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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Nov 3, 2021

Tunisia has discovered a tunnel near the French ambassador’s residence from a house frequented by a known extremist, and anti-terrorism forces are investigating, the Tunisian Interior Ministry said on Wednesday.

French diplomats were not immediately available for comment.

Tunisian security forces have thwarted most militant plots in recent years and have grown better at responding to those that occur say Western diplomats.

The last major attacks took place in 2015 when militants killed scores of people in two separate assaults at a museum in Tunis and a beach resort in Sousse.

The French residence is located in a walled compound in the upscale suburb of La Marsa, with private housing on two sides.

Read more: KFGO (Fargo, ND)

The European Union will train around 2,000 Mozambican naval and special forces to help fight an Islamic State-linked insurgency that’s left more than 3,400 people dead and halted Africa’s biggest private investment yet.

Mozambique, one of the world’s poorest countries, is desperately trying to end a four-year insurgency in gas-rich northern province Cabo Delgado province, which threatens to derail its ambitions to become one of the world’s biggest liquefied natural gas exporters. In April, TotalEnergies SE suspended work on its $20 billion LNG project due to an escalation of violence in the region. 

The two-year training mission that began Wednesday aims to create a quick-reaction force specialized in counter-terrorism, said Antonio Sánchez-Benedito Gaspar, the head of the EU mission in Mozambique. It will comply with international humanitarian law and human rights while protecting the population, he said.

Read more: Bloomberg

A Taliban military commander was killed when his men responded to an Islamic State suicide bomb and gun attack on a hospital in the Afghan capital, officials said Wednesday.

The Taliban spent 20 years waging an insurgency against the ousted US-backed government before seizing control of Kabul in August.

Now they face the struggle of bringing stability to Afghanistan, which has been hit in recent weeks by a series of bloody assaults claimed by rivals, the Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K).

At least 19 people were killed in Tuesday's attack on Kabul's main military hospital, according to a health ministry official who did not want to be named.

Hamdullah Mokhlis, a member of the hardline Haqqani network and an officer in the Badri Corps special forces, is the most senior figure to have been killed since the Taliban seized Kabul.

Read more: France 24

A federal case against a man accused of placing explosive devices on barges on the Ohio River is moving ahead after a judge on Tuesday found probable cause.

Nathaniel Blayn Becker, 42, of Marietta, Ohio, faces charges of possession of an unregistered firearm or explosive device. He appeared in court during his preliminary hearing.

A member of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives testified about the incidents, which happened last month on the Ohio River along Wood and Pleasants counties in West Virginia. The U.S. attorney said the evidence fitted the federal definition of an explosive device, including the presence of ammonium nitrate.

Judge Dwane Tinsley ruled that Becker should remain in the custody of U.S. Marshals due to past mental health issues and being on court supervision in Ohio.

Read more: WSAZ (Huntington, WV)

During his 27 years in the U.S. Army, Leonard Gruppo joined the Special Forces, served in four war zones and led a team of combat medics in Iraq before retiring in 2013 as a lieutenant colonel.

During his six minutes inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, Gruppo joined a slew of other military veterans as a mob of pro-Trump rioters carried out an unparalleled assault on the bastion of American democracy. He’s among dozens of veterans and active-service members charged in connection with the insurrection.

Now, cases like his are presenting a thorny question for federal judges to consider when they sentence veterans who stormed the Capitol: Do they deserve leniency because they served their country or tougher punishment because they swore an oath to defend it?

The Justice Department has adopted the latter position. In at least five cases so far, prosecutors have cited a rioter’s military service as a factor weighing in favor of a jail sentence or house arrest. Prosecutors have repeatedly maintained that veterans’ service, while commendable, made their actions on Jan. 6 more egregious.

Read more: AP