Terrorism and extremism weekly summary 12 - 18 June

Europe

On Sunday 18 June, an unknown attacker drove a van into a group of Muslims exiting a mosque in London. The incident happened at a mosque in Finsbury Park, one of the largest in London. Due to the ongoing month of Ramadan, hundreds of believers were present at the mosque even despite the late hours when the attack took place. It is currently speculated that the attack killed at least one person and ten more are injured. The attacker was restrained by bystanders and subsequently detained by the police. Even though his motive is not known yet, British representatives mention possible terrorist subtext. The most likely motive behind the attack is revenge for the recent terrorist attacks in Britain committed by radical Muslims.

Elite detectives from the British Metropolitan Counter-terrorism Unit arrested a 52-year-old man after a house raid in Barking, London, on 13 June. This district has been a common target for raids by British security forces recently, mainly in connection with the attack on London Bridge. The man has been charged with spreading hateful terrorist propaganda, but a specific connection to the London Bridge attack has not been proven.

A fourth man suspected of planning bomb attacks against Marine Le Pen’s election team and polling stations in Marseille in April has been detained by the counter-terrorism unit of the French intelligence service, DGSI, in Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy on Tuesday 13 June. The two main planners of the attack, Clément Baur and Mahiedine Merabet, were arrested on 19 April; the other detained suspect is a 24-year-old Chechen man. Firearms and roughly three kilograms of explosives were found during house raids, as well as a recording where both of the main planners pledge loyalty to the so-called Islamic State (IS).

According to the German Federal Prosecutor’s office, the German police arrested four men suspected of ties to the terrorist organisation Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, previously known as Al-Nusra Front, on Monday 12 June. The men were arrested during raids in Hamburg, Lübeck and Harburg. The men (Mustafa K., Abdullah K., Sultan K. and Ahmed K.) are brothers who joined Jabhat Fateh al-Sham in January 2012, two of them also fought against the Kurdish YPG in Syria. More information about their activities and intentions in Germany has not yet been released.

Middle East and South Asia

On Sunday 18 June, a Taliban assault group attacked a local police station in Gardez, Paktia Province in Afghanistan, and killed five policemen, with 22 other people (including civilians) being injured. There were seven attackers and, according to the police spokesperson, all of them were killed in a shootout with the security forces. On Thursday 15 June, Kabul was shaken by an explosion when suicide bombers attacked the Al-Zahra Shia mosque at the time of evening prayers during the holy month of Ramadan. The attackers have been prevented from entering the mosque by the police, but during a subsequent shootout they managed to fight their way into the mosque’s kitchen, where they detonated their bombs. The explosion killed four people and injured eight more. Responsibility for the attack has been claimed by the IS shortly after.

About author: Redakce ESJ

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