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Study shows that Islamic State terror cells in Europe are led by former al-Qaida terrorists

A recent study conducted by the Henry Jackson Society shows that the former Al-Qaida terrorists are training Islamic State cells in europe

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ISIS. Wikimedia Commons
  • Henry Jackson Society, a London-based research institution, looked at the al-Qaida-linked terror networks in Europe and compared them to current networks linked to Islamic State
  • Many of the elder members of former al-Qaida networks had traveled to fight in Afghanistan the previous decade, and passed on their knowledge
  • Former al-Qaida operatives also passed on expertise in how to evade detection on their return to Europe

There are direct links between the al-Qaida terror networks of the last decade, and the Islamic State-linked terror cells in Europe that have carried out a series of attacks in recent months, according to a new report.

The study by the Henry Jackson Society, a London-based research institution, looked at the al-Qaida-linked terror networks in Europe in the early 2000s, around the time of the NATO-led invasion of Afghanistan, and the current networks linked to Islamic State that were responsible for the recent attacks in Paris and Brussels. Time and again, the same names appeared.

‘Training and grooming’

“The recidivism of those individuals who had originally been convicted of al-Qaida activism, almost training and grooming those individuals who would go on to be involved in the Paris and Brussels attacks,” said Rupert Sutton, co-author of the report.

Those individuals included Abdelhamid Abaaoud, chief coordinator of the Paris attacks in November 2015, and Najeem Laachraoui, one of the network’s chief bomb makers, who detonated a suicide bomb at Brussels airport in March.

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“They were connected to a number of individuals with previous convictions for al-Qaida activity, and to a cleric called Khalid Zerkani, who acted almost as a father figure to a number of these individuals. He was actually known as ‘Papa Noel’ [Father Christmas] because he used the proceeds of his petty crime to shower them with gifts and look after them at the same time as radicalizing them,” Sutton said.

Many of the elder members of former al-Qaida networks had traveled to fight in Afghanistan the previous decade, and passed on their knowledge to embryonic terror cells in Europe as the Syrian civil war became a rallying call for jihadist fighters.

“Providing them with expertise on bomb-making or network formation, but also providing them with advice on perhaps how to travel to a conflict zone to gain training, how to gain combat experience and how to use those conflict zones as areas in which you can formulate your own ideas and formulate your own attacks,” Sutton said.

Combat experience

He added combat experience appears key, as the most serious Islamic State-linked terror plots in Europe have been planned by European citizens returning from the Syrian frontline, however, those individuals are often beneath intelligence radars.

“Often these individuals perhaps haven’t come into contact with the authorities in the past. So whilst there are direct connections between the two networks, the individuals that are recruited by those veterans perhaps have only come into contact with the police through a record of petty crime,” he said.

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Sutton said former al-Qaida operatives also passed on expertise in how to evade detection on their return to Europe. “Perhaps one of the most worrying factors is that a number of these individuals were stopped by police on their returns, showed fake identities and gave fake names, and were able to continue on their journey.”

The report’s authors say the links show the need to improve efforts to challenge radicalization in prisons and develop better ways of preventing offenders from being drawn into terrorism. (VOA)

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Internshala Trainings launches the Creative Writing Challenge — Opportunity to learn from a bestselling author

The participating students will learn creative writing through a 6-weeks long online training program

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Creative Writing
The participating students will learn creative writing through a 6-weeks long online training program taught by Kulpreet Yadav, a bestselling author of several books including ‘The Girl Who Loved a Pirate’.

Internshala Trainings has launched the Creative Writing Challenge to encourage students to hone their writing skills. The last date to apply for the challenge is 27th February 2020. The ability to write effectively is one of the most in-demand skills in today’s world and it offers lucrative career options such as becoming a published author, content writer, journalist, story writer, scriptwriter, copywriter, and editor.

The participating students will learn creative writing through a 6-weeks long online training program taught by Kulpreet Yadav, a bestselling author of several books including ‘The Girl Who Loved a Pirate’. After completing the training, the students will write a short story as the final project. The top 10 stories will be evaluated and receive feedback from an esteemed panel of judges comprising of best selling authors (Kulpreet Yadav and Madhulika Liddle), a renowned columnist (Vinita Nangia), and a senior publisher (Milee Ashwarya). The top 3 stories would win cash rewards worth INR 65,000 and exclusive certificates signed by the jury.

Paper, Messy, Notes, Abstract, Paperwork, Documents
Internshala Trainings has launched the Creative Writing Challenge to encourage students to hone their writing skills. The last date to apply for the challenge is 27th February 2020. Pixabay

In the training, students will learn to write fiction and non-fiction including screenplay and ad scripts. One of the major highlights of the training is ‘peer grading feature’ which aims at strengthening students’ reading and writing skills by getting them to critique and grade each other’s writing. 

ALSO READ: France Takes Steps to Shift to More Renewables For Energy

On the launch of the challenge, the Founder and CEO of Internshala, Sarvesh Agrawal said, “Content writing is one of the most-in-demand skills among employers and is a popular career choice among the internship seekers. Through the Creative Writing Challenge, we hope to inspire students to learn this in-demand skill first-hand from renowned authors, get lots of practice through written assignments, and get unbiased reviews and meaningful feedback on their writing via one-of-its-kind peer grading system”

For more details or to participate in the challenge, visit: http://bit.ly/IS-CWC