Reader’s links for March 23 – 2016

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Thank you all for those that take the effort to assist this site in keeping the public informed. Below, typically people can find the latest enemy propaganda, news items of related materials from multiple countries and languages, op-eds from many excellent sites who write on our topics, geopolitics and immigration issues and so on.

About Eeyore

Canadian artist and counter-jihad and freedom of speech activist as well as devout Schrödinger's catholic

78 Replies to “Reader’s links for March 23 – 2016”

  1. Muslim police refuse to protect French synagogues

    Muslim police in France refuse to protect synagogues as growing support for Jihad is affecting law enforcement, according to a Gatestone Institute report.

    The report claims that a leaked confidential memo from the Department of Public Security, published by Le Parisien, detailed 17 cases of police officers radicalized between 2012 and 2015, noting that the police officers listen to and broadcast Muslim chants while on patrol.
    According to the anti-terrorist unit of the French Interior Ministry, as of January 2016, France is already host to 8,250 radical Islamists (a 50% increase in one year). Some have gone to Syria to join ISIS while others have infiltrated all levels of society, including the police and the armed forces.

    Some of these police officers have openly refused to protect synagogues or to observe a minute of silence to commemorate the deaths of Jewish victims of terrorist attacks.

    The fact that police officers are armed and have access to police databases only intensifies the anxiety among France’s Jewish communities.

  2. MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM):
    MEMRI: ISIS: Jihad In Palestine Does Not Take Precedence Over Jihad Elsewhere

    An article in the 22nd issue of the official Islamic State (ISIS) mouthpiece Al-Naba, titled “Beit Al-Maqdis – First and Foremost an Issue of Shari’a Law,” sets out the organization’s position on Palestine and the war on Israel, from both the ideological and practical perspectives. The article states that the fight against Israel does not take precedence over jihad against the infidels elsewhere, and, furthermore, that the fight against the infidels within – that is, against the Muslim rulers and governments – is even more important.

    According to ISIS, prioritization of the war on Israel is a deviation from the principles of Islam, because jihad is aimed at establishing the religion and implementing shari’a law. Since the entire world except for the ISIS-controlled areas is ruled by infidels, the article asks why war against the Jews is being prioritized over the war against other infidels. It also states that restricting jihad’s target to war solely against the Jews is a forbidden alteration in the laws of Allah. In ISIS’s view, if there is to be any prioritization of jihad in any one place, then it should be to liberate the Islamic holy sites of Mecca and Medina from the clutches of the Saudi royal family.

    The article posits that in every location, waging war against the infidels is the duty of the Muslim residents in the closest region; thus, at this stage, most of these efforts should be devoted to toppling regimes in the countries that neighbor Palestine and fighting Israel should be left to the Palestinians. However, ISIS calls on Muslims worldwide to help them, including by attacking the Jews and their allies wherever they can.

    • Insulting!
      ISIS doesn’t think Jews are so special. Why gives them priority over all the other scum of the earth?

      They’re being used to take the heat off apostates and communists and nationalists and shirkers. And especially vile KSA, grasping Mecca and Medina with their dirty paws.

  3. Major Statement

    Dubai security chief: Independent Palestinian state would be another failed Arab state

    The Head of General Security for the Dubai Emirate, Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, has stated that Palestinians should abandon their aspiration for an independent state and merge with Israeli Jews in a united, bi-national state instead.

    In a series of remarks published on his Twitter account Monday afternoon, Tamim attempted to garner support for his idea, claiming that a Palestinian state led by Arabs would join the list of failed states in the Arab world.

    According to Tamim, the dream of such a state will never come true, since “Israel will only recognize Palestine if Palestinians become part of it.”

    Tamim controversially stated: “I suggest relinquishing the idea of a Palestinian state and being satisfied with an Israeli state that would include both Israelis and Palestinians and join the Arab League.”

    “Today, the Jews are heading the world’s economy, without the Jews you Arabs would not have known how to deposit your money in the bank,” Tamim continued.
    In light of what he described as Arab incompetence in running a state and the distinguished economic talents of Jews, Tamim claimed that a joint Jewish-Palestinian state will only prosper under Israeli leadership.

  4. The Iranian connection to Bengazi
    Questions about Iran’s involvement in the Benghazi attacks persist

    In the aftermath of the 2012 Benghazi attack that killed four Americans, Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn tasked the intelligence community for information on Iran’s involvement in the attack.

    Until now, government officials have refused to acknowledge any Iranian involvement in Benghazi. But the Flynn memo indicates that at least some in the U.S. intelligence community suspected Tehran from the very beginning.

        • The Iranian Connection? New Evidence Emerges of Iran’s Involvement in 9/11

          A bombshell report detailing possible Iranian involvement in the 9/11 attacks on New York City and Washington D.C. has just been published by YNet.

          The article details a lawsuit launched by Ellen Saracini, the widow of one of the 9/11 airline pilots. The lawsuit charges that “The responsibility for the 9/11 attacks lies not only with al-Qaeda, but also with Iran and Hezbollah, based on what attorneys say is clear, unequivocal evidence.”

          This evidence is apparently based on a number of National Security Agency documents, as well as information collected by Israeli intelligence services and other agencies. These documents allegedly describe a long-standing collaborative relationship between al-Qaeda and Iranian intelligence agencies. In short, a radical Islamic conspiracy.

          Starting in the 1990s, Iran and Hezbollah helped Osama Bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri create a new terror organization from scratch, to be headed by Afghanistan veterans and members of Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Iran trained group members, equipped them with advanced technological means, enabled them to move freely and provided them with plenty of terror-related expertise and experience accumulated by Hezbollah in its operations against Israel and the United States. Later, according to the lawsuit, Iran assisted in the preparations ahead of September 11.

          The relationship apparently began while Osama Bin Laden was operating in the Sudan, then ruled by an Islamic government. His al-Qaeda terrorist group was adopted, funded, trained, and assisted in numerous other ways by Department 15, an agency of the Iranian security services “tasked with exporting the Islamic revolution to other Arab states.”

          Among those whose relationship with Iran was strongest was Ayman al-Zawahiri, who visited the country in secret in 1991 seeking assistance. It was Zawahiri, officials belief, who conceived and designed the horrifying simple plot that led to 9/11. “If a suicide bomber is effective,” the terrorist mastermind reasoned, “a terrorist who crashes a Boeing aircraft into a tower would be much more effective.”

          Apparently, a dark triangle was formed by the various conspirators: Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Iran’s Department 15. This was not merely an arrangement of ideas or money. Iran rendered essential and highly practical logistical support to the 9/11 hijackers themselves. “Only a well-oiled arrangement of flights and secret border crossings could have enabled the terrorists to enter and exit the US and go to Afghanistan,” claims the report.

          So how did the 19 terrorists manage to enter the US after all? How could it be that US immigration officials in Germany and Saudi Arabia suspected nothing? The answer to these questions remained unknown, until the treasure trove was discovered at the NSA basement. As it turned out, many of the terrorists headed from Afghanistan to Iran, with Iranian officials ordering border control officers not to stamp these passports. The other terrorists passed through Beirut in their many trips, where Hezbollah officials similarly cared for them.

          The “smoking gun” in the case was apparently provided by three Iranian defectors, code-named X, Y, and Z to protect them from retaliation.

          Witness X testifies about Iran’s advance knowledge of the plan to crash passenger airliners into strategic targets in Washington and New York. He testifies that he was present at training facilities for Sunni terrorists in Iran and adds many details about the way Iran’s intelligence service utilizes legitimate Iranian organizations such as its airline and shipping company for terror aims.

          Witness Y testifies about [Hezbollah terrorist] Imad Mugniyah’s personal involvement in training the September 11 hijackers and the shelter granted by Iran to al-Qaeda’s men after the attacks. Meanwhile, witness Z says that he was present in a series of meetings in Tehran involving senior al-Qaeda men, local intelligence officials and Mugniyah’s men in the months before the 9/11 attacks.

          Equally disturbing is the fact — now officially acknowledged by the Iranian government — that many al-Qaeda terrorists fleeing the American invasion of Afghanistan were given safe haven by Iran. They are, apparently, still there, though the Iranians claim that they are kept under “house arrest.”

          It remains unclear precisely how credible some of these accusations are. Testimony from anonymous defectors, for example, is often best treated with a certain amount of skepticism.

          If the NSA documentation and the intelligence gathered by other security services proves sound, however, then it appears that besides its innumerable crimes against others and its own people, the Iranian regime will now have to answer for the lives of 3,000 American citizens as well.

        December 23, 2011

        A federal district court in Manhattan yesterday entered a historic ruling that reveals new facts about Iran’s support of al Qaeda in the 9/11 attacks. U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels ruled yesterday that Iran and Hezbollah materially and directly supported al Qaeda in the September 11, 2001 attacks and are legally responsible for damages to hundreds of family members of 9/11 victims who are plaintiffs in the case.

        Judge Daniels had announced his ruling in Havlish, et al. v. bin Laden, et al., in open court on Thursday, December 15, 2011, following a three-hour courtroom presentation by the families’ attorneys. Judge Daniels entered a written Order of Judgment yesterday backed by 53 pages of detailed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.

  5. Giulio Meotti interviews an expert from the Catholic University of Leuven on suicidal blackmail. Here’s just a bit:
    Brussel’s pact with Saudi Arabia gave the world Molenbeekistan

    “Bruxellistan”. “Molenbeekistan”. “Belgistan”. We cannot even count the definitions to indicate the transformation of Belgium into the base of the massacres in Paris and now targeted itself by Jihad at Brussels’ airport and metro.

    To use the title of the book by Felice Dassetto, a sociologist at the Catholic University of Leuven, it is “L’iris et le croissant” (iris, the symbol of Brussels, and the Islamic crescent, together).

    How did Molenbeek, the “Little Manchester” that the former Socialist mayor Philippe Moureaux proudly called a “socio-multicultural laboratory”, become the headquarters of the European jihad from Atocha to the Bataclan. How did it become the “Carrefour de l’islamisme”, the crossroads of Islamist hatred in Europe, as defined by Libération?

    “It was a decision of the Belgian King Baudouin”, said Michael Privot, a famous Belgian expert on terrorism and director of Enar, the European Network Against Racism, in our conversation right after the Brussels bombing. “Islam was recognized officially in Belgium in 1974, by the former King Baudouin, who had developed good ties with the royal family of Saudi Arabia (SA). This recognition was coming in opportunely as it was in the midst of the oil crisis and Belgium was hoping that this recognition would be taken as a sign of good will and openness towards SA, therefore securing oil supply for Belgium.”

  6. Israeli firm helping FBI to open encrypted iPhone

    Israel’s Cellebrite, a provider of mobile forensic software, is helping the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s attempt to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino, California shooters, the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported on Wednesday.

    If Cellebrite succeeds, then the FBI will no longer need the help of Apple Inc, the Israeli daily said, citing unnamed industry sources.

    Cellebrite officials declined to comment on the matter.

    • If they succeed, I would conclude that either they opened up the integrated circuits and stuck electrical probes into it, or, maybe Apple has been penetrated by the Israeli Mossad. It would require really specialized knowledge of the software to know how it worked; my guest is they have a plant somewhere in Apple’s hierarchy. Industrial espionage in the service of a foreign power.

      • This happens all the time, the US designers and manufacturers have agents from every nation of earth (friendly and hostile) working for them. This is the side of the intel game that most people don’t know about.

  7. On South China Sea islet, Taiwan argues Philippines case is far from watertight

    ITU ABA, South China Sea (Reuters) – On Itu Aba, in the Spratly archipelago of the South China Sea, Taiwanese coast guard officials proudly haul a small wooden bucket of water from one of several simple concrete wells on the coral outcrop.

    The water, clear and sweet tasting, is key to Taiwan’s argument that Itu Aba is legally the only island among the hundreds of reefs, shoals and atolls scattered across the hotly disputed region.

    Itu Aba, which the Taiwanese call Taiping, is coming into focus as the Philippines challenges the legality of China’s claims to most of the South China Sea.

    As part of a case now being considered by an international court in The Hague, the Philippines has argued that no feature in the Spratlys could be legally considered islands because they lack the ability to sustain human habitation or economic life.

    But if Itu Aba is determined to be an island it is entitled to a 200 nautical mile (370 km) exclusive economic zone under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

    Such a ruling would complicate territorial disputes across the vital trade route and resource rich region, where Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei also have claims.

    The Philippines presented its case to the judges’ panel of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in November and a ruling is expected in the next few months.

    • Thieves always say the evidence against them is far from water tight. The Chinese actions are going against international law which is simply a group of treaties, as Robert Heinlein said, Treaties aren’t worth the paper they are written on until they are ratified on the battlefield.

  8. The sorry state of our military: Is it happenstance or design

    How it must have pained Marine Corps General John Paxton to tell Congress that his service might not be prepared for war. Last week, the Assistant Commandant, who has racked up 42 of honorable military service, candidly admitted to the Senate Armed Services Committee that the U.S. Marine Corps isn’t what it used to be. “I worry about the capability and the capacity to win in a major fight somewhere else right now,” said the general. He fretted over inadequate training and equipment particularly in the fields of communications, intelligence, and aviation.

    Cynics might see Paxton’s testimony as a plea for more money, a quantity that isn’t usually forthcoming when no obvious shortcomings can be identified. Yet this rebuttal strikes me as an out-of-hand dismissal of Paxton’s concerns. It would also be uncharacteristic of the Marines, undoubtedly the proudest of the services, to denigrate themselves if it weren’t true. When a senior Marine officer describes the Corps as borderline dysfunctional, I believe him.

    Nor is the Marine Corps alone in its negative self-assessment. Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley told Congress that his branch is prepared to do battle with ISIS — and no other potential adversary. The U.S. would probably lose a war with China, according to General Milley. Or with Russia, North Korea, or Iran. According to an Associated Press article: “Mark Milley says years of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, constrained budgets and troop cuts have had a cumulative effect on the service.” Essentially, our military is capable of defeating the guys Obama described as the JV team but not a conventional force of any heft. Pathetic.


      WASHINGTON — The Army’s top general says military forces on the ground face a high level of risk if the United States gets into a large-scale conflict against a power such as Russia or China.

      Testifying Wednesday on Capitol Hill, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley says years of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, constrained budgets and troop cuts have had a cumulative effect on the service.

      Milley says the Army is ready to fight the Islamic State group and other terrorist organizations.

      But what Milley describes as a “great power war” against one or two of four countries – China, Russia, Iran and North Korea – would pose greater challenges.

      Milley says the Army’s readiness is not at a level that is appropriate for what the American people expect to defend them.

    • This was done by design, Obama and company hate the US and think the Soviet Union should have won the cold war, they are trying to correct what they see as a massive mistake. The current military mess is a direct result of their destruction of the US military. Hopefully the next President will rebuild the US military as quickly as possible.

        • We do our best but as the old saying goes, Man purposes and God disposes. Yes we have to make it happen but we are facing massive opposition. All we can do is our best and pray it is enough.

          • I think we will mainly because Russia isn’t powerful enough to take us right now and probably won’t decide to fight us in the future and China knows that to a large extent their food supply depends on Australia. But it they attack the US the worlds food supply will be disrupted and prices will skyrocket, they don’t want that.

  9. Culture clash with Mideast students stirs up Idaho town

    Idaho State became increasingly dependent on Saudi and Kuwaiti students to replace income lost from steep declines in local enrollment and state funding but had not bargained for the cultural clash in Pocatello.

    POCATELLO, Idaho — When the Rev. Jim Jones, pastor of the Blazing Grace Church here, approached the lectern at City Hall, he was holding a copy of the Quran.

    The Islamic text commanded followers to embrace intolerance, hate and violence, he told the zoning panel, explaining why he felt uncomfortable with the plan of Middle Eastern students at Idaho State University to build a mosque within walking distance of campus.

    “I get very fearful because I live close to this place,” Jones told the panel, which was considering a rezoning request.

    The mosque was approved. But the remarks by Jones and other opponents at the February 2014 hearing were signs of the fissures developing in this railroad town as Idaho State became increasingly dependent on Saudi and Kuwaiti students to replace income lost from steep declines in local enrollment and state funding.

    The potential payoff of having these students was big — $20,000 per student in annual out-of-state tuition, nearly three times what state residents pay. As the number of Middle Eastern students grew to nearly 1,200 — almost 10 percent of the school’s enrollment — that meant an estimated $40?million for the local economy every year.

    But Idaho State had not bargained for the cultural clash in this isolated community. Even if they were just normal, rowdy college kids, the behavior of the mostly male students stood out in this conservative, predominantly Mormon city. Free from the strict cultural mores of their home countries, some students have faced charges like drunken driving and stalking.

    Also, professors said students, many of them unfamiliar with English, were ill prepared and frequently resorted to cheating.

    Students have taken umbrage to the accusations and have recounted episodes of discrimination on campus and in town. Now some students are leaving.

    For Idaho State, it’s a moment of truth, a loss of more than $2 million a year in tuition alone from 100 students who left last summer. More declines are expected. “We’re preparing for the worst,” said Scott Scholes, associate vice president for enrollment management.

    As U.S. colleges, including prestigious ones like the University of California, Berkeley, second-tier state schools and little-known private institutions, look to offset budget cuts and declining enrollment by accepting more foreign students, the Idaho State situation is a cautionary tale: an example of the complexities of integrating foreign students into a campus and a community. [ not foreign - Muslim students ]

    By some estimates, the 1?million international students in the United States generate a $30.5 billion boost to the economy. The largest group comes from China, but Saudi Arabia, the fourth-largest country of origin, supplies more than 70,000 students to schools like Arizona State, Western Kentucky, Cleveland State and Southern Illinois.

    Some of these institutions are concerned about the impact of a recent announcement by the King Abdullah Scholarship Program, which supports most of the students from Saudi Arabia. The program is facing “deep funding cuts,” according to Moody’s Investors Service, which said the scholarships would be limited to the top 100 American schools, an Academic Ranking of World Universities list that does not include Idaho State.

    The Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission to the United States, which administers the scholarship program, did not respond to requests for comment.

    Scholes said new limits established by the Saudi and Kuwaiti governments could mean that no Middle Eastern freshmen will be arriving at Idaho State for the next academic year, meaning more than 250 fewer students, on top of the 100 Saudi students who have already departed.

    Explaining another reason for the declining enrollment, Daniel Hummel, a political-science professor who is also secretary of the new mosque, said, “Some of the students are dissatisfied, and they’re leaving.”

    Although this virtually all-Christian city does not appear to be a natural fit for Muslims — the courthouse lawn features a monument chiseled with the Ten Commandments — everything seemed fine when the first 17 Saudi students arrived in 2006, mostly in the engineering school. Over time, the students began sending word back home about Pocatello’s attributes, particularly the low cost of living, said Nezar Alnejidi, a marketing major and student leader. On a monthly stipend of about $1,850, students could pay their room and board and have money to spare.

    As the number of Saudi students grew, Kuwaiti students also began to arrive. Sales of Mustangs soared at a local automotive dealership. Abandoned storefronts downtown reopened with hookah lounges and Middle Eastern restaurants. Merchants and landlords relished the business. “The economic impact has been humongous,” said Dave Packer, president of the Pocatello Rental Housing Association.

    But the students also brought unease. On campus, several professors said their colleagues chafed at the extra work required of them because of the poor English skills of many students who needed help after class. Some professors also believed the students did not have the proper math backgrounds for their chosen majors; a chart sent to the faculty by one dean revealed that in some classes with more than 20 Middle Eastern students, 90 percent of the Middle Eastern students had failed physics, 75 percent had failed introductory English, and more than 60 percent had failed math.

    David Rodgers, an associate dean of science and engineering, described the challenges many students faced.

    “In engineering, every single class is scripted,” Rodgers said. “There’s not a lot of room for a screw-up. If you fail a class, you can make it up perhaps by taking 18 hours the next semester. You know your funding is running out. You know you’ve come to America to be an engineer. The cultural change, the language barrier, all these things stress kids.”

    That might explain why several professors said the students seemed prone to cheating and plagiarism. Eighty percent to 90 percent of the cheating cases reported in engineering and science involved foreign students in recent semesters, Rodgers said.

    While admitting that some Middle Eastern students had cheated, Ali Alheid, 22, a mechanical-engineering major from Kuwait, complained that the university had painted all of them with a broad brush. “They caught 20 or 30 students cheating,” he said. “Because of that, they treat us like cheaters.”

    The cheating accusations are one reason Alnejidi is now telling friends not to come to Idaho State.

    “The Saudi students are leaving because they feel they will not graduate under that level of scrutiny,” he said.

    Alheid said that at a gathering of students last month for Kuwaiti National Day, more than 100 signed a petition complaining of discrimination on campus and in town. He plans to transfer to Arizona State.

    “They think we are terrorists,” said Alheid, describing several episodes.

    Things came to a head last May, when The Idaho State Journal reported price gouging by landlords, who defended the extra fees with claims that the Middle Eastern students had damaged apartments. Among the problems, according to the newspaper: carpets burned by hookahs.

    That’s when Eva Nye, then a City Council member, wrote a column urging Pocatellans to be nicer to the students.

    By that time, the students were packing the mosque for Friday Prayer.

    “It put some people on edge, and they felt certain that a jihad was going to occur in Pocatello,” Nye said.

  10. Cruz: “Patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized” — Hamas-linked CAIR outraged

    “‘It’s really beyond belief that you have one of the leading presidential candidates calling for law enforcement to target religious communities totally based on the fact that they are of a particular faith,’ said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the [Hamas-linked] Council on American-Islamic relations [sic].” Meanwhile, significant segments of Hooper’s religious community worldwide are targeting people totally based on the fact that they are not of a particular faith. What does he propose to do about that? Why, nothing. And the fact that Muslim communities are more likely to be areas of terror plotting than Amish communities? Hooper cares about that not at all: he wants us to waste our resources chasing politically correct fantasies.

    video at site

  11. Greece: Migrants claim Macedonian police ‘tortured’ them for eight hours

    A group of Moroccan migrants staying at the refugee camp near Idomeni claimed on Wednesday to have been beaten up and tortured by Macedonian police and soldiers after crossing the Greek-Macedonian border earlier in the week.

    SOT, Najib, migrant (Arabic): “We walked and crossed the borders, the soldiers caught us, they took us to a building, into a small room. The soldier hit me here [pointing at forehead] with his knee then we were taken back to the border, at around 3:30 pm.”

    SOT, Najib, migrant (Arabic): “Maybe about 15 of them, holding long sticks. And then one by one they hit us with their sticks. They tortured us a lot. They hit us here and here [points to parts of body]. One hit me here with his knee, I was unconscious for a whole hour. They treated us like animals. Those Macedonians are no humans at all, those beasts.”

    SOT, Muhsin, migrant (Arabic): “We crossed the border from the woods and the Macedonian soldiers caught us, they immediately got us. They treated us like animals. We had small children with us, but they did not care. They took our pictures then threw us in a room and beat us.”

    SOT, Muhsin, migrant (Arabic): “They left us in that room for eight hours without any food. We cannot go back now, there is no going back for us. We lost everything trying to come here to Europe, but we cannot enter Europe. Now we cannot go back, they destroyed our papers, they tore them, our passports are gone, we have nothing anymore.”

  12. Secret Cable: Belgium Thought It Was Slowing ISIS Tide

    A government document obtained by NBC News shows that just four months before Tuesday’s Brussels attacks, Belgian officials believed they were making progress in defusing the threat posed by ISIS terrorists in Belgium.

    A confidential U.S. cable describes how the Belgian officials outlined the nuts and bolts of their aggressive new counter-terrorism program in meetings with U.S. counterparts.

    During the meetings last Nov. 3 and 4, former U.S. Ambassador to Tunisia Jake Walles — now the State Department’s senior advisor on foreign fighters — warned Belgium that “returning fighters pose a significant destabilizing threat and noted the relatively high number of Belgian fighters,” the cable said.

    Frank Arnauts, the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ director for Security Policy, agreed, saying that his country “likely has provided the largest number of fighters in Syria per capita.” But Arnaut also said that Belgium was slowing the flow.

    By November, he told U.S. officials, about 500 people had left Belgium to fight in Syria, and 200 or so remained there. Another 100 were somewhere in transit, he said, about 70 more had been killed in fighting and at least 128 had returned home.

    But the trend of fighters departing for Syria “appeared to be slowing,” to just six to eight a month, or about half as many as a year earlier, Arnauts said.

    The cable said that Arnauts “believed flows had ebbed largely due to a strong city-level prevention network across the country, cooperation with the government of Turkey on justice issues and border controls, and coalition bombings that have reduced the motivation of potential fighters.”

    Arnauts “attributed the downward trend to the ‘apparatus’ that was put into place at the local level to track and follow-up with returnees and provide rehabilitation as necessary,” said the cable.

    According to the cable, Belgian officials “highlighted” their efforts to track, rehabilitate, and reintegrate into society some returning fighters on the local level, while prosecuting others. They cited improved efforts to reduce the number of new recruits, and more funding for social prevention programs in 10 “hot spot” cities throughout Belgium.

    A counterterrorism advisor to Belgium’s ministry of the interior spoke of “raising awareness … and providing training to “high risk communities,” and of how “reintegration and speedy prosecution helped promote resilience” with the 10 hot spot cities. The program’s main focus, he said, was Antwerp.

    U.S. officials then asked the Belgians to share what the cable called “their unique and successful grassroots approach” with other countries seeking to counter the fast-growing threat posed by ISIS within their borders, according to the cable.

    Nine days after the meetings between U.S. and Belgian officials, ISIS fighters operating from a base in the Molenbeek neighborhood of Brussels attacked the Bataclan concert hall and other targets in Paris, killing 130 and injuring hundreds more. The worst terrorist attacks in Europe in a decade ignited concerns that ISIS sleeper cells were planning more strikes, and Belgium appeared to be the center of their operations.

    Authorities across Europe unleashed waves of counter-terrorism raids aimed at stopping additional bloodbaths. Manhunts in Belgium produced numerous arrests and significant evidence of more attack planning. Just last Friday, Belgian authorities arrested key Bataclan suspect Salah Abdeslam a few blocks from where they believe the Paris attacks – and possibly also this week’s Brussels strikes – were planned.

    Western counter-terrorism officials say new information coming in about the perpetrators of Tuesday’s attacks, and about Abdeslam’s ability to avoid capture for four months, raises serious questions about Belgium’s ability to counter the spread of jihadism inside its borders – and the success of its anti-ISIS campaign.

    One senior U.S. counter-terrorism official noted that Belgian authorities are well aware of their continuing problems, and described the participants in the November meetings as “diplomats, and they always put their best foot forward.”

    “But I think it’s embarrassing,” he added. “It’s just days before the Paris attacks, and everything is hunky dory in Belgium.”


    Brussels attack: President Erdogan says bomber was caught in Turkey last year and deported to Belgium

    Turkey warned Belgium he was a militant, the president said

    One of the Brussels attackers was caught in Turkey in June last year and deported to Belgium, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said.

    Belgium authorities released the suspect despite Turkish warnings he was “a foreign fighter”, the president added.

    He did not name the attacker, who he said was detained at Turkey’s border with Syria at Gaziantep.

    President Erdogan said: “Despite our warnings that this person was a foreign terrorist fighter, Belgium could not establish any links with terrorism.”

  13. Poland PM refuses to take in migrants after Brussels attacks

    Warsaw (AFP) – Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo on Wednesday said Warsaw would not take in its share of migrants under an EU plan because of the jihadist attacks that killed 31 people in Brussels.

    “We’re forced above all to ensure the security of our fellow citizens,” Szydlo said, urging Europe against accepting “thousands of migrants who come here only to improve their life conditions.”

    Among these migrants “there are also terrorists”.

  14. IS Trains 400 Fighters to Attack Europe in Wave of Bloodshed (abcnews, Mar 23, 2016)

    “The Islamic State group has trained at least 400 fighters to target Europe in deadly waves of attacks, deploying interlocking terror cells like the ones that struck Brussels and Paris with orders to choose the time, place and method for maximum carnage, The Associated Press has learned.

    The network of agile and semiautonomous cells shows the reach of the extremist group in Europe even as it loses ground in Syria and Iraq. The officials, including European and Iraqi intelligence officials and a French lawmaker who follows the jihadi networks, described camps in Syria, Iraq and possibly the former Soviet bloc where attackers are trained to attack the West. Before being killed in a police raid, the ringleader of the Nov. 13 Paris attacks claimed to have entered Europe in a multinational group of 90 fighters, who scattered “more or less everywhere.”….”

  15. Turkish Media Tycoon, Bank Chairman Charged in Fuel-Smuggling Case (wsj, Mar 23, 2016)

    “ISTANBUL—A court in Istanbul has accepted a prosecutor’s indictment accusing a Turkish media tycoon and the chairman of Turkey’s largest publicly traded bank of involvement in fuel smuggling, the state-run Anadolu news agency said Wednesday….”

  16. Two Iraqis sentenced in Finland for posting images of themselves holding severed heads of ISIS fighters on Facebook (dailymail, Mar 23, 2016)

    “Two Iraqi men have been given suspended sentences after they posted images of themselves holding severed heads of enemy fighters on Facebook.

    An Iraqi Shi’ite militiaman and an Iraqi army sergeant were handed 16 and 13 months respectively by the courts in Finland today.

    The two men were arrested after arriving in Finland last year and were charged with war crimes.

    The charges involved desecration of bodies in incidents in 2014 and 2015 in Iraq, where government forces are embroiled in war with Islamic State militants.

    At trials in two separate district courts, the defendants admitted posting the pictures online but denied involvement in the deaths of the decapitated fighters.

    ‘One of the men said he was pictured with remains of an (Islamic State) suicide bomber.
    ‘The other said the picture was of an enemy combatant who had died during a battle,’ said Juha-Mikko Hamalainen, the Helsinki district prosecutor in charge.

    ‘The charges were based on the evidence we had. We have not prosecuted similar cases in Finland before, so the verdicts set a necessary precedent for the future.’…”

  17. Amnesty says 30 Afghans forcibly returned from Turkey (reuters, Mar 23, 2016)

    “Amnesty International accused Turkey on Wednesday of forcibly returning some thirty Afghan asylum-seekers to Afghanistan despite them fearing Taliban attacks, soon after a migration agreement was reached with the European Union.

    Last week, the European Union sealed a deal with Turkey, criticized by human rights groups, that was intended to halt illegal migration flows to Europe in return for financial and political rewards for Ankara.

    “Turkey’s forcible return of around 30 Afghan asylum seekers just hours after the European Union-Turkey refugee deal came into force shows that implementing the deal would risk refugees’ lives from the word go,” the human rights group said.

    The Turkish foreign ministry was not immediately available for comment…”

  18. German police unions: More money needed to defeat terror (DW, Mar 23, 2016)

    “Europe’s security forces need to work closer together to combat terrorism, the head of one of Germany’s police unions has warned. He said that an attack on a German city would be inevitable “in the long run.”

    Rainer Wendt, the head of one of Germany’s biggest police unions, DPolG, has described the Brussels bombings as an “alarm signal” for all of Europe. “We have to expect a long period of terror,” he told the “Passauer Neue Presse” newspaper – before adding that an attack on a German city appeared inevitable at some point.

    “London, Madrid, Paris, now Brussels. German cities won’t be spared in the long run,” he said.

    “We’ve been lucky so far.” He added that the immediate priority was to catch the Brussels suspects still on the run, some of whom may have crossed into other countries.

    Wendt called for Germany to accelerate the reinforcement of security precautions in the country.

    German federal police are currently ramping up their specialist anti-terror units, and stocking up on equipment like bulletproof vests and helmets and armored vehicles – something Wendt believes could have been done much earlier.

    “That’s all happening now very hectically, even though the growing threat has been known for years,” he said. “Up to now federal police officers have had to drive to border controls in an ordinary VW bus.”

    More money

    Wendt also took a swing at the new budget plan presented by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble on Wednesday. “Additional billions are being spent on a solidarity pact in the federal budget. But I’m waiting in vain for a billion-euro package for domestic security.”

    The German government said it was increasing its domestic security budget by 2.1 billion euros by 2020 in Wednesday’s new plan. The Finance Ministry said this amounted to an “above average” increase, and underlined that the focal points would be “strengthening the security forces and the federal police.”….”

  19. Autonomous IS cells are ‘worst nightmare’ for security: experts (france24, Mar 23, 2016)

    “Jihadist cells like the one that carried out the Brussels attacks are supported by the Islamic State group’s leadership in the Middle East, but are choosing themselves where and when to strike, experts say.

    And that degree of autonomy is making them all the more difficult to track, and doubly dangerous.

    “These are security personnel’s worst nightmare. Because they’re almost impossible to prevent, they can hit almost any soft target possible,” said Robert Taylor, a terrorism and security expert at the University of Texas at Dallas…”

  20. Rights groups slam Hungary over detention of asylum-seekers (france24, Mar 23, 2016)

    “Rights groups in Hungary slammed Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government Wednesday for its “degrading treatment” of asylum-seekers and torture victims fleeing war zones, accusing it of failing to meet obligations under EU law.

    “Major and systemic shortcomings” were revealed during monitoring of closed camps in Hungary between July 2014 and January 2016, according to the report presented to journalists by refugee rights groups the Cordelia Foundation and the Hungarian Helsinki Committee.

    These included lack of mechanisms to identify traumatised asylum-seekers, and factors that led to “re-traumatisation” in detention like poor access to information, and medical or psychological care, as well as limitations on contact with the outside world and internal freedom of movement.

    “A significant part of asylum-seekers arriving in Europe, particularly from Syria, Afghanistan, or Somalia, are torture victims,” said Lilla Hardi, a psychiatrist with the Cordelia Foundation.

    One asylum-seeker cited in the report said his experience in Hungary triggered “flashbacks” of his previous torture.

    “If I do fall asleep, nightmares wake me up. Right after waking up, it strikes me like an electric shock that I am again in a prison, and I am terrorised that they will hurt me again,” the asylum-seeker said.

    Traumatised asylum-seekers should get the protection they deserve, rather than “degrading treatment and post-migration trauma”, said Marta Pardavi, co-head of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee.

    The report, titled “From Torture to Detention” said between 2013 and 2015 over 9,000 asylum-seekers were detained by Hungary, for periods of up to six months.

    As of February 1, some 440 people were held in three detention centres in Hungary, said Gabor Gyulai, a refugee programme coordinator with the Helsinki Committee.

    The government calls the centres “closed camps”, but Gyulai said the facilities are were in effect “jails”.

    “There are guards, dogs, camps, bars, they are locked in cells, this is detention under any standards,” he said.

    “Detention of first-time asylum-seekers should be used as a last resort but it has been a massively applied policy for a long time in Hungary, one of the few EU members to do so,” he added.

    In some cases the shortcomings were in direct contradiction with obligations under EU law to protect torture victims from degrading treatment and ensure their medical and psychological well-being, the report concluded.

    Its recommendations — including improving access to the Internet, more freedom of movement, and involving non-governmental organisations in providing care and services — could be implemented, as the experts and funding were available, but “there is no political will to do so”, according to Gyulai.

    “Scapegoating asylum-seekers is part of showing voters and the world that Hungary is a tough country, it seems human suffering is not important to the government.””

  21. 3 arrested in Istanbul ‘planned attack on German interests’ (thelocal, Mar 23, 2016)

    “Three suspected Islamic State members arrested in Turkey were planning attacks on Germany’s diplomatic missions or schools in the country, which were closed last week over a terror threat, Turkish media reported Wednesday.

    The three men – a Turk, an Iraqi and a Syrian – were arrested in Istanbul on Tuesday by police acting on information from both Turkey’s and Germany’s intelligence services, Hurriyet newspaper and the broadcaster CNN-Turk reported.

    The suspects, presented as members of an IS cell, are accused of plotting attacks on German interests in Turkey, the reports said.

    Last Thursday, Germany closed its embassy in Ankara, its consulate in Istanbul and German schools in both cities, with Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier citing “very serious” indications of planned attacks.

    Turkish authorities had criticized the closures, saying they were unjustified…”

  22. French transport is vulnerable even with 1,600 more police (thelocal, Mar 23, 2016)

    “France will deploy 1, 600 soldiers and restrict access to transport hubs, but will it really prevent terrorists from carrying out deadly attacks at airports or rail stations?

    The response from the French government was rapid.

    Within hours of bombs ripping through the departure area of Zeventem international airport in Brussels and Maelbeek metro station interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve laid out the latest French response to prevent similar attacks in France.

    A further 1,600 police and gendarmes to be mobilised, including 400 in the Ile-de-France region around Paris.

    The extra reinforcements will be used to boost security at France’s borders as well as air, sea and rail transport hubs, like Charles de Gaulle airport and Gare du Nord rail station. Soldiers will also be used to reinforce police patrols.

    Cazeneuve also said access to public areas of transport hubs will be restricted to those with tickets or valid ID and checks and searches of passengers “will also become systematic”….”

  23. Austria considers arming police with private handguns (thelocal, Mar 23, 2016)

    “Austrian Interior Ministry officials are considering a plan to allow all police officers to carry handguns when off duty.

    The announcement follows the news that gun sales in Austria have been booming, particularly of shotguns which can be sold without a licence. Breakdown of statistics revealed that most of the new buyers of guns were either women or police officers.

    The revelation that men and women who are on the frontline fighting crime are buying guns is regarded as particularly worrying, and now the Interior Ministry is seriously considering providing all police officers with a weapon pass.

    They would then be able to act in the event of a terrorist attack even in their free time.

    Police chiefs and ministry officials feel that if handguns are going to be on the streets then they should be in the hands of qualified law enforcement officials who know how to use them and have been properly trained…”

  24. Amnesty International criticises ‘unprecedented crack down’ on NGOs in Egypt (ahram, Mar 23, 2016)

    “Global rights group Amnesty International criticised Egyptian authorities for reopening investigations into several NGOs for allegedly receiving funds illegally from foreign governments and institutions.

    “Egypt’s civil society is being treated like an enemy of the state, rather than a partner for reform and progress,” Amnesty said in a statement.

    “The Egyptian authorities have moved beyond scaremongering and are now rapidly taking concrete steps to shut down the last critical voices in the country’s human rights community.”

    Last week, a judicial committee overseeing the five-year-old investigation ordered the freezing of assets of four Egyptian human rights activists and their families.

    Rights activists Hossam Bahgat, who founded the Egyptian Initiative for Personnel Rights (EIPR) in 2004, and Gamal Eid, who founded the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) in 2004, were among those whose assets were frozen.

    A Cairo criminal court will review on Thursday the committee’s decision to freeze assets.

    The investigations dates back to 2011, when the Egyptian Ministry of Justice accused several NGOs of illegally receiving funds from foreign entities based on reports issued at the time by the National Security Agency and the General Intelligence Service.”

  25. King calls for global efforts to eliminate terror (saudigazette, Mar 23, 2016)

    “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman strongly condemned the terror attacks in Brussels on Tuesday.

    The King also called for joint international efforts to confront and eliminate this dangerous scourge of terrorism which is condemned by all divine religions and international norms and conventions.

    In a cable sent to King Philippe of Belgium, King Salman offered condolences over the death of innocent civilians in the attacks, the Saudi Press Agency reported. “We came to know with profound grief about the terrorist attacks that took place in Brussels which resulted in deaths and injuries. While strongly condemn these criminal acts, and join in sharing the pain of Your Excellency and the people of Belgium. On behalf of the government and people of Saudi Arabia, we condole Your Excellency, the families of the victims and the brotherly people of Belgium.”

    Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Naif, deputy premier and minister of interior, and Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, second deputy premier and minister of defense, also sent similar cables of condolences to King Philippe.

    The General Secretariat of Senior Scholars Commission condemned the terrorist attacks in Belgium, saying that the entire world must work together to fight terrorism whatever its source and wherever it targets.

    The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Iyad Madani also condemned in the strictest terms the terrorist attacks at various locations in the Belgian capital on Tuesday morning.

    Madani conveyed his sincere condolences to the families of the victims as well as to the government and people of Belgium and wished speedy recovery of the wounded.

    The chief of the pan Islamic body reaffirmed the OIC’s unwavering solidarity and support to Belgium at this critical and painful time.

    The secretary general expressed his firm rejection of these terrorist acts, which violate the sanctity of human life and reiterated OIC’s principled and consistent position in condemning terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

    He also called upon all governments across the world, international organizations and civil society institutions to engage in a concerted joint firm action to combat the scourge of terrorism which represents a serious threat to international peace and security.

    Dr. Abdullatif Al-Zayani, secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), also condemned the terrorist bombings in Brussels.

    In a statement, Al-Zayani described the attacks as a horrendous crime that contradicts moral and humanitarian principles and values as well as international laws. The secretary general reiterated GCC states’ rejection of terrorism in all their forms and manifestations, stressing their support for the Belgian government in all the legal measures that it takes to tackle such criminal terrorist acts.”

  26. 3 senior Taliban commanders among 13 killed in Ghazni province (khaama, Mar 23, 2016)

    “Three senior Taliban commanders were killed together with their eleven fighters during a gun battle with the Afghan security forces in the restive southeastern Ghazni province.

    According to the local security officials the Taliban commanders were identified as Zalmai, Fedayi and Ghulam Rasool who were killed after attacking the security posts in Gilan district…”

  27. 12-year-old suicide bomber surrender to Afghan forces in Nangarhar (khaama, Mar 23, 2016)

    “A 12-year-old child assigned for a suicide mission surrendered himself to the security forces in the eastern Nangarhar province of AFghanistan.

    According to the local security officials, the child was recently taken to Jalalabad city from the neighboring Pakistan for the suicide mission…”

  28. 33 militants killed, 16 wounded in Afghan forces clearance operations (khaama, Mar 23, 2016)

    “At least 33 militants were killed and 16 others were wounded during the clearance operations conducted jointly by the Afghan national security forces.

    The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said the militants were killed or wounded in the past 24 hours in various provinces of the country.

    A statement by MoD said at least 21 of the militants were killed during the operations in Gilan and Andar districts of Ghazni and Bakwa district of Farah province.

    The statement further added that 10 militants were also wounded during the same operations, while 9 militants were killed and 3 others were wounded during a separate operation in Sangin district of Helmand and Achin and Kot districts of Nangarhar province.

    At least 3 militants were killed and 3 others were detained during operations in Ghorian district of Herat and Gomal district of Paktika province, MoD added.

    The anti-government armed militant groups have not commented regarding the report so far.

    The Afghan national security forces have stepped up counter-terrorism operations amid deteriorating security situation across the country as the anti-government armed militant groups have increased to their insurgency activities during the recent months.”

  29. Daesh commander among five killed in drone strike in Nangarhar (khaama, Mar 23, 2016)

    “Five members of the militant group of the Islamic State (IS) which is also known by its Arabic name Daesh have been killed in a drone strike in Achin district of eastern Nangarhar province, an official said on Wednesday.

    Achin’s governor Haji Ghalib Mujahid said the insurgents were targeted in Bandar area late Tuesday afternoon…”

  30. Belgian-Muslim Civic Associations to Propose Strategies to Counter terrorism (moroccoworldnews, Mar 23, 2016)

    “Two Muslim civic organizations in Belgium will play a “think tank role” and propose preventative measures to counter extremism in the country, which experienced terrorist attacks on a subway station and an airport in its capital Tuesday morning.

    In a press release published on Tuesday by the Union of Mosques in the Brussels Region (UMRB) and the Platform for Muslims in Belgium (PBM), the two organizations condemned the bombings committed by two Belgian brothers named Khalid el-Bakraoui, aged 27, and Ibrahim el-Bakraoui, aged 30.

    At least 31 people were killed and over a 100 people were injured in the attacks.

    “Union of Mosques of the Brussels Region (UMRB) and the Platform of Muslims in Belgium (PMB) would like to strongly condemn the terrorist acts that targeted Belgium and have caused deaths and injuries,” the release said.

    Many Western and Muslim-majority countries have also condemned the attacks and offered Belgium assistance in bringing the perpetrators to justice.

    A portion of Brussels’ Muslim population – representing approximately a quarter of the total metropolitan population – lives in largely segregated communities, which “contributes to the alienation of Muslims” from the mainstream, according to recent reports. The resulting feelings of ostracization have led some Muslim-majority neighborhoods in the Belgian capital to become hotbeds for terrorism.

    Belgian authorities have said that support from Muslim communities in the country have allowed several ISIS fighters to return from Syria or Iraq and hideout in the country for months before being detected.

    Salah Abdeslam, a key organizer of attacks on Paris in November, hid in Molenbeek for four months before authorities caught him on Friday as a result of a “suspiciously large pizza order” and a glass bearing his fingerprints.

    According to the release, PBM and UMRB will come together to help authorities identify extremists and offer counter-terrorism strategies.

    “The UMRB and the PMB intends to play a think tank role by standing at the disposal of the competent authorities to propose a series of preventive measures to dry the roots of extremist discourse in our society,” the organizations added.

    The pair also emphasized that terrorism and its philosophies run counter to Islam’s original values.

    “We are concerned with developing a moderate Islam that conforms to the message of peace and love advocated by our noble religion…for the past 14 centuries,” the statement said.”

  31. Greece: MSF spokesperson says refugees in Idomeni are ‘exhausted’

    Greek Minister of Health Andreas Xanthos visited the refugee camp in Idomeni, Wednesday, where he met with representatives from several NGOs.

    During his visit he talked with health provision organisations including the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders (MSF). Antonis Rigas, the spokesperson of MSF, said that the “population is exhausted and the food is not the best” as a result of overcrowding at the camp.

    • Greece: Refugees protest at Greek-Macedonian border near Evzoni

      Around 50 refugees, including many children, staged a protest at the Greek-Macedonian border near Evzoni, Wednesday.

      The refugees, who live at the nearby Hotel Chara, walked towards the Macedonian border demanding that it reopens.

  32. Brussels terrorist Najim Laachraoui is brother of champion sportsman (express, Mar 23, 2016)

    “THE brother of one of the terrorists behind the ISIS Brussels attacks is a Belgian sporting hero, it has emerged.

    Najim Laachraoui was caught on camera strolling into Brussels airport with Ibrahim El Bakraoui and an unidentified man – before reportedly blowing himself up during the attack.

    But while Laachraoui is hell bent on causing death and destruction in his home country of Belgium, his older brother, Mourad, wears the national flag colours with pride.

    Mourad Laachraoui represents Belgium in Taekwondo and is well respected for his sporting prowess.

    It is understood Mourad has distanced himself from his radicalised sibling and his family are ashamed of the fanatic’s links to Islamic State (ISIS) which has claimed responsibility for the Brussels attacks.

    Najim’s father was interviewed by police following the Paris massacre and is reported to have said that he has not seen him for three years.

    The Laachraoui family is also concerned Najim’s connection to terrorists would harm Mourad’s career.

    The 29-year-old champion won a silver medal in the 54kg category at the world championships held in South Korea last year and has represented Belgium three times…..”

  33. Channel 4 – Frauke Petry interview

    The leader of German, right-wing AfD (Alternative für Deutschland) party speaks to Matt Frein in the wake of the attacks on Brussels.

  34. City of Jihad: Chilling map reveals how Isis fanatics established network of terror where they could plot under noses of police (dailymail, Mar 23, 2016)

    “… Belgian authorities were so focused on nearby Molenbeek, known as a hotbed of jihadism, that they were unaware that Europe’s most wanted man was forming a new terror network in Schaerbeek, another Muslim-dominated area just three miles down the road, they said.

    The local community there views police with contempt, they added, and are unlikely to report terrorists to the authorities even if they do not have jihadi sympathies themselves. ‘Frankly I wasn’t surprised,’ a policewoman who wished to remain anonymous told MailOnline.

    ‘Nobody takes what happens in this district seriously. Every day we arrest well-known criminals and the next day they are back on the streets. ‘It is frustrating that we are doing our work but the justice system doesn’t back us up. ‘These people are not being prosecuted or fined, they are just being released. We arrest them and nothing happens to them. ‘One or two hours later they smile and mock us, believing they are on the winning side.’

    The ‘lack of respect for police and for Belgium’ in the local multicultural community meant that the terror cell could operate without fear of being reported, she added. This made Schaerbeek – which has been ‘off the radar’ for terror police – the ideal place for a deadly jihadi to hide out. ‘We have been asking for the higher authorities to take this district more seriously but it hasn’t happened,’ she said.

    Her commanding officer, who also did not want to be named, agreed. ‘We have not been blind to the fact that something serious has been going on here,’ he said. ‘We have several people under surveillance but there are others that are unknown and blending in with the wall. ‘They are deeply embedded in the local community. They know each other and have family here, but nobody says anything. ‘On the surface it can seem like there are no problems, but deeper down there are big problems.’

    The officers spoke at the scene of one of the police raids that took place in the district last night, near the Ahl Allah mosque. A thick plume of white smoke billowed into the sky as multiple police vans, ambulances and fire engines screamed past. As police tried to control the throngs of young men of Middle Eastern and north African descent who had gathered to watch, they were mocked with hoots and chicken noises….”

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