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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Jun 22, 2021

James Dale Reed, age 42, of Frederick, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to the federal charge of threats to a major candidate for President or Vice President—specifically, making threats against then-former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris.  A federal criminal complaint for the same charge was filed against Reed on October 21, 2020 and he was convicted of related state charges in Frederick County Circuit Court.

The guilty plea was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner and Special Agent in Charge Bo Keane of the United States Secret Service - Baltimore Field Office.

“Making threats against candidates and fellow citizens for their political beliefs undermines our democracy and will not be tolerated,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner.  “This case reflects our commitment to holding accountable anyone who seeks to intimidate, harass or dissuade Americans from exercising their right to vote and to peacefully support the candidate of their choice.”

Read more: Department of Justice

Greg Gabriel was fast asleep early Monday when a staff member called to report that the Sacred Heart Church on First Nations reserves in Canada’s British Columbia was engulfed in flames.

By the time Gabriel, the Penticton Indian Band chief, arrived at the Catholic church minutes later, the historic wooden structure was already gone, he told the Vancouver Sun.

About two hours later, someone called the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to report a nearly identical incident about 25 miles away: St. Gregory’s Church on the Osoyoos Indian Band reserve was also burning.

The fires, which authorities are calling “suspicious,” erupted about a month after the remains of 215 Indigenous children were found on the grounds of a former residential school in British Columbia — a discovery that has led to renewed outcry over one of Canada’s darkest chapters, when nearly 150,000 Indigenous children were separated from their families and sent to government-funded, church-run residential schools in an attempt to assimilate them.

Read more: Washington Post

A far-right extremist who became the object of a month-long manhunt after threatening a top doctor fighting Covid-19, appears to have killed himself, authorities in Belgium said Sunday.

A body, believed to be that of Jurgen Conings, was found on Sunday in a wooded area of the town Dislen-Stockem, in Belgium's eastern Limburg province, according to the Federal prosecutor's office.

The first indications are that Conings took his own life using a firearm. He had been missing since May 17, prosecutors said.

"The lifeless body of a male was found this Sunday by walkers in the woods of Dilsen-Stockem," a statement from the prosecutor's office read.

Read more: CNN

A massive car bomb attack targeted France's Barkhane force in the central Malian town of Gossi on Monday injuring several soldiers, local sources told FRANCE 24.

The attack occurred in the Kaigourou neighbourhood of Gossi in central Mali injuring several soldiers operating under France's Operation Barkhane in Sahel, according to local sources.

Witnesses said several military helicopters could be seen heading to the area after the massive explosion to evacuate the wounded.

“It was a car bomb, which is rare in this region and the car bomb targeted a Barkhane patrol,” said Wassim Nasr, FRANCE 24's terrorism expert. “From local sources, we know that debris from the car flew over three kilometres from impact, which means it was a big bomb. We also heard about gunfire exchanges between the jihadis and French forces. This was not on the spot of the explosion, but a little further north of the town, which means the confrontation of the jihadis was complex and complicated for French forces.”

Read more: France 24

The Manchester Arena suicide bomber Salman Abedi should have been identified as a security threat on the night of the attack, a public inquiry has found.

Sir John Saunders, chair of the inquiry, found there were “serious shortcomings” and a number of missed opportunities by those in charge of security to prevent the May 2017 attack. Saunders said he considered it likely Abedi would still have detonated his device if confronted, “but the loss of life and injury is highly likely to have been less”. The attack killed 22 people and injured hundreds more.

Manchester-born Abedi, of Libyan descent, walked across the foyer of the venue and detonated his shrapnel-laden device, packed into his bulging rucksack, at 10.31pm on 22 May, just as thousands of people, including many children, left an Ariana Grande concert.

Read more: The Guardian