"Several" British nationals are caught up in a terrorist attack at a gas field in Algeria where workers have been taken hostage.
An Islamist militant group has claimed to have kidnapped up to 41 foreign nationals - including seven Americans and an Irishman in a dawn raid on the gas facility part-operated by BP, Sonatrach (the Algerian national oil company), and Statoil in Algeria.
Three people have reportedly been killed in the attack on the plant situated in the east of the country near the Libyan border.
Prime Minister David Cameron chaired a 45-minute meeting of the Government's crisis committee Cobra on the attack, attended by ministers from the Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence, as well as officials from other agencies.
His official spokesman said afterwards: "The ongoing incident has involved various nationalities, including several British nationals.
"We are working with BP to support the families of staff and provide consular assistance."
Al Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM) warned they would take revenge for the intervention in Mali, saying they would bring the war to Paris.
That may yet happen, but in the short term it looks as if they are on the hunt for Westerners wherever they can find them.
A good place to look is the oil and gas industry, especially in Algeria. The five Japanese hostages taken may just be unlucky enough to be foreigners the hostage takers came across along with those they would prize more highly - Europeans and Americans..
Posted by: Frank G ||
at least 41 hostages ... British, American, Norwegian, Japanese, French. The Islamists got a virtual United Nations of oil & gas workers when they took over the living compound inside the BP plant. One way or another this will get resolved ... it's just a question of how many hostages get killed.
"Bring the war to Paris" > reminds me of an old Dream/Vision of mine where the French Foreign Legion + Gendarmes were seemingly setting up fighting or combat positions inside Paris + France.
I suspect the Hard Boyz made good on their threat to bring the Jihad to France.
Iff Central Africa does fall to Radical Islam, that wil leave formerly British southern Africa -WHAT ARE THE DUTCH DOING TO PROTECT THEMSELVES + THEIR BOER RELATIONS [South Africa] + LOWLANDS [Camelkaze threats to the Zelder Zee], ESPEC IFF FRANCE IS SUCCESSFULLY DESTABILIZED + THE BRITS [post-2014 = England + Wales left] HAVE TO SEND FORCES TO FRANCE INSTEAD OF THE MALVINAS AGZ ARGIE BABE CRISTINA???
Nothing says military strategy like telling your enemy what you are going to do.
French troops are set for their first major ground combat with Islamist rebels in Mali after heading out from the capital, Bamako.
A convoy of about 30 armoured vehicles set out on Tuesday for Diabaly, 350km (220 miles) to the north, a town captured by the rebels on Monday.
The first units of an African force are set to arrive on Wednesday to bolster the French.
France intervened last Friday to halt the Islamists' drive to the capita
this is not a 3-month conflict. it will go on for years. the Islamists are well equipped (with Libyan weapons and US training), have dug caves and hideouts, and stored supplies in many secret locations. France is seriously undermanned if they are committing only 1,000 men and some aircraft. They can capture a few key towns, but by no means can secure a large terrority.
The rebels control just about everything north of Dialbaly, Konna, and Douentza (Nearly 3/4th of Mali); an area about the size of Texas. It's going to take much more than what the French have there. The conflict will most likely broaden. As Raider said this is not a 3-month conflict.
loss of Dennis Allex ... very sad day. About 3-1/2 years in captivity, who knows what kind of mistreatment he underwent, rescue mission failed and he was aware that it cost lives. that's a hard way to go. Condolences to his family and friends.
I hope they have ROEs that don't handicap them and good air support readily available. There was another convoy Groupement Mobile 100 that got chewed up badly in the French Indo China War. Death on the highway Just saying.
[BBC.CO.UK] French military officials have denied an earlier claim by the Malian army that the central town of Konna has been recaptured by government forces. Harrisburg remains uncaptured, too. La Belle France launched its military intervention last Friday after Islamists seized Konna and began advancing further south. Nobody's taken Saskatoon, either...
Another central town, Diabaly, was captured by rebels on Monday.
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The Northern Alliance was a real army, with leaders that had spent years fighting the Soviets and then duking it out among themselves. It sounds like Mali's government troops are a shambles. Makes sense, given that its elite, most of them Tuaregs, defected to the rebels.
You gotta love the Pentagon's political correctness - if we train Malians on the basis of competence without any thought to the fact that most of the highly-competent are from the ethnic group with the separatist movement, the nation's different ethnic groups will all hold hands and sing "We are the world". Lo and behold - as soon as the rebels start making serious advances, the US-trained Tuareg troops defect. It would be even more amusing if they were working hand-in-glove all along.
[FRANCE24] France deployed a convoy of armoured tanks towards Mali's restive north from the capital Bamako on Tuesday, as part of an expanding joint Malian-French offensive to retake the region from Islamist rebels. I've actually never laid eyes on an unarmored tank. Where do they get these people?
It's France24. AFP calls them "armoured vehicles", and has a photo so the reader can judge for himself.
Witnesses said hundreds of Malian and French troops in armoured vehicles were headed to Diabaly, a town 400 kilometres (250 miles) north of the capital that was seized by the rebels on Monday. Another convoy was seen leaving Bamako in a northerly direction.
[Al Ahram] Italia suspended activity at its consulate in Benghazi and withdrew staff for security reasons on Tuesday after a gun attack on its consul at the weekend which underlined the precarious security situation in the North African state.
Unidentified gunnies opened fire on Guido De Sanctis's heavily armoured car in Benghazi, Libya's second city, on Saturday. The diplomat was unhurt but the attack was a reminder of the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. mission there that killed the ambassador and three other Americans.
The foreign ministry said "attempts to destabilise" Libya showed that the international community needed to intensify its support for the governmentin Tripoli ...a confusing city, one end of which is located in Lebanon and the other end of which is the capital of Libya. Its chief distinction is being mentioned in the Marine Hymn....
[MAGHAREBIA] The Algerian army on Monday (January 14th) killed three beturbanned goons and maimed two others in the region of Meskeline, 300km south-east of Djanet, APS reported.
The terrorist group attempted to infiltrate Algeria through the common border area with Niger and Libya, according to a defence ministry statement. Five automatic weapons and one all-terrain vehicle were seized in the operation. The ministry added that the army would "guarantee border security against all attacks on national territorial integrity".
[An Nahar] A United Arab Emirates court sentenced an Emirati national married to an Iranian woman to seven years in jail on Tuesday after convicting him of spying, the official WAM news agency reported.
Salem Musa Fairuz Khamis was convicted of "having contact with a foreign country" at the Supreme Federal Court, the UAE's highest court, WAM said.
The defendant had confessed to establishing contact in 2008 with two officials at an unnamed consulate "to help him with a private matter concerning his Iranian wife," it said.
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For a map, click here. For a map of Zacatecas state, click here.
By Chris Covert
Mexican Policia Federal units will continue to patrol the roads and highways of Zacatecas and more reinforcements are coming, according to Mexican news reports.
In a news account published in the website of El Sol de Zacatecas news daily, Zacatecas governor Miguel Alonso Reyes was quoted saying that Mexico interior minister, Miguel Osorio Chong has promised to keep Mexican federal security forces patrolling the state.
Govenor Alonso Reyes recounted a meeting with Osorio Chong last Thursday in which the Secretaria de Gobernacion (SEGOB), the official name for the interior minister, iterated federal support for security operations in the state.
Two weeks ago in a required report, SEGOB said that Policia Federal units would be dispatched to the border area between Jalisco and Michoacan states in the wake of a spike in violence in that area.
The area to be reinforced is well south of Zacatecas state. Another trouble spot for Zacatecas state has been the border area with Jalisco state to its south. Already Mexican Army troops patrol the area and maintain a large base.
SEGOB last December folded the old Secretaria de Seguridad Publica (SSP) -- the controlling agency for the Policia Federal -- into a separate sub agency of SEGOB, while discussions in Mexico City among legislators continue with President Enrique Pena's newly proposed Gendarmaria Nacional continue. What form and what mission the new police force will take remains a mystery. Despite its new role in SEGOB, Policia Federal units are constantly being shifted to trouble spots in Mexico, much as they was used during the term of former president Felipe Calderon.
Alonso Reyes also said that SEGOB has committed to keeping Mexican Army and Naval Infantry troops in the state. Zacatecas currently houses three Mexican Army rifle battalions in the state in the form of several rifle company sized installations.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com
A total of 39 unidentified individuals have been murdered or have been found dead in Mexico state and in Mexico's capital since Sunday, according to Mexican news accounts.
A news item posted on the website of El Sol de Mexico news daily Monday said that 14 individuals were found in three separate sites Monday in Mexico state.
An unidentified spokesman with the Mexico state Procuraduria General del Etstado (PGE) or attorney general reported that six of the dead were found in Toluca, the state capital of Mexico state, wrapped in plastic bags and stuffed inside a vehicle in Zinacantepec colony. Another five were found in El Seminario colony, and two more were found dead in Santiago Tianguistenco colony.
According to a news item posted on Animal Politico website, a total of 17 dead have been found since Sunday including the 13 found dead Monday.
The report also quoted Procuraduria General de Justicia del Distrito Federal (PGJDF) Rodolfo Fernando Rios Garza saying 22 more victims have been found in Distrito Federal since last Sunday. Violent incidents also included three kidnappings in Venustiano Carranza and Alvaro Obregon.
Rios Garza insisted that some of the shootings and deaths in Distrito Federal were isolated incidents, with little connection to organized crime.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com
[Al Ahram] A jacket wallah killed a Sunni Iraqi MP and six others Tuesday, wrapping his arms around the politician before blowing himself up, officials said, amid a political crisis engulfing the country.
The killing of Ayfan Saadun al-Essawi comes just two days after Finance Minister Rafa al-Essawi, a fellow Sunni and a member of the same tribe and political bloc, escaped an apparent liquidation attempt as his convoy was passing near where Tuesday's attack took place.
It is likely to further enflame tensions with Iraq already grappling with a political crisis that has pitted Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki against Essawi's secular Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc.
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A man was arrested in Narathiwat province for his alleged involvement in an terrorist insurgency attack on a karaoke pub and a restaurant in the province earlier this month. The suspect was identified as Kareeya Pi, one of five men who opened fire on the pub and the restaurant on January 9. Four were wounded in the attack.
Thai marines conducted a raid in Ngee Ngor district and nabbed the suspect at his house after monitoring him and other suspects for days after the attack.
Capt Somkiat Ponprayoon, commander of the marine unit, claimed Kareeya confessed during interrogation to being one of the gang and to being responsible for identifying the venue and cooperating with other suspects. He identified two of the other four as Asem Bueraheng and Maroemuelee Kajaekasor, both of whom are now hiding in Ruesoh district.
Suicide bombers driving vehicles packed with explosives blew themselves up near security targets in northern Syria on Wednesday, killing at least 22 people, state-run media and activists said.
The near-simultaneous attacks in the city of Idlib brought the carnage of Syria's civil war to a second major urban center in the country's north in as many days, following the massive blasts a day earlier that killed 87 people at a university in the commercial hub of Aleppo.
There were conflicting reports about the number of explosions Wednesday in Idlib, where rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Assad control much of the countryside, while the regime remains in charge of the city itself.
Suicide bombers won't be effective unless they're on a boat and they ram the Russian ship with Assad on it...
[REUTERS] Two kabooms tore through one of Syria's biggest universities on the first day of student exams on Tuesday, killing 83 people and wounding dozens, a monitoring group said.
Bloodshed has disrupted civilian life across Syria since a violent government crackdown in early 2011 on peaceful demonstrations for democratic reform turned the unrest into an armed insurgency bent on overthrowing Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad. Supressor of the Damascenes...
More than 50 countries asked the United Nations ...an organization originally established to war on dictatorships which was promptly infiltrated by dictatorships and is now held in thrall to dictatorships... Security Council on Tuesday to refer the crisis to the International Criminal Court ... where Milosevich died of old age before being convicted ... , which prosecutes people for genocide and war crimes. But Russia - Assad's long-standing ally and arms supplier - blocked the initiative, calling it "ill-timed and counterproductive.
Each side in the 22-month-old conflict blamed the other for Tuesday's blasts at the University of Aleppo, located in a government-held area of Syria's most populous city.
Some activists in Aleppo said a government attack caused the kabooms, while state television ... and if you can't believe state television who can you believe?
accused "terrorists" - a term they often use to describe the rebels - of firing two rockets at the school. A rebel fighter said the blasts appeared to have been caused by "ground-to-ground" missiles.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britannia-based monitoring group, said 83 people were killed and dozens maimed, but it could not identify the source of the blasts.
"Dozens are at death's door," the Observatory said in a statement, citing doctors and students.
State television showed a body lying on the street and several cars burning. One of the university buildings was damaged.
Video footage showed students carrying books out of the university after one of the kabooms, walking quickly away from rising smoke. The camera then shakes to the sound of another kaboom and people begin to run.
"A cowardly terrorist act targeted the students of Aleppo University as they sat for their mid-term examinations," Syria's United Nations ambassador, Bashar Ja'afari, told the U.N. Security Council in New York. He said 82 students had died and 162 more were maimed.
If confirmed, the government's report of a rocket attack would suggest rebels in the area had been able to obtain and deploy more powerful weapons than previously used.
The nearest rebel-controlled area, Bustan al-Qasr, is more than a mile away from the university.
Activists rejected the suggestion that cut-throats were behind the attack, however, and instead blamed the government.
"The warplanes of this criminal regime do not respect a mosque, a church or a university," said a student who gave his name as Abu Tayem.