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Canada Shooting: Soldier Dead in Parliament Attack

MICHEL COMTE/AFP/Getty Images(OTTAWA, Ontario) -- A Canadian soldier was killed Wednesday morning in shootings that forced police to lock down Parliament and hustle the country's prime minister to a safe location.

A gunman killed inside Parliament has been identified as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a Canadian national.

Police said earlier that they were searching for two other suspects.

"Today is a sad and tragic day for our city and our country," Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

The gunfire prompted security force to take Prime Minister Stephen Harper to a "safe" place not at Parliament Hill, his spokesperson said. Harper's usual office is in a building near the shooting site.

"The prime minister is safe and not on Parliament Hill and being briefed by security officials," his spokesman Jason MacDonald said.

Ottawa Police said via Twitter the initial shooting took place at 9:52 a.m. at the National War Memorial of Canada, but that was just the beginning of the violent episode, which has now stretched into investigations in at least one other location: Parliament Hill. A nearby shopping mall, the Rideau Centre, was subsequently evacuated.


Ottawa Police Constable Marc Soucy told Canada's CTV police were searching for more than one suspect and no one has been arrested. He later said there was believed to be three suspects.

Civic Hospital in Ottawa, the country's capital, received four patients, including the wounded soldier who died of his wounds.

"Apart from first patient, they had minor, non-life threatening injuries and remain in hospital at this time," hospital spokeswoman Hazel Harding told ABC News.

Earlier on Wednesday, witnesses told CTV they saw a man with long hair carrying a rifle and heard four shots fired at the soldier, who was guarding Canada's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The soldier later died of his wounds.

A witness told Canada's CBC the gunman then ran the short distance to Canada’s Parliament, jumped a wall, stopped a car at gunpoint and hijacked it, the witness said. The driver got out safely, then the man drove the car to the Centre Block on Parliament Hill where senior government leaders have their offices.

A CBC reporter inside the Canadian Parliament reported chaos there, hearing lots of gunshots. A lawmaker tweeted more than 30 shots were heard inside Parliament's Center Block.

The gunman was shot dead by the Parliament’s Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers.

All military bases in Canada have been put on lock down in response to the events in Ottawa, CTV reported. The U.S. Embassy in Ottawa recently followed suit.

Senior FBI and Department of Homeland Security officials told ABC News they are closely monitoring the situation. The White House said President Obama has been briefed and has spoken to Harper over the phone.

According to a readout of the call, Obama condemned the attack and "reaffirmed the close friendship and alliance between our people." The president also offered Canada any assistance it needed in responding to the attack.

Canada raised its national terrorism alert level on Wednesday, following an incident Monday in which a Canadian soldier was killed in a hit-and-run by a man suspected to have been a radicalized jihadist.

"This level means that intelligence has indicated that an individual or group within Canada or abroad has the intent and capability to commit an act of terrorism," Jean-Christophe de Le Rue, a spokesman for the Public Safety Ministry said, according to AFP.  

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Canada Shooting Hero Identified as Sgt. at Arms Kevin Vickers

Alex Boutilier/Toronto Star via Getty Images(OTTAWA, Ontario) -- Sgt. at Arms Kevin Vickers is being hailed a hero on Wednesday for shooting the gunman who ambushed the Parliament building in Ottawa.

Lawmakers confirmed to ABC News that Vickers fired the fatal shot that killed the gunman, who has not been identified.

Vickers, 58, is a former police officer who had worked for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for nearly three decades before he joined Canada's House of Commons as the head of security in 2005. He was appointed Sgt. at Arms the following year.

Vicker's younger brother John Vickers told CBC News that his brother called their mother to say he's safe.

"I just couldn't be prouder of him right now," John said, noting that Kevin has "always been committed to service, people and country."

Kevin Vickers, who lives in Ottawa, according to his Facebook profile, also drew praise on social media.

Justice Minister and Attorney General Peter MacKay called Vickers and other security forces "true heroes," and politician Glenn Thibeault called him the "nicest guy you'll ever meet."

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US Military Launches 18 Airstrikes Against ISIS in Syria, Iraq

Stocktrek Images/Thinkstock(TAMPA, Fla.) -- The U.S. military conducted 18 more airstrikes against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) targets in Syria and Iraq on Tuesday and Wednesday.

According to U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), six of the strikes were in Syria, near Kobani. They destroyed fighting positions, two vehicles, an ISIS building and a logistical center.

The remaining 12 airstrikes were in Iraq, near Mosul Dam. Those attacks destroyed a large ISIS unit, a mortar launching position, three vehicles and multiple fighting positions.

CENTCOM said all the aircraft used in the strikes managed to exit the areas safely.

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ISIS in Iraq, Syria Recruiting Foreign Fighters from Balkans

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Kosovo’s intelligence agency rescued an 8-year-old boy last week from Syria, where his father had taken him six months earlier so that he could join the Islamist extremist group ISIS there.

“This is the greatest day for me. I hope that no mother will live my destiny,” the boy’s mother, Pranvera Zena, told reporters at the Pristina airport once she was reunited with her son, Erion.

Unfortunately for Zena, many Balkan Muslims besides her have been living this reality. More and more men are flocking to Iraq and Syria from the former Yugoslavia, which while mostly moderate in its Islamic traditions, has a unique political and religious history that has proven a fertile ground for extremist ideology -- and ISIS recruits.

Somewhere between 200 and 600 fighters from Balkan nations including Bosnia, Serbia and Kosovo have traveled to Syria since 2012, according to a June study by the Combating Terrorism Center, a research institution at West Point. That’s compared with the 100 Americans believed to have joined ISIS and other militant groups there.

Last month, the State Department designated two Balkan fighters, one Kosovar Albanian affiliated with ISIS and one Bosnian who fought with al-Nusra, another extremist group, as terrorists, imposing economic sanctions on them and any Americans who associate with them.

Those fighters’ home nations are taking the threat they pose seriously: Bosnia passed a law this year that throws convicted Islamists and recruiters in prison for up to 10 years, and arrested 16 people in September on such suspicions, while Kosovo, which arrested 55 Islamists, and Serbia, which charged five jihadis, both earlier this month, are also considering strengthening their anti-terrorism laws.

While the majority of Balkan Muslims observe a unique form of Islam that combines traditional and non-Islamic practices, there is a small but potent strain of extremism that traces back to the 1930s, when Alija Izetbegovic, later the president of Bosnia, formed a Muslim Brotherhood-style political group, said Balkan expert Gordon Bardos.

Later in the 1990s, the mujahedeen guerilla fighters who had just finished fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan were looking for a new battleground and found it in the Balkans, where Bosnian Muslims were fighting Serb and Croat forces.

“The serendipitous thing from [the mujahedeen] perspective was the war on Bosnia literally started just a few weeks after things died down in Afghanistan,” Bardos said.

Many of the surviving foreign fighters from that war remained in the Balkans and helped set up Islamist communities like Gornja Maoca in Bosnia, where Mevludin Jašarevic, a Serbian who was convicted for a 2011 attack on the U.S. embassy in Sarajevo, lived. The June CTC report found that 18 individuals associated with that community alone had traveled to Syria.

The Balkans have also been heavily influenced by nations including Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran, each trying to out-influence the other by spending more and more money on mosques and religious schools in the region.

In a 2008 report, Bosnian investigative journalist Esad Hecimovic found that the Saudis spent 2 billion riyals, about $500 million, to reconstruct and build new mosques in Bosnia alone from 1992-2001. More and more Balkan clerics around that time also began to go to the Middle East for their religious training, becoming steeped in austere forms of Islam like Saudi Wahhabism.

“They’re being exposed to more extreme forms of Islam. They’re building contacts with more extreme adherents of Islamic doctrine. So it’s going to have an influence,” Bardos said.

It’s also a lot easier for Balkans who gravitate towards Islamist rhetoric to travel to Syria; many fly or drive to Turkey, and then walk on foot over the Turkish-Syrian border.

But the real concern for westerners is not what these Balkans do when they get to the ISIS battlefield, but rather, what they will do when that fight winds down -- however long that takes.

“A significant portion of them have torn up their passports,” Daniel Milton, an assistant professor at the CTC said. “They're not going to go home but they're going to go somewhere else."

Neither the United States nor Europe might be their next target, as they might be more drawn to wherever Islamists are fighting external forces. But wherever they go, Milton warned that many will have used their time with ISIS to hone their capabilities on the next battlefield.

“The opportunity for them to refine their skills is simply going to allow them to be more deadly wherever they go,” he said.

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Family of Detained American Thanks God for His Release from North Korea

iStock/Thinkstock(MIAMISBURG, Ohio) -- The family of the American released from North Korea spoke out Wednesday morning as he arrived back at his home in Miamisburg, Ohio.

"[Jeffrey Fowle] is home. We'd like to thank God for his hand of protection over Jeff for these past six months," the family's attorney said in a statement with the Fowles standing beside him.

They noted that while they are "overjoyed" by his return, they are "mindful" that the families of Kenneth Bae and Matthew Miller -- Americans who are still being detained -- did not have the same relief.

"[Jeffrey] was treated well by the government of the DPRK and he is in good health," the attorney said.

While they said that Fowle was going to be taking some time to readjust and be with his family, not everything will go back to normal immediately since he was fired from his job during his detention. His termination letter has been made public.

Fowle worked as an equipment operator for the street department of Moraine, Ohio, for 26 years before he was incarcerated in North Korea in May after leaving a bar at a sailor's nightclub.

"We regret to advise you that due to your ongoing absence from work, the City of Moraine will terminate your employment effective September 18, 2014, the date on which your accrued vacation leave will be exhausted," the Sept. 16 letter from the City of Moraine read.

"We had hoped this action would not be necessary but in light of your continued incarceration in North Korea resulting from [a] unilateral decision to travel to North Korea against the advice of your family and acquaintances; and [b] running afoul of North Korean restrictions on ‘anti-government’ activities, and as stated, the exhaustion of your accrued vacation time, we have to act in the best interests of the City of Moraine and its residents," it read.

Fowle's family was kept on his health insurance in spite of his termination and paid out a severance of $70,604.96 due to the sick leave he accrued since 1988.

The city also made it clear that he could return to his job once he was freed, noting that he was in "good standing" at the time of his termination.

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Kenny G Hits a Sour Note with China's Government

Kevin Winter/Getty Images(HONG KONG) -- Looks as if Kenny G hit an off-note with the Chinese government.

The Grammy-award winning musician made a surprise visit to the central Occupy Hong Kong protest site Wednesday, drawing a swift rebuke from the government in Beijing.

“In Hong Kong at the sight of the demonstration,” he tweeted, posting a photo of himself with his fingers in a “v” sign in front of a protest sign calling for democracy in Hong Kong.

“I wish everyone a peaceful and positive conclusion to this situation.”


in Hong Kong at the sight of the demonstration. I wish everyone a peaceful and positive conclusion to this situation

— Kenny G (@officialkennyg) October 22, 2014


Needless to say, the government in Beijing wasn’t pleased. Roughly an hour later, a foreign ministry spokesperson addressed his appearance at a daily news briefing.

“Kenny G's musical works are widely popular in China, but China's position on the illegal Occupy Central activities in Hong Kong is very clear,” Hua Chunying told reporters. "We hope that foreign governments and individuals speak and act cautiously and not support the Occupy Central and other illegal activities in any form."

The pro-Democracy protests began several weeks ago, with tens of thousands mostly student protesters occupying the area surrounding Hong Kong’s main government building downtown. Since the initial throng of support, their numbers have dwindled significantly.

The protesters are demanding the right to free elections in 2017 with the ability to elect any leader they choose. Beijing says the elections will go ahead as scheduled, but all candidates will be vetted by a central committee in Beijing before they’re allowed to run.

There’s no word whether Kenny G’s smooth, silky tones were able to help break the deadlock.

Kenny G enjoys massive popularity in China and performed four concerts there in September. His 1989 hit “Going Home” is played in many shopping malls, public parks, and other public areas at closing time -- sort of an unofficial anthem to end the day."

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How to Watch the Next Solar Eclipse

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Sky gazers in North America will have prime viewing on Thursday of the fourth and final eclipse of the year.

Get ready for a partial solar eclipse when the new moon obscures part of the sun, darkening the skies and casting a spectacular shadow.

The cosmic event will first be visible near the Kamchatka Peninsula in eastern Russian and will move eastward, according to NASA.

If the weather is clear, the best views are expected to be in the Pacific northwest and northern Canada, while New England and the Canadian Maritime provinces will likely miss out on the eclipse.

The eclipse will begin around 1:35 p.m. in Seattle. As the Earth turns, the rest of the U.S. will be treated to the phenomenon closer to sunset, with it reaching New York at 5:49 p.m. and Tallahassee, Florida, at 6:09 p.m.

NASA has posted a list of what time the eclipse is expected to happen in major United States cities here.

It's not safe to look at the sun with the naked eye and regular sunglasses won't suffice. NASA suggests viewing the solar eclipse with a special solar filter. If those aren't available, there's a quick hack to make your own viewfinder.

Place a small hole in a card and hold it between the sun and a sheet of white paper positioned a few feet away, creating a projection of the sun's crescent.

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British Man Faked Coma to Avoid Court, Cops Say

iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- A British man pleaded guilty this week to stealing 40,000 pounds from an elderly neighbor and pretending to be in a coma for two years to avoid charges, authorities said.

Alan Knight pleaded guilty after being charged with multiple counts of theft and making a false representation for gain, a Swansea Crown Court representative told ABC News. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 7.

Knight was arrested in 2012 for the alleged theft, a South Wales Police spokesman said.

But Knight delayed going to court by claiming to be a quadriplegic who had periodic seizures that left him in a comatose-state, police said. Since authorities were unable to get Knight in court, his trial was delayed until this week, police said.

However, an investigation revealed that Knight had been faking his symptoms, police said.

Knight and his wife, Helen Knight, even attempted to prove his medical condition by photographing themselves in their home with Alan Knight appearing to be unconscious and surrounded by medical equipment.

However, earlier this week Alan Knight was finally ordered to attend court in person. Once in the courtroom, investigators revealed they had footage of Knight walking around on closed-circuit television without a neck brace, oxygen or a wheelchair, police said.

In images and video released to the news media, Knight is shown walking through a doorway with his family. After the evidence was presented, Knight then pleaded guilty to the charges.

Calls to a number listed in the name of Knight’s wife were not immediately returned.

Judge Paul Thomas, who was overseeing Knight's case, said Knight's injury claim was "unique" and wanted to discourage anyone else who might try it, according to the Daily Telegraph.

"Although a very accomplished and determined actor, he is in nothing like the condition he claims to be, and the conditions he claims to be suffering from are simply non-existent," Thomas said in court, according to the Daily Telegraph.

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Counterinsurgency Expert: Beating ISIS Will Require US Ground Troops

ABC News/Yahoo! News(WASHINGTON) -- Retired Army Lt. Col. John Nagl literally helped to write the book on counterinsurgency field strategy for the Army and Marine Corps during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But for all the lessons that the U.S. military has learned through the wars of the 21st Century, Nagl said President Obama’s strategy to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria without any ground forces won’t work.

“It clearly isn't working,” Nagl told ABC News/Yahoo! News in an interview. “We do have about 1,600 American troops on the ground, but they're staying well back from the front lines. That's a big part of the reason why the Iraqi forces are not able to take on and really defeat the ISIS forces.”

Though Nagl said he understands Obama’s reluctance to commit combat troops at a time when the American people are war weary, he said the mission of defeating ISIS can’t be accomplished without 15,000 to 20,000 U.S. ground forces.

“ISIS is really, really bad, is a real evil, and ultimately is a threat to the stability of the Middle East and to the United States,” Nagl said. “The president has an important role in speaking to the American people and explaining to them what the threat is, what our strategy is, and critically that he is committed to success even if it takes boots on the ground -- and it's that last part where I think he's been lacking.”

Nagl, who said he believes the current situation in Iraq could have been avoided had the U.S. not pulled out its military presence several years ago, warned that Afghanistan is at risk of a similar crisis if the U.S. withdraws all forces from that country, as currently planned, by 2017.

“I think that that is a disaster,” he said. “Afghanistan is not going to be ready to stand on its own this decade, and leaving behind a residual force, and again, 15,000 American combat advisors to embed inside Afghan units, to provide access to intelligence, provide access to logistics, without that kind of American leverage, those kind of American advisors, the Taliban is going to be at the gates of Kabul just as currently ISIS is at the gates of Baghdad.”

The insurgencies in the Middle East are just one of many predicaments that Nagl predicts the U.S. military will need to confront in the years to come.

In his new book, Knife Fights: A Memoir of Modern War in Theory and Practice, Nagl lays out why he believes the future of warfare will be characterized less by traditional combat and more by long-term, ambiguous struggles, such as insurgencies, climate change and contagions.

The current fight against Ebola provides a “particularly frightening” example, he said.

“I think what we're going to see is the Pentagon dealing with the effects of climate change, population pressures, weak governments unable to secure their populations,” he said. “And so we need a military that is broader, that still maintains its core competency in state-on-state, tank-on-tank kind of warfare. But I think that 90 percent of the time, what they're going to be doing is messy, slow knife fights.”

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Some Russian Troops Move Away from Ukraine Border, 'Doesn't Change' Role in Conflict, Pentagon Says

berean/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KIEV, Ukraine) -- The Pentagon says it has seen some Russian troops moving away from the Russia-Ukraine border, a change that Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby called "welcome."

"We have seen movement of some forces away from the border," Kirby said during a Tuesday briefing. "Movement of that kind is, of course, welcome," the spokesperson said, "but it doesn't change the outcome, and that is that there are still large numbers...that continue to threaten the security and the territorial integrity of Ukraine."

The Kremlin announced last week that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered over 17,000 troops home from the border.

"Nothing has changed about the fact that Russia continues to foment instability inside Ukraine," Kirby noted.

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Pope to Travel to Turkey, Visit Historical Sites and Meet with Leaders

neneos/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(VATICAN CITY) -- Pope Francis will make a three-day trip to Turkey in November, confirming plans first announced in September.

Already scheduled to address the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, on Nov. 25, Pope Francis will leave Rome for Ankara, Turkey, on Nov. 28.

Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartolomeo I invited the pope to take part in the celebration of the feast of St. Andrew, the founder of the Eastern Church.

Unlike many of the pope's trips, Francis will make only three public speeches during his three days in Turkey. He will, however, visit both Turkey's capital, Ankara, and its largest city, Istanbul. Francis will visit historic sites including the Hagia Sophia museum and the Sultan Ahmet mosque -- known as the "Blue Mosque" -- and will also have meetings with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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French Energy CEO Killed in Collision at Moscow Airport

ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- Christophe de Margerie, the CEO of French energy giant Total, was killed on Tuesday when his corporate jet and a snowplow collided at Moscow's Vnukovo Airport.

No other passengers were on board the jet with de Margerie and three crew members at the time of the crash. All four onboard were killed.

The plane was apparently taking off when it struck the snowplow. Russian investigators have accused the snowplow driver of being drunk, a claim the man's lawyer denied.

De Margerie was a staunch defender of Russian energy politics and an opponent of Western sanctions against Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a telegram to French President Francois Hollande that he was "shocked" when he heard about the crash, and offered condolences to de Margerie's family and friends. "We have lost a true friend of our country but he will remain in our memories," Putin said.

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Afghan Opium Trade Thriving Despite US $7 Billion Effort

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Despite more than $7 billion of American counter-narcotics spending, Afghanistan’s opium trade has never been bigger, according to a U.S. government watchdog.

A new report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction issued on Tuesday highlights the continued growth of Afghanistan’s poppy fields despite more than a decade of U.S. and international counter-narcotics efforts.

Various federal agencies have spent $7.6 billion in Afghanistan over 12 years to curb the world’s largest opium industry. Despite some initial progress, the farming of opium poppies by Afghanistan’s farmers has rebounded in recent years. United Nations figures show that farmers in Afghanistan cultivated 806 square miles of opium poppy last year, a field roughly 2.5 times the size of New York City.

"The expanding cultivation and trafficking of drugs puts the entire Afghan reconstruction effort at risk," said John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction.

"By every conceivable metric, we've failed. Production and cultivation are up, interdiction and eradication are down, financial support to the insurgency is up, and addiction and abuse are at unprecedented levels in Afghanistan," Sopko said.

SIGAR has found that well-meaning efforts have in some cases helped fuel the increase in poppy farming.

For example, in southwestern Afghanistan affordable deep-well technology has turned 200,000 hectares of desert into arable land over the past decade. But the report found “due to relatively high opium prices and the rise of an inexpensive, skilled, and mobile labor force, much of this newly-arable land is dedicated to opium cultivation.”

And it found that provinces once-declared to be "poppy free" have seen a resurgence in cultivation.

In 2008, the U.N. touted Nangarhar Province in eastern Afghanistan as a success story where farmers had turned away from planting cash crops of opium poppy. But five years later the cultivation of opium poppy had increased “fourfold,” the new report concluded.

Afghanistan produces 80 percent of the world’s opium which is turned into heroin -- most of which ends up in Russia and Europe.

The production and sale of opium “undermines the Afghan state’s legitimacy by stoking corruption, sustaining criminal networks, and providing significant financial support to the Taliban and other insurgent groups,” Sopko wrote in the report.

Afghanistan’s opium trade was valued at $3 billion in 2013, according to U.N. estimates.

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US Military Conducts Seven Airstrikes Against ISIS in Syria, Iraq

iStock/Thinkstock(TAMPA, Fla.) -- The U.S. military conducted seven more airstrikes against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) targets in Syria and Iraq on Monday and Tuesday.

According to U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), four of the strikes were in Syria, near Kobani. They destroyed fighting positions, a building and a large ISIS unit.

The other three airstrikes in Iraq destroyed two fighting positions -- one south of the Bayji oil refinery and another southeast of Mosul Dam -- and suppressed an ISIS attack north of Fallujah.

CENTCOM says all the aircraft used in the attacks managed to exit the areas safely.

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Mystery Submarine Hunt Resurfaces Cold War Tensions

iStock/Thinkstock(MOSCOW) -- Swedish naval ships, helicopters and troops on the ground have expanded their search for what they believe is a foreign submarine in distress not far from their coast.

The search has entered its fifth day.

Before the Cold War thaw, there were instances when Sweden discovered Russian subs illegally prowling its waters, but Russia has denied that the mystery sub is one of theirs. Instead, it has claimed that the vessel is a Dutch submarine.

The alleged submarine has been spotted at least three times since Friday in various parts of the Stockholm archipelago. One spotting placed the vessel approximately 12 nautical miles from the country's capital.

The most worrisome question about the mystery sub is whether or not it is carrying nuclear weapons.

Russian officials are claiming that the submarine is a Dutch sub that was in the area for planned exercises with the Swedish military, but both Swedish and Dutch officials said that the submarine cited by the Russians has been in Estonia since Friday morning.

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