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A man from Lancashire who encouraged Islamic extremists to wage jihad in the West, including targeting Prince George and injecting poison in to supermarket ice-cream, has been convicted today (31 May).
Husnain Rashid, 32, posted messages online glorifying successful terrorist atrocities committed by others while encouraging and inciting his readers to plan and commit attacks.
One of his posts included a photograph of Prince George, along with the address of his school, a black silhouette of a jihad fighter and the message ìeven the royal family will not be left aloneî.
His common theme was that attacks could be carried out by one individual acting alone. Rashid suggested perpetrators had the option of using poisons, vehicles, weapons, bombs, chemicals or knives. Rashid uploaded terrorist material to an online library he created with the goal of helping others plan an attack.
He also planned to travel to Turkey and Syria with the intention of fighting in Daesh-controlled territories. He contacted individuals he believed to be in Daesh territory, seeking advice on how to reach Syria and how to obtain the required authorisation necessary to join a fighting group.
Rashid provided one individual who had travelled to Syria and was known online as ìRepunzelî, with information about methods of shooting down aircraft and jamming missile systems.
All the offences relate to Rashidís activities online between October 2016 and his arrest in November 2017.
Rashidís trial started on 23 May at Woolwich Crown Court but he changed his plea to guilty on four counts on 31 May. He will be sentenced on 28 June.
Sue Hemming from the CPS said: ìHusnain Rashid is an extremist who not only sought to encourage others to commit attacks on targets in the West but was planning to travel aboard so he could fight himself.
ìHe tried to argue that he had not done anything illegal but with the overwhelming weight of evidence against him he changed his plea to guilty.
ìThe judge will now deci
PHOTO: Greater Manchester Police
A man from Lancashire who encouraged Islamic extremists to wage jihad in the West, including targeting Prince George and injecting poison in to supermarket ice-cream, has been convicted today (31 May). Husnain Rashid, 32, posted messages online glorifying successful terrorist atrocities committed by others while encouraging and inciting his readers to plan and commit attacks. One of his posts included a photograph of Prince George, along with the address of his school, a black silhouette of a jihad fighter and the message ìeven the royal family will not be left aloneî. His common theme was that attacks could be carried out by one individual acting alone. Rashid suggested perpetrators had the option of using poisons, vehicles, weapons, bombs, chemicals or knives. Rashid uploaded terrorist material to an online library he created with the goal of helping others plan an attack. He also planned to travel to Turkey and Syria with the intention of fighting in Daesh-controlled territories. He contacted individuals he believed to be in Daesh territory, seeking advice on how to reach Syria and how to obtain the required authorisation necessary to join a fighting group. Rashid provided one individual who had travelled to Syria and was known online as ìRepunzelî, with information about methods of shooting down aircraft and jamming missile systems. All the offences relate to Rashidís activities online between October 2016 and his arrest in November 2017. Rashidís trial started on 23 May at Woolwich Crown Court but he changed his plea to guilty on four counts on 31 May. He will be sentenced on 28 June. Sue Hemming from the CPS said: ìHusnain Rashid is an extremist who not only sought to encourage others to commit attacks on targets in the West but was planning to travel aboard so he could fight himself. ìHe tried to argue that he had not done anything illegal but with the overwhelming weight of evidence against him he changed his plea to guilty. ìThe judge will now deci
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FILE - In this undated file photo released by a militant website, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, militants of the Islamic State group hold up their weapons and wave flags on their vehicles in a convoy on a road leading to Iraq, while riding in Raqqa, Syria. Simultaneous attacks on the Islamic State-held city of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa, the de facto IS capital across the border in eastern Syria, would make military sense: They would make it harder for the extremists to move reinforcements and deny them a safe haven. (Militant website via AP, File)
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(FILES) This image grab taken from a propaganda video released on July 5, 2014 by al-Furqan Media allegedly shows the leader of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aka Caliph Ibrahim, adressing Muslim worshippers at a mosque in the militant-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul. 
The Russian army on June 16, 2017 said it hit Islamic State leaders in an airstrike in Syria last month and was seeking to verify whether IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed. In a statement, the army said Sukhoi warplanes carried out a 10-minute night-time strike on May 28 at a location near Raqa, where IS leaders had gathered to plan a pullout by militants from the group's stronghold.
 / AFP PHOTO / AL-FURQAN MEDIA / --/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) This image grab taken from a propaganda video released on July 5, 2014 by al-Furqan Media allegedly shows the leader of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aka Caliph Ibrahim, adressing Muslim worshippers at a mosque in the militant-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul. The Russian army on June 16, 2017 said it hit Islamic State leaders in an airstrike in Syria last month and was seeking to verify whether IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed. In a statement, the army said Sukhoi warplanes carried out a 10-minute night-time strike on May 28 at a location near Raqa, where IS leaders had gathered to plan a pullout by militants from the group's stronghold. / AFP PHOTO / AL-FURQAN MEDIA / --/AFP/Getty Images
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Story highlights

Residents relieved after ISIS siege of two government-held enclaves lifted in Deir Ezzor

But the terror group remains nearby, still holding parts of the eastern Syrian city

(CNN) —  

A massive dust cloud engulfed the Russian army chopper as we touched down on the landing zone. The fine sand made it impossible to see as we walked away from the helicopter.

When it departed and the dust cleared, we could see several dozen Syrian government soldiers and Russian special forces, their faces covered by masks, holding their guns.

This was our welcome in Deir Ezzor, a former ISIS stronghold where the terror group besieged two Syrian government enclaves in the city’s west for more than three years until its ouster about two weeks ago.

A Russian combat helicopter flies over Deir Ezzor, where there has been intense fighting against ISIS.
PHOTO: Frederik Pleitgen/CNN
A Russian combat helicopter flies over Deir Ezzor, where there has been intense fighting against ISIS.

The Russian army drove the CNN crew and about 20 other journalists into town in an armored vehicle. Gun and mortar fire could be heard – ISIS still holds parts of the city – but in the center life was clearly coming back.

Some people were out shopping for basic goods. While relieved the ISIS siege had been lifted, they were still too afraid to give out their names, saying the terror group remained close.

“ISIS spread fear, cutting off heads, murdering people,” one man said. “It was not a question of faith, there was no faith. There is no Islam in these deeds. Never was Islam part of ISIS’ ideology.”

The market in central Deir Ezzor is busy and well-stocked with goods again after ISIS' ouster.
PHOTO: Frederik Pleitgen/CNN
The market in central Deir Ezzor is busy and well-stocked with goods again after ISIS' ouster.

The government-held parts of the eastern city of Deir Ezzor, home to tens of thousands of people, survived for years on airdrops by the United Nations and the Syrian and Russian air forces.

’Russia is a friend’

Now the market was decently stocked, a line of people gathering outside a little store to buy groceries.

People line up outside a small store in central Deir Ezzor.
PHOTO: Frederik Pleitgen/CNN
People line up outside a small store in central Deir Ezzor.

One shopkeeper praised Russia for helping Syrian government forces push ISIS out.

“Russia is a friend, a very, very, good friend,” he said, then added: “What Russia did for us is so great. Their efforts are too great to describe.”

Children were playing on the streets and giving victory signs to the Russian and Syrian soldiers who formed a heavy military presence in a town still partially under ISIS control.

Children salute Russian and Syrian soldiers in Deir Ezzor after they helped push ISIS fighters out.
PHOTO: Frederik Pleitgen/CNN
Children salute Russian and Syrian soldiers in Deir Ezzor after they helped push ISIS fighters out.

’The siege was horrible’

Most of the buildings in the city center around the market seemed intact, even after the heavy fighting and the siege.

But on the outskirts many buildings were flattened, and tanks and armored personnel carriers could be seen heading to the front.

A soldier patrols on a street in Deir Ezzor in eastern Syria.
PHOTO: Frederik Pleitgen/CNN
A soldier patrols on a street in Deir Ezzor in eastern Syria.

The Russian military took us to City Hall. Electricity came from a generator, and there were only dim lights in the mayor’s office.

Mayor Mohammed Ibrahim Samra described the ordeal the city had been through.

“ISIS tried many times to enter into this part of Deir Ezzor. We always stopped them, but many died defending the city and the siege was horrible,” he said.

He vowed to rebuild Deir Ezzor once ISIS is totally ousted from the city and its outskirts.

ISIS remains close by

But for now the terror group’s proximity remains clear in most government-held parts of the city.

Gunfire rang out nearby as we visited a hospital, whose staff confirmed ISIS positions were nearby.

Gunfire can be heard from ISIS positions close to this hospital in Deir Ezzor.
PHOTO: Frederik Pleitgen/CNN
Gunfire can be heard from ISIS positions close to this hospital in Deir Ezzor.

In one ward, young men, mostly Syrian soldiers, were recovering from wounds they said they sustained while fighting ISIS.

“We entered a village. It was eight of us,” said a man with a large cast on his left arm, clearly in pain. “There was a car that we picked up, but then ISIS saw us.”

He said he and his men killed the ISIS fighters in the battle that wounded him.

Russian military helicopters race across the eastern Syrian desert toward Deir Ezzor.
PHOTO: Frederik Pleitgen/CNN
Russian military helicopters race across the eastern Syrian desert toward Deir Ezzor.

While the government-held areas of Deir Ezzor are breathing a sigh of relief, the Russian military acknowledges that tough battles lie ahead. However, the Russians believe defeating ISIS here will go a long way to ousting the group from southeastern Syria.

After three years under siege, the people in this hot and dusty town appear simply happy to have access to basic goods and be free from worry about ISIS invading their home.