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Al Qaeda affiliate claims massive suicide attack on Malian base that killed 50, wounded 100

(THE LONG WAR JOURNAL) — By Caleb Weiss

A suicide bombing claimed by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in the northern Malian city of Gao has left at least 50 people dead and nearly 100 others wounded. The bombing is one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in Mali’s history.

AQIM said in a statement that the group’s Murabitoon battalion, which is led by Mokhtar Belmokhtar, executed the attack. Their claim said that a suicide bomber, identified as Abdul Hadi al Fulani, detonated within a joint French-UN military base “killing 80.”

Reuters also reported that the bomber ran over several people before detonating his vehicle. It has been difficult to verify details following the attack, including casualty numbers. Malian media reported that five suicide bombers were involved, but AQIM claimed their so-called martyr acted alone. Reports have varied from 40-70 deaths.

The individual that AQIM claims carried out the attack was also reportedly involved in an earlier suicide assault in Gao on Nov. 29, 2016. If AQIM’s statement is accurate, that means the perpetrator survived the prior assault and returned to conduct another – or he was not involved in the first attack.

AQIM also warned the French and Malian militaries, as well as pro-government militias, in the statement.

“We will not allow the establishment of barracks and headquarters, or the conducting of patrols and convoys belonging to the French occupiers,” the statement read. This is a reference to the target of today’s attack, which was the garrison of the Operational Coordination Mechanism (Mécanisme Opérationnel de Coordination, MOC).

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Trump pledges war on radical Islamic terrorism

(VOICE OF AMERICA via SMALL WARS JOURNAL) — by Masood Farivar, Voice of America

President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign pledge to wage war on radical Islamic terrorism is about to become U.S. policy.

In its emphasis on ideology, it is a war that puts him at odds with his two immediate predecessors. While both former President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama have avoided casting the war on terror in ideological terms for fear of alienating Muslim allies, Trump has stressed that very dimension and the need to counter it ideologically.

“Containing the spread of radical Islam must be a major foreign policy goal of the United States,” Trump said in April in the first of two major foreign policy speeches he delivered during the campaign. “Events may require the use of military force. But it’s also a philosophical struggle, like our long struggle in the Cold War.”

More than campaign rhetoric, it seems to be a deeply held view. In the weeks since his Nov. 8 election, Trump has steadfastly stuck to his hardline position on terror even as he’s softened his views on other hot-button issues.

After a Tunisian man drove a truck through a crowded Christmas market in Berlin last month, killing 12 people, Trump tweeted: “This is a purely religious threat, which turned into reality. Such hatred! When will the U.S., and all countries, fight back?”

And when he was asked about his controversial campaign call to bar Muslims from entering the country, he replied: “You know my plans all along — I’ve been proven to be right.”

Blaise Misztal, director of the national security program at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, said Trump sees radical Islam as an ideological threat to his nationalistic vision of “making America great again.”

“I think by seeing the threat as an ideological one, President Trump will see the problem as not just stopping attacks but stopping the spread of that ideology and stopping the potential for further radicalization,” Misztal said.

Evolving View

Trump wasn’t always so hawkish on fighting terror. Nor was he the first to warn about radical Islam.

The credit for popularizing the phrase goes to his Republican rivals — and some of his subsequent advisers, such as incoming chief strategist Stephen Bannon — who repeatedly chastised Obama for refusing to utter the words. Indeed, in his June 2015 presidential announcement, Trump made no mention of radical Islam and called China a “bigger problem” than Islamic State.

But Trump’s rhetoric grew increasingly bellicose as the campaign wore on and a rash of terrorist attacks in Europe and the United States unnerved voters, leading him to make some of his campaign’s most incendiary comments and proposals.

After a terror attack in Paris in November 2015 and a deadly shooting by a Muslim couple in San Bernardino, California, the following month, Trump proposed a temporary ban on Muslims entering the U.S.

In March 2015, he told CNN that “Islam hates us” and later defended his comment, saying “large portions of Muslims” have “tremendous hatred” for the West. And two months later when a Muslim-American gunman killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Trump blamed the violence on radical Islam and said he favored a suspension of immigration from countries with “a proven history of terrorism.”

‘Ideological Warfare’

In August, with Americans still jittery over terrorism, Trump delivered what some experts saw as his most coherent policy statement on national security. Comparing radical Islam to fascism and communism, he championed a “new approach” and a “long-term plan” to fight what he branded an “ideology of death.”

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Terrorists, cartels plan border attack for inauguration

(WND) — Islamic terrorists and drug cartels in Mexico are planning attacks against U.S.-Mexico border ports around Inauguration Day, according to a report by the Washington watchdog group Judicial Watch.

Jihadist and cartel groups reportedly attacked near the site of a new U.S. Consulate last week in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, which is located directly across the border from Laredo, Texas. The attacks are part of an effort to send incoming President Donald Trump a message about who is in control, the report states.

A deadly shootout took place last week at the construction site of a new $155 million U.S. Consulate building, which is scheduled to be completed in September.

“The Mexican military responded to the attack, law enforcement sources on both sides of the border confirm insisting that their identities be kept confidential for security reasons, and at least three soldiers were either killed or critically wounded in the ambush,” Judicial Watch reported Jan. 12. “A local newspaper in Tamaulipas reported that 13 people died during a shootout in Nuevo Laredo, referring to the deceased as heavily armed ‘delinquents’ with an arsenal that includes 12 automatic weapons, a rocket launcher, grenade, loads of ammunition and drugs in three vehicles, one of them armored. The deceased have not been identified and Mexican authorities will continue to investigate, the article states, attributing the information to a press release issued by Mexico’s Defense Secretary.”

Judicial Watch’s law enforcement and intelligence sources said the recent assault is part of a joint effort of Islamic terrorists and drug cartels in Mexico.

“Cartels usually don’t work with jihadists for fear of having the border shut down,” a veteran federal law enforcement official reportedly told Judicial Watch. “But Trump is causing so much disruption in Mexico that they are partnering to send a message as to who is in control. This is as outrageous as a small group of guys crashing planes into U.S. buildings.”

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EUROPE ON TERROR ALERT: Police seize jihadi weapons ‘capable of downing AIRCRAFT’

(UK EXPRESS) — TERRORISTS in Europe are now capable of “bringing down aircraft”, Spanish police warned as they revealed the details of a huge weapons seizure this week.

Anti-terror investigators confiscated 12,000 weapons this week – just before they were sold to terrorists by a Spanish gang, who have now been arrested.

Police said the weapon trafficking network was terrifying in its size and capability – which now includes anti-aircraft weaponry.

The country’s Interior Minister said “several anti-aircraft guns capable of bringing down aircraft” were seized on Thursday, along with thousands of rifles.

The entire arsenal was worth nearly £9 million. Police also seized more than £70,000 in cash.

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ISIS shows preschooler killing victim tied to carnival ball pit

(PJ MEDIA) — By Bridget Johnson

After an end-of-the-year video showing pre-teens hunt down and kill bound prisoners in an abandoned building, the Islamic State today released an even more gory follow-up with children as young as preschool age murdering prisoners tied to broken carnival rides.

The 18-minute highly produced video out of ISIS’ Khayr province in Syria was distributed through publicly accessible Islamic State media channels, social media and file-sharing sites, including Google Drive and, briefly, YouTube.

It begins by showing adults training in a bombed-out building, but transitions into adults leading small children in exercises. A boy about 9 or 10 years old is shown gleefully participating in a public stoning.

Like previous ISIS videos featuring children, the video argues that coalition bombing is a reason for kids to join jihad and kill Americans.

And as in previous execution videos, a trio of prisoners accused of being spies make videotaped “confessions”. The film then cuts to an abandoned funfair filled with ruined carnival rides such as a Ferris wheel and kiddie train.

The first victim is zip-tied to the interior of a tilting, spinning disk ride. A boy about 7 years old ascends the stairs and is handed a knife by a black-clad ISIS member. He covers the victim’s eyes with one hand before being given a signal by the adult jihadist. The boy then saws at the victim’s throat. When done, he wipes off both sides of the knife on the victim’s white T-shirt.

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2 car bombings over last 24 hours: more than 60 dead, 130 wounded in Iraq and Syria

(GATEWAY PUNDIT) — Religion Of Peace Strikes Again

Islamic Terrorism is responsible for scores of deaths in 2 car major car bombings over the last 24 hours.

Iraq

At least 12 people have been killed and 50 wounded in a blast from a car bomb in eastern Baghdad, police and doctors say, according to Reuters.

Syria

A car bomb exploded in a busy commercial district in a rebel-held Syrian town Saturday, killing a minimum of 48 with some reports saying at least 60 have been killed.

Rescuers and doctors said the explosion was so large there were nearly 100 wounded and burned. The carnage was so severe that many victims had to be transferred to other towns as local hospitals couldn’t handle the high volume.

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Four killed, 16 injured in Jerusalem truck-ramming terror attack

(BREITBART) — Four Israeli soldiers were murdered and at least 16 people were wounded, some seriously, when an Arab resident of eastern Jerusalem rammed his truck into pedestrians near Jerusalem’s Armon Hanatziv Promenade.

Armon Hanatziv, also known as East Talpiot, is located in southeastern Jerusalem, part of the eastern sections of Jerusalem declared “occupied Palestinian territory” by a United Nations Security Council resolution last month.

The promenade, a popular tourist site enjoyed for its spectacular views of Israel’s capital, is located about half a mile from the plot of land upon which the U.S. has been building a consulate that could serve as a future embassy if the current embassy is moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters at the scene of the attack: “We know the identity of the attacker. All signs point to the attacker being a supporter of the Islamic State.”

In Sunday’s vehicular terrorist attack, Fadi al-Qanbar, identified as resident of the Jerusalem’s Jabel Mukaber Arab neighborhood, rammed a truck into a group of soldiers who were exiting a bus at the promenade.

A video of the attack, obtained from security surveillance footage, shows the truck running over soldiers, then the vehicle spins around as the driver attempts to turn the truck around. He then runs over the group of soldiers a second time.

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Suicide terrorism across the globe hits record high in 2016

(BREITBART) — A total of 469 suicide bombings carried out by 800 perpetrators across 28 countries, causing the deaths of about 5,650 people made 2016 the worst year ever for this deadly form of terrorist atrocity.

According to figures released by the Terrorism and Low Intensity Conflict Research Program at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), Islamic State continues to be the world’s leading perpetrator of these mass casualty attacks – and 2017 may be even worse.

In 2016, Islamic State attackers were directly or indirectly responsible (through organizations that swore allegiance to it and joined its ranks) for approximately 70 per cent (322) of suicide bombings. See INSS figures below:

Rather than an indicator of strength, the report says increasing numbers of suicide attack represent a reaction by Islamic State to “territorial losses and the increasing international efforts to drive it out of the areas it controls.”

The report goes on to warn that “suicide terrorism will be a key tool for the Islamic State in consolidating its image as invincible, creating deterrence against its enemies, and taking revenge for the international activity against it. The Islamic State’s partners and other terrorist groups will also likely redouble their efforts to carry out mass casualty large scale terrorist attacks.”

In the Middle East, the number of suicide bombings rose 45 per cent in 2016 over 2015 (to 298 bombings from 207). Year on year, the number of suicide bombers and victims also rose significantly (513 suicide terrorists and approximately 3,915 fatalities in 2016, compared with 353 suicide terrorists and 2,294 fatalities in 2015).

The vast majority of the suicide bombings in the region, about 90 per cent, were carried out by the Islamic State and its affiliated organizations.

According to the report, the involvement of women in the suicide bombings in 2016 was again significant. It states:

“A total of 44 suicide bombings were carried out during the year with the involvement of 77 women in 8 countries around the world, causing the death of approximately 400 people. Although the number of suicide bombings carried out by women fell sharply, compared with the record number of 118 suicide bombings in 2015, it appears that the use of women as suicide terrorists expanded this year, primarily in theaters in which they had not previously operated: France, Austria, Morocco, Libya, Bangladesh, and Indonesia (most of these operations were foiled by the security forces).”

The Middle East alone is not the only target of suicide bombers, according to the research.

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Jihadists train, plan U.S. attack from Mexican border state of Nuevo León

(JUDICIAL WATCH) — A Jihadi-cartel alliance in the Mexican state of Nuevo León is collaborating to carry out attacks in American cities and ports of entry along the southern border, according to intelligence obtained by Judicial Watch from confidential U.S. and Mexican law enforcement sources. As part of the plan, militant Islamists have arrived recently at the Monterrey International Airport situated in Apodaca, Nuevo León, about 130 miles south of the Texas border.

An internal Mexican law enforcement report obtained by Judicial Watch confirms that Islamic terrorists have “people along the border, principally in Tijuana, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas.” Cartel informants tell law enforcement contacts that “they are only waiting for the order and the times to carry out a simultaneous attack in the different ports of entry or cities of the United States of America.” Drug cartels have a working “agreement” with Islamic terrorists, according to a high-ranking Mexican police administrator, who said that men from the Middle East arrive regularly into the country to “train” jihadists.

Judicial Watch sources include veteran law enforcement officials in the U.S. and Mexico as well as longtime undercover informants who have worked for intelligence agencies in both countries, mainly in the crime-infested southern border region. They can’t be identified out of fear for their safety. One seasoned Mexican law enforcement official told Judicial Watch that a key cartel informant verified picking up various Middle Eastern individuals from “evil groups” at the Monterrey Airport in the last few days alone. The informant is extremely credible and has also worked for several U.S. government agencies, Judicial Watch has verified through various federal, state and local sources.

The relationship between Islamic jihadists and Mexican drug operations is nothing new and Judicial Watch has been reporting it for years as part of an ongoing investigation into cartels, corruption and terrorism. The partnership has ignited a major security threat for the U.S. with Islamic terrorists training in southern border towns near American cities. This includes an ISIS training camp just a few miles from El Paso, Texas, in an area known as “Anapra” situated just west of Ciudad Juárez in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Back in 2014 Judicial Watch broke a story about a Mexican-based ISIS operation to attack the U.S. with car bombs or other vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED). The threat was so imminent that Ft. Bliss, the U.S. Army post in El Paso, implemented increased security measures even though authorities publicly denied the plot.

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Almost 1,000 cars torched around France on New Year’s Eve but government insists it ‘went particularly well’

(THE TELEGRAM) — Vandals in France torched 945 parked cars over New Year’s Eve in an arson rampage that has become a sinister annual “tradition” and amid a row over whether the government had sought to play down the figures.

According to the French interior ministry, the total of 945, which included cars that were either “totally destroyed” or “more lightly affected”, amounted to a 17 per cent rise compared to last year.

Despite this, New Year’s Eve “went off without any major incident”, the interior ministry insisted in a statement, adding that there were only “a few troubles with public order”,

In fact, police arrested 454 people over the night, 301 of whom were taken into custody.

On Sunday, the ministry had chosen to release a much lower figure of 650 cars torched, as this only indicated the number of vehicles “set on fire” and not those engulfed in the ensuing flames.

The lower figure enabled it to claim: “Once again this year, the overall number of vehicles burned demonstrates that, however intolerable, the phenomenon is contained”. By this calculation, the rise, it said, was only 48 cars.

But the the lower figure prompted the far-Right Front National to denounce what it called the government’s “extremely hazy security record”.

“The new interior minister Bruno Le Roux…(initially) didn’t communicate the number of vehicles burned and considers that the number of cars directly set on fire to be ‘contained’ while even this constitutes a significant rise of 8 per cent,” the FN said in a statement.

Le Monde, the national daily newspaper, also accused the ministry of muddying the waters.

The government responded that the figures released were the “most pertinent and the most coherent”.

“There is absolutely no attempt at hiding anything,” said Pierre Henry Brandet, an interior ministry spokesman.

“You have to look at the trend over several years, and what is significant is that there has been a significant drop over five years,”he said.

Mr Brandet conceded, however, that the figure was still too high, adding: “These incidents are not tolerable and the perpetrators must be found and answer for their acts before justice.”

Over New Year, a fire fighter in the eastern department of Ain was hurt while trying to extinguish one car.

In Nice, where security has been extremely tight since the deadly Bastille Day truck attack of last year, two police officers were hurt when revelers threw “projectiles” at them.

Bruno le Roux, the interior minister, said that no attack on security would not be tolerated.

“I regret that once again there were too many instances of security forces being hit with objects, or faced with attacks or insults,” he said.

But he thanked the tens of thousands of police and firefighters, adding that they “allowed December 31st to go off particularly well”.

With France under a state of emergency since a spate of terror attacks, some 90,000 security forces were out in its streets on New Year’s Eve to police mass gatherings such on Paris’ famed Champs-Elysées, where half a million revelers convened.

French domestic intelligence agents also reportedly swooped on a string of individuals ahead of festivities who they suspected might have been tempted to wreak violence.

The custom of setting vehicles alight on New Year’s Eve is said to have kicked off around Strasbourg, eastern France in the 1990s, in the the city’s deprived, high-immigrant districts.

It quickly caught on among disaffected youths in cities across the country, and is seen by some as a litmus test of general social unrest.

The most notorious spate of car burnings in recent years was seen in the 2005 riots when hundreds of vehicles were torched.

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