Thousands evacuated from Moscow buildings as Russian cities inundated with bomb threats

Over 20 shopping centers, railway stations and universities had to be evacuated in Moscow, following warnings that they had been rigged with explosives. In total, 190 sites have been evacuated across 17 Russian cities after bomb threats, a security source told RIA news agency.

“This appears to be a case of telephone terrorism, but we have to check the credibility of these messages,” an emergency service source told Tass news agency, noting that the calls began at the same time, and continued after the evacuations had begun.

Tass reported that over 20,000 people had been affected by the evacuation in Moscow alone.

Emergency services said that police units including explosives specialists and officers with sniffer dogs are examining the buildings. Several later reported that police cordons had been lifted.

Among the locations affected are three of the capital's biggest railway stations, more than a dozen shopping centers – including GUM, located next to Red Square – and at least three universities, the leading First Moscow State Medical University, and the Moscow State Institute of International Relations among them.

Tass reported that the railway timetable remained unaffected by the police operation. Social media accounts show bemused crowds milling passively outside evacuated buildings, and there have been no reports of disturbances of public order.

President Vladimir Putin has been informed of the incidents, but his press secretary Dmitry Peskov said that he would not be commenting “as this is a matter for the security services to address.”

An epidemic of hoax bomb warnings has plagued Russia over the past week. Security services told the RIA news agency that over 45,000 people were evacuated from public places in 22 Russian cities on Tuesday, adding that many of the calls appeared to have come from Ukraine.

Terrorist false alarms are punishable by up to five years in prison under Russian law, and multiple police investigations have been opened.  However, the possibility that the hoaxers are using pre-recorded messages - as appears to be the case in earlier, identical messages - automated dialing systems and digital means of concealing their true location present difficulties in identifying the culprits.

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Dozens dead and injured after massive blast rocks Kabul (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

A suicide bomb attack in Kabul early Sunday has reportedly left at least 35 people dead and 40 others injured, interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish has confirmed. The number of casualties is expected to rise, according to an official.

Earlier, the health ministry reported at least 2 dead and six injured in the explosion.

Pictures purportedly showing the blast’s devastation have been circulating on social media.

The Taliban has already claimed responsibility for the attack, Reuters reports.

@tabishkafili An explosion has occurred in western neighborhood of but no reports yet of casualties or cause pic.twitter.com/cxRBsLeLcF

@tabishkafili More Photos of Blast pic.twitter.com/SMq26C29o4

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The explosion is said to have happened near the house of Mohammad Mohaqiq, an MP and founder and chairman of the  People’s Islamic Unity Party of Afghanistan.

Mohaqiq is also the second deputy of Chief Executive of Afghanistan, Abdullah Abdullah.

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Cuba condemns terrorist attacks in Caracas

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba issued a statement regarding recent events in the Venezuelan capital.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba strongly condemns the terrorist attacks in Caracas against the Supreme Court of Justice and the Ministry of Popular Power for Internal Affairs, Justice and Peace.

It is unjustifiable that certain governments and political figures, instead of expressing resolute and direct opposition to these terrorist and coup-mongering acts, present them as a supposed police rebellion, and manipulate them to incite the rupture of the civic-military union, and to attack the dignified decision of President Nicolás Manduro Moros to prevent chaos and call for the legitimate defense of constitutional order.

It is not surprising that the Organization of American States (OAS) and its secretary general have become, through their silence, accomplices of what happened and what may happen.

Cuba resolutely rejects the use of terrorism and foreign interference in Venezuela, while reiterating its firmest solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution and its leaders. Nothing and no one will prevent the brave people of Bolívar and Chávez from fighting with determination to defend their ideas and achievements, and restore the peace that others have broken.

Havana, June 28, 2017

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USA: The “almighty” Trump?

A few days ago, the billionaire stated that being president is harder than he thought, and reality endorses his opinion.

Suffix to tell, among many, two close examples to demonstrate it.

Attorneys General Brian Frosh of Maryland and Karl Racine of the District of Columbia sued him for accepting money from foreign governments.

Those incomes came from businesses still linked to the head of the White House.

During a press conference in Washington, both prosecutors stated that Trump “flagrantly violated constitutional provisions against money influence from domestic or foreign interests.

Thus wrote El Nuevo Herald on Monday, those officials consider that never before a president of the U.S. had kept such big links with economic interests of the country.

Something that according to the newspaper from Florida “jeopardizes democracy”.

Frosh, Maryland Attorney General, assured he trusts that tribunals or the Supreme Court set a precedent ordering Trump to disassociate from his businesses.

Attorneys generals manage to say he is violating clauses of the federal Constitution.

Reason? Because governments like Saudi Arabia “sweeten” their relations with the White House by spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in president’s facilities, such as the Trump International Hotel.

If this were not enough, also on Monday, Spanish news agency EFE reported that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Atlantastruck the head of state another sensitive blow.

What was it about? It refused to reinstate the ban encouraged by Trump last March on the entry into US territory of refugees and citizens from 6 mostly-Muslim nations.

So, the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit benefits those who reject the move and imposes further pressure on the Supreme Court.

In the decision, which text comprises 86 pages, the judges state:

“Immigration, even for a President is not an individual show. The president’s authority is subject to certain statuary and constitutional restrictions”.

“We conclude that the president, in issuing this executive order, exceeded the scope of the authority delegated to him by Congress”.

So, the almighty businessman from New York has to yield to certain realities of the very complex world around.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

Time to assassinate Syrian President Assad & get to his allies in Iran – Israeli minister

An Israeli minister has bluntly called for Syrian leader Bashar Assad to be assassinated after unsourced media reports claimed Damascus was using a “crematorium” to cover-up mass killings. He said the “serpent’s head” in Tehran should be dealt with next.

“The reality whereby Syria executes people, intentionally uses chemical weapons to hurt them and, now, in the most recent move of extremism, is burning their bodies – this has not been seen in the world in 70 years,” said Israeli Housing Minister Yoav Galant, as cited by Haaretz. 

 
© Kacper Pempel

“We are crossing a red line and, in my view, the time has come to assassinate Assad,” he continued.

“And when we finish with the tail of the serpent, we will reach the head of the serpent, which can be found in Tehran, and we will deal with it, too,” he said.

What appears to be the first recorded Israeli threat to assassinate Syrian President Bashar Assad came after the US Department of State alleged, without presenting any hard evidence, that the Syrian government is using “a crematorium” outside Damascus to burn the bodies of people killed by the government.

Earlier on Tuesday, Galant told Israeli Army Radio that Assad’s rule has been the worst since Nazi Germany. “What is happening in Syria is defined as genocide, under all its classifications,” he said on Army Radio, according to Jerusalem Post.

Galant, a retired IDF general, added that Israel wants to see Assad and his Alawite government ousted from power and replaced by a “moderate Sunni ruler.”

READ MORE: More Arabs view Israel positively than Jews, poll reveals

Some previous attempts to compare Assad’s government to the Nazi regime have been met with public outcry. White House spokesman Sean Spicer, who claimed that Hitler’s death squads hadn’t used chemical agents during the Holocaust “in the way that Assad used them” sparked outrage in the US and beyond.

Certain journalists have used the Assad-Hitler comparison when covering claims that Syrian forces have used chemical weapons, but those remarks were dismissed by the public.

Assad, a UK-educated doctor, has been in power since the 1999 passing of his father, Syria’s long-time president, Hafez Assad. Syria is one of the few Arab countries where the president is elected through a nationwide vote.

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Multiple Dead in Suicide Attacks on Iran Parliament

Four gunmen reportedly burst into Tehran’s parliament complex with rifles and a pistol, and one of the attackers blew himself up on the fourth floor.

Gunmen and suicide bombers reportedly carried out a coordinated attack on Iran’s parliament.

RELATED: Ayatollah: Saudi Arabia Is a 'Cow Milked' by U.S.

Four gunmen reportedly burst into Tehran’s parliament complex with rifles and a pistol, and one of the attackers blew himself up on the fourth floor, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported.

At least 12 people have died and dozens injured, the head of Iran's emergency department, Pir-Hossein Kolivand, was quoted as saying by state broadcaster IRIB.

There were also other unsubstantiated sources reporting that a number of members of parliament were taken hostage.

It is unclear how the attackers breached the security checkpoints to enter the parliament building.

Police helicopters were hovering over the building, entrance and exit gates were closed, and mobile phones were jammed.

Chamber reporters were ordered to stay put.

A Jamaran News image said to be of the moment the attacker detonated a suicide belt at the Khomeini shrine.

Witnesses said the attackers were shooting from the fourth floor of the parliament building down at people in the streets below.

Ebrahim Ghanimi, who was passing the building when the attack occurred told the Associated Press: “I thought that children were playing with fireworks, but I realized people were hiding and lying down on the streets.”

Approximately half an hour after the first attack, three to four individuals entered the western entrance of Khomeini’s tomb complex and opened fire. One attacker also reportedly detonated a suicide belt.

The ILNA agency said security forces were dismantling a bomb at the mausoleum, which is in southern Tehran, about 12 miles from the parliament building.

Iran’s intelligence ministry said a third plot was foiled.

The state broadcaster Irib reported that the ministry said: “Members of a third group were arrested before being able to carry out any attack.”

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West bears responsibility for chaos & terrorist attacks in MidEast and N. Africa – Lavrov

The western states that supported regime changes and financed militants in the Greater Middle East, particularly in Libya, bear responsibility for the chaos ravaging the region, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said during his visit to Cairo.

Lavrov arrived in Cairo on Monday with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu for a joint meeting of the Russian and Egyptian foreign and defense ministers. The fight against terrorism was top of the meeting’s agenda.

Both sides reiterated that for counter-terrorist efforts to have any effect, the fight against this global threat must be carried out jointly.

“The recent attack on the Coptic Christians once again highlights the need for vigilance. We stand united in our attempt to boost anti-terrorist efforts around the globe,” Lavrov said during a joint press conference with his Egyptian counterpart that followed the meeting.

Lavrov was referring to Friday’s terrorist attack in the town of Minya, which claimed the lives of 28 people, including children, and left dozens injured. Islamic State (IS, former ISIS/ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attack, which prompted Egypt to launch what it called responsive strikes against jihadist positions in neighboring Libya.

On Saturday, the Egyptian Defense Ministry said in a statement that Egypt’s armed forces have successfully completed the destruction of all planned targets abroad, including the militants’ concentration areas and training camps.

During the press conference, Lavrov addressed the issue of the ongoing Libyan crisis that poses a security threat for neighboring countries, including Egypt, and once again drew attention to the fact that western involvement in the crisis in the North African country led only to the dismantling of its statehood and eventually turned it into “a backyard for terrorists.”

“Libya was bombed and its government was violently overthrown. It was turned into a backyard for terrorists and criminals. The regime was changed with the help of those [militants], who came from Europe. They were free to leave their countries because everybody knew where they were going and what they were going to do there. And then they were welcomed back,” he said.

“Now, we just see the consequences of these irresponsible policies,” Lavrov told reporters at the press conference, adding that western countries should bear responsibility for the chaos that resulted from their actions.

Earlier, Lavrov also met with the Secretary-General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul-Gheit. The Secretary-General later told RT’s Maria Finoshina that he “very much” approves of Egypt’s airstrikes against terrorists in Libya.

Shoigu also discussed issues related to combating terrorism and extremism with his Egyptian counterpart. The two sides agreed to continue sharing intelligence and discussed joint exercises and military training.

The Russian and Egyptian foreign and defense ministers also held a joint meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi and discussed regional conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa.

In October 2015, 224 people, mostly Russian citizens, were killed after an improvised explosive device went off on board an Airbus A321 flying from Sharm El Sheikh International Airport to St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Airport. The Metrojet Flight 9268 crashed as it was flying over the northern Sinai Peninsula. Islamic State’s supporters in Sinai claimed responsibility for the attack. The bombing led to several countries suspending flights to Egypt over concerns of lack of airport security. While Moscow has continued to uphold the ban, the steps undertaken by Cairo to improve security have led to an agreement to resume the flights “in the shortest term,” the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said following Monday’s meeting in Cairo.

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1,000 soldiers on streets as nervous Britain prepares for ‘imminent’ terror attack

Troops are being deployed to guard Buckingham Palace, Downing Street, and Parliament after Prime Minister Theresa May warned that another terror attack is “expected imminently.”

Meanwhile, a knifeman was arrested on The Mall outside Buckingham Palace on Wednesday morning just moments before the Queen passed by in a car on her way to an engagement at St. Paul’s Cathedral.

A picture shows the man sitting handcuffed on the ground surrounded by officers, with one holding what is believed to be a large blade that had been seized. The incident is not believed to be related to terrorism.

@KateProctorES Army just arrived at Parliament. @standardnews

@MrHarryCole Army just arrived at parliament. Mfl

The government says up to 984 armed military personnel will be deployed on Britain’s streets as part of ‘Operation Temperer’, which has been launched in the wake of the terrorist attack at a pop concert in Manchester. Twenty-two people were killed, including children, and 59 were injured when Salman Adebi, 22, blew himself up at Manchester Arena on Monday night.

Foreign Secretary Amber Rudd told Sky News that “people are likely to see some military on the streets.” The deployment is intended to free up armed officers for counter-terrorism operations.

On Tuesday night, the British government raised its terrorist threat level from ‘severe’ to ‘critical’ – the highest on the scale – meaning another attack is considered imminent. It was last raised to this level after the 2007 Glasgow airport bombing.

Security increased in London as terror alert raised to 'critical'

Rudd has noted that Monday’s attack was “more sophisticated” than previous ones, and “it seems likely – possible – that he wasn’t doing this on his own.”

On Wednesday morning, three more men were arrested in connection with the suicide bombing. Abedi’s brother, 23, was arrested on Tuesday. All four men are currently in police custody.

Mark Rowley, the head of national counter-terrorism policing, said in a statement that the investigation is “large scale, fast moving and making good progress.”

 
Police officers stand outside a residential property near to where a man was arrested in the Chorlton area of Manchester, Britain May 23, 2017. © Stefan Wermuth

“I have asked for support from the military to be deployed alongside the police … This is part of an agreed and well-rehearsed plan, and military personnel will remain under the command and control of the police service,” he added.

Westminster Palace has been closed to the public in light of police advice, and will not re-open until further notice, a statement on its website said.

In addition, the Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace was canceled on Wednesday in order to redeploy officers, the Ministry of Defence said.

London’s mayor Sadiq Khan says he wants to reassure all Londoners and visitors that “everything possible” is being done to protect the city, and has urged people to remain “calm and vigilant.”

“Emergency services prepare day in, day out for these situations. Our plans are well rehearsed and well prepared,” he said.

“There will be additional police officers on London’s streets over the coming days including additional armed officers. You will also see some military personnel around London.”

@SadiqKhan The national threat level has been raised to 'critical'. Watch my statement on what this means for Londoners today.

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