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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Apr 8, 2021

A bus was hijacked and set on fire near an interface in Belfast after violence broke out again in Northern Ireland on Wednesday evening.

The bus was set alight after youths pelted it with petrol bombs at the junction of Lanark Way and the Shankill Road in west Belfast.

The North’s First Minister, Arlene Foster, condemned the violence and said her thoughts were with the driver. “This is not protest. This is vandalism and attempted murder.

“These actions do not represent unionism or loyalism. They are an embarrassment to Northern Ireland and only serve to take the focus off the real lawbreakers in Sinn Féin.”

The Sinn Féin Assembly member Gerry Kelly said the “disgraceful scenes of violence and destruction” in Belfast on Wednesday night had “clearly been planned in advance and orchestrated by loyalist criminal gangs.”

Read more: Irish Times

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police are investigating a man who was arrested April 2 after he was found with an explosive device and several items related to financial crimes.

Police stopped Christopher Camacho in the 300 block of Flamingo Ave after excessive smoke was being emitted from Camacho's vehicle. During the stop, Camacho disclosed that he had recently been released from prison and that there was a "BB gun" and "fireworks" in the vehicle. He agreed to a search of the vehicle. While searching the vehicle, officers discovered a firearm, several items believed to be used for financial crimes (credit/debit cards and a card reencoding device) and a homemade explosive device.

The Armor Unit and Counter-Terrorism detectives were called to the scene. Financial Crimes detectives were also notified of the situation.

During the investigation, more card scanners/encoders and explosive-related items were discovered at Motel 6 where Camacho was staying.

Read more: NBC Las Vegas

President Joe Biden will announce limited steps, using his executive power, to address gun violence on Thursday -- three weeks after three mass shootings and under pressure to act.

Biden is expected to announce six actions, according to senior administration officials, including asking the Department of Justice to issue a proposed rule to help stop the rise of so-called "ghost guns" within 30 days. Those firearms are assembled from parts purchased online that don't have serial numbers and are difficult to track and are unregulated, according to a White House official.

Within 60 days, the DOJ will be expected to issue a proposed rule stating that a device marked as a stabilizing brace, capable of turning a pistol into a short-barreled rifle, be subject to the National Firearms Act.

Read more: ABC News

In confidential interrogation reports, Iraqi detainee M060108-01 is depicted as a model prisoner, “cooperative” with his American captors and unusually chatty. At times, he seemed to go out of his way to be helpful, especially when offered a chance to inform on rivals within his organization, then known as the Islamic State of Iraq.

Over several days of questioning in 2008, the detainee provided precise directions on how to find the secret headquarters of the insurgent group’s media wing, down to the color of the front door and the times of day when the office would be occupied. When asked about the group’s No. 2 leader — a Moroccan-born Swede named Abu Qaswarah — he drew maps of the man’s compound and gave up the name of Abu Qaswarah’s personal courier.

Weeks after those revelations, U.S. soldiers killed Abu Qaswarah in a raid in the Iraqi city of Mosul. Meanwhile, the detainee, U.S. officials say, would go on to become famous under a different name: Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi — the current leader of the Islamic State.

Read more: Washington Post

A Missouri man was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison without parole today for attempting to purchase a chemical weapon, capable of killing hundreds of people, on the dark web with Bitcoin.

Jason William Siesser, 46, of Columbia, Mo., pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to acquire a chemical weapon and one count of aggravated identity theft on Aug. 4, 2020. According to court documents, Siesser admitted that he attempted to acquire a chemical weapon on two occasions between June 14 and Aug. 23, 2018. He provided a shipping address in the name of a juvenile, whose identity he used without authorization, to place the orders for a highly toxic chemical in amounts capable of killing many people. Siesser paid for the chemical weapon with the digital cryptocurrency known as Bitcoin.

Siesser ordered two 10 mL units of the chemical on July 4, 2018, and paid with Bitcoin. The seller did not ship the chemical weapon at that time. Siesser continued to contact the seller. On July 19, 2018, Siesser told the seller that, “I plan to use it soon after I receive it.”

Read more: Department of Justice