Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bid Laden family to be deported

April 17, 2012
OSAMA bin Laden's family is expected to be deported from Pakistan today, their lawyer and officials have said.
Bin Laden's three widows and their children will be deported to Saudi Arabia 11 months after the US raid that killed the al-Qaida leader.
The bin Laden family was detained by the Pakistani authorities after the US Navy SEAL operation in the garrison town of Abbottabad, north of Islamabad, last May.
The news came as Washington and Islamabad try to patch up their relationship, which was badly damaged by the revelation that the world's most wanted man was living a stone's throw from Pakistan's elite military academy.
Two weeks ago a court sentenced the widows and two of bin Laden's older daughters to 45 days' detention on charges of illegal entry and residency in Pakistan and ordered their deportation as soon as possible.
They were due to complete the sentence, served in an Islamabad villa designated by authorities as a "sub-jail", yesterday, as it officially began when they were formally arrested on the charges on March 3.
"They will go tonight or tomorrow early in the morning. After 12 tonight they can be deported any time," their lawyer Muhammad Aamir said yesterday.
Mr Aamir said the family - who number 12, including bin Laden's three widows, eight children and one grandchild - would probably initially go to Saudi Arabia.
He said bin Laden's youngest and reportedly favourite wife, Amal Abdulfattah, who is Yemeni, may be sent to Yemen afterwards with her five children.
A Pakistani intelligence official confirmed that the family was expected to be deported "sometime around midnight" and said "most likely they would be flown to Saudi Arabia."
A number of Saudi diplomats have visited Pakistan in recent weeks to work out the details of the deportation, sources say.
The discovery of bid Laden in Abbottabad dealt a massive blow to US-Pakistan relations and led to accusations of Pakistani complicity or incompetence.
Ms Abdulfattah, 30, told Pakistani interrogators bin Laden had fathered four children while he hid out in Pakistan, according to a police report.
After fleeing Afghanistan in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, bin Laden moved his family around Pakistan before settling in a three-storey house inside a walled compound in the garrison town of Abbottabad in 2005.
According to the police report, the family movements while they were on the run were organised by "Ibrahim and Abrar", two Pakistanis given responsibility for the task by members of al-Qaida.
Both the men were killed during the raid on Abbottabad and had been living in the same compound, along with Ibrahim's wife, Bushra, and bin Laden's son, Khalid.
In February the Pakistani authorities, reluctant for the Abbottabad house to become a shrine to the dead terror leader, used bulldozers to raze the building to the ground.
The continued detention of bin Laden's wives led to accusations that Pakistan was attempting to muzzle them to stop them from providing details that could embarrass Islamabad or add to suspicions it knew where bin Laden was.
Pakistan, allied to Washington in the "war on terror", was humiliated by the covert American operation that killed the al-Qaida leader in the early hours of May 2.

Saudi: Al-Qaida behind kidnapping in Yemen

ABDULLAH AL-SHIHRI, Associated Press
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia claimed Tuesday that Al-Qaida has taken responsibility for the kidnapping of a Saudi diplomat in Yemen last month and is demanding release of prisoners and a ransom payment.
Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki said a Saudi citizen who is on the kingdom's most-wanted list of terror suspects relayed the demands by telephone to the Saudi embassy in Yemen, adding a threat to kill the captive.
Diplomat Abdullah al-Khaldi, the deputy consul at the Saudi consulate in Aden, was abducted in the Yemeni port city of Aden on March 28.
Abductions are frequent in Yemen, where armed tribesmen and militants take hostages to swap for prisoners or cash. The kidnappings are usually resolved peacefully.
Al-Turki said a Saudi terror suspect, Mashaal Rasheed al-Shawdakhi, has been in contact with the Saudi embassy in Sanaa for a number of times.
The Saudi official held the kidnappers responsible for the safety of the diplomat, urging them to release him.
This is the second incident of kidnapping of a Saudi diplomat in Yemen. Last year, tribesmen released a Saudi diplomat after 10 days over a financial dispute between a Saudi businessmen and the tribe.
Saudi Arabia and the rest of Gulf Cooperation Council countries have been heavily involved in a power transfer deal that forced Yemen's longtime president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to relinquish power after a year of mass protests against his rule. Saleh stepped down in February and handed power to his deputy.
Yemen's political turmoil has caused a security vacuum in the country, which al-Qaida has used to seize large swaths of territory in the south. In recent weeks, fighting between the militants and Yemen's military has intensified.
According to a transcript provided by the Saudi Interior Ministry, al-Shawdakhi asked first to meet with Saudi diplomats but then agreed to relay the demands over the phone.
The Islamic militant group is demanding release of top al-Qaida prisoners, both Saudi and Yemeni, currently in Saudi jails, as well as half a dozen women prisoners held there, in return for the diplomat, he said, adding that the leader of al-Qaida in Yemen, Nasser al-Wahishi, appointed him to make the contacts.
Al-Shawdakhi identified the prisoners by name and said the group is also demanding a ransom payment. He did not say how much. He warned that the diplomat could be killed if the demands are not met.

Suicide bomber kills three Yemeni soldiers

Apr 18 2012
A suicide bomber has killed three Yemeni soldiers in southern Yemen, a military official says, a day after a suspected US drone strike killed five al-Qaeda affiliated militants.
The official said the bomber drove a car packed with explosives into a military checkpoint on a hill between the southern provinces of Bayda and Abyan, mostly lawless regions where al-Qaeda militants have strengthened their presence.
At least five other soldiers were wounded in the attack, which the official said was likely carried out by al-Qaeda or its local affiliates.
In a separate incident late on Monday, a suspected US drone strike in Shabwa province killed five al-Qaeda militants, a local government official said.
The strike was in the Kharama area between the towns of Azzan and Huta.
The deadly raid comes just days after three local al-Qaeda leaders were killed in an air strike on their car in Bayda, about 210 kilometres southeast of Sanaa.
The defence ministry said on Saturday's raid was conducted by Yemeni warplanes, but a security official told AFP a US drone was responsible.
The United States has never formally acknowledged the use of drones against al-Qaeda in Yemen, considered by Washington to be the most active and deadly branch of the global terror network and a major focus of its "war on terror."
In other violence on Tuesday, 10 soldiers were wounded in repeated mortar attacks by al-Qaeda militants on a military base south of Loder, in Abyan, where fierce clashes last week left more than 200 people dead.
Al-Qaeda has exploited a decline in central government control that accompanied Arab Spring-inspired protests that eventually forced president Ali Abdullah Saleh to resign.
Since last May, the extremist group's Yemeni branch, known as the Partisans of Sharia (Islamic law), has seized several towns in the lawless south and east, including Zinjibar, capital of Abyan province.