Today, MilitaryGazette's SITREP column returns, in a slightly altered format. We are always experimenting with new ideas, so we decided to make this a weekly column instead of a daily, as we had previously done. You might want to grab your favorite "tasty beverage" for this...
The desultory war on the Arabian Peninsula continues to ineffectually grind on, with artillery and rocket attacks this week, by Yemeni forces on Saudi bases near the front. Once again, the reports claim casualties among the Saudi's Western mercenary forces.
Further south, the counterinsurgency war against the Al Shabaab terror group continues, as the group apparently staged a grenade attack on a tea shop in the southern port city of Kismayo, which killed four and wounded ten, while a suicide car bomb attack in Mogadishu Port killed at least twenty-nine. Meanwhile, along the Somali-Kenyan border, Kenyan and Somali government forces retook the border village of El Wak from Al Shabaab terrorists after a short battle, as African Union (AMISOM) forces killed seven terrorists near Barire in the Lower Shebelle region.
Further west, the Boko Haram group (which pledged allegiance to ISIL in March of 2015) has begun infiltrating target areas disguised as day-laborers, killing at least fifty-nine people in two attacks in the towns of Madagali, in Adamawa State, and Maiduguri, in Borno State, both on the border of Cameroon. This comes as a Nigerian Army Lieutenant-Colonel and several other soldiers were killed by an IED while returning to Maiduguri from the town of Baga. Meanwhile, at the opposite end of the country, some fifty female farmers (most aged between 45 and 60) were kidnapped by the group from a farm near the village of Matankari, in Zamfara State; government officials stated that some of the women were released shortly afterwards by the group.
In the Sinai, ISIL terrorists launched a rocket attack into Israel. This comes as four Egyptian soldiers were killed by an apparent IED near the Sinai town of Sheikh Zuweid on the 12th, while on the 16th another Army vehicle struck an IED near the mainland town of Beni Suef on the banks of the Nile, this one fortunately with no casualties.
In Tunisia, two Tunisian soldiers were wounded by a landmine during operations on the slopes of Mt. Chaambi, near the World War 2 battlefield of Kasserine Pass, while along the Mediterranean coast, terror cells were unmasked in the cities of Bizerte and Sfax, with several members arrested, and several more still on the run.
In the Indonesian capitol of Jakarta, police uncovered a plot to make a bomb attack on the State Palace in Central Jakarta. Police recovered a device made from 3kg (6.6lbs) of the explosive compound "triacetone triperoxide (TATP)". The device was packed into a pressure cooker, similar to the devices used in the Boston Bombing of 2013. Two men and one woman were arrested by the National Police’s "Densus 88" counterterrorism unit.
In the Philippines, three Filipino soldiers were killed and seventeen injured in a firefight with Abu Sayyaf terrorists in the mountains near the southern town of Patikul, in Sulu Province. Meanwhile, in nearby Malaysia, Malaysian security forces killed three Abu Sayyaf gunmen and captured two more, during a failed kidnapping attempt in the Malaysian state of Sabah.
Abu Sayyaf, coincidentally, swore allegiance to ISIL in July of 2014, as Boko Haram would do a year later. Abu Sayyaf now finances itself mostly through ransoming kidnapped hostages and through acts of piracy.
From Japan, comes word of a possible outbreak of avian influenza ("Bird Flu") on the northern island of Hokkaido, at a poultry farm. If confirmed, culling will be started immediately. This comes as it appears that hackers associated with the international "hacker collective" known as "Anonymous" have been increasing denial-of-service attacks against Japanese government websites to protest dolphin hunting. The attacks do not seem to be attempts to steal information, simply to shut down service to government websites.
A civilian was killed in the crossfire between Indian security forces and Naxalite
guerillas near the village of Timmapur, in Chhattisgarh’s insurgency-hit Bijapur district. However, Central Reserve Police Force (CPRF) officials are investigating whether the civilian casualties might actually be Naxalite guerillas.
CPRF officials have recently issued an advisory to security force personnel, that Naxalite cadre are attempting to solicit personal information on security force personnel and their families, likely for the purposes of reconnaissance, kidnapping, intimidation or assassination. This demonstrates, yet again, that the line between guerilla and terrorist is razor-thin.
In the north, suspected Al Qaeda militants attacked the convoy of a district police officer and the assistant commissioner in the Awaran district of Pakistan's Balochistan province on the 17th. Although several police were wounded in the attack, the terrorists failed to injure the senior officers.
In Northwestern Pakistan, meanwhile, the "brave heroes" associated with the Taliban managed to murder a 9-year old girl, while wounding three more children in a bomb attack on their school in North Waziristan, for the hideous crime of trying to get an education.
As the bloody fighting in Aleppo grinds on, ISIL forces - apparently eager to finish destroying more of Humankind's shared cultural history - staged a desperate counterattack, seizing part of the ancient city of Palmyra. Syrian forces managed to evacuation upwards of 80% of the local population before the terror group gained a foothold in the city, where Russian Army sappers had begun demining operations on what remains of some of Humanity's oldest urban centers.
Finally, comes an odd story from the city of Redmond, where a man and a woman were severely injured in a "butane hash oil" (BHO) lab explosion. When police and fire crews responded to the explosion and fire, they discovered an illegal, commercial-scale marijuana grow operation, with over fifty plants...and at least eleven homemade "pipebombs". EOD was immediately summoned to disable and remove the devices, as the couple - suffering severe burns - were transported by ambulance to St. Charles Redmond Medical Center, and were later flown to Legacy Oregon Burn Center at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland.
Upon discovering evidence of a drug lab in the garage, where the explosion and fire occurred, Redmond police requested a warrant to search the remainder of the residence of drugs. During the search, they uncovered the explosive devices, as well as 14 firearms and US$26,000 in cash.
Due to the condition of the male resident of the house and the woman (who lived elsewhere in Redmond), information is not yet available concerning the reason for the presence of the explosive devices.
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