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JoopeA News > Israel and Gaza militants exchange fire, 10 killed

 

Israeli aircraft struck at Palestinian militants in Gaza on Saturday who responded with a volley of rockets which rained on southern Israeli towns, Israeli and Palestinian officials said. Palestinian officials said nine militants were killed, while on the Israeli side one civilian was killed and four others were wounded.
Exchanges of fire are common between southern Israel and the Gaza strip controlled by the militant Hamas group, but this is the worst in months.
Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Adham Abu Salmia said nine people were killed and 15 wounded in separate attacks on militant targets.
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said one Israeli civilian was killed and four others wounded when Palestinian rockets exploded in residential areas in southern Israel.
An Israeli military spokesman confirmed a total of four strikes in Gaza, saying the military hit Palestinian militants from the Islamic Jihad, one of several groups in Gaza which fires rockets into southern Israel. The spokesman said that the first attack specifically targeted a cell responsible for a Wednesday rocket attack that exploded deep inside Israel. That attack had caused no casualties.
The military "will not tolerate any attempt to harm Israeli civilians," the spokesman said. He spoke on condition of anonymity in accordance with military protocols.
The Israeli military released video footage taken from a military drone Saturday afternoon that shows Palestinians unloading rockets from a truck and preparing them for firing at Israel. The strike took place shortly afterward.
Abu Salmia, the Gaza health official, said five people had been killed and 11 wounded in the first attack. Islamic Jihad spokesman Abu Ahmed confirmed that one of its local field commanders, Ahmed Sheikh Khalil, was among the dead. He said Khalil was one of the group's chief bomb makers. "Today it was a great loss for us in the Islamic Jihad," he said. "The size of our retaliation will equal our loss," it said in a text message sent to reporters.
"Our response shall be in the depths of the Zionist entity," it said in reference to the Israeli heartland.
After the first airstrike, militants in Gaza fired over 20 rockets at southern Israel, Rosenfeld said.
Islamic Jihad took responsibility for firing the rockets in a text message to reporters, and released photos of the rockets being launched from the backs of pickup trucks. The group said this is the first time they are using this system as opposed to firing them from launchers on the ground.
One rocket hit an apartment building in the southern city of Ashkelon and injured a 50 year-old Israeli who later died of his wounds, Rosenfeld said. Another exploded outside an apartment building in nearby Ashdod, injuring one person. Israeli television showed about a dozen cars in flames outside the building.
Another Israeli sustained shrapnel wounds in the nearby town of Gan Yavneh and others in the Ashdod region were treated for shock, the Israeli military spokesman said.
Israel's Channel 2 television reported that one rocket hid a school, causing massive damage. No one was hurt because the school was closed for the Jewish Sabbath, Ashdod Mayor Yehiel Lasri said.
Late Saturday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu phoned the mayors of cities hit by Palestinian rockets. Netanyahu said the military had hit rocket launcher squads responsible for the attacks and said "the military's response will be tougher if needed."
After the rocket barrage, Abu Salmia said that a second Israeli attack killed two people. Islamic Jihad confirmed that they were militants. Israel's military spokesman said that the second air strike had hit "terrorists that fired rockets on Israel in the evening,"
Abu Salmia said another Israeli strike late Saturday killed two more militants bringing the total to nine.
The Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad took responsibility for multiple suicide bombings and shooting attacks against civilians in Israel during the second Palestinian intifadah, or uprising, in the first half of the last decade.
Israel and Hamas, the militant group that rules Gaza, blamed each other for the flare up in violence Saturday.
"The Hamas terror organization is solely responsible for any terrorist activity emanating from the Gaza Strip," the Israeli military said.
Israel as a matter of policy holds Hamas liable for violence perpetrated by any of the different armed groups in the coastal territory.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum meanwhile said Israel is "fully responsible for all the results of this dangerous escalation."
In the winter of 2008, Israel launched a broad military offensive inside Gaza aimed at stopping almost daily Palestinian rocket fire at Israeli communities.
Since then, violence has continued sporadically along the border and Palestinians continue to launch mortars and rockets at Israel, but to a much lesser degree.
On Wednesday, militants fired a long-range Katyusha rocket that exploded near Ashdod in the south of Israel. Sirens also went off in the central Israeli city of Rehovot, which unlike many southern Israeli cities is not accustomed to rocket fire, causing panic. The Israeli military said the alarm went off because the rocket exploded in an area between the two cities.
Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said that Israeli diplomats "will protest against the indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israeli civilians to the U.N. Secretary General." He said a similar letter sent after Wednesday's attack has yet to be answered.

Palestinians carry one of five dead bodies of Islamic Jihad militants into the morgue of Al Najar hospital following an Israeli air strike on an Islamic Jihad training base in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011. Israeli aircraft killed 5 Palestinian militants from the Islamic Jihad group whom it says were responsible for recent rocket attacks on Israel, the military said Saturday. The military said it targeted the same group of militants that fired rockets that exploded near the Israeli city of Ashdod Wednesday night. No Israelis were injured in that attack.Israeli aircraft struck at Palestinian militants in Gaza on Saturday who responded with a volley of rockets which rained on southern Israeli towns, Israeli and Palestinian officials said. Palestinian officials said nine militants were killed, while on the Israeli side one civilian was killed and four others were wounded.
Exchanges of fire are common between southern Israel and the Gaza strip controlled by the militant Hamas group, but this is the worst in months.
Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Adham Abu Salmia said nine people were killed and 15 wounded in separate attacks on militant targets.
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said one Israeli civilian was killed and four others wounded when Palestinian rockets exploded in residential areas in southern Israel.
An Israeli military spokesman confirmed a total of four strikes in Gaza, saying the military hit Palestinian militants from the Islamic Jihad, one of several groups in Gaza which fires rockets into southern Israel. The spokesman said that the first attack specifically targeted a cell responsible for a Wednesday rocket attack that exploded deep inside Israel. That attack had caused no casualties.
The military "will not tolerate any attempt to harm Israeli civilians," the spokesman said. He spoke on condition of anonymity in accordance with military protocols.
An Israeli woman is evacuated after she was injured in rocket attack in Ashdod, southern Israel, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011. Israeli aircraft struck at Palestinian militants on Saturday who responded with a volley of rockets which rained on southern Israeli towns, Israeli and Palestinian officials said. The Israeli military released video footage taken from a military drone Saturday afternoon that shows Palestinians unloading rockets from a truck and preparing them for firing at Israel. The strike took place shortly afterward.
Abu Salmia, the Gaza health official, said five people had been killed and 11 wounded in the first attack. Islamic Jihad spokesman Abu Ahmed confirmed that one of its local field commanders, Ahmed Sheikh Khalil, was among the dead. He said Khalil was one of the group's chief bomb makers. "Today it was a great loss for us in the Islamic Jihad," he said. "The size of our retaliation will equal our loss," it said in a text message sent to reporters.
"Our response shall be in the depths of the Zionist entity," it said in reference to the Israeli heartland.
After the first airstrike, militants in Gaza fired over 20 rockets at southern Israel, Rosenfeld said.
Islamic Jihad took responsibility for firing the rockets in a text message to reporters, and released photos of the rockets being launched from the backs of pickup trucks. The group said this is the first time they are using this system as opposed to firing them from launchers on the ground.
One rocket hit an apartment building in the southern city of Ashkelon and injured a 50 year-old Israeli who later died of his wounds, Rosenfeld said. Another exploded outside an apartment building in nearby Ashdod, injuring one person. Israeli television showed about a dozen cars in flames outside the building.
Another Israeli sustained shrapnel wounds in the nearby town of Gan Yavneh and others in the Ashdod region were treated for shock, the Israeli military spokesman said.
Israel's Channel 2 television reported that one rocket hid a school, causing massive damage. No one was hurt because the school was closed for the Jewish Sabbath, Ashdod Mayor Yehiel Lasri said.
Late Saturday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu phoned the mayors of cities hit by Palestinian rockets. Netanyahu said the military had hit rocket launcher squads responsible for the attacks and said "the military's response will be tougher if needed."
After the rocket barrage, Abu Salmia said that a second Israeli attack killed two people. Islamic Jihad confirmed that they were militants. Israel's military spokesman said that the second air strike had hit "terrorists that fired rockets on Israel in the evening,"
Abu Salmia said another Israeli strike late Saturday killed two more militants bringing the total to nine.
The Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad took responsibility for multiple suicide bombings and shooting attacks against civilians in Israel during the second Palestinian intifadah, or uprising, in the first half of the last decade.
Israel and Hamas, the militant group that rules Gaza, blamed each other for the flare up in violence Saturday.
"The Hamas terror organization is solely responsible for any terrorist activity emanating from the Gaza Strip," the Israeli military said.
Israel as a matter of policy holds Hamas liable for violence perpetrated by any of the different armed groups in the coastal territory.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum meanwhile said Israel is "fully responsible for all the results of this dangerous escalation."
In the winter of 2008, Israel launched a broad military offensive inside Gaza aimed at stopping almost daily Palestinian rocket fire at Israeli communities.
Since then, violence has continued sporadically along the border and Palestinians continue to launch mortars and rockets at Israel, but to a much lesser degree.
On Wednesday, militants fired a long-range Katyusha rocket that exploded near Ashdod in the south of Israel. Sirens also went off in the central Israeli city of Rehovot, which unlike many southern Israeli cities is not accustomed to rocket fire, causing panic. The Israeli military said the alarm went off because the rocket exploded in an area between the two cities.
Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said that Israeli diplomats "will protest against the indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israeli civilians to the U.N. Secretary General." He said a similar letter sent after Wednesday's attack has yet to be answered.

Source: AP

+ | by Admin | On: October 30, 2011 | At: 02:08 | Comments (0)
JoopeA News > For Kurds in Turkey, a Country’s Conflict Rends Families

Portraits of Mevlude Gungen’s two eldest children hang just above the television, the only piece of furniture in her spare living room. On a recent day, the set was tuned to the station run by a Kurdish militant group, bringing her news of the conflict that has haunted her country — and her family — for years.

 Her daughter Emine ran away to join the militants two years ago, at age 14. Her son Ramazan, now 20, was drafted last year into the Turkish Army.

That has left the family, like so many others in this Kurdish corner of the country, stuck in the middle — caught between a guerrilla movement fighting for minority rights and local autonomy and a central government that says it wants to make peace, but fears carving up the country.

“My other children do not understand where either of them are,” said Ms. Gungen, 35, who has six younger children. “Sometimes I hear them saying, ‘What happens if they face each other? Do you think Emine will kill Ramazan, or that Ramazan will kill Emine?’ ”

She chastises them for voicing such thoughts, but says she wonders herself. She at least hears from her son, who writes and calls. But she has not heard from her daughter since the day Emine ran away to a militant training camp with her distant cousin and best friend, Heybet Gungen, who was also 14. Heybet’s brother Salih is also serving in the Turkish armed forces.

Ms. Gungen’s anxiety rises and falls with the frequency of the clashes between the government and the guerrillas, known as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or P.K.K.

Fighting has increased since June, rising to a pitch recently when a particularly deadly militant attack led the government to send thousands of soldiers to hunt down the fighters. Ms. Gungen pictures her daughter in danger — and alone. In late September, she watched in horror as the P.K.K.’s Denmark-based TV channel broadcast news that her daughter’s friend Heybet had been killed during a firefight with Turkish soldiers near the Iraq border, just an hour from home. She was 15.

“It was like I lost my own daughter that day, too,” Ms. Gungen said. “They were always together.”

Turkey and its Kurdish citizens have a long and acrimonious history. For decades, the central government, bent on a strict assimilation policy, cracked down on Kurds for expressions of their cultural identity, such as reading publications in Kurdish or listening to Kurdish music. That set the stage for an armed uprising that began in 1984, when the P.K.K. effectively declared war on the state.

Since then, more than 40,000 people have been killed in a series of militant attacks and government reprisals that drove hundreds of thousands of Kurds from rural villages. Turkey, the United States and the European Union designated the P.K.K. a terrorist group.

In recent years, the government — in an attempt to join the European Union — has made some concessions to the Kurds, but promised constitutional changes have yet to be made, and many people remain wary.

The struggle for Kurdish rights has been emotionally messy. Many in the Kurdish southeast are partisans of the P.K.K.; others remain sympathetic to the group and its ambitions but are, at the same time, weary of war and eager for a peaceful resolution.

Families find themselves similarly torn, especially since military service is mandatory for Turkish young men, including Kurds. The young men who feel the most passionate about the rebels run away to join them. Those who disagree with their methods, or are unwilling to live their lives as fugitives, are forced to take up arms for a country from which many feel deeply excluded — and sometimes to take up arms against those they know, or love.

Some Kurdish nationalists and analysts claim that the government has chosen in recent years to deploy more Kurdish conscripts in their home region, where they are more likely to fight the P.K.K., in an attempt to prove the rebels are cold killers and to gain Kurds’ support.

Source: New York Times

+ | by Admin | On: October 30, 2011 | At: 02:05 | Comments (0)
JoopeA News > Shelling in Syria kills 3 after deadly day

 

Syrian troops shelled a restive district on Saturday and conducted sweeping raids, killing three people one day after 40 were reported to have died in one of the deadliest crackdowns in months in the country's uprising, activists said.
The Syrian opposition's two main activist groups, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordinating Committees, said shells slammed into the Baba Amr district of Homs. Raids and arrests also were reported around the eastern city of Deir el-Zour.
The popular revolt against Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime has proved remarkably resilient over the past seven months, with protests erupting every week despite the near-certainty the government will respond with bullets and tear gas. The U.N. estimates the regime crackdown on the protests has killed 3,000 people since March.
Much of the bloodshed Friday happened after protests had ended and security forces armed with machine guns chased protesters and activists, according to opposition groups monitoring the demonstrations. Authorities disrupted telephone and Internet service, they said. At least 40 people were killed, according to the observatory and the LCC.
Friday's violence prompted strong criticism from the Arab League, which issued a statement expressing "disgust" at the killings. An Arab League committee was set to meet Sunday in Qatar with a Syrian delegation over ways to solve the crisis.
Syria's state-run news agency said the Arab League based its statement on "media lies."
The Syrian government insists the unrest is being driven by terrorists and foreign extremists looking to stir up sectarian strife, and blames the media for spreading lies.
Syria has largely sealed off the country from foreign journalists and prevented independent reporting, making it difficult to confirm events on the ground. Key sources of information are amateur videos posted online, witness accounts and details gathered by activist groups.
It is difficult to gauge the strength of the revolt in Syria, a country of 22 million people. The crackdown does not appear to have significantly reduced the number of protests, but neither does the regime appear to be in any imminent danger of collapse.
The result has been a monthslong stalemate.
Assad enjoys a measure of support in Syria. His main base at home includes Syrians who have benefited financially from the regime, minority groups who feel they will be targeted if the Sunni majority takes over, and others who see no clear and safe alternative to Assad.
Many Syrians as well as outside analysts consider sectarian warfare to be a real and terrifying possibility. They see their country as a fragile jigsaw puzzle of ethnic and religious groups including Sunnis, Shiites, Alawites, Christians, Kurds, Druse, Circassians, Armenians and more.
Many protesters are starting to see the limits of a peaceful movement, particularly when compared to the armed uprising in Libya that drove Moammar Gadhafi from power — albeit with NATO air support.
Although the mass demonstrations in Syria have shaken one of the most authoritarian regimes in the Middle East, the opposition has made no major gains in recent months, it holds no territory and still has no clear leadership.
In recent weeks, there have been growing signs that once-peaceful Syrian protesters are increasingly taking up arms to fight the military crackdown. There also are signs that army defectors are turning on the regime, although their strength is difficult to measure without independent access to the country.

Two Syrian regime women supporters hold a banner with a sarcastic caricature on it in Umayyad Square in downtown Damascus, Syria. Wednesday Oct. 26, 2011. Tens of thousands of Syrians packed a Damascus square Wednesday in a show of support for embattled President Bashar Assad, a few hours ahead of a visit by senior Arab officials probing ways to start a dialogue between the regime and the opposition. (AP Photo/Muzaffar Salman)Syrian troops shelled a restive district on Saturday and conducted sweeping raids, killing three people one day after 40 were reported to have died in one of the deadliest crackdowns in months in the country's uprising, activists said.
The Syrian opposition's two main activist groups, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordinating Committees, said shells slammed into the Baba Amr district of Homs. Raids and arrests also were reported around the eastern city of Deir el-Zour.
The popular revolt against Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime has proved remarkably resilient over the past seven months, with protests erupting every week despite the near-certainty the government will respond with bullets and tear gas. The U.N. estimates the regime crackdown on the protests has killed 3,000 people since March.
Much of the bloodshed Friday happened after protests had ended and security forces armed with machine guns chased protesters and activists, according to opposition groups monitoring the demonstrations. Authorities disrupted telephone and Internet service, they said. At least 40 people were killed, according to the observatory and the LCC.
Friday's violence prompted strong criticism from the Arab League, which issued a statement expressing "disgust" at the killings. An Arab League committee was set to meet Sunday in Qatar with a Syrian delegation over ways to solve the crisis.
Syria's state-run news agency said the Arab League based its statement on "media lies."
The Syrian government insists the unrest is being driven by terrorists and foreign extremists looking to stir up sectarian strife, and blames the media for spreading lies.
Syria has largely sealed off the country from foreign journalists and prevented independent reporting, making it difficult to confirm events on the ground. Key sources of information are amateur videos posted online, witness accounts and details gathered by activist groups.
It is difficult to gauge the strength of the revolt in Syria, a country of 22 million people. The crackdown does not appear to have significantly reduced the number of protests, but neither does the regime appear to be in any imminent danger of collapse.
The result has been a monthslong stalemate.
Assad enjoys a measure of support in Syria. His main base at home includes Syrians who have benefited financially from the regime, minority groups who feel they will be targeted if the Sunni majority takes over, and others who see no clear and safe alternative to Assad.
Many Syrians as well as outside analysts consider sectarian warfare to be a real and terrifying possibility. They see their country as a fragile jigsaw puzzle of ethnic and religious groups including Sunnis, Shiites, Alawites, Christians, Kurds, Druse, Circassians, Armenians and more.
Many protesters are starting to see the limits of a peaceful movement, particularly when compared to the armed uprising in Libya that drove Moammar Gadhafi from power — albeit with NATO air support.
Although the mass demonstrations in Syria have shaken one of the most authoritarian regimes in the Middle East, the opposition has made no major gains in recent months, it holds no territory and still has no clear leadership.
In recent weeks, there have been growing signs that once-peaceful Syrian protesters are increasingly taking up arms to fight the military crackdown. There also are signs that army defectors are turning on the regime, although their strength is difficult to measure without independent access to the country.

 

+ | by Admin | On: October 30, 2011 | At: 02:03 | Comments (0)
JoopeA News > Suicide bomber in Turkey kills 2, wounds 12

 

A female suicide bomber killed two people in Turkey's southeastern Kurdish region and wounded 12 others, authorities said.
The attack occurred in a main street of the mainly-Kurdish city of Bingol, Gov. Mustafa Hakan Guvencer said. There was no immediate responsibility claim, but Kurdish rebels who are fighting for autonomy in Turkey's southeast have carried out suicide bombings in the past.
Guvencer said the attack was on one of the city's busiest streets and three of the wounded were in serious condition. The blast shattered glass and shop windows in surrounding buildings. He said the attacker was a woman.
Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin said the blast was near the local branch of the ruling party, but the building was not the intended target. The attack came on the 88th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish republic.
Television footage showed people running away from the site of the explosion, while others urged people to evacuate the streets. Some were seen surrounding a corpse.
Turkey's conflict with the rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, has killed tens of thousands of people since the insurgents took up arms in 1984.
The attack comes 10 days after Turkey's military launched massive anti-rebel operations in both southeastern Turkey and across the border in northern Iraq —where the rebels maintain bases — killing dozens of rebels. Those operations were spurred by coordinated rebel attacks on military and police posts near the border that killed 24 soldiers — the deadliest one-day toll against the military since the 1990s.
The last suicide bombing was in September, when the attacker detonated a bomb outside a paramilitary station near a Mediterranean resort town, wounding two others. Ten days earlier, a car bomb in the capital, Ankara, killed five people. A Kurdish militant group, the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons or TAK, claimed responsibility for the car bombing and threatened more attacks.

A female suicide bomber killed two people in Turkey's southeastern Kurdish region and wounded 12 others, authorities said.
The attack occurred in a main street of the mainly-Kurdish city of Bingol, Gov. Mustafa Hakan Guvencer said. There was no immediate responsibility claim, but Kurdish rebels who are fighting for autonomy in Turkey's southeast have carried out suicide bombings in the past.
Guvencer said the attack was on one of the city's busiest streets and three of the wounded were in serious condition. The blast shattered glass and shop windows in surrounding buildings. He said the attacker was a woman.
Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin said the blast was near the local branch of the ruling party, but the building was not the intended target. The attack came on the 88th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish republic.
Television footage showed people running away from the site of the explosion, while others urged people to evacuate the streets. Some were seen surrounding a corpse.
Turkey's conflict with the rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, has killed tens of thousands of people since the insurgents took up arms in 1984.
The attack comes 10 days after Turkey's military launched massive anti-rebel operations in both southeastern Turkey and across the border in northern Iraq —where the rebels maintain bases — killing dozens of rebels. Those operations were spurred by coordinated rebel attacks on military and police posts near the border that killed 24 soldiers — the deadliest one-day toll against the military since the 1990s.
The last suicide bombing was in September, when the attacker detonated a bomb outside a paramilitary station near a Mediterranean resort town, wounding two others. Ten days earlier, a car bomb in the capital, Ankara, killed five people. A Kurdish militant group, the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons or TAK, claimed responsibility for the car bombing and threatened more attacks.

Source: AP

 

+ | by Admin | On: October 30, 2011 | At: 01:59 | Comments (0)
JoopeA News > Thousands march in Taiwan gay rights parade

Thousands of gay rights supporters have marched through Taiwan's capital, calling for increased tolerance and the enactment of anti-discrimination legislation.
The Saturday event is the ninth annual gay rights parade in Taipei, which has one of Asia's most vibrant gay communities.
The parade has attracted gays from around the world, with many marchers dressing up as prom queens, zombies or sumo wrestlers.
About a dozen men and women marched behind a Malaysian flag, deploring the absence of gay rights in the mostly Muslim country.
Ming Yueh of Kuala Lumpur said, "We hope to learn from Taiwan so we can help our friends back home."
Parade organizers called for legislation to wipe out deep-rooted gay discrimination in Asian cultures.

Source: AP

+ | by Admin | On: October 29, 2011 | At: 04:31 | Comments (0)
JoopeA News > Arab League calls for end to Syria bloodshed

Arab foreign ministers have urged the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to stop the bloodshed in his country, after activists said dozens of people were killed on Friday.

"The Arab ministerial committee expressed its rejection of the continued killings of civilians in Syria and expressed its hope that the Syrian government will take the necessary measures to protect them," the ministers said.

Arab ministers are due to meet Syrian officials on Sunday in the Qatari capital, Doha.


 

Anti-government rallies were held in many Syrian cities and towns on Friday, with protesters calling for international protection and a no-fly zone - like the UN-mandated no-fly zone over Libya that helped topple Muammar Gaddafi.

"We call on the international community to impose a no-fly zone so that the Syrian Free Army can function with greater freedom," the Syrian Revolution 2011 said on its Facebook page.

A defecting army officer who has taken refuge in Turkey, Colonel Riad al-Asaad, claims to have established an opposition armed force called the "Syrian Free Army," but its strength and numbers are unknown.

Syria's opposition National Council has also called for international protection, but has not explicitly requested military intervention. 

Assad has not used warplanes against protesters and a no-fly zone would have little impact on the crackdown unless-- as in the case of Libya - pilots attacked his ground forces and military bases.

Protesters attacked

Activists said 44 civilians were killed on Friday, most of them in the central cities of Homs and Hama.

Syrian security forces had encircled mosques to prevent protesters from demonstrating after weekly Muslim prayers, firing live rounds to disperse protesters, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The global campaign group Avaaz said 14 people had been killed in the Hama neighbourhoods of al-Qosour, Hamidiya and al-Jarajmah after security forces opened fire on protesters, and that dozens of residents were arrested in door-to-door raids.

Syria has barred most foreign media, making it difficult to verify reports from activists and from authorities, who blame
foreign-backed armed groups for the violence.

The UN estimates that more than 3,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since the uprising began in March.

The authorities say gunmen have killed 1,100 soldiers and police.

Assad held an inconclusive meeting on Wednesday with Arab ministers seeking to end the violence by mediating a dialogue between him and his opponents and pushing for political reforms.

The Arab League had urged both sides to agree to a dialogue within two weeks - a deadline that looms on Monday.

The authorities said they had major reservations about the proposal, while opposition figures said they could not sit down
for talks unless there was a halt to the killing of protesters, disappearances and mass arrests.

"Three days left, and we have 220 martyrs and counting," read a placard carried by protesters in the neighbourhood of
Rankous on the edge of Damascus. "Yes to dialogue - after the downfall of the regime," said another in Homs.

Source: Aljazeera

+ | by Admin | On: October 29, 2011 | At: 00:59 | Comments (0)
JoopeA News > Syrian forces kill 40, protesters urge protection

Syrian forces shot dead at least 40 civilians on Friday when they fired on demonstrators demanding international protection from President Bashar al-Assad's crackdown on pro-democracy protests, activists and residents said.

Tens of protesters were also wounded and hundreds arrested in one of the bloodiest days in seven months of protests demanding an end to 41 years of Assad family rule, prompting Arab ministers to send Assad their strongest message yet calling for an end to civilian killings.

The Arab League's committee on the Syrian crisis said on Friday it had sent an "urgent message ... to the Syrian government expressing its severe discontent for the continued killing of Syrian civilians."

The committee said in a statement it had "expressed the hope that the Syrian government would take action to protect civilians."

Arab ministers are due to meet Syrian officials on Sunday in the Qatari capital of Doha.

Most of Friday's killings occurred in the central cities of Hama, where Assad sent tanks and troops to crush large demonstrations three months ago, and Homs, a center of protests and an increasingly armed opposition to his autocratic rule.

"A no-fly zone is a legitimate demand for Homs," read banners carried by protesters in the Khalidiya neighborhood.

NATO warplanes played a central role in the overthrow of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, but the Western alliance has shown no appetite to intervene in Syria to halt violence which the United Nations says has killed 3,000 people.

Syria's opposition National Council has called for international protection. It has not explicitly requested military intervention, although street protesters have increasingly voiced that demand.

ASSAD'S STANCE

Assad has not used warplanes against protesters and a no-fly zone would have little impact on the crackdown unless -- as in the case of Libya -- pilots attacked his ground forces and military bases.

The anti-Assad protesters have been energized by Gaddafi's death last week. The demonstrations have spread to the countryside since tanks stormed several cities three months ago, forcing protesters to change their tactics of assembling in main squares and large, open spaces.

Authorities organized big pro-Assad demonstrations this week, with tens of thousands rallying in Damascus and the eastern town of Hasaka on Wednesday, and more pouring on to streets of the Mediterranean city of Latakia on Thursday. School children and public employees were ordered to attend.

Syria, a majority Sunni Muslim nation of 20 million people, is dominated by Assad's minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam.

Aware of potentially seismic geopolitical implications if Assad were to fall, leaders of the mostly Sunni nations across the Arab Middle East have been cautious about criticizing him as they struggle to deal with their own problems from the fallout of the "Arab Spring."

A Sunni ascendancy in Syria could also affect Israel and play havoc with regional ties, with Assad strengthening an alliance built by his father three decades ago while also keeping to his father's policy of avoiding armed conflict with Israel along the occupied Golan Heights frontier since a 1974 U.S.-brokered ceasefire.

Assad held an inconclusive meeting on Wednesday with Arab ministers seeking to end the bloodshed by mediating a dialogue between him and his opponents and pushing for political reforms.

The Arab League had urged both sides to agree to a dialogue within two weeks -- a deadline that looms on Monday.

The authorities said they had major reservations about the proposal, while opposition figures said they could not sit down for talks unless there was a halt to the killing of protesters, disappearances and mass arrests.

"Three days left, and we have 220 martyrs and counting," read a placard carried by protesters in the neighborhood of Rankous on the edge of Damascus. "Yes to dialogue -- after the downfall of the regime," said another in Homs.

After months of mostly peaceful protests, an armed insurgency has emerged, mainly in rural regions and in Homs, a city of one million, 140 km (85 miles) north of Damascus, where troops and pro-Assad militiamen have assaulted old neighborhoods that have often seen demonstrations.

"God, Syria -- We want a no-fly zone over it," shouted protesters in the Bab Tadmur neighborhood of Homs.

In Hama, activists and one resident said Assad loyalists fired at a demonstration demanding Assad's ouster as soon at it broke out of Abdelrahman Bin Aouf mosque in al-Qusour district.

Syria has barred most foreign media, making it difficult to verify reports from activists and from authorities, who blame foreign-backed armed groups for the violence. The authorities say gunmen have killed 1,100 soldiers and police.

Source: Reuters

 

+ | by Admin | On: October 29, 2011 | At: 00:55 | Comments (0)
JoopeA News > Egyptian activists say prisoner tortured to death

Egyptian rights activists on Friday accused guards at a Cairo prison of killing an inmate by forcing water into his body with hoses, in a case they said shows the continued use of torture by security forces despite the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.
Popular anger over the use of torture was a key grievance behind the mass uprising that toppled Mubarak in February. Activists see the death of Essam Atta, 23, at a Cairo hospital late Thursday as an indication that Egypt's new rulers have made expended little effort to stamp it out.
Malik Adly, a lawyer for the family, says that Atta had phoned his family before his death, to let them know that police had injected water into his body through his mouth and anus.
Other prisoners later informed the lawyer that Atta had vomited blood and then died after the torture. A prison guard brought Atta's body to a hospital late Thursday, where he was pronounced dead from "unknown poisoning," Adly said.
Atta had been arrested while watching a street fight in February, convicted of "thuggery" in a military trial in February and sentenced to two years in Cairo's Tora prison.
"We accuse the officers of the Tora prison of being behind the victim's death," Adly said. Cairo's Nadim Center for Victims of Torture also accused the guards of killing Atta.
An Egyptian security official denied the allegations, saying prison medics found that Atta had taken drugs and was suffering from exhaustion. When his condition worsened, he was taken to the hospital where he died.
Atta was arrested in 2004 for drug dealing, and in 2010 for illegal weapon possession, the official said. The two-year sentence he was serving at the time of his death was for squatting in a residential apartment, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.
Some Egyptians drew parallels between Atta's death and that of Khaled Said, a 28-year-old who was beaten to death by police officers in June 2010. Pictures of Said's bloodied face, broken jaw and bruised body were widely circulated, and activists later used a Facebook page called "We are all Khaled Said" to help organize the anti-Mubarak uprising.
Many noted that Egyptian authorities had also portrayed Said as a drug dealer, claiming that he died after choking on a packet of drugs he swallowed to hid it from police.
An independent forensic committee later found that the packet was forced into his mouth after his death, and two low-ranking policemen were sentenced in the case to seven years in prison each earlier this week.
Many activists however had called for much stricter sentences, and more generally, a comprehensive reform of the Interior Ministry charged with running Egypt's police and prison system.
Activists claim that the Supreme Council for the Armed Forces, which took power after Mubarak's overthrow, has failed to purge the ministry of top-ranking officers from the former regime. Atta's death, following close upon the Khaled Said verdict, is evidence to them that a culture of brutality inside the security forces has not changed.
Within hours of Atta's death, someone created a Facebook page called "We are all Essam Atta," which contained photos of his dead body with white foam filling his mouth and gauze binding his head and hands.
The photos' authenticity could not be independently verified.
Adly said Atta's family has asked Egypt's state prosecutor for a full investigation into Atta's death.
The alleged torture case sparked protests outside the morgue, where the body of Atta had been sent for inspection. Video posted on activist websites showed mourners carrying Atta's body, lying in an open coffin wrapped in the Egyptian flag, and marching through Cairo streets to Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the anti-Mubarak uprising.
Behind Atta's coffin, protesters chanted, "Essam Atta died. Oh people, enough silence!" and "Down, down with military rule."

Source: AP

+ | by Admin | On: October 29, 2011 | At: 00:54 | Comments (0)
JoopeA News > Occupy Wall Street: Arrests in Nashville and San Diego
A police statement said around two dozen protesters left the area without incident, but those who refused to leave were detained.

Protesters in two US cities have been detained after police moved into their camps during the night.
In Nashville, a new law was enacted preventing camping overnight near the Tennessee state Capitol.
In San Diego, police arrested 51 people at 02:30 (9:30 GMT), removing tents, canopies, tables and other furniture.
On the US East Coast, many of those taking part in Occupy protests are preparing for an unseasonally cold storm due to hit this weekend.
As much as 10in (25cm) of snow is expected in some areas on Saturday, with between two and four inches forecast for New York City.
Protesters are raising money and floating ideas for how to cope as the temperature drops.
Suggestions reportedly include stockpiling donated coats and blankets, trying to find more secure tents and turning to possible indoor locations.
"Everyone's been calling it our Valley Forge moment," Michael McCarthy, a former Navy medic in Providence, Rhode Island, told the Associated Press news agency, referring to a harsh winter during the American War of Independence.
"Everybody thought that George Washington couldn't possibly survive in the north-east."
Earlier this week, two people from Occupy Denver were admitted to hospital suffering from hypothermia after a storm dumped several inches of snow on the city.
In New York City, the fire department confiscated generators and fuel from protesters because officials said they posed a fire risk.
State troopersIn Nashville, protesters said police surrounded Legislative Plaza and made the arrests in the early hours of Friday morning.
One of the protesters, Katy Savage, told the Associated Press that police took - and in some cases dragged - protesters to waiting buses as the group sat and sang "We Shall Overcome".
A police statement said around two dozen protesters left the area without incident, but those who refused to leave were detained.

 

Around 75 state troopers were used for the operation.

The arrested protesters were released with citations for criminal trespassing and will appear in court on 18 November.

The San Diego arrests early on Friday came after police negotiations with demonstrators broke down, Chief William Lansdowne told AP.

Encampments had formed on the city's Civic Center Plaza and Children's Park for three weeks.

Police said there had been complaints of unsanitary conditions, including littering, urination and drug use.

Demonstrators in San Diego may return after the cleanup, officials said, but without without tents.

'We are all Scott Olson'

The arrests follow 50 in Atlanta on Tuesday. Oakland's police department confirmed there were 102 arrests in that city on Tuesday, amid clashes between police and protesters.

One man was seriously injured in Oakland during the clashes.

On Thursday evening a crowd of around 1,000 people held a vigil in the Californian city for the injured man, Scott Olsen, who is still in hospital with a fractured skull.

The former marine has become a touchstone for Occupy Wall Street demonstrators across the US.

Twitter users and protest websites have come out in solidarity, insisting: "We are all Scott Olsen".

Occupy protests have spread to cities across the US, on the East Coast where the movement began, and at many points further west.

The message has also caught the imagination of people in Europe, with similar protests in cities overseas including London, Rome and Berlin.

Source: BBC News

+ | by Admin | On: October 29, 2011 | At: 00:49 | Comments (0)
JoopeA News > Syrian Security Forces Fire on Rallies, Killing 30

Syrian security forces opened fire Friday on protesters and hunted them down in house-to-house raids, killing about 30 people in the deadliest day in weeks in the country's 7-month-old uprising, activists said.

 

The popular revolt against Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime has proved remarkably resilient, with protests erupting every week despite the near-certainty the government will respond with bullets and tear gas. The U.N. estimates the regime crackdown on the protests has killed 3,000 people since March.
Much of the bloodshed Friday happened after the protests had ended and security forces armed with machine guns chased protesters and activists, according to opposition groups monitoring the demonstrations. Authorities disrupted telephone and Internet service, they said.
The Syrian opposition's two main activist groups, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordinating Committees, gave figures for the protesters killed on Friday ranging from 29 to 37.
The flashpoints were Homs and Hama in central Syria, where opposition to the regime is strong. Hama is the site of a massacre nearly 30 years ago which has come to symbolize the ruthlessness of the Assad dynasty.
Rami Abdul-Rahman, the head of the observatory, said security forces in Homs were firing machine guns as they conducted raids in search of protesters and activists. In Hama, there were heavy clashes between the army and gunmen believed to be army defectors.
Syria has largely sealed off the country from foreign journalists and prevented independent reporting, making it difficult to confirm events on the ground. Key sources of information are amateur videos posted online, witness accounts and details gathered by activist groups.
Communications were spotty Friday in the Damascus suburb of Douma and in Homs. The move appeared to be an attempt to cut off the opposition's ability to organize and report on the protests.
"There was a very fierce reaction to the protests in Homs today," said Syria-based activist Mustafa Osso. Syrian forces opened fire as some 2,000 people gathered for protests, he said.
"There are many injured as well. Hospitals are having a hard time coping with the casualties," Osso told The Associated Press.
Majd Amer, an activist in Homs said sporadic gunfire could be heard as protesters poured out of mosques following Friday prayers.
It is difficult to gauge the strength of the revolt in Syria, a country of 22 million people. The crackdown does not appear to have significantly reduced the number of protests, but neither does the regime appear to be in any imminent danger of collapse.
The regime appears to lack sufficient numbers of loyal troops to garrison all the centers of unrest at the same time, so government forces will often sweep through an area in the wake of protests, breaking up new gatherings and hunting activists, before being deployed elsewhere.
The result has been a monthslong stalemate. Still, the capture and subsequent death of Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, under still-unclear circumstances, has energized the opposition. Last week, thousands of Syrians took to the streets shouting that Assad will be next.
The protests come amid efforts by the Arab League to end the bloodshed, and debates within the opposition on how to bring international pressure to bear on the regime.
On Friday, many protesters said they wanted a no-fly zone established over Syria to protect civilians in case the Syrian regime considers attacking protesters from the sky, the activist groups said.
The protesters also called for international monitors, although most opposition groups reject the idea of foreign military intervention.
The Syrian government insists the unrest is being driven by terrorists and foreign extremists looking to stir up sectarian strife.

The popular revolt against Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime has proved remarkably resilient, with protests erupting every week despite the near-certainty the government will respond with bullets and tear gas. The U.N. estimates the regime crackdown on the protests has killed 3,000 people since March.
Much of the bloodshed Friday happened after the protests had ended and security forces armed with machine guns chased protesters and activists, according to opposition groups monitoring the demonstrations. Authorities disrupted telephone and Internet service, they said.
The Syrian opposition's two main activist groups, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordinating Committees, gave figures for the protesters killed on Friday ranging from 29 to 37.
The flashpoints were Homs and Hama in central Syria, where opposition to the regime is strong. Hama is the site of a massacre nearly 30 years ago which has come to symbolize the ruthlessness of the Assad dynasty.
Rami Abdul-Rahman, the head of the observatory, said security forces in Homs were firing machine guns as they conducted raids in search of protesters and activists. In Hama, there were heavy clashes between the army and gunmen believed to be army defectors.
Syria has largely sealed off the country from foreign journalists and prevented independent reporting, making it difficult to confirm events on the ground. Key sources of information are amateur videos posted online, witness accounts and details gathered by activist groups.
Communications were spotty Friday in the Damascus suburb of Douma and in Homs. The move appeared to be an attempt to cut off the opposition's ability to organize and report on the protests.
"There was a very fierce reaction to the protests in Homs today," said Syria-based activist Mustafa Osso. Syrian forces opened fire as some 2,000 people gathered for protests, he said.
"There are many injured as well. Hospitals are having a hard time coping with the casualties," Osso told The Associated Press.
Majd Amer, an activist in Homs said sporadic gunfire could be heard as protesters poured out of mosques following Friday prayers.
It is difficult to gauge the strength of the revolt in Syria, a country of 22 million people. The crackdown does not appear to have significantly reduced the number of protests, but neither does the regime appear to be in any imminent danger of collapse.
The regime appears to lack sufficient numbers of loyal troops to garrison all the centers of unrest at the same time, so government forces will often sweep through an area in the wake of protests, breaking up new gatherings and hunting activists, before being deployed elsewhere.
The result has been a monthslong stalemate. Still, the capture and subsequent death of Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, under still-unclear circumstances, has energized the opposition. Last week, thousands of Syrians took to the streets shouting that Assad will be next.
The protests come amid efforts by the Arab League to end the bloodshed, and debates within the opposition on how to bring international pressure to bear on the regime.
On Friday, many protesters said they wanted a no-fly zone established over Syria to protect civilians in case the Syrian regime considers attacking protesters from the sky, the activist groups said.
The protesters also called for international monitors, although most opposition groups reject the idea of foreign military intervention.
The Syrian government insists the unrest is being driven by terrorists and foreign extremists looking to stir up sectarian strife.

Source: New York Times

 

+ | by Admin | On: October 28, 2011 | At: 11:31 | Comments (0)

 

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