Terror Attack Kills Saudi Security Officer, Injures Three in Eastern Province

The Saudi interior ministry security spokesman gave an official statement on Tuesday saying that a terror attack has effected a security patrol was on duty in Al-Musawara district in Qatif governorate of the Eastern region earlier that morning.

The patrol was apparently hit by an explosive projectile.

More so, the attack was condemned as an act of terror which resulted in the martyrdom of Vice Sergeant Adel Faleh Al-Otaibi and the injury of three others of security men, said the Saudi state-owned news agency (SPA).

Al-Musawara neighborhood, where the attack happened, is a hotspot target for terrorists in the eastern province. A development project to revamp the neighborhood has come under repeated terrorist attacks in an effort to stop further construction.

“The competent security authorities have begun an investigation into this terrorist crime,”said the ministry spokesman.

Haqqani Network Denies Role in Latest Terror Attacks on Afghanistan


Kabul – The head of the Haqqani network has denied insurgents’ involvement in recent bloody attacks in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul.

The Afghan government has blamed the Taliban-allied Haqqani network for the deadly bombing in Kabul’s diplomatic quarter which left more than 150 people dead.

The attack was the deadliest in Afghanistan since 2001.

The Taliban disavowed any responsibility with Taliban deputy leader Sirajuddin Haqqani repeating the denial in an audio message posted on the group’s website on Sunday.

“We have already condemned the [attacks]. The Islamic Emirate [Taliban] is not behind them,” he said.

A day later, at least seven people were killed when suicide bombers sneaked through a row of mourners who were attending the funeral of one of the protesters.

The statements ruling out any Taliban hand in the bombings have fallen on sceptical ears in Kabul.

“Despite the Taliban’s categorical denial, the attack bears all the hallmarks of the movement,” Borhan Osman of the Afghanistan Analysts Network stated.

“The movement’s operational capacity and logistical access to plan and execute such a bombing is beyond question.”

Since the Kabul lorry bombing, protesters have set up sit-in camps in at least six locations around the capital, including one near the bombing site, demanding the resignation of president Ashraf Ghani’s government.

In an apparent effort to appease the protesters, the Afghan government on Sunday sacked two top security officials including Kabul police chief over the killing of demonstrators on June 2.

As many as three Afghan civilians have been killed when American troops opened fire after their vehicle struck a roadside bomb.

A man and his two sons were killed at their home in Ghani Khel, a district in the south of Nangarhar, on the border with Pakistan, said Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the provincial governor.

“After the bomb blast hit them, the American forces then started shooting and killed one man and two children nearby,” he said.

The US military command in Kabul said it was investigating the reports.

Civilian casualties have run at near record highs as fighting spreads to more areas of Afghanistan, according to the United Nations.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani generally has been less vocal than his predecessor, Hamid Karzai, in publicly criticising the US military when troops are involved in incidents where civilians are killed.

On Saturday, three American soldiers were killed and one wounded when an Afghan soldier opened fire on them in Nangarhar, where elite US troops have been helping Afghan forces battle Islamic State militants.

Gulf States Offer Deep Condolences to Saudi Arabia over Qatif Terror Attack

A number of Arab and Gulf states have expressed their deep sympathies and condolences to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which was ravaged by a terrorist attack against its eastern province on Friday.

The United Arab Emirates strongly condemned shooting incident, in al-Masoura neighborhood in Qatif governorate, the Saudi Eastern Region.

Emirates Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation stressed, in a statement announced here, full solidarity with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in all measures taken to maintain security and stability, reiterating the Emirates firm stance in rejecting violence and terrorism, in all forms and manifestations.

Egypt, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain each denounced the shooting which resulted in the death of one child, a resident and the injuring of others.

All states reaffirmed its full solidarity with Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in combating violence, extremism and terrorism, expressing condolences to the families and victims of the attack, wishing them speedy recovery.

A Saudi child and a Pakistani man were killed and 10 injured when armed assailants fired at company workers carrying out a development project, then at bystanders and passers-by in Qatif.

The suspects, who fled the scene, also targeted company vehicles with explosives.

Policemen arrived at the scene and exchanged fire with the assailants, who then started shooting heavily and randomly, killing and injuring members of the public.

The Interior Ministry said security forces will continue their duty to enforce the law so as to guarantee the continuation of the project.

The ministry praised people who cooperated with the security forces. It urged everyone to stay away from the project area and the roads leading to it for their own safety. The ministry also called on the suspects to surrender themselves to the authorities.

British Police Say Terror Plots Thwarted after Woman Shot, Arrests


British counter-terrorism police said on Friday they had disrupted an active terrorist plot after a woman was shot during an armed raid on a house in north London.

Six suspects were arrested on terrorism-related charges, police said.

The injured woman, who is in her 20s, was in serious but stable condition in a hospital.

Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said armed anti-terrorism officers fired CS gas into the house in the Willesden area of northwest London, which had been under surveillance.

Asked if police had foiled an active plot, Basu replied: “Yes” – but he did not give details of how the woman was shot.

Neighbor Maxine McKenzie said she saw “a lot of frenetic police activity” and a woman being taken out of the house on a stretcher.

“She was sitting upright and had oxygen on – I couldn’t tell if she was conscious or unconscious,” McKenzie said.

In a separate incident only hours earlier, a man was arrested carrying at least three knives in a backpack near Prime Minister Theresa May’s office in Westminster, during another operation by armed counter-terrorism police.

The 27-year-old suspect, who has not been identified, had also been under police surveillance.

Basu stated that it had been “an extraordinary day in London.”

In both the Willesden and Parliament incidents, “due to these arrests that we have made, we have contained the threat that they posed,” he said, and added that six people had been arrested in the Willesden operation, five at the house and another in Kent, in southeast England.

Counter-terrorism police say 13 potential attacks have been foiled in the last four years.

The Police Officer Killed in the Paris Terror Attack had been at the Bataclan


Paris – In 2015, as terrorists fired into a crowd of terrified concertgoers in Paris, Xavier Jugele was outside the Bataclan, helping the wounded.

He even attended the 19th-century building’s reopening concert last year. “I’m happy to be here,” Jugele told People. “It’s symbolic. We’re here tonight as witnesses. Here to defend our civic values. This concert’s to celebrate life. To say no to terrorists.”

This week, the 37-year-old was at the center of another attack. He was sitting in his parked police car outside Marks & Spencer on the Champs-Elysees when a gunman opened fire, shooting him in the head and wounding two other officers and a bystander. ISIS has claimed responsibility.

“He was a simple man who loved his job, and he was really committed to the LGBT group,” Mickaël Bucheron, president of the group told the New York Times. “He joined the association a few years ago, and he protested with us when there was the homosexual propaganda ban by Russia at the Sochi Olympic Games.”

Jugele was born in 1979 in Bourges. He grew up in central France; his father was in the armed services. He began his service as a member of the Gendarmerie, France’s national police force. In 2010, he joined the Paris police force. He was days away from switching jobs again — he had recently joined the Judicial Police as a detective.

Jugele was an advocate for LGBTQ issues, and in 2014, he protested Russia’s ban against them during the Olympic Games. He also traveled to Greece to work with migrants who crossed the Aegean Sea.

Yves Lefebvre, secretary general of the police union Unité SGP Police-Force Ouvrière, told the Times that Jugele was “an excellent colleague.”

Experts said the attacker targeted police specifically. It’s not the first time. In 2015, three police officers were killed in attacks on Charlie Hebdo. A year later, a man wielding a cleaver and yelling “God is great” tried to attack a Paris police station. Paris police Capt. Jean-Baptiste Salvaing was fatally stabbed at his home in 2016, an attack claimed by ISIS.

In March, a gunman attacked a soldier outside Orly Airport. The assailant was shot dead.

“He was killed in his mission,” Celine Berthon of the Union of National Police Commissars told Europe 1, speaking of Jugele. “All our thoughts go to his colleagues and his family.”

The New York Times

Saudi Arabia: UK Parliament Terror Attacker Not on Security Radar There

The man responsible for the death of four people near Britain’s Houses of Parliament on Wednesday had spent time working in Saudi Arabia but did not have a criminal record there or attract the attention of the security services, the Saudi embassy in London said on Friday.

“During his time in Saudi Arabia, Khalid Masood did not appear on the security services’ radar and does not have a criminal record in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the embassy said in a statement on its Twitter account.

The embassy’s statement said that Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz had spoken to Prime Minister Theresa May, expressing his condolences over Wednesday’s attack and adding: “At such a time, our ongoing security cooperation is most crucial to the defeat of terrorism and the saving of innocent lives.”

Khalid Masood had been in the kingdom for two one-year periods, from November 2005 and April 2008, when he had worked as an English teacher.

Eight Hours, 2,000 Hearts Beating behind British Parliament Lockdown

London- Whether it is “detained,” “locked,” or “stuck,” each of the labels fit. But most certainly it is not a fortunate experience one looks forward to having.

In one of Westminster Palace’s courtyard corners, a young man who goes by Morcello ashing his cigarette went on to brew some soothing coffee and tea for his fellows in distress, some 2,000 Britons and tourists under lockdown in the British Parliament building after a terrorist attack tacking place.

It was nine in the morning, and the British Parliament premise was more like an open-door fashion show. Lawmakers, visitors and employees all accustomed to sporting whatever best fits their democracy, which they exercise as soon as they enter the building.

Daily screening at the entrance gate is similar to procedures encountered at any given airport. A press delegation comprising 15 correspondents of several foreign media outlets, reporting for Japan, Brazil, Russia, Turkey and European countries was present at the scene.

Asharq Al-Awsat’s reporter was among the delegation which was present for a tour briefing at the parliament which was organized by the British foreign office.

“Unlike the world’s journalists, who naturally would have trouble accessing the scene, we are struggling to escape it,” said a Japanese journalist, who rushed to their computer as soon as the events unfolded.

A few feet away from the areas to which security detail forced all those present to move to, rested the shot-down terrorist’s cold body, who later on was identified as Khalid Masood.
The 9:00am-2:00pm tour started.

“There are 1,200 rooms, and I will not be able to tell you all about them, but I think this is the most important spot,” said parliament staffer who is responsible for visiting tours.

All reporters stood at the tips of their toes to get a look of what the guide was pointing at, a statue of famous British PM and defense secretary during the Second World War, the late Winston Churchill.

Journalists later had lunch with four lawmakers at the main dining hall, which is a scene imbued with British culture.

Tradition was upheld to a tee at the meal– no cross-table chatter was heard. Customs are to be respected at all times.

Soon after the luncheon was interrupted by news broadcasted by agencies and the sound of firecrackers outside the parliament’s building.

“An attack on Westminster Bridge,” a cry was heard. The audience then held their breath still. The news spread like fire “shooting in front of the British Parliament building, and intensified presence of police.”

Everyone realized that they were under a terrorist attack. Everyone’s memory went back to the 7/7 terror events that rocked the British capital in 2005.

After the long hours of waiting, and before leaving, what was remarkable is that diplomats, lawmakers and ministers were not given special treatment. Lords, kitchen workers and visitors were stood in the same row.

All of them were investigated. Interrogators quietly distributed papers and asked if anyone would be willing to share any piece of information.

The inquisitions were handed out with a smile, implying that communication was restricted.

Suicide Bomber Kills 43 Soldiers in Yemen’s Aden – officials


43 soldiers were killed following a blast caused by a suicide bomber in the southern Yemeni port city of Aden on Sunday, officials there said. At least 60 other troops were wounded, they added.

This incident came a week after an attack by the militant ISIS group killed 50 troops nearby.

The troops were queuing to collect salaries near a military base in the Khor Maksar district when the suicide bomber blew himself up, according to officials.

Al Qaeda and ISIS have exploited nearly two years of war in the impoverished country to carry out terror acts.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing and identified the bomber as Abu Hashem al-Radfani.

Turkish Car Bomb Attack Kills 13 Soldiers, Wounds 48


Thirteen Turkish troops were killed and 48 more were injured when a car bomb hit a bus transporting off-duty military personnel in the in the central Anatolian province of Kayseri on Saturday, the Turkish military reported.

In a statement, the Turkish armed forces said the car bomb attack went off at 8:45 am and targeted on-leave military personnel from the Kayseri Commando Brigade.

The blast took place near the campus of Erciyes University in Kayseri hit as the bus passed by a car believed to be packed with explosives, Turkey’s Dogan news agency said.

No immediate claim of responsibility was claimed, but Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak suggested a link between the bus attack and the twin bombings outside the stadium of Istanbul soccer team Besiktas last Saturday – which were later claimed by an offshoot of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

“The car bomb attack resembles the Besiktas attack in terms of its style,” he told a group of reporters.

Kaynak added that such attacks would not put Turkey off of its goal of fighting militancy.

Turkey is a member of NATO and partner in the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS terrorist group, which has been blamed for multiple attacks in Turkey.

Turkey Battles Terrorist Wave, Erdogan Calls for Western Help

Istanbul, Riyadh, Cologne-Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan said on Wednesday states should unite and wage a “joint fight” against terrorism, a day after the attack on Ataturk airport in Istanbul that killed 41 people and injured more than 200.

The office of Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin announced that 13 foreigners from several nationalities, including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Tunisia, China, Iran, Ukraine and Jordan, were among the dead.

On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia condemned the attack and asserted its support to Ankara. Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, have each sent separate cables of condolences to President Erdogan over the victims of the terrorist attack that targeted Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul.

Several countries had also condemned the attack, including U.S. President Barack Obama, who called Erdogan and offered support in the investigation.

Two U.S. officials had already said that the investigation is headed by Turkish officials, but is informatively supported by the U.S. and other states from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Several security and political officials have agreed on holding ISIS responsible for the attack in Istanbul which was executed by three suicide bombers.

German magazine Der Spiegel quoted security sources as saying that the attackers took a taxi to the airport to mislead security.

Meanwhile, the Consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul announced that two Saudis were killed and 29 were injured in the terrorist attack, while investigators continued to search in Turkish hospitals near the airport for a missing Saudi.

Saudi Ambassador to Turkey Adil Murad said Wednesday that after checking documents of victims of the attack, four of the people killed turned out not to be Saudi citizens.

Earlier, the Saudi embassy in Turkey had reported six Saudis were dead in the Istanbul attack.

Murad told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Since the occurrence of the attack, we have tasked a team to follow-up on the number of Saudis who were killed or injured in the explosions and to provide them with medical care in Istanbul.”

He said some of the injured Saudis, who were taken to ten hospitals, needed medical assistance while others needed translators.

Some of the wounded have already returned to the Kingdom, he added.

According to Murad, the Saudi embassy in Ankara will also secure the transport of the two bodies to Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Deputy Consul in Ankara Abdullah Al-Rushaydan told Asharq Al-Awsat that Saudi authorities are still trying to find one more missing citizen. He said four Saudis who were missing in Istanbul were later found.

Meanwhile, an official source at the Foreign Affairs Ministry said that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia condemns and denounces the terrorist attacks that targeted Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul, which resulted in several deaths and injuries.

The source confirmed the Kingdom’s solidarity with brotherly Turkey.