National security wrap

The beat

French police failed to recognise staffer’s radicalisation

An internal report by France’s anti-terrorist investigators has revealed that colleagues of a police IT worker who killed four people at the Paris police headquarters last week noticed ‘signs of radicalisation’ back in 2015. Questions have been raised about how police failed to formally recognise and respond to the radicalisation of one of their own. French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has called for a security review of all the police intelligence units across the country.

First look at new Victoria Police choppers

Melbourne radio host Neil Mitchell has posted the first images of Victoria Police’s new helicopters, showing one in the standard white and blue and the other in military grey. Italian aerospace and defence company Leonardo announced earlier this year that it had been commissioned to build three new helicopters for Victoria Police’s air wing. The helicopters are expected to arrive in Australia at the end of the year.

Alleged drug traffickers rescue police at sea

Spanish police were rescued by four suspected drug traffickers after their boats collided off the coast of southern Spain. The incident was captured by a Guardia Civil helicopter and showed police attempting to intercept the traffickers and then falling out of the boat. The aerial unit used a megaphone to ask the suspects to pick up the police. The rescued officers seized 80 bundles of hashish and arrested the suspects on drug trafficking charges.


Pilgrimage security at Iran–Iraq border

Iranian media reports the country’s army will deploy drones at its border with Iraq to ensure the safety of pilgrims visiting the country during the Arbaeen season. Around 35,000 people crossed the border this year to visit Iraq’s holy sites, a nine-fold increase compared with last year. The pilgrimage comes amid ongoing anti-government demonstrations throughout Iraq, which have already seen the closure of a key border crossing.

Journalist ‘harassed’ at US airport

A US customs agent has been accused of harassing a journalist at Dulles Airport near Washington DC. Ben Watson, an editor for Defense One, had his passport withheld by the official, who only returned it once he got Watson to admit that he writes ‘propaganda’. Watson has since filed a civil rights complaint with the agency, which is investigating the allegation. The incident is the latest in a series of cases of US border agents harassing or detaining journalists over the past year.

Northern Irish police won’t staff border checkpoints

Northern Ireland’s police chief says officers will not staff border checkpoints with Ireland after Brexit. While the police service will continue to police the border and ‘facilitate normality and day-to-day policing’, Simon Bryne says it won’t ‘carry out [tasks like] custom checks’. Bryne has also requested extra funding for additional officers in preparation for Brexit, having previously stated that his force doesn’t have the resources to effectively control the border.

CT scan

Man kills two in attack on German synagogue

A right-wing terrorist attack targeting a synagogue in the German city of Halle on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year in the Jewish calendar, has left two people dead and at least two others injured. The attacker, a 27-year-old German man, tried to use homemade explosives to enter the synagogue but couldn’t get inside and killed two people nearby. Anti-Semitic attacks are on the rise in Germany.

Saudi Arabia wants Sudan removed from US terror list

Saudi Arabia is seeking Sudan’s removal from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism after a meeting in Riyadh between the Saudi king and the head of Sudan’s transitional sovereign council. In August, Sudan’s military overthrew Omar al-Bashir’s government, which was deemed a supporter of terrorism, after months of civilian protests. The US says it will assess the new government, but it is unlikely to change Sudan’s status until free and fair elections are held in the country.

Secret UK database revealed

British counterterror police have been running a secret database containing the private details of thousands of people who have been referred to a controversial anti-radicalisation program called Prevent. Individuals are reportedly unaware that their details are being recorded and viewed, leading human rights group Liberty to claim the database is more about ‘keeping tabs on and controlling people’ than about safety.

First responder

Measles outbreak in Western Australia

Health officials have confirmed 13 cases of measles in Perth and are now also investigating suspected cases outside the city. The outbreak is believed to have originated from a New Zealand tourist. NZ is experiencing the ‘worst outbreak of measles in two decades’, which multiple cases of measles in Australia have been linked to. Authorities in Australia are launching an awareness campaign and are urging people travelling overseas to check their vaccination history and get an additional dose if needed.

Nepal hit with dengue fever

Nepal is facing a health crisis—around 9,000 people have been diagnosed with dengue fever there since August. The virus has spread to 65 of Nepal’s 77 districts, and experts have noted that the country has never faced an outbreak this severe. Nepal has traditionally been too cold for the disease-carrying mosquitoes, but climate change has led to rising temperatures, making the country more hospitable to the insects.

Typhoon set to affect Rugby World Cup

Category-5 typhoon Hagibis is forecast to hit the Tokyo area this weekend. Crucial Rugby World Cup matches will reportedly be cancelled if the typhoon, one of the most powerful in the world this year, makes landfall. It’s expected to result in the cancellation of games between England and France, New Zealand and Italy, and Japan and Scotland. If the games are cancelled, Scotland will be eliminated, and the host country Japan will progress to the quarter finals for the first time in the Brave Blossoms’ history.