Austrian man sentenced for posting ISIS atrocities on Facebook

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A court in Vienna has handed a six-month conditional sentence to a young man who posted images of Islamic State atrocities and propaganda to his Facebook page.

The man’s name has not been made public; he has only been described as a 20-year-old Kurdish male from Vienna, Austria, Press Agency reported.

The man was among 13 people arrested by police at the end of November due to links with Mirsad O, and Islamic preacher from the Austrian capital who is accused of radicalizing youths and recruiting them to fight for the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Syria.

Security was heightened around the courtroom during the trial; eight armed guards with balaclavas covering their faces were stationed outside.

The young man was sentenced for posting images of decapitated and impaled heads and other atrocities committed by IS jihadists in Syria and Iraq on his Facebook page.

The gruesome pictures were accompanied by approving comments from the owner of the account.

According to the man, he was born in Iraq and had “nothing to do with religion until the age of 15 or 16.”

But then the realization that he was surrounded by unworthy people, like “drug dealers, gamblers and idiots” made him turn to Islam, he said.

The young man acknowledged that posting Islamic State images online was “really stupid” of him.

“Decapitating someone is really disgusting, I’m the kind of person who can’t even stand the sight of his own blood,” he told the judge, adding that by his actions he only wanted to “provoke” his former friends.

The young man was initially handed a six-month prison sentence, but due to him having no previous criminal record, his punishment was reduced to a conditional sentence and three-year probation.

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The man said the arrest has “really opened his eyes,” adding that he plans to work as a trainer at a gym after his sentence is over.

Earlier this week, Austria’s parliament passed controversial amendments to the country’s 1912 Islam law.

The bill, which is partly aimed at tackling radical Islam in the nation, bans foreign funding for Islamic organizations in the country and requires Austrian Muslims to submit and use a standardized German translation of the Koran.

Such restrictions are not applied to any other religion represented in Austria.

Half-a-million Muslims, the majority of whom are migrant workers from Turkey, make up around six percent of the country’s population.

Around 170 people have left Austria to fight for the jihadist Islamic State, which has established a caliphate ruled by Sharia law in parts of Syria and Iraq.


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The Syrian government has said a Turkish incursion into the north of the country was an act of “flagrant aggression.” Damascus said it would hold Ankara responsible after they went into Syria to evacuate personnel and relics from a holy tomb.

Syria said the Turkish government had informed the Syrian consulate in Istanbul about its plans regarding the tomb of Suleyman Shah in northern Syria. Shah was the grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire.

However, Turkey didn’t wait for permission from Damascus and mounted a rescue operation to the tomb, to salvage its relics and evacuate 40 Turkish soldiers who had been guarding it.
Damascus says the maneuver was in violation of an agreement signed in 1921. Syria also stated that Anakara would be responsible for any repercussions that could take place as a result of the incursion.

The military operation launched to rescue the holy place was coordinated with the Kurds. The only casualty was a Turkish soldier.

The task force of approximately 100 military vehicles, including 39 tanks, crossed the Syrian border to a territory controlled by Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG) fighters and passed through the city of Kobani, recaptured by the YPG from the Islamic State in January.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu held a media briefing in the capital, Ankara, reporting that 38 soldiers had been brought back safely to Turkey.

Syria accuses Turkey of supporting insurgent groups that have seized control of wide areas of northern and eastern Syria, including the Islamic State militant group.

The Syrian government statement said the fact that the Islamic State had not attacked the tomb “confirmed the depth of the ties between the Turkish government and this terrorist organization,” according to Reuters.


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The U.S. and Turkey have signed an agreement to openly train and arm Syrian rebels, the majority of whom have ties to ISIS.

The deal was signed Thursday by U.S. ambassador John Bass and a senior Turkish official, according to the Associated Press, and the support could begin as early as next month.

But moderate rebel groups in Syria which are independent of ISIS are practically extinct and the main belligerents in the ongoing Syrian Civil War are ISIS affiliates and the Syrian government.

“Armed groups qualified as ‘moderate’ are closely coordinating their activities with terrorist groups,” Alexey Borodavkin, the Russian Federation ambassador to the U.N., said to a Human Rights Council, adding that Syria is facing a “huge army of trained, armed terrorists.”
A “moderate” rebel commander confirmed Borodavkin’s statement back in Sept.

“We are collaborating with the Islamic State and the Nusra Front by attacking the Syrian Army’s gatherings in… Qalamoun [in Syria],” Bassel Idriss, the commander of a Free Syrian Army rebel brigade, told the Lebanese Daily Star.

Idriss also mentioned the FSA’s dwindling power as many of his U.S.-backed fighters continue to “pledge allegiance” to ISIS.

“ISIS wanted to enhance its presence in the Western Qalamoun area,” Idriss said. “After the fall of Yabroud and the FSA’s retreat into the hills, many units pledged allegiance to ISIS.”

Another rebel, Abu Khaled, also said they were willing to collaborate with ISIS and its affiliates.

“Fighters feel proud to join al-Nusra [an ISIS affiliate] because that means power and influence,” Abu Ahmed, the commander of an FSA brigade near Aleppo, told the Guardian.

He later told the Daily Star that al-Nusra “is the biggest power present right now in Qalamoun” and that the FSA would collaborate on any mission al-Nusra launches as long as it “coincides with their values.”

Recently Turkey’s prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, was caught shipping arms to al-Qaeda and ISIS via Syria-bound trucks operated by the country’s intelligence agency, according to Turkish military officials.

“The trucks were carrying weapons and supplies to the al-Qaeda terror organization,” a report by the Gendarmerie General Command stated.

The centuries-old conflict between Sunni and Shia Muslims and the trillions of dollars in potential oil and gas revenue in Syria are both key factors motivating the Sunni Turkish government to support ISIS and its allies in a proxy war to overthrow the Shia Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, and the U.S. State Dept. admitted last year it also wants to overthrow Assad.

3,000 ISIS infiltrators may enter Turkey, plan to attack diplomatic targets – report

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Up to 3,000 trained jihadists are seeking to cross into Turkey from Syria and Iraq, with intentions of striking diplomatic targets belonging to anti-ISIS coalition partners, the Turkish intelligence service told the police in an internal memo.

“The jihadist militants could be working on armed or bombing attacks in Ankara and Istanbul against the diplomatic missions of the countries involved in the US-led anti-ISIL [ISIS] coalition,” said the Hurriyet newspaper, citing the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT).

The agency, which refused to provide additional information when contacted by Reuters, warned the police that Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) jihadists repelled from the predominantly Kurdish town of Kobani in Syria, are now looking for ways to cross the border. Hurriyet said that MIT sent a warning as far back as February 3 to local police departments, in an attempt to intercept the flow of terrorists.
It was unclear how many of the jihadists have already penetrated the Turkish border, but MIT said that some have already been sheltered in safe houses in the south of the country. MIT reports that some of the terrorists – a group of men from 17 to 25 from Palestine and Syria – intend to cross into Bulgaria, and from there into the rest of the EU.

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Last month, Turkey declared that 3,000 people – a figure that does not include the potential new influx – inside the country have connections with the radical Sunni movement. Moreover, the Turkish foreign ministry says there are between 700 and 1,000 Turkish fighters in the group, whose potential return concerns Ankara. The country has already deported over a thousand people and slapped an entry ban on 7,800 others.
Jihadists reportedly control many points on the Syria-Turkish border. Ankara has repeatedly been accused of not taking action to stop the flow of extremists seeking to join the Islamic State in Syria.

Moreover, Damascus accused Turkey of providing logistic support to Islamic radicals fighting in Syria.

Read more
‘Sleeper cells’: 3,000 in Turkey linked to ISIS, police report says

“Is it Turkey’s fault it has borders with Syria?” Turkish Prime Minister Davutoglu recently said, responding to calls by Germany’s domestic intelligence chief Hans-Georg Maassen to take more action to prevent jihadists from entering Syria and Iraq via Turkey. “We need to receive intelligence first so we can track people.”

The Islamic State, which has set itself the goal of creating a Sunni caliphate stretching across the Middle East and beyond, has recently indicated a greater focus on targets outside the conflict zone in Iraq and Syria.

There have been several suspected terrorist attacks in Turkish border regions in recent months, the last one just last week, when a car bomb exploded at a police checkpoint.

A recent pamphlet distributed by ISIS sources, and translated into English earlier this week, states the organization should create “pandemonium” in Europe, through infiltrating the outflow of refugees crossing from Libya into southern Europe.

ISIS publicly executes two ‘spies’ and CRUCIFIES another as armed insurgents and young boys watch

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Islamic State has publicly executed two alleged spies and mercilessly crucified another to a road sign in the Syrian city of Al-Bab.
Images have emerged showing two men – bound and dressed in orange jumpsuits – kneeling on the ground as hundreds of jeering insurgents surround them.
Masked men dressed in black have their weapons trained on the captives, while young boys force their way through the crowd to catch a glimpse of the helpless men.
Another picture shows a deceased man hanging from a post with a sign hanging around his neck. The onlookers in the photograph seem unphased by the man’s limp, crucified body.
On Thursday, the extremist group announced it was holding an Israeli-Arab who posed as foreign a fighter to spy for the country’s intelligence agency, Mossad.

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Muhammad Musallam, 19, was quoted in Islamic State’s online magazine Dabiq saying he joined the insurgents in Syria to report information about their weapons cashes, bases and recruits back to Israel.
It claims he said: ‘I say to all those who want to spy on the Islamic State, don’t think that you’re so smart and that you can deceive the Islamic State. You won’t succeed at all.
‘Stay away from this path. Stay away from helping the Jews and the murtaddin [apostates]. Follow the right path.’
His cover was blown when he phoned his father back in East Jerusalem, Dabiq claimed.

The Israeli government has denied he was working for them as a spy. So has his father Said who claims he was kidnapped after travelling to Turkey as a tourist.
Muhammad phoned home to say he had been abducted to neighbouring Syria and could not find a way to escape, his father said.
Said Musallam claims his son needed ‘$200 or $300′ before they would release him.
But before he could send the money, another man phoned to tell him Muhammad had escaped his captors and was seized by Islamic State.

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An Israeli security official said Mr Musallam travelled to Turkey on October 24 to fight alongside Islamic State soldiers in Syria.
He said: ‘He went on his own initiative, without his family’s knowledge.’
Asked whether his statement constituted a denial that Musallam was an Israeli spy, the official replied: ‘You can understand it that way, yes.’
Ayoob Kara – an Israeli politician and former army officer close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu – said he was unaware of Musallam’s case and did not believe he was a spy.
He claims several Arab men cross the boarder to aid refugees only to be kidnapped and exploited by Islamic State.

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Israel has recently intensified its monitoring of would-be volunteers who might cross the border to join Islamic State and return to the country as battle-hardened extremists. Turkey is a popular holiday destination for Israeli-Arabs.
In November, the country jailed an Arab citizen who returned from Syria voluntarily having spent three months there with Islamic State.
In the first conviction of its kind, Ahmed Shurbaji was imprisoned for 22 months on the condition he cooperated with security services.
A source from Israel’s internal security agency Shin Bet said Israeli-Arabs returning from Syria were routinely questioned for intelligence on jihadist groups.
Footage released yesterday showed Kurdish fighters dressed in orange jumpsuits being paraded through the streets by jeering IS militants.

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Posts on social media implied the men – shackled in cages – would suffer the same fate as a captured Jordanian pilot who was burned alive by the extremists.
The grim procession apparently took place through Kirkuk in North-west Iraq – an oil rich Kurdish stronghold where ISIS now has a presence after mounting repeated attacks in recent weeks.
In the nearly four minute long video, 17 of the Iraqi-Kurdistan soldiers are driven one by one on the backs of white pick-up trucks with ISIS flag-waving militants toting AK-47s accompanying each prisoner.
At the end of the clip the long line of cages can be seen retreating into the sunset over the heads of massed crowds of militants.

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US embassy in Yemen closing by Wednesday – sources

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The US embassy in Yemen will reportedly be closed due to the deteriorating security situation in the country.

Yemini staff at the US embassy in Sana’a have told Reuters they had been told by the ambassador the mission would be shuttered within 24 hours.

The embassies of Turkey and Algeria will reportedly be asked to look after US interests in the country during the embassy closure. A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity later confirmed that the embassy would be closed. The official said the ambassador would leave on Wednesday, though he did not provide a date for the closure of the mission.

Officials also told AP on condition of anonymity that diplomats were currently being evacuated from the country. Marines providing security at the mission are also likely leave, the officials said. American forces carrying out counterterrorism missions in other parts of the country, however, will not be affected by the evacuation order.

The move is reportedly sparked by the recent coup by Houthi fighters, a Zaidi Shia group allegedly backed by Iran.

On Sunday, the embassy suspended all consular services due to the security situation in the country.

The Houthis first seized control of Sanaa in September following a decade-long insurgency. On January 20, Houthi rebels took control of the presidential palace in the capital, with deposed President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi inside.

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On Friday, they announced they had officially taken control of the Yemini government, dissolved parliament, and declared its Revolutionary Committee to be at the helm of the country.

UN-brokered peace talks between rival factions in the country hit a snag just days after the coup.

On Monday, Islah, a large opposition party, and the smaller Nasserist Unionist People’s Organization, walked out on the talks, sparking fears that the country could descend into all-out civil war.