Australia – An Iranian teenager fatally shot a civilian member of Sydney's police force in a killing that officers believe is linked to terrorism, Australian officials said on the 3 Oct 15. The 15-year-old, who is of Iraqi-Kurdish background and was born in Iran, shot a New South Wales police finance worker with a handgun at close range as the man left work in the western Sydney suburb of Parramatta on the 2 Oct 15 said Commissioner Andrew Scipione. The teen then fired at responding officers, who shot and killed him, he added. "We are a long way from establishing a full picture of this man. His exact motivation still remains a mystery to us," said Mr Scipione. "We believe that based on the information that we have that this was politically motivated. If it's politically motivated violence, then under our definition, it is deemed necessarily an act of terrorism." He declined to release details on why police believe the teen's actions were prompted by politics. Police think he was acting alone, and do not know whether he'd been influenced or radicalised by someone else, Mr Scipione said. Officials had not received any warnings that a shooting was imminent, he said. Police did not release the shooter's name. The victim was Curtis Cheng, a 17-year veteran of the police force's finance department. He was shot from behind, and was likely to have been unaware of the killer's presence, said Mr Scipione. "We are not sure whether he was targeted because he came from a police facility," he said. "But he was certainly targeted in terms of the shooting. It was a direct shooting. Certainly wasn't a ricochet. It was a targeted shot that took his life."
Philippines – Two Canadians, a Norwegian and a Filipino woman have appealed by video to the Philippines to stop military operations, and to Canada to negotiate for their freedom with Islamist militants who abducted them. The four were snatched at gunpoint by 11 men, believed to be Al Qaeda-linked Islamist militants, at an upmarket resort on Samar Island in the Philippines on the 21 Sep 15 and taken to an unknown location in the south. "Please, stop all these operations so that negotiations can start," said a man, who introduced himself as John Ridsdel on the clip circulating on YouTube, while a machete was brandished behind his head by a militant who was holding him. The man said there had been artillery fire nearby, flights overhead and bombings and asked that they be stopped. The military operations could not be independently verified. Philippine authorities on the 13 Oct 15 declined to comment on the video, saying they will have to validate the authenticity of the material. Asked about the video, a Canadian foreign ministry spokesman said the government is "pursuing all appropriate channels to seek further information". Another captive, who introduced himself as Robert Hall, also appealed to stop the bombings, saying his life was in grave danger. A third man who introduced himself as Kjartan Sekkingstad was also made to plead for their lives. The woman seated beside Hall did not speak. The four were identified by the Philippines army in September as having been taken hostage. This was the first video of them since their abduction. All of them were shown to be sitting in a jungle while the militants with covered faces held rifles and machetes, and shouted "Allahu akbar" (God is greatest) at the end of the 2 minute 22 second video uploaded onto YouTube. The militants' leader spoke fluent English, demanding the artillery attacks be halted and the negotiation of the release of the hostages. It is unusual for Islamist militant leaders in the south to speak good English. The video had been uploaded on some Middle Eastern websites. The leader did not identify what group they belonged to or their location. There has been speculation they had been taken hundreds of miles west to Jolo island, a stronghold of Abu Sayyaf, a small but violent Islamist militant group, known for bomb attacks, kidnappings and beheadings in the southern Philippines. But army and police officials have previously denied the report, and the authorities could not say on Tuesday whether the hostages were taken to the island.
Russia – Russia is building an “arc of steel” stretching from the Arctic to the Mediterranean to threaten NATO navies, an alliance commander has warned and reported in a British newspaper on the 7 Oct 15. Naval commanders are facing “a more aggressive, more capable Russian Navy," as the Kremlin pours money into new equipment and bases on NATO’s flanks. Adm Mark Ferguson, who commands the US Navy in Europe and Africa, as well as heading NATO’s joint force command in Naples, said Russia was signaling that the seas around Europe are now “contested space”. More assertive Russian patrols are now operating in the North Atlantic and Norwegian Sea, as well as the Baltic and the Kremlin’s naval strategy appears to be “a direct challenge and confrontation with NATO”. Russian submarine patrols have risen by half in the past year and are back at levels not seen for a decade. He said: “This remilitarisation of Russian security policy is evident by the construction of an arc of steel from the Arctic to the Mediterranean." "Starting in their new Arctic bases, to Leningrad in the Baltic and Crimea in the Black Sea, Russia has introduced advanced air defence, cruise missile systems and new platforms. "It is also building the capability to project power in the maritime domain. Their base in Syria now gives them the opportunity to do so in the Eastern Mediterranean. Adm Ferguson said Vladimir Putin wants to preventing NATO operations, and breakout from what Russia sees as encirclement by NATO forces and sanctions. He said: “This is a sea denial strategy focused on NATO maritime forces. Their intent is to have the ability to hold at risk the maritime forces operating in these areas and thus deter NATO operations." Russian naval commanders have focused in recent months on practising for snap drills and sudden deployments that could wrong-foot NATO commanders. Adm Ferguson said in some instances “large numbers of ships got under way with little or no notice”.
Russian police have arrested a group of people they said were planning a terror attack on Moscow, the country’s anti-terrorism committee said on the 12 Oct 15, without giving details about the group’s motives. “After a series of investigations by the security services, a group of individuals was arrested in the west of Moscow suspected of planning a terrorist attack on the capital,” the committee was quoted by local media as saying. Investigators found about four kilograms (nine pounds) of homemade explosives in the suspects’ apartment, the official TASS news agency reported. Authorities did not give any details about the number of people arrested or their motives.
Turkey – Two explosions on the 10 Oct 15 at a peace rally in the Turkish capital Ankara killed at approximately 97 people and injured 245 according to Turkish officials. The blasts took place near the city's central train station as people gathered for a march organised by leftist groups. The attack is the deadliest ever of its kind on Turkish soil. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said there was evidence that two suicide bombers had carried out the attacks. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the attack, which comes three weeks before a re-run of June's inconclusive parliamentary elections, was an act of terrorism and was "loathsome". He has cancelled a planned visit to Turkmenistan. The rally was demanding an end to the violence between the Kurdish separatist PKK militants and the Turkish government. The two explosions happened shortly after 1000 hrs local as crowds gathered ahead of the rally. Amateur video footage showed a group of young people holding hands and singing, before the first blast. At the time of composing the report there has been no claim of responsibility yet for the twin bombings. But Turkey has had problems in the recent past with terrorist groups including ISIL, the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the far-left Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C). 361 COMMENT: For such a large terrorist attack it is unusual that no group has yet claimed responsibility. The PKK could be ruled out as the march was in their favour. The DHKP-C has so far targeted American interests. The type of attack and the amount of people that have been killed and injured resembles pre ISIS/L terrorist tactics. Al-Qaeda in Iraq would target large gatherings for employment or other reasons for large gatherings. It was thought that AQ in Iraq would sometimes put advertisements out themselves in order to gather large crowds. They would use two vehicle suicide bombers to create mayhem, death and injury. Although there was no vehicles used in this attack two foot-borne suicide bombers have caused just as much confusion and disorder in a scene littered with ball bearings. The one question that remains is why has no-one claimed the attack? Turkey is already edging its bets towards the ISIS/L. COMMENT ENDS
One of the suicide bombers responsible for Turkey's deadliest terror attack has been named by Turkish police as the missing brother of a terrorist who committed a similar attack in July 15, according to Turkish media. Yunus Emre Alagoz, whose younger brother Abdurrahman killed 33 people in a bomb massacre in Jul 15, was named by Turkish police in Cumhuriyet and Hurriyet newspapers. The second bomber was named by Turkish police as Omer Deniz Dundar. The attackers were identified using DNA. According to Turkish reports, the bombers arrived separately to the rally in Ankara from Gaziantep, south-central Turkey, and were part of a list of 21 individuals police were looking to question. His whereabouts had been unknown since Jul 15, when his brother carried out a suicide attack that targeted pro-Kurdish activists in the town of Suruc on Turkey's Syrian border. That attack was said to be linked to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, but the group never claimed they had organised it. It is believed that the two men may have returned from Syria to carry out the attack. The identification will no doubt lead to further attacks on the Turkish government as well as the intelligence services because they were aware of the threat. In the aftermath of July's attack, Turkish police wanted to find Alagoz fearing that he may also launch an attack like his brother.