Saturday, 24 May 2014

China launches crackdown after bombing kills 43.

China launches crackdown after bombing kills 43.

Armed paramilitary policemen stand guard next to their armoured
 personnel carrier parked near the People's Square in Urumqi,
 China's northwestern region of Xinjiang, May 23, 2014. — AP
URUMQI | AP | China | 24 May 2014 : :  Chinese authorities launched a yearlong anti-terrorism crackdown Saturday in China's Muslim northwest after a bombing in the region killed at least 43 people, while also announcing the first arrest in the attack.
Police announced names of five people blamed for Thursday's attack in a vegetable market in the city of Urumqi, and accused them of forming a ''terrorist gang'' at the end of 2013, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
Four of the suspects were killed and the fifth was captured Thursday night in an area about 250 kilometres south of Urumqi, Xinhua said.
The group ''took part in illegal religious activities, watched and listened to terrorist violence video and audio materials'', according to the news agency.
It said an anti-terrorism campaign with Xinjiang ''as the major battlefield'' started Friday. Authorities would target religious extremist groups, gun and ''explosive manufacturing dens and terrorist training camps''.
''Terrorists and extremists will be hunted down and punished,'' Xinhua said.
In Beijing, the national capital, police announced they were cancelling vacations for officers and would step up patrols at railway stations, schools, hospitals and markets.
A measure under which passengers at stations in central Beijing are required to undergo security checks will be extended to three additional stations, the city government said.
Passengers at all stations already are required to submit handbags and parcels for X-ray examination under measures imposed ahead of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
Chinese authorities have blamed most recent attacks on radical separatists from the country's Muslim Uighur minority.
Xinjiang is home to the native Turkic-speaking Uighurs (pronounced WEE'-gurs) but has seen large inflows from China's ethnic Han majority in recent decades.
Uighur activists contend that restrictive and discriminatory policies favoring the Chinese migrants are fueling the bloodshed. The knowledge that Muslims elsewhere are rising up against their governments also seems to be contributing to the increased militancy.
Urumqi was relatively calm Friday, with heightened security around the scene of the attack. The market itself was closed and dozens of police armed with automatic rifles and wearing body armour guarded access points.
Police banned parking within 100 metres of schools in Urumqi and said drivers can stop only briefly outside hospitals and bus and train stations.
The violence was the deadliest in Xinjiang since riots in Urumqi in 2009 between Uighurs and Hans left almost 200 people dead, according to an official death toll.
Thursday's attack also was the bloodiest single act of violence in Xinjiang in recent history.
Recent attacks show an audaciousness and deliberateness that wasn't present before. Attackers increasingly target civilians rather than police and government targets.
A bomb attack at an Urumqi train station as President Xi Jinping was visiting the region last month killed three people, including two attackers, and injured 79. Security has been tightened since then.
In response to Thursday's attack, Xi pledged to ''severely punish terrorists and spare no efforts in maintaining stability'', Xinhua reported.
China's top police official, Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun, was dispatched to Urumqi as the head of a team to investigate the attack.
Prior to last month's train station attack, Urumqi had been relatively quiet since the 2009 ethnic riots amid a smothering police presence. The sprawling metropolis' population of more than three million people is about three-fourths Han Chinese.
In March, 29 people were slashed and stabbed to death at a train station in the southern city of Yunnan. The attack was blamed on Uighur extremists. ( Courtesy : Dawn )

Indian Consulate in Afghanistan attacked, 4 gunmen killed.

Afghanistan's National Army soldiers walk out of the Indian
 Consulate in Herat, Afghanistan, after a clash between
 insurgents and security forces on Friday that
killed four militants.

Indian Consulate in Afghanistan attacked, 4 gunmen killed.

The Hindu | AP |24 May 2014 : : The Indian consulate in Herat in Afghanistan was attacked on Friday by four heavily armed gunmen who tried to enter the complex. All four attackers were killed, officials said, adding that the Consulate staff were safe.

The attack began at 3.15 a.m. when the four gunmen tried to break into the consulate, located 600 km from Kabul. Earlier reports had indicated the involvement of three gunmen.

The audacious attack comes ahead of the May 26 swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi as India’s next prime minister. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has confirmed that he will attend the oath-taking ceremony.

Modi tweeted: “I condemn the attack on our consulate in Herat, Afghanistan. Closely monitoring the situation. I have spoken to the Ambassador as well.”

Syed Akbaruddin, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson, told IANS in New Delhi: “All the staff of the Indian consulate are safe.”

“The attempt was thwarted by the staff of the (ITBP) Indo-Tibetan Border Police, who were joined by the Afghan security forces,” said Mr. Akbaruddin providing the latest update on the situation.

He said that Mr. Modi had spoken with Indian Ambassador Amar Sinha and bolstered the morale of the Indian staff there.

Indian Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh is monitoring the situation and is in touch with her counterpart in Afghanistan, said Mr. Akbaruddin.

Mr. Akbaruddin tweeted: “Firing continuing. Situation remains uncertain. But staff at our consulate safe. India monitoring situation.”

“We are glad to tell that all Indian personnel remain safe. We have rechecked that while the situation remains uncertain, there is no threat to the Indian staff,” he added.

Shaida M. Abdali, the Afghan Ambassador to India, told TIMES NOW TV channel in New Delhi that all four gunmen had been killed.

Mr. Abdali described it as a terror attack.

Asked if the Taliban were behind the attack, Mr. Abdali said: “There is no doubt that it is a terror attack, an attack on the friendship of India and Afghanistan.”

“This attack can only embolden our determination that we will keep this friendship at all costs,” he said.

An ITBP official told IANS in New Delhi: “One of the attackers was killed at the entry point only, while three others managed to flee and enter the adjoining building.”

“But in the meantime, Afghan forces joined the operation and gunned down the other three attackers,” the official added. The area has been cordoned off.

The attack in Herat has surprised many as the city, which lies near Afghanistan’s border with Iran, is considered one of the safest in the country. ( Courtesy : The Hindu )

Friday, 16 May 2014

New attacks in Iraq kill 5 Sunni militiamen.

New attacks in Iraq kill 5 Sunni militiamen.

Iraqi boys look inside of a destroyed vehicle the day after a car bomb
attack near an outdoor market in Baghdad's Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City, Iraq, Friday, May 16, 2014. Bombings and shootings
BAGHDAD | AP | 16 may 2014 : :  Separate attacks in Iraq killed five members of an anti-militant Sunni militia on Friday as an al-Qaida splinter group claimed responsibility for a spate of Baghdad bombings that killed at least 19 people the day before.
Insurgents frequently attack members of the Sunni militia, also known as Sahwa, which joined forces with U.S. troops at the height of the Iraq war to fight al-Qaida.
In one of Friday's attacks, gunmen opened fire from a speeding car, targeting a security checkpoint manned by anti-al-Qaida Sunni fighters near the town of Balad, 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Baghdad. Three Sunni fighters were killed and four were wounded in that attack, police officials said.
Hours later, a roadside bomb targeted a patrol of Sunni militiamen just north of Baghdad, killing two fighters and wounding four.
Medical officials confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to talk to media.
Also Friday, in a statement posted on a militant website, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant said it had carried out attacks in the Iraqi capital the day before in retaliation for the military operations against the city of Fallujah in western Anbar province. Fallujah has been in the hands of the Islamic State and other Sunni insurgents since last December.
Thursday's violence included bombings near several government offices and an outdoor market in Baghdad.
The statement's authenticity could not be independently verified but it appeared on websites commonly used by the group.
"We tell the spiteful Shiites and their government... that our lions are craving the taste of your flesh and blood," it said.
Iraq has seen a spike in violence since April 2013, with the death toll climbing to its highest levels since the worst of the country's sectarian bloodletting in 2006-2008. The United Nations says violence killed 8,868 people in 2013. ( Courtesy : Yahoo News ) 

Four Libyan soldiers killed in Benghazi attacks.

Islam around us
AFP/AFP/File - Libyan security forces are seen advancing during clashes with anti-government forces following an attack on a Benghazi police station, early on May 2, 2014

Four Libyan soldiers killed in Benghazi attacks.

Yahoo News |AFP | 16 May 2014 : : Four Libyan soldiers were shot dead on Sunday in separate incidents in the restive eastern city of Benghazi, cradle of the 2011 uprising, security and medical sources said.

"Unidentified gunmen killed four soldiers and wounded another in Benghazi, while another was wounded in an assassination attempt," a security official told AFP.

A spokeswoman at the city's Al-Jala hospital, Fadia al-Barghathi, confirmed the soldiers' deaths. The security official said they had been killed in separate attacks.

An officer died in a hail of bullets in the city centre district of Al-Hadaek. His son, who was with him in his car at the time, escaped unscathed.

The same source said three more soldiers were killed and one wounded in two attacks in the Assalem neighbourhood.

It was in Benghazi that the 2011 uprising which ended dictator Moamer Kadhafi's four-decade rule began.

The city has since been plagued by violence that has killed dozens of members of the security forces, judges and foreigners.

A suicide bombing targeting a security post near the city in December killed 13, and on May 2 five soldiers and a policeman died in clashes between jihadists and army special forces.

Libya's central authorities have struggled to assert their control over the vast, mostly desert country, which is effectively ruled by a patchwork of local militias and awash with heavy weapons.

In March, the authorities acknowledged for the first time the existence of "terrorist groups" in v, particularly in Benghazi and in Derna, an eastern city with a history of Islamist militancy. ( Courtesy : Yahoo News )

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

More chaos as Kashmiris boycott India polls.

More chaos as Kashmiris boycott India polls.

SRINAGAR | The Nation | 07 May 2014 : :  A bomb blast near a polling booth in Kashmir injured a policeman today, amid further stone-throwing protests and a widespread boycott of India's general election in the mainly Muslim region.

Separatists have called on voters to shun the election in India's northernmost state of Jammu and Kashmir, holding staggered voting in its six parliamentary seats to allow 700,000 army troops and police to mount a mobile security operation.

That has failed to prevent a string of killings of village elders, blamed by police on militants seeking to intimidate voters. In the most serious incident, three insurgents and one army officer were killed in a clash on April 27.

The bomb exploded outside a polling station at a village in the Baramulla constituency, one of two voting today in northern Kashmir, injuring a police reservist, police said.

There were numerous reports of protesters throwing stones at police and election officials in the valley. A bomb was also thrown at a police station the Baramulla district, but no one was injured.

Only a quarter of voters have turned out in Jammu and Kashmir so far in the five-week election, in a show of passive resistance to rule from New Delhi and concern over a likely victory by Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Kashmir has been a source of strife since British India was divided into independent India and Pakistan in 1947, with many Kashmiris, and Pakistan, saying the region should have been part of Muslim Pakistan, not Hindu-majority India.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since 1947, two of them over Kashmir. India says Pakistan supports the separatist militants. Pakistan denies this, saying it only offers moral support to the Kashmiri people.( Courtesy : The Nation )

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Taliban leaders establish new political movement.

Former Taliban leaders establish new political movement.

KABUL | The Nation | 01 may 2014   : : A new political movement was established by a number of former Taliban group leaders and members in Afghanistan, with a motive to form an independent Islamic government in the country.
The political movement - Rah-e-Nejat Afghanistan 'Ways to Save Afghanistan' announced its establishment during a gathering in Kabul city, which was attended by a number of Taliban group members. The movement is led by former Taliban leader Syed Akbar Aqa, who was sentenced to 16 years in prison for abducting three UN officials in 2004. Syed Akbar Aqa was released from the prison by Afghan President Hamid Karzai in 2010.
Addressing the gathering Akbar Aqa called on foreign forces to return to their homes and promised the neighboring countries of Afghanistan that theY shared and mutual interests of each other would be considered. He said the Ulemas, former Mujahideen members who were not involved in civil war, students, teachers and members of the civil society can obtain membership of the political movement. A statement was also released by the political movement which stated that the bilateral security agreement between Kabul and Washington was proposed in a situation where only a few cities and areas were in control of the current government. The political movement in its statement also criticized the government of Afghanistan for growing corruption.( Courtesy : The Nation ) 

Twin blasts hit train at Chennai station.

1 killed and 14 injured after twin blasts hit train at Chennai station.

The blasts damaged three coaches, S3, S4 and S5. The train finally left the station at 12:15 pm.
Chennai Police have detained a suspect in connection with blasts while
an investigation by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been ordered.
The Indian Express | 02 may 2014 : : A 24-Year-old woman software engineer was killed and 14 people injured when two low-intensity bombs went off in quick succession in two coaches (S4, S5) of the Bangalore-Guwahati superfast express train at the Chennai Central railway station on Thursday morning. Officials said all the injured, including two who underwent surgery, are in a “stable” condition.
The train was running an hour-and-a-half late when it pulled into platform 9 at Chennai Central at 7.05 am. The first blast occurred about 10 minutes later. It was followed by a second blast just minutes after, triggering panic among the passengers.
Tamil Nadu intelligence chief DGP Anoop Jaiswal told The Indian Express that “low-intensity IED fitted in pipes, triggered by a timer device” was suspected to have been used. Officials pointed to the use of an ammonium nitrate-based explosive.
“Chennai may not have been the target because the train was running late. Some other location could have been the target,” said Tamil Nadu DGP K Ramanujam. Jaiswal said there were no alerts about a possible terror strike, adding that any speculation at the moment was “premature”.
Sources said a passenger was detained on suspicion as he had provided a false name and address while booking his ticket. A senior Bangalore Police officer said CCTV footage showed the suspect  roaming around in the Bangalore station on Wednesday.
The victim has been identified as Swathi Parachuri, 24, a software engineer with TCS Bangalore. Swathi, who was in the S5 coach, was on her way home to Guntur, Andhra Pradesh.
Two of the injured, Sumanto Devanath, 37, and an unidentified passenger, are said to be “serious but stable”. Barring one passenger who had injuries on his neck, the rest suffered injuries on their legs. One of the injured, A Anjaneyalu from Ongole, Andhra Pradesh, a software engineer working in Bangalore, said he was lying down on his berth when the explosion hurt both his legs.
All the injured were rushed to the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital which is near the station. “We have specialists attending to the patients. The condition of all the injured is stable,” said Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan. The blasts damaged three coaches — S3, S4 and S5. The train finally left the station at 12:15 pm. “We have CCTV footage which will be checked by investigators,” said zonal general manager Rakesh Mishra.( Courtesy : The Indian Express )

U.S.: Qaeda affiliates surge, attacks on the rise.

U.S.: Qaeda affiliates surge, attacks on the rise.

The State Department in its Wednesday report counted
9,707 terrorist attacks around the world in 2013, resulting
 in more than 17,800 deaths and more than 32,500
 injuries. (File photo: Reuters)

Al arabiya | 01 may 2014 : : Terrorist attacks have increased more than 40 percent worldwide between 2012 and 2013, the State Department said Wednesday in its annual global terrorism report, adding that a surge in aggressive al-Qaeda affiliates in the Middle East and North Africa poses a serious threat to U.S. interests and its allies. 

Losses in al-Qaeda’s core leadership in Pakistan and Afghanistan have “accelerated” the network’s decentralization. That has resulted in more autonomous and more aggressive affiliates, notably in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, northwest Africa and Somalia, it said.( Courtesy : 
Al arabiya )