720 Cops Hunting For Strasbourg Jihad Murderer

From The Local:
French police have released an image of Cherif Chekatt, the suspected gunman who opened fire in the centre of Strasbourg on Tuesday night leaving at least two dead and several critically injured.

French police tweeted out a public appeal for help in hunting down the gunman. Members ofthe [sic] public are warned not to approach “the dangerous individual” but to alert authorities by contact the emergency number 197.

Around 720 police officers and other security forces are searching for him, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said, and the public is being urged to alert police of any tips on his whereabouts….

The suspected gunman has been sentenced 27 times, mostly in France where he was born, but also in Germany, Switzerland as well as Luxembourg which are easily reached from Strasbourg.

His crimes range from violence to robbery, but not terrorism.

Chekatt was added to a watchlist of possible extremists while in prison in France in 2015 after he “called for practising a radical form of religion,” French deputy interior minister Laurent Nunez said on Wednesday.

He has since been monitored by France’s domestic intelligence agency, the DGSI, which is occupied monitoring a large number of suspected extremists in France.

Egyptian Gets Prison Time For Blasphemy (Insulting Islam)

From International Christian Concern:
Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on November 27, Coptic Christian Abd Adel Bebawy was sentenced by an Egyptian court to three years in prison for “insulting Islam in the first degree.” His lawyer was granted access to the verdict on December 6 and has opened an appeal which is expected to be heard at the end of December.

Bebawy was originally arrested in Minbal, a village located in Upper Egypt’s Minya Governorate on July 6, 2018. He had posted on Facebook an image of God, the angel Gabriel, and a verse from the Quran. The day after he was arrested and charged by the police, a mob gathered in Minbal and attacked several Christian homes. It is common for Islamic extremists in Egypt to collectively punish the Christian community for the perceived wrongs of one individual.

One Christian woman, Mariam, shared with ICC shortly following the July attack, “The mob stoned the houses of all the Christians (in Minbal). The Christians were afraid and all locked themselves in their houses and closed the wooden shutters of the windows.”

The attackers have continued to make it clear that Bebawy and his family would not be welcomed back into the village. He has remained imprisoned since July. Regarding the recent verdict, a close relative shared with ICC how she “was expecting this to happen in the first degree. But what I hope is that he will be freed in the appeal.”

She continued to say that she “didn’t care if [they] had to leave their village or the country, [I] just want his freedom.”…

France: Shooting in Strasbourg

From The Independent:
At least one person has been killed and a number of others injured after somebody opened fire near a Christmas market in the French city of Strasbourg, according to the local fire department.

The French Interior Ministry called on the public to remain indoors amid the “serious security event” in the city. [...]

France: Strasbourg Jihadi Screamed “Allahu Akbar,” Interior Minister Still Unsure He Had “Terrorist Motivations”

Hat Tip: Jihad Watch

From CNN:
A gunman who opened fire near a popular Christmas market in the French city of Strasbourg shouted the Arabic phrase “Allahu Akbar,” meaning “God is greater,” at the time of the attack and was also carrying a knife, a Paris prosecutor said Wednesday.

The suspect, identified as Cherif C, born February 24, 1989, killed two people and left one on life support with no chance of recovery, said Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz. Police had previously said three people were killed and 13 injured in the attack Tuesday.

The gunman — who remains on the run — has an extensive criminal background that includes 27 convictions in France, Germany, and Switzerland, said Heitz, mainly for acts of robbery and violence.

More than 350 police gendarmes and soldiers supported by air units have been mobilized to find the suspect, who was already known to security services as a possible threat, police said.

The attack prompted France to raise its national security threat level to its highest “emergency terror attack” status, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said at a news conference.

“What happened last night is unquestionably an attack, a form of terrorist attack,” Strasbourg Mayor Roland Ries told CNN by phone….

Deputy Interior Minister Laurent Nunez earlier told Inter radio station that authorities could not confirm that the suspect had “terrorist motivations.”

Nunez added that while authorities had secured the border and set up a perimeter around Strasbourg, they are unsure if the suspect is still in France.

Strasbourg’s famed Christmas Market is one of the oldest in Europe and draws millions of visitors each year. The suspect entered the perimeter of the market by the city’s Corbeau Bridge, and began shooting at passers-by on the Rue des Orfèvres at 8 p.m. local time, when many were in the middle of their Christmas shopping.

Anti-terror police descended on the market and attempted to apprehend the suspect, who exchanged fire with security forces on at least two occasions between 8:20 p.m. and 9 p.m. Strasbourg police confirmed that the gunman was injured in one of the exchanges. He is then believed to have jumped into a taxi and fled the scene….

The suspected gunman, who was previously identified by CNN affiliate BFM as a 29-year-old male born in Strasbourg, was on a French watch list called a “Fiche S” surveillance file.

The “Fiche S” is a French terror and radicalization watch list that includes thousands of people, some of whom are under active surveillance, meaning they are on law enforcement’s radar.

Castaner told reporters Wednesday that the suspect was known to police authorities in France and Germany for non-terror related offenses.

French gendarmes had attempted to bring him in for questioning Tuesday morning before the attack but found he wasn’t home, a spokesperson for France’s National Police told CNN, without providing further details….

Twitter Warns Global Users Their Tweets Violate Pakistani Law

From Channel News Asia:
WASHINGTON: When Canadian columnist Anthony Furey received an email said to be from Twitter’s legal team telling him he may have broken a slew of Pakistani laws, his first instinct was to dismiss it as spam.

But after Googling the relevant sections of Pakistan’s penal code, the Toronto Sun op-ed editor was startled to learn he stood accused of insulting the Prophet Mohammad – a crime punishable by death in the Islamic republic – and Twitter later confirmed the correspondence was genuine.

His perceived offense was to post cartoons of the prophet several years ago.

Furey and two prominent critics of extremism in Islam say they are “shocked” to have received notices by the social media giant this past week over alleged violations of Islamabad’s laws, despite having no apparent connection to the South Asian country.

They say the notices amount to an effort to stifle their voices – a charge Twitter denies, arguing the notices came about as a result of “valid requests from an authorized entity,” understood to mean Pakistan, helped users “to take measures to protect their interests,” and the process is not unique to any one country.

But Furey is the third prominent user in the space of days to publicly complain about receiving a message linked to Pakistan.

The other two are Saudi-Canadian activist Ensaf Haidar and Imam Mohammad Tawhidi, a progressive Muslim scholar from Australia who was born in Iran.

Both are outspoken critics of religious extremism and have accused the social media giant of helping to silence progressive ideas within Islam.

‘VALIDATES BLASPHEMY LAWS’

Furey, who detailed his experience in a column for his newspaper on Saturday (Dec 8), told AFP: “I’m somewhat alarmed that Twitter would even allow a country to make a complaint like this, as it almost validates their absurd blasphemy laws.”

The tweet in question was a collage of cartoons of Mohammad that he posted four years ago.

“Looking back, I remember I did it right after there had been an ISIS-inspired attack in retaliation over the cartoons,” Furey wrote in his column, adding he had not posted similar material before or since….

UK: Police Foil ISIS-Inspired Christmas Bomb Plot

From the Daily Mail:
Police have foiled a suspected bomb plot inspired by Islamic State in the run up to Christmas, it emerged yesterday.

More than a hundred officers swooped on a quiet cul-de-sac in Newcastle upon Tyne yesterday to arrest an alleged lone wolf plotter said to be under the spell of the terror group.

Fearing that explosives may be present, more than 150 houses were evacuated as well as a school when elite counter-terrorism officers raided an address in the Arthur’s Hill area of the city less than a mile from St James’s Park football stadium and the Eldon Square shopping centre.

Dozens of locals were taken to a community centre while searches were carried out at the suspect’s property for any explosives or weapons.

A 33-year-old man was arrested at the property on suspicion of being concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.

But hours after his arrest the cordon was taken down after no explosives were found….

Locals expressed their shock at seeing police officers in military style uniforms descending on the normally quiet street shortly after 10am.

Neighbours described the man who was living at the address as an Asian man in his 30s, but said they knew little about him….

Ohio: Muslim Planned To Attack Synagogue

From KEPR (CBS affiliate):
TOLEDO, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) – A 21-year-old Ohio man is accused of attempting to provide support to foreign terrorist organizations, after investigators say not only did he plot to support ISIS, but he was trying to plan an attack on a Toledo-area synagogue after he was inspired by the Pittsburgh attack.

Damon Joseph, of Holland, Ohio, was arrested Dec. 7 on one charge of attempting to provide material support and resources. Investigators say they first became aware of Joseph in May through social media, and say they watched him progress in a matter of months from consuming ISIS propaganda to making videos in order to inspire others to planning attacks.

Agents say after the attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh in October Joseph said Jewish people are evil and “they got what was coming to them.” Investigators say he also talked to an undercover employee that he was planning a shooting, and even came up with a draft plan, identifying two synagogues as targets. He wanted to inflict mass casualties, and “wanted to kill a rabbi” according to investigators. They also say he planned to attack any responding law enforcement.

Joseph was unable to legally purchase or own a firearm due to a past conviction, but investigators say he took possession of two rifles he thought the undercover officer had bought for the attack. He was arrested after taking possession of the rifles Friday.

“He attempted to recruit others to this plot. He selected firearms – firearms that he handpicked because he believed they would deliver the maximum amount of damage and destruction,” US Attorney Justin Herdman said….

Egypt: Muslim Mob Screaming “Allahu Akbar” Attacks Christians, Forces Closure Of Church

From Watani International:
The police has caught an unspecified number of Copts and Muslims in the village of Koum al-Raheb in Samalout, Minya, some 250km south of Cairo, and tightened security over the village, bringing calm in the wake of skirmishes between the village Muslims and Copts.

To Islamic cheers of “Allahu Akbar”, literally Allah is the Greatest, groups of Muslim villagers had this morning, Monday 10 December, waged attacks against the houses of the Copts in the village of Kom al-Raheb, pelting them with stones and thumping at doors and windows. They were livid that the Copts had a day earlier, Sunday 9 December, opened a new church building and celebrated Holy Mass inside. The police arrived and demanded immediate closure of the unlicensed church. The Copts persuaded the police to wait for Mass to conclude before closing the building, which they did and confiscated its keys.

Monday morning, local government employees arrived to the church to cut off water and electricity from the building through removing the electricity and water metres, a standard measure taken against unlicensed buildings. The village Copts gathered around the church to oppose this procedure, and stood praying out loud in the street in front of the four storey building.

According to the village priest who asked for his name to be withheld, the new church would have served the village’s 2500 Copts, since the village includes no church. He said that fundamentalist Muslims had used the local mosque’s microphone to rally the village Muslims against the Copts….

Turkey Fans Anti-Western Flames

From Ahval:
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Saturday expressed his concern regarding the chaos caused by the ‘Yellow Vest’ protests in Paris, while pointing to France’s discrimination against refugees and Islam, independent news site T24 reported….

‘’The picture that has emerged shows us that Europe has failed in the lessons of democracy, human rights, freedoms,’’ Erdoğan said, adding, “Those who provoke hostility against refugees and Islamophobia have been caught in their own trap.”

Last week, hundreds of people were arrested and scores injured in violence on the streets of Paris, some of the worst clashes to take place in the French capital for decades, in the fourth weekend of anti-government protests which have turned violent. Four people have been killed as yellow-vested protesters angry at President Emmanuel Macron and France’s high taxes continue to take the streets.

Around 31,000 people were taking part in Saturday’s demonstrations, according to France’s junior interior minister, of which 8,000 were in or around Paris.

Terrorists Kill 18 Civilians In Congo

From Reuters:
BENI, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) – Suspected militiamen have killed at least 18 civilians in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, near the epicentre of an Ebola outbreak, an army spokesman said on Friday.

Repeated attacks by armed groups on civilians, Congolese soldiers and U.N. peacekeepers have hampered efforts to contain the epidemic, the second worst in history.

So far, it is believed to have infected 471 people and killed 273 of them….

A local army spokesman, Captain Mak Hazukay, told Reuters the civilians were killed late on Thursday during two separate attacks near the town of Beni.

“They killed some of them and took others hostage … dragged them into the suburbs, where they burned down a house and savagely executed the hostages,” he said….

A local civil society leader, Kizito Bin Hangi, said the attack was carried out by militants belonging to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan Islamist group active in the area.

Congolese authorities blame ADF rebels for dozens of attacks over the past four years that have killed more than 1,000 civilians, although independent experts say other armed groups and Congolese soldiers are responsible for some of the killings.

The attacks have undermined health authorities’ ability to reach patients and others exposed to Ebola. Mistrust of first responders has also led some locals to refuse treatment or safe burials, aggravating the outbreak.