SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) The two men suspected in the Boston Marathon bombings were armed with a small arsenal of guns, ammunition and explosives when they first confronted the police early Friday, and were most likely planning more attacks, the authorities said Sunday.
United States officials said they were increasingly certain that the two suspects had acted on their own, but were looking for any hints that someone had trained or inspired them. The F.B.I. is broadening its global investigation in search of a motive and pressing the Russian government for more details about a Russian request to the F.B.I. in 2011 about one of the suspects’ possible links to extremist groups, a senior United States official said Sunday.
New details about the suspects, their alleged plot and the widening inquiry emerged on Sunday, including the types of weapons that were used and the bomb design’s link to a terrorist manual. Lawmakers also accused the F.B.I. of an intelligence failure, questioning whether the bureau had responded forcefully enough to Russia’s warnings.
The surviving suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, remained in a Boston hospital in serious condition. The authorities said they believed that he had tried to kill himself, because a gunshot wound to his neck “had the appearance of a close-range, self-inflicted style,” the senior United States official said.
As investigators intensified their search for clues, the investigation’s focus shifted in the last two days from a manhunt that relied heavily on cutting-edge surveillance technology to help track down the suspects to more traditional investigative methods. Those approaches include interviews with friends, relatives and others who knew the suspects and examinations of computers, phones, writings and their possessions.
More details of what the authorities said was the original plot were becoming clearer. The Boston police commissioner, Edward Davis, said the authorities believed that Mr. Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, 26, had planned more attacks beyond the bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, which killed three people and wounded more than 170. When the suspects seized a Mercedes-Benz sport utility vehicle and held the driver hostage, they told him that they planned to head to New York, the senior United States official said Sunday.
It was not clear whether the suspects had told the driver what they planned to do there.
Mr. Davis told CBS News’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday: “We have reason to believe, based upon the evidence that was found at that scene — the explosions, the explosive ordnance that was unexploded and the firepower that they had — that they were going to attack other individuals.”
Along with determining that the suspects had made at least five pipe bombs, the authorities recovered four firearms that they believe the suspects used, according to a law enforcement official. The authorities found an M-4 carbine rifle — a weapon similar to ones used by American forces in Afghanistan — on the boat where the younger suspect was found Friday night in Watertown, Mass., 10 miles west of Boston.
Two handguns and a BB gun that the authorities believe the brothers used in an earlier shootout with officers in Watertown were also recovered, said one official briefed on the investigation. The authorities said they believe the suspects had fired roughly 80 rounds in that shootout, in which Tamerlan Tsarnaev was fatally wounded, the official said.
Among the unanswered questions facing investigators are where the suspects acquired their weapons and explosives, how they got the money to pay for them, and whether others helped plan and carry out the attack last Monday. Mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston said he believed the brothers were not affiliated with a larger network. “All of the information that I have, they acted alone, these two individuals, the brothers,” he said on ABC News’s “This Week.”
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – The FBI has been able to interview a man being held in Libya in connection with the investigation into the September attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, a U.S. official confirmed to CNN Friday.
The official said it was "advantageous" that the individual -- named by sources as Faraj al-Shibli (also spelled Chalabi) -- was in Libyan custody, but it was still not clear what, if any, role he may have played in the assault. He said there is not enough evidence to make an arrest at this point, but the investigation is continuing
A Libyan source also confirmed that al-Shibli is in custody and that the FBI interviewed him recently in the presence of Libyan authorities.
He said the Libyan government allowed one or more members of the U.S. law enforcement agency to question the man -- something that is not necessarily done when a person is detained in a foreign country -- around the time on Wednesday when its prime minister, Ali Zeidan, met with U.S. President Barack Obama. The U.S. official agreed the timing of the visit had helped.
Another source who has been briefed on al-Shibli's arrest by Western intelligence officials said he was detained this week and had recently returned from a trip to Pakistan.
Phone call links Benghazi attack to al Qaeda commander
It's unclear whether his detention is likely to lead to charges in connection with the assault on the compound, which resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, said Thursday that "we think there are more than a dozen people involved in this."
"The idea that potentially we have somebody ... it's obviously positive news," Chaffetz told CNN. "... This is the most positive development I've seen in the past six months."
Al-Shibli is the only known suspect in custody in connection with the attack in Benghazi. A 26-year-old Tunisian, Ali Ani al Harzi, was held in Tunis for several weeks in connection with the assault on the compound after being extradited from Turkey. But he was released by a Tunisian judge in January on grounds on insufficient evidence.
And in December, a U.S. official with direct knowledge of the investigation said authorities were examining whether the alleged leader of a post-revolution terrorist network in Egypt had played a role in the September 11 attack. Mohammed Jamal Abu Ahmed was released from jail after the downfall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and is believed to be the driving force behind a new militant group, according to two U.S. officials.
He is currently reported to be in prison in Egypt after being arrested in December, when police raided an apartment allegedly being used by a jihadist group active in Cairo. An associate of Abu Ahmed's subsequently said that he had not been in Benghazi or anywhere in Libya on the day of the attack on the compound.
Pentagon releases official timeline of Benghazi attack
Al-Shibli comes from a town called Sidi Armouma al-Marj, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) from Benghazi. He was a member of the Libyan Islamist Fighting Group, a militant organization that tried to overthrow the Gadhafi regime in the mid-1990s.
In 2004, the Libyan government reported al-Shibli to the United Nations as on its "wanted" list and issued an Interpol "Red Notice" seeking his arrest.
It was the second warrant issued by the Gadhafi regime for al-Shibli's arrest. In 1998, he was named with two other Libyans as allegedly involved in the murder of a German counterintelligence official, Silvan Becker, and his wife, Vera, who were killed in the Libyan town of Sirte in 1994. The Libyan authorities also issued an arrest warrant for Osama bin Laden in connection with the crime.
Investigators have learned that he has had contact with the Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and al Qaeda members in Pakistan, sources said.
However, some analysts have cast doubt on the Gadhafi regime's assertion that Libyan Islamist Fighting Group members carried out the attack on the German couple.
Jihadist groups are strong to this day between Benghazi and the town of Derna to the east, an area that includes al-Marj. Several groups are thought to have camps in the Green Mountains between al-Marj and towns along the coast.
U.S. investigators have identified at least 15 individuals whom "we're taking a serious look at," a U.S. law enforcement official said in January, indicating that some of them were identified on video of the assault. Ultimately, the official said at the time, "we will get indictments, but it's not possible to put a timetable on it."-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- The only suspect to be arrested over the Benghazi embassy attack was released from jail on Tuesday after authorities declared that they did not have enough evidence to hold him further. Ali Harzi, a Tunisia citizen, was arrested in Turkey on October 3 and tkaen back to Tunis, where he's faced questioning from FBI agents investigating the incident.
Officially, Harzi was only labeled a witness and not a suspect, but he was "strongly suspected" of playing a role in the attack on the consulate and possibly other terrorist attacks, including one on the U.S. embassy in Tunis. He has been accused of having ties to several terrorist groups in the region, including al-Qaeda, but his lawyers have insisted all along that he is innocent and that there is no evidence to support the claims.
If nothing concrete has come from Harzi's arrest, it seems that for now, the investigation is completely stalled. It's been nearly four months since the attack that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, yet there have been no reprisals, no charges drawn, and now no suspects in custody. It's not clear if Harzi was even able to provide useful information to the FBI, or was simply a dead end. Either way, it appears the U.S. is no closer to finding the culprits than they were back in September.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- A drone strike on a militant hideout in northwestern Pakistan early Tuesday killed nine suspected militants, two Pakistani intelligence officials told CNN.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the drone fired four missiles at the hideout in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan, one of seven districts in Pakistan's volatile tribal region bordering Afghanistan.
North Waziristan is known as a militant hub and has been targeted frequently by suspected U.S. drone strikes for years.
A suspected U.S. drone strike killed 17 people and wounded three Sunday in Babar Ziarat, which borders the Pakistani provinces of North and South Waziristan, Pakistani intelligence officials said. Those killed and injured in the strike were believed to be militants, the officials said.
Last week, two suspected U.S. drone strikes in the same area killed 15 people, including a Taliban commander with ties to the Pakistani military.
Taliban commander Mullah Nazir, also known as Maulvi Nazir Wazir, was killed in that strike Thursday in South Waziristan, officials said.
Many residents of the region say the strikes have killed dozens of civilians, including children and women. U.S. officials say the drone strikes are an effective strategy against militant groups and insist civilian casualties are rare.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- The magistrate ordered the preliminary hearing to be held behind closed doors after chaotic scenes as lawyers denounced one of their colleagues who had offered to defend the accused.
The next hearing will take place on 10 January. The trial is expected to be referred to a new fast-track court.
The case has shocked India and prompted a debate about the treatment of women.
The hearing comes as four policemen have been suspended over the handling of another suspected rape and murder case near Delhi over the weekend.
The father of a 21-year-old woman whose body was found on Saturday has told the BBC she was gang-raped.
He said police initially failed to react when he reported her disappearance, suggesting instead that she had gone off with someone.
The case has triggered protests in the Delhi suburb of Noida, where the woman was employed in a factory.
Two men have been arrested and a third suspect is reported to have fled.
The five men were taken to the court in the Saket district of Delhi on Monday, where they were given the full list of charges against them, including abduction, rape and murder.
The hearing was initially supposed to take place in open court, but there were chaotic scenes as lawyers argued with each other over representation for the accused.
Magistrate Namrita Aggarwal adjourned the hearing, moving it behind closed doors.
It was not the most encouraging beginning to what the government has promised will be a fast-track legal process for this and other rape crimes, says the BBC's Andrew North, who has been outside the court in Saket.
The Saket district lawyers' association has refused to defend the accused because of the outcry the crime has provoked.
A van carrying the five suspects has now left the court, our correspondent says.
A sixth suspect, who is thought to be 17, will be tried separately in a youth court if it is confirmed he is a minor.
If convicted, the suspects could face the death penalty. Prosecutors have said they have extensive forensic evidence.
The five accused have been named as Ram Singh, his brother Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur.
Two of the suspects have offered to give evidence, possibly in return for a lighter sentence.
The victim and a male friend were attacked on a bus in south Delhi on 16 December. She died two weeks later in a hospital in Singapore.
Campaigners are calling for tougher rape laws and reforms to the police, who - critics say - often fail to file charges against accused attackers.
The victim's father has denied weekend reports in a British newspaper that he wanted his daughter's name published.
He told BBC Hindi last week that he would have no problem with her name being used on a new law against rape.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- Indian police have filed rape and murder charges against five men accused in the gang rape of a woman on a New Delhi bus last month.
Police said on Thursday they plan to push for the death penalty in the case.
A sixth suspect is believed to be a juvenile and is expected to be tried in juvenile court.
The five were charged with raping the 23-year-old woman for hours and beating her companion as the bus drove through the capital.
Police arrested six people in the case and filed charges at a new fast-track court in south Delhi to deal specifically with crimes against women, police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said.
The December 16 attack on the woman, who later died of her injuries, has caused outrage across India and sparked demands for tough new rape laws, better police protection for women and a sustained campaign to change
society's views about women.
Indian Chief Justice Altamas Kabir said the accused should be tried swiftly, but cautioned that they needed to be given a fair trial and not subjected to mob justice.
"Let us not lose sight of the fact that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty,'' he told reporters on Wednesday, while inaugurating the new fast-track court.
"Let us balance things. Let us not get carried away.Provide justice in a fair but swift manner so that faith of people is once again restored that the judiciary is there behind the common man.''
Commission of enquiry
The government is to set up four other such courts in the capital to hold timely trials in sexual assault cases, which often get bogged down for years in India's notoriously sluggish court system.
The new courts will work to provide justice as swiftly as possible "so that the message is sent to all and sundry that these matters are going to be dealt with seriously,'' Kabir said.
The government has set up three separate commissions to look into the incident and suggest changes in the law, with one minister suggesting new anti-rape legislation should be named after the victim.
This sparked a controversy as her name has not been disclosed in line with legal protections given to the victims of sex crime and their families, who face social stigma.
The brother of the victim, speaking from the family's home village in northern Uttar Pradesh state, said they would not object if the government wanted to name a new law after her.
"My father feels if they want to name the new law after her, they can go ahead, it will be like a tribute in her memory," he told the Indian Express newspaper.
The brother also pleaded that the family should be left alone to grieve their loss.
"The public anger is justified but my sister's story should not be made into a spectacle," he said.
A recent poll found India to be the worst in the G20 group of nations for women because of child marriage, abuse and female foeticide, which has led to a badly skewed sex ratio in the country of 1.2 billion people.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- Israel is suspected of carrying out a series of leaks implicating Iran innuclear weapons experiments in an attempt to raise international pressure on Tehran and halt its programme.
Western diplomats believe the leaks may have backfired, compromising a UN-sanctioned investigation into Iran's past nuclear activities and current aspirations.
The latest leak, published by the Associated Press (AP), purported to be an Iranian diagram showing the physics of a nuclear blast, but scientists quickly pointed out an elementary mistake that cast doubt on its significance and authenticity. An article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists declared: "This diagram does nothing more than indicate either slipshod analysis or an amateurish hoax."
The leaked diagram raised questions about an investigation being carried out by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors after it emerged that it formed part of a file of intelligence on alleged Iranian nuclear weapons work held by the agency.
The IAEA's publication of a summary of the file in November 2011 helped trigger a new round of punitive EU and US sanctions.
Western officials say they have reasons to suspect Israel of being behind the most recent leak and a series of previous disclosures from the IAEA investigation, pointing to Israel's impatience at what it sees as international complacency over Iranian nuclear activity.
The leaks are part of an intensifying shadow war over Iran's atomic programme being played out in Vienna, home to the IAEA's headquarters.
The Israeli spy agency, the Mossad, is highly active in the Austrian capital, as is Iran and most of the world's major intelligence agencies, leading to frequent comparisons with its earlier incarnation as a battleground for spies in the early years of the cold war.
The Israeli government did not reply to a request for comment and AP described the source of the latest leak only as "officials from a country critical of Iran's atomic programme".
An "intelligence summary" provided to AP with the graph appeared to go out of its way to implicate two men in nuclear weapons testing who had been targeted for assassination two years ago. One of them, Majid Shahriari, was killed on his way to work in Tehran in November 2010 after a motorcyclist fixed a bomb to the door of his car. The other, Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, was wounded in a near identical attack the same day.
A book published earlier this year by veteran Israeli and American writers on intelligence, called Spies Against Armageddon, said the attacks were carried out by an assassination unit known as Kidon, or Bayonet – part of the Mossad.
One western source said the "intelligence summary" supplied with the leaked diagram "reads like an attempt to justify the assassinations".
According to one European diplomat, however, the principal impact of the leak would be to compromise the ongoing IAEA investigation into whether Iran has tried to develop a nuclear weapon at any point. "This is just one small snapshot of what the IAEA is working on, and part of a much broader collection of data from multiple sources," the diplomat said.
"The particular document turns out to have a huge error but the IAEA was aware of it and saw it in the context of everything it has. It paints a convincing case."
Sources who have seen the documents said the graph was based on a spreadsheet of data in the IAEA's possession which appears to analyse the energy released by a nuclear blast. The mistake was made when that data was transposed on to a graph, on which the wrong units were used on one of the axes.
There is widespread belief among western governments, Russia, China and most independent experts that evidence is substantial for an Iranian nuclear weapons programme until 2003. There is far less consensus on what activities, if any, have been carried out since. The IAEA inquiry has so far not found a "smoking gun".
Analysts say that the recent leaks may have shown the IAEA's hand, revealing what it knows and does not know, and therefore undermined the position of its inspectors in tense and so far fruitless talks with Iranian officials about the country's past nuclear activities.
Iran rejects the evidence against it as forged and has not granted access to its nuclear scientists or to a site known as Parchin where IAEA inspectors believe the high-explosive components for a nuclear warhead may have been tested.
The IAEA says it has evidence that the site is being sanitised to remove any incriminating traces of past experiments.
David Albright, a nuclear expert at the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, said he had no knowledge of who was behind the leak but added: "Whoever did this has undermined the IAEA's credibility and made it harder for it to do its work."
The next round of IAEA talks with Iran will take place on Saturday in Tehran. The US has said that if Iran does not co-operate with the IAEA investigation by March, the matter should be referred to the UN security council.
The security council has repeatedly demanded that Iran suspend enrichment of uranium until it has satisfied the international community that it is not pursuing a covert weapons programme. Iran has rejected the demand, insisting its programme is entirely peaceful, and has intensified its enrichment effort, triggering Israeli threats of military action.
A new round of negotiations between Iran and six world powers, aimed at trading curbs on enrichment for sanctions relief, is due to begin in the next few weeks but no date has been set.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – The FBI is expected to question a suspect in the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, "in the coming days," according to a U.S. government official with direct knowledge of the investigation.
The United States first became aware of Ali Ani al Harzi when he apparently posted details of the attack on social media while it was happening.
At the request of the United States, Turkish officials detained al Harzi when he entered that country after leaving Libya. Turkey then transferred him to Tunisia, where he is being held.
"We are very pleased the Tunisian government is working with American investigators to allow in person access to Ali Ani al Harzi. Under this arrangement the interviews will be under Tunisian supervision and consistent with their sovereignty and meets the needs of our investigative team," U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Saxby Chambliss said in a statement Saturday.
"Allowing American investigators in person access will make the interview more meaningful and is a welcome breakthrough in our efforts to find the perpetrators of the Benghazi Consulate attacks," they added.
U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed during the September 11 assault.
According to the government official, al Harzi is not the only suspect federal agents are looking at.
"We're continuing to look at any and all leads," the official said, declining to say how many others are under investigation.— www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — A political activist has revealed the fabricated nature of claims made by Saudi officials about one of their counterterrorism operations against two extremist cells in Riyadh and the western city of Jeddah.
The activist, known as Mojtahed in cyberspace, has disputed the statement released by the Saudi Arabian Interior Ministry that claims the suspect at the center of an alleged operation in Riyadh “lost his left hand while preparing explosive chemicals to carry out criminal attacks targeting security forces, citizens, and foreign residents, as well as public installations," the Arabic-language Al-Alam news network reported.
Mojtahed stated that the 21-year-old muezzin of Riyadh’s al-Khalil Ibrahim Mosque, identified as Ahmed Khalid Ahmed al-Duweish, actually suffered severe burns on his left hand in a gas cylinder explosion two years ago.
He had to receive treatment at a hospital, where some of his fingers were amputated due to the severity of the burns. Duweish remained in hospital for two months.
Mojtahed also said that Duweish is the son of a political dissident, who has been held in the al-Ha’ir prison of Riyadh, along with fifteen other relatives, for the past nine years.
He added that a police officer, who had noticed Duweish’s amputated fingers, decided to fabricate a story about him several days after his arrest on August 9.
Alarm bells started to ring when the news first broke and Deputy Saudi Interior Minister Mohammad bin Nayef had to keep a lid on the matter, as he realized that Duweish had been receiving medical treatment for the past two years and medical reports could irrefutably disprove the allegations that he was involved in terrorist activities.—www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: Press TV
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — The man accused in the Aurora movie theater mass shooting had been banned from the University of Colorado after making threats and failing a key exam six weeks before the rampage, prosecutors said Thursday.
The new charges against James Holmes emerged as part of efforts to convince a judge to allow the prosecution access to 100 pages of education records subpoenaed from the school where he had been a neuroscience doctoral candidate.
The university turned over the documents last week, but Holmes' lawyers moved to keep them sealed.
Holmes is accused of killing 12 people and wounding 58 others in the July 20 shooting during a midnight showing of the latest Batman movie. He has not issued a plea in the case and remains held without bail.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Pearson did not elaborate on the nature of the threats during the hearing, nor did she disclose where the information came from.
Lab work deteriorating
Pearson also told Judge William Sylvester that professors had urged Holmes to get into another profession and said his lab work had been deteriorating.
Defense lawyer Daniel King objected to the release of the records, calling the prosecution's request a "fishing expedition that needs to be stopped."
The university didn't immediately have a comment on the prosecution's claims.
Prosecutors are seeking Holmes' university application and his response, his grades, course schedules, emails concerning Holmes, and anything concerning his termination or withdrawal from the school.
"What's going in the defendant's life at the time is extremely relevant to this case," Pearson said.
Holmes appeared more engaged in the hearing than previous court appearances. His walk was more deliberate when he came in courtroom. Rather than staring blankly ahead, he looked at the judge for most of the hearing.
The prosecutors' account presents a sharply different picture of Holmes' exit than the one provided by university officials in the days after the shooting.
Before the gag order was issued, the university said that campus police had no records on Holmes and that the student lost access to the school because he withdrew from the program, not because of threats.
"I don't have any information on him (Holmes) at all," campus police Chief Doug Abraham told a press conference four days after the shooting. "We've had no contact with him on any matter."
At the same press conference, university officials said Holmes lost access to university premises after his June 10 withdrawal because his student access card was shut off, rather than for threats or any other safety reason. "He effectively had left the school," University of Colorado Chancellor Don Elliman said.
The university also said in writing that there were no documents related to the decision to bar Holmes from the campus.
Prosecutors say they need the documents to gain access to a notebook reportedly containing violent descriptions of an attack. The notebook reportedly was in a package sent to university psychiatrist Lynne Fenton.
Holmes mentally ill, lawyer claims
King during court hearings said the notebook is protected by a doctor-patient relationship. King claims that Holmes is mentally ill and sought Fenton for help with that illness.
Fenton is expected to testify at a hearing Aug. 30.
Former Denver Deputy District Attorney and law professor Karen Steinhauser said arguments over the records are part of both sides gearing up for a trial over Holmes' sanity.
"They know it's not a question of who did this," Steinhauser said. "This is not a question of self-defense. They know that the only possible defense is that he was not sane at the time."
School records don't have the same legal protection as communication between a doctor and patient. But Steinhauser said prosecutors would have to tell a judge why they want them.
Steinhauser said the school records, which could include emails, might help prosecutors establish that Holmes implicitly waived his right to privacy if he talked about some of the same things he spoke to his doctor about.
The university records could also contain his school application, recommendation letters, emails between professors about their impressions of Holmes, as well his grades and progress reports on his research. Educational records released by the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, a school Holmes considered attending, contained such information including a letter of recommendation that describes Holmes as having "a great amount of intellectual and emotional maturity."
"They want those records in the hopes that it could help them build their case that these are not the actions of an insane man," Steinhauser said.