Friday, January 9, 2015
PARIS TERROR SUSPECTS TAKE HOSTAGES
Police have located Said and Chérif Kouachi, the two French brothers suspected of killing 12 people at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo Wednesday. A major police operation is underway after the pair took at least one hostage at a printing company in Dammartin-en Goële, a small town 80 kilometers northeast of Paris, not far from Charles de Gaulle international airport. Sources told reporters that they said they wanted to “die as martyrs.”
It’s unclear how the fanatic Islamists managed to flee from their previous known location about 40 kilometers from there, where more than 1,000 police officers were looking for them late yesterday. They were spotted again this morning after stealing a car and later reportedly exchanged fire with police.
According to an American official quoted by The New York Times, the elder brother, Said, travelled to Yemen in 2011 and received training there from al-Qaeda fighters before returning to France. The two were on no-fly lists and listed in the American database of known or suspected terrorists.
In an unusual twist, a man told radio station France Info that he found himself face to face with one of the suspects in the offices of the printing company where the hostage situation is unfolding. The witness, who was there for a business meeting, said the assailant claimed to be a riot police officer. He was calm, shook his hand and told him to go. “I’m going to play the lottery because I was very lucky,” the witness said.
Four people who had been severely wounded in Wednesday’s attack are out of medical danger, although they’re still hospitalized. The rest of Charlie Hebdo’s team have resumed their work at the offices of newspaper Libération for next week’s edition, which will have a print run of 1 million copie instead of the usual 60,000. The publication’s finances had been in difficulty and the publication was believed close to shutting down, but Le Figaro reports that Charlie Hebdo has registered 13,000 new subscriptions since the shooting, more than doubling its subscribers.
NEW BOKO HARAM MASS MASSACRE
Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram launched a massive attack on the northeastern Nigerian town of Baga yesterday, killing hundreds and possibly as many as 2,000 people, The Washington Post reports. The number of victims varies depending on the reports, but if the worst figure is true, it would equal the total number of people the group killed in 2014. Witnesses have said that army soldiers quickly abandoned their posts after the attack started and left the town on fire. The ongoing conflict has already displaced at least 1.5 million Nigerians.
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PINGS DETECTED IN AIRASIA SEARCH
Indonesian officials said they had detected “pings” in the Java Sea that could have come from AirAsia flight QZ8501, in a zone located just 300 meters away from where the aircraft’s tail section was previously found. Read more from The Sydney Morning Herald.
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ABU HAMZA TO BE SENTENCED
Radical imam Abu Hamza al-Masri is expected to be sentenced later today at a New York court. The hook-handed preacher faces life in prison after being convicted in May on terrorism charges. His attorneys have recommended a shorter sentence, citing health issues.
FORMER THAI PM IMPEACHMENT HEARING BEGINS
Thailand’s ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has appeared in front of the National Legislative Assembly, as the military-appointed legislature seeks to impeach her. The former leader, who was removed from office by a court verdict in May, denied the charges regarding her alleged implication in a controversial government rice subsidy scheme. “I was impeached three times already. I have no position left to be impeached from,” Shinawatra said. Read more from The Bangkok Post.
SRI LANKA INCUMBENT LOSES ELECTION
Mahinda Rajapaksa admitted defeat against his former ally Maithripala Sirisena after an unexpectedly poor result in yesterday’s presidential election, the BBC reports. Rajapaksa, who has been leading the country since 2005, wrote on Twitter that he was looking forward “to the peaceful transition of power.”
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