Mirror Image : Training to Combat Terrorism-September 25-29th

Join the Terrorism Research Center for a special Persian/Hezbollah Mirror Image: Training to Combat Terrorism in Maysville, North Carolina.


The Terrorism Research Center’s Mirror Image training program is a five day classroom and field training program designed to simulate terrorist  recruitment,  training, techniques and operational  tactics. Participants will receive insight into the mindset and operational methodology of terrorists through total immersion, hands-on experience, and education about ideologies that motivate them and the cultural dimensions that influence their decision making.

During the training program participants are divided into IRGC/Hezbollah cells and replicate the various operational roles within a cell. Cells are briefed on targets and develop execution plans. Cells will operate in hardship conditions and will eat, sleep and train as a tight knit network. Each day, the participants will be taught a comprehensive program by a host of international terrorism experts then conduct operations. TRC has trained thousands of law enforcement, military and intelligence officers in this one of a kind program.  Click on the below link for more information.

TRC’s Mirror Image Sept 25 29 2017TRC’s Mirror Image Sept 25 29 2017

Casing, Surveillance and Targeting: Through the Eyes of a Terrorist

Casing Surveillance and Targeting

The Terrorism Research Center will be conducting our Casing, Surveillance and Targeting: Through the Eyes of a Terrorist in the National Capital Region on August 23-25, 2017. For more information about this course contact us at (703)-801-2297 or at Purdy@terrorism3.com

All participants must be approved to attend and need to be law enforcement, military, intelligence and approved security officers.


Another Terrorist Ambush in France

Paris to Calais Map

The sentinels of Paris has no idea that a terrorist lay in wait ready to spring his ambush. Clearly he had done his homework, casing the target and noting their movements. Now he waited for the perscribed time when the unsuspecting soldiers would depart the barracks to begin their patrol to keep Paris safe.

Yesterday, on August 9, 2017, a group of six French soldiers departing their barracks at Place de Verdun in the suburb of Levallois-Perret in Paris were ambushed. A terrorist launched his weapon accelerating the BMW he was driving and rammed into the unsuspected soldiers. The soldiers were from the 35th Infantry Regiment who were part of Operation Sentinel, set up to protect critical sites around Paris after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in 2015.

After striking and injuring the soldiers, Hamou Benlatreche, an Algerian national sought to escape capture. But he didn’t go to ground or hideout in a safehouse.  Where might he be seeking refugge? Where was he heading? It is too soon to know for certain but it appears he was attempting to flee not only Paris but France. A police trainee in his vehicle saw a black BMW with extensive damage to the windshield, hood and front end speeding north on the A15 highway. The police trainee took  down the license plate and mentioned it when he went into the police station. Soon the damaged vehicle was spotted on the A16 highway heading north. French police were able to stop the vehicle and ended up shooting Hamou Benlatreche five times before he was captured.

One can only surmise that Benlatreche was attempting to reach Calais where he could have boarded a ferry to Dover. The 21 mile journey across the English Channel would put him out of France. This seems to be the only reason one would take have taken the A16 highway heading north.

While many of the more recent attacks in Paris have targeted soldiers and police officers they have been guarding critical and tourist sites. We have seen terrorists attack locations like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, and even on the Champs Elysees. By attacking soldiers, police and tourist sites this impacts tourism which has a cascading impact on the French economy. In 2016,  1.5 million less tourists visited Paris than in 2015 taking a huge bite out of the economy.

On August 5, 2017, a 19 year old French citizen who was recently released from a psychiatric hospital brandished a knife at police officers while trying to enter the secure zone of the Eiffel Tower. Tha man was inspired by the Islamic State and shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great).

On June 6, 2017, Ikken Farid attacked a Paris police officer with a hammer in the square of Notre Dame Cathedral.  Another police officer shot Farid who was transported to a hospital. During the attack Farid shouted, “This is for Syria.” The gothic cathedral on the River Seine attracts over 13 million visitors each year.

On April 21, 2017, Abu Yuffel al-Belgiki opened fire on police officers in their vehicle on the Champs Elysees Aveune. Abu Yuffel killed Officer Xavier Jugele and injured two other police officers. The terrorist got out of his vehicle on the Champs Elysees and opened fire on police with an automatic weapon. Abu Yuffel  then attempted to flee on foot but was killed. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. Officer Jugele had been one of the first responders at the Bataclan terrorist attack in November 2015.

Terrorist have been relentless in attacking targets in France. On July 14,  2016,  Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a Tunisian, rented a truck which he drove into the crowds on the Promenades des Anglais in Nice as people celebrated Bastille Day. Lahouaiej-Bouhlel plowed into people after a firework show and killed 86 and injuring over 300 people.

In the Islamic State’s 3rd issue of Rumiyah, there is an article entitled “Just Terror Tactics” that gives advice for individuals in selecting the “ideal vehicle” to use in a terrorist ramming attack. The article mentioned this tactic was “superbly demonstrated in the attack launched by the brother Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel who, while traveling at the speed of approximately 90 kilometers per hour, plowed his 19-ton load-bearing truck into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France. . . .”

On January 7, 2016, a man wearing fake explosives attacked police officers at a Paris Police Station with a meat cleaver shouting “Allahu Akbar.” Police officers killed the suspect.

While we think often of just the terrorists who have conducted these attacks in France, there are those who have inspired, directed, manipulated, motivated, financed provided aid, assistance and logitcal support. Without these others these attacks would not be able to be executed. Hamou Benlatreche may have run over six French soldiers in Paris but others have played a role in this attack and governments must work to remove not only the support network, the inspirational network, and the ideological network that all play a role in these types of attacks. If we don’t then we will continue to have individuals carrying out attacks in the city of lights.


A Brother, A Fiancé, A Human Bomb: Terrorist Plots Against Aviation Déjà vu


At the end of April, a Syrian based Islamic State terrorist had components for a bomb sent from Turkey to Australia. He then provided directions to build the bomb to the cell in Sydney, Australia. Once the improvised explosive device was built it was concealed in a meat grinder. Now all they needed was to get the bomb on board an aircraft. Khaled Khayat planned to use his own brother to carry the bomb in luggage aboard an airplane.

On July 15, 2017, Khaled Mahmoud Khayat gave his brother luggage packed with a bomb concealed in a meat grinder as he prepared to fly on Etihad Airways from Sydney International Airport. Khaled’s brother was flying from Sydney to Abu Dhabi and had no knowledge of the bomb When questioned about the weight of the luggage at check in there was a problem.  Khaled ended up leaving the airport with the luggage with the bomb. His brother boarded the flight and made his way to Abu Dhabi. The Sydney cell dismantled the bomb and then began planning to conduct a hydrogen sulphide chemical attack. While the check-in security procedures and questioning prevented the luggage with the bomb from being introduced onto the aircraft additional questioning and checks should have been undertaken as to why would someone allow another individual to leave with one’s carry on bag.

Until an intelligence service intercepted communications between the Islamic State and the Sydney cell no one knew of the plot to down the Etihad Aircraft.  The intelligence service would alert Australian Police 11 days after the attempted plot. This is not the first-time terrorists have attempted to bomb commercial aircraft by using a relative who unwittily attempted to carrying an explosive device aboard an aircraft.

Thirty-one years ago, Nezar Hindawi, a Jordanian working with the Syrians proposed marriage to Ann Marie Murphy who was pregnant with his child. Hindawi offered to marry Murphy in Israel. Hindawi told her to tell no one about the marriage or the wedding in Israel. He purchased her a rolling suitcase, provided money for her passport and had her purchase a ticket on El Al airlines. Hindawi told her his company had purchased his ticket on another airline.

On April 17, 1986, Hindawi escorted her to Heathrow Airport in a taxi. While in the taxi he put a battery in the Commodore Calculator that served as a timed triggering device for the bomb he had put in her luggage. Ann Marie Murphy had no idea what she was carrying in her luggage as she cleared through Heathrow’s security checkpoint. But the El Al security check was different. They discovered the bomb set to detonate five hours into the flight. Murphy was handcuffed and led away not realizing that her fiancé was willing to not only kill her and her unborn child but 374 other passengers. Her luggage contained a bomb with over 3 pounds of Semtex explosives. Nezar Hindawi was sentenced to 45 years in prison.

These two plots show the depths that terrorists will go to attack aviation and use anyone including an unsuspecting brother or fiancé. The Sydney cell weren’t successful in getting the IED aboard an aircraft. They dismantled the bomb for later use and moved on to a chemical attack plot.

That bomb components were sent to Sydney, Australia from Turkey and not discovered should cause some concern. This highlights the issue of air cargo being sent globally and the need for additional procedures. In October 2010, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) sent explosive devices via cargo planes and passenger planes concealed in  printer cartridges of printers. Only because of intelligence was this threat thwarted. We will continue to see additional plots by terrorists against aviation and that is why the initial security questioning at check in is so important. While important, the initial security procedures at check in constitutes the first of many layers of airport security.  But just as terrorists are always adapting so too must security procedures.

Terrorist plots over the years have evolved from bombs smuggled in checked bags, carry-on luggage, firearms, altimeter devices, Operation Bojinka style attacks, building the bomb from components on the aircraft like Ramzi Yousef, seizing aircraft like on 9-11, the shoe bomber, the underwear bomber, the printer cartridge plot, liquid explosives, clothes soaked in liquid explosives, end runs around security,  and insiders are just some of the plots we have seen. We have already seen drones near airports and even strike aircraft. If a bird strike to US Airways Flight 1549 can force an aircraft down into the Hudson River then drone attacks of aircraft pose a danger that we can anticipate at some point. One thing is certain-security procedures must evolve and adapt or aviation will endure additional attacks.

History has shown that aviation security hasn’t been at the level needed to stop terrorist threats. Generally, the first time a terrorist tactic or new weapon is used to attack global aviation this segment of transportation is caught off guard. Ramzi Yousef was able to bring components onto an Philippines Airlines Flight 434 and build a small rehearsal device which successfully detonated. September 11th took the aviation segment by surprise when Al Qaeda terrorists seized multiple aircraft using them as the weapon. Just months later, Richard Reid, the shoe bomber attempted to detonate his shoe bomb on American Airlines Flight 63. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s underwear bomb wasn’t discovered until he tried to detonate the underwear bomb on Northwest Flight 253 on Christmas Day. AQAP’s printer cartridge plot was thwarted but the devices had already flown on cargo aircraft and were enroute to their targets. Operatives were able to skillfully move a computer bomb around security and get the device on board Daallo Airlines Flight 3159. Suicide bombers in Brussels Airport, Istanbul Ataturk Airport, Glasgow Airport Attack, firearms attack at LAX, all happened and caught airports flatfooted.

Until intelligence services learned of the communication between Islamic State operatives and the Sydney cell no one knew about this plot. We need to become more predictive and think about what would future attacks would look like. Until that time we will continue to be at the mercy of a first attack which is unacceptable. Sun Tzu said “Don’t depend on the enemy not coming; depend rather on being ready for him.

Terrorism Research Center’s Mirror Image: Training to Combat Terrorism August 14-18, Maysville, NC Register Now

Mirror Image 2017

The brother in charge of collecting intelligence met a source who provided information on the government official-the target. The target was a local government official that the emir of the terrorist network wanted to kill. This military operation while tactical in nature would also send a strategic message to the population. A carefully crafted propaganda statement would also be released following the operation. One of the terrorist from the Hambali cell made a pass by the target location. A local government official was inside the compound which was protected by a small guard force. After having eyes on the target location and the exterior security, the intel collector for the cell had the final piece of intelligence for the attack. After careful planning an execution plan was developed and briefed to the emir. Logistics provided the attack vehicles and weapons to be used along with a suicide bomber vest.

The martyr was chosen and would be accompanied by a security brother who was to ensure the martyr would arrive on the target. The security brother and the martyr would be driven close to the target compound. The security brother would then engage the exterior compound guard with small talk and would be armed with a pistol. The brother would engage the guard with small arm fire if anything when wrong to allow the martyr to close the distance and detonate his device. The martyr worked with another brother to conceal the device and still have access to the black switch which would detonate the device.

The second arm of the attack would infiltrate into the surrounding area after being dropped off at the wood line by a vehicle and would be on foot moving with long guns. The plan called for these two brothers to assault the guard force inside the compound after the martyr detonated his device. A vehicle would pick up the cell after the attack. Within minutes chaos reigned. The guard retreated to a stronghold position when he felt suspicious of two unknown individuals approaching the compound front. Then the security brother fired prematurely and was engaged by the guard. The suicide bomber hesitated and was shot. One of the brothers who was to assault inside the compound was engaged by the guard force and driven off. But a decisive brother was able to assault from an elevated position and killed the rest of the security forces. The local government leader was killed before the brothers alive departed to a safe house where they debriefed the emir on their tactical and strategic successes. Minutes later the media and propaganda brother arrived back at the safe house with video of the attack that he would use in their propaganda. The brothers talked about the cascading effects of this attack and how they could launch “follow on operations” to win over the local population that suffered under this local government leader.

This wasn’t a terrorist operation but the Terrorism Research Center’s Mirror Image: Training to Combat Terrorism at the Spartan Ranch and Tactical Training Center in Maysville, North Carolina. Participants are placed into the shoes of a terrorist cell where they learn, plan, and execute operations learning the lessons by doing. This unique one-of-a-kind training is designed for military, law enforcement, intelligence and approved security officers. Participants step into the shoes of a terrorist cell and attend lectures each day and conduct casing and surveillance of targets as well as plan and execute operations. Over the years the Terrorism Research Center has trained thousands of individuals in this customized counter-terrorism program.

Register now for the Terrorism Research Center’s August 14-18th, Mirror Image: Training to Combat Terrorism or one of the upcoming Mirror Image Counter-terrorism training programs listed going out to February 2018. For more information on Mirror Image, topics, special guest speakers and exercises contact us at Purdy@terrorism3.com or at (703) 801-2297. TRC has the ability to bring this training to your organization’s location with our Mobile Training Teams. All participants must be approved before attending. For more information on TRC’s Mirror Image click on the link below.

TRC’s Mirror Image August to February 2018