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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: May 18, 2021

A Florida man pleaded guilty today to attempting to provide material support and resources to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, also known as ISIS, a designated foreign terrorist organization since 2014.

According to court documents, Romeo Xavier Langhorne, 31, of St. Augustine, pledged his allegiance to ISIS at some point in 2014, knowing that ISIS was a designated foreign terrorist organization and that they engaged in acts of terrorism.

If convicted, Langhorne faces a maximum of 20 years in federal prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Throughout 2018 and 2019, Langhorne reaffirmed his support for ISIS on various social media accounts, as well as posted ISIS-produced videos to his YouTube account and participated in online chat rooms with like-minded individuals. In December 2018 and January 2019, Langhorne expressed in one of those chat rooms an interest in creating a video that would improve on existing videos demonstrating the making and use of a deadly explosive – triacetone triperoxide, also known as TATP.

Read more: Department of Justice

The Nigerian government has repeatedly claimed victory over Boko Haram, and confined it to the north-east alone, but recent revelations by some state governors give cause for worry. Following the attack in Bauchi State, the Jigawa State government has urged residents of the state to be vigilant, following reports of suspicious movement of Boko Haram insurgents in the neighbouring state.

Most of these states such as Nasarawa, Benue, and Niger do not share boundaries with the north-east states. While the former army chief Tukur Buratai claimed that the Boko Haram militants were defeated, the military is now fighting a splinter militant group, the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP). ISWAP, which split from the mainstream Boko Haram in 2016, has become a dominant group, focusing on military targets and high-profile attacks, including attacks against aid workers. The Boko Haram insurgency has killed approximately 36,000 people and displaced about two million people in Nigeria since 2009.

Read more: All Africa

Cross-border fighting between Israel and Hamas appeared to abate slightly early on Tuesday, with no fatalities logged in Gaza for the first time since hostilities erupted on May 10, and fewer long-range Palestinian rocket attacks.

But a call by U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday in support of a ceasefire appeared to go unheeded. Israel said it would press on, for now, with an offensive to destroy the capabilities of the armed factions Hamas and Islamic Jihad and rocket attacks continued.

The United States and other world powers have been pushing for an end to the fiercest escalation in the conflict in years, in which Gaza officials say 212 Palestinians, including 61 children and 36 women, have been killed.

Read more: Reuters

Two Maryland sheriff’s deputies were shot and wounded Monday in Waldorf while trying to serve a warrant for a probation violation on an assault charge, a spokeswoman said.

Charles County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Diane Richardson told The Associated Press that deputies responded to a call at around 3:30 p.m. from a home in the 6300 block of Josephine Road about a man who the caller, identified as a family member, wanted out of the house.

Additional deputies were dispatched to the home, Richardson said, because there were concerns about the man's mental condition and the danger he might pose. He was said to be experiencing a “mental health episode,” she said, citing the caller.

Read more: NBC Washington

Many of the world's largest cybercrime gangs are still actively hacking and extorting victims, undeterred by the international spotlight after one of their peers hacked a U.S. fuel pipeline.

A Russian-affiliated hacker gang, DarkSide, disappeared last week after it hacked Colonial Pipeline, which provides fuel for much of the U.S. East Coast. That prompted the company to shut down operations for five days, leading to gas shortages in the U.S. and condemnation from President Joe Biden. Seemingly spooked, DarkSide, which had collected around $5 million in ransom from the company, claimed that it was "apolitical" on its main website, which soon was deleted.

But DarkSide is only one player in a thriving scene of cybercrime groups. More notorious gangs are still active after the Colonial attack, according to evidence of their exploits, which many such groups post to blogs that they maintain on the dark web.

Read more: NBC News