Osama Bin Laden’s Designated Heir Confirmed Dead

FILES) An undated file video grab released by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on November 1, 2017, and taken by researchers from the Federation for Defense of Democracies’ Long War Journal, shows an image of Hamza Bin Laden.  AFP

 

US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has confirmed the death of Hamza Bin Laden, the son and designated heir of Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden.

“That’s my understanding,” Esper said in an interview late Wednesday with Fox News when asked if Hamza bin Laden was dead.

“I don’t have the details on that. And if I did I’m not sure how much I could share with you,” he added.

US media reported at the beginning of August that bin Laden was killed during the last two years in an operation that involved the United States, citing US intelligence officials.

But President Donald Trump and other senior officials have refused to confirm or deny it publicly.

“I don’t want to comment on it,” Trump told reporters when asked.

The 15th of Osama bin Laden’s 20 children and a son of his third wife, Hamza, thought to be about 30 years old, was “emerging as a leader in the Al-Qaeda franchise,” the State Department said in announcing the reward.

Sometimes dubbed the “crown prince of jihad,” he had put out audio and video messages calling for attacks on the United States and other countries, especially to avenge his father’s killing by US forces in Pakistan in May 2011, the department said.

That work made him important in attracting a new generation of followers to the extremist group which carried out the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US which left nearly 3,000 dead.

His father’s death in 2011 and the rise of the more virulent Islamic State group saw Al-Qaeda lose currency with younger jihadists, but the group appears to have been plotting a stealthy comeback under leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

AFP

Al-Qaeda Kills 19 Soldiers In South Yemen

 

Al-Qaeda gunmen killed 19 soldiers in an attack on an army base in southern Yemen Friday, security officials said, a day after deadly assaults by rebels and a jihadist bomber.

The gunmen stormed Al-Mahfad base in Abyan province and remained inside for several hours before military reinforcements came, three security officials told AFP, adding that the soldiers were killed in clashes with the jihadists.
“The Qaeda gunmen took advantage of what happened (Thursday) in Aden and launched an assault on Al-Mahfad base and clashed with soldiers,” a government security official said.

“Military reinforcements were sent… and the gunmen were killed while others were driven out with air support from the (Saudi-led) coalition, in an operation that lasted hours,” the official said.

“At least 19 soldiers were killed and others wounded.”

READ ALSO: Trump To Hit China With $300bn Punitive Tariffs In Goods

The other two officials confirmed both the details and the death toll.

On Thursday, separate attacks by Shiite rebels and jihadists hit security forces in Yemen’s second city Aden, killing at least 49 people, many of them newly trained police cadets, officials said.

The first attack was a suicide car bombing carried out by jihadists on a police station that killed 13 police officers and wounded several others, a security source said.

The second attack was carried out by the Huthi rebels, who said they launched a drone and a ballistic missile at a training camp west of Aden.

The aerial attack hit as senior commanders were overseeing a passing out parade for newly graduated cadets at Al-Jala Camp, 20 kilometres (13 miles) from the centre of Aden.

Aden is controlled by the Yemeni government and its supporters in a Saudi-led military coalition, which has been fighting the rebels since 2015.

The Huthis claimed responsibility for the drone and missile attack on Al-Jala training camp but there was no claim of responsibility for the suicide bombing on the police station.

The Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the Islamic State group and other jihadists have flourished in the chaos of the civil war between the government and the Huthis.

The United States considers AQAP the global jihadist network’s most dangerous branch and has waged a long-running drone war against its leaders.

AFP

Jerusalem: Al-Qaeda Leader Calls For Jihad Against U.S.

File Photo Al-Qaeda Leader, Ayman Al-Zawahiri

 

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri on Sunday said America’s decision to shift its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem was evidence that negotiations and “appeasement” have failed Palestinians as he urged Muslims carry out jihad against the United States.

In a five-minute video entitled “Tel Aviv is Also a Land of Muslims,” the Egyptian doctor who took charge of the global terror group after its founder Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011 referred to the Palestinian Authority as the “sellers of Palestine” while urging followers to take up arms.

US President Donald Trump “was clear and explicit, and he revealed the true face of the modern Crusade, where standing down and appeasement does not work with them, but only resistance through the call and jihad,” Zawahiri said, according to a transcript provided by the SITE monitoring agency.

He added that Bin Laden had declared the US “the first enemy of the Muslims, and swore that it will not dream of security until it is lived in reality in Palestine, and until all the armies of disbelief leave the land of Muhammad.”

He argued that Islamic countries had failed to act in Muslims’ interests by entering into the United Nations, which recognizes Israel, and submitting to Security Council and General Assembly resolutions instead of sharia (Islamic law).

Israelis were basking in national pride and pro-American fervor Sunday as tens of thousands marched in Jerusalem, a day ahead of the controversial US embassy move from Tel Aviv to the disputed city.

Palestinians readied for their own protests on Monday over the embassy’s inauguration, including another mass demonstration in the Gaza Strip near the border with Israel.

The embassy move will take place on the 70th anniversary of Israel’s founding, while the following day Palestinians will mark the Nakba, or “catastrophe”, commemorating the more than 700,000 Palestinians who fled or were expelled in the 1948 war surrounding Israel’s creation.

Top US officials have meanwhile insisted they could still push forward the troubled peace process despite outrage across the Arab world.

Asked in an interview with Fox News Sunday about whether there was any life left in the peace process, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded by saying “the peace process is most decidedly not dead.”

“We’re hard at work on it. We hope we can achieve a successful outcome there as well,” said Pompeo whose first two weeks in office have been largely consumed with arranging a summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

AFP

Iraq Hangs 38 Members Of IS, Qaeda For ‘Terrorism’

Iraq Hangs 38 Members Of IS, Qaeda For 'Terrorism'

Iraq hanged 38 jihadists belonging to the Islamic State group or Al-Qaeda for terrorism offences on Thursday in the southern city of Nasiriyah, provincial authorities said.

It was the largest number of executions in a single day since September 25 when 42 people were put to death in the same prison.

“The prison administration executed on Thursday in the presence of Justice Minister Haidar al-Zameli, in Nasiriyah prison, 38 death row prisoners belonging to Al-Qaeda or Daesh (IS) accused of terrorist activities,” said Dakhel Kazem, a senior official in the provincial council.

They were all Iraqis but one also had Swedish citizenship, a prison source said.

Amnesty International has voiced repeated concerns about the use of the death penalty in Iraq, which it ranks as one of the world’s top executioners behind China, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Saturday declared victory against IS after a three-year campaign by government forces backed by a US-led coalition to retake territory seized by the jihadists.

AFP

10 Qaeda Suspects Killed In Yemen Drone Strikes

Al-Qaeda. Photo: Wikimedia

Ten suspected Al-Qaeda members in southern Yemen were killed in drone strikes over the weekend, government officials said Monday, as raids targeting the radical group intensify.

The United States is the only force known to operate armed drones over war-torn Yemen, where thousands have died in the conflict and millions now face famine.

Fadl Tissi, Han Tissi and Sultan Amri — three Yemenis “known for their ties to Al-Qaeda” — were killed when their car was hit in a drone attack on Qaifa in the central Baida province late Sunday, a local government official said.

Another drone attack at around midnight Saturday targeted three vehicles on the road from the southern province of Shabwa to Baida, killing seven suspected jihadists, an official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Washington considers the Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to be the radical group’s most dangerous branch.

A long-running US drone war against AQAP has intensified since President Donald Trump took office in January.

AQAP has flourished in the chaos of the country’s civil war, which pits the Saudi-backed government against Shiite Huthi rebels and their allies.

More than 8,700 people have been killed in the conflict since a Saudi-led military coalition intervened on the government’s side in March 2015.

Al-Qaeda’s jihadist rivals, the Islamic State group, have also carried out several deadly attacks in the country.

Washington in October said it had killed dozens of IS fighters at training camps in Baida.

Al-Qaeda Affiliate In Mali Claims String Of Attacks

 

Al-Qaeda. Photo: Wikimedia

An Al-Qaeda affiliate in Mali on Wednesday claimed responsibility for four attacks on Malian and United Nations troops that it said killed six soldiers.

The Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (NIM) said in statements that it had attacked a police post in Segou on Sunday, capturing weapons and a motorcycle.

On Monday, “fighters ambushed Malian and MINUSMA (UN mission in Mali) forces near the city of Konna in Mopti, killing six soldiers,” according to a report carried by the US monitoring group SITE.

“Other fighters bombed a Malian convoy tasked with securing an area near Niafunke in Timbuktu in preparation for a visit by a local leader,” it said.

Prime Minister Abdoulaye Idrissa Maiga cancelled a planned visit on Monday to the central town after a vehicle sent to protect his team hit a landmine.

Also on Monday, police and administrative officials said 10 people, including nine civilians, had died in attacks in northern and central Mali.

They included five civilian passengers aboard a bus blown up by a mine near Ansongo — an incident that was not claimed in the NIM statements.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Mahamat Saleh Annadif, the head of MINUSMA, lashed the jihadist assailants as “drugged fanatics” and “outlaws”.

He called on Malians to become “collectively aware” of “cowards (who) mix with the peaceful population, discretely melt into the background before carrying out their plans.”

“The people have to denounce their torturers and to flush them out into the open with the help and support of the national and international forces.”

Islamist extremists linked to Al-Qaeda took control of the desert north of Mali in early 2012 at the expense of Tuareg rebels.

They were chased out of Sahara towns by an ongoing French-led military operation launched in January 2013.

In mid-2015, a peace accord was signed with Tuareg leaders aimed at isolating the jihadists.

But much of the region remains lawless, despite efforts by Mali’s army, French soldiers and MINUSMA.

AFP

Somalia Security Forces kill Minister

Somalia Election: Mohamed Abdullahi Emerges As PresidentSomalia’s security forces have shot dead a Government Minister, Abdullahi Sheikh Abas  after mistaking him for a Militant Islamist. 

Officials said the 31-year-old was killed in his vehicle near the Presidential palace in Mogadishu.

Mr Abas, the Public Works Minister became the country’s youngest lawmaker last November, when he defeated a former Minister.

The Information Minister, Abdirahman Osman, said several people had been arrested but did not give details.

Much of Somalia is still under the control of Militant Islamist group Al-Shabab, which is affiliated to Al-Qaeda.

Syria’s Nusra Front Breaks Away From Al-Qaeda

Nusra Front, al-Qaeda, SyriaThe Syrian Jabhat al-Nusra, otherwise called Nusra Front says it has split from the al-Qaeda group, spurring suggestions it might be trying to join the Islamic State (IS) in Syria.

In a video message posted online, the Leader of the jihadist group, Abu Mohammed al-Julani, said that the group would be known by its new name, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham which means ‘front for the conquest of Syria’.

Al-Julani explained that the purpose of the move was to eliminate the ploy used by powers.

Analysts say the Nusra Front decided to re-brand itself after the US and Russia stepped up military efforts against its activities.

Last week, US Secretary of State, Mr John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, agreed to take what they called ‘concrete steps’, to tackle jihadist groups like the Nusra Front and the IS.

Both have been listed as terrorist organisations.

At Least 35 Die In Yemen Blasts

Yemen-blastThree coordinated Islamic State bomb attacks on Monday killed 38 people in the Southern port city of Mukalla in coastal region of Yemen.

Officials say the militants struck at sunset as soldiers were preparing to break their day-long fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

At least 35 people died in Yemen after launching triple bomb attacks in the country’s south-eastern city of Mukalla.

The attacks also injured 24 people, involved a suicide bomber, a car bomb and an improvised explosive device.

An offshoot of Al-Qaeda controlled the port city but was recaptured in April by Yemeni government and Saudi-led coalition forces.

Islamic State militants claimed responsibility for the attacks via their online news agency, Amaq.

The first explosion occurred as an attacker detonated his suicide vest at a checkpoint on Mukalla’s western approaches.

The second blast came from a bomb-laden car at the military intelligence headquarter and the final one was an improvised explosive which went off as the soldiers were about to begin their evening meal.

The Yemeni security officials believe the attacks was caused by the rivalry between Al-Qaeda and Islamic State.

Jordan Collaborates With Nigeria On Terrorism

Nigeria-Jordan-Collaborate-On-terrorismThe Republic of Jordan and Nigeria are exploring areas of collaboration to bring an end to the threats posed by the Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria’s northeast.

A delegation led by the Special Adviser to the King of Jordan on Political Affairs, Mr Manas Dabbas, were in Nigeria on Wednesday.

The delegation congratulated the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and the Nigerian Armed Forces for their persistence at reducing the activities of the Boko Haram Terrorists.

Jordan sought closer collaboration in the area of intelligence gathering, regional cooperation and capacity building to enhance total eradication of extremist groups in Africa.

Mr Dabbas stated that the world was experiencing serious security threats from assorted radical groups like Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda and Al Shabbab among others.

He called for combined efforts by affected countries to provide mechanisms to under study conflicts and crisis occasioned by terrorist organisations with the aim of defeating such terrorist groups.

The spokesman for His Royal Majesty King Abdullah II praised the efforts of the CDS in piloting the affairs of the Nigerian Armed Forces and promised his country’s commitment to assisting Nigeria in combating the threat posed by Boko Haram.

The Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, thanked the Jordanian envoy for the visit and told the delegation about the operations of the Multi-National Joint Task Force and the synergy between regional troops to degrade the Boko Haram terrorists.

The CDS solicited for cooperation in the area of training and provisions of counter Improved Explosive Devices (IEDs) and emphasised the need to interface with regional forces and security agencies to eliminate the threat of terrorism.

He was accompanied by some Principal Staff Officers from Defence Headquarters to receive the Jordanian delegation.

Terrorist Attack: No Need To Panic – Ghana’s President

Terrorist AttackAuthorities in Ghana have called on residents in the country not to panic after a leaked security memo shows militant Islamists are planning a terrorist attack the West African country.

President John Mahama has asked for public vigilance. He says Ghana is also at risk from home-grown militants.

The memo reveals this information was obtained from a man held in Ivory Coast over last month’s deadly attack on a beach resort.

It also warned of a possible attack on neighbouring Togo. Ghana and Togo have never been attacked by militant Islamists.

Ivory Coast was hit for the first time on March 13 when gunmen killed at least 18 people at the Grand Bassam Beach Resort, which is popular with locals and foreigners.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility for the attack.

Partial Niger Election Results Show President Heading For Victory

Niger presidentNiger Republic’s President, Mahamadou Issoufou is heading for a crushing victory in a run-off election that became a near-formality when the opposition coalition declared a boycott, partial results on Tuesday showed.

With 226 constituencies counted from a total of 308, Issoufou received 93 percent of Sunday’s vote, according to the national electoral commission. Turnout was around 61 percent.

Issoufou, an ally of the West in its fight against Islamist insurgents in West Africa, won the first round comfortably last month with 48 percent of votes but failed to clinch the outright majority required to avoid a second round.

The candidate who came second, opposition leader Hama Amadou, has been in jail since November on charges relating to a baby-trafficking scandal, but was flown to France for medical treatment last week.

Amadou says he is innocent and claims the charges against him are politically motivated.

The Coalition for an Alternative (COPA), which unites about 20 political parties including Amadou’s MODEN, called for a boycott of the polls, claiming the process had been tainted by fraud.

Southern Niger, which borders Nigeria, has been the target of frequent deadly raids by Islamist Boko Haram militants.

It also shares borders with Burkina Faso and Mali to the west, where al Qaeda-linked groups are active. Libya, home to Islamic State affiliates, lies on its northern border.