Terror Threat Snapshot – June 2018

Key Points:

  • May 22 marks one year since the devastating Manchester Arena bombing which left 22 dead and 116 injured.
  • Rear Admiral Brian Hendrickson, Director, Network Engagement Team, U.S. Southern Command, expressed his concern about terrorists utilizing existing smuggling routes on the border between the U.S. and Mexcio, “The corrosive activities pose a threat to the stability of our partners and to our national security.” He continued, “The region is also home to networks that specialize in smuggling illegal immigrants from places like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, and Iraq, all places where terrorist organizations like al-Shabab, ISIS, al-Qaeda and their affiliates operate…Some of these people have ties to terrorism and some have intentions to conduct attacks in the homeland.” Thomas Homan, Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, echoed the sentiment saying, “Panama has a great program down there. People that were known terrorists had been turned around in Panama and sent back before reaching our shores.”
  • France’s leading counterterrorism prosecutor has issued a statement warning of the risk posed by 40 radicalized prisoners who are due to be released over the next 18 months. There are 20 scheduled for release in 2018, and another 20 in 2019. Authorities remain concerned over prison radicalization, and have taken bold steps to reduce the issue.
  • The World Cup begins on June 14 in Russia, and ISIS has continued its barrage of threats to attack the event. Russian authorities have reportedly foiled several plots throughout the year, most recently on May 11 when security services arrested 20 from western Siberia who had stockpiled weapons near Moscow. The men were reported to be members of ISIS, and were plotting an attack on the Victory Day memorial march in Moscow.
  • May 4, 2018: Khaled Khayat, 49, and Mahmoud Khayat, 32, of Sydney, Australia, who in July 2017 were arrested for plotting to detonate an explosive hidden in a meat grinder aboard a flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi, have pleaded not guilty. The brothers are expected to stand trial in the Sydney Supreme Court in March 2019.
  • The Department of Treasury leveled a series of sanctions throughout the month targeting Iran’s terror funding efforts. This includes designating five individuals associated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force (IRGC-QF) who provided ballistic missile assistance to the Houthi rebels in Yemen, enabling them to launch missiles into Saudi Arabia targeting cities and oil infrastructure. were also sanctioned for their part in facilitating the transfer of millions dollars from IRGC-QF to Hezbollah, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.