New Age Islam
Sat Nov 28 2020, 08:59 AM

Islamic World News ( 12 Apr 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

ISIS in Turmoil As New Survey Reveals Young Arabs Shunning Terror Group in Growing Numbers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Young Iraqis opposed to ISIS

 

Sultan of Perak: Study Why People Are Joining Militant Groups

Child Bombers Used By Boko Haram Increases 10-Fold: UNICEF

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Arab World

ISIS in Turmoil As New Survey Reveals Young Arabs Shunning Terror Group in Growing Numbers

Volunteer Forces: US Helping ISIL to Survive In Iraq

Member States of OIC Vow to Defeat Terrorism, Extremism

Deir Ezzur: Syrian Air Force Destroys ISIL's Headquarters

Hama: Jeish Al-Fatah Terrorists Sustain Heavy Losses in Hama Province

Iranian Ground Force Forms Quick Reaction Units to Fight against Terrorism

Russian Anti-Mine Forces Defuse 3,000 Bombs in Palmyra in 12 Days

Army Official Sees Missile Power as Proper Tool Helping Diplomats

Iran Unveils Optimized Chieftain Tanks, 7.62-mm Sniper Rifle, Different Military Vehicles

IRGC Ground Forces Exercise Security-Offensive Operations

Syrian Army Wins Back Key Village in Homs Province

Iran Disbands 3 Terrorist Groups at Western, Eastern Borders

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Southeast Asia

Sultan of Perak: Study Why People Are Joining Militant Groups

German Tourists in Bathing Suits Detained In Indonesia's Aceh

United Front Needed To Counter ISIS' Growing Campaign in Southeast Asia

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Africa

Child Bombers Used By Boko Haram Increases 10-Fold: UNICEF

UN Official: More Help Needed For Africa's Sahel Region

Uganda to Host Islamic Finance Convention

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South Asia

NDS Foil Major Attack Plot by Haqqani Network in Khost

Afghan Forces Air and Ground Raids Leaves 31 Militants Dead: MoD

Bangladesh Asks Muslim World to Unite In OIC Meet

7 policemen killed in a suspected insider attack in Kandahar

2 students killed, 4 wounded as rocket lands on school in Mehtarlam city

Taliban brutally kill 2 public uprising members in Baghlan by gouging their eyes

Taliban militants suffer casualties after attack Kunar security posts

Stanikzai says will resign if Helmand province falls to Taliban

Afghanistan, India, Iran finalize draft agreement for Chabahar port

Taliban convene key meetings in their safe havens in Pakistan: CoAS

Taliban announced spring offensive to hide previous year’s defeats: Sediqi

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Mideast

Six Soldiers Killed, 54 Wounded in PKK Attacks In Turkey’s Southeast

Two ‘Russian Spies’ Caught In Istanbul

Intel before first Ankara bombing ignored: Report

Chief of staff, intelligence chief visit Turkey’s Kilis after rockets fired from Syria

Katyusha rockets fired from Syria land in Kilis, no casualties reported

Turkish, Saudi leaders discuss Syria, terror on King Salman’s visit

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Europe

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Declares Growing Threats to Islamic World

Islamic State threat growing in Europe

Russian Deputy FM: Moscow Unaware of Washington Plan B for Syria

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North America

Anti-Islam Activists to Hold Armed Rally in Atlanta, Shred Copy of the Quran

‘Islamophobia’ Is Still Not the Problem: In Kansas, another Case Study

Food, friendship on Muslim Day at Iowa Capitol

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India

Malegaon Blast: NIA Said 9 Muslims Not Linked To Explosion, Now Opposes Their Discharge

'India Must Be Prepared For a 100-Year War with Pakistan'

Abdul Gafarsab Mulla’s Farm, Sharing Water, Is an Oasis in Scorching Yadgir

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Pakistan

245 Officers, 34 Politicians Have Links with Banned Outfits: PTI Leader

Pakistan Urges Muslim Ummah’s Unity at OIC

JIT to Investigate Money Laundering Charges against Altaf Hussain

IMF "encouraged" by PIA reform step, awaits more plans

Shah accuses Nisar of being disloyal to Sharif

Imran Khan meets Zakhilwal, assures refugees would not be harassed

ISIS infecting Pakistan as jihadism takes hold in country's Muslim universities & schools

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau


URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/isis-in-turmoil-as-new-survey-reveals-young-arabs-shunning-terror-group-in-growing-numbers/d/106974



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ISIS in turmoil as new survey reveals young Arabs shunning terror group in growing numbers

April 13, 2016

A survey of 16 countries across the Muslim world revealed that 77 percent of Arabs aged 18 to 24 are concerned about the terror group's rise.

Exactly half of those polled said they considered ISIS to be the biggest obstacle facing the Middle East.

Worryingly, however, 13 percent of young Arabs openly declared that they still felt they could support the group.

The survey also showed that the primary cause of radicalisation amongst young men and women in the Middle East and North Africa was economic deprivation and unemployment.

A quarter of Arabs (24 per cent) said struggling to find a job prompted people to join the extremist group, which has swept across Iraq, Syria and Libya since first declaring a caliphate in 2014.

Despite the argument that the presence of Western troops in the region was driving young Muslims to rise up against their Christian oppressors, just six per cent cited European and American troops as a catalyst for the emergence of ISIS.

However, the US invasion of Iraq 13 years ago still plays on the mind of young Arabs, with 12 per cent citing it as a reason for joining Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's death cult - also known as Daesh.

Around a fifth (18 per cent) said the belief that their interpretation of Islam was superior to others had spurred them to fight for the terror group, while religious tensions between rival Sunni and Shia sects contributed to a further 17 per cent of people enlisting to fight for ISIS.

While polls attempting to judge support for ISIS are notoriously unreliable, a survey conducted last year by Arabic news channel Al Jazeera found more than eight out of 10 of the respondents gave their backing to the brutal regime.

The poll, which asked in Arabic "Do you support the organising victories of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)?" showed 81 per cent answered in favour of the group.

ASDA'A Burson-Marsteller, which commissioned the latest face-to-face poll with 3,500 respondents ages 18 to 24, said: "Tacit support for the militant group is declining."

Hassan Hassan, an Islamic State expert at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy, told the Washington Post: "Members do not say they join for economic reasons, but other factors they identify — including ones related to religious reasons — could be a proxy of economic or social factors.

"In other words, members may consciously or unconsciously conceal true motives."

Young Egyptians were the only respondents to declare by more than 50 per cent that their homeland was better off now than five years ago, before the Arab Spring.

For the fifth year in a row, young Arabs chose the United Arab Emirates over the United States as the best place to live.

express.co.uk/news/world/660381/Islamic-State-poll-reveals-growing-number-young-Arabs-rejecting-terror-group-ideology

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Sultan of Perak: Study Why People Are Joining Militant Groups

Wednesday, Apr 13, 2016

IPOH - Authorities need to identify, understand and analyse the factors that could influence people to join militant movements, said Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah.

The arrest and detention of those supporting and joining militant movements such as the Islamic State group (IS) was one way to combat the matter, he said.

Sultan Nazrin added, however, that it would not resolve the matter.

"It is important that a more comprehensive way be used to combat and contain this complex issue that involves ideology, understanding and interpretation.

"Factors that could influence the minds of the people to join or reject an organisation must be identified, understood and analysed," he said when opening the fourth session of the 13th Perak State Assembly at the state secretariat building here yesterday.

"Hopes and illusions, disappointment and dreams, poverty and suffering, tyranny and oppression are factors that could cause youths to join these movements," he said.

"It's more saddening that these disputes are triggered in the name of religion by militants promising a better world order.

"Actions through violence and destruction to public properties and sources of life such as killing, attacking, kidnapping, raping and bombing leading to the loss of lives of innocents are not the Islamic way."

The ideology of creating an Islamic state was influencing people around the globe, including Malaysians, he added.

"There have been reports of Malaysians killed in certain countries," he said, adding that it was also the responsibility of the people to preserve public order and national safety.

The people, said Sultan Nazrin, should also take inspiration from sports to instil the spirit of understanding, teamwork and co-operation.

"Sports can promote a healthy lifestyle, competitiveness, the spirit to strive further and sportsmanship," he said, adding that films such as Ola Bola helped to boost the values of sacrifice, comradeship and patriotism.

news.asiaone.com/news/malaysia/sultan-study-why-people-are-joining-militant-groups

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Child bombers used by Boko Haram increases 10-fold: UNICEF

Apr 12, 2016

KANO, Nigeria (AP) — The number of child bombers used by the Islamic extremists of Boko Haram has increased from four to 44 in a year with devastating consequences in communities that now see children as threats, UNICEF said Tuesday.

Seventy-five percent of the children used are girls, a new report said, emphasizing that these children, many believed captives, are "victims, not perpetrators."

"As 'suicide' attacks involving children become commonplace, some communities are starting to see children as threats," said Manuel Fontaine, West Africa director of the U.N. children's agency. "This suspicion toward children can have destructive consequences: How can a community rebuild itself when it is casting out its own sisters, daughters and mothers?"

The Associated Press learned of one case in which a woman in her 20s was freed by soldiers in an attack on a Boko Haram-held village. After she was reunited with her family in Maiduguri last month, she told her mother that she had been trained as a suicide bomber. The mother so feared her own daughter that she turned her in to the military, according to a family member. She spoke on condition of anonymity to protect the identity of her cousin.

The number of children involved in suicide attacks in Nigeria and neighboring Cameroon and Chad rose 10-fold last year, with the frequency of all suicide bombings increasing from 32 in 2014 to 151 last year, UNICEF said. In 2015, 89 of these attacks were carried out in Nigeria, 39 in Cameroon, 16 in Chad and 7 in Niger, the report said.

Boko Haram has sent bombers to mosques, market places and other soft targets since a multi-national military offensive forced them out of a large swath of the country that they held until a year ago. Boko Haram wants to create an Islamic caliphate in Nigeria, Africa's biggest oil producer whose 170 million people are divided almost equally between Christians mainly in the south and Muslims in the north.

Another new report, from Mercy Corps, found unemployment was not a leading reason for young people to join Boko Haram, as has been assumed. The study, based on interviews with 47 former members, did point to a financial motivation, however.

"Boko Haram has exploited common desires of youth ... to get ahead economically," said the report from the Portland, Oregon-based charity. "Many youth described either accepting loans prior to joining or joining with the hope of receiving loans or capital for their mostly small, informal businesses."

Nigeria's home-grown insurgency that has killed 20,000 people in six years and forced 2.8 million from their homes.

pantagraph.com/news/world/africa/child-bombers-used-by-boko-haram-increases--fold-unicef/article_63ef1705-5c77-58c7-9706-7c9ff4ab24cb.html

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Arab World

ISIS in turmoil as new survey reveals young Arabs shunning terror group in growing numbers

April 13, 2016

A survey of 16 countries across the Muslim world revealed that 77 percent of Arabs aged 18 to 24 are concerned about the terror group's rise.

Exactly half of those polled said they considered ISIS to be the biggest obstacle facing the Middle East.

Worryingly, however, 13 percent of young Arabs openly declared that they still felt they could support the group.

The survey also showed that the primary cause of radicalisation amongst young men and women in the Middle East and North Africa was economic deprivation and unemployment.

A quarter of Arabs (24 per cent) said struggling to find a job prompted people to join the extremist group, which has swept across Iraq, Syria and Libya since first declaring a caliphate in 2014.

Despite the argument that the presence of Western troops in the region was driving young Muslims to rise up against their Christian oppressors, just six per cent cited European and American troops as a catalyst for the emergence of ISIS.

However, the US invasion of Iraq 13 years ago still plays on the mind of young Arabs, with 12 per cent citing it as a reason for joining Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's death cult - also known as Daesh.

Around a fifth (18 per cent) said the belief that their interpretation of Islam was superior to others had spurred them to fight for the terror group, while religious tensions between rival Sunni and Shia sects contributed to a further 17 per cent of people enlisting to fight for ISIS.

While polls attempting to judge support for ISIS are notoriously unreliable, a survey conducted last year by Arabic news channel Al Jazeera found more than eight out of 10 of the respondents gave their backing to the brutal regime.

The poll, which asked in Arabic "Do you support the organising victories of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)?" showed 81 per cent answered in favour of the group.

ASDA'A Burson-Marsteller, which commissioned the latest face-to-face poll with 3,500 respondents ages 18 to 24, said: "Tacit support for the militant group is declining."

Hassan Hassan, an Islamic State expert at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy, told the Washington Post: "Members do not say they join for economic reasons, but other factors they identify — including ones related to religious reasons — could be a proxy of economic or social factors.

"In other words, members may consciously or unconsciously conceal true motives."

Young Egyptians were the only respondents to declare by more than 50 per cent that their homeland was better off now than five years ago, before the Arab Spring.

For the fifth year in a row, young Arabs chose the United Arab Emirates over the United States as the best place to live.

express.co.uk/news/world/660381/Islamic-State-poll-reveals-growing-number-young-Arabs-rejecting-terror-group-ideology

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Volunteer Forces: US Helping ISIL to Survive in Iraq

Wed Apr 13, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iraqi volunteer forces' commanders lashed out at the US and its regional allies for continuing their military and logistical supports for the ISIL Takfiri terrorists in Iraq.

"Washington is still continuing its military supports for the terrorists in Iraq," Spokesman of Iraq's Ansarullah al-Nujaba Movement Hashem al-Moussavi told FNA on Wednesday.

He reiterated that al-Nujaba Movement forces are collecting documents, photos and videos of supplies airdropped by the US-led coalition forces for the ISIL terrorists in Iraq.

"Our forces have filmed the US aircraft while dropping military aids for the besieged ISIL terrorists," al-Moussavi said.

He reiterated that while the ISIL was losing the battle, they continued fighting the volunteer forces for 48 hours after they received mortar shells and weapons airdropped by the US warplanes.

Meantime, member of Iraq's Seyed al-Shohada battalions' politburo Hassan Abdel Hadi said the Iraqi volunteer forces are concerned about coming under further attacks of the US warplanes in order to prevent their advances in different parts of the ISIL-controlled areas.

"Unfortunately, there are still some people in Iraq who have been deceived by the US-led coalition, while Washington supports the ISIL and is trying to compensate for the damages done to the Takfiri terrorists by the volunteer forces," Abdel Hadi said.

In relevant remarks in February, a senior Iraqi official, speaking on condition of anonymity, disclosed that Washington is the main cause of ISIL's survival in his country.

"We have compelling evidence that a US helicopter landed in Albu Arim palms of Fallujah city to take out the ISIL leaders who were in contact with the Americans," the official told FNA at the time.

He noted that other US aircraft were flying over the region to protect the airplane which was boarding the ISIL leaders, adding, "The US took out the ISIL leaders in order to rescue them from possible attacks by the Iraqi Army and security forces."

Also in October, Spokesman of Iraq's Kata'ib Hezbollah (Hezbollah Battalions) popular forces Jafar al-Hosseini disclosing that captured ISIL leaders have acknowledged receiving logistical backup and intelligence support from the US.

"As the ISIL commanders captured in Iraqi popular forces' recent military operations have confessed, the US supports for the terrorist groups are not limited to the dispatch of logistical support," Al-Hosseini told FNA.

He reiterated that the US has provided the ISIL with intelligence about the Iraqi forces' positions and targets.

"ISIL commanders trusted the US officials who had assured them that the Iraqi forces would not attack Fallujah because the US had urged the Iraqi government to prevent the popular forces from entering Fallujah and raid Beiji instead; hence the terrorists left Fallujah for Beiji to stay on the alert in there," Al-Hosseini added.

Al-Hosseini had also stated on Wednesday that his forces plan to win back the city of Ramadi only after expelling the American forces from Anbar province.

"Our forces have two operations underway; first seizing Ramadi from ISIL and second keeping away the American forces from Anbar province," al-Hosseini told FNA.

He underlined that preventing the US forces from getting close to Anbar province will expedite operations for winning back the province, specially after the military operations in Salahuddin province that led to the liberation of the city of Beiji.

Iraqi officials have on different occasions blasted the US and its allies for supplying the ISIL in Syria with arms and ammunition under the pretext of fighting the Takfiri terrorist group.

Also in October, the Iraqi army and volunteer forces discovered US-made military hardware and ammunition, including anti-armor missiles, in terrorists' positions and trenches captured during the operations in the Fallujah region in Al-Anbar province.

The Iraqi forces found a huge volume of advanced TOW-II missiles from the Takfiri terrorists in al-Karama city of Fallujah.

The missiles were brand new and the ISIL had transferred them to Fallujah to use them against the Iraqi army's armored units.

On October 10, the Iraqi forces discovered US-made military hardware and ammunition from terrorists in Beiji.

"The military hardware and weapons had been airdropped by the US-led warplanes and choppers for the ISIL in the nearby areas of Beiji," military sources told FNA.

In February 2015, an Iraqi provincial official lashed out at the western countries and their regional allies for supporting Takfiri terrorists in Iraq, revealing that the US airplanes still continue to airdrop weapons and foodstuff for the ISIL terrorists.

"The US planes have dropped weapons for the ISIL terrorists in the areas under ISIL control and even in those areas that have been recently liberated from the ISIL control to encourage the terrorists to return to those places," Coordinator of Iraqi popular forces Jafar al-Jaberi told FNA.

He noted that eyewitnesses in Al-Havijeh of Kirkuk province had witnessed the US airplanes dropping several suspicious parcels for ISIL terrorists in the province.

"Two coalition planes were also seen above the town of Al-Khas in Diyala and they carried the Takfiri terrorists to the region that has recently been liberated from the ISIL control," Al-Jaberi said.

Also in February 2015, a senior lawmaker disclosed that Iraq's army has shot down two British planes as they were carrying weapons for the ISIL terrorists in Al-Anbar province.

"The Iraqi Parliament's National Security and Defense Committee has access to the photos of both planes that are British and have crashed while they were carrying weapons for the ISIL," Head of the committee Hakem al-Zameli said.

He said the Iraqi parliament has asked London for explanations in this regard.

The senior Iraqi legislator further unveiled that the government in Baghdad is receiving daily reports from people and security forces in al-Anbar province on numerous flights by the US-led coalition planes that airdrop weapons and supplies for ISIL in terrorist-held areas.

The Iraqi lawmaker further noted the cause of such western aids to the terrorist group, and explained that the US prefers a chaotic situation in Anbar Province which is near the cities of Karbala and Baghdad as it does not want the ISIL crisis to come to an end.

Also in February 2015, a senior Iraqi provincial official lashed out at the western countries and their regional allies for supporting Takfiri terrorists in Iraq, revealing that US and Israeli-made weapons have been discovered from the areas purged of ISIL terrorists.

"We have discovered weapons made in the US, European countries and Israel from the areas liberated from ISIL's control in Al-Baqdadi region," the Al-Ahad news website quoted Head of Al-Anbar Provincial Council Khalaf Tarmouz as saying.

He noted that the weapons made by the European countries and Israel were discovered from the terrorists in the Eastern parts of the city of Ramadi.

Meantime, Head of Iraqi Parliament's National Security and Defense Committee Hakem al-Zameli also disclosed that the anti-ISIL coalition's planes have dropped weapons and foodstuff for the ISIL in Salahuddin, Al-Anbar and Diyala provinces.

In January 2015, al-Zameli underlined that the coalition is the main cause of ISIL's survival in Iraq.

"There are proofs and evidence for the US-led coalition's military aid to ISIL terrorists through air(dropped cargoes)," he told FNA at the time.

He noted that the members of his committee have already proved that the US planes have dropped advanced weaponry, including anti-aircraft weapons, for the ISIL, and that it has set up an investigation committee to probe into the matter.

"The US drops weapons for the ISIL on the excuse of not knowing about the whereabouts of the ISIL positions and it is trying to distort the reality with its allegations.

He noted that the committee had collected the data and the evidence provided by eyewitnesses, including Iraqi army officers and the popular forces, and said, "These documents are given to the investigation committee ... and the necessary measures will be taken to protect the Iraqi airspace."

Also in January 2015, another senior Iraqi legislator reiterated that the US-led coalition is the main cause of ISIL's survival in Iraq.

"The international coalition is only an excuse for protecting the ISIL and helping the terrorist group with equipment and weapons," Jome Divan, who is member of the al-Sadr bloc in the Iraqi parliament, said.

He said the coalition's support for the ISIL is now evident to everyone, and continued, "The coalition has not targeted ISIL's main positions in Iraq."

In Late December 2014, Iraqi Parliamentary Security and Defense Commission MP disclosed that a US plane supplied the ISIL terrorist organization with arms and ammunition in Salahuddin province.

MP Majid al-Gharawi stated that the available information pointed out that US planes are supplying ISIL organization, not only in Salahuddin province, but also other provinces, Iraq TradeLink reported.

He added that the US and the international coalition are "not serious in fighting against the ISIL organization, because they have the technological power to determine the presence of ISIL gunmen and destroy them in one month".

Gharawi added that "the US is trying to expand the time of the war against the ISIL to get guarantees from the Iraqi government to have its bases in Mosul and Anbar provinces."

Salahuddin security commission also disclosed that "unknown planes threw arms and ammunition to the ISIL gunmen Southeast of Tikrit city".

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950125001044

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Member States of OIC Vow to Defeat Terrorism, Extremism

April 13, 2016

Member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) pledged here on Tuesday to defeat terrorism and extremism.

"We will continue to fight against force of darkness and extremism that misrepresent the real teaching of Islam, which is based on tolerance," Xinhua quoted Egyptian Deputy Foreign Minister Hisham Badr as saying in his opening speech at a meeting with foreign ministers from other OIC member states.

In his view, the Islamic world is in need of moderation and an integrated strategy for an effective struggle against terrorism and extremism.

Badr also appealed for a dialogue among civilisations and religions to overcome the challenges facing the region.

"We hope we will win despite all of the sacrifices we gave," he added.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that an action plan that will draw a road map for the OIC over the next 10 years will be adopted at the OIC leaders' summit slated for Thursday and Friday.

"I believe that the Islamic world will achieve the targets of the action plan with a spirit of unity and solidarity," Cavusoglu said.

At the meeting of foreign ministers, Badr handed over the OIC presidency to Cavusoglu.

The 13th OIC summit is expected to draw more than 50 heads of state or government, including Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

business-standard.com/article/news-ians/islamic-states-vow-to-defeat-terrorism-extremism-116041200593_1.html

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Iranian Ground Force Forms Quick Reaction Units to Fight against Terrorism

Wed Apr 13, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Ground Force Commander Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan warned of threats posed by terrorists against Iran and the entire region, and said his force has formed special quick reaction units to fight against terrorism.

"The enemy's new strategy is igniting sectarian wars based to arrange terrorist and Takfiri groups," Pourdastan said, addressing a ceremony to unveil the Ground Force's latest military achievements in Tehran on Wednesday.

Warning that proxy wars are now threatening the country and other regional states, he said, "The Ground Force has taken long strides to confront this atmosphere and has formed rapid reaction units, staged several thousand man-hours of exercises in fighting against terrorist groups' tactics and weapons, monitored them" and issued proper responses their threats.

In relevant remarks on Tuesday, Pourdastan said the Iranian army would go on alert if any hostile troops approach the country's border, warning that the army's threshold of action is 40km outside borders.

Addressing the rank and files of the Iranian Army Ground Force in Tehran, he said the Islamic Republic Army is monitoring every move made in the region "and would show reaction once necessary".

Pourdastan further ensured the Iranian military forces' full preparedness, saying that "the army would never be surprised".

The General said the region is suffering from proxy wars, and reiterated that the army is fully ready to defeat any type of enemy in any kind of proxy war.

"We have drawn a 40km redline and we deal with any threat that approaches this redline," the Ground Force commander said.

Pourdastan and many other Iranian military officials have repeatedly warned that they would show tough reaction to any enemy that might approach the country's borders from a good distance and before the enemy troops cross the border into Iran.

ISIL was in some areas only 100 kilometers away from Iran's border last year, but was pushed back hundreds of miles away to western Iraq with the help of Iranian advisors.

In January 2015, Pourdastan said ISIL evacuated areas closer than 40km to the Iranian border after receiving relevant warnings from Tehran.

"When the terrorist and Takfiri ISIL grouplet entered Iraq from the country's Western borders and reached near the Iranian borders, the Ground Force was fully ready to suppress the terrorist grouplet," Pourdastan said in an interview last year.

"At that time, in addition to full preparedness at the borders, we drew a redline 40km inside the Iraqi soil and underlined that if they passed this redline, they would be given a crushing response by the Islamic Republic of Iran's Armed Forces," he added.

The ISIL terrorist grouplet received the message and rapidly moved away from the specified areas, Pourdastan said.

He also reiterated the full preparedness of the Ground Force's different units to safeguard and defend the Iranian borders at any moment.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950125000748

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Russian Anti-Mine Forces Defuse 3,000 Bombs in Palmyra in 12 Days

Wed Apr 13, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Russian engineers have cleared around 180 hectares of lands in the ancient city of Palmyra, defusing some 3,000 mines and explosive devices left by ISIL, the Russian Defense Ministry reported.

“Beginning April 1, over 30 kilometers of roads and more than 182 hectares of land have been cleared of mines, 2,987 explosive objects have been unearthed,” Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said at a teleconference at the National Defense Control Center.

 “Personnel conduct reconnaissance and explosives clearance using high-tech robotic tools,” Shoigu said.

The Russian minister added that Russia’s armed forces have also set up a field hospital in Palmyra to provide additional medical services to the Syrians who return thier home in the city of Palmyra.

“The field hospital is equipped with the most advanced medical equipment to operate autonomously for 30 days. If necessary, both the Syrian military and local citizens returning back home in Palmyra can use the medical facility,” Shoigu said.

Syrian forces, backed by the Russian air support, kicked out ISIL terrorists from Palmyra on March 27, an achievement not only considered a strategic win.

The city had been under ISIL control for more than 10 months, during which the terrorists destroyed a number of unique ancient monuments, including the Arch of Triumph and the iconic 2,000-year-old Bel Temple. The City of Palms has been left partly devastated and ridden with explosive devices.

Russian anti-mine and explosive engineers continue work in Palmyra in order to clear the ancient city of mines and other explosive devices left behind by ISIL.

In average the Russian anti-bomb forces clear 20 hectares of land in Palmyra each day, as the Russian military said yesterday, they defuse or dismantle a total of 117 explosive devices.

 ISIL terrorists, while retreating from and leaving Palmyra, planted mines and explosive devices to slow the advance momentum by the Syrian army and its allies, however Russian mine sweepers have been dispatched to the city to dismantle the mines and explosive devices left by terrorists in city as civilians began returning to their homes.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950125001073

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Army Official Sees Missile Power as Proper Tool Helping Diplomats

Wed Apr 13, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior Iranian Army official lauded the country's high defense capabilities, and said home-made missiles are like a winning card in the hands of Iran's diplomats and negotiators.

"The combat power and defense might along with spirituality are among deterrence components," Seyed Mohammad Ali Ale-Hashem said, addressing a ceremony in the Central city of Isfahan on Wednesday.

The same combat and defense power "in addition to the production of different home-made defense equipment, specially missile equipment, are today helping the country's diplomats speak mightily on international scenes", he added.

His remarks came after Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Aerospace Force Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said in March that Iran’s ballistic missiles can fly 400km above the ground to hit targets at 2,000km within 12 to 13 minutes.

Speaking to the state TV, Hajizadeh said in light of the nuclear deal all US spying agencies have now fixated their eyes on Iran’s missile program, adding that “we are confident of ourselves, yet the enemies might try to focus on the state officials.”

The IRGC commander warned that the US officials have launched a major smear campaign to shut down Iran’s missile defense program and demoralize the Islamic Republic, "as they want to turn Iran into another Iraq, Syria, and Yemen".

Hajizadeh said Iran would never start a regional war, however, “we need to strengthen our security through missile shields”.

He went on to state that in case of an attack, the IRGC will not only defend but also retaliate using its different classes of missiles.

The IRGC commander said the recent missile drills went on for a week and only on Tuesday the IRGC decided to publicize it. He said the drills didn’t go against the nuclear agreement, and described the country's missile defense program as Iran’s red line.

The IRGC staged major ballistic missile exercises in March. Called 'Eqtedar-e Velayat', the command, tactical and special exercises were conducted in the presence of IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari as well as General Hajizadeh.

The exercises were meant to test advanced missile defense systems as well as showcase the deterrence power and the clout of the IRGC forces in defending the country's territorial integrity against foreign threats.

The drills were held in different geographical locations, using ballistic missiles fired from silos in Central Iran and mountain ranges in the North.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950125000705

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Iran Unveils Optimized Chieftain Tanks, 7.62-mm Sniper Rifle, Different Military Vehicles

Wed Apr 13, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran unveiled its latest home-made state-of-the-art military products on Wednesday in a ceremony participated by Ground Force Commander Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan.

The new achievements which were unveiled on the occasion of the Army Day (April 17) included optimized Chieftain tanks, communication node vehicles and TOW missile test stations.

Also, the 57-mm self-propelled wheeled air defense system, 'Bahman', the 5-ton 6*6 'Kian' military vehicle, 'Shahram' mobile nuclear detection lab, Pouria tactical vehicle that carries super heavy tanks and 'Tiam' battle tank were unveiled during the ceremony.

In addition to unveiling the weapons and equipment, the Iranian Ground Force delivered a large number of home-made ambulances, cranes, water tankers, armored vehicles, 7.62-mm sniper guns and vehicles which carry super heavy tanks to different units.

General Pourdastan had earlier this week stated that a large number of optimized Chieftain tanks, sniper guns and different light and heavy vehicles would be delivered to the Ground Force units.

Asked about the time for unveiling the new Iranian battle tank, 'Karrar' on Monday, he said, "The tank will be unveiled this or next month and will be used by the Army and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Ground Forces."

Speaking to FNA last month, the Iranian commander had said that the battle tank is as capable as Russia's T-90 tank and perhaps even better, adding that Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan and several other high-ranking officials will attend the inauguration ceremony of Karrar.

Lieutenant Commander of the Iranian Ground Force Brigadier General Kioumars Heidari announced earlier that his forces have been equipped with the home-made state-of-the-art tanks named 'Karrar' with features similar to the Russian T-90 tanks.

"Karrar tanks have been delivered to the combat units of the Ground Force," General Heidari told reporters in March.

He also underlined plans to mount new, advanced and state-of-the-art systems on Karrar and Zolfaqar tanks.

Asked about the Ground Force's achievements in building anti-armored systems, General Heidari said, "We have modern and state-of-the-art equipment which can be used in proxy wars."

"The defense industry designed and built the battle tank from scratch. If not better, it's still as deadly as the Russian T-90," Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan said in an interview with the state-run TV last month.

He said "Karrar" stands among the most modern battle tanks in the world.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950125000612

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IRGC Ground Forces Exercise Security-Offensive Operations

Wed Apr 13, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Tens of IRGC Ground Force units conducted security-offensive-destruction drills on the second day of their massive wargames in Southeastern Iran on Wednesday.

The second day of the drills started in Mirjaveh region in Sistan and Balouchestan province in the presence of IRGC Ground Force Commander Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour.

Speaking to reporters, General Pakpour said three different operations will be carried out during the Wednesday exercises, including ambush operations against simulated enemies who have sneaked into the country.

"Based on the scenario of the drills, the (simulated) enemy seeks to cut the road leading to a border checkpoint and attack it and the checkpoint will be won back during the exercises," he said, adding that the third operation will remove the road blockade with heavy fire.

Noting that his forces mostly conduct security-offensive operations, Pakpour said, "During the current drills, the offensive-destruction operations will be carried out for the first time."

He also said that the IRGC Air Force helicopters are also present in the wargames in large numbers to attack simulated enemy's targets.

The IRGC Ground Force started massive wargames in Southeastern Iran on Tuesday morning.

The drills started in the presence of Head of the Services and Joint Affairs of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri, IRGC Lieutenant Commander Brigadier General Hossein Salami, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Brigadier General Ali Shadmani, General Pakpour and other commanders and experts in Saravan region in Sistan and Balouchestan province.

The massive security exercises dubbed as 'Payambar A'zam (the Great Prophet) (PBUH)' will continue until Thursday.

During the drills, the IRGC Ground Force troops are due to exercise hostage release through heliborne operations, parachute operations and destroy enemy targets through concentrated Katyusha fire.

In the first hours of the wargames on Tuesday, three helicopters of the IRGC Air Force targeted simulated enemy positions and destroyed them.

Last month, the IRGC staged major ballistic missile exercises. Called 'Eqtedar-e Velayat', the command, tactical and special exercises were conducted in the presence of IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari as well as Commander of the IRGC Aerospace Force Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh.

The exercises were meant to test advanced missile defense systems as well as showcase the deterrence power and the clout of the IRGC forces in defending the country's territorial integrity against foreign threats.

The drills were held in different geographical locations, using ballistic missiles fired from silos in Central Iran and mountain ranges in the North.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950125000352

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Syrian Army Wins Back Key Village in Homs Province

Wed Apr 13, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army and its allied forces continued their advances Southeast of Homs province, and seized back a strategic hilltop in the region.

The army units won back Tal SyriaTel in the Southeastern Homs in tough battle with the terrorists. 

Scores of militants were killed and wounded in fierce clashes with the Syrian army and popular forces.

In a relevant development On Tuesday, the Syrian warplanes, in two rounds of combat flights, targeted al-Nusra Front's gatherings and concentration centers in the Northern parts Homs, pinning the terrorists down behind their positions and inflicting major losses on them.

Also on Monday, the Syrian fighter jets hit hard ISIL's main depot of heavy weapons, including the stolen aircraft of the Syrian army near the recently-liberated city of Palmyra.

The Syrian Air Force, tipped off by the intelligence force about a secret depot of modern weapon of the ISIL near Palmyra, traced and targeted a site of the terrorists near al-Hayr a-Gharbi Palace.

The ISIL munitions depot near the Palace was set ablaze in the Syrian jets' bombardments.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950125000795

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Iran Disbands 3 Terrorist Groups at Western, Eastern Borders

April 13, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Commander of Iran's Law Enforcement Border Guards Brigadier General Qasem Rezayee announced that his forces have disbanded three terrorist groups with plots to carry out sabotage acts in the country in the past Iranian year (ended on March 19).

"Members of three terrorist groups were arrested at the country's Eastern and Northwestern borders," Rezayee told reporters in a press conference in Tehran on Wednesday.

"These terrorist groups were identified and arrested in separate operations by Iran's dedicated border guards at the Eastern and Northwestern borders last year," he added.

Rezayee explained that one of the disbanded terrorist groups included a Pakistani and two Iranian nationals who were carrying advanced equipment.

In relevant remarks earlier this month, Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli announced that the security and intelligence forces have foiled dozens of terrorist plots in different parts of the country last year.

"We didn’t have any security incident last (Iranian) year and tens of terrorist and outlawed incidents which were due to happen in the country on different occasions were defused due the security and law enforcement police forces' vigilance and monitoring," Rahmani Fazli said in Tehran.

He also underlined Iran's positive role in the regional developments last year, and said the country helped the regional Muslims fight against terrorism, violence and drug trafficking.

Also, on Monday, Iran's Ground Force Commander Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan announced that the country's border guards killed two ISIL terrorists who planned to conduct suicide attacks in late February.

"An ISIL-affiliated group entered Iran in February and we confronted them and killed two of them who had come with suicide vests," Pourdastan told reporters in a press conference in Tehran.

Stressing that Iran has equipped and prepared its border guards to stand and prevent terrorists' sneaking into Iran, he said, "Certain regional states want the terrorist grouplets to extend their threats to our borders but we don’t see any threat."

Late February, a provincial authority announced that a number of terrorists who were planning to strike the capital city following the parliamentary elections were killed after crossing Iran's Western borders.

"The security and military forces disbanded a terror cell in the Soumar and Naft Shahr region yesterday morning," Director of Kermanshah Governor-General Office for Security and Law Enforcement Affairs Nosratollah Moradi told reporters.

He said the terrorists were armed with bombs, suicide and explosive vests, grenades, pistols and some US dollars.

"They were planning to carry out terrorist attacks in Tehran," Moradi added.

His remarks came after Deputy Interior Minister for Security and Law Enforcement Affairs Hossein Zolfaqari said on February 28 that security forces disbanded a terrorist cell in Western Iran.

"This morning two terrorists crossed the Western borders (in Soumar region). They were killed by border guards and security forces on the spot," Zolfaqari told reporters in Tehran.

He said several other terror plots were also foiled before and during the February 26 elections.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950125000956

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Southeast Asia

Sultan of Perak: Study Why People Are Joining Militant Groups

Wednesday, Apr 13, 2016

IPOH - Authorities need to identify, understand and analyse the factors that could influence people to join militant movements, said Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah.

The arrest and detention of those supporting and joining militant movements such as the Islamic State group (IS) was one way to combat the matter, he said.

Sultan Nazrin added, however, that it would not resolve the matter.

"It is important that a more comprehensive way be used to combat and contain this complex issue that involves ideology, understanding and interpretation.

"Factors that could influence the minds of the people to join or reject an organisation must be identified, understood and analysed," he said when opening the fourth session of the 13th Perak State Assembly at the state secretariat building here yesterday.

"Hopes and illusions, disappointment and dreams, poverty and suffering, tyranny and oppression are factors that could cause youths to join these movements," he said.

"It's more saddening that these disputes are triggered in the name of religion by militants promising a better world order.

"Actions through violence and destruction to public properties and sources of life such as killing, attacking, kidnapping, raping and bombing leading to the loss of lives of innocents are not the Islamic way."

The ideology of creating an Islamic state was influencing people around the globe, including Malaysians, he added.

"There have been reports of Malaysians killed in certain countries," he said, adding that it was also the responsibility of the people to preserve public order and national safety.

The people, said Sultan Nazrin, should also take inspiration from sports to instil the spirit of understanding, teamwork and co-operation.

"Sports can promote a healthy lifestyle, competitiveness, the spirit to strive further and sportsmanship," he said, adding that films such as Ola Bola helped to boost the values of sacrifice, comradeship and patriotism.

news.asiaone.com/news/malaysia/sultan-study-why-people-are-joining-militant-groups

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German tourists in bathing suits detained in Indonesia's Aceh

April 13, 2016

Jakarta - Two German tourists saw their Indonesian holiday briefly suspended when they were caught in bathing suits on a beach in Aceh province, which is under strict Islamic sharia law, local media reported Wednesday.

Officers were dispatched after a tip-off from locals Tuesday, "but the two foreign tourists were already clothed" by the time officers reached Ujong Blang beach, M Irsyadi, the head of sharia police in Lhokseumawe, according to state news agency Antara.

The tourists were taken to the police station, reminded to observe local sharia law, which they said they did not know about, and returned to their hotel, he said.

"Wearing a bikini on the beach clearly is a violation of the 2002 sharia bylaw on belief, ritual and promoting Islam," which requires modest dress and headscarves for women, Irsyadi was quoted assaying.

Aceh is the only province in Indonesia that implements sharia due toits special autonomy status.

nationmultimedia.com/breakingnews/German-tourists-in-bathing-suits-detained-in-Indon-30283900.html

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United front needed to counter ISIS' growing campaign in Southeast Asia

Wednesday, Apr 13, 2016

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (also known as ISIS or Daesh in Arabic) has embarked on a global campaign to establish an Islamic caliphate across Asia.

Fullfil the vision of its self-styled caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, even affiliated militant groups in South-east Asia have been injected with their extremist doctrines, turning them into a unified force. The manner in which ISIS conducts itself has been translated onto South-east Asia, resulting in the "Daesh-isation" of the region.

ISIS is not merely a terrorist outfit fighting an asymmetrical war, as is often claimed. Instead, it behaves like a conventional army - albeit devoid of morality. Instead of small cells, it has tens of thousands of fighters organised in battalions and brigades, equipped with weapons and doctrinal manuals, and have been conducting war by conquering and occupying territory.

With the Daesh-isation of South-east Asia, militants in the region also attempt to engage in conventional warfare, even though, in reality, their enemies are far superior. Militant forces in Mindanao - involving elements of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, Abu Sayyaf Group, Mujahideen Indonesia Timur and Malaysians - are regrouping for that reason.

A similar militant joint operation is also taking place in Poso, where the Indonesian government states that more than 100 foreign militants are operating.

WHAT MAKES "DAESH-ISATION"?

Just as ISIS is a conglomerate of multinational, multi-ethnic brigades or kataib in allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, these groups from Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, although loosely organised with different aims, are crystallising into a unified force.

Unlike the past, the present Daesh-oriented security threat is driven by an ideology that gathers support from any group or individual that believes in the Daesh vision to establish a wilayat (administrative division) in support of a global caliphate.

Additionally, foreign elements have also joined in local extremist missions, as is increasingly evident in Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia. Most recently, inroads are being made online to pull the historically insular Thai insurgency into Daesh-isation, with the emergence, on social media, of a Daesh flag superimposed on the map of southern Thailand.

They are unified not just through allegiance to a self-styled caliph, but also through a common South-east Asian language group, comprising mainstream and dialects of the languages of the Malay world.

When the Jund al-Tawhid faction from the Philippines released its video of oath-taking, online supporters recognised the video as a product of "Mujahidin Serumpun Melayu" (Mujahidin of the Malay Family).

Daesh's ideas are also propagated through local South-east Asian languages such as Bahasa Indonesia and Tagalog, as seen in official ISIS Telegram channels directed at South-east Asia.

Moreover, the presence of multinational militants in Poso, including Uighurs and Mandarin-speaking fighters, and reports of Arab fighters in Mindanao imply an internationalisation of a symmetrical war in the tri-border area straddling Sabah, Sulawesi and Mindanao.

Last Saturday, Mohammad Khattab, a Moroccan bomb-making instructor, was killed during a firefight in Basilan with Filipino forces. He was reported to have wanted to unite the ISIS-affiliated groups in the Philippines and link them with the international terrorist organisation.

DISCARDING PASSPORTS

However, Daesh-isation of South-east Asia involves the application of wilayat as an extension of the global caliphate. This ISIS contribution to extremist parlance brings sophistication to militant activities, strategy and operation. Extremists do not just act out local grievances through banditry under a militant command centre. Extremists are now ostensible citizens of an illegitimate global caliphate, and their sub-state wilayat is expected to add value to the caliphate, by supplying new recruits or to broaden the imagination of the boundaries of the elusive Islamic state.

Fighters are known to have discarded passports, as a gesture of the rejection of their previous allegiance to the state system; they identify themselves instead through their bai'aat or oaths of allegiance and crude identity cards created as conduits of "citizenship". With wilayat as an extension of ISIS' pseudo-state, Daesh-isation also introduced the concept of non-military contribution, instead of merely front-line fighting.

Even extremism in South-east Asia is beginning to take on a Daesh flavour.

Whereas Jemaah Islamiah (JI) and Al-Qaeda are now apparently more careful or are in postponement of sectarian conflict, Daesh is uncompromising in its hatred of out-groups, especially the Shi'ites, inherited from its late founding father, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Already, Malaysia is adamant in not accepting Shi'ism as part of Islam while Indonesia has a history of blood-spilling, house-burning sectarian violence. The sectarian aspect of Daesh-isation is compatible with regional communal tensions and online fighters receive approbative responses whenever they turn to using Shi'ites as whipping boys for Daesh's atrocities in the Middle East.

NEW PARADIGM

Aside from the existing regional political consensus and inter- agency intelligence information sharing, to defeat Daesh in South-east Asia, there should also be joint operations where necessary, especially when groups such as Abu Sayyaf operate over multiple borders. The Mindanao-based group had recently abducted Malaysians and Indonesians in the waters off Semporna and an unknown location near Malaysian waters.

Even if such joint operations are just a show of force or combined training efforts, a united multi- state front comprising both police and military institutions will shatter any dreams of a wilayat spanning the archipelago. From the bottom to the top, the order of battle of the police and militaries of South-east Asia will have to address areas such as Mindanao and Poso to significantly reduce the pernicious threat of terrorism in the region.

ISIS' affiliates seem to have no conception of defeat. They are neither concerned about the global opposition, nor the weakness of their own forces, in the belief that death is the imagined salvation usually unattainable, while defeat is but a temporary setback.

After Paris, Istanbul and Brussels, a paradigm shift is crucial to counter, contain and degrade, if not eliminate the extremist militants of Daesh so as to prevent them from creating havoc on earth.

news.asiaone.com/news/asian-opinions/united-front-needed-counter-isis-growing-campaign-southeast-asia

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Africa

Child bombers used by Boko Haram increases 10-fold: UNICEF

Apr 12, 2016

KANO, Nigeria (AP) — The number of child bombers used by the Islamic extremists of Boko Haram has increased from four to 44 in a year with devastating consequences in communities that now see children as threats, UNICEF said Tuesday.

Seventy-five percent of the children used are girls, a new report said, emphasizing that these children, many believed captives, are "victims, not perpetrators."

"As 'suicide' attacks involving children become commonplace, some communities are starting to see children as threats," said Manuel Fontaine, West Africa director of the U.N. children's agency. "This suspicion toward children can have destructive consequences: How can a community rebuild itself when it is casting out its own sisters, daughters and mothers?"

The Associated Press learned of one case in which a woman in her 20s was freed by soldiers in an attack on a Boko Haram-held village. After she was reunited with her family in Maiduguri last month, she told her mother that she had been trained as a suicide bomber. The mother so feared her own daughter that she turned her in to the military, according to a family member. She spoke on condition of anonymity to protect the identity of her cousin.

The number of children involved in suicide attacks in Nigeria and neighboring Cameroon and Chad rose 10-fold last year, with the frequency of all suicide bombings increasing from 32 in 2014 to 151 last year, UNICEF said. In 2015, 89 of these attacks were carried out in Nigeria, 39 in Cameroon, 16 in Chad and 7 in Niger, the report said.

Boko Haram has sent bombers to mosques, market places and other soft targets since a multi-national military offensive forced them out of a large swath of the country that they held until a year ago. Boko Haram wants to create an Islamic caliphate in Nigeria, Africa's biggest oil producer whose 170 million people are divided almost equally between Christians mainly in the south and Muslims in the north.

Another new report, from Mercy Corps, found unemployment was not a leading reason for young people to join Boko Haram, as has been assumed. The study, based on interviews with 47 former members, did point to a financial motivation, however.

"Boko Haram has exploited common desires of youth ... to get ahead economically," said the report from the Portland, Oregon-based charity. "Many youth described either accepting loans prior to joining or joining with the hope of receiving loans or capital for their mostly small, informal businesses."

Nigeria's home-grown insurgency that has killed 20,000 people in six years and forced 2.8 million from their homes.

pantagraph.com/news/world/africa/child-bombers-used-by-boko-haram-increases--fold-unicef/article_63ef1705-5c77-58c7-9706-7c9ff4ab24cb.html

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UN Official: More Help Needed for Africa's Sahel Region

Apr 12, 2016

A senior U.N. official on Tuesday said the ongoing poverty and horror resulting from attacks by the extremist Boko Haram group in Africa's Lake Chad basin are at their worst and called for increased relief funding for its 3 million people and broader international engagement in the region.

Toby Lanzer, the world body's regional humanitarian coordinator for the Sahel region, of which the Lake Chad basin is a part, said in a briefing with reporters that more relief money alone will only serve as a stop-gap if it is not coupled with investments in development and infrastructure. He called on governments and international organizations to address poverty and environmental degradation and invest in education and vocational training.

The poverty in this area of northern Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger is "of the like I've hardly ever seen before," he said.

Lanzer, who is based in Dakar, Senegal, described how his team recently drove through Nigeria's Borno state to the border with Cameroon, seeing along the way "village after village destroyed and deserted, not a goat, cat of any sort and certainly no humans" as a result of attacks by Boko Haram.

Upon arrival at the town of Bama, Lanzer said they found its 30,000 residents on the brink of starvation.

Boko Haram's six-year-old Islamic insurgency has left at least 20,000 people dead and forced more than 2.8 million people in the Lake Chad basin from their homes, according to the U.N. The Nigeria-based Boko Haram last year pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group. Attacks by Boko Haram increased early last year in Nigeria's neighboring countries, who are now contributing to a multinational force that was formed to destroy the militant Islamic group.

Lanzer said the city of Maiduguri in the center of Borno state normally has about 1 million residents but its population has swelled to 2.6 million because of the many people in the region displaced by the fighting.

The Sahel region is the zone of transition between the Sahara Desert to the north and the Sudanian Savanna and includes Burkina Faso, Chad, Cameroon, the Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal.

The Sahel is home to about 150 million people and Lanzer said that number is expected to double in two decades, making the need for more to be done more urgent.

The Nigerian government, Lanzer said, has suffered under a financial crisis resulting from a drop in oil prices and is unable to handle "such devastation and such number of people in need."

"We have to help the governments of the Sahel stabilize the situation, whether it's Mali, whether its the Lake Chad basin," he said.

According to the U.N.'s humanitarian affairs office, international humanitarian agencies operating in Nigeria plan to provide $248 million in aid to people in Northeast Nigeria in 2016, but it is only 12 per cent funded.

abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/official-needed-africas-sahel-region-38345022

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Uganda to Host Islamic Finance Convention

Apr 12, 2016

Kampala — The Sub-Saharan Islamic Finance Convention 2016 will take place in Kampala on May 10th and 11th.

There are two basic principles behind Islamic banking. The sharing of profit and loss and, significantly, the prohibition of the collection and payment of interest.

to a statement, the purpose of the Convention is to create a strong platform for the growth of the industry that will not only help to establish Uganda as an exciting investment destination but also attract the support and enable the development of the broader Sub-Saharan market.

Africa is one of the world's largest untapped growth markets for Islamic finance, spanning Islamic banking, Takaful, Sukuk and capital market activities.

This is the result of both positive trends - a rapidly growing population, increased consumer spending and robust GDP growth across the continent - and economic need. Africa has a huge infrastructure deficit and governments need new tools for raising capital.

Limited access to finance is a developmental challenge for Africa and many SMEs, individuals and entrepreneurs eschew the mainstream banking system. Islamic finance can become an appealing and important source of capital for small companies and individuals - and is well positioned to be a catalyst for driving financial deepening in Africa.

Population growth, increased consumer spending power, and the role of Islam in Africa's demographic makeup, mean that Islamic finance is playing an important role in the economic trajectory of the continent.

Africa's challenges, notably infrastructure financing and the need for wider access to financial services, also provide an opportunity for the Islamic finance industry to grow. Africa is now home to over 250 million Muslims, projected to grow to over 385 million by 2030.

allafrica.com/stories/201604120964.html

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South Asia

NDS foil major attack plot by Haqqani network in Khost

Wed Apr 13 2016

Abdul-Aziz-HaqqaniA major attack plot by Haqqani terrorist network was foiled by the Afghan intelligence operatives in eastern Khost province of Afghanistan.

The Afghan Intelligence, National Directorate of Security (NDS), said a huge cache of weapons and explosives prepared by the terror network for the attack was seized by NDS operatives.

A statement by NDS said the cache was discovered during a joint operation by Afghan National Police from Chargoti village in Alisher district.

The statement further added that the cache included 30 Ak-47 assault rifles, 2 rifles, 3000 rounds of Ak-47 ammunition, 2 Improvised Explosive Device, 4 fake Pakistani vehicle registration plates, 1 van, 5 military uniforms.

NDS in its statement further added that the terror network was looking to use the explosives to carry out coordinated attack in Khost province.

According to NDS, two suspects were also arrested in connection to the attack plot by the Afghan security forces.

This comes as the Afghan intelligence operatives foiled a major attack plot by the terror network on Hamid Karzai International Airport.

khaama.com/nds-foil-major-attack-plot-by-haqqani-network-in-khost-0641

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Afghan forces air and ground raids leaves 31 militants dead: MoD

Wed Apr 13 2016

At least 31 militants were killed and 30 others were wounded in air and ground raids of the Afghan national security forces in the past 24 hours, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said.

According to a statement by MoD, the operations were conducted in the past 24 hours in seven different provinces of the country.

The statement further added that 7 militants were killed in Chardara district of Kunduz and 10 others were killed and 23 more wounded during separate raids in Sayad district of Sar-e-Pul, Qosh Tapa district of Jawzjan and Chahar Bolok district of Balkh province.

At least 11 militants were killed in a separate operation in Qarabagh district of Ghazni, MoD said, adding that 2 militants were killed in Shindand district of Herat.

A commander of the militants group identified as Samiullah was killed during clashes with the Afghan forces in Tangi Abresham area of Laghman province, MoD added.

According to the Ministry of Defense, at least 2 Afghan soldiers also lost their lives during the same operations.

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

khaama.com/afghan-forces-air-and-ground-raids-leaves-31-militants-dead-mod-0639

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Bangladesh asks Muslim world to unite in OIC meet

Tuesday 12th April 2016

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali urged the Muslim world to unite for peace, stability and development.

Speaking at the OIC foreign ministers’ meeting in Turkey on Tuesday, ahead of the 13th Islamic Summit Conference on Thursday, Ali said Muslims are currently facing injustice in the world, and for that to end, the world needs unity.

“Leaving our disagreements behind, we must take a common stand on major issues,” Ali said, adding that the Islamic world’s voice on the world stage is “rather weak”.

Even among ourselves, we are often divided and weakened, he said, a fact he believes is working at the advantage ‘of the detractors’.

“To add to that, Islamophobia is hurting us as we have terrorism and violent extremism and many other major humanitarian crises,” Ali said.

It is the immediate duty of the member states to address these challenges and bring back ‘peace for the Ummah’.

To resolve these differences, Ali suggested the formation of an OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) “mediation and conflict resolution group” to which Bangladesh is willing to contribute, he added.

Ali also highlighted the need of women development by saying no nation can truly progress without the progress of its women.

clickittefaq.com/bangladesh-asks-muslim-world-unite-oic-meet/

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7 policemen killed in a suspected insider attack in Kandahar

Tue Apr 12 2016

At least seven policemen were killed in southern Kandahar province of Afghanistan in a suspected insider attack, local officials said Tuesday.

The incident has taken place in Spin Boldak district of Kandahar late on Monday night near the Durand Line.

A local security official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the policemen were shot dead by one of their comrades who has managed to flee the area following the attack.

The Taliban group has claimed responsibility behind the incident and said the policemen were killed in an attack on a security post.

The group also claimed that the attack was carried out as part of the summer offensive launched by the group under the name of Omari Operations.

This comes as at  least 7 policemen serving with the Afghan Local Police (ALP) forces were shot dead by their comrades in this province late last month.

Kandahar is the birth place of the Taliban insurgents however the Afghan security forces have managed to maintain security and stability in this province during the past several months.

The anti-government armed militants have been trying to expand their insurgency activities in this province lately amid deteriorating security situation in the south.

khaama.com/7-policemen-killed-in-a-suspected-insider-attack-in-kandahar-0631

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2 students killed, 4 wounded as rocket lands on school in Mehtarlam city

Tue Apr 12 2016

rocket attack on Afghan schoolTwo students lost their lives and four others sustained injuries after a rocket landed on a school in Mehtarlam city in eastern Laghman province of Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Education (MoD) said the rocket landed in the vicinity of Shahid Mawlavi Habib-ur-Rehman high school this morning.

A statement by MoE said the deceased students have been identified as third grade student Mohammad Shakir and eight grade student Mohammad Zakir.

The statement further added that four others studying in second and third grades were wounded in the attack.

The ministry strongly condemned the attack on the school and urged the security personnel to take immediate steps in arresting the perpetrators of the incident.

No group including the Taliban militants has so far claimed responsibility behind the incident.

Laghman is among the relatively volatile provinces in eastern Afghanistan where anti-government armed militant groups including the Taliban insurgents are active in a number of its districts and often carry out insurgency activities.

This comes as a roadside bomb targeted a vehicle carrying the Ministry of Education employees in Kabul earlier this week, leaving two dead and five others wounded.

khaama.com/2-students-killed-4-wounded-as-rocket-lands-on-school-in-mehtarlam-city-0630

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Taliban brutally kill 2 public uprising members in Baghlan by gouging their eyes

Tue Apr 12 2016

Taliban app removed from Google storeThe Taliban militants have brutally murdered two public uprising forces in northern Baghlan province of Afghanistan by gouging their eyes and slitting their nose and ears.

The incident took place late on Monday night in the restive Burka district where the anti-government armed militants are actively operating.

A member of the public uprising forces said the Taliban militants are preventing the local residents to remove the dead bodies of the two deceased men.

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

Incident involving mutilation of security personnel, government employees and civilians accused of working for the government is not rare in Afghanistan.

The Taliban militants frequently target the security personnel and government employees as well as the ordinary civilians by accusing them of working for the government.

Such incidents normally take place on highways where the Taliban insurgents are kidnapping the victims and murder them in horrific way.

Baghlan is among the relatively volatile provinces in northern Afghanistan where anti-government armed militant groups are actively operating in a number of its districts and frequently carry out insurgency activities.

khaama.com/taliban-brutally-kill-2-public-uprising-members-in-baghlan-by-gouging-their-eyes-0629

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Taliban militants suffer casualties after attack Kunar security posts

Wed Apr 13 2016

senior Afghan Taliban leader killedThe Taliban militants suffered casualties after attacking security posts in eastern Kunar province of Afghanistan, local officials said.

Provincial police chief General Abdul Habib Syed Khel said Taliban militants launched coordinated attacks on security posts in Marwara and Sarkano districts earlier today.

He said clashes still continued between the militants and Afghan security forces, leaving at least 9 Taliban militants dead.

Gen. Syed Khel further added that a policeman also sustained injuries during the gun battle with the Taliban militants.

Taliban militants claimed responsibility behind the attack and said heavy casualties were incurred to the security personnel.

However, the local security officials have rejected the Taliban claims as baseless.

Kunar is among the volatile provinces in eastern Afghanistan where anti-government armed militant groups including the Taliban insurgents are actively operating in a number of its districts and frequently carry out insurgency activities.

khaama.com/taliban-militants-suffer-casualties-after-attack-kunar-security-posts-0642

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Stanikzai says will resign if Helmand province falls to Taliban

Tue Apr 12 2016

The acting Minister of Defense Masoom Stanikzai has said he will resign if the control of Helmand province falls to Taliban militants.

The remarks by Stanikzai comes as the Taliban group has intensified offensive in this province during the past several months in a bid to capture the province.

According to the earlier reports, the Taliban group is eying to turn the province in its strategic leadership base and the Taliban leaders are even keen to shift the group’s council to Helmand.

However, Stanikzai said the province will not fall to Taliban control. “It will not fall. If it falls, there is no doubt I will resign, but it will not fall,” he told CNN.

Stanikzai further added “It is not a rosy picture in Helmand. It’s a difficult fight and there are many fighters coming from across the (Pakistan) border, there is no doubt about that.”

He blamed the Taliban’s recent advances on Pakistani assistance, an oft-repeated charge by Afghan officials.

“Why are we ignoring this fact? Go to Quetta, go to Peshawar. What the hell are those (militant) bases doing there? How are they moving there? How are they communicating there?” he added.

This comes as the Taliban group announced their summer offensive today and vowed to continue fight as the group’s armed insurgency enters to its 15th year.

The Afghan security officials had earlier predicted that the group will continue to pursue violence with the full support of Pakistan’s ISI despite efforts by the Afghan government and its partners to encourage the group to participate in peace talks.

khaama.com/stanikzai-says-will-resign-if-helmand-province-falls-to-taliban-0632

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Afghanistan, India, Iran finalize draft agreement for Chabahar port

Wed Apr 13 2016

Chabahar port draft agreementThe draft agreement for Chabahar strategic port was finalized between Afghanistan, Iran and India on Monday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said.

A statement by MoFA said the draft agreement is ready for the signing to create transportation and transit corridor in Chabahar port.

The draft agreement was finalized during a meeting organized in Ministry of External Affairs of India, MoFA said, adding that Afghanistan was represented by representatives from Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Commerce and Industries Ministry, Ministry of Finance, Ministry Transporation and Aviation Directorate of Railway Network and Embassy of Afghanistan in India.

According to MoFA, the Chabahar port, located in southeastern part of Iran in Sistan of Balochistan, could play a vital role in expanding sea trade among the regional countries.

The statement by MoFA further added that the port will also play a key role in reducing time and expenses for the transportation of commodities besides linking the South Asian countries with Central Asian countries as well as Middle Eastern countries with the Central Asia.

The three nations also agreed to establish a subsidiary committee in the format of the agreement to prepare transit and port protocols and other issues including custom and consulate affairs, the statement added.

According to MoFA, the meeting participants agreed to pave the way for the signing of the agreement by high level government officials of the three countries in two months.

khaama.com/afghanistan-india-iran-finalize-draft-agreement-for-chabahar-port-0640

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Taliban convene key meetings in their safe havens in Pakistan: CoAS

Wed Apr 13 2016

Gen. ShaheemThe Taliban group leaders are convening key meetings in their safe havens inside the Pakistani soil, a top Afghan defense official said Wednesday.

The Chief of Army Staff General Qadam Shah Shaheem told reporters in Kabul that the Taliban gatherings, including meetings to pledge allegiance are taking place in Pakistan.

Gen. Shaheem also criticized the cross-border shelling by Pakistani military in eastern provinces and said the Afghan leadership is hopeful that the provocative acts are immediately stopped.

According to Gen. Shaheem, the Taliban group is facing unity challenges and their central command has been weakened which he says is a good news for the Afghan armed forces.

The remarks by Gen. Shaheem comes as reports emerged earlier this week that the Haqqani terrorist network has played a key role in resolving the leadership issues of the Taliban group.

According to local media reports in Pakistan, the Haqqani network leader Sirajuddin Haqqani intervened to resolve the issues of the Taliban leadership and managed to secure key posts Mullah Omar’s son and brother in Taliban leadership council.

The report emerged days before the Taliban group announced their spring offensive and vowed to carry out more attacks across the country as the group’s insurgency enters to its 15th year.

The Afghan officials have long been criticizing Pakistan for supporting the anti-government armed militant groups by providing them with shelters inside their soil.

Although the Pakistani officials have repeatedly denied support to the Taliban group but the country’s Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz earlier acknowledged the Pakistan has influence on Taliban leaders which could be used as a leverage to force the group to participate in peace talks.

khaama.com/taliban-convene-key-meetings-in-their-safe-havens-in-pakistan-coas-0638

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Taliban announced spring offensive to hide previous year’s defeats: Sediqi

Wed Apr 13 2016

The Ministry of Interior of Afghanistan said the Taliban group is attempting to hide setbacks and defeats the group sustained during the previous year by announcing a new spring offensive.

Sediq Sediqi, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, emphasized on the capabilities of the Afghan national security forces and said such propagandas and hollow attempts by the enemies of Afghanistan are attempts to hide the consecutive defeats and setbacks they sustained during the last year.

He said the announcement of such offensives are also aimed at disrupting the public mind, insisting that the Taliban group has once again proved their enmity with the Afghan people with the announcement of the annual offensive.

Sediqi further added that the Taliban group militants want to target the defenseless civilians of the country in a bid to avenge the losses they suffered in the battlefield.

According to Sediqi, the militants will be suppressed in one of the major operations launched under the name of Shafaq by the Afghan security forces.

He said the main target of the operations will be the leaders of the Taliban group, calling the offensive as one of the biggest to be implemented in Afghanistan during the year.

Sediqi said the Afghan government is optimistic regarding the growing capabilities of the Afghan security forces, specifically the Afghan Air Force.

He said the International Community will continue assisting Afghanistan in improving the capabilities of the Afghan security forces.

khaama.com/taliban-announced-spring-offensive-to-hide-previous-years-defeats-sediqi-0636

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Mideast

Six soldiers killed, 54 wounded in PKK attacks in Turkey’s southeast

Wednesday,April 13 2016

Six soldiers were killed and 56 others were wounded in individual attacks by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and in clashes between security forces and the militants in the southeastern provinces of Şırnak, Hakkari,Diyarbakır and Mardin on April 11 and 12.

The Turkish General Staff announced that one soldier was killed due to an unknown explosion during clashes with PKK militants in the Dağlıca district of Hakkari, while four soldiers were wounded. One of the injured soldiers is reported to be in a critical condition, according to the statement.

Additionally, one soldier was killed during clashes with PKK militants in Şırnak, while three others were wounded.

Reports of a third attack emerged late April 12 when two soldiers were killed and two others were wounded in an explosion in southeastern Mardin’s Nusaybin district.

Meanwhile, two soldiers were killed and 47 were wounded, including civilians, late April 11 in a PKK bomb attack in the Hani district of Diyarbakır.

PKK militants detonated a bomb-laden tanker in front of the Hani Gendarmerie Post, after which an armed clash erupted between security forces and PKK militants.

The relatives of gendarmerie personnel in the lodgings were among the wounded, the General Staff said in a statement.

The wounded were first taken to Hani State Hospital and later transferred to the Diyarbakır Military Hospital by helicopter and ambulance.

A significant portion of the military post collapsed due to the attack while other buildings nearby were also damaged as search and rescue efforts in the buildings continued.

The Hani Criminal Court of Peace ordered a broadcast ban until the completion of the investigation following the attack.

hurriyetdailynews.com/six-soldiers-killed-54-wounded-in-pkk-attacks-in-turkeys-southeast.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97706&NewsCatID=341

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Two ‘Russian spies’ caught in Istanbul

April 13, 2016

Two Russian “spies” alleged to be involved in the killing of Chechen militant Abdulvakhid Edelgireyev in Turkey were caught in a joint operation that took six months to prepare by the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and police on April 8 in Istanbul, a report has claimed.

The alleged spies, 52-year-old Iurii Anisimov and 55-year-old Aleksandr Smirnov, were caught while they were doing intelligence work for another plot, daily Habertürk reported. The alleged spies, who refused to talk during interrogations, have been arrested.

According to reports, Edelgireyev was approached by a white car, and was then shot and stabbed by assassins in a car on Nov. 1, 2015, in the Kayaşehir district of Istanbul.

Police operations revealed that the car used was rented 20 days before the assassination by Russian citizen Aleksandr Nasyrov, who arrived in Istanbul on Sep. 11, 2015.

Nasyrov rented two cars every other day between Sep. 11 and Sept. 16, 2015, while in Turkey. The cars were then left in a parking lot in the western province of Yalova.

Nasyrov stayed alone in a hotel in Istanbul and left Turkey on Sep. 16, 2015, from Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport.

According to the report, the police tracked Nasyrov’s movements in Turkey and found Anisimov and Smirnov had stayed in a hotel in Yalova in separate rooms between Sep. 11 and 13, 2015.

They then travelled to Istanbul from Yalova and stayed in two separate hotels in Istanbul’s touristic Sultanahmet district between Sep. 14 and 16, 2015.  Nasyrov then met Smirnov and Anisimov close to their hotels.

No press statement was released after the investigation into the Russians.

The suspects arrived in Istanbul once again on April 4 and went to Yalova via car. Police caught the duo upon their return to Istanbul from Yalova, according to Habertürk reports.

Investigations revealed that both had reentered Turkey using fake passports. Fake Interpol IDs, a number of photos of Russian state officials, a USB memory stick, five cell phones with numbers and PIN/PUK information glued to them and U.S. dollars with consecutive serial numbers were found on the spies. 

According to initial information obtained from the USB, the suspects took photos of parking areas, license plates, security cameras, hotel rooms and obscure parts of the rooms.

The alleged spies tracked the movement of security cameras for a day and took photos of the camera’s positions on an hourly basis. 

The efforts to recover the deleted information on the USB stick are ongoing.

hurriyetdailynews.com/two-russian-spies-caught-in-istanbul-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97736&NewsCatID=509

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Intel before first Ankara bombing ignored: Report

April 13, 2016

A preliminary survey report investigating the Oct. 10 blast in Ankara that killed 103 people, including two suicide bombers, revealed that Turkey’s intelligence units were tipped off about imminent suicide bomb attacks targeting rallies 25 days before the explosion.

The report found that an intelligence officer did not convey the key information to his superiors due to “neglect or other motivations,” thus inhibiting further security measures, daily Cumhuriyet has reported.

The inspector’s report published by Cumhuriyet states that Anti-Terror C Unit Commander Hüseyin Özgür Gür received an intelligence report on Sept. 14, 2015, which claimed that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) would target rallies with “more than one suicide bomber.” Gür failed to report this information to his superior, Anti-Terror Unit Head Hakan Duman.

“The aforementioned individual did not convey this information to his superior, the anti-terror unit head, and prevented his superiors from evaluating whether there is a need to cancel the rally, due to neglect or other motives,” the report stated. It added that Gür had conveyed “far less important information” to relevant authorities in the anti-terror unit.

The Feb. 25 report prepared by chief civil inspectors Özcan Bademci and Turen Ergün and chief police inspectors Ayhan Acet and Ertan Kara, also accuses Ankara’s then Chief of Police Kadri Kartal of failing to take the necessary safety measures despite blasts that had recently hit the southeastern province of Diyarbakır and the Suruç district of Şanlıurfa province. Both attacks in the southeast had targeted civilians close to the Kurdish problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). 

Inspectors said police teams and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) had sent a total of 62 intelligence reports over the 10 months leading to the Oct. 10 explosion, and the last report even included the name of Ankara suicide bomber Yunus Alagöz.

A request by the inspectors to launch investigations against Kartal, Gür, Duman, former intelligence department deputy chief and state security department deputy chief was rejected by the Ankara Governor’s Office. In addition, the chief public prosecutor decided not to exercise his right to object, instead filing a motion to dismiss the case.

Two suicide bombers detonated themselves on 10:04 a.m. on Oct. 10, 2015 in front of the Ankara main train station, where thousands of people had gathered for a peace rally a few weeks before the snap election on Nov. 1.

Meanwhile, Cumhuriyet also published a second report on April 12, detailing a confidential document issued by the police chief of the northeastern province of Kars, Faruk Karaduman, warning of ISIL attacks targeting touristic spots, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), the HDP, and leftist organizations.

In an e-mail dated Oct. 28, 2015, Karaduman warned district police chiefs of ISIL sleeper cells in 70 Turkish provinces and asked for measures to be taken against possible ISIL attacks.

hurriyetdailynews.com/intel-before-first-ankara-bombing-ignored-report.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97737&NewsCatID=509

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Chief of staff, intelligence chief visit Turkey’s Kilis after rockets fired from Syria

April 13, 2016

Turkish Chief of Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar and National Intelligence Agency (MİT) head Hakan Fidan arrived in the southern province of Kilis on April 13, after consecutive rocket firings in the province over the past three days.

Akar and Fidan examined the border region from above and observed military units in the area, accompanied by Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz, generals and MİT officials.

They later visited the Kilis Governor’s Office, meeting Kilis Governor Süleyman Tapsız and other officials.

Earlier on April 13, five rocket projectiles fired from Syria landed in the province but no casualties were reported.

It marked the third such incident in the province in the past three days.

Security forces said Turkish artillery responded to the fire by shelling targeted positions within the rules of engagement.

On April 12, two people were killed and six were wounded when two rocket projectiles again fired from Syria landed in Kilis, less than one day after multiple rockets hit the province.

Three rocket projectiles fired from a region under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria had landed in Kilis on April 11, wounding 12.

hurriyetdailynews.com/chief-of-staff-intelligence-chief-visit-turkeys-kilis-after-rockets-fired-from-syria.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97735&NewsCatID=341

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Katyusha rockets fired from Syria land in Kilis, no casualties reported

Wednesday,April 13 2016

Rocket projectiles that were fired from Syria landed in the southern province of Kilis for the third consecutive day on April 13.

Locals in the border province panicked when Katyusha rockets fired from Syria fell into an empty field in two different regions at 9:10 a.m. No casualties were reported in the incident.

Security and health personnel were also deployed to the scene upon notice of an explosion after the firing.

Meanwhile, Chief of Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar and National Intelligence Organization (MİT) head Hakan Fidan also arrived in Kilis following the recent incidents.

The incident marked the third such incident in Kilis in the past three days.

On April 13, two people were killed and six were wounded when two rocket projectiles again fired from Syria landed in Kilis, less than one day after multiple rockets hit the province.

Three rocket projectiles fired from a region under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria landed in Kilis on April 11, wounding 12.

Outraged locals in Kilis also rallied in front of the governor’s office on April 12 to demand greater security measures following the incident the same day that killed one and wounded seven.

hurriyetdailynews.com/katyusha-rockets-fired-from-syria-land-in-kilis-no-casualties-reported-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97731&NewsCatID=341

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Turkish, Saudi leaders discuss Syria, terror on King Salman’s visit

Wednesday,April 13 2016

Turkey has decorated Saudi Arabia’s visiting King Salman with its highest state medal in recognition of the two countries’ close ties, with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan extending his guest a lavish welcome after the latter’s arrival on April 11.

Erdoğan welcomed Salman with an official ceremony at his presidential palace on April 12, the first day of the Saudi monarch’s official visit to Ankara. The Saudi monarch will proceed to Istanbul later this week for a summit of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Erdoğan bestowed the Order of the State of Republic of Turkey - the highest state order awarded to foreign nationals by the President of the Republic of Turkey - saying the Saudi monarch had exerted “great efforts” to forge friendly ties since taking the throne.

“My Precious Friend, my Dear Brother, since acceding to the throne in Saudi Arabia, you have made great contributions to development of friendly relations between our countries,” Erdoğan said during the presentation of the medal.

“You have constituted an assurance for regional peace, security, serenity and stability with your astute administration. In this regard, the cooperation and the solidarity you have displayed with our country are beyond all kinds of appreciation. Turkey’s and Saudi Arabia’s further deepening of their cooperation in every field with your support is an opportunity for regional and global peace,” Erdoğan said.

Saudi Arabia and Turkey are both strong supporters of the opposition forces in Syria and have been building strong military ties. Turkey participated in military drills in Saudi Arabia this year. Riyadh has deployed warplanes at a Turkish air base as part of the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Talks during the king’s three-day visit are expected to focus on Syria and other regional issues, as Erdoğan hosted a luncheon for Salman with the attendance of Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. Later, Erdoğan and Salman were scheduled to hold a tête-à-tête meeting.

Salman’s visit to Turkey comes shortly after he arrived on his first official visit to Egypt on April 7, with Cairo saying it was hoping to boost ties with its most important Arab ally and garner trade deals to help bolster its shaky economy. Strained Ankara-Cairo relations were expected to be on the agenda, as Erdoğan had already commented that the Saudi leadership was pressing both sides to reconcile their relations. Egypt will also be present at the OIC summit at the foreign minister level.

“No doubt, this historical visit which you carried out today is a very strong and meaningful message given in regards to future of our relations,” Erdoğan said, voicing confidence that the two states will continue with determination taking steps that will cement bilateral cooperation in every field.

For his part, Salman delivered a brief speech in which he expressed “gratitude” for the presentation of the medal and voiced appreciation of Saudi Arabia’s relations with both the Turkish people and the Turkish government.

hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-saudi-leaders-discuss-syria-terror-on-king-salmans-visit.aspx?pageID=238&nID=97695&NewsCatID=510

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Europe

Azerbaijani foreign minister declares growing threats to Islamic world

April 12,

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov has pointed to the expanding range of threats to the Islamic world.

"Alas, we cannot declare a significant improvement of the situation around the Islamic world. Quite the opposite - the range of threats encountered by the Islamic world has been growing," Mammadyarov said at the 13th summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers in Istanbul.

He said Baku was concerned about escalating confrontations in various parts of the planet.

"Azerbaijan has profound concern not only about the destruction of cities and the extermination of the civilian population but also about consequences of the wars, including long-term humanitarian and migration crises and military conflicts ongoing in a number of states," Mammadyarov said.

interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=12879

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Islamic State threat growing in Europe

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The House Homeland Security Committee is warning that the Islamic State threat is growing in Europe, outpacing law enforcement’s efforts there to contain it.

The House committee’s European Terror Threat Snapshot cited 22 detected plots and/or actual attacks in the past 12 months — about two every month — up from 13 in the 15 months before that.

With hundreds of thousands of refugees flooding in from Syria, it will be even more difficult to detect future plots.

The report called the threat to Europe “unprecedented” and warned it is overwhelming security forces there.

“A Belgian counterterrorism official warned only days before the March 22 attacks in Brussels, ‘...we don’t have the infrastructure to properly investigate or monitor hundreds of individuals suspected of terror links, as well as pursue the hundreds of open files and investigations we have. ... It’s literally an impossible situation and, honestly, it’s very grave,’ ” according to the report.

“I think the big takeaway is that the jihadist threat in Europe is serious. It’s very complex and multifaceted,” said Scott Stewart, vice president of tactical analysis with Stratfor, a private intelligence firm.

“It’s difficult to put one of these puzzles together when you have so many potential suspects,” Stewart said.

In Germany alone, the domestic intelligence service identified 300 instances of radical Islamists recruiting within the refugee population, the report states.

The report says that Europe’s porous borders give IS an opportunity to slip in fighters unnoticed.

“The operatives behind the Paris and Brussels attack plots reportedly operated across at least nine EU countries — France, Belgium, Germany, the U.K., Greece, Austria, Italy, the Netherlands, and Hungary,” the report states.

“At least one of the March 2016 Brussels attackers reportedly posed as a Syrian refugee in Greece. The head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency warned this year ‘we have repeatedly seen that terrorists ... have slipped in camouflaged or disguised as refugees’,” the report states.

Stewart noted the attackers in Paris and Brussels were mostly French nationals.

“These were people who were born and raised in these countries,” he said. “The silver lining is that a lot of these guys were on the No Fly List, which would keep them from getting on a plane to the U.S.”

bostonherald.com/news/local_coverage/2016/04/islamic_state_threat_growing_in_europe

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Russian Deputy FM: Moscow Unware of Washington Plan B for Syria

April 13,2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov stressed Wednesday that Moscow is unaware of plans by Washington to arm militant groups in Syria if the current truce fails.

"We know nothing about any 'Plan B'. No one has discussed it with us. we are working on the strengthening of the ceasefire regime," Ryabkov told reporters, answering an Interfax question.

"If 'Plan B' actually exists in the form of a shift to possible military operations, this is a cause for profound concern and disappointment," deputy foreign minister said .

"Hopefully, it does not exist," he added.

The Wall Street Journal wrote about Washington's "Plan B" for Syria on April 12.  According to the newspaper, militant groups in Syria could be supplied with US antiaircraft weapons if the ceasefire collapses.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950125000954

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North America

Anti-Islam Activists to Hold Armed Rally in Atlanta, Shred Copy of the Quran

APR 12, 2016

A group of armed, right-wing activists are planning a non-permitted anti-Islam rally in Atlanta, Georgia this weekend, where organizers say they will shred a Quran alongside pictures of President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and other politicians.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Georgian James Stachowiak, founder and editor of “Freedom Fighter Radio,” sent a letter to the Georgia Building Authority in February asking for a permit to hold a “United against Islam and Islamic immigration refugee rally” at Liberty Plaza in front of the state capitol. The Authority declined his request, but protest organizers have decided to convene along the public sidewalk in April 18 anyway — with guns in tow.

“You are hereby notified that protest organizers have encouraged their participants to carry loaded long guns,” read a statement from Capitol Police Director Lewis G. Young to law enforcement officials. “[The Georgia Department of Public Safety] is currently monitoring the threat risk and, together with GBA, is taking precautions to make Capitol Hill a safe environment.”

You are hereby notified that protest organizers have encouraged their participants to carry loaded long guns.

Stachowiak is an outspoken anti-Islam activist in the Peach State, where he has also been arrested several times for, among other things, downloading a man’s picture from a social networking site and using it to label him as a terrorist. He caused minor controversy in 2015 for standing outside a military recruitment center in Augusta, Georgia with a “Don’t Tread on Me” T-shirt, a rifle, and a sign that read “Protect our troops from Islamic savages.”

These days, Stachowiak regularly pens Facebook posts that accuse politicians and the federal government of conspiring with terrorists, and often casts Islam as an immediate threat to the United States. In a March 25 post, he called for his fellow “patriots” to “stockpile weapons, train and prepare for the coming clash of islam v.s. infidels and the coming civil war in America.” Stachowiak published another post that same day promoting the upcoming rally, declaring “Death to Islam” and bragging that Terry Jones — the nondenominational pastor who stoked global controversy in 2010 for planning to burn Qurans — would be in attendance. He noted that the demonstration will take place in front of the headquarters for CNN, which is based in Atlanta.

AJC reportedly obtained a February email from Stachowiak about the protest, in which her stated that his intent is to “raise public awareness to what we perceive as a threat to our nation from Islamic immigration and refugees.”

“We also plan to shred images of Obama, Loretta Lynch, Hillary Clinton and Muhammad along with the shredding of the Koran (sic),” Stachowiak said in the email. “This will be an open carry event with the use of long arms as Georgia law allows.”

The Georgia office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued a press release calling for organizers to cancel the demonstration and put away their weapons.

We also plan to shred images of Obama, Loretta Lynch, Hillary Clinton and Muhammad along with the shredding of the Koran.

“Hatred of Muslims and Islam stems from ignorance,” CAIR-GA Executive Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell said in a statement. “We encourage these protesters to put down their guns, cancel their unsanctioned rally, and meet with representatives of our state’s Muslim community for an open and frank discussion of their concerns.”

“As American Muslims, we do not begrudge our neighbors the right to publicly challenge us or our faith,” Mitchell added. “But as Americans, we should always debate each other in a civil, respectful and safe manner.”

The protest is the latest in an unprecedented surge of anti-Islam hatred that has swept the United States since the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, with Muslim Americans falling victim to an ever-growing number of shootings, attacks on their houses of worship, and Islamophobic demonstrations similar to what Stachowiak is planning in Georgia. Groups in Texas — which, like Georgia, is an open-carry state — have taken to standing outside mosques wearing camouflage and brandishing loaded firearms.

Anti-Islam activists are often confronted with larger, more peaceful counter-protests, but tensions are beginning to run high: when an anti-Islam group tried to stage an armed protest of a predominantly African American Dallas mosque in early April, they were met with equally armed counter-protesters. Police reportedly stood between the two groups to help maintain the peace.

thinkprogress.org/justice/2016/04/12/3768665/anti-islam-protest-atlanta/

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‘Islamophobia’ Is Still Not the Problem: In Kansas, Another Case Study

April 13, 2016         

In March, the Islamic Society of Wichita rescinded an invitation to Monzer Taleb, a longtime sympathizer of Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and a formally designated terrorist organization under American law. Taleb was to speak at a fundraiser, but the Islamic Society canceled his appearance when community members protested and Representative Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.) publicly raised questions about the matter. The Wichita Eagle covered the controversy. In my opinion, the paper’s reporting stressed the allegations of “Islamophobia” posited by Islamist sympathizers in reaction to the protests. The paper also  focused on what it described as “a trend by anti-government militias of targeting Muslims.” The impropriety of a prominent Islamic organization’s decision to give a platform to an apologist for a terrorist organization seemed of, at best, secondary importance. Consequently, last Thursday (April 7), I submitted a proposed op-ed to the Wichita Eagle. This weekend, a member of the paper’s editorial board informed me that the paper believed it had adequately covered the matter and therefore had decided to decline my op-ed. I have reproduced it, below.

As a federal prosecutor in 1993, when I led the investigation and trial of a jihadist cell that had bombed the World Trade Center and plotted an even more ambitious attack on New York City landmarks, the first Muslims I encountered were not terrorists. They were anti-terrorists: patriots who embraced America and Western liberty. They helped us infiltrate the cell, thwart the jihadist plots (including the planned attacks in Manhattan), and convict the terrorists.

There was a valuable lesson in this. Radical Islam poses a serious threat to America and the West, very much including a threat against American Muslims, our fellow citizens who reject radical Islam’s authoritarianism and savagery. While terrorists and their atrocities grab the headlines, much of the real battle takes place in Muslim communities. A key to winning that battle and protecting our security involves distinguishing our radical Islamic enemies from our patriotic Muslim allies.

The Muslim Brotherhood and its Palestinian branch, Hamas, which is a terrorist organization and has been formally recognized as such under American law for some 20 years, are on the wrong side of that divide. Representative Mike Pompeo did the people of Kansas – both non-Muslim and Muslim Americans – a great service by calling out the Islamic Society of Wichita (ISW) on its indefensible invitation to Monzer Taleb, a Hamas sympathizer, to speak at a fundraising event.

The ISW only further besots itself by claiming that common-sense concerns raised by Representative Pompeo and other Kansans stem from “Islamophobia.” That tired smear was shrewdly developed by the Brotherhood precisely to shut down examination of its repulsive ideology and stealth tactics.

The Brotherhood’s self-proclaimed mission was laid bare by the Justice Department in the 2007-08 Holy Land Foundation terrorism-financing prosecution – a scheme that funneled millions of dollars to Hamas. Internal Brotherhood memoranda explained that the organization, in its own words, is engaged in a “grand jihad” to “eliminate and destroy Western civilization from within.” Its methodology, since its founding in Egypt in the 1920s, is to bore into cities and towns, co-opting mosques and community centers as their movement’s “axis.”

As we proved in our terrorism prosecution in the 1990s, communities thus taken over by radicals become hubs for terrorist fundraising, training, and other means of material and moral support. Recent events in Paris and Brussels underscore that violent jihadism thrives in safe-haven communities that sympathize with the terrorists’ aims, or where people who might object are intimidated into silence. It is therefore essential to our national security, and to the ability of pro-American Muslims to practice their faith free from Islamist intimidation, that we identify, marginalize, and reject terrorist sympathizers. Representative Pompeo did just that.

Monzer Taleb is not a closet Hamas sympathizer. He has been open and notorious in his support for this mass-murder organization that, by its charter, pledges to destroy Israel by violent jihad. As proof in the Holy Land Foundation case demonstrated, Hamas has acted on this pledge since its inception in the late 1980s. The principal activity of the Brotherhood’s network of American Islamist organizations has been to support Hamas.

The Brotherhood backed Hamas and its intifada through “Palestine Committees” in the West. Taleb was a Palestinian Committee member. He even performed in a band that sang pro-Hamas songs – and, indeed, the band’s leader, Mufid Abdel Qader, was ultimately convicted of providing material support to terrorism and of money laundering.

While it is gratifying that the ISW rescinded its invitation to Taleb, it is very disturbing that the invitation was extended in the first place. It takes less than three minutes of Internet research to learn about Taleb’s Hamas ties. It is doubtful such research should be necessary since those ties explain his popularity in radical circles. Rather than whining about “Islamophobia,” which only fuels suspicion that the ISW’s leadership is using the Brotherhood playbook, the ISW should alleviate concerns by condemning Hamas. To be clear, this does not mean they should condemn “terrorism” – the Brotherhood is always happy to do this because it rationalizes that Israel is the real terrorist. It means naming names: Hamas.

In the battle against radical Islam, pro-American Muslims who seek peace stand firmly against Hamas, a terrorist organization, material support of which is a felony under American law. It should not be hard to correct any misimpression caused by the Taleb invitation. ISW just needs to stand unequivocally against Hamas, joining Representative Pompeo and scores of other patriots.

aim.org/guest-column/islamophobia-is-still-not-the-problem-in-kansas-another-case-study/

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Food, friendship on Muslim Day at Iowa Capitol

April 12, 2016

It was Muslim Day at the Iowa Capitol on Tuesday as followers of Islam mingled with the public to share food, conversation and goodwill.

Gov. Terry Branstad, who has had longstanding ties to the state's Islamic community, honored the third annual event by signing a proclamation declaring Tuesday as "Muslim Recognition Day" in Iowa.

"The motto of the great state of Iowa, 'Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain,' inspires Americans of Muslim faith, in our community, to articulate the responsibilities of patriotism, and encourages participation in the duties of citizenship," Branstad's proclamation read.

The event lasted from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and there were about 100 people — including some Iowa legislators — who were visiting the Rotunda at one point during the noon hour.

“This is just to let our neighbors know who we are. That we are part of American society and that we are citizens and professionals and workers. We are just like everyone else," said Mohamad Khan, president of the Muslim Community Organization of Des Moines.

Mohamad Khan of Des Moines and his grandson, IbrahimBuy Photo

Mohamad Khan of Des Moines and his grandson, Ibrahim Benedict of Pleasant Hill, on Muslim Day at the Iowa Capitol. (Photo: William Petroski/The Register)

Khan said there are seven mosques in the Des Moines area and other mosques in other cities throughout Iowa. Cedar Rapids is home to the Mother Mosque of North America, completed in 1934, which is the oldest purpose-built mosque in the United States.

Muslim medical students took blood pressure tests for visitors in the Rotunda, and others — like Dr. Bilal Kaaki, a physician from Cedar Falls who is originally from Lebanon — provided food. He served manakish, a type of flatbread topped with sesame seeds or cheese. Representatives of the Council on American-Islamic Relations distributed literature, and information was provided about Halal meats, which means it adheres to Islamic law. Iowa Muslims from Bosnia, Somalia, Sudan and a host of other countries helped with the event.

Christians routinely hold events at the Iowa Capitol. During Holy Week, a Christian prayer service was hosted on the west side of the Capitol by a ministry of The Family Leader Foundation. One of the keynote speakers was Senior Pastor Mike Housholder of Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines.

desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/2016/04/12/food-friendship-muslim-day-iowa-capitol/82939062/

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India

Malegaon blast: NIA said 9 Muslims not linked to explosion, now opposes their discharge

April 13, 2016

Two years after it told a Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court in Mumbai that it did not have any evidence to link nine Muslim men to the September 2006 Malegaon bombings, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) went back on its stand Tuesday and opposed discharging the men of terror charges.

Sessions Judge V V Patil will now pass a final order on April 25.

NIA counsel Prakash Shetty told the court: “Three independent machinery have investigated the case. The state Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) have named one group. The investigation by NIA is conflicting, but whether the accused investigated by the earlier agencies can be discharged… it cannot be done. The court will be looking into what evidence has been collected, what is the evidence against them. At this stage, it (discharge) cannot be allowed.”

The nine men — Noorul Huda, Shabbir Ahmed, Raees Ahmed, Salman Farsi, Farogh Magdumi, Shaikh Mohammed Ali, Asif Khan, Mohammed Zahid and Abrar Ahmed — were arrested in 2006 for the Malegaon blasts that killed 37 and injured over 100. In November 2011, they were granted bail.

Two of the men were convicted later in the 7/11 Mumbai train blasts case of 2006 — they remain in judicial custody. Shabbir died in an accident in March 2015. One was exempted from appearance in court Tuesday while the remaining five were present.

Shetty used legal lexicon to make the point that the NIA investigation was filed as a ‘further report’ and not as a ‘fresh report’ and, therefore, should be seen in continuation to the probes by the ATS and CBI. On April 8, 2014, the NIA, in its first statement before the sessions court, had said that no evidence was found in support of the conclusion drawn in the final report filed by the ATS and the supplementary final report submitted by CBI, recommending prosecution of the nine accused. In 2011, when a special MCOCA court was hearing bail applications of the nine accused, the court had taken the then prosecutor for NIA, Rohini Salian, on record after she said that the NIA had decided to probe and review the evidence in light of fresh revelations by Swami Aseemanand, arrested as an accused in the May 2007 Mecca Masjid blast case, about the alleged involvement of a right wing group. It was during this hearing that Salian had acknowledged the involvement of right wing extremists in the 2006 bombings as well. In 2014, in response to a discharge application filed by the nine accused, the NIA had cited reasons for not having found evidence backing the probes by the ATS and CBI. The NIA, which took over investigation of the blasts from the CBI in 2011, had earlier remained non-committal on the issue, leaving it to the court to decide on the application. After taking over the investigation, the NIA filed a chargesheet naming four accused but none of the nine men chargesheeted by the ATS and CBI. On Tuesday, Raja Thakre, special public prosecutor, representing the ATS, too opposed the discharge application. “It is not necessary for the court at this stage to go into the pros and cons of the evidence before it. Whether these accused have committed the offence can only be the result of the trial,” he said. Defence advocate Sharif Sheikh took objection to Thakre’s position. “The ATS has no locus standi since the case was transferred to the NIA. The NIA is a special statute with an overriding effect and their report is not against these nine men,” Sheikh told the court. The counsel for the other group of accused, including Lokesh Sharma, Dhan Singh, Manohar Singh and Rajendra Choudhary, also opposed the discharge application. “The confession referred to by the accused, that of Swami Aseemanand, can only be considered at the time of the trial. He is not a witness in the case and what he has said can only be part of hearsay evidence since he is not implicating himself but is saying that he was once told by Sunil Joshi that it was his men who were behind the Malegaon 2006 blasts,” said one of the lawyers representing the accused chargesheeted by the NIA in the case. On April 6, advocates for the nine men had argued that there cannot be two sets of accused in a single case. “There is a difference between acquittal and discharge. In case of an acquittal, the accused cannot be tried again in the same case. Even if these accused are discharged, if subsequent material comes, they can be prosecuted. It is clear that one of the two sets of accused is innocent. The culprit cannot take advantage of lapses of the investigating machinery,” advocate Wahab Khan said.

indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/nia-said-9-muslims-not-linked-to-malegaon-blast-now-opposes-their-discharge/

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'India must be prepared for a 100-year war with Pakistan'

April 11, 2016

'Pakistan has responded with appropriate contempt -- hrowing our national dignity into the waste paper basket.'

Rashme Sehgal reports on how Prime Minister Modi's grand diplomatic gesture in Lahore has typically been thwarted by Pakistan.

Ministry of external affairs mandarins are still recovering from Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit's comments on Thursday, April 7, when he declared among other things that the investigation into the Pathankot airbase attack by his country's Joint Investigation Team had been carried out 'in a spirit of cooperation' and was not 'based on reciprocity.'

When asked how there could be 'cooperation between nations which was not based on reciprocity,' Basit replied it was possible, but declined to elaborate.

This lack of cooperation would disallow the National Investigative Agency team to visit Pakistan. This flew in the face of the NIA claims made by NIA Director General Sharad Kumar that an Indian team would soon visit Pakistan following the JIT visit in order to take the probe forward.

This, India had hoped, would be in continuation of its attempts to nail the Jaish-e-Muhammad terrorist group headed by Mazoor Azhar and his brother Rauf in their role in plotting and executing the Pathankot airbase attack.

Pakistan's snub to India's bold gambit of allowing Pakistani counter terrorist, police and ISI officers access to 16 witnesses including suspended Gurdaspur Superintendent of Police Salwinder Singh as also to the crime scene where a gun battle had raged for more than 80 hours, has more than six decades of precedence with every overture from India having being matched by a corresponding Pakistani snub.

The general, the 'spy' and no talks with India

There is no doubt that Modi hoped that his grand diplomatic gesture of stopping by and chatting with his counterpart Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on his way back from Russia and Afghanistan on December 25 would pay some dividends.

Behind the bonhomie of smiles and handshakes is the glaring reality that Pakistan is constantly sharpening its knives against India.

Defence experts wonder why Modi was not prepared for an immediate stab-in-the-back as seems to be the pattern in India-Pakistan relations.

Dr Ajay Sahni, director, Institute of Conflict Management, points out that the Pathankot attack occurred within one week of Modi's Lahore stopover. The Kargil attack similarly occurred soon after Atal Bihari Vajpayee's bus ride to Lahore. Basit's snub to the Indian State came on the heels of India's invitation to Pakistan's JIT.

"Pakistan has responded with appropriate contempt -- hrowing our national dignity into the waste paper basket," says Dr Sahni. "When processes become so personalised, one forgets the basic principles of governance."

"Just because Modi visited Lahore," he adds, "this was followed up with an invitation to the JIT. Everything is being run by the PMO where officials are working to translate every whim of the prime minister without understanding that no one individual or coterie of individuals can manage the nation's affairs."

Vajpayee, Dr Sahni believes, despite Kargil, had more to show in terms of achievement than the disastrous Pakistan policy being pursued by Modi in the last two years. "Vajpayee wrested some concessions. He was able to negotiate a cease fire which lasted between 2003 and 2008. He was also able to build a fence between the two nations and so at least had something to show on the ground. What gains can the Modi regime show?" he asks.

Military expert Maroof Raza goes a step further. "We suffer from a failure to assess the intentions of our enemy. Pakistan is definitely an enemy State unless it chooses to behave like a friend," says Raza, who served in the Indian Army.

"If the government had chosen to invite the JIT, then the terms of engagement should have been publicly announced instead of the cut-and-paste job that was done now," says Raza.

"Why were they given all of 55 minutes in Pathankot?" he asks. "If they wanted to keep sitting for three days, they should have been permitted to do so, but after having restricted their movements."

Raza asks why India is wasting its time with Pakistan.

"Why are we engaging with Pakistan?" he says. "We need to lay down the red lines and not allow them to get blurred. For the present they are laughing to our face, they are laughing on our back."

"India should be prepared for a 100-year conflict with Pakistan," warns Raza. "There will not be regular wars, but the present situation will continue.'

The Pakistan military establishment has laid down some thumb rules and these continue to be followed in their entirety across the country.

"They have constantly sought parity, if not superiority with India," says Raza. "Kashmir remains the bonding addictive for the Pakistani State and without the Kashmir issue they will be left rudderless."

India, on the other hand, continues to remain ambivalent and rudderless in their approach to Pakistan.

This confusion is not lost on our neighbour.

'There is no short cut for achieving viable peace,' Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit declared last Thursday. 'Nor does cherry picking work. Jammu and Kashmir is the root cause of our mutual distrust and other bilateral issues. A fair and just resolution of J&K is a must. To put this on a back burner will be counter productive.'

During the last one month, Basit said, 'Our authorities have arrested scores of terror operatives with foreign linkages. Their arrest is quite disturbing.' He declined to provide information about those who had been arrested or from which countries these terrorists belonged.

Even the terrifying threat of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of terrorists was dismissed by Basit with a perfunctory claim, 'Our safety and security regime is second to none as far as our nuclear assets are concerned.'

The subject of continuing the comprehensive dialogue between the two nations was also shrugged aside with the assertion, 'If India is not ready, we can always wait.'

Such is the preponderance in authority of the military-jihadi axis in Pakistan that its civilian government has little say in foreign affairs, especially relating to India. By engaging directly with Sharif, Modi felt he could force the pace of relations and work out something that could prove satisfactory for both sides.

Modi, security experts believe, should now ignore Pakistan especially since its military will continue its policy of bleeding India with a thousand cuts.

rediff.com/news/special/india-must-be-prepared-for-a-100-year-war-with-pakistan/20160411.htm

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Abdul Gafarsab Mulla’s Farm, Sharing Water, Is an Oasis in Scorching Yadgir

RAVIKUMAR NARABOLI: April 13, 2016

The farmer has been sharing water from his bore well with others in the parched Yargol village

The scorching summer has dried up almost every natural water source in Yargol village of Yadgir district. In the midst of this dismal scenario, the 3.25-acre agricultural plot of Abdul Gafarsab Mulla is an oasis.

The bore well in his plot has not dried up and Mr. Mulla has decided that the precious water is not only for him, but to be shared by other farmers and livestock in the parched village. He has installed a five-horsepower (HP) pump set to lift and store it in a big trough.

Local residents and their livestock are free to walk in and quench their thirst here. They come from a nearly three-km radius to collect drinking water and save their drying crops. “This summer has been the worst for not only humans, but also animals with all natural sources gone,” he says, adding that he is blessed that the water has not dried up in his plot. The borewell has not dried up for several years and yields three inches of water. In his land, the father of three grows jowar and green gram. “Water is the rarest commodity and nobody should hoard it,” he says.

Sharanabasava, who draws water from the pump in Mr. Mulla’s plot for his adjacent three-acre field, said that his entire crop would have been destroyed by now but for this act of generosity.

Water is the rarest commodity; nobody should hoard it

Abdul Gafarsab Mulla

thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/mullas-farm-is-an-oasis-in-scorching-yadgir/article8468567.ece

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Pakistan

245 Officers, 34 Politicians Have Links with Banned Outfits: PTI Leader

April, 13, 2016

LAHORE: Punjab’s former governor and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader Chaudhry Sarwar has alleged that 245 government officers and 34 politicians in Punjab have links with the banned organisations which shows “anti-peace mindset” in the province.

Talking to newsmen after a ceremony here on Tuesday, he said it was imperative to launch a massive operation against terrorists across the country.

However, he said, in view of serious threats of terrorism, the government officials and politicians having contacts with the “terrorists” should not be spared. Such officials and politicians were a serious threat to peace in Punjab, he added.

“It is government’s responsibility to arrest all such culprit (officials and politicians) and give them an exemplary punishment,” he demanded.

However, he would not give the names of the officials and politicians allegedly having contacts with the banned outfits.

Sarwar said spending just 50 per cent of the development budget showed the rulers’ bad governance in the province.

He said though the rulers continued making tall claims of their “good governance”, practically their performance was zero and added that the government could only utilise half of the annual development budget during the current financial year so far.

If the rulers had focused more on people’s progress and prosperity instead of their own “political advertisement”, the masses would have been enjoying better health and education facilities in Punjab, he added.

Meanwhile, the PTI chairman’s adviser Dr Yasmin Rashid said that the country’s health delivery system was so inefficient that even the prime minister could not trust the state-run facilities.

She said the government instead of spending the taxpayers’ money on improving the health facilities, was “wasting” it on mega projects like Metro buses and train.

dawn.com/news/1251825/245-officers-34-politicians-have-links-with-banned-outfits-sarwar

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Pakistan urges Muslim Ummah’s unity at OIC

April 13, 2016

ISTANBUL (Staff Report) – Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has said that solidarity and unity of Muslim Ummah is needed today more than at any other time in the past to deal with the prevailing challenges.

Addressing ministerial meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul, he said Muslim minorities are being alienated and marginalized, and many of them live in fear.

Sartaj Aziz expressed concerns over sharp rise in hate speech, discriminatory acts and social hostility against Muslims, especially the Muslim minorities. He said OIC can take role of a lead partner in interfaith dialogue.

Referring to the menace of extremism and terrorism, the Advisor said Pakistan has always supported a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy to tackle this global problem.

He said complexity of challenge demands enhanced and shared understanding and deeper dialogue between countries, cultures and civilizations.

en.dailypakistan.com.pk/pakistan/pakistan-urges-muslim-ummahs-unity-at-oic/

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JIT to investigate money laundering charges against Altaf Hussain

April ,13, 2016

ISLAMABAD: A joint investigation team (JIT) has been formed to investigate money laundering charges against Muttahida Qaumi Movement Chief Altaf Hussain.

The team, headed by FIA Islamabad’s Director Mazharul Haq Kakakhel and comprising representatives of intelligence agencies, has been given 30 days to complete its work, informed sources told Dawn.

The sources said the team had been formed in the light of disclosures made by former donor of MQM, Mr Sarfaraz Merchant.

Mr Merchant had claimed last month that the MQM was receiving funds from Indian intelligence agency RAW.

dawn.com/news/1251788/jit-to-investigate-money-laundering-charges-against-altaf-hussain

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IMF "encouraged" by PIA reform step, awaits more plans

April ,13, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is encouraged that Pakistan will convert cash-strapped Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) into a limited company but said on Wednesday it will see if the reforms go far enough in restructuring the company.

Parliament adopted a law on Monday to convert PIA into a limited company but it prevents the government from giving up its management control.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had made the privatisation of the company a top goal when he came to power in 2013.

The privatisation of it and 67 other state-owned companies is also a major element of a $6.7 billion IMF package that helped Pakistan stave off default in 2013. The IMF has continued to release loan instalments despite missed targets.

“We are encouraged that a consensus has been reached on corporatization of PIA,” Harald Finger, IMF mission chief for Pakistan, told Reuters in an email.

“We will need to study the approved bill and discuss with the authorities their emerging plans to run PIA strictly as a commercial entity and strengthen its performance in the absence of a transfer of management control to a private investor.” PIA has accumulated losses of more than $3 billion.

It and other loss-making companies, including power distribution companies and steel giant Pakistan Steel Mills, cost the government an estimated $5 billion a year.

In February, the IMF released the last $497 million tranche of its loan, even after Pakistan shelved plans to privatise its power supply companies and said it would miss deadlines to sell other loss-making state firms.

Another $1.1 billion remains to be released

dawn.com/news/1251846/imf-encouraged-by-pia-reform-step-awaits-more-plans

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Shah accuses Nisar of being disloyal to Sharif

April ,13, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The war of words between the government and the opposition in the wake of the Panama leaks took an ugly turn on Tuesday when the leader of the opposition lashed out at the interior minister for resorting to “blackmail” and accused him of being disloyal to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

One would normally not expect Syed Khursheed Shah to lose his cool on the floor of the National Assembly.

A seasoned politician — who on Tuesday took the time to remind the house of his political credentials — the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly has proven himself a tactful man on many occasions.

“I was watching the press conference yesterday, where [Chaudhry Nisar] was smiling as he pushed his knife deeper into Mian Nawaz Sharif,” he said, referring to the minister’s admission that the Mayfair apartments in London were indeed Nawaz Sharif’s.

“The entire dispute is that they were not declared,” Khursheed Shah said, referring to the statement of assets submitted to the Election Commission.

He also questioned the minister’s loyalty to his own party leader.

“A politician who sleeps soundly at home while his leader is in jail or exile is no lion,” — an apparent jibe at Nisar’s house arrest after the 1999 coup when the Sharif brothers had been packed off to Adiala Jail.

Mr Shah already set the tone for his speech when he opened by saying: “Parliament is the most important forum... bitter and sweet words are exchanged here, both harshly and softly. Lies are told and accusations are levelled.”

He insisted his political career was like an open book and expressed his disappointment at the allegations that were levelled against him by Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

“I’m a politician who started from the bottom as a student leader. I have seen the sacrifices of the martyred Bhuttos; I would rather die than commit corruption,” he roared.

He claimed he was still earning off the same business he opened in 1973 and insisted he had no offshore accounts, only two bank accounts.

In an apparent response to the interior minister’s own such offer, he asked that “the government investigate me and my assets. The inquiry committee should consist of government members, no one from the opposition. The day I take a single cent that is not mine will be my last day in Parliament.”

With every word steeped in irony, Khursheed Shah said: “I was a student leader when you were nothing. I’ve never switched party loyalties, never deceived my leaders; and I have never slept soundly at home after my leaders were exiled.”

Saying that Aitzaz Ahsan would respond to the allegations levelled against his person on his own, Khursheed Shah recounted the minister’s tirade against him.

“I have several files against opposition leader Khursheed Shah including NAB files,” he quoted Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan as saying, questioning the legal position of the NAB over passing on internal files to the minister even though it did not even come under the interior ministry.

“I’m waiting for the day when Shah speaks against me, then I’ll open those files,” he quoted the minister as saying, and sought an explanation from Law Minister Zahid Hamid.

“By saying that he will open these files if I challenge him, the minister is betraying the sacred trust of his office and resorting to statements that can only be described as blackmail.”

He also challenged the interior minister to present those files before the house, saying, “We’ll talk about this right now.”

Shah then asked the speaker that the house should appoint someone to lead an investigation into his (Shah’s) assets. “Please for God’s sake, all I ask is that investigations be held,” he hastily concluded.

He would’ve continued had a Turkish parliamentary delegation not arrived in the galleries at that very moment, prompting him to soften his tone.

It was much later in the day that Zahid Hamid got the chance to respond to Mr Shah’s tirade. Apart from taking exception to the opposition leader’s attacks on “perhaps the senior-most parliamentarian”, he said that the interior minister would respond himself — a sign that another Punjab House press conference may be on the cards.

dawn.com/news/1251781/shah-accuses-nisar-of-being-disloyal-to-sharif

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Imran Khan meets Zakhilwal, assures refugees would not be harassed

Wed Apr 13 2016

Imran KhanThe Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal met with prominent Pakistani politician Imran Khan to discuss the issues of the Afghan refugees based in Pakistan.

The meeting followed amid concerns that the Pakistani authorities are harassing the Afghan refugees, specifically in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of the country.

According to the local media reports, Imran Khan has assured the Afghan envoy that the Afghan refugees would not be harassed.

The two sides also agreed to arrange meeting of Afghan envoy with KP chief minister Pervez Khattak and IGP Nasir Khan Durrani to discuss the issues of Afghan refugees, according to a statement by Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf official led by Imran Khan.

The statement further added that the PTI chairman underlined the significance of close cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

He sidan enduring partnership between Afghanistan and the KP government was essential for peace and development in the region, the statement added.

Khan emphasized on special focus on inter-governmental links; political engagements, security and counter-terrorism cooperation, and deeper trade and economic ties would help both governments to combat the challenges of poverty, ignorance and lawlessness within their domains.

khaama.com/imran-khan-meets-zakhilwal-assures-afghan-refugees-would-not-be-harassed-0637

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ISIS infecting Pakistan as jihadism takes hold in country's Muslim universities & schools

Tue, Apr 12

ISIS operatives are said to be infiltrating universities and Islamic schools in major cities across Pakistan as well as usurping territory once held by al-Qaeda and the Taliban in lawless tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan.

Extremist fighters allied to the Islamist group have claimed hundreds of lives in the Muslim country and neighbouring territories in recent months, including links to a suicide attack on a Christian neighbourhood in Lahore which left 72 dead.

Support for the fanatical Islamist cult appears to run deeper than first thought in Pakistani society, with reports of government officials secretly working for ISIS as well as ordinary families fleeing for jihadi heartlands in Syria.

An investigation by Pakistani security officials last year found a "small cabal of government officials" who had been "collecting information for ISIS" in support of "its holy war on the West".

A spokesperson said: "We have thus far arrested four suspected government officials from various parts of the Punjab.

"But we are also aware of ISIS presence in Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces."

Islamist fanatics are present across Pakistan, most notably in the south-west region of Baluchistan where travel for foreign passport holders is routinely blocked.

Many splintered Islamist groups are also vying to be integrated into the ISIS clan.

Jesh-ul-Islam, or Army of Islam, is among the terror cells to have carried out attacks in Pakistan in the hope of gaining acceptance by jihadi commanders loyal to ISIS.

Violent jihadism has also spread to ordinary men and women in Pakistan. Late last year, a group of housewives from Lahore were reported to have travelled to Syria to join ISIS.

The government claims to have launched a crackdown on ISIS, arresting a number of militants accused of working for the group, but the scale of the problem is not matched by current efforts to reduce it.

Many Pakistanis blame poverty for people turning to jihadism, with local groups offering payments of up to £500 to send young recruits to Syria for training.

Ayesha Siddiqa, an expert on Islamist extremism in Pakistan, told The Times: "There are blocs all over, it can emerge from anywhere.

"Since the military operation, radicalism itself has gone underground, which makes it difficult to see where might surface."

ISIS has successfully expanded across North Africa and the Middle East but it now appears to be colonising parts of South Asia.

With fighters migrating from as far as the Maldives, Indonesia and Bangladesh to Syria and Iraq, the problem of Islamic extremism is a problem that Pakistan and the wider region now faces.

express.co.uk/news/world/660055/Islamic-State-Pakistan-alarm-jihadists-spread-tentacles-South-Asia

 

URL:  http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/isis-in-turmoil-as-new-survey-reveals-young-arabs-shunning-terror-group-in-growing-numbers/d/106974


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