Daily Archives: November 24, 2015

12 killed in suspected suicide bomb attack on Tunisian presidential guard bus

Family members of victims of a bomb blast on a bus transporting Tunisia's presidential guard in central Tunis on November 24, 2015, react at the site of the attack.

Family members of victims of a bomb blast on a bus transporting Tunisia’s presidential guard in central Tunis on November 24, 2015, react at the site of the attack.

Tunisia has declared a 30-day state of emergency and introduced a curfew after a suspected suicide bomb attack on a bus carrying presidential guard staff left at least a dozen people dead.

It remains unclear what caused the blast near the former headquarters of the Socialist Destourian Party of deposed President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

One source told Reuters that it was most likely that a bomber had detonated an explosive device.Another source told Bloomberg that the explosion in the center of Tunis, on Avenue Mohamed V, was most likely carried out by a suicide bomber who had managed to sneak onto the bus.

A security source at the site meanwhile told the AFP that “most of the agents who were on the bus are dead.”

The ministry of interior labeled the explosion a terrorist act but no group has yet claimed the responsibility. The ministry said that at least 12 people had been killed because of explosion, with ministry spokesman, Walid Louguini, telling Associated Press that at least another 16 people had been wounded in the attack.

Tunisia’s President issued a nationwide state of emergency and has introduced a curfew.

“As a result of this painful event, this great tragedy… I proclaim a state of emergency for 30 days under the terms of law, and a curfew in greater Tunis from 9:00 pm (8:00pm GMT) until 5:00 am (4:00am GMT) tomorrow,” he said in a televised address.

Essebsi added that the country is at “war against terrorism,” adding that he wants to “reassure the Tunisian people that we will vanquish terrorism.”

Tunisia was the first country in the wider Middle East that kick-started the so-called Arab Spring in 2011, ousting the country’s longtime leader Zine Abidine Ben Ali.

But threat from extremists because of its geographical location and close proximity to Libya is still rampant in Tunisia, a country which is operating under a new constitution following the 2014 elections.Yet terrorist activity is high in the North African State. In June, an Islamic State gunmen killed 38 European tourists at a beach resort hotel. In March this year, an attack on Tunisia’s national museum killed 22 people.

The attack in Tunis comes amid a high security alert across Europe following the deadly Paris attacks on November 13 that left 130 people dead.

 

 

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Turkish F16 fighter shot down Russian Su24 jet over Syria, MoD confirms

Russian Defense Ministry building

The Russian Su24 military jet was shot down by a Turkish F-16 over Syrian territory when returning to Khmeimim airbase. There was no violation of the Turkish border, the Russian Defense Ministry says.

 

Putin: Downing of Russian jet over Syria stab in the back by terrorist accomplices

Turkey backstabbed Russia by downing the Russian warplane and acted as accomplices of the terrorists, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

This incident stands out against the usual fight against terrorism. Our troops are fighting heroically against terrorists, risking their lives. But the loss we suffered today came from a stab in the back delivered by accomplices of the terrorists,” Putin said.

Putin said the plane was hit by a Turkish warplane as it was traveling at an altitude of 6000 meters about a kilometer from the Turkish border. It was hit by an air-to-air missile launched by a Turkish F-16 jet. The crash site is four kilometers from the border. The plane posed no threat to Turkish national security, he stressed.

Putin said the plane was targeting terrorist targets in the Latakia province of Syria, many of whom came from Russia.

Russia has for a long time been aware of oil going from Syria under the control of terrorists to Turkey, Putin said. The money finances terrorist groups.

IS has big money, hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars, from selling oil. In addition they are protected by the military of an entire nation. One can understand why they are acting so boldly and blatantly. Why they kill people in such atrocious ways. Why they commit terrorist acts across the world, including in the heart of Europe,” the Russian leader said.

The downing of the Russian warplane happened despite Russia signing an agreement with the US to prevent such incidents in Syria, Putin stressed. Turkey claims to be part of the US-led coalition fighting against IS in Syria, he added.

The incident will have grave consequences for Russia’s relations with Turkey, Putin warned.

We have always treated Turkey as not only a close neighbor, but also as a friendly nation,” he said. “I don’t know who has an interest in what happened today, but we certainly don’t.”

The fact that Turkey did not try to contact Russia in the wake of the incident and rushed to call a NATO meeting instead is worrisome, Putin said. It appears that Turkey want NATO to serve the interests of IS, he added.

Putin said Russia respects the regional interests of other nations, but warned the atrocity committed by Turkey would not go without an answer.

Putin was speaking at a meeting with King of Jordan Abdullah II in Sochi, who expressed his condolences to the Russian leader over the loss of a Russian pilot in Tuesday’s incident, as well as the deaths of Russians in the Islamic State bombing of a passenger plane in Egypt.

The two leaders discussed the anti-terrorist effort in Syria and Iraq and the diplomatic effort to find a political solution to the Syrian conflict.

Earlier a Russian Su-24 bomber was shot down by Turkish fighter jets near the Turkish-Syrian border. Turkey claimed that the plane violated Turkish airspace and did not respond to warnings. Ankara said it was rightfully acting to defend its sovereignty.

Russia insists that the plane stayed in the Syrian airspace.

One of the two pilots of the downed Russian warplane was reported killed by a rebel group as he was parachuting down on the ground after ejecting from the plane. The fate of the second pilot remains unknown.

 

Besides joint naval drills, Russia and Egypt may hold anti-terrorist exercises — minister

According to Shoigu, Russia’s military-technical cooperation with Egypt has satisfactory positive dynamics in all spheres – aviation, navy, air defense and ground forces

CAIRO, November 24. /TASS/. Russia and Egypt can conduct anti-terrorist exercises besides naval maneuvers, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Tuesday at the second meeting of the Russian-Egyptian military-technical cooperation commission.

The Defense Ministry “seeks to further develop relations between the armed forces of Russia and Egypt in all spheres in the interests of our countries’ security,” Shoigu said.

According to him, joint exercises are among the most significant types of military cooperation. We propose to add anti-terrorist exercises to our joint maneuvers, including naval, the minister said.

According to Shoigu, Russia’s military-technical cooperation with Egypt has satisfactory positive dynamics in all spheres – aviation, navy, air defense and ground forces.

“Egypt has been and remains Russia’s strategic partner in North Africa and the Middle East,” the minister said.

“We are determined to continue effective cooperation with Egypt in the political, economic and, of course, military and military-technical spheres,” Shoigu said.

Russian Defense Minister Praises Egypt’s Efforts in Fight Against Terrorism

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Russian Defense Minister said that Moscow supports the stable efforts of Egypt’s leadership in the fight against terrorism.

CAIRO (Sputnik) – Russia supports the stable efforts of Egypt’s leadership in the fight against terrorism, including on the Sinai Peninsula, Russian Defense Minister Gen. Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday.

“We support the stable efforts by Egypt’s leadership in the fight against terrorism, including steps on normalizing the situation in Sinai. We are sure that the destruction of terrorists operating on both the peninsula and throughout Egypt reflects the interests of not only the Egyptians, but the residents of all countries in the region,” Shoigu said during a meeting of a joint Russian-Egyptian committee on military-technical cooperation.

 

Russian warplane shot down at Syria-Turkey border

MOSCOW, November 24. /TASS/. A Sukhoi Su-24 attack aircraft of Russia’s air group in Syria has crashed in Syrian territory, presumably, as a result of an attack from the ground, the Russian Defense Ministry has said.

The Defense Ministry said the plane was at an altitude of 6,000 meters. The pilots’ fate is unclear at the moment. According to early reports, both managed to eject themselves.

“A probe is in progress into the circumstances of the Russian plane’s crash. The Defense Ministry says the plane invariably stayed within Syrian airspace. Objective monitoring data confirm this,” the Defense Ministry said.

Earlier, some media claimed the plane that crashed in Syria had allegedly violated Turkish airspace and was shot down by Turkish Air Force planes.

Russian airstrikes against the Islamic State terrorist group in Syria started on September 30. Russia intensified its airstrikes against the terrorists after it was reported that the crash of the Russian A321 plane in Egypt was caused by a terrorist bomb exploding on board. Russia has involved long-range aviation in its air strikes and has enforced the air grouping deployed in Syria. Russia’s air grouping involves 69 aircraft, including Su-34 bombers, Su-24M and Su-25 attack aircraft, Su-30SM and Su-27SM3 fighters and Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters.