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10 militants from ISIS-linked gang killed in Russia

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Moscow: Amid Russia’s intense military campaign against ISIS in Syria, as many as 10 militants from a gang that swore allegiance to the Islamic State have been killed after a firefight between Russian special forces and the terrorists near the city of Nalchik in Russia’s North Caucasus.

According to National Counter-Terrorist Committee, the counter-terrorist operation is currently underway in a mountainous region near Nalchik, Russia Today reported.

The operation began early Sunday morning in woodland adjacent to Nalchik, the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria Republic. A unit searching a territory near the city spotted a group of militants in a dug-out on Saturday.

The Russian military, over the last month, has conducted bombing missions in Syria and fired multiple cruise missiles at the IS stronghold of Raqqa, a Syrian city.

Russia has vowed to escalate its military campaign against IS in Syria after it confirmed the Metrojet airliner that crashed in the Sinai, killing 224 passengers, was brought down by a bomb.

Meanwhile, having vowed to escalate its military campaign against the ISIS, the Russian airmen have inscribed ‘That’s for Paris’ on the side of one of the bombs they plan to use against the terrorist organisation in Syria, a media report said.

A picture of the bomb was shared from the official Twitter account of the Russian Embassy in Britain, the Independent reported.

British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon previously criticised the strikes, saying they may have killed “several hundred” civilians.

Several coordinated gun and suicide bombing attacks on the French capital by Islamists killed 129 people on November 13.

 

(With inputs from agencies)

 

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Facebook Kills 300 Fake Pages and Accounts Linked To Russia

The individuals handling these accounts primarily represented themselves as Ukrainian and they operated a variety of fake accounts while sharing local Ukrainian news stories

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Facebook, social media
Facebook kills over 300 Russia-linked fake accounts, Pages, (VOA)

Social networking giant Facebook on Thursday killed over 300 fake Pages and accounts linked to Russia that it said was “engaging in coordinated inauthentic behaviour”, almost two years after the US presidential election.

The social media giant removed 364 Pages and accounts as part of a network that originated in Russia and operated in the Baltics, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Central and Eastern European countries.

“The two operations we found originated in Russia, and one was active in a variety of countries while the other was specific to Ukraine.

“Despite their misrepresentations of their identities, we found that these Pages and accounts were linked to employees of Sputnik, a news agency based in Moscow, and that some of the Pages frequently posted about topics like anti-NATO sentiment, protest movements, and anti-corruption,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy, Facebook, wrote in a blog post.

Facebook, photos
This photograph taken on May 16, 2018, shows a figurine standing in front of the logo of social network Facebook on a cracked screen of a smartphone in Paris. VOA

About $135,000 were spent in ads, and paid for in euros, roubles and dollars, over a time span from October 2013 to now.

Around 790,000 accounts followed one or more of these Pages (now taken down) on the social media platform.

“We’re taking down these Pages and accounts based on their behaviour, not the content they post. In these cases, the people behind this activity coordinated with one another and used fake accounts to misrepresent themselves,” Gleicher added.

The pages hosted about 190 events, with the most recent scheduled for January 2019, and about 1,200 people expressing interest in them.

We cannot confirm whether any of these events actually occurred, the company added.

Facebook, data
Facebook staring at bigger problems this year, warns analyst. VOA

Separately, the social networking giant removed another 107 pages, groups and accounts as well as 41 Instagram accounts that were designed to look like they were operating from Ukraine, but were in fact part of a network that originated in Russia.

Also Read: Facebook Violated Cyber Security Law: Vietnam

The individuals handling these accounts primarily represented themselves as Ukrainian and they operated a variety of fake accounts while sharing local Ukrainian news stories on topics ranging from weather, protests, NATO to health conditions at schools.

“We identified some technical overlap with Russia-based activity we saw prior to the US midterm elections, including behaviour that shared characteristics with previous Internet Research Agency (IRA) activity,” the company said. (IANS)