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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Dec 17, 2020

The US is expected to unseal charges against another suspect in the 1988 Lockerbie airline bombing which killed 270 people, US media is reporting.

A Libyan intelligence officer identified as Abu Agila Mohammad Masud is in custody in Libya and will be extradited to the US to stand trial, the Wall Street Journal said.

The majority of the victims on the London to New York flight were American citizens.

In 2001, Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was the only person convicted of the attack on Pan Am flight 103 after it exploded over the Scottish town of Lockerbie.

He was given a life sentence, but Scottish authorities released him on humanitarian grounds in 2009 when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He later died in Tripoli.

Read more: Sky News

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei promised to avenge the blood of his most favored military commander, Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a US airstrike outside Baghdad’s international airport in January. Khamenei the revenge on those who ordered the assassination and executed it is “definite,” but he did not specify any timing.

The Soleimani killing, directly ordered by President Donald Trump, pushed Iran and the United States to the brink of war. Five days into the assassination, Iran targeted the Ain al-Asad airbase hosting US soldiers in neighboring Iraq with over a dozen missiles. The attack, which was reportedly launched with a prior notice, killed no one but did cause US troops to suffer traumatic brain injuries.

During his speech Dec. 16, Khamenei looked back at the strike as just a “slap,” noting that part of the real revenge for “the national hero” will be exacted with the ouster of US forces from the region. That goal, he argued, will be gained with regional “resistance,” a term Iran uses to describe a wide network of proxies it has been nurturing and funding across the Middle East to advance its agenda, including a struggle against the US military presence.

Read more: Al-Monitor

On August 3, 2019, a right-wing extremist shot dead 23 people at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. He had just posted a "manifesto" on the online forum 8chan in which he declared his hatred of immigrants and Hispanic people.

On the same day, a man in eastern Germany signed up to the online platform Twitch, a streaming service mainly used by gamers to watch each other play video games. Two months later, the 27-year-old Stephan B.*, would use this service to live-stream footage from his helmet camera that showed his attempt to murder 52 Jewish people in a synagogue in the city of Halle.

Like the El Paso shooter, the young German also posted a "manifesto" on an online forum moments before the attack began. The synagogue attack failed, thwarted largely because the door to the courtyard outside the synagogue was locked — a necessary precaution on holidays for many Jewish communities around the world. In frustration, Stephan B. killed two non-Jewish Germans.

Read more: Deutsche Welle

Anger, fear and exhaustion. Anxiety has overwhelmed many parents in Nigeria’s northern Kankara village who await word on their sons who are among the more than 330 kidnapped by extremists from a government boys’ school last week.

They held onto hope as the Katsina State governor Aminu Bello Masari said that 17 boys have been rescued since the attack, including 15 by the military, another by police and one boy found roaming in the forest who was brought in by residents.

Nigeria’s Boko Haram jihadist rebels have claimed responsibility for the abduction of the students from the Government Science Secondary School in Kankara. Hundreds of other students managed to escape by jumping the fence during the extremists’ attack or by fleeing as they were taken into the nearby forest.

Read more: ABC News

The defence is set to give its closing arguments today at the trial for the man who killed 10 people when he drove a van down a crowded Toronto sidewalk.

Alek Minassian has pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 of attempted murder.

The defence argues Minassian is not criminally responsible for his actions on April 23, 2018, due to autism spectrum disorder.

The prosecution argues the 28-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont., knew that what he was doing was wrong.

Read more: CBC News (Canada)