Of natural causes, one presumes (of course high explosives should qualify as 'natural' for such people, making it a fair presumption.)
The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan has announced that its emir, Abu Usman Adil, has died, and named Uthman Ghazi as the new leader of the al Qaeda-linked terror group. Does the promotion include generous life insurance benefits? They always receive a generous pension plan, paid when they reach 65 years old...
Adil replaced Tahir Yuldashev, the IMU's emir and co-founder, who was drone-zapped killed in a US Predator airstrike in September 2009. Before his death, Yuldashev sat on al Qaeda's top council, the Shura Majlis.
Adil is credited with increasing the IMU's profile in Pakistan and Afghanistan after the death of Yuldashev, US intelligence officials have told The Long War Journal. Whereas Yuldashev had been content with confining the group's operations largely to Pakistan's tribal areas, Adil pushed to expand operations in northern and eastern Afghanistan, as well is in the Central Asian republics. The IMU is the most heavily targeted foreign terrorist group in Afghanistan and is also frequently targeted in US drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas, according to data compiled by The Long War Journal.
At least one person has been killed in an explosion in a Somali suburb of the Kenyan capital Nairobi, on the eve of a visit by Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State. A dozen more were reportedly injured in the blast, which hit Nairobi's Eastleigh neighbourhood. There were conflict reports of a grenade attack and suicide bomber.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the blast, the latest in a string of attacks in Kenya.
Mrs Clinton, on an 11-day, seven-nation Africa tour, is due to travel to Kenya on Saturday, where she is due to meet with Kenyan leaders and officials from Somalia's government, which is preparing to end its mandate later this month.
Nairobi's Eastleigh district is home to thousands of Kenyan ethnic Somalis, as well as Somalis who have fled more than two decades of war in their nation.
Can't say much there - and Hillary is not endangered by this particular incident (although Nairobi is obviously at elevated risk). Eastleigh is a major ghetto populated largely by Somali's, and there has been a strong element of undergound support for hard line Islamists and al-Shabaab there. Kenyan and US intel are well aware of it. It's unclear why militants would explode a genade in their own backyard - but perhaps there was an internal rift, or maybe it was a personal vendetta.
BEIJING: China is discouraging some Muslims in the far western region of Xinjiang from fasting during Ramadan. The government says the move is motivated by health concerns, but others said yesterday that it's a risky campaign to secularize the Muslim minority.
Several city, county and village governments in Xinjiang have posted notices on their websites banning or discouraging Communist Party members, civil servants, students and teachers from fasting during the religious holiday. Muslims around the world abstain from food and drink from dawn to dusk during the 30-day period.
Regional spokeswoman Hou Hanmin was quoted in the state-run Global Times newspaper yesterday as saying authorities encourage people to "eat properly for study and work" but don't force anyone to eat during Ramadan.
Xinjiang is home to the traditionally Muslim Uighur ethnic group. Long-simmering resentment among Uighurs over rule by China's Han majority and an influx of migrants has sporadically erupted into violence. Separatist sentiment is rife, with some Uighurs advocating armed rebellion. A smaller fringe has been radicalized by militant calls for Muslim holy war and trained in camps across the border in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
RAWALPINDI: The Field General Court Marshal (FGCM) on Friday awarded a sentence of five-year rigorous imprisonment to Brigadier Ali Khan for having links with a banned organisation, said an ISPR statement. The officers were arrested under charges of having links with Hizbut Tahrir, a banned organisation in Pakistan.
Four others accused in the case were also awarded punishments. Major Sohail Akbar was handed down three-year rigorous imprisonment, Major Jawwad Baseer was sentenced to two-year rigorous imprisonment, whereas Major Inayat Aziz and Major Iftikhar were awarded one- and six-year rigorous imprisonments.
Officials said that proceedings against Brigadier Ali, Major Inayat, Major Iftikhar, Major Sohail and Major Jawwad had been completed. "The accused have been convicted for having links with a proscribed organisation," they added.
The convicts have the right to appeal against the conviction before the Army Court of Appeals as provided in the Pakistan Army Act.
Brigadier Ali was detained days after US Navy SEALs found and killed Osama bin Laden in the military town of Abbottabad on May 2, 2011, reviving disturbing questions about ignorance or complicity within Pakistan's military.
Hizbut Tahrir is not banned in Britain, but has been outlawed in Pakistan and lies on the fringes of Western concerns about links between the military and terror groups.
QUETTA: Unidentified men, on Friday, set ablaze at least three containers of a private company, en route to Chaman from Karachi, in Tera Meel area of Dasht, Mastung district. According to the Balochistan Levies Force, the three private company containers carrying biscuits were intercepted at Tera Meel area by unidentified armed men and set on fire.
"The unknown armed men were on a motorbike. They stopped the containers and set them on fire," Levies official Muhammad Rafiq told Daily Times.
The offenders made their way after committing the offence. A case has been registered against unidentified persons and investigation is underway.
SAMARRA, Iraq: A bombing and a shooting killed four soldiers and four police yesterday, security and medical officials said a day after 33 people were killed in attacks mainly targeting the security forces.
At least 47 people, among them 34 members of the security forces, have been killed in violence in the first three days of August, which have seen a number of attacks on soldiers, police and anti-Al-Qaeda militiamen, and their facilities.
A roadside bomb targeted an army patrol east of Dhuluiyah, killing four soldiers, among them a major, and wounding four others, an army captain and a medical source said.
Insurgents had attacked a military base near Dhuluiyah on July 23, killing at least 15 soldiers and wounding two more.
And gunmen opened fire on a police checkpoint in Baquba, killing four policemen and wounding two more, a police major and Dr. Ahmed Ibrahim of Baquba General Hospital said.
Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) on Friday sent back 10 Rohingyas to Myanmar from Teknaf in Cox's Bazar.
I'm beginning to wonder if 'Rohingya' is the Burmese word for 'Palestinian'...
The BGB on two occasions sent back three males at about 2:00pm and one male, three females and three children at about 6:15pm to Myanmar, our Chittagong correspondent reports, quoting Commanding Officer Lt Col Zahid Hasan of BGB 42 battalion at Teknaf.
The BGB in separate drives detained the 10 Rohingya refugees in Teknaf upazila of Cox's Bazar early Friday on charge of trespassing on Bangladesh territory. A patrol team of BGB held seven Rohingyas -- one male, three females and three children -- from Shah Pori Island around 5:00am. Earlier around 1:00am, BGB men conducted another drive at Naikkhong Para village and held three male Rohingyas, the BGB official said.
Zahid said Myanmar citizens and Rohingyas usually try to enter Bangladesh before Ramadan every year to earn money.
The BGB sent back a total of 1,279 Rohingya refugees until Friday since sectarian violence broke out in the Rakhine state of Myanmar on June 11, he added.
JAKARTA: Jailed radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir threatened to wage war if Myanmar continues to harm Muslim Rohingyas, in a letter to the country's president Thein Sein seen on a website yesterday.
The 74-year-old is widely regarded as a nutter spiritual leader of terrorist radicals in Indonesia -- the world's most populous Muslim country -- and is currently serving a 15-year-jail term for funding terror.
"We've heard Muslims screaming in your country because of your acts of evil...you have taken them out from their homes and are killing them," he wrote in the letter dated July 22, which was passed on to followers and published on the website voa-islam.com. "If you neglect these calls, by Allah our Lord, you have witnessed the fall of proud and conceited countries in the hands of our mujahideen soldiers."
The letter was confirmed as authentic by Son Hadi, the spokesman for Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT), a group founded by Bashir in 2008.
How was the letter allowed out of prison?
An outspoken supporter of violent jihad, Bashir was convicted in 2010 of financing a teror cell in Aceh province. Earlier this year, the country's top court overturned a lower court's decision to cut his 15-year term.
"You must know that we are brothers as Muslims. Their pains is our pain, their sorrows are our sorrows, and their blood that you shed is our blood too," Bashir wrote. "By the will of Allah, we can destroy you and your people."
Son Hadi said Friday that the letter was submitted on Monday to the Myanmar embassy in Jakarta. The embassy was not reachable for comment.
About 100 Muslim extremists from the Indonesian branch of pro-Caliphate organization Hizb ut-Tahrir protested Friday outside the Myanmar embassy and vow a Jihad to stop the "Muslim cleansing."
"We are ready to shed our blood for you Saddam die to help our fellow Muslims in Myanmar. A Jihad is the only way to stop this massacre," one of the protesters on loudspeaker told the crowd, who shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest).
Violence erupted in June in Rakhine state, in western Myanmar, between Buddhists and Rohingya, leaving about 80 people dead from both sides, according to official estimates deemed low by rights groups. Myanmar security forces opened fire on Rohingya Muslims, committed rape and stood by as rival mobs attacked each other during the recent wave of sectarian violence, New York-based Human Rights Watch said Wednesday.
Community leaders are opposed to the possible imposition of a curfew in southern Thailand in the wake of recent bomb attacks, saying that such drastic action would draw international sanctions against the counterinsurgency operations while also affecting the daily lives of local residents.
Meanwhile, security officials are looking for eight vehicles reported stolen, which they fear may be used in future car bomb attacks, especially in Songkhla and Pattani provinces. In Pattani, three missing vehicles have reportedly been stuffed with explosives and are ready for use.
Army spokesman Colonel Sansern Kaewkamnerd said that curfews were now only an option and would not be imposed entirely in the three southern provinces, but only in areas prone to terrorist insurgent activities or necessary security operations.
Pattani police said one of the three detained suspects allegedly involved with killing four soldiers was cooperating and giving useful information. The unnamed man said newly recruited terrorists insurgents were from three Yawi-speaking districts in Songkhla, Raman district in Yala and Ba Cho district in Narathiwat, under the command of the Runda Kumpalan Kecil (RKK) based in Pattani.
The bomb attack on the CS Pattani Hotel in Pattani was blamed on six terrorists insurgents, including a getaway driver and two lookouts. This attack may have been commanded by Mosoreh Tueramah, a native of Pattani living in Muang district.
A village leader based in Panareh district of Pattani was yesterday gunned down while on his way for a Muslim prayers. Witnesses said that two gunmen on a motorcycle approached Mayusoh Dorloh and fired two shots at him before fleeing. The victim died at the scene.
The U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly passed a resolution Friday criticizing the Security Council's failure to act on the Syria conflict, which U.N. leader the ephemeral Ban Ki-moon ... of whom it can be said to his credit that he is not Kofi Annan... said has become a "proxy war".
The resolution, which condemned Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Lord of the Baath... 's use of "heavy weapons" in his battle against the rebellion against his rule, was passed by 133 votes with 12 countries against and 31 abstaining.
Russia and China, which have vetoed three U.N. Security Council resolutions on Syria, were among high profile opponents of the resolution.
Many diplomats said Friday's vote was a show of frustration and anger at the lack of international action on the conflict.
Though the resolution is not legally binding, there was increased attention on the General Assembly action after the resignation of U.N.-Arab League ...an organization of Arabic-speaking states with 22 member countries and four observers. The League tries to achieve Arab consensus on issues, which usually leaves them doing nothing but a bit of grimacing and mustache cursing... envoy Kofi Annan ...Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh and so far the worst Secretary-General of the UN. Annan and the UN were the co-recipients of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize for something or other that probably sounded good at the time. In December 2004, reports surfaced that Kofi's son Kojo received payments from the Swiss company Cotecna, which had won a lucrative contract under the UN Oil-for-Food Program. Kofi Annan called for an investigation to look into the allegations, which stirred up the expected cesspool but couldn't seem to come up with enough evidence to indict Kofi himself, or even Kojo... and the mounting battle for the Syrian city of Aleppo ...For centuries, Aleppo was Greater Syria's largest city and the Ottoman Empire's third, after Constantinople and Cairo. Although relatively close to Damascus in distance, Aleppans regard Damascenes as country cousins...
The resolution said members deplored "the Security Council failure to agree on measures" to make the Syrian government carry out U.N. demands to end almost 18 months of fighting.
It condemned "the Syrian authorities use of heavy weapons including indiscriminate shelling from tanks and helicopters" and demanded that the government refrain from using its chemical weapons.
Protesters in Aleppo ...For centuries, Aleppo was Greater Syria's largest city and the Ottoman Empire's third, after Constantinople and Cairo. Although relatively close to Damascus in distance, Aleppans regard Damascenes as country cousins... erupted into the streets Friday to demand death for Syrian Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Horror of Homs... even as violence raged there and 90 people were killed nationwide.
The Local Coordination Committees, the main activist group spurring protests on the ground, said regime forces rubbed out at least 90 people across the country, among them 66 in Hama that witnessed a "massacre" in its al-Arbaeen neighborhood.
Ten people were killed in Idlib, nine in Damascus ...Capital of the last remaining Baathist regime in the world... and its countryside, three in Deir Ezzor, one in Homs and one in Daraa, the LCC added.
Hundreds of protesters gathered in al-Shaar neighborhood of the country's economic capital, chanting: "The people want the execution of Bashar!" and "The people want freedom and peace."
"We go down the street with a single objective: the liberation of the country," said 20-year-old protester Abu Ahmed.
"Today you can take to the streets. Before there were shabiha" pro-regime militiamen, he said. "For 20 years we supported the military, but in fact this army is against us."
The Britannia-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported demonstrations in the Saif al-Dawla, Furqan and New Aleppo neighborhoods in western Aleppo, as well as in Sukari, Bustan al-Qasr and Fardoss in the south.
It also reported protests in the Kurdish region of Hasakeh, Daraa province of southern Syria and Idlib province to the northwest, where one demonstrator was rubbed out by regime forces.
Also in Idlib, five rebels were killed in an army ambush, the Observatory said.
Shells rained down on rebel positions in the northern city of Aleppo ahead of a U.N. vote on Friday to deplore both the regime's use of heavy weaponry and world powers for failing to agree on steps to end the conflict.
Fierce festivities broke out between regime troops and rebels in the opposition stronghold of Salaheddin as well as in Martini in central Aleppo, while four non-combatants were killed elsewhere in the province, the Observatory said.
The official SANA news agency said the army and police potted 17 "terrorists" in the city, where the regime and rebels have been battling for control since July 20.
The army "is attempting to storm Salaheddin with tanks from the Hamdaniyeh side of the highway, while aircraft are shelling from above," according to media activist Mohamed Hassan, who said he was calling from the embattled district.
"The regime no longer has real power in Aleppo," Hassan told Agence La Belle France Presse, pointing out that security forces do not leave their posts and municipal functions like garbage collection have stopped.
"Waste fills the streets and the Free (Syrian) Army cleans it," he said.
The rebel Free Syrian Army has said it now controls "50 percent" of Aleppo, where the army has brought in a large number of reinforcements, but has yet to advance on the ground.
Security forces on Friday suppressed protests in the coastal city of Tartus and in the central city of Hama, with security forces and pro-regime gunnies blocking off mosques in a bid to prevent protests, the Observatory said.
Elsewhere in central Syria, three people were killed in heavy shelling overnight near Houla, a town in Homs province where at least 108 people were reported to have been massacred at the end of May.
In Damascus, six people were killed in the Tadamun district in fierce festivities between rebels and the army, which shelled the area, the Observatory said.
It also reported shelling of the Jdaidet Artuz district, southwest of the city, where fighting had erupted around Marj al-Sultan military airport.
The Observatory said Jdaidet Artuz was the scene of a deadly raid on Wednesday by security forces which left 43 people dead, some of whom were summarily executed.
BEIRUT -- Shelling of the Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp in the Syrian capital killed at least 15 civilians, including two children, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Friday.
Both the rebels and Pencilneck have reasons to shell the Paleos...
The watchdog said the mortar shells slammed into the camp, on the southern outskirts of Damascus, on Thursday night, as President Bashar al-Assad's regime pressed its bid to crush an uprising that erupted almost 17 months ago.
Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said the shelling occurred as clashes flared between government troops and opposition fighters in the nearby Damascus neighbourhood of Tadamun.
"We demand an international investigation. We do not know the origin of the shelling," Abdel Rahman told AFP in Beirut on the telephone.
ALEPPO, Syria: A long-expected Syrian army onslaught to drive rebel forces out of Aleppo is imminent, following a military build-up around the country's biggest city, a senior United Nations official said.
Boy howdy, you just can't slip anything, anything past the UN, can you...
President Bashar Assad's forces killed more than 80 people in a series of attacks across the country yesterday and late on Thursday, opposition sources said, reporting intensified fighting in several cities.
The fighting has spread to Aleppo from Damascus after a bomb attack on Assad's security headquarters in the capital on July 18, which killed four of the president's senior aides and encouraged rebels to step up hostilities. The Syrian army has reinforced its positions in and around Aleppo over the past two weeks, while conducting daily artillery and aerial bombardments of rebel forces in the city.
"The focus two weeks ago was on Damascus. The focus is now on Aleppo, where there has been a considerable build-up of military means, and where we have reason to believe that the main battle is about to start," Herve Ladsous, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said in New York.
there appears to be a rapidly growing presence of all kinds of ragtag militia's in Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria. the country could well become another free-for-all if Assad is toppled. If Sytia becomes another Libya - it is nigh on impossible to control what happens to all the weapons in that country, or whose hands they wind up in. All kinds of hardware could make its way to AQ, the Palestinians and Hezbollah. Syria is a one-stop supermarket for these people.