US Condemns Latest Missile Attack On Iraqi Base

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo/ AFP

 

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday he was “outraged” by another missile attack on an Iraqi airbase where US forces have been stationed, as neighboring Iran signalled a wish to de-escalate tensions.

“Outraged by reports of another rocket attack on an Iraqi airbase,” Pompeo tweeted. “These continued violations of Iraq’s sovereignty by groups not loyal to the Iraqi government must end.”

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Sunday’s rocket attacks, in which the Iraqi military said eight missiles wounded two Iraqi officers and two airmen.

The US has previously blamed such attacks on Iran-backed groups in Iraq.

The Al-Balad base had held a small US Air Force contingent as well as American contractors, but most were evacuated following a sharp rise in friction between the US and Iran over the past two weeks, military sources told AFP.

Al-Balad is the main airbase for Iraq’s F-16s, which it bought from the US.

Military bases hosting US troops have been subject in recent months to rocket and mortar attacks that have mostly wounded Iraqi forces, but also killed one American contractor last month.

That death set off a series of dramatic developments, with the US carrying out deadly strikes against a pro-Iran paramilitary group in Iraq as well as a convoy carrying top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani outside the Baghdad airport.

Pro-Iran factions in Iraq have vowed revenge for those raids.

AFP

Niger Army Kills 63 Terrorists In Attack On Military Base

 

Heavily armed assailants stormed a military base in Niger on Thursday killing 25 people and leading to fierce clashes that killed 63 “terrorists”, the defence ministry said, in an area where dozens died in a previous jihadist attack.

The raid near to the volatile frontier with Mali by attackers in vehicles and on motorbikes began in Chinegodar, in the western Tillaberi, at 01:00 pm (12H00 GMT), defence spokesman Colonel Souleymane Gazobi said on television.

“The response with the combined air support of the Niger air force and partners made it possible to strike and rout the enemy outside our boundaries,” he said. Partners often means US drones in the Sahel, or French fighter planes or drones in the country.

He put the toll at 25 dead and six injured on the “friendly side” and on the “enemy side 63 terrorists neutralised”.

The attack happened in the same region Tillaberi, also bordering Burkina Faso, where 71 Niger soldiers were killed in a December attack, claimed by the Islamic State group, that saw hundreds of jihadists storm a camp near the border with Mali with artillery.

It was the deadliest on Niger’s military since Islamist extremist violence began to spill over from neighbouring Mali in 2015, and dealt a blow to efforts to roll back jihadism in the Sahel.

That attack spurred leaders of the G5 Sahel nations to call for closer cooperation and international support in the battle against the Islamist threat.

Militant violence has spread across the vast Sahel region, especially in Burkina Faso and Niger, having started when armed Islamists revolted in northern Mali in 2012.

Thousands of civilians have also died and more than a million have been forced to flee their homes since the jihadist revolt began.

Analysts note an escalation in the jihadists’ operational tactics, which seem to have become bolder and more complex in recent months.

Ranged against them are the impoverished armies of Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, plus a 4,500-man French force in the Sahel and the 13,000-man UN force in Mali, MINUSMA.

The Sahel region of Africa lies to the south of the Sahara Desert and stretches across the breadth of the African continent.

bh-pgf/klm/har

Four Civilians Killed In Suspected Islamist Attack In Kenya

 

Four civilians including a child were shot dead on Tuesday as suspected Al-Shabaab Islamists attempted to attack a telecommunications mast in eastern Kenya near the Somali border, police said. 

Two of the attackers were also killed by police.

Kenya is on high alert after the Al-Qaeda linked group on Sunday stormed onto a US military base in the coastal Lamu region, destroying several aircraft and killing three American citizens.

Three Kenyans were arrested later Sunday for allegedly trying to force their way into a British military camp in central Kenya, although the British army later said in a statement they did not believe there was a “direct threat”.

Police spokesman Charles Owino said that more than 10 attackers had attempted to destroy the mast on Tuesday morning, two of whom were shot dead.

A separate police statement said the attack took place in the town of Saretho, 25 kilometres (15 miles) from the Dadaab Refugee Camp — where Al-Shabaab has been found to be operating in the past.

“The criminal gang had targeted the nearby communication mast and in the process four innocent lives were lost, including that of a teacher and small child,” read the statement.

Police said two AK47 assault rifles, materials to make improvised explosive devices and other “crude weapons” were discovered.

“Security agencies have been mobilised and are pursuing the rest of the attackers.”

The Islamists began targeting Kenya after it sent troops into Somalia in 2011 to join an African Union peacekeeping force seeking to combat the militants who have been trying to topple an internationally-backed government in Mogadishu for over a decade.

Al-Shabaab has in the past carried out bloody sieges against civilians in Kenya, such as the upmarket Westgate Mall in 2013 and Garissa University in 2015.

The uptick in tensions comes just days before the one-year anniversary of an attack on a Nairobi hotel complex which left 21 people dead.

Man Killed, Two Injured In Paris Knife Attack

BREAKING: 'Multiple Casualties' As Gunman Opens Fire At US Synagogue

 

knife-wielding man went on the rampage in a park south of Paris Friday, killing a man out for a walk with his wife and wounding two other people before being shot dead by police, officials said.

The Paris police department said the man had attacked “several people” around lunchtime in the park in the suburb of Villejuif.

Some managed to evade him, but the man claimed at least one life — that of a 56-year-old Villejuif local, according to the commune’s mayor Franck Le Bohellec.

The victim “was walking with his wife when the attacker approached; he wanted to protect his wife and it was he who received the knife blows,” the mayor explained.

According to a source close to the inquiry, another man was seriously wounded in the attack and a woman sustained light injuries.

The attacker fled and was later shot dead by police in the neighbouring suburb of Hay-les-Roses.

He had made his way to a shopping centre “where he seemingly intended to continue his attack,” Hay-les-Roses mayor Vincent Jeanbrun told BFMTV.

“Luckily the police were quickly alerted and made their way rapidly to the scene where they neutralised him by killing him,” Jeanbrun said.

Police did not provide a motive for the attack, which came just four days before France marks the fifth anniversary of the killing of 12 people at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris by two brothers vowing allegiance to Al-Qaeda.

 High alert 

France remains on high alert after being hit by a string of attacks by jihadist extremists since 2015, with more than 250 people killed in total.

The day after the Charlie Hebdo attack, a man linked to the Islamic State (IS) group shot and killed a policewoman in a Paris suburb before taking hostages at a Jewish supermarket the following day, killing four more people.

Police eventually killed all three attackers but it was the beginning of the wave of strikes on French territory.

The deadliest came in November 2013, when 130 people died in bombings and shootings at Paris’s Bataclan concert hall, several bars and restaurants, and the Stade de France sports stadium.

In 2016, a man rammed a truck into a crowd in the Mediterranean resort of Nice on the July 14 national holiday, killing 86 people. He was shot dead by police.

In December 2018, a man who swore allegiance to IS shot dead five people at a Christmas market in the eastern city of Strasbourg. Police shot and killed him after a two-day manhunt.

Most recently, a police staff member who had converted to a radical version of Islam stabbed four colleagues to death at the Paris police headquarters in  October.

AFP

Eighteen Killed In DR Congo Militia Attack

Eighteen people in eastern DR Congo’s troubled region of Beni have been killed in a fresh attack by a notorious armed group, a local official said on Monday.

“There was an incursion in Apetina-Sana by the ADF last night,” Beni administrator Donat Kibwana told AFP, referring to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militia. “(They) hacked 18 civilians to death.”

 

‘I Did Nothing Wrong’, Trump Says Ahead Of Impeachment Vote

US President Donald Trump gestures during a working lunch at the NATO summit at the Grove hotel in Watford, northeast of London on December 4, 2019. Nicholas Kamm / AFP

 

President Donald Trump on Wednesday insisted he had done “nothing wrong” ahead of a vote in the House of Representatives where he faces becoming the third US leader ever to be impeached.

“Can you believe that I will be impeached today by the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats, AND I DID NOTHING WRONG! A terrible Thing,” the president said on Twitter.

“This should never happen to another President again. Say a PRAYER!” Trump wrote.

Speaker of the Democratic-led House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi had announced on Tuesday that the body will vote on impeaching Trump over allegations he attempted to force Ukraine into investigating a main 2020 reelection rival, Joe Biden.

He is also accused of obstructing Congress by refusing to cooperate with the impeachment investigation, barring staff from testifying and holding back documentary evidence.

The two articles of impeachment are certain to pass in the House, where Democrats hold a firm majority.

That will send the case to the Senate, where a trial of Trump is expected to open in January, and his acquittal is equally expected, given the Republicans’ control there.

On Tuesday, Trump sent Pelosi an angry six-page letter, in which he told the House speaker that “history will judge you harshly,” while accusing her of “declaring open war on American Democracy.”

Woman Killed, 73 Injured In US Military Base Attack

 

Taliban suicide bombers targeted a key US military base in Afghanistan Wednesday in a major attack that wounded more than 70 civilians, officials said, amid renewed peace talks between the United States and the militants.

The early morning assault began when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-packed vehicle outside a hospital building near Bagram military base in Parwan province, north of the capital Kabul, according to local officials.

Seven more gunmen, some wearing suicide vests are believed to have then entered the building — which was under construction and not operational — in order to use it as a launching pad for attacks against the nearby US base, local officials said.

Almost 10 hours into the attack, an Afghan interior ministry spokesman said at least three militants were still holed up inside the hospital compound, fighting Afghan and foreign forces.

“Three attackers are still inside the building resisting, while three more have been killed and one arrested,” Nasrat Rahimi told AFP.

At least two Afghan civilians, including one woman, were killed while 73 others were wounded in the explosion that damaged houses up to 300 metres (yards) away, Rahimi said.

A Taliban spokesman later claimed responsibility for the attack, claiming that “tens” of US and Afghan soldiers had been killed or wounded.

In a WhatsApp message Zabihullah Mujahid said the militants had detonated a truck bomb outside Bagram base, but denied Taliban fighters had taken up positions inside a hospital.

Afghan and US officials could not immediately confirm if a truck bomb had been used in the attack.

“The attack was quickly contained and repelled … but the future medical facility was badly damaged,” NATO’s Resolute Support mission said in a statement.

It said there were no US or coalition casualties but Georgia’s defence ministry said five of its soldiers received minor injuries in the attack.

The assault comes as Washington resumed talks with the Taliban on Saturday, three months after President Donald Trump abruptly cancelled them after a Taliban suicide attack killed 12 people including a US soldier, in Kabul.

Trump made a surprise visit to Bagram on November 28 to celebrate Thanksgiving with his troops and meet with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

“The Taliban wants to make a deal and we’re meeting with them and we’re saying it has to be a ceasefire,” he told reporters, confirming the resumption of the stalled talks.

It was not immediately clear if the Taliban’s targeting of the US’s largest Afghan military base would affect the renewed talks between the two sides.

On Monday the Washington Post reported on thousands of US government documents which showed that senior American officials had insisted progress was being made in Afghanistan despite clear evidence the war had become unwinnable.

AFP

Death Toll In Czech Hospital Rampage Rises To Six

This handout image published by the Czech police on their twitter account on December 10, 2019 shows policemen standing in front of the Faculty Hospital in Ostrava, eastern Czech Republic, where a gunman opened fire, killing six people. HO / Czech Police / AFP

 

A gunman opened fire Tuesday in a hospital in the eastern Czech city of Ostrava, killing six people, the prime minister said.

“There were four dead and two injured people who unfortunately died too,” Prime Minister Andrej Babis told the public Czech Television.

The gunman is still at large, police said.

Four Killed, Two Injured As Gunman Attacks Czech Hospital

Czech Republic Beat Spain To Reach Fed Cup Semi-Final

 

A gunman opened fire Tuesday in a hospital in the eastern Czech city of Ostrova, killing four people and seriously injuring two others, police said.

“There are four dead and two seriously injured people on the site,” regional police spokeswoman Pavla Jirouskova told the public Czech Television.

She added the suspect remained at large, with police asking the public for help.

Police have published a picture of the alleged suspect on Twitter, showing a man with receding ginger hair and wearing a red jacket.

Czech TV reported that he was about 180 centimetres (5.9 feet) tall.

“I can confirm a shooting at the Ostrava Faculty Hospital after 7:00 am (0600 GMT) today,” Interior Minister Jan Hamacek tweeted.

The DNES daily reported on its website that the shooting had occurred at the trauma ward of the hospital in Ostrava, a steel hub located around 300 kilometres (190 miles) east of Prague.

AFP

Eight Killed In Kenya Bus Attack

 

Several police officers were among at least eight people killed in an attack on a bus in northeast Kenya believed to have been staged by the Somali Islamist Shebaab group, a presidential spokesperson said Saturday.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta had been briefed on the “brutal” murders of eight people, including police, during the jihadist attack in Wajir county, the spokesperson said in a statement.

“We lost seven police officers in the bus attack,” a senior police source told AFP.

“The total number of the people killed are 10. One was identified as a local doctor,” the source said.

A police statement released Friday evening gave no casualty toll, just noting the bus, which linked the towns of Wajir and Mandera, came under attack about 17:30 local time (1430 GMT).

“Security forces are pursuing the killers,” the state house spokesperson said, adding, “the government will not relent in its ruthless crackdown on criminal elements including suspected terrorists”.

The area where the attack took place borders Somalia, which is regularly the scene of Shebaab raids.

One June 15, at least eight police officers were killed in similar circumstances in Wajir county.

Home-made weapons and bombs have been used to kill dozens of police and soldiers in the northern and eastern border regions, where such attacks are relatively common.

The Al-Qaeda affiliate Shebaab has been fighting for more than a decade to overthrow successive internationally-backed Somali governments and has previously resorted to direct attacks on road vehicles.

A regional peacekeeping force in Somalia, AMISOM, which chased Shebaab out of the Somali capital Mogadishu in 2011, includes troops from a number of African nations including Kenya, making police and troops from the country a target for the jihadists.

AFP

At Least 30 Killed In Landslide In West Cameroon

 

At least 30 people were killed in a landslide caused by heavy rainfall in the western Cameroon city of Bafoussam on Tuesday, state media reported.

“At least 33 bodies” have been removed from the mud, the state-run Cameroon Tribune newspaper said on its Facebook page.

Cameroon Radio Television gave the death toll at around 30, a number confirmed to AFP by a senior local official on the condition of anonymity.

“The houses that collapsed were built on the side of a hill in a risk zone,” said the official of the West Region, of which Bafoussam is the capital.

He said the landslide was caused by the “torrential rain” that has fallen in the country over the past few days.

AFP