Protesters gather outside
Terminal 4 at JFK airport in opposition to US president Donald Trump's proposed
ban on immigration in Queens, New York City.
Islam World’s Fastest-Growing Religion, Says Pew
Syria Mosque Airstrike Kills Dozens of Civilians near
India: Hindus Tell Muslims to Leave Village
Erdogan Accuses EU of Launching Anti-Islam 'Crusade'
Man Charged With Kicking, Yelling Racist Slurs At
Muslim Employee at JFK Airport
Muslim US Marine answers strangers’ questions in
effort to fight Islamophobia
US air strike killed militants in Idlib: US military
US admits strike on ‘Al-Qaeda meeting’ in Syria amid
reports of deadly mosque attack nearby
US vows to continue sanctions on Moscow, demands
‘immediate end’ to Russian annexation of Crimea
EU seeks UN probe into crimes against Myanmar Rohingya
Popular Saudi Cleric Banned From Twitter by A Court
Aleppo: Army Launches Massive Operations to Retake
Pro-Iraqi PMUs Kill, Wound 23 Islamic State Members in
Syrian Army Using Russian Personnel Carriers in
Damascus: Army Advances in Strategic Areas
Yemen: 31 Somali refugees reportedly killed in
China, Saudi Arabia sign $65 billion in cooperation
US claims deadly north Syria strike, denies targeting
Syrian Army Troops Win Back Control of 4 New Towns in
ISIL Oil Tankers in Deir Ezzur Blown Up by Army, Air
Syrian Army Regains Control of New Region in Eastern
Triple Talaq: 1 Million Indian Muslims Sign Petition
against Divorce Practice
Security beefed up at Taj Mahal after reported threat
from Islamic State
Hizbul charade of ‘Kashmiri nationalism’ ends as it
says pelt stones for Islam
After Islamabad's reaction on Ajmer blast acquittal,
India says Pak must not meddle in our
Mehbooba Mufti says PM Modi helping India evolve as
‘true federal structure’
Nizamuddin Dargah head priest, nephew go missing:
Sushma Swaraj takes up matter with
Swiss Won’t Help Turkey Prosecute Erdoğan Critic
Dutch mayor gives go ahead to pro-Turkish government
rally amid row
Salahuddin Asks Pakistan Not To Annex Gilgit-Baltistan
Six Militants Killed In Cross-Border Assault in Khyber
Soldier slain in suicide attack on FC training centre
China to 'authorise' Pakistan to build missiles,
tanks, FC-1 Xiaolong combat aircraft
Pak army chief on 1st visit to China meets top leaders
World Bank approves $450 mn assistance to Pakistan
Pakistan asks Facebook to block 'blasphemous content',
seeks Interpol help to curb it online
Pakistan successfully test-fires new surface-to-sea
Pakistan wants criteria-based approach for NSG
membership: Sartaj Aziz
Helmand Suicide Bomber Claims He Was Trained In
Bangladesh Militants in Suicide Blast As Police Move
Afghanistan: Taliban car bomb hits army base in Khost
Afghan army suffer casualties in Khost car bombing
Developments reported as UK hosts meeting to defuse
Indonesia's Largest Islamic Organisation Former
Chairman Safeguards Muslims From Influence Of Radicalism
Most Populous Muslim Country Indonesia May Face Threat
from Returning Islamic State
Kenya Counter-Terror Work Creates Abuses, Rights Group
South Sudan govt responsible for famine and food shortages,
but still buying arms, says UN
Will France, Germany And Italy Go The Dutch Way In
France school shooting: Four shot, 10 hurt, student
One hurt as letter bomb explodes at IMF’s Paris office
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Friday 17 March 2017
DUBAI: Islam is the world’s fastest-growing religion,
according to a recent Pew Research Centre study widely reported on this week.
The study estimates that from 2010 to 2050, Muslims
will increase across the world by 73 percent while Christians are set to
increase by 35 percent.
According to the projections, Islam is set to surpass
Christianity as the world’s biggest religion by 2070.
This is because the Muslim population is growing
faster than any other religious group, the report says.
Muslim women tend to have more children than members
of other religious groups, the report said. Globally, each Muslim woman has an
average of 3.1 children, compared with 2.3 for other religions combined,
according to the research.
Islam also has the youngest set of adherents – in
2010, the median age was 23.
This means that a larger proportion of Muslims are
nearing child-bearing age which is likely to fuel Muslim population growth.
Syria Mosque Airstrike Kills Dozens of Civilians near Aleppo
Mar 17, 2017
US military says it struck al-Qaida targets in Idlib
but does not confirm reports of attack in Aleppo province
At least 42 people were killed and dozens more wounded
on Thursday in airstrikes on a village mosque in northern Syria, the Syrian
Observatory for Human Rights said.
“The raids by unidentified warplanes targeted a mosque
in Aleppo province during evening prayers, killing 42 people, most of them
civilians,” said the head of the Britain-based Observatory, Rami Abdel Rahman.
Syria 'the most dangerous place on earth for
healthcare providers' – study
“More than 100 people were wounded,” he said, adding
that many were still trapped under the collapsed mosque in the village of
Al-Jineh, just over 30km west of Aleppo.
The village is held by rebel and Islamist groups, but
no jihadist factions are present.
There were reports the US had carried out the
airstrike, which hit the mosque but there was no confirmation from either the
Pentagon or Centcom.
Instead Centcom sent out a press release saying the US
had carried out a strike on al-Qaida targets in Idlib province in which
“several terrorists” were killed. Despite repeated requests for clarification
by the Guardian, none was forthcoming.
At the site of the mosque attack, rescue workers
struggled to pull survivors from rubble, and dozens of residents were still
unaccounted for, the observatory said.
Abu Muhammed, a village resident, told Agence
France-Presse he “heard powerful explosions when the mosque was hit. It was
right after the prayer at a time where there is usually religious lessons for
men in it”.
“I saw 15 bodies and lots of body parts in the debris
when I arrived. We couldn’t even recognise some of the bodies,” he added.
An AFP reporter at the scene said rescuers earlier
left the wreckage site but returned when they heard moaning coming from the
Footage published by Halab Today, an online media
group focused on news in Aleppo, showed piles of rubble where the mosque
More than 320,000 people have been killed in Syria
since the conflict began six years ago with anti-government protests.
A cessation of hostilities was brokered by rebel
backer Turkey and regime ally Russia in December, but violence has continued
across much of the country.
The observatory, which relies on a network of sources
inside Syria for its information, said it determined whose planes carry out
raids according to type, location, flight patterns and munitions used. But the
skies over Aleppo province are busy, with Syrian regime and Russian warplanes
as well as US-led coalition aircraft carrying out strikes.
Russia began a military intervention in Syria in
September 2015, and in the past has dismissed allegations of civilian deaths in
The US-led coalition, meanwhile, has been bombing
jihadist groups in Syria since 2014.
The US-led coalition fighting Islamic State said this
month that its raids in Iraq and Syria had unintentionally killed at least 220
civilians since 2014. Critics say the real number is much higher.
March 17, 2017
Written in Hindi, the posters were found in more than
two dozen locations in the town of Jianagla
Posters calling on Muslim residents to “leave
immediately” have resulted in a police investigation in a village in Uttar
Written in Hindi, the posters were found in more than
two dozen locations in the town of Jianagla.
They warned of “dire consequences” if the estimated
200 Muslim residents in the village do not all leave by the end of the year.
Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have just
secured a substantial victory in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections and the
posters featured had the name of one of their MPs.
"With BJP in power in Uttar Pradesh, Hindus of
the village would do what US president Trump was doing to Muslims in that
country," the poster reportedly said, according to the Times of India.
The police have removed the majority of the posters
and five men from the village have been hauled in for questioning.
There are approximately 2,000 Hindus and 200 Muslims
living in Jianagla. Indian media reported that neither group was happy about
Mar 16, 2017
ISTANBUL: Turkey's president on Thursday accused the
EU's top court of starting a "crusade" against Islam after a ruling
allowing European companies to ban employees from wearing religious or
political symbols including the Islamic headscarf.
"The European Union's court, The European Court
of Justice, my esteemed brothers, have started a crusade struggle against the
(Muslim) crescent," Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a televised speech,
"Where is freedom of religion?" he said,
referring to the court ruling this week.
"Shame on your European Union acquis!"
Erdogan said, referring to EU law. "Shame on your values. Shame on your
law and justice!"
"Europe is swiftly rolling back to the days
before World War II," he added.
The European Court of Justice said it does not
constitute "direct discrimination" if a firm has an internal rule
banning the wearing of "any political, philosophical or religious
The response came as Turkey is locked in a mighty row
with Germany, the Netherlands and other EU states over the blocking of Turkish
officials from holding rallies abroad in the campaign for a referendum on
expanding Erdogan's powers.
Turkey last month said it was lifting a historic ban
on female officers wearing the Islamic headscarf in the country's officially
secular armed forces, the last institution where the wearing of the garment was
Man charged with kicking, yelling racist slurs at
Muslim employee at JFK airport
Mar 17, 2017
A traveller has been indicted on charges of unlawful
imprisonment and aggravated harassment, after he went on a racist tirade,
yelled racist slurs and even kicking a Muslim Delta employee in the leg at the
at John F Kennedy Airport.
Robin Rhodes, 57, who was returning in January from a
trip to Aruba, also faces hate crime charges, reports CNN. He was released on
$50,000 bond and ordered to return to court in June. He faces up to four years
Rhodes was waiting for a connecting flight to
Worcester, Massachusetts, when he entered the Delta Sky Lounge at JFK. He came
up to the office of the employee, who has not been identified, and said, “Are
you [expletive deleted] sleeping? Are you praying? What are you doing?”, said
Queens district attorney Richard Brown.
The criminal complaint states that Rhodes punched the
door, which hit the back of the employee’s chair. The employee then asked
Rhodes as to what she had done to him and he replied, “You did nothing but I am
going to kick your [expletive deleted] a**,” the complaint said.
Rhodes then kicked the employee in the leg, after
which she tried to get away, but Rhodes persisted, kicking the door and
stepping into her office and blocking her from escaping.
Another person, also not identified, tried to calm
Rhodes and moved him away from the door, while the employee ran out of the
office to the lounge’s front desk.
Rhodes allegedly followed the employee, at one point
getting down on his knees, bowing down in imitation of a Muslim praying.
He shouted, “[Expletive] Islam, [expletive] ISIS,
Trump is here now. He will get rid of all of you. You can ask Germany, Belgium
and France about these kind of people. You will see what happens.”
According to the charges, the victim suffered
substantial pain and redness in her right leg and was placed in fear of
physical injury, annoyance and alarm.
In the wake of the attack, New York Governor Andrew
Cuomo proposed the Transportation Worker Protection Act, which would make any
assault against an airport worker a felony, punishable by a maximum of seven
years in prison.
A Muslim man is on a mission to counter misconceptions
about his faith. His approach is simple – travelling the country, challenging
strangers to ask him anything.
Mansoor Shams, who is also a former US Marine,
currently resides in Maryland. He is travelling across the country, standing on
street corners in cities and towns, carrying a sign reading: “I’m Muslim and a
US Marine, ask anything.”
10 ways to enter the United States if you’re a Muslim
He hopes to educate Americans about Islam and counter
“The message is so important for people to see
considering what’s going on in our political environment,” Shams said, speaking
to The Huffington Post. “There’s a consistent lack of knowledge and
understanding of people who follow my faith.”
Shams started off with his project in the days after
Donald Trump’s inauguration. There was a spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes the
days following the inauguration.
“There’s no denial it’s about Trump ― his candidacy
relied on Islamophobic concepts,” Shams said.
“I guess what I want people to know, a guy who looks
like me ― brown skin, black beard, the typical stereotype ― is not a terrorist.
He could even be a US Marine!”
Shams has currently travelled to Texas, Colorado, New
York and Washington – his goal is to cover all 50 US states.
So far, Shams says he has been asked a variety of
questions ranging from “How are you?” to “Are you American or Sharia law?”
“It’s a lack of awareness, lack of knowledge,” Shams
said. “I respond, ‘Sharia law, do you know what Sharia law means? It’s a moral
code, it tells me to be nice to you, to be a good person, that’s what Sharia
Shams believes his position as a Muslim who served in
the Marines puts him in a position of privilege that he can use to counter
Feeling intimidated, Jews and Muslims band together in
“People are listening to me because I’m a Marine who
served. I get that I earn a level of respect and trust where they can hear what
I have to say,” Mansoor said. “I would love if the world we lived in was one
where it wouldn’t matter whether I served.”
To help fund his travels, Shams has set up a GoFundMe
However, he says “No matter what I get from the
funding, I’m going to do this. The need is greater than any dollar amount. I
feel like I’m literally serving my country again ― a country that’s clearly
quite divided these days ― by uniting us through conversation and getting out
of my comfort zone.”
WASHINGTON: An air strike carried out by US forces on
Thursday in Idlib, Syria, killed several al Qaeda militants, US Central Command
said in a statement.
"Idlib has been a significant safe haven for al
Qaeda in recent years," the statement said, making no mention of civilian
On Thursday, a Britain-based war monitor said
warplanes struck a mosque in the rebel-held village of al-Jina, southwest of
Atarib near Aleppo, killing at least 42 people and wounding dozens.
17 Mar, 2017
Dozens of worshipers have reportedly been killed in an
airstrike on a mosque in Syria’s Aleppo province. While the Pentagon only
admitted to striking terrorists several miles away in Idlib, some reports
suggest US missile debris were recovered from the mosque’s rubble.
Details of the strike on the Al-Jinah mosque are
scarce, but over 50 people might have been killed in the incident, according to
various reports. Images from the scene shared on social media show the
SW #Aleppo: multpile airstrikes killed over 57
civilians in Al-Jinah's Mosque. Rescue teams working to extract people from
Video showing scale of devastation and huge crater
just outside the Mosque of Al-Jinah in SW #Aleppo countryside. pic.twitter.com/TFUCAEXLuf
None of the forces present in the area have taken
responsibility for the strike yet. Both Russian and Syrian planes in addition
to American-led air power are conducting operations against terrorist units in
At least 58 killed more than 100 wounded after an air
raid on mosque during evening prayers in #Atarib near #Aleppo #Syria #WarCrimes
Some rushed to blame Moscow or Damascus for the
carnage, after activists of the so-called White Helmets rescue organization and
no less the notorious UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights shared first
images from the scene.
Syrian civil defence volunteers dig through the rubble
of a mosque in the village of Al-Jineh in Aleppo province March 16, 2017. ©
Omar haj kadour / AFP
"We did not target a mosque, but the building
that we did target -- which was where the meeting took place -- is about 50
feet (15 meters) from a mosque that is still standing," said Colonel John
J. Thomas, spokesman for US Central Command according to AFP.
Journalist Samuel Oakford, who was previously UN
correspondent at Vice News, said that the US central Command confirmed it had
carried out a strike in relative close proximity to the mosque.
“US official says that they were targeting an 'Al
Qaeda meeting place" that was across from the mosque in Aleppo. 'We took
the strike'”, he tweeted. Earlier, the reporter claimed the US Central Command
told him the Americans conducted a strike on a target just several miles away,
in the bordering Idlib province, and was looking into the Aleppo suburb mosque
US official says that they were targeting an "Al
Qaeda meeting place" that was across from the mosque in Aleppo. "We
took the strike."
CENTCOM spokesperson, Maj. Josh Jacques, told the
London-based Airwars monitoring group that the target was “assessed to be a
meeting place for al Qaeda, and we took the strike.”
“It happened to be across the street from where there
is a mosque,” said Jacques, specifying that the mosque was not the target and
that it wasn’t hit directly.
Eyewitness: 7 missiles were heard. Explanation for
discrepancy between 52kg missile (small) / destruction (large)?
But geolocation shows building was in Aleppo gov
(though 4km from Idlib gov). Why? pic.twitter.com/e5jGreIzJ4
“To be clear: this was a unilateral US strike, not
part of anti-ISIS Coalition activities,” Oakford emphasized in another tweet.
Meanwhile Sakir Khader, who identifies himself as a
journalist with a focus on Syria, Turkey, and the wider Middle East, posted a
picture of the missile debris, which he claims to have come from the rubble of
the destroyed mosque.
#Syria: At least 75 civilians killed, tens wounded in
a heavy Russian airstrike on a mosque in the rebel-held village of al-Jinā,
Photo shows the remnants of a bomb used in the
airstrike on the ‘Umar ibn Al-Khaṭṭāb
mosque in the rebel-held village of al-Jinā, w-Aleppo.
While the location and authenticity of the photo are
yet to be independently investigated, the picture shows latin inscription on a
metal plate alleged to be a piece of the missile.
Neither the Russian nor the US militaries, as well as
Damascus, have yet to officially comment on the incident.
"Crimea is a part of Ukraine. The United States
again condemns the Russian occupation of Crimea and calls for its immediate
end," said acting US State Department spokesman Mark Toner.
The United States has reiterated its condemnation of
Russia’s annexation of Crimea, vowing to maintain related sanctions until
Moscow returns the strategic Black Sea peninsula to Ukraine.
“Crimea is a part of Ukraine. The United States again
condemns the Russian occupation of Crimea and calls for its immediate end,”
said acting US State Department spokesman Mark Toner in a statement on Thursday
marking the three-year anniversary of Moscow’s takeover of Crimea.
“Our Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place
until Russia returns control of the peninsula to Ukraine.”
Russia annexed the Ukrainian peninsula following a
military intervention and a hastily organised referendum, which was rejected by
the international community.
“The United States does not recognise Russia’s
‘referendum’ of March 16, 2014, nor its attempted annexation of Crimea and
continued violation of international law,” said Toner.
“We once again reaffirm our commitment to Ukraine’s
sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
In the statement the US also called on Russia to
“cease its attempts to suppress freedom of expression, peaceful assembly,
association, and religion” among Crimean Tatars, ethnic Ukrainians,
pro-Ukrainian activists and journalists.
Russia’s move to annex Crimea shattered ties between
the two ex-Soviet neighbours and sent relations between Moscow and the West
plummeting to their lowest point since the Cold War.
The US and the European Union reacted to the
annexation of Crimea by imposing economic sanctions on Russia and Putin’s inner
March 17th, 2017
A UN report last month, based on interviews with
survivors in Bangladesh, said the Myanmar army and police had committed mass
killings and gang rapes of Rohingya.
The European Union called on Thursday for the United
Nations to send an international fact-finding mission urgently to Myanmar to
investigate allegations of torture, rapes and executions by the military
against the Rohingya Muslim minority. A UN report last month, based on
interviews with survivors in Bangladesh, said the Myanmar army and police had
committed mass killings and gang rapes of Rohingya in a campaign that may
amount to crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing. The EU draft
resolution, submitted to the UN Human Rights Council, strengthens language in
an earlier draft circulating that stopped short of demanding an international
probe into alleged atrocities.
The 47-member forum, currently holding a four-week
session, is to vote on resolutions from March 23-24. If adopted, the Council
would “dispatch urgently an independent international fact-finding mission” to
Myanmar to investigate violations “with a view to ensure full accountability
for perpetrators and justice for victims”. Some 75,000 people have fled Rakhine
state to Bangladesh since Myanmar’s military began a security operation last
October in response to what it says was an attack by Rohingya insurgents on
border posts in which nine police officers were killed.
The UN Security Council will be briefed behind closed
doors on Friday on the situation in Rakhine state, at the request of Britain,
diplomats said in New York. The EU resolution calls on the government of Aung
San Suu Kyi to “fully cooperate with the fact-finding mission, including by
making available the findings of the domestic investigations”. Activists say
that national efforts have not been credible and have called for an
international inquiry. Myanmar has denied almost all allegations of human rights
abuses in northern Rakhine and says a lawful counterinsurgency campaign is
Yanghee Lee, UN special rapporteur on Myanmar, told
the rights council on Monday that the government may be using bureaucratic
means to get rid of the Rohingya. She cited dismantling of homes and use of a
household survey whereby those absent may be struck off the list that could be
the only legal proof of their status. A panel led by former UN chief Kofi Annan
said earlier on Thursday that Myanmar should immediately start allowing
Rohingya to return home and ultimately close rundown camps for the displaced.
RIYADH: A Saudi Islamic leader with more than two
million Twitter followers has been banned from writing by a court that
convicted him of jeopardizing public order.
Awad al-Qarni, previously accused of links to the
banned Muslim Brotherhood, was also fined 100,000 riyals ($27,000), Okaz
newspaper reported on its website late Thursday.
It did not name the “famous preacher” but Qarni
himself confirmed the verdict on his @awadalqarni Twitter account late
“I am prevented from writing” on the account, he
wrote, before issuing a Twitter message early Friday thanking his followers.
Qarni was “one of the key clerics of the Sahwa
movement,” British scholar Toby Matthieson has written.
The Sahwa emerged in Saudi Arabia in the 1960s and 70s
as “a modern form of Islamic activism” which had wide impact and whose founders
were exiled Muslim Brothers, according to another expert, Stephane Lacroix.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have all
declared the Muslim Brotherhood to be a “terrorist group”.
Okaz said Riyadh’s Specialized Criminal Court, which
handles “terrorism” cases, convicted the preacher Thursday of spreading content
on Twitter which “could jeopardize public order and provoke public opinion.”
It said the content “could affect the relationship of
the people with the leadership, and the relationship of Saudi Arabia with other
There were no further details but Okaz said Qarni was
tried without having been arrested.
How one company is making money off Trump’s tweets
“We have appealed the case,” Qarni said on Twitter.
Lacroix, of Sciences Po university in Paris, told AFP
in December that changes late last year to the kingdom’s highest religious
authority confirmed an “anti-Sahwa, anti-Muslim Brotherhood” trend.
In 2010, Qarni was charged in absentia by an Egyptian
court with funding the Muslim Brotherhood.
Thu Mar 16, 2017
TEHRAN (FNA)- A military source dismissed reports by
dissidents-affiliated websites on ISIL's surprise attack against the Syrian
government troops near Deir Hafer and the army's withdrawal from Hamima
al-Kabira and Hamima al-Saqira regions, stressing that the strategic town will
be liberated soon.
The source said on Thursday that the Syrian army has
launched massive operations against the ISIL positions near Deir Hafer in the
Eastern parts of Aleppo province, adding that at present, heavy clashes are
underway between the Syrian soldiers and the ISIL terrorists in the region.
He added that the Syrian fighter jets are also
repeatedly pounding ISIL convoys in the region to drive them out towards
al-Tabaqa city in Raqqa province.
The Syrian army forces warded off ISIL's offensive
South of the Air Force Academy in Aleppo on Wednesday, and inflicted large
casualties on the terrorists.
The army units engaged in heavy fighting with ISIL
terrorists in several fronts along the road connecting the village of a-Qatibeh
Um Arkileh village.
The ISIL suffered tens of casualties and its military
hardware sustained major damage in the failed attack.
In relevant developments in the province on Tuesday,
the army units engaged in another round of intense battle with ISIL West of
Deir Hafer and managed to recapture Hamimeh al-Saqireh settlement, killing and
wounding a number of terrorists.
In the meantime, the Syrian Air Force carried out
several combat flights over the positions and movements of ISIL in the Western
direction of Deir Hafer, killing tens of terrorists and destroying several
positions and military vehicles.
A local source said that the army's control over
Hamimeh al-Kabireh and Hamimeh al-Saqireh reinvigorated security to Kuweires
By Mohamed Mostafa
Salahuddin (IraqiNews.com) Pro-Iraqi government
paramilitary forces killed 23 Islamic State members on Friday during an
offensive in Samarra, Salahuddin, as the troops continue securing areas
recaptured from the extremist group in the province.
Al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) said
they killed seven IS fighters and wounded 16 others on the dawn of Friday in an
offensive at Jalam Samarra region.
Samarra, Salahuddin, Iraq (Google Maps)
Areas between Salahuddin and neighboring provinces
have seen an increase in attacks by IS on security and PMU deployments since
the government launched a major campaign in October to retake Mosul, Islamic
State’s biggest fastness in Iraq. Al-Hashd has actively engaged with government
forces in securing recaptured areas and searching for dormant IS cells in
Salahuddin and other provinces.
Observers believe attacks by Islamic State fighters on
provinces outside Mosul aim at distracting security focus on the city and to
offset losses the group has been sustaining there.
Generals from the Iraqi forces and from the allied
U.S.-led international alliance have stressed that Islamic State began to
weaken, with many several senior leaders killed or escaped, the group isolated
inside Mosul and deprived of its supply routes from Syria.
It is expected that the Iraqi government, once done
with the campaign in Mosul, will move on towards smaller IS pockets in Kirkuk,
Anbar and Salahuddin.
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Russian media reported that the
Syrian army forces are using the Soviet-era BTR-152 armored personnel carriers
in their operations against the terrorist groups.
The Arabic website of Sputnik news agency reported
that there are an unspecified number of 500 BTR-152 vehicles in Syria now and
the army is using them in anti-terrorism operations in different parts of the
According to Sputnik, the Syrian army had never made
use of this type of armored vehicles before the start of its campaign against
Meantime, reports said earlier this month that the
Syrian army has optimized its T-72 battlefield tanks to resist against an
According to the Arabic-language al-Hadath news
website, an optimized T-72 tank was hit by an anti-tank missile in a test field
in Damascus province, but the tank remained unharmed and continued operations.
Diyana Mikhailov, a military expert, said that the T-72
tank merely sustained some small damage during the test, adding that the
optimization process was successful.
The Syrian army had deployed the Russian T-90 tanks
against the terrorists in Aleppo Front in Northern Syria in February 2016 after
the T-72 tanks failed to resist against the terrorists' anti-tank missiles.
The T-90 and its outstanding capability to destroy
incoming TOW and M79 missiles appears to be perfect for a theater of war like
the one in Syria.
In 4 and a half years of conflict, more than 9,000
BGM-71E3B TOW and M79 anti-tank systems have been introduced in the country.
Their capability to easily penetrate T-55 and T-72 tanks was the main reason
why the Syrian Arab Army has had so many problems gaining ground in Aleppo
province prior to using T-90 tanks.
Now, after optimization process, the Syrian army
troops will be able to use the T-72 tanks again.
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army troops continued
military operations against al-Nusra (Fatah al-Sham) Front in the Northeastern
parts of Damascus, and advanced in strategic areas.
The army forces, supported by artillery and missile
units, clashed with the terrorists in Barzeh and Tishrin farms, and regained
control of large areas from the Western parts of Damascus-Homs highway to the
Eastern parts of al-Qaboun and Damascus city.
Meantime, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights
(SOHR) reported that by advancing in more areas, the Syrian army gained its
primary military objective in the region which is laying full siege on the
Eastern parts of Damascus province, including al-Qaboun, Tishrin and Barzeh.
Relevant reports said on Wednesday that the Syrian
army troops fended off a heavy attack of al-Nusra Front on their positions in
the Northeastern outskirts of Damascus city, killing or wounding a large number
The al-Nusra terrorists launched their attack on
Tishrin district's police building, media center building and the district's
The terrorists started their offensive with RPG
rockets, while the group's snipers were also targeting army soldiers, followed
by a raid. But they sustained heavy casualties and pulled back after facing
tough resistance and the powerful defense of the Syrian army.
Army reports indicated death of, at least, three
al-Nusra snipers in the clashes.
In the meantime, an informed source denied terrorists'
claims about their advances in Barzeh farms, and underlined that the army men
foiled terrorists' plan to penetrate into Barzeh farms via their tunnels,
killing four terrorists.
It was not immediately clear who carried out the
Thirty-one Somali refugees were killed off the coast
of Yemen late on Thursday when a helicopter attacked the boat they were
travelling in, a local coast guard in the Houthi-controlled Hodeidah area said.
Coast guard Mohamed al-Alay told Reuters the refugees,
carrying official UNHCR documents, were on their way from Yemen to Sudan when
they were attacked by an Apache helicopter near the Bab al-Mandeb strait.
A sailor who had been operating the boat, Ibrahim Ali
Zeyad, said 80 refugees had been rescued after the incident.
It was not immediately clear who carried out the
Hodeidah on the Red Sea is controlled by Iran-allied
Houthi fighters who in 2014 overran Yemen’s capital Sanaa and forced the
Saudi-backed government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee into exile.
A Saudi-led coalition was formed in 2015 to fight the
Houthis and troops loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh who have fired
missiles into neighbouring Saudi Arabia.
The Bab al-Mandeb is a strategic waterway at the foot
of the Red Sea through which nearly 4 million barrels of oil are shipped daily
to Europe, the United States and Asia.
In total, 35 separate projects were signed in the
agreement between the two countries whose actual value would be much less once
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman met with China’s premier on
Friday, a day after the two nations signed a memorandum of understanding on
investment cooperation valued at $65 billion.
The landmark agreement aims to boost joint efforts in
fields including energy, investment, finance, culture and aerospace, part of
Saudi Arabia’s drive to develop a growth strategy less dependent on oil.
Beijing meanwhile is rolling out a massive trade and
investment initiative across Central Asia and the Middle East called “One Belt,
One Road” that sees the desert kingdom as a regional linchpin.
Despite the eye-catching sum noted in the memo, the
actual value of such commitments is usually much smaller once projects begin.
Saudi Arabia is China’s biggest supplier of crude oil
and the kingdom’s state-owned oil producer, Aramco, is a partner with
state-owned China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. The two operate a refinery in
Fujian province along with other Chinese projects.
The signing of the agreement, which involves 35
separate projects, followed talks Thursday between Salman and President Xi
Jinping, during which the Chinese leader said results of their burgeoning
cooperation had already “surpassed our expectations.”
Security ties between the two have also grown
significantly, with the Saudi air force deploying Chinese unmanned attack
drones and the two militaries holding joint counter-terrorism exercises in
western China. Chinese navy vessels have also visited the Saudi port of Jeddah
as part of increasingly active maneuvers in the Gulf of Aden.
The 81-year-old Salman’s visit is part of a monthlong
swing through Asia. Accompanied by a 1,500-strong retinue of businessmen,
princes and support staff in close to a dozen aircraft, he has already visited
Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei, and travels next to the Indian Ocean
island nation of the Maldives.
The US military said Thursday it carried out a deadly
air strike on an Al Qaeda meeting in northern Syria and would investigate
reports that more than 40 civilians were killed when a mosque was struck in the
“We did not target a mosque, but the building that we
did target ─ which was where
the meeting took place ─ is about 50 feet
(15 metres) from a mosque that is still standing,” said Colonel John J. Thomas,
spokesman for US Central Command (Centcom).
According to a Centcom statement, “US forces conducted
an airstrike on an Al Qaeda in Syria meeting location March 16 in Idlib, Syria,
killing several terrorists.”
The Centcom spokesman later clarified that the precise
location of the strike was unclear ─ but that it was the same one widely reported to have
targeted the village mosque in Al-Jineh, in Aleppo province.
“We are going to look into any allegations of civilian
casualties in relation to this strike,” he added, when asked about reports from
the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that 42 people had died, most of them
“We take that very seriously,” he said, adding that
Centcom had not received any direct reports of civilian casualties.
Thomas said the unilateral US strike “destroyed one
half of a building in which the meeting was occurring”. Al-Jineh is held by
rebel and Islamist groups, but no jihadist factions are thought to be present.
The Britain-based Observatory said that raids by
unidentified warplanes had targeted the village mosque during evening prayers.
It said more than 100 people were wounded, with many
still trapped under the collapsed mosque.
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army, supported by fighter
jets, continued advances in Eastern Aleppo, and regained control of four new
towns in the Southern parts of Kuweires airbase.
The Syrian army units continued to advance from the
Southern parts of Hamimah al-Saqirah town and retook control of Tal Ayoub and
Um Zalilah towns.
They also heavily clashed with the ISIL terrorists
from al-Qatibah town and seized back control of al-Karin and Hazazah towns in
the Northern parts of Sabkha al-Jaboul.
Meantime, the Syrian air force launched airstrikes
against the ISIL bases and moves in Sharimeh, Khasaf, Um Zalilah and Tal Ayoub,
killing dozens of terrorists and blowing up their military equipment.
A military source said that the Syrian troops have
inflicted tens of losses on ISIL during the operations, and added that the
terrorists have lost control of the towns of al-Asemiyeh, Tal Ahmar and Rasm
al-Abad in military terms.
In a relevant development on Wednesday, the Syrian
army forces warded off the ISIL's offensive South of the Air Force Academy,
killing tens of terrorists and wounding many more.
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian air force and army launched
heavy strikes on ISIL positions and moves near Deir Ezzur city, destroying
several oil tankers and bases of the terrorists and killing tens of them.
The Syrian fighter jets targeted the ISIL moves near
al-Maqaber (cemetery), Talat al-Rawad and al-Mayadeen road in Deir Ezzur,
inflicting casualties on the militants and smashing several oil tankers.
The Syrian army's artillery units also pounded the
ISIL moves and positions near Deir Ezzur city, al-Tharda, al-Makbat and
al-Maqaber regions, killing and wounding dozens of the terrorists.
Meantime, the army soldiers launched anti-ISIL
operations in the Southern areas of Brigade 137 region in Southwestern Deir
Ezzur, destroying three of their machinegun and killing and wounding several
On Wednesday, the Syrian air force carried out
repeated strikes against ISIL's gathering centers and movements in different
parts of Deir Ezzur city, destroying several command posts and killing a large
number of terrorists.
The army aircraft pounded the defense lines of ISIL in
Tal (hill) al-Mat'taweleh, Tal Milad and its Northern part, Southeastern and
Eastern Tal Khanzir, hills of Jalili and Aloush, Tisir hill in al-Thardah
mountain, al-Ma'amel, al-Makbat and al-Karfanat regions, killing and wounding a
large number of terrorists and destroying their command posts.
ISIL's vehicles and military equipment were destroyed
in the air raids in large scale.
Reports said earlier today that the army men engaged
in fierce clashes with ISIL in areas surrounding Deir Ezzur's airbase,
al-Jafrah village and al-Fouj region and fended off their attacks, killing and
wounding a large number of them.
The army tanks meantime targeted ISIL's positions in
al-Maqaber (cemetery) region, killing at least six terrorists.
Also, the army aircraft pounded ISIL's movements in
several round of attacks in al-Omal and al-Sina'ah neighborhoods, Tal (hill)
17, al-Maqaber region and Jonayd division region, killing and wounding a number
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army, supported by the air
force, continued military operations to liberate the strategic oil fields in
Eastern Homs and won back control of a new region in Eastern Palmyra (Tadmur).
The Syrian army units retook control of al-Hari Castle
after heavy clashes with the ISIL terrorists in Northeastern Palmyra and
killing tens of militants.
Also, the Syrian fighter jets launched repeated
attacks against ISIL's moves and gathering centers near al-Sukhnah, Arak,
Jabajab Hamad and adjacent areas as well as the Southern parts of al-Sawanah in
The airstrikes destroyed three ISIL bases in the
region, smashed tens of their vehicles and killed a large number of terrorists.
Well-placed military sources said on Wednesday that
the Syrian army troops continued their anti-terrorism operation in the Eastern
suburbs of Palmyra, stretching their chain of security around the ancient city.
The sources said that the army men stormed ISIL's
defense lines in the Eastern countryside of Palmyra and managed to take back
Wadi (desert) al-Ahmar 18km far away from the ancient city.
They added that the army's engineering units started
defusing landmines planted by the ISIL in Wadi al-Ahmar (3km to al-Sawameh
The army also started to fortify its positions in Wadi
al-Ahmar to make it ready for the next round of operation against the
The sources underlined that with army's control over
Wadi al-Ahmar, security has been restored to areas 18km away from Palmyra.
Other sources said that the army men also drove ISIL out
of several positions in Sabkhat (lagoon) al-Mouh and al-Sukra region South of
Tens of ISIL members have been killed and the
remaining pockets of them have fled into the depth of Badiyeh in the army's
attack, they added.
Triple talaq: 1 million Indian Muslims sign petition
against divorce practice
By Manveena Suri, CNN
New Delhi (CNN)Over a million Muslims from across
India, the majority of them women, have signed a petition to end the
controversial divorce practice of triple talaq.
Triple talaq is an Islamic practice where a man can
divorce his wife by saying "talaq," the Arabic word for divorce,
The petition was started by the Muslim Rashtriya Manch
(MRM), an Islamic organization affiliated with the right wing Hindu group
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
The RSS is linked to Indian Prime Minister Narendra
Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
"For a long time when we were not in the
government, the BJP had, and still has, the ideology that gender equality is a
must, irrespective of religion or caste," BJP official Sidharth Amarnath
Singh told CNN.
The positive response to the petition has been linked
with BJP's recent success in state elections in northern Uttar Pradesh.
"The fact that the BJP was able to get Muslim
votes in Uttar Pradesh ... suggest that the party and the central government
need to heed the voice of the Muslim women," MRM national coordinator
Mohammad Afzal told magazine India Today.
Last week, Modi's party won in a landslide, taking 312
seats out of a total of 403, the biggest majority for any party in Uttar
Pradesh since 1980.
According to the most recent census, Muslims make up
18.5% of Uttar Pradesh's 200 million-strong population, the largest state in
Elected as a lawmaker for Allahabad West, a
constituency where 90,000 of the total 400,000 voters are Muslim, Singh noted
that although Muslim women may have supported the BJP, it didn't necessarily
bring the party more votes.
"The women didn't come out, and I was told
subsequently, that the reason they didn't was because they believed in stopping
triple talaq," he said. "Generally it's been that they vote against
the BJP so if you don't vote for anybody, it's a plus for us."
India is home to one of the largest Muslim populations
in the world, but unlike most Muslim-majority countries, it has not banned the
practice of triple talaq. In Pakistan and Indonesia, the practice has been
outlawed for years.
According to the Quran, a man must consider his
decision for a period of three months after he initially declared talaq. A
divorce is only granted after the remaining two "talaqs" are stated.
The three-month period should allow for introspection
and counseling between the couple and their families. The reality, however, is
that a woman can be forced out of her home with little notice. Increasingly,
it's even being delivered by phone, email or text.
In recent years, the movement against triple talaq has
picked up and India's Supreme Court is due to begin ruling on its
constitutionality later this month.
Modi has also spoken out against the practice, saying
India cannot allow the lives of Muslim women to be ruined by three words said
on the phone.
The annual Taj Mahotsava is set to begin on Saturday.
Police on Friday patrolled the Yamuna river bank here
and mounted extra vigil after a website threatened to target the Taj Mahal, the
17th century monument of love. An official said the information was passed on
to the police and intelligence agencies on Thursday after which several teams
combed the area and stepped up vigil. Archaeological Survey of India and senior
police officials, however, tried to play down the threat, saying the security
arrangements were routine.
Local newspapers have published a photo from the
website showing a graphics of the Taj Mahal with a terrorist standing alongside
holding what looks like a weapon.
The world heritage monument is visited by over six
million tourists annually.
Senior Superintendent of Police Preetinder Singh said
police teams were on alert and a close watch was being kept on crowds.
The internal security in the Taj Mahal is provided by
the Central Industrial Security Force. The Uttar Pradesh Police and Provincial
Armed Constabulary man the outer posts. SWOT commandos have been put in charge
at vantage points. Mock drills are being conducted every few hours to test the
state of preparedness.
Outside the 500 metre security ring, police teams are
keeping a strict watch on the movement of vehicles both on the western gate
parking and the Shilpgram parking towards the eastern gate, the sources said.
Superintendent of Police Sushil Dhule and a team of
the bomb disposal and dog squads on Thursday evening visited the entire area
around the Taj Mahal.
The number of visitors to the Taj Mahal is on the
rise. The annual Taj Mahotsava is set to begin on Saturday.
M Saleem Pandit
SRINAGAR: Hizbul Mujahideen militant Zakir Rashid
Bhat, who took over from Burhan Wani who was killed in an encounter last July+
, has urged Kashmiri Muslim youths to pelt stones at security forces in the
name of Islam, rubbishing Hurriyat's claim that the militant movement was
"secular" or for "freedom" and Kashmiri
In a 12-minute video, circulated widely on social
media, Zakir Rashid Bhat, alias Zakir Musa, is seen preaching violence in the
name of Islam.
The terror outfit also separately directed voters to
boycott the upcoming bypolls for two parliamentary seats and panchayat polls in
"When you pelt stones+ , don't think you're
helping just one Musa or one mujahideen. You must do it to help and protect
Islam," Musa said. "We'll hoist Islam's flag in our Kashmir one day,"
Pelt stones for Islam! Will our mullahs issue a fatwa
on this militant for saying so? No they won't, because any crime in the name of
Islam is good and justifiable for them.
Wearing an Afghan cap, a beige coat over a brown
sweater, Musa appeared to be imitating Wani's strategy of using IS-style videos
and social media propaganda to lure youth into militancy.
Calling Kashmiri informers and J&K police
"kafir" (infidel), Musa said both deserve to be killed. "We're
fighting for Islam. We want to be martyrs for our Islam."
After Islamabad's reaction on Ajmer blast acquittal,
India says Pak must not meddle in our internal affairs
NEW DELHI: Taking exception to Pakistan's statements
on the acquittal of Swami Aseemanand in the Ajmer blasts case, India has said
it rejected Islamabad's effort to meddle in India's internal affairs and did
not need any self-serving sermons from the neighbour.
Pakistan's attempts to link the verdict in the Ajmer
case to the Samjhauta train blasts case was completely untenable. "We also
totally reject the completely untenable link sought to be established by Pakistan
with any other matter currently under purview of the Indian courts," the
ministry of external affairs said on Thursday.
MEA spokesperson Gopal Baglay said, "Pakistan is
well advised to refrain from interfering in internal affairs of India in any
form; not to resort to denial from the reality of terrorism emanating from its
soil; and take action to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism in the
territory under its control and bring to justice the masterminds in its
territory who commit, promote and support terrorism against its
Baglay's remarks are in keeping with India's sharply
worded responses to Pakistan over issues such as breach of ceasefire along the
LoC and International Border and on events in Jammu and Kashmir.
Responding to reports that Pakistan would make
Gilgit-Baltistan its fifth province, he said, "Any unilateral step by
Pakistan to alter the status of that part will have no basis in law and will be
Meanwhile, The special NIA court judging the Ajmer Dargah
blast case of 2007 adjourned the pronouncement of the quantum of punishment for
'States sponsoring terror should be punished'
Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday that
countries which sponsor terror and violate the definition of terrorism as
prescribed by the UN should be punished by the international community.
The minister said coastal borders of 36 countries
touch the Indian Ocean and nations, including India, need to work together to
ensure safety and protection of maritime domains.
Appropriate reply has been conveyed to Pakistan as
Pakistan feels their laws are laws and the laws of India are nothing.
Amid media reports of a possible attack on the Taj
Mahal by a pro-IS group, security agencies said they had not received any specific
input on the matter but were maintaining a high alert.
DIG (Agra range) Mahesh Kumar Mishra said, that they
have not received any such information but are fully equipped to deal with any
Talking about cooperative federalism, Mehbooba Mufti
said competition between states is a good thing, adding that it should be about
development and not parties.
Dismissing the reports that Narendra Modi is running a
“centralised” government, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on
Friday heaped praise on the Prime Minister’s governance skills saying he is
trying to evolve India as a “true federal structure”. Addressing the gathering
on day one of the 2017 India Today Conclave, Mufti said,”Modi comes from a
grassroot level, he is trying to reform the country in a federal structure.”
On the possibility of revoking the Armed Forces
(Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from the state, Mufti exuded confidence in
repealing the controversial Act saying: “Last year I felt we needed more
security forces… at some point of time – six months or a year from now – if the
situation improves, we need to think about revocation of AFSPA from parts and
see if it works.”
Her remarks assume significance as the ruling alliance
partners in Jammu and Kashmir – PDP and BJP –are not on the same page on AFSPA
revocation in the state as the saffron party stressed that the controversial
law should not be revoked unless peace and normalcy is restored in the state.
Further talking about cooperative federalism, Mufti
said competition between states is a good thing, adding that it should be about
development and not parties.
Commenting on the governance in the militancy-hit
state, Mufti reiterated the proposition that J&K needs to be treated
differently due to prevailing circumstances. “We are a border state, our
sensitivities are different. We need to be treated differently because we are
victims of skirmishes between the two countries. We get everything that we need
from other states,” she said.
Insisting that Jammu and Kashmir is a safe state,
Mufti also urged people to visit the picturesque state. “I would like to invite
people to come and spend time with family, not just come and invest. Despite
encounters, it is one of the safest states”.
Nizamuddin Dargah head priest, nephew go missing:
Sushma Swaraj takes up matter with Pakistan
"We have taken up this matter with Government of
Pakistan and requested them for an update on both the Indian nationals in
Pakistan," tweeted Sushma Swaraj.
March 17, 2017
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said Friday
that she has taken up the matter of Nizamuddin Dargah head priest and his
nephew going missing in Pakistan with the government of that country.
“We have taken up this matter with Government of
Pakistan and requested them for an update on both the Indian nationals in
Pakistan,” tweeted Swaraj.
“Indian nationals Syed Asif li Nizami aged 80 years
and his nephew Nazim Ali Nizami had gone to Pakistan on 8 March 2017,” she
added. Syed Asif was visiting his ailing sister in Karachi after many years
while Nazim keeps visiting their relatives in Pakistan and Sufi shrines in the
“They had gone to Lahore on March 14 to visit Daata
Darbar (shrine) and were scheduled to return to Karachi in the evening of March
15 by Shaheen Air (flight no. NL149),” their Karachi-based relative, Syed Wazir
Nizami, had told The Indian Express from the Pakistani port city. “While they
were at the Lahore airport, I received a call from the airport. The caller did
not tell his name, and mentioned that certain papers of my cousin Nazim were
incorrect and so he was being detained and will not be able to travel to
Syed Wazir said he was able to talk to Syed Asif when
the Shaheen Air flight landed at Karachi airport at 6 pm. “Asif uncle did not
come out of the airport even after hours had passed. When Shaheen Air officials
at Lahore airport were approached, they said that some people had come and
taken Asif with them…it was quite mysterious,” he added.
Syed Asif’s phone number as well as that of the
anonymous caller have been given to the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.
Swiss won’t help Turkey prosecute Erdoğan critic
Switzerland has rejected a Turkish request for legal
assistance in prosecuting a suspect accused of insulting President Recep Tayyip
Erdoğan, ruling that the comments in question were protected by Swiss free
Switzerland helps foreign prosecutors only if the
crime they are investigating is a criminal offence in Switzerland as well, and
that was not the case here, a spokesman for the Federal Office of Justice said
on March 17.
“If similar criticism of a member of the government
were expressed in Switzerland within the framework of a political discussion,
this would be tolerated as a free expression of opinion,” he said.
He did not identify the suspect in the case, which
arose in part from postings on social media.
Three similar requests from Turkey are still pending
and would be judged individually on their merits, he added.
Ties have become increasingly tense between Turkey and
many European countries over Turkish campaigning for a constitution referendum
The Swiss government said last week, however, there
was no reason to ban the Turkish foreign minister from addressing a rally in
Zurich despite local authorities’ opposition.
The speech was eventually canceled for lack of a
Swiss government statistics show around 68,000 Turkish
citizens live in Switzerland, a nation of 8.3 million whose population is a
Rotterdam's mayor gave his authorization on March 16
for a pro-Turkish protest against the Dutch police's handling of a violent
demonstration in the port city on March 11.
The move came in the midst of an increasingly
vitriolic dispute between Ankara and the EU after several countries including
The Netherlands blocked Turkish ministers from attending campaign rallies to
support the April 16 referendum on constitutional amendments.
Dutch police on March 11 used dogs, horses and a water
cannon against Turkish protesters in Rotterdam.
Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb has given his approval
for a new demonstration at 1600 GMT on March 17 starting outside Rotterdam's
"The demonstration has been asked for to defend
the rights of Turks," said his spokesman Lennart de Jong.
Both Germany and The Netherlands blocked Turkish
ministers from staging rallies to court the vote of expatriate Turks in the
Ankara was especially angered by The Netherlands which
prevented Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu’s plane from landing and expelled
Family Minister Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya.
Salahuddin asks Pakistan not to annex Gilgit-Baltistan
Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir-based United Jihad Council
chief Syed Salahuddin has asked Pakistan not to declare Gilgit-Baltistan as its
"fifth province" following recent reports that Islamabad was
considering such a step, saying that this would weaken the "disputed
status" of Jammu & Kashmir at the United Nations.
The UJC chief said that in the event of any such move
by Pakistan, the UN will give India a legal and moral pretext to claim the
whole of Kashmir.
Six militants killed in cross-border assault in Khyber
Two personnel of the Frontier Constabulary (FC) laid
down their lives as suspected militants from across the Pakistan-Afghan border
reportedly attempted to attack a checkpost in Khyber Agency early Friday,
DawnNews reported, quoting the military's media wing.
Pakistani troops "effectively responded", as
a result of which six militants were killed during the exchange of fire, the
Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) was quoted as saying.
Earlier this month, five soldiers of the Pakistan Army
had lost their lives in a cross-border "terrorist attack" on three
Pakistani border posts along the Pak-Afghan border area. The Pakistan Army
reportedly killed over 15 suspected terrorists in their retaliatory action following
The latest incident comes at a time when Pakistan and
Afghanistan have reported progress during talks in London on the re-opening of
the Pak-Afghan border.
The two sides had reportedly agreed to take “tangible”
confidence-building measures to ease each other’s concerns.
The dialogue in London was focused on mutual concerns
about the existence of terrorist sanctuaries on each other’s soil.
Soon after the bombing of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar’s
shrine, Pakistan Army had handed over a list of 76 'most wanted' TTP and
Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA) terror suspects living in hideouts along the
Pakistan-Afghan border to Kabul.
The army had also closed the border crossings at
Torkham in Khyber Agency, Kharlachi in Kurram Agency, Angoor Adda and Ghulam
Khan in South and North Waziristan and Chaman in Balochistan.
Afghanistan responded by sending a list of 85 Taliban
and Haqqani network ‘commanders’, allegedly residing in Pakistan and linked any
action against TTP and JuA terrorists to “verifiable action” by Pakistan.
At least one Frontier Constabulary (FC) soldier was
slain and another injured in a suicide attack on an FC training centre in
Charsadda's Shabqadar area, the military's media wing said.
The Inter-Services Public Relations said the attack
was "foiled" and two suicide bombers were killed in retaliatory fire.
During the exchange of fire with the suicide
attackers, one FC personnel lost his life and another was injured, it added.
Later in the day, FC Commandant Liaqat Ali Khan
addressed a press conference after attending the funeral of the FC personnel
killed in the early morning attack.
The attackers tried to sneak into the training
facility in the wee hours of Friday to “cause maximum casualties,” said the FC
commandant, “but the guards quickly responded and neutralised the attackers”.
Khan said one attacker was killed by FC personnel
while the other died after his jacket exploded when it was hit by gunfire.
The FC commandant said they had received threat
alerts, owing to which they were vigilant throughout the night and had ordered
search parties to investigate the alerts.
The remains of one suicide bomber are beyond
recognition, whereas the other attacker's limb has been recovered from the
site, he added.
He went on to appreciate the FC and military’s
response to the situation, who reached the area "within no time" of
“Two officers were also wounded in the shootout, but
are now in a stable condition,” he added.
Last month, security forces had killed three suicide
attackers who attempted to wreak havoc at a local court in Charsadda.
DSP Charsadda Fayaz Khan said five civilians were
killed in the attack, claimed by the proscribed Jamaat-ul-Ahraar (JuA).
The attack came amid heightened security across KP and
the country after a recent wave of terror.
Charsadda is at a nearly 40-minute drive from KP’s
provincial capital Peshawar, and has been a target of terror attacks for nearly
A suicide bomber had struck a local court in
Charsadda's Shabqadar area last year in March, killing 17 people. That attack too
was claimed by Jamaat-ul-Ahraar.
In January 2016, militants had attacked the Bacha Khan
University in Charsadda and shot dead 21 people.
Also read: Fear and panic in Peshawar amid high alert
Resurgence in terror attacks
Pakistan is experiencing a fresh resurgence in terror
Over 100 people have been killed in recent terror
attacks in Sindh, Balochistan, KP, Fata and Punjab.
On Feb 13, a suicide blast on Lahore's Mall road saw
13 people dead and 85 injured. The banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)
In another incident on Feb 13, two Bomb Disposal Squad
personnel were killed in Quetta while trying to defuse a roadside bomb at
On Feb 15, five people lost their lives in a suicide
blast outside a government office in Mohmand Agency. JuA had claimed the
responsibility for the attack.
In a separate suicide attack on Feb 15, one person
died as a suicide attacker targeted a judges' vehicle in Peshawar. TTP claimed
Know more: Suicide bomber targets Peshawar judges'
vehicle; driver killed
On Feb 16, in what is said to be the worst attack in
the recent surge of terrorism, a suicide attack on the Lal Shahbaz Qalandar
Shrine in Sehwan saw over 85 people dead while more than 200 were injured. The
responsibility for the attack was claimed by the militant Islamic State (IS)
The same day, on Feb 16, an IED blast in Awaran,
Balochistan left three security officials dead.
NEW DELHI: Beijing was furious with India last year
for launching Agni V, but now it plans to build ballistic, cruise,
anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles with "all-weather friend"
Pakistan, China's state-run media reported.
The two countries will also jointly mass produce FC-1
Xiaolong, a lightweight and multi-role combat aircraft, reported Global Times,
the Chinese Communist Party's news outlet. In addition, the two agreed to
strengthen anti-terrorism cooperation and strike terrorist forces including
China's insurgent East Turkestan Islamic Movement.
These were the outcomes of yesterday's meeting in
Beijing between Pakistan's army chief+ Qamar Bajwa and a top Chinese military
official, Fang Fenghui. In exchange for Beijing's largesse, Islamabad agreed to
ensure the safety of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)+ .
"Pakistan and China enjoy a special friendly relationship
with each other and have a common destiny," Bajwa reportedly said at the
meeting, according to a statement on the website of China's defence ministry.
Pakistan has deployed more than 15,000 troops to
protect CPEC+ and the country's navy has raised a security contingent to
protect the Gwadar Port, said Masood Khalid, Pakistan's Ambassador to China, at
a news conference on Tuesday, according to Global Times. The Port is a key CPEC
"As Pakistan faces frequent threats from
terrorist forces such as the Taliban and al-Qaeda, military support is
necessary to ensure a safe environment for the regions where there is huge
investment from China", said Song Zhongping, a military expert who has
served in the Chinese army, to Global Times.
Pakistan's Bajwa is reported to have said the
country's army is willing to "deepen the cooperation with the Chinese army
and fully support the Quadrilateral Cooperation and Coordination Mechanism in
Counter Terrorism by Afghanistan-China-Pakistan-Tajikistan Armed Forces."
Pak army chief on 1st visit to China, meets top
BEIJING: China's top leadership has assured Pakistan
army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa that they completely understood the
geopolitical, economic and security situation in the region and its
implications for the two "all- weather" friends, the Pakistan Army said
The assurance was given to Gen. Bajwa as he met senior
Chinese leaders and the military leadership on his maiden visit to Beijing
where he discussed a range of issues, including defence cooperation, regional
security situation and the ambitious China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC),
Pakistan military spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said.
"COAS arrived in China on a 3-day official visit.
Meets Chinese senior political & military leadership. Pak-China friendship
is unique with no parallel," Ghafoor tweeted.
Bajwa called on Chinese Executive Vice Premier Zhang
Gaoli, Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission, Gen Fan Changlong,
Chief of Joint Services Department, Gen Fang Fenghui and Commander of the
People's Liberation Army Gen Li Zhuocheng and discussed topics like regional
security, economy defence cooperation and other issues of mutual interest.
"The Chinese leadership expressed complete
understanding of the geo-political and economic-cum-security environment of the
region and its implications for both the countries," a statement issued by
the Pakistani military said.
"They acknowledged the positive role being played
by Pakistan towards peace and stability in the region with special mention of
Pakistan's role in eliminating terrorist groups including Al Qaeda,
Tehreek-e-Taliban and the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) from
Pakistan," it said.
The ETIM is an Islamic extremist separatist
organisation founded by Uyghur jihadists in western China. It has training
camps in Pakistan and Beijing has been pressing Islamabad to destroy the units
operating in the country, posing a threat to the stability of China's restive
region of Xinjiang.
During the meetings, the Chinese leadership also
expressed their concern on the security situation in Afghanistan and the
growing potential threat of Islamic State and ETIM in that country, the
"The Chinese leadership expressed their
confidence in security arrangements for the $46 billion CPEC and satisfaction
on progress made on the project, it said.
During the meeting between Vice-Premier Zhang and Gen
Bajwa, the two sides agreed to advance the CPEC project, China's state run
Xinhua news agency reported.
Zhang lauded the rapid development of China-Pakistan
ties, saying bilateral cooperation not only benefits the two peoples, but also
contributes to regional peace and stability.
He called on the two sides to maintain close
high-level contact and strengthen coordination on international and regional
affairs, to lift bilateral ties to new heights.
Zhang also suggested that the two countries should
enhance defence and security cooperation and push forward the building of the
CPEC in an orderly manner, the report said.
Gen. Bajwa said Pakistan views the relations with
China as the cornerstone of its foreign policy and its army will always be a
staunch supporter of bilateral friendship.
To ensure the smooth construction of the CPEC, the
Pakistan armed forces will resolutely safeguard its security, he said.
Masood Khalid, Pakistani Ambassador to China has been
quoted by the official media here as saying recently that the Pakistan "has
done everything" to ensure the safety about 19,000 Chinese working on
different projects in the country.
Pakistan has deployed more than 15,000 troops to
protect the CPEC, and the country's navy has raised a special contingent for
the protection of the strategic Gwadar Port.
The Chinese military has also announced plans to
increase marine corps from 20,000 to one lakh, some whom will be deployed in
Gwadar which connects CPEC with China's Xinjiang province being laid through
the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
During the meetings, Gen Bajwa thanked the Chinese
leadership for the support Pakistan has received in the defence sector which is
a "source of strength" for the unique "all weather"
friendship between the two countries, the ISPR statement said.
Well that is too sharp a blow on their baIIs of the
Blackies . They must have also discussed the ways and means of bringing
Blackies into senses as and when a need arises. This Sino Pak meeting of mi...
Gen Bajwa "reiterated that Pakistan Army shall
continue to positively contribute towards regional stability and security"
and also thanked the Chinese military for sending a PLA contingent for
participation in Pakistan Day Parade on March 23 in Rawalpindi.
"Both sides agreed to continue and further
increase their military-to-military cooperation," the statement said.
ISLAMABAD: The World Bank today approved a financial
assistance worth $450 million to Pakistan to support its efforts to help the
poor and most vulnerable people in the country.
The Finance for Growth Development Policy (FGDP) is a
policy credit of $300 million that would assist Pakistan's efforts in promoting
an inclusive and transparent financial sector, a statement by the World Bank
The bank said the programme aims to raise financial
access throughout Pakistan to 50 per cent of adults, including 25 per cent
women, by 2020, the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) reported.
According to the statement, in the next three years,
FGDP aims to boost private sector credit access to small and medium enterprises
to 15 per cent from 7 per cent in 2015.
"Pakistan has made significant progress in the
implementation of economic reforms," WB Country Director for Pakistan
Illango Patchamuthu said.
However, despite the substantial development in the
initial reform programmes and recent progress in the financial sector; there
remains a significant unfinished reforms agenda as financial access and
inclusion remain low, Patchamuthu added.
An amount of $100 million, under the National Social
Protection Programme, will help Pakistan strengthen the national social safety
net systems for the poor in a bid to improve their human capital and to promote
beneficiary families' access to complementary social and productive services.
It will also support the Benazir Income Support
Programme for accurately identifying right candidates for cash transfers, other
social programmes and incentivise improvements in service delivery systems.
The WB will also provide an additional sum of $50
million under the Punjab Tourism for Growth Project to strengthen institutions,
increase private sector participation and improve infrastructure to support the
tourism sector in Punjab.
The project will allow the private sector to lead the
development of the tourism market while ensuring that public institutions help
facilitate these processes while fulfilling their respective mandates, said the
According to the WB, some 100 million adults in
Pakistan do not have access to formal and regulated financial services and this
number represents about 5 per cent of the world's unbanked population.
A beggar has got lop of bread in the bowl, but going
to use it against India by Funding Terrorists or going to use against
Baluchistan and others who are fighting for freedom.
"This needs to change for Pakistani women and men
to realise their aspirations," Patchamuthu said.
The credit is financed from the International
Development Association (IDA), the WB Group's grant and low-interest arm.
NEW DELHI: After a Pakistani court last week
threatened to ban social media networks if they failed to censor content
considered insulting to Islam, the country's main investigation agency said
it's asked Facebook to block "blasphemous" content. It added that the
agency is also in talks with Interpol to identify "blasphemous"
content, reported Pakistani newspaper Dawn today.
Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) told a
high-level meeting yesterday that the agency has sent a formal request to Facebook
but the company's management has yet to respond. A senior diplomat at
Pakistan's embassy in Washington was tasked with contacting Facebook to seek
the requisite information under US Right to Information laws, Dawn wrote.
Pakistan's interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan urged
Facebook to comply.
"I hope that the management of Facebook will
respect the religious sentiments of 200 million Pakistanis and tens of millions
of users of Facebook in Pakistan and will cooperate in that regard," he
was quoted as saying in a ministry statement, according to Dawn.
Khan also said that the government would use all
available options to ensure the removal of "blasphemous" material
from social media sites.
Both these requests come after the Islamabad high
court last Thursday ordered the government to start an investigation into
online "blasphemy" and threatened to ban social media networks if
they failed to censor content deemed insulting to Islam, lawyers told AFP.
Pakistan previously banned Facebook for hosting
allegedly blasphemous content for two weeks in 2010. As well, YouTube was
unavailable from 2012 to 2016, over an amateur film about the Prophet Muhammad
that led to global riots, AFP added.
Islamabad later came to agreements with major Internet
firms to block - within Pakistan - material that violated its laws, once the
companies had performed their own cross-checks, AFP said.
facebook, Twitter and Youtube are HARAAM according the
izlamic way life. then why do porki jihadis require this modern age inventions.
Anway all the want is the 7th century archaic rules, sharia laws... Read More
Meanwhile, Dawn also reported that an interior
ministry statement said at least 11 people allegedly involved in uploading and
sharing "objectionable material", had been identified and were being
questioned. The FIA planned to seek help from Interpol in questioning some of
these suspects as well, indicating that some of them may not be in the country.
The missile is equipped with advanced technology and
avionics, which enable engagement of targets at sea with a high degree of
March 16, 2017
Pakistan Navy Thursday said it conducted a successful
test of a new land-based anti-ship missile, bolstering its operational reach to
launch long-range, anti-ship missiles from land. The trial of the missile was
conducted from the coastal region and the missile secured a hit on a target
placed at sea, a press release from the Navy said. The missile is equipped with
advanced technology and avionics, which enable engagement of targets at sea
with a high degree of accuracy.
However, the navy did not give more details, including
the name of the new missile. The test-launch was witnessed by Vice Chief of
Naval Staff Admiral Khan Hasham Bin Saddique and senior officers of Pakistan
Navy. Admiral Saddique commended the accomplishment of the objectives of the
trial, the release said.
Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah in his
message said that the weapon system has added a new dimension to the
operational reach of Pakistan Navy, allowing it to bolster seaward defences by
giving the Navy the capability to launch long-range, anti-ship missiles from
On January 24, Pakistan had test-fired 2,200-km range
indigenously-developed surface to surface nuclear-capable missile Ababeel. The
missile is capable of delivering multiple warheads, using Multiple Independent
Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) technology.
The Ababeel test flight was aimed at validating
various design and technical parameters of the weapon system.
During the same month, submarine-launched cruise
missile Babur-III was successfully test-fired. Babur weapons system
incorporates advanced aerodynamics and avionics that can strike targets both at
land and sea with high accuracy at a range of 700kms.
Babur-III is a low flying, terrain hugging missile,
which carries certain stealth features and is capable of carrying various types
Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz emphasised the
need to take a criteria based approach if any new member wants to join the
Nuclear Supplies Group, reported Radio Pakistan.
This was said in conversation with British National
Security Adviser Sir Mark Lyall Grant in London.
Aziz is currently visiting the UK to attend the 50th
meeting of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group. He also discussed issues
related to development, trade and investment, security and counter terrorism.
The issue of human rights violations in Occupied
Kashmir was also brought up and Aziz urged the international community to play
a more active role.
Pakistan seeks NSG membership to curb nuclear
The British National Security Adviser appreciated the
efforts Pakistan has been taking for regional peace and security.
The NSG is dedicated to curbing nuclear arms
proliferation by controlling the export and re-transfer of materials that could
foster nuclear weapons development.
Pakistan launched a concerted diplomatic push for a
membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) after the United States backed
India’s bid to join the 48-nation informal but exclusive club of nuclear
Helmand suicide bomber claims he was trained in
Thu Mar 16 2017
A suicide bomber detained in southern Helmand province
claims he was trained on the otherside of the Durand Line, a term used to refer
to the tribal regions of Pakistan, including North Waziristan where the
notorious Haqqani terrorist network is believed to be baseed.
The Afghan Intelligence, National Directorate of
Security (NDS), said a suspected suicide bomber was arrested before he manage
to carry out an attack in a busy part of Helmand province.
NDS further added that the detained bomber has been
identified as Qari Syed Nabi son of Jilani who was arrested from the vicinity
of Lashkargah city, the provincial capital of Helmand.
According to NDS, Nabi was encouraged to carry out the
attack by a terrorist Taliban leader identified as Mullah Abbas.
Nabi confessed that he was trained in Pakistan to
carry out suicide attack in a busy part of Lashkargah city, NDS said, adding
that the would-be suicide bomber was transferred to Helmand by Mullah Abbas to
carry out the attack.
Helmand is among the relatively volatile provinces in
southern Afghanistan where the Taliban insurgents are actively operating in its
various districts and often carry out insurgency activities.
This comes as the Afghan National Defense and Security
Forces are busy conducting counter-terrorism and clearance operations against
the Taliban insurgents in some of the volatile districts of Helmand.
The Taliban insurgents have sustained heavy casualties
during the operations which are being conducted with the support of the foreign
forces based in Afghanistan who are mainly providing close-air support.
Bangladesh militants in suicide blast as police move
CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh: At least two Bangladeshi
militants blew themselves up Thursday after throwing grenades at police who
surrounded a suspected extremist hideout outside the port city of Chittagong,
"They came out in the stairs and carried out a
big explosion. Parts of their bodies were spread to 25-30 yards (metres),"
said Sanwar Hossain, additional deputy commissioner of the police
"Two people including a woman are confirmed
dead," he said, adding parts of the staircase were blown off in the
National police chief AKM Shahidul Hoque told AFP that
the dead were members of a new faction of the homegrown Islamist extremist
group Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), blamed for a series of deadly
attacks including a cafe siege in Dhaka where 22 people including 18 foreign
hostages were killed.
"Probably three militants including one female
died. Two policemen (were) injured," he said in a text message.
Police had cordoned off the hideout during a major
counter-terrorism drive in Sitakundu town, outside Chittagong, since Wednesday
evening after suspected militants threw grenades and opened fire at officers.
The gunfight began after police, backed up by an elite
security unit, besieged a two-storied building. Police said an officer was
wounded by a grenade during the raid.
"The extremists threw at least 10 grenades at our
officers. We suspect two to eight extremists are staying in one of the ground
floor flats in the building," additional superintendent of police
Mosiuddowla Reza told AFP.
"They also opened fire at us with pistols,"
Elite counter-terrorism police reinforcements were
sent to Sitakundu after midnight to storm the compound, he said, adding around
10-20 civilians were also trapped in the building, "but none of them were
"We'll storm the compound after making sure all
the civilians are safe," Reza said.
Hours earlier police arrested a couple from another
house after officers stormed their hideout in the same town, Reza said.
"We arrested them as the wife was holding her
three-month old child in one hand and tried to explode the suicide vest with
the other. Our bomb disposal unit later defused the vest," he added.
Reza said the couple and the extremists who were holed
up in the two storey building were JMB members.
numerology is very practical and easy to understand
and use which is used for successfull carrier and happier life.
The Islamic State organisation has claimed
responsibilities for many of these assaults but the government and police have
rejected the claims.
The attack follows an assault on a military air base
in Khost province last week
A suicide car bomb detonated near an army base in the
eastern Afghan province of Khost on Friday, killing one soldier and wounding
several before the army repelled at attack on the base by four gunmen, the
district chief said.
The blast, 50 metres (yards) from the base, was heard
several miles away and damaged several shops, homes and a school, Akbar Zadran,
the chief of Sabari district, told Reuters.
Four gunmen attacked the base but were killed after an
hour-long gun battle, Zadran said.
In a statement, the Taliban claimed responsibility for
the attack and said it had caused heavy casualties. The Islamist movement often
exaggerates casualties caused by its operations.
The attack follows an assault on a military air base
in Khost province last week, and comes just ahead of the normal start of the
spring fighting season, when Taliban insurgents and the Afghan army step up
The Afghan government controls less than 60 percent of
the country after territorial gains by the insurgents since NATO-led forces
ended their combat operations at the end of 2014.
U.S. and Afghan officials have warned about increased
fighting this year as the Taliban look to widen their influence.
The Taliban are seeking to expel foreign troops,
defeat the U.S.-backed government and reimpose Islamic law after their 2001
The head of U.S. Central Command, General Joseph
Votel, this month asked for more American troops to join the roughly 8,400
already stationed in Afghanistan to break the stalemate.
Fri Mar 17 2017
The Afghan national army soldiers suffered casualties
in an explosion triggered by a car bomb in southeastern Khost province of
According to the local security officials, the
incident took place earlier today in the vicinity of Yaqoobi and Sabari district.
A spokesman for the 203rd Thunder Corps of the Afghan
National Army (ANA) Fazal Khuda confirmed the incident.
He said a suicide bomber was looking to target a
military base in the area but was identified and shot by the security forces of
a check post located in the area.
Fazal Khuda further added that one Afghan soldier lost
his life and seven others were wounded in the attack.
According to Fazal Khuda, at least three militants
were also killed in the attack.
Khost has been among the relatively calm provinces
during the recent years but the anti-government armed militant groups have been
attempting to expand their insurgency in this province.
This comes as a group of insurgents attempted to carry
out an attack on a military air base in Khost province but the attack was
repulsed by the security forces.
Local officials said a number of insurgents armed with
light weapons and grenades attempted to break into the base but were identified
and at least one of them was shot dead.
Developments have been reported following the meeting
hosted by the United Kingdom to defuse the unprecedented tensions sparked
between Kabul and Islamabad.
The Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSC) of
Afghanistan said the meeting took place on Wednesday hosted by United Kingdom
ONSC in statement said some developments have been
made as there have been agreements that the meetings will continue in the
No further details were given regarding the
breakthrough but the Office of the National Security Adviser said some
developments were achieved following the meeting attended by Mohammad Hanif
Atmar, Pakistan’s foreign affairs adviser Sartaj Aziz, the Afghan Ambassador
Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal, and UK’s national security adviser.
Tensions between Kabul and Islamabad sparked following
the closure of the transit and travel routes along the Durand Line after a
series of the attacks in Pakistan last month.
The Pakistani officials claimed that the attacks were
plotted and carried out by the militants stationed inside the Afghan soil.
The decision was particularly taken after a deadly
suicide attack rocked the Sehwan city of Pakistan, leaving over 70 people dead
and scores of others wounded.
Kabul and Islamabad also exchanged detailed lists of
the alleged terrorists and their sanctuaries located on the two sides of the
line but no breakthrough was reported despite the two neighbors agreed to
jointly work to address the issues.
JAKARTA, March 17 (Bernama) -- Presidential Advisory
Council member, Hasyim Muzadi, who passed away Thursday morning, in Malang,
East Java, was able to safeguard Indonesian Muslims from being influenced by
radicalism, United Development Party (PPP) Secretary General, Arsul Sani said,
Indonesia's Antara news agency reported.
Born on Aug 8, 1944, Muzadi, the former chairman of
Indonesia's largest Nahdlatul Ulema Islamic Organisation, passed away after
having undergone intensive treatment at the Lavalette Hospital and at his home
in Malang for the past several days.
"Muzadi was at the forefront in the efforts to
distance Muslims from radical ideologies, imported from elsewhere, that tend to
negate the Unitary State of Indonesian Republic," Sani remarked here on
The PPP secretary general opined that Muzadi was a
prominent figure among Muslim scholars and leaders who managed to offer a true
and strong Islamic understanding of Indonesia to Muslims.
However, Sani noted that on the other hand, Muzadi
also defended an Islamist group that was unfairly and disproportionately viewed
as radical and anti-national.
Not surprisingly though, he added that Muzadi, who was
a moderate Muslim leader, continued to maintain strong relations with figures
considered radicals, such as Habib Rizieq.
Muzadi was buried in Depok, West Java.
Most Populous Muslim Country Indonesia May Face Threat
from Returning Islamic State Fighters
by EDWIN MORA
16 Mar 2017
Battle-hardened Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) jihadists
from Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim population in the world,
are expected to soon return to their homeland as the terrorist group loses
territory in Iraq and Syria, prompting concerns among Southeast Asian
“As ISIS loses ground in consolidated territory there are
growing fears that the group will lash out overseas, encouraging ISIS-inspired
‘lone wolf’ attacks. There is also mounting concern that Indonesian fighters
will return home equipped with the training and combat experience, harnessed
further by staunch ideological beliefs,” Arsla Jawaid, a former journalist and
expert on foreign jihadi fighters, writes in an op-ed published by the
Since its formation in 2014, ISIS has disseminated
propaganda and recruitment videos on social media aimed at persuading
Indonesians, Filipinos, and Malaysians to travel to the Middle East to engage
Currently, there exists no formal ISIS presence in
Southeast Asia and there is little to suggest a significant ISIS threat to the
region. However, given the history and presence of militancy in the region,
existing jihadi groups such as the Mujahideen Indonesia Timur (MIT) in
Indonesia and the Abu Sayyaf Group in the Philippines have pledged allegiance
to ISIS, raising concerns regarding the formation of a formal ISIS affiliate.
Indonesian authorities have cracked down on
ISIS-linked jihadists in recent years.
The National Police Counterterrorism Squad and the
National Counterterrorism Agency have detained ISIS sympathizers across
National Police Chief Tito Karnavian announced late
last year that 170 alleged jihadists had been detained in 2016.
According to a December 2015 assessment by The Soufan
Group, a New York-based international consultancy firm, some 900 Southeast
Asian fighters, the majority from Indonesia, had traveled to Iraq and Syria to
join jihadist groups, such as ISIS and the al-Qaeda affiliate there.
“Official estimates from Southeast Asian intelligence
agencies placed the number between 1,200-1,800,” reports Jawaid. “While it is
difficult to estimate precisely how many fighters from the region are currently
participating, the Straits Times reported most recently that some 392
Indonesians are believed to be fighting for ISIS in Syria.”
Not all of the Southeast Asians who have traveled to
ISIS-held territory are jihadists — nearly half (45 percent) are believed to be
women and children who accompanied the fighters when they traveled to the
The estimates include individuals who fought on behalf
of the al-Qaeda affiliate in the region.
Indonesia is no stranger to terrorist attacks by
Islamic extremists, including jihadists linked to Jemaah Islamiya (JI), an
al-Qaeda affiliated group, and its offshoot organizations.
In January 2016, ISIS claimed responsibility for a
deadly attack in Indonesia for the first time.
Kenya counter-terror work creates abuses, rights group
NAIROBI (Kenya): Kenya's security agencies are
violating privacy rights in counter-terrorism operations and the information
acquired is used to commit human rights abuses, including targeted killings, an
international human rights group says.
Information gathered from phone intercepts and other
means is carried out essentially without oversight, contravening procedures
required by law, the London-based Privacy International said in a report
The National Intelligence Service makes phone
intercepts and provides the information to police, who obtain clearance to
monitor targets. Information obtained through surveillance is central to the
identification, pursuit and "neutralization," or killing, of
suspects, the report says.
"Telecommunications operators end up handing over
their customers' data because they largely feel that they cannot decline
agencies' requests, in part due to the vagueness in the law," the report
"Several telecommunications operators spoke of
the threat, either direct or implicit, that their licenses would be revoked if
they failed to comply," it says.
Kenyan authorities declined to comment.
Kenya has experienced frequent extremist attacks since
it sent troops to neighboring Somalia in 2011 to help fight al-Shabab.
Privacy International said it interviewed three
intelligence officers, seven military officers and 22 police officers. Of those
interviewed, 17 are in active duty and 15 recently left service.
This is the latest report on alleged abuses in Kenya's
Recent reports by rights groups Haki Africa, Human
Rights Watch and the government's human rights commission have found that
dozens of Kenyans suspected of links to extremist groups have been victims of
enforced disappearances, and some have been found executed.
Kenya holds presidential elections in August, and a
proposed $19 million project by the government regulator Communications
Authority of Kenya to monitor radio frequencies and social media platforms and
"manage devices" is viewed by some as a way to spy on Kenyans or
control communications during the vote.
The government has said the project would help prevent
a repeat of the violence after the 2007 election that killed more than 1,000
South Sudan govt responsible for famine and food
shotages, but still buying arms, says UN report
UN sanctions monitors said 97 percent of South Sudan's
known revenue comes from oil sales and that at least half of the budget -
"likely substantially more" - is devoted to security.
South Sudan’s government is mainly to blame for famine
in parts of the war-torn country, yet President Salva Kiir is still boosting
his forces using millions of dollars from oil sales, according to a
confidential United Nations report. UN sanctions monitors said 97 percent of
South Sudan’s known revenue comes from oil sales, a significant portion of
which is now forward oil sales, and that at least half of the budget – “likely
substantially more” – is devoted to security.
“Revenue from forward oil sales totaled approximately
$243 million between late March and late October 2016,” the panel of UN
monitors said in the report to the UN Security Council, seen by Reuters on
“Despite the scale and scope of the political,
humanitarian, and economic crises, the panel continues to uncover evidence of
the ongoing procurement of weapons by the … Government for the SPLA (South
Sudanese army), the National Security Service, and other associated forces and
militias,” the report said.
The United Nations has declared a famine in some parts
of the world’s youngest country, where nearly half its population – some 5.5
million people – face food shortages. A civil war erupted in 2013 when Kiir, an
ethnic Dinka, fired his deputy Riek Machar, a Nuer, who has fled and is now in
“The bulk of evidence suggests that the famine … has
resulted from protracted conflict and, in particular, the cumulative toll of
military operations undertaken by the SPLM/A in Government in southern Unity
state; denial of humanitarian access, primarily by the SPLM/A in Government;
and population displacement resulting from the war,” the report said.
The United Nations says at least one quarter of South
Sudanese have been displaced since 2013.
The annual report of the sanctions monitors to the
15-member Security Council comes ahead of a ministerial meeting of the body on
South Sudan next Thursday, which is due to be chaired by British Foreign
Secretary Boris Johnson.
While the previous US administration of President
Barack Obama was heavily involved in the birth of South Sudan, which gained
independence from Sudan in 2011, and led Security Council efforts to try to end
the civil war, the policy of new US President Donald Trump toward the African
state is unclear.
In December, the Security Council failed to adopt a
US-drafted resolution to impose an arms embargo and further sanctions on South
Sudan despite warnings by UN officials of a possible genocide. The UN monitors
again recommended in their report that the council impose an arms embargo on
The Security Council set up a targeted sanctions
regime for South Sudan in March 2015 and has blacklisted six generals – three
from each side of the conflict – by subjecting them to an asset freeze and
The UN monitors said all parties to the conflict
continue to commit widespread human rights violations “with near complete
impunity and a lack of any credible effort to prevent these violations or to
punish the perpetrators.” UN peacekeepers have been in South Sudan since 2011.
Will France, Germany and Italy go the Dutch way in
The other big victim of Nazism, Italy had joined
France, Netherlands, Germany and Luxemberg in its bid to stay away from war in
Liberals in Europe were quite relieved on Wednesday
with the results of the closely watched Dutch elections, which the right wing
extremist leader, Geert Wilders of the Freedom Party lost. As Prime Minister
Mark Rutte won the elections with a victory over 33 seats, the anti-immigrant,
anti-Islamist Wilders came staggering behind with 20 seats. The elections in
Netherlands were awaited with much apprehension as they came after the victory
of the right wing in America and the conservative vote winning the Brexit.
For a Europe caught in the middle of economic and
political challenges like the debt crisis, the issue with refugees, terrorism
and the Turkey-European Union (EU) refugee deal, populist right wing ideologies
have been on the rise. Over the years, conversation in Europe has shifted
towards a debate over ‘open Europe’ versus ‘close Europe’. The Netherlands vote
in that sense was decisive in marking a shift away from the seemingly popular
feeling of fear of the outsider. Soon after the results were declared, the
French foreign minister is reported to have congratulated the Netherlands “for
halting the advance of the far right.”
The elections in Netherlands is first among a series
of elections scheduled to be held in Europe in the near future. The French
presidential elections is set to take place on May this year, followed by
Germany in September and Italy in May 2018. The Dutch vote seems significant in
determining the expectations from these three other countries, each of whom
were the founding fathers of the European Union. In the aftermath of the
Netherlands elections, here is how France, Germany and Italy are politically
placed before it goes to polls in the near future.
The west European power has steadily remained one of
the most influential member countries of the EU since its conception in the
post World War II period. Having successfully managed to keep right wing
ideology away, the French government has been governed by the Socialists or the
Republicans since the formation of the 5th Republic in 1958. In the past five
years however, the rise of Marine Le Pen of the National Front has been of much
worry for the liberals in the state.
Taking a strong stance against globalisation, the EU,
the Eurozone, immigration and Islam, Marine Le Pen had gathered support for
herself in the presidential campaign of 2012. In the past five years, opinion
polls in the country has shown a dip in support for Le Pen, but the shadow of
right wing populism has definitely not disappeared. As per a recent poll
conducted by Franceinfo, only 42 per cent of those surveyed believed that
Marine La Pen was capable of securing votes beyond her party base. Majority of
the respondents believed that her party is a danger to democracy. La Pen’s
signature policy proposal of a return to the Franc has also shown a significant
dip in support from 33 per cent last year to 22 per cent this year.
We also need to keep in mind that there is a marked
difference in political atmosphere between urban and rural France. While the
cosmopolitan cities in France are relatively at ease with globalisation and
rather welcome to the outsider, in the rural areas, a sense of neglect is hard
to ignore. Statistics shows that while jobs in the cities increased by 5 per
cent between 2006 and 2011, in France as a whole jobs were in fact lost during
the same period.
La Pen’s support is mainly restricted to Southern
France, the rust belt of north and east and the peripheral areas which are
about 40-50 kms away from the centre of Paris.
Rebuilding itself after the massacre it experienced in
World War II, Germany like France was one of the biggest force that formed the
European Union. The experience of Nazism on its soil had left a deep fear of
the right and is quite strongly entrenched within the country. The fear of the
outsider, however has increasingly sought the attention of the average German
as is evident from the rise in popularity of the Alternative for Germany party
(AfD) that is against the establishment, the eurozone, immigration and Islam.
The party that was founded in 2013 had a strong
presence in recent state elections and is currently in power in 10 out of 16
state parliaments. As per a report by the New York Times, the party is expected
to make its presence felt in the upcoming general elections. The rise of the
party’s popularity is phenomenal considering that what right wing parties in
France and Netherlands managed to achieve in three or four decades, Alternative
for Germany did in three years.
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chancellor Angela Merke (File Photo)
Anti-immigration is perhaps the strongest point around
which the party has based its campaign. Support for the party received a strong
boost in the wake of the Berlin truck attack last Christmas that claimed the
lives of 12 people. The incident was seen as a result of Chancellor Angela
Merkel’s lenient immigration policy. As per a local poll, the party received a
2.5 per cent boost soon after the attack. The party’s confidence soared further
when Donald Trump won the elections in America. Among all other Germany’s
political parties it was AfD alone that celebrated Trump’s victory, hailing his
roots in German soil.
AfD’s popularity is still limited with majority of the
population in cities like Berlin and Munich strongly urging the rest to stay
away from the party. Majority of its supporters, however, are those who are
tired of being apologetic of Germany’s national past and have been in strong
need for a party to represent their economic and social interests. As per
polls, the party is expected to receive 16 per cent of the national vote in
2017, making it the third largest party after Merkel’s Christian Democratic
Union and the Social Democratic Party.
The other big victim of Nazism, Italy had joined
France, Netherlands, Germany and Luxemberg in its bid to stay away from war in
future. Right wing populism had accordingly been kept away for precisely the same
reason. However, being one of the foremost destinations for immigrants from the
Middle East, Italy has moved towards an extremist anti-outsider stance over the
years. The fall of liberalism in the country was most evident when Prime
Minister Matteo Renzi resigned after losing referendum in constitutional
Populist anti-establishment parties like the Five Star
Movement, founded by the comedian Beppe Grillo, and the anti-immigrant Northern
League led the opposition to the government’s efforts in restructuring the
Italian government. The Five Star Movement has in the past couple of years
increasingly gained support. After losing the European elections of 2014, the
party managed to win the mayoralties of Rome and Turin in the local elections
held in the summer of 2016. Political analyst Eric Jones believes that the
party will be able to exploit the “deep and painful fractures” in Italian
society when the country goes to polls in May 2018.
The right wing party’s biggest support comes from
those who are dissatisfied by the political elite’s incapability to undo the
economic stagnation imposed by EU. Recent opinion polls show the Five Star
Party to be almost at par in popularity with the ruling Democratic Party.
Prosecutor Fabienne Atzori said there was no reason to
suspect the shootings were terrorism-related, "whatever the origin of the
A 16-year-old student who had troubled relations with
his peers opened fire at a high school in southern France on Thursday, wounding
three other students and the principal who tried to intervene, officials said.
Police moved into the Alexis de Tocqueville school in the town of Grasse the
country’s picturesque perfume capital and quickly arrested the still-armed
suspect, identified by the Interior Ministry spokesman as Killian Barbey.
The government minister for victims’ affairs, Juliette
Meadel, told BFM television there were 4 people shot three students and the
high school principal and 10 other victims. The Grasse prosecutor said some of
the victims were suffering from “emotional shock.” None of the injuries was
considered life threatening.
Prosecutor Fabienne Atzori said the young man armed
with a rifle, several pistols and a small grenade entered a classroom then
left, “not finding the person or people he was searching for.”
“The motivation of the student appears linked to bad
relations with other students in this high school in which it appears he had
some difficulty integrating,” Atzori said.
She said there was no reason to suspect the shootings
were terrorism-related, “whatever the origin of the terrorist enterprise.” A
national police official said earlier there did not appear to be any other
Investigators were now trying to find out where did
the suspect get the arms, she said. Officials variously gave 16 and 17 as the
age of the suspect. His Facebook page indicates he is 16.
After the suspect started shooting, students alerted
the principle, who was wounded while “courageously” intervening, the prosecutor
said. Some students only discovered shrapnel in their bodies once home, she
Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, who visited
the school Thursday, called it “the crazy act of a fragile young man fascinated
by firearms … We just missed the worst.”
The suspect’s Facebook is filled with violent or gory
During the attack, some students hid at the school and
others were evacuated. A police helicopter circled overhead in what is normally
a relatively quiet corner of France.
Police cordoned off the area and worried residents
gathered outside in the town, which is 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the
southern city of Nice, site of last year’s Bastille Day terror attack that
killed 86 people.
The president of the region, Christian Estrosi, said
the principal suffered an arm wound and told him that after being alerted to
the presence of the armed student, “he tried to interpose … to try to calm him,
and unfortunately he didn’t succeed.”
Student Charlotte Camel, 18, told The Associated Press
she was in the school library when a teacher ran into the room shouting,
“There’s someone with a gun, go hide!” That’s what we did from the very
“We all very much panicked. I thought a lot about the
other students in my class who were in class and I wandered if they were ok. I
thought about my friends and the teachers too,” Camel said.
The attack came amid France’s state of emergency, a
response to a string of deadly Islamic extremist attacks over the past two
While no terrorism link has been identified, “all this
justifies the state of emergency,” President Francois Hollande said, adding
that it would remain in place until July 15, as planned.
The government sent out an alert warning of an attack
after police reported that shots were fired, but later lifted it. The alert is
part of a system implemented by the government after the deadly November 2015
attacks in Paris.
March 17th, 2017
PARIS: A letter bomb exploded at the Paris offices of
the International Monetary Fund on Thursday, injuring a secretary who suffered
burns to her hands and face.
Employees were evacuated from the building near the
Arc de Triomphe in the heart of the capital after the late morning explosion
which was caused by a firework.
IMF chief Christine Lagarde condemned the incident as
a “cowardly act of violence” and insisted the fund would continue its work “in
line with our mandate,” a statement from her office said.
“We are working closely with the French authorities to
investigate this incident and ensure the safety of our staff.” French President
Francois Hollande called it an “attack”, saying it showed the country was
Since early 2015, France has been hit by a series of
deadly attacks by Islamic extremists.
The secretary, who works for an unnamed senior
manager, suffered facial injuries caused by “shards, as well as a blast to the
eardrums” but is out of danger, Paris police chief Michel Cadot said.
“It appears to have been a firework or a big
firecracker,” he said, describing the device as “relatively rudimentary and
nothing like a bomb”.
Armed police and soldiers earlier secured the area
around the IMF offices and anti-terrorism prosecutors opened an inquiry into
Although no link has been established at this stage, a
Greek far-left group on Thursday claimed responsibility for sending a parcel
bomb to the German finance ministry which was discovered in Berlin earlier on
The incident occurred more than six years after the
group waged a similar campaign targeting European officials.
A Greek police source in Athens said “it is rather
soon” to link the two incidents, adding: “We are cautious (and) remain
vigilant.” He noted that the letter sent to the IMF was destroyed in the blast,
while the Berlin parcel bomb was made safe, with the sender’s return address
clearly marked on it.
He said France had not yet sought cooperation from
Greece over the incident.
The Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei group claimed
responsibility for the Berlin parcel bomb in a statement posted on an
anti-establishment website, saying only that it had targeted Finance Minister
Wolfgang Schaeuble’s office.
German police said they had discovered the “explosive”
package at Schaeuble’s office on Wednesday, a day before he was due to host his
new US counterpart, Steven Mnuchin.
Eight hurt as pupil opens fire at school
French police arrested a heavily armed 17-year-old on
Thursday after he opened fire at a school in southern France, rattling nerves
in a country on edge after several jihadist attacks, authorities said.
The teen was carrying a rifle, two handguns and two
grenades in the attack at the Alexis de Tocqueville high school in the sleepy
hillside city of Grasse, police said.
An interior ministry spokesman said eight people,
including the principal, were injured. Some were hurt in a stampede triggered
by the attack.
The suspect, who has not been named publicly, had
shared pictures and videos on social media of infamous US school shootings,
including the 1999 Columbine massacre.
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