Sunday, January 22, 2012

6 people killed in attacks in Iraq

BAGHDAD, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- Six people were killed and three others injured in separate gunfire and bomb attacks in eastern and northern Iraq on Sunday, the police said.

In Iraq's eastern province of Diyala, gunmen with assault rifles attacked a checkpoint jointly manned by policemen and fighters of a government-backed Awakening Council group in a village near the provincial capital city of Baquba, some 65 km northeast of Baghdad, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

A fierce fighting erupted between the two sides and resulted in the killing of two group fighters and a policeman, while two of the attackers were also killed in the clash, the source said.

The Awakening Council group, or Sahwa in Arabic, consists of armed groups, including some powerful anti-U.S. Sunni insurgent groups which fought al-Qaida militants in the Sunni Arab areas after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

In Iraq's northern province of Nineveh, a booby-trapped car detonated in central the provincial capital city of Mosul, some 400 km north of Baghdad, killing a civilian and wounding three people, including two policemen, a provincial police source anonymously told Xinhua.

Insurgents continue daily attacks including suicide bombings across Iraq since the U.S. troops pulled out of the country earlier last month.
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11 people killed in fresh attack on a bus in central Syria

Map of Syria with Homs highlighted
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DAMASCUS, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- At least 11 people were killed and another three were badly wounded Sunday when armed groups attacked their bus in Syria's central province of Homs, the private Sham FM radio reported.

The bus was transporting 14 passengers, including military personnel, when it came under fire, the report said, adding that three passengers managed to escape the gunfire and hide in a nearby storage, but were badly wounded.

The attack occurred at al-Fakhoura roundabout in Homs, when the bus was starting its trip to Damascus.

There has been no immediate official comment on the circumstances of the incident.

Homs, Syria's third largest city with a population of about 800, 000 people, has witnessed severe clashes between troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and armed groups allegedly consisting of army defectors, raising fears that the region is sliding toward a civil war.

The attack came just one day after a deadly attack that claimed the lives of at least 14 people when unidentified gunmen targeted a vehicle transporting prisoners in northwest Syria.

The Syrian government has blamed the incident as well as many others on terrorists and foreign-backed armed gangs.

Damascus said some 2,000 army and security personnel have been killed since the unrest began in March 2011, while the UN has reported more than 5,000 deaths from the Syrian violence.

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British Shabaab operative killed in airstrike in Somalia

Shabaab said that a British national who was " from the early people who came to jihad in Somalia" was killed in a US drone airstrike.
The British citizen, who was identified as Bilal al Berqawi, was "of a Lebanese origin," according to a statement released today by Shabaab's media arm, Al Kata'ib Foundation for Media Production. The statement, which was published on jihadist forums, was translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.

Shabaab said that a British national who was " from the early people who came to jihad in Somalia" was killed in a US drone airstrike.

The British citizen, who was identified as Bilal al Berqawi, was "of a Lebanese origin," according to a statement released today by Shabaab's media arm, Al Kata'ib Foundation for Media Production. The statement, which was published on jihadist forums, was translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.

Shabaab said that Berqawi was killed today, on "Saturday 28 Safar 1433H," and that he had fought in Somalia before the Islamic Courts Union, the predecessor of Shabaab, was formed.
"The martyr, may Allah have mercy on him, was from the early people who came to jihad in Somalia, where he participated in fighting with the warlords and participated in the war against the
Courts and in fighting the African Crusaders," according to that statement.

"The martyr received what he wished for and what he went out for ... when, in the afternoon today, brother Bilal al-Berqawi was exposed to bombing in an outskirt of Mogadishu from a drone that is believed to be American," the statement continued.

The report did not indicate where Berqawi was killed. It is unclear if the US conducted the strike. Kenyan and Ethiopian aircraft have been conducting airstrikes in Somalia.

Although US attack aircraft and drones conduct operations over Somalia, reports of strikes are difficult to confirm. The last confirmed US strike took place on June 25, 2011, when Predators attacked a training camp outside of Kismayo. Ibrahim al Afghani, a senior Shabaab commander who fought in Afghanistan and has close ties with al Qaeda, is rumored to have been killed in the attack, but the report was never confirmed. Shabaab did not release a statement announcing his death.

The US military's Joint Special Operations Command and the CIA are known to operate the armed Predators and Reapers from bases in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, Arba Minch in Ethiopia, the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean, and a base in an unnamed country on the Arabian Peninsula. The bases are to be used to attack al Qaeda affiliates Shabaab, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

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28 Militants Surrender to Afghan Authorities

Twenty eight militants laid down their weapons and surrendered to the authorities in eastern and western Afghanistan on Sunday, officials said.

"A 20-member a group of militants including a fourteen-year-old young man renounced violence and joined the government from four districts of Nangarhar province today," deputy governor, Mohammad Hanif Gredwal told TOLOnews reporter.

The men were activate in Acheen, Spin Ghar, Haskamina and Bati Koot districts of Nangarhar province, fighting against insurgents, Mr Gredwal said.

As more insurgents join the peace process, security will improve in the province, he added.

Meanwhile, an 8-member group of militants - including its commander, Mullah Ghulaam Sakhi - renounced violence and surrendered to authorities in Herat province today, Asil ul Din Jami, and provincial acting governor told TOLOnews reporter.

The men were active in Gozara district of Herat, fighting against government, he said.

Recently nearly 100 insurgents have joined the peace process in the country as Afghan and Nato forces have increased military operations in volatile regions.

from TOLO
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10 Afghan civilians killed and injured in Kapisa province

According to local authorities in eastern Afghanistan, at least 10 Afghan civilians were killed and injured following militants attack in eastern Kapisa province.

The officials further added, the incident took place in Ela-Sai district after a militant threw a hand grenade killing at least 1 Afghan civilian and injuring 9 others.

An Afghan security official in eastern Kapisa province speaking on the condition of anonymity said, the militants were trying to attack a convoy of the Afghan National Army soldiers crossing the area.

The source further added, Afghan National Army soldiers did not suffer any casualty following the incident.

No group including the Taliban militants have so far claimed responsibility behind the incident.

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Five killed in clashes between Qaida fighters, residents in Yemeni town

Yemen division 2011-10-23
Image via Wikipedia
SANAA, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- At least five people were killed Saturday in clashes between al-Qaida militants, who overran Yemen' s southeastern town of Radda, and local residents, a provincial security official said, as government forces re-seized entrances of Radda.

"Two al-Qaida militants and three armed residents were killed and about 10 others from both sides were wounded in the clashes that erupted in the afternoon," the official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

During the clashes, a battalion of the Central Security Forces and the Republican Guard's 26th Mechanized Brigade in al-Bayda province, where Radda was located, some 130 km southeast of Sanaa, advanced to Radda and forced the militants away.

"The government forces re-seized all entrances and checkpoints and positioned on the outskirts of Radda, meeting no resistance from the terrorist fighters who fled to neighborhoods in the town center," the official said, adding "We are waiting for orders to raid the town."

Radda, a town of nearly 60,000 people, fell last week into the hands of some 1,000 militants of the regional wing of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) led by Tariq al-Dhahab.

Al-Dhahab is a relative of Yemeni-born U.S. cleric Anwar al- Awlaki. He hosted Awlaki for months before the radical cleric was killed by a U.S. unmanned drone last September, according to a source close to the AQAP.

Radda was the latest town to be taken over by the AQAP. The government forces have been engaged in fierce clashes with the militants over past months, leaving hundreds of people killed.

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6 US Marines killed in helicopter crash identified - R.I.P.

DoD Identifies Marine Casualties

               The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of six Marines who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

                Killed were:

                     Capt. Daniel B. Bartle, 27, of Ferndale, Wash.

                    Capt. Nathan R. McHone, 29, of Crystal Lake, Ill.

                    MSgt. Travis W. Riddick, 40, of Centerville, Iowa.

                   Cpl. Jesse W. Stites, 23, of North Beach, Md.

                    Cpl. Kevin J. Reinhard, 25, of Colonia, N.J.

                    Cpl. Joseph D. Logan, 22, of Willis, Texas.

                These Marines died January 19 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. They were assigned toMarine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 363, Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

                For additional background information on these Marines, news media representatives may contact the Marine Corps Base Hawaiipublic affairs office at 808-257-8870.

Their  CH-53D helicopter crashed Thursday in Afghanistan’s southern province of Helmand.

The cause of the latest crash is still being investigated, but a statement issued by the NATO international military coalition said there was no enemy activity in the area when it happened.

German Brig. Gen. Carsten Jacobson, a spokesman for the NATO coalition in Kabul, said officials were looking at a “technical fault” as the possible culprit.

“The helicopter is one of the safest forms of transport,” Jacobson said. He said not only does it protect troops the danger of roadside bombs on the ground, but it is well-tested, well-proven way to travel.


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