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Belgian Arms Dealer Admits Selling Weapons Used in Paris Attacks

A Belgian arms dealer and "known underworld figure" turned himself into authorities today. He admitted supplying several weapons to Amedi Coulibaly which were used in the Paris attacks.

Federal police, who searched the suspect’s apartment, found papers linking him to a transaction with Amedy Coulibaly, the jihadist who murdered four Jewish men and held others hostage at the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in east Paris on Friday.

According to the local press, the man sold Coulibaly the Skorpion submachine guns he used in the attack, as well as the rocket propelled grenade launcher and the Kalashnikov automatic assault rifles that Said and Cherif Kouachi used to perpetrate the massacre at the offices of Charlie Hebdo. The weapons were purchased near the Midi railway station in downtown Brussels for less than 5,000 euros, according to the reports.

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New ISIS Video With John Cantlie in Mosul, Iraq

Just before New Years, I wondered what happened to John Cantlie.

We have the answer. He's still alive. Here is his latest video giving a tour of Mosul, Iraq, which he says is the "absolute heartland" of the Caliphate and home to 2 million people." He says he sees millions of people going about their daily business after years of oppression.

Towards the end, he is driving an ISIS police motorcycle through the streets of Mosul, with a big grin and an ISIS member sitting behind him: [More...]

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Shami Witness's Detention Extended Until Jan. 15

Shami Witness, the tweeter from India who posted ISIS news updates with favorable comments, went to court yesterday. His police detention is over, and he has been remanded to judicial custody until Jan. 15.

Bengaluru City Police Commissioner M.N. Reddi told reporters: "During interrogation, we figured that he (Biswas) was in direct touch with ISIS fighters. We have gathered evidence to show that he supported IS. Apart from proactively tweeting for the group, his messages prove that he encouraged youths to join the organisation."

The police also said that their investigation into his role in working as a propagandist was complete. "He cooperated during interrogation and never refused to share any information that we sought. We will seek his custody if required in the coming days based on inputs from the National Investigation Agency," a police source said.

Another police source says: [More...]

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ISIS End of Year Wrap: Where Are They Now?

ISIS is undoubtedly the story of the year, in my opinion. Taking a look back, I wonder, where are these ISIS newsmakers now?


"Jihadi John"


ISIS military superstar Abu Wahib

[More...]

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ISIS Releases Issue 6 of Dabiq Magazine

ISIS has released issue No. 6 of Dabiq Magazine. You can read it here. Shorter version:

The Muslims will continue to defy the kāfir war machine, flanking the crusaders on their own streets and bringing the war back to their own soil.

I don't think it's as interesting as prior issues, despite the graphic photo of the captured Jordanian pilot wearing an orange jumpsuit. [More...]

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A New ISIS Website With Official Releases

I wasn't the only one spending hours on Wordpress this week. So was ISIS (or a government agency pretending to be ISIS.) It has a newly remodeled website containing official releases of reports and videos from their various states, in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Algeria, etc. According to the twitter feed for the website, it went live on December 17. (The website is here, but don't click through the entries unless your are prepared to see a lot of violence. I'm writing about it because of the design, not the content. Also, it's in Arabic, so you'll need to use Google translate.)

The site designer chose the Dynamic News theme. There's a free Lite version and a Pro version, and they have the Lite version (no purchase funds to trace.)

The site has an FAQ page. Ir doesn't have comments, but it does have a contact page and they encourage communication, although the form requires an e-mail address. (Maybe it's not really an ISIS creation, but a sting site by some government agency to get information on would be ISIS recruits?)[More...]

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ISIS and the Jordanian Pilot Hostage

The father of 1st Lt. Mu’ath al-Kaseasbeh, the Jordanian pilot captured by ISIS, has issued a plea for his return.

"I direct a message to our generous brothers of the Islamic State in Syria: to host my son, the pilot Mu'ath, with generous hospitality," he said. "I ask God that their hearts are gathered together with love, and that he is returned to his family, wife and mother."

"We are all Muslims," he added.

Here are very large-size (non-violent) photos of his capture. What are the chances the pilot will not be killed? [More...]

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Indian Police: Shami Witness Just a Cheerleader

Indian police, with the help of Twitter, have now gone through Shami Witness' (Mehdi Masroor Biswas)list of 17,000 plus followers and his tweets. What have they found?

Sources privy to the investigation, meanwhile, admitted that sleuths are yet to find anything incendiary, which involves Mehdi directly. An officer said they haven't come across any tweet in which Mehdi asks for specific acts of terrorism to be committed. "He is more of a cheerleader. He supported ISIS activities, shared messages backing the outfit and egged on the cadres, saying what they were doing was right," he said.

Out of his 17,000 followers, police were interested in about 50 of them. They sent those 50 emails, asking the following questions: [More...]

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Todenhoefer and the German Fighter Interview

This is the longer (12 minute) version of CNN's interview with German journalist Juergen Todenhoefer who recently returned from spending 10 days with ISIS in Iraq and Syria. (Here is the 3 minute version I wrote about Monday.)

This longer version is even more compelling. There are also new details on the overweight German fighter who defends slavery and beheadings and tells Todenhoefer ISIS will conquer Europe some day, it's only a matter of time, and that James Foley died because of the U.S. government.

He is 30 year old Christian Emde, who was jailed in Great Britain in 2011 along with 25 year old Richard Baum, for possessing a lot of extremist literature, including the AQAP articles from the issue of Inspire Magazine on how to build a bomb. They were convicted and sentenced, and deported back to Germany in 2012. They both then joined ISIS. Baum blew himself up in a suicide attack weeks ago. [More...]

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German Journalist on His Ten Days With ISIS

I wrote the other day about German journalist Juergen Todenhoefer, who just returned from spending 10 days with ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Here he is on CNN, speaking in English. He says ISIS may represent only 1% of Muslims, but they have the power of a nuclear tsunami. He calls their rise and current status "incredible." CNN in the written text accompanying the video, recounts several of his conversations with ISIS members.

Todenhoefer describes the euphoric atmosphere surrounding the fighters and the "glow" of their new (and plentiful) recruits -- one of whom just passed his bar exam to become a lawyer and another is from New Jersey:[More...]

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ISIS Plays Up Public Killings and Punishment

There have been a slew of ISIS videos showing public killings and punishment the past few days. Some take place after prayers when the public areas are already crowded. ISIS is clearly trying to impress upon the public that spying and failure to go along with its rules will result in swift and merciless punishment.

It has been using vehicles with crucifixion crosses attached. The other day it drove through town with a Syrian man alive and attached to the cross. His offense, according to ISIS supporters on Twitter: He had laid out beacons for the Syrian Army showing it where to bomb. ISIS says civilians were killed by the bombs. (SITE says the beacons were laid out to assist the air strikes.) Even though the video does not show the Syrian's execution, I won't post the link. But I will post some screenshots so you get the idea of the size of the crowd it is playing to.

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Shami Witness' Detention Extended for 15 Days

Police in India have obtained a 15 day extension of time to hold Shami Witness (Mehdi Masroor Biswas) as they continue their investigation of him and his Twitter account. They had asked for an additional 25 days. Shami has been allowed to meet with his parents.

Biswas was arrested under Sec 125 of IPC (waging war against the Government of any Asiatic power in alliance or at peace with the Government of India or attempts to wage such war or abetting waging of such war), Sec 18 and 39 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Sec 66 of the Information Technology Act.

India has now moved to have ISIS added to its list of designated terror organizations under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. However, the list already included any organizations that were designated terror organizations by the U.N. and ISIS has been designated by the U.N.

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Official ISIS Statement Explaining Sharia Punishments

ISIS released an official statement explaining Sharia law punishments (also known as Hudud) today. It says it is wants people to be forewarned. It also says it will not be lenient on violators, and has even imposed the punishments, including death, on its own members.

There are 11 punishments. Thanks to Arabic and Islamic affairs expert Pieter van Ostaeyen for publishing the English translation, which was done by Abu Musab. [More...]

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India May Be Softening Stance on Shami Witness

India Home Minister Rajnath Singh gave a statement to Parliament about the arrest of Shami Witness yesterday.

"The interrogation of Mehdi Biswas has indicated that his activities were limited to posting and reposting of pro-ISIS (as the IS was previously known) material on his Twitter account and social media sites," the minister said.

...He used to visit prominent IS-related sites, mostly those in the Arabic language, and then used Web-based tools to translate the contents into English and repost the material on his Twitter account, Rajnath told Parliament.

He didn't call Shami a terrorist or jihadist, instead describing him as someone who "interacted with people on social networking sites 'on matters related to jihad'." He portrayed him as more "swagger than substance."

Other senior Indian officials told the Telegraph police would not have arrested Shami but for the media pressure. [More...]

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New Report on ISIS: Focus on the Governance, Not Just the Violence

The CTC (Combatting Terrorism Center at West Point) has a new 105 page report on the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL, now known as IS.) The report is called "The Group That Calls Itself a State: Understanding the Evolution and Challenges of the Islamic State" and the full report is available here.

The report examines ISIS' rise, activities, and weaknesses. Shorter version: To defeat ISIS, it's important to look past the brutality and examine its governance record, and highlight the shortcomings in it. There will be no defeat and surrender. The best we can hope for is that after a generation or two, they will become irrelevant.

In case you don't have time to read 105 pages, I'll summarize the report and highlight the parts I found most significant below. [More...]

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