Europe – A Europe-wide police unit is to be set up next month with the aim of shutting down social media accounts used by key Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants to spread propaganda and recruit foreigners to their cause, Europol said on the 22 Jun 15. The small police team will scour the internet and try to take down accounts of ISIS ringleaders within hours of being detected, in a bid to dent a propaganda machine which is reckoned to send out about 100,000 tweets a day. “It’s a reasonable estimate and it indicates the scale of the problem that we are up against,” Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol, the Hague-based police agency which will coordinate the unit. Up to 5,000 people from Western Europe are thought to have travelled to Syria and Iraq, many to join ISIS, causing widespread concern among European states that their citizens could return radicalized and ready to carry out attacks at home. Two British cases have highlighted its allure in the last week: a 17-year-old from northern England became Britain’s youngest suicide bomber in an ISIS attack in Iraq, while three sisters abandoned their husbands and are believed to have taken their nine children to join the militants in Syria. Wainwright said ISIS was technologically advanced and had moved into social media in a way no militant group had done before. The new police unit, initially made up of about 10-20 officers from across Europe, will work with unnamed social media companies to target the accounts used by prominent IS figures in multiple languages. A report by U.S. think-tank the Brookings Institution in Mar 15 estimated there were at least 46,000 Twitter accounts supporting ISIS and possibly as many as 90,000, and Wainwright accepted it would be impossible to get rid of all internet profiles. “In the end, what we are hoping to have is a strategic impact against the problem as a whole rather than just playing a simple numbers game,” he said. Peter Neumann, director of the London-based International Centre for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence, which has closely studied the internet use of European fighters in the region, said the unit should have some impact, but would be reliant on social media firms’ cooperation. “It’s not only about reducing the supply of extremist material on the internet, it’s also about increasing the amount of counter-extremist messages that directly challenge the extremist narrative,” he stated. “You have to accept that you will never be able to take everything down.”
Europe/Islamic State/Da’esh/Chechnya – ISIS has spread its tentacles further around Europe after a major terrorist group which commands 'as many as 15,000' in the Caucuses region of southern Russia pledged its allegiance to it a report claimed on the 22 Jun 15. The leader of the Caucuses Emirate, which has carried out over 900 terrorist attacks on Russian soil since its formation in 2007, personally declared his loyalty to ISIS commander-in-chief Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. 'We need to hurry up and unite so we can cut off the heads of the infidels,' Aslan Byutukayev says in a new propaganda video allegedly filmed inside the predominantly Muslim republic of Chechnya. The Caucasus Emirate serves as an umbrella group of smaller extremist groups in Chechnya, Daghestan and Ingushetia, who have been waging bloody battles in an attempt to break away from Russian rule for decades. The group may command tens of thousands of loyal subjects, according to Professor Gordon Hahn of the Monterey Terrorism Research and Education Program. 'The entire CE [Caucuses Emirate] insurgency and terrorist movement may be estimated to number some 15,200 soldiers, leaders and facilitators,' he wrote in his book The Caucasus Emirate Mujahedin. Islamic State already commands 'up to 200,000' fighters according to Kurdish commanders and as many as eight million people are thought to be living under its brutal reign across the Middle East and North Africa - after it expanded its territory to Libya earlier this year. And in a recently released video entitled 'Soon, Soon', an unknown organisation called 'ISIS Tunisia Province' hinted at setting up yet another official base in the north African country which has supplied the extremists with 3,000 jihadi soldiers in recent years. Caucuses Emirate was recognised as a terrorist organisation by the UK, United States, Russia and the United Nations following a series of deadly high-profile attacks between 2009 and 2014. The Islamist group was behind the 2009 Nevsky Express disaster when 27 people were killed and over 50 wounded when a bomb was detonated on a high speed train carrying 661 passengers from Moscow St Petersburg. It also claimed responsibility for two separate suicide bomb attacks on trams in the Russian city of Volgograd which killed 34 in December 2013. Its fighters were among over 400 Chechen extremists who joined Islamic State on the battlefield in Syria and Iraq since 2011, according to the Russian Interior Ministry. And Chechen fighters such as Islamic State's military commander Omar Al-Shishani and Muslem Al-Shishani have taken a prominent role in guiding the terror group to victory throughout the Middle East. In Oct 14, after conquering Mosul, the man known as Omar the Chechen said he would take 'revenge' on Russia. Bloomberg reported how Omar al-Shishani phoned his father in Georgia to tell him ISIS will someday wage war on Russian President Vladimir Putin. 'He said 'don't worry dad, I'll come home and show the Russians... I have many thousands following me now and I'll get more. We'll have our revenge against Russia,' his father Temur Batirashvili said. The number of Chechen fighters currently in Syria and Iraq range from 200 to 1,000 and there are growing concerns they are being told to return to their home countries to continue to wage jihad, according to the Independent UK newspaper. Earlier this month, worrying images emerged on social media which showed extremists holding up 'love letters' to Islamic State's leader inside Chechnya. One handwritten message held outside the Akhmad Kadyrov mosque in the capital Grozny read: 'Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, this town awaits your holy army!' That picture, which was seen by experts as a direct threat to the Kremlin-backed Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, was followed by another featuring a masked fighter who held up a sign reportedly saying: 'I swear by Allah, we are waiting for you in Chechnya!' Although Baghdadi did not reply directly, ISIS terrorists recognised the messages and replied on social media, : 'Be patient, o brothers and sisters... The day is not far off when the banner of Islam will hang and Shari'a law will be on the streets. 'Heads will fly from those who tear off the hijabs of the sisters and pluck the beards of the brothers.' 361 COMMENT: The end statement regarding patience, hijabs and beards may refer to those counties that are attempting to ban various modes of Islamic dress. The terrorist group, along with other Islamic fundamentalist/extremist groups/personnel, maybe from those that are being allowed into Europe through people fleeing various countries and allowed to settle in Europe. Why smuggle terrorist’s in when there is an open door allowing migrants to settle in the EU? It will not be until a much later date that the European Union and other European counties rue the day they allowed so many migrants fleeing war torn parts of north Africa and the Middle East to settle and later to be found as part of a huge network of terrorists operating either as a group or lone wolfs causing their own brand of terror in countries that have allowed terrorist to settle under the guise of a fleeing asylum seeking migrant. COMMENT ENDS
Ideology – Salafist Jihadism, Islamic fundamentalism, Separatism, Religious Nationalism. The CE flag is a modified version of the one used by the unrecognised secessionist government of the Chechen Republic of Ichkerio, which was elected in late 1991and replaced by the CE in 2007.The colours confirms its devotion to historic traditions and ambitions. In Chechen tradition green is the colour of life, white is associated with the devine and reflects deep religious devotion and the search of purity. The red symbolises bloodshed in the struggle for freedom. The CE flag has an added oval al-raya (black battle flag used by the Prophet Muhammad). Inside the oval is the Takbir – (God is the greatest)
(Source: Branding Terror; Artur Baifuss and Francesco Trivini Bellini. Published by Merrell)
Europe – Scores of Islamic State terrorists are believed to have smuggled their way into Europe among the migrants fleeing North Africa according to a British newspaper report on the 21 Jun 15. The newspaper said that it is feared IS bombers could launch an attack within months. Experts think the extremists have posed as asylum seekers after travelling on boats trafficking people from Africa to Italy. A counter-terrorism source said: “It is widely believed that terrorist’s in groups and individually have been able to stow themselves on trafficking vessels and make the journey across the Mediterranean. Once in Europe they can go through the asylum process or disappear off the radar of the authorities by linking up with even more smuggling networks. “This means they can penetrate deeper into Europe and avoid detection from the police and security services. Nobody knows just how many there are.” With a further 500,000 desperate people gathering in war-torn Libya and preparing to risk a hazardous journey to the Italian coast it is feared that even more IS terrorists could be on their way.
France – France's intelligence fears new attacks in the country carried out by French suicide bombers, Le Figaro reports, quoting an investigation by national authorities on the 17 Jun 15. According to the probe, ''1,730 potential jihadists (are) ready to strike'' while keeping in detention French nationals who have returned from fighting a ''holy war'' appears increasingly difficult. Meanwhile, according to Le Parisien, two men were apprehended on the 16 Jun 15 and the day before yesterday in a Parisian banlieu as part of investigations on the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the Hyper Cacher. (ANSAMed)
A van driver who was investigated for links to Islamist radicals attacked a gas factory near the south-eastern city of Lyon on the 26 Jun 15. Yassin Sali, 35, caused an explosion by ramming his car into an area containing flammable liquids but was arrested at the scene. Mr Sali's boss, the owner of a delivery firm, was found beheaded alongside flags containing Arabic inscriptions. The attack put France back on to its highest terror alert. Yassin Sali drove his van into the Air Products factory in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, some 40km (25 miles) from Lyon, at just after 0930 hrs local. He was waved through by staff that recognised him as one of their regular delivery drivers. CCTV footage caught the van a few minutes later accelerating towards an open building which contained many jars of flammable liquid. Shortly afterwards, there was a blast. The fire brigade was called and, at just before 1000 hrs one of the fire officers caught the suspect trying to open bottles of acetone at a second hangar. The decapitated body of Mr Sali's boss, the 54-year-old owner of a local transport company, was found nearby. His head - reportedly bearing Arabic inscriptions - had been hooked on to some factory railings, alongside two flags also with Arabic writing on it. The suspect was a father of three who had been married for 10 years. His wife, sister and another person have also been taken into custody. Mr Sali had never been found guilty of any crime but had been "under surveillance for radical Islamist activities since 2006". Before her arrest, Mr Sali's wife told Europe 1 radio of her shock at his arrest, saying he had left for his delivery job as normal and was due home for lunch. She also said that they had a normal family life. President Francois Hollande ordered security in the region to be tightened to the highest possible level for the next three days. US-owned Air Products makes gases and chemicals for a wide range of industries, including technology, energy, healthcare, food, and has employees in 50 countries around the world.
United Kingdom – The threat level in the UK from international terrorism remains unchanged at severe following reports that an Armed Forces Day parade had been targeted by Islamic State, police said. They have encouraged the public to attend events as normal after a plot to explode a pressure cooker bomb at a parade in south London on the 27 Jun 15 was foiled. The suicide plot was intended to strike soldiers from the unit of murdered Lee Rigby, but failed after one of its leaders in Syria unwittingly recruited an undercover investigator from a newspaper to carry it out. It is alleged that a leading figure in IS, whom it named as Junaid Hussain, originally from Birmingham, told the investigator: "It will be big. "We will hit the kuffar (unbelievers) hard InshAllah. Hit their soldiers in their own land. "InshAllah. Soldiers that served in Iraq and Afganistan will be present. Jump in the crowd and detonate the bomb. "They think they can kill Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan then come back to the UK and be safe. We'll hit them hard InshAllah." A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "The police, together with our security partners, remain alert to terrorist threats that may manifest here or where individuals overseas may seek to direct or inspire others to commit attacks in and against the UK. "It is always helpful when journalists share with us information that could indicate terrorist or criminal activity. "Attacks yesterday (26 Jun 15) show the global nature of terrorism and the threat level in the UK from international terrorism remains unchanged at severe.