Terrorism and extremism weekly summary 11-17 December

Europe

Task force units of the German police conducted raids on nine residences in Berlin and Saxony-Anhalt on Thursday 14 December, during which they seized evidence for the investigation of a group allegedly connected to the so-called Islamic State (IS). The police did not disclose if any suspects were arrested during the raids. The main suspects are four men aged 18-21, three of which are currently in Syria, the fourth was to help them leave Germany. Furthermore, German media mentioned possible cooperation between these suspects and the Berlin Christmas market attacker, Anis Amiri.

The former leader of British far-right Britain First party Paul Golding was arrested in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on Thursday 14 December due to hateful and racist speeches he made during a meeting of the Northern Ireland Against Terrorism initiative on 6 August. Jayda Fransen, his deputy, has already been arrested in November and is facing similar charges as Golding, both of them are to appear in court in mid-January next year. Britain First is known for organising anti-Islamic marches, so-called Christian Patrols, which are, however, condemned by official church representatives.

A 39-year-old man was arrested in the Galliagh neighbourhood in Londonderry, Nothern Ireland, on Thursday 14 December in connection with a suspicious package found the previous night. Residents of surrounding buildings were evacuated for a short period of time after the discovery of the package, which was suspected to contain explosives. Specific information about the connection between the package and the man's arrest has not been made public so far, police representatives only stated the suspect was arrested due to his violent dissident activities.

Russia and post-Soviet space

Russia's FSB internal intelligence service uncovered and disabled an IS cell active in Saint Petersburg during raids on Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14 December. The group was planning terrorist attacks on the local Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan and other busy areas. These attacks, which were planned to take place on Saturday 16 December, were to be carried out by suicide attackers and active shooters. The police detained seven people and secured large amounts of explosives, automatic weapons and ammunition in the raids. According to the latest information, the FSB received a tip by the CIA, the US intelligence agency, on where to find the terrorists’ hideouts.

Middle East and South Asia

On Wednesday 13 December, 22 foreigners were arrested in Istanbul, Turkey, for being suspected IS members. The Turkish police conducted nine raids in four parts of the city and aside from the arrests, important evidence, including digital data carriers containing IS propaganda materials, was secured.

On Saturday 16 December, 14 members of the police forces were killed and three more were injured in an attack by Taliban militants on a checkpoint in Lashkargah in the Helmand province in southern Afghanistan. Supposedly, an altercation between policemen took place and Taliban members started firing at the police shortly after. Helmand is one of the most dangerous provinces in the country since half of its 12 districts are controlled by Taliban and the government forces’ control over the rest of the territory primarily only concerns large population centres.

About author: Matěj Novák

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