Photo: Bangladesh detectives inspect the body of Mahmuda Khanam Mitu, wife of the Superintendent of Police and Deputy Commissioner of Chittagong Metropolitan Police, Babul Akter, in Chittagong on 5 June 2016. Photo: EPA
Christian Grocer Hacked To Death in Latest Bangladesh Attack: Police
Syrian Army Inching Closer to Capital of ISIL Self-Proclaimed Caliphate
Indian ISIS Operative Wanted To Rig Time's Poll, Make Baghdadi 'Person of the Year'
Terrorists Using New App 'Calculator' To Avoid Surveillance by Army
Pak denies consular access to Indian 'spy' Kulbhushan Jadhav
Will take up your problems with Qatar, PM Modi tells beleagured Indian workforce
Anantnag terrorist identified on CCTV is a local youth who joined LeT
Pak closing window of goodwill opened by Modi: Defence Minister
18 ISIS Loyalists Killed, 11 Wounded In Nangarhar Airstrike
Coordinated suicide attack reported on Logar Appellate Court
Protesters demand removal of acting governor of Balkh Ata Mohammad Noor
Pakistani politician calls Mullah Akhtar Mansoor a ‘martyr’
270 Civilians Killed In Terrorist Shelling In Syria As Al-Nusra Regroups - Russian Mod
ISIS Kill Dozens of Its Own To Purge Spies
Syria army thrusts into ISIS bastion Raqqa; Iraq forces gain ground in Fallujah
Terrorist Groups Suffer Heavy Casualties in Clashes with Syrian Army North of Hama
Informed Sources Confirm Secret Cooperation between Rival Terrorist Groups in Syria
Syria: Scores of Civilians in Terrorist Groups' Jails East of Damascus Province
Syrian army presses offensive against ISIL
Syrian Politician: White House Using Regional Developments to Win Presidential Election
Yemen's Missiles Hit Saudi Military Base in Ma'rib Province
Ground Force Commander: Iran's Strategy Includes Annihilation of ISIL outside Borders
Report: Ahrar Al-Sham's Commander Replaced for Not Going to War with Al-Nusra Front
Top Security Official: US Report Not to Affect Iran's Defense for Regional Nations
Lebanese Army Arrests Scores of Terrorists near Border with Syria, Seizes Arms Depot
Governor of Jakarta Bucks Indonesia’s Party Politics
Muslims in Singapore to mark start of Ramadan on Jun 6
Military Conducts Air Operations in Turkey’s Southeast, Northern Iraq
Turkey imposes round-the-clock curfew near Kurdish-populated Diyarbakir
Erdogan slams Germany over ‘Armenian genocide’ bill
Outside observers uneasy about Turkish economy: Larry Summers
PM says remarks on Erdogan’s role ‘distorted’
KP Seeks Early Repatriation of Afghans
Around 10pc increase in CII annual budget
World Bank urges Pakistan to introduce soft home loans for the less privileged
US Warns Islamist Militants Planning Attacks In South Africa
Muslim Fulani Herdsmen Kill Three Nigerian Christians, Attack Another with Machetes
Retired generals, diplomats urge Obama to keep Afghanistan troop level
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Neeraj Chauhan | TNN | Jun 5, 2016
New Delhi: Mohammad Sirajuddin, the 33-year-old former Indian Oil Corporation assistant manager who was arrested in December last year for joining Islamic State and luring others to be part of it, wanted to hack the website of Time magazine in an attempt to make IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi 'Person of the Year'- a title which has been bestowed to influencers like Mahatma Gandhi, Adolf Hitler, US presidents, Pope, Joseph Stalin, Mark Zuckerberg and others by the international weekly.
Sirajuddin, during his discussions with IS members on WhatsApp, Facebook and Telegram groups, asked them to somehow hack the Time magazine's website so that the online poll and database could be fudged and Baghdadi could be projected as the Time "Person of the Year".
NIA filed a chargesheet against him on Saturday for actively spreading the philosophy of IS online and asking others to join and travel with him.
An MTech from prestigious National Institute of Technolgy (NIT) Surathkal, Karnataka, Sirajuddin is also believed to have coined the term 'e-Mujahida', probably because of his fascination for recruiting women and sending them to Iraq and Syria.
He was working as assistant manager in Jaipur office of Indian Oil before his arrest on December 10 last year.
His fascination with IS was not limited to himself. He even wanted to take his wife, his two-year-old son, his unborn child and his parents to Iraq and Syria.
Reuters | Jun 5, 2016, 01.00 PM IST
DHAKA: Unidentified men hacked to death a Christian grocer near a church in Bangladesh's northwest on Sunday, police said, amid growing attacks on religious minorities and secular activists by Islamist militants.
"Sunil Gomes was hacked to death at his grocery store just near a church at Bonpara village," Shafiqul Islam, deputy police chief of Natore district where the murder took place, told AFP.
Another police officer, inspector Abdur Razzak, said the motive for the killing of 65-year-old Gomes was unclear.
But the attack was similar to those on Hindus, Buddhists and members of other religious minorities in Muslim-majority Bangladesh in recent months.
The murder came just hours after the wife of a top anti-terror police officer was stabbed and shot dead in the south-eastern city of Chittagong.
Bangladesh is reeling from a wave of gruesome murders of liberals, secular activists and religious minorities.
Police say more than 40 people have been killed by homegrown Islamists in the past three years, with a spike in attacks in recent weeks.
A Hindu trader was hacked to death last week, days after a homoeopathic doctor was also slaughtered along with a Buddhist monk.
International jihadists such as the Islamic State organisation and Al-Qaeda's South Asia wing have claimed responsibility for most of the murders, but authorities deny these groups are present in the country.
Bangladesh's secular government instead blames political rivals. Experts say a government crackdown on opponents, including a ban omn the largest Islamist party following a protracted political crisis, has pushed many towards extremism.
5 Jun, 2016
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army and its popular allies, backed up by the Russian fighter jets, have continued their advances against the ISIL terrorists in the Eastern and Northeastern parts of the country, inching closer to the city of Raqqa, military sources said Sunday.
"Backed up by the very good aerial coverage of the Russian air force, the Syrian army and its allies have reached the Southeastern border of Raqqa province," the sources said.
"In the meantime, their have been tough battles the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and ISIL in Northern Raqqa, where the Kurdish-led SDF has recaptured dozens of villages and farms over the past few days," they added.
“Our forces have reached the administrative borders of Raqqa province after killing a number of the ISIL terrorists,” a Syrian army officer said.
“This is a Syrian land, and the Syrian army is the only legitimate force to regain control of those areas from all terrorist groups, including those supported by the West,” he said, in reference to the SDF as a US-backed Syrian force.
In relevant developments in the Northeastern province on Saturday, the Syrian army started new military operations to seize back the ISIL-controlled city of Raqqa.
The Syrian army kicked off the new operation to take control of the city of Tabaqa first and then move towards Raqqa city.
The SDF also announced that they were planning to launch an operation to seize back Raqqa.
The army and its allies began the offensive by artillery attacks, supported by airstrikes, against the Eastern parts of Raqqa which host the main strongholds of the ISIL terrorists.
Field sources said that the operations were aimed at taking full control of Raqqa province concurrently with the Syrian Democratic Forces' advance in the Northern borders of the province.
Terrorists Using New App 'Calculator' To Avoid Surveillance By Army
PTI | Jun 5, 2016, 02.18 PM IST
SRINAGAR/NEW DELHI: A new app 'calculator' has been found on smart phones of terrorists infiltrating into J&K which helps them to remain in touch with their handlers in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) without being detected by technical surveillance mounted by army.
With the number of militants infiltrating from PoK showing a steep rise this year, the Army found that terrorists carried a smart phone with no messages stored in it.
The Army's signal unit, which relies mainly on technical intercepts like usage of wireless and mobile phones by infiltrating terror groups to track them, is burning midnight oil along with National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) and other agencies to crack this mechanism used by the terrorists.
The technology was first used by a US-based company during Hurricane 'Katrina' so that the affected residents could remain in touch with each other.
During interrogation of some of the terrorists of Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT), the agencies came to know that the terror outfit had modified it and created an application 'calculator' which can be downloaded on smart phones attached to the off-air network created specifically for them.
The technology is based on the concept of 'cognitive digital radio' that enables users to turn their smartphones into peer-to-peer, off-grid communication tools.
The network generates its own signal through proprietary adhoc networking protocols and automatically coordinates with other units within range which enables users to send and receive text messages, share their GPS locations on offline maps regardless of access to WiFi or cellular service.
The terrorists apprehended had their phones paired with the radio sets along the border and were receiving instructions about the route and terrain, official sources quoting interrogation details of some apprehended militants said.
In a related development, the army is trying to plug the holes in the anti-infiltration grid and has already started redeployment of troops.
The infiltration of terrorists from across the border by end of April this year stands at around 35 in Kashmir area.
All the security agencies were unanimous about infiltration from the Jammu side where they claimed militants made three infiltration bids which were foiled by troops.
According to the sources, the militants, who infiltrated recently, have already gone to higher reaches of Bandipora from where they have moved towards central and south Kashmir.
During winter, infiltration is always low. However, this year, winter did not last long and terrorists are suspected to have taken advantage of the favourable weather conditions, sources said.
In 2014, there were 222 infiltration attempts in the state of which 65 were successful
Pak Denies Consular Access To Indian 'Spy' Kulbhushan Jadhav
IANS | Jun 4, 2016
ISLAMABAD: Pakistani authorities today refused to grant consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, arrested earlier this year and charged him with spying and conducting subversive activities in Balochistan province and Karachi city of Pakistan.
According to Dawn online, a top security source has said that after due consideration, it was decided not to grant consular access to Jadhav.
The reason behind the decision was cited as Jadhav's involvement in "subversive activities" in Pakistan, the source said.
Pakistani forces had arrested Jadhav from Balochistan province in March this year.
It was said that the retired Indian navy officer was "a serving officer in the Indian Navy and deputed to Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)".
The Indian External Affairs Ministry said Jadhav formerly worked in the Indian Navy and Gautam Bambawale, Indian High commissioner in Islamabad, sought consular access to him.
"The said individual has no link with the government since his premature retirement from Indian Navy. We have sought consular access to him," External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said.
The Pakistan army, however, said Jadhav was directly in contact with Anil Kumar Gupta, the joint secretary of RAW.
The source said Pakistan has documentary evidence against Jadhav which will be presented in the UN.
The Pakistani government had recovered travel documents and multiple fake identities from Jadhav, the source said.
The Pakistan government reportedly established the arrested man as an Indian spy who entered into Balochistan through Iran with a valid Iranian visa.
The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) aired a video of Jadhav in which he confessed to involvement in terror activities in Balochistan and Karachi.
"I am still a serving officer in the Indian Navy and will be due for retirement in 2022," he said in the video.
PTI | Jun 4, 2016
DOHA: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday assured Indian workers in Qatar that he will take up problems faced by them during his talks with leaders of this Gulf nation.
Addressing Indian workers at a medical camp in downtown Doha, Modi said he is aware of the issues being faced by Indian workers and the companies that bring them here.
"I am aware of the issues you are facing. I will talk about it when I meet the authorities," he said.
Modi will hold detailed talks with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani tomorrow.
Modi noted that his first engagement during his two-day visit to Qatar on the second leg of his five-nation tour was a visit to the camp of Indian workers here.
"I came to Doha in the evening and the first programme on my schedule was to meet you all," he said. Qatar is home to over six lakh people of Indian origin.
Modi also interacted with workers after his brief address and shared refreshments with them.
He shook hands with several workers during his 30-minute stay at the camp.
The prime minister said he wants to congratulate doctor friends for the good work they are doing in Qatar.
"Happy to see regular health check ups being conducted here," he said.
Modi also struck a chrod with the Indian workers when he said, "When someone from your land, speaking your language comes, I am sure that would make you very happy.
Anantnag Terrorist Identified On CCTV Is a Local Youth Who Joined Let
PTI | Jun 5, 2016
SRINAGAR: Security agencies today claimed to have identified one of the militants allegedly involved in yesterday's killing of two Jammu and Kashmir police personnel at a bus stand in Anantnag. A CCTV footage identified him as Junaid Matoo, a local resident who joined banned Lashker-e- Taiba (LeT) last year.
The footage showed two youths carrying AK assault rifles at Khanabal-Pahalgham road, 52 kms from here.
While one was standing near the car, another was seen carrying a bag and walking upto the vehicle. Official sources said that one standing near the white car was identified as Junaid, a resident of Khudwani who had left his home in June last year when he was 18.
After activating its human intelligence network, police found that he had joined LeT in September last year.
Since then, he surfaced only Saturday, as part of the team that allegedly was involved in killing of two policemen, assistant sub-inspector Bashir Ahmad and constable Reyaz Ahmad at Anantnag bus stand, sources said.
Banned Hizbul Mujahideen has claimed that its boys were behind the killing of three BSF personnel on Friday. "The local groups are quick to take responsibility as they want to give every terror act an indigenous colour," a senior police official said.
The militants had ambushed a BSF convoy at neighbouring Goriwan area at Bijbehara in South Kashmir killing three of its personnel.
South Kashmir, which has witnessed a number of encounters and killings in the first five months of this year, has traditionally been a politically sensitive area of the Valley and is fast turning into a virtual breeding ground for militants with many youths joining their rank and file or becoming their sympathisers, security agencies said.
Over a period of last one year, the terrorists have established a better intelligence network which includes assistance of local people besides ensuring heavy turnouts at the funerals of militants and stone-pelting on security forces even during encounters, they said.
The area sees slogans written favouring 'independence', support to terror groups and glorification of militants killed in encounters with the security forces.
While figures for this year were still being collated, intelligence reports suggest that 17 youths from some villages of Kulgam, Pulwama and Tral areas had disappeared and believed to have joined militant ranks.
Pak closing window of goodwill opened by Modi: Parrikar
TNN | Jun 5, 2016
New Delhi: India on Saturday warned Pakistan that its reluctance to walk its talk on terrorism was gradually shutting the "window" of goodwill and dialogue that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had "opened" by visiting Lahore in December last year.
Speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, defence minister Manohar Parrikar said, "PM Modi opened a window of opportunities when he visited the Pakistan PM (Nawaz Sharif). Before it closes, Pakistan needs to develop that trust with India on its sincerity (to fight terrorism)."
Faced with continuing cross-border infiltration attempts by militants aided and abetted by Pakistan army-ISI combine, New Delhi also feels Islamabad has not stopped distinguishing between "good" anti-India terrorists and the "bad" ones posing an existential threat to Pakistan itself.
Islamabad's reluctance to allow a reciprocal visit by Indian investigators after Pakistan's JIT in March visited the Pathankot airbase has further chilled bilateral ties.
As for China, Parrikar said it was in Beijing's own economic interest to reduce tensions in the South China Sea, where it is locked in territorial disputes with countries like Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia and others. "It is ultimately economics...If you have an unstable region like what we have in West Asia, ', I don't think economics and prosperity will really be enhanced," said Parrikar.
18 ISIS loyalists killed, 11 wounded in Nangarhar airstrike
By Khaama Press - Sun Jun 05 2016
At least 18 loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group were killed and 11 others were wounded during an airstrike in eastern Nangarhar province.
The airstrike was carried out in the vicinity of Kot district where the loyalists of the terror group are actively operating.
The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said a vehicle belonging to ISIS loyalists was also destroyed in the airstrike.
Earlier, at least 9 ISIS loyalists were killed and 7 others were wounded during an operation in Bati Kot district of Nangarhar province.
The loyalists of the terror group are believed to have significant presence in some parts of eastern Nangarhar province.
The Afghanistan National Security Council (NSC) earlier approved in principle the strategy to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group as the loyalists of the terror group are attempting to expand foothold in the country.
The Afghan National Security and Defense Forces (ANSDF) together with the US forces in Afghanistan are regularly targeting the loyalists of the terror group.
A group of suicide bombers have reportedly launched a coordinated attack on Logar Appellate Court in central Afghanistan.
According to reports, a gun battle is underway between the suicide bombers and the Afghan security forces.
A security official confirmed that the attack was carried out by three militants armed with suicide vests and automatic rifles.
The official further added that seven people including the head of Logar Appellate Court were killed in the attack.
A group of Taliban suicide bombers launched a similar attack on Ghazni Appellate Court on Wednesday, leaving several people dead or wounded.
comes as the Taliban group vowed to target the judiciary institutions following the execution of 6 militants over terror offences by the Afghan government earlier last month.
Hundreds of protesters demanded the removal of the acting governor of northern Balkh province Ata Mohammad Noor accusing of ethnic and political discrimination.
The protest was organized by five members of the provincial council of northern Balkh province.
The protesters were chanting ‘We want social justice and equal development’ while accusing Ata Mohammad Noor for ethnic and political discrimination.
They urged the government to remove Ata Mohammad Noor and appoint a new governor for northern Balkh province as they started rally from east of Mazar-e-Sharif city and announced their staement near the provincial council.
In the meantime, Noor said peaceful demonstration is the right of the Afghan people and said the organizers of the protest are not having any influence among the people as only 400 people mostly children had participated in the demonstration despite they claimed that at least a milion a people would protest against the local government.
Noor also criticized the protesters for tearing pictures during the demonstration urging the supporters of Jamiat party to maintain calm.
The demonstration in Balkh province has been organized amid growing tensions among Jamiat party led by Ata Mohammad Noor and Junbish-e-Mili party.
Earlier a deadly clash erupted among the supporters of the two parties in northern Faryab province of Afghanistan which left several people dead or wounded.
By Khaama Press - Sat Jun 04 2016
A well known Pakistani politician Naeemul Haque has called the Taliban Chief Mullah Akhtar Mansoor a martyr after he was killed in a drone strike in Balochistan province.
Haque is a spokesman for Pakistan’s Tehrik-e-Insaf led by former cricketer Imran Khan.
He defended his stance over calling Afghan militant Mullah Mansour a ‘martyr’ during an interview with the local newspaper.
“Fighting to liberate your homeland is a just cause,” Naeem told Dawn.com, a day after he spoke on a TV show and called the head of an outlawed group a ‘martyr’.
The remarks by Haque come as Pakistan has long been criticized for supporting the Afghan militant groups, specifically the Taliban group and the notorious Haqqani terrorist network.
The Afghan officials occasionally slam Pakistani for allowing the militant groups to use its soil as shelter and plan and coordinate attacks in Afghanistan.
Earlier, an influential Pakistani religious scholar who was once labeled as the ‘Father of Taliban’ has endorsed the war skills of the newly-appointed Taliban chief.
“Those who think that Haibatullah is a mere cleric and a seminary preacher will soon bear witness to his skill as a militant commander,” he told Dawn after a Defence of Pakistan Council (DPC) meeting in the capital on Monday.
He blamed the United States for the persistent violence and said “It was America that resorted to violence again; the assassination of Mullah Mansour is nothing short of murder.”
However, the Afghan defense officials dismissed the remarks by Sami-ul-Haq and said Mullah Akhundzada would not kill the civilians if he was a military expert and had religious knowledge.
270 civilians killed in terrorist shelling in Syria as Al-Nusra regroups - Russian MoD
Terrorist shelling of Syrian cities took the lives of over 270 civilians within the last 24 hours, Russia’s Defense Ministry said. In the meantime, the number of areas that have joined the ceasefire has reached 133.
The Al-Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, has managed to recuperate, "[regroup] its forces" and "launched active warfare," reads a June 4 bulletin by the Russian center for reconciliation of the opposing sides. According to the Defense Ministry, the offensive was made possible due to the fact that Al-Nusra fighters share territory with the so-called "moderate opposition" and therefore have not been targeted by airstrikes.
READ MORE: Al-Nusra Front in Syria gets daily weapons supplies from Turkey - Russian military
Exploiting the opportunity, Al-Nusra together with Ahrar al-Sham carried out attacks in the Sheikh Maqsood neighborhood of Aleppo, which is controlled by Kurdish militia, destroying police headquarters and killing more than 40 people and injuring over 100 in the heavy fighting.
At the same time, more than 1,000 members of unspecified armed groups, stationed in Aleppo’s Ansari neighborhood, supposedly under the control of the "moderate" rebels, attacked the Syrian army.
The terrorist groups also targeted residential areas in Latakia, Homs, Damascus and Daraa provinces.
Despite the increasing number of settlements that adhere to the ceasefire regime that came into force on February 27, brokered by Russia and the US, not all the groups claiming to belong to the opposition are observing the truce.
Another armed group, Jaysh al-Islam, which regularly participates in the UN-endorsed peace talks, reportedly shelled Aleppo with mortars and missiles, according to the bulletin.
Russia has long sought to exclude Ahrar Al-Sham as well as Jaysh al-Islam from the talks and designate them as terrorists. However, the Western members of the UN Security Council repeatedly refused to do so.
Jaysh al-Islam is a member of the Saudi-backed High Negotiation Committee along with Ahrar al-Sham. The former has recently pulled out from the peace talks in Riyadh.
ISIS Kill Dozens Of Its Own To Purge Spies
AP | Jun 5, 2016
BAGHDAD: In March, a senior commander with the Islamic State group was driving through northern Syria on orders to lead militants in the fighting there when a drone blasted his vehicle to oblivion.
The killing of Abu Hayjaa al-Tunsi, a Tunisian jihadi, sparked a panicked hunt within the group's ranks for spies who could have tipped off the US-led coalition about his closely guarded movements. By the time it was over, the group would kill 38 of its own members on suspicion of acting as informants.
They were among dozens of IS members killed by their own leadership in recent months in a vicious purge after a string of airstrikes killed prominent figures. Others have disappeared into prisons and still more have fled, fearing they could be next as the jihadi group turns on itself in the hunt for moles, according to Syrian opposition activists, Kurdish militia commanders, several Iraqi intelligence officials and an informant for the Iraqi government who worked within IS ranks.
The fear of informants has fueled paranoia among the militants' ranks. A mobile phone or internet connection can raise suspicions. As a warning to others, IS has displayed the bodies of some suspected spies in public- or used particularly gruesome methods, including reportedly dropping some into a vat of acid.
IS ``commanders don't dare come from Iraq to Syria because they are being liquidated'' by airstrikes, said Bebars al-Talawy, an opposition activist in Syria who monitors the jihadi group.
Over the past months, American officials have said that the US has killed a string of top commanders from the group, including its ``minister of war'' Omar al-Shishani, feared Iraqi militant Shaker Wuhayeb, also known as Abu Wahib, as well as a top finance official known by several names, including Haji Iman, Abu Alaa al-Afari or Abu Ali Al-Anbari.
In the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, the biggest city held by IS across its ``caliphate'' stretching across Syria and Iraq, a succession of militants who held the post of ``wali,'' or governor, in the province have died in airstrikes. As a result, those appointed to governor posts have asked not to be identified and they limit their movements, the Iraqi informant told The Associated Press. Iraqi intelligence officials allowed the AP to speak by phone with the informant, who spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing for his life.
The purge comes at a time when IS has lost ground in both Syria and Iraq. An Iraqi government offensive recaptured the western city of Ramadi from IS earlier this year, and another mission is underway to retake the nearby city of Fallujah.
Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said some IS fighters began feeding information to the coalition about targets and movements of the group's officials because they needed money after the extremist group sharply reduced salaries in the wake of coalition and Russian airstrikes on IS-held oil facilities earlier this year. The damage and the loss of important IS-held supply routes into Turkey have reportedly hurt the group's financing.
``They have executed dozens of fighters on charges of giving information to the coalition or putting (GPS) chips in order for the aircraft to strike at a specific area,'' said Abdurrahman, referring to IS in Syria.
The militants have responded with methods of their own for rooting out spies, said the informant. For example, they have fed false information to a suspect member about the movements of IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and if an airstrike follows on the alleged location, they know the suspect is a spy, he said. They stop fighters in the street and inspect their mobile phones, sometimes making the fighter call any unusual numbers in front of them to see who they are.
After the killing of al-Anbari, seven or eight IS officials in Mosul were taken into custody and have since disappeared, their fates unknown, said the informant.
``Daesh is now concentrating on how to find informers because they have lost commanders that are hard to replace,'' said a senior Iraqi intelligence official in Baghdad, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group. ``Now any IS commander has the right to kill a person whom they suspect is an informer for the coalition.''
Another Iraqi intelligence official said at least 10 IS fighters and security officials in Mosul were killed by the group in April on suspicion of giving information to the coalition because of various strikes in the city.
Mosul also saw one of the most brutal killings of suspected informants last month, when about a dozen fighters and civilians were drowned in a vat filled with acid, one senior Iraqi intelligence official said.
In the western province of Anbar, the Iraqi militant Wuhayeb was killed in a May 6 airstrike in the town of Rutba. Wuhayeb was a militant veteran, serving first in al-Qaida in Iraq before it became the Islamic State group. He first came to prominence in 2013, when a video showed him and his fighters stopping a group of Syrian truck drivers crossing Anbar. Wuhayeb asks each if he is Sunni or Shiite, and when they say Sunni, he quizzes them on how many times one bows during prayer. When they get it wrong, three of them admit to being Alawites, a Shiite offshoot sect, and Wuhayeb and his men lay the three drivers in the dirt and shoot them to death.
After Wuhayeb's killing, IS killed several dozen of its own members in Anbar, including some mid-level officials, on suspicion of informing on his location, and other members fled to Turkey, the two intelligence officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the press.
Some of the suspects were shot dead in front of other IS fighters as a lesson, the Iraqi officials said.
After the Tunisian militant Abu Hayjaa was killed on the road outside Raqqa on March 30, IS leadership in Iraq sent Iraqi and Chechen security officials to investigate, according to Abdurrahman and al-Talawy, the Syria-based activist. Suspects were rounded up, taken to military bases around Raqqa, and the purge ensued. Within days, 21 IS fighters were killed, including a senior commander from North Africa, Abdurrahman said.
Dozens more were taken back to Iraq for further questioning. Of those, 17 were killed and 32 were expelled from the group but allowed to live, Abdurrahman and al-Talawy said, both citing their contacts in the militant group. Among those brought to Iraq was the group's top security official for its Badiya ``province,'' covering a part of central and eastern Syria. His fate remains unknown.
Non-IS members are also often caught up in the hunt for spies. In the Tabqa, near Raqqa, IS fighters brought a civilian, Abdul-Hadi Issa, into the main square before dozens of onlookers and announced he was accused of spying. A masked militant then stabbed him in the heart and, with the knife still stuck in the man's chest, the fighter shot him in the head with a pistol.
Issa's body was hanged in the square with a large piece of paper on his chest proclaiming the crime and the punishment. IS circulated photos of the killing on social media.
According to al-Talawy, several other IS members were killed in the town of Sukhna near the central Syrian city of Palmyra on charges of giving information to the coalition about IS bases in the area as well as trying to locate places where al-Baghdadi might be.
Sherfan Darwish, of the U.S.-backed Syria Democratic Forces, which has been spearheading the fight against IS in Syria, said there is panic in IS-held areas where the extremists have killed people simply for having telecommunications devices in their homes.
``There is chaos. Some members and commanders are trying to flee,'' Darwish said.
The U.S. -led coalition has sought to use its successes in targeting IS leaders to intimidate others. In late May, warplanes dropped leaflets over IS-held parts of Syria with the pictures of two senior militants killed previously in airstrikes. ``What do these Daesh commanders have in common?'' the leaflet read. ``They were killed at the hands of the coalition.''
The jihadis have responded with their own propaganda.
``America, do you think that victory comes by killing a commander or more?'' IS spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani said in a May 21 audio message. ``We will not be deterred by your campaigns and you will not be victorious.''
AFP | Jun 4, 2016
BEIRUT/NEAR FALLUJAH (Iraq): Syrian troops pushed into the Islamic State group's bastion province Raqqa on Saturday for the first time since 2014, in an advance towards the country's largest dam, a monitor said.
The Tabqa dam on the Euphrates river, 40 kilometres (25 miles) upstream from Raqqa city, is also the target of a separate offensive launched by US-backed Kurdish-led forces advancing from the north late last month.
"Regime troops backed by Russian air strikes and Russian-trained militia entered Raqqa province on Saturday morning for the first time since August 2014,", Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP. "It seems there has been an undeclared coordination between Washington and Moscow," he added, referring to the pincer movement by the two governments' respective Syria allies.
The lightning advance from the southwest brought government troops to within less than 40 kilometres (25 miles) of Tabqa, which is also the site of an airbase, Abdel Rahman said.
At least 26 jihadists and nine government troops and militia were killed in the advance, according to the Britain-based observatory, which relies on reports from medics and activists on the ground.
Tabqa dam has a huge reservoir named Lake Assad after President Bashar al-Assad's late father and predecessor Hafez. When ISIS overran the area in 2014, it summarily executed 160 captured regime troops.
The jihadists are facing counterattacks on multiple fronts.
Arab and Kurdish fighters backed by Washington have launched an assault on the strategic Manbij pocket further up the Euphrates on the Turkish border, regarded as a key entry point for foreign jihadists.
Iraq forces gain ground in Fallujah
Hundreds of kilometres downstream in neighbouring Iraq, elite Iraq troops have launched an assault on the emblematic ISIS bastion of Fallujah. Fighters from the army, the police and from the Hashed al-Shaabi — a paramilitary organization dominated by Tehran-backed Shia militias — entered the centre of Saqlawiya.
The town lies around 10 kilometres (six miles) northwest of Fallujah and control of the rural area around it is key to cutting off the city which Iraqi forces are trying to retake.
"The Iraqi army's 14th Division and Hashed al-Shaabi stormed the centre of Saqlawiya town from the highway and raised the Iraqi flag," a statement from the Joint Operations Command said. Federal police moving from a different direction were also involved in the operation to retake Saqlawiya.
As elite forces are trying to push into the centre of Fallujah, other forces have continued to clear areas around the city to ensure it is completely isolated. The operation in Saqlawiya is aimed at cutting off Fallujah from Jazirat al-Khaldiyah, an area to the west which IS has been passing through to reach its positions elsewhere.
The Joint Operations Command said a US-led coalition air strike had hit a boatload of ISIS fighters attempting to flee Fallujah along the Euphrates river, killing all on board.
Fallujah lies just 50 kilometres (30 miles) west of Baghdad and is one of IS's most emblematic bastions. Iraqi forces launched a major offensive to retake the city on May 22-23.
TEHRAN (FNA)- A military source said that at least 40 terrorists of Ahrar al-Sham and al-Nusra Front have been killed in fierce clashes with the Syrian Army troops in Northern Hama.
The Syrian soldiers engaged in heavy fighting with the terrorists of al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham near the town of Maan North of Hama province, which ended in the killing of at least 40 terrorists and wounding of many more.
The terrorists' military equipment and vehicles also sustained major damage in the clashes.
In relevant developments in the province on Saturday, the Syrian army and popular forces continued their advances in Hama and seized back strategic hilltops in the Eastern part of the province.
The army units and resistance forces took full control of Qatna and Marina hilltops in Ithriya in Eastern Hama.
The Syrian army also seized back Abu al-Zayn-8 region after advancing in Ithriya region for 12 kilometers.
Meantime, the Syrian air force struck the military positions of Ahrar al-Sham in al-Zara and Hirbnafsa in the Southern part of Hama province, killing at least 40 militants.
TEHRAN (FNA)- The White House which is now under the control of a Democrat president is misusing the developments in the region to help the Democrats win in the upcoming presidential election, a prominent Syrian politician said on Sunday.
"The White House is after using the developments in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and other countries to the benefit of the Democrat Party in the US presidential election," Nabil Safiah told FNA.
"The US president and the Democrats' nominees for presidential elections seek political and military victory against terrorism even at the price of shedding the blood of a large number of civilians in a way that these victories don’t incur any financial or military cost on the US and help them win by using their tools in the region," he added.
The war on Syria is entering into a qualitative new phase, whereby it’s becoming increasingly clear to the world that the US is no longer capable of militantly pursuing its regime change ends against President Assad.
A newly-released Hilary Clinton email confirmed that the Obama administration has deliberately provoked the civil war in Syria as the “best way to help Israel”.
Clinton also wrote that it was the “right thing” to personally threaten Bashar Assad’s family with death.
In the email, released by Wikileaks, then Secretary of State Clinton says that the “best way to help Israel” is to “use force” in Syria to overthrow the government.
The email makes it clear that it has been US policy from the very beginning to violently overthrow the Syrian government—and specifically to do this because it is in Israel’s interests.
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Yemeni army and popular forces pounded a Saudi military base in Ma'rib province with Katyusha missiles on Sunday, inflicting heavy losses and casualties on them.
Saudi Arabia's Sahn al-Jen military base in the Eastern part of Ma'rib province sustained heavy damage in the Yemeni army's missile attack.
The eyewitnesses said that they saw four trucks loaded with corpses of the dead Saudi forces to leave the military base.
The Yemeni army and popular forces also foiled an attempt by the Saudi mercenaries to attack Harib-9 region to the West of Ma'rib.
In late May, the Yemeni army and popular forces pounded a Saudi military base in the kingdom's Najran province with ballistic missile, inflicting heavy losses and casualties on them.
"The ballistic missile was fired in response to the numerous instances of ceasefire violations by Saudi Arabia," the Arabic-language Saba news website quoted an unnamed military source as saying.
Yemen's ballistic missile hit the Saudi military positions in Najran province near the border with Yemen.
The Saudi forces sustained heavy losses in Yemen's missile strike.
Saudi Arabia claimed it intercepted the missile before it could cause any damage.
Earlier this month, the Yemeni army and their allies fired a ballistic missile at a Saudi military base in a “simple response” to Saudi airstrikes that continue despite a ceasefire.
Yemen's army spokesman Brigadier General Sharaf Luqman said that the missile targeted a military base in the Southwestern Saudi city of Khamis Mushait.
The attack came after Saudi warplanes targeted al-Amaleqa camp in the Harf Sufyan district of Amran Province on Monday, killing 13 people, including five paramedics, and injuring at least 15 others.
The attack jolted peace talks being held in Kuwait between Yemen's popular forces and representatives of former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
Luqman said while Yemen is still committed to the truce, it reserves “the right to respond” to Saudi attacks.
The army spokesman said Saudi Arabia has launched more than 94 air raids since the ceasefire began on April 11, killing or injuring dozens of people.
Each side accuses the other of not respecting the truce.
There has been mounting international pressure to bring an end to the Saudi war in Yemen, which has killed more than 9,600 people and displaced 2.8 million since March last year.
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Ground Force Commander Brigadier General Ahmadreza Pourdastan underlined on Sunday that his country is serious about fighting ISIL and nips terrorist threats in the bud outside its borders.
"The Islamic Republic's strategy is annihilation of the ISIL and other terrorist groups outside the borders," Pourdastan said, addressing a ceremony in the Northwestern city of Tabriz today.
"Creation of the terrorist groups, including the ISIL, is the result of the Islamophobia thoughts that foment sedition with the support of the arrogant powers and the US," he added.
Noting that the US attacked Iraq to hit a blow at the Islamic Revolution, Pourdastan said that presence of a wise leader and powerful Armed Forces in Iran have dissuaded Washington and its allies from launching a military attack against the country.
He warned that the enemies have today resorted to other methods against Iran, including religious wars.
In relevant remarks on Thursday night, Iranian Border Guards Commander Brigadier General Qassem Rezayee underlined security along the country's borders, and said that the Takfiri terrorists are unable to pose a threat to the Islamic Republic.
"Knowing well about Iran's high capabilities and power, specially along the country's borders, the ISIL Talfiri terrorist group does not dare to penetrate and get near Iran," General Rezayee said.
The Iranian border guards commander pointed to the presence of the ISIL in the neighboring countries of Iraq and Syria, and said, "Iran monitors the borders within a range of 100 kilometers and the enemies are well-aware about it."
General Rezayee stressed that his forces are fully prepared to confront any possible threat of the terrorist groups or drugs-traffickers.
"Iran has 8,755 kilometers common borders with 15 countries and is fully ready to confront insecurity on the borders," General Rezayee said.
He reiterated that no one can threaten Iranians' solidarity and unity.
TEHRAN (FNA)- A Senior commander of Ahrar al-Sham terrorist group was replaced after he refused to go on war against the Al-Nusra Front rival militant group, media reports said.
Abu Saleh Tahan has been replaced with Abu Abdullah al-Shami, the Arabic-language Al-Akhbar newspaper reported.
Al-Shami is originally a Turkmen who has assumed several military positions since the establishment of the terrorist group.
Political analysts said Ahrar al-Sham is trying to boost the morale of its militants by appointing a new commander.
On Saturday, a senior commander of Ahrar al-Sham was killed in the Southern part of Idlib province.
Abu Khaled Talmanas was killed in an attack on his car in the road between Talmanas and Ma'ar Shourin in Southern Idlib province.
In late May, a notorious commander of Ahrar al-Sham was killed in the Syrian Army troops' offensives in the Northeastern part of the coastal province of Lattakia.
Ismayeel Ali Pasha known as Abi Ziya Banash was killed in a tough battle with the Syrian soldiers and popular forces near Tal al-Hadada.
The Syrian army has been engaged in heavy fighting with the terrorists in the Northeastern part of Lattakia, mainly in Tal al-Hadada, Rabi'eh and Salma to root out militancy in the region.
TEHRAN (FNA)- Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani blasted the West's double-standard policies in fighting terrorism, and said the US State Department's report will no way stop Tehran's efforts in the war on terrorism in the region.
"Today, the US is using the ISIL as an instrument and defends the Zionist regime but puts Iran in the list of terrorists because the Islamic Republic has stood against and confronted their main strategy and hegemony," Shamkhani told reporters in Tehran on Sunday.
"But this will not affect the Islamic Republic of Iran's policies in defending the regional states and it shows the West's double-standard policy on terrorism," he added.
The US State Department on Thursday released its annual report on global terrorist activity, claiming that Iran is the top state sponsor of terrorism and labeling ISIL "the greatest threat globally" despite Tehran's serious assistance to the regional states in fighting against terrorism.
Iran is helping the regional countries, including Iraq and Syria, in campaign against terrorism by sending military advisors at the demand of their governments.
A representative of the Iraqi volunteer forces (Hashd al-Shaabi) in May appreciated Iran and Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani for assisting his country in the campaign against terrorism and safeguarding its territorial integrity.
"We were surrounded in Samarra and had lost everything but this brave commander (General Soleimani) came to our help with all his forces and broke the siege," Seyed Hamid Hosseini said, addressing the Shiite pilgrims in the Central city of Qom.
"If the Islamic Republic of Iran and its leader didn’t help us, I say very explicitly that no Iraq wound exist today," he added.
General Soleimani said in March that Takfiri terrorism threatens all Muslims, and Iran has waged war on those terrorists that trade enslaved women and children.
"The fire of Takfiri and Takfirism has engulfed in homes of our Sunni brothers. Those behind this are under the illusion that they can bring Shiism and the Islamic Republic to their knees. More than anywhere else, Takfiri groups have targeted the sanctity of humanity and the Sunni world," General Soleimani said, addressing a ceremony in Tehran.
General Soleimani then asked those behind the smear campaign to question Iran's policy in its ongoing war on terror, "Is it adventurism if the Islamic Republic makes sacrifices to defend Muslims? Is it wrong for the Islamic Republic to battle a group that in just one region is buying and selling some 20,000 unfortunate enslaved young women? Is it wrong for the Islamic Republic to stand against the anti-Muslim current and stop the demolition of Mosques and Muslim holy sites?"
His remarks came after Iraqi Minister of Human Rights Mohammed Mahdi Ameen al-Bayati said the Takfiri ISIL terrorist group has sold more than 5,000 women and girls merely from Iraq’s Izadi Kurdish minority in their slave market.
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Lebanese Army troops stormed a refugee camp in greater Arsal in the Eastern part of the country and arrested a large number of terrorists.
The Lebanese soldiers attacked hideouts of the terrorist group of al-Nusra Front in Wadi Humayid Refugee Camp in Arsal, and arrested dozens of suspected terrorists.
The Lebanese army men, who had been informed by the locals over the hideouts of terrorists and smuggling of weapons and ammunition in the camp, carried out a rapid attack and surrounded the region, then in a cleansing operation discovered the hideouts of the smuggled militants and their depot of arms.
Also on Friday, the Lebanese soldiers, in a rapid operation, stormed the al-Nusra Front's hideout and seized its depot of weapons and ammunition in Tripoli.
"A major weapons depot of al-Nusra at the village of Khirbet Dawoud in Akkar district of Tripoli came under the attack of the Lebanese soldiers, which ended in the capture of the entire guards of the depot and the seizure of the depot's military equipment," the sources said.
By JOE COCHRANE
JUNE 4, 2016
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Since becoming governor of Jakarta in 2014, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama has shown little patience for incompetent bureaucrats or alleged “budget irregularities” — the local term for corruption.
His new target is a political system run by aloof oligarchs.
Mr. Basuki, 49, has vowed to run to stay in office in February as a political independent. His goal is to separate himself from the powerful national parties that have emerged during Indonesia’s transition to democracy, which began with the collapse of the military-backed dictatorship of President Suharto in 1998.
Mr. Basuki has long been considered a political outsider, partly because he is a Christian and an ethnic Chinese steering the capital of the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, and his decision to run without a party affiliation has shaken the country’s political establishment.
Since Indonesia began holding free elections in the late 1990s, independent candidates have won lesser local government and legislative posts, but Mr. Basuki’s breakaway is by far the most significant. Jakarta is the country’s political, social and economic center, accounting for 16 percent of the national gross domestic product in 2015, according to the country’s Central Statistics Bureau.
Most of the 10 parties that have seats in the country’s Parliament and cabinet are run by political dynasties, former Army generals or business tycoons who bankroll them. The rest are Islamic-based groups whose political ideology changes depending on which of the bigger parties they can latch onto in a coalition.
Regional-level politicians are mostly beholden to their political masters at national offices in Jakarta, who can accept or reject their planned candidacies even if they are doing well in opinion polls. And parties usually demand that candidates pay a fee to run and require them to finance their own campaigns, analysts say.
Mr. Basuki, in effect, has positioned himself as an alternative to a national political system “that many in Jakarta are fed up with,” said Charlotte Setijadi, a visiting fellow with the Indonesia studies program at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore.
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“I think that this is an image that will serve him well for this election,” she said.
The governor, the grandson of a tin miner from Guangzhou, China, has a reputation for bluntness. He has his detractors, including squatters whose slum neighborhoods have been demolished to make way for public works projects and commercial developments, and political adversaries who have questioned a land reclamation project in North Jakarta that is under investigation by the country’s anticorruption agency.
But his style has won over many Jakartans, in particular younger voters and lower-middle-class families.
They have also been swayed by his administration’s policies, including fast-tracking infrastructure projects, among them a mass rapid transit system, the sprucing-up of a city of more than 10 million people with a small army of street sweepers and the institution of a “smart card” program to subsidize health care and education for the poor.
Recent polls have indicated that Mr. Basuki, popularly known as Ahok, has double-digit leads over several other possible candidates for the Feb. 17 election, and that more than 80 percent of probable voters want him to run as an independent.
“I don’t want to disappoint the young people,” he said to reporters recently after announcing his decision. “I told them I will be an independent, but they have to understand that this is a sacrifice.”
The governor can thank one particular group of young people for helping him to buck politics as usual. A grass-roots volunteer movement that is autonomously backing his plan says it has already collected the signatures of the 525,000 Jakartans — roughly 7.5 percent of the city’s eligible voters — needed to cement his place on the ballot.
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The group, Teman Ahok (“Friends of Ahok” in the Indonesian language), says it will not stop until it gets a million signatures, which must be verified by the country’s General Elections Commission.
Working out of a one-story house in South Jakarta, the group’s members have been remarkably resourceful. They have created an app, for example, enabling motorcyclists to pick up signature forms and deliver them to the group’s office at no cost.
To pay for its operations, the group also sells Ahok merchandise, including T-shirts, stickers and bracelets, although it did receive an initial donation of 500 million rupiah, or about $37,000, from a political consultancy in Jakarta to help it get up and running.
Mr. Basuki and Teman Ahok leaders have separately said that they are not collaborating and that they have met in person only three times.
Mr. Basuki, who was previously deputy governor of Jakarta, assumed the city’s top position in November 2014 after his boss and predecessor, Joko Widodo, was sworn in as the country’s seventh president.
But as he waited to become governor, he resigned from his political party, the Great Indonesia Movement Party, known as Gerindra, after it pushed through legislation in Parliament eliminating direct elections for provincial governors, mayors and district chiefs.
Critics called the legislation, which was later overturned, a meanspirited attempt to keep regional leaders under the control of Jakarta by having them appointed by local legislatures dominated by major parties.
Mr. Joko himself, despite being president, is only a rank-and-file member of his party, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, or P.D.I.P., and has at times been hamstrung in carrying out policies and appointing senior officials because of opposition from party leaders.
Analysts said Mr. Basuki apparently did not want to suffer the same fate. He spurned an offer to run under the umbrella of the P.D.I.P., whose chairwoman is Megawati Sukarnoputri, a former president, the daughter of Indonesia’s founding father, Sukarno, and a leading member of the country’s political elite.
Now the party has made it clear that it will try to stop what senior members have called deparpolisasi, an Indonesian term meaning the weakening of the political monopoly of large parties by independent candidates like Mr. Basuki.
The Jakarta campaign chief of the party said it was speaking with Gerindra and other establishment parties to jointly nominate a candidate to challenge Mr. Basuki, The Jakarta Post reported.
During Jakarta’s 2012 governor’s race, when Mr. Basuki was Mr. Joko’s running mate as the candidate for vice governor, opponents made issues of his ethnicity and religion. But one recent survey indicated that nearly two-thirds of the city’s residents felt ethnicity and religion would not be issues in the February election.
Sandiaga Uno, a prominent businessman who is likely to be one of Mr. Basuki’s opponents, has acknowledged that the governor’s independent run should wake up the political establishment.
“If they don’t get the right candidate that is supported by the people, they would be facing an independent bid that is supported by the people,” he said. “Political parties need to come up with a strategy to attract the best talent.”
05 Jun 2016
SINGAPORE: Muslims in Singapore will usher in the holy month of Ramadan on Monday (Jun 6), kicking off a month of fasting during daylight hours and prayers with fellow believers around the world.
Announcing the date, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) noted that according to astronomical calculations as agreed upon by member countries of The Informal Meeting of the Religious Affairs Ministers of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, the crescent moon for the month of Ramadan appeared on Sunday evening after sunset for about 18 minutes.
“I would like to take this opportunity to wish every Muslim in Singapore a blessed Ramadan,” the Mufti of Singapore, Dr Mohamed Fatris Bakaram said in a statement on Sunday.
“In this blessed month, let’s take the opportunity to strengthen friendship and foster stronger family ties and perform activities such as having the pre-dawn and break fast meals and performing the night prayers together as a family."
Muslims in Singapore celebrate Hari Raya Puasa - the end of Ramadan - on Jul 6.
Military conducts air operations in Turkey’s southeast, northern Iraq
[Military conducts air operations in Turkey’s southeast, northern Iraq]
Turkish warplanes conducted air operations in rural areas of the Lice district of the southeastern province of Diyarbakir and northern Iraq on June 4.
Five or six militants were killed in air operations conducted both in Lice and the Gara region of northern Iraq following intelligence assessments, according to security sources.
Authorities are working to determine damage and losses in the two regions after the operations.
Meanwhile, the Turkish General Staff also announced that Turkish warplanes conducted three air operations in the country’s southeast and northern Iraq.
Turkish warplanes hit seven targets in the Yüksekova district of the eastern province of Hakkari, along with two targets in Avasin and four targets in the Kandil region in northern Iraq.
Turkey introduced a round-the-clock curfew in rural areas near the southern city of Diyarbakir on Saturday, Reuters reported. It was declared at 10:30 am (0730 GMT) in 10 areas of Lice, in Diyarbakir province, where PKK militants including senior operatives were believed to be active, the provincial governor’s office said in a statement. The move came ahead of a planned military operation against Kurdish militants, and took place a day after Turkish security forces ended operations targeting Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) fighters in the town of Nusaybin near the Syrian border.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed Germany over the Bundestag’s approval of an “Armenian genocide” bill on June 4, saying his country would never accept the accusation that its forefathers committed genocide.
“Our attitude on the Armenian issue has been clear from the very beginning. We have never accepted the genocide accusation. The fact that the very last country that can speak about genocide in the world is making such an accusation against us is not appropriate,” Erdogan said at a Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM) award ceremony in Istanbul.
The president also criticized German Chancellor Angela Merkel over her absence from parliament during the vote.
“Hey Germany, what do you want to do? What is your problem? First, say it. When I talked to her [Merkel], do you know what she said to me three or four days before that incident? She said: “I will do my best.” Is it your best not to attend the vote in parliament? If you had an honest manner here, you would attend. Well, a lady voted no, the second no would be your vote and I would applaud you,” Erdogan said, adding that they were neither honest nor sincere.
He said the parliamentary decision did not matter for Turkey, stressing that the country had no shame regarding its past.
Meanwhile, Erdogan also called on German politicians to open their archives on the issue.
“If you are sincere and honest, hey German politicians, I am calling on you. We have opened all of our archives and are keeping them open. You open yours, if you have one and decide from there,” the president said.
Erdogan also touched on the current issues facing Europe and Turkey.
“I want to give Germany and all Europe this message from here. Either we find a solution to the problems on our agenda fairly, or Turkey ceases to be a fixture in front of Europe’s problems and leaves you alone with your troubles,” he said.
The Bundestag approved a resolution recognizing the World War I-era killings of Anatolian Armenians at the hands of Ottomans as genocide on June 2.
Yerevan has long sought international recognition of the genocide, but Ankara rejects the use of the term to describe the World War I-era killings and argues that it was a collective tragedy in which equal numbers of Turks and Armenians died.
[Outside observers uneasy about Turkish economy: Larry Summers]
External observers feel more uneasy than they did five years ago about Turkey’s economic prospects, renowned American economist Larry Summers has said.
In his keynote speech on June 3 for the first annual conference of the Center of Excellence in Finance (CEF) founded by Sabanci University in Istanbul, Summers highlighted Turkey’s challenging neighborhood and the question of its commitment to the rule of law.
“I think external observers probably do not feel as good today as they did five years ago,” said the former president of Harvard University.
“Will the depth of the Turkish commitment to the rule of law be broadly understood? Are contracts enforced based on what they say, or based on who the parties are? Are commitments made in a regulatory context that can be relied on?” he said.
“The right macro framework and a sense of the rule of law are a bedrock for societies,” Summers added, questioning whether there will be “fair treatment” both of those “who share the political and religious conventions of those in power and those who have a different vision in terms of politics and religion.”
He also referred to “Turkey’s remarkably difficult location,” noting challenges to “maintaining a commitment to prudent, responsible and sustainable macroeconomic policies in the region.”
Summers underlined the entrepreneurial capacity of the Turkish people and the country’s position in the chain of economic development, pointing to the skills and capacity of global institutions as being important for entrepreneurship in Turkey.
“History teaches that the right macro framework and sense of the rule of law is an essential bedrock for societies. That’s the way Turkey will be judged and tested, as it seeks to define its greatness,” he added.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has lashed out at the country’s media for “distorting” his June 2 statements on the responsibilities of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan since being elected in 2014, saying what he meant was that a politician inevitably starts carrying responsibilities after garnering the people’s votes.
“What I said there is as follows: Even though the constitution says ‘the president has no responsibility,’ there is a political responsibility now that people started to directly elect a president following a constitutional change,” Yildirim said in a press conference at the Esenboga Airport in Ankara, before departing for Azerbaijan early on June 3.
“Because citizens want accountability from someone they vote for. This is the essence and core of politics,” Yildirim added, saying the constitution needed to be amended in order to adapt to realities.
Yildirim said his remarks were “distorted” by some print media outlets, which he slammed, without naming, for resorting to “cheap media games.”
Erdogan became the country’s first directly elected president in August 2014 and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been pushing for a new constitution that would change the country’s parliamentary system in favor of a presidential model.
“We have already started working [on a draft constitution],” Yildirim said. “We will let the public know when our work is done and then the necessary steps will be taken by our party group.”
The three opposition parties in parliament are opposed to a presidential system, while the AKP lacks the adequate number of votes to force through a constitutional change or stage a referendum on the matter.
The current charter adopted in 1982 replaced the relatively more liberal constitution of 1961, which was also drafted after a military coup.
KP seeks early repatriation of Afghans
June 5th, 2016
PESHAWAR: Adopting a tough stand against the presence of Afghans in the province like the Balochistan government, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has called for the early repatriation of refugees.
The provincial government feels that the Afghan government should now take responsibility of its own people because not only the presence of a large number of refugees on its soil has ‘overburdened its meagre resources and infrastructure’ but they are involved in major crimes as well, said an official document.
After the US drone attack in Noshki district on May 22, Balochistan home minister Sarfaraz Bugti had said, “Afghan refugees would now have to leave… it is up to them whether they choose to leave honourably or get thrown out by people of Balochistan.”
Sources said KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak would take up the issues related to refugees with the Afghan government during his scheduled visit to Kabul.
Special assistant to the chief minister on information Mushtaq Ghani told Dawn that Mr. Khattak was likely to visit Kabul after the province’s budget for the next fiscal was presented in the assembly.
“The KP government has a very clear stand on Afghan refugees. The federal government should review its agreement with Afghan government and send refugees to their country in a dignified manner,” he said.
Islamabad’s new border management policy has overshadowed the already uneasy relations with Kabul.
Pakistan has banned the cross-border movement of the people without valid documents to the annoyance of Afghanistan and its citizens.
The official document disclosed that 2,582 suspected Afghan nationals had obtained Pakistani Computerised National Identity Cards through unfair means, while 1,411 Afghan refugees or nationals had purchased land and houses in the province.
In addition, the document said, 1,064 Afghans are employed in Afghanistan, including with Afghan National Army and the police, but their families live in Pakistan.
Currently, around 1.5 million registered Afghans live in Pakistan. They all will lose the refugee status if the federal government doesn’t extend their legal stay beyond June 30.
Kabul recently asked Islamabad to extend the stay of Afghan refugees until 2020.
The document said being a frontline province of Pakistan in the war against terrorism, major brunt of the war was being faced by KP in the shape of the continuing violence.
“The whole fabric of the society in this province has been shattered. Socio-economic effects are irreparable,” it said.
The relevant officials said currently, KP hosted around 62 per cent of Afghan refugees living in the country.
They said around one million registered refugees lived in KP and of them, 45 per cent lived in 43 refugee camps and the rest in urban and semi-urban areas.
The officials said besides registered refugees, around 0.6 million Afghan nationals, too, were residing in the province without legal documents.
They said the long stay of Afghan refugees in the province had not only a negative impact on socio-economic fabric but damaged the infrastructure as well.
The official document revealed that major crimes like murder, kidnapping for ransom, carjacking, narcotics and smuggling were committed by Afghan refugees, who also harassed and threatened local traders through calls from Afghan SIM cards.
ISLAMABAD: The annual budget of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) has been increased by around 10pc to Rs99.63 million. The increase is mainly due to the increase in salaries, and the government has also decided to reduce the allowances of council members.
The budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year shows that salaries of 133 CII employees have been earmarked at Rs35.28 million, including Rs23.08 million for 52 officers, while salaries of 81 employees have bee designated at Rs12.20 million.
Meanwhile, allowances – which relate mainly to council members and the chairman – have been reduced. The allowances to be enjoyed by the council members and the chairman for the next fiscal year are Rs34.64 million.
In the last budget, Rs37.46 million were allocated to allowances, but the council utilised another Rs407,000 above the allocation in the outgoing 2015-16 fiscal year.
Travel and transportation expenses of council members have also been reduced in the upcoming fiscal year to Rs6.79 million from Rs6.98 in the outgoing fiscal year. Council members spent the same amount during the year.
Apart from the increase in salaries, operating expenditures have also been increased to Rs23.88 million, from Rs23.32 million in the previous budget.
However, the CII exceeded its general expenditures by Rs840,000 by the end of 2015-16.
The repairs and maintenance budget has been increased by Rs380,000 to Rs1.78 million, including Rs200,000 for new construction.
The council has a minimum of eight and maximum of 20 members including the chairman, representing various schools of thought. Following the retirement of 10 members, there are currently nine members including the chairman.
There is no development project related to the council.
KARACHI: Pakistan should introduce soft loan schemes aimed at the less privileged strata of society for providing them affordable housing, and take requisite action for building a future plan for the low-income segment, said Loic Chiquier, World Bank’s Global Lead on Housing Finance.
Mr Chiquier made these remarks during a meeting of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy Sub-Committee on housing finance organised by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) at Association of Builders and Developers (ABAD) House last week.
From the World Bank, Housing Finance Specialist Olivier Hassler, Program Leader for Pakistan Gabi Afram, Financial Sector Specialist Sarmad Shaikh and Financial Sector Consultant Namoos Zaheer attended the meeting.
Representatives from the SBP, House Building Finance Company Limited and Meezan Bank were also present at the event. Various committees consisting of stakeholders agreed to come up with proposals for the common man to avail housing finance at affordable rates.
Chairman ABAD Hanif Gohar said the body was working on building low-cost houses for less privileged people as social responsibility. He, however, stressed: “It is not possible to construct millions of houses single-handedly.” He urged the SBP to ask all commercial banks to release more loans for housing, especially for low-cost housing.
Arif Yousuf Jeewa said that no work is done to provide low-cost houses for people from the low-income group on government level.
Muhammad Hassan Bakshi said there was a shortage of more than 8.8 million units in Pakistan which in itself was ‘a great challenge as well as a great opportunity’.
It was observed by participants that commercial banks are reluctant to give loans to people from informal income groups due to lack of proper documentation.
EVER GROWING SLUMS: Meanwhile, Patron-in-chief ABAD Mohsin Sheikhani said about 38 per cent of the over 200 million population of Pakistan lives in slums. Population in big cities is growing due to the influx of people from rural areas which are devoid of basic amenities.
Problems in cities are increasing due to huge arrival of people resulting in mushroom growth of slum areas, he added.
Sindh has over 1,400 Kactchi Abadis while Karachi alone is home to over 500 of these slums.
“Almost 10m people are living in the slums of Karachi out of over 20m people. It means half of the population of Karachi has no permanent address,” he said.
No record of people living slums is available with local bodies or law enforcement agencies. Lack of record creates a number of social problems, with law and order being a major issue.
“It is hard to find as to who is living in slums and how they ended up there. This information is not even there with the security agencies,” he said.
Many people having criminal records in other parts the country are also coming to settle in slums of Karachi to hide their identities, he added. “The government should not regularise slums or Katchi Abadis as they are but rather should regulate these according to law so that they can be converted into regular societies,” Mohsin said.
ABAD is ready to build ‘free of cost’ apartments on modern lines for slum dwellers and turning the areas into gated communities with schools, hospitals and other civic facilities for the residents.
He said the association has conceived the idea where in cottage industries would be established within the area so that people living there could earn livelihood respectfully. This will help curtail the crime rates too, he hoped.
He said ABAD has given a formula to the government for the development of slums. Builders would build houses and other civic facilities on half of the slum land besides developing commercial residential projects on other half of the land.
He added 99pc of the benefits would go to people while the government would be able to establish its writ through census.
IGP Sindh has recently accepted that slums are major sources of law and order in Karachi, he claimed and went to add: “ABAD wants to take up this project as a social responsibility and not for profit only. Sindh Minister for Katchi Abadis Jam Khan Shoro has endorsed ABAD’s proposal.”
NO LEGISLATION IN CDA, KP: Sources privy to the third meeting of Expert Working Group (EWG) on formation of national policy/legislation on rehabilitation of katchi abadis and affordable housing for low income groups said the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and Khyber Pakhtunkhawa have not made any legislation on katchi abadis and low income housing. On the other hand, Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab are making some progress on the issue.
The EWG meeting was held in the first week of April in Karachi. Members of the KP and Punjab government as well as the CDA remained absent in the meeting.
In an order passed on February 11, 2016, the Supreme Court of Pakistan the federal and provincial governments to prepare draft bills for provision of inexpensive, low cost housing and social housing for inhabitants of slums areas and shelter less people.
The Supreme Court further directed that an appropriate commission be appointed and the present EWG be given the task to conduct the process and complete the same positively within a period of two months with concrete suggestions and recommendations to all the concerned authorities. In this regard two meetings of EWG had already been held in Lahore and Quetta.
The third meeting, held in Karachi, was informed that the Balochistan government has prepared a draft law “The Balochistan Katchi Abadis (Regularization and Development) Act 2016” covering the aspects of low income housing besides addressing the issue of katchi abadis in the province.
The representative of Balochistan government informed the meeting about the action plan for the rehabilitation of katchi abadis. The representative added that fresh data has to be collected throughout the province and district headquarters.
In contrast, representatives from Sindh government said the province has number of specific laws to deal with the issue including the Sindh Katchi Abadis Act 1987, Sindh Katchi Abadis Authority Regulation 1993 (Amendment 2013) and Sindh Katchi Abadis Authority Low Cost Housing Regulation 2008.
US warns Islamist militants planning attacks in South Africa
JOHANNESBURG - The United States warned its citizens on Saturday of possible attacks by Islamist militants on US facilities or shopping malls in South Africa during the upcoming month of Ramadan, but the South African government said the country was safe.
It was the second such warning in under a year from the embassy, which issued a similar alert in September in a country that has a significant expatriate and tourist population but has seldom been associated with Islamist militancy.
The US embassy said up-market shopping areas and malls in the commercial hub of Johannesburg and Cape Town, widely regarded as South Africa's tourism capital, were the main target areas in the suspected planned attacks.
"This information comes against the backdrop of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant's public call for its adherents to carry out terrorist attacks globally during the upcoming month of Ramadan," it said in a statement posted on its website.
Last month, a new message purporting to come from the spokesman of Islamic State called on followers to launch attacks on the West during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which begins in early June.
South Africa's foreign affairs department said the country's security agencies were capable of ensuring the safety of its residents, noting that no incident or attack had taken place after the previous warning by the US embassy last year.
"The state security agency and other security agencies in this country are very much capable of keeping South Africa safe and everybody in this country, including Americans," foreign affair's ministry spokesman Clayson Monyela said.
"The last time they did this, towards the end of last year, nothing came out of that advisory," he added.
South African police were not available to comment.
Following a similar warning in 2009, the US closed its embassy and consulates in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town for several days.
On Saturday, the embassy said it would remain open.
"This will not affect operations at the US embassy Pretoria or our Consulates in Johannesburg, Cape Town or Durban," US embassy spokeswoman Cynthia Harvey said.
"We are cooperating with local authorities, as we do in any investigation into terrorist threats around the world."
June 4, 20160 Comments
Africa pdJOS, Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed three Christians in their home in the early hours of Tuesday (May 31) in Kaduna state, days after herdsmen attacked another area Christian with machetes, area sources said.
The armed herdsmen attacked Ninte village, Jema’a Local Government Area in the north-central state of Kaduna, at about 2 a.m. and burned a pastor’s house and those of others, a survivor told Morning Star News.
Zakka Kagoma, 40, and two other Christians yet to be identified were killed in their house where they were sleeping, said Naomi Sali of neighboring Andaha, one of hundreds of Christians from 14 villages who fled the area. A Jema’a LGA official confirmed the attack but said two persons were killed.
Sali, 45, and other residents escaped into the bushes, where she passed the rest of the night before finding her way to Jos, Plateau state to take refuge.
“There were gunshots throughout the night as we hid in the bushes,” she said. “They burned down houses, and set fire to the house of the pastor of ECWA [Evangelical Church Winning All] Church-Ninte, the Rev. Saleh Yamusa. He escaped with his family unhurt before the Fulani herdsmen burned his house.”
On May 25, she said, three Muslim Fulani herdsmen attacked a 55-year-old area Christian.
“A Christian whose name is Ango was returning from his farm at about 5 p.m. when he was ambushed and attacked by a band of three Fulani Herdsmen,” she said. “Ango was pursued by three sons of the Ardo [Fulani leader] in the area. They captured him and dragged him to the bush close to a stream, where they cut him with machetes. He was left there unconscious as they thought he was dead.”
The three assailants went back to their home, packed up their belongings and relatives and fled the area, she said. Ango, treasurer of the Men’s Fellowship of the ECWA-Zakkan Local Church Council, was discovered by a pastor of a Baptist church in Ninte village who was returning from his farm.
“Ango was in pains and crying out after he regained consciousness,” she said. “The Baptist pastor who found Ango in a pool of blood met some Christian women who were also returning from their farms and requested they rush to the village to alert others for help to take him to the hospital.”
The victim was taken to Kafanchan General Hospital, where he has been recovering.
Sali added that on Sunday (May 29), armed men wearing police uniforms shot a woman from Angwan Anjo, near Ninte village in the thigh. She also was taken to Kafanchan General Hospital.
As a result of Tuesday’s attack on Ninte village, residents have fled from the predominantly Christian villages of Dangwa, Nandu, Zakkan, Farin Hauwa 1 and 2, Mante, Gada Biyu, Golkofa, Angwan Anjo, and Akwa, “as there are threats from the herdsmen to attack them,” Sali said.
Kaduna and Plateau states have been plagued by such attacks for years, but in recent years there are signs that Islamic extremist groups are arming and/or accompanying Muslim Fulani herdsmen and inciting them in their tribal and economic conflicts with Christian farmers. The assaults on unarmed Christians have reached central-eastern states such as Taraba and Benue, as well as more southern areas.
Church leaders say attacks on Christian communities by the herdsmen constitute a war “by Islam to eliminate Christianity” in Nigeria. Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population of 158.2 million and live mainly in the south, while Muslims account for 45 percent and live mainly in the north.
WASHINGTON: Thirteen retired US generals and senior diplomats urged President Barack Obama on Friday to maintain the current US troop level in Afghanistan, saying a reduction would undercut the morale of Afghan government forces and bolster the Taliban.
The 13 men oversaw US military operations and policy in Afghanistan during the administrations of Obama and former President George W. Bush. They included retired Army general and CIA director David Petraeus and four other former top commanders of US-led international forces there, as well as five former American ambassadors to Afghanistan.
In an open letter to Obama in The National Interest magazine, they said maintaining the current level of 9,800 US troops would “likely have helpful effects on refugee flows, the confidence of the Taliban, the morale of the Afghan military and Afghan people, the state of the Afghan economy and perhaps even the strategic assessments of some in Pakistan.” “Conversely, we are convinced that a reduction of our military and financial support over the coming months would negatively affect each of these,” they wrote.
The letter was published days before the current US military commander in Afghanistan, Army General John Nicholson, is expected to submit a review of US military strategy in Afghanistan.
Under Obama’s current plan, the number of US military personnel is due to drop to 5,500 by 2017. But Taliban forces lately have made significant gains and rejected peace negotiations with Afghanistan’s government, which has been weakened by internal differences.
Obama has made extracting the United States from its 15-year-long war in Afghanistan a top priority of his presidency, unsuccessfully pursuing efforts to bring the Taliban into peace talks.
“Afghanistan is the place where Al Qaeda and affiliates first planned the 9/11 attacks and a place where they continue to operate — and is thus important in the broader effort to defeat the global extremist movement today,” the retired generals and diplomats wrote.
“It is a place where Al Qaeda and ISIS (militant Islamic State group) still have modest footprints that could be expanded if a security vacuum developed. If Afghanistan were to revert to the chaos of the 1990s, millions of refugees would again seek shelter in neighbouring countries and overseas, dramatically intensifying the severe challenges already faced in Europe and beyond.”
The signatories also included: retired Marine Corps General John Allen, who served as Obama’s chief representative to the US-led anti-Islamic State coalition; and former US ambassadors to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker and Zalmay Khalilzad.
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