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Homeland Security News

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

FBI Baltimore announced Wednesday it is launching an awareness campaign to bring attention to hate crimes, which are historically underreported.

The awareness campaign will consist of digital billboards, flyers, and ads on buses, social media and radio throughout Maryland and Delaware. The bureau has seen an increase in reported hate crimes in recent , but said it wants more victims of hate crimes to report.

The FBI defines hate crimes as criminal acts motivated by the offender’s bias against characteristics like race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.

“Over the last five years, there’s been a 25 percent increase in reported hate crimes, even still, the vast majority of these crimes are going underreported and that needs to change. The FBI can help, but only if we know about the crime. That’s why we are spreading the word with this campaign,” said Thomas J. Sobocinski, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Baltimore Field Office. “Violent acts motivated by hate have no place in our society. Every person has the right to live without fear of violence or intimidation and we will continue to hold those accountable whose hate-filled aggression violates the civil rights of another individual.”

Read more: WJZ

FBI agents, assisted by Albany police, arrested a 64-year-old Albany man Wednesday on charges of interstate transmission of a threat and stalking over violent threats allegedly made to an Oregon public official.

The alleged threats by David Scott Ryder included three emailed messages between August 10 and 23, as well as a voicemail left on an office phone on August 23.

Ryder made his initial appearance before a U.S. magistrate judge Wednesday. The judge ordered him released pending further court proceedings, the FBI said. The official's name was not released.

Read more: KTVZ (Bend, OR)

The head of Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, who was wanted for deadly attacks on US soldiers and foreign aid workers, has been killed in an operation by French troops.

Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi was “neutralised by French forces”, President Emmanuel Macron tweeted early Thursday.

“This is another major success in our fight against terrorist groups in the Sahel,” Macron said, without giving the location or details of the operation.

Adnan Abou Walid al Sahraoui, chef du groupe terroriste État islamique au Grand Sahara a été neutralisé par les forces françaises. Il s’agit d’un nouveau succès majeur dans le combat que nous menons contre les groupes terroristes au Sahel.

Read more: France 24

The man who plotted to blow up a church on Pittsburgh’s North Side in the name of ISIS pleaded guilty Thursday.

Mustafa Alowemer, a Syrian refugee, appeared before a judge Thursday morning.

Alowemer was 21 at the time of his arrest in 2019. Investigators then charged him with attempting to provide material support and resources for ISIS, and two counts of distributing information relating to an explosive, destructive device or weapon of mass destruction.

Alowemer pleaded guilty to one count against him. The other two counts are being withdrawn as part of the plea deal. His immigration status could be impacted if he is convicted.

According to the FBI, he planned to bomb a small church on Wilson Avenue in the Perry South neighborhood. He identified the church as Christian and Nigerian, and said he targeted it to “take revenge for our [ISIS] brothers in Nigeria.”

Read more: WPXI

The nation's capital is battening down the hatches in anticipation of right-wing protesters who claim those detained in connection to the Jan. 6 attack are being held unfairly.

Fencing is up around the U.S. Capitol and law enforcement agencies are on high alert amid concerns far-right extremists could be among the protesters who show up for the "Justice for J6" rally. Rally organizer Matt Braynard, a former Trump campaign staffer, has said that those coming to commit violent acts aren't welcome at the rally. Experts tracking far-right chatter online said the tenor of rhetoric around this rally is different than in the days leading up to the attack at the Capitol.

"What we are currently seeing pales in comparison to the scale and intensity of organizing and violent rhetoric we saw before Jan. 6's Capitol riot," Jared Holt, a resident fellow at the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab, told ABC News' Will Steakin.

Read more: ABC News