by The Associated Press, from NPR website, August 28, 2011
The death toll from a suicide car-bomb attack at the U.N.'s Nigeria headquarters has risen to 23, a U.N. spokesman said Sunday, making Friday's attack one of the deadliest attacks on the U.N. in a decade.
Martin Dawes also said Sunday that 81 people were wounded in Friday's attack.
U.N. security chief Gregory Starr, who visited the site on Sunday, said there was no advance warning of the attack and that the U.N. had only received "general threats."
U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro also visited the site Sunday and laid a bouquet of white and red roses among the wreckage.
Boko Haram, the radical sect that claimed responsibility, vowed Saturday to commit future attacks. Hours earlier, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan vowed to bring terrorism in Africa's most populous nation "under control."
However, his weakened government has so far been unable to stop the group from carrying out assassinations and bombings at will. Boko Haram is responsible for a rash of killings targeting security officers, local leaders and clerics in Nigeria's volatile northeast over the last year. The group also claimed responsibility for a bombing at national police headquarters that killed two in June.
Friday's attack was the first suicide attack targeting foreigners by Boko Haram, a group that has reported links to al-Qaida, wants to implement a strict version of Shariah law in the nation and is vehemently opposed to Western education and culture.
"Vehemently opposed to Western education and culture"....could translate:
- has profound contempt for anything that inculcates equality of men and women, including female garb that exposes any part of the woman's body save the nose and eyes, and perhaps the mouth,
- strongly opposes any education system that promotes joint decision-making of married partners
- strongly opposes any marriage not arranged by father and/or family for unmarried daughters
- strongly opposes the use of interest (usury) and borrowing in matters of financial transactions
- seeks to implement the instructions of the Qur'an to bring Islam to dominance across the world, and permits the killing of infidels (all those who are not Muslims)
- seeks the implementation of Sharia Law in all countries in the world
- openly seeks the destruction of the State of Israel
- refuses to join any dialogue that includes representatives of all major world religions, thereby precluding any inter-faith dialogue of any meaningful purpose
We are facing increased threats from diverse terrorist groups in diverse locations, without warning, without necessary planning for protection, not to mention prevention...and where will it end?
Matt Apuzzo, Associated Press, from Toronto Star website, August 27, 2011
WASHINGTON—Al Qaeda’s second-in-command, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, has been killed in Pakistan, delivering another big blow to a terrorist group that the U.S. believes to be on the verge of defeat, U.S. officials said Saturday.
The Libyan national had been the network’s operational leader before rising to Al Qaeda’s No. 2 spot after the U.S. killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden during a raid on his Pakistan compound in May.
Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said last month that Al Qaeda’s defeat was within reach if the U.S. could mount a string of successful attacks on the group’s weakened leadership.
“Now is the moment, following what happened with bin Laden, to put maximum pressure on them,” Panetta said, “because I do believe that if we continue this effort we can really cripple Al Qaeda as a major threat.”
Since bin Laden’s death, Al Qaeda’s structure has been unsettled and U.S. officials have hoped to capitalize on that. The more uncertain the leadership, the harder it is for Al Qaeda to operate covertly and plan attacks.
Bin Laden’s longtime deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is running the group but is considered a divisive figure who lacks the founder’s charisma and ability to galvanize Al Qaeda’s disparate franchises.