Nine Civilians Killed In Somalia Revenge Attack Police

Somalia Election: Mohamed Abdullahi Emerges As President

 

Nine civilians were executed by a local militia in war-torn Somalia after the killing of a policeman by the Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab, police said Saturday.

The revenge attack on Friday just outside Galkayo — one of the most developed cities in the centre of the country — targeted the Rahanweyn clan, several of whose members are suspected of being Shabaab fighters.

“This was a horrible incident, a gruesome killing against nine unarmed innocent civilians in southern Galkayo. All of the civilians belong to one clan and the gunmen shot them dead in one location a few minutes after suspected Shabaab gunmen killed” a policeman, Mohamed Abdirahman, a local police official said.

“This is an unacceptable act and we will bring those perpetrators to justice,” said Hussein Dini, a traditional elder.

“Their killing cannot be justified. It seems that the merciless gunmen were retaliating for the security official who they believe was killed by Al-Shabaab gunmen belonging to the clan of the victims.”

Witnesses told local media that the victims were rounded up from the streets or their homes and then shot dead on the outskirts of Galkayo.

Local officials have in the past fingered the Rahanweyn clan for fomenting instability in the region and supplying fighters to the Shabaab.

The local militia which staged the revenge attack are from the Saad Habargidir, a sub-clan of the Hawiye group which is dominant in the southern part of the city.

Galkayo, situated about 600 kilometres (380 miles) north of the capital Mogadishu, straddles the frontier with the self-proclaimed autonomous regions of Puntland and Galmudug.

The city has been the scene of violent clashes between forces of the two regions in recent years and also witnessed violence between the two rival clans occupying its northern and southern districts.

Islamist Attacker Stabs Tunisia Policemen Near Parliament

File Photo: Islamist Rebels

A hardline Islamist stabbed two Tunisian policemen on Wednesday in front of parliament, gravely wounding one of them, the interior ministry said.

“A Salafist attacked two policemen with a knife. One was struck on the forehead and the other stabbed in the neck and is in intensive care,” ministry spokesman Yasser Mesbah said, adding that the assailant had been arrested

Suspected Militants Kill Three In Mortar Attack On U.N. Base In Mali

Al-Shabab-in-SomaliaSuspected Islamist militants attacked a U.N. base in the northern Mali town of Kidal with mortars and machine guns on Friday, killing three peacekeepers and wounding 30, United Nations and separatist sources said.

The attack is a fresh sign of instability in the desert region that is home to Islamist groups including al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb who have staged increasingly bold raids in recent months and have targeted the U.N. base several times.

“At about 7 a.m. (4 a.m. ET), the MINUSMA base in Kidal was the target of a complex attack which, according to provisional figures, caused the death of three blue helmets and around 30 wounded,” Mahamat Saleh Annadif, the Mali representative of the U.N. Secretary General, said in a statement.

Eight mortar shells were fired at the base and there was also gunfire, said Olivier Salgado, a spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping mission, whose acronym is MINUSMA.

The base is part of an attempt by the United Nations to end violence in Mali following a takeover of the north by Islamists in 2012. A year later a French-led intervention force pushed the militants out of key towns in the region.

The U.N. mission has not stopped the violence and Islamist militants have expanded their attacks in recent months into other parts of Mali and beyond.

These have included an attack on a hotel in Mali’s capital Bamako in November, in which 20 people died, and one on Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou in January, in which 30 were killed.

There is also a decades-long separatist struggle in northern Mali by ethnic Tuaregs.

Islamist Gunmen Kill 17 In Somalia Beach Restaurant Attack

somaliaAt least 17 people were killed in the Somali capital of Mogadishu when five Islamist gunmen set off bombs and stormed a popular beach-front restaurant late on Thursday, Somali police said.

Al Shabaab, a militant group aligned with al Qaeda, said its fighters set off two car bombs at the Beach View Cafe on Mogadishu’s popular Lido beach, and engaged in a gun battle for hours with government troops trying to flush them out.

“The operation ended at 3 a.m. last night and at least 17 civilians were killed,” police officer Osman Nur told Reuters on Friday.

Somalia’s security minister, Abdirizak Omar Mohamed, said four of the gunmen were killed and one was captured alive.

“The government forces rescued hundreds of civilians who were dining there,” he told state-run Radio Muqdisho.

Police said al Shabaab fighters set off the first car bomb at dusk. A huge second blast, which witnesses said echoed around the city center, struck about an hour later as government soldiers laid siege to the restaurant.

Desperate Move

Al Shabaab, which regularly targets hotels and restaurants in the capital, seeks to topple the Western-backed government and impose a strict version of Islamic law across Somalia, a nation racked by conflict since the outbreak of civil war in 1991.

The group at one point controlled most of Somalia, including the capital Mogadishu, but in recent years an African Union peacekeeping force has wrestled most of that territory away from the group.

Somalia’s prime minister urged the public to remain calm and called the attack on a civilian target a desperate move by a group facing annihilation.

“Let it remain clear that (the attack) will not hamper the commitment of my government and that of our people to resurrect Somalia,” Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke said in a statement.

The attack came a week after al Shabaab overrun an African Union base near the Kenyan border, saying they had killed more than 100 Kenyan soldiers. Kenya has not commented on the toll.

ISIS: American Hostage Kayla Muller Killed In Syria Bombing

isisIslamic State ISIS militants claimed on Friday that a US female hostage, Kayla Muller, has been killed in a Jordan air strike in Syria.

Report says that the woman died during air strikes on Raqqa. Ms Mueller was working with Syrian refugees when she was kidnapped in 2013.

Jordan said it carried out aerial bombardments on ISIS targets in Syria on Thursday. The strikes were carried out in response to the killing of a Jordanian fighter pilot by ISIS militants.

The US state department said it could not confirm the reports, but “people are looking into them”.

A video of Moaz al-Kasasbeh being burned alive in a cage was posted online by ISIS earlier this week. He was captured by militants in December after his F-16 fighter jet crashed in Syria. The video is believed to have been filmed on 3 January.

Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said Thursday’s strikes were “the beginning of our retaliation” against ISIS. He also said, “We’re upping the ante. We’re going after them wherever they are, with everything that we have,” he said.

Thousands rallied in Jordan’s capital, Amman, on Friday morning in support of their government’s military response.

ISIS reported on Twitter that, “The criminal Crusader coalition aircraft bombarded a site outside the city of Ar-Raqqah today at noon while the people were performing the Friday prayer.

The report remains unconfirmed and a person close to the case, who has spoken to the hostage’s family, said her parents had not been notified by the White House or other official sources.

According to the ISIS site, a group that monitors online jihadi messages, the Islamic State reported on Twitter that Mueller, of Prescott, Ariz., “was killed when she was buried beneath the rubble of the building”.

 

 

 

 

 

Israel Vows To Destroy Hamas Tunnels

israel2Despite the increasing number of casualties, Israel pressed ahead with its Gaza offensive this morning.

It said that it was days from achieving its core goal of destroying all Islamist guerrilla cross-border attack tunnels but a soaring Palestinian civilian death toll has triggered international alarm.

Several wounded children were brought to Gaza hospital on Thursday, after an Israeli strike hit a U.N school in which they were taking shelter.

Abdel Wahab said at the U.N. school in the Beit Lahiya district; “Women here were surprised when they hit the building. Children and women were sleeping on the mattresses. This woman was killed here when she was sleeping. As you can see – all babies and children,”

The early morning Beit Lahiya strike on the school comes a day after 15 Palestinians were killed at another UN school in the Jabalya area, where thousands of Palestinians were also sheltering.

The U.N. Administrator at Jabalya said that it appeared to have been hit by Israeli artillery.

Israel said it had more than enough reasons to attack the school environs, as its forces were attacked by guerrillas near the school, in northern Jabalya, and had fired back.

However, the United Nations believes there is no justification.

U.N. Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, said “the Jabalya elementary girls school was repeatedly shelled by, from all accounts, Israeli artillery… I condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms, nothing justifies such a horror”, he said.

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet approved continuing the assault, which was launched on July 8 in response to a surge of rocket attacks by Gaza’s dominant Hamas Islamists.

But Israel also sent a delegation to Egypt, which has been trying, with Washington’s blessing, to broker a ceasefire.

Gaza officials say at least 1,361 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have now been killed in the battered enclave.

Israel has lost 56 soldiers to Gaza clashes and three civilians to Palestinian shelling

French, Niger troops kill Islamists holding out at Niger base

French special forces and Niger troops shot dead on Friday the last two Islamists involved in a twin attack on a military base and a French uranium mine in Niger claimed by the mastermind of January’s mass hostage-taking in Algeria.

Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a one-eyed veteran of al Qaeda’s North African operations, said in a statement that his Mulathameen brigade organised Thursday’s raids with the MUJWA militant group in retaliation for Niger’s role in a French-led war on Islamists in Mali.

The coordinated dawn attacks killed 24 soldiers and one civilian and damaged machinery at Areva’s (AREVA.PA) Somair mine in the remote town of Arlit, a key supplier of uranium to France’s nuclear power program. The attacks raised fears that Mali’s conflict could spread to neighboring West African states and brought an Islamist threat closer to France’s economic interests.

Niger’s government said French special forces had helped to end the resistance of two Islamists fighters who were holed up inside the army barracks in the desert town of Agadez early on Friday.

“Niger is more determined that ever to fight terrorism in all its forms,” the government spokesman, Justice Minister Amadou Marou, told state television.

He said a total of 10 Islamists died in the attacks: eight in Agadez and two in Arlit. “The government reassures national and international opinion that every step is being taken to protect people and property across the whole of the country.”

Two military cadets were killed by the cornered Islamists, the minister said. However, a military source, asking not to be identified, said the cadets were shot dead in Friday’s raid.

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told BFM television that special forces had intervened at the request of Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou. France stationed special forces in northern Niger to help protect its desert uranium mines, which provide a fifth of the fuel for France’s nuclear reactors.

Niger has emerged as a firm ally of France and the United States in the fight against al Qaeda-linked groups in the Sahel. It has deployed 650 troops in neighboring Mali and sought to shut its porous desert borders to Islamist groups that are thought to have shifted their bases to southern Libya.

Belmokhtar, signing his statement with his pseudonym Khalid Abu al-Abbas, said the raids were a response to Issoufou’s public claims that the Islamists had been defeated in Mali.

“We will have more operations by the strength and power of Allah and not only that, but we will move the battle to inside his country if he doesn’t withdraw his mercenary army,” the communique, whose authenticity could not be verified, said.

Egypt: Islamists brace up for pro-Morsi assembly

Supporters of President Mohammed Morsi of Egypt are gearing up to the planned mass rally in solidarity with the president over his sweeping new powers and the drafting of a constitution opponents say is too Islamist.

The demonstration in Cairo comes after days of rival protests by supporters and opponents of the president.

His opponents are angry that the draft constitution was hastily backed by the Islamist-dominated assembly on Friday.

Egypt’s top court is to rule whether the assembly should be dissolved.

Senior judges have been in a stand-off with the president since he granted himself sweeping new powers last week.

Saturday’s mass rally in support of Mr Morsi near Cairo University has been called by the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist parties.

They say a huge turnout would show that the president’s recent moves are supported by the public.

Under an emergency decree issued last week, Mr Morsi’s decisions cannot be revoked by any authority, including the judiciary, until the new constitution has been ratified and a fresh parliamentary election held.

It also states that the courts cannot dissolve the constituent assembly.

Mr Morsi says he will give up his extraordinary powers once the new constitution is approved by a referendum.

The president is expected to ratify the draft later on Saturday before putting it to a popular vote.

Nigerian Police on red alert after violent protests in Libya and Egypt

Following recent violent demonstrations in some parts of the world linked to a recent US film believed to have offended a section of some religious faithful, the Nigeria Police said it has taken “immediate proactive security measures to ensure that no similar violence is replicated within our country.”

The Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, in a press statement said “the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar, has placed all Police Formations across the Federation on red alert.

“In this regard, the IGP has directed all Zonal AIGs and Command Commissioners of Police to ensure a 24-hour water-tight security in and around all Embassies and Foreign Missions in Nigeria as well as other vulnerable targets.

“In addition, the AIG in charge of Intelligence and Commissioners of Police in charge of the various Police Special Squads such as the Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU), Police Mobile Force (PMF) and Special Protection Unit (SPU) have been directed to ensure that their personnel are strategically deployed to prevent and nib all potential crisis in the bud.

“While assuring law abiding citizens of the readiness and capacity of the Nigeria Police to provide adequate security for life and property, the IGP warned potential trouble makers to stay off the streets of Nigeria as the nation’s security agencies will bring to bear the full weight of the law on all laws breakers.

“The IGP also advised parents and guardians to monitor their wards closely to protect them from negative influences of mischief makers who may want to lure them into criminal and unwholesome acts,” the statement reads.

The US embassies in Libya and Egypt were attacked on Tuesday.

The US Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens and the other staff were killed in an assault on the U.S. consulate and a safe house in Benghazi by suspected Islamist gunmen. The attackers blamed Washington for a low-budget anti-Islam film produced in the United States, excerpts of which could be viewed on the Internet.

Egypt’s Islamist president begins building government

Mohamed Morsy of the Muslim Brotherhood sets about building a civilian administration for Egypt on Monday that can heal a divisive history of oppression and coax a mistrustful army into relaxing its grip on power.

Behind the scenes, talks were already under way between the Islamists and generals to resolve disputes that blew up this month over steps by the ruling military council to hem in the powers of the first freely elected president Egypt has known.

Cairo’s Tahrir Square, theatre of the revolution that ousted Hosni Mubarak, exploded in joy – and relief – on Sunday as Morsy was declared the narrow but convincing winner of last weekend’s presidential run-off against Ahmed Shafik, another scion of the military establishment which has ruled Egypt for 60 years.

The celebrations continued through an unforgettable night after Morsy won by 3.5 percentage points or some 880,000 votes.

Those in Egypt and beyond who feared a win for Shafik might have spelled the end of the Arab Spring acknowledged a triumph for the popular will, and for the army which accepted it. From Syria’s opposition came word that Cairo was again a “source of hope” for a people “facing a repressive war of annihilation.”

But beyond the vast throng who waved their flags and chanted praises to God for hours on end on Tahrir Square, millions of Egyptians, and the Western powers, looked on with unease at the prospect of the long-suppressed Brotherhood making good on its dream of an Islamic state for the Arab world’s biggest nation.

Among the most anxious were the young, urban revolutionaries who launched last year’s uprising but saw their representatives knocked out in last month’s first round vote, as well as diehard supporters of the old regime who fear for their privileges. Some Shafik admirers wept in fury that the army had “betrayed” them.

REUTERS