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Entries in British (5)

Monday
Jul022012

Three British Troops Killed by Man in Afghan Police Uniform

ISAF Photo by British Royal Army Sergeant James Elmer(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Three British soldiers from NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) were killed in southern Afghanistan on Sunday when a man dressed as an Afghan police officer opened fire on coalition forces.

The so-called "Green-on-Blue" attack happened at a checkpoint in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province.  

Britain’s Ministry of Defense said on Monday, "The soldiers were serving in an Afghan Police Advisory Team and had been to the check point to conduct a shura.  On leaving, they were engaged by small arms fire by a man wearing an Afghan Police uniform.  During this exchange of fire the three soldiers were wounded and despite receiving first aid at the scene, they died of their injuries."

The agency identified the soldiers as two serving with the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards and one serving with the Royal Corps of Signals.  Further information is being withheld upon the request of the soldiers' families.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr272012

Mystery Deepens in Bizarre British Spy Death Case

Joseph Devenney/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Of the myriad of questions surrounding the case of the British code breaker who was found naked and stuffed into a duffle bag in 2010, expert witnesses on Friday gave at least one answer: he most likely didn't put himself in there.

Gareth Williams, who worked for the British Secret Intelligence Service, or MI6, was discovered nude inside a padlocked duffle bag that had been placed in the bathtub of his London apartment in 2010. After a nearly two-year investigation, Scotland Yard has been unable to solve the case.

A new courthouse inquest is readdressing the case and Friday video footage was shown of two experts attempting -- and failing -- to lock themselves into a bag identical to the one in which Gareth Williams was found.

Peter Faulding, an expert in rescue from confined spaces, said Friday he failed to lock himself into the bag after 300 attempts.

"I couldn't say it's impossible, but I think even Houdini would have struggled with this one," he said. "My conclusion is that Mr. Williams was either placed in the bag unconscious, or he was dead before he was in the bag."

A second expert, yoga specialist William MacKay, also failed in the task, but refused to completely rule out the possibility that the spy had locked himself in the bag unaided.

Police said they have found evidence on a phone belonging to Williams of very occasional visits to bondage websites. Examination of his computer also showed he had visited websites about claustrophilia or the love of enclosure, the inquest has heard. No classified information was found at his apartment. A fellow spy told the hearing that an internal review had concluded that Williams' death was not connected to his work.

Police said thousands of dollars worth of women's designer clothes were discovered at his apartment, as well as wigs and makeup. Two friends of the dead man have testified that, to their knowledge, Williams had no interest in cross-dressing.

The inquest has been told by police that there was no indication of a break-in at the apartment, and nothing to suggest evidence at the scene was destroyed. Williams' body showed no signs of struggle, drugs, or poison. Detective Chief Inspector Jackie Sebire said police had been working under the assumption that the spy would have been unable to enter and lock the bag by himself, and that a third party must have been involved. She revealed on Tuesday that "two minor components of another contributor's DNA" were found on the zip toggle and padlock. Williams' family has said they believe another person must have been involved in his death.

Crucial forensic evidence may have been lost because it took a week for detectives to visit the apartment after the code breaker failed to show up to work at the headquarters of Britain's intelligence service in mid-August 2010. MI6 have blamed a "breakdown in communication" for the delay in raising the alarm.

Williams was working in London after being seconded to the British spy agency by GCHQ, Britain's secret electronic surveillance agency, where he had previously been employed. His former boss at GCHQ, Stephen Gale, told the inquest he was a "world class intelligence officer."

"He was considered something of a prodigy," Gale said.

His manager at MI6 has called him "a fully deployable, highly talented officer" who had passed exams to do some of MI6's toughest covert work six months before he was found dead.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Aug192011

Police: Kabul Attack on British Compound Linked to Pakistan

MASSOUD HOSSAINI/AFP/Getty Images(ISLAMABAD) -- Kabul's police chief claimed Friday the brazen dawn terror attack on a British compound in the Afghan capital that killed eight was planned and directed by senior Taliban members hiding out in Pakistan.

Gen. Ayub Slangi told ABC News the attackers, who used a truck bomb, suicide bombs and automatic weapons to besiege the British Council for hours were in constant contact with their superiors in Pakistan based on cell phones recovered after Afghan and international forces retook the compound. Slangi has previously said attacks in Afghanistan were directed out of Pakistan.

Police had intelligence Thursday night that there could be a terror attack in Kabul Friday, but did not know where it would take place, Slangi said. The coordinated attack began when a terrorist driving an explosive-laden truck detonated his cargo at the compound's entrance. That breach allowed several attackers sporting suicide vests, rocket-propelled grenades, hand grenades and AK-47s to enter the compound.

The militants held the compound for hours, holing up in rooms with bullet-proof windows and walls as Afghan and international forces fought their way inside.

When it was over, all of the attackers, one New Zealand special forces soldier and seven others were dead. The Kiwi was a member of a special unit embedded with Afghanistan's Crisis Response Unit, the same unit that was called into action when militants overtook Kabul's Intercontinental Hotel in June.

The British Council is a government-funded cultural and educational institution where their main focus is "English language support."

Friday is the anniversary of Afghanistan's independence from Britain.

British prime minister David Cameron said he spoke to his counterpart in the New Zealand government to thank him for the role the country's special forces had played in the response operation and condemned the attack as cowardly.

"This is a particularly vicious and cowardly attack, but is hasn't succeeded," British Prime Minister David Cameron said. "It will not stop the British Council and indeed our whole effort in Afghanistan to bring stability and peace to that country."

The incident marks the second time in three months international forces have been called to respond to a high-profile terror attack in Kabul. Afghan police are expected to shoulder more and more of the country's security burden as the U.S. prepares to withdraw 30,000 troops by the summer of 2012.

In a statement to mark Afghanistan's independence day, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday the U.S. will "remain committed" to Afghanistan.

"Being independent, however, does not mean being alone," Clinton said. "Throughout this transition and beyond, the United States will remain committed to Afghanistan and the region. We will continue to help the Afghan people rebuild after decades of war and assist the Afghan government, security forces, and civil society. The United States will remain a committed partner and friend."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr082011

Brits, French Ask NATO Allies for More Planes in Libya

US State Department(LONDON) -- The U.S. is confident that NATO can handle the heavy lifting in the mission to stymie Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's forces, but the alliance can't do the job if they run out of ground-attack jets.

With the U.S. only assuming what's described as a "support role," it means there'll be no American strike aircraft available, except for emergencies.  That leaves Britain and France to provide most of the war jets.

NATO say it's been able to fly sorties without a problem this week to enforce the no-fly zone over Libya and an arms embargo as Gadhafi loyalists continue fighting rebels for control of the country.

The new concern is having enough ground-attack jets on hand to protect civilian populations.  At the moment, NATO says the number is sufficient but with most of the planes flown by two members, Britain said Thursday it's time that others in the alliance send more aircraft.

British Prime Minister David Cameron is also getting involved, calling upon his counterparts in Italy, Spain and Belgium to contribute more hardware.

Meanwhile, Libyan rebels alleged Thursday that a NATO airstrike left two of their fighters dead and more than a dozen wounded near the eastern oil port of Brega.  If true, it's the second "friendly fire" incident in less than a week, which is primarily due to the coalition's poor coordination with anti-Gahdafi forces.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr072011

British Defense Sources Say Libyan Rebels Should Receive Training Fast

MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- British sources say Libyan rebels should receive training ASAP. The Guardian and other papers in London are reporting the British government is seeking ways to train and equip the rebels. Quoting unnamed British defense sources, the idea would be to get people like former special forces to train-up the rebels and get Arab countries to fund such training.

The ultimate goal is to strengthen their battlefield positions before negotiating a ceasefire.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐







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