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In our news wrap Monday, social media sites belonging to the U.S. Central Command’s were hacked by a group who said they acted on behalf of the Islamic State. Threats against members of the military were posted on the @CENTCOM Twitter feed. Also, French officials said as many as six members of a terror cell may be on the loose following the terrorist attacks in Paris.
The U.S. Central Command's social media Web sites were hacked today. The hackers called themselves a cyber-caliphate and said they acted on behalf of Islamic State militants.
Threats posted on CENTCOM's Twitter feed included a warning that said — quote — "American soldiers, we are coming. Watch your back."
Other postings showed soldiers at work and even listed names and phone numbers of military personnel. And there were scenarios for conflict with North Korea and China, but it appeared that none of the material is classified.
Brian Fung of The Washington Post has followed the story all day.
BRIAN FUNG, The Washington Post:
It looks mainly as though the attackers went to public sources of information and grabbed screen-shots and other reports about U.S. military personnel, retired Army officers, and so on, to release online to make it look as though they'd penetrated the Pentagon's networks. But, so far, there doesn't appear to be any major indication that that's happened.
The hackers also uploaded an Islamic State recruiting video to CENTCOM's YouTube account with images of fighters carrying out operations. Fung says the hackers may have recently attacked several news outlets as well.
Like a lot of hacker organizations, we don't know a whole lot about these guys, except for the fact that they were apparently behind a couple of attacks on some local news outlets earlier this month.
And in those attacks, they went after some newspapers and a local CBS affiliate. Other than that, however, we don't know a whole lot about the hackers behind this — this latest attack.
CENTCOM's Twitter and YouTube account were suspended after being compromised. But a Pentagon spokesman dismissed the hack as little more than a prank.
President Obama called today for new efforts to beef up the nation's cyber-security. He spoke before word emerged of the attack on Central Command. Instead, he cited the hack of Sony Pictures. His proposals included tougher laws against identity theft and new protections for students' data.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
This is a direct threat to the economic security of American families, and we have got to stop it. If we are going to be connected, then we need to be protected.
As Americans, we shouldn't have to basic — forfeit our basic privacy when we go online to do our business.
The president plans to include the cyber-security ideas in his State of the Union address next week.
French police officials now say as many as six members of a terror cell may still be on the loose. That word came today as police and troops spread out in the wake of last week's bloodshed in Paris.
Guns at the ready and eyes on the streets. Security forces kept close watch, as parents dropped off children off at Jewish schools in Paris this morning. They were among nearly 15,000 police and soldiers dispatched to beef up security across France.
CHRISTEL ROELS, Teacher (through interpreter):
We are going to be very cautious, but we will open the school as usual, we are going to teach as usual, we will behave as usual, because that's the best way to resist.
Last week's terror attacks left 17 people dead, including four at a kosher grocery store on Friday. A Muslim employee there helped save 15 others, but he says police first thought he was a terrorist, too.
LASSANA BATHILY, Shop Assistant, Hyper Cacher (through interpreter):
Yes, they did. When I emerged, they told me to put my hands on my head and to lie on the ground. I panicked. There were lots of people and a lot of shouting.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manuel Valls told BFMTV today that the manhunt for accomplices continues. One may have helped post this video on Sunday, recorded earlier by Amedy Coulibaly. He was the gunman at the Jewish grocery, and had also killed a French policewoman.
In the message, he pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.
AMEDY COULIBALY, Hyper Cacher Shooting Suspect (through interpreter):
What we are doing is totally legitimate, given what they are doing. One can't attack and get nothing in return.
Coulibaly died when police stormed the grocery. But the hunt for his fugitive wife, Hayat Boumeddiene, came up empty. Newly released security camera video showed her arriving, with a male companion, in Istanbul, Turkey on January 2. Turkey's interior minister said today there had been no reason to stop her.
EFKAN ALA, Interior Minister, Turkey (through interpreter):
There was no notice from France on this person stating that she is dangerous and she should be banned from entering the country. Therefore, there isn't a specific entry ban on this person.
There was no ban on her exit either. Turkish officials now say she crossed into Syria last Thursday, one day after 12 people were shot dead at Charlie Hebdo, a satirical Paris newspaper.
The gunmen there, brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi, had known her husband since 2005. They, too, died in a police shoot-out on Friday. The week of terror brought out well over one million people in Paris on Sunday for a march of unity that featured a number of world leaders. The American ambassador to France, Jane Hartley, represented the United States.
But the administration suffered withering criticism for failing to send anyone of higher rank.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest conceded today that was a mistake.
JOSH EARNEST, White House Press Secretary:
Some have asked whether or not the United States should have sent someone with a higher profile than the ambassador to France. And I think it's fair to say that we should have sent someone with a higher profile to be there.
Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Paris on Friday.
The White House plans a summit on how to counter violent extremism next month.
And we will get an update on the link between the Paris attacks and Yemen after the news summary.
Secretary Kerry arrived in Pakistan today, pressing for more action against Taliban safe havens along the Afghan border. The visit came as officials reopened a school where Taliban attackers killed 150 classmates and teachers last month. Students return to class tomorrow.
Northeastern Nigeria is reeling from new carnage caused by Boko Haram. Witnesses say the Islamist militants used 10-year-old girls in weekend suicide bombings that killed nearly 20 people. It's also been reported the militants killed as many as 2,000 last week around Baga in Borno state after seizing a key military base. Nigeria's military claim the true figure is 150 dead, including the militants.
Cuba completed its release of 53 political prisoners today, under last month's diplomatic deal with the United States. They were on a list of opposition figures jailed for urging political and social reforms. A Cuban dissident leader says 17 of the 53 had already been released before President Obama announced a restoration of ties with Havana.
Investigators in Indonesia finally have their hands on a black box recorder from that crashed AirAsia jetliner. It was pulled from the underwater wreckage today, and taken to Jakarta for examination. The other black box, the flight data recorder, remains lodged under parts of the plane. Officials appealed for patience as they piece together what happened.
MAN (through interpreter):
I urge all experts not to give any theory if they do not have a valid data, and please don't make people confused. We urge people to wait and be patient with our ongoing investigations. I hope all data that we collect will be good and valid, so our team can analyze it faster.
All 162 people on board were killed in the December crash. But, so far, only 48 bodies have been recovered.
Back in this country, a new inspector general accused police of using banned chokeholds, sometimes as a first response. He also said the department has failed to punish the practice. The report follows a grand jury's decision not to indict an officer in the chokehold death of Staten Island resident Eric Garner last summer.
Two policemen in Albuquerque, New Mexico, were charged with murder today in the death of a homeless man last March. The victim had a history of mental illness and pulled out two knives during a standoff. His killing sparked sometimes violent protests around the city.
Today, the district attorney said she wants the public to see all the facts.
KARI BRANDENBURG, District Attorney, co-author, "The Partisan Divide": We think that there's evidence that gives us the legal standard probable cause. We have always said that, if we can meet that standard, we will go forward. And we believe that we can meet that standard, and we are going forward.
After the killing, the U.S. Justice Department issued a sharply critical report on the police department's use of force.
Supporters of the Keystone pipeline project moved this evening to advance it in the Senate. They want a procedural vote clearing the way for a final approval this week of a bill that calls for completing the pipeline. The bill already passed the House, but the White House has warned of a veto.
In health news today, a review for the World Health Organization finds online medical training is just as effective as traditional training. It says so-called e-learning could give the world millions more doctors and nurses, especially in poor nations, where the need is greatest.
And another new study finds Head Start programs can help fight obesity. University of Michigan researchers found obese and overweight children were more likely to lose weight in the program, which focuses in part on healthy eating and physical activity. The findings appear in the journal "Pediatrics."
Wall Street started the week by giving ground, as falling oil prices pulled stocks lower. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 96 points to close at 17640; the Nasdaq fell 39 points to close at 4664; and the S&P 500 slipped 16 to finish at 2028.
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