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IS's Looming Death Could Be Hiding Bad News

Posted by on in Terrorism
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by James Miller In 2014, the world was gripped by news of two deadly epidemics. Both were bloody, vicious afflictions that killed many who came in contact with them. Local populations were being devastated, but so, too, were foreigners who traveled to affected areas to help. Fears spread quickly that both would cross borders, infect cities, and threaten major events. There was panic on TV and in world capitals as politicians and pundits debated shutting borders or even denying travel to people from affected countries. One, the Ebola virus, has been largely contained geographically and combated with proper equipment and training, and no longer captures headlines. It is a terrifying killer that has claimed around 15,000 lives since its detection in 1976. But it is arguably less devastating on a global scale than, say, HIV/AIDS, which has killed more than 3 million people since its identification in 1981, or malaria,...
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by Ercan Ersoy and Selcan Hacaoglu urkey’s president vowed to “destroy threats” targeting the nation after a gunman opened fire inside a popular Istanbul nightclub, killing at least 39 people, including 15 foreigners -- an act of terrorism that has become grimly familiar in Turkey. The assailant escaped and a manhunt has been launched, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on Sunday. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, the latest in a string of assaults that have multiplied as Turkey steps up its war against Islamic State and Kurdish militants. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the gunman left his rifle at the scene before fleeing. The assailant killed a police officer guarding the entrance to the Reina nightclub in the Ortakoy entertainment district shortly after midnight, then raked the crowd of revelers with bullets, Soylu said in comments cited by state-run Anadolu Agency. Health Minister Recep Akdag said 65...
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By Ananya Roy A pro-Islamic State (Isis) media organisation is calling on jihadists across Europe to carry out attacks during the ongoing holiday season, killing people celebrating Christmas and New Year. In its messages posted on an encrypted Telegram channel, the Nashir Media Foundation has exhorted "potential lone wolves" to target crowded places like cinemas, malls and hospitals. The post also carries a series of graphical images with inflammatory messages. It also cautioned Muslims to stay away from Christian celebrations to remain safe. ntelligence and security agencies across Europe are already on high alert following the recent Berlin Christmas market attack that was claimed by IS (Daesh). Tunisian refugee Anis Amri who rammed a truck into the crowded market in the German city, killing a dozen people and injuring several others, had pledged allegiance to the Islamist group, according to a suspected Isis video. In the past week, some attacks...

Coalition Targets ISIS Drone Facilities in Iraq

Posted by on in Terrorism
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By Jeryl Bier In the first reported strike of its kind, U.S. Central Command (CENTOM) targeted an Islamic State (ISIS) drone facility in the ongoing offensive against the terrorist organization. The attack on the "unmanned aerial vehicle [UAV] facility" near Mosul, Iraq was listed among other routine targets in a daily release of coalition strikes as part of Operation Inherent Resolve. Although ISIS has been using drones (UAVs, also called "remotely piloted aircraft," or RPAs) at least since 2015, the scale of ISIS's drone operations has been unclear. CENTCOM says that "a number" of what were believed to be UAV facilities in Mosul alone have been targeted, but did not provide an exact figure. The facility targeted this week was used to "launch, recover, and restore" ISIS drones according to a CENTCOM official. In September 2015, CENTCOM told THE WEEKLY STANDARD that it could not confirm whether or not ISIS...
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By Rep. Mike Coffman   With Iraqi Security Forces fighting ISIS inside of Mosul, it is now realistic to assume that ISIS could soon be driven out of Iraq.  Observers now need to ask the question, what does a post-ISIS Iraq look like? If nothing changes, the Sunni Arab regions will, once again, return to being mired in a vicious cycle of sectarian violence. How to prevent such an outcome is a key question and I believe that unless the Sunni Arab regions of Iraq, once controlled by ISIS, perceive they have a path forward to becoming a full partner in a Shia-dominated government, this area will remain a breeding ground for terrorists.   To provide some background:  Prior to the 2003 U.S. led invasion of Iraq, the Sunni Arabs, at only twenty percent of the population, were the ruling elite of the country and enjoyed a privileged status over...

Face to Face With an ISIS Killer

Posted by on in Terrorism
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By Kimberly Dozier BAGHDAD—A nameless Iraqi colonel brought in a broken man in bright yellow prison garb, wearing dusty flip flops and a week’s growth of beard below a long nose, with dull eyes that had given up all hope and defiance. The colonel leaned the prisoner against a wall, facing in my direction. His hands were cuffed behind his back, beneath the words “Iraqi Correctional Facility” in Arabic. He was only maybe 10 feet from me. He was an ISIS battalion commander, until he was caught in a raid south of Baghdad four months ago. They say he refused to speak for four days, after a police raid captured him in his home, among his wife and five children. Then they showed him the evidence they had that convinced an Iraqi judge to issue an arrest warrant: photos of him and tape-recordings of his phone calls, ordering his followers...
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By S.J. Prince Is there an Islamic State terror attack threat for 2017 celebrations around the world? Police in the United States, Europe, Australia, Turkey, and Indonesia say “yes.” There have been at least 36 ISIS-linked attacks throughout the world this year, with the most recent being the Christmas market massacre in Berlin, Germany. On December 19, Anis Amri, a 24-year-old Tunisian asylum seeker, hijacked a truck from its Polish driver, Lukasz Urban, and drove it into a Christmas market crowd at Breitscheidplatz in Berlin-Charlottenburg, Germany. 12 people were killed and 48 others were injured in the confirmed ISIS attack. After the attack, Amri fled to Paris and Chambéry before taking a train to Turin, then Milan. Amri was killed on December 23 in a shootout with police after arriving by train in Sesto San Giovanni, north of central Milan. According to the New York Times, Amri was asked to...
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by Maya Lau Police plan to use parked patrol cars and heavy, water-filled barricades at key crossings along the 5.5-mile Tournament of Roses parade route in response to recent terrorist attacks that used trucks as weapons. In announcing the new security measures on Wednesday, Pasadena Police Chief Phillip L. Sanchez stressed there was no known threat to the parade, the Rose Bowl Game or the city of Pasadena. But he said the changes were made in an abundance of caution, adding that parade security is frequently tweaked as terrorism tactics and threats evolve. The barriers will be placed at more than 50 intersections along the route. “When [attackers] use vehicles as a ramming tool, typically it’s because they’re able to generate a lot of speed. So we’re trying to take the speed out of that equation,” Sanchez said. Twelve people died and dozens more were hurt when a truck plowed into a Berlin market last week. A similar...
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by IN Homeland Security U.S. Special Operations Command will take a new, leading role coordinating the Pentagon’s effort to counter weapons of mass destruction, reinvigorating a long-running debate about how the U.S. military should handle threats posed by everything from nuclear weapons to chemical agents such as mustard and sarin. The decision was approved by President Obama at Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter’s request in August but is still taking shape in the Pentagon and could be finalized in January, defense officials said. Numerous aspects of the mission to counter weapons of mass destruction will shift to Special Operations Command (SOCOM) from U.S. Strategic Command, which then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld assigned to the mission in 2005. The decision means yet another job for SOCOM, whose elite troops have been used heavily by Obama to strike the Islamic State and other militant groups. The command will coordinate the development of...
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By ERIC SCHMITT ABOARD A JOINT STARS SURVEILLANCE PLANE, Over Northern Iraq — Flying at 30,000 feet, the powerful radar aboard this Air Force jet peered deep into Syrian territory, hunting for targets on the ground to strike in the looming offensive to seize Raqqa, the Islamic State’s capital. It was on a mission like this several weeks ago that analysts discovered a hiding place in the central Syrian desert where the Islamic State was stashing scores of oil tanker trucks that provide the terrorist group with a crucial financial lifeline. Acting on that tip and other intelligence, two dozen American warplanes destroyed 188 of the trucks in the biggest airstrike of the year, eliminating an estimated $2 million in oil revenue for the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. Even as the American-led air campaign conducts bombing missions to support Iraqi troops fighting the Islamic State in...
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By CBS News / Associated Press WASHINGTON -- U.S.-Russian talks on their separate fights against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are improving and becoming more frequent, American officials said, with each side trading information in real time and even outlining some of their strategic objectives in the months ahead. The progress dispels the notion that ties between the former Cold War foes are “frozen.” In the discussions, Russia has made clear its counterterrorism priority in Syria is retaking the ancient city of Palmyra, officials said. The U.S. is determined to pressure ISIS’ headquarters in Raqqa. The closer contacts have developed despite the former Cold War foes’ bitter accusations against one another over the devastation in Aleppo and Moscow’s claim that relations are now “frozen on all practical levels.” The confidential military discussions aren’t focusing on the two countries’ opposing positions in Syria’s civil war, where Russia is...
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By: Andrew Tilghman, December 26, 2016 (Photo Credit: Warrick Page/Getty Images) With a new administration preparing to take charge, there is growing uncertainty about the role of U.S. troops in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. When Donald Trump assumes office in mid-January, there will be 15,000 American personnel deployed to those theaters. He has sent mixed signals regarding the wars, vowing on the one hand to crush extremists determined to attack the homeland while also signaling an “America first” policy meant to avoid expending more blood and treasure overseas. It’s possible all three combat theaters could need more U.S. forces in the coming months. And with President Barack Obama gone and Republicans in control of Congress, there may be less concern in Washington about putting “boots on the ground.” In Iraq, the Islamic State will likely lose the territory it had occupied, transforming into a full-blown insurgency. When that happens, the U.S....
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  by Abigail R. Esman Special to IPT News From the moment it became clear that the mass killings at Berlin's Breitscheidplatz Christmas market on Monday were the actions of a Muslim terrorist, accusing fingers have pointed at German Chancellor Angela Merkel. And not without good reason.  Beyond Merkel's "open door" to Syrian refugees has been the government's general sloppiness when it comes to counter-terrorism. Germany has seen several small-scale attacks in recent years. Other plots have failed, not because the authorities were so effective, but largely because the perpetrators were so incompetent. In one case, an attack was stopped only because one plotter thought better of the idea and turned himself in. But the issue is bigger than Merkel. It encompasses the entire spirit of Germany after World War II, and the shadows of its guilt. This has never been clearer than it is now – after the Berlin...
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Washington Post By Michael Birnbaum BRUSSELS — New Islamic State efforts to sow terror in Europe are pushing counterterrorism authorities to their limits, forcing citizens and their leaders to resign themselves to a new era where attacks may be a fact of life, not an exception. European Union leaders say they have swept away barriers among security agencies and bolstered border controls in the wake of a year of terrorist attacks capped by the assault on one of Berlin’s bustling Christmas markets. But missed signals before and after Monday’s violence raises questions about whether the changes — or any changes — are enough to prevent a repeat of a year that saw a double-bombing in Brussels, slaughter-by-truck in Nice, France, and shooting carnage in a Munich mall before the Berlin violence that killed 12 and wounded dozens more. A call by Islamic State leaders for their followers to plan and...
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by Sarah Westwood Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, who is commanding coalition forces in Iraq as they battle the Islamic State, predicted the fight against terrorists entrenched in Mosul and Raqqa, Syria could last at least two years. Townsend told the Daily Beast on Christmas Day that Islamic State militants have begun to employ increasingly brutal tactics against civilians as Iraqi forces and a coalition of Kurdish fighters and irregular militias — which will soon become legally recognized in Iraq under a controversial new law — continue their battle to retake Mosul from terrorists. "Beheading with a knife isn't good enough anymore," Townsend said, noting Islamic State terrorists had used blowtorches, chainsaws and even bulldozers to murder civilians. Townsend said the roughly two-year fight against the Islamic State would involve driving the terrorists from their strongholds in Raqqa and Mosul before destroying the survivors who flee to the desert between the...
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ABC 6 NEW YORK Federal officials are calling for state and local law enforcement to stay vigilant this holiday weekend after the Islamic State group called for attacks on U.S. churches.This comes just days after a man who allegedly pledged allegiance to ISIS used a truck to barrel through a Berlin Christmas market, killing 12 and injuring dozens. The Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and the National Counterterrorism Center issued a joint intelligence bulletin Friday "is intended to remind security planners and first responders to remain vigilant for indications of nefarious operational planning this holiday season."According to the report, earlier this week, members of a pro-ISIS social media group published a link to a website containing the names and addresses of churches in the U.S and called on supporters to attack them during the holiday season. Additional posts from the site called for more attacks on hotels, coffee shops,...
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  By Glynn Cosker Managing Editor, In Homeland Security America faces its highest threat from Islamist terrorists since the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, according to the House Homeland Security Committee’s December Terror Threat Snapshot. The snapshot is a monthly assessment of the growing threat the United States, the West, and the rest of the world faces from ISIS and other Islamist terrorists. More than 227 Homegrown Terror Cases The report – compiled and released by the House Homeland Security Committee’s Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) – points out that a major component of the threat stems from U.S. residents or citizens who are becoming radicalized as homegrown terrorists. The report states that since 9/11, the U.S. has recorded at least 227 homegrown jihadist cases including a recent surge of 115 cases over the past 24 months alone. Further, the report states that this trend is expected to continue into 2017 and beyond. As...
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Berlin, December 23rd 2016 Terrorist attack in Berlin, the Moroccan intelligence services had warned the German BND. Read more: https://www.welt.de/politik/ausland/article160552977/Marokko-warnte-BND-vor-Monaten-konkret-vor-Anis-Amri.html...
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The Jerusalem Post Following Monday’s terrorist attack in Germany, what can the Germans and the rest of the West do better to prevent the next terror attack? The first step is understanding the current heightened motivation of ISIS and other terrorists to hit the West, according to Meit Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center Director and IDF Intelligence Col. (res.) Reuven Ehrlich in an interview with The Jerusalem Post.   ISIS have claimed to have inspired the attack on the Christmas market.A position paper that Ehrlich’s center sent out on Sunday said in bold letters, “ISIS can be expected to continue attempting attacks, especially during the upcoming holiday season.”The position paper also specifically noted an ISIS publication about vehicular attacks from November 11 which appeared in English, French, German, Russian, Turkish, Turkmen, Indonesian and Pashtu. It said, “Vehicles are like knives, as they are extremely easy to acquire. But unlike...
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BBC.com Australian police say they have foiled a "multi-mode" terror attack planned for Melbourne on Christmas Day. Five men are in custody after early-morning raids on Friday, Victoria Police chief Graham Ashton said. Mr Ashton said the threat involved "use of explosives" and other weapons including "knives or a firearm". The threat was to prominent city locations including Flinders St Station, Federation Square and St Paul's Cathedral, he said. Mr Ashton said there was no longer a threat to the public. "We don't have any threat over and above that threat that we've currently neutralized," he said at a press conference. 'Self-radicalized' Four of the suspects were Australian-born men in their 20s of a Lebanese background, while the fifth was an Australian of Egyptian origin, Mr Ashton said. He claimed they were "self-radicalized" but inspired by propaganda of the so-called Islamic State. Another man and a woman were arrested in...