Five Arrested For Suspected Terrorism In Kenya

 

Kenyan authorities have arrested five people suspected of preparing a terror attack in Nairobi, according to a police report seen by AFP on Sunday.

The group comprises three men — a US citizen, a Somali and their Kenyan driver — and two Somali women who were believed to be on a reconnaissance mission for an attack in the north of the capital, the report dated Saturday said.

Police received information on Friday saying that “suspected terrorists” were carrying out a surveillance operation at a pub on Kiambu Road, a spot popular for its many bars and nightclubs.

READ ALSO: Iran Plane Crash: Ukraine Receives Bodies Of Victims 

Kenyan security forces have been on high alert since the Somali Al-Shabaab group, close to Al-Qaeda, stepped up attacks in the east of the country this month, threatening to target more Kenyan and US interests.

On January 5, the Somali Al-Shabaab group attacked Camp Simba, killing three Americans and destroying several aircraft and warning Kenya to withdraw its forces from Somalia while they still “have the chance”.

Kenya sent troops into Somalia in 2011 as part of an African Union peacekeeping mission fighting against Al-Shabaab, and has seen several brutal retaliation attacks both on its troops in Somalia and civilians in Kenya.

AFP

Two Killed In London Stabbing Terror Attack

Police and emergency vehicles gather near London Bridge in London, on November 29, 2019, after reports of shots being fired on London Bridge. 
DANIEL SORABJI / AFP

 

The Metropolitan Police on Friday said two members of the public were killed in a terror attack in London, while three others were still being treated.

“It is with the heaviest of hearts that I have to inform you that, as well as the suspect who was shot dead by the police two of those injured in this attack in the London Bridge area, have tragically lost their lives,” said Commissioner Cressida Dick.

AFP

Police Shoot Man On London Bridge After Attack

Police gather near The Monument in central London, on November 29, 2019, after reports of shots being fired on London Bridge. Armed police shot a man on London Bridge following a stabbing incident on Friday in which several people were believed to have been injured, reviving memories of a terror attack two years ago in which eight were killed. PHOTO: BEN STANSALL / AFP

 

Armed police shot a man on London Bridge after several people were stabbed on Friday, reviving memories of a terror attack two years ago that killed eight.

Scotland Yard said they were treating the situation as “terror-related” as a precautionary measure while the ambulance services declared a “major incident”.

One man was being detained.

Britain’s Home Secretary Priti Patel, the interior minister, said she was “very concerned” at events while Prime Minister Boris Johnson cut short a visit to his constituency in northwest London.

Footage filmed by eyewitnesses circulating on Twitter showed a scrum of people surrounding a man on the ground.

One man wearing a coat and tie, retreating from the scene, appeared to be holding a knife in his right hand.

Three armed officers then appeared on the scene and surrounded the scrum. One officer pulled a man away before two shots appeared to be fired

Johnson’s spokesman said the premier was on his way back to his Downing Street office, where he would receive further updates on the incident.

In a brief statement, Johnson thanked the police and all emergency services “for their immediate response”.

Police said they were called at 1:58 pm (1358 GMT) to a stabbing at a premises near the bridge, which in June 2017 was hit by a terror attack which killed eight and injured 48.

“At this stage, the circumstances relating to the incident at London Bridge remain unclear,” the Metropolitan Police said.

“However, as a precaution, we are currently responding to this incident as though it is terror-related. One man has been shot by police.”

Police said they were called just before 2 pm to a stabbing at premises near London Bridge.

“A number of people have been stabbed we will provided further details of those injured when possible,” a spokesman said in a statement.

“A man has been shot by police at the location,” the spokesman added.

 

– Bridge closed off –
An eyewitness told reporters: “He was on the ground with a knife near him, and a bag near him and then they surrounded him and armed police shot him.”

A BBC reporter on the bridge at the time said he saw what appeared to be a fight between a group of men, heard two shots and saw a man “prone” on the ground.

People in the area were quickly ushered away from the scene.

The bridge was closed off, with buses and traffic on London Bridge at a standstill. A white truck appeared to have jacknifed on the bridge.

One eyewitness told the BBC she and other people in the area rushed into a restaurant and were told by staff to take cover.

“They went, ‘Get under the table, shots have been fired. Gunshots’,” said the woman.

The 2017 attack involved Islamist extremists in a van who ploughed into pedestrians on London Bridge before attacking people at random in nearby Borough Market.

The three attackers, who were wearing fake suicide vests, were shot dead by police.

Borough Market and nearby London Bridge station were both shut as a precaution, according to the emergency services.

The Metropolitan Police were due to issue a statement outside their Scotland Yard headquarters.

Britain downgraded its terrorism threat level from “severe” to “substantial” on November 4, its lowest rating in more than five years.

British officials consider a terrorist attack “likely” when the threat level is substantial, and “highly likely” when it is severe.

AFP

Six Shot Dead In Burkina Faso’s Terror Attack

Burkina Faso on the map.

 

Six people were shot dead on Monday by police in eastern Burkina Faso during a “terrorist attack” on a security patrol, security sources said.

An officer was also wounded in the incident at about 0500 GMT near Bougui, about 10 kilometres (6 miles) from Fada N’Gourma, the main town in the Eastern Region administrative area, a source said.

“A patrol team of the territorial gendarmerie brigade of Fada N’Gourma was ambushed in the village of Bougui,” a security source told AFP.

“The terrorists opened fire at the convoy, damaging the lead vehicle.”

The police responded, firing on the attackers, killing six of them but leaving one officer with a foot injury, another security source said.

“Several weapons, including Kalashnikovs and ammunition,” were seized from the attackers, the source added.

The security patrol was attacked during an operation to dismantle a cache of weapons belonging to suspected terrorists in the nearby area, a local official said.

Burkina Faso, bordering Mali and Niger, has been battling jihadist attacks over the last three years.

Attacks initially began in the north of the country but have since spread to the east, near the border with Togo and Benin.

On Friday five people, including four police officers, were killed when their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device (IED) in the eastern town of Boungou.

According to a report in late September, jihadist attacks have claimed 229 lives in the country since 2015.

AFP

Suspected Terror Attack Injures Pedestrians Outside British Parliament

A police dog team works behind the cordon around Parliament Square after a car crashed outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London, Britain, August 14, 2018. REUTERS/Andrew Marshall

 

A car crashed into barriers outside Britain’s Houses of Parliament in a suspected terror attack on Tuesday, injuring a “number of pedestrians” yards from where five people were killed last year.

Police said they had arrested the driver, in his late 20s, and were holding him on suspicion of terrorist offences.

“At this stage, we are treating this as a terrorist incident,” said Scotland Yard, adding that none of the injuries are believed to be “life-threatening”.

Footage shows the silver Ford Fiesta veering across an intersection, hitting a number of cyclists and pedestrians, before speeding into a barrier outside the Houses of Parliament at 7.37 am (0637 GMT).

Another recording shows injured cyclists and pedestrians lying in the street in the immediate aftermath of the incident.

Armed officers swooped in to arrest the driver, removing him from the vehicle at gunpoint.

Later images showed police holding the man, dressed in jeans and a black puffer jacket, in handcuffs as roads and Underground stations around parliament were sealed off.

“The driver of the car, a man in his late 20s… was arrested on suspicion of terrorist offences,” said police.

“There was nobody else in the vehicle, which remains at the scene and is being searched. No weapons have been recovered at this stage.”

 ‘Looked intentional’ 

Police have yet to identify the suspect, who was not cooperating with detectives, said Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu.

London Ambulance said they had treated a man and a woman at the scene and taken them to hospital.

The man was later discharged, while the woman remained in hospital, where she was being treated for serious but non-life-threatening injuries, according to Basu.

Prime Minister Theresa May, currently in Switzerland, tweeted that her “thoughts are with those injured in the incident in Westminster”.

Government officials will hold a meeting of the emergency Cobra committee at 2.00 pm.

Witness Ewalina Ochab told the Press Association that the incident “looked intentional”.

“I was walking on the other side. I heard some noise and someone screamed,” she said.

“I turned around and I saw a silver car driving very fast close to the railings, maybe even on the pavement.

“I think it looked intentional — the car drove at speed and towards the barriers.”

 ‘Loud bang’ 

Eyewitness Jason Williams, 45, also said that the incident looked deliberate.

“I saw a car going at high speed towards Parliament. It hit a bollard,” he told the Press Association.

“It didn’t look like an accident. How do you do that by accident? It was a loud bang.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said “all Londoners, like me, utterly condemn all acts of terrorism on our city.

“The response of Londoners today shows that we will never be cowed, intimidated or divided by any terrorist attack,” he said.

Westminster was the scene of a terror attack last year, when Khalid Masood, a 52-year-old British convert to Islam, drove a car at pedestrians on a bridge over the River Thames, before fatally stabbing a policeman on guard outside parliament.

The attack left five people dead and around 50 injured, and only ended when police shot Masood dead.

Britain endured a tumultuous period following the March 22 rampage, with four further terror attacks within months.

Twenty-two people — including children — were killed in a bomb attack at Manchester Arena on May 22 and eight people were killed weeks later when a van ploughed into people on London Bridge.

Far-right extremist Darren Osborne killed one man after ramming his van into Muslim worshippers in north London on June 19, while 51 people were injured when Ahmed Hassan, 18, planted an explosive device, that partially exploded on an Underground train.

AFP

Three Killed In Belgium’s Suspected ‘Terror’ Attack

Police officers redirect traffic in the eastern Belgian city of Liege on May 29, 2018, near the site where an armed man shot and killed police officers before being subdued by police.
JOHN THYS / AFP

 

A gunman shot dead three people, two of them police officers, in a suspected terror attack in the eastern Belgian city of Liege on Tuesday before being killed by elite officers, prosecutors told AFP.

The shooting occurred around 10:30 am (0830 GMT) near a high school on a major artery in the city, which lies some 90 kilometers (55 miles) east of Brussels.

Federal prosecutors took charge of the incident, which comes with Belgium on high alert after a string of attacks including twin suicide bombings in Brussels in 2016 claimed by the Islamic State group.

“There are elements that point in the direction that this is a terrorist act,” said Eric Van Der Sypt, spokesman for the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office.

After shooting the two police officers outside a cafe, the gunman fled to the Lycee Waha school, where he briefly took a hostage, according to officials.

The third victim was a “passerby in a vehicle” who was driving in the area, Liege prosecutors’ spokeswoman Catherine Collignon told AFP.

According to Belgian broadcaster RTBF, the shooter was released from prison on Monday and was only known for minor infractions with no known links to extremism.

Prime Minister Charles Michel said his thoughts were with the families of the victims after what he called a “serious incident”, adding that he would not give further details at this stage.

‘Horrible act’ 

Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon said Belgium’s Federal Crisis Centre was monitoring the situation.

“Our thoughts are with the victims of this horrible act. We are in the process of establishing an overview of exactly what happened,” Jambon wrote on Twitter.

The crisis center said a security cordon had been set up around the area and urged people to stay away.

The governor of Liege province, Herve Jamar, said on Twitter that no-one was injured during the high school hostage-taking and all students were safe.

Belgium has been on high alert since the smashing of a terror cell in the town of Verviers in January 2015 that was planning an attack on police.

The Verviers cell also had links to Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the mastermind of the November 2015 Islamic State attacks on Paris that killed 130 people.

Belgium further raised its terror alert level after the Paris attack and placed the capital Brussels on lockdown for a week.

Belgium was then hit by its own IS suicide attacks on Brussels airport and a metro station which killed 32 people in 2016.

In August of 2016, a machete-wielding man shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest)  attacked two policewomen in the industrial town of Charleroi, before being shot dead.

The country’s law enforcement agencies and intelligence services came under intense scrutiny for apparently missing a series of leads after the Paris attacks that could have led to the Brussels bombers.

AFP

Indonesia Hit By Another Deadly Attack As IS Claims Responsibility

Anti-terror police “Densus 88” conduct a raid in Tangerang on May 16, 2018, following a recent spate of terror attacks in Indonesia. DEMY SANJAYA / AFP

 

Four men who attacked an Indonesian police headquarters with samurai swords were shot dead Wednesday and one officer also died, authorities said, days after a wave of deadly suicide bombings claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group rocked the country.

The assault in the city of Pekanbaru on Sumatra island — also claimed by IS — saw a group ram their minivan into a gate at the station and then attack officers, police said.

Days earlier, two families who belonged to the same religious study group staged suicide bombings at churches and a police station in Surabaya on Java island, Indonesia’s second biggest city.

The attacks have put Indonesia on edge — and sparked a string of foreign government travel advisories — as the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country starts the holy fasting month of Ramadan from Thursday.

Four attackers were shot dead at the scene Wednesday and another suspect who fled was later arrested, police said.

One officer was killed by the speeding vehicle and two others were wounded in the incident, they added.

Police said the men belonged to a local extremist group, but not Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), which authorities believe was behind the family suicide bombings. Both groups have pledged allegiance to IS, they said.

The bloody violence is putting pressure on lawmakers to pass a stalled security law that would give police more power to take pre-emptive action against terror suspects.

“I’m outraged and very saddened by these acts carried out by cowards — they have no humanity,” said Pebby Magdalena, who joined a demonstration in Jakarta in support of the bill.

Indonesia — which is set to host the Asian Games in just three months and an IMF-World Bank meeting in Bali in October — has long struggled with Islamist militancy.

Its worst-ever attack was the 2002 Bali bombings that killed more than 200 people, including locals and foreign tourists.

 ‘Better organised’ 

Security forces have arrested hundreds of militants during a sustained crackdown since the Bali bombing.

Most attacks in recent years have been limited to low-level operations against domestic security forces.

But on Sunday, a family of six — including girls aged nine and 12 — staged suicide bombings at three churches during morning services in Surabaya, killing 13.

All six bombers died, including the mother who was Indonesia’s first known female suicide bomber. It was also the first time children had been used in such attacks.

A memorial service was held Wednesday for Vincencius Hudojo, 11, and Nathanael Hudojo, 8, two brothers who died after the blast at the Santa Maria Catholic Church on Sunday in Surabaya. Their mother was injured.

Services were also held for Martha Djumani, 54, who was killed in the bombing at a Pentecostal church, just a day after she had got engaged.

“My sister was always caring towards other people and taught her children to be compassionate,” Daud Samari, Djumani’s younger brother, told reporters.

Family friends 

On Monday members of another family blew themselves up at a police station in Surabaya, wounding 10.

The church bombing family were in the same religious study group as the Surabaya police station bombers and a third family believed to be linked to the wave of attacks, authorities said.

“They had the same teacher and they regularly met for Koran recital every week,” said East Java police chief Machfud Arifin.

The coordinated church attack was a sign local extremist groups are becoming more proficient, and it stirs concerns about an uptick in radicalism as hundreds of Indonesians who flocked to fight alongside IS in the Middle East return home.

“They were better organised… (it) suggests a higher level of capacity than what we have seen in recent years,” said Sidney Jones, director of Jakarta-based Institute of Policy Analysis of Conflict.

Dozens of suspects have been rounded up in raids since Sunday’s attacks, while several militants, including the number two ranking leader of the Surabaya JAD chapter, had been shot and killed, police said.

The church and earlier police station attacks were likely motivated by the arrest of JAD leaders, authorities said.

They followed a deadly prison riot staged by Islamist prisoners at a high-security jail near Jakarta last week.

AFP

Burkina Faso Arrests ‘Likely Suspect’ Of Deadly Attack

Military personnel stand outside the headquarters of the country’s defence forces in Ouagadougou / AFP

 

A suspected key figure in the deadly Burkina Faso attacks has been arrested, a government source said Sunday.

Saying the person held could be “one of the brains” behind Friday’s attacks, the source told AFP there were “very strong suspicions” that “army infiltrators” had passed information to the assailants for the coordinated attacks in the capital claimed by GSIM, a jihadist group allied to al-Qaeda.

Sunday saw further unrest when one person was shot dead after three people attempted to storm a roadblock in the early hours near the presidential compound, a government source told AFP.

Two of the trio managed to flee the scene but the third was arrested and gunned down after attempting to seize the weapon of a guard, the source said.

The suspect in custody was arrested several hours after Friday’s twin attacks on the French embassy and the country’s military HQ in the capital Ouagadougou saw seven soldiers killed, the source. That was a new toll after eight had been declared dead.

The source added that nine assailants were killed, one more than previously reported. At least 80 people were injured.

The government has said the attack on the military HQ was a suicide car bombing and that a regional anti-terrorism meeting may have been the intended target.

Visiting the HQ on Saturday, Prime minister Paul Kaba Thieba said he saw “apocalyptic scenes” and condemned “with the utmost severity this terrorist attack, cowardly, which attacks our country, once again, which sows death, unnecessary destruction”.

GSIM, which has admitted responsibility for previous attacks in the troubled Sahel region, claimed to have carried out the twin attacks, in a message cited by Mauritania’s Al-Akhbar news agency.

The group said the Ouagadoudou attacks were a response to the deaths of some of its leaders “in a French army raid in northern Mali two weeks ago,” the agency reported.

According to French military sources, some 20 jihadists were “killed or captured” on that occasion.

AFP

Eight Killed In New York ‘Act Of Terror’, Says Mayor

Investigators inspect a truck following a shooting incident in New York on October 31, 2017. DON EMMERT / AFP

New York’s mayor denounced an “act of terror” that saw a suspect plow into cyclists and pedestrians and ram another vehicle Tuesday, killing eight people and injuring over a dozen others.

“It’s a very painful day in our city. Horrible tragedy on the West Side. Let me be clear, based on the information we have at this moment, this was an act of terror and a particularly cowardly act of terror,” Mayor Bill de Blasio told a news conference.

“Aimed at innocent civilians, aimed at people going about their lives who had no idea what was about to hit them. We at this moment based on the information we have, we know of eight innocent people who have lost their lives. And over a dozen more injured.”

AFP

 

Barcelona Reels From Deadly Terror Attack

Barcelona is still reeling from the two recent deadly terror attacks although life seems to have returned to normal in the Spanish city.

At around 17:00 on Thursday, a van ploughed into a crowd of people in Barcelona’s Las Ramblas, a street popular with tourists, killing at least 13 people and injuring more than 100 others. The Islamic State (IS) group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

In a separate attack, a vehicle carrying five terrorists rammed into a crowd of pedestrians in the seaside town of Cambrils, some 120 kilometers from Barcelona, early on Friday, reportedly killing one people and injuring five others, including three police officers. All of the terrorists were shot dead by police.

On Friday at noon, thousands of people gathered in Catalonia Square for a minute of silence to honor the victims of the two terror attacks.

The event was attended by Spain’s King Felipe VI and the country’s prime minister, Mariano Rajoy.

As the silence came to an end, the crowd began to applaud.

On the same day, police removed the cordon at the attack scene in Barcelona. Public transportation resumed and stores also reopened.

The Spanish flag remained at half-mast as mourners arrived one after another at Las Ramblas to pay tribute to the victims.

In the meantime, fear lingered among the people in the city, which is also one of Europe’s top tourist destinations.

“The terror attack that happened yesterday was just horrible. It made every one of us anxious. Barcelona is a cosmopolitan city. Yesterday’s attack was so horrible. I cannot understand how could this happen,” said Jose, an eyewitness of Thursday’s attack.

The authorities said an explosion on Wednesday evening in Alcanar, south of Barcelona, was connected to the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils.

Police seemed to believe the two attacks had been planned by a 12-member terrorist cell. So far, they have arrested four suspects.

At Least 29 Injured In New York Explosion

new york, explosionAt least 29 people have been injured in an explosion in the Chelsea district of New York city.

The cause of the blast remains unclear but Mayor Bill de Blasio has described it as ‘intentional’ although there are no known links to terror.

The force of the blast blew-out windows and could be heard several blocks away.

According to officials, a device was found at a second location in the same district, after sweeping through the neighbourhood.

Hundreds of people were seen fleeing down the block, as police rushed to cordon off the area.

Residents living nearby were also advised to stay away from windows facing the street as a precaution, and the item was later safely moved to a police firing range for further examination.

New York’s fire commissioner said none of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening, although one was serious.

Long before the explosion, New York had been tightening security for the start of this week’s U.N. General Assembly session, which is expected to bring over 135 world leaders and dozens of foreign government ministers to the city.

Although the investigators have not found evidences of a ‘terror attack’, U.S. officials have not ruled out the possibility of a terror connection and have employed a Joint Terrorism Task Force to further investigate the case.

Woman Killed, Five Others Injured In London Knife Attack

London, Knife AttackAt least one woman has died and five others injured in a knife attack in Russell Square, Central London.

This comes a day after city officials announced that they were deploying extra police officers across the city.

One of the victims, a woman in her 60s, was treated at the scene but was pronounced dead a short time later.

A 19-year-old man was arrested after a Taser was discharged by an officer. The Metropolitan Police says his mental health is a “significant factor” in the events.

“Early indications suggest that mental health is a significant factor in this case and that is one major line of inquiry,” London Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley told reporters.

“But of course at this stage we should keep an open mind regarding motive and consequently terrorism as a motivation remains but one line of inquiry for us to explore,” he added.

The condition of those injured and the extent of their injuries is not known at present.

A Reuters reporter at the scene said the southern part of the square, which sits at the heart of London’s university area and is close to landmarks such as the British Museum, was cordoned off by police.

A forensic tent had been erected on the pavement, the scene of the attack, the Reuters reporter said.

Britain says its terrorist attack threat level remains at “severe”, the second-highest level, meaning a strike is “highly likely”.

London police had already promised to deploy more armed officers after a spate of deadly attacks in France, Germany and Belgium.