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Homeland Security News

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

Police are seeking suspects and a motive in a case that saw two packages addressed to grocery businesses exploding — with a third being defused just in time.

"A connection is to be assumed between these three parcels," Baden-Württemberg's state police chief Stefanie Hinz said in Stuttgart on Friday.

An employee at a drinks producer in the southwestern town of Eppelheim suffered an acoustic shock when he opened one of the packages on Tuesday. The parcel contained an explosive device.

An explosive package also arrived at Lidl headquarters in the town in Neckarsulm, some 50 kilometers (about 30 miles) southeast of Eppelheim. Three people were injured when it was opened — two with minor injuries but one more seriously hurt.

Just hours later officers defused another package at an airport in Munich, addressed to a grocery business in the southern state of Bavaria. A source told the DPA news agency that the latter package had been addressed to baby food manufacturer Hipp.

Criminal police for the state of Baden-Württemberg, where Eppelheim and Neckarsulm are located, said a special task force had been set up.

The investigation will involve more than 100 officers, with the public prosecutor's office in Heidelberg assuming central responsibility.

Source: Deutsche Welle 

A Goulburn Supermax prison inmate has been charged with terrorism offences for allegedly planning attacks against military, police and corrective services staff while behind bars.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) said the 24-year-old was found to be an associate of people they alleged were engaging in terror-related activities.

The man was already being investigated by NSW Police's high-risk terrorist offenders unit, which ended with police being granted an order to keep the man behind bars.

He was also on remand for matters unrelated to terrorism.

Read more: ABC News (Australia)

The Biden administration is leaning on the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help state and local authorities combat domestic extremism in the United States.

The new guidance directed by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was announced by FEMA to state and local officials in a briefing last week, an administration official said.

The agency, often associated with storm and emergency relief efforts, plans to increase funding for states and cities to focus on the pursuit of domestic extremist groups, doubling down on the agency's efforts to combat domestic extremism, a FEMA source told CNN.

The Trump White House's general lack of interest in addressing the problem of right-wing extremism has forced the Biden administration to essentially start from scratch as it conducts a variety of threat assessments. Officials acknowledge they must first understand the scope of the problem before they can begin to counter it.

Read more: CNN

An Amherst County man charged with threatening to bomb or burn a structure in a May 2020 family dispute was sentenced Wednesday to nine months in jail with much of that time served.

Gregory Todd Maddox, 52, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Amherst Circuit Court to the felony charge and another count of possessing methamphetamine. Judge Michael Garrett sentenced Maddox to 20 years with all but nine months suspended in accordance with a plea agreement.

Maddox also faces a felony count of manufacturing and possessing an explosive device in Lynchburg. He is scheduled for trial March 31 in Lynchburg Circuit Court.

Read more: The News & Advance (Lynchburg, VA)

Gunfire and rockets exploded on Friday in Mogadishu as Somali government forces clashed with opposition supporters angered by delayed elections, fighting that could split the military along clan lines and strengthen the al Qaida-linked insurgency.

Video sent to Reuters from an anti-government demonstration showed civilians in facemasks - accompanied by friendly soldiers in red berets with ammunition belts wrapped around them - waving Somali flags scattering before gunfire erupted. Reuters journalists nearby could hear intermittent gunfire as well as heavier explosions.

“Many forces heavily attacked us, I am now on my chest in an alley. This is a massacre,” protester Farah Omar told Reuters by phone. He said Turkish-trained special forces troops known as Gorgor were among those attacking demonstrators.

Read more: Reuters