Sunday, February 3, 2013

French Jets Attack Militant Positions in Mali

map by Evan Centanni (
French military officials say warplanes have attacked Islamist militant positions in northeast Mali, just hours after President Francois Hollande visited the African country.

The French news agency quotes a military official saying 30 jets blasted militant training and logistics centers Sunday in an overnight raid.

On Saturday, Hollande told Malians that terrorism has been repelled and chased out, but not yet conquered.

In an appearance with Mali's interim president, Dioncounda Traore, the French leader said France had a duty to intervene and help Malian forces push Islamist militants from their strongholds in the north.

"City after city, village after village, the Malian and French armies, helped by the West African countries, give Mali its integrity and strength back," Hollande said.

He told a cheering crowd in the capital, Bamako, that French forces were fighting so that Malians in the former French colony could live in peace and have democracy. 

Traore thanked Hollande for France's intervention and warned Malians against seeking vengeance for militant attacks.

Hollande's one-day tour of Mali came three weeks after the start of France's intervention.

The president, accompanied by the defense and finance ministers, visited Sevare and the ancient town of Timbuktu before heading to Bamako.

In Timbuktu, dancers and drummers greeted the French president, while Malians chanted, "Vive La France."  He toured an ancient mosque and a library that had both been targeted by militants.

Hollande told reporters the Malian army had played a key role in liberating towns in the region. 

"All the cities which were freed, were freed by the Malian army, supported by the French army," Hollande said.  "It was always the Malians who entered first.  Kidal, they needed to go to the airport and there were very special circumstances, then there were sand storms, so that has stopped the operation but it will continue, because our will and the one expressed by Mali is that France puts itself at the service of Mali within the framework of the United Nations and it is one of the complete return of territorial integrity in Mali." 

Hollande is pushing for African forces to take over for French troops that have been battling insurgents.

The Tuareg rebel group MNLA has been fighting for a Tuareg homeland.  It seized part of northern Mali last year and later joined forces with Islamic militants when the Malian government collapsed.  The Tuaregs later split with the militants when they imposed conservative Islamic law in the north, and the MNLA now says it backs the French military operation in Mali.

February 03, 2013

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Feb. 03., 2013. - ISAF Joint Command Operational Update

KABUL, Afghanistan – An Afghan and coalition security force arrested a Taliban improvised explosive device attack coordinator in Khanabad district, Kunduz province, Feb. 1.

The detained Taliban IED attack coordinator planned and executed IED attacks throughout Khanabad district. He is believed to have conducted attacks against Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan officials as well as Afghan and coalition forces.

During the operation, the security force also seized IED-making materials.

In other International Security Assistance Force news throughout Afghanistan:


An Afghan and coalition force detained two insurgents during a security operation in search of a Taliban senior leader in Baghlan-e Jadid district, Baghlan province, Feb. 3. The Taliban senior leader is alleged to command a cell of 25 Taliban fighters in Baghlan-e Jadid district and oversees IED operations.


An Afghan and coalition security force arrested a Haqqani leader in Khost district, Khost province, Feb. 1. The detained Haqqani leader is an IED expert and believed responsible for IED facilitation and attacks in Khost district. He is accused of coordinating the acquisition and transfer of homemade explosives, weapons and IEDs for use in attacks against Afghan and coalition forces. The security force also detained one suspected insurgent and seized multiple assault rifles as a result of the operation.

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Feb. 03., 2013. - RC-East operational update

BAGRAM, Afghanistan - Afghan National Security Forces cleared three improvised explosive devices during operations in eastern Afghanistan throughout the past 24 hours, Feb. 2.

Wardak Province
Afghan National Security Forces found and safely cleared an IED in Sayed Abad district.

Khowst Province
Afghan National Security Forces found and safely cleared an IED in Gurbuz district.

Nangarhar Province
Afghan National Security Forces found and safely cleared an IED in Surkh Rod district.

Operations in RC-East are ongoing.

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At least 30 killed, 70 injured in attacks on Iraqi police station

Iraqi firefighters and soldiers work at the site of a suicide bomb attack in Kirkuk, on Feb. 3, 2013. At least 30 people were killed and some 70 others wounded in a coordinated car bomb and suicide attack on a police headquarters in Iraq's northern city of Kirkuk, a local police source said. (Xinhua/Dina Assad)
A car bomb set off by a suicide attacker and followed by gunmen storming a police headquarters in the north Iraqi city of Kirkuk, killed 30 people and wounded 70 others on Sunday, a police general said.

Militants had apparently sought to take control of the compound, but were unsuccessful, Brigadier General Natah Mohammed Sabr, the head of the city's emergency services department said.

The attackers struck at morning rush hour in the city centre, Sabr said, with the militants armed with guns, grenades and suicide vests looking to force their way into the police headquarters in the chaotic aftermath of the car bombing.

In addition to the casualties, the attack caused massive damage to nearby buildings, Sabr said.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for Sunday's coordinated attack, but Sunni militants including Al-Qaeda's front group in Iraq frequently target security forces and government land marks in a bid to destabilize the country.

Kirkuk lies at the heart of a swathe of disputed territory claimed by both the central government and Iraq's autonomous northern Kurdish region.

The unresolved row is persistently cited by diplomats and officials as the biggest threat to Iraq's long-term stability.

Militants often exploit a lack of coordination between the two sides' security forces and launch deadly attacks in the city, which remains one of the most violent in Iraq, and also in nearby towns.

The deadly violence shattered a relative calm in Iraq in recent days.

Baghdad has been grappling with a political crisis that has pitted Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki against his former government partners amid weeks of protests calling for him to resign.

Sunday, 03 February 2013

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R.I.P. - Chris Kyle

A former Tarleton State University student who wrote the best-selling book, "American Sniper," was one of two victims shot and killed at Rough Creek Lodge Saturday.

Chris Kyle, 38, and another man were found dead at Rough Creek's shooting range between 3:30 and 4 p.m. Saturday, according to Sheriff Tommy Bryant.

Eddie Ray Routh, an Iraqi war veteran, was arrested hours later after a manhunt led authorities to Lancaster where Routh was taken into custody just before 9 p.m. Saturday.

Routh, 25, is expected to be charged with capital murder.

Investigators had not released the name of the second victim at press time, but reports indicate he may have been Routh's neighbor.

Bryant said the three men were at the shooting range Saturday when Routh shot the victims at point-blank range before fleeing in Kyle's truck .

Kyle was a former Navy SEAL who served four tours of duty in Iraq, where he was given the nickname "The Devil of Ramadi" by insurgents.

In 2008, he made his longest successful shot after he spotted an insurgent with a rocket launcher near a U.S. Army convoy at a range of 2,100 yards (1.2 miles).

Kyle was recently honored by the Tarleton Alumni Association as the Outstanding Young Alumnus for 2013.   

"Our hearts go out to Chris’ family and friends at this tragic moment,” Tarleton State University President, Dr. Dominic Dottavio, said. “We are proud of his exemplary service to our nation and are deeply saddened to hear the news of this tragic event.” 

Kyle leaves behind a wife, Taya, and two children.

from Your Stephenville
by Sara Vanden Berge
Posted: Saturday, February 2, 2013 8:40 pm | Updated: 10:22 pm, Sat Feb 2, 2013.


from SOFREP by Jack Murphy:
February 2, 2013

Chris Kyle, Another Brother Lost

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IED blast kills two, injures three soldiers in Orakzai

ORAKZAI AGENCY: Two security personnel, including an officer, were killed while three others sustained injuries in an IED blast in Ghunda Mela village of upper Orakzai Agency, officials said.

The Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) has confirmed that two soldiers “embraced martyrdom” while three others were injured in the blast during search of an old compound.

Tehsildar Orakzai Agency Nauman Khan has also confirmed that the security forces convoy was hit by a discarded improvised explosive device when they were searching an abandoned compound.

The deceased were later identified as Captain Hasnat Ali and Naib Subedar Arif Khan.

Earlier, suicide bombers had attacked a military checkpost in Lakki Marwat early on Saturday, killing 13 soldiers and 11 civilians.

Banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) later claimed responsibility of the attack.

from DAWN
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