Displaying items by tag: Terrorism

Ariana Grande returns to U.S. following Manchester bombing

  • Published in U.S.

Ariana Grande returned to the United States on Tuesday, one day after a suicide bomber killed 22 people at the singer's concert in Manchester, England, as questions lingered over whether she would continue her European tour.

Grande, 23, was seen in photographs posted on the Daily Mail website walking down the steps of a private plane at an airport in her hometown of Boca Raton, Florida, and being met by family members.

The Daily Mail images showed the diminutive pop star dressed casually in sweats and appearing downcast as she greeted her boyfriend, the rapper Mac Miller, on the tarmac and getting into a waiting car.

Grande had not been seen publicly since an explosion ripped through the packed Manchester Arena at the end of her performance there. Some of the 22 people who died in the attack were teens or young girls. Grande was apparently unharmed.

British police have identified the man suspected of carrying out the massacre as 22-year-old Salman Abedi, who was born in Manchester to parents of Libyan origin. Islamic State claimed responsibility for what it called revenge against "Crusaders," but there appeared to be contradictions in its account of the operation.

In her only statement so far, Grande took to Twitter some five hours after the bombing to describe herself as "broken" in the aftermath of the attack.

"from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don't have words," she said in the tweet.

Grande was performing in Manchester during the European leg of a tour to promote her third album, "Dangerous Woman," which also has her scheduled to visit London, Belgium, Poland, Germany, Switzerland and France in the coming weeks.

Despite speculation that she would cancel the rest of the tour, no formal announcement had been made as of Tuesday. Grande's manager, Scooter Braun, did not respond to requests for comment by Reuters.

"We mourn the lives of children and loved ones taken by this cowardly act," Braun said in a statement posted on Twitter on Monday evening. "We ask all of you to hold the victims, their families and all those affected in your hearts and prayers."

Grande, a native of Boca Raton, starred in the Broadway musical "13" and on the Nickelodeon TV series "Victorious" before releasing her solo debut album, "Yours Truly."

Best known for her singles "Problem" and "Break Free," Grande is credited with having an exceptionally broad vocal range for a pop star.  Reuters

Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Jonathan Oatis



Salman Abedi named as the Manchester suicide bomber - what we know about him

  • Published in World


Abu Sayyaf temporary camp in Basilan captured



SUMISIP, Basilan – The Joint Task Force Basilan under Colonel Juvymax R. Uy consisting of the 4th Special Forces Battalion and 3rd Scout Ranger Regiment scored anew after engaging the scampering Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) Thursday, May 11. 

Armed with intelligence reports from ASG surrenderers, the local populace, and local government units, the brigade was able to track down the ASG's temporary encampment. 

Just before dawn, operating troops under the 4th Special Forces Battalion managed to close in on the enemy's temporary camp in Bgy Pamatsaken, Sumisip municipality, which is believed to be harboring ASG sub-leader Furuji Indama. 

“Equipped with night fighting capabilities, our troops were able to inch within a hundred meters of the enemy under the cover of darkness,” Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Bacala Jr, commanding officer of the 4th Special Forces Battalion, said.

Evading several improvised explosive devices (IEDs) laid out by the bandits, the Special Forces troops managed to seize completely the encampment before 10 in the morning last Thursday.

Sourced photo by Richard Falcatan

Sourced photo by Richard Falcatan 

Seizure of the site yielded 12 makeshift tents capable of accommodating at least 30 to 40 Abu Sayyaf bandits across 150 meters. Blood stains were found in the vicinity, with intel reports estimating no less than 20 ASG fatalities from the combined airstrikes and indirect fires. 

The troops also recovered food stuff and explosive components for about 30 IEDs. Three live IEDs were also recovered by Special Forces demolition specialists. One IED, however, was detonated, inflicting minor injuries on two troopers. None were reported to be in critical condition. 

Successive firefight followed as the Rangers from the 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion caught up with the fleeing bandits some 300 meters from the seized encampment.

“Our troops were able to cordon the enemy due to the accurate and timely indirect fires and close air support delivered by our artillery and the Philippine air force,” Uy said.

“Also, the information being volunteered by the populace and LGUs provided critical details to validate the intelligence we have on hand,” he added.

Naval Task Group Basilan also conducted maritime interdiction operations to prevent the bandits from escaping by sea.

Shock and awe

The bandits also got a taste of the air force’s F/A 50 after the jet fighters delivered their deadly payload, inflicting immediate fatalities on the ASG.

“The ASGs were so shocked they left most of their personal belongings and unfinished meal at their encampment,” a team leader from the Special Forces who cleared the site said. 

The airstrikes were immediately followed with artillery and mortar fires, inflicting additional damage on the bandits.

Resources dwindling, members getting desperate

Unlike previous engagements, the ASGs have now resorted to evading government forces as their resources run low.

“We no longer experience the prolonged firefights with the ASGs. This suggests that they have run out of ammunition and other supplies necessary to engage government forces," Uy explained. "More than just resources, they no longer have the mass base they once enjoyed."

Debriefing from ASG surrenderers revealed that most of their members “have lost the will to fight due to the intensified military operations and no longer believe in the promises of a better life with the terrorist group,” Uy said.

“It will only take a matter of time before the ASG succumbs and their dream of establishing a folly caliphate will finally come to an end," Uy continued. "With the string of victories we are attaining, it will not take long before the ASG's threats are downgraded to no more than that of an ordinary criminal.” – Rappler.com

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