Wednesday, April 4, 2012

5 Iraqis killed by car bomb north of Baghdad

TIKRIT, Iraq, April 4 (Xinhua) -- Five people were killed and ten wounded in a car bomb explosion in a town in Salahudin province north of Baghdad on Wednesday, a provincial police source told Xinhua.

The booby-trapped car went off when a team of police explosive experts were defusing a roadside bomb nearby in the town of al- Duluiyah, some 90 km north of Baghdad, the source from Salahudin's operations command said on condition of anonymity.

All the victims were civilians who gathered to watch the defusing of the roadside bomb, the source said.

The blast damaged several nearby civilian cars, shops and houses, the source added.

Salahudin province is a Sunni-dominated province. Its capital city of Tikrit, some 170 km north of Baghdad, is the hometown of former President Saddam Hussein.
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Five dead in suicide bomb blast at Mogadishu theater


MOGADISHU, April 4 (Xinhua) -- At least five people including two sports officials are confirmed dead and 10 others were wounded Wednesday after a female suicide bomber detonated her explosives at a ceremony at the national theater in the Somali capital Mogadishu, officials and witnesses said.

Top Somali government officials including Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali and some members of his cabinet were present at the ceremony at the theater. The prime minister was unharmed.

At a news conference shortly after the blast, the prime minister vowed his government will continue to fight terror and those acts will not intimidate the government from serving the people.

"I am told that four people died in the explosion and others were wounded. The anti-peace elements cannot intimidate us from fulfilling our duty towards our people," Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli told reporters at his office in Mogadishu.

Two senior officials from the Somali Olympic Committee were among five people whom medical officials confirmed dead in the explosion and 10 more were reportedly wounded.

Several local reporters covering the ceremony were also among the wounded, who were rushed to the hospital following the huge blast at the newly reopened Somali national theater after almost 20 years of being closed.

The reopening of the Chinese-built theater late last month was hailed as an example of the growing stability and normalization of life in the Somali capital Mogadishu, following the retreat by radical Islamists from the city.

The Islamist group of Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack and vowed to continue carrying out similar attacks against government targets and African Union (AU) peacekeepers in Mogadishu.

The radical Al-Shabaab movement, which has recently announced its merge with the international terror group, vowed to carry out such attacks following their retreat from the Somali capital last year, under the pressure of concerted military offensive by AU troops and Somali government forces.
Harakat Al-Shabaab Al Mujahideen Press Office said on twitter:

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Maiwand Zone security chief shot dead in Kandahar

According to local authorities in southern Kandahar province, armed militants shot dead security control chief for 404 Maiwand police commandment in this province.

The officials further added, the incident took place around 12:00 pm local time.

In the meantime Provincial governor spokesman Jawid Faisal confirming the incident said, unknown militants shot dead a police officer but denied reports suggesting security chief for 404 Maiwand police commandment was killed.

But a provincial security official speaking on the condition of anonymity said, the deceased police officer was Yar Mohammad Amiri security control chief for 404 Maiwand police commandment.

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

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Apr.04., 2012. - ISAF Joint Command Morning Operational Update

KABUL, Afghanistan (Apr. 4) — An Afghan and coalition security force captured a Haqqani facilitator during an operation in Pul-e 'Alam district, Wardak province, today.
The facilitator coordinated the emplacement of roadside bombs for attacks against Afghan and coalition security forces throughout the district. The security force detained an additional suspected insurgent as a result of this operation.

In other ISAF news throughout Afghanistan:


An Afghan and coalition security force conducted an operation to capture a Taliban facilitator in Jeldak district, Zabul province, today. The facilitator provides weapons to insurgents for attacks in Daman and Arghistan districts of Kandahar province. The security force detained two suspected insurgents as a result of this operation.

In Daman district, Kandahar province, a combined Afghan and coalition security force discovered a drug cache during a patrol yesterday. The cache consisted of 500 pounds of marijuana which was destroyed at the scene.

A combined Afghan and coalition security force discovered a narcotics cache during routine operations in Chahar district, Nimroz province, yesterday. While conducting an airborne patrol, the combined force observed two parked vehicles suspected of carrying narcotics. A subsequent search uncovered more than 3,150 pounds of drugs in the vehicles which the combined force destroyed on site.


Finally, an Afghan and coalition security force conducted an operation to capture a Taliban facilitator in Qarghah'i district, Laghman province, today. The facilitator provides weapons to insurgents for attacks against Afghan and coalition security forces. The security force detained one suspected insurgent as a result of this operation.
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R.I.P. - Corporal Douglas Hughes

Friends and family of a New Zealand soldier who died in Afghanistan say he was a popular man who was fiercely proud of where he lived and where he went to school.

26-year-old Corporal Douglas Hughes, known as "Dougie", died at 1.45pm yesterday after being flown to Bagram Air Base hospital.

An investigation is under way into the non-combat death, which is believed to be a suspected suicide.

The New Zealand Defence Force has not elaborated on how Hughes died,  but Chief of Defence Lieutenant General Rhys Jones said today suicide was being considered as a cause of death, but stressed that it was not confirmed.

He said he didn't believe anyone else was involved in the death, and said Hughes had no record of mental health issues.

A member of Hughes' command was with him at the Forward Patrol Base Romero when he sustained his injuries about 10.40am, Jones said.

His auntie Anne Hughes said the family was finding the loss hugely difficult.

Only a few weeks ago, they had skyped Hughes, who was excited about returning home.

He told his whanau how much he was looking forward to visiting family in Australia with his younger cousin, who was to pick him up on his return.

''He was really looking forward to coming home,'' Anne Hughes said.

''It's very hard for us, he is still in Afghanistan, and we don't know when we will be able to bring him back.

''It's so hard, I said to my daughter this morning, Douglas would be so angry, so angry because he had so much to do, so many plans.''

Hughes went to live with his aunty and her family in Tuakau, south of Auckland, when he was 14.

She enrolled him in Tuakau College where he excelled. She said she was grateful for the teachers there for helping to mould her nephew into a fine young man. ''They motivated him and never gave up on him.''

Hughes played rugby league and was passionate about kapa haka.

''He was very competitive, everything he tried he gave it his best.''

He decided on pursuing a career in the army as a senior student.

''He decided this was something he would like to do and at the same time he was a bit scared.  But he saw it as a challenge.''

Close friend Ursula Aitken, who had known Hughes since he moved to Tuakau, said he was a caring man, ''always laughing and teasing his close group of friends''.

She said he was ''staunchly proud'' of Tuakau College, his achievements in kapa haka and his culture.

''He really made it, he was a natural leader.''

Another friend and former school mate Linda Voice said she would remember Hughes as being very generous who always made time to catch up with friends when he came home.

''We were proud of him, proud of his success in the army and being  a good role model.''

The New Zealand Defence Force named Hughes this morning.

"This is a sad day and on behalf of the entire New Zealand Defence Force, I extend my deepest sympathies to the family, colleagues and friends of Corporal Hughes," Jones said.

"While there has been some speculation in the media around the nature of Corporal Hughes' death we will be unable to confirm this until a full investigation has been completed," he said.

Hughes, was not married and had no children.

In a statement read by Jones, the family said they were "saddened" by the loss of Hughes.

"He was a talented sportsman with a good sense of humour who lived for his career in the Army," they said.

"He will be sadly missed by his loving whanau."

Hughes served eight years in the Defence Force and was on his second deployment to Afghanistan.

He was a rifleman from 1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment based in Linton Military Camp, near Palmerston North, and had also served in the Solomon Islands.

Jones said Hughes' remains were still in Afghanistan while arrangements were being made to bring him back to New Zealand.

"The Defence Force intends to return Corporal Hughes to his family as quickly and expeditiously as possible, while supporting his family in this process."

The Defence Force has notified the immediate families of all soldiers involved and was providing them assistance.

Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman said it was a "tragic day" for the New Zealand Defence Force.

His thoughts were with Hughes' family, who were "shocked" by the loss.

"I just want to extend my condolences on behalf of the New Zealand Government to the family," Coleman said.

"Corporal Hughes was a young man who had served his country very well. He was a young man with a really bright future ahead of him and this is an absolute tragedy."

His death would be "extremely hard" for the troops in Afghanistan and his home-base of Linton, he said.

He was the first New Zealand soldier to die in Afghanistan since Special Air Service Lance Corporal Leon Smith was killed after being struck by a Taliban bullet in Kabul on September 28 last year.

SAS soldier Corporal Doug Grant was also killed by the Taleban gunfire in Kabul on August 19.

Their families were presented with the New Zealand Memorial Cross on Sunday.

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Deaths in northern Afghanistan suicide blast

updates at the bottom
A suicide attack on a NATO foot patrol has left 15 people dead in northern Afghanistan, according to local officials.

The attacker in Wednesday's late morning bombing targeted a foot patrol of Norwegian and US troops walking through a fruit market in Maymana, the capital of northwestern Faryab province.

"A suicide bomber targeted a group of foreign friends" near a park, provincial governor Abdul Haq Shafaq told the AFP news agency of the motorcycle-riding attacker.

Among the dead were four US soldiers, four Afghan police, an Afghan interpreter for the US soldiers and six Afghan civilians including two women and two children, local police sources told Al Jazeera.

Another 30 Afghan civilians and four US soldiers were wounded in the attack.

An on-duty doctor at the Afghan-Turk Hospital in the provincial capital told Afghan media that 21 injured, including Afghans and foreigners, were rushed to the hospital.

The doctor told the Pajhwok Afghan news agency that most of the injured at the hospital were in critical condition.

The NATO forces visited the police headquarters in Faryab before heading to a nearby park to conduct interviews, Shafaq said.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The northwestern province, with a majority Turkmen population, shares a border with neighbouring Turkmenistan.

Though Faryab has been one of the more peaceful of Afghanistan's 34 provinces, clashes between government and Taliban forces rendered 12,000 villagers from the Qaysar district internally displaced last year.

Norway contributes about 400 soldiers to the 130,000-strong NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

Source: Al Jazeera and Agencies
other sources: 4 US soldiers,4 Afghan cops, 1 interpreter, & 6 civilian including 2 women & 2 children died & 30 others injured
However reports not confirmed yet, ISAF said:
We're aware of reported military/civilian casualties in explosion. Have not released more details as of yet. Under investigation - ISAF

update: +++graphic+++ video:

ISAF official releases:

For Immediate Release
KABUL, Afghanistan (Apr. 4) - Two International Security Assistance Force service members died following an improvised explosive device attack in northern Afghanistan today. It is ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities.
For Immediate Release
This is an UPDATE to IJC release #2012-04-C-010 sent at 12:07 p.m. today.
KABUL, Afghanistan — Three International Security Assitance Force service members died following an improvised explosive device attack in northern Afghanistan today.
It is ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities.

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Local policeman kills commander in Kunduz

KUNDUZ (PAN): A local policeman shot dead his commander and his bodyguard at a checkpoint in northern Kunduz Province, an official said on Wednesday.

“The shooting took place late Tuesday night in the Mirshikh area, on the outskirts of Chahardara District,” Abdul Momen Omarkhel, district administrative chief, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

He said the victim, Ahmad Zia and his bodyguard were killed while they were sleeping at their checkpoint and the killer had fled the scene.

Omarkhel said security personnel had launched a probe into the killings, but so far no breakthrough in the case.

However, Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the attack, saying Ahmad Zia was killed along with his two bodyguards, by their fighter.

from Pajhwok
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Combined operations kill 8, capture 9 in eastern Afghanistan

BAGRAM, Afghanistan – Afghan and coalition forces killed five insurgents and captured nine in eastern Afghanistan during operations throughout the past 24 hours, April 3.

Afghan National Army soldiers and coalition forces killed eight insurgents and wounded nine others after responding to small-arms fire in Tagab district, Kapisa province. The wounded were taken to nearby medical facilities for treatment.

Operations in RC-East are still ongoing.

ISAF Regional Command East
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