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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Oct 2020

A terror attack that killed three people in Nice on Thursday left France increasingly embattled at home and abroad, as the government called for toughening measures against Islamist extremism, amid rising tensions with Muslim nations.

A knife-wielding assailant left two people dead in Nice’s towering neo-Gothic basilica, including a 60-year-old woman who was nearly decapitated, and a third victim died after taking refuge in a nearby bar.

The attack in Nice came less than two weeks after the beheading of a teacher shook the nation and led to President Emmanuel Macron suggesting that Islam was in need of an Enlightenment.

Jean-François Ricard, France’s top antiterrorism prosecutor, said the suspected killer was a Tunisian man, born in 1999, who had entered France after arriving in Italy on Sept. 20. He said the man, who was unknown to the French authorities, was arrested after lunging at police officers while yelling “Allahu akbar,” and was hospitalized with serious wounds.

Read more: New York Times

Two people are facing charges after police in Philadelphia recovered illegal explosives being transported in a van along the Ben Franklin Parkway on Wednesday night, according to Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

Authorities said the investigation began early Wednesday night when officers responded to a commercial burglary alarm and observed 10 to 15 staged vehicles in the City Avenue Marriott parking lot.

Authorities said officers observed some of the vehicles suspiciously leaving the parking lot, later unsuccessfully attempting to ram the Target located on Monument Road in the city's Wynnefield Heights section.

Officers then followed a van that left the area and proceeded onto I-76 and later onto the Ben Franklin Parkway in the heart of Philadelphia.

Read more: ABC 6 (Philadelphia)

Today, the Justice Department announced that it will permit state, local, territorial, and tribal task force officers to use body-worn cameras on federal task forces around the nation.  The department’s policy will permit federally deputized officers to activate a body-worn camera while serving arrest warrants, or during other planned arrest operations, and during the execution of search warrants.  The policy is the result of a pilot program launched by the department last October.

“After spending a substantial amount of time examining this issue, assessing the results of the pilot program, and taking into account the interests and priorities of all the law enforcement agencies involved, I am pleased to announce that the department will permit the use of body-worn cameras on our federal task forces in specific circumstances,” said Attorney General William P. Barr.  “The Department of Justice has no higher priority than ensuring the safety and security of the American people and this policy will continue to help us fulfill that mission.”

Read more: Department of Justice

A Saudi man was arrested in the Red Sea city of Jeddah after attacking and wounding a security guard with a “sharp tool” at the French consulate on Thursday, local police said.

A statement from the Mecca region’s police said the guard suffered “minor injuries” and that “legal action” was being taken against the perpetrator.

The French Embassy said the consulate was subject to an “attack by knife which targeted a guard”, adding the guard was taken to hospital and his life was not in danger.

Read more: Reuters

Federal agents on Thursday arrested two men, including the self-proclaimed leader of the Base, a violent white supremacist group, as part of a continuing crackdown on extremism in Michigan three weeks after the FBI said it thwarted a plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

A team of FBI agents arrested Justen Watkins, 25, of Bad Axe, the self-proclaimed leader of the Base, and Alfred Gorman, 35, of Taylor, during a pair of raids.

They are linked to a December 2019 incident in Dexter in which a local family was terrorized by the men, who tried to intimidate a husband and wife and shared their address with members of the Base, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement.

Read more: The Detroit News