Sunday, March 3, 2013

45 dead as twin blasts rock Pakistan's commercial hub

Residents and firefighters gather at the site after a bomb blast in a residential area in Karachi March 3, 2013. A bomb attack in a Shi'ite Muslim area of Pakistan's commercial capital Karachi killed 25 people and wounded 50 on Sunday, the police said. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro
KABUL (PAN): At least 45 people were killed and over 135 others wounded as twin explosions rocked Pakistan’s port city of Karachi o Sunday evening. The powerful blasts occurred outside a mosque in Abbas Town.

Flats in the vicinity caught fire as a result of the blasts that damaged many shops and snapped power supply to the Shiite-dominated neighbourhood, Dawn newspaper reported. Gas line also started leaking, hampering rescue efforts.

Security personnel cordoned off the site and evacuated casualties to city hospitals, with many of the injured struggling for life. Rescue services rushed to the scene of the explosions that happened about 10 minutes apart.

The first blast happened when people were coming out of the mosque after offering evening prayers, police official Azhar Iqbal said. The second bomb went off in the residential area, dominated by Shiites, in the country's commercial hub.

Women and children were among the fatalities. Balconies of several buildings collapsed. One bomb disposal squad official estimated 150 kilograms of explosives material had been used in the bombings.

The blasts drew outpourings of condemnation from President Asif Zardari, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, Governor Ishratul Ibad, ANP chief Asfandyar Wali, PML-N head Nawaz Sharif and other leaders.

The Jafaria Alliance of the Shiite sect announced a strike for Monday and the Majlis-i-Wahdat Muslimeen (MWM) called for a day of mourning.

The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which often claims responsibility for such attacks, disassociated itself from the bombing. Ehsanullah Ehsan, speaking on behalf of the group, told Dawn the TTP was not involved.

from Pajhwok
By Pajhwok Report Mar 3, 2013 - 20:41   

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Pakistani Taliban threaten to bomb mobile phone shops

(MENAFN - Arab News) Pakistani Taleban have threatened to bomb a mobile phone market in the northwestern city of Peshawar for the "shameless" selling of video clips, ring tones and accessories, officials said yesterday.

Some 60 shopkeepers received letters in the post ordering them to burn the offending stock, including memory cards and speakers for MP3 players, and stick to selling only mobile phones and essential accessories.

DVD and CD shops have in the past been bombed by militants who deemed the businesses "un-Islamic."

In one of the letters, militants wrote: "Do not compel us to send a bomber... stop this shameless business in one week and burn the shameful stuff. Just sell mobile phones, batteries and chargers.

"Your markets have become centers of shamelessness... Our mission is to stop this shameless business and if you do not stop it yourself then we will make an example of you and your market." Officials and police acted quickly to minimize the threat from would-be bombers.

"We have immediately closed down the shops doing ring tones and video clips business, after about 60 shopkeepers received threatening letters from Taleban by mail," local market association secretary general Shakil Ahmed said.

He said parking spots for motorcycles - which are sometimes packed with explosives and detonated - had been moved away from the market and police had been asked to increase security.

Senior police official Faisal Murad said patrols had been stepped up around the market in Peshawar, which sits on the edge of Pakistan's tribal region - a haven for Taleban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants.

The Taleban has increased its campaign of violence in recent months, leading to fears that violence could mar a general election scheduled to take place by mid-May.

Last month the group proposed talks with Islamabad but the government insists the militants must declare a cease-fire before coming to the negotiating table - a condition militants have rejected.

from MENAFN - Arab News - 03/03/2013  
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Three killed, 19 wounded in two bombings in Iraq

BAGHDAD, March 3 (Xinhua) -- At least three people were killed and 19 others wounded in two bomb attacks in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad and the holy Shiite shrine city of Karbala on Sunday, an Interior Ministry source told Xinhua.
In Baghdad, two people were killed and ten wounded when two roadside bombs went off in a quick succession in the mainly Shiite neighborhood of Hussieniyah in the northeastern part of the capital, the source said on condition of anonymity.

In a separate incident, a roadside bomb detonated in the area between the major shrines of Imam al-Abbas and Imam al-Hussien in the city of Karbala, some 110 km south of Baghdad, killing a civilian and wounding nine others, the source said.

No one has so far claimed responsibility for the attacks, but al-Qaida front in Iraq frequently claimed the responsibility for most deadly attacks in the country.

Violence and sporadic high-profile bomb attacks are still common in the Iraqi cities despite the dramatic decrease in violence since its peak in 2006 and 2007, when the country was engulfed in sectarian killings.

2013-03-03 19:16:04
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In Several Joint Clearance Operations, 30 Armed Taliban Killed (Mar.03.2013.)

Publish Date: Mar 03, 2013
In Several Joint Clearance Operations, 30 Armed Taliban Killed

In past 24 hours, Afghan National Police conducted 12 joint clearance operations with the cooperation of Afghan National Army, NDS and Coalition Forces to clean some of the areas from terrorists and enemies of peace and stability of Afghanistan.

The operations were conducted in Kunar, Nangarhar, Kunduz, Balkh, Kandahar, Zabul and Helmand provinces, as a result 30 armed Taliban were killed, six wounded and seven other armed Taliban were arrested by Afghan National Security Forces.

Also, during these operations, Afghan National Police discovered and confiscated some amount of light and heavy round ammunitions and IEDs.

During the same 24 hour period, Afghan National Police discovered and defused six different types of mines placed by enemies of Afghanistan for destructive activities in Ghazni and Khost provinces.
Counter Crimes:
The 101 Kabul Zone National Police detained a suspect accused of drug trafficking in the 2nd District of Kabul-City.
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Chadian forces claim raid killed top Algerian jihadist Mokhtar Belmokhtar

Al Qaeda commander Mokhtar Belmokhtar. Image from Sahara Media.
by LWJ STAFF - March2, 2013. - LWJ

Chadian military forces in Mali claimed to have killed fugitive al Qaeda affiliate Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the mastermind behind the deadly terrorist assault against an Algerian gas plant in January, during a dramatic counterterrorism operation in northern Mali today.

"On Saturday, March 2, at noon, Chadian armed forces operating in northern Mali completely destroyed a terrorist base .... The toll included several dead terrorists, including their leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar," Chadian armed forces spokesman General Zacharia Gobongue said on a Chadian television station. The statement also noted that weapons, equipment, and 60 vehicles were seized, according to the BBC. As this is a developing situation and Belmokhtar's death has not yet been confirmed by additional sources, the reports must be taken with caution.

Yesterday Chadian forces claimed to have killed Abdel Mejid Abou Zeid, a top al Qaeda leader who serves as the deputy to Yahya Abu Hammam, the head of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb's operations in the Sahel region of North Africa.

Zeid leads the Taregh Ibn Ziyad brigade, which operates throughout Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and southern Algeria. Zeid's brigade is responsible for the beheading of British hostage Edwin Dyer in May 2009. Algerians, Mauritanians, Malians, and Moroccans are known to fight with both Hammam and Zeid. [See LWJ report, US adds senior AQIM commander to terrorist list.]

So far, the French ministry of foreign affairs has not confirmed Zeid's death, but officials are awaiting results of a DNA test that has been conducted on the remains supposedly belonging to Zeid, according to France 24 News.

Chadian military forces are reported to have entered Mali around Jan. 22 as part of a regional African military force seeking to thwart the Islamist takeover in the country.

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Mar. 03., 2013. - ISAF Joint Command Operational Update

KABUL, Afghanistan - An Afghan and coalition security force arrested a Haqqani leader during an operation in Nadir Shah Kot district, Khost province, March 2.

The insurgent is believed responsible for organizing and conducting improvised explosive device and mortar attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.

In other International Security Assistance Force news throughout


Afghan and coalition forces killed three insurgents and wounded one other during an operation in Ghaziabad district, Kunar province, March 1. The security force positively identified the militants engaging in insurgent activity in an isolated area away from civilians.
After ensuring no civilians were in the vicinity, the security force engaged the armed insurgents, killing three and wounding one.

An Afghan and coalition security force arrested a Taliban facilitator and two other insurgents during an operation in Baraki Barak district, Logar province, March 2. The insurgent is accused of procuring and distributing weapons for Taliban fighters in Baraki Barak. He is also alleged to have a history of directing IED and small arms attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.

An Afghan and coalition security force arrested two insurgents during an operation in search of a Taliban leader in Sherzad district, Nangarhar province, March 2. The insurgent is believed responsible for directing and participating in attacks on Afghan and coalition forces in the district.

He is accused of being involved with a network that has executed innocent Afghan citizens and actively seeks to recruit fighters to conduct insider attacks against coalition forces. He is also alleged to extort the residents of Sherzad district, using the money to fund illegal activities.


An Afghan and coalition security force arrested a Taliban facilitator and one other insurgent during an operation in Kandahar district, Kandahar province, March 2. The insurgent is accused of coordinating the movement of supplies, weapons and IED-making materials for use against Afghan and coalition forces. He is believed heavily involved in recruiting efforts ahead of the spring fighting season.


Afghan and coalition forces killed an insurgent during an operation in Khanabad district, Kunduz province, yesterday. The security force positively identified the militant engaging in insurgent activity in an isolated area away from civilians. After ensuring no civilians were in the vicinity, the security force engaged the armed insurgents, killing one.

An Afghan and coalition security force arrested a Taliban leader and four other insurgents during an operation in Chahar Darah district, Kunduz province, March 1. The insurgent is believed to be a prominent member of Chahar Darah's IED network, thought responsible for procuring, distributing and emplacing IEDs throughout the district.

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Mar. 03., 2013. - RC-East operational update

BAGRAM, Afghanistan - Afghan and coalition forces located and cleared three improvised explosive devices during operations in eastern Afghanistan throughout the past 24 hours, March 2.

Kunar province
The Afghan National Army found and safely cleared two IEDs during operations in the Sar Kani district.

Paktiya province
Afghan and coalition forces found and safely cleared an IED during operations in Dzadran district.

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AQAP releases 10th copy of Inspire; features Adam Gadahn

by Bill Roggio - March 1, 2013. - LWJ

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has released the 10th edition of Inspire, its English language propaganda magazine that is marketed to Westerners. The magazine features an article by Adam Gadahn, the American traitor who works with al Qaeda's core leadership cadre in Pakistan.

AQAP released the current addition of Inspire "nine months after the release of the eighth and ninth issues" of the magazine, the SITE Intelligence Group noted. SITE obtained a copy of Inspire, which was released yesterday on Jihadist Internet forums.

The latest edition of Inspire focused on al Qaeda's view of the so-called Arab Spring. Inspire promoted two articles on the topic that are written by Gadahn and Yahya Ibrahim, a cleric who has been featured in the magazine in the past.

Both Gadahn and Ibrahim focus on al Qaeda's ability to capitalize on the Arab Spring. Gadahn calls for the US to end all involvement in the upheavals in the Middle East, and says a failure to do so "will result in a backlash which will make you regret the day you put your hands where they don't belong."

Gadahn also advises jihadists in the West to continue "direct engagement [attacks] at home and abroad with America and its NATO parents, particularly France and Britain."

"The enemies' economic and military hemorrhage must not stop until the day comes when the people of the West are forced to make a choice: either the continuation of the Crusade against the Muslims and the continuation of their backing Israel, or the continuation of viable governments and basic public services," Gadahn writes.

Ibrahim focuses on the assaults on the US Consulate in Benghazi and the US embassies in Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen in September 2012. Jihadists raised al Qaeda's flag at the US installations, and killed the US's ambassador to Libya and three personnel in Benghazi. Ibrahim notes that the so-called protesters chanted "Obama! Obama! we are all Osama!" He also claims that despite bin Laden's death at the hands of US special operations forces in May 2011, bin Laden continues to inspire old and new jihadists alike.

The release of the latest edition of Inspire shows that al Qaeda's core in Pakistan is not cut off from its affiliates, and that AQAP retains the ability to produce the magazine despite the loss of two Americans who were thought to be important to its continuation.

AQAP touted Gadahn's article as an "exclusive," which means the group was either able to contact Gadahn to solicit and receive it, or that Gadahn contacted the publishers of Inspire to offer the article. Gadahn is believed to be based in Pakistan and is known to work with As Sahab, al Qaeda's primary propaganda production outfit. He also releases propaganda via As Sahab on occasion.

The Obama administration has claimed that al Qaeda's "core" leadership cadre in Pakistan is cut off and disconnected and isolated from its affiliates, and that the terror group is on the verge of defeat. But as Gadahn's latest article and numerous propaganda tapes and communiques by al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri and other top leaders show, the terror group is intact and capable of producing propaganda and communicating with its affiliates worldwide.

Additionally, it was unclear if AQAP would continue to produce Inspire after the deaths of American jihadists Samir Khan and Anwar al Awlaki, both of whom are thought to have greatly influenced the magazine's publication. Al Awlaki and Khan were killed in a US drone strike in Yemen in September 2011. As the release of the 10th edition of Inspire shows, AQAP clearly maintains the capacity to produce the magazine, and still remains committed to attacking the West.

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ISAF commander expresses regret for civilian deaths in Uruzgan

ISAF Headquarters Public Affairs
2013-03-CA-01 ISAF
For Immediate Release

Commander Expresses Regret for Civilian Deaths in Uruzgan

KABUL, Afghanistan (March 2, 2013)
- It is with deep regret that the International Security Assistance Force announces that its forces were responsible for the unintended death of two young Afghan civilians during an operation Feb. 28 in Shahid-e Hasas District, Uruzgan Province.

"I offer my personal apology and condolences to the family of the boys who were killed," said Gen. Joseph Dunford, commander of ISAF. "I am committed to ensuring we do the right thing for the families of those we harmed, as well as for the community in which they lived. We take full responsibility for this tragedy."

The boys were killed when Coalition forces fired at what they thought were insurgent forces. A joint Afghan-ISAF investigation team visited the location today and met with local leaders.

ISAF remains committed to taking appropriate actions to minimize the likelihood of similar occurrences in the future.
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Mar. 02., 2013. - RC-East operational update

BAGRAM, Afghanistan - Afghan and coalition forces located two improvised explosive devices and cleared one, detained two suspected insurgents and discovered one weapons cache during operations in eastern Afghanistan throughout the past 24 hours, March 1.

Kunar province
The Afghan National Army found and safely cleared an IED in the Shigal Wa Sheltan district.

Paktika province
Afghan and coalition forces discovered and secured an IED in the Sar Rowzah district.

Afghan Uniformed Police detained two suspected insurgents. The detainees were taken to a base for questioning.

Nangarhar province
Afghan National Security Forces discovered a weapons cache during an operation in the Shinwar District. The cache contained five small-arms rifles, two pistols and one rocket propelled grenade.

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