150 jihadists stripped of UK passports as fears heighten over new wave of attacks

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The UK passport

Ministers have stripped more than 150 jihadists of their citizenship and banned them from Britain, as intelligence chiefs warned they may return from war-torn Syria and unleash a new wave of attacks.

MI5 has previously said around 850 extremists from Britain travelled to the Middle East as ISIS took control of Syria and parts of Iraq.

But with the terror group now being pushed out, jihadists with British passports are fleeing back to the UK.

Many of those returning were trained in the use of explosives and firearms as they took part in ISIS’s bloody rampage.

Time is running out for the government to act before ISIS falls, as it can only strip citizenship of those who will not be left stateless.

In May, security sources said around 350 ISIS fighters had already come back to the UK from Syria and estimate another 300 could yet return.

Among the British citizens still thought to be living within ISIS territory are Omar Hussain, a former Morrisons supermarket security guard-turned jihadi recruiter from High Wycombe, Aqsa Mahmood, a Glaswegian who went to Syria to marry an ISIS fighter aged 20, and London-born Muslim convert Grace Dare, whose ISIS husband Abu Bakr has since been killed.

Former British punk rocker Sally Jones, 49, left her home with her son to join ISIS in Syria and is on the Pentagon’s kill list.

According to The Sunday Times, more than 40 suspects had their right to a British passport removed this year, with about 30 targeted since March in the wake of the London and Manchester terror attacks.

All of those who have had a so-called ‘deprivation order’ imposed against them hold dual nationality and include ‘jihadi brides’ and fighters.

Between 2011 and 2015, 72 people were stripped of their passports, with another 35 in 2016 and 15 in the first three months of this year.

The government has also introduced temporary exclusion orders to deal with suspects who have already returned to the UK and cannot be stripped of their citizenship, as well as so-called ‘home grown’ terrorists.

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Terror suspects arrested in Eastleigh in 2012 found guilty

WhatsApp-Image-2017-07-28-at-13.45.51-e1501245887442.jpegTwo terror suspects arrested in Eastleigh in September 2012 are guilty of being in possession of explosive chemicals, hand grenades, four riffles and several rounds of ammunition hence did not mean good for the country. This comes even after the third suspect initially pleaded guilty to the charges.

Omar Abdi Aden alias Salman Abdi, Mushararaf Abdalla alias Shukri alias Sharif Abdalla Maalim alias Alex Shikanda, and Rashid Shwaitan alias Ali alias Bonny alias Blacky, could not escape from the wrath of the law even after their accomplice, Abdi Majid Yasin Mohammed alias Ali Hussein alias Brownny, sacrificed himself in 2012 to save them by pleading guilty to all the criminal charges they faced.

The court took note of the fact that Blacky had rented several houses in Nairobi including Lang’ata, Umoja, Embakasi and Eastleigh area within the short time he arrived in the Nairobi from Busia, before he was arrested at a Malindi hotel despite the fact that he also had rented another house in which he did not leave in.

“What causes even more suspicion against the second accused person is the fact that he never demanded for the much money he placed as deposit in all the houses he rented and never lived in for long, according to the house owners who testified before this court, it emerged that the accused person was always in a hurry to travel,” read the Magistrate.

On the other hand, the first accused person, Omar Abdi Aden, in his testimony, told the court that he was arrested and taken to Browny’s house in Eastleigh at 8 pm contrary to Browny’s testimony that the police arrived with Omar in his house between 1 am and 2 am on that particular day, the testimony which the court could not buy.

Professor Nandwa and Miss Gikonyo advocates for the accused asked the court to postpone mitigation before they are sentenced. The case will be mentioned on Wednesday, August 2, 2017 for mitigation and sentencing.

Source: Citizen TV

Captured al-Shabaab commander may have U.S. residence, officials say

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Senior commander for al-Shabaab group who was captured by joint security forces in Galkayo city was reported to have U.S. residency, Garowe Online reports.

The commander identified as Abdirazaq Husain Tahliil aka “Ina Alool Geel” is the commander of operations for al-Shabaab group in Mudug region, was captured again on last Sunday along with other 4 militants.

In an interview with CNN, Pentagon officials said Tahliil was nabbed during a security operation conducted by U.S. and allied Somali security forces. The officials added that Tahliil might have been in the U.S. recently and the authorities are investigating the matter.

Pentagon officials hailed the successful operations which will have strong impact on the group’s terrorist operations in Mudug region and northern region of Puntland.

Tahliil was previously captured by Puntland security forces in November 2012, during the tenure of past administration led by former President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole. He was arrested for the possession of explosive-making materials inside his car.

Subsequently, the court sentenced him to death penalty, but later was released from the prison by the current Puntland President Abdiwali Mohamed Ali “Gaas” despite advice to reverse the decision due to the security risks Tahliil will pose on the region.

“U.S. forces supported allied Somali government forces’ mission to eradicate al-Shabaab group and deter threats in the horn of Africa and U.S.,” read a statement released by AFRICOM command in Africa.

U.S. forces conduct security operations in southern Somalia aimed to wipe out al-Shabaab bases and target senior commanders of the group.

Source: GAROWE ONLINE

Al Shabaab burn houses, abduct and steal livestock in Somalia attacks

Al Shabaab militants burnt many homes during raids on villages in Lower Shabelle, Somalia in May 2017, Human Rights Watch has said.

“The militia abducted civilians, stole livestock, and committed arson in attacks that caused more than 15,000 people to flee their homes,” HRW said in a statement on Thursday.

Based on witness accounts and satellite imagery analysis, HRW said at the start of May, al Shabaab forces raided villages in the Merka and Afgooye districts of Lower Shabelle.

Senior Africa researcher Laetitia Bader said there was no justification for al Shaabab to abduct civilians and cause the mayhem in the region.

“The militia is responsible for causing mass flight, but the government needs to address communal tensions and hold those most responsible for abuses to account,” she said.

In mid-May, Bader said fighting intensified around the Biyomaal stronghold in Afgooye district known as KM-50 and was followed by al Shabaab raids.

“They attacked villages after several months of calling on their residents to leave their homes, ” she said.

Residents said al Shabaab stole large numbers of cows, goats and camels – critical for survival in the face of ongoing drought.

Local elders said hundreds of livestock were stolen, many died, and only a fraction have been returned to the community.

‘Infidels’

A man identified as Abdi told the Watch that he fled his village, Ceel Waregow after al Shabaab accused them of being murtads (infidels).

“They accused us of joining the government. Some of our elders have talked to al Shabaab and told them that those without guns should be spared,” he said.

Abdi said the al Shabaab initially used to tax them and take livestock and money from them, “but now they are burning our homes.”

A woman from Bullo Mudey, whose father was killed and home burned in an attack said: “How can you stay in a place where there are constant attacks and where children are burned in the houses?”

Bader said those who commit war crimes in Somalia should eventually be brought to justice.

“However, the government and its backers need to immediately assist the people who escaped the violence,” she said.

The United Nations reported that al Shabab abducted approximately 70 people, including women and children, from KM-50 village during fighting between May 21 and 23.

The UN found that about 100 houses were torched at the height of the attacks in the Merka district and that homes were also burned down in the village of Muuri and KM-50 in the Afgooye district on May 23.

According to the UN, 15,240 people were displaced at the height of the raids from May 21 to 24.

HRW spoke to 25 people in person in Mogadishu and by phone who fled from the two districts to Mogadishu and to Lower Shabelle, as well as to local elders and area experts, and analysed satellite imagery of 30 villages from the Merka district.

Inter-clan conflict, primarily between the Habar Gidir and Biyomaal clans, has increased in Lower Shabelle since 2013.

Both clans have fought with and against Somali government forces and al Shabaab.

Throughout this violence, civilians have been repeatedly targeted in retaliatory attacks.

Human Rights Watch analysed satellite imagery showing changes over time recorded between May 8 and July 12, 2017, and found evidence of widespread building destruction in 18 of 32 villages assessed in Merka district.

An open source data collection site reported fighting between the militia and Biyomaal clan militia and government forces in two of the 18 villages in which Human Rights Watch identified property destruction.

Somalia’s economy is still picking up slowly after a combined force of the army and an African Union peacekeeping force helped drive the militia out of Mogadishu and other strongholds.

Al Shabaab wants to topple the western backed government and rule according to its strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law.

The group remains formidable and lethal, with its campaign of frequent bombings and killings a key source of significant security risk for most businesses and regular life.

Source: The Star

 

Al-Shabaab militants ban starving Somalis from accessing aid

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Malnourished and displaced Somali children in a camp on the outskirts of Mogadishu. The country is experiencing a severe drought.

Islamist militants in Somalia have imposed a ban on humanitarian assistance in areas they control, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to choose between death from starvation and disease or brutal punishment.

In some towns, hungry and weak people have been ordered by extremist leaders to remain where they are to act as human shields against US airstrikes.

Somalia is suffering its worst drought in 40 years, with the effects of climatic catastrophe compounded by war and poor governance.

Interviews with villagers in the swaths of land controlled by al-Qaida-affiliate al-Shabaab, in the centre and south of the east African state, reveal a population on the brink of catastrophe, with children and older people already dying in significant numbers.

Al-Shabaab has told people they will be punished – possibly executed as spies – if they have any contact with humanitarian agencies.

Strict British and US counter-terrorism laws are also discouraging humanitarian organisations from delivering vital emergency assistance, aid agencies have said.

Although aid officials say a huge international effort and donations by Somalia’s vast diaspora have so far averted a repeat of the 2011 famine, when 250,000 people died, conditions in much of the country have continued to deteriorate in recent months.

An additional 500,000 people now need humanitarian assistance, bringing the total to 6.7 million. Almost half of these people face starvation if they do not receive help.

One reason for the high death toll six years ago was a blockade imposed by al-Shabaab on humanitarian assistance by international and local NGOs that did not meet its strict criteria.

This time, al-Shabaab appeared initially to adopt a more moderate policy, which analysts said suggested leaders were wary of being blamed once more for failing to either provide or allow help to reach needy communities.

However, its approach appears to have hardened since late June, possibly owing to internal power struggles.

Tiyeglow, a town in the Bakool region that is largely controlled by al-Shabaab, has been badly affected, according to its government-appointed mayor.

“People in Tiyeglow are starving. Al-Shabaab suddenly stopped aid agencies which were trying to reach hungry people in the town. That is why some of the residents began to flee to seek food aid,” Ibrahim Abdirahman Mohamed said.

“Children under five are particularly in a very risky situation, because the malnutrition rate is going up, and if this blockade by Al-Shabaab continues we will be witnessing more and more children dying,” Mohamed warned.

A Save the Children survey published last month showed that the number of severe acute malnutrition cases had soared in four out of nine districts it assessed in southern and central Somalia. In the district of Mataban, 9.5% of children aged under five were severely malnourished.

The survey focused on areas that are largely controlled by al-Shabaab.

Hassan Noor Saadi, Save the Children’s country director in Somalia, said any aid reaching al-Shabaab-controlled areas was “a very localised response”.

“These locations are getting perhaps 10 to 15% of what is reaching places where there is government control or the presence of humanitarian actors,” Saadi added.

More than two million people – a fifth of the population of Somalia – live in areas controlled by al-Shabaab. The extremist group has repeatedly attacked aid workers and continues to launch daily strikes against government targets.

More than 700,000 people have already fled their homes in Somalia, 200,000 over the past two months. Almost all have left al-Shabaab-controlled territory in a desperate bid to find food or medical aid.

Abdiya Barrow, a 48-year-old mother of seven who fled Tiyeglow, told the Guardian she had walked for seven days to reach the city of Baidoa, where her three youngest children were being treated by international medical teams for diarrhoea and malnutrition.

“When the drought began, al-Shabaab told us that we could accept food only from aid agencies related to Islamic organisations, but eventually they said no. Anybody found bringing food aid will be killed because of suspicion that aid agencies might be affiliated to the [Somali] government,” Barrow said.

“Life was extremely bad. There is no food and water. People were dying on a daily basis. The day I and my family left, a male neighbour and his young son starved and died.”

In some towns, al-Shabaab leaders have stopped residents leaving their homes.

Mohamed Osman, who lives in Buale, a drought-hit town in Somalia’s Middle Juba region, said the group did not allow aid workers to operate there and had warned locals they would be punished if they attempted to arrange assistance from outside.

“[Al-Shabaab] warned the residents not to move out, because they said they do not want the town to become empty, but … there is nothing to eat. A kilo of rice is nearly $4. Who can afford that? Children and women are dying,” Osman said.

One woman in Buale, who requested anonymity owing to security concerns, said her four-year-old daughter died from diarrhoea last month. “My five-year-old son is now sick. He is severely malnourished. Al-Shabaab is giving us nothing and yet they do not allow aid agencies to come to us. If you talk about the aid or call for aid, they even kill you by labelling you a spy,” she said.

Abdirahman Mohamed Hussein, the government official overseeing humanitarian aid in Jubaland, said the situation in al-Shabaab-controlled areas was likely to deteriorate in coming weeks. “The situation will turn into famine if the people in these towns do not get food very soon. We are very worried about the condition there.”

Al-Shabaab is facing a new military campaign launched by Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, the president of Somalia, and supported by the US.

Hussein said the extremists used local populations as a human shield because they wanted to ensure towns remained “safe havens for al-Shabaab militant leaders”.

“They do not want people to move out because they are worried that there could be an airstrike if the civilians leave,” he added.

A recent United Nations assessment said “Somalia is not yet out of the woods”, with other analyses suggesting that an “elevated risk of famine in 2017 persists”.

This year’s rainy season has been disappointing. Some parts of Somalia, already parched, have so far received only half of the usual rainfall.

Donald Trump, the US president, recently designated Somalia a “zone of active hostilities”, allowing commanders greater authority when launching airstrikes, broadening the range of possible targets and relaxing restrictions designed to prevent civilian casualties. He also authorised the deployment of regular US forces to Somalia for the first time since 1994.

The US in effect pulled out of Somalia after 1993, when two helicopters were shot down in Mogadishu and the bodies of American soldiers were dragged through the streets.

Source: The Guardian

Girl, 17, is arrested over ‘plans to launch terror attack in the UK

A 17-year-old girl has been charged with terror offences after allegedly communicating with an Islamic State fighter in Syria.

Police in London also charged the teenager yesterday with arranging to receive weapons in order to conduct an attack in Britain.

She is also alleged to have received instructions on how to train and use weapons and asked for assistance in completing a plan, contrary to the Terrorism Act 2006.

The charge follows an investigation by officers from the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command.

She was also previously charged on April 12 with acts in preparation contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006.

The teenager is due to appear at the Old Bailey tomorrow in relation to these matters.

She was remanded in custody and is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court today.

Source: Mail Online

Man shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ in Spain knife attack

A knife-wielding man shouting “Allahu Akbar” charged across the border between Morocco and the Spanish territory of Melilla on Tuesday, attacking and injuring a police officer, authorities said.

A knife-wielding man shouting “Allahu Akbar” charged across the border between Morocco and the Spanish territory of Melilla on Tuesday, attacking and injuring a police officer, authorities said.

The man was subsequently detained, Spanish Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido tweeted, without indicating whether the assault — which took place early Tuesday — was a terror attack or not.

“A man entered the border post and once inside, pulled out a large knife and confronted (police) shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is Greatest), slightly injuring a policeman,” Irene Flores, spokeswoman for the central government’s representative office in Melilla, told AFP.

A spokesman for Spanish police added he ran into the border post.

Flores said that an early investigation suggested the man was Moroccan, but that this had not yet been confirmed.

Restive border

Melilla and its sister city Ceuta are two Spanish territories located on Morocco’s northern coast, and as such represent the only two land borders between Africa and the European Union.

They have been hit by unrest before as migrants desperate to reach Europe regularly storm the border between Morocco and both territories or try and smuggle themselves in.

The Melilla border has been hit by several car-ramming incidents this year, in which people drive vehicles with migrants hidden inside into the border post at high speed.

But this is believed to be the first attack of this type.

Spain has so far been spared the kind of extremist violence that has occurred in nearby France, Belgium and Germany.

But it was hit by what is still Europe’s deadliest jihadist attack in March 2004, when bombs exploded on commuter trains in Madrid, killing 191 people in an attack claimed by Al Qaeda-inspired extremists.

Since 2016, Spain has emerged as a potential target for jihadists, with extremist websites mentioning it for historical reasons, since much of its territory was once under Muslim rule.

Muslims settled there in the eighth century and ruled over part of the peninsula, particularly under the Caliphate of Cordoba in the 10th and 11th centuries and the Nasrid dynasty in southern Granada.

But they were forcibly converted to Christianity in the 16th century, and subsequently expelled from Spain.

Spain has nevertheless been less exposed to the risk that radicalised citizens who left to fight abroad would return with plans to commit attacks on home soil.

Only around 160 Spaniards are estimated to have joined the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, according to a study by the Real Instituto Elcano think tank, compared with over a thousand from nearby France since 2012.

Source: 24Matins