Somalia's Al-Qaida-linked Shebab militants on Tuesday blasted their way into the higher education ministry with a car bomb before storming the building, killing nine people.
Police and witnesses said the car bomb caused a huge explosion which allowed the gunmen to force their way into the fortified building.
"One policeman and eight civilians were killed in the attack, and a dozen others were wounded including a senior education ministry official," police officer Mohamed Dahir said.
Police regained control of the building after around an hour-long attack, which began when "a car loaded with explosives rammed the gate," Dahir added.
Witness Idil Malim said bodies of those killed and wounded lay around the complex.
"There were several people lying dead at the scene," he said.
Shebab spokesman Abdulaziz Abu Musab claimed responsibility, boasting that their gunmen had been in "fully in control" of the ministry, as well as entering a neighboring building housing the oil ministry.
As government forces retook the compound and fighting ended the fate of the gunmen was not immediately clear; whether they had been killed in the assault or had managed to escape.
The building is in the K5 district of the capital, which has been hit by a string of similar attacks in recent months.
The Shebab rebels stage regular attacks in the capital as part of their fight against the country's internationally-backed government and African Union forces supporting it.
A car bombing to force entry into fortified buildings followed by an armed raid has become a trademark tactic of the hardline Islamists.
Somalia has been unstable since the collapse of Siad Barre's hardline regime in 1991, and the country's new government is being supported by a 22,000-strong African Union force that includes troops from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.
Shebab fighters have carried out a string of revenge attacks in neighboring countries, notably Kenya and Uganda, in response to their participation in the AU force.
It carried out its deadliest attack yet earlier this month, when Shebab gunmen massacred 148 people in a day-long siege of a university in Kenya's northeastern town of Garissa.
The attack on the university was the Shebab's bloodiest massacre and Kenya's worst since the 1998 bombing of the U.S. embassy in Nairobi.
The Shebab later warned of a "long, gruesome war" unless Kenya withdraws its troops from Somalia, as well as warning the government in Mogadishu it would continue to attack them on home soil.
Shebab fighters also carried out the Westgate shopping mall attack in Nairobi in September 2013, a four-day siege which left at least 67 people dead.
Last month Shehab gunmen in Mogadishu stormed the fortified Maka al Mukarama hotel, used by politicians, diplomats and businessmen.
Despite losing significant territory in recent months the Shebab group, whose name means "youth" in Arabic, still manages to launch frequent attacks as part of its fight to overthrow the government.
Last week the government in Mogadishu issued bounties for 11 top leaders of the Shebab, with $250,000 offered for the extremist's chief, Ahmad Umar.
Three Russian ships including a destroyer have entered the English Channel and are being monitored by Britain's Royal Navy as they pass through, the Ministry of Defense said Tuesday.
The incident is the latest in a string of similar incidents and comes amid tense relations between London and Moscow over the crisis in Ukraine and the inquiry into the death of Russian ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko.
"MoD can confirm 3 Russian ships being monitored by @RoyalNavy HMS Argyll through Channel. No exercises seen," the ministry said on its Twitter feed.
"Russian Udaloy class destroyer Severomorsk returning from Mediterranean with tanker and support ship. Due to leave Channel later."
The Severomorsk, an anti-submarine destroyer, was among four ships which passed through the Channel in November although French authorities denied Russian reports that they were carrying out military exercises.
A Russian warship was also tracked through the Channel in February while the previous month, Britain summoned the Russian ambassador after Tupolev Tu-95 bombers, known as Russian "bears", were found flying close to British airspace.
The number of mosques in France should be doubled over the next two years in order to provide an adequate number of places of worship for the country’s millions of faithful, a top Muslim leader said Saturday.
Dalil Boubakeur, president of the French Muslim Council, said France’s current total of 2,200 mosques was not enough to adequately represent one of Europe's largest Muslim communities.
"We need double (that number) within two years," Boubakeur said during the 32nd edition of the Annual Gathering of French Muslims, a four-day event that brings together more than 250 Muslim associations from across the country.
"There are a lot of prayer rooms, of unfinished mosques, and there are a lot of mosques that are not being built," he added.
Amar Lasfar, president of the Union of Islamic Organisations of France (UOIF), which organises the gathering, agreed.
“The number of mosques must reflect the number of Muslims (in France),” he said.
There are an estimated four to five million Muslims in France, though Boubakeur put the number at seven million. A ban on asking direct questions about race and religion by state bodies when compiling census data makes an exact figure difficult to establish.
In comparison, the UK, which has a Muslim population of approximately 2.8 million, has a total of around 1,500 mosques, or roughly one for every 1,850 Muslims, according to the website MuslimsInBritain.org.
Boubaker did not specify how the new mosques could be funded – something likely to be a significant hurdle to their construction.
France’s secularism laws prohibit the state from directly financing the building of places of worship, while the French government has also sought recently to prevent the funding of mosques by foreign states.
However, Lasfar noted that “fewer and fewer” mayors of French towns and cities “systematically oppose the construction of mosques”, which could make their construction easier.
“We have the right to build mosques, (the right) that mayors do not oppose it," he added.
Church leader backs calls
The call for more mosques in France won backing from one of the country’s Christian leaders with Monsignor Ribadeau-Dumas, spokesperson for the Bishops' Conference of France, describing it as a “legitimate” demand.
“Muslims should, like Christians and Jews, be able to practise their religion,” he told French radio station Europe 1.
However, France’s far-right National Front party, which recently won a quarter of the votes in the first round of local elections, called Boubaker’s proposal “ludicrous and dangerous”.
“There is a cloud of murkiness surrounding the funding of mosques in France today,” the party said in a statement.
“Financial support by some foreign states … which have links with the worst jihadist movements in the world, is a clear threat to national security,” it added.
The weekend’s gathering in the town of Le Bourget, near Paris, comes just months after jihadist gunmen killed 17 people in a series of terror attacks in Paris.
Since then, there has been a marked rise in Islamophobia in France.
Figures show that, in January of this year alone, 167 acts of violence or threats against mosques were reported in France, compared to just 14 in the same month last year, and Boubaker used the conference to appeal for greater respect for the country’s Muslim population.
"Islam is no longer an Islam stemming from immigration, it is a national Islam that has the right to the recognition and consideration of the French population, just like other communities in France," he said.
Participants at the gathering – which included groups ranged from liberal to ultra-conservative – also denounced violence committed in the name of Islam.
"We are loyal to our country, France. We love God, we love our Prophet, but we also love the French Republic," said Lasfar.
The US abandoned late Tuesday a midnight deadline to agree the outlines of a nuclear deal with Iran but insisted that 'enough progress' merited extending marathon talks into Wednesday April 1, according to AFP.
Saudi journalist Jamal Khashogji, who has close ties to the decision making circle within the Kingdom, has tweeted that King Salman bin Abd Al-Aziz will strike a deal with the Muslim Brotherhood group, if he deemed it useful with stemming the Iranian...
Hamas forces have in the past cracked down hard on Salafist groups in the coastal enclave
Gaza's Hamas-run security services have arrested a radical Salafist sheikh, accusing him of membership in ISIS, a security source said Monday.
"Adnan Khader Mayat from the Bureij refugee camp [in central Gaza] was arrested as part of an investigation," the source told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity and without giving further details.
Sources close to the Salafists said Mayat had been arrested Sunday "by the Hamas government security services who fight mujahedeen who belong to the Salafist movement."
Hamas forces have in the past cracked down hard on Salafist groups in the coastal enclave.
In a separate statement, sources close to Salafists who are currently being held behind bars accused the Islamist movement of "continuing its raids among our brothers and sons," denouncing the recent arrest of their two younger members.
"These actions will lead to an escalation which nobody wants," it warned.
In recent months, there have been a number statements claiming minor attacks that were signed by "the Islamic State-Gaza governorate" but most were dismissed on jihadi forums.
So far, no Gaza-based movement has declared its allegiance with ISIS, experts say, although they say such claims show a desire on the part of local factions to be included in the ISIS fold.
They also point to a growing loss of control by the Gaza authorities and the growth of radical elements, who have become increasingly visible since last summer's deadly 50-day war with Israel.
Activists and experts who monitor the Twitter traffic of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and its supporters noticed something odd last week when many accounts suddenly disappeared.
The activists exchanged messages about the missing accounts, suspecting they had been suspended.
On Thursday, a Twitter representative confirmed what some were saying and put a number on it.
The social media network’s violations department suspended approximately 10,000 accounts April 2 “for tweeting violent threats,” the representative said.
It was impossible to independently verify the assertion because Twitter’s data is not public. But it would be the biggest single mass purge by Twitter of accounts linked to ISIL, also known as ISIS, which some experts believe has as many as 90,000 affiliated accounts.
The suspensions came against a backdrop of rising criticism that Twitter has allowed ISIL to exploit the social network to spread propaganda, glorify violence and seek recruits.
Twitter previously acknowledged suspending as many as 2,000 ISIL-linked accounts per week in recent months.
The Twitter representative, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for security reasons, attributed the surge of suspensions in part to a widely publicized effort by ISIL opponents, including some hacking groups and online vigilantes, to expose suspect accounts and report them as violators.
“We received a large amount of reports,” the representative said.
Under Twitter’s rules, an account can be reported to the violations department under a protocol explained on its website. Twitter bans the promotion of violence but also is committed to free speech in a system that carries approximately 500 million messages a day in multiple languages.
While some anti-ISIL activists said the suspensions would make it more difficult to monitor the militant group’s activities, others welcomed the news and said it vindicated their efforts to deny Islamic State a social media platform.
Beginning last year and specifically in the last few months, CBP has seen an overall increase in the apprehension of Unaccompanied Alien Children from Central America at the Southwest Border, specifically in the Rio Grande Valley.
Another surge of unaccompanied illegal alien minors at border American Thinker (blog) Immigration officials are saying that with the weather improving, another surge of unaccompanied illegal alien children from Central America is expected at the...
Iranian-backed Shiite militias remained on the front lines of the battle to retake this strategic city from Islamic State days after the U.S. demanded they be sidelined as a condition for joining the fight with airstrikes.
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