Weekly National Situation Update 5-5-19

From AlertsUSA


Islamic State Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi - ALLOW IMAGES

Islamic State Leader Appears in New Video Calls for War of Attrition

May 4, 2019


On April 29th, the following related Flash SMS messages
were sent to
AlertsUSA subscriber mobile devices:

4/29 – Official ISIS media arm, al-Furqan, has released a new video message from leader and ‘Caliph’ Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (the first since 2014). More to follow..

4/29 – In new Islamic State video, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi directs followers to double their efforts & intensify strikes on Crusaders & apostates. See email for more.

What You Need To Know

On Monday, AlertsUSA subscribers were notified of the release of a new video message from the Islamic State’s elusive leader and ‘Caliph’ Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. In what is believed to be his first appearance on video since 2014, Bagdhadi’s message was straightforward: Despite the fall of the Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria, the global ISIS community lives on and that the fight is far from over.

The video, distributed in 7 languages, shows Baghdadi referencing several recent events, including the re-election of Israeli PM Netanyahu, the overthrow of the leaders of Sudan and Algeria, offering praise for the Sri Lanka suicide bombers (claiming the strikes were revenge for defeat at Baghouz, Syria, the last physical stronghold of the terror organization), and further vowing to avenge those who died in the battle.

Baghdadi goes on to direct followers to intensify strikes on “Crusaders & apostates” in an effort to bleed the enemy in a long war of attrition. He also states jihad will continue until the “end of time,” or in another translation, until the “day of resurrection.”

It is widely believed the release of the video was intended to bolster the morale of Islamic State supporters and to stiffen the spines of terror cells and lone wolves around the world, motivating them to plan their own attacks and fight for the “spiritual caliphate,”

Both the US and Russia claimed Bagdhadi was killed in Sept 2017.

What’s Up With the Red Beard?

During the time of Muhammad, Christians and Jews were prohibited from dying grey hair, so Muhammad forbade Muslims from imitating them. Thus, they dyed their beards to distinguish themselves.

See the following two Hadiths:

“Allah’s Messenger said : “The Jews and the Christians do not dye (their grey hair), so you shall do the opposite of what they do.””

Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol.4 Hadith No.3462

It was also reported from the Prophet that one should change grey hair, using any colour except black. Abu Dharr reported that the Prophet said: “The best things with which to change grey hair are henna and ‘katam’ (a plant similar to henna which is used as a dye).”

al-Tirmidhi, no. 1675

AlertsUSA continues to monitor the domestic and international threat environment and will immediately notify service subscribers, via SMS messages to their mobile devices, of new alerts, warnings and advisories or any developments which signal a change the overall threat picture for American citizens as events warrant.



5/3 – Manchester UK: Piccadilly Gardens on lockdown, Oldham Library evacuated flwg discovery of “suspicious devices.” One person in custody. Awaiting add’l details.

5/2 – Kirtland Air Force Base (Albuquerque) has been evacuated due to a bomb threat. Officials say all gates are closed until further notice. AlertsUSA monitoring..

5/1 – AlertsUSA monitoring police response to reports of active shooter, Long Beach City College, Long Beach CA. Campus on lockdown. Add’l alerts as warranted.

5/1 – Active shooter report, 1 College Ave (Davis Square), Somerville, MA. Believed related to bank robbery. Avoid the area. AlertsUSA monitoring..

4/30 – Multiple causalities reported, UNC-Charlotte (at or near Kennedy Building). One person in custody. Campus remains on lockdown.

4/30 – Active shooter report, University of North Carolina-Charlotte. Campus on lockdown. AlertsUSA monitoring..

4/30 – AlertsUSA warns of May Day protests and demonstrations to be held nationwide tomorrow, May 1st. Violence anticipated at larger gatherings. See email.

4/30 – Protests outside the Venezuelan Embassy in DC (1099 30th St NW). Caution urged if in the area. AlertsUSA monitoring..

4/30 – Mil-backed uprising underway in Venezuela. US State Dept urges all Americans to depart immediately or shelter in place. No USGOV coordinated evacs at this time.

4/29 – FBI disrupts domestic terror plot aimed at multiple targets in SoCal. Suspect rptd to be Army vet who had expressed support for ISIS. Awaiting news conference.

4/29 – Gunfire reported at rear entrance to US Embassy Haiti. Shelter in place ordered within embassy compound. AlertsUSA monitoring…

4/28 – 6+ people shot at Perkins Square Baptist Church (2500 Edmondson Ave) in Baltimore, MD. Area on lockdown. Shooter at large. AlertsUSA monitoring..

4/27 – AlertsUSA monitoring shooting incident, Chabad of Poway synagogue, San Diego. Multiple injuries..

4/27 – San Diego Sheriff: Chabad synagogue shooter was armed with AR-style rifle. 3 injured, 1 dead. Shooter in custody.

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Security Increasing at Churches and Synagogues in Advance of Ramadan

May 4, 2019

On April 29th, the following related Flash SMS messages
were sent to
AlertsUSA subscriber mobile devices:

5/3 – Security increasing at churches and synagogues across N. America in runup to start of Ramadan on Sunday, May 5. Increased vigilance and security awareness urged.

What You Need To Know

On Friday, AlertsUSA subscribers were notified of increasing security at churches and synagogues across North America in the runup to the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan on Sunday, May 5th. As was reported to AlertsUSA subscribers just two weeks ago, a Joint Intelligence Bulletin was issued by the Dept. of Homeland Security, FBI and National Counterterrorism Center warning law enforcement, military, and security personnel that the religious holidays including Ramadan may provide increased symbolic interest to extremists aspiring to target faith-based communities in the Homeland.

Additionally, the Islamic State, Al Qaeda, their associates and those inspired by such organizations have repeatedly called for and directly threatened attacks on “worshipers of the cross,” “disbelievers” and the West in general.

In order to minimize risk and maximize readiness, the Department of Homeland Security and other federal and state partners offers numerous resources to assist faith-based and community organizations with their efforts to prepare for all types of hazards, whether natural or man-made.

DHS: Active Shooter: How to Respond

DHS Active Shooter Preparedness

DHS: Connect, Plan, Train, Report

DHS: Active Shooter Event Quick Reference Guide

DHS: Planning and Response to an Active Shooter

Ready.gov Active Shooter Resources

Safety for Faith-Based Events and Houses of Worship NSI Awareness Flier

FEMA: Resources to Protect Your House of Worship

FEMA: Active Shooter Information Sheet

DOJ: Safeguarding Houses of Worship

Conducting Security Assessments: A Guide for Schools & Houses of Worship

Safety for Faith-Based Events and Houses of Worship

The Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning - ALLOW IMAGES

Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2019


May 4, 2019

The Department of Defense this week released its annual report to the Congress on the progress of China’s military. The Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2019 is over 120 pages long and provides details on China’s military strategy, state of modernization and disputes with neighbors.

From the Executive Summary:

China’s leaders have benefited from what they view as a “period of strategic opportunity” during the initial two decades of the 21st century to develop domestically and expand China’s “comprehensive national power.”

Over the coming decades, they are focused on realizing a powerful and prosperous China that is equipped with a “world-class” military, securing China’s status as a great power with the aim of emerging as the preeminent power in the Indo-Pacific region.

In 2018, China continued harnessing an array of economic, foreign policy, and security tools to realize this vision. Ongoing state-led efforts, which China implements both at home and abroad and which often feature economic and diplomatic initiatives, also support China’s security and military objectives:

  • China continues to implement long-term state-directed planning, such as “Made in China 2025” and other industrial development plans, which stress the need to replace imported technology with domestically produced technology. These plans present an economic challenge to nations that export high-tech products. These plans also directly support military modernization goals by stressing proprietary mastery of advanced dual-use technologies.
  • China’s leaders seek to align civil and defense technology development to achieve greater efficiency, innovation, and growth. In recent years, China’s leaders elevated this initiative, known as Civil-Military Integration (CMI), to a national strategy that incentivizes the civilian sector to enter the defense market. The national CMI strategy focuses on hardware modernization, education, personnel, investment, infrastructure, and logistics.
  • China’s leaders are leveraging China’s growing economic, diplomatic, and military clout to establish regional preeminence and expand the country’s international influence. China’s advancement of projects such as the “One Belt, One Road” Initiative (OBOR) will probably drive military overseas basing through a perceived need to provide security for OBOR projects.
  • China conducts influence operations against media, cultural, business, academic, and policy communities of the United States, other countries, and international institutions to achieve outcomes favorable to its security and military strategy objectives. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) seeks to condition foreign and multilateral political establishments and public opinion to accept China’s narrative surrounding its priorities like OBOR and South China Sea territorial and maritime claims.

Recognizing that programs such as “Made in China 2025” and OBOR have sparked concerns about China’s intentions, China’s leaders have softened their rhetoric when promoting these programs without altering the programs’ fundamental strategic goals.



China’s Type 094 (Jin class) nuclear-powered ballistic missile sub. - ALLOW IMAGES

May 4, 2019

China’s Furtive Underwater Nukes Test the Pentagon

Satellite imagery reveal the regular presence of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines at the strategic base on Hainan Island near the resort city of Sanya. Specialized surface warships and aircraft designed to protect the subs are prowling key waterways off the coast. Facilities at the base appear to have been built to store and load ballistic missiles. Antenna arrays that support the hunt for foreign submarines have appeared on Chinese-held islands in the hotly contested South China Sea. And a veteran submariner has been appointed to command Chinese forces in the south of the country.


Examining the Global Terrorism Landscape

As this long war is close to entering its third decade, one thing is clear: The West’s will to continue the fight has waned. We are facing an enemy that cannot match our resources and technology, but it does possess the will to fight. We have failed to take a long approach to this war. We have viewed clashes in Iraq and Afghanistan and other countries as individual wars instead of theaters in the overall war. Make no mistake, this is how the enemy views the fight.


How Brexit Could Spell the End of
Britain’s Famed Advantage in Intelligence

From John le Carré’s novels to the insatiable popular interest in James Bond, Britain has long enjoyed, and cultivated, an image of producing superior spies. This reputation is based on more than myth. For decades during and following World War II, the painstaking real-world work of British intelligence officers was one of the United Kingdom’s primary sources of power.

That power, and its underlying foundations, is now in jeopardy thanks to Brexit, which will have a cascading series of repercussions for British intelligence: It will shut Britain out of European Union institutions that have benefited British national security, and it may also jeopardize the special intelligence relationship with the United States, which may look to deepen relations with Brussels instead.


Disruptive Technology and National Security

Innovation and new technologies have many positive attributes and provide significant improvement to humanity, much that is likely unforeseen at the time of initial discovery. The unpredictability of the technology trajectories can lead to significant negative consequences. This white paper aims to discuss the massive leaps in innovation and understand what this means for national security.


Fleet and Marine Tracker Map - ALLOW IMAGES

USNI Fleet and Marine Tracker

May 4, 2019

These are the approximate positions of the U.S. Navy’s deployed carrier strike groups and amphibious ready groups throughout the world as of April 22, 2019 (unchanged from last week at time of publication this week), based on Navy and public data provided by the U.S. Naval Institute. In cases where a CSG or ARG is conducting disaggregated operations, the chart reflects the location of the capital ship.

The Fleet and Marine Tracker is a new feature in the Threat Journal newsletter.

An Idaho Air National Guard pilot prepares for a training flight at Gowen Field in Boise, Idaho, April 26, 2019. - ALLOW IMAGES

World News Roundup

May 4, 2019

Other Developments We Are Following


Woman Pleads Guilty To Plan To Send Help To ISIS
Former FBI Agent Explains How Police Track Potential Terror Plots Online
Long Beach Terror Plot Case Highlights New Challenges For Investigators
Trump working to designate Muslim Brotherhood as ‘terror’ group
Inside the secret world of the CIA’s social media team
DoD ending training program for Afghan pilots after ~50% go AWOL in the US
USAF F-35A Fighter Jet’s First Combat Mission Was Dropping Bombs On ISIS
Military action is possible’ in Venezuela, says Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
Guaido-Maduro standoff exacting heavy toll on Venezuelans
Maduro hangs on as Venezuelan protests peter out
Pentagon says China’s military using espionage to steal secrets
Raytheon shoots down drone with lasers, microwaves in Air Force test
USS Harry S. Truman will not be retired ahead of schedule, Pence says
Argentina: Another “Cracked” Democracy?
Venezuela Is Armed to the Hilt


Manchester Arena bombing extradition ‘delayed by Libya clashes’
EU says will respond to controversial US move on Cuba
Suspected UAE spy ‘kills himself in Turkish prison’
Wikileak’s Assange refuses extradition to US; long legal fight expected
UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson sacked over Huawei leak
Polish nationalists rallying against country’s EU membership in Warsaw
US Air Force ties to Greece may grow as relations with Turkey sour
Washington tells Russia: Stop playing games over detained ex-U.S. marine


ISIS Makes Inroads With Militant Groups In Congo
US braced for Iranian response as oil crackdown starts
OPEC is ‘likely to collapse,’ warns Iran’s oil minister
Escalated bombing in Syria’s Idlib displaces nearly 140,000
Benin: Soldiers shoot at protesters in post-election unrest
Gunmen kill pastor, worshippers in Burkina Faso church
Terror attacks on the rise in Burkina Faso
Why Iran-US confrontation may intensify under new IRGC commander
Bashir is gone, but who will lead, or seize, Sudan’s revolution?
Congo Ebola cases hit record for most reported in single day
Egypt sentences senior Muslim Brotherhood figure and son to life


Pentagon warns on risk of Chinese submarines in Arctic
US Navy warships pass through Taiwan Strait
China is building a powerful navy to take on the US in the Pacific
New attacks on Sri Lanka churches planned, says archbishop.
Sri Lanka cancels Sunday masses for 2nd weekend
South Asian security experts downplay Islamic State threat
Never a dull day in the western Pacific
Almost half of Australians believe immigration should be reduced
UN puts Pakistani armed group chief Masood Azhar on ‘terror’ list
IS gaining foothold in Afghanistan to expand into Central Asia
Sri Lanka names Easter suicide bombers
DPRK warns U.S. of ‘undesirable outcome’ following Pompeo remark.
China sentences second Canadian citizen to death ahead of centenary

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Homeland Security


Since 2015, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has used the National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin to highlight the continuing terror threat to the U.S. Homeland.


PDF (1 pg, 186 KB)
Web Version

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Travel Security

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The U.S. Dept. of State Travel Website is the authoritative federal source for information on the security situation at travel destinations worldwide. With tensions rapidly increasing in most regions, readers planning international travel, even to such common destinations as Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean Islands, are strongly encouraged to do a little research on the security situation at your destination well prior to departure.

Active USGOV Travel Notices

Worldwide Caution

Active USGOV Travel Advisories

Alphabetical Country List

Dynamic Map

Other USGOV Travel Resources

Traveler’s Checklist

Smart Traveler Enrollment Prog (STEP)

Travelers with Special Considerations

Travel to High-Risk Areas

Faith-Based Travel Information

Information for Women Travelers

Cruise Ship Passengers

Students Abroad

Your Health Abroad

Driving and Road Safety Abroad

Overseas Security Advisory Council Logo - ALLOW IMAGES

The Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) provides a variety of resources to enhance the safety and security of the U.S. private sector businesses and organizations operating abroad.


The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website is the authoritative federal source for information on current health issues related to specific destinations worldwide. These issues may arise from disease outbreaks, special events or gatherings, natural disasters, or other conditions that may affect travelers’ health.

Foreign Sources of Travel Guidance

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Global Affairs Canada

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Australia Dept. of Foreign Affairs


UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office

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