Homeland Security Network Blog

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Associated Press Official: FBI finds link between Pensacola gunman, al-Qaida By ERIC TUCKER The FBI has found a link between the gunman in a deadly attack at a military base last December and an al-Qaida operative, a U.S. official said Monday.Attorney General William Barr and FBI Director Chris Wray were set to hold a news conference to announce developments in the shooting late last year at the Pensacola Naval Air Station, in which a Saudi Air Force officer killed three U.S. sailors and injured eight other people.The FBI declined to comment ahead of the news conference.The contacts between the shooter, Mohammed Alshamrani, and the al-Qaida operative were discovered on the shooter’s phone, according to the official, who was not authorized to discuss the case by name and spoke on the condition of anonymity. Read more: https://apnews.com/934b704a5906e86452319a3bb174dc0c...
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  Taylor & Francis Online Iran And Hezbollah’s Pre-Operational Modus Operandi In The West Tensions between the United States and Iran/Hezbollah have been on the rise since 2018 when the U.S. administration withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal. These tensions spiked in January 2020 when U.S. strikes killed Qassem Soleimani the leader of Iran’s IRGC-Quds Force. Furthermore, there is mounting evidence that in recent years, Iran and Hezbollah have sought to create a sleeper network in the U.S. and Western Europe, which could be activated to launch attacks as part of a retaliatory attack. This paper assesses Iran and Hezbollah pre-operational modus operandi in the West derived from court documents and open source reporting of recent arrest of Hezbollah and Iranian agents in the US and abroad. It sheds lights on the recruitment, training, and placement of these agents and the intricacies of their past operations. While it is impossible...
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12 Los Angeles firefighters recovering after explosion By STEFANIE DAZIO and FRANK BAKER ASSOCIATED PRESS LOS ANGELESPolice and fire investigators launched a criminal probe Sunday into the cause of an explosion at a hash oil manufacturer in downtown Los Angeles that sent firefighters running for their lives.Detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department's major crimes division were working with the city Fire Department's arson investigators to determine what might have sparked the blast that shot a ball of flames out of the building Saturday night and scorched a fire truck across the street, police spokesman Josh Rubenstein said.“We're in the very early stages of the investigation ... to understand what happened and figure out how to move forward,” he said.Read more here: https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/business/national-business/article242798576.html#storylink=cpy Read more: https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/business/national-business/article242798576.html...
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Preparing for Hurricane Season During the COVID-19 Pandemic Author Carlos J. Castillo, Acting Deputy Administrator of Resilience     As you continue to take precautions to keep yourself and your family safe from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it is important to stay prepared for other disasters. Hurricane season begins on June 1, and the time to prepare is now. FEMA continues to coordinate with state, local, tribal, and territorial officials, along with the private sector, to share operational guidance and to encourage hurricane planning that reflects public health guidelines. While many preparedness tools available to you are the same, certain actions may look different while COVID-19 remains a concern. FEMA has updated guidelines for preparing for hurricane season. Know Your Evacuation Route Check with local officials about updated evacuation shelters for this year. You should note that your regular shelter may not be open this year due to COVID-19. If...
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Alleged Narcotrafficker and High-Ranking Cartel Member Extradited from Uruguay to the United States A Mexican national will have his initial appearance in federal court in the District of Columbia later today on charges related to his alleged involvement in a criminal conspiracy to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine.Department of JusticeOffice of Public AffairsAssistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), made the announcement.Gerardo Gonzalez Valencia, aka “Lalo,” 43, arrived at Dulles International Airport  yesterday evening after being extradited from Uruguay, where he was arrested in April 2016.  The indictment charges Gonzalez Valencia with an international conspiracy to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine, intending and knowing that those substances would be unlawfully imported into the United States.  The indictment alleges that Gonzalez Valencia’s criminal conspiracy ran from 2003 to 2016.“The Department of Justice will never waver in...
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France 24 NGO Report Details IS Group’s ‘Abyss Of Horror’ In Northern Syria by Sarah LEDUCHuman Rights Watch released details of a mass grave in Al-Hota gorge in northern Syria, in a report published on May 4. The NGO said that the so-called Islamic State (IS) group was responsible, and called for further investigations into this pit of death, in an interview with FRANCE 24.Researchers call it the “abyss of horror”. Located 85 kilometres north of Raqqa, the former capital of IS in Syria, was used as a mass grave by the jihadist group that ruled the region from 2013 to 2015, Human Rights Watch revealed.The NGO investigated the matter from 2014 to 2019, using satellite technology and geological maps, among other devices. It was able to film the bodies of six people, not yet identified, floating in the water at the bottom of the 50-metre-deep pit. But there are...
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Blaine County First Responders Tackle Wildfires After Intense Weeks Of Fighting COVID-19Boise State Public Radio by Rachel Cohen At one point, Blaine County, home to Sun Valley, had the highest per capita rate of COVID-19 cases in the entire country. It required an all-hands-on deck response from first responders, many of whom didn’t get a break before wildfire season picked up in April. Two months ago, Emily White was treating injured skiers on Sun Valley’s Bald Mountain as a ski patroller. Then, the same March weekend Blaine County announced its first coronavirus case, the mountain shut down. She lost a month’s income from ski patrolling, but was able to immediately start working full-time at the Ketchum Fire Department, where she volunteers as a firefighter and EMT.Soon after she joined a shift full-time, White said, “every call started sounding like they had a fever and a cough and were feeling weak....
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New Nuclear Threats to the U.S.: Better to Deter Them or Play Dead? by Peter Huessy  •  Gatestone Institute At present, exactly zero percent of America's nuclear platforms are modernized. Worse, when, in 2017, General Hyten... warned of the Russian threat, a common counter-narrative in the U.S. arms control community – and shared by some members of Congress -- was that simply by proposing to modernize a then-rusting nuclear deterrent, the United States was "leading an arms race." Even these critics, however, had to know that it takes years to research, develop, test, and then build highly complex nuclear forces, so that no new U.S. nuclear deployments would even be able to start until 2029. Russia has already completed 87% of its arms race while the US is just putting on its track shoes. The door to an arms race was opened long ago -- but by Russia, not the...
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California faces a perilous fire season as coronavirus threatens firefighters by Joseph Serna, LA Times As forecasters predict higher-than-normal chances of large fires in Northern California this year — as well as the usual risk of "large significant" burning in Southern California — fire authorities are growing increasingly concerned over their ability to muster a large, healthy force of firefighters in the face of COVID-19.Realizing that wildfire smoke will steadily impair a firefighter's immune system, and that traditional base camps can magnify the risk of infection, federal, state and county officials are urging a blitzkrieg approach to wildfires that will rely heavily on the use of aircraft.With the coronavirus still circulating, they say they cannot allow even the smallest secluded fire to smolder for the sake of forest ecology. All fires, they say, must be extinguished as quickly as possible. Read more: https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus-crisis-raises-worries-over-140017726.html...
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NorthJersey.com 'Wouldn't you face the devil for your mother?' Cop who gave CPR to mom recovers from COVID-19 by Lindy Washburn, NorthJersey.com Twenty-two days after he was hospitalized with a high fever and low oxygen levels, Octavio Robles, a Union City police officer, walked out of Holy Name Medical Center on his own Tuesday to the cheers of the hospital staff and his fellow police officers.  “When Octavio went into the hospital, honestly we weren't hopeful initially,” said Union City Police Chief Nikki Luster. “I can’t tell you how relieved and grateful everybody is today. From the bottom or our hearts, thank you.”  The 41-year-old father of three spent more than two weeks on a ventilator in the intensive care unit. Read more: https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/2020/05/12/coronavirus-union-city-nj-police-officer-cpr-mom-recovers/3115494001/...
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  ABC News FBI Offers $1 Million For Information Leading To Former Taliban Hostage's Captors The reward comes as the US seems to step up efforts to free another American. By James Gordon Meek and Conor Finnegan The U.S. government on Tuesday offered $1 million for information leading to the capture of the Taliban militants who kidnapped and held Caitlan Coleman and her three children who were born during her five years in captivity.The FBI "seeking information" flier posted online Tuesday offers a substantial reward to anyone with credible information on those who abducted the Pennsylvania woman and her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle in Afghanistan in October 2012 and held them until 2017 in Pakistan."I'm certainly happy to hear they're taking this step and hopeful that it will make justice possible," Caitlan Coleman told ABC News on Tuesday. Read more: https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/fbi-offers-million-information-leading-taliban-hostages-captors/story?id=70642891...
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Some imported face masks failing to protect first responders from coronavirusCBS News VideosFace masks have been in high demand during the coronavirus pandemic, but first responders in Massachusetts have discovered some imported masks from China have failed to block 95% of airborne particles. Holly Williams takes a look. Watch Video at https://sports.yahoo.com/imported-face-masks-failing-protect-230119777.html...
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Clarion Project Scottsdale Community College Censors Islamic Terror Course Material Scottsdale Community College (SCC) failed to serve as scholars in an academic institution when the college buckled to local Muslim pressure surrounding three quiz questions. Teaching a course on Islamic terrorism, Dr. Nicholas Damask, who wrote his doctoral thesis on the subject and has taught at Scottsdale Community College for 24 years, asked the following questions in a class quiz: Who do terrorists strive to emulate? (Answer: Mohammed) Where is terrorism encouraged in Islamic doctrine and law? (Answer: The Medina verses [i.e., the portion of the Qur’an traditionally understood as having been revealed later in Muhammad’s prophetic career]) Terrorism is _______ in Islam. (Answer: Justified within the context of jihad.) Read more: https://clarionproject.org/scottsdale-community-college-censors-islamic-terrorism-course-material/...
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BBC News IS Regional Leader Sheikh Khorasani 'Arrested In Afghanistan' The leader of the Islamic State group in South Asia and the Far East has been arrested in Kabul, Afghanistan's intelligence service says.Zia ul-Haq, also known as Sheikh Omar Khorasani, was held with two other senior leaders of the militant group.The Taliban are the main militant group in Afghanistan but IS has been active in some areas and has carried out several bomb attacks in Kabul.Correspondents say the arrest will be a major breakthrough if confirmed.The other two were named as his spokesman Saheeb and chief of intelligence Abu Ali. Read more: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-52623291...
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  More than 100 firefighters battle blaze at Phoenix industrial building KTVK PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- More than 100 firefighters worked to extinguish a fire at a big, Phoenix industrial facility engulfed in flames Sunday afternoon. It happened on 19th Avenue, between I-17 and Lower Buckeye Road. Fire officials say a large column of smoke coming from the building could be seen from miles away. Due to the fire involvement and the size of the building, crews decided to start battling the fire from the outside. The blaze was attacked from an elevated position with the use of aerial ladder water streams. Flames in the main part of the building were eventually controlled. Crews spent some time extinguishing hot spots and maintaining the structure of the building. Traffic on the north and south lanes of 19th Avenue were restricted between I-17 and Lower Buckeye Road. No one was injured during...
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UPDATE: GBI arrests man after social media threat to Ahmaud Arbery protests By WSBTV.com News StaffGLYNN COUNTY, Ga. — The GBI has arrested a man after a post on social media apparently threatening people protesting the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery has caught the eye of investigators.The GBI tweeted Sunday that it is investigating a Facebook post that contains a threat to future protests connected to Arbery, who would have turned 26 on Friday, but was shot and killed Feb. 23.On Sunday night, the agency said it had arrested Rashawn Smith, 20, and charged him with dissemination of information relating to terroristic acts. He was taken into custody in Midway, Ga. Read more: https://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/gbi-investigating-social-media-threat-ahmaud-arbery-supporters/2SXZ3IUVFFAJRCDLLYKTWIYZLA/...
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The National Spanish Police Arrest Man In Barcelona Over ISIS Terror Plot by Nick Harley Spanish police have arrested a man in Barcelona over a suspected ISIS terror plot.The Guardia Civil force said it arrested the Moroccan man, described as deeply radicalized, on Friday after a joint investigation with security forces in Morocco and the United States."The suspect intended to carry out a terrorist act, the details of which are unknown," police said in a statement on Friday.It comes just weeks after one of the UK's top ISIS suspects was apprehended in Spain.Abdel Majed Abdel Bary, 28, one of Europe’s most high-profile ISIS terrorists, had taken advantage of the Spanish lockdown to enter the country and was using a face mask to disguise himself, authorities said. Read more: https://www.thenational.ae/world/spanish-police-arrest-man-in-barcelona-over-isis-terror-plot-1.1016626...
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Spaceflight Now U.S. military tracking unguided re-entry of large Chinese rocketby Stephen Clark A Chinese rocket measuring around 100 feet long that launched earlier this month will likely plunge back into Earth’s atmosphere some time Monday, becoming the most massive object in decades to fall out of orbit in an uncontrolled manner.The core stage of China’s Long March 5B rocket is expected to fall back to Earth unguided after nearly a week in orbit. The Long March 5B rocket launched May 5 with a prototype for a next-generation Chinese crew capsule.As of Saturday, the rocket stage was circling Earth in an elliptical orbit ranging between 94 miles (152 kilometers) and 167 miles (270 kilometers) in altitude, according to U.S. military tracking data. A prediction issued Saturday by the U.S. military, which tracks objects in orbit, forecasts the rocket’s re-entry in a 24-hour period between 2335 GMT (7:35 p.m. EDT) Sunday...
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Firefighters continue battling fires in Florida PanhandleHouston Chronicle MILTON, Fla. (AP) — Florida firefighters were working to hold containment lines around a 2,000-acre (809-hectare) fire in the state's Panhandle, where winds were expected to shift Friday and push it toward homes.The firebreak was about a half-mile from a neighborhood, officials said. While no evacuations have been issued, they urged residents to be ready to leave their homes should they be given the word to do so.“People should be prepared and be ready,” said Ludie Bond, a spokeswoman for the Florida Forest Service.Daniel Felder escaped flames Wednesday when the fire invaded his neighborhood near Milton, Florida, where fire crews were staging to combat the fire from a church parking lot. Read more: https://www.chron.com/news/article/Firefighters-continue-battling-fires-in-Florida-15256559.php...
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Al Monitor Kurdish And Coalition Forces Target Islamic State In Eastern Syria by Al Monitor Staff The operation comes at a time of recent IS attacks in Syria and Iraq. Kurdish-led and international coalition forces raided Islamic State (IS) positions yesterday in eastern Syria — a site of recent IS activity.The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) carried out an operation in Deir ez-Zor on Wednesday night. They were supported by Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, the official name of the US-led international coalition against IS in Syria and Iraq. The raid led to the arrest of an IS fighter, the coalition spokesman Col. Myles Caggins said on Twitter today.The coalition supports the multiethnic SDF, which is led by the Kurdish group the People’s Protection Units (YPG), but also includes Arab and Syriac Christian divisions. The SDF said the arrested IS fighter was being questioned. The operation took place in a...