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Daily Brief: Saudi Officials Identify Bomber at U.S. Consulate

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July 5, 2016

Daily News Brief

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Saudi Officials Identify Bomber at U.S. Consulate

Saudi Arabia identified a suicide bomber who wounded two guards at the U.S. consulate in Jeddah Monday as a Pakistani national who worked as a driver in the Gulf nation (AP). The attack was the first of three bombings in Saudi Arabia on Monday, including one at one the holiest sites in Islam, the mosque in the city of Medina where the Prophet Muhammad is buried, and two explosions near a Shia mosque in the eastern city of Qatif (Al Jazeera). The attack in Medina killed four security guards and wounded five others, and the Qatif attack had no reported casualties. No group claimed responsibility for the attacks (Reuters). The explosions come in the same week that a car bombing in Baghdad killed more than two hundred people, suicide bombers in Istanbul's international airport claimed forty-five lives, and a hostage crisis in in Dhaka killed twenty-two people (WSJ).


"The [self-proclaimed Islamic State] militant group, as it has in each of the three years since it announced its existence, had urged its followers to carry out attacks during the holy month of Ramadan, a period of fasting, abstention and prayer that will conclude Wednesday with a holiday of feasting and family visits. This has turned into the most blood-soaked Ramadan yet in the Islamic State’s campaign. At least 290 people have been killed in attacks claimed by or linked to the Islamic State — at Istanbul Ataturk Airport, at a restaurant frequented by foreigners in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, and in Baghdad. The vast majority of them, 222 people, died in the Baghdad blast, which targeted a shopping street packed with people celebrating the end of the day’s fast and shopping for the approaching holiday," Liz Sly writes for the Washington Post.

"For years, the Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL, has pursued a campaign of wholesale slaughter in Syria and Iraq. And in the attacks the group has directed or indirectly inspired in Western countries — including the coordinated killings in Paris and Brussels and the mass shooting inside an Orlando, Fla., nightclub — the assailants killed at random. But a closer look at the attack the Islamic State has claimed in Bangladesh — and at the fact that it has not claimed bombings attributed to it in Turkey, including the airport attack this past week — suggests a group that is tailoring its approach for different regions and for different target audiences," Rukmini Callimachi writes for the New York Times.

"The U.S often cites progress in shrinking the Islamic State’s nominal 'caliphate' in Iraq and Syria. But the group’s spread to the rest of the world has been alarming. So far, attacks carried out by fighters claiming affiliation with the terror network have taken place in the United States, across Europe, and in Kuwait, Libya, Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Tunisia. In many of these cases, however, it’s not clear if there was any direct coordination with the Islamic State; attackers could simply claim inspiration by it," writes David Francis for Foreign Policy.


Ballot Counting Continues in Australia's Sunday Election

Australia faces the possibility of a "hung parliament" if neither of its two main parties reach the seventy-six-seat quota to form a government (BBC) as officials continue to count ballots for about a dozen seats whose results are too close to call (NYT).

MALAYSIA: Police said that an attack that injured eight people in a bar last week in Kuala Lumpur "has elements" of extremism linked to the self-proclaimed Islamic State (BBC), making it the first such attack in the country. Police said they arrested two suspects.


India's PM Inducts Nineteen New Ministers Into Cabinet

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi added nineteen members to his cabinet (Hindu) as five low-profile ministers resigned, putting his cabinet at seventy-eight ministers (FT). Modi had campaigned on the slogan "minimum government, maximum governance."

PAKISTAN: A four-member U.S. Senate delegation, including Sen. John McCain (R–AZ), visited Pakistan's tribal area of North Waziristan (RFE/RL), long considered a stronghold of Islamic militants. Foreigners and journalists are generally banned from the region, where the United States carries out drone attacks on suspected militants.

CFR's Micah Zenko compares the Obama administration's recent tally of civilian casualties in drone strikes to independent counts in this blog post.


Classified Procedures Permit Israeli Police to Shoot at Strone Throwers

An Israeli court released portions of police regulations approved last December by the country's attorney general which allow Israeli law enforcement to fire live bullets at someone throwing stones using a slingshot (Haaretz). The classified documents were released in response to a petition by a legal aid NGO (Jerusalem Post).


Israeli PM Begins Four-Country Africa Tour in Uganda

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began a foreign tour to Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Rwanda (WSJ) as the Israeli leader seeks support from East African nations in international forums. Netanyahu said he was "proud" to be the first Israeli prime minister to visit sub-Saharan Africa in two decades (Africa News). Netanyahu visited a Ugandan town where his brother was killed in 1976 during an operation to rescue passengers on an Air France flight diverted by hijackers.

KENYA: Hundreds of protesters marched in Nairobi to denounce extrajudicial killings by police following the deaths of a human rights lawyer, his client, and his driver (VOA). Lawyer Willie Kimani, a Kenyan national, worked for the Washington-based International Justice Mission (NYT).


Report on UK's Role in Iraq War to be Released Wednesday

The UK Iraq Inquiry Committee will release a report seven years in the making on Wednesday (NYT), which is expected to focus on intelligence failures that led to the United Kingdom's participation in the Iraq War. Lawmakers have said they are considering legal action (Guardian) against former Prime Minister Tony Blair that would ensure he could not hold office again.

ITALY: The UK vote to leave the European Union has raised the risk of crisis in the Italian banking sector, where 17 percent of loans are sour, according to a new report (WSJ).


Report: U.S. Oil Reserves Surpass Saudi Arabia and Russia

A study from Oslo-based Rystad Energy estimates (FT) that U.S. fields hold 264 billion barrels of recoverable oil, surpassing Saudi Arabia's 212 billion and Russia's 256 billion.

CFR's Stephen Sestanovich explores the effects of falling oil prices on Saudi Arabia in this Wall Street Journal piece.
BRAZIL: Federal police served a new round of arrest warrants in an ongoing investigation into price-fixing surrounding the state oil company Petrobras (Mecropress). The former treasurer for the Workers' Party, whose President Dilma Rousseff is suspended as she is tried for impeachment, was among those served with an arrest warrant, though he is already in custody on other charges (Reuters)

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