A Paraguayan man with ties to Hizballah pleaded not guilty in Miami federal court on Monday, after being charged with conspiring to distribute massive amounts of cocaine to the United States, the Miami Herald reports.
Paraguay's authorities arrested Ali Issa Chamas in August at an international airport for attempting to smuggle 39 kilos of cocaine. Chamas was extradited to Miami in June and now awaits trial.
But Chamas' indictment failed to reference his intimate relationship to Hizballah associates and operatives.
Chamas is of Lebanese origin and lived in Paraguay over the last decade. In addition to Brazil and Argentina, Paraguay is part of the Tri-Border Area (TBA), a region that enables Hizballah to cultivate a major base of operations. With a large Muslim population featuring significant numbers of Hizballah sympathizers, the terrorist organization uses this area for recruitment, arms smuggling and drug trafficking, and logistics planning for terrorist operations.
The State Department has stated that the TBA remains "an important regional nexus of arms, narcotics, pirated goods, human smuggling, counterfeiting, and money laundering – all potential funding sources for terrorist organizations."
Hizballah also relies on legitimate businesses and front organizations in the region, diversifying its terrorist financing profile to generate a significant portion of its revenues from its Latin American operations.
With Venezuelan government help, the terrorist group continues to expand its presence and consolidate support in other Latin American countries. The Treasury Department revealed that Venezuela's Vice President Tareck El Aissami maintains intimate ties to Hizballah and helped coordinate narcotics shipments to drug cartels operating on the U.S. border, including Mexico's infamous Los Zetas. In 2011, Virginia prosecutors said that a Lebanese man helped the Mexican Los Zetas drug cartel smuggle of more than 100 tons of Colombian cocaine. The U.S. Treasury Department claimed that Hizballah benefitted financially from the criminal network.
The Muslim Brotherhood-linked Hasm Movement claimed responsibility for a deadly terrorist attack targeting Egyptian security forces in Cairo on Sunday.
Its operatives detonated an "anti-vehicle explosive device" under a road "at the Maadi Autostrada south of Cairo... which led to the destruction of the military vehicle and the killing of two officers and the wounding of three other soldiers who still fighting death," said a Hasm Movement statement released shortly after the attack and translated by the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT).
Intelligence collected by Egypt's interior ministry suggests that the Muslim Brotherhood is establishing "terrorist entities," including the Hasm Movement and others, to carry out attacks in an attempt to conceal the Brotherhood's responsibility.
In May, Najah Ibrahim, a former leader of the terrorist organization Gamma'a Islamiya, revealed these terrorist offshoots consist of Muslim Brotherhood youth seeking to escalate violence against the Egyptian regime. Ibrahim told al-Hayat news that some Brotherhood leaders encouraged the terrorist groups to commit violence, according to an IPT translation.
Part of the terrorist group's justification for Sunday's attack alluded to Egypt's controversial and impending transfer of two small islands in the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia.
"The continuation of the criminal coup [Egyptian] regime in selling the homeland, giving up its land and capabilities ... obliges us to undertake more resistance activity to tear them off the chest of this helpless people," the statement said.
Muslim Brotherhood figures continue to engage in violence incitement and encouraging others to conduct terrorist attacks.
In April, a senior Muslim Brotherhood member, 'Izz Al-Din Dwedar, called for an "intifada" targeting Egyptian embassies around the world, in a Facebook post translated by The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
In protest of death sentences handed to members of the Brotherhood in Egypt, Dwedar suggested for violent action on May 3.
Egyptians abroad should "protest [outside] Egyptian embassies and lay siege to them, and steadily escalate [their actions], up to and including raiding the embassies in some countries, disrupting their work and occupying them if possible, in order to raises awareness to our cause," Dwedar wrote.
A former Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) member with Muslim Brotherhood sympathies expressed support for Qatar this week, as the Gulf State finds itself increasingly isolated for its terror support.
Even the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) called on Qatar to halt its terror support, but Mohamed Elibiary retweeted several statements supporting the Gulf emirate. "Qatar is a land of civilization, peace, success, love, vision, respect, cooperation and challenge: international report (UN)," said one post Elibiary reposted.
Another retweet shows Gazans rallying in support of Qatar five days after Saudi Arabia and its allies announced a blockade.
"People should not be surprised that many in West support Qatar & rightly see the coordinated KSA-UAE-Trump blockade as unjust. #QatarCrisis," Elibiary said in a June 11 Facebook post. In May, Elibiary insinuated that Egypt's Coptic Christians had it coming when ISIS attacked them.
"Reading ISIS's latest mag 'otherizing' Egypt's Copts. Subhanallah how what goes around comes around. Coptic ldrs did same to MB Egyptians," Elibiary tweeted on May 7.
Elibiary served on the DHS advisory council until early 2014. He whipped up a firestorm with tweets suggesting that the restoration of the Caliphate was inevitable after ISIS began its rampage across Iraq and Syria.
He also drew criticism in 2013 for describing America as an "Islamic country" with an "Islamically compliant constitution."
Elibiary has praised the late Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Sayyid Qutb, whose ideas have undergirded the modern jihadist movement – especially Qutb's call for violent jihad and for the purification of Islam from the forces of unbelief.
Researcher Patrick Poole reported in 2011 that Elibiary accessed confidential information from a Texas state database and shopped it to journalists in hopes of harming then Gov. Rick Perry. Rep. Louis Gohmert, R-Texas, confronted then Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano at a 2012 congressional hearing about Elibiary's actions. Napolitano deflected Gohmert's criticism suggesting he only cared because Elibiary was Muslim.
Their poll of 800 asylum seekers found that Muslim refugees exhibited "clear tendencies of an anti-Semitic attitude pattern."
Respondents were asked whether "Jews have too much influence in the world." 52 percent of Syrians, 53 percent of Iraqis, and 60 percent of Afghans agreed with the assertion, while only 5.4 percent of Eritreans surveyed believed in this anti-Semitic worldview. Eritrea is a Christian-majority country.
Among the overall German population, 20 percent agreed with the anti-Semitic statement.
The investigators conclude that religion is "the decisive factor that explains anti-Semitic opinions." In addition, education in the refugees' homelands facilitates "antisemitism in all age groups and educational background of Muslim asylum seekers."
"We are importing Islamic extremism, Arab antisemitism, national and ethnic conflicts of other peoples as well as a different societal and legal understanding," concludes a 2015 German intelligence report concerning migrant integration. "German security agencies... will not be in the position to solve these imported security problems and thereby the arising reactions from the Germany's population."
The Institute for the Study of Global Anti-Semitism and Policy (ISGAP) published a study in 2015 showing that Muslims are responsible for a "disproportionate" number of anti-Semitic attacks and incidents in Europe over the last 15 years.
That study examined several surveys related to European Muslim attitudes conducted since 2006 and compares results from various European countries, with an emphasis on the United Kingdom and France. Most of those surveys focused on respondents' views toward Jewish stereotypes, asking subjects whether they agree with statements such as, "the Jews have too much power in politics" and "the Jews have too much power in the media." In each country under study, the number of Muslims agreeing with those anti-Semitic statements far exceeded that of non-Muslims.
For example, a 2014 French study showed that 25 percent of the general public agreed with the statement "Jews have too much power in the economy and the financial world," compared with 67 percent of the Muslim population.
Though the ISGAP report acknowledged that surveys comparing Muslim and non-Muslim beliefs are subject to criticism, "the sum of available studies to date provides strong evidence that the level of anti-Semitism is indeed particularly high among Muslims."
Female genital mutilation (FGM) can be an effective tool to prevent promiscuity among girls, the imam at a prominent northern Virginia mosque claimed in a recent lecture flagged by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
Without it, "hyper-sexuality takes over the entire society and a woman is not satisfied with one person or two or three," said Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center Imam Shaker Elsayed in a May 19 talk, "Foundation of a Happy Family." Only tip of a girl's clitoris should be cut, he said, otherwise it creates "serious harm in the sexual life of the child when she grows up. And this is why the West thinks of alkhikah as sexual mutilation..."
Muslim societies which prohibit FGM are making a mistake "to prohibit the tradition and they end up causing a lot of damage on the other extreme side of the sexual life of a woman," Elsayed said.
He isn't the only prominent voice in the U.S. Muslim community endorsing female genital mutilation. The Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America (AMJA) endorses the practice in two fatwas posted on its website, using justifications similar to Elsayed's. While not required, one fatwa says, "it is considered an honorable thing for females."
Islamist advocates argue that FGM has nothing to do with Islam.
"FGM has no place in Detroit or anywhere else in the world. FGM is barbaric & not an Islamic practice," Sarsour wrote.
She should target that message to its proponents. Sarsour spoke at a fundraiser at Elsayed's mosque six days before his talk on female anatomy and promiscuity. FGM did not come up, but Sarsour described Islam's prophet Mohammed as "a feminist in his own right."
A former member of the U.S. Air Force was sentenced to 35 years in prison for trying to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh was an Air Force avionics instrument system specialist from 1986-1990 and worked as an airplane mechanic for companies in the U.S. and the Middle East.
U.S. District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis reportedly applauded Pugh's military service while meting out the long sentence, but noted it was "a long time ago" and that Pugh's decision to join ISIS is "a very sad thing."
Court records trace Pugh's radicalization to 2013, when he was working with Kalitta Air, an air transportation company in Dubai. A co-worker saw Pugh watching jihadi content online, including images accompanied by messages such as, "If fighting for my religious freedom makes me a terrorist, I am a terrorist."
In late 2014, he made several comments supporting ISIS to his co-workers while working with a charter airline company in Kuwait City. He told a co-worker about an ISIS advertisement "looking for pilots and mechanics, and they are paying big salaries."
Computer records show Pugh started extensively viewing and downloading ISIS propaganda videos in late 2014 and early 2015, searching for ways to travel to Syria to join ISIS. A search of Pugh's laptop revealed searches for "borders controlled by Islamic state," ISIS propaganda videos such as "Flames of War" and "Virtues of Seeking Martyrdom" and execution videos.
An execution video showed ISIS executioner "Jihadi John" holding up the severed head of American aid worker Peter Kassig and rebuking then-President Obama for refusing to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq. "The spark has been lit here in Iraq and its heat will continue to intensify by Allah's permission until it burns the Crusader army," al-Qaida in Iraq leader Sheikh Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi said in the video.
"That the defendant saved this video, among many others, establishes his knowledge that [ISIS] committed acts calculated to influence or affect the conduct of government by intimidation and coercion, and it retaliated against government conduct," prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo.
Pugh bought a one-way ticket from Cairo, Egypt to Istanbul, Turkey in January 2015. Around the same time, he drafted a letter to his Egyptian wife in which he called himself a "Mujahid" and said that he would "use the talents and skills given to me by Allah to establish and defend the Islamic State." "There are only 2 possible outcomes for me. Victory or Martyr," he added.
But he was denied entry in Istanbul and returned to Egypt where he was detained and eventually deported to the United States.
Pugh's "military service is admirable," prosecutors wrote, but "his decision to turn his back on his country to support a terrorist organization committed to the destruction of the United States and all it stands for represents a particularly stark betrayal in light of his prior military service and the training, support, and opportunities he received through his affiliation with the U.S. Air Force."
In 2015, Egypt's Minister of Religious Endowments banned Sheikh Mohammad Jebril after Jebril gave a Ramadan prayer asking Allah to "punish those who have shed our blood and orphaned our children." He also prayed that manipulative members of the media and corrupt politicians would be punished. Jebril led Ramadan prayers in Cairo's oldest mosque, the 7th century Amr Bin al-Aas Mosque, since 1988.
Religious Endowments Minister Mohammed Mukhtar Jumaa also barred Jebril from leaving Egypt at the time and asked Egypt's television stations to keep him off the air.
A subsequent investigation connected some of Jebril's assets to terrorist acts allegedly tied to the Muslim Brotherhood. Other money allegedly supported imprisoned Brotherhood members' families.
Dar al-Hijrah promoted Monday's event by describing Jebril as "one of the world's most prominent reciters of the Quran."
Dar al-Hijrah has a history of supporting Brotherhood causes. After the Egyptian military ousted President Mohamed Morsi – who led the Muslim Brotherhood's party – in July 2013, mosque members played a central role in creating Egyptian Americans for Democracy and Human Rights (EADHR). The group held rallies in New York, Washington and other U.S. cities demanding Morsi's reinstatement.
Dar al-Hijrah imam Sheikh Shaker Elsayed and board member Akram Elzend announced EADHR's existence three days after Morsi's ouster. EADHR's NY-NJ chapter later described the group as part of an umbrella group created by the London-based International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood. An open letter from the umbrella group, International Coalition for Egyptians Abroad, to then-U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in March 2015 also lists EADHR as a subsidiary.
The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood website, Egypt Window, noted that ICEA came into existence the same week as EADHR to coordinate the European and American lobbying campaign for Morsi's return.
Jebril and Elsayed previously appeared together at a 2008 fundraiser for the Islamic Society of Central Virginia. Jebril also recited from the Quran at a September 2009 prayer rally outside the U.S. Capitol.
A senior Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official repeatedly called for Palestinians to take up arms against Israelis in an article published last week in prominent Palestinian outlets, Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reports.
Issa Karake, the PLO's Commission of Prisoners' Affairs director, accused Israel of trying to kill Palestinian prisoners who ended a 40-day hunger strike the day after his article was written.
"They (i.e., the prisoners) are being murdered [by Israel] in silence, through an official and planned method," Karake wrote Wednesday on Prisoners' Affairs commission's website. "They are melting, bleeding, and dissipating. If one prisoner will fall, the entire world will fall. The world will die if a Palestinian prisoner will die... Break the pens, look for a gun and bullets. Do not look at your watches, the time is up..."
Two additional calls to arms were added when the Palestinian news site Al-Quds published the article a day later: "enough, let every one of us look for a gun and bullets."
This blatant example of violent incitement contradicts Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' assertion during a White House meeting with President Trump earlier this month that Palestinians raise youth in a "culture of peace."
Trump reportedly scolded Abbas for lying to him when the two leaders met again last week in Bethlehem.
"You tricked me in DC! You talked there about your commitment to peace, but the Israelis showed me your involvement in incitement [against Israel]," Trump shouted at Abbas, according to an American source cited in a report from Israel's Channel 2.
Just before the president's trip, the Palestinian Authority (PA) named two public squares after terrorists Karim and Maher Younes, two Israeli Arab cousins convicted in the 1980 kidnapping and murder or Israeli soldier Abraham Bromberg.
On Sunday, Abbas personally appointed Karim Younes to Fatah's governing institution – its Central Committee.
The PA's justice ministry "emphasized that the decision of the Fatah Movement leadership – led by President Mahmoud Abbas – to appoint the veteran prisoner Karim Younes to the Fatah Central Committee is the clearest and severest response to the campaign being led by Israel to accuse the prisoners, Martyrs (Shahids), and the Palestinian struggle of terror," the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reported Sunday.
Amid growing pressure to halt this practice, it is important to note that Abbas is directly behind the policy concerning terrorist transfers and is personally responsible for fueling Palestinian hatred against Israelis.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) honored two terrorists this month in the lead up to President Trump's visit with his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Media Watch reports.
Though Abbas tried to present a moderate stance to the American president, the PA named public squares in Jenin and Tulkarem after terrorists Karim and Maher Younes, two Israeli Arab cousins convicted in the 1980 kidnapping and murder or Israeli soldier Abraham Bromberg.
Both terrorists were sentenced to 40 years in jail.
Abbas' Fatah party and Jenin's municipal authorities sponsored one of the ceremonies.
"...Jenin District Governor Ibrahim Ramadan conveyed a greeting [expressing] honor and pride to the prisoners and their relatives on behalf of [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian leadership," the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reported on Friday and translated by PMW.
In Tulkarem, the public ceremony featured a Palestinian official openly supporting the PA's policy of glorifying terrorists and supporting convicted murderers.
"This is in appreciation of fighter Maher Younes... I thank the Tulkarem Municipality and all of the district's bodies for this national act of standing side by side with the prisoners and expressing support for them. We permanently stand by our fighters," proclaimed Tulkarem District Governor Issam Abu Bakr, quoted in Ma'an news on May 11.
President Trump raised concerns earlier this month over the PA's program of paying terrorists and their families.
Abbas is unlikely to end the program, with a top aide calling the idea "insane."
Amid growing pressure to halt this practice, it is important to note that Abbas is directly behind the policy concerning terrorist transfers.
He may claim that Palestinians are raising youth in a "culture of peace," but overwhelming evidence shows that the PA and other Palestinian factions systematically promote violence against Jews and Israelis. Through incitement, Palestinian leaders encourage others to follow in the footsteps of terrorists.
On Monday, a Palestinian terrorist tried to stab Israeli Border Police officers in Abu Dis – a Palestinian town east of Jerusalem – before officers shot and killed the assailant.
The attack reportedly occurred as President Trump toured Jerusalem on an official state visit. The next day, a Palestinian man stabbed and injured an Israeli police officer in Netanya, in a "probable" terrorist attack. Despite suffering a neck wound, the officer was able to shoot and injure the attacker – identified as a 44-year-old man from Tulkarem.
U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies are reacting to Monday's suicide bombing at a pop concert in Manchester, England with new warnings and intelligence reviews.
The attack killed 22 people and wounded 59 others after an Ariana Grande concert. Police say the explosion took place outside the arena near the Manchester Victoria train station, catching people as they exited the building. ISIS claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack Tuesday morning, calling the bomber a "soldier of the Caliphate."
"Worse and more harmful is coming upon the Worshippers of the Cross and their friends with the permission of God. Praise be to God, Lord of the worlds," the statement said.
In Senate testimony Tuesday morning, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats cautioned that ISIS claims credit for a lot of attacks, and that this claim has not been verified.
The FBI Bureau's legal attaché in London helped British counterparts and collected residue from the bomb for analysis at the FBI's lab in Quantico, Va.
In the United States, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security are releasing a new terrorism alert for local law enforcement around the country, law enforcement sources told the Investigative Project on Terrorism. A more detailed advisory will be given to all owners of sports stadiums and music venues a conspicuously higher level of law enforcement presence is expected in crowded public places.
The National Security Agency is reviewing communications it intercepted over the past two weeks, selecting communications based on key words or numbers of individuals with known terror ties.
The Manchester attack comes three weeks after a State Department alert warned Americans traveling to Europe that terrorist strikes remain legitimate threats.
"Extremists continue to focus on tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities as viable targets," the alert said. "In addition, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, high-profile events, educational institutions, airports, and other soft targets remain priority locations for possible attacks. U.S. citizens should exercise additional vigilance in these and similar locations, in particular during the upcoming summer travel season when large crowds may be common."