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Fri Aug 14 2020, 11:05 AM

Islamic World News ( 11 March 2015, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Isis Attacks Iraq’s Ramadi with Seven Car Bombs: Police

 

 

 

Soldiers have also been patrolling stations, media buildings and other potential targets since the attacks in Paris in January. (File photo: AFP)

 

  

Arab World

Isis Attacks Iraq’s Ramadi with Seven Car Bombs: Police

Isis Ransacks Ancient Assyrian City of Khorsabad

U.S. general seeks Turkish role in Mosul fight

Saudi interior minister: some states sponsor terrorism to target kingdom

Iraqi forces enter IS-held Tikrit

U.N. body to blame for Syria’s worst year: rights groups

Lebanon lawmakers fail to pick president for 20th time

U.S. may be unable to defend U.S.-backed Syria fighters from Assad

Iraqi forces beat ISIS in Tikrit, reach city centre

ISIS battling Kurdish forces in northeast Syria

Conference pays tribute to legacy of KSA founder

Anti-regime protesters in Bahrain show solidarity with prisoners

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South Asia

Afghanistan: Taliban Kill 7 Police in Ambush

Pak, Afghanistan Have Commenced Historic Phase in Ties: Sharif

Khaleda pleas hearing adjourned till Apr 1

Manna’s plea for remand cancellation rejected

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India

Why Foreigners Cant Pray At Taj Mosque, Asks Muslim Body

Army Apprehend Nine Terrorists in Four Operations

Christians, Muslims to Gain as Govt Links Loans with Population Share

Paper Investigates Prevalence of Polio among Muslims in India

India among Most Popular Destinations for Muslim Travellers

UP Government to Felicitate Muslim Village Head Who Built Temple

Masarat Alam Freed, Engineer Rashid Demands Release of All Political Prisoners

'India, US Must Counter Pak Terrorists': US Congressman

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Southeast Asia

Malaysian Home Minister Vows to Enforce Sedition Act to Defend Islam

Set Up a Petition Page like The White House, Nurul Izzah Tells PM

Muslims, Buddhists march against Myanmar crackdown

Malaysia considers border fencing to deter human trafficking

Islands in focus: Poso students raise funds for terrorism victims

After Tuan Ibrahim rejects nomination, PAS grassroots now eyeing others for top post

Ahead of polls, PAS president says ‘no problem’ to challenge

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Africa

Deadly Suicide Bombing Strikes Nigeria's Maiduguri

Boko Haram Stigma Haunts Nigeria Muslims

Nigeria seizes 36 towns from Boko Haram: Official

Somalia's Shebab militants launch attack in central town of Baidoa: officials

Niger police says over 500 Boko Haram terrorists killed since Feb.

Libya parties urge halt to military operations

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Pakistan

Zardari Stopped Rangers-Like Raid On ‘Nine Zero’: Mirza

Timing Of Karachi Raid Questioned

List Of 110 Most Wanted Terrorists

Nisar defends decision to end ban on death penalty

Pakistani accused in US consulate plot held in Canada

MQM workers take to the streets in Sindh towns over raid on ‘Nine Zero’

Taliban exploiting grievances in Fata, says US official

Former MQM activist Saulat Mirza's sister files petition challenging black warrant

Karachi paralysed after raid on Nine-Zero

Terrorist arrested, arms recovered in Peshawar

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Mideast

Turkey Detains 16 Indonesians Trying To Cross Border into Syria

For Palestinians, Israel’s Election Offers Bleak Horizon

Congress can’t modify Iran-US N-accord: Kerry

Turkey police break up protests remembering slain teen

Obama renews 'state of emergency' against Iran, extends bans for another year

Palestinian activists set fire to Israeli products

Brutally murdered Özgecan Aslan’s father to receive Turkey’s Religious Affairs award

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North America

Canadian Imams Issue Fatwa against ISIS

UN Chief Urged To Redouble Efforts for South Asia Peace

War against IS may outlive Obama administration: Defence Secretary

UN: War has plunged 80 percent of Syrians into poverty

Another Muslim Is Killed in America. Anyone Care?

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Europe

France Keeps 10,000 Troops on Streets after Militant Attacks

Jordan King Tells European Parliament Religious Coexistence Combats Extremism

Ohio Faiths Support Muslims against Threats

Danish Muslims to Form Peace Ring at Synagogue

UK spies write ‘how to catch a terrorist’ guide

Danish Muslims to Form Peace Ring at Synagogue

N. Carolina Muslim Students Face Hard Tests

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Australia

Australia probes if teen ISIS recruit died in Iraq

Australia agrees to ease visa process for Pakistani  businessmen, students

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/isis-attacks-iraq’s-ramadi-with-seven-car-bombs--police/d/101925

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Arab World

 

ISIS attacks Iraq’s Ramadi with seven car bombs: police

11 March 2015

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) launched a coordinated attack on government-held areas of the western Iraqi city of Ramadi on Wednesday, involving seven almost simultaneous suicide car bombs, police said.

At least 10 people were killed and 30 wounded in the attack, according to initial reports by police and hospital sources in the city, capital of Anbar province.

"At around 7:00 am (0400 GMT), IS launched seven attacks with suicide bombers driving Humvees in the areas of Hawz, Malaab, Toi, Albu Faraj and Albu Eitha," police major Mustafa Samir said.

For months, the government has been fighting off IS militants who control most neighbourhoods on the outskirts of the city and regularly attack security forces in more central districts.

Police officers said clashes broke out in several areas following the multiple car bomb attack on Wednesday. Mortar rounds were fired on the provincial council headquarters.

Pro-IS accounts on social media said a Belgian, a Syrian and a militant from the Caucasus were among the suicide bombers.

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/03/11/ISIS-attacks-Iraq-s-Ramadi-with-seven-car-bombs-police-.html

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ISIS ransacks ancient Assyrian city of Khorsabad

12 March 2015

ISIS militants have desecrated another ancient Iraqi capital, the government said on Wednesday, razing parts of the 2,700-year-old city of Khorsabad famed for its colossal statues of human-headed winged bulls.

Officials have said for several days they were checking reports of damage at Khorsabad following attacks on the cities of Nineveh, Nimrud and Hatra by the Islamist radicals who control much of northern Iraq.

On Wednesday the head of Iraq’s antiquities board and the country's antiquities minister both confirmed that damage had been inflicted in recent days at Khorsabad, although neither was able to give details.

“The city walls were razed, and some elements of the temples, but we don’t know the exact extent (of the damage),” antiquities director Qais Rasheed told Reuters. “Looting took place, and then the razing.”

ISIS rules a self-declared caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria which contain some of the richest archaeological treasures on earth, where ancient Assyrian empires built their capitals, Graeco-Roman civilization flourished and Muslim and Christian sects co-existed for centuries.

The group, which rejects all but its own narrow interpretation of early Sunni Muslim theology as heresy, has systematically destroyed historic temples, shrines, manuscripts statues and carvings. Officials say it has also looted widely, selling artifacts to help fund its rule.

The United Nations has condemned ISIS’ actions as a war crime and an attack on humanity’s common heritage, but the global outrage has not slowed the destruction.

Iraq has asked a U.S.-led coalition which is supporting Baghdad’s fightback against Islamic State with air strikes to deploy its aerial power to defend the country’s heritage.

U.S. General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, said in Baghdad on Monday the military priority was focused on populated areas ruled by Islamic State, as opposed to some of the remote antiquities sites.

Seeking satellite images

Rasheed said Iraq had asked for, but not received, satellite imagery from Hatra and Khorsabad so it could assess the scale of the damage. “They say they are working on getting pictures. How? Is it hard for the Americans to get satellite photos?”

Huge stone carvings of winged bulls with bearded human faces were shipped from Khorsabad and other Assyrian cities in Iraq to France, Germany, Britain and the United States in the 19th century. But Rasheed said those huge statues, each weighing several tonnes, were just a fraction of the Khorsabad treasures.

“The French and English excavated at Khorsabad and the excavations only got 10 percent of the city - it's a big city, a capital,” he said of the three square km site.

He was speaking on the sidelines of a meeting with foreign ambassadors and the United Nations to set out the scale of the damaged wreaked by ISIS and press for a stronger international response.

Rasheed said in the northern province of Nineveh alone there were 1,700 archaeological sites under Islamic State control, as well as Iraq’s third largest museum at Mosul, ransacked by the insurgents according to video footage released two weeks ago.

“We ask the whole world, and primarily the international coalition, to activate its capabilities, because every day that passes, we have new losses,” Tourism and Antiquities Minister Adel Shirshab, who also addressed the meeting, told Reuters.

Rasheed said Iraq was also seeking help in returning looted items. “There are many stolen artifacts, in auction houses in America and Europe. The diplomatic corps can play a role in helping Iraq return them,” he said.

James Ratcliffe of Art Loss Register, which runs a database of lost or stolen works of art, said he had seen little sign of anything of significant value reaching U.S. or British markets.

“I’m sure lower value stuff is getting through but higher value items are not,” he said, adding there were likely to be networks in the region working to get materials out.

“In Syria, Turkey and Lebanon there will be groups who are engaging in the trade of antiquities for profit in an organized fashion.”

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/03/12/ISIS-ransacks-ancient-Assyrian-capital-of-Khorsabad.html

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U.S. general seeks Turkish role in Mosul fight

12 March 2015

As Iraqi forces pushed into Tikrit, a top U.S. general visited Turkey on Wednesday to seek a Turkish role in the upcoming operation aiming to retake Mosul from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group after its militants seized the city in a lightening offensive in June last year.

Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, who is overseeing the U.S.-led military coalition in Iraq, met with the Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel in Ankara to convey his expectations to Turkey, the local Today’s Zaman reported.

Özel reportedly expressed Turkey’s stance to Austin, who also heads U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM). However, the newspaper did not detail further information about their meeting.

While both Ankara and Washington agreed to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels to fight ISIS, Turkey’s role in Iraq is not as clear. But with Austin’s visit, Turkey’s possible role in the operation has come under the spotlight.

On Wednesday, Iraqi military forces and Shiite militias entered central Tikrit, declaring it “liberated” from ISIS after a 10 day offensive on the hometown of former President Saddam Hussein.

After clearing Tikrit of ISIS, Iraqi forces will make thier way through to Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city.

Last week, a U.S. Central Command official said that an Iraqi and Kurdish military force of 20,000 to 25,000 troops is being prepared to recapture Mosul, in an operation slated for April or May.

Meanwhile, the meeting between the U.S. and Turkish military officials comes after Washington criticized the Iranian role in Iraq.

Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said Wednesday that the presence of Iranian advisers in the Iraq battle for Tikrit is “concerning” to the United States.

The presence of Iranian military advisers in that force “is something that is concerning to us in particular because the sectarian danger in Iraq is the principal thing that can unravel the campaign against ISIS,” Carter said.

Iran backs a number of militias that are fighting the radical group ISIS which holds large swaths of Iraq and Syria.

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/03/12/U-S-general-seeks-Turkish-role-in-Mosul-fight.html

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Saudi interior minister: some states sponsor terrorism to target kingdom

11 March 2015

Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Interior Minister Mohammad bin Naif bin Abdulaziz on Tuesday accused unnamed states of sponsoring terrorist groups to target Saudi Arabia.

Prince bin Naif, who is also Second Deputy Premier, made the statements during 32nd Meeting of the Arab Interior Ministers Council in Algeria.

He said there were terrorist groups that are proxies “of states and regimes that use their potentials to undermine our security and stability and the continuity of our existence,” Al Arabiya News Channel reported.

Addressing Arab foreign ministers, Prince bin Naif said: “You know that the security of our countries is an integral part and we seek to protect the gains and the blood of the [Arab] nations.”

He said: “previous efforts to expose the danger of terrorism on our countries and the countries of the world were successful in preparing an Arab strategy to confront terrorism.”

“The challenges to our security are many and require resolute and clever confrontation of the criminal act , a confrontation that exposes the falsity of the claims and banners and safeguards our [Arab] nations' youth from the deception of misguided organizations,” he added.

Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Interior Minister Mohammad bin Naif addresses the 32nd Meeting of Arab Interior Ministers Council in Algeria. (SPA)

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/03/11/Saudi-interior-minister-some-states-sponsor-terrorism-to-target-kingdom.html

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Iraqi forces enter IS-held Tikrit

March 12, 2015

TIKRIT: Iraqi forces entered Tikrit on Wednesday, dodging bombs and sniper fire in search of their biggest victory yet against embattled militants who tried to light new fires elsewhere in Iraq and Syria.

The self-styled Islamic State (IS) group has suffered stinging defeats in the heart of its self-proclaimed ‘caliphate’ recently.

With IS brutality reaching new highs, Washington sought increased powers from the US Congress to take on a group threatening to reshape the Middle East.

However, it was without direct support from the US-led coalition’s air campaign that Iraqi government and allied forces punched into parts of Tikrit, marking a new phase in a 10-day drive to wrest the city back from IS.

A combination of army, police and volunteer forces moved into northern and southern Tikrit, the hometown of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein and a main IS stronghold.

A major general said that government forces were battling “to cleanse the neighbourhood of Qadisiyah” in Tikrit. “But we are engaging in a very delicate battle because we are not facing fighters on the ground, we are facing booby-trapped terrain and sniper fire. Our movement is slow,” he said.

An army colonel said forces coming from another direction had also retaken the main hospital on the city’s southern edge.

Early in the offensive, in which up to 30,000 men were initially involved while IS was believed to have just a few hundred men inside Tikrit, most outlying areas were re-conquered.

The town of al-Alam, a flashpoint north of Tikrit along the Tigris river, was fully under the control of pro-government fighters and local anti-IS Sunni tribesmen on Wednesday, a reporter there said.

On the back foot in eastern and northern Iraq, IS tried to seize the initiative elsewhere, including with a spectacular coordinated attack in Ramadi in the west.

Twelve car bombs exploded almost simultaneously around the city after dawn, with at least seven suicide bombers targeting government security installations, police said.

At least 17 people were killed and 38 wounded, according to a police lieutenant colonel and a doctor at Ramadi hospital.

Clashes ensued but IS failed to gain any ground in one of the biggest attacks against a rare pocket of government control in Anbar.

“Our brave security forces were ready and had excellent intelligence about the operation,” Anbar Governor Sohaib al-Rawi said on social media.

Also on the offensive in Syria, the militants launched a “huge assault” on Wednesday to try to capture a strategic town on the border with Turkey, killing dozens.

Their attack focused on Ras al-Ain and IS seized a nearby village, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said the offensive was a pre-emptive strike against Kurdish militiamen planning to attack the IS-held town of Tal Abyad farther west.

At least 12 fighters from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, which control Ras al-Ain and surrounding villages, were killed, he said.

IS has also ramped up its propaganda war in what some analysts see as a possible sign of desperation by a movement on its last legs.

After destroying several Iraqi heritage sites that are among the planet’s most precious, the militants again shocked the world on Tuesday by releasing a video in which an Arab Israeli accused of spying for Israel is

“executed” by a boy who looks no older than 12.

Addressing US lawmakers, Secretary of State John Kerry said it was a “pivotal hour” in the battle against the most violent group in the history of modern terrorism.

Appearing before the Senate foreign relations committee, he and top US defence officials appealed for a united vote in favour of a new authorisation for the use of military force against IS.

The United States leads a 60-nation coalition involved in the fight against the jihadists and has carried out hundreds of strikes against IS in Iraq and Syria.

However, the US security establishment has expressed unease at the prominent role played by Iran in the military effort.

Iran’s top commander for external military operations, Qassem Soleimani, has been ubiquitous on Iraq’s front lines.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1169000/iraqi-forces-enter-is-held-tikrit

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U.N. body to blame for Syria’s worst year: rights groups

12 March 2015

As the Syrian conflict reaches its fifth year, aid agencies said on Thursday that 2014 was the worst of the Syrian conflict so far and that three United Nations Security Council resolutions aimed at alleviating the suffering had failed.

In a report entitled “Failing Syria”, 21 human rights organizations slammed world powers for not implementing a series of UN Security Council resolutions on the crisis.

Syria’s crisis, which pits President Bashar al-Assad alongside allies against a hodge-podge of divided rebel groups, started in March 2011 with protests against the government and descended into a civil war that has killed more than 200,000 people.

Three resolutions adopted last year urged armed actors in Syria to protect non-combatants and aimed to secure greater access to humanitarian aid for millions of Syrians.

“However, the resolutions, and the hope they provided, have rung hollow for Syrian civilians. They have been ignored or undermined by the parties to the conflict, other U.N. member states and even by members of the (Security Council) itself,” the report said.

Last year was the deadliest yet in the conflict, with at least 76,000 people killed out of a total of more than 210,000 since it began on March 15, 2011.

No end in sight

As the war enters a fifth year, there is no end in sight.

“This is a betrayal of our ideals, because we’re not supposed to be watching people suffer and die in 2015,” said Jan Egeland, secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, which contributed to the report.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/03/12/World-shares-blame-for-Syria-s-worst-year-rights-groups-.html

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Lebanon lawmakers fail to pick president for 20th time

12 March 2015

Lebanon’s parliament failed for the 20th time Wednesday to elect a president, after more than nine months with no head of state because of tensions linked to war-torn neighbor Syria.

The presidential vacuum is the longest since the end of Lebanon’s civil war in 1990.

“Speaker of the House Nabih Berri postponed on Wednesday the presidential election session to April 2 due to lack of quorum,” his office said.

Only 55 of the parliament’s 128 members were present, less than the required two-thirds quorum.

Lebanon has been without a head of state since Michel Sleiman’s term expired on May 25, 2014.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/03/12/Lebanon-lawmakers-fail-to-pick-president-for-20th-time-.html

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U.S. may be unable to defend U.S.-backed Syria fighters from Assad

11 March 2015

The United States does not appear to have clear-cut legal authority to protect Syrian rebels it trains from attack by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, even if Congress approves new war powers, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Wednesday.

Still, Carter said a final determination has not been made.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/03/11/U-S-may-be-unable-to-defend-U-S-backed-Syria-fighters-from-Assad.html

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Iraqi forces beat ISIS in Tikrit, reach city center

11 March 2015

Iraqi military forces and Shitte militias entered central Tikrit, declaring it “liberated” from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) on Tuesday, following 10 days of a major offensive on the hometown of former president Saddam Hussein.

Marwan al-Jabara, a tribal spokesman in the Salaheddin province, told Al Arabiya News Channel that the forces managed to reach the center of Tikrit after heavy clashes in which “dozens of ISIS militants were killed.”

Residents welcome a relative who is part of militias known as Hashid Shaabi, in the town of al-Alam March 10, 2015. (Reuters)

An unmanned Iraqi major general told AFP earlier: “We are now doing combat missions to cleanse the neighborhood of Qadisiyah.”

Al Arabiya reported on Tuesday that Iraqi forces took control of Tikrit military hospital, which is close the center of the city, a report confirmed by the major general who spoke to AFP.

“But we are engaging in a very delicate battle because we are not facing fighters on the ground, we are facing booby-trapped terrain and sniper fire. Our movement is slow,” the senior officer said.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/03/11/Iraqi-forces-enter-ISIS-held-Tikrit-army-.html

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ISIS battling Kurdish forces in northeast Syria

11 March 2015

Hundreds of fighters from the Islamic state of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have launched an attack on Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria, triggering fierce fighting that has killed dozens on both sides, a group monitoring the war said on Wednesday.

The Kurdish YPG militia, backed by U.S.-led air strikes, had made significant gains in recent weeks against ISIS in the region, cutting an important supply route from territory controlled by the militant group in Iraq.

Islamic State appeared to try to seize back the initiative on Tuesday, attacking Kurdish forces using tanks and heavy weapons around Ras al-Ayn town near the Turkish border, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

An official in a Kurdish-run defence council in the area also reported heavy clashes in the area of Ras al-Ayn and said the Kurdish forces had been forced to withdraw from a nearby village.

“There are martyrs and dead but the number of martyrs is unknown so far,” said the official, speaking via Skype.

The fighting continued into Wednesday. It was not clear exactly how many fighters had been killed on both sides.

The Kurdish campaign in northeastern Syria has been closely coordinated with the U.S.-led coalition that is fighting to roll back Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

The YPG has emerged as the main partner for the U.S.-led alliance fighting Islamic State on the ground in Syria. Backed by Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters and air strikes, the YPG defeated Islamic State in the border town of Kobani in January.

After rapid advances against Islamic State, the YPG announced on Feb. 27 it had seized the strategically important town of Tel Hamis from Islamic State.

The U.S.-led alliance said in a statement on Tuesday that forces opposed to Islamic State had seized key territory near Tel Hamis last week. It did not identify them as the YPG, instead describing the fighters as “anti-ISIL forces”.

“Key terrain”

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/03/11/ISIS-in-major-assault-on-Syria-border-town-Ras-al-Ain-monitor-.html

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Conference pays tribute to legacy of KSA founder

12 March 2015

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman attended on Wednesday the second International Conference on the History of King Abdul Aziz at a local university, which will showcase the leadership qualities and achievements of the late monarch.

Accompanied by Crown Prince Muqrin, deputy premier, King Salman was welcomed by Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar and Minister of Education Azzam Al-Dakhil. Others present at the two-day event included several princes, top officials and foreign dignitaries.

Following the ceremony, King Salman inaugurated SR3.25 billion worth of projects launched by Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University (IMSIU). They include various buildings in Riyadh, faculty housing, parking lots, and infrastructure for communications and electronic systems.

He also inaugurated a museum on Islamic science, history and technology, which was established by the university in collaboration with the Institute for Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Frankfurt, Germany.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/featured/news/717171

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Anti-regime protesters in Bahrain show solidarity with prisoners

Mar 12, 2015

Anti-regime protesters have staged rallies in Bahrain to show support for jailed activists in the country’s notorious Jaw prison.

Protesters took to the streets on the island city of Sitra and also in the village of Ma’ameer, which is the country’s industrial hub, in solidarity with the prisoners.

On Tuesday, sources close to Bahrain’s opposition revealed that regime security forces had attacked inmates at Jaw prison and injured dozens of the jailed activists.

Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society said the crackdown came after security forces attacked visitors, who were trying to see their relatives inside the prison, which is located in a remote area south of the capital, Manama.

Al-Wefaq added that the regime is putting the lives of the prisoners at risk to take revenge from them for the expression of their inalienable rights and political ideas.

The families of the victims have confirmed the incident at the facility.

Messages on social media said two inmates, namely Jameel Abdel-Ghani and Ali Hussein Abdel-Nabi, were beaten severely by the regime forces.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.in/Detail/2015/03/12/401430/Bahraini-protesters-show-support-for-prisoners

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South Asia

 

Afghanistan: Taliban Kill 7 Police in Ambush

Mar 12, 2015

An Afghan official says Taliban gunmen have killed seven policemen in an ambush in the northern Kunduz province.

Nasruddin Khan, governor of Dashti Archi district, said the policemen were travelling to a neighboring province to collect their salaries when they were ambushed by up to 30 militants.

In Parwan province, north of the capital Kabul, four policemen were killed while manning a security post on Wednesday night in Syagurd district, Gov. Mohammad Sayed Sediqi says.

Afghanistan's Taliban insurgency is spread thinly across the country but continues to prey on police manning checkpoints, which are easy targets.

Full report at:

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/afghanistan-taliban-kill-police-ambush-29573805

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Pak, Afghanistan have commenced historic phase in ties: Sharif

March 12, 2015

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today said that with the change of leadership in Afghanistan the two countries have commenced a historic new phase in bilateral ties by agreeing to overcome the past and build a forward-looking relationship based on mutual trust.

Sharif made the remarks while talking to Afghan Minister for Refugees and Repatriation Sayed Hussain Alemi Balkhi, who called on him at the Prime Minister's House this morning.

The Pakistan Prime Minister said that building stable and cooperative relations with all countries of the region was part of his vision of a peaceful neighbourhood.

With the change in leadership in Afghanistan, the two countries have commenced a historic new phase in bilateral relations, agreeing to overcome the past and building a forward-looking relationship based on mutual trust, Sharif was quoted as saying by an official statement.

Recently, former Afghan President Hamid Karzai had expressed alarm over his successor Ashraf Ghani's "unthinkable concessions" to Pakistan. He had warned that Afghanistan was in danger of sliding under "Pakistan's thumb".

During his meeting with Balkhi, Sharif said, "Our focus is on enhanced political engagement, security and counter- terrorism cooperation, trade and economic partnership, and regional cooperation."

Full report at:

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/pak-afghanistan-have-commenced-historic-phase-in-ties-sharif-115031200550_1.html

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Khaleda pleas hearing adjourned till Apr 1

March 12, 2015

The High Court today adjourned the hearing until April 1 on two petitions filed by BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia expressing no confidence in the judge of a trial court dealing with Zia Orphanage and Zia Charitable Trust corruption cases.

The HC will hear the petitions after the court's 15-day vacation, which will end on April 1.

The bench led by Justice Md Rezaul Haque adjourned the hearing while another Justice, Md Khasruzzaman, was not present at the court.

The bench, on March 5 fixed March 12 (today) for hearing the petitions.

Khaleda Zia filed the petition on January 28 expressing apprehension that she could not get justice from Abu Ahmed Jamadar of the special judge court-3 of Dhaka as he had earlier not allowed her prayer for adjourning the case proceedings.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/online/graft-cases-hearing-khaleda%E2%80%99s-pleas-adjourned-till-apr-1-71164

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Manna’s plea for remand cancellation rejected

March 12, 2015

A Dhaka court today rejected a petition filed by the counsel for Nagorik Oikya Convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna seeking cancellation of his 10-day remand in sedition case.

http://www.thedailystar.net/top-news/manna%E2%80%99s-plea-remand-cancellation-rejected-71178

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India

 

Why Foreigners Cant Pray At Taj Mosque, Asks Muslim Body

Mar 11, 201

AGRA: Taj Mahal Masjid Intezamiya Committee, which claims to make arrangements for Namaz in the monument's mosque, has sought revoking a seven-year-old ban on foreigners offering Friday prayers, especially from SAARC countries, at the monument. At present, only locals can offer Namaz in the mosque on Friday.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which is responsible for Taj Mahal's maintenance, has refuted the committee's claim of making arrangements for prayers at the Taj's mosque. It also said that according to rules, only locals who have been traditionally offering Namaz at the mosque could be allowed. The department also.

The committee has been raising this issue for many years, and recently sought information under an RTI query regarding who can offer prayers at Taj. The reply stated that a 2008 gazette notification mentions Taj will be open on Friday only for those "offering customary afternoon prayers". The committee contends that it was nowhere written that foreigners cannot offer prayers.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/agra/Why-foreigners-cant-pray-at-Taj-mosque-asks-Muslim-body/articleshow/46532399.cms

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Army Apprehend Nine Terrorists In Four Operations

March 11, 2015

Security forces on Wednesday apprehended nine terrorists in four different operations, two of whom belonged to the NDFB(S), four to the KPLT and one to the Muslim United Liberation Tigers of Assam (MULTA).

While the two NDFB(S) rebels were apprehended in Chirang district that shares international boundary with Bhutan, the four KPLT rebels were arrested in Hamren sub-division in Karbi Anglong. Sharing this information, Guwahati-based defence PRO Lt Col Suneet Newton also said that two cadres of the Meghalaya-based United Achik Liberation Army (UALA) surrendered before the Meghalaya Police and the Army in North Garo Hills, while the MULTA activist was picked up from Goalpara.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/army-apprehend-nine-terrorists-in-four-operations/

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Christians, Muslims to gain as govt links loans with population share

Mar 12, 2015

NEW DELHI: The BJP government is asking public sector banks to lend to each minority community in line with its share of the total minority population within the 6% quota fixed for all minorities. The move will result in higher credit flow to Muslims and Christians. Under current rules, banks have to mandatorily earmark 15% of their priority sector loans to minority communities. Priority sector lending in turn is mandated as 40% of all bank loans and includes those to agriculture and micro, small and medium enterprises.

Census 2001 figures for the population of various minority communities shows that they put together constituted about 19.5% of India's population. Muslims were around 69% of the minority population, Christians 12%, Sikhs just under 10% and the rest about 9%. While these shares may have changed somewhat in the 2011 census, yet to be released, they are unlikely to have changed drastically. Therefore, the new norms would mean that about 4% of all bank loans would go to Muslims, around 0.7% to Christians and 0.6% to Sikhs.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Christians-Muslims-to-gain-as-govt-links-loans-with-population-share/articleshow/46534651.cms

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Paper investigates prevalence of polio among Muslims in India

By Lauren Aratani

March 12, 2015

Though Muslims made up only 16 percent of India’s population in 2006, they accounted for 70 percent of those infected with polio. Rashid Hussain ’10 MD’14 explores reasons behind the increase in polio among India’s Muslim population in his research paper “Partition and Poliomyelitis: An Investigation of the Polio Disparity Affecting Muslims during India’s Eradication Program,” published March 5 in Public Library of Science ONE.

Hussain began his research during his undergraduate career as an anthropology and human biology concentrator.  ANTH 1030: “International Health: Anthropological Perspectives,” taught by Professor of Anthropology Daniel Smith, inspired him to conduct public health research, he said.

Hussain said he “bumped into polio by accident.”

“I just wanted to explore,” Hussain said. “There was actually very little research at the time on health inequities affecting minorities in India.”

With the lack of polio coverage in the mass media, the population disparity was “blamed exclusively on rumors” about the effects of the polio vaccine, Hussain said. In the summer of 2009, Hussain traveled to the Aligarh district of Uttar Pradesh in India to conduct research for his undergraduate senior thesis. He used the anthropological method of “participant observation” and collected his data as a part of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s door-to-door team. He conducted 107 “structured or semi-structured” interviews, according to the research paper.

“It was all about grassroots networking,” Hussain said, adding that he was able to make connections through “word of mouth and different people’s reputations and recommendations.” Polio was eradicated in India after Hussain had finished his research, with its last case appearing in 2011 thanks to the “extraordinary” community intervention efforts of the Indian government, Hussain said.

Though Hussain started his paper as part of his undergraduate work, he continued his research at the Alpert Medical School.

Full report at:

http://www.browndailyherald.com/2015/03/12/paper-investigates-prevalence-polio-among-muslims-india/

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India among most popular destinations for Muslim travellers

March 12, 2015

Some 108 million Muslim travellers spent $145 billion globally in 2014. By 2020, the figure is expected to swell to 150 million travellers spending $200 billion, according to a new report that has noted that in 2014, India welcomed 1.4 Muslim visitors.

In the Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI), a comprehensive research report by MasterCard-CrescentRating, India has been named in the top 20 destinations among the non-Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) destinations.

India came 14th on the list, in which Singapore took the top spot for the non-OIC destinations. Malaysia topped the list for OIC countries, which also included Turkey, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/travel/india-among-most-popular-destinations-for-muslim-travellers/article6986264.ece

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UP government to felicitate Muslim village head who built temple

March 12, 2015

Uttar Pradesh government would felicitate a Muslim village head who had constructed a temple as a mark of communal harmony in Sahaar village of the district.

“It is commendable work. We shall felicitate him,” Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said on Wednesday while talking to reporters in Jatipura village.

The Sahaar village head, Ajmal Ali Sheikh, had constructed a temple in the Nagla Gajai area. Before this, the Hindu residents of the village had to travel to a temple four kilometers away in another village.

“I had built the temple for promoting communal harmony and for facilitating the ladies to pray in the temple in their own village. If the Chief Minister has decided to felicitate me, it is welcome,” Sheikh said.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/uttar-pradesh/up-government-to-felicitate-muslim-village-head-who-built-temple/

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Masarat Alam freed, Engineer Rashid demands release of all political prisoners

March 11, 2015

Days after the state government released senior separatist leader Masarat Alam, causing uproar across the country, independent legislator Engineer Rashid has moved two resolutions demanding the release of all the political prisoners and the return of mortal remains of Afzal Guru who was hanged in Tihar Jail.

Addressing the media in Srinagar, Rashid said that he has moved two resolutions for the budget session of the state assembly that begins next week.

ALSO READ: BJP gives “ultimatum” to ally PDP, post Alam release

Explaining the contents of these resolutions he said that, “All the political prisoners languishing in different jails in and outside Jammu & Kashmir be released unconditionally, to create conducive atmosphere to return of peace in the State.”

In another resolution, Rashid has sought the mortal remains of Afzal Guru to his family on humanitarian grounds “so that they can perform his last rights according to the religious obligations.”

He said that since the return of mortal remains of Afzal Guru is the “voice of Kashmir’s”, he would write letters to the speaker of the State assembly, PDP and NC to ensure that these resolutions are adopted.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/post-masarat-alam-engineer-rashid-demands-release-of-all-political-prisoners/

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'India, US Must Counter Pak Terrorists': US Congressman

March 12, 2015

United States Congressman Ed Royce, who led a bipartisan Congressional delegation to India between March 7 and 10, says strategies on how US and Indian counter-terrorism and intelligence cooperation can be ramped up was the top priority on the agenda of their discussions.

Royce, who called this correspondent from New Delhi to report on his meetings with the prime minister and other ministers, said another priority on the delegation's agenda was how US-India bilateral trade can be upped to $500 billion.

The Congressional delegation also met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, National Security Advisor Ajit Kumar Doval, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

"On counter-terrorism, I brought up the importance of bringing our top leadership from Homeland Security and our top leadership of intelligence agencies to meet with the top leadership in India so that we can bring it to the highest levels of cooperation because of the growing threat that our people in the United States and India face the same threat," Royce said.

"The threat is such -- and the magnitude of it so great -- that we have to counter it jointly," he said.

Royce, recalling his stay at the Taj hotel and his meetings with security officials following the 26/11 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, said, "We agreed that we need stronger steps with respect to countering these terrorists from Pakistan."

Both sides, Royce said, had bemoaned that the leaders and main conspirators of the 26/11 attacks were still at large and moving freely in Pakistan. These terrorists, he added, have been addressing meetings "and have not been brought to justice -- handed over to the International Criminal Court or handed over to Indian officials."

"This is unacceptable and another reason we need this high level of cooperation by our top leadership," Royce said.

Before he left Washington, DC, Royce had told Rediff.com in an exclusive interview, "We have got to stem the flow of radical Islamists in relation with some of the neighbouring States and India's tough neighbourhood there."

Full report at:

http://www.rediff.com/news/report/india-us-must-counter-pak-terrorists/20150312.htm

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Southeast Asia

 

Malaysian Home Minister vows to enforce Sedition Act to defend Islam

MARCH 12, 2015

PUTRAJAYA — Malaysian Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi vowed yesterday to ensure the controversial Sedition Act 1948 will be used to defend Islam, the Malays and rulers for as long as he remains Home Minister.

The vice-president of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO)party warned that without the Act, trouble and chaos could ensue and the country could be destroyed by the irresponsible few who insult Islam.

“If we do not create awareness and if there is no Sedition Act, maybe it would cause our country to fall apart. There will be trouble, chaos, if there is no containment,” said Mr Ahmad Zahid in his monthly ministerial address.

“As long as I am Home Minister, I will ensure this amended law, the Sedition Act, will defend the position of Islam, the rulers and Malays under my responsibility,” he added to a round of applause from the thousands of civil servants present.

Citing as example a recent dog-adoption programme in Penang, where a tudung-clad Muslim woman was seen holding a puppy, Mr Ahmad Zahid said such an event would not have happened before the spread of liberalism, which has reached an extreme point.

“Kids who are born after 2000, after the new millennium, the ones called ‘Generation Z’ ... they do not know much about the history of our country,” the minister said.

On Tuesday, an event called Opt-To-Adopt was held at Penang Times Square to encourage non-Muslims to adopt stray dogs, according to its joint organisers Han Chiang College, Save Our Strays and Penang Times Square.

It courted controversy after a picture of a woman wearing a traditional headscarf, or tudung, and holding a puppy at the event went viral on social media, attracting criticism from several Muslim groups.

Full report at:

http://www.todayonline.com/world/asia/malaysian-home-minister-vows-enforce-sedition-act-defend-islam

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Set up a petition page like the White House, Nurul Izzah tells PM

March 12, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, March 12 ― PKR's Nurul Izzah Anwar today urged the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to adopt a similar approach as the White House by setting up an online petition page to enable the public to raise issues with the country’s top leadership.

The Lembah Pantai MP said the White House’s “We the People” platform is a “worthwhile democratic right” that Malaysians should strive to have.

“White House Petition is the commendable format for any citizen or individual to raise any issues; subject to collecting sufficient signatures to merit response from the President,” the she said in a statement.

“Therefore, I call upon our Prime Minister Najib to establish a similar democratic mechanism for 'We the Rakyat' to raise any issues with at least 10,000 signatures (as we are smaller than the US) for our Premier to respond to,” she said, referring to Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Nurul Izzah said funding for such an initiative should not be an issue, and suggested that the PMO look to state-owned investment fund 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) to consider it part of the firm’s corporate social responsibility.

The PKR vice-president also hit out at Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek over his criticism of a petition seeking US intervention on the sodomy conviction and jailing of opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/set-up-a-petition-page-like-the-white-house-nurul-izzah-tells-pm

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Muslims, Buddhists march against Myanmar crackdown

March 12, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR: Scores of Rohingya Muslims and Buddhist activists among the Myanmar community in Malaysia yesterday staged a rare protest here.

The protest was to call for an immediate end to the violent crackdown against student protesters in Letpadan, central Myanmar, reports Channel News.

This comes just a day before Myanmar President Thein Sein was scheduled to arrive for a two-day state visit.

Rohingya Muslims and the Myanmar Buddhist community do not usually mix in Malaysia where both groups have sizable numbers in residence but both groups decided to protest and hand over memoranda to the Myanmar government.

The Chin National Front group and the 88 Generation leaders’ representatives were demanding an immediate release of the students detained after clashes with police in Letpadan. Over 100 students fighting for educational freedom were arrested following violent clashes with police.

Full report at:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2015/03/12/muslims-buddhists-march-against-myanmar-student-crackdown/

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Malaysia considers border fencing to deter human trafficking

March 12 2015

Erecting secu­rity fences totalling 2,666km along the nation’s borders is being considered as a measure to stop smuggling and people trafficking.

The home ministry is conducting a feasibility study on the fencing which will also serve as a replacement for existing border fences that are in deplo­rable condition.

Each year, the government loses more than 7 billion ringgit (US$1.90 billion) to the smuggling of goods such as rice, petrol, diesel, alcoholic bevera­ges, cigarettes, fertiliser and herbicides.

There is also the matter of firearms being smuggled into the country, stolen vehicles snuck into neighbouring countries and fake fashion brands making their way in.

But stopping the trafficking of people is also a major reason for putting up the fences.

The fencing is for our borders with Thailand, Indonesia and Brunei, and what’s being studied is the type of fence, its height, total cost, how it will be guarded and if it needs to be electrified.

A special committee, known as the Security Fence Technical Team, is conducting the study that is expected to be completed by early October.

It will then be submitted to the cabinet.

Home ministry border security and police division secretary Badrul Hisham Mohd said the division headed the committee.

He said the team was already in the second phase of its study and would be meeting the respective agencies in Sabah and Sarawak on March 24 and 25.

The borders at the north of the peninsula need about 650km of fencing while those in Sabah and Sarawak require about 2,000km, said Badrul, who is also Smuggling Prevention Unit (UPP) director-general.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/03/12/malaysia-considers-border-fencing-deter-human-trafficking.html

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Islands in focus: Poso students raise funds for terrorism victims

March 12 2015

Scores of students from the Sintuwu Maroso University in Poso, Central Sulawesi, affiliated with the National Students Front (FMN) held a fundraiser to help victims of terrorism in Poso Pesisir.

“We were able to collect Rp 1.7 million (US$129),” FMN head Fadil Abdullah told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday. He said the funds had been given to victims via the Tangkura village administration in Poso Pesisir.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/03/12/islands-focus-poso-students-raise-funds-terrorism-victims.html

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After Tuan Ibrahim rejects nomination, PAS grassroots now eyeing others for top post

12 March 2015

Kota Baru PAS chief, Datuk Wan Abdul Rahim Wan Abdullah said Tuan Ibrahim's decision not to contest has opened the doors for other leaders to take on incumbent PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang in the party polls in June.

"I understand that at least 15 divisions in Johor will nominate other candidates to become the PAS president," Wan Rahim told The Malaysian Insider.

"I am confident that an ulama (cleric) will be chosen as a candidate, after Tuan Ibrahim declined the nomination, and one of them will be Ahmad Awang," he said, referring to the 79-year-old veteran who was also a Shura Council member for nearly 15 years. On Monday night, Wan Rahim, who is also the PAS deputy elections chief, announced Tuan Ibrahim as the Kota Baru division committee's candidate to vie for the Islamist party's top post.

They said Tuan Ibrahim's nomination would appease warring factions within PAS and unite the party, which is currently split between those who want to continue political cooperation with Pakatan Rakyat and clerics who want PAS to chart its own path.

Wan Rahim said Tuan Ibrahim had been nominated because he was from the ulama group and was also liked by Hadi.

But the party vice-president declined the nomination, saying that he was not worthy to take on his leader.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/after-tuan-ibrahim-rejects-nomination-pas-grassroots-now-eyeing-others-for

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Ahead of polls, PAS president says ‘no problem’ to challenge

BY SHAZWAN MUSTAFA KAMAL

MARCH 12, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, March 12 — While no clear contender has yet stepped up to challenge his position, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said today he will leave his fate as PAS president to the Islamist party’s members in its June election.

The incumbent has helmed the party since July 2002.

“(Anyone) can challenge, I have no problem,” the Marang MP told reporters when met at the Parliament lobby.

“This depends on the muktamar and members of the party,” he said, using the Arabic word for the party’s assembly.

Yesterday, PAS vice-president Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man rejected a nomination that put him forward as a prospective candidate for his party’s presidency at its election in June, saying he was concerned his acceptance would send a “bad signal” to those outside the party.

Instead, he urged party members to continue supporting Hadi as president for the sake of adhering to the Islamist party’s customary leadership by the ulama, or religious scholars.

On Monday, the Kota Baru PAS division nominated Tuan Ibrahim for the post, with division chief Datuk Wan Abdul Rahim Wan Abdullah saying he was confident that Hadi would not seek re-election at the PAS’ annual party conference in June.

A new rift emerged in PAS after some members accused top leaders of trying to overthrow Abdul Hadi, with deputy president Mohamad Sabu and elections director Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli alleged to be conspirators.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/ahead-of-polls-pas-president-says-no-problem-to-challenge

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Africa

 

Deadly suicide bombing strikes Nigeria's Maiduguri

11 Mar 2015

A suspected female suicide bomber has killed at least 17 people in Maiduguri, capital of Nigeria's Borno state, military and hospital sources say.

Tuesday's attack happened three days after a multiple bomb attack in the city killed more than 50 people.

Citing a military source, the Reuters news agency said a loud blast rocked Maiduguri just after 4pm local time (1500 GMT) and that the bomber detonated her device at a roundabout near the Monday Market, which has seen numerous attacks before.

Maiduguri is the birthplace of Boko Haram, which has been fighting for six years to enforce Islamic law in all 36 states of Nigeria, which is roughly equally divided between a predominantly Muslim north and a mainly Christian south.

The latest attack came after the government in Abuja described the fighters' pledge of allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) as a sign of weakness in the face of growing military pressure from Nigeria and its allies.

Mike Omeri, the national security spokesman, called it "an act of desperation and comes at a time when Boko Haram is suffering heavy losses".

Full report at:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/03/boko-haram-stages-deadly-attack-nigeria-maiduguri-150311051917476.html

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Boko Haram Stigma Haunts Nigeria Muslims

11 March 2015

YAOUNDE –Fleeing horror and death in their home country, many Nigerian Muslims in Cameroon are  facing Boko Haram stigma, with suspicious residents persecuting them as "sympathizers" of the militant group.

"I feel threatened because I see what is happening in neighboring Nigeria,” sociologist Manga Pegui told Voice of America on Tuesday, March 10, adding that he feels threatened when he sees Nigerian Muslims.

“I see that carnage that Boko Haram has been inflicting on innocent people in Nigeria and in Cameroon and I see what Islamist extremists are doing in other countries," he said.

Pegui’s reaction to Nigerian Muslims was similar to many Cameroonians who mistakenly think that Islam and Boko Haram are synonymous and do not trust Muslims.

Along with Pegui, Oumarou Ngomna, the traditional ruler of Kemzogo village on Cameroon's northern border with Nigeria, says he does not accept strangers who are Muslims because they have had a history of violence in Nigeria.

At the central mosque in Cameroon’s capital, Yaounde, French-born Muslim imam Rashid Abou Houdeyfa preaches peace.

Nigerian refugee Abdoulaye Diallo is one of those who attends the mosque after fleeing his hometown of Dikwa to get away from Boko Haram.

Yet, the situation was not much better in Yaounde, where he has been facing persecution in Cameroon by people who think he is a sympathizer of the Nigerian militant group.

Elias Yega is another Nigerian Christian who fled Boko Haram to face stigma and suspicion.

"They combine us together, both Muslims and Christians," said Yega.

“But sometimes we have problems because we call them Boko Haram and they will arrest them and take to security people here.”

Full report at:

http://www.onislam.net/english/news/africa/483869-boko-haram-stigma-haunts-nigeria-muslims.html

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Nigeria seizes 36 towns from Boko Haram: Official

Mar 11, 2015

Nigeria has recaptured 36 towns from Boko Haram since the start of a military operation by regional West African countries against the Takfiri group, an official says.

Nigeria’s National security spokesman Mike Omeri said on Wednesday that four towns, located in Nigeria's troubled north-eastern states of Borno and Yobe, have been retaken since last Friday.

Crucial "co-operations and alliances" have brought victories against the militants, Omeri said, adding, "It is hoped that the unfolding regional cooperation will hasten the total defeat and extermination of Boko Haram in Nigeria and the sub-region.”

The official further thanked regional states for cutting off "the supply lines of the terrorists,” who are wreaking havoc on Nigeria and its neighbours.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.in/Detail/2015/03/11/401379/Nigeria-retakes-towns-from-Boko-Haram

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Somalia's Shebab militants launch attack in central town of Baidoa: officials

March 12, 2015

Suspected members of Somalia's Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shebab militants on March 12 attacked a fortified area containing regional government headquarters, an airport and a United Nations compound in the central town of Baidoa, security officials said.

"They are Shebab disguised in Somali military uniforms. That's how they managed to enter," a Somali police official in Baidoa, Mohamed Dahir, told AFP by telephone.

Officials said around four gunmen shot and wounded or killed several people at the gate of the fortified area before entering it.

Two of the attackers are thought to have detonated bombs strapped onto them, a security official said.

Full report at:

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/somalias-shebab-militants-launch-attack-in-central-town-of-baidoa-officials-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=79562&NewsCatID=357

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Niger police says over 500 Boko Haram terrorists killed since Feb.

Mar 12, 2015

Niger says it has killed more than 500 members of the Boko Haram terrorist group since February 2015.

Niger's police spokesman Captain Adili Toro said on Wednesday that some 513 terrorists had been killed since February 8, adding this number does not take into account those killed in land and air operations launched on Sunday jointly by the armies of Niger and Chad against Boko Haram militants in Nigeria.

Niger has also lost 24 soldiers in the operations that have also killed at least one civilian and wounded 38 soldiers, Toro stated.

On March 8, Nigerien and Chadian military forces launched a joint operation against the Takfiri terrorist group in northeastern Nigeria.

The military operation took place following the African Union's final decision to establish a regional force of up to 10,000 men to battle the terrorist group, which has pledged allegiance to ISIL Takfiris.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.in/Detail/2015/03/12/401411/Niger-kills-over-500-Boko-Haram-terrorists

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Libya parties urge halt to military operations

Mar 12, 2015

A UN-brokered meeting among representatives of six Libyan parties has yielded a declaration calling for the cessation of military operations in the violence-wrecked country.

The attendees, envoys of six parties and five activists, agreed during the Wednesday meeting in the Algerian capital Algiers on the two-page declaration, which called for "an immediate halt to military operations to allow dialogue to continue."

According to the document, they aimed to send "a strong, clear and united message on their commitment to consider dialogue as the only way forward and to reject violence."

UN envoy Bernardino Leon, who also attended the talks, told a news conference the meeting was "an important step" towards peace.

"There are two options: a political accord or destruction," Leon warned on Tuesday. "Destruction is not an option."

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.in/Detail/2015/03/12/401419/Libya-parties-urge-halt-to-military-ops

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Pakistan

 

Zardari stopped Rangers-like raid on ‘Nine Zero’: Mirza

March 12, 2015

BADIN: Former home minister Dr Zulfikar Ali Mirza has said that during his tenure he himself wanted to carry out a raid on the MQM headquarters similar to the one conducted on Wednesday but his friend [PPP co-chairman] Asif Ali Zardari always restrained him from taking any such step.

Speaking by phone from London to journalists and his supporters present in the local press club on Wednesday, he expressed his pleasure over the Rangers’ raid and arrest of some wanted criminals and termed the action ‘a bold step’.

Know more: Rangers raid MQM HQ in Karachi, detain member of Rabita Committee

He said he would offer assistance to the law enforcement agencies by sharing his knowledge about criminals and their activities.

He advised Mr Zardari to go with the sane and patriot people of the country instead of selling out Sindh to [MQM chief] Altaf Hussain and [Bahria Town chief] Malik Riaz in league with people like Rehman Malik.

Referring to the raid on the Nine Zero, Dr Mirza said it seemed that his dream of Sindh getting rid of terrorism was coming true. He hoped that the criminals being arrested by the Rangers would be brought to justice.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1168933/zardari-stopped-rangers-like-raid-on-nine-zero-mirza

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Timing of Karachi raid questioned

March 12, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Opposition senators on Wednesday lashed out at Rangers officials for carrying out a raid on the MQM’s headquarters in Karachi and raised questions over the timing of the action.

After delivering fiery speeches on the last day of the outgoing Senate, MQM senators staged a walkout from the house, alleging that the raid might have been carried out to punish the party for not supporting the government’s candidate for the office of the Senate chairman.

Read: Rangers raid MQM HQ in Karachi, detain member of Rabita Committee

Members of the Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) also condemned the Rangers’ action and joined the MQM senators in their walkout.

However, Leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq rejected the MQM’s allegations regarding the involvement of the ruling PML-N in the raid on the party’s headquarters.

“I strongly reject the allegation. This is absolutely false,” Mr Haq said, wondering how this was possible when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had personally endorsed Mr Rabbani’s nomination as Senate chairman and even visited Zardari House.

He said that under laid-down procedure, the chief ministers were acting as captains in the fight against terrorism in their provinces. He assured that he would contact the Sindh chief minister and present the details of their consultation in the House.

The issue was raised by the MQM’s Tahir Hussain Mashhadi. Speaking on a point of order, the MQM senator alleged that the party was being victimised for its decision to support a good candidate for the office of the Senate chairman.

Mr Mashhadi declared the Karachi operation a “complete failure” and demanded that the operation be “depoliticised”.

MQM’s Babar Ghouri asked the PM to order a probe into the incident and book all those involved. He also sought Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif’s intervention in the matter. “Was this action launched with the approval of Gen Raheel Sharif? If so, then we should be told whether political activities have ended in the country,” he said.

MQM, PPP walk out from Senate

He alleged that the people of Karachi were facing brutalities worse than those of Indian-held Kashmir.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1169074/timing-of-karachi-raid-questioned

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List of 110 most wanted terrorists

March 12, 2015

LAHORE: Police on Wednesday issued a list of 110 most wanted terrorists belonging to various banned outfits.

The top ten terrorists on the list were allegedly involved in high-profile suicide attacks, besides sectarian violence.

One of the most wanted terrorists, Matiur Rehman, was involved in the attacks on former president retired Gen Musharraf, former prime minister Shaukat Aziz and suicide bombing on Sheraton Hotel, Karachi. He carried Rs10 million head money.

Mansoor alias Choota Ibrahim Hasan and Qari Ehsanul Haq alias Shahid were also involved in the suicide attack on Musharraf on Dec 25, 2003, in Rawalpindi. Rs5m reward had been announced for their arrest.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1168993/list-of-110-most-wanted-terrorists

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Nisar defends decision to end ban on death penalty

March 12, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Justifying the government decision to end a moratorium on the death penalty across the country, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that the decision was an “internal matter” for Pakistan.

“I can understand the concern of our friends in the international community,” the minister told British High Commissioner Philip Barton, who had called on him on Wednesday.

The international community and rights groups have expressed concerns over the decision to end the moratorium, which is being viewed as a regressive move.

Know more: Death penalty moratorium lifted completely in Pakistan: Officials

The minister said that after the withdrawal of the moratorium on capital punishment for terrorism-related cases, it was not possible to maintain a partial moratorium in other cases because that would be discriminatory and against the law and the Constitution.

‘I can understand the concern of our friends in the international community’

He said that the law did not allow partiality or discrimination in its implementation. Saying that Pakistan had an independent judiciary that would ensure the rights of every defendant, he said that due process would be followed, in letter and spirit.

The minister said that taking the fight against militants and extremists to its logical conclusion was the government’s foremost priority and no stone would be left unturned to achieve this end.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1169063/nisar-defends-decision-to-end-ban-on-death-penalty

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Pakistani accused in US consulate plot held in Canada

March 12, 2015

TORONTO: Canadian immigration officials have arrested a Pakistani man who they say was plotting to attack the US consulate and other buildings in Toronto's financial district.

At a hearing Wednesday, Canadian authorities said Jahanzab Malik, a self-proclaimed supporter of the Islamic State and al Qaeda who received weapons training in Libya, told an undercover police officer about his plans involving remote control explosives.

Malik, a 33-year-old who came to Canada as a student in 2004 and became a permanent resident in 2009, was arrested Monday.

The Canadian government is looking to deport him.

It wasn't clear why he hasn't been charged with any crimes.

He was ordered kept in custody on Wednesday pending deportation.

In a summary of Wednesday's hearing provided by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1169080/pakistani-accused-in-us-consulate-plot-held-in-canada

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MQM workers take to the streets in Sindh towns over raid on ‘Nine Zero’

March 12, 2015

HYDERABAD: Many towns in the interior of Sindh shut abruptly on Wednesday after enraged workers of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement took to the streets in the wake of a predawn raid by paramilitary Rangers on the MQM headquarters in Karachi known as Nine Zero.

In Hyderabad, angry youths burnt tyres on roads in units No-8 and 10 of Latifabad while a large number of party workers gathered at the local party office at Bhai Ki Chari to listen to the telephonic address by their leader Altaf Hussain from London.

Know more: Rangers raid MQM HQ in Karachi, detain member of Rabita Committee

The party’s women workers also held a demonstration in unit-7 of Latifabad.

Roads wore a deserted look as shops and bazaars were completely shuttered.

Attendance was thin in gover­n­ment and private offi­ces and schools postponed paper of annual examination of different classes scheduled for the day.

The Rangers personnel patrolled different parts of the city but there was no report of any untoward incident.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1168936/mqm-workers-take-to-the-streets-in-sindh-towns-over-raid-on-nine-zero

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Taliban exploiting grievances in Fata, says US official

March 12, 2015

WASHINGTON: Taliban extremists in Fata have long exploited local grievances in order to sustain their activities, says a senior US official.

Sarah Sewall, US Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, argues that weak and unpopular governments also create feelings that encourage terrorism.

In her presentation on the long-term US strategy for combating terrorism at the School of Advanced International Studies, Washington, she noted that over the past 13 years violent extremist movements had diffused and proliferated, despite continued efforts to eliminate them.

Also read: IS may recruit locals by exploiting sectarian divide: official

“Increasingly, they have sprung from within conflicts worldwide. And they have exploited grievances and divided societies in order to further their own aims,” says Ms Sewall.

“Weak, illegitimate, and repressive governments inadvertently created opportunities for terrorists to capitalise on popular resentment.”

She argues that in a repressive setup, extremists “make common cause” with local insurgents, the discontented and criminal networks, and operate in poorly governed territory.

She acknowledges that in the last 13 years, terrorist methods and goals have diversified. They now control large territories in several regions of the world.

She also gave specific examples of these dynamics: In the Pak-Afghan region, Tehreek-e-Taliban has long exploited local grievances in the tribal belt in order to sustain itself.

In East Africa, members of Al Qaeda’s network blended with militants from the Council of Islamic Courts to create Al Shabaab.

In the loosely governed expanses of the Sahel, extremists associated with disenfranchised Tuareg tribes to expand its power base.

In Libya, Ansar al-Sharia exploited post-Qadhafi factional violence to cement itself in the Libyan landscape.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1168999/taliban-exploiting-grievances-in-fata-says-us-official

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Former MQM activist Saulat Mirza's sister files petition challenging black warrant

DAWN.COM | SHAFI BALOCH 12 03 15

KARACHI: The sister of condemned death row convict Saulat Mirza filed a petition in the Sindh High Court on Thursday challenging the black warrant issued for the former Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) activist.

The petitioner, Samira Wajahat, has contended that an appeal against Mirza's conviction had already been submitted in the Supreme Court of Pakistan and hence the implementation of his death sentence should be suspended until the apex court decided on the appeal.

Mirza was sentenced to death by an anti-terrorism court in May 1999 for murdering the managing director of then named Karachi Electric Supply Corporation Shahid Hamid, his driver Ashraf Brohi and guard Khan Akbar in July 1997. He was moved along with four high-profile prisoners to the Machh jail, Balochistan, in April 2014.

An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Karachi had issued the black warrant of the death row prisoner on Wednesday following which preparations for the execution of Saulat Mirza were underway in Balochistan's Mach Central Jail.

Balochistan Prisons Department had also confirmed that death warrant about the execution of Mirza has been received and the former MQM activist had been shifted to the death cell of Mach jail.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1169108/saulat-mirzas-sister-files-petition-challenging-black-warrant

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Karachi paralysed after raid on Nine-Zero

March 12, 2015

KARACHI  - Commercial activities and public transport was remained off the roads in the economic hub of the country soon after the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s call for protest against the raid on party’s headquarter Nine-Zero.

Major commercial areas Saddar, Boltan Market, Liaquatabad, Tariq Road, Haidry Market and others were witnessed complete closure.

The routine and commercial activities were also suspended on the call of MQM in most areas of the city including Nazimabad, Malir, North Karachi, PECHS Society, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Azizabad, Surjani Town, Gulbahar, Garden, New Town, PIB Colony and several others.

On the other side, petrol and CNG filling stations of the city were also closed across the city.

During the protest, unidentified miscreants also set tyres on fire and blocked the thoroughfares by erecting barricades.

Three vehicles and a teashop were also reportedly set on fire in different localities including Sharah-e-Pakistan, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Malir and Korangi areas.

Law enforcement agencies including Rangers and police had appealed to the traders and transporters to resume their activities and issued strict orders of arresting the miscreants but the routine and commercial activities could not be resorted or return to normalcy in the city.

Meanwhile, exams in educational institutes were also postponed, however, the new date of the papers will be announced later.

Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah on Wednesday contacted Sindh Inspector General of Police Ghulam Hyder Jamali and Rangers Director General Major General Bilal Akber and asked them to submit report regarding the raid on MQM headquarters.

According to sources in the CM House, the IGP Sindh and DG Rangers called on the chief minister later in the day and submitted a detailed report regarding the raid carried out on MQM headquarters Nine-Zero.

They further said the report included the names of criminals arrested during the raid and details of weapons recovered from the headquarters.

The Rangers official further informed the chief minister that the raid was carried out on a tip-off of criminals in the area.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/12-Mar-2015/karachi-paralysed-after-raid-on-nine-zero

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Terrorist arrested, arms recovered in Peshawar

March 12, 2015

PESHAWAR: Crime Investigation Department arrested a wanted terrorist and recovered a huge quantity of weapons from his possession on Wednesday.

The police said that the terrorist identified Abdul Aziz, son of Abdul Qayum from Khyber Agency.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/12-Mar-2015/terrorist-arrested-arms-recovered-in-peshawar

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Mideast

 

Turkey detains 16 Indonesians trying to cross border into Syria

March 12, 2015

ANKARA - Turkish authorities have detained 16 Indonesians from three families who were trying to cross into Syria, a Turkish foreign ministry spokesman said on Wednesday, a route frequently used by sympathisers of Islamic State militants.

‘These 16 people - three families - are currently being held at a holding centre ... and we have information that Indonesia’s Ankara embassy is in touch with the group,’ spokesman Tanju Bilgic said in a statement. The Indonesian embassy in Ankara had made no formal requests of the Turkish foreign ministry regarding the group, according to the statement, which gave no details on the reasons for their detention.

Thousands of foreigners from more than 80 nations including Britain, other parts of Europe, China and the United States have joined the ranks of Islamic State and other radical groups in Syria and Iraq, many crossing through Turkey. Turkey has said it needs more information from foreign intelligence agencies to intercept them, pointing to cases such as the three London schoolgirls who fled Britain to join Islamic State last month. Moreover, Turkish police on Wednesday violently dispersed protests commemorating a teenager killed in 2013 anti-government demonstrations and whose death has become a rallying point for opponents of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Some protesters threw fireworks and Molotov cocktails as they engaged in street battles with police, who used water cannon and tear gas, in the Istanbul district of Okmeydani, an AFP photographer reported.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/12-Mar-2015/turkey-detains-16-indonesians-trying-to-cross-border-into-syria

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For Palestinians, Israel’s election offers bleak horizon

March 12, 2015

Nidal al-Mughrabi and Ali Sawafta

As Israelis prepare to elect a new government next week, the view from the Palestinian territories in the West Bank and Gaza is not one of hope.

The decades-old conflict has barely featured in the campaign, leaving Palestinians with the sense that whether Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secures a fourth term in office or the centre-left opposition pulls off a victory, as the latest polls suggest, little is likely to change.

Peace talks broke down in April 2014, after nine months of negotiations led by the United States, with the long-standing goal of a two-state solution - Israel and an independent Palestine side-by-side - no closer. “The two-state solution is no longer on the table,” said Gaza-based political analyst Talal Okal.

“Israel is moving towards isolating and confiscating all of Jerusalem,” he said, while Gaza, a 40-km-long strip of land on the Mediterranean coast, remains blockaded by Israel and Egypt, the movement of people and goods closely monitored.

In the West Bank, which Israel has occupied along with East Jerusalem since the 1967 Middle East war, Okal said the military was tightening its grip, citing recent exercises in which 13,000 Israeli troops were mobilised.

With economic and social issues dominant ahead of the March 17 vote, the chances of Netanyahu or his chief rival, Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog, shifting focus to peace and the Palestinians is slim. What’s more, the policy of building Jewish settlements on occupied land is unlikely to change after the election, with Netanyahu and his allies advocating further expansion and the Zionist Union in favour of building more homes in existing settlement blocs, despite strong US and European criticism.

“A white wolf is like a black wolf, each is a treacherous hunter,” said Hussein Abdallah, 85, as he rode on a donkey cart in Gaza, surrounded by five of his grandchildren. Abdallah has seen every election in Israel’s 67-year history and said he saw no real difference between the left and the right in that time, despite repeated talk of peace. “There is no dove, no sheep in that herd,” he said.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/12-Mar-2015/for-palestinians-israel-s-election-offers-bleak-horizon

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Congress can’t modify Iran-US N-accord: Kerry

March 12, 2015

WASHINGTON - US Secretary of State John Kerry told U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday they would not be able to modify any nuclear agreement struck between the United States and Iran despite threats by Republican senators.

In congressional testimony, Kerry said he responded with ‘utter disbelief’ to an open letter signed by 47 Republican senators that warned that any nuclear agreement would only last as long as US President Barack Obama remains in office. ‘When it says that Congress could actually modify the terms of an agreement at any time is flat wrong. You don’t have the right to modify an agreement reached executive to executive between leaders of a country,’ Kerry told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which does not include Senator Tom Cotton, the Republican from Arkansas who wrote the letter.

The White House slammed the letter as ‘reckless’ and ‘irresponsible,’ warning that it interfered with efforts to negotiate with the Iranians. The negotiations, which resume in Lausanne, Switzerland, next week led by Kerry, are at a critical juncture as the sides try to meet an end of March target for an interim deal, with a final deal in June that would ease crippling sanctions against Iran’s economy.

The letter was an unusual intervention by lawmakers into U.S. foreign policy. The U.S. Constitution divides foreign policy between the president and Congress. ‘During my 29 years in the Senate I never heard of, or even heard of it being proposed, anything comparable to this,’ Kerry said. ‘This letter ignores more than two centuries of precedent in the conduct of American foreign policy.’ Kerry said the letter undermined and added uncertainty to the ‘thousands of agreements’ the United States signs with foreign governments across the globe. Moreover, US Secretary of State John Kerry hit out Wednesday at a letter by Republican senators to Iran opposing the nuclear talks he is leading, saying it threatened global trust in America.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/12-Mar-2015/congress-can-t-modify-iran-us-n-accord-kerry

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Turkey police break up protests remembering slain teen

11 March 2015

Turkish police on Wednesday broke up protests in memory of a teenager killed in 2013 anti-government demonstrations and whose death has become a rallying cause for opponents of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The activists were marking the first anniversary of the death of Berkin Elvan who died on March 11, 2014, after spending 269 days in a coma due to injuries sustained when he was hit by a tear gas canister fired by police in the mass protests of early summer 2013.

He was aged 15 at the time of his death.

Elvan’s death in 2014 drew huge protests in Istanbul and across the country but it appeared the rallies marking the anniversary would not be on this scale.

However police moved in to roughly arrest just a handful of protesters in Taksim Square in central Istanbul who joined hands and unfurled a banner reading “Berkin is here.”

The protesters refused to budge as the plain clothes officers arrested them, holding tightly to each other, before being marched away by police. Ten people were arrested, the CNN-Turk channel reported.

In the capital Ankara, police used water cannon to break up a protest in the city, arresting 11 people, local media said. Police were also reported to have broken up a demonstration in the western city of Izmir.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/03/11/Turkey-police-break-up-protests-remembering-slain-teen.html

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Obama renews 'state of emergency' against Iran, extends bans for another year

Mar 12, 2015

US President Barack Obama has extended Washington’s decades-old "state of emergency" with respect to Iran that keeps sanctions against the Islamic Republic in place for one more year.

On Wednesday, Obama informed Capitol Hill that he was continuing the "state of emergency" against Iran because the crisis in Tehran-Washington relations “has not been resolved.” 

The state of emergency has been in place since 1979 when Tehran and Washington severed diplomatic ties.

“…certain actions and policies of the government of Iran continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States,” Obama claimed in a notice to Congress.

“For these reasons, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency declared with respect to Iran and to maintain in force comprehensive sanctions,” Obama wrote.

This is while Obama, in the same letter, spoke of the progress made in the talks between Iran and the P5+1 group - the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, China and France plus Germany - over Tehran’s nuclear program.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.in/Detail/2015/03/12/401448/US-extends-state-of-emergency-on-Iran

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Palestinian activists set fire to Israeli products

Mar 12, 2015

Palestinians supporting boycott of Israeli products have set a consignment of such goods on fire in the north of Israeli-occupied West Bank.

The activists unloaded a truck filled with Israeli products and set fire to them in the city of Nablus on Wednesday.

The truck was distributing products from the Strauss label, a major Israeli food manufacturer.

The push to boycott Israeli products has acquired renewed popularity in the West Bank since Israel's summer war on the besieged Gaza Strip.

Israel heavily pounded the blockaded coastal sliver in the recent war that started on July 8 and ended on August 26 with an Egyptian-brokered truce. Over 2,140 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including women, children, and the elderly, were killed in the Israeli onslaught on Gaza. Around 11,000 others were injured.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.in/Detail/2015/03/12/401418/Israeli-products-set-ablaze-in-West-Bank

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Brutally murdered Özgecan Aslan’s father to receive Turkey’s Religious Affairs award

March 12, 2015

The father of brutally slain university student Özgecan Aslan will be among the recipients of the Turkish Religious Affairs Foundation’s International Goodness Award, Religious Affairs Head Mehmet Görmez has said.

Speaking at a press conference on March 11, Görmez said he could not forget the words of Aslan’s father, Mehmet Aslan, who demanded justice for the perpetrators who killed his daughter but maintained a peaceful attitude.

“Özgecan lost her life in an inhumane way. Of course she left big lessons for the whole of humanity as she bid farewell to this world. But at the same time, Mehmet Aslan showed us how a father could make kindness rule even in the hardest times with his words. He gave a wise lesson,” he said.

Full report at:

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/brutally-murdered-ozgecan-aslans-father-to-receive-turkeys-religious-affairs-award.aspx?pageID=238&nID=79523&NewsCatID=341

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North America

 

Canadian imams issue fatwa against ISIS

12 March 2015

A group of Canadian imams and religious scholars issued a religious edict against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group Wednesday, denouncing its threats against and recruitment in Canada.

In a fatwa posted online, also endorsed by a U.S. imam from Texas, the 38 scholars argue that “any attack on Canada will be an attack on the freedom of Canadian Muslims.”

They also forbid Muslims from joining or encouraging others to join ISIS, saying anyone who helps Muslim youths in particular “to travel secretly or without the consent of parents to join IS... will face the wrath of Allah in this world and in the next world.”

The fatwa was penned by Imam Syed Soharwardy, head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada in Calgary, and signed by others from across Canada.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/03/12/Canadian-imams-issue-fatwa-against-ISIS.html

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UN chief urged to redouble efforts for South Asia peace

March 12, 2015

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan’s new Ambassador to the United Nations Dr Maleeha Lodhi has urged the UN secretary general to play a more vigorous role in bringing about peace in South Asia and said the matter needed to be handled on a ‘fast track, not slow track’.

In a meeting with the secretary-general after presenting her credentials, Ambassador Lodhi stressed the need for the role and mandate of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to be strengthened and expanded.

It was necessary to do this to prevent ceasefire violations at the LoC and the Working Boundary, a press statement released here by Pakistan Mission said.

The UN chief told Ms Lodhi he wanted to see a resumption of dialogue between India and Pakistan. He appreciated Pakistan’s law enforcement efforts aimed at countering militancy.

Mr Ban also told the Pakistani envoy that 2015 would be an important year for the United Nations. The year, he pointed out, was going to be significant for the major summits that would take place on the post-2015 development agenda and climate change. Decisions and deliberations on these and other issues would have an enduring impact on future generations, he added.

The secretary-general recalled his three visits to Pakistan and his meetings with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and appreciated the prime minister’s leadership and role on important issues.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1168996/un-chief-urged-to-redouble-efforts-for-south-asia-peace

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War against IS may outlive Obama administration: Defence Secretary

March 12, 2015

WASHINGTON: US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter said on Wednesday that the war against the Islamic State militants could outlive the Obama administration and the present Congress.

In a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary Carter also hinted that the military campaign to defeat IS militants could go beyond Syria and Iraq.

Both President Barack Obama and Congress complete their tenures in two years.

Take a look: Obama spells out strategy for combating IS militants

“Send an unmistakable message to (IS) leaders … they cannot divide us ... and they have no hope of defeating us,” he said.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1169002/war-against-is-may-outlive-obama-administration-defence-secretary

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UN: War has plunged 80 percent of Syrians into poverty

12 Mar 2015

The war in Syria has plunged 80 percent of its people into poverty, reduced life expectancy by 20 years and led to massive economic losses estimated at over $200bn since the conflict began in 2011, according to a UN-backed report.

The Syrian Center for Policy Research painted a devastating picture of the "systematic collapse and destruction" of Syria's economic foundations in the report, circulated on Wednesday, saying the nation's wealth, infrastructure, institutions and much of its workforce have been "obliterated”.

Almost three million Syrians lost their jobs during the conflict, which meant that more than 12 million people lost their primary source of income, it said, and unemployment surged from 14.9 percent in 2011 to 57.7 percent at the end of 2014.

"As huge swatches of the community have lost the opportunity to work and earn an income, just over 4 in 5 Syrians now live in poverty," the report said. "As it has become a country of poor people, 30 percent of the population have descended into abject poverty where households struggle to meet the basic food needs to sustain bare life."

The report said the four-year-old conflict coupled with the country's economic disintegration and social fragmentation have resulted in a 15-percent drop in Syria's population - from 20.87 million in 2010 to just 17.65 million at the end of last year.

Full report at:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2015/03/war-plunged-syrians-poverty-150312022852894.html

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Another Muslim Is Killed in America. Anyone Care?

03.11.15

After surviving years of war in Iraq, Ahmed al-Jumaili was gunned down after less than a month in Dallas.

“You are dead. We are going to kill you.”

“The North Carolina shootings were just the beginning.”

“You are not Americans, don't fly our flag.”

These are just some of the despicable comments directed at American Muslims in the Dallas-Forth Worth area in the last two months.  The first two statements were shared with me by Alia Salem, the executive Director of the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations.  The death threat “You are dead...”  was chillingly made to her on the phone just a few weeks ago. The second remark was directed at another in the community, referencing the recent killing of three Muslim American college students in North Carolina.

The third comment was yelled at Muslim Americans attending a local conference in mid January that ironically had been organized by the local Muslim community to counter extremism and hate.

I don't mention these comments in the hope of eliciting sympathy. I mention them to give you a sense of the anti-Muslim climate down there so that you understand why the local Muslim community believes that the murder of a Muslim man in Dallas on March 5, 2015 was a hate crime.

That brings us to the story of that Ahmed al-Jumaili. His wife, Zahara, had come to the United States from Iraq about a year ago. Ahmed remained in Iraq to save up more money while working as an Internet technician before starting his new life in America with his bride of a little over a year.

With his wife urging him to move to America so they could be together – and because she believed it was safer than Iraq- Ahmed immigrated to Dallas one month ago.  They were finally together in the land of opportunity.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/03/11/another-muslim-is-killed-in-america-anyone-care.html

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Europe

 

France keeps 10,000 troops on streets after militant attacks

11 March 2015

France will maintain its deployment of 10,000 troops that have been patrolling across the country in the wake of January's militant attacks, the presidency said on Wednesday.

"The threat of terrorist attack against our country remains high," the office of President Francois Hollande said in a statement after a special meeting of top ministers.

"The head of state has decided to maintain the level of the army on the national territory at 10,000 troops in support of security forces from the interior ministry."

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2015/03/11/France-keeps-10-000-troops-on-streets-after-militant-attacks-.html

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Jordan King Tells European Parliament Religious Coexistence Combats Extremism

March 12, 2015

Jordanian King Abdullah told the European Parliament that coexistence and mutual respect  between Muslims and Christians is crucial for defence against religious extremism, while in Strasbourg on Tuesday.

While speaking of the global dangers of extremism and fight against both terrorism and Islamophobia, Abdullah also brought up the recent attacks against Christians perpetrated by the Islamic State.

“I am outraged and grieved by the recent attacks in some countries against Christian and minority communities. This is an offense against humanity as well as Islam. Arab Christians are an integral part of our region’s past, present and future” Abdullah said.

In February, 21 Coptic Christians were beheaded by the Islamic State in Libya, and most recently over 200 Christians were abducted by members of the Islamic State in Syria. In contrast, Christians in Jordan are subject to little hardship, and because of this, many Christians have taken refuge in Jordan as they flee the Islamic State.

“Jordan is a Muslim country, with a deeply-rooted Christian community," the Jordan King told Parliament. "Together, the Jordanian people make up an indivisible society, friends and partners in building our country.”

Today Jordan has 172,000 Christians living within it’s borders among the 7.6 million Muslim-majority population. Jordan’s Christians have dwindled from nearly 20% of the population in 1930 to about 5% they make up today.

The main cause of this change in population is the migrations of Palestinians, Iraqis and Syrians fleeing extremism in their home countries, in addition to higher birth rates among Muslim families.

Full report at:

http://www.jpost.com/Christian-News/King-Abdullah-II-encourages-European-Parliament-to-promote-tolerance-between-Christians-and-Muslims-393488

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Ohio Faiths Support Muslims Against Threats

11 March 2015

CAIRO – Representatives from several faith groups gathered at an Ohioan mosque to support the Muslim congregation against increasing Islamophobic threats, stressing Muslims’ role in sowing peace and understanding in the community.

“An attack on Muslims of the Noor Center is an affront to all of our faith traditions and the entire faith community here in central Ohio,” Christina Butler, president of the Interfaith Association of Central Ohio, which represents nine religions, was quoted by The Columbus Dispatch on Wednesday, March 11.

“We all have shared values, and these threats definitely violate all of our shared values.”

Butler is one of the religious leaders who gathered on Tuesday at Noor Islamic Cultural Center in Dublin, Ohio.

Visitors assured their support for the Muslim congregation against increasing threats which the mosque received over the past few weeks.

Coming between Jan. 9 and Feb. 17, the mosque received about a half-dozen harassing phone calls, some of them containing threats, according to Imran Malik the chairman of the board that oversees the center.

He said the center also received blasphemous postal mail that mocked the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

“That has definitely scarred and scared the community here,” he said.

“These recent concerns of safety and security has definitely taken a toll.”

The threats forced the center to increase security to protect more than 6,000 members who attends at worship services.

“Our plea to all is that let’s not allow our misguided hate and anger to consume our communities,” Malik said.

“We need to reach out and learn from each other.”

Peace

The mosque chairman said the threat calls came in the days before Noor hosted an interfaith conference titled Divinity and Diversity: Building Our Beloved Community Together.

The Rev. Lynda Smith, co-chairwoman of Unitarian Universalist Justice Ohio, said she attended that conference and was welcomed warmly by members of the mosque.

All world religions teach “love and wisdom and justice,” she said.

“With those who are being victimized, we stand with you, we love you, we respect you. Thank you for all that you do,” Smith said.

Full report at:

http://www.onislam.net/english/news/americas/483875-ohio-faiths-support-muslims-vs-islamophobes.html

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Danish Muslims to Form Peace Ring at Synagogue

11 March 2015

CAIRO – A Danish Muslim’s plan to form a peace rings around the Copenhagen synagogue has been approved by police, in a gesture of support from the Muslim community against last month’s attack which resulted in the death of a volunteer security guard.

“It is wonderful. It is a big personal wish of mine to send the signal that Jews should of course not be haunted by fear and angst,” Copenhagen resident Niddal El-Jabri told public broadcaster DR, Local.de reported on Tuesday, March 10.

“In Denmark, Jews shouldn't have to walk around being scared. With the police approval, there will now be an opportunity for those who share that opinion to come and show it with their presence there [at the synagogue, ed.],” he added.

The news came just after an initial request was denied. The city’s police confirmed the request has been approved.

The peace ring is scheduled to take place on Saturday at the central Copenhagen shul, or Krystalgade Synagogue.

It was suggested after an attack last February 14 left volunteer Jewish security guard, Dan Uzan, killed.

Full report at:

http://www.onislam.net/english/news/europe/483939-danish-muslims-to-form-peace-ring-at-synagogue.html

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UK spies write ‘how to catch a terrorist’ guide

March 12, 2015

LONDON - Secrecy is a cornerstone of spycraft, but Britain’s GCHQ communications agency has gone public with a guide on how to catch a “terrorist” as the government calls for increased online snooping powers.

In an apparent effort to make the secret services more transparent, the five-step guide illustrated with the image of an old-school spy in a trenchcoat was published on the monitoring agency’s website.

Entitled “How does an analyst catch a terrorist?”, it takes readers through the ways in which GCHQ analysts identify a suspicious stranger spotted overseas.

Under the scenario, the guide says an MI6 source based overseas spots a leader of the Islamic State group handing a stranger a message containing information “that will cause carnage across London”.  GCHQ then work to identify the stranger’s tablet, which leads them to checking his online behaviour - and come up with a name to pass onto MI6 agents.

“The ability to use fragmentary information to build theories and perform complex searches against our metadata can narrow down thousands of options quickly,” the case study concludes.

A GCHQ spokesperson told AFP in an email that the study “underlines the strong culture of compliance to the overarching legal regime that governs all of GCHQ’s activities”.

The extent to which Britain’s intelligence agencies can monitor communications data is the subject of long-running political debate, and one that is likely to return to parliament after the general election.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/12-Mar-2015/uk-spies-write-how-to-catch-a-terrorist-guide

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Danish Muslims to Form Peace Ring at Synagogue

11 March 2015

CAIRO – A Danish Muslim’s plan to form a peace rings around the Copenhagen synagogue has been approved by police, in a gesture of support from the Muslim community against last month’s attack which resulted in the death of a volunteer security guard.

“It is wonderful. It is a big personal wish of mine to send the signal that Jews should of course not be haunted by fear and angst,” Copenhagen resident Niddal El-Jabri told public broadcaster DR, Local.de reported on Tuesday, March 10.

“In Denmark, Jews shouldn't have to walk around being scared. With the police approval, there will now be an opportunity for those who share that opinion to come and show it with their presence there [at the synagogue, ed.],” he added.

The news came just after an initial request was denied. The city’s police confirmed the request has been approved.

The peace ring is scheduled to take place on Saturday at the central Copenhagen shul, or Krystalgade Synagogue.

It was suggested after an attack last February 14 left volunteer Jewish security guard, Dan Uzan, killed.

Police had cited security concerns for rejecting the original request, which was made a week after the shootings.

Full report at:

http://www.onislam.net/english/news/europe/483939-danish-muslims-to-form-peace-ring-at-synagogue.html

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N. Carolina Muslim Students Face Hard Tests

11 March 2015

CAIRO – One month after the tragic murder of three young American Muslims, somber mood is still dominant at North Carolina State University’s campus, where Muslim students grapple with the question if campuses truly welcome them.

It’s been a "painful emotional roller-coaster" for students, Adeel J. Zeb, Duke’s Muslim chaplain and director of Muslim life, told The Chronicle of Higher Education on Wednesday, March 11.

The university's Muslims had "a very strong feeling that it could have been any of us."

Last month, three young American Muslims, Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23 his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21 and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, were found dead at a condominium complex off campus.

The gunman, identified as 46-year-old Craig Stephen Hicks, reportedly turned himself into police.

Till today, the iconic symbol of the tragedy, black-and-white outlines of the victims’ heads and hijabs, with the tagline "Our Three Winners", is still displayed on students’ Facebook profile pictures.

Barakat was a student at Chapel Hill’s dental school; his wife had been accepted there. Both were North Carolina State graduates. The younger Razan was a sophomore at North Carolina State.

The trio’s death sparked a stream of charity events, including food drives and basketball tournaments. The University also set up a scholarship fund to honor the victims.

In a tightly-knit Muslim community, grieving friends are talking about Deah and Yusor’s wedding, and Razan’s passion for art and the trio’s compassion.

They recalled how Deah and Yusor were involved in a charity to help Syrian refugees receive dental aid, and how at the time of his death, Deah was raising money to provide dental care to refugee students in Turkey this summer.

Full report at:

http://www.onislam.net/english/news/americas/483885-hard-semester-tests-n-carolina-muslims.html

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Australia

 

Australia probes if teen ISIS recruit died in Iraq

12 March 2015

Australia is seeking to confirm Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group’s claim that an Australian teenage recruit died after blowing himself up in Iraq, the country’s foreign minister said on Thursday.

ISIS released an image on Wednesday claiming to show Abu Abdullah al-Australi before he carried out a suicide attack on the Iraqi city of Ramadi.

Australian media recently named Abu Abdullah al-Australi as a pseudonym of 18-year-old Australian Jake Bilardi.

Images of what appeared to be an explosion were also published by ISIS.

“I can confirm that the Australian government is currently seeking to independently verify reports that 18-year-old Melbourne teenager Jake Bilardi has been killed in a suicide bombing attack in the Middle East,” Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told reporters in Perth.

Iraqi officials said 13 vehicles attacked army positions in Anbar, the capital of Ramadi. No details on casualties were given.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2015/03/12/Australia-probes-if-teen-ISIS-recruit-died-in-Iraq.html

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Australia agrees to ease visa process for Pakistani  businessmen, students

March 12, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Australia agreed on Wednesday to ease the visa process for Pakistani businessmen and students.

The modalities will be discussed on the sidelines of a coming meeting in Australia of a joint working group of the two countries.

Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry, who is in Canberra for the fifth round of annual bilateral political consultations, raised the issue of difficulties faced by Pakistani applicants in getting Australian visas in his meeting with Australian Immigration and Border Protection Secretary Michael Pezzullo.

Also read: Visa denied to Pakistani Hazara unlawful: Australian High Court

“The meeting was very fruitful. The Australian side expressed its keenness to receive a Pakistan delegation for the Joint Working Group on Border Protection’s meeting,” said a statement issued by the Foreign Office about the meeting held at the Australian immigration and border protection department.

“It was agreed that on the sidelines of the joint working group, experts could discuss mechanisms to facilitate visas.”

At the annual consultations, both sides agreed on broadening and deepening their relationship by promoting trade and increasing the frequency of high-level political engagement.

The Australian delegation was led by the Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Peter Varghese.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1168995/australia-agrees-to-ease-visa-process-for-businessmen-students

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/isis-attacks-iraq’s-ramadi-with-seven-car-bombs--police/d/101925

 

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