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'ISIS Are Dogs from Hell, We'll Chop Baghdadi into 100 Pieces:' All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen President Asaduddin Owaisi

New Age Islam News Bureau

10 Jul 2016

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen president Asaduddin Owaisi



 'ISIS are dogs from hell. We'll chop Baghdadi into 100 pieces:' All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen President Asaduddin Owaisi

 Zakir Naik’s UK-registered Foundation under scanner

 Ten terrorists may try to cross border, Bangladesh hands over list to India; security agencies alerted

 You'll be SHOCKED to see Burhan Wani's last tweet - It was on Zakir Naik | Know what it was

 India will 're-think' policy if Pakistan continues to aid terrorism: Centre

 15 Kerala youths 'join IS to fight US for attacking Muslims'; probe ordered

 Aligarh Muslim University elected Zakir Naik to its topmost council in 2013

 Kashmir violence: Toll reaches 15, curfew imposed

 Despite violence, Centre stands by decision to kill Hizbul terrorist



 Renewed fighting in South Sudan raises death toll to 272

 16 Boko Haram fighters, 2 soldiers dead in Nigeria shootout

 Qaddafi’s son Saif still in Libya prison

 South Sudan 'back to war', says VP Riek Machar's spokesman

 Heavy fighting resumes in Juba between rival S. Sudanese forces


South Asia

 Huge setback for controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik as Bangladesh bans Peace TV

 Why Bangladesh is under the gun after recent terrorist attack

 12 ISIS loyalists killed in air and ground raids in East of Afghanistan

 Pakistan maintains distinction between good, bad terrorists in practice: Ghani

 Afghan leaders blame Pakistan for all failures in Afghanistan

 Rising violence in Bangladesh: what's behind it?

 Bangladesh Home Minister: Zakir Naik’s Islamist links being probed

 Taliban bomb kill 3 children in southern Kandahar province

 Abdullah discuss terrorists’ sanctuaries in the neighbourhood in NATO summit


Arab World

 Pro-Hadi Commander, 25 Others Killed In Yemeni Ballistic Missile Strike In Ma'rib

 Saudi royal, Turki al-Faisal, joins Iranian opposition meeting in Paris

 Iran Dismisses Ties with ISIL as "Sheer Lie"

 Iraqi Forces Inch Closer to Capturing Mosul City

 Iranian FM Advisor: S. Arabia's Support for Terrorism Proved by Participation in MKO Gathering

 Salahuddin Province: Iraqi Forces Win Back Strategic Region Near Al-Sharqat City

 Syrian Ground, Air Forces Inflict Major Losses on ISIL in Deir Ezzur

 Syria: Commanders Killed in Terrorists' Base Blast in Damascus Province

 Syria: Sources Deny Terrorists' Claims about Advances in Northern Aleppo

 Aleppo: SDF Snipers Enter Manbij to Hunt ISIL Terrorists



 Erdoğan to Merkel: Turkey frustrated by German parliament’s ‘Armenian genocide’ bill

 Car Bomb Hits Army Outpost in Turkey, Killing 3

 Senior Kurdish PKK commander killed in Syria: Turkey's Anadolu


North America

 Osama’s son threatens revenge against U.S. for father’s assassination: monitor



 Hollande calls for military action against Syrian Qaeda affiliate

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




'ISIS Are Dogs From Hell. We'll Chop Baghdadi Into 100 Pieces:' All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen President Asaduddin Owaisi

ADITYA MENON | 9 July 2016

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen president Asaduddin Owaisi held a public meeting in Hyderabad on Friday to protest against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The meeting - organised a day after Eid at Darussalaam, the AIMIM headquarters, - aimed at counter ISIS ideologically. Along with Owaisi, clerics from different Muslim sects addressed the meeting and criticised ISIS as being enemies of Islam who should be eliminated.

Owaisi, in particular, condemned ISIS in extremely harsh language, even going to the extent of calling them "dogs from hell".

Owaisi's public meeting also assumes significance in the backdrop of the criticism he has faced for offering to provide legal aid to Indian Muslim youngsters arrested for being radicalised by ISIS.

In his speech, Owaisi urged Muslim youngsters to undertake Jihad within India's democratic framework instead of taking up arms. Some excerpts:



Zakir Naik’s UK-Registered Foundation under Scanner

July 10, 2016

Even as the Union Home Ministry said it is analysing CDs of Muslim evangelist Zakir Naik, who has come under the scanner after the Dhaka terror attacks, the government is also probing the financial records for massive contributions that the preacher’s organisations received in the past few years.

According to investigations, Dr. Naik is a trustee of the UK-registered Islamic Research Foundation International (IRFI) that has received over £7 million in donations between 2009 and 2014.

A study of the U.K. government database by The Hindu revealed that IRFI received the maximum of £1.42 million of public funding in 2010.

The Birmingham-based Foundation was set up on January 11, 2007, for the purpose of religious and other charitable activities. It has its email and website registered on “” domain.

Government sources said IRFI primarily funds Peace TV that broadcasts Dr. Naik’s public speeches. The television network is banned in the U.K., the U.S., Canada and China. In 2010, the U.K. government had banned Dr. Naik; he is also not allowed to enter Canada and Malaysia.

Zakir’s funds mostly from Saudi, UAE: Govt.

Following allegations that one of the terrorists involved in the recent Dhaka terror attack and killing of 20 hostages was inspired by the speeches of radical Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, the Indian government has also initiated a probe into the foreign funding of his non-government organisations.

FCRA declaration

At least two of his Mumbai-based educational organisations, Islamic Research Foundation and IRF Educational Trust, are registered under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), said government sources. The Islamic Research Foundation was established in February 1991, whereas the IRF Education Trust runs one Islamic International School in Mumbai.

A study of the returns filed by the two NGOs with the MHA under the mandatory FCRA regulations revealed that they received about Rs.10 crore in the past decade. The funds came mostly from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Donations were also made by individual donors from countries like Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Indonesia, the U.S. the U.K., Canada, Australia, Switzerland, New Zealand, Singapore, Mauritius, Kenya and Nigeria. A Hong-Kong based religious NGO also funded the Foundation, which had received Rs.93 lakh from just one individual from the United Arab Emirates in 2007-08.

The maximum reported donation of over Rs.2.5 crore came to the Islamic Research Foundation in 2009-10, whereas the returns filed for 2014-15 reported receipt of Rs.1.58 crore. The organisation had, however, reported nil foreign funding in 2008-09 and 2012-13, according the MHA online database.

Its annual returns filed with the UK authorities reflected the minimum inflow of funds to the tune of £ 0.95 million in 2014.

After the Bangladeshi government sought investigations against Dr. Naik, an Indian national, Aslam Durrani, initiated an online petition to the MHA and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, seeking a ban on his Foundation.




Renewed Fighting In South Sudan Raises Death Toll To 272

Denis Dumo | Reuters | Sunday 10 July 2016

 JUBA, South Sudan: Renewed gunfights broke out across South Sudan’s capital Sunday between forces loyal to the president and those of the vice president, officials said Sunday, increasing the death toll to at least at least 272 and raising fears that the country is returning to civil war. Among those killed were 33 civilians, witnesses said.

The fighting hit a UN camp for displaced people hit by the violence, according to witnesses.

“The condition is really very bad. We have a lot of casualties this side, I think around 50 to 60 besides those of yesterday,” said an official in the camp, who insisted on anonymity for fear of retribution. “We have civilian casualties. We have rocket-propelled grenades that have landed in the camp which has wounded eight people.”

At least one person has died in the camp, he said, but he did not know about casualties outside where the fighting is heavy.

The fighting broke out on Thursday and Friday between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and soldiers who support vice president Riek Machar.

The violence has raised fears South Sudan could face more instability after emerging from a two-year civil war, which began in December 2013 after Kiir sacked Machar as vice president.

On Saturday Juba was calm, but on Sunday gunfire was heard in Gudele and Jebel suburbs of Juba, near the military barracks that hosts troops loyal to Machar.

“For about 30 to 40 minutes we heard sounds of heavy artillery in the direction of Jebel area,” an aide worker based in Juba who did not want to be named said.

Government forces attacked a rebel base in the Jebel area of the capital Sunday morning, said William Gatjiath Deng, a spokesman for the rebel forces.

“Three helicopter gunships have just come now and bombed our side,” he said.

Government spokesmen could not be reached for comment.

South Sudan’s civil war was fought largely along ethnic lines with Kiir, a Dinka, and Machar, a Nuer, drawing support from their respective tribes.

A peace agreement last August ended the war but Kiir and Machar have yet to integrate their forces, a key part of the peace deal.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Friday the latest violence highlighted a lack of commitment to the peace process and urged the country’s leaders to end the fighting, discipline military leaders and work together to implement the peace deal.

The UN Mission in South Sudan is on a high security alert with no movement of UN personnel whatsoever, said Shantal Persaud, spokeswoman for the UN mission.



Huge Setback for Controversial Islamic Preacher Zakir Naik as Bangladesh Bans Peace TV

DHAKA, July 10, 2016

After reports that his "provocative" speeches inspired some of the militants who carried out the country’s worst terror attack at a Dhaka cafe.

The Bangladesh government on Sunday banned the broadcasting of India-based controversial preacher Zakir Naik’s Peace TV channel after reports that his “provocative” speeches inspired some of the militants who carried out the country’s worst terror attack at a cafe here.

The decision to ban the Mumbai-based preacher’s ‘Peace TV Bangla’ was taken during a special meeting of Cabinet Committee on Law and Order, Industry Minister Aamir Hossain Amu, who chaired the meeting said.

His sermons under the scanner

In the meeting, attended by senior ministers and top security officials, it was also decided to monitor the sermons given during the Friday prayers to check whether any provocative lectures were delivered, Mr. Amu told reporters.

Dr. Naik’s speeches are believed to have inspired some of the Bangladeshi militants, who killed 22 people -- mostly foreigners -- at an upscale restaurant in Dhaka on July 1. One of the slain attackers of the terrorist attack in Dhaka’s high-security Gulshan area, Rohan Imtiaz (22) quoted Dr. Naik in a Facebook post in January this year where he urged “all Muslims to be terrorists.”

Plea to Imams

The government also appealed to the Imams in the country to deliver lectures in line with real Islamic ideology of denouncing terrorism and extremism, the Minister said.

Besides senior Ministers, the meeting was attended by Chief of Police and head of the elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), paramilitary border guards and top officials of different security agencies. Deployment of additional security forces at export processing zone was also ordered.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan had on Saturday said that Bangladesh’s intelligence agencies were investigating Dr. Naik.

“He is on our security scanner... Our intelligence agencies are investigating his activities as his lectures appeared provocative,” Mr. Khan had told PTI. He said the investigators were also probing Dr. Naik’s financial transactions in Bangladesh.

He is banned in U.K., Canada

Britain and Canada have banned Dr. Naik from visiting the two countries several years ago while Malaysia banned his lectures fearing that they could instigate inter-racial tensions.





Ten Terrorists May Try To Cross Border, Bangladesh Hands Over List To India; security agencies alerted

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Zee Media Bureau

Delhi: Bangladesh government has alerted India about the possibility of ten terrorists entering the country.

As per a report in Aaj Tak, Bangladesh has sent a list of the suspected terrorists to India.

Meanwhile, security agencies at the Indian border have been alerted about the same and photos of the terrorists have been given to them.

It is believed that these terrorists may be connected to the terror attack in Dhaka.

At the same time, the report said that a terror attack by them cannot be ruled out.

Gunmen had killed 22 people including 17 foreigners and two policemen shortly after taking hostage a number of diners at Holey Artisan Bakery on July 1.

Six militants were also killed when security forces stormed the cafe to end the hostage crisis incident on July 2.

Then again, on July 7, militants carrying bombs and machetes had launched a deadly attack on Bangladesh's biggest Eid gathering, killing four persons including two policemen.



You'll be SHOCKED To See Burhan Wani's Last Tweet - It Was On Zakir Naik | Know what it was

By Prashant V Singh | Sunday, July 10, 2016

Zee Media Bureau/Prashant V Singh

New Delhi: Do you know about the last tweet of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Muzzafar Wani?

You will be shocked to know that his last tweet was on controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik.

In his last tweet on 8th July, Burhan Wani urged people to support Zakir Naik.

"Support Zakir Naik or Time Will Come When Qur’an Recitation will be Banned (sic)," said Burhan Wani's last tweet.

 Burhan Bhai @Gazi_Burhan2

Support Zakir Naik or Time Will Come When Qur’an Recitation will be Banned

6:14 PM - 8 Jul 2016

 Also, Burhan Wani had tagged 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed in his post.

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday had directed the Mumbai Police officials to initiate inquiry against Zakir Naik. The probe will include inquiry into his all public documents, speeches and social media posts.

The controversy over Zakir Naik erupted in the wake of the recent attack in a Dhaka cafe.

It was reported that Zakir Naik's 'hate speeches' inspired one of the five Bangladeshi militants, who hacked to death 22 people at an upscale cafe in Dhaka's diplomatic enclave last week.

In a big blow to militancy in Jammu and Kashmir, Hizbul Mujahideen's poster boy Burhan Muzzafar Wani was shot dead on Friday by security forces along with two of his accomplices in Kokernag area, 83 km from here.



India Will 'Re-Think' Policy If Pakistan Continues to Aid Terrorism: Centre

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Bengaluru: Asserting that elements in Jammu and Kashmir were creating disturbances after getting influenced by its 'neighbours', the Centre on Sunday warned Pakistan that India will have to re-think its policy with Islamabad if it does not stop 'aiding, abetting and sponsoring' terrorism.

In a message to Pakistan, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said that Islamabad must understand that its current ways would not help in sustaining healthy ties between the two nations.

"Aiding, abetting, funding, training terrorism is not acceptable at all. Pakistan should give up such tactics. They will not succeed in their attempts. PM Modi has given a signal that he would like to work with Pakistan and want to have friendship and long term understanding. But if Pakistan continues to do such things, then the government has to think its policy," Naidu said.

Meanwhile, Pakistan today released a statement condemning the killing of 'innocent Kashmiris in India-Occupied-Kashmir' and said that solving the Jammu and Kashmir dispute is only possible through an impartial plebiscite with the United Nation's support.

The statement comes as the security forces shot Wani, along with two of his accomplices in Kokernag area, earlier on Friday.

The statement released by Office of the Spokesperson on Sunday said the extrajudicial killing of Wani and scores of other innocent Kashmiris is deplorable and condemnable.

"Pakistan reiterates that the resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute is only possible by the realisation of the right to self determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, as per the UNSC resolutions, through a fair and impartial plebiscite under UN auspices," the statement said.

"Such acts are a violation of fundamental human rights of Kashmiris and can not deter the people of Jammu and Kashmir from their demand for the realisation of the right to self determination," it said.

Islamabad also expressed its concern over the detention of Kashmiri leadership and called upon New Delhi to fulfill the human rights obligations as per the United Nation.

"Pakistan also has serious concerns over the detention of Kashmiri leadership in Indian Occupied Kashmir and calls upon the Indian government to fulfill its human rights obligations as well as its commitments under the United Nations Security Council Resolutions," the statement said.

The Kashmir valley has been on a boil as widespread protests were carried out over Wani's killing with many separatists' calling for a shutdown.



15 Kerala youths 'join IS to fight US for attacking Muslims'; probe ordered

July 9, 2016

Zee Media Bureau

Kasargode: In an alarming incident, at least 15 Muslims from Kerala are reportedly missing from the Middle East where they had gone recently for religious studies.

According to reports, the missing included five married couples, one of them with a two-year-old child. Out of 15, 11 hail from Padana and Trikaripur in the northernmost Kasaragod district of Kerala, while the remaining four are from Palakkad district.

They all are feared to have joined the Islamic State.

Kasaragod District Panchayat member VPP Mustafa said that during Eid, the parents of two missing youths received 'WhatsApp' messages saying "we are not coming back. Here there is Divine Rule. You also should join us".

"We have joined IS to fight US for attacking Muslims", read another message, he said adding the veracity of the messages has to be checked.

One mobile number from which the message was sent had the country code of Afghanistan, while another messaged that he was near Syria border.

On being approached by the families, Karunakaran, Thrikarippur MLA M Rajagopalan and Mustafa informed Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan about the matter and sought an investigation into the whole incident.

Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said: "This is a very serious issue. This has to be examined."

Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan said in Kasaragode that a detailed probe would be conducted into the issue.

"If they are trapped in their (IS) net and reached in (their territory), it would be a very difficult issue. A detailed probe would be conducted on this issue," he told reporters.

Reports said that the 15 left their homes for the Middle East on different days in the last one month. However, they are believed to have been in touch with each other.

Rajagopalan told PTI that all those missing were below the age of 30 and highly qualified.

"The Chief Minister has asked police to launch a probe into the matter urgently," Karunakaran said today.

Hakim, the father of Hafesuddin who is among those missing from Kasaragod, told television channels that his son had left a month ago and there was no news from him.

"If he returns as a good man, I will welcome him. If not, I do not want to see even his dead body," he said.

Karunakaran said the family members told him that the youths had left for Middle East a month ago stating that they were going for religious studies.

But for the last one month, their families had no communication from them and so they were suspicious, he said.

Mustafa said among the missing were Dr Ijas and his dentist wife. They had left home saying they were going to Lakshadweep, he told PTI.

Abdul Rasheed, an engineering graduate, had left home with his wife and a two-year old daughter, stating that they were going to Mumbai for a job.

All the youths hail from middle class families and had been showing keen interest in religious matters since the last two years, Mustafa said.

Meanwhile, Kerala DGP Lokanath Behera said: “We can’t come to any conclusions about their whereabouts. If tomorrow they all return, then the case would be a blunder. We don’t know who sent the messages and from where the messages originated. Besides, the families have not approached local police with a formal complaint.”

Notably, a Facebook group had come to light earlier this month which raised the fear of the presence of the Islamic State in Kerala. The page had posts in Malayalam and English. It was deactivated later.



Aligarh Muslim University elected Zakir Naik to its topmost council in 2013

Eram Agha | TNN | Jul 10, 2016, 03.41 AM IST

ALIGARH: Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik whose speeches and activities are under the scanner of Indian law enforcement agencies ever since it emerged that at least one of the Dhaka terrorists was inspired by him was elected to Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) Court, the varsity's inner council which takes all the crucial decisions, in 2013. The televangelist , who was elected to the varsity council as a "representative of Muslim culture and learning", served as its member for three years and his term came to an end on June 11, 2016.

The AMU Court, according to the university's statutes, is the supreme governing body with powers to review acts of the varsity's other two decision-making bodies -- the executive and academic council. The 191-member council comprises ex officio members, which include the vice chancellor and pro-VC, representatives from various departments chosen by rotation according to seniority, principals of affiliated colleges, representatives of teachers' bodies and schools maintained by the varsity, non-teaching staff, donors and also representatives from learned professions, industry and commerce.

Besides, the body also comprises representatives from Parliament (it has a quota of 10), students, nominated members as well as representatives from All India Muslim Educational Conference and those from Muslim culture and learning. It was in the last category that Naik was elected to the Court. There are 15 other members in this category (Muslim culture and learning), five of them from UP.



Kashmir violence: Toll reaches 15, curfew imposed

Agencies | Jul 10, 2016, 09.19 AM IST

SRINAGAR: Curfew was imposed in Kashmir Valley on Sunday to maintain the law and order situation after 15 protesters were killed in violent clashes with security forces on Saturday, officials said.

The Amarnath Yatra has been suspended for the second consecutive day on Sunday.

Kashmir divisional commissioner Asgar Hussain Samoon told reporters that curfew has been imposed in the entire valley from midnight to maintain law and order. He also appealed to the people to help authorities maintain peace.

The toll in bloody clashes between violent protesters and the security forces reached 15.

The protesters who died in clashes on Saturday following the killing of top Hizbul commander Burhan Wani include Adil Bashir of Dooru Anantnag, Danish Ayub of Achabal Anantnag, Abdul Hamid Moochi of Arwani Anantnag, Khurshid Ahmad of Harwat Kulgam, Jahangir Ganai of Bijbehara Anantnag, Azad Hussain of Shopian, Aijaz Ahmad Thokru of Siligam Anantnag, Ashraf Dar of Kokernag Anantnag, Showkat Ahmad of Bijbehara Anantnag, Haseeb Ahmad of Khanabal Anantnag and Saqib Mir of Achabal Anantnag.

Additional director-general (CID) SM Sahai and inspector-general of police (Kashmir Zone) Syed Javid Mujtaba Gilani told reporters that the violent mob on Saturday burnt four police stations, two minority police pickets and office of the tehsildar.

Besides, there were two incidents of weapon snatching and torching of several vehicles of the security forces.

The top police officers said three policemen were missing and 96 security personnel have been injured in Saturday's clashes.

The number of civilian protesters injured is said to be at least 100 which include those suffered bullet, tear smoke and pellet injuries.

Violence erupted spontaneously in south Kashmir districts of Anantnag, Pulwama, Shopian and Kulgam and later spread to other districts in the valley after security forces killed top Hizbul commander Burhan Wani and two of his associates in Bamdoora (Kokarnag) village of Anantnag district on Friday.

Wani was buried in his native Shariefabad (Tral) village on Saturday where nearly 40,000 people gathered defying curfew restrictions to attend his funeral prayers.

The separatists have called for a valley-wide shutdown till Monday against Wani's killing.

The state Cabinet headed by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti would meet in Srinagar on Sunday to deliberate on measures to ensure the law and order situation does not go out of hand and things are brought under control quickly.



Despite violence, Centre stands by decision to kill Hizbul terrorist

Bharti Jain & Neeraj Chauhan | TNN | Jul 10, 2016, 02.57 AM IST

NEW DELHI: Even as it moved to reinforce security forces to tackle violent protests in south Kashmir, an unfazed Centre remained confident that the elimination of the most-wanted terrorist, and recruitment icon of jihadis in the Valley, Burhan Wani — was a big gain for counter-insurgency operations.

Gearing up to send 1,200 paramilitary personnel to J&K to deal with the protests, officials said that the violent reaction to the elimination of Wani was only to be expected considering his emergence as the poster-boy of the insurgency.

While the law and order situation is a short-term fallout, particularly in South Kashmir, Wani's killing was a well thought out decision intended to convey a stern message to young followers of propagandists like Wani, who are enamored by his larger than life image, that there is deadly danger in taking up arms.

There are risks too, agree officials, who feel Pakistan and terror groups based across the border will try to use Wani as a "martyr" and blame India for suppressing Kashmiris. But this is a scenario the security establishment is braced for as it is the unavoidable fallout of tough action against individuals like Wani.

"A terrorist is a terrorist who has to be dealt as such irrespective of whether he is net-savvy or illiterate and his success in whipping up popular sentiment at a particular point in time", said a senior official, articulating the viewpoint that his popularity should have been "no deterrent for elimination of a terrorist who was targeting army and other security forces".

Sources point out over a decade ago, a conscious decision was taken by the Jammu and Kashmir government to hand over bodies of dead terrorists to the kin and allow funeral of local militants. Since then high attendance at terrorists' funerals has become a trend but the Centre so far seems firm on not altering its approach towards eliminating leaders of Hizbul and other terror organisations.

Security officials point that while Wani's direct involvement in terrorist attacks is being questioned by some quarters, he was clearly a committed jihadist who promoted and even romaticised terror to recruit youth. Those behind the attacks do not always carry weapons, an official argued and pointed to Wani's support for hard core doctrine. Three planes will carry CRPF personnel to Srinagar on Sunday morning.

Wani had become a youth "icon" propped up by Hizbul Mujahideen to optimally leverage social media to push up recruitment. His status was also convenient for Pakistan-based Lashkar e Toiba and Jaish as it projected terrorism and inflammatory propaganda in Kashmir as a localized insurgency rather than sourced from Pakistan.

Officials said previous terrorist leaders like Kuka Parrey (who switched allegiance to the government), Yasin Malik have had their day and faded. Rather the will of the Centre is tested and the clarity in reponse will help shape opinion over time over who is winning the "proxy war" in Jammu and Kashmir.

While there is already a heavy presence of forces in J&K due to Amarnath Yatra, the government has started rushing troops to deal with the situation, what it called the "orchestrated aftermath". As mass violence erupted after the killing, government has requisitioned Air India to keep on standby planes to move troops to the valley.

"The next few days are crucial. Separatist leaders may try to fan popular protests and instigate mobs to target police and other forces. Security personnel must exercise restraint while at the same time ensuring that law and order situation does not worsen beyond a point," said a senior J&K police officer.

On Sunday, home minister Rajnath Singh appealed to the people of J&K to remain calm and maintain peace, and said the Centre was working with the state government to quickly restore normalcy.

Sources say 12 companies of CRPF will reach J&K on Sunday to add to the 138 companies of the paramilitary already there for Amarnath Yatra. Officials say that yatra, suspended in wake of Wani's death, may resume in the next two-three days, depending on the situation. Until then, pilgrims have been asked to stay inside the camps, which are being provided round the clock security.

The trend of thousands of youngsters joining funerals of killed terrorists, which is released through photographs, videos and messages using mobile internet, has also worried agencies. In last one and a half year, government had to shut internet in valley unaccounted number of times in J&K in last few years.

"Wani had become a youth icon, propped by Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) to optimally use power of social media to push up recruitment. His status was also convenient for Pakistan-based Lashkar e Toiba and Jaish as it projected terrorism in Kashmir as a localized insurgency," said an intelligence official based in J&K.





16 Boko Haram Fighters, 2 Soldiers Dead In Nigeria Shootout

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Bauchi: Nigerian officials say 16 Boko Haram extremists and two soldiers have been killed when the extremists tried to ride explosives-laden motorcycles into an army base in the country's volatile northeast.

An army spokesman, Col Sani Kukasheka, said in a statement today that soldiers at the base in Rann in Borno state repelled the extremists with a gunfight that went on for hours.

He said two soldiers were killed when a suicide bomber drove into a truck and exploded.

Kukasheka said soldiers found most of the bodies of the attackers today morning, but he added that "quite a number escaped with gunshot wounds."

Boko Haram's nearly seven-year-old insurgency has killed some 20,000 people and forced 2 million from their homes. The Nigeria-based group last year began regular attacks in neighboring countries. - PTI



Qaddafi’s son Saif still in Libya prison

Reuters | Published — Saturday 9 July 2016

 This file photo taken on May 2, 2013 shows Seif al-Islam, son of Libya's late dictator Moamer Kadhafi, looking on in the accused cell as he stands trial for illegally trying to communicate with the outside world in June last year in Libya's northwestern town of Zintan. (AFP)

BENGHAZI: Saif Al-Islam, a son of the late Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, remains in the prison in western Libya where he has been held since the 2011 uprising that toppled his father, a military source said on Thursday, contradicting media reports that Saif had been released.

Since his father’s downfall, Saif has been held in Zintan, a mountainous western region, by one of the factions that began contending for power after Qaddafi was killed in 2011 and have now split the country into warring fiefdoms. “We deny that Saif has been released,” the military source said.

Last July, a Libyan court sentenced Saif to death in absentia for war crimes, including killing protesters during the 2011 revolt.

Zintani forces refused to hand Saif over to any other authorities, saying they did not trust Tripoli to guarantee he does not escape. But they agreed to let him be tried there, though he appeared mainly by video link.

Libya’s new UN-backed unity government, set up in Tripoli three months ago, is trying to bring together the various factions.



South Sudan 'back to war', says VP Riek Machar's spokesman

10 July 2016

South Sudan is "back to war", a spokesman for the vice-president has told the BBC, as rebel factions clash.

Forces loyal to Vice-President Riek Machar say their positions in the capital, Juba, have been attacked by government troops.

Col William Gatjiath, Mr Machar's military spokesman, told the BBC President Salva Kiir "isn't serious" about a peace agreement.

The government has not responded to Col Gatjiath's comments.

He said "hundreds" of Mr Machar's troops had died on Sunday, and that troops loyal to Mr Machar were advancing on Juba from different directions.

UN representatives have reported heavy exchanges of gunfire near their headquarters in the suburb of Jebel.

A tweet by the UN's official mission in South Sudan, posted on Sunday afternoon, said fighting was now "relentless".

The clashes follow days of fighting in the world's newest country between supporters of Mr Kiir and Mr Machar. At least 150 people were killed in fighting on Friday, before calm was restored on Saturday.

The violence has raised fears of renewed instability, with a 2015 peace deal failing to quell unrest.

Heavy gunfire was reported on Sunday in the Gudele and Jebel suburbs of Juba, near a military barracks occupied by troops loyal to Mr Machar.

"For about 30 to 40 minutes we heard sounds of heavy artillery in the direction of Jebel area," an aid worker based in Juba told Reuters.

The situation in South Sudan has echoes of the days before the civil war began, in December 2013, when skirmishes between troops loyal to Salva Kiir and Riek Machar escalated into a national bloodbath, killing tens of thousands and displacing two million.

As artillery fire rings out in the capital Juba and a helicopter gunship buzzes overhead, desperate work is under way to try to calm the situation and to prevent the clashes from spreading.

But huge distrust remains between Mr Kiir and Mr Machar and between their forces. The leaders may even be struggling to control their own troops. A number of peace deals have been signed - so far, none has led to lasting stability.

Friday's exchanges were apparently sparked by a shootout between Mr Kiir's and Mr Machar's bodyguards. The two men met at the presidential palace on Friday, and issued a call for calm.

South Sudan, the world's newest country, marked its fifth anniversary of independence from neighbouring Sudan on Saturday in lockdown.

The country is so short of money that no official anniversary events were planned.

Tens of thousands died and millions were displaced in the civil war that ended with the division of Sudan five years ago.



Heavy fighting resumes in Juba between rival S. Sudanese forces

July 10, 2016 (JUBA) – Heavy fighting has resumed in the South Sudanese capital, Juba, between rival forces that concluded a peace agreement in August last year.

The clashes occurred this morning at around 8:00am at Jebel site, the base of the opposition faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA-IO), which is also the residence of the first vice president, Riek Machar.

Officials and eye witnesses told Sudan Tribune that a force loyal to President Salva Kiir attacked the opposition’s General Headquarters where their chief of general staff, General Simon Gatwech Dual, is based.

“Our forces have come under heavy attack this morning. President Salva Kiir’s forces launched the attack,” said James Gatdet Dak, press secretary for the First Vice President, Machar.

Jebel site is about 5 kilometers away from the Presidential Palace, or J1, in Juba city center.

Dak said the attacking forces had been repulsed and chased back into the capital center, near the national security service building.

However, he warned that the situation may further escalate if such attacks continued, accusing forces loyal to President Salva Kiir of either not able to control their forces or were intentionally provoking a return to a full scale war.

The opposition leader’s spokesman however said the SPLA-IO and the entire leadership of the SPLM-IO are for peace and the implementation of the peace agreement, and not interested in return to war.

The South Sudanese army spokesperson was not reachable for comment.

Gunfire could also be heard close to the military barrack south of the presidential palace, less than two walking minutes from the country’s main university of Juba, forcing residents to flee for their lives.

Tanks and heavy artillery from the presidential palace drove through Buluk, the headquarters of police and Hai Thoura residential area towards the Jebel site where heavy exchange of gunfire were being heard.

Five people have been reported shots in cross fire at the United Nation protection site in Juba, according to residents who speak to Sudan Tribune this morning.



South Asia


Why Bangladesh Is Under The Gun After Recent Terrorist Attack

Seema Sirohi | ET Bureau | Jul 10, 2016

WASHINGTON: In the aftermath of the worst terrorist attack in Bangladesh, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is under tremendous pressure to act and act wisely to contain the jihadi threat and steer her country out of the morass of toxic politics. While she is under scrutiny for her heavy-handed tactics against the opposition over the past years, which many believe led to a bigger playing field for the jihadis, the opposition itself is no milquetoast.

The question is: how far should she accommodate the opposition while still being true to her election promises? Far, far away from the streets of Gulshan, where terrorists killed over 20 innocent people on July 1, their nominal patrons are using slick American and British lobbyists to discredit Hasina's efforts to battle radicalism and punish perpetrators of war crimes committed during the 1971 struggle for independence from Pakistan.

These lobbyists are essentially trying to convince the US Congress and the State Department that the trials of alleged war criminals are unfair and don't meet international standards. They want Washington to pressure Dhaka to immediately "stay all executions" ordered by Bangladesh's International Crimes Tribunal (ICT), which was established by Hasina in 2010. Five men have so far been hanged, including Motiur Rahman Nizami, head of the Jamaat-e-Islami ( JeI), who was accused of involvement in hundreds of killings and more than 30 rapes. On June 6, the Bangladesh Supreme Court upheld the death sentence of another top JeI leader and media tycoon, Mir Quasem Ali.

Hasina is under pressure on multiple fronts. The spate of recent terrorist attacks, whether by the Islamic State (IS) or by elements linked to the Jamaat — the latest being an attack by gunmen on an Eid prayer meeting — has forced her to walk a fine line between her secularist ideals and the sensitivities of the majority Muslim population. India supports her stand against radicalism and her decision to bring to justice those accused of war crimes.

India has hinted broadly that it would back Bangladesh if any attempt was made to undermine the ICT and take the matter to an international or multilateral forum. Bangladesh is an important neighbour and New Delhi hasn't shied away from locking horns with the United States in the past over policy. In 2014, India famously refused to pressure Hasina on how and when to hold elections as per US request. There is history at play too — in 1971, one country got Bangladesh right, the other horrendously wrong.

While India's policy essentially is to help Bangladesh fight radical forces and prevent it from becoming "another Pakistan", many American analysts, especially former diplomats, have a different view.

Last month, William Milam, former US ambassador to Bangladesh and Pakistan,went so far as to blame Hasina for the rise in extremism, calling the recent string of killings "less a terrorism issue than a governance issue". He wrote that the "ruling Awami League's onslaught against its political opponents" had "unleashed extremists in Bangladesh". This is exactly what the Jamaat lobbyists also claim.

Lobby Shop of Extremists

Some experts say the views of Milam and others are influenced by Jamaat "scholars" who come through easy doors of American think tanks. They are more prone to a Pakistan-inspired version of 1971 and contemporary events. It is no surprise that Pakistan has protested the loudest at the ICT and even recruited Saudi Arabia and Turkey to add their voices.

Notably, the current US ambassador to Bangladesh, Marcia Bernicat, has the opposite view. In an interview to Associated Press on June 24, she said Hasina's crackdown was "absolutely not" a cause of the current rise in militancy or extremism. But the US State Department still has serious policy questions on Dhaka's treatment of the Jamaat and the manner in which the ICT trials are being conducted. It is in this space that Jamaat lobbyists have unleashed their considerable talent to sway opinions and muddy the waters.

Enter the big guns of Cassidy & Associates, an expensive lobby shop in Washington, hired by the Jamaat's front organisation that goes by the innocuous name of the Organisation for Peace and Justice. The lobbyists are doing the rounds on Capitol Hill, the State Department, think tanks and academics working on South Asia to portray the Jamaat as an upright political party under siege. Recently, a Cassidy employee contacted Christine Fair, an academic expert on South Asia, trying to enlist her in the campaign.

Fair put the email on her Facebook page instead, calling JeI an "organization that sponsors terrorism and facilitated genocide". But not everyone is as knowledgeable or as immune to propaganda.

Jamaat lobbyists, in essence, are asking the US government to exonerate those very forces that American soldiers are fighting in the war against terrorism. The lobbyists are succeeding to a considerable extent because their audience — especially in the US Congress — is largely unfamiliar with Bangladesh's history, its violent birth, Pakistan army's brutal conduct, the role of collaborators and India's intervention.

Will DC Fail Dhaka Again?

The question is, if Washington failed Bangladesh once in 1971 because Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon protected Pakistani dictator Yahya Khan and let the Bengalis be "collateral damage" while threatening India for intervening, will it fail Bangladesh again when the country is under attack from Islamist forces? What is unfolding in Washington is disturbing.

Despite the low bar on morality for lobbyists — South Africa's apartheid regime maintained one for years — helping dangerous extremists sell their wares is a new low. After all, right from President Barack Obama, the Americans are said to be fighting the Islamists and terrorists incubated by them. However, right under their noses, sophisticated lobbyists are promoting a band of Islamists.

According to Fair, the Jamaat has "vast ties to various terrorist organizations", a fact the State Department seems to recognise, but US officials prefer to see it as a "democratic party". The thinking is that it is better to treat the Jamaat as a political party instead of shutting it down and forcing it into the shadows. The State Department also wants proof of the Jamaat's involvement in terrorism from Hasina's government, not just innuendo.

In the past, the State Department has invited Jamaat members on an all-expenses paid International Visitor Leadership Program, something that puzzled Fair: "Either no one had read their manifesto in which they clearly state that they wish to use the ballot box to make Bangladesh an Islamic state from the grassroots up or they are in denial." But recasting reality is a specialty of Jamaat lobbyists. From London, Toby Cadman, a lobbyist who prefers the label of a human rights lawyer, has unleashed a ferocious torrent of op-eds against Hasina's government.

It is more like a political campaign against the Awami League than a legal strategy to defend his Jamaat clients. He even asked the International Criminal Court to intervene against Hasina in 2014 but the prosecutor rejected the request. Cadman perpetuates the impression that Bangladesh's current crisis began with Hasina. He raises the bogey of more "unrest" and "instability" unless the Jamaat is accommodated.

His articles conveniently omit the Jamaat's and its student wing, Jamaat-Shibir's well-acknowledged role in multiple violent attacks against Hindus, Christians and other minorities since 2014. He also forgets it is his clients who want restrictions on freedom of expression, especially on the bloggers whose fate he eloquently mourns on the Al Jazeera website. Those at the receiving end — young aides on Capitol Hill — can get snowed under (mis)information. Unfamiliar with the complexity of what's unfolding in Bangladesh, they tend to believe the brief delivered by lobbyists, especially when it highlights criticism of war crimes trials by western human rights groups.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) and US officials have raised questions about due process. The 2016 annual report by HRW says Bangladesh failed to address "serious procedural and substantive defects that lead to unfair trials". Stephen Rapp, former US ambassador at large for global criminal justice, has tried to engage Dhaka to improve ICT standards but numerous shortcomings remain, according to officials.

Friends of Bangladesh in Washington worry there is a sense of "fast-food justice" in the haste shown by the ICT. In a damning 2012 expose, The Economist revealed that the tribunal chairman Mohammed Nizamul Haq was inappropriately consulting a Brusselsbased lawyer in real time as the charge sheets were being filed and appeared to be acting on his advice.

Independent observers also say that defence lawyers have been harassed and witnesses abroad were not allowed to file affidavits in favour of the accused. One official said, "This feeds into the idea of everything being cooked up. The government should go the extra mile to show everything is above board. Give defence lawyers armed guards" to avoid any impression of impropriety.

Cadman says, "I and the rest of the international community support the principal of accountability. What I do not support is its (ICT's) current incarnation where defendants are denied the most basic of rights so as to ensure convictions and prompt executions." Dhaka stoutly refutes these charges, stressing that the trials are public, open to the media, relatives of the accused and diplomats, and provide the right to appeal to the Supreme Court. Even the more recent international trials held for war crimes in Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Cambodia allowed an appeal only to the tribunal itself, not to the apex court of the land. Bangladeshi officials say the defence lawyers have tried many tricks to discredit the ICT process. In the case of Salahuddin Chowdhury, accused of collaborating in the killing of some 200 civilians, abduction, torture and looting, the defence submitted a list of 1,153 witnesses, many of them fictitious. It was a clear attempt to delay and overwhelm the system.

Cadman claims it was because the defence was required to list witnesses and evidence before the prosecution presented its case. "This is most improper," he said in an email response to questions. Attempts to seek comments from Cassidy & Associates failed. If the ICT falls short of international standards, the lobbyists' attempt to discredit it completely is ludicrous. As is the attempt to blame the rise in extremist violence on Hasina and whitewash the role of the Jamaat, its links with terrorist organisations and its rise to legitimacy via the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

According to a US expert familiar with Bangladesh, US Congressional aides already feel overwhelmed dealing with Pakistan and separating its myths from reality. He described their attitude thus: "We have one Pakistan to deal with. We don't have time to deal with another." These aides are responsible for briefing their congressmen and senators on Bangladesh.

Price of Ignorance

The line given by the lobbyists goes something like this: JeI is a moderate political party. Yes, it is religious but it is being forced to become more extreme because of the war crimes trials. Besides, the Awami League is not living up to its secular ideals. This argument has been accepted by some key think tank experts. The Jamaat's assistant secretary general, Abdur Razzaq, a well-spoken lawyer, apparently visits Washington on a regular basis to meet American think tankers and policymakers.

The Bangladesh government too has a lobbyist to present its point of view. The Jamaat's lobbying campaign switched into high gear last month after Bangladesh's Supreme Court confirmed the death sentence of Mir Quasem Ali. "He does not deserve any leniency on the question of sentence on consideration of the nature and gravity of the offence," the judgment said. Ali is accused of murder, abduction and torture during the 1971 war when he supported the Pakistan army as a member of two militias — Al-Badr and Islami Chhatra Sangh.

He is accused of setting up camps for torture in at least three locations and preparing a list of intellectuals to be killed. Ali, a member of the Jamaat's central executive council, is a powerful man with links to even more powerful ideological brethren beyond Bangladesh. Besides being a media magnate and marketing director for a pharmaceutical company, he is a director of the Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd. A US Senate investigation found the Islami Bank was linked to Saudi Arabia's notorious Al-Rajhi family, an early financier of al-Qaeda.

A Senate report released on July 17, 2012, raised several questions about the Islami Bank's involvement in transactions traced to terrorists. Bangladesh's central bank has fined the Islami Bank at least thrice for covering up terrorists' transactions. Abdur Rahman, chief of the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), was found to hold an account in the bank.

In 2005, JMB claimed responsibility for detonating more than 450 bombs across Bangladesh — in 63 of its 64 districts. It is also an accused in the most recent terrorist attack. Ali's story is not a simple one as Jamaat lobbyists would like to portray. And funds clearly are not a problem for the Ali family. According to an investigative report by David Bergman, a journalist based in Dhaka, Ali and his US-based younger brother Masum Ali spent $310,000 on Cassidy & Associates in 2011 alone.

All said, the Ali brothers have lavished more than $700,000 on their lobbyists. That money is supposed to get enough people in Washington confused and begin questioning Hasina's motives.

The contract with Cassidy & Associates says the lobbyists will "engage members of the US Congress to support a Congressional resolution condemning the actions of the ICT" and "pressure the government of Bangladesh to suspend ICT proceedings". It is clear that Hasina's critics, i.e. the Islamists, are better organised and have more firepower than her supporters.

Seth Oldmixon, a Washington-based analyst who spent time in the Peace Corps in Bangladesh and saw the Jamaat operate at the local level, says it is enough for the lobbyists to "muddy the waters, which gives them space to operate in Washington" even if they don't achieve their ultimate goal of shutting down the ICT. They are "happy to carry out their activities without scrutiny". He said there was little understanding of the real ideology of the Jamaat among too many US experts. They tend to think of it as a "moderate" political party, not a political movement striving to create a caliphate. They can't distinguish between mafia-style violence between political rivals and "targeted violence against Hindus, Christians and other minorities to cleanse Bangladesh of non-Muslims" that the Jamaat indulges in.

Their information comes from people like Cadman who benefit from people's ignorance, says Oldmixon. Cadman, incidentally, has a rogue's gallery of clients. Apart from JeI in Bangladesh, he has worked for Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, Karenzi Karake, head of Rwanda's national intelligence and security charged with genocide and terrorism, and the government of Maldives on how to convict ousted president Mohamed Nasheed.

The Bangladesh government clearly is being outspent and out-written on aljazeera. com and by Jamaat lobbyists who cloak their arguments in high verbiage of law and human rights. If terrorism is to be defeated, the first order of business should be clarity on who is playing what game and why.



12 ISIS loyalists killed in air and ground raids in East of Afghanistan

10 Jul 2016

ISIS loyalists killed in AfghanistanAt least 12 loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group were killed during the latest air and ground operations in eastern Nangarhar province.

According to the local government officials, the raids were conducted in Achin and Kot districts, involving ground forces of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) and US drone strikes.

The provincial government media office in a statement said at least 7 of the militants were killed in Laghar Joi area of Kot district during the ground operations of the Afghan forces.

The statement further added that two more militants fighting for the terror group were wounded during the same operations.

In a separate raid in Mamand Dara area of Achin district, at least 5 militants of the terror group were killed after they were targeted by the US drones.

The local officials said at least four foreign insurgents were among those killed in the raid and several weapons and ammunition were destroyed.

The Afghan forces and local residents did not suffer any casualties during the operations, the statement.

The anti-government armed militant groups including the loyalists of the ISIS terrorist group have not commented regarding the report so far.



Pakistan maintains distinction between good, bad terrorists in practice: Ghani

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Jul 10 2016

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has said Pakistan continues to maintain distinction between good and terrorists, reiterating the Afghan officials’ criticisms towards the country for allowing the Afghan militant groups to use its soil.

“Our regional initiatives with neighbors are beginning to yield significant cooperative dividends. The exception is with Pakistan–despite clear commitments to a quadrilateral peace process, their dangerous distinction between good and bad terrorists is being maintained in practice,” Ghani said in his speech during the Warsaw summit in Poland.

President Ghani further added “The key problem among our neighboring states is an absence of agreed rules of the game, thus we seek regional and global support in creating those rules, which will bind us to collective security and harmony.”

He called the ongoing violence in the country an imposed war and insisted that “Peace is our highest national priority. Reaching peace, however, requires understanding the nature of the war imposed upon us.”

“The conflict is multi-dimensional, ranging from Al-Qaeda and Daesh to terrorist groups with Central Asian, Chinese, and Russian origins, to Pakistani groups classified as terrorists by Pakistan and Afghan Taliban groups,” President Ghani said.

He also added “Because these groups pose a threat to the region, the Islamic community and the world at large, we have devoted significant efforts to achieve cooperation regionally and within the Islamic community to defeat these groups.”

The remarks by President Ghani comes as the Afghan officials have long been criticizing Pakistan for allowing the Afghan militant groups, specifically the Afghan Taliban and the notorious Haqqani terrorist network to use its soil from where they plan and coordinate attacks in Afghanistan.

Both Taliban and Haqqani network are having leadership councils based in Quetta and Peshawar cities of Pakistan, according to Afghan officials.



Afghan leaders blame Pakistan for all failures in Afghanistan

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Jul 10 2016

The country’s Foreign Office in a statement said “Since we have a genuine interest in seeing peace in Afghanistan, Pakistan would continue to make every effort to help bring peace in Afghanistan.”

The statement further added it was “unfortunate that Afghan leaders continue to make hostile statements against Pakistan and blame Pakistan for all failures in Afghanistan.”

During his speech at the Warsaw summit in Poland, President Ghani said Pakistan continues to maintain distinction between good and terrorists.

“Our regional initiatives with neighbors are beginning to yield significant cooperative dividends. The exception is with Pakistan–despite clear commitments to a quadrilateral peace process, their dangerous distinction between good and bad terrorists is being maintained in practice,” President Ghani added.

He said “The key problem among our neighboring states is an absence of agreed rules of the game, thus we seek regional and global support in creating those rules, which will bind us to collective security and harmony.”

This comes as the Afghan officials have long been criticizing Pakistan for allowing the Afghan militant groups, specifically the Afghan Taliban and the notorious Haqqani terrorist network to use its soil from where they plan and coordinate attacks in Afghanistan.

Both Taliban and Haqqani network are having leadership councils based in Quetta and Peshawar cities of Pakistan, according to Afghan officials.



Rising Violence In Bangladesh: What's Behind It?

9 Jul 2016 WRITER: AFP

NEW DELHI - Bangladesh has been hit by a surge in Islamist attacks in the past three years that reached new heights last weekend when 20 hostages were murdered in Dhaka.

This file photo shows a Bangladeshi woman holding her smartphone with a photograph of her son, who worked at a cafe that was the scene of an attack and seige, and who was missing, in Dhaka

The wave of attacks has been notably brutal with many of the victims, including the hostages, hacked to death with machetes.

One week on from the end of the siege at an upmarket cafe in the capital, AFP looks at some of the factors fuelling the attacks, who might be responsible and how the government is reacting:

Are these attacks a new phenomenon?

Bangladesh has been blighted by unrest since it broke from Pakistan in a war of independence in 1971 and has witnessed more than a dozen coups.

Islamist groups such as Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and the newer Ansarullah Bangla Team have long posed a challenge to authorities, with the JMB killing at least 28 people in a bombing campaign in 2005.

The group, blamed by the government for the Dhaka siege, was banned after the 2005 attacks and is seen as a largely spent force following the subsequent arrest and execution of its leaders.

While the 2005 attacks were largely indiscriminate, the recent killings have had specific targets, including secular bloggers and gay activists.

Members of minority groups such as Hindus, Christians and Sufi Muslims have also been victims, with many of them hacked to death.

Although a handful of foreigners had previously been killed, last weekend's siege was by far the deadliest attack. The victims included nine Italians and seven Japanese.

Why is Islamist violence rising?

Experts point to several factors behind the recent violence, including the execution of top Islamists over their role in the independence war.

Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in 2013 to protest at the guilty verdicts handed down by a domestic tribunal that critics say was intent on neutering opposition to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

The Supreme Court then barred the biggest Islamist political party Jamaat-e-Islami from contesting the 2014 general election, disenfranchising millions of supporters.

The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party -- allied to Jamaat -- subsequently boycotted the polls. What was then effectively a one-horse race was held against the backdrop of firebombings across the country.

Many observers say the lack of genuine democracy has made Bangladesh a fertile ground for extremists.

"There is a lot of support for the organisations (Hasina) is trying to quash," said C. Christine Fair, associate professor at Georgetown University in Washington and South Asia expert.

"The country is torn. She is essentially silencing, politically, half the country."

Are IS and Al-Qaeda to blame?

Both the Islamic State (IS) organisation and the competing Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) have claimed many of the attacks.

However, the government insists international jihadist networks have not got a foothold in Bangladesh and that local extremists are culpable.

There is little evidence that IS trains and funds attackers in the country, although it has recruited Bangladeshis to fight in Syria.

More likely, analysts say, is that radicalised youths are being inspired by the group and pledge allegiance -- a murky line in the age of social media.

During the cafe siege, IS was sent gruesome pictures of the carnage by the attackers, which it immediately distributed via its affiliate news agency Amaq.

Al-Qaeda may have more of a claim of presence in Bangladesh, with Bangladeshi fighters aiding the anti-Soviet mujahedeen in Afghanistan as far back as the 1980s.

"The ties to AQIS are much more credible. South Asia is Al-Qaeda territory," said Fair.

Why are many of the victims hacked to death?

The use of machetes has become a chilling hallmark of the murders and nearly all the slain hostages were attacked with sharp blades, even though their killers had automatic weapons.

Some experts say a lack of access to suicide vests or car bombs explains the prevalence of machete attacks but others see a more deliberate reason behind the brutal killing style.

"They wanted to show the world that they can go to any extent for jihad," said K. G. Suresh of New Delhi's Vivekananda International Foundation think-tank.

What does the public think?

Bangladesh is intensely politically polarised, characterised by a poisonous rivalry between Hasina and the main opposition leader Khaleda Zia that stretches back decades.

Although around 90 percent of Bangladesh's 160 million-strong population is Muslim, mostly Sunni, the nation is officially secular.

Creeping popular support for fundamentalism has led to mounting calls for Islamist representation in government and public life.

One recent study found around 47 percent of Bangladeshis say suicide bombing is justifiable to defend Islam, higher than other Muslim-majority nation in South and Southeast Asia.



Bangladesh Home Minister: Zakir Naik’s Islamist Links Being Probed

DHAKA, July 9, 2016

The Bangladesh government on Saturday said it was investigating the Islamist links of India-based controversial preacher Zakir Naik and examining the possibilities of banning his “provocative” speeches in the wake of two brutal terrorist attacks in the country within a week in which 25 people died.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said that Bangladesh’s intelligence agencies were investigating the Islamic preacher.

‘He is on our scanner’

“He is on our security scanner... Our intelligence agencies are investigating his activities as his lectures appeared provocative,” Mr. Khan said.

Mr. Khan said the investigators were also probing Naik’s financial transactions in Bangladesh. He, however, added that the government was yet to decide on banning the broadcast of his ‘Peace TV Bangla.’

But Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu said the government was examining the possibilities of banning Naik’s ’Peace TV Bangla’ in view of his controversial speeches.

‘We have been receiving complaints’

“Give us some more time for taking a decision in this regard...but I can tell you we have been receiving complaints about the provocative contents of his speeches,” Mr. Inu said.

The comments by the two senior Ministers came as Bangladesh’s private TV cable operators said they await a government directive on the broadcast of Mr. Naik’s television channel.

Peace TV will be aired, for now

“In the past, I myself used to watch the channel but after the Gulshan incident, I realised that many people do not view the channel the way I do it,” Cable TV Owners’ Association President Mir Hossain Akhtar told a Bangladeshi news agency.

He added: “We want to stop airing the channel across the country. But in the absence of any government notification in this regard, it is not possible at this moment.”

Controversy dogs him

Mr. Naik, whose speeches are aired on ‘Peace TV’ run by his Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation, is a controversial Islamic preacher and his preachings were reported to have inspired some of the Dhaka attackers.

Britain and Canada have banned Mr. Naik from visiting the two countries several years ago while Malaysia banned his lectures fearing that they could instigate inter-racial tensions.

‘Not inciting, but abetting radicalisation’

Experts said Mr. Naik could not be accused of openly inciting terror but his preaching were a heady mix of ingredients which could abet radicalisation of the extreme kinds.

One of the slain attackers of the terrorist attack in Dhaka’s high-security Gulshan area on July 1, the 22-year-old Rohan Imtiaz quoted Mr. Naik in a Facebook post in January this year where he urged “all Muslims to be terrorists.”

Twenty-two people, including 17 foreigners, were killed in the brutal late—night attack. Six days later, militants attacked police guarding the largest Eid gathering in Bangladesh and killed three more people.



Taliban Bomb Kill 3 Children In Southern Kandahar Province

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Jul 10 2016

Motorcycle explosionAt least three children were killed in an explosion in Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan, local officials said.

Provincial police spokesman Zia Durani said the incident took place earlier today on a main highway connecting Spin Boldak and Arghistan district.

He said a rickshaw vehicle carrying civilians struck an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), leaving at least three children dead.

Durani further added that six others including three women and three men also sustained injuries in the attack.

No group including the Taliban militants has so far claimed responsibility behind the incident.

The Taliban insurgents and militants belonging to the other insurgent groups are frequently using Improvised Explosive Device (IED) as the weapon of their choice to target the security forces.

The IEDs are the main contributors to the casualties of the Afghan security forces but are also considered as a key factor in growing civilian casualties.

At least 11 civilians belonging to a same family were killed in a similar attack in northern Baghlan province of Afghanistan late in the month of May.

At least 600 civilians were killed and 1,343 others were wounded in the first quarter of 2016, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said in its latest report.

UNAMA further added that consistent with 2015 trends, ground engagements caused the highest number of total civilian casualties, followed by improvised explosive devices (IEDs), complex and suicide attacks, as well as targeted killings.

According to UNAMA, actions by Anti-Government Elements caused at least 60 per cent of casualties while Pro-Government Forces caused at least 19 per cent.



Abdullah Discuss Terrorists’ Sanctuaries In The Neighborhood In NATO Summit

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sat Jul 09 2016

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah talked about the terrorists’ sanctuaries in the neighborhood during his speech at the NATO Warsaw summit in Poland.

CEO Abdullah was apparently pointing towards the safe havens used by the Taliban group and Haqqani terrorist network leadership councils in Pakistan.

“Looking back at recent history, some of us failed to grasp, the strategy that enabled the reemergence of militant cells

that enjoyed sanctuaries and staging grounds in our neighborhood. But that strategy, in the face of Afghan resolve and

international steadfastness, has failed and I am certain, it will never succeed,” Abdullah said.

Hailing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s contribution and commitment to Afghanistan, CEO Abdullah, said “During the past decade, thanks in large part to all of your nations’ generous contributions that made Afghanistan an example of international cooperation, and the role played by thousands of young military men and women personnel from more than 60 countries, the Afghan National Security and Defense Forces grew in numbers, and more importantly, in terms of capacities, heralding the end of the international combat engagement in 2014, and the start of a new era of cooperation and assistance under the Resolute Support mission.”

Abdullah further added “I can say with confidence that the Afghan nation benefited greatly from the NATO engagement, not only in the security sector, but also with the concurrent civilian deployments to bridge the gap between reconstruction and security in many parts of Afghanistan.”

He said Afghanistan is on the frontlines against various types of threats, including Taliban, Da’ish and Al-Qa’ida, and

our partnership matters to our people as well as yours.

The remarks by Abdullah comes as the Afghan officials have long been criticizing Pakistan for allowing the Afghan

militant groups to use its soil to plan and coordinate attacks in Afghanistan.

The Afghan officials are saying that the Taliban group and Haqqani network leadership councils are based in Quetta and Peshawar cities of Pakistan from where they stage attacks against the Afghan forces and civilians in the country.



Arab World


Pro-Hadi Commander, 25 Others Killed In Yemeni Ballistic Missile Strike In Ma'rib

 Jul 10, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Yemeni army and popular forces targeted the military positions of the forces loyal to former fugitive president Mansour Hadi in Ma'rib province with a ballistic missile on Sunday, killing over two dozen militias, including a senior commander.

A pro-Hadi military commander and 25 others militias were killed in the Yemeni ballistic missile strike on strategic Farza 9 military base in Ma'rib province, the Yemeni defense ministry announced.

The defense ministry also said that tens of other pro-Hadi militias were also injured in the Yemeni missile strike on Farza 9 military base.

The Yemeni missile attack came in retaliation for the Saudi airstrikes on Yemen's civilians.

The Sunday attack was the second ballistic missile attack by the Yemeni forces over the past 24 others.

In a relevant development on Saturday, the Yemeni army targeted the Saudi-led forces' convoy with a ballistic missile near Farza 9 military base.

The Saudi-led forces sustained heavy casualties as the Yemeni missile precisely struck their military convoy.

There were no immediate reports on the exact number of casualties, but eyewitnesses confirmed that the missile landed precisely on the convoy.

Also on Saturday, the Yemeni army and popular forces seized back the Saudi-led forces' last military base near the strategic Bab al-Mandeb Strait.

The Yemeni forces are now in full control of Koufel military base which is located in Sirwah region in Ma'rib province after purging all the Saudi forces from the base.

The Yemeni army and Ansarullah fighters also recaptured the strategic Kahboub mountain overlooking the Bab al-Mandeb Strait.

The advances by the Yemeni forces came as the Saudi fighter jets ignored the ceasefire and attacked several cities across Yemen, killing several Yemeni civilians, including women and children.

In late June, a Yemeni missile strike hit a Saudi-led coalition military base in Asir province where Israel's military experts are stationed.

The Khamis Mushait air base in Asir province came under Yemen's Qaher-I ballistic missile.

Yemen has seen almost daily military attacks by Saudi Arabia since late March 2015, with internal sources putting the toll from the bloody aggression at about 9,800. The Saudi military aggression was launched to restore power to Hadi, who is a staunch ally of Riyadh.



Saudi Royal, Turki Al-Faisal, Joins Iranian Opposition Meeting In Paris

PARIS – Anadolu Agency: July/10/2016

Saudi Arabian prince and former spy head Turki al-Faisal attended a meeting in Paris which was held by a Paris-based Iranian opposition movement, eliciting criticism from Iran toward Riyadh.

Speaking on July 9, al-Faisal blamed the leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution – Ayatollah Khomeini – and the Iranian government which followed him of spreading revolution to other parts of the world.

Al-Faisal is a former director general of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence agency and head of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies.

Claiming that Iran followed an isolationist policy after the revolution, al-Faisal said not only political activists but also ethnic and religious minorities were against authoritarianism and totalitarian ideology.

“Khomeini’s first victims were the Iranian people,” al-Faisal said, adding that Arabs had always been respectful of Iranian people.

Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an opposition group in exile, also spoke at the gathering.

Rajavi said the effect and the number of people resisting the Iranian regime were increasing every day.

Meanwhile, Iran accused Saudi Arabia July 10 of backing terrorism over al-Faisal’s remarks at the rally.

Shiite Muslim power Iran and Saudi Arabia, bastion of Sunni Islam, are longstanding religious and political arch rivals. Relations are fraught as they back each other’s foes in regional wars such as in Yemen, Iraq and Syria.

“The Saudis are resorting to well-known terrorists ... as they have also done in Iraq, Yemen and Syria. This shows that they use terrorism and terrorists to further their aims against regional Islamic countries,” an unnamed Iranian Foreign Ministry source was quoted by Iran’s state news agency IRNA as saying, as reported by Reuters.

The rally addressed by al-Faisal was held by the political wing of the exiled People’s Mujahideen Organization of Iran (PMOI), which seeks the overthrow of Iran’s clerical leadership established by the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Saudi media gave top coverage to the speech. The rally was also attended by a number of Western political figures, including former U.S. House of Representatives speaker Newt Gingrich.



Iran Dismisses Ties with ISIL as "Sheer Lie"

Jul 10, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Ambassador to Kuwait Alireza Enayati rejected claims of an ISIL member of having relations with Iran as "sheer lie", reminding that Tehran is itself is a pioneer of fight against terrorism in Syria and Iraq.

"The allegations about Iran's support for the ISIL are sheer lies and rumors whose reason is bias and prejudice and a pretext to raise accusations against the Islamic Republic of Iran," Enayati was quoted as saying by al-Jaridah newspaper on Sunday.

"We are not crazy to support the ISIL and then send our advisors to Iraq and Syria to participate in efforts against the grouplet," he added.

Reminding that the ISIL has targeted many Shiite shrines and killed a large number of Shiite people in recent years, Enayati underlined Tehran's readiness for security cooperation with the Persian Gulf littoral states and the regional countries to confront the ISIL terrorist group.

The ISIL and other Wahhabi-sponsored terrorist groups have targeted Iran's main allies, Syria and Iraq, in the region.

His remarks came after an alleged ISIL-linked terrorist suspect, identified as Ali Mohammad Omar nicknamed as Abu Torab who is said to be recently arrested by Kuwaiti security forces claimed that the terrorist group had cooperated with Iran and Syria.

Iran has been helping the Syrian and Iraqi army and popular forces in retaking control over the countries' towns and territories lost to the terrorists in the last few years.

The Iranian officials have always emphasized that the country has not deployed forces in Syria and Iraq and its presence in the friendly Arab countries is limited to a counseling role.

The desperate move by the Saudi and Kuwaiti rulers come as US Vice-President Joe Biden has repeatedly blamed Washington's allies, specially Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey as the sponsors and creators of terrorism in the region.

Also, presumptive US presidential race nominee and former State Secretary Hillary Clinton has made repeated acknowledgements in her book about how she had launched a campaign of diplomacy 10 years ago to create the ISIL.

The last but not the least, former Pentagon Intelligence Chief General Michael Flynn also confessed in an interview with Al-Jazeera American last year that the US was well informed of how its allies were creating Salafi and Takifiri terrorist groups in Eastern Syria and Western Iraq over five years ago.

Turkey and Saudi Arabia are both part of an effort to create an alleged “Islam Army,” ostensibly aimed at combating terrorism in the region and consisting of 34 Sunni Islam nations.

Almost the entire range of extremist and terrorist groups are supported by Saudi Arabia and Turkey, with their key commanders and leaders being Saudi nationals. ISIL, Al-Nusra and other extremist groups pursue the same line of ideology exercised and promoted by Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism. Hundreds of Saudi clerics are among the ranks of ISIL and Al-Nusra to mentor the militants.

Wahhabism is now the only source of the textbooks taught at schools in the self-declared capital of the ISIL terrorist group, Raqqa, in Northeastern Syria resembling the texts and lessons taught to schoolgoers in Saudi Arabia. The Wahhabi ideology, an extremist version of Sunni Islam that is promoted almost only in Saudi Arabia, sees all other faiths - from other interpretations of Sunni Islam to Shiism, Christianity and Judaism - as blasphemy, meaning that their followers should be decapitated as nonbelievers.



Iraqi Forces Inch Closer to Capturing Mosul City

Jul 10, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iraqi forces inched closer to the city of Mosul in Nineveh province after capturing the ISIL-controlled al-Qayara oil-rich region on Sunday.

"The Iraqi forces have taken control of a large number of villages in the Southern part of Mosul in addition to seizing back al-Qayara airbase," the Arabic-language media quoted Iraqi volunteer forces (Hashd al-Shaabi) Spokesman in Nineveh Province Mahmoud al-Sourji as saying.

Al-Sourji said that the Iraqi joint forces backed by the country's air force inflicted heavy losses on the ISIL.

He went on to say that the Iraqi forces are now very close to winning back Mosul city after taking control of al-Qayara airbase.

"The Iraqi joint forces are now only 50 kilometers from the center of Nineveh province," al-Sourji added.

He reiterated that the importance of al-Qayara region is because the oil well are located there and the ISIL's main source of income is from the sale of crude.

On Saturday, the Iraqi army and popular forces took back al-Qayara air base in Southern Mosul after heavy clashes with the ISIL terrorist group.

"The Iraqi security, tribal and anti-terrorism forces could take full control of the air base after heavy clashes with the ISIL militants," Nineveh province's governor-general Nawfal Hamadi al-Sultan said, and added, "The terrorists fled towards al-Qayara town after they came under the pro-government forces' heavy attacks, and left their weapons and equipment at the base."

"The pro-government forces have now deployed at the air base and plan to use it as a platform to launch military operations against the ISIL in Mosul in the future," he added.

Media reports said on Thursday that the ISIL terrorist group declared state of alert in Mosul in anticipation of the Iraqi army's advances and its imminent attack on the city after the Iraqi flag was hoisted in the city center.

After the Iraqi flag was hoisted on Bab al-Toub market in the center of Mosul by unknown parties, the ISIL called its militants to go on alert, the Arabic-language al-Sumeria News quoted an unnamed security source as saying on Thursday.

He noted that this is for the first time that the ISIL takes such a measure since two years that it captured Mosul city.

"The armed men destroyed the ISIL's flags and took and made several arrests, taking their prisoners to an unknown place," he added.



Iranian FM Advisor: S. Arabia's Support for Terrorism Proved by Participation in MKO Gathering

Jul 10, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Former Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian underlined that participation of former Saudi General Intelligence Directorate (GID) Chief Turki al-Faisal in the annual gathering of Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO, also known as the MEK, PMOI and NCR) terrorist group proves Riyadh's extensive support for terrorism.

"We shouldn’t doubt in the extensive relations between the Saudi intelligence body and Monafeqin (Hypocrites as the MKO members are called in Iran), specially in recent years," Amir Abdollahian, who is now an advisor to the Iranian foreign minister, said on Sunday.

He referred to Faisal's remarks in the annual gathering of the MKO in Paris on Saturday, and said, "Such comments confirm that extensive financial and security supports for terrorism have always been on Riyadh's agenda."

Amir Abdollahian referred to his past meetings with the Saudi officials during which he stressed collective efforts to establish security in the region, and said, "They cannot make the regional countries insecure by using the terrorists instrumentally and then keep Saudi Arabia secure."

"Saudi Arabia should change its military and security approach in the region and play a constructive role by focusing on the political solutions and halting explicit and implicit support for terrorism," he added.

The MKO, founded in the 1960s, blended elements of Islamism and Stalinism and participated in the overthrow of the US-backed Shah of Iran in 1979. Ahead of the revolution, the MKO conducted attacks and assassinations against both Iranian and western targets.

The group started assassination of the citizens and officials after the revolution in a bid to take control of the newly-established Islamic Republic. It killed several of Iran's new leaders in the early years after the revolution, including the then President, Mohammad Ali Rajayee, Prime Minister, Mohammad Javad Bahonar and the Judiciary Chief, Mohammad Hossein Beheshti who were killed in bomb attacks by the MKO members in 1981.

The group fled to Iraq in 1986, where it was protected by Saddam Hussein and where it helped the Iraqi dictator suppress Shiite and Kurd uprisings in the country.

The terrorist group joined Saddam's army during the Iraqi imposed war on Iran (1980-1988) and helped Saddam and killed thousands of Iranian civilians and soldiers during the US-backed Iraqi imposed war on Iran.

Since the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, the group, which now adheres to a pro-free-market philosophy, has been strongly backed by neo-conservatives in the United States, who argued for the MKO to be taken off the US terror list.

The US formally removed the MKO from its list of terror organizations in early September, one week after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent the US Congress a classified communication about the move. The decision made by Clinton enabled the group to have its assets under the US jurisdiction unfrozen and do business with the American entities, the State Department said in a statement at the time.

In September 2012, the last groups of the MKO terrorists left Camp Ashraf, their main training center in Iraq's Diyala province. They have been transferred to Camp Liberty. Hundreds of the MKO terrorists have now been sent to Europe, where their names were taken off the blacklist even two years before the US.

The MKO has assassinated over 12,000 Iranians in the last 4 decades. The terrorist group had even killed large numbers of Americans and Europeans in several terror attacks before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Some 17,000 Iranians have lost their lives in terror attacks in the 35 years after the Revolution.



 Salahuddin Province: Iraqi Forces Win Back Strategic Region Near Al-Sharqat City

Jul 10, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iraq's joint military forces continued their advances in Salahuddin province on Sunday by taking back strategic regions near the city of al-Sharqat.

The Iraqi forces captured al-Ramazaniat region which paved their way to get very close to the village of al-Aiseh on the outskirts of al-Sharqat in the Northern part of Salahuddin province.

"The Iraqi joint forces are now very close to al-Aiseh village as the ISIL terrorists are evacuating their families from the village which is one  of the strategic strongholds of the Takfiri terrorists," the Iraqi media quoted an unnamed security source as saying on Sunday.

The military operations to liberate the outskirts of Sharqat in Salahuddin province and al-Qayara region in the Southern part of Mosul kicked off on June 18.

In a relevant development in late June, the Iraqi joint forces seized back two strategic villages in Salahuddin province.

The Iraqi forces purged the terrorists from the al-Zawiya-Makhoul intersection and took full control of al-Baydha and al-Jabariya villages near al-Sharqat city on June 25.

Scores of ISIL terrorists were killed and wounded in tough battle with the Iraqi army and popular forces.

The Iraqi volunteer forces (Hashd al-Shaabi) forces also took full control of the Southern outskirts of al-Sharqat



Syrian Ground, Air Forces Inflict Major Losses on ISIL in Deir Ezzur

 Jul 10, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops and Air Forces, in coordinated strikes, targeted ISIL's strongholds in Southern Deir Ezzur, inflicting major damage on the terrorists' military hardware, battlefield sources said.

"The Syrian soldiers stormed ISIL's positions near al-Thardah mountain, which claimed the lives of several militants and destroyed their weapons and military vehicles loaded with ammunition," the sources said, adding, "The country's fighter jets, for their part, bombed the ISIL's positions in al-Thardah mountain and weaken the Takfiri terrorists' defense capabilities."

On Saturday, one of the notorious commanders of the ISIL terrorist group was killed in clashes with the Syrian army soldiers in the Eastern province of Deir Ezzur.

Amer al-Ghafal al-Khalif al-Saleh, was the man who led the ISIL to capture the small town of Sabikhan in Eastern Deir Ezzur.

He was also accused of assassinating several members of Free Syrian Army before the ISIL captured Sabikhan.

Amer al-Ghafal was also ISIL's field commander in clashes with al-Sho'eitat trib.



Syria: Commanders Killed in Terrorists' Base Blast in Damascus Province

Jul 10, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Over a dozen terrorists, including their commanders, were killed and many more were wounded in a blast at Jeish al-Islam's military base Northeast of Damascus province.

At least 16 terrorists were killed and several more were injured in the explosion at Jeish al-Islam terrorists' base in al-Dhamir region.

No group has thus far claimed for responsibly of the attack.

Reports said late in June that several terrorists were killed or wounded in clashes between the ISIL and al-Nusra Front rival terrorist groups in the Palestinian Yarmouk refugee camp in the Southern parts of the capital.

"The ISIL terrorists struck the strongholds of al-Nusra Front in al-Mogharebeh neighborhood in Yarmouk and took its control, which also inflicted a heavy death toll on al-Nusra militants," the sources said.

"In the meantime, the al-Nusra pushed the ISIL back from residential areas in Haifa street in the camp, which claimed the lives of several militants from both sides."



Syria: Sources Deny Terrorists' Claims about Advances in Northern Aleppo

Jul 10, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Battlefield sources in Syria refuted the terrorists' claims about advancing in Northern Aleppo, and underlined the government forces' full control over the newly-liberated territories in the province.

"The Syrian soldiers and their popular allies fended off large-scale offensive of the al-Nusra Front and Nouralddeen al-Zinki terrorists on the government forces' stronghold in the Southern farms of al-Malaah region and the Northern side of Castillo highway, the only supply line to the terrorist-held districts of Aleppo city," the sources said.

"The terrorist groups stormed the government positions by several bomb-laden suicide vehicles, but the Syrian soldiers targeted and detonated them before reaching the army's defense lines," they added.

"Hundreds of terrorists, then, stormed the army's positions but their attacks were repelled by the army men and popular forces," the sources said.

"The militant groups left behind dozens of their dead and wounded members and fled the battlefield without any gain."

"Al-Malaah region is under full control of the Syrian military forces, and the Castillo highway is still closed and under full fire control of the army," they underlined.

Reports said earlier today that the Syrian Army troops and popular forces continued to advance in territories near the terrorist groups' main supply line in Northern Aleppo, taking full control over several building blocks and industrial sites.

The Syrian pro-government forces beat back the militant groups from al-Thawra and al-Tabeq firms and a number of factories and business centers in al-Khalidiyeh district, inflicting major losses on the terrorists.



Aleppo: SDF Snipers Enter Manbij to Hunt ISIL Terrorists

Jul 10, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- A battalion of snipers, affiliated to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), deployed in different districts of Manbij to speed up targeting ISIL's combatants across the war-torn town, Kurdish forces said Sunday.

"Based on battlefield reports, the SDF commanders called for the dispatch of a battalion of snipers to Manbij to target the ISIL terrorists one by one. The ISIL militants have been using civilians as human shield which has slowed down the SDF fighters' advances against the Takfiri terrorists in some parts of the town," the sources said.

In relevant developments on Saturday, the SDF continued their advances against ISIL terrorists Northeast of the town of Manbij in Aleppo province and captured more lands in the key neighborhoods of the town, Kurdish sources said.

"The SDF fighters' anti-terrorism operation in al-Hazaveneh neighborhood inflicted tens of casualties on ISIL," the sources said, adding that the SDF has seized over 60 percent of the neighborhoods without the coalition forces' air support.





Erdoğan to Merkel: Turkey frustrated by German parliament’s ‘Armenian genocide’ bill

WARSAW: July/10/2016

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressed his discomfort with a German parliament’s resolution on the mass killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottomans a century ago when he met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Warsaw on July 9.

“The Turkish president expressed Turkey’s frustration and discomfort with the resolution, while the German chancellor vowed to show the necessary sensitivity required for the move to not cast a shadow over bilateral relations,” Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency said.

A source close to the Turkish Presidency said Merkel stressed she would do her utmost to ensure this event would not harm German-Turkish relations, Reuters reported.

In a press conference after the meeting, Merkel said she had talked through German-Turkish differences in a constructive spirit with Erdoğan but the issues had not disappeared.

“We discussed all outstanding issues. The atmosphere was constructive... and very businesslike in an effort to solve the existing conflicts,” Merkel told reporters.

Asked whether they had been resolved, she said: “The differences don’t just disappear through such a discussion. But I believe it was important that we talked them through.”

The German parliament passed the resolution on June 2, causing outrage in Turkey, which denies the accusation. Relations between the two countries have been strained since then, with Ankara withdrawing its ambassador from Berlin.

In apparent retaliation, German parliamentarians were denied access to the İncirlik Air Base in southeastern Turkey, where some 250 German troops are participating in NATO operations against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants in Iraq, prompting protests from the Berlin government.

The Turkish source said Merkel had raised the issue and asked Erdoğan to restore access to İncirlik for lawmakers, who approve all military spending and investment.

Erdoğan had replied that the air base was not a place for “public shows and marketing” but Turkey would consider the request in the light of German statements on relations, the source said, according to Reuters.

The source close to the Turkish Presidency said Merkel also expressed satisfaction with the way Turkey was keeping its word in preventing refugees and migrants crossing the Aegean Sea to Greece after more than 1 million flooded into Europe last year, most ending up in Germany.

The two leaders also discussed intelligence cooperation in the fight against foreign fighters recruited by ISIL in Syria, some of whom have returned to carry out attacks in Europe.

Meanwhile, Erdoğan conveyed his condolences to U.S. President Barack Obama over the tragic events unfolding in the U.S. recently during the course of the summit.       

Separately, the Turkish president told U.K Prime Minister David Cameron he respected the vote of the British people to exit from the European Union.

Erdoğan also met with the presidents of Ukraine, Finland, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Azerbaijan.



Car Bomb Hits Army Outpost in Turkey, Killing 3


A vehicle laden with explosives hit an army outpost in southeastern Turkey on Saturday, killing three people, according to a statement published by the governor's office.

The Mardin province governor's office said two soldiers and a civilian woman were killed in the Saturday attack at a military outpost in the town of Cevizlik. The statement also stated seven people were wounded, including three people who are in critical condition.

The Turkish Armed Forces also published a statement about the attack that put the number of wounded soldiers at 12, with one soldier in critical condition.

It wasn't immediately clear why the two accounts differed.

Both statements blamed "the separatist terror organization" for the attack, a description used by Turkey for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or the PKK. Security forces have begun operations to apprehend the attackers.

Clashes between Turkey and Kurdish militants resumed nearly a year ago after a tenuous cease-fire between Turkey and the PKK collapsed. Airstrikes regularly target PKK positions in Turkey and northern Iraq, while fighting and curfews continue in several southeastern towns.

In a daily activity statement published on its website, the Turkish Army said it "neutralized 17 separatist terror organization members" in Hakkari province and two militants in Van province on Friday.

The renewed conflict between the two sides has led to the death of nearly 600 security personnel and more than 5,000 Kurdish militants, reports Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency. An unknown number of civilians have also been killed and thousands displaced.

A 14-year-old child was killed and one injured while grazing their animals when an improvised explosive device placed by the PKK detonated in the eastern province of Agri, according to the governor's office there.

Turkey, the U.S. and the EU consider PKK a terrorist organization.



Senior Kurdish PKK commander killed in Syria: Turkey's Anadolu


A senior commander of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group has been killed in a bomb attack on a car in which he was traveling in northeast Syria, Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Saturday.

If confirmed, the killing of Fehman Huseyin would be a major blow to the PKK, which been fighting in southeast Turkey since a two-year-old ceasefire collapsed a year ago. Thousands of militants, security force members and civilians have died in the conflict since.

Huseyin, a Syrian Kurd known in Turkey by the code name Bahoz Erdal, was killed on Friday evening as he traveled to the northern Syrian city of Qamishli, Anadolu said.

It cited a spokesman of a Syrian rebel group it named as the Tel Khamis Brigades as the source for the report.

The spokesman, Khalid al Khasakewi, said at least eight people were killed in the car in which Huseyin was traveling and that the attack was carried out after tracking him for a long time.

"We dedicate this operation... to the Syrian people," Khasakewi was quoted as saying, indicating his group had carried out the attack.

While the PKK leadership is mainly based in the mountains of northern Iraq, the group is closely allied with the Kurdish YPG militia which operates in Syria. Turkey views both groups as terrorist organizations.


Earlier on Saturday, PKK militants carried out a car bomb attack on a military outpost in southeast Turkey and then opened fire on the facility, killing two soldiers and a civilian and wounding dozens, security sources said.

The car bombing targeted the Cevizlik village outpost in Mardin province, which borders Syria, around 12:40 p.m. (0940 GMT), the sources said, adding military reinforcements were sent to capture the attackers.

They said those wounded in the attack included 23 soldiers, three of whom were seriously hurt, and 14 civilians as well as one member of the village guard which supports the army in its security operations.

The attack came a day after Turkish troops killed 19 PKK fighters in clashes elsewhere in the mainly Kurdish region.

The army spotted militants preparing an attack on Friday on an army base in the Semdinli district of Hakkari province, a mountainous area near the Iraqi and Iranian borders, a military statement said.

It said the armed forces killed 17 PKK guerrillas in the subsequent clash and seized guns, grenades and ammunition.

Separately, further north in the Baskale district of Van province, security force members who were destroying explosives planted beside a road were engaged in a firefight and killed two PKK militants, one of them female, the statement said.

More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict since the PKK, designated a terrorist group by Turkey and its Western allies, began its insurgency in 1984.

(Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Andrew Roche)



North America


Osama’s son threatens revenge against U.S. for father’s assassination: monitor

DUBAI, July 10, 2016: REUTERS

It is not revenge for Osama the person but it is revenge for those who defended Islam, says Hamza bin Laden.

The son of slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has threatened revenge against the United States for assassinating his father, according to an audio message posted online.

Hamza bin Laden promised to continue the global militant group's fight against the United States and its allies in the 21-minute speech entitled “We Are All Osama,” according to the SITE Intelligence Group.

‘We will continue striking you’

“We will continue striking you and targeting you in your country and abroad in response to your oppression of the people of Palestine, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and the rest of the Muslim lands that did not survive your oppression,” Hamza said.

“As for the revenge by the Islamic nation for Sheikh Osama, may Allah have mercy on him, it is not revenge for Osama the person but it is revenge for those who defended Islam.”

Osama bin Laden was killed at his Pakistani hideout by U.S. commandos in May 2011 in a major blow to the militant group which carried out the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Documents recovered from bin Laden's compound and published by the United States last year alleged that his aides tried to reunite the militant leader with Hamza, who had been held under house arrest in Iran.

He was with Osama before 9/11

Hamza, now in his mid-twenties, was at his father’s side in Afghanistan before the 9/11 attacks and spent time with him in Pakistan after the U.S.-led invasion pushed much of al-Qaeda’s senior leadership there, according to the Brookings Institution.

Introduced by the organisation’s new chief Ayman al-Zawahiri in an audio message last year, Hamza provides a younger voice for the group whose ageing leaders have struggled to inspire militants around the world galvanized by the Islamic State.

“Hamza provides a new face for al Qaeda, one that directly connects to the group’s founder. He is an articulate and dangerous enemy,” according to Bruce Riedel of Brookings.




Hollande calls for military action against Syrian Qaeda affiliate

Sunday, July 10, 2016

French President Francois Hollande called Saturday for international action against an Al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, warning that the recent losses sustained by the Islamic State group could embolden other jihadist groups.

"Daesh (the Arabic acronym for Islamic State) is in retreat, that is beyond dispute," Hollande said after a meeting with the leaders of the United States, Germany, Britain, Italy and Ukraine on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Warsaw.

But, Hollande added, "we must also avoid a situation whereby as Daesh becomes weaker, other groups become stronger."

Hollande singled out Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front as particularly standing to benefit from the US-led military campaign against its arch-rival the Islamic State group.

Faced with a barrage of airstrikes and ground offensives by local forces, IS has lost territory in both Syria and Iraq in recent months.

"We must coordinate among ourselves to continue actions against Daesh but also... take effective action against Al-Nusra," Hollande said, directing his appeal at Russia and the US.

On Wednesday, US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed in a telephone call to "intensify" military coordination between their two countries in Syria.

Russia had in May proposed joint air strikes with the US against jihadist targets in Syria -- a suggestion that was rebuffed by Washington.

The White House reported that the two leaders, in their call this week, "confirmed their commitment to defeating ISIL (IS) and the Al-Nusra Front".

The two groups are excluded from a broader truce brokered by Moscow and Washington in February.  - AFP