October 4th, 2012
07:21 PM ET

U.S. military official: Special Ops helping gather intel on Libyan militia

By Barbara Starr

U.S. Special Operations forces are in Libya and nearby countries aiding in the collection of intelligence regarding suspected Libyan militia who were part of the deadly assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, a U.S. military official told CNN.

The intelligence gathering effort is just part of a broader involvement by the American military in the aftermath of the September 11 attack, including providing security on Thursday to an FBI investigative team that traveled to Benghazi.

The special operations units are employing various methods to investigate, including communications intercepts, satellite and drone imagery and face-to-face meetings with those who may have information, the official said.The official declined to be identified due to the sensitive nature of the information.
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Filed under: Libya • Libya • Middle East • Military • Terrorism • USSOCOM
Afghan government: Insider attacks are terrorism
In this photograph taken on August 5, 2012, an Afghan National Army soldier walks during a patrol with US soldiers from Apache team, Task force Geronimo in the village of Karizona, Sabari District in Khost Province.
October 4th, 2012
06:45 PM ET

Afghan government: Insider attacks are terrorism

By Jamie Crawford

The vast majority of attacks by Afghan soldiers on their U.S. and NATO counterparts are the result of a "mutation" of terrorist tactics rather than a difference in cultural sensitivities, a senior Afghan official said Thursday.

"The majority of it is a terrorist infiltration in the (Afghan army) ranks and forces which is a tragic thing in itself," Jawed Ludin, Afghanistan'sdeputy foreign minister, said of "green on blue' attacks, in which Afghan soldiers turn their weapons on NATO forces alongside whom they serve.

U.S. officials have said a percentage of such attacks can be attributed to cultural grievances by Afghan forces, as well as Taliban or other insurgents exploiting the situation to drive a wedge between the United States and Afghanistan.
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BREAKING NEWS: FBI team at Benghazi site
October 4th, 2012
01:11 PM ET

BREAKING NEWS: FBI team at Benghazi site

By Barbara Starr

The FBI has sent an investigative team to the site of last month's deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, a senior administration official told CNN Thursday.

Arriving late Wednesday and working through Thursday, the team examined the outpost, located in the city of Benghazi, the official said.

A U.S. military security force accompanied the FBI team to the site and provided security for them as they traveled there. Officials said it was an indication of the ongoing security concerns in the region.

The September 11 consulate attack killed U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

The incident fueled increased global scrutiny of the North African nation, led by a government that toppled dictator Moammar Gadhafi last year.

It also sparked political debate over whether the Obama administration has been forthcoming about its understanding of events.

The FBI visit to Benghazi had been stalled for more than three weeks because of security concerns at the site.

FBI and military officials have said they would need proper military protection in case of another attack on the U.S. Consulate.

The official described the support as both visible and more covert, suggesting the use of intelligence assets to monitor communications and the surrounding areas. The military team was "relatively small," the official said.

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October 4th, 2012
04:31 AM ET

Turkey strikes targets in Syria in retaliation for shelling deaths

By Ivan Watson, CNN

Turkey fired on Syrian government targets in response to the shelling of a Turkish border town in which five civilians were killed Wednesday, according to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's office.

The town of Akcakale "was hit by artillery fire belonging to the Syrian regime forces," a statement from Erdogan's office said, in the first clear assertion of blame for the shelling.

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Filed under: Syria • Turkey
October 4th, 2012
04:26 AM ET

Opposition: Turkey resumes shelling of Syrian military sites

By Ivan Watson and Saad Abedine, CNN

Istanbul, Turkey (CNN) - Turkey was shelling Syrian military sites near its border early Thursday, according to the opposition, even as the Turkish parliament was to convene an emergency session to consider granting authority to preemptively strike its neighbor.

The opposition claims follows news Wednesday that Turkey fired on Syrian government targets in response to the shelling of a Turkish border town.

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Filed under: Syria • Turkey
Exclusive: Army turned down Afghanistan-bound troops' preferred anti-IED system
October 4th, 2012
03:05 AM ET

Exclusive: Army turned down Afghanistan-bound troops' preferred anti-IED system

By Mike Mount, CNN Senior National Security Producer

Army staff at the Pentagon are denying or delaying some requests for a preferred anti-roadside-bomb system preferred by Army combat units deploying to restive regions of Afghanistan, according to internal Army documents obtained exclusively by CNN's Security Clearance.

Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) continue to be a leading killer of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and the anti-IED program has been at the center of an ongoing controversy with the Army accused of denying troops a better - and less expensive - system developed by an outside company in favor of one developed in-house.

According to the documents, the latest rebuff by Army staff was aimed at the 4th Brigade Combat Team (4th BCT) of the 1st Infantry Division, based in Fort Riley, Kansas.

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October 4th, 2012
12:10 AM ET

Sources: Pro Al Qaeda Group Steps Up Suicide Bombings in Syria

By Nic Robertson and Paul Cruickshank

In scenes reminiscent of Iraq, a wave of blasts targeting government forces devastated the center of Aleppo, Syria’s most populous city Wednesday. And a hardline jihadist group, Jabhat al Nusra – quickly claimed responsibility for the attacks – posting photographs and martyrs' messages online.

Syrian state media reported three suicide bombers detonated explosives packed into cars – killing dozens within a kilometer of the city’s ancient citadel.

Analysts who follow the group tell CNN that Al Nusra has been preparing to intensify its campaign of suicide bombings for weeks. They believe the group has close links with al Qaeda's affiliate in Iraq. And this complex attack suggests it is becoming more accomplished at the sort of attacks that the Iraqi group has launched with such devastating effect.

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Filed under: al Nusra • Syria • Terrorism