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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Jun 17, 2021

An East Longmeadow man on trial for leaving an explosive device at a Longmeadow senior facility in April 2020 was convicted by a federal jury Tuesday.

According to the Department of Justice, 37-year-old John Rathbun was convicted after a week-long trial, on one count of attempting to transport or receive explosive devices in interstate or foreign commerce with the knowledge or intent that the device will be used to kill, injure, or intimidate any individual or unlawfully to damage or destroy any building, vehicle or other real or personal property.

The jury also convicted him on one count of attempting to maliciously damage or destroy, by means of fire or an explosive, any building, vehicle, or other real or personal property used in interstate or foreign commerce.

Read more: WWLP (Springfield, MA)

Newly unveiled efforts to combat a growing domestic terrorism threat in the United States will have to find a way to overcome a major obstacle: carefully crafted campaigns by foreign countries and terrorist groups to incite violence.

The warning, from a senior U.S. Department of Homeland Security official, comes just a day after U.S. President Joe Biden issued his long-awaited National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism, described by his administration as the first of its kind.

The Biden administration has downplayed direct links between violent extremists in the U.S. and those outside the country; one senior official noted that intelligence agencies “did not find a robust nexus between domestic terrorism and foreign actors.” Other officials caution, however, that is because the relationship does not follow a standard command-and-control model.

Read more: Voice of America

A San Antonio man has been arrested on charges that he conspired to fund terrorism in Syria.

The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested Imad Eddin Wadi, 64, on Tuesday, as part of an investigation targeting activity between March 2017 and June 2019, according to court records. He was ordered held without bond pending a detention hearing within the next two weeks.

A federal grand jury indicted Wadi with conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim or injure people and damage property in another country. He is also charged with conspiracy to provide material support to a designated terrorist organization.

The indictment said Wadi and another suspect in Colombia had discussions — witnessed by a confidential human source and an undercover law enforcement officer — about plans to find a wealthy investor to fund an export business Wadi runs in San Antonio.

Read more: NBC San Antonio

A 33-year-old Queens woman was sentenced to more than a decade behind bars for her role in planning a terrorist attack in the United States, federal prosecutors announced Wednesday.

Noelle Velentzas was sentenced to 16 ½ years in prison after she and her co-defendant, Asia Siddiqui, pleaded guilty in August 2019 to teaching or distributing information pertaining to the making and use of an explosive, destructive device, or weapon of mass destruction, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Mark Lesko, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s National Security Division John Demers, Assistant Director-in-Charge of Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office William F. Sweeney, Jr. and NYPC Commissioner Dermot F. Shea jointly announced. Siddiqui was sentenced in January 2020 to 15 years’ imprisonment.

Read more: NBC New York

Israeli airstrikes struck Gaza in the early hours of Wednesday in retaliation for incendiary balloons that crossed into the country from Hamas-controlled territory — an exchange that highlights the fragility of a cease-fire in the region and poses a first test for Israel’s new government.

Israeli jets struck military compounds allegedly belonging to Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza, according to an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) statement.

Hamas “is responsible for all events transpiring in the Gaza Strip, and will bear the consequences for its actions,” the IDF said. It said Israel was “prepared for any scenario, including a resumption of hostilities.”

There were no immediate reports of casualties from the airstrike.

Israeli authorities said that incendiary balloons launched into Israeli communities near the Gaza border sparked 20 fires on Tuesday and another four fires on Wednesday, according to Israeli media.

Read more: Washington Post