Terrorism and extremism weekly summary 19-25 February

Europe

In Albi, southern France, a 32-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday 20 February during a joint operation of the French and Spanish police and was subsequently charged with involvement in the preparation of the Barcelona and Cambrils attacks last year when a total of 16 people were killed and more than 120 injured. The man was to be linked to Driss Oukabir, the brother of the Cambrils attacker and an alleged member of the jihadist cell responsible for both attacks.

Mohamed Abdeslam, the older brother of the co-organiser of the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks Salah Abdeslam, was arrested in the Belgian town of Molenbeek-Saint-Jean on suspicion of involvement in an armed attack on Thursday 22 February, along with three other people. The attack, which occurred on 23 January, targetted three state officials transferring some €70.000 to one of the local banks.

On Saturday 24 February, the Czech police detained 67-year-old Salih Muslim in Prague on the basis of an international arrest warrant issued on Turkey's request by Interpol. Muslim is the former leader of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Turkey considers a political branch of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). The PKK itself is considered a terrorist organization not only by Turkey but also by the United States. The PYD is the leading Kurdish political group operating in northern Syria, where Musilim allegedly maintains considerable influence despite his departure. He is also a strong critic of Turkish President Erdogan, and a prize of almost 22 million Czech Crowns has been announced for his capture. Negotiations between the Czech Republic and Ankara on Muslim' extradition are currently taking place.

An unknown man attacked the US embassy in the Montenegrin capital Podgorica using hand grenades on Wednesday 21 February. The man threw one grenade into the embassy building, but a second grenade exploded in the attacker's hand and killed him. No one else was injured in the attack. The motive for the attack is still being investigated, but the incident may be linked to Montenegro's NATO accession last May.

South Asia

At least 24 people were killed during several attacks by rebel groups in various locations in Afghanistan on Saturday 24 February. The Taliban Islamist militant group killed at least 18 soldiers in an attack on an Afghan National Army (ANA) station in the Farah province in western Afghanistan. A suicide bombing attack near the so-called Green Zone in Kabul resulted in three more deaths and five injuries the same day and a Taliban attack in the Helmand Province claimed three more victims. The attacks occurred as the country was visited by a senior NATO delegation which negotiated with President Ashraf Ghani on the continued support of Alliance countries for peacebuilding and the country's renewal.

Africa

At least 38 people died on Friday 23 February during a double bombing attack in Mogadishu, Somalia, when five attackers tried to penetrate the presidential palace building and attack prominent government officials. They first tried to break the gate at the checkpoint in front of the palace complex with vehicles loaded with explosive but were stopped by security forces. The attackers then detonated one of the vehicles there, while the other exploded in front of a nearby hotel. Afterwards, the militants started a firefight with government forces and were killed. The Al-Shabaab Islamist group has taken responsibility for the attack.

About author: Redakce ESJ

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