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ISIS Claims Credit for Attack in Barcelona

ISIS' news agency A'maq has issued a release claiming responsibility for the attack in Barcelona that killed 13 and injured many more. The UK Sun has a set of about 50 graphic photos showing the horror in Barcelona. Police have two men in custody but neither was the driver of the van. This is a photo of Driss Oubar released by the police of Driss Oubar, who they say rented the van.

Spanish police confirm they foiled a second attack in Cambrils, a beachside area southwest of Barcelona, and killing 5 suspected terrorists. Here is the official twitter feed for MOSSOS, the police in Catalonia.

The State Department today designated two alleged ISIS leaders as terrorists. They are Ahmad Alkhald and Abu Yahya al-Iraqi, and the State Dept. says they are responsible attacks in Paris and Brussels in 2015. Alkhald is reportedly a bomb-maker.[More...]

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ISIS Attacks In Iran Kills 12, Iran Responds to "Fumbling Firecrackers"

ISIS claimed credit for today's dual attacks inside the Iranian Parliament and at the mausoleum of Imam Khomeini, the late founder of the Islamic Republic, which killed 12 people and wounded dozens. ISIS's affiliated news agency A'maq posted a short 25 second clip showing one person dead inside parliament.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said:

"The Iranian people are moving forward, and today’s fumbling with firecrackers will not affect the will-power of the people. Everyone must realize this, the terrorists are too small to affect the will of the Iranian people and the authorities'. This also reveals that if the Islamic Republic had not resisted, at the center of all this conspiracy, we would have had much more trouble of this sort in the country. God willing, they will "bite the dust."

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Third London Attacker Named by Police

The third London attacker has been identified as Youssuf Zaghba, 22, who lived in East London. He is an Italian national.

The third London Bridge attacker has been named as Youssef Zaghba, a 22-year-old son of an Italian mother and Moroccan father who was reportedly stopped at Bologna airport in 2016 bound for Syria via Turkey and told officials “I am going to be a terrorist”.

....According to reports in the Italian press, Zaghba had recently been working in a Pakistani restaurant in London. He was reported to have been on Italy’s list of persons at risk.

Italian officials say they notified British police about him when he left for London: [More...]

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UK Police Identify Two of the London Attackers

Two of the dead London attackers have been identified.

27-year-old Khuram Shazad Butt, a British citizen who was born in Pakistan, and 30-year-old Rachid Redouane, who had claimed to be Moroccan and Libyan. Both lived in the Barking area of east London, the scene of multiple police raids since Sunday. Police did not identify the third attacker, saying efforts to confirm his identity are ongoing.

You can see Khuram Shazad Butt in this Channel 4 News Special called The Jihadis next door. It was filmed in 2014 (aired later) and he is the one unfolding the ISIS flag in the park and buzzing around when his preacher gets hassled about the flag by police. The Daily Mail has more. Contrary to some news reports, he was not involved in an altercation in the film. It was his preacher who became beligerant. He had a very minor part in the film. According to friends, he became radicalized by watching You Tube films.

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Salman Abedi: UK Police Believe He Acted Alone

For days, police in the UK informed the media they were snatching up the major players in Salman Abedi's terrorist network in Manchester. Despite 16 arrests, today today the Manchester Police acknowledged that the "network" theory isn't panning out. It appears he acted alone. Here is the latest release by the Manchester Police Department.

Police now say Abedi bought the materials himself and built the bomb on his own in the four days after he returned from Libya.

Five of the people arrested have been released, three of them today . More releases are expected. [More...]

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DHS Statement : Laptop Ban Still Under Consideration

The Department of Homeland Security issued a press release today saying no decision has been reached on banning laptops (large electronic devices) from overseas flights, but it's under consideration. DHS Secretary John Kelly had a phone call today with some European security officials.

Finally, while a much-discussed expansion of the ban on large electronic devices in the cabin on flights to the United States was not announced today, the Secretary made it clear that the an expansion is still on the table. Secretary Kelly affirmed he will implement any and all measures necessary to secure commercial aircraft flying to the United States – including prohibiting large electronic devices from the passenger cabin – if the intelligence and threat level warrant it.

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Manchester Bomber's Father and Brother Arrested in Libya

Ramadan Abedi, aka Abu Ismael, was arrested by Libyan security forces while giving a media interview in Tripoli. He confirmed his younger son, Hassem Abedi, age 20, was arrested last night by a local counterterrorism force. He was being interviewed by Reuters when masked men arrived at his home and arrested him.

Another brother Ismail was arrested in Manchester yesterday.[More...]

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UK Threat Level Raised to "Critical" as More Info on Attacker is Sought

The Manchester bombing investigation continues. The focus now is on determining whether the attacker, identified by UK police (after it was leaked by U.S. officials) as native British citizen Salman Abedi, acted alone.

This is a long post. While the info is current as of the time I am posting this, it will likely change in the coming days. That said, here's my assessment of what happened and what we learned yesterday. Feel free to add more information in comments. [More...]

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Report: Body of Suicide Bomber Found at Manchester Arena

19 people are dead and at least 50 were injured when an explosion occurred at the end of an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, UK. Police are treating it as a terrorist incident. Ariana had just finished her set and had just left the stage when the explosion occurred.

The Greater Manchester Police twitter feed with updates is here.

There are no clues yet as to who is responsible. While ISIS is an obvious possibility, it could also be al Qaida (Osama bin Laden's son Hamza bin Laden released an audio message this month calling for attacks in the west as did AQAP in Yemen. [More...]

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Russian Train Blast Caused by Home-made bomb

The blast at the St Petersburg train station was reportedly a homemade bomb of TNT with shrapnel. At least ten people died.

So far,leaders of several countries have sent their condolences to Russia. Where's Trump? He isn't mentioned. In fact, when given the opportunity to say something, he declined:

When a reporter asked Trump if he contacted the Russian President Vladimir Putin in connection with the terrorist attack in the metro St. Petersburg, [Trump] did not say anything.

[Added: He later spoke to Putin by phone and offered U.S. support in the investigation. [More...]

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Turkey Arrests Suspected Shooter in Reina Nightclub Attack

Update: The Governor of Istanbul now says the suspect Masharipov has confessed and was definitely acting for ISIS. No mention of an outside intelligence agency being involved.

Turkish police and intelligence agents arrested the suspected shooter in the New Year's Eve massacre at the Reina nightclub. He is Abdulgadir Masharipov, a native of Uzbekistan. Police have had him under surveillance for the past 5 days.

Here's the weird part. Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş today said the Reina nightclub shooting was not just an ISIS attack, but a coordinated intelligence attack using a paid ISIS terrorist (Masharipov). He said the shooter was motivated by money, not ideology. Police recovered $150,000 at the scene of the arrest, which they believe is the amount he was to be paid. [More...]

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Terror Attack by "Santa" Clad Terrorist(s) in Istanbul

Update: New footage here. He wasn't wearing a Santa suit. The death toll is now at 39, most of whom were foreigners. The U.S. did not have intelligence about a specific threat, according to the U.S. Embassy in Turkey.

"Contrary to rumors circulating on social media, the U.S. Government had no information about threats to specific entertainment venues, including the Reina Club, and ‎the U.S. Government did not warn Americans to stay away from specific venues or neighborhoods," the embassy said in a statement.

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The New Year began in Turkey with a terrorist attack at an exclusive night club called Reina. [More...]

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Suspect Ahmed Khan Rahami

Ahmed Khan Rahami, the suspect in the Chelsea pipe bomb explosions, has been charged with "five counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer and second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon in connection with the shootout in Linden, N.J., that led to his arrest."

Police do not suspect he is part of a larger terror cell.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said after Rahami’s arrest that authorities were not looking for any other suspects. "There is no other individual that we are looking for at this time ... but vigilance is called for.

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ISIS Takes Credit for MN Attack

Amaq News Agency (associated with ISIS) claims an ISIS supporter is responsible for the knife attacks at a Minnesota mall:

Local news in Minnesota is identifying the attacker, who was killed, as Dahir Adan:

(no link due to auto-play video.) He is reportedly a Somali-American. His family has issued an apology. He was a college student with (as far as they know) no history of violence. He told his family he was going to the mall to buy an iPhone, and they don't know what happened after that. 8 or 9 people were injured at the mall, none with life-threatening injuries, and Adan was killed outside Macy's by an off-duty police officer. [More...]

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DOJ Releases Report on San Bernardino Attack

The Justice Department has released an in depth report, Bringing Calm to Chaos, (available here) on the December, 2015 San Bernardino shootings. Shooters Syed Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik died in a shootout with police.

The report addresses first responder and law enforcement response to the attack. It is not a critique, and calls the response to the shootings "exemplary." Its purpose is to "critically assess the decisions made and the actions taken in response to the terrorist attacks- not in judgment but in careful study." It hopes to be a lesson for future attacks. [More...]

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