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Summary of Terrorist Incidents and CT Operations: August 2014

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The ICT Database Team is pleased to present a brief overview of the terrorist incidents and counter-terrorist actions that occurred worldwide in August 2014. The incidents covered in this month’s report join the over 35,000 previously-recorded terrorist and counter-terrorist incidents in the ICT database.

This month’s report covers terrorist incidents throughout the world, with special emphasis on Middle East where, on August 19, a four-minute video in English with Arabic subtitles titled, “A Message to America”, was posted on the Internet by the Islamic State (IS) showing the beheading of American journalist, James Foley, 40. The video appeared to be filmed deliberately in a barren, featureless landscape at an unknown location in what is believed to be Syria.

Foley was kidnapped on November 22, 2012 by Al-Nusra Front militants while reporting from Taftanaz in northern Syria. In the video, Foley is forced to kneel down and read a prepared statement criticizing the US, specifically referring to recent air strikes in Iraq, as well as his brother who serves in the United States Air Force. His captor, who had a British accent but whose real identity has not been made public, was alluded to in the media as ‘Jihadi John’. He is seen in the video dressed in black and wearing a mask, holding a knife and carrying a pistol.

He read a prepared statement in which he criticized the US and President Barack Obama, and made demands to cease the 2014 American-led intervention in Iraq. He then beheaded Foley off-camera. The FBI and United States National Security Council confirmed that the video, which included footage of Foley’s beheaded corpse, was genuine. Foley was the first American to die in Iraq since US armed forces withdrew from the country in 2011.

August 2014 was also marked by terrorist incidents in Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Israel and the West Bank, Jordan, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.

This month’s report also covers counter-terrorist incidents throughout the world, with particular emphasis on events in Europe, particularly in Germany and the Netherlands. On August 7, two Dutch citizens of Turkish descent were arrested at Zaventem Airport in Brussels, as part of a joint Dutch and Belgium counter-terrorist operation to identify jihadist activities in Europe. Police in Belgium said the suspects, who were from The Hague, were tied to a jihadist network in Schilderswijk.

Dutch prosecutors said they had seized USB sticks and jihadist propaganda during raids of four locations in The Hague and the Netherlands. In a similar incident on August 28, authorities in the Netherlands and Germany announced that they had carried out a joint operation that led to the arrest of three suspects from The Hague, who were charged with inciting hatred through social media and plotting terrorist attacks. Dutch police said they had raided four homes during the operation. The identities of the suspects were not released to the public.

August 2014 was also marked by counter-terrorist incidents in Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Indonesia, Israel and the West Bank, Kenya, Kosovo, Lebanon, Mali, Morocco, Netherlands, Nigeria, North America, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Spain, United Kingdom and Yemen.

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