Terror organisation al-Shabaab have claimed an attack that killed 28 people on a bus in Northern Kenya.
Around 100 gunmen, who are believed to have travelled over the border in Mandera county from Somalia, took the bus off the road before separating the passengers.
It is believed they asked travellers to recite passages from the Koran, shooting dead those who were unable to prove they were practising Muslims.
A statement on a website linked to the extremist organisation said the attack was carried out in retaliation for security raids on mosques in the coastal city of Mombassa earlier this week.
Kenya’s Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government claimed on their official account earlier today: “Attackers camp has been destroyed by KDF using helicopters and jets, many killed, operations continue.”
The bus was travelling to the Kenyan capital Nairobi when it was stopped in the northern county that borders Somalia.
Around 60 people were on the bus at the time of the attack, and it is thought that among the dead are Kenyan public servants – including four police officers – who were heading to the capital for the Christmas holiday.
Mandera East deputy County Commissioner Elvis Korir said the passengers were then separated into two groups. The Somali passengers watched in horror as non-Somalis were herded away from the bus and then killed.
Mr Korir added that many details over the attack remain unclear, but the deaths underscore fears over the lack of security, especially in the remote parts of northern Kenya.
Abdullahi Abdirahman, the Arabiya Ward Representative, told the Daily Nation: “This place has been prone to attacks, this is not the first time the government has totally ignored us, and you can now see the how many innocent precious lives have been lost”.
In early November, gunmen killed 20 police officers and two police reservists in an ambush in Turkana county in the northwest of Kenya.
The northern region of Kenya is awash with guns due to its proximity with Somalia and Ethiopia, from where the armed Oromo Liberation Front has made incursions into Kenya.
Since 2011 the Somalia-based terror group al-Shabaab, which is linked to al-Qaeda, have carried out a series of attacks in Kenya, including the Westgate Mall attack in which 67 people were killed.
This makes me so angry.
A 35-year-old Iranian web programmer is facing imminent execution in connection with developing and promoting porn websites, charges that his family insist are trumped up.
Saeed Malekpour, a permanent resident of Canada who was arrested in October 2008 after his arrival in Tehran, is convicted of designing and moderating adult content websites, acting against the national security, insulting and desecrating the principles of Islam, and agitating the public mind.
Speaking from Toronto, Malekpour’s wife, Fatemeh Eftekhari, said her husband has been informed of the verdict and has been transferred to solitary confinement for the sentence to be administered if the supreme court sanctions it. She says her husband was a web programmer who had written photo uploading software that was used in a porn website without his knowledge.
Human rights groups have expressed alarm over a sharp increase in the use of capital punishment in Iran. According to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI), 121 people have been hanged between 20 December 2010 and 31 January this year. An ICHRI report published in mid-January said that Iran has hanged an average of one person every eight hours since the beginning of the new year.
Last week prosecutor general Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi told reporters in Tehran that two people had been sentenced to death for running porn websites, without naming the convicts.
“Two administrators of porn sites have been sentenced to death in two different court branches and the verdicts have been sent to the supreme court for confirmation,” Dolatabadi was quoted by IRNA state news agency as saying.
Malekpour, who has been kept in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison for the past two years, was arrested by plainclothes officers and was initially kept in solitary confinement for almost a year without access to legal representation.
“For a long period we even didn’t know that he was arrested,” Eftekhari said. According to Eftekhari, Malekpour’s arrest was in the face of a new crackdown by Iranian government on “indecent” websites in 2008 to fight what they had described as “the campaign launched by western governments to corrupt Iranian youth”.
A year after his arrest Malekpour was put on state television to confess. He later retracted the confessions in a letter sent from inside prison in which he said they were taken under duress.
“A large portion of my confession was extracted under pressure, physical and psychological torture, threats to myself and my family, and false promises of immediate release upon giving a false confession to whatever the interrogators dictated,” he writes in the letter.
“Once in October 2008 the interrogators stripped me while I was blindfolded and threatened to rape me with a bottle of water.” He went on to say: “While I remained blindfolded and handcuffed, several individuals armed with cables, batons, and their fists struck and punched me. At times, they would flog my head and neck. Such mistreatment was aimed at forcing me to write what the interrogators were dictating, and to compel me to play a role in front of the camera based on their scenarios.”
Eftekhari said: “Even if my husband’s charges were true, which they are not, it’s hard to imagine why he should be sentenced to death. I think Iran is trying to intimidate the opposition or any sign of protest by sentencing an unprecedented numbers of prisoners to death.”
Malekpour’s sentence has prompted reactions from human rights activists and organisations who have launched a campaign to save his life. Lawrence Cannon, the Canadian foreign affairs minister, has also expressed concerns over his sentence.
Gloria Nafziger of Amnesty International in Canada, an organisation which has sought for Malekpour’s sentence to be commuted said: “Amnesty International is very concerned that Saeed Malekpour is facing a death sentence in Iran after an unfair trial and reports that he was tortured in order to confess to his crimes.”
Last month Iran executed Zahra Bahrami, a Dutch-Iranian woman convicted of drug smuggling, which resulted in a freeze of the Dutch diplomatic contacts with Iran.
They’re both so different!
Stockholm – Two days after five men were arrested over a foiled plot to massacre staff at a Danish newspaper, new details emerged Friday linking at least one of the suspects to Islamist extremists.
The five were arrested Wednesday for hatching what Danish officials called a plan to “kill as many people as possible” in an assault on the Jyllands-Posten daily, which sparked violent protests with its 2005 publication of a dozen cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
A Stockholm court said one of the five arrested in the Swedish capital was Sahbi Zalouti, a 37-year-old Swede of Tunisian origin.
Danish intelligence agency PET has identified one man based in Denmark as a 26-year-old Iraqi asylum seeker living in the Copenhagen suburb of Greve. He was freed Thursday but is still suspected of being connected to the plot.
The three men arrested in another suburb were all based in Sweden and had driven to the Danish capital overnight Tuesday.
They have been officially identified only as a 44-year-old Tunisian, a 29-year-old Swede born in Lebanon, and a 30-year-old Swede.
Both Danish and Swedish media have however provided the names and backgrounds of the men, identifying the Denmark-based Iraqi as Abdullah Muhammed Salman and the three residents of Sweden as Mounir Dhahri, Munir Awad and Omar Abdalla Aboelazm.
Most of the media focus has been on Awad, 29, who Sweden’s foreign ministry confirmed has been arrested twice before abroad suspected of terrorist links.
“Awad was arrested in Somalia by Ethiopian troops. That was in 2007. He was arrested in Pakistan in 2009,” foreign ministry spokesman Anders Joerle told AFP.
When he was arrested in Somalia, Awad was travelling with his then 17-year-old pregnant wife Safia Benaouda, who is the daughter of the head of Sweden’s Muslim Council Helena Benaouda, Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet reported.
Awad told the paper in a previous interview the couple had been tortured and interrogated there and that Swedish intelligence agency Saepo had helped free them.
“We know Saepo brought us home and we are very grateful,” he said.
When he was arrested in Pakistan in August 2009, Awad was travelling with Benaouda and there two-year-old son, as well as with Mehdi Ghezali, a Swede who had spent two years in Guantanamo Bay, Joerle confirmed.
“The Swedish foreign ministry helped them. I wouldn’t say to free him, but what we did was insist that he either should be tried or set free,” Joerle explained.
Zalouti, arrested in Stockholm Wednesday, had also previously been arrested in Pakistan for entering the country illegally.
The Aftonbladet daily meanwhile reported that Awad was connected to two Swedes of Somali origin who were found guilty by a Swedish court earlier this month of “planning terrorist crimes” in Somalia.
Awad, the paper reported, had shared an apartment in Stockholm with the two men, Mohamoud Jama, 22, and Bille Ilias Mohamed, 26, who are members of the Islamist movement Al-Shebab, which has declared allegiance to Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network and controls most of southern and central Somalia.
Jyllands-Posten and Swedish Expressen reported meanwhile that David Headley, who helped plan the 2008 Mumbai attacks and had reportedly been preparing several attacks in the Danish capital, had been in contact with a businessman in Stockholm not arrested Wednesday who may have been the mastermind behind the foiled operation.
Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who in 2007 sparked controversy with a drawing of Prophet Mohammed, has been reinvited to speak at Uppsala University, where he was attacked two weeks ago.
“The department (of philosophy) has reached a wise decision. Lars Vilks must be allowed to hold his lecture,” Uppsala University vice-chancellor Anders Hallberg said in a statement Tuesday.
“Violence and threats of violence cannot be allowed to silence people, not on campus or elsewhere,” the university added in the statement.
On May 11, Vilks was holding a lecture at Uppsala University’s philosophy department, when he was head-butted by a man while others shouted and attempted to attack him.
Police evacuated the lecture hall but some demonstrators resisted forcing officers to use tear gas. Two people were arrested.
Vilks’ attack occurred as he was showing a film by an Iranian filmmaker, depicting two homosexuals disguised as Mohammed, Swedish media reported.
Uppsala Univeristy was criticised in many Swedish newspapers for not showing enough support to Vilks after the attack and for initially refusing to reinvite him.
The university said Tuesday Vilks had accepted the invitation and that it would hold a new security assessment before holding the lecture.
Four days after he was attacked at the university, Vilks’ house in the south of Sweden was targeted in an arson attack.
In 2007, Swedish regional daily Nerikes Allehanda published Vilks’ satirical sketch to illustrate an editorial on the importance of freedom of expression.
The drawing prompted protests by Muslims in the town of Oerebro, west of Stockholm, where the newspaper is based, while Egypt, Iran and Pakistan made formal complaints.
I don’t get it, this guy hates the united states and wants Americans to die, yet he lives in the US.. what the fuck is this guy’s problem? And people wonder why I say: FUCK ISLAM.
Time to go through the looking-glass, even though thousands of (presumably christian) protesters gathered in front of the capital building last week.. it seems those very same people are outraged that muslims would gather at the same spot.
The event sounds like yet another Tea Party protest, or perhaps an encore of last weekend’s Values Voter Summit: Devout believers joining together this Friday to pray on Capitol Hill for the soul of America.
Who could argue with that? Well, when the believers happen to be Muslims, and there could be as many as 50,000 of them kneeling to pray in Arabic, yes, you could see how there might be some blowback from the usual suspects.
Indeed, the online publication from David Horowitz, FrontPageMag.com, sounded the alarm in an article Monday titled “Taking Islamism to the Streets,” and the title of the “9/12 Project” post is simply, “OUTRAGED!” The writers at “Bare Naked Islam” are calling the event “disgusting” and “treasonous” and warn that “50,000 Muslims, terrorists, and terrorist sympathizers” will turn the Capitol into “a giant outdoor mosque.” And Charisma magazine, a mainstream Pentecostal publication, quoted Christians in its account saying things like, “It is warfare time.”
The most organized pushback so far is from a new organization of a nativist bent called Stop Islamization of America, or SIOA. It describes itself as a group of “scholar warriors/ideological warriors in the cause of American freedom and Constitutional government”– and defines Islam as against those things. SIOA is using Friday’s event, “Islam on Capitol Hill,” as a launchpad for the group and to stage a counterprotest.
JERUSALEM (AP) â€” The outbreak of swine flu should be renamed “Mexican” influenza in deference to Muslim and Jewish sensitivities over pork, said an Israeli health official Monday.
Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman said the reference to pigs is offensive to both religions and “we should call this Mexican flu and not swine flu,” he told a news conference at a hospital in central Israel.
Both Judaism and Islam consider pigs unclean and forbid the eating of pork products.
Scientists are unsure where the new swine flu virus originally emerged, though it was identifed first in the United States. They say there is nothing about the virus that makes it “Mexican” and worry such a label would be stigmatizing.
Two Israelis who recently visited Mexico have been hospitalized with symptoms of the flu. Health authorities have not yet confirmed whether they actually have the virus.
The current strain of swine flu is thought to have originated in Mexico where more than 100 people have been killed by the disease so far.
Laboratories in the U.S. and Canada have confirmed that of the samples tested so far, the swine flu virus in Mexico and U.S. appear to be the same.