News Roundup and Notes: January 14, 2016

Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news.

JAKARTA ATTACK

A gun and bomb attack took place this morning in the center of Jakarta, the Indonesian capital. Police said they had shot dead three of the attackers and captured four; another three suicide bombers were thought to have been involved. [Reuters’ Kanupriya Kapoor and Darren Whiteside]

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack. [Reuters]

Reports on the death toll are conflicting, with Al Jazeera reporting as many as 17 have been killed while the AP reports seven as dead.

The attacks targeted a busy shopping area, with bombs going off at a Starbucks café. [AP]  The area is also close to foreign embassies and the UN offices. [BBC]

Indonesian authorities warned last month of a credible threat to the country’s security, the attacks therefore were “not a complete surprise,” reports the AP.

Live updates as the situation develops are available from the Guardian and the New York Times. Video footage of one of the explosions is available from the AP.

IRAQ and SYRIA

Members of the global coalition against ISIS will meet next week in Paris, to discuss reinforcing efforts against the group, the French defense minister said today. Announcing the talks, the minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian added that the Islamic State is “retreating in Iraq.” [Reuters]

A key Syrian opposition politician said that it is unrealistic to believe that the Syria peace talks could begin on Jan. 25 in Geneva as planned, citing the need to remove obstacles to the negotiations such as sieges and the lack of humanitarian aid in certain regions. [Reuters]

Defense Secretary Ash Carter offered an optimistic assessment of the Obama administration’s efforts to tackle ISIS, saying that new Special Operations missions are “generating a virtuous cycle of action” against the militant group. [New York Times’ Michael S. Schmidt]

US-led airstrikes continue. US and coalition military forces carried out eight strikes against Islamic State targets in Syria on Jan. 12. Separately, partner forces conducted a further 16 strikes on targets in Iraq. [Central Command]

TURKEY

Turkish officials say that the ISIS suicide bomber responsible for Tuesday’s attack in Istanbul entered the country as a refugee from Syria. The man did not trigger security alerts despite his brother having blown himself up in Syria. Dion Nissenbaum et al report. [Wall Street Journal]

The final death toll of the attack included 10 German tourists. [AFP]

Turkish authorities have detained seven people in connection with Tuesday’s suicide attack. [Reuters]

A car bomb explosion targeted a police headquarters in the south-east of the country, killing six people and wounding 39, according to officials. The dead include a woman and her baby. Officials have blamed the PKK though no group has claimed responsibility so far. [BBC]

IRAN

Intense diplomacy between Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart was cited as the reason for the quick release of the sailors. [Washington Post’s Karen DeYoung]

The Obama administration hailed the speedy release of 10 sailors detained by Iran after two American patrol boats strayed into Iranian waters in the Persian Gulf as a sign of warmed relations between the two nations, established by the nuclear accord. [New York Times’ David E. Sanger et al]

A set of videos released by Iran showing the detained US soldiers have raised questions about the treatment of the sailors while in detention and whether Iran violated international law by using the footage for propaganda purposes. [Wall Street Journal’s Felicia Schwartz and Gordon Lubold]

GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump said that the 10 sailors “went through hell” during detention. [The Hill’s Mark Hensch]

“It goes without saying that every country has the right to patrol and defend its territorial waters and to intercept other nations’ military boats that enter without permission,” observes Glenn Greenwald, commenting on the US media response to the incident which framed the detention as a hostile act despite no assertions from the White House to that effect. [The Intercept]

ISRAEL and PALESTINE

Sweden is determined to probe allegations of extrajudicial killings of Palestinians by Israeli security forces since October, despite the potential damage it could do to relations between the countries. [Al Jazeera]

Israel has curtailed gas supplies to the occupied Gaza Strip, according to Palestinians, exacerbating the winter cold and making day-to-day life challenging. [Al Jazeera]

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

ISIS militant, Abdelhamid Abaaoud returned to Belgium before the Paris attacks and had traveled widely in Europe in the weeks running up to the fatal attacks. Abaaoud is said to have been the chief plotter of the attacks. [New York Times’ Michael Wolgelenter]

ISIS has claimed responsibility for an attack in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, which killed at least seven people close to the Pakistani Consulate. [New York Times’ Khalid Alokozay and Mujib Mashal]

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has condemned a suicide attack close to a polio vaccination clinic in Quetta, Pakistan which left at least 15 people dead. [UN News Centre]

“Eight things the Obama administration did not do because of legal concerns (at least in part,” from Charlie Savage. 

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About the Author(s)

Nadia O'Mara

Former Assistant News Editor at Just Security