TRIPOLI, Lebanon: “Make way for the martyrs, the heroes,” a loudspeaker bellowed Sunday, as ambulances bearing coffins arrived in Jabal Mohsen, black mourning flags fluttering in the frigid afternoon breeze.
When Gallup issued its annual poll of the men Americans most admired in 2014, it featured two improbable names at No. 10: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. All things considered, 2014 wasn’t a terribly good year for either.
First thoughts: (1) The poll was for "most admired" but I suspect many people answered according to whom they "most respected". (2) Nowhere does the Reuters writer mention the most obvious commonality: a strong stand against radical Islam and terrorism. (3) The condescending tone and the caricatured notions of "bravado" (and in the next breath, "John Wayne") tell us nothing about Netanyahu and Putin, and everything about a class of intellectual sophisticates who do not even have a word in their language for strength, courage, determination, or leadership.
A crossbow in her hands and covered head-to-toe in a black Islamic headwear and robe that leaves only her eyes visible -- that is the image now circulating of France's most-wanted woman: Hayat Boumeddiene.
The 26-year-old is the partner of Amedy Coulibaly, one of the three gunmen shot dead by police after three days of high drama in France. ...
Although police now say that she was likely to have been in Turkey at the time of the killings, she remains of great interest to investigators piecing together this week's jihadist attacks in France by Coulibaly and brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi who killed 12 people on Wednesday in an attack on the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.
9 January 2015 Last updated at 11:39 ET Share this pageEmailPrintShare this pageShareFacebookTwitterCharlie Hebdo hunt: Police storm two hostage sitesFrench police have stormed two hostage sites in Paris and north of the city. Gunshots and explosions have been heard at a printworks warehouse in Dammartin-en-Goele, where two suspects in the Charlie Hebdo shootings were holding at least one hostage.Police say the suspects, brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, have been killed.Explosions and gunfire could also be heard at a second hostage site in eastern Paris, at Porte de Vincennes.A gunman there was holding several hostages at a kosher supermarket. Reports suggest he is linked to the Charlie Hebdo suspects.After the operation started, several hostages could be seen leaving the supermarket. The hostage at the printworks warehouse has also been freed, while a police officer at the scene was injured, AFP news agency said.
Afghanistan: 34 Taliban administrators captured or killed in 2014. The Taliban lost 34 "shadow administrators" - governors and lower-level officials - last year, throughout half of Afghanistan's 34 provinces. 'Approximately 57 percent of the Taliban shadow administrators reportedly killed in 2014 died in clashes with Afghan security forces [see second graph below]. It should be noted, however, that drone strikes in Kunar and Farah provinces resulted in the deaths of at least four Taliban shadow district administrators in 2014. And incidents involving "airstrikes" killed an additional two Taliban shadow district administrators in Kapisa and Badakhshan provinces; it is unclear if those airstrikes were conducted by conventional air assets or drones. In a separate case, one Taliban shadow administrator was killed during an incident of infighting. And in another unique case, Afghan residents gunned down a Taliban district administrator in Farah province in early June 2014. Only 11 percent of the Taliban administrators removed from the battlefield in 2014 were captured alive by security forces. ...' Go to the link for details and statistics.
Israel: Majority of Israeli Arabs proud to be Israelis - survey. '65% of Arabs described themselves as proud to be Israeli, and 59% said they felt a part of the state.' This via the Times of Israel; the American Interest adds, 'This does not mean that Israel is without flaws—as the survey showed, both Israelis in general and Arab Israelis in particular had lots they want to change about their state. But a majority clearly do not think it is evil or illegitimate; on the contrary, pride is a pretty strong word.'
Kenya: Activists challenge Security Act. 'Human rights groups are warning that Kenya's controversial Security Amendment Act still poses a threat to refugees' rights despite a high court decision on Friday that suspends parts of the bill for 30 days pending a full court hearing. The suspension included a section of the wide-ranging bill, popularly known as the 'anti-terror' law, that amended Kenya's Refugees Act. The amendment stipulates that, "the number of refugees and asylum seekers permitted to stay in Kenya shall not exceed 150,000." ...'
We have gone into high gear preparing three new war crimes complaints against a range of Palestinians, following the Palestinian Authority’s move to join the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague last Wednesday.
Canada: Christian convert and refugee fears deportation. Edmonton resident "John Calvin" was expected to go into the family business, which was terrorism. The son of a Hamas family had other ideas, though, and converted to Christianity. He declared refugee status while in Canada, but on New Year's Eve 2014 he received a letter of deportation. Calvin argues that returning to the Middle East will mean certain death for him as an ex-Muslim and supporter of Israel. And it doesn't help matters that he's gay.
At around 5 a.m. yesterday, the al Qaeda-linked jihadists attacked the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) base, which is located just outside the town of Baga in northeastern Borno state, and battled with soldiers for hours. The Boko Haram fighters attacked the MNJTF base "from all directions," and forced the soldiers to abandon the base, the BBC reported. The number of those killed during the assault, including Nigerian and allied troops as well as Boko Haram fighters, has not been disclosed.
In the last two years, Baga has suffered five major attacks with high casualty - the latest was that of November 2014 when Boko Haram terrorists ambushed fishermen returning from a night fishing expedition and slit the throats of 43 of them.
Details of the damage done in the Saturday attack is still sketchy even as residents of neighbouring village of Monguno who reportedly heard the gunshots and explosions echoing in their neighborhood fled to Maiduguri for safety.