Tag Archives: Terror

Kenya attack: At least six killed in Nairobi hotel complex terror siege

Kenya attack: At least six killed in Nairobi hotel complex terror siegeIslamist terrorists detonated explosives and fired automatic weapons as they mounted a deadly attack on a hotel and business complex frequented by Westerners in Nairobi on Tuesday. Six people have been confirmed killed in the attack, while a Kenyan police officer told reporters 15 bodies had been taken to the mortuary. A mortuary worker added that identification papers indicated that 11 were Kenyan, one was American and one was British, while the other two did not have documents on them. Nationalities of the dead remain unconfirmed. Hundreds more remained trapped inside buildings  16 hours after the attack began. Local security forces freed scores of civilians as they fought their way into the grounds of 14 Riverside, a compound housing a hotel, restaurant, bars and office blocks in the city’s Westlands district.  But the reported six gunmen were still in control of parts of the five-star Dusit Hotel, part of a Thai-owned international chain that appeared to be the chief target of the attackers. The Somali militant group al-Shabaab, which has longstanding ties to al-Qaeda, claimed credit for the attack, revisiting the city in which they killed 67 people during an attack on the Westgate shopping mall in 2013. Cars are seen on fire at the scene of explosions and gunshots in Nairobi Credit: REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya Just as at Westgate, barely a mile way, this was a carefully chosen target designed to bring terror to one of the prosperous parts of an increasingly prosperous city and target Westerners and rich Kenyans alike. Several multinational firms, from America’s Colgate Palmolive to the German chemical giant BASF housed their local headquarters at 14 Riverside. Several British firms were also based there, the consultancy groups Control Risks and Adam Smith International among them. From the outset it was clear that this was a highly sophisticated attack. A suicide bomber blew himself up close to the entrance as two vehicles carrying the attackers breached a security barrier, regarded as one of the most efficient in Nairobi, at the entrance to the complex. Some of the attackers, lobbing grenades and firing automatic rifles, reportedly killed several people at the Secret Garden restaurant, a spot popular for business meetings close to the restaurant, before continuing on to the Dusit hotel.  “There was a big bang and then a lot of gunfire, up to 100 shots or more,” said Philip Coulson, a lawyer working in a nearby office block. “Later, I saw people fleeing and others being carried out with looks of pain or anguish on their face.” Terrified office workers in the complex’s five blocks, said to house more than 1,000 employees, hid under desks and barricaded doors. Others, caught in the open, ran frantically for cover.  “Run, run!” one man shouted from behind a low wall as colleagues stumbled on lawns and crawled along the ground in a desperate bid for safety as shots rang out. “Down! Down!” Extremists launched a deadly attack on a luxury hotel in Kenya's capital  Credit: AP Photo/Brian Inganga Kenya’s security forces earned an ignominious reputation during the Westgate attack, after army units were accused of opening fire on their police colleagues, killing the officer in charge and then embarking on a looting spree. But this time, the initial response appeared more professional and coordinated. Army and police units, assisted by emergency crews, were quick to seal off the perimeter and rescue people from the office blocks, at least some of which appeared to be ignored by the attackers. Many were rescued within hours, fleeing under armed guard with their hands in the air before streaming in their scores across a footbridge to the safety of a nearby university campus. Everywhere signs of extreme emotion were visible. Shaking and often weeping, some survivors — mostly Kenyan, but some Westerners too — embraced anxious relatives waiting outside the police cordon. Others sank to the ground and gave thanks to God. Security forces at the scene in Nairobi Credit: AP Photo/Ben Curtis “After the first blast, after we saw the restaurant had been blown up, we ran and hid under tables,” said Elizabeth Maina, an employee at AC Nielsen, an American global research firm housed in the Belgravia building close to the entrance. “There was shooting everywhere. We called and sent messages to the police. After an hour, we saw men in uniforms and plain clothes enter the room. They shouted ‘police, police’ and led us out.” Workers in office blocks, with plenty of hiding places and lockable doors, were always more likely to survive. Those in the hotel, whose foyer opens out onto a restaurant, bar and swimming pool, would have had much less of a chance — as their attackers surely knew. Just how high the death toll could be is unlikely to become clear until the attack is over, although witnesses said they saw at least five bodies and reported body parts strewn on the ground outside the hotel. “There was no time to count the dead but it is true that there are people who have died,” said one police officer involved in the operation. A woman is reunited with her family after her evacuation from DusitD2 compound Credit: YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images Kenya has long been in al-Shabaab’s sights, even before it sent troops across the border into Somalia in 2011 in an attempt to root out the militants behind the abductions of Western tourists on the Kenyan coast, Britons among them.  In 1998, an al Qaeda attack, which involved a number of Somalis, on the American embassy in Nairobi killed more than 200 people. The number of attacks soared after 2011.  Westgate aside, 147 students were killed in an attack on a university in the northern town in Garissa in 2015 while scores more had previously died when suspected al Shabaab militants struck at villages on the northern Kenyan coast. Improved intelligence, aided by tactical and training support from Britain, has seen a halt to large-scale attacks since 2015, although often deadly ambushes on Kenyan forces near the Somali border remain frequent. Despite mounting domestic opposition and al-Shabaab attacks on their bases, Kenyan forces remain in Somalia. The attack on 14 Riverside came on the third anniversary of an al-Shabaab attack on a Kenyan military base in the Somali town of El Adde. Kenya has refused to release details of the death toll, but analysts say they believe more than 140 Kenyan soldiers were killed.



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Terror returns to Manchester, just yards from where 22 where killed at Ariana Grande concert

Terror returns to Manchester, just yards from where 22 where killed at Ariana Grande concertIn the hours before midnight when the nation would be welcoming in the New Year, terror returned to Manchester. Just before 9pm and yards from the Manchester Arena, where 22 people, many of them children had been murdered in a suicide attack, all hell was about to break loose. Between platforms A and B at Manchester Victoria Metrolink tram station, a man dressed head-to-toe in black mounted a frenzied and sustained attack on a couple in their 50s waiting patiently for a tram. He screamed ‘Allahu Akbar’ – meaning ‘God is great’ – while stabbing at them with two knives, one in each hand. “I just heard this most blood-curdling scream and looked down the platform,” said Sam Clack, 38, a BBC producer on a New Year’s Eve night out, “What it looked like was a guy in his 60s with a woman of similar age and another guy all dressed in black. “It looked like they were having a fight but she was screaming in this blood-curdling way.” The screams alerted British Transport Police officers on patrol at Victoria train station, which stands in the same complex as the tram stop and the nearby Manchester Arena. Four officers, unarmed but for standard issue Taser stun gun and a special incapacitating gel, raced to the scene. The suspect, said to be of Somali origin, was carrying two kitchen knives, each about 12-inches long. Two commuters – a man and woman in their 50s – were taken to hospital with knife injuries and a British Transport Police (BTP) officer was stabbed in the shoulder.  Credit: Sam Clack/Press Association Mr Clack thought the attacker was coming for him next. “I just had a feeling in the pit of my stomach,” said Mr Clack. “Here’s a man who’s very agitated, angry, skittish. It appears he had already attacked someone. He had police coming towards him and he’s coming towards me. “I looked down and saw he had a kitchen knife with a black handle with a good 12-inch blade. It was just fear, pure fear.” Mr Clack thought about jumping on to the tram tracks and running for his life. Other passengers already had. But before he needed to flee, the police at breakneck speed had pounced. Video footage shows four British transport Police officers pinning the knifeman to the ground, including one female officer. They had tried to taser him and in the melee one officer – a sergeant in his 30s – was stabbed in the shoulder. The suspect was then dragged away to a police van, shouting ‘alahu akbar’ while the victims sat on a bench on the station platform being treated for their wounds, tended to by female police officers. A discharged taser, shoe and paramedic equipment on Metrolink platform B at Victoria Station  Credit: Joel Goodman/LNP A Muslim woman, wearing a hijab, put her arm around the injured female victim. Nazir Afzal, a former prosecutor, tweeted: “The woman with hijab helping victims is far more reflective of Muslims than the idiot with a knife.” Andy Burnham, Manchester’s mayor, said last night the “vile attack” could have been “much more serious if not for the outstanding bravery from British Transport Police who were instantly on the scene”. He suggested its location had been deliberately picked to cause maximum impact because of its proximity to the Manchester Arena, scene of the barbarous suicide bomb attack in May last year. “This attack has brought back some very painful memories for everyone involved,” Mr Burnham told the Telegraph, “Particularly given how close it was to the Manchester Arena, which appears to have been deliberate. But the city is strong, united and resilient and the way the incident was dealt with by the emergency services and others was exemplary.” Yesterday, police raided a newly built semi-detached house in a street in Cheetham Hill, a mile north of the city centre. Police said it was the last known address of the 25-year-old suspect. A house in Cheetham Hill, Manchester, was raided as part of the investigation into the suspected terror attack at Manchester Victoria Station Credit: Pat Hurst/Press Association Neighbours said police arrived at the address in the morning. Tactical Aid Unit vans were stationed outside, with a policeman stood guarding the door. Nousha Babaakachel said a Somali family live at the address, a mother and father of five in their forties who came to live in the street around 12 years ago from the Netherlands. Mrs Babaakachel, 40, said two of the four sons are at university, one works at Manchester Airport and the youngest is back in Somalia. They also have a daughter.  Well-placed sources said the suspect was believed to have been suffering from serious mental health issues and who had acted alone. By last night, Manchester was coming to realise it had had a narrow escape. The city has the bravery of police officers to thank for that.



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Manchester terror: knife attack suspect detained under Mental Health Act

Manchester terror: knife attack suspect detained under Mental Health ActThe suspect in the stabbings at Manchester Victoria Station on New Year's Eve has been detained under the Mental Health Act, police said. Police said the 25-year-old man arrested over the stabbings has been detained under the Mental Health Act on Tuesday evening after being  assessed by medical staff. This comes after a police sergeant stabbed in the incident was praised for showing “incredible bravery” to prevent a suspected terrorist from rampaging through a train station just yards from the scene of the Manchester Arena suicide bombing. A couple in their 50s were seriously injured in the “frenzied” and “random” New Year’s Eve attack on a platform at Manchester Victoria Metrolink station. The police officer, who is in his 30s, was also wounded as he and three colleagues rushed to the scene after hearing “a blood curdling scream”. Police said that a terrorism investigation into the incident "remains ongoing". Andy Burnham, the mayor of Manchester, on Tuesday said the attack had been deliberately staged close to the site of the Manchester Arena bombing, which killed 22 people in 2017. Police chiefs and politicians praised the officers’ actions in putting themselves at risk to save the couple and prevent the man, who was dressed in black, marauding through the station just before 9pm. He had been heard shouting Isil-inspired slogans during the attack and after his initial arrest on suspicion of attempted murder. Asst Chief Constable Sean O’Callaghan from British Transport Police said: “I am incredibly proud of the four officers who were immediately on scene last night, detaining a man who was wielding a knife. “They were fearless, running towards danger and preventing further harm coming to passengers.” The suspect, aged 25, was caught on video shouting “Allahu akbar” – meaning “God is great” in Arabic – as he was ushered into the back of a police van following his arrest. Witnesses said he was heard to scream: “Long live the Caliphate” in possible reference to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil), while another claimed he shouted: “As long as you keep bombing other countries, this sort of s—- is going to keep happening.” A house in Cheetham Hill, north Manchester – thought to be his last known address – was searched yesterday by counter-terrorism police. Neighbours suggested the suspect was of Somali-origin and was thought to have lived in the Netherlands before moving to the UK about 10 to 15 years ago. One neighbour said his mother, who has five children, was a nurse while his brother worked at Manchester airport. A police source said the suspect was refusing to cooperate and detectives were working to establish his identity. He is believed to have acted alone, In a statement Greater Manchester Police, said on Tuesday evening: "The 25 year old man arrested on 31 January 2018 following the incident at Manchester Victoria Station has been assessed by specialist medical staff and detained under the Mental Health Act. "The Counter Terrorism investigation remains ongoing." "There is nothing to suggest the involvement of other people in this attack, but confirming this remains a main priority for the investigation." A house in Cheetham Hill, Manchester, which was raided as part of the investigation Credit: Pat Hurst/PA  The attack took place at a tram station that forms part of the complex that includes the Manchester Arena, where in May 2017, Salman Abedi, an Isil supporter, blew himself up killing 23 people, more than half of them children, as they left an Ariana Grande concert. Mr Burnham told The Telegraph: “This attack has brought back some very painful memories for everyone involved, particularly given how close it was to the Manchester Arena, which appears to have been deliberate.But the city is strong, united and resilient and the way the incident was dealt with by the emergency services and others was exemplary.” Video footage from the scene shows the man pinned to the ground by police. He was thought to have carried two knives, one of which appeared to be a foot-long kitchen knife. In the days before the New Year’s Eve attack, Isil had urged its followers to carry out a knife attack in the UK. The British Transport Police officers had been patrolling the adjacent Victoria train station when they rushed to help the couple from Manchester who suffered multiple stab wounds. They used a Taser stun gun and “Captor gel”, an irritant designed to incapacitate suspects, in arresting the man. The woman was stabbed in the face – suffering a “significant injury” to her forehead – while the man was wounded in the stomach. They are expected to remain in hospital for some time while the officer stabbed in the shoulder was discharged on Tuesday morning. Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said: “My thoughts are with the couple who are still being treated in hospital for their serious injuries and with the brave British Transport Police officer who was also stabbed during the attack. We are treating this as a terrorist investigation which is being led by counter terrorism officers with support from Greater Manchester Police.”  



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Turkey, Russia have common aim to clear Syria of terror organizations – Anadolu

Turkey, Russia have common aim to clear Syria of terror organizations - AnadoluISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey and Russia have the common aim of clearing Syria of all terror organizations, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Saturday following a meeting with Russian officials in Moscow, state-owned Anadolu news agency reported. Cavusoglu also said Turkey would continue to be in close cooperation with Iran and Russia on Syria and regional issues, according to Anadolu. U.S. President Donald Trump has said that Washington would withdraw the roughly 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria, upending a pillar of American policy in the Middle East and alarming U.S. allies. …



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Strasbourg shooting: Suspect who was on terror watchlist 'may have crossed into Germany' 

Strasbourg shooting: Suspect who was on terror watchlist 'may have crossed into Germany' The manhunt for a suspected terrorist who killed two and left a third victim with irreversible brain damage in Strasbourg, eastern France, spread to Germany on Wednesday as authorities confirmed he shouted “Allahu Akbar” before opening fire. Another 12 people were injured, with at least two in a critical condition from head injuries. The Strasbourg-born suspect has been named as 29-year-old Cherif Chekatt, who is believed to have gone on the" killing spree with a gun and long knife near the city’s famed Christmas market, visited by two million people every year. Speaking after the attack Emmanuel Macron, the French president, said: “The terrorist threat is still at the heart of the life of our nation.”  As police launched a call for witnesses and 720 officers hunted for the suspect, questions were raised last night as to why he was considered a potentially dangerous radical in France but nothing more than a common criminal in Germany. Rémy Heitz, the Paris prosecutor, said the suspect had 27 previous convictions in France, Germany and Switzerland for theft and armed robbery. Cherif Chekatt, the Strasbourg terror suspect Credit: Twitter He was first flagged to authorities at the age of 10. He was added to a watchlist of potential Islamist while in prison in France in 2015 for “practising a radical form of religion”. Since then, France's domestic intelligence agency, the DGSI, has kept tabs on him. However, a spokeswoman of Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office, which handles cases related to terrorism, said they had been given no indication of this, saying: "For us, he was a blank slate.” Chekatt has served time in German prison for several robberies. An interior ministry spokeswoman said Germany was totally unaware of any Islamist link.  The suspect is one of 25,000 people currently on France’s "S" watchlist of individuals seen as potential security threats. Speaking to French MPs, Laurent Nunez, deputy interior minister, said that while he was monitored, “unfortunately, radicalisation was never detected and even less a desire to commit a violent act”. Strasbourg shooting map German authorities were on alert for the fugitive along the Rhine river bordering France and Germany, said a spokesman from the Baden-Wuerttemberg region. "But at the moment we do not believe that he has crossed into the country," he added. Police had tried to detain Cherif on Tuesday morning in connection with an attempted murder inquiry, but he was not at home. They found a grenade, a rifle and four knives during a search on Tuesday morning of the suspect’s house. Four members of his entourage were being detained for questioning. These reportedly include his parents and two brothers, one of him, according to Le Parisien, is believed to be a follower of Salafism, an ultra-conservative form of Islam. He was shot in the arm during an exchange of fire with French soldiers in the city centre and then forced a taxi driver to take him to another part of the city. Later, he crossed four policemen. They riposted when he opened fire but he managed to flee once again. Thoughts with victims in #Strasbourg shootings – I am safe and in @Europarl_EN— Sajjad Karim MEP Conservative (@SHKMEP) December 11, 2018 At the drab housing estate where he lived in Hohberg on the outskirts of Strasbourg, neighbours were adamant Chekatt was no Islamist but a cornered criminal who had “lost his marbles”. “For us, he wasn’t radicalised, he was a thug,” a resident called Zak, 22, told the Telegraph. “He lost the plot because he had botched an armed robbery beforehand. He knew the police were after him. He had a criminal history and knew he was looking at 10 years or so he lost it.” He said the district was very mixed in terms of religion and everyone lived “in harmony”. Police officers secure a street and the surrounding area after a shooting in Strasbourg Credit:  VINCENT KESSLER/Reuters Toufik Elkiri, 33, a taxi driver whose colleague had been held hostage by the gunman, said: “I’m a practicing Muslim and have never seen him at any of the mosques around here. He smoked too much pot. Friends saw him drinking beer the other day. But there’s nothing religious or radicalised about him.” Central Strasbourg was eerily quiet last night with the Christmas market and its wooden chalets offering mulled wine, foie gras and truffles all shut. The market will remain closed on Thursday. In rue des Orfèvres, flowers and candles were laid out at the spot the gunman shot his first victim. One message read: “All united against barbarity”. Lidia Molinari, 22, a sociology student who lives in rue des Orfèvres where the shooting started, said: “I was at home and heard shots fired.” Tourists staying in a flat she manages nearby were caught up in the drama. French police say several people have been injured in the city centre Credit: petervdalen/Twitter “They saw everything, the shots, people lying on the floor, blood everywhere. They decided to shorten their stay and return to Paris,” she said. Pensioner Isabelle Tardot, 60, from Gerstheim outside Strasbourg, said: “We’re here out of solidarity, support. It doesn’t scare us but we feel terrible for the victims.” Only one has been named, Anupong Suebsamarn, a 45-year old tourist from Thailand in Strasbourg with his wife, who was injured.  Among those in a critical condition was an Italian journalist covering the European parliament, according to his country's foreign ministry. Poland's embassy in Paris tweeted that one of its citizens was also among the victims. Mrs Tardot's husband, Philippe, 62, said: “I hope they open the market up again otherwise it’s too easy for one person to stop millions of people from enjoying Christmas. We can’t let that happen.” 10:50PM May 'shocked' by Strasbourg shootings Prime Minister Theresa May has said she is "shocked and saddened" by the "terrible" attack in Strasbourg. Mrs May tweeted: "My thoughts are with all of those affected and with the French people." Shocked and saddened by the terrible attack in Strasbourg. My thoughts are with all of those affected and with the French people.— Theresa May (@theresa_may) December 11, 2018   10:37PM More from the ground in Strasbourg A student, Glenn Essoly, says she has sought refuge with other people in a library. “We don’t know how long we’ll have to stay here. We’re hoping it won’t be all night. We really hope it will be over soon but we don’t have any information.” A waiter from a restaurant near the scene of the shooting described on BFM TV how staff and customers tried to save a man who stepped outside and was shot in the head. “We used napkins to try to stem the blood,” he said. He said the man had died. 10:23PM Reports of a second suspect According to Strasbourg town hall, another operation is taking place at Place Broglie. "There is a strong suspicion that a second person" may be implicated in the shooting, police sources told Le Figaro. 10:15PM Attacker's date of birth released French media have given the attacker’s date of birth – 4 February 1989 – but officials have yet to release a name. 10:13PM Border checks strengthened  With the attacker still on the run, the French and German authorities have strengthened checks on the border, which is near Strasbourg. 10:06PM Witnesses describe seeing multiple victims Alain Moyemont, a witness, told BFM TV: “I saw people in the crowd running in panic after the shooting started. At least two people were on the ground.” Philippe, a local resident, told Europe 1 radio: “I saw a person on the ground, unconscious and bleeding. There was another person on the ground just behind, and one or two more a bit further along the street.” 9:56PM 'European Parliament will not be intimidated'  President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani tweeted a message of condolence and defiance against the attacker.  I express all my sorrow for the victims of the Strasbourg attacks. This Parliament will not be intimidated by terrorist or criminal attacks. Let us move on. We will continue to work and react strengthened by freedom and democracy against terrorist violence.— Antonio Tajani (@EP_President) December 11, 2018   9:49PM Grenade found at attacker's home  Police raided the attacker’s home this morning in connection with another case, and found at least one grenade, BFM TV reports 9:48PM French terror attacks The Strasbourg attack is the latest in a string of recent terror attacks in France. In August 2017, a BMW 2-Series Active Tourer was driven into a group of soldiers in a suburb of Paris. Six people were injured, three seriously. The driver was then stopped on the A16 motorway, being shot several times in the process. That June, a Renault Megane containing explosives and weapons was driven into a Gendarmerie vehicle on the Champs-Élysées in Paris . Only the attacker was killed in what is understood to be a 'botched' suicide attack. In July 2016, a lorry was driven into crowds celebrating Bastille Day near the seafront in Nice killing. 87 people, including the attacker, and injuring a further 458. 9:28PM Shooter born in Strasbourg The Strasbourg attacker is said to be aged 29 and Strasbourg-born, but now name has been disclosed. According to BFM TV, the attacker is on the “S” file terror watch list. The man was identified thanks to security footage, according to Le Parisien. 9:10PM Soldiers wounded attacker The attacker was wounded by soldiers before fleeing, police say. The soldiers who wounded the attacker were on patrol in Strasbourg as part of the “Sentinel” anti-terrorism operation. Armed soldiers and police have been patrolling the streets of French cities since the 2015 Paris attacks. 9:07PM Shooting being treated as terror attack  Authorities say they are treating the attack as a terrorist act. Anti-terrorist prosecutors have opened an investigation. 8:53PM Death toll rises to two  Two people are now reported dead and 11 injured, with at least two in critical condition after the attack.  8:51PM Emergency phone line The French authorities have set up an emergency line for people with relatives or friends who may have been caught up in the attack . It is: 00-33- (0)811 000 667. 8:45PM Attacker identified The attacker, who is "on the run”, has been identified, the Prefecture says, but it has not made the name public. Police continue to hunt for the attacker. 8:29PM Macron informed on Strasbourg latest  The office of Emmanuel Macron says the President is being kept informed of unfolding events in Strasbourg as the Interior Minister travels to the scene.   Police secure a street and the surrounding area after a shooting in Strasbourg Credit: VINCENT KESSLER/Reuters   8:25PM Attacker on the run  The regional state prefecture has confirmed that an attacker is "on the run". 8:22PM Fire brigade increases number of injured The local fire brigade have reported one person dead and nine injured. The motive for the shooting and the identities of the attackers are still unknown.  8:17PM Residents told to stay inside  The French Interior Minister is advising residents of the eastern city to stay indoors as more details begin to emerge on the shooting incident. 8:15PM European Parliament on lockdown A contact at the European Parliament in Strasbourg has told the Telegraph that all EU staff and MEPs have been locked inside the building. "We ask you to stay calm and stay safe within EP premises," read a message to staff.



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Trump uses terror attack in France to push U.S. border wall

Trump uses terror attack in France to push U.S. border wallPresident Trump on Wednesday offered the deadly shooting at a Christmas market in Strasbourg as evidence the United States needs stronger border security.



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Deadly terror attacks in France since 2015

Deadly terror attacks in France since 2015Strasbourg was the latest French city to be rocked by a deadly attack after a gunman opened fire at its famed Christmas market on Tuesday before fleeing the scene. Here is a recap of jihadist attacks that have killed more than 245 people across France since the 2015 Charlie Hebdo shootings. – May 12: A knifeman shouting “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest) is shot dead by police in central Paris after he kills one person and injures four, prompting a terror probe.



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At least three dead, 11 wounded in terror attack near famed Christmas market in France

At least three dead, 11 wounded in terror attack near famed Christmas market in FranceThree people have been killed and 11 wounded in a suspected terrorist attack near a world-famous Christmas market in the French city of Strasbourg.



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Strasbourg shooting: Terror suspect on the run after killing three and injuring dozen at Christmas market – latest news

Strasbourg shooting: Terror suspect on the run after killing three and injuring dozen at Christmas market - latest newsThree killed and 11 injured in shooting at Christmas market Injured terror suspect identified as Cherif C remains on the run  Police raided suspect's home on morning of the attack Attacker armed with an automatic pistol and knife A suspected terrorist is on the run after killing at least three people and injuring 11 more in the eastern French city of Strasbourg near its Christmas market.  Shots were reportedly exchanged later in a street of the southern district of Neudorf after a manhunt involving police and soldiers but there was no confirmation he had been located.  French authorities are treating the shooting as a terrorist act after identifying the gunman, named Cherif C, as a radicalised 29-year old from the city on a “S” security and terror watch list. Anti-terrorist prosecutors have opened an investigation. Questions were being raised over how the assailant had managed to evade capture on Tuesday morning. Police were due to arrest him over a botched armed robbery but he had escaped and grenades were found at his home. He was being investigated over an attempted murder, a source told AFP. Hours later, shortly before 8pm, the assailant went on the rampage in Strasbourg’s city centre in the bustling rue des Ofrèvres armed with an automatic pistol and knife. Police reported the attacker was shot and wounded by patrolling soliders before he fled the scene. According to France Info, the wounded suspect took a taxi driver hostage to escape soldiers. The driver reportedly escaped unharmed. Cherif C, the Strasbourg terror suspect Credit: Twitter "The government has raised its security threat to the highest level and is bolstering border controls," Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told a late-night news conference. "We will also reinforce security at all Christmas markets to prevent copycat attacks." Mr Castaner said the suspect has an existing criminal record. The mayor of Strasbourg, Roland Ries, said the gunman got inside a security zone of the Christmas market to stage the attack. More than seven hours after the bloodshed, the regional prefect said that 11 other people had been injured, five seriously, downgrading the minister's earlier count of 12 injured. Theresa May said she was "shocked and saddened" by the "terrible" attack in Strasbourg. She tweeted: "My thoughts are with all of those affected and with the French people." Terrified residents and tourists sought cover in bars and restaurants and footage on social media showed at least one victim lying on the ground as others screamed. At least two of the wounded were said to be in a critical condition. The gunman was wounded by soldiers on patrol as part of France’s Sentinelle anti-terror operation but managed to flee, said police. One of the soldiers was wounded in the hand in the exchange. A local man named Philippe told Europe 1 radio: “I saw a person on the ground, unconscious and bleeding. There was another person on the ground just behind, and one or two more a bit further along the street.” Strasbourg shooting map One eyewitness, who tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate a Thai tourist shot by the gunman, said: “I though it was just firecrackers but it turned out to be actual gunshots. “I saw one person lying there, a tourist from Thailand accompanied by his wife or girlfriend was unhurt. We tried resuscitation efforts for 45 minutes. We dragged him into a restaurant close by and we tried our best to bring him back to life with CPR but it seemed that that was futile.” The European Parliament was in lockdown, with MEPs, staff and journalists unable to leave the building, a few kilometres from the square. Caught in drama was Sajjad Karim, the British MEP who survived the 2008 Mumbai terror attack in which 174 died by hiding in the basement. He said: “I am in the EP completely safe and unable to leave at present. It’s an unfolding situation: and my thoughts are with the victims.” Thoughts with victims in #Strasbourg shootings – I am safe and in @Europarl_EN— Sajjad Karim MEP Conservative (@SHKMEP) December 11, 2018 Richard Corbett, a Labour MEP, tweeted that he was in a restaurant in the centre of Strasbourg, adding: “Restaurant locked and not letting anyone in or out.” Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, said: “Our thoughts are with the victims of the Strasbourg shooting which I condemn with great firmness. Strasbourg is par excellence a town that symbolises peace and European democracy.” Across the city centre people were ordered to stay put, with some 5000 spectators still being held at a basketball game at 1am local time. Spectators who were trapped at the SIG Strasbourg basketball game reportedly began singing  the French national anthem "to pay homage to the victims of the shootings".  They eventually were allowed to leave, with those with nowhere to go housed at a gymnasium, the prefect tweeted. The Interior Minister announced that protests would be banned on Wednesday in order for police to be "mobilised completely". Police officers secure a street and the surrounding area after a shooting in Strasbourg Credit:  VINCENT KESSLER/Reuters French MPs at the National Assembly expressed their solidarity and the Senate held a minute’s silence. President Emmanuel Macron held a crisis meeting with cabinet officials in Paris shortly after midnight. Francois de Rugy, the French ecology minister, tweeted: “Solidarity and support for the people of Strasbourg. Our support too for the security forces. We are united and determined to protect the French people.” But some already started criticising Mr Macron’s security credentials. “How many terror attacks by those on “S” watchlist do we have to suffer before adapting our law to the fight against terrorism. What are we waiting for to finally wage war to eradicate Islamic fundamentalism that has declared war on us?”, asked Laurent Wauquiez, the Right-wing Republicans party leader. Far-Right leader Marine Le Pen said: “A radical change must happen as terrorism policy is clearly failing.” French police say several people have been injured in the city centre Credit: petervdalen/Twitter France remained on high alert after a wave of attacks commissioned or inspired by Islamic State militants since early 2015, in which about 240 people have been killed. Fears of terror strikes had waned in recent months. Instead, the country has been more concerned about an ongoing nationwide “yellow vest” revolt as protesters call for lower taxes and higher wages. However, four “radicalised” men were arrested at the start of the revolt in early November and charged with plotting to carry out a terror attack during the first “yellow vest” protest. A hunting rifle was found and police said there was evidence they were trying to acquire a Kalashnikov. Christmas markets have been considered a terror target ever since the foiled terror attack in December 2000. The al-Qaeda plot, in which a truck bomb was due to be detonated beneath the steps of Strasbourg cathedral, next to the market, has been described as blueprint for would-be attackers. The plot failed when British intelligence tipped off the French and German authorities after intercepting a call to the suspected paymaster in London. Raids in France, Germany and Britain followed and the ring leaders were arrested in Frankfurt, where bomb making materials were found. Security was stepped up at Christmas markets across Europe two years ago when a stolen lorry was driven into pedestrians in Berlin, killing 11 pedestrians and injuring 56.       Some two million people attend the Strasbourg Christmas market every year. Roland Ries, the mayor of Strasbourg, said the Christmas market will be closed on Wednesday and flags will be lowered to half-mast. He tweeted: "A book of condolences will be opened at the Town Hall from today. "I want to thank the people of Strasbourg and visitors to the city for their patience and understanding. "A discussion is under way with the education authorities about possible closures to schools on Wednesday." 10:50PM May 'shocked' by Strasbourg shootings Prime Minister Theresa May has said she is "shocked and saddened" by the "terrible" attack in Strasbourg. Mrs May tweeted: "My thoughts are with all of those affected and with the French people." Shocked and saddened by the terrible attack in Strasbourg. My thoughts are with all of those affected and with the French people.— Theresa May (@theresa_may) December 11, 2018   10:37PM More from the ground in Strasbourg A student, Glenn Essoly, says she has sought refuge with other people in a library. “We don’t know how long we’ll have to stay here. We’re hoping it won’t be all night. We really hope it will be over soon but we don’t have any information.” A waiter from a restaurant near the scene of the shooting described on BFM TV how staff and customers tried to save a man who stepped outside and was shot in the head. “We used napkins to try to stem the blood,” he said. He said the man had died. 10:23PM Reports of a second suspect According to Strasbourg town hall, another operation is taking place at Place Broglie. "There is a strong suspicion that a second person" may be implicated in the shooting, police sources told Le Figaro. 10:15PM Attacker's date of birth released French media have given the attacker’s date of birth – 4 February 1989 – but officials have yet to release a name. 10:13PM Border checks strengthened  With the attacker still on the run, the French and German authorities have strengthened checks on the border, which is near Strasbourg. 10:06PM Witnesses describe seeing multiple victims Alain Moyemont, a witness, told BFM TV: “I saw people in the crowd running in panic after the shooting started. At least two people were on the ground.” Philippe, a local resident, told Europe 1 radio: “I saw a person on the ground, unconscious and bleeding. There was another person on the ground just behind, and one or two more a bit further along the street.” 9:56PM 'European Parliament will not be intimidated'  President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani tweeted a message of condolence and defiance against the attacker.  I express all my sorrow for the victims of the Strasbourg attacks. This Parliament will not be intimidated by terrorist or criminal attacks. Let us move on. We will continue to work and react strengthened by freedom and democracy against terrorist violence.— Antonio Tajani (@EP_President) December 11, 2018   9:49PM Grenade found at attacker's home  Police raided the attacker’s home this morning in connection with another case, and found at least one grenade, BFM TV reports 9:48PM French terror attacks The Strasbourg attack is the latest in a string of recent terror attacks in France. In August 2017, a BMW 2-Series Active Tourer was driven into a group of soldiers in a suburb of Paris. Six people were injured, three seriously. The driver was then stopped on the A16 motorway, being shot several times in the process. That June, a Renault Megane containing explosives and weapons was driven into a Gendarmerie vehicle on the Champs-Élysées in Paris . Only the attacker was killed in what is understood to be a 'botched' suicide attack. In July 2016, a lorry was driven into crowds celebrating Bastille Day near the seafront in Nice killing. 87 people, including the attacker, and injuring a further 458. 9:28PM Shooter born in Strasbourg The Strasbourg attacker is said to be aged 29 and Strasbourg-born, but now name has been disclosed. According to BFM TV, the attacker is on the “S” file terror watch list. The man was identified thanks to security footage, according to Le Parisien. 9:10PM Soldiers wounded attacker The attacker was wounded by soldiers before fleeing, police say. The soldiers who wounded the attacker were on patrol in Strasbourg as part of the “Sentinel” anti-terrorism operation. Armed soldiers and police have been patrolling the streets of French cities since the 2015 Paris attacks. 9:07PM Shooting being treated as terror attack  Authorities say they are treating the attack as a terrorist act. Anti-terrorist prosecutors have opened an investigation. 8:53PM Death toll rises to two  Two people are now reported dead and 11 injured, with at least two in critical condition after the attack.  8:51PM Emergency phone line The French authorities have set up an emergency line for people with relatives or friends who may have been caught up in the attack . It is: 00-33- (0)811 000 667. 8:45PM Attacker identified The attacker, who is "on the run”, has been identified, the Prefecture says, but it has not made the name public. Police continue to hunt for the attacker. 8:29PM Macron informed on Strasbourg latest  The office of Emmanuel Macron says the President is being kept informed of unfolding events in Strasbourg as the Interior Minister travels to the scene.   Police secure a street and the surrounding area after a shooting in Strasbourg Credit: VINCENT KESSLER/Reuters   8:25PM Attacker on the run  The regional state prefecture has confirmed that an attacker is "on the run". 8:22PM Fire brigade increases number of injured The local fire brigade have reported one person dead and nine injured. The motive for the shooting and the identities of the attackers are still unknown.  8:17PM Residents told to stay inside  The French Interior Minister is advising residents of the eastern city to stay indoors as more details begin to emerge on the shooting incident. 8:15PM European Parliament on lockdown A contact at the European Parliament in Strasbourg has told the Telegraph that all EU staff and MEPs have been locked inside the building. "We ask you to stay calm and stay safe within EP premises," read a message to staff.



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Meghan cookbook mosque linked to 19 terror suspects including 'Jihadi John' in group's investigation 

Meghan cookbook mosque linked to 19 terror suspects including 'Jihadi John' in group's investigation Acommunity kitchen supported by the Duchess of Sussex is housed inside a mosque linked by experts to individuals connected to “terrorist acts” and run by an imam who says girls who listen to music risk becoming strippers. Meghan visited the Al Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre on Wednesday after championing a cookbook to raise funds for the “Hubb Community Kitchen” project there to help victims of the fire at nearby Grenfell Tower. In February it emerged the 37-year-old royal had made secret visits to the mosque in Westbourne Grove, which has also hosted Princes William and Harry, Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn in recent months. An investigation by the Henry Jackson Society (HJS), the anti-extremism think tank, has linked the mosque, opened by Prince Charles in 2001, to 19 jihadists, including Islamic State executioner Mohammed Emwazi, also known as Jihadi John. Imam Samer Darwish, who has been photographed with Mrs May, Mr Corbyn and London Mayor Sadiq Khan, presents a weekly show on the Islam Channel where he has condoned bigamy, suggested women should not pray while on their periods, claimed girls who listen to music risk becoming strippers and said women should not cry when visiting graves. Samer Darwish, Imam of the Al Manaar mosque in Acklam Road, west London. Credit: You Tube/You Tube The comments are likely to shock the Duchess, who has described herself as a feminist and is committed to championing gender equality. On Wednesday, Meghan visited the kitchen at Al Manaar after it was refurbished with proceeds from the sale of the Together cookbook of recipes inspired by women involved in the “Hubb” project, for which she wrote the foreword. So far 39,000 copies have been sold raising £210,000 which has been channeled into the community group based at the kitchen via The Royal Foundation. Research by the HJS suggests the mosque was once attended by three of the four “Beatles”, the Isil terror cell charged with guarding, torturing and killing hostages in Syria and Iraq. As well as Emwazi, Choukri Ellekhlifi, Alexanda Kotey and Aine Davis, all from west London, also have links with Al Manaar. Emwazi and Ellekhlifi were associates in London and it seems highly likely that they fought together after joining Isil in late 2012 and early 2013. Ellekhlifi reportedly fought with al-Qaeda affiliate Jhabat al-Nusra and was killed in 2013 near Aleppo. Mohammed Emwazi during his time at Westminster University Credit: TMG/TMG Kotey would allegedly stand outside Al Manaar and preach extremist propaganda, such as arguing that suicide bombings did not violate the Koran. In 2008, Kotey became involved with the London Boys, a radical network linked to terrorist attacks in the UK, including the 7/7 bombings. According to the US State Department, Kotey acted as a guard for Isil and "likely engaged in the group's executions and exceptionally cruel torture methods, including electronic shock and waterboarding". He is currently being held in solitary confinement in Syria. Former drug dealer Davis oversaw beheadings of British hostages, including British aid workers Alan Henning and David Haines, and US journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley. He was convicted of terrorism charges in Turkey, 2017 and sentenced to seven and a half years. Davis’s wife Amal el-Wahabi, the first woman to be convicted of terrorism offences connected to Syria, formerly worked as a nursery assistant at Al Manaar. Al Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre in west London Credit: TMG You Tube videos show Mr Darwish, who preaches at the mosque for three and a half days a week, speaking on the Islam Channel. In one clip he says of women on their periods: “Bleeding, no praying. Stop bleeding, just pray. I’ve seen some of our sisters holding Koran using glove, which is a good idea.” Condoning bigamy in another, he says: “In Islam, it is permissible, yes, to marry more than one wife.” He also says listening to music or dancing is haram (sinful) except as reward for memorising the Koran, adding: “Those who are uncovering up some parts of their body and you will have no control in your daughter.” On women visiting graves, he says: “There is no harm for the women to visit the grave, but this is also conditional that she will not commit something haram, she will not cry to the extent to the point that she start screaming and stuff.” In other footage, he claims a man can “bring back” his divorced wife “by having sexual intercourse” with her. Dr Alan Mendoza, executive director of the Henry Jackson Society, said: “The Duchess of Sussex has been poorly advised over her involvement with a mosque where many former congregants have gone on to commit terrorist acts. This is not one or two isolated cases but 19 separate individuals. A simple Google search would have highlighted concerns over these connections, and the recently expressed views of Imam Darwish.” The support that Al Manaar Mosque has given to survivors, their families & the local community following the horrific Grenfell Tower fire continues to demonstrate the true spirit of our city. Good to be back as part of #VisitMyMosque Day. pic.twitter.com/2nV3JGgsbG— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) February 18, 2018 A Kensington Palace source said: “The funds raised by the cookbook are supporting the Hubb Community Kitchen, which is an independent project that leases space from Al Manaar. The project is empowering the women and helping provide some hope and joy to a community that has gone through unspeakable tragedy.” Abdulrahman Sayed, chief executive of the Al Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre said: “Al Manaar has been on the record rejecting and condemning extremism and terrorism. The Charity’s vision and mission is to be a vibrant and welcoming community hub and resource that encourages and promotes a sense of belonging, unity and pride for both Muslims and the wider community; and to contribute to building cohesive and resilient communities.” He said the mosque could not be held responsible for anything Mr Darwish said outside the mosque but added: “I’m happy to look at what he said and have a word with him about that language.”



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