In brief: Somali militants threaten attacks, invasion in Kenya

TUESDAY, OCT. 18, 2011

MOGADISHU, Somalia – Somali militants on Monday threatened to bring down Nairobi skyscrapers after Kenya sent hundreds of troops into Somalia. The threat emanated from the same lawless country in which the al-Qaida masterminds behind 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies sought refuge.

The Kenyan invasion comes at a time when al-Shabab has been weakened by famine in its strongholds, has been pushed from the capital of Mogadishu by African Union troops, and finds itself increasingly challenged by clan militias.

The U.S. has also launched airstrikes against al-Shabab leaders amid concerns over terrorist training camps in the failed state of Somalia.

Al-Shabab lashed out in a news conference on Monday, saying that the “bloody battles that will ensue as a result of this incursion will most likely disrupt the social equilibrium and imperil the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians.”

“Your skyscrapers will be destroyed; your tourism will disappear. We shall inflict on you the same damage you inflicted on us,” Sheik Ali Mohamud Rage, a spokesman for the Islamist militia al-Shabab, said at a Mogadishu news conference.

U.N. chief urges reform, scolds Syrian leaders

BEIRUT – Syria’s leaders must stop “continuing to kill their own people,” launch “inclusive dialogue” and undertake “decisive” political reforms “before it is too late,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Monday.

“This killing must stop. Immediately,” Ban told reporters in Bern, Switzerland.

Meanwhile, an opposition group seeking to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad said at least 23 more people had been killed in the country, including 19 in the violence-racked city of Homs, a center of the anti-regime protest movement.

The group also accused the government of detaining doctors who treat demonstrators shot and beaten by government forces. Many wounded have sought home care because they fear going to hospitals and clinics subject to raids by security officers, the group said.

There was no immediate response from Syrian authorities. The U.N. chief, who has previously accused Assad of “broken promises,” called on Damascus to allow a U.N. team to investigate more than 3,000 killings in Syria since large-scale protests erupted in March.

TV station confirms death in August of Gadhafi son

BEIRUT – A pro-Gadhafi television station broadcasting from Syria has reportedly confirmed the death of one of the ousted Libyan leader’s sons.

Khamis Gadhafi, who commanded one of his father’s most feared military brigades, was killed on Aug. 29 in fighting in Tarhouna, 60 miles southeast of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, according to news reports attributed to Damascus-based Arrai television.

The same station has broadcast taped statements from Moammar Gadhafi and interviews with his former spokesman, Musa Ibrahim.

Rebel commanders had previously reported Khamis Gadhafi’s death, possibly by a NATO airstrike, but there had been no confirmation from Gadhafi loyalists. He was said to be 28.


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