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Islamic World News (05 Apr 2017 NewAgeIslam.Com)


UN: 40-50 Years Needed To Clear Weapons in Iraq and Syria
















A man carries the body of a dead child, after what rescue workers described as a suspected gas attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib, Syria April 4, 2017. REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah

 

UN: 40-50 Years Needed To Clear Weapons In Iraq And Syria

Dozens Killed In Suspected Gas Attack on Syrian Rebel Area

‘Muslim NATO’ Not Against Any Country, Says Pakistan

Only 33% of Hindus Count A Muslim as a Close Friend: Survey

18 Suicide Bombers and 8 Pakistanis Killed In South of Afghanistan

 

Europe

UN: 40-50 Years Needed To Clear Weapons In Iraq And Syria

ISIS Captive among New Refugees Welcomed By Pope Francis

Theresa May must not “write off Britain’s Muslims”, says Tory peer Sayeeda Warsi

UN says number of people displaced from Mosul exceeds 300,000

Two police dead in ‘Islamist attack’ in south Russia

Spanish police raid Assad family’s assets

Russia identifies metro bomb attacker as Kyrgyz-born Akbarzhon Jalilov

London police arrest terror suspect trying to leave UK on train

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Arab World

Dozens Killed In Suspected Gas Attack on Syrian Rebel Area

28 ISIL Terrorists Killed, 22 Others Injured by Syrian Army in Deir Ezzur

Syrian Military Strongly Denies Allegations of Launching Gas Attack in Idlib

Iraqis entitled to consider Saudi Arabia state sponsor of terror: PM Abadi

Al-Nusra Base, Arms Depot Destroyed in Army Attacks in Northern Homs

Al-Nusra Front Terrorists Flee Battlefields in Hama after Sustaining Heavy Losses

Syrian Army Intensifies Military Operations against ISIL in Deir Ezzur City

Damascus: Syrian Army Lays Siege on Al-Nusra in Barzeh Region

Homs: Syrian Army Advances Further Towards Key Oil Region

Saudi King Salman receives British Conservative Party delegation

Saudi crown prince discusses enhancing bilateral ties with Britain’s PM

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Pakistan

‘Muslim NATO’ Not Against Any Country, Says Pakistan

Imam-i-Ka’aba, US Envoy to Grace Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl moot

6, Including Four Soldiers, Martyred In Lahore Suicide Blast

Pakistan wants peace with India: Bajwa

Eight JuA members surrender in Mohmand Agency: ISPR

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India

Only 33% of Hindus Count A Muslim as a Close Friend: Survey

Waging War against Ally: NIA Charges Jihadis in Af

Pakistan violates ceasefire in Poonch, fourth incident of unprovoked firing in less than 48 hours

Pakistan should stop backing militancy: Mehbooba Mufti

India rejects US offer to mediate with Pakistan on Kashmir issue

Terrorism must be dealt with urgently: President

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South Asia

18 Suicide Bombers and 8 Pakistanis Killed In South Of Afghanistan

Afghan Intelligence Foil Suicide Attack Plotted By Haqqani Network in Paktika

Afghan police foil smuggling attempt of 6 lions to Pakistan

Deadly car bombing plot foiled in Kabul city

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Mideast

Iran Will Never Succumb To US, Allies Psychological War: Military Official

Iranian Man Sentenced To Death for 'Insulting Islam' Through Messaging App

Yemeni forces prepare to retake Hudaydah port from Houthis

Houthi leader speech creates differences among coup leaders in Sanaa

Israel destroys Palestinian homes in Jerusalem al-Quds

Geneva: Iran's 1988 Massacre of Political Prisoners Condemned by UN

Young Iranian faces execution over ‘anti-Islamic’ social media posts

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North America

American Teen Pleads Guilty To ISIS-Inspired Plot to Kill Pope Francis

Muslim teen writes Black Lives Matter in his US college application, gets a call from Stanford

Trump blames Assad for deadly chemical attack in Syria, U.S. under pressure

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Southeast Asia

Singapore Orders Indian Imam's Expulsion for Remarks Against Christians, Jews

Malaysia develops MyIHAB, first Jakim's halal ecosystem solution

Parliamentary diplomacy enhances Indonesia-UK relations

Jokowi gets clerics in line amid tension

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Africa

Muslim Group Condemns Masquerades’ Attack on Catholic Priest

S. Africa to defend failure to arrest Bashir at ICC

Turkish Airlines bring 60 tons of food aid to Somalia

Kenya: More Kenyans to Benefit from Sudanese Scholarships

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/un--40-50-years-needed-to-clear-weapons-in-iraq-and-syria/d/110657


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UN: 40-50 Years Needed To Clear Weapons in Iraq And Syria

5 April 2017

It will take 40 to 50 years to clear the mines, improvised explosive devices and other unexploded ordnance from Iraq and Syria, the United Nations said Tuesday.

"We are looking at decades of work for these countries to look like post-World War II Europe where we still find some unexploded ordnance here and there," Agnes Marcaillou, director of the United Nations Mine Action Service, told a news conference marking International Mine Awareness Day.

She said her office, which also deals with IEDs and unexploded ordnance, is looking at a "ballpark figure" of between $170 million to $180 million a year to clean up the areas retaken from the ISIS extremist group in Iraq.

Marcaillou said that figure includes $50 million annually needed just to rid weaponry from Mosul.

Iraqi forces and a US-led international coalition have been engaged in a months-long operation to retake Mosul, the country's second-largest city, from the ISIS extremist group. In January, Iraqi authorities declared eastern Mosul "fully liberated." Fighting is now underway to recapture the city's western side.

Marcaillou said making Iraq and Syria safe will require a complex, sophisticated effort of "huge magnitude," but she said it can be done.

"The more funding there is available the more teams we will be able to hire, the more training we will be able to dispense to Iraqi forces and others," she said. "The end game is to empower the government of Iraq to take care of its own problem like the French and the Germans" and the British did after World War II.

Macaillou urged the international community to step up funding if it wants refugees and internally displaced Iraqis and Syrians to return and live in safely.

As for assisting victims hurt by mines, IEDs and unexploded ordnance, Macaillou said the U.N. is "very involved in looking at 3D printing of prosthetic limbs."

She said using 3D printing could lower the cost of artificial limbs from about $18,000-$20,000 to $3,000-$5,000.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/04/05/40-50-years-needed-to-clear-unexploded-bombs-in-Iraq-and-Syria.html

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Dozens killed in suspected gas attack on Syrian rebel area

Apr 05, 2017

A suspected Syrian government chemical attack killed at least 58 people, including 11 children, in the northwestern province of Idlib on Tuesday, a monitor, medics and rescue workers in the rebel-held area said.

A Syrian military source strongly denied the army had used any such weapons.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the attack, believed to have been carried out by Syrian army jets, caused many people to choke, and some had foam coming out of their mouths. All the children were under the age of eight.

"This morning, at 6:30 a.m., warplanes targeted Khan Sheikhoun with gases, believed to be sarin and chlorine," said Mounzer Khalil, head of Idlib's health authority. The attack had killed more than 50 people and wounded 300, he said.

"Most of the hospitals in Idlib province are now overflowing with wounded people," Khalil told a news conference in Idlib.

The air strikes that hit the town of Khan Sheikhoun, in the south of rebel-held Idlib, killed at least 58 people, said the Observatory, a British-based war monitoring group.

Warplanes later struck near a medical point where victims of the attack were receiving treatment, the Observatory and civil defense workers said.

The civil defense, also known as the White Helmets - a rescue service that operates in opposition areas of Syria - said jets struck one of its centers in the area and the nearby medical point.

It would mark the deadliest chemical attack in Syria since sarin gas killed hundreds of civilians in Ghouta near the capital in August 2013. Western states said the Syrian government was responsible for the 2013 attack. Damascus blamed rebels.

MILITARY DENIES

The Syrian military source on Tuesday denied allegations that government forces had used chemical weapons.

The army "has not and does not use them, not in the past and not in the future, because it does not have them in the first place", the source said.

A series of investigations by the United Nations and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) found that various parties in the Syrian war have used chlorine, sulfur mustard gas and sarin.

A joint UN-OPCW report published last October said government forces used chlorine in a toxic gas attack in Qmenas in Idlib province in March 2015. An earlier report by the same team blamed Syrian government troops for chlorine attacks in Talmenes in March 2014 and Sarmin in March 2015. It also said Islamic State had used sulfur mustard gas.

The OPCW had no immediate comment on Tuesday.

France called for an emergency UN Security Council meeting about Tuesday's suspected attack. Turkey, which backs the anti-Assad opposition, said the attack could derail Russian-backed diplomatic efforts to shore up a ceasefire.

"A new and particularly serious chemical attack took place this morning in Idlib province. The first information suggests a large number of victims, including children. I condemn this disgusting act," French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said.

Reuters photographs showed people breathing through oxygen masks and wearing protection suits, while others carried the bodies of dead children, and corpses wrapped in blankets were lined up on the ground.

Activists in northern Syria circulated pictures on social media showing a purported victim with foam around his mouth, and rescue workers hosing down almost naked children squirming on the floor.

Most of the town's streets had become empty, a witness said.

CEASEFIRE

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency said 15 people, mostly women and children, had been brought into Turkey.

An official at the Turkish Health Ministry had said earlier that Turkey's disaster management agency was first "scanning those arriving for chemical weapons, then decontaminating them from chemicals" before they could be taken to hospitals.

The conflict pits President Bashar al-Assad's government, helped by Russia and Iranian-backed militias, against a wide array of rebel groups, including some that have been supported by Turkey, the United States and Gulf monarchies.

The Russian Defence Ministry said on Tuesday that Russian planes had not carried out air strikes on Khan Sheikhoun.

Syrian and Russian air strikes have battered parts of Idlib, according to the Observatory, despite a ceasefire that Turkey and Russia brokered in December.

Jets also struck the town of Salqin in the north of Idlib province on Tuesday, killing eight people, the monitor said.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the suspected attack, Turkish presidential sources said. They said the two leaders had also emphasized the importance of maintaining the ceasefire. Turkey's foreign minister called the attack a crime against humanity.

The European Union's top diplomat Federica Mogherini said: "Obviously there is a primary responsibility from the regime because it has the primary responsibility of protecting its people."

TOXIC ARSENAL

Idlib province contains the largest populated area controlled by anti-Assad rebels - both nationalist Free Syrian Army groups and Islamist factions including the former al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front.

Idlib's population has ballooned, with thousands of fighters and civilians shuttled out of Aleppo city and areas around Damascus that the government has retaken in recent months.

US air strikes since January have also hit several areas in the rural province where jihadists have a powerful presence.

Following the 2013 attack, Syria joined the international Chemical Weapons Convention under a US-Russian deal, averting the threat of U.S.-led military intervention.

Under the deal, Syria agreed to give up its toxic arsenal and surrendered 1,300 tonnes of toxic weapons and industrial chemicals to the international community for destruction.

UN-OPCW investigators found, however, that it continued to use chlorine, which is widely available and difficult to trace, in so-called barrel bombs, dropped from helicopters.

Although chlorine is not a banned substance, the use of any chemical is banned under 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention, to which Syria is a member.

Damascus has repeatedly denied using such weapons during the six-year war, which has killed hundreds of thousands and created the world's worst refugee crisis.

http://nation.com.pk/international/04-Apr-2017/dozens-killed-in-suspected-gas-attack-on-syrian-rebel-area

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‘Muslim NATO’ not against any country, says Pakistan

April 4, 2017

Pakistan remains committed to its policy of non-interference in the conflicts of Muslim countries and the Saudi-led military alliance was not against any country, Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua said on Tuesday. Janjua was deposing before a meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs which discussed the issue of clearance given to former Army chief General Raheel Sharif to lead the 41-nation military alliance being dubbed as “Muslim NATO”, and Pakistan’s relations with Saudi Arabia and Iran.

“The Islamic (military) alliance is against terrorism, not any (specific) country,” Janjua was quoted by Dawn as saying in response to a question by committee chairman Awais Leghari. She was addressing concerns that Islamabad’s decision to send Sharif to lead the alliance will complicate the already fraught Pakistan-Iran ties.

The Foreign Secretary said Pakistan was making efforts to reduce the tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran. “It is difficult for Pakistan to maintain equal relations with both countries but Pakistan will not go against Iran’s interests,” she assured the panel.

Raheel Sharif will not act against Iran as the head of the military alliance, she assured the committee. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi expressed concern that the Foreign Office’s statements regarding the Saudi military coalition were contradictory and said that Pakistan must make careful decisions regarding the Islamic alliance.

The Foreign Office has avoided an immediate reaction to media statements by Iranian Ambassador Mehdi Honardoost, who expressed reservations about Pakistan clearing General Sharif to lead the alliance put together by Saudi Arabia.

The government had issued a No-Objection Certificate for Sharif to join the alliance after an understanding was reached between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia on the matter, Major General (retd) Ijaz Awan, a defence analyst and close associate of the former army chief, told Dawn.

http://www.financialexpress.com/world-news/muslim-nato-not-against-any-country-says-pakistan/615084/

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Only 33% of Hindus count a Muslim as a close friend: Survey

Apr 5, 2017

NEW DELHI: As many as 91% Hindus have a close friend from among their own community but only 33% Hindus count a Muslim as a close friend. While 74% Muslims have a close friend among Hindus, 95% of of them have a close friend within the community.

If the figures point to "walls of religion" in cultivating relationships, they also reinforce the belief that community identities continue to hold sway over people in deciding who they trust.

A Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) study to probe "society and politics between elections" has found that maximum number of Hindus and Muslims have noted people from their own religion as close friends. The study also highlights what it calls "isolation of Muslims" across four states of Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka and Odisha where the survey was carried out.

While only 13% Hindus think of Muslims as "highly patriotic", the figure is slightly better at 20% Hindus favouring Christians in the similar category and the percentage is 47% for Sikhs.

At least 77% Muslims consider their own community as "highly patriotic" but just 26% Christians see Muslims in the same light on this sensitive scale and the number is much lower at 11% among Sikhs. Interestingly, only 66% Sikhs consider Hindus to be "highly patriotic".

The data also reports a high level of "majoritarian" attitudes. People were categorised as "liberal" and "majoritarian" on the basis of response to queries - should the government punish those who don't respect the cow; don't say 'bharat mata ki jai' at public functions; eat beef or cow meat; do not stand up for national anthem; or engage in religious conversions? Nearly 72% were found to possess "majoritarian" attitudes while 17% have "weak liberal" attitude and merely 6% with "liberal" attitude.

The mapping of trust among institutions has yielded a known fact - that Army enjoys the highest level of trust among people. In stark contrast, police, political parties and govt officials languish at the bottom of the trust pile.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/only-33-of-hindus-count-a-muslim-as-a-close-friend-survey/articleshow/58018664.cms

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18 suicide bombers and 8 Pakistanis killed in South of Afghanistan

Apr 04 2017

At least eighteen suicide bombers and eight Pakistani insurgents were killed along with several other insurgents during the clearance operations in southern Zabul province of Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said the militants were killed during the separate operations conducted in Shahjoi and Shalamzai districts.

According to the MoD officials, overall 31 insurgents were killed during the operations and at least two others were wounded.

Two vehicles and two motorcycles belonging to the insurgents were also destroyed during the operations.

Zabul is among the relatively volatile provinces in southern Afghanistan where the Taliban insurgents and other militants including ISIS loyalists are actively operating.

The local residents and tribal elders met with the government officials in Kabul last year to convey their concerns regarding the growing activities of the terror group in some restive districts of Zabul.

According to the tribal elders, the ISIS loyalists, comprising mostly foreign insurgents have started operations in Khak Afghan and other districts as the majority of them have shifted to the province with their families.

http://www.khaama.com/18-suicide-bombers-and-8-pakistanis-killed-in-south-of-afghanistan-02506

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Europe

 

ISIS captive among new refugees welcomed by Pope Francis

By Elise Harris

Vatican City, Apr 3, 2017 / 11:23 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Vatican has taken in three new Syrian families, some members of which were ISIS prisoners before gaining freedom and fleeing the country.

According to an April 3 Vatican communique, the families – two of whom are Christian – took the place of the families welcomed by the Vatican last year, who with the help of various organizations have now become independent, and have moved out of their Vatican apartments.

The decision to welcome them was made in response to the Pope's Sept. 6, 2015, appeal for all European parishes, religious communities, monasteries and shrines to house one refugee family. At the time, the Pope said the two Vatican parishes – St. Peter's Basilica and St. Anne's parish – would also be hosting one family each.

St. Peter's Basilica provided an apartment for an Eritrean family, consisting of a mother and her five children.

The family hosted by St. Anne's parish was a Christian Syrian family, consisting of the parents and two children, who fled from the Syrian capital of Damascus and arrived in Italy the same day Pope Francis made his appeal.

Both families had made their way to Greece, their homes having been bombed, and made it to Italy with the help of the “Humanitarian Corridors” project run by the Sant'Egidio Community and the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy to provide refugees safe passage without risking their lives in the Mediterranean.

Numbering 13 people in total, the new families taking their place arrived at different times: one in February 2016 and two in March of this year.

Of the two families who arrived in March, both suffered “kidnapping and other types of discrimination” because of their Christian faith.

The first family is composed of a mother and her two adolescent children, their grandmother, an aunt and another Syrian woman who lives with them.

The second family consists of a young couple and their newborn daughter, Stella, who was born two weeks ago in the apartment they are now living in.

According to the communique, the mother had been a prisoner of ISIS for “several months,” but now, after arriving in Italy, “has again found peace.”

The third family, who arrived to Italy in February 2016, is Muslim and consists of parents and their two daughters, the eldest of whom is ill.

However, the family has begun a process of integration in which both children attend school and their mother is enrolled in a graduate course for Intercultural Mediators,entering just a few days ago a program for career training.

To date some 70 families, including those hosted by the Vatican, have arrived to Rome with the help of the Humanitarian Corridors project, totaling 145 people between them.

Apart from the assurance of a warm welcome through various parishes, communities and associations, the families are accompanied after arriving by volunteers, who help them in the integration process, beginning with learning the Italian language.

In addition to the families hosted by the Vatican, an additional 21 Syrian refugees – who came back with the Pope after his 2016 trip to Lesbos – receive economic assistance from the Holy See, and in some cases are hosted by religious or private families. http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/isis-captive-among-new-refugees-welcomed-by-pope-francis-60793/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=email

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Theresa May must not “write off Britain’s Muslims”, says Tory peer Sayeeda Warsi

4 APRIL 2017

"I just hope a terrorist attack doesn’t happen in London,” Baroness Warsi remarks as I leave the House of Lords at the end of our interview. A few hours later, a man armed with a car and a knife will attack the very same building, killing a policeman guarding Parliament’s entrance and three pedestrians on Westminster Bridge.

The Conservative peer’s grimly poignant aside came after we were discussing her new book, The Enemy Within: A Tale of Muslim Britain. Part political memoir, part policy brief, it’s an uncompromising condemnation of successive UK governments’ counter-terrorism policy.

It’s a subject she knows all too well. As the first Muslim woman in cabinet, Sayeeda Warsi served both as minister for faith and communities and foreign office minister under David Cameron from 2012-14, and as shadow community cohesion minister in 2007-10 – a job that preceded two years co-chairing the Tory party.

She saw on the inside how policy was formed in the climate of global terrorism, and how her party approached the UK’s Muslim community. And she didn’t like what she saw.

“We, on the right of politics, can create the climate, the swamp, within which the racist feels comfortable,” she writes.

I meet her in a House of Lords sideroom as pokey in size as it is grand in decoration. Wooden-panelled with an intricate stone arch over the doorway, decked out in rose-patterned wallpaper and thick red carpet, it hosts little but a table, four portcullis-emblazoned chairs and a loudly ticking clock.

Such surroundings were not the obvious place for Warsi to end up. There aren’t many working-class Muslim women prowling these corridors. The second of five sisters born to Pakistani immigrant parents, Warsi grew up in the West Yorkshire mill town of Dewsbury, which has seen BNP councillors and EDL marches in recent years. Her father worked in mills and as a bus driver, before starting up a bed manufacturing company there; her parents still live in the area.

Warsi entered the House of Lords in 2007, after a career as a solicitor and a stint as former Tory leader Michael Howard’s special adviser. The first Muslim woman to be selected by the Conservatives for a parliamentary seat, she failed to be elected MP for Dewsbury in 2005.

It was a white, working-class community with a significant minority Muslim presence when she lived there. “I grew up in a space where overt racism was kind of what you put up with, being called ‘Paki’, being called various other names,” she recalls, sitting across from me. She is wearing a scarlet cardigan and black dress, bluetooth headpiece unclipped for a break from the day’s work. “I would say what radicalised me was the colour of my skin – I think what radicalises other people now is the faith they belong to."

Warsi says government attitudes towards British Asians have become divisive and counter-productive, sometimes producing “dangerous policy-making” over the past 15 years.

In particular, she laments New Labour’s authoritarianism, David Cameron’s abandonment of inclusivity in his later years in government, the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act of 2015, and the Prevent programme.

The heart of the shift, for her, is a narrow focus on extremist ideology, rather than analysing other drivers of violent extremism. The rise of global terrorism and extremist Islamist groups has created a “pushback against multiculturalism” in Britain that she sees as damaging, causing Asian communities to feel defined by Islam rather than a hotchpotch of identities.

“Certainly my generation – you had your little Asian bit, you had your Pakistani bit, and you had your bits of Muslim, your school version, and your English version,” she says, pinching different parts of her arms to demonstrate. “It’s much more polarising now, when you’re constantly challenged to assert your Britishness.”

Warsi was brought into the fold by Cameron in 2007, but then resigned from his cabinet in 2014 over the government’s policy on the Gaza crisis. She tells me she was “baffled” by Cameron’s change in rhetoric on Islam between 2007 and 2016 – recalling how his celebration of multiculturalism and “inspiring” people to be British gave way to “muscular liberalism” and "Christian values”. She feels the former Prime Minister “lost his way”.

“Policy-making became increasingly corrosive and I couldn’t understand why,” she recalls. “We found ourselves saying more and more extreme things, excluding more and more Muslim communities from the debate.”

She adds: “Rather than trying to make insiders of outsiders, we were increasingly making outsiders of insiders, and therefore I felt that the whole policy was counter-productive.”

Warsi blames the Tory party for being “dragged off further to the right”, and Cameron for being impressionable. “If we have to give credit to anybody for this, it would have to be Michael Gove,” she says. “He was hugely influential in this area, and I think that David was quite taken with him and his views; they didn’t just have a professional relationship, they had a personal relationship . . . On issues this serious, you shouldn’t be influenced by the fact your mate thinks in a certain way.”

Warsi clashed with Gove in cabinet, slamming him in her book for considering “himself a bit of an expert on ‘the Muslims’, despite his minimal contact with Muslims in Britain and almost non-existent experience in the Muslim world”.

Warsi saw a “shameless, bare-faced agenda” within government, accusing some of her then colleagues of wanting to pursue the agenda “we now see in the White House”. “Left unchecked, we end up with the kind of White House we’ve got now,” she says. “Left unchecked, this is where I think our policy-making was going.”

She is damning of Theresa May’s response to Donald Trump. “Not having him for a state visit would be the right message,” she says. “There are lots of people we all work with who we don’t like, but we don’t invite them round for tea.

“I absolutely loathe the fact we’re going to roll out the red carpet, her majesty, our state banqueting rooms . . . Do you think we should be bestowing honours upon this man? That’s not who Britain should be. We’re better than that.”

“Tory divide-and-rule behaviour of the colonial past has got to stop”

Warsi also urges the Prime Minister to review Prevent, the notoriously crass programme aimed at nipping “extremism” in the bud among young people (such as the four-year-old referred to a de-radicalisation programme after saying the word “cucumber” – nursery staff heard “cooker bomb”).

“Prevent as a brand is definitely broken,” says Warsi. “Is it a counter-terrorism strategy? Is it a counter-extremism strategy? The government finds it difficult to define ‘extremism’ itself; it’s still struggling with that . . . it won’t publish who we fund to do Prevent training, the number of referrals, the outcomes: why are we so cloak-and-dagger about this stuff?”

Warsi witnessed a “paranoid state” within government, and writes in her book that May’s “approach appears to be the same” – though she believes the PM has the capacity to change course, “if she can get off the Brexit bus”.

Full report at:

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2017/04/theresa-may-must-not-write-britain-s-muslims-says-tory-peer-sayeeda-warsi

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UN says number of people displaced from Mosul exceeds 300,000

4 April 2017

More than 300,000 people have fled Mosul since the start of the US-backed campaign to dislodge ISIS from the northern Iraqi city in October, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

The United Nations’ International Organization for Migration estimates the number of people currently displaced to be 302,400, the office of the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq said in a statement.

Iraqi forces, backed by a US-led coalition, have taken most districts of Mosul, ISIS’s last major stronghold in Iraq and the city where the group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, declared a caliphate nearly three years ago.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/04/04/UN-Number-of-people-displaced-from-Mosul-exceeds-300-000.html

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Two police dead in ‘Islamist attack’ in south Russia

Apr 05, 2017

MOSCOW - Radical Islamists killed two traffic police officers in the southern Russian city of Astrakhan, the regional governor said Tuesday, the day after a suspected suicide bomber hit the Saint Petersburg metro.

“Last night, a group of radical Islamists... carried out a brazen attack on employees of the traffic police,” Alexander Zhilkin said in a statement. “The culprits opened fire on them with firearms and fled. Unfortunately, two traffic police officers died on the spot.”

Russia’s interior ministry later said the two suspected attackers were apprehended. Astrakhan regional police said the incident occurred at about 1:00am local time (2200 GMT) after traffic police were dispatched to the scene of an accident.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/05-Apr-2017/two-police-dead-in-islamist-attack-in-south-russia

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Spanish police raid Assad family’s assets

Apr 05, 2017

MADRID - Police in southern Spain on Tuesday staged raids targeting assets of the family of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, a judicial source said.

The raids, in the Puerto Banus marina area of the plush resort of Marbella, are the result of a corruption investigation launched in France against Assad’s uncle, Rifaat al-Assad.

The assets of Rifaat al-Assad and his family in Spain are valued at 691 million euros ($736 million), the source said, adding that “all these properties have been seized.”

“Judge Jose de la Mata is coordinating the judicial operation against Rifaat al-Assad, uncle of the current president of Syria, for money laundering in Puerto Banus and Marbella”, the source said.

In 1984, Rifaat al-Assad was forced into exile for trying to overthrow his older brother, the late Syrian dictator Hafez al-Assad.

According to Spanish justice, Rifaat al-Assad, now aged 79, received 300 million dollars of state cash which he used to buy real estate in France, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and Curacao.

French and Spanish authorities have been cooperating on the case and Spain opened an investigation on the back of the French one.

Madrid authorities say the Spanish probe established that Rifaat and his family had 503 properties in their portfolio, ranging from holiday villas to plush hotel apartments - almost all in and around Marbella.

One residence, “La Maquina” at Benahavis just outside Marbella is worth an estimated 60 million euros.

The investigating magistrate has frozen 16 people’s bank accounts and a further 76 accounts in connection with the case, the judicial source said.

Investigators say Rifaat al-Assad - first charged in France last June - holds some 90 million euros worth of property assets in France, including an office block in the eastern city of Lyon.

Full report at:

Rifaat al-Assad insists he does not keep close tabs on his property holdings.

http://nation.com.pk/international/05-Apr-2017/spanish-police-raid-assad-family-s-assets

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Russia identifies metro bomb attacker as Kyrgyz-born Akbarzhon Jalilov

4 April 2017

A Russian suicide bomber originally from mainly Muslim Kyrgyzstan detonated the explosives in a St Petersburg train carriage that killed 14 people and wounded 50, authorities said on Tuesday.

The suspect had radical links, Russian media cited law enforcement officials as saying, raising the possibility Monday’s attack could have been inspired by ISIS, which has not struck a major city in Russia before. So far, no-one has claimed responsibility for the blast.

Kyrgyz officials identified the suspect as Akbarzhon Jalilov, born in the city of Osh in 1995, and Russian officials confirmed his identity, saying he had also left a bomb found at another metro station before it went off.

Biographical details pieced together from social media and Russian officials suggested Jalilov was an fairly typical young St Petersburg resident with an interest in Islam as well as pop music and martial arts but no obvious links to militants.

His uncle, Eminzhon Jalilov, told Reuters by telephone that his nephew was a mosque-attending Muslim, but that he was “not a fanatic”.

The explosion in the middle of Monday afternoon occurred when the train was in a tunnel deep underground, amplifying the force of the blast. The carriage door was blown off, and witnesses described seeing injured passengers with bloodied and blackened bodies.

State investigative authorities said fragments of the body of the suspect had been found among the dead, indicating that he was a suicide bomber.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2017/04/04/Russia-identifies-metro-bomb-attacker-as-Kyrgyz-born-Akbarzhon-Jalilov.html

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London police arrest terror suspect trying to leave UK on train

05 April 2017

A man suspected of preparing acts of terrorism was arrested Tuesday as he was trying to leave Britain from a central London train station served by Eurostar, police said.

"He was arrested on suspicion of preparation of acts of terrorism, dissemination of terrorist publications and inviting support for a proscribed organisation," the police said in a statement.

"This arrest does not relate to offences against the UK," police said, adding that a search was under way at a home in north London.

The police did not reveal the man's nationality or where he was trying to travel to.

A spokesman for Eurostar told AFP he had "no information" about the arrest.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/europe/187373/russian-regional-leader-charged-with-corruption

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Arab World

 

28 ISIL Terrorists Killed, 22 Others Injured by Syrian Army in Deir Ezzur

Apr 04, 2017

At least 28 ISIL terrorists were killed and 22 others were injured in the Syrian army's artillery and missile attacks on the terrorist group's military positions in al-Maqaber (cemetery), al-Jabilieh and al-Rashidiyeh regions and also the surrounding areas of Regiment 137 base and East of Deir Ezzur military airport and Deir Ezzur power station.

The Syrian army also destroyed an anti-tank missile base and a machinegun-equipped military vehicle of the ISIL terrorists.

Meantime, the Syrian air force raided the military positions and concentrations centers of the ISIL terrorists in the surrounding areas of al-Maqaber, Sarieh Juneid, Al-e Aloush and Tal-e Khanzir, al-Mohandesin, al-Mokabat and Electricity company, killing a number of ISIL terrorists.

In a relevant development on Tuesday, the Syrian Army launched intensified attacks on ISIL's military positions and defense lines in several districts of the city of Deir Ezzur and its surrounding areas and managed to inflict heavy losses and casualties on the terrorists.

The Syrian army troops engaged in fierce clashes with a terrorist group who had penetrated into the Syrian army's military point from al-Rasheediya direction which resulted in the death and injury of all the terrorists as well as destruction of their weapons,  ammunition and military equipment.

In the meantime, the Syrian army units engaged in heavy clashes with the ISIL terrorists in al-Jufreh, in the vicinity of Deir Ezzur military airport, Panorama and surrounding areas of Regiment 137 base concurrent with the army's heavy artillery attacks on ISIL's military positions and supply routes.

A number of ISIL terrorists were killed and their military vehicles were also destroyed in the army attacks.

In a relevant development on Monday, the Syrian Army also intensified its attacks on the ISIL positions and defense lines in Deir Ezzur and its outskirts.

The army's artillery and missile units launched heavy artillery and air assaults on ISIL's concentration centers in al-Erifi neighborhood and also on the terrorist group's movements in the areas stretching from Regiment 137 base to the key positions Southwest of the city.

Army reports said at least 10 terrorists were killed and a number of their military vehicles were destroyed in the strikes.

The Syrian army troops also pounded ISIL's concentration centers South of Deir Ezzur, destroying a number of military vehicles and bases in the surrounding areas of Tal al-Sanouf and al-Sham gas station.

Also on Friday, the Syrian Army soldiers exchanged heavy fire with ISIL near Deir Ezzur city, inflicting major casualties on the terrorists.

The Syrian Army men engaged in heavy fighting with ISIL in Tal al-Sanouf on the Taym Road, killing a number of terrorists and destroying their military vehicle.

In the meantime, intense battles erupted in and around Deir Ezzur as the Syrian Army prepares to launch a massive offensive on ISIL positions in the Western regions of Deir Ezzur.

Meanwhile, the army soldiers repelled another powerful offensive of ISIL around the Panorama Roundabout.

Local sources said that the ISIL has launched several "desperate" attacks against the Syrian Army in the past few days, but retreated from the battlefield after brief battle.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960115001014

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Syrian Military Strongly Denies Allegations of Launching Gas Attack in Idlib

Apr 04, 2017

The Syrian army "has not and does not use them, not in the past and not in the future, because it does not have them in the first place," the source told Reuters.

Separately, a Syrian member of parliament, Sharif Shahada, said he believed a chemical arms depot set up and held by the militants in the area may have exploded in the incident, adding that the Syrian government was not in possession of such weapons.

Shahada also accused Turkey of having supplied militants in Syria with chemical arms.

Meanwhile, the Russian military said in a statement that Moscow did not conduct any airstrikes in Idlib province.

The United States and its allies have in the past accused the Syrian military of conducting chemical attacks, while Damascus turned its entire chemical arsenal over to international monitors under a deal negotiated by Russia and the United States back in 2013.

Foreign-backed militants have repeatedly used chemical weapons against Syrian troops and civilians, but the attacks have often been ignored by Western governments.

Syrian forces had also found Saudi and Turkish chemicals in Aleppo that were used by Takfiri terrorist groups to make chemical weapons. Damascus forces also discovered several chemical-weapons workshops in the war-torn country in the past years.

Russia’s Defense Ministry also found poisonous chlorine and white phosphorus in nine samples from Southwestern Aleppo in November 2016.

Russian Defense Ministry’s Spokesman Igor Konashenkov said the UN-backed Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was reluctant to join forces with Russia or send experts to Aleppo, adding that "which does not stop some OPCW members from apportioning blame from afar and ignoring the evidence that chemical weapons are being used against civilians."

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960115001209

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Iraqis entitled to consider Saudi Arabia state sponsor of terror: PM Abadi

Apr 4, 20

Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says the nationals of his country have good reason to believe Saudi Arabia is a state sponsor of terror.

“Many Saudi nationals have carried out terrorist operations in Iraq, and every Iraqi citizen has a right to believe that Saudi Arabia is a supporter of terrorism,” he told Lebanon’s Al Mayadeen television channel.

Saudi Arabia’s official radical ideology of Wahhabism, which is known for its lack of tolerance, informs the mindset of Daesh and other terrorist groups worldwide. Daesh has been ravaging Iraq, and neighboring Syria, since 2014.

On March 8, Fox News cited a senior Iraqi counterterrorism intelligence officer as saying that around 30 percent of the Daesh terrorists in Iraq had been Saudi nationals, who had entered the country over the previous three years via Turkey or through the Syrian border town of Abu Kamal.

Elsewhere in the interview, Abadi said it was too early to think that relations between Iraq and Saudi Arabia had warmed. The normalization of the ties, he said, was only in its embryonic stages.

In January 2016, Thamer al-Sabhan became the first Saudi ambassador to be assigned to Baghdad in a quarter of a century. The two countries had severed ties following former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

However, in August 2016, senior Iraqi officials requested Riyadh to replace Sabhan. He had on occasions received warnings from Iraqi officials for interference in the country’s internal affairs. Riyadh later withdrew the ambassador, but instead of naming another one, it named a chargé d’affaires at its diplomatic mission in the Iraqi capital, in what was regarded as a unilateral and quick downgrading of the bilateral diplomatic ties.

In February this year, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir made a rare visit to Baghdad and met with Abadi, and the relations have been interpreted as being on the mend ever since.

A handout photo released by the Iraqi prime minister’s press office on February 25, 2017 shows Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (R) meeting with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir in Baghdad. (Via AFP)

Iran and Saudi Arabia

In the Al Mayadeen interview, Abadi also dismissed “the Saudi mentality that Iraq is under Iran’s control” as “flat wrong.”

He said the normalization of relations between Baghdad and Tehran — as well as with Kuwait and Jordan — was a “success” by the Iraqi government.

He said both Iran and Saudi Arabia were interested in calm being restored to the region and added that Iraq, looking at its own interests, was not interested in an escalation of tensions with Iran.

The Iraqi prime minister also said his country was ready to mediate between Riyadh and Tehran but had not been asked to do so yet.

Saudi Arabia unilaterally severed its diplomatic ties with Iran last January after protests outside its diplomatic premises in Tehran and Mashhad against Riyadh’s execution of eminent Saudi Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. Relations between the two had already suffered due to mutual accusations of intervention in regional affairs and Iran’s strong opposition to Saudi Arabia’s invasion of impoverished Yemen.

The Saudi-led war on Yemen

Turning to the Saudi-led war on Yemen, Abadi said Riyadh had been convinced that it needed to end the war, which has killed more than 12,000 Yemeni people since it began in March 2015.

“It is likely that this will happen soon,” he said, referring to an end to the war.

A red line on Syria

“Some want Syria to disintegrate,” the Iraqi prime minister said, stressing that, “This is a red line.”

He asked Arab states to extinguish the flames of the war in Syria, saying the money that had been spent on regional conflicts “could have turned the Arab world into paradise.”

Saudi Arabia and Qatar are accused of funding and arming anti-Damascus militants, who have been waging deadly violence in Syria since 2011.

Turkish tensions

The Iraqi statesman also remarked on the ongoing Turkish military presence in Iraq and Syria in the name of fighting Daesh.

He accused the Turkish forces of being more focused on fighting Kurdish forces than battling Daesh. Turkey considers the Kurds to be associated with anti-Ankara militants and has been pushing them back away from its common border with Syria.

Turkey’s military presence in Iraq has had no authorization from the government in Baghdad and has been a major source of tensions between the two states.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/04/04/516659/Iraq-Abadi-Al-Mayadeen-interview-Saudi-Arabia-state-sponsor-of-terror

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Al-Nusra Base, Arms Depot Destroyed in Army Attacks in Northern Homs

Apr 04, 2017

The Syrian army units heavily pounded the military positions and movements of Al-Nusra Front in Deir Foul, Taldo, Kafr Laha and Southern al-Mashjar in Northern Homs which resulted in the death and injury of a number of terrorists and destruction of their military base and ammunition and arms depot.

Meantime, the Syrian fighter jets pounded the military positions and military bases of Al-Nusra Front in Kafr Laha and Taldo villages in al-Houleh region, the town of Talbiseh and the surrounding areas of al-Rastan city in the Northern and Northwestern pars of the Aleppo province.

The air assault resulted in the destruction of the terrorists' positions, killing and injuring a number of them.

In a relevant development earlier on Tuesday, the Syrian army continued its military operations in the areas surrounding the ancient city of Palmyra (Tadmur) and came closer to the strategic Arak oilfield after capturing a nearby mountainous region.

The Syrian government troops seized back Jabal (Mountain) al-Taj near Arak oilfield in heavy clashes with the terrorists in an area located 23 kilometers from Palmyra city.

A large number of terrorists, including foreign and Arab militants, were killed in the battle with the Syrian army over Jabal al-Taj region.

The terrorists' military hardware, including their military vehicles, was also destroyed in the government troops' offensive.

Military sources confirmed that the Syrian army's advances in the oil-rich regions of Eastern Homs continue, and said the Syrian army has also won control of several military positions of the ISIL South of al-Mohr and North of Katiba al-Mahjoura.

In a relevant development on Monday, the Syrian army pushed the ISIL further back in regions near Palmyra and seized a number of key points.

The army units assisted by allied forces won control over the strategic Mount Abu Al-Dohour after bloody clashes with ISIL militants.

Military sources said that the army operations in the last 48 hours have inflicted heavy casualties on the terrorists.

Meantime, other army units also earned victory in a number of nearby regions and seized control over Abu-Qaala dam and Wadi Al-Hasou plain North-West of Station 4, South-East of Homs.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960115000883

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Al-Nusra Front Terrorists Flee Battlefields in Hama after Sustaining Heavy Losses

Apr 04, 2017

"After repeated defeats in Northern Hama and Al-Nusra Front commanders' lack of attention to the injured militants and leaving them behind, the terrorists have lost their morale and, hence, left the battlefields," media sources said.

Meantime, a military source confirmed that the Syrian army's artillery and missile attacks as well as air raids by the country's air force on the  Al-Nusra Front's concentration centers and movements severely weakened the terrorist group and made them dig deep tunnels for storing their weapons and ammunitions.

"This is while the senior Al-Nusra Front commanders used civilian cars to flee the battlefields," the source added.

He also said that a number of notorious Al-Nusra Front commanders have been killed in the Syrian army attacks and air raids on their military positions, in vehicles and tunnels.

In a relevant development on Monday, the Al-Nusra Front sustained another major defeat in Northern Hama and lost control over a key town after brief, but bloody, clashes with the Syrian army.

Military sources on both sides of the war reported on Monday that the Syrian army pushed forward in the Northern parts of Hama province and captured the town of Maardis.

Later reports said the ground troops continued their advance in the same region and imposed control on Maardis Bridge and Maardis Mills.

Reports also said that other army units, backed up by massive artillery and rocket fire, raided Al-Nusra's strategic position on Hill Tal al-Dowair and pushed the terrorists further back after fierce battle.

Army troops said the Al-Nusra lost control over the town and the hill and sustained dozens of casualties in the two battles, adding that the government troops are still on the march in Northern Hama.

The army has won back over 20 towns and villages that it had lost to the Al-Nusra Front North of Hama province after hunting hundreds of terrorists, including several Saudi ringleaders.

"Some 80 percent of the territories lost to the terrorists in the last few weeks have now been recaptured by the army following a series of counterattacks on Al-Nusra (also known as Fatah al-Sham Front or the Levant Liberation Board) militants in the region," a ranking army officer told FNA.

The source further pointed out that the army has managed to seize back a sum of 20 towns and villages, the Qatar Tayyebeh Al-Imam Station and a number of other key military positions in the region.

"In these operations, hundreds of terrorists have been killed, including Emir of the Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board) training camps Abu Fahd Al-Anzi, Commander Mohammad Ahmad Joulaq, Mufti (religious leader) Abu Riyaq Turkistani and Saudi Commander of Turkistani Party Abdul-Rahman Abdullah Do'ayd," he stated.

The Syrian Army troops launched massive attacks on terrorists' defense lines in Northern Hama on Sunday.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960115000782

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Syrian Army Intensifies Military Operations against ISIL in Deir Ezzur City

Apr 04, 2017

The Syrian army troops engaged in fierce clashes with a terrorist group who had penetrated into the Syrian army's military point from al-Rasheediya direction which resulted in the death and injury of all the terrorists as well as destruction of their weapons,  ammunition and military equipment.

In the meantime, the Syrian army units engaged in heavy clashes with the ISIL terrorists in al-Jufreh, in the vicinity of Deir Ezzur military airport, Panorama and surrounding areas of Regiment 137 base concurrent with the army's heavy artillery attacks on ISIL's military positions and supply routes.

A number of ISIL terrorists were killed and their military vehicles were also destroyed in the army attacks.

In a relevant development on Monday, the Syrian Army also intensified its attacks on the ISIL positions and defense lines in Deir Ezzur and its outskirts.

The army's artillery and missile units launched heavy artillery and air assaults on ISIL's concentration centers in al-Erifi neighborhood and also on the terrorist group's movements in the areas stretching from Regiment 137 base to the key positions Southwest of the city.

Army reports said at least 10 terrorists were killed and a number of their military vehicles were destroyed in the strikes.

The Syrian army troops also pounded ISIL's concentration centers South of Deir Ezzur, destroying a number of military vehicles and bases in the surrounding areas of Tal al-Sanouf and al-Sham gas station.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960115000528

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Damascus: Syrian Army Lays Siege on Al-Nusra in Barzeh Region

Apr 04, 2017

"The Syrian army troops advanced in Souq al-Tahrib street after heavy clashes with Al-Nusra Front terrorists in an area Southwest of al-Qaboun district," a military source said.

Meantime, the Syrian army's missile and artillery units hit hard the terrorists' movements and concentration centers in al-Qaboun district.

Some reports also said that the Syrian army troops have completed their siege of Barzeh district after taking full control of al-Hefz street located between Barzeh, Tishreen and al-Qaboun districts.

Barzeh is now fully detached from other districts in Eastern Damascus.

In the meantime, the Syrian fighter jets pounded the terrorists' positions in al-Qaboun, Jobar, Douma and Kafr Batna, killing a number of terrorists.

In a relevant development on Monday, the Syrian army continued its military operations against the Al-Nusra Front  in Eastern Damascus, and advanced in the area after closing all tunnels located between Qaboun and Barzeh regions.

The Syrian army troops engaged in heavy clashes with Al-Nusra terrorists in Qaboun region and made advances towards al-Ba'alah region.

Meantime, the Syrian army's missile and artillery units targeted and pounded the Al-Nusra Front's military positions and bases in the region, killing several militants.

A military source also reiterated that the Syrian army has closed down all tunnels of the terrorists in areas between Barzeh and Qaboun regions.

The Syrian air force also pounded the terrorist groups' bases in Jobar and the outskirts of Erbin and Zamalka regions, and destroyed a military base. Local witnesses said all the terrorists inside the base were killed in the air raid.

In a relevant development on Saturday, the Syrian military forces discovered a lengthy tunnel of the terrorists in Eastern Ghouta and destroyed it.

The army gained control over the last major tunnel of the terrorists in al-Qaboun district North-East of Damascus province.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960115000621

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Homs: Syrian Army Advances Further Towards Key Oil Region

Apr 04, 2017

The Syrian government troops seized back Jabal (Mountain) al-Taj near Arak oilfield in heavy clashes with the terrorists in an area located 23 kilometers from Palmyra city.

A large number of terrorists, including foreign and Arab militants, were killed in the battle with the Syrian army over Jabal al-Taj region.

The terrorists' military hardware, including their military vehicles, was also destroyed in the government troops' offensive.

Military sources confirmed that the Syrian army's advances in the oil-rich regions of Eastern Homs continue, and said the Syrian army has also won control of several military positions of the ISIL South of al-Mohr and North of Katiba al-Mahjoura.

In a relevant development on Monday, the Syrian army pushed the ISIL further back in regions near Palmyra and seized a number of key points.

The army units assisted by allied forces won control over the strategic Mount Abu Al-Dohour after bloody clashes with ISIL militants.

Military sources said that the army operations in the last 48 hours have inflicted heavy casualties on the terrorists.

Meantime, other army units also earned victory in a number of nearby regions and seized control over Abu-Qaala dam and Wadi Al-Hasou plain North-West of Station 4, South-East of Homs.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960115000383

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Saudi King Salman receives British Conservative Party delegation

4 April 2017

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz on Tuesday received a delegation from the Middle East Group of British Conservative Party headed by Helen Whately at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh.

According to the Saudi Press Agency, during the meeting, they reviewed relations of friendship between the two countries and different aspects of cooperation, particularly between the Shura Council and the British Parliament.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/04/04/Saudi-King-Salman-receives-British-Conservative-Party-delegation.html

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Saudi crown prince discusses enhancing bilateral ties with Britain’s PM

4 April 2017

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz met with British Prime Minister Theresa May in Riyadh on Tuesday to discuss enhancing bilateral ties between the two countries.

During the meeting, they discussed the joint cooperation to combat extremism and fight against terrorism in addition to the latest developments in the region and the two countries' stances towards them.

The meeting was attended by a number of officials.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/04/04/Saudi-crown-prince-discusses-enhancing-bilateral-ties-with-Britain-s-PM.html

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Pakistan

 

Imam-i-Ka’aba, US Envoy to Grace Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl moot

April 05, 2017

ISLAMABAD - In connection with the centenary celebrations of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) for completing 100 years, the party Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman also invited the United States Ambassador to Pakistan, David Hale, to the event likely to be graced by Imam-i-Ka’aba and other dignitaries from all over the world.

The three-day congregation — April 7 to April 9 – will be organised in District Nowshera. Various sessions will be held to highlight the services and struggle of the party for securing political and religious rights of the people of this region.

In a letter addressed to US Ambassador David Hale, JUI-F Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that keeping in view the interest of United States in democratic order in the country and the overall political situation in the region they have decided to invite him in these celebrations so that he would be enlightened about the struggle of JUI-F for the civil rights of the people over the past 100 years in this region.

He further stated that through these celebrations they would portray and highlight the true teachings of Islam which believes in tolerance, inter-faith harmony and promoting peace and harmony in the world.

He further mentioned in the invitation that religious scholars from across the world would be attending the event which would continue for three days.

Prominent among those who would be attending the ceremony included Imam-e-Kaabah Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, Darul Uloom Deoband’s (India) administrator Abul Qasim Nomani, Jamiat Ulema Hind President Maulana Syed Arshad Maadani and Secretary General Maulana Syed Mehmood Asad Madani.

Besides these religious figures, the diplomats stationed in Islamabad belonging to different countries, political leadership across the spectrum were also invited to join them in the celebrations.

http://nation.com.pk/national/05-Apr-2017/imam-i-ka-aba-us-envoy-to-grace-jui-f-moot

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6, Including Four Soldiers, Martyred In Lahore Suicide Blast

WASIM RIAZ | ARIF MALIK

At least four people were killed and 18 others wounded in a mysterious blast in Lahore's Bedian Road area on Wednesday, police and rescue sources said.

An unnamed police official said the explosion was caused when a suicide bomber blew himself up near an army vehicle. However, initial reports claimed it was a cylinder blast.

What we know so far

4 killed, at least 18 injured in blast

Nature of blast is not clear as yet

Police official claims it was a suicide blast targeting census vehicle

The Punjab government tweeted that the exact nature of the blast is being ascertained.

The police official said the blast hit a vehicle taking part in the ongoing census. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to talk to the media.

Rescue sources claimed four Pakistan Army soldiers and two civilians lost their lives in the blast. However, the information has not been officially confirmed.

The explosion led to a fire that engulfed the cars parked nearby. Security forces have cordoned off the area and started a search operation.

The injured have been shifted to the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) and General Hospital. Three of the injured are said to be in a critical condition.

An emergency has been declared in the hospitals of Lahore.

Bedian road, on most days, is a bustling route, used by many to commute to areas adjacent to DHA's Phase 5.

Brimming with fruit vendors and push-carts, Bedian Road is largely surrounded by farmland and farmhouses. The kind of shops and services available on Bedian Road are hard to find within the premises of the upscale DHA area.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1325024/4-killed-18-injured-in-mysterious-lahore-blast

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Pakistan wants peace with India: Bajwa

April 05, 2017

Islamabad -  Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa has said that Pakistan was a peace-loving country and wants to resolve all outstanding issues including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir with India peacefully.

He said this while addressing a UK think-tank, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said a press release issued by the ISPR here on Tuesday.

Sharing his thoughts on regional and international security environment, challenges and way forward, the army chief talked about the security situation in Afghanistan and its impact on peace and stability in the region and beyond.

According to the ISPR, Gen Bajwa also apprised the participants of Pakistan's achievements in its efforts against terrorism and militancy.

He also highlighted prospects of the CPEC project towards economic development in the region.

“Pakistan is a peace-loving country and wishes to resolve all unresolved issues including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir with India,” he said.

The participants appreciated the candid talk of the army chief and acknowledged Pakistan army's contribution to peace and stability.

The COAS emphasised that peace in Afghanistan was a shared interest. He said that Pakistan will continue its positive role and was ready to work closely with Afghanistan.

He said Pak-Afghan bilateral border security mechanism is critically important and both countries need to formulate this at priority.

He shared various border control management measures Pakistan has undertaken and urged similar measures from the other side to defeat a common enemy.

Earlier, Gen Bajwa, who is currently visiting the United Kingdom, also addressed a London-based think tank, Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).

He said that Pakistan was positively engaged to bring about peace and stability in the region including Afghanistan.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/05-Apr-2017/pakistan-wants-peace-with-india-bajwa

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Eight JuA members surrender in Mohmand Agency: ISPR

April 04, 2017

Eight ‘hardcore’ militants linked with a proscribed terrorist outfit laid down their arms in tribal areas, said military officials on Tuesday.

According to ISPR, eight members of banned Jamaat-ul-Ahrar group surrendered in Boideh area, saying they were misled by Pakistan’s enemies.

The military officials said that more militants associated with the terrorist outfit are likely to lay down arms in the coming days. They urged the misguided terrorists to hand themselves over to security forces.

The ISPR said that suspected militants who surrendered include Akbar, Gull, Siraj and their five other accomplices.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/04-Apr-2017/eight-jua-members-surrender-in-mohmand-agency-ispr

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India

 

Waging war against ally: NIA charges jihadis in Af

Neeraj Chauhan

Apr 5, 2017

NEW DELHI: In a first, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has charged several Indians, who have joined the Islamic State (IS) and are believed to be fighting in Afghanistan, with waging war against a close ally of India.

I n its chargesheet filed against the Kerala module of IS last week, the agency claimed that Kozhikode-based 'amir' (leader) of the module, Shajeer Mangalassary alias Abu Ayisha, was fighting in IS-controlled areas in Afghanistan against the Afghan government, an "Asiatic power in alliance with the government of India". Shajeer, an engineer, went to Afghanistan from the UAE via Tehran.

The NIA said 22 others from Kerala, including women and children who are now based in Nangarhar province of Afghanistan, went there with Shajeer's assistance.

NIA officials told TOI that these people too were most likely engaged in fighting Afghan forces.

According to sources, one of them, T K Hafeezuddin, was killed in a US drone strike in February.

A nother Kerala module member, Moinudheen Parakadavath, had travelled to Tehran along with Shajeer last year but returned and has been questioned by the agencies. Officials said Indians joining IS in Iraq, Syria or Afghanistan were being trained to fight with the local units but a major chunk of Indians had gone to Afghanistan and were fighting there. Along with Shajeer, the NIA has chargesheeted Manseed alias Omar Al Hindi, Swalih Mohammed, Rashid Ali, Ramshad N K, Safvan and Jasim N K.

The agency said Shajeer still sought support for IS from Indians. He had created the Kerala module in August-September 2016 and named it 'Ansar-ul Khilafa KL. The NIA chargesheet said the module used several 'Telegram' groups to propagate the ideology of IS and recruit members.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/waging-war-against-ally-nia-charges-jihadis-in-af/articleshow/58018565.cms

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Pakistan violates ceasefire in Poonch, fourth incident of unprovoked firing in less than 48 hours

Apr 5, 2017

NEW DELHI: Pakistani troops on Wednesday again resorted to mortar shelling and firing by automatic weapons along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir, prompting the Army to retaliate.

"There was unprovoked ceasefire violation by Pakistan Army in Digwar sector of Poonch today, using 82 mm mortars, automatic weapons," a defence spokesman said.

Indian Army personnel took positions and responded befittingly to the Pakistani firing, the spokesman said, adding that intermittent firing was going on.

There is no casualty on our side, he said, adding that this is the second incident of unprovoked firing in the same sector.

Today's ceasefire violation is the fourth such incident in less than 48 hours along the LoC in Rajouri and Poonch+ districts.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pakistan-troops-again-violate-ceasefire-along-loc/articleshow/58021077.cms

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Pakistan should stop backing militancy: Mehbooba Mufti

Apr 5, 2017

M Saleem Pandit |

SRINAGAR: Jammu & Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti asked Pakistan on Tuesday to stop supporting militancy in the state and allow peace to return.

The CM, while addressing an election rally in support of her cinematographer brother Mufti Tassaduq in Dooru area of Anantnag district said "Pakistan adopted the policy of not supporting militancy during Atal Bihari Vajpayee's tenure. I ask them to stop supporting militancy and help us restore peace in the state."

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pakistan-should-stop-backing-militancy-mehbooba-mufti/articleshow/58018849.cms

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India rejects US offer to mediate with Pakistan on Kashmir issue

Apr 5, 2017

NEW DELHI: India rejected the comments by US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley suggesting a proactive role for America in India-Pakistan ties, saying the outstanding issues between the sub-continental neighbours should be sorted out bilaterally.

"The government's position for bilateral redressal of all India-Pakistan issues in an environment free of terror and violence hasn't changed," the Indian government said.

India sought to underline that international mediation, if at all, must concentrate on getting Pakistan to act against terrorism and enforce the rule of law in keeping with international norms. " We of course expect the international community and organisations to enforce international mechanisms and mandates concerning terrorism emanating from Pakistan, which continues to be the single biggest threat to peace and stability in our region and beyond," said MEA spokesperson Gopal Baglay.

Haley's remarks caused India to iterate that a third party role in resolving India-Pakistan issues is not acceptable. "...We are seeing tensions rise and conflicts start to bubble up and so we want to see if we can be a part of that...," she had said .

Interestingly, the early days of US administrations have often seen some friction on issues like India-Pakistan and J&K before things settle down. At the start of his first term, President Barack Obama named Richard Holbrooke as a pointsman for Pakistan, Afghanistan and Kashmir before dropping the "K word". Earlier, Bill Clinton called Kashmir one of the most dangerous places on earth before correcting what had been a long standing pro-Pakistan tilt by asking Islamabad to respect the line of control in the Kargil war.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-rejects-us-offer-to-mediate-with-pakistan-on-kashmir-issue/articleshow/58018616.cms

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Terrorism must be dealt with urgently: President

Apr 4, 2017

NEW DELHI: President Pranab Mukherjee today said the blast in St. Petersburg is a reminder that terrorism must be dealt with "urgently and comprehensively".

Mukherjee also conveyed to Russian President Vladimir Putin that people of India stand by Russia in this difficult hour.

In a message to Putin, the President conveyed his condolences on the loss of lives in the blast in a metro carriage in St. Petersburg yesterday.

"This is yet another reminder that the menace of terrorism must be addressed urgently and comprehensively by the world community," he said.

Mukherjee said the people of India stand with the Russian people in this difficult hour and offer their sincere sympathies to the families of the victims.

"Please accept my heartfelt condolences for the loss of innocent lives in the blast that occurred in the metro system of St. Petersburg.

"We pray for the early recovery of all those injured in the attacks," he said.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/terrorism-must-be-dealt-with-urgently-president/articleshow/58010176.cms

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South Asia

 

Afghan intelligence foil suicide attack plotted by Haqqani network in Paktika

Apr 04 2017

The Afghan intelligence operatives foiled a suicide plotted by the notorious Haqqani terrorist network for execution in southeastern Paktika province of Afghanistan.

The National Directorate of Security (NDS) said a suspected suicide bomber was arrested before he manage to carry out attack on the district police commandment of Jani Khel.

According a statement by NDS, the suspect has been identified as Mohammad Yasin who was trained on the otherside of the Durand Line for the attack by the Haqqani network.

The statement further added that Yasin was arrested in Sharana city, the provincial capital of Paktika before he manage to carry out the attack.

According to NDS, Yasin was appointed for the attack by a commander of the Haqqani network identified as Kasu who is based on the other side of the Durand Line.

Haqqani network was formed in the late 1970s by Jalaluddin Haqqani. The group is allied with al-Qaida and the Afghan Taliban and cooperates with other terrorist organizations in the region.

The US Department of State designated the HQN as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on September 7, 2012.

This come as local officials in Paktika said at least twenty nine insurgents of the Taliban group including two senior leaders of the group were killed in a US drone strike in the same district last month.

http://www.khaama.com/afghan-intelligence-foil-suicide-attack-plotted-by-haqqani-network-in-paktika-02507

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Afghan police foil smuggling attempt of 6 lions to Pakistan

Apr 05 2017

The Afghan border police forces have foiled an attempt by the smugglers to transfer at least six lions to Pakistan.

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) said the lions were discovered and seized in Spin Boldak district of southern Kandahar province before the smugglers manage to take them to the other side of the line.

The border police commander Gen. Nematullah Haidari said the smugglers had professionally placed the lions inside a truck and were looking to take them out of the country.

He said the smugglers had apparently brought the lions from outside Afghanistan and were looking to take them to Pakistan.

Gen. Haidari further added that four of the lions were transferred to Kabul and were handed over to the authorities of Kabul Zoo.

He also added that the remaining two lions will also be shifted to Kabul in the near future so they can join the four others and can be kept in the zoo.

It is yet not clear if any suspect was arrested in connection to the smuggling attempt of the lions.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/afghan-police-foil-smuggling-attempt-of-6-lions-to-pakistan-02509

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Deadly car bombing plot foiled in Kabul city

Apr 05 2017

The Afghan security forces have foiled a deadly car bombing plot by the anti-government armed militant groups in capital Kabul.

The 101st Asmayee Zone in Kabul said a terrorist was arrested and Vehicle-borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) was confiscated and defused by the militants manage to detonate it in the city.

The militants had planted two mortar rounds connecting them with a battery inside the vehicle which was discovered and seized from the vicinity of the 5th police district of the city.

The Afghan security forces had foiled a suicide attack in capital Kabul last week.

The 101st Asmayee Zone said last Tuesday that the security forces confiscated eight kilograms of explosives and ball bearings professionally packed for the attack.

The explosives were planted near the 15th block in Arzan Qeemat area in the vicinity of the 12th of the police district of the city.

The anti-government armed militant groups have not commented regarding the report so far.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/deadly-car-bombing-plot-foiled-in-kabul-city-02508

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Mideast

 

Iran Will Never Succumb To US, Allies Psychological War: Military Official

Apr 4, 2017

Iran will never submit to pressure and psychological warfare by the United States and its allies, the chief of staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, Major General Mohammad Baqeri, says.

Addressing a meeting with commanders, managers and staff of the Armed Forces in Tehran on Tuesday, Baqeri added that strengthening defensive preparedness and capacities is a serious and immutable strategy of the Islamic Republic.

In line with the Islamic Republic’s defence doctrine and courtesy of a realistic approach to regional issues, particularly the enemies’ threats, the country would never hesitate on developing its deterrent and defensive power, he reiterated.

“Promoting defensive readiness and capacities, maintaining the conditions of swiftly repelling threats and deepening intelligence command over the enemy’s moves are among the priorities of the Armed Forces, particularly the Army and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)” Baqeri said.

He noted that the Armed Forces are responsible for maintaining and defending national security and said, “Despite round-the-clock efforts by hegemonic and adventurist extra-regional powers and Takfiri terrorists to create insecurity in the country in [the recently-ended Iranian calendar] year of 1395, it was a secure and calm year for the Iranian nation.”

The Iranian military official added that plots by terrorist groups to penetrate and infiltrate into the country and create insecurity were neutralized thanks to the appropriate and wise measures by the Armed Forces and the Intelligence Ministry.

In recent years, Iran has made great achievements in its defence sector and reached self-sufficiency in producing essential military equipment and systems.

The Islamic Republic has conducted several military drills to enhance the defense capabilities of its Armed Forces and to test modern military tactics and equipment.

The Islamic Republic has repeatedly assured other countries, especially the regional neighbours, that its military might poses no threat to anyone. Iran says its defense doctrine is merely based on deterrence.

http://presstv.ir/Detail/2017/04/04/516709/Iran-US-Armed-Forces-Mohammad-Baqeri

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Iranian man sentenced to death for 'insulting Islam' through messaging app

The IndependentMarch 31, 2017

Sina Dehghan has been sentenced to death for messages 'insulting Islam' sent when he was 19 years old

A 21-year-old man has been sentenced to death by Iranian authorities for “insulting Islam” through messages he sent on an instant messenger app.

Human rights lawyers claim that Sina Dehghan, who was just 19 when he sent the messages, was tricked into signing his own death warrant after being persuaded to confess to the breach of Islamic law with the promise of release if he did so.

But after obtaining a confession, prosecutors dropped the agreement and sentenced Dehghan to death in January this year, according to the Centre for Human Rights in Iran.

The content of the messages, said to have been sent using the Line app, is unknown.

A source told CHRI: “During his interrogation, Sina was told that if he signed a confession and repented, he would be pardoned and let go.

“Unfortunately, he made a childish decision and accepted the charges. Then they sentenced him to death.”

His family was allegedly told if they kept quiet about the charges, he was more likely to go free.

Prosecutors asked that Dehghan be sentenced to death for “insulting the prophet' as well as to 16 months in prison for 'insulting the supreme leader'.

The sentence has now been upheld by the country’s Supreme Court, according to the CHRI, although a request for a judicial review has given his family hope that his life could still be spared.

His mother said in a video interview obtained by CHRI: “According to Sina's lawyer, steps have been taken for a judicial review, and with the good news we're hearing from him, God willing this case will come to end positively as soon as possible.”

Co-defendants Sahar Eliasi and Mohammad Nouri were also convicted of posting anti-Islamic material on social media.

Nouri was issued a death sentence, but it is unknown if the Supreme Court has given its final ruling.

Eliasi had his seven-year prison sentence reduced to three on appeal.

Dehghan was undertaking compulsory military service at the time of his arrest in 2015 and had just four days left to serve.

Japanese-based Line has since added end-to-end encryption to its messages, although it is not known how they came to be seen by the authorities.

“They took him to his home and searched it while he repeatedly expressed regret and repentance,” the unnamed source told CHRI.

The source added that Dehghan is struggling to cope with the incarceration in Arak Prison.

“Sina is not feeling well. He’s depressed and cried constantly. He’s being held in a ward with drug convicts and murderers who broke his jaw a while ago.

“He was a 19-year-old boy at the time (of his arrest) and had never done anything wrong in his life.”

Iran is believed to execute more people per capita than any other country. According to Amnesty International, there were 289 state executions carried out in Iran in 2014, the majority of which (up to 74 per cent) were for drugs-related offences.

The number of executions in the Islamic fundamentalist country is reported to be on the rise and according to the UN, at least 966 people were put to death in the country in 2015.

Iran has attracted widespread condemnation for carrying out executions of minors, despite having signed the UN convention on the rights of the child.

The usual method of execution is hanging, although the country has been heavily criticised for its occasional practice of stoning women to death, usually for adultery. According to Amnesty, public executions still occasionally take place, despite being banned in the country in 2008.

Full report at:

https://www.yahoo.com/news/iranian-man-sentenced-death-insulting-220923877.html

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Yemeni forces prepare to retake Hudaydah port from Houthis

5 April 2017

Yemeni government forces and their Arab allies are massing north and south of the Houthi-held Red Sea port of Hudaydah despite United Nations and aid groups warnings that a military operation there would put millions of civilians at risk.

Hudaydah port and province is controlled by the Iran-aligned Houthis and has been the entry point for 70 percent of Yemen's food supplies as well as humanitarian aid.

The country has been torn by more than two years of civil war that pits the armed Houthi group against the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, which is backed by a Saudi-led Arab alliance. More than 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict and hunger is widespread.

Local officials said that Hadi's government, building on recent gains that included capturing the coffee export hub of al-Mokha in February, has amassed two recently-trained brigades -- one in Midi about 230 km (140 miles) north of Hudaydah near the border with Saudi Arabia, and another outside al-Khoukha region, some 130 km (80 miles) south of the city.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/04/05/Yemeni-forces-prepare-to-retake-Hudaydah-port-from-Houthis.html

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Houthi leader speech creates differences among coup leaders in Sanaa

4 April 2017

A lawsuit filed before the Attorney General against the speech delivered by Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi has said that there is growing anger against Houthi militias.

The case, which has been filed by the leader of Yemeni General People’s Congress Party and member of its Standing Committee, Dr. Adel al-Shuja, stating that party - led by ousted Ali Abdullah Saleh - has a lot of resentment against the militias.

Dr. al-Shuja said “The speech of the leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi is of racial discrimination, igniting flames of hatred, racial hatred and sectarian discrimination.”

He pointed out that the speech delivered by Abdul Malik al-Houthi last Friday was to deepen the spirit of hatred and a flagrant violation of the rights of the Yemeni people, asserting that al-Houthi gave direct instructions to use violence against young people who do not join his group, and clearly called for killing his opponents.

Dr. Al-Shuja further said, “Ignoring or turning a blind eye to this speech means shedding the blood of groups of the people incited against them by Abdul-Malik al-Houthi and will lead us to more massacres than the massacres of Nazism.”

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/04/04/Saudi-crown-prince-discusses-enhancing-bilateral-ties-with-Britain-s-PM.html

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Israel destroys Palestinian homes in Jerusalem al-Quds

Apr 4, 2017

Israeli regime forces have destroyed four Palestinian residential units in a village in the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.

The Israeli forces attacked the Az-Zaeem Village on Monday, using bulldozers to demolish the four buildings.

Separately, an Israeli soldier was wounded during intense clashes that erupted on Monday evening between Palestinian youths and Israeli military forces in the al-Eisaviya Village in the occupied Quds, the local Quds news outlet reported. The Israeli forces took into custody 13 Palestinians following the confrontation.

Israeli military gunships also separately targeted Palestinian fishing boats off the waters of the Gaza Strip.

Israeli soldiers also raided the house of a Palestinian, identified as Omar Hamarshe, in the town of Ya’bod in the West Bank city of Jenin, arresting him.

In yet another development in the occupied territories, 109 Israeli settlers, backed by Israeli troops, entered the tomb of Prophet Joseph east of Nablus, leading to scuffles between the intruding settlers and the local Palestinians in the area.

Over the past months, Israeli forces have fatally shot many Palestinians in the occupied territories, alleging that they had attempted to attack the Israelis.

The Israeli regime has come under fire by rights groups for promoting a shoot-to-kill policy against local Palestinians. The US-based rights group Human Rights Watch (HRW) voiced deep concerns in January over the rising number of Israeli authorities encouraging soldiers to kill Palestinians even when they do not pose a threat.

The HRW released a report on January 2 documenting the numerous statements since October 2015 by senior Israeli officials calling on police and military to shoot dead suspected Palestinian assailants.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/04/04/516672/Palestine-Israeli-forces-Jerusalem-alQuds-AzZaeem-Village

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Geneva: Iran's 1988 Massacre of Political Prisoners Condemned by UN

30 March 2017

NCRI - Coinciding with the United Nations Human Rights Council session in Geneva, a conference titled “Impunity and International Justice – 1988 Massacre of Political Prisoners – From 1988 to 2017” was held at the invitation of five non-government organizations ranked as UN advisors. Political dignitaries, jurists, and human rights personalities also took part in this gathering.

The speakers condemned the wave of executions and inhumane crimes by the mullahs’ regime against the Iranian people. They also called for an international probe into the 1988 massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners and the persecution by Iranian regime officials on crimes against humanity.

Dr. Taher Boumedra, a former UN human rights office chief in Iraq, emphasized the UN had been following the massacre in 1988. Professor Reynaldo Galindo Pohl received information from the victims’ families daily as the events unfolded. There is also a list of mass graves and the locations that have been identified, which was described as a major breakthrough.

Currently, the UN and all its apparatus and mechanisms have placed the 1988 massacre on their agenda. The results of the past six months of their work will be presented to the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran with the goal of establishing an investigative commission on this issue.

Dr. Alejo Vidal-Quadras, former European Parliament vice president, praised the report about the victims. He added that the 1988 massacre of political prisoners is considered the biggest massacre of political prisoners since the end of World War II.

This massacre was carried out under orders issued by Iranian regime founder Ruhollah Khomeini, but all the regime’s factions were involved, Dr. Quadras added. Moderation in Iran is nothing but a mirage and appeasing this regime is a waste of time and will render no benefits, he emphasized.

Considering the possibility of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards being designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S., the West should refrain from getting involved in any deals with the Iranian regime, said Dr. Quadras.

“What we need now is a strong condemnation and firm resolutions, alongside continuous monitoring by the UN, human rights organizations and NGOs on the situation of human rights in Iran. For example, they must force Iran to allow the unconditional inspection of political prisoners, expanding relations with Iran must be conditioned on improvements in human rights and a halt in executions. Those involved in the 1988 massacre must face justice,” he added.

Full report at:

http://www.ncr-iran.org/en/news/human-rights/22436-geneva-iran-s-1988-massacre-of-political-prisoners-condemned-by-un

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Young Iranian faces execution over ‘anti-Islamic’ social media posts

30 March 2017

This statement was originally published on globalvoices.org on 27 March 2017.

Sina Dehghan faces execution over his posts critical of Islam that he published in public online channels at the age of 19

By Mahsa Alimardani

While governments around the world deploy advanced surveillance tactics to monitor the communications of potential terrorists, the Iranian government goes after those who “terrorize” the sanctity of the Islamic regime on digital communication platforms.

Sina Dehghan, a 21-year-old former soldier, has experienced this firsthand. He was arrested in 2015 for his social media posts. He was convicted and sentenced to death, and is now awaiting his fate.

At the age of 19, Dehghan was completing his mandatory military service in the Tehran army barracks when the Revolutionary Guards, a hardline wing of Iran's armed forces that is accountable to the office of the Supreme Leader, arrested him over a series of public messages he had posted on the messaging platform LINE. A source told the Center for Human Rights in Iran' that his posts were against Islam and the Quran.

He was arrested alongside two others, Sahar Eliasi and Mohammad Nouri, who authorities said collaborated with Dehghan in the posts. All three were found guilty of participating in social media channels that insulted or criticized Islam. Eliasi's sentence was reduced to three years upon appeal and Nouri is still awaiting his sentence. Dehghan's death sentence was confirmed by Iran's Supreme Court in late January 2017.

The case against Dehghan rests on a confession that he was pressured to give under false pretenses. Upon his arrest, the Revolutionary Guards deceived Dehghan by telling him if he confessed to the charge of “insulting” the Prophet Mohammad and signed a letter of repentance, he would be set free.

The Revolutionary Guards deceived Dehghan by telling him if he confessed to the charge of “insulting” the Prophet Mohammad and signed a letter of repentance, he would be set free.

Full report at:

http://www.ifex.org/iran/2017/03/30/facing-execution-anti-islamic-post/

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North America

 

American teen pleads guilty to ISIS-inspired plot to kill Pope Francis

4 April 2017

A New Jersey teen pleaded guilty Monday to a plot allegedly inspired by ISIS to kill Pope Francis during his 2015 visit to the United States.

The US Justice Department said Santos Colon, 15 years old at the time, sought to recruit a sniper to shoot the pope as he celebrated mass in Philadelphia on September 27, 2015. Colon also allegedly planned to set off explosives.

But the teen unwittingly recruited an undercover FBI agent for the job, and was arrested quietly 12 days before the event.

"Colon engaged someone he believed would be the sniper, but in reality was an undercover FBI employee. Colon engaged in target reconnaissance with an FBI confidential source and instructed the source to purchase materials to make explosive devices," the Justice Department said in a statement.

Court documents said Colon sought to carry out the act in support of the Islamic State group and that he had used the adopted name Ahmad Shakoor.

In a plea bargain with prosecutors, Colon, now 17, agreed to forego trial and plead guilty as an adult to one charge of providing material support to a terror group.

With the deal, prosecutors dropped three other charges filed against him as a juvenile.

Court documents said the charges were in relation to the Islamic State group, which Washington has designated a foreign terrorist organization.

But there were no details on how Colon became interested in the group and if or how he communicated with them.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2017/04/04/American-teen-pleads-guilty-to-ISIS-inspired-plot-to-kill-pope-.html

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Muslim teen writes Black Lives Matter in his US college application, gets a call from Stanford

5 Apr 2017

Ziad Ahmed, an 18-year-old resident of the United States, recently got admitted into the prestigious Stanford University because of the uniqueness of his colleage application.

As part of his application, Ahmed, an outspoken individual who believes in equality to all, was asked what mattered to him and why. To which, he replied #BlackLivesMatter.

On Saturday, Ahmed posted his answer and acceptance letter on Twitter with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. The tweet now has over 3000 retweets and over 6,000 likes.

"I didn’t think I would get admitted to Stanford at all, but it’s quite refreshing to see that they view my unapologetic activism as an asset rather than a liability," said Ahmed, while speaking to Mic.

He added that his unapologetic progressivism is a central part of my identity. "And I wanted that to be represented adequately in my application," Ahmed said.

Ahmed, a Bangladeshi-American has already become a celebrity because of his activism work. He has already been invited to The White House Iftar dinner and is recognised as a Muslim-American change-maker under the Obama administration.

Full report at:

http://www.dnaindia.com/world/report-muslim-teen-writes-black-lives-matter-in-his-us-college-application-gets-a-call-from-stanford-2382068

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Trump blames Assad for deadly chemical attack in Syria, U.S. under pressure

Apr 05, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday condemned a Syrian chemical weapons attack that killed dozens and blamed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but did not say how he would respond despite calls from France for stronger U.S. leadership.

Trump said the attack in Syria's Idlib province was "reprehensible and cannot be ignored by the civilized world," although he also sought to blame his predecessor, Barack Obama.

"These heinous actions by the Bashar al-Assad regime are a consequence of the last administration's weakness and irresolution," Trump said in a statement. "President Obama said in 2012 that he would establish a 'red line' against the use of chemical weapons and then did nothing."

The Syrian military denied responsibility and said it would never use chemical weapons.

The chemical weapons attack on Tuesday, which killed scores of people, including children, came a week after both Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said their focus in Syria was on stopping Islamic State militants rather than pushing Assad to leave power.

A senior Trump administration official said on Tuesday the government was looking at policy options after the attack in Idlib but that the options were limited and that the views expressed by Tillerson and Haley still held.

"Nothing has changed in terms of that dynamic. Our ability to get rid of him doesn’t rise because he does something terrible," the official said.

France's foreign minister said the suspected chemical weapons attack was a way of testing the Trump administration and urged Washington to clarify its position on Assad.

"The question is to know, yes or no, whether the Americans support a political transition in Syria, which means organizing this transition, elections and that at the end of the process the question of Assad's departure is asked," Jean-Marc Ayrault

told RTL radio.

A member of the Syrian opposition said the attack was a "direct consequence" of the recent U.S. statements on Assad.

Another senior U.S. official said Saudi Arabia and Turkey, both key allies against Islamic State, had indicated the militant group was a higher priority than ousting Assad and that his removal would only add to the chaos in the region.

'CLEARLY A WAR CRIME'

Nonetheless, the nature of the attack was jarring to the new Trump administration.

"If it’s what it looks like, it is clearly a war crime," said a senior State Department official, adding that the government was still gathering information.

A U.S. government source said Washington believed the chemical agent sarin was used in the attack and that it was "almost certainly" carried out by forces loyal to Assad.

"Those outside backers who are said to be guarantors of the (Assad) regime obviously have a lot to answer for,” the State Department official said, referring to Russia and Iran, which have provided military backing for Assad.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/05-Apr-2017/trump-blames-assad-for-deadly-chemical-attack-in-syria-us-under-pressure

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Southeast Asia

 

Singapore orders Indian imam's expulsion for remarks against Christians, Jews

3 Apr 2017

Singapore on Monday ordered the expulsion of an Indian imam after he was handed a nearly $3,000 fine by a court for making divisive remarks against Christians and Jews during his Friday sermon at a mosque.

Nalla Mohamed Abdul Jameel pleaded guilty to a charge of promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion or race at the State Courts. He was handed a fine of Singaporean $2,860, the Channel News Asia reported.

In February, a video was circulated online of the imam reportedly reciting a prayer in Arabic that said, "God help us against Jews and Christians", among other things. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), in a separate statement, said Nalla has paid the fine and will be repatriated.

"Any religious leader from any religion who makes such statements will be held accountable for their actions," the MHA said. "Under Singapore law, we cannot, regardless of his religion, allow anyone to preach or act divisively and justify that by reference to a religious text," it said.

The imam had on Friday apologised in front of Christian, Sikh, Taoist, Buddhist and Hindu representatives, as well as members of the Federation of Indian Muslims, saying that he was "filled with great remorse" for the inconvenience, tension and trauma caused by his remarks. Jameel had also visited Rabbi Moderchai Abergel at the Maghain Aboth Synagogue Sunday morning to apologise, local media reported.

On behalf of the Jewish community in Singapore, Rabbi Mordechai accepted the imam's apology and emphasised the need to be constantly conscious of Singapore's delicate harmonious co-existence, given its diversity. The imam had made controversial supplications at Friday prayers.

The incident came under police investigation after a video of the sermon was posted on Facebook. It sparked heated debate, prompting Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim to call for peace and unity in the Muslim community.

Jameel's lawyer Noor Marican was quoted as saying that the imam has accepted the punishment and is grateful that he was not sentenced to prison. "Today he has learnt his lesson. Hopefully the inter-faith community and all Singaporeans can move forward," he told reporters outside the court.

Full report at:

http://www.dnaindia.com/world/report-singapore-orders-indian-imam-s-expulsion-for-remarks-against-2379999

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Malaysia develops MyIHAB, first Jakim's halal ecosystem solution

April 4, 2017

Malaysia develops MyIHAB, first Jakim's halal ecosystem solution

SEPANG: Malaysia has developed a system to fully integrate online registration and management system that further empower the halal industry.

Known as the Malaysia International Halal Authorities and Bodies System (MyIHAB), it is a fully centralised database under the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim)'s Halal Ecosystem Solution and first of its kind.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said this was a starting point for Malaysia to move forward towards establishing an International Halal Accreditation Board in the near future.

"This shows the government is highly concerned on the role played by the Recognised Halal Certification Bodies in empowering the Malaysian Halal Certification," he said during his welcoming remarks at 8th Halal Certification Bodies Convention here yesterday.

Zahid said in doing so, important measures had been taken to preserve integrity, impartiality, confidentiality and high awareness of Halal certification.

"We need to bear in mind that responsibility must always be implemented to guarantee our credibility as Halal certifiers and to convince our customers and partners, Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

"It has always been our hope and vision that Halal Certification will have a brighter future ahead," he added.

Apart from the MyIHAB system, Zahid also launched an e-book on harmonisation of Halal standard.

Last year alone, about RM37.02 billion worth of halal products were marketed in among others, South East Asia, the Middle East and China, he said.

The quest for halal products is rising and Malaysia targeted RM40 billion in halal exports this year, he added.

Zahid said Malaysia remained committed to become a significant player in the global halal market and ultimately to become a world halal hub.

"As Muslims, it is our duty to enhance and further promote halal products to become a premium brand, one that is associated with quality, safety and good health.

"Insya-Allah (God willing), through the development of the halal industry and economy, we will see a positive impact of Islam and Muslims in business and commerce around the globe," he added.

In order to make Malaysia a global halal leader by 2020, Zahid said Jakim has taken proactive measures to expand the scope of international certification.

"The process of auditing and monitoring of applications for International Halal Certification will be carried out by Jakim’s audit office while Recognised Halal Certification Bodies will act as a monitoring agent for International Halal Certification on behalf of the our government abroad," he added.

He said Malaysia is also committed to develop the capacity or ability of the Recognised Halal Certification Bodies through various development programmes, coaching and consultation.

Full report at:

http://www.nst.com.my/news/2017/04/227253/malaysia-develops-myihab-first-jakims-halal-ecosystem-solution

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Parliamentary diplomacy enhances Indonesia-UK relations

Apr 05, 2017

London (ANTARA News) - At a meeting with Senior Deputy Lord Speaker, the House of Lords, Lord McFall of Alcluith, Indonesian Assembly Vice-Chairman Hidayat Nur Wahid highlighted the importance of improving parliamentary relations to strengthen bilateral ties.

The statement from the Indonesian Embassy in London was received by ANTARA News here, Tuesday.

Wahids visit to the UK Parliament coincided with the historic moment when the Great Britain officially declared to exit from the European Union (EU).

Wahid expressed hope that the Great Britain would be able to go through the Brexit, or British Exit, process with ease that will not only provide benefits to the UK but also to the EU and other countries outside the region, including Indonesia, particularly in the field of trade.

The Indonesian delegation also met several parliamentarians who are members of the Indonesian caucus in the UK Parliament, or the so-called All-Party Parliamentary Group on Indonesia (APPGI): Richard Graham, John Spellar, and Barroness Uddin.

Wahid condoled over the incident that occurred at the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Palace, weeks ago.

"We would like to assert that Indonesia, as a Muslim-majority country, does not support any form of violence. It is obvious that Islam has been disadvantaged due to the crime," Wahid noted.

Full report at:

http://www.antaranews.com/en/news/110285/parliamentary-diplomacy-enhances-indonesia-uk-relations

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Jokowi gets clerics in line amid tension

April 5, 2017

Haeril Halim

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has convened Muslim clerics from regions across the country at the State Palace amid allegations that hard-line Islamic groups are planning large rallies in five cities as part of a plot to overthrow him.

The meeting on Tuesday took place just days after the Jakarta Police arrested five alleged instigators of the latest sectarian rally against Jakarta’s Christian governor, Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, on March 31 on treason charges. The authorities have accused them of trying to oust Jokowi by occupying the House of Representatives.

The five suspects, including Muslim People’s Forum (FUI) leader Muhammad Al-Khaththath, planned to hold big rallies in five major cities — Makassar, Surabaya, Yogyakarta, Bandung and Jakarta — sometime between April 20 — a day after the Jakarta election runoff — and the beginning of the fasting month of Ramadhan on May 26, Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Prabowo Argo Yuwono said on Tuesday.

It was the second time police linked a sectarian rally in Jakarta to a plot to oust Jokowi. In December last year, police arrested a number of people accused of trying to use the rally as a means to depose the President.

Tuesday’s meeting is seen by analysts as an attempt by Jokowi to gain support from Muslim clerics to prevent simmering sectarianism that has gripped the capital in recent months from spreading to other regions.

In his opening remarks at Tuesday’s meeting, Jokowi thanked Muslim clerics for doing their job in maintaining harmony in their respective regions and urged them to keep up the good work in order to safeguard the unity of Muslims across the country.

“We rely on ulemas to maintain calmness and to cool down the situation in cities and regencies of the country so that we always maintain a peaceful state of affairs,” said Jokowi.

(Read also: Jokowi accused of promoting secularism)

The 20 clerics invited to the Palace included Irfan Wahid, who heads the Tebuireng Pesantren (Islamic boarding school) in Jombang, East Java, cleric Sanusi Baco, who is an adviser to the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) in South Sulawesi, Syukron Makmun, the head of Pesantren Darurohman in Jakarta as well as cleric Aris Ni’matullah, the head of Pesantren Buntet in Cirebon, West Java.

Speaking as the spokesman of the group after the meeting, Syukron said the clerics agreed with Jokowi’s calls for the religious leaders to maintain the harmony of Muslims in their respective regions by stepping up campaigns to promote religious tolerance. Syukron said the clerics also called on Jokowi to solve any legal cases in the country through legal process without political interference, as that could become a problem. “As we live in a pluralistic country, we want real peace, not fake peace,” he said.

Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin, who joined the meeting, said the clerics had not specifically discussed sectarian issues plaguing the Jakarta election, as they were focusing on maintaining harmony across the country.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2017/04/05/jokowi-gets-clerics-in-line-amid-tension.html

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Africa

 

Muslim group condemns masquerades’ attack on Catholic priest

By Wale Odunsi

April 4, 2017

Professor Ishaq Akintola, Director, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has condemned the attack on Catholic seminarian, Lawrence Ezeugwu, by masquerades in Nsukka, Enugu.

The Catholic priest last week was beaten to coma by a group of masquerades popularly called Oriokpa who blocked the road at Ugwuoyia, Nsukka.

MURIC lamented what it called “wanton exhibition of religious extremism by traditionalists. It is crude, barbaric and symptomatic of thuggery and hooliganism”

The Muslim group, in the statement, drew the attention of the Federal Government to the excesses of traditionalists particularly in Southern Nigeria.

“Even in the South West, the Oro cult worshippers behave as if they are above the law. Traditionalists impose illegal curfew without being challenged by the authorities.

“A good example is the curfew imposed by Oro cultists in Ikorodu, Lagos State, during the last Ramadan season which nearly caused a violent clash between Muslims and traditionalists.

“It is well known that Muslims shuttle between the mosques and their homes day and night during Ramadan. The imposition of a curfew during such a period was not only illegal but also provocative.

“Although the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Section 38 (i) & (ii) guarantees freedom of religion thereby empowering traditionalists to freely practice their faith, it does not allow one group to laud it over another.

“The right of traditionalists to religious freedom stops where it begins to encroach on others’ rights and vice versa.

Full report at:

http://dailypost.ng/2017/04/04/muslim-group-condemns-masquerades-attack-catholic-priest/

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S. Africa to defend failure to arrest Bashir at ICC

05 April 2017

War crimes judges will Friday hear why South Africa failed to arrest Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir during a 2015 visit, as they mull whether to report Pretoria to the United Nations for possible action.

South Africa's lawyers will defend the decision not to detain Bashir -- wanted for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity -- at a hearing scheduled to start at 0730 GMT at the International Criminal Court.

At the heart of the matter is South Africa's refusal to arrest Bashir when he attended an African Union summit in Johannesburg in mid-June 2015, insisting he had "head of state immunity" and allowing him instead to slip out of the country under shadowy circumstances.

Judges at the tribunal based in The Hague will decide after the day-long hearing whether the southern African state violated its obligations by not arresting Bashir and handing him over.

Pretoria is a signatory to the Rome Statute which underpins the world's only permanent war crimes court.

In 2005, the UN Security Council asked the ICC to probe crimes in the western Sudan region of Darfur, where according to UN figures, some 330,000 people have been killed in a conflict between Khartoum and mostly black African insurgents.

The tribunal issued arrest warrants in 2009 and 2010 for Bashir for alleged crimes related to the conflict. He has steadfastly denied the charges.

  Diplomatic immunity 

But in its submission to the court, South Africa argued that "the circumstances within which South Africa found itself and the applicable law were not as clear cut as the Chamber is inclined to believe."

It insists that even if Bashir is wanted by the court it is "for the national authorities of the requested state to carry out the arrest -- and it is this act of arrest in the domestic jurisdiction of that state that is prohibited by head of state immunity."

The ICC's prosecutors have hit back, pointing out that in the past South Africa told Bashir he would be arrested if he set foot in the country.

"South Africa remained under an obligation to immediately arrest... Bashir if he entered South African territory," ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a document to the court.

"Give the circumstances, it is appropriate for the Chamber to refer South Africa" to the UN Security Council for possible further action, Bensouda said.

  'Disgraceful conduct' 

South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal has accused President Jacob Zuma's government of "disgraceful conduct" over Bashir's visit and ruled the failure to arrest him was unlawful.

Even though the UN Security Council has the power to impose sanctions, experts say an eventual referral will amount to little more than a slap on the wrist for South Africa.

"It's not the first time a state party country has failed to arrest Bashir and been reported," said Goran Sluiter, an international law professor at the University of Amsterdam.

"Unfortunately, I have to note that none of these countries ever felt any real repercussions," he told AFP.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/africa/187385/s-africa-to-defend-failure-to-arrest-bashir-at-icc

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Turkish Airlines bring 60 tons of food aid to Somalia

05 April 2017

A Turkish Airlines cargo plane carrying over 60 tons of food aid and medical supplies arrived in Somali’s capital Mogadishu on Tuesday as part of a global aid campaign by Turkey’s flagship carrier.

Use of the plane, emblazoned with the campaign’s twitter hashtag #LoveArmyForSomalia, was donated by Turkish Airlines.

“Turkish Airlines plane just landed. It carried more than 60 tons of humanitarian assistance. Turkish Airlines help Somalia #loveArmyFor Somalia,” Turkish Airlines said on Twitter.

The airline’s office in Mogadishu also confirmed to Anadolu Agency on the phone that plane landed at Adan Adde international airport Tuesday.

Since 2011, Turkish Airlines has been the only international air carrier serving Somalia, which this year has faced the threat of famine.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/africa/187379/turkish-airlines-bring-60-tons-of-food-aid-to-somalia

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Kenya: More Kenyans to Benefit From Sudanese Scholarships

4 APRIL 2017

By Aggrey Mutambo

The Sudanese government is increasing annual scholarships given to Kenyans in what could be a new initiative to improve Khartoum's relations with Nairobi.

On Sunday, the Sudanese Ambassador to Kenya Elsadig Abdalla Elias told reporters the additional 150 scholarships will benefit 30 Kenyans who will be trained on oil-related studies.

In total, 550 Kenyans have been admitted to sponsored programmes in Sudanese universities but the envoy said the number could rise depending on the applications they receive.

"We believe the best thing to give to a developing nation is education. It is the best tool for developing oneself, family and the country," the Envoy told reporters while unveiling a programme for the Sudan cultural exhibition in Nairobi.

"We are receiving and reviewing applications and whoever qualifies, we will accommodate them," he added.

TECHNOLOGY

Khartoum said it had raised scholarships from 200 annually in 2012 to 400 in 2015 and now 550 because more training opportunities have opened up in medicine, pharmacy, agriculture and other technology areas.

Most of the Kenyans are studying at the International University of Africa, Sudan's institution with the largest African student population, now at 19,000.

The exhibition event to start from April 4 to 7, he argued, is meant to open up Sudan to Kenyans in what he called a "people-people relations."

A delegation of 40 Sudanese officials is expected in Nairobi where Sudanese art, trade, education and technology will be shown at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) and later public lectures will be conducted in a selected universities.

The idea of using education and cultural connections is Sudan's new way of reaching out to Kenya, years after Khartoum grew distant when South Sudan seceded in 2011.

PEACE PACT

Though the formative pact, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which enabled that secession was signed in Kenya, Sudan's influence in East Africa and especially Kenya became lukewarm.

Its bid to enter the EAC was rejected as it didn't share a border with any member.

In addition, President Omar al-Bashir was indicted by the International Criminal Court and the Court's member states like Kenya were required to arrest him if he stepped on their soil.

Sudan was also until January 2017 on the US sanction list as a state sponsor of terrorism.

The envoy accused the international press for the bad image Sudan has received over the years and argued that many people do not know much about the country.

BAD REPORTING

"You may hear rumours of Sudan and terrorism; that is partly because of the bad media reporting. We have no links to groups like ISIL because our version of Islam is very moderate. Have you ever heard of any terrorist bomb attack in Sudan?" he posed.

Full report at:

http://allafrica.com/stories/201704040219.html

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