Terrorism and extremism weekly summary 2-8 October

Europe

On Monday, 2 October, Russian FSB security service released a statement saying they arrested members of an Islamic State sleeper cell at the end of September. The number of people involved has not yet been revealed, but according to witnesses, at least three people were arrested. The group's members were Russian citizens from Northern Caucasus. The sleeper cell was located in the Moscow region and was planning an attack on transport infrastructure. There were grenades, firearms and explosives found during the arrests. The Islamic State considers Russia its enemy due to Russian intervention in Syria.

On Thursday 5 October, a bomb was found at a construction site of the Lafarge company in Paris. The company is being accused of financing the Islamic State and admitted it has resorted to "unacceptable practices" to keep its factory in Syria. The bomb composed of gas canisters and a detonator and was placed near trucks. This can also be related to the finding of another bomb planted in a densely-populated Parisian neighbourhood on Saturday 30 September. On Tuesday 3 October, investigators from the French anti-terrorism unit questioned five detainees suspected of planting a bomb in an apartment building in Paris. These bombs also contained two gas canisters connected to a mobile phone. According to French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb, one of the detainees was known to the intelligence services as radical.

On Wednesday 4 October, the intelligence service in Thuringia, Germany, informed that neo-Nazis are obtaining firearms legally through memberships in shooting clubs more and more frequently. The service's Director, Stephan Kramer, said he intends to cooperate with these clubs to limit the neo-Nazis' access to weapons. Even though the neo-Nazis are inclined to acquire weapons, these do not need to be used in criminal practices, according to Jan Rathje, the Program Director of the Amadeu Antonie Foundation which focuses on the fight against right-wing extremism.

Middle East

On Monday 2 October, two suicide bombers attacked a police station in Damascus, Syria. At least 17 people were killed during the attack, including policemen, and the first floor of the building was damaged. The attackers used several bombs at first - according to available information, a car loaded with explosives was used - and then detonated themselves. In reaction to this attack, the Russian army stated that their aerial attacks killed over 300 Islamic State fighters.

On Wednesday 4 October, a bomb planted by Kurdish fighters killed four Turkish soldiers and injured four more during their transport in a military vehicle. The incident took place in southeastern Turkey near the Iranian border. The attack was most likely committed by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) which is considered a terrorist organisation. 

A suicide attacker detonated near a Sufi sanctuary in Islamabad, Pakstan on Thursday 5 October. Police officer Muhammad Iqbal told the media that the attacker was stopped at the main entrance when trying to enter the main part of the sanctuary. The police started firing at him and he managed to detonate his bomb. Altogether, 18 people were killed and 25 injured.

About author: Jan Merička

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