Bans Islamist Terror Group Jamaat-Ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh
Envoy to the UN Raps 'Idiotic' Trump for Calling Iran 'Nation of Terror'
in Sudan Rally In Support Of Islamic Rule
Defies Congress, Clears Arms Sales to S. Arabia, UAE
Suspect Told Parents He Wanted To Behead School Friend, Court Hears
Muslim and Women Legislators In Indian Lok Sabha
envoy rules out talks with Pakistan unless it stops supporting terror
affiliate Chief Zakir Musa killed in encounter
stopped purchasing Iranian oil after US waivers expired: Envoy
bans Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, says outfit promoted acts of terrorism
Top Military Chief Issues Threat: ‘Our Hands Are On the Trigger’
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by New Age Islam News Bureau
bans Islamist terror group Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh
Press Information Bureau announced the ban imposed by the home ministry on
Friday, a day after the Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP of Hindu nationalists
claimed a huge election victory with historic majority.
security was one of the key mandates of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi,
who on Thursday scored a dramatic election victory.
as Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh or JMB, the group’s manifestations in any
forms such as Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen India or Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Hindustan are
also banned in India from now on.
said a central government notification dated Thursday states the JMB, its other
formations and their manifestations have “committed acts of terrorism, promoted
acts of terrorism and have been engaged in radicalisation and recruitment of
youth(s) for terrorist activities in India”.
been banned in Bangladesh in 2005 after random bomb attacks, the group's
revived faction Neo-JMB surfaced in recent years.
banned militant group is blamed for many attacks, including the killings of
foreigners at Holey Artisan bakery in Dhaka on July 1, 2016, and killings of
secular writers and bloggers, which were claimed by Middle East-based Islamic
State or al-Qaeda.
government and law enforcement said home-grown militants were carrying out the
India, media reported arrests of a number of JMB operatives different times as
the militants reportedly took shelter there.
law enforcers made one of the latest arrests in August last year.
arrestee, Mohammed Jahidul Islam alias Boma Mizan, was wanted for his alleged
involvement in the 2014 Burdwan blast and last year's Bodh Gaya blast.
arrests in a massive crackdown on militants after the Dhaka café attack, law
enforcers in Bangladesh have killed a number of suspects in so-called shootouts
during anti-terrorism drives.
January this year, the law enforcers arrested last fugitive café attack
suspects Shariful Islam alias Khalid and Mamunur Rashid Ripon.
to a report from Indian publication Anandabazar in early 2017, Indian detective
agencies believed that Khalid and Ripon were attempting to raise militant
groups in West Bengal.
envoy to the UN has hit out at US President Donald Trump's "idiotic"
terror accusations, saying Tehran has been the biggest victim and strongest
enemy of terrorism in the region.
strong reaction by Majid Takht-Ravanchi came after Trump on Thursday called
Iran "a nation of terror" despite his earlier patronizing messages to
the Iranian people.
US president's contradictory words about Iran clearly show his endless
hostility toward Iran and the great Iranian nation," Takht-Ravanchi said.
idiotic remarks, more than anything, show [Trump's] ignorance of thousands of
years of the Iranian history, and a lack of knowledge about the country,"
the Iranian envoy added.
to reporters in Washington Thursday, Trump said, “Iran has been a very dangerous
player, a very bad player. They are a nation of terror and we won’t put up with
he alleged, is now suffering from massive financial problems, adding they have
inflation that’s about the highest in the world.
pulled the US out of an international nuclear deal with Iran last year, and
reimposed toughest sanctions ever on the country, drawing rebuke even from the
United States' closest allies.
insistence on using insulting words against Iran only doubles the Iranian nation's
determination to resist the policy of pressure and intimidation,"
said Iran has been "the biggest victim and at the same time the strongest
enemy of terrorism in the region."
Daesh and other similar terror groups in recent years has been among the latest
measures of Iran in this regard," he added.
taking office in 2016, Trump has flip-flopped on the Iranian nation: he has
once in a while called the Iranians "a terrorist nation" and soon
after expressed his support for them.
January 2018, Trump announced his “respect” for small riots in some Iranian
cities, saying the US would provide “great support” to them “at the appropriate
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif fired back.
has an odd way of showing ‘such respect’ for Iranians: from labeling them a
‘terrorist nation’ & banning them from visiting the US, to petty insults on
the name of the Persian Gulf,” Zarif said at the time.
Monday, a senior Iranian official said Trump is a "crazy president"
whose threats against Iran aren't going to work, adding if the US president
wants to talk, he'll not only have to show some respect, but come up with a
remarks came after Trump called Iran “No. 1 provocateur of terror” and
threatened the country with “official end”.
his mind, Trump thinks he has a gun to Iran's head with sanctions and he is
trying to shut down our economy," Iran's director of foreign affairs for
the country's parliament, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, told CNN.
Trump is not quite balanced and stable in his decision making, so we are
dealing with a confused White House," he said.
said Trump has "got no idea about the culture and mentality of the Iranian
people" if he thinks threats will work against Iran.
years of Islamic Revolution in Iran have shown that you cannot talk to Iran
through threats," the official said.
in Sudan rally in support of Islamic rule
Sudan – Thousands of Islamists in Sudan long allied with ousted president Omar
al-Bashir's regime are rallying to support military-backed Islamic rule in the
face of alleged attempts by protesters to abolish it.
rally in the capital Khartoum was called by Nusrat al-Sharia and Rule of Law, a
coalition of Islamic parties. Protesters chanted, "Freedom, peace, justice
and Shariah are the people's choice."
gathered in a street leading to the presidential palace but security forces
blocked off roads to the palace.
Abdel-Kareem, vice president of the coalition, says the rally is a message to
the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change "that (Islamists)
have a say in Sudan." The FDFC represents the demonstrators who helped
bring about the military overthrow of al-Bashir on April 11 after nearly four
months of protests..
defies Congress, clears arms sales to S. Arabia, UAE
President Donald Trump, saying there is a national emergency because of
tensions with Iran, swept aside objections from Congress and cleared the sale
of $8 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and
Trump administration informed congressional committees on Friday that it would
go ahead with 22 military sales to the Saudis, United Arab Emirates and Jordan,
infuriating lawmakers by circumventing a long-standing precedent for
congressional review of such sales.
documents sent to Congress, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listed a wide range
of products and services that would be provided to the three countries. They
include Raytheon precision-guided munitions (PGMs), support for Boeing Co F-15
aircraft, and Javelin anti-tank missiles, which are made by Raytheon and
Lockheed Martin Corp.
lawmakers and congressional aides had warned earlier this week that Trump,
frustrated with Congress holding up weapons deals like the sale of the
Raytheon-made bombs to the Saudis, was considering using a loophole in arms
control law to go ahead by declaring a national emergency.
had been blocking sales of offensive military equipment to Saudi Arabia and the
United Arab Emirates for months, concerned about the huge civilian toll of the
two countries’ air campaign in Yemen.
sources said Friday’s order included all the defence equipment that members of
Congress had been blocking.
am disappointed, but not surprised, that the Trump administration has failed
once again to prioritise our long-term national security interests or stand up
for human rights, and instead is granting favours to authoritarian countries
like Saudi Arabia,” Senator Bob Menendez said in a statement.
is one of the members of Congress who reviews such sales because he is the
ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
the Republican Foreign Relations Committee chairman, Senator Jim Risch, said he
had received formal notification of the administration’s intent to move forward
with “a number of arms sales”. In a statement, Risch said: “I am reviewing and
analysing the legal justification for this action and the associated implications.”
his memorandum to Congress justifying the sale, Pompeo listed years of actions
by Iran. “Iranian malign activity poses a fundamental threat to the stability
of the Middle East and to American security at home and abroad,” he wrote, and
cited “a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings” from
aides questioned the contention that the weapons had to do with Iran, saying
the equipment and services listed by the administration includes large amounts
of offensive weapons, like the tank ammunition.
parents of a Muslim convert suspected of joining Islamic State sent or
attempted to send him money despite him telling them he wanted to behead a
former schoolfriend who had joined the army, a jury has heard.
Letts and Sally Lane challenged their son Jack Letts after he responded to a
Facebook post by Linus Doubtfire in 2015, the Old Bailey heard.
had posted a picture of a group of soldiers upon his completion of a commando
artillery course, to which Jack had responded: “I would love to perform a
martyrdom operation in this scene.”
jury heard that when the parents questioned him after his post, Jack said: “I
admit it was wrong if I seemed like I was joking. I genuinely believe attacking
the British army is a very praiseworthy action … I would happily kill each and
every one of Linus Unit personally.”
court was told that Jack continued: “This message is for you, Mum and Tyler
[his younger brother], I honestly want to cut Linus [sic] head off. I hope he
finds himself lost in Baji or Fallujah one day and sees me whilst I’m armed and
I’ll put six bullets in his head.”
mother responded by asking for proof it was him writing the messages about
beheading, the jury heard. The prosecution said this demonstrated that the
couple had doubts about whether they were dealing with Jack before they agreed
to send money.
Letts, 58, and Lane, 56, from Oxford, are accused of sending or attempting to
send their son a total of £1,723 between September 2015 and January 2016 after
he travelled to Syria. They deny three charges under section 17 of the
Terrorism Act 2000.
prosecution claims that from information available to them at them time, they
“knew or had reasonable cause to suspect” the money might be used to fund
converted to Islam aged 16 and left for the Middle East aged 18. He married in
Iraq before going to Syria. He is now 23.
jury heard that in another Facebook post, seen by his parents, Jack shared a
picture of himself at the Tabqa Dam in Raqqa. Alison Morgan QC, prosecuting,
said Jack could be seen “making a gesture with his finger”.
text and Facebook messages later retrieved by police showed his parents’ shock
and despair on discovering Jack’s whereabouts, the court heard. Lane told one
of Jack’s friends he had phoned her and was “OK for now” but “he’s in the worst
place possible and doesn’t want to leave”.
confided to another friend: “I still can’t quite believe he’s been so utterly
stupid. I can only think that his mental illness (OCD) was deeper than we
Letts told his son when he showed no sign of returning to the UK: “You are now
caught up in a crusade that has left so many lives shattered.” He said Jack was
“a pawn … helping to spread hatred, pain, anger, suffering and violence”.
began investigating Jack’s activities in early 2015 and warned his parents they
could not send him money, the court has heard. When they told their son of
this, he responded: “Please convey to the British police that I’m not planning
on coming back to their broken country … Convey to them from me: ‘Die in your
rage, soon you’ll be the ones being raided.’”
exchanges with her son, Lane asked him to stop telling her of his “barbaric
one, she blamed herself, telling Jack: “Clearly I indulged you, I made you
think you were the centre of the universe. I was a terrible parent that gave
you too much power as a child. I should have made you adapt to the world,
instead of adapting myself to your world. I have done you no favours by doing
this,” the jury heard. She continued: “This is a sign of mental illness and I
have to bear some responsibility for that as your mother.”
2 September 2015, Lane transferred £223 to an unknown person in Lebanon at
Jack’s request, it was alleged. She asked her son: “Can you guarantee they have
nothing to do with Jihad? As I could go to prison.” Jack said they did not, and
she added: “As I said to you before, I would go to prison for you if I thought
it gave you a better chance of actually reaching your 25th birthday,” the jury
police questioned her about the transfer, she said she hoped the money would
help Jack to get glasses, and she did not believe she was supporting terrorism.
She told officers: “I am trying to get him out of terrorism and I don’t think
he’s a terrorist,” the jury heard.
prosecution alleged the couple had no idea what was going on in Jack’s world,
and had accused him of lying to them.
second attempt, to transfer £1,000 to Lebanon, was made in December 2015 when
Jack said he wanted to leave Syria and needed it to pay for travel and
smugglers, the jury heard. When that was blocked, a third attempt, to transfer
£500 using a false name to Lebanon, was made on 4 January 2016. It was also
blocked, and the couple arrested the following day.
in an email to a work colleague, said the couple had gone ahead despite the
warnings from police they risked prosecution. They had had to “weigh up the
pros and cons of sending him the money so he can get out alive and not sending
him the money so we wouldn’t get a criminal record,” she wrote.
believe most parents would make the same decision we did,” she added.
concluding her opening, said it was clear the couple knew they were breaking
the law. She added: “They no longer knew the person that their son had become. Someone
who was quite happy to put six bullets into the head of a former schoolfriend.”
number of Muslim Lok Sabha MPs has increased marginally but their proportion
remains far below the community’s share in the population, prompting an
academic to regret the “deliberate denial of opportunities” to Muslim politicians
by all parties.
17th Lok Sabha will have 26 Muslim members, up from 22 in the previous House.
While Muslims make up 14 per cent of the population, MPs from the community
accounted for just over six per cent of Lok Sabha members on an average till
representation declined to about 4 per cent in 2014, when the Narendra Modi
government came to power, and has risen to about 4.8 per cent.
Pradesh and Bengal have elected six Muslim candidates each — the highest — with
Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and Bihar accounting for most of the rest.
Prominent among them are National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, AIMIM
chief Asaduddin Owaisi and Samajwadi Party candidate Azam Khan.
has five Muslim MPs — Nusrat Jahan Ruhi (Basirhat), Afrin Ali (Arambagh),
Khalilur Rahman (Jangipur), Abu Taher Khan (Murshidabad) and Sajda Ahmed
(Uluberia) — followed by the Congress with four. The sixth Muslim MP from
Bengal is Abu Hashem Khan Chowdhury (Malda South) of the Congress.
1980, the Lok Sabha witnessed its highest Muslim membership ever: 49. The
lowest was 11 in 1952, after the first general election.
Alam, director of the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive
Policy at Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad, said all the
political parties tended to deny opportunities to Muslim candidates.
should be equitable representation so that it does not look discriminatory. A
ground of majoritarianism has been created where all parties are reluctant to
field Muslim candidates on the grounds of ‘winnability’ and polarisation. It’s
not healthy for our democratic tradition,” Alam said.
BJP fielded seven Muslim candidates like last time, and all of them lost again.
The Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party fielded six and four Muslim
candidates, respectively, and each saw three of its Muslim candidates win.
however, stressed that it would be wrong to argue that only a Muslim MP would
represent the community’s interests.
parties should not consider a candidate’s religion…. Religion should not be the
criterion for denying or awarding nomination,” he said. “Muslims too should
avoid the symbolism of identity forwarded by any party.”
Lok Sabha will have 76 women, up from 62 the last time. Some 668 women had
contested in 2014, the number rising to 724 this time. The Congress had fielded
54 women and the BJP, 53. Trinamul had 17 women candidates (41 per cent) in
Bengal while the BJD fielded 7 women in Odisha.
and Uttar Pradesh have elected the highest number of women each — 11 — while
Odisha has elected 7.
Divaker, general secretary of the National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights,
said the number of women increasing in the House was good news.
women’s performance will depend on the opportunities their parties give them.
But their presence in the House will send out a message about women’s
empowerment and encourage ordinary women,” Divaker said.
activist Ashok Bharati hoped that whatever the number of Muslim MPs in the
House, the new Lok Sabha would corner the government more successfully than the
previous one over any lynching of minorities or Dalits.
a discussion on mob lynching in the Rajya Sabha in July 2017, the Opposition
had cited 77 instances under the NDA’s then 38-month-old rule, including 63
where Muslims were the victims. The list, furnished by Congress leader Ghulam
Nabi Azad, included 14 instances from Jharkhand, 11 from Uttar Pradesh, 9 from
Haryana, 5 from Rajasthan and 4 from Gujarat.
will not hold talks with Pakistan until it gives up its state policy of supporting
terrorism, the country’s Ambassador to the US Harsh Vardhan Shringla said,
hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi was reelected in a general election
fought on strong nationalistic sentiments. Ties between India and Pakistan hit
a new low after the Pulwama terror attack. Tensions flared up after a suicide
bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) killed 40 CRPF personnel in
Kashmir’s Pulwama district on February 14.
mounting outrage, the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out a counter-terror
operation, hitting the biggest JeM training camp in Balakot, deep inside
Pakistan on February 26. The next day, Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed
a MiG-21 in an aerial combat and captured an IAF pilot, who was handed over to
India. Shringla said the onus of the peace talks to improve the relationship
between the two south Asian neighbours lies on Pakistan. As long as a
particular country uses terrorism as an instrument of state policy and India
continues to be at the receiving end of that policy, no Indian government will
get a mandate from the people to reach out to that country, he told a group of
American reporters as results of the general elections were declared in New
Delhi in which Modi was voted back to power with a strong mandate .Responding
to a question on the future of the India-Pak relationship, Shringla said the
day Pakistan adjourns terrorism as a means of achieving its end, “I think the
government will be within its mandate” to start a better relationship with its
think it is the desire of every Indian to have good relations with Pakistan.
You see our relations with Bangladesh, you see our relations with Nepal,
Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Afghanistan. We have excellent relationships,” he
said. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday congratulated Modi on his
electoral triumph and expressed desire to work with him for peace and
prosperity in the region. Shringla said it is part of Prime Minister Narendra
Modi’s inclusive effort – Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas – to be part of their
development. His policy is development for all, including India’s neighbours,
the top diplomat said.
have committed USD 27 billion to the development of our neighbourhood and
Pakistan is welcome to join. But it cannot be pursuing a policy of supporting
terrorism on the one hand and then trying to talk of peace on the other. That
double handed policy is not something that we can deal with anymore,” Shringla
affiliate chief Zakir Musa killed in encounter
a "major success", security forces killed the chief of an Al-Qaeda
affiliate in Kashmir, Zakir Rashid Bhat alias Zakir Musa, in an encounter at a
village in south Kashmir's Tral on Friday, officials said.
who heads the Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, came to the limelight in Kashmir Valley
after he denounced Pakistan, cut ties with the banned Hizbul Mujahideen terror
group and vowed allegiance to the Al-Qaeda.
carrom player, Musa in his teenage represented Jammu and Kashmir at various
General of Police Swamyam Prakash Pani said the operation was conducted with
utmost precaution and proper care was taken to avoid collateral damage.
was one of the oldest militant and wanted for several terror-related
crimes," Pani told PTI.
police spokesman said his killing was a major success as "Musa had a long
history of terror crime since 2013".
was initially associated with proscribed terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen but
later floated Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind (AGuH)," the police spokesman said.
was trapped when police, along with CRPF and Army personnel, cordoned off
Dadsara village in Tral in Pulwama district on Thursday evening.
to make him surrender failed and he started firing at the approaching security
the ensuing encounter, Musa was killed in the early hours of Friday and his
body was recovered at the crack of dawn, the officials said.
was declared as proclaimed offender by a special court of the National
Investigation Agency in Punjab's Mohali earlier this month in connection with
serial blasts in Jalandhar in September last year, the spokesman said.
thousand people participated in the funeral prayers of Musa and seven rounds of
'Namaz-e-Janaza' were held to accommodate the huge rush of people who had
gathered at his native village Noorpura in Awantipora of Pulwama district.
since April 2013, Musa was studying in his first year B.Tech when he picked up
arms and joined hands with Burhan Wani, the poster boy of Hizbul Mujahideen
killed in an encounter with security forces in 2016. In three years time, Musa
had gained popularity among the locals in south Kashmir and was considered as a
natural successor to Wani after his death.
he shocked the militant groups and separatist camps in the valley in 2016 when
his video of threatening Hurriyat leaders surfaced if they continued to support
Kashmir's accession to Pakistan.
often brandishing guns along with Wani, the appearance of Musa changed
completely from the beginning of 2017 and his videos and pictures showed him
with flowing beard and holding on to a stick similar to slain Al-Qaeda chief
Osama bin Laden.
self-styled commander of the AGuH had in May 2017 threatened the Hurriyat
Conference leaders for claiming that the movement in Kashmir was for
establishing a secular state.
are fighting for 'Azadi baraye Islam (Freedom for the sake of Islam)', I am
fighting for freedom for the sake of Islam. My blood will spill for Islam and
not for a secular state," he had said.
am warning all those hypocrite Hurriyat leaders. They must not interfere in our
Islamic struggle. If they do, we will cut their heads and hang them in Lal
Chowk," he had said before parting ways with Hizbul Mujahideen.
according to the officials, was influenced by Yemeni preacher Anwar al-Awlaki,
who was one of the main recruiter and motivator of Al-Qaeda terror group.
broke out on Thursday night and Friday in Shopian, Pulwama, Awantipora and
downtown Srinagar, with people raising slogans in favour of Musa, prompting
authorities to impose curfew in some parts of the Valley as a precautionary
has stopped importing oil from Iran after American waivers granted to eight
buyers expired early this month, New Delhi’s envoy here has said, becoming the
latest country to comply with the US sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear
Ambassador to the US, Harsh Vardhan Shringla said India has also ended oil
import from Venezuela despite feeling the pinch.
US in January imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s most important global business –
producing and selling crude oil – as the Trump administration ratcheted up its
bid to force socialist president Nicolas Maduro out of power.
US reimposed sanctions on Iran in November after pulling out of a 2015 nuclear
accord between Tehran and six world powers. To reduce Iran’s crude oil export
to zero, the US ended on May 2 waivers that had allowed the top buyers of
Iranian oil, including India, to continue their imports for six months.
said India has stopped importing oil from Iran after the United States refused
to extend exemption from sanctions earlier this month.
of late April, India had dropped its dependency on Iranian oil from about 2.5
billion tonnes a month to 1 million tonnes a month, he said.
do understand that this has been a priority for the US administration, although
it comes at a cost to us because we really need to find alternative sources of
energy,” Shringla said at a news conference here Thursday.
he said, has stopped importing oil from both Iran and Venezuela. Noting that
the US did talk of trying to maintain price stability, he said in the short
term, there has been reduced price stability.
earlier used to supply 10 per cent of India’s oil needs.
Trump administration hopes to compel Iran to negotiate a “new deal” that would
cover not only its nuclear activities, but also its ballistic missile programme
and what officials call its “malign behaviour” across the Middle East.
sanctions have led to a sharp downturn in Iran’s economy, pushing the value of
its currency to record lows, quadrupling its annual inflation rate, driving
away foreign investors, and triggering protests.
insisted the sanctions were illegal and that it had attached “no value or
credibility” to the waivers.
joins Greece, Italy, Taiwan and Turkey which have stopped importing Iranian oil.
was confident that US sanctions would not affect its partnership in developing
Iran’s Chabahar port.
said the Chabahar port is a lifeline for Afghanistan. It is a port that
provides both humanitarian assistance and supplies to Afghanistan.
is in the interest of both the US and India and all others concerned to ensure
that the lifeline continues to exist, he said. The US has exempted India’s
development of Chabahar port from its Iranian sanctions.
Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus told reporters that the US wanted all
countries to stop importing oil from Iran.
want the whole world to comply with these sanctions, and we’re grateful for our
partners and allies that are respecting them,” she said when asked about
said India depends heavily on the Middle East for its energy needs and is
against any further escalation of tension in the region.
would not like to see any move towards any escalation in that area,” he told
reporters when asked about the increased tension between the US and Iran after
which the Trump administration deployed military assets in the region.
the simple reason that we depend very heavily on stability in that part of the
world. Their supplies are a major part of our energy requirements. A very large
number of Indians also work in the Gulf. So obviously peace and stability in
that area is very very critical,” Shringla said.
quest for de-escalation of tension came on a day when US President Donald Trump
did not rule out sending troops to the Middle East to counter Iran.
would (consider sending troops to the Middle East) if we need them. I don’t
think we’re going to need them. I really don’t. I would certainly send troops
if we need them,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
has been a very dangerous player, a very bad player. They are a nation of
terror and we won’t put up with it. The deal that was signed by (former)
president (Barack) Obama was a horror show. It’s a terrible deal. The minute I
collapsed that deal and terminated it, Iran went in a very bad direction,” the
US president said.
the ruling BJP’s massive victory in the elections in India, Shringla said the
re-election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a good news for India-US
think the mandate is good news for India-US relations. We have achieved a great
deal in last five years under leadership of Prime Minister Modi and (US)
President Trump,” he said.
a result of the strong mandate that Modi has received, the Indian diplomat
said, there would be new dynamism in bilateral relationship.
new government is not only looking to continue what they have achieved with the
US the last five years, but also to consolidate, he said.
range from defence sector to national security and counter terrorism
co-operation, and examine how they can facilitate greater investment in India,”
months after Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) Jammu and Kashmir was banned, the Home
Ministry on Friday declared Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh an “unlawful
the 1st Schedule to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the following
entries shall be inserted, namely- Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh or
Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen India or Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Hindustan and all its
manifestations,” the MHA said in a statement.
listing under the First Schedule of the UAPA means the outfit is now a banned
organisation in India, a home ministry official said.
Home Ministry said the outfit had committed acts of terrorism, promoted acts of
terrorism and was engaged in radicalisation and recruitment of youths for
terrorist activities in India.
Bangladesh was engaged in recruitment and raising funds for terrorist
activities, procurement of explosives/chemicals and assembling of IEDs,” the
Home Ministry statement said.
Bangladesh came into existence in the year 1998 with the objective of
establishing a Caliphate through Jihad.
of JMB cadres has been established in Burdwan bomb blast and Bodh Gaya blast.
Assam Police has found involvement of JMB in five cases registered by them and
a total of 56 accused belonging to JMB have been arrested,” the MHA said.
Home Ministry further said the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh planned to set
up permanent bases within 10 km along the Indo-Bangladesh border near West
Bengal, Assam and Tripura and spread its network in south India.
top military chief issues threat: ‘Our hands are on the trigger’
highest-ranking military official offered a stark warning after reports emerged
that the U.S. is considering deploying 10,000 troops to the Middle East.
enemies should know that the Iranian military will not waste even a single
moment monitoring the enemies' schemes and adventurism,” said Chief of Staff to
the Iranian Armed Forces Maj. Gen. Mohammad Hossein Bagheri in a statement
Thursday, according to Iran’s state-run news service.
hands are on the trigger and we are firmly prepared to annihilate any aggressor
and greedy eyes against the Islamic Iran,” he said.
U.S. is considering sending an additional 10,000 troops to the region, according
to Wednesday reports, as tensions between the two countries continue to rise.
new conditions of countering the US arrogant and pharaonic threat invite all
the Iranians to enter the fields of jihad, full alert, and mobilization of more
power,” said Bagheri.
has been an overt pressure campaign by the U.S. to target Iran’s finances,
including new sweeping sanctions against Iran’s metals industry. The U.S.
deployed the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force
to the Middle East earlier this month in response to potential threats to the
U.S. and U.S. assets in the region.
rocket of the same model used by Iran detonated outside the U.S. embassy in
Iraq Sunday. Trump responded by declaring that a war would be “the official end
Arabia Urges Int’l Community to Take Firm Stand Against Houthis
Arabia has called on the international community to shoulder its
responsibilities by taking a firm stand against the Iran-backed terrorist
Houthi militias after targeting vital populated areas in the Kingdom with
ballistic missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles.
attacks are a flagrant violation of international and humanitarian law and
relevant Security Council resolutions, said Acting Permanent Representative of
the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations Dr. Khaled Manzlawiy.
the Kingdom's speech at a Security Council session on "Protection of
Civilians in Armed Conflict", Manzlawiy said Riyadh is constantly urging
the international community to adopt a unified and comprehensive approach to
protect and distance civilians from armed conflicts.
with grave losses that struck its fighter ranks recently, Houthi militias
revamped their foreign recruitment program, employing coercion as a tactic to
get African mercenaries and youth to fight on their side.
in the last two weeks, have been running an extensive recruitment campaign,
local sources in Sanaa, a stronghold for the group, told Asharq Al-Awsat,
saying African youth were forcibly drafted into training camps after militia
commanders failed to gain the support of nearby tribes.
unveiled that Houthis have been saturating their ranks with hired African
mercenaries, fighting for a paid rate ranging from $80 to $100.
supervisors specialized in recruitment operations and who are popular among
African refugees, according to same sources, have been assigned with militarizing
refugees and the sorting and categorizing of new recruits according to previous
of the newly enrolled Houthi militias are being deployed to front lines.
campaigns targeted Africans of different age groups who had sought refuge in a
number of neighborhoods in Sana and Houthi-run territory.
majority of the new recruits are Ethiopian and Somali nationals, sources noted.
conscription, mercenaries are vetted by Iran-sponsored commanders who also
conduct combat training courses in undisclosed boot camps. The most recent wave
of foreign militia recruitment saw the conscription of 76 new fighters.
from being trained in armed combat, trainees also undergo a fierce sectarian
of Houthi-hired African fighters complain that they are being pressured by hard
living conditions under Houthi rule in Sanaa. In addition to the
starvation-level suffering they face, they are being pressured into accepting
their relatives, mostly the family’s breadwinner, picking up arms.
has refuted US President Donald Trump's controversial proposal for peace
between Palestinians and the Israeli regime, saying the demands of the
Palestinian people need to be considered in any such plans.
Foreign Ministry said in a Friday statement that economic development needed
for peace in Palestine could not be achieved without "fair political
solutions" acceptable to Palestinians.
statement was referring to the Trump's so-called "Deal of the
Century" plan set to be unveiled next month. The White House will lay out
the first part of Trump's so-called peace plan when it holds an international
conference in Bahrain in late June.
these challenges requires sincerity of intent, concerted efforts from regional
and international players and appropriate political conditions for economic
prosperity," the statement added.
conditions would not be achieved without fair political solutions to the issues
of the peoples of the region, especially the Palestinian issue, in accordance
with a framework acceptable to the brotherly Palestinian people," it
plan has been dismissed by Palestinian authorities ahead of its unveiling at
the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan and the formation of the new
in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on April 16, Palestinian Prime
Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh lashed out at Trump’s initiative, asserting that it
was “born dead.”
noted that negotiations with the US were useless in the wake of the country’s relocation
of its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds, which Palestinians consider
the capital city of their future state.
opposition to the US' plan is significant given that the "Deal of the
Century" was expected to encourage investment in the West Bank and Gaza
Strip by Arab donor countries - including Qatar - before grappling with thorny
political issues at the heart of the conflict.
troops have shot and wounded more than a dozen Palestinians during
anti-occupation protests near the fence between the besieged Gaza Strip and the
of demonstrators turned out for the protests on Friday but largely kept their
distance from the fortified frontier.
protesters threw rocks and firebombs from behind clouds of black smoke of
burning tires at Israeli troops, who responded with tear gas and rubber-coated
spokesman for the Ministry of Health in the enclave, Ashraf al-Qudra, said 14
people were injured after suffering gunshot wounds and excessive tear gas
paramedic Dalia Abu Raidah was treated for a wound after a tear gas canister
hit him in the foot. Photojournalist Atta Hadayed was also struck with a rubber
bullet east of Khuza'a town in the southern Gaza Strip.
have held weekly rallies on the Gaza border to protest the siege on the enclave
and demand the right for refugees to return to their homes they fled during the
1948 creation of Israel.
than 270 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces ever since
anti-occupation protest rallies began in Gaza on March 30, 2018. Over 16,000
Palestinians have also sustained injuries.
Gaza clashes reached their peak on May 14 last year, on the eve of the 70th
anniversary of Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe), which coincided this year with
the US embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.
June 13, 2018, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution,
sponsored by Turkey and Algeria, which condemned Israel for Palestinian
civilian deaths in the Gaza Strip.
resolution, which had been put forward on behalf of Arab and Muslim countries,
garnered a strong majority of 120 votes in the 193-member assembly, with 8
votes against and 45 abstentions.
resolution called on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to make proposals
within 60 days “on ways and means for ensuring the safety, protection, and
well-being of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation,”
including “recommendations regarding an international protection mechanism.”
a dozen people have been killed when Saudi-led military aircraft carried out a
string of airstrikes against an area in Yemen's southwestern province of
sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Arabic-language al-Masirah
television network that the warplanes struck a petroleum derivatives plant in
the Mawiyah district of the province on Friday afternoon, leaving nine people
dead and several others injured.
Saudi-backed militiamen loyal to Yemen's former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur
Hadi lobbed a barrage of mortar shells at a vegetable oil extraction workshop
at Kilo 16 area of al-Hali district in the strategic western Yemeni province of
Hudaydah. There were no immediate
reports about the extent of damage caused and possible casualties.
of Saudi-paid militiamen were also killed and injured when Yemeni army
soldiers, backed by allied fighters from Popular Committees, mounted a surprise
attack in the Khabb wa ash Sha'af district of the country’s northern province
Yemeni troops and their allies struck the positions of Saudi soldiers and their
mercenaries in the Rabuah area of the kingdom’s southern border region of Asir.
Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating campaign
against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of Hadi
back to power and crushing the Houthi Ansarullah movement.
US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit
conflict-research organization, estimates that the Saudi-led war has claimed
the lives of over 60,000 Yemenis since January 2016.
Yemen’s internationally recognized president sent a letter to the UN chief,
criticizing his envoy to the country over allegedly siding with Iran-aligned
Houthi militia, the president’s office said Friday.
the letter addressed to Antonio Guterres, Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour
Hadi accused Martin Griffiths, the UN special envoy to Yemen, of undermining
chances for peace. Hadi also warns his government would stop dealing with the
can no longer tolerate the violations committed by the special envoy, which
threaten prospects for a solution,” read the five-page letter, a copy of which
was released to reporters Thursday.
also accuses Griffiths of treating the militia as a "de-facto government
and as an equal to the legitimate and elected government” of Yemen.
conflict in Yemen began with the 2014 takeover of the capital, Sanaa, by the
Houthi rebels. A coalition of Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia and the
UAE, allied with Hadi’s government, has been fighting the Houthis since March
fighting has killed an estimated 60,000 people and left millions suffering from
lack of food and medical care.
arose between Griffiths and Hadi last week after the UN announced the
long-delayed Houthi withdrawal from the flashpoint port city of Hodeidah.
government accused Griffiths at the time of turning a blind eye that the
militants had allegedly only handed control of the port to “militia leaders”
loyal to them. The “redeployment of Houthis” from Hodeidah was part of a
UN-brokered deal concluded in December.
went on to say that Griffiths’s “poor understanding” of the Yemeni conflict
makes him unfit for his post.
briefing the UN Security Council on the situation in Yemen last week, Griffiths
urged the warring sides to maintain the momentum of the Houthi withdrawal from
Hodeidah — the country’s lifeline to foreign aid — and to work urgently on a
political solution to the devastating conflict.
were “signs of hope” but “also alarming signs” that could threaten progress,
Griffiths said, a reference to continuing clashes in the southern Dhale
Western-backed response, Sahel extremists gaining ground
Exremists are scoring gains in the Sahel, defying efforts by five countries in
the fragile region to fight back with Western help against Islamist militancy.
of insecurity on the Sahara’s poor, arid southern rim are widening, analysts
say, even as the so-called G5 Sahel group — Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali,
Mauritania and Niger — seek to expand their anti-terror campaign.
the security situation in the Sahel continued to deteriorate, having spillover
effects on neighboring countries that are not members of G5 Sahel, including
Benin, Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) and Togo,” United Nations Secretary-General
Antonio Guterres said this month.
said in recent months, armed groups had been sighted on Mauritania’s border
with Mali, attacks on security forces had continued unabated in Mali itself,
“terrorist groups, militias and armed gangs” had proliferated in Burkina, and
jihadists had killed dozens of soldiers and civilians in Niger.
the end of last year more than 120,000 people had been displaced in Mali, a
tripling in the space of a year, while 160,000 have fled their homes in
to a French military source, there are about 2,000 fighters across the Sahel,
of which up to 1,400 are in Mali.
hallmark tactics — brutal gun attacks, roadside bombings and hostage taking —
seek to weaken the rule of law and authority of the state, often fomenting
intercommunal fighting on which they capitalize.
are not necessarily more attacks, but the attacks are more violent. The groups
have acquired some technical competence,” said Mahamadou Sawadogo, a researcher
at the Crossroads of Study and Research for Democracy and Development at
Senegal’s Gaston Berger University.
an increase in power at the quantitative level and also in their efficiency,”
noted Lassina Diarra, author of a book on West African countries facing
Burkina, there appears to have been a merger of means between groups affiliated
to Al-Qaeda and those affiliated to the Islamic State,” he said.
seems that they now lend each other a helping hand.”
suggested that battle-hardened fighters may have arrived from the Middle East
after the so-called Islamic State lost its territory in Syria.
are seeing changes in operational methods with the use of explosives, mines and
car bombs” combined with more ambitious raids, he said.
academics showed concern at the weakness of regional armies, particularly in
problems facing the G5’s armed forces are well known. Their militaries are
under-equipped and poorly trained, even though governments are already
earmarking as much as 15 percent of their budgets on security.
support from France and others, the G5 countries are pushing ahead with plans
for a pooled 5,000-man force.
at present, they lack coordination in border zones, where extremist forces are
particularly active and whole populations become internally displaced.
armed groups play with these borders,” Sawadogo said.
if militants do not maintain a permanent presence, their zone of influence is
don’t need to be there all the time, holding ground. They create the feeling of
insecurity with sporadic attacks,” Diarra said.
harass the symbols of the state” and drive out civil servants working for it,
Sawadogo noted. “They don’t have a hold over areas but they are not seeking to
be a static force. It’s governance from a distance.”
have created comfort zones,” he argued. “And now there’s a corridor” that
extends from southwest Burkina Faso to Mali and western Niger.
need to fight against the ideology of the jihadists,” Diarra said when asked
how to fight back. He recommended providing instruction for imams that would
avoid radical preaching and “factors for recruitment.”
have to fight on the same ground as the jihadists, use the same strategy,”
now, the jihadists benefit from complicity. They move around, prepare attacks
and routes to fall back. They pass through villages.”
while village folk know about the armed groups, the security forces get little
or no intelligence to strike, he said.
researchers insisted on the need to uphold the presence of the state, with
officials in place and a degree of local investment to help restore confidence
the right structure in place, they said, people might be inclined to help the
security forces and ignore militant extremism.
May 23 (Xinhua) -- Nigeria on Thursday confirmed the arrest of a 24-year-old
man who specialized in giving logistics support to the Boko Haram terror group
in the country's northeast region.
suspect, named Aliyu Muhammed, was nabbed on April 25, following intelligence
report gathered by the security agency, according to Ibrahim Abdullahi, head of
the Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in the northern state of Borno.
was on his way to supply some materials to Boko Haram when he was nabbed by
told Xinhua that the suspect and his accomplices played different roles in
perpetrating various attacks on public buildings, religious centers, and market
places in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, and its environ.
who claimed to be an autorickshaw driver in the Maiduguri metropolis, said he
was recruited by Boko Haram six months ago.
April 7, almost three weeks before his arrest, five people were confirmed
killed and 45 others were wounded following a twin suicide attack on Muna
community, on the outskirts of Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram where
the suspect operated.
northeast region has been a stronghold of the extremist group Boko Haram. Over
past months, the Nigerian government has launched several military operations to
eliminate the terrorist threat.
Germany — The U.S. military said it killed two Islamic State fighters Wednesday
in Somalia, where there has been an uptick in airstrikes against the militant
group in the past month.
recent years, nearly all of U.S. Africa Command airstrikes in Somalia have been
directed against al-Shabab, a homegrown terrorist group linked to al-Qaida that
has waged a decadelong battle against country’s weak central government.
ISIS-Somalia, which has been a small but persistent presence over the past
three years, is becoming a more frequent target. AFRICOM has launched five
airstrikes in the past month against the group, which some analysts estimate
has a force strength of about 200.
is targeting ISIS elements in Somalia “to limit and disrupt freedom of movement
in the area and to eliminate leaders of the organization,” the command said.
efforts to locate and eradicate ISIS leaders who control a range of activities
— from operations to financing and communications — is hitting at the heart of
the organization and disrupting their ability to continue their terrorist
activities,” said Rear Adm. Heidi K. Berg, AFRICOM’s director of intelligence,
in a statement Thursday.
most recent airstrike occurred in Somalia’s Golis mountains, AFRICOM said.
month, AFRICOM said it also killed ISIS-Somalia’s second-in-command, Abdulhakim
Dhuqub, in a strike.
military, with the help of “partner forces,” is pushing into territory where
ISIS operates, AFRICOM said.
U.S. military presence in Somalia also has grown as U.S. forces assist local
troops in the battle against Al-Shabab, a group with an estimated 5,000
fighters that has been the main target of U.S. strikes.
number of AFRICOM airstrikes in the country has steadily increased, going from
35 in 2017 to 47 in 2018. So far in 2019, it has conducted more than 30
month, the command acknowledged that it killed two civilians during a 2018
strike in Somalia, which marked the first public acknowledgement that
noncombatants had been killed in the military’s expanded bombing campaign in
earlier, the human rights group Amnesty International had said it found
credible evidence that at least four of five civilian casualty incidents it
investigated in Somalia’s Lower Shabelle were the result of U.S. airstrikes in
recent years, with up to 14 civilians killed and eight wounded.
coast guard rescued 290 migrants clinging to inflatable rafts on Friday in two
operations near the capital Tripoli, a naval forces spokesman said.
western coast of Libya is the main departure point of hundreds of thousands of
migrants fleeing their countries from wars and poverty to reach shores of
coastguard vessel rescued 87 migrants off Qarabuli, a town 50 km eastern
Tripoli, on an inflatable boat, naval forces spokesman Ayoub Qassem told
Reuters. The coast guard is part of Libya’s Navy.
group of 203 migrants was rescued from two inflatable boats off Zlitin, a town
160 km east of the capital, Qassem said.
illegal migrants were found clinging to shabby and broken boats. They were
rescued by patrols of coastguards on two different vessels,” Qassem said.
migrants have been handed-over to anti-illegal migration department after they
were disembarked at two cities of Khomas and Janzur, said Qassem. They are from
different Arab and sub-Saharan countries, including seven women and a child.
Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Thursday met the deputy head of
Sudan’s Transitional Military Council who is visiting the kingdom, Saudi Press
Agency said early on Friday.
meeting between Mohammed bin Salman and General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, who goes
by the nickname Hemedti, was held in the city of Jeddah. According to the SPA,
they discussed cooperation between the two countries and the latest
developments taking place in the region.
was accompanied by the official spokesman of the Sudanese Military Council
General Shamsaddin Kabbashi.
meeting was also attended by both Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign
Affairs Adel al-Jubeir and Minister of State Dr. Musaed bin Mohammed al-Aiban.
Sunday, Saudi Arabia deposited $250 million with the Sudanese central bank,
according to a statement from the Kingdom’s ministry of finance.
move will strengthen Sudan’s “financial position, alleviate pressure on the
Sudanese pound and achieve more stability in the exchange rate,” the statement
loyal to renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar on Friday carried out
airstrikes on several positions, including the parliament building, in capital
Tripoli, where Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) is based.
airstrikes targeted the Rixos building in central Tripoli, which houses the
GNA-affiliated House of Representatives,” a local source told Anadolu Agency.
casualties have yet been reported as a result of the airstrikes.
a subsequent statement, the GNA's Interior Ministry condemned the attack,
saying it should be “added to the long list of war crimes perpetrated by
went on to urge the international community to “shoulder its responsibility for
this aggression against Libya’s capital, which threatens the safety and
security of civilians”.
April 4, Haftar, who is affiliated with a rival government based in eastern
Libya, launched a wide-ranging campaign to capture Tripoli.
several weeks of fighting on Tripoli’s outskirts, however, Haftar's campaign
has thus far failed to achieve its primary objective.
Haftar’s forces remain deployed in several areas around the capital.
has remained beset by turmoil since 2011, when long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi
was ousted and killed in a bloody NATO-backed uprising after four decades in
calls terror groups key obstacle in Taliban talks
The US Department of Defence has highlighted the presence of terrorist groups
in Afghanistan as the key issue that would determine the fate of the ongoing
talks between the United States and the Taliban.
latest report by the Pentagon’s ‘Lead Inspector General for Operation Freedom’s
Sentinel’ reviews the quarter ending March 31 and covers the activities of
terrorist groups in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
focuses “particularly (on) Al Qaeda and ISIS-K,” noting that those two groups
“remain a central focus of the Operation Freedom Sentinel (OFS) mission and has
emerged as one of the key concerns in the ongoing peace negotiations.”
Freedom’s Sentinel (OFS) is the official name used by the US government for the
US-led global war on terrorism.
the peace talks continue, the questions of whether the Taliban can help
influence and deny sanctuary to these groups, and the extent to which an ongoing
US counter-terrorism presence may be required, have become more prominent,”
says the report while highlighting Washington’s concerns in Afghanistan.
and Afghan officials have stated that there are at least 20 terrorist
organisations operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The report includes
estimates of how many fighters these groups have in the region.
report notes that most of these groups do not have global aspirations or reach.
“For example, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, one of the larger groups, focuses on
fighting the Pakistani government,” it adds.
to these estimates: ISIS-K, Haqqani Network and Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan are
the three largest groups in the region. Each has between 3,000 to 5,000
Islamic Emirate High Council is the fourth with 1,000 fighters. Al Qaeda, one
of the strongest terrorist groups in the region before the US invasion has now
been reduced to 300 fighters.
Movement of Uzbekistan and Lashkar-e Tayyiba also have about 300 fighters.
Tariq Gidar Group has 100-300 fighters, Jamaat ul-Ahrar 200, Islamic Turkestan
Movement 100, Islamic Jihad Union 25 and Jamaat Dawa Quran 25.
— The United States on Wednesday called for a new ceasefire in Syria as rival
forces clashed in the country's northwest, where the government is waging an
offensive on the last big stretch of rebel-held territory.
President Bashar al-Assad launched his assault late last month, saying rebels
had breached an existing ceasefire, triggering a civilian exodus by bombarding
Idlib and adjacent areas. The latest clashes mark the biggest escalation since
last summer between Assad and his rebel enemies in Idlib province and a belt of
territory around it.
late on Tuesday said it had seen signs that Assad may be using chemical
weapons, including an alleged chlorine attack, in the latest offensive and
warned that it would respond "quickly and appropriately" if this were
proven. Assad has denied such allegations throughout the war.
we really need in Idlib and throughout the country is a ceasefire," James
Jeffrey, U.S. special representative for Syria engagement and special envoy to
the global coalition to defeat the ISIS militant group, said at a House of
Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee hearing.
conflicts, back and forth exchanges .... just put tremendous pressure on
civilians, they raise the specter of nation-to-nation clash," he said.
"So we're very much engaged in trying to get this stopped and get it back
to the ceasefire we had basically since September."
fighting raged on Wednesday as rebels sought to roll back army advances in the
face of a heavy bombardment, state media, insurgents and a war monitor said.
Weeks of air strikes, shelling and clashes have driven some 180,000 people from
their homes, raising fears of a new humanitarian disaster.
Syrian government says it is responding to attacks by al Qaeda-linked
asked about the use of chemical weapons, Jeffrey said the United States
remained vigilant on any potential such attack but said it did not have
do not at this point have any confirmation that chlorine, which was the
substance that was suggested or alleged, has been used. ... We haven't finished
our review," he said.
foreign ministry said it noted the allegations "with a degree of
alarm" and that they needed to be investigated.
Trump administration has twice bombed Syria over Assad's alleged use of
chemical weapons, in April 2017 and April 2018. In September, a senior U.S.
official said there was evidence showing chemical weapons were being prepared
by Syrian government forces in Idlib.
also said the U.S. was engaging with Russia to help de-escalate the conflict in
Idlib. "Despite the recent tragic offensive there, Moscow has reconfirmed,
at least on paper, their commitment to the ceasefire deal with the Turks,"
region, home to an estimated 3 million people, including many who fled other
parts of Syria as government forces advanced in recent years, has been partly
shielded by a truce agreement since last year, brokered by Russia and Turkey.
However, Russia has voiced increasing frustration with what it calls violations
of the agreement.
President Donald Trump said on Friday he will send about 1,500 American troops
to the Middle East, mostly as a protective measure, amid heightened tensions
want to have protection in the Middle East. We’re going to be sending a
relatively small number of troops, mostly protective,” Trump said as he left
the White House for a trip to Japan.
very talented people are going to the Middle East right now. And we’ll see what
happens,” he said.
Pentagon said only about 900 of the 1,500 troops will be newly deploying and
that 600 are already in the region and will be extended. It said they include
Patriot missile battery personnel, manning for surveillance aircraft and
forces would help strengthen US defenses in the region, two sources told
Reuters earlier on condition of anonymity.
US military deployed a carrier strike group, bombers and Patriot missiles to
the Middle East earlier this month in response to what Washington said were
troubling indications of possible preparations for an attack by Iran.
now, I don't think Iran wants to fight. And I certainly don't think they want
to fight with us,” Trump said.
they cannot have nuclear weapons,” he continued. “They can’t have nuclear weapons. And they
is a prudent response to credible threats from Iran,” said Acting Defense
Secretary Patrick Shanahan.
officials said the 1,500 additional troops were in response to recent incidents
in the region that US intelligence had tied to Iran’s leadership.
have included a rocket attack on the Green Zone in Baghdad, explosive devices
that damaged four tankers in Fujairah at the entrance to the Gulf, and a Houthi
drone attack against a Saudi oil installation.
view this as a campaign,” said Rear Admiral Michael Gilday, director of the
Pentagon's Joint Staff.
stressed that the expanded US military presence in the region, including an
aircraft carrier task force, B-52 bombers, and an amphibious attack vessel
deployed earlier this month, are defensive and meant to address an alleged
ongoing threat from Iran.
think that through a combination of a very measured deployment of assets as
well as public messaging, we are again trying to underscore that we are not
seeking hostilities with Iran.”
between Tehran and Washington has escalated in recent weeks as the United
States tightened sanctions with what it said was the goal of pushing Iran to
make concessions beyond the terms of its 2015 nuclear deal.
warned on Monday that Iran would be met with “great force” if it attacked US
interests in the Middle East.
a US official told Al Arabiya correspondent in Washingtonon Friday that
President Trump agreed to send more troops to the Middle East.
Trump administration at that time had not disclosed a specific number for the
additional troops buildup to be sent to the region, in a move to beef up
defenses against potential Iranian threats.
Thursday, President Trump said that he was willing to consider sending more US
troops to the Middle East to counter Iran, as he prepared to meet Pentagon
officials to discuss it later in the day.
US State Department has purportedly failed to meet a deadline to provide
conclusive information to a congressional committee tasked with investigating
whether an annual arms control report meant to politically demonize Iran and
justify a military action against the Islamic Republic.
on condition of anonymity, sources with knowledge of the matter said on
Thursday that the US State Department officials had missed a May 23 deadline to
brief three congressional committee chairmen regarding the report on “adherence
to and compliance with arms control, nonproliferation and disarmament
agreements and commitments.”
Democratic chairmen of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs, Armed
Services and Intelligence committees had asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
in a May 16 letter to provide a State Department briefing and documents no
later than Thursday.
sources said no such communication had been received and the issue raised
speculations among congressmen that the report had politicized and skewed
assessments against Iran in a bid to lay the groundwork to justify a military
three chairmen told Pompeo in their letter that they were “deeply concerned”
the arms control report may have been produced by political appointees
“disregarding intelligence or distorting its meaning.”
chairmen said the US State Department was legally bound to submit to Congress a
“detailed report” on compliance by the US and other countries with
international arms control accords but this year’s report was only 12 pages
long that contained “no meaningful discussion” and consisted “largely of
hypotheticals or opinion.”
sources told Reuters that the report made them wonder if the administration of
US President Donald Trump was painting Iran in the darkest light possible just
like what the George W. Bush administration did by using bogus and exaggerated
intelligence to justify its 2003 aggression against Iraq.
piling inference upon inference here to try to create a scary picture,” said a
congressional aide, who requested anonymity.
is significant concern that the entire sort of purpose ... was to help build a
case for military intervention in Iran in a way that seems very familiar,” the
official added, referring to the Bush administration’s use of erroneous
intelligence before the Iraqi war.
started to mount between Tehran and Washington in May last year, when Trump
pulled his country out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, officially known as
the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and re-imposed harsh sanctions
against the Islamic Republic in defiance of global criticisms.
tensions saw a sharp rise on the first anniversary of Washington's exit from
the deal as the US moved to ratchet up the pressure on Iran by tightening its
oil sanctions and sending military reinforcements, including an aircraft
carrier strike group, a squadron of B-52 bombers, and a battery of patriot
missiles, to the Middle East.
Trump administration said the deployment of US forces in the Middle East was a
“defensive” move against Iran, claiming it had received reliable evidence from
various sources that showed Tehran was conspiring to attack the US interests
and those of its allies in the region.
authorities have frequently announced that the allegations raised by Washington
regarding Iran's threat to conduct attacks on US interests were based on “fake
deployment of US special forces to the Persian Gulf came following a series of
attacks on oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.
has warned that such sabotage operation may be part of a general ploy to target
Iran amid increasing regional tensions.
senior American politicians have warned that Iran hawks in Trump's team are
cooking up intelligence in order to convince Trump that Iran is indeed a
threat, putting Washington on the same path that led to the ill-fated invasion
of Iraq back in 2003.
has dismissed the possibility of war despite the US military deployment to the
Persian Gulf. The US president has also reportedly ordered his administration
to avoid a military confrontation with Iran.
consortium consisting of retired American admirals, generals, ambassadors and
senior government executives expressed deep concern Friday over the current
escalation with Iran.
war with Iran, either by choice or miscalculation, would produce dramatic
repercussions in an already destabilized Middle East," said the group in a
letter addressed to U.S. President Donald Trump.
by 76 people, the letter was published Friday by the War on the Rocks website.
came hours before Trump's announcement that 1,500 additional U.S. troops will
be sent to the Middle East amid heightened tensions between Tehran and
war would "drag the United States into another armed conflict at immense
financial, human and geopolitical cost", the letter warned.
said lack of direct communication between the two countries' political and
military leaders only increases the possibility of a miscalculation resulting
in unintended military conflict.
signatories urged Trump to immediately reduce the dangerous levels of regional
de-escalation measures should be established with the Iranian leadership at the
senior levels of government as a prelude to exploratory diplomacy on matters of
mutual concern," they wrote.
this month, the U.S. sent a carrier strike group and bomber task force to the
Middle East, citing a "credible threat" from Tehran.
(CNN)The US targeted ISIS fighters in Somalia for the fifth time since
mid-April, killing two terrorists in an airstrike Wednesday, US Africa Command
said in a statement.
efforts to locate and eradicate ISIS leaders who control a range of activities
-- from operations to financing and communications -- is hitting at the heart
of the organization and disrupting their ability to continue their terrorist
activities," Rear Adm. Heidi Berg, the director of intelligence of US
Africa Command, said in a statement Thursday.
recent series of strikes against ISIS-Somalia have taken place in the Golis
Mountains, located in the northern part of the country.
Africa Command said in April that a strike in the same area killed the
organization's second in command.
wants tribunal to try some Islamic State members
Edith M. Lederer
NATIONS — The Netherlands called Thursday for the establishment of a tribunal
to prosecute members of the Islamic State extremist group responsible for “mass
Foreign Minister Stef Blok made the proposal at a U.N. Security Council meeting
on the protection of civilians in conflict, saying there must be accountability
and an end to impunity for violations of international human rights and
said Islamic State fighters responsible for mass atrocities should be
prosecuted, preferably in the region, and if feasible by “an ad hoc or hybrid
international criminal tribunal.”
am fully aware of the complex obstacles on our road towards this goal,” Blok
said. “But we have to keep in mind: Justice is a prerequisite of lasting peace
said the Netherlands will organize a ministerial meeting on the prosecution of
fighters from IS, which is also known as ISIL, on the sidelines of the annual
gathering of world leaders at the General Assembly in September.
invite Security Council members and others to join us on this road towards
justice,” Blok said.
Islamic State group’s self-declared “caliphate” that once spanned a third of
both Iraq and Syria has been defeated on the battleground but its fighters are
now staging insurgent attacks.
atrocities its fighters and supporters committed have left deep scars.
Thousands of members of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, mainly women and girls, were
raped and enslaved, while men were killed. Suspected homosexuals were pushed
off roofs to their deaths. Captured Americans and other Westerners were
beheaded, and an unknown number of suspected opponents were killed.
Security Council resolution backed by more than 60 countries to refer the
Syrian conflict to the International Criminal Court was vetoed by both Russia
and China in May 2014. A new attempt at the council to refer Syria to the ICC
would almost certainly face a similar fate.
General Assembly established an independent panel in December 2016 to assist in
the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for war crimes or crimes
against humanity in Syria.
September 2017, the Security Council voted unanimously to ask the U.N. to
establish an investigative team to help Iraq preserve evidence “that may amount
to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide” committed by Islamic State
March, the Iraqi government, with U.N. support, started exhuming a mass grave
left behind by IS in the northwestern Sinjar region in the presence of Nobel
Peace Prize laureate Nadia Murad, whose slain Yazidi relatives are believed to
have been buried in the area. Murad said it marked the first exhumation of a
mass grave containing the remains of Yazidis.
U.N. investigative team said in a report circulated Thursday that to date the
excavation of 12 grave sites has been completed and investigators have started
collecting “testimonial evidence.”
the report to the Security Council, the team said investigators plan to focus
on three initial areas: IS attacks against the Yazidis in Sinjar in August
2014; IS crimes in Mosul between 2014 and 2016 “including the execution of
religious minorities, crimes involving sexual and gender-based violence and
crimes against children”; and the mass killing of unarmed Iraqi air force
cadets from Tikrit Air Academny in June 2014.
report said survivors come from all communities in Iraq “and their message has
been consistent and clear: ISIL must be held accountable for its crimes.”
call for accountability is not one of retribution, but one of justice,” the
report said. “Those who have spoken to the investigative team wish for the
crimes of ISIL to be exposed, openly and objectively, so that the world can see
the true nature of those acts and so that we can, together, honor the victims.”
parliament speaker will visit North Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina
between May 25-27, according to a statement from the speaker's press office.
Sentop will meet with President of North Macedonia Stevo Pendarovski on
Saturday, the statement said.
will also visit International Balkan University in Skopje and participate in an
iftar, fast breaking dinner.
on Friday urged a peaceful solution to tensions between U.S. and Iran ahead of
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Berlin next week.
at a news conference in Berlin, deputy government spokeswoman Martina Fietz
said recent tensions with Iran over its nuclear program and role in the region
would be among the topics of Merkel-Pompeo meeting on May 31.
you know the Federal Government believes that all the issues regarding Iran can
only be solved in a peaceful way, through talks and agreements. And of course
the Chancellor would express this position during her meeting with Mr. Pompeo,”
this month, Pompeo had cancelled a long-planned visit to Berlin at short notice
and travelled to Baghdad, amid reports in the U.S. media that claimed Iran or
affiliated groups ware preparing to attack American troops in Iraq.
weeks have seen steadily mounting tensions between Tehran and the Washington.
Sunday, following a rocket attack near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, President
Donald Trump told Iran not to threaten the U.S., saying it will be Tehran's
week, the U.S. deployed a carrier strike group to the Persian Gulf, citing
“intelligence” of an imminent Iranian attack on U.S. interests in the region.
responded to the escalation by threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, a
main artery for global oil shipments linking the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of
Oman and Arabian Sea.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran with new
sanctions, EU heavyweights -- Germany, France and the U.K. -- continue to back the
2015 nuclear deal with Tehran.
membership in the European Union would contribute greatly to both sides, the
U.K.'s ambassador to Ankara said Friday.
accession process and the membership process are stalled at the moment. It's
not going anywhere, and for now, it's hard to be optimistic," said Dominick
Chilcott in an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency.
evaluating Ankara's decades-long negotiations with the 28-member bloc, Chilcott
said conditions could quickly change at any time.
stressed that the current lack of progress had nothing to do with Turkey's
culture, size or geographical position.
principle, there is no reason why Turkey should not become a member state. It
would be a very successful state of the EU, make a big contribution and benefit
hugely from EU membership," he said.
pointed out that Turkey was an indispensable and powerful ally of the EU but
emphasized that both sides needed to make certain changes for the current
partnerships to continue.
3.6 million Syrian refugees and half a million refugees from other countries,
Turkey carries a huge burden," said Chilcott.
in the international community should be grateful for all the efforts Turkey
makes," he said.
underlined that the EU's current contributions were only a "small part of
the cost Turkey already bears".
for the politicians to discuss among themselves what the right amount is. It
was the amount agreed between President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan's government and
the European Union," Chilcott said.
am sure more help would be much appreciated here in Turkey," Chilcott
2016, Turkey and the EU signed a deal aiming to stem the flow of irregular
migrants through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human
traffickers and improve conditions for nearly 3 million Syrian refugees in
deal also allows for the acceleration of Turkey’s EU membership bid and
visa-free travel for Turkish nationals within the Schengen Area on the
condition that Ankara meets all 72 requirements set by the EU.
has long complained of the EU being slow to deliver the promised funds for
refugees and failing to uphold its end of the deal concerning visa-free travel.
Hamit in Ankara contributed to the story
in Afghan mosque kills senior cleric during Friday prayers
A bomb exploded in a mosque in the Afghan capital, Kabul, during Friday
prayers, officials said, killing three people including a senior preacher and
wounding at least 20 men who had gathered for worship.
preacher, Samiullah Raihan, was a supporter of the Western-backed Afghan
government which Taliban militants are trying to bring down. He was also a
member of the National Ulema Council, Afghanistan’s top Muslim clerical body.
Faramarz, a police spokesman, said explosives were apparently placed near the
altar of the Al-Taqwa mosque, a place used by the mosque leader to initiate the
neighborhood where the bombing took place is dominated by Sunni Muslims. No
group has claimed responsibility for the attack but the Taliban and Daesh
fighters regularly stage attacks in the capital.
explosion hit at a time when dozens of men had gathered for prayers. The death
toll could rise, said a second official.
Myanmar must “show results” to convince Rohingya refugees to return, the UN’s
High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said Friday at the end of his
first visit to Myanmar since the crackdown against Rohingya Muslims in 2017.
brutal military campaign in western Rakhine state forced some 740,000 Rohingya
over the border into Bangladesh.
one million Rohingya now languish in sprawling refugee camps from various waves
UN fact-finding mission called for Myanmar’s top generals to be prosecuted for
“genocide” and the International Criminal Court (ICC) has started preliminary
his visit Grandi spoke with both Rohingya and ethnic Rakhine Buddhist
communities in Maungdaw and Buthidaung in northern Rakhine, the epicenter of
also held discussions with officials in capital Naypyidaw, including civilian
leader Aung San Suu Kyi, describing all talks as “constructive.”
message is: ‘please accelerate’, because it has been very slow in the
implementation in this first year. We need to show results,” he told AFP in an
interview in Yangon.
is not enough to convince people to come back,” he said.
visited the camps in Bangladesh in April.
two countries have signed a repatriation agreement but so far virtually no
refugees have returned, fearing for their safety and unconvinced they will be
pejoratively labels the Rohingya as “Bengali,” implying they are illegal
interlopers and the community has had its rights eroded over decades.
independent access to northern Rakhine is difficult with most journalists,
observers and diplomats only allowed on brief chaperoned visits.
defended the UNHCR’s involvement in a plan by the Bangladeshi government to
move some 100,000 refugees onto low-lying island Bhashan Char.
area in the Bay of Bengal is prone to flooding and cyclones.
groups oppose the scheme that has also so far been universally rejected by the
refugee agency must be “involved” to have the necessary information in order to
take a stance on the issue, Grandi said.
still at that stage, no more than that.”
also visited camps near Rakhine’s capital Sittwe, where nearly 130,000 Rohingya
have been confined since a previous bout of violence in 2012.
has announced it will close the camps but many are skeptical the displaced will
enjoy more freedoms.
said the UNHCR would reconsider its role in providing services if conditions
did not substantially improve.
helping hand for Bangladesh's poor
man Eunus Ali, 70, collects fast-breaking food items during Ramadan from a
Buddhist temple at Kamalapur in Bangladeshi capital Dhaka on May 21. (Photo by
Stephan Uttom/ucanews.com)Forty-year-old wheelchair-bound Muslim street beggar
Rahima Begum spends much of her time around the strikingly modern Kamalapur
central railway station in the southern part of Bangladeshi capital
Dhaka.Ten-year-old Jharna accompanies her mother as she pleads for alms, often
until late at night.But during the Islamic holy fasting month of Ramadan,
Rahima finishes begging early then lines up with hundreds of other poor people
at the gate of the Dharmarajik Buddhist Temple and Monastery in Kamalapur.The
Organization for Promotion of Buddhist Culture in Bangladesh has for two
decades been administering the provision by monks of 'iftar' fast-breaking
evening meals to poor Muslims during Ramadan."Buddhists are great people
with love for poor people like us," Rahima told ucanews.com before
collecting two iftar food boxes from the monks on the evening of May 21."I
think rich Muslims should follow their example to support people who cannot
afford a good iftar meal."Eunus Ali, 70, moved to Dhaka some 20 years ago
and comes to the Buddhist temple every year. He lives in a slum with his wife,
a daughter and a grandchild, but his four married sons live separately and
don't look after their parents."We are poor people, so I come here to
collect iftar for my family," he said."Some conservative Muslims are
uneasy about taking food from non-Muslims, but I don't see that as a problem
because Allah blesses all food."The presence of a large number of poor
people in the area sparked the idea of offering iftar fast-breaking meals, said
Dr. Pranab Kumar Barua, who is the president of the Organization for the
Promotion of Buddhist Culture's advisory council.He described this as "an
expression of our love" for the needy that fosters unity and
harmony.Popular Islamic shrinesIn northern Dhaka, Uttara Friends' Club has been
providing iftar meals to hundreds of rickshaw pullers and poor street people
every day during the current Ramadan period.In northwestern Sylhet city, two
popular Islamic shrines dedicated to prominent Islamic preachers, Hazarat Shah
Jalal and Hazarat Shah, have been offering iftar to some 500 poor Muslims daily
during this year's holy month.Meanwhile, the marriage of Hindu couple Purnima
Karmakar and Bimol Das on May 19 was possible because a Muslim businessman
funded most of the expenses from his Zakat religious tax money, said Poly Saha,
a local college teacher."This is a great example of interfaith harmony in
the country," she said.Purnima's father passed away four years ago from
cancer and her mother has been working as a housemaid ever since to support the
family.Zakat is an obligatory religious tax and one of the five pillars of
Islam. The money collected from Zakat is to be distributed to people living in
poverty ahead of the Eid festival marking the end of Ramadan.This is a time for
expression of fraternity and solidarity, noted Bishop Bejoy N. D'Cruze of
Sylhet, who is the chairman of Catholic Bishops' Commission for Christian Unity
and Inter-religious Dialogue. Ramadan evokes good religious sentiments among
Muslims, especially fraternal love for each other and for the poor," he
told ucanews.com. "They believe expressing fraternal love and solidarity
with others makes them worthy for Allah's blessings."Bishop D'Cruze also
pointed out that individual Muslims, as well as Islamic organizations, arrange
interfaith iftar programsAnd members of other faiths also helped each other
during religious festivals and holidays, the prelate added.Maolana Fariduddin
Masoud, from the Bangladesh Jamiatul Ulama (Council of Clerics) told
ucanews.com that in Bangladesh it is believed that while religion is personal,
festivals are for all.People were overwhelmingly proud of the nation's rich
heritage of pluralism and harmony, he added. "Our first identity is we are
human beings and then we are adherents of religious faiths," Masoud said.
"It's really good to see that when people are in need, others lend
support. This is what all religions teach and this is how we can forget our
differences and we can drive away hatred and violence from the
world."Bishop D'Cruze believes Bangladesh has in recent years been
overcoming religious extremism.Government efforts and public opposition meant
militancy had been largely neutralized, but tensions remained."Recent
terrorist attacks in New Zealand and Sri Lanka frighten us, but we still hope
we can live freely in harmony," Bishop D'Cruze said.The Vatican, in a
Ramadan message, called for the promotion of religious fraternity to foster
has opted for barbed wire-fencing around refugee camps amid a dramatic rise in
the trafficking of Rohingya.
Abdul Kalam, chairman of Bangladesh’s Refugee Relief and Repatriation
Commission (RRRC), told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday that the move was decided
on back in 2017 but was not implemented as it had not reached a crisis level
fence “would not only prevent Rohingya from being trafficked but could help
control their tendency of leaving the camp area”, Kalam said.
huge refugee community [of Rohingya] is residing there in Cox’s Bazar. The
entire region [of neighboring countries] would be put in danger if the Rohingya
issue is not given due importance.”
leave the camps out of frustration due to a lack of jobs and other basic
facilities, he said.
is responsible for resolving the issue and the international community should
pressure its government to repatriate their people, he added.
Bangladeshi government officials have observed the need for fencing around
Rohingya camps in order to prevent Rohingya from leaving the camp area and to
halt human trafficking, according to local daily The Financial Express.
have plans to erect barbed wire fencing around the camps in Cox's Bazar to
prevent criminal activities," the daily quoted Home Minister Asaduzzaman
Khan Kamal as saying.
every day, we prevent Rohingya from being trafficked to Malaysia through the
Bay of Bengal. There is no boundary around the refugee camps. If there was,
such incidents could be reduced,” a police official in Cox’s Bazar who declined
to be named told Anadolu Agency
the government proposed allocating 31.9 million Bangladeshi Taka (around
$378,141) for erecting barbed wire fencing around the 11 Rohingya camps of
proposal has been sent to the Finance Ministry for approval.
San Lwin, campaign coordinator of rights group Free Rohingya Coalition, told
Anadolu Agency on Thursday that wire-fencing will not solve problems that
plague the camps.
is need] to educate the refugees not to fall [into] the trap of criminals and
important is to destroy the main group behind the traffickers who are engaging
in the camps.
up wire-fence will be like putting Rohingya into concentration camps. I have
visited Nazi concentration camps. I don't want my fellow Rohingyas take refuge
in the same concentration camps."
Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced
heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in
to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and
children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces
launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.
Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s
state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development
than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others
were beaten, said the report, titled "Forced Migration of Rohingya: The
18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and
over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it
UN has also documented mass gang rapes, killings – including of infants and
young children – and brutal beatings and disappearances committed by Myanmar
explosion ripped through a mosque in Kabul city earlier this afternoon killing
one person and injuring at least 16 others.
spokesman for the Ministry of Interior Nasrat Rahimi said the incident took
place at around 1:20pm local time in Isteghfar Mosque.
further added that the explosion killed a religious cleric Mawlavi Rehan and
injured at least 16 others.
Malaysian militants tested bombs in Kedah
JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The authorities are continuing the search
for the stash of two militant expert bomb makers arrested in Kedah recently,
who had managed to conduct tests on their home-made explosives.
sources told The Star that Malaysians Muhammad Syazani Mahzan and Muhamad
Nuurul Amin Azizan managed to produce the explosives, believed to be Triacetone
triperoxide (TATP), and even tested this near their homes in Kuala Muda, a town
located in the northern Malaysian state.
have strong indications that the duo have managed to test their weapons. It is
fortunate that the militants were caught before they could use the explosives
on their targets," a source said.
authorities also believe that the two suspects had hidden various materials and
chemicals to make bombs, including TATP.
by mixing acetone and hydrogen peroxide, TATP is a high-impact explosive that
can be easily manufactured with readily accessible reagents and is extremely
difficult to detect.
can destroy and kill anything or anyone within a 25m to 50m radius," a
source said. "TATP is usually fitted into a pipe bomb, which can be
detonated remotely via a safety fuse. It is commonly used by terrorists in
Thailand and Indonesia."
most recent example of the use of TATP was the coordinated suicide bombings by
a single family on three churches in Surabaya, Indonesia, in May last year.
family of six, including a nine-year-old girl, killed at least 13 people. A
police station was also targeted during the bombings.
of Police Abdul Hamid Bador said that both Muhammad Syazani and Muhamad Nuurul
Amin had gone for bomb-making training in Yogyakarta in 2018 conducted by the
Jemaah Ansharut Daulah Indonesia terror group.
suspects also cased a few churches in Yogyakarta for potential targets.
Muhammad Syazani also planned to target a non-Muslim house of worship in
Malaysia via a suicide bomb attack," Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid said.
militants were among three men detained in an anti-terror swoop in Kedah and
Selangor on May 14 by the Counter Terrorism Division (E8). The third man is
Indonesian Nuruddin Alele, alias Fatin Tir.
Indonesian suspect was planning to flee the country once his terror plans were
successful. He was planning to head to Indonesia via illegal jetties around
Banting," a source said.
to the sources, only the Indonesian militant belonged to a wolf pack while the
Malaysians had links but belonged to another cell.
was reported last Monday that four members of an Islamic State in Iraq and
Syria (ISIS) wolf pack cell were detained in Kuala Lumpur and the Klang Valley.
were planning to assassinate four VIPs and target non-Muslim houses of worship
in the Klang Valley as well as entertainment outlets.
improvised explosive devices were also seized during the raids along with a CZ
9mm pistol and 15 bullets.
February 2013, a total of 488 militants have been detained, while the E8
thwarted 25 terror plots in the country.
LUMPUR, May 24 — There is no need to politicise or to envy the scholarships
that will be offered by local universities to students from Palestine, DAP’s
Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang’s aide today told an MCA leader.
political secretary Syahredzan Johan pointed out that the newly-announced
RM11.48 million worth of scholarships will not involve government funds and was
not the first time that such education assistance is being offered to
practice of offering scholarships to international students is not something
extraordinary, apart from scholarships offered to Malaysians only.
urge Tan Chee Hiong to first study the amount of scholarships that have been
offered by the private sector to Malaysians in comparison to foreign students
before issuing a statement,” Syahredzan said in a statement today in response
to the MCA deputy youth chief.
also said Palestinians are known to be among the most oppressed people in the
scholarships that are being offered gives an opportunity for those who qualify
to receive education in Malaysia, a country that is peaceful if compared
against Palestine. So, there is nothing to be jealous of with these
scholarships,” he added.
Tan had in a statement questioned the scholarships to the Palestinian students,
suggesting that the current government has more than enough funds to do so
despite the latter’s assertion of a high national debt.
had said Malaysians are compassionate and would not object aid to other
countries for diplomacy and humanitarian purposes, but said Malaysians should
be prioritised when it comes to care given out.
Syahredzan corrected Tan by pointing to the Higher Education Department’s
clarification that the scholarships were contributions from private
universities and are not government-funded.
MCA deputy youth chief’s statement is nothing more than an attempt to
politicise this issue,” Syahredzan claimed, adding that the noble efforts by
these universities should be celebrated instead of being disputed.
said that this would be in line with Malaysia’s position of standing firmly in
support of Palestine’s continued criticism of the “Zionist” regime’s alleged
cruel acts on Palestinians.
Wednesday, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad reportedly announced that
RM11.48 million worth of scholarships will be offered via the Palestinian
Cultural Organisation Malaysia (PCOM) for Palestinian students to pursue
bachelor, masters and PhD courses in 12 universities in Malaysia.
Mahathir’s announcement initially drew flak from the public where access to
tertiary education has re-emerged recently as a touchy topic, but several
Pakatan Harapan leaders have since clarified that the scholarship did not come
out of Putrajaya’s coffers.
Higher Education Department director-general Datin Paduka Siti Hamisah Tapsir
said a total of 140 Palestinians will be eligible to pursue their studies in
Malaysia under the RM11.48 million worth of scholarships to be funded entirely
by the 12 universities.
12 universities comprise of public university Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM)
with a RM128,000 contribution, and 11 private universities based in Malaysia.
other universities are Albukhary International University (RM3.5 million),
Management and Science University (RM1.1 million), Mahsa University (RM1.094
million), Kolej Universiti Islam Perlis (RM1.02 million), City University (RM1
million), Multimedia University (RM1 million), UCSI University (RM719,433),
Universiti Teknologi Petronas (RM681,500), Universiti Tenaga Nasional
(RM575,000), Sunway University (RM500,000) and Universiti Kuala Lumpur
opposition candidate lodged an appeal Friday over claims that he lost the
presidential election due to widespread cheating, allegations that spawned
deadly rioting in the capital Jakarta.
least eight people were killed and hundreds were injured in two nights of
street battles between police and protesters opposed to Joko Widodo being
re-elected leader of the world’s largest Muslim-majority country.
level of violence in the capital had not been seen in years.
rival Prabowo Subianto, a retired general with strong ties to the Suharto
dictatorship that collapsed in 1998, has claimed that the April 17 poll was a
Friday, his legal team filed a formal challenge to the results at Indonesia’s
Constitutional Court, according to an AFP reporter at the scene.
court is expected to issue a ruling by the end of June.
officials and analysts have discounted Subianto’s rampant cheating claims, and
he lost a similar court battle in 2014 when Widodo defeated him.
results this week showed Widodo won the election, setting off peaceful demonstrations
by Subianto supporters.
as thousands flowed into central Jakarta on Tuesday and Wednesday evening, some
protesters hurled stones, fireworks and Molotov cocktails at police lined up
behind a razor wire barricades near the election supervisory agency building.
fired water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets at crowds, as dozens of cars
Thursday the chaos had subsided, but parts of the city’s downtown core remained
blocked off and heavily guarded by tens of thousands of military and police.
the rioting, more than 400 demonstrators have been arrested, according to
police, who blamed the violence on “provocateurs” they claimed mixed with the
crowd to stir up trouble.
have offered few details on how the demonstrators died or who was responsible,
though earlier said some had gunshot and blunt force wounds.
denied firing live rounds into the crowd.
northeast Syria, an overcrowded detention camp is home to more than 73,000
people who lived in the former ISIS caliphate. Almost three-quarters of the
al-Hol camp residents are children — born to Syrian, Iraqi and other foreign
parents who flocked to the ISIS caliphate over the five years it ruled
recent visits to the camp, NPR was told of babies dying from malnutrition and
disease, and found women collapsed by the side of the road.
woman moaning in pain sits on the pavement, too weak to pull herself up to a
metal bench after undergoing kidney surgery at a hospital outside the camp
earlier that day. There's no transportation to take her to her tent.
an Iraqi mother holds a baby with a skull fracture from a fall. "I wanted
a scan to make sure she is all right, but they won't send me for one," she
a road in the camp, a woman dressed in an enveloping black niqab has collapsed.
A group of women flags down a passing van, then gathers around and lifts her
into the back seat.
mid-April, 200 children had either died on their way to the camp from the last
ISIS stronghold of Baghouz, or shortly after arriving. Many died of
malnutrition or hypothermia, and with shortages of medical facilities and
infant formula for mothers who can't nurse, children's health in the camp
say some international aid agencies are reluctant to provide assistance to
people with a perceived ISIS affiliation.
shortage of everything"
are continuously dealing with cases of malnutrition," says Massoud Ramo of
the Kurdish Red Crescent, a regional aid organization that is one of the few
openly operating in the camp.
a clinic director, says over the most recent week, six children under age 5
died from various causes. Fourteen children were sick enough to be transferred
to a hospital an hour away.
biggest problem is transporting the patients," says Ramo. "There are
waves of people coming and not enough ambulances or emergency room staff."
the clinic's makeshift emergency room, one of a handful in the desolate camp,
Dr. Sino Antar explains to an Iraqi couple how to treat their baby for
diarrhea. Then he turns to an infant with breathing problems.
is always a shortage of everything. There's a lack of supplies and the numbers
of patients are huge," he says.
day, more than 100 children are brought to the clinic. A ceiling fan hanging
from the corrugated metal roof moves air around the small room, packed with
people. Women sit on the floor, waiting for their children to be seen.
May, it's already 90 degrees, just the start of a season with much higher
temperatures. The heat, along with inadequate water and sanitation, has raised
fears of typhoid and other diseases sweeping the camp.
tell anyone you saw us here"
years ago, ISIS took over large parts of Iraq and Syria, declaring an Islamic
caliphate that drew foreigners from all over the world to fight and live in it.
The territorial caliphate was defeated in March, with a final battle in
fighters and their families were taken into custody by Kurdish-Syrian forces.
The men ended up in jail; the woman and children put in the back of trucks to
be taken to camps like al-Hol, where they are detained and waiting for their
governments to decide what to do with them. Some 30,000 of the camp residents
and Kurdish-Syrian officials have met to come up with a plan for repatriating
them, but fewer than 5,000 have agreed to go. Kurdish Syrian officials say they
won't send back anyone to Iraq against their will.
in a camp of this size, there would be plenty of international aid
organizations eager to talk about the help they're providing. Here, even though
most of the camp residents are children, there's been little help from the rest
of the world.
international aid organizations that work in al-Hol prefer to remain under the
radar, operating in the camp under a United Nations agreement along with U.N.
agencies such as UNICEF and the World Health Organization — but without the
direct approval of the Syrian government.
tell anyone you saw us here," a representative of one major aid group
of the few major international groups operating in the camp, Doctors Without
Borders, says residents of the foreigners' section in particular are not
receiving proper medical care. More than 11,000 foreign women and children, believed
to be mostly from North Africa and Europe, stay in a separate, heavily guarded
section of the camp, known as the annex. Without a fixed clinic and without
freedom of movement, some women are giving birth in their tents, the aid group
the foreigners' annex, NPR saw dozens of women crowded around a steel gate
leading to the larger camp, asking to be allowed out to the market and other
services. Most were refused. Camp authorities said there was a shortage of
guards to accompany the women.
guards now tasked with protecting the women are from the same Kurdish forces
that fought ISIS in Syria. Kurdish-Syrian officials say more than 11,000 of
their fighters were killed fighting the militant group.
NPR's visit to the annex, a Chechen woman emerged from a tent to ask for help
for her son, who she said was injured and desperately needed an operation. NPR
was not allowed by guards to speak with her at length.
a clear distinction made between people in the third-country national annex and
people in the rest of the camp," Will Turner, program manager for Doctors
Without Borders, told NPR by phone from Amsterdam, referring to non-Iraqi
Without Borders operates a mobile clinic in the foreigners' annex, but only
recently has been given approval by camp authorities to open a fixed clinic.
initially did have a separate clinic for some weeks that was closed [by camp
management] due to security concerns," Turner says.
women in the annex reported being threatened by more militant Russian and North
African wives of ISIS fighters, who they said were trying to enforce ISIS rules
within the camp.
said the guards conducted almost nightly raids on some sections of the camp,
searching for phones and other contraband items, and shot in the air to scare
children throwing rocks.
camps are in Rojava, the Kurdish region of northeast Syria that broke away from
Syrian government control, adding another level of complication for
organizations operating there. The region's administration is not recognized by
most foreign governments.
says a wider problem is that some international donors have been reluctant to
fund camp operations in general.
been reported to us that donors are particularly having difficulty in
supporting populations coming from ISIS-controlled areas," he says.
Kurdish official in charge of camps says some Western aid organizations also
tell her they can't fund projects because some of the families were connected
excuse is that these are 'terrorist families' and they say, as humanitarian
NGOs, they don't support terrorists," says Magda Amin, a director for the
Kurdish-Syrian regional government.
groups specifically named by Amin denied making those comments.
Western aid officials — who did not want to be identified to maintain their
relationship with Syrian-Kurdish authorities — said those authorities were
preventing aid organizations from scaling up their operations, particularly in
the foreigners' section. Some said authorities had cited fears for the safety
of aid workers.
there are concerns from international aid officials that more children are
dying than are being counted.
stories that people tell you make us very concerned that there are greater
numbers of children, particularly, dying in the tents, than we actually really
have an idea of," says Turner.
attack was carried out by Qasef-2K drones and was successful as it hit the
Saudi regime's Patriot missile system inside Najran airport in Southern Saudi
Arabia on Thursday.
was the third strike by Ansarullah Movement in a week, the first one was three
days ago when the Najran base's ammunition depot was hit on Tuesday and the
Saudi fighter jets were hit in their hangar in Najran base on Wednesday.
resistance group has stepped up missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia's
targets over the past ten days in a resurgence of tactics that had largely
subsided since late last year amid United Nations-led peace efforts.
Ansarullah movement has warned that its recent attack on a major Saudi oil
facility was the start of operations against 300 vital targets in Saudi Arabia
and the UAE.
Ansarullah said on Sunday its drone attack on pumping stations of the Saudi
state oil company Aramco was the start of operations against 300 vital targets.
group added that other planned targets include military headquarters and
facilities in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating campaign
against Yemen in March 2015, with the aim of bringing the government of former
Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing the
Riyadh's claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters,
Saudi bombers are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.
Weddings, funerals, schools and hospitals, as well as water and electricity
plants, have been targeted, killing and wounding hundreds of thousands.
to a December 2018 report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project
(ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, the Saudi-led war has
claimed the lives of over 60,000 Yemenis since January 2016.
the Children, a charity, has reported that more than 84,700 children under the
age of five may have starved to death in Yemen since the Saudi regime and a
coalition of its allies launched the brutal war on the already-impoverished
the United States, the United Kingdom and some other Western countries have
faced criticisms over arms sales to the Saudi Arabia and the UAE, whose
aggression against Yemen has affected 28 million people and caused what the
United Nations calls “one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world".
According to the world body, Yemen is suffering from the most severe famine in
more than 100 years.
Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper reported that the Syrian Army's helicopters
have been dropping communiques over villages in the surrounding areas of Idlib
asking people to evacuate those regions before the Army kicks off its massive
the Syrian Army's artillery and missile units heavily pounded military
positions and movements of Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay'at (the Levant Liberation
Board or the Al-Nusra Front) and other terrorist groups in the towns of
al-Hobait and Kafr Naboudeh in Northwestern Hama, destroying several of their
military vehicles and hardware as well as killing and wounding a large number
of the militants.
Tuesday, the Syrian Army foiled attacks by Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay'at aimed at
retaking control of their already lost areas in Northwestern Hama and Southern
Syrian Army engaged in fierce clashes with Tahrir al-Sham terrorists who had
attacked the government forces' military positions in al-Hamimiat and al-Jabin
large number of invading terrorists were killed and wounded in clashes with the
Syrian Army and others retreated.
Syrian Army's artillery units, meantime, targeted the terrorists' military
positions in Kafr Zita, al-Bavizeh, al-Latamaneh, al-Arbaeen, al-Zuka and
al-Hobait, killing and injuring several of them.
of supporters of populist Iraqi Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr urged
political and factional leaders on Friday to stay out of any conflict between
Iran and the United States.
from the movement of Moqtada al-Sadr, who once led Shiite militiamen against US
forces and is also vocally critical of Iranian influence in Iraq, chanted “no
to war” and “yes to Iraq” in central Baghdad and the southern city of Basra.
worry that their country will be caught up in any escalation of US-Iranian
tensions, which spiked earlier this month when President Donald Trump’s
administration said it had sent additional forces to the Middle East to counter
alleged threats including from Iranian-backed militias in Iraq.
and Shiite paramilitary leaders have called for calm and the Iraqi government
has tried to position itself as a mediator between the two sides.
just recovered from Islamic State. Iraq must not be used as a base to try to
harm any country. America doesn’t want Iraq to be stable,” said protester Abu
was speculation that al-Sadr, whose political bloc came first in Iraq’s parliamentary
election last year, would speak to demonstrators in Baghdad but he did not
campaigned last year on a platform of Iraqi nationalism, opposed to both US and
Iranian influence in the country.
rising US-Iran tension, a rocket was fired last week into Baghdad’s fortified
Green Zone, which houses government buildings and diplomatic missions, but
caused no casualties. No group claimed responsibility; US officials say they
strongly suspect Iran’s local allies.
attack came after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Iraqi leaders that if
they failed to keep in check powerful Iran-backed militias, Washington would
respond with force.
intelligence had showed militias positioning rockets near bases housing US
forces, according to Iraqi security sources.
pulling out of Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, Trump restored US
sanctions on Iran last year and tightened them this month, ordering all
countries to halt imports of Iranian oil or face sanctions themselves.
has said it will send delegations to Washington and Tehran to help calm
Syrian army has warned civilians to leave the country’s northwestern Idlib
province as it prepares for a final military campaign to flush terrorists out
of the region.
were distributed from Syrian helicopters urging residents to leave the entire
province in order to protect their lives, the Syrian al-Watan newspaper
reported on Thursday.
impending operation comes amid an escalation in clashes in the province after
the Syrian army launched an offensive to counter numerous terrorist violations
of an earlier de-escalation agreement.
the agreement, which was signed between Russia and Turkey last year, Takfiri
groups had to withdraw from areas bordering government-controlled areas in the
Turkey’s pledge to implement the deal, the Takfiri groups have never complied
with the agreement and have periodically launched attacks against Syrian troops
from the buffer zone.
steps up support for terrorists
has set up patrols and bases in the province on the pretext of monitoring the
sources speaking to the al-Watan newspaper said the observation bases have
effectively turned into command-and-control centers for the terrorists,
providing them with arms and information on Syrian military deployments.
sources made specific references to Turkey's monitoring base in Shir al-Maghar,
saying it had actively helped terrorist groups regain control of the
previously-liberated town of Kafr Nabuda south of Idlib on Wednesday.
reports said Turkey had provided the terrorists with military and supply
vehicles along with anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) which were widely used in
forces later published images of destroyed vehicles used by the terrorists,
which appeared to be Turkish-made “Panthera F9” armored personnel carriers
has witnessed increased hostile drone attacks, notably targeting the strategic
Hmeimim airbase in the northeastern Latakia province and various vital
installations in the west-central Hama province.
had previously warned that advanced technologies on unmanned aerial vehicles
(UAVs) acquired by terrorists required “professional knowledge and experience”
in operating drones.
UK, France again raise chemical attack fears
the Syrian campaign to liberate Idlib going into high gear, Paris expressed
concern over a possible “humanitarian catastrophe”, warning against any Syrian
and London have also sought to intimidate Damascus, threatening to “respond
appropriately” if recent allegations of chemical weapons use are confirmed.
threats came after mysterious reports of four members of the al-Qaeda-linked
Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) terrorist group having been admitted to hospital
from “respiratory failure” emerged.
US and its allies, which have greatly supported different terrorist groups in
Syria, have periodically used dubious claims of government chemical attacks to
pressure or even launch strikes against Damascus.
The fight against terrorism remains a global priority, Saudi Arabia said on
Thursday, as the Kingdom emphasized the need for the international community to
work together to eradicate the threat it poses.
comments were included in a speech delivered by the Saudi delegation at the
28th session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in
Geneva. Led by Interior Ministry adviser Abdullah Al-Ansari, the delegates
presented a review of the Kingdom’s efforts in the realms of crime prevention
and criminal justice. They highlighted the fact that no effort is being spared
in the fight against terrorism, which is a high priority for the nation.
Saudis also stressed the need for continued international cooperation to defeat
terrorism, and said that the Kingdom has ratified most of the international
measured designed to combat the threat. The country has also implemented a
number of anti-terror measures, including: the establishment of a Presidency of
State Security to address security challenges, in particular those posed by terrorism
and its financing; the founding of a National Cybersecurity Authority to
address cyber threats; and the amendment of counterterrorism laws.
commission heard that the Kingdom’s security services had uncovered and
disrupted active terrorist cells across the country. In addition, a number of
initiatives have been developed to address the problem of returning terrorist
fighters. These include the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center, the members
of which includes the GCC states, and which is jointly led by Saudi Arabia and
the United States. It maintains strict control over the banking sector, ensures
the proper organization of the charitable sector, and imposes sanctions on
those found guilty of financing terrorism.
delegation pointed out that the Kingdom continues to lay the foundations for a
long-term strategy to defeat extremism. This includes the founding of the
Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology, and the expansion of
anti-extremism programs through the King Abdul Aziz Center for National
Dialogue to address the growing threat of radicalization and recruitment of
young people by armed militias such as Daesh.
the international level, the Kingdom has pledged $100 million to support the G5
Sahel counterterrorism task force in West Africa, and is a founding member of
the Global Counterterrorism Forum. In addition, Saudi experts participate in
joint military programs targeting terrorism around the world.
country also hosted a meeting of the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition
to address the ideological, financial, military and media aspects of the fight
against terrorism, and the Ministry of Interior has implemented numerous
judicial and legal assistance requests to assist in the battle.
number of draft resolutions arose from the session, the most important of which
included: technical assistance for the implementation of international
counterterrorism conventions; combating the online sexual exploitation and
abuse of children; strengthening technical assistance and international
cooperation to combat cybercrime; and the adoption of preparations for the 14th
UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in April 2020 in Kyoto,
Japan. During discussions about these resolutions, most of the amendments
suggested by the Kingdom were adopted to strengthen international cooperation.
Pakistan (Reuters) - A bomb at a mosque in the Pakistani city of Quetta on
Friday killed two worshippers and wounded 14, officials said.
blast went off at the Sunni Muslim mosque when people were offering Friday
were about 100 people there when a bomb exploded very close to the prayer
leader,” said police officer Abdul Qayum.
was no claim of responsibility.
is the capital Baluchistan province which has been plagued for decades by a
separatist insurgency. The separatists usually attack energy infrastructure and
the security forces.
Muslim militants also operate in the province. They usually attack government
targets and members of the Shi’ite Muslim minority.
on Sunni mosques are rare.
said they were investigating.
At least one person was killed and over a dozen injured in a blast targeting a
mosque during Friday prayers in Pakistan's southwestern Balochistan province,
explosion targeted the Rehmania Mosque in Pashtunabad area of the provincial
capital Quetta, it said, adding that the injured have been shifted to different
hospitals for treatment.
death toll could rise as it was a big explosion,” said a security official.
to the police, the nature of the bombing was not known but it looked as if a
planted device was detonated.
has witnessed several attacks of this kind in recent months.
In what appears to be a setback for his coalition partner Muttahida Qaumi
Movement-Pakistan that has been demanding a new province to be carved out of
Sindh, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Friday that he was against creation of
another province in Sindh.
Khan hinted at introduction of a new local government system in the province on
the pattern of the LG system of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
prime minister had a busy schedule in Karachi after he landed at the old
terminal of Quaid-i-Azam International airport in the evening. He wrapped up
his visit within a few hours after meeting members of the business fraternity
as well as leaders of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and coalition parties
and chairing a couple of meetings on development projects.
his interaction with participants of different meetings, he blamed previous
governments for the current economic crisis for which he “cannot spare the
thieves” and termed the members of his recently-appointed economic team
“experts”. At the same time, the prime minister “requested” the business
fraternity to benefit from the amnesty scheme.
most crucial political stance of PM Khan came during a meeting with leaders of
the PTI and coalition parties at the Governor House where he categorically
turned down the demand for a new province to be carved out of Sindh.
PTI is against creation of another province in Sindh. After introduction of the
PTI’s new local bodies system there would be no need for any kind of division
in the province,” the prime minister said, according to a statement.
meeting was attended by Federal Minister Faisal Vawda, Leader of the Opposition
in the Sindh Assembly Firdous Shamim Naqvi, Khurram Sher Zaman, Haleem Aadil
Sheikh, Ashraf Qureshi, former chief minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim, Pakistan
Muslim League-Functional’s Sadruddin Shah Rashdi, Nusrat Sehar Abbasi and Nand
Kumar and others.
statement said that the meeting also discussed the political situation of Sindh
and the ongoing federal-funded development projects in the province.
the prime minister held a meeting with leaders of the business fraternity where
he sought their support for poverty alleviation and suggestions for policies
bringing “ease of doing business.”
alleviation is my mission for which the traders community must extend their
support,” the PM said in the meeting with a delegation of the Federation of
Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry and other members of the business
want my government to be acknowledged as the most trade- and
investment-friendly government. It was corruption during the previous
government which brought on the economic crisis and marred our economy. We have
inherited a fragile economy. I cannot let the plunderers off.”
Khan said, “The government wants the private sector to play a key role in
bringing about economic stability. The government would extend all-out
facilities to promote investment and business activities. Bringing ease of
doing business, reforms in the Federal Board of Revenue and creation of a
conducive and friendly atmosphere for the business are among the government’s
addressing a fund-raising event for the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital, the
prime minister warned about tough time ahead but sounded confident that it
would be over within the next three months.
me tell you that another two or two and a half months are tough for the
economy,” he said. “And it is obvious because corruption was rampant during the
previous governments and the way our leaders in the past ruled the country,
this crisis was eminent. But it would be over. I assure you it would be over
within next three months and we would start stabilising and thriving.”
Khan said the crisis tested nations and it was high time for the people of
Pakistan to face these challenges with unity. He referred to the European
countries which were devastated by the World War but the people of those
countries never lost hope and returned to peace, development and prosperity
through their resolve and willingness.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said on Friday Pakistan was convinced
that the pressure being exerted on Iran by the United States was unjustified.
Zarif, who was on a two-day visit to Pakistan for consultation with Pakistani
leaders on the escalation in tensions between his country and the US and its
Arab allies, in an interview with Iranian newswire IRNA, after his meetings,
said he was happy that “Pakistan understands our position … and considers US
pressure on Iran as unjustified.”
Iranian foreign minister, who was on his 10th visit to Pakistan since assuming
office six years ago, met Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah
Mehmood Qureshi, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and Army Chief Gen Qamar
Bajwa. In his talks, Mr Zarif shared Iranian perspective on evolving crisis in
the Persian Gulf, where the US has deployed a naval aircraft carrier, B-52
bombers at an airbase in Qatar and F-15 jets and is planning to station
thousands of soldiers in the region, in addition to issues on the bilateral
agenda, particularly border security.
Zarif’s reading of Pakistani position is consistent with what the Foreign
Office spokesman had said at an earlier media briefing. “The US decision to
deploy aircraft carrier and bombers has added to the tensions and the existing
precarious security situation in the Middle East,” the spokesman had said.
Iranian foreign minister described his discussions with Pakistani leaders as
“useful” and “constructive”. He found that his Pakistani hosts shared his views
on the destabilising role of “imperialist forces”.
two sides discussed how regional countries could cooperate to counter American
hegemonic policies towards Muslim countries, he said.
Zarif said economic sanctions against Iran were “economic terrorism”.
border security, he urged cooperation against terrorism and groups active in
the border regions. The terrorist groups, he stressed, enjoyed external
support. He said Pakistan had promised to take all steps for the recovery of
the remaining kidnapped Iranian guards. Pakistan had earlier recovered most of
the guards who had been kidnapped last October, but two of them still remain in
Zarif believed Iran and Pakistan could enhance border cooperation through
implementation of their agreements.
two sides discussed ways to expand bilateral ties in different areas,
particularly energy sector and regional issues.
visiting Iranian foreign minister said in his meetings with Pakistani leaders,
he also discussed cooperation among Muslim states, the US and “Zionist
aggression” against innocent Palestinians, especially the “deal of century”.
Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, during a meeting with his Iranian counterpart at
Foreign Office, said tensions in the region were not in anyone’s interest and
Pakistan would try to lower tensions in the region and maintain peace and
Qureshi called for resolution of outstanding issues through dialogue and urged
all sides to exercise restraint.
Prime Minister Imran Khan and FM Qureshi in their meetings with Mr Zarif called
for resolving the issues within the framework of international law and through
The total content restricted in Pakistan by social media giant Facebook doubled
between July and December 2018, according to the platform’s latest transparency
report released on Friday.
restricted 4,174 items within Pakistan during the second half of 2018, as
compared to 2,203 pieces from the first half of the year.
India (17,713 items restricted), which topped the list of countries where the
platform restricted maximum content, Pakistan ranked second followed by Brazil
to the breakdown of the content restricted in Pakistan, Facebook suspended
3,811 posts, 343 pages and groups, 10 profiles and one album. On Instagram, the
platform restricted a total of nine items — seven posts and two accounts.
said it restricted content in Pakistan for violating local laws prohibiting
blasphemy, anti-judiciary content, defamation, and condemnation of the
government’s requests to Facebook also spiked in the period under review, as
the authorities sent 1,752 data requests and sought data of 2,360
users/accounts. In the first half, the government had sent 1,233 requests to
responds to government requests for data in accordance with applicable law and
its terms of service. The platform complied with 51 per cent of the government
platform also accepts government requests to preserve account information
pending receipt of formal legal process.
we receive a preservation request, we will preserve a temporary snapshot of the
relevant account information but will not disclose any of the preserved records
unless and until we receive formal and valid legal process,” it explained.
July-Dec 2018, the Pakistan government sent 488 preservation requests as
opposed to 430 in the first half and specified 709 users/accounts compared to
580 to the platform.
in the second half of 2018, government requests for user data increased by 7pc
from 103,815 to 110,634. Of the total volume, the United States continues to
submit the highest number of requests, followed by India, the United Kingdom,
Germany and France.
volume of content restrictions based on local laws also increased globally by
135pc from 15,337 to 35,972.
report also reported on temporary internet disruptions that impacted the
availability of Facebook products.
the second half of 2018, we identified 53 disruptions of Facebook services in
nine countries, compared to 48 disruptions in eight countries in the first half
of 2018. This half, India accounted for 85 per cent of total new global
disruptions,” it added.
35,000 posts removed
are closely working with Facebook to crack down on hate speech and
impersonation. In the past six months, over 35,000 posts were suspended by the
platform for hate speech alone,” Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Digital Media
Arslan Khalid told Dawn.
government representative said that 60pc of the content restricted involved
hate campaigns by religious groups, particularly pertaining to the Aasia Bibi
case. Another 100 profiles were reported to the platform by the Pakistan
Telecommunication Authority (PTA) for impersonation, he added.
approached, Facebook did not confirm or deny the government claims.
in its third Community Standards Enforcement Report released on Thursday, the
platform said it removed 4m million posts (65pc) globally for pushing hate
speech between Jan-March 2018. Till a year ago, only 38pc (2.5m) content was
identified as hate speech by the social media giant.
safety of our community in Pakistan is absolutely vital to us. Within our
Community Standards, we have clear rules against hate speech and incitement to
violence, and our policies also prohibit individuals and organisations who
engage in violence or organised hate to have a presence on our services,” a
Facebook spokesperson told Dawn by email.
defines hate as material that directly attacks people based on protected
characteristics like race, ethnicity, national origin and religious
affiliation. It does not look to political issues or the reason for hate
having 15,000 dedicated content reviewers based around the world to review
content in over 50 languages — including Urdu — the company acknowledged in its
report that it still struggled to proactively spot hate speech.
posts containing hate speech were among the most appealed types of content,
they were the least likely to be restored. Facebook reversed itself 152,000
times out of the 1.1m appeals it heard related to hate speech.
opposed to terrorist propaganda, nearly all of it was removed from the platform
before a user reported it; just over a third of the hate speech content had to
be reported to be removed.
just the first three months of this year, the company took action against 5.4m
pieces of content that included child sexual exploitation, 6.4m pieces of
terrorist propaganda, and 1.76bn pieces of spam, among other banned content.
also axed a record of 2.2 billion fake accounts in the first three months of
2019, nearly double the 1.2bn removed during the fourth quarter of 2018. The
social media giant estimated that 5pc of its 2.4 billion monthly active
accounts are fake.
October 2018 and March 2019 alone, the company removed 3bn fake accounts,
almost all of them within minutes of creation.
fake accounts, the amount of accounts we took action on increased due to
automated attacks by bad actors who attempt to create large volumes of accounts
at one time,” Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president for integrity, said in a
The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) in a massive crackdown has arrested six
activists of the proscribed organisations from various parts of the province
for collecting funds for financing terrorism.
arrested were collecting funds for the proscribed organisations —
Jaish-i-Muhammad and the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, says a spokesperson for the CTD
here on Monday.
said Muhammad Zahid and Irfan Ahmad of JeM were arrested from Gujranwala, and
Zafar Iqbal of JeM from Rawalpindi.
the CTD teams arrested Hanzala and Hamza of LeJ from Lahore while Ijaz Ahmad of
the same banned organisation from Multan.
member of any proscribed organisation would be allowed to collect funds for
financing terrorism and extremism under the law of land, the spokesperson said.
At least three people were killed and 20 injured in an explosion inside a
mosque in the Pashtoonabad area on Friday.
injured are shifted to nearby Civil Hospital Quetta, while two of them were in
a critical position.
to Quetta Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Abdul Razzaq Cheema, the attack was
carried out through an improvised explosive device (IED) ahead of Friday
prayers when 30 to 40 people were present inside the mosque.
has been no claim of responsibility as of yet.
Minister Imran Khan expressed grief over the tragic loss of precious lives and
sought a report from the authorities concerned. He also directed the
authorities to provide the wounded with the best possible medical facilities.
Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan also condemned the incident and expressed grief
over the deaths and multiple injuries caused by the explosion.
of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif also condemned the
person who attacks the house of God on a Friday in the month of Ramzan cannot
be a Muslim,” he said, adding that the continuous rise in terrorist incidents
was extremely worrisome.
Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari also issued a condemnation and stressed the need
for “eliminating the nurseries that nurture extremist ideologies”.
who spill the blood of humans are unforgivable,” he said and urged the
government to provide protection to the people. He extended his sympathies to
the families of the victims.
—long been plagued by an insurgency and targetted killings – is reeling under a
fresh wave of terrorism, as Baloch insurgents and other religious outfits have
ratcheted up attacks in the restive province, targetting LEAs and minority
May alone, the province faced at least five terror attacks, including an attack
on non-native labourers working in Dera Murad Jamali.
May 9 –the same day a blast had rocked Lahore— three people, including a tribal
elder, were killed in Qila Abdullah blast.
May 10, two miners and three Frontier Corps personnel were killed in an attack
and a subsequent landmine blast in the Khost area of Harnai district.
May 11, militants belonging to the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) stormed a
five-star hotel in Gwadar, leaving five people, including a navy soldier, dead.
The operation to clear the hotel took one day. The attack was targeted at
Chinese investors allegedly present at the hotel.
May 13, at least four policemen were killed and several others wounded after a
bomb attack targeted their vehicles while they stood guard outside a mosque in
May 14, three labourers, reportedly from Sindh province, were killed in a
targeted attack. No one claimed
responsibility for the attacked.
April, the province fared no better either, with two major blasts targeting law
enforcers and minority Hazara community separately.
April 12, at least 20 people were killed and 48 wounded by a powerful suicide
blast apparently targeting the Hazara community at a crowded fruit market in
faction of the Taliban claimed the attack. The group said it collaborated with
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), which has been behind numerous bloody attacks in
Pakistan. There was no immediate confirmation from LeJ.
the same day, two civilians were killed and 10 injured in the evening as an
improvised explosive device (IED) had gone off when FC vehicle was passing
through a market.
April 18, at least 14 people were killed in an ambush on several buses
travelling between Karachi and Gwadar in the remote Ormara area of Balochistan
province on Thursday.
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