Archive for October, 2017

Eight dead after terrorist in Home Depot truck runs down Manhattan bikers

(NY DAILY NEWS) — By Reuven Blau, Jillian Jorgensen, and Rocco Parascandola

Eight people were killed Tuesday afternoon in a terrorist attack as a rental truck plowed through helpless riders on a lower Manhattan bike path, officials said.

Driver Sayfullo Saipov yelled “Allahu Akbar!” — Arabic for “God is great!” — after running the riders down from behind, their mangled bodies left scattered behind his runaway white pickup.

The 29-year-old suspect, a native of Uzbekistan, was arrested after a hero police officer shot him in the right hip following a crash between the truck and a school bus.

Saipov, who came to the U.S. in 2010 and lived in Paterson, N.J., was waving a paintball gun and a pellet gun when Officer Ryan Nash arrived. The cop opened fire when the suspect refused to drop his weapons.

“This was an act of terror,” declared Mayor de Blasio at a somber One Police Plaza news conference. “And a particularly cowardly act of terror, aimed at innocent civilians.”

The truck jumped the curb near Houston St. at 3:04 p.m. and began bearing down on the unsuspecting bicyclists and pedestrians, officials said. Video showed crumpled two-wheelers and four bodies left in the vehicle’s deadly wake.

“I heard a truck, a car, something going down the bike path,” said eyewitness Eugene Duff, 44, who was waiting at a red light to walk across West St. “It was wrong.”

The off-duty chef watched in disbelief as the driver of the speeding truck ran down a pair of CitiBike riders about 50 feet apart, catching both from behind on the busy bike path alongside the Hudson River.

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A warning about Islam: “Hey, have you heard the one about the T-Rex at Fifth and Main?”

IT GOES LIKE THIS: Two men at the corner of Fifth and Main are engrossed in conversation. As they jabber away, one of them looks over the shoulder of the other and sees a Tyrannosaurus Rex coming down Main Street. He says to his friend, “Hey, there’s a Tyrannosaurus Rex coming our way!” The other guy says, “Oh, come on, that’s impossible,” and he resumes talking about what he was talking about. The other man says, “I’m not kidding. Just turn around and look for yourself.” But his friend is adamant. “Don’t be silly,” he says. By then the man who sees what’s coming is frantic because the monster is getting closer and closer. In exasperation, he says, “Look, all you gotta do is turn around, and you will see for yourself what I’m talking about!” But the other man crosses his arms and says in a scornful voice, “I refuse to listen to this nonsense.” By then the T-Rex is up behind him, and with its massive jaws wide open it sinks its teeth into him and swallows him whole. The other man, meanwhile, runs off to look for a gun and rally people to defend themselves against the monster. Read more »

Returning ISIS militants may plan terror attacks on Caribbean tourists, officials warn

(PJ MEDIA) — By Tyler O’Neil

Western tourists spending their vacation on Caribbean islands may be targeted by returning Islamic State (ISIS) militants, officials warned. A vast majority of Westerners fighting with ISIS hail from Trinidad and Tobago, and the country has struggled with radical Islam in the past. As ISIS loses ground in the Middle East, threats across the world are expected to increase.

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is taking measures to prevent fighters from returning to the islands, but the threat may be impossible to check.

When asked about the risk of ISIS members returning to Trinidad and Tobago, Maj. Gen. (Ret’d) Edmund Dillon, minister of national security for that country, said, “It is not a matter of yes but when.”

Rebecca Perring at Britain’s Express reported the threat to Western tourists in the Caribbean, noting that jihadis might be able to travel between most of the Caribbean islands without a visa. Any terrorist reaching the Bahamas could even pose a threat to Florida.

“Per capita, Trinidad has the greatest number of foreign fighters from the Western Hemisphere who have joined the Islamic State,” John Estrada, a former U.S. ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, told The New York Times. “Trinidadians do very well with ISIL.”

Fighters from Trinidad and Tobago have risen high up in the ranks, and gain respect for speaking English. ISIS has used them to spread propaganda throughout the Caribbean, Estrada added.

According to the Caribbean Crime and Security Implementation Agency (IMPACS), more than 200 people from the Caribbean have traveled to join the Islamic State.

Trinidad and Tobago reportedly has the highest proportion of Islamist radicals in America. The tiny country has a population of 1.3 million citizens, only 104,000 of whom are Muslim. At least 130 of them have traveled to Syria to fight with ISIS, according to Trinidad figures between 2013 and 2014.

In 1990, a radical Muslim group carried out a failed coup. In 2007, terrorists from the country and neighboring Guyana planned an attack on fuel tanks at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. The terrorists were sentenced to life in prison in 2012.

Neither CARICOM nor the national security ministry of Trinidad and Tobago returned repeated requests for comment. PJ Media asked what plans CARICOM and Trinidad had implemented to defend against returning ISIS members carrying out terror attacks.

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Islamism is ‘an evangelical movement that seeks to destroy countries that are free’

(PJ MEDIA) — By Tyler O’Neil

Developed countries throughout the Western world are slowly realizing that radical Islamic terrorism is not limited to the Middle East. Even so, few realize just how aggressive the proponents of Islamist ideology really are. M. Zudhi Jasser, a Muslim who champions American freedom and separation of Sharia (Islamic law) and state, explained just how pernicious this ideology can be.

Islamism is “a forward aggressive offensive ideology, an evangelical movement that seeks to destroy countries that are free,” Jasser, founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), told PJ Media. He used the word “evangelical” deliberately, not to connect Islamism with evangelical Protestantism, but to emphasize “evangelizing here as a verb.”

This evangelization is not limited to militant groups like the Islamic State (ISIS) or even the Muslim Brotherhood. Rather, it goes all the way to the top of the Middle Eastern power structure, and has spread into the West via their proxies. The most common Islamist ideology behind terror is Wahhabism, a “puritanical” reform movement which inspires radical acts.

“I met with the Saudi governments, they defend Wahhabi ideas, saying that the Al Qaedas of the world misinterpret Wahhabism,” Jasser, whose parents came to the U.S. from Syria and who has personally traveled the Middle East advocating for religious freedom, recalled. While Saudi government leaders attempt to distance themselves from terror, they are preaching the same message.

“The Saudis are distributing ideas that are commensurate with ISIS,” the AIFD president explained. The Saudi leaders “discuss the defeat of the Jews and the Christians, that the Christians are no longer monotheists, but polytheists. The House of Saud defends the theological legitimacy of Wahhabi ideology.”

Jasser pointed out that the Saudi government will often arrest individuals who dare to criticize the government and charge them with apostasy against Islam. They can be even more ruthless than ISIS, and Jasser claimed that Saudi Arabia carried out more beheadings in the last twelve months than ISIS.

“The bottom line is the ideology is the same,” the AIFD president stated, bluntly. “Let’s say it was cocaine, the government distributes cocaine on the streets so that people get addicted and then they legitimize a police increase, and then martial law. That’s not a conspiracy theory, that’s the reality.”

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In Syrian Christian town, ISIS executed 116 people before Assad’s army closed in

(NEWSWEEK) — By Jack Moore

Evidence has emerged of another Islamic State militant group (ISIS) mass execution, this time in the Syrian Christian desert town of Al-Qaryatain.

The militant group killed at least 116 civilians in executions committed in the days before the Syrian regime recaptured the town, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a U.K.-based monitoring group with an extensive network of contacts in Syria.

“ISIS has over a period of 20 days executed at least 116 civilians in reprisal killings, accusing them of collaboration with regime forces,” SOHR chief Rami Abdelrahman told the Agence France-Presse news agency.

ISIS regained control of the town three weeks ago, and then the killings began. Syrian regime forces, backed by Russian air power, arrived and liberated the town on October 21 after dozens of ISIS fighters retreated, at which point the remains of the victims of the mass execution were found.

“After the regime retook it, the town’s residents found the bodies on the streets. They had been shot dead or executed with knives,” Abdelrahman said.

“Most of the ISIS fighters who attacked the town a month ago were sleeper cells…. They are from the town, know the town’s residents and who is for or against the regime,” he said.

A Syrian government official told the Associated Press that it was a “shocking massacre” and that government forces are continuing the search for victims in the town.

Another activist group, known as the Palmyra Coordination Committee, identified 67 civilians killed in Al-Qaryatain and said that figure could increase.

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Death toll from Kabul mosque attacks rises to 89

(RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY) — Afghan officials say suicide bombers have killed at least 89 people in two attacks on mosques in Afghanistan, as sectarian and terror-related violence continues to surge in the war-torn country.

The October 20 attacks targeted a Shi’ite mosque in the capital, Kabul, and a Sunni mosque in the central Afghan province of Ghor.

An Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman said that the death toll in the Kabul attack had risen to at least 56 people.

At least 55 people were also injured after a suicide bomber blew himself up as worshippers were gathering for prayers at the Imam Zaman mosque in the western Dasht-e-Barchi section of the capital.

The extremist group Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in Kabul.

The attacks come one day after 43 soldiers were killed and nine wounded in a Taliban attack on an army camp in the southern province of Kandahar.

In the second attack, officials said at least 33 people were killed and 10 injured when a suicide bomber detonated an explosive in Khewiagan, a Sunni mosque in the district of Dulaina in central Ghor Province.

A local official said an anti-Taliban commander inside the mosque at the time may have been the target of the attack. No claim of responsibility has been made for the attack.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said the attacks show that “the terrorists have once again staged bloody attacks, but they will not achieve their evil purposes and sow discord among the Afghans.”

The United States strongly condemned the October 20 attacks and previous attacks in Afghanistan during a week in which U.S. drones strikes were reported to have killed more than 30 militants in the region.

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54 Egyptian police killed in ambush by militants, officials say

(CHICAGO TRIBUNE) — At least 54 policemen, including 20 officers and 34 conscripts, were killed when a raid on a militant hideout southwest of Cairo escalated into an all-out firefight, authorities said Saturday, in one of the single deadliest attacks by militants against Egyptian security forces in recent years.

The officials said the exchange of fire began late Friday in the al-Wahat al-Bahriya area in Giza province, about 135 kilometers (84 miles) southwest of Cairo.

The firefight began when security forces acting on intelligence moved against a militants’ hideout in the area. Backed by armored personnel carriers and led by senior counter-terrorism officers, the police contingent drew fire and rocket-propelled grenades, according to the officials.

The officials said what happened next is not clear, but indications suggest that the force ran out of ammunition and that the militants captured several policemen and later killed them. One officer managed to escape in his armored vehicle, they added.

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Trump: ‘End of the ISIS caliphate is in sight’

(CNN) — By Miranda Green, CNN

President Donald Trump said Saturday that the United States would soon transition into a “new phase” of involvement in Syria after US-backed forces drove ISIS members from Raqqa, the city they deemed their capital.

“The defeat of ISIS in Raqqah represents a critical breakthrough in our worldwide campaign to defeat ISIS and its wicked ideology,” Trump said in a statement released by the White House. “With the liberation of ISIS’s capital and the vast majority of its territory, the end of the ISIS caliphate is in sight.

“We will soon transition into a new phase in which we will support local security forces, de-escalate violence across Syria, and advance the conditions for lasting peace, so that the terrorists cannot return to threaten our collective security again,” Trump said.

The US and its allies would support diplomatic negotiations to end the violence, to allow Syrian refugees to return to their homes, and to make way for “a political transition that honors the will of the Syrian people,” the President added.

US-backed forces fighting ISIS in Raqqa announced this week that “major military operations” in the city have ended and that the terrorist group has lost control of its self-declared capital.

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Taliban attack kills dozens, decimates Afghan army camp

(CBS) — KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban have killed at least 58 Afghan security forces in a wave of attacks across the country, including an assault that officials say wiped out an army camp in the southern Kandahar province.

Spokesman Dawlat Wazir said the attack on the army camp late Wednesday, which involved two suicide car bombs and set of hours of fighting, killed at least 43 soldiers. Nine other soldiers were wounded and six have gone missing, he said, adding that 10 attackers were killed.

A Ministry of Defense official told CBS News’ Ahmad Mukhtar that the attackers struck in the middle of the night while most of the 60 soldiers at the camp were sleeping. The Ministry spokesman confirmed to CBS News that the camp was totally destroyed.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, a Taliban ambush in the northern Balkh province late Wednesday killed six police, according to Shir Jan Durani, spokesman for the provincial police chief. A Taliban attack on police posts in the western Farah province, also late Wednesday, killed nine police, said police chief Abdul Marouf Foulad. He said 22 insurgents were killed in the ensuing gun battle.

Afghan forces have struggled to combat a resurgent Taliban since U.S. and NATO forces formally concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014, switching to a counterterrorism and support role.

The Taliban unleashed a wave of attacks across Afghanistan on Tuesday, targeting police compounds and government facilities with suicide bombers in the country’s south, east and west, and killing at least 74 people, officials said.

Among those killed in one of the attacks was a provincial police chief. Scores were also wounded, both policemen and civilians. Afghanistan’s deputy interior minister, Murad Ali Murad, called Tuesday’s onslaught the “biggest terrorist attack this year.”

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UK facing most severe terror threat ever, warns Intelligence chief

(THE GUARDIAN) — By Vikram Dodd

Britain is facing its most severe ever terrorist threat and fresh attacks in the country are inevitable, according to the head of Britain’s normally secretive domestic intelligence service in a rare public speech.

Andrew Parker, the director general of MI5, said the UK had seen “a dramatic upshift in the threat” from Islamist terrorism this year, reflecting attacks that have taken place in Westminster, Manchester and London Bridge.

The spy chief said: “That threat is multi-dimensional, evolving rapidly and operating at a scale and pace we’ve not seen before.”

He added: “It’s at the highest tempo I have seen in my 34-year career. Today there is more terrorist activity, coming at us more quickly, and it can be harder to detect.”

MI5 is under pressure to demonstrate its effectiveness after four Islamist terrorist attacks escaped its detection this year.

Parker’s speech to specialist security journalists on Tuesday was his chance to frame the debate about Britain’s battle against Islamist terrorism at a time when the agency’s staff numbers are already expanding from 4,000 to 5,000.

This month the government will receive reports on whether chances to thwart the atrocities were missed and what lessons could be learned. Ministers and the National Security Council wanted independent oversight of the review, in essence not allowing MI5 or counter-terrorism police to assess themselves.

Parker said MI5 had stopped far more terror plots than those that caused mass casualties this year. He said 20 plots had been thwarted in the last four years.

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