[ENGLISH.ALARABIYA.NET] Afghan government forces, backed by U.S. air strikes, have regained control of a key district in volatile Helmand province after days of fierce fighting with Taliban insurgents, provincial officials said on Sunday.
The fall of Musa Qala in Helmand to the Taliban on Wednesday put government forces under more pressure than at any time since most NATO combat troops withdrew at the end of last year, with no sign of violence abating.
Helmand province in the south has seen some of the fiercest battles over the course of the war that began almost 14 years ago. British forces lost more than 400 men trying to defeat the Taliban and some 350 U.S. Marines were also killed there.
“A comprehensive operation led by chief of the army staff, managed to retake Musa Qala in which 220 enemies were killed and wounded,” Afghanistan’s defense ministry said in a statement.
British and Afghan troops first wrenched Musa Qala, a town of about 20,000 people that straddles opium farms and smuggling routes, from the Taliban eight years ago before the Islamist militants won it back four days ago.
U.S. aircraft carried out 18 air strikes over the past week trying to push the Taliban from the district, coalition spokesman Brian Tribus said. Some foreign soldiers had also helped on the ground, Tribus said.
[Tolo News] Unidentified gunniesrubbed out Baghlan's Chief Military Attorney Sayed Munawar Shah early Tuesday morning, local officials said.
The incident happened in Pul-e-Khumri, the capital of the province, when gunnies opened fire on Munawar Shah while he was on his way to his office, the deputy head of the public health department Dr. Abdul Alim Ghafari said.
Baghlan police have not yet commented on the incident.
No group including the Taliban has grabbed credit for the incident.
Recently, holy warriors increased their activities in the province and frequently target security posts and local government officials.
[Tolo News] A senior government official on Tuesday confirmed that the Taliban's shadow governor for Faryab province has been detained by the National Directorate of Security ...the Afghan national intel agency... (NDS).
The Taliban capo, Qari Sallahuddin Ayoubi, was taken into custody while traveling on the Herat ...a venerable old Persian-speaking city in western Afghanistan, populated mostly by Tadjiks, which is why it's not as blood-soaked as areas controlled by Pashtuns... -Shindand road. He was apparently en-route to Quetta in Pakistain.
According to the source, Ayoubi was responsible for Death Eater battles in Badghis, Faryab, Sar-e-Pol and Jawzjan province.
[AnNahar] Somalia's Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shabaab holy warriors rammed a suicide boom-mobile into an African Union ...a union consisting of 53 African states, most run by dictators of one flavor or another. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established in 2002, the AU is the successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which was even less successful... base Tuesday before storming the compound, with witnesses reporting many dead, although the AU insisted it had fought off the attack.
Eye-witnesses said the Shabaab had taken over the camp and were looting the weapons stores, but the AU force in Somalia (AMISOM) insisted it was in control of the base.
Witnesses spoke of more than 20 bodies at the site, while the Shabaab claimed to have killed 50. AMISOM was unable to confirm any casualty figures.
"The base is still under AMISOM control, reports that the base has been taken over and our weapons captured are false," an AMISOM statement said without giving further details.
The Shabaab said the attack in Janale district, 80 kilometers (50 miles) southwest of Mogadishu in the Lower Shabelle region, was Dire Revenge for the killing of seven civilians by Ugandan troops at a wedding in the town of Merka in July.
"The attack started with a suicide bomb kaboom and the fighters stormed the base, engaging in fighting that continued inside the military camp for about 40 minutes," said Shabaab front man Abdulaziz Abu Musab.
He claimed that "about 50 soldiers" were killed in the attack and that others drowned in a nearby river while fleeing.
"The mujahedeen fighters have taken complete control of the town and the military camp as well and looted all the heavy weaponry," Abu Musab said. "This attack was aimed to retaliate against the killing of innocent civilians in Merka by the Ugandan troops."
An AMISOM front man said the Janale camp was manned by up to 150 Ugandan soldiers but could not confirm any casualty figures as he was "still waiting details" from the area commander.
Mohammed Shire, a Somali military commander in the area, said there had been "a heavy kaboom and fighting."
Witnesses said Shabaab fighters had breached the barricades around the camp.
"Many people stormed the camp after AU soldiers fled, and they started looting together with Al-Shabaab ... Somalia's version of the Taliban, functioning as an arm of al-Qaeda... ," said local resident Hussein Idris, who said gunnies loaded corpses of AU troops onto trucks.
The Shabaab has previously gathered the bodies of dead soldiers for use in propaganda videos of its attacks.
"They were collecting dead bodies, I saw nearly 30 soldiers killed during the fighting," Idris said.
Another eyewitness, Ahmed Ali, said he had seen AMISOM troops fleeing the base, and had counted as many as 20 bodies.
"The fighters also looted weapons and ammunition," Ali said.
Another local eyewitness described how a Shabaab jacket wallah first attacked the camp gates.
"Heavy fighting ... as opposed to the more usual name-calling or slapsy... broke out after a suicide bomber rammed his vehicle into the camp," said Ali Moalim Yusuf. "I saw heavily armed fighters chanting 'Allahu Akbar' ('God is greatest') pouring into the base."
The Shabaab, fighting to overthrow Somalia's internationally-backed and AU-protected government, has launched a string of similar attacks.
In June, Shabaab fighters killed dozens of Burundian soldiers when they overran an AMISOM outpost northwest of Mogadishu. The holy warriors also stage frequent suicide kabooms inside the capital.
But the 22,000-strong AMISOM force has also made significant gains against the Shabaab, pushing them out of several strongholds in the southwest of the country.
Decades of fighting and erratic rains mean that some three million people in the Horn of Africa nation remain in need of aid, according to the United Nations ...where theory meets practice and practice loses... .
On Monday, aid experts warned Somalia remains in a "critical" state four years after a devastating famine in which over 250,000 people died, with a sharp rise in those needing food aid in the past six months.
Poor rains have impacted harvests, leaving nearly 215,000 children aged under five acutely malnourished and with almost 40,000 of those children facing a "high risk of disease and death", the U.N. said.
[AnNahar] Two Malian soldiers were killed Tuesday in a pre-dawn attack against an army checkpoint outside Timbuktu in northern Mali, the defense ministry and a U.N. source told AFP.
"We lost two men this Tuesday at about 3am (0300 GMT) at our checkpoint north of Timbuktu," a defense ministry official said. The attack by unknown assailants was confirmed by a security source at MINUSMA, the U.N. mission in the country.
The ministry official said several soldiers had also been hurt in the "heavy arms" attack against the checkpoint and a Malian army vehicle hijacked.
The toll so far was "provisional", he said. "We will provide further details today on this criminal attack," he added.
The attack follows a bushwhack on August 3 also in the Timbuktu region when 10 soldiers were killed in an attack on their camp at Gourma-Rharous by attackers believed to be jihadist fighters linked to Islamist group Ansar Dine.
Jihadist groups linked to Al-Qaeda seized control of Mali's vast arid north from March 2012 until January 2013 when they were pushed back by forces from La Belle France, the country's former colonial master.
But parts of the remote north remain out of the control of the army or of the U.N. military mission as the country struggles to restore peace.
There were hopes of a return to stability in May when northern-based loyalist militias signed a peace deal with Tuareg rebels in the area, but the deal remains fragile.
[ENGLISH.ALARABIYA.NET] Saudi security forces confiscated 12 tons of cannabis in a series of raids that saw more than 1,300 people enjugged I ain't sayin' nuttin' widdout me mout'piece! in the second quarter of the year, the Saudi Interior Ministry has announced.
Three people were killed and more injured as Saudi security forces came under fire during the operations.
The dead were two suspected of drugs offences and a security officer. Nine suspects and 25 security officers were maimed in the operations.
The 1309 arrested - made up of 453 Saudis, and 856 of 35 different nationalities - are accused of smuggling, taking and the sale of narcotic substances, the statement from the ministry added.
According to the statement, authorities seized:
- More than 700 weapons
- More than 11 million amphetamine tablets
- More than 12 tons of hashish
- More than 13 kg of raw heroin
[ENGLISH.ALARABIYA.NET] Kuwait's public prosecutor says his office has referred 26 people to court on allegations that include illegal possession of weapons, committing acts harmful to the country's unity, and having "furtive contacts" with Iran and the Lebanese bad boy group Hezbollah.
The official Kuwait News Agency cited a statement from prosecutor Dherar al-Asousi saying the accused include 25 Kuwaitis and one Iranian. All but three of the suspects are in jug.
Kuwaiti security forces last month uncovered a large cache of arms, ammunition and explosives hidden deep underground at a farm, and tossed in the clink Please don't kill me! three Kuwaitis during the raid.
The public prosecution issued a gag order on information related to the incident after local newspapers linked the cell to Iran's Revolutionary Guard and Leb's Shiite Hezbollah group.
Posted by: Fred ||
Top|| File under: Govt of Iran
[FOXNEWS] The military says a Turkish soldier was killed from shots fired from Islamic State-controlled area across the border in Syria. A second soldier is reported missing.
The military said the incident occurred Tuesday at a border post near the town of Kilis. The soldier disappeared following a clash between the soldiers and the assailants.
On Saturday, Turkey announced that its fighter jets carried out their first airstrikes as part of the U.S.-led coalition against IS, attacking extremist targets deemed to be a threat to Turkey.
Turkey agreed to take on a more active role against the radical group in July following a suicide bombing, blamed on IS, which killed 33 people near the Turkish-Syrian border and an attack on Turkish troops guarding the border, which killed one soldier.
Posted by: Fred ||
Top|| File under: Islamic State
[CHICAGO.CBSLOCAL] A Southwest Airlines flight from San Diego to reliably Democrat Chicago, aka The Windy City or Mobtown ... home of Al Capone, a succession of Daleys, Barak Obama, and Rahm Emmanuel,... was diverted to Amarillo, Texas, late Monday night, after six passengers became unruly during the flight.
Southwest flight 1522 was headed to Midway International Airport when a group of passengers traveling together "became disorderly and, subsequently, refused to obey instructions from the crew," according to a statement from the airline.
An Amarillo Police front man said the passengers were fighting and arguing with the flight crew. The airline said the disturbance caused the pilots to divert the plane to Amarillo.
"Out of an abundance of caution, the pilots in command of the flight diverted to Amarillo, where law enforcement officials met the aircraft and detained six individuals. Additionally, six other members of the group chose to deplane and remain in Amarillo," Southwest front man Brian Parrish said in an email.
The flight landed in Amarillo around 10:45 p.m., and resumed to Chicago at 1:30 a.m., arriving at Midway at 3:22 a.m., about three hours behind schedule.
The men who were detained were being processed at the Randall County Jail and charged with interference with a flight crew, police said. They have been identified as Saiman Hermez, 19; Jonathan Khalid Petras, 20; Ghazwan Asaad Shaba, 21; Essa Solaqa, 20; Khalid Yohana, 19; and Wisam Imad Shaker, 23. They are all from the San Diego area.
[DAWN] The National Assembly's Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources was informed on Tuesday that the Rangers had enjugged You have the right to remain silent... the deputy managing director of the Sui Southern Gas Company in Bloody Karachi ...formerly the capital of Pakistain, now merely its most important port and financial center. It is among the largest cities in the world, with a population of 18 million, most of whom hate each other and many of whom are armed and dangerous... for his alleged involvement in funding bad boy groups.
A meeting presided over by the committee's chairman, Bilal Ahmed Virk, was told that three other officials of the company, including the chief financial officer, senior general manger and general manger (projects) were also under Rangers' custody.
"I have talked to the Rangers director general and assured him of full cooperation in the investigation against SSGC officials. I was told that Shoaib Warsi is accused of financing bad boy groups," Mr Virk said.
SSGC Managing Director Khalid Rehman informed the committee that Shoaib Warsi was detained by Rangers personnel on August 26 when he was leaving his office.
"Fearing action by the Rangers, another eight bigwigs have gone underground and now I am the only senior manager left in the company," Mr Rehman said.
He declined to name the bad boy group or share with members of the committee details of alleged links of Shoaib Warsi with the group.
Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi informed the committee that a ban was imposed on new commercial and industrial gas connections in 2011 because there was a severe gas shortage in Punjab.
Posted by: Fred ||
Top|| File under: Govt of Pakistan
[ALMANAR.LB] A jacket wallah struck outside a local government office in a northwestern Pak tribal area on Tuesday, killing at least six people and wounding 31 others, officials said.
The bombing took place in the town of Jamrud, in lawless Khyber tribal district bordering Afghanistan, where the military has been battling Taliban and Islamist groups.
"At least six people were killed and 31 others were maimed after a suicide bomber let 'er rip at the entrance of office," top Khyber tribal administration official Shahab Ali Shah told AFP.Pakistain map
There were four tribal coppers among the dead and more than 15 personnel were maimed, four of them critically, Shah said.
Nek Mohammad, another tribal administration official confirmed the attack.
Nobody immediately grabbed credit for the bombing, but Taliban and Takfiri ...an adherent of takfir wal hijra, an offshoot of Salafism that regards everybody who doesn't agree with them as apostates who must be killed... groups have carried out several attacks against local government and police.
Pakistain's seven semi-autonomous tribal districts near the Afghan border have long been rife with Taliban and Al-Qaeda murderous Moslems.
Posted by: Fred ||
Top|| File under: al-Qaeda in Pakistan
[ALMANAR.LB] Thai police on Monday said they had found bomb-making materials over the weekend in a second apartment following the arrest of a suspect over the Bangkok shrine bombing that left 20 people dead.
"We found fertilizer bags, watches, radio controls -- parts to make bombs and electric charges," national police front man Prawut Thavornsiri told AFP on Monday.
He said the items were found during a raid on an apartment in the northeastern suburb of Minburi over the weekend. He did not detail when the raid took place.
Media accompanied police during a search of multiple flats in Minburi on Sunday but no items were shown to the press or announcement made of any evidence discovery.
The area is near to where an unidentified foreigner was tossed in the clink Into the paddy wagon wit' yez! on Saturday, allegedly in possession of bomb-making paraphernalia including detonators and ball-bearings as well as dozens of fake passports.
Police believe the suspect was part of a crime group who helped illegal migrants obtain counterfeit documents -- and that the kaboom on the shrine was retaliation for a recent crackdown by Thai authorities.
The blast that hit the Erawan shrine in a busy Bangkok shopping district on August 17 was Thailand's worst single mass-casualty attack, killing 20 people -- most of them ethnic Chinese tourists from across Asia.
Thai authorities have played down any suggestion the attack was launched by international gunnies or specifically targeted Chinese tourists.
[SKYNEWS.AU] Thai police have tossed in the slammer Drop the rod and step away witcher hands up! a second foreigner over the deadly bombing at Bangkok's Erawan shrine, describing the man as a 'main suspect'.
The suspect is the second foreigner to be held over the bombing of the Erawan shrine after Adem Karadag was detained at an apartment in Bangkok on Saturday.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said the latest man to be held was captured in Sa Kaeo province, which is east of Bangkok on the border with Cambodia.
He said he is the main suspect wanted over the 17 August attack that left 20 people dead, but did not say whether he is suspected of actually planting the bomb.
Mr Prayuth said: 'We have arrested one more, he is not a Thai.'
It follows the release on Monday of a picture of a man named as Jusuf wanted in connection with the 17 August attack that left 20 people dead.
A 26-year-old Thai woman named as Wanna Suansun is also being sought over the blast.
Relatives of the woman reportedly said they believed she was in The Sick Man of Europe Turkey ...the only place on the face of the earth that misses the Ottoman Empire.... National police front man Prawuth Thavornsiri said he was certain the pair was part of a group police say were responsible for the kaboom.
During a televised statement, Mr Prawuth showed a photograph of the woman's Thai identification card showing a young woman wearing a black headscarf, and a sketch of the man.
He added police were asking for more arrest warrants to be issued.
Thai police said the man named as Adem Karadeg was held on initial charges of possessing illegal explosives.
The Sa Kaeo checkpoint is located at a bustling and seedy border town which is a transit route for smuggled goods between the two countries.
Arrest warrants have been issued for several people including three unnamed males. The only named warrant is for a 26-year-old Thai Muslim woman called Wanna Suansan. Police say she rented a separate flat also in the city suburbs where bomb-making equipment was also found. They issued a sketch on Monday of an unknown male suspect believed to have rented the flat.
Thai authorities confirmed Tuesday that Wanna is overseas but refused to say in which country.
Late Monday AFP tracked down her number and a woman answering that name took the phone call, saying she was living in the Turkish city of Kayseri with her husband whose nationality she did not state. The number was for a Turkish mobile phone.
In her phone interview Wanna denied involvement in the blast, saying she had not visited the flat where the bomb-making equipment was found for around a year. Instead, she said it had been rented to a friend of her husband.
National police spokesman Prawut Thavornsiri told reporters Tuesday that officers had searched her parents' home in the southern province of Phang Nga.
[Gulf Today] Militiamen, reportedly with the support of the Philippine military, on Tuesday went on a rampage in a village in Surigao del Sur province, killing a school official and two others, according to a human rights group. The government denies the charge of supporting the militiamen.
Dr Naty Castro, the regional spokesman of Karapatan, identified the school official killed as Emerico Samarta, the head of the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural Development, based in a village in the town of Lianga. Castro said Samarta was discovered tortured to death inside one a classrooms of the Alcadev located in a village occupied by the Manobo tribesmen in Lianga.
Castro said, "His neck, arms and legs were tied with a rope and initial investigation showed he was stabbed to death."
Castro added two cousins, one identified as Dionel Campos, were also allegedly killed by members of a para-military group called the Magahat, composed of about 20 members allowed by the military to carry heavy weapons.
Castro revealed that Samarta decided to remain at the school when the Magahat members ordered the residents to evacuate and stop supporting the New People's Army.
[EN.ZAMANALWSL.NET] A group of Western-backed Syrian Lions of Islam said on Tuesday they had killed three imported muscle -- two Saudis and a Tunisian -- with 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 in an undercover raid into an area under the control of the ultra-radical Death Eaters.
An alliance of rebel groups known as Jabhat al Shamiya (Levant Front) operating in the northern Aleppo countryside near the border with The Sick Man of Europe Turkey ...the only place on the face of the earth that misses the Ottoman Empire.... said the operation was conducted by their clandestine security unit and was the first of its kind.
They pledged further such commando strikes in the future.
"We promise Baghdadi (leader of Islamic State) more of these security operations in the heart of areas under the control of his fighters," a statement by the Levant Front said.
The region has witnessed intensified fighting in Syria's civil war between Western-backed rebels and Islamist Lions of Islam who have gained further ground, threatening the fall of most of the northern countryside of Aleppo into their hands.
Islamic State has now encircled the rebel-held town of Marea, 20 km (12 miles) from the Turkish border, an area that also falls within a "safe zone" Turkey said last month it would set up in northern Syria to help keep Islamic State at bay.
The jihadists have since May made advances that threaten a major supply route used by rival rebels into the city of Aleppo.
On Tuesday, Western-backed rebels accused Islamic State of firing at least 15 mustard gas mortars during heavy shelling of Marea. A loss of Marea would make it harder for Turkey and the United States to open a new front in the region against Islamic State in coordination with rival rebels on the ground.
Posted by: Fred ||
Top|| File under: Islamic State
[WAPO] The CIA and U.S. Special Operations forces have launched a secret campaign to hunt terrorism suspects in Syria as part of a targeted killing program that is run separately from the broader U.S. military offensive against the Islamic State, U.S. officials said.
The CIA and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) are flying drones over Syria in a collaboration responsible for several recent strikes against senior Islamic State operatives, the officials said. Among those killed was a British militant thought to be an architect of the terrorist group's effort to use social media to incite attacks in the United States, the officials said.
The clandestine program represents a significant escalation of the CIA's involvement in the war in Syria, enlisting the agency's Counterterrorism Center (CTC) against a militant group that many officials believe has eclipsed al-Qaeda as a threat.
Although the CTC has been given an expanded role in identifying and locating senior Islamic State figures, U.S. officials said the strikes are being carried out exclusively by JSOC. The officials said the program is aimed at terrorism suspects deemed "high-value targets."
"These people are being identified and targeted through a separate effort," said a senior U.S. official familiar with the operation, referring to the British militant, Junaid Hussain, and others killed in a recent weeks. Spokesmen for the CIA and the U.S. Special Operations Command, which oversees JSOC, declined to comment. Other officials would discuss the program only on the condition of anonymity. After the Main Stream Media dutifully posted the 4th or 5th report of High Value Target (HVT) hits/terminations, the effort sort of.....ceased being "secret." ISIS training camps appear to be on the 'no hit list', so ISIS leadership now have sanctuary cities.
[ALMANAR.LB] Syrian army and Hezbollah made fresh gains in Zabadani on Monday, just two days after the ceasefire broke down and the military operation was resumed.
Hezbollah's Military Media sources told al-Manar that the allied forces were advancing in Zabadani's west towards the down town.
The Syrian army and Hezbollah fighters are now in full control of al-Jisr neighborhood and the main road of al-Hara al-Gharbiyah (Western neighborhood), the sources said, noting that there was collapse in the ranks of the Takfiri ...an adherent of takfir wal hijra, an offshoot of Salafism that regards everybody who doesn't agree with them as apostates who must be killed... hard boys.
The allied forces resumed the military operation in the southwestern city of Zabadani on Saturday, after the two-day ceasefire broke down.
The ceasefire came into effect on Thursday and included, besides Zabadani in rural Damascus, two villages to the northwest of the country, Kefraya and Foua.
It had been extended late on Friday but had collapsed by the morning.
The Syrian army and Hezbollah have been since July 4 engaged in the battle of Zabadani, the last city under the control of Lions of Islam in the Qalamoun region on the Lebanese border.
The ongoing battle is part of a wider operation launched by the Syrian forces and the resistance movement's fighters on May 4, which has reportedly driven hard boyz out of more than 90 percent of the territory in the mountainous region.
Posted by: Fred ||
Top|| File under: Govt of Syria
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.