Posts Tagged ‘Terror Attacks’

Taliban attack on Afghan hotel — At least 18 dead

January 21, 2018

14 foreigners among fatalities, with casualty toll expected to rise; more than 150 people, including 41 foreigners, rescued

Security forces stand guard near the Intercontinental Hotel after a deadly attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, January 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini)

Security forces stand guard near the Intercontinental Hotel after a deadly attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, January 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini)

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A Taliban assault on the Intercontinental Hotel in Afghanistan’s capital killed at least 18 people, including 14 foreigners, and pinned security forces down for more than 13 hours before the last attacker was killed on Sunday, with the casualty toll expected to rise.

The heavily guarded luxury hotel is popular among foreigners and Afghan officials. Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said the 18 killed included 14 foreigners and a telecommunications official from the western Farah province who was attending a conference.

“Eleven of the 14 foreigners killed were employees of KamAir, a private Afghan airline,” said Danish. KamAir put out an announcement saying some of its flights were disrupted because of the attack.

Ukraine says one of its citizens was killed in the attack. Vasyl Kyrylych, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, announced the death of the Ukrainian citizen in a brief statement on Twitter, without providing further details. Afghan officials did not identify the foreigner killed in the attack.

Ten other people, including six from the security forces, were reported wounded and more than 150 people, including 41 foreigners, were rescued from the hotel, Danish said.

Policemen block the main road near the Intercontinental Hotel after a deadly attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, January 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini)

The Taliban claimed the attack, which began around 9 p.m. Saturday, saying five gunmen armed with suicide vests targeted foreigners and Afghan officials.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the insurgents initially planned to attack the hotel Thursday night but postponed the assault because there was a wedding underway and they wanted to avoid civilian casualties.

The attack unfolded almost six years after Taliban insurgents launched a similar assault on the property, which is not part of the Intercontinental chain of worldwide hotels.

The Interior Ministry said a private firm assumed responsibility for securing the hotel around three weeks ago. The ministry says it is investigating how the attackers managed to enter the building.

During a press conference, Danish said that early investigations show that six insurgents entered the hotel from the northern side and stormed its kitchen. Two attackers were killed by Special Forces on the 6th floor of the hotel.

“We need to complete our investigation, but our initial reports show that the attackers were moved in to the hotel,” said Danish.

Mumtaz Ahmad, a provincial telecommunications employee for Helmand province, who survived the attack, said, “I was on my way from my room toward the reception, when the elevator door opened. I saw two armed suicide bombers. People were escaping and the attackers were firing at them.”

Afghan security officials confirmed that 34 provincial officials were gathered at the hotel to participate in a conference organized by the Telecommunications Ministry.

A fire broke out at the hotel as the fighting raged, and the sound of explosions could be heard throughout the standoff. Live TV footage showed people trying to escape through windows on the upper stories.

Capt. Tom Gresback, spokesman for NATO-led forces, said in a statement that Afghan forces were leading the response efforts. He said that according to initial reports, no foreign troops were hurt in the attack.

Neighboring Pakistan condemned the “brutal terrorist attack” and called for greater cooperation against militants. Afghanistan and Pakistan routinely accuse each other of failing to combat extremists along their long and porous border.

Afghan forces have struggled to combat the Taliban since the US and NATO formally concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014. They have also had to contend with a growing Islamic State affiliate that has carried out a number of massive attacks in recent years.

Afghans walk near the Intercontinental Hotel as smoke billows during a fight between gunmen and Afghan security forces in Kabul on January 21, 2018. (AFP PHOTO/WAKIL KOHSAR)

In the northern Balkh province, insurgents burst into a home where several members of a local pro-government militia were gathered late Saturday, leading them outside and killing 18 of them, said Gen. Abdul Razeq Qaderi, the deputy provincial police chief. Among those killed was a tribal leader who served as the local police commander, he said.

In the western Farah province, a roadside bomb killed a deputy provincial police chief and wounded four other police early Sunday, according to Gen. Mahruf Folad, the provincial police chief.

The Taliban claimed both attacks.

In the western Herat province, a roadside bomb struck a vehicle carrying 13 civilians, killing all but one of them, said Abdul Ahad Walizada, a spokesman for the provincial police chief. No one immediately claimed the attack, but Walizada blamed Taliban insurgents, who often plant roadside bombs to target Afghan security forces.



A Daring Assassination Attempt Shows ISIS in Sinai Has the Ultimate Weapon: Intel

December 26, 2017


An air force helicopter was blown to pieces in a by-the-book military operation that could have seen two senior ministers killed. This was the latest in a string of attacks that could force Egypt – and Israel – to respond

By Amos Harel Dec 26, 2017 9:41 AM


Screen grab of a video released last week by an ISIS-linked group in the Sinai Peninsula, in which a Kornet anti-tank missile is fired at an Egyptian air force helicopter near Al-Arish.

Screen grab of a video released last week by an ISIS-linked group in the Sinai Peninsula, in which a Kornet anti-tank missile is fired at an Egyptian air force helicopter near Al-Arish. Wilayat Sinai

A video released late last week by Wilayat Sinai, the Islamic State offshoot in the Sinai Peninsula, got relatively little attention in the Israeli media. It shows a Kornet anti-tank missile being fired at an Egyptian air force helicopter parked at the military airport near Al-Arish. To the calls of “Allahu Akbar,” the missile hits the helicopter and blows it to smithereens.


The explosion killed three people – one of the pilots, a security guard and the bureau chief of Egyptian Defense Minister Sedki Sobhy. The incident documented was not a terror attack, but an assassination attempt. The precision strike took place during a visit to the base by Sobhy and Egyptian Interior Minister Magdy Abdel-Ghaffar. The date and location of the visit were not announced in advance. It seems that Wilayat Sinai obtained intelligence information that exposed the minister to attack.


It’s not the first time that Wilayat Sinai, now the most lethal and effective branch of ISIS in the Middle East, has succeeded in attacking a well-secured target. Two years ago, in November 2015, a Russian passenger plane blew up in midair, shortly after it took off from the Sharm al-Sheikh airport carrying 224 people. All those on board were killed. It later emerged that Islamic State operatives had managed to put a bomb into the plane’s cargo hold along with the passengers’ luggage. The bombing was enough to destroy much of Sinai’s tourist trade, which was heavily reliant on charter flights from Russia.

Wilayat Sinai has recently had a series of murderous successes. In each of the previous three years, some 500 Egyptian security personnel and civilians were killed in terrorist attacks by radical Islamists, led by the ISIS branch, in Sinai. This year, the number could be much higher, after the killing of 311 worshipers in the attack at the Al Rawda Sufi mosque in northern Sinai at the end of November. An analysis of the attack shows it was meticulously planned. A relatively large number of armed terrorists stormed all the windows and doors of the building and shot the worshipers at close range. As in other instances, the Egyptian authorities trumpeted the large number of fatalities among the terrorists, but the true number of ISIS losses is unclear.

But the most impressive attack initiated by Wilayat Sinai this year took place on July 7, at the Al-Najizat military camp some 10 kilometers from Nitzana on the Israeli side of the border. The camp, where a commando battalion is based, is situated near a Bedouin village. The organization distributed detailed videos documenting the attack, some of which were included in a propaganda video ISIS issued recently summing up its terror attacks in various countries during 2017.

Here, too, there are signs of meticulous planning in accordance with a cogent, calculated military doctrine. The terrorists initially placed obstacles on the roads leading to the military camp to prevent Egyptian reinforcements from reaching the area. Then a car bomb exploded at the base gate. The explosion caused many deaths and great confusion. As disorder reigned, dozens of terrorists in SUVs (Toyota 4X4s) equipped with heavy machine guns invaded the base and massacred the remaining soldiers.

Military forces and helicopters secure an area in North Sinai, Egypt, December 1, 2017. MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY/REUTERS
More than 30 Egyptian soldiers, including the battalion commander, were killed. The Egyptian military released recordings from the military communications network in which the commander is heard declaring that he would not surrender. It seems he continued to fight until he was killed.

This ISIS attack was based on considerable intelligence and showed signs that the commanders were able to keep a tight rein on their forces. The group also worked to rescue and evacuate its wounded, demonstrating that this was not a suicide operation. The battle lasted nearly two hours. When Egyptian air force helicopters and jets arrived, the terrorists fled.

It was a by-the-book raid, differing little from the battle doctrine of any Western army – the isolation of the target, the deployment of holding and invasion forces, the collection of intelligence, orderly combat procedure and complete surprise. The entire incident was documented, as usual, by cameras from afar and by the terrorists’ helmet cameras.

Wilayat Sinai doesn’t have a particularly large number of fighters. Western intelligence sources estimate them as slightly more than a thousand and believe the number has grown by a few hundred over the past year with the migration of refugees from ISIS’ battles in Syria and Iraq, after the caliphates ISIS established in those countries collapsed. Sinai seems to be one of the main destinations for ISIS veterans. Alongside them are hundreds of Bedouin terrorists who are native to Sinai, dozens of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip who moved to Sinai, as well as terror operatives from the Caucasus countries. At the same time, Al-Qaida’s local branch in Sinai, known as Junud al-Islam, is showing signs of reemerging.

The series of deadly ISIS attacks will apparently require Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi to focus his security forces’ retaliation efforts on the organization’s strongholds. Sissi has already made several dismissals among the senior army brass and had already replaced the chief of general staff a few months ago due to previous failures. But the Egyptian regime’s problem is not confined to Sinai. The success of the jihadists in Sinai is inspiring radical operatives in Egypt itself. Egypt’s borders with Sudan and Libya are fairly porous and there are massive amounts of weapons being smuggled to terror groups within Egypt.

There are potential risks here for Israel as well. According to reports in the Arab media, Israel is assisting Egypt by providing intelligence information and with drone attacks against Wilayat Sinai. Israel has also permitted the entry into Sinai of Egyptian battalions with heavy equipment, an agreed-upon violation of the security appendix in the peace agreement between the two countries.

To date, except for the grave assault at Ein Netafim in 2011 and a failed attempt south of Kerem Shalom a year later, Sinai’s extremist groups have demonstrated little interest in Israeli targets. There have been rockets fired at Eilat and the southern Negev from time to time, but there have been no attempts at more sophisticated attacks. The Israeli security establishment, however, is preparing for the possibility of cross-border raids like the attacks on the mosque and the Egyptian military camp, in which there could be an attempt to breach the border fence and reach a nearby settlement, taking advantage of the knowledge and experience accumulated by Wilayat Sinai in recent years.

Amos Harel
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Israel Stopped 400 Major Terror Attacks in 2017, Shin Bet Chief Says — “The calm we are experiencing is misleading — Hamas is trying with all its might to carry out attacks and undermine the stability of the Palestinian Authority.”

December 24, 2017

Palestinian front unstable ‘particularly after Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem,’ Nadav Argaman tells lawmakers

By Jonathan Lis Dec 24, 2017 11:17 AM


Shin Bet head Nadav Argaman during his overview to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday.

Shin Bet head Nadav Argaman – heed his warnings. Emil Salman

Israel foiled 400 potential major terror attacks in 2017, Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman disclosed on Sunday.

Speaking at a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting, Argaman noted that 13 of which were planned suicide attacks and eight of the attacks were planned kidnappings. Further, 1,100 potential lone wolf attacks were thwarted.

The Shin Bet chief noted that there were 54 attacks carried out in 2017, a decrease from 108 carried out in 2016. Argaman qualified the decrease, however, stating that “the calm we are experiencing is misleading, and Hamas is trying with all its might to carry out attacks and undermine the stability of the Palestinian Authority.”

Argaman added that the Palestinian front, in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, is quite unstable, “particularly after Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem.” He added that this reality is more challenging than ever in Gaza.

In March, Argaman told the committee that the Middle East is undergoing geopolitical change that will reveberate for years to come, including the implications of the Iran nuclear agreement on terrorism in the Middle East.

Jonathan Lis
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Pakistan Executes by Hanging 3 Militants Convicted Over Terror Attacks

October 4, 2017

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s military says authorities have executed three militants sentenced to death by military courts after being convicted of carrying out terror attacks in recent years.

Image result for death by hanging in Pakistan, Photos

A statement from the military says the executions took place at a prison in the country’s northwest on Wednesday.

The executions came day after a rights group, Justice Project Pakistan, expressed concern over the multitude of executions taking place, saying that the country has sent 477 prisoners to the gallows since 2014.

The group also announced a weeklong public awareness campaign against executions ahead of World Day Against the Death Penalty, Oct. 10.

Pakistan halted executions in 2008 due to pressure from rights groups but reinstated capital punishment after the Taliban attacked a school in the city of Peshawar, killing 150 people, mostly schoolchildren.

Angela Merkel: Barcelona terrorists demonstrated ‘contempt for humanity’

August 18, 2017

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has issued a message of defiance after Thursday’s terrorist attacks in and around Barcelona, which killed 14 people and injured hundreds. Many international leaders offered condolences.

Deutschland Merkel Statement zum Barcelona Anschlag (picture-alliance/dpa/M. Kappeler)

Angela Merkel appeared as scheduled at a conservative party election campaign event in Berlin on Friday. But with the news of the attacks in and around Barcelona still fresh in everyone’s minds, she briefly offered her condolences and thoughts.

“These murderous attacks have once again demonstrated the contempt for humanity with which the Islamist terrorists proceed,” Merkel said. “We also felt in those hours how closely connected Germans, Spanish and free people around the world are.”

Click here to read about the events as they happened

Merkel said that Germans were united in their sorrow at what had happened to people, many of whom were on vacation, as they enjoyed a summer evening. Thirteen Germans were among those injured in the attacks, some of them seriously,. Germany suffered a very similar attack lack December when a terrorist drove a truck through a crowded Christmas market.

But the chancellor also offered a defiant message.

“We will not allow these murderers to deprive us of our way of life,” Merkel said. “Barcelona in particular represents so much of what makes life in the free world what it is: beauty, tolerance, joie de vivre and people from all nations and cultures coming together in peace. Terrorism can inflicted bitter and said hours upon us. But terrorism can never defeat us.”

The campaign goes on – but without music

The terrorist attacks happened as German politicians are wooing voters ahead of a national election on September 24. Merkel said that she had considered canceling the conservative CDU’s campaign events out of respect for the victims, but had decided against it.

“I came to the conclusion that elections and the weeks leading up to them are a celebration of democracy and a celebration of our liberty,” Merkel said. “The terrorists don’t understand that, but we know that our strength is freedom and respect for the rights of the individual.”

Merkel said that she had consulted with the leaders of the other political parties, including her main rival Martin Schulz of the Social Democrats (SPD), about the best response to the terrorist attacks in Spain. She added that all of Germany’s political leaders would tone down campaign events on Friday and Saturday. No music will be used, and moments of silence will commemorate the terrorism victims.

In a separate statement, Schulz said the campaign limitations were “a sign of solidarity with the victims in Spain.

At Spain’s embassy in Berlin, the Spanish and EU flags were flying at half-mast, but in the morning at least, there were no flowers, candles or messages from the public at large.

‘Democracy will break barbarism’

Spanien Madrid - Premierminister Mariano Rajoy bei Pressekonferenz (Getty Images/AFP/P.-P. Marcou)Spain’s prime minister said his country was ‘united’

After participating in a crisis meeting with other members of the Catalonian regional government, the region’s president, Carles Puigdment, said, “Catalonia will rise to the occasion to defend peace and freedom. Democracy will break barbarism.”

The region also declared three days of mourning to honor the victims.

After ensuring the public that the government was on top of tending to the injured and securing the area, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy tweeted that terrorists and barbarism will never defeat a united country that loves liberty. “All of Spain is with the victims and families.”

Los terroristas nunca derrotarán a un pueblo unido que ama la libertad frente a la barbarie. Toda España está con las víctimas y familias MR

Spain’s royal family also condemned the attacks via Twitter, calling the perpetrators assassins and criminals. “All of Spain is Barcelona. Las Ramblas will once more be for everyone.”

Son unos asesinos, simplemente unos criminales que no nos van a aterrorizar. Toda España es Barcelona. Las Ramblas volverán a ser de todos.

The Islamic Commission of Spain (UCIDE) also expressed its “emphatic condemnation and repulsion” in relation to the Barcelona attack and reiterated its full commitment to “fight against all forms of terrorism.”

The commission said it “hopes that those responsible for these attacks can be detained and brought to justice as soon as possible.”

Sympathy from beyond Spain’s borders

French Prime Minister Macron said his thoughts and the solidarity of his country were with victims of the tragic attack. “We remain united and determined,” he said. In a Spanish-language tweet issued later, he reiterated solidarity and said, “We are at your side.”

Spain’s northern neighbor has faced a number of terror attacks in the past years, including the 2016 Bastille Day attack in Nice when a man drove a truck into a crowd of people celebrating on a broad, beachside promenade killing 86 people.

US President Donald Trump also condemned the attack and extended an offer of help to Spain.

The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help. Be tough & strong, we love you!

But he drew heavy criticism for another incendiary and historically inaccurate Tweet in which he wrote that US General John J. Pershing should serve as a model for dealing with Islamist terrorists. Trump has in the past claimed that Pershing shot Muslim prisoners with bullets dipped in pig’s blood, but that claim has no basis in fact.

New threat to Britain’s railways as al-Qaeda tells supporters to derail train carriages

August 16, 2017

The Telegraph

Members of al Qaeda’s Nusra Front in Syria CREDIT: REUTERS

Al-qaeda is urging its supporters in Britain to derail a train, causing massive loss of life and “instil fear” among travellers and commuters.

Securing thousands of miles of track in the UK was “practically impossible” and attacks would cause “great damage and destruction”, the terrorist group said in an article in the group’s magazine Inspire.

The terrorist group offered to show how to make a “derail tool” and said any attacks would force Governments to impose the airport-style security measures on rail travellers.

The threat is understood to being taken seriously by British and American intelligence agencies who are said to be “working closely” to combat it.

Al Qaeda

Whitehall sources said they are increasingly concerned that travelling by rail was “one area of public transport which is worryingly yet to be exploited”.

One source said the Armed Forces were prepared to support police and ambulance…

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Al Qaeda’s propaganda magazine Inspire calls for terrorism train attacks in US, Europe

August 16, 2017

Image result for Grand central Station, photos

Pictured: Grand Central Station, New York

By Catherine Herridge
Fox News

The new edition of Al Qaeda’s online propaganda magazine, known as Inspire, calls on its followers to target trains in the US and Europe, identifying three methods of attack: the train’s compartments, derailments or assaults on stations.

However, a Department of Homeland Security bulletin reviewed by Fox News indicates there is no credible or imminent threat.

“…the TSA Office of Intelligence and Analysis (TSA-OIA) is not aware of any current or credible plots to attack transportation within the United States; however, TSA-OIA remains concerned with terrorist organizations’ efforts to conduct attacks against transportation,” the August 11 intelligence report states.

The magazine, written in English, provides step-by-step instructions, similar to previous issues that coached terrorists on homemade bombs.

The Homeland Security intelligence report continues, “The AQAP (Al Qaeda in Yemen) video serves as an important reminder that mass transit, passenger rail, and freight rail operations remain a potential target for terrorist activity. While TSA is not recommending any specific actions or countermeasures at this time, TSA does encourage operators to use this as an opportunity to remind employees of the importance of being aware of their work environment and to exercise due caution with equipment and materials that could be used to obstruct or derail trains.”

Within hours of the online magazine’s release, the New York Police Department’s Counterterrorism Bureau also sent out a series of tweets. “We’ve known about the content & threats presented in the current issue of AQAP’s Inspire 17 prior to its release….our robust multi-layered counterterrorism apparatus is designed to protect our air, land, waterways and railways,” the tweets read.

While not minimizing previous, successful rail attacks in Europe, including the 2004 coordinated Al Qaeda plot targeting Madrid, which killed nearly 200 people and injured more than 1,500, Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Michael O’Hanlon said the threat to U.S. rail networks should not be overhyped, but put in context.

“Probably the greatest vulnerability is going to be more in subway lines than in major rail lines,” O’Hanlon explained. “It’s really almost inconceivable to think of how you protect them. On the other hand, you’re generally not going to see quite the number of casualties.”

According to the Middle East Media Research Institute, or MEMRI, the same “Inspire” edition contains a chapter written by Al Qaeda in Yemen’s bomb maker, Ibrahim al-Asiri, who is most known for his work with non-metallic explosives. The Yemeni was behind the underwear bomb that nearly brought down a flight over Detroit in 2009, and a foiled plot targeting cargo planes bound for the U.S. a year later.

MEMRI said al-Asiri stressed transportation is a “prime target because attacks on them undermine public security and also cause great economic harm by scaring away tourists and investors.” The commentary may be dated because it refers to President Obama’s presidency.

As Thomas Joscelyn at the Long War Journal notes, Al Qaeda has “…intended to wear down the West, in part by driving up the costs of security and waging war. The adjustments made to airline security since the Sept. 11, 2001 hijackings have been costly. Al Qaeda’s failed attempts to bring down airliners in the years that followed have also driven costs up.”

While Al Qaeda has not abandoned the large-scale, mass-casualty attack, these have proven harder to execute. ISIS, which has shown more success with lone wolf operations, and now Al Qaeda seem to understand the impact of these small-cell plots that are so much harder to disrupt, as a top general recently explained.

“…that’s the most dangerous aspect,” Gen. Tony Thomas, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, recently told the Aspen Security Forum. “Because, if you light a match under that — hardest to see, you know, inspired people, hardest to see, certainly hard to — hardest to disrupt and eradicate from a law enforcement standpoint back home.”

Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.


As Mosul and Raqqa Appear Ready To Fall, Islamic State shifts from holding ground to its roots — Terror attacks

July 8, 2017

Image may contain: sky and outdoor

Iraqi civilians fleeing the fighting in Mosul walked past a heavily damaged mosque on Tuesday, July 4, 2017 — Credit Felipe Dana – Associated Pres

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Three years ago, a black-clad cleric named Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi ascended a mosque pulpit in the Iraqi city of Mosul and addressed the world as leader of a new terrorist state.

The announcement of the so-called caliphate was a high point for the extremist fighters of the Islamic State. Their exhibitionist violence and apocalyptic ideology helped them seize vast stretches of territory in Syria and Iraq, attract legions of foreign fighters and create an administration with bureaucrats, courts and oil wells.

Now, their state is crumbling.

In Syria, American-backed militias have surrounded Raqqa, the group’s capital, and breached its historic walls. Across the border, Iraqi forces have seized the remains of the Mosul mosque where the caliphate was declared and besieged the remaining jihadists in a shrinking number of city blocks.

But the loss of its two largest cities will not spell a final defeat for the Islamic State — also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh — according to analysts and American and Middle Eastern officials. The group has already shifted back to its roots as an insurgent force, but one that now has an international reach and an ideology that continues to motivate attackers around the world.


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London Police question ‘troubled’ anti-Muslim van attacker

June 20, 2017


© AFP / by Robin MILLARD | Britain is coming to terms with the aftermath of its fourth terror attack in three months

LONDON (AFP) – Police on Tuesday questioned a man suspected of deliberately mowing down Muslims in London, as the interior minister said Britain was “bruised but not broken” by a series of terror attacks.

Britain was coming to terms with the aftermath of its fourth bloody assault in three months following Monday’s van attack on worshippers leaving the Finsbury Park Mosque in north London.

The string of attacks had “bruised but not broken the heart of this great nation”, Home Secretary Amber Rudd said.

The family of Darren Osborne, the man suspected of deliberately driving into the Muslim group, said he was “troubled”, describing his action as “sheer madness”.

Osborne, 47, a father of four from Cardiff, was arrested.

Police believe the suspect acted alone and searches were being conducted at a residential address in the Welsh capital.

Police are treating the incident as a terror attack and British Prime Minister Theresa May described it as “sickening”, vowing Monday to fight extremism in all its forms.

The attack raised fears of retaliation against Muslims after a series of deadly assaults in Britain by Islamist extremists.

One man who was already receiving first aid at the time died following the assault, while nine people were taken to hospital and two others were treated for minor injuries.

“I’m sorry that my brother has been that troubled that it has taken him to this level of troubledness,” said the suspect’s sister Nicola Osborne.

“He has just been troubled for a long time.”

His mother Christine, 72, said she screamed when she saw her son in television footage.

“My son is no terrorist — he’s just a man with problems,” The Sun newspaper quoted her as saying.

In a statement on behalf of his family, his nephew Ellis Osborne, 26, said: “We are massively shocked.

“Our hearts go out to the people who have been injured.”

His uncle was “not a racist”, he said. “It’s madness. It is obviously sheer madness.”

– Suspect saved by imam –

Londoners bearing flowers and messages of solidarity gathered late Monday at the scene of the attack, some carrying signs reading “United Against All Terror”.

Another vigil is planned for Tuesday.

The van driver was pinned down by locals before being shielded from retaliatory violence by an imam and detained by police.

The man suspected of driving the van was arrested on suspicion of “the commission, preparation or instigation of terrorism including murder and attempted murder”, police said.

London police chief Cressida Dick said the incident was “quite clearly an attack on Muslims” and promised a stepped-up police presence near mosques as the holy month of Ramadan draws to a close.

Rudd said Muslims needed to feel safe in Britain and the government was working to tackle all forms of hate crime and extremism.

“Indicative figures suggest that over half of those who experience hate because of their religion are Muslim. Any hate crime is unacceptable but this stark figure is something we will not shy away from,” she wrote in The Guardian newspaper.

“We stand with the Muslim community — you are not alone, we share your pain and we will not let you down.”

– ‘Does not remember anything’ –

One victim of Monday’s attack has no memory of what happened, according to a nephew who did not wish to be identified.

“He is bleeding out of his ear, but in general his health was stable,” he said after visiting his uncle Hamza Sharif in hospital.

“He has a fracture in his skull — but they still don’t know why the bleeding from his ear is not stopping yet,” the Somali-born man said.

Sharif “does not remember anything” of the attack and kept asking “what was wrong”.

The three previous terror attacks in recent months were all Islamist-inspired.

A car and knife attack on March 22 in London killed four pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and a police officer guarding the British parliament.

Two months later, on May 22, 22 people were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a pop concert in the northern city of Manchester.

On June 3, eight people were killed in a van and knife attack on London Bridge and nearby Borough Market.

by Robin MILLARD

French police hold 4 family members of Champs-Elysees assailant

June 20, 2017


© AFP/File | Adam Dzaziri was killed when he rammed a car loaded with guns and a gas bottle into a police van on the Champs-Elysees in Paris

PARIS (AFP) – French police have taken into custody four members of the family of a radicalised Islamist who was killed when he rammed a car loaded with guns and a gas bottle into a police van on the Champs-Elysees, a judicial source said Tuesday.


The ex-wife, brother and sister-in-law of Adam Dzaziri were detained late on Monday afternoon after police questioned them at the family home outside Paris.

The assailant’s father was also “taken into custody during the evening”, the source said.

Dzaziri was killed in Monday’s attack, but there were no other casualties.

French police secure the area on the Champs Elysees avenue after an incident in Paris (Reuters/G.Fuentes)

Sources close to the probe said he had been on France’s security watchlist since 2015 over ties to “the radical Islamist movement”.

The suspect’s father told AFP that his son “had a registered weapon, he practised shooting”. A source close to the case said the 31-year-old had a firearms permit.

There has been no claim of responsibility for the assault, which occurred just a short distance from where a jihadist shot dead a police officer two months earlier.

France remains under a state of emergency imposed after the November 2015 attacks in Paris, when Islamic State jihadists slaughtered 130 people in a night of carnage at venues across the city.

The latest attack came two days before the French government is to unveil a new anti-terrorism law, designed to allow the state of emergency to be lifted.