News & Current Affairs

September 5, 2008

S bomb ‘kills five in Pakistan’

S bomb ‘kills five in Pakistan’

Pakistani paramilitary troops patrol streets in Jamdrud, an area of Pakistan's Khyber tribal region, Sunday, Aug. 31, 2008.

Tensions in the border region are rising

At least five people have been killed in another suspected US missile strike on militant targets in Pakistan’s border region, Pakistani officials say.

Officials said a missile was launched by a suspected US aircraft in the North Waziristan tribal area.

Pakistan’s army says it is investigating the incident.

It would be the third attack in three days allegedly carried out by US forces, who have not officially confirmed their involvement.

Unilateral strikes

Some reports say Islamist militants were killed in Friday’s attack, while local TV channels said women and children were among the dead.

map

Witnesses said missiles fired by an unmanned aircraft hit one or two houses in the village of Kurvek, about 30km (18 miles) west of the main town of Miranshah in North Waziristan.

“Two drones were flying in the area. They fired three missiles,” one unnamed witness told Reuters news agency.

Several people are reported to have been injured in addition to those killed.

Pakistan’s military spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas said reports of the incident were being investigated.

“Pakistani forces did not carry out any activity in the area,” he told the AFP news agency.

This would be the third such attack in three days, including an unprecedented ground assault allegedly carried out by American commandos.

In recent months US forces have stepped up unilateral strikes on Taleban and al-Qaeda targets in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

They say Pakistan – a key US ally in the “war on terror” since 2001 – is not doing enough to stem the flow of insurgents across the border into Afghanistan.

Pakistani security officials suspect the Americans are trying to hit senior al-Qaeda targets ahead of forthcoming US presidential elections, our correspondent says.

Targets

At least two senior al-Qaeda figures are believed to have been killed in US missile strikes on Pakistani territory this year.

A senior al-Qaeda leader in Afghanistan, Abu Laith al-Libi, was reported killed in February, while Midhat Mursi al-Sayid Umar, described as a leading al-Qaeda chemical weapons expert, died in July, reports said.

It is not clear who the targets of strikes this week might have been.

On Thursday, at least five people were killed in a missile strike in the village of Mohammad Khel near Miranshah. Officials said all five were low-level militants of Arab origin.

Meanwhile, large numbers of people have decided to leave their settlements near Angor Adda in South Waziristan.

The town was attacked on Thursday by foreign troops carried across the border from Afghanistan by helicopter, Pakistan’s government says.

Officially, the US military has no knowledge of such an incursion, but Pentagon sources have confirmed that US commandoes carried out the raid.

Pakistan responded furiously, summoning the US ambassador and calling the attack a gross violation of its sovereignty.

Pakistan’s army has warned that such direct US action could rally more tribesmen behind the Taleban and incite a wider uprising.

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September 3, 2008

Six dead in US shooting attacks

Six dead in US shooting attacks

Police cars and suspect's vehicle on Interstate 5 in Mount Vernon, Washington

The suspect was pursued by police vehicles along an Interstate highway

A US man has surrendered to police in Washington state, after a series of shootings left six people dead.

The shootings took place at various places in the north-west of the state.

A sheriff’s deputy who went to investigate an incident was one of those killed; two construction workers were found shot nearby.

Following a chase along an Interstate highway, during which a motorist was killed, a man gave himself up at a sheriff’s office in Mount Vernon.

Local police say the deputy sherrif went to investigate reports of a disturbance at a local residence in Skagit County, north of Seattle.

When he didn’t return and failed to answer radio calls the alarm was raised.

The deputy’s body was found at the scene alongside a second victim.

Then the construction workers were found and another body was discovered on a street a short distance away.

Law enforcement officials managed to track the gunman and a high speed car chase ensued during which the suspect is reported to have been shooting wildly.

The dramatic pursuit ended when the gunman, who was reportedly known to the local authorities, unexpectedly pulled into a police station and surrendered.

Neither the victims nor the suspect have been identified.

August 28, 2008

Arrow fired through family’s cat

Arrow fired through family’s cat

Cat x-ray

The 18-inch arrow missed Marmite’s spine by a couple of inches

A family cat is expected to survive after its body was pierced by an 18-inch aluminium arrow.

Two-and-a-half-year-old Marmite managed to make it back to his home in the Scottish Borders village of Newcastleton after being struck.

Police are investigating the incident to try to discover if the cat was the victim of a deliberate attack.

Owner Mark Richardson said Marmite must have used up one of his nine lives after surviving the ordeal.

Police are trying to establish whether the arrow was fired from a bow and arrow or a crossbow.

If it is malicious then it is really sad and hopefully the police will catch whoever is responsible
Mark Richardson

The cat was spotted on Tuesday with the arrow through its body but attempts to catch the animal failed.

Marmite eventually turned up the following day at the home of Mark and Lesley Richardson and children Chloe and Ben.

The cat was taken to the Capon Tree veterinary surgery at Longtown where vet Emma McManus removed the arrow through a delicate procedure.

Mr Richardson said: “Marmite is recovering well at the moment but he has been very lucky.

Marmite the cat

Marmite made his way home with the arrow sticking through him

“You can say he has only got eight lives left after this.

“The arrow has gone in at the front of his right leg, grazed his spine and come out the left leg.”

He said that the cat had been very fortunate not to be more seriously hurt.

“The vet said that if it had been half an inch lower it would have hit his organs and a couple of inches higher would have shattered his spine,” he said.

“We don’t know if someone has been firing in the woods and accidentally hit the cat but they should not be doing that as they could easily hit a child.

“If it is malicious then it is really sad and hopefully the police will catch whoever is responsible.”

Newcastleton’s community police officer Brian Murray said they were keeping an open mind about the incident.

“We would ask for any witnesses or anyone with information to contact us,” he added.

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