Homeland Security Network Blog

The information source for first responders.

For Years, The Voice Behind ISIS Propaganda Was A Mystery. Now A Canadian Faces Criminal Charges.

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The Washington Post For Years, The Voice Behind ISIS Propaganda Was A Mystery. Now A Canadian Faces Criminal Charges. By Rachel WeinerA Canadian who U.S. prosecutors allege is behind influential English-language propaganda videos for the Islamic State has been brought to Virginia to be prosecuted.Mohammed Khalifa, 38, was captured by Kurdish forces in Syria in 2019. At that point, according to prosecutors, he had been with the Islamic State for six years. He started as a fighter, according to court documents, before becoming involved in the translation and dissemination of English-language propaganda.He ultimately led ISIS’s English-language media arm, prosecutors allege, whose output included videos, audio statements and an online magazine. Prosecutors say Khalifa narrated over a dozen ISIS recruitment videos, including two of the group’s most influential efforts at luring Westerners: “Flames of War: Fighting Has Just Begun,” in 2014, and “Flames of War II: Until the Final Hour,” in 2017....

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New Zealand Tightens Terror Law After Recent IS-Linked Attack

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Reuters New Zealand Tightens Terror Law After Recent IS-Linked Attack By Colin Packham Sept 30 (Reuters) - New Zealand passed a new security law on Thursday that outlaws preparations for terror attacks, closing a loophole exposed after seven people were stabbed and wounded this month in a supermarket in the most populous city of Auckland.Amid heightened fears of "lone wolf" terror attacks, New Zealand has worked to beef up its laws, but rushed the new law through parliament after the Auckland attack, unleashed by an assailant authorities said had been inspired by Islamic State. "The nature of terrorism has changed," Justice Minister Kris Faafoi said in an email. "Across the world there are more lone actors, rather than larger organised groups."The measure pulls New Zealand's security laws in line with most other countries, he added.It gives police the power of entry, search and surveillance without warrants in their efforts to prevent...

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Bombs, Bodies And Islamic State Propaganda Shock Paris Terror Trial

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RFI Bombs, Bodies And Islamic State Propaganda Shock Paris Terror Trial The third week of the trial of those accused of involvement in the November 2015 massacre of 130 people in Paris came to an end with three very different reports from expert witnesses. The themes were DNA, explosions and Islamic State propaganda.A police officer showed the court how to make a bomb.It's not difficult, all the ingredients and equipment are easily available. "Anyone can do it," the tribunal was told. That information was greeted with nervous laughter.It is extremely risky. So risky, in fact, that the experts at the French police explosives lab have done very little research into TATP or triacetone triperoxide, the explosive used by the November 2015 killers. It is simply too dangerous.The police bomb squad systematically refuse to transport any object suspected of containing TATP, preferring to neutralise the notoriously unstable mixture on the spot. The...

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Mali Tells UN France Is Abandoning It In Fight Against Terrorism

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  Bloomberg Mali Tells UN France Is Abandoning It In Fight Against Terrorism By Katarina Hoije Mali Prime Minister Choguel Kokalla Maiga accused France at the United Nations of abandoning the West African country to the unfinished job of fighting a deadly Islamist insurgency.“The armed terrorist groups that invaded almost two-thirds of our territory in 2012 have dispersed and spread without ever being wiped out,” Maiga said in a UN General Assembly speech on Saturday. “It was against this backdrop that France deployed in Mali and it’s also against this backdrop that France has suddenly decided to withdraw.” France has said it will eventually reduce its military presence in West Africa’s Sahel region from slightly more than 5,000 troops to 2,500 to 3,000 troops. While three military bases in northern Mali will be closed by early 2022, French President Emmanuel Macron plans to back up Sahel countries’ security forces with a...

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U.S., Russian Military Officials Meet Amid Concerns About Terrorism Fight

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The Wall Street Journal U.S., Russian Military Officials Meet Amid Concerns About Terrorism Fight by Gordon Lubold Discussions between military leaders come amid growing concerns that Afghanistan can provide a base for terrorist groups The Pentagon’s top officer met with his Russian counterpart in the Finnish capital Wednesday amid American and allied efforts to find ways to fight terrorism after the departure of U.S. and allied troops from Afghanistan last month. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley met here with Chief of Russian General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov, officials said. U.S. military officials declined to provide any details of the meeting, except to issue a brief statement saying the two discussed “risk reduction and operational deconfliction.” The U.S. and Russia have in the past discussed how to avoid conflict in Syria, where both countries maintain troops, and in the Black Sea, where both militaries conduct naval...

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Report: SDF-Coalition Raids Lead To Decrease In ISIS Attacks In Northeast Syria

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Kurdistan 24 SDF-Coalition Raids Lead To Decrease In ISIS Attacks In Northeast Syria: Report by Wladimir van Wilgenburg ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The number of attacks claimed by the Islamic State (ISIS) group in Syria hit a record low in recent weeks, new data from the Syria-based Rojava Information Center (RIC) shows. A total of 12 sleeper attacks were carried out in that region recently, approximately the same number carried out in July. However, only two of these latest attacks were claimed by ISIS, which is a record low, the RIC report said."The attacks resulted in 12 deaths, including a child in Al-Ahmar in Deir ez-Zor who was shot by a gunman," the RIC said.Six of the attacks were carried out in the notorious al-Hol camp, killing eight people. Al-Hol also saw four raids that resulted in eight arrests."Across Northeast Syria, the SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) Asayish conducted 17 raids (including...

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ISIS-K Claims Responsibility For Bombings Targeting Taliban Vehicles

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The Epoch Times ISIS-K Claims Responsibility For Bombings Targeting Taliban Vehicles Over The Weekend By Katabella Roberts ISIS-K has claimed responsibility for several bombings in Afghanistan over the weekend that targeted the Taliban and killed several people, while dozens more were injured.In two statements, the terrorist group claimed three separate bomb attacks targeting three Taliban vehicles in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province, on Saturday and another bomb attack on Sunday on a Taliban vehicle.Referring to the blasts, ISIS-K said, “More than 35 Taliban militia members were killed or wounded, in a series of explosions that took place.” The terrorist group did not comment on the death toll.Reuters reported Saturday that at least three people were killed and about 20 were wounded in blasts in Jalalabad. The official death toll is still unclear.Bilal Karimi, a Taliban spokesman, said Sunday’s bombing had killed one child and injured two people, one of which...

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Living In Fear Of Terrorists In Niger

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Deutsche Well Living In Fear Of Terrorists In Niger Thousands of people have died and tens of thousands have fled their homes in Niger's Tillaberi region, which is being ravaged by terrorist attacks. Now, the attackers are increasingly targeting children. "They have killed our husbands, the other men have fled, our storehouses have been burned down," said Hajiya Sibti Mouhamadou, who lives in the small village of Sara Koira in Niger's volatile Tillaberi region. "Today, it's the females who have to take on the role of both the men and the mothers ... and take care of the children and the old people," Mouhamadou says in a DW interview. "How should we manage to do all of this?"Tillaberi is a vast arid area of 100,000 square kilometers (39,000 square miles) in Niger's southwest where people primarily live from livestock herding and subsistence farming.The situation in Tillaberi, which forms part of the...

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U.S. Spy Chief Sees Top Terror Risks From Yemen, Iraq—Not Afghanistan

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Bloomberg U.S. Spy Chief Sees Top Terror Risks From Yemen, Iraq—Not Afghanistan by Chris Strohm The greatest threat to the U.S. from international terrorists comes from nations such as Yemen, Somalia, Syria and Iraq, with Afghanistan further down the priority list after the two-decade American troop presence ended, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said. Although U.S. intelligence officials are closely watching whether terrorist groups re-emerge inside Afghanistan, the country is no longer the prime concern when it comes to harboring terrorists who could carry out an attack inside America, Haines said Monday at a national security conference in the Washington suburbs. “We don’t prioritize -- at the top of the list -- Afghanistan,” Haines said. “What we’re looking at is Yemen and Somalia, Syria and Iraq. That’s where we see the greatest threat.” Nonetheless, a “big focus” for U.S. intelligence agencies is monitoring the possible reconstruction of terrorist groups in...

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Are We Safer Now Than We Were On 9/11?

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NBC News Are We Safer Now Than We Were On 9/11? Many national security experts say the U.S. is now much less vulnerable to international terrorism than it was when New York and the Pentagon were struck. By Ken DilanianGUANTÁNAMO BAY, Cuba — Two decades after the 9/11 attacks put terrorism at the center of American foreign policy, some of the same Taliban figures who harbored the planners of that operation in Afghanistan are back in power, including an interior minister with a $10 million U.S. bounty on his head.But despite the collapse of the American-backed government in Kabul, many national security experts say the U.S. remains much less vulnerable to international terrorism than it was when New York and the Pentagon were struck.“Absolutely, we're safer,” Michael Leiter, former head of the National Counterterrorism Center, told NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell.“We're safer here at home, because we’ve got an integrated intelligence community...

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House Homeland GOP 'urgently concerned' with terrorist wanted by FBI in Taliban government

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Fox News House Homeland GOP 'urgently concerned' with terrorist wanted by FBI in Taliban government Haqqani leads the Haqqani network, which the US designated a terrorist organization in 2012By Brooke Singman FIRST ON FOX: Republicans on the House Homeland Security Committee are warning that the safety of Americans who remain in Afghanistan is "in the hands" of the Taliban’s new interior minister, Sirajuddin Haqqani, the head of a designated terror organization and one of the FBI's most-wanted terrorist operatives. The top Republican on the committee, Rep. John Katko, and the top Republican on the House Subcommittee on Intelligence & Counterterrorism, Rep. August Pfluger, wrote a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, first obtained by Fox News, laying out their concerns after the Taliban announced the formation of its new government in Afghanistan – including Haqqani as interior minister. "As you are aware, the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan continues to pose...

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US Middle East Envoy Recalls The Day Terrorism Came To America

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The National War Of Ideas: US Middle East Envoy Recalls The Day Terrorism Came To America Even the most seasoned Middle East negotiator was affected by 9/11, as an adviser and a father by Holly Aguirre Ambassador Dennis Ross began his White House tenure with Jimmy Carter and ended it with Barack Obama, and has remained a consistent shaper of America's Middle East peace process under Democratic and Republican administrations.Mr Ross's reputation as a skilled negotiator allowed him to transition from the administration of George HW Bush to that of Bill Clinton, where he was appointed special Middle East envoy reporting directly to the Oval Office.The signing of the 1993 Israeli-Palestinian Declaration of Principles, known as the Oslo agreement, solidified his standing among world leaders. As the Clinton years were winding down, Mr Ross says that no other president was more dedicated to Middle East peace, a bold statement given his...

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How The November 2015 Attacks Marked A Turning Point In French Terror Laws

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  France 24 How The November 2015 Attacks Marked A Turning Point In French Terror Laws France's biggest ever criminal trial opens on September 8 in Paris over the November 2015 terrorist attacks, which killed 130 people at bars, restaurants, a football stadium and the Bataclan concert hall in the French capital. The attacks marked a turning point in French anti-terror legislation. FRANCE 24 looks back on six years of tightening anti-terror legislative measures and debates on civil liberties.France declared a state of emergency on the evening of the November 13, 2015 after the deadliest terror attacks on French soil in modern history left 130 people dead in the Paris region. The government pushed through fresh anti-terror laws, granting police and intelligence agencies extended powers, as the country faced a wave of further attacks in French cities and towns, such as Nice, St-Étienne-du-Rouvray, Villejuif and Rambouillet.The state of emergency expired in...

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U.S.’s Pledge To Fight Terrorists In Afghanistan Will Be Harder Without Boots On The Ground

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  The Wall Street Journal U.S.’s Pledge To Fight Terrorists In Afghanistan Will Be Harder Without Boots On The Ground Biden promises ‘over-the-horizon’ surveillance and attacks; officials say U.S. has lost many key assets for tracking violent militants By Warren Strobel, Gordon Lubold, and Micahek GordonWASHINGTON—President Biden and his aides promise that the U.S. can keep terror threats from Afghanistan at bay from afar with “over the horizon” surveillance and strikes now that U.S. troops have departed. Counterterrorism and intelligence officials say it will be much harder and less effective than the White House suggests.As a chaotic and deadly U.S. evacuation winds up, the U.S. has lost many of its key assets for tracking violent militants and their plots, they say. Gone are the military bases and other infrastructure that provided a platform for operatives from the Central Intelligence Agency and other intelligence agencies. Gone are the U.S.-backed Afghan government and...

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Trusting the Taliban to Fight Islamic State

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Bloomberg Trusting the Taliban to Fight Islamic StateThe Biden administration may be doing so. But it is far from the smartest policy to pursue and would put the lives of Afghans and Americans at even greater risk. By Bobby Ghosh Reports from Washington and Kabul show the extent to which the Biden administration has been counting on the Taliban to facilitate the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan — and, apparently, to keep up the fight against IS-Khorasan, the local franchise of the Islamic State, after the Americans are gone. The White House and Pentagon believe that the new rulers in Kabul share their eagerness for a speedy evacuation: a “common purpose,” in the words of Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, commander of the United States Central Command. There is also an assumption that the Taliban have an implacable enmity toward IS-Khorasan.These postulates are the basis for information-sharing between U.S. officials and their Taliban counterparts...

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Al Qaeda And ISIS Members From Afghanistan Could Resurface On Southern Border

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Washington Examiner Al Qaeda And ISIS Members From Afghanistan Could Resurface On Southern Border, Experts Say by Anna Giaritelli, Homeland Security Reporter Al Qaeda and ISIS terrorists sprung by the Taliban from an Afghan prison could enter the United States via the porous southern border, security experts said, lending grim legitimacy to concerns raised by Republicans.Feds patrolling the 2,000-mile-long U.S.-Mexico border are increasingly on alert for foreigners on the terror watch list, given the situation in Afghanistan, a senior official at U.S. Customs and Border Protection who spoke on the condition of anonymity told the Washington Examiner. “I believe CBP and the Border Patrol are both taking it very seriously, but I can’t say the same as far as the administration,” the official wrote in an email. “If I was a bad person that wanted to do harm to the U.S., I know now is the time to illegally enter the...

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After Taliban Takeover, Concerns Mount Over U.S. Counterterrorism Ability

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Reuters After Taliban Takeover, Concerns Mount Over U.S. Counterterrorism Ability By Idrees Ali and Humeyra Pamuk, Jonathan Landay WASHINGTON, Aug 25 (Reuters) - With no U.S. troops or reliable partners left, jails emptied of militants and the Taliban in control, doubts are mounting within President Joe Biden's administration over Washington's ability to stem a resurgence of al Qaeda and other extremists in Afghanistan, six current and former U.S. officials told Reuters.Afghan security forces whom the United States helped train crumbled as Taliban militants made their way through Afghanistan in less than two weeks, leaving the United States with few partners on the ground."We're not in a good place," said a U.S. defense official, who requested anonymity to discuss the issue.Weeks before the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States by al Qaeda, the lack of visibility regarding potential extremist threats is a chilling prospect for officials.U.S.-led...

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Germany Warns Of 'Increase' In Islamic State Suicide Bombers Entering Kabul

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Newsweek Germany Warns Of 'Increase' In Islamic State Suicide Bombers Entering Kabul By Mary Ellen Cagnassola Germany's top military commander told reporters Tuesday that the military is concerned about an apparent threat of attacks by the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) in Kabul, Afghanistan, the Associated Press reported.General Eberhard Zorn said that "the threat has further increased," adding that American and German intelligence indicates an increase of ISIS suicide bombers sneaking into the city."That's increasing and leads to heightened precautions," Zorn added.Germany's defense minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, warned that the Taliban's August 31 deadline for foreign troops to fully withdraw should be taken "seriously."Newsweek Newsletter sign-up >"I think one needs to take very, very seriously the announcement that they won't agree to a further delay," she said, adding that the Taliban could be using the deadline as a bargaining chip in negotiations with foreign officials. Full story https://www.newsweek.com/germany-warns-increase-islamic-state-suicide-bombers-entering-kabul-1622568

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Experts Warn Of Al Qaeda Attacks On US Soil As Global Terror Threat Reaches 20-Year High

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Fox News Experts Warn Of Al Qaeda Attacks On US Soil As Global Terror Threat Reaches 20-Year High Victor Davis Hanson: 'The next three and a half years, I think, will be our most dangerous since the 1950s of the Cold War' By Yael Halon The Biden-ordered Afghanistan withdrawal and subsequent Taliban takeover has increased the global terror threat to its highest point in two decades, and without U.S. intelligence operatives in the region, an al Qaeda 9-11 style attack may be imminent, experts warn. Dr. Tom Copeland, an expert in intelligence failures and mass casualty terrorist attacks and director of research at the Centennial Insititute told Fox News on Thursday that the fall of the Afghan government will likely coincide with the twentieth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attack. Moreover, Copeland warned, the United States' complete withdrawal could presage another attack of that nature on U.S. soil."Having an entire...

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Biden’s ‘Over The Horizon’ Counter-Terrorism Strategy Comes With New Risks

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The Guardian Biden’s ‘Over The Horizon’ Counter-Terrorism Strategy Comes With New Risks Taliban in power may find themselves fighting their own insurgentsAnalysis: new regime may face enemy composed not of fighters loyal to former US-backed government but those who see new rulers as sellouts by Jason Burke Joe Biden has said the US will maintain an “over the horizon” counter-terrorism capability to neutralise the threat posed by Islamist extremist groups in Afghanistan.With no troops on the ground, no intelligence-gathering operation in the country and no ally with shared borders, this kind of long-range effort to stop plots targeting the west will not be easy – and is made significantly harder by the range of the organisations based in territory now nominally under Taliban control. What any violent extremist group needs more than anything else is a secure location where it can plan, organise, recruit, strategise and gather resources. Without this, few...

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