Macedonia – Macedonian police on the 6 Aug 15 announced the arrests of nine people suspected of belonging to the Islamic State group and said they are seeking a further 27, following raids in the capital, Skopje, and several towns in the northeast of the country. Interior ministry spokesman Ivo Kotevski said that all those arrested are Macedonian nationals. They are suspected of being volunteers or recruiters for the group to fight in Syria and Iraq. Islamic State is banned in Macedonia, where participation of the country's citizens in overseas militant groups carries a sentence of at least four years in prison. Interior Minister Mitko Cavkov said the people arrested included a Muslim cleric believed to be the group's main organizer. It was unclear whether they are suspected of planning terrorist attacks in Macedonia. The police raids took place late on the 5 Aug 15 in Skopje and the north-eastern towns of Kumanovo, Tetovo, Gostivar and Struga. Officers searched 25 houses, an Internet cafe, a mosque and the offices of two Islam-linked NGOs, and seized computers, mobile phones and cash. Cavkov said 130 people from Macedonia are believed to have joined the Islamic State militants and fought in Syria or Iraq. At least 16 Macedonians have been killed in the fighting.
Poland – As reported by the tvn24.pl news portal on the 3 Aug 15, a detailed report about the terrorist threat was presented last week by the ABW vice director Jacek Gawryszewski to MPs from the “intelligence commission”. According to the report, the security service has identified 200 people who have a connection with Poland and at the same time links to violent Islamic fundamentalism. The group largest in number is comprised of Chechens who once lived, for example, in asylum camps in Poland. They still keep their connections from Poland even though they are in Syria or Iraq, where they are fighting for the Islamic State. It further states that apart from Chechens, the threat is also posed by Poles who have converted to Islam and are now fighting for the Islamic State. There are “between five to ten” such cases, according to what was said by a member of the “intelligence commission”. Everyone from that group converted, having migrated to the West: to Germany, Norway or France. They joined ISIS cells there and left for Syria. Another category is comprised of people who have less obvious connections with Poland. This was the case with a Moroccan national who was stopped at the Chopin airport in Warsaw on 15 Jun 15. According to information published on the tvn24.pl website, the security service has been monitoring also Polish women who meet people via the internet: on instant messaging, via email and on dating websites. They are seduced by men from the Middle East who recruit devoted female co-workers this way. Fear of Islamic extremism is growing in Western Europe and the United States – according to the Pew Research Center … concerns have been more and more visible in countries with a significant Muslim minority. Apparently 22 percent of Poles are very concerned about potential attacks by extremists in our country.
United Kingdom/Tunisia – British investigators have established links between the two terrorist attacks committed in Sousse last Jun 15 and in Bardo last Mar 15, Commander Richard Walton, head of counter-terrorism for London's Metropolitan Police was quoted as saying in a press release on the 5 Aug 15. The Tunisian authorities have deployed "significant resource," into the investigation, Walton said, adding that operations have been carried out across the country to disrupt terrorist activity and identify suspects. Information officer at the Interior Ministry Walid Louguini said the results reached by the UK police were previously confirmed by the Interior Ministry at a press conference held after the attack. This information were also presented to the media by Secretary of State for Security Affairs Rafik Chelly. The press release issued by the UK counter-terrorism unit confirms the results reached by security units in Tunisia, he added.
United Kingdom/Islamic State – Islamic State bombers are in Britain and are ready to carry out lone-wolf attacks with World War II victory commemorations involving the Queen and the royal family being among the targets, according to a media report posted on the 11 Aug 15. Fictional characters created online by Sky News were sent terror guidebooks by senior jihadists in Syria, including advice on raising funds and making weapons. By posing on Twitter and in chatrooms as two individuals committed to jihad -- one male, one female -- the British television network gained a disturbing new insight into the extremists' tactics. From the undercover operation it emerged that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) already has a number of potential bombers in the UK with some of whom trained in Syria and are ready to attack. Islamic State is now focused on urging British would-be recruits to carry out "lone wolf" attacks in the UK instead of travelling to fight in Syria, the report said. One jihadist was quoted as saying that this Saturday's VJ (Victory over Japan) (15 Aug 15) commemorations involving Queen Elizabeth II and the royal family were a target. The insight comes just days after it was reported in the British media that British jihadis were plotting to blow up Queen Elizabeth II at VJ Day commemorations in central London. The online posts by the fictional characters over the past four months attracted the attention of two major players in Islamic State's so-called cyber caliphate. One of them is Junaid Hussain, a 21-year-old hacker-turned-jihadist from Birmingham, who runs the ISIS information and recruitment arm from Syria, the report said. He has been identified by the US Secret Service as a top-five target for elimination by drone strike. His wife, Sally Jones, from Kent, is also in Syria working alongside Hussain in Raqqa but dealing with female ISIS-supporting jihadists. From the start it became clear that ISIS wants its recruits to attack the UK and not travel to their so-called caliphate. The fictional characters were advised to form gangs and to create a British Islamic State over a long period. Communicating on encrypted messaging sites, a second conversation started with another character, created by the TV station, an 18-year-old girl. Jones quickly asked the character what she wanted to do in the UK -- to cut a head off or blow up a bomb. Jones revealed she had another potential bomber in Scotland and two others who had so far failed to attack, the report said. With one or even three potential real bombers at large, the Metropolitan Police's anti-terror branch has been informed, it said.
United Kingdom/Worldwide/al-Qaeda – Al-Qaeda has released a message, purportedly from Osama bin Laden's son Hamza, calling for attacks on London and other western cities it was reported on the 14 Aug 15. The audio recording was shared by Jihadists on Twitter, and is the first such message from Hamza bin Laden, who is believed to be either 23 or 24 years old. He had not previously been put forth as an al-Qaeda spokesman, but he has been touted as a future leader of the terror network. Letters found in Osama bin Laden's Abbottabad compound suggest that he was grooming Hamza as his successful prior to his death in 2011. The group has been led since that time by Ayman al-Zawahiri. The message is not the first indication that Hamza bin Laden, bin Laden's youngest son, had joined al-Qaeda's ranks. He is believed to have taken part in attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan as early as 2005. In the message, a man al-Qaeda claim is Hamza calls for Jihad against America and its allies. He specifically suggests London, Washington, Paris and Tel Aviv as targets for attacks. Following the 2011 US raid on the compound in Pakistan where Osama bin Laden was living, it was reported that Hamza had been killed alongside his father. White House officials announced his death, before further analysis showed that it was another son, Khaled, who had been killed. It is unclear where Hamza was at the time of the raid, though it has been reported that he was at the compound but was able to escape. His current whereabouts are unknown. 'Hamza Bin Laden lived the life of jihad with his father throughout AQ’s (Al Qaeda) creation in Afghanistan, said Rita Katz, director of SITE Intelligence Group. "Hamza Bin Laden, son of Usamah bin Laden, gives strategies in continuing global jihad in audio message. 'With Hamza, AQ hopes to renew the popularity of AQ by reviving the brand of "AQ = Bin Laden". 'AQ leadership wants Hamza as a future leader: someone loved & inspirational, without a negative reputation or participation in infighting. 'Hamza Bin Laden calls to move the war from Kabul, Gaza & Baghdad, to Washington, London, Paris & Tel-Aviv. Urges: "This is your duty”. 'Hamza Bin Laden urged lone wolf attacks in the US and the West; targeting of Jewish American interests globally.'