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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Feb 17, 2021

Leaders from five West African nations and France agreed Tuesday to step up the fight against Islamic extremists in the Sahel region by deploying a new battalion from Chad, maintaining a strong French military presence and gradually building up a European task force.

The leaders of Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger and Mauritania, in a final statement from their two-day summit in N’Djamena, Chad, hailed progress over the past year that they said had made the implementation of a clear military strategy possible.

French President Emmanuel Macron, European officials and the heads of international organizations also attended the summit via videoconference.

Read more: AP

Students and teachers were abducted from a school in Niger state, Nigerian officials confirmed on Wednesday.

Schools have become regular targets for militant groups in Nigeria as well as criminal gangs seeking ransom money.

The attack took place at the Government Science College in the town of Kagara in Niger state.

Read more: Deutsche Welle

Five members of an Islamist militant group were sentenced to death on Tuesday by a court in Bangladesh for killing a U.S. blogger critical of religious extremism six years ago.

Avijit Roy, an engineer of Bangladeshi origin, was hacked to death by machete-wielding assailants in February 2015 while returning home with his wife from a Dhaka book fair. His wife, blogger Rafida Bonya Ahmed, suffered head injuries and lost a thumb in the attack.

In all, six men were convicted of belong to the al Qaeda-inspired domestic militant group Ansar Ullah Bangla Team. Police say the group was behind the murders of more than a dozen secular activists and bloggers.

Read more: Reuters

A Middletown man pleaded guilty in federal court on February 11, 2021, to Intentional Damage to a Facility that Provides Reproductive Health Services and Possession of an Unregistered Destructive Device (Molotov Cocktail) under the National Firearms Act.  The Honorable Leonard P. Stark, Chief Judge, United States District Court for the District of Delaware, accepted the plea.

According to court documents, at approximately 2:16 a.m., on January 3, 2020, Samuel Gulick, 19, drove to the Planned Parenthood facility in Newark, Delaware.  Video surveillance captured Gulick standing on the front porch of the building and spray-painting the phrase “Deus Vult” in red letters. Gulick then stepped off the front porch, lit an object, and threw it at the front window of the Planned Parenthood facility. The object, a Molotov Cocktail, exploded and Gulick ran away. The fire burned for approximately one minute before self-extinguishing. The explosion damaged the front window and porch of the building. Law enforcement identified Gulick through video surveillance that captured the license plate of the car in which he fled and through an Instagram page registered to Gulick, containing the phrase “Deus Vult” and several anti-abortion posts.

Read more: Department of Justice

Democratic and Republican lawmakers have issued fresh calls for a bipartisan 9/11-style commission to investigate why government officials and law enforcement failed to stop the attack on the US Capitol in January, following Donald Trump’s acquittal in his impeachment on charges that he incited the insurrection.

The commission would be modeled after a panel created in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks, which reviewed what caused the atrocity and laid out recommendations on how to foresee and prevent any future incursions.

“We need a 9/11 commission to find out what happened and make sure it never happens again, and I want to make sure that the Capitol footprint can be better defended next time,” said Lindsey Graham, a Republican senator of South Carolina and close Trump ally who voted to acquit the former president on Saturday. “His behavior after the election was over the top,” Graham said of the former president on Fox News Sunday.

Read more: The Guardian (UK)