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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Aug 26, 2020

An Iowa City man has been arrested for allegedly driving his vehicle into a group of protesters in Iowa City over the weekend.

Michael Stepanek, 45, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with intimidation with a dangerous weapon, a class C felony, and willful injury causing bodily injury, a class D felony.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Johnson County District Court, at around 10:25 p.m. on Friday, August 21, Stepanek was driving eastbound in a 1998 Toyota Camry along East Burlington Street. His vehicle was stopped behind other vehicles due to a group of protesters, organized by the Iowa Freedom Riders, in the intersection between Burlington Street and Gilbert Street. Video evidence gathered by police showed the horn on Stepanek’s vehicle sounding before he made a u-turn on Burlington with tires squealing.

Read more: KCRG

More than 10,000 Islamic State fighters are estimated to remain active in Iraq and Syria two years after the militant group’s defeat, and their attacks have significantly increased this year, the U.N. counter-terrorism chief said Monday.

Vladimir Voronkov told the U.N. Security Council that Islamic State fighters move freely “in small cells between the two countries.”

He said the Islamic State extremist group — also known as IS, ISIL and ISIS — has regrouped and its activity has increased not only in conflict zones like Iraq and Syria but also in some regional affiliates.

“However, in non-conflict zones, the threat appears to have decreased in the short term,” he said. “Measures to minimize the spread of COVID-19, such as lockdowns and restrictions on movement, seem to have reduced the risk of terrorist attacks in many countries.”

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Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has said he discussed his country's listing by the US as a state sponsor of terror with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on his visit to Khartoum.

Sudan wants to be removed from the list so sanctions can be lifted.

The country has been listed since the 1990s when al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden lived there, as a guest of ex-President Omar al Bashir's government.

Bashir has since been overthrown and relations with the US have eased.

Read more: BBC News

A Wisconsin mother of seven accused of hacking Facebook accounts to provide support to the Islamic State was sentenced to more than seven years in prison, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

Waheba Issa Dais, 48, of the Milwaukee suburb of Cudahy, was convicted of attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. Prosecutors said Dais admitted to hacking Facebook accounts to pledge her allegiance to the terror group and to communicating with other supporters.

Through social media, she tried recruiting potential ISIS members and encouraged supporters who could not travel to ISIS-controlled areas to initiate terror attacks in their home countries, authorities said.

Read more: Fox News

Two female suicide attackers who carried out a double bombing in the southern Philippines were the widows of militants who had worked for the Islamic State-linked Abu Sayyaf group, the army chief said Wednesday (Aug 26).

Fourteen people were killed and 75 wounded, including members of the government-backed security forces and civilians, when the pair blew themselves up in a coordinated attack on Jolo island in Muslim-majority Sulu province on Monday.

No group has claimed responsibility for the country's deadliest attack this year, but the military had pointed to Abu Sayyaf as the likely culprits.

Read more: Channel News Asia