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Tensions Increase as Israel Fires on Syria Tensions Increase as Israel Fires on Syria

March 24, 2013 - Israel announced it had fired into Syria Sunday and destroyed a machine gun post in the area of the Golan Heights. Shots had previously been fired at soldiers from Israel from the same area in yet another spillover of the civil war in Syria.

It is still unknown if Israel holds Syrian’s troops or the rebels responsible for what was described by a government representative as a deliberate attack on patrols from Israel in the Golan Heights.

The spokesman said a machine gun post had been destroyed that had fired on Israeli patrols twice in the last 24 hours. On several occasions, shells have fallen inside the Israeli controlled region during the civil war in Syria. Israeli has returned fire in some of the instances.

The southern provinces in Syria, which border Israel and Jordan have become more and more significant battle areas as Damascus, Syria’s capital city in the south is coming into play and government forces continue fighting to prevent more opposition advances.

An Israeli military spokesperson said one of its vehicles had been hit on Saturday from shooting that took place across the ceasefire line between Israel and Syria, but no one had been injured.

A second incident occurred on Sunday and soldiers from Israel responded with fire into Syria hitting the machine gun post that had fired upon them. The foreign ministry of Israel says that shooing is very severe and would not allow either the rebels factions or the government of Syria to violate the sovereignty of Israel.

In 1967, Israel captured the area of the Golan Heights in the Middle East war from Syrian. Israel then annexed the plateau back in 1981, but international recognition has not taken place.

With threat of Assassination, Musharraf returns home to Pakistan With threat of Assassination, Musharraf returns home to Pakistan

March 24, 2013 - On Sunday, Pervez Musharraf, the former president of Pakistan returned home after a self-imposed exile. Musharraf is attempting to recapture his place in his country’s politics in a nation he once ruled after leading a military coup.

Musharraf returned to Pakistan on Sunday to the port city of Karachi in the south. He was greeted upon his arrival by hundreds of supporters and well-wishers. Musharraf toppled the country’s civilian government in 1999 in a bloodless coup and then resigned about 10 year later due to opposition from civil society and judges.

Musharraf faces prosecution in Pakistan and promises from the Taliban that they well assassinate him. His return coincides at a time when the country is nearing political transition never before seen.

In early March, the Pakistani government president Asif Ali Zardari ended his rule after a complete term, which has paved the way for May general elections. If those elections are held as planned, they will be the first democratically elected government in the history of the country.

Other governments have been elected in Pakistan but all of their terms were cut short eight by interference from the military behind the scenes or through a public coup, like the one that put Musharraf in power.

Musharraf now will face threats from militants, legal problems and a political future that is uncertain. He has been charged with being involved the death in 2005 of Nawab Akbar Bugti, the Baloch leader. He also will face criminal charges for his connection with the assassination of Benazir Bhutto the former prime minister. Bhutto was killed after a political rally in 2007. President Zardari was the husband of the late Ms. Bhutto. Musharraf said those claims brought against him are political.

Sign at Airport Falls Killing Boy Sign at Airport Falls Killing Boy

March 23, 2013 - A sign with flight information at Birmingham, Alabama’s Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, which was recently renovated, fell on a top of a mother and her three children. One of the children, a 10-year-old boy was killed, while another member of the family was injured.

Derrick Perryman, the Deputy Coroner, said Luke Bresette, a 10 year old, died at a nearby hospital. Two of the other children were undergoing treatment at the same hospital and their mother, Heather, had to be taken to another hospital. The mother was listed in critical condition. The family is from Overland Park in Kansas.

Authorities on the scene estimated that the sign, which contains arrival and departure information weight between 300 and 400 pounds.

A witness, Albert Osorio, said he had been close to the sign when it fell. He said he heard a loud boom that was followed by loud screams from members of the family. At that point, Osorio said he and other passerby lifted the sign off the family.

Toni Herrera-Bast a spokeswoman for the airport, said officials did not know how the sign had fallen. She said the incident took place at about 1:30 in the afternoon on Friday in an area that is outside the security area. Officials said the airport operated as usual while family members were tended to by rescue personnel.

The airport had just completed a first phase of a modernization effort that will cost over $201 million when completed. Just last week, the concourses that were newly renovated were re-opened.

A statement by William Bell the Mayor of Birmingham said the city offered to provide complete support to the Airport Authority for the investigation of the accident.

Al-Qaeda Suspect Held since October in New York Al-Qaeda Suspect Held since October in New York

March 21, 2013 - An al-Qaeda member, who fought in Afghanistan against U.S. troops and plotted to bomb diplomatic facilities of the U.S. in Nigeria, has been in custody in New York since last October, according to documents that were unsealed in court on Wednesday.

Known by many as Spin Ghul, Irbahim Suleiman Adnan Adam Harun was extradited by U.S. authorities last year from Italy. He then was indicted on six charges that included conspiracy to bomb buildings, conspiracy to murder military personnel and providing al-Qaeda with support.

Harun has cooperated with authorities since he was first questioned by them in Italy. With his two lawyer’s consent, the government requested that a judge keep his indictment sealed in order to take advantage of all the information Harun was providing.

The disclosure of the suspected terrorist’s detention comes only weeks after authorities in the U.S. said they had a former al-Qaeda suspect in custody and had transferred him secretly to New York so he could face trial.

Authorities in Italy supported the extradition by the U.S. if the U.S. agreed to bring Harun to trial before a civilian court instead of being tried in a military court or held in custody by the military. In October of last year, Britain also had the same conditions when extraditing terrorist suspects, which underscores the skepticism in Europe about using military tribunals against suspected members of al-Qaeda.

Harun, according to a motion by the government, was in contact with a number of leaders of al-Qaeda as well as fighters and trainers over at least the last dozen years. He also was in contact with members of African extremist groups that have an affiliation with a-Qaeda or target people from the West.

The concern the U.S. has for terrorist groups located in Africa has increased over recent months following the attack at a gas facility on workers from the West in Algeria, the fighting against extremists in Northern Mali and the insurgency of Islamists into Nigeria.

Al-Qaeda: French Hostage Dead Al-Qaeda: French Hostage Dead

March 20, 2013- A website based in Mauritania said that a North African arm of al-Qaeda had executed a hostage from France as retaliation for the military intervention by France in the northern part of Mali.

An official at the French Foreign Ministry in Paris said the government knows about the report and is at this time investigating. The father of the French hostage said he had not been given any information to confirm his son’s death.

The ANI or Nouakchott Information Agency website posted the news on Tuesday. The site is often used by members of al-Qaeda’s chapter in North Africa to post important messages. However, it was impossible to verify the claim that the hostage was executed.

In the area, 15 people from France are being held captive, amongst those captive is one family with seven members including four children. That family was taken hostage in February in Cameroon.

A campaign was launched by French troops in January to help the embattled government in Mali drive Islamic militants out of the northern region of the country. The military campaign raised fears that the Islamists would retaliate, especially towards the captives.

The website quoted a member of al-Qaeda, who is said to be from the Islamic Maghreb, as confirming that fighters in the group executed one of the  French hostages March 10, who was named Philippe Verdon.

Verdon was taken captive with Serge Lazarevic another man from France, from a hotel they were staying at in Mali’s eastern region in the city of Hombori in November of 2011. The two families of the hostages said the two has been looking into establishing a cement factory in the area.

Verdon’s father told reporters on Wednesday that the report on AHI does not confirm the death of his son and said his family was awaiting news from the French government. He said he would make no further comments as long as other people are still being held hostage.

Tech Executive in U.S. is new Rebel Coalition Prime Minister in Syria Tech Executive in U.S. is new Rebel Coalition Prime Minister in Syria

March 19, 2013 - On Tuesday, the major opposition rebel group in Syria elected Syrian activist and U.S. educated Ghassan Hitto to serve as their prime minister in areas controlled by the rebels in Syria. Hitto is a native of Syria’s capital Damascus and has been living for decades in the U.S., working as an executive in technology recently.

Hitto is little known outside of exile circles of Syria but has been active in the U.S. in humanitarian efforts to help Syrians during the two-year civil war, indicated reports.

The new prime minister was named following an election at an Istanbul meeting of the umbrella group supported by the U.S. and other countries from the West. The group was formed in late 2012 amid U.S. and other allies’ pressure to unify the fractious ranks of the rebel opposition in the country.

There are still some rebel factions outside of this coalition that will not recognize the authority of the group. The coalition is dominated by Syrian exiles and has tried for months to have a prime minister named to governor the controlled zones in Syria. Nevertheless, deep divisions inside the coalition have hindered that effort, but it now appears that Hitto emerges as the candidate of the majority. The power he will possess still is unknown.

A number of rebel militias hold power inside the swaths of land that are controlled by the rebels in Syria. Some of those commanders have remained dismissive towards the rebel coalition group. In the area controlled by the rebels throughout Syria, security remains quite tenuous. The Syrian government regularly has artillery and aircraft bombarding the areas under rebel country across the country.

Another unknown up to this point, is whether the newly elected rebel prime minister will be based in Syria or abroad.


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