Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Car bombing targets French Embassy in Libya


The French embassy in Tripoli, the capital of Libya, was the target of a car bombing early this morning (April 24). Two French guards were wounded in the attack according to early reports.
A French official told Reuters: "There was an attack on the embassy. We think it was a booby trapped car. There was a lot of damage and there are two guards wounded."French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius condemned the attack and said that everything would be done to find the perpetrators:"I send my solidarity and deepest sympathy to the two injured French guards and my wishes for their recovery."
Asad Naeeli, a witness living near the embassy, told Al Jazeera that the bomb went off around 7 in the morning: “This is a big concern as a Libyan. You hear about things happening in different cities and now it is close to home. It is a big concern for the security of Libya, it will delay many things."
The car, laden with explosives, was detonated just outside embassy building. The embassy is located in an upscale residential area. As well as wounding the two guards, the blast started a fire that burned some offices inside the building, and also set fire to two parked cars. Nearby buildings were also damaged. A teenage girlin a nearby house was also hurt by the blast.
This incident follows upon the devastating attack targeting the US consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi last September that killed the US ambassador and three other Americans. This is the first attack on an embassy in the capital. The attack could be by Islamic militants in reaction to French intervention against Islamists in northern Mali.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Violence greets General Dempsey's Afghan visit with 11 children and American troops killed


The Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Dempsey arrived for a visit aimed at assessing the training of Afghan security forces. Several incidents have been reported one involving Americans and the other children, victims of a NATO air strike.
Dempsey no doubt wants to assess the progress made in training Afghan forces to take over security when the main combat troops are withdrawn from Afghanistan at the end of 2014.
In one attack, a suicide bomber, detonated a car bomb just as an American convoy passed that was accompanying the provincial governor of Zabul. Three US troops were killed as well as two US civilians and an Afghan doctor who was accompanying the governor. Several Americans and Afghans were wounded including two of the governors' bodyguards.
Meanwhile in Shigal district in Kunar province on the Pakistan border, local officials in the region report that eleven children and a woman were killed in an air strike during a NATO operation that targeted Taliban commanders in the area.
The civilian deaths were confirmed by Wasefullah Wasefi a spokesperson for the provincial governor. He said that eleven children and a woman were killed in the air strike. The Interior Ministry did not mention any civilian casualties. A Reuters journalist also reports seeing the bodies of the 12 children. Such overwhelming evidence of the deaths will make denial difficult.
A Shigal district chief said the women and children were killed when houses collapsed on them. As usual the ISAF officials said only that they were aware of the reports of civilian casualties and were investigating them. Karzai has constantly criticized NATO air attacks of this type and has banned Afghans from calling in air support in these situations. An ISAF spokesperson Captain Luca Carniel said that ISAF provided "air support" and that the air support had been called in by coalition forces not Afghans. So to get around the ban on calling in air support the boss just issues the order not the Afghans.
The provincial governor's spokesperson also said that a US adviser to the Afghan intelligence agency was also killed during the attack that lasted several hours. There were two important Taliban commanders also reported killed. The civilian deaths will simply further exacerbate the anti-US sentiments in the area and help the Taliban recruit more Afghans to their cause.

Violence escalates as Iraq elections approach


As provincial elections scheduled for April 20 draw closer violence continues in Iraq, including a savage attack on a political rally for a Sunni candidate in Baquba
The suicide bomber attack on the rally for Muthana al-Jourani was launched during a luncheon with hundreds of supporters in attendance. At least 22 people were killed and over fifty wounded. Among the wounded were al-Jourani himself and three other candidates. A New York Times report puts the death toll at 20 with about 55 wounded and claims that there were two explosions one from the bomber and another from a home-made bomb. The BBC reports that a grenade was thrown into the tent where the supporters were assembled for lunch and just seconds later a suicide bomber inside the tent blew himself up.
In the last few weeks more than 11 candidates in the elections have been killed. In two provinces polls have been postponed because of the security situation. Some of the opposition claim that the al-Maliki government is trying to use the violence as a reason to postpone elections because they fear they may lose.
Baquba, north of the capital Baghdad, is the capital of Diyala Province whose population is a mix of Sunni and Shiite Muslims. Al Qaeda has been active of late in Iraq and is attempting to ignite sectarian conflict between Shia and Sunni groups. The rally was in a poor section of the city.
Violent attacks took place in several other places in Iraq. In Samarra a bomb killed three police and also wounded three civilians. In Shirgat a policeman and his brother were hurt when two bombs exploded. A gunman was also killed in Shirgat when a bomb the gunman was planting exploded. In Mosul in the north two soldiers were wounded when there was a clash at their checkpoint and a civilian was killed. In two other incidents in different places two policemen were wounded.
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