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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Nov 19, 2021

Rightwing extremists are using Covid controversies and online gaming as a way of recruiting young people, as data shows half of the most serious cases of suspected radicalisation reported by schools and colleges now involve far-right activity.

Figures published by the Home Office show twice as many young people in education in England and Wales last year were thought to be at risk of radicalisation by the extreme right-wing, compared with those at risk from Islamic extremists.

The new figures from the government’s Prevent anti-extremism programme, covering 2020-21, show that 310 people were referred to Prevent by schools, colleges and universities because of far-right links. Just 157 were referred because of vulnerability to Islamic extremism.

But while fewer than one in five cases of suspected Islamic extremism were escalated by the authorities, nearly one in three cases involving far-right extremism were passed on to the government’s Channel scheme, which aims to safeguard individuals thought most likely to be radicalised and drawn into terrorist activity.

Read more: The Guardian (UK)

Maryland State Police say a man, woman and two juveniles are all dead after an attempted traffic stop resulted in a car crash on Ringgold Pike in Washington County, Maryland. All four people in the car had been shot. 

MSP spokesperson Elena Russo said her department became involved when they were notified by Pennsylvania authorities that a car that matched the description of a suspect vehicle was heading towards the Maryland state line. 

Just after crossing into Maryland, Russo said the car drove off the highway, crashing into a fence line. Police say they then surrounded the vehicle and attempted to make contact with the occupants. After no response and seeing a thick layer of smoke in the vehicle, police opened the car to find a female driver, and three backseat passengers, which included two children, all with gunshot wounds. 

The man, woman and one of the children were already dead. The other child was Medivac-ed to a hospital in Hagerstown, where they were pronounced dead.

Read more: WUSA9

The bomb which exploded near Liverpool Women's Hospital contained homemade explosives and ball bearings and could have caused "significant injury or death", police have revealed.

Emad Al Swealmeen's device exploded shortly before 11:00 GMT on Remembrance Sunday in a taxi outside the hospital.

Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson said a "completely unintentional" detonation had not been ruled out.

He added that police had found no links to the Manchester Arena attack in 2017.

Christian convert Al Swealmeen, 32, was a passenger in the taxi when his device exploded.

Read more: BBC News

The former lay minister who gave a home to Liverpool bomber Emad al Swealmeen was aware that his Bible meetings were being targeted by Muslims pretending to convert to Christianity.

Malcolm Hitchcott, who was assistant leader of Liverpool Cathedral's Iranian ministry, told an appeal tribunal: "I am aware that there are some asylum seekers who attend church with the sole purpose of advancing their asylum claims."

Court records show Mr Hitchcott had refused to baptise one asylum seeker and had identified several who were only pretending to have renounced their faith.

Apostasy is punishable by death in some regimes based on a strict interpretation of Islam, and asylum seekers can use conversion to Christianity as evidence of likely persecution should they be deported.

Read more: Sky News

A federal grand jury returned a five-count indictment today against Gary Stephen Maynard, 47, of San Jose, charging him with arson to federal property and setting timber afire, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, Maynard engaged in an arson spree in the vicinity of the then ongoing Dixie Fire in areas of the Shasta Trinity National Forest and the Lassen National Forest. Some of the fires Maynard set were new fires behind the firefighters fighting the Dixie Fire. Maynard is charged with setting the following fires during this arson spree: the Cascade Fire (July 20), the Everitt Fire (July 21), the Ranch Fire (Aug. 7), and the Conard Fire (Aug. 7).

This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Forest Service, which received assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, CalFire, the California Highway Patrol, and the Lassen County Sherriff’s Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael D. Anderson is prosecuting the case.

Read more: Department of Justice