New Age Islam News Bureau
27 Dec 2015
Photo: The Yemeni army and popular forces continued pounding Saudi Arabia's strategic military bases in Najran province with their new upgraded ballistic missiles on Sunday.
• Airstrikes Only Increase Our Resolve, Says Islamic State's Leader Baghdadi
• Saudi Arabia's National Guards Base Ruined In Yemen's Ballistic Missile Attack
• Syrian Artillery Attacks, Airstrikes Target Takfiris in Idlib
• US Targets IS with 17 Christmas Day strikes in Iraq and Syria
• Iraq FM: Terrorists from 100 Countries Fighting in Iraq
• Saudi Arabia intercepts ballistic missile from Yemen: SPA
• Killing of Syrian rebel leader stalls evacuation
• Iraqi Forces Score another Major Win in Ramadi, Capture Al-Tash Region
• Iranian Leader's Top Aide: US Misusing Terrorist Groups to Attain Goals
• Al-Nusra Sustains Large Casualties North of Aleppo Province
• Gov't Forces Getting Ready for Fresh Phase of Operations South of Syria's Aleppo
• Army Intensifying Clashes with Militants In Deir Ezzur
• In Nangarhar Province, Pro-Government Armed Men Behead IS Militants to Revenge
• Taliban Deny Talks with Russia on IS in Afghanistan
• Ministry Of Interior Says Explosion in Baghlan Mosque Was Work of Taliban
• Afghanistan needs to see beyond promises and commitments from Pakistan
• Russia stations state-of-the-art missile system in Syria after Turkey shot down its jet
• Afghan army thwart roadside bombing plot in Kabul
• Parliament objects Russia’s contacts with Taliban
• Syrian rebel group appoints successor to slain commander
• Afghan opposition critical of Ghani for including Pakistan in peace talks
• Unidentified gunmen shot dead six members of a family in Kunar
• Iranian President Asks S. Arabia to Revise Policies on Region
• Iran, Cuba Deals Major Diplomatic Breakthrough, Says US
• Turkish-Israeli normalization may not go beyond rhetoric
• Iranian MPs Protest IESCO's Decision to Select Sudanese City as Capital of Islamic Civilization
• Turkish journalists march in İstanbul to protest arrest of colleagues
• CAR Muslims Hopeful over Landmark Polls
• Vienna Police Warns Of Terror Attacks on European Capitals
• Paris attacks ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud 'visited UK over the summer', intelligence agencies believe
• The man who was held captive by ISIS for 10 months says how they can be defeated
• Foreign Secretaries to Meet In Islamabad to Keep Hurriyat at Bay
• India, Pak Working on Saarc Disaster Response Force
• Modi Sees Pakistan as Bridge To Afghanistan
• 3 Hyderabad youths planning to join terror outfits held at Nagpur airport
• Cross-border religious tourism is lowest-hanging fruit
• ISIS threatening to kill me, says BJP MLA Sangeet Som
• 14 Killed In Muslim Rebel Attacks in Southern Philippines
• Rangers Finally Get ‘Legal’ Cover
• One Man Cannot Overrule Sindh Assembly, Says CM
• General Raheel Sharif Arrives In Kabul
• Iftikhar Chaudhry launches his party
• Pakistan earthquake kills two, injures 85
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Airstrikes only increase our resolve, says Islamic State's leader Baghdadi
AP | Dec 27, 2015
BEIRUT: The Islamic State (IS) group on Saturday released a new message purportedly from its reclusive leader, claiming that his self-styled "caliphate" is doing well despite an unprecedented alliance against it and criticizing the recently announced Saudi-led Islamic military coalition against terrorism.
In the 24-minute audio, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi said airstrikes by the international coalition only increase his group's determination and resolve. The message was al-Baghdadi's first since May, and comes amid battlefield setbacks that IS has recently faced.
Meanwhile, a US-backed coalition of rebels in Syria — including Syrian Kurdish, Arab and Christian groups — captured a major dam on the Euphrates River from the Islamic State group as part of the coalition's march on IS-held areas in northern Syria.
The coalition, known as Syria Democratic Forces, announced earlier this week a new offensive aimed at cutting supply lines between IS strongholds in the country's north. The SDF said it seized the Tishrin Dam, which supplies much off northern Syria with electricity, on Saturday.
An SDF spokesman told AP earlier this week that his forces are also trying to cut the supply lines between the Islamic State's de-facto capital of Raqqa and the group's stronghold of Manbij in northern Syria.
The SDF, dominated by the main Kurdish militia in Syria known as YPG, or People's Protection Units, has become a main force in fighting IS.
The Islamic State group has come under pressure in Syria and Iraq, where it has declared its self-styled Islamic caliphate on territory that the militant group controls. It lost the town Sinjar in Iraq last month, and areas across the border in Syria at the same time. Iraqi government troops are also advancing in the Islamic State-held city of Ramadi, the provincial capital of the sprawling Anbar province, Iraq's Sunni heartland.
Airstrikes by the US-led coalition and Russia in Syria have also destroyed Syrian oil facilities and killed several IS leaders in recent weeks.
"It is unprecedented in the history of our Ummah (Islamic nation) that all the world came against it in one battle, as it is happening today. It is the battle of all the disbelievers against all the Muslims," al-Baghdadi said.
He said the US-led alliance does "not scare us... nor do they scatter our resolve because we are the victors in any event."
Al-Baghdadi also taunted the United States for not putting boots on the ground. "They do not dare to come, because their hearts are full of fear from the mujahideen (holy warriors)," he said.
"America and its allies dream of destroying the caliphate through their proxies and henchmen, and whenever an alliance of theirs fails or a tail is cut, they hasten to establish another, until they recently declared the Salouli (Saudi) alliance that was falsely called Islamic," al-Baghdadi added.
If the Saudi-led alliance was truly Islamic, then it would fight the Syrian army and its Russian "masters," as well as Shiites and Jews, al-Baghdadi said.
In mid-December, Saudi Arabia announced the new, 34-member alliance against terrorism, to be based in the kingdom's capital, Riyadh. But Shiite powerhouse Iran is not part of the new coalition; neither are Iraq and Syria, whose forces are battling to regain ground from the Islamic State group and whose governments are allied with Tehran.
In the audio, al-Baghdadi also warned nations taking part in the war against IS by saying: "We promise you, God permitting, that whoever participates in the war against the Islamic State will pay the price dearly."
He threatened Israel by saying, "we haven't forgotten you" and "we are getting closer to you" every day. To Israeli Jews, he said that they "will hide behind trees and stones" from the IS.
He also urged Muslims world over to join the IS fight, saying it is their Islamic duty to rise up everywhere.
The authenticity of the audio could not be independently confirmed but it was posted on IS-affiliated websites and Twitter as past IS messages. Also, it was produced by the al-Furqan Media Foundation, IS media arm.
Saudi Arabia's National Guards Base Ruined in Yemen's Ballistic Missile Attack
Dec 27, 2015
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Yemeni army and popular forces continued pounding Saudi Arabia's strategic military bases in Najran province with their new upgraded ballistic missiles on Sunday.
The Yemeni army's ballistic missiles hit Saudi Arabia's National Guards Base in the city of Najran in the Southern part of the kingdom.
The Qaher-I missile strike incurred heavy losses on the Saudi troops in Najran province.
Qaher-I is an updated version of a Russian-made surface-to-surface missile.
The ballistic missiles that have recently come into service in Yemen's army have claimed a heavy toll from the Saudi side of the war. Only in the last one week, around 550 Saudi-led troops have been killed by these ballistic missiles.
Military sources announced on Tuesday that the Yemeni army and the popular forces pounded targets in Al-Khuba region in Saudi Arabia's Southern Jizan province with hundreds of home-made missiles and rockets.
"The Yemeni forces have attacked Al-Khuba region with Over 700 rockets and missiles," the Arabic-language media outlets quoted an unnamed military source as saying.
On Wednesday, the Yemeni army and popular forces targeted a strategic military base in Saudi Arabia's Asir province with another Qaher-I ballistic missile on Wednesday.
The missile precisely hit its target in Al-Faisal military base in Khamis Mushait region of Asir province.
On Thursday, the Yemeni army and popular forces launched a fresh round of attacks on the Saudi forces' positions in the Southwestern province of Lahij.
Brigadier General Sharaf Qaleb Luqman, the spokesman of the Yemeni armed forces, made the announcement in an interview with Yemen's official news agency, adding that the Yemeni army and popular forces' Tochka missiles hit a gathering of the Saudi forces at al-Anad military base in Lahij province.
Syrian Artillery Attacks, Airstrikes Target Takfiris in Idlib
Dec 27, 2015
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian airstrikes and artillery shells pounded Takfiri militants' positions and command posts in the province of Idlib, inflicting heavy losses on the terrorists.
The Syrian warplanes bombed a command post of al-Nusra Front in Jarjnaz village in Idlib, killing scores of militants who were inside it, informed sources said Sunday.
The Syrian army also fired artillery shells at militants' positions in al-Hobait town in the same province.
The Syrian army also announced on Sunday that one of the main command centers of Jund al-Aqsa terrorist group in Idlib province was badly destroyed in the Syrian fighter jets' bombardments.
"The Syrian warplanes tracked and targeted the Takfiri militants' command center near al-Tamanah town near the border of Idlib and Hama province," the army said.
"The Jund al-Aqsa militant group sustained a heavy death toll and their military vehicles and equipment were destroyed in the airstrikes," the army added.
US targets IS with 17 Christmas Day strikes in Iraq and Syria
AP — Published about 6 hours ago
WASHINGTON: The Pentagon says the United States (US) hit militant Islamic State (IS) group targets in Iraq and Syria with 17 airborne strikes on Christmas Day.
The strikes targeting IS fighters, facilities and vehicles were carried out by fighter aircraft, bombers and remotely controlled aircraft.
The Pentagon said Saturday that five of the strikes were in Syria and 12 in Iraq.
The strikes targeted IS tunnels, explosive manufacturing sites and other targets such as bridges and IS fighting outposts.
All US aircraft returned safely. The strikes were conducted as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation that is designed to target the IS.
Iraq FM: Terrorists from 100 Countries Fighting in Iraq
Dec 27, 2015
TEHRAN (FNA)- Citizens of nearly 100 foreign states are carrying out terrorist acts in Iraq, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jafari said, stressing that his country is representing the power of the Muslim world in its war against terrorism.
"Terrorists from almost 100 countries have come to Iraq but we could stand against them despite their large number and therefore, we are today witnessing their withdrawal," Jafari said, addressing the 29th International Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran on Sunday.
"While the terrorists were present in about 55% of our country some time ago, today they (merely) control 19% of our territories and we are witnessing their failure," he added.
Jafari addressed the Muslims, and said they should know that the Iraqis are standing against the terrorists on behalf of the powerful Muslim world.
Full report here: http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941006000682
Saudi Arabia intercepts ballistic missile from Yemen: SPA
Dec 27, 2015
DUBAI: Saudi Arabia said it intercepted a Scud ballistic missile fired from Yemen on Saturday, according to a statement on the Saudi state news agency SPA, an attack which threatens a fragile ceasefire ahead of renewed United Nations (UN)-backed peace talks next month.
"Saudi Air Defense Forces intercepted at about 11pm (2000 GMT) yesterday a Scud missile launched from Sanaa, in Yemeni territory, towards the city of Najran... the air force immediately destroyed the rocket launch platform," the Saudi statement said.
Yemen's state news agency said the target was a Saudi national guard base.
Full report here: http://www.dawn.com/news/1228993/saudi-arabia-intercepts-ballistic-missile-from-yemen-spa
Killing of Syrian rebel leader stalls evacuation
December 27th, 2015
DAMASCUS: A plan to evacuate thousands of fighters and civilians from three besieged districts of Syria’s capital was on hold on Saturday, a day after an air strike killed a rebel leader.
Zahran Alloush, 44, was the commander of the Jaish al Islam, the predominant opposition faction in the Eastern Ghouta rebel bastion.
A senior member of the militant group said aeroplanes had attacked a “secret meeting” of commanders, and confirmed that Alloush was among those killed.
His death, in a raid claimed by President Bashar al Assad’s regime, was seen as dealing a heavy blow to the nearly five-year uprising and also complicating a fragile peace process.
It also halted the planned evacuation of some 4,000 people, half of them militants, from the southern districts of Damascus.
Full report here: http://www.dawn.com/news/1228902/killing-of-syrian-rebel-leader-stalls-evacuation
Iraqi Forces Score Another Major Win in Ramadi, Capture Al-Tash Region
Dec 27, 2015
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iraqi army and volunteer forces regained control over the strategic Al-Tash region in the city of Ramadi on Sunday.
The capture of Al-Tash on the Western side of Al-Anbar province is the most important achievement of the Iraqi forces in the last 48 hours.
After winning back Al-Tash region, the Iraqi forces headed towards the Ramadi city's state hospital on Sunday morning.
On Saturday, the Iraqi forces captured the last remaining district held by ISIL in the center of the city of Ramadi in Anbar province.
The army troops managed to gain control over Huz neighborhood in the center of Ramadi city.
Full report here: http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941006000807
Iranian Leader's Top Aide: US Misusing Terrorist Groups to Attain Goals
Dec 27, 2015
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Supreme Leader's top adviser for international affairs Ali Akbar Velayati warned that Washington is fighting a proxy war against the regional states and misusing the terrorist groups to reach its goals.
"We are witnessing the US administration's change of approach in recent years as it seeks to attain its goals using the smart power strategy and combining the soft and hard power; therefore, it has adopted the policy of proxy war," Velayati said, addressing the 29th International Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran on Sunday.
He said that enemies are misusing the Takfiri terrorist groups in a way that they are acting against Islam.
Full report here: http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941006000775
Al-Nusra Sustains Large Casualties North of Aleppo Province
Dec 27, 2015
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army and its allied forces stormed the al-Nusra Front's concentration centers in the Northern territories of Aleppo province, inflicting large damage and casualties on the terrorist group.
"The Syrian government forces' operations against the Nusra positions near Bashkoy town claimed the lives of tens of terrorists," military sources said.
"The al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra militants left behind many dead or wounded members and fled the battlefield," the sources added.
On Saturday, the terrorists failed to capture the strategic town of Bashkoy in another massive attack on army positions.
The Syrian forces repelled another large-scale assault of the Takfiri terrorists on Bashkoy for the second time today, killing and wounding at least 14 militants, field sources said.
Hundreds of terrorists have staged, at least, three major attacks on army positions near Bashkoy since Friday to win control over the town.
After repelling the first attack, the Syrian army forces killed scores of Takfiri terrorists, destroyed 7 tanks, a BMP vehicle and 23mm cannon and seized a tank.
Reports also said the Syrian army killed Mohammed A'war, the military commander of the so-called Fajr al-Khelafa Battalions, in clashes with the terrorists in the vicinity of Bashkoy.
The Syrian army captured Bashkoy from the terrorists in February. Ever since then, the terrorists have sought hard to take back the town.
The last major attack by the terrorists was conducted on December 10, when heavy clashes erupted between Syrian army and terrorists in the vicinity of Bashkoy.
Gov't Forces Getting Ready for Fresh Phase of Operations South of Syria's Aleppo
Dec 27, 2015
TEHRAN (FNA)- Military sources announced on Sunday that commanders of the Syrian Army troops, popular forces and Hezbollah fighters in North of Syria have held several coordination meetings in preparation for the third phase of large-scale operations South of Aleppo province.
"The Lebanese Hezbollah and the Iraqi Harakat al-Nujaba have been preparing for Phase 3 of their Southern Aleppo operation, which will require them to advance in the South along the important Aleppo-Damascus Highway to enter the Idlib province from the Northeast," the sources said.
"Phase 3 of the Southern Aleppo operation will also be one of the most violent battles to come in Northern Syria, as several thousands militants from al-Nusra Front, Harakat Ahrar al-Sham, Liwaa Suqour al-Sham, and Jeish al-Islam are waiting for the imminent attack of the pro-government forces along the Aleppo-Damascus Highway," the sources added.
Observers say 2016 will be a very important year for all parties involved in this war.
Last week, the Syrian army and their allies from Hezbollah, Harakat Al-Nujaba, and the National Defense Forces (NDF) completed the second phase of their Southern Aleppo operation after they captured the strategic town of Khan Touman and the village of al-Khalidiyah; this resulted in the obstruction of the terrorists' main supply line from Idlib to Aleppo.
A report said on Friday that large groups of fresh forces have arrived in al-Hadher to join the Syrian Army and its allies to launch a new phase of operations to take back the strategic Aleppo-Idlib highway from militants' control.
"A massive wave of Hezbollah and Iraqi popular forces have arrived in the town of al-Hadher in order to begin the third phase of large-scale operation in Aleppo province's Southern territories," the sources said.
"The main objective for these reinforcements will be the capture of the Aleppo-Idlib axis that has been under the control of the militant groups well over two and a half years," the sources added.
Army Intensifying Clashes with Militants in Deir Ezzur
Dec 27, 2015
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army fired artillery shells at the Takfiri militants as clashes intensify between the Syrian pro-government forces and the terrorists in Deir Ezzur province.
Field sources said Sunday that a group of ISIL terrorists were killed and injured in clashes with the Syrian army in al-Rasafa neighborhood in Deir Ezzur city.
The Syrian army also engaged in skirmishes with ISIL terrorists in the vicinity of al-Jafre village in Deir Ezzur province, the sources added.
The news comes as the Syrian forces fired artillery shells at the terrorists' positions in the neighborhoods of al-Rasafa, al-Hewika and al-Sina'a in Deir Ezzur city.
On Saturday, the Syrian army continued to clash with ISIL terrorists in Deir Ezzur province as the Syrian warplanes intensified their airstrikes on militants' positions.
The Syrian air raids hit militants' positions in al-Jafre village near the military airport.
Meanwhile, the Syrian forces engaged in fierce clashes with ISIL terrorists in al-Hewika district in Deir Ezzur city and fired heavy artillery shells at their positions.
Meanwhile, the army destroyed ISIL positions in a special operation in al-Sina'a neighborhood in Deir Ezzur City.
In Nangarhar Province, Pro-Government Armed Men Behead IS Militants To Revenge
By Khaama Press - Sun Dec 27 2015
Zahir QadirA group of pro-government armed men have beheaded four members of the terrorist group of Islamic State (IS) or Daesh in eastern Afghanistan to revenge.
The incident took place in Achin District of Nangarhar province which is a stronghold of the militant group in the country’s east.
Haji Ghalib Mujahid, governor of Achin District says Daesh captured four members of the pro-government forces during a gun battle and later beheaded them.
He said the pro-government armed men who also had five members of Daesh in their custody did the same to revenge. “They beheaded four of them and put their dead bodies on the side of the road,” Mujahid said.
According to the district governor, two of the four militants belonged to Tirah valley while the two others were from Orakzai Agency of Pakistan.
The pro-government armed men under the leadership of MP Haji Zahir Qadir mobilized against Daesh when their insurgency and brutality surged in parts of Nangarhar.
Qadir says he grabbed arms against insurgents to secure his people and defend his country.
This is first time that pro-government forces behead members of Daesh in Afghanistan.
Taliban Deny Talks with Russia on IS in Afghanistan
AFP — 27 12 15
KABUL: The Taliban have denied they held talks with Russia about countering the spread of the militant Islamic State group in Afghanistan, and dismissed the influence of the group in the country.
The insurgents were responding to a statement Wednesday by senior Russian diplomat Zamir Kabulov, who said his country was exchanging information with the Taliban about the group.
Kabulov, who is a Kremlin special representative in Afghanistan, said Moscow had a shared interest with the Taliban in counteracting the spread of the Islamic State group – also known as Daesh.
We “do not see a need for receiving aid from anyone concerning so-called Daesh and neither have we contacted nor talked with anyone about this issue,” the Taliban said in an English-language statement on their website.
IS controls large swathes of Syria and Iraq. Fighters in parts of eastern Afghanistan have also proclaimed loyalty to it, challenging the Taliban on their own turf.
Although there are signs that the popularity of IS is growing in Afghanistan, including a radio station that broadcasts Islamic State propaganda every morning, the Taliban remain a far more potent force.
The Taliban in their statement played down reports of an IS presence.
“Some people in Afghanistan are wrongfully taking advantage of the name Daesh while national and international intelligence are also supporting them with the aim of prolonging the occupation,” they said.
The Taliban said they had “to a large extent uprooted this project”, which currently had a presence only in a small corner of a single province.
Ministry of Interior says explosion in Baghlan mosque was work of Taliban
By Khaama Press - Sat Dec 26 2015
Ministry of Interior says the explosion in a mosque in northern Baghlan province that left at least 10 worshippers wounded was the work of Taliban.
“Taliban once again planted bomb in a mosque. Explosion of Taliban-bomb left a number of worshippers wounded in a mosque in Baghlan,” said Sediq Sediqi, spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior in a tweet this morning.
Taliban have not commented on the report but they have carried out several attacks of this type in the past.
The blast took place as people had gathered to offer prayers in the mosque of Ghorbandi village in Baghlan-e-Markazi District on Friday.
The victims include Mullah of the mosque.
Afghanistan needs to see beyond promises and commitments from Pakistan
By Ahmad Hasib Farhan - Sat Dec 26 2015
FOOL ME TEN TIMES AND SHAME ON WHO?
Afghanistan needs to see beyond promises and commitments from Pakistan
President Ashraf Ghani’s presence in the Heart of Asia Conference, held in Islamabad, symbolized grace and seems to be one of the positive developments in Pak-Afghan relations. Though, many Afghan political leaders publicly discouraged Ghani not to attend a gathering in which he was not in the original list of invitees. . The discouragement may have been given solid grounds because the conference seemed to be another one of the run of the mill events despite the reiteration of measures to stabilize Afghanistan by its members.
Sartaj Aziz, the Adviser on Foreign Affairs to the Pakistani Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, delivered the opening remarks at the meeting and stated, “Pakistan wants durable peace and stability in Afghanistan. Instability in Afghanistan is not in our interest,” adding that “We will therefore continue to support all endeavors aimed at strengthening peace and security in Afghanistan.”
Full report here: http://www.khaama.com/afghanistan-needs-to-see-beyond-promises-and-commitments-from-pakistan-1874
Russia stations state-of-the-art missile system in Syria after Turkey shot down its jet
December 27, 2015
Russia, Syria, Russia missile system, Russia Syria, Russia Turkey missiles, Russia Triumf missiles Russian S-400 Triumf missile system stationed at Hmeymim airbase in Latakia, Syria. (Source: Ruptly)
Russia on Wednesday stationed one of its most advanced missile system in Syria’s Hmeymim airbase in Latakia.
The video reveals a closer look at the S-400 Triumf missile system that can destroy ballistic missiles within a range of up to 400 kilometres. Through its wide range of rockets and detection range of upto 600 km, the S-400 can shoot down tactical and strategic aircrafts. The missile system is so cutting edge that it can also hit low-flying targets at altitudes from five metres (16 ft) with a flying speed of up to 4.8 kilometres per second (17,280 kph).
Russia’s move is laregely strategic as it aims to strengthen its air defence system after Turkey downed a Sukhoi Su-24 jet near the Syrian-Turkish border on November 24. The fighter jet was reportedly conducting a combat sortie against the Islamic State and other rebel groups.
On December 24, Turkey confirmed that it shot down a Russian warplane claiming it had violated Turkish airspace and ignored repeated warnings. Russia denied that the plane crossed the Syrian border into Turkish skies.
President Vladimir Putin called Turkey’s downing of a Russian fighter jet “a stab in the back” carried out by the accomplices of terrorists, saying the incident would have serious consequences for Moscow’s relations with Ankara.
Afghan army thwart roadside bombing plot in Kabul
By Khaama Press - Sat Dec 26 2015
Afghan armyThe Afghan National Army (ANA) forces thwarted a plot to carry out a series of roadside bomb attacks in Kabul, the defense authorities said Saturday.
At least three Improvised Explosive Device (IED) were discovered and defused by the Afghan armed forces belonging to the 111 Division of Quick Reaction Forces.
The IEDs were planted in Bagh-e-Alam and Jaji village in Qarabagh district of Kabul, MoD said, adding that the IEDs were defused by Explosive Ordnance Disposal team.
The anti-government armed militant groups have not commented regarding the report so far.
Taliban militants and insurgents belonging to other militant groups frequently use Improvised Explosive Device (IED) as the weapon of their choice to target the security forces, however in majority of such attacks the ordinary civilians are targeted.
This comes as the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said earlier in August that the civilian casualties remain at record in the Afghan war in the first half of 2015.
According to UNAMA, 70 per cent of these casualties were caused by the militant activities, calling on anti-government armed militant groups to immediately cease the use of IEDs, particularly suicide and complex attacks, in all areas frequented by civilians, and stop using illegal pressure-plate IEDs.
Parliament objects Russia’s contacts with Taliban
By Khaama Press - Sat Dec 26 2015, 4:10 pm
Afghan-Parliament1Parliament on Saturday objected Russia’s contacts with Taliban calling it interference in Afghan affairs.
While raising concerns over the contacts, parliamentarians said this is fight between two super powers and Afghans are not able to stand in rivalry.
“There are concerns that Afghanistan might become a battle field for world powers,” said MP Sayed Mohammad Hassan, adding that “Fate of the people would resemble to that of Iraq and Syria.”
Shinkay Karokhil, another Member of Parliament said Russia does not trust the government of Afghanistan. “That is why it has established contacts with Taliban,” she said.
MP Zahir Sadat while directly criticizing the remarks of Zamir Kabulov said, “There are no good and bad among terrorists.”
MPs raised concerns after Zamir Kabulov, a Russian diplomat and President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy to Afghanistan pointed that they exchange information with Taliban regarding the terrorist group of Islamic State (IS) or Daesh.
However, such contacts have been rejected by the Taliban.
“We are having talks, but not about fighting ISIL. We want foreign forces out of our country, that is what we are talking about at the moment,” a Taliban spokesperson told Al Jazeera. “They [ISIL fighters] are a small bunch based only in Nangarhar (province) and are not a big or a strong group that we would be threatened with.”
Syrian rebel group appoints successor to slain commander
December 26, 2015
Militant groups in Syria on Saturday mourned the death of a powerful rebel commander killed the previous day in an airstrike near Damascus a high-profile assassination that may shift the balance of power in rebel-held suburbs of Damascus.
Zahran Allouch, the head of the Army of Islam group, was killed in an airstrike that targeted the group’s headquarters during a meeting on Friday. He was instantly killed along with other commanders from the ultraconservative Ahrar al-Sham and the Faylaq al-Rahman groups.
His assassination a month before peace talks are scheduled to begin between the Syrian government and opposition rebel groups is a blow to insurgents fighting to topple President Bashar Assad and a boost to government forces who have been bolstered by the Russian military intervention in Syria in the past few months.
Full report here: http://indianexpress.com/article/world/world-news/syrian-rebel-group-appoints-successor-to-slain-commander/99/print/
Afghan opposition critical of Ghani for including Pakistan in peace talks
Reuters — Published 40 minutes ago
KABUL: Umer Daudzai, a former ambassador to Pakistan, and a leading opposition figure in Afghanistan, opposes Ghani's strategy of including Pakistan in peace talks with the Taliban, saying Islamabad wants to control the insurgency, a common view in Afghanistan that Pakistan denies.
"For 10 years we went through Islamabad and it didn't work. Pakistan will never give up its asset, which is most of the Taliban," Daudzai said. "They are playing games."
Instead he says, a small group of Afghans, acceptable to both sides, could start contacts leading ultimately to face-to-face meetings. "But it would be Afghan-brokered," he said.
Daudzai's criticism comes as Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif meets with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani during a day-long visit to Kabul, where the two are expected to discuss reconciliation between the Afghan government and Taliban, as well as instituting a border-management mechanism.
Full report here: http://www.dawn.com/news/1228992/afghan-opposition-critical-of-ghani-for-including-pakistan-in-peace-talks
Unidentified gunmen shot dead six members of a family in Kunar
By Zabihullah Moosakhail - Sun Dec 27 2015
Kunar-khas-kunar-common-sight-3816Unidentified armed men have killed six members of a single family in eastern Kunar province of Afghanistan, less than three weeks after an entire family was killed in a similar attack in its neighboring Nangarhar province.
Police chief of Kunar province said the incident took place in Bari Kot village of Naray District Saturday night.
According to Abdul Habib Sayedkhil, those killed include two children, two women and two men who had moved to this village from neighboring Nooristan province.
Motive behind last night’s incident is unknown but the one that took place in Behsood District of Nangarhar province on the night of December 11 was the result of a family dispute.
Security agencies have launched an investigation into Kunar’s incident to get to the killers.
Iranian President Asks S. Arabia to Revise Policies on Region
Dec 27, 2015
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called on Saudi Arabia and certain other regional states to review their hostile policies against the Muslim countries and focus on the crimes committed by Israel against the Palestinian people.
"While once, we were sad to see that foreign aggressors and enemies of Islam were attacking Muslims and occupying an Islamic country, unfortunately, today we are under such conditions that when we think of the Muslim states, we see that either a country is attacking another one and is pounding its innocent people with bombs and missiles or certain groups in the Muslim world are showing their blades to the Muslims under the name of Islam and Jihad," Rouhani said, addressing the 29th International Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran on Sunday.
Full report here: http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941006000550
Iran, Cuba deals major diplomatic breakthrough, says US
December 27th, 2015
WASHINGTON: In a statement released on Christmas Eve, the US State Department listed restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba and signing a nuclear deal with Iran among its key foreign policy achievements this year.
In January, the United States and Cuba began talks to re-establish diplomatic relations after 54 years. In July, the US reopened its embassy in Havana and Cuba did the same in Washington.
Full report here: http://www.dawn.com/news/1228898/iran-cuba-deals-major-diplomatic-breakthrough-says-us
Turkish-Israeli normalization may not go beyond rhetoric
December 26, 2015
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's surprise statement about a possible thaw in Turkish-Israeli relations in mid-December appears to signal an effort from Turkey to improve its embattled position in the region rather than a genuine intention to normalize ties with Israel.
Erdoğan, who has been known to use inflammatory rhetoric targeting Israel at every chance and often describes Israel as “that country to the south,” told journalists on Dec. 13 in his private plane en route to Turkey after a visit to Turkmenistan that normalization between Turkey and Israel would be beneficial for the entire region.
During Israel's Gaza offensive last year, Erdoğan said Israel had “surpassed Hitler in barbarity” and accused it of “systematic genocide” and “state terrorism.” However, US officials urged Erdoğan to refrain from such remarks, saying that they were hurting Turkey's international standing and its ability to play a constructive role and called on Turkey to exert its influence over Hamas.
Full report here: http://www.todayszaman.com/diplomacy_turkish-israeli-normalization-may-not-go-beyond-rhetoric_407877.html
Iranian MPs Protest IESCO's Decision to Select Sudanese City as Capital of Islamic Civilization
Dec 27, 2015
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian parliamentarians are writing a letter to President Hassan Rouhani to voice their protest at a recent decision by the Islamic, Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (IESCO) to change the cultural capital of the Islamic civilization from Isfahan city to the Sudanese city of Sennar, a lawmaker disclosed.
The Iranian MPs will protest in reaction to the recent decision by the IESCO to name the Sudanese city of Sennar as the Islamic cultural capital for the year 2017.
Speaking to FNA on Sunday, Shahinshahr MP Hosseinali Haji Deligani said that the Iranian lawmakers are preparing a letter to be addressed to President Rouhani to urge him to take the necessary actions to reverse the IESCO's decision and reinstate Isfahan as the cultural capital of the Islamic civilization.
Full report here: http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941006000726
Turkish journalists march in İstanbul to protest arrest of colleagues
December 26, 2015
Turkish journalists gathered on Saturday in downtown İstanbul for a “30-step march” to mark the 30th day of the imprisonment of the Cumhuriyet daily's Editor-in-Chief Can Dündar and Ankara representative Erdem Gül for the newspaper's coverage of the 2014 interception of National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks carrying guns to Syrian groups.
Chanting "The free media cannot be silenced," the journalists took 30 symbolic steps to show solidarity with Dündar and Gül and call for freedom to all journalists who are behind bars. “We demand that not only Dündar and Gül but all jailed journalists be released,” journalist Ceyda Karan said as she read out a press statement on behalf of the group. She added it was a “black stain” on Turkish democracy that 34 journalists are currently imprisoned. “We are not traitors or spies or heroes. We are journalists,” she said.
Dündar and Gül were arrested for the publication of a report in Cumhuriyet and for posting footage of the 2014 interception of trucks after a court case was launched when President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan filed a complaint against the two. In televised remarks in June, Erdoğan promised that Dündar would “pay a heavy price” for the news items. “I will not let him go,” the president said.
Full report here: http://www.todayszaman.com/national_turkish-journalists-march-in-i-stanbul-to-protest-arrest-of-colleagues_408013.html
CAR Muslims hopeful over landmark polls
December 27, 2015
Made homeless and jobless by conflict, young Muslims displaced by sectarian violence who are now sleeping out in the Central African Republic's capital Bangui see Wednesday's elections as their only salvation.
The onetime drivers, mechanics, merchants and electricians found refuge in a mosque in Bangui's flashpoint Muslim PK-5 district after a September spike in violence drove them from their homes.
Their homes located by Christian neighbourhoods were looted and burnt down -- as were many Christian homes in tit-for-tat sectarian violence that month that killed 61 people and wounded more than 300 people.
Eager to vote in elections seen as turning the page on almost three years of such violence, the men this weekend turned up at the Koudoukou school to pick up voter cards ahead of the vote.
Full report here: http://www.worldbulletin.net/world/167830/car-muslims-hopeful-over-landmark-polls
Vienna police warns of terror attacks on European capitals
December 27, 2015
Police in the Austrian capital of Vienna have stepped up security around the city after a warning to several European capitals about a possible terror attack between Christmas and New Year.
The police said that the warning, about a gun or bomb attack, did not specify any targets and that authorities in Vienna did not intend to cancel any specific events.
“Several possible names of potential attackers were mentioned, which were checked, and the investigation based on (these checks) has so far yielded no concrete results,” Vienna police said in a statement.
Full report here: http://indianexpress.com/article/world/world-news/vienna-police-warns-of-terror-attacks-on-european-capitals/99/print/
Paris attacks ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud 'visited UK over the summer', intelligence agencies believe
Jon Stone | The Independent | Dec 26, 2015
The terrorist who led the Paris terror attacks in November visited to the UK on a fake passport last year, according to reports.
It is claimed that Abdelhamid Abaaoud arrived in Kent on a false passport before travelling to London.
A senior source close to the investigation into the Paris attacks reportedly told The Sun newspaper that Abaaoud had visited the UK but that they did not know why.
The Belgian national is thought to have been the ringleader of the attacks, with 10 other armed terrorists working with him.
Full report here: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/uk/Paris-attacks-ringleader-Abdelhamid-Abaaoud-visited-UK-over-the-summer-intelligence-agencies-believe/articleshow/50332840.cms
The man who was held captive by ISIS for 10 months says how they can be defeated
Adam Withnall | The Independent | Dec 26, 2015
A French journalist who was held hostage by ISIS for 10 months has spoken out against air strikes in Syria, saying they represent "a trap" for Britain and other members of the international community.
Speaking in an interview with The Syria Campaign, Nicolas Henin put forward his strategy for combatting the militant group - a no-fly zone in opposition-held areas of Syria.
Henin has previously spoken about how he was held for seven months in Syria itself, and how British national Mohammed Emwazi - known as Jihadi John - was among the jailors who subjected him to physical and psychological torture.
"Strikes on ISIS are a trap," he said.
Full report here: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/The-man-who-was-held-captive-by-ISIS-for-10-months-says-how-they-can-be-defeated/articleshow/50333825.cms
Foreign secretaries to meet in Islamabad to keep Hurriyat at bay
Sachin Parashar | TNN | Dec 27, 2015
NEW DELHI: Foreign secretary S Jaishankar is likely to travel to Islamabad for a meeting with his counterpart Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhary on January 15 in what marks an important and immediate takeaway from PM Narendra Modi's Christmas date with his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif.
Official sources on both sides confirmed the two diplomats will together work out the modalities and schedule of the meetings under the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue, as announced in Islamabad on December 9.
Full report here: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Foreign-secretaries-to-meet-in-Islamabad-to-keep-Hurriyat-at-bay/articleshow/50338152.cms
India, Pak working on Saarc disaster response force
Pradeep Thakur | TNN | Dec 27, 2015
NEW DELHI: Disaster diplomacy is the new buzzword in the Narendra Modi-led government which is closely working with Pakistan along with six other member-countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) in raising a common disaster response force, on the lines of UN peace keeping force, for specialized response to natural and man-made disasters.
New Delhi has already pledged two battalions of its National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to be part of the Saarc's rapid response force, a framework for which has already been signed by the eight nations. Pakistan has been taking greater interest in the project as it can hardly afford to be left behind in the India-led initiative in strengthening regional bond on a key sensitive issue where other countries are looking up to New Delhi for capacity-building.
Full report here: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-Pak-working-on-Saarc-disaster-response-force/articleshow/50338049.cms
Modi sees Pakistan as bridge to Afghanistan
The Newspaper's Correspondent — Updated about 8 hours ago
NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday that he saw Pakistan as a potential bridge between South Asia and Afghanistan.
Addressing Afghan deputies in the new parliament building he inaugurated in Kabul before an announced meeting with Prime
Minister Nawaz Sharif in Lahore, he said: “We know that Afghanistan’s success will require the cooperation and support of each of its neighbours. And all of us in the region — India, Pakistan, Iran and others — must unite, in trust and cooperation, behind this common purpose and in recognition of our common destiny.”
Indian prime minister inaugurates parliament building in Kabul
He saw Afghanistan becoming a haven of peace and a hub for the flow of ideas, commerce, energy and investment in the region when “we will all prosper together”.
The Press Trust of India quoted Mr Modi as saying efforts were under way to improve Afghanistan’s connectivity by land and sea, including through Chahbahar in Iran.
Full report here: http://www.dawn.com/news/1228916/modi-sees-pakistan-as-bridge-to-afghanistan
3 Hyderabad youths planning to join terror outfits held at Nagpur airport
Srinath Vudali & Soumitra Bose | TNN | Dec 27, 2015, 12.06 AM IST
HYDERABAD/NAGPUR: Three city-based students, all cousins, were arrested at the Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport in Nagpur in a joint operation of the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) and Counter Intelligence Cell (CIC) of Telangana police early on Saturday.
Abdul Basith, Syed Omar Farooq Hussain and Majid Hasan alias Maaz Hasan, were allegedly influenced by the jihadi ideology and planned to join terror groups like the Islamic State (IS) or Hizbul Mujahideen after taking a flight to Srinagar, and crossing over from the LoC into Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). The trio first wanted to meet Hurriyat leaders in J&K and explore the possibility of waging 'jihad' in Kashmir. The Telangana police team are bringing them to Hyderabad.
Full report here: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/3-Hyderabad-youths-planning-to-join-terror-outfits-held-at-Nagpur-airport/articleshow/50337524.cms
Cross-border religious tourism is lowest-hanging fruit
Sameer Arshad | TNN | Dec 27, 2015, 05.36 AM IST
Singer Anup Jalota's bhajan 'prabhuji tum chandan hum pani' played in the background as a saffron-robed priest purified Krishna, Radha and Hanuman's idols with milk for their installation at Lahore's Krishna Temple in February 2007.
The temple on Ravi Road in Pakistan's cultural capital was packed with devotees, many of whom occupied the corridor and stairs to witness the unusual murti sathapna amid Hindu chants.
The India-Pakistan detente (2003-2008) had allowed a group of Indian pilgrims' to carry out the first sathapna at the temple since partition virtually emptied out Hindus and Sikhs of west Punjab and Muslims of the region's eastern part.
The sathapna was perhaps the little-known high-point of the thaw before the attacks on Mumbai derailed the process in 2008.
The inclusion of religious tourism now in the recently-announced India-Pakistan dialogue should allow the two countries to pick up the threads on this front to promote greater people-to-people contact.
Full report here: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Cross-border-religious-tourism-is-lowest-hanging-fruit/articleshow/50338589.cms
ISIS threatening to kill me, says BJP MLA Sangeet Som
Sandeep Rai | TNN | Dec 26, 2015, 09.49 PM IST
MEERUT: BJP MLA Sangeet Som on Saturday said he has received a "death threat" from a person claiming to be a member of terror network Islamic State. The claim comes three months after the firebrand MLA said the Lashkar-e-Taiba too had despatched a threat letter to him.
According to Som, who is an accused in the Muzaffarnagar riots case, he received a call at around 9.30 am on Saturday from a man who said he would killed soon and that nobody would be able to save him.
"The call came on my official phone and the number had a +56 code, which means it came from Chile in South America. The person spoke in broken Hindi and said that he was an ISIS member," said Som, adding, "When I rebuked him, he said that they don't kill without first warning. He told me that his men were already at it. I have given a written complaint to the police."
Full report here: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/ISIS-threatening-to-kill-me-says-BJP-MLA-Sangeet-Som/articleshow/50336218.cms
14 killed in Muslim rebel attacks in southern Philippines
AP | Dec 26, 2015
MANILA, Philippines: A Philippine military spokeswoman says Christmas attacks by Muslim rebels against Christian communities in the country's volatile south have left at least 14 people dead.
Regional military spokeswoman Capt. Joan Petinglay says the dead included nine Christian villagers gunned down by Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter insurgents and at least five rebels killed by government forces in clashes in the provinces of Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao and North Cotabato.
Petinglay says around 200 rebels took part in the attacks. She says the military learned about the impending attacks and secured towns and villages and warned villagers not to venture out, preventing a larger number of casualties.
The rebels broke off from the larger Moro Islamic Liberation Front when the latter entered into peace talks with the government.
Rangers finally get ‘legal’ cover
IFTIKHAR A. KHAN —
27 12 15
ISLAMABAD: The special policing powers of Rangers in Karachi have finally been given ‘legal’ cover, according to an official of the interior ministry.
He told Dawn that through a notification issued by the ministry on Friday, Sindh Rangers had been granted powers to operate in Karachi for two months under the provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).
The issuance of the notification is likely to take the war of words between the centre and the Sindh government to a new high. The Sindh government has been accusing the federal government of “invading the province” since its summary to curtail powers of Rangers was rejected by Islamabad.
Full report here: http://www.dawn.com/news/1228919/rangers-finally-get-legal-cover
One man cannot overrule Sindh Assembly, says CM
DAWN.COM — 27 12 15
GARHI KHUDA BAKSH: Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, addressing a rally here on the 8th death anniversary of Benazir Bhutto, attacked Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali, saying "one man cannot overrule the Sindh Assembly resolution."
An animated Shah said the Constitution empowered the Sindh Assembly and the National Assembly and it was undemocratic for one man (Chaudhry Nisar) to set aside a legislature's wishes.
Full report here: http://www.dawn.com/news/1228996/one-man-cannot-overrule-sindh-assembly-says-qaim
General Raheel Sharif arrives in Kabul
KABUL: Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif arrived in Kabul on a day-long visit for deliberations on resumption of the Afghan reconciliation process and instituting a border management mechanism.
Inter-Services Public Relations spokesman Lt Gen Asim Bajwa tweeted this morning that the army chief had left for Kabul with "sincerity and optimism for better border management and peace process in Afghanistan".
Asim Bajwa had earlier confirmed Raheel Sharif's visit to the Afghan capital, saying the army chief would hold meetings with political and military leadership of Afghanistan.
Gen Sharif last visited Kabul along with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in May this year.
Their visit had then helped address Afghan misgivings, which had emerged after the start of Taliban’s spring offensive and the engagement led to the start of reconciliation process some seven weeks later, on July 7 in Murree.
Full report here: http://www.dawn.com/news/1228983/coas-arrives-in-kabul
Iftikhar Chaudhry launches his party
A REPORTER — 27 12 15
ISLAMABAD: Former chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry launched on Friday a political party namely ‘Pakistan Justice Democratic Critic Party (PJDCP)’.
Speaking at the launching ceremony, he said the PJDCP would welcome only non-corrupt people, adding that the party’s aim would be to solve people’s problems.
Mr Chaudhry, 66, said his party would work on a 25-point agenda, including in the sectors of health and education and land reforms. Provision of justice to the common man would be the basic manifesto of his party, he added.
Full report here: http://www.dawn.com/news/1228927/iftikhar-chaudhry-launches-his-party
Pakistan earthquake kills two, injures 85
ANI | Dec 27, 2015
PESHAWAR: Two people were killed while at least 85 others were injured across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Gilgit-Baltistan when an earthquake shook parts of Pakistan on Friday night.
The two killed included a soldier from Mohmand tribal region and a woman from Ghizer.
Assistant Political Agent in Ghalanai Haseebur Rehman Khalil told Dawn that the injured sepoy had been taken to the Mamad Gat Hospital.
In Gilgit-Baltistan, an expecting mother was killed and her husband and two children, aged two and four years, were injured when their house collapsed in Phander area of Ghizer district.
Full report here: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pakistan-earthquake-kills-two-injures-85/articleshow/50339643.cms
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