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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: May 13, 2021

Israel’s military is drafting a plan for a possible ground operation in Gaza, as it presses ahead with a fierce air offensive on the enclave and as Hamas, the militant group that runs Gaza, fires volleys of rockets deep into Israel.

Meanwhile, racist mob attacks have continued to spread through Israel in the worst Arab-Jewish chaos for years. Overnight on Wednesday, far-right Jewish mobs took to the streets across the country searching for Arabs, while Palestinian citizens of Israel clashed with police, including reports of attempted shootings.

The attack plans, which are in their initial stages and have not been approved, will be presented to the military heads later on Thursday, who will consider whether to submit them to Israel’s government, an army spokesperson said.

Read more: The Guardian (UK)

Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated seven individuals in connection with Hizballah and its financial firm, Al-Qard al-Hassan (AQAH).  AQAH, which was designated by OFAC in 2007, is used by Hizballah as a cover to manage the terrorist group’s financial activities and gain access to the international financial system. 

Ibrahim Ali Daher (Daher) serves as the Chief of Hizballah’s Central Finance Unit, which oversees Hizballah’s overall budget and spending, including the group’s funding of its terrorist operations and killing of the group’s opponents.  The other six individuals designated today used the cover of personal accounts at certain Lebanese banks, including U.S.-designated Jammal Trust Bank (JTB), to evade sanctions targeting AQAH and transfer approximately half a billion U.S. dollars on behalf of AQAH.

“From the highest levels of Hizballah’s financial apparatus to working level individuals, Hizballah continues to abuse the Lebanese financial sector and drain Lebanon’s financial resources at an already dire time,” said Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control Andrea Gacki.  “Such actions demonstrate Hizballah’s disregard for financial stability, transparency, or accountability in Lebanon.”

Read more: US Department of the Treasury

Colonial Pipeline announced Wednesday that it has begun restarting pipeline operations after a cyberattack forced the company to take some of its systems offline last Friday. News of the attack sparked panic in some regions of the country, with residents lining up at the pump over fears of a gas shortage.

The company said it initiated the restart at approximately 5 p.m., but warned that it will take "several days" for operations to return to normal.

"Some markets served by Colonial Pipeline may experience, or continue to experience, intermittent service interruptions during the start-up period," the company said in a statement. "Colonial will move as much gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel as is safely possible and will continue to do so until markets return to normal."

Read more: CBS News

Republicans sought to rewrite the history of the Jan. 6 insurrection during a rancorous congressional hearing Wednesday, painting the Trump supporters who attacked the building as mostly peaceful patriots and downplaying repeatedly the violence of the day.

Democrats, meanwhile, clashed with Donald Trump’s former Pentagon chief about the unprepared government response to a riot that began when hundreds of Trump loyalists bent on overturning the election broke through police barriers, smashed windows and laid siege to the building.

The colliding lines of questioning, and a failure to settle on a universally agreed-upon set of facts, underscored the challenges Congress faces as it sets out to investigate the violence and government missteps. The House Oversight Committee hearing unfolded just after Republicans in the chamber voted to remove Rep. Liz Cheney from her leadership post for rebuking Trump for his false claims of election fraud and his role in inciting the attack.

Read more: AP

Myanmar's military rulers have branded a rival National Unity Government a terrorist group and blamed it for bombings, arson and killings, state-controlled media said on Saturday.

Myanmar's army has struggled to impose order since seizing power on Feb. 1 and detaining elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Bombings are reported daily and local militias have been formed to confront the army while anti-junta protests have not stopped across the Southeast Asian country and strikes by opponents of the coup have paralysed the economy.

The National Unity Government (NUG), which operates under cover and itself describes the army as a terrorist force, announced this week that it would set up a People's Defence Force.

Read more: NBC News