France/Da’esh – The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group on the 19 Jan 16 claimed that two of the extremists behind the Paris attacks on November 13 were Iraqi, according to the latest issue of its magazine Dabiq. The last page of the issue, which was distributed via online forums, is a photo montage headlined “Just Terror.” It shows the photographs of nine men in fatigues, set in typically stylized fashion against a landscape picture of Paris in black and white. Two of them are identified as Iraqi. Among the men pictured is Abdelhamid Abaaoud, identified by his nom de guerre Abu Umar al-Baljiki, or Abu Umar the Belgian. Prosecutors have named him as an alleged planner of the November 13 attacks that killed 130 people and sent shockwaves across the world. Abaaoud was killed in a shootout with French police days after the bloodiest attacks to hit Europe since the Madrid train bombings in 2004. The two men identified in ISIS’ mouthpiece as Iraqis are named only as Ukashah al-Iraqi and Ali al-Iraqi. Their full names remain unknown and no other information has been revealed. Among at least nine attackers behind the carnage were three suicide bombers who detonated their explosives at the Stade de France stadium near Paris. Two of them had infiltrated the migrant trail using Syrian passports to travel into Europe. Repeated calls have been issued for witnesses to come forward to identify the men, to no avail. Investigators believe the passports did not actually belong to the attackers.
France/Da’esh/Paris Attack – A video published by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group's media centre has purported to show images and last statements of nine people who took part in the Paris attacks that killed 130 people it was reported on the 25 Jan 16. It was not possible to independently verify the authenticity of the footage, which showed the men delivering anti-Western diatribes and concluded with an apparent threat to attack Britain. Laith Alkhouri, of Flashpoint Global Partners, which monitors the group's social media, said the "video meets all the right criteria of an authentic and official [ISIL] release". The video was uploaded to ISIL's official Telegram channel and showed some of the attackers wearing camouflage fatigues in a desert location before the time of the Paris attacks. Several of them were shown beheading hostages of the ultra-hardline group, a tactic it has frequently used. "These are the last messages of the nine lions of the caliphate who were mobilised from their lairs to make a whole country, France, get down on its knees," a narrator in the video said. On the night of November 13, 2015, nine men, split into three groups, attacked a sports stadium, a string of cafes and a concert hall. An arrest warrant has been issued for another man, Salah Abdeslam, who fled to Belgium the following day. The attackers are identified in the video by noms de guerre referring to their nationalities - three French, four Belgian and two Iraqis, referred to as Ali al-Iraqi and Ukashah al-Iraqi. The two could be the suicide bombers who tried to attack the Stade de France stadium. They carried Syrian passports assumed to be forged and could not be formally identified. Seven other dead attackers have already been identified. The video showed footage of British Prime Minister David Cameron expressing solidarity with the French people after the attacks, and concluded by flashing a slogan on the screen saying: "Whoever stands in the ranks of kafir [infidels] will be a target for our swords." 361 COMMENT: Is the Islamic State training and blooding its Future Lone Wolfs before sending them to Europe? (http://www.361security.com/analysis/is-the-islamic-state-training-and-blooding-its-future-lone-wolfs-before-sending-them-to-europe) COMMENT ENDS
France – France's socialist Prime Minister Manuel Valls has warned his country's emergency measures put in place since November's Paris attacks will remain in place for the foreseeable future on the 22 Jan 16. Speaking in Davos, Switzerland, the left-wing politician admitted that French security services have foiled a number of possible jihadi attacks since the November 13 atrocity. He said France's current state of emergency would continue until a 'total and global war' against ISIS was over. Initially it was thought the emergency measures would expire by February 26, but this deadline is likely to be extended. Speaking at the World Economic Forum, he said: 'As long as the threat is there, we must use all means until we can get rid of Da’esh.' 'In Africa, in the Middle East, in Asia we must eradicate, eliminate Da’esh. It is a total and global war that we are facing with terrorism. The war we are conducting must also be total, global and ruthless.' Mr Valls said there could be further attacks on France. He revealed that six further plots have been foiled in recent months. He also admitted that Europe was struggling to cope with the refugee influx from the Middle East claiming that the crisis is threatening the very future and concept behind the European Union. He said: 'We cannot say or accept that all refugees ...can be welcomed in Europe. Germany is faced with a major challenge. We need to help Germany. But the first message we need to send now is with the greatest of firmness is to say that we will not welcome all the refugees in Europe. Because a message that says come, you will be welcome, provokes major shifts.'
France – Fears of a repeat of France's recent terror atrocities reached fever pitch on the 28 Jan 16 after police seized a man at Disneyland Paris, Europe’s top tourist destination, armed with two automatic pistols, ammunition and a Koran in his suitcase. A woman seen accompanying the unnamed 28-year-old who had initially managed to evade capture was arrested overnight. "An arrest has been made. We don't know the nature of their relationship at the moment," a French police said. Police and tourists were on high alert at Disneyland Paris as detectives try to determine the couple's motives for travelling to the park armed. The man, who was unknown to police and intelligence services, was arrested at the hotel New York, just outside Disneyland Paris, as he tried to check into a room for two. The man, who lives in Paris, was held at around 1400 hrs after Disneyland security inspected his luggage when a security gate alarm sounded at the entrance to the hotel - yards away from the amusement park, which welcomed 14.8 million visitors last year. "Firearms were discovered in the bags of a man as he went through the metal detector during a routine security check at one of our hotels," said Disneyland Paris. Guards detained him and alerted police, who quickly arrived on the scene and arrested the man, who did not resist arrest. Inside his suitcase, police found two hand guns and a box of 7.65mm calibre bullets concealed in a bag, along with a French version of the Koran. Bomb disposal experts were called in to inspect his Opel Zafira that was parked outside. Staff said they saw him with a female who fled when he was seized. A woman was arrested shortly afterwards but was later released without charge. The suspect said he was carrying the weapons for his own protection because he felt “under threat”, without explaining further. Police sources said it was too early to say whether the case was terror-related and last night a judicial, rather than anti-terror, investigation was launched. But the arrest at such a high profile landmark has sent shockwaves across France which is still reeling from the devastating 13 Nov 15 attack in Paris when three ISIL fighters massacred 130 people in bars, restaurants. Six colleges in central Paris recently received bomb threats and pupils were briefly taken to safety in the second such scare in two days. Similar threats were made to 14 schools in Birmingham and four in Merton in the UK although it is unclear if the hoaxes are terror related. In Nov 15 ISIL’s propaganda organ, Dar-al-Islam, called on followers to “kill” teachers in secular French schools, who it accused of being “at war with the Muslim family”. Bernard Cazeneuve, the French interior minister, recently warned that the risk of terror attacks remains imminent. He said: “2016 poses as many risks as 2015. The terrorist threat is still present; it is at least as serious, if not greater, than in November.” French security services make terror-related arrests "every day”, he claimed. 361 COMMENT: There have been no further reports on this issue. COMMENT ENDS
Germany – German prosecutors have charged three men and one woman with forming a far-right terror group and planning a bombing on a refugee shelter, officials said on the 15 Jan 16. The four are alleged to have created a group two years ago that went by the name Oldschool Society, using social media to recruit new members and promote far-right ideas, federal prosecutors said. The group became increasingly radical and, in mid-November 2014, members discussed how to manufacture explosives and the possibility of attacking Islamic extremists and asylum-seekers in Germany. The four — identified only as Andreas H., 57; Markus W., 40; Denise Vanessa G. 23; and Olaf O., 47, in line with German privacy rules — are accused of forming and being members of a "terrorist organization" and planning an explosion, prosecutors said. Andreas H. and Markus W. were described as the group's president and vice president. "There was a concrete plan to carry out an explosives attack on an inhabited refugee shelter near Borna in connection with their second meeting from May 8-10, 2015," prosecutors said. The town is southeast of Leipzig in the eastern state of Saxony, which has been a hotbed of anti-foreigner sentiment. Markus W. and Denise Vanessa G. allegedly travelled to the Czech Republic in May 2015 to purchase fireworks and the group discussed how to make them more dangerous by wrapping nails around them. They were arrested May 6 as part of nationwide raids, before the attack could take place. All four are in prison pending trial. Separately, Hannover prosecutors said Wednesday they charged two men, aged 25 and 31, and a 24-year-old woman with attempted murder and attempted arson for allegedly throwing a gasoline bomb through a window at an asylum-seekers' home in north-western Germany. The three are alleged to have thrown the improvised device in August through a ground-floor window in a school in Salzhemmendorf that had been converted to house about 30 asylum seekers, setting fire to a mattress and a rug in an unoccupied room. The early-morning blaze was quickly extinguished. Prosecutors said the three have admitted to the attack, but not to their motivation. German authorities have recorded a rise in attacks against refugees over the past year amid an unprecedented influx of asylum-seekers. While most of the attacks are believed to have been carried out by people with no previous affiliation to far-right groups, authorities believe neo-Nazi groups could stage violent attacks ever since the existence of the self-styled National Socialist Underground came to light four years ago. The NSU allegedly killed eight Turks, a Greek and a policewoman between 2000 and 2007, and is believed to be behind two bombings and 15 bank robberies. The group's sole survivor, Beate Zschaepe, and four alleged supporters are currently on trial in Munich.
Germany/Syria/Jabhat al-Nusra Front – Police in Germany arrested a Syrian former jihadist on suspicion of war crimes over the alleged kidnapping of a United Nations observer it was reported on the 22 Jan 16. The 24-year-old Syrian national, named only as Suliman AS under German privacy laws, was living in a Stuttgart apartment at the time of his arrest. Prosecutors have refused to comment on his immigration status or whether he is among the hundreds of thousands of Syrians in Germany as asylum-seekers. But the fact he was living in the country is likely to raise new questions over the security of Europe’s borders two months after the Paris attacks. Prosecutors allege Suliman A.S is a former member of the Jabhat al-Nusra jihadist group the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda and a rival of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). In 2013, they allege, he was involved in the kidnapping of a UN observer in the area of Damascus. He had been working as a peacekeeper in the Golan Heights and it was unclear why he was in the capital. “The accused was a member of an armed group and was involved in guarding the kidnapping victim,” prosecutors alleged in a statement. During that time the group “made repeated death threats to their victims and demanded a ransom without success”, they added. Frauke Koehler, a spokeswoman for prosecutors, refused to identify the kidnapped observer but from the details he appears to be Carl Campeau, a Canadian lawyer who was abducted in February 2013, and held for eight months before his escape in October that year. Mr Campeau later told the Canadian Globe and Mail newspaper his captors had made him pose for a photo that made it look as if he had lost half his leg. The picture terrified his family when the group sent it to the UN as proof he was still alive. News of the arrest emerged as police raided a refugee shelter in western Germany where a man shot dead trying to attack a Paris police station earlier this month lived for some time. Nine illegal immigrants were arrested at the shelter in Recklinghausen. Bild newspaper reported police were searching for possible supporters of Walid Sahili, who was shot dead trying to attack a Paris police station on the anniversary of the Charlie-Hebdo attack. Sahili is believed to have lived in a number of different European countries undetected posing as an asylum-seeker. Police are aware of seven different aliases he went under, but believe he may have used as many as 20. Meanwhile a former ISIL jihadist on trial in Germany on the 22 Jan 16 testified about the torture of prisoners by the group. Nils D, a German convert to Islam, told the court how prisoners were suspended from rods by their arms for hours, and beaten with sticks. Others were kept locked in tall upright boxes with only narrow vents for air. “They were like lockers,” he said. Prosecutors allege Nils D was a member of an internal security unit that tortured and killed deserters, which has been nicknamed “ISIL’s Gestapo”. The 25-year-old admits being a member of the unit but denies taking part in torture or killing. On the 22 Jan he described witnessing people being publicly beheaded with a sword by a masked executioner in the main square. “But they were never completely decapitated,” he told the court. “The head was still hanging off so they nailed it to a cross and exhibited it on the main road for a few days.”
Spain – The jihadist group's latest chilling propaganda video features an ancient map of the Iberian Peninsula which slowly turns to red. Then a militant can be heard saying "We will recover our land from the invaders", thought to be a reference to the collapse of Islamic rule in Spain. More than 12 million UK-based holidaymakers travel to Spain every year, with Majorca, Tenerife and Ibiza the most popular destinations last summer. The clip comes just two months after Madrid police arrested three people suspected of links to the sick organisation. The Moroccan suspects, who are legal residents of Spain, were reportedly aiming to carry out depraved terror attacks in the country. More than 100 people from Spain are feared to have travelled to join the so-called caliphate in war-torn Syria and Iraq. After last year's massacre in nearby Tunisia, a Foreign Office spokesman warned British nationals should be "vigilant" if travelling to Spain. He said: "There is a high threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners. "The Spanish authorities take measures to protect visitors, but you should be vigilant and follow the instructions of the local authorities." And Jorge Fernandez Diaz, the country's Interior Minister, admitted Spain faces its highest level of terror threat since the 2004 Madrid bombings. A total of 191 people were killed and nearly 2,000 injured when a series of bombs were detonated on four commuter trains. Mr Fernandez Diaz said: "We are at the maximum alert level since the attacks of March 11, 2004, in Madrid."
United Kingdom/France – British Police were called to schools across the city Birmingham after a number of calls were made threatening to set off explosives in a mass coordinated attack it was reported on the 28 Jan 16. Children were taken to the Hawthorns football ground whilst expert officers secured the school premises. The latest threat follows a series of similar incidents which have caused panic across Birmingham over the last two weeks, and have been linked to pro Vladimir Putin websites. It is understood that today's is the biggest threat to date, and the schools affected include Oldbury, Brisnall Hall, and Sandwell Academies, George Salter High School, Ace Academy, Tipton, St Paul's Girls School in Edgbaston and Perryfields School. One of those schools, Oldbury, was targeted for the third time in just a fortnight after receiving a similar threat last Thursday (14 Jan 16). The school tweeted this morning that it had received another threat and had closed as part of a contingency plan. However it said it would reopen later as soon as it was deemed safe. The previous two incidents have both been found to be a hoax, and police believe that this morning's calls are also false and malicious. Detective Inspector Colin Mattinson, from West Midlands Police, said: "At this stage there is nothing to suggest there is any credible threat to any of the schools. A police investigation is on-going to find the person responsible for these calls. At least three of the schools targeted were also evacuated last Tuesday (26 Jan 16), when a total of four schools in the Black Country received similar hoax calls. A Russian Twitter group that claimed it supported the regime of Syria's Bashar al-Assad has claimed responsibility for the hoaxes. Schools in London and Cornwall were also targeted and threats were also made to schools in France. The group, which used an email address with a Russian ".ru" domain name and called itself "Evacuators 2K16", has now been removed from the social network, after inviting students to get in touch if they wanted to "get out of school".