Islamic State claims responsibility for attack outside U.S. embassy in Nairobi

isis-flagA follower of Islamic State was responsible for an attack last week on a Kenyan police officer outside a U.S. embassy in Nairobi, the group’s Amaq news agency said on Saturday.

A knife-wielding man whom police described as a criminal was shot dead outside the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi last Thursday after he attacked and injured a Kenyan police officer.

“The person who carried out the stabbing of a guard outside the American embassy in Nairobi last Thursday was a soldier of Islamic State responding to calls to target coalition countries,” Amaq said.

kenya-map-1Kenya’s police spokesman said at the time the motive was unclear and an investigation was launched. The spokesman could not immediately be reached on Saturday.

Islamic State previously claimed an attack in Kenya in September by three women who were shot dead after they tricked their way into a police station in Mombasa and tried to torch the building, according to police. The police in Kenya have also previously said they had detained sympathizers with the group.

But experts say it is not clear how close the connection is between groups and individuals proclaiming allegiance to the Islamist group and the Islamic State organization in its Middle East heartland of Syria and Iraq, where it is increasingly pressure from regional and international forces.

 

Al Shabaab launch three attacks in Kenya and Somalia

somalia-kenya-mapSomalia’s al Shabaab Islamist group rammed a military base with a suicide truck bomb, shot dead an intelligence officer and killed 12 people in a Kenyan border town in a series of strikes over 24 hours, the militants said on Tuesday.

The group, which once ruled much of Somalia, wants to topple the Western-backed government in Mogadishu and drive out African AMISOM peacekeepers made up of soldiers from Kenya, Djibouti, Uganda, Ethiopia and other African nations.

The attacks mark the build up to elections in coming weeks for the Somali parliament, which will in turn pick a new president to continue slow reconstruction efforts in a nation racked by more than two decades of conflict.

Al Shabaab spokesman Abdiasis Abu Musab said the group was behind a truck bomb that rammed into an AMISOM base in the Somali town of Beledweyne, north of Mogadishu. He said 17 soldiers from Djibouti were killed in the attack.

There was no immediate comment from AMISOM and police said they did not have access to the base to offer any figures. Al Shabaab’s numbers are often much larger than officials figures.

Al Shabaab’s usual tactic is to ram the entrance to a target site so that its fighters can storm inside, but a police officer in Beledweyne said no such assault took place on Tuesday.

AMISOM has been battling the rebels in support of the Somali government.

The al Shabaab spokesman also said the group shot senior intelligence officer Colonel Abdiasis Araye as he walked to a mosque late on Monday in Mogadishu.

He also said al Shabaab was behind Tuesday’s early morning attack on a hotel in Kenya’s northeastern Mandera town, killing at least 12 people according to police and 15 people according to al Shabaab’s account.

Al Shabaab has often launched attacks in neighbouring Kenya and says it will continue until Kenyan forces have withdrawn.

Kenya’s government has repeatedly said it would not be forced out of Somalia by al Shabaab, saying it sees the mission as a matter of national security.

Blast rocks Mediterranean resort in Turkey

An explosion Tuesday in the parking lot of the local chamber of trade in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya in southern Turkey caused minor injuries, according to Turkish media reports.

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City mayor Menderes Turel told the broadcaster NTV that “10 to 12 people were slightly injured by flying glass” in the explosion at the Antalya Chamber of Commerce and Industry building. The blast occurred at 8.50am.

Turel told CNN Turk channel the blast was being investigated and it was “too early” to make assumptions as to the cause.

“The blast may not be a terror attack… we must wait for official information,” Turel said.

Antalya Chamber of Trade and Industry head Davut Cetin also told CNN Turk there were no fatalities in the explosion.

Over the past year, Turkey has suffered a series of attacks blamed on the Islamic State jihadist group and Kurdish militants.

Scene of bombing
Scene of bombing

TV images showed a wrecked, burned-out car and smashed glass nearby. At least four cars nearby were also damaged, Dogan news agency said.

An eyewitness who was at the building told CNN Turk the blast smashed windows and left people bloodied, while a reporter for the Dogan news agency said one vehicle was blown apart.

Antalya is a major tourist resort on Turkey‘s Mediterranean coast. In August, two rockets hit a commercial facility near a resort town in the province, but caused no casualties.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible for that attack, but Kurdish and far-left militants have staged similar attacks, mostly against the security forces, in the past.

The incident occurred 11 days after three rockets hit a roadside fishmonger in the popular tourist region, but without causing casualties.

As U.S. Watches Mexico, Traffickers Slip In From Canada

US - Canada border marker
US – Canada border marker

While the Southern border with Mexico, about 2,000 miles, attracts much more attention, the 5,500-mile Northern border with Canada offers more opportunity for illegal crossing. In many places, there are few signs of where one nation ends and another begins. Some homes, farms and businesses even sit astride the two countries; in other areas, a small white obelisk is the only marker of a border. In the past year, agents made 3,000 apprehensions along the Northern border, compared with 100 times that many along the Southwestern border with Mexico. They also seized 700 pounds of marijuana and cocaine in the North compared with 1.6 million pounds along the heavily gated Southern border.

us-states-bordering-canadaBut the authorities acknowledge that they cannot say with certainty how much criminal activity occurs as a result of Northern border crossings because their means of detection are so limited.

Senator Heidi Heitkamp
Senator Heidi Heitkamp

“The problem is that we don’t know what the threats and risk are because so much attention is given to the Southwest border,” said Senator Heidi Heitkamp, Democrat of North Dakota.

This area is a haven for smugglers and cross-border criminal organizations. Each year, Border Patrol agents catch hundreds of drug smugglers and human traffickers who use the sparsely populated and heavily wooded areas along the Vermont-Canada border to bypass the agents, cameras, sensors and other electronic devices that the Department of Homeland Security has installed to make up for the lack of personnel.

The expanse and remoteness of much of the Northern border, which includes Alaska, make the task of law enforcement daunting, said Norman M. Lague, who leads the border patrol station in Champlain, N.Y., one of the eight stations in the Swanton region that oversee border security operations in Vermont, upstate New York and New Hampshire. “We do the best that we can with the resources we have,” he said.

The border with Canada, the largest between two countries in the world, has hardly warranted a mention in a presidential campaign dominated by Donald J. Trump’s call to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. But officials and law enforcement officers say that makes the region more vulnerable in many ways to exploitation by criminal enterprises and possible terrorists.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the Department of Homeland Security has increased the number of Border Patrol agents stationed along the Northern border to more than 2,000, from about 340, in addition to adding ground sensors, drones and other detection devices. Nearly 18,000 agents patrol the Southwestern border with Mexico.

Ms. Heitkamp has sponsored legislation, along with several other senators from border states, including Gary Peters, Democrat of Michigan, and Kelly Ayotte, Republican of New Hampshire, that would require the Department of Homeland Security to assess the national security risks posed by the terrorist and criminal organizations operating on the Canadian border.
Senator Gary Peters
Senator Gary Peters
Senator Kelly Ayotte
Senator Kelly Ayotte

During a hearing last year before the Senate Homeland Security Committee, several law enforcement officials raised concerns about terrorists’ making their way to the United States through the sparsely populated areas along the border. In 2007, people from the Government Accountability Office managed to cross from Canada into the United States carrying a duffel bag with contents that looked like radioactive material, and they never encountered a law enforcement officer.

“No one is arguing that the Northern border is the same as what’s happening down on the Southwestern border, but we can’t forget about this area,” said Senator Jon Tester, Democrat of Montana. “If we take our eye off of that, they will go where the weakest link is.”

Drug smuggling is a continuing issue because the lack of security and natural barriers makes the point of entry from Canada much easier for the smugglers than the Southern border.

While marijuana is the main drug, officials say they are starting to see an increase in drugs like fentanyl, which contributes to the national opioid and prescription drug abuse crisis.

In January, Border Patrol agents arrested Cedrik Bourgault-Morin, 22, a Canadian from Quebec, after he was detected by night vision cameras and ground sensors along a railroad track near the border in the village of North Troy, Vt., pulling a sleigh with a 182-pound duffel bag. Agents said Mr. Bourgault-Morin, who was wearing white camouflage, was trying to hide the bag in the snow when he was caught.

Agents found 300 vacuum-sealed bags of Xanax, an anti-anxiety medication, in the duffel bag. According to court records, the pills had a street value of $1.6 million. Mr. Bourgault-Morin was sentenced to one year in prison in August.

In addition to drugs, the smuggling of people is another challenge for law enforcement.

Bradley S. Curtis, the acting division chief for the Border Patrol Swanton Division, said agents had caught hundreds of people from dozens of countries trying to enter the United States through the dense forests and open fields.

“We’ve seen people from all over the world: Chinese, Haitians, Eastern Europeans, Brazilians, you name it,” Mr. Curtis said.

Law enforcement also faces another singular challenge in the North: Native American reservations where they have no legal authority to enter, making them attractive to drug smugglers.

Another issue is that officials here admit they do not actually know how many people and how much drugs get through. Officials acknowledge that many more people than they apprehend could be crossing the border illegally.

For example, cameras along the border recently showed four men dressed in camouflage outfits who appeared to have weapons crossing the border. Agents never caught them. Another camera image showed a group of about half a dozen people walking through the woods at night across the border. Agents said they had no information on the group.

“These guys make me nervous,” Mr. Curtis said. “My technology can show me when someone makes an entry, but it can’t tell me who they are, and we can’t always get there in time to catch them.”

Egyptian Air Force strikes ISIS targets in Sinai, kills at least 15 terrorists

egypt-and-sinai-mapThe Egyptian Air Force on Saturday attacked ISIS targets in the Sinai Peninsula. According to reports, at least 15 members of the terrorist group were killed and dozens more injured. This air strike comes one day after ISIS killed 12 Egyptian soldiers in a shooting attack.

No organization has claimed responsibility for the shooting, though the Egyptian government is blaming it on an ISIS-affiliated group in Sinai. Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said on Facebook that the attack “increases our determination to carry on with our battle.”

The Egyptian army has stated that the targets included ISIS ammunition storages, guard posts and hiding spots.

Car bomb explodes near Ataturk Airport in Istanbul

Ambulances at the scene of car bombing.
Ambulances at the scene of car bombing.

A car bomb exploded last week near a police station in Istanbul, Turkey. The police station is located near the Ataturk Airport. Local media outlets reported that at least 5 people were injured. Local media outlets reported that many military personnel and ambulances have been seen near the site of the explosion.

Turkish media outlets released pictures of ambulances driving towards the explosion site and military personnel spreading out in the area. In the last couple of months, Turkey suffered several terror attacks that were blamed on the PKK (Kurdistan Worker’s Party) or ISIS.

Around 50 people were killed and over 90 injured in a car bombing in the city of Gaziantep in August. The explosion happened during the middle of a large wedding and no organization claimed responsibility.

European Union Demands that British Press Stop Pointing Out Muslim Terrorists Are Muslims

european-unionA report from the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) found there was an increase in hate speech and racist violence in the UK from 2009 to March 2016.

Blaming the press, ECRI Chair Christian Ahlund, said: “It is no coincidence that racist violence is on the rise in the UK at the same time as we see worrying examples of intolerance and hate speech in the newspapers, online and even among politicians.”

It’s also “no coincidence” this rise coincides with a surge in Islamic terrorism.

The ECRI then made 23 separate recommendations to Theresa May’s government for changes to the criminal law, restriction of freedom of the press, crime reporting and equality law.

And despite the report not analyzing coverage of the historic Brexit vote, Mr Ahlund saw fit to comment on the UK’s decision to leave the EU.

In a sweeping statement, he said: “The Brexit referendum seems to have led to a further rise in ‘anti-foreigner’ sentiment, making it even more important that the British authorities take the steps outlined in our report as a matter of priority.”

The report lays into the British press and urges the government to “give more rigorous training” to reporters.

"Workplace Violence"
“Workplace Violence”

Interestingly, the unelected European politician remained silent on the issue of rising Muslim crime in continental Europe. He didn’t say anything about the massive increase in rape and sexual assaults. He didn’t offer any commentary on the spike in violent crime. Strangely, he also avoided the continuing stream of illegal immigrants pouring into Europe and living off of the socialist welfare programs that were supposed to provide security for the citizens of Europe.

In fact, while Ahlund and the ECRI were concerned about a small increase in “anti-Muslim” crime in the UK, they completely ignored the enormous increase in crime committed by Muslims in England, France, Germany, Sweden, and in other areas of Europe. The spike in Muslim crime absolutely dwarfs the increase in crime against Muslims, but still the liberal European politicians continue to ignore the devastating effects of Muslim migration to Europe.

"Largely peaceful protester"
“Largely peaceful protester”

In the 83-page report, the Commission said: “ECRI considers that, in light of the fact that Muslims are increasingly under the spotlight as a result of recent ISIS-related terrorist acts around the world, fueling prejudice against Muslims shows a reckless disregard, not only for the dignity of the great majority of Muslims in the United Kingdom, but also for their safety.

“In this context, it draws attention to a recent study by Teeside University suggesting that where the media stress the Muslim background of perpetrators of terrorist acts, and devote significant coverage to it, the violent backlash against Muslims is likely to be greater than in cases where the perpetrators’ motivation is downplayed or rejected in favor of alternative explanations.”

If you lie to people and hide the motivations of Islamic terrorists, they’ll be less likely to get mad at Muslims.

Is this why so many Muslim terror attacks in Germany, Sweden and France are immediately blamed on “mental health issues”?

"Free speech activists"
“Free speech activists”

Britain reportedly rejected the recommendations, writing back: “The Government is committed to a free and open press and does not interfere with what the press does and does not publish, as long as the press abides by the law.”

Of course, that’s a total lie as they already have tons of hate speech laws on the books.