Photo: Representative image
‘Mann Ki Baat’: Modi Greets Nation on Ramzan
Unanimous Fatwa Declares Jihad a Jurisdiction of State, Suicide Attackers as Traitor
Suicide Blast, Clashes on First Day of Ramazan Kill 54 in Afghanistan
Radicalised UP Medical Student Married IS Operative, Amzad Khan, Over Phone
For Ramzan, Sikhs and Hindus Join Hands to Build A Mosque, Setting An Example Of Communal Harmony
Army kills 10 Pak intruders, two of them BAT members
Defying shutdown call, hundreds of Kashmiri youth appear for Army exam
Despite J&K oppn's bid to fuel protest, Centre's security-centric focus to stay
In less than a year, forces kill Burhan Wani’s successor too
Pakistan Reopens Afghanistan Border Crossing After Deadly Exchange
Petition in Pakistan Supreme Court seeks immediate execution of Kulbhushan Jadhav
UAE charity distributes food to the underprivileged in Pakistan on occasion of Ramadan
Pakistan says Iranian mortar attack kills civilian
15 ISIS Loyalists Killed By Afghan Civilians in Nangarhar Province
Afghan forces foil deadly explosion plot in Herat province
Afghan forces rescue 11 from Taliban prison in Helmand
Insider attack claims lives of 6 Afghan policemen in Zabul
Taliban commanders among 19 killed in Kunduz ground and air raids
Taliban suffer casualties after coordinated attack on Helmand security posts
3 Pakistanis arrested before joining ISIS in East of Afghanistan
Homs: Syrian Army Gives Terrorists Last Ultimatum to End Fight against Gov't Forces
Severe Infighting Erupts Between Rival Terrorists In Lebanon's Arsal
About 20 fighters were killed in the battles of the western Al-Qalamoun against the “Islamic State” organization
Airstrikes target several areas in Al-Raqqah city and its countryside cause casualties
Iraqi troops push for last ISIL holdouts in Mosul
Several Turkey-Backed Terrorists Killed in Clashes with Kurdish Fighters in Northern Syria
Syrian Army Utilizing Russia-Made Tank-Killer Missiles in War on Terrorism
Iraq Volunteer Forces Announce Liberation of Qahtaniyah near Sinjar
Iran Stresses Boosting Economic Relations with Azerbaijan
2 Border Guards Killed, 7 Wounded in Clashes with PJAK Terrorists in Northwestern Iran
52 dead in militia clashes in Libyan capital
Report: Manchester Terrorist Linked to Canadian Radical Imam
Controversial Swiss mosque to shut down after Ramadan
7/7 Met Police officer calls for internment of Islamic extremists
Emirates Red Crescent Launches Iftar Project in Yemen
Ramadan an Opportunity for Muslim Unity: Iran’s FM
How Israel has failed Palestinian victims
Jannah Burj Al Sarab reveals Ramadan offers
Bodies of Civilians Found Dumped Near Philippines City Besieged By Islamists
19 dead as troops fight ISIL-linked groups
Violent Clash between Protesters at Rally against Proposal for Islamic School
Jewish Gym Owner Receives Vile Death Threats After He Criticised the Islamic Community
Muslim-Led Campaign Raises $165,000 for Families of Stabbing Attack Victims
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Neeraj Chauhan | TNN | May 28, 2017
NEW DELHI: Amzad Khan alias Ayan Khan Salafi, who was deported from Saudi Arabia in April this year for recruiting and motivating Indians for IS terror group branch Junood-ul-KhilafaFil-Hind (JKH), had radicalised a 24-year-old girl from Azamgarh and asked her to come with him to Syria and live an Islamic life.
The girl, a medical student, was so impressed with Amzad that she agreed to join him and both of them got married over mobile phone in May last year.
37-year-old Amzad Khan, a resident of Churu, Rajasthan was closely associated with IS terror group's India head Shafi Armar and had played an important role in motivating and recruiting Muslim youths for Junood-ul-Khilafa-Fil-Hind' (JKH), the Indian branch of the terror group started by Armar in 2015-16. About 30 members of the outfit, led by Muddabir Sheikh, were arrested by NIA last year in countrywide raids.
Amzad Khan operated from Saudi Arabia. His interrogation with NIA, details exclusively accessed by TOI, re veal that he not only motivated members but linked them to JKH, and alerted them about NIApolice raids. About the girl, he says he started interacting with her in November-December 2012. The girl, who was doing her medical studies from Sarai Mir in Azamgarh, used to discuss Ahl-e-Hadith and Islam with him and impressed with his knowledge, she "fell in love with him", despite him informing her that he is married and has two kids.
NIA officials refused to di vulge the identity of the girl.
When Amzad went to Saudi Arabia in April 2014, he motivated her with the ideology of IS terror group and asked her to come with him.
He informed her that her journey would be facilitated through Shafi Armar, who lives in Syria. "Shafi Armar has assured that you can live in Syria with me without going to the battle field," Amzad told the girl.
In May 2016, Amzad and the girl got married over the girl got married over phone with proper rituals carried out from both sides in India and Saudi Arabia.
The girl finally didn't go and no action has been taken against her by the authorities. Interestingly, because of his online activities and regular interaction with Indian recruits on Facebook, Telegram, Nimbuzz and other platforms, Saudi authorities had arrested his two brothers Adrish Khan and Mohammad Shareef last year.They were found to be innocent but were deported to India along with Amzad on April 4 this year.
Amzad has informed the agencies that earlier he used to think Shafi Armar was working for Indian agencies and was behind the arrest of IS recruits in India.
Most of his knowledge about Islam was from internet and he had become so popular in Facebook and other social media groups that he had 4,000 people in his friends list.
May 28, 2017
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, May 28
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday began his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ radio programme by reaching out to the nation and greeting people on the beginning of the holy month of Ramzan.
The prime minister said this is a country with people from all religions and communities.
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“It has people who believe in God and those who don’t. People from all walks of life live here harmoniously,” Modi said as he reached out to people across the country.
Modi remembered Veer Savarkar on his ‘jayanti’ and recalled fondly his visit to the Andaman Islands where he visited the Cellular jail where so many of India’s freedom fighters had been lodged.
He expressed his happiness over the fact that today’s youth is taking an interest in learning about the freedom struggle of the country.
The prime minister said that 5th June is observed as World Environment Day.
“This year the UN have chosen ‘Connecting People to Nature’ theme’,” he said and urged people to plant saplings in the coming monsoon season.
Referring to 21 June which is now celebrated as World Yoga Day, the PM said that yoga is India’s gift to the world and it is now connecting the world also.
“ I got a very interesting suggestion, since its 3rd International Yoga Day on June 21, why not three generations of a family come together and practice yoga,” Modi said and asked people to share their experience on his Narendra Modi app.
”Swachhata has become a mass movement today. It has generated a spirit of competitiveness between the cities. Media too has played a vital role in furthering the message of cleanliness,” he said.
He said that the government soon plans to install blue and green coloured waste baskets around the country so that liquid and solid waste can be discarded separately.
Modi said that he is happy to see people evaluating the work of the government as it completes three years. He welcomed constructive criticism and said it strengthens our democracy.
Prominent scholars from all religious schools of thought, Saturday, issued a unanimous Fatwa, condemning terrorism and extremism.
The religious decree declared suicide attackers and their supporters as traitor, jihad a jurisdiction of Islamic state and disallowed use of force in the name of enforcement of Islamic laws.
The Fatwa was issued at the concluding session of a national seminar entitled "Reconstruction of Pakistani society in the light of Madina Charter and announcement of Paigham-e-Pakistan," arranged by the Islamic Research Institute of International Islamic University.
Professor Masoom Yasinzai presented the unanimous declaration while Mufti Rafi Usmani read out the religious edict signed by all religious scholars, including Mufti Muneebur Rehman, Allama Hanif Jalandhri, and Mufti Naeem Ahmed.
The Fatwa also called for action against the forces fanning extremism. It called for true implementation of the law dealing with blasphemy whereas discouraging mob justice in this regard.
President Mamnoon Hussain, while addressing the seminar urged the religious scholars and intellectuals to promote the true "message of humanity" given in Madina Charter for salvage of the people caught up in the clash of interests.
The president said the association of humanity with the Madina Charter for resolution of the issues was because it guaranteed the fundamental rights of economy, justice and education.
Terming the declaration as historic step taken by scholars, President Mamnoon said he had also been trying to persuade Ulema to give the people a narrative against terrorism and extremism but the IRI took lead in this regard.
He said the consideration of developing the society in accordance with the Madina Charter despite the experiences and incidents of the previous century was satisfactory. He also stated that being Muslims we aspired for peace in the whole world and desired progress, prosperity and welfare for the entire humanity.
The president also emphasised that a counter narrative needs to be built to negate the narratives of extremism, hate and terrorism to promote peace, harmony and respect of others and impress upon contemporary world that the ideas they harbour about Pakistan and Muslim Ummah in this regard have nothing to do with reality. Therefore, such seminars have great significance and importance in this respect, he added.
The president said that the Madina Charter was not created to protect communal interests, nor it related to Muslims only but it was a broad based agreement aimed at the welfare and protection of whole humanity.
He said the treaty not only had the trust and confidence of followers of Islam but also of non-Muslim. President Mamnoon said the Holy Prophet (PBUH) always granted due rights to the rightful, gave relief to the oppressed and always treated the marginalised generously, irrespective of their religion, caste, colour or creed.
He also said that the founding fathers of Pakistan had also dreamt for such a society in which all citizens had equal rights.
Later, the Rector and President IIU along with Chairman HEC conferred on the president the highest award of the IRI in recognition of his services for the society and his efforts to develop Pakistan into a moderate state.
The seminar was attended by Rector IIU Professor Masoom Yasinzai, President IIU Ahmed Yousuf Darweish, Chairman Higher Education Commission Dr Mukhtar Ahmed.
Suicide blast, clashes on first day of Ramazan kill 54 in Afghanistan
May 28th, 2017
KABUL: A suspected suicide bomber killed as many as 18 people in Afghanistan on Saturday and fighting between militants and security forces left at least 36 people dead on the first day of Ramazan.
In eastern Khost province, a Taliban attacker detonated a car bomb near a football field that is close to a military base, officials said.
“The target was a public bus station which was hit by the bombing. The victims were in civilian clothes and it is difficult to verify their identities.”
But provincial police chief Faizullah Ghairat said members of the elite Khost Provincial Force (KPF) — known to be paid and equipped by the American CIA — were the target of the attack.
“The bombing took place early morning when KPF members were heading to work,” Ghairat said. “But most of the victims are civilians.”
At a local hospital, doctors received at least 18 dead bodies and eight wounded people, said Gul Mohammaddin Mangal, head of the public health department in Khost. “The bodies are not recognizable and it is hard to say if they are civilians or security forces,” he said. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the Khost attack, saying it was aimed at members of the Afghan security forces.
A witness at the scene did not observe any military or police vehicles among those destroyed in the blast.
In the north-western province of Badghis, militants attacked security forces in Qadis district, sparking fighting that killed 22 insurgents, six security forces, and eight civilians, said Zahir Bahand a spokesman for the provincial governor.
The fighting also left 33 militants and 17 civilians wounded, he said.
In Nangarhar province on Friday, some residents of Achin district rebelled against fighters of the militant Islamic State group who have occupied much of that district, resulting in fighting that left 15 militants and six civilians dead, provincial governor Gulab Mangar said in a statement.
The KPF, estimated to have around 4,000 fighters, are believed to operate a shadow war against the Taliban in a province that borders Pakistan and are accused of torture and extrajudicial killings.
The brazen car attack, claimed by the Taliban on their website, comes just a day after at least 15 Afghan soldiers were killed when insurgents attacked their base in Kandahar, in the third major assault this week on the military in the southern province.
The attack in Shah Wali Kot district followed insurgent raids earlier this week on military bases in the same area and Maiwand district, bringing the death toll among Afghan troops in Kandahar to around 60.
The Western-backed Afghan government is battling both Taliban and IS militants around the country.
Taliban forces have increased their attacks in the weeks before Ramazan, with a string of strikes in Kandahar, Paktia, and Helmand, among other provinces. The battlefield losses mark a stinging blow for Nato-backed Afghan forces and have raised concerns about their capacity to beat back the resurgent Taliban.
Afghan forces are beset by unprecedented casualties and blamed for corruption, desertion and “ghost soldiers” who exist on the payroll but whose salaries are usurped by fraudulent commanders.
During another deadly Taliban attack on security outposts in southern Zabul province on Sunday, local officials made desperate calls to Afghan television stations to seek attention because they were unable to contact senior authorities for help.
The pleas for attention, a major embarrassment for the Western-backed government, highlighted the disarray in security ranks.
Shariq Majeed | TNN | Updated: May 28, 2017
LUDHIANA: It's an ideal present that members of the Muslim community could hope to get, ahead of the holy month of Ramzan in their village. They will no longer have to travel to nearby villages to offer 'namaz'. Setting an example of communal harmony, the villagers of Ghalib Ran Singh Waal — which has a majority of Sikhs and Hindus — have constructed a mosque in the village. The mosque was formally inaugurated by the villagers on Thursday. "Our long cherished demand has been fulfilled with the joint efforts of villagers. It's a beautiful mosque. We will be able to pray here during the holy month, and it is an Eid gift for us," said Liaqat Ali, a local villager.
Appreciating the gesture of Shahi Imaam Punjab and the village panchayat, Muslims said the Hazrat Abu Bakar mosque indeed was an Eid gift for them. "It's so touching, and a big gesture of brotherhood on the part of villagers, that they came forward to help us in the construction of Hazrat Abu Bakar mosque in the village. This was a long pending demand of our community members in the village. Now, we will be able to pray in the village in this mosque," said Shahi Imaam Punjab, Maulana Habib Ur Rehman Saani Ludhianvi.
The resolution for the construction of a mosque was passed way back in 1998. "The villager's meeting had approved it with consensus. After that, about a kanal of panchayat land was also allotted for the construction. But the work could only begin on 2 May last year, following the efforts of villagers," said village sarpanch Jagdeep Kaur. Taking pride in describing her village as an epitome of communal harmony, she says a temple was also now being constructed in the village with the joint efforts of villagers.
With a population of about 1,300, the village has around 700 Sikhs, 200 Hindus, and 150 Muslims. Most of the Muslims had settled in the village after partition. The village also has a Nanaksar Gurdwara where members of various communities go and offer their respects.
Old-timers recall that the village has a history of communal harmony, and there have hardly been any instances of communal violence here. "We have helped in whatever way we could for the construction work. Now, everyone — irrespective of their religion — are doing their bit for the construction of a temple here," said Jaswinder Kumar, another villager.
Om Kumar, a trader from the village, added: "We want to tell those fighting in the name of religion that instead of dividing, they should work to unite human beings. Our village is a perfect example of how members from various communities can come together in a peaceful manner, and respect each other's faith."
On Saturday, the eve of Ramzan, the Army thwarted a major Pakistani infiltration attempt, killing six armed intruders along the Line of Control in Uri’s Rampur sector in Baramulla district.
This was just a day after the Army killed two intruders of Pakistan’s Border Action Team in the same area.
File photo.File photo.
SRINAGAR: In a major boost to its morale, the Army that had been lately taking a hit in Kashmir, killed at least 10 heavily armed terrorists, including two intruders of a Pakistani Border Action Team (BAT), and recovered ammunition of the quantity of "war-like stores" in the last one week in Jammu and Kashmir.
On Saturday, the eve of Ramzan, the Army thwarted a major Pakistani infiltration attempt, killing six armed intruders along the Line of Control in Uri's Rampur sector in Baramulla district. This was just a day after the Army killed two intruders of Pakistan's BAT in the same area.
An Army release said that on May 26, "A BAT action attempted on an Indian Army post by a group of heavily armed intruders through an area under the control of a Pakistan Army post in the Uri sector, was successfully intercepted resulting in killing of two intruders whose identities are yet to be established."
Sources, however, said, Saturday's infiltration attempt was also backed by the Pakistan's Border Action Team (BAT), which attacked the Indian forward posts to make the entry of the terrorists easy.
The Army spotted suspicious movement along the LoC around 8am, resulting in a gun-battle. "The post is opposite to Pakistan's 31 Baloch regiment. On noticing the movement, the Army opened fire," a source said.
An Army spokesperson said the two intruders belonged to the BAT, and were trying to cross over into the valley. "Two bodies, one AK 47 Rifles, one pistol and warlike stores have been recovered," he said, adding that by gunning down the intruders, the Army successfully repulsed BAT strike as well.
A week ago, on May 21, troops deployed in Nowgam sector, killed four terrorists, foiling a major infiltration attempt.
The Tral encounter in which Hizbul commander Sabzar Bhat and his aide Faizan Muzaffar were killed on Saturday was also based on a specific military intelligence generated from local sources.
TIMESOFINDIA.COM | Updated: May 28, 2017, 03.06 PM IST
NEW DELHI: A day after Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Sabzar Bhat was killed, hundreds of Kashmiri youth on Sunday participated in the Army recruitment examination amid separatists' shutdown call.
"Despite the situation here, we decided to go for the recruitment rally to give opportunity to the youth to serve Army," an army official said, adding the recruitment drive is conducted across the country.
"We had received 815 applications from Srinagar and Pattan out of which 799 were able to reach examination centres today," he said.
He also said that the youth have already cleared both physical and medical tests and today they are appearing for the written test.
The Indian Army is conducting a Common Entrance Written Examination for the post of Junior Commissioned Officers and other associated ranks.
Earlier, authorities in Kashmir had imposed curfew-like restrictions in many parts of the valley to maintain law and order in view of the protests following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Sabzar Bhat in an encounter with security forces.
The restrictions have been imposed in seven police station areas of Srinagar, officials said.
Restrictions have been imposed in Khanyar, Nowhatta, Safakadal, M R Gunj, Rainawari, Kralkhud and Maisuma police station areas of the city till further orders as a precautionary measure in view of the prevailing law and order situation.
However, the district administration has said that the admit cards of students appearing in competitive examinations today would be treated as curfew passes, while the staff posted as invigilators can use their identity cards as curfew passes.
"Those students in possession of admit cards will be allowed during the curfew. The admit cards will act as permission to move during restrictions," a senior police official said.
The district administration has also ordered closure of all colleges and higher secondary schools in Srinagar for tomorrow.
Restrictions have also been imposed in Anantnag, Pulwama and Shopian districts in south Kashmir and in the township of Sopore in north Kashmir, the officials said.
They said restrictions on movement of people under Section 144 CrPc have been imposed in the districts of Budgam and Ganderbal in central Kashmir to maintain law and order.
The officials said the curbs had to be imposed in these areas as a pre-emptive measure to prevent spread of violent protests which took place yesterday following the killing of Bhat and another terrorist in the encounter in Tral area of south Kashmir's Pulwama district.
Elsewhere in the valley, normal life was hit due to strike called by separatist groups.
At least 30 persons were injured in violent clashes between protestors and security forces in various parts of the valley following the killing of the two Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists.
The separatists have called for a two-day shutdown to protest the killing of the two terrorists.
The authorities have suspended mobile Internet services in the valley, while the outgoing call facility on prepaid numbers has also been snapped as a precautionary measure.
On Saturday, the Army confirmed killing 10 heavily armed intruders and terrorists in last 24 hours. It said that relentless operations by security forces have defeated desperate attempts by Pakistan and Pakistan sponsored agents to spread terror in the Jammu and Kashmir in the run up to the holy month of Ramazan.
"In the last 24 hours, 10 heavily armed intruders and terrorists have been successfully eliminated. In an ongoing counter-infiltration operation on the Line of Control in the Rampur sector, a group of 6 armed intruders have been intercepted and eliminated. In another counter-terrorist operation based on specific intelligence generated from local sources in Tral, South Kashmir has so far resulted in killing 2 terrorists," said a release by the Northern Command.
Rajeev Deshpande | TNN | May 28, 2017
Sustained action by the Army against infiltration in the Kashmir Valley indicates the Centre's determination to stick to a security-centric approach despite protests and efforts of some opposition parties in Jammu & Kashmir to fuel the stir against the PDP-BJP government.
At a review held in Srinagar last week, defence minister Arun Jaitley was informed of the measures being taken by the Army brass to step up efforts to counter infiltration and track down terrorists. At press conferences in Srinagar, he said the Centre's priority was to normalise south Kashmir.
The polarised environs of Srinagar make it difficult to reconcile sharply differing narratives, but locals, while not comfortable with the PDP-BJP alliance, point out that National Conference (NC) has been actively fishing in troubled waters. NC cadres and supporters have done their bit to keep protests against the state government going in a bid to increase the pressure on PDP, whose base is agitated by the protests. This, PDP's rival hopes, will raise the stress within the alliance with BJP, and calls for central rule are the supporting notes.
The use of WhatsApp and other social media to circulate inflammatory videos is rampant and the role of a section of teachers in indoctrinating students, including girls, is a matter of deep concern.
The Centre is committed to keep the alliance with PDP intact, and chief minister Mehbooba Mufti's comments indicate the same despite some real tension in her party , which has often aligned itself with "soft separatism".
With Pakistan's active assistance to violence in Kashmir, the government is digging in for a long haul. Local sentiment in Srinagar is also pessimistic about the prospects of peace, with residents pointing out that stone-pelting is "big money" that creates huge vested interests opposed to any resolution.
The looting of bank vehicles is read as a sign that troublemakers need cash, with the utility of fake currency notes collapsing after demonetisation, to prolong the protests through the summer.
At the same time, local businesses are keen on tourism reviving, and retailers say the conditions are not as unsafe as some accounts suggest and are at pains to convince visitors that tourism is feasible.
The effects of a creeping radicalisation are also evident with increasingly conservative dressing and the growing role of hardline Islamic preachers. This is again at odds with the popularity of IPL, and the increasing connections of Kashmiris with the rest of India through students and trade, but extremist elements have managed to impose an unspoken and regressive public code.
M Saleem Pandit | TNN | May 28, 2017
SRINAGAR: In Kashmir now, the bullet is aimed between the eyes. Less than a year after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed, security forces shot dead his successor Sabzar Bhat and another terrorist on Saturday, underlining the Narendra Modi government's aggressive approach to the new militancy in the valley.
After being on the back foot due to massive protests and subsequent violence since last year, the forces on Saturday succeeded in eliminating the top leadership of Kashmir's indigenous pro-Pakistan terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen that faced a major setback when its commander Zakir Musa quit two weeks ago over "ideological" differences on the objectives of the militant movement.
Sabzar Bhat (28) was Wani's close aide and took over the reins of Hizbul after Musa declared that he was fighting only for an Islamic state and not Pakistan or freedom. The Hizbul leaders in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) also reprimanded Musa for threatening to behead Hurriyat leaders.
On Saturday, during a gun battle that had begun and raged through Friday night at Saimoh village of militancy-hit area of Tral in south Kashmir's Pulwama district, besides Bhat and Faizan Muzzaffar of Hizbul, a civilian was also killed, triggering widespread protests and stone-pelting in several parts of the valley.
Mobile internet was snapped as soon as the appeals to help the trapped militants spread via Whatsapp groups of stone-pelters. The 3G and 4G cellular data services had been resumed only on Friday after a one-month ban in view of the improving law and order situation. BSNL broadband service was, however, functioning normally.
All educational institutions in Srinagar were shut after the news about the killings broke. Authorities announced restrictions in movement and imposed curfew in some parts of Srinagar following a two-day shutdown call by the separatists.
Official sources said on a specific input by Military Intelligence, 42 Rashtriya Rifles and Jammu and Kashmir Police launched a search operation in Saimoh village around 7.30pm on Friday. In an attempt to escape, the terrorists trapped in the cordon, opened fire on the security forces around 9.15pm. However, additional reinforcements of Special Operations Group, Awantipora and Tral, and 180 battalion of CRPF assisted the troops in conducting a combing operation in the area.
While conducting the searches, the joint team of forces intercepted the militant group in a house in the village and engaged them in a fierce gun fight. Sabzar Bhat alias Abu Zarar of Rathsuna and his aide Faizan Muzaffar Bhat (17) of Payeen were killed in the encounter. The third terrorist, Aadil Ahmad of Pakistan, fled from the encounter site, official sources said.
During the cross-firing, a civilian, Molvi Aqib Ahmad of Khanqah, was injured. He was rushed to the Tral hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
As soon as the news about the killing of Sabzar and two other terrorists spread via Whatsapp groups and social media, youth at several places, including Srinagar, threw stones at the vehicles and forced shutdown on shops and business houses.
This led to clashes between security forces and stone-pelters at many places across the valley. Nearly one dozen people, mostly youth, were injured in the clashes with the security forces. One tourist, Abjeet Yadav of Mumbai, was injured in stone pelting in Anantnag district.
People from various parts of the valley were seen marching towards Tral to attend the funeral of the militants whose bodies were handed over to their families. Separatists were heard chanting pro-Azadi and pro-Pakistan slogans through loudspeakers installed in mosques in south Kashmir, villagers said. J&K police chief SP Vaid, however, said the situation was under control.
Pakistan reopens Afghanistan border crossing after deadly exchange
Reuters | May 27, 2017
KABUL: Pakistan announced it had reopened a major border crossing with Afghanistan on Saturday, more than three weeks after several people were killed when troops from both sides exchanged fire for several hours.
The Chaman crossing into Afghanistan's Kandahar province was reopened on "humanitarian grounds" after Afghan officials submitted a request, according to a statement by the Pakistani military.
"It has been agreed upon by Pakistan authorities that cease fire shall continue to be maintained and no border violation will be acceptable," the statement said, noting that Pakistani troops will maintain positions along the border.
Afghan officials were not immediately available for comment.
On May 5 Pakistan's military said a census team - guarded by troops from its Frontier Corps (FC) - that was collecting population data in a village near the border town of Chaman came under fire and at least one person was killed and 18 wounded.
At the time, Zia Durani, police spokesman for Afghanistan's Kandahar province, said Pakistani officials were using the census as a cover for "malicious activities and to provoke villagers against the government".
Afghan officials said dozens of Afghan and Pakistani troops were killed in the fighting.
Landlocked Afghanistan depends heavily on cross-border trade with Pakistan, not only for daily resources, but also international humanitarian aid for hundreds of thousands of people displaced by fighting and economic malaise.
Tension has been increasing in recent months with each side accusing the other of not doing enough to stop militants engaging in cross-border raids.
Last year, Pakistan started building a barrier at the main border crossing in the town of Torkham, near the Khyber Pass, angering Afghanistan which has never formally recognised the colonial-era Durand Line border drawn up in 1893.
PTI | Updated: May 28, 2017
ISLAMABAD: A petition has been filed in Pakistan's Supreme Court seeking immediate execution of Indian prisoner on death row Kulbhushan Jadhav+ if he failed to get his capital punishment overturned+ .
Muzamil Ali, a lawyer by profession, filed the petition yesterday through Advocate Farooq Naek - a leader of opposition Pakistan People's Party and former Senate chairman.
The petition asked the apex court to order the federal government to ensure an early decision under the domestic laws on any pending appeal by 46-year-old Jadhav.
The petitioner requested the Supreme Court to order the immediate execution of the Indian spy+ if he failed to get his capital punishment overturned, Dawn reported today.
Pakistan claims its security forces had arrested Jadhav from the restive Balochistan province on March 3 last year after he reportedly entered from Iran.
A Pakistan military court had awarded the death sentence to Jadhav for espionage and subversive activities.
However, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), through an interim ruling, stayed Jadhav's execution+ till the time the case pending with it reached its logical end.
The petitioner also requested the court to declare that Jadhav's trial had been conducted in accordance with the law, that due process had been observed and that he had had consular access as was demanded by India.
The federal government, through the secretaries of interior and law, and the court of appeal constituted under the Pakistan Army Act (PPA) 1952, General Headquarters Rawalpindi, were named the respondents in the case.
The petition mentioned that Jadhav's mother had moved an appeal on April 26 under Sections 131 and 133(b) of the PPA.
According to Section 131, any person who considers himself aggrieved by the sentence of a court martial may submit a petition to the federal government or the chief of the army staff.
Section 133(b) says that any person to whom a court martial has awarded a sentence of death or imprisonment for life may, within 40 days from the date of announcement of the sentence, can submit an appeal.
The petitioner argued that the people of Pakistan had a right of retribution against those who carried out subversive activities against their country, and that this right far outweighed the requirement to provide an information dissemination method to a convicted terrorist.
It also said that the conduct of India, its arguments and representation in the ICJ constituted a repudiatory breach of the 2008 agreement as well as the VCCR, and as such, Pakistan was not bound by the terms of the convention.
ISLAMABAD, 28th May, 2017 (WAM) -- The Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation has begun distributing food assistance to poor families in Pakistan, as part of its annual Ramadan Ration Programme.
During the Holy Month of Ramadan, which commenced yesterday, the foundation will provide food aid to the underprivileged, orphans, widows, those on social welfare, and the disabled, in six regions of the country, including Rahim Yar Khan, Rajanpur, Dera Ghazi Khan, and Khutti.
A spokesperson at the Khalifa Foundation said that the humanitarian assistance is within the framework of the foundation's Ramadan programmes that aim to support the needy in a number of sisterly and friendly countries around the world.
QUETTA, Pakistan: Iranian mortar fire on Saturday killed a Pakistani civilian in the western Baluchistan province that shares a long border with Iran, a regional Pakistani official said.
Relations between Iran and Pakistan have been at a low ebb since 10 Iranian border guards were killed by militants last month. Iran said that, in that incident, Jaish al Adl, a Sunni militant group, had opened fire from inside Pakistan.
Earlier this month, the head of the Iranian armed forces warned Islamabad that Tehran would hit bases inside Pakistan if the government did not confront Sunni militants who carry out cross-border attacks.
Abdul Jabbar, deputy commissioner of the Panjgur district in Baluchistan, said Iranian border security forces had fired "many" mortar shells and rockets over the last two days.
"A Pakistani man was killed when a mortar shell hit his pickup while passing through the area," said Jabbar.
He added that Pakistani officials had lodged a protest with Iranian authorities and asked for a meeting on Sunday.
Iranian officials could not be immediately reached for comment.
15 ISIS loyalists killed by Afghan civilians in Nangarhar province
By KHAAMA PRESS - Sat May 27 2017
At least fifteen militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group were killed during clashes with the civilians in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.
The provincial government media office in a statement said a clash broke out between the local residents and the ISISI loyalists in Wach Kot area of Achin district on Friday.
The statement further added that fifteen ISIS loyalists were killed after hours of gun battle that lasted until 3 pm local time.
At least six civilians including a woman were also killed during the clashes and another civilian was wounded, the provincial government added.
Provincial governor Mohammad Gulab Mangal hailed the local residents of Wach Kot area for defying threats posed by ISIS militants and taking a brave step to eliminate them.
Mangal also expressed grief over the loss of civilian lives during the clashes with the ISIS loyalists.
According to the local government officials, the ISIS loyalists escaped from the area after the gun battle ended and additional forces were deployed to suppress the insurgents.
By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun May 28 2017
The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) foiled a plot by the militant groups to carry out a deadly explosion in Herat province.
The provincial police commandment in a statement said the Afghan security forces discovered and defused three Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) planted on a roadside in Obe district.
The statement further added that the militants were looking to target the vehicles of the security personnel and the ordinary civilians by planting the IEDS in Murghcha area.
The anti-government armed militant groups including the Taliban insurgents have not commented regarding the report so far.
The Taliban insurgents frequently use IEDs as the weapon of their choice to target the security forces and government officials but in majority of such incidents the ordinary civilians are targeted.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UANAMA) released its latest civilian casualties report last month, covering a period of three months since the start of 2017.
According to the report, the Anti-Government Elements caused 62 per cent of civilian casualties – 1,353 civilian casualties (447 dead and 906 injured), reflecting a five per cent increase compared to the same period in 2016.
The UN mission also added it recorded a 12 per cent increase in civilian casualties caused by pressure-plate improvised explosive devices – 218 civilian casualties (86 dead and 132 injured).
The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) personnel have rescued at least eleven people from a Taliban prison in southern Helmand province of Afghanistan.
The Head of the Media and Public Relations Office in Helmand Zahid Atal confirmed the report and said the inmates were rescued during an operation of the Afghan Special Forces.
He said the operation was conducted late on Friday night in Naqilabad village in Nad-e-Ali district.
Atal further added that five security personnel and six civilians were among those rescued during the operation.
The Afghan security forces also confiscated several weapons and ammunition during the operation, Atal said.
No further details have been given regarding the casualties of the Taliban insurgents and security personnel during the operation.
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 is not the first time the Afghan forces have rescued detainees from a Taliban-run prison in this province.
At least thirty two soldiers of the Afghan Local Police (ALP) forces were rescued from a Taliban-run jail during a similar operation in Helmand province in mid-March this year.
At least six members of the Afghan police forces lost their lives in an insider attack in southern Zabul province of Afghanistan, local officials said Sunday.
Provincial police chief Ghulam Jilani Farahi confirmed the report and said the incident took place late on Saturday in Shinkai district.
He said at least six policemen lost their lives after one of their comrades having links with the Taliban militants opened fire on them.
Farahi further added that the assailant policeman managed to flee the area after the attack and it is believed he has joined the Taliban group.
Zabul is among the relatively volatile provinces in southern Afghanistan where the Taliban insurgents and other militants including ISIS loyalists are actively operating.
Insider attacks mainly involving security personnel is considered to be a deadly tactic adopted by the insurgents to carry out attacks on the security personnel.
Several insider attacks have also taken place against the coalition forces in the past but latest attacks have been mainly carried out against the Afghan forces during the recent years and months.
At least nineteen Taliban insurgents including their commanders were killed in a series of ground and air raids in northern Kunduz province of Afghanistan.
The provincial governor’s spokesman Nematullah Temori said at least seventeen of the insurgents were killed during the clearance operations conducted in the vicinity of Taloka area in the center of Kunduz.
He said the Khwajah Pak village and hill have been fully cleared of the Taliban insurgents as a result of the operations and their 12 hideouts have been destroyed.
Temori further added that the local commanders of the Taliban group identified as Mawlavi Sabir and Mullah Jabir are among those killed.
He also added that Mullah Akhtar, the son of Hanan Bai, a local leader of Taliban group, is also among those wounded.
In the meantime, Temor said at least two key Taliban leaders identified as Yayha and Karim were killed in an airstrike conducted around 7:30 pm local time in Chardara district.
Kunduz is among the relatively volatile provinces in northern Afghanistan where the Taliban insurgents are actively operating in its various districts and often carry out insurgency activities.
At least thirteen Taliban insurgents including three prominent leaders of the group were killed in drone strikes conducted in northern Kunduz province of Afghanistan on Thursday, a spokesman for Kunduz police, Inamuddin Rahmani, said, adding that confirmed the airstrike was carried out in Chardara district.
He said the militants were targeted in the vicinity of Esa Khel village, leaving three prominent leaders of the Taliban dead along with ten other insurgents.
The Taliban insurgents suffered heavy casualties after launching a coordinated attack on some security posts in southern Helmand province of Afghanistan, the local officials said Sunday.
The attack was launched by scores of militants on security posts located in Sangin district of Helmand.
According to the local officials, at least seven Taliban insurgents were killed and six others were wounded after their attack was repulsed by the security forces.
The officials did not disclose any information regarding the casualties inflicted to the security personnel.
Helmand is among the volatile provinces in southern Afghanistan where the Taliban insurgents are actively operating in its various districts and often carryout insurgency activities.
The local officials said last week several Afghan police troops lost their lives in an attack by the Taliban insurgents in Sangin district.
The officials further added that eight policemen had lost their lives in an attack which was reportedly carried out by another policeman believing to have links with the Taliban insurgents.
A group of six people have been arrested by the Afghan security forces before they manage to join the fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group.
According to the local government officials, at least three Pakistanis are among those arrested during an operation late on Saturday night in Nangarhar province.
The provincial governor’s spokesman Ataullah Khogyani confirmed the report and said the individuals were arrested from the vicinity of Rodat district.
“Three Pakistanis and three Afghan nationals were arrested by the police forces from Rodat district on Saturday night as they wanted to join the ISIS group,” he added.
The anti-government armed militant groups including the ISIS loyalists have not commented regarding the report so far.
This comes as at least three Pakistanis were arrested during a similar operation in Nangarhar province last month.
The arrest of the Pakistani nationals in Nangarhar comes as the Afghan forces are busy conducting counter-terrorism operations against the offshoot of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group in this province.
The local officials had earlier said that the majority of the ISIS militants fighting in this province are foreign nationals, mainly from the tribal regions of Pakistan.
Provincial governor’s spokesman Ataullah Khogyani last year that the documents obtained from the dead bodies and those arrested during the operations in Achin, Kot, Haska Mina and other parts of Nangarhar, reveal that they are originally residents of Orakzai Agency.
Khogyani further added that the intelligence information gathered by the government also reveal that the ISIS loyalists are mostly comprised of Pakistani nationals.
According to Khogyani, the residents of Tajikistan are also fighting alongside the Pakistani nationals for ISIS terrorist group who are mainly deployed after completing training in Pakistan.
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army has issued a last ultimatum to the terrorists stationed in Northern Homs to hand over their arms to relevant officials and join peace with the Damascus government, local sources said Sunday.
The Syrian Army helicopters dropped thousands of leaflets over al-Houleh region and the village of Aqrab in Northern Homs, urging terrorists to lay down arms and apply for government amnesty.
Last week, a prominent Syrian political analyst referred to the terrorists' evacuation of al-Wa'er and the importance of Homs city's security, and stressed that the militants in other terrorist-held regions in Homs would also be forced to accept the peace plan.
"Homs city is a central region in Syria which links the Northern and Southern parts of the country and there is no doubt that the recent achievements in the city will help the government to implement the peace plan in the outskirts of Homs too," Abdol Majid Abdol Latif said.
Noting that the terrorists in the outskirts of Homs, including Talbiseh, al-Rastan, al-Dar al-Kabireh, al-Qantou and al-Houleh, were feeling more danger, he said they knew that their comrades in al-Wa'er were in much better conditions, considering their location and military equipment, and the militants in Homs would have no way out, but to have their legal status processed or leave the region by accepting the Syrian army's peace plan.
Abdol Latif predicted that the peace plan would not merely be confined to the outskirts of Homs and would be implemented in Northern Syria too.
Severe Infighting Erupts between Rival Terrorists in Lebanon's Arsal
TEHRAN (FNA)- Tens of terrorists were killed or wounded in heavy clashes between the ISIL and Al-Nusra Front (also known as Fatah al-Sham Front or the Levant Liberation Board) in Arsal heights, local sources reported on Saturday.
Over 40 terrorists, including several field commanders were killed and several more were wounded after ISIL launched heavy attack on Al-Nusra' positions in Arsal heights, the sources said, adding that in the meantime, Al-Nusra and Saraya Ahle al-Sham engaged in fierce clashes with ISIL in the regions of Shamis al-Ajram, Khirbet Davoud, al-Shahout Sarj al-Namoureh, Wadi Hamid, al-Malahi, al-Ajram and Khirbet Younin.
They went on to say that tens of terrorists, including several field commanders, from both sides were killed or wounded in the clashes, adding that six commanders of ISIL were killed in the clashes as well.
The sources said that 27 of bodies of ISIL are in the positions controlled by the Al-Nusra and Ahle al-Sham.
In the meantime, 11 fighters of Al-Nusra and Saraya Ahle al-Sham, including Al-Nusra Field Commander Abu al-Zobeir, have been killed in the fighting, the sources said, adding that the Lebanese Army's artillery units, meanwhile, pounded terrorist groups' movement in Arsal heights from their positions in Northern territories.
In Relevant developments in the country in late April, al-Nusra Front attacked positions of the ISIL Takfiri terrorist group in the border zone between Syria and Lebanon.
"The fighting between Nusra and Islamic State (ISIL or Daesh) resumed in the Flitah area on the Syrian territory, very close to the Lebanese border. Nusra militants attacked Daesh positions," the source said, adding that both sides have incurred losses from the attack which started from disagreements over the control of mountain trails and gorges through which both terrorist sides smuggle arms and militants, RIA Novosti reported.
"The Lebanese army and Hezbollah in the Arsal area keep their part of the border under control and are ready to strike terrorists at any moment if the latter try to cross the border," the source noted.
Rif Dimashq province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: the regime forces launched a shell on area in Beit Nayem town in the Al-Marj area in the Eastern Ghouta causing material damage, but no information about casualties, also it rose to 15 at least, the number of members of the “Islamic State” organization who were killed in shelling and clashes against Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham and Islamic factions, also 4 fighters of Hayyaat Tahrir al-Sham were killed and information about captives of members of the organization in these clashes which took place in the barren mountains of the Western Qalamoun.
Al-Raqqah Province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: Explosions shook Al-Raqqah city on the evening of yesterday Saturday, caused by bombing by warplanes believed to belong to the International Coalition, which targeted areas in Al-Raqqah city, but no information about casualties, while a man was shot dead by a sniper fire in the village of Hunaida on the southern banks of the Euphrates River in the western countryside of Al-Raqqah, while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights learned that warplanes believed to belong to the International Coalition carried out several airstrikes within the past 24 hours on areas in Mansoura town, the airstrikes were concentrated on a building contain a detention point, causing the death of one of the detainees and information about 2 others died and others were injured in the same airstrikes, also places in al-Kasrat area which lies on front of Al-Raqqah city on the southern bank of the Euphrates River, where airstrikes targeted major roads, causing a large number of casualties and wounded, due to targeting several vehicles carrying displaced persons and civilians travelling through the area.
Operation to retake Mosul was launched more than seven months ago [Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters]Operation to retake Mosul was launched more than seven months ago [Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters]
Iraqi forces have launched a broad assault on parts of Mosul, closing in on the remaining pockets of territory held by ISIL, amid growing concerns over the safety of hundreds of thousands of civilians at risk of being caught in the crossfire.
Saturday's offensive to retake three ISIL-held neighbourhoods north of Mosul's Old City is the latest push in the more than seven-month battle to drive ISIL out of its last stronghold in Iraq.
Civilians caught in crossfire in the battle for Mosul
"Army forces attacked Al-Shifaa neighbourhood and the Republican Hospital, federal police forces Al-Zinjili neighbourhood, and Counter-Terrorism forces attacked Al-Saha al-Oula neighbourhood," the Joint Operations Command said in a statement, speaking about the locations on the west bank of the River Tigris.
At least 15 Iraqi soldiers were killed in ISIL suicide attacks in the first day of the offensive, security sources said on Sunday. More than 30 ISIL fighters were also killed in clashes.
The three neighbourhoods are seen as the last areas that separate Iraqi forces from ISIL's last bastion in Mosul's Old City.
They have narrow streets and closely-spaced buildings which pose significant challenge to the forces seeking to oust ISIL, also known as ISIS.
Military and political analysts expect that it could take several days for the Iraqi forces to gain hold of these territories, before making their final push for Mosul's Old City.
mosul who controls what map infographic
Trapped behind ISIL lines
The United Nations expressed "deep concern" for the hundreds of thousands of civilians trapped behind ISIL lines, in a statement on Saturday from the organisation's under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs, Stephen O'Brien.
US military admits killing more than 100 civilians in Mosul air strike
"Although the UN is not present in the areas where fighting is occurring, we have received very disturbing reports of families being shut inside booby-trapped homes and of children being deliberately targeted by snipers," he said.
The UN last week said up to 200,000 more people could flee Mosul as fighting moves to the Old City.
About 700,000 people, or a third of the pre-war city's population, have already fled, seeking refuge either with friends and relatives or in camps or neighbouring towns and cities.
In Erbil, east of Mosul, thousands of people have been brought to receive treatment, including many children.
"I was trying to escape from the Old City at 3am and two bullets hit me," a young boy told Al Jazeera from an Erbil hospital. "One ripped through my leg, the other in my groin."
Al Jazeera's Osama bin Javaid, reporting from Erbil, said the child's story is repeated hundreds of times in each hospital of the city.
"Almost all children in this ward are from the embattled city of Mosul. Most of them have been wounded as they try to reach towards safety, but in densely populated Mosul, where bombs continue to fall and snipers continue to shoot, there is no place that is safe," he said.
ISIL overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, but Iraqi forces backed by US-led air raids have since regained much of the territory they lost to the group.
Iraqi forces launched a major operation to retake Mosul in October last year, fighting their way to the city and retaking its eastern side before setting their sights on its smaller but more densely populated west.
The battle has taken a heavy toll on civilians, pushing hundreds of thousands to flee, while hundreds more have been killed or wounded.
TEHRAN (FNA)- A number of terrorists affiliated to the Turkish army were killed or wounded in several cases of clashes with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Northern Aleppo.
The SDF fighters deployed in Afrin region engaged in fierce clashes with the Ankara-backed militants that tried to prevail over the Kurdish fighters from the village of Iska, killing one of the terrorists and forcing the rest of them to escape.
In the meantime, the Turkey-backed militants, deployed in the town of Marea and the villages of Tobes and Tal Maled, attacked the villages of al-Shahba dam region, including Qoul Sarouj, Samouqeh, Hasiyeh and Sheikh Isa, a local source said, adding that heavy fighting erupted between the Kurdish fighters deployed in the villages and the militants, inflicting a number of casualties on both sides.
Informed sources said last week that at least nine militants, supported by the Turkish army, were killed or wounded in a fresh round of clashes with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Northern Aleppo.
The sources said that the Ankara-backed militants stormed the defense lines of the YPG in the village of Iska near the town of Afrin from two Southern directions, starting heavy exchange of fire.
The sources further said that three Turkey-backed militants were killed and six more were wounded, while a large volume of weapons and ammunition were seized by the YPG fighters.
In the meantime, the Ankara-backed mercenaries attacked the positions of the SDF in the villages of Hasiyeh, Samouqeh, Qowsrouj and Tal Shayeer, the sources said, adding clashes between the SDF and the Ankara-backed militants spread towards the surroundings of the villages of Harbal and Tal Madhiq.
TEHRAN (FNA)- A Russian-language daily reported that the Syrian Army troops have been using an advanced model of anti-tank missiles known as Tank-Killer in war on terrorism.
The Arabic-language website of Sputnik quoted the state-run Rossiyskaya Gazeta daily as saying that the Syrian army's RPG7 Rocket Launcher is used to fire the new missiles that can penetrate into the armor of any tank or armored vehicle.
The paper added that the missile enjoys several special features, and includes a 65mm missile and a 105mm missile that operate separately and at intervals.
The paper went on to say that the advanced anti-tank missile is 5.4kg in weight, can destroy targets at an effecitve range of 200m and can penetrate armored vehicles with 600mm of thickness of armor.
The new missile can hit the target at the speed of 200m/s.
Military sources announced in late April that the Syrian Army was equipped its combat units with the Russian-Made BTR-82A armored personnel carriers to enable them to have more rapid and safer anti-terrorism missions in their large-scale operations in the Northern province of Aleppo.
"The Russian BTR-82A armored personnel carriers redeployed by the Syrian Army in the Aleppo province in preparation for an imminent large-scale operation there," the sources said.
"The smart Russian BTR-82A carriers were transported from the Lattakia to Aleppo in the first wave of advanced arms shipment to Aleppo," they further added.
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) announced on Sunday the liberation of the town of Qahtaniyah, near Sinjar, from the ISIL terror groups, media reports said.
The volunteer forces, also known as Hashd al-Shaabi, said they had encircled the town in their earlier advances and engaged in clashes with ISIL militants, NRT reported.
Qahtaniyah, also known as Gird Ozera, was supposed to be liberated by Peshmerga forces within the scope of Article 140 and an agreement between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Region.
The volunteer forces launched their attack on May 12 to liberate the district of al-Qayrawan and areas near the Syrian border from ISIL militants who captured the area in 2014.
The Hashd al-Shaabi forces on May 23 announced the liberation of the Center of al-Qayrawan in West Mosul.
Iraq's army relies on Hashid al-Shaabi in its battle against ISIL militants as they battle to expel the militants from their last holdouts in Western Mosul.
The Iraqi forces once planned to liberate Tal Afar, the West gate of Mosul which was seen as a key point in taking back control of the city. But the liberation was delayed several times due to regional disputes.
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri underlined the need for increasing the volume of trade exchanges between Tehran and Baku.
"Judging by the serious will of the two countries' authorities, I am certain that there will be more and more expansion in bilateral relations," Jahangiri said in a message to
his Azerbijani counterpart Mehriban Aliyeva on Sunday.
The Iranian first vice president said that the two countries have abundant of capacities to further broaden their relations.
In relevant remarks in late March, Iranian Communications and Information Technology Minister Mahmoud Vaezi underlined that the relations between Tehran and Baku are outstandingly exemplary.
"Iran-Azerbaijan relations are role-model for the neighboring countries," Vaezi said.
The Iranian communications and information technology minister reiterated that the two countries are resolved to broaden their relations in the near future.
In relevant remarks in early April, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani underlined that his country attaches much importance to the improvement of relations with the Caspian Sea littoral states, specially Azerbaijan.
The President lauded development of relations with Azerbaijan Republic, adding that the two states’ trade relations will grow in the coming years.
Establishment of joint Free Trade Zones with the Eurasian states has developed Iran’s ties with the countries, he added.
The President said that inking new agreements in field of export will develop Iran ties with the Eurasian countries.
TEHRAN (FNA)- 2 Iranian border guards were killed and 7 others wounded in clashes with PJAK (the Party for Free Life of Kurdistan) terrorists in the Northwestern province of West Azerbaijan.
Clashes with terrorists erupted on Saturday afternoon as the Iranian border guards of Orumiyeh regiment were driving along the border line to change shifts.
The clashes resulted in the martyrdom of the Iranian forces' commander and a warrant officer. Seven more soldiers were also wounded in the incident.
In a relevant development in October, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) forces clashed with a terrorist team sent by PJAK in the Western province of Kurdistan.
The members of the terrorist group who sought to enter Iran were identified by IRGC forces in Golchidar region of Marivan town in Kurdistan province and were forced to flee, leaving a number of their light and semi-heavy weapons behind.
According to the local officials, the terrorist group also launched an RPG attack against the IRGC forces but the RPG round failed to explode.
Commander of the IRGC Ground Force Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour announced in June that his forces had killed a commander of PJAK terrorist group along with 4 of his comrades in Northwestern Iran.
"5 members of PJAK terrorist grouplet were killed in intelligence operations in the Northwestern parts of the country," Pakpour told FNA.
Stressing that no members of the terrorist group could escape from the region, he said, "One of the slain terrorists was a PJAK commander in the region."
Pakpour said that during the operations, a number of light weapons were seized by the IRGC forces, adding that the terrorist group was behind the killing of several people in the region.
TRIPOLI: Forces loyal to Libya’s unity government said on Saturday that 52 of its fighters were killed as they repelled rival militias in fierce clashes in the capital Tripoli.
Apart from sporadic gunfire in southern Tripoli, calm returned to the city on Saturday, the first day of Ramazan.
Among the 52 killed in Friday’s clashes which centred on the southern district of Abu Slim, said Hashem Bichr, a security official of the Government of National Accord, were 17 members of pro-GNA forces who had been “executed”.
There was no immediate confirmation from medical or other independent sources of the death toll, updated from Friday’s health ministry figures of 28 dead and more than 100 wounded that did not give a breakdown of the casualties.
UN special envoy Martin Kobler condemned the fighting in which heavy artillery and tanks were used, urging restraint from all sides.
Forces of the UN-backed GNA announced on their Facebook page they had defeated rival militias and taken control of a prison holding key leaders of the ousted regime of Moamer Qadhafi including his last premier, Baghdadi al-Mahmudi, and former intelligence chief Abdullah Senussi.
Al-Hadhba jail had been under the control of the Fajr Libya militia coalition set up a government headed by Khalifa Ghweil.
28 May 20170
Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi had links to a Canadian-Libyan radical Islamic preacher who served as the imam of a mosque in the Canadian capital of Ottawa.
A new report has revealed that Abedi, who blew himself up Monday evening in Manchester killing 22 people and injuring over 60 others, may have had ties to a Canadian radical Islamist named Abdu Albasset Egwilla, the National Post reports.
An anonymous senior American official reported that Salman Abedi “had links to a radical preacher in Libya identified as Abdul Baset Ghwela”.
Egwilla, who was born in Libya and moved to Canada where he preached a radical form of Islam at a mosque in Ottawa, returned to Libya where Canadian authorities say he preaches violence and jihad.
The radical preacher has a long history in the Islamist scene having been involved with a Libyan group supported by former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in the 1980s and early 90s. Despite connections to radical Islam Edwilla was able to obtain Canadian citizenship and gain employment as an imam in the capital.
Canada’s Integrated Terrorism Assessment Centre have said that Egwilla, once he returned to Libya, had in a video “urged an audience of Libyan Islamist fighters to take part in jihad”.
Abdu Albasset Egwilla Photo: Facebook
Egwilla’s son Owais was also involved in radical Islamism and was killed fighting in Libya. After his son’s death, the preacher released a statement saying: “Allah they have gathered against us and are scheming against us, so scheme against them. Trick them, kill them. … We are waiting for martyrdom in the name of Allah. And by Allah this is our path until we push back evil. We will not stop nor resign.”
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) were asked about the connection between Abedi and the Canadian radical preacher. RCMP spokesman Sgt. Harold Pfleiderer confirmed that “the RCMP is aware of the latest allegations,” but did not go into detail.
Originally thought to be a lone wolf terrorist, details have since emerged that show Salman Abedi to have been in contact with an entire network of terrorists in the UK and Libya. Since the attack, eleven people have been arrested in the UK in connection with the attack, including one of two of Abedi’s brothers. In Libya Abedi’s father, who had prior links to al-Qaeda, and his other brother have also been arrested.
Reports have also shown that Abedi himself was in Libya only days before the attack took place and despite being on the UK police’s terror watchlist he was able to freely travel. It is also thought that Abedi may have travelled to Syria as well.
Police not only knew about Abedi but had at least five opportunities to arrest him as two youth workers and two of his friends had phoned the anti-terrorism hotline to report their concerns about Abedi and his beliefs.
MAY 28, 2017
The An’Nur mosque in Winterthur that has long been suspected of having links to radical Islamic movements will finally cease to exist because the rental contract for the premises will not be renewed.
Atef Sahnoun, the president of the An’Nur cultural association that runs the mosque, confirmed the closure to the paper SonntagsBlick. The mosque, located north of Zurich, was originally slated to close by the end of 2016, as the company that owned the property refused to renew the long-term lease. However, a temporary extension was obtained after a conciliation meeting in January.
The mosque was raided in November 2016, after its Imam was accused of having called on worshippers to murder other Muslims who refused to take part in communal prayers. The umbrella association of Islamic organisations in Zurich (VIOZ) had suspended the mosque after the incident. However, the place of worship made the news again in February after some of its members attacked two people inside the mosque for sharing information on the same Imam’s speech with journalists.
In the past, the An’Nur mosque had denied accusations that it is involved in radicalising its members. Suspicions were raised when the media identified six Winterthur residents as having travelled to Syria to fight.
swissinfo.ch and agencies
28 MAY 2017
Tarique Ghaffur, an Assistant Commissioner at Scotland Yard at the the 7/7 bombings, has called for the internment of radical extremists.
Mr Ghaffur, an Asian Mancunian who was the security coordinator for the 2012 Olympics, said Britain is facing an unprecedented threat.
“About 3,000 extremists are subjects of interest to MI5 and police, and about 500 plots are being monitored,” he warned in an article in the Mail on Sunday.
With an additional 400 jihadis having returned from Syria, he said the numbers were far too great for them to be monitored by the police and security services.
“The time has come to set up special centres to detain these 3,000 extremists.,” he added.
They should be held in what Mr Ghaffur described as community-based centres, where they would be risk assessed and put through a deradicalisation programme.
These centres would be different from the internment camps set up during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
Mr Ghaffur said that they would have the backing of Muslim leaders.
He also urged imams to issue what he described as a collective fatwa condemning terrorist atrocities.
“This would also show that Muslim leaders are doing something to make the UK safe and not just delivering words,” he added.
“I know many will oppose these centres as oppressive. But the threat we face from terrorism is unprecedented and if we do not take bold steps now we will not be able to prevent future attacks.”
As a further safeguard, Mr Ghaffur called for the re-vetting of extremist asylum seekers who, if they were deemed to be a threat, should be expelled.
“We have never faced a terrorism threat like this. So let us have a proper national debate and not be afraid to speak openly for fear of offending any communities, or for the sake of political correctness.”
Emirates Red Crescent launches iftar project in Yemen
MUKALLA, 27th May, 2017 (WAM) -- The Emirates Red Crescent, ERC, on Saturday launched its Ramadan iftar project in Hadramaut governorate, south Yemen, for this year and distributed iftar meals and other food supplies to fasting people with the help of local volunteers.
Now in its second year, the annual charity project is in line with directives from President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to ease the suffering of Yemenis during the crisis that their country is going through.
Head of the ERC team Abdullah Al Musaferi said the agency is keen on providing adequate humanitarian support to Yemenis to help them during the crisis.
He also conveyed greetings and best wishes from the leadership and government of the UAE for the Yemeni people.
Ramadan An Opportunity for Muslim Unity: Iran’s FM
May, 28, 2017
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif described the holy month of Ramadan as a great opportunity for all Muslims across the world to come together and practice unity.
“Let us this year, though, seize Ramadhan as an opportunity to remind ourselves and our fellow man of that which brings us together as one Ummah under one Creator. And in doing so, let us not forget that the story of the advent of Islam is a magnificent lesson in the power of unity predicated on incredible diversity,” Zarif said in a message on the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan on Sunday.
The holy month marks the most special of all occasions for Muslims. It is a celebration of the descent of the Word of God, the Quran, from Heaven to the earth.
Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan. Abstaining from food and drink, and from other bodily pleasures, is a crucial element of the observation. At the end of each fasting day, Muslims break their day-long fast with an “Iftar” meal.
Following is the full text of his message:
In the name of Allah; the Compassionate, the Merciful
As the gates of Heaven open and the gates of Hell close, let us mark the blessed month of Ramadhan by fasting not just with our stomachs, but also with our hearts, tongues, eyes and ears. Let us remember the far too many, of all faiths, who are less fortunate, and act in the way of expressing love for that which is good; always mindful of the Creator and the piety he has bestowed in us.
14 centuries after Revelation, Islam is alive on every continent, each day attracting new believers from an ever more numerous array of nations, colors and cultures. We are truly fortunate to be alive at a time when the practice of Islam — and the diversity of believers — is unprecedented in history.
Let us this year, though, seize Ramadhan as an opportunity to remind ourselves and our fellow man of that which brings us together as one Ummah under one Creator. And in doing so, let us not forget that the story of the advent of Islam is a magnificent lesson in the power of unity predicated on incredible diversity.
As the Muslim world remains torn by differences rooted in both internal disputes and external interventions, responsible leaders have a duty to come together in recognition of that the Ummah can only be dialogued—not fought—out of its dire straits. Each and every one of us also have a duty, as individuals, to be the change that we want to see in the world. As the Holy Quran commands, "Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves." [13:11]
To this end, we must transform the way we view what sets us apart. Unless we begin to see our differences as something to celebrate and a source of strength, they will remain open to be exploited as a point of weakness and division. We must not allow those who seek to turn Islam into a religion of exclusion to achieve that vision for those who foment phobia of our divine faith.
In this vein, let us take particular care this year to remember that which was revealed. The Holy Quran emphatically commands to believers, "Whoever kills a soul [... ] it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one - it is as if he had saved mankind entirely." [5:32] More than ever, each and every one of us, from ordinary citizens to responsible leaders, must join hands and come together to find solutions that will definitively address the injustices and bloodshed afflicting the Muslim world. If not for ourselves, we must undertake the momentous task before us to spare coming generations from being burdened with the afflictions of our world.
I extend to all of my brothers and sisters in Islam — truly, all — the best of wishes for a blessed Ramadhan.
Ramallah - A recent plea deal for an Israeli police officer who killed a Palestinian teenager has highlighted a broader policy of leniency in Israel for offences committed against Palestinians, analysts say.
"The police, the army, the investigative units, the public attorney and the judiciary are all in concert protecting each other ... They see Arabs, whether an Arab citizen [of Israel] or Arab [in Palestine], as the enemy," lawyer and human rights activist Yamen Zeidan told Al Jazeera. "We do not bet on the integrity of the judicial system, but that doesn't mean that we will stand with our arms crossed."
Israeli police officer Ben Deri - who shot and killed 17-year-old Palestinian teenager Nadim Nuwara in May 2014 - was freed from house arrest in January after a surprise plea deal between the office of the Israeli public prosecutor and Deri's lawyer. Under the plea deal, Deri will only face negligent murder and aggravated assault charges, instead of the initial charge of second-degree murder.
The victim's family is now contesting the deal at Israel's High Court, as it was reached without their knowledge, violating the state's victim protection act. The court will hear arguments on May 29.
"It is my duty towards my son to do all I can [to bring justice] and to have no regrets that I didn't do enough," Siam Nuwara, Nadim's father, told Al Jazeera. "I want to expose Israel's charade courts and I want to exhaust all local court proceedings before going to international courts."
The Nuwara family's lawyer, Feras Assali, said the charges against Deri were lowered amid intense public and political pressure spurred in part by the trial of Elor Azaria, the Israeli soldier who shot and killed an incapacitated Palestinian in the city of Hebron last year. Some Israelis have called for Azaria to be pardoned.
Nuwara expressed interest in eventually bringing his own son's case before a global forum, such as the International Criminal Court.
"I began making contacts with international lawyers from abroad, and we are gathering data and evidence to present to the United Nations because these are our kids - we are doing this for our kids," he said. "We are taking this step to prevent Israeli soldiers from killing our children."
Deri was honourably discharged from the Israeli police force in October 2014, without any disciplinary action taken against him.
Assali said that he does not believe the High Court will ultimately quash the plea deal, but the family members are nonetheless determined to present their arguments.
"We will raise the victim protection act, which prohibits the discussion of a deal without the consent of the victim's family," he told Al Jazeera, noting that he will argue the public prosecutor signed the plea deal "under political pressure and a charged public atmosphere".
The Israeli chief prosecutor of the Jerusalem district did not respond to Al Jazeera's request for comment. According to Assali, the public prosecutor's office justified the deal by stating that there was not enough data to support that Deri had fired his weapon with intent to inflict a fatal wound.
We are taking this step to prevent Israeli soldiers from killing our children.
Siam Nuwara, father of Nadim Nuwara, killed in 2014
An autopsy revealed that Nadim died from a single bullet wound to the chest. Defence lawyer Tzion Amir said that his client mistakenly fired a live round when he was thought he was firing a rubber-coated steel bullet.
However, Assali has rejected this argument, noting that it was not technically possible, as rubber-coated bullets would require a special gun attachment. He also cited evidence that at least three Palestinians were hit with real bullets during the same Nakba Day protest in the village of Beitunia. Nadim did not pose a threat at the time, Assali said.
The plea deal for Deri highlights a wide-ranging policy of leniency in the Israeli justice system with regards to offences committed by Israelis against Palestinians, experts note.
Human rights group B'TSelem notes that Israel, with the exception of the Azaria case, has not investigated any cases since September 2015 in which Palestinians were killed in relation to stabbings or alleged stabbings. More than 300 Palestinians have been killed since a fresh wave of violence erupted in late 2015.
Data published by B'TSelem on Palestinian civilian fatalities as a result of Israeli army operations between April 2011 and December 2015, meanwhile, showed that of 121 Palestinian fatalities, there was only one indictment and one conviction.
Israel has also been criticised for showing leniency in cases of settler violence; one infamous example is the case of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, the Palestinian teenager who was kidnapped and burned alive in July of 2014. The Israeli perpetrators were eventually put on trial and convicted of murder, but when the victim's family demanded that Israel demolish the homes of his killers - a policy that is standard practice for Palestinian attackers - the state rejected the motion, claiming it was an isolated incident rather than "collective" violence.
Hussein Abu Khdeir, the victim's father, told Al Jazeera that in his motion to the court, he cited dozens of attacks committed by Israelis against Palestinians, pointing to a culture of incitement in Israeli society against Palestinians. The burning of the Dawabsheh family home in the summer of 2015 was another grim example.
The scope of human rights abuses committed by Israelis against Palestinians is alarming, human rights groups say.
Nisreen Alyan, an advocate with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, noted that it was very difficult to obtain indictments against Israeli officers because of the challenges in obtaining evidence from the police or the army. "The situation is very difficult; the victim has to gather evidence and to do the follow-up," Alyan told Al Jazeera.
The Israeli NGO Yesh Din says that as many as one-third of Palestinian victims opt not to file complaints because they do not trust the Israeli police to carry out a thorough investigation.
And last year, B'TSelem announced that it would no longer cooperate with Israel's military law enforcement system "because after 28 years of filing complaints, nothing has changed", B'TSelem researcher Karim Jubran told Al Jazeera.
Published May 28th, 2017
Jannah Burj Al Sarab presents guests with a range of experiences during the Holy Month, setting the hotel as an idyllic Ramadan destination. Diners looking to break their fast in a holistic Arabian environment can opt for the international Dining Room that offers the perfect setting for Iftar and Suhour.
Iftar buffet at The Dining Room will feature five different menus, each with a wide array of gastronomic international and traditional Middle Eastern favorites, such as Fattah, Arabic Mixed Grill, Falafel, Ful Medammes, among others. Live cooking stations will feature homemade Shawarma and a variety of Italian pasta popular by regions. Priced at AED 99 per person, the Iftar buffet includes free flow of soft Ramadan juices and access to the world’s fastest hotel Internet which is offered only by Jannah Burj Al Sarab.
Corporate groups can also enjoy exclusive Iftar buffet at the hotel’s Banquet Hall. The corporate Iftar menus include continental, Arabic and Indian selections, and can be tailored to preferred flavors. Corporate Iftar starts at a modest price of AED 120* per person inclusive of free-flowing beverages and Internet access.
Guests are also invited to book and pay before 15 May to avail of 15 per cent discount.
In-room traditional Suhoor is also available at AED 60* per person, including cold and hot mezzeh, selection of fresh breads, soups, salads and desserts.
Rates are in UAE Dirhams and inclusive of 10 per cent service charge, 6 per cent tourism fees and 4 per cent municipality fees.
*Terms and conditions apply
Bodies of civilians found dumped near Philippines city besieged by Islamists
Reuters 28 May 2017
Bodies of what appeared to be executed civilians were found in a ravine outside a besieged Philippine city on Sunday as a six-day occupation by Islamist rebels resisting a military onslaught took a more sinister turn.
The eight dead men, most of them shot in the head and some with hands tied behind their backs, were labourers who were stopped by Islamic State-linked militants on the outskirts of Marawi City while trying to flee clashes, according to police.
A military helicopter flies past a mosque in Marawi City in southern Philippines May 28, 2017.
Nine spent bullet casings were found on a blood-stained patch of road at the top of the ravine. Attached to one of the bodies was a sign that said 'Munafik' (traitor).
The discovery confirms days of speculation that Maute rebels had killed civilians during a bloody takeover of Marawi City, that the military believes is aimed at winning the Maute recognition from the Islamic State group in the Middle East as a Southeast Asian affiliate.
The army deployed additional ground troops over the weekend and dispatched helicopters to carry out rocket strikes on Maute positions as fighters held buildings and a bridge deep inside a predominantly Muslim city where few civilians remained.
At least 41 militants were killed and 13 military as of Saturday, according to the army. The number of civilian dead was unknown.
The fierce resistance of the Maute gunmen and the apparent executions of civilians will add to growing fears that subscribers to Islamic State's radical ideology are determined to establish a presence in the southern Philippines, with the support of extremists from Indonesia and Malaysia.
Marawi police officer Jamail C Mangadang told Reuters the eight men found dead were carpenters who were part of an evacuation convoy stopped by rebels late on Saturday.
Recalling information provided by their manager, Mangadang said the victims were pulled off a truck because they were unable to cite verses of the Koran, the Islamic Holy text.
'We heard gunfire, although I'm not sure if it was the same people who were shot,' he said at the scene.
'Early in the morning, at 08.20, there are civilians, concerned citizens, who said "Can you verify these dead bodies?"'
Fierce battles restarted on Sunday as ground troops engaged Maute fighters with heavy gunfire. Plumes of smoke were seen on the horizon and helicopters fired at least eight rockets on rebel positions.
A surveillance drone circled the sky above Marawi City. Some civilians left on foot, others were seen tying white cloths to poles to distinguish themselves from militants as soldiers huddled behind armoured vehicles slowly advanced.
An ambulance was seen speeding away from the fighting and soldiers said a captured militant was inside.
Tens of thousands of people have fled Marawi since Tuesday, when militants went on the rampage seizing a school, a hospital, and a cathedral.
Christians were taken hostage, according to church leaders, and more than 100 inmates, among them militants, were freed when rebels took over two jails.
Zia Alonto Adiong, a local politician who is coordinating efforts to get people out of the city, said there were bodies of dead civilians in Marawi. He criticised the military for conducting air strikes and for hampering efforts to evacuate civilians.
'Some have no food at all. Some fear for their lives,' he said. 'This is a conflict that has gone beyond proportion. The magnitude of the degree of the damage and the people that are affected ... it's really massive.'
The violence erupted in the moments after a failed attempt by security forces to capture Isnilon Hapilon, a leader of a radical faction of another extremist group, who the government believes is Islamic State's point-man in the Philippines.
The military is certain the Maute are protecting Hapilon and had narrowed down his location. Hapilon leads a radical faction of another Mindanao-based group, the Abu Sayyaf.
The little-known Maute group has staged similar, days-long sieges on Mindanao island but none on the scale of Marawi, where witnesses said flags resembling those of Islamic State had been flown and some men were wearing black headbands.
The Maute group last year killed 14 people in a bombing in the president's home city and its battlefield capability has been a serious challenge to a military that has far greater numbers and firepower.
Another concern for the government was the discovery of foreign fighters with the Maute, among them Indonesians and Malaysians, suggesting what was once a domestic problem could mushroom into a larger regional security threat.
Philippines: 19 dead as troops fight ISIL-linked groups
Soldiers carry the body of a civilian killed by fighters from the Maute group, which has taken over large parts of Marawi [Marconi Navales/Reuters]Soldiers carry the body of a civilian killed by fighters from the Maute group, which has taken over large parts of Marawi [Marconi Navales/Reuters]
Fighters locked in street-to-street battles with security forces in a southern Philippine city on Mindanao island have killed 19 civilians, the military said on Sunday, bringing the official death toll from nearly a week of fighting to at least 85.
The violence prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law on Tuesday across the southern third of the Philippines to quell what he said was a fast-growing threat of "militants" linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group.
Security forces are attempting to flush out rebels of the Maute and Abu Sayyaf armed groups, which have declared allegiance to ISIL.
Authorities said the fighters had killed 19 civilians in Marawi, a mostly Muslim-populated city of 200,000 people.
These included three women and a child who were found dead near a university.
"These are civilians, women. These terrorists are anti-people. We found their bodies while conducting rescue operations [on Saturday]," regional military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jo-ar Herrera told the AFP news agency.
An AFP photographer saw another eight bodies by a road in the outskirts of Marawi on Sunday, with local residents identifying them as employees of a rice mill and a medical college.
Herrera said the military had yet to investigate the reported deaths.
Thousands flee fighting
The violence began when dozens of gunmen went on a rampage throughout Marawi after security forces attempted to arrest Isnilon Hapilon, a veteran Filipino fighter regarded as the local leader of ISIL.
The gunmen planted black ISIL flags, took a priest and up to 14 other people hostage from a church, and set fire to buildings.
Thirteen soldiers, two policemen and 51 fighters have died in the clashes, according to authorities.
Thousands of the city's residents have fled because of the fighting, which has seen the military heavily bomb residential areas where the fighters were believed to be hiding.
The military announced on Saturday, the start of the holy month of Ramadan, that it would intensify the bombing campaign.
A resident displays a white flag on rooftop of a house in Marawi City [Erik De Castro/Reuters]
"In as much as we would like to avoid collateral damage, these rebels are forcing the hand of government by hiding and holding out inside private homes, government buildings and other facilities," military spokesman Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla said.
"Their refusal to surrender is holding the city captive. Hence, it is now increasingly becoming necessary to use more surgical airstrikes to clear the city and to bring this rebellion to a quicker end."
Duterte and military chiefs have said most of the fighters belong to the local Maute group, which they estimate has about 260 armed followers.
But Duterte has said local criminals are backing the Maute in Marawi.
Violent Clash Between Protesters At Rally Against Proposal For Islamic School
28 May 2017
An anti-Muslim rally descended into chaos on Sunday when hundreds turned out to protest against a proposed Islamic school being built in Sydney's west.
Members of the Party for Freedom packed out Penrith's centre on Sunday afternoon to voice their opposition to the Muslim school.
The protest turned ugly when protesters spoke out against immigration, schools, mosques and prayer halls cropping up in Penrith, a culturally diverse city in Sydney's west.
Anti-Islam protest turns violent as oppositions clash in Penrith
The protest was organised by the Party for Freedom, which openly rejects Islam and multiculturalism.
'The people of Penrith and Sydney do not want an Islamic school built in the heart of Penrith, the party said online.
Protesters shifted their focus to the 'large Muslim population' after the school's development application was withdrawn earlier in the week due to constraints at the site.
Speakers at the protest called for Australians to stand up against Muslims and Muslim immigration, theWestern Weekender reports.
'There should be more concerned Australians standing up and sending a message that this will not fly in our neighbourhoods,' Toby Cook said.
'The Islamists will take over but it's up to us to stop them.'
Another speaker Liz Fredericks said there were too many Muslim immigrants living on welfare payments and urged them to find work or leave the country.
'If you can't do that, the answer is simple. Get back on the boat, get back on the plane and don't look back.'
The protest took an ugly turn when a speaker started to condemn scripture from the Qaran.
'Fighting is obligatory for you as much as you dislike it – those who fought for my cause I shall forgive their sins,' one man said.
'That's what they're teaching their little children.
'Command Muslims to kill Jews, Christian apostates and infidels, that's what they're teaching little children – to kill non-Muslims as their ticket to paradise.
'Has the council thought of the consequences for the next 20, 30, 40, 50 years, how many tens of thousands of people will be brainwashed to think they must commit killing as their ticket to paradise.'
The protest was met with resistance from people carrying 'Love Penrith, Hate Racism' signs.
The police were forced to control the rally when protesters started to threaten onlookers.
One man was heard shouting 'if the dogs were a better shot you would have been dead mate, you and your grandparents would have been dead, boom boom'.
New South Wales police said police officers remained the scene for two hours on Sunday afternoon but no arrests were made.
28 May 2017
A Jewish gym owner in Melbourne has been met with vile death threats following his online criticism of the Islamic community.
Avi Yemini, a former sniper for the Israeli Defence Forces, shared a video to Facebook on Saturday morning slamming attacks performed by Islamic militants in the Phillipines and Egypt, and claiming Ramadan is 'the month of Jihad'.
On Sunday afternoon, he was sent a Facebook message by a Parramatta man who claimed he would 'make sure you drown in your own blood your [sic] Jewish scum'.
'Do you think your [sic] a mad c***. Talking about Islam like that,' the message began.
'Let's meet up and have a chat about Islam. U [sic] think your [sic] some tuff [sic] guy aye well [we] will see how tough you are.
'I promise u [sic] I'm gana [sic] see you round and when I do I'm gana [sic] make sure you drown in your own blood your [sic] Jewish scum'.
Mr Yemini says the message has proved a point he has long been trying to make about some Islamic people.
'He's clearly not too happy, but he's kind of proved my point,' he told Daily Mail Australia.
'You can scream and shout that you're part of a religion of peace, but in the same sentence you threaten you're going to murder someone.
'For any religious man to sit behind a computer and think it's okay to talk about murdering someone else, it's mind boggling.'
The death threat, which is not the first Mr Yemini has received, is 'confronting', he says, but won't stop him from sharing his views.
'You can't help but stand back and go "woah". Somebody is actually threatening to kill you,' he said.
'There's no way I'm going to allow it to stop me or silence me in any way.'
Mr Yemini says he has had issues with opposition to his views on Islam that he does not face when criticising other religions.
A Jewish man himself, the former IDF sniper says he often critiques his own religion as well, and his videos and online posts are 'ideas' and not personal attacks.
I'm discussing ideas,' he said.
'I'm certainly not a person who discriminates against anybody for their race, religion and gender but i will discuss ideas.
'If I have a problem with something, I will discuss it and make my position known, but certainly not from a racist point of view.
[This man is] so offended that I'm willing to discuss his religion - but I talk about Judaism as well.
'No Jew has ever threatened me if I've said something against Judaism, they've discussed it with me and tried to convince me otherwise.'
Earlier this week, Mr Yemini told his online following of 66,000 he was considering running for State Government.
'I've got an opinion and I'm going to voice it and if nothing is going to change, I'm going to try and change it myself,' he said.
Mr Yemini has forwarded on a screenshot of the threatening message to Victoria Police, but has concerns, as a threatening phone call he received in March and reported has not been dealt with.
'I've forwarded it all through to the police,' he said.
'I just hope [the people threatening me] don't shoot me in the meantime.'
Campaign goal was raised from $50,000 to $200,000 within hours
Muslim communities have spearheaded a fundraising effort for the victims and their families who were affected by a stabbing on a train in Portland.
Two men were killed and a third was injured after they tried to protect two women being verbally assaulted on a train by suspect Jeremy Christian.
One of the women was wearing a hijab and Christian was reportedly yelling anti-Muslim remarks at them. When the men intervened, they were attacked.
Donations have poured in from more than 4,000 people, pushing the fundraising goal of $50,000 to $200,000 within hours.
The campaign, led by the Muslim Educational Trust and Celebrate Mercy, a non-profit which aims to counter misinformation about Islam, has raised $1,000 every five minutes and has gathered $165,000 as of Sunday morning.
“We wish to respond to hate with love, to evil with good, as our faith instructs us, and send a powerful message of compassion through action,” the fundraising page reads.
“Our Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said: 'Have mercy to those on earth, and the One in Heaven (God) will have mercy upon you.'"
At least two other fundraising efforts have gathered more than $150,000 for the victims and their families.
Portland attack suspect Jeremy Christian at a 'free speech rally' making a Nazi salute
Ricky Jordan Best, 53, a father of four and army veteran, was killed on the scene, and 23-year-old Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche later died at hospital.
Micah David Cole Fletcher, 21, is still at hospital with serious but not life-threatening injuries.
Mr Fletcher, a Portland State University student, won a 2013 poetry competition with a poem that condemned prejudices against Muslims after the 9/11 attacks.
Fundraisers say the money will be distributed for medical costs, funeral expenses, and for Best’s wife and four children.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the largest advocacy group for Muslims in the US, called on President Donald Trump to condemn the attacks.
More than 2,000 people attended the candlelit vigil at the Hollywood Transit Centre, where the attack took place, on Saturday evening.
Christian, who was seen to make Nazi salutes at a free speech rally in April and who posted racist commentary on social media, is expected in court this week.
He faces multiple counts of aggravated and attempted murder as well as two misdemeanours resulting from being a convicted felon and owning a restricted weapon.
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