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Bali bombing: Guantánamo inmate Hambali charged over 2002 attack

bali

A US war court has charged an Indonesian detainee at Guantánamo Bay in connection with the 2002 bombing in Bali that marked Indonesia’s deadliest terror strike, according to court documents obtained by the Associated Press.  The detainee known as Hambali also was charged in connection with an attack on the JW Marriott in Jakarta in 2003. According to rules of the US military commission, a military court will later decide whether a trial will be held.

The 12 October 2002 Bali resort island attacks killed 202 people including 88 Australians and seven Americans. A suicide bomber blew himself up inside a nightclub jammed with tourists at a popular beach, killing many instantly and forcing others to run outside. Another suicide bomber detonated a massive bomb loaded in a car parked on the street in front of two clubs.

In the second bombing on 5 August 2003 the JW Marriott Hotel was targeted because the building was conducive to the type of bomb being constructed. The perpetrators believed there would be a large American presence at the hotel and they “believed it would have the biggest overall impact”, the charging documents said. The attack killed 12 people and wounded 150. Hambali was captured in Bangkok in 2003, in a joint operation by the CIA and Thai police.(guardian)…[+]

Black St Louis police officer shot by white colleague ‘fearing for his safety’

police

A black St Louis police officer who was off duty when he heard a commotion near his home and tried to help fellow officers arrest three black suspects was shot by a white officer who did not recognize him, police said. A white officer who had just arrived on the scene of a suspected crime on Wednesday night saw the off-duty black officer walking toward other officers and, “fearing for his safety”, shot the officer in the arm, a police statement said. The wounded officer, who is 38 years old and has been with the department 11 years, was taken to a hospital and later released. The incident began with a report of a stolen vehicle. Police followed the vehicle and the suspects inside opened fire at officers’ vehicles until they crashed the vehicle believed to be stolen. The suspects got out of their vehicle and ran. The off-duty officer heard the commotion from his home nearby and rushed to the scene with his department-issued weapon. Two officers ordered the off-duty officer to the ground, but then recognized him and told him to stand up and walk toward them. As he was doing so, another officer arrived and “apparently not recognizing” him, shot the off-duty officer, police said.(guardian)…[+]

Franco-Swiss journalist dies in Paris after being injured in Mosul blast

mosul

The Franco-Swiss journalist Veronique Robert has died in hospital in Paris after being wounded in an explosion in Mosul earlier this week. She was caught up in a mine explosion in the Iraqi city that killed the Iraqi journalist Bakhtiyar Haddad and the French journalist Stephane Villeneuve. Samuel Foley, who works for Le Figaro, suffered injuries to his face and arm. Robert, 54, underwent surgery in Iraq before being transferred on Friday to Percy hospital in south-west Paris. She was an experienced conflict reporter and one of four people accompanying Iraqi special forces trying to retake Mosul from Islamic State. Robert and Villeneuve were working on a report for the French weekly television programme Envoyé Spécial.(guardian)…[+]

Trump questions impartiality of Russia investigation chief Robert Mueller

mueller

Donald Trump has questioned the impartiality of special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the US election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign. In an interview with Fox News aired Friday morning, Trump argued that Mueller, a former FBI director, is “good friends” with James Comey, Mueller’s successor at the spy agency whom Trump fired on 9 May. Trump later acknowledged he took this step with the Russia investigation in mind.

When George W Bush was president, Mueller and Comey worked together – Mueller as FBI director and Comey as deputy attorney general. Trump also said that some of the staffers that Mueller has hired for his investigation “are all Hillary Clinton supporters”. US news reports say some of these staffers have made campaign contributions to Democratic candidates. Asked point blank if Mueller should recuse himself from the Russia investigation, Trump said: “Well, he’s very, very good friends with Comey, which is very bothersome. But he’s also – we’re going to have to see.” Trump added: “I mean we’re going to have to see in terms – look, there has been no obstruction. There has been no collusion. There has been leaking by Comey.”.(guardian)…[+]

Qatar given 10 days to meet 13 sweeping demands by Saudi Arabia

qatar

Saudi Arabia and its allies have issued a threatening 13-point ultimatum to Qatar as the price for lifting a two-week trade and diplomatic embargo of the country, in a marked escalation of the Gulf’s worst diplomatic dispute in decades. The onerous list of demands includes stipulations that Doha close the broadcaster al-Jazeera, drastically scale back cooperation with Iran, remove Turkish troops from Qatar’s soil, end contact with groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and submit to monthly external compliance checks. Qatar has been given 10 days to comply with the demands or face unspecified consequences.Saudi Arabia and the other nations leading the blockade – the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt – launched an economic and diplomatic blockade on the energy-rich country a fortnight ago, initially claiming the Qatari royal family had licensed the funding of terrorism across the Middle East for decades. Since then, the allies appear to be pushing for the isolation of Iran and the suppression of dissenting media in the region.(guardian)…[+]

Teen killed by stray bullet while police fire at dog during response to ‘loud music’

teen illed bij bullet

Los Angeles sheriff’s deputies said they accidentally shot and killed a teenager while firing bullets at a dog during a response to a noise complaint, marking the latest killing by US police to spark national outrage.

Officers were responding to a call about “loud music” early Thursday morning when a pit bull charged at the deputies and bit one of them, according to authorities in California. A 17-year-old, identified by family members as Armando Garcia-Muro, initially restrained the dog, but the animal got loose, prompting two deputies to fire from about 5ft away, police said. Garcia-Muro was hit in the chest during the gunfire and later died at hospital, according to the sheriff’s office, which said it appeared a “skip round” had struck the teenager.The death of the Latino teenager came at the end of a week of intense backlash across America about police treatment of people of color. Police in Minnesota released footage of the fatal police shooting of Philando Castile, a black motorist whose death was live-streamed on Facebook by his girlfriend.(guardian)…[+]

Supreme court poised to examine Trump’s travel ban

high court

The US supreme court is set to begin action on Donald Trump’s travel ban, leading to a potential final resolution to the defining legal battle of the administration’s early days.The nation’s highest court is considering an appeal by the Trump administration to allow the president’s controversial order restricting travel to the US from six Muslim-majority countries. Two federal appeals courts have temporarily blocked the revised presidential order by Trump that sought to suspend the issuing of visas from the countries and freeze the US refugee resettlement program.

The appeals court rulings upheld decisions by district judges in Maryland and Hawaii who ruled against the federal government in March. The Trump administration appealed these orders to the supreme court, and on Wednesday made its final submissions, calling on the court to temporarily overturn the lower court stays until a full hearing later in the year. The nine justices are set to meet for their final closed-door conference of the court’s term on Thursday morning, meaning the pathway to a resolution of the case could be announced at any point.(guardian)…[+]

Afghanistan: Taliban claims responsibility for suicide car bomb attack

afghanistan

At least 30 people have been killed in Helmand province after a car bomb targeted soldiers, government employees and other civilians queueing to collect pay cheques from a bank in the provincial capital. The blast outside New Kabul Bank in Lashkar Gah is the latest in a series of brazen attacks in Afghanistan during the holy month of Ramadan. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. It has been responsible for similar attacks against the bank, where most government employees have their salaries deposited.

The Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, condemned the attack. The perpetrators “have no respect for any religion or faith. They are enemies of humanity,” he said. Lashkar Gah’s main trauma centre, received 23 bodies and admitted 43 injured patients. Several windows shattered at the hospital, which is close to the bank, but staff were unharmed, said Dejan Panic, a programme coordinator. Omar Zawak, spokesman for the Helmand governor, said 30 people had been killed and more than 60 injured, many critically. He said most of the fatalities were soldiers.(guardian)…[+]

Destroying Great Mosque of al-Nuri ‘is Isis declaring defeat’

iraq

The Iraqi prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, has said the destruction of the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul is an admission by the militants that they are losing the fight for the country’s second-largest city. One of Islam’s most venerated sites, the mosque has been destroyed by explosions as Iraqi forces battled Islamic State fighters who had holed up nearby. “Daesh’s bombing of the al-Hadba minaret and the al-Nuri mosque is a formal declaration of their defeat,” Abadi said, using the Arabic acronym for Isis.

Iraq’s military blamed Isis for levelling the mosque, almost three years after its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ascended a pulpit inside to proclaim himself leader of a new Islamic caliphate. “The Daesh [Islamic State] terror gangs committed another historical crime by blowing up the al-Nuri mosque and its historic al-Hadba minaret,” the militarysaid. The terrorist group said US-led airstrikes had caused the damage.

Images showing the mosque area and aerial photographs provided by the US military depicted scenes of widespread damage, with its renowned leaning minaret no longer standing and the compound largely in ruins. The Iraqi military later released video footage, which showed the minaret tumbling to the ground after explosives detonated near its base. The blast was indicative of bombs being deliberately placed to bring it down.(guardian)…[+]

Soldiers shoot suspected terrorist dead at Brussels railway station

Soldiers

A suspected terrorist was shot dead by soldiers in one of Brussels’ main railway stations on Tuesday night after what police described as a small explosion. Officers believe the man was wearing an explosive belt and a witness at Brussels Central station reportedly heard the man call out “Allahu Akbar” – “God is great” in Arabic – before the blast.  Police quickly announced they had the situation under control. “This is considered as a terrorist attack,” said the federal prosecutor’s office spokesman Eric Van Der Sypt. “The suspect has been neutralised by the military that were present at the scene immediately after the explosion,” he said. “He is dead.” Van Der Sypt said the prosecutor’s office still had “no idea” of the suspect’s identity. There were no other casualties in the incident.(guardian)…[+]