CBRNe World News Briefs

AFRICA

The Al-Qaeda-affiliated terror group Al-Shabaab fired mortars on Sabiid and Anole and detonated car bombs in Lafoole, Somalia. Al-Shabaab claimed to have killed over 47 government soldiers in the attack on Barriire military base and seized several military vehicles. Bariire, an agricultural town Somali forces liberated from al-Shabaab, is located 73 kilometres (45 miles) southwest of the capital Mogadishu. Additionally, 17 people were killed and 2 others were injured after a civilian minibus traveling between Mogadishu-Jowhar road was hit by IED at the vicinity of Gololey on Wednesday, 14, a top military commander and a soldier were also killed on Saturday 18 in similar circumstances. The blast killed Yasin Abdi Tohow, a senior Somali military commander. Several soldiers sustained injuries.

Most countries on the continent have experienced a second wave of the pandemic and some, such as Kenya, Egypt and Tunisia, have seen a third wave. This new wave of infections is thought to be associated with the emergence of variants that are more transmissible. This variant has also been recorded in Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Comoros, DR Congo, eSwatini, the Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Dozens of people died following an attack by Islamist Militants in Palma, a town in northern Mozambique. Hundreds of Militants stormed Palam, targeting shops, banks and military barracks. Seven people were killed were killed while trying to escape a siege on hotel. However, Mozambique's military says it has regained full control of the coastal town of Palma 12 days after it was raided by militant Islamists who are affiliated with the Islamic State group. At least 11,000 people were displaced after the militants invaded Palma on March 24 and dozens of civilians were also killed.

AMERICAS

One person is in custody while another is still at large after police discovered possible explosive devices inside a home in Hubbard Township Monday afternoon. Police and the bomb squad recovered explosive materials near a shoreline at a Highland Park forest preserve twice during week 14. However, it was later determined that these explosive materials were hand grenade and aircraft flares, possibly from WW II.

A woman found explosives near park in Ohio. The bomb squad was called on scene, no one was injured. The police are investigating who made the explosive devices and left them near the park.

The U.S. Army wants a deadly new networked land mine system that's more capable than current models at detecting enemy tanks and launching munitions that attack from above. The Army's Project Manager Close Combat Systems, or PM CCS, is looking for defense firms that can produce Terrain Shaping Obstacle, or TSO, Top Attack prototypes.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has picked three big space companies for the first phase of a larger project to test nuclear propulsion above low Earth orbit by 2025. General Atomics, Blue Origin and Lockheed Martin each received contracts for the Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations (DRACO) program's first phase. While DARPA did not disclose the contract values in its announcement, media outlet Space News reported General Atomics received $22 million, Lockheed Martin $2.9 million and Blue Origin $2.5 million.

Canada saw its highest COVID-19 numbers since January, 7 day average reached more than 8,200 COVID-19 cases, in what experts suggest is due to a combination of the spreading of variants, provinces reopening too early, and hospitals that are still recovering from the second wave. Due to the lockdown, Canada is also facing growing radicalisation risk.

Police across South America arrested nearly 4,000 suspects and confiscated 200,000 illicit firearms, ammunition, explosives and components in a massive operation targeting arms trafficking. Although authorities were targeting regional arm trafficking networks and potential smuggling routes, they also seized more than 21 tons of cocaine, marijuana and other chemicals. In Brazil, authorities confiscated nearly 4,000 firearms and about 20,000 kilograms of drugs, arresting Police over 3,400 suspects, establishing links between arms trafficking, gangs, counterfeiting and smuggling networks. Meanwhile, in Bolivia, police reportedly destroyed 27 camouflaged cocaine labs scattered across the country and rescued 33 alleged human trafficking victims during a firearms raid in the capital. Similarly, local authorities from Peru and Chile arrested three fugitives on Interpol red notices for firearms trafficking and serious drug crimes.

ASIA

Japan has approved a plan to release more than one million tonnes of contaminated water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea, much to the dismay of local fishing industry and China and South Korea. The water will be treated and diluted so radiation levels are below those set for drinking water. The members of two opponent gangs resorted to fight when six bombs were hurled in Bramhagiri area of Puri district in Odisha, India. The incident took place in Bada Kandhkera village under Bramhagiri Police Station in the district. As per reports, a verbal spat erupted between unidentified youths, the spat escalated, two are in critical condition. Two suspected suicide bombers blew themselves up outside a Catholic church in Makassar, the provincial capital of South Sulawesi, wounding at least 19 people. Pakistani anti-terrorism court judge and his three family members were killed in an ambush while traveling in Pakistan. Aftab Afridi and his family were traveling to the capital Islamabad when their vehicle was ambushed by the assailants near Swabi district, located some 51 miles (82 kilometers) from Peshawar, the capital of northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkwa province, which lies near the border with Afghanistan. The service members of the Afghan National Directorate for Security (NDS), the country's national intelligence agency, busted a terror group in southern province of Kandahar. Eight arrests were made during their recent operations against a terrorist network.

EUROPE

Approximately 2 million people are exposed to the threat of landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) in eastern Ukraine. Notably, Ukraine ranks fifth in the world for civilian casualties as a result of landmines and ERW, and in top three for antivehicle landmine accidents. Making eastern Ukraine one of the most mine-contaminated regions in the world. The latest developments in eastern Ukraine saw Pro-Russian separists use internationally banned antipersonnel landmines to mine a residential sector at the village Zaitsevo. The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine also confirmed that Russia-backed rebels used POM-2 antipersonnel landmines in the same areas.

The technical design bureau of Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear corporation, has begun drawing up blueprints for a scaled-down version of its floating nuclear plant, the Akademik Lomonosov, with the aim of selling it to foreign customers.

The reactor pressure vessel and first two steam generators for Rooppur unit 2 have started their journey from the Volgodonsk branch of AEM-Technology JSC in Russia to the construction site in Bangladesh.

The UK state-owned Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has officially launched a new nuclear transport organisation, Nuclear Transport Solutions (NTS). NTS started operating as a single organisation on 1 February 2021 but was publicly launched this week. It currently has a workforce of over 700 and specialises in a wide range of activities that underpin nuclear transport and logistics operations. NTS currently operates three specialist nuclear transport vessels – Pacifics Grebe; Egret; and Heron – which carry international shipments of irradiated nuclear fuel, plutonium and high-level radioactive wastes to storage and reprocessing facilities within the UK and other countries.

The Czech Republic excluded Rosatom, a State Atomic Energy Corporation, from nuclear tender after dispute with Russia, the row is the biggest between Moscow and Prague since the end of 1989.

206.4 kilograms of explosives, a historically large amount, were found in a shed on the island of Amager near Copenhagen. Two men, aged 54 and 21, have been arrested following the raid, which was the result of a long-term investigation. Investigation is being conducted by a special Copenhagen Police unit, dealing with crimes relating to weapons and explosices, tasked with crime which crosses the Øresund straits separating Denmark and Sweden.

MIDDLE EAST

The Israel Police found dozens of pipe bombs hidden in Ramle. The bombs were neutralized by police sappers who transferred them for disposal. One suspect was detained for questioning.

The Lebanese Air Force (LAF) has shifted veteran helicopters from the support role to the offensive. The LAF refitted its utility IAR 330SM Puma helicopters to fire 30mm Aden cannons and 68mm SNEB rockets against Islamic State. The US has backed Lebanon in its fight against terrorism in recent years. This led to the US Department of Defense funding the LAF’s purchase of six Sierra Nevada/Embraer A-29Bs, along with the training of personnel. The counter-insurgency turboprop aircraft are armed with precision-guided munitions (PGMs) and BAE advanced precision kill weapon systems (APKWS) laser rockets. LAF are looking forward to receiving six MD530F+ light-attack helicopters.

Thousands of machines used to refine nuclear material were destroyed or damaged in an attack at Iran Natanz nuclear site. The attack took place in a facility up to 50m (165ft) underground. Iran has blamed Israel for what it called an act of "nuclear terrorism". Israel has neither confirmed nor denied involvement, but its speculated that this attack was a Mossad cyber-operation. Israel has recently stepped up its warnings about Iran's nuclear programme amid efforts to revive the nuclear deal that was abandoned by former US President Donald Trump. The President of the United States, Joe Biden, has said he wants to return to the landmark accord. At present, US and Iranian officials are holding indirect talks in Vienna, to try to break the impasse, with European officials acting as intermediaries.

Russia's military claimed to have killed about 200 militants in recent airstrikes against their bases in eastern Syria. According to the Russian military’s Reconciliation Center in Syria, the air raids targeted two hideouts used by the militants in Palmyra to plan attacks across Syria and destroyed 24 vehicles and 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds) of ammunition and explosives. In other developments, Syria was stripped of The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) member rights over poison gas attacks. The chemical weapons watchdog voted to strip Syria of its rights, after a probe blamed Damascus for poison gas attacks- this decision is an unprecedented step for OPCW. As a result of the vote Syria will have its own voting rights revoked and will be banned from holding any offices at OPCW. The measures were in response to an OPCW investigation last year that found the air force of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had used the nerve agent sarin and chlorine gas in multiple attacks on the village of al-Lataminah in March 2017.

The Al-Qaeda-affiliated terror group Al-Shabaab fired mortars on Sabiid and Anole and detonated car bombs in Lafoole, Somalia. Al-Shabaab claimed to have killed over 47 government soldiers in the attack on Barriire military base and seized several military vehicles. Bariire, an agricultural town Somali forces liberated from al-Shabaab, is located 73 kilometres (45 miles) southwest of the capital Mogadishu.

Erbil International Airport in northern Iraq has been hit by an explosives-laden drone, an unprecedented escalation in the types of arms used to target US soldiers based there. The military section of the airport where US-led international coalition forces are deployed was targeted in the attack on Wednesday 14 April.

Egyptian security forces killed three suspected fighters allegedly involved in the execution of a Coptic Christian in the Sinai Peninsula. The suspects belonged to an Islamic State-affiliated cell allegedly behind the killing of Nabil Habashi, a 62-year-old Copt from the town of Bir al-Abd. In COVID-19 vaccines developments, Egypt is negotiating with Russia to get enough Sputnik-V for Egypt’s entire population. The possibility of manufacturing the vaccine in Egypt was also discussed in a meeting between state officials.

Cross-border missile and drone attacks by the Iran-backed Houthis have escalated since February when the group began a major offensive against the Saudi-backed Yemeni government army to capture the oil-rich province of Marib in central Yemen. (Yemen-Houthis-Conflicts)

Militants from the extremist Islamic State (IS) group detonated two bombs near two oil wells in Iraq's Kirkuk Province, Baghdad. The attacks took place at dawn in Bai Hassan oil field in the al-Dibis area northwest of the namesake provincial capital Kirkuk, some 250 km north of Iraq's capital Baghdad, causing minor casualties in the oil wells. However, the attacks did not bring oil production or pumping to a halt.

OCEANIA

Police have raided the homes of several people believed to be associated with a far-right Neo-Nazi group, with two men arrested and charged in Adelaide. The arrests were part of an investigation into ideologically motivated violent extremism, the investigations are still ongoing. One of the men was allegedly in possession of an improvised explosive device. A 32-year-old-man from Munno Para was arrested for possession of an improvised explosive device and possessing instructions for manufacturing explosives and prohibited and dangerous weapons. The second man — a 28-year-old man from Surrey Downs — was arrested for possession of extremist material.