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Iran Attacks: Twin Assaults on Parliament and Shrine Rock Tehran

New Age Islam News Bureau

7 Jun 2017

A video still apparently showing the moment a bomb was detonated at the Ayatollah Khomeini shrine.



 Iran Attacks: Twin Assaults on Parliament and Shrine Rock Tehran

 Don't Need Lectures From a Terrorist: Muslims on Terrorist Zakir Musa

 ‘This Is For Syria,’ Notre Dame Attacker Said As He Lunged At Police with Hammer

 Survey Finds Sentiment against Islamic State Rising in Indonesia

 Mosque in US Condemns Imam’s Comments on Genital Mutilation



 Iran Attacks: Twin Assaults on Parliament and Shrine Rock Tehran

 Saudi FM: Iran Must Be Punished For Its Interference in the Region

 Israel okays plans for new settlement in occupied West Bank

 Israeli fire kills Palestinian near Gaza border: hospital, residents

 Palestinian grandfather, 81, again sits for high school exams

 Ankara detains Amnesty Turkey head over ‘Gulen links’

 Turkey to Germany: Have it your way with Incirlik troops



 Don't Need Lectures From a Terrorist: Muslims on Terrorist Zakir Musa

 In ‘Islamic State Recruiter’ Case, His Mother’s Letter Is Key NIA Evidence

 Student killed in clash between stone-pelters and forces in Kashmir

 BMC to allot land for Muslim burial ground

 MHA asks states to implement Student Police Cadet Programme to counter extremism

 Babri Masjid demolition trail: Statement of prosecution witness recorded

 Five suspects dead, three acquitted: Hyderabad terror case falls through



 ‘This Is For Syria,’ Notre Dame Attacker Said As He Lunged At Police with Hammer

 Govt Policies Are Responsible For Extremism in UK, Not Muslims: Saeeda Warsi

 UK police arrest man at Heathrow airport over Manchester attack

 Third London attacker named as anger grows over security flaws

 Timeline: How jihadists have targeted soldiers and police in France


Southeast Asia

 Survey Finds Sentiment against Islamic State Rising in Indonesia

 Hundreds of Pesantren to Form Alliance to Promote Moderate Islam

 Court rejects Hizbut Tahrir Malaysia’s bid to be lawful society

 Indonesia’s Muslim Council Issues Fatwa against Fake News

 Top Hamas commander expelled by Qatar in Malaysia

 Zahid: One day, Quran memorisers can even be PM

 Defend Country from ‘Cunning’ Christian Evangelists, PAS Man Tells Muslims

 Pancasila Lecture May Soon Be Compulsory at Leading Indonesian University

 Weapons Found at Militant's Bandung Home, Suspected Links to Kampung Melayu Attack


North America

 Mosque in US Condemns Imam’s Comments on Genital Mutilation

 US President Donald Trump Says Isolating Qatar 'Beginning Of End of Terrorism'

 Trump backs Saudi-led efforts to isolate Qatar


Arab World

 Riyadh, Abu Dhabi Rebuke Saudi Intelligence Ministry for Wrong Intel on Qatar

 Rights Groups: Saudis Planning To Execute 14 Shias after Unfair Trial

 Over 60 ISIL Terrorists Killed in Syrian Soldiers' Advances in Eastern Hama

 Saudi foreign minister: Qatar must end support for Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood

 UN accuses ISIS of executing 163 civilians in Mosul on June 1

 Egypt’s Al-Azhar: Severing Ties with Qatar Necessary to Protect the Arab World

 US-backed force launches assault on IS ‘capital’ in Syria

 Idlib Tribes Warn of Bloody War against Terrorists

 ISIL's Attack on Syrian Army Positions in Eastern Homs Repulsed again

 Coalition: Raqqa offensive aims to deal ‘decisive blow’ to ISIS

 Security guard kills Arab-Israeli protester in central Israel

 Trump stresses need for Gulf unity in a call with Saudi King Salman


South Asia

 New US Strategy to Ensure ‘Terrorists Never Retake Afghanistan’

 Pak Fighting 'Undeclared War of Aggression' Against Afghanistan: Ghani

 Kabul Truck-Bomb Toll Rises to 150: Afghan President

 Suspected Bomb Kills 7 outside Mosque in Afghanistan's Herat

 Qatar diplomatic row: Test for Bangladesh’s foreign policy

 Taliban claims the group is not behind Herat city bombing that left 7 dead

 Jalaluddin Haqqani’s group suffer casualties in latest Taliban infighting

 Pak military reacts as Kabul blame Pakistan-based Haqqani network for deadly attacks

 India will never be cowed down, Vohra says in react to rocket attack in Kabul

 Those using suicide bombers, terrorism for political means will fail: Abdullah



 Muslim Asia Caught In the Middle as Diplomatic Row Rocks Middle East

 Pentagon report singles out Pakistan as home of future Chinese military base

 Two men die from hunger, thirst near Pak-Iran border

 Army takes exception to Afghan threats



 Algeria Calls for Dialogue to Resolve Qatar Row

 Jordan tells Qatari ambassador to leave country within days

 Libyan diplomat reveals Qatari ‘involvement’ in attempt to kill General Haftar

 Roadside bomb blast kills 4 in Kenya

 UN force in CAR may send Congo soldiers home over abuse claims

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Iran Attacks: Twin Assaults on Parliament and Shrine Rock Tehran

By Shirzad Bozorgmehr and Karen Smith, CNN

June 7, 2017

Tehran, Iran (CNN)Attackers have mounted simultaneous gun and suicide bomb assaults on Iran's parliament building and the tomb of the republic's revolutionary founder in Tehran.

At least seven people were killed and 35 others injured in the twin assaults, the semi-official Fars agency reported.

State media reported that gunmen stormed the parliament building in Tehran and went on a shooting spree. At least one attacker detonated a suicide bomb. Five people died and at least 25 were injured there, Fars reported.

At the same time, a gun and suicide bomb attack targeted the Ayatollah Khomeini mausoleum on the southern outskirts of the Iranian capital. Two people died and 10 were injured at the shrine, Fars said.

A woman was arrested after the attack at the tomb, Fars reported, adding that another attacker has been surrounded by security officers.

CNN has not independently verified the number of victims and it was not immediately clear whether the number of dead included the suicide bombers.

The attackers were holding a number of hostages inside the highly-fortified parliament building, Press TV reported, as Iranian officials scrambled to establish who was behind the attacks or whether they were coordinated.

A picture from semi-official Fars news agency shows a man lowering a young boy from a window of the parliament building onto the street as another man holding a gun watches over them from another window. The man with the gun is reportedly a policeman helping with the evacuation.

Attacks of this nature are extremely rare in Iran, particularly in the highly-controlled capital where tourist and government sites are tightly policed.

Gun ownership is heavily controlled in Iran, raising speculation that the attackers' guns were smuggled into the country.

Symbolic attack

Iran's parliament, also called the Islamic Consultative Assembly or Majlis, has 290 members. It has female members and has representatives for religious minorities including Christians, Zoroastrians and Jews.

It is currently unclear how the attacker or attackers entered the parliament building, which has multiple security checkpoints.

The location of the mausoleum attack is symbolic, targeting the tomb of the Islamic Republic's founder and first supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. He led the revolution that overthrew the Shah in 1979 and was Iran's leader for 10 years.

The mausoleum is located around 25 kilometers (15 miles) from the parliament.

Attacks rare

Such attacks in Iran are rare, but the country -- with its largely Shiite population -- has been involved in military actions against Sunni terrorist groups such as ISIS, who regard Shiites as apostates.

Last year, Iran's government said it thwarted "one of the biggest plots" by terror groups targeting Tehran and other major cities during the month of Ramadan. This year's holy month started almost two weeks ago on May 26.

The last major attack in Iran was in 2010 when a Sunni extremist group carried out a suicide attack against a mosque in Sistan-Baluchistan killing 39 people. Kurdish groups have carried out small scale attacks against Iranian security forces in the north-west of the country.

CNN's James Griffiths and Madison Park contributed reporting.




Don't Need Lectures From a Terrorist: Muslims on Terrorist Zakir Musa

Mohammed Wajihuddin

Jun 7, 2017

MUMBAI: Eminent Islamic scholars, senior clerics, head of a leading Muslim organisation, and anti-jihadist activists have strongly condemned the utterances of al-Qaida operative Zakir Musa.

While calling Musa's rant highly objectionable and misleading, community leaders have said that India's secular Constitution provides enough scope for the minorities to solve their problems and they don't need any "lecture" from a terrorist who believes in violent ideology.

"Indian Muslims know how to fight their battles peacefully and find solutions to their problems within the constitutional framework. Musa's inflammatory statements seem to have been made to appease the anti-Muslim forces in India. His views are in tandem with those who hate Indian Muslims," said Naved Hamid, president, All India Muslim Majlise Mushawarat, an umbrella body of 14 organisations.

Anti-terrorism crusader and president of NGO Islamic Defence Cyber Cell, Dr A R Anjaria, who had initiated the biggest fatwa against the Islamic State in 2015, vowed to reply to Musa's rant soon. "He calls Indian Muslims shameless but the likes of Musa are the worst oppressors and enemies of Islam who kill innocents in the name of religion. I will reply to him soon through an audio-video," vowed Dr Anjaria.

Islamic scholar Dr Zeenat Shaukat Ali dismissed Musa's message as incitement from a "misguided" mercenary. "His reading of Islam is wrong. He tells Indian Muslims to avenge the atrocities perpetrated by 'gau rakshaks' but does he know how much the Prophet valued compassion and forgiveness? It is these so-called warriors of Islam who have defamed the faith and fuel Islamophobia across the world. They are enemies of Islam and Muslims," Ali said.

While condemning the call for joining Ghazwa-e-Hind (the final and last battle for the conquest of India), senior cleric Mufti Manzar Hasan Ashrafi Misbahi said it has not been proved yet if the Prophet ever spoke of such a conflict. "Ghazwa is a battle in which the Prophet personally participated. So any battle fought after his demise cannot be called a Ghazwa. And if Indian Muslims ever fought a such a Ghazwa, it must have been against the British colonizers who had oppressed the subcontinent's Muslims," said Mufti Misbahi who also refuted Musa's claim that after the victory in the Jung-e-Badr 313 Muslims "ruled the world".



‘This Is For Syria,’ Notre Dame Attacker Said As He Lunged At Police with Hammer

7 June 2017

French police shot and injured a man who attacked an officer with a hammer outside Paris's Notre Dame Cathedral Tuesday, as he shouted "this is for Syria".

Police sources said the officer sustained minor neck injuries in the assault, which comes with France on high alert after militants killed seven people in London on Saturday.

Documents found on the attacker identified him as a 40-year-old Algerian who was a doctoral student in information science at a university in the east of France.

The suspect later claimed to be a "soldier of the caliphate" of the About an hour after the attack he was taken to hospital and police declared the situation to be under control.

Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said the man, who was also carrying kitchen knives, had shouted "this is for Syria" as he lunged at the officer.

Anti-terrorist prosecutors were put in charge of the investigation.

A witness told AFP he heard someone "shout very loudly".

"Then there was a crowd surge and people panicked. I heard two shots and saw a man lying on the ground in a pool of blood," he said.

On Tuesday evening a group of 15 heavily armed elite police officers searched student accommodation in the suburbs of Paris, where the suspect rented a studio, an AFP journalist said.

A tenant of the building described him as "very quiet".

The suspect's thesis director at the University of Lorraine, where he enrolled in 2014, said the doctoral student showed "no outward sign of an excessive adherence to Islam."

"When I knew him, he had a pro-Western, pro-democratic outlook," Arnaud Mercier, who said he had not heard from the suspect since November, told the French television chain BFMTV.

Notre Dame, which is situated on the banks of the Seine river in the heart of Paris, draws 13 million visitors a year.

Over 1,000 people were inside the cathedral at the time of the attack.

Authorities in Paris asked the public to stay away from the area.

Pictures on social media showed people sitting in the pews with their hands in the air -- apparently at the request of police.

Andre Finot, the cathedral's head of communications, later described the situation as calm. "People are talking to each other, praying and continuing their visit," he said.

In September, Notre Dame was the scene of a scare after a car full of gas canisters was found parked nearby.

The car was tracked to an all-female terrorist cell, allegedly acting on the orders of Syria-based ISIS militants.

Renewed state of emergency

Tuesday's incident comes three days after extremists used a van and knives to crush to death and kill seven people enjoying a night out in London. One of the victims was French.

France is still under the state of emergency imposed after the November 2015 attacks in Paris, when ISIS militants killed 130 people in a night of carnage at venues across the city.

The last fatal attack in France dates to April 20, when a policeman was shot dead on Paris's prestigious Champs-Elysees avenue, three days before the first round of the presidential election.

Previous major attacks targeted the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in January 2015 and in November that year, gunmen and suicide bombers attacked venues around Paris including the Bataclan concert hall, killing 130 people.

Then in July last year, a radicalised Tunisian man drove a lorry at high speed through a Bastille Day fireworks display on the Nice waterfront, massacring 86 people.

Since then there have been a series of smaller attacks, often targeting security forces. State group, according to a source close to the investigation.

The policeman's colleague opened fire on the man, hitting him in the chest in panicked scenes around the Gothic cathedral that is one of France's most visited tourist attractions.

The man lay bleeding on the ground as police sealed off the area and searched for possible accomplices.



Survey Finds Sentiment Against Islamic State Rising in Indonesia

June 06, 2017

Noor Zahid


Opposition to Islamic State is growing in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, according to a new opinion poll.

While an overwhelming majority of Indonesians hold negative views of the Islamic State group, a significant portion of the population said it was not a threat to the country, a new survey finds.

Ninety percent of the 1,350 adults polled nationwide viewed IS as a threat to the country and even more, 92.9 percent, favored banning the group in Indonesia, according to the May 14-20 survey by the Jakarta-based Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting.

Two years ago, a Pew Research Center poll found 79 percent of Indonesians had unfavorable opinions of IS, and only 4 percent favored the group. That survey was conducted in 11 countries with significant Muslim populations, including several in the Middle East and Africa.

The new survey, however, showed that 10 percent of those surveyed do not see IS as a threat to Indonesia, and many have never heard of the group.

Future of Islamic State

Despite the fact that IS has shown signs of expanding in the country of 258 million people, analysts in Indonesia say the group does not have a future there.

“This is very encouraging. The survey makes us hopeful because the number of people who oppose ISIS is pretty big,” said Thamrin Tamagola, a sociologist at the University of Indonesia, who used an acronym for the group.

The government and the public, however, should remain vigilant because IS and other militant groups could undermine the republic, pluralism and the authority of large Muslim organizations in the country, Tamagola said.

An ongoing battle in the southern Philippines between the military and IS-endorsed militants has raised concerns about a resurgence of Islamist terrorism in Southeast Asia.

The region has made significant inroads since the early 2000s against al-Qaida-linked groups such as Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines and Jemaah Islamiyah in Indonesia.

Azyumardi Azra, a Muslim scholar and former president of the State Islamic University in Jakarta, said that unlike the Wahabi or Salafi movements, Indonesia's inclusive form of Islam and multicultural society are too strong to be defeated by the ideologies of radical Islam.

“Islam Indonesia is an Islam inherent in the culture, and Indonesian culture is basically a tolerant culture,” Azra said. “Even if IS pushes itself on Indonesia, the people of Indonesia, according to history, will rebel.”

Attacks threatened

Indonesian authorities also point out that IS has repeatedly threatened to attack the country. IS claimed responsibility for coordinated bomb and gun attacks in central Jakarta in January that killed eight people, including the four attackers.

IS has been recruiting in Indonesia, and as many as 384 people had joined by January, according to the country's counterterrorism agency. Most of those have traveled to Syria and Iraq. Government reports last year suggested as many as 169 to 300 Indonesians who fought for IS have returned home.

Greg Fealy, an associate professor at the Australian National University who studies terrorism in Indonesia, said the IS terror threat in Indonesia has been rising since mid-2014.

U.S. Treasury authorities in March sanctioned Bahrun Naim, a prominent Indonesian national, and added him to the global terrorist list for providing financial and operational support for IS in Indonesia and funneling money through Southeast Asia to recruit people to IS battlefields.



Mosque in US condemns imam’s comments on genital mutilation

7 June 2017

A Virginia mosque outside Washington is condemning its leading imam’s seeming endorsement of female genital mutilation.

The Washington Post reports that the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center’s Board of Directors said Monday that it rejects Imam Shaker Elsayed’s description of the practice as a way to avoid “hyper-sexuality” and “the honorable thing to do if needed.”

In a clip of a lecture circulated last week by a right-wing watchdog group, Elsayed warns against more serious procedures, but suggests seeking a Muslim gynecologist’s advice to see whether minimal action is necessary.

The board’s statement says genital mutilation is “prohibited in Islam as well as the laws of the land” and includes a retraction from Elsayed.

The Falls Church mosque’s second imam, Johari Abdul-Malik, and 20 others called on the board Monday to terminate Elsayed’s contract.





Saudi FM: Iran must be punished for its interference in the region

6 June 2017

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir said Iran must be punished for its interference in the region and support for terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda, Al Arabiya News Channel reported him as saying early Wednesday.

Jubeir, who is in Paris since Tuesday, said that Iran is a host for some Al-Qaeda leaders as well as other commanders from other terrorist organizations.

The minister further urged Iran not to interfere, describing Tehran as the number one supporter for terrorism in the world.

For Iran to be a “normal state,” it must respect international law, he said. Jubeir also said that the Iranian regime’s “political ideas” are completely rejected.

The minister said the Iranian regime for the past 37 years attacked more than 12 embassies.

Saudi Arabia alongside seven other countries, including Egypt, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen, Maldives, Mauritius and Mauritania, have recently severed its ties with Qatar.

Jubeir said Riyadh severed ties with Doha due to Qatari policies, which harmed the region especially the Gulf states.

He also said that Qatar did not commit to anti-terrorism agreements signed years ago, and instead continued to show support for terrorist groups.

He urged Qatar to  “change their policies” and stop supporting “extremist groups”.

Jubeir said that harming Qatar was not Riyadh’s goal, but that it had to make a necessary choice.

“Qatar has to stop its support of groups such as Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood,” Jubeir said in statements on Tuesday in Paris.

“We decided to make it clear that enough is enough,” Jubeir added. “We want Qatar to be an ally in finding peace and stability in the region.”

His statements come as Kuwait has begun mediation efforts in Saudi Arabia to ease tensions between Qatar and several of its Gulf neighbors.



Israel okays plans for new settlement in occupied West Bank

Jun 6, 2017

An Israeli panel has endorsed plans for the construction of a new settlement in West Bank in defiance of the international outcry against the Tel Aviv regime’s land grab policies in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Israeli media outlets reported on Tuesday that the plans also envisages construction of some 1,800 other settler homes – a move which will deal a stinging blow to efforts to create an independent Palestinian state and will jeopardize the so-called two-state solution to the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Peace Now, an Israeli anti-settlement group that monitors settlement activity in the West Bank, reported that the military-run Civil Administration is scheduled to discuss further building plans for the occupied territory on Wednesday.

On March 30, the Israeli regime approved plans to build the new Amichai settlement. It will accommodate some 300 residents of a wildcat outpost in the West Bank known as Amona, which was evacuated under a court order in February.

According to Israeli media reports, the panel also ratified plans on Tuesday to build 102 homes at Amichai for Amona settlers.

Plans for another 1,800 dwellings in several existing settlements were also approved.

On December 23, 2016, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2334, which demands that Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem” al-Quds.

It also states that the building of settlements by Israel has "no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law."

Since the inauguration of US President Donald Trump in January, the regime in Tel Aviv has stepped up its construction of settler units on occupied Palestinian land in a blatant violation of international law.

Full report at:



Israeli fire kills Palestinian near Gaza border: hospital, residents

7 June 2017

Israeli soldiers opened fire at Palestinians who were throwing stones near the border fence in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, killing one man and wounding seven others, residents and hospital officials said.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said dozens of Palestinians had gathered at the fence and were trying to damage it. Soldiers on the Israeli side of the border fired warning shots in the air after their calls to halt were ignored.

Residents in the enclave, run by Islamist Hamas group, said the protesters were throwing stones near the fence when the Israeli troops shot at them. Hospital officials in Gaza said a 25-year-old man was killed.

The Israeli spokeswoman said the military was looking into reports of a Palestinian fatality.

At least 248 Palestinians and one Jordanian citizen have been killed since a wave of sporadic violence began in 2015 in Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

Israel says at least 167 of those killed were carrying out stabbings, shootings or car-ramming attacks. Others died during clashes and protests.

Thirty-seven Israelis, two American tourists and a British student have been killed in the violence, which has slowed in recent months but not stopped.

Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005. The Palestinians hope to establish an independent state including the enclave and the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, territories Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian leadership have stalled.

Full report at:



Palestinian grandfather, 81, again sits for high school exams

7 June 2017

A year into his ninth decade, Abdel-Qader Abu Ajameyah is studying hard and hoping for the best as he sits exams for his high school diploma.

The 81-year-old, a retired food salesman from Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, took the national test for the first time last year but failed. So he's having another go.

A father of 14 children, he has been studying five hours a day and doing his best to concentrate despite the attempts of some of his 36 grandchildren to get him to play.

"I like education," he said with pride, wearing a formal suit and tie. "There is no limit for someone to study, it does not stop at a certain age.

"I want to set an example to generations - never stop learning."

Abu Ajameyah is taking the exams in a room set aside for him at a local school. A recent stroke has restricted his hand movement, making it difficult to write, so he dictates the answers to a woman aide who fills in the papers.

Figures from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics show illiteracy among Palestinians aged 15 and above stands at just 3.3 percent, one of the lowest rates in the Arab world.

Abu Ajameyah gets support from his family, especially his wife, who is constantly trying to keep the grandchildren distracted while he studies.

"My mother takes care of all my father's needs as if he was an 18-year-old high school student," said 43-year-old Zakaria, one of Abu Ajameyah's sons. "We all encourage him and we are all very proud of him."

Zakaria said his father began school in a village near Ramla, in what is now Israel, before Israel's creation in 1948. During the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, Abu Ajameyah's family was forced to flee, becoming refugees in the West Bank.

Full report at:



Ankara detains Amnesty Turkey head over ‘Gulen links’

Jun 7, 2017

Ankara has arrested Amnesty International’s point man on Turkey on suspicion of links to the US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen blamed for the 2016 abortive coup.

Taner Kilic was detained along with 22 other lawyers in the western city of Izmir on Tuesday, all on similar charges, the UK-based rights group cited a detention order as saying.

“We are calling on the Turkish authorities to immediately release Taner Kilic along with the other 22 lawyers, and drop all charges against them,” said the Amnesty’s Secretary General Salil Shetty in reaction.

It is not yet clear whether the rest of the arrestees were Amnesty’s personnel.

Gulen used to be Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s mentor and ally before disagreements arose between them.

He has been in self-imposed exile in the United States for decades, and now the Erdogan government accuses him of having masterminded the failed July 2016 coup against Ankara.

“Taner Kilic has a long and distinguished record of defending exactly the kind of freedoms that the Turkish authorities are now intent on trampling,” Shetty added, and said the arrests proved how “arbitrary” Ankara’s post-coup crackdown had become.

He was referring to sweeping apprehensions countrywide in the aftermath of the putsch.

Around 47,000 people have been placed in detention and more than 100,000 public sector employees summarily dismissed since the coup attempt.

Full report at:



Turkey to Germany: Have it your way with Incirlik troops

Jun 7, 2017

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim says Germany’s removal of its troops from the Incirlik air base will be of little consequence.

“There is no decision we have taken on this. They can have it their own way,” said Yildirim on Tuesday.  

He added that Germany can “remove its troops however it wants” and the decision has “nothing to do with Turkey.”

Yildirim made the remarks after German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel announced that his country has no choice but to remove its troops deployed at the base located in southern Turkey.

A dispute recently broke out between Ankara and Berlin when German parliamentarians were refused access to the base where it had troops deployed.

“We have to respect that Turkey for domestic political reasons cannot approve visits. But then you know the opinion of the German parliament which will now in the very near future make reference to that part of the mandate which says that, if visits aren’t possible, the German government will have to look for another location.” said Gabriel.

Relations between Turkey and Germany began to deteriorate after a failed coup in Turkey last year. Germany has repeatedly criticized Ankara's crackdown, saying the Turkish government has acted beyond the rule of law.

Full report at:

Ankara also accuses Berlin of giving sanctuary to outlawed Kurdish militants and allowing their sympathizers to stage anti-Turkey rallies across Germany.





In ‘Islamic State recruiter’ case, his mother’s letter is key NIA evidence

by Johnson T A

June 7, 2017

A mother’s letter to her son questioning his association with terrorists is being used by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) as key evidence against an Indian man accused of being an online recruiter for the Islamic State (IS). Adnan Hasan Damudi, 36, accused of aiding youths from around the world in joining the IS in Syria and Iraq from 2012 to 2015, was arrested by the NIA in January 2016 after he was deported from the UAE. A letter written by his mother, Gulshan Banu, questioning his links with radical elements — seized by the police in the UAE at the time of Damudi’s detention — has been cited by the NIA as key evidence in his legal trial, besides details of his online activities and alleged fund transfers to youths around the world to entice them to join the IS.

In the letter, handwritten in Urdu, Banu has expressed her anger, disappointment and knowledge of her son’s “unlawful activities’’. Submitting the letter in court, the NIA has also gathered Banu’s handwriting samples to forensically prove its authenticity. Damudi, who hails from Bhatkal in Karnataka, has been identified by Indian agencies, including the NIA, as being a key figure behind the luring of youths from around the world, including several from India, towards the IS from 2012 to 2015. Damudi, a former Dubai-based accountant, and two others — Sheikh Azhar ul Islam, 24, from Kashmir and Mohammed Farhan Shaikh, 25, from Maharashtra — were named by the NIA as an Abu Dhabi module of the IS involved in recruitment of youths.

Sheikh Azhar ul Islam and Mohammed Farhan Shaikh, who were deported from Dubai with Damudi last year, recently pleaded guilty to the charges against them and were convicted by a Delhi court. Damudi is contesting the case against him and is being currently tried by a special court. The NIA has accused the trio of “criminal conspiracy to propagate ideology, recruit persons, raise funds and facilitate the travel of such recruited persons to Syria for furtherance of activities of the ISIS”.  Damudi has been specifically accused of providing 3,000 dirhams to a youth from Hyderabad in 2014 to enable him to travel to Syria/ Iraq to join the IS. He is also alleged to have transferred 1,300 dirhams from his Dubai bank account to Yehlam De Guzman Feira from the Philippines, and 5,000 dirhams to Anand Tahira @Amzz Lycn, also from the Philippines, to enable them to travel to Syria to join the IS.

He is accused of online links with IS operatives from Australia, Bangladesh, Egypt, Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Serbia, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, UAE and UK apart from India. Damudi is also accused of online association with a Philippines-based IS recruiter, Karen Aisha Hamidon, who was arrested in the Philippines in 2015, as well as Mumbai youths Areeb Majeed and Fahad Tanwar Shaikh prior to their travel to Syria in 2014.

The former accountant is also alleged to have been part of a network that helped eight youths from Tamil Nadu to join the IS and a separate investigation is being carried out by the NIA in this regard.

Damudi has been identified by Indian agencies as being linked to a faction of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) outfit suspected to have joined the IS. He is reported to have had close links on social media with the Armar brothers — Sultan and Shafi — from Bhatkal, linked first to the IM and later to the IS. Sultan Armar, alias Maulana Abdul Khader, was reported by IS websites to have died in Syria in 2014 while his brother Shafi Armar’s name has emerged in many IS recruitment cases in India. According to the NIA, Damudi was involved with Shafi Armar in running two pro-IS media websites. Following Damudi’s detention in Dubai in 2015, his father, Hussain, had said that Damudi only tweeted pro-IS messages and liked Facebook pages linked to the IS but was not involved in any illegalities.



Student killed in clash between stone-pelters and forces in Kashmir

Jun 6, 2017

SRINAGAR: A student was killed and 10 other civilians were injured in a clash between a stone-pelting mob and security forces in Kashmir's Shopian district during a cordon-and-search operation, police said.

This evening, the security forces launched the cordon- and-search operation in Ganowpora area of Shopian following information about presence of militants there, a police official said.

However, the local residents pelted stones at the security forces who fired tear smoke shells to chase them away, the official said.

Some time later, the stone-pelting intensified and the security forces had to open fire to disperse them, the official said.

Full report at:



BMC to allot land for Muslim burial ground

June 7, 2017

The BMC on Tuesday filed an affidavit before the Bombay High Court saying 3,000 sq mt land will be allotted for the cemetery of Muslims in Bandra. A division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice N M Jamdar was hearing a public interest litigation filed by a real estate developer from Bandra who complained of no land available for burial grounds for Sunni Muslims in the H/West Ward.

The affidavit filed by a BMC official said, “The proposed development plan for Bandra has a block for Muslim cemetery of 3000 sq mt and therefore once the said DP is finalised the requirement will be fulfilled. The draft DP is submitted to the state along with the recommendations and decision of the BMC and the draft is likely to be published in six weeks after the approval of the general body.”



MHA asks states to implement Student Police Cadet programme to counter extremism

June 7, 2017

Aiming to counter extremist ideologies that incite children and youth, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has asked states to effectively implement the Student Police Cadet (SPC) programme in schools. The programme, which was recommended during the National Police Congress in Dehradun in 2011, has already been implemented in Kerala, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka and Rajasthan. The communication notes that discussions on such a programme had recorded that the top-down traditional show of force by police is not a comprehensive response to such issues. “Countering such extremist ideologies in thought and in action, and (to) make the young agents of peace and security is the key objective of SPC programme,” stated the communication sent to all states.

The programme also aims to address issues like underage sex, anti-establishment behaviour, substance abuse, heinous crimes by children and protection from ideological and religious radical organisations focusing on youth and children as new recruits, says the notification. “Today, a third of India’s population is below 14 years of age and by 2030, over half of India’s population will be young. We need to address issues that our youths will face,” said a senior official. The MHA communication demands convergence of several ministries and local self-government institutions for the programme and states that the state home department would be the implementing agency.

It also notes that the Home Ministry would address all states to roll out the nationwide programme in a phased manner. The participants will be given two sets of uniforms, one for physical training and the other for parade. Incentives to students who take part in the programme, like bonus marks, may be discussed in later meetings, notes the communication. The MHA has prepared a draft memorandum for the programme, which is to be launched in 3,440 schools across the country, with 44 cadets from each school. The total budget for the programme is Rs 430 crore for a period of three years.

Full report at:



Babri Masjid demolition trail: Statement of prosecution witness recorded

June 7, 2017

Prosecution witness Dinesh Verma, a government employee, appeared before the special court hearing the Babri Masjid demolition case in Lucknow on Tuesday. Verma’s statement was examined by the prosecution.

“Dinesh Verma, posted at UP’s information and public relations department, had videographed the visit of then chief minister Kalyan Singh at Ramlala, Ayodhya, in June 1991. Kalyan Singh had gone there a day after taking oath as chief minister of UP on June 24, 1991. Today, statement of Dinesh Verma was partially examined by the prosecution,” said CBI special counsel Lalit Kumar Singh.



Five suspects dead, three acquitted: Hyderabad terror case falls through

June 7, 2017

On May 31, the seventh additional metropolitan sessions judge acquitted Mohd Riyaz Khan and Mohd Abdul Sayeed, who had been accused of plotting, along with five others, a conspiracy to kill policemen in Hyderabad to avenge the Mecca Masjid blast, spread terror and wage war against the state.

Last September 14, Riyaz and Sayeed had been acquitted in a similar case by the second additional metropolitan sessions judge. As the second terror case fell through, they walked free on June 1 after spending nearly seven years in jail without bail. The court observed that the prosecution had failed to establish the conspiracy or that they wanted to wage war against the state.

Eight persons had been accused in the cases of terror conspiracy and murder of two policemen. Five of them — Mohd Vikaruddin Ahmed, Mohd Amjed, and Mohd Zakir of Hyderabad; Dr Haneef Mohammed of Ahmedabad; and Izhar Khan of Lucknow —were shot dead by Telangana police in an alleged encounter on April 7, 2015, while being brought to court from Warangal prison. The eighth accused, Vinod Kumar Sahu, charged with facilitating purchase of country-made revolvers by Vikaruddin, was acquitted on September 14 along with Riyaz and Sayeed.

All eight were arrested between July and September of 2010 after two police constables were killed in separate firing incidents.

On May 17, 2009, and May 4, 2010, groups opened fire at police pickets at Falaknuma and Shalibanda respectively, killing constables K Balaswamy and V Ramesh. The probe in both cases was taken up by a special investigation team of undivided Andhra Pradesh’s Octopus Police (Organisation for Counter Terror Operations).

Police arrested Vikaruddin in July 2010, and based on his confession arrested six others for the alleged conspiracy. The chargesheet by the special investigation team stated Vikaruddin wanted to avenge the killing of Muslims in police firing during rioting following the Mecca Masjid blast of 2007. Police stated he had formed an organisation called Tahreek Galba-e-Islam whose other members were Amjed, Zakir, Haneef, Izhar, besides Riyaz and Sayeed of Hyderabad. The SIT stated that to mark the anniversaries of the Mecca blast, Vikaruddin and the others conspired to attack police pickets and kill cops, and alleged that accordingly Vikaruddin and Amjed went on a motorcycle on those two dates and opened fire. The SIT accused all seven of conspiracy, procuring arms, creating terror and waging war against the state. They were booked under sections 121,121A, 120B, 302, 307 of IPC and 16, 18 and 20 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. Sahu was charged with facilitating purchase of country-made revolvers by Vikaruddin.

While the trial in the conspiracy case and the two murder cases was on, Vikaruddin (A1), Amjed (A2), Zakir (A3), Haneef (A4) and Izhar (A7) were shot dead in the alleged encounter of 2015. They were being brought from Warangal prison to a Hyderabad court for hearing on their bail petition.

The alleged encounter took place days after two SIMI members, who had escaped from Khandwa jail, allegedly shot dead two cops at Suryapet in Nalgonda on April 4, 2015, before being shot dead by police.

While acquitting Riyaz (A5) and Sayeed (A6), the court said the case against A1 to A4 and A7 was abated by the court as they were dead. It observed that the prosecution could not prove or establish circumstantial evidence with regard to the conspiracy theory and the involvement of Riyaz and Sayeed.

Full report at:





Govt policies are responsible for extremism in UK, not Muslims: Saeeda Warsi

7 June 2017

Former British Minister and Conservative party leader Saeeda Warsi has called UK government policies as real reason of extremism in the country.

While talking to a private news channel, she asserted that government policies are responsible for extremism in Britain, not Muslims.

“There are about 3 million Muslims in UK and they are not terrorists,” she said.

Warsi further said that if policies had been altered then the issue of terrorism could have been tackled efficiently.

She also mentioned that due these policies and their end result, Muslim community is facing serious issues in Britain.

Her statement came after recent London attack when on Saturday night, police shot dead the three male assailants in the Borough Market area near London Bridge within eight minutes of receiving the first emergency call shortly after 10 pm (2100 GMT).

Eyewitnesses described harrowing scenes as the attackers’ white van veered on and off the bridge sidewalk, hitting people along the way, and the three men then ran into an area packed with bars and restaurants, stabbing people indiscriminately.

Accounts emerged of people trying to barricade themselves in a pub while others tried throwing tables and other objects to fend off the attackers.

May’s government announced that a nationwide minute of silence would be held at 1000 GMT on Tuesday to pay respect to the victims of the attack and flags would remain at half-mast on government buildings until Tuesday evening.

At an apartment block in Barking, a resident told Sky News he heard controlled explosions early on Sunday morning as police gained access to the building. A Reuters photographer later saw four women being removed from the building, shielding their faces as they stepped into police vans.



UK police arrest man at Heathrow airport over Manchester attack

7 June 2017

British police said on Tuesday they had arrested a man at London's Heathrow airport in connection with the investigation into the suicide bombing on a concert hall in Manchester last month which killed 22 people.

"The 38-year-old was arrested on suspicion of offences contrary to the Terrorism Act and remains in custody," Greater Manchester Police said in a statement on Twitter.

"The arrest was planned beforehand and there was no direct threat to the airport."



Third London attacker named as anger grows over security flaws

7 June 2017

London - Police on Tuesday identified the third attacker in the weekend terror assault in London amid mounting anger, two days before an election, over how the jihadist killers had apparently escaped surveillance.

With flags at half-mast, the nation fell silent at 11:00am (1000 GMT) to remember the seven killed and dozens injured on Saturday night - a mourning ritual now grimly familiar after two previous terror attacks in less than three months.

Police identified the third attacker as Youssef Zaghba, a 22-year-old Italian of Moroccan descent, a day after naming his accomplices as Khuram Shazad Butt, 27, a Pakistan-born Briton, and Rachid Redouane, 30, a self-described Moroccan-Libyan dual national. Police also said they had made an overnight raid in east London and arrested a 27-year-old man early Tuesday. Twelve people arrested earlier have since been released.

Butt "was known to the police and MI5" but there was no intelligence to suggest the attack was being planned, the Metropolitan Police said.

Zaghba was "not a police or MI5 subject of interest," it added, an assertion that seemed to conflict with accounts in the Italian media.

In what it said was an unprecedented move, the Muslim Council of Britain said more than 130 imams and other religious leaders had refused to perform the funeral prayer for the attackers.

Criticism immediately flared about how Butt was able to carry out the attack.

He had notably featured in a Channel 4 TV documentary entitled "The Jihadis Next Door" and, according to the British media, numerous people alarmed by his views had gone to the authorities.

And according to Italian media reports, Zaghba's status as a potential militant had been notified to the British and Moroccan secret services.

The London attack follows the May 22 suicide bombing at the Manchester Arena by Salman Abedi - killing 22 people, including children - who was also known to British intelligence services. "Why didn't they stop TV jihadi?" The Sun asked on its front page, while the Daily Mirror demanded: "So how the hell did he slip through?" The conservative Daily Telegraph added: "It is astonishing that people who pose such a danger to life and limb should be able to parade their foul ideology on TV with no consequences." Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson acknowledged the security services had to provide answers.

"People are going to look at the front pages today and they are going to say, 'How on earth could we have let this guy or possibly more through the net? What happened? How can he possibly be on a Channel 4 programme and then committing atrocities like this?'," Johnson said on Sky News.

British Prime Minister Theresa May looks on course to increase her parliamentary majority in Thursday's election, an opinion poll showed on Tuesday, shortly after another survey suggested the race with the opposition Labour Party was neck and neck.

Polling firm Opinium said the lead of May's Conservative Party over Labour had widened to seven points, up by a percentage point from its previous poll published on Saturday.

The new poll was the first by a major firm that was conducted in its entirety after a deadly attack in London by militants on June 3. The field work ran from June 4-6.

It put support for the Conservatives at 43 percent, unchanged from Saturday's poll, while Labour fell one point to 36 percent.

"That is a question that will need to be answered by MI5, by the police, as the investigation goes on," he said.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Tuesday she had raised "the question of terrorism" when she visited Saudi Arabia in April.

Asked whether the subject of the financing of terrorism was brought up when she met Saudi Arabia's leaders early in April, May said: "We talked to Saudi Arabia on a whole number of issues around the question of terrorism." "Saudi Arabia is a country itself which has experienced terrorist attacks and many lives have been lost as a result of that. We have an important link with Saudi Arabia because, actually, action taken by Saudi Arabia has saved lives here in this country."

"We as a government have ensured that we have strengthened our ability to deal with terrorist finance through the changes we have put through in the criminal finances act."

Prime Minister Theresa May, her language more tenuous, told Sky News: "I absolutely recognise people's concerns."

"MI5 and the police have already said they would be reviewing how they dealt with Manchester and I would expect them to do exactly the same in relation to London Bridge," she said.

After a brief pause, election campaigning resumed on Monday, with security dominating the agenda ahead of Thursday's vote. May has vowed to crack down on extremist content online, saying: "We cannot and must not pretend that things can continue as they are."

But the premier was also facing mounting criticism for her record on security in the six years she served as Britain's interior minister before becoming prime minister last year.

Between 2009 and 2016, the number of police officers fell by almost 20,000, or around 14 percent, according to the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies think tank.

Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to hire thousands of officers for neighbourhood duties, arguing that a grassroots approach would curb crime and radicalisation.

Analysts say the security debate favours Corbyn, who already seems to have been gaining ground ahead of Thursday's vote.

May called the snap general election on April 18, little more than two years into a five-year parliament, hoping that a commanding majority would give her a stronger hand in the Brexit negotiations with the EU.

According to a poll published Tuesday by the group Survation, May's lead over Labour has shrivelled to just over a single point - 41.6 percent to 40.4 percent.

In Saturday's attack, three men, wearing fake suicide vests, mowed down pedestrians on London Bridge in a van before slashing and stabbing revellers in Borough Market, a bustling district of late-night bars and restaurants.

Praise has been heaped upon the police for their swift response and bravery. An armed unit killed the trio with 50 shots within eight minutes of the alarm being raised.

First responders were prominent in TV footage of the minute's silence, which showed police, firefighters and ambulance workers lined in mourning at stations and other public places.

Full report at:



Timeline: How jihadists have targeted soldiers and police in France

6 June 2017

The attack on a French policeman at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris is believed to have been the latest in a string of terror incidents targeting police and soldiers in France.

The Isis terror group has frequently called on their followers to attack soldiers and police in France, who they see as a legitimate target because they represent the French state.

On Tuesday a man who, according to reports, called himself a "soldier of the caliphate" attacked a policeman on patrol outside the famous cathedral in the heart of Paris armed with a hammer and two knives as he shouted, "This is for Syria".

Before Tuesday's attack, France's forces of security and law and order have been targeted numerous times before and often fatally.

April 20th, 2017: A gunman opened fire on police officers on Paris' Champs-Elysée, killing policeman Xavier Jugele and leaving two others in critical condition.

The shooter was also killed at the scene. He was already known to intelligence services for having already expressed a desire to kill police officers.

The attacker was named as 39-year-old 'Karim C', who was born in France.

March 18, 2017: An attacker walked onto the departures floor of Orly airport's south terminal where he grabbed a female soldier on patrol with two male colleagues.

He fought with the female soldier, trying to take her assault rifle and succeeding after a couple of attempts. He was then shot dead by one of her colleagues.

February 3rd, 2017: A man pulled out two machetes and attacked one of the soldiers standing guard at the entrance to the underground Carrousel du Louvre shopping centre, which is next to the world famous art gallery.

Soldiers tried to fight him off with close contact but were unable to contain him. They then opened fire.

June 14th, 2016: The murder of a policeman and his partner in Magnanville, a town to the west of Paris added to the list of members of the French security forces who have been targeted by Islamist militants.

The attacker, identified as Larossi Abballa, claimed allegiance to the Islamic State group after stabbing Jean-Baptiste Savaing to death.

January 7th, 2016: A year to the day after the Charlie Hebdo attack, a man identified as Tarek Belgacem tries to attack a police station in Paris with a meat cleaver and a device that turns out to be a fake bomb.

He is shot dead by police, who find a pledge of allegiance to the Islamic State group on his body.

February 3rd, 2015: Moussa Coulibaly, unrelated to Amedy Coulibaly, uses a knife to attack three soldiers guarding a Jewish community centre in Nice, southern France.

January 8th, 2015: Islamist Amedy Coulibaly shoots dead a policewoman in Montrouge, south of Paris, before taking hostages the next day at a kosher supermarket, where he kills four more people. He later dies during a police assault.

Coulibaly was linked to Cherif and Said Kouachi, who attacked the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo on January 7, 2015 during which 12 people, including two policemen, are killed.

December 20th, 2014: Bertrand Nzohabonayo is shot dead as he cries "Allahu akbar" (God is greatest) as he attacks police with a knife in Joue-les-Tours, in central France.

May 25th, 2013: A soldier patrolling the business district of La Defense, west of Paris is injured by Alexandre Dhaussy, 22, a convert to Islam.

Dhaussy is arrested a few days later and claims his motive was religious. A court decides that he suffers from psychiatric problems.

Full report at:



Southeast Asia


Hundreds of pesantren to form alliance to promote moderate Islam

Nurul Fitri Ramadhani

June 7, 2017

In a move to curb the intolerance triggered by growing sectarian sentiment, hundreds of pesantren (Islamic boarding schools) from across Java Island are set to gather in a workshop slated from June 7 to 8 where they will declare an alliance of pesantren promoting moderate Islam.

The workshop will conclude the “Pesantren for Peace” (PfP) program initiated by the Center for the Study of Religion and Culture (CSRC) of the Syarif Hidayatullah Islamic State University (UIN) Jakarta, which kicked off in 2015 and involved 750 pesantren across the island.

The program is aimed at strengthening the role of Indonesian Islamic schools in promoting human rights and peaceful conflict resolution.

CSRC director Irfan Abubakar told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday that the workshop and alliance were expected to help eliminate the contradiction between human rights values and Islamic teaching. Most pesantren, he said, tended to defy human rights concepts. “We want to encourage them to understand that supporting human rights means you are being a better Muslim. We also aim to strengthen the role of Muslims in promoting tolerance,” Irfan said.

The two-day workshop will have three discussion sessions where UIN professor Azyumardi Azra, the secretary of the country’s second-largest Islamic organization Muhammadiyah, Abdul Mu’ti, and executive of the largest Muslim organization Nahdlatul Ulaman (NU), Masdar F Mas’udi, are scheduled to speak.

“We have seen that intolerance is growing and moderate power is crumbling. We hope [teaching staff] at ‘pesantren’ can bring the human rights concept to their preaching and teaching," he said. (bbs)



Court rejects Hizbut Tahrir Malaysia’s bid to be lawful society

V Anbalagan

June 6, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here today dismissed a judicial review application by Hizbut Tahrir Malaysia (HTM) over its bid to be registered as a society.

Justice Azizah Nawawi said the home minister’s order last year to reject its appeal for registration was legal.

“There is no merit to HTM’s claim that failure to register them is in breach of Articles 10 an 11 of the Federal Constitution,” she said in her oral ruling.

She said the minister’s decision was not irrational as the Selangor Fatwa Committee had made a finding that HTM’s Islamic teachings were deviant.

Azizah also ordered HTM to pay RM10,000 in costs to the government.

HTM filed the application on Aug 9 last year for a declaration that the minister’s decision to reject its appeal for registration of the organisation had violated the constitution.

It contended that the minister’s decision made on May 31, 2016, was unreasonable as it had failed to give due consideration to the appeal.

The applicants also sought a declaration that the decision was invalid for failure to follow procedure.

In addition, they sought an order to strike out the decision made under Section 18 of the Societies Act 1966.

HTM sent three applications to the Registrar of Societies Malaysia for registration but these were rejected on July 24, 2015.

The applicants then filed an appeal to the minister who also rejected it

Federal Counsel Mazlifah Ayog appeared for the minister while Dennis Pereira represented HTM.

Last month, the Indonesian government disbanded Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia for creating unrest that could threaten peace and stability.

Full report at:



Indonesia’s Muslim council issues fatwa against fake news

June 6, 2017

Indonesia’s Islamic Authority issued a fatwa against fake news over concerns about how religious and ethnic tensions are fuelled by hoaxes, its chairman said on Tuesday.

The Indonesian Council of Ulema, a semi-official body, declared that producing and spreading fake news is forbidden in Islam, chairman Ma’ruf Amin said.

“There’s growing anxiety that fake news has created divisions and hostilities in society,” Mr. Amin said.

“We hope that this fatwa can curb negative content,” he said.

Indonesians are among the biggest users of Facebook and Twitter, and politicians are increasingly using social networks to reach voters.

Popular Twitter users who are paid to tweet, known locally as “buzzers,’’ to promote politicians must not post content that are divisive, slanderous and false, Mr. Amin said.

Online bullying and hate speech are also haram, or forbidden, the cleric said.

Former Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, who is Christian of Chinese descent, was jailed for two years last month for blasphemy in a case that stemmed from a video posted online.

Full report at:



Top Hamas commander expelled by Qatar in Malaysia?

June 7, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: A top Hamas commander, Saleh al-Arouri, is believed to be in Malaysia, after being expelled from Qatar, The Edge reported today.

Quoting reports coming out of Israel, it said the expulsion followed Qatar’s fallout with Saudi Arabia and four other Arab states over allegations that Qatar was aiding extremists.

The Edge reported that it was unclear if other Hamas officials were also seeking refuge in Malaysia, adding that Hamas officials were now reportedly trying to seek refuge in Malaysia, Turkey and Lebanon.

The report said al-Arouri, Hamas’ military commander in the West Bank, and others, had been told to leave Qatar after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, and Egypt, in an unprecedented move on Monday, cut off most diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar. Yemen later joined the boycott.

This, they said, was because of Qatar’s alleged ties with Iran and Islamist groups in the region.

Full report at:



Zahid: One day, Quran memorisers can even be PM

June 7, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, June 7 ― Putrajaya said it aims to produce 125,000 huffaz, or Quran memorisers, as part of its National Transformation 2050 (TN50) initiative.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the huffaz should be trained professionally to not just become imams or religious teachers, but also doctors, engineers, and even federal ministers.

“If we have 125,000 huffaz as professional workforce, God willing they can be Cabinet members one day. With even the prime minister a Quran memoriser, so they can lead us better,” the home minister was quoted saying by Sinar Harian.

Zahid said to achieve this, the government will rely on the National Tahfiz Education Policy, which requires endorsement from the Malay Rulers first.

He also urged all tahfiz schools, where huffaz go to learn Quran memorising, to register with the Islamic Development Department Malaysia (Jakim) to ensure the safety and health of their students.

“I hope any tahfiz schools that have yet to be registered do so … not because they will be punished, but because we want to give help,” he reportedly said.

“[This proves] how the federal government cares about the religious education institution, and we are committed to help so Islam’s status can be advanced.”

Tahfiz schools were under media spotlight in the past few months after several of their students died from alleged abuse and recklessness.

Full report at:



Defend country from ‘cunning’ Christian evangelists, PAS man tells Muslims

June 6, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, June 6 ― A PAS leader urged Muslims to protect their community and country from Christian evangelists today, claiming it is obligatory in Islam to defend one’s faith and combat elements that “threaten the Islamic way of life”.

According to PAS information chief Nasrudin Hassan, Christian evangelists are “aggressive and cunning” in their alleged plot to control the country’s politics.

“The Christian evangelists cannot be ignored. They are aggressive and cunning in planning the movement to control the country’s politics.

“[It is] extreme, and beyond enmity against Islam,” the Temerloh MP said in a brief personal statement.

Nasrudin did not provide any examples of the cunning and aggression or evidence to support his broad accusations.

According to him, Muslims must also master religious knowledge, which they must then practise and uphold in their lives to achieve their goal against the evangelists.

He also urged unity in fending off the group.

“Keep the congregation line close. Avoid feuds on petty things. Rise up to defend the community and country from the savagery of Christian evangelists,” he said.

The PAS lawmaker’s remark came after the Calvary Life Assembly church in Melaka was forced yesterday to cancel its Jerusalem’s Jubilee gathering on the advice of the police.

The organisers of the All Malaysian-Golden Gate Revival Convocation later said in a statement that the event scheduled was a gathering for churches in Malaysia and the Asia-Pacific to pray for Malaysia and the region, as well as to understand the spiritual connotation and meaning of Jerusalem in the Christian bible.

Full report at:



Pancasila Lecture May Soon Be Compulsory at Leading Indonesian University

June 7, 2017

Jakarta. Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta plans to take more concrete actions to counter radical religious teachings at its own campus, including by making lectures on state ideology Pancasila compulsory, its rector said on Monday (05/06).

"Pancasila should be implemented in our daily life. Lecturers may soon be required to deliver a 30-minute Pancasila-related lecture during a lesson," UGM rector Panut Mulyono said during a discussion with the press at its University Club on Monday (05/06).

Panut agreed with the government's decision to disband Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), saying the university will not tolerate the radical ideologies espoused by the group.

The university rectorate will also issue directives to make sure that lectures on Islam at the university speak of an Islam which is rahmatan lil alamin (a blessing to the universe).

"We have also changed the management of the campus mosque so it will not be a breeding ground for radical teachings," Panut added.

Previously managed by an independent foundation, the mosque will now be directly supervised by the university through its UGM Mosque Management Office.

The office will include UGM lecturers as members who will monitor religious activities — including the content of sermons — at the mosque.

Panut said the plan to take over the mosque's management was hatched by his predecessor, Dwikorita Karnawati.

Full report at:



Weapons Found at Militant's Bandung Home, Suspected Links to Kampung Melayu Attack

June 7, 2017

Jakarta. Police have found sharp weapons and other items that reportedly were going to be used to assemble a pressure-cooker bomb at terrorism suspect's home in Cileunyi, Bandung, West Java, on Tuesday (06/06).

The operation was the latest in connection with last month's Islamic State-linked suicide bomb attack in East Jakarta that killed two bombers and three police officers.

The suspected militant, identified as Kiki Muhammad Iqbal, was arrested in Jatinangor, Bandung, on Monday. Items found at his home included two samurai swords, six shurikens, a machete, five knives, two bows, 42 arrows, screws and nails.

West Java Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Yusri Yunus told the Jakarta Globe that officers also found a range of electrical devices and a pressure cooker, similar to those used in last month's twin explosions.

The police also confiscated documents related to jihad and three compact discs with sermons.

In the past few weeks, three militants were nabbed in Cipayung, East Jakarta, two in Cibubur, also in East Jakarta, and three more in Bandung.

All are suspected of having links to the attack, in which two bombs exploded minutes apart near a bus station in East Jakarta's Kampung Melayu.

Full report at:



North America


US President Donald Trump says isolating Qatar 'beginning of end of terrorism'

Jun 6, 2017

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday his trip to the Middle East was "already paying off" as regional leaders followed through on their promise to take a hard line on funding militant groups.

"So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off. They said they would take a hard line on funding extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!" Trump said in a series of Twitter posts.

Trump said the leaders he met on a Middle East trip had warned him that Qatar was funding "radical ideology" after he had demanded they take action to stop financing militant groups.

The comments on Twitter - Trump's first about the rift between Qatar and major Arab nations over alleged support of Iran and Islamist groups - came as the leader of Kuwait was to meet in Saudi Arabia to try to mediate the dispute.

Qatar vehemently denies the accusations against it, calling them baseless. Ordinary Qataris, however, were to be found crowding into supermarkets to stock up on goods against the crisis.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed relations with Qatar+ and closed their airspace to commercial flights on Monday, in the worst split between powerful Arab states in decades.

"During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar - look!" Trump tweeted.

The comments lent credence to a view held by some analysts that Trump in his Middle East trip emboldened the Arab nations to take action even though Qatar is a US ally and hosts a US military base.

Gulf Arab officials said Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber al-Sabah will meet with Saudi Arabia's King Salman later in the day, hoping to heal the damaging rift which has affected global oil prices, hit travel plans and sown confusion among bankers and businesses in the region.

The split among the Sunni states erupted last month after Trump attended a summit of Muslim leaders in Saudi Arabia where he denounced Shi'ite Iran's "destablising interventions" in Arab lands, where Tehran is locked in a tussle with Riyadh for influence. In a sign of the potential consequences for the Qatari economy, a number of banks in the region began stepping back from business dealings with Qatar. Saudi Arabia's central bank advised banks in the kingdom not to trade with Qatari banks in Qatari riyals, sources said.

Oil prices also fell on concern that the rift would undermine efforts by OPEC to tighten production.

Qatar and the other Arab states fell out over Doha's alleged support for Islamist militants and Shi'ite Iran.

Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told Qatar-based Al Jazeera TV that Qatar will not retaliate, hoping Kuwait will help resolve the dispute. It wants to give Kuwait's ruler the ability to "proceed and communicate with the parties to the crisis and to try to contain the issue".

Qatar's leader, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, spoke by telephone overnight with his counterpart in Kuwait and, in order to allow Kuwait to mediate, decided to put off a planned speech to the nation, the foreign minister said.

Qatar has for years parlayed its enormous gas wealth and media influence into a broad influence in the region. But Gulf Arab neighbours and Egypt have long been irked by its maverick stances and support for the Muslim Brotherhood, which they regard as a political enemy.

Yemen, Libya's eastern-based government and the Maldives - close allies of Qatar's adversaries in the spat - also cut ties.


Tightening pressure, Saudi Arabia's aviation authority revoked the license of Qatar Airways and ordered its offices to be closed within 48 hours, a day after the kingdom, the UAE and Bahrain closed their airspace to Qatari commercial flights.

Flight tracker websites showed Qatar Airways flights taking a circuitous route mostly over Iran to avoid their neighbours.

Some Saudi Arabian and UAE commercial banks were also shunning Qatari banks, holding off on letters of credit, banking sources told Reuters on Tuesday.

With an estimated $335 billion of assets in its sovereign wealth fund and its gas exports earning billions of dollars every month, Qatar, however, has enough financial power to protect its banks.

Qatar's stock market rebounded in early trade on Tuesday after plunging the previous day but the Qatari riyal fell against the US dollar.

Kuwait's emir, who has spent decades as a diplomat and mediator in regional disputes, hosted Sheikh Tamim last week as the crisis began brewing.

Monday's decision forbids Saudi, UAE and Bahraini citizens from travelling to Qatar, residing in it or passing through it, instructing their citizens to leave Qatar within 14 days and Qatari nationals were given 14 days to leave those countries.

The measures are more severe than during a previous eight-month rift in 2014, when Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE withdrew their ambassadors from Doha, again alleging Qatari support for militant groups.



Trump backs Saudi-led efforts to isolate Qatar

7 June 2017

US President Donald Trump threw his weight behind efforts to isolate Qatar on Tuesday, backing Saudi Arabia and its allies after they cut ties with Doha over claims it supports extremism.

In a surprise move against a key US ally, Trump suggested Qatar -- home to the largest American airbase in the Middle East -- was funding extremism as he tacitly backed the diplomatic blockade of the emirate.

"So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off," Trump said in a morning tweet, in reference to his trip to Riyadh last month.

"They said they would take a hard line on funding... extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!"

Trump's broadside came as Kuwait's ruler flew to Saudi Arabia in a bid to resolve the worst diplomatic crisis to hit the Arab world in years.

Saudi Arabia and allies including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain announced Monday they were severing diplomatic relations and closing air, sea and land links with Qatar.

They accused the tiny Gulf state of harbouring extremist groups and suggested Qatari support for the agenda of Saudi Arabia's regional arch-rival Iran.

Energy-rich Qatar has long had strained ties with its neighbours but the move by Riyadh and its supporters shocked observers, raising fears the crisis could destabilise an already volatile region.

The dispute comes less than a month after Trump visited Saudi Arabia and called for Muslim nations to unite against extremism.

The rift was already having tangible effects, with dozens of flights cancelled, Qatari planes barred from regional airspace, and panic buying in Doha amid fears of food shortages.

Kuwait did not join fellow Gulf countries in taking measures against Doha, and its Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah arrived in the Saudi city of Jeddah for talks to resolve the crisis.

In a call with Sheikh Sabah on Monday, Qatari leader Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani had agreed to put off a speech to the nation in order to give mediation a chance.

Qatar ready for talks

Several Kuwaiti lawmakers voiced support for the emir's efforts.

"We pray to God to help him succeed in achieving Gulf unity," veteran MP Ali al-Deqbasi said during a parliamentary session.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani signalled that Qatar was open to talks, calling for "a dialogue of openness and honesty" to resolve the crisis.

"We believe any issue could be solved through discussion and mutual respect," he told Doha-based news channel Al-Jazeera.

UAE state minister for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash said Tuesday on Twitter that a "guaranteed roadmap" was needed before it would consider mending ties.

As well as cutting diplomatic relations and ordering Qatari citizens to leave their countries within 14 days, the Gulf states and Egypt banned all flights to and from Qatar.

UAE carriers Emirates, Etihad, flydubai and Air Arabia, as well as Saudi Airlines had all announced the suspension of flights to and from Qatar as of Tuesday morning.

A total of 27 flights from Dubai to Doha had been scheduled for Tuesday and the Dubai Airports website showed all flights to Doha had been cancelled.

'Eerie' airport quiet

Qatar Airways, for its part, said it had suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt "until further notice".

Countries including Saudi Arabia also banned Qatari planes from their airspace and Riyadh on Tuesday revoked Qatar Airways' operating licence in the kingdom.

Doha's Hamad International Airport was virtually deserted early on Tuesday. More than 30 flights were shown cancelled on airport television screens.

"This is the emptiest airport I have been in so far," said Katie, transiting in Qatar en route to Thailand. "It's exceptionally quiet, almost eerie."

The crisis will have wide-ranging consequences, not just for Qatar and its citizens but across the Middle East and for Western interests.

Qatar is home to the biggest US airbase in the Middle East, Al-Udeid, where some 10,000 military personnel are stationed. As the forward headquarters of US Central Command, it is seen as crucial in the US-led campaign against the Islamic State group.

A Pentagon spokesman said the crisis has had "no impact on our operations in Qatar or with regards to airspace permission around it".

The International Air Transport Association called on the countries that acted against Qatar to restore air links with the country, warning of major travel disruptions.

"Of course we accept that countries have the right to close their borders," said IATA director general Alexandre de Juniac. "But connectivity with Qatar must be restored as quickly as possible."

Qatar is also a major regional diplomatic player and international investor and is set to host the World Cup, football's biggest tournament, in 2022.

But Qatar has also long been accused by its Gulf neighbours and Egypt of supporting extremist groups.

In announcing it was cutting ties, Riyadh accused Doha of harbouring "terrorist and sectarian groups that aim to destabilise the region including the Muslim Brotherhood, Daesh (IS) and Al-Qaeda".

Riyadh also accused Doha of supporting Iran-backed "terrorist activities" in eastern Saudi Arabia and in Shiite-majority Bahrain.

"The measures are unjustified and are based on false and baseless claims," Qatar said in response to Monday's announcement.

Qatar independent streak

Gulf countries previously recalled their ambassadors from Qatar in 2014, ostensibly over its support for the Brotherhood, but Monday's moves go much further.

Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies may have felt emboldened by Trump's visit, which saw the new president clearly align US interests with Riyadh and lash out at Iran.

Qatar has an independent streak that has often angered its neighbours.

The emirate has directly and indirectly supported Islamist groups across the Arab world, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

Full report at:



Arab World


Riyadh, Abu Dhabi Rebuke Saudi Intelligence Ministry for Wrong Intel on Qatar

Jun 06, 2017

According to Mujtahid, the Saudi intelligence ministry had estimated a huge loss for Qatar following a severance by Riyadh and its allies of ties with Doha but the developments showed that Qatar had prepared itself for these days.

"Bin Salman and Bin Zayed had thought that (Qatari Emir) Tamim (bin Hamad Al Thani) will make concessions within 24 hours but the response that they received was challenge and continued release of the emails of the (UAE's) ambassador (to the United States, Yousef al-Otaiba) and other cases," he added.

According to reports, Riyadh and its regional allies had overestimated the negative impacts of closing their airspaces to Qatari planes, underestimating Doha's remaining option to use Iran's airspace by rerouting its flights.

Qatar Airways canceled flights to Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates from Tuesday a day after it had suspended flights to Saudi Arabia.

Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar on Monday, and suspended air and sea communication one week after the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh. Later, Libya and the Maldives joined that list of nation that break off diplomatic relations with Doha.

Qatar protested the unjustified decision of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates to cut ties with the country.

"We regret the decision to sever relations," the Qatari Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that "these measures are unjustified; they are based on assertions without foundation."

"The State of Qatar is an active member of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the [Persian] Gulf [GCC], respects its charter, respects the sovereignty of other states and does not interfere in their internal affairs, and also fulfils its obligations to combat terrorism and extremism," the ministry stressed.



Rights groups: Saudis planning to execute 14 Shias after unfair trial

Jun 6, 2017

International rights groups say Saudi Arabia plans to execute 14 Shia civilians following a "grossly unfair trial" over political protests.

"The rise in death sentences against Saudi Arabian Shia is alarming and suggests that the authorities are using the death penalty to settle scores and crush dissent under the guise of combating 'terrorism' and maintaining national security," said Human Rights Watch’s Sarah Leah Whitson on Tuesday.

Court documents seen by Amnesty International have revealed that a total of 38 defendants were detained and kept in pre-trial detention for over two years before their trial began.

For most of the time they were held in solitary confinement and their families denied access to them. 

“The sham court proceedings that led to death sentences … brazenly flout international fair trial standards,” said Amnesty’s Middle East Director Lynn Maalouf.

“Death sentences based on coerced “confessions” violate international human rights law and are a repugnant yet all-too-common outcome in security-related cases in Saudi Arabia,” added Maalouf. “These death penalty trials fail to meet even the most basic requirements for due process,” she noted.

“The sentences should immediately be quashed,” she added.

Saudi Arabia carried out 153 executions across the kingdom last year. In the most stunning case of executions in 2016, Saudi Arabia executed on January 2 Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr along 46 other people in defiance of international calls for the release of the prominent Shia cleric and other jailed political dissidents in the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia carried out 158 executions, including 71 foreign nationals, in 2015. This number of executions in terms of annual basis in Saudi Arabia has been unseen since 1995.

Saudi officials execute convicts by sword and then dangle their corpses from a helicopter to make sure the public could see the result of the execution.

Full report at:



Over 60 ISIL Terrorists Killed in Syrian Soldiers' Advances in Eastern Hama

Jun 06, 2017

The army men that drove ISIL out of Regions of 3, 4, 5 and 6 East of al-Salamiyah earlier today continued to hit terrorists and recapture the regions 7 and 8 after killing more than 60 terrorists.

The army soldiers are now advancing towards Region 9.

An army officer said that a large number of ISIL terrorists have fled towards the depth of Badiyeh (desert) as their front in Eastern Hama is on the verge on collapse.

Also, the army forces, supported by Russian and Syrian Air Force airstrikes, inflicted decisive blows on ISIL terrorists in the Eastern part of Salamiyah on Sunday as the military operation to expel terrorists from Hama province is underway.

The Syrian army's missile and artillery units heavily pounded the positions and supply routes of ISIL in Eastern Salamiyah which resulted in the destruction of three military bases and death of a number of terrorists.

Full report at:



Saudi foreign minister: Qatar must end support for Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood

6 June 2017

PARIS: Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said on Tuesday Qatar must take several steps, including ending its support for the Palestinian group Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, to restore ties with other Arab states.

Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said Qatar knew exactly what to do to restore relations with Riyadh and its Arab allies.

“We want to see Qatar implement the promises it made a few years back with regard its support of extremist groups, regards its hostile media and interference in affairs of other countries,” Jubeir told reporters in Paris.

“Nobody wants to hurt Qatar. It has to choose whether it must move in one direction or another direction.”

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain said on Monday they would sever all ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism.

“We took this step with great pain so that it understands that these policies are not sustainable and must change,” Jubeir said.

Jubeir added that Qatar was undermining the Palestinian Authority and Egypt in its support of Hamas and the Muslim brotherhood.

“We don’t think this is good. Qatar has to stop these policies so that it can contribute to stability in the Middle East,” he said.

Jubeir declined to say exactly what he wanted Qatar to do immediately, but said the measures taken by Arab states, including a sea, land and air blockade would have a considerable cost on the country.

“We believe that common sense and logic will convince Qatar to take the right steps. The decisions that were made were very strong and will have a fairly large cost on Qatar and we do not believe that Qataris want to sustain those costs,” he said.

The campaign to isolate Qatar is disrupting trade in commodities from crude oil to metals and food, and deepening fears of a possible shock to the global gas market, where the Gulf state is a major player.

Full report at:



UN accuses ISIS of executing 163 civilians in Mosul on June 1

6 June 2017

The United Nations human rights chief on Tuesday accused the ISIS group of murdering 163 civilians to prevent them from fleeing Iraq’s western Mosul last week.

“Yesterday, my staff reported to me that bodies of murdered Iraqi men, women and children still lay on the streets of the al-Shira neighborhood of western Mosul, after at least 163 people were shot and killed by Daesh to prevent them from fleeing,” Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein told the opening of the UN Human Rights Council, using an Arabic acronym for ISIS.

Full report at:



Egypt’s Al-Azhar: Severing ties with Qatar necessary to protect the Arab world

6 June 2017

Egypt’s Al-Azhar praised the position taken by several Arab leaders to suspend ties with the Qatari government to ensure the unity and stability of the Arab nations, it said in a statement on Tuesday.

Al-Azhar said that it is closely following regional developments during the past several days and reiterates its support for the joint Arab position in its decision to cut ties with Qatar who have supported and harbored extremist groups and who have intervened openly in the internal affairs of neighboring countries.

The Egyptian institution also expressed hopes that efforts from Arab nations will redouble to stop attempts “exerted by the oppressive regimes, which constitutes a threat to the security and stability of the Arab region, hoping they will wake up from their negligence and return to their senses”.

As a response to Qatar’s continued aggressive policies in the region, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain all severed diplomatic relations with Qatar in a coordinated move on Monday.

Full report at:



US-backed force launches assault on IS ‘capital’ in Syria

June 7, 2017

BEIRUT - The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said on Tuesday it had launched a battle to capture Raqqa, Islamic State’s de facto Syrian capital, piling pressure on the militants whose self-declared caliphate is in retreat across Syria and Iraq.

SDF spokesman Talal Silo told Reuters the operation started on Monday and the fighting would be “fierce because Daesh (Islamic State) will die to defend their so-called capital”.

The assault overlaps with the final stages of the US-backed attack to recapture the Iraqi city of Mosul from Islamic State. It follows months of advances to the north, east and west of Raqqa by the SDF, which includes Arab and Kurdish militias.

Islamic State captured Raqqa from rebel groups in 2014 and has used it as an operations base to plan attacks in the West. Silo said the assault had begun from the north, east and west of the city, which is bordered to the south by the River Euphrates.

The commander of the Raqqa campaign, Rojda Felat, told Reuters SDF fighters were attacking the al-Mishlab district at the city’s southeastern outskirts, confirming an earlier report by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

“The coalition has a big role in the success of the operations. In addition to warplanes, there are coalition forces working side by side with the SDF,” Silo said by phone from the Hukoumiya farms area, 10 km (6 miles) north of Raqqa, where the SDF later declared the start of the assault.

A Reuters witness at the location could hear the sound of heavy shelling and air strikes in the distance.

The US-led coalition said the fight for Raqqa would be “long and difficult” but would deliver a “decisive blow to the idea of ISIS (Islamic State) as a physical caliphate”.

“It’s hard to convince new recruits that ISIS is a winning cause when they just lost their twin ‘capitals’ in both Iraq and Syria,” a coalition statement cited Lt. Gen Steve Townsend, the coalition commanding general, as saying.

“We all saw the heinous attack in Manchester, England,” said Townsend. “ISIS threatens all of our nations, not just Iraq and Syria, but in our own homelands as well. This cannot stand.”

“Once ISIS is defeated in both Mosul and (Raqqa), there will still be a lot of hard fighting ahead,” he said.

Security officials in the West have warned of increased threat of attacks such as last month’s Manchester suicide bombing and Saturday’s attack in London as Islamic State loses ground in Syria and Iraq. Both attacks were claimed by Islamic State.  An Arab group fighting with the SDF, the Syrian Elite Forces, which was established in February, had entered al-Mishlab with coalition air support, its spokesman Mohammed al-Shaker said by phone.

“The Syrian Elite Forces one or two hours ago entered the first quarter of Raqqa, which is al-Mishlab quarter, via the eastern front,” he said.

The Observatory said the SDF had captured some buildings in the al-Mishlab area and Islamic State fighters had withdrawn from parts of the district. The Observatory also said an attack was underway against a military barracks, Division 17, on the northern outskirts of Raqqa.

The US-led coalition has said 3,000-4,000 Islamic State fighters are thought to be holed up in Raqqa city, where they have erected defences against the anticipated assault. The city is about 90 km (56 miles) from the border with Turkey.

The SDF includes the powerful Kurdish YPG militia.

Fighting around Raqqa since late last year has displaced tens of thousands of people, with many flooding camps in the area and others stranded in the desert.

The UN human rights office has raised concerns about increasing reports of civilian deaths as air strikes escalate.

The Raqqa campaign has “resulted in massive civilian casualties, displacement and serious infrastructure destruction” so far, it said in a May report. Islamic State militants have also reportedly been preventing civilians from leaving, it said.

The US-led coalition says it tries to avoid civilian casualties in its bombing runs in Syria and Iraq and investigates any allegations.

It is unclear how many civilians remain in Raqqa.

UN humanitarian spokesman Jens Laerke told Reuters that, for its planning purposes, the UN estimates there are approximately 160,000 people left in Raqqa city, but said this was not a formal estimate.

Humanitarian aid organisation International Rescue Committee said 200,000 people were still trapped inside, and warned civilians in Raqqa risk being killed by Islamic State snipers or mines if they try to flee but could be used by the militants as human shields if they remain.

“The IRC has seen a drop in the number of people escaping Raqqa over the past week,” its Middle East Director of Public Affairs Thomas Garofalo said, adding this may indicate Islamic State intended to use them as human shields.

The Raqqa campaign has been the source of tension between the United States and Turkey, which fears growing Kurdish influence in northern Syria and has lobbied Washington to abandon its Kurdish YPG allies.

The YPG has been the main partner for the United States in its campaign against Islamic State in Syria, where the group is also being fought in separate campaigns waged by the Russian-backed Syrian government and Free Syrian Army rebel groups.

The United States last week said it had started distributing arms to the YPG to help take Raqqa.

The SDF has said it will hand control of Raqqa to a civilian council after its capture, as in other areas the SDF took from Islamic State.

Full report at:



Idlib Tribes Warn of Bloody War against Terrorists

Jun 06, 2017

The sources said that Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board) stormed the positions of the rival terrorists of Liwa al-Soud al-Islam affiliated to Ahrar al-Sham in the village of Tal al-Toufan, leaving one of the members of Ahrar al-Sham dead. In the meantime, Liwa al-Soud al-Islam seized vehicles of Tahrir al-Sham.

The sources went on to say that al-Mawali tribal people that live in Idlib and Hama provinces have given a 48-hour ultimatum to Tahrir al-Sham to free the captured people.

Al-Mawali tribal people threatened Tahrir al-Sham with a joint military operation by all tribes of Idlib and Hama against Tahrir al-Sham fighters if they refuse to release the captives.   

Local sources reported on Monday that 10 terrorists were killed and wounded in a roadside bomb blast near the town of Khan al-Sabal after an intensified round of tensions and infighting rival militant groups in Northwestern Syria.

Local media activists said that a roadside bomb hit one of the vehicles of Faylaq al-Sham near the town of Khan al-Sabal, killing six terrorists and injuring four more.

The sources said that the attacks of this kind were increasing in Idlib, but this is the first time that Faylaq al-Sham has been targeted.

Full report at:



ISIL's Attack on Syrian Army Positions in Eastern Homs Repulsed again

Jun 06, 2017

The army units engaged in fierce clashes with ISIL terrorists that tried to prevail over the pro-government forces' positions in Tafheh hills and managed to ward off their offensive, killing and wounding a number of them and destroying their military equipment.

The army men also seized two military vehicles and a large volume of ISIL's arms and ammunition in the clashes.

In the meantime, the army units continued their advances against ISIL in Eastern Homs and recaptured the hills overlooking Northeast of the ancient city of Palmyra (Tadmur). 

In relevant developments in the province on Monday, the army troops, backed up by Syrian and Russian Air Force took back two key heights near the strategic al-Sha'er Energy Fields.

The sources reported that after hours of bloody battle, the Syrian pro-government forces recaptured several positions near the al-Sha'er Energy Fields, including Heights 1,005 and 943 in the al-Sha'er mountain.

Full report at:



Coalition: Raqqa offensive aims to deal ‘decisive blow’ to ISIS

7 June 2017

The offensive that saw US-backed forces break into ISIS’s Syrian stronghold Raqqa on Tuesday aims to deal a “decisive blow” to the militants, the US-led anti-ISIS coalition said.

Warning that it will be “long and difficult”, coalition commander Lieutenant General Steve Townsend said the fight for Raqqa would “deliver a decisive blow to the idea of ISIS as a physical caliphate”.

After months sealing off access routes to the city, the Syrian Democratic Forces on Tuesday announced a new phase in their fight for Raqqa and quickly said they had entered city limits for the first time.

The force, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias, has been backed US-led coalition air support, military advisers and weapons deliveries.

The coalition launched air strikes against ISIS in Syria and Iraq in mid-2014 after the militants seized control of large parts of both countries.

US-backed offensives have since greatly reduced the territory the jihadists control, with Raqqa and Mosul in Iraq -- where Iraqi forces have forced ISIS into a final bastion in the city’s west -- the last major urban areas they hold.

“It’s hard to convince new recruits that ISIS is a winning cause when they just lost their twin ‘capitals’ in both Iraq and Syria,” Townsend said, using an alternative acronym for ISIS.

He framed the offensive as part of a greater struggle against ISIS, which has claimed attacks in many countries including last month’s deadly bombing in Manchester.

“We all saw the heinous attack in Manchester,” Townsend said. “ISIS threatens all our nations, not just Iraq and Syria, but in our homelands as well.”

Syrian army pushes into Raqqa

Syria’s army advanced into Raqqa province Tuesday, a monitor and a military source said, on the same day US-backed forces pushed into its provincial capital held by ISIS.

“Regime forces entered Raqqa province for the first time in a year, coming from Aleppo province” to the west, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said.

Backed by Russian air strikes, troops seized the villages of Khirbet Mohsen and Khirbet al-Sabaa from ISIS fighters, Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.

A Syrian military source confirmed the army had advanced into the province and taken the two villages, west of militants’ de facto Syrian capital of Raqqa city.

The troops aim to “ensure the security of Aleppo province against the attacks of Daesh jihadists’, the source said, using an Arabic acronym for ISIS.

Full report at:



Security guard kills Arab-Israeli protester in central Israel

6 June 2017

A security guard shot and killed an Arab-Israeli citizen as hundreds of protesters stormed a police station in central Israel overnight and set fire to vehicles, police said on Tuesday.

The violence erupted after police officers in the Arab town of Kafr Qassem attempted to apprehend a suspect wanted for questioning, spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

About 50 residents confronted the officers and hurled rocks at them, Rosenfeld added.

Hundreds of residents, some of them masked, later broke through the gates of the local police station and tried to enter the building, he said.

“The security guard at the police station felt his life was in danger and opened fire,” Rosenfeld said.

He said one of the protesters was critically wounded and died in hospital.

Television footage distributed by the police showed rocks strewn along the road and three vehicles on fire.

Kafr Qassem’s mayor, Adel Badir, said the guard had used excessive force. “I don’t understand how the security guard could say he felt his life was in danger if he had police officers with him,” Badir told Army Radio.

Full report at:



Trump stresses need for Gulf unity in a call with Saudi King Salman

7 June 2017

In a phone call with Saudi King Salman, US President Donald Trump on Wednesday has stressed the need for Gulf unity, a senior White House official said, following a decision by Arab powers to cut ties to Qatar.

“His (Trump’s) message was that we need unity in the region to fight extremist ideology and terrorist financing. It’s important that the Gulf be united for peace and security in the region,” the senior White House official told Reuters.

Mauritania on Tuesday became the eighth country severing ties with Qatar after Saudi, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen, Maldives and Mauritius.

Jordan on Tuesday also reduced its diplomatic status with Qatar.

In a series of tweets posted on Tuesday, Trump has said Middle East leaders pointed the finger toward Qatar when probed on who was responsible for terrorist financing in the region.

Trump said it his recent visit to Saudi Arabia and meeting with 50 other Muslim leaders was “already paying off” after a head line on funding of extremist groups in the region was agreed upon.

Full report at:



South Asia


New US strategy to ensure ‘terrorists never retake Afghanistan’

Anwar Iqbal

June 7, 2017

WASHINGTON: US state and defence secretaries have said that the new Afghan strategy that the Trump administration is working on would ensure that terrorists do not use Afghanistan as a safe haven again.

A transcript released by the Pentagon in Washington quotes the two leaders as confirming media reports that the Trump administration was finalising a new US strategy for Afghanistan, which would seek to eradicate terrorism and ensure the continuation of the present setup in Kabul.

“Our commitment to Afghanistan is to ensure that it never becomes a safe haven for terrorists to launch attacks against the civilised world or against any other part of the world or any of their neighbours,” said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson when asked what assurances would the new policy offer to Kabul.

He said that since the new policy was still under review, it would be premature to say what conclusion it draws but indicated that the new strategy would include military plans to stabilise Afghanistan.

“This is really a question of what is the end state and how do we reach that end state, and that’s part of the policy review that is still under development,” he said. “But … we are committed to ensuring Afghanistan does not become that platform from which terrorist activities can be launched.”

Defence Secretary James Mattis said that in Afghanistan the United States was fighting an enemy that “knows that they cannot win at the ballot box, and … that’s why they use bombs.”

The United States, he said, would stand by the Afghan people who “have had a long, hard fight” and while the new strategy was still under review, “the bottom line is we’re not going to surrender civilisation to people who cannot win at the ballot box.”

The two senior members of the Trump administration made these comments at a press availability on Monday on the sidelines of an international conference in Sydney, Australia. The Pentagon’s transcript also included comments Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Defence Minister Marise Payne who said that Australia would continue to support US war efforts in Afghanistan and would send 30 additional troops to join the US-led military coalition in that country.

“That (terrorism) is not something we are ever prepared to see take hold in Afghanistan again.,” said Mr. Payne while explaining why Australia was participating in the US-led war in Afghanistan. “It must never be allowed to be a platform for terrorism as it was in the past, and we will continue to make that contribution,” he added.

When a journalist reminded Secretary Tillerson that the main thrust of his question – “what was … the wisdom of adding more US troops and resources to a war that has been stalemate for years” – he said: “I would reserve my answer until the policy review is completed. It needs to be thought of in that context.”

As the United States weighs options in Afghanistan, Pakistan hopes that any use of military force would be tied to a push for a political solution to the conflict. Pakistan’s envoy in Washington, Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhary, underlined this, and Islamabad’s other concerns, in an interview to The Washington Times newspaper, published on Monday.

“How does the United States want to deal with their huge investment in Afghanistan, both militarily and economically? We are waiting for it,” said Mr Chaudhary.

Reports in the US media suggest that the Trump administration wants to send up to 10,000 additional American and Nato troops to Afghanistan, hoping that the increase would enable the Afghan security forces to defeat a stubborn enemy, which has entangled the United States in its longest foreign war.

President Donald Trump was expe­cted to finalize this new strategy during his visits to the Middle East and Europe and announce it after returning to Washington. He returned on May 27 but officials at the White House say that they are still working on various proposals.

“We think that the United States also wants to stabilise Afghanistan,” said Ambassador Chaudhary when asked what he thought would be the thrust of the new US strategy. “Why? Because you have invested hugely in blood and in treasure for the last 15 to 16 years [there].”

A “modest surge” of American forces now, said Mr Chaudhry, might pressure the Taliban to embrace peace talks with the US-backed government in Kabul that have stalled for years. “Once [the Taliban] are weakened, they will come to the table,” the ambassador predicted, but he said the Afghan government should lead the peace process.

Also, on Monday, US National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster telephoned President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan and “underscored America’s steadfast support for the National Unity Government,” the White House said.

He recognised that because terrorists were seeking to divide the Afghan people, “it is more important than ever … to remain united and be strong in our resolve to achieve the security and peace that the people of Afghanistan deserve.”

President Trump also called Mr. Ghani after Wednesday’s massive bomb attack that killed 90 people and assured him of continued US support to Afghanistan.



Pak fighting 'undeclared war of aggression' against Afghanistan: Ghani

June 7, 2017

KABUL: Afghanistan’s president said Tuesday that last week’s suicide truck bombing in the heart of the capital killed more than 150 people, making it the deadliest single attack in the country since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion to topple the Taliban.

The attack added to growing concerns about whether Afghan forces can defeat the Taliban or an increasingly destructive Islamic State affiliate without further aid from U.S. and international forces, which formally concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014, switching to a support and counterterrorism role.

No one immediately claimed the bombing, but Afghanistan has alleged Pakistani involvement, accusations denied by Islamabad.

President Ashraf Ghani spoke at the opening of the so-called Kabul Process, a gathering of 23 nations, the EU, U.N. and NATO to discuss security and political issues in the country. He again invited the Taliban to peace talks, calling it their “last chance” to give up their 16-year insurgency and join the political process.

“If Taliban wants to join peace talks, the Afghan government will allow them to open an office, but this is their last chance,” Ghani said.

The Taliban have steadily expanded their reach over the last two years, seizing control of several districts in different parts of the country. Past attempts at peace talks have failed. The Taliban have refused to negotiate with the government until all foreign forces leave, and still refer to themselves as a government in exile, angering authorities in Kabul.

The U.S.-backed government is also struggling to combat an IS affiliate that has carried out a series of major attacks. Ghani said that over the past two years as many as 11,000 foreign fighters have joined the group.

Ghani also renewed his criticism of neighboring Pakistan, saying it was waging an “undeclared war of aggression” against his country. The two countries have long accused each other of turning a blind eye to militants operating along their porous border, and their forces exchanged fire over a border dispute last month.

Ghani said if the Taliban did not soon begin negotiations, he would seek new sanctions against the group as a sponsor of terrorism.

"This is the last chance, take it or face the consequences," he said.

Afghanistan accuses elements in Pakistan, worried about old rival India gaining influence in Afghanistan, of providing support for militant groups like the Taliban, an accusation Pakistan denies.

"What will it take to convince Pakistan that a stable Afghanistan helps them and helps our region," Ghani said.

Afghan security forces say they are still investigating, but that the explosives used appear to have originated in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz rejected the allegations, which he said were part of a “malicious agenda” to damage relations between the two countries.


Ghani said Afghanistan had provided its preconditions for negotiations to the Taliban, but it remains unclear whether the group's leaders represented all factions.

A spokesman for the Taliban said he was not prepared to make immediate comment on the conference.

The militants have said no talks are possible until all foreign troops leave.

The last significant peace effort foundered in 2015 when news broke that long-time Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar had died.

The push for a new peace process comes as U.S. President Donald Trump has yet to announce his plans for the region, with at least 8,400 American troops training Afghan forces and conducting counterterrorism operations.

Another 6,000 foreign troops contribute to the advising mission.

U.S. military commanders have proposed sending 3,000 to 5,000 more advisers to Afghanistan in a bid to break the "stalemate".

U.S. Charge d'Affaires Hugo Llorens, who is overseeing the American embassy as no new ambassador has been nominated by Trump, said the conference was a chance to send the message that "the enemies of Afghanistan cannot win".

"The conference will be a visible reminder to all those who seek to harm Afghanistan that the Afghan people are never alone, especially in the wake of last week’s attack," Llorens said in a statement.

Full report at:




Kabul Truck-Bomb Toll Rises to 150: Afghan President

June 7, 2017

The death toll from a truck-bomb explosion in Kabul last week has reached  more than 150 people, President Ashraf Ghani said on today, making it the deadliest attack in the Afghan capital since the ouster of the Taliban in 2001.

The blast occurred when a sewage truck packed with what Ghani called "military-grade" explosives detonated at the entrance to a fortified area of that city that includes foreign embassies and government buildings. "We were not the only targets, the entire diplomatic community was the target of this attack," Ghani told foreign diplomats gathered for a conference in Kabul.

Previous official estimates had put the death toll at about 90, with more than 460 wounded.

All of those killed were Afghans, and Ghani paid specific homage to 13 policemen who stopped the truck as it tried to enter the fortified district and were killed in the blast.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which sparked violent anti-government protests.

Full report at:



Qatar diplomatic row: Test for Bangladesh’s foreign policy

Haroon Habib

JUNE 06, 2017

Bangladesh is a member of the Saudi-led alliance against terrorism

The dramatic snapping of diplomatic ties by top Arab countries with Qatar, led by the Saudi Arabia, will test Bangladesh’s foreign policy as the country has special relations with Saudi Arabia, and its manpower export to Qatar is huge.

Saudi Arabia and Egypt have cut ties with Qatar on allegation of its support to militant groups, including some backed by Iran, a charge Doha has denied and also accused its Gulf neighbours of seeking to put the country under "guardianship”.

Bahrain, UAE, Yemen and the Maldives have also joined Saudi Arabia and Egypt in severing ties with Qatar, forcing Doha to face an apparent isolation.

Bangladesh’s position is somewhat delicate as it has joined the Saudi-led alliance against terrorism and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina attended the Arab Islamic American summit, where leaders spoke tough against Iran. The summit also issued a joint statement mentioning Iran’s “malign interference” in the ongoing Middle East crisis. Bangladesh also supported Saudi-led strikes in Yemen.

The diplomatic row came a few weeks after US President Donald Trump visited Saudi Arabia and called for a united front among Muslim countries against terrorism and extremism. It also followed weeks of rising tensions between Qatar and its neighbours, among others, over Doha’s accusations of a concerted media campaign and the alleged hacking of the Qatar News Agency. Gulf states have for years accused Qatar of supporting extremist groups, in particular the Muslim Brotherhood.

Although Bangladesh has for now preferred to be non-committal, diplomatic observers are not sure what would happen if the row lingers and aggravates. If the situation deteriorates, then it might deepen Dhaka’s new dilemma as both Saudi Arabia and Qatar are the major destinations for Bangladeshi workers.

In addition to the thousands of workers already in Qatar, many new Bangladeshi workers went to the country during the last few years to work in ongoing infrastructure projects ahead of the 2022 football World Cup to be hosted by Qatar.

Humayun Kabir, Vice President of Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI), a think tank, hinted that if the tension escalates, it is likely to affect Bangladesh. “There will be a pressure on Bangladesh to take a side because Bangladesh is already a member of the Saudi-led military alliance,” said the former diplomat.

Full report at:



Taliban claims the group is not behind Herat city bombing that left 7 dead

Jun 06 2017

The Taliban militants group in Afghanistan claims that the group is not behind the bombing in Herat city that left at least seven people dead.

The group’s spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi in a statement said certain circles within the ‘enemies’ are attempting to defame the group by carrying out such attacks.

He did not elaborate further regarding his claims about the ‘circles’ and ‘enemies’ involved in the attack.

The Ministry of Interior acting spokesman Najib Danish confirmed that the incident took place after explosives planted in a motorcycle went off in Jame mosque.

Najib further added that 7 people were killed in the explosion and at least 16 others were wounded.

No individual or group including the Taliban insurgents has so far claimed responsibility behind the incident.

This comes as the Taliban-led insurgency has been rampant since the group announced its spring offensive late in April.

Taliban’s statements for rejecting role in major attacks mainly claiming civilian lives comes as the group is accused of incurring the most civilian casualties in the country.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UANAMA) released its latest civilian casualties report in the month of April, covering a period of three months since the start of 2017.

According to the report, the Anti-Government Elements caused 62 per cent of civilian casualties – 1,353 civilian casualties (447 dead and 906 injured), reflecting a five per cent increase compared to the same period in 2016.

Full report at:



Jalaluddin Haqqani’s group suffer casualties in latest Taliban infighting

Jun 07 2017

Militants belonging to the Jalaluddin Haqqani’s faction of the Taliban suffered casualties in the latest infighting between the Taliban insurgents in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

The provincial government media office in a statement said clashes broke out between the Taliban insurgents in Bati Kot district late on Monday night.

The statement further added that one Taliban insurgent was killed during the clashes and at least two others were wounded.

The militants killed or wounded during the clashes belong to the Jalaluddin Haqqani group, the statement added, citing the preliminary information received by the government regarding the incident.

A number of the Taliban insurgents were killed or wounded during an infighting among the militants of the group in southern Uruzgan province of Afghanistan.

According to the local government officials, the incident took place late on Sunday night in Chora district.

Full report at:



Pak military reacts as Kabul blame Pakistan-based Haqqani network for deadly attacks

Jun 07 2017

The Pakistani military reacted regarding the remarks of the Afghan officials, blaming the Haqqani terrorist network using the Pakistan safe havens for conducting deadly attacks in capital Kabul.

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), media wing of the Pakistani military, in a statement said a special Corps Commanders’ Conference was held at General Headquarters Tuesday during which the forum expressed its solidarity with the people and security forces of Afghanistan in the backdrop of recent terrorist incidents.

The statement further added that the the corps commanders also expressed serious reservations to ‘the unwarranted accusations and threats’ directed at Pakistan in the aftermath of the Kabul bombing.

“The forum also concluded that instead of blaming Pakistan, Afghanistan needs to look inward and identify the real issues,” the statement said.

Over 150 people were killed and hundreds more were wounded in the deadly bombing that rocked capital Kabul last Wednesday.

No group including the Taliban insurgents has so far claimed responsibility behind the deadly attack so far.

However, the Afghan intelligence said credible intelligence information confirms the attack was carried out by the network on direct instructions and with the support of the Pakistani military intelligence, Inter Services Intelligence.

Full report at:



India will never be cowed down, Vohra says in react to rocket attack in Kabul

Jun 07 2017

The Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan Manpreet Vohra has said India will never be cowed down as he reacted to the rocket attack in the city today.

“A rocket landed in the India House compound at 10:25 am. There were no casualties. Investigations are ongoing,” Ambassador was quoted as saying by The Indian Express newspaper.

Vohra further added “India has dealt with terror and will never be cowed down by it.”

No group including the Taliban insurgents has so far claimed responsibility behind the attack.

The Ministry of Interior acting spokesman Najib Danish confirmed a rocket landed in the vicinity of Shash Darak area.

He said the rocket fired from an unknown location landed inside a tennis ground but no loss of life or property damage was reported.

This comes as Kabul is hosting a major summit, Kabul Process, aimed at establishing a regional and global census in the fight against terrorism and the Afghan peace process.

Today’s incident follows days after the city witnessed back to back explosions and violence.

The first incident in the city took place last Wednesday after a vehicle packed with explosives was detonated near the embassy of Germany.

Full report at:



Those using suicide bombers, terrorism for political means will fail: Abdullah

Jun 06 2017

The Chief Executive of the Government of National Unity of Afghanistan Abdullah Abdullah said those using suicide bombers and terrorism for political means will fail.

Speaking at the end of the Kabul Process summit, Abdullah said “Those who use suicide and terrorism as a mean be aware that you will eventually fail.”

Abdullah further added “We will seek justice & our resolve for a unified, prosperous and peaceful tomorrow will overcome your dark & evil intentions.”

In regards to those involved in the relentless insurgency and deadly attacks, CEO Abdullah said “To those who r manipulated, brain-washed & used as fodder, there is no reward awaiting the murderer of innocent human beings.”

In other parts of his speech, Abdullah paid tribute to the recent victims of the global terrorist attacks, including the victims of London terror attack.

He hailed the participants of the summit for supporting and calling for genuine state-to-state cooperation and regional mechanisms to eliminate the menace of terrorism.

“In fight against terrorism, we must use same toolkit, whether we confront lone-wolves or state actors enabling terrorism,” he added.

CEO Abdullah also added that the ongoing violence in Afghanistan has external routes, emphasizing that the leadership councils of the terror groups are located outside the country and are using their safe havens for the deadly attacks in Afghanistan.

“Terrorism whose headquarter is located outside our borders, misuses Islam & provokes ethnic politics to recruit terrorists,” he added.

He also added “In our fight against terrorism, we need to commit to uprooting sanctuaries and dismantling support infrastructures.”

Full report at:





Muslim Asia caught in the middle as diplomatic row rocks Middle East

By Rozanna Latiff and Syed Raza Hassan

Jun 6, 2017

Non-Arab nations in Asia, such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Pakistan, are getting caught in the middle after Saudi Arabia led a clampdown on Qatar, accusing the tiny emirate of supporting pro-Iranian Islamist militants.

Malaysia had rolled out the red carpet for Saudi Arabia's King Salman at the end of February, the first by a Saudi king to Malaysia in more than a decade. Then, the following month, Kuala Lumpur signed a defense cooperation agreement with Qatar.

A source close to the Malaysian government said that the recent efforts to strengthen ties with Qatar, including a visit by the foreign minister last month, will probably now be put on the backburner.

"We have more to lose by siding with Qatar," said the source, who requested anonymity.

On Monday, a half-dozen countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain, cut diplomatic ties with the energy-rich emirate, accusing it of backing Tehran and Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. Qatar has said it does not support terrorism and the rupture was founded on "baseless fabricated claims."

Doha now faces an acute economic plight as it relies on Gulf neighbors for 80 percent of its food imports.

The diplomatic clamp down on Qatar is seen as an indirect jab at Iran, and leaves non-Arab Muslims countries in an "uncomfortable position", according to James Dorsey, a senior fellow at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS).

"The Saudis view Iran as the foremost terrorist threat rather than the Islamic State and a lot of non-Arab Muslims countries ... would probably not agree with that," Dorsey told Reuters.


Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan are predominantly Sunni-Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia. Jakarta has sometimes tried to play a mediating role when inter-Arab tensions have flared, particularly between Saudi Arabia and predominantly Shi'ite Muslim Iran.

Jakarta's Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi received a phone call from Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday who wanted to discuss the rift, Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir said.

Indonesia has called for reconciliation and dialogue in the latest diplomatic clash.

The dilemmas are particularly acute for nuclear-armed Pakistan, which has the world's sixth-largest army and the largest military in the Muslim world.

Sunni-majority Pakistan maintains deep links with the establishment in Riyadh, which provided Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif with political asylum after he was ousted in a 1999 military coup.

But with a large Shi'ite minority and a shared western border with Iran, Pakistan has a lot to lose from rising sectarian tensions. In 2015, Pakistan declined a Saudi call to join a Riyadh-led military intervention in Yemen to fight Iranian-allied insurgents.

Pakistan has maintained official silence about the latest rift in the Arab world, loathe to be seen taking sides between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Pakistan also has close ties with Qatar itself, including a 15-year agreement signed last year to import up to 3.75 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas a year from the emirate, a major step in filling Pakistan’s energy shortfall.

“Pakistan has to act very carefully. In my opinion, there is only one option for Pakistan: to stay neutral," said retired army Brigadier Shaukat Qadir, now an independent risk and security analyst.


Pakistan’s recently retired army chief, General Raheel Sharif, traveled to Riyadh in April to lead the Saudi-led Islamic Military Alliance. The stated mission of the multinational alliance is to fight terrorism but it is increasingly seen as anti-Iran.

“There are rumors flying around that Raheel Sharif is pulling out of the Saudi-led military alliance. I hope they are true and he comes back soon,” said Qadir.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in January 2016 visited both Riyadh and Tehran along with Shariff, who was then the army chief, in an attempt to bridge the deepening chasm.

Relations between Malaysia and Saudi Arabia have been in the spotlight over the last two years after Saudi Arabia was dragged into a multi-billion dollar corruption scandal at Malaysian state fund lMDB, founded by Najib.

Najib has denied any wrongdoing in the money-laundering case which is now being investigated by several countries including the U.S, Switzerland and Singapore.

During King Salman's visit to Malaysia, Saudi oil giant Aramco [IPO-ARMO.SE] agreed to buy a $7 billion equity stake in Malaysian state energy firm Petronas' major refining and petrochemical project. [nL3N1GD2WX]

But Qatar has also invested between $12 billion and $15 billion in Malaysia, according to media reports.

RSIS' Dorsey said non-Arab Muslim countries like Malaysia would be "put on the spot" if the Saudis demand that its trade partners pick a side.

"They (Malaysia) can say either I do business with you, or say I'm not going to make that choice. Then the question would be how would the Saudis or the UAE respond to that," Dorsey said. "But we're not there yet, and there's no certainty that it will get there."

(The story corrects country in last quote from Qatar to UAE)

(Additional reporting by John Chalmers, Joseph Sipalan, Kay Johnson and Fergus Jensen; Editing by Bill Tarrant)



Pentagon report singles out Pakistan as home of future Chinese military base

June 7, 2017

A Pentagon report released on Tuesday singled out Pakistan as a possible location for a future Chinese military base, as it forecast that Beijing would likely build more bases overseas after establishing a facility in the African nation of Djibouti.

The prediction came in a 97-page annual report to Congress that saw advances throughout the Chinese military in 2016, funded by robust defence spending that the Pentagon estimated exceeded $180 billion. That is higher than China's official defence budget figure of $140.4 billion.

Chinese leaders, the US report said, appeared committed to defence spending hikes for the “foreseeable future,” even as economic growth slows.

The report repeatedly cited China's construction of its first overseas naval base in Djibouti, which is already home to a key US military base and is strategically located at the southern entrance to the Red Sea on the route to the Suez Canal.

“China most likely will seek to establish additional military bases in countries with which it has a longstanding friendly relationship and similar strategic interests, such as Pakistan,” the report said.

Djibouti's position on the northwestern edge of the Indian Ocean has fuelled worries in India that it would become another of China's 'string of pearls' of military alliances and assets ringing India, including Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

The report did not address India's potential reaction to a Chinese base in Pakistan. But Pakistan, the US report noted, was already the primary market in the Asian-Pacific region for Chinese arms exports. That region accounted for $9bn of the more than $20bn in Chinese arms exports from 2011 to 2015.

Last year, China signed an agreement with Pakistan for the sale of eight submarines.

Quantum satellite, cyber hacks

The Pentagon report flagged Chinese military advances, including in space and at sea. It cited China's 2016 launch of the first experimental quantum communications satellite, acknowledging that it represented a “notable advance in cryptography research.”

As in past years, the Pentagon renewed its concerns about cyber spying, saying US government-owned computers were again targeted by China-based intrusions through 2016.

Full report at:



Two men die from hunger, thirst near Pak-Iran border

Behram Baloch

June 7, 2017

GWADAR: Two men died from thirst and hunger after they were stranded in the Koh Sabaz area of Panjgur district near the Pak-Iran border, official sources said on Tuesday.

They added that the two men, a labourer and a driver, went to a village near the Pak-Iran border in a pickup truck to purchase Iranian oil a few days ago. While returning they lost their way and their vehicle also developed some fault.

They said the water and foodstuffs the two men carried finished soon with no sign of habitation nearby. After spotting the two men in the uninhabited area, some passers-by informed the local administration about them.

The sources said after receiving information Levies Force personnel rushed to the area and shifted the two men to the district hospital. By the time one of the men had died. The other was alive but he was in a serious condition. He died during treatment in the hospital.

Quoting sources in the hospital, a Levies force officer told Dawn that the cause of death was dehydration.

The deceased were identified as Zahoor Ahmed and Sher Ali. Their bodies were handed over to relatives after completion of medico-legal formalities.

Meanwhile, a schoolteacher was gunned down in Shrak area near Turbat town.

Police said that the teacher was standing outside his home when men riding a motorcycle opened fire on him.

The teacher, identified as Mohammad Yaqoob, received multiple bullet wounds and died on the spot.

Full report at:

The cause of the killing could not be known immediately.



Army takes exception to Afghan threats

June 7, 2017

ISLAMABAD - A special Corps Commanders Conference, held at the GHQ in Rawalpindi yesterday, expressed solidarity with the people and security forces of Afghanistan in the backdrop of the recent terror incidents.

According to a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the conference, chaired by Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, reviewed regional security environment in the backdrop of the terror incidents in Afghanistan.

The conference, however, took exception to the unwarranted accusations and threats against Pakistan in the aftermath of the Kabul blast that claimed 150 lives.

The statement came hours after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani accused Pakistan of waging an “undeclared war of aggression” against his country. “What will it take to convince Pakistan that a stable Afghanistan helps them and helps our region,” Ghani was reported as saying.

The corps commanders concluded that, instead of blaming Pakistan, Afghanistan needs to look inward and identify the real issues.

It expressed solidarity with Afghan people and security forces over the loss of precious lives and vowed to continue its support and cooperation with Afghanistan in the fight against terrorism and militancy.

While reaffirming continued support to regional peace and stability, the conference reiterated Pakistan Army’s resolve to defend the motherland against all types of threat.

Earlier, a suspected bomb outside a mosque in the Afghan city of Herat killed at least seven people and wounded 15, police said.

At least 150 people were killed and more than 300 were wounded on June 1 when a massive truck bomb ripped through Kabul’s diplomatic area, bringing carnage to the streets of the Afghan capital just in the holy month of Ramazan. It was not immediately clear what the target was. But the attack underscores weak insecurity in Afghanistan where a military, beset by soaring casualties, is struggling to beat back the insurgents.

The Foreign Office had said in a press release that the blast caused damage to the residences of some Pakistani diplomats and staff while several others sustained minor injuries.

“Pakistan strongly condemns the terrorist attack in Kabul that has caused loss of precious human lives and injuries to many,” the FO said. “Pakistan, being a victim of terrorism, understands the pain and agony that such incidents inflict upon the people and society,” it added.

Full report at:





Algeria calls for dialogue to resolve Qatar row

06 June 2017

Algeria on Tuesday called for dialogue among Gulf countries after some of them severed diplomatic relations with Qatar for national security concerns.

In a statement, the Foreign Ministry called for adopting dialogue "as a way to settle differences that could arise among states".

"Algeria remains confident that the current difficulties are temporary and that wisdom and self-restraint will prevail," the statement said.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Yemen cut diplomatic relations with Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism.

The abrupt escalation came two weeks after the website of Qatar’s official news agency was allegedly hacked by an unknown group that reportedly published statements falsely attributed to Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim.

The incident ignited a diplomatic row between Qatar and fellow Gulf states Saudi Arabia and the UAE.



Jordan tells Qatari ambassador to leave country within days

6 June 2017

A Jordanian government source said early Wednesday that the Qatari ambassador in Amman has been asked to leave the country within days, Al Arabiya News Channel reported.

Late Tuesday, Jordan has also decided to reduce its diplomatic status with Qatar.

Jordan’s step came after Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, the UAE, Yemen and Maldives severed relation with Qatar on Monday. They cut their ties after they accused Qatar of supporting extremism and backing Iran-backed groups, which are destabilizing the region.

Jordan’s Information Minister, also the government’s official spokesman, Mohammed Al-Momani, said Amman has decided to reduce its diplomatic status after studying reasons behind the tension between Egypt, Saudi, UAE and Bahrain with Qatar.

He also said Jordan has decided to cancel license for the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera news channel’s office in Jordan.

Momani said he hoped that tensions will be dissolved to build a better future for this region

Full report at:



Libyan diplomat reveals Qatari ‘involvement’ in attempt to kill General Haftar

6 June 2017

Libyan diplomat Abdul-Basit Al-Badri has spoken of Qatar’s alleged involvement in “assassination attempts targeting the head of the Libyan National Army General Khalifa Haftar” on Monday.

He added in a televised statement that Qatar is behind an attempt to blow up the Council of Representatives in Tobruk to impede Libyan political agreements.

Badri stressed that Libya and the Libyan people were always seeking to join Qatar’s ranks, but the Gulf state was behind attempts to break up Libyan parties by financing political Islam parties and groups in the country.

He said Qatar financed terrorist groups in the country that caused the destruction of many Libyan cities.

Badri announced the start of procedures for the withdrawal of the Libyan ambassador from Qatar after the official announcement of severing ties with the Gulf state.

Haftar also announced Libya's severance of ties with Qatar officially on Monday, adding during a television interview that “this should have been done for years.”

“Qatar has supported terrorism with money and weapons, and threatened Arab national security because of its alliance with terrorism and its financing,” Haftar said.

Full report at:



Roadside bomb blast kills 4 in Kenya

Jun 6, 2017

Four people, including three NGO workers, were killed Tuesday when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb in eastern Kenya, a local government official said, in the latest such attack in the country.

"We have four people dead from the incident that occurred between Dadaab and Doble," said the regional commissioner Mohamud Saleh.

Three of those killed were employed by an NGO called Adeso, which was founded by a Somali activist and receives funding from the US and European Union for its work in the Horn of Africa, according to its website.

The incident occurred near the town of Dadaab, home to one of the world's largest refugee camps.

A string of roadside bomb attacks, mostly claimed by Shabab extremists, have left more than 20 police officers dead in the region bordering Somalia in just over two weeks.

Inspector General Joseph Boinnet of the Kenyan police warned that more such attacks were likely during the holy month of Ramadan.

Since 2007, the Al-Qaeda linked Shabab has fought to overthrow successive internationally-backed governments in Somalia but began attacking Kenya in 2011 after Nairobi ordered its troops into Somalia to fight the militants.

Kenyan soldiers are now part of a 22,000-member African Union mission fighting there.

Full report at:



UN force in CAR may send Congo soldiers home over abuse claims

Jun 7, 2017

Hundreds of Congolese soldiers on a UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic (CAR) face allegations of sexual abuse, fuel trafficking, and poor discipline.

The commander of the UN peacekeeping force in the CAR, General Balla Keita, has called for the soldiers to either be disciplined by the Congo or face departure, according to a confidential memo that was leaked on Tuesday.

He warned the Congo to “commit itself to improving without delay the standard of its unit” or else a “decision should be made to repatriate and replace the Congolese battalion.”

The Congolese soldiers in the CAR have previously been accused of sexual abuse and exploitation, according to Human Rights Watch documents.

A battalion of about 800 Congolese soldiers were sent to the CAR last year, but 120 of them were repatriated following similar allegations, which involved at least seven victims, six of whom were children, according to a report by the UN force in the CAR. UN peacekeeping spokeswoman Ismini Palla said the peacekeeping force in the CAR has carried out an assessment of the Congolese contingent and has shared the results with the Congo.

“The battalion is notorious for SEA (sexual abuse and exploitation) misconducts, fuel trafficking and poor discipline,” Keita wrote in the memo, adding that he had sent “six blame letters” to the battalion commander already this year.

“The situation has deteriorated to the point that the battalion is no longer trustable because of poor leadership, lack of discipline, and operational deficiencies,” Keita wrote.

The United Nations has 10,000 troops and 2,000 people serving in its MINUSCA force in the Central African Republic. The country has been plagued by deadly political violence since March 2003, when former army chief of staff Francois Bozize launched a coup and declared himself president.

Since that year, a militia group loyal to Bozize, known as anti-Balaka, has killed and tortured civilians, mutilated victims, and pillaged UN and other diplomatic facilities in so-called “cleansing operations” against Muslims, according to a report by UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR).

The bloodshed deteriorated in March 2013 when the mainly Muslim coalition of ex-Seleka rebels overthrew Bozize from power.

Full report at:




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