Mohamed Ali Mustafa Amar
at the Taqwa mosque, where Ayoub El Khazzani once worshiped. Credit Laura Leon
for The New York Times
Libyan PM Blames Turkey and Qatar for Forcing
Political Islam on His Country
Dozens Killed As Somali Shebab Ambush Troops
Suspected Boko Haram Fighters Kill 3 in Southern Niger
Libyan peace talks stall after negotiator quits
Africa: Islamic Climate Change Declaration Rooted in
Afghan Forces, With NATO Help, Attack Resurgent
Mullah Mansoor Deployed 600 Militants to Fight Mullah
Dadullah in Zabul
ISIL Struggle to Make Progress in Taliban Bastion Afghanistan
Gen. Dostum tells militants in Sar-e-Pul to surrender
or face death
Bangladesh Police find copies of jihadist book in
Jamaat leader’s press
Bangladesh police arrest 2 more suspects linked to
Rockets land in former influential jihadi leader’s
house in Kabul
Over 45 Terrorists Killed in Syria's Aleppo
Syrian Fighter Jets Kill Terrorists in Hama
Syrian Air Raids Target ISIL in Palmyra Countryside
Egypt court sentences 12 ISIS supporters to death
Saudi airstrikes kill five in northwestern Yemen as
ground invasion begins
MERS virus kills 19 in week in Saudi: Ministry
U.N. urged to end Syrian ‘suffering’
Qaeda-led forces advance on Syria airbase
Two Iraq generals killed in Daesh bombing attack
Another dissident dies in Egypt's prison, activists
cite medical negligence
US Asks Uzbekistan to Join Anti-Islamic State
Feds: Arizona Man Helped Student Get Islamic State
Teen to Be Sentenced for Helping Islamic State
ICNA Seminar Prepares Pilgrims for Hajj
Sufi Ideology Integral Part of Indian Ethos: PM
Hiding Behind Silence, Holding On To Occasional Video
Rise In Muslim Numbers Due To Politics Of Religion: Shiv
Another Pakistani militant held in Kashmir
Dawood Ibrahim not in Pakistan, FO tells India
Suicide Bomber Kills Himself during Raid; Wife and
Sons Also Die
West Should Understand Difference between Islam,
for Interior Affairs
Pakistan’s Nuclear Arsenal Could Become World’s
Taliban kill pro-government tribal elder in IED blast
Army chief vows to expose elements who helped
Brahmdagh’s statement a breakthrough: Balochistan CM
Actor portraying Hafiz Saeed in Phantom goes
Pakistan, India open diplomatic ‘terror-war’ front
No one will be allowed to kill our children, says Gen
OIC lauds Pakistan’s role in terror war
Pakistan demands top security for embassy in Kabul
Saudi Arabia executes Pakistani for drug trafficking
Turkey to Join Coalition's Air Fight against ISIL
Iran's Top Security Official: ISIL Building Security
Shield for Israel
Palestinians want their flag raised at UN
Palestinians to hold rare congress next month
Arab coalition hits Houthi positions in Yemen
Yemen: No talks with Houthis until arms surrendered
Iranian Deputy FM: Political Solution, Talks to Settle
Crisis in Yemen
Iran, China Stress Enhanced Cooperation on Peaceful N.
Supreme Leader Warns of US, Zionists' Continued
Hostility against Iran
PKK supporters rally in Istanbul against crackdown on
Displaced Shia Muslims Remain In Limbo in Indonesia
In Talks, Muslim Rebels Seek Independence in South
Two men in Malaysia charged over ISIS links
Srebenica Muslim commander charged with war crimes
Wan Azizah: Allah answered my prayers through Nurul
Junaid Hussain, ISIS Recruiter, Reported Killed in
UK Muslims Turn Pub into Islamic Center
Sign saying 'Welcome Home' in Hebrew mistaken for
Islamic State flag by shocked residents
Bishop killed for refusing to convert to Islam to be
U.S. asks Uzbekistan to join anti-Islamic State
Creating meaningful structures for Moroccan Jewry’s
past and future
Residents of a barrio in Algeciras, Spain, recall
train attack suspect
Scrutiny Falls on a Spanish Mosque After Foiled Train
France Terrorism 2015: After Train Attack, Charlie
Hebdo, French Try To Step Up Anti-Terror Efforts But Brace For More Violence
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Libyan PM Blames Turkey And Qatar For Forcing
Political Islam On His Country
August 27, 2015
OBRUK (Sputnik) – Qatar and Turkey are to blame for
forcing political Islam on Libya, the prime minister of the internationally
recognized Libyan government, Abdullah Thani, told Sputnik.
“There are states wishing to impose political Islam on
us. Turkey and Qatar, for example, are attempting to impose it on Libya despite
the people’s rejection,” Thani said.
That rejection was exemplified in the recent parliamentary
elections, the prime minister added.
Thani acknowledged the willingness to cooperate with
activists of political Islam as an integral part of the political landscape in
“However, partnership does not imply hegemony, and not
only in Libya. Qatar and Turkey have that experience in Egypt, where they
strongly support the Muslim Brotherhood,” Thani stressed.
The internationally recognized Libyan government seeks
international airstrikes targeting the Islamic State (IS) extremist group, not
against political rivals, Prime Minister Abdullah Thani continued in an
interview with Sputnik.
The Arab League pledged military assistance during an
extraordinary session requested by the internationally-recognized Tobruk-based
government last week. The association ruled out targeted anti-IS airstrikes
over Libyan territory.
“We asked for airstrikes on IS, not on our political
rivals,” Thani clarified.
The prime minister argued for surgical strikes in
coordination with the Libyan army because “all parties agree that IS must be
The northeast port city of Tobruk government’s call
for help came as Islamic State gained control over the northern Libyan city of
Sirte, killing up to 200 people in mid-August.
Libya is in need of arms to fight militants and does
not consider foreign military assistance to be an encroachment on the
sovereignty of the country, according to Abdullah Thani.
“We need weapons and ammunition… But we do not believe
military assistance is akin to foreign interference,” Thani argued.
The prime minister said that a lack of weapons and an
abundance of people willing to take up arms “creates an imbalance.”
“The international community helped us overthrow the
[Gaddafi] regime, but did not help in building a new state,” Thani explained to
Libya has been in a state of civil war since the
overthrow of longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and is now split into two
rival governments. The Tobruk-based government led by Thani is recognized
internationally. The country’s capital of Tripoli and adjacent western areas
are controlled by self-proclaimed authorities.
On Wednesday,the UN envoy to Libya, Bernadino Leon,
told the UN Security Council the rival Libyan authorities were in the “final
stages” of forming a national unity government.
Dozens killed as Somali Shebab ambush troops
August 28, 2015
MOGADISHU - Dozens have been killed in Somalia after
Shebab gunmen ambushed an army convoy, officials and local elders said
Thursday, the latest battles with the Al-Qaeda-linked insurgents.
Shebab fighters launched attacks on the army convoy
near the village of Tulo-Barwao in the southwestern Gedo district of Somalia on
Wednesday, a region bordering Ethiopia and Kenya, sparking intense gun battles.
Government officials put the toll at 32 Shebab and 11
government soldiers killed, while the Shebab said the only casualties were 19
Local elder Abdulahi Halane said around 30 people were
killed in total.
It was not possible to independently verify the toll.
“The fighting was very heavy and 32 enemy Shebab
fighters, including senior commanders, were killed,” said Nur Mohamud Burale, a
local government official.
“We lost 11 soldiers, and 16 others were wounded.
Shebab militants claimed responsibility for the
“Mujahedeen fighters carried out a successful ambush
against a military convoy transporting senior apostate officials, killing 19,”
the Shebab said.
The Shebab is fighting to overthrow the
internationally-backed government in Mogadishu, and still controls large parts
of the rural south.
The fighters launch regular attacks even in the heart
of government areas in the capital.
Government and African Union troops last month
launched a fresh offensive targeting Shebab strongholds in southern Somalia.
SUSPECTED BOKO HARAM FIGHTERS KILL 3 IN SOUTHERN NIGER
28 August 2015
NIAMEY – Suspected Nigerian Boko Haram militants raided
a village in southern Niger, killing three people including a soldier, security
sources in the West African nation said on Thursday.
The overnight attack took place in the village of
Abadam in the Diffa region near Niger's border with Nigeria earlier this week.
"Boko Haram attacked Tuesday night," one
military source said. "They killed two civilians and looted shops of
goods. We lost a sergeant on Wednesday during a pursuit of the terrorists. But
we neutralised them."
A second military source confirmed the deaths. Both
sources asked not to be named as they were not authorised to speak to the
An estimated 150,000 people have fled to Diffa to
escape Boko Haram violence in the past two years.
A regional offensive by Nigeria, Niger, Chad and
Cameroon earlier this year drove Boko Haram from much of the territory it held
in northern Nigeria. But the militants have since struck back with a renewed
wave of raids and suicide bombings.
Niger's government has placed Diffa under a state of
emergency, and authorities there have arrested and imprisoned some 1,100
Libya's unofficial government dropped out of the
latest round of U.N.-backed peace talks on Thursday, soon before they were due
to start, in another disruption to efforts to end months of conflict.
A representative of the faction said it needed more
time to form a new negotiation team after a senior member quit, and would
return to the table when it was ready, but gave no indication of when that
The United Nations formally opened the session with
other groups in the Moroccan city of Skhirat, but there was little prospect of
any progress without one of the main sides in a conflict that has brought Libya
to its knees in the four years since the overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi.
The faction took over Libya's capital Tripoli last
year, forcing the internationally-recognized government and its elected
parliament to move east.
Armed groups loyal to both sides have continued to
fight over territory and resources. Islamist militants, including ISIS, have
also gained ground.
The recognised government agreed to a peace deal last
month, but the Tripoli faction refused to sign. The latest round of talks was
meant to iron out remaining differences.
A senior member of the Tripoli delegation quit on
Wednesday following what his political party described as differences with the
head of the Tripoli parliament, known as the GNC, over the talks.
Both sides face divisions and pressure from
“This is not because we want to leave the U.N.
dialogue,” Mowafaq Hawas, a representative of that parliament, told Reuters
about the delay.
The United Nations issued a statement saying the
Libyan faction had agreed to take part in the next round, but did not give a
All sides have been discussing a U.N. proposal that
calls for a one-year government of national accord in which a council of
ministers headed by a prime minister and two deputies would have executive
27 AUGUST 2015
Cairo — The first Islamic declaration on global
climate change was widely welcomed last week for framing the problem as a moral
issue and trying to engage the world's 1.6 billion Muslims in efforts to fight
But some climate experts from Muslim countries now say
that such faith-based messages are unlikely to change national climate policies
and may even stoke conflict between religions.
The declaration, issued during the International
Islamic Climate Change Symposium in Turkey last week (18 August), warns that
there are "serious flaws in the way we have used natural resources".
"We recognize the corruption (fasād) that humans have caused on the Earth
due to our relentless pursuit of economic growth and consumption," the
Quoting the Qur'an and the Prophet Muhammad, the
declaration urges governments, corporations and "all Muslims wherever they
may be" to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In particular, it asks the
parties that will sit at the negotiating table at the UN's December climate
summit in Paris to reach an "equitable and binding conclusion", and
calls on well-off nations and oil-producing states to help poorer countries
through "generous financial and technical support".
The grand mufti of Uganda, the nation's religious
leader, endorsed the declaration, along with other prominent Islamic scholars,
policy makers and leaders of faith groups.
Several organisations have praised the declaration for
sending the right message.
"Climate change is no longer just a scientific
issue; it is increasingly a moral and ethical one," said Tasneem Essop,
from the global climate and energy initiative of the WWF, an international
conservation body, in a statement last week. "Most religions view humans
as the caretakers of the natural world. And in this spirit, taking care of the
environment is a moral duty."
Full report at:
Afghan forces, with NATO help, attack resurgent
Aug 28, 2015
LASHKAR GAH: Soldiers from the US-led NATO coalition
have joined combat to stop a Taliban advance in Afghanistan's Helmand province,
where battlefield success has given the insurgents' their biggest symbolic
victory in years and made talking peace a fading hope.
Nearly 14 years on from the US invasion that toppled
the Islamist regime after the Septembe 2001 attacks, the Taliban are undefeated
and making gains since most foreign forces left last year, but are still far
from their goal of retaking Kabul.
A furious counter-assault led by the Afghan army is on
in the Helmand district of Musa Qala that on Wednesday fell to the Taliban for
the first time since 2007.
“The deputy defence minister is in Helmand right now
and an operation is ongoing in full force to retake the district,” said Gen.
Dawlat Waziri, a defence ministry spokesman.
NATO's Resolute Support coalition said U.S. aircraft
dropped bombs on Musa Qala nine times in the past 24 hours, and that foreign
soldiers were also helping on the ground.
“Resolute Support service members are training,
advising, and assisting elements of the Afghan National Defence and Security
Forces (ANDSF) operating in Musa Qala,” said spokesman Col. Brian Tribus.
Incipient peace talks collapsed last month after it
was announced that Taliban leader Mullah Omar had died two years before.
The announcement was followed by a series of fatal
attacks in Kabul. Looking to consolidate his position, acting successor Mullah
Mansoor disavowed talks, while commanders in the field have responded with
surging offensives across the country.
Hopes for reviving a planned second round of talks
have faded in recent weeks, with Afghanistan government sources saying they are
unwilling to let Pakistan act as a broker and with the Taliban on the
“If your enemy feels stronger day by day, it is hard
to sit them down for peace negotiations,” said Graeme Smith, a veteran Afghan
analyst at International Crisis Group.
“If the government wants to get them to the
negotiating table, it needs to stop them taking towns.”
Mullah Mansoor deployed 600 militants to fight Mullah
Dadullah in Zabul
Aug 28 2015
Amid growing rift among the Taliban leadership
regarding the appoint of the group’s new leader, reports have emerged from
southern Zabul province regarding preparation for a major clash between rival
Mullah Akhtar Mansoor who was appointed as the new
leader of Taliban has reportedly deployed around 600 armed militants
Khak-e-Afghan area to fight with the militants of Mullah Mansoor Dadullah.
Reports regarding the possible outbreak of a major
clash between Mullah Mansoor and Mullah Dadullah have been confirmed by local
residents have who are witnessing growing deployment of militants in
This comes as Mansoor Dadullah warned of further
divisions among the Taliban militants earlier this month while expressing his
deep opposition with the appointment of Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor as
successor of Mullah Mohammad Omar.
Dadullah called on immediate actions to appoint a new
supreme leader for the Taliban group who should be acceptable for all.
ISIL struggle to make progress in Taliban bastion
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) had
ambitious plans for Afghanistan, but Taliban resistance, US drone strikes, and
a society less scarred by sectarianism mean the extremists have so far failed
to repeat their Middle Eastern breakthrough.
The jihadist group, which controls large areas of
Syria and Iraq, has been trying for months to establish itself in Afghanistan's
eastern badlands, challenging the Taliban on their own turf.
Its franchise in the war-torn country has managed to
recruit disaffected Taliban fighters, as the fractious Afghan militant movement
wrestles with a bitter power transition.
But the loss of senior commanders in drone strikes and
the group's signature brutality, which repels many Afghans, has helped stem its
Frequent clashes and firefights with Taliban
insurgents have also hampered its bid to capture significant territory.
"In Iraq and Syria, you might say (ISIL) are in
stage six or seven or eight," top US military officer General Martin
Dempsey said last month.
"In Libya, they are in stage three or four, and
in Afghanistan they are in stage one or two."
His views are echoed by other NATO officials who say
that ISIL in Afghanistan are not yet capable of carrying out the sort of
coordinated operations they are conducting in Iraq and Syria, although the
potential exists for them to evolve into a bigger threat.
Some Taliban insurgents, particularly in the restive
eastern provinces of Kunar and Nangarhar, have adopted the ISIL flag to rebrand
themselves as a more lethal force as NATO troops depart after 14 years of war.
The risk of defections grew after the July
announcement of Mullah Omar's demise, with many angry Taliban fighters accusing
the leadership of covering up the supremo's death for two years.
Some top cadres including Omar's son and brother have
refused to pledge allegiance to new leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour, saying the
process to select him was rushed and even biased.
"The Taliban have no redeeming features,"
said Mullah Mirwas, a former Taliban militant who is now an ISIL commander in
the Kajaki district in the southern province of Helmand.
Michael Kugelman, Afghanistan expert at the
Washington-based Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, said ISIL is
"flavour of the month right now. It has a dramatic appeal to a lot of
But the Taliban are attempting to counter that, with
an aggressive drive north from their southern and eastern strongholds, as well
as a wave of fatal bombings in the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Experts say the escalating violence demonstrates
Mullah Mansour's bid to boost his image within the Taliban, which could halt
the defections to ISIL.
"The Taliban remain a formidable fighting force.
It's in a position to fight back and push back against IS inroads,"
The Taliban has been able to keep IS at bay in eastern
US drone strikes in recent weeks have also dealt a
significant blow to ISIL in Afghanistan, killing dozens of suspected cadres,
including the group's Afghanistan-Pakistan regional chief Hafiz Saeed.
The First Vice President Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum has
called on anti-government armed militants in the restive northern Sar-e-Pul
province to surrender or face death.
The remarks by Gen. Dostum were followed after a visit
to Sar-e-Pul province after concluding a major military operation in northern
Gen. Dostum promised that Balkhab district which is
now controlled by Taliban militants will soon fall to the control of the Afghan
national security forces.
He said he will move towards northern Kunduz province
once Sar-e-Pul province has been cleared from the militants, provided that the
president and the national security council agrees to proceed.
Gen. Dostum joined the Afghan security forces in the
frontline in northern Faryab province earlier this month.
Police found almost 500 copies of ‘Chandni Raater
Premika’ – a collection of 58 jihadist poems, during a raid around noon on
Md Lokman, Jamaat-e-Islami’s vice president for
Jamalpur Ward-4, is the owner of Kashful Offset Printing Press in the
Jamalpur’s Station Road area.
Lokman has been absconding ever since the raid, said
Jamalpur Superintendant of Police (SP) Md Nizam Uddin at a press conference.
The title ‘Chandni Raater Premika’ roughly translates
to ‘Lady Lover of a Moonlit Night’. The sexually charged title appears to be in
conflict with the extremist claim about their rejection of so-called
Aug 28, 2015
Police in Bangladesh have arrested two more suspected
militants believed to be linked to the slaying of a blogger in the South Asian
Mahbub Alam, an official with the Dhaka Metropolitan
police, said on Friday that Kausar Hossain Khan and Kamal Hossain Sardar, both
29, were arrested in raids in the capital city late Thursday over the killing
of blogger Niladri Chattopadhyay Niloy.
The 28-year-old, who is also known as Niloy Chatterjee
and by his pen name Niloy Neel, was stabbed to death at his residence in Dhaka
on August 7.
The official added that the arrested individuals are
suspected members of the outlawed Ansarullah Bangla Team, an extremist militant
Bangladesh police officials parade suspects Masud Rana
(2-L) and Sad Al Nahin (2-R) in the capital, Dhaka, August 14, 2015. (Photo by
Police had two weeks ago arrested two other suspects
named Saad-al-Nahin and Masud Rana for involvement in the slaying of the
The house of the former influential jihadi leader
Abdul Rab Rasool Sayyaf came under rocket attack this afternoon.
At least two rockets have reportedly landed inside the
house of Sayyaf in Paghman district with sources close to him saying no
casualties were incurred.
The sources further added that Sayyaf was not present
in his house when the incident took place.
No group including the Taliban militants has so far
Sayyaf is one of the most influential jihadi leaders
and has been harshly criticizing the Taliban group for their insurgency
He once again took a hard stance against the group
following a series of deadly attacks in capital Kabul earlier this month which
left scores of people dead and nearly 400 others wounded.
In his speech shortly after a truck bombing in Shah
Shaheed area of the city, Sayyaf recalled a message to Taliban 15 years ago
saying that the slaves and oppressors will die in worst ways.
He said “he had warned Taliban that their masters
would arrest them and unfortunately they were used against the Afghan nation.”
Aug 27, 2015
The terrorists were killed in al-Sayyed Ali area.
Meanwhile, the army killed terrorists of al-Nusra
Front, and destroyed their arms at the Western neighborhood of Bosra al-Sham in
the Eastern countryside of Daraa.
Syria has been grappling with a deadly crisis since
March 2011. The violence fuelled by Takfiri groups has so far claimed the lives
of over 230,000 people, according to reports.
Aug 27, 2015
The air strikes targeted terrorists' hideouts and
movements in the villages and towns of al-Sarmaniyeh, Qaston, Zayzoun
al-Jadideh, al-Tanjarah, al-Kahera and at the vicinity of Zayzoun Station, in
al-Ghab Plain in Hama.
The air raids destroyed hideouts and vehicles equipped
with machineguns of various calibers belonging to the ISIL terrorists in Wadi
al- Mask in the countryside of Palmyra.
The Syrian warplanes also bombed the ISIL terrorists’
concentration centers to the East of al-Shumra Mountains in Palmyra
An Egyptian court sentenced to death 12 members of the
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria group Thursday for planning attacks against
police and soldiers in the country, a judicial official said, according to
Agence France Presse.
Six of those who were on trial are behind bars, while
the rest are still at large, the official said.
They were convicted of having joined ISIS -- which has
declared a “caliphate” in parts of Iraq and Syria under its control -- and of
plotting to attack members of Egypt’s police force and military.
Saudi warplanes have conducted new attacks on Yemen’s
northwestern Sa’ada Province, killing five people there.
The fatalities were caused in the Razeh city on
Friday. Casualties were also reported after Saudi warplanes launched airstrikes
on the city of Amran, also located in the country’s northwest.
Meanwhile, in the southwest, Saudi fighter jets
conducted four airstrikes on the central security camp in the city of Ibb, the
provincial capital of a province with the same name.
Two women were killed and three people wounded in
airstrikes on the Majma’ah complex in the province.
Saudi Arabia began its military aggression against
Yemen on March 26 – without a UN mandate – to restore power to the fugitive
former Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh, and
to undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement.
Smoke billows following Saudi airstrikes in Yemen’s
capital, Sana’a, August 20, 2015. (Photo by AFP)
Over 4,300 people have been killed in conflict in
Yemen since late March, the World Health Organization said on August 11. Local
Yemeni sources, however, say the fatality figure is much higher.
August 27 2015
Deaths from the MERS coronavirus have surged in Saudi
Arabia ahead of the hajj pilgrimage, with 19 fatalities recorded in a week,
according to health ministry statistics.
A total of 502 people have died in the kingdom since
the virus first appeared in 2012, according to updated figures posted on the
ministry's website, including 19, all Saudis, since last Thursday.
The number of MERS infections has also surged to 1,171
cases, the website said.
A surge in infections forced health authorities to
shut the emergency ward at a main hospital in Riyadh last week, after at least
46 people, including medical staff, contracted the Middle East Respiratory
Saudi Arabia, preparing to host more than two million
Muslims from all over the world next month for the annual hajj to Islam's
holiest sites in Mecca and Medina, is the country worst hit by the coronavirus.
The U.N. humanitarian chief urged Thursday the
Security Council, its most powerful body, to push for a solution to end the
conflict in Syria that has killed more than a quarter of a million people.
“With all the will in the world, humanitarian action
cannot be a substitute for political action. The Council must exert leadership
to push for a political solution,” Stephen O’Brien said after a short trip to
Syria earlier this month.
“It is difficult to find words that would justly
describe the depth of suffering that the Syrians face on a daily basis. Having
just returned from the country, I have seen a glimpse of this grim reality
myself,” he said.
“I left the country deeply saddened and outraged,” he
“The needless and immense suffering of ordinary
Syrians and the abhorrent destruction this conflict has wrought on the country.
I am angry, because we as the international community are not allowed and are
not able to do more to protect Syrians who more than ever need our unfaltering
support,” he added.
Syria’s Al-Qaeda offshoot and other rebel groups
advanced on Friday towards a military airport that is the last remaining
government-held facility in the northwestern province of Idlib, a monitor said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that Al-Qaeda-affiliated
Al-Nusra Front and other armed Islamist groups “seized the entrance” to the Abu
Duhur airport after carrying out several suicide bombings on motorbikes and
“seizing several positions on its outskirts.”
Syrian state television said the army had “killed a
large number of Al-Nusra terrorists and destroyed their arms and equipment” at
A Daesh Takfiri militant has killed two Iraqi generals
in a bombing attack in the western Anbar province as Iraqi forces advance in
the militant-held region.
Military spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Rasool said
a Daesh militant rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into the army convoy
advancing toward the provincial capital city of Ramadi in the Al-Jaraishi
The attack killed the deputy head of the Anbar
Operations Command, Staff Major General Abdulrahman Abu Raghif, as well as,
10th Division commander Staff Brigadier General Safin Abdulmajid, said the
A statement from the Iraqi Joint Operations Command
confirmed the fatal attack.
The northern and western parts of Iraq have been plagued
by gruesome violence ever since Daesh terrorists began their campaign of terror
in the country in June 2014.
Egyptian rights advocates say another activist opposed
to the incumbent military-backed government has died in prison, bringing to 14
the number of such deaths in the North African country.
Human rights activists said Khaled Zahran was
pronounced dead on Thursday shortly after admission to a hospital in the
central Egyptian city of Asyut, situated 375 kilometers (233 miles) south of
the capital, Cairo.
The prisoner, whose health condition had gravely
worsened in recent days, died because of lack of medical services, rights
The death comes as 37-year-old Ahmed Hamed, father of
three children, was pronounced dead on August 21 at a police station in the
city of Faiyum, located 100 kilometers (62 miles) southwest of Cairo.
A file photo of Ahmed Hamed, an Egyptian political
prisoner who died while in custody on August 21, 2015.
Two days earlier, a 40-year-old man who had been
detained on charges of being a Muslim Brotherhood member also passed away in police
custody 15 days after his arrest at a hospital in Matariya district in
Human rights activists in the Egyptian capital say the
man was in a very critical condition due to torture when he was transferred to
Nearly 300 political prisoners have died in Egyptian
detention facilities since the then army chief and current president,
Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, ousted Egypt’s first democratically-elected president,
Mohamed Morsi, in a coup in July 2013.
The United States said Thursday that it had asked
Uzbekistan to join the multinational coalition it leads against Islamic State,
saying Central Asia's most populous state was free to choose a way of
contributing to the fight against the militant group.
"We have asked Uzbekistan ... to join the coalition,"
Daniel Rosenblum, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for Central Asia,
told reporters during a visit to the Uzbek capital.
Uzbekistan, a mainly Muslim nation with a population
of 31 million, has been a strategic NATO partner in post-Soviet Central Asia,
assisting a U.S.-led war on the purist Taliban movement in neighboring
The U.S.-led coalition hitting Islamic State forces in
Syria and Iraq has a military component, apart from efforts to stop a flow of
financing to Islamic State, Rosenblum said.
The coalition also gathers information about the
movement of people across borders and has five or six other "lines of efforts,"
"Uzbekistan or any other country can choose to
contribute to one or more of those elements," he said.
27 August 2015
NEW YORK — An Arizona man was indicted Thursday on
charges that he helped a New York college student join the Islamic State in
Syria, where the student underwent religious and military training earlier this
Ahmed Mohammed el Gammal, also known as Jammie Gammal,
was indicted in Manhattan federal court, where the case is being prosecuted. He
was arrested Monday in Avondale, Arizona, on a criminal complaint unsealed
Wednesday in Manhattan. A bail hearing was scheduled for Friday in Phoenix
A message left with a lawyer representing Gammal was
not immediately returned.
In the complaint, FBI Agent Le T. Nguyen described how
the 24-year-old student at a Manhattan school began communicating in August
2014 with the 42-year-old Gammal, who helped arrange for him to meet a contact
in Turkey in January. That contact then helped the student get to Syria, the
The student, identified in court papers as
"CC-1," was described in the complaint as a U.S. citizen who lived in
Queens and whose parents live in Orange County, New York.
In the student's communications with Gammal, the
contact in Turkey identified in court papers as "CC-2," and with his
brother, he sometimes spoke in code, using "Internship" or
"Interview" to refer to joining the Islamic State, court papers said.
"This is another example of how social media is
utilized for nefarious and criminal purposes around the world," Diego G.
Rodriguez, head of the FBI's New York office, said in a release.
New York Police Department Commissioner William J.
Bratton said the investigation "demonstrates how easily people can support
a terrorist organization without ever meeting, from the anonymity of their own
computer and hidden behind obscure social media accounts and the veil of the
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A Virginia teenager is set to be
sentenced for helping another teen travel to Syria to join the Islamic State
and providing other aid to the militant group.
Seventeen-year-old Ali Shukri Amin of Manassas faces
up to 15 years in prison when he's sentenced Friday in federal court in
Alexandria. Prosecutors, however, could recommend he serve less time.
CAIRO – Preparing pilgrims for the spiritual journey,
the Education Department of the Islamic Circle of North America announces free
online seminar on the Muslim hajj, offering help to would-be pilgrims to
fulfill the life-time journey.
"A simple but profound understanding of the
ritual of Hajj without unnecessary details," a press release announcing
the webinar to be held tonight on August 27 reads.
The course will include basic information about hajj
rituals and religious opinion pilgrims might need during their journey.
"Seminar will include presentation, pictures,
diagrams, charts as well as Q&A. What ritual is a rukun, wajib and sunnah?
What happens if you skip a certain ritual? Find out in this webinar," the
The seminar will be conducted by Sheikh Abdool Rahman
Khan, a graduate of The Islamic University Madinah, faculty of Shari’ah,
specializing in Islamic Inheritance.
Sheikh Khan is the former principal of the Guyana
Islamic Institute, a position that he held for a period of eight years. He is
the Imam and head of Islamic Studies at the Muslim Community Center of Greater
New Delhi: The ideology propounded by Sufi saints is
integral to Indian ethos but forces of extremism are trying to weaken it, Prime
Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday as he met a group of Sufi scholars. The
scholars asked him to work for development irrespective of caste, community or
During the interaction with the group of 40 Barelvi
Sufi scholars, Modi asked them to counter such forces through various avenues
including on social media, so that the ideology of extremism does not take root
Image courtesy: PTIImage courtesy: PTI
The delegation members asked him to establish direct
contact with Muslims as they expressed concern that certain forces do not wish
the Muslim community of India to keep good relations with the Prime Minister,
according to a PMO statement.
Modi said the ideology propounded by Sufi saints is an
integral part of Indian ethos and has contributed significantly to the creation
of a pluralistic, multi-cultural society in the country, the statement said.
Warning that forces of extremism are attempting to weaken the Sufi ideology
today, he said it is essential for the Sufi saints and scholars to counter
these forces through various avenues including on social media, so that the
ideology of extremism does not take root in India.
By Johnson T A
August 28, 2015
One of them is still listed among India’s most-wanted
terrorists despite websites linked to Islamic State (IS) declaring his
martyrdom. However, authorities believe at least two others from Karnataka,
including the son of a successful Bengaluru businessman, may have joined the
Islamic group’s ranks, and died unacknowledged.
NAME: FAIZ MASOOD AGE: 29 FROM: Bengaluru EDUCATIONAL
QUALIFICATION: Business management graduate
STATUS: Left for Qatar in Sept 2013, went missing soon
after If Faiz Masood ever showed a streak of activism during his young life in
Bengaluru, it was to canvass for the cause of poor Muslims on his blog. One of
the last things he did online while living in Bengaluru, in mid-2013, was to
set up a Facebook account for his father’s successful furniture business in the
heart of the city. A few months later, in September 2013, Faiz, a father of
two, left for Qatar abruptly, without telling his parents anything, and
disappeared soon after.
Authorities believe Faiz hasn’t come home or called
back since. “He is reported to have gone to Syria via Qatar. He is reported to
have died,” said an official. Faiz’s father Masood Ali refuses to believe that.
“Whatever is being said about him is false. We do not want to speak about it.
You must respect my sentiments,” he said. “We would not like to speak, please
don’t approach us,” said Faiz’s wife. The two met at Bengaluru’s Christ
College, where they were both students. Faiz did his graduation in business
In an online blog Faiz maintained between 2010 and
2011, he sought funds for an orphanage, extolled Muslims to donate blood and
talked about a child and a young man in dire need of funds for medical care.
“The Muslim community might be a minority in this country but when it comes to
the population of slums, we are the majority. Many efforts are being made to
improve the condition of people. But unless the realisation and awareness don’t
spread among the family (Muslims), things will not change,” he wrote in March
2010. NAME: Mohammed Umar Subhan AGE: Not known FROM: Not known; last address
Bengaluru EDUCATIONAL QUALIFICATION: Not known STATUS: Went to Yemen in 2008,
then Syria; dead A tiny, abandoned office on the first floor of an old building
opposite the Sultan Shah Masjid in Bengaluru’s bustling Shivajinagar area is
the address security agencies have for Mohammed Umar Subhan. But no one has
been at this address for some time now.
In 2008, Umar
left to work in Yemen. From there, he is alleged to have travelled to Syria. A
couple of years ago, news came of his death. Security agencies suspect he was
killed in Syria. It’s not they alone who want answers. The office was actually
rented out for a tiny sum of Rs 110 a month to Umar’s father Mohammed Abdul Subhan,
an architect. Around two years ago, Abdul reportedly disappeared, with a rent
of nearly a year due. “He had been our tenant for nearly 10 years. The office
has been lying vacant. We would also like to find him to collect our dues,”
said Deepak Kumar, who owns the building. “We have no contact details for
Abdul. We don’t know where he lives. A phone number he provided us does not
work anymore.” They know little about Umar though. Kumar said they never saw
the son at the office. “We knew he was in some Arab country and that he had got
into some trouble and was killed.” A lawyer who has an office in the same
building also confirmed hearing about Umar’s death. “We heard he had been
involved in some crime and been captured or killed,” the lawyer said.
NAME: Abdul Khuddus Turki AGE: 32 FROM: Bijapur, north
Karnataka EDUCATIONAL QUALIFICATION: Class X
STATUS: Authorities believe killed in Syria; family
says alive, in Saudi Arabia The son of a street vendor, Abdul Khuddus Turki
went to Saudi Arabia a couple of years ago to work as a supplies assistant in a
hospital. Ten months later, he was reported missing. Soon after, allegations
that he may have gone to Syria surfaced, followed by claims that he may be
dead. “I don’t know why my brother is being linked to a terrorist
organisation,” said Turki’s younger sister Asma. “I just spoke to him a few
minutes ago. In June, when he was reported killed, we had set up a video chat
with him in the presence of local police officials to prove that our Turki was
alive.” During the video interaction with the Bijapur police, Turki stated that
confusion may have arisen since his passport had expired and he was in the
process of applying to the Indian Embassy in Riyadh for renewal.
Rise in Muslim numbers due to politics of religion:
The just-released Census figures are “disturbing” and
the rise in the Muslim population is because of “politics of religion”, the
Shiv Sena has said.
The party, a constituent of the NDA governments in
Maharashtra and at the Centre, also said the country is still a Hindu nation
that has the “poison of secularism” in it.
“There is no need for active Hindutva forces to go
gung ho about the Census figures that have been released. Though these figures
are disturbing, we are still ready to take them in a positive way. Counting the
number of Hindus living in India today, the country is still a Hindu nation
that still has the poison of secularism in it,” the Sena said in an editorial
in its mouthpiece, ‘Saamana.’
“Why is the population of Muslims increasing? If one
thinks about it, one will know there is politics of religion behind it. Certain
forces have already started thinking about Islamisation of the country and
thereby to bring the Mughal rule back. We will not be surprised, if, in the
next 50 years, Mughal rule returns to the country riding on the secularism
bogie,” it said.
It further asked 96 crore Hindus to unite and counter
these (hostile) “forces” and said that activities taking place in “masjids and
madrasas” should be stopped.
“Muslim population is increasing because there are no
stringent rules of family planning. One man can have four wives and raise
twenty-five children. If Hindus feel that this needs to be stopped, they need
to use the might of their numbers to force the government to do so,” it said.
DEVESH K. PANDEY
Four others killed in gunbattle with security
Another Pakistani militant was captured and four more
were shot dead in a fierce gunbattle deep in the Rafiabad jungles of Baramulla
as the Army and the Jammu and Kashmir Police wound up a four-day joint
operation on Thursday.
The captured militant, who initially identified
himself as Sajjad Ahmed, 22, is said to be from Muzaffargarh, on the banks of
the Chenab river, in southwest Punjab of Pakistan. Security agencies said the
five made up a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) module from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Sajjad was forced to come out of hiding from a natural
cave as the Army lobbed “chilli grenades”.
The arrest comes three weeks after another LeT suspect
from Pakistan, Mohammad Naved, was captured following an attack on a Border
Security Force convoy in Udhampur.
It is learnt that the National Investigation Agency,
which is pursuing the Udhampur case, is in touch with the Jammu and Kashmir
Police to ascertain if Sajjad had any links with Naved.
Sajjad’s arrest, it is learnt, could give fresh
ammunition to India to corner Pakistan at international forums regarding its
role in launching terrorists into India.
Sharing details of the operation, an Army officer
said: “Based on intelligence inputs about the presence of terrorists in the
forest areas of Rafiabad, the Army launched a search on Monday. This forced the
terrorists to move towards the higher reaches of the Kazinag Dhar Ridge.”
To prevent their escape, the entire area was cordoned
off by involving the Special Forces flown in by helicopters. The encounter
started on Wednesday morning and one terrorist was killed first. The others
fled and took shelter in the natural cave for the night. However, braving the
difficult terrain, the forces tracked them down and engaged them.
Tear-gas shells and “chilli grenades” were lobbed to
flush them out.
ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office denied on Thursday
renewed Indian allegations that terror suspect Dawood Ibrahim was hiding in
“Our consistent position on Dawood Ibrahim has been
that he is not in Pakistan,” FO spokesman Qazi Khalilullah said at a weekly
Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, according
to Indian media, was planning to raise the issue of Dawood Ibrahim’s presence
in Pakistan at the now cancelled Pakistan-India NSAs meeting and had prepared a
dossier containing ‘proofs’ in this regard, including a list of nine addresses
used by him here.
Suicide bomber kills himself during raid; wife and
sons also die
TARIQ SAEED | IMRAN GABOL
TOBA TEK SINGH/LAHORE: A suspected militant blew
himself up after a team of police and intelligence agencies personnel raided a
house in Pir Mahal town, 25km from here on Thursday.
Toba District Police Officer Shehzad Akbar told Dawn
that intelligence agencies had received information that Habibur Rehman, said
to be a member of Al Qaeda, was living in a rented house in the town.
When police personnel reached the place the suspect
attacked them with hand-grenades causing injuries to two policemen.
More force was called in and efforts to subdue the
suspect continued for more than four hours.
According to the police officer, initial investigation
showed that a wife and two sons (between five and seven years of age) of the
suspect were killed when he detonated his suicide jacket. Another minor child
survived the blast.
The suspect was severely injured and was taken to the
Toba DHQ hospital and later shifted to the Faisalabad Allied Hospital where he
Muazzam Ramzan, one of the seriously injured
constables, also was taken to the same hospital.
Inspector Shahbaz Ahmad Virk told Dawn that Rehman,
who hailed from Multan, had rented the house about three months ago. He said
members of a terror gang busted recently in Faisalabad had informed
law-enforcement agencies about the presence of Rehman in Pir Mahal.
He said a van, three motorcycles, four suicide
jackets, 10 hand-grenades, 300 bullets, a Kalashnikov, 13 pistols, six mobile
phones, a computer and some CDs were found in the house.
West should understand difference between Islam,
terrorism: Minister for Interior Affairs
ISLAMABAD – Minister for Interior Affairs Chaudhry
Nisar Ali Khan on Thursday met British National Security Adviser Kim Darroch at
10 Downing Street in London.
According to a press release issued here, both leaders
discussed bilateral relations and mutual cooperation between Pakistan and UK
and the regional situation. Discussing the ongoing war against terrorism, Nisar
said the menace of terrorism was a threat to the region and international peace
"The government and the people of Pakistan are
determined to completely eliminate this threat," he added. He said as a
result of Zarb-e-Azb operation and pursuing national action plan, the security
situation in Pakistan has significantly improved. Discussing regional
situation, he said that peace, stability and development in Afghanistan was in
the interest of Pakistan.
The minister said that pursuing friendly relations
with neighboring countries on the basis of equality was the fundamental and
basic principle of Pakistan's foreign policy. "It is regrettable that our
sincere efforts for peace in Afghanistan were subjected to negative and wrong
reaction," he added.
Highlighting the immense sacrifices of Pakistanis in
the war against terrorism, he said the people of Pakistan expect that there
would be no discrimination at international level on this sensitive issue. He
said that Islam and terrorism were two opposite things and the West should
understand this difference.
Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal could become world’s
WASHINGTON - Pakistan, which conducted nuclear tests
in May 1998 in response to India’s atomic explosions, is now outpacing its South
Asian rival in the development of nuclear warheads and its arsenal could become
world’s third-biggest within a decade, a new report by two American think tanks
“Pakistan has the capability to produce perhaps 20
nuclear warheads annually; India appears to be producing about five warheads
annually,” the report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the
Stimson Center says.
“But given its larger economy and sizable nuclear
infrastructure, India is able to overtake Pakistan in fissile material and
warhead production if it chooses to do so.
The report, which was released on Thursday, says
Pakistan is rapidly expanding its nuclear capabilities, and it could have at
least 350 nuclear weapons within five to 10 years.
Pakistan then would probably possess more nuclear
weapons than any country except the United States and Russia, which each have
thousands of the bombs.
Pakistan has never given out any figure about the
number of weapons it posses, but, according to published estimates, Pakistan
has about 120 nuclear warheads, while India has about 100.
In the coming years, the report states, Pakistan’s
advantage could grow dramatically because it has a large stockpile of highly
enriched uranium that could be used to quickly produce low-yield nuclear
India has far larger stockpiles of plutonium, which is
needed to produce high-yield warheads, than Pakistan does.
But the report says India appears to be using most of
its plutonium to produce domestic energy.
“The growth path of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal,
enabled by existing infrastructure, goes well beyond the assurances of credible
minimal deterrence provided by Pakistani officials and analysts after testing
nuclear devices,” the report states.
A report in The Washington Post said that Pakistani
military officials were not available to comment on the report when it was made
available to journalists on Wednesday.
It said several Pakistani analysts questioned the
findings of the report, saying it is based on a faulty assumption that Pakistan
is using all of its existing stockpiles of fissile material to make nuclear
Mansoor Ahmed, a nuclear expert at Quaid-i-Azam
University in Islamabad, was quoted as saying by the Post that he suspects that
a more accurate assessment of Pakistan’s capability is that it can develop no
more than 40 to 50 new warheads over the next several years.
“This report is overblown,” said Ahmed, who was
recently named a nuclear security fellow at Harvard University’s John F.
Kennedy School of Government.
“However, what the world must understand is that
nuclear weapons are part of Pakistan’s belief system.
It’s a culture that has been built up over the years
because (nuclear weapons) have provided a credible deterrence against external
France has about 300 warheads and the United Kingdom
has about 215, according to the Federation of American Scientists.
China has approximately 250.
The report was written by Toby Dalton, co-director of
the Carnegie Endowment’s Nuclear Policy Program, and Michael Krepon, co-founder
of the Stimson Center.
Pakistan is believed to use plutonium as well as
highly enriched uranium to create nuclear warheads, the Post said.
Dalton noted that Pakistan recently added a fourth
plutonium production reactor at its Khushab Nuclear Complex.
A pro-government tribal elder was killed in a remote
controlled bomb explosion in border area of Bajaur Agency on Thursday. Official
sources said that tribal elder Malik Gul Rahim, a leading figure of
anti-militant peace committee, got seriously injured when an improvised
explosive device (IED) planted went off near his home at Barchamar village in
Chamarkand tehsil of the agency. Rahim died while he was being shifted to
hospital. Soon after the blast, members of village defence committee and
security forces personnel cordoned off the area and launched a search
operation. However, the miscreants managed to escape from the site. Full report
PESHAWAR: Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif visited on
Thursday Shawal Valley in North Waziristan where troops are engaged in the
final phase of the Zarb-i-Azb operation.
According to the Inter-Services Public Relations, Gen
Sharif spent the day with troops and directed them to destroy all hideouts and
sever their links with their abettors.
“We will not allow anyone to kill our people, children
in this country and will expose all faces who helped them at any stage in any
way,” an ISPR statement quoted the army chief as saying.
Security forces launched a ground offensive against
militants in Shawal near the Afghan border on August 20. Around 100 militants
have so far been killed in air strikes in the area while Lt Col Faisal Malik
and one soldier have laid down their lives in an exchange of fire with
QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik
Baloch has welcomed the statement of Brahmdagh Bugti, chief of the Baloch
Republican Party (BRP), in which the self-exiled leader expressed willingness
to hold talks with the government.
Terming it a breakthrough, the chief minister said on
Thursday that Mr Bugti’s decision to hold talks with the government was a good
omen because it would help to resolve the Balochistan issue politically.
Dr Baloch said that from the beginning he had been
trying to ind a political solution of the problem.
He said a grand jirga would soon be sent abroad for
initiating talks with the exiled Baloch leaders, including Mr Bugti and the
Khan of Kalat.
“The grand jirga will comprise influential chieftains
of the Baloch, Pakhtun, Hazara and all other tribes besides political leaders,”
The chief minister said that both the political and
military leaderships of the country wanted to resolve the Balochistan issue
through dialogue and put the province on the path of development and
“The military and civilian leaderships are on the same
page on this issue,” he said.
Dr Baloch claimed that the Balochistan government did
have the mandate to initiate negotiations with the exiled leaders, saying his
government was ready to hold talks with any estranged leader.
“Full report at:
The actor who plays the Jamatud Dawa (JUD) Chief Hafiz
Saeed – alleged by India to be the Mumbai attacks mastermind – in Saif Ali
Khan's upcoming film Phantom is in hiding for security reasons, IANS reported.
Phantom stars Saif Ali Khan and Katrina Kaif in a
story that revolves around the tragic November 26 Mumbai attacks at the Taj
Hotel, which killed at least 166 people. The film is set five years after the
attacks, when a retired army officer leads a mission to seek out and kill the
The film, which is based on the novel ‘Mumbai
Avengers’ by S. Hussain Zaidi, was recently banned by the Lahore High Court
after a petition was filed by Hafiz Saeed. The JUD chief was tried and
acquitted by the Lahore High Court in 2010.
Saif Ali Khan's subsequent statement, saying that he
has "lost faith in Pakistan", caused an uproar in Pakistan.
ISLAMABAD - Pakistan on Thursday said it has asked its
ambassadors around the world to inform host countries about India’s sponsoring
terrorism in the country, hours after New Delhi opened a diplomatic onslaught
by “apprising Australia about Pakistan-sponsored terrorism” on its soil.
“Pakistan’s ambassadors stationed abroad have been
instructed to inform their host countries regarding India’s involvement in
promoting terrorist activities in Pakistan,” Foreign Office Spokesman Qazi
Khalilullah said in a weekly briefing.
“Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to UN has also
taken the international organisation into confidence over recent developments
between India and Pakistan, including cancellations of National Security
Adviser (NSA) talks,” he added.
The spokesman told the media that the talks were
cancelled due to India’s preconditions which Pakistan did not find acceptable.
He added that currently there is no proposal under
consideration for a meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian
counterpart Narendra Modi.
On the other hand, in a meeting of India-Australia
Joint Working Group on counter terrorism, the Indian delegation gave a
“briefing to the Australian side on Pakistan’s complicity in various terror
activities” in the country and failure to rein in them.
The Indian side, according to media reports, alleged
that the three terrorists who had carried out attacks in Gurdaspur that claimed
seven lives on July 27 had come from Pakistan.
They were also claimed that a terrorist arrested in
Udhampur belongs to Laskhar-e-Taiba and hails from Faisalabad in Pakistan.
A briefing was also given to the Australian side about
the alleged existing terror infrastructure along the border in Pakistan.
Indian media reports said New Delhi was planning to
confront Islamabad with all the evidence on Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in
NSA Ajit Doval was supposed to give a dossier to his
counterpart Sartaj Aziz about the failure of Pakistan in probing the 26/11
Mumbai attack case.
Pakistan has already strongly rejected all these
Indian allegations and has been calling Indians to provide proof to help try
culprits, if any.
But, India has been coming with mere allegations and
it even did not provide solid evidence in Mumbai case.
ISLAMABAD - The army will not allow the killing of
fellow countrymen and will expose all enablers, Army Chief General Raheel
Sharif was quoted as saying during his visit to Shawal area on Thursday.
In a series of tweets, Director General Inter-Services
Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asim Bajwa said that army chief spent the
day with troops engaged in the operation in Shawal area of North Waziristan.
At least 203 terrorists have been killed in the
multi-pronged operation Shawal valley in North Waziristan.
This was revealed in a briefing given to Army Chief
General Raheel Sharif during his visit to Shawal where he spent time with
troops participating in operation.
The DG ISPR tweeted that the army chief visited a
military post located on a 12,000 feet high mountain overlooking the Shawal
Valley, where a multi-pronged operation is being carried out to eliminate
He said heights of Shawal mountains have been cleared
and main features of the valley occupied and are being sanitised.
General Sharif directed troops to comprehensively
cleanse the terrorists from their hideouts, isolate them to their size and
sever their link with their abettors anywhere.
The Army Chief declared that they will not allow
anyone to kill our people and children.
He said they will expose all faces who helped
terrorists at any stage in anyway.
The army chief also said that because of the
accomplishments of our troops, the army has no match when it comes to the war
He further commended troops for their “extraordinary”
achievements in the operations.
The operation Shawal was launched last Thursday.
Since May, the military has stepped up operations in
the deeply forested ravines of the Shawal Valley – which straddles North and
South Waziristan agencies along the border with Afghanistan – and softened
militant targets in the valley through continued airstrikes.
The deeply forested ravines of Shawal Valley and Datta
Khel are popular smuggling routes between Pakistan and neighbouring
Afghanistan, and are dotted with militant bases used as launch pads for attacks
on Pakistani forces.
ISLAMABAD:- OIC Secretary General Iyad bin Amin Madani
appreciated Pakistan’s role in the fight against terrorism during his meeting
with Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Thursday and discussed
challenges confronting the Muslim Ummah.
Aziz highlighted Pakistan’s efforts to root out
terrorism and extremism.
He also briefed the visiting dignitary on the prime
minister’s vision of a peaceful neighbourhood.
ISLAMABAD - Foreign Spokesperson Qazi Khalilullah
yesterday said that that security of Pakistan’s Embassy personnel and premises
in Afghanistan has become a matter of top priority for the Government of
“We have conveyed our concerns to the relevant
authorities in Afghanistan.
In response, we have been assured that all possible
measures will be taken to ensure the security of our personnel and premises in
Afghanistan”, he added.
He said he was not aware of any proposal seeking to
fence Pakistan-Afghan border.
He was asked during his weekly press briefing whether
Afghanistan has proposed fencing of border with Pakistan as part of border
management efforts, the spokesperson said he was not aware of any such
He, however, said that Pakistan has been sincerely
making efforts to promote peace and tranquility on Pakistan-Afghanistan border
and added that border issues are also discussed during meetings held between
the two sides including military officials of the two countries.
To another question, the spokesperson said Pakistan's
role is that of facilitator in Afghan peace process.
Saudi Arabia on Thursday executed a Pakistani man
convicted of smuggling drugs into the ultra-conservative kingdom, the interior
ministry said in Riyadh. It brought to 128 the number of executions so far this
year in Saudi Arabia, compared with 87 for the whole of 2014, according to AFP
tallies compiled from interior ministry statements. Zulfiqar Ali Mohammed was
caught while attempting to smuggle heroin found hidden in his stomach, the
ministry said in a statement carried by SPA state news agency. Most people
sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia are beheaded, but sometimes firing squads
are used. Amnesty International on Tuesday appealed for a moratorium on
executions in Saudi Arabia, criticising the kingdom’s “deeply flawed judicial
system”. Under Saudi Arabia’s strict legal practices, murder, armed robbery,
rape, drug trafficking and apostasy are all punishable by death. Amnesty says
Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s most prolific executioners, along with
China, Iran, Iraq and the United States.–AFP
Turkey to join coalition's air fight against ISIL
The United States and Turkey have finalized technical
details on an agreement to include Turkey in an international effort to bring
down the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), fully integrating Turkey
into the U.S.-led coalition's air strikes against the militant group, a
Pentagon spokesman said on Aug. 27.
"Unfortunately, a sedition under the name of the
ISIL Takfiris has started in the Muslim world," Shamkhani told reporters
in Tehran on Thursday.
"The terrorist ISIL grouplet is after distorting
Islam's teachings on Jihad to reinvigorate the security wall for the Zionist
regime," he added.
Shamkhani, meantime, underlined that enemies' plots
against the regional nations have proved futile so far, and demanded the
regional states to show more vigilance.
In relevant remarks in 2014, Chief of Staff of the
Iranian Armed Forces General Hassan Firouzabadi said that Israel has created
and supported the ISIL terrorist group to ward off danger from its borders.
UNITED NATIONS - The Palestinians on Thursday asked
the United Nations to allow their flag to be raised at the world body ahead of
next month’s meeting of heads of state.
The move comes as the Palestinians seek to bolster
their bid for statehood despite fierce opposition from Israel. A draft
resolution was presented to the General Assembly requesting that the flags of
the state of Palestine and the Holy See be hoisted alongside those of the 193
The Vatican and the Palestinians both have non-member
observer status at the United Nations. The resolution, co-sponsored by 21
countries including Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan, could come up for
a vote before September 15. The Israeli mission to the United Nations did not
respond to requests for comment.
RAMALLAH - Palestinian leaders will hold their first
congress in nearly 20 years on September 15-16, an official said Thursday,
after president Mahmud Abbas announced his resignation as head of a top
The meeting of the Palestine National Council (PNC), a
congress representing those in the Palestinian territories and the diaspora,
will take place in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
“It has been decided to ask the Palestine National
Council to convene for a session on the upcoming 15th and 16th September in
Ramallah,” senior Palestinian official Azzam al-Ahmad told AFP.
“The council’s agenda includes electing a new
executive committee for the (Palestine Liberation Organisation).
Ahmad said the congress would also discuss the
stalemate in peace talks with Israel, among other issues.
Abbas’s allies say his recent moves are part of
efforts to inject new blood in the Palestinian leadership.
Critics, however, argue that Abbas is manoeuvring to
empower his allies and marginalise opponents ahead of the 80-year-old’s
Abbas’s Fatah party and Hamas, the Islamist movement
that runs the Gaza Strip, remain deeply divided.
Separate, indirect contacts are said to have occurred
recently between Israel and Hamas on a long-term truce.
The Saudi-led coalition conducted a series of
airstrikes targeting Iranian-backed Houthi positions in the coastal city of al-
Hudeida, Al Arabiya News channel reported Thursday.
The air strikes also hit security forces camps in
Yemen's central province of al-Bayda that were seized by the Houthis earlier
They also targeted the homes of some Houthi leaders in
Saada, a Houthi stronghold in northern Yemen.
Meanwhile, heavy clashes took place in al- Hudeida
between Houthis and forces loyal to legitimate President Abd Rabbi Mansour
The Yemeni government is not negotiating with Shiite
Houthi rebels who control the capital and much of the north, and demands that they
lay down their arms, Foreign Minister Riad Yassin said on Thursday.
“The Houthis and (former President Ali Abdullah)
Saleh’s militias must implement the U.N. resolution and surrender their
weapons, and only then the dialogue and political process can begin, with the
participation of all Yemeni parties,” Yassin told reporters in Cairo after
meeting with Arab League Secretary General Nabil Nabil el-Araby.
Referring to reports of meetings in the Gulf nation of
Oman, Yassin described them as mere “consultations” between U.N. envoy Ismail
Ould Cheikh Ahmed and the Houthis, aimed at convincing them to implement a U.N.
resolution from April.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran's principled
approach is based on stopping the aggression against Yemen and settlement of
differences through talks and therefore, it supports efforts by the UN
secretary-general's representative in Yemen," Amir Abdollahian said during
the phone conversation on Wednesday.
"Settlement of the crisis in Yemen needs a
political solution, Yemeni-Yemeni talks and all the regional sides' compliance
with the method of the talks to resolve the differences," he added.
Amir Abdollahian warned of the danger of spread of
terrorism in light of war against Yemen, and invited Sheikh Ahmad to pay a
visit to Tehran for further consultations.
Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen for 155 days now
to restore power to fugitive president Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh.
The Saudi-led aggression has so far killed at least 5,529 Yemenis, including
hundreds of women and children.
The issue was raised in a meeting between Head of the
Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi and senior Chinese
officials, including Chairman of China Atomic Energy Authority Xu Dazhe.
During the meeting, the two sides underlined
development of cooperation to utilize peaceful nuclear energy.
The AEOI is willing to develop cooperation with
Chinese Atomic Energy Authority on construction of small new power plant with
the capacity of 100 megawatts with cost-effective expenses in light of the
capability to generate electricity for limited area, produce industrial steam
plant and desalinate water.
Salehi and Xu underlined the construction of such
power plants to generate a total amount of 1,000 megawatts electricity to
supply to the national grid.
The two officials assigned related experts of both
countries to consider necessary grounds for the development of cooperation.
Salehi and his accompanying delegation arrived in
Beijing on Wednesday morning.
In relevant remarks on Wednesday, Salehi said Tehran
was conducting negotiations with Beijing to construct two 100-MW nuclear power
"We are in talks with the Chinese over the
construction of two 100-MW power plants," Salehi said, addressing AEOI staff
He also referred to the contract signed with Russia on
building two other nuclear power plants, and said, "God willing, the
construction work will start this year."
Salehi expressed the hope that 4 new nuclear power
plants would start workshop operations in the next 3 to 4 years in Iran as
The supporters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)
in Turkey have launched a rally in the city of Istanbul to protest against
Ankara’s growing crackdown on Kurdish militants.
In the early hours of Friday, PKK supporters gathered
in the Gazi district of Istanbul to show their anger at Ankara’s recent deadly
operations against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq.
The protesters reportedly blocked the streets by
lighting fires, and engaged in clashes with police forces. Video footage
released by Ruptly showed demonstrators throwing Molotov cocktails and fire
bombs at police vehicles.
Turkish forces also used tear gas and water cannon to
disperse the angry protesters.
Earlier, clashes between Turkish security forces and
Kurdish militants claimed the lives of seven people, including a seven-year-old
boy, in southeast Turkey.
Ankara said the fighting between the two sides broke
out after the PKK militants launched a rocket attack against a military outpost
in the district of Cizre in Sirnak Province.
Displaced Shia Muslims remain in limbo in Indonesia
Hundreds of displaced Shia Muslims in Indonesia's East
Java province were told they cannot return to their Madura Island homes unless
they abandon their faith.
The Shias fled their homes three years ago, after a
Sunni Muslim mob of more than 500 people attacked them in Sampang, setting
dozens of homes on fire. Two people died and 10 others were injured.
"There's no progress yet. We came to East Java
several times, but all efforts we took resulted in nothing," Muhammad
Machasin, director general of Islam Community Guidance at the Religious Affairs
Ministry, told ucanews.com on Aug. 27.
"Those living in Sampang think that the displaced
Shia Muslims should not return home, and those living in the shelter want to go
back home with no condition. But those living in Sampang will allow the
displaced Shia Muslims to go back home only if they leave their faith," he
"We can't resolve the issue in the near future
and can't say when it can be done," he said.
Shias represent a small minority in Sunni-dominant
Indonesia, with about 1 million adherents concentrated around Jakarta, and in
communities found on Java, Madura and Sumatra.
Iklil Al Milal, a displaced Shia Muslim, said that he
and 304 other displaced Shia Muslims will keep urging the government to send
"We don't feel at home here. We have our own
villages. We always want to return home," he said.
He said there was a growing anxiety among the
displaced over the condition of their homes and property. "Before leaving
our villages, there was a land-grabbing issue. Some of us don't have the land
certificates. We're worried about that," he said.
In an Aug. 26 statement, London-based Amnesty
International urged the Indonesian government to take steps to ensure the safe
return of the displaced Shia Muslims to their homes.
In talks, Muslim rebels seek independence in south
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA — Muslim militant leaders in
talks with Thai authorities to end a deadly insurgency said Thursday they are seeking
an independent state and are ready to negotiate a solution.
Six insurgent groups, united in a coalition called the
Pattani Consultative Council, participated in three days of informal peace
talks ending Thursday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
"We want to stress that we did not drop our
demand for independence. That will be the final aim for the Pattani struggle,
but we are ready to sit at the negotiation table to find a solution that will
give Muslims the right to determine their own future" in the predominantly
Buddhist country, council representative Abu Hafez Al-Hakim told a news
He said the Pattani people will ultimately decide
whether the solution will be an independent state or autonomy under the Thai
government for the three southernmost provinces. More than 5,000 people have
been killed in the insurgency since 2004.
Malaysia, whose northern states border Thailand's
south, facilitated bringing the insurgents to the talks.
Former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's
government agreed in 2013 to launch formal peace talks with one militant group,
but they never happened following a military coup.
Pattani council chief Awang Jabat said the coalition
wants the peace talks to be put on the national agenda to ensure continuity if
a new government comes into power.
During the talks in Kuala Lumpur, the coalition sought
immunity for the negotiating team to ensure their freedom of travel in the
provinces, he said. Meanwhile, the Thai government raised the issues of
creating a safety zone and economic development among others.
The government negotiators did not attend the news
KUALA LUMPUR - A chef and a financial consultant in
Malaysia were jointly charged in the magistrates court on Thursday with
arranging to facilitate acquisition and control of property for the Islamic
State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Mohamad Fauzi Misrak, 35, who worked as a chef in
Singapore, and Rohaimi Abd Rahim, 38, were said to have committed the offence
at the Subang Jaya Maybank branch between December 2013 and July 2014, Bernama
news agency reported.
The charge under Section 130P of the Penal Code, read
with Section 34 of the same Act, carries the death sentence or up to 30 years'
jail and a fine upon conviction, said the report.
No plea was recorded, pending a transfer of the case
to the High Court, according to Bernama.
A former Bosnian Muslim commander named Naser Oric was
charged alongside one of his former lieutenants Thursday with war crimes during
the country's 1992-1995 war, Bosnian prosecutors said.
Oric, who led Muslim forces in the eastern town of
Srebenica, and Sabahudin Muhic were charged with the murder of three Serbian
prisoners of war in 1992.
The prosecutor's office in the capital Sarajevo said
the murders were a "war crime against prisoners".
Oric, 48, was arrested in June in Switzerland on a
warrant issued by Serbia, which also wanted to try him for war crimes against
ethnic Serbs in Srebenica.
But Switzerland decided to extradite him to his home
country, to face charges there instead.
His arrest sparked an outcry among Bosnian Muslim
leaders and families of the victims of the 1995 Srebenica massacre of 8,000
Muslim men and boys by Bosnian Serb forces.
KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition Parliamentary Leader Wan
Azizah Wan Ismail, while not implying any “regrets”, conceded that she had been
forced to make certain sacrifices like not spending enough time with her
children as they were growing up. “The reformasi movement linked with Anwar took
up so much of our time.”
“It’s the price that we have to pay, the big sacrifice
we had to make, to help obtain justice for the people and the nation.”
She said that she was standing alongside Nurul Hana on
Friday as her mother, not as the Opposition Parliamentary Leader or the
President of PKR. “These two books she has written are the result of what she
saw through her own eyes as she was growing up.”
Wan Azizah was walking down memory lane during the
launch of “Saya Buat Papa” and “My Dear Papa” by Nurul Hana, her youngest
LONDON — A 21-year-old hacker from Birmingham,
England, who tapped into American military networks and was a central figure in
the Islamic State militant group’s online recruitment campaign, has been killed
in Syria by an American airstrike, according to three senior American
The hacker, Junaid Hussain, was a leading member of
the CyberCaliphate, an Islamic State unit that broke into the United States
Central Military Command’s Twitter and YouTube accounts this year. He was
considered to be the second-most prominent British member of the Islamic State,
after Mohammed Emwazi, a fighter often referred to as “Jihadi John” because of
his role in the videotaped killings of Western hostages.
The American officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity
to discuss confidential intelligence reports, said Mr. Hussain had been killed
Tuesday in an airstrike outside Raqqa, Syria.
Last week, the White House announced that another
prominent Islamic State figure — Fadhil Ahmad al-Hayali, a deputy to the
group’s leader — had been killed in an airstrike in northern Iraq.
The news of Mr. Hussain’s death comes as the Obama
administration is debating the effectiveness of the American-led military
coalition’s campaign against the Islamic State. The Defense Department’s
inspector general is looking into whether military officials have skewed
intelligence assessments to present a more optimistic picture.
Mr. Hussain’s unit has been credited with the Islamic
State’s adept manipulation of social media to recruit fighters and spread
propaganda, and his online activity was increasingly linked to plots carried
out far from the battlefields in Syria and Iraq, experts said.
Mr. Hussain, who was believed to use the nom de guerre
Abu Hussain al-Britani, offered encouragement on Twitter to the two gunmen who
staged a shooting attack in Garland, Tex., in May, at a contest for caricatures
of the Prophet Muhammad. After the shooting, Mr. Hussain wrote: “Allahu
Akbar!!!!! 2 of our brothers just opened fire ... ”
He also used social media to threaten to raise the
black Islamic State flag over “10 Downing Street and the White House,”
referring to the official residence of the British prime minister.
In June, Mr. Hussain was linked to an Islamic State
plot to attack an Armed Forces Day parade in South London using a bomb rigged
in a pressure cooker, similar to the one used in the Boston Marathon attacks in
2013. The plot was thwarted after Mr. Hussain unwittingly revealed details to
an undercover reporter from The Sun, a British tabloid, who was posing as a
Mr. Hussain was prosecuted for hacking in Britain in
2012, and was convicted on charges that he illegally gained access to former
Prime Minister Tony Blair’s address book the year before. He spent six months
in prison. Afterward he was arrested again, on a charge of violent disorder,
and while free on bail in 2013 he moved to Syria.
He was joined there by his wife, Sally Jones, 45, a
former punk rock musician from southeastern England who met Mr. Hussain online.
CAIRO – A pub in Derby city in south Britain has been
purchased by Muslims after it was offered for sale by its owner, as community
leaders promised to turn the building into a community center for Muslim
"We've only bought it because it was for sale.
We've not precipitated anything," secretary of Normanton's Jamia Mosque,
Nazir Hussain, told Derby Telegraph on Thursday, August 27.
The pub, which is one of the oldest in the area, was
started as bakery house and later changed to a pub in 1934.
Hussain stressed that the mosque officials had no
plans to demolish the building, promising to turn it into a "community
Residents of Gardner, Louisiana, contacted the
Sheriff's office when they became concerned the signs were terror messages
written in Arabic.
But the homemade poster actually read "Welcome
Home Yamit" in Hebrew writing.
Police informed petrified locals not to worry about
the sign - assuring them that it was no way affiliated with the savage terror
group's flag, which bears the Shahada.
It is not the first time panicked onlookers have
mistakenly reported seeing an ISIS sign.
Earlier this year a Swedish couple were incorrectly
branded supporters of the depraved group when passers by thought the birthday
balloons in their window saying "21" actually said "IS".
Police were called out to Fabian Akesson's house after
he put the balloons up in the window for his girlfriend Sarah Ericsson's
Mr Akesson said: "I laughed about it and even
showed them a picture that we took. And from that perspective, it looked almost
like the letters 'IS'."
But the couple were still asked to take down the
balloons to avoid drawing further attention.
And a mum in South Wales was left fearing for her
children's safety after the flag outside her home was mistaken for an ISIS
Shazia Ramzan from Newport flies an Islamic flag
outside her home as a tribute to a Muslim martyr.
Bishop Melki, who was martyred during the Assyrian
Genocide, will soon be ‘blessed’.
The bishop was killed in Gazarta during the sayfo –
“putting to the sword” – of Syrians in 1915, after he refused to convert to
Earlier in August, Pope Francis approved Melki’s
beatification after he determined that Melki was killed in hatred of the faith.
The bishop will be beatified in Lebanon on Saturday,
August 29 – the centenary of his martyrdom.
Bishop Melki was born in 1858 and went on to be an
Eastern Catholic prelate of the Brothers of Saint Ephrem, and later the Syrian
Catholic eparch of Gazarta, where he was killed.
He lived in extreme poverty as a priest and sold his
vestments to help the poor.
In the summer of 1915, Ottoman authorities arrested
him along with the Chaldean bishop – both were killed for refusing to renounce
their faith and convert to Islam.
Melki was tortured to death and decapitated.
On August 8th, Pope Francis confirmed his
beatification saying he was killed in hatred.
“A blessed of our church has not been proclaimed for a
long time,” said Syriac Catholic priest Nizar Semaan, “Bishop Melki will be the
first of the martyrs of the Syrian Catholics of that Genocide to be raised to
the honor of the altar.
“His beatification is a gift for all Christians of the
East,” he added, “In these times of new trials.”
Fr Nizar said Melki’s “figure shows us the luminous
faith with which he lived the terrible persecution one hundred years ago, and
he can give hope and courage to all the baptized.”
In an interview with Vatican Radio, the Prefect of the
Congregations for the Causes of Saints, Cardinal Angelo Amato, said that the
soon-to-be Blessed Flavyānus Mikhayil Melkī is a model of holiness for our
Cardinal Amato said: “As it was one hundred years ago,
at the time of the martyrdom of bishop Melkī, Christians are denied every
liberty, they are forced to leave their homeland, or to convert or die.
TASHKENT (Reuters) - The United States said on
Thursday it had asked Uzbekistan to join the multinational coalition it leads
against Islamic State, saying Central Asia's most populous state was free to
choose a way of contributing to the fight against the militant group.
"We have asked Uzbekistan ... to join the
coalition," Daniel Rosenblum, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for
Central Asia, told reporters during a visit to the Uzbek capital.
Uzbekistan, a mainly Muslim nation with a population
of 31 million, has been a strategic NATO partner in post-Soviet Central Asia,
assisting a U.S.-led war on the purist Taliban movement in neighbouring
The coalition also gathers information about the
movement of people across borders and has five or six other "lines of
efforts," Rosenblum said.
Uzbek officials could not be reached for comment.
Uzbekistan, a gold and cotton producer whose
78-year-old strongman President Islam Karimov has been in power since Soviet
days, has been criticised by Western governments and human rights bodies for
clampdowns on dissent and basic freedoms.
The authorities have cited a need to prevent any advent
of militant Islam in the volatile region for their tough methods.
Creating meaningful structures for Moroccan Jewry’s past
Present in the region, in cities and rural places, for
two millennia without interruption – albeit experiencing somber as well as
tranquil periods – the vast majority now resides beyond the Kingdom’s
A distinctive and significant grouping within the
world Jewish community (of which between half to one million claim Moroccan
descent), this diaspora enjoys a cordial – and officially reciprocated –
relationship with its former host country. Indeed, it is frequently stated in
public that the nation would welcome the return en masse of its Jewish
As well as the small, resident Jewish population, an
important tangible and intangible legacy remains, forming part of the
multicultural national patrimony to whose maintenance and restoration Morocco
is committed, ideally within the framework ofhuman development. In addition, the Jewish cultural
contribution, lauded in the country’s 2011 Constitution, forms the subject of a
conversation that has begun to take place among some of the younger generation
of Moroccan Muslims, curious about an aspect of their country’s heritage to
which they have little first-hand access.
Admiration – wonder even – is expressed at the
community’s continued survival – and at its legitimization, alongside
Christianity, in this almost exclusively Muslim state. At the same time, the economic and cultural
reasons for its dismantling from within have been voiced for over a decade and
a recent New York Times article poignantly questions who will be left as
custodians of this important shared history and urban fabric.
The coming years constitute a critical time for the
community, in terms of its demographic, its finances and the care of its
heritage, as well as in the broader context of the MENA region and indeed, of
Towards a new architecture
o meet this challenge, which also bears the seeds of
potential, Mr. Kadoch (whose late father, the highly esteemed Mr. Henri Kadoch,
was one of the leaders of Moroccan Jewry in Marrakesh and on the national
stage) proposes a two-pronged approach.
Essentially this would involve the complete centralization of the Jewish
community and – perhaps counter-intuitively, building afresh.
In logistical terms, it has come to the point where a
decentralized system, which served the Jewish population so well when it was
both numerous and distributed across Morocco, is no longer viable.
In Casablanca then, the effective center of Jewish
life and administration since the Thirties, a central committee and a single
presidency are envisaged, with regional representatives in other Moroccan
cities with small but active congregations (of which there are currently six:
Agadir, Fez, Marrakesh, Meknes, Rabat and Tangiers). A further committee would be formed to oversee
the care of 267 official cemeteries and over 600 more rural sacred sites (the
latter to be found particularly in traditional Amazigh areas).
Two museums of Jewish heritage would be created in the
north and south of the country.
Currently one exists in Casablanca – the sole such in the Arab world;
the location for the second might well be Marrakesh, traditionally viewed as
the southern capital and whose Mellah, dating from the sixteenth century, forms
the largest non-Muslim residential quarter in the Arab world. Finally, a central archive would be opened in
Casablanca to house collections of documents, of inestimable cultural value,
currently scattered across Morocco.
Flamenco guitars wail from open windows in this humid
port city at Spain's southern tip, where the local Spanish is accented with
Arabic and the mountains of Morocco loom on the horizon, just across the
It's here in the Algeciras working-class barrio of El
Saladillo, in a stained stucco tenement strewn with laundry lines, that
residents said Ayoub el Khazzani spent his formative years, dabbled in crime
and then embraced an extreme form of Islam that allegedly led him to plan his
most spectacular crime of all: a terrorist attack.
Authorities in France have charged El Khazzani, 25,
with attempted terrorism in an attack on a high-speed train traveling from
Amsterdam to Paris on Aug. 21.
Armed with an assault rifle, a handgun and a box
cutter, he fired shots and slashed at people before being tackled and subdued
by passengers, including three young
Americans vacationing in Europe. No one died. His lawyer said El Khazzani, a
Moroccan national, had planned to rob people, not kill them.
The attack, along with the arrests this week of 14
people in Spain and Morocco on suspicion of planning other assaults, shook
Spain's Moroccan community, one of the country's largest, oldest and
best-integrated minority groups. Spain's frontiers with Morocco, at two Spanish
territories on the North African mainland, are believed to be a key entry point
for militants traveling between the Arab world and Europe.
The attack also drew attention to the Schengen
Agreement, under which residents of one European Union country can travel
without a passport to most of the other 27 EU nations. With his Spanish
residency, El Khazzani is believed to have traveled easily to France, Belgium,
Austria and Germany, despite being on a security watch list in some of those
countries for his suspected radical beliefs.
l Khazzani lived in Spain legally for seven years,
after arriving from Morocco in 2007 with his parents and five siblings. Spanish
authorities arrested and convicted him three times: twice in Madrid in 2009,
for selling hashish on the street, and then again in 2012 for trafficking drugs
across the border between Morocco and Ceuta, one of the Spanish territories in
North Africa (along with Melilla).
In February 2014, El Khazzani told neighbors that he'd
landed a job with a European low-cost cellphone company, Lycamobile, and left
"He was a good kid. He used to like to play
soccer, and go fishing -- normal stuff," said Rachid Mohamed, who answered
the door at the El Khazzani family's fifth-floor apartment Wednesday.
U.S. servicemen, others praised for subduing gunman on
train in France
He said El Khazzini's father, Mohamed el Khazzani, a
local scrap metal dealer, was so distraught over the allegations about his son,
and the TV trucks parked outside his home, that he and his wife fled to Morocco
the night before, though he gave interviews to other news media earlier in the
Rachid Mohamed, who described himself as a close family
friend, acknowledged Ayoub el Khazzani's run-ins with the law but said religion
had tamed him. Before he left for France, the young man had started to
accompany his father and brother more frequently to the mosque, Mohamed said.
"Around two years ago he stopped going to
discotheques and being such a hippie," Mohamed said, referring to El
Khazzani's previous marijuana use. "He was getting his act together,"
including a job painting houses.
By the time El Khazzani left Spain early last year, he
was already on the country's security watch list. An alert went out to other
countries that he was involved in "radical Islam," French and Spanish
officials said. He is also believed to have traveled to Syria via Turkey.
Spanish officials would not specify why they put El
Khazzani on the terrorism list. But it could have been because of where he
prayed: The Taqwa mosque, considered the most extreme of Algeciras' six
mosques, has reportedly been under Spanish government surveillance for years.
El Khazzani turned to religion after his closest
companion, his brother Imran, also in his 20s, was deported to Morocco in 2013,
Officially, the Spanish government expelled Imran el
Khazzani because his residency permit had expired. But it may have also been
because he had been preaching jihad at the Taqwa mosque, where he served as
treasurer, the acquaintances said.
Spanish media have quoted unnamed intelligence
officials as saying Imran el Khazzani's role at the Taqwa mosque was part of
the decision to deport him.
France cancels sale of warships to Russia, pays Moscow
"Both brothers used to come into my shop, Imran
and Ayoub, so I recognized him immediately when I saw his photo on TV,"
said Juan Carlos Rodriguez, grinding keys at his hardware store behind the El
ALGECIRAS, Spain — Before he boarded a Paris-bound
train last week, armed with an assault rifle and the intent, the authorities
say, to carry out a blood bath, Ayoub El Khazzani had spent the final chapter
of his troubled time in Spain in this gritty port city, living in a run-down
apartment block with his parents within walking distance of the local mosque.
The mosque, Taqwa, was under police surveillance from
the first day work started on turning what had been an auto repair shop into a
place of worship, Nordi Mohamed Ahmed, vice president of the association that
runs the mosque, acknowledged in an interview.
But while the authorities point to the mosque as a
crucial part of Mr. Khazzani’s transformation from onetime petty hashish dealer
to someone suspected of being a radical, Mr. Mohamed Ahmed said the preaching
here was not to blame.
“Women are also allowed to pray here,” he said, “which
certainly wouldn’t happen if this was a radical place.”
Still, Mr. Khazzani’s association with the mosque,
where his father helped with the refurbishment and remains the caretaker, and
where his brother once served as treasurer, was apparently enough to persuade
the Spanish authorities to place him under surveillance, too.
His arrest after he was overpowered by passengers,
including two vacationing American service members and their friend, has put
further — and for those here, unwelcome — scrutiny on the mosque. It has also
underscored the Spanish authorities’ intensive surveillance of a quickly
multiplying number of potential threats, as in a growing number of other
European Union countries, while exposing gaps in the intelligence sharing among
The Spanish intelligence services informed their
French counterparts that Mr. Khazzani, 25, who holds a Moroccan passport and a
Spanish residency card, was a potential threat in February 2014, as he was
leaving Algeciras for France. It did little, though, to stall his plan to carry
out what President François Hollande of France said would have been “a
Before then, Mr. Khazzani had lived with his parents,
who had emigrated from Tétouan, Morocco, joining them first in Madrid in 2007
and then here, in one of the poorest neighborhoods of an industrial city. In
Madrid, he was arrested on suspicion of dealing hashish around Lavapiés, a
migrant district, and was detained twice in 2009.
“He had some problems with the police for carrying
hash, but that’s not doing something very bad — a lot of people smoke,” Mr.
Khazzani’s father, Mohamed, who still resides here and makes a living
collecting and selling recyclable materials, said in an interview.
Mr. Khazzani’s last drug-related arrest took place in
Ceuta, a Spanish enclave in North Africa, in September 2012. A photograph of
him then shows Mr. Khazzani with a beard, rather than being cleanshaven as in a
police image from his arrests in Madrid.
If his journey from criminalization to suspected
radicalization sounds familiar in Europe, it is, and has by now been followed
by any number of terrorism suspects, including attackers in Paris and
Antonio Sanz, the national government’s delegate in
the southern region of Andalusia, said on Monday that Mr. Khazzani could be a
case of the “merger between radicalism and drug trafficking.”
For much of the past two decades, French domestic
security has been hailed as the gold standard in European defense circles.
Where some neighboring nations experienced deadly terrorist attacks, such as
the 2005 London subway bombing that killed 52 people, France’s offices, streets
and subways remained largely devoid of high death tolls and terrorism.
“[France] had a strong reputation for the simple and
striking fact that there had not been any major terrorist attack between 1986
and 2012,” said Frank Foley, a professor at King’s College in London who
specializes in counter-terrorism. “People looked to that and said, 'What are
the French doing?”
France's reputation for keeping its citizens safe from
terrorism took a major hit in 2015 -- first with the Charlie Hebdo massacre in
January that left 12 at the satirical magazine dead in Paris, then days later
with two shootings at a suburban kosher market and again Friday, with the
attempted attack on a Paris-bound high-speed train that resulted in terrorism
charges for one man. Heated debate among French officials and security analysts
has raged throughout the year over the effectiveness of the country’s security
mechanisms. While some counter-terrorism experts in France have urged the
country's leadership to take a more aggressive approach toward fighting
terrorism by expanding the "Sentinelle" surveillance system and
special task forces within the national police, other defense experts said they
feared all the vigilance in the world could not prevent the inevitable: another
terror attack in the near future.
“At the end of the day, no matter how much you
improve, the nature of terrorism is that some individuals are able to slip
through the cracks” said Foley. Though a large-scale terrorist attack on par
with 9/11 was unlikely to happen, he said, when it comes to frequent,
small-scale attack attempts, “This is something that society will have to get
The first re-evaluations of the French domestic
security approach began in January after the Charlie Hebdo attacks. In addition
to the deaths of 12 people in that instance, four more people were killed two
days later in a related hostage situation by a friend of the Charlie Hebdo
attackers. The violence rocked not just France but all of Europe, inciting fear
across the continent of similar attacks.
Members of French police special forces walked in
Corcy, northern France, Jan. 8, 2015, as they searched for the armed gunmen who
opened fire on he French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, killing 12. Since the
Charlie Hebdo attacks, French defense authorities have continually reassessed
their approach to counter-terrorism.
French citizens’ wariness of Muslims was further
heightened after last week’s attempted train attack, which was staged by a
Moroccan national suspected of having links to the Islamic State militant
group. Those fears were already well established following the Charlie Hebdo
incident, which was perpetrated by two self-identified Islamists, and worries
of another Islamist attack have since grown considerably.
“There is a lack of discernment,” said Antoine Sfeir,
a Franco-Lebanese journalist who has written several books on Muslims in the
West. “The French are convinced that the entire Arab population is Muslim and
that all Muslims are possible Islamists,” Sfeir said, adding that most of the
Muslim population in France has embraced a secular lifestyle.
France has one of the largest Muslim populations in
Europe, estimated at around 1 million people. Many Muslim families in France
have lived there for more than half a century and feel completely integrated
into broader society. A portion of the Muslim population, however, has said
they feel marginalized by certain French laws and traditions, such as a 2010
law that banned all religious symbols in schools, including the hijab, or
“We talk too much about Muslims,” said Fateh Kimouche,
a French activist and practicing Muslim. “When a Muslim is a criminal, we
punish him for his Muslim-ness, not his crime."
French President Francois Hollande (center) said
Tuesday that his nation needs to prepare for more terrorist attacks in the
future. Hollande's statement came just days after several bystanders, including
three off-duty U.S. servicemen, foiled a possible terror attack on a Thalys
high-speed train. Getty Images
The French government, the ministry of the interior
and the ministry of defense have responded to fears of another attack through
several new counter-terrorism measures instituted in January as well as a
revamped anti-terror task force. "We must prepare for other attacks,"
French President François Hollande said Monday in a statement following
Friday's foiled train attack.