Entries in Suicide Bomb (16)


Twin Blasts Rock Damascus Suburb, At Least 34 Dead

Archival photo. LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/Getty Images(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- Two suicide bombers detonated vehicles packed with explosives in a Damascus suburb Wednesday, killing at least 34 people in a neighborhood of religious communities largely supporting the Syrian government.

State media accused “terrorists” of the blasts in Jaramana, which is predominantly populated by Christians and Druses, followers of an Islamic offshoot.  The vehicles exploded near commercial buildings during morning rush hour, in an apparent attempt to maximize casualties.

There was no immediate responsibility taken for the bombings.

The attacks illustrate a growing concern that Islamic militants are driving the Syrian opposition, attacking religious minorities and civilians that side with President Bashar Assad.

Syria’s minority groups have thus far been hesitant to side with the Syrian rebels, after living for decades under secular rule.  The country is predominantly Sunni Muslim; Bashar Assad is Alawite.

The dual bombings came just a day after the opposition claimed to have brought down Syrian aircraft.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Syrian Defense Minister Killed in Suicide Bombing in Damascus

AFP/GettyImages(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- Syria's defense minister and the president's brother-in-law were killed Wednesday when a suicide bomber targeted the national security building in Damascus, according to Syrian state-run TV.  Other top government officials were also said to have been wounded.

Defense Minister Dawoud Rajha, 65, died in the attack Wednesday after four days of battles in which Syrian troops used tanks and helicopters against rebels.  Rajha is the most senior official to die during the country's civil war, which has escalated since it began in March 2011.

The country's 62-year-old Deputy Defense Minister Assef Shawkat, who is Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's brother-in-law and a top aide, also died in the attack, according to state-run TV.

State television reported that the country's interior minister, Mohammad Ibrahim al-Shaar, is in stable condition after being wounded in the attack.  The head of the national security office, Hisham Bekhtyar, was reportedly critically wounded.

The Free Syrian Army and Islamist rebel group Liwa al-Islam claimed responsibility for the attack.

In a statement made on the group's Facebook page, Liwa al-Islam said it "targeted the cell called the crisis control room in the capital of Damascus," Al Jazeera reported.

Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zohbi appeared on state TV after the attacks, again blaming "foreign elements" and calling it a "terrorist bomb attack."

"[This is a] cowardly act that will only increase the determination of the army to chase them and only add to our resolve," al-Zohbi said.

He also blamed Arab and Western governments and their intelligence services for the attack, which he said those responsible "will pay for dearly."

It is still unclear whether it was a suicide bomber in a car near the building or someone who was able to get close to the Syrian leaders who carried out the attack.  The attack was close to Assad's residence and came during a meeting of cabinet ministers and senior security officials that included Rajha, Shawkat, Syria's interior minister, the country's head of intelligence and the head of national security.

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White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said today that the bombing in Syria “makes clear that Assad is losing control” and that the “window is closing” to find a peaceful solution to the violence.

Carney stressed that the administration does not “believe that violence is the answer” to the escalating crisis, but stopped short of condemning the attack on top officials of the Assad regime.

“It is precisely because of the ongoing campaign by President Assad against his own people that we are seeing a situation that is getting worse and worse,” Carney told reporters at the daily briefing. “That is why it is so important for the international community to come together around a plan that produces the transition -- the political transition that is essential if Syria is to have a brighter future.”

Carney could not confirm whether Assad was a target of the bombing or say where he is currently located and he did not have any information about who may have been behind the attack.

“We're still gathering details about the incident,” he said. “All I can tell you is that it reflects the fact that the situation is getting more violent every day in Syria. And it only proves the point that we've been making, that the window is closing. We need to take action in a unified way to help bring about the transition that the Syrian people so deserve.”

Carney confirmed that President Obama called Russian President Putin today to discuss the situation in Syria, but did not have a full readout for the press yet. He confirmed that the U.S. is working with its partners at the UN to try to “bring about the consensus that we believe is absolutely necessary.”

“One concern expressed by those who have resisted supporting a transition that would see Assad remove himself from power is that it would -- that that outcome would cause the situation to spiral out of control or cause chaos or more violence. And our argument has always been that the situation as it exists with Assad in power is what will result in greater violence and greater chaos. And that is being borne out, unfortunately,” Carney said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Iraq Sentences Three to Death for Parliament Bomb Plot

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) -- As Iraq suffered through another day of violence, the country's Supreme Judicial Council on Thursday gave the death penalty to three men who plotted to blow up the parliament building last November.

One person died and six were wounded by the suicide car bomb blast inside the parking lot next to parliament.

Three suspects were apprehended afterwards and connected to al Qaeda's Iraqi affiliate, the Islamic State of Iraq.  They were sentenced to die by hanging for masterminding the scheme.

Meanwhile, Iraqi authorities reported a series of bomb attacks around the country Thursday that left at least 22 people dead and more than 100 wounded in what were mainly sectarian strikes against Shiites.

In the deadliest assault, eight people died and 30 were injured after a car bomb went off in a Baghdad marketplace mostly frequented by Shiites.

June has been a particularly violent month in Iraq, with the death toll from militant attacks approaching 200.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Nine Killed in Suicide Car Bombing at Afghan Airport

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(JALALABAD, Afghanistan) -- Nine people were killed and at least six others were wounded in Afghanistan Monday when a suicide car bomber targeted the entrance of a military airfield in Jalalabad.

The attack on the airport, which serves as a base for NATO troops, is the latest in a string of violence that has erupted in the country ever since it was discovered that coalition forces burned Korans and other religious materials at Bagram Air Field early last week.

According to Jalalabad's police chief, six civilians, two private contractor guards and a soldier died in Monday's attack.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the bombing.  The group said the incident was in revenge for the burning of Korans by American soldiers.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Dozens Killed, Injured in Attacks During Holy Holiday in Afghanistan

MASSOUD HOSSAINI/AFP/Getty ImagesUPDATE: The Taliban has issued a statement denying any kind of involvement in Tuesday's attacks in Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif.

(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- For the first time, militants targeted Shiite mourners in Afghanistan on one of their holiest holidays Tuesday, setting off bombs in downtown Kabul and the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, according to police officials.

In the most significant attack, at least 54 people were killed and 164 injured, according to the Afghan health ministry, when a suicide bomber blew himself up in the Abul Fazel Shrine in the middle of Kabul, not far from the ministry of defense and the presidential palace.  Reporters at the shrine described a horrific scene, with bodies of the dead and injured strewn across the entry of the shrine and the street outside.

Almost simultaneously, a bomb hidden in a bicycle exploded by a Shiite shrine in Mazar-e-Sharif, the largest city in northern Afghanistan, near the border with Uzbekistan.  Four were killed and 21 others were injured in that attack, according to police.

Tuesday is Ashurra, a national holiday in many Muslim countries that marks the death of the prophet’s grandson Hussein -- an event that helped cement the separation of Shia and Sunni Islam.  Shiites mark the day by mourning, often beating or cutting themselves to reenact the pain that Hussein suffered.

There has been horrible violence on Ashurra in Iraq over the years -- as well as in Pakistan -- but never in Afghanistan, which is why Tuesday's attack is troubling.  The Afghan Taliban is an almost entirely Sunni group, but there has not been major sectarian violence in Afghanistan since the initial U.S. invasion in 2001.  The worry is that this will set off more sectarian attacks and instability in Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Suicide Bomb Targets Foreigners in Afghanistan

ABC News(KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN) – The regional office of IRD, a USAID subcontractor, was targeted Monday morning in what's being called a major attack; a suicide attacker driving a pickup truck began the attack, severely damaging the building. The explosion was followed by small arms fire.

According to Kandahar governor’s media office, the attackers took position inside a veterinary clinic in the area and continued to fire on security forces.

This was described as a major attack because it targeted both the UN and the USAID contractor in Kandahar city.

Although foreigners were targeted, none were killed. However, this attack does mark the second major attack on foreigners in Afghanistan in three days. According to UN, US and Afghan police officials, the UN building suffered severe damage from the truck bomb, and four civilians and one policeman were killed. Four individuals were injured, including one Nepalese guard at the UNHCR guesthouse.

On Saturday, 17 people -- including at least 9 Americans -- were killed when an armored bus was rammed by a suicide bomber's exposives-laden truck. It was the deadliest attack on coalition forces in more than two months, and was seen as a blow to the U.S.-led coalitions plans for a troop draw-down in the country.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


At Least 13 American Troops Killed in Suicide Bomb Attack in Kabul

ABC News(KABUL) -- Thirteen American troops were killed by a suicide car bomber that attacked their NATO shuttle bus in Kabul this morning, in the single deadliest attack in Afghanistan since Afghan insurgents shot down a helicopter carrying Navy SEALS in August, killing 38 people.

The attack killed more than 20 people, including three Australian NATO soldiers, who were killed by an Afghan soldier they had been training with when he turned his gun on them, officials said. The military bus was blown onto its side and completely charred.

Four American servicemen were wounded.

According to a U.S. military official, they believe the suicide bomber was not just looking for a target of opportunity but was likely waiting for the bus because there are regular routes the vehicles take.

Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, is supposed to be the most secure part of Afghanistan, making this an especially significant attack.

Afghan police and civilians who were standing nearby were killed and wounded. The exact death toll is still being sorted out.

The attack took place in the Nish District of Kandahar Province, at a forward operating base used by Australian NATO troops to train the Afghan soldiers.

The bus carrying the service members, called a Rhino, was armored.

Rhinos were used extensively in Iraq to shuttle people along the then-dangerous airport road.

The Rhinos are generally built with a v-shaped bottom to deflect blasts from roadside bombs. But the armor is no match for a giant suicide bomb coming from the side.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Suicide Bomber Assassinates Afghan Peace Council Leader

In this photo from August 26, 2011, Head of the Afghanistan Peace Council and former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani, speaks at a ceremony with local officials as more than 100 members of the Taliban surrender themselves to the Afghan Government. Majid Saeedi/Getty Images(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Afghanistan's struggle to make peace with the Taliban received a serious blow Tuesday when a suicide bomber detonated a bomb hidden in his turban during a meeting with the Afghan officials most critical to reconciliation efforts.

The blast killed Burhanuddin Rabbani, a towering figure who led Afghanistan's High Peace Council and has played a key role in nearly every step of Afghan history for the last 30 years, and severely wounded Masoom Stanakzai, the backbone of President Hamid Karzai's strategy in speaking with the Taliban.

The attack seemed designed to decapitate Afghanistan's peace efforts and deliver the message that at least some insurgent groups have no interest in peace. Rabbani's death removes one of the Taliban's oldest enemies and will reinforce the fears of Rabbani's followers that the Taliban can't be trusted.

The suicide bomber blew up explosives concealed in his turban, the third time in the last three months that insurgents have employed that tactic, according to police officials and an aide to Rabbani. The aide, Karim Aimaq, said the meeting was deemed so important, Stanakzai asked Rabbani to fly back from Iran to attend. The bomber had convinced Stanakzai that he was interested in talking peace, so he escorted into the meeting without being searched, Aimaq said.

No group immediately took responsibility for the attack, although the Taliban said in April that they would target members of the High Peace Council. Last month, Rabbani criticized the Taliban for refusing to embrace talks and for killing innocent Afghans.

The government has struggled to bring insurgents to the negotiating table in the last few years, mostly through backchannel negotiations. It was those negotiations that Stanakzai largely led, helping choose which Taliban interlocutors to reach out to.

The U.S. has followed suit, holding a handful of meetings with a man believed to be close to Taliban leader Mullah Omar. But U.S. officials told ABC News their own negotiations are largely dead in the water, and Afghan officials complained they were kept out of the loop.

Tuesday’s attack mirrors the one that killed several CIA officers in Khost, Afghanistan, along the Pakistani border, last December.

In that attack, an informant who the CIA officers believed could lead them to senior al Qaeda commanders turned out to be a double agent and blew himself up at the beginning of a meeting.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


ISAF Admits Reporter Accidentally Killed by American

NATO(LONDON) -- The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has admitted it mistakenly killed BBC reporter Ahmed Omed Khpulwak in Afghanistan earlier this year.

The attack occurred in July when a U.S. soldier mistook him for an insurgent after troops responded to a militant attack in the town of Tarin Kowt in the southern Uruzgan province.

Khpulwak was one of 19 people killed in the attack.

NATO launched an inquiry after the initial reports that Khpulwak had been killed by insurgents were questioned. According to the report, the soldiers were responding to an insurgent attack on the offices of Radio Television Afghanistan and attempting to clear the building after two suicide bombers had detonated devices when they noticed a man "with something clinched in one of his fists and reaching for something on his person with his other hand.”

Based on the preceding events, the soldier assessed the situation and responded to Khpulwak’s actions as those of a suicide bomber. The report concludes that he was shot dead by the American soldier.

ISAF said Khpulwak's death was tragic and has expressed condolences to his family, but also expressed confidence that its soldiers had complied with the laws of armed conflict and rules of engagement.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Suicide Attack in Kundoz, Afghanistan Kills Four, Injures More

abc new(KUNDOZ, Afghanistan) -- A suicide car bomber blew up his vehicle outside a small residential hotel used by foreigners early Tuesday morning, killing at least four guards working for GTZ, a German development company.
After the attacker detonated his explosives-packed vehicle, two other militants stormed inside the hotel in Kundoz City and engaged police in a two-hour gun battle, as per a police spokesperson.  

The source said 4 guards were killed. Ten other people, including an Afghan policeman, were injured.

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