Islamic State suicide tank attack on police base kills 37, slows slow Iraq’s Ramadi counterattack

BAGHDAD – A huge suicide bomb attack on an Iraqi police base killed at least 37 people Monday, further slowing an operation to retake the city of Ramadi from Islamic State jihadis. The blast came as U.S.-led coalition members carrying out air raids against Islamic State and providing training and weapons to Iraqi forces prepared to meet in Paris for talks on a string of major battlefield gains by the jihadis in Iraq and Syria. A suicide bomber blew up his explosives-laden vehicle at a police base in Iraq’s Salaheddin province, killing at least 37 people and wounding more than 30, officers said. “They are mostly policemen,” said a doctor at the main hospital in the nearby city of Samarra where the casualties were taken. Some police officers said the suicide attacker used a tank to muscle his way into the police base, located between Samarra and Tharthar lake, northwest of Baghdad. The area is being used as part of a military operation aimed at cutting off the Islamic State group’s supply lines in Anbar province of western Iraq. Islamic State fighters have in the past year seized a formidable arsenal of military vehicles, weapons and ammunition from retreating Iraqi forces. The jihadis’ latest haul of gear came on May 17 when Iraqi forces fled and they captured Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province. The debacle of the security forces prompted Iraqi leader Haidar al-Abadi to call in the Hashed al-Shaabi, an umbrella organization that includes Iran-backed Shiite militias that Baghdad and Washington had been reluctant to involve in the Sunni bastion of Anbar. Iraqi forces launched a counteroffensive but...

35 Civilians killed in clashes in Somalian Village near Ethopian Boarder

 MOGADISHU – At least 35 people, most of them civilians, have been killed in a week of clashes in villages near Somalia’s border with Ethiopia.   Officials and traditional elders say the clashes involved Somali clan militia and members of the Liyu police, an Ethiopian paramilitary unit operating in Ethiopia’s ethnic Somali region.   “The Liyu Police Unit launched an attack on innocent civilians. They are attacking villagers and killing people who keep livestock,” said Hussein Weheliye Irfo, the governor of the Galgadud region in central Somalia.   He said the Somali government was aware of the clashes and also called for the intervention of Ethiopia’s government and the African Union force in Somalia, AMISOM.   Sources in the region said fighting started a week ago and escalated on Friday.   “It is effecting a vast area and the casualties are very high, 35 dead bodies have been counted so far,” said Mohamed Garane, a traditional elder in Guricel district where the wounded are hospitalised.   It was not apparently clear what sparked the clashes, which are separate from ongoing battles between African Union troops and al-Qaida-linked Shebab insurgents in the far south of the country.  ...

Twin Bomb Blasts Kill 7, Injure Others In Borno

At least seven persons were killed and several others injured as twin bombs suspected to have been detonated by Boko Haram terrorists went off at a wedding venue in a Borno village today, witnesses and security sources said. Sources who spoke to LEADERSHIP Weekend said the blasts occurred at about 6am, when most of the victims were preparing for a wedding that was to hold later in the yesterday. Ibrahim Birtus, an eyewitness and resident of Tashan-Alede said the blasts “killed at least 7 people and injured many others”. He said a suspect has been arrested in connection with the blasts. “This morning, at about 06:05am, two blasts occurred at the venue of a wedding ceremony in our village where people had gathered. The second blast occurred some minutes after people were trying to rescue the victims from the first one,” Birtus said.   He added that at least seven persons died and dozens others were critically injured, saying, “I don’t know whether the groom is alive because there was confusion after the blasts occurred.’’ Tashan-Alede is an agrarian community in southern Borno, located about 270km away from Maiduguri, the state capital. As at the time of going to press, the police was yet to confirm the incident....

15 wounded in mosque attack at Philippine police camp

JOLO, Philippines: Fifteen people including 10 police officers were wounded in an attack on a mosque at police camp on a remote Philippine island long plagued by Islamic militancy, officials said Saturday. Successive blasts targeted the mosque inside Camp Kasim on the island of Jolo early evening Friday – an initial grenade attack followed by a bomb explosion less than 10 minutes later that was intended to target police who rushed to the scene, local authorities said. “It seems the [first] explosion was set up to draw responders as the target,” the provincial police chief Senior Superintendent Abraham Orbita told reporters. Rosalyn Aya-ay, a shopkeeper and policeman’s wife, said she found her husband sprawled on the ground after the first explosion and took him to the camp hospital, though he was not seriously injured. “When I returned I found my two daughters wounded by the second blast. I was scared and I had a hard time finding an ambulance to carry them,” she told AFP. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred inside the sprawling provincial police headquarters in the provincial capital of Jolo, a mainly Muslim island in the south of the predominantly Catholic Asian nation. It was the second bomb attack on Camp Kasim since 2010, when aChristmas Day blast wounded six people worshipping at a Catholic church in another section of the facility. Jolo is a known stronghold of Abu Sayyaf, a small group of a few hundred Islamic militants founded in the 1990s with seed money from Al-Qaeda. Police investigators combed through the scene of the blast Saturday, which was about 10 meters (33 feet) from a...

ISIS claims Baghdad hotel car bombings that killed nine

 BAGHDAD (AFP) – The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group on Friday claimed responsibility for car bombings at two upscale Baghdad hotels that officials said killed at least nine people and wounded dozens. Militants were able to transport the bombs, which exploded just before midnight (2100 GMT) on Thursday and were heard across the city centre, inside the walled compounds of the Ishtar and Babylon hotels in central Baghdad. ISIS – which has overrun swathes of territory north and west of Baghdad since June last year – said in an online statement that suicide bombers had been ready to detonate the bombs but were able to leave them and avoid detection. The blast at the Ishtar – formerly a Sheraton – shattered windows of the recently renovated hotel, turning rows of expensive cars and SUVs into charred, twisted metal....

Huthi rebels kill Yemen capital’s governor

SANAA – Yemen’s Shiite Huthi rebels have killed the capital’s governor in clashes that erupted during an attempt to detain him, his relatives said Friday. Abdulghani Jamil and his nephew Nasr Jamil “died of wounds sustained during late Thursday clashes between the governor’s aides and Huthi militiamen”, the sources said. Jamil was appointed by fugitive President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, who fled to Saudi Arabia after the rebels seized power in Sanaa and later advanced on his last refuge in the south, the port city of Aden. The Huthis “demanded Jamil hand himself over” to them.   His refusal prompted a firefight in which both he and his nephew were wounded, the relatives said. The Huthis, allied with renegade troops loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, have been in control of Sanaa since last September despite more than two months of Saudi-led coalition air strikes against their positions across the country. Heavy fighting erupted in southern Yemen near Aden airport on Friday when a Muslim militia attacked Houthi rebels in a push to drive Houthis from the district, residents and fighters said. Saudi-led forces also made four air strikes on a military base near the airport, a source in the southern militia told Reuters. A Saudi-led coalition began air strikes in Yemen on March 26 in a campaign to restore Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power. He fled in March, after Iranian-backed Houthi rebels seized the capital Sanaa in September and then thrust into central and south Yemen. Aden is Yemen’s commercial hub. Its airport has been closed since fighting began but its port provides sporadic access for...