Backs Away From Death by Stoning Under Islamic Law
Lanka Expels 200 Islamic Clerics, From Bangladesh, India, Maldives and
Lanka Police Discover Suspected Training Camp for Extremist Militants
Meals and Torch-Lit Parades: Indonesia Muslims Welcome Ramadan
Under the Northern Light: How Muslims in Scandinavia Cope With Long Ramadan
Record to Suggest That Some Sri Lanka Bombers Visited Kashmir: J&K Police
Returns to Restart Business In Srinagar, Gets Tumultuous Welcome By Fellow
Starts Training of ISIL Terrorists at US Base in Western Iraq
May Review Ties with Countries Deemed Anti-Israel
Imran Launches Al-Qadir University to ‘Teach Sufism, Create Future Leaders’
Ramadan Blitz in Gaza Kills More Than 20 Palestinians, Including Hamas
Mediators Propose Two Transition Councils to Break Deadlock in Power Transfer
calls for week-long humanitarian truce in Libya as tensions rise
security forces kill three suspected militants
After Easter Attacks
Suicide Bomber Leads Attack on an Afghan Police HQ, 20 Injured
Taliban, ISIS militants killed in separate airstrikes conducted in Uruzgan and
Bo Calls for Communal Harmony among Lankan Minorities
main opposition in Bangladesh has become politically bankrupt?
and Pakistani leaders discuss peace, security, regional prosperity over phone
Special Forces identify, arrest a prominent Taliban leader in Mazar-e-Sharif
Muslim groups urge UN action against Israel
New Malaysia Declaration, DAP reiterates commitment to uplift all
statements on Haj quota could affect Malaysia-Saudi relations, says Mujahid
Malaysians can read Akyol’s banned book ‘Islam without Extremes’ for free
Promoting Extremism In British Madrasas, Report Claims
far-right party calling for Muslim deportation to stand in election
says deeply concerned by Turkey’s intent to drill off Cyprus
to Suggest That Some Sri Lanka Bombers Visited Kashmir: J&K Police Chief
in hoax bomb calls after Sri Lanka, Pulwama attacks
special representative for Afghanistan to hold talks with Sushma Swaraj
ground zero of suicide attack, fear casts shadow on polls
stages protest against Mehbooba Mufti for advocating Ramzan ceasefire
Tourism Official Says No Visas for Egyptians, Describes Them As ‘Enemies’
for other religions is vital for peaceful coexistence: MWL chief
of Civilians Arrested by US-Backed SDF in Deir Ezzur in Clampdown on Dissent
domestic workers in Lebanon protest abuses
strikes shut two hospitals in Syria’s Idlib
King Salman calls for tolerance, moderation in Ramadan message
US deploying carrier, bombers to Middle East to deter Iran
to impose additional sanctions against Iran: Report
Cops, Volunteers to Man Punjab's Worship Places during Ramazan
On To Make Pakistan an Islamic Welfare State, Says PM
among 2 civilians killed in cross-border firing along LoC, says Pakistan Army
puts end to 35-year association with PML-N
Ghani Vow to Take Steps For Peace In Region
accused of handing over country to IMF
says it doesn’t want a new war with Israel amid a UN call for restraint
kills Hamas commander in first targeted strike in years
Palestine reach ceasefire agreement to stop Gaza attacks
signals cease-fire with Gaza to end deadly escalation
regains access to Yemeni grain after reaching Hodeidah store
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Backs Away From Death By Stoning Under Islamic Law
Shibani Mahtani May 6 at 6:24 AM
KONG — The sultan of Brunei said his country would not impose the death
penalty, appearing to back away from harsh punishments including death by
stoning for gay sex and adultery under strict new laws that took effect last
Sunday in a televised address, his first comments since the laws were enacted
amid significant international backlash, he noted that Brunei has had a “de
facto moratorium” on the death penalty under common law.
moratorium, he said, will also be extended to cases under the new
sharia-influenced (Islamic law) penal code.
am aware that there are all sorts of questions and misconceptions on the implementation”
of the laws, the sultan, Hassanal Bolkiah, said. “For that, we have given
clarification. We are conscious of the fact that these misconceptions may cause
laws were met with swift condemnation when their latest phase took effect on
April 3, implementing chilling punishments under the Islamic penal code after
years of planning and preparation. Observers noted that the laws were
incongruous with the Bruneian royal family’s reputation for wild partying and
opulence and were indicative of the sultan’s desire to bring his country closer
to more strict interpretations of Islamic law.
United Nations called the laws draconian, and the move prompted calls for a
boycott of Brunei-controlled hotels from Hollywood celebrities including George
Clooney and Ellen DeGeneres.
governments had been quietly lobbying Brunei to refrain from implementing the
laws, which they said would complicate trade deals with the oil-rich sultanate,
and they have urged Brunei to uphold international human rights standards. A
State Department spokesman, speaking soon after the laws went into effect, said
the United States “regularly communicate[s] with the government of Brunei
regarding human rights and encourage[s] it to uphold its international commitments
on human rights.”
his Sunday speech, Bolkiah also added that Brunei will be ratifying the U.N.
Convention against Torture. It is unclear how the ratification of that treaty
would affect other punishments under the Islamic penal code, which also call
for amputation of hands and feet for stealing. The new laws also apply to
children and foreigners who are not Muslim.
sultan, however, continued to stand by the laws, which he said were part of
Brunei’s “religious obligation to God as an Islamic country.”
are sure that once these misconceptions have been clarified, the merit of the
law will be evident,” he said.
to fewer than half a million people, the tiny sultanate on the island of Borneo
was not a comfortable place for the LGBT community even before the laws took
effect. Homosexuality was punishable by jail terms of up to a decade, for
example. Many in the community say it has been hard for them to express their
concerns over the new rules for fear that they could be charged with apostasy.
opposition is virtually nonexistent in Brunei, where the sultan rules as head
of state and serves as prime minister with full executive authority.
Sri Lanka has expelled over 600 foreign nationals, including around 200 Islamic
clerics, since the Easter suicide bombings blamed on a local jihadi group, a
minister told AFP Sunday. Home Affairs Minister Vajira Abeywardena said the
clerics had entered the country legally, but amid a security crackdown after
the attacks were found to have overstayed their visas, for which fines were
imposed and they were expelled from the island.
the current situation in the country, we have reviewed the visas system and
took a decision to tighten visa restrictions for religious teachers,"
of those who were sent out, about 200 were Islamic preachers." The Easter
Sunday bombings that killed 257 people and wounded nearly 500 were led by a
local cleric who is known to have travelled to neighbouring India and had made
contact with jihadists there.
minister did not give the nationalities of those who have been expelled, but
police have said many foreigners who have overstayed their visas since the
Easter attacks were from Bangladesh, India, Maldives and Pakistan.
are religious institutions which have been getting down foreign preachers for
decades," Abeywardena said. "We have no issues with them, but there
are some which mushroomed recently. We will pay more attention to them."
The minister said the government was overhauling the country's visa policy
following fears that foreign clerics could radicalise locals for a repeat of
the April 21 suicide bombings, which targeted three Christian churches and
three luxury hotels.
Lanka has imposed a state of emergency since the attacks and given wide powers
to troops and police to arrest and detain suspects for long periods.
House-to-house searches are being carried out across the country looking for
explosives and propaganda material of Islamic extremists.
Lanka Police Discover Suspected Training Camp For Extremist Militants
Sri Lankan police on Sunday discovered a 10-acre camp in the eastern town of
Kattankudy, where extremist militants linked to the deadly Easter attacks are
believed to have practiced shooting and bombmaking.
walled terrain is nestled in a poor residential area on the outskirts of the
home town of Zahran Hashim, who is believed to have been a key player in
plotting the April 21 attacks. Daesh has claimed responsibility for the church
and hotel bombings that killed more than 250 people.
narrow, sandy plot is dotted with a cinderblock four-story watchtower, as well
as mango trees, a chicken coop and a goat shed.
wanted to show this place was normal. If someone comes to see, it looks like a
farm. But what they were doing is terrorism,” said a senior police officer in
the Batticaloa area, asking to remain anonymous because he was not authorized
to speak to media.
found bullet holes in the wall on one side of the grounds, as well as long
tubes suspected of holding bombs, the officer said.
owners of the plot of land have been arrested, the officer said.
a city near Sri Lanka’s capital was placed under curfew by police Sunday,
following clashes between Muslim and Christian mobs.
senior police officer said the restrictions were imposed to prevent an
escalation of violence after attacks occurred in Negombo — north of Colombo —
where over 100 people died in a church bombing.
two motorcycles and a three-wheel taxi had been damaged in the clashes,” the
police officer told AFP. “We declared a curfew till 7.00 am (0130 GMT) to
contain the unrest.”
were no immediate reports of casualties.
country’s main international airport is located in the area, but police said
there was no disruption to airport traffic.
officer said an investigation was underway into the clashes, the first violence
between Muslims and Christians since the Easter Sunday attacks targeting three
churches and three luxury hotels in the country.
country has been under a state of emergency since the attacks. Security forces
and the police have been give sweeping powers to arrest and detain suspects for
meals and torch-lit parades: Indonesia Muslims welcome Ramadan
ACEH (AFP) - From cleaning up relatives' graves and sharing food with the poor
to holding colourful torch-lit street parades, millions of Indonesians are
getting ready to welcome the holy month of Ramadan in the world's populous
begins on Monday (May 6), with devotees fasting from dawn to dusk until Eid
celebrations marking the end of the holy month.
the conservative province of Aceh, Muslim families break their fast by eating
meat together and sharing the meal with the poor, in a centuries-old tradition
known as Meugang.
customers lined up in wait, butchers in the western province were busy at work,
chopping bones and slicing meat.
a tradition that we must follow, I'll cook rendang and eat with my family,"
Ms Ramla, who like many Indonesians has only one name, told AFP, referring to a
popular beef stew.
the capital Jakarta, thousands of Muslims marked the holy month by visiting
cemeteries to clean up their relatives' graves and pray for the departed so
they would get peace in the afterlife.
flower sellers set up makeshift tents to sell blossoms to visitors so they
could scatter petals on their relatives' graves.
the fasting month begins we usually visit each other, but we don't only visit
the living ones, we also visit the dead," said Mr Cepi Imamsyah Arian
Tandjung, who was visiting the graves of his parents, brother and uncle.
90 per cent of Indonesia's 270 million people follow Islam, but influences from
other religions are deeply ingrained in the country, including
"Nyadran", a Javanese ritual heavily influenced by Hindu and Buddhist
Temanggung in Central Java, over a thousand people joined Nyadran celebrations,
carrying a round basket filled with food on top of their heads before sharing
in a communal feast.
Tangerang, on the outskirts of Jakarta, hundreds of locals bathed in a spring
or a river, taking part in a cleansing ritual known as "Padusan" to
purify oneself before entering the holy month.
North Sumatra, locals including children wearing traditional dress chanted
prayers as they held a torch-lit procession to mark the start of Ramadan.
Under The Northern Light: How Muslims In Scandinavia Cope With Long Ramadan
Sofie Clausager Dar, 34, is looking forward to starting a new job during
Ramadan in Denmark, where many Muslims will fast for more than 17 hours a day
due to the late sunset.
Danish convert to Islam will be juggling her full-time job, motherhood, and
observing the traditions of the holy month — a particularly onerous task in
Scandinavia at this time of year.
don’t really have much time for everything that you need to do,” said Dar.
need to eat maybe two meals, you need to pray (the sunset and evening prayers),
and you need to pray Taraweeh (the optional night-time observation during
Ramadan). The time goes so fast.”
observing Ramadan in Denmark and other countries such as Norway and Iceland
will fast for far longer than those further south, where daylight hours are
shorter. There are some places where the sun does not set at all at certain
times of year — such as Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean
that is bathed in 24-hour light from April to August, or the city of Tromsø on
the mainland to the south.
who choose to fast in places that see the “midnight sun” have three options,
according to Asim Mohammed, 31, a scholar and imam at a mosque in Oslo, Norway.
can either fast according to dawn and sunset in the nearest city that does not
have continuous daylight, the times in Makkah, or according to the times in
their own area when the sun last actually set, said Mohammed.
said that some members of his congregation will take holidays during Ramadan in
order to cope with the long fast.
also depends on what type of work you do — if you’re an office worker, you
don’t have a problem because you’re sitting inside with the air conditioning
on, but if you work outside in the hot weather during May, June and July, it
can be a bit difficult. Most of my congregation — both young and old — fast,
and it’s fascinating how they cope,” he said.
fatigue and withdrawal symptoms are some of the consequences of fasting that
Muslims may experience.
said that “the lack of liquids, and feeling a bit dehydrated” are what she
struggles with most.
you’re way too tired in the evening, you’ve had a long day, you haven’t slept
much for a long time and then you end up falling asleep after eating. The next
day can be really hard because you haven’t had enough to drink, you may have
had only a few glasses of water,” she said.
lack of sleep can be really hard. My daughter is at school now and she has to
be there at 8 a.m. every morning, so making sure that happens is very tough.”
fasting does become easier as the month progresses, Dar added.
the beginning it’s harder, but then your body gets used to it and it’s not so
much of a struggle,” she said.
highlighted the importance of eating suhoor, the meal eaten before dawn to
provide energy for the day ahead. “Otherwise you’re only going to have one meal
and one chance to have any liquids to make sure that you don’t become
dehydrated,” she said. “Waking up before dawn is something that I always do.
Sometimes I don’t sleep (and) take a nap during the day.”
asked whether she has any strategies in place for her busy Ramadan schedule
this year, Dar said: “You just get by. There is no point in worrying about it
and thinking it’s going to be so hard.”
course, while Muslims in northern Europe face a long fast during late spring
and summer, the opposite is the case during the winter months.
Norway, there is a huge difference between daylight hours in summer and winter.
During winter months like December, sunset can be as early as 3:15 p.m. Of
course, everyone prefers Ramadan in winter,” said Imam Mohammed.
Eid Al-Fitr, the festival that marks the end of Ramadan, creating a fun
atmosphere for children can be a challenge in countries where Muslims only form
a minority of the population.
said that, while she tries to make Eid as fun as fun as possible for her
children, it would be nice if they could experience more Ramadan and Eid
traditions in Denmark.
could do with more traditions and activities, that would be positive for them,”
she said. “We live in a country where Christmas is a big deal, but it would be
nice if they could have the equivalent of that as Muslims.”
are signs, however, that Muslim groups in northern Europe are increasingly
clubbing together to celebrate the end of Ramadan.
the past two years, some of the Muslim organizations and mosques have started
doing Eid together. They’ll hire a hall where they will perform the Eid prayer.
After that, people can buy food and there are activities for kids and elders,”
said Imam Mohammed.
record to suggest that some Sri Lanka bombers visited Kashmir: J&K Police
and Kashmir Police chief Dilbag Singh Sunday said there was no record to
suggest that any of the suicide bombers, who carried out the Easter Sunday
attacks in Sri Lanka, had visited Kashmir as claimed by the Army chief of the
to PTI, Singh said they have not received any information from the Island
nation through diplomatic channel but the persons whose names appeared on
social media have not travelled to Kashmir.
have checked and there is no information about them having visited here,” Singh
said, adding immigration records were re-visited after the terrorist attacks
and none of the bombers had visited Kashmir.
was reacting to a day after claims were made by Lieutenant General Mahesh
Senanayake, Commander of the Sri Lankan Army, on BBC that “they (the suspects)
have gone to India, they’ve gone to Kashmir, Bangalore, they’ve travelled to
Kerala state. Those are the information available with us.”
said that the army chief of Sri Lanka should send whatever evidence they have,
through diplomatic channels, and that he would look into it.
officials of the central security agencies said that about a dozen Sri Lankan
nationals had come to Kashmir Valley this year and their credentials have been
re-checked after the April 21 bombings in three churches and three luxury
hotels killed 253 people and injured over 500 others.
there could be a possibility of the bombers visiting the state using pseudonym,
one of the officials said, adding if Sri Lanka hands over some evidence, it can
be verified from the ground.
Lanka Army’s chief has said that some of the suicide bombers, who carried out
the country’s worst terror attack, visited Kashmir and Kerala for “some sorts
of training” or to “make some more links” with other foreign outfits.
is the first time that a top Sri Lankan security official has confirmed the
militants’ visit to India which had shared intelligence inputs with Colombo
ahead of the attack.
suicide bombers, including a woman, carried out the series of blasts.
returns to restart business in Srinagar, gets tumultuous welcome by fellow
A 74-year-old Kashmiri Pandit Roshan Lal Mawa, who survived bullet wounds when
he was attacked in his shop in October 1990, reopened his wholesale provision
store at Gada Kocha in Zaina Kadal in Srinagar downtown on Wednesday, almost
three decades after he migrated from here after the attack.
pistol-borne young boy pumped four bullets into me. A bullet hit my head too.
The attack happened at this very shop in Gada Kocha. My family took me to Delhi
for treatment and we settled in Delhi and set up a wholesale dry fruits
business at Khari Baoli in old Delhi,” recalls Roshan Lal Mawa, adding he was
well-settled in Delhi but had chosen to come back.
Lal said his store, in the name of Nand Lal Maharaj Kishan, was doing well
before the 1990s outbreak of militancy in J&K. Gada Kocha a business hub in
Srinagar, “our shop was known as the wholesale store”.
forgotten my past and am here to reopen my shop with tremendous love for my
native place. Muslim shopkeepers around my shop not only welcomed me with open
arms but even performed ‘dastarbandi’, and tied a pagdi. My son Sandeep was equally
honoured by the shopkeepers here today,” a joyous Roshan Lal said.
is among Mawa’s two sons and a daughter. One son an engineer in Bengaluru,
Sandeep runs an NGO, J&K Reconciliation Front, a secular front which hopes
to return the Pandits home. Sandeep said, “I requested my father Roshan Lal Mawa
to return, and restart his business in Kashmir. Because charity begins at home,
I started it from my home. I’m trying to bring back 100 more Pandit
Ahmad, a shopkeeper in Gada Kocha said: “We’re delighted the Mawa family has
returned to their business here. We appeal to Kashmiri Pandit traders to return
and re-start their businesses here.”
Lal said he appealed to Pandits to return to the Valley “as there is no fear
here”. Sandeep Mawa spoke of his efforts: “In 2016, I tried to get 50 such
families back but that did not happen after the killing of Burhan Wani. My
efforts have always been to resettle migrant Kashmiri Pandits in their homes
here but some bad elements are trying to scuttle my efforts. My father’s return
will encourage others to follow the path, which goes to their homes in
Arabic-language al-Akhbar newspaper reported on Saturday that Blackwater, along
with other security firms, has returned to Iraq since the start of 2018 after
Washington's heavy pressures on Baghdad to issue a relevant license.
to the report, a source close to the US charge de affairs in Iraq Judy Hood
said that Blackwater has transferred the US military equipment from Jordan to
Western al-Anbar province in full coordination with Ein al-Assad base, adding
that the company is now training the ISIL terrorists in the base.
al-Akhbar quoted field sources as saying that trucks carrying ISIL militants,
escorted by the US vehicles, were transferred from the town of Baqouz in Deir
Ezzur to Ein al-Assad amid clashes in Baqouz region.
security experts had earlier accused the US of training hundreds of ISIL
terrorists in Al-Anbar province after relocating them from Syria to Iraq to
prepare them for a new round of insecurity in the country.
700 to 1,000 ISIL militants are being trained by the US troops in al-Anbar
province," the Arabic-language al-Maloumeh news website quoted Head of
Badr Organization's Office in Al-Anbar Province Qusai al-Anbari as saying in
pointed to the special conditions considered for the ISIL militants, and said
that the US troops have specified redlines for third parties to avoid
approaching the region.
is while the Arabic-language Arabi Post recently disclosed that the US troops
had been intensively training the ISIL terrorists in two military bases of Ein
al-Assad and al-Habanieh in al-Anbar province under name of desert ghosts.
sources said the US Army troops had equipped the ISIL terrorists with 200
military and non-military vehicles.
may review ties with countries deemed anti-Israel
United States may review its ties with countries it deems as being anti-Israel
after what a US envoy said on Sunday was a shift in policy towards equating
anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a March speech that anti-Zionism -
opposition to Israel’s existence as a homeland for the Jewish people - was a
form of anti-Semitism, or hostility toward Jews, that was on the rise worldwide
and that Washington would “fight it relentlessly.”
State Department’s special envoy for monitoring and combating anti-Semitism,
Elan Carr, said this US position could spell reviews of ties with foreign
governments or leaders.
United States is willing to review its relationship with any country, and
certainly anti-Semitism on the part of a country with whom we have relations is
a deep concern,” he told Reuters during a visit to Israel.
will be raising that issue in bilateral meetings that I am undertaking all over
the world,” he said.
is something we are going to have frank and candid conversations about - behind
closed doors,” he added.
declined to cite specific countries or leaders, or to elaborate on what actions
the Trump administration might take.
obviously can’t comment on diplomatic tools that we might bring to bear,” he
added: “Each country is a different diplomatic challenge, a different
situation, number one. And number two, if I started disclosing what we might do
it would be less effective.”
US political analysts say that President Donald Trump and other Republicans
hope support for Israel will attract Jewish voters, including those disaffected
by pro-Palestinian voices within progressive Democratic Party circles.
the same time, critics have credited Trump’s confrontational, nationalistic
rhetoric with encouraging right-wing extremists and feeding a surge in activity
by American hate groups. The administration has flatly rejected that charge.
said the administration’s equating of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism
“certainly breaks new ground ... by making clear that something that a lot of
us who are involved in the Jewish world and a lot of us who are proponents of a
strong US-Israel relationship have known for quite some time, and that is that
one of the chief flavors of anti-Semitism in the world today is the flavor that
conceals itself under anti-Zionism.”
Imran launches Al-Qadir University to ‘teach Sufism, create future leaders’
Prime Minister Imran Khan Sunday broke ground for Al-Qadir University here what
he said would create future leaders to counter Islamophobia and protect
ideology of Pakistan.
the ceremony here, the prime minister said the university would teach the
students the principles of State of Madina and Pakistan’s ideology as
envisioned by Allama Muhammad Iqbal and Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
was accompanied by Chief Minister of Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar, Special
Assistant to PM on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Minister
for Religious Affairs Pir Nurul Haq Qadri, Minister for Science and Technology
Fawad Chaudhry, Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Education Minister
Shafqat Mehmood and SAPM Zulfiqar Bukhari.
concept of establishment of a university at Sohawa is to provide equal quality
education to the youth across the country.
be built at an area of 200 kanals, the institution would consist of a Sufi
Academic Block with capacity of 800 students, Science Block for 700 students,
hostel for 200 boys and girls, an auditorium and a library.
no university exists between Gujrat and Rawalpindi therefore the location of
Sohawa has been selected to offer the youth of the area a quality seat of
prime minister said it was a private university that would be run on donations
by philanthropists contributing in national cause to broaden educational base.
said 35 percent of students would be given scholarships and get free education
while rest 65 percent would fund their studies by themselves.
prime minister said besides teaching contemporary sciences like artificial
intelligence and technology, the main focus of the university would be research
on Sufism and its connection with Islam.
have to groom our youth as leaders…We will create scholars who will respond to
the anti-Islam tirade started after 9/11,” the prime minister remarked.
said Chinese assistance would also be sought for teaching and research on
said the university had been named after Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani who happened
to be a top Sufi and had also established link between Islam and spirituality.
said Sufism was a great science but contrary to western world, no university in
Pakistan was holding research on the subject.
said the previous leaders had buried the ideology of Pakistan which was meant
to make the country an Islamic welfare state.
prime minister said the nations ignoring their ideology could not exist.
said the nations faced ups and downs but they should not give up their
said Naya Pakistan would feature meritocracy, justice and education,
minorities’ rights to its people on the pattern of Madina state.
said what had been happening in Pakistan was never in accordance of Islamic
recalled that besides Indian role, the injustice to the people had also reasoned
the disintegration of the country.
the backwardness in Sindh and Balochistan, he said it was never had been the
Islamic welfare state as had been envisioned by its forefathers.
said after Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the political leaders had delivered nothing but
establishing their properties abroad.
prime minister said the Holy Prophet (PBUH) had highly stresses the importance
of education as no society could progress without education.
said unfortunately, the western culture had been influencing the young
generation who needed to be taught basic Islamic principles, Islamic history
and Pakistan’s ideology.
Ramadan blitz in Gaza kills more than 20 Palestinians, including Hamas
GAZA/JERUSALEM: Israel pounded Gaza with airstrikes and
shelling Sunday killing at least 20 Palestinians, including two pregnant women
and two babies, in the bloodiest fighting since a 2014 war.
those killed was Hamas commander Hamed Ahmed Al-Khodary, whose car was blasted
in an airstrike, the first such targeted killing in five years. The Israeli
military said Al-Khodary, a money changer, was responsible for transferring
funds from Iran to armed factions in Gaza.
members of the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad, Mohammed abu Armanah,
30, and Mahmoud abu Armanah, 27, were likewise killed in an airstrike in
central Gaza.Israel said its tanks and planes hit about 260 targets in Gaza.
said its strikes were in response to more than 450 rocket and mortar attacks by
Hamas and Islamic Jihad since Saturday, with Israeli air defenses intercepting
more than 150.
least four Israelis were killed in the rocket and mortar barrage. In the first
Israeli civilian fatality since the 2014 war, a 58-year-old man died when a
rocket hit a house in Ashkelon. Two other men were killed, one in Ashkelon and
the other in the border settlement of Yad Mordechai,
Palestinian militants threatening to send rockets deeper into Israel and
Israeli reinforcements massing near the Gaza frontier, the fighting showed no
signs of slowing down.
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spent most of the day huddled with his Security Cabinet.
Late Sunday, the Cabinet instructed the army to “continue its attacks and to
stand by” for further orders. Netanyahu also ordered “tanks, artillery and
infantry forces” to reinforce troops already deployed near Gaza.
and Hamas, a militant group that seeks Israel’s destruction, are bitter enemies
that have fought three wars since Hamas violently seized control of Gaza in
2007. They have fought numerous smaller battles, most recently two rounds in
lulls in fighting used to last for months or even years, these flare-ups have
grown increasingly frequent as a desperate Hamas, weakened by a crippling
Egyptian-Israeli blockade imposed 12 years ago, seeks to put pressure on Israel
to ease the closure.
blockade has ravaged Gaza's economy, and a year of Hamas-led protests along the
Israeli frontier has yielded no tangible benefits. In March, Hamas faced
several days of street protests over the dire conditions.
little to lose, Hamas appears to be trying to step up pressure on Netanyahu at
a time when the Israeli leader is vulnerable on several fronts.
off an election victory, Netanyahu is now engaged in negotiations with his
hard-line political partners on forming a governing coalition. If fighting
drags on, the normally cautious Netanyahu could be weakened in his negotiations
as his partners push for a tougher response.
this week, Israel marks Memorial Day, one of the most solemn days of the year,
and its festive Independence Day. Next week, Israel is to host the Eurovision
song contest. Prolonged fighting could overshadow these important occasions and
deter foreign tourists.
arrival of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins Monday, does not seem
to be deterring Hamas.
the group is also taking a big risk if it pushes too hard. During the 50-day
war in 2014, Israel killed over 2,200 Palestinians, over half of them
civilians, according to UN tallies, and caused widespread damage to homes and
infrastructure. While Hamas is eager to burnish its credentials as a resistance
group, the Gazan public has little stomach for another devastating war.
Washington, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Israelis have "every
right to defend themselves." He expressed hope that the recent cease-fire
could be restored.
UN Middle East envoy, Nickolay Mladenov, called for a halt in rocket fire and
“a return to the understandings of the past few months before it is too late.”
foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini also called for a halt to
“indiscriminate rocket attacks” from Gaza and expressed support for Egyptian
and UN mediation efforts.
rounds of fighting have all ended in informal Egyptian-mediated truces in which
Israel pledged to ease the blockade while militants promised to halt rocket
fire. Following a familiar pattern, the current round began with sporadic
rocket fire amid Palestinian accusations that Israel was not keeping its
promises to loosen the blockade.
Friday, two Israeli soldiers were wounded by snipers from Islamic Jihad, a
smaller Iranian-backed militant group that often cooperates with Hamas but
sometimes acts independently. Israel responded by killing two Palestinian
militants, leading to intense rocket barrages and retaliatory Israeli
airstrikes beginning Saturday.
Jihad threatened to strike deeper into Israel, saying it "is ready to
engage in an open confrontation and can open a broader front to defend our land
Sunday, the Israeli military said militants had fired over 600 rockets, with
the vast majority falling in open areas or intercepted by the Iron Dome
rocket-defense system. But more than 30 rockets managed to strike urban areas,
the army said.
medical officials reported 20 dead, including at least eight militants hit in
targeted airstrikes. At least four civilians, including two pregnant women and
two babies, were also among the dead.
Saturday, the Palestinians said a 37-year-old pregnant woman and her
14-month-old niece were killed in an Israeli airstrike. The army denied
involvement, saying they were killed by an errant Palestinian rocket. There was
no way to reconcile the claims.
Sunday, an Israeli airstrike hit an apartment building in northern Gaza,
killing a couple in their early 30s and their 4-month-old daughter.
Israeli deaths were the first rocket-related fatalities since the 2014 war,
when 73 people, including six civilians, were killed on the Israeli side.
Israeli military said it struck 250 targets in Gaza, including weapons storage,
attack tunnels and rocket launching and production facilities. It also deployed
tanks and infantry forces to the Gaza frontier, and put another brigade on
have been given orders to prepare for a number of days of fighting under
current conditions,” said Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, a military spokesman.
wailed along Israel's border region throughout the day warning of incoming
attacks. School was canceled and roads were closed. In Gaza, large explosions
thundered across the blockaded enclave during the night as plumes of smoke rose
into the air.
seized control of Gaza from the forces of internationally recognized
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Despite his fierce rivalry with Hamas,
Abbas appealed to the international community “to stop the Israeli aggression
against our people.”
mediators propose two transition councils to break deadlock in power transfer
Sudanese mediators have proposed two transitional bodies in a bid to break a
deadlock in talks on a power handover from the military rulers to civilians, a
protest leader said Sunday.
army and protesters are wrangling over how to replace the existing 10-member
military council that took over after the generals ousted president Omar
Al-Bashir on April 11.
two sides agreed on forming a joint military-civilian last week, but have
failed to hammer out the details on the makeup of the body.
a group of mediators including businessmen, journalists and other prominent
figures from Sudanese society are trying to come up with other solutions.
is a proposal to have two councils, one led by civilians and the other by the
military,” said Omar Al-Digeir, a senior opposition leader and member of the
umbrella protest group the Alliance for Freedom and Change.
told AFP the body headed by the military would also include civilian
representatives and focus on “issues concerning the security aspects of the
“exact job description” of both the councils has yet to be decided, he said.
“No final decision has been taken yet.”
of protesters remain camped outside the army headquarters in Khartoum,
demanding the generals transfer power to a civilian administration.
military has so far rebuffed calls to step aside and it remained unclear if
both sides would agree to the new idea.
military council’s spokesman Lt. Gen. Shamseddine said it had not received any
proposals from the mediators.
said the council will respond Monday to propositions on broader future power
structures put forward earlier by the protesters.
military and protest leaders have been at odds over the composition of any
joint ruling body — with each party pushing to have a majority.
said the mediators have proposed an overall package that includes not just the
proposed two councils, but also how executive and legislative bodies would work
in a post-Bashir era.
within the protest camp there was opposition to the new plan if it meant the
generals maintaining a major role in running the country.
are completely against this idea. We only want a symbolic sovereign council
with military representation,” said Siddig Youssef, head of the Sudan Communist
Party, part of the protest movement.
want a parliamentary system with the authority in the hands of parliament and
the cabinet,” he told AFP.
military should be confined only to a body tasked with matters related to
security and defense.”
initially erupted in Sudan on December 19 in response to a government decision
to triple the price of bread, and quickly turned against Bashir’s thirty-year
the toppling of the iron-fisted leader protesters have stayed put around the
army headquarters in Khartoum to keep up pressure on the military.
there are deep divisions over the way forward, the economic problems that
brought people out onto the streets against Bashir remain pressing.
the eve of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan Sunday hundreds of people formed
long queues at petrol stations and bank machines in Khartoum.
more than a week now, there’s been no cash even in the ATMs installed in our
company premises,” an employee of a leading industrial corporation in the
capital told AFP.
driver with a private tour operator said he got his car partially filled after
waiting for an entire day at a Khartoum petrol station.
at fuel stations are really angry. They have to wait for six to seven hours in
this hot sun to get fuel,” he said without giving his name.
Arab allies Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which have backed the military council,
last month announced three billion dollars (2.7 billion euros) in financial aid
for Sudan, including providing food, medicine and petroleum products.
calls for a week-long humanitarian truce in Libya
The United Nations called on Sunday for a week-long humanitarian truce in Libya
where forces loyal to the eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar have
been waging an offensive to take control of Tripoli for four weeks.
a statement the UN Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) urged the warring sides to
implement a a truce starting Monday morning at 4 a.m. local time to coincide
with the beginning of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.
calls on all parties to deliver of humanitarian aid to those in need and to
ensure the freedom of movement for civilians during this truce,” UNSMIL said in
was no immediate comment from Hafta’s Libyan National Army (LNA) force nor from
the internationally recognized government in the capital.
Tunisian security forces have killed three suspected militants from a Daesh
group affiliate in the center of the country, the interior ministry said
statement said “three of the most dangerous terrorists” from the Jund
Al-Khilafa (Soldiers of the Caliphate) group were “eliminated” Saturday evening
near the town of Sidi Ali Ben Oun, 230 kilometers (140 miles) southwest of
identified the men as Hatem ben Aid Basdouri, 40, Mohamed ben Ibrahim Basdouri,
35, and Montassar ben Khraief Ghozlani, 31.
forces seized weapons, ammunition, explosives and suicide vests, the
an earlier statement Saturday the ministry said it also had managed to “thwart
terrorist projects” planned for upcoming Muslim holy month Ramadan after
arresting another suspected militant.
security forces regularly conduct search operations in the mountainous areas
near the border with Algeria to hunt down Deash- and Al-Qaeda-linked militants.
March the interior ministry said security forces had shot dead three alleged
Jund Al-Khilafa members accused of involvement in the grisly killings of
shepherds in the restive Kasserine region.
its 2011 revolution, Tunisia has experienced multiple militant attacks that
have killed dozens of members of the security forces and 59 foreign tourists.
suicide bomber leads attack on an Afghan police HQ, 20 injured
least 20 people were injured after a Taliban suicide bomber drove an
explosives-packed Humvee and blew himself up at the police headquarters in the
northern Afghan city of Pul-e-Khumri, Afghan officials and the Taliban said on
armed Taliban fighters entered the police headquarters after the blast and
opened fire on security forces stationed there.
have not stopped. 20 injured people were taken to the hospital from the blast
site,” said Assadullah Shahbaz, a member of the Baghlan provincial council,
adding they have sought immediate deployment from neighboring provinces.
Taliban claimed responsibility for the “big blast” and the clashes with the
other Taliban fighters are presently clashing with the Afghan forces,” Taliban
spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.
Rahimi, a spokesman at the interior ministry in Kabul, said the Afghan forces
have gunned down a Taliban fighter who tried to enter the police headquarters,
but several Taliban fighters have penetrated the offices.
Taliban have stepped up attacks on security installations to demoralize Afghan
police and troops even as they are holding direct talks with the US officials
to end the war in Afghanistan.
fighting continues across the country with the Taliban controlling or
influencing more territory than at any point since their ouster at the hands of
US-led troops following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
least seventeen militants affiliated with Taliban and Islamic State of Iraq and
Syria Khurasan (ISIS-K) were killed in separate airstrikes which were conducted
in southern Uruzgan and eastern Nangarhar province.
military sources said Sunday that 12 Taliban militants were killed in Uruzgan
province while similar airstrikes left 5 ISIS-K militants dead in Achin
district of Nangarhar province.
anti-government armed militants including Taliban and ISIS sympathizers have
not commented regarding the airstrike so far.
security situation in some of the districts of both Nangarhar and Uruzgan
provinces have deteriorated during the recent years.
Bo calls for communal harmony among Lankan minorities
May 2, 2019: In the aftermath of the horrific Easter Sunday multiple bomb
blasts by Islamic terrorists on 3 Churches and 3 luxury hotels in Sri Lanka
claiming lives of over 250 people including 50 foreigners and injuring
hundreds, the Churches were closed for services.
Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith has now called for Churches to re-open for Sunday
services from 5th May 2019.
the context of retaliation from some Christian groups targeting innocent
Muslims the Federation of Asian Bishops Conference president Cardinal Charles
Maung Bo of Myanmar wrote on 3rd May saying, “I condemn unequivocally the
horrific unprovoked suicide bomb attacks against unarmed civilians in churches
and hotels on Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019 in Sri Lanka.”
71 year old cardinal further condemned the trend of retaliation by some
Christian groups saying, “The Church is deeply concerned by reports of revenge
and the targeting of Muslim residents, refugees and asylum seekers in Sri
Lanka. Many have fled persecution in their own lands, and are now being
targeted again. Almost 900 have been reported to have been at risk of reprisal,
150 of these were forced to seek shelter in police stations.”
Cardinal further warned both groups that “Terrorism is designed to breed hatred
and sow discord, and the enemy of terrorism is love and community, peace and
harmony. Is there any difference between us and the terrorists if we target
innocent people based on hatred or for being different?”
further reminded that “Christians and Muslims in Sri Lanka are both minorities
and have faced similar discrimination, intolerance and persecution. Turning
against each other will only make their plight worse. Solidarity must prevail.
The actions of a small group, representing an extreme interpretation of a
religion, must not be used to judge the entirety of adherents to that faith.”
cardinal also called upon religious and community leaders to foster a sense of
solidarity and rebuild trust between the communities.
out detailed number of actions to be taken, the Cardinal called upon “the
authorities in Sri Lanka to take action to stop hate speech, and protect the
vulnerable.” He further warned, “ignoring this issue will only foster
resentment, which is exactly what groups such as ISIS desire.”
Cardinal concluded his press note with a prayer “to cover the victims and
families of victims in prayer, praying for physical and emotional healing and
that love may prevail. Let us not give hate a foothold in our lives. Instead,
let love for one another reign.”
always is a similarity between politics and chess. In chess, when a player
makes a wrong move, s/he already takes the risk of losing the game. In 2016 US
presidential election, despite popularity, Hillary Clinton finally lost the
battle because of few minor mistakes. In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi
faces the risk of losing the ongoing general elections – because of mistakes.
To my understanding, in Bangladesh politics, main opposition Bangladesh
Nationalist Party (BNP) is already in the verge of bankruptcy because of some
factors and of course few mistakes. When its chief Khaleda Zia landed in prison
on February 18, 2018, everyone had an impression that she would be released
within a couple of days. Her partymen were almost sanguine about her walking
out of the prison like a ‘hero’. They were hoping support from the popular
masses in favour of Mrs. Zia, without considering a plain fact, the leader of
one of the two largest parties was convicted in corruption case – more
precisely, for misappropriation of fund of an orphanage trust. The moment she
was convicted, Khaleda Zia lost her moral grounds, as she already turned into a
corrupt individual in the eyes of the people of Bangladesh. By now, more than a
year has already passed and there is no sign of release of Mrs. Zia from the
prison, even in next couple of years. From inside the prison, Khaleda Zia has
been consistently claiming to be physically ill and her claim is not fake.
Being an elderly person Mrs. Zia is suffering from numerous physical
complications including problems in her knees, which might even turn her unable
of walking on her own. BNP leaders are demanding proper treatment to Mrs. Zia
and the ruling party has signaled even of a bail on parole on medical ground.
But, BNP leaders are not willing in letting their party chief get medical
treatment immediately by availing the provisions of bail-on-parole. Instead,
they want the government either to set her free on bail or acquit her from the
rigorous imprisonment without realizing a valid point – none of these options
are within the capacity of the government. Instead, it is absolutely up to the
judiciary in either setting Mrs. Zia free on bail or even acquitting her from
the current convictions.
weak point for BNP is even more convoluted. The acting chairman of the party,
Tarique Rahman has been living in the United Kingdom since 2008 and he had
taken political asylum and even had surrendered his Bangladeshi passport. From
Tarique’s side, there is no indication of his return to Bangladesh as he too is
convicted in a number of cases. Supporters of Mr. Rahman may see a hero in him,
but in reality, to most of the Bangladesh people, Tarique Rahman is already
proved to be a coward and someone who is totally ineligible in heading a huge
party like BNP.
weak point for BNP is its policy of patronizing anti-Semitism and supporting
radical Islamic militancy groups like Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. Leaders of
this party have repeatedly pronounced their solidarity towards radical Islam,
jihad and those Islamic militancy groups.
weak point for BNP is its America policy as well as China policy. When it was
in power during 2001-2006, BNP committed a blunder by letting Taiwan open its
trade office in Bangladesh. That decision certainly had hurt the sentiment,
emotion and even esteem of the Chinese policymakers. On the other hand, because
of its extra warmth in relations with several Arab countries as well as Iran,
in the eyes of the Westerners, BNP is just another version of Muslim
weakness of Bangladesh Nationalist Party is its alliance with pro-jihadist
Jamaat-e-Islami as well as other radical Islamic groups in Bangladesh. Some of
the prominent leaders of the party are clearly anti-America. They have serious
hatred towards the Jews and the Jewish State. BNP leaders want to get every
form of favour from the United States and the Jews in exchange of hostility and
the question is – whether it is a good for the ruling Bangladesh Awami League
and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in seeing their political arch-rival BNP being
gradually becoming a party without support from the masses? My reply is
negative. We need to remember, Bangladesh currently is under the direct threat
from Islamic State (ISIS), meaning this notorious jihadist outfit may align
with local militancy groups and even may go further by forming alliance with
Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), thus finally emerging a gravest threat
to Bangladesh’s national security and democracy. On the other hand, it should
also be remembered, key philosophy of Bangladesh Nationalist Party is Islamic
nationalism – meaning it is mixing-up religion with politics. Although BNP may
look a bit different than Jamaat-e-Islami from a distant look, a close analysis
would only show similarities of ideology between these two parties. On the
other hand, former military dictator Hussain Muhammed Ershad’s Jatiyo Party has
already turned into a political sycophant of the ruling party. In other words,
this is a party having no real support of the masses. Any national challenge
may not be tackled having this party as the main opposition or as a loyal
opposition. Here again, BNP too is not the party which can play any
constructive role once Bangladesh faces threats from the jihadists –
actions of BNP:
four of the members of parliament from BNP took oath after months of drama and
melo-drama. Right after this, party’s Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam
Alamgir told reporters his party’s previous decision of not joining parliament
soon after the December 30 general election was wrong. Mr. Alamgir tried to
give credit to their fugitive acting chairman by saying, “We should keep it in
mind that nothing can be achieved by chanting cheap slogans. Our acting chairman
[Tarique Rahman] has taken the right decision as we have to fight both in and
BNP secretary general further said, “I don’t have any hesitation to say that
our earlier decision of not going to parliament was not right at that moment.
We must carry on our fight on all fronts.”
is the contradiction. It is known to all that BNP’s decision of not joining the
parliament right after the December 30 general election was imposed from London
by Tarique Rahman. Moreover, if party’s Secretary General was in agreement with
his acting chairman, it may be asked as to why he did not take oath as he too
was elected in the December 30 general election. The humiliating result for BNP
was a consequence of Tarique’s mischief. Right before the election, instead of
focusing on selecting proper candidates, he was making money by selling
nominations to those who were capable of paying a higher bid for each of the
constituencies. Right after the election, it was Tarique Rahman who instructed
his partymen to refrain from joining the parliament. There even is rumor of a
silent feud between Mrs. Zia and her son Tarique. BNP’s Secretary General has
also hinted about an internet feud continuing in the party by saying, “I urge
you all to talk about party problems in the party forums only.”
Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan
discussed peace, security, and regional prosperity during a telephone
conversation on Sunday.
to a statement released by Prime Minister’s Office, President Ghani made a
phone call to Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday.
statement further added that two leaders vowed to strengthen bilateral ties in
a bid to restore peace, security, and prosperity in Afghanistan and the region.
Khan told President Ghani that the spirit of brotherhood defined Pakistan’s
approach towards Afghanistan, the statement stated, adding that “The prolonged
Afghan conflict has damaged Afghanistan and adversely affected Pakistan over
the past many decades.”
statement also added that PM Khan reiterated his vision for finding a peaceful
solution to the conflict in Afghanistan through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned
Special Forces of the Afghan National Police identified and arrested a top
Taliban leader who was in charge of organizing terrorist attacks, collecting
Zakat (charity), recruiting militants and other destructive activities in
Mazar-e-Sharif city and other parts of Balkh province.
Ministry of Interior in a statement said the Taliban leader, Qari Aziz, was
detained during an overnight operation carried out by General Command of Police
Special Units (GCPSU) in Mazar Sharif.
Aziz was the main planner and organizer of terrorists and destructive
activities, armed assault and explosions in Mazar Sharif and as well as in
different parts of Balkh province,” the statement added.
two top Muslim groups in Indonesia on Sunday urged the UN to crack down on
Israel in the wake of its airstrikes razing the Anadolu Agency office in the
Mu'ti, the secretary of Muhammadiyah, said Saturday’s attack violated
has clearly violated the sovereignty of other countries and media
freedom," Mu'ti told Anadolu Agency.
UN Security Council, said Mu'ti, must urge Israel to stop its aggression.
Muslim countries and communities must not be silent in the face of Israeli
violence, he added.
must show Islamic solidarity with political support for Turkey, press freedom,
and the nation's integrity," Mu'ti said.
Effendy, Muhammadiyah’s top foreign policy official, said the attack should be
condemned not only by sympathizers and supporters of Palestine but also those
who believe in freedom of expression.
brutal act of Israel clearly wants to silence the mass media, which has been
preaching the increasingly alarming condition of Gaza," Bahtiar said.
its razed office, Bahtiar said Anadolu Agency will not shrink from reporting
the facts of Israel violence on Palestine.
attack will only confirm Anadolu Agency's confidence and commitment in carrying
out its press functions, he said.
will always support the news opening the world’s eyes about what Israel is
doing to Palestine, Bahtiar said.
Faishal Zain, the head of Nahdlatul Ulama’s (PNBU) Executive Board, said the attack
was an inhuman act and wounded humanity.
in any form, and with any motives, is not justified, because it is a crime
against humanity," said Helmy.
PBNU, Helmy added, urged the UN to immediately investigate and take firm action
against the perpetrators of the attack.
the same time, added Helmy, the PBNU supports the Indonesian government taking
proactive steps to help deal with extremism, terrorism, and conflict in the
Emhas, a legal official at PBNU, hailed the press’ role in democracy, in
informing and educating people.
and violence against the press cannot be justified and must be accounted for,
both publicly and legally," Robikin said.
warplanes hit the Anadolu Agency building Saturday with at least five missiles
after warning shots, reported the Anadolu Agency correspondent in Gaza.
LUMPUR, May 6 — DAP today reaffirmed its commitment towards defending the
rights of the Bumiputera, including the Malays, the sovereignty of the King and
the Malay Rulers, the special status of Islam and dignifying the national
language as part of the constitutional guarantees.
component party in the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) also acknowledged the need
for a moderate “new vision” for Malaysia and reiterated its commitment to
nation building in a statement it dubbed the New Malaysia Declaration following
their national conference yesterday,
need to build a new narrative beyond racial framing for New Malaysia that
brings every Malaysian together to scale greater heights as a nation,” it said
in a statement.
rejected its portrayal as a “non-Malay party or a Chinese party”, saying the
party’s members comprised Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazandusuns, Dayaks, and
Orang Asli since its founding in 1966.
we forget, since our first GE in 1969, Ibrahim Singgeh became DAP's first Malay
state assemblyman for Tapah Road constituency,” it highlighted.
it also called its members and grassroots leaders to bear in mind their larger
representation that encompassed the Malays as well as non-Malays.
must be the same spirit we hold for our allies in Pakatan Harapan that they too
must think beyond merely representing Malay interests.
fact, we must think beyond Semenanjung interests to enable the sharing of new
vision with our comrades in Sabah and Sarawak,” it said in its declaration.
New Malaysia Declaration is DAP's 11th proclamation since its formation on
March 18, 1966.
declarations were the Setapak Declaration (1967), Petaling Jaya Declaration
(1981) Tanjong Declaration (1991) Shah Alam Declaration (2012), and DAP@50
BUNTAR, May 5 — All parties are urged not to make unfounded statements on the
country’s haj quota as they could jeopardise the good relations between
Malaysia and the Saudi Arabian government.
in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Mujahid Yusof stressed that it
was Saudi Arabia’s right to set the haj quota and any additional quotas given
based on appeal.
not drag the issue of the additional quota of 10,000 haj pilgrims by alleging
that the Pakatan Harapan government has not been good about Islam because this
is a dangerous statement. Do not go overboard in the guise to defend Islam.
the last few years, Saudi Arabia did not give us that quota. Maybe they (Saudi
Arabia) will give at the last minute and I see that he (Asyraf Wajdi) does not
have any political capital and is saying that this was caused by the
government,” he told reporters after the closing ceremony of a community
programme Jumdesa 6.0 at Kampung Sungai Megat Aris, Bagan Tiang near here
was commenting on a statement made by UMNO Youth Head Datuk Dr Dr Asyraf Wajdi
Dusuki yesterday alleging that Malaysia had lost the additional quota of 10,000
because of the sour relations between the PH government and Arab Saudi.
statement made in an event in Mergong, Kedah last Friday was published by daily
newspaper Utusan Malaysia.
who is Parit Buntar Member of Parliament said Asyraf and Utusan Malaysia should
apologise to the people of Malaysia for making a negative statement about haj
pilgrims and the Saudi Arabian government.
said it was the right of the Saudi Arabian government to give the additional
quota to any country.
have gone to Saudi Arabia and there were no problems with the relationship
between Malaysia and Saudi Arabia.
LUMPUR, May 5 — Turkish writer Mustafa Akyol has put up for free online the
Malay translation of his book on liberalism and Islam that Malaysia had banned.
said he found Malaysia’s “authoritarianism” ridiculous after the High Court
upheld last month the ban of his book Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for
Liberty, along with its Malay-language edition, Islam Tanpa Keekstreman:
Berhujah Untuk Kebebasan, on grounds that the book could hurt public order and
alarm public opinion.
most shocking idea in my book that can ‘alarm public opinion’ is that Islam
should not be coerced,” Akyol wrote on US-based public policy research
organisation Cato Institute’s website, where Islam Tanpa Keekstreman: Berhujah
Untuk Kebebasan is available for free downloads.
as the Qur’an says, ‘There should be no compulsion in religion ’ (2:256) If
there is something alarming in this whole scene, it is the very banning of such
reasoned arguments on crucial matters about the practice of Islam in the modern
that his publisher, the Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF), has granted him
publishing permission to share his book online, he said Malay-Muslims have a
right to make up their own minds regarding the issue.
with the generous permission of the Islamic Renaissance Front, I have decided
to share the Malay edition of my book, Islam without Extremes, here on the Cato
Institute website. All Malaysians — and of course everybody else — are welcome
to download Islam Tanpa Keekstreman: Berhujah Untuk Kebebasan and read it for
October 2017, then Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi under the
Barisan Nasional administration banned Akyol’s book and its Malay translation,
claiming that it violated Malaysian societal norms.
September 2017, Akyol was also detained by Malaysian Islamic authorities for a
talk he was giving on the commonalities between the Abrahamic religions.
a New York Times opinion piece back then, Akyol said he was only released
partly because former Turkish president Abdullah Gul had pulled some strings
with a Malaysian royalty.
promoting extremism in British madrasas, report claims
training in 48 British madrasas are promoting extreme ideas breeding
intolerance and misogyny, according to a secret UK government report.
them is Darul Uloom, an organisation with a madrasas across the UK including
London, Manchester and Glasgow.
government document reportedly says that Quranic verses are interpreted in a
hardline, literal interpretation by foreign-born imams who moved to the UK from
other countries especially from the Indian subcontinent.
regulator Ofsted has previously criticised four Darul Uloom madrassas for
teaching its pupils that music and dancing were acts inspired by the devil,
while boys were taught stereotypical views about women.
imams are not any better than the ones trained in the Indian subcontinent
because both are taught the same Dars-E-Nizami syllabus. The Darul Ulooms have
a problem with extremism," anti-extremist expert Haras Rafiq told the
adds that the Darul Uloom High School in Birmingham as an example of an
Uloom's High School head teacher in Birminghan David Bone responded to
criticism of the school.
you examine our latest Ofsted report, you will find that the school is rated as
good in every area. In the past leaflets (on music) were found in the mosque
that had been left by an outsider and these were removed and destroyed, as we
would any such literature", he said.
Ofsted report has been superseded by more recent inspections which highlight
the progress the school has made," said a spokesperson for the school.
said that teachers ensure pupils understand the importance of freedom of speech
and individual liberty."
far-right political party demanding the deportation of all Muslims and the
preservation of the country for its “ethnic community” will be on the ballot
paper in Denmark for the first time, in a general election due to be called
Stram Kurs, or Hard Line party, led by Rasmus Paludan – a lawyer who is
currently appealing against a conviction for racism – is feared to be on track
to gain MPs after recently passing a threshold of voter support needed to stand
in the election.
national election has to take place before 17 June under Danish law. Denmark’s
prime minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, is expected to launch the campaign early
whose videos on YouTube, eccentric fashion sense and penchant for stunts have
long earned him a following among teenagers, has emerged in recent weeks from
relative obscurity to become headline news in Denmark.
Kurs received the required 20,000 signatures of endorsement from voters to
stand in the elections after he played a central role in fomenting riots over
Easter in the ethnically diverse Nørrebro district of Copenhagen.
who has taken to regularly provoking unrest through anti-Islam demonstrations
in areas of the Danish capital where large numbers of Muslims live, had tossed
a book in the air he claimed was the Qur’an and let it fall to the ground.
is currently banned from commenting on Facebook following the posting of a
picture the platform said broke its rules, which include a prohibition on hate
speech aimed at people of a particular religion or ethnicity. He is also
appealing against a conviction from April for expressing racist views about
Africans in a video recording.
are the concerns over Stram Kurs’s potential foothold in Danish politics that
the leader of the Social Liberal party, Morten Østergaard, a former government
minister, has called for the mainstream parties to rule out the prospect of the
party forming part of a future governing coalition.
need to point out that there is a distinction between us and those who want to
cleanse selected communities based on their beliefs or race,” Østergaard said.
“There must be something called right and wrong in the Danish society.”
order to be represented in the parliament, the party must now either pass a
threshold of 2% of the national vote in the election, or gain a district seat.
Stram Kurs is currently standing at 2.2% in the polls.
centre-right Venstre party has run a minority government since 2015 with the
support of the far-right Danish People’s party along with the Liberal Alliance
and the Conservative People’s party.
Østergaard said there was a profound difference between the anti-immigration
Danish People’s party and Stram Kurs, which campaigns in favour of so-called
“ethnic Danes” and the need to deport all Muslims.
not about them, but about myself, and what I want as a politician,” Østergaard
said. “I do not want to legitimise people who point to Danish citizens and say
that they must not be in our society because of their religious beliefs. I
don’t want to legitimise them by working with them.”
the controversy, some of the political parties appear loth to follow the
example in Sweden, where the far-right party, the Swedish Democrats, were
blocked out of coalition talks, leading to 133 days of party negotiations and
the forming of an unstable minority administration earlier this year.
Danish prime minister’s spokesman, Britt Bager, when questioned over
Rasmussen’s attitude towards Stram Kurs’s potential involvement in a
government, has refused to rule it out.
Løkke takes a position when we know the final election result,” she told the
Danish newspaper Politiken. “We’re not going to take a stand now.”
country’s justice minister, Søren Pape Poulsen, who is also leader of the
Conservative People’s party, suggested that it would be a mistake to ignore the
new party on the scene, although he insisted that he did not see any potential
areas of cooperation.
party spokesman, Naser Khader, told reporters: “You need to hear what he wants
and what is to be negotiated.”
Rune Stubager, from the department of political science at Aarhus University,
said Stram Kurs would have to stand in all 10 Danish constituencies to gain
representation in parliament.
said: “One candidate from the party I saw is a pro-bono artist who makes his
art by peeing in public. He has a conviction for peeing in public as the court
didn’t see the art in it. Many more candidates of this type and it will surely
count against them.”
said that Paludan was “a different sort of creature in the circus” of Danish
will have to compete against the Danish People’s party and the New Right for
the anti-immigrant vote and they are established parties,” he said.
Stubager said the two rivals would be unlikely to be able to match Paludan’s
demand for the forced deportation of Muslims.
The US is deeply concerned by Turkey’s announced intentions to begin offshore
drilling operations in an area claimed by Cyprus as its exclusive economic
zone, a State Department spokesperson said on Sunday.
media on Saturday cited Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu as saying a Turkish
ship had started drilling in areas for which northern Cypriot authorities had
issued a permit, a move likely to stoke tensions with Cyprus and Greece.
and the internationally recognized Greek Cypriot government have overlapping
claims of jurisdiction for offshore oil and gas research in the eastern
Mediterranean, a region thought to be rich in natural gas.
United States is deeply concerned by Turkey’s announced intentions to begin
offshore drilling operations in an area claimed by the Republic of Cyprus as
its Exclusive Economic Zone,” said State Department spokesperson Morgan
step is highly provocative and risks raising tensions in the region. We urge
Turkish authorities to halt these operations and encourage all parties to act
with restraint,” the statement said.
escalation between Turkey and the United States could put more pressure on
relations already strained on several fronts, including missile defense and
military operations in Syria.
had said in February that Turkey would soon begin drilling for oil and gas near
Cyprus and on Saturday state-owned Anadolu news agency reported him as saying
during a trip to northern Cyprus that drilling had begun.
launched its first drillship “Fatih” in October to drill off the coast of
Turkey’s southern Antalya province. It said a second ship that it purchased
would operate in the Black Sea, but was diverted to the Cyprus area.
north Cyprus, which is supported by Turkey, says any offshore wealth also
belongs to them, as partners in the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus in
number of hoax calls received at airports has more than doubled in the wake of
the February 14 Pulwama attack and the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka,
three officials familiar with the matter said, asking not to be identified.
of them, an officer with the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which
provides security at most airports, said an average of 5-6 hoax calls are being
received every month, compared to just two a few months ago. He said all calls
are taken seriously. According to CISF, which provides security to 61 of the
100 operational airports in the country, about two dozen hoax calls are
received every year. This year, the number has already crossed 24, the agency
could be someone who wants to settle scores with someone else, a passenger who
has been ill-treated by an airline, or just a prankster.
this: A 30-year-old with mental illness was so consumed by his hatred of
Pakistan after the Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) attacked
a CRPF convoy, killing 40 Indian troopers, that he placed an empty bag inside a
dustbin near Terminal 3 of Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport on
February 20 and made a call. Officials who deal with the terror threats in
agencies such as the Intelligence Bureau (IB), state police forces, Bureau of
Civil Aviation Security, and Railway Protection Force (RPF) said that the
frequency of “hoax” or “mischievous” calls, emails, tweets or handwritten
letters usually increases after any terror attack because of paranoia among
80% of the alerts received in such times are usually bogus, but they increase
the workload of security forces, bomb squads, dog units and the intelligence
agencies. Every alert is checked properly as nobody wants to take a risk in
case something happens,” said a senior IB officer.
third official, who also works for CISF, said that at sensitive installations
such as airports, the entire operation is stopped to ensure there is no breach
of security, if any such call is received.
a threat call is received, a bomb threat assessment committee is formed and
they categorise it into specific or non-specific [threat]. If it is specific,
every part of the airport is put on alert and the flight concerned is vacated
and baggage of the passengers is checked again. In non-specific cases also, the
entire airport is sanitised,” he said. In March, a Singapore-bound flight from
Mumbai was escorted by two F-16 jets from the Singapore Air Force, after a
caller claimed there was a bomb in the plane. The flight ultimately reached its
destination safely and the bomb threat was turned to be a hoax. The caller was
an Australia-based, non-resident Indian (NRI) allegedly upset at how his family
had been treated by the airline.
say stringent punishment is necessary to check the rising trend of prank calls.
a call is received, security personnel cannot take a chance and will do the
drill. The only way to stop this is to investigate the case and ensure maximum
punishment for the accused. In some cases, the accused need to be booked under
Aircraft Act which has provision for stringent punishment,” said Arvind Ranjan,
former director general of CISF.
a suspect is convicted under the Indian Penal Code, the maximum punishment is
two to three years but under the Aircraft Act, it can go up to life.
DELHI: Amid the uncertainty in Afghanistan, US Special Representative for
Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad will make his second visit to India
for consultations starting on Monday. While seeking support and ideas from
India for the ongoing reconciliation, Khalilzad is also expected to brief
Indian authorities about the progress made in the peace efforts in the past few
US peace envoy for Afghanistan is likely to meet external affairs minister
Sushma Swaraj and foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale. The last time Khalilzad was
here was in January when India conveyed to him that there was a need to protect
the existing structure in Afghanistan and to also not insist on the formation
of an interim government.
Even as BJP has made the attack on CRPF jawans in Pulwama and the retaliatory
IAF air strikes on Jaish-e-Muhammed's hub in Pakistan's Balakot a central theme
of its poll campaign across the country, voters at the ground zero of the
February 14 terror attack are indifferent to the elections which will be held
here on Monday.
fear of terrorists and disillusionment with New Delhi is a common element seen
among voters in Pulwama and Shopian districts as one tries to strike a
conversation with the. Both Pulwama and Shopian districts are part of the
Anantnag Lok Sabha seat, where the third and final phase of polling will be
held on Monday. It is because of this fear of militants that electioneering was
virtually non-existent in these areas. Besides militants, separatist groups,
too, have asked for a poll boycott.
pheran-wearing shopkeeper told TOI in a whisper that Hizbul Mujahideen
commander Riyaz Naikoo has threatened to slit throats and pour acid on faces if
anyone votes in Pulwama. "Even if we want to participate in the elections,
we can't. We will get identified and targeted by militants," he added.
the campaign, PDP and Congress rallies were nowhere to be seen. The National
Conference (NC) flags-red and white plough-flickered, but that too just within
the premises of the party office.
voters that TOI spoke to said they had "no faith in the system
anymore". A 21-year-old said, "All the politicians have been lying
and taking us for a ride. There is no point in voting."
vice-president Omar Abdullah blames the PDP-BJP coalition government for the
alienation of Kashmiri voters. "Compare the 2014 elections with that of
2019. How is it that during 2014 elections, the voter turnout was up to 40% but
this time it has come down to 5% at some places? They destroyed Kashmir in the
last five years," Omar said while talking to party workers at NC office
added that NC had warned PDP to "not ally with the Jan Sanghis but they
went ahead for the sake of power and ruined Kashmir".
Activists of Shiv Sena Dogra Front (SSDF) on Sunday staged a protest and set
ablaze an effigy of PDP president Mehbooba Mufti for advocating ceasefire in
Kashmir during the holy month of Ramzan here.
on Saturday had appealed to the Centre and the militants to announce ceasefire
in Jammu and Kashmir for the Muslim fasting month of Ramzan so that the
"people get some relief".
is no need for ceasefire and we are on the roads because we are against any
such move," SSDF chairman Ashok Gupta told reporters here.
claimed that the attacks by terrorists doubled while 40 youths joined the
militant ranks during the unilateral ceasefire by the Centre in the Kashmir
Valley last year.
you were in power in the state and ceasefire was announced, the attacks by
terrorists witnessed a surge which was evident from the data that 66 attacks
including 22 grenade throwing and 12 weapon snatching incidents took place
during the holy month compared to 33 in the previous month," Gupta said.
Union government had in May last year directed security forces not to launch
operations in the state during Ramzan to help Muslims observe the holy month in
a "peaceful environment".
said journalist Shujaat Bukhari was shot dead in Srinagar during Ramzan, while
Army jawan Aurangzeb was abducted and killed on Eid day in south Kashmir.
tourism official says no visas for Egyptians, describes them as ‘enemies’
event that was meant to promote a summer tourism campaign in Qatar took an
interesting turn when the country’s secretary-general of the National Tourism
Council, Akbar al-Baker, described the Egyptian people as “enemies”, announcing
that they will not be given entry visas anymore, while simultaneously calling
on residents to invite their friends and family on visa-free summer visits.
are open, as you already see I have made an announcement that we will even
attract families and friends of people that live in Qatar and make for them
visa-free arrival program at Mohammed International Airport,” al-Baker said.
later went on to say: “The visa will not be open for our enemies - it will be
open for our friends,” al-Baker said of Egyptians looking to come. “Are visas
open for us to go there? No. So why should we open it for them? Everything is
reciprocal.” In 2017, Egypt announced the end of visas upon arrival for Qatari
nationals, not a complete ban. They also announced an exemption from this for
Qatari nationals with Egyptian mothers, those married to Egyptians, and Qataris
studying in Egypt.
has not said it would deport Egyptian residents already in the country and the
comments did not suggest a policy shift that could endanger their status.
2017 report by a private consultancy estimated Egyptian residents at 200,000,
making up the largest Arab minority in Qatar. They have remained and make up a
sizable portion of the tiny but wealthy country’s workforce.
Qatar has a population of around 2.7 million, just over 300,000 are nationals,
and it does not publish statistics breaking down the population by nationality.
Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and trade
ties with Qatar in 2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism. Doha denies the
said Qatar would not let Egyptians enter the country to take part in promotions
aimed at boosting its tourism industry.
added that this is the first time that the country launches a summer tourism
promotion “of this magnitude”.
comments were the first by a Qatari official since the nearly two-year rift
began suggesting Qatar would no longer grant visas to people from Egypt, the
most populous Arab country.
Egyptians say the visa process has been effectively closed to them since 2017,
with narrow exceptions made for the immediate family members of residents and
for specifically approved events.
you open your arms to Qatar, Qatar will open its arms even bigger for you. But
if you become an adversary of Qatar, then we will also treat you as an
adversary,” al-Baker said.
The Responsible Leaders Summit at the UN in New York stressed the pivotal role
of Saudi Arabia in maintaining global harmony and peace, as well as its global
status as the spiritual leader of the Muslim world, the Saudi Press Agency
reported on Sunday.
Muslim World League (MWL) secretary-general, Dr. Mohammed bin Abdul Karim
Al-Issa, delivered the opening and closing remarks at the summit along with
Bawa Jain, secretary-general of the World Council of Religious Leaders.
focused on the vital role that responsible leadership plays in facing the many
challenges of the modern world.
is important for leaders to inspire others and provide them with positive
energy,” he said. “No matter what the differences in our culture or religion
may be, we all agree on the key humanitarian norms that constitute the
framework of our natural law. Even 10 percent of this common ground is enough
to bring about global harmony and peace.”
went on to list several attributes central to responsible leadership, including
strength and integrity; a knowledge of history and a willingness to learn from
it; being proactive and constantly monitoring performance; and recognition that
the “most important pillar of (one’s) own nation’s peace” is “world peace.”
noted that education is one of the main drivers of a sustainable, peaceful
future, stressing that “preparing teachers is the main point of focus.”
also addressed the responsibilities of religious leaders. “These include
countering hate speech and all theories of religious or ethnic extremism that
lead to violence or terrorism, while strengthening the intellectual immunity of
all — especially young people — through their spiritual influence,” he said.
“Extreme religious and terrorist ideologies are not established by military
force, but by religious people who choose to adopt radical ideologies.
say there is no such thing as a ‘radical religion,’ but there is also no
religion that does not have some extremist followers,” he continued.
for other religions and their followers, he said, is vital for peaceful
coexistence. The efforts of certain isolated religious and sectarian groups to
impose their ideals on others, and reject the rights of others to exist, have
led to exclusion, hatred and hostility, he added.
negative ideas have created extremism of all kinds, including the (rise of the)
extreme right in some countries,” Al-Issa noted, adding that each and every
case of extremism — whether political,
religious or intellectual — is a threat
to world peace.
grows with time, through its effects on unconscious emotions. All stable people
are aware that extremist rhetoric has a painful end. They also realize that its
quick gains are deceptive. (It is) a seed of evil that will backfire,” he said.
in the towns of Dornaj and Qaranij in Eastern Deir Ezzur protested against the
SDF and blocked the roads leading to these towns while calling for the exit of
SDF rushed to clamp down on protests arresting, at least, 60 people.
pointed to people's fury due to SDF's measures against the population, and said
that the number of people killed in SDF prisons has considerably increased over
the past two weeks.
a relevant development on Saturday, the SDF dispatched new military convoys to
Deir Ezzur province in Eastern Syria to clamp down on rising public dissent in
their occupied territories, sources said.
of civilians poured to the streets in the towns of al-Shahil, Zaman, al-Shanan,
and Gharanij in Eastern Deir Ezzur to show their protest against the presence
of the SDF in Eastern Syria, and called for their swift exit from the region,
battlefield sources in Eastern Syria said Saturday.
sources, meantime, pointed to the death of a jailed civilian in SDF prison
after being tortured by the Kurdish forces, and said that the people resumed
their protests after the SDF refrained from releasing the jailed civilians.
the SDF targeted people's protests with live bullets after sending military
convoys to the villages of al-Tayaneh and al-Shanan as well as the town of
Zabian in Eastern Deir Ezzur.
the meantime, tens of civilians in the SDF-occupied refugee camp in
Southeastern Hasaka held rallies in protest at SDF and lack of facilities.
Reports from witnesses near the camp said the SDF clashed with the civilians
and arrested a number of women and children.
a relevant development on Wednesday, the Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper
reported that residents of different parts of Eastern Deir Ezzur have raised
the demand in several contacts with the paper.
underlined that residents of towns and villages of Deir Ezzur are highly
dissatisfied with measures adopted by the occupying US forces and SDF,
including detentions, torture of civilians and seizure of the civilian
newspaper said that the occupied areas in Hasaka and Deir Ezzur do not enjoy
even the minimum living conditions, including electricity, adding that a large
number of residents of the towns and villages in Eastern Deir Ezzur have been
transferred to the Syrian army-controlled areas.
of foreign domestic workers demonstrated in the Lebanese capital to demand the
scrapping of a sponsorship system that they complain leaves them open to abuse
hosts more than 250,000 registered domestic workers, the vast majority of them
women, from countries including Ethiopia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.
are excluded from the labor law, and instead obtain legal residency through
their employers’ sponsorship under the so-called “kafala” system.
protesters marching in Beirut held up placards reading “No to slavery and yes
to justice” and “Stop kafala.”
want the cancellation of this system. There are employees imprisoned in houses
and they need to have days off,” Dozossissane, a 29-year-old Ethiopian, told
labor ministry introduced a standard contract for domestic workers in 2009, but
the forms are often written in Arabic, a language many cannot read.
regularly accuse the authorities of failing to take claims of abuse seriously,
with maids, and nannies left at the mercy of employers.
International last month urged Lebanon to end what it called the “inherently
abusive” migration sponsorship system and change the labor law to offer
domestic workers more protection.
strikes by Syrian government ally Russia on Sunday forced the closure of two
hospitals in the Syrian province of Idlib, a war monitor said.
came on a day that eight civilians were killed in bombardment by the regime and
Russia across the northwestern province, said the Britain-based Syrian
Observatory for Human Rights.
and other adjacent territories of Syria held by extremists have faced
intensifying bombardment in the past month.
Sunday air strikes hit a hospital in Kafranbel and another located underground
on the outskirts of Hass.
raids were blamed on Russia by the Observatory. An AFP cameraman filmed the two
facilities hit by strikes.
hospital in Kafranbel is out of order. The patients were transferred to other
facilities in the region," Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told
AFP, adding one civilian was killed.
Hass, air strikes blamed on Russia halted services at an underground hospital,
said Syria Relief and Development, a non-governmental organization that runs
facility had been evacuated shortly before the bombardments, he said, thanks to
alerts from a warning system set up to analyze the flight paths of warplanes.
Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud on Sunday has called for a message
of tolerance and moderation following the announcement on the start of the holy
month of Ramadan.
country took upon itself the service of Islam and Islamic issues, and all that
contributes to spreading this religion of tolerance and moderation,” the King
said in his message.
the world was afflicted by the ravages of extremism and terrorism, the Kingdom
turned to them with all its might and determination, calling for dialogue,
rejection of violence and uprooting the sources of terrorism,” he added.
Trump administration is deploying a carrier strike group and bombers to the
Middle East in response to troubling “indications and warnings” from Iran and
to show the United States will retaliate with “unrelenting force” to any
attack, national security adviser John Bolton said on Sunday.
tensions already high between Washington and Tehran, a US official said the
deployment has been ordered “as a deterrence to what has been seen as potential
preparations by Iranian forces and its proxies that may indicate possible attacks
on US forces in the region.”
the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the United States was
not expecting any imminent Iranian attack.
- who has spearheaded an increasingly hawkish US policy on Iran - said the
decision, which could exacerbate problems between the two countries, was meant
to send a “clear and unmistakable message” of US resolve to Tehran.
he cited no specific Iranian activities that have raised new concerns, Iran has
recently warned it would block the Strait of Hormuz if it was barred from using
the strategic waterway. About a fifth of the oil consumed globally passes
through the strait.
United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but we are fully
prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary
Guard Corps or regular Iranian forces,” Bolton said in a statement.
marked the latest in a series of moves by President Donald Trump’s
administration aimed at ratcheting up pressure on Iran in recent months.
has said it will stop waivers for countries buying Iranian oil, in an attempt
to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero. It has also blacklisted Iran’s elite
Revolutionary Guard Corps, taking the unprecedented step of designating it as a
foreign terrorist organization, which Iran has cast as an American provocation.
Trump administration’s efforts to impose political and economic isolation on
Tehran began last year when it unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear deal it
and other world powers negotiated with Iran in 2015.
United States is deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a
bomber task force to the US Central Command region to send a clear and
unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States
interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force,” Bolton
did not provide any further details.
US Navy statement issued early last month said the aircraft carrier and its
accompanying convoy of ships had steamed out of Norfolk, Virginia, on April 1
“for a regularly scheduled deployment”, but it did not give any destination at
it is not rare for the United States to have aircraft carriers in the Middle
East, Bolton’s language could increase tensions.
threat late last month from the IRGC to close the Strait of Hormuz followed a
US announcement that it would end exemptions granted last year to eight buyers
of Iranian oil and demanding they stop purchases by May 1 or face sanctions.
European governments have opposed Washington’s reinstatement of sanctions on
senior Trump administration official said at the time that any aggressive move
by Iran in the strait would be unjustified and unacceptable.
has made threats to block the waterway in the past, without acting on them.
administration of US President Donald Trump will announce new sanctions on Iran
this coming week, a report says.
sanctions are expected to be announced on Wednesday, May 8, which marks the one
year anniversary of Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.
new sanctions are meant to have significant impacts on a new sector of the
Iranian economy, Axios reported Sunday, citing two senior administration
officials, however, did not elaborate on the sector the sanctions would target,
but did say it would not be energy, the news outlet added.
comes as The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the US would impose
new sanctions on the Islamic Republic, targeting its petrochemical sales.
Trump administration also imposed sanctions on Iran's export of enriched
uranium on Friday but at the same time renewed three key waivers that would
allow European allies, Russia and China to cooperate with Tehran on civil
involvement in transferring enriched uranium out of Iran in exchange for
natural uranium will now be exposed to sanctions. The United States has been
clear that Iran must stop all proliferation-sensitive activities, including
uranium enrichment, and we will not accept actions that support the continuation
of such enrichment," the State Department announced in a statement.
on April 22, the US administration said in a statement, in a bid to reduce
Iran's oil exports to zero, buyers of Iranian oil must stop purchases by May 1
or would face sanctions.
move ended six months of waivers, which allowed Iran’s eight biggest buyers --
Turkey, China, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan -- to
continue importing limited volumes.
cops, volunteers to man Punjab's worship places during Ramazan
As many as 80,000 policemen and volunteers will perform security duty at 32,585
mosques and imambargahs across Punjab during Ramazan and all regional police
officers (RPOs), city police officers (CPOs) and district police officers
(DPOs) will personally monitor the security of churches.
Inspector General of Police (IGP) retired Capt Arif Nawaz was chairing a
conference of RPOs, CPOs and DPOs at the Central Police Office on Sunday.
Training Inspector General (IG) Tariq Masood Yasin, Addl IG (Operations) Inam
Ghani, Addl IG (Welfare and Finance) Sardar Ali Khan, Addl IG Punjab Highway
Petrol Manzoor Sarwar Chaudhry, Addl IG (Investigation) Abubakar Khudabaksh,
Addl Elite Police Force IG Shahid Hanif, Lahore Capital City Police Officer BA
Nasir, Addl IG (Logistics and Procurement) Ghulam Rasool Zahid, Punjab
Constabulary Commandant Kunwar Shahrukh, and all RPOs, CPOs and DPOs were
IG (Operations) Mr Ghani said a comprehensive security plan had been devised
for the holy month of Ramazan and all available resources would be utilised to
implement it. Under the plan, 80,000 police officers, officials and volunteers
would perform security duty at 32,585 mosques and imambargahs of the province.
Nawaz directed all DPOs to personally visit and monitor the security of
mosques, imambargahs, Ramazan bazaars and other important buildings in their
respective areas to ensure the security of citizens at all costs.
said intelligence-based search, sweep and combing operations should be
conducted in the vicinity of all worship places and educational institutes of
the province on priority, adding that security of worship places should be
tightened during Fajr and Taraveh prayers.
IGP issued important orders regarding departmental discipline, management and
security during Ramazan. He directed all the officers to prepare a list of top
20 criminal and anti-social elements in their respective districts and share a
report with his office by June 5.
am personally monitoring the crime situation in all districts of the province
and indiscriminate action will be taken if any contrary to the facts report is
shared,” he added.
IGP directed the officers to ensure their availability and remain accessible to
the public during office hours by eliminating parchi culture. “Any officer
delaying action on public complaints will have to face departmental action,” he
said, adding that action would be taken against the DPOs without any leniency
for causing inappropriate delay in registration of first information reports.
RPOs gave detailed briefings about the crime situation in their respective
regions, the performance of District Complaint Officers and other IT projects,
including the front desk.
Nawaz directed to launch a campaign against kite flyers and manufacturers of
twine, aerial firing, violators of the loudspeaker act, drug peddlers and
dealers in their respective areas. He said departmental and legal action would
be taken against those investigation officers responsible for deaths in police
custody, torture, helping culprits flee, flawed investigation or distortion of
said all checkpoints other than those at the entry and exit points of the city
should be removed immediately and snap-checking started.
on to make Pakistan an Islamic welfare state, says PM
KHAN: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Sunday his government was working to
turn the country into an Islamic welfare state on the model of the State of
Madina where wealth was not accumulated in the hands of a few individuals, but
it used to be spent on the wellbeing and welfare of the masses and where
members of the minority community enjoyed equal rights.
prime minister was speaking at a ceremony after laying the foundation stone of
a university named after Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani, a prominent saint of Islam,
near Sohawa town of Jhelum district.
prime minister said that Islam and science were closely inter-linked and the
golden era of Islam produced world’s renowned scientists who were torch-bearers
of scientific learning. The prime minister said that founding such a university
was his much-cherished dream when he had joined politics 23 years ago.
of leadership qualities and spiritualism would be the main emphasis of learning
at this university,” the prime minister said.
university has been named after Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani, who linked science
and spirituality. We consider spirituality a super science which needs research
and that research will be conducted here,” Mr Khan said.
prime minister said that 35 per cent students of the university would be given
scholarships and the institution would be run on the pattern of NUML, adding
that the institution was being set up through private fund raising and no
government finance would be involved in it.
quoted examples of some Scandinavian and European countries and said they were
practicing a system closer to Madina’s Islamic Welfare State.
want to forge leadership qualities into our youth and it will happen only when
they get to know principles of the Islamic Welfare State of Madina. We will
also develop latest technologies at the university, for which we will seek
China’s help,” Mr Khan said.
is sad that we deviated from our path, but now we must get back on track and institutions
like the Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani University will serve as the first step
towards renaissance of Islamic learning and Ideology of Pakistan.
adds: The prime minister said that the university would teach students
principles of State of Madina and Pakistan’s ideology as envisioned by
Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Mohammad Iqbal.
said that what had been happening in the country was contrary to the vision of
an Islamic welfare state.
to some tragic events of the past, including the dismemberment of the country,
the prime minister said that besides the role played by India in that tragedy,
the injustice to the people also played an important role in it.
to poverty and backwardness of Sindh and Balochistan, the prime minister said
that it had never been envisioned by the country’s forefathers.
said that after late prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, political leaders of
the country did nothing for the masses but amassed wealth and made properties
for themselves in the country and abroad.
on the occasion, Religious Affairs Minister Pir Nurul Haq Qadri said that the
establishment of university was a step towards accomplishment of objectives of
Pakistan’s creation. He said it was a unique idea to teach the life of the holy
Prophet, Sufism and science and technology at a single institution.
Qadri said the university would also help dispel the notion that Islam had been
spread by the use of force as education and intellect were behind Islam’s
popularity and propagation among the masses. He said it was for the first time
that the government had been setting up Seerat Chairs at universities to
conduct research on the life and teachings of the holy Prophet (PBUH).
The Pakistan Army on Sunday said two civilians, including a minor, were killed
in a cross-border firing with the Indian forces along the Line of Control (LoC)
in Hotsprings and Kot Kotera sectors in Pakistanoccupied Kashmir.
army statement claimed that the "Indian Army resorted to unprovoked firing"
in Hotsprings and Kot Kotera sectors.
45-year-old woman and a 12-year-old boy were killed, while another woman was
injured in the firing, it said.
Army troops responded effectively and targeted those posts which initiated
fire," the statement said.
in the day, Indian officials in Jammu said an Army officer and a porter were
injured as Pakistan army resorted to heavy mortar shelling and small arms
firing on forward posts and villages along the LoC in Poonch and Rajouri
districts of Jammu and Kashmir.
the colonel-rank officer was injured in Krishna Ghati sector of Poonch
district, the 25-year-old porter suffered splinter injuries when a mortar shell
exploded near him in Keri sector of Rajouri district, they said.
defence spokesman also said Pakistan violated ceasefire by resorting to
unprovoked shelling and firing from across the border in the two sectors at
around 11 am, prompting the Indian Army to give a befitting response.
Former interior minister and veteran politician Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on
Sunday brought to an end uncertainty about his association with the Pakistan
Muslim League-Nawaz and announced parting ways with his party of more than 35
a press conference here at Wah Cantonment, he said: “I am not part of PML-N anymore.”
Nisar said he had taken a decision according to his conscience. The disgruntled
leader said he cannot put himself for sale. “I have been part of the PML-N for
a long time. I do politics of honour, not of power,” he added.
said he had strong relationship with many senior leaders of the PML-N. But, he
added, “I have said many times I am not anymore a part of the PML-N”. He said
some senior leaders of the PML-N had differences and issues between them which
had not been resolved.
former federal minister said a conspiracy was being hatched against the country
to weaken it on multiple fronts.
held both the government and the opposition responsible for the ongoing
political turmoil in the country.
local leader Sheikh Sajidur Rehman and Zeeshan Saeed were present on the
Nisar raised questions over the performance of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf
government, saying that it had no policy how to solve the problems of the
country and provide relief to poor people.
said that the devaluation of the rupee against the US dollar and increase in
the prices of petroleum products would have an adverse impact on the people of
the country. He said by October a high rate of inflation might hit the country
and make the life of poor people miserable. Such a situation could cause a mass
movement against the government, he added.
said despite the tall claims of the PTI leadership before coming into power,
the government of the party had surrendered itself to international financial
institutions, like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. He
claimed that the government was now taking dictations from these institutions.
about the proposed bailout package from the IMF, he said the government had put
the country on stake just for “peanuts”.
said the PTI government should take measures for providing some relief to the
veteran politician also raised questions over the way the people in the
government speak about opposition parties, saying that calling everyone dacoit
and looter would not work. If the ruling party wanted to solve the problems
being faced by people and give a direction to the country, it must have to take
the nation into confidence.
Nisar termed the new local government system unconstitutional and claimed that
the government had stopped functions of the local government institutions
because it had no majority in them.
opposed any type of interference in the working of the National Accountability
Bureau and other institutions, saying that these institutions must be allowed
to do their work independently.
Nisar — who had won a seat of the Punjab Assembly in the 2018 general
elections, but had not taken the oath of it so far — said it would be a sheer
hypocrisy if he took the oath of the provincial assembly’s seat.
said being a member-elect of the provincial assembly it would not be justified
for him to raise questions over the performance of the National Assembly.
said Prime Minister Imran Khan should be made accountable for making what he
called false claims about discovery of oil reserves in the country.
Ghani vow to take steps for peace in region
Pakistan and Afghanistan on Sunday resolved to make efforts to benefit from
their geographic location to enhance regional connectivity and realise their
true economic potential for socio-economic development, alleviation of poverty
and welfare of people.
President Ashraf Ghani made a phone call to Prime Minister Imran Khan and the
two leaders exchanged views on matters relating to peace, security and
prosperity in Afghanistan and the region, a statement released by the PM Office
two leaders vowed to strengthen bilateral ties and restore peace in Afghanistan
and the region.
Minister Khan said that for the sake of the people of the two countries, the
aim of the leadership should be to help build peace, promote economic
activities and advance connectivity for regional prosperity.
prime minister said that the spirit of brotherhood defined Pakistan’s approach
towards Afghanistan. “The prolonged Afghan conflict has damaged Afghanistan and
adversely affected Pakistan over the past many decades,” he was quoted as
Khan reiterated his vision for finding a peaceful solution to Afghan conflict,
fully owned and led by Afghans themselves. He assured President Ghani that
Pakistan would spare no effort to advance the common objectives of building peace
in Afghanistan and having a fruitful bilateral relationship between the two
Minister Khan reiterated his invitation to President Ghani to visit Pakistan
for a comprehensive exchange of views on all issues of mutual interest. Dates
for the visit would be decided though mutual consultations.
latest interaction between PM Khan and President Ghani came four days after a
terrorist attack from Afghanistan side that claimed lives of three Pakistani
soldiers who were erecting fence on the border.
other Pakistani soldiers were injured when a group of 60 to 70 terrorists from
bases in Afghanistan attacked Pakistan Army troops in the Alwara area of North
Waziristan tribal district on May 1.
troops effectively responded and repulsed the attack, killing and injuring
scores of terrorists.
believes that while Pakistan security forces are solidifying border security
through fencing and construction of forts to deny liberty of action to
terrorists, Afghan security forces and authorities need to have more effective
control in the border region to support Pakistan’s efforts and deny use of
Afghan soil against Pakistan.
has been erecting a fence along its western border to stop illegal influx of
terrorists and smugglers from Afghanistan who often use unfrequented routes to
enter Pakistan. However, the government in Kabul has been opposing the move.
Continuing its criticism over the appointments of Dr Reza Baqir of the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) as new governor of the State Bank of Pakistan
(SBP) and Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh as adviser to the prime minister on finance,
the main opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has feared that the
country’s nuclear programme may come under threat after appointment in key
positions of “IMF representatives”.
the intentions of [Prime Minister] Imran Khan, the nation should be worried
about Pakistan’s nuclear capability,” said PML-N spokesperson Marriyum
Aurangzeb in a statement on Sunday.
Aurangzeb, who served as information minister in the previous government of the
PML-N, alleged the premier had handed over the country to “the East India
Company”, a reference to the British trade company through which Britain
established its rule in the Indian sub-continent in the 18th century.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous
Ashiq Awan defended the government’s decision and termed Dr Baqir a “pride of
on Saturday night, the government had announced that Dr Baqir had been
appointed as the SBP governor to serve for a three-year term.
Aitchison alumnus, Dr Baqir earned his PhD from the University of California,
Berkeley, in Economics and had been serving the IMF for the past 16 years. He
was heading the IMF’s debt policy division and worked on IMF policies on
external debt sustainability and restructuring of member countries.
will be the second IMF official to head the State Bank as before him Dr
Mohammad Yaqub had been brought from the IMF to head the SBP between 1993 and
Aurangzeb said Pakistan’s sovereignty had been “compromised and this time the
East India Company did not even need to fight because the incompetent prime
minister dished it out to the IMF on a platter”.
of negotiating a favourable and sustainable economic plan, she said the PM knew
nothing better than to pass the entire country’s fiscal and monetary control to
the IMF representatives by appointing their employees as heads of Pakistan’s
State Bank and the finance ministry. “The insecure and complexed prime minister
fired his best bet at negotiating a near favourable package and handed over the
lock and key of the country’s treasury to the IMF,” she said.
PML-N’s spokesperson said it was no secret that Dr Baqir excelled in the art of
keeping countries buried under debt to pile up insane levels of interests for
his original employer, the IMF. She said the PM had embarrassed the nation by
not just bowing down to the IMF but kneeling to every single one of their
orders no matter how unreasonable.
Khan doesn’t need to go to the IMF anymore because he has formally made the
country’s top financial institution their office,” she added.
former information minister said it was all making sense as why ex-premier
Nawaz Sharif was being pushed out of the way by hook or by crook. “It is
because he would have stood against such a shameful surrender of the entire
country to a third party financial institution,” she stressed.
claimed that the PML-N supremo gave Pakistan the multibillion dollar ‘gift’ of
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) while “the inept, incompetent and
egocentric Imran Khan has yielded the country to its last penny to the IMF”.
country had not seen a day without a new disaster ever since Imran Khan and his
regime have taken control,” she said, alleging that the Rs9 petrol bomb on the
already crushed people before Ramazan had been bombarded at the behest of the
the appointment, the information adviser said the SBP governor, who studied in
prestigious international institutions, had joined PM Khan’s finance team to
steer Pakistan out of the economic crisis.
claimed that Dr Baqir had tendered his resignation from the IMF to serve
to the opposition’s criticism, she said the opposition wanted to close the doors
on the intelligent Pakistanis working at prestigious international institutions
who wanted to serve their motherland.
leader of Hamas says his group is “not interested in a new war” with Israel,
after two days of heavy rocket fire from Gaza and Israeli airstrikes on the
Haniyeh said in a statement late Sunday that the militant group is ready to
“return to the state of calm” if Israel stops its attacks “and immediately
starts implementing understandings about a dignified life.”
has fought three wars with Gaza militants since 2008 and has blockaded the
territory for more than a decade.
Sunday, the Israeli military said in a statement that its forces killed a Hamas
commander in the Gaza Strip in what the military described as a targeted strike
and Palestinians said was the first such action since the 2014 war in the
witnesses said he was killed in an air strike on his car.
chief appeals for restraint in Gaza flare-up
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed on Sunday for “maximum restraint”
following the escalation.
condemns in the strongest terms the launching of rockets from Gaza into Israel,
particularly the targeting of civilian population centers,” a UN statement
urges all parties to exercise maximum restraint, immediately de-escalate and
return to the understandings of the past few months,” it said, according to
special envoy Nickolay Mladenov was “working closely with Egypt and all
concerned to restore calm,” the statement said.
killed a Hamas commander in the Gaza Strip on Sunday in what the military
described as a targeted strike and Palestinians said was the first such action
since the 2014 war in the Palestinian enclave.
military statement said that Hamed Ahmed Abed Khudri had been responsible for
transfering funds from Iran to armed factions in Gaza.
says a ceasefire agreement has been reached with Israel, after 25 people were
killed in three days of Israeli attacks on the besieged Gaza enclave, which
were responded to with homemade rockets from Palestinian groups.
was announced both by two Palestinian officials familiar with the agreement and
the Hamas Resistance Movement's media outlet.
ceasefire understanding will begin Monday 04:30 (01:30 GMT),” one of the
officials told Reuters.
Gaza's Health Ministry said at least 25 people have been killed and 154 others
injured in the fresh flare-up of violence in the enclave.
pregnant women and a 14-month-old baby were among the fatalities.
upsurge in violence came after the Israeli prime minister ordered the military
to continue massive strikes on the enclave. Benjamin Netanyahu also said
Israeli forces around Gaza would be reinforced.
erupted on Friday following the killing of four Palestinians, two in an Israeli
air raid on southern Gaza and two during the regime’s live fire at
anti-occupation protesters near a fence separating the blockaded coastal
enclave from the occupied territories.
Israeli military claimed that its initial aerial assault had come in response
to the wounding of two of its soldiers by Palestinian gunfire near the Gaza
latest rocket fire from Gaza killed a 60-year-old Israeli man. A total of some
83 Israelis have also been wounded.
Palestinian leaders in Gaza agreed a cease-fire with Israel on Monday to end a
deadly two-day escalation in violence that threatened to widen into war,
officials with knowledge of the deal said.
Israeli military spokeswoman declined to comment on the deal, but there
appeared to have been no rocket fire or Israeli strikes after it was due to
take effect, an AFP correspondent in Gaza said.
brokered the agreement to cease hostilities from 4:30 a.m. (0130 GMT), an
official from the strip’s Islamist rulers Hamas and another from its allied
group Islamic Jihad said on condition of anonymity.
Egyptian official also confirmed the deal on condition of anonymity.
deal came after the most serious flare-up in violence between Israel and
Palestinian militants in Gaza since a 2014 war.
escalation began Saturday with massive rocket fire from Gaza, drawing waves of
Israeli retaliatory strikes, and continued throughout Sunday.
least 23 Palestinians, including at least nine militants, were killed.
civilians in Israel were killed, at least three of them Israeli citizens.
flare-up came as Hamas sought further steps from Israel toward easing its
blockade under a previous cease-fire brokered by Egypt and the United Nations.
faced pressure to seek to restore calm and put an end to the rocket fire
hitting communities in the country’s south.
commemorates its Memorial and Independence Days later this week and is due to
host the Eurovision song contest in Tel Aviv from May 14-18, which is expected
to draw thousands to Israel.
the Gazan side, the Muslim holy month of Ramadan is set to begin.
officials in Gaza accused Israel of not taking steps to ease its blockade as
promised under previous cease-fire deals.
Islamic Jihad official said the new truce agreement was again based on Israel
easing its blockade.
the steps, he said, were the relaxing of limits on fishing and improvements in
Gaza’s electricity and fuel situation.
and Palestinian militants in Gaza have fought three wars since 2008 and the
escalation brought them to the brink of another.
was particularly bloody, with 19 Palestinians and four civilians in Israel
Palestinian dead included a commander for Hamas’s armed wing who Israel said it
targeted due to his role in transferring money from Iran to militant groups in
the Gaza Strip.
was a rare admission of targeted killing by Israel’s army.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday he instructed the military “to
continue its massive strikes on terror elements in the Gaza Strip.”
leader Ismail Haniya said in a statement on Sunday night that “returning to a
state of calm is possible” if Israel committed to a “complete cease-fire.”
it, “the arena could face many rounds of confrontation,” he said.
said its strikes were in response to Hamas and Islamic Jihad firing some 690
rockets or mortars across the border since Saturday, with Israeli air defenses
intercepting more than 240 of them.
addition to those killed and injured, the rockets repeatedly set off air raid
alarms in southern Israel and sent residents running to shelters while also
damaging houses. At least 35 of the rockets fell in urban areas, according to
army said its tanks and planes hit some 350 militant targets in Gaza in
targeted militant sites and in some cases militants themselves as well as their
homes if they were found to be storing weapons, military spokesman Jonathan
buildings in Gaza City were destroyed.
said one of the buildings included Hamas military intelligence and security
said its state news agency Anadolu had an office in the building, and strongly
denounced the strike.
Gaza health ministry said the dead from the Israeli strikes included a
14-month-old baby and a pregnant woman, 37. It first identified the woman as
the baby’s mother, but the family clarified on Sunday that she was the aunt.
strongly disputed the claim, with Conricus saying that based on intelligence
“we are now confident” that the deaths of the woman and baby were not due to an
unfortunate death was not a result of (Israeli) weaponry but a Hamas rocket
that was fired and exploded not where it was supposed to,” he said.
Gazan ministry reported late Sunday that another four-month-old baby was among
those killed in Israeli strikes in the northern Gaza Strip. Israel’s army had
UN regained access to donated grain stored in the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah
on Sunday, and began the task of salvaging food that could stave off starvation
for millions of citizens before it rots.
which has become the focus of a four-year war between government forces and the
Iran-backed Houthis, is the entry point for most of Yemen’s humanitarian aid
and commercial imports.
World Food Program (WFP) grain stores there have been cut off for eight months,
putting 51,000 tons of wheat at risk of rotting. The stores came under the
control of government forces after fierce battles last year but a major
frontline is only a few blocks away.
WFP technical team arrived in the eastern outskirts of Hodeidah on Sunday to
begin cleaning and servicing equipment in preparation for milling grain, a WFP
spokesman told Reuters.
familiar with the matter said the WFP-led team traveled from the
government-held southern port city of Aden along the western coast, avoiding
Houthi-held areas after the group denied them access from the north, which it
militants did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. The
Houthis and the government of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi agreed in December to a
UN-sponsored truce and troop withdrawal from Hodeidah. That deal has largely
held but violence has escalated in some other parts of the country.
spokesman Herve Verhoosel said its priority was to begin cleaning and servicing
milling machinery and fumigating the wheat.
UN expects that process to take several weeks before starting to mill it into
flour and distributing it to the Yemeni communities most in need.
assessment carried out in February, when the UN was briefly granted access to
the mills for the first time since September, concluded that around 70 percent
of the wheat may be salvageable.
the flour yield will be lower than normal as weevil infestation has caused
hollow grains, the UN said, based on that assessment.
aimed at securing a mutual military withdrawal from Hodeidah have stalled
despite UN efforts.
government officials accuse the Houthis of violating the peace deal.
the proposed withdrawal, a government retreat would free up access to the Red
Sea Mills and humanitarian corridors would also be reopened.
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