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Monday, October 7, 2013

Egyptian Violence

Violence in Egypt continued today, as attackers engaged an army patrol near the Suez Canal, killing four; a car bomb tore through the Sinai Peninsula town of Al-Tor, killing two and injuring 48 people; and men armed with rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) attacked a telecom station in Cairo’s wealthy Maadi neighborhood.

Today’s outbreak of death comes on the heels of an especially deadly weekend which saw at least 51 people murdered and hundreds of others injured, as Egyptians countrywide took to the streets in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the 1973 war with Israel. In light of these deaths, the Anti-Coup Alliance, an ad-hoc mixture of members of the newly illegal Muslim Brotherhood and other anti-military activists, has called on students to protest “against these continuing massacres” tomorrow.

U.S. Forces Look to Capture African Militants

U.S. forces abducted Libyan al-Qaeda computer expert Nazih Abdul-Hamed Nabih al-Ruqai’i from his home outside Tripoli and are currently holding him aboard the U.S.S. San Antonio, likely en route to New York City, where he has been charged with a number of crimes since 1998. As a member of Osama Bin Laden’s inner cadre, al-Ruqai’i, who is more popularly known by his nom de guerre Abu Anas al-Liby, likely had a hand in a number of al-Qaeda’s earlier attacks, including the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.

The Delta Force raid in Tripoli came hours after U.S. Navy SEALs stormed a Somalian compound in Baraawe thought to be housing al-Shabaab leader, Ikrimah. The Somalian raid was considerably less successful however, as the SEALs came under sustained fire and were forced to retreat without achieving their objective. “Al-Shabaab can lick their wounds and take some satisfaction that, after all, they repulsed the world’s most powerful military force,” said Bruce Hoffman, director of the Center for Security Studies at Georgetown University. “On the other hand, for al-Shabaab it sends a pretty disquieting message that the U.S. is willing to intervene and bring the war right to their doorstep.”

Peshawar Bombing Targets Health Workers

A bombing in the Budh Bher neighborhood of Peshawar, Pakistan killed two people when the blast struck a van belonging to anti-Polio activists. According to Pakistan’s high commissioner to the UK, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, the object of such attacks was to gain worldwide publicity “and make the world afraid of coming to Pakistan’s assistance when we need… a lot of assistance”. Pakistan, along with countries like Israel and Nigeria, remains one of the few places where Polio has not been eradicated. Non-governmental organizations like the Gates Foundation have made it a priority to eliminate the debilitating disease. While various factions of the Taliban and al-Qaeda have endorsed the health programs, the CIA ran a fake hepatitis vaccination campaign in Abbottabad in 2011, which was a part of the larger program to target Osama Bin Laden. The revelations of that false campaign have caused significant consternation amongst the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan leaders in and around Peshawar.

Police Occupy Favelas in Rio De Janeiro

At least 12 favelas have been occupied by a massive number of Brazilian Police and Army personnel as part of an ongoing effort to pacify and dismantle the notorious shanty towns ahead of the World Cup and Olympics. While authorities entered the favelas backed by helicopters and tanks, according to authorities gangs and citizens offered little to no violent opposition. After earlier efforts ended with charges being brought against police officers for torture, kidnaping, and murder, this weekend’s efforts included significant social works. Street cleaners with brooms and buckets of whitewash have ostensibly begun to clean and repair area homes and businesses, and cable TV salespeople toured the area, offering reduced price access to favela residents, who have traditionally been barred from service.

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