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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Dec 22, 2020

A special session of the Oregon Legislature was disrupted on Monday by protesters who appeared to oppose policies designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Protesters broke glass doors at the largely-empty Capitol building, tore tarps from the marble reliefs on the front steps and engaged in a brief standoff with Oregon State Police and Salem Police Department officers.

Police made at least four arrests during the six-hour rally that included more than 100 protesters, including members of the far-right Patriot Prayer group.

A search is ongoing for another man who attacked two reporters and tried to break into the Capitol building, police said.

Read more: USA Today

Operation KAFO II targeted smuggling hotspots in Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Niger over a seven-day period, resulting in the arrest of a number of suspected terrorists and the seizure of illicit firearms, ammunition and explosives.

“The fight against illicit firearms trafficking requires strong international and inter-agency cooperation, to identify the source of these arms and bring perpetrators to justice”, said UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly.

“After the operational phase of KAFO II, it is important that UNODC and INTERPOL continue working together and support ongoing investigations and open cases”, she added.

Read more: UN News

The Trump administration’s push to label Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi group as a terrorist organization would be “deeply damaging” to U.S. national security, say former U.S. diplomats and State Department officials.

In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sent Sunday, 20 former senior officials with a focus on U.S. policy in the Middle East called for the administration to “abandon plans” to label the Houthis a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

They raise alarm that such a move would be viewed as politically motivated and “undermine the credibility of U.S. counterterrorism programs and policies.”

Read more: The Hill

On October 9, 2019, Stephan Balliet, 28, killed two people after he failed to enter the synagogue where worshippers were celebrating Yom Kippur, Judaism’s holiest day.
 
A five-judge panel at Magdeburg, the capital of Saxony Anhalt state, found Balliet “seriously culpable," for the crime, which means he will not be eligible for early release after 15 years, which is considered for those in Germany serving life sentences.
 
Prosecutor Kai Lohse told the court that "the attack on the synagogue in Halle was one of the most repulsive anti-Semitic acts since World War II," while the presiding Judge Ursula Mertens, who read the verdict, described Balliet’s act as a “cowardly attack.” 

Read more: Voice of America

A Henderson man was sentenced Thursday to nearly eight years in prison for using an armored vehicle to block a bridge near Hoover Dam in 2018.

Matthew Wright, 32, previously pleaded no contest in the case to making a terrorist threat and unlawful flight from law enforcement. He was sentenced by Mohave County Superior Court Judge Derek Carlisle.

Another judge rejected the same plea agreement, declaring it too lenient while saying Wright deserved a prison term of 10 to 25 years.

The unemployed Marine veteran parked his homemade armored vehicle on the O’Callaghan-Tillman Memorial Bridge in June 2018, triggering a 90-minute standoff before he drove south on U.S. Highway 93 into Arizona.

He surrendered to authorities after his tires were flattened by police spike strips and the vehicle became stuck on a dirt road in a remote part of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

Read more: Las Vegas Review-Journal