Weekly Analyst Review
BOTTOM LINE UP FRONT: In surveying Violent Extremist Organizations this past week, we are reminded of an incident two years ago that continues to influence right-wing extremists. On 27 April 2019, John Earnest, attempted an active shooting on the Passover services at Chabad Synagogue in Poway, California. Thankfully, Earnest’s weapon malfunctioned. Despite that his attempt to live-stream the attack on Facebook also failed, he is still considered a ‘Saint’ by the extreme far right. Earnest’s “Open Letter” manifesto (which is now available as an audio-book) referenced his inspiration, like many others, Brenton Tarrant who attacked only the month before in Christchurch New Zealand. But what was unusual in the “Open Letter” was Earnest’s use of the code word ‘Minecraft’ to plan attacks. Since Earnest’s manifesto, the video game Minecraft is used as a euphemism for actions to be desired to happen in the real world. Minecraft references are also used to pass out instructional guides and suggested targets, thus hiding in plain sight. If one was caught giving out such instructions the excuse would be that the event was to occur virtually inside the video game only. Earnest also referenced “Keep The Momentum Going” in his manifesto, a catch phrase now commonly used to inspire attacks; extreme far right Telegram channels celebrated the anniversary of Earnest’s attack with this same catch phrase.
Image (Above): Scene of attack (Middle) ; Jamel Gorchene (Below) Location map
TRAC INCIDENT REPORT: al Qaeda Claims Lone Knife Attack on Female Police Officer at Police Station in Rambouillet, Yvelines Department, Outskirts of Paris, France
On 23 April, at 2:20 pm local time, a female police officer was attacked in the airlock of the police station in Rambouillet while returning from her lunch break. The assailant, a Tunisian national, stabbed the police officer twice in the throat. The police woman died at the scene almost immediately despite treatment. Eyewitness accounts reported hearing the suspect yell "Allah Akbar" during the stabbing. The assailant was shot and died later in the hospital. Five people associated with Jamel Gorchene, including his father, have been arrested. French counter-terrorism prosecutor said “The attacker, just before carrying out his act, had looked at religious chants and videos glorifying jihad and martyrdom.” Little is known of the suspect. He was not on the watchlist for potentially dangerous actions. Born October 1984, the 37 year-old assailant, identified as Jamel Gorchene,  came to France from Sousse, Tunisia in 2019 and was given leave to remain with a Temporary Residence Card valid until 25 December 2021. It should be noted that attack occurred on the 11th day of Ramadan 2021.In late September, early October 2020,  President Macron, unveiled a governmental plan to enforce secular values in France against “Islamist radicalism”. Strongly criticized by leadership of other Muslim nations, the new federal plan has raised national and international attention. Most certainly the incident will be yet another flashpoint for French white nationalists who will use the attack for further justify anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiment. On 27 April, al Qaeda claimed Gorchene's attack via Rocket Chat. AQ hasn't claimed a lone wolf attack in the West since the active shooting at the Naval Air Base in Pensacola, Florida in December 2019.
TRAC Incident Report: Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) Killed and Injured Several Nigerian Army Elements During Ongoing Attack on Geidam, Yobe State, Nigeria
On 24 April at night, Islamic State fighters attacked Geidam village in Yobe State, Nigeria. According to the militants, they killed and injured several Nigerian army elements, destroyed two vehicles, seizing 7 more, set an army position, a tank, a 4x4 vehicle, a telecommunication tower and several other facilities on fire, and seized various weapons and ammunitions before safely withdrawing. While, Nigerian army forces claim to have repelled the attack and killed 20 militants. During the attack, the militants distributed propaganda materials to civilians, where they explained the reasons behind the attack and assured them that they won't threaten Muslims
The ISWA forces will probably withdraw after completing their search for supplies and recruits, but as of 26 April they haven't completely abandoned the town. Though the military and ISWA both claim different accounts of what actually occurred in Geidam, ISWA had enough time to actually spread propaganda material to locals during the attack, likely flyers, demonstrates that ISWA wasn't under intense pressure from the army and they had the forethought to print up the material distributed before hand.
It is important to note that the recently appointed (06 April 2021) Acting Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, hometown is Geidam. The choice of Geidam as a target was an intentional message that even under new leadership ISWA can attack with impunity. 
Images (Above): Source: Telegram: a vehicle on fire. (Below) ISWA Claim of credit.
Images: (Above) Drone belonging to the journalists seized by gunmen; (Below) location map
TRAC INCIDENT REPORT: The Bodies of Three Abducted Westerners (2 Spanish; 1 Irish) Found in the Pama Nature Reserve, Fada N'Gurma Area, Est Region, Burkina Faso
On 27 April, a column of soldiers, accompanied by journalists, was heading for the Pama Nature Reserve in the Fada N'Gurma area. Armed gunmen ambushed the convoy, killing several soldiers and wounding many more. Four persons were reported missing including two Spanish journalists and one Irish citizen working as a ranger. The military was forced to flee, leaving behind two cars, a weapon and a drone which were all seized by the gunmen. The bodies of the three journalists were found later, dead. It is likely that the journalists were accidentally killed by the gunmen, western hostages are premium targets for kidnap for ransom operations in the Sahel and would be wanted taken alive to negotiate ransom demands. Jama'a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin (JNIM) purportedly released an audio message claiming the attack on 'whites' and the items seized. Europe's commitment to the fight in Sahel is rapidly increasing. At least 600 special forces have been deployed from France, Italy, Estonia, Czech Republic and Sweden. It should be expected that European targets will be high value for both JNIM and ISGS in the future.
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