Posts Tagged ‘Yemen’

Terrorist attack during 9/11 anniversary a growing concern

by Jim Kouri on Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

This is article 128 of 129 in the topic National Security

One of the biggest stories covered on the Sunday morning television news shows was the ongoing jihad being waged by the group originally calling itself the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) but in the aftermath of invading and occupying territory in both Syria and Iraq they now prefer simply the Islamic State. A major focus during more than one of the news shows was the likelihood of a terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

For example, Rep. Peter King, R-New York, the former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, during a Sunday morning interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, claimed that he and his colleagues aren’t aware of any specific threat during the run-up to — or during — the memorial for the 13th Anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that left thousands dead and leveled one of the world’s largest business complexes.

But, Congressman King cautioned that ISIS and al-Qaida are already increasing the intensity of their rhetoric as they continue their actions in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Kenya and other locations with large numbers of Islamist fighters.

“We cannot let our guard down for a second, especially with the anniversary of 9/11 coming up,” King said on ABC’s “This Week” news show.

In addition, according to an Examiner news story, Somalia’s government officials on Saturday advised the U.S., Kenya and other nations’ officials to go on high alert in response to possible retaliation for the U.S. unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attack that specifically targeted Al Shabaab’s Islamist leader on Labor Day.

The al-Qaida affiliated terrorist organization claimed that its Emir, 37-year-old Ahmed Abdi Godane was assassinated by the United States military in a UAV, or drone, attack on an Al Shabaab stronghold in southern Somalia last week, according to Examiner.

With over 3.5 million visa overstays already in the U.S., several security experts believe it would be next to impossible for an ill-prepared immigration system to stop returning Americans from the battlefields of Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and other nations.

A Government Accountability Office study revealed that U.S. border security efforts have been focused on securing the nation’s northern and southern borders. However, more than 40 percent of all illegal aliens do not sneak across the northern and southern borders, but enter the U.S. legally through the front door and then never leave in spite of their visa expiration, according to a 2012 Examiner news story.

“Does anyone believe an immigration enforcement system that can be defeated by children will stop a well-trained, battle-hardened jihadist? There’s not even a pretense of immigration enforcement by the current administration,” said former anti-terrorism unit and police intelligence officer, Michael Snipes.

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Alert: Al-Qaida bombmaker in Yemen instills fear in counterterrorists globally

by Jim Kouri on Monday, July 7th, 2014

This is article 773 of 805 in the topic Terrorism

Counterterrorists throughout the world including the United States are concerned with two developments within the Islamic jihad: new explosive ordinance that defies airport security scanners and the Yemeni al-Qaida man, Ibrahim Al Asiri, with the expertise to create horrific improvised explosive devices (IEDs), according to reports on Friday.

The U.S. State Department and the Department of Homeland Security issued travelers warnings for those civilians flying to the U.S. from airports in Europe and the Middle East. The Transportation Security Agency (TSA) also announced that there will be enhanced airport scanning procedures since intelligence analysts warned the Obama administration about this latest threat.

Terrorism experts, such a former anti-terrorism unit member Det. Michael M. Snopes, say that their primary suspect in this new threat is Ibrahim Al Asiri, a 32-year-old Saudi said to be hiding out with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Yemen’s southern provinces.

“President Barack Obama and his news media sycophants call tell Americans that al-Qaida is ‘on the run’ till they’re blue in the face; that doesn’t change the reality of Muslim terrorists continuing their global jihad,” said former police anti-terrorism unit member, Thomas McHughes.

Regardless of pronouncements by President Obama and his national security team downplaying the global treat — which includes the United States and its overseas interests — posed by the Islamist terrorism organization known as al-Qaida, a newUnited Nations report released to Middle East news agencies and publications on Friday claims that besides the Iraqi insurrection, terrorist-linked unrest in Syria, Egypt, Libya, Somalia, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, and Saudi Arabia’s next-door neighbor Yemen is growing in intensity.

The UN Security Council report as covered by news organizations on Friday claims that al-Qaida remains a major challenge to the peaceful transition stage in Yemen. In recent years, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has become arguably the more dangerous terrorist group than the original al-Qaida led by Osama bin Laden until his 2011 death at the hands of U.S. Navy Seals. AQAP (which Yemenis simply call al-Qaida) branched outfrom bin Laden’s al-Qaida group and but it still maintains an ideology based on bin Laden’s extremist form of Sunni Islam.

AQAP retained its name when it re-grouped in Yemen, being joined at the hip with the local al-Qaida organization already operating there. In Yemen, AQAP presents a powerful alternative to that country’s weak central government. Eventually AQAP became almost totally independent of the original al-Qaida, although it still follows the instructions of bin Laden’s successor, Ayman al-Zawahri.

The Security Council stressed in their report that the adoption by Yemen of a national counterterrorism law and the development of the national counterterrorism policy is paramount to achieving a peaceful transition to a secular, democratic government.

While President Barack Obama’s administration had ordered the training mission in Yemen to be suspended due to the political turmoil in that nation, the U.S. recently increased the number of military and police trainers into the country, according to anExaminer news story. The U.S. military and Central Intelligence Agency also re-introduced unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attacks on terrorist targets.

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Flip side of Benghazi: U.S. embassy staff kill al-Qaida attackers in Yemen

by Jim Kouri on Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

This is article 756 of 805 in the topic Terrorism

While lawmakers feverishly debate the tragedy known as Benghazi, in which U.S. diplomatic staff including an ambassador were brutalized and murdered by Islamists, U.S. Embassy officials assigned to another Arab country that’s become a hotbed for Islamic terrorists allegedly shot and killed two armed men after they attempted to abduct the Americans, according to a U.S. State Department report on Saturday.

The State Department spokeswoman, Marie Harf, claimed the firefight occurred in April in Yemen‘s capital city of Sanaa. News of the incident was kept under wraps to avoid endangering the other members of the U.S. Embassy’s diplomatic and support staff.

Ms. Harf said in a State Department briefing statement, “We can confirm that, last month, two U.S. embassy officers in Yemen fired their weapons after being confronted by armed individuals in an attempted kidnapping at a small commercial business in Sanaa.”

Two suspects believed to be jihadists were killed by the two Americans involved in the attempted kidnapping and those officers had been whisked out of Yemen, which is in a state of emergency as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) battles government police, security and armed forces.

While the State Department has refused to identify the two Americans who successfully killed their attackers, analysts believe they are either current or former members of a military special forces unit.

As a result of this shooting incident and other al-Qaida attacks, the U.S. State Department ordered the closing of its Sanaa embassy to the public. It’s not known if embassy security was beefed up or if the U.S. increased its armed personnel therein.

Since last month the Yemeni security forces have launched a number of attacks against AQAP, a group considered the most dangerous and most active group of Islamists in the country.

As reported on Saturday in anExaminer news story, al-Qaida attacks have taken their toll on Yemen’s economy, especially the attacks against the oil pipeline.

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Yemen’s security forces attack al-Qaida after sabotage of oil pipelines

by Jim Kouri on Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

This is article 755 of 805 in the topic Terrorism

Yemen’s Army and security forces entered the al-Qaida controlled town of Shabwa province on Thursday as part of the government’s retaliation against the Islamist group’s sabotage of the nation’s oil industry. According to the Yemeni news media, the Arab country lost more than $380 million during 2014’s first quarter as a result terrorist attacks aimed at sabotaging the oil pipeline, an official report said.

Yemen officials pointed out that the government’s share, as a result of sabotage, dropped to 3.1 million barrels during the period, while 6.8 million barrels were produced during the first quarter of 2013.

Revenues declined in Yemen from oil exports and with only $44 million in March 2014 alone, according to Yemeni media.

Yemeni banking industry claims that terrorist sabotage assaults by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) resulted in a lower quantity of oil allocated for domestic consumption.

According to Saba news agency, security and stability gradually returned to the areas from which AQAP Islamists were removed, with the majority of the terrorists in Shabwa and Mahfad district retreating for this latest show of force.

According to counterterrorism and law enforcement expert Chuck Knowles, the Yemeni forces are continuing to hunt down the AQAP terrorists in all directions.

The capture of the AQAP stronghold in Azzan is considered one of the primary goals of the Yemen government’s major offensive in the last ten days.

In addition, Saba news agency reported on Thursday that two al-Qaida leaders were gunned down and killed in Shabwa.

The two men, Abu Mosab al-Kuwaiti and Abu-Walid al-Humaiqani, were killed in Shabwa as they were fleeing from the military and security forces.

On Wednesday, Yemen government officials said Wael Abdullah al-Waeli, a ring leader linked to al-Qaida who allegedly planned and executed a number of terrorist operations, was killed by police officers in Sanaa, Yemen’s capital. His attacks included the assassination of a French diplomat working for the European Union (EU) mission in Yemen.

“Al-Waeli has masterminded the abduction of a Dutch journalist and his wife, released earlier, in addition to his involvement in the terrorist attack on the central jail in Sanaa last February, in which 29 terrorists escaped,” the state-run Saba News Agency reported.

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Al-Qaida attacks national security agency headquarters in Yemen

by Jim Kouri on Sunday, May 4th, 2014

This is article 752 of 805 in the topic Terrorism

An automobile containing an improvised explosive device (IED) slammed into Yemen’s National Security Agency in southeastern Yemen on Saturday and exploded. However, according to reports, there were no deaths or casualties.

A police counterterrorism unit member, Harold Chapner, said that Yemeni security officials are blaming al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) for the suicide bomb attack.

About 30-minutes later, rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) exploded on the ground in the same area but this time there were armored vehicles and soldiers trying to secure the neighborhood after the original IED blast.

Following the car bomb and grenade attack, police officers shutdown the roads surround the intelligence headquarters and ambulances were on the scene as a precaution, Chapner said.

Earlier this week, troops from Yemen’s security forces initiated a major offensive with more than 2,000 soldiers and security personnel against several AQAP strongholds in Yemen’s southern provinces.

The Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, a/k/a locally as Ansar al-Sharia or Partisans of Islamic Law, sent the military and police commanding officers a message “advising” them not to target al-Qaida or they will face more terrorist attacks in retaliation.

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Al-Qaeda kills soldiers during attack on Yemeni military base

by Jim Kouri on Friday, April 4th, 2014

This is article 738 of 805 in the topic Terrorism

Ten suspects and six Yemeni soldiers died during a terrorist attack on the main military installation in the city of Aden on Wednesday, April 2, 2013, according to Theresa Belgrave, a former police intelligence analyst specializing in Muslim terrorism, and according to Reuters and other news sources.

Police officials believe the suicide bombing followed by shootings were the work of the Islamist group al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and that it was similar to previous attacks on police stationhouses and military installations by the al-Qaeda branch, as reported by the Examiner.

In December 2013, al-Qaeda members attacked the Defense Ministry building in the capital city of Sanaa. Also, in February, a police chief was assassinated by unknown killers in Yemen’s southern city of Aden on Wednesday night, according to an American public safety and security expert, James Campbell. Yemeni law enforcement believe the perpetrators are members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, according to an Examiner news story.

Yemen’s Saba news reported that al-Qaeda terrorists launched a sneak attack on the country’s Fourth Division army headquarters in Aden’s following a car bomb blast near the installation’s main security gate.

The Saba news website also reported that a 10-year-old boy died and four civilians were wounded by a mortar shell that missed its target the battle between the army and the terrorists.

Yemen, an ally of the United States in the Global War on Terrorism, shares the Arabian Peninsula with top global oil producer Saudi Arabia. It has been battling AQAP for six years. Most of AQAP’s attacks have involved police stations, military checkpoints and bases, and government officials and installations, according to Examiner news stories.

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Police chief assassinated by al-Qaeda in Yemen

by Jim Kouri on Friday, February 7th, 2014

This is article 712 of 805 in the topic Terrorism

A police chief was assassinated by unknown killers in Yemen’s southern city of Aden on Wednesday night, according to an American public safety and security expert, James Campbell. Yemeni law enforcement believe the perpetrators are members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Colonel Vadi al-Jably, the top-cop for an elite police counterterrorism unit in Aden, was discovered dead near a sports arena in Yemen’s Sheikh Othman district, the security source said. His remains were riddled with bullet holes, Campbell said.

Yemeni police detectives claimed they have launched an immediate investigation into the incident, adding that the killing was probably committed by terrorists who are members of the notorious al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

The port city of Aden has witnessed a large number of bombings and shootings that specifically target police and intelligence officers over the past few months.

While no group has claimed responsibility for the police colonel’s assassination, jihadists from the Yemen-based al-Qaeda offshoot are being blamed for a series of vicious sneak attacks and assassinations, mostly in Yemen’s southern area.

The al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which became active in January 2009, is considered by many experts to be the most strategic threat to the Yemeni government and neighboring oil-rich Saudi Arabia.

“Some experts believe Yemen is a collapsing state challenged by a shrinking economy and rapidly depleting resources. Moreover, the Yemeni government, already facing an active rebellion in the north and growing secessionist movement in the south, has been further weakened by the Arab Spring protests. Success against AQAP requires not only tackling the organization itself, but addressing the conditions that have made Yemen an al-Qaeda safe haven,” according to Islamic terrorism expert Katherine Zimmerman.

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Top 10 nations persecuting Christians exposed by human rights group

by Jim Kouri on Friday, January 10th, 2014

This is article 227 of 246 in the topic Religion

On Wednesday, one of the world’s most active human rights groups released their annual report on religious persecution throughout the world which lists the top nations in 2013 in which Christians are murdered, maimed, imprisoned and forced into exile.

In the last 12-years the brutal regime in North Korea has been — and continues to be — world’s most restrictive nation in which to practice Christianity, according to the Open Doors 2014 World Watch List (WWL).

But the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is witnessing intense competition from other nations located in the Middle East and Africa in persecuting followers of Jesus Christ, most of them so-called Muslim countries.

A major trend the WWL tracked last year was the dramatic increase in persecution of Christian communities in nations that are commonly referred to as “failed states.” A failed state is defined “as a weak state where social and political structures have collapsed to the point where government has little or no control.”

According to WWL’s report, the top 10 countries where Christians faced the most pressure and violence in the 2013 reporting period are: North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Pakistan, Iran and Yemen.

For the first time in the history of the Open Doors World Watch List, a sub-Saharan African country — Somalia — is ranked #2. Although the capital of Mogadishu is under more moderate Muslim government control, surveillance is conducted to root out converts from Islam and the church has to remain secret. Large parts of the country remain ungovernable and retreating Al-Shabaab rebels vent their anger by imposing an even more restrictive form of Sharia law.

As one Christian told an Open Doors researcher, “In Somalia, a Christian cannot trust anyone. One false confidence and you literally lose your head.”

Overwhelmingly and unsurprisingly the driving force of the persecution of Christians in 36 of the top 50 countries is radical Islam, with most violence perpetrated within the states of the African Sahel belt that extends from Senegal on the Atlantic Ocean eastward to Sudan and the Red Sea.

According to Open Doors researchers, the World Watch List Top 10 contains six failed states:

Somalia (#2), Syria (#3), Iraq (#4), Afghanistan (#5), Pakistan (#8) and Yemen (#10). Another newly failed, war-torn state — the Central African Republic (CAR) – made the list for the first time at #16. Libya (#13) and Nigeria (#14) remain very high.”

The Open Doors research report on Christian persecution was independently audited by the International Institute for Religious Freedom to help make the information gathering and calculation process more transparent.

“The 2014 WWL is the most comprehensive study of the systematic persecution of Christians ever done. Often completely unaddressed in the West is the fact that Christians are the largest persecuted minority in the world,” states Open Doors USA President and CEO Dr. David Curry.

“Countries on the WWL, such as North Korea, Saudi Arabia and throughout the Middle East and North Africa are targeting Christians; imprisoning, punishing, and even in some cases murdering people who choose to express privately or publicly their Christian faith. The 2014 WWL is a wake up call to Americans to become more aware of these atrocities and restrictions on religious freedom,” Curry stated.

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Terrorist extradition? Yemeni president tells Obama ‘never!’

by Jim Kouri on Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

This is article 689 of 805 in the topic Terrorism

President Barack Obama and his national security team met with negative results in their attempt to get Yemen’s government to extradite a leader of a radical political party suspected of supporting and financing al-Qaeda, according to government officials on Sunday.

Yemen’s President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi personally voiced his refusal during a speech on Sunday in which he criticized the U.S. government’s request for the extradition.

In his statement, aired on Yemeni government-controlled television, President Hadi claimed the charges were fake and he said administration had informed the Obama White House that it will never turn over Yemeni citizens to any foreign country, including the wanted suspect Abd al-Wahhab Mohammad Abd al-Rahman Humayqani, who is the secretary general of the Yemeni Rashad Union, that countries Salafist political party.

Salafists are ultra-fundamentalist Muslims who are even more radical than the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. While based in Egypt, they are active in the Palestinian-controlled Gaza Strip, Libya, and other Muslim nations.

Last month, the U.S. imposed sanctions on Humayqani and claimed that he used his position as head of a Yemen-based charity to send funds to the group al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

The Salafist leader is accused by the U.S. Justice Department of facilitating financial transfers from al-Qaeda supporters in Saudi Arabia to Yemen, as well.

“Once again we see a nation that receives billions of dollars in aid as well as counterterrorism training for its police and military telling Barack Obama ‘no.’ The problem is they know he’s as dishonest as they are and that he’s weak,” said former counterterrorism task force member, Capt. Martin Seeley.

Meanwhile, in yet another attack on a top Yemeni official, al-Qaeda gunmen allegedly killed a top-ranking intelligence officer in the city of Aden, according to Middle East news outlets.

Col. Marwan al-Maqbali was leaving his home when he was ambushed by gunmen firing at him from a car suspected of belonging to al-Qaeda, news agencies reported.

Two rounds struck their target and Col. Maqbali died before reaching the hospital. The carload of assailants escaped and are being hunted by Yemeni police and security officers.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has been linked to most of the increasing number of drive-by-shootings of police, security, intelligence and military officials. While AQAP almost never admits to such attacks, the group did take responsibility for a Dec. 5, 2013 attack on Yemen’s defense ministry that left 56 people dead, according to an Examiner news story.

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Yemeni government bans U.S. drone strikes

by Jim Kouri on Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

This is article 1098 of 1262 in the topic International

Yemen’s lawmakers on Sunday gave their thumbs up to banning U.S. counterterrorism operations using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones. The ban comes just after the United States pumped more resources into the Yemeni military and police forces to fight terrorists.

The Yemeni government reacted to reports that collateral damage in the battle against Islamists included dozens of civilians killed by drones, according to Middle Eastern news organizations.

Yemen’s leaders said that protecting innocent civilians from airstrikes is necessary to preserve justice and that nation’s sovereignty.

The Yemeni parliament’s decision on Sunday comes just three days after a U.S. UAV accidentally attacked a Muslim wedding convoy on Thursday, an attack that left 18 civilians dead and 21 others wounded.

Unfortunately, that mission was the second airstrike mishap in the same week. In a UAV mission on Monday four allegedly innocent people were killed by the drone.

President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel have intensified drone strikes on al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula since the current president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadhi, became Yemen’s leader.

This latest incident was a response to an al-Qaeda attack on Yemen’s defense minister’s headquarters that killed about 60 people and injured hundreds more.

Human rights groups are repeatedly accusing the U.S. military and the CIA of violating international law and at times committing war crimes against the Yemeni people.

On the same day as the parliament’s vote to end U.S. drone strike, a Japanese diplomat was stabbed by armed men in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa on Sunday after he resisted a kidnapping attempt near the Japanese embassy.

The diplomat survived the attack after he managed to drive his car into the embassy, police sources told Xinhua.

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