New Age Islam
Mon Aug 10 2020, 11:56 PM

Islamic World News ( 23 Oct 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

How Islamic State Weaponised the Chat App to Direct Attacks on the West

















ISIS are set to be using chemical weapons in the Mosul fight

 

ISIS Militants to Unleash CHEMICAL WEAPONS in Bloody Fight to Hold onto Mosul, US Warns

Mysterious Fire Devours ISIL Headquarters in Iraq's Mosul

200 Kurdish Militants Killed In Airstrikes, Turkish Military Claims

Anti-India Terrorists in Kashmir Waving Chinese Flags

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Europe

How Islamic State Weaponised the Chat App to Direct Attacks on the West

Sweden Is Offering Returning Islamic State Fighters Free Housing and Benefits

UN Experts Urge India to Release Kashmiri Human Rights Activist

Petition forces UK to defend Pakistan’s role in antiterrorism fight

EU Human Rights Commissioner: Stop Ignoring Anti-Semitism

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North America

ISIS Militants to Unleash CHEMICAL WEAPONS in Bloody Fight to Hold onto Mosul, US Warns

U.S. Identifies Key Player in ISIS Attacks on Europe

Madeleine Albright makes stop at vandalized Islamic centre

2nd California Man Gets 30 Years for Trying to Aid Islamic State

Guilty "Resettled" Muslim Iraqi Refugee Plotted To Bomb Houston Malls

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Arab World

Mysterious Fire Devours ISIL Headquarters in Iraq's Mosul

Terrorists Preventing Comrades, People from Fleeing Eastern Aleppo

At Least 100 ISIL Commanders Escape from Mosul toward Syria amid Operation

Iraqi Security Forces Liberate 40% of Nineveh Province

Syrian Army Liberates over 120km of Northern Hama Territories

Syrian Army Announces Start of Humanitarian Pause in Eastern Aleppo

Security Prevails in Mo'adhamiyeh of Damascus as Terrorists Leave

Terrorists on Verge of Collapse in Northern Hama

Army Continues Operations in Eastern Ghouta, Repulses Militants' Attack in Western Ghouta

Syrian Army Units Gain Upper Hand in Clashes with Terrorists in Al-Mahr, Al-Sha'er Oilfields

Syrian Forces Intensify Attacks to Cut Terrorists' Supply Routes in Eastern Ghouta

Army Continues to Advance in Aleppo as US Airstrikes Take Casualties from Civilians

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Mideast

200 Kurdish Militants Killed In Airstrikes, Turkish Military Claims

Suspended Judges Willing To Confess About Gülen: Supreme Board

Turkey proposes international plan on post-ISIL Mosul status

Turkish military retaliates against Syrian Kurdish militia after shelling

Doğan Group to hold two international events in US against Islamophobia

Former top soldier skips coup attempt commission

Erdoğan, Putin agree to clear Aleppo of Nusra

We warned gov’t on Gülen back in 2004: Former top soldier

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India

Anti-India Terrorists in Kashmir Waving Chinese Flags

Muslim Joint Action Committee, Andhra Pradesh Opposes Uniform Civil Code

Zakir Naik’s NGO Case: Centre Lifts Suspension Of Bureaucrat

Video Showing Hizb Militants Surfaces

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South Asia

Taliban’s Mine Making Factory Destroyed in Helmand Province

Drone Strike Target Taliban Gathering, 8 including Group’s Commander Killed

Afghanistan exported 1,655 tons of pomegranate to Pakistan and India

Afghan Air Force conducted 108 flights in past 24 hours: AAF

1 US soldier, 1 US citizen killed in Kabul attack

Lazuli railway network to link Afghanistan to Europe and China soon

Bangladesh says attack investigation yielding results

Bangladesh seeks OIC cooperation in education

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Africa

Nigeria: VP Osinbajo, Sultan of Sokoto, CAN President Call for Religious Harmony

Morocco's Jihadist Paradox, Unraveled

3 Al-Jazeera Journalists Arrested in Somalia

Now a cardinal, this African prelate was already a “saint”

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Pakistan

Pakistan Imposes Blanket Ban on Indian Content

National Counter-Extremism Policy on the Cards

Pakistan Army takes gold in Exercise Cambrian Patrol held in UK

PM Sharif welcomes judicial proceedings in Panama Papers case

Pakistan pushes for efforts to prevent weaponisation of outer space at UN

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Southeast Asia

Indonesia Keeping Eye on IS Veterans Who Have Come Home: Officials

No move to ban or make hot dogs haram, Malaysia’s Islamic affairs minister clarifies

Compulsory for Muslims to change 'inappropriate' names of products or food

Police Attacked by Suspected Islamic State Sympathizer in Indonesia

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/how-islamic-state-weaponised-the-chat-app-to-direct-attacks-on-the-west/d/108895

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How Islamic State Weaponised the Chat App to Direct Attacks on the West

Oct. 20, 2016

PARIS—A predawn attack on a French policeman’s home, the killing of a priest during Mass and a car bomb planted near Notre Dame Cathedral in recent months were plots that appeared isolated until investigators discovered a common thread.

Their authors had all allegedly been in contact with a man whom authorities identify as 29-year-old Rachid Kassim.

From somewhere in Islamic State-held territory in Iraq or Syria, authorities say, the French national had used the encrypted Telegram chat app and other social-media tools to contact people back home—mainly French teenagers who are believed to have little or no previous connection to the terror group or each other—and instruct them on how to mount attacks.

Investigators across Europe are alarmed by the rise of militants such as Mr. Kassim, who they suspect have developed a way to “remote control” attacks from far away. That is blurring the lines between assaults carried out by militants trained in Islamic State territory and those by so-called lone wolves who authorities assumed were acting without the direction or support of terror groups.

“What worries us is a new type of attacker who only appears to be acting alone,” said Hans-Georg Maassen, head of Germany’s domestic intelligence. “Such assailants are being steered virtually from abroad via instant messaging.”

The recent unfurling of terror plots allegedly directed by Mr. Kassim in France have sent investigators scrambling to trace the militant’s internet footprint, seizing the phones of attackers and poring over communications that were previously hidden by encryption.

Followers of Mr. Kassim’s private channel on Telegram received instructions in mid-August on how to buy cooking-gas canisters for a car bomb, according to a copy of the channel’s content provided to The Wall Street Journal by a person with access to it. The content was confirmed by French authorities.

Full report at:wsj.com/articles/how-islamic-state-weaponized-the-chat-app-to-direct-attacks-on-the-west-1476955802

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ISIS militants to unleash CHEMICAL WEAPONS in bloody fight to hold onto Mosul, US warns

October 20, 2016

ISLAMIC State jihadis are expected to unleash a throng of chemical weapons as they desperately try to hold onto the city of Mosul, US forces have claimed.

Military officials have begun testing shell fragments for possible chemical agents after ISIS used mustard gas during attacks in recent months.

An official said: “Given [ISIS’] reprehensible behaviour and flagrant disregard for international standards and norms, this event is not surprising.”

But Washington does not believe the barbaric sect has been successful in developing lethal chemical weapons, stating that more conventional weapons are the biggest threat to Iraqi and Kurdish forces as they attempt to retake the city.

Soldiers have been photographed using gas masks as they prepare for the eventuality that the terror cult resorts to underhand tactics.

ISIS fighters have been bombarded in the past two days in its Iraqi stronghold, losing more than than 75 square miles of territory since the offensive began.

It has been estimated around 1million civilians are still in Mosul, which was captured by Daesh two years ago.

Barack Obama said: “If we aren't successful in helping ordinary people as they're fleeing from ISIL, then that makes us vulnerable to seeing ISIL return.”

The International Organisation for Migration’s Iraq chief, Thomas Weiss, said on Tuesday he expected militants to use Mosul residents as human shields.

He said: "We also fear, and there has been some evidence that ISIL might be using chemical weapons. Children, the elderly, disabled, will be particularly vulnerable.”

Former CIA officer Colonel Peter Mansoor added: ”The result is inevitable. The Iraqi forces with the help of US air support will end up crushing ISIS but it will be a hard fight for that to happen.

"The enemy has had more than two years to dig into the urban landscape. He's lighting on fire pools of oil to darken the skies and make it harder to target him."

Leader of the warmongering group Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is said to be trapped in the besieged city.

It is believed the jihadi is joined by ISIS bomb maker Fawzi Ali Nouimeh – leading the fears ISIS are prepared to fight to the bitter death to protect the city.

Source: express.co.uk/news/world/722735/ISIS-militants-Islamic-State-daesh-chemical-weapons-Mosul-Iraq-Kurdish-fighters-US

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Mysterious Fire Devours ISIL Headquarters in Iraq's Mosul

October 20, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iraqi media reported that mysterious fire devoured the empty headquarters of the ISIL terror group in the city of Mosul during the last 24 hours.

“The fire started 24 hours ago inside the empty headquarters of the ISIL in the city of Mosul,” Al Sumeriya reported.

The buildings were evacuated by the ISIL far before the launch of the battle to liberate Mosul and the perpetrators of the fire are still unknown.

Earlier, Nineveh Provincial Council announced that the ISIL militants detonated the buildings of the Mosul's City Hall and the General Directorate of Nationality in Central Mosul using explosive barrels.

Meanwhile, the residents of Mosul discovered the ‘Land of Caliphate’ map inside one of the main headquarters of ISIL in Mosul.

Some residents of Mosul sneaked into one of ISIL security headquarters that was evacuated by the group earlier due to the intense air strikes and discovered a large map on a wall inside the archive room that titled as the Land of Caliphate Map.

The map has black marks indicate to the ISIL-held regions in Iraq and Syria, and other blue marks indicate to the states that will be soon announced, including 16 states in Arab and Islamic world, according to Al Sumeriya.

Al Sumaria explained thtat the majority of the ISIL regions in the map were in the Persian Gulf countries, in addition to Egypt and the Maghreb area.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950729000428

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200 Kurdish militants killed in airstrikes, Turkish military claims

October 20, 2016

Turkish warplanes struck Syrian Kurdish militia targets in northern Syria and killed up to 200 militants, state media quoted the military as saying Thursday.

The jets hit 18 targets in Maarrat Umm Hawsh, a region north of the city of Aleppo, the official news agency Anadolu said.

The army claimed 160 to 200 militants from the YPG (People's Protection Units) militia were killed in the strikes on Wednesday night.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the raids but could not give a death toll.

The figure from the Turkish armed forces has yet to be independently confirmed.

The agency said nine buildings used as YPG headquarters, meeting points, shelters and weapons depots were destroyed as well as four vehicles.

Ankara sees the YPG and the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) as terror groups linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

The PKK, proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union, has waged a bloody insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.

Tensions between Turkey and the US have increased over the YPG whom Washington views as an effective force against the militant Islamic State (IS) group in Syria. But Ankara has repeatedly said it will not allow a “terror corridor” on its southern border and wants to prevent the joining of the Kurdish “cantons” of Afrin and Kobane.

Turkey launched an unprecedented military operation in northern Syria on August 24, sending tanks and striking militant targets while supporting Syrian opposition fighters retake IS-controlled territory.

The goal of the operation was to remove IS from its border -- which last month Ankara said it achieved -- while also aiming to halt the westward advance of the YPG.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday Turkey would not “wait for terrorist organisations to come and attack us” during a speech in Ankara.

“These organisations, wherever their activities are, wherever they are nesting, we will go (there),” he said.

Source: dawn.com/news/1291143/200-kurdish-militants-killed-in-airstrikes-turkish-military-claims

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Anti-India Terrorists in Kashmir Waving Chinese Flags

19 Oct 2016

China may no longer be able to remain in the shadows of the ongoing clashes between regional rivals and nuclear-armed neighbors Pakistan and India in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.

Recent news reports, primarily carried by media outlets linked to India, claim that anti-India terrorists have been waving Chinese and Pakistani flags during demonstrations on the Indian-held portion of the Muslim-majority region of Kashmir.

The autonomous region of Xinjiang, home China’s largest concentration of the Muslim Uighur minority in the country, borders Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Indian media reports that protests in Kashmir have coincided with the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) nations summit that took place last weekend in the Indian city of Goa and was attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

NDTV (New Delhi Television Limited) notes:

Possibly for the first time in Kashmir, Chinese flags have been found in [Indian military] raids along with material that was allegedly to be used by terrorists – petrol bombs, anti-India publicity material, unauthorized cell phones and documents linked to terror groups Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba [LeT].

Both Jaish-e-Mohammed and LeT are officially listed as foreign terrorist organizations by the United States.

NDTV continues:

[Indian] security forces carried out extensive searches yesterday [Oct. 18] in the town of Baramulla… [which] was firmly in the control of the massive mobs that would defy curfew to attack security personnel and their property, including bases and vehicles. The violence has ebbed in recent days. Yesterday’s raids were carried out in areas where Chinese flags had been spotted in large demonstrations.

Although Pakistani flags were also allegedly waved by protesters, the Indian government appeared surprised and concerned by the presence of Chinese flags.

An op-ed carried by several pro-India news outlets, including Indian Defense Review (IDR), points out:

Anti-national elements in Baramulla hoisted Pakistani and Chinese flags after Friday prayers. This coincided with the arrival of Xi Jinping on the Indian soil. The coincidence was lost out on none. The messaging for China’s help by the separatists and the militants in Baramulla injects a new dimension to militancy and jihad in Kashmir.

On this very land, how many kinds of flags have been waived or hoisted – flag of Islamic State [ISIS/ISIL], of LeT, of Pakistan and now of China.

Although China, which has competing territorial claims to Kashmir along with Pakistan and India has appeared to keep itself out of the recent confrontations between the two other countries, Beijing has been described as a closer partner to Pakistan than to India.

“Pakistan is a long-term ally of China and their strategic and economic interests are especially interlinked through a new $46 billion trade corridor that links Western China to Pakistan’s Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea,” notes NDTV.

Beijing does maintain a relationship with both its neighbors India and Pakistan.

However, China reportedly provides more weapons to Pakistan than to any other country and builds Muslim-majority nations nuclear reactors.

In the last few months, India and Pakistan have accused each other of firing across the Line of Control (LoC) that separates their respective regions in Kashmir. The recent escalating clashes between the two countries have violated the mutually agreed upon 2003 ceasefire.

Fighting between the two nations intensified in July after Indian groups killed Burhan Wani, commander of the Kashmir-based and Pakistan-linked terrorist group Hizb-ul-Mujahideen.

That incident was followed by India accusing Pakistan of backing terrorists who carried out an attack in Indian-held Kashmir on September 18 that reportedly killed at least 18 Indian soldiers.

In retaliation, India launched “surgical strikes” on September 29 against four camps in Pakistan-held Kashmir, claiming to have killed 38 terrorists.

Nevertheless, Islamabad maintains there were no strikes, adding that Indian troops used small arms and mortars to specifically target Pakistani military personnel, killing two soldiers and wounding nine others.

The clashes have continued to rise since.

India accuses Pakistan of arming and training militants in Kashmir fighting for independence from India or in favor of a merger with Pakistan, a charge that Islamabad denies.

Meanwhile, Pakistan refers to those militants as dissidents, accusing India of committing atrocities against them. Besides India, the U.S. and Afghanistan also accuse Pakistan of harboring terrorist groups.

The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi was recently been linked to forcing Christians and Muslims to become Hindu. Pakistan has also been accused of coercing Christians and Hindus into following Islam.

Source: breitbart.com/national-security/2016/10/19/kashmir-anti-india-terrorists-allegedly-wave-pakistani-chinese-flags/

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Europe

How Islamic State Weaponised the Chat App to Direct Attacks on the West

Oct. 20, 2016

PARIS—A predawn attack on a French policeman’s home, the killing of a priest during Mass and a car bomb planted near Notre Dame Cathedral in recent months were plots that appeared isolated until investigators discovered a common thread.

Their authors had all allegedly been in contact with a man whom authorities identify as 29-year-old Rachid Kassim.

From somewhere in Islamic State-held territory in Iraq or Syria, authorities say, the French national had used the encrypted Telegram chat app and other social-media tools to contact people back home—mainly French teenagers who are believed to have little or no previous connection to the terror group or each other—and instruct them on how to mount attacks.

Investigators across Europe are alarmed by the rise of militants such as Mr. Kassim, who they suspect have developed a way to “remote control” attacks from far away. That is blurring the lines between assaults carried out by militants trained in Islamic State territory and those by so-called lone wolves who authorities assumed were acting without the direction or support of terror groups.

“What worries us is a new type of attacker who only appears to be acting alone,” said Hans-Georg Maassen, head of Germany’s domestic intelligence. “Such assailants are being steered virtually from abroad via instant messaging.”

The recent unfurling of terror plots allegedly directed by Mr. Kassim in France have sent investigators scrambling to trace the militant’s internet footprint, seizing the phones of attackers and poring over communications that were previously hidden by encryption.

Followers of Mr. Kassim’s private channel on Telegram received instructions in mid-August on how to buy cooking-gas canisters for a car bomb, according to a copy of the channel’s content provided to The Wall Street Journal by a person with access to it. The content was confirmed by French authorities.

To avoid drawing suspicion, Mr. Kassim advised attackers to say, “Hello, Sir, I’m arranging a camping trip.…How many [canisters] do I have to buy to get a good price?”

Full report at:wsj.com/articles/how-islamic-state-weaponized-the-chat-app-to-direct-attacks-on-the-west-1476955802

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Sweden Is Offering Returning Islamic State Fighters Free Housing and Benefits

October 20, 2016

A programme to rehabilitate former Islamic State fighters and other extremists with housing, employment, education and financial support is being introduced in Sweden.

Local authorities in the city of Lund say the controversial measures aim to reintegrate returned militants into society in order to prevent them from reverting to their former networks.

Swedish minister quits after being caught driving under influence

The municipal coordinator against violent extremism, Anna Sjöstrand, said that although the proposals were controversial, she believes that former Islamic State fighters should be dealt with in the same way as those leaving organised crime and neo-Nazi groups.

“When this subject came up we thought: ‘Oh god, how should we handle this’,” she told Swedish broadcaster Sveriges Radio. Pretty quickly we realised that we should deal with this in the same way.” She added, “If you have committed a criminal act should take responsibility for it, but there are many aspects – one could for example look at it in terms of cost. It is much cheaper to reintegrate a person into society than to abandon them, for example.”

Sweden emerges on top in world’s ‘good country index’

Christoffer Carlsson, a criminologist, supporting the plans after conducting a report on extremist defectors for the Swedish government, said that people attempting to leave a group such as the Islamic State need a way to break out of their networks and to avoid regression. “You need resources, you need to reintegrate into the job market, you need a license, you need a roof over your head,” he told Sveriges Radio. “I fail to see why you should treat people who leave violent extremism differently (to young criminals).”

Methods of dealing with returning militants are a subject of fierce debate across Europe as the terrorist group continues to lose territory across Syria and Iraq, with fears of an influx of militants fleeing a major offensive in Iraq.

“The retaking of Isis’s northern Iraqi stronghold, Mosul, may lead to the return to Europe of violent Isis fighters,” said Julian King, Commissioner for the (European) Security Union. The approach pioneered in Lund is also reportedly being considered in the Swedish cities of Malmö, Borlänge and Örebro.

Stockholm Muslim school slammed over sex segregation

Around one fifth of the group’s militants – 3,700 people – are residents or nationals of Western Europe, a King’s College London study estimated last year. Around 140 Swedish foreign fighters are believed to have returned from Syria and Iraq, out of at least 300 who travelled to the region to join extremist groups. Sweden is believed to have one of the highest Islamic State fighters per capita in Europe, although it sits far behind France, the UK, Belgium and Germany in terms of numbers.

A recent report found that the majority of European Islamic State fighters have a criminal background, with the group’s propaganda deliberately attempting to attract young men searching for redemption.

Source: tribune.com.pk/story/1204604/european-country-offering-returning-islamic-state-fighters-free-housing-benefits/

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UN Experts Urge India to Release Kashmiri Human Rights Activist

October 20, 2016

A group of United Nations expert on Wednesday urged that the Indian government must immediately release a prominent Kashmiri human rights activist who was arrested last month on charges of involvement in activities against the public order.

Khurram Parvez, 39, coordinator of the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCSS) has campaigned against human rights violations committed by state forces in India’s volatile Himalayan region of Jammu and Kashmir since long.

In a statement issued by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), four Special Rapporteurs said Parvez's detention appeared to be an attempt by the government to stop his work.

"Parvez is a well-known and outspoken human rights defender who has had a long-standing and positive engagement with the UN human rights mechanisms," said the UN experts on arbitrary detention, freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of expression and enforced disappearances.

His continued detention following his arrest just a few days before his participation in the UN Human Rights Council, suggests a deliberate attempt to obstruct his legitimate human rights activism.

UN Experts

Government and police officials in Kashmir declined to comment on the statement by the UN Special Rapporteurs Michel Forst, Sètondji Adjovi, Maina Kiai and David Kaye.

The JKCCS has published research into the role of Indian security forces in containing a separatist insurgency in India's Kashmir state that first flared a quarter of a century ago.

At least 78 civilians have been killed and thousands wounded in more than two months of clashes between protesters and security forces, sparked by the killing of a leading separatist militant in a joint army and police operation on 8 July.

The unrest is the worst in the Muslim-majority region for six years, and critics have accused Indian forces of heavy-handedness as they struggle to contain the protests.

India and Pakistan have fought two wars over Kashmir since Independence in 1947. Both claim the territory in full but rule it in parts.

Parvez, who is also the chair of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD), was stopped by authorities at New Delhi airport on 14 September, when he was on his way to Geneva to attend the UN Human Rights Council.

He was detained on 16 September, released four days later and then detained again the same day.

The experts said they were concerned that Parvez was still in preventive detention under the highly-controversial Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, which allows for people to held for up to two years without judicial intervention.

India had so far provided no clear details on the exact nature of the charges against Parvez, and the government's rationale relied "mainly on vague accusations of alleged 'anti-India' activities" to disturb public order, said the statement.

“In a democratic society, the open criticism of Government is a legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of expression of every person,” the experts said.

"We are seriously concerned that the arrest of Parvez may represent a direct retaliation for his legitimate activities as a human rights defender and the exercise of his fundamental freedoms, including freedoms of expression and association."

Source: thequint.com/kashmir-after-burhan-wani/2016/10/20/un-experts-urge-india-to-release-kashmiri-human-rights-activist-khurram-parvez-state-forces-muslims-anti-india-wani

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Petition forces UK to defend Pakistan’s role in antiterrorism fight

October 20, 2016

LONDON: The British government has defended Pakistan’s record in combating terrorism. In a response to a public petition critical of Pakistan and signed by nearly 20,000 UK residents, the Foreign Office in London issued a statement saying: “Pakistan has made significant sacrifices in opposing terrorism.”

The petition, placed on an official government site, said: “Pakistan continues to double speak on issue of terrorism. It has aided & abetted enemies of the international coalition (of which Britain is a leading partner with the US) against terrorism.”

It also pointed out that Osama bin Laden’s hideout had been in Pakistan and alleged that the country continued to be a safe haven for UN-sanctioned terrorist networks.

Having attracted 19,484 signatures, the petition had passed the 10,000-signature threshold which obligates the British government to issue an official response.

British-Indian communities have until March to add signatures to anti-Pakistan document

A map showing the geographic locations of the signatories of the petition suggests that many of them come from parliamentary constituencies with significant British-Indian communities.

“The UK has regularly raised with Pakistan the need to take consistent action against all terrorist groups operating within its borders,” the Foreign Office statement said. It went on to list areas of UK-Pakistan cooperation.

The UK, the statement said, was providing Pakistan training on how to detect and disrupt improvised explosive devices, advice on counterterrorism security matters, such as aviation and airport security, and assistance in developing narratives to counter the extremist ideology.

In addition, the UK’s bilateral aid programme was assisting Pakistan with securing the rule of law, providing better education and tackling poverty.

The response to the petition comes ahead of next month’s two-day visit by Prime Minister Theresa May to Delhi where she will meet her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.

Meetings between the two sides will be dominated not by Indo-Pak relations or recent events in India-held Kashmir but rather the fallout of the British referendum taking the UK out of the European Union.

The British government is keen to show international trading partners that, despite Brexit, the UK remains open for business. Speaking about the visit — her first non-European trip as prime minister — Mrs May said: “As we leave the European Union we have the chance to forge a new global role for the UK — to look beyond our continent and towards the economic and diplomatic opportunities in the wider world.”

The British acknowledgment of Pakistan’s counterterrorism efforts will be welcomed by the army and bureaucracy in Pakistan. There have been increasing concerns that allegations concerning Pakistani support for some militant groups have been gaining traction internationally.

In July this year a Congressional sub-committee in the US asked whether Pakistan was a friend or foe in the fight against terrorism. US concerns about Pakistan’s attitude to terrorism have led to a sharp reduction in US aid flows.

Posted in late September, the petition will be given six months up to the 29 March, 2017 for more signatures to be gathered and to see if a target of 100,000 can be met. Petitions which attract over 100,000 signatures trigger a debate in the British parliament.

Source: dawn.com/news/1291128/petition-forces-uk-to-defend-pakistans-role-in-antiterrorism-fight

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EU Human Rights Commissioner: Stop Ignoring Anti-Semitism

19 Oct 2016

TEL AVIV – The European Union’s commissioner for human rights called on the organization to stop ignoring the rise in anti-Semitism on the continent and to use the Holocaust as a reminder of the dangers posed by complacency.

“Europeans ignore the evidence of rising anti-semitic hate speech, violence and Holocaust denial at their peril. The hate that begins with Jews never ends with Jews. Antisemitism is a threat to our European continent built on freedom and the rule of law,” Nils Muižnieks said in statement posted on the Council of Europe’s website Tuesday and cited by the Jerusalem Post.

He added, “Teaching remembrance of the Holocaust is a crucial safeguard against history and serious human rights violations repeating themselves.”

“Contemporary manifestations of anti-Semitism do not just include violent crime and hate speech. Contemporary anti-Semitism also revolves around the Holocaust, with some blaming the Holocaust on Jews or suggesting that Jews focus on this tragedy to gain advantage,” said Muižnieks.

However, according to Dr. Richard Landes, the Jerusalem-based chair of the Council of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, Muižnieks did not go far enough by failing to mention that Europe’s Muslim population are to blame for the most grievous acts of anti-Semitism.

“The statement does not even address the fact that all the deadly cases of anti-Semitism in Europe today come from Muslims – a sign of timidity which does not bode well for opposing the phenomenon,” Landes told the Jerusalem Post.

“Indeed, one might argue that real, exterminationist anti-Semitism like that of the Nazis is primarily found in the European Muslim community (and among Muslims around the world), while milder forms of Jew-hatred revive at an alarming rate among others (including ‘progressive’ Jews).”

“In Europe, it’s as if the elites quaff the wine and beer of their distaste for Jews (especially for free Jews like Israelis), while holding an open bar for the Muslims to drink all the hard alcohol of real Jew-hatred they want. It’s hard to imagine a more self-destructive indulgence in an ancient and poisonous addiction,” he added.

Meanwhile, in the city of Oldenburg, the local teachers’ union (GEW) is being lambasted by German Jews over a call to completely boycott the Jewish state in the first such incident since the Holocaust.

The GEW’s purported trivialization of the Holocaust and support for the BDS movement is being led by union member Christoph Glanz, who is accused of promoting Jew- and Israel-hatred. At a school event marking the Holocaust in 2013, Glanz reportedly addressed the pupils by saying that Israel was guilty of genocide against the Palestinians.

“The fact that Mr. Glanz is openly indoctrinating children and teaching hatred against Israel is totally unbearable,” Daniel Killy, the spokesman for the city of Hamburg’s 2,500-member Jewish community, told the Post, adding that Glanz should be removed from his teaching position.

“If a German union backs an anti-Semitic hate preacher like Glanz they are disqualifying themselves as a voice in the public dialogue,” Killy said.

Source: breitbart.com/jerusalem/2016/10/19/eu-human-rights-commissioner-stop-ignoring-antisemitism/

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North America

ISIS militants to unleash CHEMICAL WEAPONS in bloody fight to hold onto Mosul, US warns

October 20, 2016

ISLAMIC State jihadis are expected to unleash a throng of chemical weapons as they desperately try to hold onto the city of Mosul, US forces have claimed.

Military officials have begun testing shell fragments for possible chemical agents after ISIS used mustard gas during attacks in recent months.

An official said: “Given [ISIS’] reprehensible behaviour and flagrant disregard for international standards and norms, this event is not surprising.”

But Washington does not believe the barbaric sect has been successful in developing lethal chemical weapons, stating that more conventional weapons are the biggest threat to Iraqi and Kurdish forces as they attempt to retake the city.

Soldiers have been photographed using gas masks as they prepare for the eventuality that the terror cult resorts to underhand tactics.

ISIS fighters have been bombarded in the past two days in its Iraqi stronghold, losing more than than 75 square miles of territory since the offensive began.

It has been estimated around 1million civilians are still in Mosul, which was captured by Daesh two years ago.

Barack Obama said: “If we aren't successful in helping ordinary people as they're fleeing from ISIL, then that makes us vulnerable to seeing ISIL return.”

The International Organisation for Migration’s Iraq chief, Thomas Weiss, said on Tuesday he expected militants to use Mosul residents as human shields.

He said: "We also fear, and there has been some evidence that ISIL might be using chemical weapons. Children, the elderly, disabled, will be particularly vulnerable.”

Former CIA officer Colonel Peter Mansoor added: ”The result is inevitable. The Iraqi forces with the help of US air support will end up crushing ISIS but it will be a hard fight for that to happen.

"The enemy has had more than two years to dig into the urban landscape. He's lighting on fire pools of oil to darken the skies and make it harder to target him."

Leader of the warmongering group Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is said to be trapped in the besieged city.

It is believed the jihadi is joined by ISIS bomb maker Fawzi Ali Nouimeh – leading the fears ISIS are prepared to fight to the bitter death to protect the city.

Source: express.co.uk/news/world/722735/ISIS-militants-Islamic-State-daesh-chemical-weapons-Mosul-Iraq-Kurdish-fighters-US

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U.S. Identifies Key Player in ISIS Attacks on Europe

OCTOBER 19, 2016

Almost a year after Islamic State terrorists killed 130 people in Paris, U.S. intelligence agencies have identified one of the suspected masterminds of that plot and a follow-up attack in Brussels.

U.S. counter-terror officials said the man, who goes by the name Abu Sulaiyman al Fransi (Abu Sulaiyman, the Frenchman) is a 26-year old Moroccan who once served in Afghanistan as a soldier in the French Foreign Legion. He did prison time for drug running before going to Syria in 2014 and joining ISIS, according to U.S. officials and French court documents. His real name is Abdelilah Himich, according to U.S. counter-terror officials.

Despite his relative youth, Himich’s military experience and knowledge of France have made him a key figure in the Islamic State’s external operations unit, which has led a terror campaign against Europe, officials said. He is thought to be in Syria.

“We believe he is one of the top guys involved in spearheading the Paris attack and the Brussels attacks,” a U.S. counter-terror official said. “He was involved in creating that infrastructure” of the external operations unit.

U.S. and European counter-terror officials were interviewed for this story as part of a report by ProPublica and FRONTLINE about terrorism in Europe.

Officials acknowledged that they have struggled to pin down details about the identities and activities of the ISIS planners. U.S. and European counter-terror officials note that several Islamic State fighters have used the nom de guerre Abu Sulaiyman al Fransi. (The nickname is spelled in a number of ways, U.S. officials say.) In the past, he has variously been described by European officials and media reports as a blond convert and a former physical education teacher.

Full report at:pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/u-s-identifies-key-player-in-isis-attacks-on-europe/

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Madeleine Albright makes stop at vandalized Islamic center

OCTOBER 20, 2016

Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright speaks at the Waterloo Islamic Center in Waterloo, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016. Albright was in town to campaign for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. But after learning that the center was vandalized over the weekend, Albright added a stop at the center to hold an informal town hall about what it is to be Muslim is America. (Brandon Pollock/The Waterloo Courier via AP)

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Wednesday visited an Islamic center in Waterloo that was vandalized over the weekend.

Albright was in town to campaign for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported (http://bit.ly/2dOR0cI ). But after learning of the vandalism — in which Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's last name was spray-painted in red on a wall — Albright added a stop at the center to hold an informal town hall about what it is to be Muslim is America.

"I really do think it is in communities that, here in America, people can understand each other as people and as believers in the commonality of what we all do, and how we treat each other, and what America is really about," Albright told about 30 people who gathered at the Masjid Al-Noor Islamic Center on Wednesday.

She also asked those attending about the impact of the vandalism.

Elizabeth Collins, of Waterloo, said she believes "hateful rhetoric and the bigotry" led to the vandalism.

"It becomes an issue when you have an overwhelming amount of media portraying something like Islam like it's not," Collins said. "You see more of the bad than you see more of the good."

Albright also criticized the negative tone of this election.

"I hate to say this," she said. "I don't like this election at all. I love politics. This is a hideous election in so many ways, because it is done specifically to divide us."

Source: qctimes.com/news/state-and-regional/iowa/madeleine-albright-makes-stop-at-vandalized-islamic-center/article_a6286e93-3400-51c0-9190-13cd49c1e307.html

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2nd California Man Gets 30 Years for Trying to Aid Islamic State

October 19, 2016

A southern California man convicted of trying to become a fighter for the Islamic State terrorist group was sentenced Monday to 30 years in prison.

Muhanad Badawi, 25, was convicted earlier this year of conspiracy to aid a foreign terrorist organization and other crimes.

“The significant sentence the defendant received illustrates the gravity of this crime and the threat the defendants posed to the United States,” Deirdre Fike, assistant director in charge of the FBI's Los Angeles office, said in a statement. Badwadi also was sentenced to a lifetime of supervised release.

Authorities say Badawi and 25-year-old Nader Elhuzayel, also of California, concocted a scheme for Elhuzayel to fly to the Middle East to fight for Islamic State, and that Badawi lent him his debit card to buy a one-way plane ticket to Israel with a six-hour layover in Turkey.

The evidence at trial showed that Elhuzayel and Badawi used social media to discuss Islamic State beheadings and other terror attacks. In recorded conversations, the two discussed how “it would be a blessing to fight for the cause of Allah, and to die in the battlefield.”

Defense attorney Kate Corrigan, who has said Badawi never intended to fight for the Islamic State, had requested half the amount of prison time and 20 years of supervision.

She cited his lack of criminal history and age and said she planned to appeal the sentence.

“The real message from today’s hearing is that anyone who thinks they want to support ISIS or even dabble in its rhetoric better be ready to serve a lot of time in prison,” she wrote in an email according to the Associated Press.

Badawi moved to the United States as a child from Sudan, where he was born. He lived in Orange County, California, and studied engineering.

While in custody, Badawi stopped eating and dropped from 140 to 109 pounds before a judge ordered him force-fed last December, according to the Associated Press.

Elhuzayel was sentenced three weeks ago, also to 30 years in prison.

Source: voanews.com/a/us-man-sentenced-thirty-years-aid-islamic-state/3558246.html

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GUILTY "RESETTLED" MUSLIM IRAQI REFUGEE PLOTTED TO BOMB HOUSTON MALLS

October 19, 2016

Obama Inc. claims that their Muslim refugee resettlement program is bulletproof. It isn't. And neither are we.

Here's the latest Muslim refugee who turned out to be a ticking time bomb. In the most literal sense.

- The U.S. Department of Justice said a 24-year-old Iraqi refugee living in Houston pleaded guilty on Monday to supporting the Islamic State.

Omar Faraj Saeed al-Hardan, who was born in Iraq, entered the United States in 2009. He was in at least two refugee camps in Jordan and Iraq prior to reaching the United States and being granted permanent legal residence status in 2011.

"Al-Hardan also said he wanted to be trained in building remote transmitter/receiver detonators for improvised explosive devices, wanted to learn to use cell phones as the remote detonators and wanted to build remote detonators for ISIL," the Justice Department wrote.

The Justice Department also said Hardan made statements about his plans to travel to Syria to fight alongside the Islamic State "and become a martyr."

"In one instance he said: 'I want to blow myself up. I want to travel with the mujahedin. I want to travel to be with those who are against America. I am against America,'" the Justice Department wrote, quoting Hardan's statements.

#RefugeesWelcome.

But Hardan didn't limit himself to terror plans abroad. The Muslim settler also wanted to kill Americans right here.

A Houston man who pledged his allegiance to ISIS and plotted to detonate homemade bombs in local shopping malls pleaded guilty Monday to a terrorism-related charge.

Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan, a 24-year-old father, stockpiled circuitry components, wireless remotes and other bomb-making implements in his west Houston apartment,according to court documents.

The whole thing is another reminder of how poisonous the Muslim refugee resettlement trade really is.

Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan’s case is a black eye for the Syrian refugee program, which officials said they modeled on the Iraqi program, using lessons learned to create the vetting system that President Obama and other top officials have promised would weed out terrorists.

But Al Hardan managed to get into the U.S. in 2009 as a teenager after spending time in refugee camps in Jordan and Iraq. Two years after he arrived, he was granted a green card by the Obama administration and quickly began to plot to join one of the terrorist networks fighting in the Middle East.

Al Hardan was one of two men admitted as refugees from Iraq who face criminal terrorism-related charges.

Aws Mohammed Younis al-Jayab, 23, was indicted this year in federal court in California on charges of lying about his terrorist background to immigration officials. He was later indicted in federal court in Illinois for attempting to aid terrorists.

#TerrorismWelcome.

The best way to fight ISIS and Islamic terrorism is to end the transportation of enemy agents into our country.

Source: frontpagemag.com/point/264552/guilty-resettled-muslim-iraqi-refugee-plotted-bomb-daniel-greenfield

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Arab World

Mysterious Fire Devours ISIL Headquarters in Iraq's Mosul

October 20, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iraqi media reported that mysterious fire devoured the empty headquarters of the ISIL terror group in the city of Mosul during the last 24 hours.

“The fire started 24 hours ago inside the empty headquarters of the ISIL in the city of Mosul,” Al Sumeriya reported.

The buildings were evacuated by the ISIL far before the launch of the battle to liberate Mosul and the perpetrators of the fire are still unknown.

Earlier, Nineveh Provincial Council announced that the ISIL militants detonated the buildings of the Mosul's City Hall and the General Directorate of Nationality in Central Mosul using explosive barrels.

Meanwhile, the residents of Mosul discovered the ‘Land of Caliphate’ map inside one of the main headquarters of ISIL in Mosul.

Some residents of Mosul sneaked into one of ISIL security headquarters that was evacuated by the group earlier due to the intense air strikes and discovered a large map on a wall inside the archive room that titled as the Land of Caliphate Map.

The map has black marks indicate to the ISIL-held regions in Iraq and Syria, and other blue marks indicate to the states that will be soon announced, including 16 states in Arab and Islamic world, according to Al Sumeriya.

Al Sumaria explained thtat the majority of the ISIL regions in the map were in the Persian Gulf countries, in addition to Egypt and the Maghreb area.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950729000428

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Terrorists Preventing Comrades, People from Fleeing Eastern Aleppo

October 20, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- A military source confirmed reports on Thursday that the terrorists stationed in the Eastern parts of Aleppo city are blocking the path of the people and other militants who want to leave the region.

"The terrorists have launched 20 mortar attacks on Bostan al-Qasr corridor while the ceasefire has not been violated in the Castello road and the government buses and ambulances are transferring people to the safer areas," the source said on Saturday.

"The terrorists also targeted al-Jandoul square which has been one of the safe corridors opened by the Syrian army for the militants to leave the region," the source said, adding that the terrorists have also attacked a Syrian army position in Eastern Aleppo.

Some reports also said that the militants have deployed snipers in certain areas to prevent the evacuation of their comrades and civilians and have announced that they would set fire on houses of those people who want to leave Aleppo.

This is while the Syrian army is inviting the terrorists to lay down their arms and leave Aleppo's Eastern regions.

The Syrian State news agency also reported that several militants (who had laid down their arms) and a number of wounded people and patients were transferred from Eastern Aleppo through the declared corridors.

The Syrian Army General Command announced on Thursday that the suspension of the air strikes on militants in the Eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo.

The Command said in a statement that the humanitarian pause in the Eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo started on October 20, at 08:00 AM. 

It called on all gunmen in the Eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo to throw their weapons and benefit from the amnesty decree.

The statement pointed out that the General Command has accurate information on the gunmen’s places, gatherings and their weapon caches in the Eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo city, stressing that each gunman who does not seize the opportunity of the pause will face his fatal destiny.

Earlier, Head of the Russian General Staff Main Operations Department Sergey Rudskoy said that the Syrian and Russian military men have decided to expand the humanitarian pause for three hours to evacuate civilians from the Eastern neighborhoods after receiving many requests from the international organizations.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950729000444

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At Least 100 ISIL Commanders Escape from Mosul toward Syria amid Operation

October 20, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- At least 100 commanders of ISIL terrorist group left the Iraqi city of Mosul and headed for Syria amid the Iraqi forces' offensive, media reported.

The group of ISIL commanders moved to the Syrian border, as the Iraqi air forces continue to monitor the area to the West of Mosul, Al Mayadin reported. 

The start of the military operation to retake Mosul from ISIL, which seized it in June 2014, was announced by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi on Monday.

According to local media, about 30,000 Iraqi soldiers and 4,000 Kurdish Peshmerga fighters are taking part in the operation.

They are backed by the US-led international coalition's airstrikes. Abadi's spokesman, Sa'ad Hadithi, said on Wednesday that the operation was progressing faster than expected.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950729000343

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Iraqi Security Forces Liberate 40% of Nineveh Province

October 20, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Governor of Iraq's Nineveh Province announced on Wednesday the Iraqi Army and popular forces managed to liberate 40% of the province from ISIL terrorists and they met with little resistance by the terrorists while liberating the villages in the Nineveh Province.

“The arrival of Iraqi security forces to Mosul cheered up the citizens and displaced people,” the Governor of Nineveh, Nofal Hammadi said in a press statement, Iraqi News reported.

“We are waiting for the full liberation of our province and the Iraqi flag to be raised on its center,” he noted.

“Iraqi security forces liberated 40% of Nineveh Province, and they met with little resistance by the ISIL members in the liberated villages due to their retreated morale,” Hammadi concluded.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950729000410

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Syrian Army Liberates over 120km of Northern Hama Territories

October 20, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army and its allies seized back over 20 villages and heights in the Northern parts of Hama, freeing nearly 121km of land from terrorists' control.

"The Syrian troops along with their allied forces have won back the towns, villages and heights of al-Sha'ta, Western al-Janinah, al-Talisiyeh, Tal Abyadh, al-Qaherah, Ra's al-Ain, Tal Aswad, Khafsin, Karah, al-Kabarieh, Tal Ahmar, Ma'an, Tal Bazam and Ma'ardes," an army officer said Thursday. 

The source added that during the operations which were also supported by the Syrian and Russian warplanes, a large number of terrorists' arms caches and vehicles were destroyed and tens of militants were killed.

A Syrian commander said that the army's future operations will focus on liberating Souran and Taybat al-Imam towns.

The Syrian Army soldiers continued to beat back the terrorist groups from their positions in Northern Hama on Wednesday, capturing a main base in the Northern side of the newly-liberated town of Ma'ardes.

Syrian military forces, in a fresh round of operations to liberate the towns of Souran and Taybat al-Imam, pushed the terrorists back from a key base along Ma'ardes road to Kawkab.

A large number of Jeish al-Ezza and Abna al-Sham's militants were killed or wounded in the attacks.

Military analysts believe that recapture of this base will pave the way for the easier liberation of Taybat al-Imam and Souran.

Syrian soldiers have now been deployed to the surroundings of Souran to carry out the next phase of the operation there.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950729000144

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Syrian Army Announces Start of Humanitarian Pause in Eastern Aleppo

October 20, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army General Command on Thursday announced that the suspension of the air strikes on militants in the Eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo.

The Command said in a statement that the humanitarian pause in the Eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo started on October 20, at 08:00 AM, SANA reported 

It called on all gunmen in the Eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo to throw their weapons and benefit from the amnesty decree.

The statement pointed out that the General Command has accurate information on the gunmen’s places, gatherings and their weapon caches in the Eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo city, stressing that each gunman who does not seize the opportunity of the pause will face his fatal destiny.

Earlier, Head of the Russian General Staff Main Operations Department Sergey Rudskoy said that the Syrian and Russian military men have decided to expand the humanitarian pause for three hours to evacuate civilians from the Eastern neighborhoods after receiving many requests from the international organizations.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950729000363

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Security Prevails in Mo'adhamiyeh of Damascus as Terrorists Leave

October 20, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The militants who refused to lay down their arms left Mo'adhamiyeh in Southwestern Damascus along with their families after several months of efforts by the Syrian government and people, sources said, adding that security was reestablished in the strategic town again.

Media sources reported that 40 buses evacuated 700 terrorists along with their families (nearly 1,800 people) from the town.

Local sources also confirmed the news, adding that the militants left the town for Idlib in the presence of the Syrian Red Crescent Society while the UN representatives didn't appear in the event.

They also said that 10,000 people were present on the scene of the event at Mo'adhamiyeh bridge when the Syrian government buses were evacuating the terrorists and their families.

Over 1,000 militants in Mo'adhamiyeh officially ended fight against the Syrian government on Wednesday.

"Introductory steps have been taken for Over 1,000 militants to surrender to the government forces or evacuate the town of Mo'adhamiyeh today," the sources said on Wednesday.

"While, government authorities in Mo'adhamiyeh said they are ready to go on with implementation of their agreement with the militants, those militants who do not want to join the peace agreement will be relocated to militant-held parts of Idlib," they added.

"650-750 militants have registered their names to leave Mo'adhamiyeh and move to Idlib. At least 400 militants have laid down arms and have settled their files to remain in Mo'adhamiyeh," the sources went on to say.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950729000258

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Terrorists on Verge of Collapse in Northern Hama

October 20, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army's major advance in the Northern parts of Hama that has so far ended up in winning back tens of kilometers of occupied territories has forced a large number of terrorists to flee the region, a military sources said on Thursday.

"The terrorists who had occupied some of important towns in Hama province in two weeks, are now collapsing and have lost their morale amid the army's intensified operations in the region," the source stated.

He added that the Syrian soldiers are now preparing for retaking the two strategic towns of Taybat al-Imam and Souran.

Also, another military source said that the Syrian forces and their allies, supported by the air force, have repelled the terrorists' attacks on a large number of their positions in Northern Hama after heavy clashes with the militants.

He added that tens of terrorists have been killed and their military equipment destroyed in the past few days.

Reports said earlier today that the Syrian army and its allies won back over 20 villages and heights in the Northern parts of Hama, freeing nearly 121km of land from terrorists' control.

"The Syrian troops along with their allied forces have won back the towns, villages and heights of al-Sha'ta, Western al-Janinah, al-Talisiyeh, Tal Abyadh, al-Qaherah, Ra's al-Ain, Tal Aswad, Khafsin, Karah, al-Kabarieh, Tal Ahmar, Ma'an, Tal Bazam and Ma'ardes," an army officer said Thursday. 

The source added that during the operations which were also supported by the Syrian and Russian warplanes, a large number of terrorists' arms caches and vehicles were destroyed and tens of militants were killed.

A Syrian commander said that the army's future operations will focus on liberating Souran and Taybat al-Imam towns.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950729000413

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Army Continues Operations in Eastern Ghouta, Repulses Militants' Attack in Western Ghouta

October 20, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army forces, supported by the air force, inched closer to al-Reihan town in Eastern Ghouta while other army units repelled the terrorists' heavy offensive in Western Ghouta.

"Heavy clashes are underway between the Syrian army troops and Jeish al-Islam terrorists near al-Reihan town and the Syrian fighter jets have also targeted the terrorists' gathering centers near al-Reihan and al-Shifouniyeh towns as well as Jasrin town in the Eastern Ghouta region," a field source said on Thursday.

Also, military sources in Western Ghouta reported that the army has repulsed the militants' offensive against their positions in Khan al-Sheih farms, killing several terrorists and destroying a tank.

Meantime, the Syrian army smashed a vehicle of the militants on Khan al-Sheih-Zakiya road in Western Ghouta, killing all the militants inside.

The Syrian army continued operations on Thursday to cut the terrorists' supply routes between the two towns of Tal al-Sawan and Tal al-Kurdi in Eastern Ghouta of Damascus.

Harsh clashes were reported between the Syrian troops and Jeish al-Islam terrorists in Tal al-Kurdi and Tal al-Sawan districts and the army could advance in Sabidaj plant in Eastern Ghouta.

Field sources said that tens of Takfiri terrorists were killed and wounded during the operations.

They added that the Syrian army has now deployed its forces near the road linking Douma and the areas near the strategic region of Tal al-Sawan and Tal al-Kurdi which is of high importance to Jeish al-Islam militants.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950729000379

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Syrian Army Units Gain Upper Hand in Clashes with Terrorists in Al-Mahr, Al-Sha'er Oilfields

October 20, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army forces and their allies repelled militants' attacks on al-Mahr oil field in the Eastern parts of Tadmur (Palmyra) in Homs province, a military source said on Thursday.

"The Syrian army and the National Defense Forces (NDF) repulsed the ISIL terrorists' heavy attack on their positions in al-Mahr oilfield, killing and wounding tens of them and destroying their equipment and military vehicles," the source said, and added, "Other terrorists were forced to flee the scene."

"Also, the Syrian army forces, supported by the air force, clashed with the ISIL terrorists near al-Sha'er oilfield," the source added.

A number of ISIL command posts and bunkers, military vehicles and equipment were destroyed in the clashes and dozens of terrorists were killed and wounded, the source said.

Other sources also reported that the Syrian army targeted the regions controlled by Fatah al-Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra) Front, Ahrar al-Sham and other terrorist groups in Hawsh al-Hajw, al-Ameriyeh and Talbiseh in Northern Homs province, destroying the terrorists' hideouts and their vehicles and inflicting several casualties on the militants.

Also, the Syrian fighter jets bombed the ISIL positions in al-Sakhanah town and al-Tayyebah village which destroyed them completely and killed dozens of terrorists.

On Wednesday, the Syrian and Russian fighter jets pounded the positions of Ahrar al-Sham and Fatah al-Sham Front in Northern Homs, claiming the lives of scores of militants.

A large number of Fatah al-Sham and Ahrar al-Sham were killed or wounded and their military equipment were destroyed in the joint air raid of the Syrian and Russian aircraft in Talbiseh, al-Qajar and al-Rastan.

The Syrian warplanes also bombed ISIL's gathering heavily near al-Sha'er oilfield.

Two missile launch-pads and two military vehicles of Fatah al-Sham were also targeted by the Syrian army soldiers in the village of al-Mokaramiyeh in al-Sa'an al-Aswad region.

Several Takfiri terrorists were killed in the Syrian army attacks in the villages of al-Qajar and al-Ghantou in Northern Homs.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950729000353

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Syrian Forces Intensify Attacks to Cut Terrorists' Supply Routes in Eastern Ghouta

October 20, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army continued operations to cut the terrorists' supply routes between the two towns of Tal al-Sawan and Tal al-Kurdi in Eastern Ghouta of Damascus.

Harsh clashes were reported between the Syrian troops and Jeish al-Islam terrorists in Tal al-Kurdi and Tal al-Sawan districts and the army could advance in Sabidaj plant in Eastern Ghouta.

Field sources said that tens of Takfiri terrorists were killed and wounded during the operations.

They added that the Syrian army has now deployed its forces near the road linking Douma and the areas near the strategic region of Tal al-Sawan and Tal al-Kurdi which is of high importance to Jeish al-Islam militants.

Military sources said on Tuesday that the Syrian Army and popular forces are preparing to take yet another major stride in completing the siege of Douma.

"Ending militancy in Damascus province as soon as possible stands atop the agenda of the Syrian army and its popular allies," the sources said, "and that's why the government forces' operations in Eastern Ghouta have concentrated on the completion of the siege of Douma, the so-called capital of Jeish al-Islam terrorists in this region."

"Jeish al-Islam's positions in Tal al-Sawan, Tal al-Kurdi, Arbin, Harasta, Mesraba, Hamouriyeh, Beir Sawa, al-Reihan and al-Shifouniyeh are under very heavy attacks by the Syrian government forces' missile and mortar units to encircle Douma step by step," the sources said.

"Al-Reihan and al-Shifouniyeh are the scenes of tough battles between the army and militants," the sources added.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950729000229

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Army Continues to Advance in Aleppo as US Airstrikes Take Casualties from Civilians

October 20, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian troops continued their advance in different parts of Aleppo with more militants surrendering to the government authorities as the US airstrikes in the province killed and wounded 10 people.

Aleppo

A large number of buses queued up in the Aleppo Municipality stadium on Wednesday to evacuate terrorists from the city's Eastern districts, local sources said.

There were reports that the civil society delegations and reconciliation committees are trying to evacuate groups of terrorists from Eastern Aleppo.

Earlier on Wednesday, Syrian security officials said that some 900 terrorists are preparing to be evacuated from the Eastern districts of Aleppo on Thursday.

The security officials said that 30 buses were most likely to evacuate on Thursday around 900 terrorists, who have turned down the offer to join the peace agreement with the government but agreed to leave Aleppo.

"The militants, who have applied to leave Aleppo, will not face any problem by the security forces," Abdul Hamid Seirafi, a Syrian judiciary official, told FNA.

Meantime, a source based in the Northern Syrian city said that three people were killed and 27 others injured, including three children, as militants shelled Western Aleppo.

According to the source the attack on Aleppo’s Jamiliya neighborhood took place during a 48-hour ‘humanitarian pause’ by Russian and Syrian forces and all those killed in were adult males, RT reported.

RT's correspondent in Aleppo, Murad Gazdiev said the militants, including Fatah al-Sham Front (formerly known as al-Nusra Front) terrorists, who control the Eastern part of Aleppo, have intensified the shelling attacks on areas controlled by government forces in recent days.

Also on Wednesday, military sources said that the Syrian army troops and popular forces drove Jeish al-Fatah terrorists out of over ninety percent of Housing Project 1070 in the Southwestern parts of Aleppo city, adding that the government troops are encircling the remaining pockets of the militants in the few building blocks still under their control.

"The present conditions show that Housing Project 1070 will be completely captured soon. There has remained only a few building blocks under Jeish al-Fatah's control," the sources said.

"Now the terrorists are under siege, trapped in the circle of government soldiers. They have no way out," they added.

In another development in Aleppo, the Hmeimim-based Russian center coordinating ceasefire regime in Syria announced that two jets of the US-led coalition launched raids on Hassadjek village in Afrin area, North of Syria, leaving civilian casualties.

According to information handed over to the Russian Center by the local council of the Syrian city of Afrin, the village of Hassadjek suffered an air attack in which six people died and four more were injured, the center said in a statement published by the Russian Defense Ministry website.

Full report at:en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950729000205

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Mideast

200 Kurdish militants killed in airstrikes, Turkish military claims

October 20, 2016

Turkish warplanes struck Syrian Kurdish militia targets in northern Syria and killed up to 200 militants, state media quoted the military as saying Thursday.

The jets hit 18 targets in Maarrat Umm Hawsh, a region north of the city of Aleppo, the official news agency Anadolu said.

The army claimed 160 to 200 militants from the YPG (People's Protection Units) militia were killed in the strikes on Wednesday night.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the raids but could not give a death toll.

The figure from the Turkish armed forces has yet to be independently confirmed.

The agency said nine buildings used as YPG headquarters, meeting points, shelters and weapons depots were destroyed as well as four vehicles.

Ankara sees the YPG and the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) as terror groups linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

The PKK, proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union, has waged a bloody insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.

Tensions between Turkey and the US have increased over the YPG whom Washington views as an effective force against the militant Islamic State (IS) group in Syria. But Ankara has repeatedly said it will not allow a “terror corridor” on its southern border and wants to prevent the joining of the Kurdish “cantons” of Afrin and Kobane.

Turkey launched an unprecedented military operation in northern Syria on August 24, sending tanks and striking militant targets while supporting Syrian opposition fighters retake IS-controlled territory.

The goal of the operation was to remove IS from its border -- which last month Ankara said it achieved -- while also aiming to halt the westward advance of the YPG.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday Turkey would not “wait for terrorist organisations to come and attack us” during a speech in Ankara.

“These organisations, wherever their activities are, wherever they are nesting, we will go (there),” he said.

Source: dawn.com/news/1291143/200-kurdish-militants-killed-in-airstrikes-turkish-military-claims

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Suspended judges willing to confess about Gülen: Supreme board

October 20, 2016

More than 300 judges and prosecutors facing probe or dismissal for alleged links to the Fethullah Gülen network have applied to confess the structure of the organization, the head of Turkey’s top judicial body has said.

“All of these are judges and prosecutors were ByLock users,” Turkish High Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) acting chair Mehmet Yılmaz told Hürriyet, referring to a phone application known to have been used by the Gülen network.

“The number [of judges and prosecutors who want to confess] is over 300, but it will go up; the group’s disintegration has gained pace,” Yılmaz added.

“In these confessions, the judges and prosecutors speak about how they were involved with the group, and how they used their judicial powers to serve the group’s demands. The network’s organization within the judiciary is clear as day. Our colleagues abroad will be ashamed of their criticism against us for fighting against this illegal group,” he added.

Yılmaz also said the European Network of Councils of the Judiciary (ENCJ) would re-evaluate the earlier assessment of suspension of the observer status of the HSYK in the wake of the confessions.

Yılmaz issued a letter to the ENCJ earlier this month, indicating that the suspension of HSYK’s observer status was based on information received from unofficial sources and that they had refused to obtain knowledge through formal channels. Yılmaz said the ENCJ acted without waiting for a reasoned decision from the HSYK.

 “While you have already been notified by us [HSYK] that the reasoned decision regarding the dismissal of judges and prosecutors will be shared with you as soon as it is translated into English, we were disappointed and baffled to learn of the ENCJ’s proposal to suspend the [HSYK’s] observer status in the ENCJ of the [HSYK] on the grounds that the [HSYK] does not meet international standards,” Yılmaz wrote Oct. 10.

“It is a breach of both institutional norms of conduct and the formal relation between our two organizations that the ENCJ is acting upon information provided by some unidentified sources at the expense of information the [HSYK] is formally willing to share,” he said.

ENCJ had decided to evaluate the observer status of the HSYK in its extraordinary meeting in December, indicating that the council’s move to transfer, remove and prosecute judges had not been consistent with the principles of judicial independence both before and after the failed coup. The network stated that “no satisfactory response has been received to the vital inquiries,” for their request for details of procedures followed relating to the extraordinary mass dismissal of thousands of judges and prosecutors.

“The board is forced to conclude that the HSYK no longer meets the requirements of the ENCJ that it is independent of the executive and legislature so as to ensure the independence of the Turkish judiciary,” it said.

Yılmaz attached a 62-page reasoned decision including the organizational structure, historical background and relations of the Gülen network to the ENCJ, stating that “you [ENCJ] will come to the conclusion that there is no possible international ground to claim that these judges and prosecutors should remain in the office.”

“The measures taken by HSYK are clearly and solely aimed at protecting judicial independence and impartiality from a serious threat posed by judges and prosecutors who abused their judicial power to serve a terrorist organization,” he stated.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/suspended-judges-willing-to-confess-about-gulen-supreme-board.aspx?pageID=238&nID=105150&NewsCatID=509

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Turkey proposes international plan on post-ISIL Mosul status

October 19, 2016

Turkey has called on the international community to start drafting an international plan for Mosul to ensure the city is governed by mainly local groups, a senior government official has said, underlining that Ankara was ready to take all measures to avoid any attempted ethnic cleansing after the region is cleared of jihadists.

“Mosul should be governed by the people of Mosul. Works to shape an international plan on Mosul’s status should begin now. Leaving the control of the city to groups from different regions would create worse problems,” Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş told Ankara bureau chiefs of newspapers at a meeting on Oct. 19. “We hope very much to see that the Mosul operation will end in such a way that the region will no longer face the risk of any divisions. The operation is being run in accordance with the sensitivities we have made already clear.” 

Turkey is greatly concerned by the possibility of Shiite militias’ active participation in the Mosul operation, fearing that they could attempt to change the demography of the overwhelmingly Sunni city by force. Shiite militias were not included in the operation as a result of long discussions between Ankara and Washington. Turkey has continued to issue its strong warnings to Iraq and members of the Mosul coalition regarding a new sectarian clash. 

“There could be some very bad results of a potential attack by the al-Hashd al-Shaabi [Shiite militias] on Sunnis in Mosul. Turkey will take every measure to prevent this from happening,” Kurtulmuş said, emphasizing that it would even consider military action in the case of the ethnic cleansing of Sunni groups.

“We hope there will be no such dangers. We will continue to closely follow the developments. We have made it clear that we will enter the field if required.”

The international coalition’s operation to liberate Mosul should not bring about sectarian clashes and ethnic cleansing, he said, reiterating that Turkey could not stay silent to such activity. 

The deputy prime minister echoed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who said Turkey would be in the field and at the table on Mosul as the city was critical to Turkey’s security. Turkey’s efforts to train local groups in Mosul at the Bashiqa camp will continue, he said, underlining that the security of Turkish troops constituted another red line for Ankara. “For us, any threat or attack against Bashiqa will be no different than an attack against Ankara.”

Turkey’s five main concerns

Kurtulmuş said Turkey had five main concerns and expectations from the international coalition regarding the Mosul operation:

-The demography of Mosul and the surrounding regions should not be changed in the name of fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

-The operation should not be handled in a way to start a fresh sectarian or ethnic clash in the region. Using the definitions of Shiite or Kurdish militias is not right.

No terror organization, under any form or name, should be allowed to enter Mosul as the city is cleared of ISIL.  

-Turkey’s presence at Bashiqa will continue.

-Those countries who do not want Turkey to be in the field should ask themselves about their motivation for being in Mosul. Turkey shares a 1,250-kilometer border with Syria and Iraq and regards developments in these countries as part of its security. The operation against ISIL in Mosul could create new refugee flows into Turkey and begin a fresh terrorist campaign. It is only natural for Turkey to be part of such operations.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-proposes-international-plan-on-post-isil-mosul-status.aspx?pageID=238&nID=105126&NewsCatID=338

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Turkish military retaliates against Syrian Kurdish militia after shelling

October 20, 2016

Five shells fired from the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG)-controlled Afrin region of Syria hit empty land in the border province of Hatay on Oct. 20, triggering retaliatory fire against YPG militia targets in Afrin, the Turkish Armed Forces have stated.

It said the shells, which were fired at around 5:50 a.m., did not cause any casualties or damage and the Turkish military fired back with howitzers, in line with its rules of engagement.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-military-retaliates-against-syrian-kurdish-militia-after-shelling.aspx?pageID=238&nID=105159&NewsCatID=341

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Doğan Group to hold two international events in US against Islamophobia

October 20, 2016

Turkey’s Doğan Group will hold two international events on Oct. 20 in Washington in a bid to globally fight against the fallacies and prejudices directed toward Islam.

A panel titled “Islamophobia: Overcoming Myths and Engaging in a Better Conversation” will be organized in cooperation with the U.S.-based Atlantic Council think tank and the Smithsonian Institution.

Hürriyet Chairwoman Vuslat Doğan Sabancı will deliver the opening speech of the panel, which will be moderated by the president and CEO of the Atlantic Council, Frederick Kempe.

The panel will also feature author and comparative religion commentator Karen Armstrong; former Turkish State Minister Mehmet Aydın; the dean of the School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University, Vali Nasr, and renowned human rights activist Zainab Salbi.

Meanwhile, the opening gala of the exhibition titled “The Art of the Qur’an: Treasures from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts” will be held on Oct. 19 at the Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian.

Marking a first in the U.S., centuries-old Qur’ans taken from the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum in Istanbul will be exhibited during the exhibition, which is being sponsored by the Culture and Tourism Ministry, Koç Holding, Doğan Group and Turkish Airlines.

The exhibition will be open through Feb. 20, 2017.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/dogan-group-to-hold-two-international-events-in-us-against-islamophobia.aspx?pageID=238&nID=105127&NewsCatID=393

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Former top soldier skips coup attempt commission

October 20, 2016

A former head of the army who vocally opposed the Gülenist network and who was imprisoned on fabricated evidence at the alleged behest of the group failed to attend a parliamentary commission set to investigate the July 15 coup attempt, which was blamed on the community, due to health reasons.

Former Chief of General Staff İlker Başbuğ was expected to be heard by the parliamentary commission on Oct. 20 but had to cancel due to health reasons. The commission will set another date to hear Başbuğ, said the head of the commission, Reşat Peker, a lawmaker from the Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Başbuğ served as chief of General Staff between 2008 and 2010 before retiring from the army. Months after his retirement, he was taken under investigation within the scope of the Ergenekon trials, a series of trials in which alleged members of a suspected organization, Ergenekon, were accused of plotting against the Turkish government. Başbuğ was sentenced to life for plotting against the government and leading an armed terrorist group. Later, he was acquitted on the grounds that the local court could not provide a reasoned decision concerning the conviction. In April 2016, the country’s highest appeals court decided to overturn the local court’s convictions on the ground that prosecutors were unable to prove the existence of the Ergenekon organization.

The coup commission, which was formed and approved by parliament, assigned nine lawmakers from the ruling the Justice and Development Party (AKP), four from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), one from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and one from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) to listen to prominent figures and prepare a report to be submitted to parliament. The commission had its first meeting on Oct. 7, and decided who to summon on Oct. 13.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/former-top-soldier-skips-coup-attempt-commission.aspx?pageID=238&nID=105161&NewsCatID=338

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Erdoğan, Putin agree to clear Aleppo of Nusra

October 20, 2016

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, have agreed to clear the al-Qaeda linked al-Nusra Front from the Syrian city of Aleppo, Erdoğan said on Oct. 19.

Commenting on a phone conversation he had with Putin on Oct. 18, Erdoğan said the two sides had talked about a consensus for taking al-Nusra fighters out of Syria’s second largest city.

“He [Putin] said that as of 10:00 p.m. [Oct. 18] the air bombardment was stopped [in Aleppo]. They [Putin] appealed to us about taking al-Nusra out of the city. We have given the necessary instructions to our friends [officials]. We have talked about a consensus [with Putin] to work on taking al-Nusra out of Aleppo and maintaining the peace of the people of Aleppo,” Erdoğan said Oct. 19, addressing a meeting of neighborhood leaders in Ankara.

A Turkish presidential source told state-run Anadolu Agency that Putin “congratulated Turkey for its success” against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria after Ankara-backed rebels seizing the symbolically important town of Dabiq.

The two leaders discussed the latest developments in Iraq and Syria, the fight against terror, regional issues and bilateral relations, according to the source.

Putin also talked to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi over the phone on Oct. 18, the Kremlin stated.

Meanwhile, President Erdoğan warned that around one million Syrians could flee to Turkey if there is an exodus from the city of Aleppo, the rebel-held east of which is currently under siege from Syrian and Russian forces.

He said Turkey alone cannot cope with this additional burden, and those who trigger such an influx must consult Turkey on its consequences.

“Those who want to hamper Turkey’s involvement in the Mosul operation are the ones who are uneasy because we spoiled the game in Syria,” Erdoğan said.

“Those who steered 3 million migrants to Turkey thought we could not deal with this burden. But when the outcome was not as they expected, they set their hopes on using terrorist organizations,” he added.

“They are trying to keep us away from Mosul by stalling us with the [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] PKK and Daesh,” he said, using an Arabic acronym for ISIL.

Both ISIL and the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), the military wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), “are pawns that serve the same purpose and are supported by the same powers,” Erdoğan also stated, without giving details.

The Turkish president also slammed “those who side with the PYD/YPG” as well as the “fanatics of sects such as Baghdad and with Bashar al-Assad, who kills his own people.”

“You are on the wrong path, the fire you are trying to inflame will burn you more than us” Erdoğan said.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/erdogan-putin-agree-to-clear-aleppo-of-nusra.aspx?pageID=238&nID=105125&NewsCatID=352

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We warned gov’t on Gülen back in 2004: Former top soldier

October 20, 2016

Turkey’s top security board warned the government about the actions of the Gülenist movement in 2004 but no action was taken against the network, the former head of the army has said, admitting that they could do little against the group at the time.

“We warned the government about FETÖ [Fethullahist Terror Organization] in 2004 through a National Security Council (MGK) decision. However, we observed that nothing was done,” former Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Özkök, who was the top soldier at the time, said on Oct. 19 in a parliamentary commission established to investigate the thwarted July 15 military coup attempt. Özkök served as chief of general staff between 2002 and 2006 before retiring from the army.

“We briefed the government accurately and we said the situation was not good. A decision was issued there [in the MGK]. The MGK advised the government about that. We called it an executive plan. We followed up what was done [by the government], and frankly, we did not observe any measures being taken,” Özkök added.

A parliamentary commission was established after July 15 to investigate the failed coup bid. The commission which was formed and approved by the parliament assigned nine lawmakers from the ruling the Justice and Development Party (AKP), four lawmakers from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), one lawmaker from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and one lawmaker from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) to listen to prominent figures and prepare a report to be submitted to parliament. The commission convened its first meeting on Oct. 7 and decided who to listen to and question on Oct. 13.

In the meeting on Oct. 19, Özkök said they continued informing the government about reactionary forces and the dangers of such organizations in MGK meetings in which commanders-in-chief of the armed forces were present.

“In 2004 MGK, as armed forces, we made a briefing and said: ‘This organization [FETÖ] has attained large capabilities. The capabilities have been formed over the years but it may change over a night,’ we said. We advised them to form an action plan and follow it up,” he said.

“We acted upon what we heard as much as we could,” he said. “We went to the MGK meetings with a consensus. After the meetings it was not in our hands. I was retired in 2006 anyway,” he added.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/we-warned-govt-on-gulen-back-in-2004-former-top-soldier.aspx?pageID=238&nID=105132&NewsCatID=338

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India

Anti-India Terrorists in Kashmir Waving Chinese Flags

19 Oct 2016

China may no longer be able to remain in the shadows of the ongoing clashes between regional rivals and nuclear-armed neighbors Pakistan and India in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.

Recent news reports, primarily carried by media outlets linked to India, claim that anti-India terrorists have been waving Chinese and Pakistani flags during demonstrations on the Indian-held portion of the Muslim-majority region of Kashmir.

The autonomous region of Xinjiang, home China’s largest concentration of the Muslim Uighur minority in the country, borders Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Indian media reports that protests in Kashmir have coincided with the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) nations summit that took place last weekend in the Indian city of Goa and was attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

NDTV (New Delhi Television Limited) notes:

Possibly for the first time in Kashmir, Chinese flags have been found in [Indian military] raids along with material that was allegedly to be used by terrorists – petrol bombs, anti-India publicity material, unauthorized cell phones and documents linked to terror groups Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba [LeT].

Both Jaish-e-Mohammed and LeT are officially listed as foreign terrorist organizations by the United States.

NDTV continues:

[Indian] security forces carried out extensive searches yesterday [Oct. 18] in the town of Baramulla… [which] was firmly in the control of the massive mobs that would defy curfew to attack security personnel and their property, including bases and vehicles. The violence has ebbed in recent days. Yesterday’s raids were carried out in areas where Chinese flags had been spotted in large demonstrations.

Although Pakistani flags were also allegedly waved by protesters, the Indian government appeared surprised and concerned by the presence of Chinese flags.

An op-ed carried by several pro-India news outlets, including Indian Defense Review (IDR), points out:

Anti-national elements in Baramulla hoisted Pakistani and Chinese flags after Friday prayers. This coincided with the arrival of Xi Jinping on the Indian soil. The coincidence was lost out on none. The messaging for China’s help by the separatists and the militants in Baramulla injects a new dimension to militancy and jihad in Kashmir.

On this very land, how many kinds of flags have been waived or hoisted – flag of Islamic State [ISIS/ISIL], of LeT, of Pakistan and now of China.

Although China, which has competing territorial claims to Kashmir along with Pakistan and India has appeared to keep itself out of the recent confrontations between the two other countries, Beijing has been described as a closer partner to Pakistan than to India.

“Pakistan is a long-term ally of China and their strategic and economic interests are especially interlinked through a new $46 billion trade corridor that links Western China to Pakistan’s Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea,” notes NDTV.

Beijing does maintain a relationship with both its neighbors India and Pakistan.

However, China reportedly provides more weapons to Pakistan than to any other country and builds Muslim-majority nations nuclear reactors.

In the last few months, India and Pakistan have accused each other of firing across the Line of Control (LoC) that separates their respective regions in Kashmir. The recent escalating clashes between the two countries have violated the mutually agreed upon 2003 ceasefire.

Fighting between the two nations intensified in July after Indian groups killed Burhan Wani, commander of the Kashmir-based and Pakistan-linked terrorist group Hizb-ul-Mujahideen.

That incident was followed by India accusing Pakistan of backing terrorists who carried out an attack in Indian-held Kashmir on September 18 that reportedly killed at least 18 Indian soldiers.

In retaliation, India launched “surgical strikes” on September 29 against four camps in Pakistan-held Kashmir, claiming to have killed 38 terrorists.

Nevertheless, Islamabad maintains there were no strikes, adding that Indian troops used small arms and mortars to specifically target Pakistani military personnel, killing two soldiers and wounding nine others.

The clashes have continued to rise since.

India accuses Pakistan of arming and training militants in Kashmir fighting for independence from India or in favor of a merger with Pakistan, a charge that Islamabad denies.

Meanwhile, Pakistan refers to those militants as dissidents, accusing India of committing atrocities against them. Besides India, the U.S. and Afghanistan also accuse Pakistan of harboring terrorist groups.

The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi was recently been linked to forcing Christians and Muslims to become Hindu. Pakistan has also been accused of coercing Christians and Hindus into following Islam.

Source: breitbart.com/national-security/2016/10/19/kashmir-anti-india-terrorists-allegedly-wave-pakistani-chinese-flags/

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Muslim Joint Action Committee, Andhra Pradesh Opposes Uniform Civil Code

20 Oct 2016

Members of the Andhra Pradesh unit of the Muslim Joint Action Committee on Wednesday said the proposed Uniform Civil Code was not acceptable.

Addressing the media, the Committee members said Muslim marriage ‘Nikah’ was a civil contract under Shariah. It had enormous sanctity for Muslims but this contract may not essentially be permanent and there may emerge circumstances that demand breaking of it.

Islam advocated continuation of the contract for lifetime, but it did permit divorce in unavoidable circumstances. The proposed code was not the answer.

The proposal aimed at replacing the personal laws based on the scriptures and customs of each major religious community in India with a common set governing every citizen. These laws are distinguished from public law and cover marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption and maintenance.

They said to protect women’s rights, there were other rights like The Domestic Violence Act 2005 and the Prevention of Dowry Act 1961 among other legal provisions.

Muslims were content with the word of Shariah and would not agree to any additions or deletions in the marriage law, they said.

Source: thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/muslim-body-opposes-uniform-civil-code/article9243133.ece

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Zakir Naik’s NGO Case: Centre Lifts Suspension Of Bureaucrat

October 20, 2016

New Delhi: Government revoked the suspension of senior IAS officer G K Dwivedi on Wednesday in connection with the renewing of licence of an NGO run by controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, but kept him on “compulsory wait”.

Mr Dwivedi, a 1993 batch IAS officer of Andhra Pradesh cadre, posted as Joint Secretary in Foreigners Division in the Home Ministry, was suspended along with three others on September 1, after it came to light that the licence of Islamic Research Foundation, headed by Naik, had been renewed in August this year.

Those suspended included two deputy secretaries and one section officer.

It was alleged that due diligence was not carried out before facilitating renewal of the licence given under Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) to the NGO of Naik, who has been accused of brain washing youths into joining terror groups. However, his organisation has denied all these charges.

According to the sources, the officer has been placed on compulsory wait with DoPT which means that he will not be posted in Home Ministry and will be either shifted to some other ministry or repatriated to his parent cadre. His central deputation ends in September next year.

The competent authority has approved placing the services of Dwivedi, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs, on compulsory wait in the DoPT, from October 17, 2016, said an official order.

Representation were made by IAS officers’ association and some senior bureaucrats working in the Home Ministry, who had also vouched for his “integrity and hard work” and asked the government to revoke his suspension.

The action against Mr Dwivedi was taken after the Home Ministry found that Naik NGO’s licence was renewed by the Foreigners Division headed by him despite several ongoing probes, including one by it.

Upset over suspension, 15 Joint Secretaries in Home Ministry conveyed to Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi that action against Dwivedi was “demoralising” and “harsh on an honest officer”.

The central IAS officers’ association had last month also asked the Centre to revoke the suspension of Dwivedi, saying it has led to “demoralisation” in the rank and file of the officers working in the central secretariat.

“Dwivedi is known for his integrity and hard work. In his last two years of his tenure he has implemented about 17 important initiatives of the government,” the association had said.

Source: siasat.com/news/zakir-naiks-ngo-case-centre-lifts-suspension-bureaucrat-1045843/

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Video showing Hizb militants surfaces

October 20, 2016

Srinagar: A new video of Hizbul Mujahideen has surfaced on social media, showing a group of armed militants greeting and hugging each other, in a reminder of the campaign undertaken by its erstwhile commander Burhan Wani before he was killed in an encounter three months back.

In the four-and-a-half minute video, 12 militants are seen in an orchard, carrying weapons, including INSAS rifles apparently snatched from police forces.

They are seen greeting and hugging each other as well as laughing in an attempt to lure youth to join militancy.

Wani had actively used social media to attract the youth to militancy. He made many such propaganda videos before he was killed in the encounter with security forces on July 8.

In another video which also surfaced recently, the new Hizb commander Zakir Rashid Bhat alias “Musa” is seen asking youth to join militancy by snatching rifles from security forces.

During the recent months, there have been a number of incidents in which weapons were snatched or looted from police and security personnel. At least 67 rifles have so far been snatched. These include INSAS and Carbine rifles, which are exclusively used by the police and security forces.

Source: siasat.com/news/video-showing-hizb-militants-surfaces-1045733/

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South Asia

Taliban’s mine making factory destroyed in Helmand province

Thu Oct 20 2016

A factory producing Improvised Explosive Device (IED) for the Taliban militants was destroyed during an operation of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) in southern Helmand province.

Officiasl in the 215th Maiwand Corps of the Afghan National Army (ANA) forces said the factory was destroyed during an operation in Nad-e-Ali district.

The officials further added at least 15 suspected Taliban insurgents were also arrested during the operation.

The Taliban militants group has not commented regarding the report so far.

Taliban insurgents and militants belonging to the other insurgent groups frequently use Improvised Explosive Device (IED) as the weapon of their choice to target the security forces but the ordinary civilians are often targeted in such attacks.

This comes as the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan released the latest civilian casualties report late last month which stated at least 3726 civilians were killed or wounded between January and June of this year.

The UN mission said the civilian casualties in the country has reached to a record number since counting began in 2009, with 5,166 civilians recorded killed or maimed in just the first six months of this year, of whom almost one-third were children.

The total civilian casualty figure recorded by the UN between 1 January 2009 and 30 June 2016 has risen to 63,934, including 22,941 deaths and 40,993 injured.

According to the UN mission, the anti-government elements remain responsible for 60 percent of the civilian casualties with ground engagements continuing to cause the highest number of civilian casualties, followed by complex and suicide attacks and improved explosive devices (IEDs).

Source: khaama.com/talibans-mine-making-factory-destroyed-in-helmand-province-02115

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Drone strike target Taliban gathering, 8 including group’s commander killed

Thu Oct 20 2016

A drone strike carried out by the foreign forces based in Afghanistan targeted a gathering of the Taliban group in northern Parwan province of Afghanistan.

According to the local security officials, the airstrike was carried out late on Wednesday afternoon in Siagerd district.

The officials further added that 8 Taliban insurgents including a commander of the group were killed and several others were wounded in the airstrike.

According to the officials, the militants were planning attacks during the gathering when they were targeted.

The Taliban militants group has not commented regarding the report so far.

The US forces in Afghanistan have stepped up airstrikes against the militant groups during the recent months.

The Obama administration granted broader role to the US forces based in Afghanistan to target the loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group as well as the Taliban militants.

The broader role was granted amid deteriorating security situation in the country and following concerns that the militant groups are attempting to expand insurgency in the country.

Source: khaama.com/drone-strike-target-taliban-gathering-8-including-groups-commander-killed-02113

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Afghanistan exported 1,655 tons of pomegranate to Pakistan and India

Thu Oct 20 2016

Afghanistan exported 1,655 tons of pomegranate to India and Pakistan amid an unprecedented rise in pomegranates cultivation in the country this year, local officials in Kandahar said.

The head of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) in Kandahar, Nasrullah Zahir, told RFE that the pomegranates were exported to Pakistan and India as the farmers have freshly started harvesting of the fruit in Kandahar.

Zahir further added that 1,140 tons of pomegranates have been exported to Pakistan while 515 tons have been exported to India so far.

According to the officials, the cultivation of pomegranates in Kandahar has increased by 43 percent this year and the authorities are looking to send the pomegranates sample to France as well.

This comes as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced last year a new $13.3 million program to make it easier for private sector firms to do business in Afghanistan.

The four-year Afghanistan Investment Climate Reform Program will be implemented by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group. The program will work at the national and provincial levels to stimulate economic growth and enhance the country’s competitiveness. In addition to Kabul, the program focuses on major economic centers throughout the country, including Mazar, Herat, Kandahar, and Jalalabad.

The program was launched at a ceremony in mid-June last year at the U.S. Embassy. “The Afghanistan Investment Climate Reform Program addresses critical challenges faced by the private sector,” said U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan P. Michael McKinley. “Together with the Government of Afghanistan, which has reaffirmed its commitment to economic reforms, we will help promote investment and make Afghanistan an attractive place to do business.”

The program’s main goal is to reduce hurdles for new and existing businesses to operate effectively by simplifying regulations and reducing compliance costs by: 1) improving the legal and regulatory framework for businesses at the national and provincial levels; 2) streamlining procedures hampering private sector operations; and 3) encouraging growth and investment in key sectors.

The new program builds upon existing USAID-funded activities with the IFC/World Bank supporting reforms in construction permits and regulations within the context of the World Bank’s “Doing Business” indicators.

Source: khaama.com/afghanistan-exported-1655-tons-of-pomegranate-to-pakistan-and-india-02114

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Afghan Air Force conducted 108 flights in past 24 hours: AAF

Thu Oct 20 2016

The Afghan Air Force (AAF) said Wednesday 108 flights were conducted in the past 24 hours to support the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF).

According to a statement by AAF, at least 14 of the flights were conducted to target the anti-government armed militant and terrorist groups in several provinces.

The statement further added that 22 of flights were conducted to train the Air Force pilots and 72 flights were conducted for the transportation of personnel and cargo.

At least 420 members of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces were transported along with 25,210 killgrams of cargo, AAF added.

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said earlier this year that the Afghan Air Force (AAF) participate in 50 to 180 missions a day to support the Afghan National Security and Defense (ANSDF) forces.

The Afghan Air Force has started the new fighting season with the increased capabilities as several combat planes have been added to the inventory during the past several months.

The Afghan Air Force received several A-29 Super Tucano fixed wing light attack aircraft and MD-530 Cayuse helicopters from the United States as well as surveillance unmanned aerial vehicle which are expected to further boost the capabilities of the Afghan forces.

Afghanistan also received 3 Mi-25 gunship helicopters from India last which are in service with the Afghan Air Force.

Source: khaama.com/afghan-air-force-conducted-108-flights-in-past-24-hours-aaf-02112

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1 US soldier, 1 US citizen killed in Kabul attack

Wed Oct 19 2016

A US soldier and citizen were killed in an attack by an unknown assailant in capital Kabul later this afternoon, the US Forces in Afghanistan (USFOR-A) said.

“One U.S. service member and one U.S. civilian died as a result of wounds sustained in Kabul, Afghanistan today. One U.S. service member and two U.S. civilians also sustained wounds and are currently stable,” a statement by USFOR-A said.

“Anytime we lose a member of our team, it is deeply painful” said General John W. Nicholson, Commander of U.S. Forces-Afghanistan and Resolute Support. “Our sympathies go out to the families, loved ones, and the units of those involved in this incident. To those who continue to target Coalition forces, ANDSF, and Afghan civilians, RS and USFOR-A will continue to pursue our Train, Advise, and Assist mission to help our partners create a better Afghanistan.”

According to USFOR-A, the two individuals were killed during an attack near a coalition base by an unknown assailant, who was later killed.

USFOR-A further added that they were conducting duties as part of the larger NATO mission to Train, Advise, and Assist the Afghan security services.

No further details were given regarding the identities of the two deceased individuals, saying “An investigation is being conducted to determine the exact circumstances of the event.”

USFOR-A also added that th U.S. Department of Defense Policy is to withhold the identity of those involved pending next-of-kin notification. We will release additional information as appropriate.

Source: khaama.com/1-us-soldier-1-us-citizen-killed-in-kabul-attack-02111

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Lazuli railway network to link Afghanistan to Europe and China soon

Wed Oct 19 2016

The Lazuli railway network is due to be inaugurated in the near future to link Afghanistan with the European countries and China via Central Asia.

Mohammad Shaker Kargar, the special envoy of the President for Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), said the inauguration of the railway network will act as an alternative to link the country with the global market.

He said the railway network will resolve the inevitability the country is currently facing in terms of transit being dependent to other nations and will help expedite the transit process.

According to Kargar, the railway network will link Afghanistan with the European countries and China via Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey.

This comes as the first ever cargo train from China arrived in the main Hairtan port located in North of Afghanistan on earlier last month, boosting hopes among the Afghan officials to find access to alternative routes for transit.

In the meantime, the construction of a railway line between Afghanistan and Iran officially kicked off near the western Herat province of Afghanistan last month.

The railway line will be established from Iran to Ghoryan district and will further go towards Zindjan district and Herat Airport.

Earlier this year the leaders of Afghanistan, India and Iran signed the Chabahr port agreement in Tehran, the capital city of Iran.

Afghanistan is expected to have sea-land access through the strategic Chabahar port in Iran by the end of this year as the work on the port already begun by a joint venture of Kandla Port Trust (KPT) and Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) last year.

Source: khaama.com/lazuli-railway-network-to-link-afghanistan-to-europe-and-china-soon-02110

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Bangladesh says attack investigation yielding results

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

NEW DELHI — In the three months since a band of youths tortured and killed 20 hostages in a Dhaka restaurant, Bangladeshi intelligence officials say they’re rooting out radicals and restoring security to the streets. Their evidence? Police raids that have killed about 40 suspected Islamist militants; hundreds of suspects detained in police dragnets; and new information on how the attack was financed by local sympathizers.

There have also been no reported extremist attacks since shortly after the restaurant killings.

The police raids followed an unprecedented crackdown over the summer, during which authorities arrested more than 14,000 people before July — most for petty crimes including theft and small-time drug smuggling. The arrests have continued, netting 1,200 suspected militants, some of whom are giving up useful information under questioning, intelligence officials say. But they refuse to say how many in total have been detained in recent months.

Some analysts, however, say the pursuit of low-level operatives has done little to ensure national security or to reveal who was really behind the July 1 hostage-taking — the country's deadliest attack in years of sustained militant violence targeting writers, religious minorities and others deemed enemies of Islam.

Bangladesh’s secular government has been under intense international pressure to crack down on Islamist militancy since the July attack, during which five Bangladeshi youths seized a popular eatery in Dhaka’s diplomatic quarter and terrorized dozens of hostages overnight, eventually killing 20 of them, including 17 foreigners, among them UC Berkeley student, 18-year-old Tarishi Jain.

The government dismissed claims of responsibility by the Islamic State, and instead blamed domestic militants backed by the opposition.

The government continued to deny any Islamic State role even after an August raid killed three suspected militants, including a Canadian man of Bangladeshi origin identified on an Islamic State website as the extremist Sunni group’s representative in Bangladesh.

Source:sfgate.com/world/article/Bangladesh-says-attack-investigation-yielding-9984269.php

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Bangladesh seeks OIC cooperation in education

Wed Oct 19 2016

Bangladesh has urged the member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to cooperate “effectively” in the fields of education, science, technology and research.

Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid made the call while speaking at the 43rd session of the OIC’s Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) in Tashkent on Wednesday. Acting President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoev inaugurated the session.

Nahid led the Bangladesh delegation as this year’s meeting themed on “Education and Enlightenment – path to peace and creativity”.

Bangladesh Ambassador in Tashkent Mosud Mannann, foreign ministry’s Director General of the international organisation wing AFM Gousal Azam Sarker, and Bangladesh’s Deputy Permanent Representative to OIC in Riyadh Nazrul Islam are the other members of the delegation, according to a news agency.

Source: thefinancialexpress-bd.com/2016/10/19/50025/Bangladesh-seeks-OIC-cooperation-in-education

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Africa

Nigeria: VP Osinbajo, Sultan of Sokoto, CAN President Call for Religious Harmony

October 20, 2016

Nigeria's Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has charged clerics to do all within their powers to delegitimise all apostles of hatred and bad creed in the world.

He gave the charge while addressing World religious leaders at a dinner to usher in a conference of faith groups with the theme "Faith Works Africa: Partnership for Peace and Prosperity."

Mr. Osinbajo noted the myriad of problems facing the world, including poverty, terrorism and armed conflicts, and attributed many of them to bad religious doctrines.

"It is crucial that we delegitimise all apostles of hatred and bad creed," he said.

The Vice President noted that religion was meant to foster togetherness and ensure progress of societies.

According to him, the Federal Government believes in the sanctity of all human beings and their right to belong to any religion.

He added that government would do everything possible to protect that sanctity.

Mr. Osinbajo expressed gratitude that no fewer than 40 religious bodies had sought to build consensus on problems besetting humanity and urged it not to relent.

Also speaking, the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa'ad Abubakar, noted that the country had its problems and was fully aware of them.

The Sultan noted that Nigeria is the only country in the world where with equal Christian and Muslim populations, the worshipers co-existed in peace most of the time.

He said the citizens had to work with the President to salvage the country "because a stable Nigeria is a stable Africa and a stable world".

Mr. Abubakar also urged the clerics to condemn what was happening in different parts of the world in the name of religion and to help in proffering solutions to other global problems.

"We have problems in Nigeria but in the shortest time possible we shall overcome them," the Sultan declared.

The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, added that the group wanted to make religion to work for peace and progress in the country.

Mr. Onaiyekan said there were persons giving bad name to religion for some inordinate reasons, but said their moves would be made unpopular by the faithful.

"We are willing to make religion to work for peace and progress in Africa and the entire world.

"Nigeria is still an ideal nation to experience how Muslims and Christians lie together and share spiritual values," he added.

The Secretary-General of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa, Grace Kaiso, observed that Africa is a continent of faith, yet its people remain brutal to one another.

He noted that Africans live along political and ethnic lines, thereby making it difficult to nurture political stability in many countries.

"As we think of the future of the continent, how do we restore confidence in the institutions that work for the people?

"We have this challenge of nurturing national solidarity so that people will think about who they are as nationals before thinking about their ethnic groups," he said.

Mr. Kaiso said people had abandoned dialogue in managing their differences, adding that dialogue would eliminate the culture of guns.

According to him, Africa is a continent that is badly wounded and needs leadership that is nurturing and healing.

"Every generation has its calling and our generation has been called to make sacrifices for the future," the cleric said.

The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Samson Ayokunle, represented by Testimony Onifade, expressed thanks to the body for converging on Nigeria at this time and pledged to support its peace initiatives.

The CAN president called for fervent prayers and united action in the continent to ensure enduring peace, so that Africa would join others in the world to achieve global peace.

Mr. Ayokunle noted that "faith works and the importance of faith cannot be undermined in any circumstance."

Source: allafrica.com/stories/201610200108.html

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Morocco's Jihadist Paradox, Unraveled

OCTOBER 20, 2016

The competence of Moroccan security forces has helped the country keep its jihadist threat relatively low, compared to its North African neighbors. (FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images)

When tourists are involved, authorities in Morocco have seemed hesitant to describe attacks as acts of terrorism. On Oct. 5, for instance, Moroccan authorities were reluctant to label a knife attack in Casablanca as an act of terrorism, noting instead that the perpetrator, who injured three Dutch tourists and a police officer, was mentally disturbed. Similarly, authorities attributed a November 2015 knife attack on German tourists in Fez to the two assailants' drug use. But, as we've seen in past attacks, an attacker's mental health issues or criminal activities do not preclude support for extremist groups.

That Moroccan authorities would try to downplay any ideological motive in attacks on tourists is not surprising. Tourism there is an important industry, attracting some 10 million visitors each year. The country's leaders, aware of the devastating effects that jihadist attacks have had on tourism in Tunisia and Egypt, doubtless want to avoid casting the same pall over their own country. Despite their worries, however, Morocco faces a much lesser jihadist threat than do its neighbors in North Africa.

Morocco's Jihadists

With an estimated 1,200 to 1,500 fighters in Syria and Iraq, Morocco is one of the leading sources of foreign fighters for the Islamic State and other jihadist groups in the region. This is by no means a new phenomenon; Moroccans have left their country to fight jihad in conflicts as diverse as the wars in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya and Iraq. In the early 1990s, fighters returned from Afghanistan to found a jihadist group called the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group, which strove to establish an Islamic polity in Morocco. Moroccans, moreover, have been involved in transnational jihadist groups such as al Qaeda since their inception. But the Moroccan contingent has consistently lacked the same level of tradecraft that jihadists from other countries have exhibited — though they often trained at the same camps. Consequently, its members have not risen to the upper ranks of these groups as Egyptian and Libyan jihadists have. 

The so-called Sinjar records, a trove of personnel files that the U.S. military retrieved from an al Qaeda safe-house in northern Iraq, shed some light on this tendency. According to the records, Libya and Saudi Arabia supplied far more fighters than Morocco did, especially relative to their populations. Even so, Morocco was a leading country of origin for al Qaeda fighters in Iraq. In addition, of the nationalities represented in the Sinjar records, Moroccans were most likely to volunteer as suicide bombers, something that 91 percent of fighters from Morocco listed as their desired duty. This propensity for suicide bombing meant that fewer Moroccans survived to take the skills they acquired in Iraq back home.

A History of Lackluster Attacks

As a result, terrorist attacks in Morocco have long evinced a lack of competent planning or effective execution — even during al Qaeda's heyday. For instance, despite its scale, the group's May 2003 suicide bombing campaign in Casablanca claimed only 33 victims, although 14 bombers hit an array of soft targets in the city, including a restaurant, a hotel and a Jewish community center. In April 2007, Moroccan jihadists were ready to launch another suicide bombing wave in Casablanca, but authorities interrupted the plot. When police surrounded the building where four of the plotters were hiding on April 10, three of them blew themselves up, and a sniper killed the fourth. Two other suspects linked to the cell attempted an attack near the U.S. Consulate while on the run a few days later, but the only fatalities in the poorly executed operation were the bombers themselves. Even the deadlier attacks that have rocked Morocco — for example an April 2011 bombing in Marrakech that killed 17 people, most of them tourists — have been simple strikes on soft targets, not the larger, more sophisticated attacks seen elsewhere in the region.

Full report at:stratfor.com/weekly/moroccos-jihadist-paradox-unraveled

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3 Al-Jazeera Journalists Arrested in Somalia

OCT. 19, 2016

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Three Al-Jazeera journalists were arrested by security forces, a few hours before an editor of a daily newspaper in Mogadishu was released, said a Somali media rights activist.

Hamza Mohamed, a journalist with Al-Jazeera English television, and two cameramen were arrested by troops near Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, on Tuesday, said Hassan Gesey, director of the media advocacy group SIMHA.

Somali officials told journalists who visited Mohamed in a Mogadishu prison that the Al-Jazeera journalists were arrested upon their return from rebel-held areas where they has interviewed al-Shabab officials, said Gesey.

The National Union of Somali Journalists condemned the latest arrests of journalists which came few hours before the government released Abdi Aden Guled, the editor of Xog-Ogaal, one of the oldest daily newspapers in Mogadishu. Guled was arrested on Sunday and his paper was closed. The Xog-Ogaal remained closed Wednesday but officials handed back equipment seized on Sunday and said the paper could reopen.

Somali officials did not immediately comment on the latest arrests of journalists.

Threats and intimidations against journalists have increased in the past during the election periods in Somalia, which is rated as one of the world's most dangerous countries for media workers, according to journalists. Journalists are targeted by both Islamic extremists and the government, say rights groups.

Last month, gunmen shot dead Abdiaziz Mohamed Ali Haji, who was on his way home from work as a reporter for Shabelle radio, a radio station in Mogadishu. He was the second journalist killed in Somalia this year.

Three journalists were killed in 2015, including one in a bombing claimed by the Islamic extremist group al-Shabab.

The Committee to Protect Journalists said 59 journalists have been killed in Somalia since 1992, shortly after this Horn of Africa nation plunged into chaos.

Source:nytimes.com/aponline/2016/10/19/world/africa/ap-af-somalia-journalists-arrested.html

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Now a cardinal, this African prelate was already a “saint”

October 19, 2016

In this Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014 photo, Bangui Archbishop Dieudonne Nzapalainga blesses Catholic faithful as he visits an aid distribution point inside a makeshift camp housing an estimated 100,000 displaced people, at Mpoko Airport in Bangui, Central African Republic. Nzapalainga was among the 17 new cardinals named by Pope Francis, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. (Credit: AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell.)

[On Sunday, Oct. 9, Pope Francis announced a consistory on Nov. 19 for the creation of 17 new cardinals, including 13 under the age of 80 and therefore eligible to vote for the next pope. Crux is offering a series of profiles of the new cardinals.]

Whether it’s because he wants to highlight the place a prelate comes from, or simply guarantee universality when the time comes to pick a successor, Pope Francis routinely chooses at least one new cardinal from a country that’s never had a member in the Church’s most exclusive club.

In the class of 2016, that title of “never before done” goes to Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga of Bangui,the  capital of war-torn Central African Republic (CAR), though it’s difficult to establish which reason for picking Nazapalainga motivated Francis most.

The pope met the cardinal-elect in 2015, when he visited CAR against the advice of both American and French intelligence. For the past three years the country has been immersed in a sectarian conflict between a Muslim Seleka rebel coalition and a mostly Christian militia known as anti-Balaka, in which some 6,000 people have been killed.

During the worst periods of the conflict, militias were slitting children’s throats, razing villages and throwing young men to crocodiles. Over a million people have been internally displaced as a result of the conflict in what was already the world’s third poorest country.

“Both sides have committed terrible crimes, have murdered, raped, destroyed churches and mosques, and entire villages,” Nzapalainga lamented in a 2015 interview with Aid to the Church in Need.

In an attempt to protect his people and to raise international awareness over the conflict, Nzapalainga has become one of the “three saints of Bangui,” together with Rev. Nicolas Guerekoyame-Gbangou, president of the country’s Evangelical Alliance, and Imam Oumar Kobine Layama, president of the Islamic Council.

Since the violence begun, the three men have organized prayer sessions, rotating the encounters to include the Catholic cathedral, the great mosque in Bangui and Protestant churches. They’re also promoting “peace schools,” where children of all different religions can study, as well as mixed healthcare centers open to everyone, irrespective of religious or ethnic background.

In 2014, they toured Western capitals to plead for intervention to stop the bloodshed, meeting UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in New York and Pope Francis in Rome. Their groundwork led to the deployment of a UN peacekeeping force that September.

For their efforts, in 2014 Time magazine named them among the 100 Most Influential People in the World and the United Nations awarded them the 2015 Sergio Vieira de Mello Prize for Peace.

Their core message is that the conflict is not religious or sectarian, but driven by economic and political self-interest. CAR’s chronic poverty comes despite the fact that the country is the world’s 12th largest diamond exporter, and its open-pit mines are renowned for the quality of their gems. Control of the country’s mines is a major objective of all sides.

Observers have pointed out that if peace comes to the former French colony, the three saints of Bangui, as the French daily Le Monde dubbed them, will deserve a strong share of the credit.

Although there’s rarely only one reason for selecting a new cardinal, Francis’s decision to elevate Nzapalainga was probably influenced by the powerful counter-example the three give in an era in which religion is often seen as a source of conflict.

AFP reports that Layama applauded Francis’s decision to make Nzapalainga a cardinal, saying the move honored the country as well as bolstered efforts by leaders of all religious denominations to set aside their differences in the interests of peace.

Francis met with the three leaders during his trip to CAR, when he visited a mosque at a battle-scarred neighborhood of Bangui, considered a no-go zone even by international observers because the area was under the control of jihadist forces.

According to the French press agency, on the Sunday of the announcement, thousands flocked the streets to celebrate Nzapalainga’s nomination. The inhabitants of the Muslim-majority PK5 neighborhood also wanted to join but were too afraid to leave their homes, since it was already night.

In his evening sermon, Nzapalainga thanked the pope for his nomination, stressing that it comes as the country sees a new outbreak of violence.

“I tell you that there is a God for the poor,” he said.

Earlier in the month, 11 people were killed and more than a dozen reported missing in violence that erupted after the slaying of an army commander in Bangui’s predominantly Muslim PK5 neighborhood by an armed militia.

In a nation that’s 80 percent Christian and 15 percent Muslim, where religious hatred often fuels conflict, Francis opened the first Holy Door of the Year of Mercy, eight days before doing so in Rome, and preached forgiveness.

“The first thing is to never hate, to learn forgiveness,” he said, flanked by the now cardinal-elect. “If you have no hatred in your heart, if you forgive, you’ll be victorious. You’ll be victorious in life’s most difficult battle: love. That’s where peace comes from.”

The 49-year old from CAR will become the youngest member of the College of Cardinals, taking the slot previously held by Cardinal Soane Patita Paini, of Tonga, in the Pacific Ocean. Patita, created a cardinal by Francis last year, will turn 55 next December.

Nzapalainga was ordained a priest in 1998, and began his priestly ministry in Marseilles, France. He returned home in 2005, and was ordained archbishop in July 2012, after three years as Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Bangui.

Pope Francis’s 17 new cardinals come from 11 different countries, with every continent but Antarctica getting at least one. Nzapalainga is one of three from Africa, the other two being Bishop Emeritus Sebastian Koto Khoarai of Mohale’s Hoek in Lesotho, and Archbishop Maurice Piat of Port-Louis on the island of Mauritius.

Pope Francis will elevate the new Cardinals on Nov. 19, during a vigil marking the conclusion of the Jubilee Year of Mercy the next day.

Source: cruxnow.com/cardinals/2016/10/19/now-cardinal-african-prelate-already-saint/

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Pakistan

Pakistan imposes blanket ban on Indian content

October 20, 2016

Islamabad [Pakistan]: A complete ban on airing of Indian content in the country has been approved by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on Wednesday with effect from October 21, said a statement released by the regulatory authority.

The authority took this decision in their 120th meeting held today here, reports the Dawn.

Earlier, the Pakistan Government had suggested banning the airing of Indian content in a tit-for-tat, following a ban by India on airing Pakistani content.

A statement issued from the regulatory authority said, “The ban will come into effect at 3pm on October 21, and the radio and television stations which violate the ban will have their licences suspended without a prior show-cause notice,”.

The ban extends to all Indian content on cable and radio being aired in the country.

The PEMRA statement said, “PEMRA, with the authority vested by the federal government, today announces the cancellation of the one-sided rights given to India by the Pervez Musharraf government.”

Earlier in October, the power to revoke or suspend licences of companies airing Indian content without providing prior notice was granted to Absar Alam by the authority.

On Aug 31, it had announced to take a strict action would against the channels airing foreign content more than the prescribed limit and traders selling illegal DTH sets.

Source: siasat.com/news/pakistan-imposes-blanket-ban-indian-content-1045438/

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National counter-extremism policy on the cards

October 20, 2016

ISLAMABAD: After two decades of battling the menace of sectarianism and religious-based violence, the country is now looking to bring all provinces and stakeholders on board to develop a national counter-extremism policy.

A steering committee established recently to work on formulating the National Counter Extremism Policy (NCEP) met for the first time on Wednesday with Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed in the chair.

In a statement issued in conjunction with the meeting, the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) said that the committee had begun preparing a draft policy on countering extremism. The committee will meet provincial chief secretaries, inspectors general of police and home secretaries in the coming week to share recommendations and the first consolidated draft should be ready by early November.

The steering committee was mandated to evaluate recommendations received from stakeholders at the National Counter Extremism workshop held in July.

Senator Mushahid said in the statement that it was a step towards consolidating the peace marked by a visible decline in incidents of terrorism since 2015. He commended the timely formation of the committee and stressed that the NCEP would be formulated under the framework of the legal order and would recognise the supremacy of the Constitution.

At the meeting on Wednesday, the steering committee expressed its resolve to build on the contributions received through a long deliberative process which has involved inputs from the political leadership, religious leaders and scholars, academics, media, civil society organisations and the civil and military bureaucracy. It recognised the importance of contextualising the problem, causes, sources and perspectives regarding extremism, peculiar to each region, as a prerequisite for an implementable policy.

The committee set forth a road map for the future and hoped to come up with the first policy draft by early November. It agreed on certain policy themes, including the idea of national security, building community resilience, reviving culture, educational reform, media engagement, rehabilitation and reintegration, enabling environment, and a robust implementation strategy to ensure that the efforts would come to fruition. The steering committee is to meet each week to ensure timely completion of the task.

In June, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said that the country had faced losses of at least $118 billion in its ongoing war on terror. The number of lives lost is reportedly over 80,000. The move to formulate the NCEP would plug apparent lacunae in the National Action Plan which has, so far, focused on security and counterterrorism perspectives to curb sectarianism and violence in the country.

This is the second national-level committee Senator Mushahid heads. He is also chairman of the parliamentary committee on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Source: dawn.com/news/1291114/national-counter-extremism-policy-on-the-cards

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Pakistan Army takes gold in Exercise Cambrian Patrol held in UK

October 20, 2016

A Pakistan Army team won gold in a premier patrolling event of the British Army called Exercise Cambrian Patrol.

"This year, the 59 Punjab from the 37th Division/1 Corps represented the Pakistan Army in Cambrian Patrol in the UK and won a Gold medal." Pakistan Defence tweeted.

This year, the 59 Punjab from 37th Division / 1 Corps represented Pakistan Army in Cambrian Petrol in the UK and won a Gold medal.

"Top marks again for Pakistan. Year after year they deliver a polished performance. Another hard-earned gold medal," the British Army in Wales tweeted.

A team of Pakistan Army won the gold medal in the same event, last year, when they beat around 140 teams from armies across the globe.

The international patrolling exercise, an annual event organised and run by the 160th Infantry Brigade and Headquarters Wales, is both physically and mentally demanding and is a highlight in the British Army’s training calendar.

Internationally, it is regarded as one of the toughest tests the modern-day soldier can face, with some overseas entrants having to claim the right to take part by winning their own domestic competition.

Source: dawn.com/news/1291136/pakistan-army-takes-gold-in-exercise-cambrian-patrol-held-in-uk

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PM Sharif welcomes judicial proceedings in Panama Papers case

October 20, 2016

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday welcomed judicial proceedings in the Panama Papers case as the Supreme Court (SC) issued notices to Nawaz and others.

Earlier in the day, the SC had taken up five petitions, involving the premier and several others. The three-member bench issued notices to the prime minister, his family members and others made party in the constitutional petition.

"I welcome the judicial proceedings in connection with Panama Papers," he said.

In a statement issued after consultation with his legal team, he said, "The court of public opinion has been making decisions, it would be better to wait for the judiciary's decision."

The premier held the opposition responsible for the prolonged delay into investigation of the matter by a judicial commission.

He said that he had not only made his stance on the matter clear in the National Assembly and before the people, but had also announced a commission to probe Panamagate.

The petitions maintain that the premier and his dependants were involved in establishing offshore firms as exposed by the Panama Papers, and that the premier concealed assets of his dependants and also concealed the truth from the National Assembly. It also adds that he is no longer eligible to hold office under Article 62 and 63 of the constitution.

Pakistan People Party leader Khurshid Shah on Wednesday had accused the prime minister of accentuating the crisis by refusing to probe the Panama Papers leaks scandal.

Despite commencement of judicial proceedings in connection with the Panama Papers leaks, PTI chief Imran Khan refused to withdraw his protest call for November 2nd and said that the capital would be locked down as per schedule.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Jamaat-i-Islami, Barrister Zafar­ullah Khan of Watan Party, Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and Advocate Asad had filed petitions seeking the disqualification of the PM and his family members..

Source: dawn.com/news/1291148/pm-sharif-welcomes-judicial-proceedings-in-panama-papers-case

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Pakistan pushes for efforts to prevent weaponisation of outer space at UN

October 20, 2016

Pakistan's permanent representative to the United Nations (UN) in Geneva Ambassador Tehmina Janjua has called for steps to prevent the weaponisation of outer-space, saying it would adversely affect regional and international peace and security.

"Weaponisation of outer space is not science fiction anymore," Janjua told the UN General Assembly's Disarmament and International Security Committee on Wednesday.

"With the ever growing use of outer space by an increasing number of states, both for civilian and military purposes, the potential and the risk of its weaponisation cannot be ruled out," she said during a debate on Outer Space matters.

“Weapons in space would lead to instability, and negatively affect international and regional peace and security," the envoy added.

The 1967 Outer Space Treaty prohibited the placement of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in outer space, she said, while pointing out that it does not cover the placement of other types of weapons including conventional weapons.

Concerned about the negative implications of the development and deployment of anti-ballistic missile defence systems and the pursuit of related advanced military technologies, Ambassador Janjua said those weapons were destabilising and could have wide reaching implications for regional and international security.

"The effects of the introduction of such systems can be destabilising for sensitive regions like South Asia," the envoy said, adding that all those concerns needed to be addressed in a legally binding treaty.

It was essential to redouble efforts toward an agreement that addresses the development, deployment and proliferation of such systems, she said, noting that Pakistan was the co-sponsor of two draft resolutions on the prevention of an arms race in outer space and on no-first-placement of arms in outer space.

The envoy pointed out that space was no longer considered an exclusive preserve of a few developed states.

"Today developing countries, including my country, are tapping into space technology in diverse areas ranging from meteorology and disaster management to economy and telecommunications," she said, adding, "Their reliance on space technology will grow further in the years to come."

"The dominance enjoyed by certain countries in outer space owing to their current technological prowess, therefore, cannot last forever," Ambassador Janjua said.

"And this time," she added, "the developing countries will neither carry the burden of non-proliferation, nor will they accept any discriminatory restrictions which hamper their peaceful pursuits in outer space."

Source: dawn.com/news/1291138/pakistan-pushes-for-efforts-to-prevent-weaponisation-of-outer-space-at-un

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Southeast Asia

Indonesia Keeping Eye on IS Veterans Who Have Come Home: Officials

Thu Oct 20 2016

Indonesia is closely monitoring nearly 50 citizens who have returned from combat stints with the Islamic State (IS) group in the Middle East, but the lack of a tough anti-terror law makes it hard for authorities to arrest them, officials said.

Forty-seven IS fighters from Indonesia are under surveillance back home but they cannot be prosecuted under the country’s present laws for supporting or traveling abroad to join a foreign-based militant group such as IS, Indonesian counter-terror officials said.

Authorities can arrest people only if they have evidence that they are planning terrorist attacks, according to officials. Now, the Indonesian parliament is considering a bill to revise the country’s 2003 anti-terrorism law to give police greater enforcement powers against suspected militants in halting potential attacks.

IS claimed responsibility for an attack in central Jakarta that killed eight people in January, including the four suspected attackers, and officials have been warning that citizens returning from combat tours with IS could plot more attacks on home soil.

“We are only able to monitor them. We do not have the legal framework for further action,” Inspector Gen. Arif Darmawan, deputy head of the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT), told BenarNews.

Meanwhile, Muhammad Syafii, who chairs a special parliamentary committee revising the antiterrorism law, said his committee was still gathering testimony from interested parties. He acknowledged that the ongoing discussions meant that the committee’s work would be delayed.

“We may be able to finish it in 2017,” he told BenarNews.

‘They can evade our detection’

Based on international intelligence reports, 47 IS combatants who are believed to have the skill to carry out attacks have returned to Indonesia, BNPT officials said.

As of August, according to the agency, 237 Indonesian adults and 46 children were living in Syria. Additionally, 67 Indonesian citizens have been declared dead in Syria and 283 citizens who tried to enter Syria illegally were expelled by other countries back to Indonesia.

National Police Chief Gen. Tito Karnavian expressed concern about the nearly four dozen who have been identified as former IS combatants and who have returned to Indonesia.

“We are getting in touch with them but they can evade our detection. We believe they are organizing secretly and building interactions with other (radical) networks,” Tito told the Reuters news agency this week.

‘The dangerous ones’

But, according to one security expert’s reading, the public need not be concerned about the activities of the 47 IS veterans under surveillance

“As they are already detected, we have no need to worry. They just need to be monitored. The government has their data, their names and addresses,” Ridlwan Habib, a terrorism analyst from the University of Indonesia in Jakarta, told BenarNews.

The real concern, he said, is those who have returned to Indonesia but have not detected by the government. Ridlwan explained that they enter Indonesia through several ways, such as pretending to be Hajj pilgrims returning home or by using false passports.

“Those who returned alone are the dangerous ones and have to be watched because their whereabouts are not known. They have the ability to build new networks that are not detected,” he said.

Harits Abu Ulya, a terrorism expert with the Community of Ideological Islamic Analysts (CIIA), said the assumption that former IS combatants would return to Indonesia is not accurate because, in his view, the militant group’s followers would not want to go back to their countries of origin.

“That is, if they reach their destination, for example Syria, for them is a glory to live and die in that place. They will be completely dedicated to the IS,” he said in a statement to BenarNews.

Suspected followers of IS who have returned to Indonesia have done so because they were deported, or they no longer share the common ideology with IS, Harits said.

“Most were arrested before arriving in Syria,” he said, pointing out there were stopped before leaving the country or were caught in Malaysia, Singapore, Pakistan, Hong Kong or Turkey.

Source: benarnews.org/english/news/indonesian/suspects-tracked-10192016171704.html

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No move to ban or make hot dogs haram, Malaysia’s Islamic affairs minister clarifies

OCTOBER 20, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR — Religious authorities do not have a problem with the name “hotdog” and will not attempt to declare the sausage-based food as “haram,” Malaysian Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Jamil Khir Baharom said on Thursday (Oct 20).

Speaking during a press conference at the Parliament lobby, the Islamic affairs minister said that the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) will hold a discussion with food outlet Auntie Anne over their halal certification.

Jakim recently urged a name change for Auntie Anne’s “pretzel dog”, leading to widespread criticism from the public and on social media.

“What matters for us is the ingredients, not the name. That is the priority. I too have had hotdogs. There is no question of us wanting to ban or making hotdogs haram,” Mr Jamil Khir explained.

“We do not intend to change the status of any food that is established and popular, like hotdogs,” he added.

However, he said that name changes sometimes do take place to give better meaning to food or places.

“Like we had Batang Berjuntai, which became Bestari Jaya, we have Pantai Cinta Berahi which became Pantai Cahaya Bulan.

“Name changes happen from time to time just to give it better meaning,” Mr Jamil Khir said.

Earlier, Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said that he hoped Jakim would be able to take public opinion into consideration when making decisions.

“I think Jakim has the ability and flexibility to take in public opinions,” he said.

Source: todayonline.com/world/asia/no-move-ban-or-make-hotdogs-haram-malaysias-islamic-affairs-minister-clarifies

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Compulsory for Muslims to change 'inappropriate' names of products or food

20 OCTOBER 2016

JOHOR BARU: It is compulsory (wajib) for Muslims to change the name of a product or food that is inappropriate or against Islamic teachings, as Islam promotes names that are nice and beautiful. Johor Islamic Religious Council (MAIJ) advisor Datuk Nooh Gadut said Muslims are advised to avoid using names that are against Islamic teachings whether for a product, food or a person. "In terms of the names of food, terms like dogs and pork are sensitive for Muslims since these items are considered 'najis' (unclean). Therefore, it is wajib (compulsory) for Muslims to change the names of food that contains terms like these," said Nooh. He was speaking to the media after the opening of the Executive Talk on the Malaysian Syariah Index by state Islamic Religious Committee chairman Abd Mutalip Abd Rahim. Also present was Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) deputy director general Paimuzi Yahya. This week, pretzel franchise chain Auntie Anne’s made headlines when it emerged that the company had to suggest several alternatives for its Pretzel Dog food item in its bid to obtain halal certification. Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom earlier today clarified that it is “not a criteria” for Auntie Anne’s to change the name of its 'Pretzel Dog' to 'Pretzel Sausage' in order to receive halal certification. He said there was never an issue with the food name, particularly the term 'hot dog' which is used to describe sausage-based food products. He stated that the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) is focusing on the content of the food, and not the name.

Source: nst.com.my/news/2016/10/181906/compulsory-muslims-change-inappropriate-names-products-or-food

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Police Attacked by Suspected Islamic State Sympathizer in Indonesia

Updated Oct. 20, 2016

JAKARTA, Indonesia—A machete-wielding man injured three police officers outside the capital and tried to set off a bomb before being fatally shot, in the latest attack here that police say may be linked to Islamic State.

The violence came hours before two men were convicted of violating antiterrorism laws in a trial stemming from attacks in January claimed by the terror group, in which four civilians were killed in central Jakarta.

Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, has been concerned that Islamic State’s influence could spread across the country of 250 million people. Police say hundreds of Indonesians have traveled to the Middle East to support the group, and authorities say they are monitoring dozens who have returned and have stopped dozens more from making the trip in recent months.

In July, police shot dead Indonesia’s most-wanted terror suspect, a militant hiding in the hills of central Sulawesi who had pledged allegiance to Islamic State. Two weeks earlier, a suicide bomber on a motorcycle blew himself up at a police station in central Java; police say he also supported the group.

In August, police on the island of Batam arrested six suspected terrorists, including one they said had plotted with an Islamic State supporter to fire a rocket into neighboring Singapore.

The latest attack occurred at a busy intersection where the officers were directing traffic. National police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar said a 21-year-old jobless man from Jakarta suddenly began stabbing them in the chest and back. He also threw a pipe bomb at a small police post nearby, but it didn’t go off.

The assailant, whom police shot in the leg and abdomen, died from loss of blood before reaching the hospital, Mr. Amar said. Police were investigating if the man was “possibly a sympathizer” of Islamic State because a sticker with the terror group’s logo had been affixed to the police post, he said.

The gun-and-bomb attacks in January were the first in Indonesia linked to the group. All four attackers were killed.

The West Jakarta district court on Thursday convicted a 23-year-old man of helping to prepare bombs used in that attack and sentenced him to 10 years in prison. A 48-year-old man who authorities said tried unsuccessfully to help the attackers acquire guns was sentenced to four years.

At least five other men are being tried for alleged roles in the January attacks, according to one of the judges handling the cases.

Until this year, Indonesia had largely contained a terrorism problem that peaked in 2002 with bombings that killed more than 200 people, mainly foreigners, in Bali. It built up a counterterrorism force with U.S. assistance and reduced the ability of radical groups to carry out large-scale attacks.

Wiranto, Indonesia’s coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, on Thursday reiterated a call for parliament to act on a tougher counterterrorism law. Like many Indonesians, he goes by one name.

The government put forward a bill after the January attacks that would allow longer detention periods for suspected terrorists and make it illegal to travel overseas to join terrorist groups or undergo military training.

Current law allows for seven days of detention before suspects must be charged or released. Merely taking part in military-style training is considered insufficient evidence for charges to be filed. Police have said that makes it difficult to prevent terror acts.

Source: wsj.com/articles/police-attacked-by-suspected-islamic-state-sympathizer-in-indonesia-1476946805

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/how-islamic-state-weaponised-the-chat-app-to-direct-attacks-on-the-west/d/108895

 

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