Thursday, July 19, 2012

US Navy helicopter with 5 crew crashes in Oman

English: PERSIAN GULF (April 16, 2007) - An MH...
English: PERSIAN GULF (April 16, 2007) - An MH-53E Sea Dragon assigned to Helicopter Mine Counter Measure Squadron (HM) 15 conducts a mine sweeping exercise.  U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Edward G. Martens (RELEASED) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
WASHINGTON, July 19 (Xinhua) -- An MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter crashed near Oman on Thursday while conducting heavy lift support operations, and the fate of its five crew members remained unknown, the U.S. Navy confirmed.

The helicopter, which was assigned to Helicopter Countermeasure Squadron-15, crashed 58 miles (about 92 kilometers) southwest of Muscat, Oman, the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command said in a news release.

It said the crash was not caused by hostile activity, and the cause of the accident was under investigation.

The status of the five crew members was "still being determined, " as another MH-53E helicopter assigned to the same squadron was on the scene to provide search and rescue assistance, the release added.

2012-07-20 03:09:20

Lt. Greg Raelson, a spokesman for the Navy's Bahrain-based 5th Fleet, gave no immediate word on the fate of the crew. But an Omani air force official said three of them have been found so far and are being treated in a hospital.
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Construction project site attacked in Kapisa province

According to local authorities in eastern Kapisa province of Afghanistan, at least three people were killed and four others were injured following an explosion in this province.

The officials further added the incident took place in a construction site of water dam in this province.

Chief of the provincial council Shaista Jan Ahadi said the professional staff of the construction project was attacked.

In the meantime Taliban militants group claimed responsibility behind the incident and said at least 8 security guards who were providing escort to NATO supply convoy was killed following the attack by Taliban fighters.

However provincial council chief denied the claims of the Taliban group.

By Sajad - Thu Jul 19, 3:55 pm

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68 military machine guns lost

Dozens of British military machine guns were lost on the way to Afghanistan, official figures have revealed.

Since 2010 some 68 machine guns, 25 rifles, 16 pistols and a shotgun have been reported as lost or stolen, including weapons which went missing in operational theatres.

The figures revealed 59 machine guns were lost during transit to Afghanistan in 2010, although of the 63 such weapons lost that year seven were eventually recovered.

In the first six months of 2012 five pistols and two rifles were reported lost or stolen, with three of the handguns and one of the rifles subsequently recovered.

In 2011 four pistols were reported lost or stolen, with one recovered. Seven rifles and five machine guns were also reported lost or stolen.

In 2010, as well as the machine guns, seven pistols, 16 rifles including four drill purpose rifles and a shotgun were lost or stolen. Eight of the rifles were recovered.

The information was disclosed by junior defence minister Lord Astor of Hever in a written answer to a parliamentary question.

"The figures include reported losses in operational theatres," he said.

from British Forces News
19 July 2012 | Afghanistan 

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One soldier killed, 3 wounded in clashes with PKK in east Turkey

Location of Gürpınar (District), Van within Tu...
Location of Gürpınar (District), Van within Turkey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
ANKARA, July 18 (Xinhua) -- One soldier of the Turkish security forces was confirmed dead and three others were wounded in clashes with members of the banned Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) in eastern Turkey on Wednesday, local Dogan News Agency reported.

A group of PKK members opened fire Wednesday afternoon when the security forces were on duty in Elacmaz village of Gurpinar town in Van province, leaving one soldier dead and three others injured, said the report.

Security forces were sent to capture the PKK members who escaped from the scene, according to the report.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, took up arms in 1984 in an attempt to create an ethnic homeland in southeastern Turkey. Since then over 40,000 people have been killed in conflicts involving the group.

2012-07-19 08:01:16

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July 19., 2012. - ISAF Joint Command Morning Operational Update

KABUL, Afghanistan – An Afghan and coalition security force conducted an operation to detain a Taliban leader in Andar district, Ghazni province, today.

The leader controls several insurgents and directs improvised explosive device attacks against Afghan and coalition forces throughout the district.

The operation resulted in the detention of several suspected insurgents.

In other International Security Assistance Force news throughout Afghanistan:


ISAF confirmed today that none of the 24 civilian fuel trucks destroyed in a parking area in Khuram wa Sar Bagh district, Samangan province, yesterday had been contracted by ISAF. The trucks were destroyed by a fire that was ignited when one of trucks was intentionally blown up. The incident is currently under investigation by provincial officials from the Afghan National Police.


In Nawah-ye Barakzai district, Helmand province, an Afghan and coalition security force conducted an operation to detain a Taliban leader, today. The Taliban leader acquires explosives and weapons for insurgents and is responsible for directing attacks against Afghan and coalition forces. The security force detained several suspected insurgents during the operation.

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July 18., 2012. - RC-East operational update

BAGRAM, Afghanistan – Afghan and coalition forces killed six insurgents, detained six and cleared two improvised explosive devices during operations in eastern Afghanistan throughout the past 24 hours, July 18.

Ghazni province
Afghan National Police and coalition forces killed two insurgents during a small arms engagement in Rashidan district.

Afghan National Police and coalition forces killed two insurgents during a small arms engagement in Ajristan district.

Kapisa province
A coalition airstrike killed an insurgent in Tagab district in response to Afghan National Army soldiers and coalition forces receiving small arms fire.

Kunar province
A coalition airstrike killed an insurgent in Watahpur district in response to Afghan National Army soldiers and coalition forces receiving small arms fire.

Paktika province
Afghan National Security Forces and coalition forces found and safely cleared an IED in Yahya Khel district.

Afghan National Army soldiers and coalition forces detained six insurgents during an engagement in Orgun district. The detained suspects were transferred to a base for questioning.

Paktiya province
Afghan National Security Forces and coalition forces found and safely cleared an IED in Zurmat district.

Operations in RC-East are still ongoing.

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Car bomb kills police officer in Yemen's Aden

ADEN, Yemen, July 19 (Xinhua) -- A high-ranking police officer was killed after a bomb attached to his car went off Thursday morning in Yemen's southern port city of Aden, a government official told Xinhua.

Col. Abdullah Mouzay, security director of Sheikh Othman district in Aden, was killed in Cairo neighborhood by a magnetic bomb attached to his car while he was driving to his workplace, the local government official said on condition of anonymity.

"Mouzay, a 45-year-old father of three children, had survived several previous assassination attempts in Aden by unknown attackers," the government official said.

Witnesses told Xinhua anonymously that the explosion was probably caused by an explosive device attached beneath the driver 's seat -- a tactic reportedly used previously by al-Qaida insurgents.

"The explosion was so powerful... the car was completely destroyed at the scene," the witnesses said.

Security forces started to search for those responsible for the officer's death, according to the local official.

No one or any group immediately claimed responsibility for the blast.

On Wednesday, a senior Yemeni security officer was killed by unknown gunmen in the country's southeastern Shabwa province.

The Yemeni government has chased al-Qaida militants in the country's southern regions since the new president took office in February and finally announced major victory against the terrorist group in June after the army recaptured several cities that had been held by al-Qaida for more than a year.

However, the Yemen-based al-Qaida wing, which vowed to take all necessary measures in retaliation, launched assassinations and suicide attacks across the country.

A week after the government announced its victory, al-Qaida carried out a suicide bombing in Aden on June 18 and killed the commander of Yemen's southern military region. It also launched a suicide attack in the capital Sanaa on July 11 and killed more than 20 police cadets.

2012-07-19 15:53:13

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Faryab: 8 Civilians Killed in Roadside Mine Blast

At least eight Afghan civilians were killed in a roadside mine blast in northern Faryab province on Thursday morning, local officials said.

Seven other civilians were wounded in the blast.

The landmine exploded at 6:00am in Faryab's Pashtun Kot district when a police vehicle was passing by, provincial's police chief Abdul Khaliq Aqsai said.

It appears to have been remote-control detonated, but there were no Afghan police casualties in the blast, he said.

The injured taken in a nearby hospital in the province, he said.

Aqsai added that the "enemies of Afghanistan placed the mine to target local police."

No group, including the Taliban, has claimed responsibility for the blast.
Insurgents frequently plant roadside bomb to target Afghan and Nato troops, but most of the victims are civilians.

Thursday, 19 July 2012 11:33 
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Israel confirms attack on citizens in Bulgaria, says ‘all signs lead to Iran’

Israel on Wednesday confirmed that its citizens were targeted in an attack on tourists at Bulgaria’s Burgas airport, which Bulgarian officials said killed three people. However, Al Arabiya correspondent put the number at seven killed and 35 injured, mostly Israelis, including 3 in critical condition.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Iran for the deadly attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, warning that his country would “respond forcefully” to strikes by Tehran.

“All the signs lead to Iran,” he said in a statement on the blast which Bulgarian officials said killed three people. “Israel will respond forcefully to Iranian terror.”

The United States condemned the attack. “The United States condemns such attacks on innocent people, especially children, in the strongest possible terms,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.

“What we know is that sometime close to 5:00 pm there was a flight that landed in Burgas, the passengers went onto a bus and then there was an explosion that we don't know the source of,” said Ilana Stein, deputy spokeswoman for the Israeli foreign ministry.

“What we know is that there are casualties and probably not only injured but also dead. We know that some were Israelis but we don't know if all of them were,” she told AFP.

Speaking to Israel's army radio, two Israeli tourists who were at the scene described the moment the blast occurred.

“I was on the bus and we had just sat down when after a few seconds we heard a really loud explosion,” Gal Malka told the station by phone from the airport, saying the explosion took place just outside the front of the bus.

“The whole bus went up in flames,” she said.

Aviva, another Israeli woman who was on a nearby bus, said she heard a “very loud explosion” and described seeing at least seven dead bodies.

“There are seven dead people,” the woman told the radio, adding that she saw people whose clothes had been blown off by the blast and bodies lying on the floor.

“It was just terrible, people were jumping out of the windows,” she said.

Shortly after the attack, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman spoke with his Bulgarian counterpart who promised to update him on developments, the foreign ministry said.

And it said Israel was sending four diplomats to Bulgaria to coordinate.

Medics from Israel’s Magen David Adom emergency services were also preparing to fly out to help with the treatment and repatriation of wounded Israelis, the organization said.

The blast came on the anniversary of an attack on a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in 1994 that killed 85 people and wounded 300. The attack was blamed on Iran, which denied the charge.

By Al Arabiya with Agencies
Wednesday, 18 July 2012

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Mali militants release Spanish, Italian hostages

Two al Qaeda-linked rebel policemen, among them Ivorian Ahmed El Guedir (L), patrol in the streets of Gao, northern Mali, on July 16, 2012.— Photo by AFP
BAMAKO: An al Qaeda-linked jihadist group based in northern Mali said Wednesday it had freed three European hostages who were kidnapped in western Algeria last October.

“Consider them freed, because our conditions were respected,” Mohamed Ould Hicham, a leader of the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (Mujao), told AFP.

He said a ransom had been paid for the three aid workers, a Spanish man and woman and an Italian woman, referring to it as a “debt”, but he would not be drawn on the amount.

“The hostages were freed not far from Gao (north eastern Mali), we handed them to a delegation from Burkina Faso. They are currently with the Burkinabes,” said Hicham.

This was confirmed by a military source in Burkina Faso, which is often involved in mediation for hostage releases.

Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi confirmed the release of the Italian woman Rossella Urru, describing it as “beautiful news”.

In Madrid, a spokesman for the foreign minister said: “The liberation process is almost finished, it was delayed by a sandstorm… A plane was sent to bring home the two Spaniards.”They are Enric Gonyalons and Ainhoa Fernandez Rincon.

The hostages were abducted from a Sahrawi refugee camp in Tindouf, Algeria.

Sahrawis are people from the disputed Western Saharan territory that abutts Morocco, Mauritania and Algeria.

The previously unknown group Mujao claimed responsibility, presenting themselves as an offshoot of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

In May, Mujao demanded the release of two Sahrawis arrested by Mauritania for their role in the kidnapping, as well as 30 million euros in ransom.

They threatened to kill the Spanish man if their demands were not met.

In Nouakchott, online news agency Alakhbar reported that among Islamist prisoners exchanged for the hostages was a Sahrawi called Memine Ould Oufkir, one of those arrested in the wake of the kidnapping.

Mujao last week said they had freed three of seven Algerian diplomats kidnapped during the takeover of the northern Mali city of Gao in late March.

No further details were given on a ransom or the identity of those freed.

Mujao, along with Islamist group Ansar Dine (Defenders of Faith) and a Tuareg rebel group, seized key northern Mali cities in the chaos that followed a March 22 coup in Mali’s southern capital of Bamako.

However the extremists have since forced the Tuareg fighters, who wanted an independent secular state, out of key positions as they seek to implement strict Islamic law.

In Timbuktu, Ansar Dine has exerted its control, whipping unmarried couples, smokers and drinkers and destroying ancient World Heritage shrines it considers idolatrous.

Mujao is holding the city of Gao.

Both groups have stated ties to AQIM and other extremist groups on the continent, raising fears that the vast region could become a safe-haven for extremist groups.

AQIM has for years carried out attacks, kidnapped foreigners and been involved in drug and human trafficking in the Sahel.

Thirteen hostages are still being held in Africa’s Sahel region after the Mujao freed on Wednesday two Spanish and one Italian hostage kidnapped in western Algeria in October 2011.

Northern Mali, in the vast and arid Sahel region which runs south of the Sahara desert, has been under the control of the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (Mujao) and armed Islamist group Ansar Dine, allied to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), since late March.


- September 16, 2010: Militants seize five French nationals plus a citizen of Togo and a citizen of Madagascar from the huge uranium mine run by the French company Areva at Arlit in northern Niger.

A French woman hostage who is ill is freed along with the Togolese and the Madagascan on February 24, 2011.

On October 7, 2011, officials in charge of negotiating the release of the remaining four French nationals say they are in good health, but that their abductors are demanding that France withdraw its forces from Afghanistan.

- November 24, 2011: Two Frenchmen described as geologists are abducted from their hotel in the northern Malian town of Hombori. Two weeks later AQIM publishes photos of the two in captivity. A video shot in late February, seen by AFP, shows the two.

- November 25, 2011: In an attack on Timbuktu, AQIM militants try to seize four Europeans. One of them, a German, is killed while the other three — a Swede, a Dutch national and a Briton who also has South African citizenship — are kidnapped by AQIM. On December 8-9 AQIM claims responsibility for the abductions and publishes photographs of the hostages.


- April 5, 2012: The Algerian consul and six members of his team are abducted in Gao in northeastern Mali. On April 8 MUJAO claims responsibility.
On July 15 the Algerian foreign ministry announces the liberation of three of the seven hostages.

from DAWN
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Deadly blast kill 15 Afghan civilians in Faryab province

Districts of Faryab.
Districts of Faryab. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
According to local authorities in northern Faryab province, a number of Afghan civilians were killed or injured following a roadside bomb blast in this province.

The officials further added the incident took place after a civilian mini bus struck with a roadside bomb at Pashtun Kot area early Thursday morning.

Provincial security chief Abdul Khaliq Aqsai confirming the report said at least 15 Afghan civilians including women and children were killed following the incident.

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

Taliban militants group and other insurgents group frequently use improvised explosive as the weapon of their choice to target Afghan and coalition security forces which normally leads to civilians casualties.

By Sajad - Thu Jul 19, 11:06 am

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100 militants killed in Ghazni, Paktika

GARDEZ (PAN): Up to 100 Taliban militants have been killed during a two-week security operation in southern Ghazni and southeastern Paktika provinces, an official said on Wednesday.

The joint offensive codenamed “Dragon”, launched on July 2, concluded on Wednesday, the 203rd Thunder Military Corps commander in Paktia, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Sharif Yaftali, told a news conference in Gardez, the capital of Paktia province.

Yaftali said a hundred militants were killed and dozens wounded during the offensive that resulted in the seizure of heavy and light weapons.

Also featuring NATO-led troops, the offensive targeted Ander, Qarabagh and Giru districts of Ghazni. It also covered Khoshamand, Kherkot and Yousaf Khel districts of Paktika.

But Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said he was unaware of the operation and the military claim about insurgent casualties.

from Pajhwok
by Noor Ahmad Hairan on Jul 18, 2012 - 21:03

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