Tuesday, January 22, 2013

US Drone strike kills five al Qaeda suspects in Yemen

SANAA: Five suspected al Qaeda militants were killed and several others wounded in a US drone strike on Tuesday north of the Yemeni capital, tribal sources and witnesses said.

The missile attack targeted a group of militants in al Jawf province near the Saudi border, one tribal source said, as the death toll was revised from three dead.

Witnesses said they saw three burnt bodies after the strike and that unidentified vehicles sped away from the scene.

An air raid northeast of Sanaa on Monday killed four suspected al Qaeda militants, Yemen’s interior ministry said, after tribal sources earlier said strikes by US drones killed two, apparently in reference to the same incident.

On Saturday, air raids attributed to a US drone killed nine suspected members of the group.

Tuesday’s raid brings to at least 32 the number of people killed in suspected US drone strikes since December 24.

Strikes by US drones in Yemen nearly tripled in 2012 compared to 2011, with 53 recorded against 18, according to the Washington-based think-tank New America Foundation.

Washington has stepped up its support for Yemen’s battle against militants of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which it regards as the most active and deadliest franchise of the global network.

The group took advantage of the weakness of Yemen’s central government during an uprising in 2011 against now ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh, seizing large swathes of territory across the south.

But after a month-long offensive launched in May last year by Yemeni troops, most militants fled to the more lawless desert regions of the east.

from DAWN


U.S. drone kills four al Qaeda members in Yemen -sources

from The Daily Star :: Lebanon News
January 22, 2013 09:34 PM (Last updated: January 22, 2013 09:38 PM)
By Mohammed Ghobari

SANAA: A U.S. drone killed four suspected al Qaeda militants on Tuesday in a strike on their car in northern Yemen as they drove away from a militant training ground, according to tribal sources and local officals, the fourth such attack in four days.

The United States never comments on strikes by its pilotless aircraft, which it has used to track down militants in Yemen for years. The Yemeni government tolerates such strikes but usually does not comment on the U.S. role in specific incidents.

Washington has scaled up action against al Qaeda in Yemen, where the group exploited widespread anti-government unrest in 2011 to seize swathes of territory in the south.

It was subsequently driven out by a military offensive in June last year.

The four men were travelling in a vehicle through the desert in the Yemeni province of al-Jawf, near the border with Saudi Arabia, a tribal source told Reuters, declining to be named.

"The strike targeted a gathering of al Qaeda members who had made the area a centre for training. One of the cars was hit and everyone inside was killed ... the others fled," a local official told Reuters, also declining to be identified.

Shoring up stability and security in Yemen is a priority for the United States and its Gulf Arab allies because of its location next to the world's top oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, and to shipping lanes, and because it is home to one of the most active wings of al Qaeda.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is considered by Western governments to be one of the most dangerous arms of the global network founded by Osama bin Laden, and has attempted a number of attacks against U.S. targets.

Another four suspected insurgents were killed in a strike in central Yemen on Monday, while six more were killed in drone strikes in Maarib on Saturday and Sunday. A further 10 suspected al Qaeda fighters died in an explosion in a house in southern Yemen on Sunday.

But discontent at the drone strikes is growing. Earlier on Tuesday, a Yemeni cabinet minister criticised drones and urged a move to ground operations to avoid hurting civilians.

On Sunday armed tribesman, angry at what they said was a drone attack on an area inhabited by civilians, blocked the main road linking Maarib with Sanaa.

Earlier this month, dozens of armed tribesmen also took to the streets in southern Yemen to protest against drone strikes that they said had killed innocent civilians and fuelled anger against the United States.

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Blast leaves four soldiers injured in North Waziristan

MIRANSHAH: At least four security personnel were injured on Tuesday when an Army vehicle was targeted with a remote-controlled blast in North Waziristan tribal region.

Officials said the army vehicle was travelling from Spinwam to Mir Ali when it was targeted with a remote controlled improvised explosive device (IED). The officials added that the military vehicle was “badly damaged” in the blast and confirmed that four soldiers were injured in the explosion.

The injured were shifted to the hospital and security forces launched a search operation in the area soon after the explosion.

North Waziristan, which is close to the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, is one of seven regions in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), governed by tribal laws.

An extremist insurgency led by the Pakistani Taliban plagues the region while the area is said to be infested with militants, including the al Qaeda, Taliban and other armed extremist organisations.

from DAWN
Zahir Shah Sherazi | 1/22/2013

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8 militants killed in Kamdesh drone strike

JALALABAD (PAN): Eight militants were killed and 28 others wounded in a drone strike by coalition forces in the Kamdesh district of eastern Nuristan province, an official said on Tuesday.

Monday’s raid targeted insurgents in the Bazgal Khulai area, the provincial police chief, Brig. Gen. Ghulamullah Khan Nuristani, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

“The strike was based on an intelligence tip and came at a time when the militants were discussing their plans at a hideout in the area,” Nuristani said.

All the dead and injured were fighters, confirmed a provincial council member, Inayatullah Mazhabyar. Complete information was hard to receive from the restive area, he added.

With the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) yet to comment on the incident, a Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, claimed four civilians had been killed in the drone attack.

from Pajhwok 
By Mahbob Shah Mahbob Jan 22, 2013 - 17:23


Kamdesh District in the Nuristan Province in A...
Kamdesh District in the Nuristan Province in Afghanistan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
US airstrike kill or injure 30 militants in Nuristan province

By Mirwais Adeel - January 22 2013, 3:48 pm

According to local authorities in eastern Nuristan province of Afghanistan, at least 30 militants were killed or injured following drone strikes.

The officials further added the airstrikes were carried in Kamdish district.

Provincial security chief Gen. ghullah Nuristani confirming the report said US drones targeted militants in Bazgul valley, killing and injuring at least 30 militants.

Mr. Nuristani said a number of the foreign militants were also among those killed during the airstrike.

He said, “The airstrikes were carried out and around 35 militants including local and foreigners were killed or injured during the attack. The exact number of the militants killed will be confirmed later.”

Kamdish district is among the high volatile region in eastern Nuristan province of Afghanistan. Anti-government armed militant groups yet to comment regarding the drone attack in this province.
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MNLA supports African force in Mali

map by Evan Centanni (www.polgeonow.com)
Mali separatist group National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) on Sunday (January 20th) offered to join army forces from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Le Monde reported.
The secular Touareg rebels are ready to participate in the International Mission for Support to Mali (MISMA), MNLA spokesperson Ibrahim Ag Mohamed Assaleh said.

Meanwhile, French troops on Sunday consolidated gains in Mali's Islamist-held north, AFP reported. Canada, Germany and Russia offered vital aid for the offensive.

Ansar al-Din fighters and their al-Qaeda allies were reportedly abandoning some of their positions and converging on the mountainous region of Kidal, near the border with Algeria.

from Magharebia

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Series of bomb blasts kills up to 16 in Iraq

A series of car bombs in and around the Iraqi capital killed at least 16 people and wounded dozens of others on Tuesday, security and medical officials said.
The blasts struck an Iraqi army checkpoint south of Baghdad, a military base north of the capital, and a mostly Shiite neighbourhood also in the north, officials said.

In the deadliest attack, six people were killed when a car bomb was detonated near an army camp in the town of Taji, 25 kilometres north of the Iraqi capital, an army officer and a medical official said.

At least 20 other people were wounded.

South of the capital in the town of Mahmudiyah, at least five people were killed and 14 others wounded by a suicide car bomb, officials said.

And a car bomb near a market in the north Baghdad neighbourhood of Shuala killed five and wounded 12.

No group claimed responsibility, but Sunni militants often launch attacks in a bid to destabilize the government and push Iraq back towards the sectarian violence that blighted it from 2005 to 2008.

Tuesday's violence came after four days of relative calm in Iraq following a spate of attacks claimed by Al-Qaeda's front group that left at least 88 people dead on January 15-17, according to an AFP tally.

By Al Arabiya with Agencies
Last Updated: Tue Jan 22, 2013 14:00 pm (KSA) 11:00 am (GMT)

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16 rebels killed, 26 wounded in Khost clash

KHOST CITY (PAN): Sixteen militants were killed and 26 others injured during a clash in the Zazai Maidan district of southeastern Khost province, an official said on Tuesday.

Nearly 500 armed rebels stormed three villages in the Balochan area around 2pm on Monday, police chief, Brig. Gen. Abdul Qayum Baqizoi, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

The rebels sneaked into the area the Pakistani side of the border, according to Gen. Baqizoi, who said residents entered an armed clash with them.

Later, security forces reached the scene and inflicted heavy casualties on the attackers during a gunbattle that ended at 5pm, the police chief added.

He said the bodies of the insurgents were still lying at the scene. The fighters wanted to force their way into the area but the villagers did not allow them.

from Pajhwok
By Hidayatullah Khosti Jan 22, 2013 - 12:04

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Jan. 22., 2013. - ISAF Joint Command Operational Update

KABUL, Afghanistan – An Afghan and coalition security force arrested a Haqqani facilitator in Pul-e ‘Alam district, Logar province, today.

The facilitator acquired and delivered weapons to Haqqani fighters in the province and was directly involved in attacks against members of the Afghan Local Police and Afghan government officials.

During the operation, the security force seized weapons, ammunition and 300,000 Afghani ($5,800).

In other International Security Assistance Force news throughout Afghanistan:


An Afghan and coalition security force arrested a Taliban leader in Lashkar Gah district, Helmand province, today. The leader controlled improvised explosive device operations. Insurgents under his control constructed and emplaced IEDs and had recently begun using magnetic IEDs to target Afghan National Army vehicles. He also was responsible for directing insurgent attacks against coalition forces.

During an operation in Spin Boldak district, Kandahar province, today, an Afghan and coalition security force arrested a local Taliban leader who was directly responsible for improvised explosive device attacks in the district. He oversaw IED construction, distribution and emplacement and planned high-profile attacks against Afghan and coalition forces. The security force also detained one suspected insurgent.

Today, Afghan and coalition security forces confirmed a Taliban leader was arrested during a security operation in Maiwand district, Kandahar province, Sunday. The leader planned and conducted attacks against Afghan and coalition forces and facilitated the movement of improvised explosive devices, rockets, mortars, and other weapons for use in attacks in the province. During the operation, the security force also detained two suspected insurgents.


An Afghan and coalition security force detained one suspected insurgent during a security operation in search of a Haqqani facilitator in Dzadran district, Paktiya province, yesterday. The facilitator provides weapons and improvised explosive devices to insurgents operating in the province.

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Jan. 22., 2013. - RC-East operational update

BAGRAM, Afghanistan - Afghan and coalition forces detained two insurgents, located one weapons cache and cleared one improvised explosive device during operations in eastern Afghanistan throughout the past 24 hours, Jan. 21.

Paktika province
Afghan National Security Forces detained two suspected insurgents during an operation in Alishing district. The detained suspects were transferred to a base for questioning.

Khowst province
Afghan and coalition forces found and safely cleared one IED in Shamal district.

Wardak province
Afghan National Army soldiers and coalition forces discovered a weapons cache in Jalrayz district. The cache contained homemade explosive material, mortar rounds and fuses, rockets and a keg of gunpowder.

Operations in RC-East are ongoing.

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