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In Joint Declaration Pakistani Clerics Denounce Muslim Terrorists as Enemies of Islam

New Age Islam News Bureau

15 Apr 2019

•  In Joint Declaration Pak Clerics Denounce Terrorists as Enemies of Islam

 Thousands of Sikhs Gather for Harvest Festival in Pakistan

 Sudan’s Military Rulers Urged Parties to Select ‘Independent’ Figure for PM

 Exposed: How Al-Houthi Brainwashes Children, Blesses Targeting Civilians

 Ilhan Omar Says She Has Received Death Threats since Trump's 9/11 Video

 UK Teen Shamima Begum Was Strict Enforcer under Daesh ‘Morality Police’

 More Than 50 Taliban Militants Killed, Wounded In Kunduz Clashes

 Indonesian Election: Muslim Parties Seen Losing Votes

 Fate Of Middle East Must Only Be Decided By Its People: Syria’s Assad



 In Joint Declaration Pak Clerics Denounce Terrorists as Enemies of Islam

 Thousands of Sikhs Gather for Harvest Festival in Pakistan

 Hazara protesters want PM Khan to visit victims' families

 Hindu pilgrims stranded in Balochistan rescued

 Pakistan Awards Saudi Crown Prince with Global Influential Figure Certificate

 Structured India-Pak engagement key to build edifice of durable peace: Pakistan

 Pakistan releases another 100 Indian fishermen as goodwill gesture

 ‘Hope for talks with India after Lok Sabha elections’: Pakistan envoy



 Sudan’s Military Rulers Urged Parties to Select ‘Independent’ Figure for PM

 Over 120 Killed In Battle for Tripoli, Says WHO

 Sudan’s Military Council Names New Intelligence and Security Chief

 Air strike kills ISIS Somalia’s number two, says minister

 Haftar forces’ fighter jet downed near Libya capital, says unity government

 Ruling military council in Sudan rejects demand for immediate civilian government

 'Libyan civil war giving opening for Daesh to rise'

 Sudan says al-Bashir under house arrest in Khartoum



 Exposed: How Al-Houthi Brainwashes Children, Blesses Targeting Civilians

 Israeli forces attack Palestinian schoolchildren with tear gas in West Bank

 New Palestinian government gets mixed reception

 Israeli army probes fatal shooting of Palestinian in West Bank


North America

 Ilhan Omar Says She Has Received Death Threats since Trump's 9/11 Video

 Trump Has ‘No Moral Authority’ To Talk About 9/11, Says House Judiciary Chairman

 Trump Wishes ‘No Ill Will’ With Tweet on Muslim Lawmaker: White House

 Pelosi asks for extra security for Ilhan Omar after Trump tweet

 US military campaign in Somalia could take seven more years to complete: Report

 Trump’s Attack on Ilhan Omar: How the 2020 Democrats Diverged in Response



 UK Teen Shamima Begum Was Strict Enforcer under Daesh ‘Morality Police’

 Daesh Terror Plots Targeting Europe and Middle East Exposed

 European Turks take initiative against anti-Muslim attacks as govts stand idle

 ISIS can still launch attacks, German intelligence chief warns

 Islam is a growing social force in Britain’s second city


South Asia

 More Than 50 Taliban Militants Killed, Wounded In Kunduz Clashes

 25 Taliban Militants Including 4 Foreign Terrorists Killed In Badakhshan Clash

 Abdullah confirms he will not participate in Consultative Peace Jirga

 Afghanistan’s chief executive boycotts Taliban peace talk meeting


Southeast Asia

 Indonesian Election: Muslim Parties Seen Losing Votes

 Indonesians to vote in world's biggest single-day election

 Net foreign selling continues for third consecutive week


Arab World

 Fate Of Middle East Must Only Be Decided By Its People: Syria’s Assad

 Saudi Arabia’s Support Vital For Legitimate Yemeni Government: Yemen PM

 Ankara Continuing Efforts to Annex Aleppo's Afrin to Turkey

 Source: US Using ISIL Terrorists to Attack Iraqi Forces

 Iraq begins trial proceedings for 900 ISIS suspects

 Egypt’s Sisi meets Libyan commander Haftar in Cairo

 Iraq unearths mass grave of Kurds killed by Saddam

 At least 6 civilians killed in terrorist rocket attack on Syria’s Aleppo



 NIA arrested 5th Lethpora CRPF camp terror attack accused

 Hideout of militants busted in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama

 NIAarrests fifth accused in JeMattack

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




In Joint Declaration Pakistani Clerics Denounce Terrorists as Enemies of Islam

APRIL 15, 2019

A joint declaration issued at the “Fourth International Message of Islam Conference,” on Sunday, underlined that teachings of Islam had nothing to do with terrorism, extremism and sectarian violence. Islam being a religion of peace and harmony condemns killings of innocent people and also denounces violence in the society.

The joint declaration of the “4th International Message of Islam Conference” also pinpointed that Islam is a religion of peace, tolerance and forbearance. Elements responsible for fanning terrorism, extremism and sectarian violence are enemies of Islam and Muslims.

The conference also announced to constitute an Islamic Ideological Alliance to contain the mantra of Islamophobia at world level. It was also decided to call a meeting of the leadership of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and other Muslim countries to finalise the mechanism for this Islamic Ideological Alliance.

The Joint Declaration of “4th International Message of Islam Conference” also condemned the brutalities faced by oppressed Muslims of Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Palestine and Kashmir while demanding the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the UN to take notice of the atrocities.

The Conference also lambasted the relocation of the US Embassy in Jerusalem and the occupation of Golan Heights by Israeli Forces as a sheer violation of international laws. The conference announced to support and endorses the oppressed people of Palestine and Kashmir.

On this occasion, Pakistan Ulema Council also announced to carry out countrywide campaign for the eradication of terrorism extremism and sectarian violence and lauded role of Pak-Force, government of Pakistan and law enforcement agencies for peace and stability in the country and also appreciated endeavors on part of Pak-Force to crush the militants and armed outfits from Pakistan. The conference also demanded the government of Pakistan to ensure implementation on the National Action Plan in the letter and spirit.

The joint declaration of the conference also announced to support and endorse the initiative of PM Imran Khan’s “One-Nation” with “One-Education.”

The conference lauded efforts of the ruling government to reform the educational structure in the country stating that seminaries, as well as conventional school education system, should be reformed. Registration of Madaris-e-Arabia with Ministry of Education was the best initiative of the country and practical steps in this regard are inevitable.

Pakistan was said to be a great force of the Muslim world and the entire Muslim world felt proud of Pak-Force. The conference also lauded retaliation of Pak-Force against Indian aggression stating that the Islamic world will not tolerate any aggression towards Pakistan and the Muslim world will not deviate from any sacrifice for security and defence of Pakistan.

The Conference also stated that Muslim Ummah is not negligent with its responsibility for the security and stability of Saudi Arabia. Defence of Harmain Al Sharifain is part of every Muslim’s faith, and no one will be allowed to play with peace and security of Harmain Al Sharifain.

Prevailing moves in Europe and the US relating hatred against Muslims and Islam on the pretext of Islamophobia is very condemnable. Ongoing attacks at mosques in the UK, US and other European countries will sabotage the bids for interfaith dialogue and interfaith harmony. The conference announced that faithful of all the religions of the world have rejected these bids, which have undermined the endeavours of interfaith harmony.

The Joint Declaration of the conference also urged on UNO to ensure legislation for respect and honour of holy places of all the religions.

The joint declaration also lauded the role of Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern stating that world leadership has to learn from her to eradicate the menace of terrorism and extremism from the world.

Teachings of all the religions of the world are against terrorism and extremism. Islamophobia is baseless propaganda of terrorists and extremists and believers and faithful of different religions have rejected this nuisance.

“4th International Message of Islam Conference” also decided to constitute an effective and systematic mechanism for issuance of decrees. In this regard, “Dar-ul-Afta Pakistan will be established in Lahore, in which religious scholars of different religious schools of thought will serve for the issuance of religious scholars. Dar-ul-Afta Pakistan has been tasked to accomplish its educational and ideological role with the assistance of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other Muslim countries to resolve the confronting challenges of the Muslim world.

“4th International Message of Islam Conference” also announced to carry out joint struggle for interfaith dialogue and interfaith harmony. Believers and faithful of different religions believe that resorting to hatred and violence, any issue can’t be resolved; therefore, the world community should promote the importance of dialogue for interfaith harmony.

The conference also pointed out that entire Muslim Ummah has been in the grip of challenges and issues due to foreign interference. Muslim countries from Syria to Libya, Iraq to Yemen and various African countries facing disastrous challenges owing sectarian interference. All the states and countries of the world should respect and honour the sovereignty of other countries and make an end to any assistance to armed outfits and militant organisations making havoc in the affairs of other countries.

The conference also lauded strengthening ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia stating that bilateral ties between both the Islamic countries will reinforce economic relations. Saudi Arabia has always supported Pakistan in every thick and thin. In recent days, Leadership of Saudi Arabia played a very effective role to diffuse Pak-Indian tension.

Services on part of Khadim e Harmain Al Sharifain and Crown Prince His Royal Highness Muhammad bin Salman to serve the Muslims are very encouraging. For services and raising voice for the cause of Muslims, His Royal Highness Muhammad bin Salman has been announced as the favourite personality of the Muslim World for the year of 2018.

The conference also lauded the services of Pak-Force against the menace of terrorism and extremism and announced to confer shield for Pak-Force on behalf of Imam-e-Kaba Al-Sheikh Abdullah Awad Al-Juhany and Chief Justice Shariah Court Palestine.

The conference also urged on all the confronting groups of Afghanistan to come to negotiations and lauds role of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and UAE for peace talks between the Afghan Taliban and US.

Following Resolutions were adopted at “4th International Message of Islam Conference”

A resolution adopted at the conference urged on the Muslims of Europe and the USA to educate their youths with basic teachings of Quran-O-Sunnah to rescue them against the propaganda of terrorists and extremists organizations.

Muslims scholars and clerics were also demanded to play their effective role to educate Muslim youths against prevailing conspiracies against Muslims and also foil the conspiracies against Harmain Al Sharifain.

Another resolution adopted at the conference also resolves to contain the elements making propaganda on the issue of Finality of Prophethood. The government of Pakistan has been urged to include the column relating believe on the finality of Prophethood in Hajj Umrah Visa forms as Qadiyani Leader Mirza Masroor wants to seek permission for Qadiyanis to visit Mecca and Medina.

Another resolution adopted at the conference underlined that any organisation or individual wouldn’t be allowed to do politics on the belief on Finality of Prophethood.

Extra-judicial murders of any Muslim or non-Muslim residing in Pakistan can’t be announced. Believers of any specific religion and religious sect can’t be announced an infidel. Believers and faithful of all the religions are allowed to live in Pakistan as per their traditional norms.

The conference demanded of Federal Minister for Interior Sheharyar Khan Afridi to ensure implementation on National Action Plan in the letter and spirit. The government also urged to keep a check on hateful content being propagated on social media.

Non-Muslims also lives in Pakistan; therefore, it is the responsibility of Muslims as per Islamic Shariah to ensure the protection of properties and holy places of non-Muslims.



Thousands of Sikhs Gather for Harvest Festival in Pakistan

April 14, 2019


Thousands of Sikh pilgrims from across the world have gathered at a shrine in Pakistan to celebrate the Vaisakhi harvest festival amid heightened security.

The festival concluded Sunday, with pilgrims bathing and worshipping at a pond at Gurdwara Punja Sahib in the town of Hasanabdal, outside Islamabad.

Some 2000 Sikhs traveled to Pakistan from neighboring India despite recent tensions between the two nuclear-armed rivals. Sikhs are a small minority in Muslim-majority Pakistan, but many Sikh holy sites ended up in the country after the 1947 partition from India following independence from Britain.



Sudan’s military rulers urged parties to select ‘independent’ figure for PM

14 April 2019

Sudan’s new military rulers urged political parties on Sunday to select an “independent” figure to become prime minister and form a civilian government, an AFP correspondent at their meeting said.

“We want to set up a civilian state based on freedom, justice and democracy,” Lieutenant General Yasser al-Ata, a member of the ruling military council said at the meeting with several parties in Khartoum.

“We want you to agree on an independent figure to be prime minister and agree on a civilian government.”

Meanwhile, the Sudanese group that spearheaded protests said that the military council must “immediately” transfer power to a new civilian government which should then bring ousted President Omar al-Bashir to justice.

“We are calling on the military council to immediately transfer power to a civilian government,” the Sudanese Professionals Association said.

In a statement, it called on the next “transitional government and the armed forces to bring al-Bashir and all the chiefs of the National Intelligence and Security Service... to justice.”

Sudan foreign ministry urges global backing for army rulers

In a related development, Sudan’s foreign ministry urged the international community to back the country’s new military rulers to help “democratic transition.”

“The ministry of foreign affairs is looking forward to the international community to understand the situation and to support the transitional military council ... in order to achieve the Sudanese goal of democratic transition,” the ministry said in a statement.

“The steps taken by the army on Thursday, April 11, take the side of the people for the sake of freedom, peace and justice,” the ministry said, echoing the catch-cry of the months-long protest movement that led to the ousting of long-time leader Omar al-Bashir.

The chief of the military council, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, is “committed to having a complete civilian government and the role of the council will be to maintain the sovereignty of the country,” the military said.

Burhan was also committed to an independent judiciary and to preparing the environment for political parties and civil society to build themselves up “in order to have a peaceful transition of power,” the ministry said.

Burhan took the oath as chief of the military council after his predecessor stepped down a day after ousting Bashir.



Exposed: How Al-Houthi brainwashes children, blesses targeting civilians

April 15, 2019

JEDDAH: For 15 years, he and his fanatical followers have tried to hoodwink the world into believing they are persecuted underdogs, defending Yemen against its oppressors.

But today Abdul-Malik Al-Houthi is exposed for what he is — a violent ideologue motivated by bigotry, hatred and intolerance.

Al-Houthi, 40, leader of the Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen, is the latest subject of Preachers of Hate — a continuing Arab News campaign in which we analyze the words and deeds of militant extremists, place them in context, and explain their malign influence on those who follow them.

With their slogan “God is great, death to America, death to Israel, curse the Jews and victory for Islam,” the Houthis have a long history of intolerance. Al-Houthi is from the same mold as Osama bin Laden, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, Iranian militia strongman Qassim Soleimani and Daesh leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, analysts told Arab News.

Far from being an “underdog,” Al-Houthi has overseen the launch of ballistic missiles targeting civilian population centers in Saudi Arabia — including the city of Makkah, the most sacred place in the religion he claims to revere.

Using the Houthi-run Al-Masirah TV channel and Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV station, he broadcasts his messages of hate to anyone who will listen. Al-Houthi is cut from the same cloth as the leaders of other violent extremist groups, Saudi political analyst Hamdan Al-Shehri said. 

“He has no qualms about putting children and women in harm’s way ... this is the exact strategy employed by other militias and terrorist organizations, including Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda and Daesh.”



Ilhan Omar says she has received death threats since Trump's 9/11 video

April 15, 2019

Ilhan Omar, the first Muslim Congresswoman in the United States, said she received death threats after US President Donald Trump shared a video that purports to show her being dismissive of the 9/11 terror attacks in New York City.

She made a statement on Sunday after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for Mr Trump to take down the video and said she had taken additional measures to protect the Muslim politician from reprisals.

"This is endangering lives," Ms Omar said, accusing Mr Trump of fomenting right-wing extremism. "It has to stop."

Soon after Ms Pelosi's statement, the video disappeared as a pinned tweet at the top of Mr Trump's Twitter feed, but it was not deleted.

Ms Pelosi was among Democrats who had criticised Mr Trump over the tweet, with some accusing him of trying to incite violence against the Muslim lawmaker.

A man from New York was recently charged with making death threats against her.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders defended Mr Trump earlier on Sunday, saying the president has a duty to highlight Ms Omar's history of making comments that others deem anti-Semitic or otherwise offensive and that he wished no "ill will" upon the first-term lawmaker.

But Ms Omar said since the president had retweeted the video on Friday, she received many threats on her life that referred or replied to the posted video.

"Violent crimes and other acts of hate by right-wing extremists and white nationalists are on the rise in this country and around the world," she said. "We can no longer ignore that they are being encouraged by the occupant of the highest office in the land." She said: "We are all Americans."

Earlier, Ms Pelosi issued a statement while traveling in London saying she had spoken with congressional authorities "to ensure that Capitol Police are conducting a security assessment to safeguard Congresswoman Omar, her family and her staff".

Yemeni-Americans are criticising the New York Post tabloid over its front page last week that featured a photograph of the burning World Trade Centre and a quote from Democratic Muslim Representative Ms Omar.

On Sunday, The New York Times reported that the Yemeni American Merchant Association announced a formal boycott of the tabloid after Yemeni bodega owners in New York had earlier agreed to stop selling the newspaper.

Debbi Almontaser, the secretary of the board of directors for the merchants, says they support free speech, but "will not accept the incitement of violence against Muslims. The merchant group demanded an apology from the newspaper.

A spokeswoman for News Corporation, the parent company of the New York Post, declined to comment.



UK teen Shamima Begum was strict enforcer under Daesh ‘morality police’

April 14, 2019

LONDON: Recent news has emerged regarding Shamima Begum’s life under Daesh, claiming that the UK teenager served under the terror group’s “morality police” and also tried to recruit other young women.

The Sunday Telegraph has cited “well-informed” sources alleging that the London-raised teenager was a “member of the feared ISIS morality police”, referring to another acronym for Daesh.

The report claims that the 19-year-old “played an active role” in the organization’s reign of terror.

The newspaper says Begum was allowed to carry a Kalashnikov rifle, and allegedly earned herself the reputation of a strict “enforcer” of laws, on issues such as dress codes for women.

In this role, Begum is said to have received between “£500 and £1,500 a month”.

She also allegedly worked on recruiting more women to join Daesh, including texting a teen from Austria in 2015.

Begum attempted to lure the girl into joining the group by allegedly telling her: “Don’t believe any of the bad things you hear about Dawla [the Daesh state], it’s fake. You have everything you want here and we can help find you a good-looking husband.”

The cited allegations also say that the British teen had been briefed on the preparations of suicide vests used by the group’s self-bombers.

The information, said to have been gleaned by CIA and other western intelligence services, contradicts with what Begum had previously stated about her life under Daesh.

In a previous interview, she claimed that during her four years under the militant group she was never involved in any brutality, adding that during her time in Syria she was a devoted housewife to a Daesh fighter.

Begum has had her British citizenship revoked and has since been stuck in a displacement camp for months after being detained when leaving Daesh territory.



More than 50 Taliban militants killed, wounded in Kunduz clashes

15 Apr 2019

More than 50 Taliban have been killed or wounded during the clashes with the Afghan security forces in northern Kunduz province, the Afghan military said Sunday.

According to a statement released by 217th Pamir Corps of the Afghan Military in the Northeast on Monday, at least 40 Taliban militants have been killed and 12 others including their commanders have been wounded during the clashes in the past 24 hours in Kunduz province.

The Commander of 217th Pamir Corps Gen. Nabiullah Mirzayi said the Taliban offensive in Kunduz were repulsed with the deployment of additional forces and air support.

The statement by 217th Pamir Corps also added that the Afghan Air Force carried out airstrikes in the outskirts of Kunduz city using A-29 light attack aircraft, leaving at least 12 militants dead and two others wounded including a senior leader of the group identified as Mawlvi Nasir.

Teh anti-government armed militants including Taliban have not commented in this regard so far.



Indonesian Election: Muslim Parties Seen Losing Votes

April 13, 2019

Established Islamic parties are likely to lose votes to their nationalist counterparts in next week’s elections in Indonesia, analysts said, despite perceptions of growing religious conservatism.

Several recent polls suggest that nationalist parties will dominate the 575-strong House of Representatives (DPR), with the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) expected to win the most votes in the April 17 election.

Indonesia’s main faith-based party, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), is not expected to repeat its 2014 performance, when it won 6.8 percent of the votes, while the more moderate United Development Party (PPP) and National Mandate Party (PAN) may not secure enough votes to pass the 4 percent threshold required to hold a seat in parliament, recent polls suggest.

PPP and PAN won 6.5 and 7.6 percent of the votes in the 2014 parliamentary elections, respectively.

The National Awakening Party (PKB), a member of the ruling coalition that backs President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s bid for reelection, is the only Islamic party expected to secure its parliamentary seats.

“Despite the recent symptoms of identity politics, nationalist parties are expected to dominate,” said Ari Nurcahyo, director of PARA Syndicate, a private think tank.

“Islamic parties are struggling with a lack of popular figures and innovative ideas,” he said.

“Besides, many Indonesians don’t believe in mixing religion and politics, and many have grown weary with misuse of religion in politics while corruption remains rampant,” he told BenarNews.

The arrest of PPP chairman Muhammad Romahurmuziy, an ally of Jokowi, has further alienated voters from the party, he said.

Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission arrested the PPP leader in mid-March on suspicion he accepted a sizeable bribe to engineer a promotion at the Religious Affairs Ministry, an allegation he denied.

Arsul Sani, PPP secretary-general, said he was optimistic that Romahurmuziy’s legal trouble would not have a significant impact on the party’s performance at the ballot box.

“PPP is an Islamic party that has been participating in elections for a long time and we are confident that we will still have a place in the hearts of the people,” he said.


Up to nine of 16 political parties contesting the election may not pass the parliamentary threshold, surveys conducted by pollsters Charta Politika in March and Indopolling Network in April predicted.

Gerindra, the party of Jokowi’s rival in Wednesday’s presidential election, Prabowo Subianto, is expected to finish second, followed by Golkar, the party of the late former president Suharto.

Both PDIP and Gerindra are likely to benefit from having their own presidential candidates, whose campaigns have dominated headlines and eclipsed the parliamentary race, analysts said.

“Voters are more likely to vote for parties that field presidential candidates. That could be the reason why Islamic parties are diverted to nationalist parties associated with the presidential candidates,” said Arya Fernandes, a researcher at the Centre for International Studies in Jakarta.

Ardha Ranadireksa, a researcher with Charta Politika, a private pollster, said that even though PKS is known for the loyalty of its members, it does not have popular politicians, forcing it to back Prabowo’s candidacy.

“FPI members who support Prabowo will not necessarily vote for PKS,” he said, using the acronym for the Islamic Defenders’ Front, a hardline group.

FPI is led by Islamic cleric Muhammad Rizieq Shihab, who shot to political prominence after he led a campaign in 2016 and 2017 to oust then-Jakarta Gov. Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian of Chinese descent, over allegations that he had insulted the Koran in off-the-cuff remarks.

The events leading to Ahok’s jailing raised concerns about growing religious intolerance in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country. The former governor finished serving his sentence in January.

Sirojuddin Abbas, an analyst at Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting, said simultaneous presidential and parliamentary elections meant that political parties not fielding presidential candidates had to work extra had to win votes.

Despite religious fervor on display at Prabowo’s campaign rallies, PKS and PAN, which also backs Prabowo, are likely to benefit little, he told BenarNews.

New political parties

Ardha said new political parties such as the youthful Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI) had had difficulty garnering support because their platforms were not different from established ones.

PSI is fielding candidates under 40 to attract young voters but is not likely to gain traction in the absence of popular figures, Ardha said.

The secretary general of the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI), Raja Juli Antoni, said he was optimistic despite the gloomy predictions.

“We continue to work door to door. We knock on people’s doors and their hearts and we also knock on heaven’s door,” he told BenarNews.



Fate of Middle East must only be decided by its people: Syria’s Assad

Apr 14, 2019

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says the fate of the Middle East must only be determined by regional nations rather than outsiders, no matter how grave the crises they are grappling with might be.

“The fate of the region must only be determined by the peoples of the region no matter how big the challenges become,” Assad said during a meeting with visiting Iraqi National Security Adviser Faleh al-Fayad in Damascus on Sunday.

The Syrian leader then emphasized that the promotion of bilateral relations between Syria and Iraq will serve the interests of the two brotherly nations, and will help the complete annihilation of terrorism.

The Syrian president further emphasized that Damascus and Baghdad must preserve their sovereignty and independence in the face of regional and international developments as well as divisive schemes being hatched by outsiders.

Fayad, for his part, stated that Iraq regards Syria’s might and victory over terrorism as its own, and that any Iraqi military achievement will be in the best interest of Syria’s stability.

Iraq and Syria have been lately discussing the opening of border crossings between the two countries as well as the efforts made to hunt down remnants of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in border areas.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the country.

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

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

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





Hazara protesters want PM Khan to visit victims' families

Saleem Shahid

April 15, 2019

QUETTA: Amid heavy showers and cold weather, members of the Hazara community continued their sit-in for a third consecutive day, demanding that Prime Minister Imran Khan come to Quetta and assure them of protection and impartial implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP).

The western bypass, which links the city with highways, remained blocked for traffic as security forces surrounded the area where the Hazara families had set up their protest camp against the Friday blast at the Hazarganji vegetable and fruit market.

The suicide attack resulted in the killing of 19 people, including eight members of the Hazara community. Eleven others belonged to different tribes. Among them, there was one security official who was on duty at the blast site.

Representing the protesters, Advocate Tahir Hazara expressed dismay over the federal government’s attitude and regretted that Prime Minister Imran Khan had no time to visit Quetta after the tragic incident of Hazarganji.

He said the government had failed to protect their lives, as terrorists were continuously targeting the Hazara community in Quetta. “We have lost hundreds of our loved ones during the last 10 years,” he added.

Advocate Tahir said the National Action Plan had been prepared by the parliament with consensus yet many points of NAP were not being implemented. It was for this reason that the people of Hazara community were being targeted by terrorists, he added.

“PM Khan should ensure full implementation of the National Action Plan,” he reiterated.

The protesters also chanted slogans against the authorities for failing to protect the people against terrorist attacks.

While the provincial authorities contacted the protesters and assured NAP’s implementation, the latter refused to end their sit-in until all their demands are met.

Meanwhile, more workers of the Majlis Wahdat-i-Muslimeen (MWM) joined in the protest and announced their support for the Hazara community.

Addressing a press conference, MWM Secretary General Allama Raja Nasir Abbas demanded that the federal government ensure implementation of NAP. He said frequent attacks against the Hazara community were giving a message to the world that Pakistan was not safe.

However, he said, no one was safe in Quetta. Along with ordinary masses, security personnel too had been martyred he said, adding that it raised questions over capabilities of the government. He said the state must act without further delay, because the people were tired of lifting the coffins of their loved ones.



Hindu pilgrims stranded in Balochistan rescued

April 15, 2019

QUETTA: Around 150 Hindu pilgrims, who were stranded in a flash flood following heavy rains in the Kachhi area of Bolan district, Balochistan, were rescued by the personnel of Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps on Sunday.

The devotees, hailing from Balochistan’s Nasir­abad and Jaffarabad cities and Sindh’s Jacobabad city, were en route to Kachhi on camels to celebrate the Baisakhi festival, a spring harvest festival, when it began to rain heavily.

Unable to go further because of flash floods which developed following the torrential downpour they sought refuge in nearby mountains.

When their relatives were unable to contact them, they were feared missing. Their relatives immediately got in touch with the local administration who then contacted the Army and Frontier Corps.

Moreover, Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan asked authorities concerned to make use of a helicopter belonging to the provincial government for the search and rescue operation.

Army and FC rescue teams along with the local administration reached the site and rescued all including women and children.

The Provincial Disaster Management Authority provided them with food, water and other relief goods utilising the helicopter. They were later shifted to the Shoran area of Bolan district.

Full report at:



Pakistan awards Saudi crown prince with Global Influential Figure certificate

April 14, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has declared the Kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to be the global influential figure of 2018, the Saudi Press Agency reported. The honor was granted to him for his efforts in supporting Islam and taking care of the Two Holy Mosques, in addition to championing key humanitarian issues including Palestine, Yemen, Syria and the protection of Muslim minorities. He was also recognized for his support of Pakistan and the peace process with neighboring India.

President Dr. Arif Alvi handed a certificate to Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki, who is Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Pakistan.

Alvi said there were strong bilateral relations in all fields and that these ties contributed to stability and security in the region.

The imam of Makkah’s Grand Mosque, Dr. Sheikh Abdullah Awad Al-Juhani, urged Muslims around the world to demonstrate unity and overcome the challenges like terrorism and extremism.

“As long as Muslims are united, no force in the world can defeat them,” he said at the 4th Paigham-e-Islam — or Message of Islam — conference in the Pakistani capital that was attended by hundreds of delegates.

Al-Juhani said he brought good wishes from the Saudi government. “Pakistan is an important country in the Muslim world, and we hold her in high esteem,” he said on Sunday. “Saudi Arabia is a peace-loving country and has always played a positive role in mitigating the sufferings of Muslims across the globe.”

Alvi said Pakistan had defeated terrorism through sacrifice. “The whole world now recognizes the sacrifices rendered by our armed forces in the war against terror,” he told the conference.

The president said more than 70,000 Pakistanis had laid down their lives to protect their motherland and to flush out terrorism.

He added that Pakistan had also set an example for the rest of the world by granting refuge to “our Afghan brothers in ... testing times.”

The Saudi envoy, who was also at the conference, said his government had remained at the forefront of “serving Muslims” across the globe.

Full report at:



Structured India-Pak engagement key to build edifice of durable peace: Pakistan

Apr 14, 2019

NEW DELHI: Pakistan has said it was hoping for "re-engagement" with India after the Lok Sabha polls, noting that structured dialogue would enable the two countries to understand mutual concerns, resolve outstanding disputes and build the edifice of durable peace and security in the region.

In an interview to PTI, Pakistan's outgoing high commissioner Sohail Mahmood said diplomacy and dialogue are indispensable to improve ties between the two neighbours.

"We hope for re-engagement after the elections in India. Diplomacy and dialogue are indispensable," he said.

Tensions between the two countries worsened after the Pulwama terror attack and both the countries were almost on the brink of a war after India's military planes struck a terrorist training camp in Pakistan's Balakot on February 26 and Pakistan carried out a counter-offensive the next day.

Mahmood, who has been appointed as Pakistan's next foreign secretary said dialogue between India and Pakistan was the only option to understand mutual concerns and ensure peace, prosperity and security in the region.

"Sustained engagement and structured dialogue would enable the two countries to understand mutual concerns and differences, resolve outstanding disputes and build the edifice of durable peace, security and prosperity in the region," Mahmood said.

He also said that there was a need to review the narrative about Pakistan in India.

"A narrative is needed that captures the reality in Pakistan objectively and more fully. A narrative that also helps recognise opportunities for peaceful, cooperative and good neighbourly relations," he said.

"We must strive for stable peace, equal security and shared prosperity for ourselves and the region," the envoy added.

In signs of easing tensions, Pakistan around two weeks ago announced that it was releasing 360 Indian prisoners, mostly fishermen as a "goodwill gesture".

The initiative was followed by Pakistan high commission here granting visas to 2,200 Sikh pilgrims from India to facilitate their participation in the annual Baisakhi celebrations in Pakistan.

Over two weeks after the Balakot strike, India and Pakistan held talks to finalise the modalities for setting up a corridor linking the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur with Gurdaspur district in Punjab.

Asked about the Kartarpur corridor project, the Pakistani high commissioner said Islamabad was committed to completing the physical infrastructure on its side.

"The government of Pakistan is proceeding in full measures to complete the physical infrastructure on its side and it is hopeful that the modalities will be mutually agreed between the two sides in good time before November 2019," he said.

Last November, both India and Pakistan agreed to set up the Kartarpur corridor to link the historic Gurdwara Darbar Sahib – the final resting place of Sikh faith's founder Guru Nanak Dev - to Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur.

Kartarpur Sahib is located in Pakistan's Narowal district across the river Ravi, about four kilometres from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine.

The relations between India and Pakistan remained tense since 2016. Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had travelled to Delhi to attend Modi's oath-taking ceremony and the Indian premier had in December 2015 made a stopover in Lahore to greet his counterpart on his birthday.

However, the ties nose-dived following a string of cross-border terror attacks in 2016 and India's subsequent surgical strikes.

Full report at:



Pakistan releases another 100 Indian fishermen as goodwill gesture

Apr 14, 2019

Pakistan has released another 100 Indian fishermen as a goodwill gesture amidst tensions between the two countries after the Pulwama terror attack.

The fishermen released on Saturday were part the second batch of 360 Indian prisoners Pakistan has announced to set free in four phases this month.

Pakistan had released first batch of 100 Indian fishermen on April 7. “Another 100 Indian fishermen were released from Malir Jail in Karachi as a goodwill gesture,” officials said.

They were being taken to Lahore through train where they would be handed over to the Indian authorities at Wagah border on Monday.

The fishermen were arrested for fishing illegally in Pakistani waters during various operations.

Pakistan had released first batch of 100 Indian fishermen on April 7. Another 100 will be freed on April 22 and the process will be completed on April 29 when 55 fishermen and 5 prisoners shall be released.

Pakistan and India frequently arrest fishermen as there is no clear demarcation of the maritime border in the Arabian Sea and these fishermen do not have boats equipped with the technology to know their precise location.

Owing to the lengthy and slow bureaucratic and legal procedures, the fishermen usually remain in jail for several months and sometimes years.

Pakistan’s announcement to release the fishermen came amidst escalating tensions between India and Pakistan after a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror group killed 40 CRPF personnel in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district on February 14.

Full report at:



‘Hope for talks with India after Lok Sabha elections’: Pakistan envoy

Apr 14, 2019

Pakistan has said it was hoping for “re-engagement” with India after the Lok Sabha polls, noting that structured dialogue would enable the two countries to understand mutual concerns, resolve outstanding disputes and build the edifice of durable peace and security in the region. In an interview to PTI, Pakistan’s outgoing High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood said diplomacy and dialogue are indispensable to improve ties between the two neighbours.

“We hope for re-engagement after the elections in India. Diplomacy and dialogue are indispensable,” he said.

Tensions between the two countries worsened after the Pulwama terror attack and both the countries were almost on the brink of a war after India’s military planes struck a terrorist training camp in Pakistan’s Balakot on February 26 and Pakistan carried out a counter-offensive the next day.

Mahmood, who has been appointed as Pakistan’s next Foreign Secretary said dialogue between India and Pakistan was the only option to understand mutual concerns and ensure peace, prosperity and security in the region.

“Sustained engagement and structured dialogue would enable the two countries to understand mutual concerns and differences, resolve outstanding disputes and build the edifice of durable peace, security and prosperity in the region,” Mahmood said.

He also said that there was a need to review the narrative about Pakistan in India. “A narrative is needed that captures the reality in Pakistan objectively and more fully. A narrative that also helps recognise opportunities for peaceful, cooperative and good neighbourly relations,” he said.

“We must strive for stable peace, equal security and shared prosperity for ourselves and the region,” the envoy added.

In signs of easing tensions, Pakistan around two weeks ago announced that it was releasing 360 Indian prisoners, mostly fishermen as a “goodwill gesture”. The initiative was followed by Pakistan High Commission here granting visas to 2,200 Sikh pilgrims from India to facilitate their participation in the annual Baisakhi celebrations in Pakistan.

Over two weeks after the Balakot strike, India and Pakistan held talks to finalise the modalities for setting up a corridor linking the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur with Gurdaspur district in Punjab.

Asked about the Kartarpur corridor project, the Pakistani High Commissioner said Islamabad was committed to completing the physical infrastructure on its side.

“The government of Pakistan is proceeding in full measures to complete the physical infrastructure on its side and it is hopeful that the modalities will be mutually agreed between the two sides in good time before November 2019,” he said.

Last November, both India and Pakistan agreed to set up the Kartarpur corridor to link the historic Gurdwara Darbar Sahib -- the final resting place of Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak Dev -- to Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur.

Kartarpur Sahib is located in Pakistan’s Narowal district across the river Ravi, about four kilometres from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine. The relations between India and Pakistan remained tense since 2016. Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had travelled to Delhi to attend Modi’s oath-taking ceremony and the Indian premier had in December 2015 made a stopover in Lahore to greet his counterpart on his birthday.

Full report at:





Over 120 killed in battle for Tripoli, says WHO

April 15, 2019

TRIPOLI: Fighting near Tripoli has killed 121 people since strongman Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive earlier this month to take the Libyan capital, the World Health Organisation said on Sunday.

In clashes between Haftar’s forces and those of the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), both sides have proclaimed “advances” but neither appears to have made substantial progress on the ground in recent days.

With more than 560 people wounded since the fighting started on April 4, the WHO said it was sending more medical supplies and staff to Tripoli. On its Twitter feed, the agency denounced “repeated attacks on healthcare workers” and vehicles during the fighting.

The UN’s humanitarian coordination office, OCHA, said on Saturday that three medical personnel had been killed and that shrapnel had put five ambulances out of action.

UN-backed government claims shooting down fighter jet of Haftar’s forces

The mounting violence has sparked global alarm over the oil-rich country, in turmoil since Nato-backed forces overthrew former dictator Muammar Qadhafi in 2011.

A bewildering array of militias have sought to take control since his ouster. Haftar’s offensive began shortly before a conference set for this month to discuss Libya’s future — an event the UN cancelled as his forces closed in on the capital.

Haftar, who leads the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), has pushed from his powerbase in the country’s east toward the Libyan capital in the west, the seat of the UN-backed unity government led by Fayez al-Sarraj.

The unity government said its forces had shot down an LNA fighter jet on Sunday “that was preparing to conduct air raids” south of Tripoli.

An LNA source said the plane had come down in an area under its control and that the pilot, who had ejected, was “safe and sound”.

That happened as the strongman met in Cairo with key backer Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who pledged support for “efforts to fight terrorism and extremist militias to achieve security and stability... throughout the country”, Sisi’s office said. Haftar also has the support of key Gulf Arab states and Russia.

With gunfire echoing through city blocks and tanks rumbling through towns and districts south of Tripoli, many panicked residents have fled their homes.

More than 13,500 people have been displaced and over 900 are now living in shelters, OCHA said.

Both sides have launched daily air raids and accuse each other of targeting civilians.

One air strike the GNA blamed on Haftar’s forces hit a school in Ain Zara, south of Tripoli, which has been the scene of violent clashes for days.

On Sunday, the UN mission in Libya warned that international humanitarian law “prohibits the bombing of schools, hospitals, ambulances and civilian areas”.

The mission warned that it would document all breaches in order to inform the UN Security Council and the International Criminal Court.

The LNA meanwhile accused the Tripoli-based forces of an air raid “targeting civilians” in the Gasr Ben Ghachir region south of Tripoli.

GNA spokesman Mohamed Gnounou said his forces had carried out 21 air strikes targeting LNA positions and supply lines between Friday and Saturday.

Gnounou late on Saturday claimed “great advances on all fronts”, including in Al-Aziziya, a city about 50 kilometres south of Tripoli.

“We have not started this war,” he said, “but we will decide the time and place of its end.” On the LNA’s side, spokesman Ahmad al-Mesmari said the attacking forces were also “moving forward on all fronts”.

He reiterated his claim that “terrorists” and “criminals” were fighting on the side of the UN-backed GNA forces.



Sudan’s military council names new intelligence and security chief

14 April 2019

Sudan’s transitional military council has appointed Lieutenant General Abu Bakr Mustafa as the country’s new National Intelligence and Security Service chief, the council’s spokesperson said during a press conference on Sunday.

“The chief of the military council appointed Lieutenant General Abu Baker Mustafa as the chief of the National Intelligence and Security Service,” Lieutenant General Shamseddine Kabbashi told reporters.

This comes a day after the resignation of the former National Intelligence and Security Service chief Salah Gosh.

The council’s spokesperson Kabbashi said that all police officers who took part in the mass demonstrations will be released.

He added that the council will proceed with the arrest of former regime figures. He also said that Defense Minister Awad Ibn Auf was also relieved of his post.

He did not name a successor to Ibn Auf.

Kabbashi said that a bill will be announced defining the relationship between the army and the political forces in order to establish a new civilian government.

“The ball is now in the political forces’ court when it comes to the prime minister or a government,” Kabbashi said.

“If they are ready today to approve anything, we are ready to implement it,” he added.

The spokesperson further clarified that the National Congress Party will not be represented in the coming government, and that both Sudanese ambassadors in Washington and Geneva will be relieved from their positions.

For his part, Lieutenant General Omar Zain al-Abideen, another member of the council, said the opposition groups would have one week to submit their suggestions.

The head of the military council, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, had earlier said the council had invited the main opposition parties and protest organisers for a meeting.

But the the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) and other main opposition parties, which together make up a group known as the Forces for Freedom and Change, said they did not attend the meeting.

“We were not invited to this meeting ... we will submit our suggestions for the government to the military council,” a spokesman for SPA told Reuters.

Full report at:



Air strike kills ISIS Somalia’s number two, says minister

15 April 2019

An air strike has killed ISIS extremist group’s second in command in Somalia, the security minister in the northwest region of Puntland announced Sunday.

“The air strike occurred near Hiririo village in the Iskushuban district of Bari region this afternoon where the commander Abdihakim Dhoqob and a suspected colleague had been travelling in a car,” Abdisamed Mohamed Galan said.

Speaking from the port of Bokasso, Galan did not say who had launched the strike.

ISIS in Somalia is far outnumbered by a rival extremist group, the al-Shabaab, which is aligned with al-Qaeda.

The United States said Wednesday that it had resumed air strikes against al-Shabaab and has previously targeted both groups.

Muse Abdiweli, an elder in a nearby village, confirmed the attack.

“There was a heavy blast and several smaller blasts and people who went to the scene of the attack later saw a vehicle completely destroyed with human body parts shattered in pieces,” he said.

Amnesty International has criticized US drone attacks and air strikes in Somalia, last month reporting that 14 civilians had been killed from only five air strikes they had examined, of a total of 110 missile blasts.

Full report at:



Haftar forces’ fighter jet downed near Libya capital, says unity government

14 April 2019

Libya’s National Accord Government headed by Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj said its forces shot down a fighter jet belonging to forces of commander Khalifa Haftar south of the capital Tripoli on Sunday.

“The forces of the Libyan army shot down an enemy plane that was preparing to conduct air raids in the Wadi al-Rabie area,” Government of National Accord spokesman Mohamed Gnounou told AFP.

Haftar’s forces, which control swathes of the country’s east, launched an offensive earlier this month to take the Libyan capital, defying international calls to halt their battle against fighters loyal to the UN-backed Government of National Accord based in Tripoli.

Haftar, 75, a former general in Gaddafi’s army who later joined the revolt against him, moved his troops out of their eastern stronghold to take the oil-rich desert south earlier this year before sweeping up to Tripoli at the start of April.

Full report at:



Ruling military council in Sudan rejects demand for immediate civilian government

April 15, 2019

KHARTOUM/CAIRO: Sudan’s new military rulers on Sunday rejected a demand by protest leaders to hand over power immediately to a civilian government that will bring deposed leader Omar Al-Bashir to justice.

Thousands of protesters remained camped outside army headquarters in Khartoum to keep up pressure on the transitional military council that took power after ousting Bashir on Thursday.

As the protesters made their demands, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain pledged their support for the transitional council in bringing stability to Sudan. Riyadh also announced a package of humanitarian aid, including petroleum products, wheat and medicines.

The Sudanese Professionals Association, which is organizing and leading the protests, called on the military council “to immediately transfer power to a civilian government.”

It also urged the next “transitional government and the armed forces to bring Bashir and all the chiefs of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS)... to justice.

“The Sudanese Professionals Association calls on its supporters to continue with the sit-in until the revolution achieves its demands.”

The political parties and movements behind the four months of protests said in a joint statement late on Saturday that they will remain in the streets until their demands are met. They said the handover to civilian rule would be the “first step toward the fall of the regime.”

The army has appointed a military council that it says will rule for two years or less while elections are being organized. The council met with a delegation of protest organizers on Saturday.

Omer El-Digair, leader of the opposition Sudanese Congress Party, told the protests outside the military headquarters in Khartoum after Saturday’s meeting that the atmosphere was “positive.”

“We demanded restructuring the current security apparatus,” he said. “We do not need a security apparatus that detains people and shuts off newspapers.”

The political parties and movements behind the four months of protests said in a joint statement late on Saturday that they will remain in the streets until their demands are met. They said the handover to civilian rule would be the “first step toward the fall of the regime.”

The army has appointed a military council that it says will rule for two years or less while elections are being organized. The council met with a delegation of protest organizers on Saturday.

The military overthrew Al-Bashir on Thursday, ending his nearly 30-year reign and placing him under house arrest in the capital, Khartoum. The protesters fear that the military, which is dominated by Al-Bashir appointees, will cling to power or select one of its own to succeed him.

However, the military council stuck to its previous insistence that handing over power could take up to two years, although it was committed to doing so.

The council was “keen on maintaining international and regional relations with countries who have Sudan’s best interests at heart,” the foreign ministry said. It urged the international community to back the military council “to achieve the Sudanese goal of democratic transition.”

The council chief Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan was “committed to having a complete civilian government and the role of the council will be to maintain the sovereignty of the country,” the ministry said.

Earlier the military council met political parties and urged them to agree on an independent figure to be prime minister.

“We want to set up a civilian state based on freedom, justice and democracy,” said a council member, Lt. Gen. Yasser Al-Ata.

The protesters have insisted civilian representatives must join the military council.

Talks between protest leaders and the council were followed on Sunday by a meeting between Washington’s top envoy to Khartoum, Steven Koutsis, and the military council’s deputy leader, Mohammad Hamdan Daglo, widely known as Himeidti.

Himeidti is a field commander for the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) counter-insurgency unit.

The protesters have modeled their movement on the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011 that swept leaders from power in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Yemen. They have incorporated many of its slogans, and established a sit-in outside the military headquarters in Khartoum earlier this month.

Full report at:



'Libyan civil war giving opening for Daesh to rise'


The current Libyan civil war is benefiting the terrorist group Daesh, according to one expert on the region.

The sides in the civil war “which were fighting Daesh are now fighting each other,” said Tarek Megerisi, a policy fellow with the North Africa and Middle East program at the European Council on Foreign Relations.

This gives Daesh “the opportunity to entrench itself and to return to its previous form,” he warned, speaking at a NATO meeting in the Turkish Mediterranean.

It could again become “a very real threat, a potential chaos that we saw back in 2014 which Daesh gain a foothold in the country, caused the migration crisis, which I think Europe still suffers from,” he added.

“It only took three days from the start of the war for Daesh to launch their first attack, invade small towns of Libya, and I think they had two more attacks in the state.”

Megerisi was speaking Saturday at the Rose-Roth – Mediterranean and Middle East Special Group (GSM) parliamentary seminar, hosted by Turkey’s parliament.

Lawmakers, officials, military leaders, and foreign mission chiefs from NATO member states are among the participants at the meeting, set to end Sunday.

Last week, military commander Khalifa Haftar, affiliated with a government based in eastern Libya, launched a campaign to capture the capital Tripoli, where Libya’s UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) is based.

Since the 2011 ouster of late President Muammar Gaddafi, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: one in eastern Libya, and another in Tripoli, which enjoys UN's support.

Other fronts in Libyan civil war

Megerisi said if Haftar’s Tripoli offensive is defeated, his forces could take the fight to eastern Libya.

“They are already contemplating opening up other fronts in southern and eastern Libya.”

“The state of war reverses all the other small successes that Libya might have enjoyed over the last two years,” he added.

Megerisi argued that the international support Haftar has gotten over the last four years “has given him ae sense of impunity.”

“It’s a great example of one of the problems of policy approaches in Libya over the last four or five years, where we desperately try to solve the symptoms of Libya’s underlying chaos and conflict without effectively targeting what the drivers are.”

“Haftar, like many others in Libya, is a non-state actor,” said Megerisi.

“In 2014 and 2015, Libya formed a Government of National Accord, supported by the UN, and this was done to be the vehicle through which to solve Libya’s problems.”

Institutional capacity lacking

Megerisi said the idea to build up a Libyan institutional capacity for solving problems “wasn’t the best approach, considering that these are urgent problems that demand urgent solutions.”

Creating this vehicle and forming direct partnerships with various non-state actors led to the conflicts now plaguing Libya, he said, adding: “It never got the opportunity to develop an institutional capacity to solve these problems.”

He explained: “Instead, various malicious forces were empowered, strengthened, be they Khalifa Haftar, those who are now fighting them, or criminal people smuggling gangs, which at one time found themselves on the UN sanctions list while at the same time engaging with European missions, to help boost their capacity in dealing with the smuggling problem.”

Full report at:



Sudan says al-Bashir under house arrest in Khartoum


Deposed President Omar al-Bashir is under house arrest in Khartoum, the commander of Sudan's Rapid Support Forces (RSP) has confirmed.

"Al-Bashir has not left the country," Lieutenant-General Mohamed Hamdan Daqlo said in televised statements.

On Thursday, the Sudanese military ousted al-Bashir, who ruled Sudan since 1989, following months of popular protests against his rule.

The military also established a military council to run the country for a transitional period of two years.

Daqlo said al-Bashir's crackdown on peaceful protests "has prompted the armed forces to take over the situation and depose him".

Asked about al-Bashir's trial before the International Criminal Court (ICC), Daqlo said "the decision was up to the Sudanese people".

"Sudan is about to form a new elected government, which will decide the shape of the next stage and will try every criminal who has committed any crime against the Sudanese people, including al-Bashir himself," he said.

Full report at:





Israeli forces attack Palestinian schoolchildren with tear gas in West Bank

Apr 14, 2019

Israeli forces have attacked young Palestinian students in al-Khalil (Hebron) and Nablus, in the occupied West Bank, with tear gas canisters and sound grenades.

The Palestinian Ma'an news agency, citing local sources, reported on Sunday that Israeli soldiers in al-Khalil physically attacked several Palestinian schoolchildren on their way to school, attempted to arrest one of them and hurled tear gas canisters towards parents who wanted to intervene and save the children.

The sources confirmed that Israeli forces also used tear gas and sound grenades near the Tariq bin Zayed School in the city, adding that the attack caused some school staff and students suffer respiratory problems due to inhalation of tear gas.

Al-Khalil is known for being the scene of regular attacks by Israeli forces and settlers against Palestinian students. About 800 Israeli settlers now live under the full protection of the Israeli military in the Old City of al-Khalil. The city has more than 30,000 Palestinian inhabitants.

Separately on Sunday, Israeli forces injured dozens of Palestinian students with tear gas inhalation after they raided a high school in Urif village, south of the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus, Ma’an reported.

According to local sources, Israeli soldiers, in full gear, fired scores of tear gas canisters towards the students after they entered the school. Several of the wounded were taken to a nearby medical center for due treatment, the rest received first aid treatment on the scene.

The report added that the attack disrupted classes and caused panic among the students.

The Urif high school has been the target of several attacks by both Israeli forces and settlers, forcing the staff to close the school at least eight times in the previous semester and six times in the current one.

Back in October last year, a group of Israeli settlers from the Yitzhar settlement broke into the same high school in Urif village and began throwing stones at horrified students inside their classrooms.

Dozens of students were injured during the invasion, which also led to the disruption of classes and material damage.   

The United Nations, according to Ma’an, has so far documented 111 Israeli attacks on education in the occupied West Bank affecting more than 19,000 children in the last four months of 2018.

The UN describes Israeli attacks as “incidents of interference in schools by Israeli forces,” which include “threats of demolition, clashes on the way to school between students and security forces, teachers stopped at checkpoints, and the violent actions of Israeli forces and settlers on some occasions.”

According to the world body, over half of the “verified incidents involved live ammunition, tear gas and stun grenades fired into or near schools by Israeli forces, impacting the delivery of education or injuring students.”

In its annual report for 2017, the Palestinian Ministry of Education revealed that 80,279 Palestinian children and 4,929 teachers and staff were “attacked” by either Israeli settlers or soldiers.

About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

Much of the international community considers settler units illegal and subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied lands. Furthermore, the UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.



New Palestinian government gets mixed reception

April 15, 2019

AMMAN: Palestinians have welcomed their new government, but criticized its lack of female representation and say people are apathetic toward politicians.

The administration was sworn in on Saturday by President Mahmoud Abbas and headed by a loyalist from his dominant Fatah party.

Mohammad Shtayyeh, an economist and longtime Abbas adviser, will serve as prime minister of the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA).

He has said he wants to focus on the economy of resistance, and one of his first pronouncements was reviewing Palestinian use of the Israeli currency.

PLO Executive Secretary Saeb Erekat welcomed the new government, saying he was confident it was up to the “grave responsibility” being undertaken.

Ziad Khalil Abu Zayyad, a Fatah spokesman, said the new government would have to support the Palestinian leadership in facing down US and Israeli plans to prevent an independent state.

“The government will deal with the challenges that the Palestinian people face in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza even though it is limited in resources,” he told Arab News.

But there are signs of apathy and outright hostility toward the administration. Top-selling daily newspaper Al-Quds ran a front-page story about the new government without a photo and Hamas, which runs Gaza, called Shtayyeh’s appointment a blow to unity efforts.

The two groups have been at loggerheads since Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in a 2007 near-civil war, a year after winning parliamentary elections.

“This is a separatist government, it has no national legitimacy and it will reinforce the chances of severing the West Bank from Gaza," said Hamas as the swearing ceremony in Ramallah ended.

Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki and Finance Minister Shukri Bishara remain in their positions. Shtayyeh will run the ministries of interior and religious affairs until new appointees are named for these posts.

The new government will also have for the first time a minister of entrepreneurship and economic empowerment, Usama Sadawi.

Jehad Harb, a veteran analyst, said the average age in the new government was 60. Economics Minister Khaled Assali is the oldest at 72. Fadi Hidmi, minister of Jerusalem affairs, is the youngest at 42.

Hidmi said his priority was the people of Jerusalem.

“East Jerusalem is a disaster zone and our priority will be to help strengthen the steadfastness of our people, especially young people; whether it’s addressing school delinquency or supporting economic development, we want to ensure that Palestinians have what it takes to stay in Jerusalem,” he told Arab News.

Harb criticized the reduced female presence, as there are just three women in the 22-member Cabinet.

“The lack of female representation contradicts commitments by the PLO to include at least 30 percent of women in all new appointments,” he told Arab News.

Danny Qumsieh, manager of Bethlehem-based Mawwal FM, said the Palestinian public was not interested in who was leading the government.

Full report at:



Israeli army probes fatal shooting of Palestinian in West Bank

15 April 2019

The Israeli military says it’s investigating the fatal shooting of a Palestinian man by an Israeli civilian earlier this month near the West Bank city of Nablus.

The inquiry comes the same day as Sunday’s announcement by Israeli rights group B’Tselem saying it found inconsistencies in the initial report that the Palestinian man was armed with a knife.

On April 3, the Israeli driver shot Mohammed Abdel Fattah, 23, who he said tried to stab him after hurling a stone at his car.

Since 2015, Palestinians have killed over 50 Israelis in West Bank attacks, while Israeli forces have killed over 260 Palestinians there in the same period.

Full report at:



North America


Trump Has ‘No Moral Authority’ To Talk About 9/11, Says House Judiciary Chairman

Apr 15, 2019

US President Donald Trump has “no moral authority” to comment about the September 11 terrorist attacks, says House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler.

The New York Democrat made the statement on CNN Sunday, days after Trump targeted Muslim lawmaker Ilhan Omar for her fight against discrimination of Muslim Americans after 9/11.

Nadler referenced how Trump accepted post-9/11 funding for a building that had not been damaged during the 2001 attack.

“He stole $150,000 from some small businessperson who could have used it to help rehabilitate himself. And that's why we appropriated it, why I got Congress to appropriate that money,” Nadler said. “To use it for his own small business of 40 Wall Street, he has no moral authority to be talking about 9/11 at all.”

Trump responded to Omar’s efforts last week by tweeting a graphic video of the Twin Towers collapsing along with Omar’s comments.

“She characterized it only in passing,” Nadler said. “She was talking about discrimination against Muslim Americans. And she just said that, after that happened, it was used as an excuse for lots of discrimination and for withdrawal of civil liberties.”

The September 11 attacks were a series of strikes in the US which killed nearly 3,000 people and caused billions of dollars worth of property and infrastructure damage.

“9/11 occurred in my district. I'm very familiar with it,” Nadler added. “I know a lot — I know people, a lot of people, who suffered from it.”



Trump wishes ‘no ill will’ with tweet on Muslim lawmaker: White House

April 15, 2019

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump did not wish any harm in his Twitter post criticising Democratic Congressperson Ilhan Omar’s comments on the 9/11 attacks, White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders said on Sunday.

“Certainly President is wishing no ill will, certainly not violence towards anyone,” Sanders told broadcaster ABC News’ This Week show. “But the President is absolutely and should be calling out the congresswoman for her, not only one-time but [a] history of antisemitic comments,” she said.

Lawmakers from Trump’s Republican party have accused Omar of minimising the 9/11 attacks, while critics of the president say he took Omar’s words out of context in order to stoke anti-Muslim sentiment.

On Saturday, Trump tweeted a video suggesting that Omar, a US representative from Minnesota, had been dismissive of the 9/11 attacks. The video spliced news footage of 9/11 with a clip from a speech Omar gave last month in which she described the attack as “some people did something”.

Several prominent Democrats — including presidential hopeful Senators Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren — condemned Trump’s tweet, saying he was inciting racism and violence towards Omar with the video. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Saturday criticized the president for using the “sacred” memory of 9/11 for a political attack.

In her speech before a Muslim civil rights and advocacy group, Omar said Muslims had “lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen and, frankly, I’m tired of it, and every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it”.

Sarah Sanders called Omar’s comments “disgraceful and unbefitting”. and questioned what she sees as lack of action from Democrats on the issue.

Full report at:



Pelosi asks for extra security for Ilhan Omar after Trump tweet

April 15, 2019

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday she’d asked the US Capitol Police to provide more protection for Representative Ilhan Omar after President Donald Trump tweeted a video of the lawmaker intercut with images of the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the US.

“The President’s words weigh a ton, and his hateful and inflammatory rhetoric creates real danger,” Pelosi said in a statement.

Pelosi demanded that Trump take down the post, which had been pinned at the top of his Twitter feed since Friday. By mid-afternoon the message had been removed, although at least one other anti-Omar retweet remained in Trump’s feed. And by then, the two-day-old video had been retweeted more than 86,000 times.

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Earlier, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on ABC’s “This Week” that Trump bears no “ill will” toward the Minnesota Democrat, who’s been subject to at least one recent death threat.

Pelosi said in her statement that “following the President’s tweet, I spoke with the Sergeant-at-Arms to ensure that Capitol Police are conducting a security assessment to safeguard Congresswoman Omar, her family and her staff.”

Friday’s tweet wasn’t the first attack by Trump on Omar, one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress. But it dialed up the temperature after the president a week ago mocked her in a speech in Las Vegas to a Jewish Republican group.

In the latest incident, Trump posted a video to his 60 million Twitter followers that used a short snippet of an Omar speech followed by images of the burning Twin Towers in New York in 2001.

Asked on “Fox News Sunday” whether Trump is worried he was inciting violence against Muslims or Omar, 37, a Somali-American who immigrated with her family to the US as a teenager after living in a Kenyan refugee camp, Sanders said no. Instead, she blamed Democrats for refusing “to call” Omar for what she termed anti-Semitic comments.

Not Ashamed

“Nothing could be further from the truth. The president is not trying to incite violence against anybody. He’s actually speaking out against it,” Sanders said on Fox.

On April 5, a western New York man who told FBI agents that he “loves the President, and that he hates radical Muslims in our government,” was arrested for threatening to murder Omar in a phone call to her office. Trump’s comment to the Republican Jewish Coalition came a day later.

Omar sent a string of tweets on Saturday after Trump’s Sept. 11 video, but she didn’t address the president directly. In one she said that “no one person -– no matter how corrupt, inept, or vicious -– can threaten my unwavering love for America.”

Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York, said Sunday that the snippet of Omar’s speech used by Trump came from extended remarks about discrimination against Muslim Americans after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Full report at:



US military campaign in Somalia could take seven more years to complete: Report

Apr 14, 2019

US defense officials estimate that Washington’s military campaign in Somalia could take seven years to complete, a new report has revealed, days after President Donald Trump extended the Pentagon's mission for allegedly combating terrorism in the horn of Africa nation.

US Africa Command (AFRICOM) has been carrying out periodic airstrikes in Somalia to allegedly support the UN-backed government there, which has been making efforts over the years to uproot the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab terrorist group spread across the country.

The militant outfit has recently grown more powerful in central Somalia, carrying out attacks against government, military, and civilian targets in the capital, Mogadishu, as well as regional towns.

The Pentagon has about 500 to 600 personnel as part of its purported counter-terrorism mission in Somalia , according to AFRICOM.

"We think it's going to take approximately seven years for the Somalis to absorb all of these forces," an unnamed defense official familiar with the US counter-terrorism strategy in Somalia told CNN on Saturday.

"If everything works out and however many miracles line up to make this happen it could go faster, and it could go slower," the source added.

Other officials at the US Department of Defense have also told CNN that the US mission is “likely to not be completed until 2026.”

Trump signed an executive order this week to extend a presidential declaration of a national emergency concerning Somalia for another year, denouncing the rising militancy in the African country as an "unusual and extraordinary threat" to the US.

In March 2017, Trump authorized the military to carry out precision strikes targeting al-Shabab militants. The campaign has on many occasions led to civilian casualties but American officials waited until earlier this month to confirm that they had indeed killed civilians in their air raids.

AFRICOM admitted last Friday that an internal review of the previous airstrikes had found hints at civilian casualties in April last year.

“During a commander-directed review of airstrikes conducted in Somalia since 2017, US Africa Command learned an April 1, 2018, airstrike killed two civilians," read the statement.

Amnesty International has blasted US airstrikes as "unlawful killings," saying they could well amount to "war crimes.”

The London-based rights group also believes that AFRICOM's civilian death report understate the real numbers recorded by investigators.

Last month, Amnesty reported that 14 civilians had been killed in only five US airstrikes that they had examined out of a total 110 missile strikes.

Earlier this week, Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire traveled to Washington to discuss military cooperation and a wide range of issues with US National Security Adviser John Bolton and other senior American officials, including Under Secretary for Defense David Norquist and David Hale, the Under Secretary for Political Affairs.

Besides the ongoing US military campaign in his country, Khaire said on his twitter account that "economic recovery" and "progress on security sector reform" were among other important issues discussed.

The Somali PM ended his trip on Sunday.

The Pentagon has stepped up airstrikes against alleged positions of al-Shabab militants in the country in the wake of Trump’s approval in 2017 of expanded military operations there.

Full report at:



Trump’s Attack on Ilhan Omar: How the 2020 Democrats Diverged in Response

By Astead W. Herndon

April 14, 2019

The first reaction came Friday evening, from Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

President Trump had escalated his political attacks on Ilhan Omar, the Minnesota Democrat who is also one of the first Muslim women to serve in Congress, tweeting an inflammatory video that implied she trivialized the horror of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Ninety minutes later, Mr. Sanders called the video “disgusting and dangerous,” and an example of “Trump’s racism and hate.”

It kicked off a cascade of analogous statements from other Democrats who are running for president, including Senator Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg and former Representative Beto O’Rourke, all of whom weighed in shortly afterward.

Not on that list: Senators Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand and Cory Booker, who waited until later in the weekend to offer statements of support.

It did not go unnoticed.

“Black folks are watching. Muslim folks are watching. Brown folks are watching,’’ said Jennifer Epps-Addison, the co-executive director of the Center for Popular Democracy, a liberal organizing group focusing on minority communities. “And we’re making our decisions about who to support in real time. When your sister is being attacked, you can’t wait to get the politics right.”

For candidates competing in a wide open presidential primary, the question of how — and when — to engage with Mr. Trump’s political broadsides has become a dividing line among Democrats and party activists.

Just as some advocacy groups are looking to make certain policies litmus tests for a candidate’s progressive credentials, such as “Medicare for all” and the Green New Deal, others are monitoring how quickly and forcefully each responds to Mr. Trump’s most inflammatory moments — whether he’s using images from the nation’s darkest days to attack Ms. Omar or suggesting that authorities should release detained migrants in Democratic cities, as he also did in recent days.

Mr. Trump’s actions do not divide Democrats on the merits, as nothing unites all corners of the party more than the desire to oust him from the White House. His effect on the primary is more political; for voters and activists outraged by Mr. Trump’s actions and rhetoric, only a quick and unequivocal response is satisfactory.

Mr. Trump set off the controversy when he targeted Ms. Omar on Friday with a video of the World Trade Center burning and other images from the attacks, playing to suggestions from conservatives that she had minimized the horrors of that day in a speech she gave last month. Ms. Omar’s spokesman said the right was mischaracterizing her remarks.

In supporting Ms. Omar over the weekend, the differences in the statements from Democrats were slight, but striking. Some candidates, such as Ms. Warren and Ms. Harris, overtly tied Mr. Trump’s actions to xenophobia and an anti-Muslim sentiment. “I’ll be blunt — we must defeat him,” Ms. Harris said.

“I am grateful for @IlhanMN courage and leadership and I stand with her — and with others targeted by the President’s anti-Muslim rhetoric,” tweeted another candidate, former Housing Secretary Julián Castro.

Candidates who have tried to position themselves as pragmatic options to a party lurching to the left, including Mr. O’Rourke, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Representatives Tim Ryan of Ohio and Eric Swalwell of California, all offered varying measures of support, but also tried to refocus the incident to highlight the need to unify the country.

Mr. O’Rourke was criticized for an initial statement that did not mention Ms. Omar by name, but rather said: “We are stronger than this president’s hatred and Islamophobia. Do not let him drive us apart or make us afraid.”

Later, on the campaign trail, Mr. O’Rourke updated his rhetoric to match the calls from Democratic activists, invoking Ms. Omar specifically and connecting Mr. Trump’s tweets to controversial policies such as family separation at the border and the administration’s travel ban for predominantly Muslim countries.

“This is an incitement to violence against Congresswoman Omar and our fellow Americans who happen to be Muslim,” Mr. O’Rourke said later.

“This hatred and division and paranoia and anxiety sown by this president are dangerous, and the consequences frankly are mortal for our fellow Americans,” he added. “He is using the oldest play in the book: fear and division.”

Zahra Billoo, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations chapter in the San Francisco Bay Area, said that, “as a Muslim and a woman of color and a daughter of immigrants,” these moments help give her clarity on who is willing to stand up for her community.

While acknowledging that most voters won’t be aware of the fine gradations between the various statements, or the times they were released, Ms. Billoo said the moments in aggregate can help create an impression about which candidates can be trusted by historically marginalized communities.

“We are seeing a shift in the Democratic Party where there’s a fracture,” Ms. Billoo said in a phone interview. “One side being moderate, even timid. And the emerging side of the party is stepping up to the plate, and recognizing that we’re in an unprecedented moment in time.”

“I’m more invested in the candidates who are willing to speak up and call it what it is,” she said.

The statement from Ms. Gillibrand, in particular, raised eyebrows in politically active circles. Though she has sought to cast herself as full-throated progressive, she qualified her support for Ms. Omar by saying, “As a Senator who represents 9/11 victims, I can’t accept any minimizing of that pain.” Critics lashed back, saying her comments only gave more credence to the slew of misinformation surrounding Ms. Omar.

Ms. Epps-Addison called it shameful, as did Ms. Billoo.

Diane Alston, a 24-year-old from Houston who had recently been quoted in an article about the New York senator’s most vocal superfans, nicknamed “Gillistans,” said the statement was enough to force her to rethink whom she planned to support.

“Ilhan didn’t minimize the pain of 9/11 victims,” Ms. Alston said.

“For Gillibrand to state that she did — when her words were blatantly taken out of context — is shameful and legitimizes a smear against a black Muslim woman already facing death threats,” she said.

Tyler Law, a party strategist and former spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said the weekend should be instructive for all candidates: In an election against Mr. Trump, they will have to be prepared to deal with his shameless politicking, in which he will use his large platform to amplify attacks through the media.

“The way this clip was laundered through the press is almost a perfect master class,” Mr. Law said. “The entire media ecosystem our outrage thrives in is so clearly not built for the new perspectives and nuances of the most diverse Democratic caucus in history.”

“The 2018 midterms demonstrated clearly that while voters are not eager to support someone who will evoke Trump’s name at every turn,” Mr. Law said, “they sure as hell want someone with the backbone to stand up to this bully.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, have both been criticized for not standing with Ms. Omar more unequivocally.

On Sunday afternoon, Ms. Pelosi announced that she had instructed congressional officials to do a “security assessment” to ensure that Ms. Omar was safe following Mr. Trump’s Twitter post.

Full report at:





Daesh terror plots targeting Europe and Middle East exposed

April 14, 2019

LONDON: Details have emerged revealing Daesh plans to carry out terrorist attacks in Europe and the Middle East, a UK newspaper reported on Sunday.

The Sunday Times said it obtained “a trove of chilling documents” about the planned attacks, including correspondence between Daesh officials in Syria and the group’s leaders.

The documents were found on a hard drive that was dropped by a Daesh terrorist during a firefight in Syria earlier this year.

Despite the group’s defeat from its last militant stronghold in Syria last month, the documents reveal how Daesh continues to run sophisticated international networks, move fighters over borders, pay for operations and plan bank robberies, vehicle attacks, assassinations and computer hacking, it was reported.

One of the documents seen by the Sunday Times was signed by six Daesh leaders and addressed to Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the group’s self-declared caliph, and his deputy. It splits up the group’s strategy abroad into two categories: Operations, which will be under the command of a Daesh member called Abu Khabab Al-MuHajjir, and borders.

The document claims Al-MuHajjir controls a Daesh cell in Russia and two in Germany. Another group will be based in north-eastern Syria under separate command, the Sunday Times reported.

The letter refers to the Paris attacks of 2015 and the “Manhattan attack” as inspiration, and states that the group’s first aim is to steal money to fund its plans.

“Killing infidel venture capitalists, hacking banks through bank accounts, bank robberies or robberies of places that are pre-studied,” the letter says, adding that “after any operation of this kind we will send the money as we procure it.”

Specific targets mentioned included a high-speed train in Germany and an oil pipeline near the Swiss city of Basel, bordering France, chosen for the “economic disaster” they believe it would inflict.

It goes on to explain the attacks in Europe will only be carried out by Daesh members already living on the continent.

The letter said fighters from Europe, Russia and the Middle East are sent in and out of Syria through Turkey and Iranians and those from central Asia are brought through Iran.

In the letter, the Daesh leaders also ask Al-Baghdadi for $10,000 to buy a gun, a motorcycle and a range of electronic goods, including laptops and flash drives.



European Turks take initiative against anti-Muslim attacks as govts stand idle


Groups of Turkish youth took to the streets in 10 European countries on Saturday and handed out roses to passersby. In Belgium alone, over 50 Belgian Turks erected information tents in six cities for the "Hello, I'm a Muslim," or "Bonjour, je suis musulman" in French, initiative. To make people rethink their preconceived opinion of Muslims and their beliefs, the passersby were given flyers with basic information on Islam. Free hugs were also offered by both sides in a positive atmosphere that melted many prejudices.

The initiative, which first started six years ago, has now expanded from Germany to the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, France, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Italy and Switzerland. Turkish youth in Australia and Canada also participated for the first time. Organizers say over 210,000 people were given roses and informative leaflets in 12 countries.

Meanwhile, Belgian-Muslims of Moroccan origin started a blood donation campaign in Liège "For goodness and friendship." The event, in which some 400 people donated blood, was co-organized by the Islamic Cultural Center, the Student Union of the University of Liège and the Belgian Red Cross. The annual program marked its first this week and blood donation locations are situated in three different parts of the city.

On other parts of the continent, many anti-Muslim attacks are being reported as governments undermine and ignore the societal problem. In one of the latest developments, the British government sacked its housing adviser, Roger Scruton, after he appeared to repeat anti-Semitic statements and denied anti-Muslim sentiments were a problem. In an interview with the New Statesman, Scruton glorified Hungarian right-wing Prime Minister Victor Orban and his immigration policies: "Hungarians were extremely alarmed by the sudden invasion of huge tribes of Muslims." He had also described Jews in Budapest as part of a "Soros empire."

Previously, the Muslim Council of Britain said: "As the Conservative Party faces its latest crisis on Islamophobia, it cannot continue with false promises to take the issue seriously whilst retaining people such as Mr. Scruton as a government adviser." Following the dismissal, a spokesman for the council said: "The reality is that these concerns will continue to recur until trust is rebuilt through an independent inquiry into Islamophobia in the party."

Last month, 14 members of the Conservative Party were suspended after making abusive anti-Muslim comments online. Senior figures and organizations have written to Theresa May demanding a full investigation and to address the issue of anti-Muslim tendencies within the party.

Full report at:



ISIS can still launch attacks, German intelligence chief warns

April 14, 2019

Germany's domestic intelligence agency has warned against underestimating the threat posed by ISIS after its formal defeat in Syria and northern Iraq.

Thomas Haldenwang, the head of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, told German newspaper Welt am Sonntag that the number of radicals in Germany last year rose to 2,240, despite the demise of the extremists.

"I cannot give an all-clear on ISIS," Mr Haldenwang said. "It can launch an attack in Germany any time."

The "virtual cyber caliphate" can still attract recruits willing to conduct attacks on home turf, the chief intelligence officer said, adding that authorities could not possibly monitor everyone who is suspected of being radicalised online.

Mr Haldenwang said four officers were needed to monitor one person and that resources were being allocated to watch those considered extremely dangerous.

Extremists are also often tech-savvy and are aware of which apps to use if they want to send encrypted information, the agency chief said.

Mr Haldenwang also called on Germany to "pay more attention to far-right extremism" as far-right groups became increasingly "interlinked."

On the issue of the repatriating ISIS children, he said they were also the victims of the extremists and should be treated as such.

He called for legal reform to enable his agency to collect their data and pass it on to the youth welfare office.

This month, the German Foreign Ministry took several children of ISIS militants back to Germany from Iraq.

The fewer than 10 returns so far were carried out with the consent of the parents, the ministry said.

A mother, 31, was immediately placed under arrest when she arrived with her three children at Stuttgart airport, family lawyer Mahmut Erdem said.

Authorities suspect the woman took the children to Syria against the will of their father in 2015.

This month, the German Parliament approved legislation to strip dual nationals of their German citizenship if they joined foreign terrorist groups. But the law is not retroactive.

About 1,000 people are estimated to have left Germany to join terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq since 2013.

A third of them have already returned to Germany and have been prosecuted or placed in rehabilitation programmes.

A “small number” of children have also been repatriated to the UK in the past year, a British minister said.

Questions about ISIS returnees and their children have increased since Shamima Begum, the British wife of an ISIS fighter, was stripped of her citizenship.

Rights groups have also called on Sweden to return the children of about 80 children of Swedes who travelled overseas to fight for the terrorist group.

Full report at:



Islam is a growing social force in Britain’s second city

Apr 11th 2019

Hours after the massacre of Muslims in New Zealand last month, representatives of five other faiths stood in front of Birmingham Central Mosque and proclaimed their solidarity, as worshippers streamed out of midday prayers. “O Lord, keep us and preserve us in life and in security,” intoned Yossi Jacobs, an Orthodox rabbi. Soon after, the routine business of this bustling hub resumed. In the largest of the 200 or so mosques in and around Britain’s second city, Muslims come not only to pray but to buy books, receive instruction, marry, divorce and send off their dead.

As guardians of a faith followed by a quarter of Brummies, including a plurality of the city’s children, the mosque’s leaders play a growing role in civic life. They and other Muslim elders emphasise that they can help to make the city stable and prosperous. But they are equally clear that others must accept them for who they are: products of a conservative Muslim culture.

Full report at:



South Asia


25 Taliban militants including 4 foreign terrorists killed in Badakhshan clash

14 Apr 2019

At least 25 Taliban militants including four foreign nationals who were fighting in Taliban ranks were killed during a clash in north-eastern Badakhshan province of Afghanistan.

The 209th Shaheen Corps in a statement said the clash took place on Saturday night in the vicinity of Jurm district.

The statement further added that 25 militants including four foreigners were killed and 11 others were wounded during the clash.

The anti-government armed militants including Taliban have not commented regarding the clash so far.

Badakhshan is among the relatively volatile provinces in Northeast of Afghanistan. Taliban militants and terrorists belonging to other foreign groups are active in some of its remote districts where they often attempt to carry out attacks against the government and security institutions.



Abdullah confirms he will not participate in Consultative Peace Jirga

14 Apr 2019

The Chief Executive of Unity Government Abdullah Abdullah has announced that he and members of his electoral team will not participate in upcoming Consultative Peace Jirga.

Abdullah issued a statement on Sunday afternoon stating that a decision has been taken to convene Consultative Peace Jirga (Assembly of Leaders) and certain individuals have also been appointed who have proceeded to take steps in implementation stages to convene the gathering.

He also added that he does not see any convincing reason for Consultative Peace Jirga as no consultation has been made with him and his team as part of the consultations which were made on governmental level as well consultations with political parties and figures.

Abdullah said his team does not think that the Consultative Peace Jirga will help to resolve the issues of the country and therefore will not participate in the gathering.

Full report at:



Afghanistan’s chief executive boycotts Taliban peace talk meeting

April 14, 2019

KABUL: Afghanistan’s chief executive said Sunday he would boycott an assembly, or loya jirga, proposed by President Ashraf Ghani on how to make peace with the Taliban.

Dr. Abdullah Abdullah's decision is a further setback for Ghani, who has been excluded from all peace talks between the Taliban and US officials in recent months. The president had called for a jirga in order to lay the framework and conditions for talks with the insurgents.

But Abdullah said he and his party members had not been consulted by Ghani about the gathering, which will bring thousands of delegates and tribal chiefs from across Afghanistan on April 29 to advise the government on the negotiations.

Abdullah, whose ties with Ghani have been shaky since the creation of a power-sharing national unity government in 2014, said he did not see it “helpful to overcome the current challenges in the country.”

His boycott shows new divisions in the government, which was created in a US-brokered deal after 2014 polls.

“We in the Stability and Partnership team have not been involved in any consultation, neither at political party nor individual level, nor at the government level,” a statement cited Abdullah as saying.

“The Stability and Partnership team led by … Abdullah announces that members of the team will not attend the meeting named ‘Consultative Jirga on Peace.’”

Members of the team, which has fielded at least one nominee for September’s presidential race against Ghani, told Arab News they would not attend the jirga either.

Haroon Chakhansuri, a presidential spokesman, said the party led by Abdullah had not shared its concern with the president and that the two leaders would meet to discuss the issue.

Earlier Sunday, disagreements delayed once again a meeting of a newly established reconciliation council with the president for finalizing a delegation for the upcoming meeting with the Taliban in Qatar set for April 19.

The council was set up by Ghani and involves the country’s factions and civil society members. Ghani established it following repeated calls by US envoy Zalamy Khalilzad to form an inclusive team for talks with the Taliban, after Ghani came under fire for creating an earlier version that included his supporters and was not seen as inclusive.

Khalilzad has led almost all talks with the Taliban. These have mostly been held in Qatar. During the last round he discussed the pullout of US troops and a Taliban guarantee that Afghanistan would not pose a threat to any country or US interests when the troops left.

Some politicians said the government opposed the participation of its political rivals in Qatar.

“The government appoints those on the list who work in the government, but we the politicians suggest that there is a need for an Afghan delegation which could represent all of Afghanistan,” politician Ahmadullah Alizai told reporters.

Full report at:



Southeast Asia


Indonesians to vote in world's biggest single-day election

Apr 14, 2019

JAKARTA: Tens of millions of Indonesians will vote in presidential and parliamentary elections this week after campaigns focused on the economy, but with political Islam looming ever larger in the world's biggest Muslim-majority nation.

President Joko Widodo, a former furniture salesman who launched his political career as a small-city mayor, is standing for re-election in a contest with ex-general Prabowo Subianto, whom he narrowly defeated in 2014.

Most opinion polls give Widodo a double-digit lead but the opposition has disputed survey findings. It has also said it has uncovered data irregularities affecting millions on the electoral rolls and has vowed to take legal action or use "people power" if its complaints are not resolved.

Some analysts say an unexpected win for the challenger would probably cause a brief slump in Indonesian markets, while a very close race could elevate the risk of a disputed vote.

"In a scenario in which Widodo wins by an unexpectedly narrow margin, large and prolonged protests in Jakarta would elevate tensions and pressure the currency," said Kevin O'Rourke in the Reformasi Weekly note on Indonesia published last week.

While most polls have put the president ahead, they could not be taken for granted, a senior government official said.

"Absolutely everybody is flying blind because we don't know how far the opinion polls can be respected," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Widodo ended his six-month campaign with a mass rally at Jakarta's main stadium at the weekend, where festive crowds overflowed into a surrounding park and streets.

Running ran out on stage in sneakers, to the cheers of the crowd after an hours-long concert by local bands, he struck an optimistic tone for the future of the world's third-largest democracy.

That was a stark contrast to his opponent, who has repeatedly warned Indonesia is on the verge of collapse.

Prabowo, as he is usually known, held a similarly big rally the previous weekend where supporters, many dressed in Islamic robes, held a mass prayer before a fiery speech about how Indonesia was being pillaged by foreigners and the elite.

Quick Counts

Widodo has touted a record infrastructure drive and deregulation as major successes during his tenure, calling it a first step to tackle inequality and poverty in Southeast Asia's biggest economy.

In a televised weekend debate, Widodo and his running mate, Islamic cleric Ma'ruf Amin, said their opponents, neither of whom has served in public office for more than a few months, did not understand managing macrolevel economics.

Widodo, a moderate Muslim from central Java, has had to burnish his Islamic credentials after smear campaigns and hoax stories accused him of being anti-Islam, a communist or too close to China, all politically damaging in Indonesia.

Prabowo, who has close links to some hardline Islamist groups, and his running mate, business tycoon Sandiaga Uno, have pledged to boost the economy by slashing taxes as much as 8 percentage points, and focus on key infrastructure projects.

Nearly 500,000 police and military will fan out across the vast archipelago to safeguard the vote. In Jakarta, the capital, officers will guard polling station to deter voter intimidation or clashes, national police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo said.

More than 192 million will also vote in national and regional legislative elections, being contested by more than 245,000 candidates, in what is being described as the world's biggest single-day election.

Overseas voting is already underway, with thousands lining up outside Indonesian missions in Singapore and Australia.

On Wednesday, polling stations will open at 7 am (2200 GMT Tuesday) in eastern Indonesia and close at 1 pm (0600 GMT) on the western side of the country.

Voters will manually punch five separate paper ballots for president and vice president, and legislative candidates.

Unofficial "quick counts", based on vote samples from polling stations, will be released hours after polling ends and the winning presidential candidate is expected to be apparent by late Wednesday.

The General Election Commission is expected to announce an official result in May.

Candidates have 72 hours after the official result to complain to the Constitutional Court. A nine-judge panel has 14 days to reach a decision, which cannot be appealed.



Net foreign selling continues for third consecutive week

15 Apr 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia continued to experience net foreign selling for the third consecutive week as investors shifted their asset allocation into safe havens such as bonds and money market.

This was due to the bearish scenario in the global market which has a far more significant impact than internal factors.

Bank Islam Malaysia chief economist Dr Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said in fact, net selling during the first four days of this week (April 8-April11) amounted to RM162.8mil, a decline from RM291.9mil in the same period last week.

“Retail investors are the main buyers in Bursa Malaysia at RM110.1mil during April 8-April11, a rebound from RM11.3mil worth of sales from April 1-April 4.

“The local institutions’ participation in the local stocks stood at RM52.8mil between April 8 and April 11 compared with RM303.2mil between April 1 and April 4,” he told Bernama.

He said outflows may feature in the near term but the main trigger would be external developments such as the terrible outcome of Brexit, the dovish stance among the major central bankers, as well as the recent downward revision in global growth by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“Naturally, during such period, investors would be very defensive, leading to higher demand for safe haven securities such as fixed income instrument,” he said.

Meanwhile, Phillip Capital Management senior vice president (investment) Datuk Dr Nazri Khan Adam Khan said the drop in the net selling value on a week-to-week basis was underpinned by local factors including better commodity prices, ringgit stabilisation and the expectation of better gross domestic product for the second quarter of this year.

He told Bernama that on a year-to-date basis, foreign funds had sold RM1.8 billion net of local equities.

“Looking at the effect on Bursa Malaysia which will likely to see a technical rebound next week, it is expected that there will be a net foreign funds buying of five per cent, driven by rising commodity prices as well as the unchanged interest rate,” he said.

As for the ringgit movement for the week under review (April 8-11), the disappointing Industrial Production Index data for February 2019, which grew only 1.7 per cent year-on-year, coupled with the downward revision of the global growth forecast by IMF, had dragged the ringgit to hit a 10-week low of 4.1120 against the US dollar.

Full report at:



Arab World


Saudi Arabia’s support vital for legitimate Yemeni government: Yemen PM

April 15, 2019

RIYADH: Attempts to end the coup and restore the state institutions in Yemen could not have been possible without the support of the Arab coalition for the legitimate Yemeni government, the country's prime minister said.

Speaking during a Yemeni house of representatives meeting, Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed said that the Arab coalition supports the battle to defeat the coup and restore the state's institutions in Yemen. He was talking during a discussion on a draft state fiscal budget for the current year, which continues its work for the second day in the city of Sioun in Hadramout.

The Yemeni official said that the legitimate government has worked strongly to restore the role of state institutions and reconcile visions among the various national components and brings the views closer to and bridging the rift, to rebuild on solid national foundations that promote national alignment and popular cohesion and achieve the Yemenis' aspirations to restore their state and end the coup, the official Yemeni news agency reported.

The prime minister's financial statement includes policies and measures to be taken by the government in order to achieve its main objective, in partnership with the various state authorities, as well as all the political and social forces and the support from other countries, especially Saudi Arabia and the UAE.



Ankara Continuing Efforts to Annex Aleppo's Afrin to Turkey

Apr 14, 2019

The Ankara-backed National Liberation Army terrorists have removed all the communication towers of Syria in Afrin city and its surrounding areas in Western Aleppo to replace them with Turkey's towers, the Arabic-language Moraseloun news website reported.

It noted that the Turkish government is trying hard to implement the Turkish laws and regulations in the Ankara-controlled areas in Northern Syria as it has imposed using Turkish currency in some regions.

Meantime, local sources in Afrin reported that in fierce clashes between Jbahat al-Shamia terrorists and Ankara-backed Sultan Murat militants have been ongoing in Afrin.

The sources also said that the Ankara-backed militants have asked for $3,000 to release a civilian arrested in Jaghalou village in Sheikh Hadid region of Afrin.

In a relevant development on Wednesday, the Turkey-backed militants resumed attacks on the Kurdish fighters in the city of al-Bab in Northwestern Aleppo after Ankara threatened to launch military operations in Eastern Euphrates.

The militants backed by the Turkish Army pounded the military positions of Kurdish Al-Bab Military Council in the village of al-Bouqaz to the East of Al-Bab city, the Kurdish-language Hawar News reported. The Ankara-backed militants pounded the Kurdish military positions from the village of Ouleshli in Northeastern Aleppo.

The Turkey-backed forces also hit the Kurds' positions in the town of al-Bawihij West of al-Arimeh in Eastern al-Bab which resulted in fierce clashes between the two sides.

This is while the Turkish Defense Ministry in a statement announced that preparations are still underway to launch major military operations against the Kurds in Eastern Euphrates in Northern Syria.

In a relevant development last Friday, several Turkey-backed militants were killed and injured and three of their bases were destroyed in the Kurdish military operations against them in Afrin region in Northwestern Aleppo.

"The Kurdish fighters launched fresh military operations against the Turkish Army and their allied militants in Baseleh town in Shirava region, killing a Turkish soldier and wounding two others as well as destroying their military vehicle," Hawar News reported.

It also noted that the Kurdish forces pounded the military positions of Ankara-backed Jbahat al-Shamia terrorist group in the village of Mariman in Shara region which resulted in the death and injury of six militants.

Meantime, field sources in Afrin also pointed to a bomb explosion in front of Sultan Murat terrorist group headquarters in the center of Afrin City which killed and injured a number of militants. They pointed to the Kurdish fighters as possible perpetrators of the bomb explosion in Afrin City.

In a relevant development last Thursday, a large number of civilians in al-Bab region in Northwestern Aleppo held protest rallies against the Turkish army and affiliated militants, calling for their withdrawal.

Hawar news reported that hundreds of residents of al-Bab, angry with the Ankara-backed militants' measures, including murder, execution and abduction of civilians and plundering their properties, poured to the streets, stressing the need for the Turkish army and militants to leave the region.

They also voiced protest at the activities of Turkish truck drivers in the region, saying that they don't let their Syrian counterparts work.

Relevant reports from Northwestern Aleppo said last month that the Turkish army and terrorists supported by Ankara continued forceful seizure of people's properties in, media sources said, adding that differences had increased among the militants in Turkish-occupied areas.

Hawar news quoted local sources in Afrin as saying that the Ankara-backed militants had cut nearly 1,050 fruit trees belonging to the civilians in the village of Qorneh Foqani in Bolboleh region.

They also added that the terrorists had cut the old trees near Meidanaki Lake in Shara region.

The sources said that the terrorists in Afrin region and other occupied areas in Northern Aleppo had also engaged in severe differences and several of them in Afrin, al-Bab and, specially Jarabulus, have defected their groups and joined other groups affiliated to the Turkish army.

Full report at:



Source: US Using ISIL Terrorists to Attack Iraqi Forces

Apr 14, 2019

Head of Badr Organization's Office in al-Anbar Qusai al-Anbari was quoted by the Arabic-language al-Ma'aloumeh news website as saying on Saturday that the US forces deployed in Ein al-Assad and al-Habaniyeh bases in al-Anbar deserts in Western Iraq are using a new method to attack the Iraqi security forces.

He added that they disguise the ISIL terrorists as shepherds and tribesmen to launch on against the Iraqi security forces, Hashd al-Shaabi (Iraqi popular forces) and civilians in al-Anbar desert.

Al-Anbari said that the US forces have even prepared livestock for the ISIL terrorists to disguise them as shepherds.

The head of Badr organization's office in al-Anbar province had also last month warned of the American forces' suspicious moves in the Western deserts of the province, saying that the US was aiding the terrorists stationed in the region.

Al-Ma'aloumeh quoted al-Anbari as saying at the time that the Americans were assisting a terrorist group called Ghosts of Desert in desert areas of al-Anbar, adding that they had been airdropping foodstuff packages for the ISIL from helicopters hovering over the region in the past few days.

Full report at:



Iraq begins trial proceedings for 900 ISIS suspects

14 April 2019

Iraq has begun trial proceedings for nearly 900 Iraqi suspected members of ISIS extremist group caught fleeing extremist territory in neighboring Syria, a judicial source told AFP on Sunday.

They were handed over to Iraqi authorities by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, which ousted ISIS from swathes of eastern Syria including territory bordering Iraq.

“We received the interrogation files of nearly 900 Iraqi Daesh (ISIS) members coming from Syria,” the court official said, speaking anonymously because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

“The specialized terrorism court has begun setting dates for their trial in batches,” the source added.

The nearly 900 suspected extremists were transferred by the SDF to Iraqi custody in recent months as the remnants of ISIS’ once sprawling self-declared “caliphate” collapsed in neighboring Syria.

Additional Iraqi suspects are in SDF custody and awaiting transferal, a security source told AFP Sunday.

“They will be handed over in batches on the Syrian-Iraqi border. They include very influential leaders, but ISIS had sought to keep them hidden,” the security source said.

One of those destined to be handed over was deeply involved in ISIS’ efforts to develop chemical weapons, he said.

Full report at:



Egypt’s Sisi meets Libyan commander Haftar in Cairo

14 April 2019

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met on Sunday with Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar, whose forces are fighting for control of the capital Tripoli, the presidency said.

“The president (Sisi) affirmed Egypt’s support in efforts to fight terrorism and extremist militias to achieve security and stability for Libyan citizens throughout the country”, it said in a statement.

Their discussion comes on the back of “the latest developments on the Libyan situation,” it added.

Fighting near Tripoli has killed 121 people and wounded 561, the World Health Organization said on Sunday.

Haftar has defied international calls to halt his battle against fighters loyal to the UN-backed Government of National Accord based in Tripoli.

Haftar supports a parallel administration based in Libya’s east.

Earlier this month, Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry cautioned that the conflict could not be solved militarily.

His remarks came at a Cairo press conference with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, who also called for a political solution among all sides in Libya.

Full report at:



Iraq unearths mass grave of Kurds killed by Saddam

14 April 2019

Iraq must never forget Saddam Hussein’s crimes or allow his party to return, President Barham Salih said on Sunday after attending the unearthing of a mass grave of Kurds killed by the former leader’s forces three decades ago.

The grave, found in the desert about 170 km west of the city of Samawa, contained the remains of dozens of Kurds made to “disappear” by Saddam’s forces, Salih’s office said.

They were among up to 180,000 people who may have been killed during Saddam’s “Anfal” campaign that targeted Iraqi Kurds in the late 1980s when chemical gas was used, villages were razed and thousands of Kurds were forced into camps.

“He killed them because they did not accept the continuation of this regime, because they wanted to live a free and dignified life,” Salih, a Kurd, told a news conference at the grave site.

“He brought them to Samawa to bury them but our people in Samawa embraced them,” Salih added. Iraq’s southern provinces are predominantly inhabited by Shi’ite Arabs, who also suffered oppression and mass killings under Saddam, a Sunni Arab.

Full report at:



At least 6 civilians killed in terrorist rocket attack on Syria’s Aleppo

Apr 14, 2019

At least six civilians have lost their lives after a barrage of rockets fired by terrorists hit some neighborhoods of Syria’s northwestern city of Aleppo.

Syria’s official news agency SANA reported that the rocket attack, launched by “terrorist groups”, also wounded at least seven others on Sunday.

The Aleppo province is situated next to Idlib, a province still held in most parts by terror groups, the most prominent of them is called the Takfiri Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).

According to the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the attack, composed of at least 20 rockets, was conducted mainly by HTS terrorists against several neighborhoods of the city.

Since the Syrian government troops regained control of Aleppo at the end of 2016, the city has been targeted intermittently by an array of terror outfits.

Full report at:





NIA arrested 5th Lethpora CRPF camp terror attack accused

Apr 14, 2019

SRINAGAR: National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Sunday arrested the fifth accused in connection with a militant attack on CRPF camp at Lethpora in 2017.

NIA spokesman said in a statement that on April 14 it arrested Irshad Ahmad Reshi, a resident of Ratnipora, Pulwama in Case RC No. 10/2018/NIA/DLI (Attack on CRPF Group Centre, Lethpora).

“Arrested accused Irshad Ahmad Reshi is an active OGW (over ground worker) of  roscribed militant organisation Jaish-eMuhammed. He was a close associate of slain militant and JeM Commander Noor Mohammad Tantray alias Noor Trali. The attack on CRPF Group Centre, Lethpora was executed under a conspiracy to avenge the death of Noor Trali, who was killed in an encounter with security forces in December 2017,” NIA spokesman said in a statement.

“Irshad Ahmad Reshi has been found to be a key conspirator, who provided logistic support in form of sheltering and transport for the militants and conducting reconnaissance of the CRPF Group centre, Lethpora before the attack,” he said.

“Irshad Ahmad Reshi will be produced before the Special NIA court, Jammu on 15.04.2019 with a request for grant of police custody for further investigation,” the NIA spokesman added.

“The militant attack on CRPF Group Centre, Lethpora, was carried out in the intervening night of December 30-31, 2017, by three militants belonging to JeM,” he said. All the three militants were killed in the encounter.

Five CRPF personnel were killed and three were grievously injured in the incident in December the spokesman added.

The NIA spokesman said that other four accused, namely Fayaz Ahmad Magrey of Lethpora, Manzoor Ahmed Bhat of Pampore, Nisar Ahmed Tantray of Tral, and Syed Hilal Andrabi of Ratnipora, had been arrested earlier.



Hideout of militants busted in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama

Apr 14, 2019

Srinagar: A militant hideout was busted by security forces in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, police said on Sunday.

They said that a joint party of police and Army busted the hideout in Manduna village in Koil of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district. “The joint team of Police and 55 RR recovered huge quantity of incriminating materials and other items,” a police spokesman said.

The security officers have seized all the incriminating materials and initiated further investigations.

The hideout was busted a day after two militants were killed in an encounter with security forces at Gehind in south Kashmir’s Shopian district. The two militants were locals and were associated with terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed.



NIAarrests fifth accused in JeMattack

Apr 14, 2019

The National Investigation Agency on Sunday said that it arrested the fifth person allegedly involved in the December 2017 CRPF group centre attack in Lethpora, Pulwama in which five CRPF personnel and three Jaish-e-Mohammad militants were killed.

Irshad Ahmad Reshi, a resident of Ratnipora in Pulwama and allegedly an “over the ground worker (OGW) of the JeM”, was a key conspirator of the 2017 attack, a spokesman of NIA said.

“Reshi has been found to be a key conspirator who provided logistic support in form of sheltering and transport for the terrorists and conducting reconnaissance of the CRPF Group centre, Lethpora before the terrorist attack,” he said. He was arrested from Pulwama.

He is the fifth accused to have been arrested in the case upon disclosures of the other accused.

Fayaz Ahmad Magrey of Lethpora, Manzoor Ahmed Bhat of Pampore, Nisar Ahmed Tantray of Dar Ganai Gund in Tral, and Syed Hilal Andrabi of Ratnipora in Pulwama have been arrested earlier in the case.

The NIA spokesman said that Reshi was a close associate of the slain militant and JeM Commander Noor Mohammad Tantray alias Noor Trali.

“The attack on CRPF Group Centre, Lethpora was executed under a conspiracy to avenge the death of Noor Trali, who was killed in an encounter with security forces in Dec 2017,” the spokesman said.

On the intervening night of December 30-31, 207, three JeM militants attacked CRPF Group Centre, Lethpora killing five CRPF personnel. The three militants were also killed in the attack.

Full report at:




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