1. more Abu Sayyaf militants captured, ties to AQ, JI, MNLF.
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines: The Philippine military killed at least six Abu Sayyaf militants in fierce clashes Sunday in the southern province of Sulu, official said. Top commanders of the group were among the dead.
Three soldiers were also slightly wounded in the fighting that erupted in the village of Karawan near Indanan town, a known stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf who are blamed for a spate of kidnappings in the restive region. “We have killed at least six militants and recovered their weapons. Three of my soldiers are slightly wounded in the fighting,” said Marines Brig. Gen. Rustico Guerrero, commander of military forces in Sulu, who is leading an offensive against the militant group tied to Al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiah.
He said a platoon of Marines special unit and reconnaissance soldiers attacked an Abu Sayyaf camp in Karawan, a mountain chain s and a known lair of the militants. Lt. Gen. Benjamin Dolorfino, the regional military commander, said a senior Abu Sayyaf leader wanted by the United States was among those killed in the clashes. “We have reports that Albader Parad and Dr. Abu were among those killed and we are trying to verify this information,” he said.
Dolorfino said troops were fighting Abu Sayyaf forces under Albader Parad and Abu Jumdail, also known as Dr. Abu because of his alleged ability to cure wounded militants. Jumdail was the cousin of Umbra Jumdail, one of the core leaders of Abu Sayyaf. Both leaders are wanted by the Philippine and US authorities for their involvements in the kidnappings of American citizens and the killing of two US Special Forces soldiers in Sulu. Dolorfino described the offensive as a “surgical, intelligence-driven operation.” Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels under former chieftain Nur Misuari also fought side by side with the Abu Sayyaf militants in the fighting that began at dawn, local media said.
see also: set the table for additional context
2. Iraq: gunmen murder two iraqi families, mostly children, and behead some — blamed on election, ie: it’s the locals. DON’T COUNT ON IT.
Gunmen murdered two Iraqi families, mostly children, beheading some of the victims and killing 12 people on Monday, as a spate of brutal attacks hit the country less than two weeks before elections. Nine children were among those killed in their homes in and around Baghdad, while 11 other people died in violence across Iraq, including three in a suicide car bombing and a police commando who was shot dead by a sniper. The worst incident occurred in Al-Wehdah, a predominantly Shiite Muslim town in an ethnically-mixed area about 20 kilometres (12 miles) southeast of Baghdad. Eight members of the same family, including six children younger than 12, were gunned down and several were beheaded.
…Beheadings have been the trademark of Sunni insurgents in Iraq, particularly Al-Qaeda militants in the violence that flared after the 2003 US-led invasion, although the motive for the attack was unclear. Baghdad police said they later apprehended four people carrying silencers in connection with the murders, after receiving a tip-off. A second family, comprising a mother and her three daughters, was shot dead overnight in their home in the mostly Shiite north Baghdad district of al-Hurriyah, a police official said, on condition of anonymity.
3. Pakistan: beheadings cause fear and panic in Sikhs
Islamabad/Hundreds of fear-stricken Sikhs clamoured to escape to India after the Pakistani Taliban beheaded one of three Sikh men they abducted over a month ago. The killing was condemned in India by the government and political parties.
The body of Jaspal Singh was found in Pakistan’s restive tribal region Sunday, triggering panic in the small community that has faced the ire of the Taliban for some time….According to arzePakistan.com, the kidnapping occurred in an area where the Pakistan government has virtually no control….No group has claimed responsibility for the abduction and murder but members of the Sikh community blamed it on the Pakistani Taliban, which has close ties with Al Qaeda, and said they wanted to quit Pakistan for good….The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) asked the government to mount ‘diplomatic pressure’ on Pakistan to ensure the release of the abducted Sikhs.
4. Germany arrests 3 suspects of helping Islamic militants planning attacks against “The West”
BERLIN (Reuters) - German police have arrested three people suspected of helping a radical Islamist group whose followers have confessed to planning attacks on U.S. targets in Germany, prosecutors said on Monday.
The federal prosecutor’s office said it suspected two men whom it identified only as Alican T. and Fatih K., and one woman, Filiz G., of supporting the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), a group often linked to a militant Islamist movement that originated in Uzbekistan. “They are accused of aiding the terrorist group financially,” said Marcus Koehler, a spokesman for the prosecution, adding that the charges involved the transfer of several thousand euros to accounts in Turkey late last year.
Four men affiliated to the IJU and known as the “Sauerland group” are on trial in the western city of Duesseldorf for planning bomb attacks on U.S. institutions in Germany. A verdict in that case is due in the next week or two. Prosecutors said the three suspects arrested on Saturday were apprehended in Berlin and the southern city of Ulm, are aged between 20 and 31 years, and hold German citizenship.