Nine-Story Apartment Building Explodes In Astrakhan, Russia, Only Outlet On the Caspian Sea

Blast collapses Russian apartment block

The Associated Press

Feb 27, 2012

Russia Explosion

In this photo distributed by Astrakhan branch of the Ministry for Emergency Situations, Emergency Situations Ministry rescuers inspect debris of an apartment building after an explosion on Monday morning, Feb. 27, 2012, in Astrakhan, Russia. Such gas explosions are frequent in Russia. ASTRAKHAN BRANCH, MINISTRY OF EMERGENCY SITUATIONS PRESS SERVICE — AP Photo

MOSCOW — A section of a nine-story apartment building in a southern Russian city has collapsed in an explosion possibly caused by natural gas, injuring at least 12 people.

Rescue workers are searching through the rubble for more possible victims. Russian news agencies, citing emergency officials, say at least 11 people who lived in the building haven’t been accounted for.

The explosion occurred Monday in Astrakhan, 1300 kilometers (800 miles) southeast of Moscow.

The ITAR-Tass news agency quoted regional Investigative Committee spokeswoman Aanna Konyaeva as saying that the blast first blew out a lower section of the building. As people rushed to help, the upper six stories collapsed.

Suspect In Maj. Gen. Faisal Alvi Murder About To Walk Free, Witnesses Claim Amnesia

Renegade officer: ‘Al Qaeda hit-man’ may walk free as witnesses retract

LAHORE: Alleged al Qaeda member Major Haroon, accused of murder and kidnapping for ransom, may be released soon after most witnesses and complainants withdrew their testimonies.

Major Haroon quit the army in 2002 against what he called pro-American policies of General (retd) Pervez Musharraf. He then allegedly joined al Qaeda.

Fearing his release, the Sindh Home Department sent a letter to the home department of Punjab requesting that Haroon be transferred from Punjab to Sindh. Haroon is also accused of being involved in the kidnapping case of prominent businessman Satish Anand.

Haroon, along with two other co-accused, is presently imprisoned in Kot Lakhpat jail on charges of killing an administrator of Sheikh Zayed Hospital, Dr Abdul-Saboor Malik, in Lahore.

The men are being tried by the additional and sessions judge inside the prison because of the sensitivity of the matter, police and prosecution department’s sources told The Express Tribune on condition of anonymity.

Before being shifted to Kot Lakhpat Jail, the three men were in Adiala Jail for their alleged involvement in the murders of Major General (retd) Ameer Faisal Alvi, his driver and a passer-by in 2008.  [SEE:  Tale of militants’ motivation and reach]

Sources familiar with the high-profile murders said armed men wanted to kidnap Dr Saboor for ransom and they killed him when he resisted. Similarly, Alvi was also gunned down by men who intercepted him for kidnapping.

The investigations of Saboor’s murder case reveal that the accused had been tasked to kidnap affluent people as al Qaeda was in dire need of money, sources added.

During a briefing in the Sindh Assembly last week on former prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s murder, Interior Minister Rehman Malik had confirmed Haroon’s contacts with al Qaeda.

In the initial stages of the investigation, Lahore police had registered a case against the accused on charges of kidnapping for ransom and murder of Saboor under Section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 and some sections of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). However, the Lahore High Court later ordered that the ATA section be deleted. The court directed the investigation officer to investigate the case under the PPC and to submit a charge sheet before a lower court.

Published in The Express Tribune

Putin Assassination Plot Details Uncovered – State TV

Putin Assassination Plot Details Uncovered – State TV

MOSCOW, February 27 (RIA Novosti)

Ukrainian and Russian security services have gathered information about a plot to assassinate Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who is poised to be elected president on Sunday, the state-run Channel One reported on Monday.

The group of criminals involved were already on the international wanted list and were detained in the Ukrainian port city of Odessa in early January, after they survived an explosion in a rented apartment.

They had reportedly tried to produce a home-made explosive device. The two men were arrested, while a third man, who was also in the apartment, died during the explosion, the TV channel said.

According to the TV channel, after weeks of interrogation, the gang members confessed they were planning to assassinate Putin in Moscow, soon after the March 4 presidential elections.

One of the surviving militants, Ilya Pyanzin, said that the Chechen militant leader Doku Umarov, who is believed to be behind the deadliest terrorist attacks in Russia, hired him and the late Ruslan Madayev to kill Putin.

Pyanzin and Madayev came from the United Arab Emirates via Turkey to Ukraine. In Odessa, they were met by a local fixer, Adam Osmayev, who was supposed to brief the militants about the plan and send them to Moscow.

The TV report, featuring Osmayev ‘s interrogation, says that the militant, who had been on the international wanted list since 2007, is cooperating with investigators, as he hopes not to be extradited to Russia.

“The final task was to go to Moscow and carry out an assassination attempt on the premier Putin,” Osmayev said during questioning, adding that the late Madayev was ready to become a suicide bomber.

According to the assassination plan that was found in the militants’ laptop, they had to learn the structure of Putin’s security team and how his bodyguards worked, the TV report says.

“The deadline was set up for the period after the presidential elections,” Osmayev said.

Osmayev confessed that he scrutinized the routes of government corteges and that the preparation for the attack was in its final stage.

The TV report also said that the militants were going to use mines hidden along Moscow’s Kutuzovsky Avenue, which Putin passes every day on his way to the government building in downtown city.

An unknown security official told the TV channel that the mines were powerful enough to “tear apart a truck.”

Ukrainian Security Services confirmed the information released about the assassination plot.

Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, was not available for comment.

Putin, who served as president from 2000 to 2008, is expected to return to the Kremlin for a third, non-consecutive term in office in elections on March 4.

CENTCOM Wants You To Start Believing In “Turkmen” Terrorists is a website sponsored by USCENTCOM

Turkmen terrorists are at war with the Pakistani security forces









After the death of at least 14 Turkmen militants in North Waziristan on February 16 the presence of the Central Asian militants in Pakistani border regions became obvious.

In North Waziristan killed twenty-one gunman, 14 of them, according to the government, the Turkmens.

In previous operations, the authorities have established individual four foreign militants killed Jan. 23 in an air strike on the village of Degan, Miranshah (North Waziristan) – they, too, were Turkmen, reported