WEEKLY THREAT ROUNDUP 8- 6 -17

From AlertsUSA

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Australia Foils Islamist Airline Bomb Plot

 

August 5, 2017

 

What You Need To Know

Commercial aviation stakeholders worldwide are on heightened alert following Australia’s disruption of a bomb plot to bring down a passenger airliner. According to Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner of National Security Michael Phelan, the plot, carried out under direct guidance and assistance from the Islamic State, involved an attempt to smuggle an improvised explosive device disguised as a meat mincer onto a Etihad Airlines flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi. Media reports suggest the bag carrying the device was turned away because it was overweight.

Although the initial attempt to smuggle the bomb on board the aircraft occurred on July 15, Australian intelligence services only learned of the plot on July 26 via foreign intelligence services.

Described as one of Australia’s “most sophisticated” militant plots, the device was determined to contain high-grade military explosives that had been shipped to the suspects by air cargo from Turkey. A backup plan to set off a highly toxic hydrogen sulphide bomb on Sydney’s public transport network was also discovered.

Readers are reminded that on multiple occasions over the past year, AlertsUSA has warned that a number of Islamist terror networks including al Qaeda and the Islamic State continue to target the aviation sector for attacks. These threats are of such significance that the Dept. of Homeland Security has raised the baseline for aviation security globally by implementing enhanced security measures, both seen and unseen, at airports in 105 countries around world providing last-point-of-departure flights headed to the U.S.. This includes restrictions on electronic devices larger than a cell phone in the cabins of flights bound for the U.S. from 10 predominantly Muslim nations spread across the Middle East and North Africa. This move is based on gathered intelligence which pointed to attacks in the planning stages.

Readers are also reminded that since the events of Sept 11, 2001, there have a number of attempts at targeting both civilian and commercial aircraft for attacks, including the failed Christmas 2009 attempt to bring down an airliner near Detroitby underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, as well as the October 2010 plot to bring down cargo aircraft using bombs built into printer toner cartridgesbeing shipped to the U.S. from the Middle East.

More recently, Islamist terror organizations have targeted civilian airliners on least three instances in the last three years. On February 2nd of 2016, an explosive device believed to have been built into a laptop computer was detonated on board Daallo Airlines Flight 159 as it flew from Mogadishu, Somalia en route to Djibouti City. Approximately 20 min into the delayed flight, but before reaching cruising altitude, the blast ripped a hole in the starboard, or right-hand, side of the aircraft. In this incident, the only fatality was the bomber, whose burnt body was sucked through the blast hole and discovered near the city of Balad, Somalia. Had the explosion taken place at normal cruising altitude with a fully pressurized cabin, the result would have likely been catastrophic.

And in another incident, on October 31st, 2015, a can of Schweppes pineapple soda was converted into a bomb that was used to down Metrojet Flight 9268 over the northern Sinai Peninsula as it flew from Sharm El Sheikh International Airport in Egypt en route to Saint Petersburg, Russia. All 217 passengers and seven crew members were killed in the incident. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for this attack, even publishing a picture of the explosive device.

AlertsUSA sources within the Department of Homeland Security warn that restrictions on electronic devices allowed into the cabins of flights bound for the U.S. may be extended to other countries outside of the Middle East in the coming months.

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


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Soldiers conduct a live-fire exercise with M1A2 Abrams tanks at the 7th Army Training Command’s Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, July 31, 2017. The soldiers are assigned to the 4th Infantry Division's Company A, 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team. Army photo by Gertrud Zach.   - ALLOW IMAGES

World News Roundup

 

August 5, 2017

 

Other Developments We Are Following:

 

AMERICAS

You Can Thank Leakers for New Russia Sanctions
U.S. Nuclear Strategy in the Face of China’s Rise
US Military Eyes New Mini-Nukes for 21st-Century Deterrence
US attorney general says four charged in crackdown on leaks
Venezuela’s Maduro Fledgling Dictatorship
Canada faces calls to freeze arms sales to Saudi Arabia
‘El Chapo’ seeks release from US prison, says conditions like ‘torture’
A journalist’s murder underscores growing threat in Mexico
VH-92A Marine One Replacement Helicopter Has Taken Its First Flight

EUROPE

Pentagon asks White House to give lethal weapons to Ukraine
US arming Ukraine? A look at how Moscow might respond
Europe’s leaders struggle over a Trump strategy
Kremlin agrees with Trump that Russia-US ties at dangerous low
Four men given life sentences for plotting ‘Lee Rigby-style’ terrorist attack
US plans ‘global’ drills to counter Russia & other ‘complex threats’
NATO ‘Demands Military Schengen Zone’ in Europe

MIDDLE EAST

Russia, Not the US, is Now Calling the Shots in the Middle East
Addressing Iranian Influence in Iraq
Iran’s Top Export to Latin America: Radical Islam
Embassy, mosque attacks fuel fears ISIS bringing Iraq war to Afghanistan
Al-Qaida-linked militants’ advance throws west’s Syria plans into disarray
Gulf crisis: Is there a risk of a military escalation?
US killed Al-Shabaab militant group’s commander in Somalia
Iran rocket launch condemned by Germany, France, UK and US

ASIA

US unveils tougher new UN sanctions on N. Korea, vote due Saturday
US Carriers May Be Headed to Korean Waters for Forward Deployment
North Korea could soon develop a hydrogen bomb
US Renews Push for THAAD in S. Korea After North’s Latest ICBM Test
Chinese state media slams S. Korea’s Moon Jae-in for THAAD
Five Fast-Track Options For Blunting N. Korea’s Missile Threat To America
156-year-old map may reignite Japan-South Korea island dispute
A coming crisis over Taiwan?
China tells India that it won’t back down in border dispute
China and the US are battling to become the world’s first AI superpower


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USING THESE FREE REFERENCES

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164 Passages about Jihad from the Koran


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Travel Security Update

The U.S. Dept. of State is the authoritative federal source for information on the security situation at travel destinations worldwide. With tensions rapidly increasing in most regions, readers planning on 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 prior to departure.

Latest USGOV Travel Alerts and Warnings

Somalia
08/03/2017

N. Korea
08/02/2017

Venezuela
07/27/2017

Jordan
07/20/2017

S. Sudan
07/20/2017

Egypt
07/19/2017

Philippines
07/17/2017

Hurricane Season
06/05/2017

Europe
05/01/2017

Worldwide Caution

03/06/2017

Additional Sources of Travel Guidance

Canada Dept. of Foreign Affairs

Australia Dept. of Foreign Affairs

UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office


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