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North Korea missile went 10 times higher than space station

Image: North Korea launches suspected ICBM into Sea of Japan

South Koreans watch news coverage of North Korea’s latest ballistic missile launch in Seoul on Wednesday. Kim Hee-Chul / EPA

Kim Jong Un’s latest ballistic missile test flew 10 times higher than the International Space Station and twice as high as any satellite in low-earth orbit, according to South Korea’s military.

Although analysts were scrambling Wednesday to learn what they could about the North Korean launch, Pyongyang said it had tested a new type of missile, named the Hwasong-15.

Dictator Kim’s secretive state claimed it was carrying a “super-large heavy warhead” that was capable of striking the entire U.S. mainland. But analysts say that based on the current evidence it’s hard to prove or debunk the Pyongyang’s claim that it can now hit faraway American targets such as New York or Washington, D.C.

The North Koreans have now test-fired missiles 18 times since President Donald Trump took office in January. Tuesday’s launch was the first for more than two months.

Western officials agreed it appeared to be an intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, which flew further than any other demonstrated by the North.

It was fired on what is called a “lofted” trajectory, meaning it was aimed at a steep angle and traveled very high but landed relatively close to its launch site.

Reaching an altitude of around 2,800 miles above the Earth’s surface, according to South Korea, it crashed down in the Sea of Japan around 600 miles away from where it was fired.

“It went higher, frankly, than any previous shot they’ve taken,” Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters at the White House.

Some experts believe that if North Korea aimed the rocket at a lower angle, as it would in an attack scenario, this range could be stretched to some 8,100 miles — theoretically putting the entire East Coast in range.

“If we extrapolate this test we think it would give North Korea the capability to reach Washington, D.C.,” according to John Nilsson-Wright, a senior research fellow at London’s Chatham House think tank.

North Korea fires ballistic missile in new test2:10

However, to build a weapon capable of hitting the U.S. a long-range rocket is just one piece of the puzzle.

North Korea would also need to develop a reentry vehicle robust enough to protect the warhead from the intense heat produced by traveling through the Earth’s atmosphere at speed. It also needs to miniaturize a nuclear weapon small and light enough to fit on the missile without reducing its range.

Boasts aside, it hasn’t publicly demonstrated either of these.

“We still don’t know the ability of North Korea to put a warhead on a long-range missile and fire it with accuracy,” Nilsson-Wright said.

The North said the missile tested Tuesday was tipped with a “super-large heavy warhead” but analysts said there’s no way to know for sure.

“We just don’t know what was on the front end of this thing,” said Tom Plant, director of the Proliferation and Nuclear Policy program at the Royal United Services Institute, another London-based think tank.

According to a statement from Michael Elleman, a ballistic missile analyst at the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies, “a viable ICBM capable of reaching the West Coast of the U.S. mainland is still a year away, though North Korea continues to progress.”

Whatever North Korea’s current capability, Tuesday’s launch should come as no surprise to the international community. The country has repeatedly stated its aim of building a nuclear weapon capable of hitting the U.S.

But most analysts say that even if it achieved that goal it would likely not want to start using these weapons unless it was attacked first. Rather, according to many experts, it wants to acquire nukes as a deterrent against the U.S. trying to topple Kim’s regime.

“North Korea is just marching toward where it’s headed. There’s no sign it will stop before it gets there,” Plant said. “But North Korea is not suicidal and this does not look like a first-strike weapon.”

North Korea has said in public statements that it wants an official end to the Korean War. The conflict was halted by a 1953 armistice but no peace treaty has been signed. It also wants nothing short of full normalization of relations with the U.S. and to be treated with respect and as an equal in the global arena.

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Copy-Cat Killer In Reno Fails To Pull-Off Vegas-Style Massacre…He Was His Only Victim

Police: Reno’s Montage shooter is dead; resident recounts hiding until police arrived

Editor’s note: This is a breaking news story and is being updated as new details are learned. 

Final update, 11:16 p.m.: 

Gunfire rained down onto Sierra Street from the eighth floor of The Montage condominiums in downtown Reno on Tuesday night. The shooter also barricaded himself and a hostage inside an apartment.

That suspect died shortly after being taken into custody after an RPD and Washoe County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team breached the room. RPD Deputy Police Chief Tom Robinson said the suspect’s motive is unclear at this time.

It’s unknown if the suspect was shooting at anything or anyone in particular but Robinson said there is one injury related to the incident. The woman who’d been held hostage has no reported injuries.

“She’s obviously traumatized and shaken up,” he said.

Robinson couldn’t confirm the exact make and model of the gun the suspect used, but he said it was a shoulder-fired rifle with 20 to 50 rounds of ammunition.

The suspect fired bursts of five to eight shots at a time, with gaps between bursts lasting minutes.

Officers said gunfire came from the building for roughly a 30 minute period. Dozens of police and emergency vehicles filled the blocks surrounding the Montage.

Officers in the intersection of Fourth and Sierra streets were barricaded behind their vehicles, assault rifles drawn.

As of now, it can only be confirmed that the suspect was firing at Sierra Street. Robinson said officers on the ground at the time of the shooting saw “sparks and spatter” coming off the asphalt as bullets struck the ground.

He said investigators will check the surrounding areas and buildings for signs of additional bullet holes.

Vick Wowo, an 18th-floor resident of The Montage, heard gunshots and a loud bang vibrate through the building.

“I was the most shook when I heard the gunshots,” Wowo said. “I don’t have a gun, don’t own a gun, never shot a gun so hearing that four times was kind of nerve wracking.

He told his girlfriend Becky Moser to hide in the closet while he hid behind the couch and peeked out the windows facing the Whitney Peak Hotel.

From his condominium, he could see three police snipers on the hotel roof, pointing down toward the eighth floor. Knowing they were ten floors above the shooter made them feel a little safer, he said.

“To be honest, the most comforting element was being made aware through the intercom system,” he said.

Montage security sent a message to all residents telling them to stay in their units or avoid the building. Wowo said his biggest fear was multiple shooters, but since the chaos ended, he feels relieved.

“We’re not nearly as shook as we should’ve been,” he said. “But, I think we’re almost numb to it even when it’s right in your damn building. … Back to business, you know. Just hanging out watching TV now.”

As the SWAT team worked its way up to the eighth floor, it evacuated as many of the residents it could but many were told to shelter in place.

Jill Flanzraich lives on the eighth floor of the Montage. She first heard gunshots when she was watching TV.

“Foolishly, I opened the door. The SWAT team was there and told me to get back inside,” said Flanzraich in an interview with the RGJ.

She spent the next hour hiding in a closet in her bathrobe talking with her daughter on the phone.

At about 8:20 p.m. there was a loud explosion and the fire alarms went off, Flanzraich said.

Flanzraich said she questioned whether she should leave her apartment but worried the shooter might be out there.

But then a police officer banged on her door and said, “Get out. Get out. Get out.”

The police officer walked her through a smoke-filled hallway and down the stairs.

Flanzraich made it to the lobby where she joined the other residents who had been evacuated.

Karl Fiebiger, a seventh-floor resident of The Montage, quickly evacuated his condominium after police told him they had secured the seventh, ninth and ground floor of the tower. Police told him the shooter was on the eighth floor and they worried stray bullets could penetrate windows and floors.

“Honestly I knew the shooter was close, I could feel the windows vibrate, I could hear things falling from walls,” Fiebiger told the RGJ. “So I was pretty glad to evacuate because I knew I wasn’t in the safest situation if bullets started flying.”

He grabbed shoes, a jacket, his laptop and a photo of his parents, then headed for the elevator. He reached his car in the parking garage and drove to a friend’s house in south Reno.

“I just hope I can get back in tonight,” he said after reports came in that the suspect was in police custody. “No reason not to sleep in my own bed. … It’s my bed, I’m not going to get chased out of it.”

Fiebiger said he feels more anxious than scared and it took a while for the reality of the situation to set in.

“I guess this is the country we live in now,” he said.

Robinson said little is known about the suspect or his hostage, but described him as being in his mid-to-late 20s.

It’s also unclear whether they were residents of the Montage.

Mike Pavicich, in town on business from Las Vegas, was walking down Fourth Street in front of the Eldorado when shots first rang out.

Pavicich’s wife was a nurse who was called in to work after Stephen Paddock, 64, opened fire on a music festival from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Casino.

“When you heard it’s coming from above it reminds you of the guy shooting from Mandalay Bay … it’s scary you know? This is the same kind of town,” Pavicich said.

Paddock, who owned a home and briefly lived in Reno with his girlfriend Marilou Danley, also owned a condo at The Montage until December 2016.

Robinson said police don’t yet know if this was a copycat incident of the Las Vegas shooting, but he said officers suspect that mental issues might have contributed to the shooting.

He said radio chatter during the incident suggested that the suspect may have been seeing things.

“It’s too soon to know for sure,” Robinson said. “Maybe it’s a little bit of everything.”

9:54 update: 

Vick Wowo, an 18th-floor resident of The Montage, heard gunshots and a loud bang vibrate through the building.

“I was the most shook when I heard the gunshots,” Wowo said. “I don’t have a gun, don’t own a gun, never shot a gun so hearing that four times was kind of nerve wracking.

He told his girlfriend Becky Moser to hide in the closet while he hid behind the couch and peeked out the windows facing the Whitney Peak Hotel.

From his condominium, he could see three police snipers on the hotel roof, pointing down toward the eighth floor. Knowing they were ten floors above the shooter made them feel a little safer, he said.

“To be honest, the most comforting element was being made aware through the intercom system,” he said.

Montage security sent a message to all residents telling them to stay in their units or avoid the building. Wowo said his biggest fear was multiple shooters, but since the chaos ended, he feels relieved.

“We’re not nearly as shook as we should’ve been,” he said. “But, I think we’re almost numb to it even when it’s right in your damn building. … Back to business, you know. Just hanging out watching TV now.”

Karl Fiebiger, a seventh-floor resident of The Montage, quickly evacuated his condominium after police told him they had secured the seventh, ninth and ground floor of the tower. Police told him the shooter was on the eighth floor and they worried stray bullets could penetrate windows and floors.

For about fifteen minutes, Fiebiger said he heard multiple gunshots inside the building and saw broken glass and windows.

“Honestly I knew the shooter was close, I could feel the windows vibrate, I could hear things falling from walls,” Fiebiger told the RGJ. “So I was pretty glad to evacuate because I knew I wasn’t in the safest situation if bullets started flying.”

He grabbed shoes, a jacket, his laptop and a photo of his parents, then headed for the elevator. He reached his car in the parking garage and drove to a friend’s house in south Reno.

“I just hope I can get back in tonight,” he said after reports came in that the suspect was in police custody. “No reason not to sleep in my own bed. … It’s my bed, I’m not going to get chased out of it.”

Fiebiger said he feels more anxious than scared and it took a while for the reality of the situation to set in.

“I guess this is the country we live in now,” he said.

9 p.m. update: Deputy Police Chief Tom Robinson said the shooter is dead.

8:45 p.m. update: Before the shooter was taken into custody, he had been firing from an east-facing window of the Montage apartment complex onto Sierra Street below.

It’s unclear if the suspect was shooting at anything or anyone but he had barricaded himself in the 8th floor apartment with a woman that officers are considering a hostage.

The woman is uninjured, but the suspect was shot. Officers from RPD and Washoe County breached the apartment. Aside from the suspect, Robison said at least one other person has been injured in the hand.

Robison said little is known about the suspect or his hostage, but described him as being in his mid-to-late 20s.

It’s also unclear if they were residents of the montage.

Residents inside the montage at the time of the shooting were advised to shelter in place.

He did say that mental issues may have been a factor. Radio chatter during the incident alluded that the suspect may have been seeing things.

Jill Flanzraich lives on the 8th floor of the Montage.  She first heard gunshots when she was watching TV.

“Foolishly, I opened the door. The SWAT team was there and told me to get back inside,” said Flanzraich in an interview with the RGJ.

She spent the next hour hiding in a closet in her bathrobe talking with her daughter on the phone.

At about 8:20 there was a loud explosion and the fire alarms went off, Flanzraich said.

Flanzraich said she questioned whether she should leave her apartment but worried the shooter might be out there.

But then a police officer banged on her door and said, “Get out. Get out. Get out.”

The police officer walked her through a smoke-filled hallway and down the stairs.

Flanzraich made it to the lobby where she joined the other residents who had been evacuated.

8:31 p.m. update: Deputy Chief Tom Robinson of the Reno Police said a team of officers went to the 8th floor of the apartment building to engage the shooter.

Robinson said the shooter is a young adult. He said he doesn’t think the shooter suffered life-threatening injuries.

Residents were evacuated while others sheltered in place, Robinson said. It may take some time to get residents back into their rooms.

Police will keep roads closed in downtown area for the time being.

8:30 p.m. update : Police said the suspect has been detained.

8:15 update: Dusty Wunderlich, a resident of the Montage in downtown Reno, said he started hearing shots being fired when he got home.

He said the sound of shots being fired has been “sporadic over the last 30 minutes.”

“I am alone,” he said in a text message. “I have my lights turned off and listening to the scanner. I am armed which gives some peace of mind. It’s intense when the shots go off but trying to keep a level head.”

Wunderlich said he heard shots fired around 6:45 p.m.

8 p.m. update: 

A suspect is barricaded inside the Montage. A SWAT team is staging.

LIVE VIDEO FROM THE SCENE

7:52 p.m. update: 

Officers are staying behind their vehicles facing towards the Montage apartment building with assault weapons drawn in the intersection of Fourth and Sierra Streets.

Mike Pavicich, in town on business from Las Vegas, was walking down fourth in front of the Eldorado when he heard gunshots ring out.

He said he ran into Frank Korshoff near the intersection of Sierra and fourth. Frank had been on top of the Eldorado’s garage when shots rang out.

“When you heard it’s coming from above it reminds you of the guy shooting from Mandalay Bay … it’s scary you know? This is the same kind of town,” Pavicich said.

Pavicich ‘s wife was a nurse who was called in the night of the Vegas shooting.

He was waiting to meet a friend to go climbing. He looked over the edge of the garage and saw officers with rifles drawn heading towards the Montage. He was ushered out of the garage and has been sheltering at the Eldorado since.

Original story:

There’s an active shooter in the montage apartments. Trooper Chris Kelley with The Nevada Highway Patrol said shots have been heard from the apartment complex for the last 20 minutes.

Dozens of police cars are surrounding the complex with ambulances and swat vehicles.

Islamist Mob Forces Pak. Govt. Back-Down Over Changes To Blasphemy Laws

Water Cannon, Tear Gas: 4,000 riot police sweep away violent Islamist protest in Pakistan

pakistan, islamabad, Tehreek-e-Labaik, Islamist party Tehreek-e-Labaik, Islamist party, Zahid Hamid, protest, protest in pakistan, terrorist, terrorism
SOURCE

Operation halted

 

 

* Policeman martyred, over 200 people, including police officers, injured in abortive attempt to disperse religious protesters camped at Islamabad-Rawalpindi junction

Syria Blasts Arab League Under ‘Sheikhdoms’

Syrian regime says Arab League under ‘sheikhdoms’

After body condemns Iranian policies and Hezbollah

(ANSAmed) – BEIRUT, NOVEMBER 21 – The Syrian government on Tuesday lashed out at the Arab League for the final declarations of a meeting held Sunday in Cairo, in which the body condemned Iran for destabilizing policies in the region and the Lebanese Shia Hezbollah movement, which it accused of terrorism.

A Syrian foreign ministry source was quoted by state-run news agency SANA as saying that the Arab League has become ”a tool steered by the money of the oil sheikhdoms against the interests of the [Arab] nation and its existence and common security in implementation of the dictates of the nation’s enemies”. ”Those who have provided all forms of support to the Takfiri terrorism and are practicing genocide against the brotherly Yemeni people don’t have the credibility to talk about the Arab national security as they are the real threat jeopardizing the interests of the nation and the Arab national security,” the source continued. After calling the ‘Arab Springs’ a ”conspiracy”, the Syrian foreign ministry source claimed that the Arab people ”know very well what Hezbollah and Iran have done in the course of confronting the Takfiri terrorism and know the sacrifices they have made to foil this conspiracy and resist the Zionist expansionist aggression”. (ANSAmed).

Russian Ambassador To Lebanon Supports Lebanese Self-Determination

Russian ambassador supports Lebanese self-sufficiency

 

BEIRUT: Prime Minister Saad Hariri Friday met with the ambassador of the European Union and of Russia, who stressed the importance of the Lebanese government functioning without external interference.

After meeting with Hariri at his Downtown residence, Russian Ambassador Alexander Zaspekin said that the Lebanese government and state institutions must be “effective in the social and economic fields in preparation for … upcoming parliamentary elections,” a statement from Hariri’s office quoted him as saying.

Zaspekin said that the proper functioning of institutions was crucial to ensure that the Lebanese people decided the fate of the country “without external interference.”

The Russian ambassador added, in response to a question, that Russia was working within the framework of the International Support Group for Lebanon to guide the country to self-sufficiency, saying that concessions would have to be made by all parties.

“As Speaker Nabih Berri has said, each side must concede as part of the road to reach common ground,” the ambassador reportedly said.

Zaspekin also said that France and Egypt’s roles in resolving the political crisis did not constitute an intervention in Lebanon’s internal affairs, but rather were helping to “mediate.”

France has played a leading role in easing the political crisis following Hariri’s resignation from the premiership on Nov. 4, engaging in high-level diplomacy with Lebanese and Saudi officials. Egypt has reportedly played a lesser role.

In his meeting with EU Ambassador Christina Lassen, Hariri reportedly discussed the latest developments in the country and EU-Lebanon relations.

After the meeting, Hariri’s office reported that Lassen welcomed Hariri’s return and expressed hope for “constructive dialogue” between the various parties, which takes into account the country’s stability, unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty.

“Lebanon’s independence and stability is a priority for the EU amid regional unrest,” Lassen was quoted as saying in a statement.

She also reportedly affirmed the EU’s support for parliamentary elections to be held in spring, in addition to the Lebanese Army and security agencies.

Hariri also met with Philippe Lazzarini, the Deputy United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon, and discussed the U.N.’s activities in Lebanon with him.

The prime minister also reportedly received a cable of congratulations from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on the occasion of Independence Day, “in which he wished the Lebanese people greater stability and prosperity,” the statement said.

Local media reported that Hariri may have held other meetings Friday on the sidelines.

The flurry of meetings comes two days after Hariri returned to Lebanon, following an 18-day absence from the country, at the outset of which he resigned from the premiership.

The Nov. 4 resignation from the Saudi capital Riyadh threw Lebanon into political crisis while sending shock waves through the region. However, major political blocs have expressed optimism over the last few days.

More Muslim-On-Muslim Carnage In Egypt…200+ Dead

At least 200 reportedly killed in Egypt mosque attack

Egyptians walk past bodies following a gun and bombing attack at the Rawda mosque, roughly 40 kilometers west of the North Sinai capital of El-Arish, on November 24, 2017. A bomb explosion ripped through the mosque before gunmen opened fire on the worshippers gathered for weekly Friday prayers, officials said.  Stringer / AFP/Getty Images

 

EL-ARISH, Egypt — Militants bombed a Sufi mosque and fired on worshippers in the volatile Sinai Peninsula during Friday prayers,  killing at least 200 people in what appeared to be the latest attack by the area’s ISIS affiliate, Egyptian state news agency MENA reports.

The extremists attacked the al-Rawdah mosque in the town of Bir al-Abd, 25 miles from the North Sinai provincial capital of el-Arish, opening fire from four off-road vehicles on worshippers inside during the sermon, three police officers said.

Victims were being transferred to local hospitals, they added, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to brief reporters. They said the ISIS militants had blocked escape routes from the area by blowing up cars and leaving the burning wrecks blocking the roads.

Egypt’s state news agency reported the casualty toll, citing “official sources,” revising it upward several times following the officials’ initial reports. MENA said 130 people were also wounded in the attack.

EGYPT-UNREST-SINAI

Egyptians gather around bodies following a gun and bombing attack at the Rawda mosque, roughly 40 kilometers west of the North Sinai capital of El-Arish, on November 24, 2017.

Stringer / AFP/Getty Images

The attack was the largest single targeting of Egyptian civilians and the first on a large mosque congregation since the ISIS affiliate began its campaign of violence against the state following the military’s 2013 overthrow of an elected but divisive Islamist president.

MENA reported that Egypt’s presidency declared a three-day mourning period for the attack, as President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi convened a high-level meeting of security officials.

Cairo’s international airport boosted security following the attack, with more troopers and forces seen patrolling passenger halls, conducting searches and manning checkpoints at airport approaches.

Security forces have been battling militants in northern Sinai for years, but attacks to date have focused on military and police assets, although assassinations of individuals ISIS considers government spies or religious heretics are not uncommon.

https://www.cbsnews.com/amp/embed/video/?v=470df9d43c2e1d9e3f3f513b3811be874ac487ff#vVbbcts2EP0VDh%2FSdkYQr6IoTd1MajuOc%2FE4URw3CTsagFhJiEiQBkDJSqb%2F3gVFOZKbNA9p%2BkQQBPacPXuA5Sd3JThU7viTyxtFjaikOw5GSc8t69tXMDvn7thVJ1darcJ312fnl%2BLNy1hf5TfzJb%2FJP%2FLn7CR47PZcs2hKJqkocPnCmFqPMy%2FzcqYlrHXYx4HQBsPn%2FbwqM2%2FRsMwTmacyL%2FSDKPOCMPP8GN8GoySNk5TwxB%2BSmDFGaAwDEjI2SkOeJukAV9%2BhZV4S%2B7dR4mceg5Qno1EaBCGN%2BSCJAEaDUTAYRsD8YRpk3unFNAj9aHr96NXJtNvX%2F1DPLf2qFrmkJSD9498nzukKpJBz5wLZ42etcqvQotD2wYRBpXBp4Pt%2Bz62F1eitOnv5fDJi0bPBWxtwU9tYdkfPbdROllYVUVNOtFFAS8TodyJthSmBC4qP%2Bva%2BMkPMJg3iYRrF91LBkf%2BFqX4ZNan7V8%2BSmK6oElSaab2oJHw1iWk5XRyr6dPlu%2FX1QRL39v%2FwlFqYLyZgKCvAfDWD4DwyIQzku1P%2B5ssZdAF%2BeApbnLsc1mImDlgPY3%2BP9zkbXN8Wr18c%2F3E%2B%2Bcy73fQPprxay6Ki%2FPs5Iod%2BWceWXzQ%2FYBcesDt9fGxenpizR%2Fz25jO7aP4juYWfuSlT1ofaJfEeu8VtvKLx1ehj7u%2FVvN2042dftjdSPUqjJOoDn8Ms130JJvMqyaGkkmfeQ9qYxRFyf0DFrD5a%2BX7wQBd4dR11KfwL%2B18Zemf527cXHpZglGzTxDx1w3SuBAN%2BXEkDsrX5SsDaWskdG9XA3iLljme00DgldOKjaWeKynwhNBx8OL1F0Q5m4vRSgQ3bzbbIda1A4%2FUmm6LobZuCEcbCuqfzTW1%2B0k4pCmGo2jgzMV8Yez3qvFL5AjgBqszCWVPlCOlMBF7NzqW9QXVT0AOTbPvCer0%2BNEiLpzMPLJQmOySyQyKHSASRiJBEWyRS75Ayz97VRYNWdr8vkuXctOYKfewhfMSJD2lA4iD2CTooJGHMoihOkjQM2%2FONxqkuC7pxx%2BhLVDxfIpitn9Cn0taP7wqIsCIv4BE6rVK2v753I5%2FTnLOcJDSlJAggJCMehATtl84gpb7PfPfPe1sv2nb13u2EdH5eCM5BOmxTCAm%2F7K1vmzgMfJ5zysgsRow4wBxoGg5J6kfDIQ0GM2Che7flsmEn7VFDAYIhUsKEnSAch%2BHY31v2urMINU4BVBsH%2B46joK6UAV5snKUoMHNrirYeTlnpmwYcagwKtBdme2Tzreun3Sx%2B5%2BjTfPeZg15io3ati09gZbnhuKbz3QIrw1QYKK0N8PlE2EPy3l1XquBWDzs5gXz7l9NNb2e7CHgG6kpqsQJnDWz3Y9Dqh%2F8jg1nsp2Q4SPnXatRt2JbmDqDRoDoAKhG657LlBEFt3CiK0DCFKAWe9vhOkUnVqLzVhOGxoHVHswvclbwVqKzmitYLkT%2BDjbbZfqjY40Zuk%2BzZt2Ms5LxSGyuc5A32ODvEc1c3BtSlqmYiFyDz3SyVm4n4aOWfA96MytZpDmeqaup2RSNtBJTTAC1EU1qX1zZKscfNssXVIG2d8Cu3h6Q95lf%2F12XwcGbo%2FOj44gXWiAQ%2BpSwWnWG%2BycGOOgZk69b78cnWy4QJRWhBKOOEA%2F5CrFEfDry9iyzUYcnG%2F1VooZ%2BAqu7u9bbrXFaoOpa98xqU2EmwsfwN

In September, ISIS militants ambushed a police convoy in Sinai, killing 18 police and wounding seven others in one of the deadliest attacks this year in the restive region bordering Israel and the Gaza Strip.

The ongoing violence in Sinai shows the resilience of the militants there in the face of a years-long campaign to eradicate them by the military and police, which between them command far superior firepower, air support, heavy armor and larger numbers.

Hundreds of soldiers and militants have been killed in the conflict, although exact numbers are unclear as journalists and independent investigators are banned from the area.

Egypt is also facing a growing number of attacks by militants in its Western Desert, including an attack last month that killed 16 police, according to an official tally issued by the Interior Ministry. Security officials have told journalists that dozens more, including high-ranking counterterrorism officers, perished in the Oct. 20 attack some 84 miles southwest of the capital, Cairo.

Saudi Allegedly Using “Blackwater” Mercenaries To Torture Arrested Royals

‘American mercenaries are torturing’ Saudi elite rounded up by new crown prince – and billionaire Prince Alwaleed was hung upside down ‘just to send a message’

 

 

  • Source in Saudi Arabia says American private security contractors are carrying out’interrogations’ on princes and billionaires arrested in crackdown 
  • Detained members of Saudi elite have been hung by their feet and beaten by interrogates, source says
  • Among those hung upside down are Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, an investor worth at least $7 billion who is being held at Riyadh’s Ritz Carlton
  • Arrests were ordered three weeks ago by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
  • Source claims mercenaries are from ‘Blackwater’, a claim also made by Lebanese president
  • But its successor firm denies it has any operations in Saudi Arabia whatsoever and says its staff abide by U.S. law
  • Americans who commit torture abroad can be jailed for up to 20 years 

Saudi princes and billionaire businessmen arrested in a power grab earlier this month are being strung up by their feet and beaten by American private security contractors, a source in the country tells DailyMail.com.

The group of the country’s most powerful figures were arrested in a crackdown ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman three weeks ago as he ordered the detention of at least 11 fellow princes and hundreds of businessmen and government officials over claims of corruption.

Just last month, the Crown Prince vowed to restore ‘moderate, open Islam’ in the kingdom and relaxed a number of its ultra-conservative rules, including lifting a ban on women driving.

DailyMail.com can disclose that the arrests have been followed by ‘interrogations’ which a source said were being carried out by ‘American mercenaries’ brought in to work for the 32-year-old crown prince, who is now the kingdom’s most powerful figure.

‘They are beating them, torturing them, slapping them, insulting them. They want to break them down,’ the source told DailyMail.com.

‘Blackwater’ has been named by DailyMail.com’s source as the firm involved, and the claim of its presence in Saudi Arabia has also been made on Arabic social media, and by Lebanon’s president.

The firm’s successor, Academi, strongly denies even being in Saudi Arabia and says it does not engage in torture, which it is illegal for any U.S. citizen to commit anywhere in the world.

The Saudi crown prince, according to the source, has also confiscated more than $194 billion from the bank accounts and seized assets of those arrested.

Highest profile prisoner: Prince Alwaleed bin Talal was hung upside to 'send a message' after being lured to a meeting with the crown prince. He is worth at least $7 billion

Highest profile prisoner: Prince Alwaleed bin Talal was hung upside to ‘send a message’ after being lured to a meeting with the crown prince. He is worth at least $7 billion

Round-up: Dozens of princes, senior officials and businessmen, including cabinet ministers and billionaires, have been detained in a function room of the Ritz Carlton. Now a source says they are being subjected to torture by American mercenaries

Round-up: Dozens of princes, senior officials and businessmen, including cabinet ministers and billionaires, have been detained in a function room of the Ritz Carlton. Now a source says they are being subjected to torture by American mercenaries

Strongman: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, seen as he attended a glittering investment conference in the hotel now being used as a prison, ordered in the mercenaries, the source claimed, and takes part in interrogations personally 

Strongman: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, seen as he attended a glittering investment conference in the hotel now being used as a prison, ordered in the mercenaries, the source claimed, and takes part in interrogations personally

The source said that in the febrile atmosphere in the kingdom, Prince Mohammed has bypassed the normal security forces in keeping the princes and other billionaires at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Riyadh.

‘All the guards in charge are private security because MBS (Mohammed Bin Salman) doesn’t want Saudi officers there who have been saluting those detainees all their lives,’ said the source, who asked to remain anonymous.

‘Outside the hotels where they are being detained you see the armored vehicles of the Saudi special forces. But inside, it’s a private security company.

‘They’ve transferred all the guys from Abu Dhabi. Now they are in charge of everything,’ said the source.

The source said that Salman, often referred to by his initials MBS, is conducting some of the interrogations himself.

‘When it’s something big he asks them questions,’ the source said.

‘He speaks to them very nicely in the interrogation, and then he leaves the room, and the mercenaries go in. The prisoners are slapped, insulted, hung up, tortured.’

The source says the crown prince is desperate to assert his authority through fear and wants to uncover an alleged network of foreign officials who have taken bribes from Saudi princes.

The source said that the name ‘Blackwater’ is being circulated as providing the mercenaries.

The controversial private security company, however, no longer exists under that name and is now Academi.

A spokesperson for Constellis, Academi’s parent company, denied the claims.

The spokesperson told DailyMail.com that it has no presence in Saudi Arabia and does not carry out interrogations.

‘Constellis through Academi does not now or have we ever provided interrogative services,’ they said.

‘We do not provide security services in KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), we have no contact or connection with any government official or private party regarding this allegation.’

When asked if Academi workers were involved in any kind of violence during these interrogations, the spokesperson said: ‘No. Academi has no presence in KSA. We do not have interrogators, nor do we provide any interrogators, advisors or other similar services.’

They added: ‘Academi does not participate in interrogative services for any government or private customer. Academi has a zero tolerance policy for violence. We operate legally, morally, ethically and in compliance with local and US laws.’

The name Blackwater, however, has previously surfaced in the Middle East in the wake of the round-up.

Presence: The Ritz Carlton in Riyadh is said to be guarded by Saudi special forces but inside, the interrogations are said to be carried out by American contractors. Blackwater's successor firm, Academi, denies any involvement

Presence: The Ritz Carlton in Riyadh is said to be guarded by Saudi special forces but inside, the interrogations are said to be carried out by American contractors. Blackwater’s successor firm, Academi, denies any involvement

Lebanese link: Saad Hariri, who quit as Lebanon's prime minister, was said to be being held in Saudi Arabia by 'Blackwater' guards by his country's president  - but he deleted the tweet

Lebanese link: Saad Hariri, who quit as Lebanon’s prime minister, was said to be being held in Saudi Arabia by ‘Blackwater’ guards by his country’s president  – but he deleted the tweet

Endorsement: The 32-year-old crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, has received backing from President Trump 

Endorsement: The 32-year-old crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, has received backing from President Trump

Harsh treatment: Trump hinted at the interrogations when he tweeted his support for the arrests

Harsh treatment: Trump hinted at the interrogations when he tweeted his support for the arrests

The Lebanese President tweeted that the country’s former prime minister Saad Hariri was being detained in Riyadh by Blackwater guards, but later deleted the tweet.

‘Lebanese authorities have unconfirmed information that the Blackwater firm is guarding Hariri and his family – not official Saudi security forces,’ Michel Aoun, the President of Lebanon, tweeted last Wednesday.

A high-profile Saudi twitter account, @ Ahdjadid, which posts what is said to be inside information, also claimed Salman has brought in at least 150 ‘Blackwater’ guards.

Saudi whistleblower Ahdjadid tweeted: ‘The first group of Blackwater mercenaries arrived in Saudi Arabia a week after the toppling of bin Nayef [Salman’s predecessor as crown prince].

‘They were around 150 fighters. Bin Salman sent some of them to secure bin Nayef’s place of detention and the rest he used for his own protection.’

The abuse claims were also raised recently in an article in the New York Times.

A doctor at a hospital in Riyadh and a US official told the Times that as many as 17 detainees had needed medical treatment.

But Fatimah Baeshen, spokeswoman for the Saudi Embassy in Washington, told the newspaper that the arrests were for ‘white collar’ crimes and that the country’s public prosecutor was ensuring that the arrests are ‘complying with the relevant laws and regulations’.

In his name: The arrests carry the authority of King Salman, but have made his son Prince Mohammed unquestionably the most powerful man in the kingdom

In his name: The arrests carry the authority of King Salman, but have made his son Prince Mohammed unquestionably the most powerful man in the kingdom

Among those arrested on allegations of corruption is Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, the Saudi King’s nephew who is worth more than $17bn according to Forbes, and owns stakes in Twitter, Lyft and Citigroup.

DailyMail.com’s source claims the crown prince lulled Alwaleed into a false sense of security, inviting him to a meeting at his Al Yamamah palace, then sent officers to arrest him the night before the meeting.

‘Suddenly at 2.45am all his guards were disarmed, the royal guards of MBS storm in,’ said the source.

‘He’s dragged from his own bedroom in his pajamas, handcuffed, put in the back of an SUV, and interrogated like a criminal.

‘They hung them upside down, just to send a message.

‘They told them that “we’ve made your charges public, the world knows that you’ve been arrested on these charges.”‘

After the arrests, a picture was given to DailyMail.com of the Saudi royals sleeping on thin mattresses in the ballroom of the five star Ritz Carlton Hotel in Riyadh.

A US State Department source told the New York Times Salman was ‘behaving recklessly without sufficient consideration to the likely consequences of his behavior, and that has the potential to damage US interests.’

However, the arrests drew praise from President Donald Trump, who tweeted that he had ‘great confidence in King Salman and the crown prince of Saudi Arabia’ after the corruption crackdown earlier this month.

Torture by a US citizen abroad has only been prosecuted in America once.

In 2008 the Boston-born son of former Liberian President Charles Taylor was found guilty by a US court of horrific torture.

The jury in Miami found Charles ‘Chuckie’ Taylor Jr. guilty on all eight counts brought against him, including allegations he and his cohorts tortured victims in Liberia by applying electric shocks to their genitals, burning them with hot irons and melting plastic and rubbing salt in their open wounds.

At the time Sigal Mandelker, the then deputy assistant attorney general with the crime division of the U.S. Department of Justice, said: ‘It sends a very powerful message to human rights violators worldwide that they are not welcome here.’

Taylor was arrested at Miami International Airport in 2006 and pleaded guilty to a charge of lying about his father’s identity on a passport application.

He was later indicted for torturing victims when he was the commander of a paramilitary security force called the Antiterrorist Unit – known as the ‘Demon Forces’ – that protected the elder Taylor while he was president of Liberia.

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