News Roundup and Notes: November 24, 2015

Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news.

PARIS ATTACKS 

An item resembling a suicide explosive belt was found dumped on a Paris street, and is now being examined by French authorities. [BBC] The explosives contain the same materials as those used in the attacks and the belt was found in an area where suspect Saleh Abdeslam is thought to have passed through the night of the attacks. [France 24] The new evidence is leading investigators to conclude that Abdeslam aborted the suicide mission before leaving France. [Wall Street Journal’s Natalia Drozdiak]

A suspect in the Paris attacks appeared in court today, the only person in France facing potential terrorism charges. [AP] And Belgian authorities charged an additional suspect yesterday in connected with the attacks; the suspect is one of 21 people detained during raids across Brussels. [Washington Post’s Loveday Morris and Missy Ryan]

Intense policing has been taking place across France since the Paris attacks, authorities taking “extraordinary steps” which are legal under the state of emergency declared in the wake of the attacks. Adam Nossiter reports. [New York Times] 

French President François Hollande will travel to Washington today, a visit aimed at garnering support for stepped-up efforts against the Islamic State, part of “an extraordinary global tour” to win over allies, reports Steven Erlanger. [New York Times] Hollande will meet with the leaders of Germany, Italy and Russia later this week. [Washington Post’s Karen DeYoung]

The State Department has issued a worldwide travel alert, warning American citizens to possible risks of travel in light of increased terrorist threats. The warning comes in the wake of recent attacks in France and Mali. [Reuters]

“America and its allies have failed to gather and process the intelligence necessary to protect their citizens,” opine Michael B. Mukasey and Jamil N. Jaffer, arguing that now is not the time for the US to be scaling back its intelligence-gathering capabilities. [Wall Street Journal]

“In times of crisis, we are made to feel we should scrutinise our government’s actions less closely, when surely that’s when we should pay closest attention,” observes Frankie Boyle at the Guardian. 

IRAQ and SYRIA 

Turkey has shot down a Russian jet close to the Syrian border, the first time a NATO member and Moscow have come into direct conflict there. Both parties gave conflicting accounts of the incident, Turkey suggesting the plane had crossed into Turkish airspace, an assertion Russia’s defense ministry denies. [The Guardian’s Kareeem Shaheen and Shaun Walker; AP]

One of the pilots has been captured by Turkmen forces in Syria who are now searching for the other, according to local sources. [Reuters] 

This is a developing situation, check out the BBC and the Guardian for live updates.

Secretary of State John Kerry said he would like to see the US-led military and diplomatic effort in Syria “go faster,” his comments coming as the Obama administration faces increased pressure to take a stronger approach to tackling ISIS. [New York Times’ David E. Sanger] Kerry added that ISIS “is going to be defeated. ISIS is not 10 feet tall.” [Politico’s Nick Gass] 

UK Prime Minister David Cameron will hold a vote next week, asking the House of Commons to extend airstrikes against ISIS into Syria. [The Guardian’s Patrick Wintour] British MP Dan Jarvis presents five tests for backing Cameron’s suggested military action in Syria, at the Guardian.

US-led airstrikes continue. The US and coalition military forces carried out 14 strikes on Islamic State targets in Syria on Nov. 22. Separately, partner forces conducted a further 19 strikes on targets in Iraq. [Central Command] US strikes destroyed 283 tanker trucks used by ISIS to move oil out of eastern Syria over the weekend. [AP] 

France conducted airstrikes against ISIS in Syria and Iraq yesterday, launching from the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier based in the eastern Mediterranean. [Reuters]

GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump said he would approve waterboarding “in a heartbeat,” during a campaign rally last night, adding that even “if it doesn’t work, they deserve it anyway for what they do to us.” [The Guardian’s Ben Jacobs]

MALI HOTEL ATTACK 

Mali’s government released photos that it said shows the bodies of two gunmen in the attack on the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, that left at least 19 people dead. [New York Times’ Carlotta Gall]

UN police forces are assisting Mali in the investigation into Friday’s attack, providing support and technical expertise. [UN News Centre]

EGYPT 

Four people have been killed following an attack by Islamist militants targeting a hotel in North Sinai today, the military and Interior Ministry have said. Election judges were staying at the hotel. [Reuters]

Egyptian forces shot and killed at least five Sudanese migrants attempting to cross the border from Egypt into Israel yesterday. [New York Times’ Kareem Fahim]

“Unchecked, the regime grows in recklessness,” writes Mona Eltahawy, discussing “Sisi’s war” on journalists. [New York Times]

ISRAEL and PALESTINE

 Secretary of State John Kerry said that Palestinian knife attacks and car-ramming attacks are terrorism and must be condemned, at the start of a one-day visit to Israel today. [Reuters]

 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced plans for bypass roads for Israeli drivers in certain parts of the West Bank, and said that the work permits of the extended families of Palestinian attackers would be revoked. [New York Times’ Jodi Rudoren]

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

The estimated cost of renewing the UK’s nuclear deterrent has risen by almost a quarter to £31 billion ($47.1 billion), with the first nuclear-weapon armed submarine entering service in the early 2030s, later than predicted. [Wall Street Journal’s Nicholas Winning]

The Justice Department can continue to conceal documents pertaining to targeted killings in the war against al-Qaeda, a federal appeals court has ruled. [New York Times’ Charlie Savage]

A car bomb attack hit a checkpoint east of the Libyan capital, Tripoli killing at least five guards loyal to the self-declared government currently controlling the city. [Reuters]

A bomb explosion took place in Athens, Greece early today, targeting a business federation. Damage was caused but no one was injured, police said. [Wall Street Journal’s Stelios Bouras]

An ex-Republican House Benghazi Committee staffer has filed a lawsuit against the committee and Chairman Trey Gowdy for wrongful termination and defamation. Rachael Bade reports. [Politico]

The Department of Homeland Security’s system for detecting biological attacks on the US cannot be trusted, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO). [The Hill’s Julian Hattem]

US sanctions have been imposed on four men accused of links to a wave of violence in Burundi that has sparked fears of civil war. [New York Times’ Jeffrey Gettleman] 

Russia announced that it has killed 14 Islamic State recruiters it says were smuggling fighters out of the North Caucasus to join ISIS in Syria, local news reports said yesterday. [New York Times’ Neil MacFarquhar]

American forces began combat training with the Ukrainian Army yesterday, part of increased efforts to assist Ukraine against Russian-backed separatist rebels. [Politico’s Michael Crowley]

The New York Times editorial board accuses Iran’s authorities of failing “to present a shred of credible evidence” against Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian, following the announcement that he will receive jail time. 

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About the Author(s)

Nadia O'Mara

Former Assistant News Editor at Just Security