January 22, 2019

Israel successful tests Arrow 3 missile - a weapon system meant to intercept missiles outside of Earth's atmosphere

PAF pilot killed in F-5A jet crash

An aging Philippine Air Force (PAF) fighter jet exploded in midair and crashed into an empty school in Mabalacat, Pampanga during war games with US forces yesterday.

The jet’s lone pilot was killed and at least 16 people on the ground were injured, officials said. It was the second time in a week that a PAF aircraft had crashed during the Balikatan joint military exercises between Philippine and US forces.

A US Embassy spokesman said there was no American soldier on board the single-seater F-5A Freedom Fighter, a mainstay of the PAF.

Armed Forces spokesman Lt. Col. Jose Mabanta identified the pilot as Capt. Daniel Teodoro Policarpio of the 5th Fighter Wing.

Mabanta said the plane was returning to an airfield at Clark, a former US military base, from support maneuvers with another PAF F-5A and two US Navy F/A-18 Hornets when it crashed.

"It seems there is no survivor on the plane," Mabanta said. "It did not crash-land. It crashed directly and we are still determining the cause of the accident."

He said the ill-fated aircraft took off from Clark at around 9 a.m. for Ternate, Cavite, accompanied by the three other planes to provide air support for an amphibious exercise by Philippine and US marines.

"It was coming in for a landing when the accident happened," said PAF spokesman Arturo Orticio. That prompted PAF chief Lt. Gen. Benjamin Defensor to ground the remaining six F-5A fighter jets and order an investigation.

Witnesses said they heard a loud explosion at around 10:45 a.m. before the jet plowed into the Mabalacat Elementary School, hitting one of the buildings and leveling six bigger rooms.

But a disaster was avoided because the school was empty due to the summer vacation. The three other planes accompanying the F-5A made it back safely.

"I saw badly burned people running away from the crash site. It was terrible," witness Boy Sagad said. Another witness, Daniel Cervantes, said what remained of the plane seemed like a "large piece of crumpled metal."

Before the crash, witnesses said the plane flew so low and clipped the roofs of least 40 houses in Barangays San Joaquin, Mama Titang and Poblacion in Mabalacat.

Metal fragments from the plane set three houses on fire, witnesses said. Police said one of the plane’s wheels smashed into another house, injuring four occupants.

Sixteen civilians were confirmed injured, but military doctors were checking other houses around the crash site for more casualties, Mabanta said.

Radio reports identified three of the injured – Jesus Rivera, a teacher at the school; Junior dela Cruz, a utility man also at the school; and Virginia Garcia, an occupant of one of the damaged houses.

At least three of the injured were treated for serious burns, rescue officer Daryl Manalang told Reuters.

Pampanga Gov. Manuel Lapid said one civilian on the ground was killed, but this could not be independently confirmed. "There is great damage here," he said, adding that the body of the downed pilot was charred nearly beyond recognition.

The pilot was seen apparently trying to bail out moments before the plane exploded. "We saw what looked like a parachute, as though the pilot was trying to bail out," municipal officer Jun Magbalot said.

Col. Horacio Lactao, the Philippine co-director of the Balikatan joint war exercises, said the school building into which the F-5A crashed was only about two kilometers from the end of the Clark airfield.

"There were civilians who sustained minor bruises and they were immediately evacuated for treatment. We are still confirming if there are still others," Lactao said.

Lt. Mary Nancy Pastor, a spokeswoman for the joint military exercises, told AFP by telephone from the crash site, "We have not determined the cause at this time. We are investigating, and we will issue a statement soon."

More than 2,000 US troops are taking part in the exercises at Clark.

Read more at https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2002/05/03/159470/paf-pilot-killed-f-5a-jet-crash#zwJKLYtpvxI9dWI0.99

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Pakistan backed Islamic terrorists Taliban kill 100-plus recuits at Afghan spy agency's training centre

The Taliban killed more than 100 members of the Afghan security forces inside a military compound in central Maidan Wardak province on Monday, a senior defence official said.

“We have information that 126 people have been killed in the explosion inside the military training center, eight special commandoes are among the dead,” said a senior official in the defence ministry in Kabul, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The official said the assault began on Monday morning when the attackers rammed a car full explosives through a military check point and detonated the vehicle inside the campus of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) forces training center in Maidan Shahr, the capital of Maidan Wardak province.Two gunmen entered the campus right after the explosion and shot at many Afghan soldiers before being gunned down during the clashes.

Defence ministry officials said the Taliban had used U.S.-made armoured Humvee vehicles captured from Afghan forces as a  car bomb in order to breach the military fortifications.

A second source residing in Maidan Wardak province said more than 100 members of National Directorate of Security (NDS) were killed in the complex attack.

“I have been in touch with the NDS official in the province and they told me that over 100 members of the NDS were killed in the big explosion,” the former provincial official said.

Sharif Hotak, a member of the provincial council in Maidan Wardak said he saw bodies of 35 Afghan forces in the hospital.

“Many more were killed. Several bodies were transported to Kabul city and many injured were transferred to hospitals in Kabul,” said Hotak, adding that “the government was hiding the accurate casualty figures to prevent a further dip in morale of the Afghan forces.”

“The explosion was very powerful. The whole building has collapsed,” he said. Government officials in Maidan Wardak and Kabul declined to comment when asked if they were obscuring the death toll.

Two senior officials in the interior ministry said the exact casualty figure was not being disclosed to prevent unrest within the armed forces.

“I have been told not to make the death toll figures public. It is frustrating to hide the facts,” said a senior interior ministry official in Kabul. A senior NDS official in Kabul said at least 50 people were killed or wounded in the complex attack.

Abdurrahman Mangal, spokesman for the provincial governor in Maidan Wardak said 12 people were killed and 12 were injured when the car bomb exploded near the Afghan special forces unit.

President Ashraf Ghani’s office in a statement said the “enemies of the country” had carried out an attack against NDS personnel in Maidan Shahr.

“They killed and wounded a number of our beloved and honest sons.”

In recent years the Afghan government has stopped releasing detailed casualty figures.

Last year Ghani has said 28,000 Afghan police officers and soldiers have been killed since 2015, breaking the longstanding suppression on casualty data.

Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

Zabiullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the group said they have killed 190 people in the complex attack.

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