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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Jun 25, 2021

The Justice Department on Thursday arrested the first defendant in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots to face charges including assaulting a journalist, as the total number of people arrested topped 500, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced.

Garland praised prosecutors, agents and the public’s assistance for reaching the benchmarks, adding, “I assure the American people that the Department of Justice will continue to follow the facts in this case and charge what the evidence supports to hold all January 6th perpetrators accountable.”

The department announced the arrest of Shane Jason Woods, 43, of Auburn, Ill., who was allegedly recorded tripping and pushing to the ground a police officer who had been sprayed with bear spray. Woods later entered a media staging area, threw equipment and tackled a cameraman, prosecutors alleged.

Read more: Washington Post

Islamic State’s affiliates in Africa are set for major expansion after a series of significant victories, new alliances and shifts in strategy reinforced their position across much of the continent.

Following recent gains in Nigeria, the Sahel, in Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Isis propaganda published by the group’s leadership in its heartland in the Middle East is increasingly stressing sub-Saharan Africa as a new front which may compensate the group for significant setbacks elsewhere.

Detailed accounts of recent internal debates in Nigeria, where Islamic State West Africa Province (Iswap) recently routed Boko Haram, suggest a new emphasis by Isis in Africa on providing security and basic services to local communities. Though strategies differ according to local conditions, the new bid by the group to create zones of “jihadi governance” could pose a major challenge to weak, corrupt and inefficient national authorities, analysts fear.

Read more: The Guardian (UK)

Sri Lanka’s president has pardoned 16 men linked to the Tamil Tiger rebels, as the island nation faces renewed pressure from the United Nations over detentions without charge under an anti-terrorism law.

Thursday’s pardon is a first for people linked to the Tigers since Gotabaya Rajapaksa came to power in 2019 on a nationalist agenda, which included a promise that troops who crushed the rebels would not be prosecuted.

The men were convicted under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) that gives security forces sweeping powers to arrest and detain suspects. The UN Human Rights Council and other international rights groups have called for it to be repealed.

Read more: Al Jazeera

A summit of southern African leaders has agreed to send a regional military force to Mozambique to help the country battle its growing crisis caused by a jihadi insurgency.

Leaders of the 16-nation Southern African Development Community agreed Wednesday to deploy a military force to help the Mozambican government “combat terrorism and acts of violent extremism.”

The Islamic extremists’ violent campaign in Mozambique’s northern province of Cabo Delgado has caused a rapidly escalating humanitarian crisis. The jihadi violence is blamed for the deaths of more than 2,000 people and has caused more than 700,000 to flee their homes.

The brief statement, issued after a summit in Mozambique’s capital of Maputo, did not give details on the size of the force or when troops would be sent. Earlier this year military experts from the group recommended that the regional body send in about 3,000 soldiers, with arms, helicopters, airplanes and naval capacity.

Read more: AP

Mariam Taha Thompson, 62, formerly of Rochester, Minnesota, was sentenced today to 23 years in prison for delivering classified national defense information to aid a foreign government. As part of her March 26 guilty plea, Thompson admitted that she believed that the classified national defense information that she was passing to a Lebanese national would be provided to Lebanese Hezbollah, a designated foreign terrorist organization.

“Thompson’s sentence reflects the seriousness of her violation of the trust of the American people, of the human sources she jeopardized and of the troops who worked at her side as friends and colleagues,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers for the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “That Thompson passed our nation’s sensitive secrets to someone whom she knew had ties to Lebanese Hezbollah made her betrayal all the more serious. Thompson’s sentence should stand as a clear warning to all clearance holders that violations of their oath to this country will not be taken lightly, especially when they put lives at risk.”

Read more: Department of Justice