(Pretoria) Like a large number of countries around the world, the UK has something of a money problem and like everybody else is cutting back on its spending. One such avenue is Aid to countries which don't require it. Which is why after 2015, the UK will stop Aid to South Africa..The aid programme, currently worth £19m a year, is focused on reducing the mortality rate among women giving birth and supporting businesses.
However South Africa didn't take kindly to the mother country souring the milk to one of its former children, but then Aid recipients the world over don't like it when the free cash stops. Just ask Hamas.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
(Pretoria) Like a large number of countries around the world, the UK has something of a money problem and like everybody else is cutting back on its spending. One such avenue is Aid to countries which don't require it. Which is why after 2015, the UK will stop Aid to South Africa..The aid programme, currently worth £19m a year, is focused on reducing the mortality rate among women giving birth and supporting businesses.
A nail bomb which contained 458 pieces of shrapnel, a partially assembled pipe bomb, two shotguns, swords and knives.
Strong words from a bunch of idiots who were willing to murder as many people as possible simply because they can.
(Bagram Airfield) A US 747 cargo plane which crashed on take off has been caught on in its final moments on film. All 7 members of the crew died
Sunday, April 28, 2013
DAMASCUS, Syria, April 28 (UPI) -- The Free Syrian Army says Israeli air force jets flew over President Bashar Assad's palace and bombed a chemical weapons site near Damascus, Maariv reported.
The report said the Israeli jets entered Syria's airspace close to 6 a.m Saturday and flew over Assad's palace in Damascus and other security facilities before striking a chemical weapons compound near the city.
The Hebrew language daily said a Syrian army air defense battery positioned in the city fired at the Israeli jets that left Syria's airspace unscathed. FSA rebels posted a video showing smoke rising up from the headquarters for chemical weapons. There were no reports of the extent of damage or casualties.
Neither Damascus or Jerusalem responded to the report.
In January, foreign media reported Israeli jets bombed a weapons convoy parked outside a military research institute near Damascus allegedly en route to Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.
TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — Libya's prime minister warned of a perilous security situation Sunday after armed men stormed the Interior Ministry and a state-owned television station after blocking access to the Foreign Ministry.
Two years after the country's civil war, Libya is struggling to maintain security, build a unified army and reign in militias, which include rebels who fought to oust longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.
About 200 armed men surrounded the Foreign Ministry building in Tripoli, demanding the ministry hire former fighters who helped overthrow Gadhafi. The men allege that many supporters of the old regime are still holding senior positions in the ministry and its missions abroad.
About 38 trucks, some with machine guns, surrounded the ministry all day. After sundown, gunmen were still blocking access to the building.
(Telegraph) Set amid the rolling plains outside Aleppo, the town of al-Safira looks just like another vicious battleground in Syria's civil war. On one side are lightly-armed rebels, on the other are government troops, and in between is a hotly-contested no-man's land of bombed-out homes and burned-out military vehicles.
The fight for al-Safira is no ordinary turf war, however, and the prize can be found behind the perimeter walls of the heavily-guarded military base on the edge of town. Inside what looks like a drab industrial estate is one of Syria's main facilities for producing chemical weapons - and among its products is sarin, the lethal nerve gas that the regime is now feared to be deploying in its bid to cling to power.
Last week, Washington said for the first time that it had evidence of Sarin being used in "small" amounts during combat operations in Syria, a move that President Barack Obama has long warned is a "red line" that President Bashar al-Assad must not cross.
But as the West now ponders its response, the fear is not just that President Assad might start using his chemical arsenal in much greater quantities. Of equal concern is the prospect of it falling into even less benign hands - a risk that the stand-off at al Safira illustrates clearly.
For among the rebel lines in al-Safira flutters the black flag of the al-Nusra Brigade, the jihadist group that recently declared its allegiance to al-Qaeda. Known for their fighting prowess honed in Iraq, they are now taking the lead in nearly every frontline in the Syrian war, and earlier this month, pushed to within just over a mile of al-Safira, only to for the Syrian troops to regain the ground last week.
Should the tide of battle turn in al-Nusra's favour again, though, there is the possibility of the West's worst-case scenario unfolding - Syria's weapons of mass destruction falling into al-Qaeda's control. More than 500 times as toxic as cyanide and deadly in milligram-sized doses, a single canister of sarin could unleash carnage if released on a Tube network in London or New York.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
(FPM) France took the lead in pushing for the “liberation” of Libya. The United States was repaid for its aid with the Benghazi attack. Now France is learning the value of Libyan gratitude.
The bomb exploded before work started on Tuesday morning and there were no diplomats in the building. The security guard, who is French, was “gravely injured”, according to Libyan media, and the explosion caused major damage, with the outer wall of the embassy compound and part of the main building collapsed.The damage to an embassy that was likely reinforced to begin with indicates a very strong car bomb and that would suggest that we are probably dealing with Al Qaeda. The timing was screwed up but if the bomb had gone off while the embassy was fully staffed, the loss of life might have been quite severe.
Another French security guard was said to have been wounded, but to have less severe injuries. The bomb set off a fire near the entrance to the embassy and two other nearby buildings also sustained damage.
Tuesday’s explosion damaged houses along the street occupied by the embassy in the upmarket Hay Andalus area of the city. The twisted wreckage of the car used in the attack was lying in the middle of the street.
French President Francois Hollande said, “France expects the Libyan authorities to shed the fullest light on this unacceptable act, so that the perpetrators are identified and brought to justice.”Good luck with that. The Libyan authorities refused to touch the perpetrators of Benghazi. But perhaps these days a military threat from France carries more weight than one from Barry O.
Anglican school where 75% of the pupils are Muslim drops Christian hymns from assemblies, introduces gender-separated prayer rooms
(Daily Mail) Hymns have been dropped from assemblies at a Church of England school which has also introduced separate prayer rooms for girls and boys to cater to its mostly Muslim students.England has gone to the dogs.
Daily assemblies at Slough and Eton Church of England Business and Enterprise College, where 75 per cent of pupils are Muslim, are not based specifically on the Bible, but may make reference to it alongside other religious texts.
All of the the meat served at the secondary school, which has over 1,000 pupils aged between 11 and 19, is halal. [...]
The headmaster explained that the gender-separated prayer rooms at Slough and Eton, which is a voluntary controlled Church of England school, were not specifically for Muslim pupils, but said that it tended to be Muslim children that use them. [...]
According to the Church of England, a substantial number of primary and secondary church schools - both voluntary controlled and voluntary aided - have over 80 per cent intake from the Muslim community.
Monday, April 22, 2013
(USA Today) Canadian police and intelligence services arrested two suspects Monday who allegedly were planning to derail a passenger rail train in Toronto in what the Royal Canadian Mounted Police called a "major terrorist attack."
A 25-year-old man was arrested in Toronto and a 30-year-old man was apprehended in Montreal. The RCMP said at an afternoon news conference that the suspects had received support and "guidance" from al-Qaeda "elements" in Iran, but there is no indication they were "state sponsored."
Neither is a Canadian citizen. The RCMP would not identify their nationalities or say how long they had been in the country.
Media reported the men are Tunisian.
The alleged plot to derail a VIA Rail train was not connected to the Boston Marathon terror attack. The RCMP said that the suspects were in the planning stage and that the public was never in any danger.
The RCMP said the plot involved "a specific route but not a specific train," but officials would not say which route. Law enforcement sources told media outlets that it was the Toronto to New York route.
The cross-border investigation began last year and was coordinated with the U.S. department of Homeland security and the FBI.
The two men are expected to appear in court Tuesday.
KABUL (Reuters) - The Taliban have captured all aboard a helicopter that crashed in a volatile region of Afghanistan's east, a spokesman for the insurgency said on Monday.
The helicopter, owned by air charter company Khorasan Cargo Airlines, made an emergency landing in Logar province late on Sunday due to bad weather, a Khorasan staff member said on condition of anonymity.
"Mujahideen immediately surrounded the chopper, detained (the) foreigners aboard and completely destroyed the helicopter ... by setting it alight," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in an emailed statement.
Onboard the Russian-made Mi-8 helicopter were eight Turkish engineers and at least one Russian pilot, according to Turkish and Russian officials. There was also at least one Afghan pilot aboard.
"The helicopter was carrying eight Turks, the pilots were Russian and Afghan. We believe they are in good health and Turkish officials are in contact with Afghan officials over the issue," Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Levent Gumrukcu said.
(CNN) -- The bodies of at least 566 people who were killed over a six-day period across Syria were found Sunday, according to Local Coordination Committees in Syria, an opposition group based in the country.
That is the highest number of victims discovered in a single day since the war began in March 2011, LCC spokeswoman Rafif Jouejati said.
At least 450 bodies were found in the Damascus suburb of Jadidat al-Fadel, LCC activist Abu Aasy said Sunday.
Over the past six days, some 3,000 members of the security forces stormed the area, the activist said. He said the dead include at least 300 civilians and 150 members of the rebel Free Syrian Army.
(The Blaze) Israelis have been commenting all week about how the Boston Marathon bombing was a bonding moment for Americans and Israelis, who have had too much experience with terrorist attacks in their major cities.
That idea apparently doesn’t resonate with Secretary of State John Kerry who at a press conference over the weekend compared families mourning those killed in Boston last Monday with the families of pro-Palestinian Turkish activists killed by the Israeli Defense Forces aboard the Mavi Marmara, a boat involved in the 2010 Gaza flotilla.
Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon was quick to slam Kerry over his word choice. “It is never helpful when a moral equivalency is made confusing terrorists with their victims,” Danon told The Times of Israel on Monday.
“As our American friends were made all too aware once again last week, the only way to deal with the evils of terrorism it to wage an unrelenting war against its perpetrators wherever they may be,” added Danon, who is a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party.
Pundits expressed shock that Kerry would equate terrorists with innocent victims, including the slain eight-year-old Martin Richard.
Sunday, April 21, 2013
Syrian National Coalition urges the Lebanese government to "adopt the necessary measures to stop the aggression of Hezbollah"
(Haaretz) The Syrian opposition called on Hezbollah to withdraw its fighters from the country immediately, as activists said regime troops supported by pro-government gunmen linked to the Lebanese Shiite militant group battled rebels Sunday for control of a string of villages near the Lebanon-Syria border.
The Syrian National Coalition- the main Western-backed opposition group- warned that Hezbollah involvement in Syria's civil war could lead to greater risks in the area, and urged the Lebanese government to "adopt the necessary measures to stop the aggression of Hezbollah" and to control the border to "prevent further risks and to protect civilians in the area."
The statement, posted on the Coalition's Facebook page, coincides with a surge in fighting around the contested town of Qusair in Syria's Homs province near the frontier with Lebanon. Over the past two weeks, the Syrian military, supported by pro-regime militia backed by Hezbollah, has pushed to regain control of the border area. The region is of strategic importance because it links Damascus with the Mediterranean coastal enclave that is the heartland of President Bashar Assad's Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.
It also points to the sectarian nature of the Syrian conflict, which pits a government dominated by the president's Alawite minority against a primarily Sunni Muslim rebellion, as well as fears that the civil war could drag in neighboring states.
AMMAN (Reuters) - Syrian forces and militiamen loyal to President Bashar al-Assad killed at least 85 people when they stormed a Damascus suburb after five days of fighting, opposition activists in the area said on Sunday.
There was no immediate confirmation of the activists' account of what they described as a "massacre", including of women and children, at Jdeidet al-Fadel. Syrian authorities have banned most independent media since the uprising began two years ago.
Jamal al-Golani, a member of the Revolution Leadership Council opposition group, said the number of dead may be higher than 250, mostly shot at close range, but the presence of army patrols made documenting all of them difficult.
The killings happened over several days as and after pro-Assad forces stormed an area where there were up to 270 rebels, Golani said, adding that he had counted 98 bodies in the streets and 86 people who he said had been summarily executed in makeshift clinics where they were lying wounded.
Abu Ahmad al-Rabi', an activist in the adjacent district of Jdeidet Artouz, said: "We documented 85 summarily executed, including 28 shot in a makeshift hospital after Assad's forces entered Jdeidet al-Fadel. We fear that the victims of the massacre are much higher."
(Motley Fool) By now you've probably heard the news; The Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency thinks "with moderate confidence" that North Korea has developed a nuclear weapon capable of being delivered on a ballistic missile. Good news, though: The DIA thinks such a weapon would have "low reliability."
If you're like me, "low reliability" doesn't exactly elicit feelings of confidence. I mean, how accurate do you need to be to do damage with a nuke? Apparently, South Korea feels the same, as it intends to spend $1.6 billion to purchase attack helicopters from Boeing (NYSE: BA ) equivalent to 30 helicopters at an estimated $52 million base price. South Korea also wants to purchase 60 fighter jets, all for the express purpose of countering North Korea's threats.
(HRV) A UN Press Release blasted Wednesday: "The recent restrictions on goods and people imposed by Israel...in Gaza are affecting thousands of families, the United Nations warned today." Later, the Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) admitted that "rocket fire from Gaza into Israel...breach[ed] the ceasefire agreement." But the UN response was to blame Israel for the travel restrictions subsequently imposed, and to tell Israel "to exercise maximum restraint." In other words, cause and effect are inverted: humanitarian consequences for Palestinians are not blamed on the terrorists who use them as human pawns, but on Israel for defending its own civilian population. It's just one more example of the harsh reality that for the UN, Israel has no tangible right of self-defense - only permanent restraint in the face of unprovoked attacks is acceptable.
A UN discussion of the "international criminal justice system" on Wednesday provided an opportunity for UN Palestinian representative Riyad Mansour to threaten Israel once again with International Criminal Court (ICC) proceedings. Mansour claimed he was concerned about Israel's "unaccountability" and "impunity," whereas "the Palestinian people and their leadership maintained a deep conviction in the primacy of international law." After sixty-five years of Arab efforts to deny and destroy a Jewish state, and rocket and other Palestinian attacks a daily constant, one shudders to think what a shallow conviction would look like.
(ABC) As Dzokhar Tsarnaev recovers in the same Massachusetts hospital as some Boston Marathon bombing victims, authorities released a new aerial video showing how they were able to take the suspect into custody alive.
Tsarnaev, 19, is under heavy guard at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, where he is listed in serious but stable condition and is awaiting charges. Investigators said he is unable to communicate because of his injuries that might include wounds from an earlier gunfight.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said he hoped Tsarnaev survives "because we have a million questions."
A bird's-eye view of the moments before Tsarnaev's capture gave authorities an idea of what to expect as they methodically closed in on the Boston Marathon bombings suspect, who was hunkered down in a boat in a Watertown, Mass., backyard.
Police believe Tsarnaev was initially wounded Thursday night in the gun battle that ended in his brother's death. Police said they found blood in a car he abandoned and blood at a house.
A thermal-imaging camera showed Tsarnaev was able to move around inside the boat, as the FBI SWAT team brought in a robotic device to approach the boat and peel back a tarp, giving authorities a clear view of the suspect.
At least two flash grenades were thrown into the boat, designed to disorient Tsarnaev, who authorities feared might have been wearing a suicide vest.
They were then able to move in, rushing Tsarnaev to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center for treatment, where he has remained under heavy guard. He was not wearing a vest.
It was unclear whether he was hit by a final exchange of gunfire Friday.
Tsarnaev is in the same hospital where his brother, Tamerlan, 26, was brought early Friday after a shootout with police. Tamerlan died of his wounds.
Investigators, who are expected to include the country's elite counterterrorism unit, are hoping that Tsarnaev survives because they are intent on determining what triggered his and his brother's alleged involvement in the attack and whether they had any help.
(The Blaze) Maret Tsarnaeva, an aunt of the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing, holds a reporter's smart phone which displays a scene from the bomb site, as she speaks to journalists in the lobby of her apartment building in Toronto on Friday April 19, 2013. (Photo: AP)
Maret Tsarnaeva, an aunt of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, told reporters Friday that she didn't believe her nephews were capable of the crimes they were being accused of. But more than that, she alleged a conspiracy is at play, and demanded proof that 26-year-old Tamerlan and 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev aren't being framed.
"I do not believe, I just do not believe our boys would do that ... I don't know them in the way that they could be capable of this," she remarked.
(HRV) For the 13th year in a row, UN diplomats sat around NY Headquarters on Monday denouncing terrorism – albeit ships passing in the night since they don't mean the same thing when they use word 'terrorism.' The occasion was the start of a week-long session of the UN General Assembly "Ad Hoc Committee" charged with negotiating a comprehensive anti-terrorism convention. As usual, the UN press agency misleadingly reported: "They resoundingly condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations." Except "all its forms" doesn't include what many states consider to be a list of acceptable targets – starting with Israelis and Americans interfering with "self-determination." Here's a short lesson as to why there really is a clash of civilizations. The meeting included the following contributions. Egypt, speaking for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) "reiterated the need to make a distinction between terrorism, and the exercise of the legitimate right of peoples to resist foreign occupation." Iran, the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism, was chosen to speak on the subject of terrorism for the 120 states of the non-aligned movement (NAM). Here's terrorism authority-figure Iran: "Terrorism was a flagrant violation of international law... It should not be equated with the legitimate struggle of peoples under colonial or alien domination for self-determination and national liberation." And by the way, he continued by "calling for respecting all human rights and freedoms in countering terrorism." Nicaragua: "it was essential for Member States to make a clear distinction between acts of terrorism and the legitimate right of people living under foreign occupation to self-defense." Cuba: "distinguish between terrorism and the legitimate struggle of peoples for self-determination." Malaysia: "It is important to distinguish between terrorism and the legitimate struggle of people under foreign occupation for liberation and self-determination." Syria: "It was essential to arrive at a clear definition of terrorism and to distinguish between terrorism and the fight against foreign occupation." Belarus: "A clear definition of terrorism would include the distinction between terrorism and the right of people to defend themselves against occupation and achieve self-determination." So to get concrete, for the majority of UN member states, Palestinian decapitation of three-month old "settler" Hadas Fogel in 2011 was not terrorism.
LONDON (AP) — The terror plot involved targeting British reserve troops using a toy-car packed with explosives.
But investigators said Thursday Britain's domestic spy agency of MI5 and police were able to stop Zahid Iqbal, Mohammed Sharfaraz Ahmed, Umar Arshad and Syed Farhan Hussain before they could launch the deadly attack.
Iqbal and Ahmed were given extended sentences of 16 years and 3 months, which means they will be in jail for more than 11 years and put on parole for the rest of the time. Arshad was sentenced to more than six years in jail, while Hussain received more than five years.
The British men — aged between 22 and 31 — pleaded guilty in March to engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism.
The four were arrested a year ago in the town of Luton, north of London, after an operation by police and the MI5.
Prosecutors said the Britons [yeah, right, "Britons" - ed.] downloaded files containing instructions for an attack, bought survival equipment and collected money for terrorist purposes. They also admitted "facilitating, planning and encouraging" overseas travel for terrorist purposes.
The men were recorded discussing sending a remote-controlled toy car carrying a homemade bomb under the gates of an army reservist center in Luton and speaking of using instructions in an al-Qaida manual to make an improvised explosive device.
"Using a toy-car as an explosive device may seem childish, but if they had succeeded in pulling this off, the consequences could have resulted in deaths and injuries, much like we have seen in recent days in Boston," said a British security official with knowledge of the investigation and who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to be named.
The court heard that Iqbal had direct contacts with a Pakistani operative and helped Ahmed travel to Pakistan in 2011 for terror training.
Prosecutors also said the men gained inspiration from the 2010 first issue of "Inspire," an online English-language magazine from Yemen's al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and linked to the U.S.-born militant cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. The militant leader was killed in 2011 in a drone strike.
The same online magazine gave instructions on how to build a "pressure cooker" bomb — the same type of explosive device that was used in Monday's attack at the Boston Marathon when three people were killed and more than 100 were wounded.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
(Townhall) What in the world is going on in American public schools? Good heavens:
ALBANY, New York - A New York state high school English teacher who asked students to imagine they were Nazis and give reasons why Jews were evil could be reprimanded or dismissed, a school district superintendent said on Friday.“Faced disciplinary action?” This "educator" should be fired immediately.
City School District of Albany Superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard apologized at a news conference and pledged officials would personally express regret to Albany High School students who were given the assignment and their families.
"This assignment for some of our students at Albany High School was completely unacceptable. It displayed a level of insensitivity that we will not tolerate in our school community," Vanden Wyngaard said.
"I'm deeply apologetic to all of our students, to all of our families and the entire community," she said, appearing with representatives of the Anti-Defamation League and the United Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York at the federation office in Albany.
Vanden Wyngaard declined to name the teacher but said the teacher was removed from class and faced disciplinary action.
It’s one thing to teach your students about anti-Semitism, the Third Reich, and Nazi propaganda (all proper topics for the classroom). But it’s quite another to force your students to write an essay about why Jews are inherently evil. Frankly, I’m mystified that any professional teacher tasked with the responsibility of educating teenagers could think this was a good idea. Such an exercise merely perpetuates stereotypes and falsehoods, and has no academic value whatsoever in my estimation. Disgusting.
For what it’s worth, here’s the prompt the teacher assigned to his/her students:
"You need to pretend that I am a member of the government in Nazi Germany, and you are being challenged to consider that you are loyal to the Nazis by writing an essay convincing me that Jews are evil and the source of our problems," the assignment instructions said.These are your taxpayer dollars at work, America. Aren’t you glad to know they’re being so well spent?
BEIRUT (AP) — A U.S.-based rights group on Thursday accused Syria of committing war crimes by indiscriminate and sometimes deliberate airstrikes against civilians, killing at least 4,300 people since last summer.
Human Rights Watch said Syrian fighter jets have targeted bakeries, bread lines and hospitals in the country’s north.
The report came as government forces launched a counteroffensive in the southern province of Daraa, where rebels have been making progress for weeks in the strategic region close to Damascus.
In recent months, parts of northern Syria, especially areas along the border with Turkey, have fallen under the control of rebels, including several neighborhoods of Aleppo, the country’s largest city.
“The aim of the airstrikes appears to be to terrorize civilians from the air, particularly in the opposition-controlled areas where they would otherwise be fairly safe from any effects of fighting,” Ole Solvang of the New York-based group told The Associated Press.
These attacks are “serious violations of international humanitarian law,” and people who commit such breaches are “responsible for war crimes,” the New York-based group said.
Solvang led the HRW team that inspected 52 sites in northern Syria and documented what it said were 59 unlawful attacks by the Syrian Air Force. At least 152 people were killed in these attacks, according to a HRW report released Thursday.
(JPost) The IDF has confirmed that light weapons fire and artillery shells were fired from Syria in the direction of one of its border patrols on Friday evening.
There were no injuries or damages in the incident, an army spokeswoman said.
IDF soldiers fired missiles at the source of the artillery fire, recording a direct hit. There were no immediate reports of casualties on the Syrian side.
An IDF spokeswoman said she did not know whether it was Syrian army or rebels who fired at the Israeli troops and whether the fire was stray or deliberate.
The IDF informed the United Nations of the incident.
(WJD) The Palestinians appeared determined on Wednesday to stick to their demands for Israeli concessions before any negotiations take place, dismissing preliminary attempts by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to foster economic cooperation.
The situation is quite clear,” said an aide to P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas.
The Palestinians have stated that renewed negotiations must be based on a clear formula which will include the determination of Palestine’s borders and the release of prisoners. As long as Israel does not agree to this, we cannot talk of discussions that will lead to a settlement of the conflict.The Palestinians have refused to enter talks without preconditions for several years, and in recent days they have upped the ante, demanding major territorial concessions before negotiations begin, even though the point of talks has always been to negotiate territorial concessions.
Instead of this, Kerry apparently offered a package of "economic incentives," hoping, perhaps, to use the P.A.'s dire economic situation as a way to get them back to the table.
Kerry appeared unfazed by the Palestinians' dismissive treatment of him, telling the press that the talks were "very constructive."
BEIRUT (Reuters) - A woman and two children were killed and 16 people injured in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on Saturday in what an anti-government violence monitoring group said was a gas attack by Syrian government forces.
Rami Abdelrahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, cited witnesses as saying that two gas bombs had been dropped from an army helicopter.
Doctors in the town of Afrin, where the injured were taken, told the Observatory that victims had "hallucinated, vomited, had excess mucus and felt their eyes were burning".
Reuters cannot verify such reports from Syria due to severe reporting and security restrictions.
A team of United Nations-led experts is waiting in Cyprus for the go-ahead to investigate three previous allegations of chemical weapons attacks in Syria, including one the government said was a poison attack by rebels in Aleppo last month.
The government of President Bashar al-Assad has rejected demands by the opposition that the inspectors be sent to investigate cases in Homs and Damascus where rebels say government forces used chemical munitions.
Aleppo's Sheikh Maqsoud district, where the two bombs were dropped on Saturday, is controlled by rebels. The Observatory distributed photos taken by opposition activists of remnants of what it said were the bombs.
It also sent photos of a dead woman and two children, who it said were both under two years old. None of the three had any visible injuries.
About 70,000 people have been killed in an uprising against four decades of Assad family rule that turned into a civil war after Assad's forces suppressed protests and opposition members took up arms. Both sides have been accused by rights groups of war crimes.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
(Al Arabiya) Twelve members of Hezbollah have been killed in an ambush near Damascus, Al Arabiya television reported Tuesday, quoting sources close to the Lebanese armed movement.
More than 20 other Hezbollah members, part of alleged military brigade deployed in Syria to defend President Bashar al-Assad, were also wounded in the attack, the sources said.
The wounded were transfered from Damascus to a hospital in the south of the Lebanese capital Beirut, the sources said, adding that Hezbollah is tightlipped about the issue.
(Telegraph) Ali Razeghi, a Tehran scientist has registered "The Aryayek Time Traveling Machine" with the state-run Centre for Strategic Inventions.
The device can predict the future in a print out after taking readings from the touch of a user, he told the Fars state newsagency.
Razaeghi, 27, said the device worked by a set of complex algorithims to "predict five to eight years of the future life of any individual, with 98 percent accuracy".
As the managing director of Iran's Centre for Strategic Inventions, Razeghi is a serial inventor with 179 other inventions listed under his own name. "I have been working on this project for the last 10 years," he said.
"My invention easily fits into the size of a personal computer case and can predict details of the next 5-8 years of the life of its users. It will not take you into the future, it will bring the future to you."
I wonder if Hilton Hotels is aware of what some of its Muslim employees are using its e-mail system for
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Kerry Meets Syrian Opposition, Hinting More Aid to Come; Syrian Rebels Announce Merger With Al-Qaeda
Secretary of State John Kerry met today with leaders of the Syrian opposition, after indicating the U.S. is preparing to distribute more aid to rebels seeking the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad. [...]AP:
At stake is whether the U.S. will move beyond food and medical supplies to give fighters items such as body armor and night-vision goggles.
The leader of a militant group fighting on the side of Syria's rebels has for the first time pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda and the militant network's No. 1, Ayman al-Zawahri.
In an audio message Wednesday, Abu Mohammad al-Golani also confirms ties with al-Qaeda's Iraq branch but says that he wasn't consulted ahead of an announcement on the two groups' merger.
Al-Qaeda's branch in Iraq on Tuesday announced it joined forces with the Syrian group, and that the new union will be called the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.
The Levant is the traditional name referring to the region from southern Turkey to Egypt on the eastern Mediterranean.
Monday, April 8, 2013
WASHINGTON (NYT) — The Navy is going to sea for the first time with a laser attack weapon that has been shown in tests to disable patrol boats and blind or destroy surveillance drones.
A prototype shipboard laser will be deployed on a converted amphibious transport and docking ship in the Persian Gulf, where Iranian fast-attack boats have harassed American warships and where the government in Tehran is building remotely piloted aircraft carrying surveillance pods and, someday potentially, rockets.
The laser will not be operational until next year, but the announcement on Monday by Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, the chief of naval operations, seemed meant as a warning to Iran not to step up activity in the gulf in the next few months if tensions increase because of sanctions and the impasse in negotiations over the Iranian nuclear program. The Navy released video and still images of the laser weapon burning through a drone during a test firing.
The laser is designed to carry out a graduated scale of missions, from burning through a fast-attack boat or a drone to producing a nonlethal burst to “dazzle” an adversary’s sensors and render them useless without causing any other physical damage.
(WT) President Obama had another tough week in a second term filled with bad news and blunders — and he’s only 10 weeks in.
While the White House suddenly decided to drop its budget Friday in an effort to control the news, there was no covering up the disastrous jobless numbers: 90 million Americans out of the workforce, the highest level since 1979; another 663,000 joining the ranks of the long-term unemployed; a measly 88,000 jobs “created.”
But what seems stuck in the craw of a lot of you readers out there was last week’s column on the Obamas’ 1 percent lifestyle — the endless ski and beach vacations for the couple and their daughters, Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s nights in London and Paris that cost you more than $1 million, even the president’s 118th round of golf while in office.
“My kids asked me a couple of years ago why we never went on family vacations,” wrote Steve Gibson. “I told them that we had to pay all of our expenses first and there wasn’t any money left over for a family vacation. Then I keep seeing … stories about the administration taking trips everywhere and I don’t know what to think. I have been laid off twice in the past year and am currently in the job search mode again.”
Eric Zundell is in the same boat: “As someone who has not been able to afford a vacation for my family in the last 12 years (but pays his taxes ;)), I highly applaud the message delivered by your article.”
Ron Kaye agreed that “this is not about the girls, it’s about the money, which looks worse and worse every month. But the Obamas don’t care what it ‘looks’ like. They ARE the first family and by G-d they’re going to go when and where they want on as many planes as it takes; taxpayers be damned.”
Charlene Sanders echoed Mr. Kaye — with a Marie Antoinette twist. “He doesn’t give a damn about us. He’s the president and by god he’s going to do what he wants … to hell with whatever anybody else thinks. Seems like a ‘Let them eat cake’ attitude to me.”
Tim Mascara was puzzled by the sudden media silence. “I vaguely remember Michael Moore calling Bush out for golf and vacations. Where is the outcry now [for] this guy?”
Barry Kahn juxtaposed the first couple’s lavish lifestyle with the president’s decision to cancel all White House tours. “Their extravagance boggles my mind. Why is it that they can get away with this stuff? The White House is closed to tours for supposed security reasons and they can globe trot with security in tow and the media says nothing?”
Scott Hord was flat-out disheartened. “I used have to some measure of respect for the Office of the President, regardless of who was in command, but this current President has truly left a bad taste in my mouth.”
Jason Lockwood also sounded fed up. “Thanks for pointing out the Obama/Biden high falutin’ lifestyle. I’m continually amazed that our country continually allows these narcissistic ***holes to live such lavish lifestyles at the expense of the rest of the hard working ‘Joes.’ I’m printing off a copy and sending it in with my quarterly payment to the IRS.”
Steve Hunt was succinct: “Obama and his wife are grade A hypocrites and no friend of the poor they say they represent.”
Yet Johann Ritter took issue with the column: “Aren’t you being a little rough on the first family? I mean, if you were running a company that is losing about $114 million an hour, wouldn’t you need some really serious vacation time? I would have given up on fixing the problem and find a reason to stay out of the office.”
Funny, two days later, Mr. Obama decided to forgo 5 percent of his salary. Coincidence? Of course not. Americans are fed up with the royal lifestyle the Obamas live while they work double shifts to get by. Like Amy Jett.
“People like to say how hard the man works and how he deserves his vacations, blah, blah, blah. Such nonsense only insults hard-working taxpayers all over the country — of which I am one,” she wrote. “I am a nurse, mom to a large brood, teacher, wife and caretaker for special needs children. We are just trying to scrape by, while this administration and our politicians have just hiked our taxes and health-care costs up and made life that much harder. We have not been on a single vacation in almost ten years. You know where we go on the few days we take off from work? Doctor’s offices is our most constant destination (although with Obamacare even that may have to be somewhat curtailed). We can’t afford a vacation. We have to pay a mortgage, hospital bills, car repairs, etc., etc., etc. We have to pay for the Obamas to go on trips, have parties, and so on. And then they pretend to understand our pain while they lecture us about ‘shared sacrifice’ and ‘fairness’? Disgusting.”
This morning I had another talk with the German Chancellor, Herr Hitler, and here is the paper which bears his name upon it as well as mine. Some of you, perhaps, have already heard what it contains but I would just like to read it to you: ' ... We regard the agreement signed last night and the Anglo-German Naval Agreement as symbolic of the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another againThe very next day German annexed the Sudetenland. A year later the World was at War.
The other week, the President of the USA, visited Israel. Whilst there, he press-armed the Jewish state to apologise to Turkey for the shooting dead of 9 thugs masquerading as aid workers on a boat containing... no aid. Well, apologise Israel did to the Turkish government which knew of the intended violence that its so called nationals were planning, and they of course demanded the Jews pay up for killing people of whom the Turkish have no problem dispatching to Allah if they happen to speak Kurdish. Well, a few weeks down the line and the Turks have demanded that Israel will have to end all restrictions on Palestinians and lift the Gaza blockade before they restore full ties. (You know that blockade where weapons can freely enter Gaza, where the border with Egypt is more open than than any major Western Bus Station at rush hour)Nothing like moving the goal posts is there.
Peace in our time, Mr Obama?
Today it has been revealed that long hair on males is verboten, and if you are young, a male and living within the borders of Gaza, don't get caught with your hair longer than a skinhead whilst wearing tight trousers, otherwise the morality police will have you on your knees while they lovingly cut your hair to an acceptable level. Afterwards, they will move onto the hair on your head.
You have to admit Ayman al-Sayed and his friend may have a reason to have been picked up by the fuzz for being somewhat pretty and appealing to the morality police.
If you didn't see it above here is a photo of the official Russian seal of approval.
(Fox News) More than 700 Special Operations veterans are urging members of Congress to back a select committee to investigate last year’s Benghazi terrorist attack, according to a letter first obtained by Fox News.
The letter from the group, “Special Operations Speaks,” supports the appointment of a special committee tasked with the single mission of investigating the attack that left Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans dead, and shut down the CIA operation in an annex of the Benghazi consulate, in the Sept. 11, 2012 attack.
“Congress must show some leadership and provide answers to the public as to what actually occurred in Benghazi. Americans have a right to demand a full accounting on this issue," the letter stated.
Special Operations Speaks is a political action committee whose primary mission is to “emphasize the pressing need for the nation and its representatives to understand the value of our Constitution and actively support a return to its application in all phases of government,” according to the group’s website.
The group received widespread publicity for its stance against what it described as damaging information leaks related to the raid that killed Usama bin Laden in May 2011.
The letter includes more than 16 points of possible investigation for the proposed committee.
They range from the warnings given to the State Department that security was unraveling on the ground, as Al Qaeda and Islamist militias gained a foothold leading up to the attack; the continued silence of State Department and CIA employees evacuated from Benghazi since the attack; as well as the real-time decision making of President Obama, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Department of Defense on the night of the attack, which took place on the 11th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001.
"America has always held to the notion that no American will be left behind and that every effort will be made to respond when U.S. personnel are threatened. Given our backgrounds, we are concerned that this sends a very negative message to future military and diplomatic personnel,” the letter said.
Running more than 20 pages listing all its signatories, the letter supports House Resolution 36, which was introduced by Rep. Frank Wolf, a Republican from Virginia.
On the House floor in January, Rep. Wolf reiterated his call for the select committee, stating the American people “are no closer to understanding what caused the attack or bringing the terrorists responsible to justice.”
Before the recent congressional recess, House Speaker John Boehner convened a meeting of three leading Republican senators, John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of Florida and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, as well as the chairmen of the house committees on Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs, respectively, who are leading their own investigations. Rather than form a select committee, a decision was made to coordinate and pool their findings, to be completed in “weeks, not months.”
"We want to make sure that we have a full story of what happened, and where there are conflicting stories, we going to work to de-conflict them," Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers told Fox News on Mar. 21.
His committee counterpart, Democrat Dutch Ruppersberger, said he had “no problem” with his colleagues “continuing to get the facts and data,” and suggested the Benghazi issue should not be further politicized.
With the Special Operations Speaks letter expected on Capitol Hill Monday, it is not clear whether this new push for a select committee will change the minds of lawmakers.
For its part, the Obama administration has insisted it is fully cooperating with congressional investigators.
Syria: Assad takes ‘very significant’ action and pulls his best troops from Golan to fight real enemies
(WT) Syria President Bashar Assad has pulled thousands of soldiers from the Golan Heights and relocated them to Damascus, at the forefront of battle lines, leaving Israel’s border open to rebel forces. In addition, a Syrian government official says a car bomb in central Damascus has killed 10 people, The Associated Press reported.
“They [the Syrian government] have moved some of their best battalions away from the Golan,” a Western diplomatic source told The Guardian. “They have replaced some of them with poorer-quality battalions, which have involved reducing manpower. The moves are very significant.”
Ynet said the move has fired up concerns in Israel that radical Islamists and jihadists will now use that border zone as a staging area for attacks, and Middle East experts view the redeployment as one of the most significant in four decades.
The troop movement leaves in question the fate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force, the global body tasked with monitoring peace between Israel and Syria since a cease-fire was declared in 1973, at the end of the Yom Kipper War, The Times of Israel reported.
“UNDOF is of the highest importance, now more than ever,” said one senior Israeli government official, quoted by Ynet. “We know some participant countries are having second thoughts, and we’re concerned about that. We are talking to them to try to understand what they plan on doing if the going gets rougher.”
(The Hill) Delays in implementing popular pieces of ObamaCare are hurting it with Democrats.
Ahead of an election year in which Republicans promise to make healthcare an issue again, Democrats are criticizing the White House for delaying policies that could help build support for the unpopular law.
Democrats complained this week about a one-year delay in a key program designed to help small businesses — a central selling point for the healthcare law that now won’t be in place when voters head to the polls next year.
“Senate Republicans will have the opportunity to campaign against Obamacare's rising health care costs, burdensome paperwork and broken promises and could use it to motivate voters against Democrat candidates, especially vulnerable ones in red states,” Republican strategist Ron Bonjean said.
HHS has delayed by one year a provision that would have allowed small businesses in most states to choose from multiple policies for their workers. Although a handful of states will see increased competition next year, most will have just one plan to choose from until 2015.
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) told The New York Times the delay will “prolong and exacerbate health care costs that are crippling 29 million small businesses.”
Democrats are also complaining more openly about other implementation delays. And the substance of the law itself isn’t immune from bipartisan criticism — 33 Senate Democrats cast a non-binding vote last month to repeal the law’s tax on medical devices, saying it’s a threat to innovation that could raise costs for consumers.
The party has long acknowledged that the Affordable Care Act has its flaws. Their new openness about those flaws comes after Obama’s reelection, which ensured that the law would not be repealed before it’s fully implemented.
But it also comes just ahead of the 2014 election cycle, when vulnerable Democrats in conservative states will have to defend their votes for the health law.
Landrieu is already facing a tough reelection fight next year. And one of the Republicans who has lined up to challenge her, Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), is a doctor who still sees Medicaid patients when Congress isn’t in session.
In addition to rank-and-file Democrats who voted for the healthcare law, Republicans this time are hoping to defeat Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) — who was the primary author of the Affordable Care Act in his position as Finance chairman.
Senate Republicans’ campaign arm attacked Baucus this week as the “ObamaCare architect.”
Flaws in the law’s execution — such as higher premiums or fewer options for small businesses — could be weapons against Baucus.
"People already don't like ObamaCare, but they're really not going to like the tax hikes, mandates, fees, penalties, and added red tape bureaucracy that go info effect over the next eight months. It goes from being an abstract discussion to a real life pain," the National Republican Senatorial Committee said.
Sunday, April 7, 2013
YOLA, Nigeria (AP) – Authorities in northeast Nigeria say at least 11 people were killed in a gun and machete attack carried out by radical Islamic extremists in a northeast Nigeria village.
Adamawa state police spokesman Mohammed Ibrahim said the attacker hit the village of Midlu early Saturday morning, targeting the house of the state's deputy governor during their assault.
Ibrahim said victims had their throats slit. Villagers living there said the attackers called out some of their victims by name, suggesting that the assailants had particular people they wanted dead.
No arrests were immediately made in the attack, which comes as northern Nigeria faces near-daily attacks by Islamic extremists. The main extremist network there, known as Boko Haram, has been launching attacks since 2010, despite an increased deployment of soldiers and police there.
(Times of Israel) Israelis commemorated Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day Sunday night, marking the start of 24 hours during which schools, government offices, the IDF and local municipalities will hold ceremonies to honor those murdered by the Nazis and their helpers.
The national flag was lowered to half mast at 8 p.m. at the start of the main ceremony wat the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial. President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke and Six Holocaust survivors lit memorial torches in memory of the 6 million Jews who were murdered.
Australian non-Muslims and women informed they are not welcome in mosque and kicked out of funeral of their friend
Erdinc Ozen was an Australian policeman (as well as a member of the naval reserve), and when his life was cut short, his family invited all his friends to the funeral at Sydney's Auburn Gallipoli Mosque. However, while waiting for the service to begin, the vice president of the mosque, Dr Abdurrahman Asaroglu, informed the congregation that as this was an Islamic funeral, all women and non-Muslims had to leave. So they did, and now the Ozen family are demanding an apology from the mosque at how their wishes that Erdinc's friends share their day of remembrance were thrown out of the window by a bigoted so called holy man. His brother summed up his anguish:
"He told everyone it's a Muslim prayer service, all women and non-Muslims were not welcome and they had to leave the mosque area, All of his friends were not Muslim, so they had to leave - it was a big shock. It upset a lot of people."Most hurtful for his family was that when it came time to move Erdinc's coffin, his closest friends were not allowed to take part in the proceedings."These complete strangers were grabbing my brother's coffin, not his mates, as a result of what this bloke had said,"I had to laugh when I read the official explanation from the mosque:
Islamic Friendship Association president Keysar Trad said: "What was done does not run consistently with our traditions. Our religion teaches us to be compassionate towards people grieving."Give it a rest, Keysar, time and time again we here about how Islam is a magnanimous faith and time and time again on a daily basis we see acts carried out in the name of Islam which say bloody otherwise.
Army Training Material on ‘Religious Extremism’ Lists Evangelical Christians, Catholics and Some Jews Alongside KKK, Al-Qaeda and Hamas
(The Blaze) During a briefing with an Army Reserve unit based in Pennsylvania, a U.S. Army training instructor listed Evangelical Christianity, Catholicism and even “Islamophobia” as examples of “religious extremism,” Fox News’ Todd Starnes reports. Listed alongside them were the Ku Klux Klan, Hamas and al-Qaeda.
The incident reportedly occurred during an Army Reserve Equal Opportunity training brief on religious extremism. At the top of the list is Evangelical Christianity. However, other extremist groups included Sunni Muslims, and Nation of Islam and the Jewish Defense League.
Ron Crews, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, told Fox News that the list is “offensive” and that Evangelical Christians and the Catholic Church should not be on the list.
“It is dishonorable for any U.S. military entity to allow this type of wrongheaded characterization,” he said.
Army spokesman George Wright told Fox News that the martial is not condoned by the U.S. Army and represented an “isolated incident.”
“This slide was not produced by the Army and certainly does not reflect our policy or doctrine…It was produced by an individual without anyone in the chain of command’s knowledge or permission,” he said.
After a complaint was filed by a soldier, Wright said the instructor deleted the slide and apologized. “We consider the matter closed,” he added.
To read Fox News’ entire report, click here.
I'm not saying racism doesn't exist, it does, yet for all the protestations of the left, the West is a much more equal place for people of a different skin colour than it used to be. Which is why this comment by Lee Jasper, the former senior policy advisor on equalities to former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, has no place in this day and age.
#Subtext. Black people in Europe and UK can't be racist is my view and one that enjoys wide support.Mr Jasper, racism cuts both ways and your comment does no good in this day and age for race relations.
— Lee Jasper (@LeeJasper) April 7, 2013
"I saw the kids drawing on the wall after afternoon prayers so I grabbed them and told them to remove what they'd just written," said Mahmoud Mahmoud al-Alfi, a Muslim resident.All well and good I suppose, but as is the way of the Muslim, things got a little out of hand when another man arrived and started beating the children, drawing a large crowd. The situation escalated when someone drew a gun and fired into the air, killing one boy with a stray bullet. Ah, so a stray bullet just happened to kill a child who had drawn an ancient symbol on a wall. Which is when the local Christian population took notice, however, as per usual in Islamic lands, they came off worse, with 4 Christians getting murdered alongside one Muslim. But get this, instead of crying for the child who had been murdered in cold blood, Alfi (above) had this to say:
Weeping Muslim women sat nearby in front of a house, showing pictures of a man they said had been killed during the clashes.Kind of explains how why an angry crowd smashed and burned shops belonging to Christians, burned down a Coptic day care centre and part of the local church, and in their rage burnt down an apartment inhabited by Muslims.
So much for all that Islamic tolerance.
“My body belongs to me and is not the source of anyone's honour”.The local religious bigots decided that this young lady had offended Mohammed and thus Islam itself and demanded that she be executed. (Why are religious bigots so scared of naked women?) Her family decided that she needed to be sectioned, and for a while now nobody has seen sight of this very brave young lady. Well, in support of this young lady, Femen decided to protest outside of a number of Tunisian embassies and major mosques on mainland Europe. Of course this hasn't gone down with the followers of the religion of peace who claim that this is nothing but Imperialistic colonialism by women who cannot get a man by any other means.
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
(WFB) Current and former American soldiers joining terrorist groups has become a serious problem, according to an article in the Atlantic.
The article comes after Eric Harroun, a former Private First Class in the U.S Army, was charged in Virginia for joining the al-Nusra Front, an al Qaeda faction currently fighting in Syria.
According to the Atlantic:
He grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, and served in the Army’s 568th Engineer Company between 2000 and 2003, achieving the rank of Private First Class. He was discharged with full disability pay after suffering a head injury in a truck accident. Harroun eventually began identifying himself as a Muslim, with his Facebook page containing the quote, “The only good Zionist is a dead Zionist.”The arrest comes after a report in February showed Americans joining al Qaeda at an alarming rate. Fifty-four percent of arrests relating to al Qaeda were of U.S. citizens and 36 percent were born in the United States, according to the report.
The majority of the terrorists received training in Afghanistan or Pakistan, the report noted. U.S. citizens that converted from Christianity to Islam comprised nearly a quarter of the terrorists studied.
The Atlantic also looked at other American soldiers joining terrorists groups before Harroun. Major Nidal Hasan, who killed 13 and wounded 28 at Fort Hood, exchanged emails with al Qaeda member Anwar al-Awlaki before his attack.
A similar incident occurred in Kuwait. Sergeant Hasan Akbar had served as a combat engineer in the 101st Airborne Division. Yet, in March 2003, five years after joining the Army, Akbar murdered two fellow soldiers and injured 14 others at Camp Pennsylvania in Kuwait, where members of his division had been due to travel to Iraq. Akbar threw grenades into tents containing troops and shot them as they attempted to escape. Akbar later said that he “did it because I’m Muslim. They were going to kill Muslims and rape Muslim women.
Monday, April 1, 2013
BEIRUT (Reuters) - March was the bloodiest month yet in Syria's two-year conflict, with more than 6,000 people killed, a third of them civilians, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Monday.
The group opposes President Bashar al-Assad but has monitored human rights violations on both sides of a revolt that began as peaceful protests but is now a brutal war between forces loyal to Assad and an array of rebel militias.
The Britain-based Observatory, which has a network of sources across Syria, has documented 62,554 dead in the conflict, said Rami Abdelrahman, the head of the group.
"But we know the number is much, much higher," he told Reuters by telephone. "We estimate it is actually around 120,000 people. Many death tolls are more difficult to document so we are not officially including them yet."
As in previous months, around a third of those killed in March were civilians, the Observatory said. Almost 300 children died, taking the number killed in the conflict to around 4,390.
The United Nations says more than 70,000 people have died in Syria. Abdelrahman said both sides have found ways to minimize their dead to keep morale high among their followers.
ASHTABULA, Ohio (TheBlaze/AP) — Police in northeast Ohio are investigating a shooting outside a church that left one man dead after an Easter service. And the details may shock you.
A member of the Hiawatha Church of God in Christ said the man was shot soon after Easter services ended, around 1:15 p.m. Sunday. Joan Crockett said the man knew the shooter, and that a suspect was taken into custody.
Media reports — and the police — identified the victim as Richard Riddle, 52, and said his son was the shooter.
Ashtabula Police Chief Robert Stell told the Star Beacon in Ashtabula that dispatchers received multiple calls about the shooting from inside the church and that a mass shooting was feared. He said at least six other law enforcement agencies rushed to assist local police.
The Plain Dealer newspaper in Cleveland reported that the church’s pastor said congregants were leaving when they heard a gunshot. Here’s how WKYC-TV describes the shooting:
Rashad Riddle, waited outside of the church until his family came out. He said a few words before shooting his father, Richard Riddle, who died at the scene. A witness only remembers hearing one shot.But here’s where the details get a bit more curious. According to WYTV-TV, the suspected shooter, Rashad Riddle, yelled, “The will of Allah — this is the will of God,” either before or after the murder.
The shooter didn’t leave the scene following the shooting. When police arrived, they told him to put down his gun, which he did. Police then took him into custody.
Those at the church described the chaos in detail.
Associate Pastor Sean Adams told The (Ashtabula) Star Beacon newspaper that worshippers started screaming, ducking down and calling 911 on cellphones after the shooting.
“”It was terrifying,” Adams told the newspaper. “The children were screaming and people were dialing 911. We were afraid to breathe.”
Adams said Reshad Riddle then continued into the church, still holding the gun, and yelled that the killing was “the will of Allah. This is the will of God.”
“People pushed me into a back office and said, `Somebody’s here with a gun,’” said the Rev. David Howard Jr. “The guy was outside hollering and acting crazy.”
There were no immediate reports of any other injuries.
Howard said the church has about 175 members and that congregants didn’t know what led up to the shooting.
“It’s such a tragic loss,” Crockett said.
County Coroner Pamela Lancaster told the Star Beacon that Riddle’s wound was “immediately fatal.” She said the body will be transferred to the Cuyahoga County coroner’s office for autopsy.