Friday, January 4, 2013

Jan. 04., 2013. - RC-East operational update

BAGRAM, Afghanistan - Afghan and coalition forces detained four insurgents, located one weapons caches and cleared two improvised explosive devices during operations in eastern Afghanistan throughout the past 24 hours, Jan. 3.

Khowst Province
Afghan Uniformed Police and coalition forces detained two insurgents at their home after observing them emplacing an IED in Khowst District.

The AUP discovered a weapons cache in the insurgent's home that contained small arms, ammunition, and IED making materials. The detained suspects were transferred to a base for questioning, and the IED was safely cleared.

Khowst Province
Afghan Uniformed Police and coalition forces found and safely cleared one IED in Terezayi District.

Khowst Province
Afghan Uniformed Police and coalition forces detained one insurgent during an engagement in Tani District. The detained suspect was transferred to a base for questioning.

Parwan Province
Afghan Border Police and coalition forces detained one insurgent during an engagement in Bagram District. The detained suspect was transferred to a base for questioning.

Operations in RC-East are ongoing.

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Blast suspects among 5 held in Herat

HERAT CITY (PAN): Five militants, including two believed to be behind a bomb blast that wounded 16 people, were detained during separate security operations in western Herat province, an official said on Thursday.
The bomb attack suspects were apprehended in the Robat Sangi district, the governor's spokesman Muhiuddin Noori told Pajhwok Afghan News. The duo had confessed being loyal to a notorious local militant commander, Mullah Bismillah, the official said.

Four children were among those injured in the blast that ripped through the city, said Noori, who continued another two insurgents were captured in the city's 9th police district. The two had been tasked with killing government officials by their masters, the gubernatorial spokesman claimed.

An intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that a militant commander named Mullah Jalal had been arrested in the Shindand district.

The commander was involved in roadside blasts, assassinating government officials and other insurgent activities, he added.

from Pajhwok
By Pajhwok Report Jan 3, 2013 - 22:35   

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Iraq Car Bomb Kills at Least 20 Shi'ite Pilgrims

Iraqi authorities say a car bomb has killed at least 20 Shi'ite Muslim pilgrims on their way home from a religious procession in the country's south.

Police said Thursday's attack at a busy bus station in the town of Musayyib hit the pilgrims as they were returning from Iraq's shrine city of Karbala, where they performed mourning rituals for a revered figure in Shi'ite Islam. Dozens were wounded in the bombing.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, which has renewed fears of an increase in sectarian violence that could further destabilize the country.

The blast comes just days after a wave of bombings across the country killed 23 people. Insurgents blew up several houses in the town of Musayyib on Monday, killing seven people. Bombings also killed people in Baghdad, Hillah and Kirkuk.

Minority Sunni militants have targeted majority Shi'ite pilgrims frequently. Those militants also appear to be exploiting sectarian tensions in the ruling coalition of Shi'ite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who is under political fire.

Sunni protesters have held more than a week of anti-government protests in the western province of Anbar, demanding an end to what they see as Maliki's marginalization of their community and its representatives in his Shi'ite-led coalition.

Shi'ite religious observation

Arbaeen marks the end of a 40-day mourning period for Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammad and a central figure of Shi'ite Islam who was killed in a seventh century battle. His followers believe he was buried in Karbala.

Pilgrims attending the ceremony in the golden temple of the Imam Hussein beat their heads and chests whilst singing.

Snipers and bomb squads were among around 30,000 Iraqi police and soldiers deployed around Karbala to watch over millions of pilgrims gathered to observe Arbaeen.

Shi'ites have been travelling by foot to observe the annual rite which is a major test for Iraqi security forces after a series of attacks targeted Shi'ite pilgrims across Iraq.

Shi'ite religious rites were banned under the rule of Saddam Hussein, who was ousted in 2003 by a U.S.-led invasion that triggered years of sectarian violence.

Explosions across Iraq killed at least 23 people and wounded 87 on Monday, police said, amid a growing political crisis that is inflaming sectarian tensions.

The pilgrimage site has been a repeated target of militants since the U.S.-led invasion that ousted Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein.

Last year, a suicide bomber disguised as a policeman killed at least 53 people and wounded scores in an attack on pilgrims at the end of Arbaeen.

Hussein, a Sunni, placed strict limits on pilgrimages to Kerbala, but since his overthrow in 2003, these have become a show of strength for Iraq's Shi'ite majority and a prime target of Sunni Islamist insurgents.

Meanwhile Iraq's Shi'ite prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, on Monday warned he will not tolerate Sunni anti-government rallies indefinitely, but made a concession to their demands by promising to free some women prisoners.

Thousands of Sunnis have been taking to the streets of Iraq for more than a week in protest against Maliki, whom they accuse of discriminating against their sect and being under the sway of their non-Arab Shi'ite neighbor Iran.

The incident has once more threatened to plunge a delicate power-sharing deal into turmoil, just as President Jalal Talabani, a moderating influence, is in Germany for medical care after suffering a stroke.

from VOA News
January 03, 2013
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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Thirteen terrorists killed in Algeria

Algerian terrorists suffered two major blows within the first 24 hours of 2013.

A total of thirteen terrorists were killed in two separate operations carried out by security forces in the province of Boumerdes, 30 kilometres east of Algiers, on Monday (December 31st) and Tuesday.

Over the past few months, security forces have been closing in on small terrorist groups still in hiding within the Boumerdes-Tizi-Ouzou-Bouira triangle, the traditional stronghold of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

The first operation took place on Monday night in the locality of Keddara, where six terrorists were killed and a cache of weapons was seized. Security officers were conducting a large-scale search and sweep operation in the region on the basis of specific intelligence provided by two terrorists who had surrendered to the security forces the previous week, according to El Moudjahid, reported.

The second operation on Tuesday left seven more terrorists dead in the Oued Bahara area of Boumerdes, the defence ministry announced. The terrorists were part of the El-Feth brigade.

"ANP units engaged in the fight against terrorism were able to eliminate a dangerous terrorist group," the defence ministry said.

The army seized weapons, ammunitions, food and medical supplies during the operation in Boulezazen.

The defence ministry noted that this outcome bore witness to the "determination of the ANP to continue its efforts on the ground to put an end to the activities of the last remaining small groups of terrorists".

Of the seven terrorists killed, four have been identified. They are mostly former members of the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), which was active at the beginning of the 1990s and was particularly murderous.

On August 29th, nine terrorists were killed in a similar operation in Boumerdes.

According to figures published by El Khabar, security forces killed 198 terrorists and arrested 350 members of AQIM in 2012. Several terrorist leaders were killed or arrested during the course of the year.

The most recent incident occurred on December 16th, with the capture of AQIM number two boss and main spokesman Salah Gasmi.

By Nazim Fethi for Magharebia in Algiers – 03/01/13

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