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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Feb 4, 2021

A court in Belgium has convicted an Iranian diplomat for plotting a thwarted bomb attack against an Iranian opposition group in France in 2018.

The court on Thursday sentenced Assadollah Assadi to 20 years in prison.

Belgian prosecutors said the Vienna-based Assadi and others planned to bomb a rally of the Paris-based National Council Resistance of Iran.

The court sentenced three other people Thursday to prison terms of 15 to 18 years.

Assadi, who was arrested during a trip to Germany, refused to testify at his trial last year, claiming he had diplomatic immunity.

Read more: Voice of America

Domestic terrorism remains a concern for law enforcement heading into Super Bowl weekend, Department of Homeland Security Acting Deputy Secretary David Pekoske said as officials aimed to assure the public that the game and surrounding venues would be safe.

"At this time, one particular area of concern is domestic violent extremism," Pekoske said, pointing to the recently released DHS terror threat bulletin during a news conference Wednesday with the NFL and law enforcement officials.

There were "no specific adjustments" to operations due to the insurrection at the US Capitol but there is a greater emphasis on investigative and intelligence work with respect to those threats, Pekoske said.

"We see no specific credible threat for this event, but we want to be prepared," he said.

Read more: CNN

Police have arrested a man suspected of fighting for a terrorist group in Syria as he tried to return to the UK.

The British national, who has not been officially named, was arrested after he arrived at Heathrow Airport on Wednesday afternoon.

The Independent understands that he is accused of fighting for an Islamist group in the ongoing Syrian civil war, and had returned to Britain on a flight from Turkey.

“Officers from the Met Police Counter Terrorism Command arrested the man, aged in his 20s, at Heathrow Airport at approximately 6.11pm on Wednesday 3 February,” a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said.

Read more: The Independent

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III has ordered a DOD-wide stand down to discuss the problem of extremism in the ranks, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said today.

Austin and Army Gen. Mark A, Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met with service civilian leaders and service chiefs to discuss the problem of extremism. Kirby noted that some of the extremists who stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6 were active duty service members and others were military veterans.

Kirby was quick to say that "the vast majority of men and women who serve in uniform and the military are doing so with honor, integrity and character, and do not espouse the sorts of beliefs that lead to the kind of conduct that can be so detrimental to good order and discipline and in fact is criminal."

Read more: Department of Defense

Ethiopia has arrested 15 people over a plot to attack the United Arab Emirates' embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's state news agency said on Wednesday, citing a statement from the intelligence service.

The group was working at the direction of foreigners, the Ethiopian Press Agency (EPA) reported. An unspecified amount of arms, explosives and documents were seized during the operation, the agency said.

"The group took the mission from a foreign terrorist group and was preparing to inflict significant damage on properties and human lives," it reported.

The UAE's foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A second group of suspects was planning to attack the UAE's diplomatic mission in neighbouring Sudan, the EPA said.

Read more: Reuters