Friday, April 19, 2013

Deadly suicide bombing plot foiled in capital Kabul

Officials in interior affairs ministry of Afghanistan on Friday announced Afghan security forces arrested at least five suspected suicide bombers including a woman in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

The suicide bombers were reportedly looking to carry out attack in Kabul city and were arrested by security forces on Thursday.

Interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqi speaking during a press conference said, the suicide bombers were looking to carry out attacks on two government institutions in Kabul city during Mujahid victory day which is scheduled to be celebrated by next week.

Mr. Sediqi further added the suicide bombers were trained in Pakistan’s tribal region of Khyber near the Afghan border.

He said Afghan security forces had received intelligence information regarding the suspected suicide bombers two months back before they enter the Afghan soil.

According to Sediq Sediqi, Afghan security forces discovered and seized at least four suicide bombing vests along with some other explosives and the suicide bombers have confessed that they were sent by Haqqani Network to carry out attacks in Kabul city.

By Sayed Jawad - 19 Apr 2013, 6:29 pm

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7 killed in bomb attacks against Iraqi mosques

BAGHDAD, April 19 (Xinhua) -- Seven people were killed and 24 others injured when two roadside bombs hit worshipers near two mosques north of Iraq's capital Baghdad on Friday, the police said.

A bomb struck worshipers when they were leaving a Sunni mosque near the town of Kalise in Diyala province, a local police source told Xinhua.

Six people were killed and 12 others were injured in the attack, he added.

Separately, one worshiper was killed and 12 others were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near a Shiite mosque in Kirkuk, some 250 km north of Baghdad, the source said.

Violence is still common in Iraq despite the dramatic decrease since its peak in 2006 and 2007 when the country was engulfed in sectarian killings.

2013-04-19 19:58:47

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13 Afghan policemen killed in Taliban attack

GHAZNI, Afghanistan, April 19 (Xinhua) -- Thirteen Afghan Local Police (ALP) personnel were killed early Friday morning when Taliban launched attack on a checkpoint in Andar district in the country's eastern province of Ghazni, an official said.

"Taliban raided an ALP checkpoint in Gandaeer area in Andar district early Friday morning, killing 13 ALP cops," the district administrative chief, Mohammad Qasim Destiwal, told Xinhua.

Details about the incident was not immediately clear, however, the official said an investigation into the incident was underway.

The ALP or community police was established in August 2010 to protect villages and districts around the war-torn country where Afghan army and police have limited presence.

The Taliban, which has been waging an insurgency for more than a decade, has recently intensified attacks as the spring and summer known as fighting season is drawing near.

On Thursday evening, Usman Jan, a senior district official with the Afghan intelligence agency, was killed in a drive-by shooting in Ismail Khil district of eastern Khost province, the district administrative chief Mohammad Younus told Xinhua.

2013-04-19 14:55:05

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French kidnap family freed in Nigeria, Biya

The Moulin-Fournier family
The French family kidnapped in Cameroon in February have been freed in Nigeria, where they had been taken by members of the Boko Haram Islamist sect, Cameroon’s President Paul Biya announced on Friday. Paris has confirmed the news.

The three adults and four children of the Moulin-Fermier family, who were kidnapped near  Cameroon’s Waza nature reserve on 19 February, were handed over to Cameroonian authorities overnight, Biya said.

They are in good health, the French say.

French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius left for Cameroon as soon as the news came through.

The Nigerian and French governments played an important role in the release, officials have said, without giving more details.

France in February said it would not hold direct talks with the kidnappers and President François Hollande later said that no ransoms would be paid for any French hostages now being held.

Nigeria took the same line.

Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, not far from the Nigerian border, some time after it took place.

Seven other French citizens are being held hostage in the Sahel region and Al Qaida has threatened reprisals against France because of its role in the anti-Islamist offensive in Mali.

Read or Listen to this story on the RFI website.
 Article published the Friday 19 April 2013 - Latest update : Friday 19 April 2013

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7 injured in Helmand car suicide bombing

LASHKARGAH (PAN): Five public order policemen and two civilians were injured in a car suicide bombing on Friday in southern Helmand province, where a major operation against the insurgents was underway, officials said.

The bomber detonated his explosives-laden car near a joint convoy of Afghan and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops in Fateh Mohammad area of Sangin district around 12pm, the town's administrative head, Mohammad Daud Noorzai, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

The blast injured five public order policemen and two civilians, a border police commander, Ghulam Sakhi Ghafoori, said. He had no information about casualties among foreign troops.

However, a Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, said the suicide attack was carried out by one of their fighters named Baz Mohammad using a van, killing 15 foreign and Afghan soldiers.

Security officials on Thursday said a major offensive condemned Oqab (Eagle) has been launched to drive insurgents from border areas of the troubled southern province.

The operation involves 500 Afghan security officials, including police, local police and intelligence officials.

from PajhwokBy Zainullah Stanikzai Apr 19, 2013 - 14:10
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Apr. 19., 2013. - ISAF Joint Command Operational Update

KABUL, Afghanistan – An Afghan and coalition security force detained a senior Taliban leader and a number of other insurgents during an operation in Nahr-e Saraj district, Helmand province, April 18.

During the operation, multiple insurgents opened fire on the security force. After positively identifying the threat, the security force engaged the insurgents, wounding one.

The leader is believed to control a cell of fighters responsible for a number of attacks against Afghan and coalition forces in Helmand and Kandahar provinces. He is also alleged to oversee weapons facilitation in the area, trained suicide bombers, an improvised explosive device expert, and passes orders from senior Taliban officials to the insurgents.

The Afghan and coalition security force seized two rifles, four magazines and 60 pounds of opium as a result of the operation.

In other International Security Assistance Force news throughout Afghanistan:


During an operation in search of a senior Taliban leader in Maiwand district, Kandahar province April 17, an Afghan and coalition security force killed two insurgents. The leader is believed to be one of the top officials for the Taliban in Maiwand district. He is responsible for planning and organizing IED and small-arms fire attacks against Afghan and coalition forces. The leader is believed to facilitate the movement of supplies, to include heavy and light weapons for the Taliban, and has plotted to assassinate Afghans who support the local government and ANSF.


An Afghan and coalition security force detained a Haqqani facilitator and a number of other insurgents during an operation in Pul-e ‘Alam district, Logar province, April 18. The facilitator is believed to be a vital link in the Haqqani network’s IED operations throughout Pul-e ‘Alam. He coordinates the construction, distribution and emplacement of IEDs for use in attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.

During an operation in search of a Haqqani facilitation leader in Sabari district, Khost province April 18, an Afghan and coalition security force detained a number of insurgents. The leader allegedly coordinates the flow of military equipment to Haqqani cells in multiple Khost districts. He and his subordinates are believed to procure and distribute a variety of weapons and other supplies to insurgent fighters for use in insurgency operations. The leader has also participated in a number of attacks against Afghan and coalition forces. As a result of the operation, the security force seized one AK-47, one pistol, three grenades, three AK-47 magazines, ammunition and bomb-making material.

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Apr. 19., 2013. - RC-East operational update

BAGRAM, Afghanistan - Afghan National Security and coalition forces detained six suspected insurgents, discovered one weapons cache and found and safely cleared six improvised explosive devices during operations in eastern Afghanistan throughout the past 24 hours, April 18.

Khowst province
Afghan National Security and coalition forces found and safely cleared one IED during operations in the Bak district.

Afghan National Security Forces found and safely cleared one IED during operations in the Mandozai district.

Nangarhar province
Afghan National Security Forces detained four suspected insurgents and discovered one weapons cache consisting of four explosive vests during operations in the Behsud district. The detained suspects were transferred to a base for questioning.

Afghan National Security Forces found and safely cleared two IEDs during operations in the Surkh Rod district.

Paktika province
Coalition forces found and safely cleared one IED during operations in the Sar Rowzah district.

Parwan province
Afghan National Security and coalition forces detained two suspected insurgents during operations in the Bagram district. The detained suspects were transferred to a base for questioning.

Wardak province
Coalition forces found and safely cleared one IED during operations in the Sayyidabad district.

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UAE Arrests Al-Qaida-Linked 'Terrorist Cell'

Das which is named on this map can be seen to ...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Authorities in the United Arab Emirates have arrested seven people they say are part of an al-Qaida-linked terrorist cell.

The official WAM news agency said Thursday the group was "planning to carry out acts" in the UAE, as well as to recruit others and promote al-Qaida.

It said the seven people arrested were of "Arab nationalities" but did not give additional details.

The statement also said the group was providing money and logistical support to help al-Qaida further its activities in the region.

Middle East Policy Council Executive Director Thomas Mattair says support for Islamist extremism is rife throughout the region. He says counter-terrorism efforts, while successful in some areas, tend to drive recruits across borders.

"The Saudis, the Emiratis, they cooperate with us strenuously to root out these people and there have been successes in both countries," he said. "But the result is that a lot of [the terrorists] have been driven into Yemen, and that's really where the problem is most critical. They could have been transiting the UAE on their way somewhere else, possibly to Syria."

Mattair says when Sunni Arabs across the region see their co-religionists under siege in Syria, which drives some into the hands of extremist groups.

In December, UAE authorities arrested what they called a "deviant group" in connection with a terrorist cell planning attacks in the Gulf kingdom, Saudi Arabia and nearby states.

Mattair says that a serious U.S. commitment to helping push the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to resolution would deprive al-Qaida of a major source of propaganda.

Mattair says al-Qaida recruitment videos feature Palestinians or Iraqis who it says have been killed and that the group "blames [their deaths] on the United States."

from VOA News
April 18, 2013

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Gunmen Kill 8 in Kenyan Hotel

GARISSA, KENYA — Gunmen shot dead eight people when they sprayed bullets into a hotel restaurant in the eastern Kenyan town of Garissa on Thursday, the Kenya Red Cross said.

The east African nation has suffered a series of grenade and gun attacks since it sent troops into neighbouring Somalia in late 2011 to pursue the al Shabaab rebels linked to al Qaeda.

Though the wave of attacks on the capital Nairobi, the port city of Mombasa, and Garissa has tapered off in recent weeks, the latest incident shows the new government of President Uhuru Kenyatta will still have to wrestle with insecurity.

The Kenya Red Cross said on Twitter that eight people were killed while five others suffered gunshot wounds and were evacuated to a local hospital.

Charlton Mureithi, the regional police chief, said the attack happened at a restaurant called Kwa Chege, adding they were investigating who was behind the attack and trying to establish the number of fatalities.

"Crime is dynamic. We have to establish the motive now," Mureithi told Reuters.

Al Shabaab has been driven from the Somali capital Mogadishu and the major towns, but still controls large parts of the countryside in Somalia. In February, al Shabaab warned Kenya it faced a "long, gruesome" war if it kept up its campaign against the hardline Islamist group inside Somalia.

from VOA News
April 18, 2013

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Ansar al-Din spokesman to surrender

A one-time spokesman for Malian Islamist group Ansar al-Din said Wednesday (April 17th) that he was ready to turn himself in.

Sanda Ould Bouamama told ANI that he was close to the border between Mali and Algeria and was going to surrender to Algerian authorities.

"I have walked more than 80 kilometres on foot to reach the Algerian border so that I can surrender to the Algerian army," he said. "Right now I'm close to the Algerian town of Bordj Badji Mokhtar, where I intend to turn myself in to the Algerian army."

He added that on April 9th, unknown individuals attempted to assassinate him. Ould Bouamama previously served as the Timbuktu spokesperson for the radical Islamist group.

He asked Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz and the Mauritanian government to "do everything possible to have me extradited to Mauritania so that I can be put on trial, given that I am a Mauritanian national".

This surrender comes as another serious blow to the terrorist groups, who have suffered huge losses since the French-led offensive in northern Mali began in January.

"It coincides with the arrest on April 16th by the Malian armed forces of 12 terrorists in Djebok, a locality situated about 100 km to the north-east of Gao," Jidou Ould Sidi, a journalist specialising in security said.

"Among the 12 terrorists who are being questioned is Mohamed Ag Ntaki, a MUJAO explosives expert who is believed by the Malian intelligence services to have been responsible for making and placing improvised explosive devices in the Gao region. He also laid mines in the region of Imenas and Talatai which hit ambulances belonging to the Serval force and the Malian army at the beginning of March," he added.

Arrest warrants were issued on April 12th for Touareg rebel leaders in the Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and the armed Islamist groups Ansar al-Din, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Movement for Tawhid and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), David Dembele, a writer for the newspaper Dépêches du Mali said.

They stand accused of offences including terrorism and sedition, he said.

Dembele added that 26 people were subject to international arrest warrants issued by the prosecutor-general at Bamako Court of Appeal.

The wanted men include MNLA Secretary-General Bilal Ag Acherif, Ansar al-Din leader Iyad Ag Ghaly, Oumar Ould Hamaha, Sidi Mohamed Ould Bouamama alias Sanda Ould Bouamama, and MUJAO member and suspected drug trafficker Cherif Ould Attaher alias Cherif Ould Tahar.

Alghabasse Ag Intalla, who belongs to one of the large Touareg clans in the region of Kidal, is among the men claimed to be members of Ansar al-Din. However, since January 24th he has led the Azawad Islamic Movement (MIA).

"The arrests of leaders such as Mohamed Moussa Ag Mouhamed, who is regarded as the third most senior man in Ansar al-Din, and Oumeini Ould Baba Ahmed, a high-ranking leader of MUJAO, have been very costly for the jihadists, who are unquestionably in disarray," Ould Sidi said.

By Bakari Gueye in Nouakchott for Magharebia – 18/04/2013

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Baghdad suicide bomb blast at Internet cafe kills 27

(Reuters) - A suicide bomber blew himself inside a Baghdad cafe popular with young people using the Internet, killing a least 27 and wounding dozens more in one of the worst single attacks in the Iraqi capital this year.
The late evening blast in west Baghdad came just two days before provincial elections that will be a major test of Iraq's political stability more than a year after the last American troops left the country.

Police and witnesses said emergency workers struggled to extricate victims trapped when the blast collapsed part of the building that also housed a shopping centre below the Dubai cafe which was on the third floor.

"It was a huge blast," a police official at the scene said. "Part of the building fell in and debris hit people shopping in the mall below."

Ten years after the U.S.-led invasion, Sunni Islamists linked to al Qaeda carry out at least one major attack a month, but insurgents have stepped up suicide attacks since the start of the year as part of a campaign to provoke confrontation between the country's Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims.

More than 30 people were killed in a series of bombings across Iraq on Monday and more than a dozen election candidates have been killed in the run-up to the vote.

Security officials have been expecting more attacks before Saturday's ballot for provincial councils that will be a measure of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's political muscle before the parliamentary vote in 2014.

A surge in violence in Iraq has accompanied the political crisis in the Shi'ite premier's government, where Shi'ite, Sunni and ethnic Kurds share posts in a fragile power-sharing deal that has been mostly paralysed since U.S. troops left in December 2011.

Al Qaeda's local wing, Islamic State of Iraq, has said it will keep up attacks and security officials say the group is gaining ground and recruits in the western desert bordering Syria, thanks in part to a boost from the flow of insurgents and funds into the neighbouring country's war.

By Kareem Raheem
BAGHDAD | Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:20pm BST
(Reporting by Kareem Raheem; Editing by Michael Roddy; Writing by Patrick Markey; Editing by Michael Roddy)

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