The Evolution of Vehicles as a Terrorist Weapon | Paul Ashley | Pulse | LinkedIn

French police forces and forensic officers stand next to a truck July 15, 2016 that ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday on the Promenade des Anglais killing at least 60 people in Nice, France, July 14. Credit: Eric Gaillard/Reuters
French police forces and forensic officers stand next to a truck July 15, 2016 that ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday on the Promenade des Anglais killing at least 60 people in Nice, France, July 14. Credit: Eric Gaillard/Reuters

Since the early 1980s, vehicles have been used as a weapon in numerous terrorist attacks. The basic ‘model’ had vehicles delivering explosives to a target and then detonating them, causing death and injury. The normal saloon/sedan car has historically been seen as too small to carry out attacks. But like any other terrorist weapon, terrorists have seen greater potential in their usage.

We have now seen a different type and style of attack, after the December 19, 2016 terrorist attack in Berlin, Germany. A large heavy lorry was driven into a crowded Christmas market and has left many wondering where it is safe from such an attack and what to do should one happen.

The use of a vehicle as a terrorist weapon has its origins in 1980’s Lebanon with multiple attacks using vehicles as a tactic. The first was on April 18, 1983 when a van packed with explosives detonated outside the United States Embassy in Beirut killing 63 people.

The attacks at the time were attributed to the Islamic Jihad which was thought to be backed by Iran.Later the use of a vehicle as terrorist weapon was used again in Beirut, where large vehicles were driven into the American Marines barracks. On the October 23, 1983 a large Mercedes van was driven next to the barracks of the Marines and detonated were large numbers of soldiers were sleeping. The explosion left 146 American Marines dead. On the same day and nearly at the same time a French barracks which housed the Parachute Chasseur Regiment in Beirut was attacked using the same tactic which resulted in 58 soldiers dying.

In December 1989 the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) used a large dump truck which they armoured to attack a permanent British Army checkpoint between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland border at Derryard near Rosslea, County Fermanagh. Inside the armoured vehicle, the terrorists had various weapons, including machine guns, rockets, grenades and a flame thrower, which they used to attack a small detachment of eight British soldiers and one member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).

Two soldiers died and one was severely wounded.In May 1992 PIRA carried out a three part coordinated attack on different security force locations in Northern Ireland. Two were carried out using a Human Proxy Bomb, where cars were used with large amounts of explosives, but failed in their attempt to blow up their target. The third location at Cloghoge vehicle checkpoint manned by the British Army was attacked using a large van which was packed with a large amount of explosives and detonated.

The attack showed remarkable ingenuity. The South Armagh Brigade of PIRA fitted a van with wheels that could be driven along a railway track. The vehicle was “driven” on the railway track until it was very close to the checkpoint. The vehicle was then detonated using a mile long wire. The explosion killed one soldier but twenty three that were inside a fortified bunker survived with injuries.

On February 26, 1993, Ramzi Yousef, who was born from Pakistani-Palestinian parents, drove a van loaded with a 1,310-lb (590kg) bomb of urea nitrate-hydrogen gas enhanced device under Tower one of the World Trade Centre in New York, United States. His intention was to destroy the tower, and hoped that it would fall onto the second tower thus destroying the World Trade Centre. He failed but events in September 11, 2001 sadly succeeded.

On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh, an American citizen, used a Ryder truck to bomb the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma United States. The explosives consisted of several tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer and a large quantity of fuel oil, which was detonated by McVeigh igniting a two minute fuse. The explosion resulted in the destruction of the entire north wall of the building along with other buildings in the area and causing many deaths.

Near the end of 2004, hostilities had died down in the Iraq war, but on December 25, 2004 terrorists found a new way of using a large vehicle to attack a target. A large fuel tanker was driven towards the Jordanian Embassy in the Mansour district of Baghdad. The vehicle failed to detonate with any truly destructive force and merely left an orange glow that lit the evening up. The vehicle split in half with one half of the tanker lodged in the gates of the Libyan Embassy and the other half landing in the small courtyard of a house approximately 75 metres away.

In Nice, France on July 14, 2016, Bastille Day, a 19 tonne lorry driven by lone wolf Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhel was driven into a celebrating crowd. He killed 84 people before being stopped. The Islamic State of the Levant, or Da’esh, had discovered a new way to use a large vehicle as a terrorist weapon.

For some time al-Qaeda and Da’esh had been using its online magazines Dabiq and Inspire to conduct lone attacks against the West using any method possible, but since the attack in Nice they have called for their followers to use large vehicles and encouraged them to drive them into large crowds. Certainly Anis Amri who drove the latest heavy vehicle in the Berlin attack listened to them.

The use of such vehicles to carry out this style of attack is likely to continue as they are easily obtained by either hijack, hired, stolen or simply purchased. The stopping of such a vehicle especially when fully laden would defy most barriers and although the small Jersey Barriers would not necessarily stop the vehicle it would certainly slow them down.

In Iraq after the 2003 invasion, and some years after, large vehicles were used to crash through various locations. In order to stop them Jersey barriers were put in place but the terrorists found that they could be breeched. In places where these barriers were in use, several suicide vehicles were used to gain entry to each level. For example on October 24, 2003 three suicide bombers in large vehicles were used to breech the barriers outside the Palestine and Sheridan Hotels in Baghdad, Iraq. This included a cement truck filled with explosives.

The first was used to breech the first layer of barriers; the second to do the same but was mistimed and missed the target. The third driver who was driving around the roundabout waiting his turn saw the explosion and drove his vehicle through the first level, thinking the second had been broken through. He was caught up and rather than being able to detonate his vehicle between the two hotels causing immense damage and death, the driver detonated the device where it had stopped causing little damage.

The lessons learnt from this were several; first where the metal handles were in the top of the barrier, a long thick ‘metal rope’ was placed and woven into all the barriers at that location. Any attempt to drive through them they would be stopped as it would be impossible to drag all the barriers. The second lesson was that where possible, a large wide trench should be dug to prevent access to the barriers.

Of course in a city these types of defence maybe impossible but it would be possible to have points of entry away from main roads and the barriers could be linked together. Another form of defence that could be used in cities is to educate the public by having some sort of air alarm that would be sounded at the start of an attack.

The types of vehicles used in recent attacks are easier to obtain than aircraft and the ability to cause mass casualties is still great but not on the same scale. Authorities are not able to do much in regards to spotting who would carry out such attacks. It is extremely important that all counter-terrorist organisations and Intelligence agencies share and pool knowledge in this area so as to limit those who are on the radar from escaping and eventually stopped before a terrorist act is carried out.

Europe is under siege at the moment and attacks of this type are likely to occur again. Strong measures must be taken to protect the public. Admitted the security forces are doing their best but with so many to watch someone somewhere will escape the net and be able to carry out another dreadful terrorist attack similar to those in Nice and Berlin. The next phase could be the use of plant vehicles such as a JCB which could scoop barriers out the way and drive through causing many fatalities.

Source: The Evolution of Vehicles as a Terrorist Weapon | Paul Ashley | Pulse | LinkedIn

RADICALISATION: IS THIS THE RIGHT PATH TO BE FOLLOWED OR SHOULD WE DO MORE?  France’s challenges for working out a coherent strategy against violent radicalization and terrorism. A broad (and incomplete) outline. |

by Milena Uhlmann

Terrorism isn’t new to the country; in its history, France has experienced a significant number of attacks. In 1995, the GIA-affiliated terrorist network of which Khaled Kelkal was part conducted several attacks, as did the Al Qaida-affiliated gang de Roubaix one year later; but until Mohammed Merah’s murders in 2012 in Toulouse and Montauban, terrorist attacks were treated as political violence in the context of anti-colonial struggles or connected to other kinds of violent conflicts abroad, such as the Bosnian War, rather than as religiously inspired or connected to social, societal and/or political issues within the country, or as some sort of atypical pathology.

Terrorist perpetrators, their networks and milieus were met with repressive instruments – a wider angle of analysis which would have allowed to tackle the threat from a more holistic perspective had not been incorporated in a counter-terrorism policy design.


With some vague kind of sense of urgency developing after an increasing number of young French men and some women started to leave for Syria to join jihadist groups there in 2012/13, the French government put together the “Plan de lutte contre les filières terroristes et la radicalisation violente“ (Action Plan against Terrorist Networks and Violent Radicalization), comprised of 22 measures. This plan dating from April 2014 put priorities on impeding travel to Syria, preventing online jihadist propaganda, the hesitant start of diffusion of so called „counter narratives“, strengthening judicial instruments against jihadist networks and implementing prevention and reintegration strategies.In April the same year, the government created a national hotline (“numéro vert“) as part of a new structure called „Centre national d’assistance et de prévention de la radicalisation“ (National Assistance and Radicalization Prevention Center, CNAPR). Persons believed to be wanting to leave to the region, or to have radicalized / be on the path to radicalization, can since be reported to the CNAPR. The calls are taken by police officers from the “Unité de coordination de la lutte antiterroriste” (Coordination Unit for the Fight Against Terrorism, UCLAT), who are assisted by a psychologist. It receives on average between 60 and 80 calls every day. From the end of April 2014 until end of September 2016, 12.265 alerts had been processed either by the CNAPR or the Security Staff in the prefectures (4.015 of them had been signaled until March 2015, 8.250 until January 2016). In total, 15.000 persons have been signaled through UCLAT, the prefectures or different intelligence services; 80 percent of them are adults, 70 percent of those are males, whilst females make up for the biggest part of the minors. 36 percent are converts. Seven percent of those signaled left to the SYRAQ region, and 20 per cent of them died there. Of the total number of persons, UCLAT is monitoring about 2.000 which are deemed potentially dangerous.

The information gathered and analyzed is forwarded to the prefecture responsible for the region the signaled person lives in as well as to the internal intelligence service (Direction Générale de la Sécurité Intérieure, DGSI). The prefect then notifies the relevant public prosecutor. If the reported case concerns a minor, the prosecutor can then strive for the implementation of educational assistance measures with regard to the family concerned. With the prosecutor’s consent, the prefect also notifies the mayor of the municipality the person concerned lives in. In conjunction with the prosecutor, the prefect orders stings the relevant local follow-up unit into action, which each département (county) was ordered to create in February 2015. Critics argue that this system relies too heavily on state and security services, which is partially keeping people from calling the hotline and working together with the units.

These units consist of state institutions (such as the police, the justice sector and the employment agency), regional and local authorities (such as social services) and local associative networks. Through these different actors, the units are meant to aim at providing tailored measures to assist the families of the individual in question as well as the individual him/herself. A social worker is supposed to be assigned to each case to keep track of the process. Whilst the prefect initiates this action, the role of the mayor is to assure comprehensive and coherent action taking into account the individual situation of the individual in question. Local and intercommunal councils on security and crime prevention (Conseils locaux et intercommunaux de sécurité et de prévention de la délinquance, CLISPD) should be implicated as well. Via the CLISPD, the prefect can entrust a deputy prefect with the mission to take up preventive measures and to create fallow-up units in the counties.

Apart from the fact that CLISPD are only created for municipalities with a population of more than 10.000 inhabitants and consequently this instrument cannot be used in certain rural areas, other structural problems persist: the division of tasks is not always clear, and the phenomenon of radicalization is complex. There is thus some confusion about who can or should do what, and those who find themselves confronted with the phenomenon all too often lack specific knowledge and expertise, as has amongst others been pointed out to by the Association of the Mayors of France (Association des maires de France, AMF).

Furthermore, it is proving difficult to find trained specialists who are capable of working with radicalized persons, and some families are not willing to cooperate with the follow-up unit designed for changing the path of one of their kin. This is stated by the Inter-ministerial Guide for Prevention of Radicalization dating from March 2016, provided by the Inter-ministerial Committee for Prevention of Crime and Radicalization (Comité interministériel de prévention de la délinquance et la radicalisation, CIPDR), the institution in charge of the non-repressive pillar of the French prevention efforts which is also responsible for the monitoring and quality assurance of the work of the follow-up units. In its report to the parliament for the year 2015, the CIPDR is stating that the follow-up units are not being handled coherently, with confusion over the the roles of the different partners, affecting the efficiency of the work of the units.

This is aggravated by the large and steadily growing number of those being followed-up upon with the goal of disengaging them from violence, posing a problem to proper monitoring in general: by 13th October 2016, 2.240 persons had been directed into programs monitored by local units, as well as 972 families (1.600 persons / 800 families in May 2016). Furthermore, a large number of the individuals concerned are at the same time being followed-up upon by the police, implying a heightened level of radicalization of these individuals.


The first actor that had been commissioned with the work of disengagement simultaneously to the creation of the national hotline in April 2014 was the Center for the Prevention of Sectarian Aberrations Linked to Islam (Centre de prévention des dérives sectaires liées à l’Islam, CPDSI). … …  


France’s challenges for working out a coherent strategy against violent radicalization and terrorism. A broad (and incomplete) outline. |


Milena Uhlmann is Associate Fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR) in London and the author of various publications on conversion to Islam in Western Europe, radicalization processes and deradicalization approaches. (Latest publication: “Radicalisation et déradicalisation”, co-authored chapter with Asiem El Difraoui in his recent book “Le djihadisme”, Presses Universitaires de France, 2016) Since the Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher attacks until after the Paris attacks of November 13, 2015, she has mainly worked in France on issues related to these phenomena. The views expressed are solely those of the author.

SONO LE NOSTRE SOCIETÀ SICURE? …  Turchia: strage in night club a Istanbul, 39 morti e 69 feriti. Tra le vittime 15 stranieri – Medio Oriente –


Il terrorismo colpisce la Turchia nella notte di Capodanno:

è di almeno 39 morti e 69 feriti l’ultimo bilancio ufficiale di un attacco avvenuto in una famosa e affollatissima discoteca di Istanbul, non ancora rivendicato ma le cui caratteristiche fanno pensare a un attentato a firma Isis. Al momento identificate 21 vittime, di cui 15 straniere.


L’attentatore del nightclub Reina di Istanbul non indossava il costume di Babbo Natale, come riferito finora da alcune testimonianze, e ha lasciato la pistola prima di fuggire. Lo ha detto il premier turco, Binali Yildirim.

E nel pomeriggio un uomo armato ha sparato davanti ad una moschea di Istanbul ferendo almeno due persone prima di fuggire. Lo riferiscono i media locali. La sparatoria è avvenuta nel quartiere di Sariyer.

LA STRAGE – Non ci sono italiani coinvolti nel sanguinoso attacco di stanotte alla celebre discoteca ‘Reina’ del centralissimo quartiere Besiktas di Istanbul. Ne ha dato notizia il ministro degli Esteri, Angelino Alfano. E queste sembrano essere finora fra le poche certezze che emergono dopo 15 ore dall’attacco, che è ancora largamente avvolto nella confusione e ancora non è stato rivendicato: non si sa con certezza se il terrorista abbia agito effettivamente da solo.

Di lui si sa che è entrato vestito di nero e incappucciato con un fucile automatico in braccio con cui ha sparato ad un agente di guardia al locale, che all’interno era vestito di bianco con un cappello a pon-pon bianco, che si è cambiato dopo aver massacrato le persone all’interno del locale, “sparando ovunque, come un pazzo”, ed è riuscito a fuggire nella notte, scatenando stamani una gigantesca caccia all’uomo estesa a tutta la Turchia alla quale partecipano almeno 17.000 agenti. Le poche certezze sono quelle suggerite dalle immagini catturate dalle telecamere di sicurezza, ma alcuni testimoni sopravissuti alla strage hanno raccontato di aver sentito sparare più di una persona, forse due o tre terroristi.

                  …CONTINUA A LEGGERE A: 

Turchia: strage in night club a Istanbul, 39 morti e 69 feriti. Tra le vittime 15 stranieri – Medio Oriente –

A new wild card in Afghanistan war: Russia –

An Afghan soldier inspects the site of a Taliban suicide attack in Kabul in September. Russia has reportedly reached out to the Taliban to stem the spread of ISIS in Afghanistan.

Russia is worried that terrorists could be fleeing from Syria to Afghanistan and is moving to counter. It has many of the same goals as the US in Afghanistan, but different motivations.

Next month, Donald Trump will inherit the nation’s longest war – the war in Afghanistan. More than 8,000 United States troops remain there, 15 years on, primarily to support Afghan forces in their battle against the Taliban, while the Islamic State, or ISIS, has also gained a foothold.

For a president-elect who abhors nation-building – and castigated President Obama for prematurely pulling out of Iraq – Afghanistan presents few good options.

Peace talks with the Taliban, hosted by Pakistan, have gone nowhere. Afghan troops are more effective, but still reliant on US air power. The Taliban’s territorial control is at its greatest extent since it lost power in 2001.

One wild card is Russia. This week Russia hosted talks on Afghanistan’s security with Pakistani and Chinese envoys, the third such meeting and a sign, say analysts, of rising Russian concern over instability and Islamic extremism on the borders of its sphere of influence.

Could Moscow be a useful partner in Afghanistan? Or will it only add to the regional rivalries that perpetuate the conflict?

On one hand, Afghanistan is not Syria. There, Russia supports a regime that the US opposes. In Afghanistan, both powers want to see the Kabul government deny sanctuary to ISIS and Al Qaeda. That could present a common agenda.

“The Russians have been content to see the US tied down in Afghanistan and watch from afar. Now ISIS is making inroads in Afghanistan … I think Russia is starting to get worried,” says Lisa Curtis, an expert on South Asia at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

But Russia, which still bears the memory of the disastrous 1979 Soviet invasion, has a narrower agenda than the US has had in Afghanistan.

“Russia’s interests are not so much in Afghanistan itself but in preventing any instability spilling over into Central Asia,” says Paul Stronksi, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Russia’s pursuit of that agenda has made its role hard to pin down. For instance, Russia has warned that ISIS fighters from Syria are flowing into Afghanistan, giving them a rear base to attack Russia. In response, it is deepening its ties to the Taliban, seeking to root out ISIS from its Afghan sanctuaries, say analysts.

That could be useful for brokering political talks with Kabul – a US goal. But any material support for the Taliban would undermine US efforts to build Afghan forces capable of defeating all militants. Russia has denied helping the Taliban and said its goal is to promote peace talks.

“What we see from Moscow is a short-term tactical approach that could backfire on them,” says Ms. Curtis, a former US diplomat and adviser to the State Department.

Russia’s diplomacy has also raised hackles in Kabul. The Afghan government complained this week that it had been excluded from the Moscow talks. In a joint statement, China, Pakistan, and Russia said they would invite Afghanistan to the next meeting.

They also said that China and Russia would work with the United Nations to promote peace talks by removing Afghans from sanctions lists, a reference to Taliban leaders who are barred from international travel.

As a candidate, Mr. Trump gave few clues about his views on Afghanistan, a war that had largely fallen from public view. Given his claims that Mr. Obama “founded” ISIS because he yanked US troops from Iraq, US military deployment in Afghanistan is unlikely to end anytime soon, say analysts.

Trump might want to step up the pace of counterterrorism missions, in addition to the training and support for Afghan troops, says Curtis. “It’s safe to assume we’ll remain engaged in Afghanistan.”

One difference between Iraq and Afghanistan, says Lawrence Korb, a senior fellow at the left-leaning Center for American Progress, is that political leaders in Afghanistan want US troops there, unlike former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Mr. Korb says he expects Trump to continue a policy of trying to nudge the warring parties toward negotiations while supporting Afghan military and civilian forces – roughly in line with Obama’s current policy.

“We’re in a situation where the costs are relatively low. We may not be winning but we’re not losing dramatically, and the hope is that we could get some sort of settlement,” he says.

By Simon Montlake

Source: A new wild card in Afghanistan war: Russia –

Disguised as refugees and able to cross borders without being identified: ISIS general who blew up a hostage with a rocket and decapitated another prisoner is ‘back in Europe with 400 soldiers’ after fleeing Syria | Daily Mail Online

ISIS general Lavdrim Muhaxheri, who was once pictured decapitating a prisoner, is back in Europe with up to 400 of his most trusted soldiers after fleeing the warzone in Syria, it has been claimed Read more: Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

An ISIS general once pictured decapitating a prisoner is back in Europe with up to 400 of his most trusted soldiers after fleeing the war zone in Syria, it has been claimed.

Ex-NATO soldier Lavdrim Muhaxheri and his men are among thousands who have fled after ISIS suffered devastating losses in war-torn Syria, according to sources in the Italian intelligence services.

Many of the fighters are feared to have disguised themselves as refugees in order to cross borders to get into Europe without being identified, according to information leaked from the spying agency.

Muhaxheri, also known as Abu Abdullah al Kosova, is not only a Kosovo Albanian ISIS leader but also one of the most public figures because of his foreign roots and his efforts to recruit other foreign jihadi fighters.

He left for Syria in late 2012 and has appeared in several propaganda videos, calling Albanians to join jihad, and has uploaded photographs of himself appearing to decapitate a man, as well as a video where he kills a captive with a rocket.

On September 24, 2014, the US State Department designated Muhaxheri as a global terrorist.

Italian newspaper ‘L’Espresso’, quoting the intelligence services, said that between 300 and 400 members of the Islamic ‘caliphate’ had come to Kosovo with him.

His arrival coincided with plans for an attack on Israel’s national soccer team and other targets which he is believed to have masterminded after arriving back in the country.

Prosecutors say Muhaxheri and fellow ISIS fighter Ridvan Haqifi planned attacks on international and state institutions, ultimately with the intent to establish an Islamic state.

Ex-NATO soldier Lavdrim Muhaxheri and his men are among thousands who have fled after ISIS suffered devastating losses in war-torn Syria, according to Italian intelligence services Read more: Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

They say he planned to attack the Israeli football team during a match in Albania and Kosovo government institutions, as well as Serbian Orthodox Church sites, were also potential targets.

In total 19 people were arrested as a result of the plot being uncovered, with the trail to the mastermind reportedly leading back to Muhaxheri.

Quoting an unnamed security source the paper said: ‘Numerous jihadists are returning to Europe and the Balkans, aiming to hit the old continent at its heart. Some of them are being identified by security services, but many others manage to cross the borders without being identified.’

The Italian intelligence reports however have so far been rejected by Kosovo police, who despite admitting that he was probably behind the attacks, insisted that their information was that he was still in Syria.

It is not the first time he has managed to sneak back into the country. He managed to get back into Kosovo in 2013 and was photographed to prove that he was there, but then he returned to Syria again before he could be arrested.

Source: Disguised as refugees and able to cross borders without being identified: ISIS general who blew up a hostage with a rocket and decapitated another prisoner is ‘back in Europe with 400 soldiers’ after fleeing Syria | Daily Mail Online

How Peace Between Afghanistan and the Taliban Foundered – (The New York Times)

OSLO — At a corner table of the Marriott Hotel in Pakistan’s capital, an emissary from the Taliban’s supreme leader arrived with a message of peace.It was 2007, as the Afghan Taliban insurgency was growing bolder. The United States-led international coalition was fixated on defeating the Taliban militarily, and that mission would only intensify when President Obama sent in tens of thousands more troops starting in 2009.But that evening at the Marriott in Islamabad, the talk was about diplomacy, and there were no Americans in the room. Alf Arne Ramslien, a senior Norwegian diplomat who had cultivated relationships and trust within the Taliban for years, was meeting with a confidant of Mullah Muhammad Omar, the movement’s reclusive founder, who was directing the insurgency from exile in Pakistan.The Taliban emissary gave Mr. Ramslien a list of five names that Mullah Omar had tasked with exploring the possibility of peace talks. They needed the help of a facilitator, he said, and Mr. Ramslien was it.

Keep reading at:

Inside the Secret Rescue of Yazidi Sex Slaves From ISIS Captors – NBC News

DUHOK, Iraq — It was dark as the car sped along a small road on the outskirts of the embattled Iraqi city of Mosul. The car was driving fast, but not so fast as to draw attention. That was essential. The lives of the two men in the front seat depended on their ability to keep a low profile and pass through undetected.In the passenger seat, Khaleel Al-Dhaki was focused on the secret mission he was leading to rescue a Yazidi woman and her child, both of whom were taken by ISIS and dragged into Mosul.”This kind of operation can’t be done during daytime,” he later told NBC News. “We are basically going in there to kidnap them back from ISIS.”

Al-Dhaki, a lawyer by training, runs a small team of activists who regularly make dangerous trips into ISIS territory to rescue Yazidi women, members of a non-Muslim minority that live mostly in northern Iraq.

“Saving a soul is the best thing a man can do,” Al-Dhaki said. “You get more motivated when you watch them meeting their families. I can’t describe the moment of the reunion. We devote our whole lives to rescuing these women.”

Al-Dhaki estimates ISIS kidnapped around 7,000 Yazidis and that roughly 3,000 of them managed to escape on their own or were ransomed out of bondage. The fate of 1,000 Yazidi men remains unknown, he adds.

That leaves, by his calculation, some 3,000 Yazidi women and children like Leila and Ahmed in ISIS’ hands.

Al-Dhaki estimates ISIS kidnapped around 7,000 Yazidis and that roughly 3,000 of them managed to escape on their own or were ransomed out of bondage. The fate of 1,000 Yazidi men remains unknown, he adds.

That leaves, by his calculation, some 3,000 Yazidi women and children like Leila and Ahmed in ISIS’ hands.

He had arranged to pick up a 23-year-old woman and her 3-year-old son. Although he shared her real name with NBC News, al-Dhaki asked that she be called “Leila” — for her safety and the safety of other Yazidis held by ISIS. Leila had managed to leave her captor’s home and go with her son to a safe house that al-Dhaki’s team had secured for them.

Leila spoke to NBC News of her “marriage” to an ISIS fighter, the rape and the abuse she went through while in ISIS captivity. Marc Smith / NBC News

Now, outside that safe house, Leila and her son were climbing into the car. She was wearing a headscarf that left her face uncovered. She appeared terrified and sat silently as the car passed other vehicles along the road, each one potentially driven by an ISIS fighter.

The boy, whom NBC News is calling “Ahmed,” slept in his mother’s arms in the backseat.

The extraction was a success. Relatives were waiting to receive Leila and Ahmed once they were safely out of ISIS territory.

They cried, hugged and kissed one another before driving into Kurdish-held territory near the Turkish border, far away from ISIS. Leila and her son had been gone for two-and-a-half years.

“They took my husband away from me and gave me to an ISIS fighter. They married me to him,” she told NBC News. Leila is now a refugee living with relatives in a tented camp. Her own village is still occupied by ISIS.

Leila spoke hesitantly, struggling to finish her sentences. She described how, after the trauma of being separated from her husband and being forced to marry another man, she was “resold” twice again to other ISIS radicals. ISIS fighters seemed to trade Yazidi women like baseball cards.

Leila’s last rapist was a squat, thickly-built Iraqi fighter with an unkempt beard that fell to his chest. His wife was also an ISIS fanatic.

“I hated her even more than him,” Leila said. “She would beat my son.”

Children ‘Not the Same’

As Leila spoke, Ahmed was crying and throwing whatever he picked up from the carpet covering the tent’s floor. For most of his life, Ahmed had been surrounded by violent armed men. To prevent Leila from escaping, her ISIS captor would take Ahmed with him when he went to ISIS headquarters, where acts of savage brutality were carried out.

Once the the Mosul offensive began, Leila said her captor and his wife wore explosive suicide vests in their home, ready to kill and die if U.S.-backed Iraqi troops came knocking.

How had all of this shaped Ahmed during his formative years? Al-Dhaki said many of the Yazidi children he has rescued remain troubled.

“They need help. They are showing signs of violence. They are not the same as before,” he said.

Leila said that Ahmed had seen beheading videos and passed by the body of a crucified man on the street. She doesn’t know what he saw during those long hours at ISIS headquarters.


Continue reading at Source: Inside the Secret Rescue of Yazidi Sex Slaves From ISIS Captors – NBC News

E POI LEGGI ARTICOLI COSÍ E NON PUOI NON CONTESTARLI. In risposta a: Siamo forti a sparare ma, nell’era del terrore, c’era bisogno degli spari olimpici di Rio? 

E’ buffo come certe persone vedono il mondo e lo interpretino a modo loro!

Personalmente sono sempre stato per la libertà di stampa e di parola, quindi anche per la libertà dell’autore dell’articolo che segue di scrivere le sue idee.  Ma non posso esimermi dal contestarlo, e dal contestare ogni parola, frase e pensiero del suo articolo.

Lo sport, seppur usi strumenti simili a quelli usati da terroristi e delinquenti, non può mai essere avvicinato agli stessi.  Infatti, paragonare lo sparo di una doppietta da tiro al piattello allo sparo di un fucile maneggiato da un folle o da un soldato non ha alcun senso; il paragone citato dall’autore di questo articolo è simile a paragonare un cuoco che con maestria nell’uso del coltello, affetta perfettamente una bistecca o un cavolo, ad uno dei tanti assassini che ultimamente hanno ucciso per mezzo di machete, coltelli, accette o altro!

No caro Sig. Boldolini, la sua libertà di espressione deve comunque e sempre essere abbinata alla capacità di intavolare riflessioni o discussioni sane, non basate sulla paura o sulla cieca ed estremista categorizzazione di uno strumento ad un unico scopo!

Penso di poter dire senza remora alcuna che questo suo articolo potrebbe essere avvicinato al pensiero estremista di chi, in quest’ultimo anno, ha commesso atti barbarici nel nome di un “libro” che dice esser stato scritto da un “semidio”.  Per come la mette lei, allora, dovremmo fermare le corse dei camion (certo non sono famose come le olimpiadi, e forse lei non sa nemmeno che esistono), riporre tutti i coltelli ed i machete nei cassetti, smettere di guidare le macchine, e magari interrompere anche le attività nelle cave, così da non dover più sentire il rumore di quel motore, o la vista di quella lama, o il boato di quell’esplosione che tanto ci ricordano atti efferati accaduti per mezzo di quegli stessi strumenti usati però per provocare la morte!

Forse è il momento che tutti voi “pacifisti delle 10.45” smettiate di strumentalizzare le sole armi da fuoco, nel tentativo mal riuscito di trovare un facile responsabile a tutte le vostre più radicate paure, o di ottenere qualche visualizzazione in più della vostra pagina web (e così guadagnare qualche soldo in più con la pubblicità spazzatura di cui amate cospargere i vostri siti). Ciò che invece dovreste fare è un informazione lecita, una critica costruttiva, o delle proposte sensate che non siano alla ricerca del “like” bensì alla ricerca della “giustezza sociale”.

Danilo Amelotti

Segue l’articolo che contesto! 

Oro, argento e mira”, titola la Gazzetta dello Sport. Viva l’Italia, viva “le madri con in mano un fucile”, viva il medagliere che ingrassa. Dello stesso tenore, tutti i media italiani. Eppure, basta distogliere lo sguardo dal video, e ascoltare il suono che accompagna queste vittorie, perché un dubbio sotterraneo s’insinui.Lo sappiamo, è quasi impossibile e, visti i successi italiani, suonerebbe persino anti-patriottico, se non vetero-pacifista, ma non è questo il punto. Il punto è che, dopo più di un anno di spari, esplosioni e sangue, il vero gesto olimpico sarebbe stato sospendere le discipline di tiro.

Ci perdonino le “mamme-cecchino” Bacosi e Cainero, il tiratore di ghiaccio Campriani, tutti sparatori indefessi e maniacali, tutti pistola, sacrifici e famiglia, ma onestamente in questo momento, mentre ancora riecheggiano gli spari dei kalashnikov del Bataclan, o le immagini dei neri americani uccisi per strada dai poliziotti, non riusciamo a vedere molta gioia sportiva nel colpire un piattello, nessuna felicità nel centrare un bersaglio imbracciando carabine o fucili da caccia. E l’eco degli spari risuona inquietante, mentre la retorica che l’accompagna persino oscena.

Sappiamo che questo ragionamento ha un punto debole, che le discipline di tiro non sono le sole a simulare antiche e nuove tecniche di guerra. E che anche gli sport di squadra sono il simulacro di conflitti per il controllo del territorio. Eppoi che fare con le lame, con le sciabole, con il fioretto? Con la lotta e la boxe?Insomma, che lo sport serve anche a questo, a fare la guerra tra paesi per finta, a renderla liturgia giocosa.

Però, però, ci sono quei suoni degli spari… e quei gesti così simili a quelli che ci hanno terrorizzato negli ultimi mesi che grazie anche ai social sono entrati con prepotente familiarità nel nostro immaginario quotidiano.Un’esagerazione? Durante la prima e la seconda guerra mondiale i Giochi furono per forza di cosa sospesi, se questa che stiamo vivendo, come autorevoli personaggi non mancano di sottolineare, o di evocare, è davvero la terza, una sospensione degli spari a Rio sarebbe stato forse opportuno.

Source: Siamo forti a sparare ma, nell’era del terrore, c’era bisogno degli spari olimpici di Rio? | Stefano Baldolini

Il mio commento all’articolo di Giorgia Meloni “E’ ora di intervenire militarmente al fianco di chi combatte lo Stato islamico”

Sig.ra Meloni, ciò che lei enuncia nel suo articolo non è altro che quello che ho continuato a fare io sul mio blog per mesi! Mi duole vedere tutti questi morti, mi duole stare seduto sulla poltrona di casa mia e ricevere decine di messaggi che mi chiedono un parere su ciò che succede a Parigi, ma ancor di più mi duole dover pensare che la politica ed i politici devono sempre aspettare questi eventi per mettere in moto la lenta macchina della decisione giusta! Non servivano questi attacchi, e non servivano questi morti per capire che la situazione globale sia del terrorismo, sia delle varie politiche estere, è tragica!

Oggi lei (giustamente, e grazie al cielo finalmente) afferma che è ora di intervenire, che è ora di combattere l’ISIS e che è ora di intervenire la dove tutti fino a ieri (e sono sicuro anche domani) facevano finta di non vedere. Il fatto è che oggi è troppo tardi, oggi ormai abbiamo permesso che il germe della follia entrasse nelle menti di giovani disadattati plagiati da avidi boia camuffati da religiosi.

Ciò che lei sta dicendo oggi andava fatto 2 se non 3 anni fa, con una scesa in campo di forze militari che andassero a fermare il conflitto Siriano e con delle forze che andassero a proteggere i nostri confini direttamente in terra Libica; allora forse queste stragi e quelle che ancora verranno si sarebbero potute evitare.

Invece i politici d’Europa e del mondo occidentale (fatta esclusione di pochi) hanno girato la faccia quando le bestie dell’ISIS bruciavano un pilota, o quando uccidevano bambini, o quando devastavano interi villaggi. Hanno sempre preso tempo, preso distanze e cercato dialoghi con non si sa chi, invece di prendere le (mi permetta di dirlo) palle in mano e decidere di agire con forza, carattere, decisione, e soprattutto oculatezza.

No Signora Meloni, oggi non basta più andare a combattere l’ISIS la dove ha messo radici; questo sarebbe come cercare di estirpare il cancro del fegato in una persona che ha ormai metastasi in tutto il corpo! Come spesso dico e scrivo, io non sono ne un disfattista, ne un guerrafondaio ne tantomeno un pessimista, ma ho una buona esperienza per fare analisi e garantirle che il terrorismo ormai è entrato nei nostri confini, e che ogni azione fatta la dove l’ISIS (e tutte le altre forze “moderate” terroristiche) ha messo radici saranno solo scuse in più per i pazzi che ormai “accudiamo” in casa nostra.

Certo, iniziare con fare finalmente guerra ai demoni dell’ISIS e di tutte le altre falangi terroristiche è giusto, ma non sarà sufficiente, non più! Oggi (come anche ieri) ci dobbiamo aspettare che sporadici attacchi terroristici vengano fatti ovunque, senza una routine precisa e senza darne preavviso … non ci vuole molto (lo abbiamo visto) per seminare il panico e demoralizzare un intera popolazione… basta colpire li dove nessuno mai se lo aspetterebbe o lo vorrebbe.

Allora bisogna iniziare seriamente anche in casa nostra a stabilire dei parametri, innalzare i livelli di sicurezza, e soprattutto, addestrare e equipaggiare il personale designato alla tutela della sicurezza in Italia ed in Europa. In fatti, Signora Meloni, non basta pensare di mandare 10, 100, 1000 uomini sulle strade, bisogna essere sicuri che quegli uomini sappiano realmente agire in contesti così delicati e particolari, e che abbiano tutele legali ed equipaggiamenti adatti allo scopo!

Spero vivamente che ciò da lei affermato in questo articolo si avveri, ma ancor di più spero che la classe politica e dirigenziale non pensi che una “semplice guerra al califfato” ed un controllo più stretto dei centri islamici possa bastare; questo sarebbe solo un ennesima mezza manovra utile solo ad un ennesimo inasprimento del “conflitto” tra popolo e demoni!

Danilo Amelotti



I fondamentalisti islamici hanno portato la guerra in territorio europeo. È un’altra vittoria per loro e l’ennesima sconfitta dell’Occidente. Non sono bastati l’11 settembre, gli attentati di Londra e di Madrid, non è bastato Charlie Hebdo, l’uccisione di Theo Van Gogh e mille altri massacri in tutto il mondo per svegliare l’Europa dal suo torpore.

Chi sa se potrà bastare questo terribile 13 novembre. Chi sa se dovremo invece aspettare che San Pietro sia data alle fiamme e il Louvre abbattuto per blasfemia come i monumenti di Palmira. Cosa altro deve accadere, di quali altre evidenze hanno bisogno i nostri governanti per capire che ci è stata dichiarata guerra?

Siamo stati facili profeti di questa sciagura, perché era tutto drammaticamente prevedibile e drammaticamente previsto. Così come non serve ricorrere a Cassandra o all’oracolo di Delfi per dire che questo non sarà l’ultimo attacco islamico che l’Europa dovrà subire.

L’Occidente soffre di una grave sindrome da rifiuto della realtà. Crede che sia sufficiente negare ciò che ha davanti agli occhi perché le cose tornino magicamente a posto. Purtroppo non funziona così. La realtà, che non sa cosa sia il politicamente corretto e non conosce il galateo, ci dice che abbiamo un problema irrisolto con il mondo musulmano, che noi lo vogliamo oppure no.

È proprio questo il tabù inconfessabile che dobbiamo rompere: non stiamo fronteggiando uno sparuto gruppo di psicopatici, una qualche sorta di setta millenaristica, un semplice gruppo terroristico, ma stiamo combattendo una visione dell’Islam tutt’altro che marginale. E questa visione basata sul fondamentalismo si è rafforzata in tutto il mondo, anche se in forme diverse e non sempre violente. Ha il volto del terrorismo di Al Qaeda, del Califfato sanguinario dell’ISIS e di Boko Haram, ma lo ritroviamo predicato alla luce del sole anche dall’Arabia Saudita e dal Qatar.

I quesiti che l’Occidente si è finora rifiutato di porsi erano stati affrontati con coraggio da Papa Ratzinger nella sua Lectio magistralis di Ratisbona, che tanto clamore aveva sollevato: l’Islam è ancora una religione trascendente che antepone il Corano alla ragione? E l’Islam ammette ancora la conquista e la conversione attraverso la spada?

Sono domande che abbiamo il diritto e il dovere di fare ai musulmani che vivono o vogliono vivere in Europa. Siamo società laiche, e proprio perché laiche riconosciamo a ognuno il diritto di professare la propria religione, purché questa non contrasti con le leggi dello Stato e con la nostra cultura basata sulla ragione, sulla libertà e sull’uguaglianza.

Per questo, sfidando le ire dei benpensanti, reputo che finché il mondo musulmano non avrà fatto chiarezza al suo interno con il fondamentalismo e nel rapporto tra religione e Stato laico, dovremmo dire basta all’immigrazione da Nazioni musulmane, dovremmo rimpatriare immediatamente i clandestini e porre sotto controllo i centri islamici presenti sul nostro territorio. Per arginare i fenomeni terroristici che nascono, è inutile negarlo, all’interno delle comunità islamiche presenti in Europa o importate grazie alle politiche delle porte aperte a tutti dei nostri governanti.

E certo, è ora di affrontare di petto pure l’ISIS, che ha potuto crescere e prosperare solo grazie alla folle ambiguità della politica di Obama. Può sorprendere qualcuno, ma questa è la parte più semplice del lavoro che ci aspetta. Lo Stato Islamico non è un reale pericolo militare: non ha copertura aerea, non ha sistemi satellitari o radar o batterie missilistiche, non ha praticamente armi pesanti. L’Occidente ha la possibilità di spazzarlo via dalla faccia della terra con grande facilità. Basterebbe utilizzare, per capirci, la potenza bellica che la NATO ha rovesciato contro Saddam Hussein nei primi mesi del conflitto del 2003.

Continua a leggere a: “E’ ora di intervenire militarmente al fianco di chi combatte lo Stato islamico”

Fate of ‘Jihadi John’ Is Unknown After Airstrike, Kerry and Cameron Say – The New York Times

LONDON — Secretary of State John Kerry and Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain said on Friday that they did not yet know the outcome of an airstrike the American military launched on Thursday to kill Mohammed Emwazi, the Islamic State’s most notorious executioner.

The two officials spoke, in separate briefings in Tunis and London, the morning after the Pentagon confirmed that the airstrike, near the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa, Syria, had targeted Mr. Emwazi, a 27-year-old British citizen who became known as Jihadi John.On Friday, a senior official with the United States military said it had used a Reaper drone armed with Hellfire missiles to attack a car in which Mr. Emwazi and another militant were thought to be traveling.

“We think we got him,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss operational details, adding that it could take a few days to get solid confirmation.

Calling the Islamic State an “evil terrorist death cult,” Mr. Cameron defended the decision to target Mr. Emwazi, who was born in Kuwait and is a naturalized British citizen, as “an act of self-defense” and “the right thing to do.

“We have been working, with the United States, literally around the clock to track him down,” Mr. Cameron said. “This was a combined effort, and the contribution of both our countries was essential. Emwazi is a barbaric murderer.”

Using an alternative acronym for the Islamic State, which is also known as ISIS, Mr. Cameron added, “He was ISIL’s lead executioner, and let us never forget that he killed many, many Muslims, too.”

At a news conference in Tunis, Mr. Kerry confirmed that the outcome of the airstrike was not yet known but said that it should serve as a warning.

“We are still assessing the results of this strike, but the terrorists associated with Daesh need to know this: Your days are numbered, and you will be defeated,” Mr. Kerry said, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State. “There is no future, no path forward for Daesh, which does not lead ultimately to its elimination, to its destruction.”

Civil liberties advocates have criticized any official British attempt to kill Mr. Emwazi as possibly unlawful, in a debate that paralleled the criticism over the Obama administration’s decision to target and kill Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born cleric and a United States citizen, in Yemen in 2011.


Mr. Emwazi, who was first known only as an unidentified, masked man with a British accent, first came to prominence in August 2014, when the Islamic State released a video in which the journalist James Foley was shown reading a statement criticizing President Obama and the American military operation against the Islamic State in Iraq. His captor then beheaded him off camera and then threatened to behead another journalist, Steven J. Sotloff, if his demands were not met.

Two weeks later, the Islamic State released a video showing the masked man beheading Mr. Sotloff.

The Washington Post revealed Mr. Emwazi’s identity in February, reporting that he grew up in a well-off family that moved to Britain when he was a child, and that he had studied computer science at the University of Westminster. The revelation touched off intense examination of the causes of radicalization among Muslim immigrants in Europe.

Mr. Emwazi was part of a group of network of friends, called the “North London Boys” by some intelligence analysts, who prayed at the same mosque and became captivated by an Egyptian-born cleric, Hani al-Sibai. Mr. Sibai is thought to have close links to the Tunisian branch of Ansar al-Shariah, a Salafist group that has been linked to a deadly attack in June on tourists in Tunisia.

The leader of this network was Bilal al-Berjawi, who was stripped of his British citizenship in 2011 after he went to Somalia to join the Islamist group known as the Shabab, and was killed by an American drone strike the next year. That same year, Mohamed Sakr, another friend, was also killed by a drone strike in Somalia.

Continue reading the main story Fate of ‘Jihadi John’ Is Unknown After Airstrike, Kerry and Cameron Say – The New York Times