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Pakistani Ex-Diplomat Charged with Plotting Consulate Attacks on US and Israeli Consulates.

Diplomatic Security SitRep:02/23/2018

cropped-diplomatic-security-situation-report.jpgCHENNAI: Former Pakistani diplomat Amir Zubair Siddiqui plotted to attack the US Consulate in Chennai, Israeli Consulate in Bengaluru, Eastern Naval Command HQ in Visakhapatnam and ports across the country, according to a charge-sheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the Poonamallee Special Court on Thursday.

The chargesheet named Amir Zubair Siddiqui, who was then visa counsellor at the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo.

Interestingly, Siddiqui was arrested for allegedly conspiring to attack vital establishments in India and was quietly withdrawn even before the NIA’s request under Mutual Assistance Legal Treaty (MLAT) reached Colombo.

The NIA filed supplementary charge-sheet against Amir Zubair Siddiqui and his aides Balasubramanian and Noorudeen under various sections of the Unlawful Activity Act 1967 and IPC for their involvement in conspiracy for waging war against the Government of India, causing explosion in the US Consulate in Chennai and at various places in South India, said the official statement.

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The 4,000-page supplementary charge-sheet filed in the Special Court for Terror Cases at Poonamallee near here said that the terror plot came to light after the NIA police personnel arrested an ISI agent Mohammed Zakir Hussain (37) through the ‘Q’ Branch of the Tamil Nadu police in 2013. The reason was that he was gathering details about vital installations in Tamil Nadu and sent photographs to Siddique.
Hussain used his counterparts Sivabalan and Mohammad Salim to circulate fake currency in the state. During questioning, Hussain also confessed that he had also used Rafeeque (29) to pump in fake Indian currency in the state.

NIA sources said, “Hussain had met Siddiqui in Colombo on a few occasions and was instructed to collect information about defence establishments, movement of arms and ammunition to the Indian Army and arrange fake passports and visa for two Pakistan nationals to enter India” “Siddiqui was not named in the charge-sheet initially because we did not have proper evidences before. Now that we have strong evidence to prove his involvement in the terror plot, a supplementary charge-sheet was filed,” the police said.

Gathering details and photographs
The 4,000-page supplementary charge-sheet filed in the Special Court for Terror Cases at Poonamallee near here said that the terror plot came to light after the NIA police personnel arrested an ISI agent Mohammed Zakir Hussain (37) through the ‘Q’ Branch of the Tamil Nadu police in 2013. The reason was that he was gathering details about vital installations in Tamil Nadu and sent photographs to Siddique.



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Motorcycle Gunmen Attack Israeli Embassy in Athens.

Israeli embassy in Athens Attacked by gunmen.
Israeli embassy in Athens Attacked by gunmen.

Greek authorities are said to be investigating a gunfire attack on the Israeli embassy in Athens, which took place in the wee hours of Friday.

Police have cordoned off a major road outside the Athens embassy, while forensic experts in white protective clothes were searching the area, reports AP. No one has been reported injured or dead so far.

Shots were reportedly fired from a motorcycle passing in front of the embassy, which is located on the corner of a busy highway, according to the police.

Moments later, two other persons on a second motorcycle reportedly participated in the attack that took place at 3:20 am local time.

The AFP reports that early evidence suggested a Kalashnikov assault rifle was used. Greece’s anti-terrorist squad will examine the bullet casings found in the scene to assess if the pre-dawn attack had any resemblance to other terrorist attacks in the past.

Friday’s attack comes just two days after a Palestinian official died in the West Bank after a confrontation with Israeli soldiers.

It can be noted that Greece has strongly been condemning Israel’s policies in the West Bank and Gaza and many protests have been held in Athens in support of the Palestinians. In recent years, far-left groups in the county have targeted vehicles of embassy officials.

In 2007, a rocket was fired at the US embassy in Athens while the residence of the German ambassador in Athens has been attacked twice with assault rifles in 2013 and 1999.



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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.



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

Tunisia Ambassador’s Secretary Kidnapped in Libya

Members of the coast battalion of the Libya Shield Force Western Brigade man a checkpoint in the western suburbs of the city of Tripoli

The secretary to the Tunisian ambassador in Libya has been kidnapped, the foreign ministry in Tunis said on Saturday.

According to an embassy source, the incident occurred on Friday when the kidnappers forced Mohamed bin Sheikh into their vehicle, which had stopped his car in the Ain Zara suburb of eastern Tripoli.

The ministry said it was in contact with Libyan authorities to obtain more information and to step up efforts to secure Sheikh’s release.

Tunisia was urging Libyan authorities “to ensure the protection of all employees and agents of diplomatic missions and consulates in Libya,” it said.

Libya has been struggling to establish security since its 2011 armed revolt which overthrew longtime leader Muammar Qaddafi.

With the country awash with weapons, the authorities have struggled to integrate militias into a regular army or police force.



Two killed in suicide attack outside Iranian consulate in Pakistan

Two security guards wee killed in an attack on the Iranian consulate.
Two security guards wee killed in an attack on the Iranian consulate.

 PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) – Two security guards were killed and more than a dozen people wounded on Monday in a suicide bombing outside the Iranian consulate in Peshawar in northwest Pakistan, police said.

 The attack was in an area housing offices of foreign diplomatic missions and non-governmental organizations in the sprawling city on the Afghan border.

“It was a suicide blast. A man walked up to the checkpost outside the foreign mission after parking his car nearby. The man blew himself up when he was stopped by security men,” a local police officer told Reuters.
 The wounded were taken to hospital where the condition of five was serious.
A spokesman for Pakistani jihadist Mast Gul, once acclaimed in Pakistan for his role fighting Indian rule in Kashmir, claimed responsibility. The group is affiliated with the Pakistani Taliban, who are fighting to topple the government.
              “We sent a suicide bomber to target the Iranian consulate and Iranians inside the building,” the spokesman said.
              “They unfortunately remained safe.
              “We will continue to target Iranian installations and the Shi’a community everywhere,” he added.
              Iran is Pakistan’s predominantly Shi’ite Muslim neighbor to the west. Radical Sunni militants frequently attacks Shi’ite targets   and mosques in Pakistan, describing minority Shi’ites as infidels to be exterminated.
Shi’ite Pakistani pilgrims are often attacked as they travel across the country to visit holy Shi’ite sites in Iran.
The attack on the Iranian consulate came as the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif tries to engage the Taliban in peace talks. Negotiations broke down this month after a string of attacks and counter-attacks by both sides.
 (Reporting by Jibran Ahmed; Writing by Syed Raza Hassan; Editing by Maria Golovnina and Andrew Roche)

Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Survives Vehicle Attack


Libya’s deputy prime minister survived unhurt after gunmen fired on his car in Tripoli on Wednesday in an attack reflecting the violent chaos plaguing the North African nation two years after Muammar Gaddafi’s fall.

The Libyan government is struggling to contain dozens of unruly militias, former rebel brigades and militants who kept their guns after the NATO-backed revolt against Gaddafi in 2011.

Deputy Prime Minister Sadiq Abdulkarim said he had been attacked on his way from the Interior Ministry to the General National Congress assembly. He is also interim Interior Minister since the previous minister quit several months ago.

“I tell those who did it that Libya is bigger than you and Libya’s men will not be threatened by bullets, guns or rockets,” Abdulkarim said a two-minute statement on television.

The state news agency said he had not been wounded in the attack. Abdulkarim, who appeared healthy in his television appearance, said he had returned to work afterwards.

The identity of the attackers was unclear, an Interior Ministry official said.

Libya’s difficulties in asserting state authority worry Western powers which fear that violence in the OPEC country could spill over to its North African neighbors.

Parts of Libya are already effectively under the control of militias, armed tribesmen and Islamist militant groups.

Libya’s fledgling army and police, still in training, are no match for the militias that fought in the anti-Gaddafi uprising. The government has tried to co-opt them with state jobs but they often remain loyal to their commanders or local regions.

Security has deteriorated in recent months. More than 40 people were killed in fighting between rival groups and residents in Tripoli in October. Car bombs and assassinations have become part of daily life in the eastern city of Benghazi.

An armed blockade of three major eastern ports by a group demanding a greater share of oil wealth and more regional autonomy has choked off 600,000 barrels per day of oil exports.

Prime Minister Ali Zeidan’s government faces a budget crunch due to the blockade, now in its sixth month. Oil exports, Libya’s lifeline, have more than halved during the dispute.

Russian Diplomat and Wife Stabbed in South Sudan


 Russian diplomat and his wife were stabbed in Sudan’s capital on Tuesday by a man enraged by the death of his brother in strife-torn Central African Republic, Khartoum police said.

The attacker wounded the consul general and his wife, mistakenly believing they were from a nation that had sent troops to his home country, the force said in a statement.

Both were in a stable condition, it added.

Central African Republic, which borders Sudan, descended into chaos in March after a mostly Muslim rebel coalition, Seleka, marched into the capital, unleashing a wave of killings and looting.

Its former colonial ruler France has sent in troops to defend its citizens and back up African peacekeepers trying to contain the violence. The European Union has also promised to send in soldiers, but Russia has no troops on the ground.

The attacker told officers who arrested and questioned him that his brother had been killed “by forces from the one of the European countries,” the police said.

“There was no motive other than revenge for the death of the brother,” the police statement read.

The duty officer at Russia’s embassy in Khartoum said he could not comment and the Russian Foreign Ministry could not immediately be reached for comment.


Armored Vehicle Saves Yemen Presidential Advisor during Assassination Attempt

Meanwhile, gunman managed to shoot dead two senior Yemeni officers in separate ambushes on their cars on Sunday, security sources said.
Meanwhile, gunman managed to shoot dead two senior Yemeni officers in separate ambushes on their cars on Sunday, security sources said.

An adviser to Yemen’s president has survived an assassination attempt, the country’s government said.

An unidentified sniper fired shots with a weapon equipped with a silencer on Sunday at Yassin Said Noman’s car, according to the official Saba news agency.

The incident happened when the vehicle was driving through the capital Sanaa, but the bullet did not hit Noman as the car was armoured, the agency reported.

The attack was the third attempt to kill Noman, who is vice president of the National Dialogue Conference and secretary general of the Socialist Party.

“Targetting such a well-known political personality and important national figure is targetting the move towards reform that Yemen is currently undergoing,” the agency quoted the government as saying.

Other attacks

Meanwhile, gunman managed to shoot dead two senior Yemeni officers in separate ambushes on their cars on Sunday, security sources said. 

Brigadier General Saddam Hussein al-Dhahri, the head of security of the presidential palace, was killed by an attacker from a passing car as the victim left work in the southern Yemeni city of Taiz, a security source told the Reuters news agency.

In a separate incident, Police Colonel Abdullah Gaithallah was killed in the southern province of al-Baida by gunmen who ambushed his car.

It was not immediately known who the gunman were, but Yemeni officials have blamed a string of similar killings of police and military officers on armed rebels affiliated to al-Qaeda.

Violence is common in Yemen, where an interim government is facing southern secessionists and northern Houthi rebels in addition to the al-Qaeda-linked fighters who are seeking to overthrow the government and impose Islamic law. 



Robber sneaks into John Kerry’s garage and breaks into his bodyguard’s car.

A robber was spotted breaking into a car  belonging to one of John Kerry’s bodyguards, which was parked at the Secretary  of State’s Georgetown home last night.

In a major security breach for Mr Kerry, a  white male was said to have broken into a detached garage on the property at  about 10pm before gaining access to the car.

Mr Kerry was on official business in Rome at  the time, but the break in is sure to be an embarrassment for the team of  bodyguards tasked with keeping outsiders at a safe distance.

A source told Fox 5 that the white male was spotted  breaking into a detached garage behind the $4.7 million home in the exclusive  Georgetown neighborhood where John F Kennedy used to have a home. 

The trespasser reportedly then broke into a  Ford Expedition belonging to a security guard, which was parked at the 23-room  townhouse.

According to his official schedule Mr Kerry  was at a dinner with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Rome, Italy,  at the time of the break in.

Washington DC police are investigating the  incident, but reports so far suggest nothing was taken.

The three-storey townhouse has been owned by  Mr Kerry’s wife since 1971, when she moved to Washington with her first husband,  Heinz heir John, who died in a plane crash in 1991.

It is not the first time people have been  able to get close to Mr Kerry’s many luxury homes. At the start of September his  $6.9 million Beacon Hill home in Boston was surrounded by anti-war protesters,  who banged on his front door and windows.

In July, police also arrested a 29-year-old  man who was spotted taking photos of the Secretary of State’s Boston home. 

Mr Kerry’s office has not yet commented on  the break in.



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Rebels Kidnap Libya’s Prime Minister

Gunmen from a former rebel faction kidnapped Libya’s prime minister on Thursday in reprisal for the government’s role in the U.S. capture of a top al Qaeda suspect.

Two years after a revolution ended the 42-year rule of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya is in turmoil, with its vulnerable central government and nascent armed forces struggling to contain rival tribal militias and Islamist militants who control parts of the country.

The militia, which had been hired by the government to provide security in Tripoli, said it “arrested” Ali Zeidan after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry confirmed Libya’s role in the weekend capture in the city of Abu Anas al-Liby.

“His arrest comes after … (Kerry) said the Libyan government was aware of the operation,” a spokesman for the group, known as the Operations Room of Libya’s Revolutionaries, told Reuters.

Zeidan is in “good health and will be treated well as a Libyan citizen,” and is being held at the Interior Ministry’s anti-crime department, an official with the department told the state news agency.

The Libyan government in a statement confirmed the premier was taken at dawn to “an unknown place for unknown reasons.”

The prime minister was taken from the Corinthia Hotel, where many diplomats and top government officials live. It is regarded as one of the most secure places in Tripoli.

The kidnapping raises the stakes in the unruly OPEC nation, where the regional factions are also seeking control over its oil wealth, which provides Libya with the vast bulk of government revenues.

Brent oil prices rose on the news.

“Everybody is watching this… We still haven’t seen any disruption to supply from Libya, so we don’t expect a spike in prices,” said Ken Hasegawa, a commodity sales manager at Newedge Japan.

A mix of striking workers, militias and political activists have blocked Libya’s oilfields and ports for more than two months, according to Oil Minister Abdelbari Arusi, resulting in over $5 billion of lost revenues.

He said on October 2 that oil exports could return to full capacity in days once the strikes ended.

Repsol and Eni, involved in western Libya, have seen output largely restored since fields reopened last month. But companies invested in eastern Libya are entering a third month of closures at several important export terminals.

Oil companies have become more wary of North Africa after an attack in January on the Amenas gas plant in neighboring Algeria, a top gas supplier to Europe and an oil-producing OPEC member.


U.S. special forces on Saturday seized Nazih al-Ragye, known by his alias Abu Anas al-Liby – a Libyan suspected in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Liby is being held on a Navy ship in the Mediterranean Sea.

The U.S. State Department was looking into the reports of Zeidan’s kidnapping and was “in close touch with senior U.S. and Libyan officials on the ground,” spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in Brunei, where Kerry is on an official visit.

The Operations Room of Libya’s Revolutionaries had been affiliated with the Interior Ministry which assigned them to provide security in the capital as part of a program to reintegrate former fighters.

Guards at the Hotel said there were no shots fired or clashes during the incident.

Al-Arabiya television channel quoted Libya’s justice minister as saying that Zeidan had been “kidnapped” and showed what it said were video stills of Zeidan frowning and wearing a grey shirt undone at the collar surrounded by several men in civilian clothes pressing closely around him.

Zeidan said on Tuesday Libyans accused of crimes should be tried at home, but that the raid to capture Liby would not harm U.S. ties – trying preserve relations with a major ally without provoking a backlash from Islamist militants.

But the raid angered militant groups, including one blamed for the assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in 2012, who called for revenge attacks on strategic targets including gas export pipelines, planes and ships, as well as for the kidnappings of Americans in the capital.


Nigerian Embassy in Guinea-Bissau Attacked by Armed Groups

Nigerian embassy attacked amid rising tensions in Guinea Bissau.
Nigerian embassy attacked amid rising tensions in Guinea Bissau.

Armed groups Tuesday attacked the Nigerian embassy in Bissau, capital of Guinea-Bissau, a country of about 1.7 million people. The reason for the action is not yet known.

The event is happening just as the country is preparing for its general elections slated for next month.

Guinea-Bissau currently has an Interim President, Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo, who emerged in May 2012 to head a transitional government following the sacking of the country’s democratically-elected government by a military coup.

According to The Guardian sources, armed personnel and militias stormed the Nigerian embassy in a commando style, attacking everyone in sight and eventually causing the closure of the Nigerian sovereign outpost.

As at press time, members of staff of the embassy, including the Nigerian envoy to that country, Ambassador Ahmed Adams, were said to be taking refuge in a police station. No casualty has so far been reported.

All efforts by The Guardian to reach the Nigerian envoy to the country failed. Although his telephone rang, he did not pick.

Although the Federal Government was yet to officially react to the development yesterday, it was learnt that the supervisory Minister of Foreign Affairs 11, Ambassador Nurudeen Mohammed, rushed to the Presidential Villa yesterday ostensibly, among other things, to brief President Goodluck Jonathan. All efforts to reach the minister yesterday on the matter failed.

Events in Guinea-Bissau took a dangerous turn on April 12, 2012, when the army arrested Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Júnior who was about to be elected president. A military junta accused him of conspiring with Angola to curtail the military’s power and quickly installed transitional authorities, before officially stepping aside on May 22. International condemnation was swift, but differences developed between the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP).

The country was actually in the process of conducting elections when the military overthrew the constitutional order on April 12, 2012. This incident resulted in the suspension of the country from all international organisations. However, following the country’s inability to form a government well over a month after the coup, Nigeria, in close collaboration with ECOWAS, assisted in negotiations that resulted in the transitional government led by President Manuel Nhamadjo. Since then, Nigeria has provided various forms of assistance to Guinea- Bissau to the value of $50 million.

The Guardian learnt Tuesday that some high grade pick-up vans meant to be donated next week to Guinea-Bissau for the upcoming elections have now been put on hold following yesterday’s ugly development.

Author of this article: From Oghogho Obayuwana, Foreign Affairs



Egypt Central Bank Chief’s Bodyguard Killed and Car Stolen.

Egypt Central Bank Chief's Bodyguard Killed & Car Stolen.
Egypt Central Bank Chief’s Bodyguard Killed & Car Stolen.

CAIRO — Three masked gunmen on Wednesday stole the  car of Central Bank Governor Hisham Ramez in Cairo after killing his  bodyguard, the official MENA news agency reported.

Ramez’s bodyguard  and the driver were on their way to take him from home to work when  attackers chased them and opened fire on the governor’s car.

The  bodyguard was killed in a shootout with the assailants who forced the  driver to stop before seizing the car and fleeing the scene, MENA said.

Egypt  has been hit by a wave of crime and insecurity, including armed  robbery, since the ouster of president Hosni Mubarak two years ago.

On  Tuesday, dozens of masked men carrying wooden sticks and knives smashed  the glass front of a luxury hotel in Cairo before fleeing, according to  security official said. — AFP



City Councilor and Bodyguard killed in Laguna Ambush


CAMP PACIANO RIZAL, Laguna – A reelectionist city councilor and his bodyguard were killed in an ambush by a lone gunman Wednesday afternoon in San Pablo City, less than two weeks before the official start of the election period.

San Pablo City councilor Edgardo Adajar, 55, and his close-in bodyguard, Ronaldo Leonardo, 40, were killed at around 4 p.m. in Barangay (village) Concepcion in the city, said Superintendent Carlos Barde, city police chief.

He said Adajar was dead on the spot while Leonardo died in the hospital three hours after the ambush.

The victims had just stepped out of a cockpit and were about to board the official’s sports utility vehicle when the gunman appeared from behind and shot them at close range, said Barde.

Adajar sustained gunshot wounds in the head and body while Leonardo succumbed to two gunshot wounds in the body.

“According to [Adajar’s] driver, the councilor was already down on the ground when the gunman fired the second shot [hitting Adajar in] the head,” Barde said.

He said it seemed that the gunman, who escaped on a motorcycle driven by another man, carefully planned and waited for his target to come out of the cockpit.

Senior Superintendent Pascual Munoz, Laguna police director, who immediately formed a special task group on the case, said they were pursuing several angles in the investigation.

Among the angles are politics and personal grudges against the councilor, who is also known as a “hard-hitting” anchorman of a local radio station.

Adajar headed the city council’s committee on budget and authored two resolutions that sparked opposition to the P900- and P740- million loan transactions of the city government in 2012.

Members of a civil society group on Friday called on the Commission on Elections to place San Pablo City under its watch for fear the killings of Adajar and Leonardo are just the start of a violent election in May.

But although considered a “high-profile case,” the police have yet to tag the ambush of councilor Edgardo Adajar as poll-related with the motive still undetermined.

Barde also noted that the election period has yet to start until January 13.


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


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.

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