News snippits



Mainland High Campus Shooting Call 1st In Volusia, Turns Out To Be Fireworks [The Daytona Beach News-Journal]

Mainland High School’s lunchtime was rattled Thursday with the horrifying pop, pop, pops of what many reported as gunfire, sending students into lockdown, where they squeezed themselves into corners or under desks for hard cover in anticipation of flying bullets.
The sounds turned out to be fireworks and no one was injured, but the mass response was the first in Volusia County to what could have been an active shooter on a school campus in the post-Parkland era.
Three ninth-grade students were in custody, Daytona Beach Police Chief Craig Capri said Thursday night. Each student will face a misdemeanor charge of disruption of a school function and a felony of bringing an explosive device onto school property. The student’s names have not been released.
Daytona Beach Police are also investigating a threat on social media about a shooting at Mainland High School on Friday. Investigators are trying to determine who made the threat. Police said they will have a “strong presence” around Mainland High School on Friday to ensure that everyone is safe.

Man Pleads Guilty To Terrorism Charge After Blocking Hoover Dam Bridge With Armored Truck [ABC News]

A man in Arizona has pleaded guilty to terrorism charges stemming from a June 2018 incident in which he created a barricade with an armored vehicle at the Hoover Dam, apparently in support of the far-right QAnon movement.
Matthew Wright, 32, pleaded guilty on Feb. 4 to making a terroristic threat, aggravated assault and unlawful flight from pursuing law enforcement vehicle.
Wright, armed with a rifle in a black armored truck, blocked the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Bridge over the Colorado River at the Hoover Dam, where the Arizona and Nevada state lines meet. According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, when authorities arrived Wright was standing next to the vehicle with a sign that read, "Release the OIG report," known as a prominent demand of QAnon followers.


IS Claims 11 Casualties Among Yarsanis (Kaka'i), 4 Iraqi Soldiers Killed And Wounded In Diyala [SITE Intelligence Group]

The Islamic State (IS) claimed to inflict 11 casualties among Yarsanis, members of the Kaka'i religious sect, in an operation in Iraq's Diyala governorate, in addition to killing two Iraqi soldiers and wounding two others.
In a communique issued on February 13, 2020, the group stated that fighters fired at a vehicle of a Yarsani in Khanaqin, killing him, and when support arrived from sect members, they were fired upon also, killing and wounding at least 10.
It added that in the same area, fighters detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) and used sniper rifles to target two groups of Iraqi soldiers, killing two and wounding the others.

Shabaab Claims 23 Attacks In Somalia And Kenya In One-Week, Assassination Attempt On Public Works Ministry Secretary [SITE Intelligence Group]

Shahada News Agency, an Arabic media unit for the al-Qaeda (AQ) branch, published 22 reports on February 6-12, 2020, covering military activity and one instance of a Shabaab court flogging people for adultery.
In addition to the February 10 attack on employees of the Chinese engineering company H Young and their Kenyan guards in Lamu, the Shabaab took credit for one other strike in Kenya, a raid on a Kenyan police post in Haluqa, in Garissa County.
The remaining attacks took place in Somalia, including an assassination attempt on Ahmed Muhammad, the Somali Public Works Ministry secretary, multiple bombings on Somali security forces and Burundian troops within the AMISOM mission, and raids, projectile attacks and sniper fire on Somali, Ethiopian, and Ugandan soldiers.

IS Reveals Attacks On Belgian And French Troops In Mali, Rocket Strike On Niamey International Airport In Naba 221 [SITE Intelligence Group]

This issue, published on February 13, 2020, features an article on several previously undocumented operations by the Sahel-based division of West Africa Province (ISWAP), all of which targeted foreign forces.
According to a "military source," fighters killed five Belgian soldiers in a strike on their convoy near Gao, on January 2, and engaged with French forces who stormed their positions on two occasions, one on January 27 to the south of Ménaka, and the other on February 1 in an unidentified area.
It also stated that on January 13, fighters launched Grad rockets at the international airport near Niamey where "Crusader" forces are stationed, achieving successful hits.

Shelling Wounds At Least 19 Children In Myanmar’s Rakhine: Authorities [Reuters]

At least 19 children were wounded when a primary school was hit by shelling in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, a lawmaker and a military spokesman said on Thursday.
Clashes between government troops and ethnic insurgents have intensified in Rakhine, from where tens of thousands of people have been displaced since clashes began in December 2018, bringing new chaos to the region from which more than 730,000 Rohingya Muslims fled a military crackdown in 2017.
The Arakan Army, which recruits from the mostly Buddhist majority, has been fighting for greater autonomy for the western region from the central government.

Iran Says It Will Strike U.S. And Israel If They Make The 'Slightest Error' [Reuters]

Iran is ready to strike the United States and Israel if they give it any reason to do so, the head of the elite Revolutionary Guards said in a live speech on state television on Thursday.
“If you make the slightest error, we will hit both of you,” Major General Hossein Salami said at a ceremony marking the 40th day since the death of top commander Qassem Soleimani.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said last week that Iran would support Palestinian armed groups as much as it could and urged Palestinians to confront a U.S. plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Accused Mastermind Of Mumbai Attack Convicted Of Links To Terrorism [The New York Times]

Pakistan faced pressure to act against Hafiz Saeed, who was found guilty of terrorism-related charges. He founded the group that committed the 2008 Mumbai attack, killing more than 160 people.
An antiterrorism court in Pakistan on Wednesday convicted Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the founder of the group that carried out a deadly attack in Mumbai in 2008, on terrorism-related charges and sentenced him to five and a half years in prison.
India and the United States call Mr. Saeed the mastermind of the Mumbai attack, which killed more than 160 people, including six Americans. For years, Pakistan had been under intense international pressure to take action against him and the radical Islamist group he founded, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and the United States has offered a $10 million bounty for him.

HTS Releases Video Of Elite Forces Operation In Ma’arat Al-Nu’man [SITE Intelligence Group]

Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) issued a video documenting a commando operation by its elite forces, the “Red Bands,” in Ma’arat al-Nu’man against Russian-backed militias.
HTS’ Amjad Media released the 6 minute, 6 second video, entitled “Bands of Death,” on February 11, 2020. The video contains an audio recording between a member of the “Red Bands” and the Fatah al-Mubin Operations Room during violent clashes that took place inside the city of Ma’arat al-Nu’man in northern Hama governorate at the end of January.
The video claims the “Red Bands” used a “new tactic” during the operation to confront the militias that the elite forces group intends to implement elsewhere. Footage shows members of the “Red Bands” preparing to fight and portions of the armed assault.

Egypt’s NGO Calls On UN To Designate MB As Terrorist Group [Egypt Today]

13 February 2020: The Observatory of Egypt’s Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialog condemned the terrorist attacks that target the security checkpoints in North Sinai, calling upon the United Nations to designate the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist body.
The forum strongly condemned the attempted terror attack on a military concentration in North Sinai, in which Brigadier Mostafa Abido was killed.
Military spokesperson Tamer al-Refaei announced on Sunday that the Egyptian Armed Forces foiled the terror attack, killing 10 terrorists and destroying a four-wheel drive vehicle. However, the fire exchange resulted in seven casualties, two officers and five soldiers.

India Crossed Rubicon With Balakot Air Strike [The Tribune]

The Balakot strike gave the military the boost in morale it badly needed after years of ‘restraint’. It gave the country a righteous belief in itself, and signaled to the world that Delhi was no longer going to play possum in the long battle against terrorism. But the strike can’t be seen in isolation of the economy, of internal strife, and a divided society.
A year after the Pulwama terror attack that killed 40 CRPF jawans and the first-ever air attacks deep into Pakistan in retaliation, it’s time to ask a simple question: Did the Balakot strike by the Indian Air Force achieve its ends?
The attack on Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camps in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on February 26, 2019, caused a furor both inside and outside the country. In India, it reinforced the ‘strong man’ image of the Modi government, and left Islamabad in shock. Outside the country, academics warned of the threat of nuclear war, while sober government officials chided Pakistan on terrorism, even while calling for restraint on both sides. In private conversations, most diplomats agreed that Pakistan had it coming. A certain country that usually responds with massive force to any attack on it wondered why New Delhi hadn’t done it years before.

Six Terrorists Convicted Of Further Terror Act After Release, Data Shows [The Guardian]

Six convicted terrorists have been released from prison and convicted of a further terrorist offence within seven years, it has been revealed, as parliament heads into a debate over emergency laws designed to keep extremist prisoners in jail for longer.
Between January 2013 and December 2019, 196 individuals convicted of a terrorist offence were released from prison in England and Wales with 3.06% of them going on to be convicted of a further terrorist offence.
The figures, which were released to Lord Anderson, the former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, through a written question to the government, come as parliament is set to debate emergency legislation announced less than 24 hours after the convicted terrorist Sudesh Amman stabbed two people in south London.

China Reports 5,000 New Coronavirus Cases, Cruise Ship Disembarks In Cambodia [Reuters]

China’s coronavirus outbreak showed no sign of peaking with health authorities on Friday reporting more than 5,000 new cases, while passengers on a cruise ship blocked from five countries due to virus fears finally disembarked in Cambodia.
News of the first death from the virus in Japan rattled Asian markets, already on edge after hopes that the epidemic was stabilizing appeared to be dashed by a sharp rise in the number of cases on Thursday.
In its latest update, China’s National Health Commission said it had recorded 121 new deaths and 5,090 new coronavirus cases on the mainland on Feb. 13, taking the accumulated total infected to 63,851 people.
Some 55,748 people are currently undergoing treatment, while 1,380 people have died of the flu-like virus that emerged in Hubei province’s capital, Wuhan, in December.

Nigeria's Military Razed Villages In War On Islamist Insurgents: Amnesty International [Reuters]

Nigeria’s military burned down villages and forcibly displaced hundreds of people in its fight against Islamist insurgents in the country’s northeast, rights group Amnesty International alleged on Friday.
Nigeria’s military, which has frequently been accused of human rights abuses in its decade-long fight against Boko Haram and more recently Islamic State’s West African branch, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In the latest allegations, Amnesty said Nigerian soldiers razed three villages after forcing hundreds of men and women to leave their homes in the northeastern state of Borno in January.

Over 800,000 Syrians, Mostly Women And Children, Flee Russian-Backed Offensive: U.N. [Reuters]

More than 800,000 Syrians, mostly women and children, have fled their homes during a Russian-backed Syrian military campaign to clear the opposition in northwest Syria since Dec. 1, a senior U.N. spokesperson said on Thursday.
The exodus is expected to continue, with thousands of people on the move as whole towns and communities flee to the safety of areas near the Turkish border, David Swanson told Reuters.
Russian jets and Syrian artillery have pounded towns and villages since early December in a renewed assault backed by pro-Iranian militias and aimed at clearing the opposition.

Pulwama Terror Attack: Even After A Year, NIA Unable To Trace Source Of Explosives [The Hindu]

A year after the Pulwama terror attack where 40 CRPF personnel were killed, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has not been able to trace the source of high grade explosives used by the car-borne suicide bomber.
Adil Ahmad Dar, a Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist, rammed a car into a CRPF bus on the Jammu-Srinagar highway near Pulwama on February 14, 2019.
A senior government official said the explosives could not have been purchased off the shelf as it was “warfare ammunition generally found in military stores.” A forensic report said that around 25 kg of plastic explosives were used.

Commander Killed In North Sinai’s Terror Attack Buried In Home Village [Egypt Today]

13 February 2020: Brigadier Mostafa Abido, who was killed on Sunday in an attempted terror attack on a military concentration in North Sinai, was buried in his home village Wardan in Giza governorate.
The funeral took place on Wednesday and it was attended by a number of military commanders, officers, and soldiers as well as thousands of the village dwellers.
Refaei added that the security forces combed the area and chased the terrorist elements to exterminate them.

Jihadis Jailed For Spreading Speeches By Hate Preacher Who Inspired Terrorists Including London Bridge Attacker [Independent]

Two men have been jailed for spreading extremist propaganda that called on Muslims to wage violent jihad around the world.
Muhammad Abdur Raheem Kamali and Mohammed Abdul Ahad edited and uploaded speeches by hate preacher Sheikh Abdullah al-Faisal to a website and social media pages.
Police said the material promoted terrorism and encouraged people to join Isis in Syria, but The Independent has confirmed that the website remains online.



Sudan, USS Cole Victims Reach Settlement Paving Way For Removal From Terror List [Sudan Tribune]

The transitional government [of Sudan] reached an agreement with the families of U.S. sailors killed in the al Qaeda bombing of the destroyer USS Cole, within the framework of the ongoing process to remove Sudan from the list of State Sponsors Of Terrorism (SST).
Khartoum will pay $30 million to the families of the 17 sailors killed during the attack on 12 October 2000.
In 2014, a U.S. court said that Sudan’s aid to al Qaeda "led to the murders" of the 17 Americans in the bombing of the USS Cole and awarded the families $35 million.
The settlement was concluded to definitively close the case and prevent future cases before the U.S. courts.
See also WTKR3 – Norfolk, VA: USS Cole Victims' Families Agree To Settle Lawsuit

White Supremacist Propaganda Distribution Hit All-Time High In 2019 [Homeland Security Newswire via Anti-Defamation League]

White supremacist propaganda distribution more than doubled in 2019 over the previous year, making it the highest year on record for such activity in the United States.
The data shows a substantial increase of incidents both on- and off-campus.

Report Questions Effectiveness Of Active Shooter Drills In Schools [Reuters – Feb. 11]

Active shooter drills, a routine in American schools for the last two decades, tend to traumatize students and have not been proven to save lives.
The report by gun safety group Everytown and several parent, student and teacher organizations recommended that schools move away from conducting unannounced drills and drills that mimic gun violence.

GAO: TSA Needs Strategic Plan To Counter Insider Threats To Aviation [Homeland Security Today]

Aviation workers using their access privileges to exploit vulnerabilities and potentially cause harm at the nation’s airports pose an insider threat.
As of October 2019, there were an estimated 1.8 million aviation workers at the nation’s airports.
The TSA, airport operators, and air carriers share the responsibility to mitigate all insider threats at airports.

Accused El Paso Shooter Pleads Not Guilty To Hate Crime Charges [Reuters]

A Texas man pleaded not guilty to 90 federal hate crime charges on Wednesday after he was accused of deliberately targeting people of Mexican heritage in the shooting rampage that killed 22 people at a Walmart store in El Paso last year.
Patrick Crusius, 21, entered the not guilty plea in an arraignment waiver document filed after his first appearance in federal court in El Paso, Texas. An arraignment waiver means the defendant is aware of the charges and is entering an initial plea of not guilty.

FBI Surveillance [Courthouse News]

Patrick Eddington, with the Cato Institute, brought a federal FOIA complaint for information on the FBI’s Operation Vulgar Betrayal, its surveillance of “mosques, schools, and community meetings in Bridgeview, Illinois.”

Coronavirus Test Kits Sent To States Are Flawed, C.D.C. Says [MSN via New York Times]

Some of the coronavirus testing kits sent to state laboratories around the country have flaws and do not work properly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday.
The kits were meant to enable states to conduct their own testing and have results faster than they would by shipping samples to the C.D.C. in Atlanta.

Living Inside U.S. [Coronavirus] Quarantine [Wall Street Journal – video report]

The WSJ’s Shan Li and Stephanie Yang were quarantined for 11 days in China’s Hubei province, the epicenter of the coronavirus, before returning to the U.S.
The reporters describe what life is like under a mandatory 14-day quarantine at U.S. military bases.


Israeli Cyber Company Uncovers Hamas Campaign Against PA [Jerusalem Post]

A series of Hamas-sponsored cyberattacks targeting officials in the Palestinian Authority was uncovered during the last several months by Cybereason, the Israeli security company reported.
The Hamas unit would hack into the victims' mobile phones, gaining access to their microphones and cameras as well as files and information stored on the devices.
The [Hamas] unit, says the company, is a politically-motivated cell that has acted against various targets across the Middle East since 2012.
Working under the names "The Gaza Cybergang" and "MoleRATs" [the unit] targeted Palestinian officials using content related to US President Donald Trump's "Deal of the Century" and the assassination of IRGC Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, alongside other topics relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Saudi-Led Coalition In Yemen Reports Killing Lebanese Hezbollah Operatives Near Sana’a [Long War Journal]

According to the pro-Saudi Arabia outlet Al Hadath, coalition airstrikes killed “four experts of Hezbollah” east of Sana’a yesterday [Feb. 11].
Other outlets later picked up this report, with one adding that the Hezbollah operatives included both Lebanese and Iraqi nationals.
Al Arabiya, another pro-Saudi outlet, added that the two Lebanese members were killed in Ma’rib and al Jawf while the Iraqi members were both killed in Nihm.

Pakistan Militant Accused Of Mumbai Attacks Jailed For Terror-Financing [RFE/RL]

A Pakistani court has jailed the alleged mastermind [Hafiz Saeed] of deadly 2008 attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai to a total of 11 years in two terrorism-financing cases.
Co-defendant Malik Zafar Iqbal, one of Saeed’s close aides, received similar punishment.
Saeed is the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a militant group blamed by the United States and India for the Mumbai siege in which 160 people, including Americans, were killed.
See also Dawn – PAK: Hafiz Saeed Sentenced To Five-And-A-Half Years In Prison For Terror Financing

[Indian] NIA Arrest Warrant Against 2 Terrorists In [Drone] Arms Drop Case [Outlook – IND]

An NIA Special Court in Punjab issued arrest warrants against two foreign nationals - Ranjeet Singh Neeta, presently in Pakistan and chief of the banned terrorist outfit Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF), and another member, Gurmeet Singh a.k.a. Bagga, currently residing in Germany.
The case pertains to the dropping of arms and ammunition, explosives, communication devices and fake currencies in the Punjab''s Chola Sahib by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones) originating from Pakistan.

Coronavirus Death Toll Leaps In China's Hubei Province [Reuters]

The Chinese province at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak reported a record rise in the death toll on Thursday under a new method for diagnosing cases, as health experts warned the epidemic could get worse before it gets better.
WHO [World Health Organization] chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned any apparent slowdown in the spread of the epidemic should be viewed with “extreme caution”.

[UK] Terror Sentence Changes 'Must Extend To Northern Ireland' [BBC]

Justice Minister Naomi Long said while the decision on whether or not to extend the legislation lay with the secretary of state, Stormont officials would "engage on the implications for Northern Ireland".
Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie said he could not accept the idea that the legislation would not apply in Northern Ireland.
Also from BBC: A 52-year-old man has been charged with the [2019] murder of journalist Lyra McKee in Londonderry. He is due to appear at Londonderry Magistrates' Court on Thursday. Lyra McKee: [No. Ireland] Man Charged With Journalist's [2019] Murder
This updates (investigation) Feb. 12 ONN, OCONUS 11.

Woman Arrested By [UK] Counter Terrorism Officers [Metropolitan Police – UK]

Officers from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command arrested the 25-year-old woman at Heathrow Airport at 22:30hrs, after she arrived on an inbound flight on Wednesday, 12 February, on suspicion of membership in a proscribed organization.

Two Men [In UK] Have Been Jailed After Disseminating Terrorism-Related Material On An Islamist Propaganda Website [Greater Manchester Police – UK]

Counter Terrorism Police in both the North West and North East, along with the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command (CTC) worked together to disrupt an Islamist propaganda website for Daesh supporters.
Brought to justice were two of its main administrators and contributors: 31-year-old Muhammad Abdur Raheem Kamali, based in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, and 38-year-old Mohammed Abdul Ahad, based in London.

Would-Be [UK] Terrorist To-Do List In Heaven: Choose Palace, Possess Wives, Meet God [Al Arabiya – UAE via BBC]

A chicken shop worker [Mohiussunnath Chowdhury, age 28] convicted of planning terror attacks in London drafted a “to-do list” for what he was going to do when he got to heaven.
Top of his list was to choose his main palace, consummate his relationship with 72 wives, feast and meet God.

Egyptian Interior Ministry: 17 Terrorists Killed In North Sinai [Asharq Al-Awsat – UK]

Egyptian police forces killed 17 terrorists during a shootout in the country's restive North Sinai Province.
The terrorists were detected in a hideout in the Obeidat district of al-Arish city, from where they attempted to launch hostile operations.
The [Feb. 11] incident came two days after Egypt's army announced that it killed 10 terrorists as its forces thwarted [Feb. 9] a major terror attack on a military checkpoint in North Sinai.
This updates [Egyptian Sinai CT operations] Feb. 10 ONN, OCONUS 10.

U.S.-Led Coalition Says Troops Returned Fire In Northeast Syria [Reuters]

The U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State militants said its troops opened fire on Wednesday at a checkpoint in northeast Syria after they came under small arms fire.
One U.S. soldier had “a minor superficial scratch while operating their equipment” and was back at work.
Earlier, Syrian and Turkish media said one person was killed in the shooting at the checkpoint and that U.S. warplanes had carried out at least one air strike subsequently.
The coalition statement made no reference to any air strike.

Haftar Forces In Libya Ban U.N. Flights To Embattled Capitals [SITE Intelligence Group]

Eastern Libya forces will not allow the United Nations to use the only functioning airport in the capital Tripoli, a spokesman for the group that has been trying to capture the city from the internationally recognized government said.

Buratai: 'Boko Haram Is In Lagos' [Pulse – NGA]

Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, says no part of the country is immune from the terrorist Boko Haram sect, including Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital and most populous city.

North Kivu: FARDC And MONUSCO Repel ADF Attack In Mbau [Dem. Rep. Of Congo] [MONUSCO Stabilization Mission/UN]

The previous evening [Feb. 19], around 8:30 p.m., the district of Mbau was attacked by armed men identified as ADF (Allied Defense Forces) rebels.
The attack lasted more than an hour and the attackers were pushed back. No injured were reported from the FARDC or MONUSCO.

In First Documented Military Activity Since November 2019, ISKP Claims Killing 2 Taliban Fighters In Kunar [Afghanistan] [SITE Intelligence Group]

The IS issued a communique on February 12, 2020, stating that fighters hurled hand grenades at a Taliban position in Manuki district, causing three casualties.

2 Maids Jailed [In Singapore] For Terrorism Financing Offences [Straits Times – SGP]

Two Indonesian maids were jailed on Wednesday (Feb 12) after pleading guilty to terrorism financing offences.
The separate district court cases, under the Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act, involved Turmini, 31, and Retno Hernayani, 37.
The monies were deposited into a bank account belonging to a man called Edi Siswanto, who supported the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and its Indonesia-based affiliated group, the Jemaah Anshaut Daulah (JAD).

Female AQ Supporter Promotes Manda Bay [Kenya] Raid, Jihad To Reclaim Jerusalem In 12th Issue Of Magazine For Women [SITE Intelligence Group]

Among Arabic and English articles covering an array of subjects, [including] . . . the English will by the Naval Station Pensacola shooter, Muhammad al-Shamrani, is an article on the Camp Simba attack by the Shabaab under the campaign "Jerusalem Will Never be Judaized".
Its author, Kifah al-Maqdisiya, lauded the Shabaab for recording an epic in Islamic history and delivering to America with strikes what peaceful protests and negotiations cannot convey.

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