Monday, July 12, 2010

FP morning brief 7/12

Terrorist attack in Ugandan capital targets World Cup watchers

Top story: Twin explosions rocked Uganda's capital of Kampala on Sunday, killing at least 64 people. The bombing occurred within minutes of each other, targeting an Ethiopian garden restaurant and a rugby field where large numbers of people had gathered to watch the World Cup final. An official at the U.S. embassy confirmed that at least one American had been killed, and the spokeswoman for the Ugandan police also said that Ethiopian, Indian, and Congolese victims were among the dead. The security services have yet to determine what type of bomb was used, but have not ruled out a suicide attack.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far. However, the prime suspect appears to be al-Shabaab, an Islamist militia based in Somalia with links to al Qaeda. Uganda serves as a training ground from the soldiers of Somalia's transitional government, which is an enemy of al-Shabaab. Uganda and Burundi are also the two countries that contribute troops to the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia.

Sheik Yusuf Sheik Issa, an al-Shabaab commander, said that he was happy with the attack, though did not confirm that his group had a role in carrying it out. "Uganda is one of our enemies," he told the Associated Press. "Whatever makes them cry, makes us happy. May Allah's anger be upon those who are against us."

At the White House, spokesman Tommy Vietor condemned the terrorist bombing. "The president is deeply saddened by the loss of life resulting from these deplorable and cowardly attacks, and sends his condolences to the people of Uganda and the loved ones of those who have been killed or injured," he said.

Karzai wants ex-Taliban off UN blacklist: Afghan President Hamid Karzai will push for up to 50 former Taliban officials to be removed from a UN terrorism blacklist. This move is meant to advance his attempts to reintegrate the Taliban insurgents into the political system.

Pakistan's interior minister blamed Taliban militants coming from Afghanistan for the Friday attack in the Mohmand district of Pakistan, which killed more than 100 people.
A new study found that over 1,000 Afghans were killed in armed violence during the first six months of 2010, an increase from 2009.
Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan ruled out snap elections following his party's poor showing in upper house elections over the weekend.

President Obama commemorated the 15th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacres and said that those who committed the genocide should be brought to justice.
The Vatican suffered a financial loss of $5.2 million in 2009, the third straight year that it ran a deficit.
Switzerland rejected a U.S. request extradition request for Roman Polanski, and said that the film director could go free from house arrest.

12 bodyguards of FARC leader Guillermo Saenz were killed in a Colombian army raid on the group's base in Central Colombia.
Some of the political dissidents freed by Cuba are expected to arrive in Spain on Tuesday.
BP said that it is happy with the progress made in placing a new oil cap on its leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico.

Middle East
Iran's judiciary halted the death by stoning of a woman convicted of adultery.
Israel will release its first report on the deadly raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla today.
A scheduled session of Iraq's parliament will be delayed because the major political parties cannot agree on who should form the next government.

Former South African President Nelson Mandela attended the World Cup final in a rare public appearance.
Liberia's deputy speaker of parliament was freed from house arrest after allegedly ordering the beating of a policeman.
The International Criminal Court rejected an appeal by a Congolese militia leader to have his imprisonment declared unlawful.
-David Kenner
-/AFP/Getty Images

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