A resource for historians and journalists, since 2004

Maravot News of the World
12:06 PM
- San Francisco
Friday, May 06, 2011
(last post

Search Engines & Filters

Trends, Iraq Casualties

Metric Conversion

kilometer: 0.6214 mile
msedeter: 39.37 inches
centimetre: 0.3937 inch
millimetre: 0.03937 inch
foot: 30.48 cm
Br. stone: 14 pounds
kilogram: 2.2046 pounds
litre: 1.0567 US quarts
hectare: 2.471 acres
– 1 djerib (Turkey)
– 1 jerib (Iran)
– 1 gong qing (China)
0° Celcius: = 32° F

New Chart - Chart showing National Debt & Annual Deficits with Presidents. Democrat administrations are blue, Republican in Red. Click chart for larger image. and discussion. For old Maravot chart click here, News Trends.html.

2009 update (3.05.09)

Western News
Worth frequent visits
Best nose for news

Village Voice
Newsweek Magazine
Time Magazine
The New Yorker magazine
Vanity Fair
Aviation Week
Arch. & Prehistory news
New Scientist

Aral Sea Disaster
oilonline.cHoly Ghosom
information please
DOD News
Le Monde.fr (
in French)
liberation.fr (
in French)
lefigaro.fr (
in French)
Spiegel Online
La Repubblica.It
PeaceReporter.net (Italy)
expatica.com (Spain)
standartnews.com (Bulgaria)
NIS News (Holland)
BBC News
Sky News (London)


The Independent
Belfast Telegraph
cnews.canoe.ca (Canada)
National Public Radio

New York Times.com
Washington Post
Washington Times
ABC News

Fox News


CBS News
WWLTV – New Orleans
Detroit Free Press (Freep)
LA Times

San Francisco Chronicle
El Paso Times (Texas-Mexico)
Banderas News (Mexico)

Financial Times
ino.com (World Indices)
Radio Free Europe
Radio News America
Democracy Now, radio & TV
The Guardian, Nigeria
Business Day (S. Africa)



International Agencies – News

Osama bin Laden fatwas.
This monster's own words will
lead to his destruction
Definition of fatwa (fatwah)
Maravot News Comment




August 1996

Maps of interest
Click on maps for larger image
Russia, Belarus & neighbors
Israel-Iraq & neighbors
Iran-Afghanistan-Pak.-India; Strait of Hormuz oil lane Iran threatens to block
Kazakhstan & neighbors

Historical map of Israel. Figure 2 shows the area allocated to
Israel by the UN in 1948. Compare to Israel' s map below of its security wall.

Israel's Security Fence.

Middle East Watch

Russia & Ukraine Watch

East Asia Watch

Relevant Works by Mel

News Headlines & Trends

5.05.11 Army crackdown spreads to Damascus

May 5 (Reuters) - Syrian troops stormed the Damascus suburb of Saqba early on Thursday, making numerous arrests after anti-government protests last week, even as tanks appeared to withdraw from the southern rebel stronghold of Deraa. Syrian army units have begun withdrawing from Deraa, a military source said on Thursday, even as soldiers stormed areas across the country arresting hundreds in an attempt to crush a six-week-old pro-democracy uprising. President Bashar al-Assad, facing the most serious challenge to his 11-year authoritarian rule, had ordered the army 10 days ago to enter Deraa, where demonstrations calling for more freedoms and later for his overthrow started in March. Activists and residents said soldiers, backed by tanks, had shelled and machine-gunned the old quarter of the city and rounded people up in mass arrests. The state news agency SANA quoted an official military source as saying the army had completed its mission, arresting elements of terrorist groups and restoring "security, peace and stability." Two witnesses who were heading out of the city told Reuters that around 30 tanks on armored carriers had left the city heading north. They said Syrian army units backed with armor remained deployed at several entrances to the city. [More>>france24.com]

5.05.11 More Abbottabd-like raids not to be tolerated: COAS

ISLAMABAD, May 5 - Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani has said that more raids like the one in Abbottabad would not be tolerated, ISPR press released said. According to the ISPR press release issued Thursday, the acknowledgement came after army chief of staff General Ashfaq Kayani convened a meeting of corps commanders on the fourth day after US commandos tracked down and killed bin Laden in Abbottabad. In a meeting, COAS threatened to review cooperation with the United States if it conducted more raids like the one that killed Osama bin Laden. "COAS made it clear that any similar action violating the sovereignty of Pakistan will warrant a review on the level of military/intelligence cooperation with the United States," Kayani said. It was also decided in a meeting that the investigation into intelligence failures to detect the world's most wanted man on the soil would be conducted. [>thenews.com.pk]

5.05.11 Yemeni official: US drone strike kills 2 al-Qaeda operatives

SANAA, Yemen, May 5 - Two al-Qaeda operatives were killed in an apparent US drone strike in the remote, mountainous Yemeni governorate of Shabwa early Thursday, according to a Yemeni security official. The information about the strike came from Col. Hamid Saleh, security director of the Mayfaa district in the Shabwa governorate. He said the men were killed when a missile struck their car. A Yemeni government spokesman, while not confirming that the missile was fired by a US drone, identified the dead men as brothers Musaed Mubarak Aldaghery and Abdullah Mubarak Aldaghery. The two men were active in al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, officials said. Even before the killing this week of Osama bin Laden, American government officials had warned that the al-Qaeda branch in Yemen had emerged as a more active and dangerous foe than the core group of al-Qaeda led by its central command in Afghanistan and Pakistan. "Security authorities were tracking them down for some time," the Yemeni spokesman said of the Aldaghery brothers. "They are known operational al-Qaeda fighters." [More>>washingtonpost.com]

5.05.11 Coalition to create fund for Libya rebels

May 5 - Countries involved in military campaign pledge money to provide food, medicine and supplies to opponents of Gaddafi. The NATO-backed coalition in Libya has said it will create a fund for rebels fighting the government of Muammar Gaddafi. The Transitional National Council (TNC), based in Benghazi, has appealed for loans of up to $3bn, saying they need around half of that for food, medicine and other basic supplies. Italy, host of Thursday's meeting in Rome of the Contact Group on Libya, said the temporary special fund would aim to channel cash to the opposition administration in its eastern Libyan stronghold. Franco Frattini, Italy's foreign minister, said $250m were already available, while his French counterpart said the fund could be up and running within weeks.

But efforts to unblock Libyan state assets frozen in overseas accounts, or to allow the rebels to get past UN sanctions that prevent their selling oil on international markets, have been held up. "We'll be discussing a financial mechanism, we'll be discussing other forms of aid," Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, said at a joint news conference with Franco Frattini, the Italian foreign minister. "I will be formally announcing our non-lethal assistance so I think that there is an effort with urgency to meet the requests that the TNC is making," she said. Clinton said the US government would try and free up some of the $30bn it has frozen in Libyan assets to help the TNC.
[More>>aljazeera.net; See related story,

foxnews.com, May 5, "Gaddafi forces shell rebel town, key supply routes"
: Muammar al-Qaddafi's forces shelled a rebel town and a key supply route Wednesday, part of a push to crush stubborn resistance in the mountains of western Libya, while France said international military intervention in the country must end as quickly as possible. Libyan state television said there were several casualties after NATO forces bombed Al-Hayrah, while a rebel spokesman told Reuters that five people were killed when Gaddafi forces shelled Misrata's port area. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe also said it's not the aim of the international bombing campaign in Libya to kill Gaddafi. He spoke after a NATO air strike over the weekend destroyed most of Gaddafi's family compound, prompting Libyan accusations that the alliance is trying to assassinate Gaddafi...

5.05.11 Car bomb explosion in southern Iraq kills at least 15 policemen and wounds 40 others

May 5 - A car bomb explosion killed at least 15 policemen and wounded more than 40 others on Thursday in Iraq''s southern city of Hilla, medical and police sources said. A suicide bomber rammed his car into the entrance of a police headquarters in Hilla, 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of Baghdad, the sources said, according to Reuters. An Interior Ministry source in Baghdad put the toll at 16 killed and 50 wounded. A suicide bomber blew up a vehicle packed with explosives near a police station in the city of Hilla, south of Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least 13 policemen, police and medical officials said. Among the dead were a police captain and a first lieutenant, according to a police major and an official in the city's health department, both of who spoke to Agence-France Presse on condition of anonymity. [More>>alarabiya.net]

5.03.11 US to investigate whether Pakistan helped bin Laden

May 3 - The top counterterrorism official in the United States pledged on Tuesday to "get to the bottom" of whether the Pakistani government provided help to Osama bin Laden in his decade-long efforts to avoid detection by those who were hunting him. The official, John O. Brennan, said Tuesday on National Public Radio that "it would be premature to rule out the possibility," He added that "we’re not accusing anybody at this point, but we want to make sure we get to the bottom of this." Mr. Brennan's comments came as Pakistan's president insisted that his government did not provide assistance to Bin Laden. In an op-ed article in The Washington Post on Tuesday, President Asif Ali Zardari wrote that his country had "as much reason to despise al-Qaeda as any nation." "Some in the US press have suggested that Pakistan lacked vitality in its pursuit of terrorism, or worse yet that we were disingenuous and actually protected the terrorists we claimed to be pursuing,” Mr. Zardari wrote. "Such baseless speculation may make exciting cable news, but it doesn't reflect fact."

Other senior United States officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, praised the working relationship between the allies in the fight against terrorism. "Our counterterrorism cooperation over a number of years now, with Pakistan, has contributed greatly to our efforts to dismantle al-Qaeda," Mrs. Clinton said Monday. "And in fact, cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to Bin Laden and the compound in which he was hiding. Going forward, we are absolutely committed to continuing that cooperation." The competing American messages reflect the delicate diplomatic challenge the Obama administration faces as it tries to determine how trustworthy its ally is, while at the same time continuing to work with Mr. Zardari's government. In the hours after Mr. Obama revealed the raid that led to Bin Laden's death, lawmakers in Washington expressed anger and doubt that the world's most wanted terrorist could be living so close to the Pakistani capital and a Pakistani military training facility without the government's knowledge. "I think this tells us once again that, unfortunately, Pakistan is playing a double game, and that is very troubling to me," Senator Susan Collins of Maine, the senior Republican on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said Monday.

...Senator John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said he would convene a new round of hearings to assess the relationship between the countries. On Monday, he said that "it raises very, very serious questions about a number of things, not least of which is how much effort from their own intelligence was putting in to try and find him, if indeed they were trying to do that at all." On Monday, Mr. Brennan suggested that the United States would go further than just letting Pakistan ask those questions. In a briefing with reporters, Mr. Brennan said it was “inconceivable” that Bin Laden did not have a support network inside of Pakistan, though he stopped short of suggesting that the network involved government officials. "We are talking with the Pakistanis on a regular basis now, and we’re going to pursue all leads to find out exactly what type of support system and benefactors that Bin Laden might have had," Mr. Brennan said.

...In his Washington Post article, Mr. Zardari said his country had “paid an enormous price” for its pursuit of terrorism, including the 2007 assassination of his wife, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
"More of our soldiers have died than all of NATO's casualties combined. Two thousand police officers, as many as 30,000 innocent civilians and a generation of social progress for our people have been lost," Mr. Zardarai wrote. "And for me, justice against Bin Laden was not just political; it was also personal, as the terrorists murdered our greatest leader, the mother of my children." [Full story>>nytimes.com]

5.03.11 Pakistan proved hunting point for top 8 al-Qaeda leaders since 9/11

ABBOTTABAD, Pakistan (Xinhua) May 3 - The death of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan demanded critics who termed Pakistan a safe heaven for al-Qaeda members in the past to change their views as this heaven has been proven as the hunting cage of al-Qaeda's top leadership, Pakistanis said on Tuesday. People talking to Xinhua showed their deep concerns over the behavior of Western media to Pakistan in war against terrorism. "We have lost thousands of our innocent people and billions of dollar assets in this war but even then they are negative about our role," said a resident in Abbottabad, the city where bin Laden was killed.

Osama, al-Qaeda's founder and chief, was the latest one of the eight al-Qaeda leaders killed or arrested in Pakistan since the 9/ 11 incident, the attack that left over 3,000 people dead in New York and also triggered [a] US-led war against Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden was killed on Monday morning in a direct US army operation in Abbottabad, a cantonment district with a population of over 800,000 some 100 kilometers away from capital Islamabad.

Here are the details about the other top al-Qaeda leaders, who were hounded in Pakistan. Seven months after the 9/11 the first top al-Qaeda member arrested from Pakistan was a Saudi Arabian national Abu Zubaydah. Pakistani secret intelligence and American FBI, in a joint operation, raided a house in March 2002 in Faisal Town area of country's industrial city of Faisalabad and arrested him injured. Zubaydah was considered as the integral part of the al-Qaeda as being the close aid to bin Laden and in-charge of communications in international operations. He has been in US custody since [his] arrest.

In September 2002, another al-Qaeda leader Ramzi bin al-Shibh was also traced and arrested by the Pakistani security agencies from its southern coastal city of Karachi. Shibh is a detainee at Guantanamo Bay as an accused of being the facilitator of 9/11 attacks, and suspect[ed] of attacking and destruction of [the] American warship USS Cole in 1998.

The arrest of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, one of the al-Qaeda's top four characters, in March 2003 from Islamabad's adjacent city of Rawalpindi was the highest profile success of the time. The highest importance of [a] 25 million dollar head money man was measured when former US President G. W. Bush announced his arrest and said [the] US has got the mastermind of [the] 9/11 attacks.

Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, the suspect of planning of attacks on [the] US embassy in Kenya in 1998, was handed over to America after Pakistani forces arrested him from the country's eastern border city of Gujrat in July 2004.

In May 2005, Pakistani forces succeeded to arrest al-Qaeda number three leader Abu Faraj al-Libi, the in-charge of al-Qaeda in Pakistan and allegedly responsible of attacks on Pakistan's then president Pervez Musharraf. Both Pakistan and [the US had announced head money for his arrest.

In 2008, American forces raised the number of drone strikes in Pakistan's northwestern tribal areas to hunt the al-Qaeda militants. Abu Lais al-Libi was the first-ever [of] al-Qaeda's main commander[s] who was hit by the drone missile in Pakistan's northwestern tribal region of North Waziristan, bordering Afghanistan, during the last week of January of 2008.

In May 2010, al-Qaeda had to face a big loss when a missile fired from the pilotless US drone killed its senior-most leader Mustafa Al Yazid in Pakistan's northwestern tribal areas. He appeared as the in-charge of operations in Afghanistan, and the number three in rank after the death of Abu Ubaidah al-Banshiri following Osama and Ayman al-Zawahiri.

5.03.11 Al-Qaeda's 12 most-wanted men on the run in Pakistan

May 3 - The United States believes that at least a dozen senior leaders of al-Qaeda are on the run in Pakistan, according to Mike Rogers, the chairman of the Congressional Intelligence Committee. "Of the 20 senior leaders in al-Qaeda, at least a dozen of them we believe to be travelling around Pakistan someplace," he said, arguing that the US should maintain a cooperative relationship with Pakistan in order to pursue the men. The 12 men include some of al-Qaeda's most senior leaders, including Ayman al-Zawahri, who is Osama bin Laden's presumed heir. According to the latest intelligence and media reports, they may be:

1. Ayman al-Zawahri. Egyptian. Age 59 – Osama bin Laden's deputy and current operational commander of al-Qaeda, according to the United States State department. Went into hiding with Bin Laden during the US invasion of Afghanistan and managed to survive a US air strike that targeted him in a Pakistani tribal region in January 2006. There is a $25 million reward on his head.
2. Saif al-Adel. Egyptian. Age around 50 - Thought to be a high-ranking member of al-Qaeda, even perhaps the organization's military chief. He was thought to be in prison in Iran, but has now almost certainly been released and has returned to North Waziristan in Pakistan. There is a $5 million reward on his head.
3. Sulaiman Abu Ghaith. Kuwaiti. Age 45 - Al-Qaeda spokesman and radical preacher. Detained in Iran in 2003 but released and allowed to leave the country in 2010, according to Kuwait media. Suspected of having rejoined Bin Laden in Pakistan and is still at large.
4. Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah. Egyptian. Age late 40s - Wanted for the 1998 series of bombings on US embassies in East Africa. Member of al-Qaeda's top council. According to US intelligence he fled Nairobi in 1998 and went to Pakistan, where he may remain at large. He may also be in Iran.
5. Adnan al-Shukri Juma. Saudi. 35 - A younger member of al-Qaeda, Shukri Juma may have risen up the ranks because of the loss of more senior members. He spent time living in the US and may have been behind a failed attempt on the New York subway system. He may be in charge of operations for North America and is thought to be in Waziristan.
6. Rashid Rauf. Dual British Pakistani citizenship. Age around 34 - Rauf is suspected of involvement in the failed attempt in 2006 to blow up aircraft leaving from London Heathrow with liquid explosives. He escaped from Pakistani custody in December 2007 and was reportedly killed by a US drone attack in Pakistan in November 2008. But his family have denied his death and some sources believe he remains at large.
7. Ilyas Kashmiri. Pakistani. Age 47 - Kashmiri is one of the most important figures rising up al-Qaeda's ranks. A one-eyed, red-bearded guerrilla warfare expert, he is thought to have masterminded some of the deadliest attacks in India and Pakistan. He is also the commander of Brigade 313, a unit that is sometimes described as al-Qaeda's Pakistani arm, sometimes as a special combat task force, and sometimes as an independent jihadi unit.
8. Hakimullah Mehsud. Pakistani. Age 32 - Hakimullah Mehsud is the leader of the Tehrik-I-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) movement, which has been described as having a symbiotic relationship with al-Qaeda by the US. "TTP draws ideological guidance from al-Qaeda while al-Qaeda relies on the TTP for safe haven in the Pashtun areas along the Afghan-Pakistani border," said Daniel Benjamin, a US counterterrorism chief. An aggressive field commander, Mehsud was thought to be killed by a drone attack in January 2010, but subsequent videos proved he survived the attack.
9. Ghulam Mustafa. Pakistani. 40 - Very little has been reported of Mustafa since he was released by Pakistan in 2006. Before then he was thought to be al-Qaeda's chief in Pakistan. However, he was never formally charged or handed over to the US and has quietly disappeared from view. He may have left al-Qaeda, tainted by suspicion of cooperation with Pakistani intelligence.
10. Abu Yahya al-Libi. Libyan. Age 47 - A high-ranking member of al-Qaeda, Libi escaped from an American prison in Afghanistan and is thought to have subsequently survived a US drone strike in Pakistan in 2009. He is considered to be "the scholar" of al-Qaeda and often takes on the role of a preacher. He has released a number of videotaped sermons.
11. Anas al-Liby (also known as Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Raghie), Libyan. Age late 40s - Charged by the US with involvement in the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Has a $5 million reward on his head. Has worked as a computer specialist for al-Qaeda.
12. Qari Saifullah Akhtar. Nationality and age unknown - the leader of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI, or the Movement of Islamic Holy War), is an alleged member of al-Qaeda who was released by Pakistan from custody last December. He was reported to have trained 3,500 operatives in Afghanistan shortly before the US invasion.

5.03.11 How they got Osama bin Laden

May 3 - In an exclusive story for The National Journal, Marc Ambinder shares details from the operation that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan on Sunday. The MH-60 helicopters are said to have taken off from an air base in Pakistan and went on to Abbottabad, the destination of bin Laden's complex, 30 miles from the capital, Islamabad. Aboard the helicopters were Navy SEALs, flown in from Afghanistan, along with "tactical signals, intelligence collectors, and navigators using highly classified hyper spectral imagers," writes Mr. Ambinder. After a 40-minute operation, 22 people are said to have been captured or killed, one of whom was bin Laden, shot in the head as reported in the media. His body was taken in the helicopter on the journey back. (Another helicopter experienced mechanical failure and was destroyed by US forces.) It has been confirmed by US officials that this operation was conducted with the aim of killing bin Laden. The team that carried out this mission is known as SEAL Team Six, "officially called the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, but known even to the locals at their home base Dam Neck in Virginia as just DevGru," writes Mr. Ambinder.

This highly specialized team conducted several practice raids in Begram in early April to ensure that the real raid went off just right. They are said to have replicated the Abbottabad compound for the trial runs. DevGru belongs to the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which the writer describes as "an extraordinary and unusual collection of classified standing task forces and special-missions units. They report to the president and operate worldwide based on the legal (or extra-legal) premises of classified presidential directives." The military preciously guards their activities and their missions are never leaked — unless something goes wrong. Several JSOC operatives are said to have died in missions in Pakistan over the last few years, but Mr. Ambinder says that, "their names are released by the Defense Department in the usual manner, but with a cover story — generally, they were killed in training accidents in eastern Afghanistan. That's the code."

The operation on bin Laden left analysts wondering how the helicopters evaded being detected by Pakistan's air network. Mr. Ambinder too, asks if it is possible the helicopters spoofed transponder codes or "were they painted and tricked out with Pakistan Air Force equipment?" However they managed to evade being detected comes down to the work of "the silent squirrels," the Technical Application Programs Office and the Aviation Technology Evaluation Group.
[More>>alarabiya.net; See related stories,

cnn.com, May 3, "Bin Laden was unarmed when killed, White House says"
: ...Providing some new details of the events that transpired early Monday in Pakistan, Carney said U.S. Navy SEALS went floor-to-floor clearing the three-story compound where bin Laden's family lived along with others. Three people were killed on the first floor, including a woman, Carney said. US forces then moved upstairs where they found bin Laden in a room with a woman believed to be his wife both unarmed, Carney said. She rushed the US forces and was shot in the leg but not killed. Bin Laden resisted and was shot and killed, Carney said. On Monday, President Barack Obama's top counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, said bin Laden was resisting and had a weapon, though he added that it was unclear whether bin Laden had fired a shot...

foxnews.com, May 3, "Official: No guards on bin Laden compound at time of US raid" :
The world's most wanted terrorist was apparently so confident of his security in a conspicuous compound at the outskirts of a Pakistani military town that, when Navy SEALs raided the complex Sunday, there were no guards on site and Osama bin Laden himself was not armed. He was surrounded instead by his family, more the life of a pensioner than a fugitive. And, according to a senior US official who provided details to Fox News, bin Laden had a "treasure trove" of electronic material on site more than one would expect from a terror leader worried about getting caught. That data and evidence are now being analyzed by CIA staff at the agency's Virginia headquarters. "The US is moving quickly to exploit this information before the cockroaches scatter," a senior defense official said. 

Though the data could prove vital in ongoing counterterror operations by US military and intelligence, the circumstances surrounding bin Laden's hideaway continue to raise concerns about how he was able to live in relative luxury in Pakistan for so long.  Lawmakers are raising serious questions about whether Pakistani officials might have helped protect bin Laden. But the Pakistanis are trying to show they remain committed to fighting the radical elements that continue to terrorize their cities. The US official said bin Laden's wife and children who were on site at the time of the raid are now in Pakistani custody. Other US officials say that while Pakistan was not informed of the mission, the country was helpful in leading the US to bin Laden...

msnbc.msn.com, May 3, "White House: bin Laden death photo 'gruesome'"
: WASHINGTON - The White House said the photograph of a dead Osama bin Laden is "gruesome" and that "it could be inflammatory" if released. White House press secretary Jay Carney said the White House is mulling whether to make the photo public, but he said officials are concerned about the "sensitivity" of doing so. Carney said there is a discussion internally about the most appropriate way to handle but "there is not some roiling debate here about this." Asked if President Barack Obama is involved in the photo discussion, Carney said the president is involved in every aspect of this issue. US officials say the still-secret photographic evidence shows a precision kill shot above his left eye, which blew away part of his skull. He was also shot in the chest, they said. US officials are balancing that skepticism with the sensitivities that might be inflamed by showing images and video of his burial at sea. "We are going to do everything we can to make sure that nobody has any basis to try to deny that we got Osama bin Laden," John Brennan, Obama's counterterrorism adviser, said Monday. He said the US will "share what we can because we want to make sure that not only the American people but the world understand exactly what happened."...

5.03.11 1,000 arrested in Syria since Saturday, rights group says

BEIRUT, May 3 - Syrian authorities have arrested more than 1,000 people and many more have been reported missing in the latest sweep aimed at crushing the uprising against President Bashar Assad, a human rights group said Tuesday. Ammar Qurabi, who heads the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria, said the 1,000 detentions were made since Saturday in house-to-house raids across the country. "The arrests have transformed Syria into a large prison," Qurabi told The Associated Press. In the southern city of Daraa, the epicenter of the protest movement, agents have been arresting men under 40, he said. [More>>foxnews.com]

5.03.11 Five men arrested on terror charges near British nuclear plant

May 3 - Five men have been arrested near the Sellafield nuclear plant in Cumbria, northwestern England under the Terrorism Act. Local police said a stop check on a vehicle by the Civil Nuclear Constabulary on Monday at 4.32pm local time led to the arrests of the men, who are in their 20s and all from London. The BBC reported they were of Bangladeshi origin. Sky News sources suggested the officers became suspicious after seeing the men filming or photographing around the plant. British anti-terrorism police were now investigating, Cumbria police said. The men were taken into custody overnight in Carlisle and were being transferred to Manchester. Under the terms of section 41 of the UK's Terrorism Act they can be held on suspicion of terrorist offenses for 48 hours without charge. The arrests came just hours after news of the death of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, which led to warnings from the Prime Minister David Cameron for the British public to remain vigilant to the risk of reprisals. [More>>news.com.au]

5.03.11 Czech police arrrest suspected North Caucasus terrorists

MOSCOW, May 3 - Police in the Czech Republic have arrested several men on charges of inciting terrorism, including in Russia's volatile North Caucasus region, the CTV news agency reported on Tuesday. Police suspect the eight men of forging documents, and smuggling weapons and explosives. "Two of the suspects, citizens of Bulgaria, are charged with involvement in an organized criminal group that has been active in several countries. Five others were planning a terrorist attack," CTV said, citing police. "The eighth suspect is a Chechen national. He is charged with illegal arms possession and forging money." Six of the suspects are in custody in the Czech Republic, while the other two are at large in Germany, police said. The identities of the suspects have not been made public. Russia has been fighting an Islamist insurgency in the mainly-Muslim North Caucasus for over a decade, including two wars in Chechnya. Regular terrorist attacks often spread to Moscow and other parts of Russia. [>en.rian.ru]

5.03.11 25 fighters killed, injured near AF-Pak border

KABUL, Afghanistan, May 3 - Twenty-five foreign fighters, including Arabs, Chechens and Pakistanis, were killed and wounded by Afghan security forces after they crossed the border from Pakistan into Afghanistan's volatile east overnight, a government official said on Tuesday. Jamaluddin Badr, governor of eastern Nuristan province, said an operation had been launched to guard against insurgents seeking to launch retaliatory attacks in Afghanistan after al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed by US forces in Pakistan on Monday. "As a result of the operation, 25 foreign fighters were killed and wounded," Badr told Reuters. "We have launched an operation to control border infiltration." [>thenews.com.pk]

5.03.11 Taliban vows to avenge Osama's death; Zardari on hit-list

ISLAMABAD, May 3 - The Pakistani Taliban on Tuesday warned that they would target Pakistan and the US to avenge the killing of al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden by US special forces in a raid near the garrison city of Abbottabad. In an audio message issued to the Pakistani media from an undisclosed location, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan confirmed the death of bin Laden, the world's most wanted man, and said his group would take revenge for his killing. "We will avenge the killing of Osama bin Laden. Pakistan is now the first target of the Taliban and the US the second," said Ahsan, who spoke in Pashto. He warned that Pakistan's leaders were on the Taliban's hit list.

In telephone calls to journalists in northwest Pakistan shortly after the US announced the killing of bin Laden yesterday, Ahsan warned that top Pakistani leaders, including president Asif Ali Zardari, and the Pakistan Army would be the "first targets" of his group. Ahsan also said in his audio message that the US should not be jubilant about killing bin Laden as American authorities took 10 years to find the al-Qaeda chief. "We killed former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto (in 2007). After three months of planning, we sent a suicide bomber to kill her... We completed our objective in three months while the US was trailing Osama bin Laden for 10 years," he said. US officials have often said that the Pakistani Taliban, led by Hakimullah Mehsud, has close ties to al-Qaeda. Both groups have safe havens in Pakistan's tribal belt bordering Afghanistan, the American administration has said.

5.03.11 Palestinian factions sign unity deal in Cairo

(AFP) May 3 - Palestinian factions gathered in Cairo on Tuesday signed a reconciliation deal that will pave the way for elections within a year, an AFP correspondent said. Representatives of 13 factions, including Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah party and its rival Hamas, as well as independent political figures inked the deal following talks with Egyptian officials."We signed the deal despite several reservations. But we insisted on working for the higher national interest," said Walid al-Awad, a politburo member of the leftist Palestine People's Party. "We have discussed all the reservations. Everyone has agreed to take these points into consideration," he told Egyptian state television without elaborating. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]

5.02.11 Bin Laden Killed by CIA-Led SEALs team, death hailed as blow to al-Qaeda

May 2 - Years of tracking the world's most-wanted terrorist culminated Sunday afternoon, when a CIA-led Navy SEALs squadron of just a few dozen men stormed Osama bin Laden's compound and killed him. President Obama announced the results of the top-secret operation late Sunday night, calling it the most significant blow to al-Qaeda to date. Within hours, the architect of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that killed more than 3,000 people was buried at sea.  Though the president offered only sparse information on the mission and the intelligence that led to it, details have since emerged about the heroic actions of the small, elite team dispatched to Pakistan by an order from the president last week.  According to officials, a 40-man Navy SEALs squadron raided bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, at 3:30pm ET on Sunday. As officials described it, the raid was swift -- the team was on the compound for less than 40 minutes and did not run into any local authorities during the firefight. 

At the start of the operation, four US-owned and operated helicopters launched from a base in Afghanistan and dropped about 24 men onto the grounds of the compound. One helicopter suffered a"hard landing" after experiencing a "flight control issue" and had to be destroyed on the site. At first, bin Laden was asked to surrender. But a military official said he resisted. In the end, he was killed in the ensuing firefight with a bullet to the head.  No Americans were hurt or killed during the raid. Besides bin Laden, three other men were killed, one of whom is believed to be bin Laden's 24-year-old son. One woman used as a human shield was also killed, and two other women were injured.  The operation itself stemmed from a tip that came to Obama's desk last August. Specifically, US officials were tracking an al-Qaeda courier in Pakistan, based on information obtained from multiple detainees, and determined the location of the compound in Pakistan where the courier and his brother operated. It was built on a large plot of land, and was heavily secured, with 12-to-18-foot walls topped with barbed wire, officials said. Intelligence analysts determined the compound "was custom-built to hide someone of significance," a senior administration official said. 
[More>>foxnews.com; See related stories,

geo.tv, May 2, "Compound where Osama was found"
: ...US forces finally found al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden not in the rugged mountains of Afghanistan's border, but in a million-dollar compound, with his youngest wife, US officials said early on Monday. They were led to the fortress-like three-story building after more than four years tracking one of bin Laden's most trusted couriers, whom US officials said was identified by men captured after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. "Detainees also identified this man as one of the few al-Qaeda couriers trusted by bin Laden. They indicated he might be living with or protected by bin Laden," a senior administration official said in a briefing for reporters..."When we saw the compound where the brothers lived, we were shocked by what we saw: an extraordinarily unique compound," a senior administration official said. "The bottom line of our collection and our analysis was that we had high confidence that the compound harbored a high-value terrorist target.

The experts who worked this issue for years assessed that there was a strong probability that the terrorist who was hiding there was Osama bin Laden," another administration official said. The home is in Abbotabad, a town about 35 miles (60 km) north of Islamabad. The building, about eight times the size of other nearby houses, sat on a large plot of land that was relatively secluded when it was built in 2005. When it was constructed, it was on the outskirts of Abbotabad's center, at the end of a dirt road, but some other homes have been built nearby in the six years since it went up, officials said. Intense security measures included 12- to 18-foot (3.6 meters to 5.5 meters) outer walls topped with barbed wire and internal walls that sectioned off different parts of the compound, officials said. Two security gates restricted access, and residents burned their trash, rather than leaving it for collection as did their neighbors, officials said. Few windows of the three-story home faced the outside of the compound, and a terrace had a seven-foot (2.1 meter) privacy wall, officials said...

haaretz.com, May 2, "US officials: DNA evidence proves Osama bin Laden is dead" : The initial DNA results show a "very confident match" to bin Laden, giving 99.9 percent proof that it was bin Laden killed in the raid in Pakistan, says officials in Obama administration. DNA evidence has proven with 99.9 percent confidence that al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is dead, two officials in US President Barack Obama's administration said Monday. The officials did not immediately say where or how the testing was done but the test explains why Obama was confident to announce to the world on Sunday night that the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 had been killed in a US helicopter raid on a mansion near the Pakistani capital Islamabad. The initial DNA results show a "very confident match" to bin Laden, giving "high confirmation" that it was bin Laden killed in the raid in Pakistan, one of the officials said. In addition to the DNA testing, the US also used facial recognition techniques to help identify him, a US official said after the operation. Senior US administration officials said the body would be handled according to Islamic practice and tradition. That practice calls for the body to be buried within 24 hours, the official said. Finding a country willing to accept the remains of the world's most wanted terrorist would have been difficult, the official said. So the US decided to bury him at sea...

middle-east-online.com, May 2, "Rites administered for bin Laden" :
WASHINGTON - US forces administered Muslim religious rites for Osama bin Laden aboard an aircraft carrier Monday in the Arabian Sea, an American official said after the raid that killed the al-Qaeda leader. "Today religious rights were conducted for the deceased on the deck of the USS Carl-Vinson which is located in the North Arabian Sea," a senior defense official said. "Traditional procedures for Islamic burial were followed. The deceased's body was washed and then placed in a white sheet. The body was placed in a weighted bag. "A military officer read prepared religious remarks which were translated into Arabic by a native speaker. After the words were complete, the body was placed on a prepared flat-board... (and) eased into the sea." However, a spokesman for Al-Azhar, the top Sunni Muslim authority, said Islam is opposed to burials at sea. "If it is true that the body was thrown into the sea, then Islam is totally against that," Mahmud Azab, an adviser to the grand imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, said.

"Any corpse, if it belongs to someone murdered or someone who died of natural causes, must be respected," said Azab, the adviser to Al-Azhar's chief for inter-religious affairs. "The bodies of believers and non-believers, Muslim or Christian, must be respected," he said, adding that Tayeb was due to issue a formal statement. "Islam only accepts burials" unless it is inevitable like for those who drowned, he said. The Cairo-based Al-Azhar is the most prestigious centre of religious learning in the Sunni Muslim world. The ceremony began at 0510 GMT and ended some 50 minutes later aboard the aircraft carrier which is stationed off the coast of Pakistan to help US and coalition forces in Afghanistan. When a Muslim dies his body must be washed in a special ritual carried out by Muslims and buried in the ground as soon as possible, usually in the 24 hours following the death. The corpse is usually wrapped in a white shroud and placed directly in the grave, without a coffin.

msnbc.msn.com, May 2, "Morning Joe: Bin Laden compound raised suspicions" [video]

nytimes.com, May 2, "Bin Laden is dead, Obama says" :
WASHINGTON - Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the most devastating attack on American soil in modern times and the most hunted man in the world, was killed in a firefight with United States forces in Pakistan on Sunday, President Obama announced. In a dramatic late-night appearance in the East Room of the White House, Mr. Obama declared that "justice has been done" as he disclosed that American military and C.I.A. operatives had finally cornered Bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader who had eluded them for nearly a decade. American officials said Bin Laden resisted and was shot in the head. He was later buried at sea. The news touched off an extraordinary outpouring of emotion as crowds gathered outside the White House, in Times Square and at the ground zero site, waving American flags, cheering, shouting, laughing and chanting, "U.S.A., U.S.A.!" In New York City, crowds sang "The Star-Spangled Banner," Throughout downtown Washington, drivers honked horns deep into the night...

cnn.com, May 2, "US troops kill Osama bin Laden in Pakistan" : ...[Updated 12:27 a.m. ET] Senior defense officials said that for a majority of the 40 minute operation at the Abbottobad compound  special operations forces were involved in a firefight - clearing their way through two other floors before they reached Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden was not killed until the last five to ten minutes of the firefight, officials said. Bin Laden and his family lived on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the 3-story building, and those floors were cleared last, the official said. The official says one of bin Laden's own wives identified his body to US forces, after the team made visual identification themselves. US forces also recovered what a senior Intelligence official is calling "quite a bit of material." "There's a robust collection of materials we need to sift through, and we hope to find valuable intelligence that will lead us to other players in al-Qaeda,"  a senior intelligence official said. The official added a Task Force has been set up "because of the sheer volume of material collected. That material is currently being exploited and analyzed."...

thestar.com.my (Reuters) May 2, "Heat on Pakistan as Osama bin Laden killed near Islamabad" :
ABBOTTABAD, Pakistan - Pakistan declared the killing of Osama bin Laden a "major setback" to global terrorism, but it will inevitably come under pressure to explain how the al-Qaeda leader was holed up in a mansion near a military facility. Bin Laden was killed in a dramatic night-time raid by US helicopters and troops on his hideout in Abbottabad, home to Pakistan's main military academy and less then two hours' drive from the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. "Osama bin Laden's death illustrates the resolve of the international community, including Pakistan, to fight and eliminate terrorism," the government said in a statement. "It constitutes a major setback to terrorist organizations around the world." However, it was not clear whether the Pakistan military was involved in the operation and there was no official comment from the government for several hours, raising the possibility that Islamabad was taken by surprise.

That bin Laden, mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, was not hiding in mountains along the border but in relative comfort in a town hosting the main military academy and home to scores of retired and serving officers will bolster those who have long argued that Pakistan has been playing a duplicitous hand. Just 10 days ago, Pakistan's army chief addressed cadets at that very academy, saying the country's military had broken the back of militants linked to al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Washington has in the past accused Pakistan of maintaining ties to militants targeting US troops in neighboring Afghanistan. Relations have soured in recent months over US drone attacks and CIA activities in the country. Pakistan's powerful intelligence agency, the ISI, has long been suspected of links to the Haqqani network, cultivated during the 1980s when Jalaluddin Haqqani was a feared battlefield commander against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Pakistan's arch-rival, India, was quick to comment, saying the news underlined its "concern that terrorists belonging to different organizations find sanctuary in Pakistan."

"For some time there will be a lot of tension between Washington and Islamabad because bin Laden seems to have been living here close to Islamabad," said Imtiaz Gul, a Pakistani security analyst. "If the ISI had known, then somebody within the ISI must have leaked this information," Gul said. "Pakistan will have to do a lot of damage control because the Americans have been reporting he is in Pakistan ... this is a serious blow to the credibility of Pakistan." Abbottabad is a popular summer resort, located in a valley surrounded by green hills near Pakistani Kashmir. Islamist militants, particularly those fighting in Indian-controlled Kashmir, used to have training camps near the town. A Reuters reporter in the town on Monday said bin Laden's single-storey residence stood fourth in a row of about a dozen houses, a satellite perched on the roof above a walled compound. A helicopter covered by a sheet sat in a nearby field...

alarabiya.net, May 2, "Media & mass communications: What does the death of Osama bin Laden mean for the Arab world?

Arab news media have reacted to the death of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden with considerable speculation on its consequences in the Arab and Muslim world. While most of the voices in the region agree that the death of America's "Most Wanted Number One" had dealt a blow to the terror network, many have warned that various al-Qaeda affiliates, which tend to operate independently from the network's top leadership, would likely continue to threaten the security in the region for months to come. The news media in the region have also engaged in much discussion about the timing of bin Laden's death. Jamal Khashoggi, journalist, writer and former editor-in-chief of the Saudi newspaper al-Watan, told Al Arabiya TV that if Mr. Bin Laden had been killed before the wave of pro-democracy uprisings in the region, some people would have protested against America.

The march for freedom in the region has damaged al-Qaeda's agenda and showed to the world the freedom-loving spirit of the majority of Arab and Muslim youths, he said. Mohammad Abu Rumman, a columnist and an expert on Islamist groups, said, "The death of Mr. Bin Laden came during the downfall of dictatorial regimes and the rise of freedom in the Arab world." Mr. Abu Rumman told Al Arabiya that Mr. Bin Laden had lost his self-claimed image as the champion of the Muslim world with the demise of dictatorships, which were responsible for creating some of the conditions that allowed extremism to breed. When political dissent can't be expressed in words, resort to violence becomes likely, Mr. Abu Rumman added.

Abdullah Al-Mutair, father of al-Qaeda militant Ibrahim al-Mutair who was killed earlier this year by Saudi authorities, said that he had received the news of bin Laden's death with "joy." Mr. al-Mutair added that Mr. Bin Laden has killed more Muslims than non-Muslims and that everyone should be pleased with his death. Saudi journalist Khaled al-Moshawah, meanwhile, said that the effect of the rise of freedom in holding back extremism in the Arab world was yet to be seen. He said: "It is still early to say that al-Qaeda will not exploit the revolutions. The death of Mr. Bin Laden is certainly a blow to the terror network, but it remains to be seen how the man's followers will respond." Regardless of speculation, Mr. Bin Laden's death will likely be a sense of triumph for some in the United States and a relief for many Muslims who are tired of seeing a violent man speak for their faith. [end]

5.01.11 NATO strike kills Gaddafi's son but leader escapes

TRIPOLI, Libya, May 1 - Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi escaped a NATO missile strike in Tripoli that killed one of his sons and three young grandchildren, a government spokesman said early Sunday. Hours later, Gaddafi's forces shelled a besieged rebel port in a sign that the airstrike had not forced a change in regime tactics. NATO's attack on a Gaddafi family compound in a residential area of Tripoli late Saturday signaled escalating pressure on the Libyan leader who has tried to crush an armed rebellion that erupted in mid-February. Libyan officials denounced the strike as an assassination attempt and a violation of international law. It also drew criticism from Russia, which accused the alliance of going beyond its UN mandate to protect Libyan civilians by trying to kill Gaddafi. "More and more facts indicate that the aim of the anti-Libyan coalition is the physical destruction of Gaddafi," said Konstantin Kosachyov, a Russian lawmaker who often serves as a mouthpiece for the Kremlin's views on foreign affairs. The alliance acknowledged that it had struck a "command and control building," but insisted all its targets are military in nature and linked to Gaddafi's systematic attacks on the population. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]

5.01.11 UK expels Libyan ambassador after attack on Tripoli mission

May 1 - Smoke seen rising from Italian embassy in Libya; United Nations pulls staff out Libyan capital; protests take place outside US embassy; Gaddafi forces fire artillery into Tunisia, rebel-held town of Zintan. A day after Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's son was killed in a NATO airstrike that targeted the strongman's compound, Western embassies in Tripoli were attacked and renewed fighting broke out across the country. Britain has decided to expel the Libyan ambassador after its embassy in Tripoli was attacked, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Sunday. "The Vienna Convention requires the Gaddafi regime to protect diplomatic missions in Tripoli. By failing to do so that regime has once again breached its international responsibilities and obligations," he said in a statement, referring to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. "As a result, I have taken the decision to expel the Libyan ambassador," he said, adding that the official now had 24 hours to leave Britain.

"I condemn the attacks on the British Embassy premises in Tripoli as well as the diplomatic missions of other countries," Hague said. Witnesses told Reuters that smoke was rising from the Italian embassy building in the Libyan capital Sunday afternoon. Protests were said to be taking place outside the US embassy and the UK embassy was attacked, the BBC reported...The fighting that has spread across Libya for weeks also took a deadly turn on Sunday and threatened to spread beyond its borders. Forces loyal to Gaddafi are trying to advance on the rebel-held town of Zintan, southwest of the capital, and are bombarding it with rockets, a rebel spokesman said on Sunday. "The military is now trying to advance from the east. They have been randomly bombarding the town with Grad (rockets) and mortars since the early hours of this morning," the spokesman, called Abdulrahman, told Reuters by telephone from Zintan..."
[Full story>>jpost.com]

5.01.11 Egypt calls on US to recognize Palestinian state

(AFP) May 1 - Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil al-Arabi on Sunday called on the United States to recognise a Palestinian state, as rival Palestinian factions prepare to sign a reconciliation accord in Cairo. Arabi urged visiting US Congressman Steve Chabot to "press Congress and the American administration to recognise a Palestinian state." Recognition "would correspond with previous statements by the American administration supporting peace based on two states," the official MENA news agency quoted him as saying. [More>>france24.com; See other details,

nytimes.com, May 1, "Israel moves against Palestinian unity deal by delaying funds"
: JERUSALEM - Israel said on Sunday that it was delaying the transfer of almost $90 million in tax revenue owed to the Palestinian Authority in a move against the emerging reconciliation between Fatah, the party that dominates the authority, and its Islamic rival, Hamas. The step came as both sides appealed to international powers to back their positions on the unity deal expected to be signed in Cairo this week, intended to end a four-year schism between the West Bank government led by Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority and Fatah chief, and Gaza, the Palestinian coastal enclave that is controlled by Hamas.

5.01.11 Daraa under tank fire as Syria regime targets uprising epicenter

CAIRO, May 1 - Daraa's water, fuel and electricity cut off, but residents remain defiant in calling for end to Assad rule; Syrian tanks and snipers posted throughout city. Syrian army tanks shelled the old quarter of a city at the heart of the country's six-week-old uprising Sunday and rolled in more reinforcements to the area, which has been under siege for nearly a week, said an eyewitness. Residents appeared to remain defiant: Unable to leave their homes, they chanted "God is Great!" to each other from their windows, infuriating security forces and raising each other's spirits. "Our houses are close to each other, so even though we can't go outside, we stand by the windows and chant," said a Daraa resident, speaking to The Associated Press by satellite phone.

"Our neighbors can hear us and they respond." Daraa has been without water, fuel or electricity since Monday, when the regime sent in troops backed by tanks and snipers to crush protests seeking an end to President Bashar Assad's authoritarian rule. Tanks and armored personal vehicles have cut off neighborhoods, and snipers nesting on rooftops throughout the city have kept residents pinned in their homes. Other areas of the country also have come under military control, but Daraa has faced the most serious stranglehold.
The death toll has soared to 535 nationwide from government forces firing on demonstrators - action that has drawn international condemnation and US financial penalties on top figures in his regime. [More>>haaretz.com]

5.01.11 Death toll from March 11 quake, tsunami in Japan tops 14,700

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) May 1 - The death toll from the recent 9.0-magnitude quake and tsunami in Japan has reached 14,704, while 10,969 remain unaccounted for in six Japanese prefectures, Japanese news agency Kyodo reported on Sunday, citing data from police. The twin disaster that hit Japan on March 11 also triggered a number of explosions at the Fukushima 1 nuclear power plant, which caused several radioactive leaks. Radioactive elements were later found in the water, air and food products in some parts of Japan. About 120,000 people have been evacuated from the disaster zone and accommodated in temporary refuge centers across the country. The Japanese government has said the damage from the disaster could total $310 billion. [>en.rian.ru]

5.01.11 Twelve-year-old suicide bomber kills four

May 1- A 12-year-old suicide bomber killed four people and wounded a dozen in eastern Afghanistan today. The boy thought to be one of the country's youngest-ever suicide attackers detonated a vest packed with explosives in a marketplace in Paktika province near the Pakistan border, provincial spokesman Mukhlis Afghan said in a statement. "The head of Shkin district council, Shair Nawaz, a woman and two other men were killed and 12 others were wounded," the statement said. Taliban militants in neighboring Ghazni province meanwhile ambushed a police vehicle and sparked an exchange of fire, deputy provincial police chief Mohammad Hussain said. "Two policemen and two civilians including a woman were killed," Mr. Hussain said. [More>>news.com.au; See also aljazeera.net, May 1, "Deadly start to Taliban 'spring offensive' "]

4.28.11 Exxon Mobil profit soars along with gas prices

April 28 - Exxon Mobil reported a first-quarter profit Thursday of $10.7 billion, a 69 percent jump from the year before as higher crude oil prices, fatter US oil refining and marketing margins, and a revival in global demand for petrochemicals boosted earnings. Royal Dutch Shell also reported higher profits. Excluding one-time items and inventory gains, Shell earned $6.3 billion, up 30 percent from the first quarter of 2010 even as production dropped 3 percent. [More>>washingtonpost.com]

4.28.11 Nearly 250 dead as Tornadoes ravage south

PLEASANT GROVE, Alabama (AP) April 28 - Dozens of tornadoes ripped through the South, flattening homes and businesses and killing at least 248 people in six states in the deadliest outbreak in nearly 40 years. As day broke Thursday, people in hard-hit Alabama surveyed flattened, debris-strewn neighborhoods and told of pulling bodies from rubble after the storms passed Wednesday afternoon and evening. "It happened so fast it was unbelievable," said Jerry Stewart, a 63-year-old retired firefighter who was picking through the remains of his son's wrecked home in Pleasant Grove, a suburb of Birmingham. "They said the storm was in Tuscaloosa and it would be here in 15 minutes. And before I knew it, it was here." He and his wife, along with their daughter and two grandchildren, survived by hiding under their front porch. Friends down the street who did the same weren't so lucky — Stewart said he pulled out the bodies of two neighbors whose home was ripped off its foundation. Alabama's state emergency management agency said it had confirmed 162 deaths, while there were 32 in Mississippi, 32 in Tennessee, 13 in Georgia, eight in Virginia and one in Kentucky. [More>>foxnews.com]

4.28.11 Terror list suspects allowed to buy guns in US

WASHINGTON (AP) April 28 - More than 200 people suspected of ties to terrorism bought guns in the U.S. last year legally, FBI figures show. The 247 people who were allowed to buy weapons did so after going through required background checks as required by federal law. It is not illegal for people listed on the government's terror watch list to buy weapons. For years, that has bothered Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who is trying again to change the law to keep weapons out of the hands of suspected terrorists. The secret, fluid nature of the terror watch list has made closing what Lautenberg calls a "terror gap" in the nation's gun laws a challenge. About the same number of people suspected of ties to terrorism also successfully purchased guns in the US in 2009. The FBI provided the new numbers to the Government Accountability Office, Congress' investigative arm, and the figures were obtained by The Associated Press. [More>>msnbc.msn.com]

4.28.11 Fourteen dead in Marrakesh cafe bombing

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) April 28 - At least 14 people are reported dead and 20 injured after a bomb ripped through a cafe in the main Jamaa el-Fna square in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh on Thursday, global media reported. The Moroccan Interior Ministry says the blast was a terrorist act. Eleven of the casualties are foreigners, most of whom are European, according to the official Moroccan MAP agency. Earlier, a source said the blast was caused by a gas leak. Forty one people died in an al-Qaeda attack in the Moroccan city of Casablanca in 2003. In January this year, the Moroccan government claimed to have broken up an al-Qaeda cell planning suicide bombings in the country. [>en.rian.ru; See more details,

khaleejtimes.com, April 28, "Terrorist attack hits cafe in Morocco, 14 dead."
: ...Morocco, a steadfast US ally within the Muslim world, is largely calm but was hit by five simultaneous terrorist bombings in Casablanca in 2003 that killed 33 people and a dozen bombers. Moroccan authorities have regularly rounded up terror suspects since then, arrested thousands and have been on alert for terrorist activity. The Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group, or GICM, a militant group was believed linked to those attacks. The GICM has also been implicated in the deadly attacks in Madrid in March 2004. In April 2007, a suicide bombing beside the US consulate in Casablanca, the economic capital, forced the facility to close for a period for a security review. A second bomber detonated his explosive belt in the same street, just yards from the American Language Center where English is taught. Only the bombers died in that blast. Al-Qaeda has an affiliate operating in North Africa that stages regular attacks and kidnappings in neighboring Algeria. Morocco has said in the past that it has dismantled numerous al-Qaeda plots. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb currently holds four Frenchmen hostage after kidnapping them in Niger last year, and recently released new images and audio recordings of their voices...

4.28.11 Bahrain sentences 4 protesters to death, and 3 to life imprisonment

April 28 - A Bahraini military court sentenced four men to death and three to prison for life over the killing of two policemen during the country's recent political unrest, Al Arabiya's correspondent learnt Thursday. On Sunday, Bahrain News Agency (BNA) said the military prosecutor would seek the death sentence for seven men accused of killing the policemen at the Lower National Safety Court. It quoted the prosecutor as saying the men had "committed their crime for terrorist reasons." It gave no other details of the incident. BNA added at the time that the defendants pleaded not guilty and that the case would be heard again on April 28. Today's sentences were the result of that court hearing. At least 13 protesters and four police were killed during the clashes in March. [More>>alarabiya.net]

4.28.11 Syria: Baath party officials 'quit in protest'

April 28 - Some 200 members of Syria's ruling Baath party are reported to have resigned over the violent crackdown against pro-democracy demonstrations. The resignations were centred on the southern city of Deraa, a focal point of violence that has allegedly killed 450 people in six weeks. Shooting was heard in Deraa overnight, where the government this week sent tanks and troops to regain control. Meanwhile, the UN failed to agree on a statement condemning the crackdown. A draft proposed by France, Britain, Germany and Portugal was opposed by several states within the 15-member Security Council, with Russia insisting events in Syria were not a threat to international peace. President Bashar al-Assad's government disputes the Western view that the demonstrations have been non-violent. [More>>bbc.co.uk; See also cbsnews.com, April 28, "Syrian army units turn on one another: Reports."]

4.28.11 Eight militants killed in Orakzai Agency

PESHAWAR, Pakistan, April 28 - Security forces killed at least eight militants in Upper Orakzai while four other militants were killed in a clash with tribal people in Kurram, Geo News reported on Thursday. Government sources said that security forces shelled militants' hideouts in Khadezai and Mamozai areas of Upper Orakzai and killed at least eight extremists. Two hideouts of militants were also destroyed. Meanwhile, a shootout between militants and tribal people left four militants dead and three tribal men injured in Central Kurram Agency. A patrolling vehicle of security troops hit a landmine in Alinagar district of Mohmand Agency resulting a personnel was martyred and five others injured. [>thenews.com.pk]

4.28.11 Five dead in Pakistani navy bus attack

April 28 - Karachi blast comes two days after four people were killed in similar attacks on navy buses in the port city. A blast has hit a bus carrying Pakistani navy officials in the southern city of Karachi, killing five people, officials have said. "Now a total of four of our employees — all sailors — have been martyred in the attack on our bus while seven others are injured," navy spokesman Commander Salman Ali told AFP. A hospital official said a passerby was also killed in the incident, which took place in the city's busy Faisal avenue. About three kilograms of explosives were packed into the bomb which was detonated remotely, senior police official Iftikhar Tarar said. Karachi is Pakistan's commercial hub and also home to the navy's main base. [More>>aljazeera.net]

4.28.11 10 killed in Iraq mosque suicide attack

(AFP) April 28 - A suicide bomber blew himself up inside a Shiite mosque in central Iraq on Thursday, killing 10 people, amid nationwide violence that left 16 dead, including senior police and army officers. The violence comes with just months to go before US troops must withdraw completely from the country, and as a series of American officials have passed through Baghdad this month to press Iraq to decide on whether it wants an extended US military presence. In Thursday's deadliest attack, a suicide attacker detonated his payload amid a crowd of worshippers inside the Imam al-Hussein mosque in Baladruz, around 75 kilometers (50 miles) northeast of Baghdad, according to a colonel in the provincial security command. At least 10 people were killed in the attack, which occurred at around 8:15pm (1715 GMT), and 30 others were wounded. All of the victims were men. [More>>france24.com]

4.27.11 Syria opposition puts Assad on notice as troops tighten grip

DAMASCUS, Syria (AFP) April 27 - Syria's opposition warned President Bashar al-Assad Wednesday he will be toppled unless he ushers in democratic changes, as his troops kept their grip on the flashpoint town of Daraa. And in a new blow to the regime, 30 members of the ruling Baath party in the restive city of Banias announced their resignation in protest at the deadly crackdown on protesters, in a statement received by AFP. The warning came as world pressure mounted on Damascus, with the European Union mulling sanctions and the UN human rights body calling for a special session in the wake of a bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters. Five EU countries are also summoning Syria's ambassadors over the violent crushing of dissent, France said, adding it was joined by Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain. According to human rights activists, the military assault on Daraa, 100 kilometers (62 miles) south of Damascus, has left more than 30 people dead since Monday, with at least 453 civilians killed across Syria since protests first erupted in mid-March. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]

4.27.11 Libya: tribal chiefs call on Col. Gaddafi to go

April 27 - Chiefs or representatives of 61 Libyan tribes from across the country called for an end to Col. Muammar Gaddafi's rule, in a joint statement released by French writer Bernard-Henri Levy. "Faced with the threats weighing on the unity of our country, faced with the manoeuvres and propaganda of the dictator and his family, we solemnly declare: Nothing will divide us," said the text, drawn up in Benghazi on April 12. "We share the same ideal of a free, democratic and united Libya," it said. The African Union meanwhile urged an end to military actions targeting senior Libyan officials and key infrastructure, a statement said on Wednesday. "Council urges all involved to refrain from actions, including military operations targeting Libyan senior officials and socio-economic infrastructure, that would further compound the situation and make it more difficult to achieve international consensus on the best way forward," the AU said. The Pan-African body stressed the need for all the parties involved in the implementation of UN resolution 1973 on Libya "to act in a manner fully consistent with international legality and the resolution's provisions, whose objective is solely to ensure the protection of the civilian population." [More>>telegraph.co.uk; See related story,

cnn.com, April 27, "Devastation mounts in Misrata after heavy shelling on port"
: In the wake of what rebels describe as the heaviest shelling yet by pro-government forces on the port of Misrata, much of the western Libyan city appeared to be a wasteland Wednesday morning. "I'm looking around, I can't find a single building that's not either damaged or destroyed," CNN's Reza Sayah said from Tripoli Street, a major thoroughfare in the city. Witnesses said three people were killed and several were wounded after shells detonated near a refugee camp in the critical port area Tuesday. Thousands of migrants have been housed there as they wait for ships to carry them to safety...

4.27.11 Palestinian rivals Fatah and Hamas 'agree to end rift'

April 27 - The Fatah party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas, which governs Gaza, have agreed a reconciliation deal, officials say. Under the Egyptian-brokered deal, an interim government will be formed and a date fixed for elections. The groups have been divided for more than four years, with Hamas in power in Gaza and Fatah running the West Bank. Israel immediately said that the Palestinian Authority could not have peace with both Hamas and Israel. [More>>bbc.co.uk]

4.27.11 Protesters killed in Yemen shooting

April 27 - Deaths come as president's opponents launch campaign against a plan giving him one-month window to resign. At least nine protesters have been killed in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, after security forces opened fire on a demonstration demanding immediate exit of the president, hospital officials say. Residents in at least 18 cities and towns across the country launched a civil disobedience campaign on Wednesday protesting against a plan which would give Ali Abdullah Saleh a month-long window to resign. Yemen's opposition agreed to take part in a transitional government under the Gulf-negotiated deal, which gave Saleh immunity for him and his family.  The campaign is the latest in Yemen's uprising that started in early February, inspired by revolts across the Arab world. More than 130 people have been killed by security forces and Saleh's supporters at massive near-daily protests. [>aljazeera.net]

4.27.11 Afghan fires on NATO troops, kills 9

April 27 - Eight NATO troops and a contractor died today after an Afghan military officer opened fire in a meeting the deadliest incident so far in which Afghan security forces have turned against their coalition partners, officials said. The Afghan officer, who was a veteran military pilot, fired on the foreigners after an argument. The shooting occurred in an operations room of the Afghan Air Corps at Kabul airport. "Suddenly, in the middle of the meeting, shooting started," said Afghan Air Corps spokesman Col Bahader, who uses only one name. "After the shooting started, we saw a number of Afghan army officers and soldiers running out of the building. Some were even throwing themselves out of the windows to get away." The eight International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops and a contractor killed were all Americans, FOX News reported. [More>>news.com.au]

4.27.11 3 Afghan troops killed in border clash with Pakistan forces

PESHAWAR, April 27 - Three Afghan troops were killed, while two Pakistani soldiers wounded in a clash that ensued with the Afghan National Army's border violations. Sources said that Afghan National Army troops near [the] South Waziristan border intruded into the Pakistani side that led to a deadly clash between Pakistani forces with the intruding Afghan troops resulting [in] three Afghan soldiers dead, while two Pakistani forces sustained injuries. Following the clash [the] Pak-Afghan border and Angoor Adda Bazaar were closed for all sorts of traffic. [>thenews.com.pk]

4.26.11 NATO: Key al-Qaeda figure killed in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan, April 26 - A NATO airstrike earlier this month killed a key al-Qaeda operative in Afghanistan, a regional commander in charge of suicide bombings and cash flow, the international military coalition said Tuesday. NATO identified the man killed in the April 13 airstrike in Dangam district of eastern Kunar province as Abu Hafs al-Najdi, also known as Abdul Ghani. The alliance said the strike also killed a number of other insurgents, including another al-Qaeda leader known as Waqas. Al-Najdi, a Saudi citizen, directed al-Qaeda operations in Kunar and traveled regularly between Afghanistan and Pakistan to coordinate with associates across the border, NATO said.

He coordinated suicide bombing attacks as well as kidnappings and oversaw the transfer of money from Pakistan to cells in Afghanistan. NATO said it has been chasing al-Najdi since 2007 and finally pinpointed him while he was meeting with Waqas. Farther south in Paktia province, meanwhile, the provincial governor narrowly escaped an apparent assassination attempt by insurgents. A roadside bomb exploded just behind a vehicle taking Gov. Juma Khan Hamdard to his office, said Rohallah Samon, a spokesman for the governor. Hamdard was not hurt, but three policemen who were in a chase vehicle were slightly injured, Samon said.
[>timesofindia.indiatimes.com; See other details, bbc.co.uk, April 26, "Al-Qaeda 'Afghan number two' Abdul Ghani killed - NATO."]

4.26.11 Osama escaped to north, not Pakistan - Report

LONDON, April 26 - Several documents claim al-Qaida leader evaded US offensive by heading north, rather than into Pakistan as widely thought, UK's Guardian reported. Osama bin Laden escaped American and British special forces closing in on his refuge in December 2001 with the help of a minor local warlord who provided fighters to guide him to safety in the north-east of Afghanistan, claims a secret intelligence report compiled by officials at Guantánamo Bay. The al-Qaeda leader's successful flight from Tora Bora has long been seen as one of the key early lapses of the international military effort in Afghanistan. Though various theories have been floated, no firm account of how Bin Laden evaded the coalition forces and their Afghan auxiliaries has yet emerged.

One document — an assessment compiled in August 2007 of a detainee at the Guantánamo detention centre called Harun Shirzad al-Afghani — claims Bin Laden escaped the dragnet around his mountain stronghold with the help of a local Pakistani militant commander and cleric called Maulawi Nur Muhammad. The document says Maulawi Nur Muhammad provided 40 or 50 fighters to escort Bin Laden and his close associate Ayman al-Zawahiri to safety following a meeting with a senior al-Qaeda military field commander known as Abu Turab in mid-December 2001. American forces launched their operation to capture or kill the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks at the beginning of December 2001, around three weeks after capturing Kabul, the Afghan capital. More than 100 western special forces soldiers backed by thousands of Afghans had closed in on their target after around 10 days of fighting. Previously it had been thought that Bin Laden escaped south from Tora Bora into Pakistan, evading a blocking force of Pakistani troops and paramilitaries sent to secure the frontier.

4.26.11 'Al-Qaeda bomber worked for UK intelligence'

April 26 - An al-Qaeda "assassin" accused of bombing Christian churches and a luxury hotel in Pakistan was working for British intelligence at the same time, according to leaked files. The claim about Adil Hadi al Jazairi Bin Hamlili is made in secret reports on detainees at the US military's Guantanamo Bay prison camp obtained by the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks. The Algerian, who was captured in Pakistan in 2003, was described by interrogators as a "facilitator, courier, kidnapper, and assassin for al-Qaeda." They also believed he had withheld important information from Canadian and British intelligence and (was) a "threat to US and allied personnel in Afghanistan and Pakistan." The files, handed to The Guardian and Daily Telegraph by WikiLeaks, also indicate at least 35 terrorists held at Guantanamo had been radicalized by extremist preachers in the UK. Abu Qatada and Abu Hamza are identified in the documents as having recruited and sent dozens of extremists from all over the world to fight against the West in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The revelations come after WikiLeaks released more than 700 secret files documenting the inner workings of the Guantanamo Bay detention centre in Cuba. [More>>news.sky.com; See related story,

telegraph.co.uk, April 26, "WikiLeaks: 225 Guantanamo Bay detainees incriminated on claims of eight inmates"
: Evidence from just over half a dozen detainees was used to incriminate nearly a third of the inmates at Guantanamo Bay, leaked files disclose. Analysis of the files, obtained by the WikiLeaks website, shows that claims from just eight detainees were used to help build cases against some 255 men in Cuba. Most prisoners at the camp were not captured by American forces which meant interrogators had to construct a picture of the stories of the detainees by cross-checking them against testimonies from other prisoners. Mohammed Basardah, a Yemeni who was assessed to be a member of al-Qaeda, is estimated to have made statements against as many as 131 other prisoners, while evidence from Mohammed Hashim was in 21 assessments. A Syrian known as Abdul Rahim Razak al Janko was quoted in the records of 20 detainees, and Muhammad al Qahtani who was a source in 31 cases. Evidence from another detainee Abu Zubaydah was cited in 127 files, while Iraqi Ali Abdul Motalib Hassan appeared as a source in 33 files...

4.26.11 Taliban prison break inmates recaptured

April 26 - Afghan officials say at least 65 of the 480 escaped prisoners caught as NATO claims air strike killed al-Qaeda commander. Afghan forces have recaptured at least 65 of the 480 inmates who escaped from the south's largest prison, the government said on Tuesday. Prison officials discovered early on Monday morning that the inmates nearly all of them Taliban militants were missing from their cells, and then found the tunnel through which they appeared to have made their getaway. The Taliban said the jailbreak was five months in the making, with diggers starting the tunnel from under a nearby house while they arranged for inmates to get cell keys. The Kandahar provincial governor's office said that Afghan and international forces are working together to recapture the missing prisoners.

It said the troops have already caught 65 and killed two who tried to resist. Authorities have biometric data on each prisoner, the statement added. The prison break came less than two weeks after the Kandahar police chief was killed by a suicide bomber inside his heavily defended office compound. "How can we trust or rely on a government that can't protect the police chief inside the police headquarters and can't keep prisoners in the prison?" asked Islamullah Agha Bashir, who sells washing machines and other appliances in Kandahar city. "Last night while we were eating dinner I told my two sons not to go out as much because I am afraid that now when the morale of the Taliban is high, they will attack more."

4.26.11 Gaddafi forces pound Libyan towns

Appril 26 - Artillery fire continues to hit Misurata and Berber towns in the Nafusa mountain range as NATO bombs Gaddafi's compound. Muammar Gaddafi's forces have pounded Berber towns in Libya's western mountains with artillery, rebels and refugees said. Al Jazeera's Anita McNaught, reporting from the Nafusa mountain range, said the rebels claimed to have gained ground in their fight against Gaddafi's army after NATO air strikes. "A battle raged all day [on Monday]. There are deaths on both sides but Gaddafi's forces retreated," our correspondent said from the remote region that is largely inaccessible to journalists. "Our town is under constant bombardment by Gaddafi's troops. They are using all means. Everyone is fleeing," Imad, a refugee, said while bringing his family out of the mountains and into Tunisia. Three rebel fighters were killed in the bombardment of Nalut, a town close to the borders with Tunisia. Unconfirmed reports said Gaddafi troops were amassed near the town in preparation of an attack. Misurata also won no respite from two months of bitter siege as Gaddafi's forces bombarded the city after pulling out of the city centre. [More>>aljazeera.net]

4.26.11 NATO says it is broadening attacks on Libya targets

WASHINGTON, April 26 - NATO planners say the allies are stepping up attacks on palaces, headquarters, communications centers and other prominent institutions supporting the Libyan government, a shift of targets that is intended to weaken Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi's grip on power and frustrate his forces in the field. Officials in Europe and in Washington said that the strikes were meant to reduce the government's ability to harm civilians by eliminating, link by link, the command, communications and supply chains required for sustaining military operations. The broadening of the alliance's targets comes at a time when the rebels and the government in Libya have been consolidating their positions along more static front lines, raising concerns of a prolonged stalemate. Although it is too soon to assess the results of the shift, a NATO official said on Tuesday that the alliance was watching closely for early signs, like the recent reports of desertions from the Libyan Army. Strikes on significant bulwarks of Colonel Qaddafi's power over recent days included bombing his residential compound in the heart of the capital, Tripoli — an array of bunkers that are also home to administrative offices and a military command post — as well as knocking state television briefly off the air. [More>>nytimes.com]

4.26.11 58 target killers nabbed in Karachi: Malik

KARACHI, April 26 - Federal Interior Minister Abdul Rehman Malik Tuesday revealed that a total of 58 outlaws, accused of carrying out target killings in Karachi and a number of extortionists, have been nabbed, including those who possess more than 500 mobile phone SIMs, Geo news reported. [More>>thenews.com.pk]

4.26.11 Deadly twin bus explosions target navy personnel in Karachi

(AP) Apri- Bombs went off on two buses carrying Pakistani navy personnel just minutes apart in Karachi on Tuesday, killing at least four people and wounding more than 50 others. In Baluchistan, 14 people died after gunmen attacked a bus. Twin bomb attacks against Pakistani navy buses that were taking employees to work Tuesday killed four people and wounded more than 50 others. The blasts took place roughly 15 minutes apart in different areas of Karachi, the country's biggest city, said Navy Commander Salman Ali. Islamist militants have staged repeated attacks on security forces and other state targets in recent years. Allied with or inspired by al-Qaeda, they are seeking to overthrow Pakistan's US-allied government or force a halt in army offensives against their safe havens in the northwest close to Afghanistan. Karachi, the capital of southern Sindh province and the economic heart of the nation, has not been spared. The buses were taking naval employees to work in the coastal city, the home of the Pakistani navy, when the bombs hit. At least one of the victims was a female doctor, said Ali. It was unclear whether the bombs were planted devices or suicide attacks. [More>>france24.com]

4.25.11 Airstrike flattens building in Gaddafi compound

TRIPOLI (Reuters) April 25 - NATO forces flattened a building inside Muammar Gaddafi's Bab al-Aziziyah compound early on Monday, in what a press official from his government said was an attempt on the Libyan leader's life. Firefighters were still working to extinguish flames in part of the ruined building a few hours after the attack, when foreign journalists were brought to the scene in Tripoli. The press official, who asked not to be identified, said 45 people were hurt in the strike, 15 of them seriously, and some were still missing. That could not be independently confirmed. Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam said the Libyan government would not be cowed by such attacks. "The bombing which targeted Muammar Gaddafi's office today... will only scare children. It's impossible that it will make us afraid or give up or raise the white flag," he was quoted as saying by the Jana state news agency. "You, NATO, are waging a losing battle because you are backed by traitors and spies. History has proved that no state can rely on them to win." [More>>thestar.com.my ; See related story,

news.sky.com, April 25, "Libyan rebels claim 'victory' in Misratah"
: Libyan rebels are claiming a significant victory after pushing Colonel Gaddafi's forces from the centre of Misratah and they are urging Britain and its allies to help finish the job. Sky News special correspondent Alex Crawford, who is in the besieged city, said rebel leaders had asked for further assistance from international forces as they seek to wrestle control from the army. Col. Gaddafi's forces continue to pen in the city on three sides — the fourth being the rebel-held port. Rocket attacks by the army have killed dozens in Misratah, despite claims by Col. Gaddafi's regime that the army had withdrawn. Reports said shelling in residential areas killed as many as 30 people and injured up to 60 more in latest attacks. Sky sources have reported that mortars, thought to belong to the army, have been heard on the outskirts of the city. There has also been intense fighting near the former government hospital...

4.25.11 US considers Pakistan's ISI as a terrorist organization: Report

LONDON / ISLAMABAD, April 25 - US authorities have described Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency as a terrorist organization and considered it as much of a threat as al-Qaeda and the Taliban, according to a secret document which also names LeT, Jaish-e-Mohammed and HuJI. Recommendations to interrogators at Guantanamo Bay rank the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate alongside al-Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah in Lebanon as threats, "The Guardian" reported quoting secret US files obtained by it. "Being linked to any of these groups is an indication of terrorist or insurgent activity," the documents dated September 2007 said. "Through associations with these...organizations, a detainee may have provided support to al-Qaeda or the Taliban, or engaged in hostilities against US or coalition forces (in Afghanistan)," the document said.

A New York Times report quoted a document as saying that detainees associated with the ISI and the militant groups "may have provided support to al-Qaeda or the Taliban, or engaged in hostilities against US or Coalition forces." The document provides "indicators" to officials to determine a "detainee's capabilities and intentions to pose a terrorist threat if the detainee were given an opportunity." It lists 36 groups and organizations as "terrorist and terrorist support entities." Besides LeT, blamed for Mumbai attacks, JeM and Harkar ul-Jihad, which have carried out blasts in India, other Pakistan-based groups in the list are Ansar al-Islam, Harkat ul-Mujahideen (HuM) and the Markaz Dawah al-Irshad, the erstwhile political wing of the LeT.

4.25.11 'Nuclear hellstorm' if bin Laden caught - 9/11 mastermind

{AFP) April 25 - The mastermind of the 9/11 attacks warned that al-Qaeda has hidden a nuclear bomb in Europe which will unleash a "nuclear hellstorm" if Osama bin Laden is captured, leaked files revealed yesterday. The terror group also planned to make a 9/11 style attack on London's Heathrow airport by crashing a hijacked airliner into one of the terminals, the files showed. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told Guantanamo Bay interrogators the terror group would detonate the nuclear device if the al-Qaeda chief was captured or killed, according to the classified files released by the WikiLeaks website. Sheikh Mohammed, the self-professed mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, has been held at Guantanamo since 2006 and is to be tried in a military court at the US naval base on Cuba over the attacks. His nuclear threat was revealed in Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper, one of several media outlets which have published the classified assessments of detainees at Guantanamo. [More>>news.com.au; See also washingtonpost.com, April 25, "WikiLeaks discloses new details on whereabouts of al-Qaeda leaders on 9/11."]

4.25.11 Security forces fire in Yemen, wounding marchers

SANA'A, Yemen (Reuters) April 25 - Yemeni security forces opened fire on Monday to block a thousands-strong protest and wounded at least 10 people, amid uncertainty over a Gulf plan for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down within weeks and end a political standoff. Witnesses said security men opened fire to stop protesters from marching through the city of Taiz, south of the capital, to join a pro-democracy rally via a route that would take them past a palace belonging to Saleh. "There were thousands in a march who came from outside Taiz, but the police and army and gunmen in civilian clothes confronted them, opening fire with bullets and tear gas," said Jamil Abdullah, a protest organiser. "They opened fire heavily from every direction." Witnesses said at least 10 people were wounded by gunfire in Taiz, which has been the scene of some of Yemen's largest anti-Saleh protests, while scores more were overcome by tear gas. Dozens were arrested, activists said. [More>>gulfnews.com]

4.25.11 25 killed as Syrian tanks storm Daraa

DAMASCUS (AFP) April 25 - Thousands of Syrian troops backed by tanks stormed the flashpoint town of Daraa on Monday killing at least 25 people, witnesses said, as a leading rights activist accused Damascus of opting for a "military solution" to crush dissent. Troops also launched assaults on the Damascus suburbs of Douma and Al-Maadamiyeh, witnesses said, as the head of the UN human rights agency slammed what she called the security forces’ disregard for human life. The United States, which has repeatedly denounced Syria's repression of the protests, was considering sanctions against Damascus, an official in Washington said. Amman said Syria on Monday closed its border with Jordan in a statement quickly denied by Syrian customs chief Mustapha Bukai. Activist Abdullah Abazid told AFP by telephone from Daraa that Syrian forces were pounding the southern town near the border with heavy artillery and that "at least 25 martyrs have fallen." "There are still bodies sprawled in the streets," he said, with the sound of loud explosions and gunfire in the background. [More>>khaleejtimes.com; See also

haaretz.com, April 25, "Atleast 39 said killed and dozens wounded by Syria troops in Daraa"
: Witness says people were using mosque loudspeakers in Daraa to summon doctors to help the wounded as busloads of security forces conducted house-to-house searches...He said people bled to death on the streets as they could not be taken to hospital amid the gunfire. Army tanks had moved into Daraa and were taking aim at people and houses, the activist said, and snipers were positioned on rooftops...

4.25.11 Hundreds of Taliban in tunnel jail escape

April 25 - Military commanders among more than 500 Taliban fighters broken out of prison via a 320-metre long tunnel. Some 540 members of the Taliban including military commanders have escaped from Kandahar prison via a 320 metre-long tunnel, Afghan government officials have confirmed to Al Jazeera. A Taliban official on Monday also confirmed the overnight escape, boasting that the prison break had been "very well-planned" and that it was five months in the making, Al Jazeera's Qais Azimy, reporting from Kabul, said. According to a Taliban statement, the tunnel was not dug by the inmates but by fighters outside the prison. "Mujahideen started digging a 320 metre-long to the prison from the south side, which was completed after a five-month period, bypassing check posts and the Kandahar-Herat main highway, leading directly to the political prison," the statement read.

"The tunnel reached its target last night, from where the prisoner Mujahideen were led away through the escape route by three previously informed inmates in a period of four-and-a-half hours, starting from 11pm last night and ending at 3:30am this morning. Mujahideen later on sent vehicles to the inmates who were led away to secure destinations." "They all have made it safe to our centres and there was no fighting," Yousuf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, said. Ahmadi said that 106 were Taliban commanders while the rest were foot soldiers. Kandahar police said they had re-captured eight commanders so far.

4.25.11 With 12,000 still missing, Japan keeps searching

(AP) April 25 - A line of somber soldiers walked methodically through a drained swamp Monday, with each step sinking their slender poles into the muck beneath. If one hit a body, he would know. "Bodies feel very distinctive," said Michihiro Ose, a spokesman for the Japanese army's 22nd infantry regiment. The men were among 25,000 troops given the morbid duty of searching the rubble, the seas and the swamps of northeastern Japan for the bodies of the nearly 12,000 people still missing in last month's earthquake and tsunami. The two-day operation was the biggest military search since the March 11 disaster. With waters receding, officials hoped the troops, backed by police, coast guard and US forces, would make significant progress. By Monday evening, they had found 38 bodies, the military said. [More>>foxnews.com]

4.25.11 Mass graves in Mexico reveal new levels of savagery

SAN FERNANDO, Mexico, April 25 - At the largest mass grave site ever found in Mexico, where 177 bodies have been pulled from deep pits, authorities say they have recovered few bullet casings and little evidence that the dead were killed with a gun. Instead, most died of blunt force trauma to the head, and a sledgehammer found at the crime scene this month is believed to have been used in the executions, according to Mexican investigators and state officials. The search continued Sunday, with state officials warning they expect the count to rise. They say as many as 122 of the victims were passengers dragged off buses at drug cartel roadblocks on the major highway to the United States.

The mass killings of civilians at isolated ranches 90 minutes south of the Texas border mark a new level of barbarity in Mexico's four-year US-backed drug war. As forensic teams and Mexican marines dig through deeper and darker layers here, the buried secrets in San Fernando are challenging President Felipe Calderon's assertions that his government is winning the war and is in control of Mexico's cities and roads. In the past four years, more than 35,000 people have been killed and thousands more have simply disappeared, since Calderon sent the military to battle Mexican organized crime with $1.6 billion in US support. US officials in Mexico worry that criminal gangs are taking over sections of the vital border region not by overwhelming firepower but sheer terror.


    *Visitor statistics on maravot.com from 1&1. com. monthly visitors between 40,000-45,0000.
    Privacy Policy: We do not store any personal data from you. We have no way of knowing any vital information about you not even your name. Third-party distribution: We do not distribute information about your site usage to any third party. We are not responsible for the content of links from our site. Usage data: supplied by our Web Hosting service, 1and1.com, which consists of usage reports, such as page views / impressions and web pages visited, visitors' servers and geographical data (ISP's and country of origin).

    Maravot's Homepage

    Launched: 10.25.04 / 11.02.04 – | — |
    Updated: 4.25.11; 4.26.11; 4.27.11; 4.28.11; 5.01.11; 5.02.11; 5.03.11; 5.05.11

  • Copyright © 1981-2011 Maravot. All rights reserved
    Copyright © 1981-2011 Mel Copeland. All rights reserved
    Background: tile from Cicero's villa (Marcus Tullius Cicero 106 B.C.- 43 B.C.)