• Drones vs. balloons

    Israel’s famed military prowess has come up against a decidedly low-tech adversary, the humble party balloon, and found itself thwarted. Over the past few weeks, the residents of the Gaza Strip have let loose a barrage of colorful kites with burning tails as well as festive balloons, sometimes condoms, with fuel-soaked strips of cloth. They land inside Israeli territory, often starting serious fires. Israel has now deployed a system to track balloons and kites carrying burning material across the border.

  • Bioterrorism

    German police investigators have found more than 3,000 castor bean seeds in the Cologne apartment of a 29-year old Tunisian, who was arrested last week for making a biological weapon. The quantity of castor seeds was much larger than initially thought. Castor beans are used in making the toxin ricin. The suspect, who is married to a German woman, had been under police surveillance for contacts with Islamist extremists.

  • Syria

    Israel has not commented on background-only briefing by a senior U.S. official, who said that Israeli air-strike early Monday morning killed 52 Assad regime-allied troops eastern Syria. What is notable about the attack is its location — the town of al Hari in Deir Ezzor, near the border with Iraq, hundreds of miles from Israel – and the fact that among those killed were 22 members of Kata’ib Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed Iraqi Shia militia.

  • Designer pathogens

    Synthetic biology expands the possibilities for creating new weapons — including making existing bacteria and viruses more harmful — while decreasing the time required to engineer such organisms, concludes a new report by the National Academies of Sciences. Although some malicious applications of synthetic biology may not seem plausible right now, they could become achievable with future advances.

  • Terrorism

    Mullah Fazullah, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, has been killed in a U.S. air strike in Afghanistan, an Afghanistan military official has said. Fazlullah was Pakistan’s most-wanted militant. He ordered the 2014 attack which killed 132 children, and the 2012 shooting of schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, who was later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

  • Bioterrorism

    Police in the German city of Cologne on Friday searched several empty apartments in a high-rise, following the Tuesday discovery of the highly toxic substance ricin in one of the apartments. On Thursday, police charged a 29-year-old Tunisian man with producing a biological weapon and for “preparing a serious act of violence against the state.”

  • Drones

    Loa Alamos National Laboratory, in collaboration with the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), has deployed a system to counter all unauthorized unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) over its restricted airspace and an additional FAA designated “No Drone Zone.” The Counter-UAS program at Los Alamos will be the blueprint for future programs at three other NNSA sites. Systems are planned for the Pantex Plant in Texas, the Y-12 facility in Tennessee, and the National Nuclear Security Site in Nevada.

  • Terrorism

    The police in Cologne, Germany, on Tuesday arrested 29-year old Sief Allah H. for trying to build biological weapons in his apartment. He came to Germany in 2016 and had been under police surveillance for terrorist sympathies. In mid-May he ordered 1,000 castor seeds — the main ingredient for used in ricin toxin — and a coffee grinder from an online store. In June he managed to produce the toxin June.

  • Terrorism

    Official figures show that the number of terrorism-related arrests in Britain reached a record high after a series of attacks were conducted around the country last year. In the year ending 31 March, 441 people were held on suspicion of terrorism-related activity, the highest number of arrests in one year since data collection started in 2001, and an increase of 17 percent on 378 in the previous year.

  • Drones

    Drones have become a mainstay of U.S. counterterrorism operations and national security policy writ large. The Obama administration popularized the use of armed drones, and U.S. drone policy have only become more salient during the Trump administration – but the Trump administration’s approach to U.S. drone policy has thus far revealed a desire to roll back some of the principles, procedures, and guidelines put in place by the Obama administration.

  • Terrorism

    Addressing an international conference on terror, Shin Bet Director Nadav Argaman said that his agency has prevented 250 terror attacks in 2018. Argaman said that among the prevented terror attacks were significant ones including suicide bombings, kidnappings, and shootings. Testifying before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee last December, Argaman said that the security service had thwarted more than 400 terrorist attacks in 2017, including 13 planned suicide attacks, eight kidnappings and 1,100 potential lone-wolf attacks.

  • African security

    Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province is being held to ransom by an Islamist guerrilla movement. After months of skirmishes between police and members of the Al Sunnah wa Jama’ah, the region has now erupted into full violence. How did it reach this point? Several factors – social, economic and political – have allowed an Islamist insurgency to develop in the north of Mozambique. Most are local issues rather than the outcome of an international, cross-border conspiracy.

  • Radicalization

    In ethnically alike communities where poverty levels run high, anti-Muslim internet searches are strongly associated with pro-ISIS searches, according to a new analysis. This pattern, say the authors of a new study, suggests that counterterrorism policies targeting Muslims may do the opposite of what they intend, making these communities even more vulnerable to radicalization.

  • Terrorism

    The European Union (EU) countries lost around €180 billion ($212 billion) in GDP terms due to terrorism between 2004 and 2016, according to a new study. According to the study, changes in economic behavior could be the reason behind the observed negative effects on economic growth, as people and companies change their purchasing, saving and investing behaviors following terror attacks. The UK (€43.7 billion) and France (€43 billion) suffered the highest economic losses in GDP terms due to terrorism.

  • Peace index

    The 2018 Global Peace Index (GPI) finds that the global level of peace has deteriorated by 0.27 percent in the last year, marking the fourth successive year of deteriorations. Ninety-two countries deteriorated, while 71 countries improved. The 2018 GPI reveals a world in which the tensions, conflicts, and crises that emerged in the past decade remain unresolved, especially in the Middle East, resulting in a gradual, sustained fall in peacefulness. The Top 5 most peaceful countries are Iceland, New Zealand, Austria, Portugal, and Denmark. The least peaceful countries: Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Iraq, and Somalia.

  • Hemispheric security

    An Argentine federal appeals court ruled that Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman was murdered as a “direct consequence” of his accusations of former president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of covering up Iran’s role in the July 1994 attack on the AIMA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. Nisman was investigating the ties between Tehran and the Jewish community center bombing in Buenos Aires, as well as a cover up by the previous Argentine government of Iran’s role in the attack.  

  • Hate speech

    In his first major public speaking appearance since February 2018, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan delivered a nearly three-hour sermon filled with attacks on Jews and Judaism from his pulpit at Mosque Maryam in Chicago on Sunday, 27 May. Farrakhan warned his audience about “Satanic Jews who have infected the whole world with poison and deceit,” charging that Jews are responsible for promoting child molestation, misogyny, police brutality and sexual assault, among other social ills.

  • Hate speech

    Alexander Gauland, the co-leader of the far-right, xenophobic Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, has described the Nazi era as a brief and insignificant episode in Germany’s otherwise glorious history. In the October 2017 German election, the AfD was actively supported by the same Kremlin’s hackers and disinformation specialists who effectively interfered in the U.S. 2016 presidential election. The AfD emerged as Germany’s third-largest party.

  • Deradicalization

    What is the most appropriate way of ensuring that returnees from the conflict in the Middle East do not go on to carry out attacks in the U.K.? Likewise, as those convicted of terrorism offenses in the U.K. continue to be released into the community at the end of their sentence, how do we ensure their positive transition into mainstream society?

  • Terrorism

    A stabbing and shooting attack in the eastern Belgian city of Liege has left two police officers and a passer-by dead. Authorities have launched a terror investigation. Belgium remains on edge following several years of extremist Islamist activity.