Photo: ISIL propaganda
Syrian Radicals 'Brainwash' Kidnapped Kurdish Children
Syria Launches Air Attacks against Sunni Muslim Extremists in Iraq
Iraq's Shiite Cleric Vows To 'Shake the Ground' Against Militants
Al Qaeda’s Syria unit pledges to support ISIS
4 questions ISIS rebels use to tell Sunni from Shia
Syria carried out Iraq border strike on ISIL militants, Maliki tells BBC
Lebanese Government Fails to Impose Stronger Entry Measures on Gulf Citizens
Catastrophic damage and flooding in Iraq? Sunni militants advance toward large dam
El-Sisi at African Union summit: 30 June saved Egypt from civil war
Lebanon's Muslims despise terrorism: Saad Hariri
Al Jazeera executive helped to launch controversial UK website
Shoura thumbs down to higher education system
Jailed Jazeera reporter donates funds to Sisi's Egypt plan
Militants invite Messi to join jihad after his Goal defeated Shiite Iran
Ultra-Conservative Branch of Islam Growing In Popularity in Wales
Britain Bans Saudi Preacher Who Called For Anti-Regime Jihad
Amnesty Condemns Saudi Jailing of Rights Activist as "Ruthless, Spurious"
HRW calls on Tunis to probe war crimes by Tunisian fighters in Iraq, Syria
UK’s first Islamic bond draws torrent of bids
U.N. Security Council blacklists Boko Haram leader, splinter group
Zarb-I-Azb: North Waziristan Ground Operation Kicks Off
13 Terrorists Killed In Air Strikes, 12 Surrendered
Jamrud: 4 militants, 3 Khasadar officials killed in clashes
100 Taliban killed in battle for Helmand districts: Afghan officials
‘No distinction between good, bad Taliban’: Pak FA
Karachi bleeds some more: Four people killed, as many bodies found
North Waziristan offensive exodus triggers polio spread fears
Asma to assist UN inquiry into Lanka war crimes
Web Preaches Jihad to China’s Muslim Uighurs
Explosion in Kandahr leaves 2 people dead, 3 others injured
Mustafa Kamal first Bangladeshi made 11th ICC president
'India positive on Nur's repatriation': Bangladesh FM
US Muslims to Share Ramadan with All Faiths Iftar
Award-winning American Muslim scholar on Allah ruling: ‘We are laughing at you’
US identifies JuD as Lashkar alias, names two new global terrorists
Kerry issues warning after Syria bombs Iraq
Anti-terrorist 'no-fly' list can be challenged, US judge rules
LeT responsible for attack at Indian consulate in Herat: US
A sectarian war? Muslims in India have different takes
‘Modi-Sharif talks reopened back channel’
Militants Attack Yemen Airport, Kill 8 Troops
14-year-old Turkish ISIL militant found at border, injured
Israel Minister: PA President Abbas is a 'mega terrorist'
CHP applies to court to lift coverage ban on Mosul kidnappings
Iran 'sending' drones and weapons to Iraq
P5+1 making 'excessive demands" in nuclear talks: Iran
21 killed as explosion rocks mall in Nigerian capital
Somalia: Hizb ul Islam Change Their Name to Istiqlal
Jonathan - Boko Haram Insurgency Worse Than Civil War
S. Sudan Vows to End Use of Children in Armed Conflict
Morocco busts cell for Syria, Iraq volunteers
Shebab fighters attack African Union base in Somalia
Deadly attacks, low turnout mar Libya election
PAS terminated jihadist’s membership in May, says Mustafa Ali
Ciamis Public Order Agency Shuts Down Ahmadiyah Mosque
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
June 26, 2014
(CNN) - Militants with black masks stand by as 15-year-old Mohammed watches a video of fighters cutting off a man's head.
"This is jihad for the sake of God," the men with Kalashnikov rifles say.
Mohammed begins to feel lost, confused. "Does God want me to do jihad?" he wonders.
This is Mohammed's eyewitness account, told to CNN on Wednesday in a telephone interview.
He was one of the more than 140 Kurdish schoolboys kidnapped in Syria last month by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and forced to take daily lessons in radical Islamic theology, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based monitoring group, and local activists say.
Mohammed's account provides insight into the workings of an organization that has the stated goal of creating a single caliphate across Syria and neighbouring Iraq.
Armed fighters in pickup trucks on May 29 stopped buses driving children back to their hometown of Ayn al-Arab from their junior high final exams in Aleppo.
"How can you sit with the girls? It is forbidden!" the men, many with foreign accents, yelled as they separated the female students and took only the boys.
The convoy of fighters then forcibly escorted the all-male group to the ISIS-controlled city of Manbij in northern Syria, Mohammed told CNN.
Nearly a month later, all the boys, ranging in age from 14 to 16, remain hostages, except for Mohammed and three others who made a harrowing escape.
"We were all so scared. On the way back, we were celebrating that we had finished our tests. We were excited to go home and see our families. We didn't know why they took us," says Mohammed, who asked his full name not be used for fear of his safety.
After five days in captivity, Mohammed and a friend asked their classmates to create a diversion. The boys slipped out a back door, climbed a fence and started running to safety.
The pair went from shop to shop, asking for help, but several locals, frightened by possible retaliation, turned the teenagers away. One resident gave the boys money to take public transportation to the border town of Jarablus, where they contacted their families from an Internet cafe.
"I was so happy when I got home. My mother had no idea that I had escaped. I was so excited to see her," says Mohammed. He says he is now wanted for fleeing and fears he will be executed if ISIS captures him.
Life under ISIS' iron thumb
The boy recalled their first morning in captivity, which began at a mosque in Manbij. "If you try to leave," the militants said, according to Mohammed, "we will cut your heads off."
ISIS issued blankets and assigned a single room for every 17 boys to share. Almost immediately the radical schooling began, Mohammed says.
Every day, local sheiks woke the boys up at dawn for prayer then held the students for several hours of Sharia lessons, said Mohammed. At night, ISIS fighters spent about five hours preaching jihad and showing graphic videos of executions and suicide operations.
"ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra have targeted children for recruitment by providing military training in school settings or as part of broader education programs run by the groups," said a report this week from Human Rights Watch. "Former recruits described how leaders gave children particularly difficult or dangerous tasks and encouraged them to volunteer for suicide attacks."
While ISIS has not commented publicly about the mass abduction, it and other armed militia groups often recruit children for combat and battlefield support. A Syrian doctor told Human Rights Watch he treated a boy no older than 12 whose job was to whip prisoners in ISIS detention centres.
"They are trying to brainwash them," a man identified as the father of one of the Kurdish boys told CNN in a telephone interview.
"We have raised our children well, but we are worried how this will affect them psychologically." the man said on condition of anonymity.
The father, a well-known Kurdish leader living outside Syria, asked his identity be kept secret for fear ISIS may punish his 14-year-old son, who is still being held in Manbij. ISIS totally isolates the children, even threatening local residents for peering at the boys from their balconies, he says.
"My friends would cry quietly at night," Mohammed says, "Now I try to comfort their parents and tell them, 'No they were happy and playing,' but all of us were depressed."
The Syrian government refused to set up testing centers in the Kurdish-controlled city of Ayn al-Arab, forcing nearly 1,500 students to travel through treacherous territory to the government-controlled suburbs of Aleppo for yearend exams, the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The Syrian government has not commented on the claim or the abduction of the boys.
"These children have nothing to do with the political crisis. They just wanted to take their exams. They are innocent of all this," the father says.
Syrian Kurds threatened
The People's Protection Unit (YPG), a Kurdish militia, rules the border city of Ayn al-Arab, but ISIS controls much of the surrounding area, effectively imposing a siege on residents.
"You go into Ayan al-Arab and there are no youths. All my friends are taken. I feel I cannot smile. My whole life and all my days were with my classmates and now there is nothing," Mohammed told CNN.
Anguish plagues the homes of many families worried about the safety of their youngsters and the fate of the Kurdish enclave -- now that ISIS has acquired heavy weaponry, American-made Humvees and advanced military technology from its rampage on neighboring Iraq.
"It is painful for our community. If the boys had been captured in a battle then we can justify it. This is completely unjust." Mostafa Baly, a Kurdish activist inside Ayn al-Arab, told CNN.
ISIS demands Kurdish troops release its fighters in exchange for the release of the children, but with a lack of direct communication and distrust between the two parties, some are calling on the international community to intervene.
"We as the families, we call on any entity that could help put pressure on ISIS to free the children to please help us," Baly, whose nephew is among the abducted, told CNN.
The Democratic Union Party (PYD), which controls Ayn al-Arab, is accused of committing violations against children and those held in its custody. The local Kurdish authority failed to provide due process, committed arbitrary arrests and used children within its ranks, Human Rights Watch said last week.
"The Kurdish-run areas of Syria are quieter than war-torn parts of the country, but serious abuses are still taking place," said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East and North Africa director for the group.
Syria's scattered and long-oppressed Kurdish community fought and won its local autonomy during the country's protracted civil war but distanced itself from the armed rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad.
A call for the world to pay heed
The People's Protection Unit (YPG), which defends and administers the ethnic minority's strongholds, predominantly in the north, often faces armed attacks by anti-government groups vying for resources and control.
"ISIS want to take over the world by killing, terrorizing and hurting children," Baly told CNN. "The Kurdish people will insist on defending themselves, but the world must watch and be careful."
ISIS has not issued any official statement on the incident or the alleged request for a prisoner swap.
The group, so radical that al Qaeda's central command disowned it earlier this year, controls several towns and cities in northern Syria and recently captured much of Iraq's Sunni heartland including the country's second largest city, Mosul.
"I want them to free my friends and bring them back to their families," Mohammed says. "I want ISIS to go because if they come here, I am dead."
Copyright 2014 by CNN New Source. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
ISTANBUL — After taking a hands-off approach toward the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant for several months, the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad has reversed course and launched air attacks against the Sunni Muslim extremist group inside both Syria and Iraq.
The policy shift complicates an already tangled situation for the Obama administration by effectively aligning Assad, whose ouster Washington is demanding, with the United States in the fight against ISIL, which was once part of al-Qaida.
The attacks by Syrian jet aircraft are occurring as Iraq’s air space appears to be growing crowded. The Pentagon this week confirmed that U.S. aircraft and unmanned drones are flying dozens of daily sorties over Iraq, collecting intelligence to share with the government of beleaguered Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Moreover, news reports said that Iran, which backs both al-Maliki and Assad, also is flying drone missions over Iraq.
Who is coordinating the Syrian air attacks on ISIL targets inside Iraq is unclear. The state-run Syrian news agency denied that Syrian aircraft had bombed inside Iraq. But local Sunni tribes denounced the attacks, and White House spokesman Joshua Earnest said the administration has “no reason to dispute” the reports of Syrian airstrikes in Iraq.
U.S. Declines To Launch Airstrikes
The United States so far has declined to launch airstrikes against ISIL, though al-Maliki has requested them.
The effectiveness of the Syrian strikes remains uncertain.
Opposition activists in Raqqa, the northern Syrian provincial capital that ISIL made its headquarters after capturing the city in April 2013, said that fierce regime bombing on Wednesday missed the extremists’ main bases and killed 30 civilians. Meanwhile, Syrian air attacks on Tuesday appeared to have done little to loosen ISIS control of the Iraqi border crossing of Qaim.
But Assad’s new focus on ISIS – which analysts say likely came at Iran’s behest – carries potentially important political advantages for the Syrian leader, including putting his Iraqi counterpart, al-Maliki, in his debt. As a result, al-Maliki may have to more closely coordinate the fight against ISIL with Syria.
Assad “is giving a hand to his ally, Maliki,” said Abu al-Walid, an opposition activist contacted by telephone in Raqqa province.
Furthermore, Assad could point to the airstrikes to press his argument that he’s indispensable in the fight against radical Islam and demand that the United States and its European allies reconsider their demand for his departure from power as part of a settlement to Syria’s civil war.
Joining the drive against ISIL “could change his (Assad’s) relationship with the international community,” said Jessica D. Lewis, the research director of the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington research organization.
Other experts said that Assad’s switch may be nothing more than a reaction to the mounting threat the group poses in Syria now that ISIS has sent to Syria armored vehicles, artillery and other war materiel that it captured from the Shiite-dominated Iraqi army.
Until ISIS began its drive earlier this month through northern and western Iraq following the capture of the country’s second-largest city, Mosul, Assad’s forces generally had refrained from directly attacking the group’s main strongholds in eastern Syria, concentrating instead on recapturing highways and urban centers in western and southern Syria that had been held by other rebel groups.
The largely hands-off policy toward ISIL prompted the U.S.-backed opposition to charge that Assad secretly was aligned with ISIL. U.S. officials and other experts never have subscribed to that scenario. Instead, they contend that Assad ignored ISIL because its existence helped to substantiate his contention that Syria was being attacked by Islamic radicals and because its rivalry with other rebel groups weakened the entire rebel movement.
The first hint that the Assad government had reconsidered that approach came June 11, one day after ISIS seized control of Mosul, when anti-Assad activists reported that Syrian aircraft had bombed an ISIL column headed to Iraq near the Syrian city of Deir el-Zour. Three days later, Syrian aircraft hit ISIL headquarters in Raqqa city hall. The Syrian Air Force then staged 11 airstrikes on ISIS positions after ISIL seized al-Mohasan, a town in Deir el-Zour province that controls a road to the Iraqi border. Regime aircraft also hit ISIL bases in neighboring Hasaka province, which also borders Iraq.
On Tuesday, Syrian aircraft crossed the border and hit ISIS fighters who’d captured the Qaim border crossing and the nearby town of Ratba.
Powerful Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has vowed to "shake the ground" under the feet of advancing Sunni militants, as Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki warned rivals against exploiting the crisis to sideline him.
Sadr, whose movement long battled U.S. forces during Washington's nearly nine-year war in Iraq, also voiced opposition June 25 to American military advisers meeting with Iraqi commanders.
Iraq is combatting an offensive by the jihadist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) that has overrun swathes of five provinces, killed nearly 1,100 people, displaced hundreds of thousands and threatens to tear the country apart.,
U.S. President Barack Obama has so far refrained from carrying out air strikes on the insurgents, as urged by Maliki, but American military advisers began meeting Iraqi commanders June, with Washington having offered up to 300.
Sadr's remarks came as security forces continued to repel assaults on critical towns and infrastructure, though ISIL's offensive was bolstered when fighters from Al-Qaeda's Syrian franchise made a local alliance with it.
"We will shake the ground under the feet of ignorance and extremism," Sadr said in a televised speech from the Shiite holy city of Najaf.
He added that he was only in favour of "providing international support from non-occupying states for the army of Iraq."
The cleric's remarks came days after fighters loyal to him paraded with weapons in the Sadr City area of north Baghdad, vowing to fight the militant offensive.
raq's flagging security forces were swept aside by the initial jihadist push, but have since at least somewhat recovered - and while Sadr's Mahdi Army militia remains officially inactive, fighters loyal to the cleric have nevertheless vowed to combat the militant advance.
The cleric demanded "new faces" in a national unity government following April 30 elections that saw incumbent Prime Minister Maliki emerge with by far the most seats, albeit short of a majority.
Washington has pressed for Iraq's fractious political leaders to unite in a national emergency government, and on Wednesday brushed off Maliki's insistence that such a move would be a "coup against the constitution and the political process."
Sunni tribal leaders have also called for a government to be formed which ignores the April election results, which they describe as a sham. However, Iraqi leaders have shown little sign of coming together.
U.S. officials said they believed that Maliki was still committed to opening a process on piecing together a government on July 1. "I think there's just been a little confusion about what he (Maliki) was ruling out here," said State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf.
Washington has stopped short of calling for Maliki to go, but has left little doubt it feels he has squandered the opportunity to rebuild Iraq since American troops withdrew in 2011.
In a sign the Iraqi military has performed better in recent days, loyalists fought off insurgent attacks June 25on a major air base and a key western town, after repelling assaults on Iraq's biggest oil refinery.
Militants and security forces clashed periodically overnight, but government troops maintained control of the Balad air base, while another offensive was repelled in Haditha in Anbar province, west of Baghdad.
But the country was nevertheless hit by militant violence, with bombings and shelling south of Baghdad and in the disputed, ethnically-mixed northern oil hub of Kirkuk killing a total of 20 people.
Maliki's security spokesman has meanwhile said hundreds of soldiers have been killed since the offensive began.
The United Nations says at least 1,075 people have been killed in Iraq between June 5 and 22, and has tripled its appeal for aid funding to more than $312 million.The U.N. food agency has warned that the country faces "serious food security concerns."
Al Qaeda’s Syria Unit Pledges to Support ISIS
BEIRUT: The local unit of Al Qaeda’s Syrian branch in the tinderbox town of Albu Kamal on the Iraqi border pledged loyalty on Wednesday to the Islamic State of Iraq and Al Sham, giving ISIS control over both sides of the frontier.
The move is significant also because it reflects how ISIS is fast gaining the upper hand in eastern Syria, where it has been locked in combat with fighters from Al Qaeda franchise Al-Nusra Front and allied local rebels virtually all year.
Al-Nusra’s oath of loyalty in Albu Kamal comes days after Iraqi security forces abandoned Al-Qaim, just across the border, and ISIS and other Sunni militants seized it on Saturday.
ISIS, which aspires to create an Islamic state that straddles Iraq and Syria, has spearheaded a lightning offensive that has already captured swathes of territory north and west of the capital.
ISIS waded into Syria’s civil war in the spring of last year on the side of rebels seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad, but its systematic abuses and quest for hegemony quickly turned Syrian rebels, including Islamists, against it.
As a result, fighting broke out in January between ISIS and Syrian rebels, which eventually drew Al-Nusra in against its fellow jihadist organisation.
Despite the fighting, which has killed hundreds; activists say the offensive in Iraq has empowered the group, partly because its fighters have captured large amounts of heavy weaponry from fleeing Iraqi troops.
On Wednesday, Al-Nusra’s Albu Kamal branch “pledged loyalty to ISIS,” said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman.
“They are rivals, but both groups are jihadist and extremists. This move will create tension now with other rebel groups, including Islamists, in the area,” said Abdel Rahman.
An ISIS militant confirmed the reports on Twitter, posting a photo showing an Egyptian Al-Nusra Front commander shaking hands with an ISIS leader of Chechen origin.
An opposition activist in Albu Kamal said via the Internet that “there is a lot of tension, and the situation is only going to get worse.”
Using a pseudonym for security reasons, Hadi Salameh also said the merger would “cause a big problem with the local tribes, who will not welcome this change”.
Another activist said the move comes days after local rebel brigades who had been working with Al-Nusra signed a declaration demanding that it take a clear stance against ISIS.
“The loyalty oath (to ISIS) comes after tension between Al-Nusra and the local rebels,” said Abdel Salam al-Hussein.
He also said hundreds of thousands of people, including displaced families from neighbouring Iraq as well as flashpoint areas in Syria, are living in Albu Kamal, and that it would be a “catastrophe” if fighting broke out in the town.
Hussein said: “ISIS fighters are now positioned at the entrance of Albu Kamal, on the Iraqi side.”
Meanwhile, Deir Ezzor province’s rebel spokesman Omar Abu Leyla warned that “Albu Kamal is a red line”. If ISIS fighters cross over from Iraq, he said the opposition “Free Syrian Army will fight them”.
Rebels fighting ISIS and the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad distributed amateur video footage of a rebel parade in Albu Kamal, which Abu Leyla described as a warning to the jihadists positioned just across the border.
Abu Leyla complained that “the FSA has received no external support at all, even though we are fighting ISIS”.
Separately on Wednesday, the Syrian air force raided ISIS-controlled Raqa in the north of the country and Muhassen in the east.
In Raqa, “12 civilians, including a woman and a child, were killed in the air strikes. Not one strike directly hit an ISIL position”.
Alissa J Rubin,NYT News Service | Jun 26, 2014
BAGHDAD: Whether a person is a Shia or a Sunni Muslim in Iraq can now be, quite literally, a matter of life and death.
As the militant group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, has seized vast territories in western and northern Iraq, there have been frequent accounts of fighters' capturing groups of people and releasing the Sunnis while the Shias are singled out for execution.
ISIS believes that the Shias are apostates and must die in order to forge a pure form of Islam. The two main branches of Islam diverge in their beliefs over who is the true inheritor of the mantle of the Prophet Muhammad. The Shias believe that Islam was transmitted through the household of the Prophet Muhammad. Sunnis believe that it comes down through followers of the Prophet Muhammad who, they say, are his chosen people.
But how can ISIS tell whether a person is a Sunni or a Shia? From accounts of people who survived encounters with the militants, it seems they often ask a list of questions. Here are some of them:
What is your name?
A quick look at an Iraqi's national identity card or passport can be a signal. Shias believe that the leadership of Islam was passed down through the Prophet Muhammad's son-in-law Ali and his sons Hussain (or Hussein), Hassan and Abbas, among others. While some Sunnis and members of other Islamic groups may also have those names, ISIS would most likely associate them with the Shias.
Full report at:
The Syrian air force carried out air strikes targeting militants along the Iraq-Syria border this week, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told the BBC on June 26.
Maliki told the British broadcaster he "welcomed" any such strike against militants led by the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, but noted Baghdad did not request the aerial raids which took place on June 24.
The strikes came after ISIL-led insurgents took control of the al-Qaim border town on the Iraqi side of the frontier, providing them a strategic route into conflict-hit Syria, where the jihadist group is also active.
Jun 26, 2014
The Lebanese government failed Thursday to enforce new visas rules on Gulf citizens after the involvement of Saudis in terrorist activities in the country, Naharnet quoted Telecommunications Minister Butros Harb.
As-safir newspaper had reported that the authorities were mulling to force Gulf citizens to apply for visas at Lebanese missions in their countries rather than getting the visas upon their arrival in Beirut.
Such a measure will be based on reciprocity because Lebanese citizens are required to apply for visas at the consulates of the Gulf countries in Beirut, the daily pointed out.
The move would obstruct the possible entry of suspected terrorists to Beirut and provide security for tourists wanting to visit Lebanon, it added.
Alissa J Rubin & Rod Nordland,NYT News Service | Jun 26, 2014
BAGHDAD: on Wednesday, Iraqi security officials said that fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant were advancing on the Haditha Dam, the second-largest in Iraq, raising the possibility of catastrophic damage and flooding.
Worries about the dam came as Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki criticized his political rivals but did not reject entreaties by Western leaders, including a personal visit by US secretary of state John Kerry, to help defuse the crisis by forming a new government with more equitable power-sharing among competing groups.
The ISIL militants advancing on the dam on the Euphrates river, about 120 miles northwest of Baghdad, were coming from the north, the northeast and the northwest. The fighters had already reached Burwana, on the eastern side of Haditha, and government forces were fighting to halt their advance, security officials said.
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi addressed the African Union’s 23rd Ordinary Summit in Equatorial Guinea's capital Malabo on Thursday afternoon.
Egypt’s membership in the union was suspended for almost a year after the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, but was restored this week.
"Egypt returns to you after what it achieved from the 25 January and 30 June revolution (the date of mass protests against Morsi's rule) in terms of goals of freedom, democracy and social justice, which Egypt achieved through the constitution," said El-Sisi in his first international speech, adding that "no one can claim to have achieved perfect democracy.”
"In the 30 June revolution, the Egyptian armed forces took the side of the people and not the other way around, saving Egypt from a civil war and chaos," he said, adding that many African countries suffered from civil wars.
Lebanon's Muslims despise terrorism: Former PM
BEIRUT: Former Prime Minister Saad Harir said Lebanon's Muslims despise terrorism and expressed his full solidarity with Lebanese security services in their war against terrorism, calling on authorities to hunt down attackers across the country.
The Future Movement leader’s remarks came shortly after a suicide bomber blew himself up at a Beirut hotel during a security raid, wounding 11 people. The blast was the third of its kind in less than a week.
“I express my full solidarity with security services: the Army, the General Security, Internal Security Forces and State Security personnel as they confront pockets of terror,” Hariri tweeted.
A senior executive with Qatar’s TV network Al Jazeera was closely involved with setting up the London news website Middle East Eye, some of whose staff have links to organisations sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Jonathan Powell, an Al Jazeera employee since 2009, spent several months in the UK working on Middle East Eye, which promised “independently produced news, analysis and opinion” at its launch in April. MEE claims to have “no political master, movement or country”.
David Hearst, editor of Middle East Eye and a former foreign correspondent for The Guardian, last week refused to give details about the site’s funding, saying only that his backers were “individual private donors” who were “interested in democracy in the Middle East”.
He also refused to provide any information about the nationalities of those behind Middle East Eye but confirmed he was headhunted for the post of editor.
Two Shoura Council members have criticized the Kingdom’s higher education system, saying it requires a major overhaul to meet the country’s development requirements.
They also called for bringing technical and vocational training institutes under the Ministry of Higher Education to make them more effective. “Our educational institutions are weak and unsystematic,” said Sultan Al-Sultan, a member of the consultative body, during a session on Tuesday.
He said the Technical and Vocation Training Corporation has proved its failure to bring foreign companies to review the quality of its programs. He said the Higher Education Council was not doing enough to improve the country’s educational level.
An Al-Jazeera journalist whose jailing triggered global outrage has donated 15,000 Egyptian pounds to a fund initiated by the president to boost Egypt's ailing economy, his brother said on Thursday.
Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, who was sentenced to seven years in jail along with two other Al-Jazeera journalists for allegedly aiding the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood, made the donation to Tahya Misr (Long Live Egypt), an initiative of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
"When we visited the prison yesterday (Wednesday), Mohamed told us to donate 15,000 pounds (about $2,000/1,670 euros) to this fund," Adel Fadel Fahmy told AFP as he made the donation at a bank on Thursday.
Argentinean striker Leo Messi looks to have picked up unlikely supporters after his 91st-minute winner against Iran after being called to “join the jihadist call”.
The Barcelona star was a key figure in maintaining Argentina’s winning start in Brazil and according to online supporters of ISIS, the Sunni militant group currently fighting in Iraq and Syria, have not only congratulated the pint-sized striker for defeating their Shiite enemy Iran, they have also and invited him to join their movement.
Up to six Welsh mosques are now part of the Islamic movement known as Salafism, including Cardiff’s Al-Manar centre
The ultra-conservative strand of Islam followed by the three young Cardiff men seen on a jihad-recruiting video from Syria has been growing in popularity in Wales.
Up to six Welsh mosques are now part of the Islamic movement known as Salafism, including Cardiff’s Al-Manar centre, where Nasser Muthana, 20, Assel Muthana, 17, and Reyaad Khan, 20, are said to have worshipped.
There is disagreement within Islamic communities in the UK as to the extent to which the growth of Salafism is a concern.
The teachings of Salafism are conservative and impose severe restrictions on everything from women’s rights to music.
Haras Rafiq, of counter-extremism group the Quilliam Foundation, said the Salafi sect covers a broad spectrum of Islam.
Britain bans Saudi preacher who called for anti-regime jihad
June 26, 2014
RIYADH: Britain has banned a conservative Sunni preacher from Saudi Arabia with over 9 million Twitter followers from entering the country, as it tries to deter young Muslims from going to join Islamist militants in Syria.
Mohammad al-Arifi, who has called for jihad against Syrian President Bashar Assad, has visited Britain several times. British newspapers said this week he had preached in a Cardiff mosque attended by three young Muslims who have travelled to Syria to fight.
“We can confirm Mohammad al-Arifi has been excluded from the United Kingdom,” said a Home Office spokesperson in a statement.
“The government makes no apologies for refusing people access to the U.K. if we believe they represent a threat to our society. Coming here is a privilege that we refuse to extend to those who seek to subvert our shared values,” the statement said, without elaborating.
Amnesty International slammed a Saudi court decision to jail an activist for seven years, labeling the charges as "spurious" and urging that the sentence be quashed.Saudi Activist Fawzan Al-Harbi
A court in Riyadh passed the sentence on Fowzan al-Harbi on Tuesday and also banned him from travelling for a further seven years, Amnesty said in a statement.
Harbi was convicted on several charges, including "breaking allegiance" with the ruler, criticizing the authorities in the absolute monarchy and participating in founding an "unlicensed organization".
"Harbi has been ruthlessly targeted for daring to question the Saudi authorities' human rights record," said Said Boumedouha, Amnesty's deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa Program.
International rights group Human Rights Watch on Wednesday called on Tunisia to launch an investigation into allegations of war crimes committed in Syria and Iraq by Tunisian combatants.
The international rights body said that Abu Hamza Al-Mouhamadi, a man who identified himself as Tunisian, had posted videos and photographs on Facebook that showed him “apparently showing his role in the abuse and ultimate execution of five detained Iraqi border guards” according to the group’s statement.
“When a Tunisian extremist so brazenly boasts of his crimes online, the authorities should send a clear and unequivocal message to all Tunisians that they won’t tolerate such conduct", HRW's deputy Middle East and North Africa director Nadim Houry commented..
The report cited three videos showing Abu Hamza -- "his nom de guerre" according to HRW -- in which he interrogates and slaps five detained guards.
LONDON: Britain became the first Western country to sell an Islamic bond on Wednesday, attracting 2.3 billion pounds ($3.9bn) in orders, more than 10 times the amount it was looking to sell.
The government raised 200 million pounds from the five-year sukuk issue, part of an effort to boost London’s position as a centre for Islamic finance.
Finance minister George Osborne said he hoped the deal would spur more corporate issuance of Islamic bonds, which cannot pay interest but instead offer a fixed profit stream based on underlying assets such as property.
“Today’s issuance of Britain’s first sovereign sukuk delivers on the government’s commitment to become the Western hub of Islamic finance and is part of our plan to make Britain the undisputed centre of the global financial system,” he said.
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations Security Council sanctioned the leader of Nigeria's Boko Haram and a splinter group on Wednesday, the first individual and entity to be designated by the world body since the Islamist militant group was blacklisted, diplomats said.
Leader Abubakar Shekau and Boko Haram faction Ansaru will be banned from international travel and their assets frozen under the U.N. al Qaeda sanctions list.
Russia placed a "technical hold" on the designations two weeks ago because it needed more time to review the listings, but diplomats said they lifted the hold on Wednesday, allowing the sanctions to come into force.
Last month, the Security Council al Qaeda sanctions committee blacklisted Boko Haram at the request of Nigeria, following global outrage when the group kidnapped more than 250 girls from a school in remote northeastern Nigeria on April 14.
Zarb-i-Azb: North Waziristan ground operation kicks off
PESHAWAR: Ground troops were moved in to Miramshah Bazaar on Thursday as tanks and artillery continued to pound militant hideouts in and around the bazaar.
Sources said that after weakening the targets with air assaults, security forces were now moving into the built area and clearing hideouts.
The officials said that security forces were also consolidating the positions in and around Miramshah Bazaar.
The official sources also said that the ground offensive in Miramshah has started at 6 am and would continue.
The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) is yet to issue an official confirmation of casualties in the operation.
RAWALPINDI- Thirteen terrorist were killed in shelling by jet aircraft in Mir Ali during the ongoing operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan today.
According to ISPR, five hideouts of the terrorist have also been destroyed. Meanwhile, 12 terrorists have surrendered to the forces.
Jamrud- Four terrorists and three Khasadar officials were killed in a clash between security forces and militants, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) has confirmed.
According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), militants attacked a security check post in Sur Qamar area of Tehsil Jamrud with heavy weapons. During the exchange of fire, three personnel of Khasadar Force were killed while four terrorists were also killed in the retaliatory action.
The injured and bodies were shifted to a hospital in Peshawar while security forces cordoned off the area and launched a search operation. The exchange of fire took place in the Sur Qamar area of Jamrud, which is a town located in Khyber Agency. The Pakistan Army is fighting militants in an ongoing military operation named Zarb-e-Azb in the tribal area of North Waziristan.
KANDAHAR: More than 800 Taliban militants have launched a major offensive in southern Afghanistan to try to gain territory recently vacated by US troops, officials said on Wednesday, with 40 civilians killed in five days of fighting.
About 100 Taliban have been killed, according to the interior ministry, in clashes that erupted as Afghanistan wrestled with a political crisis over alleged fraud in the June 14 election to choose a successor to President Hamid Karzai.
The assault highlights the challenges facing Afghan security forces battling the Taliban as US-led Nato forces pull out.
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Wednesday said security forces were conducting operation in North Waziristan Agency against militants without discrimination.
Speaking at a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs the adviser presented the ‘Strategic Vision of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy’ and said: “There is no distinction between good Taliban and bad Taliban and the military operation was being conducted across the board.”
KARACHI: Two political workers were among four people killed in separate acts of target killings in the city. The bodies of four others were found from different areas on Wednesday.
A worker of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, 45-year-old Abdul Razzak, son of Ghani Usman, was shot dead by unidentified persons in Korangi. Police officials said that unidentified assailants targeted him while he was sitting outside his house. The deceased was associated with MQM’s Unit-73. The motive behind the incident has yet to be ascertained.
Similarly, a leader of Peoples Youth Organisation was killed in an act of target killing near the Sindh Secretariat within the limits of Aram Bagh police station. The deceased was identified as 35-year-old Syed Saeed Shah, son of Bismillah Shah. Police officials said that the deceased was the president of PS-100 of the Peoples Youth Organisation. He was travelling on his motorcycle when unidentified assailants shot him dead. A passerby, Asif, was also injured in the attack.
BANNU: Health officials are rushing to vaccinate hundreds of thousands of children against polio amid fears that a civilian exodus from a tribal area where the virus is rampant could spread the disease around the country.
Nearly half a million people have fled a military operation against Taliban strongholds in North Waziristan, a hotspot for the crippling disease in the country.
Children in the tribal district have not been vaccinated since Taliban and local warlords banned health teams from giving out drops in June 2012.
Tens of thousands of families have fled to the town of Bannu, close to North Waziristan, while hundreds more have moved further afield to Lakki Marwat, Karak and Dera Ismail Khan towns, since the offensive began in mid-June.
UNITED NATIONS - Three distinguished experts have agreed to advise the UN-mandated investigation into alleged human rights violations committed during the final stages of the armed conflict in Sri Lanka.
The experts are former Finnish President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Martti Ahtisaari, former Governor-General and High Court judge of New Zealand Silvia Cartwright and former President of Pakistan’s Human Rights Commission Asma Jahangir.
“I am proud that three such distinguished experts have agreed to assist this important and challenging investigation,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in a statement.
URUMQI, China—The video posted online last month looks much like ones from Middle East jihadist groups. It shows what appears to be a man making a suitcase bomb and grainy footage of an explosion at a crowded train station here. The soundtrack plays an Arabic chant inciting holy war.
But the video isn’t meant to rally followers in Iraq or Syria. Its appeal is to China’s 10 million Uighurs, a largely Muslim ethnic group from this northwestern region of Xinjiang, some of whom have resisted Chinese rule for decades.
The Internet has been a key propaganda tool for Mideast militants. Now, it appears to be helping spread the ideology and tactics of violent jihadism to this remote corner of the Muslim world, poorer parts of which came online only recently.
The video was posted after a knife-and-bomb attack at a train station in Urumqi, Xinjiang’s capital—one of a series of assaults in Chinese cities since October that have made unrest emanating from the region the biggest domestic-security issue for China’s leadership.
Jun 26 2014
At least two civilians were killed and three others including an Afghan policeman were injured following an explosion in southern Kandahar province of Afghanistan.
Local officials said the incident took place around 9:00 am local time in the second police district of Kandahar city.
Provincial governor spokesman, Dawa Khan Meenapal, confirmed two civialians were killed and three others including a policeman were injured.
Meenapal further added that the explosion also incurred damages to a hotel and a number of shops located in the ara.
No group including the Taliban militants has so far claimed responsibility behind the incident.
Kandahar is among the volatile provinces in southern Afghanistan where anti-government armed militant groups are actively operating in its various districts and frequently carry out insurgency attacks.
AHM Mustafa Kamal is the first Bangladeshi to take the charges as the President of International Cricket Council (ICC).
He became the 11th president of the ICC, according to a media release published on the website of the council.
The declaration came at the ICC’s Memorandum and Articles of Association at the Annual Conference in Melbourne today.
After becoming the president of the ICC, Kamal said, “This is a memorable and historic day for Bangladesh cricket. On this day 14 years ago, Bangladesh became the 10th Test playing country. Today, a Bangladeshi becomes the 11th President of the International Cricket Council. Thank you for bestowing this honour on Bangladesh and me".
The Indian government would positively consider about the repatriation of Nur Hossain, the prime accused of seven murders in Naryanganj.
Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali made the disclosure at a press conference after the meeting between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
He said: “The Indian external affairs minister has asked Bangladesh to request them for the reparation of Nur Hossain. She said they will consider the request positively.”
Earlier in the day, Sushma also held a bilateral meeting with Mahmood Ali. She arrived in the capital on a three-day visit to Dhaka on Wednesday night.
On June 14, Kolkata police arrested Nur Hossain along with his two accomplices.
CAIRO – As the clock ticks towards the start of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, a US advocacy group is calling on mosques across the United States to open doors to their neighbours of all faiths and backgrounds for interfaith Iftar to share the spirituality of the holy month and enhance Islam understanding in the country.
“For Muslims, the month of Ramadan serves as a season of spiritual renewal and gratitude for the bounties bestowed upon all human beings,” Nihad Awad, National Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said in Sharing Ramadan 2014 Guide obtained by OnIslam.net.
“For these reasons, CAIR is calling on American Muslim communities to take time in the month of Ramadan to reach out to their neighbours of other faiths and traditions in a wonderful nationwide initiative titled “Sharing Ramadan.””
A well-known American Muslim theologian has joined a long list of critics over the recent Court of Appeal ruling on the use of the word Allah, saying it was a "political decision more than anything else".
"This notion that Malaysian Muslims need to be protected by the court because you can't think for yourself, you can't make decisions on your own. We are laughing at you," said Reza Aslan, speaking on BFM Radio's Evening Edition programme yesterday.
"That you can control people's ideas, their behaviour, their faith and their minds simply by trying to control the words that they use, is absurd. It is an embarassment to a modern, constitutional, democratic and deeply Muslim state like Malaysia," he added.
Aslan insisted that Christians using the word Allah - which means God in Arabic - were not a threat to Islam.
Written by Muzamil Jaleel | New Delhi | June 26, 2014
The US on Wednesday put two new leaders of the Lashkar-e-Toiba on its list of “Specially Designated Global Terrorists” and named Jama’at-ud-Dawa among four aliases of the Lashkar.
The US Treasury Department said in a statement that it had “targeted the financial and leadership networks of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LT) by designating Nazir Ahmad Chaudhry (Ahmad) and Muhammad Hussein Gill as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224”.
According to the Treasury Department, it has now “designated 22 individuals and four entities associated with LT”.
The State Department named Jama’at-ud-Dawa, Al-Anfal Trust, Tehrik-e-Hurmat-e-Rasool and Tehrik-e-Tahafuz Qibla Awwal as front organisations and aliases of Lashkar-e-Toiba, and included them in the list of Foreign Terrorist Organisations (FTO). The Lashkar itself had been designated as an FTO in 2001.
26 June 2014
Syrian warplanes bombed Sunni militants’ positions inside Iraq, military officials confirmed Wednesday, deepening the concerns that the extremist insurgency that spans the two neighboring countries could morph into an even wider regional conflict. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned against the threat and said other nations should stay out.
Meanwhile, a new insurgent artillery offensive against Christian villages in the north of Iraq sent thousands of Christians fleeing from their homes, seeking sanctuary in Kurdish-controlled territory, Associated Press reporters who witnessed the scene said.
The United States government and a senior Iraqi military official confirmed that Syrian warplanes bombed militants’ positions Tuesday in and near the border crossing in the town of Qaim. Iraq’s other neighbors - Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Turkey - were all bolstering flights just inside their airspace to monitor the situation, said the Iraqi official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
For thousands of air travelers in the United States, the years since 9/11 have become a bureaucratic black hole. These are the individuals on the US government’s secret “no-fly list” – reportedly some 20,000 people, including 500 US citizens.
Stopped at airports, they have been interrogated under the presumption that they might present a national security threat, bumped from their ticketed flights, and prevented from US air travel in the future. Except they are not told why, and they have had no effective means of challenging the restrictions on their travel.
This week, US District Court Judge Anna Brown in Portland, Ore., ruled that such individuals have a right under the US Constitution's "due process" provision to know more about the circumstances of their inclusion on the list and to have a more effective means of challenging that listing.
The US on Wednesday re-designated LeT as a terrorist organisation
There is credible evidence that Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) was responsible for the terror attack on the Indian consulate in Afghanistan’s Herat province, the US has said.
“Based on credible information... the US government has assessed that LeT was responsible for the attack in Herat on May 23rd, 2014. This is the attack on the Indian consulate (in Herat)”, State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said on Wednesday while announcing additional sanctions against LeT affiliates and leaders.
However, given the sensitive nature of the information, she refused to divulge details about the credible information, based on which LeT was held responsible for the attack on Indian Consulate in Herat.
Coming three days before the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister of India, the attack was apparently part of LeT’s effort to derail his SAARC initiative.
Mr. Modi had invited the heads of the states of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations, including Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for his swearing-in ceremony in New Delhi on May 26.
Fawaz Shaheen | Jun 26, 2014
The international media has largely dubbed the civil war in Iraq a sectarian conflict, part of a 1300 year struggle between Shias and Sunnis, the two major sects in Islam. Analysts in India have been concerned over a likely "spill-over" effect in India, with chances of Shia-Sunni acrimony. Reports suggest that Lucknow's city administration has been nervous given the history of Shia-Sunni violence in the city.
Amid these developments, an organization called Anjuman-e-Haideri has started recruiting volunteers pledging to protect Shia holy shrines in Iraq. Hasan Haider, an executive member of the group claims that more than 20,000 people have registered so far from all over India and, if granted visas, will go and serve in Iraq. He clarifies that contrary to what is being said in certain sections of the media, the group will not participate in fighting, "We will not respond to terror with terror". Instead, the volunteers aim to provide relief and medical aid as well as moral support to the local population. The group is lead by well known cleric Maulana Kalb-e-Jawad, who is presently on a trip to Iran.
Express News Service | New Delhi | June 26, 2014
India and Pakistan have revived back-channel talks following a meeting between Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif last month, the Pakistani daily Dawn reported on Wednesday, quoting Islamabad’s ambassador to Washington, Jalil Abbas Jilani.
Jilani told a US think tank in Washington on Tuesday that Pakistan desired an uninterrupted peace process with India that would address causes of all outstanding disputes and “not just symptoms”, Dawn reported.
The daily said that Jilani expressed the hope that back-channel talks would enable the two sides to discuss all issues, including terrorism and Islamabad’s concerns regarding Indian involvement in stoking unrest in Balochistan.
Suspected Al-Qaeda militants stormed an airport in Yemen's southeastern Hadramawt province on Thursday, triggering an army intervention to evacuate the passengers of a civilian airliner, military and security officials said.
Three soldiers were killed in the attack on Sayun airport, while five more were killed in a suicide bombing that hit a nearby military headquarters, the officials said.
Troops were still in a standoff with the militants, who seized the airport control tower and took hostages before bombing it, a security official said.
Sayun is the main town in the Hadramawt valley, an extremist stronghold in the province's interior, and was the scene of a spectacular May 24 raid by scores of militants that left 15 soldiers and police dead.
Attackers gunned down three soldiers at the entrance to the Sayun airport, which is also used by the air force, before taking control of parts of the facility, including the control tower, a security official said.
Simultaneously, a suicide bomber targeted a military base close to the airport, killing five soldiers, a military official said.
The attack on the airport took place as a Yemen Airways plane landed, a military official said.
Troops scrambled armored vehicles to confront the militants and evacuate the passengers of the arriving aircraft in army buses through the northern gate of the airport, the official said.
A 14-year-old Turkish child who joined Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants was found in a serious condition at the Akçakale border gate with Syria, daily Milliyet has reported.
It was revealed that the young teenager, identified as Taylan Ö.Y., left his home in Ankara for Syria with five other friends, some 45 days before being delivered to Turkish soldiers at the border gate in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa.
He was immediately rushed to the district hospital on June 22, where he underwent an eight-hour operation.
Crosses border for 20 Liras
According to daily Milliyet’s report, Taylan dropped out from school and was working as a garlic vendor in the streets of Ankara, like many members of his family.
Along with his five friends, he paid 20 Turkish Liras (9 U.S. dollars) to smugglers in the southeastern Kilis province to cross the border into the Syrian region controlled by ISIL militants. His friends then returned to Turkey after they were brought to Raqqa, but Taylan was taken into intensive training by the militants. He reportedly said they received military training and Quran lessons in the morning, while they played sports in the afternoons. He had also contacted his father, telling him that he did not intend to return to Turkey.
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett told Israel Radio on Thursday morning that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is a "mega terrorist" for aiding Palestinian inmates in Israeli prisons with the monthly transfer of funds.
Bennett stressed that by transferring Palestinian Authority funds to terrorist prisoners, the PA was supporting the murder of Jews.
At the moment, the Palestinian Authority transfers monthly stipends to Palestinian prisoners who have been involved in terrorism, Bennett said, with some stipends reaching NIS12,000 a month.
An opposition lawmaker applied to court on June 26 to lift the coverage ban imposed on the kidnapping of 80 Turkish citizens by Sunni militants in Mosul, Iraq on June 11.
Sezgin Tanrıkulu, deputy leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), made his appeal to an Ankara court citing in his petition his constitutional right for freedom of expression.
“This publication ban restricting fundamental human rights and freedoms has no legal basis and is unacceptable,” Tanrıkulu said in his petition.
The CHP lawmaker recalled that the relevant articles of the Turkish Constitution, as well as the international conventions that Turkey is part of, made lifting the ban obligatory.
The ban was imposed nearly a week after Turkey’s Consul-General in Mosul, Öztürk Yıldırım, and his 48 personnel, along with 31 Turkish truck drivers were kidnapped by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Iran is secretly flying surveillance drones over Iraq and sending military equipment there to help Baghdad in its fight against Sunni insurgents, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
A "small fleet" of Ababil drones was deployed to the Al Rashid airfield near Baghdad, the newspaper said on its website, citing anonymous US officials.
Tehran has also installed an intelligence unit at the airfield to intercept electronic communications between ISIS fighters and commanders.
Ababil drones, less sophisticated than US unmanned aircraft, are designed in Iran and have a nearly 10-foot (three-meter) wingspan. They are used for surveillance and are unarmed.
About a dozen officers of Iran's paramilitary Quds Force, have also been sent to Iraq to advise Iraqi commanders and help mobilize Shiite militias in the south of the country, the paper said, adding that Iran's General Qassem Suleimani recently made two trips to Iraq.
Iran is also sending two flights daily to Baghdad with 70 tons each of military equipment and supplies.
Iran has offered "rational proposals" in nuclear negotiations but "excessive demands" of the P5+1 world powers are likely to prevent agreement by the July 20 deadline, Tehran's foreign minister said Thursday.
The five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany are trying to secure a mammoth deal by next month to reduce in scope Iran's nuclear programme and ease fears the Islamic republic will get atomic weapons.
Iran denies seeking to make a bomb and wants punishing UN and Western sanctions lifted. Neither Israel nor the United States have ruled out military action to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.
Associated Press | Abuja | June 26, 2014
An explosion blamed on Islamic extremists rocked a shopping mall in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, and police said 21 people were killed.
The blast came as Nigerians were preparing to watch their country’s Super Eagles play Argentina at the World Cup in Brazil. Many shops at the mall have TV screens but it was unclear if the explosion was timed to coincide with the match, which started an hour later.
Witnesses said body parts were scattered around the exit to Emab Plaza, in Abuja’s upscale Wuse 2 suburb.
One witness said he thought the bomb was dropped at the entrance to the mall by a motorcyclist. All spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.
Soldiers shot and killed one suspect as he tried to escape on a power bike and police detained a second suspect, Mike Omeri, the government spokesman for the insurgency, said in a statement.
Religious leaders and other members from the different cross-sections of the society attended a function in which Hizb ul Islam changed its name to Istiqlaal. Hizbul Islam disintegrated and some of their leaders formerly joined Alshaab before their overall leader who also joined Alshabaab Hassan Dahir Aweys surrendered himself to the Federal Government authorities.
The former secretary of Hizbul Islam, Sheikh Mohamed Moalim announced that they revived the organization which will function as a political party and named it Istiqlaal. He also said that their new organization will take part in the politics of the country.
Sheikh Mohamed Moalim who is the chairperson of the new organization says their organization will function as a political party and will seek to do everything in a peaceful manner. He also said that they will have discussions with the Federal Government. Sheikh Mohamed Moalim is currently in Mogadishu where he said they will not seek for political engagement through violent means but through a peaceful manner.
President Goodluck Jonathan has said the Boko Haram insurgency is worse than the civil war that broke out in Nigeria in the late 60's.
Jonathan said this at the Presidential Villa in Abuja yesterday while receiving the College of Bishops of the African Church led by Primate Emmanuel Udofia, who paid him a courtesy visit.
He said during the civil war, the battle line was drawn and the enemies known; while in a terror war, the enemies are from within and are faceless.
Thanking the bishops for their prayers, Jonathan pledged that his administration would continue to do everything possible to move the nation forward.
"... apart from those of us from the Eastern region who witnessed the effects of the civil war, people have not witnessed this kind of insecurity in the country.
The United Nations announced on Wednesday that the South Sudan government has renewed its commitment to the Action Plan signed in 2012 with the UN to end the recruitment and use of children in government armed forces and other grave violations.
Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict Leila Zerrougui who witnessed the agreement late Tuesday said.
"Using children in conflict has a shocking impact on their lives and their protection is essential to build the future of their country," said Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict Leila Zerrougui who witnessed the agreement late Tuesday, Xinhua reported.
RABAT - Moroccan police have busted a “terrorist” cell recruiting and sending volunteers to fight alongside Islamists in Syria and Iraq, arresting six people, the interior ministry said on Wednesday.
Among those arrested in the operation, carried out in the city of Fez in coordination with the domestic intelligence agency (DGST), was a Moroccan Islamist formerly held under the country’s anti-terrorist law, according to the ministry statement.
“(This cell) specialised in recruiting and sending Moroccan volunteers to fight in the ranks of terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq... where they receive military training in the use of weapons and bomb-making techniques,” it said.
Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab commandos on Thursday attacked an African Union military base in central Somalia dressed in stolen government army uniforms, killing at least two soldiers from Djibouti, the AU force said.
The Shebab said their gunmen stormed the compound of a hotel where Djiboutian troops with the AU force were based in the town of Bulla Burde, some 200 kilometres (125 miles) north of the capital Mogadishu, their spokesman Abdulaziz Abu Musab told AFP.
"The area command headquarters (of the AU force) was attacked, these attacks will continue," Musab said, boasting to have killed six AU troops.
However, Elio Yao, spokesman for the UN-backed AU mission in Somalia (AMISOM), rejected the claims, saying the gunmen failed to enter the compound but had killed two Djiboutians in a firefight.
Press Trust of India | Tripoli | June 26, 2014
A deadly attack on troops, the killing of a rights activist and low turnout marred a parliamentary election Libyan authorities hope will end the political turmoil rife since the ouster of Moamer Kadhafi.
Seven soldiers deployed to provide polling day security in second city Benghazi were killed, and 53 injured, in what security officials said was an attack on their convoy by Islamist militia.
Later lawyer and human rights activist Salwa Bugaighis was shot dead by unknown assailants at her home in Benghazi, hospital and security sources said.
A former member of the National Transitional Council, the 2011 anti-Kadhafi rebellion’s political wing, she was vice president of a preparatory committee for national dialogue in Libya.
PAS has sacked a member who had gone to Syria to join a jihadist movement there, said Datuk Mustafa Ali.
The PAS secretary-general said PAS had terminated Lotfi Ariffin’s membership on May 11 after learning that he had signed up with a militant group fighting in the civil war there.
"We had received information about this earlier and investigated it. When it was confirmed to be true, we decided to terminate his membership in a PAS meeting had last month.
"It's just that we did not inform the media then," Mustafa told The Malaysian Insider responding to a Star online report today.
Jakarta. An Ahmadiyah mosque in Ciamis, West Java, was shut down by the local Public Order Agency officers on Thursday, not long after hundreds of Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) members rallied against the group in front of the local district chief’s office.
“The Ahmadiyah mosque in Ciamis was forcefully shut down by the local Leaders Consultative Forum (Muspida),” Ahmad Mbuarik, spokesman of the Indonesia Ahmadiyah Congregation (JAI), said on Thursday. “The letter of the closure was signed by Yusuf, chairman of the Ciamis Public Order Agency. Since when did the Public Order Agency have the authority to issue the decision to seal [buildings]?”
Members of the local Ahmadiyah community reportedly went to the mosque to pray on Thursday afternoon, but realized on arriving that its entrance door had been locked. A piece of paper placed on the door said: