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Al Qaeda’s master bomb maker made it clear that ISIS is not the only terror group that is a threat to the U.S. CNN’s Jim Sciutto reports.


Massive manhunt continues for Algerian brothers tied to Paris massacre as France holds day of mourning


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Mourners and Sunni gunmen chant slogans against Iraq’s Shiite-led government during the funeral of a man killed when clashes erupted between al Qaeda gunmen and Iraqi army soldiers on Friday in Fallujah.

By F. Brinley Bruton, Staff Writer, NBC News

The United States will help Iraq fight an al Qaeda-linked group that seized the city of Fallujah in the west of the country, but will not send American troops, Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday.

“We will stand with the government of Iraq and with others who will push back against their efforts to destabilize,” Kerry told journalists as he left Jerusalem for Jordan and Saudi Arabia. “We are going to do everything that is possible. I will not go into the details.”

The Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL), which took control of Fallujah and Ramadi over last week, is one of the strongest rebel groups in Syria and has imposed a strict version of Islamic law in territories it holds.

U.S. intelligence officials said Friday the situation in western Iraq was “extremely dire” after the radical forces raised their flag in the town of Fallujah — site of two of the bloodiest battles during the Iraq war — and gained control of the city.

Kerry admitted that the U.S. was “very, very concerned” by the fighting, and called ISIL “the most dangerous players in that region.”

The ISIL claimed responsibility for a suicide car bombing in in Lebanon on Saturday.

Reuters contributed to this report. 

Related:

Al Qaeda fighters take over parts of two Iraq cities


Mohammed Jalil / EPA

An exterior view of the local council’s building destroyed by attackers in Fallujah, western Iraq, Jan. 3, 2014.

By Andrea Mitchell and Courtney Kube, NBC News

U.S. intelligence officials said Friday the situation in western Iraq was “extremely dire” after radical Sunni forces linked with al Qaeda raised their flag in the town of Fallujah – site of two of the bloodiest battles during the Iraq war – and gained control of the city.

Islamist insurgents have also battled tribesmen for control of the Iraqi city of Ramadi.

The fighters brandished their weapons and set police vehicles ablaze on Wednesday, The Associated Press reported. A provincial spokesman said the militants had taken over police stations and military posts in Fallujah and Ramadi after security forces left.

An interior ministry official told Agence France-Presse that ISIL, the al Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, remained in control of parts of the two cities on Thursday.

The move is another sign that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has not been able to maintain control of the country since the United States withdrew its troops in 2011, failing to reach an agreement with the Maliki government to leave behind a residual force.

There are currently no U.S. troops in Fallujah or Ramadi, according to the Pentagon.

The State Department said the violence that reached another peak Friday was a spillover from the civil war in neighboring Syria — and that the border between Syria and Iraq has now become meaningless.

The United States rejected suggestions that American troops could help stabilize the situation.

“If we couldn’t control that border with 150,000 troops in that country during the war, what would a few hundred accomplish?” one U.S. official said.

The U.S., however, did last month authorize the sale to the Maliki government of Hellfire missiles and Scan Eagle surveillance drones.

The United States continues to have a large diplomatic presence in the country, along with about 100 Marines and 100 high-level institutional trainers — nearly all in Baghdad. There is also a smaller U.S. Consulate in Erbil.

During the two battles of Fallujah in 2004, the U.S. lost 51 and 95 troops, respectively. More than 1,000 U.S. troops were injured in total.


 

Published on Dec 26, 2013

 

In a videotaped plea to the president, secretary of state, the media and his family, U.S. government contractor Warren Weinstein is seen urging the Obama administration to negotiate for his release. He says he feels “totally abandoned and forgotten,” and calls on all Americans to use social media to mount a campaign to seek his release. Weinstein, 72, of Rockville, was kidnapped by al-Qaeda militants in Pakistan in 2011. The video was provided to The Washington Post in an anonymous email on Dec. 25. The Obama administration has said it will not negotiate with al-Qaeda for Weinstein’s release.

 

 


SANAA — A suicide bomber drove a car packed with explosives into the gate of Yemen‘s Defense Ministry on Thursday causing a large number of casualties, a source at the ministry told Reuters.

Gun shots were heard near the area shortly after the explosion and ambulances rushed to the scene, a Reuters witness said.

Several army vehicles also rushed to the scene in the old district of the capital Sanaa which is also home to the country’s central bank, the witness said.

CBS News contributor Jere Van Dyk, on assignment in Sanaa, said the blast rattled the house where he was staying and he heard subsequent small arms fire, sirens, and fighter jets flying overhead as black smoke rose from the area of the attack.

Violence is common in Yemen, where an interim government is grappling with southern secessionists, al Qaeda-linked militants and northern Houthi rebels, as well as severe economic problems inherited from veteran President Ali Abdullah Saleh who was forced out of office in 2011.

“The attack took place shortly after working hours started at the ministry when a suicide bomber drove a car into the gate,” the Defence Ministry source said.

The exact number of casualties was still unclear.

“The explosion was very violent, the whole place shook because of it and plumes of smoke rose from the building,” an employee who works in a nearby building told Reuters.