Terrorism and extremism weekly summary 17 - 23 April

Europe

A lone shooter opened fire from an automatic weapon at police officers and their vehicle in Champs-Élysées, central Paris, on Thursday 20 April. One of the officers did not survive the attack, the other two were injured and the attacker was subsequently shot on the run. The Islamic State (IS) claimed the responsibility for the attack and identified the killed instigator as Abu-Yusuf al-Baljiki. The attack occurred roughly 72 hours before the start of the French presidential election. President Hollande summoned an emergency meeting of the Security Council on Friday morning. The French election is being overseen by about 20,000 policemen and 7,000 soldiers.

Two radicalised young men, who, according to police authorities, allegedly intended to commit a terrorist attack, were arrested in Marseille on Tuesday 18 April. The attack was to take place within several days and its objective was to disrupt the upcoming French presidential election. Following the arrest of the men in question, explosives, pistols and long firearms were secured during house searches.

According to available information, the explosive used by the perpetrator of the attack on Borussia Dortmund football team's bus in Germany on Tuesday, 11 April, could come from army warehouses. One footballer was injured in the attack. The supposed reason for the attack was gaining financial profit through the collapse of the Borussia Dortmund stock prices, caused by the incident.

German police in Bonn is monitoring about 20 Salafists who might pose a potential security risk. In addition, some of these individuals have been involved in conflicts in Iraq or Syria in the past. About 320 people in the city are reportedly part of the radical Salafi movement. German representatives warned about increasing radicalisation in the country, not only of Muslim men but also of women and children. On 12 April, three Salafists were detained in the cities of Bünde and Cologne. They are suspected of having links to individuals arrested last February, who were planning an attack aimed at local security forces.

Russia and post-Soviet space

On Tuesday 18 April, special units of the Russian intelligence agency FSB intervened against Dagestan militants who assaulted police officers during a routine inspection of their vehicle on a highway near Tyube village in Dagestan. The three men, who opened fire at the policemen, were killed in a subsequent shootout with special forces. The event is still being investigated.

Russian FSB also reported that on Monday,17 April in St Petersburg, it detained one of the perpetrators of the St Petersburg metro attack. The arrested man is Abror Azimov, a citizen of Kyrgyz origin, who is now facing charges of preparing a terrorist attack, while the investigation of his involvement in the incident is still taking place. Azimov stated that he did not act on his own and only followed instructions, however, he did not reveal who gave him the instructions.

In Khabarovsk, on Friday 21 April, a young man armed with an automatic weapon attacked the local FSB headquarters where he killed two people and subsequently was shot dead in a shootout with officers. According to latest reports, the Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack.

Two men suspected of planning terrorist attacks were shot by a Russian counter-terrorist unit in the south of the Stavropol region on Saturday 22 April, as they tried to escape in a vehicle. One of the men was identified as a leader of the group and had provable connections to the IS - it was reported he underwent training in a camp of Islamic militants in the Middle East.

About author: Redakce ESJ

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