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Friday, November 20, 2015

At least 27 dead after Islamists seize luxury hotel in Mali's capital

Fri Nov 20, 2015 | 6:56 PM EST About 27 dead after Islamists seize hotel in Mali's capital 12:25 PM EST | 01:21 At least 27 dead after Mali hotel siege About 27 dead after Islamists seize hotel in Mali'...X By Tiemoko Diallo BAMAKO (Reuters) - Around 27 people were reported dead on Friday after Malian commandos stormed a hotel seized by Islamist gunmen to rescue 170 people, many of them foreigners, trapped in the building. The jihadist group Al Mourabitoun, which is based in the desert north of the former French colony, claimed responsibility for the attack and said it worked with al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. Mali has been battling Islamist rebels for years. A security source said the siege was over by around 4 p.m. local time (1630 GMT) and two militants were dead. A United Nations official said U.N. peacekeepers searching the hotel had made a preliminary count of 27 bodies. The government held an emergency cabinet meeting on Friday night and was expected to give an official death toll later. "At first I thought it was a carjacking. Then they killed two guards in front of me and shot another man in the stomach and wounded him and I knew it was something more," said Modi Coulibaly, a Malian legal expert who saw the assault start. State television showed troops brandishing AK47s in the lobby of the Radisson Blu, one of the capital Bamako's smartest hotels and beloved of foreigners. A body lay under a brown blanket at the bottom of a flight of stairs. Peacekeepers saw 12 dead bodies in the basement of the hotel and another 15 on the second floor, the U.N. official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. He added that the U.N. troops were still helping Malian authorities search the hotel. The U.S. State Department said one American had been killed. Earlier, the White House said it was working to locate all Americans in Mali, and it offered to help with an investigation and urged its citizens to limit their movements around Bamako. A man who worked for a Belgian regional parliament was also among the dead, the assembly said. France's Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said he was not aware of any French nationals killed. Minister of Internal Security Colonel Salif Traoré said the gunmen burst through a security barrier at 7 a.m. (0700 GMT), spraying the area with gunfire and shouting "Allahu Akbar", or "God is great" in Arabic. The attacks are a slap in the face for France, which has stationed 3,500 troops in northern Mali to try to restore stability after a 2012 Tuareg rebellion which was later hijacked by al Qaeda-linked jihadists. They also put a spotlight back on veteran militant leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar months after he was reported killed. Mali president says 21 dead in Bamako hotel attack One American killed in attack in Mali: U.S. State Dept Al Mourabitoun, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb carried out Mali attack: U.S. government source BURSTS OF GUNFIRE Bursts of gunfire were heard as the assailants went through the hotel room by room and floor by floor, one senior security source and a witness told Reuters. Some people were freed by the attackers after showing they could recite verses from the Koran, while others managed to escape or were brought out by security forces. One of the rescued hostages, celebrated Guinean singer Sékouba "Bambino" Diabate, said he had overheard two of the assailants speaking English as they searched an adjacent room. "We heard shots coming from the reception area. I didn't dare go out of my room because it felt like this wasn't just simple pistols - these were shots from military weapons," Diabate told Reuters by phone. "The attackers went into the room next to mine. I stayed still, hidden under the bed, not making a noise," he said. "I heard them say in English 'Did you load it?', 'Let's go'." RELATED VIDEO Video 02:03 First images after gunmen take hostages at Mali hotel; rescue operation underway Video 00:49 Obama: U.S. monitoring situation in Mali The raid on the hotel, which lies just west of the city centre near government ministries and diplomatic offices, came a week after Islamic State militants killed 130 people in Paris. Twelve Air France (AIRF.PA) flight crew members were in the hotel but all were brought out safely, the French national carrier said. A Turkish official said five of seven Turkish Airlines staff had also managed to flee. The Chinese state news agency Xinhua said three Chinese citizens had been killed in the attack. PRESIDENT RETURNS Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita cut short a trip to a regional summit in Chad, his office said. Mali hotel attack puts veteran militant back in spotlight White House condemns attack in Mali, offers to help investigate U.S. urges Americans to limit movements in Bamako after attack Northern Mali was occupied by Islamist fighters, some with links to al Qaeda, for most of 2012. They were driven out by a French-led military operation, but sporadic violence has continued in Mali's central belt on the southern reaches of the Sahara, and in Bamako. One security source said as many as 10 gunmen had stormed the building, although the company that runs the hotel, Rezidor Group, said it understood that there were only two attackers. Al Mourabitoun has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks, including an assault on a hotel in the town of Sevare, 600 km (375 miles) northeast of Bamako, in August in which 17 people including five U.N. staff were killed. One of its leaders is Belmokhtar, blamed for a large-scale assault on an Algerian gas field in 2013 and a major figure in insurgencies across North Africa. In the wake of last week's Paris attacks, an Islamic State militant in Syria told Reuters the organisation viewed France's military intervention in Mali as another reason to attack France and French interests. "This is just the beginning. We also haven't forgotten what happened in Mali," said the non-Syrian fighter, who was contacted online by Reuters. "The bitterness from Mali, the arrogance of the French, will not be forgotten at all." (Reporting by Tiemoko Diallo; Additional reporting by Adama Diarra, Joe Penney and Kissima Diagana in Bamako, Makini Brice in Dakar, John Irish in Paris, Washington and United Nations bureaus; Writing by Joe Bavier and Ed Cropley; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg, Andrew Roche, Toni Reinhold) ================== Reuters Breaking News: U.N. peacekeepers at Mali hotel saw 27 bodies World News liveblog Reuters live coverage of events around the world. Follow @ReutersWorld on Twitter for top news and @ReutersLive for live video events. Commandos storm luxury Mali hotel attacked by Islamists, dozens freed Malian commandos stormed a luxury hotel in Bamako on Friday after Islamist gunmen took 170 people including many foreigners hostage in the capital of the former French colony, which has been battling rebels allied to al Qaeda for several years. More: Al Qaeda-affiliated group claims Mali hotel attack Hostage freed from Mali hotel says attackers spoke English by cassandra.garrison 2:21 AM Comment ↑ 2 Two attackers involved in storming of hotel in Mali capital killed. Wounded civilians being evacuated: security sources by cassandra.garrison 2:54 AM Comment ↑ 0 BREAKING: Hostage situation at Radisson Blu hotel in Mali's Bamako over: security sources by cassandra.garrison 2:53 AM Comment ↑ 0 U.N. peacekeepers saw 27 bodies at Mali hotel - U.N. official United Nations peacekeepers saw some 27 bodies on two separate floors of a luxury hotel in Mali's capital Bamako that was attacked on Friday, a U.N. official told Reuters, citing preliminary information. The peacekeepers saw 12 corpses in the basement of the hotel and another 15 on the second floor, the official said on condition of anonymity. He added that the U.N. troops were still helping Malian authorities search the hotel. (Reporting by Louis Charbonneau and Michelle Nichols) by cassandra.garrison 2:46 AM Comment ↑ 0 U.N. peacekeepers on scene at Mali hotel saw some 27 bodies; information still preliminary and search of hotel continues: U.N. official by cassandra.garrison 2:39 AM Comment ↑ 0 No more hostages being held at Mali Bamako hotel-Malian official All remaining hostages at the Malian siege where at least three people died are now safe and out of the Radisson Blu in Bamako where they had been held, ministerial adviser Amadou Sangho told French television station BFMTV. "These people have been taken under the wing of the civil authorities," he said. Earlier Malian commandos stormed the luxury hotel after Islamist gunmen took 170 people including many foreigners hostage in the capital of the former French colony, which has been battling rebels allied to al Qaeda for several years. He added the operation was undertaken "uniquely" by Malian forces. (Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Andrew Callus) by cassandra.garrison 2:30 AM Comment ↑ 0 UK Prime Minister @Number10gov PM: My thoughts are with those caught up in the #Bamako attack. We stand with our partners around the world in the fight against terrorism. 10:33 AM - 20 Nov 2015Reply by cassandra.garrison 2:26 AM From the directer of SITE Intel Group: Rita Katz @Rita_Katz 1)#AlQaeda supporters celebrate #Malihotelsiege: #ISIS “should learn a thing or two”;“may allah give[attackers]…strength to kill more& more” 10:33 AM - 20 Nov 2015Reply Rita Katz @Rita_Katz 2) #Shabaab fighter:"Lions who carried out #MaliAttack separated Muslims from Christian in order to protect the inviolable blood of Muslims" 10:37 AM - 20 Nov 2015Reply Retweet Favorite Rita Katz @Rita_Katz 3) Belmokhtar reaffirmed pledged to #AQ, but a section of Mourabiton, headed by Adnan al-Sahrawi, pledged to #ISIS in May 2015 10:27 AM - 20 Nov 2015Reply Retweet Favorite 1 of 3 by cassandra.garrison 2:16 AM Comment ↑ 0 Belgian man dies in Bamako hotel siege - regional assembly A Belgian working for the Wallonia-Brussels regional parliament died during an attack and hostage-taking at a luxury hotel in Bamako, Mali, the parliament said on Friday. The parliament on its website named the official as Geoffrey Dieudonne, who had been attending a convention in Mali for three days. It said it did not have further details about his death. (Reporting By Philip Blenkinsop) by cassandra.garrison 2:14 AM Comment ↑ 0 BREAKING: Malian official tells BFM TV that there are no more hostages being held at Bamako hotel. by cassandra.garrison 2:13 AM Comment ↑ 0 Al Qaeda-affiliated group claims Mali hotel attack Reuters An African jihadist group affiliated with al Qaeda claimed responsibility on Friday for an attack on a luxury hotel packed with foreigners in the Malian capital Bamako. by cassandra.garrison 2:07 AM Comment ↑ 0 BREAKING: Belgian regional assembly says one of its officials died in Bamako hotel siege. by cassandra.garrison 2:04 AM Comment ↑ 0 Ambassade des Etats-Unis au... SECURITY MESSAGE FROM THE US EMBASSY IN BAMAKO: The security incident at the Radisson Hotel is ongoing and all U.S. citizens are encouraged to continue sheltering in place. The U.S. Embassy is discouraging any movement around the city unless it is travel to a safer location (i.s. such as your home). Continue monitoring local media for updates and adhere to the instructions of local authorities. 20 November 2015 Comment Share Comment ↑ 0 Here is the tweet Reuters is citing in this story about an African jihadist group affiliated with al Qaeda claiming responsibility for the Mali attack. Step News Agency @Step_Agency #مالي #Mali #عاجل جماعة #المرابطون تتبنى عملية احتجاز الرهائن في فندق #راديسون بلو بالعاصمة #باماكو #خطوة 9:23 AM - 20 Nov 2015Reply Retweet Favorite by cassandra.garrison 1:59 AM Comment ↑ 0 Too soon to say whether Mali situation related to Paris attacks -US envoy A U.S. presidential envoy to the coalition battling Islamic State said on Friday that it was too soon to speculate whether the hostage situation in Mali was related in some way to the attacks in Paris last week. "It is too really to soon to speculate" on whether the attacks may be related, Special Presidential Envoy Brett McGurk told MSNBC. "The groups in Mali aren't particularly connected to the ISIS groups," he added, using an acronym for Islamic State. (Reporting by Timothy Ahmann and Megan Cassella; Editing by Susan Heavey) by cassandra.garrison 1:50 AM Comment ↑ 0 Six U.S. citizens among those recovered in hotel: U.S. military Reuters Six U.S. citizens are among the people who have been recovered from the Radisson hotel in Mali where attackers took 170 people hostage on Friday, a U.S. military spokesman said. by cassandra.garrison 1:46 AM Comment ↑ 0 McGurk says militant groups in Mali not particularly connected to Islamic State: MSNBC by cassandra.garrison 1:40 AM Comment ↑ 0 BREAKING: U.S. presidential envoy McGurk says too soon to speculate whether Mali attack may be related in some way to Paris attacks: MSNBC by cassandra.garrison 1:40 AM Comment ↑ 0 Just one week after the Paris attacks, French President Francois Hollande has turned his attention to the ongoing Islamist extremist incident in Mali, saying everything possible is being done to free hostages in a Bamako hotel. Rough Cut-subtitled (no reporter narration). by natalie.armstrong 1:35 AM Comment ↑ 0 John Kirby @statedeptspox U.S. citizens in #Bamako are encouraged to contact family & adhere to instructions of local authorities & monitor local media. #MaliAttacks 2:21 PM - 20 Nov 2015Reply Retweet Favorite by jamillah.knowles 1:34 AM Comment ↑ 0 John Kirby @statedeptspox We are aware U.S. citizens might be present Radisson Hotel in Bamako, #Mali. @USEmbassyMali working to verify this information #MaliAttacks 2:19 PM - 20 Nov 2015Reply Retweet Favorite by jamillah.knowles 1:33 AM Comment ↑ 0 Six U.S. citizens among those recovered in hotel - U.S. military Six U.S. citizens are among the people who have been recovered from the Radisson hotel in Mali where attackers took 170 people hostage on Friday, a U.S. military spokesman said. Army Colonel Mark Cheadle, a spokesman for the U.S. Africa Command, also said that U.S. special forces were assisting in the incident in the capital city of Bamako. Dozens of people were reported to have escaped or been freed, but at least three were dead. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. (Reporting by Warren Strobel; Writing by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Susan Heavey) by cassandra.garrison 1:25 AM Comment ↑ 1 Reuters Pictures @reuterspictures Gunmen attack a luxury hotel in Mali's capital Bamako, taking 170 people hostage https://t.co/I6q3QjEKfJ https://t.co/pchkytZwsd 9:49 AM - 20 Nov 2015Reply Retweet Favorite by cassandra.garrison 1:20 AM Comment ↑ 0 ian bremmer @ianbremmer Mali: 342 killed in terror this year https://t.co/d9RcRVB8uZ 2:32 PM - 20 Nov 2015Reply Retweet Favorite by jamillah.knowles 1:15 AM Comment ↑ 0 BREAKING: Supporters of al-Qaeda-affiliated group claim responsibility for attack in Mali: Twitter posting by cassandra.garrison 1:15 AM Comment ↑ 0 Commandos storm luxury Mali hotel attacked by Islamists, dozens freed Reuters Malian commandos stormed a luxury hotel in Bamako on Friday after Islamist gunmen took 170 people including many foreigners hostage in the capital of the former French colony, which has been battling rebels allied to al Qaeda for several years. by cassandra.garrison 1:13 AM Comment ↑ 0 Mali hotel attackers dig in on seventh floor, gunfire heard BAMAKO, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Heavy gunfire was heard from inside a luxury hotel in Mali's capital on Friday as soldiers advanced to free hostages held by Islamist fighters barricaded in on the building's seventh floor, a witness and security source said. "Security forces are operating inside and are clearing each floor bit by bit and freeing hostages who are in their rooms," the security source said. "There are dozens, even around a hundred, still inside." by jamillah.knowles edited by cassandra.garrison 1:13 AM Comment ↑ 0 U.S. President Barack Obama says U.S. officials are monitoring the situation in Mali where Islamic militants stormed a hotel and took hostages. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). by natalie.armstrong 1:10 AM Comment ↑ 0 Malian special forces stormed a luxury hotel in Bamako on Friday after Islamist gunmen took 170 people including many foreigners hostage in the capital of the former French colony, which has been battling rebels allied to al Qaeda for several years. Rough Cut by jamillah.knowles 1:07 AM Comment ↑ 0 Gunmen storm Mali hotel | Reuters.com Reuters by cassandra.garrison 1:06 AM Comment ↑ 1 U.S. military spokesman says 6 American citizens are among those recovered in hotel by jamillah.knowles 1:04 AM Comment ↑ 0 French Special forces are on site at hotel in Bamako since early this afternoon - Defence Minister by jamillah.knowles 1:02 AM Comment ↑ 0 U.S. spokesman says U.S. special forces helping in Mali hotel incident by jamillah.knowles 1:01 AM Comment ↑ 0 Foreign Office (FCO) @foreignoffice #Mali: Updated travel advice https://t.co/b1XtnaAK1D British nationals advised to remain indoors & follow instructions of local authorities. 1:23 PM - 20 Nov 2015Reply Retweet Favorite by jamillah.knowles 12:51 AM Comment ↑ 2 Radisson Blu @RadissonBlu Our priority is the safety of those in Bamako, #Mali. Phone lines have been established for concerned families https://t.co/A9unKXdSmr 1:05 PM - 20 Nov 2015Reply Retweet Favorite by jamillah.knowles 12:50 AM Comment ↑ 0 U.S. State Department says U.S. citizens might be present at Mali hotel, working to verify. by jamillah.knowles 12:47 AM Comment ↑ 0 U.S. military helping move civilians to safety in Mali -U.S. official WASHINGTON, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Some U.S. military personnel in Mali were helping move civilians to secure locations amid an attack at a luxury hotel in Bamako, a. U.S. defense official told Reuters on Friday. About 25 American military personnel were in Bamako when Islamist gunmen stormed the hotel, the official said, adding that there has not yet been a formal request for U.S. military assistance. by jamillah.knowles 12:43 AM Comment ↑ 0 Mali hotel gunment have dug in on building's seventh floor as special forces advance - Security source by jamillah.knowles 12:40 AM Comment ↑ 0 U.S. Defense official says some military personnel assisting first responders with moving civilians to secured locations. by jamillah.knowles 12:35 AM Comment ↑ 0 U.S. Defense official says about 25 U.S. military personnel were in Bamako at the time of the hotel incident. by jamillah.knowles 12:34 AM Comment ↑ 0 U.S. Defense official says no formal request yet for U.S. military assistance in Mali hotel incident by jamillah.knowles 12:32 AM Comment ↑ 0 Security forces drive near the Radisson hotel in Bamako, Mali, November 20, 2015. Gunmen shouting Islamic slogans attacked a luxury hotel full of foreigners in Mali's capitalBamako early on Friday morning, taking 170 people hostage, a senior security source and the hotel's operator said. REUTERS/Adama Diarra Gunmen attack luxury hotel in Mali capital, 170 taken hostage BAMAKO, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Islamist gunmen stormed a luxury hotel packed with foreigners in Mali's capital Bamako on Friday, taking 170 hostages in a former French colony that has been battling rebels allied to al Qaeda for several years. A senior security source said some of the hostages had been freed after being made to recite verses from the Koran. The French newspaper Le Monde quoted the Malian security ministry as saying at least three hostages had been killed. The raid on the Radisson Blu hotel, which lies just west of the city centre near government ministries and diplomatic offices in the former French colony, comes a week after Islamic State militants killed 129 people in Paris. The identity of the Bamako gunmen, or the group to which they belong, is not known. Read more. by jamillah.knowles 12:29 AM Comment ↑ 6 Radisson Blu says 136 still in Mali hotel following attack BAMAKO, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Some 124 guests and 12 employees remained inside the Radisson Blu hotel in Mali's capital on Friday hours after suspected Islamist gunmen attacked the building and took 170 people hostage, the company said in a statement. "Our highest concern is the safety of all our guests and employees in the hotel. We are in constant contact with the authorities there and will share further information with you when we have it," a statement on the hotel's website said. by jamillah.knowles 12:29 AM Comment ↑ 0 Eighty hostages freed as special forces storm Mali hotel BAMAKO, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Eighty hostages held by Islamist gunmen have been freed from a luxury hotel in Mali's capital as government special forces moved floor by floor to clear the building, Mali's state broadcaster and a security source. "The attackers are still inside. We're hearing gunfire from time to time," said a witness outside the Radisson Blu hotel. by jamillah.knowles 12:24 AM Comment ↑ 0 Heavy gunfire heard from inside hotel in Mali capital where special forces are seeking to free hostages - witness by jamillah.knowles 12:21 AM Comment ↑ 0 124 guests, 13 staff still inside Radisson Blu hotel in Mali capital following gun attack - company statement by jamillah.knowles 12:16 AM Comment ↑ 0 U.S. Special Forces assisting in Mali hotel rescue - CNN by jamillah.knowles 12:08 AM Comment ↑ 0 Hostage freed from Mali hotel says attackers spoke English CONAKRY, Nov 20 (Reuters) - A famous Guinean singer who was among 170 people taken hostage on Friday by Islamist gunmen in the Radisson Blu hotel in Mali's capital, Bamako, said he heard attackers in the next room speaking English. "I heard them say in English 'Did you load it?', 'Let's go'," singer Sékouba 'Bambino' Diabate, who was freed by Malian security forces, told Reuters in Conakry. "I wasn't able to see them because in these kinds of situations it's hard." by jamillah.knowles 12:02 AM Comment ↑ 6 PARIS, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Fifty elite armed French police officers will head to Bamako on Friday after Islamist gunmen attacked a luxury hotel and took hostages in the Malian capital, a gendarmerie spokesman said. "The departure is imminent," said the spokesman. Forty of the men are from the GIGN, (National Gendarmerie Intervention Group), an elite armed group trained to intervene in such circumstances. The other 10 are forensic and criminal experts, he said. They are going "to advise and support Malian security forces in terms of intervention," an interior ministry spokesman said. by jamillah.knowles 11:58 PM yesterday Comment ↑ 0 Obama briefed on Mali attack by security advisor: White House official U.S. President Barack Obama has been briefed by his national security advisor on an attack and hostage incident at a luxury hotel in Mali's capital, a White House official said on Friday. Obama, who is currently in Malaysia, had asked his team to keep him apprised of the ongoing situation, having spoken to National Security Advisor Susan Rice, the official told reporters in Kuala Lumpur, where he is attending a regional summit. More. by jamillah.knowles 11:49 PM yesterday Comment ↑ 0 Still image from video shows the lobby of the Radisson hotel in Bamako, Mali, November 20, 2015. REUTERS/REUTERS TV by jamillah.knowles 11:20 PM yesterday Comment ↑ 0 Turkish Prime Minister Davutoglu says five Turkish Airlines crew rescued from Mali hotel, authorities in contact with two others. by jamillah.knowles 11:13 PM yesterday Comment ↑ 3 Hostage freed from Radisson Blu hotel in Mali capital says he heard attackers speaking English. by jamillah.knowles 11:07 PM yesterday Comment ↑ 1 Air France says crew staying at besieged Bamako hotel are safe PARIS, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Twelve Air France crew members staying at a hotel in Bamako where Islamist gunmen had taken hostages are now safe, the French airline said on Friday. As a precaution, Air France flights from and to Bamako for Friday have been cancelled, it said. by jamillah.knowles 10:56 PM yesterday Comment ↑ 1 Still image from video show a hostage rushed out from the Radisson hotel in Bamako, Mali, November 20, 2015. REUTERS/REUTERS TV by jamillah.knowles 10:55 PM yesterday Comment ↑ 0 Eighty hostages freed so far from luxury hotel in Mali capital amid special forces operation - State Broadcaster by jamillah.knowles 10:48 PM yesterday Comment ↑ 10 < Newest 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ... Oldest > Powered by ScribbleLive Content Marketing Software Platform World News Photo Commandos storm luxury Mali hotel attacked by Islamists, dozens freed BAMAKO Malian commandos stormed a luxury hotel in Bamako on Friday after Islamist gunmen took 170 people including many foreigners hostage in the capital of the former French colony, which has been battling rebels allied to al Qaeda for several years. | Video Tapped phone led Paris attack leader to his death | Video Obama says summit to focus on Islamic State militancy Russian, Syrian, jets bomb Islamic State-held eastern Syria: monitor » More News Our Flagship financial information platform incorporating Reuters Insider An ultra-low latency infrastructure for electronic trading and data distribution ============================================ Where Does ISIS Get All Those Tanks, Weapons And Shiny New Toyota Trucks? U.S. Treasury Dept. wonders By Elizabeth Parker Global Research, November 19, 2015 Reverb Press 8 October 2015 ISIS Toyotas Yikes! Those evil, marauding terrorists from ISIS are still at large, but fear not: ISIS can’t escape from the U.S. and our allies for long. And when we get ’em, we’re going to kick their cartoonist/woman/gay/Christian-hating Jihadi butts from here until Sunday. There’s just one problem. If we’re at war with ISIS, why do we keep supplying them with tanks, weapons, Humvees and shiny new Toyota trucks? CNN reports: “They’re hard to miss. Packed with ISIS fighters and heavy weapons, Toyota pickup trucks and SUV’s are featured prominently in ISIS propaganda videos.” According to ABC, the U.S. Treasury Dept.’s Terror Financing unit has finally taken notice of the endless parades of shiny, new Toyota trucks starring in ISIS’s propaganda videos, and they’ve launched an investigation. Toyota’s U.S. spokesman Ed Lewis told reporters this is part of a larger inquiry into supply chains and capital flows in the Middle East. Lewis promised Toyota’s full cooperation, and assures us that they’d never sell to terrorists. “Toyota has a strict policy to not sell vehicles to potential purchasers who may use or modify them for paramilitary or terrorist activities, and we have procedures and contractual commitments in place to help prevent our products from being diverted for unauthorized military use.” Whew. What a relief. Toyota trucks: The jihadists’ truck of choice. CNN tracked down Jonathan Schanzer — who used to track terrorist finances for the U.S. Treasury Dept. and who’s now with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies — to find out more. Schanzer explained that rugged outdoorsmen and off-roaders aren’t the only ones who love their Toyota trucks: “Toyotas is the truck that Jihadists choose for when they want to go to war. It’s the same thing with Kalashnikovs [Russian automatic rifles more commonly known in the U.S. as AK-47s].” And how to these ISIS terrorists get their hands on these bad boys? Schanzer suspects they just boldly walk into the car dealerships and pay cash! “I think they’re buying them, probably, through formal channels. They’re probably going right into the dealerships and purchasing them, and not identifying as ISIS. Who would?” Oh, and although Toyotas are the Jihadist’s truck of choice, they won’t object to a Ford or two. We’d love to see the look on this U.S. plumber’s face after seeing what Schanzer suspects ISIS picked up at an auction. As if to thumb their noses at us, they didn’t even bother to remove the former owner’s information from the front passenger side’s door. Schanzer adds ISIS’s avid Toyota truck acquisition is just one example of how ISIS operates like “a combination of a mafia gang and a major corporation.” In other words, like a major corporation. Here’s the video with CNN’s report. ISIS also has tons of U.S. weapons, vehicles and other military gear. Toyota trucks aren’t all ISIS has managed to buy, capture or scavenge from us. In June, CNBC reported that so far we’ve accidentally furnished the Islamic State with at least $219.7 million worth of weapons, vehicles and other military supplies and gear — and that’s just the stuff we know about. Based on various reports, CNBC came up with the following laundry list of supplies the U.S. has so kindly provided to ISIS so far. ◾2,300 Humvee armored vehicles at $70,000 each: $16 million ◾40 M1A1 Abram tanks at $4.3 million each: $172 million ◾52 M198 Howitzer mobile gun systems at $527,337 each: $2.7 million ◾74,000 Army machine guns at $4,000 each: $29 million TOTAL: $219.7 MILLION in military weapons, vehicles, and other supplies and gear for ISIS. How does the Islamic State get hold of all these U.S. weapons? We deliver them, either directly or through the tattered remnants of Iraq’s military. Jeremy Salt, a political analyst in Ankara, Turkey, gives RT.Com quite the scathing earful: “Do you think the Islamic State’s advance would have been so successful without access to this U.S. military hardware by mistake, by default? Let me just briefly revise the history of American blunder over the past couple of years with regard to weapons ending up in the hands of Islamic State.” Salt then reminded us of our nation’s major blunders for supplying weapons to ISIS for the past couple of years. ◾Accidental air-dropping of weapons and supplies intended for the Syrian Kurds into Islamic State territory. ◾This didn’t just happen once, it happened several times. ◾Weapons and supplies seized by ISIS during the falls of Mosul (Iraq), Ramadi (Iraq), AND Palmyra (Syria). Salt doesn’t even bother explaining how the George W. Bush administration created ISIS by invading Iraq on false pretenses and chasing off all those heavily armed and well-trained Baathist soldiers. But he does ask how it’s even possible that U.S. intelligence and the military — both of which are among the most sophisticated in the world — could have possibly NOT seen what was coming. What Salt says here about ISIS’s routing of Palmyra also applies to the sack of Mosul and Ramadi. “Are we seriously to believe the United States couldn’t see them coming? Didn’t see those pickup trucks racing across the Syrian Desert? When they create massive plumes of dust, for one thing? Then they get to Palmyra, and they take over the city.” Salt has a point. How could we have possibly missed miles of vehicles chock-full of masked ISIS militants waving guns and black flags while churning up choking clouds of desert dust visible from miles around? It’s almost as though we’ve ignored all this on purpose. As for President Barack Obama, he’s made some smart moves. But how can he slam the brakes on a runaway crazy train that’s been lurching headlong for decades? After all, Reagan’s the one who armed and trained Al Qaeda back when they fought the former USSR as the Mujahideen resistance fighters. Also, we helped Saddam Hussein take power in Iraq in 1963, and Hussein was on the CIA’s payroll since at least 1959. And then we overthrew him and allowed the region to devolve into chaos because George W. Bush isn’t into “nation building.” Here’s the video with the news report from RT on ISIS’s acquisition of U.S. military supplies, weapons, gear and vehicles.

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