11 soldiers killed in attack on Mali camp: government

Eleven soldiers were killed Monday in a “terrorist” attack on their camp in northern Mali’s Timbuktu region, a government statement said, an assault claimed by Al-Qaeda’s front group in the region.

Jihadist attacks have long been concentrated in Mali’s north, but began spreading at the beginning of the year to the centre of the country, and in June to the south near the borders with Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso.

“Unidentified gunmen attacked a security post of the Mali National Guard” early Monday morning in Gourma-Rharous, an area around 140 kilometres (90 miles) east of Timbuktu, the statement said.

“The toll is 11 guards killed, one wounded,” it added, condemning it as a “cowardly and barbaric terrorist act perpetuated by lawless individuals”.

A local resident told AFP that they were “holed up inside” on Monday morning during the attack.

“We began leaving our homes at 7:00 am. We were afraid.”

According to Mauritanian news agency Al-Akhbar, jihadist group Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for the attack.

“Our… fighters attacked at dawn the Malian army base in this village and we succeeded in killing nine soldiers,” AQIM spokesman Abou Darda Al-Chinguitty said by telephone, according to the agency.

They also “destroyed four vehicles and took significant loot”, the spokesman added.

The Al-Akhbar agency regularly carries jihadist statements, but by Monday evening the claim had not been reported through other channels often used by militants to announce operations.

Two Malian military sources confirmed the attack but gave a toll of 10 dead. One of the sources, however, said the attackers were believed to be “jihadist elements” linked to Islamist group Ansar Dine.

– ‘Cowardly terrorist attacks’ –

The attack comes days after two Malian soldiers were killed and four others wounded in an ambush in the centre of the west African country.

In a statement, the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali MINUSMA condemned what it said were “cowardly terrorist attacks”, referring to both incidents.

The URD, one of Mali’s main opposition parties, also issued a statement condemning the violence.

Mali’s north came under the control of Ansar Dine — which is Arabic for Defenders of Faith — and two other jihadist groups, AQIM and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, in April 2012. Ansar Dine has been accused of close links with Al-Qaeda.

A move south towards the capital by the extremists, who imposed a brutal version of sharia law on inhabitants, prompted Mali’s former colonial master France to intervene in January 2013, pounding their positions in the north.

While their organisational structure has been smashed, small pockets of armed Islamists have managed to remain active, and continue to carry out occasional deadly attacks in the desert.

Monday’s attack is Mali’s second deadliest in a month, after six UN peacekeepers from Burkina Faso were killed last month in an assault claimed by AQIM.

The latest violence illustrated the difficulty in maintaining stability in the country despite a peace accord being signed in June by the country’s main blocs, including Mali’s Tuareg-led rebel alliance, as well as government and loyalist militias.

Photo Credits : AFP

Kenya ‘will not be intimidated’ by terrorists

Kenya’s interior minister on Friday vowed that the country would not bow to terrorist threats, a day after the massacre of 147 students by Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab fighters.

“Kenya’s government will not be intimidated by the terrorists who have made killing innocent people a way to humiliate the government,” Joseph Nkaissery told reporters, speaking in front of the university campus in the northeastern town of Garissa.

“The government is determined to fight back the terrorists, and I am confident we shall win this war against our enemies.”

Somalia’s Shebab fighters carried out the attack, with all four of the gunmen detonating suicide vests after killing 147 people in the day-long seige.

Bodies still lay around the campus on Friday, as teams worked to collect all those killed, while troops checked the campus was safe after the day long battle.

“Our security officers are mopping up the college, to ensure it is safe to for students to come back to secure their documents and other property,” Nkaissery said, adding that the college had “closed indefinitely.”

Hundreds of students — many of whom escaped with little more than the clothes they were sleeping in when the gunmen attacked just before dawn — spent Thursday night at nearby military barracks, where they were fed and given clothes by the community in Garissa.

Several buses were due to transport the traumatised students back to their home areas, while the bodies of those killed were being flown back to the capital Nairobi.

A huge crowd of shocked survivors and relatives of some of those killed gathered at the gates of the university in Kenya’s northeastern town of Garissa, and AFP reporter at the scene said.

Dozens of family members also gathered Friday at the main Nairobi mortuary to identify their relatives.

The university siege marks the worst attack on Kenyan soil since the 1998 bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi by Al-Qaeda, when 213 people were killed by a huge truck bomb.

The Shebab also carried out the Westgate shopping mall massacre in Nairobi in September 2013 when four gunmen killed at least 67 people in a four-day siege.

Photo Credits : AFP

Death toll in Mogadishu hotel bomb attack rises to 14

The death toll in a bomb attack Friday by Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shebab militants on a Mogadishu hotel rose to 14, police said Saturday.

“Fourteen people were killed and 13 others wounded in the attack,” Somali Information Minister Mohamed Abdi Heyr Mareye told reporters at the scene. Security officials had said Friday that at least 10 were killed.

Photo Credits : AFP

Al Qaeda teaches fighters how to make ‘invisibility cloaks’

Al-Qaeda have released a video teaching their fighters how to make ‘invisibility cloaks’ to avoid detection from U.S. drones.

In the 16-minute instruction video, called ‘Combatting Spy Airplanes’, the terrorist group in the Arabian Peninsula explains that the shield can be easily assembled using aluminium foil and twigs.

According to the video, largely complied from U.S. military public relations clips, the shield works by stopping a U.S Predator drone’s infrared camera from detecting human heat.


Three Kenyan soldiers wounded in gun attack near Somali border

Gunmen attacked a truck carrying Kenyan soldiers near the border of Somalia on Thursday, seriously wounding three of them, police said, in an assault that bore the hallmarks of Somalia’s Islamist militant group al Shabaab.

Attacks on civilians and security forces have killed over 200 people since 2013.

Concerns about security have battered Kenya’s tourism industry, including during this holiday season.

“The soldiers were going to fetch water from a borehole in Mangai village, Lamu East, when militia attacked them by shooting at their lorry,” Lamu County police commander Ephantus Kiura said.

“Three soldiers were critically injured in the incident and were airlifted to a nearby naval base where they are receiving treatment.”

The attack took place some 80 km from Lamu island – an ancient trading port and popular tourist resort – about 100 km from the site of attacks last June and July in which gunmen killed about 100 people.

The al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab claimed responsibility for those attacks, saying it would continue its assaults to persuade Kenya to pull its troops out of Somalia, where its forces have joined other African Union troops battling the militants.

A spokesman for the militant group could not immediately be reached.


Hair removal advert ‘uses al-Qaeda photo’

BBC  – A Turkish company has inadvertently used an image of the imprisoned al-Qaeda official Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in an advert for a hair removal product, it’s reported.

The infamous photo of the alleged 9/11 mastermind, with chest and back hair spilling out of his white T-shirt, was taken after he was captured in Pakistan in 2003.

The cosmetics company used it alongside the caption: “That hair will not shed itself,” The Daily Sabah website reports.

But the company which created the advert is keen to point out he was chosen for his profuse body hair, not his terrorist activities. “We didn’t know that he was a terrorist,” company representative Mehmet Can Yildiz tells the Hurriyet Daily News. “The guy is quite hairy, so we thought his body was a good fit for our ad.”

He says the picture was taken from a social networking site, where it had been used several times alongside amusing captions.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is currently being held in the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay.

The 9/11 Commission Report describes him as “the principal architect” of the 2001 attacks in the United States.

Australia Elevates Terrorism Threat Level to high

The Australian government on Friday elevated its terrorism threat level to the second-highest warning in response to the domestic threat posed by Islamic State movement supporters.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced the increase from “medium” to “high” on a four-tier scale on the advice of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization.

The domestic spy agency’s Director-General David Irvine warned this week that the terrorist threat level had been rising in Australia over the past year, due in part to Australians joining Islamic State to fight in Syria and Iraq.

“I want to stress that this does not mean that a terror attack is imminent,” Abbott told reporters. “We have no specific intelligence of particular plots.”

“What we do have is intelligence that there are people with the intent and the capability to mount attacks.”

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/australian-police-arrest-2-men-terror-charges