Friday, February 1, 2013

Suicide bomb kills 19 outside mosques in Pakistan northwest

Map showing the location of Hangu District (hi...
Map showing the location of Hangu District (highlighted in red) within the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
(Reuters) - A suicide bomber killed 22 people on Friday in a crowded market outside two mosques from separate Muslim sects in Pakistan's restive northwest, police and hospital officials said. Two of the dead were policemen.

Forty-eight people were wounded in the attack in a narrow lane in the town of Hangu that houses both a Shi'ite and a Sunni Muslim mosque.

Officials said the anti-Taliban Sunni Supreme Council often holds its meetings in the Sunni mosque, which made it a possible target.

But district police chief Muhammad Saeed said that the attack was aimed at Shi'ites and that Sunni Muslims were unintended victims.

"Most of the dead were moving in and out of the mosques in the marketplace after Friday prayers when the bomb went off," senior police officer Imtiaz Shah said.

Hangu, part of Pakistan's border region with Afghanistan, has been racked by sectarian violence between Sunni and Shi'ite tribes whose mosques, homes and shops are often close to one another.

Hangu is just a few km from Parachinar, which has a significant Shi'ite population against whom hardline Sunni militant groups have launched attacks for years.

No group had claimed responsibility for the attack by late evening.


By Saud Mehsud and Faris Ali
HANGU, Pakistan | Fri Feb 1, 2013 1:58pm GMT
(Writing by Mehreen Zahra-Malik; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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Feb. 01., 2013. - RC-East operational update

BAGRAM, Afghanistan - Afghan and coalition forces detained one insurgent and cleared two improvised explosive devices during operations in eastern Afghanistan throughout the past 24 hours, Jan. 31.

Khowst province
Afghan and coalition forces detained an insurgent during an operation in Terezayi district. The detained suspect was transferred to a base for questioning.

Paktika province
Afghan National Army soldiers found and safely cleared two IEDs in Zerok district.

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DOD Identifies Units for Upcoming Afghanistan Rotation

DOD Identifies Units for Upcoming Afghanistan Rotation
            The Department of Defense today identified three major units to deploy as part of the upcoming rotation of forces operating in Afghanistan.  The scheduled rotation involves one Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) with roughly 2,250 personnel; a Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) with roughly 2,200 personnel; and a corps headquarters with roughly 500 personnel to rotate in spring 2013. The deploying units include: 

            Brigade Combat Teams:

                        4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.

                        10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.

            Corps Headquarters:

                        III Corps Headquarters, Fort Hood, Texas.

            DoD will continue to announce major deployments as they are approved.  For information on the respective deployments, contact the following:  4th IBCT, 3rd Inf. Div., contact the Fort Stewart, Ga., public affairs office at 912-435-9879 or 912-435-9870; 10th CAB, 10th Mtn. Div., contact the 10thMtn. Div. public affairs officer at 315-772-7634; and III Corps Hq., contact the Fort Hood public affairs office at 254-286-5139.
On the Web:
Media contact: +1 (703) 697-5131/697-5132
Public contact: or +1 (703) 571-3343
No. 052-13
January 31, 2013
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Two guards killed in blast outside U.S. embassy in Ankara

People stand outside the entrance of the U.S. embassy in Ankara on February 1, 2013 after a blast killed two security guards and wounded several other people. (AFP)
Two security guards were killed in a blast outside the U.S. embassy in Ankara on Friday, local television reported, amid speculation it was a suicide attack.
The force of the explosion damaged nearby buildings in the Cankaya neighborhood where many other state institutions and embassies are also located.

NTV television reported that a person detonated a bomb at the security roadblock near the entrance to the embassy’s visa section, where dozens of people wait every day.

“It was a huge explosion. I was sitting in my shop when it happened. I saw what looked like a body part on the ground,” said travel agent Kamiyar Barnos whose shop window was shattered around 100 meters away from the blast.

Police have cordoned off the area but there has been no official comment on the blast outside the highly fortified complex.

NTV television said two security guards were killed and several people wounded.

U.S. embassy staff were not immediately reachable for comment.

By Al Arabiya with agencies
Last Updated: Fri Feb 01, 2013 15:52 pm (KSA) 12:52 pm (GMT)

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Gunmen Bomb Police Station, Banks in Northern Nigeria

ABUJA — Gunmen on motorcycles bombed a police station and as many as three banks in Kaduna State in Nigeria on Wednesday night. The attacks come two days after a man claiming to be a leader of Islamist militants known as Boko Haram announced a unilateral truce.  

On a scratchy phone line from the town of Birnin Gwari, Abdulkadir Muhammed, a secondary school teacher, described the scene. 

He said gunmen blew into town on motorcycles, firing their weapons and tossing bombs.  He said the police station was flattened and as many as three banks, which were closed at the time, were bombed and robbed.

Officially the gunmen are ‘bandits’ but Sheihu Sani, the head of the Civil Rights Congress, a human rights organization in northern Nigeria, says the attacks resemble the work of Boko Haram.

“The attack on the police stations in Birnin Gwari and the attacks on banks follows the same pattern of how the insurgents operate in the northern part of Nigeria," said Sani. "And this thing just happened yesterday.  It’s a clear indication that the so-called ceasefire that was announced in Borno State was actually a sham.”

On Monday, a purported Boko Haram commander, Sheik Abu Mohammed Ibn Abdulazeez, announced that Boko Haram had declared a unilateral ceasefire to pave the way for peace talks.  Sani says it is not clear that Abdulazeez has the authority to speak for the group.

“First of all, this same Abdulazeez made a similar claim about three to four months ago of a ceasefire and after the proclamation of that ceasefire a retired military general was killed and also a church was bombed in Kaduna," said Sani. "What is very clear is that a ceasefire that is binding, effective and credible should be announced by the leader of the group.”

Boko Haram began violent operations in 2009, and it has killed an estimated 3,000 people in attacks on churches, schools, government and newspaper offices, security forces, markets and the communications infrastructure. 

Human rights groups have accused security forces of killing hundreds more in operations to subdue the militant group.  Most of the violence has been in northern Nigeria. 

Kaduna is in a region of the north that is also called the “middle belt” because it divides Nigeria’s Muslim majority north from the Christian majority south.  Sectarian violence has long plagued the middle belt, including frequent church bombings and reprisal attacks.

Last October, 20 people were gunned down in the town of Birnin Gwari as they were leaving a mosque.

by Heather Murdock
January 31, 2013

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