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Thai police offer bounty for blast suspect

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Bangkok: Thai police on Wednesday offered a reward of 1 million baht ($28,100) for any information leading to the capture of the prime suspect in Monday’s Bangkok explosion in which at least 20 people were killed and more than 100 others injured. The police released a sketch of the suspected perpetrator who was seen on a surveillance camera at the scene, reported Xinhua.

 

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Camera footage showed that a foreign-looking, young man, who was wearing a yellow T-shirt and glasses, left a backpack purportedly with some dynamite inside at Erawan Shrine, a popular tourist destination in Bangkok, shortly before the explosion. The shrine reopened on Wednesday amid heightened security, but far fewer tourists visited it than before. Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha urged the “amateur” culprit to surrender to the police, warning he could otherwise be killed.

“The bombing suspect could probably be killed if he does not surrender. His life is being fatally jeopardized by those who had hired him and might be looking to silence him,” Prayut said. Meanwhile, police chief Somyot Poompanmoung said the bombing was carried out by “a network”.

(IANS)

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Deadly Blast Jostles Somalia , President Declares Three Days of National Mourning

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing, but similar attacks have been carried out by the Islamic extremist group al Shabab

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A Somali soldier helps a civilian who was wounded in a blast in the capital of Mogadishu, Somalia. VOA

Somalia, October 15, 2017 : Somalia’s president has declared three days of national mourning following a deadly truck bombing Saturday in the capital, Mogadishu, which left many people dead and dozens injured, including a VOA reporter.

President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo said the country “will observe three days of mourning for innocent victims and flags will be flown at half-mast.”

Farmaajo also called on citizens to unite against terror, saying it is “time to unite and pray together. Terror won’t win.”

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Somalis gather and search for survivors by destroyed buildings at the scene of a blast in the capital Mogadishu, Somalia. VOA

Earlier Saturday, the blast occurred near Zobe, a busy intersection in Somalia’s capital, killing more than 50 people, health officials and witnesses said.

Dead, injured

Mahad Salad Adan, a Somali lawmaker who sustained a slight wound from the blast, told VOA that more than 100 people, most of them civilians, were killed in the explosion. He said more 200 others were wounded as Mogadishu hospitals struggled to treat the wounded.

Abdulkaidr Mohamed Abdulle, a VOA Somali correspondent in Mogadishu, was among the injured. His wife, Samira Abdirahman Sheikh Adam, confirmed to VOA that he had sustained injuries to his neck, head and right hand.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing, but similar attacks have been carried out by the Islamic extremist group al Shabab. The group, which is linked to al-Qaida, is trying to overthrow the government in an effort to establish strict Islamic rule.

The United States and the United Nations strongly condemned Saturday’s blast and offered condolence to the lives lost and those wounded in the attack.

Buildings leveled

Buildings around the area were leveled by the explosion from a truck bomb, and dozens of destroyed cars littered the streets.

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Mogadishu on the map. VOA

Health officials said Saturday’s bombing was the largest blast in recent memory in Mogadishu. They also called for residents to donate blood to help with the wounded.

“For 10 years, I have been in the emergency service. … I cannot tell the exact death toll, but together I can say we have transported hundreds of people on our 10 ambulances,” said Dr. Abdulkadir Abdirahman Adem, director of the Amin ambulance service. “And economically, I think this is the worst (bombing) ever in Mogadishu in a single day.”

Government soldiers had cordoned off the area, and officials said the death toll is expected to rise as rescue workers find bodies in the rubble.

ALSO READ Terror Strikes Somalia: Five killed in Twin Car Bomb Blast in Mogadishu

Most of the victims were civilians. The exact target of the blast remains unclear, though there are several hotels frequented by government officials and members of various diaspora communities.

“This is a disaster. We ask all Somalis to reach us, to help us in the search of dead bodies under the debris. We appeal to the doctors, to those who have digging machines,” Mogadishu Mayor Tabid Abdi Mohamed said on government radio.

Al-Shabab

Saturday’s blast came hours after al-Shabab militants regained control of Barire, a strategic Somalian town in a farming area along the Shabelle river, 45 kilometers from Mogadishu.

The explosion also comes two days after Somalia’s defense minister and military chief, who were leading the fight against Islamist militants, both resigned from the government, citing personal reasons.

Some analysts believe militants tend to carry out such attacks when there are security lapses.

“The resignation of the country’s defense and military chiefs gave the militants a gab [opening] to carry out such disastrous attack,” said Mogadishu University’s Dr. Abdul Kadir Liban Isse. (VOA)

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Baghdad Killings: Suicide Truck bombing Kills at Least 124, ISIS claims responsibility

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the blast in the Karrada district, saying Shi'ites were targeted and considers Shi'ites heretics

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People gather at the site of a suicide car bomb in the Karrada shopping area, in Baghdad, Iraq, July 3, 2016. Image source: Reuters
  • A suicide truck bombing occurred at a busy shopping area, killing at least 119 people and wounding 170 others
  • Pope Francis delivered a prayer for the victims in Iraq and for a separate bombing Friday in Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visited the site of the bombing hours after the attack

Iraqi Defense Minister Khalid al-Obeidi met with U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Stuart Jones in Baghdad after two separate early morning bombings in Baghdad killed at least 124 people and wounded at least 186 others.  The officials discussed how the two countries can better collaborate in the fight against Islamic State (IS).

A suicide truck bombing Sunday, July 3, occurred shortly after midnight at a busy shopping area, killing at least 119 people and wounding 170 others.  It was the most deadly attack in the Iraqi capital this year.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the blast in the Karrada district, saying Shi’ites were targeted.  The jihadist group considers Shi’ites heretics.

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In the second attack, an explosive device detonated in Baghdad’s northern Shaab area, killing at least five people and wounding 16.  No one has claimed responsibility for this attack.

Image source :www.natsentinel.com
An ISIS supporter.Image source :www.natsentinel.com

The White House condemned the attacks Sunday and said in a statement the violence has reinforced the America’s commitment to defeating IS. “We remain united with the Iraqi people and government in our combined efforts to destroy ISIL,” the statement said, using another acronym for the group.

Pope Francis delivered a prayer for the victims in Iraq and for a separate bombing Friday in Dhaka, Bangladesh.  The pope told tens of thousands of worshipers in St. Peter’s square he feels “closeness to the families of the victims” and asked those gathered to “pray together” for them.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visited the site of the bombing hours after the attack.

A man looks for victims at the site of a car bomb attack at a commercial area in Karada neighbourhood in Baghdad, Iraq, July 3, 2016. Image source: AP
A man looks for victims at the site of a car bomb attack at a commercial area in Karada neighbourhood in Baghdad, Iraq, July 3, 2016. Image source: AP

The attack came little more than a week after Iraqi forces ousted Islamic State militants from the city of Fallujah, just 50 kilometres west of the capital.

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A second deadly blast occurred in eastern Baghdad, killing at least one person and wounding several others.  There has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the second blast.

Latest high-profile attack

This is the third major act of terrorism claimed by IS in a week, following the suicide attack Tuesday at Ataturk International Airport that killed more than 40 people, and the siege of a restaurant in Dhaka in which more than 20 people died.

Bangladeshi officials insist, however, the Dhaka attackers had no connection with Islamic State.  The Bangladesh government has long maintained IS has no presence in the country. (VOA)

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China Re-asserts it is against Self-Determination for Taiwan

China has regarded Taiwan as a wayward province, to be taken by force if necessary, ever since defeated Nationalists fled to Taiwan in 1949 after a civil war with China's Communists.

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Shipping containers at Keelung port, northern Taiwan. The new government wants to seek more diverse trade partners apart from China, in order to revive shrinking trade and boost a stagnating economy. Photo: Reuters

1.3 billion people in China are resolute and united in their decision that they will never allow self-ruled Taiwan to come under Beijing’s ‘One China’ principle, China’s top official in charge of ties with the island said on Thursday, in Beijing’s latest blast at Taipei.

Leader Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan’s pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party was repeatedly warned by China to join the ‘One China’ principle but the leader assumed that negative consequences might follow if they decide otherwise.

In an inaugural speech by Tsai on Friday, she urged China to keep aside the baggage of history and engage in a positive dialogue. She added that democratic principles will rule Taiwan’s ties with Beijing and peace and unity can be restored.

A meeting took place between Taiwan business representatives where the Head of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, Zhang Zhijun said, going against “One China” principle will only create an atmosphere of tension and have a negative influence on the ties.

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen addresses during an inauguration ceremony in Taipei, Taiwan May 20, 2016. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen addresses during an inauguration ceremony in Taipei, Taiwan May 20, 2016. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

“There is no future in Taiwan independence, and this cannot become an option for Taiwan’s future. This is the conclusion of history,” Zhang said.

“Some people say you must pay attention to broad public opinion in Taiwan, and that one can understand the attitude and feelings of Taiwan’s people formed by its special historical experiences and social environment,” Zhang added.

“But, Taiwan society ought to understand and attach importance to the feelings of the 1.37 billion residents of the mainland,” he further added.

In 1949, ever since the defeated Nationalists have fled to Taiwan after a civil war with China’s communists, China has regarded Taiwan as a unruly province, to be taken by force if the situation demands so.

Foreign powers intruded and carved off bits of the declining Chinese empire for themselves in the late 19th and the early 20th century. People of China still have a painful and deep memory of the period of humiliation and national weakness.

“They have a rock-solid will that has remained consistent towards protecting national unity and not allowing the country to be split,” said Zhang.

In response to Zhang’s comments, the Mainland Affairs Council, Taiwan’s ministerial agency in charge of ties with China said, Tsai has committed to ensure the status quo in relations with China and to sustain peace and stability.

From 1895-1945, Taiwan was a part of the Japanese colony and gained the control of the island from imperial China. Therefore, China doesn’t permit the public discussion of views that will challenge the notion of Taiwan being a fragment of China.

Most of the Taiwanese feel that that the Japanese rule had a positive effect on their land. It brought progress to an undeveloped island where only agriculture prevailed. (Reuters)

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