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Karachi attack: China consulate attack leaves four dead

DAR Diplomatic Security Sit-Rep Nov 27, 2018

Diplomatic Security image draft

Story From Nov 23rd

Gunmen have killed at least four people in an attack on the Chinese consulate in the Pakistani port city of Karachi.

Gunshots were heard at about 09:30 local time (04:30 GMT) outside the consulate in the upmarket Clifton area. Police shot dead three attackers.

Separatist militants who oppose Chinese investment projects in western Pakistan say they carried out the attack.

In another incident on Friday, at least 30 people were killed in a bomb attack in north-west Pakistan.

The blast occurred in a mostly Shia neighborhood in Orakzai district. Police say a suicide bomber on a motorbike drove into a crowded marketplace.

Pakistan’s Shia minority has often been targeted by Sunni extremists.

What happened in Karachi?

Three gunmen tried to enter the consulate but were stopped by guards at a checkpoint, reports said. Two of those killed in the attack were police officers.

A burning vehicle in a streetImage copyrightXINHUA
Image captionA burning vehicle near the attack site

Eyewitnesses reported seeing a blast, and local TV channels broadcast images of a plume of smoke. There is a heavy police presence in the area which has been cordoned off.

All the staff inside the consulate are safe, China said. The government condemned the attack on its mission and the foreign ministry in Beijing called for extra measures to protect Chinese citizens in Pakistan.

“At the same time we mourn the deaths of the Pakistani police and think of their families at this time,” a spokesman said.

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But the spokesman was keen to praise Pakistani security forces for its efforts to protect the consulate.

A separatist group, the Balochistan Liberation Army, said it had carried out the attack. It is one of a number of separatist groups operating in the province, which has seen a long-running nationalist insurgency.

“We have been seeing the Chinese as an oppressor, along with Pakistani forces,” a spokesman for the group told the AFP news agency.

Over the years, construction projects and Chinese workers in Balochistan have been repeatedly targeted by militants. Most recently, a suicide bombing in August injured a number of Chinese engineers.

So far, none of the incidents has been large enough in scale to really threaten the viability of Chinese investment in the country. But this is one of the most prominent attacks to date.

Officials told the BBC’s Stephen McDonell in Beijing they were confident the Pakistani government was able to manage the security situation to guarantee Chinese investment.

A female police officer, Suhai Talpur, who led the security operation during the consulate attack is being showered with praise, BBC Monitoring reports.

“Suhai Aziz, you have set an example of bravery. These are the women who are ahead of everyone,” Sindh provincial chief Murad Ali Shah was quoted as saying by Pakistan Today.

“They say women belong in the kitchen. Except when everyone needs a saviour,” columnist Aisha Sarwari tweeted.

Suhai Talpur joined the police force after passing the country’s civil services exam in 2013, according to local media.

“When my parents decided to enroll me at a school, most of our relatives started taunting my family. So much so, that my family had to leave our village and move to a nearby town,” she is quoted as telling The Express Tribune.

What is China doing in Balochistan?

By Secunder Kermani, BBC Pakistan correspondent, Islamabad

Balochistan is a sparsely populated region and has remained Pakistan’s most impoverished area despite being rich in gas and coal reserves, as well as copper and gold.

Baloch nationalists have long accused the central government of exploitation, and denying the province its due rights.

The area is at the heart of an ambitious Chinese project, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The corridor is a string of huge investments by China in Pakistani infrastructure, which aim to link its western Xinjiang province with the Arabian Sea port of Gwadar in Balochistan, as part of the One Belt, One Road initiative.

China has poured billions into Pakistan, and thousands of Chinese nationals visit the country to work on CPEC projects or other business ventures. Pakistan is keen to ensure nothing happens to jeopardize that and Chinese workers are closely guarded.

The assault on the consulate is particularly significant because it took place in Karachi, the commercial capital of Pakistan, rather than in the remote province where the militants are based.

The incident will deeply concern authorities who have described the Chinese funding as a “game-changer”.

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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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Suspect in Botched Olympics Attack on US Embassy in South Korea Arrested.

Diplomatic Security SitRep 02/13/2018

A Korean-Canadian man has been arrested for a botched Molotov cocktail attack on the U.S. embassy in Seoul, police said Monday.
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The man, in his 30s, reportedly told police the attack was to punish the United States, which “has bullied South Korea and me.” He is known to have a mental disorder.

According to Jongno Police Station, which is in charge of the embassy’s external security, the man lit a handmade Molotov cocktail just outside the barbed wire fence encircling the embassy and was about to throw the fire bomb over the fence at 7 p.m. Sunday.

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But he accidently dropped the Molotov cocktail into a bag filled with nine other Molotov cocktails, and set them all alight. He threw away the burning bag and fled, but was caught by police who rushed to the scene.

Police said the man had made the Molotov cocktails hours before the botched attack using soju bottles he had bought at a convenience store near his home in Sadang, southern Seoul.

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Embassy Guard recalls long, deadly night defending U.S. Embassy in Saigon in 1968

Diplomatic Security SitRep Flashback: 1968 Saigon Embassy Offensive

Harper Embassy Medal

Viet Cong bullets pinged off the Cold Spring Granite in the lobby of the new U.S. Embassy in Saigon.

It was Jan. 31, 1968, and 20-year-old Sgt. Ronald Harper, a Central Minnesota native, could hear the voices of enemy combatants seeking to break into the building with rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47 assault rifles.

Dust and smoke filled the air that first night of the Tet Offensive, a key moment in the Vietnam War marked by Viet Cong attacks throughout U.S.-backed South Vietnam.

Five Americans and 19 of 20 Viet Cong guerrillas died in the fight at the Embassy. Harper earned a Bronze Star for his service. Harper Bronze Star

Historians describe the Embassy attack and entire Tet Offensive as a turning point in favor of the North Vietnamese and against America. It showed the war was far from over. Amid growing anti-war sentiment, President Lyndon B. Johnson just two months later would call for talks to end the war and announce he would not seek re-election.

Now, 50 years after that attack, Harper runs his own business, Quality Appliance & TV Center, in Waite Park.He thinks regularly of that long night in Vietnam.

He remembers the comfort of a mid-fight cigarette provided by the Embassy’s Vietnamese night watchman after Harper pulled him from the fray. And he remembers the Americans who died at the Embassy.

“When my son went to Iraq (in 2009), it was on my mind daily,” Harper said, choking up.

The veteran, now 70, went on to have nine children with his wife, Cathy. The son who served in Iraq, Harper said, “he’ll be my successor at the store.”

Harper Saigon Flag

Harper smiles easily as he talks about his work, family, and life in the military and after it. He grew up in Cambridge, an hour east of St. Cloud and an hour north of the Twin Cities.

Harper joined the Marines in 1965. His friend came to visit for Harper’s birthday and suggested they enlist together.

Harper then became part of the elite Marine Security Guard, whose members have guarded U.S. Embassies worldwide for 70 years. Harper chose the Vietnam Embassy amid the war.

“I felt it was my duty,” Harper said. “I was always very patriotic. It was in my heart all my life. I loved my country. I still do.”

He held the keys to the Embassy in Saigon on Jan. 31, 1968 — 50 years ago come Wednesday. He was delivering a round of coffees to fellow servicemen on the night shift, and he was caught a few hundred yards away when Viet Cong soldiers blew through an exterior wall. 220px-Embassy_LZs

“The sky just lit up in a big explosion,” Harper said.

Harper made it back to the Embassy to lock the doors, thanks to two military police officers. They fought and died there.

Harper first secured the rear doors. At the front, teak doors, he pulled in the Vietnamese staffer. A rocket injured the other Marine security guard who was bleeding profusely.

“I wrapped him up like a mummy, but I couldn’t get him to be quiet,” Harper said. He could hear Viet Cong fighters within 10 feet.

Instructions came and Harper was ordered to double-check the doors. Harper found the watchman in the lobby and pulled him back again.

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The guard offered Harper a cigarette then, a relief for the Marine who didn’t bring his own smokes that night. Harper wasn’t even supposed to work that shift because a doctor had treated him for lung-tissue inflammation called pleurisy the day prior.

The fight continued for hours outside the Embassy, and Harper kept four civilians safe in the building.

“You’re tense,” Harper said of the six-hour skirmish. “You didn’t know what was going to happen in the next minute.” Harper Saigon Front Page

Daylight

Daylight brought the “best feeling” after Harper listened to fire all night. After 8 a.m., American forces broke through the front gate and opened fire again, Harper said.

“Here I am safe, and now they’re shooting at me,” he said with a laugh.

Harper didn’t go to bed for two days after the attack, he said. He was in shock and had some shrapnel injuries he didn’t notice at first. “The adrenaline was so high.”

The Tet Offensive prolonged his stay in Vietnam by three months. And it marked a shift in the war.

John Decker, an associate archivist at Stearns History Museum, lived through that change and served as a Navy Hospital corpsman in Japan from 1970 to 1972.

“It changed what people thought of the war,” Decker said. “We came back and we weren’t really welcomed.”

In the whole of the Vietnam war, Stearns County military casualties reached about 37.

Decker lost friends, classmates and two cousins. “We miss every one of those guys,” he said.

The U.S. lost over 16,000 troops in 1968, Decker said.

In mid-1968 Harper’s term in Vietnam ended. He went on to guard the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia.

When he returned to Central Minnesota, Harper worked in retail then opened his appliance store. That was 40 years ago.

Looking back on his service in Vietnam, Harper feels the U.S. did the right thing.

“I was in a different part of the world than the guys in the field. I didn’t meet a Vietnamese person I didn’t like. And I didn’t meet a Vietnamese person who didn’t like me,” Harper said. “In my mind, they were worth fighting for.”

Nora G. Hertel: 320-255-8746 and on Twitter @nghertel

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Search for Four Kidnapped Foreigners Oil Workers Continues after Suspected Pirate Attack

Nigerian security agencies have stepped up efforts to trace the four foreigners who were kidnapped when an oil company vessel was attacked off the country’s coast.

Suspected pirates stormed a vessel belonging to the Sea Trucks Group in the Gulf of Guinea, scene of a series of maritime attacks in recent months.

Two people were killed during the assault, which took place 35 nautical miles off Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta coastal region.

“We have intensified our search for the kidnappers and the abducted four foreigners,” said Nigerian Navy spokesman Commodore Kabir Aliyu.

A second official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said an investigation of the Gulf’s subsidiary creeks and waterways is also under way.

“We are leaving no stone unturned in our efforts to get back these four foreigners who were kidnapped aboard the vessel. We are redoubling our efforts,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Sea Trucks Group said the company’s main goal was the safe release of the hostages.

We are very focused on getting our crew back safely,” Corrie Van Kessel said.

Van Kessel confirmed the four people kidnapped were from Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia and Thailand.

Plagued

The Gulf of Guinea has been plagued by armed insurgency from militants in recent years, following widespread criticism of companies’ refusal to redistribute oil revenues among local communities.

From 2006 to 2009, armed gangs targeted a number of oil companies, leading to a fall of over 28 percent in the production of crude oil.

Despite a 2009 amnesty deal that reduced the violence, the region has seen a fresh rise in the number of reported pirate attacks in 2012.

In a report released in July, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reported that 32 incidents of piracy had been recorded off the coasts of Benin, Nigeria and Togo in the first half of 2012, up from 25 in 2011.

An IMB official told AFP that armed assaults on vessels in the area are being been under-reported.

Many of the raids include “high levels of violence,” the IMB report added.

Gunmen Kill 19 in Church Attack in Central Nigeria

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Armored vehicle sale surge as security tightens for the London Olympics

Fears of a terror attack at the London Olympics has seen demand for heavy-duty armoured cars soar by 200 per cent, it has been revealed.

The International Armoring (CORR) Corporation (IAC) supply heads of state and wealthy businessmen with vehicles that can withstand rocket attacks in some of the most dangerous countries in the world.

Now, they have reported a massive rise in interest from UK-based clients willing to pay up to £60,000 to have their cars secured as the countdown to the Games continues.

Mark Burton, 50, who is chief executive and president of the company who are world leaders in armoured car manufacturing, said: “The UK is one of our two fastest growing markets, along with South Africa.

“There has been a huge increase in interest and I would say it is around 200 per cent in the last year-and-a-half.

“This is a trend that has been going on for a number of years here, probably since the bombings in 2005 occurred.”

Business in Britain is now booming with the eyes of the world on London ahead of the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee.

Mr Burton added: “Here in the UK, there is such an international feel and a lot of individuals who work here are accustomed to a certain level of security in their own country so when they come here, that is something that they want.

“In early 2002, Salt Lake City hosted the Winter Olympics just after the September 11 attacks and we saw the same demands and requirements.

“Local security forces got involved and we are seeing similar interest here from forces who need added protection.

“They have recognised there is a threat and need to be discreet in what they offer.

“We do quite a few government agencies around the world, and a lot of corporations depending on there certain individuals are going and the type of concerns they face.”

The company also produces high-tech vehicles that come complete with James Bond-style grenade-launchers, tear gas and laser cannon.

The cars are created to withstand “almost anything you can bring to your shoulder” such as a rocket launcher, says Mr Burton.

The al-Qaeda attacks in New York in 2001 and London in 2005 have created a flourishing market in the both England and America.

He added: “Before 2000, there was a feeling – a lot like there was in the United States – that it would not happen here.

“But post 9/11, there has been more awareness and these fears have been brought home more.

“People used to find it secure and safe, but now we’re finding it a lot more that people are willing to pay additional amounts of money for peace of mind.

“I think that is because of an increased awareness that the situation out there is of concern.

“In the UK, a lot of it is perceived threat because of who the individual is – because they are wealthy or because of their political affiliation.”

The company are based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and have more than 300 employees worldwide.

Their UK operation is based in Ipswich, Suffolk, where they have 12 members of staff.

Since 1993, they have built and enhanced almost 8,000 vehicles for a variety of clients including more than 40 different heads of state and the Popemobile.

Although they cannot disclose details of customers, they include some of the wealthiest people in the world.

Mr Burton said: “In terms of highest demand, there is a lot of business in countries such as Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa, the Phillipines and all over the Middle East too, such as Pakistan, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

“These vehicles are not tanks, but the entire passenger compartment is protected.

“It is like you’re in a cocoon, but doesn’t look like it. If you went past one of our cars, you wouldn’t notice that it was armoured at all.”

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) are currently running a massive test of their preparation for the Olympics.

The operation – dubbed Exercise Olympic Guardian – has seen police, army, navy and RAF working together to test their ability to combat potential threats to the summer Games.

Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond said: “Whilst there is no specific threat to the Games, we have to be ready to assist in delivering a safe and secure Olympics for all to enjoy.”

It was also revealed that surface-to-air missiles could be deployed at six sites in London during the Games.

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