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Belgium Police
Arrest Three
Suspected Militants
BRUSSELS (PRESS TV) – Security forces in Belgium have detained
at least three suspected militants in
western town of Harelbeke, close to
the French border.
The prosecutors did not identify
Belgian soldiers patrol outside the European Council headquarters in
Brussels on January 21, 2015.
fresh counter-terrorism raids in the
country’s west as European states remain on high alert following a recent
spate of terror attacks in the French
capital, Paris.
Belgian media reported on Tuesday that security forces had taken
the three men into custody in the
the detainees and provided no details on their possible links with the
Takfiri terrorist groups operating in
However, some sources say the
detained men had previously joined
the ranks of the extremist militants
fighting against the Syrian gov-
ernment. At least two of them had
threatened terror attacks against
Belgium on social media, the sources added.
In recent days, Belgium and a series of other European states have
arrested several suspected Takfirilinked terrorists following the terror
attacks in Paris earlier this month.
On January 15, Belgian police
shot dead at least two suspected
militants and left seriously injured
another during a large-scale security operation in the eastern town of
Verviers near the German border.
The Belgian security forces have
also conducted around a dozen
searches in the capital, Brussels,
and its suburbs over past few days.
The wave of terrorist attacks in
France began on January 7, when
the office of the French weekly,
Charlie Hebdo, came under assault
by two gunmen in Paris. Twelve
people were killed in the incident
that was followed by other terrorist
attacks claiming five more lives.
An al-Qaeda branch in Yemen
claimed full responsibility for the
Paris attack. The group said it chose
and supported Said and Cherif Kouachi, the two brothers who allegedly
carried out the deadly assault.
Blizzard in US Shuts Schools,
Business, Transport
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A
blizzard dropped more than a foot
(30 cm) of snow across the northeastern United States on Tuesday, falling
short of the massive predicted snowfall that prompted officials across
the region to close schools and order
travel bans.
High winds and heavy snow were
set to persist throughout the day,
with another foot forecast to fall in
parts of Boston. Wind-driven seas
caused flooding along some
low-lying roadways in coastal
Massachusetts, state police said.
The heaviest snowfall was recorded in parts of Connecticut and Massachusetts, while New York City’s
Central Park saw just 6 inches (15
cm), less than a quarter of the “historic” snowfall that some meteorologists had predicted.
“When you hear the word ‘crippling’ and you look out your window this morning, it is not there,”
said John Davitt, a meteorologist
on New York’s NY1 news channel.
Travel was still snarled, with
more than 4,500 flights canceled at
U.S. airports, according to FlightAware.com, and no trains or buses in
New York, Boston or New Jersey.
Forecasts for as much as 3 feet
(90 cm) of snow had prompted
governors in eight East Coast states
to declare states of emergency and
the storm affected up to 60 million
people in nearly a dozen states.
Militant Attack on Luxury Libya
Hotel Claims Eight Lives
least eight people, including five
foreigners, have been killed when
gunmen stormed a luxury hotel
bulletproof vests attacked the
hotel on Tuesday, after security
guards stationed at the gate tried
to stop them.
Libyan security forces surround Corinthia Hotel (R) in the capital,
Tripoli, on Jan. 27, 2015.
in Libya’s capital, Tripoli, as the
North African country is beleaguered by fighting between rival
militant groups.
A staffer at Corinthia Hotel,
requesting anonymity, said five
masked assailants clad in
The armed men fatally shot
three guards, and made their
way into the hotel. They then
opened indiscriminate fire in the
lobby killing five foreigners, the
staffer added.
He further noted that an ex-
plosives-laden car went off at
the parking lot as he together
with rest of the staff and foreign
guests were fleeing out the hotel’s back doors.
The staffer went on to say that
the blast burned at least five
cars in the parking lot, and blew
out some windows in the hotel’s
He said Corinthia Hotel had
Italian, British and Turkish
guests, but the hotel was largely
empty when the assault happened.
The ISIL Takfiri terrorist
group claimed responsibility
for the act of terror, naming the
attack ‘Operation Abu Anas alLibi’, after the Libyan computer
specialist, who worked for alQaeda and died in New York
earlier this month.
Libya plunged into chaos following the 2011 uprising against
the dictatorship of Muammar
Gaddafi. The ouster of Gaddafi gave rise to a patchwork of
heavily-armed militias and deep
political divisions.
JANUARY 28, 2015
Nine Ukrainian
Soldiers Killed in
Eastern Conflict
Members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
(OSCE) look at the remains of a shell on a street in Mariupol, eastern
Ukraine, January 24, 2015.
KIEV (Reuters) - Nine Ukrai- state, lawmakers said. It was not
nian servicemen have been killed immediately clear what implicain fighting Russian-backed sepa- tions such a declaration would
ratists in the past 24 hours, the have beyond its symbolism.
Kiev military said on Tuesday,
U.S. Ambassador to the United
as rebels fought to encircle a key Nations Samantha Power said
town straddling transport routes on Monday deadly attacks on
between their two strongholds.
the port city of Mariupol on the
Violence in eastern Ukraine is weekend show that Moscow’s
at by far its worst since a cease- objective is to increase the
fire was agreed last September Ukrainian territory it controls.
Separatist Donetsk and Luand Ukraine and the West accuse Russia of openly support- hansk regions, known as the
ing the latest rebel advance with Donbass, together account for
money, arms and troops on the around 9 percent of Ukrainian
territory, excluding the peninground.
Military spokesman Vladislav sula of Crimea, seized by RusSeleznyov said 29 servicemen siafrom Kiev last March.
Rebels control less than half
had been wounded in addition to
those killed, adding that fight- of this area, but have made its
ing was the most intense near two largest cities the capitals of
the strategic town of Debalt- their self-styled ‘People’s Reseve, north-east of rebel-held publics.’
After months during which
“The situation remains tense. the truce was punctured by
In the past 24 hours illegal small-scale skirmishes on the
armed groups carried out 120 at- front line, rebels said last week
tacks on government positions,” they were left with no choice
but to launch an advance.
he said in a televised briefing.
In Kiev, parliament was due Their main aim, they say, is to
to meet for an emergency ses- push back government forces
sion to vote on a statement that that had been shelling rebelwould call Russia an aggressor- held cities.
EU Heads Threaten Russia
With More Sanctions
Heads of European Union (EU)
member states have tasked their
foreign ministers to consider a
new round of sanctions against
Russia in the wake of fresh fighting between Ukrainian troops
and pro-Russia forces in eastern
The 28 EU leaders made the
remarks in a joint statement on
Tuesday, saying their top diplomats should discuss additional
restrictive measures against
Russia during an extraordinary
meeting of EU foreign ministers
to be held in two days in Brussels.
“In view of the worsening situation we ask the upcoming Foreign Affairs Council to assess
the situation and to consider any
appropriate action, in particular
on further restrictive measures,”
the statement read.
In addition, the bloc’s leaders
said they had noted evidence of
growing support by Moscow for
the pro-Russia forces, “which
underlines Russia’s responsibility.”
The EU heads also expressed
“concern about the deteriorating
security and humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine,” adding that they condemn the shelling of the southeastern city of
Mariupol three days ago, which
killed at least 30 civilians and
injured 100 others.
The urgent Foreign Affairs
Council meeting was called after the Mariupol attack on January 24, for which both Kiev
troops and pro-Russia forces
have blamed each other.
Russia blasts bans
Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed a
day earlier any attempts to pile
up economic pressure on Moscow over the Ukraine crisis as
“absolutely destructive.”
Peskov also underlined the
need for the Kiev government to
speak directly to the pro-Russia
forces in eastern Ukraine.
Russia has been the target of
several rounds of sanctions
by the US and EU, which
accuse Moscow of supporting pro-Russia forces in east
Ukraine. Russia has categorically denied the allegation.
RIYADH (Reuters) - President Barack
Obama arrived in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to pay U.S. respects after the death
of King Abdullah, a trip that underscores
the importance of a U.S.-Saudi alliance
that extends beyond oil interests to regional security.
Obama’s visit comes as Washington
struggles with worsening strife in the
Middle East and counts Saudi Arabia
among its few steady partners in a campaign against Islamic State militants who
have seized swathes of Iraq and Syria.
The Yemen government’s collapse will
be of deep concern to Saudi Arabia because of the long border they share.
Saudi Arabia’s role in rallying Arab
support for action with Western countries
against the Islamic State, also known as
ISIL or ISIS, has won praise in Washington, which along with other Western nations values the kingdom as an important
market for its defense industries.
Following Abdullah’s death last week,
Obama will try to get relations off to
a smooth start with new Saudi King
Salman, who takes power after a period
of sometimes tense relations between
Washington and Riyadh. Showing how
crucial the Saudi alliance is for Obama,
he cut short his visit to India to lead a
high-ranking delegation to Riyadh.
U.S. criticism of Saudi Arabia over its
human rights record has normally been
low-key and may remain so. Saudi authorities have been criticized by international rights groups for jailing several
prominent activists, and for the public
flogging this month of a blogger.
SEOUL (PRESS TV) – South Korea says
it has rejected a North Korean bid for the
right to arrest South Korean businessmen
working in the Kaesong joint industrial
complex if they are found not carrying out
their contractual duties.
“They sent us the request to change
some rules on the Kaesong complex, including making it possible to detain our
entrepreneurs,” an official from Seoul’s
Unification Ministry said on Tuesday, adding, “We rejected the request.”
Established in 2004 as a symbol of interKorean cooperation, the Kaesong zone
is located some 10 kilometers (six miles)
inside North Korea and hosts about 100
Seoul-owned factories, where 53,000
North Korean workers produce goods
from clothes to watches. A large number
of South Korean businessmen also work in
the complex.
Last September, North Korea came up
with a new regulation allowing Pyongyang to detain South Korean businessmen when there is an unsettled business
Seoul says North has no legal basis to
detain South Koreans, and the highest
level of punishment would be to send them
back to South.
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan has vowed
to work with Jordan to secure the release
of a Japanese journalist held by Islamic
State militants after the killing last week
of another Japanese captive, but it reiterated that it would not give in to terrorism.
The hostage crisis has become a test
for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who took
power in 2012 pledging to bolster Japan’s
global security role.
Abe on Sunday condemned the killing
of Japanese citizen Haruna Yukawa as
“outrageous” and called for the release
of veteran correspondent Kenji Goto,
captured by Islamic State militants inSyria.
“We would like to work together with
the Jordanian government to secure the
release of Goto,” Yasuhide Nakayama,
state minister for foreign affairs, told
reporters in Jordan late on Monday.
Nakayama was sent to Jordan last
week to deal with the crisis.
The militants have dropped a ransom demand. They now say they
will free Goto in exchange for the
release of Sajida al-Rishawi, a convicted Iraqi suicide-bomber, from
prison in Jordan.