Armed Gunman attacks Consulate Employee in Iranian Consulate in Washington, D.C.

Diplomatic Security Sit-Rep 04/26/2018

A man has been arrested in Northwest D.C. after entering a consular office of Iran and attacking an employee while cursing in Farsi, according to witnesses.

The U.S. Secret Service has confirmed that an individual with a weapon was arrested for assault in the area of 1250 23rd Street NW.

DC Police later identified the man arrested as 55-year-old Alireza Fakhar, of San Antonio, Texas.

Iran has no embassy in the United States but the building at that location is listed as the Embassy of Pakistan/Interests Section of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It’s where they process visas and passports. The Interests Section serves as Iran’s consular representation in the United States.

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A witness inside the Interests Section says a man walked in the building about 11 a.m. with a knife and a handgun. He then attacked a man at the front desk, pistol whipping him before forcing him upstairs and locking him in an office while waving his gun at other employees and shouting in Farsi.

The attacker smashed windows and TVs and computer monitors.

A spokesman says it was unclear what the attacker’s motive was, but he is sure the man is Iranian.

When Secret Service officers arrived, the suspect laid down on the floor in a submissive position to allow the arrest. He was taken to DC Police’s Second District for processing.

The man who was attacked was taken to a hospital with serious injuries.

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Secret Service officers originally responded to a report of shots fired. After the area was secured, it was determined that no shots had been fired.

Witnesses reported a large police presence in the area beginning shortly before noon on Wednesday.

DC Police reported that traffic was closed on the following streets:

•2300 Block of N Street, NW

•1200-1400 Blocks of 23rd Street, NW

•2200-2300 Blocks of M Street, NW

Secret Service filed the report on the incident:

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New United States consulate will be built in Erbil, Kurdistan

Diplomatic Security Sit-Rep 04/25/2018

Douglas Silliman, the United States ambassador to Iraq, has announced that the U.S. will be constructing a new consulate structure in Erbil, Kurdistan. The announcement was made alongside Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani who expressed his vehement support of the expansion. The United States presently has an existing consulate compound within the city of Erbil but is seeking to expand as it furthers its relationship with the Kurdish regional Government.

In a public statement, Ambassador Silliman said, “The ties between the people of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region and the United States of America have endured for decades. The new consulate building demonstrates that the United States will stand with the people of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, as they build a future that will be brighter than the past.” He added that, “The United States wants to work with the KRG, but more importantly with Kurdish businessmen and businesswomen to help attract new projects to come here to Kurdistan. I believe the Iraqi Kurdistan Region will be an important point of entry for foreign investment because this region has a very positive history of doing business.” He concluded with, “I’m very happy that we’ll have a beautiful new compound in the shadow of the mountains here on the north side of Erbil.”

Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani added that the new consulate was going to be a symbol of more than just a relationship between the United States and Kurdistan. Barzani said, “I thank and congratulate them for this decision. We see it as a significant and valuable step, and hope that it will be finished successfully at its scheduled time. Construction of the American Consulate General complex in Erbil … is a sign of trust by America in currently and bright future for Kurdistan.” He continued with, “We want to have strong relations with America regarding politics, economy, business, science, culture and all other fields, based on mutual interests.” He also pointed out that the new consulate building would serve to progress the relationship between Kurdistan and the U.S., “in the framework of the diplomatic relations it has with Iraqi federal government.” Barzani concluded by expressing his hope that other nations would setup diplomatic outposts in Kurdistan in the future.

The United States’s new consulate will be built at a cost of nearly $600 million while covering 200,000 square meters. Currently, the U.S. rents buildings located in the Anakara district of Erbil from local business owners which it uses as a temporary consulate. The current consulate was upgraded from a diplomatic office in 2011 but was the target of an Islamic State suicide bomb attack in 2015. The new building will be constructed by EYP out of Albany, New York.

Featured Image Courtesy of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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US Embassy in Cambodia issues Security Alert over Bomb Threat.

Diplomatic Security Sit-Rep 13 April 2018

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — The U.S. Embassy in Cambodia has issued a security alert over an alleged plot to set off a bomb during the country’s traditional New Year holiday, which runs from Thursday through Monday.

The alert advises U.S. personnel to exercise caution around Wat Phnom, a temple in Phnom Penh said by Cambodian officials and media to be the target of a plot by the Khmer National Liberation Front, an overseas anti-government group.

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday publicly warned of the alleged plot, saying strengthened security measures would ensure safety. He has repeatedly charged before a general election in July that his political opponents seek to cause unrest, in what is generally seen as an effort to disrupt their ability to organize and function freely.

The alert was posted on the embassy’s website and social media outlets. “Exercise caution in areas with large crowds. If you see an unattended object, leave the area immediately. Monitor local media for updates. Be aware of your surroundings,” it said.

Embassies for the U.S. and other Western nations tend to err on the side of caution in issuing such warnings.

Cambodia’s Interior Ministry and a pro-government newspaper released details of the alleged plot. They said the northwestern town of Siem Reap, the site of the famous Angkor temple complex, was also an alleged target.

Hun Sen’s government has used a combination of threats, accusations of conspiracies and legal action to attack his opponents. Almost all critical news media have been shut down and the opposition political party has been banned. The courts are widely regarded as being under the influence of Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party.

Hun Sen has held power for more than three decades and declared his intention to remain for at least two more five-year terms.

The website of the independent Phnom Penh Post newspaper quoted Sam Serey, the Denmark-based head of the Khmer National Liberation Front, as denying the alleged bomb plot.

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Mr Serey was sentenced in absentia to nine years in prison for allegedly trying to topple the government in 2014.

A day after Mr Hun Sen’s claim, phone conversations purported to be between members of the KNLF were leaked.

According to the audio recordings, which Fresh News obtained from authorities and published on Tuesday, a woman named Huy Thou was heard talking to a man named Sim Vuthy, a KNLF member, over a plot to plant explosives at Wat Phnom and disrupt Khmer New Year festivities.

General Khieu Sopheak, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said that security forces and police are ready to be deployed in all provinces to provide security during Khmer New Year.

Mr Sopheak said that the police have kept the situation under control since the terror plot was discovered and prevented.

“Our police are of enough capacity to provide security for our people,” he said “We pay strong attention to security, especially preventing terrorism.”

Large crowds are expected in some tourism-attracting provinces, especially Siem Reap province where the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia has organised the sixth event of the Angkor Sangkranta from Saturday until Monday.

Mr Hun Sen is scheduled to attend the event. Last year’s event attracted 1.6 million foreign and local tourists.

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14 Injured after Fire Erupts in Portuguese Embassy in Sweden. Police Suspect Arson.

Diplomatic Security Sit-Rep 04/05/2018

FOURTEEN people are reported to have been injured after fire erupted at the Portuguese Embassy in Sweden.

Stockholm Embassy

Police, who are not ruling out arson, want to question a tall, bearded man in his 50s in connection with the incident.

The fire begun in the Narvavägen in Stockholm, which is home to several embassies.

Twelve fire trucks are at the scene with about 80 firefighters.

Roger Steffen, management operator at Storstockholm’s fire department, said the fire was on several levels.

He added: “The fire is fully developed, it is burning in full.”

14 people are reported to be injured, and the building is being evacuated.

Mr Steffen added: “There is strong smoke evolution on several levels and staff left in the building.

“We have not landed with all cars yet, so we have not got a proper picture yet.”

Stockholm Police spokesman Anders Bryngelsson said: “We have a large number of patrols in place. To check what has happened.

We do not exclude crimes.”

Police were looking for a heavily built man with long hair and a grey beard.

He added: “We have blocked the area around, and have some form of evacuation,” says Anders Bryngelsson.

Yvonne Levinovitz, 64, who lives near the embassy, said: “ I’m very shocked. It’s chaos. People are picked out from balconies with fire ladders.”

 

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4 Suspects Arrested in Firebomb Attack on Turkish Embassy in Copenhagen

All four people suspected of attacking the Turkish Embassy in Copenhagen with firebombs on March 19 have been arrested, Danish media reported on March 26.

Suspects arrested for attack on Turkish Embassy in Copenhagen

All four people suspected of attacking the Turkish Embassy in Copenhagen with firebombs on March 19 have been arrested, Danish media reported on March 26.

Two suspects were detained on March 24 and were jailed for 24 days pending trial, while the other two suspects were arrested on March 25 for 22 days, according to media reports.

Police and security forces conducted search operations around Zealand after the attack took place.

“Good police work, progress has now been made in the case of the attack on the Turkish Embassy. An attack on diplomatic representations of other countries is extremely serious. Therefore, I am glad the hard work of the police and Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) seems to have borne fruit,” said Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen in a Twitter post on March 26.

No one was injured in the early morning attack on March 19 that caused minor damage to the exterior of the embassy building.

 

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