Terrorism and extremism weekly summary 3 - 9 July

Europe

According to information from 3 July released by investigators, a 23-year-old man arrested on Wednesday 28 June in Paris was a right-wing extremist accused of preparing a terrorist attack on President Emmanuel Macron. Among other things, the man threatened dark-skinned people, Arabs, Jews and homosexuals. The attack was supposed to happen on 14 July during the celebrations of Bastille Day, and for its execution, the man sought an AK-type assault rifle on the internet using a chat in a computer game. This communication was then given over to the police by the other participants, and the man was subsequently arrested. According to the spokeswoman for the state prosecutor's office, the man probably does not have accomplices and his plan was not very well thought out. The man was allegedly an admirer of the Norwegian right-wing terrorist Anders Breivik.

The G20 group summit in Hamburg, Germany, taking place on 7 - 8 July, was accompanied by widespread street demonstrations and riots with some 100,000 participants protesting capitalism and globalisation. Out of this number, roughly 8,000 were a security risk, the most aggressive participants were members and supporters of left-wing and anarchist groups, collectively called a black block. These protesters are responsible for destroyed and looted property, cars and shop windows, using flammable bottles and stones during their raids. The police answered with water cannons, tear gas and rubber projectiles. Cutting off and neutralising these groups was difficult since they split into smaller groups and dispersed. Roughly 20,000 members of security forces were deployed to secure the situation and according to latest news 476 of them were injured. More than 225 protesters were temporarily detained. 

On Wednesday 5 July, Belgian police, cooperating with the French intelligence agency DGSI, arrested two brothers, Akim and Khalid Saouti, suspected of ties to terrorist groups and planning an attack. During house raids, guns, ammunition and equipment, including AK assault rifles, bulletproof vests and Belgian police uniforms, were found. Both of the men are supposedly brothers of Said Saouti, who was sentenced to six years in prison in 2016 for recruitment into jihadist groups and supporting the so-called Islamic State (IS). Alongside this operation, an arrest of a man suspected of ties to the Saouti brothers through the Kamikaze Riders biker gang also took place in Lille, France

A 19-year-old man suspected of connections to Salman Abedi, the suicide attacker from Manchester, was detained by the British police at the John Lennon Airport in Liverpool on Friday 7 July. Abedi, who killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert, was not a member of a bigger organised group, according to the local counter-terrorist police unit chief, Russ Jackson, but he likely had several accomplices, who the British security forces are currently looking for.

On Saturday 8 July, the Italian police arrested a 38-year-old Chechen man, Eli Bombataliev, who is suspected of connections to the IS. Moreover, the man was supposedly an accomplice during the terror attacks in Grozny in 2014 and was active in Belgium, where he was recruiting new Islamists for conflicts in the Middle East. Between 2014 and 2015 he took part in the war in Syria and afterwards returned to Europe. Here, he operated in a local Islamic cultural centre in the Italian city of Foggia. After his arrest, the police deported two Albanian brothers and a woman of Russian nationality, who were indoctrinated and trained by Bombataliev.

Middle East

On Friday 7 July, a group of militants attacked a checkpoint of the Egyptian army in el-Barth, a village near the Rafah border crossing at the Sinai peninsula, and killed at least 23 soldiers including a commanding officer. The Islamists rammed the gate of the site with a vehicle first and then detonated it. A shootout with the soldiers followed, lasting almost 30 minutes, then the attackers looted the site and retreated. The responsibility for the attack has so far not been claimed by any groups, but the most likely suspect is the IS, whose presence in the north of Sinai is well known.

About author: Redakce ESJ

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