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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: May 5, 2021

Italian police have arrested two anti-vaxxers in connection with an arson attack on a COVID-19 vaccination hub, media reported Saturday.

Paolo Pluda, 52, and Nicola Zanardelli, 51 were arrested overnight for suspected terrorism offences, according to the ANSA news agency.

The suspects are accused of an April 3 Molotov cocktail attack on a vaccination center in the northern city of Brescia that damaged one of the center’s two pavilions, the daily Corriere della Sera reported.

Vaccines held in cold storage at the site were saved because the fire did not spread to threaten the unit’s electrical supply.

The breakthrough in the investigation came with the discovery of images of alleged bomb preparation by the two individuals, the paper said.

According to ANSA, both men identified as anti-vaxxers. Shortly ahead of the attack, Pluda had written on Facebook: “If we want to destroy the enemy we must use the same weapon ‘fear’ and their fear is our unity. There are no other solutions,” the agency reported.

Read more: Politico

Attorney General Merrick Garland pressed Congress on Tuesday for more funding for a variety of Justice Department priorities, including combating domestic terrorism, protecting civil rights, prosecuting hate crimes and battling the opioid epidemic.

Testifying to Congress for the first time as attorney general before a House Appropriations subcommittee, Garland also spoke about policing reforms, including a budget request to enhance community-oriented policing.

"Promoting public trust between communities and law enforcement is essential to making both communities and policing safe. Our budget proposes increased investment in programs supporting community-oriented policing and addressing systemic inequities," Garland said.

Asked what dangers trouble him the most, Garland said foreign and domestic terrorism are "an emerging and accelerating threat."

Read more: NBC News

The donations started coming in around 10 p.m. on Dec. 17.

A donor named Li Zhang gave $100. A few minutes later, someone named Jun Li donated $100. Then Hao Xu gave $20, followed shortly by $25 from a Ying Pei. In all, almost 1,000 people with Chinese surnames gave about $86,000 to a fundraiser on the crowdfunding platform GiveSendGo for members of the extremist street gang the Proud Boys.

Their gifts made up more than 80% of the $106,107 raised for medical costs for members of the Proud Boys who were stabbed during violent clashes in Washington in mid-December.

The donations, which are included in a trove of hacked GiveSendGo data provided to USA TODAY and posted on the whistleblower site Distributed Denial of Secrets, raise several questions. Chiefly: Why would people from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and members of the Chinese American community, donate to an organization with deep ties to white supremacists, whose members flash white power signals and post racist memes on social media?

Read more: USA Today

Armed assailants killed around 30 people in an attack on a village in eastern Burkina Faso on Monday, four security sources said.

The attack took place in the village of Hantoukoura near the border with Niger in Est region, an area hit by rising insecurity as jihadist groups with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State seek to gain control over once peaceful territories.

In a statement, Est Governor Saidou Sanou said more than 10 civilians and two members of a civilian defence militia were killed by the unidentified attackers, who also torched a number of shops and ransacked the health centre.

Read more: Reuters

At least two people were killed near Kenya’s eastern border with Somalia when the vehicle they were travelling in ran over an explosive device suspected to have been planted by the extremist al-Shabab rebels, officials said Tuesday.

It is the second attack in two months targeting vehicles delivering supplies to a construction site where Kenya is building a fence and trenches along the Somali border to prevent extremists, bandits and illegal immigrants from entering the East African country.

The incident happened Monday in the eastern part of Lamu county, Lamu County Commissioner Irungu Macharia said.

Read more: AP