[Ma'an] Israel charged a Palestinian citizen of Israel on Wednesday over a bomb explosion on a Tel Aviv bus during Israel's November military offensive in the Gaza Strip, the Justice Ministry said.
The bus was driving close to Israel's defense ministry complex when the bomb went off on Nov. 21, wounding 15 people.
Mohammed Mafarja, 18, is accused of planting the bomb on behalf of Hamas, the Islamist group which rules Gaza, to boost their cause during the conflict with Israel.
Hamas praised the bombing but did not claim responsibility.
Israel launched an offensive against Hamas and other Gaza militant factions on Nov. 14 with the declared aim of stopping their rocket fire into its territory. Some 170 Palestinians and six Israelis were killed in the fighting that lasted eight days.
Three Palestinians from the Israeli-occupied West Bank were arrested along with Mafarja last month and are still in custody, a police spokesman said. They are suspected of recruiting the teenager to carry out the bombing.
Mafarja, according to the charges, notified his handlers when the bomb was in place on the commuter bus and they then detonated the device with a mobile phone.
No trial date was set and Mafarja's lawyer asked for three weeks to study the charge sheet. He said that the defendant may not have intended to blow up the bus.
"It appears that he did not know that the content of the bag would lead to such a result," lawyer Ihab Jaljouli told reporters at the Tel Aviv District Court.
[Al Ahram] Two nephews of Syrian Vice President Faruq al-Sharaa have been tossed in the slammer Maw! They're comin' to get me, Maw! along with five of their friends over their support for political change, a monitoring group said on Thursday.
"University professor Zaydun Zohbi, 38, and his brother Suhaib, who are nephews of Faruq al-Sharaa, and five of their friends, activists in favour of peaceful change in Syria, were arrested at a cafe on December 15 by members of the military intelligence," said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The Observatory, which depends on a large network of activists and doctors across Syria for its information, demanded their "immediate" release and that of "all civilian and military prisoners".
The arrests come after the vice president said in comments published on Monday that he favours a negotiated solution to Syria's bloody uprising, a position at odds with Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Leveler of Latakia... Sharaa, the most prominent Sunni Mohammedan official in the Alawite minority dominated regime of Assad, also told the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar that a clear winner was unlikely to emerge from the conflict.
The Centre for Documentation of Violations in Syria, which is close to the opposition, says there are nearly 35,000 people held in jails across the war-torn country by the Assad regime.
Sharaa, 74, has served the regime for decades, both under Assad and his father and predecessor Hafez, but has been seen in public only a few times since the uprising erupted in March 2011.
[Dawn] Two suspects were killed in what police described as a shoot-out with them during a siege and search operation following the Tuesday gun attacks on polio ...Poliomyelitis is a disease caused by infection with the poliovirus. Between 1840 and the 1950s, polio was a worldwide epidemic. Since the development of polio vaccines the disease has been largely wiped out in the civilized world. However, since the vaccine is known to make Moslem pee-pees shrink and renders females sterile, bookish, and unsubmissive it is not widely used by the turban and automatic weapons set... worker s in the city.
During the operation in Sohrab Goth police rounded up 25 suspects, seized arms and ammunition, snatched or stolen cycle of violences and a car in the area.
About 300 coppers, including those from the Rapid Response Force, accompanied by two armoured personnel carriers took part in the operation launched at Asma Apartments, behind Al-Asif Square.
The police claimed they were shot at when they had laid a siege to the apartment building.
Meanwhile, ...back at the comedy club, Boogie was cracking himself up, but nobody else seemed to be getting the non-stop jokes... around six suspects escaped the building into the adjacent shanty localities. However, death is not the end. There remains the litigation over the estate... the police followed them into Qayyumabad, Sona Gali and Junejo Colony. When the police entered the lanes of Malik Agha Hotel and Decent Plaza, they faced resistance. During the ensuing shootout, two suspects were maimed. The police seized a repeater and .30-bore pistol from the two maimed suspects.
The maimed died before they could be taken to hospital, according to the police.
One of the suspects was identified as Abdul Sattar, an Afghan national wanted in several murder cases. The other man was Agha, said DIG-East Shahid Hayat.
The two suspects were associated with the Taliban, the DIG said.
Although some junior police officer present at the scene told the media that a letter was found in the possession of Sattar in which he had been directed by his ┬'Amir┬' to disrupt the polio campaign, the DIG said he had not seen such a letter, adding that the SP concerned had informed him about a letter found on one of the suspects.
┬"The incarcerated Yez got nuttin' on me, coppers! Nuttin'! suspects will be questioned and if found innocent, they will be released,┬" said the area DSP.
The police said Wednesday┬'s operation was conducted on information obtained from some suspects picked up during the Gulshan-e-Buner operation on Tuesday.
[An Nahar] Egypt's chief public prosecutor on Thursday retracted his resignation, days after offering to step down following protests by prosecutors and judges against his appointment by President Mohammed Morsi.
Talaat Ibrahim Abdallah, who offered his resignation earlier this week, asked to be allowed to remain on in his position, the official MENA news agency reported.
The justice minister is considering his request.
Morsi appointed Abdallah last month in one of number of decisions that sidelined judges, sparking a judicial strike and mass rallies by the Islamist president's opponents.
One of those decisions was to sack previous prosecutor general Abdel Meguid Mahmud. It followed criticisms the previous month by the president's supporters over Mahmud's failure to secure convictions of more members of the ousted regime of Hosni Mubarak ...The former President-for-Life of Egypt, dumped by popular demand in early 2011...
Morsi appointed Abdallah to replace Mahmud, who issued a brief statement on state television ... and if you can't believe state television who can you believe?
pledging to "work day and night to achieve the goals of the revolution."
Morsi's actions triggered a nationwide outcry, with opposition forces calling it a "coup" and the judges saying it was a direct attack on the independence of the judiciary.
Under pressure, the president on December 8 revoked the decree granting him sweeping powers but kept Abdallah on as his new prosecutor general.
[An Nahar] The U.N. Security Council on Thursday unanimously approved sending an African-led intervention force to help Mali's army reconquer much of the country from Islamist thugs.
The 15-member council gave the force an initial one year mandate to use "all necessary measures" to help the Mali government take back the northern half of the country from "terrorist, turban and gangs."
West African nations say they have 3,300 troops ready to go to Mali to help rebuild the country's army and support a military operation which planners say cannot be launched before September of next year.
Tuareg rebels and other separatists and al-Qaeda linked thug groups took advantage of a coup in Mali in March to seize control of a vast chunk of territory where the Islamists have since imposed a brutal form of Islamic law.
La Belle France drew up the resolution after weeks of talks with the United States, which expressed doubts the troops from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) would be ready for a desert battle against the thugs.
In parallel to political efforts to draw the Tuareg rebels into a coalition against the turban groups, European nations and the international force, to be known as the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA), will first train Mali's army.
The resolution sets down benchmarks for political progress and military preparations that will have to be met before a final onslaught against al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and its allies is approved.
The resolution emphasized that "military planning will need to be further refined before the commencement of the offensive operation."
It said that U.N. Secretary General the ephemeral Ban Ki-moon ... of whom it can be said to his credit that he is not Kofi Annan... , ECOWAS, the African Union ...a union consisting of 53 African states, most run by dictators of one flavor or another. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established in 2002, the AU is the successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which was even less successful... and other states involved will have to secure "the council's satisfaction with the planned military offensive operation."
[Magharebia] Libyan military planes have begun conducting sweeps over the southern border, Libya Herald reported on Wednesday (December 19th). On Tuesday, a Libyan Arclight airstrike destroyed a suspected smugglers┬' camp close to the border with Chad and Sudan, not far from Kufra.
According to the military commander in Kufra, warplanes are monitoring the area from Chad to Al-Uwaynat and Jabal Al-Malik on the Egyptian border.
The air operations aim to prevent illegal entry into Libya, Colonel Miftah Al-Abdali added.
Libyan politicians on Sunday ordered the closure of the country's borders with Chad, Niger, Sudan and Algeria. The National Congress also declared martial law in the desert south.
Libya plans to establish one authorised border crossing with each of its four neighbours, army front man Ali al-Sheikhi told AFP. "Any person who enters or exits at other points will be considered an infiltrator," he added.
Three suspected terrorists militants were killed in a shootout in the North Caucasus republic of Ingushetia.
Two of those killed were identified by the state officials as the leaders of separate influential criminal gangs: Ayub Khaladov and Movsar Katsiyev. The third one was Katsiyev┬'s subordinate, Khamzat Pugoyev, who was involved into attacks on law enforcement officials in Ingushetia and North Ossetia, according to Russia┬'s National Antiterrorism Committee. One officer of the local Federal Security Service was wounded in the shootout.
Khaladov was one of the organizers of a major attack on the native village of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov in 2010. He was involved in plotting suicide bombings, including one at the border between Ingushetia and North Ossetia in October.
An attempt to hunt and kill Buddhist officials in Narathiwat province on Thursday has sparked fears that terrorists insurgents are now shifting their target from teachers to government officials. Seven armed men stormed into the Bacho Tambon Administration Organisation (TAO) office and burned it down around noon on Thursday after failing to find any Buddhist employees to kill.
Abdulwaha Dulayapinij, the office manager, told the police he and seven other employees were just leaving for lunch. He said, "One of them fired a gun into the air and ordered everyone to stay put in Yawi (a Malay dialect spoken by Muslims in the region) and then asked if there were any Buddhist Thais working here. I told him there were none, and the outlaw was upset and said I had lied to him."
Mr Abdulwaha told them there was a female Buddhist official identified as Suchada sae Li working at the TAO as a community development officer, but she was on leave on Thursday.
Upset with the answer, two of the gunmen emptied a five-liter container of gasoline into the archive and equipment storage rooms, set fire to it and then fled. Villagers, office staff and a local disaster relief team tried to put out the fire, but the blaze quickly spread and destroyed the entire building.
Mr Abdulwaha said it seemed the assailants wanted to kill the only Buddhist official at the office, and had planned to use the gasoline to burn her body. He said the attack left him and the other staff in fear for their own safety and that they would not likely return to work until the office was rebuilt.
"By the time they rebuild the office, my fear should be all gone."
This latest incident took place three days after a vehicle transporting government officials was ambushed by terrorists insurgents in Cho Airong district in the same province. On Monday, two officials from the Agricultural Extension Office in Sungai Padi district were killed in the attack. Five others, including a female teacher, were wounded.
Security sources in the deep South said that terrorists insurgents now were looking for government officials after focusing on teachers over the past few weeks. Changing their target is part of their strategy, they added.
Teachers in the southernmost provinces continue to worry about their safety but decided to reopen schools last Monday after Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra guaranteed them better protection measures and welfare.
Panu Uthairat, a deputy permanent secretary for interior, said the Education Ministry has set up a hotline phone number to help local teachers and also encouraged them to stay at official residences provided for them in school compounds with protection from security forces. He added that keeping them on school premises would reduce their chances of being targeted by terrorists insurgents.
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.