Tag Archives: diplomat security

Western Embassies in Egypt Close Amid ISIL Terror Threats.

British Embassy in Cairo.
British Embassy in Cairo.

CAIRO — Western embassies, amid threat of an Al Qaida-aligned attack, have been suspending operations in Egypt.

At least two Western embassies have closed while others were restricting operations in Cairo. In a 24-hour period, Britain and Canada said they were closing their embassies for security reasons.

“Public services at the British embassy are currently suspended,” British ambassador John Casson said on Dec. 8. “We have taken this decision to ensure the security of the embassy and our staff.”

Neither Casson nor other diplomats provided details of the security threat. Over the last two months, Al Qaida and Islamic State of Iraq and Levant issued a series of warnings against Western embassies and schools in the Middle East.

“There is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attacks globally against UK interests and British nationals from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria,” the British Foreign Office said. “You should be vigilant at this time.”

On Dec. 8, Canada said it was closing its embassy in Cairo for security reasons. Diplomats said it was unclear when the embassy would reopen.

“The ability to provide consular services may occasionally be limited for short periods due to unsettled security conditions,” the Canadian embassy said.

The Australian embassy in Cairo has warned nationals of insurgency attacks in Egypt. The embassy, which has not closed, said targets could include tourist and government sites.

“Terrorist attacks could occur at anytime, anywhere in Egypt, including in tourist areas,” the Australian embassy said on Dec. 6. “Some past attacks have coincided with local holiday weekends.”

The U.S. embassy, the largest in the city, has remained open in Cairo. But the embassy has warned staffers to stay close to home amid clashes between security forces and the Muslim Brotherhood.

“In light of the heightened tensions and recent attacks on Westerners in the region, the U.S. embassy has recommended that its staff carefully scrutinize their personal movements and consider staying close to their residences and neighborhoods over the coming period,” the U.S. embassy said on Dec. 4.

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Unknown Group Attacks Turkish Consulate with Molotov Cocktails.

A group of masked assailants threw Molotov cocktails at the Turkish Consulate in the Greek city of Thessaloniki on Sunday.

The group ran away from the scene of the incident after throwing at least five Molotov cocktails at a police bus and a police booth located in front of the consulate building.

The attack came at a time when the Turkish and Greek foreign ministers were holding bilateral meetings over the weekend.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu is expected to join the Turkey-Greece High-Level Cooperation Council meeting on Dec. 5-6 in Athens, under the co-chairmanship of Davutoğlu and his Greek counterpart, Antonis Samaras.

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US Embassy in Sanaa Bombed on Thanksgiving.

On Nov. 28, a Twitter account linked to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed credit for bombing the US Embassy in the Yemeni capital Sanaa during the evening of Nov. 27, coinciding with Thanksgiving, using two improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The last time AQAP has claimed credit for directly targeting the US Embassy in Sanaa was in late September, after fighters from the terrorist group launched rockets that reportedly fell about 100 meters away from the embassy.

In the statement regarding the latest embassy attack, AQAP claims that its fighters managed to plant two IEDs at the northern gate of the US Embassy in Sana’a. The statement notes that one of these explosives contained shrapnel, a common terrorist practice used to increase potential injuries from the explosion. According to AQAP, the explosives were detonated at precisely 7:51 p.m. on Nov. 27 and resulted in a number of casualties among the ranks of the embassy security guards.

However, the AQAP narrative on the attack is at odds with other reports on the incident. Arabic media reports and Yemeni security sources claimed that assailants riding a motorbike who were “believed to be from al Qaeda” opened fire at the embassy security guards. Those reports also state that two individuals were killed in the course of the “clashes,” including one of the assailants.

The AQAP statement recognizes this disparity and denies the media reports’ claims. “Our correspondent denied the veracity of this matter,” the AQAP statement reads, “confirming that the attack was carried out by detonating the two IEDs remotely and not by using firearms, as was stated by the media.”

This latest attack comes just weeks after AQAP claimed to have targeted US Ambassador to Yemen Matthew H. Tueller. On Nov. 8, AQAP stated that two IEDs planted by its fighters in front of the residence of the Yemeni president in Sana’a were intended to be detonated as Tueller left a meeting inside the house. Tueller met with President Hadi on Nov. 8 in his Sana’a home for over an hour, and the AQAP statement claimed that the explosives were found just minutes before the ambassador exited the Yemeni president’s house.

If AQAP’s claims are true, this would be yet another indication that AQAP has successfully exploited Yemen’s current unstable political and security situation to its benefit. Just this month, AQAP has claimed to have planted explosives in front of the residences of both the current and former Yemeni presidents, attempted to assassinate the US ambassador, and tried to attack the US Embassy. These alleged attacks have come amid almost daily AQAP operations against Yemeni military positions, particularly in the southern and eastern provinces, as well as targeting the advance of Shiite Houthi rebels in central Yemen.

AQAP claims responsibility for US Embassy Bombing.
AQAP claims responsibility for US Embassy Bombing.

Read more: http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2014/11/aqap_claims_credit_for_ied_att.php#ixzz3KV84aX00

Gunmen Attacks Mexican Consulate in Texas and Tries to Burn it Down.

A man being described as a middle-aged white male opened fire early Friday morning on the Austin Police Department (APD) Headquarters. After firing about 100 rounds, the gunman was killed. It is not known for certain whether he died from a police bullet or from a self-inflicted shot. The man also fired at other government buildings in Austin along with the Mexican Consulate. While at the Mexican Consulate, he attempted to set a blaze using several propane cylinders.

At about 2:20 a.m. Friday morning, the gunman began his shooting rampage. He shot rounds at the Mexican Consulate and attempted to set it on fire using propane canistersaccording to a report in USAToday. He then proceeded to fire shots at the U.S. Courthouse Building in Austin while in route to the Austin Police Headquarters. Other buildings were fired at along the way.

The fire at the Mexican was extinguished but was extensively damaged. No one has been reported injured at this time.

Some of the building shot at were near the popular 6th Street club district in Austin. The clubs close at 2 a.m. shortly before the shooting escapade began.

According to Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo, an APD mounted patrol sergeant shot the gunman with one hand while holding two horses with the other. The man was described as being about 50-years-old according to an article in TheState.com. It is not known at this time, if the sergeant’s shot killed the suspect or if he took his own life.

Officers discovered more propane cylinders in his vehicle. The suspect was also wearing a bulky vest. Not sure if he may have been wired with explosives, officers backed away and the Austin Bomb Squad was called. They determined there were no explosive devices.

Chief Acevedo did not reveal the suspect’s name at this time but said he had a criminal record. Police Tactical Teams responded shortly thereafter to an apartment complex where the gunman lived as a precaution. Some of the neighbors near the gunman’s apartment were evacuated for safety purposes. One neighbor, Adam Peyton told TheState.com he awoke to the sight of SWAT officer and vehicles in his neighborhood. The apartments are located near Zilker Park. He said it is a very close community. “As soon as they show his face, we’ll instantly know,” Peyton said.

Acevedo began to fuel speculation about the shooters potential motive according to theUSAToday article cited above. Stating the suspect’s targets indicated that he might have had anti-government motives linked to immigration. “If you look at the targets,” Acevedo stated, “it doesn’t take a genius that this is the potential. I would venture that political rhetoric might have fed into some of this, but that is speculation on my part.”

*This story is becoming updated as new information becomes available. 

Bob Price is a senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.

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Al-Qaeda offers $160K bounty for assassination of US Ambassador to Yemen and $23K for killing American soldiers

Yemenyemen

Al-Qaeda has placed a $160,000 bounty on the  head of the U.S. Ambassador to Yemen and $23,000 for the assassination of any  American soldiers in the country.

An audio produced by the group’s media arm,  the al-Malahem Foundation,  and posted on militant websites Saturday said it  offered three kilograms of gold for the killing of Ambassador Gerald M.  Feierstein.

The bounties were set to ‘inspire and  encourage our Muslim nation for jihad,’ the statement said.

Focus on the safety of American diplomats  abroad has intensified since Libya Ambassador Chris Stevens died in a terrorist  attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.

He was the first U.S. Ambassador assassinated  in the line of duty since 1979. His death, and the security at the consulate  compound, have been the focus of intense scrutiny by Congress – especially  Republicans who have criticized the White Housing handling of the  attack.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as the  group is called, is considered Al-Qaeda’s most dangerous branch.

The terrorist cell, thought to have up to 600  members, overran entire towns and villages last year by taking  advantage of a  security lapse during nationwide protests that eventually ousted the country’s  longtime ruler.

It has been responsible for numerous  assassinations in the capital Sanaa, including the shooting of a Yemeni security  guard outside the U.S. Embassy in October.

In late November, the Yemeni government  blamed a drive-by shooting that killed a Saudi diplomat and his bodyguard on the  local al-Qaeda branch.

The U.S. military and CIA have been waging a  covert war against the terrorist cell for years.

In September 2011, an American drone strike  killed Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born terrorist leader believed to be behind  an attempted bomb attack on a Christmas Day flight to Detroit.

Yemen’s army was able to regain control of  several al-Qaeda towns the southern region with the support of U.S. military  experts.

However, militants continue to launch deadly  attacks on security forces  that have killed hundreds.

In the capital, Sanaa, security officials  said two gunmen on a  motorbike shot and killed two intelligence officers early  Sunday as they were leaving a downtown security facility.

The officials, who spoke on condition of  anonymity according to  regulations, said all intelligence and security officers  have been  instructed to take precautionary measures outside working  hours.

The government blames al-Qaeda for the  killing of several senior  military and intelligence officials this year mainly  by gunmen on  motorbikes.

The officials said security authorities in  Sanaa have launched a  campaign against motorcyclists suspected of involvement  in these attacks or other crimes, arresting about 200 for questioning for  violations,  including driving motorcycles without license plates.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2254915/Al-Qaeda-offers-160K-bounty-assassination-US-Ambassador-Yemen-23K-killing-American-soldiers.html#ixzz2GlmANTxT Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Saudi Diplomat, Bodyguard Shot Dead In Yemeni Capital

A Saudi diplomat working in neighboring Yemen and his local bodyguard were shot dead on Wednesday in the Yemeni capital Sana, reports quoting the Saudi Embassy and local security officials said.

Khalid AL-Nazi, the assistant military attaché at the Saudi embassy, and his security assistant, were  attacked near the Saudi official’s residence in Bait Bataan district, a southern suburb of the capital near Hadar district, in the morning.

The gunmen, reportedly disguised as members of the security services, chased Nazi’s car before opening fire, and the vehicle flipped as the driver tried to escape.

Hadar is a high-security region, hosting foreign embassies and diplomatic residences.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, the second similar incident in as many months targeting foreign diplomats in Yemeni capital.

Al-QED in the Arabian Peninsula (ASAP) was suspected to have carried out the killing of a security official at the U.S. Embassy in Sana in October.   Saudi Arabia’s official news agency Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said “the Yemeni security authorities in collaboration with the Saudi ambassador to Yemen have already started investigation to know the circumstances and motives behind the crime and to bring the offenders to justice.” The Saudi Foreign Ministry is preparing to bring the body of its diplomat to the kingdom, SPA added.

by RTT Staff Writer

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