Kazakhstan – Security forces in Kazakhstan say they have killed five suspects linked to attacks on the 5 Jun 16 in the north-western city of Aktobe. Special Forces stormed an apartment in the city and killed four suspects, the National Security Committee (KNB) said. Another man was shot dead on the street after opening fire, the KNB said. Suspected militants shot three civilians at two gun shops in the attack on the 5 Jun before killing three soldiers at a military base. There were no causalities among the security forces during the 10 Jun 16 raids, the KNB said in a statement. Earlier on the 10 Jun police were locked in a gun battle with the suspects who refused to surrender and fired at officers, the KNB said. Kazakh authorities have not identified the group responsible for the Aktobe attack. Kazakhstan's President, Nursultan Nazarbayev, said the attackers had received instructions from abroad but did not specify any foreign country or group. Islamist attacks are rare in Kazakhstan. However Aktobe - near the Russian border - was the site of Kazakhstan's first suicide bombing in 2011. The attackers on the 5 Jun first targeted the gun shops, killing a vendor, a security guard and a visitor. They then reportedly seized a bus to break through the gates of the army unit, killing three servicemen. At least nine soldiers were injured during the attacks. Video on social media showed a group of armed men walking on the streets of Aktobe and apparently preparing to shoot. At least 11 other militants have been killed in police operations since the attack, according to reports.
Philippines/Abu Sayyaf – Abu Sayyaf terrorists killed one of its hostages in Sulu on the afternoon of the 13 Jun 16 after the 1500 hrs deadline for the payment of a 600mil Peso (RM53.2mil) ransom lapsed. Abu Raami, the designated spokesperson of the Abu Sayyaf, told The Philippine Inquirer by phone that they had killed Canadian Robert Hall. Raami said Hall's body would be found somewhere in Jolo town on the 13 Jun 16. The Abu Sayyaf was demanding the ransom for the release of Hall, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad and Filipina Marites Flor. Meanwhile, the Philippines Armed Forces is still verifying the report of Hall’s beheading. "I cannot confirm or deny it. We don’t have reports yet coming from our units on the ground. Will update you as soon as we get data or reports from line units," Western Mindanao Command spokesperson Major Filemon Tan said.
Russia/Iran/Syria – The defence ministers of allies Iran, Russia and Syria on the 9 Jun 16 held talks in Tehran on pressing the fight against opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The talks come as Damascus steps up its military campaign against both the ISIS militants and rebels in second city Aleppo whom it accuses of colluding with al-Qaeda’s Syria affiliate al-Nusra Front. Iranian Defence Minister General Hossein Dehghan said he and his counterparts from Russia and Syria were determined to deliver a “decisive” battle against “all terrorist groups”. Dehghan said the goal could be achieved by “blocking or preventing” these groups from receiving political support or weapons that could enable them “to conduct wider operations”. The fight against “terrorism” must be done based on “a mutual program and specified priorities,” he said after the talks, the results of which should be seen “in the coming days”. “We made decisions for what must be done on the regional and operational levels in an agreed upon and coordinated manner,” state television website quoted Dehghan as saying. “The terrorists and their supporters must know that the group fighting against them is determined to support this route until the end and will do so. “The first step toward restoring security to the region is comprehensive ceasefire” and humanitarian aids, said Dehghan. “We agree to a guaranteed ceasefire that doesn't lead to the strengthening of terrorists in this country,” he said, adding that “supporting the Syrian army forces” was another major topic. A Russian defence ministry statement before the meeting said talking points were “priority measures in reinforcing the cooperation between the defence ministries of the three countries in the fight with ISIS and al-Nusra terrorist groups.” Iran and Russia are Syria’s main allies against the various armed groups fighting Assad, including ISIS militants. Moscow has sent warplanes and Special Forces in support of his regime, while Tehran has deployed military advisers and trained and equipped pro-government militias. The visit of Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu comes after Moscow’s pledge to step up its air strikes against rebel forces in and around Aleppo. Tehran has provided Damascus with military and financial support ever since the uprising against the Assad regime erupted more than five years ago. Assad’s position in the battle field received a major boost after Moscow intervened to help last September. Russian forces helped government troops recapture the famed ancient city of Palmyra in March and are now backing a push towards Syria's largest dam at Tabqa in the Euphrates Valley. Shoigu was also expected to hold separate bilateral meetings with Syrian General Fahd Jassem al-Freij and General Dehghan. In a meeting with Shoigu, Iran’s secretary of Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani thanked “the courageous actions and policies of Russian President (President Vladimir Putin) and his effective support in the comprehensive fight against terrorism in Syria”.
Turkey – A bomb attack targeting a police vehicle in a central Istanbul district has killed at least eleven people, including seven members of the police force, the city's governor said on the 7 Jun 16. "Seven police and four citizens lost their lives," Vasip Sahin, Istanbul's governor told reporters. Thirty-six people were injured, three of them seriously, he added. Reports said the explosion took place close to the Vezneciler metro station, which is within walking distance of some of the city's main tourist sites including the famed Suleymaniye Mosque. Emre Rende, a freelance journalist reporting from Istanbul, said the "bus was targeted by a remotely detonated car bomb before a second blast believed to have been caused by a gas canister." "The attack happened close the Grand Bazaar so it might have been done to keep tourists away," he added. According to state-run TRT news channel, the bus was passing in the Beyazit district of Istanbul. Pictures showed the bomb had turned the police vehicle into mangled wreckage and that nearby shops had their front windows smashed out by the force of the blast. Turkey is on high security alert after two deadly attacks in Istanbul this year blamed on Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group, and a pair of attacks in Ankara that were claimed by Kurdish separatists and killed dozens. The two attacks in Ankara were claimed by the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK) - a splinter group of the better-known outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). The attacks have had a dire effect on the tourism industry heading into the key summer season. Some 1.75 million foreigners came to Turkey in April, down more than 28 percent on April 2015, the tourism ministry said in its latest release.
Follow on Report: Armed group Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK) claimed responsibility for a recent suicide bombing in Istanbul that killed 11 people. The TAK, which is seen as a splinter group of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), said Tuesday's (7 Jun 16) attack was revenge for Turkish army operations in the Kurdish-dominated south-eastern region. In an online statement on the 10 Jun 16 TAK said the attack was a suicide bombing. The group also repeated a warning that foreign tourists should not visit Turkey for their own safety.
Turkey/Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s office blamed Kurdish militants for a car bombing that killed 11 people in central Istanbul, while a second bomb on the 8 Jun 16 killed five people in the largely Kurdish southeast. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, meanwhile, said that the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), blamed for the 7 Jun 16 attack in Istanbul, had recently sought to revive peace talks and offered to lay down their arms. A ceasefire with the PKK collapsed almost a year ago. Yildirim, in comments broadcast live by TRT television, said Turkey would not negotiate to end the violence. On the 8 Jun 16 bomb targeted a police station in the south-eastern town of Midyat, killing three civilians and two police officers and wounding more than 30 others. The province borders Syria in a region where Kurdish militants have waged a three-decade insurgency. “All indicators and signs regarding the attack in Istanbul yesterday point to the separatist terror organization,” Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told a news conference, referring to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). “The Midyat attack is very fresh and we can only make an assessment once we have all the information,” Kalin said. There has been no claim of responsibility from Kurdish militants. They have carried out similar attacks in Turkey’s major cities in the recent past.
Ukraine – Ukraine has announced it has detained two suspected Islamic State militants who Kyiv says were planning to travel to Western Europe to stage terror attacks it was reported on the 1 Jun 16. In a statement on June 1, the SBU, Ukraine’s national security service, said the two, allegedly from Syria, were detained in the north-eastern city of Kharkiv, although it was unclear when. "The Kharkiv national security service of Ukraine has uncovered an attempt to send supporters of the Islamic State international terrorist organization from Syria by transit through Ukraine to western European states," the SBU said in the statement. The SBU said the two were assisted by an individual from an unnamed "neighbouring country" who was in the country illegally and wanted by Kyiv on suspicions of possible terrorist activity. A senior source said that the individual was a Russian national. The SBU said it could not provide further details because an investigation was still ongoing.