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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Dec 23, 2020

The United States on Tuesday slapped fresh sanctions on Syria, targeting its central bank and blacklisting several people and entities in a continued effort to cut off funds for President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

The latest action, building on sanctions imposed on Syria earlier this year, marked another round in a U.S. campaign to push Assad’s government back into U.N.-led negotiations to end the country’s nearly decade-long war.

“The United States will continue to seek accountability for those prolonging this conflict,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

Read more: Reuters

White supremacists plotted to attack power stations in the southeastern U.S., and an Ohio teenager who allegedly shared the plan said he wanted the group to be “operational” on a fast-tracked timeline if President Donald Trump were to lose his re-election bid, the FBI alleges in an affidavit that was mistakenly unsealed.

The teen was in a text group with more than a dozen people in the fall of 2019 when he introduced the idea of saving money to buy a ranch where they could participate in militant training, according to the affidavit, which was filed under seal along with a search warrant application in Wisconsin’s Eastern U.S. District Court in March. The documents were inadvertently unsealed last week before the mistake was discovered and they were quickly sealed again.

Read more: AP

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Sunday said he was "relieved" that a "humanitarian" recovery operation had brought home 18 children and five "Islamic State" (IS) brides from Kurdish-run internment camps in northeastern Syria.

One of three German women brought back, identified in reports as Leonore M., 21, from Saxony-Anhalt state, was arrested a day earlier on arrival in Frankfurt airport, on charges including terror organization membership, said federal prosecutors.

All three German women reportedly face terror charges in Germany.

Accompanying Saturday's chartered flight were German federal police officers, reported the German news magazine Der Spiegel.

Read more: Deutsche Welle

A man supported the Islamic State group for years from a Portland, Oregon, suburb by helping the extremists maintain an online presence that encouraged attacks and sought recruits, federal agents and prosecutors said.

Hawazen Sameer Mothafar, who was arrested in November and whose trial is scheduled to begin in January, produced and disseminated propaganda and recruiting material through social media platforms, according to a grand jury indictment.

Mothafar pleaded not guilty to charges of providing material support to a designated terrorist organization and conspiring to provide that support. Mark Ahlemeyer, his federal public defender, declined to comment.

Read more: ABC News

The U.S. energy secretary on Thursday signed an order prohibiting electric utilities that supply critical defense facilities from importing certain power system items from China, in an effort to protect U.S. security from cyber and other attacks.

The Department of Energy said in a release the order prohibits utilities that supply the defense facilities at a service voltage of 69kV or above from acquiring, importing, transferring, or installing bulk power system electric equipment. It was not immediately clear which defense sites were considered critical and the Energy Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bulk power equipment consists of items used in substations, control rooms, or power plants, including nuclear reactors, capacitors, transformers, large generators and backup generators and other equipment.

Read more: Reuters