[AnNahar] At least four Afghan soldiers were killed and around a dozen people including six civilians maimed when a roadside kaboom planted by the Taliban went kaboom! in the Afghan capital on Tuesday, officials said.
The blast, caused by a remote-controlled bomb, targeted an Afghan army bus in the western part of Kabul, the Ministry of Defense said.
"In a remote-controlled kaboom against an army bus at 6:45 am (0215 GMT) in Aqa Ali Shams in Kabul, four army personnel were killed and 12 maimed, including six civilians," the ministry said in a statement.
Broken glass and debris were strewn around the site of the attack as security officials cordoned off the area.
Jandad, a government employee who witnessed the blast and who goes by one name, told Agence La Belle France Presse: "We were waiting for our shuttle bus to go to the office when we heard a big bang.
"Later I saw a bus from which they were removing several Afghan army soldiers, most blood-soaked."
He added that the bomb appeared to have been placed in the divider in the middle of the road that separates traffic.
The Taliban, who have this year stepped up their attacks against the Afghan cops, grabbed credit via their official Twitter account.
It is the latest in a surge of attacks on local security forces as foreign combat troops withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of the year.
Talibs killed six Afghan police last Tuesday in the Pashtun-infested Logar province south of Kabul, a day after forces of Evil ambushed a convoy in the north and killed 22 coppers.
The inauguration of new President Ashraf Ghani ...former chancellor of Kabul University. Before returning to Afghanistan in 2002 he was a scholar of political science and anthropology. He worked at the World Bank working on international development assistance. As Finance Minister of Afghanistan between July 2002 and December 2004, he led Afghanistan's attempted economic recovery until the Karzais stole all the money. .. last month was also marred by a spate of suicide kabooms on security forces killing more than a dozen people.
Afghan casualties have rocketed over the past two years, during which time NATO ...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Originally it was a mutual defense pact directed against an expansionist Soviet Union. In later years it evolved into a mechanism for picking the American pocket while criticizing the cut of the American pants... has handed over most combat duties to the nation's police and army.
The U.S. military estimated this month that 7,000-9,000 Afghan police or troops had been killed or maimed so far this year.
Ghani, who was sworn into office last month following a lengthy election process, has signed a long-delayed agreement allowing about 13,000 foreign troops to stay on into 2015.
But the follow-up mission, which will take over on January 1 -- 9,800 U.S. troops and about 3,000 soldiers from Germany, Italia and other NATO members -- will focus mainly on training local forces and counter-terrorism operations.
[IsraelTimes] CAIRO -- An Egyptian military court sentenced to death seven members of an Al-Qaeda inspired jihadist group Tuesday for carrying out deadly attacks on the army, military officials said.
Two other members of Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis ...Supporters of Jerusalem, the current pen name of al-Qaeda in the Sinai Peninsula... were sentenced to life in prison, which amounts to 25 years in Egypt.
The Sinai-based group has claimed some of the deadliest attacks on security forces since the ouster of president Mohammed Morsi last year as retaliation for a crackdown on Morsi's supporters that has left hundreds dead and thousands tossed in the slammer Drop the rod and step away witcher hands up! The military court in Cairo convicted the nine jihadists of killing six soldiers in a March attack on an army outpost Qalubiya province, north of Cairo, army officials said.
They were also found guilty of killing two military explosive experts when a joint police-army team went to arrest them after the attack.
Prior to Morsi's overthrow, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis was known for firing rockets at Israel and attacking pipelines in Sinai that supply gas to the Jewish state.
The ruling was the first death sentence handed down against members of the Sinai-based faction, which is considered the country's deadliest jihadist group and has established contacts with Islamic State ...formerly ISIS or ISIL, depending on your preference. Before that al-Qaeda in Iraq, as shaped by Abu Musab Zarqawi. They're very devout, committing every atrocity they can find in the Koran and inventing a few more. They fling Allah around with every other sentence, but to hear the pols talk they're not really Moslems.... forces of Evil operating in Iraq and Syria.
[Libya Herald] High casualties over the course of nearly a week of fighting has left Benghazi's largest medical facility struggling to cope, with the bodies of 75 civilians and combatants arriving at the hospital since the start of the renewed violence.
A doctor at the Benghazi Medical Centre (BMC), who asked not to be identified, told the Libya Herald that the most recent figures he had seen for the number of dead were up till yesterday. Further deaths have been reported in fighting since then.
He said the BMC had been forced to deal with the majority of casualties from festivities which began on Wednesday when pro-government forces re-entered the city, forcing Benghazi Revolutionaries' Shoura Council (BRSC) from one of their main camps.
He explained that BMC's proximity to where the worst of the fighting was going on as well as its large surgical and emergency departments meant it was the first port of call for any individuals caught up in the recent violence.
However, today is that tomorrow you were thinking about yesterday... the doctor said because of the ongoing festivities much-needed doctors and support staff had become trapped in their areas. Most roads in the city had been shut by makeshift barriers and local areas are protected by armed residents making it impossible to move freely from district to district. As a result, he said, medics had been forced to stay at home when they were most needed.
Pockets of violence and street fighting in residential areas had meant Benghazi's other hospitals, such as Jalaa Hospital, were practically out of commission, he claimed. Reliable sources have told this newspaper that Hawari Hospital which lies in an area sympathetic to BRSC has been commandeered by Ansar al-Sharia ...a Salafist militia which claims it is not part of al-Qaeda, even though it works about the same and for the same ends. There are groups of the same name in Libyaand Yemen, with the Libyan versions currently most active. Tunisia's Shabaab al-Tawhid started out an Ansar al-Sharia and changed its name in early 2014. It still uses the old name now and then, probably because the stationery's not all used up and the web site hasn't expired yet... forces and is being used to treat its maimed.
BRSC has at no point throughout months of fighting disclosed the numbers of its forces which have been killed or injured in battles with pro government forces.
The doctor added that because of current conditions, the level of wear on medical facilities and a lack of maintenance, crucial equipment was in a state of disrepair.
He explained that the hospital's CT scan which was important for locating pieces of shrapnel or bullets within the body no longer worked and had put staff and patients at a severe disadvantage.
The Chechen Interior Ministry announced on October 18 the killing in Grozny of Aslan Aliskhanov, who was identified as the "organizer" of a suicide bombing done 13 days earlier by a young Chechen identified as Apti Mudarov. But the details divulged of how he was killed are not entirely convincing.
According to the Chechen Interior Ministry, Aliskhanov was shot while resisting arrest. He was armed and was wearing a suicide belt packed with explosives. Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin for his part said that joint measures by the Interior Ministry and Federal Security Service had shown that Aliskhanov had planned to perpetrate on October 4 a suicide bombing similar to that carried out by Mudarov.
Investigative Committee Chairman Aleksandr Bastrykin said that Aliskhanov had asked friends in Grozny at whose home he was staying to summon the police, with the intention of blowing up himself together with the police when they arrived. Aliskhanov's friends refused whereupon, according to Bastrykin, he detonated an explosive device that damaged their home.
Bastrykin's account is questionable for at least two reasons. First, if Aliskhanov had in his possession a suicide belt stuffed with explosives, why did Mudarov use a homemade bomb based on a mortar shell? Second, why did Aliskhanov remain in Grozny after the October 5 suicide bombing, especially given that Chechen security officials had announced on October 16 that they had identified him as Mudarov's accomplice and launched a large-scale search for him, posting photographs of him publicly in the district of Grozny where he was subsequently spotted and killed?
Two other aspects of the search for, and killing of, Aliskhanov are puzzling. First, Chechen Republic leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who routinely plays up his and his zeal in countering the Islamic insurgency, has failed to comment on it. Second, neither Chechen authorities nor the federal Investigative Committee have made any mention of the alleged connection between the October 5 bombing and the Syria-based Islamist group Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar (Jamwa), many of whose members are reportedly from Chechnya or elsewhere in the North Caucasus. The Moscow Times reportedly claimed, in an article that is no longer accessible, that a comment on the bombing was posted on an account on the Russian social-networking site VKontakte.
The website Caucasus Knot in turn reported that Jamwa had actually taken responsibility for the Grozny bombing in a post to a VKontakte account. At the same time, it quoted two Russian experts as casting doubts on the authenticity of that claim, while a blogger affirmed categorically that Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar did not claim responsibility on Vkontakte for the Grozny bombing.
Meanwhile, Chechen police are hunting for a third man, named as Magomed Zaurbekov, who reportedly had ties to Aliskhanov.
[AnNahar] "It was as if we were in the middle of a war zone," said 22-year-old drama student Aslihan Celebi as she described the scene of a violent anti-jihadist protest at Istanbul University.
The university has in the last few weeks been the center of violent festivities between leftist students denouncing the brutality of Islamic State ...formerly ISIS or ISIL, depending on your preference. Before that al-Qaeda in Iraq, as shaped by Abu Musab Zarqawi. They're very devout, committing every atrocity they can find in the Koran and inventing a few more. They fling Allah around with every other sentence, but to hear the pols talk they're not really Moslems.... (IS) jihadists and the group's sympathizers.
No doubt one reason that clever President Erdogan came up with this.
[DAWN] US and Canadian air defenses were placed on heightened alert after a shooting in Canada's parliament, US officials said Wednesday.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) "is taking appropriate and prudent steps to ensure we are adequately postured to respond quickly to any incidents involving aviation in Canada," said a US defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The move came as a precaution after a gunman opened fire in and around the Canadian parliament, with a Canadian soldier dying of gunshot wounds and police sealing off the area.
NORAD front man Captain Jeff Davis declined to provide details of the steps taken, saying only steps had been taken to ensure defenses were "adequately postured."
But while the shooting incident in Ottawa raised fears of a potential link to Lion of Islams, Davis said there were no signs of possible hijackings or imminent threats to aviation.
"We're not aware of any current, specific threats against the aviation system," he told AFP.
US intelligence officials were not immediately available to comment as to whether there were any suspected links to murderous Moslems in the shooting in Canada.
NORAD, founded during the Cold War, is a combined US, Canadian military command designed to safeguard the air space over the two countries, with its headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado.
After the attacks on New York and Washington on September 11, 2001, the command regularly scrambles fighter jets to intercept private aircraft that enter prohibited areas over the US capital or elsewhere, escorting them to the nearest runway.
"Condolences to family of the soldier killed and prayers for the parliamentary guard maimed. Canada will not be terrorized or intimidated," employment minister Jason Kenney said on Twitter after the shot soldier pronounced dead in Ottawa.
Gunfire echoed through the gothic halls of the Canadian parliament as police swarmed in to tackle the gunman who had shot the soldier outside before storming the building earlier in the day.
One attacker had been shot by police inside the building while up to two more were feared to be on the lam, as officers sealed off the area.
Video footage posted online by the Globe and Mail newspaper showed police ducking for cover as they advanced along a stone hallway, loud gunfire echoing among the stone columns.
Police officers outside told AFP that one or more ‐ possibly up to three ‐ shooters were feared to be on the roof of the building.
A member of parliament, Maurice Vellacott, told AFP that House of Commons security had told one of his aides that at least one suspect had been killed inside parliament.
Other politicians tweeted reports that an assailant had been shot.
"I literally had just taken off my jacket to go into caucus. I hear this 'pop, pop, pop,' possibly 10 shots, don't really know," Liberal Party member John McKay told CBC television.
"Suddenly the security guards come rushing down the hallways and usher us all out to the back of the parliament buildings."
CBC radio also reported that one of the suspected shooters had been killed, but there was no official confirmation of this.
Witnesses said they saw a man armed with a rifle running into parliament after the shooting at the memorial.
Passers-by told news hounds that a bearded man had bumped off the soldier, hijacked a passing vehicle to take him the short distance to Parliament Hill, on a bluff over the Ottawa River.
One witness, parliamentary aide Marc-Andre Viau, said he saw a man run into a caucus meeting at the parliament, chased by police armed with rifles who yelled "take cover."
That was followed by "10, 15, maybe 20 shots," possibly from an automatic weapon, he said. "I'm shaken," said Viau.
The soldier appeared seriously maimed. Emergency medics were seen pushing on his chest to revive him.
Police raced to seal off the parliament building and the office of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, pushing news hounds and bystanders further back and blocking roads with squad cars.
Harper left the area of the shooting and was "safe," his front man Jason MacDonald said.
The incident came a day after 25-year-old Martin Couture-Rouleau ran over a soldier, killing him before being rubbed out by police as he emerged from his wrecked car wielding a knife.
The government branded this a terrorist attack by a suspected bad boy, amid reports that Couture-Rouleau was a supporter of the so-called Islamic State ...formerly ISIS or ISIL, depending on your preference. Before that al-Qaeda in Iraq, as shaped by Abu Musab Zarqawi. They're very devout, committing every atrocity they can find in the Koran and inventing a few more. They fling Allah around with every other sentence, but to hear the pols talk they're not really Moslems.... , a jihadist group operating in Iraq and Syria.
If the driver's alleged jihadist sympathies are confirmed, it would be Canada's first ever bad boy attack, although authorities have warned they are tracking 90 suspected murderous Moslems in the country.
Authorities raised the security threat level from low to medium after the incident, which came as Canadian jets were to join the US-led air armada bombarding forces of Evil in Iraq.
"This level means that intelligence has indicated that an individual or group within Canada or abroad has the intent and capability to commit an act of terrorism," the Public Safety Ministry said.
Outside parliament, police were seen taking cover behind vehicles, as others expanded a cordoned off area to a city block around parliament.
OTTAWA -- A gunman opened fire at the National War Memorial, wounding a soldier, then moved to nearby Parliament Hill and wounded a security guard before he was shot, reportedly by Parliament's sergeant-at-arms.
Despite the shooting of the suspect, police and soldiers continued a chaotic hunt, leading to speculation there was more than one suspect.
"As to the number of suspects, we don't know," Const. Marc Soucy of Ottawa police said Tuesday morning.
Ottawa police confirmed they had a call at 9:52 a.m. with a report of shots fired. Paramedics performed CPR on the soldier at the memorial and he was taken to hospital. But there was no word of his condition.
[ARABNEWS] A Canadian man who rammed two soldiers in Quebec with his car, killing one of them, converted to Islam last year and was among 90 people being tracked by Canadian police on suspicion of taking part in turban activities abroad or planning to do so.
Monday's incident, the first fatal attack on Canadian soil tied to murderous Moslems, occurred after Canada announced this month it was joining the battle against Islamic State ...formerly ISIS or ISIL, depending on your preference. Before that al-Qaeda in Iraq, as shaped by Abu Musab Zarqawi. They're very devout, committing every atrocity they can find in the Koran and inventing a few more. They fling Allah around with every other sentence, but to hear the pols talk they're not really Moslems.... fighters who have taken over parts of Iraq and Syria.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Commissioner Bob Paulson said on Tuesday that the attacker was one of 90 individuals the force has been investigating. The RCMP had previously seized his passport because it feared he might try to go abroad, Paulson said.
Police killed the attacker shortly after he ran down the two soldiers in the Quebec town of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, about 40 km (25 miles) southeast of Montreal.
Police said the man, identified in the media as 25-year-old Martin Rouleau, had waited in a parking lot outside a government services center for veterans for more than two hours before initiating his attack. One of the soldiers hit was in military uniform, police said. The dead soldier was a 53-year-old adjutant. The other soldier is hospitalized.
"What took place yesterday is clearly linked to terrorist ideology," Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney told news hounds in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu.
The attacker fled in his car, was chased by police and rubbed out after he emerged from his vehicle when it flipped over into a ditch, police said. They said he had a knife.
The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) says it is aware of at least 50 Canadians involved in terrorist-related activities with Islamic State and other turban groups in the Middle East.
A young convert to Islam who killed a Canadian soldier in a hit-and-run had been on the radar of federal Sherlocks, who feared he had jihadist ambitions and seized his passport when he tried to travel to Turkey, authorities said Tuesday
Police seized his passport at the airport in July when he tried to travel to Turkey, Fontaine said. He was locked away Please don't kill me! and questioned but there wasn't enough evidence to charge him with a crime, she said.
Fontaine said police subsequently met with him several times, including as recently as Oct. 9, when she said he indicated that wanted to take steps to change. They also met his parents and the imam of his mosque and tried to exert a positive influence over him.
"Many interventions with him were carried out to try and avoid the tragic events," Fontaine said. "It's very difficult when someone is planning an act alone and there is no obvious preparation involved and used a vehicle as a weapon."
She said they couldn't arrest him for having radical thoughts.
It was not known whether Couture-Rouleau had any ties to Islamic bad boy groups.
"He was part of our investigative efforts to try and identify those people who might commit a criminal act travelling abroad for terrorist purposes," Paulson said.
Canada raised its domestic terror threat level from low to medium Tuesday due to "an increase in general chatter from radical Islamist organizations like ISIL, al-Qaeda, al-Shabaab ... the personification of Somali state failure... and others who pose a clear threat to Canadians," said Jean-Christophe de Le Rue, a front man for the public safety minister.
"This increase is not the result of a specific threat," de Le Rue said.
Nobody answered the door at Couture-Rouleau's single story white brick home in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, where he lives with his father.
Neighbor Daniel Fortin said he had known Couture-Rouleau since he was a child.
Fortin said over the past year or so, he grew out his beard and began wearing loose-fitting Moslem clothing but that he never felt threatened by him. Fortin said Couture-Roleau's father was worried as he became increasingly radicalized and "tried everything," to help him.
[Ynet] The FBI in Denver says it is investigating the possibility that three girls from the Denver area were trying to travel to Syria to join Islamic State ...formerly ISIS or ISIL, depending on your preference. Before that al-Qaeda in Iraq, as shaped by Abu Musab Zarqawi. They're very devout, committing every atrocity they can find in the Koran and inventing a few more. They fling Allah around with every other sentence, but to hear the pols talk they're not really Moslems.... Death Eaters. An FBI spokeswoman says agents helped bring the girls back to Denver after FBI agents stopped them in Germany. Spokeswoman Suzie Payne says they are safe and reunited with their families.
She didn't give the identity of the girls or any other details. The announcement comes one month after 19-year-old Shannon Conley of Denver pleaded guilty to charges that she conspired to help bandidosbully boyz in Syria.
She didn't give the identity of the girls or any other details. The announcement comes one month after 19-year-old Shannon Conley of Denver pleaded guilty to charges that she conspired to help bandidos bully boyz in Syria.
Shannon giving up her network in exchange for a lighter sentence ?
[DAWN] At least 30 suspected holy warriors have been killed as jet fighters targeted myrmidon hideouts in North Wazoo Agency.
Daud Matta, a key Taliban capo, was also killed in the strike which took place in North Waziristan's Datta Khel area, according to sources.
The official sources also said that the jets targeted at least four myrmidon hideouts, which were destroyed.
The media has no access to the agency, making it difficult to verify the information from independent sources. The ISPR is yet to issue details of the operation.
Military operation Zarb-e-Azb ..the Pak offensive against Qaeda in Pakistain and the Pak Taliban in North Wazoo. The name refers to the sword of the Prophet (PTUI!)... was launched by the Pakistain Army on June15 following a brazen myrmidon attack on Bloody Karachi ...formerly the capital of Pakistain, now merely its most important port and financial center. It is among the largest cities in the world, with a population of 18 million, most of whom hate each other and many of whom are armed and dangerous... 's international airport and failure of peace talks between the government and Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain negotiators.
[DAWN] KARACHI: A foreigner was apprehended by Muttahida Qaumi Movement ...English: United National Movement, generally known as MQM, is the 3rd largest political party and the largest secular political party in Pakistain with particular strength in Sindh. From 1992 to 1999, the MQM was the target of the Pak Army's Operation Cleanup leaving thousands of urdu speaking civilians dead... (MQM) workers on Tuesday near the party's Nine Zero headquarters. The man was later handed over to the police.
Speaking to the media, MQM leader Iftikhar Alam said the suspect appeared to be of Afghan or Uzbek descent and could not speak Urdu.
Alam added that despite the language barrier, the suspect had managed to convey an offer of USD 100,000 for his release.
He alleged that the man was scouting the area for a possible attack.
Two mobile phones, Rs 25,000, a portrait of the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain's (TTP) former chief Hakimullah Mehsud, and other paraphernalia was recovered from the man's possession.
Speaking to news hounds on Oct 13, senior MQM leader Farooq Sattar said that party leaders had been receiving threatening letters from the banned Taliban outfit in the recent past, asking them to immediately pay up extortion money or face dire consequences.
[DAWN] Militants on Tuesday threatened polio ...Poliomyelitis is a disease caused by infection with the poliovirus. Between 1840 and the 1950s, polio was a worldwide epidemic. Since the development of polio vaccines the disease has been largely wiped out in the civilized world. However, since the vaccine is known to make Moslem pee-pees shrink and renders females sterile, bookish, and unsubmissive it is not widely used by the turban and automatic weapons set... workers of "severe consequences" if they participate in the polio vaccination campaign in Bajaur tribal agency.
A bad boy outfit distributed pamphlets in Bajaur's tehsil Khar area warning polio workers against participating in the "anti-Islamic" polio vaccination drive, and vowing to attack all those participating in it.
The Pashto language pamphlet pasted on walls in various parts of Haji Lawang and Moslem Bagh area of Khar says that those supporting the polio drive or participating in vaccination would be targeted.
The pamphlet contains mobile phone numbers for the residents and workers to call and apologise if they had previously participated in the drive.
Pakistain is one of only three countries in the world where the polio virus is still endemic, but efforts to stamp out the crippling disease have been hit by repeated attacks on health teams.
[DAWN] RAWALPINDI: Local leader of Jamaat-e-Islami ...The Islamic Society, founded in 1941 in Lahore by Maulana Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi, aka The Great Apostosizer. The Jamaat opposed the independence of Bangladesh but has operated an independent branch there since 1975. It maintains close ties with international Mohammedan groups such as the Moslem Brotherhood. the Taliban, and al-Qaeda. The Jamaat's objectives are the establishment of a pure Islamic state, governed by Sharia law. It is distinguished by its xenophobia, and its opposition to Westernization, capitalism, socialism, secularism, and liberalist social mores... (JI) and former union council nazim ...small time big shot, the chief elected official of a local government in Pakistan, such as a district, tehsil, union council, or village council... of Dhoke Khabba was rubbed out by two motorcyclists at the bustling Glass Factory Chowk on Monday.
SHO Waris Khan Inspector Malik Allahyar told Dawn that the incident was the outcome of a rivalry as the victim's nephew was involved in a murder case which was still under trial. "The attackers had covered their faces with masks," he said.
Mohammad Tahir Khan, in charge labour wing of Jamaat-e-Islami and former president Shabaab-e-Milli, was on his way to attend a funeral prayer when two cycle of violence riders, who the police said were chasing his car, blocked his way and opened fire on him. The JI leader was shifted to Benazir Bhutto ... 11th Prime Minister of Pakistain in two non-consecutive terms from 1988 until 1990 and 1993 until 1996. She was the daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, founder of the Pakistain People's Party, who was murdered at the instigation of General Ayub Khan. She was murdered in her turn by person or persons unknown while campaigning in late 2007. Suspects include, to note just a few, Baitullah Mehsud, General Pervez Musharraf, the ISI, al-Qaeda in Pakistain, and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, who shows remarkably little curiosity about who done her in... Hospital where he was pronounced dead. He's dead, Jim!
As the news of the JI leader's killing spread in the city, a large number of his supporters gathered in the hospital and protested against the killing.
JI front man Malik Azam told Dawn: "The JI strongly condemns the killing of its leader and demands of the chief minister Punjab to direct the police to arrest the killers and bring them to justice."
"Punjab police are busy performing protocol duties instead of doing their prime duty of policing," he said.
[AnNahar] Shortly after midnight, when a curfew usually shrouds the Iraqi capital in silence, the thudding sounds of heavy machinegun fire destroyed the air and echoed across Baghdad.
They were not the opening shots of the much-feared attack by the Islamic State ...formerly ISIS or ISIL, depending on your preference. Before that al-Qaeda in Iraq, as shaped by Abu Musab Zarqawi. They're very devout, committing every atrocity they can find in the Koran and inventing a few more. They fling Allah around with every other sentence, but to hear the pols talk they're not really Moslems.... (IS) jihadist group, which has been battling government forces a few kilometers (miles) outside Baghdad for months.
Instead, they were a reminder of another kind of threat hanging over Iraq -- a rapidly expanding galaxy of Shiite militias that, while playing a significant part in the fight against IS, challenge government authority and threaten to perpetuate the country's brutal sectarian violence.
The shootout early on Monday pitted Iraqi police against the Asaib Ahl al-Haq Shiite militia holding a Kurdish woman related to one of the country's deputy prime ministers, police and army officers said.
Officers and an official told Agence La Belle France Presse that Asaib Ahl al-Haq -- seen as the most aggressive of the Shiite militias -- kidnapped Roz Nuri Shaways's cousin in the port city of Basra last month.
Sara Hamid Niran, a businesswoman who was working in the southern city, had been moved to a building in Baghdad's central Karrada district.
"She escaped when she managed to pry a small window open with a spoon and clambered into the house next door," a police officer said.
She then reached a nearby federal police checkpoint and started screaming: "I have been kidnapped and I am a cousin of deputy prime minister Roz Nuri Shaways," the officer recounted.
- Ransom demand -
Officers said Asaib Ahl al-Haq was demanding a ransom of around two billion Iraqi dinars ($1.66 million/1.3 million euros) to free her.
Niran was spirited away in an armored police Humvee as forces converged on the building to hunt down her captors.
"We initially thought that the kidnappers were an extortion gang but by the time reinforcements arrived, a large number of bandidosbandidos myrmidons showed up," another police officer told AFP.
"They said that the coppers should hand back the hostage or would all be killed."
The men from Asaib Ahl al-Haq, which has ties to Iran and has been fighting alongside police and army forces against IS jihadists, then blocked off the street with their sport utility vehicles.
Police had to send in an armored personnel carrier to smash through the militia's roadblock and were met with a deluge of gunfire.
The battle raged, but almost miraculously given the intensity and scope of the shootout, only four coppers were maimed, police said.
It remained unclear whether any members of Asaib Ahl al-Haq -- which loosely translates as "League of the Righteous" -- were killed or maimed, though police said two were detained.
Asaib Ahl al-Haq could not immediately be reached for comment on the issue.
"When I heard that gunfire, I said to myself: 'It's happening, this is (IS) entering Baghdad,'" said local resident Mohammed al-Karradi, a father of three.
"I told my wife: 'Pack your things, gather your jewels and your gold, and be ready to flee,'" he said.
"We still have not been told what happened, the authorities haven't felt the need to tell the public anything about this," he said.
- 'Nothing stopping them' -
A police captain said the militia have been acting with increasing impunity.
"Those bandidosbandidos myrmidons never respect our checkpoints and we have been having increasing trouble with them lately," said the officer at a nearby post who gave his name as Ali.
"We don't have the necessary support from above to deal with them. We get official orders to stop them from moving freely and carrying weapons but there is no way we can implement such decisions," the officer said.
"When Maliki was in power, there was more control over these people," he said, referring to former prime minister Nuri al-Maliki, a Shiite whose bid for a third term failed earlier this year after IS spearheaded a krazed killer offensive that overran large parts of Iraq.
Maliki presided over the resurgence of Shiite militias in a bid to bolster security forces failing to hold the onslaught back.
"Now it feels there is nothing stopping them. We are afraid of them and want to be as far from them as possible," Ali the police captain said.
Rights groups have repeatedly urged the government to rein in the militias, accusing them of a litany of crimes including summary executions and torture.
But militia impunity may increase even further, with Iraq's newly appointed interior minister, Mohammed al-Ghabban, hailing from the Badr bloc, which is affiliated with another major Shiite militia.
[AnNahar] Three boom-mobiles went kaboom! in a Shiite area of northeast Baghdad on Tuesday, killing at least 18 people, Iraqi security and medical officials said.
Two blasts hit the car park of a large restaurant in the Talbiyah area, while a third went kaboom! near a police patrol which passed by later, also wounding a total of more than 50 people.
The blasts smashed the front of the restaurant, ripping through an outdoor seating area and leaving behind pools of blood on the ground.
Broken glass, tables and chairs littered the area, and the mangled, burned remains of cars sat nearby.
People flocked to the scene to ask whether missing relatives were in hospital or dead, an AFP journalist said.
One of the weeping relatives of the victims at the scene blamed the government and politicians, shouting: "Where is the government, where is the transparency and democracy?"
"They are killing civilians in cold blood and we are still talking about democracy -- we elected them, but today we regret it."
The attacks were the latest in a series of bombings targeting members of Iraq's Shiite majority in the capital that have left more than 50 dead in three days.
There was no immediate claim for the bombings, but the Islamic State ...formerly ISIS or ISIL, depending on your preference. Before that al-Qaeda in Iraq, as shaped by Abu Musab Zarqawi. They're very devout, committing every atrocity they can find in the Koran and inventing a few more. They fling Allah around with every other sentence, but to hear the pols talk they're not really Moslems.... (IS) jihadist group, which has seized large areas of Iraq since June, has said it carried out other similar attacks in recent days.
Suicide bombers struck Shiite mosques in Baghdad on Sunday and Monday, killing at least 33 people in total.
IS and other Sunni holy warriors consider Shiites to be heretics and frequently target them with bombings, the victims of which are almost entirely civilians.
Security forces and allied Shiite turbans have kept IS from attempting to enter the capital in months of heavy fighting, but Lions of Islam are still able to carry out near-daily bombings in Baghdad.
The Iraqi government has relied on Shiite militias to help resist IS, although some of them were involved in brutal sectarian killings in past years.
[Iran Press TV] The heavily-secured Green Zone in Baghdad has been targeted with six mortar shells coming from the southern area of the capital, Press TV reports.
Security sources said the projectiles targeted the Green Zone at Tuesday night, three landing near the Babel Hotel, and three striking next to the US Embassy.
Ambulances rushed to the Green Zone, mainly towards the US Embassy, while Iraqi helicopters were seen in the skies above the Green Zone. Witnesses said they heard the sirens of the US Embassy sounding off very loud.
No one can enter the Green Zone easily without a badge that authorizes entrance. Car bombs do not take place there.
It was the first time that such an attack was launched from the southern area of Baghdad. Usually, mortar shells would be fired at Baghdad International Airport or the Green Zone from the western side of the capital, which is near Anbar province, most of which is controlled by the ISIL Takfiri ...an adherent of takfir wal hijra, an offshoot of Salafism that regards everybody who doesn't agree with them as apostates who must be killed... group.
Iraqi army commanders said the ISIL bandidosbandidos murderous Moslems had tried to target the Green Zone from several areas, namely Abu Ghraib, which is now clear from the presence of the turbans.
[Iran Press TV] Iraqi soldiers have pushed the ISIL Takfiri ...an adherent of takfir wal hijra, an offshoot of Salafism that regards everybody who doesn't agree with them as apostates who must be killed... snuffies out of a strategic town near the capital Baghdad, Press TV reports.
The strategic town of al-Sab, which is situated to the west of Baghdad and also borders Baghdad Intentional Airport, is now fully under the control of the Iraqi army.
The army set up checkpoints at the city's entrance after flushing out the gunnies with the help of volunteer forces.
"When we first entered the area of Sab there were snuffies in it. After flushing snuffies out, we informed residents that we are here to protect them from the ISIL. They cooperated with us. Before we got here, snuffies used the area to launch mortar shells and commit acts of violence," Commander Faisal Tamer Faisal told the Press TV correspondent in Abu Gharib.
The army's latest success is highly significant as the ISIL snuffies had plans to target Baghdad International Airport from the city.
Member of the Badr Movement, Abou Shaima al-Shoumari, told the correspondent, "We are now north of Abu Gharib. We have three tasks to work on: protect the area and the airport and flush out the sleeping cells related to krazed killer in this area. We also intervene in the battle when needed since we are only 40 kilometers (25 miles) away from Fallujah."
[Ynet] US military forces carried out four air strikes on Islamic State ...formerly ISIS or ISIL, depending on your preference. Before that al-Qaeda in Iraq, as shaped by Abu Musab Zarqawi. They're very devout, committing every atrocity they can find in the Koran and inventing a few more. They fling Allah around with every other sentence, but to hear the pols talk they're not really Moslems.... targets in Syria on Monday and Tuesday and were joined by partner nations in three attacks in Iraq, the US Central Command said. Fighter, bomber and attack aircraft were used in the raids and all returned safely, the Central Command statement said.
The strikes near Kobani, Syria, destroyed Islamic State fighting positions, a building and an Islamic State unit. In Iraq, a fighting position southeast of the djinn-infested Mosul ... the home of a particularly ferocious and hairy djinn... Dam and one south of the Bayji oil refinery were destroyed while another strike north of Fallujah suppressed an Islamic State attack, the statement said.
[AnNahar] Kurdish fighters in the battleground Syrian town of Kobane weathered an onslaught by Islamic State ...formerly ISIS or ISIL, depending on your preference. Before that al-Qaeda in Iraq, as shaped by Abu Musab Zarqawi. They're very devout, committing every atrocity they can find in the Koran and inventing a few more. They fling Allah around with every other sentence, but to hear the pols talk they're not really Moslems.... group hard boyz on Tuesday as they awaited promised reinforcements.
The Kurdish militia faced a fierce attack by IS fighters, including jacket wallahs, late on Monday, that appeared aimed at cutting off the border with Turkey before any reinforcements could arrive, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Fighting continued on Tuesday with exchanges between IS forces in the east of the town and Kurds in the west and there were reports of an kaboom, probably a boom-mobile, the Britannia-based monitoring group said.
Kobane has become a crucial symbolic battleground in the war against IS, which is fighting to extend areas under its control in Iraq and Syria where it has declared an Islamic "caliphate".
Ankara announced on Monday that it would help Kurdish forces from Iraq to relieve Kobane's beleaguered defenders, in a major shift of policy that was swiftly welcomed by Washington.
Iraqi Kurdish officials have said they will provide the training, although any forces sent will be Syrian Kurds.
Coalition aircraft carried out further strikes during the night, said the Observatory, which has a wide network of sources inside Syria.
IS lost at least five of its hard boyz to air strikes on Monday and a further 12 in ground fighting, including two suicide bombers, the monitoring group said.
Five Kurdish fighters were also killed.
A senior U.S. administration official said Monday's airdrop was in recognition of the "impressive" resistance put up by the Kurds and the losses they were inflicting on IS.
In the past 24 hours a minimum of 67 ISIS terrorists have been killed carrying out ISIS assaults in Kobane, Syria that have been repelled and in counter operations by the Kurds. 11 Kurdish fighters have been martyred.
In the entire conflict to date 20 YPJ (female Kurdish fighters) have been martyred.
ALL: Suggestion. Contact your local FBI office about this possible lead. Back ground appears to be Al Anbar, Iraq. That would place Jihadi John at that location. The American hostage scheduled for beheading could be at that location as well. If you have active military contacts, let them know of this important lead. It could save a life.
[ARABNEWS] A teenager who bravely ran away from Australia to join holy warriors in Iraq and Syria has reappeared months later in a video of the Islamic State ...formerly ISIS or ISIL, depending on your preference. Before that al-Qaeda in Iraq, as shaped by Abu Musab Zarqawi. They're very devout, committing every atrocity they can find in the Koran and inventing a few more. They fling Allah around with every other sentence, but to hear the pols talk they're not really Moslems.... group, vowing to "not stop fighting", reports said Tuesday.
The 17-year-old, named in local media as Abdullah Elmir but who calls himself "Abu Khaled", carried a rifle and directly addressed Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott in the video reportedly posted online, the Sydney Morning Herald said.
"To Tony Abbott, I say this. These weapons that we have, these soldiers, we will not stop fighting," said Elmir, whose family is from the southwestern Sydney suburb of Bankstown.
"We will not put down our weapons until we reach your lands and until we take the head of every tyrant and until the black flag (of the Islamic State group) is flying high in every single land."
Elmir was reported to have left his family home in June, telling his family he was going fishing before later calling his mother to tell her he was in Turkey about to "cross the border".
Meanwhile, ...back at the Council of Boskone, Helmuth ordered the space pirate fleet to attack Zemblonia... Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi arrived in Tehran late Monday on his first visit to Iran since taking office after the crisis triggered by the advance of IS bully boys.
[ARABNEWS] Islamic State ...formerly ISIS or ISIL, depending on your preference. Before that al-Qaeda in Iraq, as shaped by Abu Musab Zarqawi. They're very devout, committing every atrocity they can find in the Koran and inventing a few more. They fling Allah around with every other sentence, but to hear the pols talk they're not really Moslems.... won territory from Syrian government forces in the eastern city of Deir Ezzor on Tuesday, its first gain there in about two months, a group that tracks the civil war reported.
Fighters from both sides were killed during the festivities in Deir Ezzor city, about 450 km northeast of Damascus in a province bordering Iraq, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said without giving a corpse count. The krazed killer group, which is also battling Kurdish forces for control of the town of Kobani at the Turkish border, brought reinforcements to Deir Ezzor in recent days, Abdulrahman said.
The US air force dropped arms to Kurds defending Kobani on Monday. Washington has ruled out such cooperation with the government of Syria's Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Scourge of Qusayr... .
Syrian pilots probably don't have to get each strike approved by the president's in-house legal team before pulling the trigger...
They also aren't worried about being swatted out of the sky by the IAF...
[Ynet] The Syrian air force carried out more than 200 air strikes around the country in the past 36 hours, a group monitoring the war said on Tuesday, a rapid increase in government raids as US-led forces bomb Islamist Lions of Islam elsewhere. The intensified strikes by President Bashir al-Assad's forces will add to the fear among his opponents that the government is taking advantage of the US raids on Islamic State ...formerly ISIS or ISIL, depending on your preference. Before that al-Qaeda in Iraq, as shaped by Abu Musab Zarqawi. They're very devout, committing every atrocity they can find in the Koran and inventing a few more. They fling Allah around with every other sentence, but to hear the pols talk they're not really Moslems.... to attack other foes, including opposition groups that Washington backs.
Analysts say the increase could be because the Syrian military wants to weaken rebel groups before they get training and equipment promised by the United States.
...I call BS. The Syrian AF at this point is down to middle two figures in functioning combat aircraft. As they don't like to operate in the dark even under the best of conditions, that means they're getting a sortie rate out of their surviving aircraft that would be respectable in the USAF...and that just ain't happenin'.
Posted by: Mike Kozlowski ||
[Ynet] The Pentagon said on Tuesday the vast majority of military supplies air dropped near the Syrian city of Kobani had reached the Kurdish fighters they were intended to help, despite an online video showing Islamic State ...formerly ISIS or ISIL, depending on your preference. Before that al-Qaeda in Iraq, as shaped by Abu Musab Zarqawi. They're very devout, committing every atrocity they can find in the Koran and inventing a few more. They fling Allah around with every other sentence, but to hear the pols talk they're not really Moslems.... murderous Moslems with a bundle. Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said experts were analyzing the video and trying to determine if the bundle was the one the department reported earlier had fallen into the hands of Islamic State or if it was a second bundle in the group's possession.
Pentagon officials said a US airdrop had delivered 28 bundles of military supplies to Syrian Kurdish fighters near Kobani on Sunday and reported that one had fallen into the hands of Islamic State bully boys. The Pentagon later said it had targeted the missing bundle in an air strike and destroyed it.
[IsraelTimes] An Iranian official claimed Tuesday that state security forces enjugged Drop the gat, Rocky, or you're a dead 'un! a number of spies in the southern province of Bushehr, home to the country's sole nuclear power plant.
Were spy squirrels involved?
According to Iranian media, the Islamic Theocratic Republic's Intelligence Minister, Seyed Mahmoud Alawi, claimed the suspects were engaged in surveillance and intelligence gathering, adding that the alleged agents had been serving foreign intelligence services.
"Thanks to the vigilance of the Intelligence Ministry forces who monitor the moves of the foreign intelligence services, some agents who intended to carry out surveillance and intelligence gathering for the foreigners in Bushehr province have been identified and sent to justice," Alawi said, according to the semi-official Iranian Fars News Agency.
It was not clear how many people were arrested.
Last month, Iranian authorities arrested a Ukrainian national suspected of sabotage at the Bushehr power plant, according to Iranian media.
The report in the Hamshahri daily said the "Ukrainian expert" was affiliated with a Russian contractor that works in the plant, which went online in 2011 with Russian aid.
The report did not elaborate on the timing or nature of the alleged sabotage. Iran has long accused the United States, Israel and European countries of working to sabotage its nuclear program.
International sanctions force Iran to buy Western-made parts for its nuclear program from third parties. Hamshahri suggested such parties are involved in sabotaging parts before they arrive in Iran, without elaborating.
In 2010, the so-called Stuxnet virus temporarily disrupted the operation of thousands of centrifuges, key components in nuclear fuel production, at Iran's Natanz uranium enrichment facility. Iran says it and other computer virus attacks are part of a concerted effort by Israel, the US and their allies to undermine its nuclear program through covert operations.
The US and its allies suspect Iran is covertly seeking the ability to develop nuclear weapons. Iran denies such allegations, insisting its nuclear program is entirely peaceful and aimed at generating electricity and producing medical isotopes.
Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers -- the US, Britannia, La Belle France, China and Russia plus Germany -- are holding talks aimed at reaching a comprehensive agreement by November that would curb Iran's nuclear activities in exchange for relief from international sanctions.
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.