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Homeland Security News

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

The vulnerability of the telecommunications system in Nashville and beyond became clear Christmas Day when AT&T's central office in downtown became the site of a bombing.

Mayor John Cooper called the blast on Second Avenue an attack on infrastructure. The effects of that attack are sure to ripple through the region for weeks, as the telecom giant scrambles to restore services while maintaining the integrity of an active investigation site teeming with federal agents.

State and local officials and experts say the fact that a multistate region could be brought to its knees by a single bombing is a "wake-up call," exposing vulnerabilities many didn't know existed and predicting it would lead to intense conversations about the future.

The bombing and the damage to the AT&T office was a "single-point of failure," said Douglas Schmidt, the Cornelius Vanderbilt professor of computer science at Vanderbilt University.

Read more: USA Today

Sixteen months before Anthony Quinn Warner's RV exploded in downtown Nashville on Christmas morning, officers visited his home in Antioch after his girlfriend reported that he was making bombs in the vehicle, according to documents obtained by The Tennessean.

On Friday, 63-year-old Warner blew up a city block, police say, about 6:30 a.m. on Second Avenue outside an AT&T switch facility. The bomb caused massive destruction to 41 downtown buildings and crippled telecommunication systems throughout the Southeast over the weekend.

In the aftermath, The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said Warner was "not on our radar" prior to the bombing. But a Metro Nashville Police Department report from August 2019 shows that local and federal authorities were aware of alleged threats he had made.

Read more: Tennessean

We’re getting our first look at the body cam video from Metro Nashville Police Department officers on the scene of the Christmas Day bombing. The video shows the officers calmly asking people to leave the area just minutes before an RV filled with explosives blew up.

Eight people were injured in the blast. And 41 buildings were damaged.

Metro Nashville Police Officer Michael Sipos was just issued his body camera a few days ago. Dramatic video from that camera, released three days after the bombing, shows him and other officers clearing the area with no time to spare.

“So, you’re not doing anything wrong, OK?” a female officer said to a man sitting on stairs near Dick’s Last Resort. “You’re not in trouble. But there is something serious happening.”

Read more: WMC-5 (Memphis)

Police in North Macedonia have detained eight men on suspicion of planning terrorist attacks in the name of the "Islamic State" (IS), the Interior Ministry said Monday.

In addition, officers seized a large weapons cache as part of an operation that saw the men, aged between 21 and 31, arrested late on Sunday.

One of the suspects had a previous conviction for being involved in IS activities.

The eight were arrested in Skopje and Kumanovo after a monthslong investigation, the ministry said in a statement. If found guilty they face up to 10 years in prison.

The group has been accused of "creating a terrorist organization, based on the ideological matrix of the terrorist organization ISIS, for committing murders and destroying public buildings," police said.

Read more: Deutsche Welle

The French presidency said three French soldiers were killed Monday in Mali when an improvised explosive device hit their armored vehicle.

The soldiers were participating in a military operation in the Hombori area of Mali’s central Mopti province, part of a larger mission aiming at fighting Islamist extremists in Africa’s Sahel region, the French presidency said in a statement.

Defense Minister Florence Parly said the soldiers were working “in an area where terrorist groups are attacking civilians and threatening the regional stability.” Parly said they were involved in a mission aiming at helping Mali to gradually be able to ensure its own security. The defense minister did not provide further details.

Read more: WTOP