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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: May 12, 2021

Eritrean troops are operating with total impunity in Ethiopia's war-torn northern Tigray region, killing, raping and blocking humanitarian aid to starving populations more than a month after the country's Nobel Peace Prize winning leader pledged to the international community that they would leave.

A CNN team traveling through Tigray's central zone witnessed Eritrean soldiers, some disguising themselves in old Ethiopian military uniforms, manning checkpoints, obstructing and occupying critical aid routes, roaming the halls of one of the region's few operating hospitals and threatening medical staff.
Despite pressure from the Biden administration, there is no sign that Eritrean forces plan to exit the border region anytime soon.

On April 21, a CNN team reporting in Tigray with the permission of Ethiopian authorities traveled from the regional capital Mekelle to the besieged city of Axum, two weeks after it had been sealed off by Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers. An aid convoy also made the seven-hour journey.

Read more: CNN

In the worst flare-up of violence for seven years, Israel and Palestinian militants launched hundreds of missiles overnight into Wednesday that killed more than 40 people and injured hundreds more, amid rising fears the conflict could spiral into all-out war.

What started as weeks of tense clashes in Jerusalem has escalated into violent unrest on the streets of Arab Israeli towns and a deadly aerial conflict — more than 1,000 rockets lighted up the skies of Israeli cities, while high-rise buildings were levelled in the blockaded Gaza Strip, home to 2 million Palestinians.

At least 43 people, including 13 children, were killed amid the Israeli bombardment of Gaza, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

Five Israelis were killed in the coastal cities of Ashkleon and Rishon Lezion, and in the city of Lod southeast of Tel Aviv, officials said. In total than 200 people have been wounded in Israel, while there have been close to 300 Palestinian injuries, according to authorities on both sides.

Read more: NBC News

A Southern California man with ties to the white supremacy movement is the subject of a domestic terrorism investigation, federal authorities wrote in court documents.

The probe came to light in documents filed Friday in a separate case charging Brian Thibodeau with possession of an unregistered gun silencer. The 20-year-old has pleaded not guilty in federal court in San Diego in that case and is free on bond.

The FBI told special agents from the Department of Homeland Security who were investigating the silencer that Thibodeau was facing an domestic terrorism investigation involving so-called racially motivated violent extremists, the court documents say.

The FBI said their investigation involves white supremacy and domestic terrorism movements, the court documents say, as well as online planning for possible violent attacks in the U.S.

Though there’s a domestic terrorism investigation, no specific domestic terrorism law exists in the federal criminal code. That means the government must rely on other laws, such as hate crimes and weapons offenses, in politically motivated cases.

Read more: AP

Seven children and two adults have been killed in a shooting at a school in the Russian city of Kazan, officials say.

Twenty-one other people, mostly children, were injured. A 19-year-old suspect was detained.

The attack happened in the capital of the republic of Tatarstan, 820km (510 miles) east of Moscow.

Russian PM Mikhail Mishustin spoke of "great sorrow" while Tatarstan's leader Rustam Minnikhanov described the attack as a "major tragedy".

"We are deeply saddened that this has happened," he said.

Read more: BBC News

The Department of Homeland Security has begun implementing a strategy to gather and analyze intelligence about security threats from public social media posts, DHS officials said.

The goal is to build a warning system to detect the sort of posts that appeared to predict an attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 but were missed or ignored by law enforcement and intelligence agencies, the officials said.

The focus is not on the identity of the posters but rather on gleaning insights about potential security threats based on emerging narratives and grievances. So far, DHS is using human beings, not computer algorithms, to make sense of the data, the officials said.

"We're not looking at who are the individual posters," said a senior official involved in the effort. "We are looking at what narratives are resonating and spreading across platforms. From there you may be able to determine what are the potential targets you need to protect."

Read more: NBC News