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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Feb 16, 2021

A rocket attack on U.S.-led forces in northern Iraq killed a civilian contractor on Monday and injured a U.S. service member, the U.S. coalition in Iraq said, in the deadliest such attack in almost a year.

The rockets landed in and around a military air base operated by the coalition at Erbil International Airport.

The coalition spokesman tweeted on Tuesday that the dead contractor was not American, but did not elaborate. He said three 107 mm rockets had landed inside the base.

Of the nine other people hurt, eight were civilian contractors and one a U.S. service member, a coalition spokesman said. A U.S. official who declined to be named said the U.S. serviceman had concussion.

Read more: Reuters

Audrey Strauss, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and New York Police Department Commissioner Dermot Shea, announced that RICKEY JOHNSON, a/k/a “Nigel Dawn Defarren,” was arrested last night based on a criminal Complaint filed in Manhattan federal court charging JOHNSON with making threatening interstate communications and threatening United States officials.  JOHNSON allegedly posted public videos on Instagram in which he threatened to kill a United States Senator, a member of the United States House of Representatives, other current and former elected officials, and several cable news broadcasters. JOHNSON will be presented before United States Magistrate Gabriel W. Gorenstein in Manhattan federal court today.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said:  “Rickey Johnson allegedly threatened to kill several cable news broadcasters and current and former U.S. Senators and members of the House in rage-fueled posts on Instagram and in chilling private messages.  Among the many great freedoms Americans enjoy is the right to engage in political discourse, and disagreements are natural and healthy; but when invective metastasizes into threats of harm or even death, law enforcement will act swiftly to bring the person responsible to justice.”

Read more: Department of Justice

At least one person was killed and 10 people were injured in a car bomb that exploded Saturday morning near the Somalian presidential palace in Mogadishu, police and hospital officials said.

"At 9:10 AM, a terrorist car loaded with explosives ... rammed into a checkpoint near the Sayidka Junction. The security forces opened fire at the car while speeding to the Presidential Palace in Mogadishu," a police statement read.
Police said the suicide car bomber also died in the blast.
"Thank God, the vigilance of the security forces has saved the people from the threat of terrorism to the innocent Somali people," the statement added.

Read more: CNN

The Biden administration plans to expand grants from the Department of Homeland Security to study and try to prevent domestic violent extremism, two DHS officials said, as part of a departmentwide effort to make combating the kind of violence seen last month at the U.S. Capitol "a top priority."

"We have successfully advocated for additional funds. We intend to keep building on preventing domestic terrorism departmentwide," one of the officials said.

The new grants would expand on those funded at the end of the Trump administration by DHS' Office of Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention, which included over $500,000 for a project at American University that studies the "growing threat of violent white supremacist extremist disinformation." The program is aimed at preventing spread of the disinformation through what researchers call "attitudinal inoculation."

Read more: NBC News

Danish authorities said on Thursday that they have detained 13 people, through separate arrests, and charged seven with attempted terrorism. Germany also arrested a suspect in the same case.

"Unfortunately, the case shows that the threat of terrorism against Denmark remains serious," the Danish Ministry of Justice said on Twitter.

Denmark's Security and Intelligence Service (PET) remanded seven people in custody after a police operation between February 6 and February 8, the intelligence agency said in a statement.

Prosecutors have charged the seven with "planning one or more terrorist attacks or being accessory to attempted terrorism," and "having acquired ingredients and components for manufacturing explosives as well as firearms or having aided and abetted in the offense," PET said.

Read more: Deutsche Welle