting with like-minded individuals overseas online, certainly, and in some instances we have seen some folks travel overseas to train," Wray said after Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) expressed concern about domestic terrorists traveling to Ukraine for training.

Read more: The Hill

FBI Pittsburgh officials, Pittsburgh Police, the bomb squad and other investigators converged on the local FBI headquarters on the South Side Thursday morning when a car spray-painted with a bizarre message was found parked outside the back gate.

The first reports of law enforcement activity along East Carson Street came in around 5 a.m. when security agents noticed someone drive the sedan up to the gate.

Crews from the Pittsburgh Fire Marine Division were also called to the scene.

Investigators focused on a car parked at the back of the building. A firetruck was brought in to put a barrier up near the orange-colored vehicle while the initial investigation was being conducted.

A bomb squad robot performed a sweep inside the car. It was spotted on the passenger side of the vehicle early this morning.

Read more: CBS Pittsburgh

Days after the Islamic State’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and his heir apparent were killed in back-to-back attacks by United States forces in northern Syria, the group broke its silence on Thursday to confirm their deaths, announce a new leader and warn America: “Do not be happy.”

In an audio recording uploaded on the Telegram app, the Islamic State mourned the loss of Mr. al-Baghdadi, who led the organization for nearly a decade, and its spokesman, Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, who was killed a day after Mr. al-Baghdadi and who had widely been considered a potential successor.

The audio recording was the first word from the Islamic State confirming the death of its leader, which President Trump triumphantly announced on Sunday as a huge blow to the world’s most fearsome terrorist group.  

Read more: New York Times

Police have arrested two men in Manchester on suspicion of preparing an act of terrorism, as bomb disposal experts examine a car.

Greater Manchester Police said the pair were seen “acting suspiciously” on Chapel Street in Salford at around 2.30pm on Wednesday.

They were stopped in a vehicle in nearby Deansgate, which runs through a busy shopping and nightlife district near Manchester Arena, where an Isis-inspired bombing killed 22 victims in 2017.

The incident came weeks after a man stabbed shoppers at Manchester's Arndale centre.

Of the 22 terror plots foiled since the Westminster attack in March 2017, 15 were Islamist-inspired and seven were far-right.

Read more: Independent