Friday, September 21, 2012

2 Iraqi soldiers, 2 others killed in attacks in Baghdad

BAGHDAD, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- Two Iraqi soldiers and two other people were killed in separate attacks in and near the restive capital city of Baghdad on Friday, said the police.

A police officer, on condition of anonymity, told Xinhua that two soldiers were killed and two others wounded when a road side bomb hit their patrol in Mushahda area, some 20 km north of Baghdad.

Unidentified gunmen assassinated a Sunni cleric in the Washash district in the western part of Baghdad with weapons with silencers, said the source, adding that the attackers fled the scene after the killing.

The official said unidentified gunmen, on the same day, stormed the house of a retired officer of the Iraqi army in Baghdad's southern district of Dora and shot him dead.

2012-09-21 16:54:24

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Yemeni air strikes kill two al-Qaida militants in south

map by Evan Centanni(
ADEN, Yemen, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- Two Yemeni airstrikes hit a gathering of al-Qaida militants in the troubled southern province of Abyan on Thursday, killing two insurgents, a security official told Xinhua.

Fighter jets of the Yemeni air forces pounded a gathering of the al-Qaida militants on the eastern outskirts of Mahfad town in Abyan, leaving at least two insurgents killed and three others injured, the local security official spoke on condition of anonymity.

Militant sources confirmed to Xinhua the death of two al-Qaida insurgents believed to be behind a series of deadly attacks in Abyan.

"The air bombing is going to have a very significant impact on the activities of al-Qaida militants... Their movement in Abyan is going to be disrupted during the coming days," the security official said.

"The military is doing enough to eliminate terrorists living in the mountainous areas of Abyan," he added.

Yemeni security authorities usually accuse militants of the Yemen-based al-Qaida offshoot of being behind armed attacks against military officials and army bases.

Attacks and raids have continued since the country's political turmoil last year, when scores of al-Qaida militants took control of certain areas in the restive south but were later pushed out by a U.S.-backed offensive.

The United States has used its drones to support the Yemeni military campaign that aimed to crush al-Qaida operations in the impoverished Arab country.

2012-09-21 00:57:21

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2 dead in Kandahar bike blast

KANDAHAR CITY (PAN): A child and a policeman were killed when a bomb-rigged motorbike went off in the southern city of Kandahar late on Thursday, an official said.

The explosives-packed bike had been parked on a road in the Brekhnakot area in the jurisdiction of the first police district, the governor’s spokesman said.

Javed Faisal said another two children and a policeman were injured when the bike was detonated with a remote-controlled device around 7pm.

Witness Mohammad Salim, who runs a shop in the area, said the blast occurred when the crowd in the bazaar started swelling. He confirmed a child and a policeman were killed.

from Pajhwok
by Bashir Ahmad Naadim on Sep 20, 2012 - 20:21   

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5 family members killed following blast in southern Afghanistan

According to local authorities in southern Uruzgan province of Afghanista, at least 5 members of a family were killed following a roadside bomb blast in this province.

Provincial governor spokesman Abdullah Hemat confirming the report said the incident took place on Thursday afternoon in Herawod district.

Mr. Hemat further added the deceased civilians including two women, two girls and a man were members of an Afghan family.

He said the incident took place while they were on their way to center of the district after their vehicle struck with a roadside bomb.

This comes as six members of a single family were killed followig a roadside bomb blast in southern Helmand province a month earlier.

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

Taliban militants and other insurgent groups frequently use improvised explosive device to target Afghan and coalition security forces which normally leads to civilians casualties.

By Sajad - Fri Sep 21, 9:49 am

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Sep. 21., 2012. - ISAF Joint Command Morning Operational Update

KABUL, Afghanistan – Afghan and coalition security forces arrested the Taliban leader believed to be behind the Nov. 10, 2011, suicide attack in Tsamkani district, Paktiya province, killing a few Afghan police officers, during a security operation in Sayyid Karam district, Pakitya province, today.

Furthermore, the security forces arrested a Haqqani leader and suspected improvised explosive device expert who is believed to have constructed IEDs, planned their use and facilitated their movement throughout the region to attack Afghan and coalition forces.

Also during the security operation, one armed insurgent was killed. As the security force attempted to enter the Taliban leader’s compound, the armed insurgent fired upon Afghan and coalition troops. The security force returned fire, killing the armed insurgent. No civilians were harmed in the exchange.

The security force also detained several suspected insurgents and seized one assault rifle and Taliban paraphernalia as a result of the operation.

In other International Security Assistance Force news throughout Afghanistan:


Afghan and coalition security forces today confirmed the death of Mullah Naim, the senior Taliban leader for Balkh district, following a security operation in Balkh province, Thursday. As the security force approached Mullah Naim’s location, he and one other armed insurgent maneuvered toward the Afghan and coalition troops and displayed hostile intent. The security force positively identified the lethal threat and engaged, killing Mullah Naim and the other armed insurgent. No civilians were harmed during the operation. As the senior Taliban leader for Balkh district, Mullah Naim — also known as Mutaqi, Khodai Nur and Mullah Ayeno — was responsible for insurgent activity throughout the region. He was also believed to be one of the key figures behind a recent improvised explosive device attack in Mazar-e Sharif killing several Afghan civilians. Also known as an IED expert, Mullah Naim recently acquired several IEDs and IED components to conduct attacks throughout the region. The security force also detained one suspected insurgent and seized multiple firearms, grenades and explosives as a result of the operation.


Afghan Special Police and coalition security forces killing a few armed insurgents during a vehicle interdiction and narcotics recovery operation yesterday in Nimroz district, Helmand province. When combined forces stopped a few suspicious vehicles they were engaged by enemy fire from the occupants. The troops pushed back the insurgents, killing a few and detaining a small number of attackers. Hidden in the vehicles was 2,680 kilograms of dry opium, 150 kilograms of wet opium, 850 kilograms of brown heroin and one bag of hashish. Weapons were also seized including multiple machine guns along with ammunition and magazines. No Afghan Special Police or coalition casualties were sustained during the operation. The drugs were destroyed.

In Nahr-e Saraj district, Helmand province, an Afghan and coalition security force arrested several suspected insurgents during an operation in search of a Taliban leader, today. The Taliban leader is suspected of conducting insurgent operations throughout northern Helmand, in addition to providing equipment and supplies for attacks on Afghan and coalition forces.

An Afghan and coalition security force detained multiple suspected insurgents during an operation to arrest a senior Taliban leader in Atghar district, Zabul province, today. The Taliban leader is believed to direct insurgent activity and attacks throughout Atghar, and command several dozen insurgent fighters in Zabul.


In Pul-e ‘Alam district, Logar province, today, an Afghan and coalition security force arrested a suspected leader of a Haqqani attack cell. The detained Haqqani cell leader is believed to have directed and conducted attacks against Afghan and coalition forces in the district, as well as supporting other Haqqani leaders throughout the region. The attack cell leader’s connections with other Haqqani leaders across the district is alleged to have established an insurgent network which was responsible for multiple attacks including ambushes and indirect fire strikes using mortars. The security force also detained one suspected insurgent as a result of the operation.

An Afghan and coalition security force detained a small number of suspected insurgents and seized an assault rifle during an operation to arrest a Taliban weapons dealer in Sayyidabad district, Wardak province, today. The Taliban weapons dealer is alleged to be responsible for providing weapons, ammunition and improvised explosive devices for insurgent attacks.

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Sep. 21., 2012. - RC-East operational update

BAGRAM, Afghanistan - Afghan and coalition forces detained six insurgents, located two weapons caches and cleared eight improvised explosive devices during operations in eastern Afghanistan throughout the past 24 hours, Sept. 20.

Ghazni province
Afghan National Security Forces and coalition forces discovered a weapons cache in Ghazni district. The cache contained homemade explosives and a rocket.

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

Khowst province
Afghan National Security Forces and coalition forces detained an insurgent during an engagement in Khowst district. The detained suspect was transferred to a base for questioning.

Logar province
Afghan National Security Forces and coalition forces found and safely cleared five IEDs, four in Wardak district and one in Baraki Barak district.

Nangarhar province
Afghan National Security Forces found and safely cleared an IED in Jalalabad district.

Paktika province
Afghan National Army soldiers found and safely cleared an IED in Bermal district.

Paktiya province
Afghan National Security Forces and coalition forces detained three insurgents during an engagement in Jaji district. The detained suspects were transferred to a base for questioning.

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

Wardak province
Afghan National Army soldiers discovered a weapons cache in Maidan Shahr district. The cache contained fuses, mortars, grenades, small arms and ammunition, and uniforms.

Operations in RC-East are still ongoing.

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Suicide bombers kill 15 in Somali capital

(Reuters) - Two suicide bombers walked into a restaurant in central Mogadishu and killed at least 15 people on Thursday, police said, highlighting the security challenges facing the country's new president.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. However, suspicions will fall on the Islamist militant group al Shabaab which has carried out a campaign of suicide bombings since it withdrew from the capital last year under military pressure.

The al Qaeda-linked group claimed responsibility for suicide bombings last week outside a hotel where President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was holding a news conference just two days into the job, an attack interpreted as a warning from the insurgents that they are far from defeated.

Police spokesman General Abdullahi Barise told Reuters 15 people were killed in Thursday's attack. A Reuters photographer saw several bodies, the severed heads of the two bombers and pools of blood on the floor.

The blasts targeted The Village restaurant, owned by well-known Somali businessman Ahmed Jama, who had returned to his home country from London to set up business against the advice of friends.

"My relatives, whom I created jobs for, have perished. My customers have perished. All innocent people. I cannot count them, their dead bodies are before me," a distraught Jama told Reuters.

Three local journalists were among the dead, including a reporter at the state-run Somali National Television, the National Union of Somali Journalists said.

The al Shabaab-linked website said in a statement that those killed "supported the infidel government" but stopped short of saying the group was behind the attack.

Mohamud's election was hailed by his supporters as a vote for change in a country mired in conflict for more than two decades.

These attacks underscore the security challenges faced by the political newcomer as African forces battle to quash a five-year insurgency waged by al Shabaab.


"We still have hope in the new president and the new speaker (of parliament) that Somalia will sooner or later change for the better," said Ahmed Ali, a second-year student at a Mogadishu university.

Shopkeeper Asha Farah said she felt the optimism Mohamud's poll win had brought was "melting away."

"We all applauded the election victory of the new president but things in Mogadishu look like they're deteriorating. Al Shabaab have redoubled their suicide bombings," Farah said, echoing the widespread belief the militants were behind the latest attacks.

Expelled from a string of cities, cut off from revenue sources and struggling for its survival, al Shabaab this week fell back on its last bastion in the southern port city of Kismayu, raising fears of a military showdown with advancing African Union troops.

Defeat in Kismayu, a hub of al Shabaab operations throughout its insurgency, would badly hurt the rebels' morale and weaken their capacity as a fighting force.

However, it might not deliver the knockout blow sought by Mogadishu and its regional allies, and western diplomats expect the militants to turn increasingly to guerrilla tactics.

Al Shabaab has shown it can still regroup and easily infiltrate government-controlled areas. And there remain disenchanted, radicalized Somalis ready to strap on explosive belts.

"The new president and the speaker look honest but this is not enough to make Somalia peaceful. I am sure it will take a long time to bring total peace," shopkeeper Farah said with resignation.


By Abdi Sheikh and Mohamed Ahmed
MOGADISHU | Fri Sep 21, 2012 1:33am EDT
(Writing by Richard Lough; editing by Andrew Roche)

(This story corrects paragraph seven to say a reporter of the TV station was killed, not the director)

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Nigeria: JTF Kills Suspected Terrorists' Commanders in Maiduguri

The Joint Task Force (JTF) on Operation Restore Order said on Thursday that it had shot dead two suspected commanders of the Boko Haram terrorists group in Maiduguri.

JTF spokesman Lt.-Col. Sagir Musa said in a statement in Maiduguri that the suspects were top commanders of the group in-charge of Yobe and Adamawa.

"Two suspected Boko Haram top terrorists commanders were killed along Maiduguri-Kano road as they tried to escape on Wednesday.

'The suspects were top commanders coordinating activities of the sect in Mubi and Yola in Adamawa and in Yobe."

Sagir added that the duo were trailed by a combined team of security operatives for many hours before they attempted to escape.

"The suspects were on on their way to Damaturu for a planned special operation to attack civilians and military locations.

"Intelligence reports also indicated that they were planning to conduct an attack on Maiduguri soon."

Sagir said that a number of items including weapons and a Honda salon car were recovered from them.

He said that the JTF had also arrested eight suspected members of the group in an earlier operation in Maiduguri.

"Also the JTF arrested eight suspected members of the sect in earlier operations in Garannam, GRA and Lawanti areas of Maiduguri on Wednesday.

"Those arrested were confirmed to have found their way to Maiduguri from neighbouring states."

He added that several items were also recovered from them including "a silver coloured Toyota Camry 1998 model with Yobe registration number".

"The car is suspected to have been stolen for possible suicide attack and movement of weapons."

from allAfrica/Leadership

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Al Shabaab Rebels Pour Back Into Kismayu

Hundreds of Somali al Shabaab militants poured into the southern port city of Kismayu on Wednesday raising fears of a bloody showdown with African Union soliders for control of the rebels' last bastion, residents said.

The al Qaeda-linked insurgents drove convoys of machinegun-mounted pickup trucks into the city and set about building defences, witnesses said.

Somalia is a hotspot in the U.S.-led war on militant Islam and al Shabaab is the most powerful of an array of militias spawned by two decades of conflict - threatening regional stability.

The reinforcements came a day after locals said al Shabaab commanders had pulled out of the city leaving a small number of soldiers to defend the stronghold. Rumours swirled through Kismayu's winding alleyways that one of the militants' top three commanders was now in the city.

"Al Shabaab fighters have filled the bases and camps they abandoned in the past few days," said butcher Farah Roble. "We're terrified. Al Shabaab looks determined to fight for Kismayu," he said.

Earlier this week, Kenyan forces overran several militant outposts to the north and southwest of Kismayu, pushing to within 50 km (30 miles) of Somalia's second biggest city.

Kenyan military spokesman Colonel Cyrus Oguna said the final assault on Kismayu was inevitable.

"We are very, very near Kismayu. It is not a tarmac road that we are walking on. We have to be cautious, the way is littered with explosives. Nevertheless, it will happen. Kismayu will fall," he told Reuters by phone.

Defeat in Kismayu, a hub of al Shabaab operations throughout the group's five-year insurgency, would badly hurt the rebels' morale and weaken their capacity as a fighting force.

from allAfrica
20 September 2012

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