Albania expels Iranian diplomats for ‘harming security’

Prime Minister Edi Rama of Albania. (Reuters)
Updated 20 December 2018
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Albania expels Iranian diplomats for ‘harming security’

  • “Prime Minister Edi Rama of Albania just expelled the Iranian ambassador, signaling to Iran’s leaders that their support for terrorism will not be tolerated,” Bolton wrote on Twitter

TIRANA: Albania said Wednesday it has expelled two Iranian diplomats for security reasons, with US officials identifying one as the ambassador and saying the pair plotted “terrorist attacks” in the Balkan country.
The diplomats were suspected of “involvement in activities that harm the country’s security,” Albania’s Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Edlira Prendi told reporters, adding that the decision was taken in consultation with other countries.
She declined to provide the diplomats’ names or elaborate on the nature of their alleged offense.
But in a statement welcoming the move, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described the diplomats as “two Iranian agents who plotted terrorist attacks in Albania.”
US National Security Adviser John Bolton also identified one of the diplomats as the ambassador.
“Prime Minister Edi Rama of Albania just expelled the Iranian ambassador, signaling to Iran’s leaders that their support for terrorism will not be tolerated,” Bolton wrote on Twitter.
He added: “We stand with PM Rama and the Albanian people as they stand up to Iran’s reckless behavior in Europe and across the globe.”
An Albanian TV station, Top Channel, reported that the Iranians were suspected of links to an alleged plot to attack a 2016 World Cup match between Albania and Israel.
After the match some 20 people were arrested in Albania and Kosovo in connection with the alleged plot.
At the request of US authorities and the UN in 2013, Albania agreed to take in some 3,000 members of Iranian opposition group known as The People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI).
Their relocation from a camp in Iraq was completed in 2016 when the last 280 people left for Albania. They currently live in a compound in the northwest of the country.


Deadly incidents leave nine civilians, many policemen dead in Somalia

Security forces stand near the wreckage of an official vehicle that was destroyed in a bomb attack in the capital Mogadishu, Somalia, on Saturday. (AP)
Updated 2 min 13 sec ago
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Deadly incidents leave nine civilians, many policemen dead in Somalia

  • Local officials have in the past fingered the Rahanweyn clan for fomenting instability in the region and supplying militants to Al-Shabab

MOGADISHU/NAIROBI: Nine civilians were executed by a local militia in war-torn Somalia after the killing of a policeman by the militant group Al-Shabab, police said on Saturday.
Separately, a roadside bomb hit a police vehicle patrolling near Kenya’s border with Somalia, killing several of the 11 officers inside, a police spokesman said.
Exact casualty figures from Saturday’s patrol attack were still unclear, police spokesman Charles Owino told Reuters. Both attacks were claimed by Somali insurgents who also kidnapped three Kenyan police reservists on Friday from the same area in Wajir district in northeast Kenya.
The revenge attack on Friday just outside Galkayo — one of the most developed cities in the center of the country — targeted the Rahanweyn clan, several of whose members are suspected of being Al-Shabab militants.
“This was a horrible incident, a gruesome killing against nine unarmed innocent civilians in southern Galkayo. All of the civilians belong to one clan and the gunmen shot them dead in one location a few minutes after suspected Al-Shabab gunmen killed” a policeman, Mohamed Abdirahman, a local police official said.
“This is an unacceptable act and we will bring those perpetrators to justice,” said Hussein Dini, a traditional elder.
“Their killing cannot be justified. It seems that the merciless gunmen were retaliating for the security official who they believe was killed by Al-Shabab gunmen belonging to the clan of the victims.”

Fomenting instability
Witnesses told local media that the victims were rounded up from the streets or their homes and then shot dead on the outskirts of Galkayo. Local officials have in the past fingered the Rahanweyn clan for fomenting instability in the region and supplying militants to Al-Shabab.

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The local militia which staged the revenge attack are from the Saad Habargidir, a sub-clan of the Hawiye group which is dominant in the southern part of the city.

The local militia which staged the revenge attack are from the Saad Habargidir, a sub-clan of the Hawiye group which is dominant in the southern part of the city.
Galkayo, situated about 600 km north of the capital Mogadishu, straddles the frontier with the self-proclaimed autonomous regions of Puntland and Galmudug.
The city has been the scene of violent clashes between forces of the two regions in recent years and also witnessed violence between the two rival clans occupying its northern and southern districts.