Dilitas Weekly Security Brief

This weekly security brief is supplied by Dilitas, a UK based intentional risk & security management company.

As a valued member of the Dilitas network, you receive this information which is gathered from current, open source data supplied through contacts within diplomatic posts, law enforcement agencies & UK intelligence services.

This information keeps you informed of current security situations and risks within the UK and internationally. Please forward this document to colleagues.

If you require more specific information on other prevailing matters or issues, contact us at info@dilitas.com detailing your requirements and we will respond immediately.

Christopher Cully
Managing Director

The threat to the UK from International Terrorism is SEVERE
The threat to Great Britain from Irish Republican Terrorism is MODERATE

SEVERE means that a terrorist attack is highly likely;
SUBSTANTIAL means that a terrorist attack is a strong possibility;
MODERATE, means that a terrorist attack is possible, but not likely.


A British jihadist who spent six months in Syria and faked his death in an attempt to return to the UK undetected has admitted four terrorism offences. Imran Khawaja was arrested in Dover in June 2014 as he attempted to return to the UK in a vehicle having travelled from Bulgaria. The 27-year-old admitted preparing for acts of terrorism, attending a camp, receiving training and possessing firearms in a hearing last year. Legal restrictions have now been lifted to allow reporting of his guilty pleas

MPs have reacted angrily to news that the official inquiry into the 2003 Iraq War will not report until after the general election.

Inquiry chairman Sir John Chilcot said he could see “no realistic prospect” of publication before the 7 May election.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the delay was “incomprehensible”, while former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith said it was “disappointing”. Sir John also faces questioning on the delays by a committee of MPs. Conservative MP Sir Richard Ottaway, chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, wrote to Sir John on Tuesday night – before the latest development – asking him to explain why his report has been delayed. Sir Richard said there could be “no justification whatsoever” for the process taking so long.

Britain is at “very significant” risk of attack by ISIS, the Foreign Secretary has warned ahead of international talks in London last week aimed at combating the group. Philip Hammond described the Islamist terror group, which controls large swathes of Iraq and Syria, as “probably the greatest single immediate threat to Britain’s national security”.

Two extremist groups are set to be banned in Britain in the wake of the Paris terror attacks. The Home Secretary is seeking to amend the Terrorism Act 2000 to proscribe Jund al-Aqsa (Soldiers of Al-Aqsa) and Jund al Khalifa-Algeria (Soldiers of the Caliphate in Algeria), ensuring membership of either group is a criminal offence. Both have links to other groups banned in the UK such as ISIL and the al-Nusra Front.

The first private police force in Britain is ready to start pounding the beat – protecting homes for £1 a week. Retired Met Police officer Stewart Brown, 56, and ex-Hampshire officer Stephen Rowney, 50, will provide 24-hour cover of neighbourhoods with four other staff. Wearing navy blue uniforms and driving a patrol car, they will report suspicious activity to Staffordshire police. Homeowners in a trial scheme in the Hartshill and Penkhull areas of Stoke-on-Trent who pay the £1 weekly charge also get burglar and panic alarms linked to a rapid response unit.


Police are continuing to question a 52-year-old man arrested in connection with a weapons find in west Belfast. Guns, ammunition and suspected pipe bomb parts were found during a search at a house at Forest Street on Saturday night. Bomb disposal officers were sent to examine the items.

Teenagers armed with a machete have attempted to hijack a taxi on the outskirts of Belfast, police have said. A boy aged 16 and an 18-year-old man have been arrested over the incident which happened in the Cutts area of Dunmurry on Sunday morning. Insp Jim McGrillen said the taxi driver picked up two passengers in Divis Street, west Belfast, at 04:45 GMT.



The EU’s foreign policy chief has called for a broad alliance to tackle terror, including with Muslim nations, at a summit of EU foreign ministers. Federica Mogherini said there had to be more co-operation both with Muslim countries and internally within the EU. She said the EU would appoint security officials in “relevant countries” and would boost its Arabic-language capacity to improve communications. The Brussels summit follows gun attacks in Paris that killed 17 people.

A top EU official has warned that Europe faces a “huge challenge” in persuading Jews not to emigrate in response to anti-Semitism. European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans suggested the issue was as urgent as the euro’s troubles.


Japan’s prime minister expressed outrage on Sunday at an image released Saturday that appeared to show the decapitated body of one of two Japanese hostages captured by Islamic State militants, and President Obama condemned what he called a “brutal murder.” The kidnappers had threatened to kill the men if a Friday deadline passed for a $200 million ransom from Japan. On Saturday, a video appeared in which one of the hostages, Kenji Goto, a 47-year-old journalist, was shown holding a photo of what appeared to be the decapitated body of the other hostage, Haruna Yukawa, 42, an adventurer. The prime minister, Shinzo Abe, said that while experts were still analysing the photo, it had “a high chance of being real.” Speaking on a television debate show, Mr. Abe condemned the apparent killing of Mr. Yukawa as an “outrageous and unforgivable act of violence,” and demanded the immediate release of Mr. Goto.

US President Barack Obama has telephoned Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to offer his condolences after the apparent murder of a Japanese hostage by Islamic State. Mr Obama said the US stood “shoulder to shoulder” with Japan.

Reported Monday 19th January 2015 – Kurdish fighters battling Islamic State (IS) militants in the town of Kobane on the Syria-Turkey border have captured a strategic hilltop, reports say. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and local officials said Kurdish units gained control of the hill after fierce clashes.

Reported Tuesday 20th January 2015 – The Islamic State group has issued a video purporting to show a militant threatening to kill two Japanese hostages unless Japan pays a ransom. In the video, a masked man criticises Japan for pledging aid to countries fighting Islamic State (IS). He says he will kill the two kneeling men unless a $200m (£130m) ransom is paid within 72 hours. Japan’s foreign ministry told the BBC it was aware of the video, but would not comment further. The authenticity of the video has not been independently verified.

Canadian soldiers have fired on Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq, in what is thought to be the first confirmed ground battle involving Western forces. Acting in self-defence, the Canadians used sniper fire and did not suffer any casualties, said the general in charge.

A pro-ISIS Twitter account has given a call for “car bomb” attack when US President Barack Obama visits India next week. “Heard that enemy of ALLAH, obama is coming india soon. And indian muslims are good in chemicals, so a chemical car bomb will be good idea,” said a tweet by @magnetgas, put out January 19th 2015.

The Australian Foreign Minister has said that 180 Australian citizens are known to be fighting with ISIL in Iraq and Syria or are supporting it from Australia.

A 30-year old Chechen who the Austrian authorities accuse of fighting with Islamic State jihadists in Syria in 2013 and of sending them money, has pleaded not guilty when the country’s first such trial opened last week. Prosecutors allege that the accused, a Russian national, had trained with IS in Syria between July and December 2013, fighting with the group, adopting its “nationality” and sending it $800.


Reported Monday 19th January 2015 – Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards have confirmed that a general was killed in a suspected Israeli air strike in the Syrian Golan Heights on Sunday 18th January 2015. Mohammad Ali Allah-Dadi was in Syria to advise forces supporting President Bashar al-Assad, a statement said. The Lebanese Shia Islamist movement Hezbollah said six of its fighters also died when a helicopter fired missiles at a convoy in Quneitra province.


Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen have tightened their grip on the capital, Sanaa, stationing fighters outside the private home of the president.Some officials said Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi was being held under house arrest, while others said he was free to leave.

Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi, an official with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), based in Yemen, has urged Muslims to carry out lone-wolf strikes in Western countries two weeks after his group said it was behind the Paris attacks, SITE Monitoring reported. “If he is capable to wage individual jihad in the Western countries that fight Islam… then that is better and more harmful,” he told the group’s media wing when asked if Muslims should quit the West to live in Islamic states, SITE reported. Ansi added that AQAP had worked to strike Western targets outside Yemen, something that led Washington to regard the group as al-Qaeda’s most active wing after it plotted foiled attacks to bring down international airliners.

Yemen’s president resigned this week saying he had reached a “deadlock” in talks with Shiite rebels who rule the capital and had confined him to his home. His resignation raised fears the Arab world’s poorest country could again split apart, severely complicating US efforts to combat al-Qaeda’s powerful local franchise.


An Israeli air strike has killed six members of Hezbollah in the Syrian sector of the Golan Heights, the Lebanese militant movement says. Among those reported dead were the son of a late military leader, a current commander, and at least one Iranian.

Israeli police say they have shot a Palestinian man from the West Bank who stabbed at least 10 people in an attack on a bus in central Tel Aviv. The incident occurred on Maariv bridge where the suspect attacked people both on and outside the bus, police said. Police say they are treating the incident as a terrorist attack.


Saudi Arabian King Salman has pledged continuity, hours after his accession to the throne following the death of his half-brother, King Abdullah. The new king moved swiftly to appoint heirs and ministers, including one prince from the ruling dynasty’s third generation. King Abdullah died overnight, weeks after being admitted to hospital with a lung infection.


A police officer was injured when a small bomb exploded outside the Presidential palace in Cairo last Thursday, police sources said. An unknown assailant on a motorbike threw the bomb in front of the main entrance of the Al-Qubba palace before fleeing. The motive for the attack is unknown.

At least 16 people have been killed in clashes between police and protesters across Egypt, officials said. One policeman was among the dead and dozens of protesters were also injured, health officials confirmed. The clashes follow the death of an activist in a march in Cairo on Saturday.


Reported Monday 19th January 2015 – Dozens of people have been killed or wounded as fighting escalates along the front line in eastern Ukraine and the battle for Donetsk airport continues. Artillery fire was reported in several areas of the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions and a hospital in Donetsk city was hit, reports said.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has vowed to “calm” fighting with pro-Russia rebels in east Ukraine after 30 people were killed there on Saturday. Speaking after an emergency meeting of Ukraine’s security council, Mr Poroshenko said that a peace deal signed in September in Minsk was the only solution to the conflict. Russia’s foreign minister also urged “comprehensive political dialogue”. Both sides blame each other for the continuing fighting.

Observers in eastern Ukraine have warned of a serious deterioration in security as fighting intensifies in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

The main pro-Russian rebel leader in eastern Ukraine says his troops are on the offensive and he does not want truce talks with Kiev. Alexander Zakharchenko said his forces would push the front line back to the borders of Donetsk region. They are in control of the city of Donetsk.


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says he will seek an immediate ceasefire to the conflict in eastern Ukraine at talks in Berlin later. He said Russia did not want a new Cold War and that the West would not be able to isolate his country. Violence has escalated in eastern Ukraine in the last two weeks.


Five Russians have been arrested in southern France on suspicion of planning an attack, local prosecutors have said. Four of the suspects, all from the Caucasus region, were detained in Montpellier and a fifth was arrested around 40 miles away in Beziers on Monday. Prosecutors said certain “products” were recovered during searches of addresses linked to the suspects. Midi Libre newspaper reported that a cache of explosives was found. The arrests came after three Islamists killed 17 people in attacks in Paris over three days.

France is to create 2,680 new jobs and boost spending by €425m (£325m; $490m) to bolster counter-terrorism efforts, Prime Minister Manuel Valls has said. He said such resources were crucial to dealing with an expanded extremist threat, with 3,000 people currently requiring surveillance across France.

The French government has confirmed several former soldiers [amongst them former paratroopers and French foreign legionnaires, and a Special Forces member] are now fighting for jihadists in Syria and Iraq, with reports that up to ten have joined Islamic State.


At least 30 police commandos have been killed in heavy fighting with Islamist rebels in the southern Philippines province of Maguindanao, say officials. Several rebels were also reportedly killed as police entered a village held by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (Milf) early on Sunday. Reports say two key terror suspects were the targets of the operation.


Reported Monday 19th January 2015 – Indonesian investigators said the crash of AirAsia QZ8501 was not likely due to terrorism, in their first remarks since analysing the cockpit voice recorder. Transport safety committee investigator Andreas Hananto said that there were also indications that the plane encountered bad weather.

The Indonesian admiral in charge of operations to recover AirAsia flight QZ8501 has told the BBC the fuselage may be too fragile to be lifted. Rear Admiral Widodo’s comments came after a renewed attempt to raise the wreckage from seabed failed when it kept breaking into pieces. Ropes around the fuselage snapped during an initial failed effort to raise it on Saturday.


Top Ugandan rebel commander Dominic Ongwen is due to appear at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague to face war crimes charges. A leader of the Lords Resistance Army, he is accused of four war crimes counts and three of crimes against humanity, including murder and enslavement. His trial will be the first time that a member of the LRA has faced international justice.

Fighters from the Islamist militant group Boko Haram have launched an attack on the key city of Maiduguri in north-eastern Nigeria. Fierce fighting was reported on the outskirts. The military is carrying out air strikes, and a curfew is in place.

A suicide car bomb has exploded at the gate of a Mogadishu hotel where Turkish delegates were meeting, Aljazeera reports. The blast happened a day ahead of a visit by their President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the Somali capital, police have said. At least two police officers were killed in the attack on the SYL hotel, which has been claimed by Somalia’s armed group al-Shabab.

Reported Monday 19th January 2015 – At least 20 of up to 80 people taken hostage by Boko Haram militants in Cameroon at the weekend are reported to be free. Cameroon’s defence ministry said the hostages were freed “as defence forces pursued the attackers who were heading back to Nigeria”. Many of those kidnapped in the cross-border raid were said to be children.

Somalia’s Shabaab militants, al-Qaeda’s main affiliate in Africa, has urged supporters in Europe to follow the example of Islamist gunmen who carried out attacks in Paris. The Shabaab, who called the attack on the Charlie Hebdo satirical weekly in Paris a “heroic operation” against a “lair of evil and center of disbelief”, offered specific warnings to France. “We warn France and those who tread her course about the implications of their hostility towards Islam and the consequences of their oppression and belligerence against Muslims,” the statement read. It continued, “We also take this opportunity to thank our brothers, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, who have been – and continue to be – the pioneers of external operations that target the heart of the Crusader enemies.”


Intercepted conversations between representatives of the Iranian and Argentine governments point to a long pattern of secret negotiations to reach a deal in which Argentina would receive oil in exchange for shielding Iranian officials from charges that they orchestrated the bombing of a Jewish community centre in 1994. The transcripts were made public by an Argentine judge last week as part of a criminal complaint written by the special prosecutor investigating the attack who was found dead in his luxury apartment at the weekend, a day before he was to present his findings to Congress. But the intercepted telephone conversations he described before his death outline an elaborate effort to reward Argentina for shipping food to Iran — and for seeking to derail the investigation into a terrorist attack in the Argentine capital that killed 85 people.


The US and India have announced a breakthrough on a pact that will allow American companies to supply India with civilian nuclear technology. It came on the first day of President Barack Obama’s visit to India. The nuclear deal had been held up for six years amid concerns over the liability for any nuclear accident.

A former Lehman Brothers Holdings employee who admitted helping al-Qaeda scout the New York Stock Exchange for a possible terrorist attack has been sentenced to 15 years in prison, amid growing concerns of sleeper terror cells in Europe and the US. Wesam El-Hanafi’s effort to fight for al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Somalia was rejected by the group’s leadership in Yemen, which instead sent him and his co- defendant Sabirhan Hasanoff, back to New York, an Assistant US Attorney said in Manhattan federal court. The two were ordered to carry out covert missions, including a possible attack on the New York Stock Exchange and another on a “large American dam,” he said.

Two Yemeni nationals have been charged with aiding al-Qaeda, authorities announced last week. The criminal complaint alleges that the two [Saddiq al-Abbadi and Ali Alvi] provided material support to the terrorist organization and conspired to murder Americans abroad. “There is no escape from the reach of our law for violent terrorists, especially if they target our military,” the US attorney for the eastern district of New York, said in a press release. “Al-Abbadi and Alvi may have operated in the mountains of Afghanistan, but now they face justice in a courtroom in

Two Broward County (Florida) brothers accused of planning a terrorist attack in New York City and assaulting two deputy US Marshals while in custody are scheduled to go to trial on June1. USDistrict Judge Beth Bloom set the trial date after Sheheryar Alam Qazi, 32, and Raees Alam Qazi, 22, pleaded not guilty to all the charges against them last week. The brothers are both facing terrorism charges and both have been in custody pending trial since November 2012. The trial, in federal court in Miami, is expected to take several weeks. They are charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists; conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction by setting off a bomb in Manhattan; conspiring and attempting to provide material support to al-Qaeda; forcibly assaulting federal employees; attempting to murder federal employees; and conspiring to assault federal employees.

British MI5 agents are to be allowed to don wigs and make-up in an attempt to conceal their identity during a trial [in Brooklyn] of an alleged al-Qaeda operative. The six MI5 agents will wear disguises when they give evidence at the US trial of Abid Naseer, who is accused of being involved in an international conspiracy, targeting Manchester and New York. The US District Judge approved the unusual request in Brooklyn this week after prosecutors explained the agents are still working undercover on sensitive cases, arguing that revealing their identities would ‘pose a
significant risk to their safety’.

The release of the film American Sniper has led to an increase in threats against Muslims in the US, according to an Arab-American civil rights group. The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) has written to director Clint Eastwood and star Bradley Cooper.


Hackers claiming to be from the “Lizard Squad – Official Cyber Caliphate” group have attacked the official website of Malaysia Airlines. The national carrier’s homepage currently shows a photograph of a lizard in a top hat and tuxedo.

The US knew North Korea was behind the Sony Pictures hack because it had secretly infiltrated the country’s computer networks in 2010, according to the New York Times and Der Spiegel. The newspapers cited US officials and leaked documents from the National Security Agency. The New York Times said hidden software had alerted US intelligence services to North Korean hacking activity.

British intelligence agencies and technology companies need to agree on data-sharing to stop terrorism, the former head of MI6 has said. Speaking publicly for the first time since stepping down, Sir John Sawers said there could not be online “no-go areas” the government could not access. The ex-spy chief said trust between governments and internet companies had been shattered and needed rebuilding. Another UK terrorist attack “would get through” at some point,
he said.

In an excerpt of President Obama’s State of the Union Address on 20 January he said, “No foreign nation, no hacker, should be able to shut down our networks, steal our trade secrets, or invade the privacy of American families, especially our kids. We are making sure our government integrates intelligence to combat cyber threats, just as we have done to combat terrorism. And tonight, I urge this Congress to finally pass the legislation we need to better meet the evolving threat of cyber-attacks, combat identity theft and protect our children’s information. If we don’t act, we’ll leave our nation and our economy vulnerable. If we do, we can continue to protect the technologies that have unleashed untold opportunities for people around the globe.”

Microsoft’s Outlook email service in China was hacked by the country’s censorship authority, an internet watchdog has claimed, as the government continues its crackdown on US technology giants. Greatfire.org, which monitors censorship in China, said that Microsoft’s servers were subject to a so-called man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack, enabling hackers to intercept private emails between users. A Microsoft spokesperson told CNBC they were aware of “a small number
of customers impacted by malicious routing to a server impersonating Outlook.com.”

French newspaper Le Monde said its Twitter account and publishing tool were hacked by Syrian Electronic Army, an amorphous hacker collective that supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. “The hackers managed to infiltrate our publishing tool before launching a denial of service,” the newspaper said on its website. Le Monde sent out a later tweet saying it has taken back control of its computers.

A security startup launching early this week uses trends in power consumption activity, rather than standard malware detection, to spot cyber-attacks against power and manufacturing plants. The technology successfully spotted Stuxnet in an experimental network before the malware went into action.


Archaeologists have found a 132-year-old rifle propped against a tree in Nevada’s Great Basin National Park. It is unclear exactly how long the Winchester rifle had been left there, but it was long enough to leave the stock cracked and buried in dirt. The Winchester rifle was common at the turn of the 20th century in the US West during a time when the now parklands were used for mining and ranching. More than 700,000 rifles were made by the firm between 1873 and 1916. Records for the gun show it was manufactured and shipped in 1882, but park experts have not yet been able to track its use since then. A spokesperson for the National Park said that the weapon may have been overlooked because the grey stock of the wood blended in with the tree. The gun will be preserved in its current state and put on display at the park.


28 Jan 1982 Italian police rescue US Brigadier General James Dozier who had been held hostage for 42 days by the terrorist group, the Red Brigades.
30 Jan 1972 Bloody Sunday in Northern Ireland when 13 demonstrators were shot dead by members of the Parachute Regt in Londonderry.
30 Jan 1948 Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated in New Delhi, India in 1948
31 Jan 2003 British-born Richard Reid sentenced to life in jail for trying to set off a ‘boot bomb’ on an American Airlines flight carrying 197 people.
31 Jan 2001 In Holland, a special Scottish court finds Libyan Abdel Baset al-Megrahi guilty of the December 1988 sabotage of Pan Am flight 103.

February 2015

4 Feb 1974 A little-known group calling itself the Symbionese Liberation Army kidnaps a 19-year-old newspaper heiress Patty Hearst in the U.S.
6 Feb 2000 Afghan Ariana flight hijacked to London Stansted Airport. Ends on 10th Feb.
6 Feb 2004 Explosives detonate on the Moscow Metro, killing 40 and wounding 122
7 Feb 1991 Provisional IRA Mk 10 mortar attack on 10 Downing Street
9 Feb 1992 Algeria: State of Emergency declared following clashes between Islamists and government forces.
9 Feb 1996 Provisional IRA mount VBIED attack in Canary Wharf. Two people killed. Marked the end of the then PIRA ceasefire.
9 Feb 2000 PKK announces formal halt to war; adopts new name, Kongra Gel, and re- elects Abdullah Oçalan as its leader
11 Feb 2003 Information about a claimed terrorist threat to civil aviation at London’s Heathrow led to the largest security operation at the airport for more than 10 years.
12 Feb 2008 Assassination of the Hizballah official, Imad Mugniyah, believed responsible for 18 April 1983 bombing of US Embassy in Beirut, killed by car bomb in Damascus.
12 Feb 1996 The late Yasser Arafat was sworn in as president of the Palestinian authority in Gaza.
13 Feb 1979 Iranian Revolution Day
13 Feb 1984 Maqbool Butt, the co-founder of the Jammu & Kashmiri Liberation Front was hanged by the Indian authorities
14 Feb 1989 Death threat made against Salman Rushdie by Ayatollah Khomeini over the publication of the book, “The Satanic Verses”
15 Feb 1999 The Kurdish PKK leader, Abdullah Oçalan is arrested in Nairobi sparking Europe-wide protests.
16 Feb 1992 Sheikh Musawi – spiritual head of Hezbollah, killed by Israeli helicopter gunships in Southern Lebanon
16 Feb 1999 Greek Embassy in London is stormed and occupied by hundreds of Kurdish protesters.
16 Feb 2015 US Public Holiday – President’s Day
17 Feb 2003 Congestion charging started in London
19 Feb 2015 Chinese New Year
20 Feb 1998 Japanese Red Army member sentenced to 30 years for attack on US Embassy in Indonesia
22 Feb 1995 Anglo/Irish joint framework published to bring peace to Northern Ireland
23 Feb 1998 Osama bin Laden issued a ‘global Fatwa’ allowing attacks against American nationals worldwide
25 Feb 1991 Coalition forces start land offensive against Iraq in first Gulf War
26 Feb 1993 Vehicle bomb at the World Trade Center kills six and injures 1,000 – Ramzi Yousef later convicted of this attack
27 Feb 1991 Kuwait City liberated by coalition forces. Coalition forces halt offensive actions the following day.
27 Feb 1980 Colombian extremists (M-19) seize Dominican Embassy in Colombia holding 85 hostages (20 of whom were Ambassadors).
28 Feb 1994 NATO carries out first ever offensive action since it was formed: Two USAF F-16’s shoot down four Bosnian-Serb aircraft that were infringing a “No Fly” zone in Bosnia

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