Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Suicide bomber kills 9 in Mogadishu

A Shabaab suicide bomber killed nine Somalis today in an attack outside a hotel in Mogadishu. From Reuters:
A suicide car bomber killed at least nine people Wednesday near a hotel where lawmakers often gather in the Somali capital Mogadishu, police said. Police officer Hassan Ali told Reuters the attacker rammed his vehicle into a cafe by the Hotel Muna, which was also stormed by al Shabaab militants in August 2010 in an attack that killed more than 30 people.
"So far we have carried nine dead civilians and 34 others injured. Up to now we have not seen casualties of any legislators. The death toll may rise," said Ali.
Police and the spokesman for African Union troops in Somalia said initial reports showed that the attacker first opened fire on people sitting near the hotel before detonating the car.
The Aug. 24, 2010 suicide assault on the Hotel Muna was a particularly brazen effort by Shabaab, and was one of several in which Shabaab used a complex attack to target Somali officials. Shabaab has emulated the tactics of other al Qaeda affiliates and allies, including al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, al Qaeda in Iraq, and the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban.
Shabaab has carried out more than 30 major suicide attacks in Somalia since September 2006, when its predecessor, the Islamic Courts Union, usurped control of the government (the Islamic Courts was ousted from power in an invasion by Ethiopian forces in December 2006). Several of the attacks have been carried out by American and British citizens who had left their home countries to join Shabaab.
Shabaab has also executed one suicide attack outside Somalia. A double suicide bombing on July 11, 2010 in Kampala, Uganda, killed 74 people. The suicide cell that carried out the attack, the Saleh ali Nabhan Brigade, is named after the al Qaeda leader who served as Shabaab's military commander before he was killed in a US special operations raid in September 2009.

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Pakistani militant detained in southern Kandahar province

According to local authorities in southern Afghanistan, a Pakistan militant suspected was detained along with explosives in southern Kandahar province.

Provincial governor media office following a press release said, Afghan police forces arrested the suspected militant along with a motorcycle packed with explosives at the first district of southern Kandahar province on Tuesday.

The source further added, the detained militant is resident of Quetta and was recognized as Mohammad Bakhsh.

Kandahar provincial governor media office following the press release also added, Afghan police forces seized another motorcycle packed with explosives in a separate operation at Zherai district of southern Kandahar province while Afghan police force seized at least 20 kgs  of explosives in 8 district of southern Kandahar city.

In the meantime officials in eastern Ghazni province announced at least two armed militants were killed following clashes with the Afghan security forces in Qarabagh district.

Armed militant groups yet to comment regarding the reports.

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Bomb blast kills 2 soldiers in NW Pakistan

Seven agencies of Federally Administered Triba...
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ISLAMABAD, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- At least two soldiers were killed and two others injured when their vehicle hit a landmine in Mohmand tribal region in northwest Pakistan on Wednesday, local media reported.

The vehicle carrying an unknown number of paramilitary troops was on routine patrol in Aleem Gar area in Mohmand, one of the seven tribal regions bordering Afghanistan.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Earlier on January 21, four soldiers were injured in a remote- controlled bomb blast in the very same area.

PESHAWAR: Two security personnel were killed and one was injured when an explosion took place during a routine checking in the Safi district of Mohmand Agency, said officials.
According to sources, the two men who were killed were part of the Khasadar force who were on a routine checking in the Alenger area. The injured was shifted to a hospital.
The explosion seemed to be either because of a landmine or an IED (Improvised Explosive Device).
The Safi district is considered to be the homeland of the Taliban in Mohmand Agency prior to the security forces operation that cleared the area.


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Al Qaeda releases photos of slain Khorasan commanders

Top left: Abu Laith al Libi; top center: Abdullah Saad al Libi; top right: Abu Abu Abdullah al Shami; bottom left: Abdul Khabir al Turkistani; bottom center: al Qaeda in the Khorasan fighters; bottom right: Soraqa al Kuwaiti. Images from the SITE Intelligence Group.
A jihadist media outlet has released "several previously-unreleased" photographs of senior al Qaeda military leaders and fighters who have been killed during fighting in Afghanistan or in US drone airstrikes in Pakistan's Taliban-controlled tribal agencies.
Pictures of Abu Laith al Libi and Abdullah Said al Libi, two top military commanders; Abu Abdullah al Shami, a leader who escaped from Bagram; and Soraqa
al Kuwaiti and Abdul Khabir al Turkistani, two jihadist fighters, were published on Feb. 4 by the Al Ibda' Foundation for Media Production. The photographs were published as part of a new series called "Pictures from Khorasan, 1," according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which provided a translation of the statement along with the photographs.
Abu Laith al Libi
Abu Laith al Libi was a top-tier al Qaeda leader and a revered military commander. He led al Qaeda's 055 Brigade (or 55th Brigade), the military formation that eventually grew into the Lashkar al Zil, or Shadow Army. Brigade 055 fought alongside the Taliban against the Northern Alliance in the 1990s up until the Sept. 11 2001 attacks on the US. The unit was decimated during the US attack on Taliban and al Qaeda forces in 2001-2002, and was disbanded. Laith reformed the unit, which later became one of six brigades of al Qaeda's Shadow Army, which operates in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
In addition, Abu Laith was the senior leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and also served as a chief spokesman for al Qaeda. As leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, he announced the terror group's merger with al Qaeda in November 2007.
US Predators and Reapers killed Abu Laith in an airstrike in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan on Jan. 29, 2008. Al Qaeda announced his death.
Abdullah Said al Libi
Abdullah Said al Libi was a Libyan national who is thought to have served in his country's military before joining al Qaeda. Once in al Qaeda, he rose in the ranks of the terror group's military, and eventually took command of the Lashkar al Zil.
In April 2009, Abdullah Said laid out the strategy for al Qaeda and the Taliban to retake control of the Khorasan, a region encompassing large areas of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Iran. In the statement, he is identified as the leader of the Qaidat al-Jihad fi Khorasan, or the Base of the Jihad in the Khorasan.
Abdullah Said was killed in a US drone strike sometime in late 2009 or early January 2010. Mustafa Abu Yazid, al Qaeda's former leader of Afghanistan, who was killed in a later drone strike, mentioned his name while noting the deaths of other top al Qaeda leaders. Yazid said the suicide attack on a CIA base in Khost, Afghanistan, which killed seven CIA operatives and employees along with a Jordanian intelligence official, was designed to "avenge" the deaths of Abdullah Said, former al Qaeda operations chief Saleh al Somali, and former Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud.
The Bagram Four: Abu Abdallah al Shami [upper left]; Abu Nasir al Qahtan [upper right]; Abu Yahya al Libi [lower left]; Omar al Farouq [lower right].
Abu Abdullah al Shami
Abu Abdallah al Shami was a Syrian national who served as a senior military commander in eastern Afghanistan. He was one of four senior al Qaeda operatives who escaped from Bagram prison on July 10, 2005. Al Qaeda said that al Shami was killed in a US airstrike in Afghanistan sometime in July 2008.
Al Shami escaped from Bagram with top al Qaeda leaders Abu Yahya al Libi, Abu Nasir al Qahtani, and Omar Farouq. Of the four, only Abu Yahya remains free. Yahya is now considered to be al Qaeda's second in command, following the death of Atiyah al Libi in a US airstrike in Pakistan last fall.
British special forces killed Omar Farouq in Basrah, Iraq, in September 2006 after he tried to be reassigned to facilitate the flow of money, weapons, and fighters for al Qaeda in Iraq. Prior to his capture by Indonesian security forces in 2002, Farouq was considered to be al Qaeda's point man in Southeast Asia. In 1994, he helped set up the first al Qaeda training camp in Southeast Asia, in Mindanao in the Philippines. Five years later, in 1999, he took credit for bombing both a mosque and the Philippine ambassador's house in Jakarta.
US forces recaptured Abu Nasir al Qahtani in Khost province in November 2006. Like Shami, Qahtani was a senior al Qaeda military commander in eastern Afghanistan. After his escape from Bagram, Qahtani fled to North Waziristan to continue attacks against NATO and Afghan forces inside Afghanistan. He joined forces with al Qaeda operative Abu Wafa, who operates from the North Waziristan tribal agency in Pakistan. Wafa and Qahtani were active in the Afghan provinces of Khost, Paktia, and Paktika. Qahtani also released propaganda and training videos for terrorists operating in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Qahtani's brother, Abu Dejana al Qahtani, was also killed in eastern Afghanistan in May 2008.
Abdul Khabir al Turkistani and Soraqa al Kuwaiti
Little is known about Abdul Khabir al Turkistani and Soraqa al Kuwaiti. Al Turkistani is pictured in a room filled with explosives and bomb-making materials. Al Kuwaiti is a "deceased fighter who appeared in the fifth episode of As Sahab's video series 'Diaries of a Mujahid,'" according to the SITE Intelligence Group. As Sahab is al Qaeda's official media production outlet.
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Feb.08., 2012. - ISAF Joint Command Morning Operational Update

KABUL, Afghanistan (Feb. 08) – An Afghan and coalition security force captured two Taliban leaders during an operation in Lashkar Gah district, Helmand province, today.
One leader planned attacks in Kandahar province, while the second leader conducted roadside bomb and direct-fire attacks against coalition forces.

The security force confiscated bomb-making materials and detained multiple suspected insurgents during the operation.
In other International Security Assistance Force news throughout Afghanistan:
In Marjah district, Helmand province, an Afghan and coalition security force conducted an operation in search of a Taliban weapons facilitator today. The facilitator acquires heavy weaponry and ammunition for use by insurgent fighters. Two suspected insurgents were detained during the operation.

An Afghan led and coalition supported security force captured a Haqqani Network facilitator during an operation in Terayzai district, Khost province, today. The facilitator coordinated roadside bomb attacks against Afghan forces and moved rockets and explosives in Khost province. The security force confiscated bomb-making materials and detained one additional suspected insurgent during the operation.

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US drone strike kill at least 10 militants in N. Waziristan

According to Pakistani security officials, at least 10 suspected militants were killed following a drone strike in North-Waziristan on Wednesday.

The latest drone strike is considered to be the fifth unacknowledged Central Intelligence Agency drone strike this year after the programme was halted following the assassination of 24 Pakistani soldiers on November last year.

At least two missiles were fired at a house suspected of being a militant hideout in the village of Thapi.
Pakistani security officials said, the building was completely destroyed and 10 suspected militants were killed.
Security officials and villagers said the dead included foreign fighters but they did not specify their nationalities.

from KHAAMA 

US drones kill 8 'militants' in North Waziristan strike

Unmanned US strike aircraft launched missiles at terrorists based in Pakistan's Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan today, killing eight "militants" in an area known to serve as an al Qaeda haven.

The Predators or Reapers, more commonly called drones, fired a pair of missiles at a compound in the town of Tappi near Miramshah, Pakistani officials told AFP. The Taliban have cordoned off the site of the strike and are conducting recovery operations. This is often a sign that a senior operative or leader was present.

"Eight militants were killed and two wounded," the Pakistani official told AFP. "Militants have surrounded the compound and are removing the dead bodies."
The exact target of the strike has not been disclosed, and the identity of those killed is not known.
Terrorists are known to have sheltered in the village of Tapi in the past. The US has struck at targets in the village five other times since the beginning of 2008, according to data on the strikes that has been compiled by The Long War Journal.

The Haqqani Network, a Taliban group that operates in North Waziristan as well as in eastern Afghanistan, administers the area where today's attack took place. Al Qaeda leaders and operatives, who are closely allied with the Haqqani Network, shelter in the area, as do other terror groups.
Today's strike is the first in Pakistan's tribal areas in 15 days, and just the fourth this year. All four strikes this year have taken place in or around Miramshah in North Waziristan, a stronghold of the Haqqani Network.

The first strike this year took place on Jan. 11; it was the first by the US in Pakistan in 55 days. The previous strike took place on Nov. 16, 2011. The pause was the longest since the program was ramped up at the end of July 2008 [see LWJ report, US drone strikes in Pakistan on longest pause since 2008, from Dec. 19, 2011].

The program was put on hold from the end of November to the second week in January, following a clash between US forces and Pakistani Frontier Corps troops on the border of the Afghan province of Kunar and the Pakistani tribal area of Mohmand on Nov. 25-26. The US troops struck in Pakistan after taking mortar and machine gun fire on the Afghan side of the border from Pakistani troops. Twenty-four Pakistani Frontier Corps troops were killed.

The clash led to Pakistan's closure of the border crossings in Chaman and Khyber to NATO supply columns destined for Afghanistan; the supply lines remain closed to this day. In the aftermath of the Mohmand incident, Pakistan also threatened to shoot down US drones flying in Pakistani airspace, and ejected US drones and personnel from the Shamsi Airbase in Baluchistan.

US officials told The Long War Journal on Dec. 12, 2011 that the program had been put "on hold" due to tensions over the Mohmand incident, but that the drones would strike again if a high value terrorist target that could not be ignored was spotted.

The Jan. 11 strike killed Aslam Awan, a deputy to the leader of al Qaeda's external operations network. Awan was a Pakistani citizen from Abbottabad, the same town where Osama bin Laden was killed by US forces in a cross-border raid in May 2011. Awan is the most senior al Qaeda leader killed in a drone strike since mid-October, when Abu Miqdad al Masri, a member of al Qaeda's Shura Majlis who also was involved in al Qaeda's external operations, was killed. [For a list of senior terrorist leaders and operatives killed in drone strikes, see LWJ report, Senior al Qaeda and Taliban leaders killed in US airstrikes in Pakistan, 2004 - 2012.]

Hakeemullah Mehsud, the leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, was also rumored to have been killed in the Jan. 11 strike. His death has not been confirmed, however, and the Pakistani Taliban have denied he was killed.

The second strike last month, which took place on Jan. 12, killed six "militants," including several "foreigners," according to reports. No senior terrorist leaders or operatives have been reported killed in the Jan. 12 strike.

The third strike in January took place on the Jan. 23 and is said to have killed four terrorists from Turkmenistan. The Turkmen fighters may have been members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan or one of the smaller Central Asian terrorist groups, such as Jund al Khilafa, that operate in Pakistan's tribal areas.

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3 security guards 2 Afghan police killed in Kandahar

According to local authorities in southern Afghanistan, at least 3 private security guards were killed by one of their fellow in southern Kandahar province.

The officials further added, the incident took place on Monday night after a security guard working for Haji Toryalai Security Company opened fire on his colleagues.

According to a press release issued by provincial governor media office, at least three other security guards were also injured during the incident.

The source further added, at least 2 Afghan police service members were also killed and 1 was injured during the clashes.

The main motive behind the incident is unclear.

Provincial security officials said they will announce the facts behind the incident once the investigations are completed.

In the meantime reports suggest that a suspect has been detained in connection to the incident and is under the investigation with the counter-criminal department.

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Haqqani Network leader detained in Logar province

A Haqqani Network leader was detained following a joint military operation by Afghan and coalition security forces in eastern

International Security Assistance Force following a statement on Tuesday said, the Haqqani Network leader was detained in Pul-e
-Alam district of eastern Logar province.

The statement further added, the leader conducted attacks against Afghan forces in Logar province. One additional suspected
insurgent was detained during the operation.

In the meantime another Haqqani Network facilitator was detained in eastern Khost province.

According to ISAF, the facilitator supplied insurgent fighters with explosives for use in attacks against Afghan forces.

Two additional suspected insurgents were detained during the operation, ISAF said.

Anti government armed militant groups yet comment regarding the report.
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