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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Jan 13, 2021

The U.N. counter-terrorism chief warned Tuesday that terrorists are exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic and appealing to new "racially, ethnically and politically motivated violent extremist groups."

Vladimir Voronkov spoke at the U.N. Security Council's 20th anniversary commemoration of the pivotal resolution to fight terrorism adopted after the 9/11 attacks on the United States -- and six days after a violent assault on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.

He said that throughout the past two decades, "the threat of terrorism has persisted, evolved and spread."

Al-Qaida, which was responsible for the 9/11 attacks that killed almost 3,000 people from 90 countries, is still proving resilient despite the loss of numerous leaders, Voronkov said. The Islamic State extremist group, which lost its self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria, is still carrying out attacks in the two countries "and seeking to reconstitute an external operations capability."

Read more: Minneapolis Star Tribune

Armed gunmen on Tuesday shot dead a police officer guarding a team of polio vaccine handlers in northwestern Pakistan, according to local officials.

The attack took place in Karak, a remote town in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, on the second day of a five-day national polio immunization drive. According to official figures, Karak and adjoining areas recorded 15 of province's 22 cases polio cases last year.

"Two gunmen came on a motorcycle and attacked our colleague Junaid Ullah while he was escorting the polio team. They opened fire on the van carrying polio workers," Muhammad Ishaq Khan, a police official in Karak, told DW.

"Police teams have launched an operation to catch the attackers. The polio vaccination campaign has been temporarily halted; we will resume it in the area tomorrow," he added.

Read more: Deutsche Welle

Federal prosecutors submitted chilling new evidence in their case against Capitol siege suspect Lonnie Coffman on Tuesday, including a list the protester had in his possession naming "good guys" and "bad guys," including the names of a federal judge and a House lawmaker.

Among the evidence submitted to the court are also pictures of the materials seized from Coffman's truck, which include multiple firearms, a crossbow, stun gun and a cooler with 11 homemade Molotov cocktails. Evidence photos submitted by the Department of Justice show an AR-15-style rifle, shotgun and handgun were taken from the vehicle.

Read more: ABC News

The FBI has publicly acknowledged for the first time that it is considering preventing those who attacked the US Capitol last week from boarding planes by adding them to the federal no-fly list.

FBI Washington Field Office Assistant Director in Charge Steven D'Antuono said Tuesday that the bureau would consider adding rioters to the no-fly list, which is maintained by the bureau and administered by the Transportation Security Administration.

"As for the no-fly list, we look at all tools and techniques that we possibly can use within the FBI and that's something we are actively looking at," D'Antuono said in response to a question from CNN's Evan Pérez.

On Tuesday, congressional leaders intensified calls to keep rioters off planes after they said they remained mostly in the dark from the agencies that oversee the list.

Read more: CNN

An Oklahoma grandmother. The CEO of a Chicago-area marketing firm. A Florida man convicted of attempted murder. A leader of the group of far-right street brawlers known as the Proud Boys. An Iraq war veteran who works at a Seattle-area packaging plant. A newly sworn-in West Virginia lawmaker.

Hailing from across the country and comprising a variety of backgrounds, many who rampaged through the U.S. Capitol Wednesday had one thing in common: an unfounded certainty that President Trump had won re-election. In the days since the attack—resulting in five deaths, including a police officer who was killed and a rioter shot by police—a clearer picture of the angry mob has begun to emerge.

Some had expressed their anger openly on social media. Some had been in trouble before, with backgrounds including arrests, financial problems and affiliations with extremist groups, according to public records and online posts. Some led unassuming lives, with dumbfounded family members saying they had no idea how their loved ones got swept up in the chaos inside the Capitol.

Read more: Wall Street Journal