Blast near mosque in western Afghan city of Herat

Afghan volunteers and security personnel carry the body of man on a stretcher after two suicide bombers struck a Shiite mosque in Herat on March 25, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 25 March 2018

Blast near mosque in western Afghan city of Herat

HERAT, Afghanistan: A suicide attack near a Shiite mosque in the Western Afghan city of Herat killed at least one person and wounded eight others, police and health officials said on Sunday.
Militant group Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, which followed another blast claimed by the group in Kabul last week, which killed around 30 people near a Shiite shrine as the city celebrated Nawruz, the Persian new year.
Deputy police chief Aminullah Amin said two bombers had tried to enter the mosque but were challenged by guards at the site who opened fire on them.
Health officials said one person was confirmed dead, with eight wounded but the final casualty figure may change.
Herat, one of the most prosperous cities in Afghanistan, has seen periodic episodes of violence but has not suffered the same level of attacks as the capital Kabul.
While sectarian violence in mainly Sunni Muslim Afghanistan was previously rare, a series of attacks over recent years, many claimed by Islamic State, have killed hundreds of Shiites, many from the Hazara ethnic minority.
The violence has gone on alongside a general deterioration in security in Afghanistan as Taliban insurgents have fought government forces across much of the country, killing thousands of civilians every year.


Report: Fugitive tech boss was Austrian spy agency informant

Updated 30 October 2020

Report: Fugitive tech boss was Austrian spy agency informant

  • Jan Marsalek faces allegations of fraud and other charges in connection with the company’s sudden bankruptcy earlier this year
  • German federal police issued a wanted poster for Marsalek in August

BERLIN: German media report that a fugitive former top executive of payment company Wirecard was an informant for the Austrian spy agency BVT.
Jan Marsalek, the former chief operating officer of Wirecard, faces allegations of fraud and other charges in connection with the company’s sudden bankruptcy earlier this year.
Munich-based Wirecard filed for protection from creditors in June after executives admitted that 1.9 billion euros ($2.2 billion) listed as being held in trust accounts in the Philippines probably did not exist.
The Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily reported Friday that German federal prosecutors have evidence Marsalek was a source for the BVT agency. The newspaper cited a German government response to Left party lawmaker Fabio De Masi.
German lawmaker Patrick Sensburg, who sits on the parliamentary intelligence oversight committee, told business daily Handelsblatt that Marsalek may have worked for several spy agencies simultaneously. He didn’t elaborate.
German federal police issued a wanted poster for Marsalek in August. Interpol issued a so-called red notice for him on allegations of “violations of the German duty on securities act and the securities trading act, criminal breach of trust (and) especially serious case of fraud.”
As chief operating officer, Marsalek was in charge of all operational business activities, including sales, and is suspected of having inflated the balance sheet total and sales volume of the company, police said.
Former Wirecard CEO Markus Braun has been arrested, along with the company’s former chief financial officer and former head of accounting.
Police allege that Braun and Marsalek incorporated “fictitious proceeds from payment transactions relating to deals with so-called third-party acquirers in order to present the company financially stronger and more attractive to investors and customers.”