Terrorism and extremism weekly summary 5 - 11 June

Europe

According to a report from Friday, 9 June, the Basque nationalist group Eh Ez De Salgai claimed responsibility for an arson attack which took place on 29 May. During the attack, members of the group set on fire and completely destroyed the holiday home of a Spanish couple in Hélette in southern France. Paradoxically, the couple has supported the Basque separatist movement in the past, but, according to a letter sent to the local police station, antagonised this particular group by only using their second home in the Basque Country for several days a year despite unfavourable real estate market conditions. Basque nationalist groups have been conducting similar attacks against property and real estate agencies for several years, the number has risen significantly since 2007 when dozens of arson attacks against immigrated property owners have been observed.

On Saturday, 10 June, the British Metropolitan counter-terrorism unit arrested a 28-year-old man in Barking, London. According to police sources, the arrest is connected to the attack on London Bridge from 3 June. A 29-year-old man has been arrested in Newham, East London, the day before, but no further details have been announced so far. During the night of 7-8 June, the police confirmed the arrests of at least three other people in Newham and Waltham Forest, all accused of terrorist activity. Alongside these arrests, numerous raids have been conducted in London and Manchester since Monday, 6 June. Dozens of other people have been detained or arrested.

Policemen subdued an attacker of Algerian origin, who attacked one of the policemen with a hammer and carried several knives, in front of the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris on 6 June. According to the French Interior Minister, Gerard Collomb, the attacker was shouting slogans about revenge for Syria. The attacked policeman was injured and hospitalised, the attacker was subsequently overpowered by gunfire and also taken to a hospital. The incident is being investigated as a potential terrorist attack.

The German Federal Prosecutor informed about an arrest of a member of the Islamic State (IS), which took place on Wednesday, 7 June, in an unspecified location in Eastern Westphalia, North Rhine-Westphalia. The arrested is a 23-year-old Syrian man named Mohammed G., who first came to Germany in September 2015 and supposedly worked as a producer of IS propaganda. He was apparently working at the A’maq media portal, which is connected to the IS and works as the organisation’s main propaganda channel alongside the al-Naba magazine, to which the man also contributed.

During several raids in Brussels, police arrested 12 people suspected of links to the March 2016 terrorist attacks at the local airport and subway, which killed 32 people. During this operation, 14 raids were conducted altogether, with the main lead being the information concerning explosives taken from a laptop found in a trash can in the Schaerbeek district during previous raids. The computer was found near the apartment where the attackers from the March 2016 attack were picked up by a taxi and taken to the airport.

Middle East

On Wednesday, 7 June, Iran’s capital, Tehran, was shaken by explosions when six armed men dressed as women attacked the local Parliament building and the mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini, leader of the Islamic revolution. Both of these targets have substantial symbolic value, with the mausoleum also being a holy place and a popular destination for Shia pilgrims. The perpetrators were armed with assault rifles hidden in their female clothing, as well as suicide bombs. At least 12 people have been killed during the incident and the terrorists were subsequently killed by security forces. The IS has claimed responsibility for the attack. The Iranian Revolution Guard have threatened retaliation and indirectly pointed out a possible connection to Saudi Arabia, while also mentioning the recent visit by U.S. president Trump.

About author: Redakce ESJ

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