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Islamic World News ( 27 Nov 2020, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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How Pakistani Imam Luqman Haider Used TikTok In France To Propagate Terror


New Age Islam News Bureau

28 November 2020

 

This court sketch created on November 12, 2020, shows Pakistani imam of Villiers-le-Bel, during his trial for 'apology for terrorism' in the courthouse of Pontoise, northwestern suburbs of Paris. Photograph:( AFP )

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• Bangladesh Radical Islamist Leader, Junaid Babunagari, The New Chief Of  Hifazat-e Islam, Threatens To Pull Down Statues

• France Considers A Law To Curb What It Views As Islamist Extremism

• Trump Retweets Israeli Journalist’s Message Praising Assassination Of Iranian Scientist

• UP First State To Bring Anti-Love Jihad Law After Governor Promulgates Ordinance

• Lebanon's Hezbollah: Response To Nuclear Scientist Assassination Up To Iran

• IRGC Commander: Revenge on Agenda for Assassination of Iranian Nuclear Scientist

• US Pentagon Acting Defence Secretary Makes Rare Visit To Somalia

 

Pakistan

• How Pakistani Imam Luqman Haider Used TikTok In France To Propagate Terror

• How PM Imran Khan lost control of anti-France campaign in Pakistan

• Pakistan Minister threatens opposition leaders with FIRs over political gatherings

• Arrest warrants issued for activist after students rally in Lahore

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South Asia

• Bangladesh Radical Islamist Leader, Junaid Babunagari, The New Chief Of  Hifazat-e Islam, Threatens To Pull Down Statues

• OIC's Council Of Foreign Ministers Begins Emphasizing Muslim Unity In Addressing Islamophobia

• Afghan leadership urged to seize opportunity of peace dialogue

• Radicalism of workers in Singapore alarms Bangladesh

• Magnetic Mine Blasts in Two Major Provinces Claim 1, Injures 8

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North America

• Trump Retweets Israeli Journalist’s Message Praising Assassination Of Iranian Scientist

• US deploys Nimitz aircraft carrier back to Persian Gulf as tensions rise with Iran

• US officials say Israel was behind the assassination: New York Times

• US and Israel must be held accountable over the scientist assassination

• Canada mosque killer’s parole eligibility time reduced

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Europe

• Woman With Knife Attacks Rabbi In Vienna, Yells Anti-Semitic Threat

• German court may indict Assad for war crimes

• France: 'Far-Right Groups Fanning Hate For Electoral Gains'

• Europe mulls action vs Turkey over reopening of Maras

• Turkey rejects European Parliament call for sanctions against Ankara over Cyprus

• Iranian diplomat refuses to appear at bomb plot trial in Belgium: Lawyer

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India

• UP First State To Bring Anti-Love Jihad Law After Governor Promulgates Ordinance

• Detained again, not allowed to visit Pulwama, says Mufti

• Mehbooba Mufti claims ‘house arrest’ after police stops her from visiting Pulwama

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Arab world

• Lebanon's Hezbollah: Response To Nuclear Scientist Assassination Up To Iran

• Three killed in Iraq as Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's followers stormed protest camp

• UNHCR: Hundreds of Syrians leave Lebanese town of Bsharre over tensions

• Lebanon’s parliament votes in favour of unhindered total public sector audit

• Iran-backed Houthis are behind Yemen's problems: Saudi FM

• Saudi airstrikes kill one, injure four in Yemen

• Qatar to invest billions of dollars in Turkey as economy struggles amid lira drop

• Iraqi lawmakers demand reciprocal move after UAE stops issuing new visa

• US-backed SDF militants don’t stop terrorists from sneaking Syria-Iraq border: Official

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Mideast

• IRGC Commander: Revenge on Agenda for Assassination of Iranian Nuclear Scientist

• FM Zarif: Traces of Israel's Role Seen in Assassination of Iranian Nuclear Scientist

• Official Blasts Enemies for Continuing to Hatch Plots against Iran

• Iran Sets Up Special Committee to Prosecute Those Involved in Assassinating Anti-Terror Commander General Soleimani

• Israeli PM Netanyahu office not commenting on Iranian nuclear scientist killing

• Assassination of Iranian physicist draws condemnations from anti-Israel groups

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Africa

• US Pentagon Acting Defence Secretary Makes Rare Visit To Somalia

• Refugees in Ethiopia's Tigray to run out of food shortly without assistance: UN

• Over 150 Ghanaians return from Libya: IOM

• Suicide attack at restaurant kills 7 in Somali capital

• Milestone memorandums with Turkey change Libya's fate

• Ethiopia’s PM renews rejection to dialogue with TPLF

• Somali presidential candidates demand exit of spy chief

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Southeast Asia

• Pandemic Pizza: Malaysian Family Cooks Up Solution To Virus Woe

• After Budget vote debacle, sources say Anwar asked for a week to prove majority support and will quit as Pakatan’s chief if he cannot

• Jawi: ‘Nikah’ ceremonies allowed at all mosques not located in red zones beginning Dec 1

• Islamic militant group kills 4, burns houses in central Indonesia

• China Censures War Crimes Committed By Australian Troops In Afghanistan, Urges Full Probe

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:   https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/how-pakistani-imam-luqman-haider/d/123602

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How Pakistani Imam Luqman Haider Used TikTok In France To Propagate Terror

Nov 27, 2020

 

This court sketch created on November 12, 2020, shows Pakistani imam of Villiers-le-Bel, during his trial for 'apology for terrorism' in the courthouse of Pontoise, northwestern suburbs of Paris. Photograph:( AFP )

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After the deadly stabbing in Nice, French President Emmanuel Macron had travelled to the city appearing before the press he had said: "France is under attack".

On that day Macron did not hesitate, just like the attack in Paris he called the stabbings in Nice an act of "Islamist terrorism". Macron said France will not give in to terror.  The French president's reaction has been swift and decisive as dozens of raids have been conducted.

A mosque was shut down, a new law is being brought in to crack down on Islamist extremism. Today, France has taken another bold step, a Pakistani imam has been jailed and banned by France because he was using TikTok to propagate terror.

Luqman Haider, a Pakistani has been sentenced to 18 months in jail. He had arrived in France back in 2015. Occasionally he officiated as the imam at a mosque in Villiers-le-Bel in a commune in the northern suburbs of Paris.

Luqman Haider is a terror apologist. He put out three videos on TikTok. In the first video, he talked about the Charlie Hebdo cartoons saying "Muslim worshippers are willing to sacrifice themselves for the prophet".

In the second video, he spoke of "attacking non-Muslims and disbelievers" and "sending them to hell."

The final video shared on September 25 was a tribute for the terrorist who wounded four in a knife attack outside the former offices of Charlie Hebdo. The attack took place in September in which the terrorist was a Pakistani national.

The imam called him a "brave man". France now has zero-tolerance for such imams. A case was filed at a local court which found the imam guilty and sentenced him to 18 months in jail. Now, due to this conviction, he can no longer stay in France.

The imam will have to go back to Pakistan.

"From the moment you find him guilty on the 25th, given that he has no right to be in France with two obligations to leave the territory, it seems reasonable both for public opinion, I think, and for him to understand as well," Xavier Nogueras, lawyer for the imam, said.

The tough stand against foreign imams is not new while France has laws in place to punish such imams, the Macron government wants to implement its own rulebook. In February, before the recent terror attacks, the French president had announced new measures. Macron had taken some steps towards ending a programme that allowed foreign countries to send imams and teachers to France.

Macron had said his government wants to combat "foreign interference" in how Islam is practised and the way religious institutions are organised.

"Today, there are 300 imams who are sent to France every year. Those who arrived in 2020 will be the last cohort of such volume to come, and we will gradually stop allowing new ones and let the last cohort of imams stay until their tenures end, with a dialogue and improved conditions," Macron asserted, adding," ending what is called consular Islam is extremely important in order to be able to curb foreign influence and ensure that everyone fully abides by the laws of the republic with a common framework."

Macron wants to stop importing imams because he doesn't want foreign powers to dictate the rules of Islam in France exactly what Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan tried to do by whipping up passions against France through a campaign of hate against Macron.

Protests had broken out across the Islamic countries but Pakistan saw the most vicious kind of protest in Islamabad. Inside a madrasa, a teacher beheaded an effigy of Emmanuel Macron in front of children.

The imam who was reportedly punished in France used to teach children between 6 and 11 years of age. He shared similar beliefs as this teacher in Islamabad.

This is what France is fighting - extremist teachers who are radicalising young and impressionable minds.

https://www.wionews.com/world/how-pakistani-imam-used-tiktok-in-france-to-propagate-terror-345945

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Bangladesh Radical Islamist Leader, Junaid Babunagari, The New Chief Of  Hifazat-e Islam, Threatens To Pull Down Statues

28 Nov 2020

 

Statue pull-down threat by Bangladesh’s radical Islamist group Hifazat-e-Islam

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Junaid Babunagari, the new chief of radical Islamist group Hifazat-e Islam, has threatened to pull down statues no matter which party erects them.

He made the threat at a religious gathering organised by Al Amin Sangstha on the premises of Parboty Government High School in Chattogram’s Hathazari on Friday night.

Mamunul Haque, joint secretary general of Hifazat, was supposed to join the three-day programme on the closing day, but he could not due to protests for two days by the affiliates of the ruling Awami League over his past remarks against a statue of independence hero Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in Dhaka.

“The prime minister (Sheikh Hasina) has said that Bangladesh will be run in line with the Charter of Madinah. If it is true, then nothing can be done against Islam in this country. Inshallah, the prime minister will not let it (setting up statues) happen,” said Babunagari.

“There cannot be any statue in the country if it is run in line with the Charter of Madinah. Is there any statue in Madinah?” he asked.

Babunagari said, “Statues are against Sharia, no matter whose statue it is. I won’t name a party or leader.”  

“But I swear by Allah, if someone erects a statue, even of my father, I will be the first person to pull it down. I will pull down statues no matter which party erects them,” he added.

Addressing Hasina, the daughter of Bangabandhu, the Hifazat chief said, “I love Bangabandhu. We respect your father, Bangabandhu. Who killed him? Madrasa students? Alem Olamas (Islamic scholars)? No. Bangabandhu’s own men killed him.”   

“I am alerting you (Hasina). The atheists who have possessed you will do harm to you, will kill you. We are not your enemies. We want peace and order in the country,” he said.

The Islamist groups protested against the installation of statues on different occasions, saying it is forbidden in Islam.

The government had relocated the Lady Justice statue from the Supreme Court premises bowing down to Hifazat’s demand in May 2017.

Mamunul, who is also acting secretary general of Bangladesh Khelafat Majlish and president of its youth front Bangladesh Jubo Khelafat Majlish, demanded the removal of the statue of the Father of the Nation in Dhaka’s Dholaipar at a party event in the capital on Nov 13.

The Awami League remained silent, and its allies criticised it for not protesting against the remarks of Mamunul.

“This evil force dared object to the erection of Bangabdhu’s statue now because those who demanded removal of the Lady Justice Statue from the Supreme Court were indulged,” the Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal or JaSoD said in a statement in protest against the latest demand for removal of Bangabandhu’s statue.

Finally, at an event in Chattogram on Nov 15, Deputy Minister of Education Mohibul Hassan Chowdhury Nowfel threatened those speaking against Bangabandhu’s statue with firm action.

The Awami League’s affiliates then launched the protests on Thursday, vowing to prevent Mamunul from joining the Hathazari gathering.

Babunagari presented a four-point charter of demand at the gathering. The demands are – stopping International Society for Krishna Consciousness or ISCON from operating in Bangladesh, formally declaring Ahmadiyyas non-Muslims, closing down the French embassy in Dhaka and expel the ambassador, and passing a motion in parliament condemning France’s policies on Muslims.

Babunagari went on: “We agree with the prime minister that the country of 90 percent Muslims will be run in line with the Charter of Madinah. It can’t be run in line with charters of Russia, America, India or China.”

He also said a conflict between the believers and non-believers has begun in place of disputes between political parties.

“There is no conflict between the Awami League and the BNP. They stand shoulder to shoulder in Eid congregations. They have relationships. The hard conflict in Bangladesh and the rest of the world now is between the believers and the atheists,” he said.

https://bdnews24.com/bangladesh/2020/11/28/bangladesh-radical-islamist-leader-threatens-to-pull-down-statues

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Trump Retweets Israeli Journalist’s Message Praising Assassination Of Iranian Scientist

28 November 2020

 

 US President Donald Trump has retweeted a message by an Israeli journalist that praised the assassination of top Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, raising questions over what role his administration played in the terror attack.

The lame-duck president has yet to publicly comment on the brazen attack, but retweeted a post by Israeli journalist Yossi Melman, who claimed the killing was “a major psychological and professional blow for Iran.”

Fakhrizadeh headed the Iranian Defense Ministry’s Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND).

Sina Toossi, a senior research analyst at the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), characterized Trump’s tweet as an “implicit approval” of the assassination.

12. There you have it. Trump retweets a tweet saying #Fakhrizadeh’s assassination is a “psychological & professional blow” to #Iran. A implicit approval if there ever was one pic.twitter.com/9WQrK1GZbk

— Sina Toossi (@SinaToossi) November 27, 2020

Trump also retweeted a New York Times report on the assassination, a multi-pronged ambush attack on Fakhrizadeh's vehicle in the city of Absard, just east of Tehran.

As the Times reported, “Mr. Fakhrizadeh had long been the No. 1 target of the Mossad, Israel's intelligence service, which is widely believed to be behind a series of assassinations of scientists a decade ago that included some of Mr. Fakhrizadeh's deputies.”

The Times cited three American officials as saying that Israel was behind the attack. The officials pointed out that while it was not clear how much the US may have been involved; the two allies have longed shared intelligence regarding Iran.

There have been reports that Trump, who ordered the assassination of Iranian anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in January, had recently requested options for a military strike on Iran.

The Israeli regime has also reportedly been preparing for such an attack for weeks.

Fakhrizadeh’s name was mentioned in a presentation in May 2018 by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during which he repeated erroneous claims about Iran’s nuclear program. “Remember that name, Fakhrizadeh,” Netanyahu said at the time.

In a statement, Iranian Foreign Ministry Mohammad Javad Zarif roundly condemned the terror attack, saying there were “serious indications” of the Israeli regime’s role in the assassination of Fakhrizadeh.

“Terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist today. This cowardice—with serious indications of Israeli role—shows desperate warmongering of perpetrators,” the top diplomat said in a tweet.

The assassination was construed by antiwar advocacy groups in the United States as an eleventh-hour attempt by Trump and his hawkish allies to block any possible avenue for diplomacy by the incoming administration.

“If the US was involved with this assassination, it will be further evidence on top of the already heaping pile that Trump, [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo, and the other war hawks will do everything in their power to prevent the Biden admin from succeeding at diplomacy with Iran,” said Win Without War, an anti-war advocacy group.

If the US was involved with this assassination, it will be further evidence, on top of the already heaping pile that Trump, Pompeo, and the other war hawks will do everything in their power to prevent the Biden admin from succeeding at diplomacy with #Iran https://t.co/DnEO4rayB6

— Win Without War (@WinWithoutWar) November 27, 2020

President-elect Joe Biden has indicated that he is ready to bring the US back to the Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), from which Trump unilaterally withdrew in 2018.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/28/639511/Trump-implicit-approval-assassination-Iran-scientist-

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UP first state to bring anti-love jihad law after Governor promulgates ordinance

Kumar Abhishek

Lucknow

November 28, 2020

Uttar Pradesh became the first state to bring an anti-love jihad law after Governor Anandiben Patel promulgated the UP Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance 2020. The new law to curb forcible or "dishonest" religious conversions becomes applicable from today in Uttar Pradesh to check 'love jihad'.

The development came days after the state government approved a draft ordinance to curb forcible or "dishonest" religious conversions including those for the sake of marriage, which could land violators in jail for up to 10 years.

On Tuesday, Uttar Pradesh Cabinet Minister Siddharth Nath Singh had informed about the state cabinet's decision to introduce an ordinance against unlawful religious conversions.

For conversions of minors and women of SC/ST community, there will be a jail term of three to 10 years with a Rs 25,000 penalty. In case of mass conversion, offenders can be penalised with a jail term of 3-10 years and a fine of at least Rs 50,000.

Under the anti-love jihad law, a marriage will be declared “null and void” if the conversion of a woman is solely for that purpose. Those wishing to change their religion after marriage need to apply to the district magistrate.

Meanwhile, Haryana's Home Minister Anil Vij said the state government has set up a three-member committee to draft a law against “love jihad”, a term used by BJP leaders to describe religious conversions in the guise of marriage. The Haryana committee will also study laws enacted by other states on the issue, Vij said.

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/uttar-pradesh-anti-love-jihad-law-governor-promulgates-ordinance-1744890-2020-11-28

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Lebanon's Hezbollah: Response to nuclear scientist assassination up to Iran

Tuqa Khalid

28 November 2020

The deputy leader of Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah movement, Naim Qassem, said on Friday, the response to the assassination of Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was in Iran's hands.

"We condemn this heinous attack and see that the response to this crime is in the hands of those concerned in Iran... It is a matter of honor and dignity, and we are not bothered by assassinations," Qassem said in an interview with Hezbollah's Al Manar TV.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Fakhrizadeh, one of Iran’s most prominent nuclear scientists was assassinated on Friday in an attack on his car outside Tehran, the defense ministry said earlier on Friday.

He was "seriously wounded" when assailants targeted his car before being engaged in a gunfight with his security team, the ministry added. He later succumbed to his injuries and died in the hospital.

Qassem added that Fakhrizadeh was murdered by "those sponsored by America and Israel" and the assassination was "part of a war on Iran and the region."

Iran accuses Israel

Iranian officials vowed to avenge the slain scientist and pointed the finger of blame at Israel.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has claimed there were "serious indications of (an) Israeli role" in the assassination.

Meanwhile, the head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Hossein Salami said: “Severe revenge and punishment for the perpetrators of this crime is on the agenda,” according to Iranian media.

Israel “designed and directed” Fakhrizadeh’s killing, Salami alleged. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said it was not commenting on the attack on the Iranian nuclear scientist.

Who is Mohsen Fakhrizadeh?

Fakhrizadeh, once described by Netanyahu as the father of Iran's nuclear weapons program, had been travelling in a car near Absard city in Tehran province's eastern Damavand county.

He has long been described by Western, Israeli and Iranian exile foes of Iran’s clerical rulers as a leader of a covert atomic bomb program halted in 2003. Iran has long denied seeking to weaponize nuclear energy.

He had the rare distinction of being the only Iranian scientist named in the International Atomic Energy Agency’s 2015 “final assessment” of open questions about Iran’s nuclear program and whether it was aimed at developing a nuclear bomb.

Fakhrizadeh was named in a 2007 UN resolution on Iran as a person involved in nuclear or ballistic missile activities. An IAEA report the following year also referred to him briefly.

Iranian media rarely mention him. In 2007, the semi-official Mehr News Agency described him as a scientist working for the Defense Ministry and a former head of the Physics Research Centre, a body also mentioned in the IAEA’s report.

Some Iranian websites said he was a university professor.

But Western analysts acknowledged that little is publicly known about Fakhrizadeh, described by Albright’s think tank as a nuclear engineer who has overseen a number of projects related to weaponization research and development.

The IAEA had said in 2002-2003, Fakhrizadeh was the executive officer of the so-called AMAD Plan, which according to its information conducted studies related to uranium, high explosives and the revamping of a missile cone to accommodate a nuclear warhead.

“If Iran ever chose to weaponize (enrichment), Fakhrizadeh would be known as the father of the Iranian bomb,” a Western diplomat who is critical of Iran’s nuclear program had told Reuters.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/11/28/Lebanon-s-Hezbollah-Response-to-nuclear-scientist-assassination-up-to-Iran

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IRGC Commander: Revenge on Agenda for Assassination of Iranian Nuclear Scientist

2020-November-28

General Salami extended condolences to Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, martyr Fakhrizadeh's family, and the Iranian nation over the martyrdom of Head of the Research and Innovation Organization of Iran's Defense Ministry, Dr. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who was assassinated in an organized and pre-planned terrorist attack by the child-killing Israeli regime.

"The enemies of the Iranian nation, specially the masterminds, perpetrators and supporters of this crime, should also know that such crimes will not undermine the resolve of the Iranians to continue this glorious and power-generating path, and harsh revenge and punishment is on agenda for them," the IRGC chief commander stressed.

Fakhrizadeh's car was targetted by an explosion and machinegun fire in Damavand's Absard 40 kilometers to the East of Tehran.

The nuclear scientist and one of his companions were immediately taken to a nearby hospital but he could not be saved.

Eyewitness accounts confirmed that Fakhrizadeh's car came under attack first by a blast and then by terrorists who sprayed bullets at his car.

Early in 2018, the Israeli sources had acknowledged that Mossad had tried to assasinate an Iranian nuclear scientist, but its operation failed.

According to Fars News Agency, Mossad had gained access to Fakhrizadeh's name via a UN list which referred to him as a senior scientist of Iran's Defense Ministry's Physics Research Center.

Iranian nuclear scientists have been the target of the western and Israeli spy agencies' assassination attempts in recent years.

In June 2012, Iran announced that its intelligence forces had identified and arrested all terrorist elements behind the assassination of the country's nuclear scientists.

"All the elements involved in the assassinations of the country's nuclear scientists have been identified and arrested," Iran's Intelligence Ministry announced in a statement.

"A number of countries, whose territories and facilities had been misused by the Mossad-backed terrorist teams, have provided the Iranian officials with relevant information," the statement added.

"Over the course of the investigations, all other elements behind the assassinations of the Iranian scientists Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, Majid Shahriari and Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan as well as Reza Qashqaei (Roshan's driver) have been apprehended," the statement read.

"Some of the perpetrators of the assassination of Dr. Fereidoun Abbasi, the current head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, are among those arrested," the ministry added.

According to the statement, Iran's Intelligence Ministry had detected some of Mossad's bases within the territories of one of Iran's Western neighbors, which provided training and logistical support to the terrorist networks.

In the fifth attack of its kind in two years, terrorists killed a 32-year-old Iranian scientist, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, and his driver on January 11, 2012.

The blast took place on the second anniversary of the martyrdom of Iranian university professor and nuclear scientist, Massoud Ali Mohammadi, who was also assassinated in a terrorist bomb attack in Tehran in January 2010.

The assassination method used in the bombing was similar to the 2010 terrorist bomb attacks against the then university professor, Fereidoun Abbassi Davani – who became the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization - and his colleague Majid Shahriari. While Abbasi Davani survived the attack, Shahriari was martyred.

Another Iranian scientist, Dariush Rezaeinejad, was also assassinated through the same method on 23 July 2011.

In a relevant development in January, 2015, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) announced that it had thwarted an attempt by the Israeli intelligence forces to assassinate an Iranian nuclear scientist.

“In the last two years, the Zionist enemy (Israel) was trying hard to assassinate an Iranian nuclear scientist, but the timely presence of the IRGC security forces thwarted the terrorist operation,” Deputy Chief Liaison Officer of Flight Guards Corps Colonel Ya’qoub Baqeri told FNA in 2015.

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/13990908000027/IRGC-Cmmander-Revenge-n-Agenda-fr-Assassinain-f-Iranian-Nclear

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US Pentagon Acting Defence Secretary Makes Rare Visit To Somalia

28 November 2020

The Pentagon's acting defense secretary has made a rare visit to Somalia, a conflict-plagued nation in the Horn of Africa where American forces have been assisting in the fight against al-Qaeda affiliate al-Shabab.

In a brief statement, the Pentagon said Christopher Miller, who was installed as acting defense secretary November 9 when President Donald Trump fired Mark Esper, met Friday with US troops in Somalia to express appreciation for their work and to reiterate the U.S. commitment to combatting extremist groups.

Trump is widely expected to order a withdrawal of most or all of the 700 US troops based in Somalia before he leaves office January 20.

Miller has been in the Middle East and parts of north Africa this week on his first international trip as acting defense secretary. Miller, who previously headed the National Counterterrorism Center, has not been nominated by Trump for Senate confirmation as Pentagon chief.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2020/11/28/US-foreign-policy-US-Pentagon-acting-defense-secretary-makes-rare-visit-to-Somalia

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Pakistan

 

How PM Imran Khan lost control of anti-France campaign in Pakistan

Nov 27, 2020

France is not stopping at radical imams, it has taken a series of retaliatory measures against Pakistan. It includes Pakistan's military establishment.

Pakistan PM Imran Khan is paying a hefty price for his tweet posted by Pakistan's human rights minister Shireen Mazari. It had claimed that Macron is treating Muslims like Nazis had treated Jews.

Mazari deleted her tweet but the damage was done. The anger in France was boiling over, however, to blame everything on a tweet would be unfair because Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan was the one who decided to pick a fight with France but Mazari's statement only made the situation worse.

Paris is now hitting back at Islamabad. France will not upgrade Pakistan's fleet of Mirage fighter jets, an air defence system and the Agosta 90B class submarines.

France has reportedly sent a message to Qatar asking them to not allow Pakistani-origin technicians to work on the Rafale jets if that wasn't enough France will now put asylum requests from Pakistan under detailed scrutiny.

Pakistan's decision to take on France seems to have come with a hefty price tag. It all began when Imran Khan sided with Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan and accused the French president of attacking Islam.

Erdogan, alongside Imran Khan and Mahathir Mohamad, added fuel to the fire against France. Their statements added to the outrage against France in the Muslim world leading to violent rallies across major Islamic countries.

There were protests in Pakistan too where protesters burnt effigies of Macron and desecrated the French flag. Extremists and radicals took to the streets with large crowds as they tried to target the French embassy in Islamabad.

Recently, Islamabad was held hostage by Islamists led by the far-right Islamic political party Tehreek-e-Labbaik. Its supporters forced the Imran khan government to make concessions.

Pakistani ministers signed on an agreement promising to evict the French ambassador to Pakistan and a boycott of French goods at the government level.

The Pakistan Prime Minister has lost control of his own anti-France campaign with Islamists dictating the terms of engagement with France at home and France responding with diplomatic actions.

Imran Khan now finds himself caught between a rock and a hard place.

https://www.wionews.com/south-asia/how-pm-imran-khan-lost-control-of-anti-france-campaign-in-pakistan-345947

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Pakistan Minister threatens opposition leaders with FIRs over political gatherings

Nov 27, 2020

Pakistan Federal Information Minister Shibli Faraz has threatened Opposition leaders that first information reports (FIRs) will be registered against them if they participate in the Pakistan Democratic Movement ( PDM) rally.

Eleven political parties have joined hands to form a new multi-party alliance under the banner of Pakistan Democratic Movement against the government of Imran Khan.

The Minister criticised the opposition for boycotting a meeting of the parliamentary committee on the country's worsening COVID-19 situation and threatened to take legal action against them.

According to Dawn, the opposition stayed away from the meeting of the parliamentary panel — a decision that was "in line" with their decision that they would not attend any meeting that would be chaired by the National assembly speaker for his "biased attitude".

"Opposition members participated in the first four meetings of the committee but boycotted the fifth one. Members of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and allied parties attended the meeting, in which the data of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) was discussed to devise a strategy to combat the disease," the minister said, as quoted by Dawn on Wednesday.

He added, "After the [PDM's] public meeting in Peshawar failed, the opposition should avoid holding more public gatherings. We warn that first information reports (FIRs) will be registered against the organisers of public gatherings and political leaders over their participation."

These remarks from the federal minister comes after Pakistan reported over 3,000 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday.

Speaker Asad Qaiser while chairing the fifth meeting of the parliamentary committee on the pandemic at Parliament House said that irrespective of political differences and considering the current state of the pandemic, the opposition must have attended the meeting.

Dawn reported that Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan told the committee that Pakistan`s COVID-19 situation was alarming and would cause a devastating effect if the Standard Operating Procedures and the decision of the NCOC were not implemented.

The opposition in Pakistan had indicated prior to the meeting that they will be boycotting the meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Coronavirus Disease (which took place on Wednesday) because of the biased conduct by the National Assembly speaker Qaiser.

Senior vice president of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) Shahid Khaqan said that the speaker lost the trust of the Opposition parties and therefore, "he had no right to convene any such meeting."

The leader lambasted the federal government saying that they had no policy to deal with the worsening COVID-19 situation in the country. "If the government has any policy, then bring it to the National Assembly," he said.

Pakistan on Wednesday recorded the highest single-day spike of 3,009 COVID-19 cases in over four months, bringing the total number to 382,892.

Geo News citing National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) reported 59 COVID-19 deaths across the country in the past 24 hours. The country`s overall death toll has now hit 7,803.

https://www.wionews.com/south-asia/pakistan-minister-threatens-opposition-leaders-with-firs-over-political-gatherings-345891

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Arrest warrants issued for activist after students rally in Lahore

Imran Gabol

28 Nov 2020

LAHORE: Hundreds of activists and students from various educational institutes of the city participated in a ‘Student Solidarity March’ on Friday to demand free education and restoration of student unions in the country.

The march organised by the Student Action Committee (SAC) turned into a rally at Charing Cross on The Mall in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

After the rally, Lahore Deputy Commissioner (DC) Muddassir Riaz Malik issued arrest orders against Prof Ammar Ali Jan, one of the organisers of the rally and president of Haqooq-i-Khalq Movement, under Section 16 of the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance (MPO).

The order available with Dawn states: “Upon the basis/ material received from Deputy Inspector General (Operations) Lahore, I am convinced that the presence of Ammar Ali Jan at any public place will pose grave threat to public safety and is likely to cause breach of public peace and public order”.

Ammar Jan goes into hiding; hundreds take part in the rally for students’ rights

It further states: “In exercise of powers under section-3 of the MPO, Ammar Ali Jan should be arrested and detained for a period of 30 days from the date of arrest. His custody shall be placed under the Superintendent Central Jail Kot Lakhpat”.

As the rally was about to conclude, a heavy police contingent arrived on the spot.

After the protest, Mr Jan and his comrades left the venue in a car, which was followed by a police vehicle. Police stopped him on the Main Boulevard, Gulberg, and took him to the police check post.

The policemen held negotiations with Mr Jan and others and allowed him to leave on the assurance that he would appear in the Civil Lines Police Station within two hours.

Talking to Dawn, Mr Jan said his lawyer would appear on his behalf and he would approach the court for pre-arrest bail on Monday.

Mr Jan’s wife Tabitha Spence told Dawn a team of her husband’s lawyers would represent him in the police station. She said they were protesting for students’ rights, did not create any problem for the public and protest was their basic right. She said they were in hiding and would not give custody of Jan.

Earlier, addressing the students at Charing Cross, Prof Ammar Ali Jan lambasted the administrations of the universities for, what he called, promoting fascism on the campuses where students were not allowed to raise their voice.

Giving an example, he said the teachers were being removed from jobs for speaking in favour of the students and promoting research culture. He said no one could bring about any change and betterment in the campuses without representation of the students in the decision-making bodies.

He said the state had launched a crackdown on the students last year for carrying out a solidarity march and they were put behind the bars.

Mr Jan stressed that the students, farmers, labourers and civil society activists would have to join hands for their rights as capitalism had snatched basic needs from them. He said the students union could provide the country true leadership for the betterment of society and country but the feudal and capitalists were not giving them a right of association.

“We have to work for a socialist revolution and will have to snatch power to make a state for the people and of the people,” he declared.

The students as well as activists from various political parties and labour organisations also attended the march to support the students’ demands. The protesters were carrying placards and banners inscribed with slogans to demand free education, restoration of student unions, formation of committees against harassment on campuses and provision of internet facilities.

Addressing the rally, Progressive Students Collective spokesperson Kalsoom Fatima said the students were facing several problems, especially increase in fee and harassment on campuses for the last 70 years and no one was taking measures to address these issues. She added that the poor students were deprived of higher education due to lack of funds and the current government, which claimed to be the representative of the youth, had cut education budgets.

Ms Fatima bemoaned that girl students were being harassed on campuses but the administrations of educational institutions had turned a deaf ear to the problem.

Student Action Committee convenor Muzzamil Khan informed that the student solidarity march was being held in 40 cities of the country to raise a voice for the students.

He said increase in fee structure and unavailability of facilities had created problems for the students, especially in the remote areas. He said they were protesting for restoration of student unions because their problems were increasing without their representation in decision-making bodies.

Kissan Rabta Committee general secretary Farooq Tariq said the government had launched a crackdown on the farmers protesting in the city and a farmer was killed.

He said the current and former rulers had developed policies to favour feudalism and capitalism and there was nothing for the poor in the system.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1592853/arrest-warrants-issued-for-activist-after-students-rally-in-lahore

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South Asia

 

OIC's Council Of Foreign Ministers Begins Emphasizing Muslim Unity In Addressing Islamophobia

November 28th, 2020

The ministers will also discuss how to assist Gambia with the Rohingya genocide case filed with the International Court of Justice

The two-day 47th session of 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation's (OIC's) Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) meeting began in Niger on Friday emphasizing on unity of Muslim world in addressing Islamophobia for peace and development.

Niger President Mahamadou Issouifou inaugurated the OIC's foreign ministers meet while OIC Secretary General Dr Yousef Al-Othaimeen addressed the opening ceremony held at Mahatma Gandhi International conference centre in Niamey, capital of Niger.

In two days, the foreign ministers of OIC countries will discuss wide range of issues specially the situation of Muslim minorities and communities in non-member states that includes crisis of Myanmar origin Rohingya minority Muslims, who have been forcibly displaced to Bangladesh following a military crackdown in Rakhine three years back.

During the inaugural session, on behalf of UAE's foreign minister, UAE's Minister of State for International Cooperation Reem Bint Ebrahim handed over the CMF presidency to Niger Foreign Minister Ibrahim Yacoubou.

After the inaugural ceremony, the head of delegations of OIC member states are scheduled to deliver their speeches on various multilateral issues related to the Muslim world while it is expected that the foreign ministers will elect the next OIC secretary general later Friday or Saturday.

During the technical sessions, the OIC foreign ministers will also discuss how to assist Gambia with the Rohingya genocide case filed with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) along with other issues concerning the Muslim world like Palestinian cause, fight against violence, extremism and terrorism, Islamophobia and religious defamation.

Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen was scheduled to attend the CMF in person, but he got positive for coronavirus while undergoing the Covid-19 test in Dhaka one day before flying to Niger.

However, in absence of the foreign minister, Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Dr Mohammad Javed Patwary, who is also Bangladesh Permanent Representative to OIC, is leading the Bangladesh delegation also comprised with Director General of International Organization (IO) of the Foreign Ministry Wahida Ahmed.

Bangladesh is set to initiate a fund mobilization campaign utilizing the platform of CMF to support Gambia's legal battle against Myanmar at the ICJ over the Rohingya genocide.

Bangladesh is hosting over 1.1 million forcefully displaced Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar and most of them arrived there since August 25, 2017 after the military crackdown at their homeland.

In November 2019, Gambia brought the case against Myanmar to the ICJ with the backing of OIC, Canada, and the Netherlands while ICJ held its first hearing on December 10-12.

On January 23, 2020, the ICJ made the historic unanimous decision ordering provisional measures to prevent further acts of genocide against the Rohingyas in Myanmar.

Apart from Rohingya issue, Bangladesh delegation will advocate for equal distribution of potential Covid-19 vaccine to all countries irrespective of rich and poor as well as raise the issue of migrant workers' rights while oil-rich Middle Eastern OIC member states host a huge numbers of expatriate Bangladeshi workers.

On Saturday, the OIC foreign ministers will adopt resolutions and proclamation of the "Niamey Declaration" while OIC secretary general and president of 47th session of CFM are scheduled to hold a joint press conference after conclusion of the two-day meeting.

https://www.dhakatribune.com/world/2020/11/28/oic-s-cfm-begins-emphasizing-muslim-unity-in-addressing-islamophobia

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Afghan leadership urged to seize opportunity of peace dialogue

28 Nov 2020

ISLAMABAD: Observing that the ongoing negotiations represented a historic opportunity, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Friday stressed that it must be seized by the Afghan leadership to establish lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region.

He was talking to Afghan Foreign Minister Hameed Atmar during a meeting on the sidelines of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers meeting.

The two sides exchanged views on the Afghan peace process and measures to strengthen Pakistan-Afghanistan bilateral relations.

Foreign Minister Qureshi extended condolences to his Afghan counterpart over recent terrorist attacks in Kabul and Bamyan and reiterated Pakistan’s condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

The foreign minister also stressed the importance of reduction in violence leading to ceasefire to save lives and advance peace efforts.

Referring to the recent visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Kabul, the foreign minister conveyed that Pakistan remained committed to deepening bilateral cooperation in diverse fields. The foreign minister underlined that the understandings reached during the visit and the ‘Shared Vision’ of the two sides would help take this process forward.

Reiterating Pakistan’s steadfast commitment to the Afghan peace process, the foreign minister said that Pakistan would continue to facilitate the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process. Noting the recent progress in intra-Afghan negotiations, he emphasised the need to remain vigilant about the role of ‘spoilers’ who did not wish to see return of peace in the region.

The foreign minister also underlined the need to utilise the tremendous potential in the economic and commercial fields which could be exploited by securing peace in Afghanistan and enhancing regional connectivity. The foreign minister further underscored that the Afghan peace process offered an opportunity for return of Afghan refugees to their homeland with dignity and honour.

Appreciating Pakistan’s sincere efforts in support of the Afghan peace process, the foreign minister of Afghanistan expressed gratitude for Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Kabul and its important outcomes. He also thanked Foreign Minister Qureshi for his participation in the Geneva conference and reaffirmation of Pakistan’s support for reconstruction and economic development of Afghanistan.

While reaffirming resolve to closely follow up on the Prime Minister’s visit to Kabul, the two foreign ministers agreed to pursue cooperation in relevant fields under the agreed mechanism of Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1592795/afghan-leadership-urged-to-seize-opportunity-of-peace-dialogue

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Radicalism of workers in Singapore alarms Bangladesh

November 26, 2020

A senior church official has expressed concern in the wake of the arrest of a Bangladeshi worker on terror charges and the deportation of 15 others from Singapore for inflammatory anti-France posts on social media.

A total of 37 individuals — 14 Singaporeans and 23 foreigners — were detained and interrogated in Singapore in recent weeks as part of intensified security measures following terror attacks on France and elsewhere, Singapore’s ministry of home affairs (MHA) said on Nov. 24.

Out of the detainees, 16 foreigners — 15 Bangladeshi and one Malaysian — were deported following completion of investigations.

MHA officials said those arrested were involved in suspected radical activities and posts on social media that could incite violence or communal unrest. The majority of them supported the beheading of French teacher Samuel Paty by a suspected extremist and other terror attacks in France and elsewhere.

Immigration officials at Shah Jalal International Airport in Dhaka confirmed that Bangladeshi deportees, mostly construction workers in Singapore, reached the country in the early hours of Nov. 25.

Earlier, on Nov. 2, another Bangladeshi construction worker, Ahmed Faysal, 26, was arrested and jailed in Singapore under the Internal Security Act for terrorism-related activities.

Faysal, a Muslim from eastern Bangladesh, moved to Singapore in 2017 and started working for a building products company. His radicalization started in 2018 when he was influenced by radical materials online supporting global jihadist outfit Islamic State (ISIS).

He is accused of intending to carry out acts of armed violence in support of his religion. He disseminated pro-ISIS propaganda in English and Bengali featuring oppression of Muslims around the world and encouraged Bangladeshi Muslims to take up arms as part of the resistance, using fake social media accounts to hide his identity.

He intended to move to Syria to join ISIS and bought several knives in Singapore that he intended to take back to Bangladesh to carry out attacks on police officers from the minority Hindu community.

Bangladeshi counterterrorism officials said they have been looking at details of Faysal and 15 deported workers following media reports.

Father Anthony Sen, a member of the Catholic bishops’ Justice and Peace Commission, expressed dismay over the latest incidents.

“The arrest and deportation of workers for radical thoughts and acts tarnish the image of Bangladesh globally. The same thing has happened in Singapore and other countries including India and Malaysia earlier,” Father Sen said.

This is not the first time Bangladeshi workers have been accused of radicalism and deported from Singapore.

In 2016, the city-state expelled 26 Bangladeshi migrant workers after they were found to be members of a closed Islamic study group that allegedly subscribed to extremist teachings of radical ideologues like Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-Yemeni Islamic lecturer linked to al-Qaeda. They were allegedly plotting to carry out nefarious activities in Bangladesh and other countries.

“This is a matter of grave concern and Bangladeshi authorities need to take the issue seriously. It is important for immigration and police officials to check details and background of workers before they are cleared,” Father Sen said.

“Radicalism has been a serious problem for Bangladesh in recent times, and the state and society need to be constantly vigilant to tackle the threat, both at home and abroad.”

Dhaka-based security analyst and retired brigadier general M. Shakhawat Hossain echoed similar concerns.

“Radicalization is a process that takes time, and if we are careful we can curb it beforehand. Radicalism among migrant workers is not a new phenomenon and it is a warning for our related state agencies that there are still lapses in existing procedures of migration which must be tackled,” Hossain said.

The deportation of workers also triggered debate on social media and divided opinion. “Outrage as people are punished for expressing freedom of speech,” said one post.

Others warned Bangladeshi workers against posting inflammatory comments. “Refrain from making radical posts on social media. If you lose your job and get deported, nobody will take responsibility for you and your family,” said Tonmoy Ahmed.

Bangladesh has about 8 million migrant workers, mostly in Middle East countries, who remit about US$15 billion annually and make vital contributions to the economy.

https://www.ucanews.com/news/radicalism-of-workers-in-singapore-alarms-bangladesh/90468#

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Magnetic Mine Blasts in Two Major Provinces Claim 1, Injures 8

By Mohammad Haroon Alim

28 Nov 2020

In an incident on Saturday morning, seven people were wounded in two separate blasts in Kabul city.

Ferdaws Faramarz, the Kabul police Spokesman, told Khaama press, the First mine hit a Land Cruiser detonated at around 7:10 am in the Khair Khana area in PD11 of Kabul city, leaving for people injured.

Another blast was reported to have taken place in the Omid-e-Sabz township, three individuals are reported wounded, Kabul police sated.

No group, including the Taliban, has claimed responsibility.

In a Similar incident, Helmand governor’s spokesman, Omar Zwak told khaama Press, that one person was killed and another was injured in the incident.

Sources indicate, that the target of today’s explosion in central Lashkar Gah was the National Security Directorate forces.

The explosion of magnetic mines in the major cities daily turned into a massive security challenge.

Recently, magnetic mine blasts and assassinations have increased sharply in the country.

https://www.khaama.com/magnetic-mine-blasts-in-two-major-provinces-claim-1-injures-8-97987978/

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North America

 

US deploys Nimitz aircraft carrier back to Persian Gulf as tensions rise with Iran

28 November 2020

The US military is moving the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier back into the Persian Gulf along with other warships as tensions mount in the region following the assassination of a prominent Iranian nuclear scientist.

A defense official told the CNN on Friday that the deployment was meant to provide “combat support and air cover” for American troops withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan by January 15 before President Donald Trump leaves office.

The official added that the decision was made before news came Friday of the assassination of Iranian physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the head of the Defense Ministry's Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND).

“The movement would serve as message of increased deterrence to Tehran,” the CNN said, citing the official.

Fakhrizadeh was assassinated in a small city east of the capital Tehran in an ambush attack on his vehicle involving an explosion and machine gun fire.

Fakhrizadeh’s death came two years after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during an erroneous presentation about Iran's nuclear activities, warned the world to “remember that name.”

Iranian Foreign Ministry Mohammad Javad Zarif said Friday there were “serious indications” that the Israeli regime was responsible for the assassination.

One American official and two other intelligence officials confirmed to the New York Times that Israel was behind the attack.

Last week, Israel’s Channel 13 TV reported that Tel Aviv and Washington were planning to increase pressure on Iran with “covert operations” and economic sanctions during Trump’s final weeks in office.

Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri Baqeri said “harsh revenge” awaited those responsible.

The decision to deploy the Nimitz back to the region marks a rapid return of the aircraft carrier which only left the Persian Gulf for India early this month.

The movement also comes as the one-year anniversary of the assassination of Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), is approaching early in January.

“We have the force posture right today. We're going to keep it right. We'll get our troops home when we can, and we'll do the things we need to do. If Qasem Soleimani is a problem, we'll go crush them,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an interview with Fox News on Thursday.

The act of terror was carried out under the direction of President Trump, with the Pentagon taking responsibility for the strike.

In response, the IRGC launched a wave of missile strikes days later, targeting a major US base in neighboring Iraq. The Islamic Republic has vowed to fully avenge the general’s blood.

The IRGC's chief commander, Major General Hossein Salami, said Saturday that “a severe revenge and punishment” was also put on Iran’s agenda in response to the killing of Fakhrizadeh the day before.

There have been reports that Trump has recently requested options for a military strike on Iran during the remaining days of his term. The Israeli regime has also reportedly been preparing for such an attack for weeks.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/28/639519/US-deploys-Nimitz-aircraft-carrier-Persian-Gulf

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US officials say Israel was behind the assassination: New York Times

27 November 2020

Three US officials have said that Israel was behind the assassination of Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in a terrorist attack near the capital Tehran, according to a report.

“One American official — along with two other intelligence officials — said that Israel was behind the attack on the scientist,” The New York Times reported on Friday. 

“It was unclear how much the United States may have known about the operation in advance, but the two nations are the closest of allies and have long shared intelligence regarding Iran,” it added.

Fakhrizadeh,59, had been targeted on Friday in a multi-pronged attack involving at least one explosion and small fire by a number of assailants in Absard city of Damavand County, Tehran Province.

The attack targeted the vehicle carrying Fakhrizadeh, who headed the Iranian Defense Ministry’s Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND), the Fars news agency said.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Mohammad Javad Zarif roundly condemned the terror attack, saying there were “serious indications” of the Israeli regime’s role in the assassination of Fakhrizadeh, a professor of physics at Imam Hussein University of Tehran.

“Terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist today. This cowardice—with serious indications of Israeli role—shows desperate warmongering of perpetrators,” he said in a tweet.

The top Iranian diplomat called on the international community, especially the European Union, to “end their shameful double standards & condemn this act of state terror.”

Fakhrizadeh’s name was mentioned multiple times in a presentation in 2018 by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during which he repeated baseless claims about the Iranian nuclear program.

Netanyahu described the scientist as the director of Iran’s nuclear program and threatened, “Remember that name, Fakhrizadeh.”

The Tel Aviv regime has made several attempts over the past years to throw a wrench in Tehran’s peaceful nuclear work.

The regime has been behind the assassination of several Iranian nuclear scientists. It has also conduced cyberattacks on Iranian nuclear sites.

The New York Times summarized the “chilling message” that “American officials” wanted to send to Iranian top scientists with the assassination of Fakhrizadeh: “If we can get him, we can get you, too.” Indistinguishable from Mafia talk.

Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN, Dmitry Polyanskiy, tweeted, “That’s a telling analysis from @nytimes reflecting readiness of US establishment to give green light to political extra territorial assassinations. Not a thing to boast for a democratic country! #Iran #Fakhrizadeh.”

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/27/639501/%E2%80%8B%E2%80%8B%E2%80%8B%E2%80%8B%E2%80%8B%E2%80%8B%E2%80%8BUS-officials-say-Israel-was-behind-the-attack-New-York-Times

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US and Israel must be held accountable over the scientist assassination

27 November 2020

By Stephen Lendman

There was another terrorist incident that took place in Iran. It could happen anywhere in the Middle East against targeted countries. Certainly in the Middle East, Iran is the leading tug of the US, of Israel, some of their allied regional states, the Saudis of the Persian Gulf states, the NATO countries.

Terrible stuff that goes on with no accountability ever. Nobody ever held accountable for the stuff that goes on. Well, a prominent Iranian physicist was gunned down and killed by gunfire. Maybe mixed with some other activities that went on. I think he was gunned down if I'm wrong, you can correct this in the report. But killed by, let's say at this point, an unknown assassin, or assassins. Maybe Iran has some information, who is behind this.

There's no question that either was an Israeli act of murder or a US CIA act of murder. Or maybe they worked in cahoots with each other, which they do very, very often in the Middle East elsewhere.

Israel even operates far distant from the Middle East in service to US interest, in Central America, maybe in South America. It's amazing what on earth does Israel want to get involved in those parts of the world.

Well, when the US has its officials to do it to do a favor, meaning a terrorist favor bumping somebody off or something like that. Well, Israel jumps in and does it.

It also trains forces to commit crimes against humanity in other countries. That could happen anywhere in the world, but here another prominent Iranian who threatened nobody, a peaceful individual gunned down, murdered in cold blood, probably by the CIA, or Israel, or both of them.

And it happens too often time and again. It'll happen again. It'll happen many times. Accountability maybe one day will come. I don't know if I'll ever live long enough to see it. There should be accountability. There is such a thing as international law.

In the US is the US Constitution and the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution mandates that all international laws are automatically US constitutional law, which means its officials have to obey them. But of course, they don't. They do what they please. They operate by their own rules. Israel operates the same way. So do other NATO countries, the Saudis, the Bahrainis. These people do whatever they please.

And as long as you have Uncle Sam's okay nobody ever says a word about it. US media say nothing about it. I'm sure there was nothing in the US media about the latest Iranian casualty murdered in cold blood. New York Times, forget about it. They don't say anything about it. They never say anything about it. It'll go on and on until maybe one day something will happen. I don't think I'll live long enough to see it.

Stephen Lendman, born in 1934 in Boston, started writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/27/639499/US,-Israel-must-be-held-accountable-over-the-scientist-murder

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Canada mosque killer’s parole eligibility time reduced

Barry Ellsworth 

27.11.2020

TRENTON, Canada

The parole eligibility for the killer of six people in the 2017 Quebec City Mosque shooting was reduced Thursday to 25 years from 40 years.

The Quebec Court of Appeal ruled that the right given judges in 2011 to hand out consecutive life sentences were unconstitutional, constituting cruel and unusual punishment under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

That effectively reduced the life in prison term for 40 years before Andre Bissonnette can apply for parole to 25 years.

The change was greeted with dismay by the Muslim-led Canadian human rights organization, Justice for All Canada.

“It’s shocking and unfortunate that in altering a complex legal provision, Quebec’s highest court committed a major oversight in granting undeserved leniency in the grievous murders of 6 innocent Canadian Muslims,” Justice for All Canada Executive Director Taha Ghayyur wrote in an email comment to Anadolu Agency, Thursday.

“This sets a dangerous precedent when it comes to punishing crimes motivated by religious hatred and intolerance.”

Bissonnette opened fire in the mosque in January 2017, killing six worshippers and wounding 19. In March of 2018, he pled guilty to six counts of first-degree murder and six of attempted murder.

Under Canadian law, first-degree murder carries an automatic 25-year period before the convicted person is eligible to apply for parole.

However, the Conservative government in power in 2011 gave judges the right to impose consecutive sentences, up to 25 years for each killing. The judge who sentenced Bissonnette deviated from that somewhat and gave him a concurrent 40-year sentence before he could seek parole. Bissonnette was 29 at the time of his sentencing in 2019.

The sentence reflected 25 years for the murders, plus an additional 15-year term handed out for Bissonnette’s wounding of the other 19 worshippers.

The Quebec Court of Appeal's decision that the parole waiting period was harsh and unconstitutional marks the first time a Canadian court has ruled on the consecutive sentences’ provision of 2011 and effectively ruled it null and void.

Bissonnette’s defense appealed the original parole period and asked for it to be reduced to 25 years, while the prosecution requested a 50-year sentence.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/canada-mosque-killer-s-parole-eligibility-time-reduced/2057428

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Europe

 

Woman with knife attacks Rabbi in Vienna, yells anti-Semitic threat

27 November 2020

A rabbi was attacked at knifepoint in Vienna by a woman who ripped the Jewish skullcap from his head and yelled an anti-Semitic threat before fleeing, police in the Austrian capital said Friday.

The incident occurred Thursday afternoon when the woman, described as about 50 years old and wearing a gray coat, suddenly approached the rabbi and pulled the knife from her handbag.

She kicked the rabbi in the leg, knocked his hat from his head, then tore off his kippah and yelled an anti-Semitic insult before fleeing, police said. Vienna’s main Jewish organization told Austrian broadcaster ORF the woman had screamed “slaughter all Jews.”

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Police searched the area but were unable to find the woman.

Austria’s top security official, Interior Minister Karl Nehammer, condemned the crime as an “attack on Jewish life in Vienna” and the case has been taken over by the agency that investigates acts of extremism and terrorism.

“In addition to the increased protection of synagogues that has already been ordered, all measures are being taken to quickly clear up this apparently anti-Semitic attack,” Nehammer said. “There is no tolerance for anti-Semitism, no matter whether it’s politically or religiously motivated.”

Police said the rabbi told first responders he had suffered no physical injuries.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2020/11/27/Woman-with-knife-attacks-Rabbi-in-Vienna-yells-anti-Semitic-threat

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German court may indict Assad for war crimes

Ayhan Şimşek  

27.11.2020

BERLIN

German prosecutors are investigating the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons in 2013, and they may indict the highest regime figures based on the evidence gathered so far, leading media outlets reported on Friday.

The Federal Prosecutor's Office in Karlsruhe is currently examining the criminal complaint filed by three non-government organizations that documented the war crime in Syria, and the role of the senior regime figures in August 2013 attack on Ghouta, Germany’s international broadcaster DW and weekly Der Spiegel reported.

According to witness statements and documentation seen by DW, Bashar al-Assad is believed to have authorized his brother Maher Assad to conduct the attack, in which rockets loaded with sarin warheads were used, killing nearly 1,400 civilians, including more than 400 children.

Maher Assad, one of the most powerful figures of the regime, gave the official order at an operational level, according to the documents.

“From there, an elite group within the Syria's Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC) dubbed Branch 450 would have loaded warheads with chemical agents and the 155th Missile Brigade would have launched the surface-to-surface rockets under direct oversight from Maher,” DW reported.

The witness statements and documents on the Ghouta attack were gathered by the non-government organizations -- the Open Society Justice Initiative, the Syrian Archive, and the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression.

The NGOs also presented evidence and witness statements on the 2017 chemical attack on the opposition-held Khan Sheikhoun, which killed 100 civilians, including dozens of children.

Germany’s unique legislation the “Code of Crimes against International Law” gives courts universal jurisdiction over war crimes and crimes against humanity, and they can open full investigation into such crimes, even when they were not committed within its territory.

Earlier this year, a regional court in the south-western German town of Koblenz opened the first trial worldwide on Assad regime’s crimes against humanity, by hearing evidence against two former Syrian intelligence officers who were arrested last year.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN officials.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/german-court-may-indict-assad-for-war-crimes/2058084

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France: 'Far-right groups fanning hate for electoral gains'

Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak 

27.11.2020

An organization representing French Muslims has said that those involved in recent attacks in the country, does not represent the community.

Speaking exclusively to Anadolu Agency, Fatih Sarikir, chairman of Confederation Islamique Milli Gorus France (CIMG), said linking terrorist attacks to Islam and Muslims has caused great distress to Muslims in France.

The world was shocked by knife attacks on two people outside the former offices of the weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo in September, the beheading of teacher Samuel Paty in a Paris suburb in October, and the brutal killing of three people inside Nice's Notre Dame basilica on Oct. 29.

“The biggest sorrow for Muslims in France is these kinds of vicious terrorist attacks. They are trying to find a solution to express that these attacks have nothing to do with the religion of fellow citizens who are not Muslims and not knowing Muslims very well,” said Sarikir.

He blamed media and far-right political parties for fueling sentiments against Islam in the country.

“They are saying things like, ‘see, Islam and Muslims are involved in such atrocities.’ This greatly upsets Muslims,” said Sarikir.

But, he hastily added that this is not the general view in France.

“For example, in a recent attack on the church in Nice, those in charge of the church sent positive messages to the Muslim community. They supported us and said we can live in a friendly atmosphere and that these incidents have nothing to do with Islam,” said the Muslim leader.

Sarikir said five to six million Muslims are living in France and those who conducted terrible attacks were not raised in the French Muslim community.

Pressure exists

He, however, added that it is impossible to deny the pressure that Muslims right now feel in France.

“When there is a terrorist attack, the media puts our religion to the scanner. Muslims are living under this pressure. But it would be wrong to say the French state is pressuring Muslims,” he added.

The Muslim leader blamed the far-right groups for exploiting the situation for electoral purposes.

“Media carries an important responsibility in this regard. Unfortunately, we are longing for a more conscious media which is sensitive to these issues. They quickly come up with sensational headlines, which we disapprove, “he said.

Sarikir said in the Avignon attack, the media had falsely described the suspect as an “Islamist” who shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is great) in the street.

On Oct. 29, the suspect was killed in the city of Avignon, after police found him wielding a handgun in the street, and reportedly threatening a North African shopkeeper.

Police source later told French daily Le Figaro that the suspect had been undergoing psychiatric treatment and was believed to be a member of the Generation Identitaire -- French branch of anti-migrant, xenophobic group Generation Identity, which has attracted young people through social media, exploiting fears over refugees and terrorism.

Its members have propagated white supremacist ideas and anti-Muslim and racist conspiracy theories.

French President Emmanuel Macron last week held a meeting with leaders of the leading Muslim organizations, which was also attended by Sarikir.

Meeting with president

He said, the President listened to all representatives from nine different organizations for two hours and they raised every issue transparently.

“The creation of the French Council of Imams has been on our agenda for four years under the Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM). We have been working on this for four years and we finally were able to present this to our president,” said Sarikir.

Stating that there are more than 2,500 mosques in France and imams in those mosques needs to be accredited, Sarikir said, French state did not interfere with the process but wants to see systematic work in this area.

“Nine organizations under CFCM will propose whom to be granted with accreditation. After checking the applications for certain criteria, the presidents of those nine organizations, and nine imams from those organizations will vote on the decision,” he explained.

The French Muslim leader said, they are working on details very closely and the creation of the Council of Imams will bring Muslims a sense of trust, also strengthen them in terms of representation.

On the declaration adopted after the meeting with Macron, which has used the word “open Islam” that has created controversy, Sarikir said, that word meant to open Islam to everyone, not creating new Islam.

“Open Islam means to open it to everyone and be transparent, and inclusive not changing the religion. This would challenge the core of our religion and I strongly reject the criticism that claimed we were trying to change Islam, “he clarified.

Sarikir recently also disagreed with classifying Islam with ideologies like liberal or secular Islam and nationalities such as Turkish Islam, Arab Islam, French Islam

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/france-far-right-groups-fanning-hate-for-electoral-gains/2057792

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Europe mulls action vs Turkey over reopening of Maras

Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak  

27.11.2020

The European Parliament adopted a resolution Thursday calling on the European Union to take action against Turkey over its decision in October to reopen the coastline of the abandoned town of Maras in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

The town of Maras in the Turkish Cypriot city of Gazimagusa, also known as Famagusta, partially reopened for public use on Oct. 8.

The European Parliament adopted a non-binding resolution titled “Escalating tensions in Varosha following the illegal actions by Turkey and the urgent need for the resumption of talks.”

Condemning the move as an “illegal act,” the members of parliament called on Turkey to reverse the decision.

They also called on the European Commission to impose sanctions against Turkey.

On June 18, 2019, the TRNC launched efforts to open Maras, which had been closed since 1974, and have an expert team conduct inventory surveys in the town, which began the following month.

Cyprus has been divided into the TRNC in the north and the Greek Cypriot administration in the south since a 1974 military coup aiming to annex Cyprus to Greece.

Turkey's military intervention as a guarantor power in 1974 put an end to years of persecution and violence against Turkish Cypriots by ultra-nationalist Greek Cypriots.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/europe-mulls-action-vs-turkey-over-reopening-of-maras/2057489

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Turkey rejects European Parliament call for sanctions against Ankara over Cyprus

27 November 2020

Turkey on Friday rejected a call by the European Parliament for sanctions against Ankara over President Tayyip Erdogan's recent visit to the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state in north Cyprus, calling the demand "disconnected from the realities".

On Thursday, the European Union's parliament agreed a non-binding resolution in support of EU member Cyprus urging EU leaders to "take action and impose tough sanctions" against Turkey, a move likely to bolster support for France's push for sanctions on Ankara at an EU summit next month.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Turkey is at odds with EU members Greece and Cyprus over hydrocarbon exploration in disputed east Mediterranean waters.

Erdogan incensed Cyprus, whose territory covers the southern half of the partitioned Mediterranean island, on Nov. 15 by visiting Varosha, a resort on the island that has been fenced-off and abandoned in no-man's land since 1974.

Ankara supported the partial reopening of Varosha last month in a move criticized by the United States, Greece and Greek Cypriots.

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy denounced the resolution and accused the European Parliament of being "prejudiced and disconnected from the realities" on Cyprus.

"If this approach and mentality are maintained, it would not be possible for EU bodies to make a constructive contribution to the settlement of the Cyprus issue," Aksoy said.

Cyprus has been divided since a 1974 Turkish invasion after a brief Greek-inspired coup. Only Ankara recognizes northern Cyprus as an independent state, but not the internationally recognized Greek Cypriot government to the south.

France has not yet drawn up sanctions against Turkey, but diplomats say any measures would probably target areas of Turkey's economy linked to natural gas exploration in seas off the coast of Cyprus.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/11/27/Turkey-rejects-European-Parliament-call-for-sanctions-against-Ankara-over-Cyprus

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Iranian diplomat refuses to appear at bomb plot trial in Belgium: Lawyer

27 November 2020

An Iranian diplomat on trial in Belgium for allegedly plotting to bomb an Iranian opposition rally outside Paris has refused to appear in the dock, his lawyer said on Friday.

Assadollah Assadi, formerly based at the Iranian embassy in Austria, is claiming “diplomatic immunity” his lawyer Dimitri de Beco told reporters outside the court in Antwerp, adding that he would be representing his client.

“My client asked me to represent him today, he let me know he has the fullest respect for these judges but as he considers that he should benefit from immunity, they are not allowed to judge him,” his lawyer Dimitri de Beco told Reuters.

He and three other Iranians went on trial in Antwerp, Belgium on Friday for planning to bomb a 2018 meeting in France of an exiled opposition group, the first time an EU country has put an Iranian official on trial for terrorism.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Belgian prosecutors charged Vienna-based diplomat Assadolah Assadi and the three others with planning an attack on a rally of the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). The rally's keynote address was given by US President Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

Assadi was the third counsellor at Iran's embassy in Vienna. French officials have said he was in charge of intelligence in southern Europe and was acting on orders from Tehran.

Tehran has repeatedly dismissed the charges, calling the attack allegations a “false flag” stunt by the NCRI, which it considers a terrorist group.

Assadi has not commented on the charges. His lawyer has said Assadi would explain himself at his trial. Assadi warned authorities in March of possible retaliation by unidentified groups if he is found guilty, according to a police document obtained by Reuters.

Authorities say the attack was thwarted by a coordinated operation between French, German and Belgian security services.

Assadi was arrested while on holiday in Germany and handed over to Belgium, where two of his suspected accomplices had been arrested with half a kilo of the explosive TATP and a detonator.

According to documents reviewed by Reuters, Belgian authorities believe Assadi brought the explosives from Tehran to Vienna on a commercial flight.

“The attack plan was conceived in the name of Iran and under its leadership. It was not a personal initiative by Assadi,” Jaak Raes, head of the Belgium’s state security service (VSSE), said in a letter to the prosecutor dated Feb. 2, 2020.

France said Iran's intelligence ministry was behind the plot and expelled an Iranian diplomat. The EU froze the assets of an Iranian intelligence unit and officials.

European countries have blamed Iran for other suspected plots against dissidents, including two killings in the Netherlands in 2015 and 2017 and a foiled assassination in Denmark. Iran has denied involvement, saying the accusations were intended to damage EU-Iran relations.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/11/27/Iranian-diplomat-refuses-to-appear-at-bomb-plot-trial-in-Belgium-Lawyer

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India

 

Detained again, not allowed to visit Pulwama, says Mufti

Mir Ehsan

Nov 28, 2020

Former Jammu & Kashmir chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti said on Friday morning that she was detained by Jammu & Kashmir Police, and prevented from visiting Pulwama in South Kashmir to meet the family of senior PDP leader Waheed Parra, who was arrested by the national investigating agency (NIA) earlier this week.

Later on Friday, she was not allowed to address a press conference at her residence at Gupkar. “I’ve been illegally detained yet again. For two days, the J&K admin has refused to allow me to visit @parawahid ’s family in Pulwama. BJP Ministers & their puppets are allowed to move around in every corner of Kashmir but security is a problem only in my case,” Mufti tweeted on Friday morning.

Parra was arrested by NIA on Wednesday in connection with a terror case in which a senior police officer was arrested along with two militants in January.

Mufti said that her daughter Iltija Mufti has also been placed under house arrest. “Their cruelty knows no bounds. Waheed was arrested on baseless charges & I am not allowed to even console his family. Even my daughter Iltija has been placed under house arrest because she wanted to visit Waheed’s family.” However in the afternoon when media persons arrived at her home, the police didn’t allow them to enter.

“The Press has been barred from entering my residence in Srinagar. This despite no written orders explaining my arbitrary detention. Kashmir is an open air prison where no one has the right to express their opinion,” tweeted Mehbooba Mufti.

Police denied that Mehbooba Mufti is under house arrest. “PDP leader Ms Mehbooba Mufti is not under house arrest. She was requested to postpone her visit to Pulwama purely due to security reasons,” police spokesman said.

Mufti further said that her administration is using fear and intimidation.

“We are one day away from DDC polling & its evident that the admin here is using fear & intimidation in tandem to muffle any form of opposition.”

Jammu and Kashmir is set for its maiden District Development Council (DDC) polls and by-elections to the panchayat and urban local bodies, scheduled to be held in eight phases beginning November 28.

National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah accused the Jammu and Kashmir administration of treating personal liberty as a favour.

“Parking a truck in front of our gates is now standard operating procedure for this admin. They did the same to my father recently to stop him from praying. Personal liberty is treated as a favour by the govt, to give & withdraw at will, with no interference from the judiciary,” he wrote on Twitter.

His father and NC president Farooq Abdullah was on October 30 prevented from leaving his residence to offer prayers at Hazratbal shrine on the occasion of Eid-Milad-un-Nabi

Meanwhile, PDP youth president Waheed ur Rehman Parra was produced before a NIA court in Jammu and sent to 15 days police custody by the court. Parra was arrested by NIA in New Delhi on Wednesday.He s also contesting DDC polls from Pulwama.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/detained-again-not-allowed-to-visit-pulwama-says-mufti/story-zvRA2GQCCj8XnuS52hQOhK.html

3 soldiers killed in Pak shelling along LoC in Rajouri and Poonch, India hits back

Nov 27, 2020

With no let-up in ugly skirmishes on the Line of Control (LoC), three Indian soldiers were killed when Pakistan opened heavy fire in Rajouri and Poonch districts of Jammu and Kashmir, prompting India to hit back in equal measure.

Naik Prem Bahadur Khatri and Rifleman Sukhbir Singh were injured after the Pakistan army resorted to unprovoked ceasefire violation in Rajouri’s Sunderbani sector, the army said.

“Pak Army resorted to unprovoked ceasefire violations on the Line of Control (LoC) in Sunderbani Sector of Rajouri on Friday. Indian troops responded immediately to the enemy fire. In the ensuing fire, two soldiers Naik Prem Bahadur Khatri and Rifleman Sukhbir Singh got critically injured and later succumbed to their injuries,” said defence spokesman Lt Col Devender Anand.

“Naik Prem Bahadur Khatri and Rifleman Sukhbir Singh were brave, highly motivated and sincere soldiers. The nation will always remain indebted to them for their supreme sacrifice and devotion to duty,” he added.

Naik Prem Bahadur Khatri belonged to Sarojni Nagar village in Maharajganj district of Uttar Pradesh while Rifleman Sukhbir Singh hailed from Khawaspur village in Tarn Taran district of neighbouring Punjab.

Late Thursday, a junior commissioned officer (JCO) of the army, Subedar Swatantra Singh, was killed and a civilian got injured as Pakistani troops shelled and fired on forward posts and villages along the Line of Control in Poonch district.

“Pakistan Army resorted to unprovoked ceasefire violation on the line of control (LoC) in Poonch Sector late Thursday. Indian troops responded strongly to the enemy fire. In the incident, Subedar Swatantra Singh was critically injured and later succumbed to his injuries,” said Col Anand.

“Subedar Swatantra Singh was a brave, highly motivated and a sincere soldier. The nation will always remain indebted to him for his supreme sacrifice and devotion to duty,” he added.

The deceased soldier hailed from Odiyari village in Pauri Garhwal district of Uttrakhand.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/3-soldiers-killed-in-pak-shelling-along-loc-in-rajouri-and-poonch-india-hits-back/story-jVK9paUrrHCn1XPwN6rH1L.html

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Mehbooba Mufti claims ‘house arrest’ after police stops her from visiting Pulwama

Nov 27, 2020

SRINAGAR: PDP chief and former J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti on Friday claimed she had been "illegally detained yet again" after police prevented her from visiting the Pulwama home of her party's arrested youth wing president Waheed Parra, citing "security reasons".

Tweeting a picture of an armoured security vehicle standing at the entrance to her house, Mehbooba said, "Since two days, J&K admin has refused to allow me to visit @parawahid’s family in Pulwama. BJP ministers and their puppets are allowed to move around in every corner of Kashmir but security is a problem only in my case."

In another tweet, she said, "Their cruelty knows no bounds. Waheed was arrested on baseless charges & I am not allowed to even console his family. Even my daughter Iltija has been placed under house arrest because she also wanted to visit Waheed’s family."

As speculation raged about whether the PDP president was being officially placed under house arrest within six weeks of being released from 14 months of detention, J&K police issued a statement denying any such move. "She was requested to #postpone her visit to #Pulwama purely due to #security reasons," the police tweeted.

Mehbooba had scheduled a 3pm presser at her residence, but nobody was allowed to go in.

"Is this what you call democracy where you don't have any right to exercise your freedom of speech and expression. You are being threatened and intimidated for raising voice about anything," said the former CM, who had triggered a controversy last month by refusing to hoist the tricolour till J&K's flag and special status were restored.

National Conference's Omar Abdullah, against whose party PDP had lashed out on Thursday over seat-sharing for the District Development Council polls, said, "Parking a truck in front of our gates is now standard operating procedure for this admin. They did the same to my father recently to stop him from praying."

"Personal liberty is treated as a favour by the govt, to give & withdraw at will, with no interference from the judiciary," he tweeted.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/mehbooba-mufti-claims-house-arrest-after-police-stops-her-from-visiting-pulwama/articleshow/79453340.cms

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Arab world

 

Three killed in Iraq as Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's followers stormed protest camp

27 November 2020

Supporters of Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr stormed an anti-government protest camp in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriya on Friday, and at least three people were killed and dozens wounded in the clashes, a Reuters witness and a medical source said.

Followers of Sadr carrying pictures of the cleric marched to the central al-Haboubi square, where anti-government protesters have held a sit-in since 2019, after Friday prayers.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

They fire gunshots and threw petrol bombs at the protesters' tents, leading the protesters to fight back, the Reuters witness said.

A hospital source said the protesters died from bullet wounds. The clashes are still going on.

Earlier on Friday, thousands of Sadrists gathered in Tahrir Square in Baghdad and in other southern provinces to show their support for the influential cleric ahead of an upcoming election.

Sadr, who leads the largest bloc in Iraq's parliament, said he expects his movement to win a majority of seats in the parliamentary election scheduled for June next year.

Sadr, a long-time adversary of the United States, also opposes Iranian influence in Iraq. Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who took office in May after his predecessor was driven out by widespread unrest, has pledged to hold the election to meet a demand of many pro-democracy activists.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/11/27/Three-killed-in-Iraq-as-Shia-cleric-Moqtada-al-Sadr-s-followers-stormed-protest-camp

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UNHCR: Hundreds of Syrians leave Lebanese town of Bsharre over tensions

27 November 2020

At least 270 Syrian families have left a north Lebanon town, as hostility towards them mounted over a murder allegedly committed by a Syrian national, the UN refugee agency said Friday.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees condemned “collective reprisals against Syrians in the town,” of Bsharre, saying many of the families fled in fear without taking their belongings.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

“Collective punishment... for a whole community for an incident involving one individual is unacceptable,” a UNHCR spokesperson said in a statement.

Many of those who fled the Christian-majority town said they were chased out by Bsharre residents after a Syrian on Monday was accused of shooting dead a Lebanese resident, sparking widespread tension and hostility.

Lebanon’s official National News Agency reported forced evictions of Syrians in the wake of the murder, but Bsharre’s mayor denied that the Syrians had left out of fear.

An AFP correspondent in Tripoli saw dozens of Syrian families gathering outside a UNHCR building in the northern city.

A group of young men in Bsharre “assaulted us, threatened us and started a fire” in the house, Umm Khaled, a 31-year-old Syrian mother of five told AFP.

“We picked up our children and ran away to Tripoli,” located more than 40 kilometers (25 miles) east, she said.

Yassin Hassan, a 30-year-old Syrian who had lived in Bsharre for years, said he was beaten by a group of men.

“We ran away... without taking anything from our homes,” he told AFP.

Tripoli is among the most welcoming destinations in Lebanon for refugees.

Lebanon, which is grappling with an economic crisis, says it hosts some 1.5 million Syrians, including around one million registered as refugees with the United Nations.

UNHCR said it received “a large number of refugees from Bsharre” in its Tripoli reception center.

They were encouraged to find alternative housing but those with nowhere to stay were moved to shelters, a spokesperson told AFP.

The reasons behind the murder that fuelled anti-Syrian sentiments in Bsharre remains shrouded in mystery.

The Syrian suspect in question has handed himself over to authorities, the army said.

A judicial source said investigations were still underway.

The mayor of Bsharre says the town is home to nearly a thousand Syrians.

Authorities have called on refugees to return to Syria even though rights groups warn that the war-torn country is not yet safe.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/11/27/UNHCR-Hundreds-of-Syrians-leave-Lebanese-town-of-Bsharre-over-tensions

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Lebanon’s parliament votes in favour of unhindered total public sector audit

27 November 2020

Lebanon’s parliament voted Friday in favor of a sweeping financial audit of state institutions, a week after a consultancy firm terminated its contract to audit the central bank over missing data.

The International Monetary Fund and France are among creditors demanding an audit of Lebanon’s central bank as part of urgent reforms to unlock financial support, as the country faces a grinding economic crisis.

But the central bank has claimed that provisions including Lebanon’s Banking Secrecy Law prevent it from releasing some of the necessary information, a charge the justice ministry and legal experts have disputed.

Parliament on Friday voted to rule out this justification, clearing the way for the forensic audit to take place, Speaker Nabih Berri said after the parliament session.

“The accounts of the central bank, government ministries... financial institutions, municipalities and all other (public) assets are equally subject to a forensic audit without hindrance or the excuse of bank secrecy (laws),” he was quoted as saying by state media.

Berri said the decision came in response to President Michel Aoun’s calls for parliament to facilitate the audit process.

New York-based Alvarez and Marsal scrapped its agreement with the government last week, saying the central bank had failed to hand over the required information.

The move sparked widespread criticism of Lebanon’s authorities.

The country, which defaulted on its debt this year, is experiencing its worst economic crisis in decades and is still reeling from a devastating explosion at the port that gutted entire neighborhoods of Beirut on August 4.

Both are widely blamed on government corruption and incompetence.

Lebanon is in desperate need of donor funds and talks with the IMF have been on hold since July pending reforms.

But economist and anti-government activist Jad Chaaban called parliament’s latest decision “a tactic to win time”.

“You didn’t need the lifting of bank secrecy or anything to conduct the” audit, he said.

“The problem is again, how do you allow thieves to audit thieves?” he added, referring to authorities.

The forensic audit of the Banque du Liban (BDL) is one of the main points of the government’s economic rescue plan, approved at the end of April.

Several officials, including the finance minister, have said the government is expected to replace Alvarez and Marsal with another consultancy firm soon.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/11/27/Lebanon-s-parliament-votes-in-favor-of-unhindered-total-public-sector-audit-

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Iran-backed Houthis are behind Yemen's problems: Saudi FM

27 November 2020

The Iran-backed Houthi militia stands behind Yemen's problems, said Saudi Arabia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan on Friday.

The Houthis took Yemen's capital in 2014 and have been engaged in conflict with the internationally recognized government and the Arab Coalition since.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app

Prince Faisal noted that the Houthis have launched hundreds of rocket and drone attacks against Saudi Arabia from Yemeni territory.

The minister also addressed the broader issue of extremism, saying that the Kingdom condemned the violation of religious symbols and called for tolerance. He added that the Islamic world had suffered from terrorism and was continuing to address the issue.

Opinion: Fight against Islamist terror must begin with opposing extremist ideas

OIC foreign ministers

Prince Faisal was speaking at the 47th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers, organized by the General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and hosted by the Republic of Niger in the capital, Niamey.

The session brought together foreign ministers from across the Islamic world to discuss issues including the fight against extremism, the Palestinian and Rohinya causes, and a range of other humanitarian issues.

The session is being chaired by OIC Secretary-General Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2020/11/27/Iran-backed-Houthis-are-behind-Yemen-s-problems-Saudi-FM

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Saudi airstrikes kill one, injure four in Yemen

27 November 2020

Saudi fighter jets have conducted dozens of airstrikes on Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, and elsewhere in the country, killing one civilian.

According to the Yemeni Health Ministry, four people were also wounded in the Friday airstrikes, which hit the provinces of Sana’a, al-Hudaydah, and Amran, al-Masirah television network reported.

The ministry said most of the aerial attacks had targeted populated residential areas, including the districts of Attan, al-Hafaa, Aiban, and al-Nahdayn in Sana’a.

Mohammed Abdul-Salam, the chief negotiator for Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement, said in a tweet that the new airstrikes showed that it was important to continue the retaliatory attacks on Saudi Arabia until the Saudi-led aggression and siege end.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its allies launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in an ongoing, unsuccessful attempt to suppress a popular uprising that had overthrown a Riyadh-friendly regime. They also imposed a blockade on the country.

The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives over the past five years.

The war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories.

The United Nations (UN) says more than 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger. The world body also refers to the situation in Yemen as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/27/639487/Saudi-airstrikes-kill-one,-injure-four-in-Yemen

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Qatar to invest billions of dollars in Turkey as economy struggles amid lira drop

27 November 2020

Qatar has agreed to invest billions of dollars in Turkey, including purchase of shares in the country’s main stock market, as part of a number of economic initiatives agreed between the two countries at a time when Turkey’s economic crisis grinds on.

On Thursday, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Qatar Investment Authority – the Persian Gulf nation’s sovereign wealth fund – Mansoor bin Ebrahim Al-Mahmoud and CEO of the Turkey Wealth Fund (TWF) Zafer Sonmez inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at the Presidential Complex in the capital Ankara to finalize the sale of a 10-percent share at the Borsa Istanbul (BIST) for an undisclosed sum.

The deal came following the sixth meeting of the Turkey-Qatar Supreme Strategic Committee, chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

Qatar also agreed to purchase 42 percent of Istinye Park, one of Istanbul's most spectacular shopping centers, for a reported $1 billion from Turkish conglomerate Dogus Holding, which owns the remaining 58 percent stake.

An MoU was additionally signed for joint investment in the Made in Istanbul Golden Horn Project. The sum of the investment was not specified.

Agreements were also reached concerning the transfer and purchase of shares of the Middle East Antalya Port Operators from Turkey's Global Ports to Qatar's Terminals WLL in a $140 million deal.

A memorandum of understanding was penned for joint promotion activities between Turkey's Commerce Ministry and Qatar's Free Zone Administration as well.

Another deal was reached on the establishment of a joint trade commission between the two countries.

Erdogan later in the day said that the two leaders had very productive meetings.

“We will continue our solidarity with the brotherly people of Qatar, with whom we have deep-rooted ties of affection, in every field,” the Turkish president said on Twitter.

The Qatari monarch, in a separate tweet, said he had a “productive meeting” with Erdogan.

The new investments come as the Turkish economy suffers a currency crisis. The Turkish lira has lost nearly 40 percent of its value this year due to depleted foreign reserves and unorthodox monetary policies.

“We are at a point where it's actually hard to find new ways to cooperate. Our alliance is now very deep, from the defense sector to the economy,” a senior Turkish official said on condition of anonymity.

“President Erdogan and the Qatari emir also have a very friendly relationship,” the official added.

Qatar already has investments in Turkey worth 22 billions of dollars. The trade volume between the two countries has increased by 6% this year to reach $1.6 billion, according to Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/27/639472/Qatar-to-invest-billions-of-dollars-in-Turkey-as-economy-struggles-amid-lira-drop

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Iraqi lawmakers demand reciprocal move after UAE stops issuing new visa

27 November 2020

A group of Iraqi lawmakers have urged their government to reciprocate the UAE’s move to stop issuing new visas to Iraqi citizens and arrest several Iraqis for unknown reasons, saying the decision is in line with Abu Dhabi's normalization of ties with Israel.

Mokhtar al-Mousawi, a member of the Iraqi parliament’s Foreign Relations Committee, said Baghdad is trying to find the reason behind the arrest of several Iraqi citizens in the United Arab Emirates.

The arrest of the Iraqis "must be immediately reciprocated by Baghdad, since it has coincided with the UAE’s decision to halt issuing visas to Iraqis,” he noted.

Hassan Ali, another lawmaker, demanded retaliation, and a halt to issuing entry visas for Emirati citizens.

“The UAE’s decision to ban the entry of Iraqis and stop issuing visas for them is regrettable, and the government must reciprocate,” he said, describing Abu Dhabi’s move as “unexpected” and “illogical”.

Amer al-Fayez, a representative of Fatah Alliance in the parliament, said the UAE’s move is in line with the country’s recent normalization of ties with Israel.

“The UAE claims its decision to halt issuing visas to the citizens of several countries including Iraq was made with the purpose of containing the coronavirus outbreak; but this has affected most of the countries that reject normalization of relations with the Zionist regime, and firmly believe in the cause of Palestine,” he noted.

“This shows the UAE’s decision has been made within the framework of normalizing relations with the Zionist regime; therefore, the Iraqi government must take an official stance in this regard, and not keep silent, because this is an insult to Iraq and Iraqis,” he added.

The United Arab Emirate (UAE) has stopped issuing new visas to citizens of 13 mostly Muslim countries including Turkey, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Somalia.

Iran’s envoy to the UAE recently quoted Emirati officials as telling him that the visa ban is temporary, and will be lifted soon.

However, Abu Dhabi's move comes as the UAE has reached a visa exemption deal with the Tel Aviv regime, and Emiratis have become the first Arab citizens who will not require permits to enter the Israeli-occupied territories.

The announcement was made by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu following the arrival of an official delegation from the UAE for talks on more cooperation deals with the Tel Aviv regime.

"Today, we are making history in a way that will stand for generations," Netanyahu said of a deal that has been widely denounced by Palestinians and much of the Muslim world.

An Etihad Airways plane carrying Emirati government officials, with US officials accompanying them, took off from the UAE capital Abu Dhabi on Tuesday morning, and landed in Ben Gurion Airport outside Tel Aviv hours later.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/27/639468/UAE-visa-ban-Iraq-reciprocation

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US-backed SDF militants don’t stop terrorists from sneaking Syria-Iraq border: Official

27 November 2020

A high-ranking Iraqi military official says militants affiliated with the Kurdish-led and US-sponsored Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) do not prevent foreign-backed Takfiri terrorists from crossing border into Iraq.

“SDF members are irregular forces that control the Syrian side of the frontier with Iraq. It is often difficult to have good coordination with them. At times they are exploited by terrorists trying to infiltrate along the border, other times they are either complacent or in a state of weakness to stop infiltration attempts,” the spokesman for the Iraqi Joint Operations Command, Major General Tahsin al-Khafaji, said in a statement on Thursday.

He added the Iraq–Syria border runs for 610 kilometers (379 miles), noting that watchtowers, surveillance cameras and barbed-wire fences are being installed at the border to seal the last remaining windows for terrorists to sneak across the frontier.

“There is a comprehensive study on the Syrian al-Hawl (refugee) camp and Iraqi nationals being kept in it. Coordination is underway with the SDF to resolve the issue and have achieved good results in this regard,” Khafaji pointed out.

The remarks come as security conditions have been deteriorating in the SDF-controlled areas in Syria’s northern and northeastern provinces of Raqqah, Hasakah and Dayr al-Zawr.

Local Syrians complain that the SDF’s constant raids have generated a state of frustration and instability, severely affecting their businesses and livelihood.

Residents accuse the US-sponsored militants of stealing crude oil and refusing to spend money on service sectors.

Local councils affiliated with the SDF also stand accused of financial corruption.

Iraq urges intl. cooperation as Daesh terror activities intensify

Meanwhile, Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein has called for international cooperation to stop Daesh Takfiris amid an uptick in the activities of the terror group.

“Unfortunately, the Daesh terrorist group still exists and it has become more active, compared to the situation we saw several months ago. We know that the group is present in certain areas in the provinces of Anbar, Kirkuk and Diyala, and certain areas in Nineveh [province],” Hussein said in an interview with Russia’s Sputnik news agency on Thursday.

He added,” We have Daesh members who are citizens of different countries [jailed in Iraq].”

The chief Iraqi diplomat noted that the Baghdad government maintains contact with Western European nations on their citizens, who joined Daesh and staged terror attacks in Iraq.

He also stressed that Iraq needs cooperation with foreign intelligence and defense agencies to defeat the terrorists.

“Cells and groups of terrorists are present in certain regions across Iraq ... and this has an influence on the security situation in Iraq, but the situation has changed after Daesh disintegration. However, we need to cooperate with other countries in intelligence, weapons and training,” Hussein stated.

Former Iraqi prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, declared the end of military operations against Daesh in the Arab country on December 9, 2017.

On July 10 that year, he had formally declared victory over Daesh in Mosul, which served as the terrorists’ main urban stronghold in Iraq.

In the run-up to Mosul's liberation, Iraqi army soldiers and fighters from Popular Mobilization Units – better known by the Arabic word Hashd al-Sha’abi – had made sweeping gains against Daesh.

Iraqi forces took control of eastern Mosul in January 2017 after 100 days of fighting, and launched the battle in the west on February 19 last year.

Daesh began a terror campaign in Iraq in 2014, overrunning vast swathes in lightning attacks.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/27/639465/US-backed-SDF-militants-do-not-stop-terrorists-from-sneaking-Syria-Iraq-border-Official

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Mideast

 

FM Zarif: Traces of Israel's Role Seen in Assassination of Iranian Nuclear Scientist

2020-November-27

"Terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist today. This cowardice — with serious indications of Israeli role — shows desperate warmongering of perpetrators," Zarif tweeted on Friday.

"Iran calls on int'l community — and especially EU — to end their shameful double standards & condemn this act of state terror," he added.

Earlier, the Iranian foreign minister in a statement had strongly condemned the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh came under attack by terrorists in the town of Absar in Damavand county to the East of Tehran Friday afternoon and was martyred hours later.

Fakhrizadeh's car was targetted by an explosion and machinegun fires in Damavand's Absard 40 kilometers to the East of Tehran.

The nuclear scientist and one of his companions were immediately taken to a nearby hospital but he could not be saved.

Eyewitness accounts confirmed that Fakhrizadeh's car came under attack first by a blast and then by terrorists who sprayed bullets at his car.

Eyewitnesses also said three to four individuals, most likely all terrorists, have been killed in the attack.

FNA reports confirmed that two dead bodies were seen in Absard Clinic and a bed full of blood where Fakhrizadeh was seen.

The security sources in interview with FNA confirmed the assassination attempt on the Iranian nuclear scientist.

Early in 2018, the Israeli sources had acknowledged that Mossad had tried to assasinate an Iranian nuclear scientist, but its operation failed.

According to Fars News Agency, Mossad had gained access to Fakhrizadeh's name via a UN list which referred to him as a senior scientist of Iran's Defense Ministry's Physics Research Center.

Iranian nuclear scientists have been the target of the western and Israeli spy agencies' assassination attempts in recent years.

In June 2012, Iran announced that its intelligence forces had identified and arrested all terrorist elements behind the assassination of the country's nuclear scientists.

"All the elements involved in the assassinations of the country's nuclear scientists have been identified and arrested," Iran's Intelligence Ministry announced in a statement.

"A number of countries, whose territories and facilities had been misused by the Mossad-backed terrorist teams, have provided the Iranian officials with relevant information," the statement added.

"Over the course of the investigations, all other elements behind the assassinations of the Iranian scientists Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, Majid Shahriari and Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan as well as Reza Qashqaei (Roshan's driver) have been apprehended," the statement read.

"Some of the perpetrators of the assassination of Dr. Fereidoun Abbasi, the current head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, are among those arrested," the ministry added.

According to the statement, Iran's Intelligence Ministry had detected some of Mossad's bases within the territories of one of Iran's Western neighbors, which provided training and logistical support to the terrorist networks.

In the fifth attack of its kind in two years, terrorists killed a 32-year-old Iranian scientist, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, and his driver on January 11, 2012.

The blast took place on the second anniversary of the martyrdom of Iranian university professor and nuclear scientist, Massoud Ali Mohammadi, who was also assassinated in a terrorist bomb attack in Tehran in January 2010.

The assassination method used in the bombing was similar to the 2010 terrorist bomb attacks against the then university professor, Fereidoun Abbassi Davani – who became the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization - and his colleague Majid Shahriari. While Abbasi Davani survived the attack, Shahriari was martyred.

Another Iranian scientist, Dariush Rezaeinejad, was also assassinated through the same method on 23 July 2011.

In a relevant development in January, 2015, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) announced that it had thwarted an attempt by the Israeli intelligence forces to assassinate an Iranian nuclear scientist.

“In the last two years, the Zionist enemy (Israel) was trying hard to assassinate an Iranian nuclear scientist, but the timely presence of the IRGC security forces thwarted the terrorist operation,” Deputy Chief Liaison Officer of Flight Guards Corps Colonel Ya’qoub Baqeri told FNA in 2015.

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/13990907000537/FM-Zarif-Traces-f-Israel's-Rle-Seen-in-Assassinain-f-Iranian-Nclear

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Official Blasts Enemies for Continuing to Hatch Plots against Iran

2020-November-28

"The nuclear scientist assassination shows the US-Zionist efforts to continue to hit the advancement of science in Iran," Amir Abdollahian tweeted on Friday.

"The assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who played an important role in expanding the country's knowledge, shows the US-Zionist efforts to continue to hit the advancement of science and technology in the Islamic Republic of Iran," he added.

He reiterated that trusting the enemy is optimism, and said, "The enemies will not stop plotting."

Fakhrizadeh's car was targetted by an explosion and machinegun fire in Damavand's Absard 40 kilometers to the East of Tehran.

The nuclear scientist and one of his companions were immediately taken to a nearby hospital but he could not be saved.

Eyewitness accounts confirmed that Fakhrizadeh's car came under attack first by a blast and then by terrorists who sprayed bullets at his car.

Early in 2018, the Israeli sources had acknowledged that Mossad had tried to assasinate an Iranian nuclear scientist, but its operation failed.

According to Fars News Agency, Mossad had gained access to Fakhrizadeh's name via a UN list which referred to him as a senior scientist of Iran's Defense Ministry's Physics Research Center.

Iranian nuclear scientists have been the target of the western and Israeli spy agencies' assassination attempts in recent years.

In June 2012, Iran announced that its intelligence forces had identified and arrested all terrorist elements behind the assassination of the country's nuclear scientists.

"All the elements involved in the assassinations of the country's nuclear scientists have been identified and arrested," Iran's Intelligence Ministry announced in a statement.

"A number of countries, whose territories and facilities had been misused by the Mossad-backed terrorist teams, have provided the Iranian officials with relevant information," the statement added.

"Over the course of the investigations, all other elements behind the assassinations of the Iranian scientists Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, Majid Shahriari and Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan as well as Reza Qashqaei (Roshan's driver) have been apprehended," the statement read.

"Some of the perpetrators of the assassination of Dr. Fereidoun Abbasi, the current head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, are among those arrested," the ministry added.

According to the statement, Iran's Intelligence Ministry had detected some of Mossad's bases within the territories of one of Iran's Western neighbors, which provided training and logistical support to the terrorist networks.

In the fifth attack of its kind in two years, terrorists killed a 32-year-old Iranian scientist, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, and his driver on January 11, 2012.

The blast took place on the second anniversary of the martyrdom of Iranian university professor and nuclear scientist, Massoud Ali Mohammadi, who was also assassinated in a terrorist bomb attack in Tehran in January 2010.

The assassination method used in the bombing was similar to the 2010 terrorist bomb attacks against the then university professor, Fereidoun Abbassi Davani – who became the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization - and his colleague Majid Shahriari. While Abbasi Davani survived the attack, Shahriari was martyred.

Another Iranian scientist, Dariush Rezaeinejad, was also assassinated through the same method on 23 July 2011.

In a relevant development in January, 2015, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) announced that it had thwarted an attempt by the Israeli intelligence forces to assassinate an Iranian nuclear scientist.

“In the last two years, the Zionist enemy (Israel) was trying hard to assassinate an Iranian nuclear scientist, but the timely presence of the IRGC security forces thwarted the terrorist operation,” Deputy Chief Liaison Officer of Flight Guards Corps Colonel Ya’qoub Baqeri told FNA in 2015.

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/13990907000728/Official-Blass-Enemies-fr-Cnining-Hach-Pls-agains-Iran

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Iran Sets Up Special Committee to Prosecute Those Involved in Assasinating Anti-Terror Commander General Soleimani

2020-November-27

"The committee has been set up given the fact that some of those accused of being involved in the January assassination regularly visit neighboring countries," the deputy prosecutor and the special investigator dealing with the case of General Soleimani’s assassination, Seyed Ashrafi said.

He pointed out that Iran has also provided judicial representation to six countries where American bases are located.

"We were recently informed that the Iraqi government has prepared a response to this representation, and is submitting it through diplomatic channels," Ashrafi added.

He also pointed out that Iran is preparing a judicial representation addressed to the US judiciary system so as to test them and see whether they would prosecute the culprits for the charges leveled against them.

Asharafi said Iran has provided the Interpol with the names of 45 US nationals involved in this killing, but unfortunately the Interpol has refused to issue an international arrest warrant for them because of the current political situation.

On January 8 and after the funeral ceremony of General Soleimani, the IRGC Aerospace Force started heavy ballistic missile attacks on US Ein Al-Assad airbase in Southwestern Iraq near the border with Syria and a US operated airbase in Erbil in retaliation for the US assassination of General Soleimani.

Ein Al-Assad is an airbase with a 4km runway at 188m altitude from sea levels, which is the main and the largest US airbase in Iraq. Early reports said the radar systems and missile defense shields in Ein Al-Assad failed to operate and intercept the Iranian missiles. Unofficial reports said the US army's central radar systems at Ein Al-Assad had been jammed by electronic warfare.

The second IRGC reprisal attack targeted a US military base near Erbil airport in Iraqi Kurdistan Region in the second leg of "Martyr Soleimani" reprisal operation.

Iraq said the attacks had not taken any toll from its army men stationed at these two bases. The US army had blocked entrance into Ein Al-Assad to everyone, including the Iraqi army.

The IRGC officials said none of the missiles had been intercepted.

Meantime, Iran announced in late June that it had issued arrest warrants for 36 officials of the US and other countries who have been involved in the assassination of the martyred General Soleimani.

"36 individuals who have been involved or ordered the assassination of Hajj Qassem, including the political and military officials of the US and other governments, have been identified and arrest warrants have been issued for them by the judiciary officials and red alerts have also been issued for them via the Interpol," Prosecutor-General of Tehran Ali Alqasi Mehr said.

He said that the prosecuted individuals are accused of murder and terrorist action, adding that US President Donald Trump stands at the top of the list and will be prosecuted as soon as he stands down presidency after his term ends.

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/13990907000441/Iran-Ses-Up-Special-Cmmiee-Prsece-Thse-Invlved-in-Assasinaing-Ani

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Israeli PM Netanyahu office not commenting on Iranian nuclear scientist killing

27 November 2020

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office was not commenting on reports of an attack on Friday on a prominent Iranian nuclear scientist, an official from Netanyahu’s office said.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Prominent Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated east of the capital Tehran on Friday, Iran’s defense ministry confirmed in a statement.

Fakhrizadeh died in hospital due to injuries sustained during a shoot-out between his bodyguards and “armed terrorists” Friday afternoon, the statement said.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/11/27/Israeli-PM-Netanyahu-office-not-commenting-on-Iranian-nuclear-scientist-killing

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Assassination of Iranian physicist draws condemnations from anti-Israel groups

28 November 2020

The assassination of prominent Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in a terrorist attack near the capital Tehran has led to the pouring of condolences and condemnations from anti-Israel resistance groups over the brutal incident.

Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem said on Friday evening that Tehran reserves the right to show harsh response to those responsible for the targeted killing of the senior scientist.

“We condemn this heinous attack and see that the response to this crime lies between the hands of concerned officials in Iran,” Sheikh Qassem said in an interview with Lebanon-based and Arabic-language al-Manar television network.

Sheikh Qassem added that Fakhrizadeh was killed by those who are “sponsored” by the United States and the Israeli regime, emphasizing that his assassination falls within the framework of acts of aggression against Iran and the region.

The senior Hezbollah then dismissed speculations about a military onslaught on Iran, noting that any war against the country will set the entire Middle East on fire.

“However, we cannot rule out the possibility of a limited attack, and Iranians are ready for such an incident. But, I do not anticipate an all-out war on the horizon,” he said.

Sheikh Qassem also warned Israel that any aggression against Lebanon would have serious consequences for the Israeli regime, underlining that Hezbollah is “fully prepared” for such a confrontation.

“Hezbollah has clinched numerous victories, one of which is our independence from the arrogant US and others. They are putting pressure on Hezbollah because the resistance movement has pulled out wins in various fields,” he said.

“Hezbollah has no worries despite all challenges it is facing. We tend to stay calm as we believe in our capabilities. Hezbollah is always ready for any confrontation and Israel knows very well that its action would have dire repercussions,” the Hezbollah deputy secretary general pointed out.

Fakhrizadeh, who headed the Iranian Defense Ministry’s Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (known by its acronym SPND), was targeted on Friday in a multi-pronged attack involving at least one explosion and small fire by a number of assailants in Absard city of Damavand County, Tehran Province.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement has stated that the assassination of the senior Iranian physicist comes at the time when the US and the Tel Aviv regime are continuously threatening the Islamic Republic of Iran.

“Such moves are meant to deprive Iran and the Muslim world of possessing tools necessary for scientific progress and prowess. The Occupation (Israel) seeks to advance its expansionist policies in the region, and creation of chaos and instability would serve its interests,” Hamas said in a statement.

The Palestinian resistance movement then commiserated with the Iranian nation and government over Fakhrizadeh’s assassination, noting, “We are confident that Iran and its nation will recover from the loss through more endeavor and progress, and will break the monopoly of arrogant powers on the factors of power and scientific progress in the region.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad resistance movement also strongly condemned the sinful terrorist attack that led to the killing of eminent Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, stating that his assassination had all the hallmarks of a US-Zionist plot.

“This cowardly terrorist act was aimed at targeting the elements of renaissance and scientific progress in the Muslim world in general and the Islamic Republic of Iran in particular. The assassination of Fakhrizadeh was a desperate attempt to avenge Iran’s support for just causes of oppressed people in the world, especially the Palestinian cause. This sinful move will neither discourage Iran from maintaining its stances nor will weaken them,” the statement read.

“This terrorist act is a clear indication of the extent of hatred that fuels the terrorism being systematically practiced by the US, Zionist regime and their allies,” the Islamic Jihad pointed out.

“We offer our condolences to the Iranian leadership, government and nation, and affirm our confidence that Iran will resolutely and strenuously work to make progress in all fields as it has a strong willpower to face challenges, overcome the unjust US sanctions and confront the malevolent Zionist-US aggression.”

“The Islamic Republic of Iran is paying the price for its support for the Palestinian cause, Palestinian people, and the fact that Palestinians are entitled to recover their rights and liberate their land and sanctities,” the Palestinian resistance movement said.

Moreover, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC) decried Fakhrizadeh’s assassination, stating that the heinous act will not undermine Iran's capabilities as terrorist Israeli authorities might have imagined.

Separately, Iraqi Kata'ib Hezbollah anti-terror group, which is part of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMU) – better known by the Arabic word Hashd al-Sha’abi, said the assassination of the senior Iranian scientist is in line with a series of crimes that seek to target the scientific capacities of Arab and Muslim nations.

“The Zionist-Saudi-US axis has extended its criminal record, and the price of their crimes must be their annihilation. Assassination and attacks on scientists and leaders of the resistance is a black part of a fiendish and hostile conspiracy against nations supporting the anti-Israel resistance front,” it added.

Kata'ib Hezbollah noted that collaboration between Saudi Arabia, the United States and the Israeli regime over the assassination of Fakhrizadeh will make them legitimate targets for retaliation.

Additionally, Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba, which is also part of the PMU, denounced the killing of the Iranian physicist as a cowardly act.

“We condemn this terrorist act and believe in the resistance of the Islamic Republic of Iran as well as its victory and authority. Iran will defeat oppressors and arrogant since it beliefs are based on the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and Imam Hussein – the third Shia Imam, which inspire martyrdom,” the deputy secretary-general and official spokesman for the movement, Nasr al-Shammari, wrote in a post published on his official Twitter page.

Furthermore, the political bureau of Yemen’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement stated that Iranian scientist Fakhrizadeh was assassinated in a terrorist operation planned by the Axis of Evil, spearheaded by the Israeli regime, which fears the development of Iran’s scientific and defense capabilities.

Ansarullah stressed that Iran reserves the right to respond to all those who masterminded and carried out the assassination in the hopes of depriving the Muslim country of scientific expertise and keeping their own monopoly.

Yemeni Foreign Minister Hisham Sharaf, for his part, denounced Fakhrizadeh’s murder.

“This heinous and terrorist criminal act was carried out by the Axis of Evil, led by the Zionist regime. It shows the depth of fear that haunts enemies of the Iranian nation. However, it will not stop Iran's progress in various fields,” he said in a message of condolences addressed to his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif.

And, the February 14 Youth Coalition — an opposition protest movement named after the date of the beginning of a popular uprising against Bahrain’s ruling Al Khalifah regime, condemned the assassination of the Iranian nuclear scientist as a cowardly act, expressing its full support for Tehran’s retaliatory measures.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/28/639520/Assassination-of-Iranian-physicist-draws-condemnations-from-anti-Israel-groups

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Africa

 

Refugees in Ethiopia's Tigray to run out of food shortly without assistance: UN

27 November 2020

The United Nations (UN) refugee agency has called on the warring sides in Ethiopia's Tigray to allow humanitarian access into the region, warning that the nearly 100,000 Eritrean refugees living in camps there could run out of food next week.

During a briefing in the Swiss city of Geneva on Friday, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesman Babar Baloch said the refugees "would be running out of food as of Monday — we are ready with our supplies trying to reach these populations."

"What is needed is unhindered humanitarian access to reach them as soon as possible," he added.

Baloch said the estimate was based on calculations since the last distribution some weeks ago.

He declined to specify who was blocking access to the nearly 96,000 Eritrean refugees, who the UNHCR says are living in four camps in the northernmost region of Tigray.

Many of the refugees from Eritrea arrived in Ethiopia more than a decade ago amid tensions then ongoing between the two countries.

The UN, which still has staff in Tigray, has been negotiating with all parties to the conflict for access but there was no sign of a breakthrough yet.

Communication with the remaining staff has been poor due to a telecommunications blackout, Baloch added.

Tigray has been rocked by bloody fighting since November 4, when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced the launch of military operations against the regional government.

The announcement led to a dramatic escalation of a long-running feud between the federal government and the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), the region's ruling party, which dominated Ethiopian politics for almost three decades before the incumbent prime minister assumed power in 2018.

Abiy accused the rebel forces loyal to the TPLF of launching deadly attacks on a pair of federal military camps in the region. He has also accused the party of defying his government and seeking to undermine it.

Hundreds of people have reportedly been killed in the fighting, and thousands have fled across Ethiopia's northern border into neighboring Sudan.

Ethiopian PM tells African envoys he will protect civilians

Separately on Friday, Abiy said his government would protect civilians in Tigray, a day after he declared the final phase of the military offensive there.

The final phase of the offensive is aimed at taking back the rebel-held regional capital, Mekelle, which is now surrounded by government forces, according to Abiy.

In a statement issued after meeting African peace envoys on Friday, Abiy's office said the government was committed to the "protection and security of civilians" in Tigray.

However, the statement made no mention of talks with the TPLF to end the conflict.

The statement further thanked the envoys for conveying their "wisdom, insights, and readiness to support in any way they are needed," but did not mention any plans for further discussions with them.

The three African Union special envoys, namely former presidents Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique, and Kgalema Motlanthe of South Africa, had been sent to Addis Ababa to help mediate in the conflict, something that Abiy had already made clear he did not want.

They met the Ethiopian prime minister as people fled Mekelle in fear of the imminent assault.

The Ethiopian military had earlier this week warned of "no mercy" if the residents of Mekelle did not distance themselves from the TPLF.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/27/639479/Refugees-in-Ethiopia-Tigray-to-run-out-of-food-shortly-without-assistance-UN

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Over 150 Ghanaians return from Libya: IOM

27.11.2020

More than 150 Ghanaian migrants have been brought back from Libya through the first charter flight of its kind since COVID-19-related border closures, the International Organization of Migration (IOM)) announced on Friday.

The 150 Ghanaians travelled from Libya to their homeland on Nov. 24, to arrive in the Kotoka International Airport (KIA), in Accra, according to an IOM statement.

“Upon arrival, migrants were tested for COVID-19 and provided with onward transportation cash assistance for their immediate needs, including travel to their home communities. The most vulnerable received medical and psychosocial assistance,” the statement said.

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic poses additional challenges to vulnerable migrants, a more coordinated and efficient support system with Government and partners needed to make sure no migrant is left behind in the COVID-19 response,” Abibatou Wane-Fall, IOM Ghana’s chief of mission, said.

Out of over 584,500 migrants identified in Libya by the IOM, more than 27,200 are Ghanaians.

“Libya accounts for 63.5 percent of the returns to Ghana under the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. Other major countries of return include Niger, Mali and Mauritania,” the IOM statement said.

Hundreds of Africans have died in recent years trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea through Libya in search of better opportunities in Europe.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/over-150-ghanaians-return-from-libya-iom/2058451

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Suicide attack at restaurant kills 7 in Somali capital

Mohammed Dhaysane 

27.11.2020

GAROWE, Somalia

At least seven people in Somalia were killed and several others wounded as a suicide attack targeted a busy restaurant in the country’s capital on Friday evening, a police official said.

The attack took place near Mogadishu airport at a popular restaurant frequently visited by government and security officials.

Abdifatah Hassan, a police officer in Mogadishu, told Anadolu Agency that the attack killed at least seven people.

According to medical sources, at least 10 people were also wounded in the attack and were rushed to hospitals for treatment.

Ismail Mukhtar Oronjo, a Somali government spokesman, told Anadolu Agency that it was a suicide attack and the bomber blew himself up inside the restaurant.

Security officials rushed to the scene and put the security cordon.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack but Somali-based al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist group al-Shabaab has claimed recent attacks in Somalia.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/suicide-attack-at-restaurant-kills-7-in-somali-capital/2058428

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Milestone memorandums with Turkey change Libya's fate

Enes Canli  

27.11.2020

As Libya goes through a critical period, two memorandums of understanding signed on Nov. 27, 2019, in the fields of delimitation of maritime jurisdictions and military security cooperation changed the fate of Libya.

Turkey has supported the Government of National Accord, established in late 2015 under the Suheyrat agreement, which is a signatory of the Libyan parties for a political solution in Libya, and which the UN recognizes as legitimate administration in Libya, since the first day of its inauguration.

Warlord Khalifa Haftar, the leader of the illegitimate armed forces in Libya, has taken control of more areas inside the country by force, also supported by some European and regional countries.

Hopes for a political solution to the crisis have risen again as Libyans prepared for an UN-led dialogue conference in April 2019.

But when Haftar, who has the support of regional countries such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, and France, ordered his administration's militias to seize the capital in April 2019, instability-plagued Libya was dragged into a spiral of violence again.

Haftar arrived at the gates of the capital Tripoli with the support of financial resources, heavy weapons, mercenaries, unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs), warplanes, and military advisers through his regional supporters.

Since the beginning, Turkey announced its support for the Libyan government in its fight against Khalifa Haftar, his coup attempt, his regional supporters, and his intent on taking control of the capital and the country by force.

After talks between Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, who visited Turkey on Nov. 27, 2019, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the two countries signed memorandums of understanding on the delimitation of maritime jurisdictions and military security cooperation.

Regional countries which based their interests on Haftar and his control over the country by force, raised their opposition to the agreements between Turkey and Libya, while Haftar intensified his armed attacks on the capital Tripoli before the agreement became effective.

During this period, reports saying mercenaries affiliated with the Russian private security company Wagner were involved in Haftar’s ranks also became frequent.

Besides the support from Wagner, the UCAVs provided by the UAE strengthened Haftar's air dominance, helping him increase his attacks on Tripoli, including civilian settlements. Hundreds of civilians were killed in these attacks. Hundreds of thousands of civilians who fled their homes because of the war started to take refuge inside Tripoli.

The Turkish parliament convened an extraordinary session on Jan. 2 to vote on sending troops to Libya, and the motion was adopted by a majority vote.

Turkish military experts arrived at Libya and began to provide their Libyan counterparts with consulting services, while Haftar intensified his attacks on the capital, fearing that the balance in the war would change.

On Jan. 4, a UCAV linked to Haftar targeted a group of youth walking outside the Hadba military high school, south of Tripoli, killing at least 30 people, most of them young students.

On Jan. 6 early in the morning, Haftar’s forces launched simultaneous attacks on the city of Sirte, 450 kilometers (280 miles) west of Tripoli, from several different. After an armed group inside the city switched sides, the Libyan army withdrew from the city of Sirte, considering the safety of civilians in the city.

Haftar, who captured a strategic city inside Libya, pushed his attempts further to seize the capital by force.

Turkey, Russia call for a cease-fire

Turkey and Russia after talks called for a joint cease-fire, effective Jan. 12. The Libyan government responded positively to the call, while Haftar agreed to the cease-fire only minutes before midnight on Jan. 12.

On Jan. 14, the sides met in the Russian capital Moscow to turn the cease-fire into an agreement. While the Libyan government signed the cease-fire, Haftar left Moscow at midnight without signing it, also baffling his Russian hosts.

As Haftar’s militias have occasionally violated the cease-fire on the front lines, the eyes turned to a conference on Libya which was set for Jan 18 in Berlin, also to be attended by the Libyan parties to the conflict.

But groups affiliated with Haftar, who previously controlled oil production facilities in the east of the country, announced they were halting oil production in the country, claiming that the oil cut was "a popular movement". This led to criticisms that Haftar was using the main source of the country's economy as a political trump card a day before the Berlin Conference.

The conference was still held in the German capital Berlin on Jan. 18 with the participation of 12 countries and four international organizations to bring a permanent cease-fire to the war. As leaders and Libyan actors were discussing the crisis in the country, Haftar’s militias did not back down from their attacks on the capital.

Haftar, who left the conference again without signing the cease-fire agreement, signaled that he would continue his attacks, and the violence in the country did not stop in both Tripoli and other parts of Libya.

Libyan gov't launches Operation Peace Storm

The UN has proposed a humanitarian cease-fire on March 22 to the warring parties in Libya over the COVID-19 outbreak that has gripped the world. The Libyan government accepted the proposal. Haftar’s side also announced that it had accepted the call, but within minutes it carried out an intense rocket attack on Tripoli.

The first case of coronavirus in Libya was detected on March 23. The government implemented several measures, including a curfew.

Haftar’s militias carried out one of their most intense attacks in recent period on civilian settlements in Tripoli, including hospitals, just one day after the first COVID-19 infection was detected.

Government forces had long remained defensive against Haftar’s militia, which targeted field hospitals, doctors, schools, government institutions, and civilian living quarters.

But the Libyan army launched Operation Peace Storm, announcing that from March 25 they were moving from a defensive position to an offensive position "to protect the lives of civilians".

In the first phase of the operation launched by the Libyan army, Haftar’s militias displayed a tough defense. Over time, however, Haftar’s defensive line began to collapse.

On April 13, the Libyan government cleared an area of 3,000 square kilometers (1,158 square miles) -- stretching from the capital Tripoli to the Tunisian border in the west of the country -- of Haftar militias.

As part of the Libyan government's Operation Peace Storm, a large number of aircraft, helicopters, UCAVs, and a high number of tanks, cannons, armored vehicles, heavy weapons, as well as facilities used by militias linked to Haftar were destroyed.

Haftar’s militias, after its casualties in the field, attempted to take revenge by heavily shelling civilian settlements in Tripoli.

Haftar begins to withdraw

Haftar, who maintained his position by expanding the area he controlled inside Libya by force, sought international support and more allies.

However, after his losses in the west of the country, Haftar’s authority in the area he controlled also was challenged. After his defeat, Haftar called his supporters to take to the streets to decide on who would lead the country and later announced that he had accepted "the call", announcing that he had taken over the country on April 27.

But Haftar’s attempted coup against his allies provoked an international reaction and did not find a response within the country.

On May 18, the Libyan army, after other successful operations, also took strategic Al-Watiya airbase located 140 km (87 miles) southwest of Tripoli on an area of 50 square kilometers (19 square miles), which can deploy thousands of troops without external support, including onboard military aircraft runways, hangars, fuel tankers, and vehicle depots.

UCAVs attached to the Libyan army conducted more than 100 airstrikes on militia gathering points, weapons depots, armed vehicles, and ammunition trucks around the Al-Watiya Air Base.

Haftar’s hope of taking Tripoli ends

Haftar’s militias have intensified their indiscriminate attacks on civilians in the city from their positions south of the capital Tripoli.

Heading south of the capital Tripoli to remove Haftar’s militia, the Libyan army quickly drove Haftar’s militia out of the entire Tripoli in a few days at the beginning of June, then from the city of Tarhuna and the city of Bani Walid, south of the capital. The Libyan army then took control of the main social, administrative, and commercial population centers in the west of the country and the ports between them.

The Libyan army's advance continued as far as the city of Sirte, 450 kilometers (280 miles) west of the capital Tripoli. UCAVs and unidentified international warplanes in Haftar’s ranks stopped the Libyan army's advance.

Turkish Armed Forces clearing Libya of explosives left by Haftar’s mercenaries

In Libya, Turkish military teams landed on the site to clear a large number of mines, handmade explosives, and ammunition that Haftar’s militias and mercenaries had planted in civilian areas as they retreated south of Tripoli.

After the rescue of settlements occupied by Haftar’s militia, especially Tripoli, to ensure the safe return of civilians to their homes, bomb disposal experts belonging to the Turkish land, sea, air forces, and special Forces continued to work to normalize life by clearing the area of explosives and mines.

The Turkish Armed Forces also accelerated the training of the Libyan army in these areas.

Military cooperation between the two countries paved the way for the safe return of civilians to their homes.

Balance on-field helped political dialogue

Thanks to the Turkish-Libyan cooperation, strengthened through memorandums of understanding between Ankara and Tripoli, the military balance that had so far appeared to be in Haftar’s favor changed.

As the Libyan government purged the main population centers south of the capital and west of the country from Haftar’s militias, the international actors who established the balance in Libya after Haftar seized the capital and the administration by force noticed that the warlord could not fulfill this promise.

Haftar supporters, including the UAE, Egypt, France, and especially international actors such as Russia, preferred to pursue their interests with a political actor, Tobruk-based House of Representatives Speaker Aguila Saleh -- who is also a legitimate figure under Suheyrat agreement -- instead of Haftar -- an actor in military uniform in the Middle Eastern caricature.

The Libyan government noticed that a new wave of violence would begin if they advanced to the axis of Sirte under the control of Haftar’s militia with the support of Russia and the UAE. The knot between the parties, tied in Sirte, led to a new power balance.

As a result of pressure from the international community, Libyan Prime Minister Sarraj and Speaker Aguila Saleh announced a mutual cease-fire on Aug. 21.

The move created a positive environment of expectation in Libya, where the two sides announced they would remain committed after a long time of conflict. Oil production, the main source of the country's economy, then resumed.

After the cease-fire, negotiations in different areas on resolving the Libyan crisis and the search for a political solution were launched.

After one year over these developments, many regional and international experts stress that today's environment for negotiation and the political solution has been possible with Turkey's support to Libya and the balance it brought to the field following memorandums of understanding signed between Turkey and Libya.

Next goal: modern and professional army

During the Arab Spring, the incompetence of state institutions caused by the fall of the Muammar Gaddafi regime, particularly the lack of a modern and professional army, is cited as the main reason behind Libya's many recent troubles.

The memorandum of understanding on military and security cooperation between Turkey and Libya includes the following areas: training, consulting, transfer of experience, planning, materials support, and forming a joint Defense and Security Cooperation Office in Turkey and Libya in case of a request.

This office will provide the two countries with training, technical information, support, development, maintenance, repair, recovery, disposal, port, and providing consultancy support. The memorandum also covers that -- on the condition of keeping the ownership -- land, air, and sea vehicles, equipment, weapons, use of buildings and field (training bases) inside the territorial borders of parties and upon the invitation of them, as well as joint military planning, exchange of experience, training and consultancy services for the use of weapon systems and equipment in the areas of land, sea and air forces within the armed forces.

The memorandum of understanding at the same time includes security and military training and teaching, practice or participation in joint exercises and training, security and defense, terrorism and fighting against illegal migration, the security of land, sea, and air borders, combating smuggling and narcotic terror, operations on clearing handmade explosives, natural disaster relief operations, training, information and experience exchange and the execution of joint operations in different areas of cooperation between the parties and contact visits, the organizational structure of the defense and security forces, defense and security the structure of the units and equipment, and personnel management.

Turkey's efforts to establish a modern, professional army for Libya and its consultancy in this field are in full swing.

The military training program by the Turkish Armed Forces for the Libyan army had its first graduates last week. A graduation ceremony was held in Tripoli for Libyan military students who completed an eight-week training to achieve international standards for the Libyan army.

Libyan Defense Minister Salah Eddine al-Namrush said that with this graduation, the Libyan-Turkish military cooperation bore its first fruits in the field of training.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/milestone-memorandums-with-turkey-change-libyas-fate/2058139

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Ethiopia’s PM renews rejection to dialogue with TPLF

Addis Getachew Tadesse  

27.11.2020

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has gone by his earlier stance that his government will not sit for dialogue with the outlawed Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), whose leaders are resisting a call to surrender as war rages for a third week.

Three former African leaders that constitute the Envoy of the African Union for Ethiopia on Friday met with Abiy.

The former Presidents of Liberia Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, of Mozambique Joaquim Chissano, of South Africa Kgalema Motlanthe arrived in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Thursday to try and help find a solution to the conflict in the Horn of Africa’s northernmost region of Tigray.

Prime Minister Abiy earlier expressed his government’s stand that he would meet with the African Union envoys but will not allow for a dialogue with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), who he described as “Greedy Junta”.

On Nov. 4, Ethiopia launched a massive ‘law enforcement operation’ after the TPLF forces stormed the Northern Command of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF), killing soldiers and looting military assets.

The operation reached what the government said was its third and last phase after the Ethiopian army encircled the city of Mekele, capital of Tigray region, and making advances into the city after a 72-hour ultimatum the Ethiopian leader offered for the TPLF leadership to surrender expired on Thursday.

“During the discussions, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed briefed the Special Envoys on the background to Ethiopia’s rule of law operations currently underway in the Tigray region,” a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s office said.

It said: “The Prime Minister discussed at length the patience with which his government handled the provocations and destabilization agenda the TPLF orchestrated for more than two years.”

More than 41,000 Ethiopians already fled the military confrontations into neighboring Sudan, according to a UNHCR report that also said it expects the figure to rise up to 200,000.

A report by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission already confirmed that more than 600 Ethiopians were ethnically profiled and massacred by TPLF youth group called “Samri” at the Maikadra locality in Western Tigray.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/ethiopia-s-pm-renews-rejection-to-dialogue-with-tplf/2058119

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Somali presidential candidates demand exit of spy chief

Magdalene Mukami  

27.11.2020

As the election atmosphere heats up across Somalia, presidential candidates are demanding the resignation of National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) director Fahad Yasin, accusing him of election interference.

“Fahad Yasin Haji Dahir should resign as the head of NISA, since he is the chief campaigner for the re-election of presidential candidate Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, whose term of office is about to end, to ensure the impartiality of NISA,” they said in a communique released Thursday after a five-day meeting in the capital, Mogadishu, accusing Fahad of acting as Farmajo’s re-election campaign manager.

They have also called for the dissolution of the electoral commission and the withdrawal of government-appointed forces from the southwestern Gedo region to reduce tensions during the election period.

The aspirants are also calling on the federal government to allow the speaker of the Senate, Abdi Hashi Abdullahi, to appoint a committee for the election of members of parliament from Somaliland, noting that he has the legitimacy to do so.

They noted that to ensure maximum credibility, election observers and lawyers must be included in the exercise.

The 14 presidential candidates, which include former presidents Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, have accused the country’s electoral commission, the Federal Indirect Elections Team (FIET), of being full of NISA agents masquerading as electoral officials.

The government and NISA are yet to respond to the 18-point communique issued by the candidates.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/somali-presidential-candidates-demand-exit-of-spy-chief/2057452

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Southeast Asia

 

Pandemic Pizza: Malaysian Family Cooks Up Solution To Virus Woe

27 Nov 2020

JEMAPOH Nov 27 ― A Malaysian family have cooked up a tasty solution to their economic woes during the pandemic by opening a backyard pizzeria that has proved a hit in their sleepy village.

Millions of people around the world lost their jobs this year as governments introduced economically damaging lockdowns to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

But one family in a Malaysian village managed to turn a bumper profit during the downturn by opening up an eatery serving wood-fired pizzas from their home.

Based in Jemapoh, 120 kilometres (75 miles) south of the capital Kuala Lumpur, the business offers pizzas with herbs and spices, and cut pineapples mixed with meat or tuna, along with a heavy layer of mozzarella and cheddar cheese.

“We did this to get some pocket money,” said Raudhah Hassan, 35, the eldest of several siblings and mastermind behind the business.

“But ― praise be to God ― what we did has become the talk of the town.”

Pizzas have been flying out of the family's makeshift kitchen since late April, a month after authorities implemented curbs that confined people to their homes and saw the closure of most businesses.

Restaurants were allowed to keep operating and, after Raudhah's shop selling headscarves saw a fall in business and some of her siblings had their pay cut, the family decided to open the pizzeria.

“We were stranded here. We said, we have to do something,” explained Raudhah, who runs the business at her parent's house with the help of other family members.

The family built a stone oven in their backyard to roll out a few dozen pizzas in time for the holy month of Ramadan in the Muslim-majority country, when the faithful typically enjoy lavish meals to break their fast.

The business quickly became a hit.

“Some pizzas are too salty, but these are really nice,” said first-time customer Nurliyana Hidayah.

“I will come here again.”

The family have now added a shop to their home and hired about 20 people from the village to make up to 800 wood-fired pizzas daily, five days a week.

More than 800,000 people have lost their jobs in Malaysia this year as the virus pushed the country into recession, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said in October.

Malaysia has largely lifted the toughest of its restrictions and most businesses are operating again, although it has been a battling a virus resurgence in recent weeks. ― AFP

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2020/11/27/pandemic-pizza-malaysian-family-cooks-up-solution-to-virus-woe/1926610

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After Budget vote debacle, sources say Anwar asked for a week to prove majority support and will quit as Pakatan’s chief if he cannot

28 Nov 2020

BY RADZI RAZAK

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 ― Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is said to have pleaded with his Pakatan Harapan (PH) allies to give him “one more week” to prove he commands the majority in Dewan Rakyat, after failing to challenge Budget 2021 this week.

Sources within the pact told Malay Mail that the PKR president told component party leaders in Parliament after the voting on Thursday that he will prove that he has secured the number, which allegedly included Umno MPs, or that he will step down from leading PH.

“Anwar asks for one more week or else he will step down as Opposition (leader) and PH chief,” said a source privy to the meeting but wished to remain anonymous.

Another source said PKR’s PH allies, DAP and Parti Amanah Negara, have conditionally agreed but also warned Anwar that he has little margin of error over move to take over Putrajaya.

“They are giving Anwar the last chance,” said the source, without elaborating.

On September 23, Anwar had announced his audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and claimed to have a “formidable and convincing” majority as he purportedly gained the support of several Barisan Nasional and Perikatan Nasional MPs.

However, after his audience with the Agong on October 13, the Istana Negara said Anwar had only provided the number of MPs he claimed supporting him to be the next prime minister, but not the list of their names to verify his claim.

Malay Mail also understands that PH MPs have already signed statutory declarations (SDs) to support Anwar as the next prime minister.

However sources close to DAP said that the party will only make the SDs available to Anwar “after” the latter has proven to have the support needed from the other MPs.

This revelation supports DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng’s remark on September 23 that all 42 MPs from the party would support Anwar to form a new federal government, but only provided he has sufficient support.

Malay Mail was also told that all 11 Amanah MPs have already provided their supporting SDs to Anwar.

Another source from Umno who is privy to the negotiations between MPs in the party and Anwar admitted that the talks were ongoing.

“The talk was held with some top leaders in Umno and several individual MPs,” said the source who also declined to confirm whether Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi or convicted former president Datuk Seri Najib Razak are part of the deal.

Yesterday, Anwar acknowledged that both DAP and Amanah had wanted to force a division of the House during Thursday’s voting on Budget 2021, and that he had invoked his position as Opposition leader to get them to stand down.

Despite anticipation of heavy resistance to Perikatan Nasional’s maiden Budget 2021, the federal spending plan sailed past the policy stage when just 13 Opposition lawmakers stood to try and force bloc voting.

Prior to the vote, Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz announced several concessions to demands from both sides of the divide including extending the loan moratorium for all B40 income earners and small businesses as well as allowing eight million EPF contributors to withdraw up to RM10,000 from their Account 1 instead of RM6,000.

Voting in Budget 2021 had come under extreme scrutiny as there was an expectation that it could be rejected.

By convention, a rejection of the federal Budget is considered a successful vote of no-confidence against the ruling party and should be met by the resignation of the entire Cabinet.

PH parties have since come under heavy criticism from supporters for their apparent failure to try and reject Budget 2021 despite their previously vociferous complaints about it.

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2020/11/28/after-budget-vote-debacle-sources-say-anwar-asked-for-a-week-to-prove-major/1926838

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Jawi: ‘Nikah’ ceremonies allowed at all mosques not located in red zones beginning Dec 1

28 Nov 2020

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 ― “Nikah” ceremonies in the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya will be allowed to be held in all mosques which are not located within red zones effective December 1.

The Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) in a statement today said that the decision was made based on the latest data released by the government.

“The department has made the decision to expand the permitted areas in order to provide more options to couples who wish to solemnise their marriage during the conditional movement control order (CMCO).

“This is also to avoid the presence of a large group of people in a mosque at a time,” read the statement.

Jawi said that the Assistant Registrar of Muslim Marriage, Divorces and Ruju' would be responsible for ensuring that all parties involved in the marriage ceremony complied with the standard operating procedures (SOP) from the National Security Council (MKN) and JAWI's top management, from time to time.

Previously, the department only allowed nikah ceremonies to be held at Jawi’s Kuala Lumpur Office, Putrajaya Branch and certain designated premises including some mosques. ― Bernama

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2020/11/28/jawi-nikah-ceremonies-allowed-at-all-mosques-not-located-in-red-zones-begin/1926844

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Islamic militant group kills 4, burns houses in central Indonesia

November 28, 2020

An Islamic State-linked militant group in central Indonesia has killed four villagers, one of whom was beheaded, and set seven houses on fire, a police officer said Saturday.

National Police spokesman Awi Setiyono said the incident occurred Friday in the village of Lemban Tongoa in Central Sulawesi Province. The motive for the attack was not immediately clear.

Witnesses told the police that a group of about 10 people carrying firearms had launched the attack. Three among them have been identified as members of the Mujahidin Indonesia Timur, or MIT.

Led by Ali Ahmad, who is widely known among terrorist networks and police as "Ali Kalora," the group evolved from a local branch of Jemaah Islamiyah, which is linked to the international terrorist network al-Qaida, to become a staunch supporter of IS.

"A companion of joint military and police personnel has been deployed to hunt for the Ali Kalora group," Awi said.

MIT consists of militants of a Muslim radical cell who joined the conflict between Christians and Muslims between 1998 and 2001 in Poso Regency in the province that claimed about 1,000 lives.

Although a peace deal between Christians and Muslims was reached in 2001, the extreme cell ignored it and developed into a terrorist group. The group, however, has weakened since its most-wanted leader Santoso was killed during an exchange of fire between the group's militants and government forces in mid-2016.

The militant group committed a series of crimes and terrorist acts, including the beheadings of three Christian female students and the shooting of a Christian female priest several years ago.

Some Uyghurs have in the past also joined the group with some having been sent to jail, while others escaped.

https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2020/11/fd3e08b69be1-islamic-militant-group-kills-4-burns-houses-in-central-indonesia.html

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China censures war crimes committed by Australian troops in Afghanistan, urges full probe

28 November 2020

China has severely censured unlawful killings by Australian forces in Afghanistan and called for a thorough probe into the heinous crimes to bring those involved to justice.

The findings of an investigation published last week revealed that Australian soldiers “unlawfully” killed at least 39 Afghan civilians and inmates between 2005 and 2016.

The heavily-redacted 465-page report, released by Inspector-General of the Australian Defense Force (IGADF), found that senior commandos forced junior soldiers to kill defenseless captives in order to “blood” the troops for combat.

The report also explained that once a person had been killed, those responsible would stage a fight scene by placing weapons next to the bodies of the deceased to give the impression that they had posed a military threat.

Australian military officials admitted that a “destructive” culture of impunity among the troops had led to a string of murders and cover-ups by 25 Special Forces personnel in 23 separate incidents, and that the killings had taken place "outside the heat of battle."

The report has sparked an outrage among the Afghan people.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian expressed shock and condemnation over the report, urging probe into the killings, which he said exposed the "hypocrisy" of Australia and some other western countries that proclaim themselves as human rights defenders.

"We are shocked by the details disclosed in this report and strongly condemn such violations of international conventions and human conscience. We call for a thorough investigation and for those responsible to be brought to justice,” Zhao said at a press briefing in Beijing on Friday.

"Australia and some Western countries always regard themselves as 'human rights defenders' and are always ready to point fingers at other countries' human rights. The facts revealed in this report fully expose the hypocrisy of the so-called human rights and freedoms of these Western countries," he added.

"The countries concerned should reflect on themselves, think more about how to take measures to solve their own serious violations of human rights and problems contrary to conscience, and stop using the issue of human rights to interfere in other countries' internal affairs and engage in political manipulation," Zhao concluded.

Days after the release of the damning report, the Australian military sent notices of likely dismissal to 13 soldiers suspected of being witnesses to the killings, or of being dishonest in testifying.

The Australian government had previously spent years trying to gag whistle-blowers or dismiss reports of wrongdoings by the country's military personnel.

Australia, which is not a member of NATO, has had an active role in Afghanistan since the US, along with a number of its allies, invaded the country in 2001. That war and the subsequent occupation continue to this day, even as Australian combat troops have reportedly been pulled out.

The war removed a Taliban regime from power but has failed to stop militant activity in the country and restore security. The ongoing chaos has also paved the way for the Takfiri Daesh terror group to gain a foothold in Afghanistan's east.

Australia still has about 1,500 troops remaining in war-ravaged Afghanistan.

More than 100,000 Afghans have been killed or injured since 2009, when the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan began documenting casualties.

US deploys aircraft carrier to PG to support troops withdrawal

Meanwhile, the US military announced the deployment of its aircraft carrier USS Nimitz to the Persian Gulf alongside other American warships, in a proclaimed bid to provide “combat support and air cover” for soldiers withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The US administration has set a January 15 deadline for the army to draw down its forces from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The deployment comes as regional tensions are on the rise following the assassination of Iranian physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh by terrorists in his vehicle in a small city east of the capital Tehran on Friday.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Mohammad Javad Zarif roundly condemned the terror attack, saying there were “serious indications” of the Israeli regime’s role in the assassination.

Fakhrizadeh’s name was mentioned multiple times in a presentation in 2018 by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during which he repeated baseless claims about the Iranian nuclear program.

Netanyahu described the scientist as the director of Iran’s nuclear program and threatened, “Remember that name, Fakhrizadeh.”

The Tel Aviv regime has made several attempts over the past years to throw a wrench in Tehran’s peaceful nuclear work.

The regime has been behind the assassination of several Iranian nuclear scientists. It has also conduced cyberattacks on Iranian nuclear sites.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/28/639515/China-Zhao-Lijian-Australian-forces-Afghan-civilians-inmates-USS-Nimitz

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URL:   https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/how-pakistani-imam-luqman-haider/d/123602

 

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