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Summary of Terrorist Incidents and CT Operations: January 2015

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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 January 2015. 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 in Europe, specifically in France.  On 7 January, brothers Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, stormed the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris and fatally shot 11 people and injured 11 others. The militants then killed a French National Police officer during a shootout with police outside the building. The militants escaped and police launched a massive manhunt for them.

On January 9, the Kouachi brothers were located by French police at a printing shop in the industrial section of Dammartin en Goele, a small town 20 kilometers north of Paris, where the brothers had taken a print worker hostage. Another worker, who was hiding in the building, provided police with information about the attack, leading the police to storm the building, resulting in a shootout with police, the militants were killed and two police officers were injured. One hostage there had earlier been released and a second employee, who was hiding in the building’s cafeteria, was freed by police after the shooting ended.

In a separate but related incident also on January 9, another gunman, later identified Amedy Coulibaly, a French national of Malian descent, took 15 people hostage in a kosher supermarket ‘Hyper Cache’ of Portes de Vincennes. The gunman threatened to kill the hostages if the Kouachi brothers, who were surrounded at the same time by the police in Dammartin en Goele, were arrested (He was unware they had been killed by police following a shootout).  French elite intervention police raided the grocery, where Coulibaly fired but was fatally shot by the police. Four of the hostages died in the incident. AQAP claimed responsibility for the incident on January 11.

Authorities said both Kouachi brothers had travelled to Yemen via Oman in 2011 and had weapons training in the deserts of Marib.  It should also be noted that IS released a video, two days after the ‘Hyper-Cache’ attack, showing Coulibaly, pledging alliance to the IS and saying that he had carried out the attack in coordination with the Kouachi brothers. Coulibary’s girlfriend, Hayat Boumeddiene, was later identified as and is suspected of playing a key role passing messages between the three attackers. Police believe she fled to Syria via Turkey several days before the Charlie Hebdo attack. She is wanted in connection with the attacks.

January 2015 was also marked by terrorist incidents in  Afghanistan, Cameroon, Egypt, France, Iraq, Israel and the West Bank, Lebanon, Libya,  Mali Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Syria, Turkey, Tunisia and Yemen.

This month’s report also covers counter-terrorist incidents throughout the world, with particular emphasis on events in Belgium. On January 15, Belgium authorities carried out pre-emptive counter-terrorist raids in the city of Verviers against a suspected IS cell that was accused of preparing a large-scale attack.  During the incident, the police fatally shot two of the gunmen and wounded another. In total, 13 people were arrested in connection with the investigation. Authorities became aware of the cell two weeks before the raids were carried out.

 Parallel to this incident, special police units carried out at least a dozen raids in and around Brussels, where militants were armed with AK47s. Authorities seized explosives, four Kalashnikovs, bomb-making equipment and police clothing. 

January 2015 was also marked by counter-terrorist incidents in Algeria, Afghanistan, Australia, Belgium, Ceuta, China, Germany, Greece, Israel and the West Bank, India, Kosovo, Malaysia, Morocco, North America, Pakistan, Spain, United Kingdom, Uruguay and Yemen.

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