Kashmir – Seventeen soldiers and four suspected rebel fighters have been killed in an attack on an army headquarters in Indian-administered Kashmir, according to a statement by the army’s northern command. "Four terrorists killed in counter-terrorist operation at Uri. 17 soldiers make the supreme sacrifice," the command said on Twitter on the 18 Sep 16 referring to the Uri area, about 100 kms west of the troubled northern region's main city of Srinagar. The fighters first attacked a frontline base close to the border known as the Line of Control or LoC before moving onto the headquarters, army spokesman Colonel SD Goswami said. A witness in Uri said earlier in the morning that he could see smoke billowing inside the nearby infantry headquarters and continuous rounds of heavy gunfire could be heard. The Himalayan region has been in the grip of unrest for more than two months, with protesting residents clashing almost daily with security forces, in the worst violence to hit the region since 2010.
Kashmir/Hizbul Mujahideen – The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is examining around 22 bank accounts in south Kashmir that received unaccounted money and saw withdrawals coinciding with the current unrest in the valley, will probe possible links of the account holders with Hizbul Mujahideen or its cadres, Kashmiri separatists and terror financiers based in Pakistan reported on the 17 Sep 16. NIA sources indicated that in the event of the preliminary enquiry unearthing a direct link between the payments/disbursals and the ongoing protests, related offences may be added to the existing NIA case relating to JKART (Jammu Kashmir Affectees Relief Trust), a Pakistan-based frontal outfit of Hizbul Mujahideen charged with funding terror activities in India. NIA had registered JKART case in 2011 and after a thorough probe found that the trust, floated in 1999 at a meeting chaired by Hizbul chief Syed Salahuddin in Rawalpindi with the connivance of Pakistani government and ISI, was systematically raising funds in Pakistan and sending it to India through the hawala and banking channels. As per the NIA charge sheet, around Rs 80-crore was routed through JKART to India over eight years, mainly through banking channels. Sources said the preliminary enquiry begun by NIA last week into 22 bank accounts of individuals and firms based in south Kashmir has found suspicious money transfers. For instance, one account belonging to a carpenter received Rs 16 lakh and was abruptly closed within 3-4 months. Other accounts are of small and medium size firms with total turnovers between Rs 33-34 crore but which together showed a total income of just Rs 4 lakh in income tax returns. NIA has tracked withdrawals from these accounts timed a day or two before the protests that have marked the current cycle of violence. The agency is studying the dates of withdrawals to look for a pattern that may point to funds transfers to the trouble-mongers. "We are probing if those making the payments are linked to Hizbul Mujahideen or have relatives in Pakistan or PoK or who may have acted as conduits for terror funds arranged by Pakistan to fuel the current agitation," said a senior NIA officer. NIA will examine if the firms under the scanner just concealed income or if they were meant to act as terror fund conduits with little trading/business activity. "In case our suspicion is backed by evidence, we need not register a fresh case. The terror funding offences can be made part of the JKART case, in which a charge sheet and two supplementary charge sheets have been filed but the role of some suspects, including those linked to separatists, is still being investigated," said an NIA officer.
Kashmir/India/Pakistan – India’s military has carried out “surgical strikes” along the de facto border with Pakistan in Kashmir to thwart a series of attacks being planned against major cities, the army said on the 29 Sep 16. Pakistan’s military however accused India of killing two of its soldiers in “unprovoked firing” along the Line of Control that divides the disputed territory and said its troops had responded. India said its strikes targeted “terrorists” along the frontier. “Some terrorist teams had positioned themselves at launchpads along the Line of Control,” Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh, the director-general of military operations, said. “The Indian army conducted surgical strikes last night at these launchpads. Significant casualties have been caused to these terrorists and those who are trying to support them,” he told a press conference in New Delhi. “The operations aimed at neutralizing the terrorists have since ceased.” Singh said the decision to launch the strikes had been taken after the military determined the launchpads had been set up with “an aim to carry out infiltration and terrorist strikes in Jammu and Kashmir and various other metros in our country.” He did not say whether the strikes had been carried out by the Indian air force or by ground troops. The strikes come after the Indian government accused Pakistan-based militants of launching a deadly assault on an army base in Kashmir earlier this month that killed 18 soldiers. India has also been on a diplomatic drive to isolate its arch rival and fellow nuclear power since the attack on the base on September 18.
Pakistan – At least 12 people were killed and 40 wounded when two bomb blasts went off at a district court in north-western Pakistan, officials said on the 2 Sep 16. A suicide bomber threw a hand grenade at police guards before storming into the compound and blowing himself up in the court in Mardan town in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. "So far we have recovered 12 bodies of the lawyers, police personnel and civilians. Besides this, we rescued 52 injured, including lawyers, police personnel and civilians, from the spot," Haris Habib, chief rescue officer in the city of Mardan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where the blasts took place said. Earlier, four suicide bombers who were trying to attack a Christian colony were killed during a gunfight with security forces outside the north-western city of Peshawar, the army said. Soldiers backed by army helicopters fought back the fighters who had tried to attack the colony near Warsak Dam, just north of Peshawar. Asim Bajwa, an army spokesman, said "all four suicide bombers were killed" in the operation carried out against the fighters on the 2 Sep 16 and that a clearance operation was conducted. Two of the four suicide bombers detonated their vests and the other two were shot dead, the sources said. Pakistani Taliban faction Jamaat-ur-Ahrar claimed responsibility for the attacks. The group's spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, promised more attacks in a statement released to media. "We appeal to civilians to remain away from law enforcement installations and these un-Islamic courts. We will target them more," he said. Last month, the Pakistan Taliban faction and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant both claimed responsibility for a suicide attack at a hospital in Pakistan's Quetta that killed at least 70 people. The attack targeted a group of mourning lawyers, who had gathered at the emergency department of the hospital to accompany the body of a murdered colleague. The Pakistan army launched Operation Zarb-e-Azb under US pressure in 2014 in an effort to wipe out fighters and their bases in the North Waziristan tribal area. 361 COMMENT: There is a definite new trend here with this being the second type of attack on law personnel and locations. Whether it’s because other targets are a little more difficult and these are easier or as the communiqué staes its because they are un-Islamic. COMMENT ENDS
Pakistan – At least 25 people have been killed after a suicide bomber shouting 'Allahu Akbar' attacked a mosque in Pakistan during Friday prayers on the 6 Sep 16. More than 35 worshippers were injured when a huge blast destroyed the building, in the Mohmand tribal area of the country's North West, bordering Afghanistan. According to eyewitnesses, the mosque was packed with people during Friday prayers and the attacker shouted 'Allahu Akbar' before detonating an explosive vest. Part of the building, including its veranda collapsed in the blast, crushing worshipers, officials said. 'The suicide bomber was in crowded mosque, he shouted 'Allahu Akbar', and then there was a huge blast,' Naveed Akbar, deputy administrator of Mohmand agency, told reporters. Local tribal elder Haji Subhanullah Mohmand said the attack may have been carried out by Islamist militants seeking revenge after local tribesmen gathered a volunteer force and killed one and captured another insurgent. 'It seems to have enraged the militants and they got their revenge by carrying out a suicide attack in a mosque today,' Mohmand said. Pakistan's frontier regions, which are deeply conservative and hard to access due to rough terrain, have long been the sanctuary of fighters from al Qaeda, the Taliban and other militant groups. In 2014 the army launched a major operation in other parts of FATA including North and South Waziristan against insurgents who routinely attacked government officials and civilians.
Philippines/Abu Sayyaf Group – The Philippine government has blamed the armed Abu Sayyaf group for a blast that killed at least 13 people in the home city of President Rodrigo Duterte, prompting him to declare a "state of lawlessness". Duterte told reporters in Davao City on the 3 Sep 16 that he "may invite uniformed personnel to run the country according to my specifications". He said police and the military will be authorised to conduct searches "in a bid to stop terrorism". "This is not the first time that Davao has been sacrificed to the altar of violence," the president said, adding: "It's always connected with Abu Sayyaf before. They gave a warning. We know that." "We were ready for this," Duterte said when asked if the attack constituted a failure of intelligence. Interior minister Mike Sueno, earlier told local radio station DZRH that his office had information about an imminent Abu Sayyaf attack. "Yes, we expected this already. Two or three days ago, we already have an intelligence (report) on this," Sueno said. Another radio station also reported that Abu Sayyaf spokesman Abu Rami had confirmed that attack. Richard Heydarian, a Professor of Political Science at Manila's De La Salle University said that a "state of lawlessness" is not the same as martial law, whereby certain civil liberties are suspended. "What it means is that there is going to be more police presence; more checkpoints; the military could be involved and have more coordination with the police and if necessary impose a curfew. But basic civil liberties will still stand. "One thing we're still not certain about is whether it is going to be nationwide state of lawlessness, or only for Davao, because we've been getting mixed signals from different offices of the president." The blast took place on the night of the 2 Sep 16 at a night market in Davao, 960km south of the capital, Manila. The explosion occurred close to the high-end Marco Polo hotel that is popular with tourists and business people, city spokeswoman Catherine de la Rey said.
Philippines/Abu Sayyaf Group – The Abu Sayyaf armed group has freed a Norwegian man held hostage in the southern Philippines for almost a year after a ransom was reportedly paid it was reported on the 17 Sep 16. Kjartan Sekkingstad, 56, was handed over on Jolo island, about 1,000km south of Manila on the 17 Sep 16 after Abu Sayyaf received $638,000 in ransom for his release, said Abu Ramie, a spokesman for the armed group. Sekkingstad was abducted from a high-end tourist resort in Sep 15 alongside a Filipina woman, who has already been freed, and two Canadian men. In April and June, the Canadians - John Ridsdel, 68, and Robert Hall, 67 - were beheaded after ransoms were not paid, while the Filipina, Marites Flor, was released. Philippine official Jesus Dureza said Sekkingstad was handed over to the rebel group Moro National Liberation Front. The MNLF is currently in peace talks with the government and had been working with authorities to secure Sekkingstad's release. "He is well," Dureza said, adding Sekkingstad would be handed over to authorities on the 18 Sep 16 and then flown to the southern city of Davao. Norway said the release was a "positive development". The group released 14 Indonesian hostages earlier this year after negotiations and ransom terms were met. Felimon Tan, a regional military spokesman, said the latest release was "an offshoot of the ongoing military operations to sustain pressure against" Abu Sayyaf.
Thailand – At least one railroad worker has been killed when a bomb blast hit a train in southern Thailand, a few weeks after a string of bomb attacks in the Southeast Asian country’s tourist resort towns killed several people it was reported on the 4 Sep 16. According to police Captain Pramoj Juichuay, the deadly incident occurred when a bomb, planted on the tracks, was detonated as the train passed over it at a station in Khok Pho district in the southern province of Pattani at about 1730 hrs local time on the 3 Sep 16. The official said the blast ripped through half of the last carriage of the train, blew a big hole under the track and injured three others, including two other railroad workers and a female passenger. He added that an investigation had been launched into the incident. The train was on its way from Sungai Golak, a town located on the Malaysia-Thailand border in the neighbouring province of Narathiwat, to Hat Yai, the largest city of Songkhla province, near the Malaysian border. Other reports, however, said it was heading toward the capital Bangkok. Thai rescue workers attend to an injured victim after a small bomb exploded in the resort town of Hua Hin, Thailand on the 12 Aug 16. On August 11 and 12, nine bomb blasts also rattled the resort town of Hua Hin and the southern provinces of Trang and Surat Thani, killing four people and injuring dozens of others. There were also similar explosions in the tourist island of Phuket.
Turkey/ Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) – Eight members of Turkey’s security forces and 11 militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militia were killed in clashes overnight in southeast Turkey, security sources said on the 3 Sep 16. The fighting, in Van province near the border with Iran, followed a day of violence across the largely Kurdish southeast in which 27 PKK militants and at least seven security force members were killed.
Turkey/Da’esh – Three Turkish soldiers have been killed and four wounded during clashes with ISIL fighters in northern Syria, according to Turkey's armed forces reports claimed on the 7 Sep 16. The deaths are the first to be blamed on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group since the launch of Turkey's cross-border operation two weeks ago. In a statement on the 6 Sep16 the Turkish military said ISIL "elements" had targeted two of its tanks "in a rocket attack" near the Syrian town of al-Rai. The army initially said that two of its troops had been killed, but later said another soldier had succumbed to his injuries. Two Ankara-backed Syrian fighters were killed and two wounded in clashes with ISIL in the same region, it said. Turkey first sent tanks across the border on August 24 as part of a two-pronged offensive against ISIL and Kurdish-led forces.
Turkey/British Embassy/Da’esh – The British embassy in Turkey was closed as it emerged four people were arrested over fears of an ISIS plot to attack both the UK and German consulates on the 16 Sep 16. A security scare prompted the one-day closure of the embassy in the country's capital Ankara today while Germany said its offices would only provide limited services. It comes as Turkish authorities detained four people in an investigation into a potential threat against both the British and German diplomatic missions. However, no links were found between the suspects and any terrorist groups, the state-run Anadolu Agency said on the 16 Sep 16. The investigation was prompted by intelligence about a potential ISIS threat against the missions, Anadolu said, in a report also published by broadcaster Haberturk. Like most foreign missions in Turkey, the British embassy had been closed for consular services throughout the Islamic Eid al-Adha holiday which began on the 12 Sep 16. But it had been due to reopen on the 16 Sep 16 with the holiday officially over. The Foreign Office said the night before: 'The British Embassy Ankara will be closed to the public on Friday 16 September for security reasons. 'The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to within 10 km of the border with Syria and to the city of Diyarbakir.' Separately, the German embassy in Ankara said German missions in Turkey "will provide limited services until Friday" and "remain closed for any meetings," without giving further details. The mass-circulation daily Bild had said that German missions as well as German schools in Turkey were closed due to fears of an attack.
Turkey/Israeli Embassy – Police have shot and detained a knife-carrying Turkish man who tried to force his way into the Israeli embassy in Turkey's capital Ankara. The man, armed with a 30cm knife, ran towards the embassy shouting slogans and was shot in the leg, the governor's office in Ankara said in a statement on the 21 Sep 16. Officials said initial investigations showed that the man, identified as 41-year-old Osman Nuri Caliskan from the central Anatolian city of Konya, "appeared to be mentally disturbed" and had no record of links with any organised group. "A man approached the embassy with a knife and was shot by a local guard. Everyone on our side is safe," Emmanuel Nahshon, spokesman for the Israeli foreign ministry, said in a statement. "The assailant was injured in the foot. We don't know if he was attacking police officers or the embassy itself." He added that the assailant only managed to reach the "outer perimeter" of the building, but said the incident was still being investigated. Israel's embassy in Ankara said in a statement that the suspect "tried to stab a Turkish police officer" in front of the mission. "The embassy trusts the Turkish forces to control and investigate the incident," it added. Turkey's NTV television said employees of the embassy took refuge in a shelter during the incident. Caliskan was taken to Ankara’s Numune Training and Research Hospital, according to Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency. Roads around the embassy were closed after the incident and specialist police officers were sent to the scene. The Hurriyet daily reported that the attacker told police officers interrogating him at the hospital that he "did this to stop the bloodshed in the Middle East". Foreign missions in Turkey have been on a state of high alert following a spate of attacks across the country this year blamed on Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Kurdish separatist groups. The British embassy in Ankara was closed on Friday over security concerns. Three months ago, Turkey and Israel signed a deal to restore their ties which hit an all-time low after the 2010 raid by Israeli commandos on a Gaza-bound Turkish aid ship that left 10 Turks dead. Under the deal, the two countries are to begin the process of exchanging ambassadors to fully restore their diplomatic ties, although this has yet to formally take place.
Turkey/ Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) – Ten members of the Turkish security forces were killed in two separate attacks in south-eastern Turkey blamed on Kurdish fighters, according to local media reports. Six Turkish soldiers were killed in clashes with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) on a highway by the town of Uludere in Sirnak province near the Iraqi border, state-run Anadolu news agency reported on the 26 Sep 16. Two others were injured in the incident and security forces were in the midst of carrying out a military operation to capture the attackers late on Monday night. In a separate incident, two soldiers and two village guards were killed and six others were injured in a roadside bomb attack in Mardin province on the morning of the 26 Sep 16 Anadolu reported. Village guards are local civilians trained and employed to combat Kurdish fighters. The bomb, allegedly planted by the PKK members, exploded when a vehicle carrying the forces passed by, the agency said, adding that an operation was under way to hunt down the assailants who fled. The Turkish army said eight PKK members were "neutralised" on the 25 Sep 16 in ground and air operations in Hakkari province near the Iraqi border, Anadolu reported. It said 320 PKK fighters have been killed in Hakkari since the operations began several weeks ago. The figures could not independently verify the figures.