In Kabul, a man wearing an explosives-filled vest died when the vest went off as he left a home in the capital's southeast, police spokesman Hashmatullah Stanekzai said. No one else was killed or wounded. Can't get much better than that!
Another blast in the country's east killed 12 people at a mosque during evening prayers late Friday. Authorities in Ghazni province say explosives transported by suspected Taliban fighters accidentally detonated while they were stopped at a mosque. Oh yes it can!!
[Dawn] Explosions and gunfire rocked central Kabul Friday as the Taliban launched an attack close to an Afghan intelligence facility and the headquarters of a government force that protects foreign firms.
The attack comes a week after a suicide boom-mobile targeting a foreign military convoy killed 15 people including five Americans in the deadliest attack in the Afghan capital for nearly a year.
The Taliban announced their annual "spring offensive" on April 27, opening a crucial period as local security forces take the lead in the fight against the myrmidons.
At least two blasts hit the centre of Kabul at about 4:00 pm on Friday, the second day of the Afghan weekend, and gunfire erupted as security forces rushed to the scene.
Kabul police front man Hashmat Stanikzai told AFP the initial blast came close to a hospital run by the NDS intelligence agency and the headquarters of the Afghan Public Protection Force (APPF), a government force that provides security for clients including international firms, supply convoys and aid groups.
He said gunnies had occupied a building in the attack, which is ongoing.
Jawed Kazem, a local shopkeeper, said: "I was sitting in my shop when the kaboom happened. It was a big kaboom which threw me off my chair, minutes later another kaboom happened. "Smoke is rising and gunfire is continuing."
Taliban front man Zabiullah Mujahid told AFP that his group was responsible and added that the attack began with a suicide boom-mobileing.
"A group of other mujahideen armed with heavy and light weapons then took position in a building and are firing on several targets including a building in which the foreigners and members of spy agency stay," he said.
The suicide kaboom last Thursday was the first major attack in Kabul since March 9 when a bomber on a bicycle killed nine people outside the defence ministry during a visit by US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel.
The attacks further underline the capital's vulnerability to hard boy assaults as 100,000 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 gradually withdraw from Afghanistan ahead of the end of international combat operations next year.
Local forces are increasingly coming under attack from the Taliban as they take over from foreign forces, who will pull out of Afghanistan by the end of next year.
Six members of the APPF were killed on Tuesday in a roadside kabooming in western Afghanistan as they travelled to a hydroelectric dam that is under protection from myrmidon attack.
A Libyan gas company official says militiamen have attacked a natural gas complex in the country's west, injuring two guards and stealing weapons and military vehicles.
The official says the attack took place early Monday and targeted the Mellitah Oil and Gas complex near Zwara, about 110 kilometers (70 miles) from the capital, Tripoli. The complex is a joint venture between Libya's National Oil Corp. and Italy's largest energy company, Eni SpA. The militiamen fled the site briefly after seizing weapons and equipment from the guards.
French special forces and Niger troops shot dead on Friday the last two Islamists involved in a twin attack on a military base and a French uranium mine in Niger claimed by the mastermind of January's mass hostage-taking in Algeria.
Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a one-eyed veteran of al Qaeda's North African operations, said in a statement that his Mulathameen brigade organised Thursday's raids with the MUJWA militant group in retaliation for Niger's role in a French-led war on Islamists in Mali.
The coordinated dawn attacks killed 24 soldiers and one civilian and damaged machinery at Areva's (AREVA.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) Somair mine in the remote town of Arlit, a key supplier of uranium to France's nuclear power program.
The attacks raised fears that Mali's conflict could spread to neighboring West African states and brought an Islamist threat closer to France's economic interests.
Guinea's government says it deployed extra soldiers and police to the streets of the capital, Conakry, Friday, as youth in several neighborhoods set up makeshift barriers, vandalized cars and attacked private businesses. The unrest comes the day after an opposition protest during which the government says one person was killed and at least ten were injured. The opposition puts the death toll at four and says dozens were injured.
The main opposition parties accuse the government of trying to rig upcoming elections, and say they will not take part in the polls scheduled for June 30.
Thereby losing them...
Opposition protestors once again clashed with security forces in Conakry Thursday.
It has been less than 10 days since the Nigerian military began what it calls a "massive" offensive against Boko Haram, the extremist Islamist militant group that claims ties to al-Qaida and recently captured portions of the country's northeast.
While military officials claim to have killed dozens of its fighters and arrested hundreds of its members, destroying their encampments and re-taking at least five districts since the campaign began, none of the information is verifiable. With phone lines down and roads blocked, no independent observers are present along the front lines and some aid workers fled the region after an attack last Saturday.
French special forces and Niger troops shot dead on Friday the last two Islamists involved in a twin attack on a military base and a French uranium mine in Niger claimed by the mastermind of January's mass hostage-taking in Algeria.
At least 21 people were killed and dozens wounded on Thursday in coordinated dawn assaults on a uranium mine run by French company Areva at Arlit and the military base in the city of Agadez in northern Niger.
"As I speak, the situation has been brought under control in particular in Agadez, where our special forces have intervened to support Nigerien forces at the request of President (Mahamadou) Issoufou," Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told BFM television.
[Jpost] British broadcaster ITV on Friday became the latest media outlet to have one of its Twitter feeds hacked by anonymous supporters of Syria's Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Terror of Aleppo ... , just days after Twitter beefed up security to prevent such attacks.
Twitter Inc said on Wednesday that it had started rolling out an optional two-step authentication regime for its users to thwart hackers.
The News Agency that Dare Not be Named, Britannia's Financial Times and Daily Telegraph newspapers have all previously succumbed to attacks from the self-styled Syrian Electronic Army.
ITV's London news Twitter account @itvlondon was hijacked on Friday afternoon and used to promote spoof stories about Syrian rebels, before the hackers tweeted "Just kidding. The Syrian Electronic Army was here. #SEA via @Official_SEA12."
ITV, Britannia's largest free-to-air commercial broadcaster, said on its national Twitter account that it was aware that it had been infiltrated and it was working to return to normal service as soon as possible.
The Metropolitan Police have released an update on the arrests in connection with Wednesday's attack.
They say: "A 29-year-old woman arrested yesterday as part of the investigation into the murder of Lee Rigby was released without charge at this morning.
"A 31-year old woman was arrested at a residential address in south London at 11:50pm last night on suspicion of conspiracy to murder. She was released without charge this morning. A search of the address was carried out and is now complete.
"A 29-year-old man arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder on Thursday remains in custody.
"Two men aged 22 and 28 arrested on suspicion of murder remain in hospital in a stable condition.
Those would be the original perpetrators who were shot by police in the commision of.
"Searches are ongoing at six residential addresses; three in south London, one in east London, one in north London and one in Lincolnshire.
"The investigation by detectives from the Counter Terrorism Command continues.
"We are still appealing for anyone who may have witnessed the incident in Woolwich to contact police via the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789321.
"We urge anyone who filmed or took photos as events unfolded in John Wilson Street to send them to police via email@example.com - please include your name and contact details, which will be treated in strictest confidence. Anyone who may have such material is asked not to delete it after sending it in."
The police officers who used their weapons in the incident on Wednesday will not face any criminal or misconduct offences the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) confirmed today.
Good. Mindless bureaucracy can sometimes be dreadfully mindless. Glad they got over it this time, especially as the shooters were under orders,
[NEWS.YAHOO] British police arrested two men on a Pakistan International Airlines flight on Friday on suspicion of "endangerment of an aircraft" after it was escorted to a different airport by fighter jets. The plane had been flying from Lahore in Pakistan to Manchester, before it was diverted to Stansted, in Essex, southern England.
A man has been arrested in London on suspicion of terrorism offences, Scotland Yard said today.
In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said:
At around 2130hrs on Friday, 24 May, a 31-year-old man was arrested in London by officers from the MPS Counter Terrorism Command on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism under the Terrorism Act 2000.
The man has been taken to a south London police station, where he remains in custody.
Search warrants are being executed at two residential addresses in east London.
-- Metropolitan Police
A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police has told ITV News that the arrest is not connected with the investigation into the Woolwich murder.
A MAN armed with a Stanley knife has attacked a French soldier patrolling the business district of Paris, stabbing him in the neck.
President Francois Hollande, speaking during a trip to Ethiopia, said "at this stage" there was no indication the Saturday evening attack was linked to a deadly knife attack on a British soldier this week in London.
He said all possibilities must be examined regarding the incident in the busy La Defense area, which at weekends is packed with shoppers, from which the attacker managed to flee.
The soldier was in uniform and armed and was patrolling as part of France's Vigipirate anti-terrorist surveillance scheme.
French daily Le Parisien cited police sources as saying the suspected attacker was a bearded man of North African origin about 30 years old, and was wearing an Arab-style garment under his jacket.
He ran away following the attack and has not yet been detained.
Police said he would survive the attack but gave no information on possible motivation for the assault.
Besoeker provided this post to us yesterday with our usual sharp commentary from our readers, but I wanted to pay some attention to it since it's blindingly obvious (to us) what is going on, and yet equally obvious that the authorities are blind. Europe is reaping what it has sowed in more than one way. I've cut down to the more essential bits of the shocked, shocked interviewees who are beginning to see what the problem is but don't quite get the why...
Youth gang riots in the Swedish capital Stockholm have entered fifth straight night. Hundreds of mostly immigrant teenagers tore through the suburbs, smashing windows and burning cars in the country's worst outbreak of violence in years. At least six vehicles were torched throughout the city late on Thursday while the police called for reinforcements from other Swedish cities bracing for further unrest.
The night before, the fire brigades were called to some 90 different blazes. On the fourth night of violence, youths torched over 30 cars in 15 neighborhoods along with a restaurant in Skogas, south of Stockholm. Three law enforcement officers were injured, police spokesperson Kjell Lindgren reported.
Leaders of immigrant communities were out on the streets in a bid to stop young people from rioting. Despite their efforts, as soon as the night fell, groups of arsonists took to the streets to set cars on fire. RT's Peter Oliver witnessed rioters throwing stones at police and journalists alike.
Civil disorder in Stockholm started on Sunday, when police shot and killed a 69-old-man in his apartment after he confronted officers with a machete; the unrest has since continued throughout week.
This machete thing seems to be going around...
Community leaders insist that a main reason for the violence is the high rate of unemployment in immigrant communities, particularly in the suburb of Husby near central Stockholm, one of the worst affected by the nighttime violence, Peter Oliver reported.
But, but, but, the unemployed get benefits! How can they be unhappy?
Although Sweden's unemployment rate is below the EU average, joblessness among those under 25 has reached nearly 25 percent. The RT crew in Stockholm noted that a majority of those taking part in the violence are young.
A majority of those taking part in any riot are young unless the riot is at a nursing home, and even then...
"In Sweden you've got welfare, access to the educational system -- up to university level, you got access to public transport, libraries, healthcare -- to everything. And still they feel that they [immigrants] need to riot through stones and Molotov cocktails. It's ridiculous and a bad excuse," Swedish Democrats MP Kent Ekeroth told RT.
Why is that? Why are they rioting? Perhaps it's because they have no meaning in their lives, having had everything given to them, and so they filter over to the local holy place where shrewd men fill their heads with poisonous crap, and then set them loose on the surrounding community...
"Police can put down these riots in five minutes -- if the politicians were to allow them," Ekeroth added.
Parents of the rampaging teenagers and community religious leaders are now spending sleepless nights on the street in an effort to prevent their children from wreaking havoc.
Meanwhile, the Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt blamed the violence on "hooligans" and said they did not represent the majority in the rioting neighborhoods.
They don't need to be a majority, they just need to cow and badger the majority...
"I think it's dangerous to draw a picture of Sweden with a capital separated from its suburbs. I don't think that's true. I think the dividing line runs straight through Husby, with a majority population and then a small group of youts troublemakers," Reinfeldt said.
But the Husby youth taking part in riots told Reuters they are indeed divided from the rest of Stockholm, struggling to find a full-time job with their Husby address. Most of the interviewed rioters were reportedly unemployed.
So they sit around receiving benefits. They can't work, they can't drink sez their religion, they can't integrate because the blonder parts of the population deep down don't think they're Swedish enough, and they're too headstrong to listen to mom and pop. But the local holy man, him they listen to...
The claims of social exclusion in immigrant-dominated suburbs have been partly conceded by Sweden's Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag, who said the ministry is aware of "discrimination in these areas." But the riots "don't improve the image of these areas, where there is a lot of positive stuff going on," he added.
First problem is that they have an 'Integration Minister'...
For years, Sweden -- one of Europe's most tranquil countries, famous for its attractive immigration policies and generous welfare system -- has been accepting an influx of immigrants, which now make up about 15 per cent of its population. These migrants have failed to integrate into Swedish society, and are only in the country to take advantage of enjoy the country's social benefits system, Swedish journalist Ingrid Carlqvist told RT.
"The problem is not from the Swedish government or from the Swedish people," the editor in chief of Dispatch International said. "The last 20 years or so, we have seen so many immigrants coming to Sweden that really don't like Sweden. They do not want to integrate, they do not want to live in [Swedish] society: Working, paying taxes and so on."
They're not exactly encouraged to do so by the blonde ones, but that's no excuse. Plenty of ethnics came to America and forced the locals to acknowledge them as equals, mostly by working their tails off. Irish, Italians, Jews, Russians, Chinese, and so on have made it. It isn't perfect as we all know, but these groups came to America to be Americans. It seems that the biggest problem is that the immigrants came to Sweden to take advantage of the system and not to become Swedes...
"The people come here now because they know that Sweden will give them money for nothing. They don't have to work, they don't have to pay taxes -- they can just stay here and get a lot of money. That is really a problem," Carlqvist added.
Ms. Carlqvist: they don't want to be Swedes. That is the problem you can't seem to face directly, because doing so would require you to consider the solution that the best thing to do would be to give the immigrants a rather stark choice: either become Swedes (and get off the dole) or go back to the mother country. How 'progressive' would that be?
"The police could do so much, [instead] they have told the public that they mean to do as little as possible. But they could go there and use water cannons, they could not let people out onto the streets at night. There are so many things they could do within the law -- but they don't do it," she said.
Young Muslims who enjoy tolerance, social institutions and welfare while living in Sweden nevertheless refuse to integrate into the West, Gerolf Annemans told RT. Annemans is the parliamentary leader of Vlaams Belang ('Flemish Interest'), a Belgian far-right nationalist political party.
"They [Muslim youths] have always sought excuse to show that they are not agreeing with the basic values of Western society," Annemans said, pointing to the recent cases of the Boston Marathon bombing in the US and yesterday's beheading of a British soldier in the UK.
"It's always the same problem. There is a massive refusal by Muslim youngsters of the basics of Western society... and they take any excuse whatsoever to show that with violence -- that is where the problem is," he said.
Again, it's a bit two-way: Europeans felt they had to take in the immigrants but don't really let them become Swedes, or Belgians, or French. Turks came to West Germany in the early 1960s to do jobs the Germans, still recovering from the war, wouldn't do, and fifty years later their grandchildren aren't accepted as German. So it becomes no surprise that they're 'alienated'.
As rioting continues to rip through Stockholm, some claim the violence has clearly been orchestrated for ulterior motives, Lars Hedegaard, Editor-in-Chief of Swedish newspaper Dispatch International said to RT.
"Some people would like to gain recognition as stakeholder in society. In other words, there are people who would like to be in a negotiating position... that they can make things happen and go away. That they have power in local communities and should be reckoned with," he explained.
Like the imams down at the local holy shoppes, for example...
"These riots in the country that are spreading and continuing for a long time that the [multiculturalism] success was a fiction, they never succeeded," Hedegaard said.
Start shooting, aimed fire, shoot to kill. Finishing shots for those that aren't killed outright. Rinse and repeat as required.
Don't let them run away, pursue them ruthlessly, they understand that.
Posted by: Secret Asian Man ||
Since me and mine been paying in blood for Swedes & the rest infantile beliefs for decades, I have very little sympathy (or hope that Tranzi ruling classes may learn from these events).
Please stop this PC BS. It is not because Swedes or Germans or French didn't want to integrate them but because most Muslim immigrants didn't want to integrat in a society they despised for not being Islamic. And if you show to a job position is IIth century Arabic clad or in a burkha don't be surprised if you don't get the job. If you do nothing at schoool don't be surprised if you don't make it to engoineer level.
Two elements: in the UK Hindus are integrated and make to high positions. But Pakistanese who are physically similar aren't and don't.
In France I know people from North African and sub-saharian stockswho have good jobs and their careers are as good as the ones of Whites". But none of them sports a long beard, islamic attire or clads their wife in burkha. None of them considerand s himslf to be part of a herrens volklooks at his coworkers like if they were scum. Those who have chidren rejoiced for their daughters. None observes Ramadan and some even eat pork.
...most Muslim immigrants didn't want to integrat in a society they despised for not being Islamic.
And why should they when the State gives them food, money, housing. That which is not earned is not valued. It goes to the same issue on this side the Atlantic with the illegals who collect benefits for simply accomplishing the skills of making it into the system and getting political representation, that includes disloyal members of the judiciary who press their agenda over the sovereignty of the people. The latter of which I can assure you never will happen South of the Border, read the Mexican Constitution.
If the benefits weren't there most of those outside of society would have to integrate to make it, return or move on to other generous/idiotic societies, or decline into criminality/vandalism, which it appears they do eventually anyway. Danegeld
"Police can put down these riots in five minutes -- if the politicians were to allow them,"
Given the (previous) nature of Swedish society, I'd be surprised if the police have the means (never mind the will) stop this. In the Detroit riots in '67, they needed the National Guard. Is there some intermediate layer between the Swedish police and the Army?
[MySanAntonio.com] The FBI has enjugged I ain't sayin' nuttin' widdout me mout'piece! a San Antonio man on charges he lied to get into the United States and tried to get a sensitive Defense Department position.
Wissam Allouche, 44, appeared for an initial hearing Friday afternoon, and shook his head when U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry Bemporad read the charges leveled in a federal indictment. The judge ordered him held pending a bail hearing and his arraignment Tuesday.
"He allegedly tried to cover up his affiliation with Hezbollah," said special agent Erik Vasys, front man for the FBI in San Antonio. "It is believed he was looking to secure a sensitive position with the U.S. government at some point."
The indictment said Allouche had married a U.S. citizen and was going through the naturalization process. During that process, he reportedly lied when asked if he'd ever been a member of or associated with a terror organization, the indictment said.
The FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force alleges he was a fighter with the Amal militia in Leb in the early to mid-1980s.
After his release as an Israeli prisoner of war, he was made a commander of the Amal militia, who was notified about the group's operations, the indictment said.
News reports at the time said Hezbollah was formed by religious members of the Amal movement.
In January 2009, the indictment said, he falsely said on his application forms that he and his wife were married and living together for the previous three years, when they had not lived together since May 2007 and they filed for divorce on Dec. 7, 2007.
Additionally, the indictment charges him with making a false statement on Oct. 14, 2009, on a questionnaire necessary to get a security clearance from the Defense Department: He allegedly claimed to have never participated in militias or paramilitary groups.
[Dawn] Police claim to have busted a Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP) terrorist network which was assigned the task of targeting politicians during the 2013 elections.
They have tossed in the calaboose Book 'im, Mahmoud! six suspected snuffies along with a woman and seized a suicide jacket, hand grenades and more than 70 kilograms of explosives and materials being used for IED and explosives jackets.
Station House Officer of Chamkani Police station Haji Abdul Hameed speaking to Dawn.Com said that the police arrested the suspects, during a raid on a house in the Tarnab Farms area of the city outskirts.
"We have seized an eight kilograms suicide jacket ready for use, three hand grenades, IED making accessories and about 70 kilograms of explosives," he stated.
The arrested accused have been identified as Rohullah, Asadullah, Irfanullah, Kashti Gul and Ishfaq Hussain. The latter individual was the main explosive supplier to the gang.
"Ishfaq has admitted that they had links to the TTP in South Wazoo Agency and were carrying out attacks on its directive," he said.
Ishfaq Hussain, who was presented along with the other accused before the media, admitted on the occasion that they were involved in attacks on former minister and ANP candidate Arbab Ayub Jan and also the election office of NA-46 candidate in Maqsoodabad area of Beautiful Downtown Peshawar ...capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province), administrative and economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. Peshawar is situated near the eastern end of the Khyber Pass, convenient to the Pak-Afghan border. Peshawar has evolved into one of Pakistan's most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities, which means lots of gunfire. Another arrested accused Rohullah on the occasion said that they had links to the TTP and had carried out attacks on their directive.
He however remained silent when asked what their next target was and what their future plans had been.
Three of the arrested accused were teenagers and appear to have been on an unknown mission, which is what the explosives and IEDs were being prepared for.
Police said they had also seized hand grenades, fuses, wires, batteries and remote controlled devices from the house and were conducting further investigations.
The arrested woman, Munfajara, said she is the mother of Irfanullah, Kashtir Gul, Rohullah and Asadullah, adding "my son Rohullah had been blackmailed by someone and fraudulently handed over the material to him."
She said that her son Irfanullah is a student of class 8, Asadullah is a 2nd year student while Rohullah and Kastir Gul are also innocent.
"We have nothing to do with the kaboom," she said.
Rohullah later also claimed that all the material had been handed over to him by Ishfaq Hussain to keep at home and that he had been paid Rs1000 for the task.
He also admitted another person named Basit, has confirmed that he had carried out the attack on Arbab Ayub Jan's vehicle.
[Dawn] Six police personnel have been killed while the District Police Officer (DPO) Kohat Dilawar Bangash has been injured, along with his guards, after bully boyz launched a rocket attack in Mattani area near FR Darra Adamkhel.
Exchange of fire is still continuing between security forces and the attackers. The situation is not clear and reinforcement has been sent in to counter the attack.
The DPO and his injured guard have reached CMH Kohat. The DPO's hand is reported to have been injured only.
Beautiful Downtown Peshawar ...capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province), administrative and economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. Peshawar is situated near the eastern end of the Khyber Pass, convenient to the Pak-Afghan border. Peshawar has evolved into one of Pakistan's most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities, which means lots of gunfire. police confirmed that the DPO's vehicle had come under attack and that he was injured along with other coppers.
"We cannot confirm more on it but yes the DPO and his guards have been injured in the attack with rockets and gunfire while exchange of firing is still going on," police official said.
A militant attack on a police convoy near the city of Peshawar in northwestern Pakistan has killed at least six policemen.
Several others were wounded, including the district police officer, in the attack Friday on the Indus Highway. Local media say the militants armed with rockets ambushed the convoy, which was on its way from Peshawar to Kohat.
A wounded driver was able to reach Kohat, were the wounded were rushed to a hospital. A police contingent was sent to the area after the attack.
Earlier Friday, unidentified gunmen opened fire on a convoy of NATO containers in northwestern Pakistan, killing a driver and wounding another person.
Local tribal police official Khan Dad said the gunmen opened fire from the nearby mountains as the convoy entered Pakistan from Afghanistan in the troubled Khyber region.
At least seven Filipino marines and four Abu Sayyaf militants were killed in a clash Saturday as the military launched an offensive against al-Qaida-linked gunmen who have been blamed for recent kidnappings and of trying to sabotage a road project in the southern Philippines.
Nine other marines and about 10 Abu Sayyaf fighters were wounded in the gunbattle that raged for an hour in a sparsely populated village on the fringes of the coastal town of Patikul in Sulu province, military spokesman Brig. Gen. Domingo Tutaan said.
Reinforcement troops were hunting down the fleeing militants, who were believed led by Julaswan Sawadjaan, an Abu Sayyaf commander blamed for kidnappings for ransom, including of a Jordanian journalist and two European tourists, who are still held by the militants.
A son of Sawadjaan was believed to have been killed in the firefight, Sulu's military commander, Col. Jose Cenabre, said, adding the marines initially had difficulty returning fire because the militants took cover near a row of houses.
Sawadjaan's men have been accused of last week's kidnapping of a Filipino marine's wife who works in a Sulu provincial hospital. The gunmen also recently abducted two government men working on a road project in Patikul. The two were freed last week but it was not clear if a ransom was paid, officials said.
While Abu Sayyaf abductions still occur, they are far fewer today than the massive kidnappings that terrorized Sulu and outlying provinces in the early 2000s when the group had many commanders and strong ties with terrorist organizations including the Indonesian-based Jemaah Islamiyah.
U.S.-backed military offensives have crippled the Abu Sayyaf in recent years, but it remains a national security threat. Washington has the group as a terrorist organization.
Five military rangers were killed and another injured in a bomb attack in Pattani province yesterday as Buddhists celebrated one of the holiest days on the Buddhist calendar. The incident prompted boosts in security across the southern border provinces to ensure safety - particularly for Buddhists marking the holiday.
The blast took place at about 11:20 a.m. when a six-man ranger unit was traveling on a local road in Sai Buri district. Four rangers were killed on the spot.
Unit leader Capt Subin Puangmanee and volunteer ranger Ronnachit Chaowong were seriously wounded in the blast. Capt Subin died later at the hospital.
The explosion threw the unit's truck 50m and it came to rest on its roof.
In Narathiwat province, a 50-man unit yesterday detained two suspected terrorists militants in a pre-dawn raid. The operation followed tips that a leading member of Runda Kumpulan Kecil (RKK) separatist group was hiding in a house in Rueso district.
Police and troops sealed off the house and arrested two men identified as Rorning Rorhing and Abdulkoder Woma. However, Abdulrohing Dahiso, who is believed to be a leading member of the RKK, escaped the raid.
Security officials said Mr Rorning is wanted on six arrest warrants, five in security-related cases and one for violation of the emergency decree.
One of the warrants issued by the Narathiwat provincial court names him as a suspect in an attack on the office of tambon Samakkhi administration organisation on Feb 16, 2006. The attack killed Pol Snr Sgt Maj Samart Intamano, a leader of a police team providing security for teachers.
Mr Rorning is also wanted for an attack on Feb 16, 2010 in which two soldiers were killed.
Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad unleashed on Saturday their heaviest artillery and rocket barrage yet in a week-long battle to dislodge rebels from a strategic western town, activists said.
Pro-Assad troops, including fighters from the Lebanese militia Hezbollah, have been trying to push rebels out of Qusair. They have gained ground, but rebels have clung to some positions.
Qusair is important to Assad because it sits on a land corridor linking two of his strongholds, the capital of Damascus and towns on the Mediterranean coast. For the rebels, holding Qusair means protecting a supply line to Lebanon, 10 kilometers (six miles) away.
Saturday's barrage of rockets and tank shells began after daybreak, said Qusair activist Hadi Abdullah and the pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is based in Britain. Both said it was the most intense shelling since the regime launched its offensive there a week ago.
They also reported heavy gunfire. There were no immediate reports of casualties.
[An Nahar] Syrian troops have captured much of the rebel stronghold of Qusayr, in central Homs province, squeezing opposition fighters into the north of the strategic town, a military officer told Agence La Belle France Presse on Friday.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog said regime forces backed by members of Hizbullah were bombing northern areas of the city, encircling rebel fighters there.
"The gunnies are surrounded on all sides, there is no escape for them now," the officer told an AFP journalist accompanying army forces in the embattled town.
The regime uses the term "gunnies" to refer to the rebel forces fighting to overthrow Syrian Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Supressor of the Damascenes...
"The battle will continue until the complete liberation of Qusayr. We're in the second and penultimate phase of the fight," the officer said.
The Syrian army, backed by Hezbollah fighters, began on Sunday their assault on Qusayr.
They advanced into the south, east and west of the city, quickly claiming the municipality building in the center of town.
The eastern part of the town, which has been abandoned by residents, has effectively been transformed into a military barracks, the AFP journalist said.
Armored vehicles, military positions and fortifications can been seen in every street and on every corner.
Soldiers are posted on all the buildings overlooking the northern part of the town.
"There are many snipers who are trying to infiltrate buildings to monitor army movements in the secured areas," another army officer says.
At the entrance to a bakery, soldiers drink coffee and smoke cigarettes, while another group keeps a close eye on the main road, "to stop any infiltration by gunnies," one of them said.
The army says it now controls the road linking Qusayr to the Lebanese Bekaa city of Baalbeck, a stronghold of Hizbullah which is allied to the Syrian regime.
Qusayr is strategically important for both the rebels and the regime.
For the rebels, the town of 25,000 people is a conduit on a route along which weapons and fighters arrive from Leb.
The regime wants to control the town to deny the rebels their strategic prize and also keep open the road between Damascus and the coast, which runs by Qusayr.
The Observatory reported violent festivities in the areas of Hamdiyeh and Arjuneh, as well as Dabaa airport, north of the city of Qusayr.
"The regime forces are trying to isolate Dabaa airport from the town to completely encircle the rebel groups," Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
Hezbollah, meanwhile, "is using heavy artillery and mortars" in the fight against the rebels, he added.
Ominous ties are emerging between skyrocketing sectarian violence in Iraq and Syria's civil war. Analysts say al-Qaida-linked militants are flowing back and forth from both countries and are seeking to use religious differences to bring down the government, not only in Damascus, but also in Baghdad.
Iraqis are witnessing the worst violence to rock their country in five years.
Bombings and other attacks against Sunni Muslim and Shi'ite targets are stoking sectarian tensions.