The List 5249 TGB
Good Tuesday Morning to all. I hope that you all are doing well.
Today in Naval History
Adm. George Dewey is commissioned Admiral of the Navy, the only person to hold this rank. Upon his death Jan. 16, 1917, Congress deactivates the rank.
The battleship USS Idaho (BB 42) is commissioned. Idaho serves with the Pacific fleet, participating in gunfire support of the Aleutian, Marianas, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa Campaigns, and is in Tokyo Bay Sept. 2, 1945 when Japan formally surrenders.
USS Balch (DD 363), named after Rear Adm. George B. Balch, is launched.
USS Bowfin (SS 287) attacks a Japanese convoy, sinking both a transport and army cargo ship.
The first operational use of a Harpoon missile in combat is used by A-6A aircraft from VA-34 against a Libyan Combatant II G-class fast-attack missile craft. The engagement occurs after Libyan armed forces fire missiles at U.S. Navy forces operating in the Gulf of Sidra. Retaliatory strikes by A-7E Corsair II aircraft put the SA-5 missiles out of action at Surt and VA-85 aircraft then sink the missile craft.
Coastal patrol craft USS Chinook (PC 9) arrives at Umm Qasr, Iraq. During this port visit to Iraq, she is the first U.S. Navy ship to stay overnight.
Thanks to CHINFO
This date in World history
1208 King John of England opposes Innocent III on his nomination for archbishop of Canterbury.
1603 Queen Elizabeth I dies which will bring into power James VI of Scotland.
1663 Charles II of England awards land known as Carolina in North America to eight members of the nobility who assisted in his restoration.
1664 In London, Roger Williams is granted a charter to colonize Rhode Island.
1720 The banking houses of Paris close in the wake of financial crisis.
1721 In Germany, the supremely talented Johann Sebastian Bach publishes the Six Brandenburg Concertos.
1765 Britain passes the Quartering Act, requiring the colonies to house 10,000 British troops in public and private buildings.
1862 Abolitionist Wendell Phillips speaks to a crowd about emancipation in Cincinnati, Ohio and is pelted by eggs.
1900 Mayor Van Wyck of New York breaks ground for the New York subway tunnel that will link Manhattan and Brooklyn.
1904 Vice Admiral Togo sinks seven Russian ships as the Japanese strengthen their blockade of Port Arthur.
1927 Chinese Communists seize Nanking and break with Chiang Kai-shek over the Nationalist goals.
1938 The United States asks that all powers help refugees fleeing from the Nazis.
1944 The Gestapo rounds up innocent Italians in Rome and shoots them to death in reprisal for a bomb attack that killed 33 German policemen.
1947 Congress proposes limiting the United States presidency to two terms.
1951 General Douglas MacArthur threatens the Chinese with an extension of the Korean War if the proposed truce is not accepted.
1954 Great Britain opens trade talks with Hungary.
1955 Tennessee Williams' play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof opens at the Morosco Theatre in New York City.
1958 Elvis Presley trades in his guitar for a rifle and Army fatigues.
1965 The Freedom Marchers, citizens for civil rights, reach Montgomery, Alabama.
1967 Viet Cong ambush a truck convoy in South Vietnam damaging 82 of the 121 trucks.
1972 Great Britain imposes direct rule over Northern Ireland.
1985 Thousands demonstrate in Madrid against the NATO presence in Spain.
1989 The Exxon Valdez oil tanker spills 240,000 barrels of oil in Alaska's Prince William Sound.
1999 NATO planes, including stealth aircraft, attack Serbian forces in Kosovo.
Thanks to Al
Monday Morning Humor--Spring
Again, I start with a little situation humor to lighten the atmosphere. Here's a great suggestion if you are at home and don't have much to do: Call some friends that you haven't talked with for a long time AND call folks you know that are home alone and may enjoy a nice conversation. In either case it is better than just listening to the news.
Eventually, everyone will be quarantined to their homes with no sports to watch. Nine months later, an entire generation will be born. We'll call them the Coronials. Then in 2033, we will see the rise of the Quaranteens.
Some people aren't shaking hands because of the coronavirus. I'm not shaking hands because everyone is out of toilet paper.
Advertised cruise deal: Buy one week, get two free! Promo code COVID19
Political dichotomy: It seems that the same folks who state "we need government-run healthcare now" are now saying "the government is mis managing the Covid-19 response."
This week on the TV show "Pawn Stars", the biggest deal was made on two bottles of hand sanitizer, 2 cases of bottled water, and 16 rolls of toilet paper.
One of the funnier memes I have seen reads: "Chuck Norris has been exposed to the coronavirus. The virus is now in quarantine for the next two weeks."
With a "shortage" of toilet paper, those exceedingly long CVS receipts are finally paying off.
Here's a tip: Wear a Los Angeles Chargers jersey and you won't catch anything.
Well, spring is here, so here are some punnies…
I was walking by the fridge last night and I thought I could hear the spring onions singing a BeeGees song. Turns out it was just the chives talking.
Spring is finally here. I got so excited I wet my plants.
To celebrate the end of winter, my local bed shop is having a spring sale. The rest of the bed is still full price though.
Just finished my spring cleaning. Sometimes I wish I'd never bought a Slinky.
Winter can be pretty dreary with all the bare trees, so when spring comes it's such a re-leaf.
Who is the only Irishman that comes out in the Spring? Patty O'Furniture
Mary Poppins decides to grow some vegetables. When she picks her crop in the autumn, her carrots, potatoes, onions, and spring beans have all failed, but her cauliflowers have grown a treat. She picks them, cooks some for Sunday lunch in a cheese sauce, and they taste wonderful.
After eating them for a week she notices two things. Firstly, her lips are full and glossy, unchapped, uncracked, and require absolutely no lip gloss to make them look full and pouty. Secondly she has really awful bad breath and even her cat won't come near her.
Pleased with her lips, however, and spotting a money-making idea, she contacts a big cosmetics company and explains about the lip-enhancing qualities of her cauliflower crop.
After a month of testing the company buys the entire crop of cauliflowers for a phenomenal amount and requests that Mary grow some more as soon as possible.
The company proceeds to make lipstick out of them but experiences problems in the final product manufacture. The lipstick does not gel correctly into a solid stick and ends up crumbling upon application. Quality controllers also find that, even as a lipstick, the bad breath remains and have to put it down as an unfortunate side effect.
As they are nearing their production deadline and adverts for this new wonder lip enhancer have hit the streets, the cosmetics company has no choice but to produce the packaging with the following caution:
Poppins' Pop-up Lip Enhancer:
SUPER CAULI, FRAGILE LIPSTICK - EXPECT-HALITOSIS
Have a great week,
Skip - would you please include the below from 'Bad Fred' Lewis in the next list? Thanks pal!
NOTAM 22 MAR 2020
Dear Tomcat Monument Donors and Supporters,
It is with deep regret that we, the Board of Directors of the F-14 Tomcat Monument Association, reluctantly announce that the Monument Dedication Ceremony scheduled for 13 May 2020 has been postponed due to the uncertainty of the current national situation. We know that this decision is disappointing and inconvenient for all who had planned to attend, but please understand that our decision was not made lightly and was, we believe, in the best interest of our whole community. This current action is a postponement and not a cancellation, and we are looking at conducting the dedication ceremony in the Fall. So, over the next few months please review our website at www.tomcatmonument.org for amplifying announcements.
RADM Bad Fred Lewis, USN (Ret)
Thanks to Brad...
119 People Quarantined In A Brothel In Spain
Sun, 03/21/2020 - 07:35
Of all the places to be quarantined, a brothel in Valencia, Spain , might not be the worst. You've got booze, you've likely got a small buffet of fried foods and you've got entertainment
But in all seriousness, that was exactly the case a day ago when authorities found that a woman working at the "La Selva Negra" brothel had tested positive for coronavirus. The findings forced authorities to quarantine the premises and the 86 customers that were inside
The employee, who is now in the hospital, had "slept with several clients that same night,"according to a translated blog post on the story
In addition to the customers, the club's owners, waitresses, security and cleaning crew were also quarantined. When added to the total of 86 customers, it makes 119 people under quarantine.They have been asked to "keep calm" and to just "live a normal life" inside the premises
That may be easier for some of the patrons than they'd like to admit.
And for all those guys who told their wives they were going to a wine tasting with their buddies and instead went to the brothel, the news may be worse than coronavirus.
Thanks to Carl
Match Stick Art
Talent and patience!! Amazing pieces!
Thanks to THE Bear via Dutch ….
Hand Salute!! - Thanks to THE Bear
Dutch... Ray Alcorn, intrepid strike-fighting Naval Aviator, passed last week as he lived: quietly and without fanfare. Calm, cool and collected, he was the epitome of what a smart and industrious naval officer and human being should be. He will be remembered with great affection, respect and admiration. He is gone: glory gained, duty done. Ray Alcorn rests in peace.
Thanks to Dr Rich and Dutch
If you would like to feel real good about being an American, you have to watch this short video from Tacoma.
Click on the photo, or here: TRIBUTE
Also, if you have never heard "Echo TAPS", click HERE
Thanks to Richard
Subject: Thought you might like reading this
We are living in a Bizarre World:
• If a dude pretends to be a woman, you are required to pretend with him.
• Somehow it's un-American for the census to count how many Americans are in America.
• Russians influencing our elections are bad, but illegal Mexicans voting in our elections are good.
• It was cool for Joe Biden to "blackmail" the President of Ukraine, but it's an impeachable offense if Donald Trump inquires about it.
• Twenty is too young to drink a beer, but eighteen is old enough to vote.
• Sexualizing children is bad, but 11-year-old drag queens are good.
• Illegals aren't required to show ID, but citizens can't buy cough medicine without it.
• Citizens are fined if they don't buy their own health insurance, and then they are forced to buy it for illegals.
• People who have never owned slaves should pay slavery reparations to people who have never been slaves.
• Inflammatory rhetoric is outrageous, but harassing people in restaurants is virtuous.
• People who have never been to college should pay the debts of college students who took out huge loans for useless degrees.
• Immigrants with tuberculosis and polio are welcome, but you'd better be able to prove your dog is vaccinated.
• Irish doctors and German engineers who want to immigrate must go through a rigorous vetting process, but any illiterate
Central-American gang-banger who jumps the southern fence is welcome.
• $5 billion for border security is too expensive, but $1.5 trillion for "free" health care for illegals is not.
• If you cheat to get into college you go to prison, but if you cheat to get into the country you go to college for free.
• Politicians who say that the President is not above the law put illegal immigrants and themselves above the law.
• People who say there is no such thing as gender are demanding a female President.
• Illegals don't pay taxes, but they get tax refunds.
• We see other countries going Socialist and collapsing, and it seems like a great plan to us.
• Voter suppression is bad, but not allowing the President to be on the ballot is good.
• Fourth-of-July parades are bad, but parades of women dressed as vaginas are good.
• Some people are held responsible for things that happened before they were born, and other people are not held responsible
for what they are doing right now.
• Criminals are catch-and-released to hurt more people, but stopping them is bad because it's a violation of THEIR rights.
* And pointing out all this hypocrisy somehow makes us "racists." 🙄🙄
Daily News from Military Periscope for 24 March
USA—CENTCOM Implements Quarantines For Troops Headed To Middle East U.S. Central Command | 03/24/2020 U.S. Central Command has halted all new deployments to its area of responsibility for two weeks to guard against the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). According to the March 20 order, units set to deploy to the Middle East are now required to undergo a two-week quarantine at their port of embarkation before traveling to the region to ensure all personnel are ready for duty when they arrive at their bases, said a CENTCOM release. The move is also intended to reduce potential stresses on limited medical facilities in the region. Units scheduled to be replaced will be temporarily held on station to cover the 14-day gap. Coalition troops will also be required to undergo similar quarantines before deploying, no matter where they are coming from, said CENTCOM. On March 19, the Resolute Support mission announced that it was halting deployments to Afghanistan, reported Air Force magazine.
USA—Navy Conducts Live-Firing In S. China Sea Taiwan News | 03/24/2020 The U.S. Navy has conducted a live-fire exercise in the South China Sea, reports the Taiwan News. The guided-missile destroyer USS Barry launched an unidentified missile and "conducted combat information center operations," the 7th Fleet said in a Tuesday statement on social media. The service provided no further details. A Taiwanese lawmaker speculated to ETtoday (Taipei) that the U.S. would not have made such a move without information that China was planning unspecified military activities in the area. China has maintained many of its training activities in the contested waters and airspace despite the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
USA—Pentagon Seeks New Terminals To Speed Sensor-To-Shooter Comms C4ISRNet | 03/24/2020 The Dept. of Defense has launched discussions with industry on prototype ground terminals to support future multidomain operations, reports C4ISRNet. The Defense Innovation Unit, a DoD outpost in Silicon Valley, issued a notice to industry on March 18 for a prototype ground station that can rapidly process sensor data from satellites. The goal is to reduce latency between satellite sensors and weapons platforms on the ground to rapidly direct effects onto threats. The terminals are expected to provide direct downlinks from commercial, military and intelligence satellites with reduced latency and use artificial intelligence and machine learning to process the data. Responses are due by April 3. The Pentagon plans a two-year competition, including the delivery of two to six prototypes for government testing. In the first phase, the first two prototypes would be delivered by January 2022 for testing, assessment and refinement of the terminals, noted Breaking Defense. The DIU program will run parallel to the Army's Tactical Interface Tracking Application Node (TITAN) ground station program, which is being developed to process ground and space-based sensor information.
USA—Army Picks 10 Firms For Next Phase Of Expeditionary Tech Program Breaking Defense | 03/24/2020 The U.S. Army has selected 10 small businesses for the next stage of its Expeditionary Technology Search (xTechSearch) program, reports Breaking Defense. The program is designed to help small businesses develop and demonstrate new technologies for potential military use. The semifinalists were announced on March 19, the website said on Friday. The winners were selected from among 20 candidates and will receive $120,000 and access to Army experts to refine their products and pitches for the military. The winning firm, scheduled to be announced in the fall, will receive an additional $250,000. The technologies competing for the final prize include a tactical throwable camera with a 360-degree field of view from Bounce Imaging, Buffalo, N.Y., and a micro-electronic-mechanical system (MEMS) inertial measurement unit (IMU) from MEI Micro, Addison, Texas, the program manager, said. Two medical products were also selected: a spray-on wound care product from KeriCure, Tampa, Fla., and a portable and deployable infection and pathogen detection system from GeneCapture, Huntsville, Ala. Multiple awards were made for helicopter technologies, including magnetic braking technology that could provide mobility to helicopters on the ground without using their engines from Inductive Ventures, Marietta, Ga., and an autonomous stabilization system to prevent hoisted loads from spinning from Vita Inclinata, Broomfield, Colo. Command, control, communications and computing (C4) offerings included an "edge device" that functions as a black box hardened against cyberattacks and interference to deploy artificial intelligence into the field, developed by IoT/AI, Fremont, Calif., and a low-profile satellite communications antenna that can be used for multiple communications frequencies offered by Novaa, Columbus, Ohio. Finally, Multiscale Systems, Worcester, Mass., proposed an engineered metamaterial. LynQ Technologies, Brooklyn, N.Y., offered a device that can help locate injured personnel, downed pilots, cargo or other critical equipment on the battlefield.
European Union—Commission Gets Green Light For Membership Talks With Albania, N. Macedonia Bloomberg News | 03/24/2020 The European Union has taken initial steps toward starting membership negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia reports Bloomberg News. Representatives of the E.U. member states have recommended that the European Commission, the executive branch of the regional body, take the steps needed to launch membership talks, E.U. officials said. The decision must still be ratified by the 27 member states. Efforts to begin the membership process for the Balkan countries stalled last year over concerns from France and the Netherlands about democratic norms and corruption, reported Reuters. Changes to address French concerns included increasing the importance of fundamental issues, such as the functioning of democratic and judicial systems. Concerns raised by Greece have also been addressed with the inclusion of language mandating the protection of national minorities in Albania. Once the deal is officially approved by all member states, the commission can begin developing the negotiating framework for the two candidates.
China—Combined Arms Battalions Now The Basic Army Unit Global Times | 03/24/2020 The Chinese People's Liberation Army has declared the combined arms battalion as its basic combat unit, reports the Global Times (China). The battalions have begun being employed in operational exercises as part of China's military modernization, the PLA Daily reported on March 20. Combined arms battalions incorporate nearly all combat capabilities within the army, including infantry, tank, artillery, aviation and amphibious assault. Several battalion configurations have been formed and additional versions could be established, said experts. Each battalion could have its own focus based on battlefield requirements. Incorporating multiple types of units at the battalion level increases flexibility and enables them to better address a variety of combat situations, the experts said. Such units require highly efficient management of the different units and integrated command capabilities, said one officer.
Taiwan—Joint Exercise Tests Readiness Against Chinese Air Attack Central News Agency | 03/24/2020 Taiwan has held a joint exercise to test its defenses against a potential large-scale Chinese aerial assault, reports the semi-official Central News Agency (Taipei). The readiness exercise kicked off early Tuesday with a simulated air attack from mainland China, said the defense ministry. Eight F-16 jets were launched from Hualien Air Base in eastern Taiwan for simulated long-range intercept missions. Units from all branches of the Taiwanese military participated in the drills, which included a cyber warfare component, emergency landing exercises and repairing a damaged runway, reported the Taiwan News. The exercise follows sustained Chinese air operations that have involved its military aircraft flying near Taiwan's airspace.
Singapore—Agreement With Australia Expands Access To Training Facilities Straits Times | 03/24/2020 Australia and Singapore have signed a defense cooperation agreement expanding the city-state's access to training facilities in Australia, reports the Straits Times. Singapore Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen and his Australian counterpart, Linda Reynolds, signed the Treaty on Military Training and Training Area Development during the fifth Singapore-Australia Leaders' meeting, which was conducted via video link due to the coronavirus pandemic. Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison observed the signing, reported Channel News Asia. Under the agreement, the Shoalwater Bay Training Area and a new Greenvale Training Area will be expanded and Singapore's access to them increased. The upgraded facilities will feature air-land ranges for combined arms training and urban operations live-fire training. The updates to Shoalwater Bay are scheduled to be completed by 2024, with the Greenvale range to be completed in 2028. Singapore will have access to the ranges for 25 years once the upgraded capabilities are made available. It will be able to conduct 18 weeks of training in Australia annually, with up to 14,000 personnel and 2,400 vehicles.
Pakistan—Army Deployed To Fight Coronavirus Dawn | 03/24/2020 Pakistan has deployed the army to aid in the response to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), reports the Dawn (Karachi). On Monday, army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa ordered the deployment of soldiers and medical teams after consulting with the interior ministry. Pakistani troops will work with provincial governments to aid in the fight against coronavirus and ensure compliance with lockdowns, reported Turkey's Anadolu Agency. Restrictions on movement have been implemented at the provincial level after the number of cases of the virus surged to 900, including six deaths. Prime Minister Imran Khan has resisted calls for a nationwide curfew, citing the anticipated impact on the poor. The majority of the cases have been linked to Shi'ite pilgrims in eastern Sindh province, reported the Voice of America News.
Afghanistan—Pompeo Visits Kabul To Resolve Presidential Dispute Nbc News | 03/24/2020 U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has made a previously unannounced visit to Afghanistan to try and resolve a political standoff threatening the peace deal between the Taliban and the U.S., reports NBC News. On Monday, Pompeo flew into Kabul and met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his rival, Abdullah Abdullah. Both claim to have won the presidential elections in September and each held their own swearing-in ceremony on March 9. Pompeo met with Abdullah and Ghani separately and together as well as with Afghan officials from the interior and defense ministries and the National Directorate of Security intelligence agency, reported CNN. Following the meetings, he flew to Doha, Qatar. Should the dispute between go unresolved, it could undermine the peace deal reached by the U.S. and the Taliban earlier this year, said State Dept. experts. The Taliban and Afghan government held their first technical talks on prisoner releases on Sunday, said Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. special representative for Afghan reconciliation. Prisoner exchanges have been a major point of contention between Kabul and the Taliban. Meanwhile, fighting between the militant group and Afghan security forces has continued, with 27 security personnel killed in the latest Taliban attack.
Libya—Rockets Break Humanitarian Cease-Fire In Tripoli Asharq Al-Awsat | 03/24/2020 Violence has flared after cease-fire violations around Tripoli, the Libyan capital, reports Asharq Al-Awsat (London). On Monday, two civilians were killed in a mortar attack by fighters loyal to Khalifa Haftar in the southern Ain Zara suburb, said an umbrella force loyal to the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), as reported by the Libya Observer. Two other "foreign workers" were killed in an attack at the Mitiga airport, said the GNA force. A spokesman for Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) denied the civilian casualties, saying that the attacks killed four Turkish soldiers and a Syrian mercenary. The attacks were a response to rocket attacks north of Tarhuna, said the spokesman. The attacks breached a cease-fire that has been loosely observed on the advice of the U.N. and other international agencies to allow the war-torn country to coordinate a response to the coronavirus epidemic.
Mali—Resource Disputes Continue To Drive Conflict, Report Says Voice Of America News | 03/24/2020 Violence in Mali could spread if the underlying drivers, primarily disputes over land and access to natural resources, are not addressed, according to a new report cited by the Voice of America News. The report released by International Alert (London) on Monday focuses on land conflicts in Sikasso in southern Mali, where the fighting seen in central and northern Mali has not yet developed. Issues including climate change, population movement and extremist groups could lead to violence in the region, says the study. Focused on land disputes, the report says if the disagreements are not dealt with fairly, extremist groups could exploit the mistrust between local communities and the central government by providing alternative resolution mechanisms. Militant groups active in the north and central parts of Mali could also exploit ethnic divisions that are also found in the south. Extremists active in the north, particularly the Macina Liberation Front, a component of Jama'at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM), have sought to position themselves as defenders of disenfranchised groups, including the Fula community, noted analysts.
Ivory Coast—Attack Chopper Goes Down In Abidjan Defence Web | 03/24/2020 The Ivory Coast air force has lost its second Mi-24D attack helicopter in four months, reports Defence Web (South Africa). The helicopter went down on March 18 at the Felix Houphouet airport in Abidjan, the Ivorian economic capital on the Gulf of Guinea, the website said on Monday. The helicopter sustained moderate damage in the incident, rolling over onto its side. The crew escaped with minor injuries. The cause of the crash was not immediately clear. In November 2019, Ivory Coast suffered the total loss of another Mi-24D, when after it collided on the ground with an Mi-17 utility helicopter. The Mi-17, assigned to the presidential transport unit, was damaged but could be repaired.
Cameroon—Military Hits Rebel Camps Ahead Of Election Rerun Voice Of America News | 03/24/2020 The Cameroonian military says it has destroyed several rebel camps in the western Anglophone regions ahead of a rerun of parliamentary elections, reports the Voice of America News. Last week, around 350 government troops destroyed 10 camps, killing 24 rebels, including a commander, and wounding several more. Several vehicles and weapons were also seized, said Brig. Gen. Valere Nka, the head of military operations in the English-speaking Northwest and Southwest regions. The Anglophone separatists disputed the numbers, saying that the military suffered most of the casualties. Nka rejected the claim, saying only a few troops were injured in the operations. Locals said that the military killed at least six civilians during the raids. The raids were ordered by President Paul Biya in an effort to prevent attacks threatened by the rebels to disrupt Sunday's elections. Cameroon's Constitutional Council ordered a redo of the vote in several parts of the Northwest and Southwest regions after numerous irregularities and fraud were reported in February's vote. Sunday's voting went forward successfully, with no evidence of fraud or other issues, said government officials quoted by the Journal du Cameroun.
Mozambique—Militants Seize Northern Town In Latest Escalation In Cabo Delgado Province Mozambique News Agency | 03/24/2020 Islamist militants have taken control of a strategic town in northern Mozambique, reports the Mozambique News Agency. On Monday, extremists attacked the port city of Mocimboa de Praia in Cabo Delgado province by land and sea, taking a military base there and setting up roadblocks, reported the Daily Maverick (Johannesburg). A security source described the attackers as "experienced" due to the coordinated nature of the assault. Residents said the attackers, who call themselves Al-Shabaab, blocked exits to the town. Some residents were locked inside mosques, reported Moz24. This is the first time that the militants have attacked a major town since beginning their insurgency three years ago in the resource-rich province. It is unclear if there is a link between the group and the Somali group of the same name. Security forces said they had launched a counter-offensive to dislodge the militants, reported BBC News.