terrorism

On Dec. 26 last year, in a town surrounded by tea and rubber plantations in central Sri Lanka, residents discovered Buddhist statues had been vandalized on the side of the road. In the middle of the night, some saw young men speeding away on motorbikes after they'd shattered glass cases protecting the statues and hacked off the stone and marble Buddhas' noses and hands.

On Thursday, lawyers representing convicted 26-year-old Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, will go before a three-judge federal appellate panel to argue that their client did not receive a fair trial in 2015. They will also ask that the death penalty in this case be rescinded.

The FBI is investigating the shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola on Friday as an act of terror.

Rachel Rojas, the special agent in charge of the FBI's Jacksonville Field Office, said in a news briefing Sunday that investigators are working with "the presumption that this was an act of terrorism."

Doing so, she said, "allows us to take advantage of investigative techniques that can help us more quickly identify and then eliminate any additional threats to the rest of our community."

There is currently no evidence of such a threat, she added.

Metropolitan Police in London have confirmed that 28-year-old Usman Khan was the attacker who killed two people and wounded three others with a knife on London Bridge Friday before police shot and killed him.

Khan had been living in the Staffordshire area, north of Birmingham, police said. They said Khan had been known to authorities in Britain, having been convicted in 2012 of "terrorism offenses."

Updated midnight ET, Nov. 30

Police said two people were killed in a stabbing near London Bridge on Friday afternoon that authorities are describing as a terrorist incident. Three others were also injured and remained in the hospital as of early Saturday.

A male suspect was shot and killed at the scene.

Hours after the incident, a similar stabbing attack took place in The Hague, Netherlands, where several were injured. It was not immediately clear if the two attacks were related.

Sarah Mackin runs a cotton swab around the inside of a tiny plastic baggie that appears to be empty. She spreads whatever residue the swab picked up onto a test strip that resembles a Band-Aid, then slides the strip into a buzzing machine about the size of a boxed, take-home pie. Then she waits, hoping for information that she can share with Boston's community of opioid users.

In a major blow to terrorist radicalization efforts, European law enforcement agencies have stripped Islamic State propaganda from popular online services such as Google and Twitter.

Over 26,000 items, which included videos, publications, social media accounts and communication channels, were flagged by authorities as being terrorist propaganda. Europol, the European Union's law enforcement agency, sent those items to several online service providers for removal.

Updated at 1 p.m. ET

Two western hostages held for more than three years by Taliban forces in Afghanistan were freed today in southeastern Zabul province in exchange for three Taliban commanders held by the Kabul government, an Afghan official tells NPR's Diaa Hadid. The official requested anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the news media.

The Islamic State on Thursday confirmed the death of its founder and leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and announced a successor. The propaganda arm of ISIS also confirmed the death of another top ISIS official, its former spokesman.

In an audio message released through its central media operation, the group's new spokesman announced that Baghdadi's successor is a man named Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraishi. He is a figure largely unknown outside of ISIS circles and is hailed in the message as "emir of the believers" and "caliph" of the group's alleged caliphate.

Updated on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. ET

In Iraq and Syria, news of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's death has stirred a mix of responses — from joy to disbelief to dread.

Since President Trump announced this weekend that Baghdadi died during a U.S. military operation in Syria, analysts have been grappling with the implications for the militant organization that has now lost its main chief in addition to all the territory it once held in Iraq and Syria.

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