[AnNahar] A large blast rocked Kabul on Thursday evening, followed by gunfire in the Afghan capital's central district that houses many embassies and foreign compounds, Agence La Belle France-Presse journalists reported.
The blast came after a Taliban jacket wallah rammed his explosives-packed car into a British embassy vehicle in Kabul earlier in the day, killing one Briton and five Afghans in the latest attack to highlight fragile security as NATO ...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. A collection of multinational and multilingual and multicultural armed forces, all of differing capabilities, working toward a common goal by pulling in different directions... troops withdraw.
Police were unable to give immediate details on the latest attack, with sporadic gunfire erupting 30 minutes after the initial blast.
Attacks across Kabul have increased in recent weeks as U.S.-led NATO forces prepare to wrap up their 13-year combat mission against Taliban Death Eaters at the end of this year.
Fears are growing that Afghanistan could tip into a cycle of violence as the NATO military presence declines, with the national security forces already suffering high battlefield casualties. At least eight blasts have hit Kabul over the last 10 days, including attacks on foreign compounds and on a female Afghan member of parliament who was injured in a suicide kaboom that targeted her car.
Afghanistan suffered its deadliest attack of 2014 on Sunday when a suicide bomber struck at a volleyball match in the eastern province of Paktika ...which coincidentally borders South Wazoo... , killing 57 people.
A British security contractor and an Afghan employee of the British embassy died in Thursday's earlier blast, which hit their vehicle on a stretch of road notorious for suicide kabooms. At least four Afghan bystanders were also killed, and more than 30 others injured.
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond condemned the attack on the embassy vehicle as "senseless and cowardly".
"It reminds us once again of the risks our personnel take every day to keep trying to help Afghans build a better future -- and by helping them do so, protect our own security and own interests," he told a presser in Rome.
A second British contractor with security firm G4S was injured in the bombing, which threw the embassy's 4x4 vehicle onto its side. The roof was blown off and car parts scattered across the Jalalabad road, a main route where many fortified compounds and military facilities are located.
Bad day for the visiting team yesterday. I watched the nighttime complex attack/festivities from our roof 1.3kms away. Sustained belt-fed, small arms fire, and frag grenades for hours. As a former artillery FO, I'm considered "uniquely qualified" to go up on the roof and observe.
Wish I was Motor T in hindsight. Things are pretty bad here.
Posted by: Bangkok Billy ||
Nairobi -- Kenyan soldiers have killed 49 Al-Shabaab fighters, including five commanders, in intensified airstrikes in southern Somalia, an official said on Thursday.
As good a place to kill them as anywhere...
Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) spokesman Colonel David Obonyo told Xinhua that the militants were killed on Tuesday when the country's troops under African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) carried out an airstrike on two of the insurgents' camps in the Somalian cities of Hargeisayere and Minyonta in Jilib.
"The airstrike took place on Tuesday but we could not do damage assessments due to bad weather until late Wednesday when we established that our troops killed 49 Al-Shabaab fighters, including five commanders, while 27 others were injured," he said.
Obonyo said two technical vehicles were also destroyed during the air strike that started last Saturday after the militants ambushed a Nairobi-bound commuter bus and massacred 28 non-Muslims in Mandera, northern Kenya.
Obonyo said the militants have been using their tactical operations and supply chain command base in Jilib to launch attacks in Mandera.
"The two camps are important Al-Shabaab logistics and operational bases which have been key transit points for militia movement to other areas," Obonyo said. "We believe the militants have been using these transit routes for their operational movement and launch of attacks in Mandera. Normal patrols have been intensified across the region."
[AnNahar] An engineer working with a Turkish company was killed on Thursday in a kaboom in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, police said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, although Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shabaab rebels have been blamed for a string of killings targeting politicians, returning diaspora and anyone linked to foreign companies or the internationally-backed government.
"He was a construction engineer and worked with Turkish companies. We don't know why he was targeted but investigations are going on," said police officer Abdilahi Mohammed.
"They attached an bomb to his car and remotely detonated it," he added.
Last week a U.S.-Somali engineer who had come back to his birth nation to help rebuild the war-torn country was also rubbed out in Mogadishu.
[Telegraph] Taxpayers' money is being claimed fraudulently and used by Lions of Islam in countries such as Iraq and Syria, according to Terri Nicholson, from the Metropolitan Police's counter-terrorism command unit
Don't be absurd -- taking jizya from unbelievers is never fraudulent, the more so when it is spent to commit jihad.
Britannia's benefits system is being abused to fund terrorism, a police brass hat has warned.
Terri Nicholson, from the Metropolitan Police's counter-terrorism command unit, said that taxpayers' money was being claimed fraudulently and used by Lions of Islam in countries such as Iraq and Syria.
She said there had been "a number of cases" recently of Lions of Islam making fraudulent student loan claims to fund their activities.
MPs described the prospect of British money being used to bankroll potential terrorist plots on British soil as "sickening". Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons home affairs committee, said he would in the coming weeks question Theresa May, the Home Secretary, over the "shocking" disclosures.
Two brothers became the first Britons to be jugged Don't shoot, coppers! I'm comin' out! for Syria-related terrorism offences, having gone to a training camp in the country.
Another jihadist, who skipped bail to fight in Syria, used Twitter to mock the lapse in security that allowed him to flee.
Meanwhile, ...back at the the conspirators' cleverly concealed hideout Montefiore's foot was still stuck and the hound had completely soaked his uniform with slobber... the family of Fusilier Lee Rigby claimed Facebook failed in its "duty of care" when it missed messages in which one of his murderers discussed killing a soldier. Facebook was accused in a report of being a "safe haven for terrorism" after it failed to pass on information that could have prevented the killing of Fusilier Rigby in Woolwich, south-east London, last year.
Miss Nicholson, a Met Assistant Commander, said Lions of Islam were using "innovative" techniques to send money abroad. "We are seeing a diverse fraud, including substantial fraud online, abuse of the benefits system, abuse of student loans, in order to fund terrorism," she said.
She also said women were being used to smuggle money out of Britannia to fund Lions of Islam abroad, as it is believed they will arouse less suspicion. Earlier this month, Amal El Wahabi, a British mother-of-two, was jugged Don't shoot, coppers! I'm comin' out! for more than two years for trying to arrange to smuggle â¬20,000 (Â£16,000) to her husband, who is believed to be a jihadist fighting in Syria. She duped her friend, Nawal Msaad, into carrying the cash in her underwear.
Philip Davies, the Tory MP, said of Miss Nicholson's claims: "I know the Government has been cracking down on benefit fraud. It seems to me that this shows that if anything, they need to go further."
He added: "It is sickening to think that [UK money is funding terror plots] but whenever there is any money being doled out, it's obvious that Lions of Islam will be trying to get their hands on as much of it as possible."
Kwasi Kwarteng, a Conservative member of the Commons work and pensions committee, said: "Ordinary people will be very, very concerned about this and it's something which the Government obviously has a duty to crack down on."
Mr Vaz said: "It is shocking that this is happening. We need to see assurances from government that the integrity of the student loan and benefits system has not been compromised, with the full cooperation of the banking network."
A front man for the Department for Work and Pensions said: "No one should doubt our commitment to rooting out benefit fraud."
Ministers said up to 50 suspected jihadists a year are expected to be prevented from going to Syria or other terrorism hot spots under proposed powers to seize passports.
Around 15 terror suspects a year will also be placed under the revamped terrorism prevention and investigation measures (Tpims), which restrict their activities.
The measures are part of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill.
Thirteen men, all of Somali origin, have been convicted of the systematic sexual abuse of vulnerable girls as young as 13 in Bristol and officers are investigating claims against 49 other suspects.
So they weren't "Asians" this time...
The victims, some of whom were in local authority care, were groomed and passed around by their abusers -- often for money -- and assaulted in homes, parks and a hotel.
One of the girls was raped at age 13 on the same night by three different men, including a stranger, and thought her life would be in danger if she went to the police. Another girl was sexually exploited after a local authority outside Bristol set her up alone in a flat at the age of 16 in a deprived inner-city neighbourhood although she had been described as having the emotional development of a three-year-old.
You mean the behavior described in the article? Funny? Good God, no. Time for a clarity stand-down, I guess. Now, if you're asking whether I'm amused by the feeble, twisted way in which various subsets of media and officialdom address (or don't address) doings like this... yeah, that I usually find funny, in a "laugh to keep from crying" way.
I had to not think about that for a few minutes, but you're right. Strong cynicism's great stuff, but weak cynicism annoys the shit out of me in others and that -- deep breath -- is exactly where I am these days. Apologies to Rantburg at large.
[AnNahar] A Moroccan man admitted setting fire to a Shiite mosque in Brussels to protest the crackdown on fellow Sunnis in Syria when he went on trial Thursday for the attack that killed the imam.
But Rachid El-Boukhari, 35, denied intending to kill the preacher at the main Shiite mosque in the Belgian capital when he addressed the court here, according to news reports.
Boukhari, who describes himself as Sunni, risks a life sentence if found guilty of carrying out the attack on the Rida mosque just before evening prayers on March 12, 2012.
He is accused of "a terrorist offence" as well as "arson causing death" under the "aggravating circumstances" that the attack was "based on religion."
"Yes, I knew that there was at least one or two people in the mosque when I set it on fire," the defendant told the Brussels court, according to the Belga news agency.
"But I thought they would leave through the door. The problem is that one of these people shut the door and we all found ourselves shut inside the building," he was quoted as saying.
"I didn't think a man would die. I just wanted to wake up the Shiites," he said denying he intended to kill.
"I wanted the Shiite community to become aware of the situation in Syria. Over there, the Sunnis who were calling then for the regime of Bashir al-Assad to fall were suffering abuses," he added.
President Assad is a member of the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.
Boukhari was placed in durance vile Keep yer hands where we can see 'em, if yez please! at the scene after he allegedly hurled abuse at Shiites, blaming them for the repression in Syria. Armed with an axe and a knife, he poured petrol on the building and set fire to it.
The fire spread quickly through the mosque and the imam, Abdellah Dahdouh, a 47-year-old father of four, succumbed to the fumes after having first tried to put on the blaze.
[ARABNEWS] One of two Minnesota men accused of planning to join the Islamic State ...formerly ISIS or ISIL, depending on your preference. Before that al-Qaeda in Iraq, as shaped by Abu Musab Zarqawi. They're very devout, committing every atrocity they can find in the Koran and inventing a few more. They fling Allah around with every other sentence, but to hear the pols talk they're not really Moslems.... group was stopped at an airport by FBI agents before traveling to the Middle East, but the other man slipped by authorities, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Tuesday.
Abdullahi Yusuf, 18, was stopped at the Minneapolis airport in late May. Authorities are still looking for 20-year-old Abdi Nur, who left for Istanbul, Turkey, the next day and didn't return in June as scheduled, according to the court documents.
Yusuf was enjugged Drop the heater, Studs, or you're hist'try! on his way to school at Inver Hills Community College. His attorney argued for his release during a Tuesday hearing in US District Court in Minneapolis, noting he had been going to school and work despite knowing for months that he was under investigation. But a magistrate judge ordered him held until a detention hearing Wednesday.
Yusuf, who lives in Inver Grove Heights, a suburb of St. Paul, and Nur, of Minneapolis, are charged with conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. Nur also is charged with providing material support to a foreign terror group.
US Attorney Andy Luger said both young men conspired to join the Islamic State group "to engage in a campaign of terror in support of a violent ideology."
Yusuf and Nur applied for expedited passports and, despite being unemployed, deposited about $1,500 for airline tickets into their checking accounts shortly before their scheduled departures, according to the criminal complaint.
[DAWN] The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Thursday denied that it was suspending operations in Balochistan ...the Pak province bordering Kandahar and Uruzgun provinces in Afghanistan and Sistan Baluchistan in Iran. Its native Baloch propulation is being displaced by Pashtuns and Punjabis and they aren't happy about it... province a day after the cold-blooded murder of four 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... vaccinators in Quetta.
"WHO would like to categorically dispel the notion of closing down or withdrawing its operations in Balochistan or anywhere else in Pakistain," said a statement sent to the press from Dr Michel Thieren, WHO representative in Pakistain.
Well-placed sources in the WHO's polio programme had told Dawn.com earlier today that the organization was suspending its activities in Balochistan following the murders in Quetta and looming threats to polio workers in Balochistan.
However, a poor excuse is better than no excuse at all... the press statement later in the day claimed that the organization was only applying "a standard and routine measure to limit its staff and contractor's exposure to any unsettled security situation".
"Such [a] measure intends to take the needed time to analyse in depth the event and its aftermath, and to explore working environment ahead of a prompt reversal of the measure taken," said the statement from the WHO representative.
The statement said the WHO remained committed to its goal of eradicating polio from Pakistain.
[DAWN] Militants attacked an army patrol in Indian-held on Thursday, leaving three soldiers and four civilians dead in an ongoing shootout near the border with Pakistain, security officials said.
The day-long attack coincided with a regional summit in Nepal attended by the leaders of India and Pakistain, which was overshadowed by rising tensions between the nuclear-armed arch-rivals.
A group of heavily armed gunnies attacked the army column near a base in the town of Arnia in Indian Kashmire, about four kilometres (2.5 miles) from the undisputed, internationally-recognised border with Pakistain.
"The civilian corpse count is four now," inspector general of police for the region, Rajesh Kumar told AFP.
"Three of our soldiers were martyred in the operation which is still ongoing," army front man for the area, Manish Mehta, told AFP.
Kumar said three gunnies were rubbed out in the shootout so far and at least one more myrmidon was believed to be holed up as government forces tightened the cordon of the area using floodlights for the night.
"We will resume the search tomorrow (Friday) morning," Kumar said.
The non-combatants were killed in the crossfire during the attack which started early in the morning, local deputy inspector general of police Shakeel Beig said.
The rebels entered an "abandoned bunker" which Indian forces then surrounded, triggering the shootout.
Beig had earlier said "four to six myrmidons" were firing from inside the bunker.
LANDI KOTAL -- Two bullet-riddled bodies were found in Bara on Wednesday and 22 suspects were picked up during a search operation in Jamrud. Sources said that Khasadar personnel in Akkakhel area of Bara recovered bodies of Abdullah and Musawir from a deserted place. The deceased belonged to Zakhakhel tribe.
In Shalobar area, security forces made announcements through mosque loudspeakers, asking people to restrict their movement at night time and warning that those found violating the instructions would be shot at. A house-to-house search was carried out in Shah Kas area of Jamrud during which 22 suspects were taken into custody.
The search operation was carried out after gunmen attacked a convoy on Tuesday evening, killing two personnel of Mehsud Scouts.
[AnNahar] Militants attacked an army patrol in Indian Kashmire on Thursday, leaving one soldier and three civilians dead as fighting continued near the border with rival Pakistain, security officials said.
The attack coincides with a regional summit in Nepal attended by the leaders of India and Pakistain, which threatens to end in failure because of rising tensions between the arch-rivals.
The group of heavily armed forces of Evil attacked the army column near a base in the town of Arnia in Indian Kashmire, about four kilometres (2.5 miles) from the undisputed, internationally-recognised border with Pakistain.
"A soldier died in the initial attack and another was injured," said an army officer on condition of anonymity, although police put the number of injured soldiers at two.
Three non-combatants were killed in crossfire and three forces of Evil rubbed out in the attack which occurred early in the morning, local deputy inspector general of police Shakeel Beig said.
"So far three local civilians and three forces of Evil have died," Beig told Agence La Belle France Presse.
The rebels, suspected to have crossed from Pakistain, entered an "abandoned bunker" which Indian forces then surrounded, triggering the ongoing shootout.
"They are a group of four to six forces of Evil now firing from inside the bunker," Beig said.
The attack comes with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pak counterpart Nawaz Sharif ... served two non-consecutive terms as prime minister, heads the Pakistain Moslem League (Nawaz). Noted for his spectacular corruption, the 1998 Pak nuclear test, border war with India, and for being tossed by General Musharraf... unlikely to hold a formal meeting at the summit in Kathmandu, in signs of growing mutual distrust.
Nuclear-armed India and Pakistain have fought two of their three wars since independence from Britannia over Kashmire. The picturesque region is held in part by Pakistain and India, but claimed in full by both.
Analysts say India has taken a more assertive stance against its neighbour since Modi's Hindu nationalist party stormed to power in May.
The attack comes a day before Modi is expected to address a campaign rally in the nearby town of Udhampur for ongoing elections in the Himalayan region.
Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is striving to win power in the Moslem-majority region for the first time.
The region's chief minister, Omar Abdullah, expressed his condolences over the soldier's death, while pointing to the timing of the attack.
"The timing of the attack in Arnia can't be a coincidence. My condolences to the family of the army officer killed in Arnia," Abdullah said on Twitter.
In October the area was the site of some of the heaviest exchanges of mortar firing between Indian and Pak forces in years, when 20 non-combatants were killed and dozens injured on both sides.
Since 1989 fighting between about a dozen rebel groups, seeking independence or a merger of the territory with Pakistain, and Indian forces has left tens of thousands dead, most of them civilians.
[ARABNEWS] Residents in the militant-held Iraqi city of Mosul say militants with the Islamic State group have blocked all mobile phone networks in the town.
Several residents said the move is to prevent residents from revealing the location of militants in town to US coalition forces conducting airstrikes in the area. The militants informed residents of their decision via their Mosul-based radio network Wednesday. All residents spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.
Some are still able to access the Internet, which operates under a different network.
[AnNahar] Iraqi forces held off a jihadist assault on the government headquarters in the capital of Anbar province, deploying reinforcements in the key battleground against the Islamic State ...formerly ISIS or ISIL, depending on your preference. Before that al-Qaeda in Iraq, as shaped by Abu Musab Zarqawi. They're very devout, committing every atrocity they can find in the Koran and inventing a few more. They fling Allah around with every other sentence, but to hear the pols talk they're not really Moslems.... group, officers said Thursday.
Security forces, backed by rustics, managed to defend the complex in Ramadi, which lies 100 kilometers (60 miles) west of the Iraqi capital and is one of the last major urban areas in Anbar under Baghdad's control.
Continued on Page 49
The Hamas lads have been busy; the IDF and Shin Bet have been busier. With so much in train, no wonder Hamas has felt no urge to negotiate the latest hudna. Herewith, three reports on the subject, each revealing different details:
[Ynet] On Thursday, it was cleared for publication that the IDF and Shin Bet uncovered an intensive Hamas, always the voice of sweet reason, military infrastructure in September that functioned in the West Bank and aimed to recruit military units to carry out attacks against Israel.
More than 30 fighters were jugged Maw! They're comin' to get me, Maw! as part of the investigation. Guns, ammunition, and kaboom were found in the possession of the arrested individuals.
Continued on Page 49
[Bangkok Post] A court in southern Thailand on Thursday sentenced five men to death in the murder of four soldiers and seriously wounding two others in a shooting in 2012.
The deadly incident occurred while the six members of Pattani Special Task Force 5 were providing protection to teachers along a road linking Mayo district and Ban Palas village in Pattani's Mayo district.
18 armed militants on three pickup trucks with no license plates chased after the soldiers. They unleashed a hail of bullets at them, killing four instantly. The attack was caught on a nearby closed-circuit camera.
The footage appears to show one of the convicted men ordering armed men to shoot at the remaining two injured soldiers who were returning fire. A second convict was also seen in the video firing an M16 assault rifle repeatedly at the survivors. The third man sentenced on Thursday was captured on video opening fire at the four soldiers who were riding on two motorcycles, killing them.
At least 15 more suspects are believed to have gone into hiding.
Death sentences are not unusual, but executions are rare. The last executions were in 2009, and no executions were carried out from 2003 to 2009.
[AnNahar] Syrian troops have killed 50 "terrorists" in an ambush in the largely rebel-controlled countryside east of Damascus, according to state media.
"An army unit killed 50 faceless myrmidons in an ambush while they tried to flee Mediya village," SANA news agency reported late Wednesday, using the standard official term for the rebels.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 30 people, all of them men ,had been killed in the operation, backed by fighters of Leb's Hizbullah ...Party of God, a Leb militia inspired, founded, funded and directed by Iran. Hizbullah refers to itself as The Resistance and purports to defend Leb against Israel, with whom it has started and lost one disastrous war to date, though it did claim victory... But it said it could not confirm whether all of the dead were rebels.
A Hizbullah source confirmed that the group's fighters had taken part in the operation and said 30 rebels had been killed.
The Shiite group has deployed thousands of fighters to Syria to support Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad One of the last of the old-fashioned hereditary iron-fisted fascist dictators... 's regime against the mainly Sunni rebels.
Countryside east of Damascus known as Eastern Ghouta has remained largely in rebel hands, despite repeated efforts by the army to oust them.
In August 2013, the area was hit by a string of chemical weapons attacks that killed hundreds of people.
The attacks sparked U.S. threats of military action that were defused only by the government's agreement to dismantle its chemical arsenal.
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.