Syrian Man Arrested in Greece Over Suspected ISIS Links

ISIS

A 32-year-old Syrian man was arrested Thursday in the northeastern Greek city of Alexandroupolis over suspected links with terrorist group ISIS, police said Friday.

The arrest came following a complaint that was his wife filed against him over domestic abuse, according to the police. She also told authorities that her husband was an ISIS supporter.

The man, who was not named, is expected to stand before a state prosecutor on Friday, police said.

The couple currently live with their two young children in the northern city of Thessaloniki.

They had requested asylum in northern Greece in June 2016, landing on the island of Leros following the peak of the migrant crisis.

A police official stated that the man was arrested for violating a restriction order imposed after his wife accused him of beating her and taking part in “terrorist acts.”

Police searched their home following his wife’s complaint and found data on his phone that they said support the allegations of ISIS links, a police official said, according to AFP.

“We are investigating his participation, and its extent, in past terrorist acts outside Greece,” police added.

Libyan Former PM Jibril Says War-Torn Country Is Ready for Peace

Libya

New York- Libya has drawn in a great deal of attention over the past few years as hopes for reviving peace talks were strengthened after the United Nations adopted a comprehensive settlement.

The plan, which began negotiations in Tunisia under the auspices of the UN envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salama, has many hopes for success. Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, former Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril saw that the solution at hand is better than ever.

Jibril refuses to say that without the international community, the Libyan uprising would not have succeeded in February 2011, stressing that “the will of the people is always victorious.”

Libya underwent to main turning points, the first being during the start of the uprising in February 17 against the regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and lasted until March 19 and later was the stage which began with the military intervention led by the international community based on United Nations resolutions.

“The military intervention was successfully marketed as an intervention led only by NATO, NATO is only 28 countries, while the countries that partook in the military campaign are 47 countries,” says Jibril.

A third turning point lasted from 20 August to 23 October, the official toppling of Gaddafi’s regime, and rebels taking over Tripoli.

Gaddafi was captured and later killed. Jibril said that “the revolution ended at this point.

“What followed was a conflict of resources between several parties supported by international parties under various pretexts, political, religious, tribal and regional,” he explained.

He stressed that “the conflict was over resources because of the absence of the state, because the fall of the regime in Libya was like a fall of the entire state.”

This led to the proliferation of weapons and for a tribal structure to prevail, creating a recipe for a civil war driven by control of local resources, and fed by external parties.

In Jibril’s view, this has created “fertile ground for terrorism and extremism to propagate and establish an incubator for extremists, because of the extension of its borders and the absence of state authority and proliferation of weapons and the abundance of money.

“The solution lies in finding a national consensus on a national project that does not exclude anyone. And through dialogue between the Libyans themselves, under the umbrella of the United Nations,” he said.

“The international parties must play the role of observer and guarantor of this Libyan dialogue, but without interfering in its content and course.”

“The government should be separated from the presidential council– the government should have a national rescue program,” he added.

Further explaining, Jibril expressed the need to forming a “micro-government,” in order to transfer the responsibility of providing services to municipalities in a decentralized system of governance, and thus it can be said that state-building is done by the parties and not by the central government.

The objectives of the suggested micro government is limited to three objectives, said Jibril.

“First, develop an urgent plan to provide cash, power, security, education and health services as urgent files.”

“Second, start rebuilding the military and security establishment and activate the judiciary.”

“And thirdly, preparations for parliamentary and presidential elections within a period which not exceed18 months.”

ISIS’ Now-Dead Executioner Unmasked in Raqqa for the First Time

The masked British militant Mohammed Emwazi from a video released by ISIS.

London- British sources revealed the face of British terrorist Mohamed Emwazi, whose other names also included “Jihadi John” and “Jailer John,” after receiving exclusive video footage of the terrorists inside Syria.

One of them was linked to the Manchester bombings, Raymond Matimba, according to a report published by the Telegraph daily.

Matimba, who was born in Zimbabwe but lived in Manchester before joining ISIS, was filmed in a cafe in Raqqa, Syria, talking with the likes of Mohammed Emwazi, aka Jihadi John, ISIS hacker Junaid Hussain, and recruiter Reyaad Khan.

The video seems to show that Matimba, long thought to be a fringe figure in the terror group, is actually a key figure and is now likely to be the UK’s most wanted terrorists – if he is still alive.

The footage was captured by a source in Raqqa in 2014 who gave it to The Telegraph after the area of the city he lives in was liberated by US-backed SDF forces, who now have the city surrounded.

Matimba – who also goes by the name Abu Qaqa al-Britani al-Afro- is known to have links with Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi, as the pair were recruited to join ISIS by the same man, Raphael Hostey.

They are also thought to have visited the same mosque together in south Manchester before Matimba left the UK, first going to Barcelona and then to Turkey where he crossed into Syria.

The recorder of the video told The Telegraph that Matimba was a key figure in the Manchester attack, telling ISIS commanders that he hated the city and wanted it to become a target.

He is then thought to have exchanged messages with Abedi in the months leading up to the attack, which killed 22 people, though what was said is unclear.

The source also said Matimba was known for his skills with a rifle and trained ISIS snipers. In every photo and the video, he is shown with an AK at his side.

Matimba’s fate is currently unknown. His family says he updated them on his life in Raqqa until last year when he stopped responding.

It had been reported he was killed in the fighting, but his death has never been confirmed.

Now-deceased ISIS executioner Emwazi was born in Kuwait but raised in west London, where he was reported to have enjoyed a typical childhood and schooling.

ISIS claims he was radicalized sometime in 2005, after the London bombings, before making several trips to the Middle East over the next few years.

Tunisia Unveils Takfiri Ring in Contact with Fugitive Terrorists

Tunisian security forces stand near the Ras Ajdir crossing on the country's border with Libya, close to Ben Guerdane

Tunisia- Tunisian Defense Minister Abdelkareem Zubaidi pledged emboldened support to the military establishment, in addition to securing the provision of adequate equipment for combating terrorist organizations.

Overseeing the meeting of the armed forces coordinators, Zubaidi said that his priority was to head the Tunisian Ministry of Defense with the necessary equipment and improve the working environment, remaining fully prepared and vigilant for potential terrorist threats.

The Tunisian military successfully confronted with the terrorist attack on Ben Gardane on 7 March 2016. Terrorists who attacked the border town with Libya suffered significant losses of life and had their plot thwarted.

Tunisia’s military servicemen continuously monitored all potential terrorist threats and established a buffer zone on the eastern border with Libya and a closed military zone in the western center of Tunisia nearby where terrorist organizations threaten infiltrating into the country.

Terror groups long made strong threats against Tunisia’s security and stability.

In the same context, Zubaidi stressed the need to protect the areas of production of natural resources (phosphate and other energy forms) and considered it a priority for the national military during the next phase.

In July, Tunisian President Mohamed Beji Caid Essebsi issued a presidential order allowing the military to secure natural energy sites and those concerned with national wealth production against social protests.

The Tunisian Interior Ministry announced that in a “proactive and qualitative” security operation, forces were able to discover a takfiri terror cell operating in the province of Nabeul, 60 kilometers northeast of the Tunisian capital, and said its elements were in contact with other Tunisian terrorists.

Through initial security investigations, interior ministry sources confirmed that this cell was planning to carry out attacks targeting vital institutions in Tunisia.

Same sources pointed to the arrest of three terror-linked members accused of joining a wider web of wanted “terrorist organization.”

The three arrested had in their possession documents on how to make improvised explosive devices and terror plot instructions for targets in Tunisia.

Iran Exploited Gulf Waters to Extract Fugitives, Smuggle Arms

Iran

Riyadh- Saudi investigations showed that a terror ring of five members linked to the architect of the Khobar tower attack, Ahmed Ibrahim Al-Mughassil, have revealed crucial intel on the arms and drug trafficking industry in the kingdom’s eastern province, Qatif.

Mughassil was given asylum by Iran for some 19 years—however now is in Saudi custody.

According to confessions of the five, arms smuggled into Saudi Arabia and handed over to armed groups in Qatif province came en route Arabian Gulf waters.

Weapons were being trafficked in by Iranian vessels, and were under Mughassil’s direct supervision.

The mastermind of the Khobar bombings is accredited to plotting one of the most violent terrorist and devastating terror attacks against American missions on foreign territory.

Not only did Iranian authorities arm terrorist groups in Qatif, but also contributed to aiding fugitives wanted in Saudi Arabia providing them with means to escape by sea and securing them asylum.

Investigations filed to Saudi Public Prosecution against the five suspects stand as evidence to the full-fledged support Iran gives to terrorists compromising Saudi national security.

Charges pressed against the five defendants involve the illicit purchase of a naval vessel from Bahrain-based parties, worth an estimated 70,000 riyals, to smuggle weapons into Saudi Arabia.

The five are also believed to hide information on escaping fugitives and participating as naval mercenaries in the Arabian Gulf.

Their tasks involved providing direct aid to those trying to escape the law in Saudi Arabia and arming Qatif-based extremists with weapons.

Interrogation details added that the suspects face charges of conspiring against regional stability, and advancing Iran’s expansionist agenda, for having withheld vital information on arms smuggling into the kingdom.

A few days ago, Saudi General Prosecution uncovered the way Iran planned to revive “Hezbollah al-Hejaz” through a case filed against five Saudis it accused of being trained on weapons inside the Iranian Revolutionary Guards camps.

The five Saudis, who can be described as “Iran’s powerful men in Saudi Arabia,” were also trained on the use of RPGs, which were also used lately by terrorists in the Awamiya town.

In addition, the five suspects are accused of receiving trainings on the use of other explosives, including TNT, RDX, C4 and others.

Lebanese Army Rejects Negotiation with ISIS before Revealing Captives’ Fate

Beirut- Lebanese Army continued its logistic and combat preparations for the fourth phase of Jroud Dawn operation in outskirts of al-Qaa and Ras Baalbek. The army has reiterated its rejection to any settlement or negotiation before getting information on the destiny of the soldiers captivated by ISIS since three years.

Military sources informed Asharq Al-Awsat that until this moment there isn’t any proposal on the exit of ISIS from the mountains and the priority remains to the destiny of military captives.

They described this period as the toughest. Military expert retired general Khalil al-Helou told Asharq Al-Awsat that the difficulty of this stage lies in the technical side and not the military one.

“Wadi Martabya – where ISIS existence has been curbed – is a deep valley that the group managed to seize its surrounding heights. So the difficulty is basically to reach this region whose roads need to be opened to facilitate vesicles’ passage,” he added.

“Terrorists have left behind mines planted in various sites and it is burdensome to remove them quickly. We are dealing with a terrorist organization that doesn’t recognize any rules or ethics of war,” a military source reported to Central News Agency.

Helou saw that what has been accomplished by the army in a couple of days is an unprecedented achievement in the history of countries’ battle against ISIS whether in regards to the accuracy in operations or the limited losses.

During the past 48 hours, no action was taken by ISIS members in Wadi Martabya – they have probably fled to Syria, according to Helou.

Prime Minister Saad Hariri informed the cabinet of the outcome of his tour at Lebanese Army positions on the Eastern border, lauding the high spirits of the army and its achievements. He also stressed that the Lebanese Army will position in all areas liberated from terrorists and there will be monitoring centers and fortifications.

Suicide Bomber in Afghanistan Kills Seven

Kabul- A suicide bomber targeting Afghan policemen and soldiers collecting their pay killed at least seven people and wounded more than 40 on Wednesday, officials said.

The suicide attacker with a car bomb struck in Lashkar Gah, capital of the southern province of Helmand, provincial police chief Abdul Ghafar Safai said, Reuters reported.

Omar Zwak, spokesman for Helmand’s governor, put the toll at seven dead as Taliban claimed responsibility.

Two women, two soldiers and a child were killed in the blast, a doctor at a nearby hospital said.

Militants had previously attacked security forces gathered to collect their pay at a bank in Lashkar Gah in June, which prompted officials to move a bank branch into the city’s police headquarters to improve security.

US Sanctions Kashmiri Militant Group ‘Hizbul Mujahideen’

Washington- The United States on Wednesday said it had sanctioned ‘Hizbul Mujahideen’, the largest of the anti-Indian Kashmiri militant groups.

The US Treasury Department, in a statement on its website reported by Reuters, said it had listed the Pakistan-based group as a counter- designated group, freezing any assets it may hold in the Untied States and prohibiting Americans from dealings with it.

“These designations seek to deny HM (Hizbul Mujahideen) the resources it needs to carry out terrorist attacks,” the US State Department said in a separate statement, according to Reuters.

In announcing the designation, the State Department said the group had claimed responsibility for several attacks, including one in 2014 in Jammu and Kashmir that left 17 people injured.

Last month, the United States also designated Syed Salahuddin, a militant commander for the group, as a terrorist – a label he denounced.

Such designations are aimed at denying individuals and entities access to the US financial system.

Both India and Pakistan claim Kashmir as a whole.

Pakistan has denied giving material help to Kashmiri separatists but has pledged to provide continued diplomatic and moral support.

India blames Pakistan for stoking the 28-year-old revolt in Muslim-majority Kashmir and has stepped up its pressure on Pakistan over the conflict.

Congressional Testimonies Rail against Doha’s Terror Funding

Beirut- Senior Vice President at the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) Dr. Jonathan Schanzer on Wednesday presented an eye-opening congressional testimony on substances revolving around Qatar’s unwarranted support for radical groups.

Schanzer’s testimonial came with distinguishable focus on Qatar’s support for a range of extremist groups and grievances regional states hold against Doha’s foreign policy.

“We have noted through the excellent work of my colleague David Andrew Weinberg that Qatar has failed to take action against numerous US- and UN-designated terrorist financiers living in Qatar.”

Dr. Schanzer is part of the leadership team of FDD’s Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance, which provides policy and subject matter expertise on the use of financial and economic power to the global policy community.

Also reviewing the nuances of the current Qatar spat, the Washington Institute’s Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence director Dr. Matthew Levitt presented a personal overview on the gas-rich peninsula’s undying advocacy and support to extremist groups.

“The US has also long criticized the Qatari government for its lax counterterrorism policies, and in particular shortcomings regarding efforts to combat terrorist financing,” said Levitt.

Qatar’s “open-door policy” has welcomed in members of many extremist groups such as Hamas, al-Qaeda, and the Afghan Taliban, acting as a safe-haven and providing a platform for terrorist incitement, said Levitt.

Both Schanzer and Levitt testified before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa.

Levitt adds that for the past few years, Khaled Meshal, who stepped down as the senior leader of Hamas this past May, has been living in Doha. Meshal is a US-designated terrorist.

Commenting on Doha’s detrimental foreign policy, Schanzer highlights that “Qatar has been an obvious area of interest in light of its incredibly brazen and open support for terrorist groups.”

Speaking on the FDD’s review on Qatari regional actions and agenda, Schanzer adds that the institute has been constant.

“Our critique of Qatari foreign policy has been consistent. We have pointed to Qatari support for Hamas, the Taliban, jihadists in Syria, jihadists in Libya, and the Muslim Brotherhood,” he said.

In recent years, Qatar has housed leaders from Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Taliban, and has also provided a platform for extremist leaders to spread their ideology through shows on Al-Jazeera.

Respected Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen also hit out at Qatar’s support for terrorism, at a hearing of the congressional subcommittee.

“At least one high ranking Qatari official provided support to the mastermind of the 9/11 terror attacks against our country –Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Then of course there was Khalifa Mohammed who is a US, EU and UN designated international terrorist for his role in financing Al-Qaeda and the 9/11 mastermind.”

“In 2008 he was tried and convicted in absentia for his terrorist activity and arrested later that year by Qatar only to be released by the Qataris 6 months later and then openly financed by Doha,” said Ros-Lehtinen.

On that note, in 2014, the then-Treasury Under Secretary of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen had reported that Qatar has openly financed Hamas for many years, and continues to contribute to regional instability.

“This threatens to aggravate an already volatile situation in a particularly dangerous and unwelcome manner,” concluded Cohen.

On the flipside Cohen recognized efforts, although insufficient, spent by Doha on addressing terrorist financing, he called on the government in Doha to continue working with the US on the matter.

He particularly notes the pressing need to cooperate on dealing with the ongoing solicitation of donations that fund extremist insurgents under the guise of humanitarian work.

FDD’s Schanzer also said that the group has worked hard to educate Congress, the executive, and the American public on the challenge of Qatar.

“We found that the previous administration was generally willing to listen, but was unwilling to redress the problem,” he comments.

On resolving the row with Qatar, Levitt adds that the recently Doha-US signed memorandums of understanding and amendments are important steps to ensuring Qatar seriously addresses the ongoing issue of terrorist financing happening within and beyond its borders.

“However, Doha has a weak track record of implementing and enforcing the terms of agreements. Moreover, the steps they have taken thus far are vague, and it is unclear to what extent they will actually address the ongoing issues in Qatar,” he adds.

In early June, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain collectively designated 59 individuals and 12 institutions accused of financing terrorist organizations and receiving support from Qatar.

Many of these entities were previously designated by the United States and United Nations for financing al-Qaeda, though the list includes others with ties to Muslim Brotherhood and extremists in Egypt, Libya, and elsewhere.

“The list provides Doha an opportunity to help resolve its fight with its Gulf Cooperation Council neighbors, and a way to save face while doing so,” concluded Levitt.

Bahrain Refers Files of 60 Terrorist Suspects to Court

Bahrain

Manama- Security authorities in Bahrain referred on Wednesday the files of 60 suspects to court on charges of forming and joining a terrorist organization and committing several crimes, including the escape of ten inmates from the Reform and Rehabilitation Centre in Jau Prison last January.

Out of the 60 suspects, 24 cases will be tried in absentia.

The charges against the suspects include receiving training in Iran and Iraq in Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) military camps on the use of weapons and explosives to later implement their terrorist crimes in Bahrain.

The High Criminal Court decided to look into their case on August 22.

Advocate General Ahmed Al Hammadi, head of the Anti-terror Prosecution said investigations were completed regarding the case of forming a terrorist organization, as 60 suspects, including 24 in absentia, were referred to the relevant court on charges of forming and joining a terrorist organization.

The suspects are also accused of being trained on the use of weapons and explosives to carry out terrorist attacks, deliberately murdering policemen and importing and possessing explosives, firearms, and ammunition. They also carried out armed robberies to finance their terrorist plans and assisted convicts and runaway inmates.

According to the investigations, 12 suspects have joined the terrorist group and were still at large in Iran, Iraq, and in Germany, while 46 suspects were still in Bahrain, including the ten convicted inmates who escaped from Jau prison facility.

Members of the terrorist group planned several terrorist crimes to destabilize public order and undermine the Kingdom’s security and national unity.

Investigations also revealed that the terrorist group leaders provided members with plans to commit terrorist operations and gave them the tools, weapons, and explosives to carry out their plots.