• Terror tunnel discovered under UNRWA schools as Hamas continues military buildup

    A terror tunnel was discovered under two United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) schools, prompting Israel to file a letter of protest with the United Nations on Friday. A former UNRWA official acknowledged in 2014 that it takes “no steps at all to prevent members of terrorist organizations, such as Hamas, from joining its staff.”

  • Germany testing face-recognition software to help police spot terrorists

    Germany will be testing facial recognition software at a Berlin train station this summer to see whether it can assist police identify terror suspects more quickly. Volunteers will help police test the software at Berlin’s Suedkreuz station. If the test is successful, the use of the biometric software would be expanded to other locations, and also used to help police identify criminals, not only people suspected of terrorist activities.

  • Can the world ever really keep terrorists off the internet?

    After London’s most recent terror attacks, British Prime Minister Theresa May called on countries to collaborate on internet regulation to prevent terrorism planning online. May criticized online spaces that allow such ideas to breed, and the companies that host them. Internet companies and other commentators, however, have pushed back against the suggestion that more government regulation is needed, saying weakening everyone’s encryption poses different public dangers. Many have also questioned whether some regulation, like banning encryption, is possible at all. As a law professor who studies the impact of the internet on society, I believe the goal of international collaboration is incredibly complicated, given global history.

  • New U.S. approach to fighting terrorism in Africa

    The Trump administration is in the process of revising U.S. strategy in Africa, and one of the first indications of this new approach is the greater freedom given to military commanders on the ground to conduct operations against Islamist groups. The most visible demonstration of this approach so far has been in Somalia, where the United States has intensified its involvement with the campaign against al Shabaab. Critics of the administration argue that in many ways the policy still relies on relying too heavily on corrupt and incompetent partners, and that it suffers from not paying sufficient attention to the non-military aspects of the fight against extremist terrorism.

  • Protecting against online privacy attacks

    When Congress voted in March to reverse rules intended to protect internet users’ privacy, many people began looking for ways to keep their online activity private. One of the most popular and effective is Tor, a software system millions of people use to protect their anonymity online. But even Tor has weaknesses, and in a new paper, researchers recommend steps to combat certain types of Tor’s vulnerabilities.

  • West African nations seek $56 million for rapid-response anti-Islamist force

    The countries of West Africa’s Sahel region have requested $56 million from the EU to help set up a multi-national force to take on Islamist militant groups across the vast, arid region. The sparsely populated region has attracted a growing number of jihadist groups, some affiliated with al Qaeda and Islamic State. The G5 Sahel countries — Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Mauritania — have proposed the creation of a capable and mobile regional task force, the mission of which would be to tackle the cross-border Islamist threat.

  • How does IS claim responsibility for a terrorist attack?

    Scholars of terrorism found thatonly one in seven terror attacks is actually claimed by the terrorist group responsible. They argue that groups like IS are composed of two kinds of agents. One is rational leaders with strategic, political objectives. The other is operational foot soldiers, some of whom are not rational. IS’ leaders claim responsibility only when they calculate a political benefit; they refuse to claim responsibility when an attack might hurt the group’s objectives. If this theory is correct, IS claimed responsibility for both the recent Manchester bombing and the London Bridge assaults because its leaders calculated that it would result in a net benefit – like cash from its sympathizers or overreaction from its targets.

  • Lawyers convention leaves Texas over state's new immigration law

    A 15,000-member association of attorneys and law professors said on Wednesday that it is relocating its 2018 convention out of Texas in response to the state legislature passing Senate bill 4, a sweeping and controversial immigration enforcement measure. About 3,000 people were expected to attend the event.

  • New fabric coating could neutralize chemical weapons, save lives

    Chemical weapons are nightmarish. In a millisecond, they can kill hundreds, if not thousands. But, in a new study, scientists report that they have developed a way to adhere a lightweight coating onto fabrics that is capable of neutralizing a subclass of these toxins — those that are delivered through the skin. The life-saving technique could eventually be used to protect soldiers and emergency responders.

  • Russian government hackers planted false news story which caused Gulf crisis: U.S. intelligence

    U.S. intelligence officials say Russian government hackers planted a false news story into the text prepared for release by the official Qatari news agency. The release of the Russian-manufactured story by the official Qatari news agency prompted Saudi Arabia and several of its regional allies to suspend diplomatic relations with Qatar and impose economic sanctions on it. U.S. officials say the Russian goal appears to be to cause rifts among the U.S. and its allies.

  • 12 dead, 42 injured in two ISIS suicide attacks in Tehran

    At least twelve people have been killed and dozens more injured in Tehran, in two-pronged suicide bomb and gun assaults – one on the Iranian parliament and the other on the mausoleum of the founder of the Islamic Republic. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the two attacks. This is the first terrorist act by ISIS inside Iran. Terrorist attacks are rare in Iran’s big cities, but that during the past ten years or so, two Sunni militant groups — Jundallah and its splinter group, Ansar al Furqan — have been conducting a deadly insurgency campaign in more remote areas of the country.

  • Technologically crude attacks rely on communications to generate a wider resonance

    The terrorist attacks of 22 March, 22 May, and 3 June 2017 across the United Kingdom have showed very considerable variation in terms of their modality and choice of targets. They range from an attack on the iconic home of British democracy (22 March) toward an attempt to kindle a war on public relaxation, with massacres at a pop concert in Manchester (22 May) and on pubs and bars around London Bridge (3 June). Such atrocities are low-tech in execution, but they rely upon state-of-the-art communications to generate a wider resonance. There is an inverse relationship between means and effects here. Thus, a tactically crude attack can be launched in the full knowledge that a crowded street will be full of camera footage – dramatic images are guaranteed.

  • Fact Check: are only one in eight counter-terrorism referrals to Prevent made by Muslims?

    Paul Nuttall, leader of the populist UKIP, claimed that only one in eight referrals to Prevent, Britain’s counterterrorism program, comes from the Muslim community. There are at least four problems with this claim. First, suspicious extremist activities are reported to many different organizations – the police, MI5, the Channel program, anti-extremism websites, etc. – not only to Prevent; second, it is not clear how accurate these figures are: Channel notes that between 2012 and 2014, 56 percent of reports of suspicious extremist activity were likely recorded by Muslims; third, since the religion, age, gender, or ethnicity of the often-anonymous tipper are not published by the Home Office (and are often not available to the Home Office), it is difficult make a determination about the percentage of Muslims among the tippers; fourth, the number of referrals made to the Prevent program is not indicative of the success or failure of the counter-extremism strategy: The Manchester suicide bomber, and one of the terrorists in the Saturday London attack, were reported to Prevent and known to the authorities – and they still managed to carry out their deadly attacks.

  • Macron creates counterterrorism task force

    French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday announced the creation of a counterterrorism task force to tackle radicalization and terrorism in France. The task force will initially have twenty full-time specialists working in shifts, 24/7. A spokesperson for the office of the president said that the task force will be animated by this: “A single slogan in watermark: no blind spot will be tolerated.”

  • Brave Millwall fan saved many

    The fans of Millwall Football Club, a soccer club located in Bermondsey, South East London, have long prided themselves on their refusal to duck a fight, celebrating their intimidating reputation with the chant: “No-one likes us, we don’t care.” Roy Larner, a 47-year old Millwall fan, was at the Black and Blue steakhouse on Saturday night when the three terrorists, wielding knives, burst into the restaurant shouting “Islam, Islam, this is for Allah.” Larner did not turn away to run, however. “I took a few steps towards them and said, ‘F*** you, I’m Millwall’. So they started attacking me,” he told the Sun. Larner fought the three attackers with his bare hands, and bleeding profusely, followed them out of the restaurant, continuing to punch them. The police said that had it not been for the fact that Larner stood his ground and occupied the three attackers for a few minutes, the number of dead and injured would have been higher.