Wednesday, March 7, 2012

At least 12 killed in twin car bomb attacks in northern Iraq

MOSUL, Iraq, March 7 (Xinhua) -- At least 12 people were killed and 15 others wounded when two car bombs exploded coordinately in Iraq's northern province of Nineveh on Wednesday, a provincial police source said.

The attack occurred after midday when two booby-trapped cars went off almost simultaneously near popular restaurants and marketplace in the town of Tel-Afar, some 60 km west of the provincial capital Mosul, the town's mayor Abdul-Aal Abbas told Xinhua by telephone.

The blasts caused severe damages to nearby restaurants and shops in the busy area, Abbas said.

Iraqi security forces cordoned off the scene as ambulances and civilian cars evacuated the victims to the town's hospital, he said.

Nineveh province has long been a stronghold of insurgent groups, including al-Qaida militants. Its capital Mosul, some 400 km north of Baghdad, has been one of the country's most restive cities after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
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Yemen al-Qaida wing threatens to execute 73 army hostages

Yemen division 2011-10-23
Image via Wikipedia
ADEN, Yemen, March 7 (Xinhua) -- The Yemen-based al-Qaida wing threatened on Wednesday to execute a total of 73 army hostages if the government did not immediately release its jailed members, a leading member of the al-Qaida militants told Xinhua.

"If the Yemeni government authorizes or its western allies attempt to launch a military operation against our strongholds in a bid to free the captured soldiers before freeing our members from the intelligence jails in the capital of Sanaa, we will kill all the army hostages with execution-style in Abyan's desert," the al-Qaida member said on condition of anonymity.

The al-Qaida wing accused the United States of "dispatching pilots and military experts to support the Yemeni army forces in striking the group and freeing army captives."

"A number of U.S. officers arrived on Tuesday to the al-Anad military air base in neighboring Lahj province to prepare for an imminent military strike on our fighters and releasing the hostages held by the organization," he said.

"We send this strong-worded warning to the leadership of the country's Defense Ministry: if they conducted this strike, it means we are not responsible for the death of their 73 army soldiers and senior officers," he added.

Meanwhile, a government soldier in the suburbs of Zinjibar, Abyan's provincial capital, told Xinhua anonymously that "dead bodies of several government troops were found scattered across the roads of the city."

On Sunday, dozens of al-Qaida fighters carried out a massive assault against a Yemeni military base in the outskirts of Abyan province, killing more than 180 soldiers and looting the base along with its heavy weaponry, tanks and armored vehicles, according to senior army officials.

Suicide car bombings and violent attacks against the army have increased over the past two weeks. A deadly suicide bombing targeting the presidential palace in the southern province of Hadramout killed nearly 30 soldiers of the elite Republican Guard forces. The al-Qaida wing claimed responsibility for the attack in the following day.

The AQAP attacks underscored the challenges facing the Yemeni government, which is tasked with restoring security and stability to Yemen and putting an end to the growing influence of al-Qaida that threatens the daily oil shipping routes in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

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Suicide bomber kills five police in Russia’s Dagestan

MOSCOW: A female suicide bomber has killed at least five policemen by blowing herself up at a traffic police post in the restive Dagestan region of southern Russia.

The woman detonated her bomb late on Tuesday outside Karabudakhkent, a village 40 km south of the provincial capital Makhachkala, Russia’s RIA news agency quoted local police as saying.

Dagestan faces almost daily shootings and bomb attacks as part of an insurgency across the mainly Muslim North Caucasus following two separatist wars in Chechnya.

“The female terrorist approached the (traffic police) enclosure and blew herself up,” the police official said.

A serviceman directs a pedestrian away from the scene of a suicide bomb attack in Russia.—Reuters Photo

Dagestan faces almost daily shootings and bomb attacks as part of an insurgency across the mainly Muslim North Caucasus following two separatist wars in Chechnya.

An unofficial website, said up to 10 policemen had been killed in the attack and that it was carried out by a woman suicide bomber supported by insurgents who executed policemen wounded during the blast.

The rebels want to create an Islamic state ruled by sharia in the region, which is close Sochi, where Russia will host the winter Olympics in 2014.

The insurgents said they carried out a suicide bombing at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport that killed 37 people in January 2011, and twin bombings that killed 40 people on Moscow’s metro in 2010.

from DAWN
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Iraqi minister escapes car bomb attack in Baghdad

BAGHDAD, March 7 (Xinhua) -- An Iraqi minister on Wednesday escaped unhurt a car bomb explosion near his convoy in western Baghdad, where a civilian was killed and four others were wounded, an interior ministry source told Xinhua.

The attack occurred at about 11:30 a.m. local time (0830 GMT) when a car bomb went off near the convoy of Mohammed al-Darraji, the minister of reconstruction and housing, in Mansour district, the source said on condition of anonymity.

Two of Darraji's bodyguards were among the wounded by the blast, which also destroyed several civilian cars nearby, the source added.

The attack took place about three weeks before the Arab League summit slated for March 29.

Baghdad said it has completed its preparation for the summit and is ready to receive the Arab leaders. But recent violence across the country, including in Baghdad, is a setback to the Iraqi efforts to restore normalcy ahead of the summit.

Iraq sees the summit as a significant milestone in its history that would lead the country to play a powerful and positive role in the Arab world.
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Mortar shelling kills 18 militants in upper Orakzai

PESHAWAR: At least 17 militants and a militant commander were killed in the upper Orakzai Agency as the security forces pounded militant hideouts with mortar shells on Wednesday in an area that has seen a lot of violence in recent times.

The officials claimed that six among the militants who died in the shelling were foreigners – two arabs and four Tajiks.

According to security officials, security forces fired mortar shells on the militant hideouts in Kago Kamar and Tajika areas of the agency that killed 17 militants.

Officials added that an important militant commander was killed in clashes with the security forces in the Ghundaki area.

The claims could not be independently verified as the area has been closed for journalists.

Upper Orakzai and particularly the areas of Mamozai bordering the Tirah valley of Khyber have been the hub of militancy and a route for intra-agency militant movement.

The security forces have managed to cut off the movement of militants between Kurram -North Waziristan and Orakzai facing casualties in the onslaught; however the situation in the area still remains turbulent.

from Tribune
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Militants among 30 detained

ZARANJ/FARAH CITY (PAN): Three Taliban fighters and 27 suspects have been detained during a series of security operations in southwestern Nimroz and western Farah provinces, officials said on Wednesday.

The militants included a commander named Mullah Marjan, accused of supplying logistics to the insurgents in Nimroz. He was held along with two of his accomplices during separate operations in Khashrod and Zaranj.

Police chief Col. Mohammad Musa Rasuli told Pajhwok Afghan News the rebels were also involved in a grenade attack on the UNHCR office in Zaranj, killing two policemen and a cook at the police headquarters. A hand grenade, a pistol and 500 Kalashnikov bullets were recovered.

Separately, 27 suspected militants were detained along with three Kalashnikovs and 70 kilograms of opium during a joint operation by Afghan and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops in the Bala Baluk district of Farah province.

The joint force was backed by air support during the operation, said the provincial police chief, Brig. Gen. Shamsur Rahman.

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American aid worker abducted in Sudan's Darfur

KHARTOUM, March 7 (Xinhua) -- An unidentified armed group abducted an American citizen working for UN World Food Program ( WFP) and his Sudanese driver who were on their way to the office in Nyala in Sudan's South Darfur state, Khartoum Al-Hadath daily reported on Wednesday.

"The kidnapping took place at 8:00 a.m. local time (0500 GMT)," the paper quoted unnamed sources as reporting, adding the Sudanese driver Mohamed Al-Muiz was later released near Kas to the west of Nyala while the American was taken to Jabel Marrah.

The South Darfur government who has confirmed the incident, urged foreigners working for humanitarian organizations to be careful and to notify the authorities before moving to any place, the paper said and added that security authorities have been chasing the perpetrators.

A stream of kidnappings of aid workers have recently took place in Darfur region. Some of the people were released with the help of authorities and some others are still held hostages.
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Six British troops killed in Afghanistan

MOD confirms names of the six soldiers believed killed in Helmand

LONDON: Six British soldiers are missing and are believed to have been killed in Afghanistan after an explosion hit an armoured vehicle, Britain’s Ministry of Defence said on Wednesday.

“I have the tragic duty to report that six soldiers are missing, believed killed, during a security patrol,” said British spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Gordon Mackenzie.

The ministry said the soldiers had been on patrol on Tuesday in Helmand Province, the restive southern area where most British troops are based, when their vehicle was hit.

The servicemen’s families have been informed, the ministry added.
ISAF release:

KABUL, Afghanistan – Six International Security Assistance Force service members were believed killed following an improvised explosive device attack in southern Afghanistan yesterday.

It is ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities.
MOD release:

Six soldiers believed killed in Helmand

A Military Operations news article

7 Mar 12
It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must announce that six soldiers are missing, believed killed, after their armoured vehicle was caught in an explosion in Helmand province, Afghanistan, yesterday, Tuesday 6 March 2012.

Six soldiers, five from 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment and one from 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, were on a mounted patrol when their Warrior armoured fighting vehicle was caught in an explosion.
Lieutenant Colonel Gordon Mackenzie, spokesman for Task Force Helmand, said:
"I have the tragic duty to report that six soldiers are missing, believed killed, during a security patrol. The six soldiers, five from 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment and one from 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, were on patrol in a Warrior armoured fighting vehicle when it was caught in an explosion in the Task Force Helmand Area of Operations."
Details are still being confirmed and further information will be released in due course. The families of the soldiers have been informed.

The Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond, said:
"This tragic incident brings home to us the dangers that are faced on a daily basis by the men and women of our Armed Forces deployed in Afghanistan. My thoughts are with the families and friends of the six soldiers who are missing, believed killed, and also with their colleagues, both in Afghanistan and the UK, whose brave work continues or is about to start.
"I utterly condemn those responsible for this incident who will ultimately fail to derail a mission that is protecting our national security at home and making real progress in Helmand province - a testament to the bravery, commitment and professionalism of our Armed Forces.
"We should never forget those who have lost their lives in Afghanistan to protect our national security.
"It is because of the continuing efforts of our Armed Forces, working alongside the Afghan National Security Forces, that we are on course to build an Afghanistan that can stand on its own two feet when UK combat operations cease at the end of 2014 and never again becomes a haven for international terrorism."
Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir David Richards, said:
"I was deeply saddened by the news of this incident and that six soldiers are believed to have lost their lives doing what is a dangerous but important job.
"My thoughts and prayers at this difficult time are with the families of those affected by this tragic event.
"This campaign has seen many personal tragedies and we owe it to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to recognise that their courage and skill is visible in the ever more capable Afghan Army and Police.
"Increasingly the Afghans themselves are taking the lead in providing security across Helmand. This transition is allowing Afghans to gain the confidence to reject the Taliban and live normal lives.
"The courage, fortitude and determination of those servicemen and women currently in Helmand are inspirational. They have not once wavered but, every day, mix the professionalism of which we are all so proud with deep commitment and determination.
"The support shown by the public towards our men and women continues to be a source of great strength for the Armed Forces. They feel strongly that they are protecting us all through their service in Afghanistan."
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Four people killed in Afghanistan Kandahar bomb blast

Four people have been killed and 10 injured in a bomb blast at a police post close to the Afghan border with Pakistan, Afghan officials say.

The bomb was planted in a motorbike, officials say, and and a woman and a child are among the dead. No-one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

All those killed in the midday blast in Spin Boldak, on the Pakistani border, were civilians, said Zalmai Ayubi, a spokesman for the Kandahar provincial government.

Eight people were wounded in the explosion, including one border police officer, he said.

Spin Boldak in Kandahar province is a busy border crossing close to the Pakistani town of Chaman.

The town is situated 70 miles (110km) from the provincial capital, Kandahar.

Last week a Taliban suicide car bomber killed at least nine people and wounded 10 others in an attack at Jalalabad airport in eastern Afghanistan.

The insurgents said the bombing was in revenge for a Koran-burning incident at a US air base near Kabul a week ago.
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