News in Brief: 149 militants with links to al-Qaida arrested in Saudi Arabia
- 149 militants with links to al-Qaida arrested in Saudi Arabia
Officials say that those arrested were planning to target government facilities and journalists
guardian.co.uk, Friday 26 November 2010 19.57 GMT
Saudi Arabia said today that in recent months it had captured 149 al-Qaida militants who were raising money and recruiting members to carry out attacks.
Mansour Turki, an interior ministry spokesman, said 124 of the militants were Saudis and the rest were Arabs, Africans and south Asians. He added that the attackers belonged to 19 al-Qaida cells and were planning to target government facilities and journalists in the kingdom.
"These cells have links with al-Qaida who are disturbing the security in Yemen, with Somalia and organisations in Afghanistan," Turki said. The television channel al-Arabiya reported that the government had also foiled plans to attack Saudi oil installations.
The non-Saudi suspects were Arabs, Africans and south Asians, he said, adding that the thwarted cells had associations with al-Qaida in Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan.
"These cells have links with al-Qaida who are disturbing the security in Yemen, with Somalia and organisations in Afghanistan," Turki said. One cell had links to Somalia, but the large majority had ties to Yemen. Most cells were very small, were operating independently and still in the stages of being set up, he said.
Turkey warns Israel against attacks
Turkish prime minister says he will not "stay silent" if Israel attacks Gaza or Lebanon.
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2010 16:42 GMT
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, has said his country will not stay silent if Israel attacks Lebanon or Gaza.
Erdogan made the comments at a conference in the Lebanese capital on Thursday, at a time when ties between Turkey and Israel are at an all-time low.
"Does [Israel] think it can enter Lebanon with the most modern aircraft and tanks to kill women and children, and destroy schools and hospitals, and then expect us to remain silent?" he said as he met Saad al-Hariri, his Lebanese counterpart.
"Does it think it can use the most modern weapons, phosphorus munitions and cluster bombs to kill children in Gaza and then expect us to remain silent?
"We will not be silent and we will support justice by all means available."
Israel used cluster bombs in its month-long conflict against Hezbollah in southern Lebanon in 2006.
US 'foils Oregon bomb plot'
Somali-born teenager 'planned' to attack a crowded Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, prosecutors say.
A planned car bomb attack on a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in the US state of Oregon has been thwarted after a sting operation, law enforcement agencies have said.
Somali-born Mohamed Osman Mohamud was arrested on Friday afternoon after he dialled a mobile phone that he thought would blow up a van laden with explosives in the city of Portland.
However, the device was an imitation supplied by undercover agents and the call prompted federal official and local police to move in to arrest 19-year-old Mohamud, police said.
"The complaint alleges that Mohamud attempted to detonate what he believed to be a vehicle bomb at a crowded holiday event in downtown Portland, but a co-ordinated undercover law enforcement action was able to thwart his efforts and ensure no one was harmed," David Kris, the assistant attorney general for national security, said.
"While the public was never in danger from the device, this case serves as yet another reminder of the need for continued vigilance both at home and abroad."
Ethnic Uzbeks jailed for life over Kyrgyzstan violence
Seventeen people sentenced to life imprisonment after ethnic clashes in June
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 24 November 2010 12.32 GMT
A court in southern Kyrgyzstan has sentenced 17 people to life imprisonment for mass killings and rioting during ethnic violence in the region last June.
All the defendants were from the Uzbek ethnic minority. The convictions are likely to arouse fresh fears that Uzbeks are being singled out for prosecution over the violence that left at least 370 people dead.
Fighting broke out on 10 June between mobs of ethnic Uzbek and Kyrgyz in the city of Osh and quickly spread to the nearby Jalal-Abad region.
Judge Damirbek Nazarov said the men sentenced yesterday killed 16 people in fighting near a cotton factory on the highway linking Osh with the capital, Bishkek. Two others were sentenced to 25 years.
"Although the defendants did not plead guilty, the copious testimonies and evidence gathered during the investigation was ample proof of their guilt," Nazarov said.
No definitive independent investigation into the unrest has been carried out, but international rights activists and observers largely agree that the Uzbek minority sustained the bulk of the violence. Nonetheless, few ethnic Kyrgyz have been tried for murder in connection with the violence.
Rights groups have complained that trials against Uzbeks have been marred by the intimidation of defendants and their lawyers by the relatives of alleged victims.
In a bid to ensure security, hearings at the latest trial were held in the Nooken district, several hours by road from Jalal-Abad.
About 400,000 people, mainly Uzbeks, were displaced at the height of the unrest and many are still trying to rebuild their homes as winter closes in.
Communities in southern Kyrgyzstan remain sharply divided and tensions have been heightened in recent weeks by attempts by Kyrgyz communities to claim fertile agricultural land belonging to ethnic Uzbeks.
Yemen suicide attack targets Shias
Houthi rebel group blames "al-Qaeda-style" attack on foreign powers trying to spread sectarian and ethnic division.
School text book 'advocates anti-semitism'
A text book taught in some weekend schools in the UK asks children to list the "reprehensible" qualities of the Jews, an investigation has discovered.
Around 5,000 Muslim school children are taught from text books which claim that some Jews were transformed into pigs and apes, the penalty for sodomy is execution and teach the correct ways to chop off the hands and feet of thieves, according to Panorama.
Security tight as Yemen hosts Cup
Some 30,000 troops deploy to protect Gulf Cup football tournament after threats from al-Qaeda and other armed groups.
Lebanon, my Lebanon: A stirring new photography book sparks Robert Fisk’s memories
From ancient groves where he once dodged bullets to peaceful mountain ranges, from embattled politicians to wise-cracking locals, Robert Fisk, the Independent's Middle East correspondent, finds his memories of 34 years living in Lebanon brought into poignant relief by a monumental new photography book
'Open prison' for Indonesia's rich
'Taking holidays' from jail not uncommon in Southeast Asian nation where corruption runs deep.
Indonesian maids' protection urged
Growing calls within the country to stop sending migrant workers to Saudi Arabia after two cases of alleged torture.
Trapped in black: Balkan war widows
They may have shared a common fate, but life experiences for widows, from Kosovo to the UK, are radically different.
Manufacturing consent in Jordan
A loyalist parliament may have been elected but at what cost to Jordan's social cohesion and national unity?
A mosque building boom
Muslim community leaders say plans for new facilities are a response to demand
Forty years ago, the thought of granite counter tops, marble floors and indoor basketball gyms at Houston mosques seemed unthinkable.
But after decades of growth, the Muslim community is expanding and building new facilities at an unprecedented pace, with features and amenities that rival five-star hotels, leaders say.
Multimillion-dollar plans for major mosque expansions and constructions are moving forward throughout the Houston area, coming on the heels of recently finished developments.
A community in Katy is pushing forward its long-awaited plan to develop a $10 million mosque, community center and school, and a group in Spring is working on a $10 million expansion at a recently built $2.5 million mosque.
Other plans on the horizon include an Islamic center on 10 acres in Pearland, a development that will total at least $1.1 million for the first of multiple construction phases.
Immigration: the rare success story of Mesut Ozil
German-born Mesut Ozil's footballing brilliance earned him headlines and wealth, but in the Ruhr, where his family settled, the future for immigrants is anything but rosy
Head of armed forces says victory over al-Qa'ida is not possible
Israel mulls US settlement deal
US offers incentives for a 90-day building freeze in West Bank, but the proposal does not include East Jerusalem.
Hope and urgency in Somalia
The formation of a new cabinet is a positive step, but the international community must now offer sustained support.
Ukraine's Tartars fight for rights
Muslim ethnic group struggles to reclaim national rights since returning to Crimea after being in exile.
Cops: Cabdriver littered Nassau with anti-Semitic notes
A former livery cabdriver from Brooklyn told authorities he littered his routes in Nassau with handmade anti-Semitic leaflets because he wanted "the Jews to find them to think it was the Muslims," officials said Wednesday.
On Tuesday, for the second time this year, detectives arrested Dimitrios Apolonides, 37, after tracing 1-by-3-inch notes bearing the slogan "KILL JEWS" back to the livery...
Bush 'considered' bombing Syria
In memoir to be released soon, former US president says Israel wanted him to bomb suspected Syrian nuclear facility.
Fresh Darfur clashes raise concerns
Main Sudanese rebel group clashes with troops for first time in months, but both sides claim success.
Kosovo minority government falls
No-confidence vote in parliament brings down coalition and paves way for snap polls on December 12.