New Age Islam
Wed Aug 12 2020, 02:35 PM

Islamic World News ( 21 Apr 2018, NewAgeIslam.Com)

A Child Is a Child, No 'Hindu Muslim in His Being', Says Father Of Kathua Victim









Photo: People protesting in Jammu (file photo)

 

RSS Ties Do Not Make One Communal: Mecca Masjid Blast Case Judge

Heavy Gunfire Ongoing Around Saudi King's Palace

Muslim World League, Vatican Boost Religious Ties

Suicide Bomber Strikes in Afghan Capital, 57 Killed And 112 Wounded

Thousands Rally in Tel Aviv to Protect Israel from Turning into ‘Netanyahu State’

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India

A Child Is A Child, No 'Hindu Muslim In His Being', Says Father Of Kathua Victim

RSS Ties Do Not Make One Communal: Mecca Masjid Blast Case Judge

'Don't Want To Give My Money To Jihadi People': 'VHP' Man Says He Cancelled His Ola Ride Because 'Driver Was Muslim'

Indian on 10-day pilgrimage to Pakistan goes missing

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Arab World

Heavy Gunfire Ongoing Around Saudi King's Palace

Pro-Gov’t Forces Deny Islamic State Claims About Secret Jails In Iraq

The West’s bombing of Syria meets some approval from Muslims

Syrian Army Isolates Terrorists' Main Bastions in Southern Damascus Province

Syrian rebels withdraw from enclave, marking another victory for Assad

Popular Uprising against US-Backed Militants Reported in Eastern Syria

Several Senior ISIL Commanders Killed in Syrian Army Operation in Southern Damascus

Syrian Army Repels Terrorists' Heavy Offensives in Homs Province

Syrian Army Sends Hundreds of Fresh Soldiers to Southern Damascus to Face ISIL

Rival Terrorists Threaten to Kill Tahrir Al-Sham's Joulani amid Intensified Tensions in Northern Syria

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Europe

Muslim World League, Vatican Boost Religious Ties

Anti-Terrorist Units Eliminate Nine Militants in Russia’s Dagestan

Two Russian Guided-Missile Warships Head towards Syria

Russia Outraged at West's 'Deliberate Distortion of Facts' on Eastern Ghouta Incident

French Forces Arrive in Regions under Kurdish Militias' Control in Eastern Syria

France's president says he has no 'plan B' for Iran nuclear deal

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South Asia

Suicide Bomber Strikes In Afghan Capital, 57 Killed And 112 Wounded

Taliban Kill Six At Police Checkpoint, Says Afghan Official

Taliban rejects involvement in today’s deadly attack in Kabul

Deadly blast targets voter registration centre in Puli Khumri city

Afghan and UAE officials inaugurate Major Township in Kabul city

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Mideast

Thousands Rally in Tel Aviv to Protect Israel from Turning into ‘Netanyahu State’

Israel Hints It Could Hit Iran's "Air Force" In Syria

Family accuses Mossad of killing Palestinian in Malaysia

Nasrallah: Hezbollah Defending Southern Lebanon against Israeli Aggression

ISIL's Main Strongholds in Southern Damascus Destroyed in Syrian Army Operation

Shams hosts workshop on digital trends in Ramadan

Islamic Jihad threatens to avenge Palestinian engineer's death

Genesis G70 to arrive in Qatar in Ramadan

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Pakistan

2 Hazara Men Gunned Down In 'Targeted Attack' In Quetta: Police

Pakistani Traders Demand Reopening Of Route after Recent Clash

Call for efforts to spread Islam’s message

‘Pakistan’s vaccination coverage lowest in S. Asia’

Pak Rangers allows cricketer Hasan Ali to heckle daily parade at Wagah border

Pashtuns defy Pakistani authorities with mass Lahore rally

Pakistan authorities withdraw security of non-entitled persons

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North America

Huntsville Islamic Centre Invites The Community To Their ‘Meet Your Muslim Neighbour’ Event

US Congress Mulling Plot to Disarm Hezbollah

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Africa

No Justification for Keeping El Zakzaky Behind Bar, We Continue Our Peaceful Protests — Spokesman

BBNaija 2018: Why core Northern Muslim, Christians should participate – CAN

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Southeast Asia

Islamic Party Aims to Hold the Key in Malaysia's Election

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/a-child-is-a-child,-no--hindu-muslim-in-his-being-,-says-father-of-kathua-victim/d/115006

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A Child Is A Child, No 'Hindu Muslim In His Being', Says Father Of Kathua Victim

22 APRIL 2018 Last Updated at 9:44 AMNATIONAL

The father of an eight-year-old girl, who was raped and murdered in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir in January,  expressed hope of getting justice, after the Union Cabinet introduced death penalty for those convicted of raping girls below the age of 12 years.

“It is good if the government has passed the ordinance to award death penalty to rape convicts of children below the age of 12 years…we are hopeful of getting justice,” the girl's biological father said.

We are simple people and do not know the nitty-gritty of such decisions.” he said.

However, he said, whatever the government is doing is good and "we are hopeful of getting justice for our child”.  

He said a child is a child and there is no religion -- Hindu or Muslim -- in his being.

His daughter was found dead in a forest in Kathua district in January, a week after she went missing while grazing horses.

Crime Branch of the local police, which is investigating the case, had arrested eight persons and accused six of them, including a special police officer and a juvenile of holding her captive inside a small temple, raping her repeatedly before killing her.

A sub-inspector and a head constable are the other two accused in the case and charged with destroying evidence for monetary benefits.

outlookindia.com/website/story/a-child-is-a-child-no-hindu-muslim-in-his-being-says-hopeful-father-of-kathua-vi/311236

----------

 

RSS Ties Do Not Make One Communal: Mecca Masjid Blast Case Judge

By SrinathVudali, TNN|Updated: Apr 22, 2018, 03.29 PM IST

HYDERABAD: Hours before he made his sensational decision to resign after acquitting five accused in the Mecca Masjid bomb blast case + , special court judge K Ravinder Reddy dismissed contentions made by National Investigation Agency, especially evidence put forth before him by CBI, which had earlier investigated the case, as “untrustworthy”. Ravinder Reddy + , the IV additional metropolitan sessions judge cum-special judge for NIA cases, observed “any person associated with RSS is not communal a ..

The judge, while discussing the NIA charge, questioned whether the prosecution proved beyond doubt that Devender Gupta was communal for just being a pracharak of RSS? "The RSS is not a proscribed organisation. If any person works in it, it does not give any scope that he is a communal,’’ the judge said in his 140-page judgement.

Hours before he made his dramatic decision to resign after acquitting five accused in the Mecca Masjid blast case, special court judge K Ravinder Reddy dismissed contentions made by National Investigation Agency (NIA), particularly evidence by Central Bureau Investigation (CBI) as “untrustworthy”. CBI was probing the case before handing it over to NIA. Ravinder Reddy, the fourth additional metropolitan sessions judge & special judge for NIA cases, observed “anybody associated with RSS doesn’ ..

In the order, Ravinder Reddy reduced the Mecca Majid blast case to 18 points and discussed each point at length. As far as the conversation between Aseemanand, Maqbool Bin Ali and Shaik Abdul Kaleem at the Chanchalguda Jail, which was the basis of Aseemanand’s statement before a judge in Delhi, the special judge called the “extra judicial confession is false”.

“This court holds the testimony given by Maqbool as untrustworthy and false. Kaleem was also interrogated by CBI officer Raja Balaji in Mecca Masjid blast case in the first round of investigation. And, he was also subjected to narco-anlaysis test... Kaleem is under police surveillance and he obliged to turn witness. At the same time, no documentary evidence is there on record to show that Kaleem was in Chanchalguda jail when Aseemanand was languishing in the same prison. Therefore, this court ho ..

On the deposition by Aseemanand before a judge in Delhi on December 18, 2010 and later retracting the statement, Judge Ravinder Reddy said, “Confession by Aseemanand in Delhi is hit by Section 26 of Indian Evidence Act. This court holds the confession statement of Aseemanand was not voluntary, which was recorded during the course of police custody.’’ “The statement has also been retracted by Aseemanand four months later. Facts and circumstances of the authority relied on by NIA, wherein the office.

economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/no-infighting-protests-indicate-congress-victory-in-karnataka-m-veerappa-moily/articleshow/63867332.cms

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Heavy Gunfire Ongoing Around Saudi King's Palace

Sun Apr 22, 2018 12:55

A growing number of videos are surfacing the media displaying that a heavy gunfire is underway around King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud's palace in the capital, Riyadh.

Reports said the king and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, have been evacuated to a bunker at an airbase in the city that is under the protection of the US troops.

While Saudi officials and media are quiet over the incident, there are contradicting reports over the incident. Witnesses and residents of the neighborhoods near the palace said a coup is underway, while other reports said a drone has been flying over the palace.

Saudi opposition members claimed that "a senior ground force officer has led a raid on the palace to kill the king and the crown prince".

Videos also show that a growing number of armored vehicles have deployed around the palace. 'Bin Salman's special guard' has taken charge of security in the capital. Riyadh's sky has been closed to all civil and military flights as military helicopters from 'Bin Salman's special guard' are flying over the palace.

Yet, a number of Saudi activists said in their twitter accounts that a drone has been flying over the palace and the palace guards started spraying bullet at the UAV as they are afraid that it could be a Yemeni military aircraft sent on a bombing mission to the King's palace.

Yemen's Ansarullah movement recently warned that it would use more drones in the war against Saudi Arabia.

The first such drone mission happened few weeks ago when the Yemenis sent pilotless aircraft on a mission over the Saudi Aramco oil company in Southern Saudi Arabia.

Riyadh's Police spokesman confirmed the shooting incident minutes ago, claiming that the guards have observed a helishot flying over the Al-Khazami Palace and started shooting at it.

nation.com.pk/22-Apr-2018/heavy-gunfire-reported-near-saudi-king-s-palace----------

 

Muslim World League, Vatican boost religious ties

MUHAMMED AL-SULAMI | April 22, 2018

JEDDAH: Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), and Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interfaith Dialogue at the Vatican, have signed a cooperation agreement on achieving common objectives.

Tauran praised the efforts of the MWL in leading initiatives to strengthen relationships and build bridges between religions.

“It is not my intention to present a list of the many initiatives implemented by this organization, but I am fully aware of the relentless efforts exerted to make it through its various programs, really reflect the true meaning of its name, a link, not only among Muslims but also with believers of other religions, especially Christians, to achieve common goals,” he said.

This agreement represents the culmination of the previous cooperation agreement signed between the MWL and the Pontifical Council, following the secretary-general’s visit to the Vatican last September, during which Al-Issa met with the pope and Tauran, adding to the recent visit of the cardinal to the Kingdom.

Under the terms of this, the two parties agreed to establish a standing work committee to be headed by the cardinal and Al-Issa.

A coordinating committee composed of two members from each side shall also be set up to meet annually to prepare for meetings. The joint committee shall convene every two years, with its meetings held alternately between Rome and a city chosen by the MWL.

The agreement emphasized the need for promoting dialogue in a world that has become more versatile in terms of race, religions and cultures.

It also called for strengthening religious and spiritual ties between Christians and Muslims, and establishing fruitful relationships based on respect and peace between them.

It highlighted the role of the Pontifical Council in promoting constructive relations with believers of other religions, and the distinctive role of the MWL at the level of Muslim nations in terms of interfaith dialogue.

arabnews.com/node/1289131/saudi-arabia

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Suicide bomber strikes in Afghan capital, 57 killed and 112 wounded

AFP | Updated: Apr 22, 2018

KABUL: An Islamic State suicide bomber killed at least 57 people including women and children and wounded 119 outside a voter registration centre in the Afghan capital Kabul on Sunday in the latest attack on election preparations.

The assaults underscore growing concerns about security in the lead-up to legislative elections scheduled for October 20, which are seen as a test-run for next year's presidential poll.

There were anguished and angry scenes at Isteqlal Hospital where many of the victims were taken, with relatives criticising the Afghan government for failing to protect their loved ones.

"Our patience is running out. This government should take responsibility for the lives of all these innocent people lost every day," a man called Hussain, whose cousin was wounded in the blast, told AFP. "Nobody will go to vote anymore."

India's foreign ministry in a statement strongly condemned the attack in Kabul.

"India strongly condemns cowardly terrorist attack in Kabul and Baghlan today. What makes this attack particularly reprehensible is the fact that the terrorists and their backers chose to attack a voters’ registration centre for upcoming parliamentary and district council elections," the statement by MEA said.

India strongly condemns cowardly terrorist attack in Kabul &Baghlan today. What makes this attack particularly reprehensible is the fact that the terrorists & their backers chose to attack a voters’ registration centre for upcoming parliamentary & district council elections: MEA

@ANI

 This isn't only attack on innocent civilians but also on democratic rights of Afghans. Our thoughts&prayers are with family members of victims, we wish quick&complete recovery to injured. India is ready to extend all possible assistance, including treatment of those injured: MEA

5:22 PM - Apr 22, 2018

42

See ANI's other Tweets

The Afghan health ministry gave the latest toll for the attack, which was claimed by the Islamic State group via its propaganda arm Amaq.

The interior ministry had earlier said 48 people were killed and 112 wounded. Its spokesman was not immediately available to comment on the new toll.

"They are civilians, including women and children," interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said earlier.

The centre in a heavily Shiite-populated neighbourhood in the west of the city was also being used by people to register for national identification certificates, which they need in order to sign up to vote.

"I found myself covered in blood, with dead people -- women and children -- around me," said Ali Rasuli, who had been standing in a queue outside the centre when he saw a "fireball" in front of him. He was taken to hospital with leg and abdominal wounds.

Sheets of paper and passport-sized photos lay scattered amid shattered glass and pools of blood on the street near badly damaged cars -- grim evidence of the force of the blast.

"This senseless violence shows the cowardice and inhumanity of the enemies of democracy and peace in Afghanistan," US ambassador John Bass wrote on Twitter. NATO and the United Nations also condemned the bombing.

The last major attack in Kabul was on March 21 when an IS suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowd celebrating the Persian New Year holiday and killed at least 33 people.

Ariana TV showed angry crowds shouting "Death to the government!" and "Death to the Taliban!"

A wounded man in a hospital bed wept as he told the network: "I don't know where my daughters are. God damn the attackers!"

A witness to the attack named Akbar told Tolo TV: "Now we know the government cannot provide us security: we have to get armed and protect ourselves."

Elsewhere, a roadside explosion in the northern province of Baghlan on Sunday killed six people, including three women and two children.

President Ashraf Ghani condemned both attacks as "heinous".

Afghanistan began registering voters on April 14 for the long-delayed legislative elections.

Officials have acknowledged that security is a major concern because the Taliban and other militant groups control or contest large swathes of the country.

Afghan police and troops have been tasked with protecting polling centres, even as they struggle to get the upper hand against insurgents on the battlefield.

Read this story in Bengali

Militants on Friday launched rockets at a voter registration centre in the northwestern province of Badghis, killing a police officer and wounding another person.

Officials blamed the Taliban for the attack.

On Tuesday gunmen attacked a voter registration centre in the central province of Ghor, kidnapping three election workers and two policemen.

Taliban militants released the five on Thursday.

Over the next two months, authorities hope to register up to 14 million adults at more than 7,000 polling centres for the parliamentary and district council elections.

Officials have been pushing people to register amid fears a low turnout will undermine the credibility of the polls.

Since the Persian New Year attack a tense calm had permeated the Afghan capital as people brace for the Taliban's launch of its customary spring offensive.

The Taliban are under pressure to take up Ghani's peace offer made in February but so far the group has given only a muted response.

Some Western and Afghan officials expect 2018 to be a particularly bloody year.

General John Nicholson, the top US and NATO commander in Afghanistan, told Tolo TV last month that he expected the Taliban to carry out more suicide attacks this fighting season.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/suicide-bomber-strikes-in-afghan-capital-31-killed-and-54-wounded/articleshow/63867331.cms

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Thousands Rally in Tel Aviv to Protect Israel from Turning into ‘Netanyahu State’

Sun Apr 22, 2018 1:24

Chanting slogans against the Israeli PM, hundreds of anti-government activists marched down the streets of Tel Aviv holding banners, RT reported.

“'Bibi take your hands off the Supreme Court', 'Corrupted, you don't have a mandate' and 'Bibi, organized crime, leave the Supreme Court alone',” they shouted.

The Knesset’s next parliamentary session, which starts on April 29, will debate and vote on the bill, designed to curb the High Court’s power.

If adopted, the bill, based on the so-called ‘British model’, would allow only the Israeli parliament to cancel or change laws, limiting the Supreme Court's power to override the Knesset in approving legislation that could potentially be unconstitutional.

Opponents of the initiative see the new bill as an infringement on their guaranteed rights, and as a potential power grab by the Prime Minister.

The Supreme Court is the “last place laws and regulation can be stopped, the ones which Netanyahu is trying to pass in order to make this country a 'Netanyahu' state'”, Tom Tzoker told RT's Ruptly video agency at the rally, adding that “I hope we will live in a better country, one that supports its residents.”

“Today I'm especially concerned, we are talking about a new law, that means the Supreme Court will not be able to tell the parliament that a law is illegal,” Hani German stressed, underlining that “I'm also concerned about the democracy that is getting weaker.”

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970202000507

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India

A Child Is A Child, No 'Hindu Muslim In His Being', Says Father Of Kathua Victim

22 APRIL 2018 Last Updated at 9:44 AMNATIONAL

The father of an eight-year-old girl, who was raped and murdered in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir in January,  expressed hope of getting justice, after the Union Cabinet introduced death penalty for those convicted of raping girls below the age of 12 years.

“It is good if the government has passed the ordinance to award death penalty to rape convicts of children below the age of 12 years…we are hopeful of getting justice,” the girl's biological father said.

We are simple people and do not know the nitty-gritty of such decisions.” he said.

However, he said, whatever the government is doing is good and "we are hopeful of getting justice for our child”.  

He said a child is a child and there is no religion -- Hindu or Muslim -- in his being.

His daughter was found dead in a forest in Kathua district in January, a week after she went missing while grazing horses.

Crime Branch of the local police, which is investigating the case, had arrested eight persons and accused six of them, including a special police officer and a juvenile of holding her captive inside a small temple, raping her repeatedly before killing her.

A sub-inspector and a head constable are the other two accused in the case and charged with destroying evidence for monetary benefits.

outlookindia.com/website/story/a-child-is-a-child-no-hindu-muslim-in-his-being-says-hopeful-father-of-kathua-vi/311236

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'Don't Want To Give My Money to Jihadi People': 'VHP' Man Says He Cancelled His Ola Ride Because 'Driver Was Muslim'

Updated: Apr 22, 2018, 03:21 PM IST | DNA Web Team

 Recently, a post by a Twitter user Abhishek Mishra, who claims in his bio to be associated with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad went viral after he claimed that he had cancelled his Ola cab ride because the driver was Muslim.

The verified Twitter user, who claims to be a “Hindutva Thinker’, and is followed by major establishemnt figures including Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Power Minister Piyush Goyal and Culture Minister Dr Mahesh Sharma, wrote on Twitter: “Cancelled @Olacabs Booking because Driver was Muslim. I don't want to give my money to Jihadi People.” He later defended himself writing that it was ‘freedom to choose’.

He further wrote: “People starts attack on me. Can I have no right to choose? If they can run a campaign against Hanuman ji poster on cab, defamed Hindus and Hindus god in Kathua incident then they must be prepared for reply.”

His tweet was condemned by a host of Twitter users including the likes of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor and Delhi Congress leader Sharmistha Mukherjee. Shashi Tharoor wrote: “I remember an India where people who thought this way would have been ostracized rather than admired &"followed". We need to #BringIndiannessBack.”

Many users also asked Twitter to suspend him for the ‘hate speech’, asked Ola to ban him, while others asked him to boycott cars and automobiles since they used petrol/diesel from Saudi Arabia. Incidentally, OLA has a precedence of standing up for their drivers’ rights. When one user in 2015, had asked for a Hindu driver, Ola had tweeted back: “Sorry, we do not discriminate against our drivers on the basis of their religion.”

dnaindia.com/india/report-twitter-ola-muslim-jihadi-cancel-vhp-2607440

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RSS Ties Do Not Make One Communal: Mecca Masjid Blast Case Judge

By SrinathVudali, TNN|Updated: Apr 22, 2018, 03.29 PM IST

HYDERABAD: Hours before he made his sensational decision to resign after acquitting five accused in the Mecca Masjid bomb blast case + , special court judge K Ravinder Reddy dismissed contentions made by National Investigation Agency, especially evidence put forth before him by CBI, which had earlier investigated the case, as “untrustworthy”. Ravinder Reddy + , the IV additional metropolitan sessions judge cum-special judge for NIA cases, observed “any person associated with RSS is not communal a ..

The judge, while discussing the NIA charge, questioned whether the prosecution proved beyond doubt that Devender Gupta was communal for just being a pracharak of RSS? "The RSS is not a proscribed organisation. If any person works in it, it does not give any scope that he is a communal,’’ the judge said in his 140-page judgement.

Hours before he made his dramatic decision to resign after acquitting five accused in the Mecca Masjid blast case, special court judge K Ravinder Reddy dismissed contentions made by National Investigation Agency (NIA), particularly evidence by Central Bureau Investigation (CBI) as “untrustworthy”. CBI was probing the case before handing it over to NIA. Ravinder Reddy, the fourth additional metropolitan sessions judge & special judge for NIA cases, observed “anybody associated with RSS doesn’ ..

In the order, Ravinder Reddy reduced the Mecca Majid blast case to 18 points and discussed each point at length. As far as the conversation between Aseemanand, Maqbool Bin Ali and Shaik Abdul Kaleem at the Chanchalguda Jail, which was the basis of Aseemanand’s statement before a judge in Delhi, the special judge called the “extra judicial confession is false”.

“This court holds the testimony given by Maqbool as untrustworthy and false. Kaleem was also interrogated by CBI officer Raja Balaji in Mecca Masjid blast case in the first round of investigation. And, he was also subjected to narco-anlaysis test... Kaleem is under police surveillance and he obliged to turn witness. At the same time, no documentary evidence is there on record to show that Kaleem was in Chanchalguda jail when Aseemanand was languishing in the same prison. Therefore, this court ho ..

On the deposition by Aseemanand before a judge in Delhi on December 18, 2010 and later retracting the statement, Judge Ravinder Reddy said, “Confession by Aseemanand in Delhi is hit by Section 26 of Indian Evidence Act. This court holds the confession statement of Aseemanand was not voluntary, which was recorded during the course of police custody.’’ “The statement has also been retracted by Aseemanand four months later. Facts and circumstances of the authority relied on by NIA, wherein the office.

economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/no-infighting-protests-indicate-congress-victory-in-karnataka-m-veerappa-moily/articleshow/63867332.cms

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Arab World

Heavy Gunfire Ongoing Around Saudi King's Palace

Sun Apr 22, 2018 12:55

A growing number of videos are surfacing the media displaying that a heavy gunfire is underway around King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud's palace in the capital, Riyadh.

Reports said the king and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, have been evacuated to a bunker at an airbase in the city that is under the protection of the US troops.

While Saudi officials and media are quiet over the incident, there are contradicting reports over the incident. Witnesses and residents of the neighborhoods near the palace said a coup is underway, while other reports said a drone has been flying over the palace.

Saudi opposition members claimed that "a senior ground force officer has led a raid on the palace to kill the king and the crown prince".

Videos also show that a growing number of armored vehicles have deployed around the palace. 'Bin Salman's special guard' has taken charge of security in the capital. Riyadh's sky has been closed to all civil and military flights as military helicopters from 'Bin Salman's special guard' are flying over the palace.

Yet, a number of Saudi activists said in their twitter accounts that a drone has been flying over the palace and the palace guards started spraying bullet at the UAV as they are afraid that it could be a Yemeni military aircraft sent on a bombing mission to the King's palace.

Yemen's Ansarullah movement recently warned that it would use more drones in the war against Saudi Arabia.

The first such drone mission happened few weeks ago when the Yemenis sent pilotless aircraft on a mission over the Saudi Aramco oil company in Southern Saudi Arabia.

Riyadh's Police spokesman confirmed the shooting incident minutes ago, claiming that the guards have observed a helishot flying over the Al-Khazami Palace and started shooting at it.

nation.com.pk/22-Apr-2018/heavy-gunfire-reported-near-saudi-king-s-palace----------

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Pro-gov’t forces deny Islamic State claims about secret jails in Iraq

By  MohammedEbraheem | Apr 22, 2018, 1:52 pm

Baghdad (Iraqinews.com) – A spokesperson for al-Hashd al-Shaabi, also known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), on Sunday refuted claims fanned by the Islamic State (IS) group about the presence of secret prisons in Nineveh province, where Iraqi detainees are currently held.

“All claims by Islamic State gangs about the presence of secret jails in Nineveh province are mere allegations that aim at fomenting sedition and tarnishing the image of al-Hashd al-Shaabi in Iraq,” SaadQado, the spokesman for al-Hashd al-Shaabi’s 30th Brigade in Nineveh, told Knooz Media.

Qado stressed that the Islamic State’s plots will not affect Mosul residents, who appreciate sacrifices made by al-Hashd al-Shaabi fighters to free their city from terrorism.

Popular Mobilization Forces, an alliance of volunteer Shia paramilitary forces, have actively backed the Iraqi government’s military campaign against IS since 2014, when they were formed upon a top Shia clergy edict to counter the Sunni Jihadist group.

PMF won official recognition as a national force late 2016, becoming under the command of the prime minister, who is also the supreme commander of the armed forces.

Abadi has recurrently defended PMFs against domestic and foreign accusations of committing human rights violations.

Last December, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi announced full liberation of Iraqi lands, declaring the end of war against IS members.

iraqinews.com/iraq-war/pro-govt-forces-deny-islamic-state-claims-about-secret-jails-in-iraq/

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The West’s bombing of Syria meets some approval from Muslims

Apr 21st 2018by ERASMUS

ON THE streets of west European cities, secular leftists, politically active Muslims and radically minded Christians (a rarefied constituency, but they do exist) have often found themselves marching and chanting together. It happened in the run-up to the Anglo-American attack on Saddam Hussein in 2003, when the core organisers of some of the largest street demonstrations seen in Britain included the Socialist Workers Party and the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), both small groups with a gift for mobilising huge crowds. Similar alliances came into play in protests over Israeli military action in Lebanon and Gaza, and over the perceived willingness of Western governments to condone or encourage Israel.

But reactions to the ongoing misery in Syria, and to Western intervention in that country, have been entirely different. Secular leftists in the West, who in general oppose any use of force by their governments, were instinctively horrified by the assault on Syria unleashed on April 14th by America, Britain and France. Many Christian churches in the West opposed the strikes, partly under the influence of co-religionists in Syria who see President Bashar al-Assad as a protector and are in turn protective of him. But the response of politically engaged Muslims in the West ranged from awkward silence to complaints that Mr Assad had not been punished hard enough for his crimes against the Syrian people.

While secular radicals denounced their governments’ militarist and imperialist sins, the MAB, a group said by a government report to have links to the global Muslim Brotherhood but which denies any link, deplored the action against Mr Assad only on grounds that it was too little, too late, and perhaps even so mild as to be counter-productive. In a statement issued shortly after the Western missile strikes, it said:

In France, the website of the country’s most extensively organised Muslim group republished an interview with an Islamic NGO which confirmed the crimes that Western military action was intended to punish. Chemical weapons had been used against besieged enclaves both earlier this month and in February, the NGO spokesman said.

Although not many Muslim voices have been raised in active support of Western policy decisions, the mere absence of any negative reaction across much of European Islam has been striking. Rashad Ali, a fellow of the London-based Institute for Strategic Dialogue, said he detected a “tense silence” among British Muslim leaders who were instinctively wary of Western military action anywhere in the Islamic world but did not want to say anything that condoned Mr Assad.

In the words of H.A. Hellyer, a fellow of the Royal United Services Institute, “Muslim Britons and French Muslims are broadly disinclined to condemn their countries’ action against Assad because they, like the rest of us, are conscious of his terrible record and appalling regime—even though many of them remain conflicted about offering full-throated support, when Western policy has hitherto been so muddled with regard to Assad and Syrian civilians.”

The Christian reaction, both locally and further afield, was very different. Within hours of the Western air strikes, three Christian leaders in Syria described them as “brutal aggression” and an “unjustified assault on a sovereign country” and insisted that there was no convincing evidence of the government having used chemical weapons. They urged their counterparts in America, Britain and France to press their government to desist from further action.

economist.com/blogs/erasmus/2018/04/syria-islam-and-christianity

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Syrian Army Isolates Terrorists' Main Bastions in Southern Damascus Province

Sun Apr 22, 2018 1:41

The army men, backed up by the artillery and missile units, engaged in fierce clashes with terrorists in several flanks in the Southern part of Damascus province, advancing in Yalda region in Hajar al-Aswad settlement and Hajireh region.

The army soldiers further freed al-Zeinneighborhood and managed to drive a wedge between Yalda and Hajar al-Aswad.

Local sources reported that heavy fighting is underway between the army and the ISIL in al-Zobayr, Share'a al-Amin regions and Jame'a Othman in al-Tazamonneighborhood.

They added that the Syrian Air Force pounded terrorists' positions in Yarmouk Refugee Camp and Hajar al-Aswad several times, destroying their positions and tunnels.

In a relevant development on Saturday the army men engaged in fierce clashes with ISIL in al-Tazoamon region in Southern Damascus and took full control over several buildings in al-Salikhehneighborhood and Imam Ali Grand Mosque.

Also, the army's artillery and missile units and aircraft pounded terrorists' centers in Hajar al-Aswad, Yarmouk Refugee Camp and its nearby areas, destroying several positions.

Tens of terrorists, including ISIL's security Commanders Abu Mohammad al-Adnani and his deputy Abu Zeinab, were killed in the fighter jets' raids near the Japanese Hospital in Yarmouk camp.

In the meantime, a number of terrorists surrendered to the army in Southern Damascus.

A military source said that ceasefire agreement will be implemented in the region after the army comes to the conclusion that the terrorists will observe the agreement's terms and conditions.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970202000454

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Syrian rebels withdraw from enclave, marking another victory for Assad

ReutersUpdated April 22, 2018

BEIRUT: Syrian rebels began withdrawing from an enclave northeast of Damascus on Saturday and will go to northern Syria, state TV and a rebel official said, in a surrender agreement that marks another victory for President Bashar al-Assad.

The withdrawal will restore state control over the eastern Qalamoun enclave, some 40 km from Damascus.

Assad, backed by Russia and Iran, is seeking to wipe out the last few rebel enclaves near Damascus, building on momentum from the defeat of the insurgency in eastern Ghouta, which had been the last major opposition stronghold near the capital.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said a fact-finding mission collected samples on Saturday at an eastern Ghouta site where an alleged chemical weapons attack took place on April 7. The mission arrived in Damascus a week ago.

France and the United States have accused Russia of obstructing access to the site, where medical relief agencies say dozens of people were killed. The alleged attack led rebels to give up the last town they held in eastern Ghouta.

Russia and Damascus say the attack, which triggered Western missile strikes on Syria, was fabricated.

State TV said rebel fighters and their families would be transported from eastern Qalamoun to Idlib and Jarablus, a rebel-held territory at the border with Turkey, with 3,200 militants and their families expected to leave on Saturday.

The spokesman for one of the rebel groups in eastern Qalamoun said the insurgents had agreed to the deal after intensified Russian shelling killed six people in areas near the town of al-Ruhaiba earlier this week.

“This made the Free [Syrian] Army factions sit at the negotiating table with the Russian side and an agreement was reached the most important articles of which are the surrender of heavy weapons and the departure of fighters to the north,” Said Seif of the Ahmad Abdo Martyr brigade said.

A first convoy of 10 buses had left Ruhaiba and was being searched in a nearby area before continuing to the north.

Humanitarian situation

Meanwhile, the Syrian military and its allies pressed the bombardment of a besieged enclave south of Damascus.

State TV footage showed clouds of smoke rising from the al-Hajar al-Aswad district, part of an enclave including the Palestinian Yarmouk camp that is held by so-called Islamic State and other jihadist groups.

A commander in the regional military alliance that fights in support of Assad said jihadist positions were being targeted with all types of weapons. “Daesh positions are being targeted by Syrian army helicopters,” the commander added, using an acronym for so-called Islamic State.

UNRWA, the UN agency that cares for Palestinian refugees, has said it is deeply concerned about the fate of civilians including some 12,000 Palestinian refugees in Yarmouk and the surrounding areas.

“Displacement continues with people moving to the neighbouring area of Yalda ... to escape the fighting. Some families are staying in Yarmouk, either because they cannot move due to the intensity of fighting or because they choose to remain,” UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said. “We don’t have any numbers on how many people have moved but the humanitarian situation of those in both Yarmouk and Yalda is intolerable.”

Although the conquest of eastern Qalamoun and the enclave south of Damascus will leave just one remaining besieged rebel enclave, north of the city of Homs, large parts of Syria at the borders with Jordan, Israel, Turkey and Iraq remain outside Assad’s control, however.

Anti-Assad rebels hold a chunk of territory in the southwest and the northwest, and Kurdish-led militias, backed by the United States, control an expanse of northern and eastern Syria.

dawn.com/news/1403158/syrian-rebels-withdraw-from-enclave-marking-another-victory-for-assad

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Popular Uprising against US-Backed Militants Reported in Eastern Syria

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- People in regions that are under the control of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the Eastern province of DeirEzzur poured into the streets on Sunday and called for expulsion of SDF militants from their region.

Anti-SDF movements by pro-government residents have recently been reported in the regions that are under the US-backed militants in Eastern DeirEzzur.

A commander of the pro-government Jeish al-Ashayer (Tribal Army) has moved into the SDF regions, including al-Sha'aytat, to plan a coup or rebellion by the residents against SDF's rule, locals said.

In the meantime, local sources in Eastern DeirEzzur reported that the Syrian Army flags have been hoisted by unknown people in the towns of al-Shahil and al-Kashakiyeh that are under SDF control.

In a relevant development but in Raqqa province earlier this month, people in Raqqa hoisted the country's official flag in the city after popular uprising against the US occupation.

Field sources reported that a group of people in Raqqa named 'popular forces in the Eastern Region' hoisted the Syrian government's flag over one of the buildings of Raqqa city.

They also vowed to fight against the US forces and their affiliated militants in the region, according to the sources.

Tensions and clashes have increased between Raqqa residents and the American and US-backed Kurdish forces in recent days.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970202001149

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Several Senior ISIL Commanders Killed in Syrian Army Operation in Southern Damascus

Sun Apr 22, 2018 1:58

A number of positions, arms depots and supply lines of the ISIL in the Southern part of Damascus province came under heavy aerial and ground attacks on the armed forces that left a number of terrorists dead or wounded.

ISIL Emir Abu Hosham al-Khabouri, and two other terrorist commanders, namely Abu Hamza al-Hourani and Abu Qassem al-Nazeh, were among the killed ISIL terrorists.

In the meantime, Khalid Houshan nom de guerre Abu Fatimah, a senior Saudi commander of the ISIL was killed in the army operation in the same region.

In a relevant development on Saturday the army men engaged in fierce clashes with ISIL in al-Tazoamon region in Southern Damascus and took full control over several buildings in al-Salikhehneighborhood and Imam Ali Grand Mosque.

Also, the army's artillery and missile units and aircraft pounded terrorists' centers in Hajar al-Aswad, Yarmouk Refugee Camp and its nearby areas, destroying several positions.

Tens of terrorists, including ISIL's security Commanders Abu Mohammad al-Adnani and his deputy Abu Zeinab, were killed in the fighter jets' raids near the Japanese Hospital in Yarmouk camp.

In the meantime, a number of terrorists surrendered to the army in Southern Damascus.

A military source said that ceasefire agreement will be implemented in the region after the army comes to the conclusion that the terrorists will observe the agreement's terms and conditions.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970202000655

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Syrian Army Repels Terrorists' Heavy Offensives in Homs Province

Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:0

The ISIL, deployed in Eastern Badiyeh (desert) stormed the army positions East of the Third Station in Eastern Homs, but the army, backed up by the artillery and missile units, warded off their attack.

A large number of the ISIL gunmen were killed or wounded and their remaining pockets retreated.

In the meantime, other units of the army engaged in heavy fighting with terrorists in Salim and al-Hamrat in Northeastern Homs, and repelled their attack, killing a large number of the militants.

The artillery and missile units pounded the movements and positions of the terrorists West of the town of al-Rastan, inflicting major losses on the militants. 

In a similar development on Tuesday, the army units fended off a heavy offensive of a group of ISIL terrorists in al-Muhassah region South of the town of al-Quaryatayn in Southwestern Homs, killing and wounding most of the militants.

In the meantime, other units of the army stormed ISIL's positions in Humeimeh region in Homs' Eastern Badiyeh (desert), killing a number of the militants.

Also, the Syrian fighter jets pounded ISIL's positions and movements in Eastern Homs, inflicting major losses on the terrorists.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970202000702

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Syrian Army Sends Hundreds of Fresh Soldiers to Southern Damascus to Face ISIL

Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:8

The army forwarded hundreds of elite forces to the Southern part of Damascus province after terrorists in Eastern Ghouta endorsed an evacuation agreement with Damascus to leave the region for Northern Syria.

The elite forces are equipped with modern military hardware.

The army intends to intensify anti-ISIL operation in Southern Damascus.

Also, field sources reported that the pro-government forces have remarkably advanced against terrorists in several flanks in Southern Damascus.

In a relevant development on Saturday the army men engaged in fierce clashes with ISIL in al-Tazoamon region in Southern Damascus and took full control over several buildings in al-Salikhehneighborhood and Imam Ali Grand Mosque.

Also, the army's artillery and missile units and aircraft pounded terrorists' centers in Hajar al-Aswad, Yarmouk Refugee Camp and its nearby areas, destroying several positions.

Tens of terrorists, including ISIL's security Commanders Abu Mohammad al-Adnani and his deputy Abu Zeinab, were killed in the fighter jets' raids near the Japanese Hospital in Yarmouk camp.

In the meantime, a number of terrorists surrendered to the army in Southern Damascus.

A military source said that ceasefire agreement will be implemented in the region after the army comes to the conclusion that the terrorists will observe the agreement's terms and conditions.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970202000800

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Rival Terrorists Threaten to Kill Tahrir Al-Sham's Joulani amid Intensified Tensions in Northern Syria

Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:17

Soqour al-Sham that fought against Tahrir al-Sham along with Syria's Tahrir Front in Jabal al-Zawiyeh region in Idlib province threatened to killed al-Joulani.

Soqour al-Sham's decision came after Ahmad al-Sheikh, the son of Soqour al-Sham's commander, was killed in clashes with Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at in Jabal al-Zawiyeh.

Also, a source close to Soqour al-Sham quoted Ahmad Sheikh as saying that the fight against Tahrir al-Sham will never end until al-Joulani's death.

Field sources reported on Thursday that the terrorist commander, namely Abu HafasKarnaz, was killed along with a number of his comrades by Tahrir al-Sham militants near the village of Tarmala in Southern Idlib.

Meantime, Syria's Tahrir Front launched a surprise attack on Tahrir al-Sham terrorists in the village of Haas in Southern Idlib, holding captive one of the terrorist group's commanders named Abu Abdolkarim.

Clashes between the two rival terrorist groups continue in Southern Idlib and Western Aleppo.  

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970202000890

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Europe

Muslim World League, Vatican boost religious ties

MUHAMMED AL-SULAMI | April 22, 2018

JEDDAH: Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), and Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interfaith Dialogue at the Vatican, have signed a cooperation agreement on achieving common objectives.

Tauran praised the efforts of the MWL in leading initiatives to strengthen relationships and build bridges between religions.

“It is not my intention to present a list of the many initiatives implemented by this organization, but I am fully aware of the relentless efforts exerted to make it through its various programs, really reflect the true meaning of its name, a link, not only among Muslims but also with believers of other religions, especially Christians, to achieve common goals,” he said.

This agreement represents the culmination of the previous cooperation agreement signed between the MWL and the Pontifical Council, following the secretary-general’s visit to the Vatican last September, during which Al-Issa met with the pope and Tauran, adding to the recent visit of the cardinal to the Kingdom.

Under the terms of this, the two parties agreed to establish a standing work committee to be headed by the cardinal and Al-Issa.

A coordinating committee composed of two members from each side shall also be set up to meet annually to prepare for meetings. The joint committee shall convene every two years, with its meetings held alternately between Rome and a city chosen by the MWL.

The agreement emphasized the need for promoting dialogue in a world that has become more versatile in terms of race, religions and cultures.

It also called for strengthening religious and spiritual ties between Christians and Muslims, and establishing fruitful relationships based on respect and peace between them.

It highlighted the role of the Pontifical Council in promoting constructive relations with believers of other religions, and the distinctive role of the MWL at the level of Muslim nations in terms of interfaith dialogue.

arabnews.com/node/1289131/saudi-arabia

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Anti-Terrorist Units Eliminate Nine Militants in Russia’s Dagestan

Sun Apr 22, 2018 1:24

Russia’s anti-terrorism committee has released a short video in the aftermath of the large-scale operation, in the Dagestan city of Derbent. The short footage features armored FSB trucks and an armored personnel carrier (APC) engaging the militants, who were holed up in a residential building, RT reported.

At one point the operatives even deployed a tiny machinegun-wielding robot, which also took part in battling the suspects, who violently resisted the security forces.

A large fire broke out in the building during the operation.

In total, nine militants were killed in Derbent in two separate firefights, the committee reported. One special operative was slightly wounded during the operation.

It remained unclear if any of the militants were detained by security forces.

The militants were plotting to commit terrorist attacks in the town, during the upcoming celebrations of the early May holidays, the committee said.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970202000678

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Two Russian Guided-Missile Warships Head towards Syria

Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:49

According to observer sources based in the Bosphorus Strait, the two Russian warships have been identified as the 868 PytilvyyKrivak-class frigate and the 870 SmetlivyyKashin-class  destroyer, Sputnik reported.

Whilst the 868 Pytilvyy specializes in anti-ship and anti-submarine warfare, possessing a relevant weapons for such tasks, the 870 Smetlivyy is an all-round attack ship with the means to carry out land, air and sea strikes with equal efficiency.

As hinted at earlier, both ships, traveling in formation, have now transited the Bosphorus Strait from the Black Sea into the eastern Mediterranean.

They should arrive in Syrian waters within a week.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970202000370

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Russia Outraged at West's 'Deliberate Distortion of Facts' on Eastern Ghouta Incident

Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:58

"We are outraged by continuous distortions of facts and deliberate distortion of reality [on the Douma incident], that can be found in large quantities in statements by officials of a number of Western States," she added, Sputnik reported.

The OPCW experts on Saturday morning headed to the site of the alleged chemical attack in Syria's Douma, according to the Spokeswoman.

She pointed out that the departure took place only 11 days after the OPCW technical secretariat received the request from Damascus.

"Such delays in such a resonating case regardless of the motives are unacceptable, since the security of the OPCW personnel was guarantied not only by the Syrian side but by the command of the Russian military contingent as well," Zakharova said.

The Spokeswoman stressed that Moscow expected from the inspectors an impartial investigation and noted that the attempts by the OPCW to visit less places connected to chemical attack and question less eyewitnesses raise serious concerns.

"It demonstrates the unwillingness to shed light on yet another made-up provocation with the use of toxins, which served as a reason for the missile strike of the three Western countries, members of the UN Security Council," Zakharova concluded.

On April 7, a number of opposition media outlets, citing sources among militants, accused Damascus of perpetrating a chemical attack in the city Douma, located in the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta.

The Syrian government has refuted the allegations, saying that the incident in Douma was staged in order to influence public opinion and justify possible intervention. Also, Moscow called on the OPCW to launch an investigation into the attack.

Unverified media reports on an alleged chemical attack prompted the US and its allies to blame Damascus and carry out a punitive strike on a number of targets in Syria, including the facilities in Barzeh and Jamraya, on April 14. Over 100 cruise missiles were launched by the United States, Britain and France, most of which were intercepted by Syria’s air defense systems, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970202000401

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French Forces Arrive in Regions under Kurdish Militias' Control in Eastern Syria

Sun Apr 22, 2018 1:51

Syria's al-Watan daily quoted militant-affiliated sources as reporting that the French forces, accompanied by the SDF, arrived in Kam al-Ataollah region 6 km Northwest of al-Jafrah oilfield in NortheasternDeirEzzur on Firday evening.

It further said that the French soldiers were equipped with military vehicles and equipment, adding that the move is aimed at providing back up for the Kurdish fighters and leading battles in some flanks.

Al-Watan further said that the French forces have deployed in al-Umar oilfield. The US forces have been in Koniko and al-Jafrah oilfields in DeirEzzur province since several months ago.

The Arabic-language Orient news website reported last week that the US established a modern base in al-Tanak oilfield in Eastern DeirEzzur, adding that the oilfield is under the Kurdish fighters' control.

It went on to say that the newly-established base was the third US base after the military bases of Koniko and al-Amr in DeirEzzur.

Orient further said that the US and the Kurds embarked on sending military equipment to the regions near the contact line with the Syrian Army from the town of Khasham in SoutheasternDeirEzzur to the town of Hosseiniyeh in NortheasternDeirEzzur.

The US, France and the UK launched a series of strikes on Syria earlier this month in retaliation for the alleged chemical attack by the Syrian government in the town of Douma. The assault came hours before the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) team was scheduled to arrive in Douma to determine whether chemical weapons had indeed been used there.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the missile strike against Syria’s military and civilian infrastructures was carried out by US warplanes and naval ships in cooperation with the British and French air forces, while the Syrian air defenses shot down 71 out of 103 missiles fired by the US-led coalition.   

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970202000606

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France's president says he has no 'plan B' for Iran nuclear deal

Reuters | Apr 22, 2018

WASHINGTON: French President Emmanuel Macron said he has no "plan B" for the Iran nuclear deal and that the United States should stay in the agreement as long as there is no better option.

In a Fox News interview on Sunday, the day before he arrives in Washington for a three-day state visit, Macron also said the United States, France and other allies will have a "very important" role to play in rebuilding Syria after they defeat Islamic State militants.

President Donald Trump has said he wants US forces to leave Syria as quickly as possible, but Macron warned that Iran, which has been Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's most supportive ally, will overrun Syria if the countries exit too quickly.

Macron and Trump will discuss the Iran nuclear agreement at the White House on Tuesday, a senior U.S. administration official said on Friday. They will also discuss the joint military strike on Syria this month following a suspected chemical weapons attack near Damascus, the official said.

The 2015 deal reached between Iran, the United States and five other world powers put curbs on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

"I don't have any plan B," Macron said. "Let's present this framework because it's better than the sort of North Korean-type situation."

Macron, who said he and Trump have "a very special relationship," said he wanted to complete the Iran deal by addressing ballistic missiles and working to contain Iran's influence in the region.

Trump has called it one of the worst deals ever negotiated and will decide by May 12 whether to restore U.S. economic sanctions on Tehran, which would be a severe blow to the pact. Trump has pressured European allies to work with Washington to fix the deal.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad JavadZarif said in a CBS interview on Sunday the United States would be viewed as an unreliable partner to the international community if it pulls out of the deal. He added that there would be no reason for Iran to remain in the deal if the United States leaves and the benefits for Iran start to diminish.

"This would be a very bad precedent if the United States sends this message to the international community that the length or the duration of any agreement would depend on the duration of the presidency," Zarif said.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/nri/middle-east-news/frances-president-says-he-has-no-plan-b-for-iran-nuclear-deal/articleshow/63871742.cms

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South Asia

Suicide bomber strikes in Afghan capital, 57 killed and 112 wounded

AFP | Updated: Apr 22, 2018

KABUL: An Islamic State suicide bomber killed at least 57 people including women and children and wounded 119 outside a voter registration centre in the Afghan capital Kabul on Sunday in the latest attack on election preparations.

The assaults underscore growing concerns about security in the lead-up to legislative elections scheduled for October 20, which are seen as a test-run for next year's presidential poll.

There were anguished and angry scenes at Isteqlal Hospital where many of the victims were taken, with relatives criticising the Afghan government for failing to protect their loved ones.

"Our patience is running out. This government should take responsibility for the lives of all these innocent people lost every day," a man called Hussain, whose cousin was wounded in the blast, told AFP. "Nobody will go to vote anymore."

India's foreign ministry in a statement strongly condemned the attack in Kabul.

"India strongly condemns cowardly terrorist attack in Kabul and Baghlan today. What makes this attack particularly reprehensible is the fact that the terrorists and their backers chose to attack a voters’ registration centre for upcoming parliamentary and district council elections," the statement by MEA said.

India strongly condemns cowardly terrorist attack in Kabul &Baghlan today. What makes this attack particularly reprehensible is the fact that the terrorists & their backers chose to attack a voters’ registration centre for upcoming parliamentary & district council elections: MEA

@ANI

 This isn't only attack on innocent civilians but also on democratic rights of Afghans. Our thoughts&prayers are with family members of victims, we wish quick&complete recovery to injured. India is ready to extend all possible assistance, including treatment of those injured: MEA

5:22 PM - Apr 22, 2018

42

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The Afghan health ministry gave the latest toll for the attack, which was claimed by the Islamic State group via its propaganda arm Amaq.

The interior ministry had earlier said 48 people were killed and 112 wounded. Its spokesman was not immediately available to comment on the new toll.

"They are civilians, including women and children," interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said earlier.

The centre in a heavily Shiite-populated neighbourhood in the west of the city was also being used by people to register for national identification certificates, which they need in order to sign up to vote.

"I found myself covered in blood, with dead people -- women and children -- around me," said Ali Rasuli, who had been standing in a queue outside the centre when he saw a "fireball" in front of him. He was taken to hospital with leg and abdominal wounds.

Sheets of paper and passport-sized photos lay scattered amid shattered glass and pools of blood on the street near badly damaged cars -- grim evidence of the force of the blast.

"This senseless violence shows the cowardice and inhumanity of the enemies of democracy and peace in Afghanistan," US ambassador John Bass wrote on Twitter. NATO and the United Nations also condemned the bombing.

The last major attack in Kabul was on March 21 when an IS suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowd celebrating the Persian New Year holiday and killed at least 33 people.

Ariana TV showed angry crowds shouting "Death to the government!" and "Death to the Taliban!"

A wounded man in a hospital bed wept as he told the network: "I don't know where my daughters are. God damn the attackers!"

A witness to the attack named Akbar told Tolo TV: "Now we know the government cannot provide us security: we have to get armed and protect ourselves."

Elsewhere, a roadside explosion in the northern province of Baghlan on Sunday killed six people, including three women and two children.

President Ashraf Ghani condemned both attacks as "heinous".

Afghanistan began registering voters on April 14 for the long-delayed legislative elections.

Officials have acknowledged that security is a major concern because the Taliban and other militant groups control or contest large swathes of the country.

Afghan police and troops have been tasked with protecting polling centres, even as they struggle to get the upper hand against insurgents on the battlefield.

Read this story in Bengali

Militants on Friday launched rockets at a voter registration centre in the northwestern province of Badghis, killing a police officer and wounding another person.

Officials blamed the Taliban for the attack.

On Tuesday gunmen attacked a voter registration centre in the central province of Ghor, kidnapping three election workers and two policemen.

Taliban militants released the five on Thursday.

Over the next two months, authorities hope to register up to 14 million adults at more than 7,000 polling centres for the parliamentary and district council elections.

Officials have been pushing people to register amid fears a low turnout will undermine the credibility of the polls.

Since the Persian New Year attack a tense calm had permeated the Afghan capital as people brace for the Taliban's launch of its customary spring offensive.

The Taliban are under pressure to take up Ghani's peace offer made in February but so far the group has given only a muted response.

Some Western and Afghan officials expect 2018 to be a particularly bloody year.

General John Nicholson, the top US and NATO commander in Afghanistan, told Tolo TV last month that he expected the Taliban to carry out more suicide attacks this fighting season.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/suicide-bomber-strikes-in-afghan-capital-31-killed-and-54-wounded/articleshow/63867331.cms

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Taliban kill six at police checkpoint, says Afghan official

APUpdated April 22, 2018

KABUL: An Afghan official has said that at least six local police were killed when a group of Taliban fighters attacked and overran their checkpoint in northern Sari Pul province.

Zabi Amani, spokesman for the provincial governor, said on Saturday two other policemen were wounded in the late Friday night attack.

Amani said reinforcements arrived and a sporadic gun battle is still underway in Sayad district. He added that three Taliban fighters were killed and two others were wounded in the battle.

ZabihullahMujahid, Taliban spokesman, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Taliban have increased their attacks in the province of late. Last week, Taliban killed 11 Afghan paramilitary forces in Sari Pul.

dawn.com/news/1403152/taliban-kill-six-at-police-checkpoint-says-afghan-official

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Taliban rejects involvement in today’s deadly attack in Kabul

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Apr 22 2018, 12:05 pm

The Taliban group in Afghanistan has rejected the involvement of the group in today’s deadly explosion in Kabul city.

Taliban spokesman ZabiullahMujahid in a statement said the Taliban group has no link with today’s explosion in capital Kabul.

No individual or group has so far claimed responsibility behind the attack so far but the ISIS militants have also claimed responsibility behind some attacks in the capital in the past.

At least six people were killed after an explosion ripped through a compound established for the issuance of the national identity cards in Kabul city earlier today.

The Ministry of Public Health officials are saying that the dead bodies of at least six people have been brought to the hospitals so far.

The officials further added that the blast has also left at least 23 people wounded.

In the meantime, the Kabul police officials are saying that the attack has left at least 10 people dead and more than 50 others wounded.

Eyewitnesses are saying that the blast has taken place close to a school where a center was opened to issue national identity cards.

The incident takes place as the security situation in the capital had improved during the recent weeks.

The anti-government armed militant groups have been attempting to carry out deadly attacks in the key cities and provinces of the country including capital Kabul during the recent months.

khaama.com/taliban-rejects-involvement-in-todays-deadly-attack-in-kabul-04942/

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Deadly blast targets voter registration center in Puli Khumri city

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Apr 22 2018, 12:52 pm

An explosion ripped through a voter registration center in Puli Khumri city the provincial capital of Baghlan province hours after a deadly blast in Kabul left several dead or wounded.

According to the local officials in Baghlan, at least six people including women were killed and five others were wounded in the explosion.

However another security official says at least seven people were killed and ten others were wounded after the blast targeted the registration center.

The official further added that the incident took place after an improvised explosive device was detonated near the registration center.

The incident in Puli Khumri city took  place hours after an explosion ripped through a center established for the national identity cards in Kabul city.

According to Kabul police officials, at least twelve people have been killed and more than fifty other were wounded in the explosion.

No individual or group has so far claimed responsibility behind the incident but the ISIS militants have in the past claimed responsibility for such attacks.

The Taliban group in a statement said they have no links with today’s explosion in Kabul city.

khaama.com/deadly-blast-targets-voter-registration-center-in-puli-khumri-city-04943/

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Afghan and UAE officials inaugurate Major Township in Kabul city

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Apr 22 2018

The Afghan and UAE officials inaugurate a major township built in Kabul city with the financial support of the UAE government.

A ceremony was organized to inaugurate the major township, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zaid Al-Nahyan or the Emirates Township, in Kabul city.

Several key officials from the two countries including President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani were present during the inauguration of the township.

In his speech during the inauguration ceremony, the Minister of Urban Development and Housing, Syed Sadat MansoorNaderi, thanked the UAE officials for their sincere support to build the township and called a symbol of the friendship of the two countries.

Minister Naderi further added that the government of national unity is committed to build shelters for the residents of the country and work is underway on several key and major plans.

He said the foundation of the township was laid during the government of the former President Hamid Karzai and was due to be completed over a period of one year.

However, he said the work was not completed and was halted due to some issues but the new leadership of the ministry managd to resume the work of the project which subsequently resulted into its completion and is being inaugurated today.

According to Minister Naderi, the township consists of 3330 apartments as well as some key facilities including a dedicated substation, proper walk sides, water meters, and etc.

In the meantime, the UAE officials reaffirmed their commitment to support Afghanistan in different sectors in a bid to ensure peace and stability in the country.

In his speech during the ceremony, President Ghani thanked the government of UAE for their support to build the township and called for more cooperation between the two countries on various levels, particularly to boost the private sector.

khaama.com/afghan-and-uae-officials-inaugurate-major-township-in-kabul-city-04945/

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Mideast

Thousands Rally in Tel Aviv to Protect Israel from Turning into ‘Netanyahu State’

Sun Apr 22, 2018 1:24

Chanting slogans against the Israeli PM, hundreds of anti-government activists marched down the streets of Tel Aviv holding banners, RT reported.

“'Bibi take your hands off the Supreme Court', 'Corrupted, you don't have a mandate' and 'Bibi, organized crime, leave the Supreme Court alone',” they shouted.

The Knesset’s next parliamentary session, which starts on April 29, will debate and vote on the bill, designed to curb the High Court’s power.

If adopted, the bill, based on the so-called ‘British model’, would allow only the Israeli parliament to cancel or change laws, limiting the Supreme Court's power to override the Knesset in approving legislation that could potentially be unconstitutional.

Opponents of the initiative see the new bill as an infringement on their guaranteed rights, and as a potential power grab by the Prime Minister.

The Supreme Court is the “last place laws and regulation can be stopped, the ones which Netanyahu is trying to pass in order to make this country a 'Netanyahu' state'”, Tom Tzoker told RT's Ruptly video agency at the rally, adding that “I hope we will live in a better country, one that supports its residents.”

“Today I'm especially concerned, we are talking about a new law, that means the Supreme Court will not be able to tell the parliament that a law is illegal,” Hani German stressed, underlining that “I'm also concerned about the democracy that is getting weaker.”

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970202000507

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Israel hints it could hit Iran's "air force" in Syria

Reuters | Apr 22, 2018

JERUSALEM: Israel released details on Tuesday about what it described as an Iranian "air force" deployed in neighbouring Syria, including civilian planes suspected of transferring arms, a signal that these could be attacked should tensions with Tehran escalate.

Iran, along with Damascus and its big-power backer Russia, blamed Israel for an April 9 air strike on a Syrian air base, T-4, that killed seven Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) members. Iranian officials have promised unspecified reprisals.

Israeli media ran satellite images and a map of five Syrian air bases allegedly used to field Iranian drones or cargo aircraft, as well as the names of three senior IRGC officers suspected of commanding related projects, such as missile units.

The information came from the Israeli military, according to a wide range of television and radio stations and news websites. Israel's military spokesman declined to comment.

However, an Israeli security official seemed to acknowledge the leak was sanctioned, telling Reuters that it provided details about "the IRGC air force (which) the Israeli defence establishment sees as the entity that will try to attack Israel, based on Iranian threats to respond to the strike on T-4."

The official, who requested anonymity, would not elaborate.

Israel's Army Radio reported that, given tensions with Iran over Syria, the Israeli air force cancelled plans to send F-15 fighter jets to take part in the US-hosted exercise Red Flag, which begins on April 30.

"EXPOSED"

Roni Daniel, military editor for The Israeli News Company, said the disclosure was a signal to Iran that its deployments in Syria "are totally exposed to us, and if you take action against us to avenge (the T-4 strike) these targets will be very severely harmed".

According to Daniel, Israel was bracing for a possible Iranian missile salvo or armed drone assault from Syria.

There was no immediate response from the IRGC or Syria.

The Iranian death toll in T-4 was unusually high. "It was the first time we attacked live Iranian targets - both facilities and people," the New York Times on Sunday quoted an Israeli military source as saying.

Iran, Israel's arch-foe, has cast its military personnel in Syria as reinforcements helping President Bashar al-Assad battle a seven-year-old insurgency. The Iranians have also described their cargo flights to Syria as carrying humanitarian aid only.

An Israeli-Iranian showdown over Syria has loomed since Feb. 10, when Israel said an armed drone launched from T-4 penetrated its air space. Israel blew up the drone and carried out a raid on Syrian air defences in which one of its F-16 jets was downed.

"Israel is headed for escalation," YaacovAmidror, former national security adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told Tel Aviv radio station 103 FM. "There could be a very big belligerent incident with Iran and Hezbollah."

While not claiming responsibility for the T-4 strike, Israel has restated a policy of preventing Iran setting up a Syrian garrison. Scores of previous such raids went unanswered but Israel worries that changing conditions may now embolden Iran.

Russia, which long turned a blind eye to Israeli actions in Syria while serving as a brake on retaliation by Iran or its Lebanese Hezbollah guerrilla allies, is now at loggerheads with Western powers over accusations, denied by Syria's government, that it has used chemical weaponry in fighting.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/israel-hints-it-could-hit-irans-air-force-in-syria/articleshow/63870366.cms

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Family accuses Mossad of killing Palestinian in Malaysia

AFPUpdated April 22, 2018

GAZA CITY: The family of a Palestinian professor and Hamas member accused Israel’s Mossad spy agency of assassinating him on the streets of Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.

Malaysian authorities said Fadi Mohammad al-Batsh, 35, was killed by two suspects believed to have ties with a foreign intelligence agency in a drive-by shooting on his way to dawn prayers.

Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, quoted by the state-run Bernama news agency, said Batsh was “an electrical engineer and an expert at making rockets”.

The Palestinian was “believed to have become a liability for a country hostile to Palestine”, said Ahmad Zahid, who is in charge of Malaysia’s security.

The professor was to have left for Turkey on Saturday to attend an international conference, the minister said.

He said Malaysian police would request the help of Interpol to track down the suspects, believed to be European nationals.

In a statement from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, the victim’s family said: “We accuse the Mossad of being behind the assassination.”

The Islamist Palestinian movement said Batsh, a research scientist specialising in energy issues, was one of its members.

Hamas did not directly accuse Israel, which carries out air strikes in retaliation for cross-border rocket fire by militants in Gaza, of killing him, but it called Batsh a “martyr” — a term used for people killed by Israeli forces.

Contacted by AFP, an Israeli official refused to comment.

Kuala Lumpur police chief Datuk Seri MazlanLazim said one of the two suspects on a high-powered motorcycle “fired 10 shots, four of which hit the lecturer in the head and body. He died on the spot”. “The police also found two empty bullet shells there,” the police chief said, according to Bernama.

He said that footage from closed-circuit television cameras near the scene of the shooting showed that the assailants waited for around 20 minutes in the area before attacking.

“We believe the lecturer was their target because two other individuals walked by the place earlier unharmed. We will view the recordings of all the CCTV in the area,” he said.

The Palestinian representative in Malaysia, Anwar al-Agha, told AFP that Batsh, who was married and a father of three, was a lecturer in electrical engineering who had lived in Malaysia for the past 10 years.

Asked if Mossad could be responsible for his killing, he said: “I cannot comment on this. We have to wait for the official investigation.”

The Batsh family urged Malaysian authorities to “arrest those responsible for killing him before they flee”, and asked for the return home of his body to Jabalia in northern Gaza, where mourners gathered in front of their home.

The Mossad is believed to have assassinated Palestinian militants and scientists in the past, but has never confirmed such operations.

dawn.com/news/1403154/family-accuses-mossad-of-killing-palestinian-in-malaysia

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Nasrallah: Hezbollah Defending Southern Lebanon against Israeli Aggression

Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:48

Addressing an election campaign ceremony via a televised speech broadcast live from the Southern Lebanese city of Tyre on Saturday evening, Nasrallah described the city, located about 80 kilometersSouth of the capital Beirut, as one of the basic strongholds of the anti-Israel resistance front, presstv reported.

He added that the Israeli military launched the 1996 aggression against Lebanon by striking the military command of Hezbollah.

“The Zionist air raid at the time failed to target late Hezbollah military commander Mustafa Badreddine,” Nasrallah pointed out.

The Hezbollah chief further noted that Israel’s aggressive policies towards Lebanon started just a year after its creation in the occupied Palestinian territories in 1948, dismissing allegations that Tel Aviv’s hostilities began after the formation of Palestinian resistance movements.

“In 1960s, [prominent Shitte cleric] Imam Musa al-Sadr used to ask the Lebanese government to defend Southern cities and towns against Israeli aggressions. His pleas, however, went unanswered as authorities did not take any actions,” Nasrallah underlined.

He added that “Because of the government’s apathy, Imam Musa al-Sadr established a popular resistance movement in Southern Lebanon to confront the Zionist enemy.”

Nasrallah went on to say that the Beirut government failed to support Southern Lebanese cities following the withdrawal of Israeli military forces in 2000, hailing Hezbollah’s capabilities in securing Southern Lebanon against Israel’s barbarism.

He also urged his supporters to vote for Hezbollah and Amal Movement candidates in Lebanon's parliamentary elections, which are slated for May 6.

He then called on the Future Movement party, led by Prime Minister Saad Hariri, to enumerate its achievements concerning Lebanon’s economy.

The Hezbollah head emphasized that Lebanese public institutions were plagued with corruption, demanding that a vigorous campaign confront the menace.

“All national sectors in Lebanon suffer from sectarianism. Some Lebanese leaders have resorted to sectarians as a way to attain their political goals irrespective of the country’s national interests,” Nasrallah concluded.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970202000323

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ISIL's Main Strongholds in Southern Damascus Destroyed in Syrian Army Operation

Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:59

The army men stormed terrorists' position in al-Joreh area in al-Qadam region, and seized control over several points.

The army men further managed to push the terrorists back from their positions in Hajar al-Aswad region.

Meantime, the Syrian army continued its military advances in other parts of Syria over the past 24 hours.

Tens of terrorists were killed and dozens more were injured during the Syrian army's operations in provinces across Syria.

Damascus

The Syrian Army troops continued to advance against the terrorist groups in the Southern part of Damascus province and destroyed a number of key positions of the ISIL on Saturday.

The army men stormed terrorists' position in al-Joreh area in al-Qadam region, and seized control over several points.

The army men further managed to push the terrorists back from their positions in Hajar al-Aswad region.

In the meantime, local sources reported that a tough battle is underway between the army men and terrorists in al-Tazamon region and near Yarmouk Refugee Camp.

They said that the army's missile and artillery units and the Syrian Air Force have been pounding terrorists' movements and positions in Yarmouk camp and Hajar al-Aswad.

The sources further said that a number of terrorists' positions, including their monitoring post in Hajar al-Aswad and their depots of arms and ammunition were destroyed in the army attacks.

Meantime, tensions were rising among ISIL terrorists over retreat from Southern Damascus after they sustained heavy defeats during a fresh offensive of the Syrian army on Saturday.

The army men, backed up by artillery and missile units, stormed ISIL's strongholds in Zalikheh area between al-Tazamon and SeyediMeqdadi regions and seized control over more regions.

The army men imposed control over several buildings West of al-Tazamon.

Also, the army soldiers pushed the terrorists back from al-Mujahedeen mosque Southeast of Hajar al-Aswad.

In the meantime, the army's missile units targeted and destroyed a bomb-laden suicide vehicle of ISIL near Ibrahim Khalil Grand mosque South of Hajar al-Aswad before it could reach the army positons near Bardi Company building.

Field sources reported that harsh differences and tensions have started in ISIL's front as some terrorists call for surrender to the army or retreat, but, some others insist on continuing the war.

Idlib

The Syrian Army troops are to kick off an imminent operation against Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) terrorists in Idlib province to free Jisr al-Shughour strategic region, well-informed sources said on Saturday.

The sources said that the army has been forwarding thousands of its elite force equipped with military equipment to Western Idlib to launch an imminent operation to free Jisr al-Shughour region from Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at.

Dispatch of the army's Tiger Forces to the Jisr Al-Shughour battlefield would make the most sense for their next deployment as the Russian military plans to secure the Humeimim Airbase.

Aleppo

The Turkish Army General Staff announced in a statement on Saturday that a sum of 4,254 Kurdish fighters have been killed or held captive in the operation in Afrin region that started on January 20.

The statement said that the total number of PKK casualties and war prisoners has risen to 4,254 in Operation Olive Branch by the Turkish troops and Ankara-backed militants in Afrin region in Northwestern Aleppo.

In the same statement, the General Staff also said air operations had been conducted against the PKK  between April 14 and 20 in Turkey’s Eastern provinces of Tunceli, Diyarbakir and Sirnak, as well as Northern Iraq, killing 37 gunmen.

Militant-affiliated websites reported earlier on Saturday that the Turkish Army has forwarded another military convoy to Idlib province amid reports on activation of more military posts to monitor truce in the Idlib de-escalation zone.

The sources said that the army's new military convoy entered Northern Idlib via KafrLusin border-crossing, heading towards silos of the town of al-Sarman near the town of Jarjanaz in SoutheasternIdlib and the town of Morek in Northwestern Hama.

The websites further said that the convoy included five vehicles and nine more military vehicles, claiming that the dispatch of the new convoy is aimed at providing more support for the Turkish truce monitoring posts in the region.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970202000460

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Shams hosts workshop on digital trends in Ramadan

SHARJAH, 0 hours, 37 minutes ago

Sharjah Media City (Shams), a free zone hub for innovation, hosted a workshop on ‘Marketing Trends in Ramadan’, conducted by a Google Representative, to introduce the businesses registered with Shams to marketing strategies during Ramadan.

The workshop was held at the Sharjah Gold and Shooting Club and attracted a number of business owners who are looking to better market their business during Ramadan.

Conducted by Andrea Silva, head of Channel Sales at Google Mena and Mukesh Pandey, digital marketer and trainer, the sessions covered several topics on digital marketing, such as the impact of Ramadan on consumer habits, how to create engaging content and delivering mobile-first marketing campaigns.

“The holy month sees a shift in online consumer behaviour within the region. Businesses will have a significant opportunity to engage with potential new customers. Web searches using the keywords ‘promotions’, ‘offers’ and ‘discounts’ double in volume during Ramadan,” said Google representative Andrea Silva.

This workshop is one of a series planned by Shams to bring together start-ups working under its umbrella.

Dr Khalid Al Midfaa, chairman of Shams, said: “Sharjah Media City (Shams) is proud to collaborate with industry leaders like Google who are at the forefront of digital excellence.  We are committed to helping Shams-registered companies develop the essential digital skills required to support innovation and business growth.”

tradearabia.com/news/MEDIA_339436.html

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Islamic Jihad threatens to avenge Palestinian engineer's death

EliorLevy|Published:  04.22.18 , 12:00

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad threatened on Sunday to avenge engineer FadiAlbatsh's assassination in Malaysia .

"No matter how long it will take, we'll avenge the engineer's death. His blood wasn't spilled in vain," they added.

ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5237415,00.html

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Genesis G70 to arrive in Qatar in Ramadan

22 Apr 2018 - 8:29

DOHA:  Genesis has officially launched its compact G70 luxury sedan in the Middle East, completing the ambitious brand’s core sedan line-up. The all-new Genesis G70 will be introduced in Qatar during Ramadan and will be available at Skyline Automotive, the official distribution partner of the brand in Qatar.

Engineered as a dynamic car with strong appeal to younger customers and more enthusiastic drivers, the G70 joins the flagship G90 large sedan and mid-sized G80 and G80 Sport, once again demonstrating the commitment to excellence and authenticity that underpins the world’s newest luxury auto brand.

The Genesis G70 is the latest representation of the brand’s rapidly evolving DNA, with its graceful and dynamic exterior styling, elegant and intuitively designed interior, and choice of two different powertrains: turbocharged 3.3-liter petrol V6 and 2.0-liter turbocharged petrol I4.

“Genesis has been very well received in the Middle East, and the Genesis G70 will be an exciting new chapter in our story,” said Altar Yilmaz, Genesis General Manager for the Africa and Middle East region. “For many of our potential customers, this is the Genesis they have been waiting for.”

With larger G80 and G90 models already growing a strong base of loyal customers, it is expected the compact model will add significantly to the brand’s appeal in the competitive Middle East luxury car market.

The all-new G70 showcases the future direction of the Genesis brand’s ‘Athletic Elegance’ design identity. This visual philosophy is represented in the exterior styling, capturing the essence of the Genesis DNA to bring to reality a superbly crafted sports sedan.

The long hood and short front overhang, elegant roofline and assertive multi-spoke alloy wheels combine to form a sleek, dynamic profile, subtly highlighted by chrome aero trim, hockey stick daylight opening and parabolic sidelines.

From the front and side, the prominent crest-type grille, character lines extending from the hood emblem, and pronounced air intakes, communicate muscular performance. Two distinctive linear LED DRLs on each side of the large crest grille foreshadow the future Genesis signature quad lamps.

The G70’s interior is configured to prioritize an excellent user experience, with superb fit and finish throughout. The interior packaging reflects simplicity, with an emphasis on genuine functionality instead of gimmickry. A horizontal layout brings a sense of stability, with intuitively laid out switchgear and a comfortable, assertive sport steering wheel.

The G70 offers two powertrains in the Middle East region – a 3.3-liter V6 petrol turbo and 2.0-liter I4 petrol turbo. The Lambda II 3.3-liter V6 turbo GDI engine is the heart of the enthusiast-focused G70 Sport, with 370 ps and maximum torque of 52.0 kg.m (510 N.m) 0 to 100 km/h acceleration in 4.7 seconds, and a top speed of 270 km/h.

thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/22/04/2018/Genesis-G70-to-arrive-in-Qatar-in-Ramadan

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Pakistan

2 Hazara men gunned down in 'targeted attack' in Quetta: police

Syed Ali ShahUpdated April 22, 2018

Two men belonging to the Hazara community were killed, while a third was injured in an incident of firing in Quetta's Western Bypass area on Sunday.

Police sources said unknown miscreants opened fire and killed two people identified as Muhammad Ali and Muhammad Zaman. One person was wounded as result of firing, the sources said. The injured was rushed to Bolan Medical Complex, Quetta, for treatment.

Police said the victims were members of the Hazara community and that the incident appeared to be a targeted attack.

The assailants escaped unhurt from the spot after the attack. Police and other law enforcement personnel reached the spot as an investigation into the incident was initiated.

Attacks against Hazaras in Quetta have seen a spike recently, with this attack being the second this week alone. A shopkeeper was gunned down in the provincial capital earlier this week while another Hazara man was killed in the beginning of April.

The Hazara community has been disproportionately targeted by sectarian violence as they are easily identifiable due to their distinctive physical appearance.

A report released by the National Commission for Human Rights last month stated that 509 members of Hazara community were killed and 627 injured in various incidents of terrorism in Quetta during the last five years.

dawn.com/news/1403198/2-hazara-men-gunned-down-in-targeted-attack-in-quetta-police

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Pakistani traders demand reopening of route after recent clash

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Apr 22 2018, 11:19 am

The Pakistani traders in Parachinar are demanding the reopening of the route along the Durand Line which was closed during a clash between the Afghan and Pakistani forces last week.

Nazir Ahmed, a representative of traders in Parachinar, has told The Associated Press, that the closure has badly affected their businesses.

Ahmed further added that the laborers have sat idle for the past week watching their wares spoil as the KharLachi border point has remained shut since Sunday.

The provincial government media office of Khost in a statement said last week that the Pakistani militia forces launched attacks on security posts in JandoSar and Bad Khawaran areas of ZazaiMaidan district at around 8 am on Sunday.

The statement further added that the local residents and security personnel responded to Pakistani militia forces fire, claiming that some dead bodies of Pakistani military forces and their weapons were left in the area.

The source also added that two local residents fighting the militia forces also lost their lives during the clash.

khaama.com/pakistani-traders-demand-reopening-of-route-after-recent-clash-04941/

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Call for efforts to spread Islam’s message

Our Correspondent | April 22, 2018

Islamabad : We should make concerted efforts to spread the message of Islam world over through love and respect, said Dr. Sayed Moustafa Al Qazwini, founding Imam of the Islamic Educational Centre of Orange County and President of the Muslim Council of Southern California, USA.

"Islam is a religion that propagates love, peace, respect and tolerance, and every possible endeavour must be made by us as Muslims to project this true image of Islam across the globe," he said during a special lecture on interfaith harmony at the Preston University here. Educationists, intellectuals, scholars, diplomats and senior faculty and students of Preston University participated in the event.

Prominent among the speakers were scholar Agha Ali Yahya, cultural attaché at the US Embassy Maureen Mimnaugh and Chairman of the Archaeological and Historical Association of Pakistan Dr.Ghazanfer Mehdi. Dr Al Qazwini said Islam was a religion of peace and brotherhood and was indispensable for the creation of harmony among different religions and sects of the world. He said Pakistan was one of the most beautiful countries of the world.

"People of this part of the globe are very able and industrious and are endowed with abundant natural resources," he said.

He said it was extremely important that sincere endeavours are made to create harmony among different sects and religion in the country if peace was to be established and people were to be provided with the opportunity to reap the benefits of economic progress and prosperity.

Dr Al Qazwini said in the US, the people belonging to all religions of the world lived and that they're incessantly engaged in interacting with each other and making honest efforts to better appreciate each other’s religion and culture.

thenews.com.pk/print/307641-call-for-efforts-to-spread-islam-s-message

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‘Pakistan’s vaccination coverage lowest in S. Asia’

A ReporterUpdated April 22, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Despite the provision of free vaccines by the government, Pakistan has the lowest vaccination coverage in South Asia.

This was stated by Pakistan Paediatrics Association President Prof Dr Rai Mohammad Asghar at a news conference held in connection with the upcoming World Immunisation Week.

“Parents should not compromise on immunisation of their children as it saves them from illness, disability and death from vaccine-preventable diseases.”

He said life-threatening infectious diseases can be treated and controlled through immunisation which also reduced the disease burden.

Vaccines also play a major role in eliminating and preventing diseases, including diphtheria, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough), pneumonia, polio, rotavirus diarrhoea, rubella and tetanus.

Every year due to vaccines approximately three million deaths are prevented. Immunisation is estimated to save 2-3 million lives every year. About 19.5mn infants worldwide are still missing out on basic vaccines. If the optimum rates of immunisation or “herd immunity” are not maintained the diseases prevented by vaccination will return, he added.

Dr Asghar said: “In Pakistan, rotavirus leads to one out of three infant hospitalisations and almost every child gets infected with rotavirus by their fifth birthday.”

Moreover, pneumococcal meningitis is the most common form of meningitis and the most serious form of bacterial meningitis. Very young children - as young as a few months old and up to the age of two - are at the highest risk of pneumococcal meningitis, said Dr Asghar.

Similarly, he added, polio was a highly infectious viral disease that can cause irreversible paralysis. Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus which usually results in a high fever and rash, and can lead to blindness, encephalitis or death. Hepatitis B is a viral infection that attacks the liver, he added.

He also stressed the need for vaccination and said: “Vaccination can reduce the usage of some antibiotics. So they can tackle the problem of antibiotic resistance.

Vaccines activate antibodies that fight off the disease at hand without actually giving you the disease.

They trick us into fighting a disease we don’t have so that our body is prepared to fight it off if we are exposed to in the future.”

Vaccines are the most affordable solution when it comes to preventing certain health hazards.

They can prevent even death that is caused by diseases such as polio, measles, whooping cough, diarrhoea and pneumonia, he added.

dawn.com/news/1403111/pakistans-vaccination-coverage-lowest-in-s-asia

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Pak Rangers allows cricketer Hasan Ali to heckle daily parade at Wagah border

Yudhvir Rana | TNN | Updated: Apr 22, 2018

Pakistani medium pacer Hasan Ali heckled the daily parade by entering into the arena and making provocative gesture

“This is nothing but violation of sanctity of parade and we have lodged a protest with Pakistan Rangers,” the BSF said

Pak Rangers allows cricketer Hasan Ali to heckle daily parade at Wagah border

AMRITSAR: Violating the sanctity of the daily ceremonial parade carried out by the jawans of Border Security Force (BSF) and Pak Rangers at the Attari-Wagah border, the latter on Saturday allowed a civilian to make belligerent gestures while facing towards the Indian side.

Pakistani medium pacer Hasan Ali heckled the daily parade by entering into the arena and making provocative gestures, including tapping his thighs while looking towards BSF soldiers and Indian viewers, a move which has forced the BSF to lodge a protest with the Pakistan Rangers.

Soldiers making aggressive gestures during the ceremony is not new, but allowing a civilian to do the same has never been seen before.

In a thirty-five second video clip, a smiling Hasan Ali is seen wearing a red cap and being photographed by a Pak Ranger while tapping his thighs making other aggressive gestures.

He is also seen being encouraged by the viewers at the Pakistani side. The cricketer was later escorted out of the arena by a Pak Rangers official.

“This is nothing but violation of the sanctity of parade and we have lodged a protest with Pakistan Rangers,” said inspector general, BSF, frontier, MukulGoel while talking to TOI.

He said civilians could do anything while watching the parade from the viewers gallery, but no one should be allowed to interrupt the drill.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pak-rangers-allows-cricketer-hasan-ali-to-heckle-daily-parade-at-wagah-border/articleshow/63872024.cms

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Pashtuns defy Pakistani authorities with mass Lahore rally

AFP | Updated: Apr 22, 2018

LAHORE: Thousands of Pashtuns defied authorities and held a mass rally in the Pakistani city of Lahore on Sunday, chanting anti-military slogans just hours after security forces cracked down on their leaders.

The rapidly growing Pashtun Protection Movement (PTM) has rattled Pakistan's powerful military since it burst into the scene three months ago with a nationwide campaign against alleged abuses against ethnic Pashtuns by security forces.

The Pashtuns are a fiercely independent ethnic group that straddle both sides of the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Both the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban are dominated by Pashtuns, leading to repeated military operations in the region.

But PTM's leadership say Pashtun civilians have born the brunt of the army's long fight against terrorists and are calling for an end to what they say are rampant extrajudicial killings and "disappearances".

Despite a far-reaching media blackout the movement has nonetheless drawn thousands of supporters, in one of the strongest challenges to Pakistan's security establishment for years.

PTM's leader ManzoorPashteen on Sunday addressed supporters in the eastern city of Lahore, lashing out at the country's top military brass over their alleged abuses and "dirty tactics".

"They are thieves and they have only one goal in life, that is to make as much money as they can," he said.

An AFP reporter at the scene estimated about 5,000 people attended the rally — smaller than recent protests, but a significant showing considering Lahore lies far from the movement's base in northwest Pakistan.

The crowd, which included non-Pashtun supporters, chanted the PTM slogan: "The uniforms are behind the terrorists."

The protest went ahead despite authorities refusing to issue permits, citing security reasons.

"We do not accept the Pakistan that is for the generals and the mullahs, we want a Pakistan for the Sindhis, for the Baloch, for the Pashtun and for the working class of Punjab," said PTM supporter Fanoos Gujar, referring to the country's major ethnic groups.

The rally was held hours after officials in Lahore detained several PTM leaders late Saturday following raids on Punjab University and a hotel.

A local police officer confirmed the raids but said the activists have since been released.

The crackdown sparked anger on social media with the hashtags #ReleasePTMWorkers and #ShameOnPunjabPolice gaining traction.

Human Rights Watch's Pakistan representative SaroopIjaz called the incident "worrying".

"It's an attack on the right to assembly and free expression," said Ijaz.

PTM supporters from across the country had flocked to Lahore in recent days ahead of the rally. Following the raids, PTM leader Pashteen — who was not detained — vowed to continue with the demonstration.

"We won't stay silent. We will hold the rally at any cost," said Pashteen in a message posted early Sunday.

The PTM came to prominence in February after the killing of a young social media star in Karachi unleashed festering anger at authorities over alleged targeting of Pashtuns.

Pakistan's military has accused the PTM of colluding with arch-rival India and overseeing a campaign to destabilise the country.

Criticism of Pakistan's powerful armed forces, especially their counter-insurgency operations, is largely seen as a red line in the country, hence the media blackout.

Pashtuns account for roughly 15 percent of Pakistan's population, with a majority of the 30 million-strong group living in the northwest.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pashtuns-defy-pakistani-authorities-with-mass-lahore-rally/articleshow/63872373.cms

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Pakistan authorities withdraw security of non-entitled persons

PTI | Apr 22, 2018

ISLAMABAD: In an unprecedented move, authorities in Pakistan have called back more than 13,600 police personnel deployed for the security of the non-entitled persons, including many politicians like former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

The step was taken in compliance with the order of Chief Justice of Pakistan MianSaqibNisar who on April 19 ordered police chiefs of all provinces to withdraw within 24 hours the security protocol provided to influential individuals not entitled to it.

Dawn reported that the move taken by the federal and provincial governments will affect many politicians, including Sharif, former interior minister AftabSherpao, JamiatUlema-e-Islam Fazal chief MaulanaFazlurRehman, Awami National Party (ANP) chief AsfandyarWali Khan, as well as police officials, journalists, bureaucrats, foreigners and judges.

The chief justice during his visit to the Peshawar registry had taken notice of the deployment of a large number of police personnel at the residences and offices of the unauthorised persons.

He also directed the Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan and Islamabad police chiefs to "submit affidavits to the effect duly attested by oath commissioner on next date of hearing April 23 in Islamabad."

Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of Nawaz Sharif, said that the chief justice would be responsible if any harm was caused to her father.

"My Lord, snatch the security of the (former) prime minister who had targeted terrorists by looking directly into their eyes but if, God forbid, anything happened to him, only you (CJP) will be responsible for it," she tweeted.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-authorities-withdraw-security-of-non-entitled-persons/articleshow/63866907.cms

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North America

Huntsville Islamic Center invites the community to their ‘Meet Your Muslim Neighbor’ event

POSTED 11:23 PM, APRIL 21, 2018, BY OLIVIA STEEN, UPDATED AT 11:27PM, APRIL 21, 2018

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The Huntsville Islamic Center invited everyone that wanted to learn about their religion to their place of worship Saturday.

"What we're doing is trying to open our doors for people to come and ask us questions and to be knowledgeable about Islam," said ReemaMatar, coordinator for the Meet Your Muslim Neighbor event.

Those at the center felt the event was necessary in this day and age.

"In the current society today, a lot of people that are answering questions about Islam are not actually Muslim," said Reema.

She said many judge their religion based on stereotypes.

"All they see are the people that are very radical and I don't consider them Muslims."

The event served as an opportunity for them to teach the local community about their culture through educational booths.

"There's one that is just the basics of Islam that you can learn. There's one about Muslim women in Islam and why we wear the hijab," said Sarah Matar, another coordinator of the event.

The group also provided several different food items and other fun activities.

"It's called Meet Your Muslim Neighbor because we are neighbors. Christianity, Muslims and Jews. We're all neighbors and we're all friends and that's the point of it," said Matar.

whnt.com/2018/04/21/huntsville-islamic-center-invites-the-community-to-their-meet-your-muslim-neighbor-event/

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US Congress Mulling Plot to Disarm Hezbollah

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Two US senators have presented a plan to the Congress which aims to disarm the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance group in line with supporting Israel.

The Arabic-language al-Akhbar newspaper reported on Sunday that the two Republican and Democrat senators have presented a 5-article plan to the congress to further increase support for Tel Aviv against the resistance group.

It added that Israel which is the United States' strategic ally fears Hezbollah and has called on the US senators to assess the resistance group's power and its military equipment.

The plan also calls for increased deployment of United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) forces in the Arab country to contain the domain of Hezbollah's arms and missile power.

In relevant remarks on Saturday evening, Secretary General of the Lebanese Hezbollah Movement Sayed Hassan Nasrallah said fighters from the Lebanese resistance movement had defended the Southern sector of Lebanon against Israel’s acts of aggression.

Addressing an election campaign ceremony via a televised speech broadcast live from the Southern Lebanese city of Tyre, Nasrallah described the city, located about 80 kilometersSouth of the capital Beirut, as one of the basic strongholds of the anti-Israel resistance front.

He added that the Israeli military launched the 1996 aggression against Lebanon by striking the military command of Hezbollah.

“The Zionist air raid at the time failed to target late Hezbollah military commander Mustafa Badreddine,” Nasrallah pointed out.

The Hezbollah chief further noted that Israel’s aggressive policies towards Lebanon started just a year after its creation in the occupied Palestinian territories in 1948, dismissing allegations that Tel Aviv’s hostilities began after the formation of Palestinian resistance movements.

“In 1960s, [prominent Shiite cleric] Imam Musa al-Sadr used to ask the Lebanese government to defend Southern cities and towns against Israeli aggressions. His pleas, however, went unanswered as authorities did not take any actions,” Nasrallah underlined.

He added that “Because of the government’s apathy, Imam Musa al-Sadr established a popular resistance movement in Southern Lebanon to confront the Zionist enemy.”

Nasrallah went on to say that the Beirut government failed to support Southern Lebanese cities following the withdrawal of Israeli military forces in 2000, hailing Hezbollah’s capabilities in securing Southern Lebanon against Israel’s barbarism.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970202001052

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Africa

No justification for keeping El Zakzaky behind bar, We continue our peaceful protests — Spokesman

April 22, 2018 - 10:34 AM News Code : 890371 Source : Blueprint

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - The President of the Media Forum of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Ibrahim Musa, in an interview with the Blueprint Newspaper, has affirmed the strong resolve of the Movement to continue the campaign to free Sheikh Zakzaky.

Full text of the interview follows:

Last Monday, there was stampede in Abuja when police dispersed members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), from protesting at the Unity Fountain. During the clash, tear gas and bullets were freely fired and in the end, 115 people were arrested and one person shot in head and martyred. In this interview with IBRAHEEM MUSA, the President of Media Forum of IMN, Malam Ibrahim Musa, speaks on the clash and how the Islamic Movement plans to continue with its peaceful protests.

Why did members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria(IMN) defy police order by insisting on its sit-ins at the Unity Fountain in Abuja?

It is not true that we defied their order. We were just exercising our right to peaceful assembly as guaranteed by the constitution. Nowhere under the law is it said that we have to even ask for permit before we assemble peacefully.

But instead of protests and confrontations, why has the movement not returned to court to press for the release of your detained leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El Zakzaky?

We are still in courts. It seems the Attorney General of the Federation, Alhaji Abubakar Malami, created a stalemate on the appeal they are claiming to have made on the judgement of the federal high court freeing our leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky. They refused to follow all the procedures of the appeal, thereby intentionally delaying the appeal proceedings. So, it is not that we have abandoned the legal path and become confrontational. Remember, justice delayed is justice denied.

Is Deji Adeyanju a member of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria or a consultant to the group?

No, Prince Deji is the Convener of a group, Concerned Nigerians, that is famous in championing just cause across the country. It just happens that the group realized that we have been treated unjustly and badly by the Buhari’s regime, and it felt that, it should also champion our cause. There are other similar human rights organisations that do support our demand for freedom for Sheikh Zakzaky.

Reports indicted Adeyanju as being the brain behind some of your campaigns. How true is this allegation?

The allegation is false. But we started the campaign to free Sheikh Zakzaky before him. Of course, we are working together, and there is no problem with that. If somebody offers you a helping hand in your hour of need, will you refuse him? We appreciate his contribution to our struggle for justice, and we welcome any group or individual that feels we are being victimized in the country.

It is widely believed in some quarters that IMN is being used by the opposition for political reasons, especially to discredit the present administration. Why is IMN in league with politicians when it is supposed to be a non partisan religious body?

The IMN is not in league with any party or politician, and as you rightly said we are a non partisan religious body. Even the brutal clamp down on the Movement is not viewed from partisan lines. We have never accused the APC as a political party, rather we blame the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

If any political party condemns how we are being treated, probably it is aiming for cheap political points, but not that we are in tandem with the political party.

Remember it is not the Islamic Movement that started this crisis, it is the federal government, therefore, it is wrong for somebody to assume we are being used for some sinister motives.

Before the crack down last Monday, there was a video clip that went viral, where some members of your sect allegedly rained abuses on the president. Why should IMN defame the president over the non release of your leader?

Let me correct you, it is not that IMN as a body is defaming the president. But I agree with you some members did defame him. But imagine yourself to be the victim of somebody who killed your parents and detains your religious leader, will you sing his praise?

But Islam forbids a Muslim to abuse his leader. Don’t you think your members who did that video have disobeyed Allah’s law?

I don’t know where you get that ruling that Islam forbids a Muslim to abuse his leader. If you look into the history of Islam, you will come across instances where leaders were abused for injustice here and there. It is when you forget what was done to us in Zaria that you will see the bad side of that video you are talking of. Remember over a thousand people were killed, some burnt alive, including children and women, with many buried in a mass grave.

In the press statement that you issued after the crack down, you alleged that your leader has suffered a stroke in detention. How did you get this information when you have been complaining that you have no access to him?

The authorities detaining our leader Sheikh Zakzaky do allow his family members to visit him from time to time, but we his followers have been denied that opportunity, likewise his lawyers. So it is from his family members that we heard of his deteriorating health condition.

You also alleged that the authorities have been looking for ways to infiltrate your free-El Zakzaky-campaign but you didn’t give evidence to back your allegations?

What is happening is that during our peaceful protests, we observed that some people are doing some things that are detrimental to our cause. As a Movement, for the past four decades we have not been violent, so anybody taking the path of violence is not part of us. In the beginning of the soldiers attack on us in Zaria, December 2015, Sheikh Zakzaky was interviewed by the BBC Hausa service, and was asked why his followers blocked the path of the Chief of Army Staff.

He swore by Allah that they were not part of us, because we don’t normally block that particular road during our programmes. So anybody doing anything inimical to our position cannot be part of us.

But anyone who has visited Zaria during your programmes will attest to the fact that your members do block roads regularly. Why are you denying that now?

I don’t think that visitor is fair to us. It doesn’t make sense even for us to block road just because we are holding a programme in Husainiyya Baqiyyatullah that is along the busy Sokoto road in Zaria. If you say because of our numbers traffic becomes heavy, I agree with that, but we don’t block roads and stop safe passage of vehicles. We have videos of our programmes on the net, if you click them you can see our volunteers controlling movement of vehicles on that busy high way.

How many of your members were arrested during and after last Monday’s attack and how many lost their lives?

No life was lost on Monday. One person was thought to have been killed, however it was realized he went into a coma after a bullet fractured his skull, but Alhamdulillah he is responding to treatment. However, many were injured, and the police confirmed that they have arrested 115 persons, 14 of them are women. There were also some under-aged children.

Given what your members have gone through, will you discontinue your sit-ins at Unity Fountain?

No, we will continue with the struggle until our demand for the freedom of Sheikh Zakzaky is met. There is no justification for keeping him behind bars after killing his children and followers and wounding him critically.

Will the struggle include sit-ins at Unity Fountain?

Yes. It depends on the situation on the ground. But we will keep on going there. We are peaceful; if they choose to disperse us instead of protecting us, it is up to them.

en.abna24.com/news/africa/no-justification-for-keeping-el-zakzaky-behind-bar-we-continue-our-peaceful-protests-%E2%80%94-spokesman_890371.html

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BBNaija 2018: Why core Northern Muslim, Christians should participate – CAN

Published on April 22, 2018 | By John Owen Nwachukwu

The President of the youth wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, David Daniel Karza, has spoken about the moral standard of the Big Brother Naija television reality show.

Karza said the contents of the TV programme and videos that people especially the youths “watch on television must be very significant in moulding their moral and spiritual lives.

Speaking with DAILY POST, Karza said not participating in the reality show may not be the best for both Muslim and Christian youth as it would help them share their belief and values with others.

He said, “Big Brother Naija reality show has done so well in showcasing some of our cultural heritage in Nigeria and has brought together youths across different ethnic/religious groups in Nigeria.

[It] “will definitely promote unity and open an opportunity to share good common values that can build a better understanding on how we can collectively coexist peacefully for the progress of our country and beyond.

He noted that there are some aspects of the show that are immoral, therefore, calling on the youths to “use Colossians 3:5-7 to guide their activities in the Big Brother Naija Reality TV Show. This will promote Godliness and dignify the show which in turn will appeal to the conscience of all to keep watching and probably encourage their children to also register and participate.”

He said “Muslims should as well participate to share with their counterparts their belief and practices in Islam and how it can necessitate modifications.

“After all, while some of these programmes cover the aforementioned as conceived by these talented Nigerians with great ideas.

“Government and stakeholders should compliment in harmonizing its intellectual development rather than retard it.

“We also need to give consideration to the notion of ‘watching Big Brother Naija Reality TV Show’, which is perhaps aimed at streaming her content qualitatively different for different targeted audience.”

dailypost.ng/2018/04/22/bbnaija-2018-core-northern-muslim-christians-participate-can/

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Southeast Asia

Islamic Party Aims to Hold the Key in Malaysia's Election

April 21, 2018, at 10:35 p.m. | BY JOSEPH SIPALAN AND John Chalmers

KOTA BHARU, Malaysia (Reuters) - The outcome of next month's election in Malaysia may hinge on the performance of a party that has strived for decades to turn the country into an Islamic state and enforce harsher penalties on Muslims for adultery, theft and drinking alcohol.

Parti Islam se-Malaysia (PAS) is hopeful that it can win 40 of parliament's 222 seats, enough to place it in the position of kingmaker. With the balance of power, it would be able to make policy demands as its price for supporting either Prime Minister NajibRazak, or the opposition alliance trying to oust him.

Even if PAS falls short of its ambitions, it is still likely to play a decisive role by dividing the opposition vote, handing a massive advantage to Najib'sBarisanNasional (BN) coalition.

If PAS does hold sway over the next government, some political analysts say it could stoke divisions in multi-ethnic, Muslim-majority Malaysia. The government could come under pressure to further entrench affirmative-action policies that favor ethnic Malays in business, education and housing, and to strengthen Islamic courts, they say.

Muslims, the majority of whom are ethnic Malays, make up about 60 percent of Malaysia's population of 32 million. Ethnic Chinese and Indians, who are Buddhist, Christian or Hindu, account for most of the rest.

PAS President Abdul HadiAwang says if he holds the balance of power after the election, he will insist the government makes Islam central to its policies.

"We want to introduce Islam as a political, economic and social agenda," Hadi told Reuters at the PAS headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, saying he was confident of winning 40 seats and "possibly even more".

However, few outside PAS believe the party will emerge from the May 9 election with the clout it is counting on, even if the Islamic conservatism it espouses has become more widely followed in Malaysia since the 2013 election, when it won 21 seats.

One reason for the bleak outlook is a split in PAS in 2015 that led to the creation of a breakaway group, Amanah, a more progressive Islamic grouping that is likely to siphon votes away from the parent party.

There are few reliable opinion polls in Malaysia but two political consultancies told Reuters they see PAS winning no more than 10 seats.

MISSED OPPORTUNITY

Most analysts tip Najib to win despite a corruption scandal that has dogged him since 2015, resentment over higher living costs and a challenge from former leader Mahathir Mohamad, a 92-year-old who commands respect among many Malaysians and heads the main opposition alliance.

PAS quit that alliance three years ago. One of its lawmakers conceded that by creating three-way contests for seats, the opposition had squandered a chance to exploit the government's troubles.

"The opportunity to change Malaysia has been missed and we, the opposition, are the culprits," said Nik Mazian Nik Mohamad, a lawmaker in the north-eastern state of Kelantan, where PAS has ruled for the past 28 years.

Since it was founded in 1951, PAS has swung between moderation and fundamentalism, taking its cue in the 1980s from the Iranian revolution to press for the establishment of an Islamic state. Today, it portrays itself as a party committed to fighting poverty and corruption.

But, under Hadi, it has also pushed for the power of sharia courts to be expanded and for parts of a strict penal code to be incorporated into the existing Islamic legal system in Kelantan.

Islamic law is implemented in all Malaysian states but is restricted to family issues like divorce and inheritance, as well as sharia crimes involving Muslims, such as consuming alcohol and adultery. Criminal cases are handled by federal law.

Hadi has proposed amending federal regulations to broaden the powers of the sharia court in Kelantan, giving it the authority to order punishments of up to 100 lashes of a cane.

Some PAS members say sharia law provides for more severe penalties, but there is no sign the party is pushing for that.

A practicing surgeon who met Reuters at a scruffy food court in Kelantan's capital, Kota Bharu, Nik Mazian said that amputation of a hand is the appropriate penalty for theft.

"It sounds barbaric, but that's the way to stop stealing," he said, grinning broadly.

usnews.com/news/world/articles/2018-04-21/islamic-party-aims-to-hold-the-key-in-malaysias-election

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/a-child-is-a-child,-no--hindu-muslim-in-his-being-,-says-father-of-kathua-victim/d/115006

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