The Japanese government is seeking information after reports a Japanese freelance journalist is being held hostage in Syria and has been threatened with execution, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Thursday.
“Given the nature of the matter, I would like to refrain from commenting on details.”
Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said this week it had received information that an armed group holding journalist Yasuda Jumpei hostage had started a countdown for an unspecified ransom to be paid and had threatened to execute or sell him to another group if their demands were not met.
“The safety of our citizens is an important responsibility of the government, so we are making every effort and making full use of various information networks.”
— Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga
RSF said in a statement on its website that Yasuda was kidnapped in July by an armed group in an area controlled by the militant Nusra Front, al Qaeda’s Syria wing, shortly after entering Syria earlier that month.
It urged the Japanese government to do what was needed to save Yasuda. Suga said the Japanese government knew of the case but was not aware of any fresh developments.
“Given the nature of the matter, I would like to refrain from commenting on details,” he told a regular news conference. Read the rest of this entry »
Stephen L. Carter writes:
There is an eerie Orwellian cost to the Obama administration’s refusal to use the term “War on Terror” to describe its … war on terror. In his briefing after the White House’s admission that two hostages — one American, one Italian — were killed in a U.S. “operation,” press secretary Josh Earnest struggled mightily to avoid the word “war” to describe exactly what the U.S.is up to. Finally he gave in and stated that under the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists, the nation is “at war” with al Qaeda.
“Why do the words matter? Because the inevitability of civilian casualties, even in the most justified of wars, is accepted both in international law and in the ethics of war.”
Why do the words matter? Because the inevitability of civilian casualties, even in the most justified of wars, is accepted both in international law and in the ethics of war. Civilian casualties are never good. They are a tragedy, a terrible cost that must be avoided whenever possible. But in wars, they happen.
“The problem the White House faces is its stubborn insistence that its non-war is being fought with precision. Earnest used that very word repeatedly. But it’s hard to take the claim seriously in light of calculations…”
As the philosopher Michael Walzer has pointed out, in the fluidity of minute-to-minute wartime decisions, it’s not possible to act with the sort of precision that might be called for in the classroom. Targeting noncombatants is forbidden. Nevertheless, they always suffer horribly in war. Read the rest of this entry »
The lawsuit charges media outlets with endangering the lives of others by deliberately ignoring security protocols
Paris (AFP) – Six people who hid in a kosher supermarket refrigerator during January’s Islamist attacks in Paris are suing French media for broadcasting their location live during the siege.
Images broadcast from the scene on January 9, when gunman Amedy Coulibaly stormed into the Hyper Cacher Jewish supermarket, killing four and taking others hostage, “lacked the most basic precautions” and endangered those still alive inside, said a lawyer representing the group, Patrick Klugman.
“We realised very quickly that a phrase by one of our journalists… about a hostage in the cold room was inappropriate, and was an error.”
— Herve Beroud, the station’s director of information
Klugman singled out French 24-hour news channel BFMTV, which revealed live on air that the group — including a three-year-old child and a one-month-old baby — was hiding from Coulibaly in the cold room, where they were taken by one of the supermarket’s employees.
“The working methods of media in real time in this type of situation were tantamount to goading someone to commit a crime.”
— The group’s lawyer, Patrick Klugman
“The working methods of media in real time in this type of situation were tantamount to goading someone to commit a crime,” Klugman told AFP Thursday, also roundly criticising coverage by other outlets of security forces movements during the standoff.
The lives of those hiding “could have been at risk if Coulibaly had been aware in real time what BFMTV was broadcasting,” Klugman said, adding that the jihadist was following the coverage of his raid on different channels and had been in contact with BFMTV journalists. Read the rest of this entry »
4:06 GMT – Charlie Hebdo staff – French Prime Minister Manuel Valls visited the headquarters of France’s Liberation newspaper Friday to “support the Charlie Hebdo journalists” who survived the attack and are being put up by the left-leaning daily.
Staff at the publication have said next week’s edition will go ahead, with a print run of one million copies, compared with its usual 60,000 a week.
14:06 GMT – Media warning – French media regulators CSA have urged TV and radio broadcasters to “act with the utmost discernment” to ensure the security of their teams and to not interfere with the investigation following the Charlie Hebdo attack and latest hostage episode.
14:05 GMT – Witnesses escape – Some witnesses to the shootings at the kosher grocery targeted by a hostage-taker in Paris’s Porte de Vincennes have managed to escape, a source close to the investigations tells AFP.
The hostage-taker burst into the mini-supermarket at around 13:00pm local time armed with two machine guns. He opened fire, the source adds, killing “at least two” and taking “at least five people hostage”.
14:05 GMT – Coulibaly – The man holding hostages in Vincennes knew at least one of the suspects in the Charlie Hebdo massacre, a source tells AFP.
Amedy Coulibaly, 32, was seen with Charlie Hebdo suspect Cherif Kouachi in 2010 during an investigation into an attempted prison break in France. Coulibaly was convicted for his role and was well-known to anti-terrorist police.
14:05 GMT – PARIS HOSTAGE-TAKER ‘KNEW’ CHARLIE HEBDO KILLER: SOURCE
13:48 GMT – Elysee – New crisis talks are to be held at the French Elysee presidential palace at 15:15pm in relation to the hostage-taking at Porte de Vincennes.
13:33 GMT – Elite troops – Around 20 armed police, apparently elite troops, are positioned behind shields below the shop where the hostages are being held, says AFP’s Stephane Jourdin. According to a police source the “hostage taker is still in place”.
13:24 GMT – POLICE RELEASE PHOTOS OF SUSPECTS
Police have released photos of a man and a woman wanted in connection with the fatal shooting Thursday at Montrouge.
The pair, named as Amedy Coulibaly, 32, and Hayat Boumeddiene, 26, are “likely armed and dangerous”, police say. Read the rest of this entry »
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) January 9, 2015
French Police Launch Operation Northeast of Paris
French police faced off with gunmen on two fronts Friday, as the suspects behind the attack on French magazine Charlie Hebdo holed up with a hostage in a printing facility north of Paris and prosecutors said another gunman took captives in a kosher grocery store on the eastern edge of the capital.
PARIS—Noémie Bisserbe, William Horobin and Jason Chow reporting: French police faced off with gunmen on two fronts Friday, as the suspects behind the attack on French magazine Charlie Hebdo holed up with a hostage in a printing facility north of Paris and prosecutors said another gunman took captives in a kosher grocery store on the eastern edge of the capital.
“An operation is currently under way near Dammartin-en-Goële that is mobilizing all the forces in the area.”
— French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, in a short televised address
The incidents escalated a three-day spree of violence in France and raised fears that officials are dealing with a broader militant network. Police believe the gunman in the kosher store is connected to the brothers who allegedly carried out the shooting at the magazine.
The same man is also suspected of killing a policewoman near Paris on Thursday. He is linked to the same Paris-based jihadist recruitment ring that one of the magazine-shooting suspects was convicted of being a member of, a police officer familiar with the matter said.
Police were swarming an industrial area near a town not far from the Charles de Gaulle airport where the Charlie Hebdo suspects are believed to be holed up, as helicopters loomed low overhead.
“An operation is currently under way near Dammartin-en-Goële that is mobilizing all the forces in the area,” French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said in a short televised address.
Tensions soared Friday when two gunmen believed to be the suspected shooters seized a Peugeot car in a forest area north of Dammartin-en-Goële. Thousands of policemen had been combing that area all night after witnesses had alerted authorities about the suspects’ possible presence in Villers-Cotterêts.
The gunmen drove south toward Paris before clashing with police forces when crossing through Dammartin-en-Goële, according to a police official. Read the rest of this entry »
Latest updates at 7:41 a.m. ET
• Brandet tweeted that negotiating teams have tried to establish contact with the extremists inside a Dammartin-en-Goele building.
• There had been no assault, nor any injuries or deaths, as of 1 p.m. (7 a.m. ET), the Interior Ministry spokesman added.
• A salesman, who identified himself only as Didier, told France Info radio that he shook one of the gunman’s hands as they arrived around 8:30 a.m. Friday at a Dammartin-en-Goele printing business — the same place where the Kouachi brothers are believed to be surrounded. Didier told the public radio station that he first thought the man, who was dressed in black and heavily armed, was a police officer.
As he left, the armed man said, “Go, we don’t kill civilians.” Didier said, “It wasn’t normal. I did not know what was going on.”
• The two suspects in the Charlie Hebdo attack spoke to officers by phone and said they wanted to die as martyrs, according to a French member of parliament for the district where a police operation is taking place. Yves Albarello, who is in the Dammartin-en-Goele area, was speaking on French channel iTele. Read the rest of this entry »
At least one gunman has taken several people hostage at a cafe in the Australian city of Sydney.
Pictures on Australian television show at least three people with their hands up against a window, and a black flag with Arabic writing.
“All Australians should be reassured that our law enforcement and security agencies are well trained and equipped and are responding in a thorough and professional manner.”
— Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott
Hundreds of armed police have sealed off Martin Place in Sydney’s central business district.
New South Wales police have asked people to avoid the area.
An Australian Broadcasting Corporation reporter said that gunfire had been heard at the scene, the Lindt chocolate cafe – but this has not been confirmed.
Police have also said that they are dealing with an “incident” at the Sydney Opera House which has been evacuated.
Local media are reporting that a suspicious package was found there on Monday.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has described the incident as “deeply concerning” in a statement. Read the rest of this entry »
‘Flawless’ Except That the Hostages Weren’t There
“Was this a failure of intelligence? No…This operation, by the way, was a flawless operation, but…”
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept. Confirms that Suspect in Bellflower Standoff was Shot and Killed During Hostage RescuePosted: August 18, 2014
— Robert Holguin (@ABC7Robert) August 18, 2014