Saturday, February 4, 2012

AQAP operative killed in recent drone strike in Yemen

Two definitions of the Arabian Peninsula. The ...
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by Bill Roggio - February 3, 2012 - LWJ

A Yemeni jihadist claimed that an al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula operative linked to the suicide attack against the USS Cole in Aden in late 2000 was killed by a US drone strike three days ago in southern Yemen.

Abdul Mun'im Salim al-Fatahani (or Abdel-Monem al-Fathani), was killed in the Jan. 31 Predator airstrike near the city of Lawder in Abyan province, according to a statement posted yesterday on two prominent jihadist Internet forums. He was reportedly killed the same day the strike took place, but his death was not confirmed by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Nasir al Wuhayshi, the emir or leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, "broke down in tears before noon today on the road between 'Azzan in Shabwa and Mudiyah in Abyan province, upon seeing the body of the leader Abdul Mun'im Salim Amqidah al Fatahani," according to the statement, which was translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.

"Fatahani had died in [an] Azzan hospital after getting hit in the neck with shrapnel, which resulted from an American airstrike against two cars belonging to Ansar al Shariah last night in the area of al Khadirah," the statement continued. Ansar al Shariah is al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's political front.

According the statement, Fatahani was buried in the "Tha'obah cemetery, in northern Mudiyah," a town in Abyan province, where he was born. Mudiyah is known to host a large training camp for the terror group. [See LWJ report, Al Qaeda opens new training camp in Yemen.]

Fatahani is said have been involved in the October 2000 suicide attack on the USS Cole in the port of Aden that killed 17 US sailors and put the warship out of commission for months before it was repaired. The Yemeni jihadist also said that Fatahani was involved in the bombing that damaged the Limburg, an oil tanker, in 2002.

The Jan. 31 strike near Lawdar is the first reported attack by the US since Dec. 22, 2011, when US drones are said to have targeted Abdul Rahman al Wuhayshi, the brother of Nasir al Wuhayshi, the emir of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Abdul Rahman was targeted in Dofas near Zinjibar. He is rumored to have been killed, but his death was never confirmed. AQAP did not announce his death.

Last fall, the US killed Anwar al Awlaki, the ideologue and operational commander of the terror group, and his son, Abdul Rahman, in separate strikes in southern Yemen. [For more information on the US airstrikes in Yemen, see LWJ report, US drone strike kills 11 AQAP leaders, fighters: report.]
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Several killed and wounded in eastern Khost unrest

At least four individuals were killed including an Afghan National Army soldier and two other were wounded during  separate incidents in Khost province, local officials said.

The officials further added, at least three more people were killed in a clash in Tani district from two families on Friday night.

The first incident took place in Cholan area 5 kilo meters east of Khost  city on Friday night when a land mine hit an Afghan National Army soldiers while they were patrolling in the area.

ANA press office in the 1st ANA brigade 203rd corp says one ANA soldier was killed and two other were wounded when a remote control bomb detonated on their soldier’s foot patrol.

The source added no one was detained regarding the incident but they have launched investigations to find out who are behind the incident, while Taliban militants claimed responsibility for the attack.

Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the attack adding to have inflicted heavy casualties to the ANA soldiers but ANA officials deny their claim.

Moreover  three men were killed in Tani district on friday night during a clash from two families.

Tani sub-governor Sayed Ahmed Wafa told Khaama press over telephone that these two families did not have former dispute among them but a verbal clash led to the armed clash.

” three men were killed from two families on friday night when their verbal fight turned into armed clash, two were from one family another one from a different family, they did not have any enmity with each other before, i thing this the only motive of the incident.”

According to another report Taliban claims killing many police in Khost city during a remote control bomb attack on their vehicle late friday.

Police officials confirms the incident but denies the claimed casualty.

Provincial police chief General Sardar Mohammed Zazai confirmed the incident adding that nether police nor civilian sustained any casualty during the bomb attack.

It comes at a time that recently security officials has evaluated security situation as perfect but the latest incidents caused panic among the local people.

Report by Ismail Haqmal, Khost province.

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Suicide blast kills 4 in Peshawar

4 killed in Peshawar blast (
ISLAMABAD, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- At least four people were killed when a suicide bomber targeted the office of a property dealer in Peshawar, the capital city of northwest Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Friday night.

Federal Minister Bashir Bilaur told media that a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden vehicle into the office of a property dealer, Astana Gul, at Ring Road area of Peshawar.

There were four people inside the building when the blast took place. Following the explosion, the office building was razed to the ground.

Police and rescue workers recovered the dead bodies of all the four people.

Later talking to media, Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Information Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa told media that the target of the blast -- Astana Gul is the leader of a banned outfit of militants, however he was not present inside the building at the time of blast.

He said that an internal war is going on between two groups of militants so they are targeting each other.

An estimated 30 to 40 kgs of explosive materials were used in the attack.

Earlier on Monday, four people were killed and seven others injured when a suicide bomber targeted the house of a tribal leader Haji Akhonzada in Peshawar killing him and his son-in-law.

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Kenya's airstrike in Somalia kills at least 100 Al-Shabaab fighters

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NAIROBI, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- At least 100 fighters including eight top Al-Shabaab commanders have been killed in the latest battle in a town northeast of Badhade, Somalia, officials said on Friday.

Military spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir said the Kenyan helicopter gunships on Friday hit at Al-Shabaab positions, which included 200 Al-Shabaab fighters, one of the largest concentrations of the Al-Shabaab fighters, killing at least 100 fighters and destroying nine technicals and nine trucks used by the fighters.

He said the Kenyan troops advanced into the town of Badhade and Hayo in Southern Somalia, boosting their chances for a successful battle for the port of Kismayu and the town of Afmadhow, a provincial capital and a key hub of the Al-Shabaab, which is one of the main ultimate targets of the operation.

"The operation is likely to shape the future of the operation," Major Chirchir said in his official Twitter account, minutes after the air-strikes. The military said the Al-Shabaab fighters were concentrated in the town of Dalayat, from where its top commanders planned a counter attack on the town of Badhade.

Chirchir said, "Al-Shabaab strength (was) estimated at over 200. The KDF (Kenya Defense Forces) gunships destroyed Al-Shabaab at Dalayat," a key transit point from the sea frequently used by the group to re-stock its military supplies.

The KDF military officials also said other attacks against the Al-Shabaab locations took place at Badhade at around 16:45 East African time and a battle damage assessment was still ongoing.

Kenyan troops have been on the ground in Somalia since Oct. 16, 2011 against the Al-Shabaab militants, which have been mounting armed incursions into Kenya.

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RAF snipers protect Afghan family from insurgent attack

A Military Operations news article

1 Feb 12
Snipers from the RAF Regiment used their skills and training to protect an Afghan family caught up in an attack by insurgents in Helmand province.

Gunners from II Squadron RAF Regiment got local people, including children, to safety before turning their weapons on the attackers.

The incident happened during an operation by the unit in Helmand province where they have been working hard to build relations with the local community and regularly hold shuras (meetings) with local elders.
A member of the RAF Regiment
A member of the RAF Regiment keeps an eye on the surrounding countryside through the sight of his L115A3 long range rifle
[Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2012]
The news coincides with today's (1 February 2012) 70th anniversary of the formation of the RAF Regiment in 1932. A unit from II Squadron, which is normally based at RAF Honington in Suffolk, was on a foot patrol when the attack happened.

The patrol, which included snipers, were sat down talking to elders and children when they came under fire from an insurgent position. Reacting quickly, the patrol ensured the civilians were out of harm's way before taking cover themselves.

Having positively identified the firing position, the RAF Regiment patrol returned fire with a range of weapons including the L115A3 long range rifle, a state-of-the-art weapon used to locate and eliminate enemy activity.

After the insurgent threat had passed the local family thanked the RAF Regiment by passing around naan bread.

The RAF Regiment, along with the RAF Police, provide essential force protection for the strategically-important Camp Bastion and the local area.
Members of the RAF Regiment keep watch
Members of the RAF Regiment keep watch during a meeting with a local shopkeeper in Helmand province
[Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2012]
The RAF Regiment, who are the soldiers of the RAF and are known as Gunners, conduct foot and vehicle patrols with the Afghan National Army (ANA) to ensure that Camp Bastion and the local community is kept safe from insurgent attack.

Squadron Leader Jules Weekes, Officer Commanding II Squadron RAF Regiment, commented:
"All the Gunners on the squadron are physically and mentally robust. In the three months we have been deployed the lads have performed to the highest of standards, with their activity and engagement helping to build a rapport with the local community, as well as reassuring them of the improving security situation."
The RAF continues to play a vital role across the whole of Afghanistan providing a wide range of capabilities from fast jet Tornado aircraft to Gunners on the ground where they partner and work with the ANA.
RAF and Afghan Army personnel speaking with local elders
Members of II Squadron RAF Regiment and the Afghan National Army speak with local elders
[Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2012]
II Squadron RAF Regiment, a parachute-capable field squadron, has been deployed in Afghanistan since October 2011 and will continue to serve until May this year when they hand over to 51 Squadron RAF Regiment from RAF Lossiemouth.
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