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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Keyword: worldwide terrorism threats and trends

A significant arms cache, including a sniper rifle, a silencer and tracer rounds linked to the banned terrorist group al-Muhajiroun have been found in Coventry, the Observer can reveal.

Officers from the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit and MI5 are investigating the weapons haul, which also includes a shotgun and 200 rounds of ammunition, following raids at several addresses in the city.

A statement from West Midlands Police, which assists the regional counter-terrorism unit, said: “Firearms and ammunition were recovered during the raids and a police investigation is ongoing.” Four men have been arrested, one of whom has links to the al-Muhajiroun network, according to sources. The group, active in the UK since the mid-1980s, disappeared after the July 2005 attacks on London, but maintained a presence under various different names. It was eventually banned in 2009 under legislation outlawing “glorification” of terrorism.

Read more: The Guardian

Suspected fighters for the Islamist militant group Boko Haram attacked the city of Maiduguri in northeast Nigeria on Wednesday, triggering loud bangs and explosions and causing civilians to flee, according to Reuters witnesses.  Maiduguri in Borno state is the epicenter of the eight-year fight against Boko Haram but has been largely free of violence for the past two years.

In December, President Muhammadu Buhari said Boko Haram had technically been defeated after the army pushed it into the remote Sambisa forest. However, attacks have continued since then, with suicide bombers hitting the outskirts of Maiduguri.

Much of Borno state remains off limits, although some towns have been recaptured and are now home to hundreds of thousands of refugees. Most of the roads connecting them are dangerous.  Soldiers and police were moving toward the area of Maiduguri where the suspected Boko Haram fighters attacked, the Reuters witnesses said.

Source: Reuters

The U.S. military believes that some 50,000 Islamic State fighters have been killed since the United States started battling the group more than two years ago, a senior U.S. military official said on Thursday, calling it a "conservative estimate."

The official, who spoke to Pentagon reporters on condition of anonymity, said the figure showed how the United States was effectively combating the group with U.S.-led coalition airpower and limited U.S. troop deployments in support of local forces.

News source: Reuters

Two explosions tore through Brussels airport on Tuesday morning killing 13 people in what Belgian public broadcaster VRT called a suicide attack, and a further blast struck a metro station in the capital shortly afterwards.  The Belga agency said shots were fired and there were shouts in Arabic shortly before two blasts rang out at the airport.  Pictures on social media showed smoke rising from the terminal building through shattered windows and passengers running away down a slipway, some still hauling their bags.  All public transport in Brussels was shut down, as it was in London during 2005 militant attacks on the underground that killed 52.  The Belgian Crisis Centre, clearly wary of a further incident, appealed to the population: "Stay where you are".

The blasts at the airport and metro station occurred four days after the arrest in Brussels of a suspected participant in November militant attacks in Paris that killed 130 people.  Belgian police had been on alert for any reprisal action.The blasts triggered concern across western Europe with Britain calling a meeting of its crisis response committee.  The Dutch military strengthening security at airports and borders and London’s major airports Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and City said they were working to provide a high police presence.

Video showed devastation inside the departure hall with ceiling tiles and glass scattered across the floor. Some passengers emerged from the terminal with blood spattered over their clothes.  A witness said the blasts occurred at a check-in desk.  The metro station hit by the explosion was Maelbeek, close to European Union institutions.  There were no details immediately available of casualties in this second incident of the morning.

Source: Reuters

Members of the radical Islamist group Boko Haram burned children alive as part of an attack in Nigeria that killed at least 86 people, according to survivors and witnesses.  The incident happened Saturday night in the village of Dalori in northeastern Nigeria. Two nearby camps housing 25,000 people who have fled Boko Haram were also attacked.

A solider at the scene told the Associated Press that three female suicide bombers blew themselves up as part of the assault, but there was little information about the sequence of events that led to the deaths of the children and USA TODAY was not able to immediately verify the account.

Mohammed Kanar, the area coordinator of Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency, said 86 bodies, many of them charred and riddled with bullets, were collected by Sunday afternoon.

Read more:  USA Today