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10.26.12 Afghan mosque suicide bombing kills 41
KABUL,October26 - A suicide bomber killed at least 41 people and wounded 34 when he struck inside a mosque in Maymana city in northern Afghanistan during Eid al-Azha prayers on Friday, officials said. The attacker was wearing a police uniform when he blew himself up in the crowded Eid Gah mosque in the provincial capital of Faryab province, deputy provincial governor Abdul Satar Barez told AFP. "As a result of the explosion, 41 people are dead including 17 civilians and 15 police and intelligence agents. The provincial police chief, Abdul Khaliq Aqsai is among the wounded," he said. Most provincial government officials were also at the mosque, which was crowded on the first day of the four-day holiday for the Muslim festival of Eid. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but suicide bombings are a favorite weapon of Taliban trying to topple the Western-backed government of President Hamid Karzai. Northern Afghanistan is relatively peaceful, with the Taliban, who were ousted from power in a US-led invasion in 2001, concentrating their operations in the south and east of the country. But they have recently stepped up their activities in the north, despite the presence of more than 100,000 NATO troops in the country. [>thenews.com.pk]
10.26.12 Fukushima nuclear plant 'is still leaking'
October 26 - High radiation levels found in fish caught off Japan's east coast could mean the Fukushima nuclear plant is still leaking, according to research. Marine chemist Ken Buesseler reviewed official data on atomic caesium levels in fish, shellfish and seaweed collected near the crippled plant. He concluded lingering contamination may be due to low-level leaks from the facility or contaminated sediment on the ocean floor. The research was published on Thursday in the American journal Science. Mr. Buesseler found, while the vast majority of the catch off Japan's northeast coast is well within safety limits, some fish caught near Fukushima are considered unfit for consumption under Japanese regulations. [More>>news.sky.com]
10.26.12 Myanmar says ethnic strife killed 67
(AFP) October 26 - At least 112 people have been killed and thousands of homes torched in Buddhist-Muslim violence in western Myanmar, casting a shadow over the reformist government’s attempts to remake the country’s international image. People have fled their homes in droves following the latest clashes in Rakhine state, which was rocked by communal violence in June that split communities and left tens of thousands of mainly Muslim Rohingya living in camps. "Up until this morning, 51 men and 61 women have died," a spokesman for Rakhine state Win Myaing said, doubling an earlier toll. The dead were from both sides, he added, while scores more were wounded as violence engulfed four townships. More than 200 people have now been killed in the state since June, according to the authorities, who have imposed emergency rule in the face of continued explosive tension in the region. [More>>alarabiya.net]
10.07.12 Terror alert for Americans in Pakistan
October 7 - The US embassy in Islamabad warns Americans to avoid key city center buildings amid heightened tensions over drone protests. Americans living or working in the Pakistan capital have been warned to stay away from government buildings and major hotels because of a terror threat. The US embassy in Islamabad flagged up a general threat from the country’s interior ministry that warned of terrorist attacks aimed at certain city center visitors. Among the potential targets are hotels popular with US visitors, including the Marriott, Holiday Inn, Best Western, and the Margalla Motel. It came as thousands of Pakistanis, joined by US anti-war activists, headed towards Pakistan’s volatile tribal region to protest American drone strikes for a second day.
The rally was led by cricket star turned politician Imran Khan and his political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. Factions of the Taliban had threatened to attack protesters, with one calling Khan a "slave of the West". The embassy warning did not specify whether the threats were related to the drone protests. Khan has harshly criticized the Pakistani government's cooperation with Washington in the fight against Islamist militants. He has been especially outspoken against US drone strikes targeting militants and has argued that the country's alliance with Washington is the main reason Pakistan is facing a homegrown Taliban insurgency. Pakistan's tribal regions, such as North and South Waziristan, border Afghanistan and serve as bases for militant groups such as the Taliban to stage raids across the border into Afghanistan. The protest convoy of about 150 cars set out on Saturday from the capital Islamabad, traveled 250 miles and then stopped overnight in the city of Dera Ismail Khan.
The plan for the second and final day was to travel another 70 miles to reach Kotkai in South Waziristan by early afternoon and stage a rally there. But authorities blocked their path with shipping containers on the highway. The group was turned back just miles from the border of South Waziristan. After an hour of fruitless negotiations, Mr. Khan announced that the caravan would backtrack to the city of Tank, about 15 kilometers (nine miles) away. The US says its drone strikes are necessary to battle militants that Pakistan has been unable or unwilling to control. [>news.sky.com; See also aljazeera.com, October 7, "Pakistani authorities halt anti-drone protest."
10.07.12 Home-grown terror suspects spark French alert
October 7 - The shooting of suspected terrorist Jérémie Louis-Sidney Saturday has raised alarm in France, not only because of terrorism fears, but also because he was a home-grown militant. Sidney was shot during a raid in a large scale police operation. For Jérémie Louis-Sidney, France’s latest home-grown terror suspect, the end came swiftly and violently. On Saturday morning, the 33-year-old Frenchman was sitting on a couch in a Strasbourg apartment when special anti-terror police officers stormed into the premises, according to police sources. Sidney immediately fired at them with a .357 Magnum, emptying his Smith & Wesson pistol barrel before he was shot dead by police. Three police officers were injured — including one who was shot in the chest and another in the head. They were both protected by their helmets and body armor.
Sidney, a recent convert to Islam, was in the home of "one of his two religious wives" — a 22-year-old woman — and her six-year-old daughter and a one-month-old infant, according to Paris prosecutor Francois Molins. But not much is known about the man at the heart of Saturday’s nationwide anti-terror raids that resulted in Sidney’s death and the arrests of 11 other terror suspects. French police say Sidney was a suspect in the September 19 bombing of a kosher grocery store in the gritty northern Parisian suburb of Sarcelles. Saturday’s crackdown was directed at a suspected Salafist network believed to be behind the kosher grocery bombing, which was conducted by "a low-grade explosive device". One person was lightly injured in the attack, which caused considerable alarm among France’s Jewish community.
According to police sources, DNA identified on the grenade was traced to Sidney, who had been under surveillance since last spring. The kosher grocery bombing and the subsequent anti-terror raids come at a time of heightened security across France following the publication of cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammed in a French satirical weekly. The publication came days after violent demonstrations against an anti-Islam film produced in the US broke out across the Muslim world. [More>>france24.com]
10.07.12 28 militants killed in Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan, October 7 - The Afghan Ministry of Interior Affairs on Sunday said that the police forces, backed by the army and the NATO-led coalition forces, have eliminated 28 Taliban militants in different provinces within the past 24 hours. "Afghan National Police (ANP) in collaboration with the army and coalition forces launched 17 cleanup operations in Kabul, Nangarhar, Laghman, Kapisa, Kunduz, Faryab, Wardak, Ghazni and Paktika provinces, killing 28 armed Taliban militants over the past 24 hours," the ministry said in a statement. The ANP also detained 13 suspected militants besides seizing weapons and ammunition in the above raids, the statement added, without saying if there were any casualties on the side of security forces. The Taliban insurgents, who have been waging an insurgency of more than one decade, have yet to confirm the death of their men. The security forces have intensified cleanup operations against Taliban and other militants throughout the country recently but the insurgents in retaliation responded by carrying out bombings and laying out ambushes against them. On Saturday, two US soldiers with the coalition were killed in an insurgent attack in eastern Afghanistan, the coalition confirmed in a statement. [>thenews.com.pk]
10.05.12 UN council condemns Aleppo attacks as rebels down helicopter gunship
October 5 - The UN Security Council on Friday unanimously condemned what it described as "terrorist attacks" in the Syrian city of Aleppo earlier this week, a series of coordinated suicide bombings which killed 48 people in the northern metropolis. "The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist attacks in Aleppo, Syria on 3 October, causing dozens of deaths and over one hundred civilians injured, responsibility for which was claimed by the Jebhat al-Nusra group affiliated with al-Qaeda," the 15-nation council said in a non-binding statement, according to Reuters. Car bombs exploded on Wednesday near a military officer’s club and outside a gate to Aleppo’s Old City, killing dozens of people and wounding more than 100 in Syria’s second largest city. The city has been a focal point of bitter fighting between Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and rebels trying to oust his regime.
Meanwhile, Syrian rebels downed a helicopter gunship on Friday in eastern Damascus province, home to some of the rebel Free Syrian Army’s fiercest and best organized battalions, a monitoring group said. "It emerged that the rebels downed a helicopter gunship over the town of Saqba in the Eastern Ghuta area," said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Initially, the Observatory had reported that the aircraft was a fighter jet. As many as 55 people have been killed by the fire of Syrian forces across the country on Friday, the Observatory said. Thousands of people demonstrated across Syria on Friday despite ongoing violence, calling for the arming of the rebel Free Syrian Army and condemning the international community’s inaction, monitors reported. [More>>alarabiya.net]
10.05.12 Turkey warns 'not far' from war after Syrian attack
ISTANBUL/BEIRUT(Reuters) October 5 - Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan warned on Friday his country was "not far" from war with Syria following cross-border attacks this week — words which highlighted the danger that the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Asaad will drag in its neighbors. In a belligerent speech to a crowd in Istanbul, Erdogan warned the Assad government it would be making a fatal mistake if it picked a fight with Turkey. The speech followed a Syrian mortar barrage on a town in southeast Turkey that killed five people on Tuesday. Turkish artillery bombarded Syrian military targets on Wednesday and Thursday in response, killing several Syrian soldiers, and the Turkish parliament has authorized cross-border military action in the event of further aggression. "We are not interested in war, but we're not far from it either," Erdogan said in his speech. "Those who attempt to test Turkey's deterrence, its decisiveness, its capacity, I say here they are making a fatal mistake." At the United Nations, the Security Council condemned the original Syrian attack and demanded that such violations of international law stop immediately. [More>>thestar.com.my]
09.26.12 Syrian rebels bomb army command in Damascus
BEIRUT, Lebanon (Reuters) September 26 - A Syrian rebel bomb attack reduced the army headquarters in Damascus to a smoldering wreck on Wednesday as world leaders, unable to break the diplomatic deadlock in the conflict, met at the United Nations. The rebels said the assault on President Bashar al-Assad's power base in the center of the capital killed dozens of people. The army said four guards were killed and 14 wounded in what it said were suicide attacks. No senior officers were hurt in the blasts, which shook the whole city just before the start of the working day, it said. It was the biggest attack in Damascus since July 18 when a bombing killed several senior security officials, including Assad's brother-in-law, the defense minister and a general.
Since then Assad's forces have pushed back rebels to the outskirts of the capital but have lost control of several border crossings, struggled to win back the northern city of Aleppo and mounted air strikes to crush opposition in rebel territory. State television showed CCTV footage of a white minibus pulling up by the side of the road and exploding in a ball of flames. It showed another blast 10 minutes later, apparently inside the complex. The explosions struck as world leaders met at the United Nations, where deadlock over Syria has blocked a united global response to a conflict which activists say has killed 30,000 people, forced a quarter of a million refugees to flee the country and left 2.5 million people in need of help. [More>>thestar.com.my]
09.26.12 Muslim leaders call for clamp down on 'Islamophobia' at UN
September 26 - Muslim leaders demanded international action to stop religious insults in a challenge to US President Barack Obama's defense of freedom of expression at the UN General Assembly. Obama made a strong condemnation of "violence and intolerance" in his speech at the UN headquarters on Tuesday. He said world leaders had a duty to speak out against the deadly attacks on Americans in the past two weeks caused by an anti-Islam film made in the United States. But Muslim kings and presidents and other heads of state said Western nations must clamp down on “Islamophobia” following the storm over the film which mocks the Prophet Mohammed, AFP reported. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, said the film was another "ugly face" of religious defamation.
Yudhoyono quoted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as saying that "everyone must observe morality and public order" and commented: "Freedom of expression is therefore not absolute." He called for "an international instrument to effectively prevent incitement to hostility or violence based on religions or beliefs." King Abdullah II of Jordan, a close US ally, spoke out against the film and the violence it sparked. Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari condemned what he called the "incitement of hate" against Muslims and demanded United Nations action. "Although we can never condone violence, the international community must not become silent observers and should criminalize such acts that destroy the peace of the world and endanger world security by misusing freedom of expression," he told the assembly. Afghan President Hamid Karzai took aim both at the anti-Islam video and publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad — the latter occurring most recently in France. Karzai called the insults to the faith of 1.5 billion Muslims, the “depravity of fanatics,” and added: “Such acts can never be justified as freedom of speech or expression,” according to Reuters. "The menace of Islamophobia is a worrying phenomenon that threatens peace and co-existence," he added in his address to the General Assembly.
Obama said he could not ban the video, reportedly made by Egyptian Copts, because of the US Constitution which protects the right to free speech. "As president of our country, and commander-in-chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day, and I will always defend their right to do so," Obama told leaders at the UN summit....Earlier on Tuesday in Geneva, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation -- the world’s largest Islamic body, representing 56 countries — called for expressions of "Islamophobia" to be curbed by law in the same way as some countries restrict anti-Semitic speech or Holocaust denial. [Full story>>alarabiya.net]
Editorial Note: While a law against "Islamaphobia" towards the Muslim world would prohibit insults and persecution of the Islamic religion, it seems a contradiction for international law to prohibit anti-Islam speech when Christians, Sikhs, Bahá'í (banned in Yemen, Iran and Indonesia), Shia Islam (banned in Malaysia,, persecuted in Pakistan), Assyrian Church (persecuted in Iraq), Ahmadiyah (persecuted in Indonesia) Hindus, Buddhists and other faiths are banned and persecuted in Islamic nations. Faiths like to promote their exclusive path to God, some, as in Iran, to the extreme, where the Supreme Leader Khamenei carries absolute power and the ability to proclaim on behalf of Allah anyone in contempt of God, with the proviso that being in contempt of God carries the death penalty. The power and abuse by Khamennei can be compared to that of the Grand Inquisitor Tomás de Torquemada in Spain from 1420-1498. He was one of the chief supporters of the Alhambra Decree, which expelled the Jews from Spain in 1492. About 2,000 people were burned at the stake by the Spanish Inquisition between 1480 and 1530.
Priests and priest-kings have defended their livelihood/faith many thousands of years — persecuting nonbelievers — ultimately to promote the subjugation of others. 2,500 years ago and earlier Assyrian kings expanded their empire using the gods Assur and Ishtar who they believed led them and their armies to loot, destroy and desecrate the cities of eastern Anatolia and the Levant. They often skinned alive conquered leaders, nailing their skins on the walls of their cities and in Nineveh and carried off conquered gods, possessions and captives to Assyria. There is a correlation between the Assyrian captivity of the Israelites and the modern-day persecution of the Jews under the Nazis. "Tiglath-Pileser III (Pul) and Shalmaneser V. The later Assyrian rulers Sargon II and his son and successor, Sennacherib, were responsible for finishing the twenty year demise of Israel's northern ten tribe kingdom. Sennacherib also invaded some parts of the Southern Kingdom of Judah. He records forty-six fortified towns captured from Judah, and presumably carried away into Assyria. Jerusalem was besieged, but not taken. The tribes exiled by Assyria later became known as the Ten Lost Tribes." [wikipedia.org]
To appreciate the extent to which the ancient world was plundered by the Assyrian kings see our work, "Assyrian catalog of Anatolian lands and leaders."
09.26.12 Ahmadinejad hails imminent arrival of 'Ultimate Savior, Jesus Christ'
September 26 - Loathed in the West and weakened at home, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wrapped up his annual address to the UN General Assembly on a theological note Wednesday, hailing the imminent arrival of an "Ultimate Savior." "God Almighty has promised us a man of kindness," the Iranian leader told world leaders and senior officials gathered in New York, at what was expected to be his last speech to the assembly as president of Iran. Ahmadinejad said the savior is "a man who loves people and loves absolute justice, a man who is a perfect human being and is named Imam al-Mahdi, a man who will come in the company of Jesus Christ and the righteous." As a Shiite Muslim, Ahmadinejad reveres Islam’s twelfth imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi, who disappeared from the earth in the 10th century and is said to be due to return, accompanied by Jesus, to save mankind.
The date of his return is not known, but Ahmadinejad indicated that he felt the arrival would come quickly, telling delegates: "Now we can sense the sweet scent and the soulful breeze of the spring, a spring that has just begun." Some critics of Iran’s Islamic regime have expressed concern that messianic Shiite beliefs might drive leaders like Ahmadinejad to seek an apocalyptic confrontation with those he sees as foes of God’s will on Earth. But at the United Nations he insisted the Mahdi’s return would bless all, not just "a specific race, ethnicity, nation or a region, a spring that will soon reach all the territories in Asia, Europe, Africa and the US." [More>>alarabiya.net; See also
foxnews.com, September 26, "Ahmadinejad goes out with whimper, not bang" : NEW YORK - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's final address to the United Nations General Assembly featured the same ramblings about Zionism and imperialists that have prompted diplomats to walk out in the past, but this time, the US, Israel and other western delegations didn't even bother attending. The long-winded firebrand, whose second and final term ends next summer, began by praising his own country’s "morality" and "compassion," and then launched into a 20-minute diatribe in which he blasted Israel for warning Iran to stop developing nuclear weapons. "The continued threat by the uncivilized Zionists to resort to military action against our great nation is a clear example of this bitter reality," said Ahmadinejad, who in the past has ridiculed the Holocaust and just days earlier called for the "elimination" of Israel...
09.22.12 Afghanistan bans Pakistani newspapers
KABUL, (AP) September 22 - Afghanistan banned all Pakistani newspapers from entering the country on Friday in an attempt to block the Taliban from influencing public opinion via the press. The order, issued by the ministry of interior, adds to the mounting tension between the neighboring countries. It focuses specifically on blocking entry of the papers at Torkham, a busy border crossing, and directed border police to gather up Pakistani newspapers in the three eastern provinces of Nangarhar, Kunar and Nuristan. "The news is not based in reality and it is creating concerns for our countrymen in the eastern provinces of Afghanistan," the ministry said in a statement. "Also, the newspapers are a propaganda resource of the Taliban spokesmen."
The tensions between the two countries were highlighted Thursday at a UN Security Council meeting, when Afghan foreign minister Zalmai Rassoul called on Pakistan to stop shelling in the border province of Kunar, which he said has killed dozens of civilians. He said the attacks were jeopardizing bilateral relations "with potential negative consequences for necessary bilateral cooperation for peace, security and economic development in our two countries and the wider region." Many Pakistani Taliban fighters have fled to Kunar and surrounding areas after Pakistan's army pushed them out of its tribal region, taking advantage of the US military's withdrawal of most of its forces from these Afghan border provinces in recent years. In a statement, the ministry said the newspapers were a conduit for Taliban propaganda. [More>>timesofindia.indiatimes.com]
09.22.12 "US policies source of global terror'
BUTTKHELA, Pakistan, September 22 - Chairman Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman Saturday dubbed the US policies as a main source of terrorism across the world. "The West has launched an assault on Muslims' faith," the JUI-F Chief maintained while addressing a public meeting in Buttkhela area in Malakand Agency. He regretted that on one hand dogs are let loose to attack prisoners in Iraq while on the other sacrilegious film and cartoons are released to play with the sentiments of the Muslims. "I congratulate the whole nation on exhibiting solidarity over the issue of blasphemous film," he said. He said those resorting to riots are not part of our protest because 'they don't a clue about the sanctity and message of Islam'. Criticizing Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan, Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman said the former was trying to deceive the youth in the name of change. [>thenews.com.pk]
09.22.12 New film protests in Pakistan as death toll rises to 21
(AFP) September 22 - Thousands of activists in Pakistan staged new demonstrations on Saturday against a US-made anti-Islam film, as the death toll from the previous day’s violent protests rose to 21. More than 5,000 protesters marched towards the parliament in Islamabad, including hundreds of women, chanting "We love our Holy Prophet" and "Punishment for those who humiliated our Prophet." Some 500 people from the group Jamaat-ud-Dawa staged a protest in front of the US consulate in the eastern city of Lahore. The protests were peaceful, in contrast to the previous day’s demonstrations. Religious groups said they were also planning demonstrations in Karachi, the scene of the worst violence on Friday, after the funerals of some of those killed during the protests. Protests against the film have erupted across the Muslim world and tens of thousands took to the streets across Asia and the Middle East on Friday as Western missions closed amid fears of violence. Anger has also been stoked by the publication in a French magazine of cartoons of Prophet Muhammad... [More>>khaleejtimes.com]
09.22.12 Turkey deploys artillery near Syria border post
(AFP) September 22 - The Turkish army has deployed artillery and anti-aircraft missiles near a Syria border post being disputed between Damascus regime forces and rebels in fierce clashes, media reported Saturday. A score of howitzer batteries and missiles were moved to the area as a precautionary measure amid continued fighting on Syrian soil for the control of the Tall al-Abyad border post, NTV news channel said. The deployment comes after shelling by Syrian government forces wounded two Turkish citizens on Thursday in the southeastern border city of Sanliurfa, as they tried to win back the post from the rebels. The two were injured by four fragments of a shell that exploded just on the Syrian side of the border. Another unexploded shell was found and the area sealed off while it was detonated. The rebels seized control of the post, which lies on the main highway between Sanliurfa and the city of Raqa in northeastern Syria, on Wednesday from troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]
09.22.12 Rebel group 'moves command center to Syria'
September 22 - FSA commander says shift from Turkish territory in preparation for offensive as clashes are reported near Jordan border. Syria's main rebel group says it is moving its command center from the Turkish border into Syria itself in preparation of an offensive against President Bashar al-Assad's troops in Damascus. Riyad al-Asaad, commander of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), announced the move on Saturday in a video message from Syria, the first since the group founded its command center in Turkey at the beginning of the 19-month conflict. "To the Syrian people, its freedom fighters and all the armed factions, we are glad to let you know that the leadership of the FSA has moved into Syria following arrangements made with other brigades that included securing liberated areas with the hope of launching the offensive on Damascus," Asaad said. He said the FSA has felt pressure by the international community to take a leading role in post-war Syria. Asaad said the FSA rejected those offers, reiterating that the people of Syria should decide the future of the country. [More>>aljazeera.com]
09.22.12 Man arrested in France for calling for head of Mohammed cartoon editor
PARIS (AFP) September 22 - French police on Saturday arrested a man for apparently calling on a jihadi website for the decapitation of the editor of a magazine that published cartoons mocking Mohammed, a judicial source said. The man was detained in the western city of La Rochelle for calling on the radical website for the head of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, which on Wednesday published cartoons of a naked Prophet. "The essential thing is not to let him live in peace," the man allegedly wrote. Police have opened a preliminary probe on charges of incitement to commit murder, the source said. France’s Muslim leaders on Friday urged militants not to defy a ban on protests over the cartoons, as a security alert closed the country's embassies across the Islamic world. Interior Minister Manuel Valls has made it clear he will not sanction any demonstrations this weekend on the grounds they will inevitably represent a threat to public order. The cartoons were published as often violent — and sometimes deadly — protests continued across the world against an anti-Islam film made in the US that enraged many Muslims. A rowdy protest at the film close to the US embassy in Paris last weekend led to 150 arrests and there have been calls on social networks for another demonstration in central Paris on Saturday. [>alarabiya.net]