Archive for the ‘terror’ Category

Rice says Pakistan pledges to help find Mumbai suspects

December 4, 2008

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday that the Pakistani government had pledged to cooperate in rounding up suspects of the Mumbai terror attacks who operated from Pakistani territory or were of Pakistani origin.

By Salman Masood and Robert F. Worth
International Herald Tribune

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice meeting with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani of Pakistan, right, in Islamabad on Thursday. Also shown in photo: U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher, left, and the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne Patterson. (B.K.Bangash/The Associated Press)

Rice flew to the Pakistani capital Thursday for talks after discussions Wednesday with Indian officials in New Delhi. She stressed that both India and Pakistan should cooperate fully to investigate the Mumbai  attacks and bring to justice those who perpetrated them. More than 170 people were killed in an onslaught on targets including two luxury hotels, a Jewish center, a café and a railroad station. Of a presumed 10 attackers, all but one were killed.

“What I heard was a commitment that this is the course that will be taken,” Rice told reporters at Chaklala Air Base after meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.

In Mumbai, investigators reported Thursday that inquiries so far had produced gruesome new evidence suggesting savage treatment of some of the eight Israelis killed at the Jewish center. Some of them appeared to have strangulation marks and wounds on their bodies did not come from gunshots or grenades, Rakesh Maria, a joint commissioner of police in Mumbai, told reporters.

He said interrogation of the survivor among the attackers had provided new evidence identifying another operative of the Lashkar-e-Taiba group said to have indoctr….

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http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/12/04/asia/05mumbai.php

104 Killed As Muslim Militants Attack India’s Hollywood

November 27, 2008

Mumbai is the business center and the Hllywood (often called Baliwood) of india.  The former city of Bombay, it is now very western in its ways…


AP

A trickle of bodies and hostages emerged from a luxury hotel Thursday as Indian commandoes tried to free people trapped by suspected Muslim militants who attacked at least 10 targets in India‘s financial capital of Mumbai, killing 104 people.

More than 300 were also wounded in the highly coordinated attacks Wednesday night by bands of gunmen who invaded two five star hotels, a popular restaurant, a crowded train station, a Jewish center and at least five other sites, armed with assault rifles, hand grenades and explosives.

A previously unknown Islamic militant group claimed responsibility for the carnage, the latest in a series of nationwide terror attacks over the past three years that have dented India’s image as an industrious nation galloping toward prosperity.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh blamed “external forces.”

“The well-planned and well-orchestrated attacks, probably with external linkages, were intended to create a sense of panic, by choosing high profile targets and indiscriminately killing foreigners,” he said in address to the nation.

Among the dead were at least one Australian, a Japanese and a British national, said Pradeep Indulkar, a senior government official of Maharashtra state, whose capital is Mumbai. An Italian and a German were also killed, according to their foreign ministries.

Police said 104 people were killed and 314 injured. Officials said eight militants were also killed.

The most high-profile target was the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower hotel, a landmark of Mumbai luxury since 1903, and a favorite watering hole of the city’s elite.

Police loudspeakers declared a curfew around the Taj Mahal hotel Thursday afternoon, and black-clad commandos ran into the building as fresh gunshots rang out from the area.

Soldiers outside the hotel said the operation would take a long time as forces were moving slowly, from room to room, looking for gunmen and traps.

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ylt=AsWTCZyulChg59N_S4irMfqs0NUE

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MUMBAI, India – Black-clad Indian commandoes raided two luxury hotels to try to free hostages Thursday, and explosions and gunshots shook India’s financial capital a day after attacks by suspected Muslim militants killed at least 110 people.

About 10 to 12 gunmen remain holed up inside the hotels and a Jewish center, a top Indian general said. The remaining gunmen appeared to have been killed or captured, Maj. Gen. R.K. Huda told New Delhi Television.

Authorities said 110 people died and 300 were injured when suspected Islamic militants — armed with assault rifles, hand grenades and explosives — launched a highly coordinated attack against 10 sites in the city Wednesday night.

Officials said eight militants were also killed.

Dozens of people were being held hostage at the hotels, as well as a nearby Jewish center, by the well-trained and heavily armed gunmen, authorities said.

By ANITA CHANG, Associated Press Writer

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_ylt=Ahot72P39OL2rOyCLWlzRc6s0NUE

Barack Obama is warned to beware of a ‘huge threat’ from al-Qaeda

November 15, 2008

Barack Obama is being given ominous advice from leaders on both sides of the Atlantic to brace himself for an early assault from terrorists.

General Michael Hayden, director of the CIA, this week acknowledged that there were dangers during a presidential transition when new officials were coming in and getting accustomed to the challenges. But he added that no “real or artificial spike” in intercepted transmissions from terror suspects had been detected.

President Bush has repeatedly described the acute vulnerability of the US during a transition. The Bush Administration has been defined largely by the 9/11 attacks, which came within a year of his taking office.

His aides have pointed to al-Qaeda’s first assault on the World Trade Centre, which occurred little more than a month after Bill Clinton became President in 1993. There was an alleged attempt to bomb Glasgow airport in Gordon Brown’s first days in Downing Street and a London nightclub attack was narrowly thwarted.

Osama bin Laden remains deeply isolated and has been forced ... 
CIA Director Michael Hayden.(AFP/File/Saul Loeb)

Read the rest from The Times of London:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_
and_americas/article5158569.ece

Afghanistan: Taliban Attacks School Girls With Acid

November 14, 2008
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (Nov. 14) – No students showed up at Mirwais Mena girls’ school in the Taliban’s spiritual birthplace the morning after it happened.
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A day earlier, men on motorcycles attacked 15 girls and teachers with acid.

Associated Press

The men squirted the acid from water bottles onto three groups of students and teachers walking to school Wednesday, principal Mehmood Qaderi said. Some of the girls have burns only on their school uniforms but others will have scars on their faces.
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One teenager still cannot open her eyes after being hit in the face with acid.
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“Today the school is open, but there are no girls,” Qaderi said Thursday. “Yesterday, all of the classes were full.” His school has 1,500 students.

Afghan teenager Shamsia rests on a hospital bed in Kabul after ... 
Afghan teenager Shamsia rests on a hospital bed in Kabul after Islamic extremists sprayed her with acid in Kandahar on November 12. Shamsia — whose face was burned in an acid attack — has vowed to continue going to school even if it put her life in danger.(AFP/Shah Marai)

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Afghanistan’s government condemned the attack as “un-Islamic” and blamed it on the “country’s enemies,” a typical reference to Taliban militants. Qari Yousef Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, denied the insurgents were involved.
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Girls were banned from schools under the rule of the Taliban, the hard-line Islamist regime that ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. Women were only allowed to leave the house wearing a body-hiding burqa and accompanied by a male family member.

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http://news.aol.com/article/acid-attacks-scar-afghan-
schoolgirls/248141?icid=100214839x1212958094x1200818333

Qaeda stung by U.S. pressure in Pakistan: CIA chief

November 14, 2008

U.S. pressure on al Qaeda near Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan has put the group “off balance,” but the region remains the biggest terrorism threat to the United States, the CIA’s chief said on Thursday.

Agency Director Michael Hayden also told a Washington think tank he and the head of Pakistan‘s intelligence service, Lt.-Gen. Ahmed Shujaa Pasha, shared in a meeting last month common views on how to contain the militant threat.

This was despite heated Pakistani protests over U.S. military strikes inside Pakistan aimed at stopping al Qaeda and Taliban cross-border attacks in Afghanistan.

By Randall Mikkelsen, Reuters

Osama bin Laden remains deeply isolated and has been forced ... 
Osama bin Laden remains deeply isolated and has been forced to devote much of his energy to his own security, CIA Director Michael Hayden, pictured in February 2008, said in a speech on Thursday.(AFP/File/Saul Loeb)

“There’s a lot more commonality on how the threat should be dealt with than many people seem to assume,” Hayden told the Atlantic Council of the United States.

There may be Taliban elements the United States could talk to, he said, to fracture its alliance with al Qaeda — a view also expressed by advisers to President-elect Barack Obama.

The United States in recent months has stepped up drone-carried missile strikes against militants inside Pakistan, and in September launched a commando ground attack across the border.

Washington has shrugged off protests from Pakistan, but some experts fear the raid may have undermined Pakistan’s fragile democracy and cooperation with the United States.

Hayden, without acknowledging the strikes or the U.S. role in them, said several veteran al Qaeda fighters and commanders had died over the past year, “by violence or natural causes.”

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081114/ts_nm/us_
security_usa_qaeda_3

Britain: Two-Thirds Polled Want Troops Out of Afghanistan

November 13, 2008

More than two thirds of people in Britain believe that UK troops should leave Afghanistan within a year, a poll has found.

By John Bingham
The Telegraph, London
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Opposition to the deployment was highest among young people, with three quarters of 18 to 24-year-olds calling for a withdrawal.

Soldiers stand to attention outside St Peter's Church in Colchester, before a memorial service to honour the soldiers from the regiment who were killed in action in Afghanistan

Above: Soldiers stand to attention outside St Peter’s Church in Colchester, before a memorial service to honour the soldiers from the regiment who were killed in action in Afghanistan Photo: PA

The survey, carried out by ICM for the BBC, comes at a time when the Government faces pressure to increase the number of troops in the country.

Afghanistan’s president Hamid Karzai is meeting Gordon Brown in Downing Street for discussions expected to include a call for more international forces.

Barack Obama, the US President-Elect, is expected to call for Britain to increase its deployment to Afghanistan in support of a “surge” strategy.

British forces in Afghanistan now number just over 8,000, with most operating in the troubled Helmand Province in the south.

A total of 124 British servicemen and women have died in the country since the start of the US-led operation to topple the Taliban regime in late 2001, following the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington.

But the vast majority of British fatalities have happened in the last two-and-a-half years since the start of the mission to the south.

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/
afghanistan/3450783/Two-thirds-want-British-tr
oops-out-of-Afghanistan-poll.html

Department of Homeland Security Pick Will Tell a Lot

November 11, 2008

The background of President-elect Barack Obama‘s pick to head the Department of Homeland Security will reveal a lot about how his nascent administration views the future of the troubled agency, according to Washington insiders.

“There are any number of excellently qualified candidates,” P.J. Crowley, director of homeland security at the Center for American Progress, told United Press International. “It will be interesting to see the selection. The skill set will tell us a lot about the future direction [of the department] in an Obama administration.”

Mr. Crowley was a senior national security official under President Clinton, and John Podesta, the head of CAP, is co-chairman of Mr. Obama’s transition team.

Mr. Crowley and other security experts said in interviews that the Homeland Security Department, with the second-largest work force in the federal government, has responsibilities in areas of potentially enormous political significance for the new government – counterterrorism, disaster recovery and immigration.

“That is why the skill set is interesting … you can compare it to the challenges in these … diverse areas,” said Mr. Crowley.

“How do you lead an agency that is still searching for a common identity?” asked Mr. Crowley, adding that the department’s agenda was “still a work in progress.”

By Shaun Waterman, UPI

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http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/
nov/11/nominee-to-need-many-skills/

Obama planning US trials for Guantanamo detainees

November 10, 2008

President-elect Obama‘s advisers are quietly crafting a proposal to ship dozens, if not hundreds, of imprisoned terrorism suspects to the United States to face criminal trials, a plan that would make good on his promise to close the Guantanamo Bay prison but could require creation of a controversial new system of justice.

During his campaign, Obama described Guantanamo as a “sad chapter in American history” and has said generally that the U.S. legal system is equipped to handle the detainees. But he has offered few details on what he planned to do once the facility is closed.

In this June 4, 2008 file photo, the sun sets over Camp Justice ... 
In this June 4, 2008 file photo, the sun sets over Camp Justice and its adjacent tent city, the legal complex of the U.S. Military Commissions, at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, in Cuba.(AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

Under plans being put together in Obama’s camp, some detainees would be released and many others would be prosecuted in U.S. criminal courts.

By MATT APUZZO and LARA JAKES JORDAN, Associated Press Writers

A third group of detainees — the ones whose cases are most entangled in highly classified information — might have to go before a new court designed especially to handle sensitive national security cases, according to advisers and Democrats involved in the talks. Advisers participating directly in the planning spoke on condition of anonymity because the plans aren’t final.

The move would be a sharp deviation from the Bush administration, which established military tribunals to prosecute detainees at the Navy base in Cuba and strongly opposes bringing prisoners to the United States. Obama’s Republican challenger, John McCain, had also pledged to close Guantanamo. But McCain opposed criminal trials, saying the Bush administration’s tribunals should continue on U.S. soil.

The plan being developed by Obama’s team has been championed by legal scholars from both political parties. But it is almost certain to face opposition from Republicans who oppose bringing terrorism suspects to the U.S. and from Democrats who oppose creating a new court system with fewer rights for detainees.

Laurence Tribe, a Harvard law professor and Obama legal adviser, said discussions about plans for Guantanamo had been “theoretical” before the election but would quickly become very focused because closing the prison is a top priority. Bringing the detainees to the United States will be controversial, he said, but could be accomplished.

“I think the answer is going to be, they can be as securely guarded on U.S. soil as anywhere else,” Tribe said. “We can’t put people in a dungeon forever without processing whether they deserve to be there.”

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Omama May Retain Three Top Bush Appointees

November 10, 2008

As President-elect Barack Obama prepares to fill top positions for his incoming government, he faces a stubborn reality: Some of the key individuals he will rely upon to tackle the country’s most serious challenges are holdovers from the current administration — a trio of Bush appointees who will likely stay in place for at least the first year or two of Obama‘s presidency.

In confronting the financial crisis and weakening economy, Obama must turn to Ben S. Bernanke, a Republican and former chairman of President Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers, who will lead the Federal Reserve for at least the first year of the new administration.

US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is seen during the ... 
US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is seen during the opening of the G-20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in Sao Paulo, Saturday, Nov. 8, 2008. Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said during his speech the world’s big emerging nations must have a big role in upcoming negotiations to fix the planet’s financial system and prevent another global economic meltdown.(AP Photo/Andre Penner)

In assuming control of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama must work with Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who was appointed by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates for a two-year term that will end in late 2009 and, by tradition, can expect to be appointed for a second term as the president’s top military adviser. Mullen shares Obama’s belief in focusing more on Afghanistan but is wary of a timeline for withdrawing troops from Iraq.

US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen ... 
Admiral Mullen .(AFP/File/Nicholas Kamm)

And in guarding against terrorist attacks — while correcting what he considers the Bush administration’s excesses — Obama will rely upon FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, whose term expires in 2011. 

By Alec MacGillis and Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, November 10, 2008; Page A01

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/0
9/AR2008110902555.html?hpid=topnews

Russia’s Medvedev urges vigilance after bomb blast

November 7, 2008

Russia faces a lingering terrorist threat and cannot drop its guard, President Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday, a day after a suspected suicide bombing killed 12 people.

By Denis Dyomkin, Reuters

Security officials said they suspected a woman had blown herself up in Thursday’s blast at a bus stop in Vladikavkaz, a city in Russia’s North Caucasus region where Moscow has been struggling to contain a wave of violence.

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev arrives for his annual state ... 
Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev arrives for his annual state of the nation address in the Kremlin in Moscow, November 5, 2008.(RIA Novosti/Kremlin/Dmitry Astakhov/Reuters)

“This event shows that the terrorist threat in our country remains. It is no time to relax,” Medvedev said at a meeting with senior law enforcement officials in St Petersburg.

“Even though active terrorist attacks in our country have been suppressed, the conditions for these kinds of crime exist.”

Alexei Malashenko, a security analyst at the Moscow Carnegie Center, said the use of a female suicide bomber could point to militant Islamists who have not used the tactic on this scale since a spate of deadly attacks that culminated in the 2004 Beslan school siege, in which more than 300 people were killed.

In a separate explosion on Friday in Ingushetia, also part of the North Caucasus region, a police officer with the organized crime unit died after a bomb went off under his car as he opened the door, Interfax news agency reported.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081107/wl_nm/us_russia_blast_7