At least 13 militants were killed and 388 arrested in separate raids by the Egyptian army in the restive North Sinai governorate, army said today.
110 headquarters belonging to militants and 16 tunnel openings were also wiped out in the raids launched between 27 and 31 December, army spokesperson Mohamed Samir said, adding that 48 unlicensed vehicles used by militants while attacking army and police personnel were destroyed.
The attacks targeting police and military increased after the ouster of Islamist ex-president Mohamed Morsi last year.
Over 500 policemen and soldiers, have been killed in the attacks.
The government declared a state of emergency in parts of North Sinai after an October 24 suicide attack near Al-Arish killed 30 soldiers in the deadliest assault on security forces since Morsi’s ouster.
Militant groups claim their attacks are in retaliation for a government crackdown targeting Morsi’s supporters that has left hundreds dead and thousands jailed.
The army has launched frequent security campaigns in the area, arrested suspects and demolished houses that belong to terrorists, including facilitating tunnels leading to the Gaza Strip.
French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Wednesday (Dec 31) called upon the international community to act to prevent Libya from becoming a “sanctuary for terrorists.”
Three years after dictator Moamer Gadhafi was toppled and killed in a NATO-backed revolt, Libya is awash with weapons and powerful militias, and run by rival governments and parliaments.
Le Drian warned that the situation in Libya was “no more and no less… the resurgence of a terrorist sanctuary” that was dangerously close to Europe.
“It will be a serious mistake for the international community to remain passive in the face of the growth of a such a hotbed of terrorism in the heart of the Mediterranean,” he said, addressing soldiers at a French military base in the Chadian capital N’Djamena.
“Everyone has to mobilise,” he said, adding that it was “the responsibility of Libya’s neighbours and the international community to stand by its side to help it regain stability.”
His call came as the United Nations (UN) mission to Libya, UNSMIL, plans a new round of peace talks between warring factions aimed at ending months of violence and political deadlock in the North African nation.
An unmanned US aircraft that unleashed Hellfire missiles at a vehicle in Somalia earlier this week killed a leader of the al- Shabaab militant group.
Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, confirmed the strike in a twitter post.
He said the department could now “confirm that Tahliil Abdishakur, chief of al-Shabaab’s intelligence and security wing, was killed in a US air strike in Somalia on 29 December.”
The Pentagon said in a statement that Abdishakur was responsible for the group’s external operations and “his death will significantly impact al-Shabaab’s ability to conduct attacks against the government of the Federal Republic ofSomalia, the Somali people and US allies and interests.”
The strike took place on Monday in the vicinity of Saakow, Somalia, by US forces using an unmanned aircraft that fired several Hellfire missiles at a vehicle carrying the al-Shabaab leader, the statement said.
US and Somali officials speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed Abdishakur’s death yesterday but the Pentagon had said it was still examining the evidence.
Today’s statement was the first official confirmation of the killing from the Pentagon and offered the first details on the nature of the strike.
Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency said that Abdishakur was head of al-Shabaab’s Amniyat unit, which was believed to be responsible for several suicide attacks in Mogadishu.
Officials have said Abdishakur and another al-Shabaab militant were killed in the attack. They have said there were no civilian casualties in the air strike.
The strike was the latest in an ongoing campaign against al-Shabaab, whose leadership is affiliated with al Qaeda.
In September, a US drone strike killed the group’s main leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane.
Over 30 people have been killed and dozens of others wounded in an explosion targeting the Shias in central Yemen.
The attack took place on Wednesday in the city of Ibb when an assailant blew his explosives in a cultural center, where a group of Shia Houthi militants were preparing to celebrate the birth anniversary of Islam’s Prophet Mohammad.
According to medical sources, the death toll, currently at 33, is likely to rise.
“The torn body parts are everywhere. Pools of blood mixed with water. The scene is horrifying,” said Mohammed Abdel-Baki, the local spokesman for the Ansarullah fighters.
No group has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack, but the Al Qaeda group in Yemen has targeted Houthis in the past.
Over the past months, Al Qaeda militants have frequently carried out attacks on Yemen’s security forces. The militants have also been engaged in battle with the Shia Ansarullah fighters.
Yemen’s central government has so far failed to confront the terrorist threat.
On Wednesday, an official newspaper revealed, that two Ebola cases and 26 AIDS cases have been reported and registered in Mosul.
The Iraqi official newspaper ‘Al-Sabah’ said in its today’s issue, “Many diseases and epidemics have spread among residents of the city of Mosul,” and added, “Two Ebola and 26 HIV AIDS cases were registered.”
The newspaper quoted medical sources in the city,”These diseases moved to Nineveh by terrorists and expats from different countries, especially Africa.”
On November 23, 2014, the Parliamentary Committee of Health and Environment warned from the entry of the Ebola into Iraq by the Islamic State (IS), while confirming that the Commission had taken the necessary measures to prevent the entry and spread of this disease in the country.
On November 21, 2014, the United Nations Security Council expressed its grave concern about the Ebola outbreak on an unprecedented scale in Africa, which poses a threat to the international peace and security, at a time when the World Health Organization announced the rise of Ebola victims to more than 6000.
A recent report from British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has revealed that the atrocious militant group, Islamic State, shows no mercy even to its own militants and executes them if they try to return home.
According to the report, nearly 200 foreign fighters who joined the ISIS from different parts of the world were executed by the militant group when they showed their will to return to their native place.
“We can confirm that 120 fighters have been killed by ISIS, but from our sources on the ground we believe that over 200 have actually been killed,” Rami Abdurrahman, the director of the group was quoted as saying by The Independent.
Although the nationalities or ages of the militants who were targeted by the ISIS remains unknown, the monitoring group suspects most of them were Europeans.
In a United Nations report obtained by The Guardian in October, it was stated that around 15,000 people travelled from 80 countries to Syria and Iraq to fight alongside ISIS and other similar extremist groups.
Some recruits have also revealed that they joined ISIS to support its fight for jihad but were made to do lowly tasks like cleaning toilets and doing the washing up.
The ISIS has so far carried out massacres in Iraq and Syria and has beheaded several detainees.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Iraq considered on Tuesday, 2014 as the most violent and brutal year in Iraq because of ISIS terrorists’ crimes.
The Commission member , Fadel Ghraoui said in a statement for “Shafaq News”, that “The number of violations reached three million and 981 thousand and 597 violations committed by terrorist gangs in Iraq.”
He added that “these terrorist crimes represent a serious genocide against the Iraqi people.”
The Shabaab al-Mujahideen Movement has proven to be resilient following the death of Mukhtar Abu al-Zubeir (AKA Ahmed Abdi Godane), largely putting to rest statements from Washington that the group had been diminished.
The group’s December 25 raid on the AMISOM Halane military base near Mogadishu International Airport, a heavily protected compound housing officials from the UN and other agencies, marks a new militaristic achievement for the group inside of Somalia. The attack reveals not only feeble security and intel of forces in Somalia, but also that the Shabaab maintains an ever-threatening level military capability.
The group issued an official statement on the raid through Shabaab-affiliated websites on December 26, a day after the Shabaab’s spokesman, Ali Mahmoud Ragi (AKA Ali Dheere), claimed credit for the attack and alleged to have killed at least 17 “crusaders.” The message also boasted to have breached the “seemingly impenetrable fortifications” of the base, following up:
Particularly troubling about the Shabaab’s siege is its indication of the African Union (AU) and UN’s lack of security and preparation for such an attack, as well as a grim indication of sturdy intel and military ability retained by the Shabaab. The militants managed to breach the base (some of whom allegedly doing so while wearing Somali National Army uniforms) during the compound’s lunch hour and shared hours of gunfire with AMISOM forces, after which two Shabaab fighters allegedly detonated themselves on-site.
It almost seems that the group’s attack on of the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya in September of 2013—wherein Shabaab militants opened fire on unsuspecting shoppers—had distracted the international community from the group’s militaristic aspirations. Sure, this attack at Westgate, while showing a willingness toward brutality, demonstrated little militaristic capability. However, Thursday’s attack on the AMISOM Halane military base stands as sobering proof that that this terrorist organization is a danger not only to civilians, but also to domestic security forces.
The aforementioned statement by the Shabaab regarding their attack on the base also claimed the attack to be one of revenge for the death of Godane, who was killed in a U.S. airstrike on September 2.
Unfortunately, though, this attack has served as more than retaliation; the Shabaab’s recent siege of the base is a reminder that killing the leaders does little to diminish a terrorist organization’s activity—let alone end it.