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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Nov 24, 2020

A breakdown in oversight of foreign aviation students and a culture of harassment and cultural insensitivity potentially contributed to the deadly shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., in December 2019, according to a new investigative report.

The Navy’s 267-page report of the investigation by Rear Adm. John Meier, commander of Naval Air Force Atlantic, looked into the circumstances leading up to the shooting and what could be done to prevent another attack in the future.

The Navy’s report, which was released Friday, stated the primary cause for the shooting was Royal Saudi Air Force 2nd Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani’s self-radicalization. This included his social media activity and radical posts, according to the report. Though Attorney General William Barr stated in January that the shooting was a terrorist attack and Alshamrani was motivated by jihadist ideology, the investigation found he did not come to the United Sates for terrorist reasons based on the amount of time that he was in the country and number of opportunities that he had to carry out an attack.

Read more: Stars and Stripes

Ethiopia’s military is warning civilians in the besieged Tigray regional capital that there will be “no mercy” if they don’t “save themselves” before a final offensive to flush out defiant regional leaders — a threat that Human Rights Watch on Sunday said could violate international law.

“From now on, the fighting will be a tank battle,” spokesman Col. Dejene Tsegaye said late Saturday, asserting that the army was marching on the Tigray capital, Mekele, and would encircle it with tanks. “Our people in Mekele should be notified that they should protect themselves from heavy artillery.”

He accused the Tigray leaders of hiding among the population of the city of roughly a half-million people and warned civilians to “steer away” from them.

Read more: AP

Britain's Supreme Court is considering whether a woman who left the country to join ISIS as a 15-year-old should be permitted to return to the country to argue that her U.K. citizenship should not have been revoked.

Shamima Begum, now 21, left London with two other schoolgirls in 2015 to join the terrorist group. She is now in a detention camp in northern Syria.

She was found in the camp by a journalist in February 2019, nine months pregnant, and said she wanted to come home. She says she married a Dutch ISIS fighter days after arriving in ISIS territory and that she had earlier given birth to two infants who had died of malnutrition and disease. The third baby later died of pneumonia in the camp.

Read more: NPR

The plan to firebomb Cody’s U-Save Pharmacy in Auburn, Nebraska, was fantastical and convoluted, but very much real.

With Cody’s reduced to firewood, more business would flow to its competitor in town, Hyrum’s Family Value Pharmacy. That would allow pharmacist Hyrum Wilson, 41, to divert more drugs to his online gaming buddy, William Burgamy, 33, of Hanover, Maryland, without drawing suspicion of federal regulators. Then Burgamy could sell even more drugs on his internet black market website, NeverPressedRx.

On Friday, Burgamy was sentenced to 14 years and Wilson to 9 years for their respective roles in the plot.

Defense lawyers suggested the plan, which they dubbed “Operation Firewood,” was so hare-brained that it would never have come to fruition, and was a product of the men's clouded judgment from their own drug and mental-health issues.

Read more: Capital Gazette

Armed with assault rifles and wearing balaclavas, dozens of police officers raided four apartments recently in a sprawling complex in Albertville, a city in the French Alps. They confiscated computers and cellphones, searched under mattresses and inside drawers, and took photos of books and wall ornaments with Quranic verses.

Before the stunned families, the officers escorted away four suspects for “defending terrorism.”

“That’s impossible,” Aysegul Polat recalled telling an officer who left with her son. “This child is 10 years old.”

Her son — along with two other boys and one girl, all 10 years old — was accused of defending terrorism in a classroom discussion on the freedom of expression at a local public school. Officers held the children in custody for about 10 hours at police stations while interrogating their parents about the families’ religious practices and the recent republication of the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in the magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Read more: New York Times