[Dawn] Two bodyguards and two suicide kaboomers were killed in a firefight inside the governor's compound in Afghanistan's southern Kandahar province Saturday, an official said.
"Two suicide attackers and two bodyguards of the governor have been killed in the attack," Kandahar government front man Zalmay Ayobi told AFP.
The beturbanned goons, who somehow made it through the tight security at the compound, exchanged fire with Afghan cops while a NATO ...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. A collection of multinational and multilingual and multicultural armed forces, all of differing capabilities, working toward a common goal by pulling in different directions... helicopter hovered overhead, an AFP news hound at the scene said.
"We are inside the compound and we are all fine," provincial governor Toryalai Weesa told AFP as the fighting raged.
"Two to three hooligans have entered the compound -- the security forces have surrounded them, they will soon be killed or captured," he said.
Kandahar province is the heartland of hardline Taliban gun-hung tough guys and has been one of the hardest hit in 10 years of war in which NATO troops are supporting the government of President Hamid Maybe I'll join the Taliban Karzai. ... A former Baltimore restaurateur, now 12th and current President of Afghanistan, displacing the legitimate president Rabbani in December 2004. He was installed as the dominant political figure after the removal of the Taliban regime in late 2001 in a vain attempt to put a Pashtun face on the successor state to the Taliban. After the 2004 presidential election, he was declared president regardless of what the actual vote count was. He won a second, even more dubious, five-year-term after the 2009 presidential election. His grip on reality has been slipping steadily since around 2007, probably from heavy drug use...
Afghan militants hid guns in shoes for Kandahar attack
Two Talibs hiding handguns in their shoes infiltrated a government compound in southern Afghanistan on Saturday in an attempt to assassinate a provincial governor, setting off a fierce gunbattle that left two security guards and both attackers dead.
The assailants passed through a pair of security checks without their weapons being detected before a guard at the last check -- in the reception room for the governor's office -- noticed something suspicious and stopped them, said Gov. Tooryalai Wesa, the apparent target of the attack.
The Death Eaters then pulled the guns out of their shoes, shot the guards and took their weapons, he said.
That sparked a shoot-out with security forces that lasted about 30 minutes and left both attackers dead, said Parwiz Najib, a front man for the governor.
Police also discovered two cars parked outside the compound that had been rigged with explosives, apparently ready to be set off if there was a surge of people out into the street, Governor Wesa said. The police defused those bombs, he said.
Perhaps I am misreading the signs, but it seems the Afghans are getting better at this kind of thing.
A British soldier and a NATO ...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. A collection of multinational and multilingual and multicultural armed forces, all of differing capabilities, working toward a common goal by pulling in different directions... soldier whose nationality was not disclosed have died in separate incidents in southern Afghanistan.
The British Ministry of Defence said that a British soldier was killed while on a patrol in southern Helmand ...an Afghan province populated mostly by Pashtuns, adjacent to Injun country in Pak Balochistan... province on Friday.
"The soldier was serving as part of Combined Force Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand, on a patrol to disrupt bad turban movements in the area, when he was killed as a result of small-arms fire," the Ministry statement said Saturday.
Meanwhile, ...back at the chili cook-off, Chuck and Manuel's rivalry was entering a new and more dangerous phase... Isaf in a statement on Saturday said that a NATO soldier died as a result of a non-battle related injury in southern Afghanistan today.
Isaf did not provide any details about the nationality of the soldier and exact location of the incident.
Britannia has around 9,500 troops Afghanistan, most of them based in southern Helmand province. It has had 410 soldiers die in the Afghan war, according to the website Icasulaties.org which tracks foreign soldiers' deaths in Afghanistan.
[An Nahar] The South Sudanese army said Saturday that it repelled an attack by rebels backed by neighboring Sudan outside Malakal, capital of the decampedgling country's Upper Nile State.
"It was Sudan-supported militias that attacked SPLA (South Sudan army) positions" around Malakal on Friday, Colonel Philip Aguer told AFP, adding that the South Sudanese army repelled the attack, with an unknown number of casualties.
But the rebels claimed to have surrounded Malakal, saying in a statement: "The magnanimous forces of South Sudan Democratic Army (SSDA) launched Operation Ending Corruption and surrounded Malakal ... and captured its surroundings."
Aguer said, for his part: "The SPLA is still chasing them and is observing another group this morning that has entered our territory," adding that the rebels who attacked Friday were under the command of warlord Johnson Olony and came from Sudan's White Nile State.
[An Nahar] Sudan on Saturday rejected U.N. Security Council involvement in efforts to end weeks of border festivities with South Sudan, which said it repelled an attack by Khartoum-backed rebels.
"Sudan confirms that it rejects any efforts to disturb the African Union ...a union consisting of 53 African states, most run by dictators of one flavor or another. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established in 2002, the AU is the successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which was even less successful... role and take the situation between Sudan and South Sudan to the U.N. Security Council," Foreign Minister Ali Karti said after a month of deadly festivities which have raised fears of a wider war.
A South African security trainer was killed by his bodyguard in Somalia's semiautonomous region of Puntland ...a region in northeastern Somalia, centered on Garowe in the Nugaal province. Its leaders declared the territory an autonomous state in 1998. Puntland and the equally autonomous Somaliland seem to have avoided the clan rivalries and warlordism that have typified the rest of Somalia, which puts both places high on the list for Islamic subversion... , officials said Saturday.
Puntland's government said in a statement Saturday that it had launched an investigation into Friday's killing. The statement identified the man as Lodewyk Pietersen, and said he worked for Saracen International, a security firm that trains anti-piracy forces in Puntland. The statement said the South African was 55 and married with children.
South African foreign ministry front man Clayson Monyela said Saturday no official word has been received from consular staff handling South African interests in Somalia.
[An Nahar] Soddy Arabia has allowed the three widows and children of slain Al-Qaeda chief the late Osama bin Laden ... who now dances with worms... entrance into the kingdom on humanitarian grounds, a Saudi-owned daily reported on Saturday.
Citing a senior Saudi official, the London-based Asharq al-Awsat said the kingdom "dealt with bin Laden's wives on humanitarian grounds," adding that authorities were confident that they and the children "were not involved in" the operations of the bad boy group.
The widows -- two Saudis and a Yemeni -- arrived on Friday with their 10 children, after being expelled from Pakistain, Mohammed Naji Allaw, head of the Yemeni non-governmental group Hood, told AFP.
One of Bin Laden's targets was the House of Saud, which he viewed as the corrupt guardians of Mecca and wanted to replace with a caliphate. The Sauds, for their part, didn't mind the existence of al-Qaeda, as long as it (and Osama) stayed out of the Magic Kingdom. However, the Bin Laden family themselves exercise a bit of influence within KSA; hence the allowing of the widows and children in.
All easily research-able to those that take the time.
It seems that those that ignore history are condemned to post ignorant commentary.
[Dawn] At least seven forces of Evil linked to al Qaeda were killed in festivities inYemen's restive south, a regional tribal front man said on Saturday, as the impoverished Arab state fights to tame a stubborn insurgency.
Yemen has launched an offensive against Islamist snuffies in the territory who took advantage of the chaos surrounding more than a year of mass protests and fighting that unseated President-for-Life Ali Abdullah Saleh ... Saleh initially took power as a strongman of North Yemen in 1977, when disco was in flower, but he didn't invite Donna Summer to the inauguration and Blondie couldn't make it... from the presidency.
Ali Aidah, front man for an army-allied tribal force, said five forces of Evil from Ansar al-Sharia ...a Yemeni Islamist militia which claims it is not part of al-Qaeda, even though it works about the same and for the same ends... , an al Qaeda-affiliated group, were killed in an ambush by rustics in the al-Arkoub area near the southern city of Lawder on Friday night.
Two more forces of Evil were killed in an attack by rustics in another area outside of Lawder, he said.
Separately, a security official in the southern province of Lahej said a Yemeni intelligence officer, Colonel Yasser Abdul-Qawi, was rubbed out by unknown gunnies on Saturday morning while he was walking near the main city hospital.
More than 250 people have been killed since government forces stepped up attacks on the forces of Evil whom it accused of assaulting a military camp near Lawdar earlier this month.
Islamist snuffies have already taken control of a number of cities in the southern territory, which is close to key shipping lanes in theRed Sea.
Yemen's new president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who took office vowing to fight al Qaeda, is also facing challenges from Shi'ite Moslem rebels in the north and secessionists in the south.
For a map, click here Updated with additional information from Nota Roja.
By Chris Covert
A total of 14 individuals were killed in two firefights in a remote mountain municipality of eastern Sinaloa state early Saturday morning and Saturday afternoon, according to Mexican news reports.
The death toll in the early morning firefight included four armed suspects, one police officer and one soldier. Another two soldiers were wounded in the encounter.
A Mexican Army unit was dispatched at about 0200 hrs near the village of El Picho in Choix municipality after receiving false reports of a gunfight between two armed suspects. On the return leg near the village of Chinol, between the villages of El Potrero de los Fierro and San Simon, the unit came under small arms fire.
Among the dead was Mario Bejarano, a leader of the armed group in the area. Reports also said that about 100 armed suspects were observed in the area prior to the early morning firefight. Following the morning encounter a number of armed suspects fled the area and began digging in.
The firefight between the army unit and armed suspects lasted several hours. The gunfire was apparently intense enough to cause the detail commander to request air support in the form of a Mexican Air Force Bell 206 helicopter. Armed suspects fired on the airship, hitting an unidentified sergeant. The NCO was rushed to a hospital where he later died. Earlier reports are the helicopter was down, but news reports citing unnamed Mexican Army sources said the helicopter was hit, but is operable.
The Choix municipality police agent who was killed in the encounter was identified as Hector German Ruiz Villa. It is also reproted that a relative of the Choix municipal Secretaria de Seguridad Publica was kidnapped Saturday afternoon.
Five others were hit by gunfire as well, apparently civilians who were sent to area hospitals.
Materiel seized in the aftermath of the first encounter included five AK-47 rifles, one .50 caliber Barrett rifle, 36 weapons magazines for AK-47, four disc magazines for AK-47, one Barrett weapons magazine, four rifles, 1,500 rounds of AK-47 ammunition, 28 rounds of .22 celiber ammunition, five .45 caliber rounds of ammunition, one fragmentary hand grenade (pineapple style) and six weapons magazines.
Vehicles seized included one Hummer SUV painted military olive green color with false military markings and one rifle attached on a mount, a pickup truck painted as a Sinaloa state police vehicle, a patrol vehicle painted as a Sinaloa state judicial police patrol vehicle, and two vehicles painted as Policia Federal patrol vehicles.
A subsequent firefight took place the following afternoon near the village of Yecorato where Mexican Army soldiers and Sinaloa state judicial police agents encountered an armed group which movement was observed by Mexicam Air Force helicopters in the area. In that encounter eight armed suspects died.
The village of Yecorato is about 20 kilometers south of Choix and five kilometrs west of the first firefight.
Earlier accounts placed the number of dead at as many as 40, and had said the encounter was because Sinaloa Cartel boss Joaquin Loera Guzman AKA El Chapo or Shorty had been captured. Earlier reports also said the encounter was a three way firefight included Mexican security forces and two other opposing armed gangs.
The mayor of the village of El Fuerte, Eleazar Rubio Ayala, has told Mexican media that at least 30 dead were scattered around the area of the gunfights. Earlier reports said that unidentified local funeral homes were expecting a large influx of cadavers from the encounter.
According to Milenio news daily, military sources said Beltran-Leyva cartel operatives were killed in the firefight. News reports have not confirmed if a second armed group was involved in the firefight.
Choix municipality is on Sinaloa State Highway 32, and is an area generally considered to be Beltran-Leyva Cartel territory.
Choix itself is about 20 kilometers from the eastern border with Chihuahua state, but the firefight took place less than five kilometers from the border.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com
For a map, click here. For a map of Zacatecas state, click here You can read the Rantburg.com report on the April 17th encounter between Mexican security forces and ana an armed group in Zacatecas by clicking here
By Chris Covert
The daughter of a top police commander of Jimenez de Teul municipality in extreme western Zacatecas state was among those identified as killed in a shootout with Mexican security forces ten days ago, according to Mexican news accounts.
Maraa Consuelo Argumedo Recendiz, 23, was killed April 17th when a joint patrol of Mexican Army troops and Zacatecas state police agents exchanged gunfire with armed suspects, killing five. Argumedo Recendiz was the daughter of Jimenez de Teul Policia Preventitiva director Rosalio Argumedo Montes, who resigned along with three others when four of his charges were kidnapped by an organized crime group April 4th.
Earlier Mexican press reports referred to a total of ten kidnapped from the municipality, which would track with the April 4th abductions and the disappearance of the first four municipal police agents.
Since that time Jimenez de Teul has been without a police presence. Mexican Army and Zacatecas state police have been patrolling the municipality. No word has been received from the state Fiscalia General de Estado or from other state officials about when a police presence will return to the municipality. The absence has been described in Mexican press as a crisis, since a number of competing criminal groups operate in the border area with Durango state. Other Zacatecas municipalities currently with no police presence include Florencia de Benito Juarez, El Plateado de Joaquin Amaro and Tepetongo municipalities.
The five unidentified individuals who were kidnapped by an armed group included a Jimenez de Teul Polica Preventativa who reportedly attempted to intercept the group. Reports at the time said that the five victims had been taken to Durango state.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com
A U.S. drone strike killed four suspected militants in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal region near the Afghan border on Sunday, intelligence officials and witnesses said, the first strike in almost a month.
The controversial drone programme, a key element in U.S. counter-terrorism efforts, is highly unpopular in Pakistan, where it is considered a violation of sovereignty which causes many civilian casualties.
The remotely piloted aircraft targeted an abandoned girls' high school building used by militants in Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan, the officials and witnesses said.
Three militants were wounded.
"We intercepted internal conversation of the militants asking for arranging four coffins for the slain men in the drone attack. We don't know about their identity and nationality but those living in the girls' school were mostly Arabs," a security official said.
A local resident, Haji Niamat Khan, said more than two dozen militants were living in the school when it was attacked. Only 4 dead out of two dozen? Guess they're learning not to bunch up?
The last drone strike, on March 30, Has it been that long? Faster, please.
killed four suspected militants and wounded three in the same town of Miranshah, a known hotbed for Pakistan Taliban and foreign militants.
The beheaded, bullet-ridden body of a kidnapped British doctor working for the International Committee of the Red Cross was found dumped by the roadside today in the southwestern Pakistan city of Quetta, police and Red Cross officials said.
Muslim convert Khalil Rasjed Dale, 60, was kidnapped by suspected militants on Jan 5 while on his way home from work.
'The ICRC condemns in the strongest possible terms this barbaric act,' ICRC Director-General Yves Daccord said in a statement. 'All of us at the ICRC and at the British Red Cross share the grief and outrage of Khalil's family and friends.'
Given that a significant chunk of Pakistan views non-Muslim symbols the way blacks perceive the Confederate battle flag, and this demographic tends to have very little control over their murderous impulses, he was a fool to be working for the Red Cross in Pakistan.
[Dawn] A station house officer and five other police officials were maimed when their van was hit by a remote-controlled bomb at Sharaopul in Pishkando area here on Friday, officials said.
They said that a police party of Rustam cop shoppe led by SHO Khankhel Khan was on a routine patrol when their van was hit by a bomb. As a result of the kaboom, all six coppers in the van sustained multiple wounds.
Driver of the van identified as Hashmat Ali was referred to Beautiful Downtown Peshawar hospital in precarious condition. Other five injured included SHO Khankhel and constables Iqbal, Kachkul, Fazal-e-Subhan and Jahangir. They were stated to be in stable, pH balanced condition at district headquarter hospital, Mardan.
The officials said that the police van was also destroyed by kaboom of the bomb, which was about 10kg.
The Rustam police had registered an FIR against unidentified myrmidons. Meanwhile, ...back at the pie fight, Bella opened her mouth at precisely the wrong moment... unknown persons slaughtered a watchman of Mukaram market in Charsadda chowk with a sharp-edged weapon on the night between Thursday and Friday.
Officials of the city cop shoppe quoted Qamar Zaman of Kot Ismailzai that he was informed by someone that his brother Khalid was slaughtered by unidentified killers. The police have registered an FIR against unknown killers.
In Charsadda, unknown myrmidons blew up a government girls' school in Shabqadar on Friday. The kaboom occurred at the government primary school, Daman Matta, which was completely destroyed. The Khwaja Was police have registered the case.
[Dawn] At least seven people including Station House Officer (SHO) of Civil Lines and two constables were killed along with 16 others maimed in Lyari ...one of the eighteen constituent towns of the city of Karachi. It is the smallest town by area in the city but also the most densely populated. Lyari has few schools, substandard hospitals, a poor water system, limited infrastructure, and broken roads. It is a stronghold of ruling Pakistan Peoples Party. Ubiquitous gang activity and a thriving narcotics industry make Lyari one of the most disturbed places in Karachi, which is really saying a lot.... on Saturday, in the consecutive second day of violence and unrest.
Sporadic firing incidents caused tension in different areas of Lyari, keeping the entire locality shut. SHO Civil Line Fawwad Khan and two police constables were killed and five other police officials were maimed when unknown culprits hurled a hand grenade and opened fire on them at Kalakot.
A man in his mid twenties was rubbed out near Gubool Park. Four people, including a woman, were rubbed out near Cheel Chowk.
Exchange of fire between myrmidons and police continued throughout the day. The police operation was started under the supervision of SSP CID Chaudhry Aslam in the early hours of Friday in deep and narrow lanes of Lyari against criminal elements involved in gang war.
However, some people are alive only because it's illegal to kill them... the police encountered severe resistance as criminal elements not only opened fire on them but also hurled hand grenades and used rocket propelled grenades.
On Friday about eight people were killed in the day long fighting between LEAs and criminal elements. At night there was decline in firing incidents in Lyari on Saturday it started again. Crime Investigation Department (CID), Frontier Constabulary (FC), Elite Force and police took part in the targeted operation.
Additional Inspector General (AIG) Akhtar Hussain Gorchani while talking to media said the operation will continue until criminal elements are eliminated.
The Islamic Republic of Iran said Tuesday that it has the ability to position a naval vessel within three miles of the East Coast of the United States.
"The power of our naval forces is such that we have a presence in all the waters of the world and, if needed, we can move to within three miles of New York," Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi said Tuesday during a speech to the students of the University of Yazd in Iran. His remarks were quoted by an Iranian student news agency. ...and I'm sure the admiral will right there on the bridge barking out orders.
The admiral was speaking on the anniversary of a failed April 24, 1980 U.S. military operation -- dubbed "Operation Eagle Claw" -- that sought to rescue American hostages held captive at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
Iranian Revolutionary Guards naval commanders said in July 2011 that they would expand their mission into the Atlantic Ocean, and that the country had equipped a number of its vessels with long-range ballistic missiles.
In September, Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said Iran planned to deploy naval vessels in the Atlantic Ocean. "The Navy has a strong presence in the Caspian Sea, Persian Gulf, Sea of Oman, Indian Ocean and international waters and soon it will be present in the Atlantic Ocean," Vahidi said.
On that same day, Rear Adm. Fadavi dismissed the idea of setting up a military hotline between U.S. and Iran. Media reports had quoted an unidentified U.S. defense official floating the idea after a series of close encounters between the countries' forces in the Persian Gulf. "When we go to the Gulf of Mexico," Fadavi said, "we will establish direct communication with them." ...but not for long.
The U.S. Air Force is quietly assembling the world's most powerful air-to-air fighting team at bases near Iran. Stealthy F-22 Raptors on their first front-line deployment
Fixed the oxygen system problem, did they...
have joined a potent mix of active-duty and Air National Guard F-15 Eagles, including some fitted with the latest advanced radars. The Raptor-Eagle team has been honing special tactics for clearing the air of Iranian fighters in the event of war.
The fighters join a growing naval armada that includes Navy carriers, submarines, cruisers and destroyers plus patrol boats and minesweepers enhanced with the latest close-in weaponry.
It's been years since the Air Force has maintained a significant dogfighting presence in the Middle East. During the 2003 invasion of Iraq Boeing-made F-15Cs flew air patrols from Saudi Arabia, but the Iraqi air force put up no resistance and the Eagle squadrons soon departed. For the next nine years Air Force deployments to the Middle East were handled by ground-attack planes such as A-10s, F-16s and twin-seat F-15E Strike Eagles.
The 1980s-vintage F-15Cs, plagued by structural problems, stayed home in the U.S. and Japan. The brand-new F-22s, built by Lockheed Martin, suffered their own mechanical and safety problems. When they ventured from their home bases in Virginia, Alaska and New Mexico, it was only for short training exercises over the Pacific. The F-15Cs and F-22s sat out last year's Libya war.
The Air Force fixed the F-15s and partially patched up the F-22s just in time for the escalating stand-off over Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program. In March the Air Force deployed the Massachusetts Air National Guard's 104th Fighter Wing, flying 20 standard F-15Cs, to an "undisclosed" air base in Southwest Asia -- probably either Al Dhafra in the United Arab Emirates or Al Udeid in Qatar.
But don't tell anyone -- it's undisclosed...
The highly-experienced Massachusetts Guardsmen, who typically have several years more experience than their active-duty counterparts, would be ready "should Iran test the 104th," said wing commander Col. Robert Brooks.
Upgraded F-15Cs from the 18th Wing in Japan joined the Guard Eagles. The Japan-based fighters have the latest APG-63(V)2 and (V)3 radars, manufactured by Raytheon. They're electronically-scanned radars that radiate many individual beams from fixed antenna clusters and track more targets, faster, than old-model mechanical radars that must physically swivel back and forth. The 18th Wing is working up a fleet of 54 updated Eagles spread across two squadrons.
Video at the link if you like that sort of thing.
F-22s followed this month. "Multiple" Raptors deployed to Al Dhafra, according to Amy Butler at Aviation Week. Air Force spokesman Capt. Phil Ventura confirmed the deployment. It's not clear where the Raptors came from.
But we think they're American...
If they're from the Alaska-based 3rd Wing, they're the latest Increment 3.1 model with boosted bombing capabilities in addition to the standard air-to-air weaponry. In any event, the Middle East mission represents the first time F-22s are anywhere near a possible combat zone.
The mix of old and upgraded F-15s and ultra-modern F-22s is no accident. When the Pentagon stopped producing the nearly $400-million-a-copy Raptor after 187 units -- half as many as the Air Force said it needed -- the flying branch committed to keeping 250 F-15Cs in service until 2025 at the earliest. Pilots began developing team tactics for the two fighter types.
"We have a woefully tiny F-22 fleet," said Gen. Mike Hostage, the Air Force's main fighter commander. So the flying branch worked out a system whereby large numbers of F-15s cover for small numbers of Raptors that sneak in around an enemy's flank in full stealth mode. "Our objective is to fly in front with the F-22s, and have the persistence to stay there while the [F-22s] are conducting their [low-observable] attack," Maj. Todd Giggy, an Eagle pilot, told Aviation Week.
One thing to look for is the presence in the Middle East of one of the Air Force's handful of bizjets and Global Hawk drones fitted with the Northrop Grumman Battlefield Airborne Communications Node, or Bacon. The F-22, once envisioned as a solitary hunter, was designed without the radio data-links that are standard on F-15s and many other jets. Instead, the Raptor has its own unique link that is incompatible with the Eagle. Bacon helps translate the radio signals so the two jet types can swap information. With a Bacon plane nearby, F-22s and F-15s can silently exchange data -- for example, stealthy Raptors spotting targets for the Eagles.
It's the methods above that the U.S. dogfighting armada would likely use to wipe out the antiquated but determined Iranian air force if the unthinkable occurred and fighting broke out. The warplanes are in place. The pilots are ready. Hopefully they won't be needed.
[An Nahar] Syrian troops killed at least 10 rebels on Saturday in fighting in the Damascus ...Capital of the last overtly fascist regime in the world... region, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Separately, official news agency SANA reported three soldiers and two "terrorists" killed in Aleppo ...For centuries, Aleppo was Greater Syria's largest city and the Ottoman Empire's third, after Constantinople and Cairo. Although relatively close to Damascus in distance, Aleppans regard Damascenes as country cousins... , as festivities erupted there between Syrian and "armed terrorist groups".
The agency added that "one of the military units stationed off the coast of Latakia thwarted an attempt by an "armed terrorist group" trying to infiltrate from the sea," quoting an unnamed military source.
Near the city of Latakia, festivities broke out between Syrian troops and armed opposition forces in the village of Bourj Islam near a presidential palace early Saturday morning, the Observatory and activists reported.
Activist Sema Nassar said the fighting began as "officers and soldiers of a military base near the presidential palace ... deserted with their weapons."
"Loud kabooms were heard as far as the city of Latakia," Nassar added.
The fresh violence comes on the heels of Friday festivities, which left 19 dead, including 10 civilians, according to the Observatory.
A suicide car boomwent kaboom! Friday in Damascus, leaving two dead, according to the watchdog and 11 killed according to Syrian state media.
Major General Robert Mood, a veteran Norwegian peacekeeper, headed to Damascus on Saturday to take charge of the U.N. monitoring mission, which is expected to expand to a 300-strong force.
[An Nahar] Hungary said two of its nationals were kidnapped in Syria on Saturday by unknown gunnies, adding that Budapest may dispatch agents to the region to collect further information.
"The Foreign Ministry and TEK (Hungary's Anti-Terrorism Center) confirmed that two men working in Syria were kidnapped on Saturday at dawn by unknown gunnies," said Peter Szijjarto, a front man for Prime Minister Viktor Orban, in a statement to MTI, the Hungarian state news agency.
"Hungary will look after its citizens who are in difficulties abroad ... Members of the Anti-Terrorism Centre are ready to get to the region as soon as possible to collect the necessary information."
Syrian forces killed at least 10 people on Saturday in a village north of Damascus ...Capital of the last overtly fascist regime in the world... where army defectors had taken refuge, and in the coastal province of Latakia the army clashed with rebel fighters, activists said.
Activist Omar Hamza said the Damascus killings occurred after a group of soldiers defected and were pursued by forces loyal to Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Light of the Alawites... into the village of Bakha north of the capital.
Four rebels and six non-combatants were killed, Hamza said. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also put the corpse count at 10, but said they were all defectors..
Lebanese authorities seized a large consignment of Libyan weapons including rocket-propelled grenades and heavy caliber ammunition from a ship intercepted in the Mediterranean, the army said on Saturday.
It did not say where the vessel was heading but the ship's owner told Reuters it was due to unload in the northern Lebanese port of Tripoli.
The army said in a statement the weapons were found in three containers carried by the Sierra Leone-flagged Letfallah II, which was impounded along with its 11-man crew and taken to a navy port in Beirut.
Pictures released by the army showed dozens of crates inside the containers, some of them filled with belts of heavy ammunition and rocket-propelled grenades.
Labeling on one box said it contained fragmentation explosives, and several identified them as coming from Libya.
One was marked "Tripoli/Benghazi SPLAJ", referring to Libya's formal name during the 42-year rule of Moammar Gadhafi - the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.
Another was stamped Misrata, the Libyan town which formed a base for rebels who overthrew Gadhafi last year in one of several uprising which swept the Arab world.
Ship owner Mohammad Khafaji said he was told the craft was carrying engine oil, and was unaware of any weapons. "The law doesn't allow me to open and inspect the containers," he said by telephone from Egypt.
Khafaji said a broker from Lebanon had made contact, asking originally for a shipment of 12 containers of "general cargo" to be shipped from Libya to Lebanon. In the end, after two days' delay, the ship left with just the three containers, he said.
It sailed to Turkey and then the Egyptian port of Alexandria before heading for Tripoli in Lebanon, but as it was completing formalities for docking there the crew was told to take the ship to another port, Selaata, to unload the cargo.
"After that we lost contact with the crew," he said.
Gunmen in inflatable dinghies attacked a military unit on Syria's Mediterranean coast, state media said on Saturday, the first seaborne assault in a 13-month-old revolt against Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Trampler of Homs... The nocturnal raid, along with the killings of at least 15 people in violence in two areas near the capital, underlined the threadbare state of a UN-brokered ceasefire deal that has Western leaders talking of tougher steps to stop the bloodshed.
The official SANA news agency said several gunnies and soldiers died in the battle that followed the coastal attack near the northern port of Latakia, 35 km south of the Turkish border.
"The fighting ... resulted in the death and wounding of a number of military personnel while the number of those killed from the terrorist group was not known because they attacked the military unit at night," SANA said.
It did not state the nationality of the attackers.
Damascus ...Home to a staggering array of terrorist organizations... has accused Turkey of allowing weapons and funds to flow to beturbanned goons throughout the uprising, the latest in a wave of revolts across the Arab world against autocratic rule. Turkey also plays host to the leadership of the rebel Free Syrian Army.
Lebanese authorities found weapons including rocket-propelled grenades and rifles on board a ship intercepted in the Mediterranean which may have been trying to supply Syrian cut-thoats, security sources said.
In a village north of Damascus where army defectors had taken refuge, activists said Syrian forces killed at least 10 people. And overnight, five members of the security forces were killed in an kaboom targeting two vehicles near Damascus, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The United Nations ...a lucrative dumping ground for the relatives of dictators and party hacks... says Syrian forces have killed 9,000 people since the start of the revolt in March 2011. Syrian authorities blame foreign-backed faceless myrmidons for the violence and say 2,600 soldiers and police have been killed.
Most independent media have been barred from Syria, making it hard to verify accounts of events on the ground.
The April 12 ceasefire arranged by UN-Arab League ...an organization of Arabic-speaking states with 22 member countries and four observers. The League tries to achieve Arab consensus on issues, which usually leaves them doing nothing but a bit of grimacing and mustache cursing... envoy Kofi Annan ...Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh and so far the worst Secretary-General of the UN. Annan and the UN were the co-recipients of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize for something or other that probably sounded good at the time. In December 2004, reports surfaced that Kofi's son Kojo received payments from the Swiss company Cotecna, which had won a lucrative contract under the UN Oil-for-Food Program. Kofi Annan called for an investigation to look into the allegations, which stirred up the expected cesspool but couldn't seem to come up with enough evidence to indict Kofi himself, or even Kojo... has only modestly reduced the level of daily carnage, with both sides accusing each other of multiple breaches of the truce.
On Friday, a jacket wallah killed nine people including security officers at a Damascus mosque.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility. The blast was close to the site of a Jan. 6 suicide kaboom later claimed by a previously unknown, anti-Assad Sunni Islamist group calling itself the al-Nusra Front.
The latest suicide kaboom was just one of five kabooms to hit the capital on Friday, creating the impression that beturbanned goons may be changing tactics and embarking on a sustained bombing campaign aimed at the seat of Assad's power.
"The action is picking up and it seems the (rebels) and Assad's forces are starting to battle it out in Damascus as well," said one activist based in the capital who uses the name Mar Ram.