after PM Modi Underlined the Need to Reach Out To the Minorities; Uttarakhand
BJP Keeps Quran at Party Library
Terror Group Setting up Bases near India Border, Ties up with Pak’s LeT
Stresses Unity among Muslim Powers to End Ummah’s Woes
Idris Shah II Mosque in Ipoh Holds Iftar with Non-Muslim Visitors
Do Not Abuse Press Freedom to Sensationalise Religious, Racial Issues
Countries Urged To Play Role on Al-Quds Issue
Finds Pro-Iran Social Media Deception Becoming ‘More Sophisticated’
Protesters Threaten Military with Civil Disobedience
Wirathu Incited Massacre, but Insulting Aung San Suu Kyi Was the Last Straw
Encounter underway between security forces and militants
LeT militants killed in encounter in Sopore
Calls for Peaceful Resolution of Kashmir Issue, Claims Pakistan
activists battle Chinese marriage scams
report blames PTM MNAs for North Waziristan incident
authorities arrest 3 JuD members from Punjab province
bid foiled' as Quetta police kills alleged suicide bomber outside Imambargah
forces foil terror bid outside Imambargah in Quetta
proposes common Asia trading currency
arrests 3 terror suspects with Islamic State links
announces June 5 as public holiday on Eid Al-Fitr
against terror,’ Organization of Islamic Cooperation forum told
League Summit commences in Mecca amid ‘exceptional challenges’
court sentences one French man and one Tunisian to death
Islamic State terrorists killed in clashes with security forces in Mosul
King Salman Urges International Effort to Thwart Iran
Court Upholds Execution of 17, Life Sentence of 19 in Church Bombings
breaks with Saudi on Iran during Mecca summit
leaders condemn Iran’s Gulf actions, tell regime to stop funding terror
Grand Mosque authorities step up security measures
of Iran being behind UAE tanker blasts will be presented: Bolton
US will respond with military force if Iran attacks its interests
dissolves parliament as Netanyahu fails to form cabinet
rally on Quds Day as US 'deal of century' looms
says airstrikes ‘neutralized’ 19 PKK terrorists in northern Iraq
to construct over 800 new settler units in East Jerusalem al-Quds
shows Islamic Jihad drones hitting Israeli tanks for first time
Politicians Blamed for Fuelling Boko Haram Growth
airstrikes interrupt ISIS and al-Shabaab battleground
Terrorists Settle Into the Sahel, West Africa Prepares for Battle
Council Freezes Assets of 26 Tunisian Terrorists, 3 Organizations
Military Rulers Say Protest Site Threatens Country
trains GNA militias as extremists flock to Tripoli
near Afghan military training centre kills at least six-officials
killed as Taliban strike near historic Afghan minaret
Special Forces rescue 32 people from a Taliban prison in Zabul
Taliban militants, 200 kgs of explosives destroyed in Ghazni and Paktika
Taliban militants killed, 4 vehicles including a car bomb destroyed in security
bomb explosion targets U.S. forces convoy in Kabul
of Taliban fighters killed after attacking ANDSF checkpoint in Wardak
Hands ISIS Suspects to Iraq, Which Sentences Them to Hang
Saudi ship leaves French port without weapons amid anti-war protests
Al Quds march organiser should be probed by counter-terror police – report
Bridge attack: inquest hears how terrorists prepared
boy and man run over in hit-and-run outside mosque in Leicester, prompting
under Pressure To Suspend Councillors Over Anti-Islam Tweets
Bomb Blast Suspect Pledged Allegiance To ISIS
says thousands of EU nationals have applied to stay in UK after Brexit
Cracks Down On Terrorist Groups, Blocks $46 Mn in Funds: Report
says Mideast conference in Bahrain to go ahead despite Israel election
Iran attacked oil tankers to raise global oil price
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Uttarakhand BJP has kept a copy of the Quran at the party library in Dehradun
to help its cadre learn about the holy book, days after Prime Minister Narendra
Modi underlined the need to reach out to the minorities.
Janata Party (BJP) state media head Devendra Bhasin claimed that the move was
in line with the party’s “philosophy” of treating every religion equally.
copy of the Quran was kept at the library of the party’s state headquarters
here two days ago by joint media in-charge Shadab Shams, Bhasin said.
BJP leader said the party wanted to give its cadre access to scriptures and
holy books of all religions and it was a step in that direction.
upon the direction of BJP president Amit Shah, the library has around 400
his address after being elected the leader of the BJP-led National Democratic
Alliance, Modi had underscored the need to reach out to the minorities and
asked the members to work without discrimination.
Narendra Modi government designated Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) as a
terrorist group this month after intelligence inputs suggested that its leaders
in Dhaka have joined hands with the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayebba (LeT) to
expand the group’s activities in India. JMB’s chief Salaudin Salehin, through
its official media “Al-Ehsar” has already announced the terror group’s India
chapter JMH for expansion of its jihadist activities in India.
to senior home ministry officials, the JMB had plans to make permanent bases
within 10 km of the India-Bangladesh border (on the Indian side) in the
districts of West Bengal, Assam and Tripura.
terror group, which espouses the ultra-hardline ideologies of the Islamic
State, has also been spreading its network in South India with the overarching
motive of establishing a Caliphate in the Indian sub-continent.
read: PM Modi, 57-member team of ministers begin second innings
was revealed during the interrogation of Jahidul Islam, who along with his
12-member action team was arrested in connection with the 2018 Bodhgaya blast.
to Islam, who hails from Bangladesh, Gaya and other iconic Buddhist centres in
India were the intended targets of the JMB as a part of their revenge for the
Rohingya crisis in Myanmar and to express solidarity with Rohingya Muslims.
reports accessed by the Hindustan Times reveal that JMB cadres have
increasingly been using madarasas in Burdwan and Murshidabad districts of West
Bengal for training of their militant cadres.
training programmes include sessions on fabrication of shaped improvised
explosive devices (IEDs), religious indoctrination, and physical exercises
including target practice.
to a home ministry report, the JMB has spread rapidly in Assam with the
terrorist group organizing capsule courses under the cover of Tablighi Jamaat,
a proselytising group, to train local Muslim youth and radicalize them.
report confirms three-day courses at Larkuchi under Mukalmuwa police station,
at Jogipara in Darrang district, at Barpeta district, and one-day courses at
Borigoan mosque and at Panpara in Barpeta district. The JMB was proscribed by
Bangladesh on February 23, 2005 while India banned it on May 23.
read: Amit Shah, Jaishankar among first-timers in PM Modi’s council of
report says that in mid-2016 JMB chief Salaudin directed some of his cadres to
impart bomb training to Samim of Assam and Maulana Yusuf of Bardhaman at Dhubri
in Assam. The JMB group assembled for training in Dhubri but were prevented
from doing so by local Muslim house owners. Five cases were registered in Assam
against the JMB.
JMB’s network is especially active in all Muslim majority districts of Assam
and in West Bengal as these areas are close to their strongholds in northern
and north-western Bangladesh. Activities of JMB have also been noticed in
Jharkhand, especially Sahebganj and Pakur district. The group uses cross-border
matrimonial alliances as a way to establish bases in India.
terror network of JMB, which has also been banned by UK, came to light after an
accidental bomb blast in Burdwan on October 2, 2014, in which two JMB jihadists
were killed and another injured. Even after the crackdown by central security
agencies, four JMB cadres of Bangladesh origin were arrested by Kolkata special
task force in July 2018.
of the accused revealed that they were using India as a base to procure arms
and ammunition through local dealers to destabilize the Sheikh Hasina regime in
- Acting Ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Pakistan Liaqat Baloch has said that all
problems being faced by the Ummah can be solved if Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey
and Pakistan get united at one page.
leadership of entire Muslim world is in Saudi Arabia and it is need of the hour
that Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran get united at one platform,” he
asserted while addressing a news conference here on Thursday. He added that the
entire Muslim Ummah eyed the leadership of Muslim world which was in Saudi Arabia.
He said that solution to all problems being faced by the Muslims lay in Quran
and Sunnah as any secular or capitalist system could not offer any solution.
was of the opinion that the situation in FATA would have been different had the
Rs300 billion given to FATA via establishment were distributed through the
representatives of FATA. He said that dictatorship eliminated entire Bhutto
family while the people had lost expectations with the Sharifs. He said that
the establishment promoted the slogan of change with full force but the
problems existed as they were. He said that the people were being given just a
lollypop of South Punjab province. He said that a separate province was right
of the residents of South Punjab region and they should not be deprived of
regretted that the political leadership put the youth on such a path on social
media that no one’s honour was safe now. He said that the current rulers had no
policy, welfare programme or any remedy for people’s wounds. He declared that
JI’s Awami March starting from June 16 would succeed.
Awami March from June 16 will be a success
pointed out that a mere slogan of accountability was raised but all those 436
persons who were involved in corruption and looting of national wealth were not
held accountable. He claimed that currency notes worth Rs400 billion flew away
but the rulers did nothing to bring this national money back. He said that
those who claimed to get the country rid of menace of loans were seen holding
begging bowl in their hands. He said that the country and nation needed to
adopt self-reliance. “Whose name is change? What is this change all about? This
word has become a symbol of shame and fun,” he maintained. He warned that the
seculars were bent upon destroying Pakistan and the country was faced with
serious internal and external chaos. He said that economic crisis, price hike,
unemployment and the worst conditions set by the IMF completely ruined business
and industry in the country. He said that white collar section of society was
facing the worst time of their lives as Eid was around the corner but they
could not buy anything due to horrible price hike,
said that the people claimed that terrorism, narcotics and arms came from
Afghanistan. “I ask them to learn courage and steadfastness from Afghans who
are fighting against the imperialism and the enemy,” he noted. He said that
Donald Trump was under possession of his own establishment, adding that USA was
responsible for creating chaos in Turkey, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and
other countries. He maintained that the enemy created divide between the Shias
and Sunnis which gave the impression that the Muslim world was under occupation
Idris Shah II Mosque In Ipoh Holds Iftar With Non-Muslim Visitors
The Sultan Idris Shah II mosque here is holding breaking of the fast sessions
for non-Muslim visitors during Ramadan to help them learn about Islam and its
to the mosque’s Imam, Abd Farid Salleh, the programme would start with a
welcoming speech before a short prayer, followed by the Iftar, or the breaking
of the fast.
will also show visitors how Muslims perform their prayers,” he said when met at
the mosque yesterday.
have already organised three sessions, hosting about 30 people each time,” he
said, adding that this was the first time the mosque was holding the programme.
want to focus on values, like sharing food, understanding reasons for fasting
and also to learn about the mosque,” he said.
from eating together, Abd Farid said visitors would also be given a guided tour
of the mosque and could watch a demonstration of ablution and the recitation of
of the guests never entered a mosque before. They were intrigued and told us it
was an interesting programme,” he said, adding that there were also guided
tours by local tour groups to visit mosques in the city.
Farid said for the coming Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations, the mosque’s
management was planning a large-scale feast for the people.
have not set the date yet, and the feast will not only focus on food but also
about learning Islamic values,” he said.
volunteer helping out was 27-year-old postgraduate student Nur Amirah Ramli.
received so many interesting questions from the guests.
asked me if Muslim women wore headscarves everywhere we go, some wanted to know
the differences between Allah and Prophet Muhammad, while others asked if we
were singing while reciting the Quran,” she said, adding that in a way, the
questions had helped her to become a better Muslim.
Do not abuse press freedom to sensationalise religious, racial issues
TOWN, May 30 ― All parties should not abuse the press freedom practised by
Pakatan Harapan and sensationalise racial or religious issues which could lead
to hatred, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Mujahid Yusuf
said the Opposition especially should use the press freedom to develop a
healthy competition which would allow the government to draw up better policies
for the people.
must be freedom with responsibility. Fight me on policy not on race or
religion,” he told reporters after attending the Pakatan Harapan Street Iftar
at Jalan Buckingham here tonight.
who is also the vice-president of Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) said press
freedom was one of the policies fought for by Pakatan Harapan.
have never curtailed the media because press freedom is our commitment,” he
2,000 people attended the Street Iftar which was being held for the first time
by Pakatan Harapan Penang.
of the Penang Pakatan Harapan Council Chow Kon Yeow, who is also Penang Chief
Minister said the programme was special as it had the participation of people
of all races and religions who could experience the breaking-of-fast with the
objective of the programme is to gather the people of the state regardless of
race and religion,” he said.
line with the spirit of Malaysia Baharu, the Penang state government hopes to
continue development in a harmonious environment based on the principles of
equality, democracy and tolerance,” Chow said at the event.
added that the programme was not limited to the local public but also open to
local and foreign tourists, the homeless, people’s representatives, state
government staff and leaders of Muslim and non-Muslim houses of worship. ―
countries urged to play role on Al-Quds issue
Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari on Thursday urged Muslim
countries to play their role in developing a consensus on the issue of Al-Quds.
an Al-Quds conference held to express solidarity with Palestine at a local
hotel, she said Muslim countries, particularly Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia
and Turkey, should play their role to revive the issue of Al-Quds and highlight
the lost agenda at the international platform.
said the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) had lost its relevance as it
could not take up the issue of Al-Quds.
does not have the courage to highlight the issue of Al-Quds and take pragmatic
measures to solve the issue of Palestine.”
also raised her concern over the change of name of OIC and described it as
dangerous for the Muslim Ummah and an invitation to non-Muslim countries to
join the platform.
said India, Israel and America had joined hands to exercise their hegemony in
this region but they would never be successful.
minister said this combination was a constant threat to the Kashmir issue.
India is continuously violating human rights in Kashmir.
said US President Donald Trump was destroying peace of the world by its
aggressive policies and his threatening of Iran also showed his intention to
ruin the peace of this region.
have to continue our commitments not only to Palestine but also to the people
said the US administration under President Trump destroyed the UN consensus on
the issue of Palestine. The US also unilaterally violated several resolutions
of the UN on Palestine and opened its embassy in Jerusalem.
belongs to Palestine and this act of the US allowed Israel to have the right to
annex all the settlements in Gaza and Golan Heights.
she added, India has been trying to annex Kashmir by abrogating Article 35-A in
its constitution, and trying to bring demographic changes in Kashmir.
Mazari said OIC had not been effectively supporting the freedom movements in
Kashmir and Palestine. She said the US was in the state of misconception due to
its military might and wanted a unilateral approach towards Iran.
will not recognise Israel because if we recognised Israel we will undermine the
Kashmir issue. We have to redeem and rediscover the Quaid’s commitments to the
issues of Kashmir and Palestine.”
Nasir Abbas, Senator Farhatullah Babar, Senator Pir Sabir Shah, Mazhar Barlas
and others also spoke.
U.S. cybersecurity company says a recently discovered pro-Iran social media
network that engaged in deceptive targeting of Americans is more sophisticated
than a similar campaign it identified last year.
a report published Tuesday, California-based FireEye said it recently uncovered
a network of English-language social media accounts that engaged in
“inauthentic behavior and misrepresentation” in support of “Iranian political
interests.” It said it made the determination about the network’s support of
Iranian political interests with “low confidence.”
report said some of the network’s users adopted fake social media personas to
pose as American journalists and activists espousing progressive and
conservative political stances, while others “impersonated real American
individuals, including a handful of Republican political candidates that ran
for House of Representatives seats in 2018.”
said the account owners used the fake and impersonated personas to persuade
U.S. and Israeli media outlets to publish news commentaries, lobby journalists
to cover specific topics, and conduct audio and video interviews with U.S. and
comments to The Washington Post published Wednesday, FireEye senior manager Lee
Foster said the network’s theft of real-world identities and attempts to engage
with specific, highly influential individuals online represented a “more
sophisticated” operation than what it called an “Iranian influence campaign”
that it uncovered in August 2018.
said the prior campaign involved inauthentic news sites and social media accounts
that promoted pro-Iran political narratives and appeared to originate within
separate remarks to NBC News, Foster, who leads FireEye’s intelligence team,
said the newly uncovered pro-Iran social media network shows that “actors who
engage in this type of influence activity leverage all manner of different
tactics and techniques that stretch across a wide variety of media and
platforms.” American society must figure out a way to effectively tackle the
issue, he added.
social media giants Facebook and Twitter responded to FireEye’s disclosure of
the more sophisticated pro-Iran network by issuing statements saying they had
suspended the network’s accounts, which they said originated in Iran. They did
not identify the users of those accounts.
said it removed 51 personal accounts, 36 pages, seven groups and three
Instagram accounts involved in the network Tuesday, after investigating
“coordinated inauthentic behavior” based on a tip shared by FireEye.
Twitter spokesperson told U.S. media that it removed 2,800 accounts that were
part of the newly identified network in early May. But Twitter said its
investigation into the accounts was ongoing and criticized FireEye for not
sharing its findings with the company before publishing them.
said FireEye’s behavior was “outside standard, responsible industry norms” and
“harms the credibility of the security research community, whose insights we
support and appreciate.”
declined to comment on Twitter’s criticisms when contacted by VOA Persian on
FireEye spokesperson also declined to say what more the U.S. government and
social media companies should do in response to its latest report, saying that
was outside the scope of its findings.
protesters threaten military with civil disobedience
protesters are threatening a civil disobedience campaign if the ruling military
refuses to hand over power to civilians.
threat comes after a two-day strike meant to pressure the military showed no
coalition representing the protesters and opposition groups - known as Forces
for the Declaration of Freedom and Change - claims the strike was a success.
also chastised the security forces for intimidating the strikers by firing
killed a female street vendor late on Wednesday.
Farouk, head of the Sudanese Professional Association that’s been behind the
protests that drove longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir from power last month, said
the military’s stand would lead to “more escalation.”
between the protesters and the military about the handover of power have
Hannah Beech and Saw Nang
Myanmar — Ashin Wirathu, a radical Buddhist monk in Myanmar, has been charged
with sedition over what prosecutors say are defamatory remarks he made about
the nation’s civilian leader, the Nobel laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
most notorious of a band of extremist monks, Ashin Wirathu has been traveling
the country delivering diatribes against Myanmar’s minority Muslims and
accusing Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi’s government of foiling the military’s efforts to
defend the Buddhist-majority nation against what he calls a Muslim onslaught.
one speech this month, Ashin Wirathu said that the civilian government was
funded by foreigners and that a member of the government was “sleeping with a
Aung San Suu Kyi was married to a British academic who died of cancer in 1999
while she was under house arrest by the military junta that controlled the
country for nearly half a century.
years, Myanmar’s military has systematically persecuted members of the
country’s Rohingya Muslim minority. A 2017 campaign of murder, rape and arson
constituted genocide, according to United Nations experts.
Rohingya have since fled from Myanmar’s far western Rakhine State to
neighboring Bangladesh. But Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, who was awarded the Nobel
Peace Prize in 1991 “for her nonviolent struggle for democracy and human
rights,” has refused to criticize the military over the atrocities carried out
against the largely stateless Muslim minority.
of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi in Yangon in 2017. Ashin Wirathu accused her government
of foiling the military’s efforts to defend the Buddhist-majority nation
against what he calls a Muslim onslaught.
Wirathu and other ultranationalist monks paint Myanmar as a peaceful Buddhist
land being overrun by Muslims, even though they made up only about 5 percent of
the population even before the majority of Rohingya were expelled from the
country. The military junta jailed Ashin Wirathu for eight years for inciting
2014, two years after Ashin Wirathu’s release, nationalist monks formed a group
called the Association for the Protection of Race and Religion, known by its
local acronym, Ma Ba Tha. The group, which gained national membership and
enthusiastic support particularly from women, pushed successfully for laws
making it more difficult for Buddhist women to marry outside their faith.
in 2017, before the worst of the violence against the Rohingya, Myanmar’s state
body governing Buddhism banned Ashin Wirathu from public preaching for a year,
a prohibition that the monk protested by posting pictures of himself online
with an “X” taped over his mouth. The same body also banned Ma Ba Tha, but the
group merely changed its name and continued its activities.
as Ashin Wirathu was punished by the state monastic authority, he continued to
roam the country to deliver his anti-Muslim sermons, including in Rakhine
State, home to the Rohingya. Soon after the ethnic cleansing campaign began in
2017, he was pictured in the state news media on a tour of Northern Rakhine,
the epicenter of the anti-Rohingya violence.
his hate-filled sermons, delivered in a deceptive monotone, Ashin Wirathu has
referred to Muslims as “crazy dogs” that are “breeding so fast,” “stealing our
women, raping them” and “would like to occupy our country.”
has instructed Buddhists to “make your blood boil” to ward off Muslims, whom he
accuses of using hyperfertility to inundate Buddhist-majority nations.
a rally last year in Yangon, Myanmar’s commercial capital, Ashin Wirathu said
that the day Myanmar officials were brought before the International Criminal
Court, which is conducting a “preliminary examination” of the Rohingya
expulsion, was “the day that Wirathu holds a gun.” Such militant statements go
against the peaceful tenets of Buddhism, but Ashin Wirathu has said that
extreme times require extreme measures.
Ashin Wirathu had a poster of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi decorating the wall of his
wooden monastery in the city of Mandalay, he has accused her political party,
the National League for Democracy, of secretly supporting a Muslim agenda.
at Ywama Monastery in Yangon, which is known to support Ma Ba Tha, a Buddhist
Myanmar’s decades of military rule, many of the party’s leaders were
imprisoned, including Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, who was freed in 2010. In 2015
elections designed to establish a military-civilian hybrid government, her
party won by a landslide. But unlike in previous elections, it did not field
any Muslim candidates.
anti-Muslim sentiment was festering across the country, with extremist monks
cheering on the persecution of the Rohingya and other Muslims.
month, a group of nationalists in Yangon stormed Muslim prayer halls set up for
the holy month of Ramadan. Local officials have called for the arrest of the
mob’s leaders, but they have gone into hiding.
Thu Soe, a police spokesman, said that while charges against Ashin Wirathu were
filed on Tuesday, the police had not yet received an arrest warrant for Yangon,
where aides said Ashin Wirathu arrived on Wednesday to meet with the state
Buddhist authority. That meeting was later canceled.
in Yangon. I am not hiding,” Ashin Wirathu told The Times on Wednesday. “They
can come arrest me. I’m not afraid of prison.”
Wirathu’s supporters have railed against the government religious body for its
actions against radical monks.
are just always trying to arrest monks,” said U Yarza, one of Ashin Wirathu’s
aides. “It’s very disappointing for the country’s Buddhism.”
Wirathu “does not fear anything even though he will be arrested,” he said,
adding, “He is always doing the right things for our country.”
encounter broke out between security forces and militants in Jammu and
Kashmir’s Shopian district on Friday.
to a police official, based on inputs about the possible presence of militants,
security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Dragad Sugan area of
south Kashmir. A gunbattle erupted after militants fired upon the security
forces, leading to the encounter.
exchange of fire is underway, the official added.
Lashkar-e-Taiba(LeT) militants were killed in an encounter between militants
and security forces in North Kashmir’s Sopore on Thursday.
J&K police spokesperson said on a credible input, a cordon and search
operation was launched jointly by police and security forces in Dangerpora area
of Sopore on Thursday.
the search operation, the hiding terrorists fired on the search party. The fire
was retaliated leading to an encounter,” the spokesperson said.
the ensuing encounter, two militants were killed and the bodies were retrieved,
said police. Police said slain militants have been identified as Naseer Ahmad
Mir and Asif Ahmad War. Both the killed militants were residents of Sopore, as
per police records were affiliated with outfit LeT. This is the third encounter
in the Valley over the past two days.
calls for peaceful resolution of Kashmir issue, claims Pakistan
Pakistan on Thursday claimed the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has
expressed "deep concern" on the Kashmir situation and called for its
IOC is an international organisation consisting of 57 member states, with 53
countries being Muslim-majority nations.
a meeting of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir held in Jeddah on
Wednesday on the sidelines of the 14th Islamic Summit, the secretary general of
the grouping "expressed deep concern" over the situation in Jammu and
Kashmir, the Pakistan Foreign Office said here.
also urged the government of India "for a peaceful settlement of the
dispute, in accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri people and the UN
Security Council Resolutions", it said.
Delhi has always maintained that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India
and the matter is strictly internal to the country.
Morris Jalal felt alarmed when one of his catechists shared the news that a
young female member of his church in Lahore, in Pakistan's Punjab province, was
about to marry a Chinese businessman, especially in light of recent stories
about human trafficking between the two countries.
Capuchin priest immediately summoned the woman's family to his parish office.
mother, a housemaid, was quite adamant in arguing that her daughter's foreign
fiancé had converted to Christianity," Father Jalal told ucanews.com.
even accepted 80,000 rupees (US$530) from him, including the hospital expenses
for a 23-year-old member of their family who had recently been injured in a
motorbike accident," he said.
priest decided to meet the Chinese man to assess whether his intentions were
asked him to make the sign of cross, and he had no idea what that was. Later,
the girl confessed she'd only agreed to the wedding to support her disabled
father," he said.
to see an innocent young woman exploited, Father Jalal threatened to report the
family to the police as possible accessories to human trafficking.
hearing the news, over 400 locals in Lahore's Mariam Nishat Colony gathered at
the priest's office this January. One parishioner even started broadcasting
about the incident live on Facebook.
Chinese man gave the family an ultimatum: return my money or hand over the
girl. So I took advantage of the fact we had a large (Muslim) crowd supporting
us," Father Jalal said.
spoke up about similar cases of abuse against Christian teenagers in our
country (by foreigners), and the man left town within two days," he added.
consulting with our parish council, I paid him back the 80,000 rupees and in
the process saved a poor soul. A few weeks later, we learned that he had wed
another girl in Faisalabad city (also in Punjab)," the priest noted.
he just wanted to find a wife as quickly as possible. And in such phony
marriages as these, there can be no genuine sense of commitment or love."
Jalal is now leading a social media campaign against mixed marriages between
Pakistani women and Chinese husbands.
Churches in Pakistan are also warning parishioners against falling victim to
this trend, which has skyrocketed with the growing influx of Chinese traveling
to the Islamic Republic to work on projects related to the China-Pakistan
Economic Corridor (CPEC), a 60-billion-dollar project that was launched in
CPEC encompasses a planned network of roads, railways and energy projects
linking China's resource-rich Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the west of
the country with Pakistan's strategic Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea.
down on traffickers
this May, the Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) arrested suspected members
of a prostitution ring during a crackdown launched across Punjab province.
included more than 40 Chinese nationals and eight locals suspected of being
employed to help them broker transnational marriages. The abettors include
lawyers, religious leaders, and translators.
to media reports, the gang operates marriage bureaus in China.
Iqbal a Lahore-based activist who provides legal aid to Christian girls seeking
to divorce their Chinese husbands, claims the gang charges its Chinese
"clients" between US$130,000 and $165,000 for a Pakistani bride.
ringleader usually pretends to be an expert who has been hired to complete a
CPEC power project in the area," he said.
Pakistani agent gets about 70,000 rupees ($461) for each bride they help find,
religious leaders can charge up to five lakh ($3,300), and the parents of the
girl or woman can also get five lakh," he said. One lakh equals 100,000
newlyweds then stay in rented flats for a month while the bride learns some
Mandarin and prepares her travel documents," he said.
gangs even prey on girls with mental and physical disabilities. But it seems
like no one pays any attention if they are Christian girls," he added.
"Our cries are only heard when Muslim girls started registering complaints
against the Chinese."
the end of May, a court in Lahore remanded several Chinese gang members over
alleged fake marriages, forced prostitution, and organ harvesting involving
Pakistani girls in China.
case was due to be heard on June 10.
Ministry of Public Security has sent a task force to cooperate with Pakistani
authorities in their crackdown against human traffickers.
any (Chinese) organization or individual commits a crime in Pakistan under the
banner of cross-border marriage, China supports Pakistan in cracking down on it
in accordance with Pakistan's laws," a spokesperson for the Chinese
embassy said in a statement issued May 10.
the statement added that some of the reports had been fabricated and called for
more responsible reporting from the media.
Chinese embassy has also refused to dispense visas to 90 Pakistani women who
planned to travel to China with their spouses.
his recent visit to the country, Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan remarked on
the strength of the bilateral relationship and expressed hope they would
continue to safeguard each others' interests.
videos from Pakistani-Chinese couples are now surfacing on social media to counter
the claims of sham marriages.
Lijian, deputy chief of mission (DCM) for the Chinese embassy in Pakistan,
recently shared a video of a girl sitting comfortably with her Chinese husband
while narrating a story about their happily married life.
are lies that Pakistani girls are being trafficked to China for forced
prostitution or the sale of organs," he tweeted.
marriages between China and Pakistan are good. Illegal marriage brokers shall
be punished — not brides and bridegrooms."
said China was investigating 142 cases of transnational weddings that were
registered last year to determine whether they were authentic.
FIA believes about 1,500 young Chinese have married Pakistani girls to date,
with most of the victims belonging to poor Christian families from central
Ahmad Khan Mayo, deputy director of the FIA's Punjab bureau, claims some fall
victim to the organ-harvesting trade.
Jalal described the videos promoted by the embassy as fake, scripted pieces of
of the women seem harassed. Some were lucky to escape and file complaints with
the Pakistani High Commission," he said.
personally know of one woman who was raped by five men upon reaching China.
Another victim from Faisalabad got pregnant and is now living with nuns in
Lahore, where she is receiving psychological support," he added.
to diplomatic pressure, many affected families have refused to speak to the
media or share their stories at awareness seminars. They are trying to prevent
their daughters from being stigmatized by our society."
to Human Rights and Minority Affairs Minister Ijaz Alam Augustine, two pastors
have been arrested from Faisalabad for issuing fake baptism certificates to
Chinese nationals. The Chinese are presumed to have used these to convince
their fiancées' parents that they had genuinely converted to Christianity, in
order to facilitate their marriages.
so-called pastors belonged to unregistered ministries. The marriages were
hidden and urgent, and the conversions were carried out in the blink of an
eye," the minister said.
blame this on greedy parents selling off their daughters without any real
verification of who their suitors are," he added.
issue has been raised at the National Assembly. We are now cancelling these
controversial marriage deeds that were registered at union councils."
Rights Commission of Pakistan council member Hina Jilani urged Islamabad to
take action against suspected human traffickers.
Chinese government may be in denial, but there is already a body of evidence
regarding organized crime. We demand a transparent investigation without any
political influence," Jilani said.
An internal government document has pinned blame on two PTM-affiliated
parliamentarians for instigating protesters at a military check post in North
Waziristan that led to the death of 13 of them besides a soldier and causing
injuries to 25 others.
two-page Special Situation Report, titled “Clash and Casualties in North
Waziristan District” and submitted to the government by the deputy commissioner
of North Waziristan on May 28, provides by far the most detailed account of the
incident at a military check post in Kharqamar on Sunday.
the other hand, the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) contests the government
account and blames security forces for firing at unarmed civilians. There is,
however, no independent corroboration of either of the versions.
events leading to the unrest, the deputy commissioner said in the official
report, Tochi Valley, particularly Dattakhel, Alwara, Admi Kot, Doga Macha,
Kharqamar, Degan, Boya and other areas, had been hot spots and troublesome with
regard to maintenance of law and order.
forces have regularly been targeted either in the form of physical attacks,
ambushes, fire raids, rocket attacks or improvised explosive devices,” he said.
to the official, on April 29, an army convoy in Dattakhel was ambushed
resulting in the martyrdom of three soldiers and injuries to four others.
on May 1 multiple attacks were launched on fencing teams in the Alwara area
which again resulted in the martyrdom of four soldiers and injuries to 17
was followed by another attack on May 5 in Doga Macha as a result of which one
soldier was martyred while three others were injured.
clear the area of terrorists and make it safe, the security forces launched an
operation on May 24 during which two suspects were detained and a soldier was
protest the detention of the two suspects, residents of Doga Macha village marched
towards the Kharqamar check post, damaged the security barrier and raised
anti-state slogans, the report said. Army showed restraint and did not respond.
May 25, it said, after negotiations with a jirga of 12 notables in Boya, the
authorities agreed to release one of the suspects on the condition that the
protesters would end their sit-in.
on the instigation of MNA Ali Wazir and MNA Mohsin Javed Dawar, the protesters
again gathered near the check post at night and awaited the arrival of the
parliamentarians,” the report said.
May 26, it said, the two parliamentarians entered North Waziristan tribal
district from Saidgai check post and reached Kharqamar check post at 09.30am,
along with about 300 supporters.
at the first barrier requested the MNAs to join the protesters’ camp using the
alternate route and not the main road but in return, Ali Wazir used abusive
language against the Army and instigated the crowd to attack the post,” the
started intense stone pelting and armed men with parliamentarians also started
firing at the post. Army fired warning shots and asked protesters not to get
close to the post and stop the fire immediately,” the report said.
the post came under fire from multiple directions from the distance of 100
metres to 200 metres. “Meanwhile, protesters charged at the post and reached
within troops’ deployment and tried to snatch weapons,” it said.
this stage, Army soldiers opened fire at the positions across the causeway from
where the fire was being received. Fire was opened for a very short duration,”
it said. However, bullets from “miscreants hit a number of protesters and the
MNAs vehicles. Firing stopped within a short time of this activity, leaving
behind a number of casualties on the road and the nearby nullah”, it said.
personnel of the Quick Reaction Force were called in who shifted the dead and
the injured to the Army set-up in Boya.
the report said, only two bodies were found within 40/50 metres of the post,
however, later, six bodies were found 150/400 metres away from the post. Five
more bodies were found by patrolling troops at night approximately 1,500 metres
away from the site of the incident.
death toll among the locals, it said, stood at 13 with 25 wounded. The military
suffered one death and seven injuries.
Wazir was arrested with seven individuals from the nullah while he was fleeing
while MNA Dawar escaped to Hamzoni/Darpakhel village, the report concluded.
Dawar, in an interview with an international media outlet, said he and his
colleague Ali Wazir were on their way to show solidarity with the protesters at
were two barriers on the check post”, Mr Dawar said, speaking in English. “The initial
one (barrier) was to stop the people coming from this side. The second one was
to stop people from coming from the other side.”
said they approached the army officials and asked them to let them “go and
reach the people”. He said they crossed a row of army personnel and managed to
cross the second barrier.
we reached the people who were protesting, they started shouting (slogans) to
welcome us. When they were chanting all of a sudden, I heard firing from the
back side,” the MNA said.
I thought it was aerial firing but when I saw two people on my left and right
falling and I saw them bleeding, I realised that they have been shot.”
Three members of the Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeedled Jamaat-ud-Dawa
have been arrested on the charges of terror financing in Pakistan's Punjab
province, amid pressure from the global community on Islamabad to rein in the
a statement issued here late Thursday, the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD)
of Punjab police said it arrested the three members during a raid on their
hideout in Faisalabad, some 150 kilometres from Lahore.
of rupees have been recovered from their possession which they had collected
for terror financing," it said.
CTD also said a report had been submitted to the Anti-Terrorism Court in
Faisalabad against them.
week, the Pakistani authorities arrested over 10 members of the
Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terror group in Punjab on similar charges.
nation-wide crackdown against terror financing has been underway, police said.
Pakistan government has launched a crackdown against the outlawed organisations
under the National Action Plan 2015 to eliminate militancy and extremism from
the country's soil.
Imran Khan-led government has also announced the freezing of accounts and
seizure of assets linked to organisations banned by the UN Security Council.
(JuD) chief Saeed has been keeping a low profile after Prime Minister Imran
Khan-led government took control of the JuD and its wing Falahai Insaniat
Foundation's (FIF) properties, including seminaries and mosques, across the country.
February 21, the Pakistan government announced it had banned the JuD and FIF,
amid intense global pressure to rein in the militant groups following the
February 14 Pulwama terror attack that killed 40 CRPF jawans.
has been barred from entering the JuD headquarters in Lahore and is reportedly
spending most of his time at his Jauhar Town Lahore residence.
brother-in-law Hafiz Abdur Rehman Makki was also arrested this month on charges
of making for hate speech and criticising the Pakistan government's action
against 'terror' financing.
is detained at camp jail Lahore for 90 days under a public security order.
to officials, JuD's network includes 300 seminaries and schools, hospitals, a
publishing house and ambulance service. The two groups have about 50,000
volunteers and hundreds of other paid workers.
JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)
which is responsible for carrying out the Mumbai attack that killed 166 people.
It had been declared as a foreign terrorist organisation by the US in June
US Department of the Treasury has designated its chief Saeed as a Specially
Designated Global Terrorist, and the US, since 2012, has offered a $10 million
reward for information that brings Saeed to justice.
police on Thursday killed an alleged suicide bomber in the city's Mecongi road
area when he attempted to gain entry into Imambargah Nasirul Aza, according to
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police Abdul Razzaq Cheema.
policeman was also injured when the bomber, reportedly dressed in a woman's
attire, hurled a hand-held bomb towards the Imambargah, the DIG said, adding
that a "major terror bid has been foiled."
injured policeman was rushed to the nearby civil hospital for medical
treatment. The doctors later described his condition as "out of
bomber was carrying almost 12 to 15kg of explosives, an official of the bomb
disposal squad who wished not to be named told DawnNewsTV.
the incident, additional police force reached the crime scene and initiated
their investigation. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the
Imam Bargah Nasirul Aza is located in the heart of Quetta city and has been
targeted in the past as well.
has been beefed up in and around Quetta in anticipation of Jumatul Wida and
Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani "acknowledged and praised the police
constable's successful foiling of the terror bid", which he said
"saved many previous lives".
chief minister announced a Rs1 million prize and a certificate for the
Balochistan Constabulary official who "stopped the alleged bomber with
little regard for his own life".
security forces on Thursday foiled a terror bid outside an Imambargah on
Mecangi Road in Quetta and arrested the terrorist.
police said that the suicide bomber tried to enter the Imambargah in a ladies
dress threw a hand grenade at the police but the police personnel opened fire
at him, foiling his malicious plan. A guard was also injured in the firing of
Abdul Razzaq Cheema said that the injured guard had been shifted to the civil
hospital. He also said that the police officials must be praised for their
East Asia should consider a common regional trading currency based on gold to
promote commerce, and free the region from relying on dollar transactions,
Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mohamad Mahathir said on Thursday.
said the proposed currency could be used for regional trade, but would not
replace national currencies for use at the domestic level.
the Far East if you want to come together, we should start with a common
trading currency, not to be used locally but for the purpose of settling of
trade,” he said at the Future of Asia forum in Tokyo.
the moment we have to depend upon the US dollar but the US dollar is also not
stable. So the currency that we propose should be based on gold because gold is
much more stable,” he added.
said the exchange rate of the regional currency would “relate to” the
performance of individual countries and would help harmonise regional trade.
way we know much we owe, we know how much have to pay, in the currency of east
Asia.” Mahathir, who is serving his second term in office after storming to a
shock election victory last year, has a reputation as something of a financial
1998, he defied international experts and imposed capital controls to shield
the economy amid a regional financial crisis, and he is a longtime critic of
LUMPUR: Malaysian police have arrested three terror suspects, Malaysia’s police
chief Abdul Hamid Bador said on Thursday (May 30).
suspects - a Malaysian man and two foreigners aged between 28 and 42 - were
arrested during an operation conducted by the Special Branch Counter Terrorism
Division from May 24 to May 30, Abdul Hamid said in a statement.
first arrested suspect is a 42-year-old Malaysian contractor who was seized at
Kuala Lumpur International Airport on May 17. He was leaving for Egypt with
plans to ultimately head to Syria.
had pledged his allegiance twice to Islamic State (IS) leader Abu Bakr
al-Baghdadi via Facebook.
suspect is also a staunch believer of the Salafi Jihadi ideology which rejects
the parliamentary democracy system and does not recognise the Malaysian
government ... any Muslim involved in election is labelled as infidel and can
be killed,” Abdul Hamid said.
of the foreigners to be arrested was a 20-year-old Indonesian man who worked as
a labourer in Keningau, Sabah.
is suspected of facilitating terrorist groups from Indonesia that were
travelling to the southern Philippines to carry out suicide missions by way of
suspect also channeled funds to Maute terrorist groups in southern Philippines
and he also planned to fight in Syria,” said Mr Abdul Hamid.
last arrest was of a 28-year-old Bangladeshi who was captured on Thursday. The
ship engine assistant possessed the necessary chemicals and expertise to
produce improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Indonesian suspect is still at large. Identified only as Marwan, he also served
as a facilitator for IS members' travels.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has declared June 5 a public holiday in
observance of Eid Al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan.
the Philippines is a largely Catholic country, a proclamation signed by Duterte
stated: “The entire Filipino nation should have the full opportunity to join
their Muslim brothers and sisters in peace and harmony in the observance and
celebration of Eid Al-Fitr.”
said the aim of the decision is “to bring the religious and cultural
significance of Eid Al-Fitr to the fore of national consciousness.”
the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) announced that a shipment of
donated dates from Saudi Arabia had arrived at its central office.
meeting was held to determine the method of distribution, and NCMF Secretary
Saidamen Pangarungan gave instructions on how to divide the 1,250 boxes of
dates among various regions and provinces. Each box contains 10 packs of dates.
ceremonial handover of the 60 metric tons of pressed dates, as a gift to the
Philippine government and people, was held at the Saudi Embassy in Makati City
Saudi ambassador to the Philippines, Dr. Abdullah Al-Bussairy, handed over the
dates to NCMF representatives and the Department of Foreign Affairs.
from the Saudi Finance Ministry and the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief
Center (KSRelief) witnessed the handover.
The preparatory meeting of foreign ministers of member states of the
Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) kicked off in Jeddah on Wednesday
under the chairmanship of Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf.
meeting, which coincides with the OIC’s 50th anniversary, is in preparation for
the 14th ordinary session of the Islamic Summit Conference, which will begin in
Makkah on Friday under the banner “Makkah Summit: Hand in Hand Toward the
his opening address, Al-Assaf said the Islamic world faces extremely dangerous
challenges and changes, including interference in the internal affairs of
countries, rising numbers of refugees and displaced people, and the spread of
terrorism, extremism and sectarianism.
need to take a serious stand and study the issues from all sides, adopting the
best possible approach to dealing with them through a unified position and
efforts, he said.
said that the conflict with Israel remains the most important challenge facing
the Islamic world.
Palestinian cause is the “first issue” of Saudi Arabia, he said, in particular
the regaining of Palestinian people’s full legitimate rights and the
establishment of an independent state with East Jerusalem (Al-Quds) as its
capital in accordance with international resolutions and the Arab peace
initiative backed by the decisions of consecutive Arab and Islamic summits.
international community must shoulder its political and moral responsibility to
achieve this,” he said.
said that the Kingdom attaches great importance to stability in Yemen and
condemns a continuing coup by Iranian-backed Houthi militias against the
legitimate authority, which is “a clear example of Iran’s continued
interference in the internal affairs of countries, which must be rejected by
OIC, as it is contrary to its charter and international charters.”
also affirmed the Kingdom’s stand with Sudan and support for the transitional
military leadership, along with measures taken in the interest of the Sudanese
Kingdom backs sincere efforts to find a political solution that will preserve
the unity and institutions of Syria and end the presence of sectarian terrorist
groups, based on the Geneva outcomes, statements of the International Syria
Support Group and relevant Security Council resolutions, Al-Assaf said.
also affirmed the Kingdom’s firm support for the sovereignty and unity of
Libya, its territorial integrity and the rejection of foreign interference,
calling on all parties in the country to unite, block and fight terrorist
his speech, Yousef Al-Othaimeen, secretary-general of the OIC, expressed his
gratitude to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for Saudi Arabia
hosting the summit and its preparatory meetings.
also praised Saudi Arabia’s support for the OIC and its generous contributions
in serving Islamic causes.
extended his thanks to Turkey for its hosting of the 13th summit and the
outcome of the forum.
is no doubt that the unfortunate developments witnessed by some member states,
and the deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation in some member
states where there are conflicts urge us to intensify our discussions, and
increase our efforts to establish security and peace in our region so as to
ensure justice, decent life, development for present and future generations,”
unprecedented current developments in our modern history should in no way
distract our attention from our central cause, the Palestinian issue,” he said.
policies and disregard for international legitimacy resolutions call for the
OIC to further coordinate efforts to press for a global position toward
consolidating peace, and put an end to the Israeli occupation and the suffering
of the Palestinian people.
OIC is closely following the situations in Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Syria,
Afghanistan, Iraq, Mali, Sudan, Algeria, Guinea, Nigeria, Niger, Sierra Leone,
Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, the Comoros and Central Africa along with others, he
are following with deep concern the bloody events against the security of the
people of Jammu and Kashmir, the developments in the Nagorno-Karabakh region,
the conditions of the Rohingya, the Muslim peoples of Turkish Cyprus, Bosnia
and Kosovo and the situation of Muslim societies in the rest of the world,” he
said that extremism and terrorism remain one of the greatest threats to the
region’s security and stability, and to the whole world.
and terrorism are aimed at undermining the cohesion of our societies,
disrupting our member states’ growth, and depleting their energies and
capabilities,” he said.
the dangers of these evil factors, we reaffirm the importance of coordinating
our efforts in combating all forms of terrorism, in accordance with a
comprehensive strategy that takes into account all the security, economic,
cultural, social and intellectual dimensions associated with terrorism and
extremism and the ways promoting for them or even leading to them.
in all, for our countries to avoid the risks of extremism and terrorism, we
have to earnestly join hands to confront these evil acts.
can be achieved only in a framework of effective cooperation and solidarity
among all Muslim countries, drawing on their noble values, strong
civilizational ties and common interests,” he said.
added that the convening of the Islamic summit during the holy month of Ramadan
and on this holy land reflect Saudi Arabia’s concern for cooperation and
coordination with the rest of the Islamic states to achieve these goals and to
advance the reality of our Islamic world and put it in a place it deserves.
Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, told Arab News that his country’s
message to the summit is that Muslims “should join hands, understand their
individual concerns, and have a collective objective of peace and stability so
that our region can develop like other developed part of the world.
not joining hands, how are we going to achieve what we want to achieve, if we
do not sit and resolve our issues through diplomatic means? We should keep on
joining hands as that is the only way forward,” he said.
Arab League Summit has commenced on Thursday, with the attendance of Saudi King
Salman bin Abdulaziz and several Arab leaders at the al-Safa Palace in Mecca.
summit started with a word from Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi, who said
that recent developments in the region require joint coordination among Arab
states, adding that the latest attacks on the UAE and Saudi Arabia threaten the
security of the region and global trade.
Arabia’s King Salman said that the emergency summit happened due to
“exceptional challenges” that the region is facing, adding that Saudi Arabia’s
hand is extended to cooperate with the countries of the region, including the
Iranian people, to promote development.
his side, the Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit voiced a message
that “Arabs do not turn others into enemies but they also do not accept
injustice,” adding that “Houthi militias have crossed the red line.”
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi linked the security of the Gulf to his country’s
national security. “All means should be used to deter the perpetrators of the
attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf,” he said.
Sisi's speech, King Abdulla II of Jordan reaffirmed that the security of the
Gulf states is a fundamental pillar of the region's stability.
from a “difficult experience,” Iraqi President Barham Salih said that the
region is witnessing a crisis that foretells a war that will “destroy
everything,” adding that the principle of non-interference in internal affairs
needs to be respected.
Salih’s words, Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah expressed
fear that the escalation facing the region will add to “previous wounds.”
his speech, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rejected the concept of 'Peace
to Prosperity' to solve the Palestinian issue, referring to the economic
workshop hosted in Bahrain in cooperation with the United States to overture
the latter's plan for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
head of the Transitional Military Council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, announced
that his country seeks democratic elections involving all political factions.
He also reiterated Khartoum’s support for the Palestinian people and peace in
Syria and Libya.
gathering in Mecca is a gathering of unity, faith and wisdom,” said Lebanon's
Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri in his speech.
(Reuters) - An Iraqi court sentenced two men, a French citizen and a Tunisian,
to death on Wednesday after finding them guilty of joining Islamic State, a
prosecutor told Reuters.
latest ruling brings the total number of French citizens facing the death
penalty to seven, with another five French men due to stand trial next week on
the same charges, and when they will likely face the same fate, he said.
all worked in the same terror group, the same evidence that was enough to
convict the others is there to warrant the death penalty, but it is up to the
judge,” said the prosecutor, who requested anonymity because he was not
authorized to speak to the media.
Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Tuesday that France was
intensifying diplomatic efforts to prevent six of its citizens being executed
in Iraq after they were sentenced to death for belonging to Islamic State.
is conducting trials of thousands of suspected Islamic State fighters,
including hundreds of foreigners, with many arrested as the group’s strongholds
crumbled throughout Iraq.
French government has refused to take back Islamic State fighters and their
wives, although a handful of children have been repatriated. It has called the
adults “enemies” of the nation, saying they should face justice either in Syria
no recognized legal system in the Kurdish Syrian areas, Western countries have
not opposed the transfer of some jihadists from the region to Iraq to face
justice. More than a dozen French jihadists have already been transferred.
by Mohammed Ebraheem
(IraqiNews.com) – Iraqi authorities announced on Wednesday that 14 Islamic
State militants were killed in clashes with security forces in Mosul city.
many as 14 Islamic State terrorists, including senior leaders and suicide
bombers, were killed during clashes with the Counter-Terrorism Service’s air
landing forces in Mosul,” Baghdad Today quoted the Security Media Cell as
saying in a press statement.
operation, carried out based on intelligence data, targeted a terrorist hotbed
of the Islamic State group in al-Hadar district in southwestern Mosul, the
declared the collapse of Islamic State’s territorial influence in November 2017
with the recapture of Rawa, a city on Anbar’s western borders with Syria, which
was the group’s last bastion in Iraq.
Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia's King Salman opened an emergency summit of
Arab leaders in Islam's holiest city of Mecca on Friday with a call for the
international community to use all means to confront Iran, but he also said the
kingdom remains committed to peace.
Salman delivered his remarks at Arab summits in Mecca that were hastily
convened after a spike in tensions between Saudi Arabia and its rival Iran.
have also spiked between Tehran and Washington in recent weeks, with the U.S.
sending an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf. The Trump
administration's taken a hard line with Iran, first withdrawing from Tehran's
nuclear deal with world powers last year, then imposing punishing economic
sanctions on the country.
Arabia's effort to draw regional leaders to Mecca reflects the kingdom's desire
to project a unified Muslim and Arab position on Iran.
there were visible signs of tension and disagreement among the Arab officials
gathered at the meetings, which began just before midnight on Thursday and ran
into the early hours of Friday due to Ramadan, which practices include day-long
fasts and extended evening prayers.
did not send its king amid a cooling of ties with Saudi Arabia, while Qatar
sent its prime minister rather than its ruling emir amid a diplomatic standoff
with Arab neighbors. Iraq, which lies on the fault line between Shiite Iran and
the mostly Sunni Arab world, rejected the Arab League's final statement after
the summit and was not a signatory to it.
however, condemned the alleged sabotage of four oil tankers off the coast of
the United Arab Emirates and a drone attack on a key Saudi oil pipeline earlier
Arabia accuses Iran of arming Yemeni rebels behind the pipeline attack. Iran
denies being involved in the incidents.
his opening remarks, King Salman called on the international community to
thwart Iran's behaviors and for "using all means to stop the Iranian
regime from interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, harboring
global and regional terrorist entities and threatening international
added that Saudi Arabia is keen to protect the region from the scourge of war
and that its "hand remains extended for peace."
meanwhile, struck a sharply different tone. President Barham Salih said in his
remarks that Iran is a Muslim country and neighbor.
do not hope for its security to be targeted since we are sharing 1,400
kilometers (870 miles) of border and a number of relations," he told the
gathering of Arab League heads of state.
the security and stability of a neighboring Islamic country is in the interest
of Muslim and Arab states," he added.
summit in Mecca is expected on Friday, focusing largely on Palestinian
statehood and independence. It will bring together leaders from the 57-nation
Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which is headquartered in Saudi Arabia.
a captive audience that included King Salman, Palestinian President Mahmoud
Abbas used his speech in Mecca to slam the Trump administration's deal aimed at
dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
would like to reconfirm our absolute rejection of the American attempts to
bring down international law and international legitimacy under what is called
the 'Deal of the Century'," he said, adding that it attempts to replace
"land for peace" with "land for prosperity".
of the plan hint it will focus heavily on so-called economic peace while
sidelining or ignoring the longstanding Palestinian goal of independence. The
two-state solution continues to enjoy the broad support of the international
Donald Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner seeks to rally Arab Gulf
states to back economic initiatives for Palestinians as part of the plan next
month in Bahrain.
are diverging policy differences among once clubby Gulf Arab states toward
Iran, as well. Oman, for example, has relations with both Saudi Arabia and Iran
and acts as a facilitator of talks.
diplomatic standoff between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates,
Bahrain and Egypt has pushed the tiny nation closer to Iran.
Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al Thani attended the Mecca summits,
marking the highest-level visit to Saudi Arabia by a Qatari official since the
2017 rift erupted.
Thani shook hands with his host, King Salman, but there was no eye contact with
Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed and no visible pleasantries with
Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
very quickly shook the Qatari royal's hand, but they did not appear to exchange
has tried unsuccessfully to mediate an end to the diplomatic standoff between
its Gulf Arab allies. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said Thursday
the U.S. welcomes Saudi efforts to discuss Iranian threats in the region.
unity is essential in confronting Iran, to confronting their influence, to
countering terrorism writ large, and, of course, to ensuring a prosperous
future for the Gulf," she said.
their arrival at the airport in Saudi Arabia, leaders were shown Yemeni rebel
military items, such as a destroyed drone, missiles and mortar shells used in
the conflict with the Saudis. They were given a brief explanation of the
weapons on display by Col. Turki al-Maliki, spokesman for the Saudi-led
coalition at war in Yemen.
Trump said this week the U.S. wasn't "looking to hurt Iran at all."
military court in Egypt rejected Tuesday the appeals in the bombing of three
churches. It upheld the death sentences of 20 convicts, life sentence of 17,
15-year imprisonment for one and 10-year for another.
were convicted of killing up to 80 persons in three terrorist bombings. The
first targeted a church linked to the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo in
Dec. 2016, and was followed by two consecutive blasts in churches in Tanta and
Alexandria in April 2017.
charges include establishing two ISIS cells in Cairo and Qena. The indictment
also included attacking security forces in the Negev, killing police officers,
possessing and manufacturing ammunition and firearms, ISIS membership and
receiving military training at ISIS camps in Libya and Syria.
Alexandria military court issued in Oct. 2018 verdicts giving 17 defendants
death sentences and 19 life sentences, nine received 15-year jail terms and one
a 10-year rigorous imprisonment sentence.
increased its presence in Egypt five years ago after pledging allegiance to the
extremist Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, which carried out terrorist operations mainly
in north Sinai before launching other attacks in Cairo and the rest of Egyptian
Shafiq Mohammed Mustafa was identified as the suicide bomber who targeted
Cairo's historic Coptic St. Peter church. On Dec.8, Amr Saad Abbas and Walid
Abu al-Majd Abdullah came to him with explosive vests. They resided with him,
then on Dec 9-10 they monitored the church and the next day he blew himself up,
killing 29 people and wounding 45 others.
has opposed the final statement of an emergency meeting in Saudi Arabia, which
condemned what it called Iran's "interference" in countries of the
Middle East region.
statement by the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council and the communiqué issued
after a wider summit both underlined the rights of Saudi Arabia and the United
Arab Emirates (UAE) to defend themselves against Tehran.
statements mainly cited concerns about the recent sabotage attacks against
several ships off the UAE.
Saudi and Emirati officials have blamed the mysterious "sabotage"
attacks on Iran while Iran denies any involvement.
absence of a firm deterrent stance against Iranian behavior is what led to the
escalation we see today," King Salman told the two consecutive meetings
late on Thursday night.
also pointed to Iran's ballistic missile and nuclear programs as sources of
concern, and expressed concern about what he described as Iran's threats to
cripple global oil supplies by closing down the Strait of Hormuz in case the US
seeks to zero out the Islamic Republic's oil exports.
however, which maintains close ties with neighboring Iran and has strong ties
with Washington as well, objected to the communiqué, which required
"non-interference in other countries" as a pre-condition for
cooperation with Tehran.
President Barham Salih asked the gathering to support his country's stability,
arguing that rising tensions with Iran could cause war. He voiced hope that Iran's
security would not be targeted.
are watching before our eyes the escalation of a regional and international
crisis which can turn into war that will engulf all. If the crisis is not
managed well, then we will be faced with the danger of a regional and
international confrontation which will bring tragedy to our countries,"
Islamic Republic of Iran is a Muslim country that is a neighbor to Iraq and
Arabs. It is certain that we do not wish the security of Iran to be targeted.
We share a common border that is 1,400 km long and a long history and
relations, and it is also certain that the security of a fellow Islamic country
is in the interest of Arab and Islamic countries. The region needs stability
based on a mechanism of joint security that guarantees non-interference in
internal affairs and the rejection of violence and extremism," he added.
Mecca communiqué also said the Riyadh regime had all the rights to defend
itself against retaliatory drone strikes by Yemen's Houthi Ansarullah fighters,
after a number of drones flew hundreds of kilometers into Saudi Arabia and
targeted two of the kingdom's oil pumping stations earlier this month.
Arab and Muslim heads of state on Friday denounced Iranian actions in the Gulf
as destabilizing to regional security and urged that the International
community takes “strict measures” against the Iranian regime.
a gathering in Makkah early Friday, the Arab League heads of nations issued a
final communique demanding that the Iranian regime must stop funding terror and
and to abide by commitments it has made.
leaders condemned the sabotage of four commercial ships in the Emirates, which
has escalated tensions in the region and precipitated a summit in the Muslim
asked the international community to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear
final communique also:
denounced Iranian intervention in the Syrian crisis and its impact on Syria’s
condemned the launching of Iranian-made ballistic missiles from Yemen toward
condemned Iran’s interference in the affairs of Bahrain, and its support of
terrorist groups there; and
condemned Iran’s occupation of three islands belonging to the United Arab
Gulf and Arab League emergency summits kicked off on Thursday in Makkah for the
start of a trio of high-level summits after Saudi Arabian King Salman convened
the gatherings earlier this month. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation
(OIC) summit will be held later Friday, entitled the Makkah Summit: Hand in
Hand Towards the Future (Together towards the Future).
on the agenda is Palestine, which Saudi Arabian foreign minister Ibrahim
Al-Assaf spoke about on Wednesday at a preparatory conference saying: “I would
like to emphasize that the Palestinian issue is a paramount issue for Saudi
Arabia, in particular the Palestinian people's full legitimate rights and the
establishment of an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
added: “Our Islamic world is facing the most serious challenges of interfering
in its internal affairs.”
Secretary-General Yousef Al-Othaimeen said Houthi attacks against Saudi Arabia
will be discussed at the Islamic Summit.
told Saudi TV that all countries share common interests regardless of religion
or race. He condemned interference in other countries’ internal affairs.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told Arab News that his country is
willing to help resolve “longstanding issues” between Muslim countries.
believes that this region is in flux,” he said. “Our message is that we have to
join hands. We have to understand each other’s concerns, and have a collective
objective of peace and stability so that our region can develop like other
parts of the world.”
GMT: Arab Summit final statement: Confirms the unity and solidarity of the GCC,
highlighting their unified stance
GMT: Arab Summit final statement: Iran has to stop supporting and financing
Houthi and terrorist militias.
GMT: Arab Summit final statement:
Condemns the sabotage of 4 commercial ships in the Emirates.
GMT: Arab Summit final statement:
Condemns the Houthi militia attacks on Saudi oil tankers. The Houthi militia
attacks are a dangerous threat against the region’s security.
GMT: Sudanese head of transitional council: We condemn the attacks on Saudi
Arabia and the emirates and we stand by our brothers against these attacks
GMT: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas: We do not accept any threat against
Arab countries. We condemn the attacks on oil tankers in Saudi Arabia and the
GMT: The Emir of Kuwait: Holding the Arab summit now shows the dangers we are
facing today. We are afraid that the escalation in our region will deepen our
GMT: Iraq’s President Barham Salih: Any attack on the Gulf security is an
attack on the security of Arab and Islamic countries.
GMT: Jordan’s King Abdullah II: The security of Gulf countries is the main
pillar for the stability of the region. We stand by our Arab brothers to defend
their interests and security.
GMT: Iraq’s President Barham Salih says regional crisis may lead to war if not
addressed properly. Iran is neighbor and its security should be preserved,
hopes peace efforts will prevail in the region.
GMT: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi:We should strengthen our ability
to face these terrorist threats and sources of threat in the region should be
GMT: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi: The attacks on oil tankers in
Saudi Arabia and the Gulf are clear terrorist acts.
GMT: King Salman at Makkah Summit says our hand is extended to cooperate with
the countries of the region, including the Iranian people, to promote
GMT: King Salman says the Iranian regime continues to break international laws.
GMT: King Salman says Iran is perpetrating terrorist acts directly or through
proxies to undermine Arab security.
GMT: King Salman starts the summit with an address to the gathered dignitaries,
citing the threat of Iran as the main reason for convening the summit.
GMT: The UAE delegation - led by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed -
have arrived at Safa Palace in Makkah, and have been received by King Salman
and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
GMT: The Emir of Kuwait, King of Bahrain and Sayyid Shihab, advisor to Oman's
Sultan Qaboos all arrive at Safa Palace in Makkah, where Saudi Arabia's Crown
Prince Mohammed bin Salman joins them for the upcoming discussions.
GMT: Saudi Arabia's King Salman has started receiving Arab and Muslim leaders
at Safa Royal Palace in Makkah ahead of a series of summits.
GMT: Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed lands in Saudi Arabia for the
GCC Arab Summit in Makkah, closely followed by the presidents of Niger, Mali
and Burkina Faso.
GMT: Some shots from the media center in the Four Point by Sheraton hotel where
dignitaries and representatives from the various different countries are
attending the Makkah summits, with messages from King Salman displayed in different
GMT: The PM of Qatar has landed in Jeddah for the summits in Makkah.
GMT: Bahrain's King Hamad is now in Saudi Arabia for the summits. His kingdom
will next month be hosting a workshop of Middle Eastern and other countries to
discuss the international approach to a Middle East peace plan and the
GMT: We've also had the arrival of the Chadian president and the president of
Afghanistan on Thursday who will also be attending one of the Makkah summits. The
eyes of the Islamic world will certainly be on Saudi Arabia this weekend.
GMT: Another arrival, another Arab world leader - this time it is Tunisian
President Beji Caid Essebsi who touches down in the Kingdom.
GMT: Iraqi President Barham Salih arrives in Saudi Arabia to attend the three
GMT: The King of Jordan Abdullah II is met by the Governor of Makkah Prince
Khalid bin Faisal as he also arrives for this week's talks in Makkah.
Security and safety measures are being stepped up around the Grand Mosque in
Makkah as the end of Ramadan nears, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
director of crowd management at the Grand Mosque, Nizar Alaa’ Eddine, said
authorities were ready to cope with the huge numbers expected to visit the holy
site in the coming days and that these efforts were being done in cooperation
with security services and other government bodies.
are monitoring crowded sites, developing adequate solutions and studies and
preparing daily reports about the capacity of the Grand Mosque to ensure a safe
and comfortable environment for pilgrims and visitors to help them perform
their pilgrimage with ease and peace,” he said.
National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Thursday that evidence of Iran
being behind the UAE tanker blasts will be presented to UN Security Council as
early as next week.
threat from Iran is not over but quick action from the United States has helped
deter it, Bolton said.
US military has sent forces, including an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers, to
the Middle East in a move that US officials said was made to counter “clear
indications” of threats from Iran to American forces in the region.
don’t think this threat is over, but I do think you can make at least a
conditional claim that the quick response and the deployment and other steps
that we took did serve as a deterrent,” Bolton told reporters during a visit to
whether he was at odds with President Donald Trump, who said earlier this week
that the US was not looking for regime change in Iran, he said: “The policy
we’re pursuing is not a policy of regime change. That’s the fact and everybody
should understand it that way.”
said there was some prospect that evidence Iran was behind attacks this month
on oil tankers in the Gulf would be presented to the United Nations Security
Council next week.
don’t think anybody who is familiar with the situation in the region, whether
they have examined the evidence or not, has come to any conclusion other than
that these attacks were carried out by Iran or their surrogates,” he said.
United States will respond with military force if its interests are attacked by
Iran, the US Iran envoy said on Thursday as Arab leaders gathered in Saudi
Arabia to discuss what they see as the threat from Tehran amid rising tensions.
US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said US actions taken so far in
the Gulf region, which include repositioning military assets, have had the
“desired deterrent effect on the (Iranian) regime’s risk calculations.”
US military has sent forces, including an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers, to
the Middle East in a move that US officials said was made to counter “clear
indications” of threats from Iran to American forces in the region. Hook also
said Lebanon’s Hezbollah is showing signs that it is not in strong financial
was speaking to reporters by phone ahead of emergency summits of Arab leaders
in the Saudi city of Mecca due on Thursday to discuss drone strikes on oil
installations in Saudi Arabia and attacks on four vessels, including two Saudi
oil tankers, off the UAE coast earlier this month.
has denied involvement in either attack. The US is pursuing what it calls a
“maximum pressure campaign” of sanctions against Iran to reduce its revenue
streams from oil and other economic activities, in an attempt to curb what it
sees as Tehran’s disruptive policies in the region.
to a question about China and India importing Iranian oil and whether it was
possible for them to keep importing small amounts, Hook said there would be no
more exceptions granted to sanctions against Iran oil imports.
faces an unprecedented snap election campaign - the second this year - after
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a governing coalition and
dissolved parliament instead.
newly elected Knesset dissolved itself early on Thursday.
Knesset voted 74-45 in favor of dissolving itself and setting a new election
date for September 17.
a shocking setback from Netanyahu, who had appeared to secure a comfortable win
in last month’s election.
he was unable to build a parliamentary majority to rule because a traditional
ally, AvigdorLieberman, refused to bring his Yisrael Beiteinu faction into the
who has led Israel for the past decade, now faces another challenge to his
have taken to the streets to mark the International Qud Day after Leader of the
Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei called this year's rallies
more important than ever.
in Tehran and other cities are flocking to main streets to support Palestinians
who are facing the dangerous prospect of a sellout of their rights through a US
plan called the "deal of the century".
leader Yahya Sinwar on Thursday sent a grave warning to Israel ahead of Quds
Day and used the opportunity to reject US President Donald Trump’s plan and a
summit in Bahrain next month to promote it.
wants to sell al-Quds to the Zionists without paying a price,” Sinwar said. “I
call him from here and say that I and the Palestinian people will be
demonstrating along the [Gaza] fence in light of Quds Day in numbers that have
not been seen before.”
also warned to attack Tel Aviv and other cities with double the force if “the
enemy dares to attack once again.”
will not sell al-Quds …We believe liberation of al-Quds will come soon,” he
International Quds Day is a legacy of the late founder of the Islamic Republic
of Iran, Imam Khomeini, who designated the day in solidarity with the
the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, the International Quds Day has been held
worldwide on the last Friday of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
son-in-law Jared Kushner on Thursday met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu in Jerusalem al-Quds to drum up support for the conference in
Trump administration seeks to use the Bahrain meeting to bring Arab states
traditionally opposed to the Israeli occupation of Palestinians lands into
warned, “Anyone who deals with the issue of al-Quds is an enemy to us, and we
have no dialogue with him."
warplanes and attack helicopters have “neutralized” 19 PKK militants in a
string of airstrikes targeting their hideouts in Iraq's semi-autonomous
Kurdistan region, Anadolu news agency reports.
Turkish military generally uses the term "neutralize" to signify that
members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) have been killed, captured or
more PKK terrorists have been neutralized as part of ongoing Operation Claw in
Hakurk region of northern Iraq," the state news agency quoted the National
Defense Ministry as saying Thursday.
the number of terrorists neutralized so far as part of the operation has risen
to 19” during the past four days, it added.
jets also destroyed weapon pits, shelters and ammunition stores used by PKK
militants in the Avasin-Basyan and Metina regions of northern Iraq as part of
the cross-border push, which commenced on Monday.
Turkish air force has been carrying out operations against the PKK in Turkey’s
troubled southeastern border region as well as in northern Iraq and neighboring
along with the European Union and the United States, has declared the PKK a
terrorist group and banned it. The militant group has been seeking an
autonomous Kurdish region since 1984.
PKK accepted a shaky ceasefire with Ankara, but the truce collapsed in July
2015. Attacks on Turkish security forces have continued since then.
officials are planning to construct hundreds of new housing units in East
Jerusalem al-Quds irrespective of international outcry against the Tel Aviv
regime’s land expropriation and settlement expansion policies in the occupied
Ma’an news agency reported on Thursday that 460 settler units will be
constructed in Pisgat Ze'ev settlement, while another 345 will be built in
Ramot neighborhood in the northern part of East Jerusalem al-Quds.
report added that plans for the construction of the settler units had been
approved two years ago.
settlers storm agricultural land in Ramallah
dozens of extremist Jewish settlers have stormed an agricultural land in the
al-Tira neighborhood of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, located 10
kilometers north of Jerusalem al-Quds.
informed source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the settlers
performed prayers as well as acts deemed provocative by Palestinians,
triggering clashes with local residents.
forces fired teargas canisters and stun grenades to disperse the crowd. There
were no reports of casualties.
600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967
Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East
UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied
territories in several resolutions.
than a month before US President Donald Trump took office, the United Nations
Security Council in December 2016 adopted Resolution 2334, calling on Israel to
“immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied
Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem” al-Quds.
want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East
Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.
last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major
sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued settlement
expansion on Palestinian territories.
backtracked on Washington’s support for a “two-state solution” in 2017, saying
he would support any solution favored by both sides.
al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, has
for the first time released a video showing Israeli tanks struck with missiles
fired from the resistance group’s unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAV).
video, obtained and released by the Lebanon-based Al Mayadeen television
channel on Thursday, shows combat drones of the Gaza-based al-Quds Brigades
targeting and successfully hitting Israeli tanks in a recent battle in
more details have been so far released on the exact date of the incident.
— Rising poverty, poor education and unemployment have been cited as major
factors exposing youth to recruitment by the Boko Haram terror group in
society organisations said by failing to address these issues, political
leaders were complicit in the illegal recruitment of the youngsters by the
in the northeast region have leveraged religion as a tool to recruit the
unemployed," said Isioma Nkemakolam, a researcher at the West African
Network for Peace-building (WANEP).
was speaking at a workshop on countering violent extremism, held in the capital
politicians have been complicit in the arming of Boko Haram," Nkemakolam
stressed the need to empower the youth to be economically independent.
youths are gainfully employed, the chances of them being used as perpetrators
of violence will greatly reduce," Nkemakolam said.
urged government to ensure perpetrators of violence by the Boko Haram are held
should be done through the strengthening of judicial and legal processes."
Boko Haram has killed an estimated 30 000 people and displacing 2 million
others over the past ten years. The violence has spread to neighbouring
Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
U.S. appears to be stepping up airstrikes in northern Somalia’s Golis
Mountains, where the country’s Islamic State affiliate and al-Shabaab have been
battling for territorial control.
Sunday, the U.S. conducted an airstrike that killed three al-Shabaab militants
in the Golis Mountains. This was the sixth airstrike in the last month against
IS-Somalia and al-Shabaab in the region.
constantly assess and exploit intelligence sources as they develop,” U.S.
Africa Command spokesman John D. Manley said in an email. “In coordination with
the Federal Government of Somalia, the last few days presented opportunities to
successfully reduce terrorist influence and activity in the Golis
maintains that the airstrikes help to keep militant leadership and recruiting
efforts in a state of flux, though al-Shabaab remains a lethal insurgent group
in many rural areas across the country.
create additional time and space for continued incremental progress in
Somalia,” Air Force Brig. Gen. Robert Huston, AFRICOM’s deputy director of
operations, said in a press release. “The last few days presented opportunities
to successfully reduce terrorist influence and activity.”
airstrikes in Somalia have typically been focused against al-Shabaab militants,
who are aligned with al-Qaida and have historically dominated the insurgency
racket in the country. However, IS-Somalia has managed to carve out an
operational niche in Somalia’s northern Puntland region over the past few years
and has extended its operations to the southern portions of the country,
including the capital of Mogadishu.
has only a few hundred members, analysts say, but the group still threatens
al-Shabaab’s dominance. The two factions have been officially at war with one
another since late last year. In the midst of the infighting, U.S. airstrikes
have continued to target both groups.
and IS-Somalia have been periodically clashing over the past six months in the
northern Puntland region, according to an article for the Combating Terrorism
Center at West Point.
far, the majority of the clashes have been confined to the Puntland
countryside, but this could change if ISS continues to make inroads in southern
Somalia,” Caleb Weiss a research analyst and contributor to FDD’s Long War
Journal, wrote in the Center’s article.
global terrorism shifts away from battlefields in the Middle East, jihadists
and other militants — including those affiliated with al Qaeda and the Islamic
State — have begun seeking out unstable regions in sub-Saharan Africa as their
next home. The Sahel, a vast space stretching from Mauritania's Atlantic coast
to Eritrea, has been particularly vulnerable to this shift due to its perennial
tumult and poverty. But now, there are signs that the region's militant spell
has begun seeping into the West African countries to its south as well, which
could have drastic consequences for some of the continent's most prosperous
economies, such as Ivory Coast and Ghana, and their chief military partner,
by a Thread
years of French military support across the region through Paris' Operation
Barkhane strategy, an effective mechanism to improve the increasingly dire
situation in the Sahel has yet to emerge. France's Group of Five (G5) Sahel
Joint Force — a regional counterterrorism force comprised of roughly 4,000
soldiers from Chad, Mauritania, Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso — still suffers
from funding and operational setbacks, rendering it essentially ineffective.
Meanwhile, multinational efforts to invest in the region's floundering local
economies remain either insufficient or nonexistent.
light of failed regional and international efforts to improve local stability
in the Sahel, militant groups — including those affiliated with al Qaeda and
Islamic State — are taking advantage. The security and governance vacuums in
Mali's vast north, for example, have offered these groups the room needed to
plan and conduct attacks elsewhere in the region, as evidenced by the huge
uptick in militant activity in Burkina Faso, just south of Mali.
recent years, security in several Burkinabe provinces (especially in those
closest to the Malian border in the north) have gone from precarious to
extremely dangerous amid near-constant waves of militant attacks on schools,
border posts and security forces. Government security forces in some Sahel
countries have also been accused of committing massacres or other war crimes
against local civilians — likely destroying any remaining shreds of goodwill
between the government and more peripheral populations. Signs of Contagion
there are now signs that militants are expanding beyond their usual areas of
operation to countries further afield from the Sahel's instability. Most
recently, two French citizens were kidnapped in Pendjari National Park located
in the far north of Benin in early May. When French special forces conducted a
raid to rescue the two hostages in Burkina Faso, they ended up finding two
other hostages from South Korea and the United States who had also been
late 2018, two tourists, an Italian and a Canadian, also disappeared (likely as
part of a kidnapping) near Bobo Dioulasso in southwest Burkina Faso — an area
that had previously been viewed as relatively stable compared with the
country's more volatile north. Then, in April, authorities in Togo reported
that more than 20 militants had entered the country from Burkina Faso, bringing
with them notable sums of cash.
the seeming spread of isolated kidnappings or militant activity, extremists
could soon move deeper into coastal West Africa to gain footholds — presenting
a worrying prospect for some of the Continent's wealthiest economies and their
Western allies. France, for example, has maintained close economic and
political ties with Ivory Coast as its former colony. And as a result, tens of
thousands of French citizens live or visit the country on a yearly basis, providing
a huge source of government revenue. However, as evidenced by the 2016 attack
on Grand Bassam (a small resort town near Abidjan that killed 19 people), Ivory
Coast also remains an attractive target for regional militants.
Coast and its eastern neighbor, Ghana — two of West Africa's largest economic
and political heavyweights (after behemoth Nigeria) — have each signaled their
concern about Burkina Faso's woes spilling south. In recent months, both
countries have ramped up security efforts in their far northern territories to
gain intelligence and halt any creeping militancy. However, given the vastness
of the terrain — combined with the limited resources of local security forces
and the needle-in-a-haystack reality of intercepting militant cells — such a
task will be a daunting one. Thus, should attacks occur or other signs of
militancy appear in Ivory Coast or Ghana, it could severely hurt tourism in the
two countries by stripping them of much needed foreign revenue. No End in Sight
West Africa's security partners have so far remained hesitant to jump in and
help their allies. The United States has yet to fully turn its attention to the
counterterrorism fight in West Africa, as it is attending to more burning
problems elsewhere in the world. Meanwhile, other global powers, such as
Germany, have continued to slowly amplify their security support, though their
overall involvement remains extremely limited.
on the other hand, has deployed significant resources and manpower to the
struggle in the Sahel in recent years as the region's long-held security
guarantor. But Paris still appears to be wary of becoming further embroiled in
the problem. Nevertheless, should attacks start occurring in Ivory Coast,
France could be forced to change its game plan and bolster its military
presence in the region to secure its interests in the country, as well as in
coastal West Africa at large.
UN Security Council froze the assets of 26 Tunisians and three organizations
involved in terrorism cases. Those included in the council’s list are Ansar
Al-Sharia, Uqba ibn Nafi battalion, which is affiliated with al-Qaeda in the
Islamic Maghreb, and Jund al-Khilafah.
list also mentioned a group of dangerous terrorists: Saif Allah Bin Hussein,
founder of Ansar al-Sharia who is also accused of several terrorist cases,
including the political assassinations in Tunisia in 2013. It also included
Mohammed al-Awadi, the military commander of Ansar al-Sharia. Notably, this
group has been prohibited in the country since 2013.
court sentenced Awadi to 20 years in prison for his implication in terrorist
activities and planning for political assassinations.
National Counter-Terrorism Commission President Mokhtar Ben Nasr has announced,
since November, the third batch of decisions on freezing funds and economic
resources against terrorists.
Hanin, assistant undersecretary of the republic at Ben Arous, denied that the
three suspects of the attack on Rades are related to the extremist intellect as
rumored by media.
judicial sources revealed on Saturday that a quarrel erupted between a coffee
shop owner and employees in Rades, in addition to four individuals who were in
a car. Things later calmed down. After a period of time, they returned with a
crowd holding sticks and attacked the shop.
military rulers say protest site threatens country
Transitional Council on Thursday accused protesters of seizing a vehicle
belonging to the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and said an encampment
outside the Defense Ministry in central Khartoum has become a threat to the
military spokesman said in a statement broadcast on television stations,
including state TV, that legal action would be taken against unruly elements at
the protest site.
Libyan National Army (LNA) has released video footage of Turkish military
trainers showing militia fighters in Tripoli how to operate Turkish armored
to an official statement by the LNA information office, the footage was found
on the phone of a captured Government of National Accord (GNA) fighter.
can be heard speaking Turkish as a man directs GNA militia fighters how to
“turn on the lights” and lift the protective screen for the windshield. It is
not clear from the footage if the instructor is Turkish military or a private
involvement in Libya has raised regional security concerns as it may prolong
the war in Libya as the LNA, led by Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar, battles
daily to take Tripoli and, according to a recent interview in the French media,
to “rid the capital of private militias and extremist groups.”
Islamist militias in Tripoli, supported by Turkey, are also suspected of
involvement in facilitating the movement of foreign extremists from Syria and
Iraq into Libya. “The fight against Haftar has become an existential jihad from
across the Islamic spectrum,” said Professor Jonathan Githens-Mazer of the University
the weekend, it emerged that Mohamed Ben Dardaf, also known as Babur, was
killed fighting for a pro-GNA militia, which recently boasted of receiving
Turkish military equipment. Ben Dardaf was a terrorist wanted by the Libyan
Attorney General for his alleged role in the murder of US Ambassador Chris
Stevens in a 2012 attack on an American diplomatic compound in Benghazi.
of the militias supported by Turkey is the al-Samoud Brigade led by Salah Badi,
who was put on a UN sanctions list late last year for his involvement in
violence in Tripoli. Earlier this month, a coalition loyal to Badi received a
shipment of Turkish military equipment, boasting about it on its Facebook page.
This week it emerged that Ben Dardaf had been fighting with the al-Samoud
to a US intelligence assessment acquired by Al Arabiya English, Syrian fighters
from Idlib are fighting on the front line, alongside the Tripoli
Revolutionaries Brigade. The battle-hardened Syrian fighters, said to be formerly
connected with the al-Nusra Front, which was associated with al-Qaeda, are
reported to be “showing up in the low hundreds, maybe 150-200 in Libya.”
US intelligence assessment was partially corroborated by the UN Support Mission
in Libya (UNSMIL), which said this week on Twitter that “there are real
concerns from Libya becoming, once again, a theater attracting extremist
elements and groups.” The UNSMIL statement came in response to a leaked letter
from Libya’s UN envoy warning of Syrian fighters from Idlib appearing in Libya.
week, photos also emerged of a well-known Ansar al-Sharia terrorist fighter
from Benghazi called Adel al-Rabaie, who was thought to have been killed in
2017, showing him fighting alongside pro-GNA forces in Tripoli.
discovery of the video footage of the GNA training follows reports from earlier
this month of the delivery of up to 40 Turkish “hedgehog” armored personal
vehicles to pro-GNA militias. Turkey on May 18 sent a large shipment of
military equipment to Islamist militias controlling Tripoli and fighting the
LNA, including the forces loyal to Badi.
delivery of armored vehicles was advertised on the Facebook accounts of Tripoli
militias along with photos of fresh crates of weapons, including anti-tank and
anti-aircraft missiles, high-powered sniper rifles, and ammunition. So far, the
LNA said, it has destroyed at least 14 of the Turkish vehicles using
Russian-made Kornet anti-tank missiles from pre-2011 Gaddafi-era stocks.
A suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance to a military training centre
in the Afghan capital on Thursday, killing at least six people and wounding
six, police and security officials said.
official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the attacker detonated his
explosives after being prevented from entering the Marshal Fahim National
Defense University, to the west of Kabul.
explosion occurred as cadets were leaving the college, which is one of
Afghanistan's main officer training academies.
was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which came as Taliban
representatives met senior Afghan politicians in Moscow as part of efforts to
reach a settlement to end the 18-year-long conflict.
Afghanistan: Taliban fighters have stormed several security posts providing
protection to Afghanistan's historic minaret of Jam, cutting access to the
UNESCO World Heritage Site and killing 18 security forces, officials said
attack comes less than a week after the revered 12th-century minaret, located
in a remote part of the western province of Ghor, was threatened by surging
Taliban have captured some checkpoints around the minaret. We had to retreat
because more fighting would cause damage to the minaret," Sayed Zia
Hussaini, the deputy police chief of Ghor, told AFP.
Hai Khatebi, the provincial governor spokesman, said 15 pro-government militias
and three policemen had been killed in the attacks, which started Monday.
Taliban have shut off telecommunication towers and have cut any access to the
area," Fakhruddin Ariapur, the Ghor province director of information and
culture, told AFP.
cleaning-up work (from the flood) has stopped and we don't know what is
video footage from late last week showed brown torrents crashing up against the
base of the brick minaret, which was built in about 1190.
Monday, the government said it had hired about 300 local workers to channel
floodwaters away from the tower. The work appeared to have saved the minaret
from imminent danger.
in an area largely under Taliban control, the Jam minaret is the world's second
tallest made of bricks, reaching a height of 65 metres (213 feet).
Afghan Special Forces have rescued at least 32 people from a Taliban prison in
southern Zabul province.
Special Operations Corps of the Afghan Military in a statement said the Afghan
Special Forces have rescued 32 people from a Taliban prison in Nawbahar
district of Zabul.
statement further added that the Special Forces conducted the operation in
Bazar Kohna Village of the district, rescuing 10 civilians and 18 security
to Special Operations Corps, the identifies of 4 other individuals have not
been ascertained so far.
Special Forces also confiscated two Ak-47 assault rifles and some other
military kits during the operation, the Special Corps added.
security forces conducted separate operations in south-eastern Ghazni and
Paktika provinces killing at least 15 Taliban militants.
informed military sources said Thursday that the Afghan Special Forces
conducted operations in Deh Yak and Andar districts killing at least two
militants and destroying 200 kgs of explosives.
sources further added that the security forces also conducted two airstrikes in
Andar district of Ghazni killing two Taliban fighters.
2nd Brigade of the 203rd Corps in Jani Khel district of Paktika resulted in 10
Taliban fighters killed and 6 wounded,” the sources said, adding that an
airstrike killed another Taliban fighter in Bermal district of the province.
security forces carried out separate operations in four provinces of the
country killing at least 19 Taliban militants and destroying four vehicles
including a car bomb.
Afghan special forces raid in Sayyidabad district of Wardak killed 5 Taliban
fighters, detained 5 and destroyed 1 Vehicle-borne Improvised Explosive Device
(VBIED) and 6 IEDs,” the informed military sources said Monday.
sources further added that the Afghan Special Forces conducted a raid in Bermal of Paktika province killing 5 Taliban
fighters and arresting 3 others.
the meantime, the sources said an airstrike in Bermal district of Paktika
province killed 3 Taliban fighters and destroyed 1 vehicle.
security forces force also carried out three airstrikes in Andar district of
Ghazni province which killed 6 Taliban fighters and destroyed 2 vehicles.
Vehicle-borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) went off in Kabul earlier
today striking a convoy of the U.S. forces.
explosion has taken place in Qabil Bai area in 9th district of the city,
according to officials in the Ministry of Interior.
Rahimi, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior confirmed that the explosion
has killed four civilians.
further added that the blast has also injured three civilians.
in Kabul Police Headquarters are saying the explosion has killed or wounded at
least seven people.
security forces carried out a series of airstrikes in central Wardak province
killing at least 36 militants.
informed military sources said Thursday that the security forces carried out
the airstrikes in response to a Taliban attack on a checkpoint of the security
Chak-e district, airstrikes killed 36 Taliban fighters attacking a ANDSF
checkpoint,” the sources added.
the meantime, the military sources said the security forces carried out
airstrikes in Pul-e-Alam district of Logar killing at least four Taliban
Alissa J. Rubin
— The seven French citizens, wearing sandals and yellow jumpsuits, were brought
before an Iraqi judge in a Baghdad courtroom this week to answer for their
offense: joining the Islamic State.
admitted to having thrown in his lot with the militants, working as tax
collector, Arabic teacher, military trainer, chicken seller, medical aide or
there was evidence that any had committed a violent crime, it was never
presented. Most had not even seen a lawyer until moments before being escorted
into the courtroom.
yet after seven trials over four days, Judge Ahmed Mohamed Ali delivered seven
identical sentences: death by hanging.
Frenchmen were among the roughly 4,000 foreigners captured in Syria and Iraq
after the rout of ISIS, and they pose an international dilemma: Most of their
home countries don’t want them back.
trials have drawn world attention as a test of whether Iraqi courts can meet
international standards for a fair trial, and provide a just solution to one of
the most vexing problems left in the aftermath of the battle against the
Islamic State: what to do with its legions of followers.
terrorism court in Baghdad where seven French citizens were sentenced to death
the first week was any indication, the legal process in Iraq will be swift, and
penalty is the death sentence, whether they fought or not,” Judge Ali said in a
brief interview after court adjourned on Monday. He also sentenced an eighth
defendant, a Tunisian who is a resident of France, to death.
the first batch of 12 cases that began on Sunday, France, a country that prides
itself as a champion of human rights and opponent of the death penalty,
essentially outsourced the judicial process to Iraq.
French foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said Wednesday that there were 450
French citizens affiliated with the Islamic State being held in camps in
northeastern Syria. But with memories still fresh of the terrorist attacks in
Paris in 2015, in Nice in 2016 and Trèbes in 2018, polls show that a vast
majority of French people do not want these citizens returned, even if they
were to be detained and tried.
problem, said Jean-Charles Brisard, the head of the Center for the Analysis of
Terrorism in Paris, is that sometimes “there’s not enough proof” to convict
them in French courts.
France, which has sometimes refused to return foreigners to face justice in
countries that use torture and the death penalty, has turned its citizens over
to a legal system in which due process rights are significantly weaker and the
death penalty is common.
legal experts say Iraq’s terrorism prosecutions are intrinsically flawed:
Confessions are sometimes obtained through torture or coercion, some judges are
biased, and defendants routinely lack adequate legal counsel.
can’t outsource a trial that suspends fundamental trial rights, if the trial is
unfair and the punishment is disproportionate,” said Andrew Clapham, professor
of international law at the Graduate Institute for International and
Development Studies in Geneva.
from top left, Salim Machou, Mustapha Merzoughi, Brahim Nejara, Leonard Lopez,
Yassine Sakkam and Kevin Gonot, all French citizens, were sentenced to death
this week for membership in the Islamic State.
lawyers earn just $25 for taking a terrorism case from trial to appeals. In the
cases this week, one lawyer said she had not seen her client’s file until the
defendant entered the courtroom; others said they had just five or 10 minutes
to review the case and discuss it with their clients beforehand.
antiterrorism law is a catchall that criminalizes membership in a terrorist
organization, so the ISIS cook may face the same penalty as the bomb maker:
life imprisonment or death. The law’s vagueness means that people are not held
accountable for their specific crimes, human rights experts say. So if any of
the defendants convicted this week committed murder, torture or rape, the
subjects never arose in the trials.
is keenly aware of the spotlight and outfitted a new courtroom for the
occasion. A panel of three judges, in black robes with white trim, sat on a
platform beneath a flat-screen TV, which featured slick videos of the
allegations against each suspect set to rousing music.
Iraq’s 10-minute trials of Iraqi ISIS suspects last year, Judge Ali’s two-hour
trials seemed unrushed and deliberate by comparison. He allowed the defendants
and their lawyers ample time to present their cases. Sometimes he even stopped
the lawyers from asking questions that could harm their clients’ defense.
he had no compunction about invoking the death penalty. Iraq ranked in the top
five countries that most frequently carried out the death penalty in 2018,
according to Amnesty International. Its liberal use of capital punishment
appears to violate international covenants, which Iraq has signed, that reserve
the death penalty for only the most serious crimes, like murder.
514 foreign ISIS suspects were tried in Iraqi courts in 2018 and the first four
months of 2019, according to the Supreme Judicial Council. A spokesman said the
council did not have records of how many had received the death penalty or how
many had been executed.
any of the defendants convicted this week committed murder, torture or rape,
the subjects never arose in the trials.
Islamic State fighters detained at a courthouse in Qaraqosh, Iraq, in 2017.
has also been criticized by human rights advocates for sometimes allowing
confessions obtained under torture to be used as evidence.
of the French defendants said he had been tortured into writing his confession.
During his trial on Monday, Fodhil Tahar Aouidate, a native of Roubaix, France,
lifted up his shirt and showed black marks on his stomach to the judge and then
turned and showed them to the courtroom.
Ali adjourned Mr. Aouidate’s trial until his allegations could be evaluated by
a medical team. He is to return to court on Sunday. Another defendant, Mohammed
Hassan Mohammed Berriri, said Wednesday that he had seen people tortured and
beaten and to avoid that, “I will say anything.”
Sunday, after death sentences were handed down in the first three cases, the
French Foreign Ministry said in a statement that “France respects the Iraqi
authorities’ sovereignty,” but added that “France is opposed, on principle, to
the death penalty, anytime and anywhere.”
Iraqi law, defendants have the right to appeal and the president must sign off
before an execution is carried out. On Tuesday, Mr. Le Drian, the French
foreign minister, said he had discussed the death-penalty issue with the Iraqi
president, Barham Salih.
if the French-Iraqi partnership is deemed a success, there are obstacles to
scaling it up for the remaining 3,000 foreign detainees in Syria from about 80
countries are in talks with the Iraqi government about transferring the
detainees in Syria to Iraq for trial. Iraq is willing to handle the remaining
cases but wants the suspects’ home countries to pay the costs of the court and
prisons. There have been reports that Iraq is asking more than $1 million per
Syria, was the capital of the Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate, spanning
Iraq and Syria. The ISIS suspects tried in Iraq this week were captured in
European countries are discussing the creation of an international tribunal to
try ISIS suspects, but experts consider such a body overly expensive, of
limited use and unrealistic.
Kurdish authorities in northeastern Syria have suggested building a courthouse
there to try foreign Islamic State prisoners but the location is in a war zone
with no clear sovereignty.
Hennis Plasschaert, the United Nations special representative for Iraq, said
that ultimately countries “bear primary responsibility for their own nationals,
including the treatment of their citizens in accordance with international
would expect and hope that individual states take back their nationals to
process, prosecute, and deradicalize them,” she said.
Monday, when Judge Ali asked Mustapha Merzoughi, 37, to explain how and why he
had journeyed to Syria, the stocky Frenchman at first said nothing. Then he
almost spit out his words.
did stupid things, I regret it,” he said. “But I did not kill anyone. I did not
want to commit any crime. I know I made a big mistake by joining a terrorist
organization. I know you will give me the death penalty.”
the hearing was over and he had sentenced Mr. Merzoughi to death, Judge Ali was
asked if the defendants’ repeated declarations of regret were taken into
who commits a crime will be feeling that kind of regret, but that’s not enough
to drop the charges,” he said. “There are the victims, thousands of victims,
Yazidis who were captured and sold at markets as slaves. Who would agree to
join an organization that committed these kinds of crimes?”
May 30, 2019
photo with an earlier version of this article was published in error. The
building shown in the image was not the Kharkh Courthouse where the terrorism
trial of seven French citizens was held. The image has been replaced.
Hassan contributed reporting from Baghdad.
have managed to force yet another Saudi cargo ship to leave the southern French
port of Fos-sur-Mer without loading weapons that it was supposed to take back
home amid Riyadh's deadly war against the people of Yemen.
a Christian organization against torture, confirmed Thursday that for the
second time this month rights campaigners were able to block a Saudi vessel in
France as the government of President Emmanuel Macron comes under growing
pressure to stop its arms sales to the kingdom.
Saudi freighter, Bahri Tabuk, returned to sea on Wednesday night with its holds
empty, the French NGO said.
again, faced with citizen mobilization and our legal action, a Saudi freighter
had to give up loading French weapons, this time in Fos-sur-Mer," Nathalie
Seff of ACAT-France said in a statement.
to shipping data by Refinitiv Eikon, the Saudi-flagged ship left French waters
and was sailing towards Alexandria in Egypt. Labeled as a vehicle carrier, Bahri
Tabuk had also transported soybean meal in the past.
first Saudi ship tried to dock at the Le Havre port in France's northern coast
two weeks ago but left without its cargo after dockers threatened to block its
arrival in the port.
confrontation by activists came weeks after an online investigative site
published leaked French military intelligence that showed Macron's government
was selling a wide range of weapons to Riyadh, including tanks and laser-guided
documents also revealed that the weapons had been used against civilians over
the course of the Saudi-led war against Yemen, which has killed thousands of
Yemeni people and caused a humanitarian crisis in the impoverished country
since its onset in March 2015.
Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly has claimed that the arms were related to
an order dating back several years.
said it had filed an appeal last week with the Paris Administrative Court to
block weapons shipments to Saudi Arabia, arguing that the sales contravened a
UN treaty as the weapons were used against civilians. The appeal was rejected.
Tuesday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian urged Saudi Arabia and the
United Arab Emirates (UAE) to stop the “dirty war” on Yemen.
group which organises the annual Al Quds Day march in London should be
investigated by Britain’s counter-terror police, according to a recommendation
by a leading think tank.
report published on Thursday by the Henry Jackson Society investigating the
Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) found the non-profit organisation had
been permeated “at every level” by “extremism, support for overseas terror
groups and extreme anti-Semitism”.
IHRC, which has UK charitable status through its subsidiary IHRC trust, was
co-founded in 1997 by Massoud Shadjareh, an outspoken supporter of Ayatollah
report’s author research fellow Emma Fox accuses Mr Shadjareh as well as the
group’s director Nazim Ali of expressing anti-Semitic remarks at the Al Quds
march, which takes place annually in the British capital during the last week
of Ramadan, was initiated by Iran to denounce Zionism and Israel.
flags and banners were a regular feature of the march. However, Hezbollah was
outlawed in the UK in February meaning anyone found supporting the terror group
could face up to 10 years in prison.
Metropolitan police said it fully intended to enforce the law at the upcoming
Al Quds march on Sunday.
report, titled Islamic Human Rights Commission: Advocating for the Ayotollahs,
said senior IHRC figures including Mr Shadjareh and Mr Ali had regularly been
pictured wearing Hezbollah clothing at the rally.
added that Mr Shadjareh had “repeatedly endorsed violent resistance against the
state of Israel”, including encouraging Palestinians to throw stones at the
organisation’s “Intifada” event at the Venezuelan Embassy in London in 2010.
total, the study found 10 items of conduct by the IHRC “pertaining to
terrorism” that “necessitate criminal investigation”.
author added that the group had been praised in the past by high profile
members of British society including the former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr
Rowan Williams. She also said that opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had a
“long-history” with the IHRC.
IHRC are remarkable in both the extremity of their views and the level of
access they enjoy to those at the highest echelons of British society. The
IHRC’s claims to be a human rights group appear to have lulled some into a
false sense of security. We should be clear that this group is extremist,
deeply anti-Semitic and has supported terror overseas,” Ms Fox said.
extreme are its views and apparent conduct that, in my view, they warrant
police investigation. Those who have previously shown support for the group should
immediately disassociate themselves from it and deprive them of the veneer of
credibility they so desperately crave.”
London Bridge terrorists started preparing their atrocity more than two weeks
before they struck, while the ringleader Khuram Butt was under MI5 investigation,
an inquest has heard.
12-inch knives used in the attack on 3 June 2017 were bought 19 days earlier
from a Lidl supermarket in east London. During the attack a rented van was used
to run over people on London Bridge, killing two, before three terrorists
sprinted out to stab to death six people.
inquest heard new details of the attack and preparations, including that Oxford
Street in central London may have been the original target. It also heard that
a bungle by the terrorists meant they missed out on hiring a large
seven-and-a-half-tonne lorry, which almost certainly would have caused more
deaths and inquires.
27, carried out the attack on London Bridge with Rachid Redouane, 30, and
Youssef Zaghba, 22.
played at the inquest showed Redouane buying the distinctive pink knives on 15
May 2017 after entering Lidl in East Ham at 10.15pm.
inquest saw footage showing the attackers meeting in the days before the
attack, in and around the Ummah fitness centre in east London.
DCI Wayne Jolley, from Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism command, told the
inquest a hire van rented from Hertz used in the attack cost the terrorists
just £70. They had wanted to use a large lorry, similar to the attack in Nice
in 2016, but made an error after reserving it from a hire company and never got
hold of it.
said: “It was never collected. It is our assessment that the branch he wished
to collect it from had closed at 11am that morning.”
spent the day of the attack seeing family and by early evening picked up the
van and went to a B&Q DIY store in Harold Hill, east London, to buy 29 bags
of gravel to give the van extra weight.
three attackers, who lived in east London, drove the van towards London Bridge,
first arriving at 9.58pm, some eight minutes before the attack, and driving
along the bridge before performing a U-turn and heading back over the bridge.
Hough QC, counsel to the inquest, suggested it was possible the terrorists
decided on London Bridge as a target “en route”. He revealed that an area in
central London thronging with people on a Saturday evening in summer may have
been the original target.
asked: “Did they have a phone in the van with directions to Oxford Street
showing on it?”
they did,” Jolley replied.
the attack ended with the three terrorists being shot dead, petrol bombs
contained in 13 bottles of rosé wine were found in the van’s footwell, with a
cloth wick and two blow torches to light them also recovered. The bottles for
the “incendiary devices” were bought from the same Lidl as the knives on 30
May, four days before the attack.
began investigating Butt for terrorist attack-planning in 2015 but had found no
evidence. He was still a target of investigation by June 2017, but mainly for
possible travel overseas, a government commissioned report suggested.
man and a teenage boy were injured in a suspected hit-and-run after leaving
prayers at a mosque in Leicester.
pedestrian, in his 40s, and the teenager were hit by a car in Humberstone Road,
near the junction with Spinney Hill Road, at 1am on Thursday.
man was initially said to be fighting for his life but is now in a stable
condition in hospital.
youth suffered a minor injury, and was also taken to hospital for treatment.
Masjid At-Taqwa mosque said one of the casualties was a worshipper who was
struck after Taraweeh – evening prayers made during the month of Ramadan.
Police said early inquiries led officers to believe that the vehicle did not
deliberately drive at the pedestrians and it is not being treated as
force added that officers were trying to find the vehicle involved in the
a statement on Facebook, the mosque said: “Last night after Taraweeh, one of
the brothers who prayed with us was the victim of a hit and run just outside
is fighting for his life, and we implore any one reading this post to ask Allah
the Lord of The Worlds to grant him a full and speedy recovery, and to grant
his family plentiful patience to get through this very difficult time.”
spokesperson for Leicestershire Police said: “We can confirm we are not
treating this is as terrorist related and we would ask that people do not
speculate while the incident remains under investigation.
would like to appeal to anyone who may witnessed the collision or have any
information surrounding the incident to get in touch.
anyone who has any dashcam or CCTV footage of the incident is asked to contact
under pressure to suspend councillors over anti-Islam tweets
Conservatives are under pressure to suspend two serving councillors who made anti-Islam
comments, including one alleging all 11-year-old girls should be frightened of
Amin, chairman of the Conservative Muslim Forum, said he had “lost confidence
in the Conservative party’s disciplinary processes when the promotion of anti-Muslim
hatred is the subject,” after the party said it was investigating John Moss and
Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has demanded the UK’s human rights watchdog
launches an inquiry into Islamophobia in the Conservative party.
also criticised the party for “failing to take swift action in suspending
councillors who have spouted clear Islamophobic comments”.
Shah, the shadow equalities minister, said: “Despite the Conservative party
denying an independent inquiry on the matter, failing to suspend councillors
and even allowing those expressing such hate back into the party through the
back door, there has been widespread neglect from the media to hold them to
account for this issue.”
Shaheen, Labour’s candidate in Chingford, where one of the councillors sits,
said Muslim residents were sharing the comments with horror on local social
a Tory councillor in Waltham Forest, said that “every 11-year-old girl” should
be scared of Islam when responding to a tweet about Islamophobia, according to
screengrabs posted by BuzzFeed. He also tweeted: “I reject Islam’s barbarism,
its sexism, its racism, its homophobia,” and sent tweets to numerous prominent
Muslims asking them to “denounce those bits of the Quran they don’t live by”.
the former chairman of Chingford and Woodford Green Conservatives, is a
prominent local figure who has acted as an election agent in local ballots. He
also stood as the parliamentary candidate in Hackney South in 2005.
the director of the Class thinktank, said Moss’s own ward contained a popular
mosque. “I’m sickened to read these racist and Islamophobic tweets from a
prominent local Conservative councillor,” she said. “That there is a mosque in
John Moss’s ward makes these comments even more alarming. All forms of racism
and religious intolerance have to be fought with all we have. Our diverse
Chingford community deserves better.”
told BuzzFeed that the context for his remarks about 11-year-old girls was
female genital mutilation, though he admitted the practice was “not limited to
the Muslim community and is not even commonplace within that community”. He
said he had provided a full response to the party and would await the outcome
of the investigation.
Conservatives also said they would investigate East Riding Tory councillor Nick
Coultish, who posted tweets apparently comparing the number of Muslims in the
UK to the German bombing campaign during the second world war. “Britain
withstood the Blitz and got up, had a cup of tea and got on with rebuilding the
next day. We will stand against the tide of Islam,” he tweeted.
apologised for his comments in a Twitter post on an account that was later
deleted. He called the BuzzFeed article misleading and said the comments were
“off-the-cuff … at the time of a terrorist attack in the UK”. He said: “These
comments were made before university and at a low-point for me, I was upset and
grieving and trying to make sense of the lives lost.
comments were wholly reactionary and unthoughtful, I was referring to radical
Islamic extremism, of course, not real Muslims who are peaceful and live with
British Values. I was young, not yet involved in politics in a big way and
naïve. I’m sorry for any confusion or any offence my historic tweets caused.”
MCB filed a complaint of more than 20 pages to the Equality and Human Rights
Commission (EHRC) on Tuesday, saying calls for the party to allow an
independent inquiry had so far been largely ignored.
bomb blast suspect pledged allegiance to ISIS
man suspected to have planted a parcel bomb in the central French city of Lyon
that wounded 13 people last week has told investigators that he had pledged
allegiance to the ISIS, a judicial source said on Thursday.
24-year-old man, identified as Mohamed Hichem M., was arrested Monday after an
extensive manhunt since Friday, when 13 people were wounded by the explosion on
a busy pedestrian street in Lyon.
admitted having made the parcel bomb and deposited it late on Friday afternoon
not far from Lyon-Perrache train station in front of a bakery,” the source
close to the investigation said.
close to the case said that after initially refusing to talk, the suspect
admitted on Wednesday to planting the bomb, packed with screws and ball
bearings and a relatively small amount of acetone peroxide, or APEX.
was the same volatile compound used in the deadly Paris terror attacks of
November 13, 2015, which prompted a wave of extremist attacks in France that
have killed more than 250 people.
ISIS group has been behind several of the attacks, though police had said no
one had claimed the Lyon blast.
suspect's brother was also arrested and is still being held for questioning by
anti-terror investigators in Paris, although their parents were released from
custody on Thursday.
search of the man's home had already turned up “elements likely to be used for
making APEX,” one source told AFP, and searches of his computers pointed to
internet searches related to extremism and bomb-building.
people were wounded in the blast -- eight women, four men and a 10-year-old
package was placed in front of a bakery near the corner of two crowded
pedestrian streets in the historic heart of Lyon at around 17:30 pm (1530 GMT)
surveillance cameras led police to identify the man after he fled the scene on
a bicycle. He was arrested while getting off a bus in a suburb just south of
than 750,000 European Union citizens have applied to remain living in Britain
after it leaves the bloc, interior minister Sajid Javid said on Thursday.
issue of what would happen to the more than 3 million EU nationals living in
Britain was one of the first to be tackled in divorce talks with the bloc.
Britain has said EU citizens have until at least December 31, 2020 to apply for
“settled status” whether or not an exit deal with the EU is approved.
is currently due to leave on October 31, but Prime Minister Theresa May is
stepping down after failing to get her exit deal approved by parliament and
those vying to replace her are divided over whether to seek changes to that
citizens are our friends, neighbors, and colleagues who contribute so much to
this country. Whatever the outcome of Brexit we want them to stay,” Javid said
in a statement, adding that the scheme had so far seen 750,000 applications.
released by his department showed a total of 621,400 people had applied by the
end of April, with 389,900 of those received in the first month after the
scheme was launched fully on March 30 and the rest submitted during a test
phase which began in August last year.
the EU Settlement Scheme, EU citizens who have lived continuously in Britain
for five years can be granted settled status, giving them the same rights to
work, study and access benefits and services as they currently do.
nationals accounted for the biggest group, with 103,200 having applied so far,
followed by 89,900 Romanians and 70,800 Italians, the government said.
cracks down on terrorist groups, blocks $46 mn in funds: Report
US blocked more than USD 46 million in funds of designated terrorist groups,
including Pakistan-based outfits, until the last year as part of its crackdown
on foreign terrorist organisations and individuals, according to an annual
report released by the US Department of Treasury states the US blocked nearly
USD 400,000 in funds of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and USD 1,725 of the Jaish-e
Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is the leading
US Government agency responsible for implementing sanctions against the assets
of international terrorist organisations and terrorism-supporting countries.
federal body implements these sanctions as part of its general mission to
administer and enforce economic and trade sanctions based on US foreign policy
and national security goals.
to the report, till 2018, the US blocked more than USD 46.1 million in funds of
designated terrorist groups and individuals, an increase of about USD 2.5
million than that of USD 43.6 million in 2017.
list includes the Haqqani network (USD 3,626), the Harkat ul-Mujahidin (USD
11,988) and the Hizbul Mujahideen (USD 2,287).
the Lashkar-I Jhangvi, the amount of funds blocked by the US dropped from USD
12,829 in 2017 to USD 10,962.
report states there was a significant jump in Taliban funds blocked by the
United States, which increased from USD 10,728 in 2017 to USD 206,805 in 2018.
for the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, the US had blocked a paltry USD 318 in 2018.
US continues to block more than USD 500,000 in funds of the Liberation Tigers
of Tamil Eelam, which has remained the same for the past two years.
the al-Qaeda tops the list of the blocked amount, In 2018, the US had blocked
USD 6.4 million of the al Qaeda funds, which was nearly USD 900,000 less than
the USD 7.3 million blocked in 2017.
OFAC also blocked approximately USD 216.83 million in assets relating to the
three designated state sponsors of terrorism in 2018 Syria, Iran and North
US-led conference on economic aspects of a Middle East peace plan will go ahead
next month in Bahrain despite Israel's snap elections, the State Department
said on Thursday.
are not anticipating any changes. It's set for June 25 and 26,” State
Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus told reporters.
US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that a separate rollout
of the political elements of the plan would take place “when the timing is
Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and adviser, had been preparing
for months to unveil the peace plan but had said he was waiting for Israel's
elections in April as well as the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
however, on Thursday set new elections for September 17 after Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu, a veteran conservative close to Trump, failed to form a
Bahrain conference is expected to look at economic opportunities for the
Palestinians, through funding from Washington’s Gulf Arab allies that are
united with Israel and the United States in opposing Iran.
has hinted that the United States in turn will not push for the creation of a Palestinian
state, a key goal of decades of US-led diplomacy, and Netanyahu during his last
campaign threatened to annex parts of the West Bank.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday blamed Iran for attacks on oil
tankers in the Gulf, saying it was an effort by Tehran to raise the global
price of oil.
were efforts by the Iranians to raise the price of crude oil throughout the
world,” Pompeo told reporters shortly before leaving on a trip to Europe.
suggested he had seen evidence of Iran’s involvement cited earlier on Thursday
by White House National Security Adviser John Bolton.
in London, Bolton said evidence that Iran was behind the attacks would be
presented to the United Nations Security Council next week.
if he had seen the evidence, Pompeo said: “Oh yes. Ambassador Bolton got it
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